Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

I hope you're all enjoying your freedoms on this glorious Fourth. I know that I am absolutely wallowing in mine, especially given the news that the government is now photographing all my mail to keep me safe. The fact that my Time Warner Cable bill arrived in a ripped-open condition this week had, in fact, made me suspect that something was afoot. But it's fine with me if TWC is on some kind of postal No-Seal, No-Fly list. I am terrorized every time I get one of their bills, which always seem to come only a week after I paid the last one, and is always full of new hidden charges, like a monthly rental fee for the same modem I've had for the past five years.

And when a company's motto is Freedom To Enjoy, I know deep down in my soul that my freedom is simply their obscene profit, and that keeping them in my life makes me nothing more than an abject slave to their intrusive technology. I think we should all be getting a discount for having unknowingly contributed to the PRISM program all these years. Instead, we're the ones actually paying for the privilege of being spied upon. Very undemocratic, if you ask me.

Did you read about the new Restore the Fourth movement getting underway on this day? Hundreds or even thousands of people will be protesting All Over This Land against the surveillance state, no doubt getting surveilled as they do so. I hope it catches on.

And speaking of patriotism, Ralph Nader conducted a Fourth of July survey of multinational corporations, asking if they love America more than they love their off-shored wealth. Two companies (Walmart and Chevron) actually responded to him with non-responses. Results here.

Oh, and Egypt had another revolution. Like me, did you feel just a tad jealous as millions of Egyptians were able to oust a democratically-elected president just because he betrayed their trust? Of course, the military did all the heavy lifting. There will never be a military coup here in the Homeland, because that train left the station eons ago. The generals and the pseudo-generals of the military-industrial-surveillance-media complex have been the de facto government for more years than we will never be allowed to fully know -- although, thanks to Edward Snowden and those pesky "activist journalists", we are finally getting an inkling.

I was reading the other day that the Fourth of July is prime time for news dumps by officials of stuff they don't want attracting too much attention. I was thinking maybe Obama would sneak in approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline. But so far, the only biggie is the White House announcement that "some" businesses won't have to pay for employee health insurance until 2015. (translation: probably never, and they are finally tacitly admitting that the whole law is a major blunder.) The New York Times made the major blunder of using ACA architect Ezekiel Emmanuel to defend the decision. Readers, predictably, are wrathful. My response (which in retrospect I wish I had made meaner) --
Health insurance should not be related to employment, period. Just think about how many more "great workers" that businesses could afford to hire if they didn't have the millstone of health insurance premiums hanging around their necks. The USA is the only advanced nation in the world that doesn't supply universal health care. And thanks to the predacious insurance companies in the equation, we have the most expensive health care system in the world, with some of the worst outcomes in terms of morbidity and mortality.
In addition, granting a reprieve to what is defensively being called by the White House "only" a small proportion of businesses is just a terrible PR move. The Obama administration is seen to be announcing that it cares more for the employer than it does for the worker. And all that people are paying attention to is the delay, not the fact that those affected can still purchase coverage on their own. Dumb idea, only giving more ammo to the "I told ya so" Republicans in the mid-terms.
My dream is that the whole ACA will turn out to be so cumbersome and cost-ineffective, and people will get so sick and tired of being sick and tired, that all the Gopers and the Wall Street Dems will be voted out of office and we'll finally get a progressive government answerable only to the people.
Medicare for All. We are dying out here.
And while we're all dying out here, if you are lucky enough to have the "Freedom to Enjoy", SyFy is running one of its Twilight Zone marathons this long weekend. Rod Serling based many of his stories on the Surveillance State, then hunting for communists under every bed. Today, they're hunting for everybody in and out of bed, and they don't even need human eyes to see us.


Pearl said...

July 4th—the NSA is on the line for Snowden via

annenigma said...

The link didn't work.

Isn't it just incredible that the Egyptians also accomplished this in ONLY 3 days? Now that the Obama Administration is expressing 'concern', I believe O's Regime actually facilitated it. M2M, you know. (Military2Military)

When Obama says one thing, think the opposite "We won't wheel and deal for Snowden. We won't be scrambling jets." (Just closing airspace which saves that jet fuel). We can finally understand Obamaspeak!

Re: Restore The Fourth
I would be downtown right now doing my part for Restore the Fourth, especially considering the CNN van is parked there with cameras set up, and I live only two blocks away. Unfortunately, CNN is there related to the death of our 19 local firefighters. It's so tragic it still brings me to tears. It's not the right time or place for Restore the Fourth for me. Oh well, I have my own project I am working on.

Re: Project Pope Rescue
I already have one person to help me get petitions going to send to the Pope to ask him to rescue Snowden. At the least it will put him in a moral dilemma for all the world to See, providing it can gain enough momentum in cyberspace and beyond. I hope His Holiness can resist the Great Satan's arm-twisting and threats.

I also emailed Glenn Greenwald with the idea and asked him to give it some thought and pass it along. I was actually inspired by the backdrop in one of Glenn's videos - the statue of Jesus in Rio.

Can you See it? The Pope vs. the Anti-Christ. Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina, who is already pissed off, provides Snowden safe haven in Rio with the statue of Jesus watching over him. We'll have the Beast by the horns and 666 (NSA) on the ropes.

[To reach NSA, dial 666-462-4355 which is 666-go2-hell. When you dial it, you immediately get put on hold, so it must be right.]

They wouldn't dare shoot His Holiness' or Argentina's plane out of the sky! God would send a bolt of lightning to strike them dead if they tried. That's just who God is - vengeful as Hell. Honest, just read the Bible!

Godspeed Edward Snowden

annenigma said...

Sorry to bogart the comments, but I am exercising my Freedom to Enjoy today at home.

This from today's Guardian. Good on them!

Headline - European firms 'could quit US internet providers over NSA scandal/ European commission vice-president says American cloud services providers could suffer loss of business

annenigma said...

Oops, got Brazil and Argentina mixed up, if anyone noticed. I do hope it could be a female President that helps Snowden with asylum.

Jay - Ottawa said...

@ Karen
Great comment in the NYT about the ACA. But I would also like to read the meaner version you alluded to. Feel free here. Today, fireworks are appropriate.

Bless you, my child. So where’s the petition to Pope Francis El Primero? I’ll sign. But the link you provided earlier only takes us into the sepia tones of the Vatican’s official website. So far, nothing there about Snowden, not even a Hail Mary. Are you sure Obama would never pull a rendition beside the Bernini altar or drop a drone on the Sistine Chapel? As for earning his keep while he’s there, Snowden could digitize the Vatican Library. And maybe spark up that website.

annenigma said...


Thanks for the blessing. I liked your idea for Snowden to work in the Vatican. Maybe he can help set up a secure email account for the Pope and help with encryption. I'm sure the NSA is snooping there too and has the Vatican Embassy bugged.

I feel an urgency about Ed Snowden right now. The Beast is closing in. You can hear him breathing and snorting and you can smell his stench. EEEEEKKKKSSSSS!

It's obvious that Dear Leader has locked all doors so that ALL whistleblowers know there is nowhere in the entire world to run or hide (for long) from The Beast.

I am meeting with my comrade tomorrow about how to go about this. He's into this idea too. It speaks volumes that the Pope is silent about Edward Snowden, or at least publicly. I want to hear or read where he stands officially in this matter. WWJD?

If you have any ideas of how to light this fire, I'm all ears, just like the NSA.

In the meantime, let us pray!

annenigma said...

Looks like the 30 pieces of silver have already been handed out to all the world leaders by the Anti-Christ for betrayal of Snowden. Sadly, they all seem to have accepted it too.

In response to the Evo Morales jet debacle, State Department spokewoman Jen Psaki revealed that contact had been made with all countries who might have a chance of Snowden flying through their air space, although she wouldn't discuss any details.

We don't have to see the shiny coins to know they were offered.

Fred Drumlevitch said...

I don't recall seeing the following astounding story (which doesn't involve the second amendment) mentioned at Sardonicky.

But it is one more indication of the interconnectedness and interdependence of liberties:

So when Thomas Drake speaks at a "restore the 4th (amendment)" rally,

admirable though his position may be, we shouldn't forget the other amendments.

Pearl said...

"Obamas Thank Troops During White House Independence Day Barbecue"
sponsored by the USO and with military families and personnel as the
guests. What happened to the rest of us being included? And all over a
billion dollars going to Egypt for the military each year and wonder how
this strengthens their hand in their current chaos as well as past history?
Whenever their is a crisis in some country I always look up the past U.S. and designated nation's history together. Interesting results and we are everywhere it seems.
And do you know why the United States is the greatest nation on earth? Our
president explained it all in his speech in case you forgot.

Zee said...

A truly terrifying tale of the "commandeering"--at gunpoint, no less--of a private dwelling by " the military" during time of peace.

Yes, the entire Bill of Rights matters.

Denis Neville said...

Hopes for the new Restore the Fourth movement…

Firedoglake reported that 300 people gathered at McPherson Square, three blocks from the White House in Washington, DC, and shouted “Restore the Fourth.” The high point was the appearance of whistle-blower Thomas Drake.

Ohtarzie, The Rancid Honeytrap, announced that he would not be attending any anti-surveillance demonstrations planned for July 4th: “Since Occupy, I have pretty much sworn off traditional placards and chants protests, on the grounds that, in the absence of any real mass support, they become masochistic rituals of powerlessness and capitulation. If you want to feel marginal and disempowered, stand in the middle of Times Square with about one hundred other people with placards, watching tourists being amused by you, while the fake sunshine of gazillion watt advertising shines off their faces. This may not be the right way to feel — perhaps the powers find this stuff more dangerous than it looks on the surface — but it’s the way I do at these things and why I’m done with them for the time being.”

“Without politics, protest is at the mercy of the elites,” writes Seumas Milne @ The Guardian:

“…there are plenty of historical precedents for such people power protests – and important lessons about why they are often derailed or lead to very different outcomes from those their protagonists hoped for…From Egypt to Brazil, street action is driving change, but organisation is essential if it's not to be hijacked or disarmed

“Despite their differences, all three movements have striking common features. They combine widely divergent political groups and contradictory demands, along with the depoliticised, and lack a coherent organisational base. That can be an advantage for single-issue campaigns, but can lead to short-lived shallowness if the aims are more ambitious – which has arguably been the fate of the Occupy movement…

“In the era of neoliberalism, when the ruling elite has hollowed out democracy and ensured that whoever you vote for you get the same, politically inchoate protest movements are bound to flourish. They have crucial strengths: they can change moods, ditch policies and topple governments. But without socially rooted organisation and clear political agendas, they can flare and fizzle, or be vulnerable to hijacking or diversion by more entrenched and powerful forces.

“Many activists regard traditional political parties and movements as redundant in the internet age. But that's an argument for new forms of political and social organisation. Without it, the elites will keep control – however spectacular the protests.”

Reminds me of Jo Freeman’s The Tyranny of Structurelessness (written in 1970) in which she warned of the severe limits that ‘structurelessness’ imposed on an anti-authoritarian movement:

“The more unstructured a movement is, the less control it has over the directions in which it develops and the political actions in which it engages. Given a certain amount of interest by the media and the appropriateness of social conditions, the ideas will still be diffused widely. But diffusion of ideas does not mean they are implemented; it only means they are talked about. Insofar as they can be applied individually they may be acted on; insofar as they require coordinated political power to be implemented, they will not be.”

“If the movement is to grow beyond these elementary stages of development, it will have to disabuse itself of some of its prejudices about organization and structure. There is nothing inherently bad about either of these. They can be and often are misused, but to reject them out of hand because they are misused is to deny ourselves the necessary tools to further development. We need to understand why ‘structurelessness’ does not work.”