Friday, July 12, 2013

The Temp Emp Has No Clothes

The people in charge of the USG (amerikun guvmint) are one exceedingly stupid and paranoid bunch.

If they were smart, they'd just leave Edward Snowden alone. President Obama lives and breathes public opinion polls and focus groups. So, now that more than half the population thinks Snowden is a whistleblowing hero and that the USG has gone overboard with this whole spying thing, does he let up? No, he does not. He may not be scrambling his fighter jets, but he's definitely scrambling to land on the front page of the New York Times and look like an idiot, planting a story about how he's strong-arming Latin American countries to deny asylum to Snowden. If thuggishness is how he wants to be remembered, he is succeeding mightily.

Meanwhile, Snowden is seizing the inept American moment and applying for asylum in Russia -- presumably to gain safe passage, eventually, to one of those South American countries. If the USG maintains its anal-retentive hold on the entire atmosphere, Snowden could just end up traveling overland with Vlad in a protected convoy up to the Arctic Circle, traverse it by dog-sled and ice-breaker, (assuming there's any ice left) and then head down the Pacific Coast to safe haven. (Sarah Palin can wave to them from her house as Putin rears his mighty head in her space.)

Obama may have pretended to end Bush-era torture, but he has simply finessed and expanded it. By effectively trapping Snowden, he is torturing him. In recent days, one federal judge ordered Obama's guards to stop feeling up the private parts of Gitmo detainees. And even fellow Democrats are warning him he's breaking the law by force-feeding them. And now, international human rights groups are in Russia, holding the president up to even more universal scorn for hounding the whistleblower who did nothing more than expose USG malfeasance and speak truth to power.

Maybe Congress doesn't have the cojones to impeach our temporary emperor (Temp Emp), but at long last, he and the corporate American Empire are being tried and convicted in the world court of public opinion. That has to count for something, no matter how hard the Powers That Be try to ignore it and change it and blame the messengers. The whole manufactured consent thing is falling apart at the seams. The only surprise is how long the cheap propaganda thread has held it all together.

Update: More coverage from The Guardian. And here, in its entirety, is Snowden's remarkable statement:

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone's communications at any time. That is the power to change people's fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the US Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.
I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: "Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring."

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell US secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.
That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression. The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the UN asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president's plane in search for a political refugee. These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela's President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum. As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.
If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.
Thank you.


spreadoption said...

Edward Snowden's words: Beautiful. Amazing. Wonderful.

How can this young man not be a hero to every regular American citizen? And every regular citizen of the entire world?

annenigma said...

The Temp Emp will be spending the rest of his reign defending the Empire against lawsuits, international and domestic. Investigations are beginning and lawsuits being filed all over the world. Illicit collection of personal data and infringement of the right to a private life are the basis for many of them - violations of international and national laws.

I am hoping that French human rights organizations are the ones to put the legal nail in the coffin of Le Grand Mondial Machine d'Espionnage (pardon my French), given the help the French gave us during our first Revolution when they clearly recognized the belligerence of the (previous) Empire. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

We've never had a genuine hero before, but we do now.


annenigma said...

Big Sister jumped off the Ship of State today too. No advance notice, just gone into the drink (I would too). Captain Queeg must be rubbing his balls.

Oh, and a Happy Bastille Day! This weekend - July 14. Time to tip one back for the French. (You can tell my heritage, eh?)

Zee said...

I am appalled that Janet Napolitano would be nominated to serve as President of the once-great University of California system, a job for which she has absolutely no qualifications beyond an ancient J.D.

Mrs. Zee and I just did a restatement of our wills and trust, leaving 1/3 of our estate to UC Davis--of which I am a double graduate--upon our deaths.

I have notified UCD's Chancellor, Linda P. B. "Doc Pepper Spray" Katehi, and the UC Office of the President that should Napolitano become UC's new president, I will spend an additional $700 or so to do another restatement, cutting UC Davis entirely out of our wills/trust.

Thanks for the heads-up, annenigma.

Kat said...

Talking points for Authoritarians (Obamabot variety and others):
1)Like we didn't know this was going on for years? Snowden didn't tell us anything we didn't know.
2)While I find Snowden's allegations troubling, the NSA has acted within the confines of the law. It is up to us to change the law.
3)MLK and Rosa Parks didn't run away when they broke the law. They faced the consequences.
4)I am troubled by the choice of nations with which Snowden chose to seek asylum.
and when all else fails...
5)9/11!!! Traitor!!! Narcissist!!!

Jay - Ottawa said...

Freelance hacking is always evil, says The Emp. Freelance hackers are usually thieves, working alone or in packs, out to steal money, identities and commercial secrets, or hunting for soft points in a person’s past. Sometimes freelance hackers do break into corporate and government sites with the most virtuous intentions, not to steal but to reveal corruption and war crimes. Nevertheless, even civic-minded hacking of this kind must be condemned, says The Emp.

On the other hand, government-sponsored hacking is always good, strong, true, virtuous and patriotic. The Intelligence Community (caps) is not a generic term. The IC is an umbrella agency coordinating the intelligence work of 17 independent agencies, among them the CIA, the FBI and the NSA.

The NSA, you can bet, contains the biggest collection of hackers in the world, with equipment to match their technical prowess. The only restraint on government hacking is the limit of its astonishing technology. If a neuroscientist ever invents a device to reveal our thoughts in 64 colors, the NSA will be the first to buy one.

Once an activity reaches a certain size and momentum nothing can stop it. Secret FISA courts set up to square government hacking with the US Constitution have proved to be useless in the face of the NSA juggernaut. Spying is like capitalism: there is no fixed goal, no endpoint. The motto of spies, which includes hackers, could be “Still More and Evermore.”

The US Constitution is old and rusty. The Emp, who is a constitutional lawyer, acts accordingly. A few of its provisions, especially those found in the early amendments, put the whole country at risk. Until the world is finally rid of every last terrorist, government officials, taking stock of those risks, know best where to set the balance point between the old freedoms of democracy and the new normals of good order.

Jay - Ottawa said...

A small choir of purists – writers, activists and counter-hackers, like the nihilists within Anonymous – take issue with IC philosophy and modern jurisprudence and are out to frustrate the legion of hackers on the NSA payroll. Such complainers will be ignored and marginalized, preferably behind bars.

The American people in their quietude have given the IC and its works tacit approval. Revelations by refusing hackers like Edward Snowden have done little to upset the American people. Recently-polled citizens may be sympathetic to Snowden, but not enough to slow government hacking. They still trust The Emp. For that reason, we may have seen the last of government hackers going public.

Along comes this week’s little problem to keep the Snowden story alive. Brazil says it’s mightily indignant about the NSA’s hacking and will lodge a formal complaint with the United Nations. (Probably just a diversionary tactic by Dilma Rousseff to distract Brazilians from their recent protests of government corruption.)

Even if the General Assembly labels the NSA’s invasion of cyberspace an act of aggression, so what? What can the UN do about NSA hacking? Nothing, so bring it on, says The Emp. The UN is the world’s greatest filing cabinet for dead-end reports read by earnest kids taking a course in international law. Anyway, even if more nations do pile on in support Brazil, the US has long practice in vetoing action plans that reach the Security Council.

It is sad but necessary to lay bare everyone’s secrets everywhere, to forsake our whispers one to another, to record what these fingers are typing to you, to squeeze journalists to reveal their sources, to record doctor and lawyer chats, to know the terms of a deal before the handshake in business, to steal the notes of commercial and scientific research. Surveillance on this scale may well pull the whole world into Orwell’s nightmare, but the only alternative is more 9/11s. We don’t want that, do we? So go with the Lesser of Two Evils.

annenigma said...

I'm preparing an outline on the pervasiveness of government surveillance for my study group, 'The Second American Revolution', and it just struck me that Big Brother has local SNITCHING about personal info down to a science (kind of like OFA, come to think of it).

There is something called the NSI, the 'Nationwide SAR Initiative', a missing piece that connects some dots for me. Basically it requires or rewards or compels in some way the reporting of SARs - Suspicious Activity Reports - from state, local, and tribal government agencies. I don't know what the incentives are for reporting (promotions if a quota is met?) or penalties for not reporting (demotion?).

These agencies range from DMV to local police and sheriffs, and everything in between. SARs are submitted to ...

Fusion Centers - 72 of them spread throughout the states and major urban areas 'owned and operated' by state and local entities where SARs are gathered, documented, processed, analyzed, and shared with the co-conspirators, I mean collaborators in ...

FBI, CIA, DOD, DOJ, DHS, NSA, and the Summa cum Secret ones we don't know about yet.

They don't just have all the electrons in the world funneled their way, they've got our gov-employed neighbors funneling their snitch reports to them.

Obama ordered the 'Insider Threats' program in 2011, post-Manning leaks, which hangs over the heads of all federal employees in all agencies, forcing them to snitch on their co-workers' personal lives under threat of being fired or facing criminal charges. This NSI seems to be a local government equivalent.

Janet's 'See Something Say Something' is the voluntary version of a local snitch program, but it doesn't YET have criminal penalties for failure to report suspicious activities, or incentives to do so, but can that be very far off? Report a SAR directly to IRS and get a tax credit!

Goodbye and good riddance, Janet. I wonder who/which born-again Gestapo Obama will put in her place.

James F Traynor said...


I hope you were kidding (I have trouble with a sort of literal mindedness). Over the last few days I've stewed in a kind of malaise - what the hell is the matter? I looked at a couple of Gore Vidal videos and recovered. We, during the Bush and Obama administrations, have shit canned habeas corpus, essentially the fucking Magna Carta, for a mess of pottage ("mess of pottage" where the hell did that come from?).

Oh God, I'm furious. For the last few years, on and off, I've been mourning the death of habeas corpus in comments everywhere. Twelve fifteen, the fucking Magna Carta, down the fucking drain!! Do we realize what the fuck we've done??!!!

Kat said...

Here's an example from the NYT comments:
While the extent of surveillance is certainly disturbing, I can't sympathize with the knee-jerk reaction of seeing Snowden as some kind of hero. This is not like Watergate, where people were shown to have clearly broken the law. Snowden's leaks could result in some Americans being tortured or killed. He should return to stand trial and then, perhaps, be exonerated.

James F Traynor said...

"...perhaps, be exonerated." Of what? By whom? The Constitution no longer exists. Mindless shit.

Zee said...

It's difficult for me to believe that if Putin really wanted to, he could simply put Snowden on a Russian diplomatic flight ( viz., a Russian flag airline carrier or charter plane) to any one of the Latin American countries that have offered him asylum, and not be interfered with by "air-space" pressure from the U.S.

Putin has some game of his own going on.

After all, didn't Ecuador simply issue some "paper" in Hong Kong--after Snowden's U.S. passport had been cancelled--that allowed him to travel to Russia in the first place.

How hard can this really be?

Kat said...

Here's another good one, James:
"I wonder now much standing Martin Luther King would have today if he had fled the US instead of marching on Selma and asked Russia and Venezuela for asylum instead?"

Pearl said...

Kat: regarding the comments you listed that people have made about Snowden:

> What if Ellsburg had not released to the NYTimes and others regarding the facts regarding the
> Vietnam War? He was lucky to escape imprisonment or worse because many other people in government were implicated and the case against him was badly handled and he escaped a Manning kind of life by the skin of his teeth.
> When Snowden contemplated how to handle his exposure information, he wisely resolved to flee the country not only to be able to live humanely but to be able to speak more about the information he had. He would have been arrested had he stayed in the U.S., imprisoned and the information taken away from him and destroyed.
> Ellsburg had the NYTimes to help in the exposure (The Times also escaped from severe penalties during a trial), but in today's atmosphere there is no hope of any kind of sane treatment if you decide to whistleblow. Just remember all the recent cases of what happened to officials who 'talked' about lesser transgressions. And now of course, your fellow office worker could report you to the authorities without even having proof of anything.
> Attacks on Snowden will delay any hope of change down the line (not now, yet) and I have noticed how many more articles in the media are taking up the reporting of current transgressions by the government be it regarding privacy invasion or the U.S. role in Egypt.
> Snowden is doing the ugly job that is necessary for us, and the least we can do is support him and encourage more of the same from others. Any of us can be faced with a McCarthy kind of personal attack and be helpless if no one is out there to fight for our rights.
> If we back off from encouraging the courageous ones, the hyenas will have their day and it won't be pretty. Unfortunately, too many of the so called liberal commentors to NYTimes articles are saying very ugly things about Snowden and in other media reports, so despite an almost majority support for Snowden, there are those who should know better and not encourage further government bullying of people and nations.

annenigma said...

What really makes me seethe with anger right now is watching the network evening news programs and their ongoing nightly blackout of the government surveillance programs, never mind their Constitutionality or impact on privacy. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DEBATE the President welcomed? Didn't they get their marching orders? Apparently the orders they got was to shut the fuck up.

The networks, even PBS, will only talk about Snowden himself, 'the ex-spy turned fugitive' (ABC World News). What an interesting new label, 'ex-spy' - straight from the White House.

They're doing their part to keep the secrets SECRET. If it isn't being directly threatened, I'm sure it's being strongly hinted at that they could face 'Aiding The Enemy' charges if they report those secrets during the news. Can't have the military or the sheeple hearing such things.

Even that rag, the NYT, won't touch info about the surveillance programs with a 10 foot pole, neither the domestic nor foreign ones. They prefer peripheral matters, like the FISA court or the chess game between our David and that beast Goliath.

Anyway, we can add two more items to Kat's list:
Aiding The Enemy!

Denis Neville said...

The ‘greatest show on the road’ and its ‘vast tapestry of lies’

Edward Snowden's revelations, as John Pilger said, “are not merely about privacy, or civil liberty, or even mass spying. They are about the unmentionable: that the democratic facades of the US now barely conceal a systematic gangsterism historically identified with, if not necessarily the same as, fascism.”

Nobel Lecture, “Art, Truth & Politics” by Harold Pinter, The Nobel Prize in Literature 2005, excerpts:

“The majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed…

The truth is something entirely different. The truth is to do with how the United States understands its role in the world and how it chooses to embody it…

Everyone knows what happened in the Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe during the post-war period: the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought. All this has been fully documented and verified.

But my contention here is that the US crimes in the same period have only been superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged, let alone recognised as crimes at all. I believe this must be addressed and that the truth has considerable bearing on where the world stands now. Although constrained, to a certain extent, by the existence of the Soviet Union, the United States' actions throughout the world made it clear that it had concluded it had carte blanche to do what it liked…

Hundreds of thousands of deaths took place throughout these countries. Did they take place? And are they in all cases attributable to US foreign policy? The answer is yes they did take place and they are attributable to American foreign policy. But you wouldn't know it.

It never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn't happening. It didn't matter. It was of no interest. The crimes of the United States have been systematic, constant, vicious, remorseless, but very few people have actually talked about them. You have to hand it to America. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It's a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis…

The United States no longer bothers about low intensity conflict. It no longer sees any point in being reticent or even devious. It puts its cards on the table without fear or favour. It quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent, which it regards as impotent and irrelevant…

Its official declared policy is now defined as 'full spectrum dominance'. That is not my term, it is theirs. 'Full spectrum dominance' means control of land, sea, air and space and all attendant resources…We must remind ourselves that the United States is on a permanent military footing and shows no sign of relaxing it…

I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory.

If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man.”

James F Traynor said...


I know, you're trying to drive me crazy. It won't work; you can't get any crazier than a shit house rat. Good night.

Zee said...


Why bother quoting Nobel Prize winners to us anymore?

Barack Obama was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize by the Euro-Weenies purely "on spec," for services never rendered.

By your own admission, Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics, is nothing more than an "establishment liberal."

So why bother trotting out Harold Pinter's acceptance speech as anything new or novel?

There's plenty of evidence from lesser mortals that what Pinter alludes to ré America's perfidy is true. Why bother to refer to another tired, old, establishment Nobel Prize winner as a source of wisdom?

I think that the cachet has entirely lost its luster.

Zee said...


If Kat can't drive you crazy, rest assured that I'm working on it.

Pearl said...

He might be alive today but he had a huge number of people marching with him and he lived with death facing him every day. He did manage to get his message out because of the huge physical support despite the deadly attacks on his people. However, Snowden did not have a huge movement behind him to give him the choice of remaining in his country and he hoped that the message he had for the American people would be adopted. They both are-were great men of vision and the things they represent will eventually sink through. MLK is occasionally (not often enough) quoted these days with warnings of what he saw developing. He was killed because the terrorists of our country were afraid he would get into a seat of power. Instead, we have
a poor copy in the White House with the only similarity being their skin

Denis, this is your chance to cheer us up with statements MLK made during
his lifetime which are even more meaningful than ever these days. If
Zimmerman gets his due with a jail sentence it means we are on that slow
path toward the light.

Fred Drumlevitch said...


Also a student long ago at the (as you so aptly characterized it) "once-great" University of California, I too am appalled at the prospect of Janet Napolitano becoming its president.
Upon reflection, I think I know the reasons behind the choice. Given her expertise at helping the government abdicate a measured national security role and instead dangerously bloat and farm out "security" to a massive web of overpaid private contractors, who better to complete the dismemberment of the former goals of California higher education? She's in no way equipped to run the UC system as it should be run, nor are there any indications that she understands the need for academic excellence, independence, and affordability.

Instead, I expect she'll increasingly "partner" (read: sell out) the university to big business, and furthermore, many of those businesses will probably have military or "security" associations.

New freshman core curriculum at the University of California under Napolitano:

1) drone design and operation (with additional consideration of the problems of reduced lift under conditions of global warming)

2) electronic surveillance technology, design and operation

3) the ergonomics of surveillance and the remote operation of war machines (or, avoiding backache and carpal tunnel syndrome from hours in the surveillor or drone operator's chair)

4) making effective governmental and corporate propaganda

5) surreptitious administration of tranquilizers and anti-anxiety pharmaceuticals to the populace via municipal water systems and GMO foodstuffs.

6) "learning to love your oppressor", or, a "philosophy of life" for the modern age.


I was about to compliment you on providing us with the eloquence of the Pilger quotes and Pinter Nobel Lecture excerpts, until Zee yanked me back to reality with a reminder about Obama as Nobel Prize winner (or should I say "wiener"?). Excellent quotes, Denis, very relevant, but I've got to agree with @Zee "that the [Nobel] cachet has entirely lost its luster".


I too have watched the network news (in my case, most recently the Friday CBS and BBC evening broadcasts), and also noticed the abysmal way that they were framing coverage of Edward Snowden. And of course, the specific issues raised in the eloquent and to-the-point statement that Snowden issued today were almost completely ignored. And relevant to all this (and more), great interview this week of Marty Kaplan by Bill Moyers:


While the scope of electronic surveillance has vastly increased in recent years, here's suggestion that Microsoft's Windows Operating System had an NSA surveillance "backdoor" years prior to 9-11:

Do NOT, however, think that Apple's computers do not have surveillance enablement. Based on Apple's past behavior, I'd bet that they do.

And even some versions of Linux have the potential to be exploited for surveillance:

Denis Neville said...

@ Pearl – Cheers to you, and all (excepting, of course, Zee and Fred):

Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Lecture, “The Quest for Peace and Justice,” The Nobel Peace Prize 1964:

“I experience this high and joyous moment not for myself alone but for those devotees of nonviolence who have moved so courageously against the ramparts of racial injustice and who in the process have acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. Many of them are young and cultured. Others are middle aged and middle class. The majority are poor and untutored. But they are all united in the quiet conviction that it is better to suffer in dignity than to accept segregation in humiliation. These are the real heroes of the freedom struggle: they are the noble people for whom I accept the Nobel Peace Prize…

“The nonviolent resisters can summarize their message in the following simple terms: we will take direct action against injustice despite the failure of governmental and other official agencies to act first. We will not obey unjust laws or submit to unjust practices. We will do this peacefully, openly, cheerfully because our aim is to persuade. We adopt the means of nonviolence because our end is a community at peace with itself. We will try to persuade with our words, but if our words fail, we will try to persuade with our acts. We will always be willing to talk and seek fair compromise, but we are ready to suffer when necessary and even risk our lives to become witnesses to truth as we see it.

This approach to the problem of racial injustice is not at all without successful precedent. It was used in a magnificent way by Mohandas K. Gandhi to challenge the might of the British Empire and free his people from the political domination and economic exploitation inflicted upon them for centuries. He struggled only with the weapons of truth, soul force, non-injury, and courage.”

@Zee and Fred, who said…“Why bother to refer to another tired, old, establishment Nobel Prize winner as a source of wisdom?” and “the [Nobel] cachet has entirely lost its luster".

This from Zee and Fred, who never miss an opportunity to “flog a dead horse,” i.e., bringing up guns and the Second Amendment over and over again!!!

Without doubt, the Nobel Prize has lost some of its luster, blunders and bad choices have become more common in recent years, but how could anyone say the same of Martin Luther King Jr.’s eloquent words?

Or Harold Pinter’s blistering critique of the entire course of US foreign policy in the period since World War II? Pinter’s address was refreshing for its honesty and bluntness.

"Anatole France frankly advised, 'When a thing has been said and said well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it.' Yes, indeed, but do more. Copy many well-said things. Pierce them together. Assimilate them. Make the process of reading them a way to form the mind and shape the soul. As anthologies can never be complete, we will never exhaust the ways quotations can enrich our lives.” - Gary Saul Morson, The Words of Others: From Quotations to Culture

“I quote others only to better express myself. I have gathered a posy of other men's flowers, and nothing but the thread that binds them is my own.” - Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays

CitiZen said...


Before I begin, let me point out to you that this comment is essentially about communication and respect for rights, whether we agree with them or not on a personal level. However, I do use a particular right to illustrate my point.

Violence comes in many forms, including speech. Singling out some for 'cheers' and mentioning the names of those you would exclude is one such form. Your obvious anger and bitterness regarding those who support parts of the Constitution that you don't agree with reminds me of the abortion battle.

Abortion, a violent act that always results in death whether you like it or not, has become one of our rights through law, even though it is not explicitly in the Constitution. It is the law of the land and the right of every woman. Many would like to restrict or regulate it for their own reasons of safety or validity or legitimacy, but we know where they're coming from.

The personal choice is none of anyone's business, and they shouldn't be condemned for supporting the right itself whether or not they actually would exercise it themselves. A slippery slope is present around every right. No pro-choice advocate would support regulations on abortion that are simply a disguise for control and elimination of the right to choose.

It's the same with the xxx Amendment that we can't mention because it doesn't fit the topic, or only vaguely so, like expensive toothpaste covers.

Please keep that in mind when you express contempt for citizens who support retaining all their rights, exercised personally or not. You might feel that support condones 'violence'. Let me remind you once again that ALL abortions end in death. None are for sport. Many are for personal safety and security, but that's not a legitimacy test that they should ever have to take to retain their rights. Hands off my body and my PPDs - personal protective devices.

I suggest you cool your heels and take the time to refresh yourself on methods of nonviolent communication. Going off topic is a regular thing here, but it is only condemned when it concerns the xxx amendment.

spreadoption said...

Cheers, Denis

Please take heart in the certainty that the daily contributions you make are among the most valuable here.

The game played by Zee and Fred and CitiZen and others all around this sad country is intellectual jousting. Its aim is do harm to an opponent by skewering his or her contribution to the discussion. It's little more than narcissism on full display.

And what hypocrisy! What on this page is more violent than CitiZen's condescending rant against what he sees as Denis' "violent communication." Ridiculous.

We've been here before. A few months ago their target was another of this site's strongest contributors, Pearl. Disgusting.

We're all in the same boat here; our nation is going down and we need to fix it. Now! But these guys would rather we spend our last moments squabbling among ourselves over matters that have no practical relevance to either the problem or the solution. Opportunity cost.

I say to them: Knock it off, stop wasting our time on your silliness, and let's get to work.

Will said...

Everything's fine. People around here get on each other's nerves once in a while. Then we either work it out by ourselves or the Boss Lady steps in and takes care of things herself. No biggie. As you were, Sardonickists. :)

annenigma said...


Don't leave me out. I support the right to abortion as well as *gasp* euthanasia, and the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th amendments along with all the rest. Just putting it out there so I can be added to the list of nasty, narcissistic, silly, violent hypocrites that don't deserve 'cheers'.

Fred Drumlevitch said...


Once again, Denis, you are "jumping the gun" (pun intended) in unleashing condemnation. I think you have misinterpreted Zee's point about the Nobel cachet. To me, the meaning, and implications, of Zee's statement are very straightforward: The Nobel prize (indeed, any prize) is no foolproof guarantee about the value or rightness or goals of either words delivered or the author of those words. (Hell, the awarding of a prize isn't even a guarantee that the prize is deserved for past accomplishments). And Obama's receipt of the Nobel prize, contrasted with his actions both prior to and subsequent to receipt of the prize, stands as prima facie evidence of all that. QED. And from a scientific perspective, which is where Zee and I are coming from, only a single accurate counterexample is required to invalidate a thesis.

So the implication is that eloquent words should be judged on their descriptive accuracy, the insight they provide, and their ability to motivate positive action. That the author has received a prize is, or should be, largely unimportant.

Zee said...


While what Fred has said on my behalf is accurate, I could have been far less snippy and abrupt, and more explanatory when making my remark.

For that I apologize.


Commenting on others' remarks seem to be totally in the spirit of this forum. Certainly, almost anything that I might say regarding the defense of certain of our civil rights provokes comment, which I see as healthy as long as it's kept civil.

As you say, "our nation is going down, and we need to fix it."

Protecting ALL of our civil rights is an important component of this, and I see persuading some of you that they ALL matter, and that none is a "dead horse," as an important part of my "mission" here,as long as I'm permitted to do so.

Maybe then we can ALL put our shoulders to the wheel in unison instead of as a fragmented body.

Note also that neither Fred nor I nor citiZen brought up the xxx Amendment first, today.

Jay - Ottawa said...

As a legendary math professor once said, “There are three kinds of people in the world: those who can count and those who can’t.”

Similarly, there are two kinds of commenters here at Sardonicky: those who talk about issues mainly, those who talk about themselves mainly, and another motley pack that responds to every issue with spam, propaganda or curses and barnyard language.

It’s cold and impersonal (and probably un-American) to say this, but I personally (self-revelation alert) keep returning to Sardonicky for political and cultural news and ideas, not ever deeper explanations about one’s self. What each person writes on a topic reveals sufficient information about the writer. Give me all kinds of information and opinion and analysis in language that can be parsed, and my cup will be full. Such commentary usually includes facts, statistics, quotations, questions, arguments, and irony further elucidating (or taking issue with) Karen’s posts at the top of the page.

There’s always an opportunity for one-on-one personal exchanges off to the side. For socializers who like to bare their souls to crowds, there’s always FaceBook. And the web has endless specialty sites where people who ride the same hobby horse are most welcome.

James F Traynor said...

Pompous today are we?

Fred Drumlevitch said...

I'll just repeat my assertion from a previous thread, that the "wardens" of this nation (or the plutocracy, if you don't care for the prison metaphor) like nothing better than for the "inmates", that is, most of the people, to focus their energies on fighting with each other.

annenigma said...

Karen could always disable comments completely and we wouldn't have these kerfuffles that disturb some people so much.

My apologies for boring others with my opinions, personal info, and using profanities at times. I'm just not the mainstream prim and proper Puritan type American that is more acceptable in our culture and in the blog comments sections.

Frankly, I am very dismayed about the state of this country and our people, especially Democrats who have become so strident and intolerant of dissenting voices. Oops! TMI. And too personal. I'll never learn!

Adios, amigos. Cheers to all.

Jay - Ottawa said...


Je ne t'ai jamais eu à l'esprit quand repoussant contre les narcissiques attaquant Denis. Le personnel de temps en temps peut être bienvenu, et nous avons tous partagé une histoire personnelle à l'occasion. Mais le personnel comme un élément central à l'observation et à peu près tout le temps, ou commentaires encerclant retour souvent aux loisirs dangereuses, sont ce que j'ai prononcé contre.

Hasta pronto

Pearl said...

In a recent interview with Glenn Greenwald in Salon the following statement was made which validates a statement I recently made in Sardonicky as to why
Snowden had to flee the country.

"And Daniel Ellsberg made this point himself in an op-ed he wrote in the
Washington Post a week ago or so, in which he said, “the fact that Snowden
fled the U.S. makes all the sense in the world. He should have because the
U.S. has changed radically in the four decades since I was on trial. I was allowed to be on bail and participate in public debates about my case. Snowden would be put into a cage, unquestionably, and never released and be silenced. And the justice system would treat him unfairly, which was never the case for Daniel Ellsberg, even in the Nixon years,” said Daniel Ellsberg. I think clearly there’s a case for persecution. He has a right to seek it, but the U.S. is blocking him from seeking that right."