Saturday, January 17, 2015

Where's the Outrage?

Dissipated in the ozone, or in whatever wispy tendrils remain from the smoke of the smoking gun, that's where. This blockbuster was outrageously easy to miss, mainly because the corporate media chose to miss it:
Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan consulted the White House before directing agency personnel to sift through a walled-off computer drive being used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to construct its investigation of the agency’s torture program, according to a recently released report by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General.
The Inspector General’s report, which was completed in July but only released by the agency on Wednesday, reveals that Brennan spoke with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough before CIA employees were ordered to “use whatever means necessary” to determine how certain sensitive internal documents had wound up in Senate investigators’ hands. The conversation with McDonough came after Brennan first issued the directive, but before he reiterated it to a CIA attorney leading the probe.
I wish I could tell you that Attorney General Eric Holder was seeking an immediate indictment against McDonough, Brennan, and even Obama -- who despite his calculated distance from the events, had to have approved the break-in.  At the very least, you'd think that a few congress critters would  proclaim themselves shocked, shocked that the Obama White House was behind a burglary much worse than Watergate. Because not only is breaking and entering into Senate computers a felony, it is a punch in the gut to the Separation of Powers. It is the declaration of unitary executive powers and a tacit admission that we have an imperial presidency. The corruption is complete. Democracy is dead.

Holder. of course, cannot be shocked because he's the guy who wrote the secret opinion allowing Obama to kill people (specifically, American people, because dead "militants"/ foreign people don't count) with his drones. Holder, in one of those Kafkaesque fits of whimsy so popular these days, declared that due process and judicial process are two different things. In other words, it's a reiteration of the Nixon Doctrine: when the president does it, it's not illegal. And finally, Holder announced a long time ago that he wouldn't be investigating the CIA, no doubt knowing that the road to perdition led all the way to President Obama himself.

If this were about President Bush, I think we'd see a tad more outrage from Democrats. But the Obama Personality Cult lives on, against all odds. Normal reaction is impossible in these times of the New Abnormal. Normal reaction is lost in the O-Zone.

There is no outrage at the highest levels of our government-media complex, because they're all complicit in high crimes and misdemeanors. As such, the only reaction trickling down to the citizens is that these revelations will result in less bipartisanship between the good cops and bad cops of the plutocratic duopoly. The Huffington Post, for example, has this take:
The new information suggesting the White House was aware of -- and did not stop -- the CIA’s computer snooping is unlikely to improve the existing distrust between Senate committee members and the executive branch. Feinstein has said that the CIA's computer search likely violated the constitutional separation of powers, an allegation the White House has declined to directly address.
The Oval Office’s prior knowledge of the controversial computer review will no doubt worsen the tensions that have erupted over the matter between the executive branch, its chief intelligence agency and the lawmakers tasked with their oversight.
Wow. If only the partisans could simply relax, everything would be hunky-dory. They just need to get together and spike the Champagne with Valium. So sad that the rulers choose instead to petulantly stew in the status quo their own noxious juices.

Since Temp Emp (autocrat pro tem) Obama is silent, so too shall be the media stenographers, lest their access to the powerful be adversely affected. (They've obligingly downgraded illegal domestic spying and digital burglary to a "controversial computer review.") Bipartisanship actually is alive and doing really, really well. Democrats and Republicans are equal opportunity offenders whose function is to coddle the super-rich while they take their legislative dictation and take in all that cash, becoming multimillionaires in their own right.

The CIA is not some rogue agency attached to the government. The CIA is the government, because the three ostensible check-and-balance branches have allowed it to be. It's just the way they want it.


annenigma said...

Count me in as being outraged. We don't have a government, we have a cabal called the Military-Intelligence-Industrial Complex that actually rules us. 'The Government' is just a flashy side show to fool us into thinking we still have a democracy. That is essential so that we'll continue to pay taxes that they don't, obey laws they don't, vote when they've already bought our candidates, and donate to campaigns to make us think we've got skin in the game. Oh, and go to War for them!

Along the same lines of who really rules the roost, here's my post today in the NYT:

Capitalism is our national religion. People ask if protecting civil liberties is more valuable than protecting lives, but I would ask - Is making money worth thousands of innocent people's lives? Is it worth the life of planet Earth itself? Capitalists are true believers and they know it's well worth it, for them. They rule.

The fight, I mean right, to make money is our most cherished right, and faithful servants will fight and die to protect it. Just look around the world. 1000 military bases in over 100 countries is to protect the freedom and right of corporations to make money, but as long as everyone gets in on the action, it's just fine until they get blowback. The Military-Industrial-Complex that President Eisenhower warned us about has grown so powerful that it now owns our government and has bought our personal rights from Congress in exchange for campaign donations - the twenty pieces of silver. Such a deal! Jesus, who knew lives were so cheap?

We have endless wars for profit, and we now have the expected side effect - endless terrorism. Hey, more money to be made, as if Defense/War and it's spawn, Intelligence, aren't big and profitable enough. They've gone global. These exceptional corporate welfare queens have bought themselves an Empire with decades worth of our tax dollars.

Civil liberties and other personal rights are serious impediments to profit. They will be sacrificed to the God of Money. You can bank on that.

Karen Garcia said...

Great comment, Anne. I went over and "recommended" it along with some other replies. Good to see commenters for that particular article, anyway, can feel the outrage. I notice that commenters on news articles are a lot more reality-based and unpartisan than the veal pen that weighs in on the op-eds -- I suppose because the op-ed writers themselves columnize from such a narrow partisan perspective.

Denis Neville said...

America sleeps.

“...But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people’s liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage had become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.” - Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

American democracy is now a shabby pretension.

“Power unanointed may come—
Dominion (unsought by the free)
And the Iron Dome,
Stronger for stress and strain,
Fling her huge shadow athwart the main;
But the Founders’ dream shall flee.”
Herman Melville, “The Conflict of Convictions,” Battle-Pieces

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

“It is a governing principle of nature, that the agency which can produce most good, when perverted from its proper aim, is most productive of evil.” - James Fenimore Cooper

annenigma said...


I wish you'd add your comments to the news section instead of wasting your time and energy preaching to the closed-minded Democratic choir.

Your talents in pulling open the propaganda curtain and showing us the truth being hidden behind it are truly wasted there. You could do a world of good revealing that to open minds.

There's a New Year's resolution for you. Please? We need you!

Valerie Tweedie said...

You ask, Where is the outrage? First, most Americans don't even know this is happening because the MSM has done such a lousy job - them being mouthpieces for the duopoly and all - of stirring up awareness of our loss of liberties in general. When there is actually a decent piece of journalism slipped in, the population is too turned off to notice.

Second, most Americans are apathetic. They are either totally consumed and beaten down psychologically by their problems - personal debt, job insecurity or unemployment - or they are distracted by toys - their phones mostly - or trivial social media. Most Americans haven't read a book since they left high school and they brains have atrophied. Even if the MSM did its job and reported what was going on, unless they spoon fed their readers, their readership wouldn't understand the significance of these eroding civil liberties.

It is tragic. As an educator, I feel our schools have failed our students. We failed to teach them that democracy is participatory and requires remaining informed and active. We failed to teach them the history that would give context to current events. We failed to teach them the wisdom of so many of the great writers.

I saw a great interview with historian Steve Fraser on the Second Gilded Age which we are living through now. He compares it to the First Gilded Age when there was a lot of awareness, discussion and activism on the part of the population. It is appalling how disinterested most people are in what is going on in our country and the chipping away of our democracy compared to 120 year ago.

Anne - I also raced over to the Times to recommend your comment. You are really on to something recognising capitalism as a religion.

Karen - not too sure if this is complicated to do, but I would love it if you had a side-bar or the equivalent with your comments to the Times op eds - and those of your regular commentership. I often miss these comments because I can't stand the Times anymore and only go over to read an article or comment when it is mentioned here on Sardonicky.

Denis Neville said...

Valerie said... “our schools have failed our students”

American schools are organized enterprises designed to reproduce the established order, produce ‘yes-men/women’ worker bees, not critical thinkers.

“We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids to truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don’t do that. Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt.” - John Taylor Gatto, “How public education cripples our kids, and why,” Harper's Magazine, September 2003

“…I am in a world guided by fear, a world suppressing the uniqueness that lies inside each of us, a world where we can either acquiesce to the inhuman nonsense of corporatism and materialism or insist on change. We are not enlivened by an educational system that clandestinely sets us up for jobs that could be automated, for work that need not be done, for enslavement without fervency for meaningful achievement. We have no choice in life when money is our motivational force. Our motivational force ought to be passion, but this is lost from the moment we step into a system that trains us, rather than inspires us.” - Erica Goldson, valedictorian of Coxsackie-Athens High School

“Everywhere, all children know that they were given a chance, albeit an unequal one, in an obligatory lottery, and the presumed equality of the international standard now compounds their original poverty with the self-inflicted discrimination accepted by the dropout. They have been schooled to the belief in rising expectations and can now rationalize their growing frustration outside school by accepting their rejection from scholastic grace. They are excluded from Heaven because, once baptized, they did not go to church. Born in original sin, they are baptized into first grade, but go to Gehenna (which in Hebrew means "slum") because of their personal faults. As Max Weber traced the social effects of the belief that salvation belonged to those who accumulated wealth, we can now observe that grace is reserved for those who accumulate years in school.” - Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society

More testing and more data for what purpose? The data, sometimes, confirms racism. “See, ‘they’ just aren’t smart and hard working.”

DW2000 said...

Great article, Karen, great comment, Annenigma.

A small point—Eisenhower is often given credit for his identification of and warning about the military industrial complex.

Let's remember that he made those remarks as he was leaving office after two terms. Where were these comments and appropriate policies during the 8 years of his presidency!

Eisenhower was an opportunist and certainly had no ethical or moral courage. He trembled before McCarthy, Although he eventually sent troops to support the LIttle Rock 9, he arranged for only the white soldiers to report. (Jules Feiffer was merciless skewering him during the school crisis).
Finally, his foreign policy was in the hands of the worst elements of the extreme Right:it was entirely a tool of the military industrial complex. The rise of the CIA was under his terms of office with the brothers Dulles).

He deserves no credit for trying to cover his posterior for history as he left.

This is a footnote. .. Today's thread is great!

Patricia M. said...

Count me in as being outraged. That we have to search to learn of the CIA-White House connection to hacking the Senate Intelligence Committee's computers is a special reason for outrage, despair, and heartbreak. It is "just the way they want it," to the detriment of those they pretend to serve and to the future of our children and grandchildren.

The comments are "right-on." It is all very discouraging. Appalling. Where are other voices of reason? Of instruction - of warning - of what this means to the principles on which the government is founded and, as Karen notes, "admission that we have an imperial presidency."

The police state marches on with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling - a sham trial, complete with government witnesses testifying behind screens - another instance of obstructing our right to know: "Just the way they want it."

Valerie said...

Great quotes, Denis, thanks. I was especially impressed by Erica Goldson's. What wisdom and insight in one so young!

Pearl said...

Dear Karen, Sardonicky friends and other readers: I am deeply moved by all of you, saying what I and my family knew early on from our experiences with the McCarthy era perpetrators and realized what was to come. In my "Our Opus", where I wrote about how our lives were affected, I tried to warn about what we were witnessing beyond our personal experiences, watching this political cancer growing and taking over the original principles and purposes of the nation, while most people were not aware of its dangers and/or closing their eyes to it all.
It is hard for me to remember seeing my father in his old age recognizing what was happening, especially in his beloved Israel.
Before he died when I visited him he said he hoped to be going to a better world somewhere, and he wasn't talking about heaven. My husband died during the Bush Gore battle for the presidency and he told me Bush was going to win and barbarism would take over the country. I can only hope that what we all say here now will help create a real movement for change.
I am so impressed with the depth of knowledge on Karen's web site and agree it should be more widely available. If anyone is interested in my report of our personal experiences, Karen has a copy and can send it to anyone who would like to read it.
Annenigma: which particular article in the NYTimes did you write your terrific comment about, and which I missed?
I am so honored and inspired to be part of this outstanding website that Karen has created. Karen: I hope you will put many of your creations into a book for our progeny to have available when they need to read the truth about our present destructive history.
My love to you all in deep appreciation for sharing the same language of understanding. I feel less alone now.

Pearl said...

The correct title of my report is "Our Saga". I haven't looked at it for awhile.

annenigma said...


My comment in the NYT was to an article titled 'Patriot Act Idea Rises in France and is Ridiculed'.

Mine is on the second page of comments.