Saturday, May 30, 2015

Big Brother Depo$es

 The obscene multibillion-dollar profits of the Security State Complex are in danger of being ever so slightly curtailed should the Patriot Act be allowed to deservedly fade into the sunset this weekend. And thus have the greedy and the powerful panicked. Thus have the greedy and powerful duly authorized their current front man in the White House to shamelessly terrorize the crap out of the people who elected him to act on behalf of the greedy and powerful.

The only thing we have to fear, according to Barack Obama, are the invisible bogeymen ("terrorists") who plot in the dark to kill us all in our beds. With billions or even trillions of dollars at stake, Obama is desperately pushing all the paranoid panic buttons in his propaganda arsenal to guilt-trip Congress into passing the USA Freedom Act "reform" of mass surveillance of every man, woman and child on the planet.

Just 24 hours after the White House and its deep-state private army used the New York Times to anonymously press for open-ended and permanent spying on ordinary people, Obama has emerged from his Neocon closet to deliver the fear, up close and personal, via his weekly address (the quaint term used for his weekly reassuring dog-whistle to his corporate backers.) Just substitute the word "citizen" for "terrorist," for example, and the true intent of the USA Freedom Act becomes perfectly and abundantly clear: the Free Market god will rule over you and yours, forever and ever amen.  Because the Permawar Industry is one of the few things artificially propping up the plutonomy these days.    

You can read Obama's very flimsily disguised speech here.

But the subtext (parentheses mine) goes something like this:
Hi, everybody. As President and Commander in Chief, my greatest responsibility is the safety of the (ruling class) American people. And in our fight against terrorists (ordinary people), we need to use every effective tool at our disposal -- both to defend our (obscene profits) security and to protect the freedoms and civil liberties (of the hyper-rich investors in War) enshrined in our (plutocratic/political donor databases) Constitution.

 Today, when investigating (you) terrorist networks, our (state spies) national security professionals can (at their entirely optional and top-secret discretion) seek a court order to obtain (whatever we want) certain business records. Our (spies) law enforcement professionals can seek a roving wiretap to keep up with (anybody we like) terrorists when they switch cell phones. We can seek a wiretap on (anybody we like) so-called lone wolves -- suspected terrorists who may (be entirely innocent) not be directly tied to a terrorist group. These tools are not controversial (because the American people are a flock of sheep) Since 9/11, (civil rights have gone out the window) they have been renewed numerous times. FBI Director James Comey says they are “essential” and that losing them would “severely” impact (the profits of the Homeland-Industrial Complex) terrorism investigations. But if Congress doesn’t act by tomorrow at midnight, these tools go away as well. (and your sense of false security will be needlessly rattled as the Permawar Terror State is exposed as a rotten pumpkin-carcass.)

The USA Freedom Act also accomplishes something I called for a year and a half ago: it ends the bulk metadata program -- the bulk collection of phone records -- as it currently exists and puts in place new (fig leaves) reforms (to hide the fact that despite what Congress does or your president says, the NSA will continue to act with impunity because Congress doesn't really do oversight anyway.) The government will no longer hold these records; telephone providers will (be the government's complicit middlemen, or else they will face prosecution or other threats to their financial well-being). The Act also includes other changes to our surveillance laws -- including more (bullshit) transparency -- to help build confidence among (fool) the American people (into believing) that your privacy and civil liberties are being protected. But if Congress doesn’t act by midnight tomorrow, these reforms will be in jeopardy, too. (You're all gonna die.)

It doesn’t have to be this way. The USA Freedom Act reflects ideas from (surveillance state profiteers) privacy advocates, our private sector partners and our national security experts. It already passed the House of Representatives with overwhelming (politically corrupt) bipartisan support -- Republicans and Democrats. A majority of the (millionaire investor/lawmaker class) Senate -- Republicans and Democrats -- have voted to move it forward.

 So what’s the problem? (with willingly giving up your civil rights so that a handful of plutocrats can continue making grotesque amounts of money off you) A small group of senators is standing in the way. And, unfortunately, some folks are trying to use this debate to score political points. (Pick the right team: Obama's) But this shouldn’t and can't be about politics. This is a matter of (money begetting power begetting more money begetting more power) national security. Terrorists like ( the American hegemon and multinational corporations) al Qaeda and ISIL aren’t suddenly going to stop plotting against us at midnight tomorrow. And we shouldn’t surrender the (cold hard billions) tools that help keep (war profiteers) us safe. It would be (anti-capitalistic) irresponsible. It would be reckless. And we shouldn’t allow it to happen.

 So today, I’m calling on (spied-upon Americans) to join me in speaking with one (bleat) voice to the Senate. Put the politics aside. Put (the oligarchy) our national security first. Pass the USA Freedom Act -- now. And let’s protect the security and civil liberties of every American (9/11 boondoggle of a spy agency and private security contractor and the mega-rich people investing in same.) Thanks very much.
It's all about the money. As James Risen laid out in Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, the post 9/11 era has become a great marketplace of terror, in which we are simultaneously victims, culprits, and above all, consumers in a $4 trillion industry marrying the government, Hollywood and hyper-capitalistic private enterprise:
 The new Homeland Security-Industrial Complex.... is largely made up of a web of intelligence agencies and their contractors, companies that mostly provide secret services rather than large weapons systems and equipment. These contractors are hired to help Washington determine the scale and scope of the terrorist threat; they make no money if they determine that the threat is overblown or, God forbid, if the war on terror ever comes to an end.
It's no coincidence, as Risen and Top Secret America author Dana Priest have observed, that Washington DC and its suburbs have become the richest part of the country since 9/11, a true corporate welfare state employing millions of people in the high-growth Terror Industry. War is not only tolerable, it is desirable. The war on terror, Risen writes, has become a national stampede to the Beltway, the gold rush of the 21st century.

The only thing Barack Obama has to fear is the wrath of a relative handful of people who've gotten crazy-rich off death, fear, and destruction. His is the voice of a desperate man with a long, lucrative post-presidential life ahead of him and a foundation needing the endless flow of dollars from the same "folks" whose fat bank accounts he is now working so furiously to protect.

Obama Library: Estimated Cost, $500 Million


Leo Noel said...

ACHTUNG!! false flag advisory alert system has been upgraded to code orange ~ high risk of false flag event.

Erik Roth said...

Ms. Garcia, so good to have you back!
Rave on, as Buddy Holly would say.
Let's all raise our voices so the powers-that-be can hear the tune, loud and clear, and get the message: the rule of empire is over.
The "masters of the universe" and the "masters of war" are in the throes of their deserved demise.
The last battle that's already begun cannot be won by them.
The only question concerns the casualties that will be suffered, and those will be in inverse proportion to the will of the people to fight back.

annenigma said...

Karen, it's soooo good to see you in print again!

@Leo Noel - Thanks for raising the False Flag Alert to orange. We need a laugh, although in this case it's apt to come true. You know what's worse than the games they play? The utter contempt they have for us and assumption that we're all stupid. They don't even try to hide their smirks when they lie, that's how shameless they are. I think it's like winking to their fellow vermin. Jeh Johnson is one of the most transparent - he can hardly wipe the smile off his face whenever he tells a bald face lie (which is most of the time).

The Patriot Act will be live on in one form or another. Every time over the decades that an illegal activity by the government is discovered, Congress simply makes it legal for them. That's how power and secrets work. They don't collect all those secrets for the primary purpose of finding terrorists - that's their cover. It's for raw power and an insurance policy to maintain that power by influencing votes to ensure 'National $ecurity'. I'm sure Obama or one of his henchmen will drop a few key words into conversation with Congressmen today, such as 'boy' and 'sex'.

Meredith NYC said...

Risen's remarks hit the main point. Everything is privatized for profit and thus is distorting everything way beyond reality, in order to justify this.

The prisons and the jobs they provide across the US will be a block against attempts to reduce our vast incarceration gulag---even if many in both parties agree we should do it. Including Bill and Hillary.

I posted a belated comment to the very impressive guest post May 29...” The Fire This Time: Black Youth and the Spectacle of Postracial Violence” by Henry A. Giroux.

I brought up Gunnar Myrdal’s classic, An American Dilemma, from the 50s, and what would Myrdal write now.

And asked what will be the good and bad effects of cop cameras, with constant violent videos on TV of cop abuse, played repeatedly, used for sensational purposes by the media, along with giving evidence of the truth.

And what are comparisons from other countries with various racial groups and their extent of police violence, which is said to be much less than here? Any prosecutions if it happens? We need some comparative numbers. What do they do different?

Meredith NYC said...

Karen, my reply to your comment on Dowd was not published, nor my reply to Rima, or my separate comment. (Only 1 on Sanders.) So I’ll put them here. I joined the many critics of Dowd, but also criticized the Times op ed page, heaven forbid.

You asked, what more does LaLa Land want?
I said ....Why is Dowd writing from LaLa land as a tasteless parody of herself on the NYT op ed page, when the nation is plagued by so many crucial issues heading toward 2016? Do the editors feel readers need her stuff as some kind of grotesque pseudo-comic relief? Why is Dowd--a style section, celebrity hawk, put down artist-- still given such valuable opinion real estate?

And why are there only 2 women and 8 men on the op ed page of our greatest newspaper in the 21st century? Like tokens after affirmative action. There are much more valuable, informative women writers elsewhere in the NYT, but not given prestigious regular op ed page space, where most of the nation and the world pay attention, and write reader comments.

And the men are all more serious writers, whether you agree with them or not. Dowd/Collins almost push me to Dothat/ Brooks. Er, that’s almost. When will the op ed page get a wider range of women columnists and reach some gender balance? There's plenty out there to choose from. The Times is behind the times.

And I replied to Rima

Feminists? Is this what the feminist movement was for –a Maureen Dowd, on our most influential newspaper? Shame. Save it Rima, it's no use, tho I don't blame you for trying.

Isn’t it by now a waste to ask for issue talk by Dowd? She's from the generations of women journalists who benefited from affirmative action. What a waste. She's no model for young women aspiring to be valuable opinion writers.

The Times, Newsweek and others were sued decades ago—books were written on this---to give women equal rights in journalism. Look at what those like Dowd have done with it, after all that struggle—in courts and in the workplace. The fact that Jill Abramson was exec editor means little, I guess, for women.

I don't want a Phd thesis, but I do want less snark, fluff and cuteness and more substance and issue grappling from our women columnists. Yes, the female sex can do it! Just imagine.

Thank god for commenters like Rima and Karen and many others of both sexes that we must depend on.

DW said...

Good to have you back deconstructing, Karen!!

Regarding Times columnists. OK the standard is pretty low in general. But Meredith is totally correct—the two (!) women are an embarrassment. Have either of them ever mentioned a book, an article, a study, or even a news event which isn't the headline?
I don't think so.

It is really a scene out of the 50s. Jean Kerr, or Erma Brombeck. The girly quality of the writing, the cutesy comments...Dowd's cheap nicknames reminiscent of a high school newspaper gossip columnist. Collins writes the "humor corner."

The Times columnists are a sad and predictable lot, but the women are beyond the pale.

Garcia—you would liven that page up a lot!!!!

Kat said...

I'm not really understanding your use of "girly" as a pejorative or the dissing of Erma Bombeck. If you want to compare it to frivolous stuff, surely there are men writing incessantly on the horse race that you can compare them to?

DW said...

Dear Kat,
Maybe I should have put "girly" in quotes.

It is pretty well established that women had a certain place in the social structure of the 50's ... the secretary, the one who takes notes at the meeting, makes coffee, etc etc.

As far as writing, and humor in particular, the expected tone was light, superficial and cute. "Please don't eat the daisies" or "The snake has all the lines."

I wasn't "dissing" Erma Brombeck. Rather making the point that such a tone is inadequate for today's world events.

I am astonished that you don't recognize that in Gail Collins, who never writes a serious or strong word, never references the idea that she has ever read a book or gone beyond the headlines.

One of the most important transitions was women dropping those expectations and requirements.

That is why Roseanne Barr's show was such a revelation. She dropped all of that mask. She was blunt, outspoken and much more pointed.

This shift was not limited to women. George Carlin spoke a lot about dropping the expectations of what a stand up comedian was. Lenny Bruce much the same.

The point about horse racing is misplaced. It is not that Collins or Dowd write about superficial subjects... it is that they take deadly serious subjects and treat them without appropriate research, insight, or commitment.

The big point is that the Times keeps women columnists in a restricted zone.

Kat said...

I never even read Gail Collins! I don't care about presidential campaigns. I barely ever read any regular op ed columnists anyway. It doesn't seem to me that Collins or Dowd write about any serious subjects with any sort of regularity judging from their headlines.

Meredith NYC said...

@DW....thanks, you put it very well...” the two (!) women are an embarrassment....and the times keeps women columnists in a restricted zone.” And your examples from the 50s are apt.

The Times has other serious women writers, expert in their fields, such as Linda Greenhouse and Gretchen Morgenson in business, to name just 2. I can’t understand their puzzling op ed gender situation—is it that Andrew Rosenthal is sexist? He picks the columnists, or does Sulzberger?

Isn’t it ironic.....after the progress of social mvmts, it’s like the new generations revert back and have to learn the lessons and fight the fights all over again. At the same time, there are plenty of women today in high positions in business, govt, and universities.

Most younger people today don’t even know about the “women’s pages’ of the 50s and 60s, or the lawsuits to force media to into equality for women journalists.

Women today think they’re liberated, but bias is hidden.

So now we see a new norm on the Times op ed page, lasting for years---only 2 regular women and both do superficial jokey fluff and snark---and that seems quite acceptable---people aren’t complaining about this? Like the woman’s movement never even happened?

And didn’t Gail Collins actually write a book about women’s lib or something?!

Same with the rollback in race. How much do people today even know that generations ago the darker skinned race were automatically limited to mostly maids and janitor type jobs, and the whites had the union skilled jobs, clerical, professional etc. It was a norm back when, so even no black sales clerk in a dept store. I once worked for the Fla State Employment Service, and the guy training me said we never send blacks on repair jobs in private homes.

Affirmative action laws finally burst the illusory bubble of race and gender apartheid. But Lilly Ledbetter had to sue for equal pay just a few years ago.

And see May 31 NYT editorial “Racial Penalties for Baltimore Mortgages”. Bias goes on and we see the norm of racial segregation again in n. hoods, and schools. Then our off shoring of jobs policy undoes the progress of decades.

And decades after we thought woman’s equality became the standard, we see the almost epidemic of rapes on campuses and in the military, not dealt with, and requiring Senate hearings.

Our laws aren’t worth much against social attitudes that persist. Or maybe which come back from the dead, like zombies.

And our Dem presidents, and our first black pres can’t do much about it. Will our 1st woman president make any difference?