Archive for January, 2012

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2012 by a4synapse

Jonathan Turley had this to say (at the Washington Post) on the state of our civil liberties. It should scare the bejeezus out of you. HERE! Also, in case you missed it, some major journalistic institutions are just now realizing that they are supposed to let us know (in some clear and non-biased fashion) when so-called public figures are lying. This is in contrast to telling the public that so-and-so said something and that someone else said something different and letting it go at that (aka stenography).

To paraphrase and partially sum up:

Indefinite Detention:

The President now has the power to detain U. S. Citizens indefinitely. The government also maintains it has the prerogative to strip citizens of their legal rights.

Arbitrary Justice:

There are civil/criminal courts and military courts. The President decides where you will be tried. You’re welcome.

Warrantless Searches:

Warrantless surveillance (and soon, domestic drones). Institutions may be compelled to turn over any/all information they have in their files (and you will never know).

Secret Evidence:

National Security claims trump anything. Someone (who know who) can classify information as secret and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it. Definitions of ‘standing’ have been narrowed to severely limit how cases are brought to court.

War Crimes:

CIA employees have been excepted from prosecution for past acts that many people have considered to be war crimes. We’re in such august company as Iran, China and Syria on this one.

Secret Court:

F.I.S.A. use has been expanded.

The Obama administration has asserted the right to ignore congressional limits on such surveillance.

Immunity from Judicial Review:

Companies that participate in the surveillance programs of the government are exempt from judicial review (case in point: AT&T’s letting the government look at all the traffic on their servers). You can’t ask any questions about whether/how your privacy has been violated.

Continual Monitoring of Citizens:

The government can monitor your movements via GPS devices and the courts say this is ok.

Extraordinary Rendition:

Non-citizens and citizens may be secretly sent anywhere in the world. The President has said he will not do this – but this door is open.


Tell me how you really feel

Posted in Uncategorized on January 10, 2012 by a4synapse

Investigated this random piece referenced by my twitter feed. I don’t read Daily Kos on a regular basis, but this post redefined a point of view for me. It’s a rant/vent/primal scream: HERE. It’s written by Ministry of Truth and I honor the nom de plume/guerre because the sentiments expressed will elicit all sorts of savagery.

I meet you all the time. You hate Obama. You hate gay people. You hate black people, immigrants, Muslims, labor unions, women who want the right to make choices concerning their bodies, you hate em all. You hate being called racist. You hate being called a bigot. Maybe if you talked about creating jobs more than you talk about why you hate gay people we wouldn’t call you bigots. Maybe if you talked about black people without automatically assuming they are on food stamps while demanding their birth certificates we wouldn’t call you racist. You hate socialism and social justice. You hate regulations and taxes and spending and the Government. You hate.

You like war. You like torture. You like Jesus. I don’t know how in the hell any of that is compatible, but no one ever accused you haters of being over-committed to ideological consistency. You like people who look like you or at least hate most of the things that you hate. You hate everything else.

I’ve met people who match this description. I don’t like them and I don’t understand how they manage their inner holocaust. I don’t understand what their support groups look like or how they function, because a single person with this belief set would probably be institutionalized. I wonder, every day, how anyone can function, unless they have sealed themselves inside of an information/logic-free bubble, as evidenced by selected media outlets, and abetted by raging ignorance and a refusal to acknowledge said ignorance.

This is pure tribalism. ‘You look like me, you must be like me. If you don’t look like and/or live exactly like me, you are ‘the other’ and must be expunged from the face of the earth.’

There is a slim hope that it will eventually self-destruct due to its innate contradictions, but that will take a long time. There must be vigorous and pointed public argument to counteract this worldview.

There are a lot of voices speaking out against this wide and deep vein of so-called Americanism. Judging from the debates on the GOP side, it’s as strong as it has ever been. Yesterday’s Gallup poll regarding 40% self-identifying as ‘independent’ means nothing. It is a realistic withdrawal from a useless label; the underlying persuasions/motivations have not changed. There are other polls which show that ‘progressive’ is the most positively viewed political label; I don’t see any downstream results to support any material change there.

Larry Summers has an opinion piece at Reuters here, wherein he discusses the nature of the mess we’re in. Since he’s one of the progenitors, and it’s hard to see what he’s doing to fix anything, it’s difficult to take him seriously.

Random Remarks: Downton Abbey – I tuned out completely when they killed off the countess’ baby in a particularly vile manner due to servant perfidy. I’m just not into this form of dramatic masochism. I refuse.

Barney Frank (Foreign Policy Magazine) wants to trim from the military/defense budget and divert to government stimulus. I say: yea.

Last, but not least: Obama will win the 2012 election. Romney is a terrible candidate.