Sunday, February 23, 2014

Republic, Empire, Decline

     Oswald Spengler, in his Decline of the West, identifies three major stages of the development of a civilization in a historical context. These I refer to in my title. The American superstate has now entered -it could be said, it has entered officially- into its decline. Why do I say this, when American global power is at an unprecedented peak, when the world assumes America will come riding to their rescue to save them from catastrophe, and yet, time and again America proves herself to be completely incapable of actually holding any nation’s interest above its own, or even yet, considering what her own self interests actually are?
     Spengler identified three stages. In the first, Republic, a nation forms itself into a representative democracy. Given that the Greek and Roman republics limited enfranchisement to propertied individuals (as did the United States for a fair portion of its early existence), the polity evolves around ideals and ideas which set themselves up as progressive and unique in the endeavor of the human race. So far, so good.
     In the next phase, Empire, the interests of the privileged classes take on manifestations of reach beyond the borders of the republic, and in cohort with militarist principals, begin to affect the original ideals into a form of tyranny. America’s Empire can be said to have begun with the Spanish American War and the acquisition of the Philipines and Puerto Rico as external adjuncts to those mercantile interests and military checkpoints. 
     The Tyranny phase of America’s Empire began with the dropping of the two atomic bombs which ended World War Two and began an earnest competition with the largest totalitarian superpowers, USSR and China, for domination under threat of mutual annihilation and nuclear winter. We are still in somewhat of a holding pattern here, as while the USSR fell under the weight of an insupportable military budget, foreign intervention, and unsustainable internal corruption, these were all phases that America began to reflect (if not reflect upon) as she declared “victory” in the Cold War and turned herself towards an internal policy we now see embedded in Washington’s intelligence community- Collect it All.
     American technology went on to conquer the mercantile interests of the global economy. The personal computer is now indispensable to the participation in that economy, and the national intelligence arm of the United States has made it their prerogative to use this technology to spy on every individual partaking of it, in the name of hunting down the enemies of the Empire. This itself has manifested in great corruption, which we can see every day in the dissembling of those responsible for undermining the very civil liberties and ideals upon which the American republic had been founded.
     But Empire cannot be sustained over a period of time. The American republic, as revolutionary and wonderful a hope as it may have seemed against the backdrop of monarchies and feudal states which existed at its birth, only survived so long as the interests of the citizens took precedence over the interests of the ruling class and financial elites. Rome manifested its tyrannies over a period of several hundred years, in which outer forces, populations of those wishing to be included in her “protection”were betrayed and/or oppressed, and eventually swarmed the gates of the capitol and sacked it- more than once, since the points were easily lost on the rulers.
     We can see this syndrome playing itself out, as well, as the left-out developing nations in which America has extended her arms of military rule awaken to their own displeasure at rule from without, and seek their own level of democratic governance, however unsavory the American ruling class may find it. American intervention cannot be sustained, just as Soviet intervention could not be sustained, because America insists on its own doctrines being the basis and lynchpins of whatever form of democracy these nations come up with on their own. In other words, if America cannot have a say in it, or American interests are not considered as a matter of essential worth then those democracies will not have America’s support, and America will do all they can to destabilize and overthrow them.
     And that is a matter of tyranny. Not only have America’s military and financial elites decided that the world’s governments ought to dance to their tune, but her own citizens, as well as the citizens of all other nations, must also do so. The global reach of the NSA reflects the intention of the NSA and other intelligence agencies (some sixteen in all at last count) inside the American state, to usurp those very rights which the founders of the American republic saw fit as to include as essential to her Constitution and the protection of liberties and the rights of man. Paradoxically, those rights which are granted to Americans, and which American politicians seem to be so anxious to extend to all other nations, especially those tyrannized by their own leaders, are seen as inessential in the matter of fighting off those threats to American power when it comes to the rights of the American individual against state power and the right to be left alone in one’s own home, or to speak freely against grievous manifestations of overwhelming intrusion.
     American politicians like to consider that it can “never” happen here, that America will take on the tyrant’s cloak to the extent of a Nazi or East Germany or Stalin’s Russian gulag or the reeducation camps of China and North Korea. But all of the elements exist, and most especially they include a willingness of America’s leaders to worship and extend into heroic manifestation the idea of the policeman as protector, despite the overwhelming trend of police in large American communities to react, and proact, in matters of civil enforcement, as a militarized force. This force can easily be called upon by the know-nothing wings of both major political parties as a counterweight to actual grassroots democratic process, if the process be found offensive to those who control the elite game of national power.
     And so it behooves me to sadly predict that American in her Imperial state will collapse at some point, unless Americans themselves help to return her to the status of Republic. This will take amputation of some of the greatest political, military, and paramilitary capabilities which the world has yet seen, but it is essential for the survival of a democracy that what is alleged to be “necessarily” secret to the leaders of the state be extended as a right of each and every citizen to also have awareness of, if democracy and liberty themselves are not to be swept under the rug forever.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/14/obama-the-willing-executioner/

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

BIKES!

     Dedicated readers of this blog might be disappointed, but today I write not about politics (as has been a growing personal concern, the last two years) nor am I giving previews of current writing works in progress, but to speak of something entirely different... bicycles.
     As one of America’s few individuals who have somehow managed to survive their entire lives without owning either  a car nor license to drive one, I have been someone who, until five or six years ago, relied completely upon urban mass transit to get from here to there. This was, no small part, due to my living in a city San Francisco, in which it really is possible to survive- a good long time- try thirty years!- without a car. The BART system is excellent and can take you to most places out of town, however, it will NOT take you down the SF Peninsula, where I mostly grew up, and where I yet have friends. The MUNI bus system of the City is adequate, if awful, but at least an urban musician can get from here to there and gig to gig without a lot of pain and crisis.
That is just not possible where I now live, back again on the Midpeninsula, where a car is as necessary for musical life as it is in Orange County. So that is one (not small!) reason why I placed my musical life “on hold” and have turned to writing. I bought a bicycle in May of 2009, and it’s been my main transportation. I can take it with me on the train, or on the local bus transit, pretty easily. It is not a cheap instrument of travel, (in comparison to my meager earnings under "economic recovery") although it does me well, the only inconveniences are an occasional flat tire, or a need to true a wheel, replace a spoke, or a gear adjustment. Some of these I can manage myself, others I can’t, but I have a good relationship with two local bike shops which serve me well when I need them. As this is my main transportation, it’s always a case of “in and out” for the most part.
What I have found in becoming “a biker” is that there are many aspects of day to day riding which would be easier on the soul if they did not involve as much perceived conflict, as happens to be, with those of the automobiphilic distinction. Cars (drivers, rather) can be so ignorant of the practicalities of bike riding.
Often, drivers will not signal a turn, leaving someone on a bike behind them in need of constant awareness and second-guessing. They will back out without warning, they will cut you off on a turn (again, by not signaling their intention, they leave it to you to be the cautious one) and they often pass you just  as you pass some obstacle to your right, leaving you with a “that was a close call!” sense of survival.
I don’t hold much against auto drivers, except from some, their attitude. As if by being someone who chose rather a means of transport three times as risky as theirs I’m somehow “less of an adult” because I didn’t buy into the “oil serf” mentality. Or that just because I am on a bike I am immediately to be placed in their mental pigeonhole along with the extreme portion of the population on two wheels.
I think you might know who I am referring to. These are the weekend warriors, the ones who need to look like whores for a bike company as they flash down the road geared in spandex, their specialized clip-in shoes clack clack clacking as they stride into a Starbucks, whom it seems need each day to prove they are willing and involved in a personal Tour De France, rather than another mundane journey to the office.
Here on the Peninsula, where Google rules the universe, half of Google’s employees are engaged in what a friend of mine calls “Google pony” culture. This involves laying out at least $3,000 for a bike, preferably a road bike with spindly skinny wheels and tires, another $500 for shoes and clothing that scream “I AM A BIKE RIDER!” and another $500 for exactamento accessories like front wheel panniers, seat wedges, grocery racks, helmet lamps, etc, etc. The more money you spent on your bike and your outfit, the more you appear like the automobiphiles who need Ferraris and Porsches to scream “I AM A LUXURY AND STATUS-DRIVEN MANIAC!”
I have never been that type of bicyclist. I am someone who merely uses it for my means of getting from A to B, and do not care to be making a political or cultural statement with my bike, even if just by being on one, I kind of am. I wear what I feel like wearing. That means blue jeans, sturdy shoes that can take the road, and warm outer clothing. What I sacrifice for wind speed I gain in a sense of personal satisfaction that I have nothing to prove to anyone, and owe little, either. I do not take part in group rides, with dozens of folks all competing and riding with slipstream airflow in a mob. These types get well deserved aggravation comments from friends when we pass them on the highway (I guest of their passenger seat) on the local hill-country roads. They always take wide turns and are often two or three abreast as a matter of recreation. Rather uncool, and I see where my friends get their aggravation.
However I am someone who plans on riding my bike to a good old age. It was once said “there are many old bicyclists, there are many bold bicyclists, but there are few old, bold, bicyclists.” The urge to “take it slow” is actually what drives me. I love the normalized, human pace of bike riding. I love the fresh air and the connection to the environment, which automobiphiles excuse themselves and insulate themselves from. I do not take risky chances nor make sudden moves, if I can help it. Because I plan to be riding my bike to a good old age. I have nothing to prove. I just spin.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Hillary Clinton, Token Candidate En Perpetua

   It is always amazing the way some characters in American politics just never seem to go away, no matter how much scandal and schadenfreude appears in their wake. Hillary Clinton, like Dick Cheney, is one such individual. Not content in having been the power behind the throne for two terms of husband Bill (and always, always, turning a blind eye in the matter of his marital infidelity, in order to keep a firm hold on such osmotically-attained power) Mrs. Clinton is poised, and lauded, as she ever is, as the “most popular contender” for the titular role of “next President of the United States.”
     Goes without saying that there are millions of American women who will offer up their sacred votes for Mrs. Clinton on the premise that “America deserves a woman president” on much the same grounds millions of blacks voted for Barack Obama on the grounds that America deserved a black one. Never mind  that his record shows him to have been an absolute monstrosity on the issues on which he ran—Civil Liberties, Economic Recovery,  Health Insurance “you can keep”, a Lessened International US Military Involvement—Barack Obama has succeeded in outpacing and defrauding his core constituencies a dozen times already, and for what real gain of the nation, and, specifically, what particular gains for blacks themselves?
     Mrs. Clinton, herself the favorite of a class of individuals who see no problem with political nepotism in  the United States, glides into her comfortable “edge as the leading Democratic candidate” on the heels and coattails of husband Bill. One would hope that by now Americans have grown sick of family dynasties- the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Cheneys. But apparently just creating a meritocratic system which was designed to exclude hereditary and familial patronage just has not been enough for Americans, who despite their bright shining democratic city on a hill, ever yet bow and scrape to monarchs and royalty wherever they happen to coincide with agreements on foreign policy, (like Saudi Arabia) or “just plain tradition.” (the United Kingdom.)
     And yet, I see no reason to elect Mrs. Clinton on her merits, for there are, indeed, few merits. I will give couple of examples which show her in her true colors.  Alexander Cockburn, writing in his A Colossal Wreck, relates this story, (dated 1-18-2001) which I apologetically must quote verbatim.
     “Joann was recently traveling in a limo from Baltimore to a town in West Virginia and fell into conversation with the driver, who related some of his ferryings to and fro of various bigwigs. One of these was Hillary Clinton. “An ornery woman,” the driver commented. “And what a mouth on her!”
     The driver went on to describe an occasion on which he was driving the First Lady and a couple of her female friends through a poor area of Washington, DC. They passed a beggar, and as they did so the First Lady expressed her disgust for the mendicant, adding “He wouldn’t be a bum if he had a piece of ass.” The driver was able to shed no light in how or why she had arrived at this conclusion, stunned as he was by the coarse nature of her observations. Then they passed two young black women with babies. “There go two welfare cases. They make me sick. They’re too lazy to work,” said Senator Clinton, champion of mothers and children everywhere.”
      Mrs. Clinton was also captured on film chortling in glee over the lynching of Moammar Qaddafy by his enraged and incited populace. A matter of public record, she paraphrases Julius Caesar in her attempts to sound statesman-like.
     “We came, we saw, he died.”...
      ...[“Reporter—Did you have anything to do with it?”
      “Mrs. Clinton—I’ll never tell”. ]*
     You can watch a portion* of this informative exchange here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXkl0Zn4_CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmIRYvJQeHM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnPw6y4HuA4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RR9LiCFs9E\
     On this matter, this is what Mr. Cockburn had to say:
     “Did the terminal command, Finish Him off, come via cell phone from the US State Department, whose Secretary, Hillary Clinton, had earlier called for his death, or by dint of local initiative? At all events, since Gaddafi was a prisoner at the time of his execution, it was a war crime, and I trust that in the years of her retirement Mrs. Clinton will be detained amid some foreign vacation and handed a subpoena.”
     In my opinion, a head of state who laughs— laughs! over the death by lynch mob of another head of state, is unworthy of the dignity of elected office. Is this really the kind of person we want representing our nation, serving our interests? Or is Mrs. Clinton just yet another version of our tendency to elect those we feel “familiar” with, minus the critical reasoning which it takes, on the part of a scrutinizing public, to ensure that the leaders we elect actually represent our stated and claimed ideals and values? Our nation is in a lot of trouble, folks. There are people now holding high office who not only find the violent death of others cute and appropriate, but are willing to find a joke in it, if they can manage to milk one.
     (*Apparently the full exchange with reporters from which I draw that quote, as I originally viewed it a year ago, is no longer up at YouTube, although I shall continue to research the possibility it might Somewhere be available, and update these links for my readers, if I can.
At present, unfortunately, all that are available are half-minute clips at the most. Given the high,  mighty, and protected status of Mrs. Clinton, it’s quite possible that such graphic exposures of the Secretary’s inner soul have been removed from YouTube by her political operatives.)

http://antiwar.com/blog/2014/04/29/hillary-clinton-the-democratic-partys-pro-war-anti-civil-liberties-front-runner/
http://original.antiwar.com/JP-Sottile/2014/06/05/hillary-clinton-and-the-weaponization-of-the-state-department/

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Yes, Mr. President, What About Abdulrahman Alawki?

     Last May, President Obama was giving an address on the legality and the necessity of his drone program when he was importunely interrupted by what the press peripatetically terms “a heckler” —(a heckler being a person who sees fit to express an embarrassing statement or question into an otherwise smoothly conducted address by some public official). Only this was not just some ordinary heckler. The person addressing the President so “rudely” was none other than Medea Benjamin, the founder of the antiwar protest group Code Pink, and actually she managed to deflect the attention of the press, as well as the president, who took the time to calm the nerves of the aggrieved press by saying “Wait a minute, that woman is saying something important. She deserves to be heard.”
     Only President Obama did not, in fact, address her question. Which was, “What about Abdulrahman Alawki?”
     For those of you unfamiliar to this discourse, Abdulrahman Alawki was the 16-year old son of Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Alawki. He was killed just two weeks after the President’s death drones caught up with his father, as he ate dinner with a relative. His father, Al Qaeda propagandist though he was, was also still, under law, a United States citizen who had been released from an original indictment set on him by the Bush administration, and freed, to take up residence (and an inarguably adversarial stance) from the country of Yemen. Abdulrahman, who had no stated connection to his father in terms of radical Islamic politics, had left home (against the advice or consent of his now aggrieved grandparents) to seek out a reunion with his father.  Who knows what goes on in the minds of kids.  What is clear from all reports and from interviews with the grandparents is that Abdulrahman was an ordinary American 16-year old with no pretensions of jihadi warfare against the American Government, nor lust for killing innocent fellow Americans. But he was put on Mr. Obama’s kill list, and executed summarily, as his father was,  without due process of law.
     The Constitution of the United States is very clear in stating what the government must do in order to claim a right to  “forfeit life or property” from any citizen. There must be a conviction in the courts, there must be, in the case of “treason”- evidence presented by two witnesses, in same said courts, and it must be a matter of process.  Instead, in the case of both Alawkis, the President had chosen to pre-empt the legal process and proceed with what is Orwellianly termed an “extrajudicial killing”- or in plain English, a Premeditated Murder. Both United States citizens became two of a select group of Americans, which is now counted at four,  who have been so honored by the Republic as to be “exceptions to the Constitutional process.”
     Ms. Benjamin’s question, however important the President may have thought it to be, or not, at the time, has yet to be answered. Instead, the killing of Anwar Alawki has now been summoned forth as “a precedent” for another planned, premeditated murder, minor details of which have actually been leaked by the White  House to the press, and who knows why. Mr. Obama has not yet apologized to the family, the grandparents, of Abdulrahman Alawki, although as he himself admitted, his murder was “an accident.” (Press Secretary and official sock puppet Robert Gibbs cynically said “He should have had better parents.”)
     Perhaps Mr. Obama prefers not to comment, perhaps he is actually shaking in his boots at night, haunted by Abdulrahman’s ghost, because a lawsuit now yet sits before the Courts of the United States lodged against Mr. Leon Panetta, who was the contemporaneous Secretary of Defense, and others, acting on behalf of the President’s Targeted Killing Program (which this column will henceforth term “TARKILPRO”) or as is referred to more often, “the Kill List.” But he has said that the killings of innocents under the duration of his drone program “will haunt us forever.” Well and that they ought to! For the murder of a United States citizen, no matter how much lawfare sophistry attends it, remains, without the due process of law, as immoral, illegal, and unjustified in the name of freedom and liberty and all things which Mr. Obama would wish the United States would be “blessed by God” for. We no longer have a Republic, when the President of the United States can assume the right to act as though he were a King, and kill anyone he feels like, for whatever reason, wherever they are in the world, at any time he chooses. It’s no longer your grandparents' America, your parents' America, nor is it even your America.
http://fff.org/2014/02/25/the-sham-of-the-war-on-terrorism/
http://original.antiwar.com/mbenjamin/2014/02/13/the-dangerous-seduction-of-drones/

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hif Majeftie and Machiavelli

The United States was once known for its shared values with that of Great Britain. As divergent as the two countries are, and as little as Britons are yet inclined to free themselves from the abhorrent shackles of their monarchy, both cultures have instilled for a very long time the concept of “fair play.” This is most obvious, of course, on playing fields of sport, where expressions like “that’s not cricket” and “personal foul” are everyday occurrences. In America, the most influential work of Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, is usually not assigned to school reading lists until someplace in the college syllabus. In Europe, however, of which Machiavelli was a product, and in many places, a cultural hero, his works are read early and often cited as beneficial instructions to those who seek to rule.
The shortcomings of Machiavellianism as a moral cause are legion, none more frequently cited than the maxim “the ends will justify the means.” The derisive political epithet “Machiavellianism” has come to represent political figures devious, banal, wicked, and malign. What made America different from European culture was the concept that such ideas as “princes” would not be tolerated in the new democratic republic created out of revolution against hereditary monarchy. And yet Machiavellianism always manages to flourish both inside and outside of Washington DC, as more and more players eventually adopted the philosophy— also of Machiavelli’s— “what evil you must do, do it quickly, for it is better to be feared than to be loved.” The Nazis took this idea one step further when they realized that once the Leader is sufficiently feared, the Love of the Volk will and must soon follow.
What perhaps most galled the American prosecutors at the Nuremburg trials was the sheer lengths to which the German ruling class had appropriated the idea that the ends —in their case, the genocide of the Jewish people— would be justified by the means (“special action”; i.e.; a “final solution). That this was precisely the point of Manifest Destiny in the USA is another matter we might take up at some another time. I am speaking here of what was generally thought of as an inherently American sense of Fair Play, which extended as far from the playing fields into everyday life as could be drawn— to the courts, for instance, and to the general rule of the populace. There were some things our politicians just would not do, and were restrained from, either by virtue of the fear of impeachment, or criminal indictment. Americans have always had more of a sense of justice, which of itself in its pure state is the acme of a sense of fair play. And to find Machiavellian concepts and “pragmatism” infecting American politics is certainly no improvement for the American society but evidence of a banal sense of moral decay.
No such inhibitions plague the current crop of American politicians and bureaucrats. From the top and eye of the pyramid on down, a blasé approach of cynical opportunism spreads like a malignant cancer upon the body politic. Legislators are bought out by lobbyists. “Constitutional scholars” present their case for the destruction of the Bill of Rights with platitudes such as “a balance that must be struck between liberty and security” and “my first responsibility is to keep the American people safe.” I never noticed those words in the oath of office any legislator makes, but I do note that “uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” plays a rather prominent part.
I do not know if Hif Majeftie has actually read Machiavelli, but I think it is a safe bet he never read Sun Tzu, (The Art of War) either. There, he would notice on the fist page “there has never been a society that survived a protracted war.” You can say that for the War on Terror, for the wars of Iran and Afghanistan, as well as the War on Drugs. The adoption of adversarial positions is the hallmark of the insufficiently diplomatically gifted. It might occur to many that the aims and goals of Al Qaida—to turn America into a caricature in donkey-draw of a free society—have basically been achieved by the fiat of the United States Congress and Executive branch. The Patriot Act. The indefinite detention clause of the 2012 NDAA. The blanket surveillance of  persons of international internet aptitude or awareness. All of these are incursions on what had once been the greatest hope for freedom in the world. Millions have died in defense of a Constitution which the president himself has evidenced—by his actions, not his words— he has absolutely no intentions of protecting. Millions who it may well be argued that with the system of American law and civil liberties as it now stands, died in vain.
One person I am sure he has read however, is Saul Alinsky, the author of the hilariously oxymoronic Rules for Radicals. (If you are a “radical” and you need rules, then you most probably are not quite as radical as you like to think you are- let alone that you need to get your rules from yet another old dead white dude). Alinsky is also cited often by those who have studied both Mr. Obama and Mrs. Hilary Clinton as being influential to their formative political thinking. He is also advocated what might politely be called “toilet tactics”  and much like Machiavelli, saw benefits of making points by hitting below the belt with untruths. “Ridicule is man's most potent weapon” as a signature quote of Alinsky’s,  shows in a stark way how cynical and how intolerant his disciples can be. The opposition are to be ridiculed, not tolerated. Liberalism used to mean the ability and willingness to allow contrary and opposing ideas to exist. Now it seems to, if we take Mr. Alinsky’s words seriously, indicate appropriate ridicule of anyone who feels otherwise to be no more than an “idiot.” Indeed, all one has to do is peruse the comments section of any political article anywhere in America these days and you’ll find someone using the word to describe someone of a differing opinion. Liberal democracy and civilization cannot flourish under one party rule, no matter whose party that is, whether Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Republican, or Democrat. Since enough people of either major party (and many who belong to neither) love tossing the word around these days, one could easily conclude that Mr. Alinsky’s maxim has now become de rigueur for examining polemic and debate. Which is why people such as Alinsky, while worth a read (just as much as Hitler or Marx, if only to inform oneself as to what the hoopla is all about) ultimately belong in the dustbin of history, and the generation of American leaders who took his guidance for gospel should be scrutinized in the extreme when they make their empowered suggestions leading to “ultimate” answers to social problems. Do you have a problem with someone else’s ideas? Just call them “idiot”. It sure saves the trouble of thinking up and expounding on an intelligent rebuttal, doesn’t it? Better to insist that they shut up, since living with their words and ideas is so impossible to take.
And since Rules for Radicals was self described by Mr. Alinsky in this manner: “If The Prince is for the haves to hold on to power, Rules is The Prince for have-nots to gain power,” I see no virtues in that at all. For the Bolshevik revolution, ostensibly a revolution of “Have-Nots” taking power, was accompanied by a great deal of the same type of “better feared than loved” sensibilities. It was, also, actually, an accomplishment of an Elite— in the name of the Have-Nots— which quickly reversed itself into its own parody- an elitist group of self-proclaimed Have-Nots who immediately set about depriving the actual Have-Nots of what little they had. The famines of the 1930’s and the forced resettlements, the pogroms against the kulaks, not to mention the vast social engineering intent of Stalin’s purges, were all orchestrated by elites in the name of state-manufactured equality, equality which would never be realized, and Machiavellian in their extreme both in organizational scope, and in procedure. I just do not see how overcoming amoral tyranny by amoral means manufactures automatically a somehow more moral social order.
It does not matter to Barack Obama that he was elected, in a great part, by idealistic believers in the things he had to say about the Constitution and rule of law. Who believed he really was an “environmentalist” and not just another Wall Street puppet. Who believed that he would actually create a national public health system, not some piecemeal tyrannical demand that- just as they once had demanded male citizens register for military service- all citizens must register for their chaotic “Affordable Care Act”— or else, face extortive criminal sanctions. Well, that’s one  way to balance the federal budget, eh? Barack Obama has shown by his actions that he is not a man of morality or fair play. Hell, he won’t even apologize for an “accidental” murder which he himself authorized. “I’m pretty good at killing people” he brags. Well, bully for you, punk, but some of us are absolutely not willing to go so quietly. Once he had his votes in place, he figured he could do whatever he liked and people would never notice, for his love of power is seemingly greater than his sense of responsibility to American ideals and values.
Machiavelli has another role to play in American politics these days. George W. Bush brought “ends justify the means” back big-time with his justification of the use of torture on detainees. “What matter is it that we torture people if it saves American lives?” Obama too- “what matter who we kill, even if we kill innocents, (or even fellow Americans!) if we kill terrorists as well?” For many people living in central Asia now, their first representative of American policy is a robot death plane delivering a Hellfire missile to their neighborhood, not a package falling from the sky filled with boxes of oat flakes and peanut oil. And what about the winner of the “more feared than loved” award of all time in Washington DC, Dick Cheney? Obviously he won’t be winning any “most likeable” awards, either. Machiavelli seems to have all but invaded US thought these days and the result is an amoral government which is as much instinctively repressive as it is paternalistic.
People can think whatever they like about Barack Obama’s high-flying rhetoric on “NSA reforms”, that he will, actually, do more to restore the trust of the public in the NSA and other intelligence arms of the US Government. But I have listened to his promises before, and I have been disillusioned before, by his accompanying actions. As John N. Mitchell, that unctuous jailbird Attorney General of Richard Nixon’s, once so well put it “Watch what we do, not what we say.” Barack Obama needs to be completely scrutinized for every aspect of his presidency and held accountable for his outright lies and the obvious apparent discrepancies between his words and actions. He cannot eternally campaign for an office he has already won. He will never need work again another day in his life, should he not wish to, being assured  of a federal pension for life assumed by we the taxpayers who have suffered under the wheel of his nonexistent “economic recovery” and whose electronic metadata must exist— somewhere, for lord only knows how valuable it is— in some far off never-never land in the hands of who-knows-who what consortium of dataminers he eventually sends it all away to. No, I have heard too much from this man to listen to his sweet talk and his con game any longer. It’s my sincere wish that most of you will tune out the lies- or keep your bullshit detectors on wide-stun, because he has snuck a number of things past us all in the past, and he is very much— in all likelihood going to sneak something past us all again, given time and circumstance. I plan to ride Mr. Obama all the way down to Hell like Chill Wills on the atom bomb in Dr. Strangelove, for the unconstitutional murder of Abdulrahman Alwaki. If I must. Even if I were the only American left standing willing to do so on the sheer principle of it. Life cannot be made forfeit without the burden of proof falling on the state. Letters of Attainder are illegal under the US Constitution. For I prefer that my president be above outright murder, whether it be by design or accident, and regardless any issues on which he and I could possibly agree about the culpability of Abdulrahman’s father as a “terror suspect,” President Obama must live with that death forever, and I for one hope to ensure that he, indeed, will never be allowed to forget it.
Barack Obama can do one thing, and one thing only, if he wishes to restore “trust in government” with the American people. It is a very good thing that for a very long time, Americans have not nourished a blind faith in their government. But if the numbers mean anything, less are willing to swallow his painful ACA pill than he would like to see. That says more about their trust in him than anything else. (And more about the viability and validity of his “solution” than he cares to admit). That one thing is to abolish forever the National Security Agency. The ability for governments and their secret intelligence and police arms to abuse power has never, ever in history, been something which once available, has ever before been set aside. More people are, this very day, taking part in international protest against this super-secret-police arm, which would like to be everything the NKVD, KGB, Gestapo, and Stasi once were, and in fact, possesses powers which they would be only all too jealous to have had at their disposal, in their day. What the NSA propose to do— completely eliminate the concept of personal privacy and instill obedience, chill free speech, and crush dissent— (and which President Obama would like us all to believe they never-ever would possibly actually put into play) is no less than the murder of the Republic, that “hope of the nations” and the very ideals out of which the United States of America was born.
At this time, Hif Majeftie Barack Obama is openly contemplating committing yet another murder. The rot begins from the top down. Indict and try James Clapper for perjury. Impeach Barack Obama for murder.  It’s well nigh high time.
*****
As usual, I have marshaled a “legion of demons” (an entire MS Word doc’s page worth!) in the form of relevant recent articles which expose the situation, as is, from a less deceitful perspective than that being pimped out by Washington officials in order to rain on Hif Majeftie’s parade (as well as bite him on the ass) and which support my assertions, reflecting that in these matters, my criticisms are not alone... ENJOY!
http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/242
https://www.ccrjustice.org/targetedkillings
http://privacysos.org/node/1229
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/02/10/the-nsas-secret-role/
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-nsa-speech-obama-accepts-the-logic-of-staying-terrorized/283173/
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/commentary/la-oe-adv-ackerman-nsa-obama-20140126,0,1771812,print.story
http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/1/nsa-intelligencereformamericansecurity.html
http://www.salon.com/2014/01/23/glenn_greenwalds_heroism_standing_up_to_our_new_orwellian_police_state/
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/17/from-surveillance-to-assassination/
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/31/obamaphelia-a-short-history-and-diagnostic-guide/
http://www.emptywheel.net/2014/01/17/obamas-speech-annotated-version/
http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2014/02/06/read_the_memo_explaining_why_the_u_s_can_totally_kill_its_own_citizens_without.html
http://original.antiwar.com/jwhitehead/2014/01/20/obamas-lies-nsa-spies-and-the-sons-of-liberty/
http://www.thenation.com/article/178225/has-nsa-wiretapping-violated-attorney-client-privilege#
http://www.dailyprogress.com/opinion/guest_columnists/lies-spies-and-choices-dangerous-freedom-or-peaceful-slavery/article
http://libertycrier.com/the-united-states-is-in-fact-an-orwellian-tyranny-obama-statements-at-the-national-defense-university/
Finally, I have been making many of these same points all along:
http://www.infowars.com/top-constitutional-experts-obama-is-worse-than-nixon/
http://www.unz.com/article/veracity-in-government/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/world/asia/us-debates-drone-strike-on-american-terror-suspect-in-pakistan.html?_r=0

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Woody Allen and Public Opinion

     Allegations that Woody Allen molested Mia Farrow’s seven year old daughter are being heatedly denied around the media this week. One wonders whether this is because of wishful thinking- that people would like to believe Mr. Allen is above these things, and that he is, in fact, reasonably presumed innocent. “He has not been convicted of anything” the defenders cry. Well I see some corollaries here: Notably, the cases of OJ Simpson and Barry Bonds.
   Presumption of innocence has never stopped the critics of either of them from holding a deep seated, near-instinctual, distrust and apprehension of either of them. Barry Bonds was never actually tested positive for use of steroids, although the federal government was convinced somehow that he lied as to his use of PED’s, enough so to heatedly prosecute and convict him. (Although no such prosecutions seem to be forthcoming against James Clapper, whose lies before Congress are indeed a matter of the public record). OJ Simpson has “never been convicted” of the murder of his girlfriend, but millions of Americans “just know” he is guilty, just because. Because something about it all “just didn’t fit.”
    However in Woody Allen’s case, like that of Barry Bonds, there are certain issues which beg the question of innocence, and these are  of the sort which are right before the eyes of the cynical. Barry’s hat size grew by some 2 or 3 sizes. His body bulked up beyond any reasonable expectations as may be explained from just plain “working out.” And like Barry, Woody Allen's seeming proclivities toward “not looking too far from home” for his sexual conquests are confirmed in his having taken the 19-year old daughter of his ex-girlfriend as his own wife. I think there is a little there that is grounds enough to cast doubts on his current claims of innocence.
     Almost as dubious as this, if not more, are Woody’s claims, in a recent interview I saw on YouTube, that somehow, despite his earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per picture as an actor and director, he’s just  “blue-collar” kind of guy. This was a remarkable instance of dissembling and re-assembling truth. If a man with that much earning power can straight-facedly call himself “blue collar” then perhaps he really is one of those sociopaths who have no ability to discern their own impression of themselves from that of other people’s, willing to believe the image they have created of themselves is the person they really are.
     I liked Woody Allen, for a long time, and gave him (already, some twenty years or so on) benefit of the doubt, although I always though that it was creepy he married a girl young enough to be his daughter. And that basically he robbed the cradle right out from under her mother. If that was not creepy enough. But I was long in the camp of those who claimed Allen’s status as an artist- for his first big film, Take the Money and Run, was an undeniable screamer, and I always loved What’s Up Tiger Lily (more for the Lovin’ Spoonful’s musical contribution, than the actual film) and laughed at the coke scene in Annie Hall, as did so many of my peers. But to have this current aspersion cast upon his character after so much suspension of judgment in his favor, I am afraid I would prefer to weigh in with the victim, this time.

     Because her story sounds sincere, and it’s being backed up by her brother, as “speaking for itself.” There had to have been a lot of anger pent up over the years as Dylan Farrow watched Woody get “the benefit of the doubt” and keep getting it, because people want to love the “lovable” public character, and dismiss as quirks any peccadilloes of the private man. But it seems to be resonant, for me, more of something which actually could have happened. Despite Dylan’s misjudgment as to things such as statutes of limitations, there is indeed something which rings true about it, and which asks individuals who presume to enjoy, and continue to enjoy, Allen’s cinematic work, to have a deeper look into it all in light of the “new” allegations. As for myself, I'm waiting for his version of Lolita.