Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Hypocrisy of the American Press

I don't question the idea that the obtaining of what sounds like blanket telephone records of the Associated Press and many of its staffers and reporters by the Department of Justice will have had a "chilling" effect on that organization, and perhaps on other press organizations as well. Nor do I question the theory that a free, independent press is vital to any free society. What I do question, and in fact find amusing in a grim sort of way, is the way the American press has reacted over this particular caper by the DOJ, which after all does seem to have been conducted this caper legally, odious though the laws that permitted it may be, when in fact similar operations have been conducted against thousands of Americans for more than a decade and a half by now, while the American press took little if any notice.

All sorts of excuses have been invented for such currently legal intrusions into American lives, of course, at least insofar as we know right now, most of them having to do with that much-overused phrase "national security." Yet, until its own precious ox was gored in the form of AP, the American press has largely brushed such operations off. All sorts of individual Americans of political persuasions across the spectrum have had their privacy invaded, and in many cases their lives turned upside down, while the normally tame US press sat on its hands and said nothing, even which such operations were conducted for obviously political reasons. The "investigations" into ACORN, the NAACP, and the Occupy movement come most readily to mind, although there have been many more. 

Of course, many members of our esteemed press will quickly point out that because they are the press, they enjoy and ought to enjoy a level of protection from government intrusion that ordinary citizens cannot necessarily claim. But if the reason that it is so "vital" that our press should be free and independent is to protect our liberties, are not the liberties of the very people supposedly being thus protected at least as important as those who are supposed to be the protectors and watchdogs?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

U.S. Slides Further Toward Civil War. No One Cares.

Think I'm joking? I'm not. In Michigan, one Republican attorney, Mr. Matthew Davis, a former spokesman for the Michigan Republican party, called in print for an armed insurrection against the legally constituted government of the United States as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to sustain the hated (by Republicans) Affordable Care Act. That attorney later retracted his comment, perhaps because being an attorney he realizes that bandying about that sort of call for action is legally actionable. You'll find his comments here: The 10 Most Hilariously Unhinged Right-Wing Reactions to the Obamacare Ruling. And Mr. Davis was hardly alone.

The Mississippi Tea Party Chairman had this to say:

"When a gang of criminals subvert legitimate government offices and seize all power to themselves without the real consent of the governed their every act and edict is of itself illegal and is outside the bounds of the Rule of Law. In such cases submission is treason. Treason against the Constitution and the valid legitimate government of the nation to which we have pledged our allegiance for years. To resist by all means that are right in the eyes of God is not rebellion or insurrection, it is patriotic resistance to invasion.
May all of us fall on our faces before the Heavenly Judge, repent of our sins, and humbly cry out to Him for mercy on our country. And, may godly courageous leaders rise up in His wisdom and power to lead us in displacing the criminal invaders from their seats and restore our constitutional republic."

None of the above is really all that new, of course. Ever since the election of 2008, various right-wing personalities, including at least one former Republican governor and at least one current member of Congress, have been hinting at, or leading up to calls for open rebellion and advising constituents to prepare for such an eventuality. One such exhortation can be found here: Michele Bachmann: I Want People "Armed And Dangerous" Over Obama Tax Plan. Others have called for a "2nd Amendment solution" (i.e. assassination) to be applied to public officials with whom they take issue. One such is here: Sharron Angle Floated '2nd Amendment Remedies' As 'Cure' For 'The Harry Reid Problems'.

In short, prominent adherents of one of the country's two major political parties have called for or are calling for political assassinations to take place or for outright armed rebellion to occur, all because they disagree with decisions made and legislation enacted by the legally constituted government of the United States, elected to power in the election of 2008. At the same time, gun dealers have reported record sales throughout the period in question, while the number of Americans interested in gun-ownership has remained relatively unchanged. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the political Right, already fanatical about the private ownership of firearms and mostly having owned firearms all along, have really been stocking up on yet more arms and ammunition. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has reportedly purchased some 450 million rounds of ammunition.

Thus far the mainstream U.S. media has only barely even noted this kind of talk, and even in doing so has pretended that such treasonable utterances and/or exhortations are merely another perfectly reasonable political point of view. As for Fox News, which airs such points of view all the time, often in the form of their own paid commentators, there have as yet been no calls even for an investigation into their propagation and broadcasting of treasonable propaganda. And the vast majority of the American people seem not to care, perfectly content as long as they are permitted to continue to tune in to their so-called "reality television" shows.

As for the government in question, minus those of its traitorous members who are calling or have called for armed rebellion, it has remained largely silent. The Department of Justice, so far as is publicly known, has undertaken no investigation of, let alone filed any charges against, groups or persons who have advocated or are advocating armed insurrection. The President of the United States, so far as I have been able to discover, has himself taken no official notice of any of this, still traveling overseas regularly to consult with other world leaders, and still engaged in his political campaign for re-election at home as if nothing in the world is wrong.

Something does not compute here. It seems clear that much more is going on than meets the (public) eye, but what may be happening behind the scenes remains a mystery. And frankly, that worries me. At a guess, I would say that, if all of the treasonable talk on the Right is more than just talk, if an armed rebellion is actually envisaged by persons on the Right, it is likely to take place immediately after the President is re-elected should that eventuality occur. And God only knows what might happen then, let alone what the government's response might be.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

U.S. Declaration of Independence With Translations

Perhaps the most sublime document ever written, the Declaration of Independence of the United States does not have the force of law, but was an inspiration to the Americans of 1776, and has since been an inspiration to uncounted billions of people around the globe even today.

Below are links to the original document in English, and to other languages courtesy of Google Translate (and I give the French language pride of place here, because if it had not been for the people of France, there never would have been a United States of America to begin with):

The Declaration of Independence

La Déclaration d'Indépendance

إعلان الاستقلال

Декларацията за независимост


Deklarace nezávislosti


De Verklaring van Onafhankelijkheid

Ang Pahayag ng Kalayaan

Die Declaration of Independence

Η Διακήρυξη της Ανεξαρτησίας

הכרזת העצמאות

आजादी की घोषणा

A Függetlenségi Nyilatkozat

Yfirlýsingu um Independence

Deklarasi Kemerdekaan

La Dichiarazione di Indipendenza


독립 선언서

Deklarasi Kemerdekaan

The Declaration of Independence (Norwegian)

اعلامیه استقلال

Deklaracja Niepodległości

A Declaração de Independência

Declaraţia de Independenţă

Декларация независимости

Декларација о независности

Deklarácia nezávislosti

La Declaración de Independencia


சுதந்திர பிரகடனம்


Bağımsızlık Bildirgesi

Декларація незалежності

آزادی کےاعلان

Tuyên ngôn Độc lập

Mae'r Datganiad Annibyniaeth

Why bother with all this? Why should I have taken the time and invested the (minimal) effort? Because I truly believe that ordinary people the world over have no wish to kill each other, that they wish only for a fighting chance to live decent lives, to raise their families in peace and safety, because governments the world over cater to the rich and powerful who care not a fig whether ordinary people live or die, and because, in the immortal words of the slain U.S. President John F. Kennedy, I believe that ". . . our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stop the Frickin' Wars!

America's seemingly endless wars need to end now.

The people of the United States don't believe in them. Americans don't believe that it is necessary for their "security" to conquer and/or occupy foreign countries. What they do believe is that these wars are being fought only to further line the pockets of the already obscenely rich Big Oil companies, and to throw dust in the faces of the American people at home so that more of them won't realize the extent to which their own government is screwing them right up the old yin-yang at home.

Many (far, far TOO many) brave young Americans have already given their lives or any chance of a normal life at home for no better reason than the fact that the evil, greedy cocksuckers who run the U.S. government want the campaign dollars tossed their way by the big defense contractors. Bright young patriotic kids, who's only "crime" is that up until now they've truly believed that the USA really is the "land of the free and home of the brave" are being killed, maimed, and brutalized every single day only in order to fight a wholly fictitious "War On Terror" when the real terrorists are right here in the USA!

Americans don't want an overseas empire, and never did! Real Americans have no desire to impose our system of government on anyone else, anywhere, and never have! Why the hell would we? For Christ's sake, it's now waging war against its own citizens here at home!

The U.S. government, and all too many state and local governments, have turned out to be "The Beast" spoken of in the "Book of Revelation" in the Christian Bible. Want to fight real "terrorists"? Start with the corrupt, greedy, power-crazed terrorists who occupy some of the highest positions in the U.S. government in Washington including the White House, both Houses of Congress, many of the federal departments and agencies, and don't forget many of the state governors' offices, state legislatures, and all too many local mayors' offices and municipal/county councils. Far, far too many of these people, under the guise of "conservatism" or "liberalism" have waged war on the American people for decades via the spreading of deliberate disinformation, the fomenting of mass-hysteria and fear, and now in some cases are even resorting to wrongfully imprisoning or shooting American citizens down in the streets merely for exercising their constitutional rights.

The American people are currently engaged in the fight of their lives, an epic struggle to take their own government back into their own hands so that, in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, "government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Earth."

The American people are unreservedly proud of and grateful to all who currently wear our country's uniform, but they need you here, now, at home to defend them from our country's real enemies.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Has U.S. Gov't Declared War On the American People? (Update)

No, the title of this blog post wasn't designed merely to attract readers and/or comments.

There have been growing signs and examples of forcible repression of Occupy protesters engaged in exercising their First Amendment rights for many days now. These occurrences of repression have been staged with more brutality in some places than others, but repression is repression no matter what form it make take.

There were the infamous examples of the so-called "Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge" and the subsequent assault on U.S. citizens conducted in NYC several days later by the NYPD. During the former the NYPD kettled and arrested some 700 American citizens peacefully protesting and expressing themselves.

Occupiers in other cities and towns have been subjected to low levels of harassment from the first, such as those in Cincinnati who were given citations from the Cincinnati Police Department on a nightly basis for days on end. Occupy Boston was assaulted by the Boston Police Department, during which assault numerous injuries were sustained and arrests made. Occupy Denver was assaulted by the Denver Police Department and the Colorado State Police.

A few days ago, Occupy Chicago was assaulted by the Chicago Police Department, and numerous arrests were made including dozens of nurses who were present in support of the protesters. Occupy St. Louis, Occupy Dallas, Occupy Tampa, Occupy San Diego, and Occupy Seattle have also either been assaulted or harassed by police, and there are many more Occupy groups too numerous to mention who have now had similar experiences.

Then two nights ago, Occupy Oakland was subjected to a full-scale military-style assault by members of the Oakland Police Department during which police fired rubber bullets and tear-gas at peaceful protesters, and flash-bang grenades and a sound-cannon were also employed by police. Many protesters sustained serious injuries, and one protester, a former United States Marine and an Iraq War veteran, was hit in the head by a projectile fired by police and is now in critical condition in a local hospital.

If that wasn't enough, at virtually the same time protesters at Occupy Atlanta were being forcibly evicted from their site and arrested by the Atlanta Police Department.

Last night Occupy D.C. reported being overrun by District police and their equipment confiscated, and today protesters at Occupy Tampa are reporting arrests for merely being present in a public park in broad daylight.

I am ordinarily not a "conspiracy theory" aficionado, but I for one do not believe that all these acts of repression can possibly have been either spontaneous or coincidental. To me at least it appears that the current Democratic Administration in Washington has realized that they cannot hope to manipulate or use the various Occupy movements nationwide to boost the chances of the re-elections of President Obama and other Democratic politicians in 2012, and that they have therefore concluded that the protesters are simply so much "trash," fit only to be swept from America's streets. What happened at Occupy D.C. seems particularly telling in this regard, since those protesters had never been subjected even to police harassment, let alone violence or arrests up until now.

Therefore it does appear to me, for one, that the government of the United States has now declared open war on the American people, albeit in the way wars are always "declared" these days--with no formal declaration by Congress, merely a directive of the Commander-in-Chief sufficing instead. It seems that the U.S. government has concluded, in its wisdom, that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is no longer "operative," or at least no longer convenient, and is acting accordingly.

The only question remaining is what, if anything, are the American people going to do about it?


Update: As of this morning Occupy D.C. reporting they are fine, but expect possible police raid tonight. This does not change my basic thesis.

Further update: I've now found and listed on Twitter @OccupyMarines, @OccupyNavy, @OccupyArmy, and @OccupyAirForce. The serving men and women in the U.S. military have never in our history let the American people down, and by God it looks like they're not about to start doing so now!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What The Hell Happens Now?

There have been shocking scenes of repression (or attempted repression) ever since the Occupy Wall Street movement began in NYC, back in the days, merely a few weeks ago, when only a very few protesters were involved. These scenes included young women being pepper-sprayed in the face and climaxed in the now-notorious "Battle of the Brooklyn Bridge" in which some 700 protesters were lured by the NYPD onto the vehicular deck of the bridge and then arrested en masse, and included scenes a short time later in which hundreds more protesters were brutalized by the NYPD as they attempted to reach Wall Street itself. It was these scenes, more than anything else, which probably led to Occupy movements springing up in sympathy all across the country, so that today some 1,500 American cities and towns are "occupied."

There have also been other repressions, some more dramatic than others, including those which took place (and in some cases are still taking place) in Cincinnati, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, and St. Louis, just to name a few. To their eternal credit, the Albany Police Department flatly refused the orders of the Mayor of Albany and the Governor of New York to evict the Occupy protesters in that city, but thus far they are the exception, not the norm. Of course, all sorts of supposed "justifications" have been advanced for these repressions, with civic authorities often citing municipal ordinances regarding "camping" in city parks or the use of city parks outside certain hours of the day, although the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in no way limits the exercise of free speech.

Last night, however, the repressions assumed a ferocity heretofore unseen in this country. Occupy Atlanta protesters were forcibly ejected from their site, with many being arrested as is attested in this video:

And of all the attempted repressions which took place, the most ferocity was shown in Oakland, California, by members of the Oakland Police Department, as shown in these videos:

Just yesterday, The New York Times published a poll which showed that some 46% of Americans agree to at least some degree with the Occupy protests: "New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government".

The question at hand therefore becomes what if anything are Americans thus far not involved in the protests in any way going to do about all of this? Will scenes like those above motivate them to join protests taking place in their cities and towns? Or to form new Occupy protests where none now exist? Or will they simply purchase another six-pack and kick back to be "entertained" by yet another brain-numbing "reality television" program?

Another question worth considering is what if anything will the U.S. military do? Not the brasshats in the Pentagon, of course. They are a part of the problem, shamelessly pandering to whatever corrupt administration happens to be in power in Washington at any given time, for no better reason than the wish of the "Commander-in-Chief" du jour to prove he has a bigger set of stones than his predecessor in office. But what about the brave young men and women who are actually fighting and (in all too many cases) dying overseas, who have been told for over a decade now that they have been and are making incredible sacrifices to protect "freedom" back home?

Clearly, the powers-that-be in the United States are now feeling threatened by non-violent protesters who, only a few weeks ago, were mostly being written off as "lazy hippies." What will happen next is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Successful Outcome for #OWS?

Someone who is participating actively in the Occupy movement, who has been doing so since the early days in Liberty Park in NYC, and whose judgement I respect and trust, asked me via Twitter yesterday: "Here's a question for you: what would an outcome for this look like? What would you consider a success?"

He was referring to the Occupy movements as a whole in asking the above questions, and he was referencing the blog post I published on Sunday, Oct. 23rd: "#OWS Now In 1500 Cities/Towns In US--Will It Be Enough?".

My answer is simple enough: a complete reconstruction of the American socioeconomic and political systems.

To flesh that answer out a bit, I mean the reconstruction of the American socioeconomic system, which would include the elimination not of capitalism per se, but the ending of predatory capitalism, of crony capitalism, and of the American corporatocracy, the last of which issues also falls under the reconstruction of the American political system since the two have become inextricably linked. As for the reconstruction of the American political system, I believe that assuming the retention of the present Constitution as a starting point, several constitutional amendments would be required. Among these would be an amendment which would effectively and for all time reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, another amendment which would set term limits for members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, another amendment which would end lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary (including the SCOTUS) and replace those judicial appointments with appointments of specified duration, another amendment which would end the pernicious, dangerous, and undemocratic practice of organized lobbying, an amendment which would forbid all forms of paid political advertising, and at least one further amendment which would subject all elected (and some appointed) federal officials including the presidency, members of Congress, and justices of the Supreme Court to the process of recall elections under set terms and conditions.

Obviously, there isn't a chance in hell that all of those issues, perhaps even any of them, will ever be addressed--not in the lifetimes of those now protesting in the streets of America's cities and towns, and probably not in the lives even of their great-great-great grandchildren. But my friend (and I do think of this man in that way, although we have never met and probably never will) didn't ask me for a realistic appraisal of the possible, only what I would consider a "success."

"But you didn't mention ending America's wars!" someone reading this post might point out hotly. No, I didn't, because if the American people actually controlled their own government, American empire-building and military interventionism/adventurism would stop in about ten seconds, and U.S. troops overseas would be boarding ships and planes for the trip home beginning in twenty-four hours or less.

If you are reading this and asking "Why not all or any of the above?" the answer, as I've stated in this blog numerous times before, is even simpler than my original answer to my friend's questions. Those who currently hold the strings of power in their hands in the United States, including the elected officials of either party not to mention the corporate CEOs and boards of directors who pull their strings, are not about to let power slip out of their hands. In fact, in all of human history, no entrenched socioeconomic/political system has ever voluntarily relinquished its power and authority; and say what they will, pretend to "understand" or "sympathize with" today's Occupy protesters as much as they may, those men and women who run the United States of America today will prove no different when push comes to shove.

"Ah, but what about Tahir Square?" you may ask. Didn't the people of Egypt, or at least the people of Cairo, manage to force basic regime change in a country which, unlike the United States, had no effective democratic traditions in the first place? Yes, they did, but the protesters in Cairo were in Egypt's capital city, and they numbered not thousands but tens or even hundreds of thousands. And even then, they were not successful until the Egyptian military decided that their best bet was to dump their allegiance to Hosni Mubarak and his regime and to go over to the side of the protesters instead. The same was true in Tunisia. Protesters there were only successful when the local gendarmerie and military dumped their former employer in favor of those who were protesting the status quo. Can anyone imagine a similar situation occurring in the United States? In Washington, D.C.? I can't.

The late, former revolutionary and Chinese leader Mao Zhedong once observed that, "Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun," and he wasn't wrong, although one might well generalize the former Chairman's observation to read that political power grows out of the control of armed force, for all the fantasy Americans are still taught today in school that "government derives from the consent of the governed."

In the United States, "armed force" means police departments and active members of the United States military. As of today, in cities and towns across the country, American governors, mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs, and other authorities are demonstrating clearly that, constitutional rights notwithstanding, they have no hesitation in using the armed forces available to them in the form of militarized police departments to sweep up protests and protesters whose goings-on they find threatening or even simply inconvenient, nor is such repression occurring only in areas where elected officials are self-proclaimed "conservatives." And this when the Occupy protests are little more than a month old. Already the forces of repression are trampling constitutional rights which Americans have taken for granted for centuries, and they've just barely begun warming up.

As the repression builds, will more Americans (in tens or hundreds of thousands, or even in the millions) be motivated to come out into the streets and take an active part? I would't care to bet on it.