The Talking Dog

June 28, 2013, Department of irony department

Chris Cillizza of WaPo ordinarily devotes his life to the conventional wisdom, i.e., being a legitimate heir to the late David Broder of WaPo... and, needless to say, being a useful repository of... conventional wisdom.

Color me surprised by this sudden reality check on the part of... Mr. Cillizza... who gives us this compilation noting that political donors of meaning, to wit, the ones who donate big enough that politicians pay attention (not to mention do their bidding...) number barely 31,385 in this whole freaking country of 300,000,000 people...... he also links to this even more useful piece... WOW. Just wow.

The point seems obvious... these one-one hundredth of one per cent (to wit, .01per cent of the population) are the feudal lords... the rest of us just live in their world... as some kind of feudal vassal, or outright peasant... they actually own this world. Way to go Chris. We've suspected this to be true... but now you've provided us the numbers.

I hope you keep your job after telling us this.

June 18, 2013, Some of the things happening in the latter stages of Empire

From the great Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald, we get this piece indicating that the Dept. of Defense has decided to identify the 48 men who are deemed "too dangerous to try, but too Muslim to release" and hence subject to indefinite detention. For whatever reason, the Government decided to honor this particular Freedom of Information Act request... given that the Big O's approval ratings have finally taken the Bush-like nosedive finally appropriate to well, doing things like the latest NSA surveillance over reach, i.e., being Bush... maybe, a few interesting moves might be in order.

Then again, Candace treats us to her American life, Ira Glass's program being one of the few bright spots on National Propaganda Radio (NPR)... in this case, with a program segment devoted to talking to GTMO lawyers about the fact that they assume all of their telecom transactions (phone, e-mail, texts, faxes, etc.) are monitored by the government. As a sometimes frequent correspondent with said GTMO lawyers (particularly Candace), I assume I am under such monitoring myself... and the fact that I try to lead an exemplary life is no excuse (I tried to lead an exemplary life anyway).
But the fact is, I assume you are also being monitored... in my view, the limitations are now strictly technical and logistical... if they can, they are... once you can murder your own citizens with complete impunity, we can assume that "the law" is not an impediment to well, anything... the only concerns are "can we get away with it" and "can we get away with the adverse publicity if caught," Which takes us to where we are. I assume you're being monitored... care, or don't... but don't assume you have an "expectation of privacy" if you use any electronic media. Practically, of course, Uncle lacks the manpower to read and listen to everything... but if you piss off someone important.... just saying...

Here's a profile (is it a puff-piece? a hit-piece?) of America's "drone-master"... CIA Director John Brennan. Just an unassuming guy who went to a Catholic school in New Jersey's Hudson County who has gone on to order Mafia style hits... only in his case, for the Empire, rather than doing something less unsavory, like say, murdering other criminals for the Mafia.

And in yesterday's news today, we get this piece from Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! urging GTMO medical staff to comply with medical ethics and stop the force-feeding (you know.,.. we were only on this seven years ago with our interview with Dr. David Nicholl on the subject of... the medical ethics of force-feeding GTMO hunger-striking prisoners!) Not to belittle Amy... she also being one of the few bright-spots of broadcast journalism, and of course, she's keeping the hunger strike at GTMO front and center where it belongs. Goodonya, Amy.

Mostly, I got nothing. The only encouraging sign is that Obama's Bush-like behavior has finally started to yield Bush-like approval numbers. Yes, it's only symbolic and rhetorical, but consciousness has to start somewhere.

Again.... just saying.

Update: Candace observes that the list associated with the Miami Herald piece might be somewhat different from other lists that she has seen; I believe this link to Gawker will take one to the actual Freedom of Information Act response (I hope)... draw your own conclusions...

June 10, 2013, Hail to the victors

A brief reference to the U. of Michigan fight song, after this weekend's visit to Ann Arbor, where, notwithstanding an early asthma attack and a late foot problem with my big toe, completed the Ann Arbor Marathon in more or less the usual time, for my second marathon since I turned 50, 36th marathon finish overall and 20th state.

The song presumably does not apply to the Obama Administration, nor to its newest public enemy no. 1, former NSA/CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden, now bizarrely seeking refuge in Chinese controlled Hong Kong.. Snowden merely confirmed what I certainly thought had been true since before the Obama Administration even took office, let alone decided to out-Bush Bush on virtually every regressive and awful policy available (from expanding the war in Afghanistan and the formerly known as war on terror to keeping GTMO nice and open.... right down to extending "the Bush tax cuts")... that being...

Snowden outed the government on its "PRISM" program which, unsurprisingly, is designed to capture all electronic communications, be it phone calls, e-mails, text messages, or internet usage... we presume it can cross-reference with things like GPS and automatic toll paying devices and probably your dishwasher and choice of cable viewing. I commend the media for the pivot... obviously, I only listen to alleged progressive media, such as National Propaganda Radio (NPR), which started to throw words around like "possible treason" and "undermining national security" with respect to Mr. Snowden, who, like Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, should instead be up for a Nobel Peace Prize, if not possible sainthood. Notice instead that the "Peace Prize" went to my college classmate Barack-- the figurehead of our war machine. Well, the damned thing is freaking named after a dynamite merchant, so what should we expect?

Oh... the polling shows... "it's o.k. if you're a Democrat." In other words, public principled opposition to the government's intrusion on your life is based on whether you think the other party is doing it.

The most repressive and dangerous regime in the world is, and has been for some time, based in Washington, D.C.: the American corporate financial national security state. It is relentless, can (and does) kill with impunity, and will let nothing stand in its way... if necessary in its own belief system, it will take actions that result in the ultimate destruction of life on this planet... certainly human life. To the extent that a few courageous people are willing to risk death and torture at the hands of such a regime is a testament to their courage, if not possibly their rashness and foolhardiness.

And let's face it: the only real difference between Barack Obama and George W. Bush is the personal likeability thing... their policies are indistinguishable (except, as far as we know, Bush never ordered hits on American citizens).

Alrightie then. We got ourselves a never-ending war-- certainly, the war on whistleblowers goes on... even the same day that the Obama Administration eases up a tad on its own war on young women... just letting the Founding Fathers slow down the spinning in their graves just a little.