JUST ADDED: Watch what you say! Big Brother is watching--with terrifying new efficiency, according to Wired Magazine's James Bamford, investigative reporter, who writes about an alarming database containing personal emails, transcripts of cellphone conversations, and more. Plus a supercomputer to search for patterns in your communications. Here's the transcript of James Bamford speaking with Amy Goodman:
White is black and black is white, my mother would have said. Adolph Hitler expressed the credo underpinning current American political life, as, "Make the lie big enough, keep it simple, keep repeating it and it will be believed."
Eric Holder told a graduating class of law students--law students!--that the Constitution guarantees due process, but that doesn't mean judicial process. What would constitute "due" in the absence of "judicial", Mr. Holder doesn't explain to students who ought to know better--nor to those of us who remain committed to democracy and transparent governance in spite of his boss seizing the right to summarily dispense with unpleasant citizens.
Here's an aside into the field loosely termed "entertainment" for examples of similarly interesting logic:
Bill Maher argues that vicious slander is free speech but threatening to boycott products from companies that finance Rush Limbaugh isn't.
(Reminds me of a cheesy horror movie produced many years ago, featuring the cozy four-person nuclear family moving into the hackneyed haunted house. First, the little girl dies mysteriously. Then the mother is dispatched. At this point, the little boy cries, "Daddy! Let's get out of here before something terrible happens!" Yeah. Like a male going all mortal.
I know, Bill. Women need to learn to relax, lay back, and enjoy it when their sex life is distorted into sick drivel for the amusement of millions of morons.)
And while we're on this morbidly obese topic, Rush Limbaugh believes insurance companies are supported by federal tax dollars. And that women having a lot of sex require a proportionately large amount of birth control, way too much for the American taxpayer to subsidize. Which suggests Rush has never had sex, at least not with any woman using any form of birth control. The former possibility strikes me--having seen the man--as entirely credible. The latter, however, does not. After all, Rush is walking-talking evidence of our desperate need for access to affordable birth control. Surely, even stoked with the drugs necessary to make someone succumb to his "charms," any woman would take steps to prevent herself from reproducing them.
The Obama Administration tells us truth-tellers and whistleblowers are the enemy, not corrupt officials or sadists in positions of power. He also tells us terrorists must be punished but that we should let bygones be bygones with the Administration that launched a frivolous war resulting in thousands of deaths and the destruction of a country's infrastructure.
The Republican party (with a vigorous nod from most Democrats) tells us giving tax breaks to the wealthy and to multinational corporations, while extracting the means to finance government from a shriveling middle class, will end the recession (and the deficit). Oh yeah. And we need to launch another war to keep us safe and solvent. Just as the two wars we have pursued have done.
Prosecutors and legislators tell us locking up 1 in every 142 Americans will reduce the crime rate, but criminal activity, including murder, rape and torture, in prisons doesn't count. Also not counting are the criminals produced through incarceration and hapless petty crooks, bludgeoned into plea bargains by threats of spending a lifetime behind bars for swiping a bottle of Jim Beam. America now subscribes to frying a hundred innocent men rather than letting one guilty man go. Exemplifying this turnabout, one enthusiastic opponent of crime said of Rick Perry's refusal of a pardon to a man whose culpability remained unproven, "Executing an innocent man takes balls."
So-called "pro-life" fanatics tell us a fertilized egg is a human being with rights but a girl who's been raped by her father probably asked for it, and, by the way, let's get tougher on crime and quicker in our due-processing so criminals can be killed without taking up so much of our time.
The Supreme Court tells us corporations are entitled to all of the rights of any citizen but bear almost none of the responsibility. In response to that decision, I find myself agreeing with the wag who said that when Standard Oil and Citibank are lethally injected, I'll believe they're people.
But this is the Court where the argument that African Americans and Latino-Americans occupy 56% of America's death cells doesn't prove race plays too big a role in our judicial system. If only people of color would incorporate!
Now that the Constitution has been eviscerated of everything except the right to bear arms, what's a sensible American to do?
Form a viable third party. The time has never been better. Voters are disgusted with the President because he has broken nearly every promise he made and has taken Bush's attack on our Constitution to a more dangerous level. Certainly they are disgusted with all the Republican candidates, not one of which seems capable of keeping his foot on the floor and out of his mouth.
The Tea Party's way too wacky for any voter with the ability to reason.
Of course, the problem is that, as we find ourselves surrounded by bigger and bigger lies,
too often repeated, the ability to reason has become an increasingly rare skill hereabouts. We continue to march to the polls, blackmailed again and again into pulling the lever for candidates who consistently betray us, scared as the Jim Beam thief into a decision that goes against our self-interest.
When will we ever learn?
COMMENT ON GOVERNMENT HANDOUTS: Generous grants based on chalking up convictions of drug dealers inspired counties to create dealers by offering to buy newly purchased drugs from users and then arresting them. The identified actual dealers provided a stream of income-producing customers so it seemed inexpedient to arrest and prosecute THEM.
Now Oakland, California, thrashing about for a means to keep its coffers from imploding, has come up with a new scheme to milk the Feds. Schools are failing. Young men are shooting each other. Houses are being foreclosed. Workers prowl the streets, desperate for jobs that have evaporated.
But Oakland has a plan! They have done--drum roll, please--a study! And concluded there is an irrefutable need to reduce a major traffic artery (Redwood Road/35th Avenue) from four lanes to two!
Now how much will the Feds pony up for this scheme?