Tag Archives: privacy

Trump is toast

As an American politician or political candidate you can get away with saying all manner of vile, oppressive, even dangerous things in a “nice,” “polite” way, but a sex scandal always can bring you down like a ton of bricks in the hypocritically Victorian U.S. of A. Yesterday, The Washington Post released a video of Donald Trump in 2005 braggadociously reporting that he had tried, unsuccessfully, to “fuck” a married woman although at the time he already was married to his third wife, Melania. Trump, in Yoda-like fashion, also advised that with women whom you want to fuck, if “you’re a star,” you simply “Grab them by the pussy.”

We all already knew that Der Fuhrer Donald Trump is boorish, but the recording of him proclaiming in 2005 that “when you’re a star, they [(attractive) women] let you do … anything,” such as “Grab them by the pussy” just makes that knowledge so real. (The audio-video recording of Trump’s remarks about “do[ing] anything” to women whom you desire “when you’re a star” is here.)

This very most likely is the end of Trump’s campaign for president (although of course he has proclaimed that he won’t drop out; only someone who possesses a modicum of shame would do that).

I generally don’t believe in the public release of private remarks, but I don’t know that you really can call this case an invasion of privacy. I mean, Trump was openly talking to a TV show host and his remarks were picked up by a hot microphone. He wasn’t chatting at home or talking on the telephone.

And just as we needed to know about Clarence Thomas’ character before he incredibly stupidly was put on the U.S. Supreme Court, we need to know about Trump’s before he incredibly stupidly is put in the Oval Office.

Trump already was on a downward trajectory anyway after his shitty first presidential debate performance and the news that he apparently hasn’t paid federal income taxes in many years — fivethirtyeight.com right now puts his chances of winning the White House at only only 18.6 percent to Billary Clinton’s 81.4 percent, and I expect his chances to continue to dwindle — but it’s really over for him now.

“No woman should ever be described in these terms or talked about in this manner. Ever,” Repugnican National Committee head Reince Preibus was forced to declare just a month and a day before the presidential election, and 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential candidate Mittens Romney similarly proclaimed, “Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.”

Pretty Boy Paul Ryan, Mittens’ running mate in 2012 and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, called the recording “sickening” and stated, “I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”

In his own “defense,” Trump proclaimed, “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

Wow.

“Locker-room banter,” yes, indeed, but Trump wants to be president of the United States of America, and this banter didn’t stay inside of the locker room. And while 2005 was a bit over a decade ago, Trump is 70 years old now, so he was plenty old enough to know better in 2005. His claim that today he is a changed man is incredible; he didn’t make these remarks when he was in his teens or 20s.

I’m sure that we’ve had plenty of lechers in the White House, but, again, we haven’t heard recordings of their lecherous words; their lechery has remained, for the most part, an abstraction.

And when Trump tries to bring in Bill Clinton — who no doubt indeed was one of the former lechers in the White House, replete with semen-stained intern’s dress and all —  Trump reminds me of his opponent Billary Clinton, who frequently tries to throw someone else under the bus or tries to use someone else as a political human shield (Barack Obama, usually) when she is cornered.

It’s no wonder that both Trump and Billary are the most hated U.S. presidential candidates in modern history.

Speaking of Billary, I will note (to be, you know, fair and balanced) that some of the remarks that she reportedly made to Wall Street weasels in her highly paid speeches to them (you know, the transcripts of which she has refused to release) have been leaked by WikiLeaks, and while some of them are unflattering, in terms of political scandals, they’re nothing on the level of Pussygrabgate. (On that note, maybe it’s because I’m gay, but how, exactly, do you grab a woman by the pussy? You can grab a man by his junk, I suppose, especially if he’s gifted in that area, but there’s not much of a woman’s crotch to grab, is there?)

Anyway, let’s see: Billary allegedly stated that “politics is like sausage being made,” adding, that “if everybody’s watching, you know, all of the back room discussions and the deals, you know, then people get a little nervous, to say the least. So, you need both a public and a private position.”

Like El Trumpo’s presidential proclamation about pussy-grabbing, this statement about sausage-making isn’t exactly shocking coming from Billary. For instance, I’ve always believed that she personally supported same-sex marriage long before she finally publicly came out for it in March 2013 (after Barack Obama finally had done so in May 2012), for fuck’s sake. And when NPR’s Terry Gross grilled Billary on it in June 2014, she reacted in such a hyper-defensive way as to reveal that she indeed has a public face and a private face, that she’s shamelessly two-faced.

Billary also allegedly stated, in the material in the latest WikiLeaks dump, “My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.”

Slate.com notes that “This may thrill the [progressive] editors at Voxbut presumably not white working-class voters in Ohio. Point Trump.”

I would be fine with open trade and “a hemispheric common market” if they were run by us commoners instead of by corporate weasels; my problem with globalization and “free” trade thus far isn’t with the concepts of them, but with the execution of them thus far: by corporate weasels who care only about profiteering and not at all about people and not at all about the planet. The treasonous corporate weasels can and will pervert any good idea on which they can get their greedy little grubbies.

I’m also fine with a significantly more porous border between the United States and Mexico and the rest of Latin America. We Americans have more to gain than we have to lose from such a more open exchange of culture, ideas, goods and services.

But let’s face it: What’s preventing such a more open exchange between the United States and Latin America is that Americans are economically richer, as a whole, than are Latin Americans, and most Americans don’t want that socioeconomic inequity to change any decade soon. This is why even many (if not even most) who identify as Democrats don’t want a significantly more permeable southern border (and a wholly open border is an uber-non-starter for the vast majority of Americans, I’m confident).

Speaking of the southern border, Donald Trump this past week made a comment that I find more offensive and harmful than his frat-boy pussy-grabbing comment from 2005: This past week Trump alleged that the federal government is allowing “illegals” from Mexico to come into the United States to vote for Democrats.

Not only is this a fucking lie — The Washington Post notes that “There’s no evidence … that immigrants (a) come to the country illegally to vote, (b) register to vote illegally and (c) cast votes in federal elections on any substantive scale” and that “There’s essentially no in-person voter fraud in American politics” — but demagogue Der Fuhrer Trump really needs to get his anti-Mexican rhetoric straight:

Do Mexican “illegals” come to the United States to rape, murder, pillage and plunder, as he and his xenophobic, nationalist, fascist, white-supremacist supporters repeatedly have alleged — or do they come here to vote?

Because, you know, when I think of hard-core criminals, I just don’t think of them as being committed voters. (Seriously: For sure, right after a man has raped and murdered and done some drug-running, he wants nothing more than to go vote illegally!)

Trump’s fucking fascist lie that Mexican “illegals” are crossing the border in droves in order to vote illegally is meant to accomplish at least two evil things:

(1) To bolster the fascist wingnuts’ delusion that the majority of us Americans actually agree with their hateful, ignorant, bigoted, demented, basket-of-deplorables worldview, and therefore, when the wingnuts lose elections, it only can mean that the elections were rigged (and therefore, any election results that don’t favor the wingnuts should be disregarded). This mindset is a grave threat to our democracy.

and

(2) To continue, for political and personal gain, to demonize and dehumanize the brown-skinned denizens from south of the border, much how the Nazis demonized and dehumanized Jews (and many, many others) for political and personal gain. We know what happened to the Jews and to the other victims of the Nazis.

Donald Trump is a fascist piece of shit who must never become president, and who, should he actually make it that far (which at this point is highly unlikely but not absolutely impossible, I suppose), must be relieved of the office by whatever means necessary. The republic is more important than is any one individual, especially a fascistic, pussy-grabbing, Latin-American-bashing piece of shit like Donald John Trump.

Thankfully, while fivethirtyeight.com puts Trump’s chances of becoming president at not even a full one in five, I put it at about one in a hundred (one in fifty would be charitable).

Bloodshed over Der Fuhrer Trump most likely won’t be necessary, but if the fascist traitors who support Der Fuhrer Trump want a rematch of the Civil War, my standing response remains: Bring it, bitches!

P.S. Oh, yeah (duh): The second presidential debate is scheduled for tomorrow night. There is a pretty good chance that I’ll live-blog it. Especially now.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Privacy rights sacked for one old racist’s scalp

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and V. Stiviano

Associated Press photo

In this late 2010 photo, Donald Sterling and his former mistress, V. Stiviano, watch Sterling’s team, the Los Angeles Clippers, play the Los Angeles Lakers during an NBA pre-season basketball game. Apparently, in a vengeful move, Stiviano released illegally recorded racist comments made by Sterling, and a nation that no longer is bothered by blatant violations of privacy has mostly overlooked this element to the scandal, which I find chilling. 

Soon-to-be-former Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling strikes me as a racist asshole. Probably the best thing that we can say about him is that he has far many more days on this planet behind him than he has ahead of him. So let’s agree on that, since that may be all that we can agree on in this post.

The thing is that I have a real problem with the way that Sterling has been publicly tarred and feathered. How you do something, and how something comes about, do matter.

First of all, I agree wholeheartedly with fellow leftist Ted Rall that Sterling’s privacy rights very apparently were violated. As Rall notes in a column he recently wrote for aNewDomain.net (the links are Rall’s):

… Yet there’s a major part of the Sterling story that American journalists aren’t covering. One that’s just as important as the reminder that racism is still thriving in the executive suite — a suite whose profits derive mostly from African-American players, and whose boss has a half-black, half-Mexican girlfriend, no less.

What about Sterling’s privacy rights?

They tell us privacy is dead. Online, between the NSA and the public’s failure to take to the streets to bitch about the NSA, privacy is probably finished.

But what about a private phone call?

V. Stiviano, Sterling’s 31-year-old former mistress, appears to have surreptitiously recorded the call, baiting him into making disgusting remarks for the record and releasing it to the media, including the gossip sites TMZ and Deadspin, in retaliation for a $1.8 million lawsuit filed last week by Sterling’s wife. Mrs. Sterling is seeking the return of an apartment, cash and several cars — communal marital property under California law — that Sterling gave Stiviano.

Contextually, this is more gossip than journalism, closer to the ranting Alec Baldwin voice mail to his daughter tacklessly released by ex-wife Kim Basinger, than anything like WikiLeaks. We aren’t supposed to know about this. [I mostly agree with this, but when you leave a voice mail, you know that you are being recorded, and so that is a critical difference from being recorded without your knowledge or consent.]

What’s being ignored amid a firestorm of controversy so out of control that even the president of the United States felt compelled to weigh in on this matter so beneath the dignity of his office is this: Sterling’s privacy rights have been violated, both legally and morally.

Which is not good for him. Much more importantly, it’s terrible for us. …

I will add that in criminal law, there is the concept of the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” This means that evidence against a person that is obtained illegally — such as by violating one’s constitutional right to privacy — may not be introduced into the courtroom. If you did not obtain the incriminating evidence legally — constitutionally — you may not use it against the individual.

Further, as Rall goes on to note in his column:

… First, the legal issue: California, where this call almost certainly took place, requires the consent of both parties in order to record a phone conversation. Stiviano risks a year in jail and a $2,500 fine. (There doesn’t appear to be a penalty for making the recording public. California’s state assembly should consider one.) …

I, for one, hope that a district attorney prosecutes Sterling for her criminal act (although I doubt that that will happen, because of the race-charged politics of this matter), and I hope that Sterling sues Stiviano in civil court for having violated his right to privacy. (Um, he certainly can prove that he has sustained damages…)

I make this stance not to support a racist, as the race hustlers will accuse me (and there are so-called race hustlers of every race), but I make this stance to support the principle that a blatant violation of another’s constitutional right to privacy — such as recording him or her during a phone call and then publicizing the surreptitious recording of that phone call — should be punished. If it isn’t punished, then it means that privacy, and the law, mean nothing. (I know…)

Many certainly want to make an example of Sterling where racism is concerned — more on this shortly — and these same people, if they truly support our constitutional rights, which even blatant racists possess (just as they possess free-speech rights), should be fine with the privacy-rights-violating Stiviano’s being made an example of also.

Rall continues:

… Then there’s the moral question.

I have no beef with TMZ. When reporters find news, it is their duty to report it no matter where it comes from or who, it hurts. I’m a purist on this point: I don’t think WikiLeaks or Edward Snowden had any moral duty to protect intelligence secrets, not even the identities of spies, when they released classified U.S. government documents.

My problem is that nobody else seems to have a problem with recording private conversations and releasing them to the media.

As we learned from The People vs. Larry Flynt, society must defend its worst scumbags from having his rights violated, or everyone else risks losing theirs too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a world where every stupid thing I blather over the phone is potential fodder for public comment, Twitter wars and cause for dismissal from work.

Until we descend into the Stasi-like “Lives of Others” dystopia into which the NSA seems determined to transform the Land of the Formerly Free, everyone — including racist douchebags like Donald Sterling — ought to enjoy a reasonable presumption of privacy on the telephone. …

Yup.

And how about some due process? It was unseemly to have even the president of the United States calling for Sterling’s scalp before it was even concluded whether or not it was Sterling’s voice on the illegal recording. (Like most others, at this point I more or less am taking Sterling’s non-denial as fairly solid confirmation that it was indeed his voice that illegally was recorded, but at this point, if we value the truth, we will admit that we still have no actual evidence that it was indeed Sterling’s voice. [If Sterling has confessed, then OK, I stand pretty corrected, but I haven’t seen news of such a confession yet, if there is such news.])

And of course the mayor of my city (Sacrament0), former NBA player Kevin Johnson, had to insert himself into the whole Sterling mess, publicly declaring today, “I hope every bigot in this country saw what happened to Mr. Sterling.”

Johnson reportedly has been “a leading spokesman for NBA players during the Sterling controversy.”

I don’t know — the mayor of my city making such a threatening statement strikes me as thuggery. That’s a loaded word, thuggery, I know, but does Johnson’s public proclamation — his public threat exactly foster reconciliation among the races? Or does it only deepen racial divisions? Was Johnson, with his public statement — his thinly veiled threat — utilizing love or fear?

It was unseemly and unstatesmanlike, methinks, for Johnson to wave Sterling’s scalp in his hand as he did, and I can tell you, having lived in Sacramento during Johnson’s tenure as mayor (he’s now in his second term), that Johnson has done little for the city (California’s capital) outside of his personal interests.

Johnson apparently cares only about basketball (he recently was quite instrumental in denying us Sacramentans the ability to vote on whether or not there should be public funding for a new basketball arena that has been shoved down our throats by Johnson & Co.) and the ambitions of his wife, the infamous Michelle Rhee, to destroy teachers’ unions and turn our public schools into for-profit schools.

(And perhaps you should know that contributing to my use of the term “thuggery” above is the fact that from Day One, Johnson has pushed his so-called “strong-mayor” initiative, a rewrite of city governance that would greatly increase his power and decrease the power of the city council. Johnson has been pushing for this right since he took office. Kevin Johnson always has been, and always will be, all about Kevin Johnson and more pure, raw, political power for Kevin Johnson. He’s yet another example of why former jocks almost never should be handed the reins of power.)

I suppose that I digressed there (but I view Johnson as corrupt and dangerous as he is ambitious, and so I believe in educating people about what he’s really all about), but I come back now to the concept of the fruit of the poisoned tree: If it was even legal to do so, was it fair for Donald Sterling to have been punished as harshly as he was* for something that he said during a phone conversation that he had thought was private but that illegally was recorded by the other party, apparently for revenge? (Why else would you record a phone conversation, in whole or in part, except to use the recording later, such as by releasing it to other parties or by threatening to release it to other parties?)

I highly doubt that not one of the many black (and other non-white) Americans (prominent and non-prominent) who have publicly (and privately) slammed Donald Sterling for his racism never has uttered anti-white sentiment (and/or other racist sentiment) in a private communication with another individual.

How would any of them like it if a recording of them engaging in such talk in private were made public?

In the Sterling affair I just don’t see a national quest for justice and for racial reconciliation. I see Sterling as the stand-in for all old white bigots. Indeed, the size of his punishment indicates that Sterling is being punished not only for his own crimes, but for those of many, many others. (Indeed, Kevin Johnson directly proclaimed today, in his characteristically self-serving grandstanding, that he publicly was waving Sterling’s scalp as an example to “every bigot in this country.”)

That’s not fair, and making a scapegoat of Sterling — while ignoring the fact that his constitutional right to privacy blatantly was violated — won’t improve race relations in the United States of America. Indeed, it might make them worse.

Racism is institutionalized, is deeply ingrained, within the United States of America, and the racial hatreds in the United States are not only one way, whites hating blacks, but also run the other way, blacks hating whites, and of course the other races also engage in race-based hatred, and so we have many possible permutations of raced-based hatred in the U.S., and there is no quick or easy fix to this ugliness.

Electing a black president (twice) sure hasn’t helped very much — as Tavis Smiley remarked in October, “The data is going to indicate, sadly, that when the Obama administration is over, black people will have lost ground in every single leading economic indicator category” — and neither will punishing one old white bigot by dangling him in the public square for all to see and revile.

P.S. I listened to the clip of Kevin Johnson again, and the fuller, more accurate quote is: “I hope every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall, so can you.”

Wow. Is that really the tone that we want to set for interracial reconciliation? And what does this mean, exactly? That from now on all of us can expect to have our phone conversations recorded, because all is fair in interracial warfare?

*Yes, it seems to me that imposing upon Sterling the maximum allowable $2.5 million fine, banning him from the NBA for life, and forcing him to sell his team for something that he said in an illegally recorded phone conversation probably is too harsh a punishment for the crime, a crime that he could not even be criminally tried for, since the evidence against him was obtained illegally and unconstitutionally.

It seems to me that we’re no better than Sterling if we celebrate his downfall, which has been orchestrated so underhandedly, and that when one person’s privacy so casually can be violated, then none of us has any privacy.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

You SLAY me, Barack!

At a time when the “Democratic” White House administration and the “Democratic” Party believe that the Bill of Rights are negotiable, the Million Mask March comes not a day too late.

So it can come as no surprise to learn that President Barack Obama — winner of the Nobel Peace Prize — reportedly bragged that with the use of killer drones, he has become “really good at killing people.”

This news comes after I just watched Jeremy Scahill’s important documentary “Dirty Wars” on Netflix.

In the documentary, Scahill (among many other things) points out how far the United States of America has fallen that its president can act as judge, jury and executioner and order the assassination of even American citizens. Indeed, the killer drones that Obama brags so much about have snuffed out at least two U.S. citizens.*

This is, to put it mildly, not the “hope” and “change” that I voted for in November 2008.

Once we make it acceptable for the president of the United States of America to target certain U.S. citizens as “terrorists” ripe for unilateral, extrajudicial assassination, what’s to stop a president’s mere political opponents from being branded as “terrorists,” as “enemies of the state” who “must” be eliminated?

Americans’ collective deafening silence on the blatantly illegal, immoral, unethical and unconstitutional presidential (or other governmental) use of killer drones only pushes us further toward that scenario.

For his cowardly, illegal, and yes, evil, use of killer drones alone I could not cast a second vote for Barack Hussein Obama in November 2012.

Americans also haven’t made nearly enough noise about the mind-blowing abuses of the National Security Agency and other eavesdropping branches of government, who shit and piss all over the U.S. Constitution and its guarantees, especially the Fourth Amendment’s establishment of “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures,” which “shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment’s guarantees are not negotiable, yet both parties of our broken, insanely unrepresentative, pro-corporate duopolistic system say that the law of the land is whatever they say it is — just as they say that the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee that a U.S. citizen will not be executed without first having had a fair trial is negotiable.

(The Sixth Amendment reads: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.”)

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t belong just to the “tea-party” fucktards. It belongs to all of us Americans, and its protections stem from historical gross abuses of power by those who hold such power — abuses of power that always have been foreseeable, and that thus have been proscribed in the document that is the supreme law of the land, of which no person is above.

Therefore, to point out that something or someone blatantly and unacceptably violates the U.S. Constitution doesn’t make one a crackpot. It makes one a patriot.

And one who calls him- or herself a “Democrat” yet makes excuses for such unconstitutional — and thus treasonous — actions by Barack Obama is not a patriot, but is a worthless fucking party hack, no better than the party hacks on the right who have made all kinds of excuses for the treasonous, anti-constitutional actions by the unelected Bush-Cheney regime.

Barack Obama not only is good at killing people, but he’s been great at killing his party.

After having watched Obama follow up his ubiquitous, relentless promises of “hope” and “change” only by using the U.S. Constitution as his own personal toilet paper — and after having watched the likes of right-wing millionaire “Democratic” U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein call brave, patriotic whistle-blower Edward Snowden a “traitor” when she, in fact, is the fucking Constitution-trampling traitor — I am done with the “Democratic” Party. And I’m not alone.

I hope that tomorrow’s Million Mask March goes well, and that it spawns many more public demonstrations against the treasonous elite in D.C. who long ago forgot who serves whom.

I have the feeling that it won’t be long before I am donning a mask of my own and taking it to the streets.

It’s long past time to burn it all down and start over again.

*Don’t get me wrong. It’s not only a crime only when it’s committed against a U.S. citizen. The U.S. government, as Scahill and others have pointed out, is perpetrating war crimes against people abroad on pretty much a daily basis — war crimes that guarantee that we’ll always have a fresh supply of “terrorists” so that those who treasonously profiteer from keeping us “safe” from the “terrorists” that they treasonously create will have a steady income of our tax dollars.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Patriot Ed Snowden evokes Nuremberg in his ongoing fight for freedom

Snowden wants Russia asylum, lawmaker says

Associated Press image

American patriot Edward Snowden during a press conference at a Moscow airport today stated that he has been following “the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: ‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.'” Amen. The U.S. government does not own us. We own it. Ultimately, all of us, every single human being, is a citizen of the world — and not the property of any one nation. (The full transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today are below; I recommend that you read every word.)

I was just asking to be rescued from the ocean of freedom in which I’m drowning (U-S-A! U-S-A!), but I’m still drowning in all of that freedom!

Very apparently, the elites in D.C., who stopped representing our interests long, long ago, believe that they have the right to restrict our right to travel freely.

To me, the right to travel freely — until and unless one has been demonstrated in a fair trial in a court of law to pose an actual (and not a hypothetical) threat to others — is a universal human right, and if we bash certain other nations for restricting their citizens’ right to travel freely (and we do), then we’re fucking hypocrites (as usual) when we do the same.

To wit: The Repugnican-Tea-Party-controlled U.S. House of Representatives — and remember, these very same wingnuts claim that they’re all about “freedom” — apparently want to put further restrictions on American citizens’ right to travel to Cuba.

The pro-capitalist/pro-feudalism wingnuts hate the anti-capitalist Cuba, you see, and they want the continued monetary support of Cuban Americans, the majority of whom (like Florida’s Marco Rubio and Texas’ Ted Cruz) are wingnuts, so, to keep the tiny minority of Americans who are of Cuban descent happy and to keep their campaign contributions (well, their bribes) flowing, the wingnuts want to tell us Americans which nations we may visit and which nations we may not.

Where Cuba is concerned, this is for purely political/ideological reasons, and therefore it is a blatant violation of our human rights. We Americans essentially are to be political prisoners of the right wing. Yes, to me, restricting someone’s free travel is in same league as false imprisonment: You are unjustly restricting someone’s freedom of movement from one place to another.

This isn’t just a Repugnican Tea Party thing.

American patriot Edward Snowden’s latest pronouncement (which he made during a press conference in Russia today) is that (as we already knew) the U.S. government is doing its damnedest to keep him virtually imprisoned in Russia. Snowden has asked for temporary asylum in Russia while he figures out how to travel to one of the Latin American nations, including Venezuela, that have offered him permanent asylum.

Snowden should be able to travel anywhere on the planet, but the U.S. government, the biggest bully on the planet, has been strong-arming weaker nations into preventing Snowden from flying over their airspace; these weakers nations fear that if they don’t succumb tot he U.S. government’s demands, the U.S. government will retaliate against them.

That’s called bullying, and bullying comes from a space of cowardice, not of strength. A strong nation doesn’t need to violate a single individual’s human rights. We say this all the time of individuals: If you have nothing to hide, then what are you worried about? I say the same thing to the treasonous elites of the U.S. government: If you have no wrongdoing to hide, then why the hell are you working so hard to persecute Edward Snowden?

It’s obvious that Snowden can’t get a fair trial in the U.S., not when the American “justice” system is controlled by the same treasonous elites who want his head on a silver platter. Therefore, because he is the victim of political persecution, his application for political asylum in another nation is apt.

While the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor,” they’re still doing what they can to snare him, and if we allow them to persecute him, then we are enabling them to expand their net until one day, sooner rather than later, any of us commoners who have embarrassed and/or pissed off the treasonous elites can be branded as “traitors” — not because we actually harmed the nation in any way, of course, but only because we dared to cross our overlords.

Of course, perhaps the reason that the treasonous elites in D.C. more or less have stopped calling Snowden a “traitor” — aside from the fact that such pronouncements have demonstrated already that he cannot get a fair trial in the U.S. — is that Snowden’s status as a “traitor” is the minority view.

While the results of the Quinnipiac University poll of more than 2,000 registered voters nationwide that was taken from June 28 through July 8 admittedly are a bit schizophrenic, the answer to at least one of the questions seems fairly clear. That question was “Do you regard Edward Snowden — the national security consultant who released information to the media about the phone-scanning program [that’s not exactly all of it, but whatever ] — as more of a traitor, or more of a whistleblower?”

Only 34 percent of the poll respondents were willing to brand Snowden a “traitor,” while 55 percent deemed him a “whistleblower,” and 11 percent (for some reason) were “unsure.”

So entrapped are they in their Big Bubble of Privilege that the treasonous elites in D.C. from both of the duopolistic, pro-plutocratic, pro-corporate parties casually pronounced Snowden a “traitor,” when only about a third of the Americans whose interests these elites actually claim to represent agree with that assessment, while more than half of them — of us — disagree with that assessment. (Can you say “Out of fucking touch”?)

It seems to me that the elites in D.C. need to tread with caution. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are waking up to the fact that it’s our over-privileged overlords, and not young patriots like Edward Snowden, who are the real traitors who are doing the real damage to this nation and to the rest of the world.

P.S. Thus far Edward Snowden’s legal defense fund through the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has raised more than $37,000. I’ve given $30 thus far; if you wish, you can contribute here (be sure to give to the “PCCC Strategic Fund”).

Here is the transcript of Snowden’s remarks of today:

Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.

It is also a serious violation of the law. The Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance.

While the U.S. Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice – that it must be seen to be done. The immoral cannot be made moral through the use of secret law.

I believe in the principle declared at Nuremberg in 1945: “Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience. Therefore individual citizens have the duty to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity from occurring.”

Accordingly, I did what I believed right and began a campaign to correct this wrongdoing. I did not seek to enrich myself. I did not seek to sell U.S. secrets. I did not partner with any foreign government to guarantee my safety. Instead, I took what I knew to the public, so what affects all of us can be discussed by all of us in the light of day, and I asked the world for justice.

That moral decision to tell the public about spying that affects all of us has been costly, but it was the right thing to do and I have no regrets.

Since that time, the government and intelligence services of the United States of America have attempted to make an example of me, a warning to all others who might speak out as I have. I have been made stateless and hounded for my act of political expression.

The United States Government has placed me on no-fly lists. It demanded Hong Kong return me outside of the framework of its laws, in direct violation of the principle of non-refoulement – the Law of Nations. It has threatened with sanctions countries who would stand up for my human rights and the [United Nations] asylum system. It has even taken the unprecedented step of ordering military allies to ground a Latin American president’s plane in search for a political refugee.

These dangerous escalations represent a threat not just to the dignity of Latin America, but to the basic rights shared by every person, every nation, to live free from persecution, and to seek and enjoy asylum.

Yet even in the face of this historically disproportionate aggression, countries around the world have offered support and asylum. These nations, including Russia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador have my gratitude and respect for being the first to stand against human rights violations carried out by the powerful rather than the powerless. By refusing to compromise their principles in the face of intimidation, they have earned the respect of the world. It is my intention to travel to each of these countries to extend my personal thanks to their people and leaders.

I announce today my formal acceptance of all offers of support or asylum I have been extended and all others that may be offered in the future. With, for example, the grant of asylum provided by Venezuela’s President Maduro, my asylee status is now formal, and no state has a basis by which to limit or interfere with my right to enjoy that asylum.

As we have seen, however, some governments in Western European and North American states have demonstrated a willingness to act outside the law, and this behavior persists today. This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights.

This willingness by powerful states to act extra-legally represents a threat to all of us, and must not be allowed to succeed. Accordingly, I ask for your assistance in requesting guarantees of safe passage from the relevant nations in securing my travel to Latin America, as well as requesting asylum in Russia until such time as these states accede to law and my legal travel is permitted. I will be submitting my request to Russia today, and hope it will be accepted favorably.

If you have any questions, I will answer what I can.

Thank you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I’m rooting for underdog Snowden in his fight against the wolves

File photo of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden being interviewed by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong

Reuters image

Although it’s awfully inconvenient for the treasonous power elite in Washington, D.C., Edward Snowden is a free man who has the right to travel freely and who does not have to subject himself to a kangaroo court. And nor does any other sovereign nation have to capture Snowden for the convenience of the traitors in D.C. who seek not justice, but who seek revenge against the young man who blew their cover for their actual crimes against us, the American people.

The D.C. rhetoric regarding patriot Edward Snowden is revealing, graphically, the sick and twisted beliefs of the powers that be. We knew that they were drunk on power (which isn’t their power, but which is our power that we only temporarily have loaned to them), but now we realize the full scale of their alcoholism.

How dare Snowden travel wherever he wishes? As an American citizen, he is the property of the federal government!

Isn’t he? That’s how the traitors in D.C. are treating him — as though he were the veritable property of the U.S. government, and therefore, through his (very smart) refusal to just hand himself over to the thugs who no doubt will treat him like Bradley Manning or one of the victims at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp, he essentially is stealing government property (himself)!

Freedom? What freedom? You don’t have any fucking freedom! You are the property of the U.S. government! You exist for the government! The government does not exist for you!

That is the anti-democratic, fascist, freedom-hating mindset at work here, and we’re seeing it from members of both of the duopolistic, pro-corporate, pro-plutocratic parties.

Pathetic closet case Repugnican Tea Party Sen. Lindsey Graham, for instance, typical for the fascist that he is, recently proclaimed that “The freedom trail is not exactly China-Russia-Cuba-Venezuela, so I hope we’ll chase [Snowden] to the ends of the Earth….”

That sure sounds like Graham believes that Snowden does not have the right to freely travel, and no, unfortunately, the “freedom trail” does not lead to the United States of America, which is becoming fascist at a rate that would make Benito Mussolini jealous, but probably does lead to an actually democratic nation like Ecuador (said to be one of Snowden’s possible final destinations as he runs from the bloodthirsty wolves).

And big, bad “Democratic” Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, recently huffed and puffed that it is “deeply troubling” that the sovereign nations of China and Russia both apparently have refused to try to capture Snowden, but have let him travel freely — as though either sovereign nation were required to do the bidding of the power elites in D.C. who don’t want justice, but who want only to try to protect their own political asses.

Snowden’s real “crime,” you see, is that he dared to stand up to the powers that be and he embarrassed them (well, actually, they have embarrassed themselves, but of course they’re projecting, and so they’re blaming him).

The real crime here is the blatantly unconstitutional and treasonous mass spying that the power elites have been perpetrating upon us for years and years now. You don’t get to promise us that of course you’re not violating our constitutional rights and at the same time refuse to give us (under the guise of “national security”) significant details as to what it is, exactly, that you are doing under the cover of darkness.

Those who support Big Brother are the Constitution-violating traitors. Edward Snowden isn’t a “traitor” for simply having pointed out the real traitors. He’s a patriot for having done so, and he has infinitely more courage than do any of the cowardly worms who bash him, the kind of worthless suck-ups, concerned only about their own precious asses and not about dangerous abuses of power, who made Adolf Hitler’s rise to power possible.

The power elite are skating on very thin ice here. Already the U.S. government for years and years has been perceived (quite correctly) by us, the people, to be unresponsive to our needs and unrepresentative of our interests.

An attack on Edward Snowden is an attack on all of us.

To allow the lynching of Edward Snowden is to give the power elites carte blanche to disappear any of us whom they deem an embarrassment to them or otherwise to threaten their power and status.

If we now are going allow the mere embarrassment of the power elites and/or the challenge to the power elites’ power (such as by pointing out their crimes, such as their blatant violations of our constitutional protections) to be classified as a “crime,” then we might as well wrap up the American experiment right now and call it a Colossal Fucking Failure, and let’s just go full-blown already into the nightmare state that George Orwell dreamed of, the nightmare state in which all of us are monitored 24/7 and which any of us can be disappeared at any time by the power elite at their whim.

This is some serious shit, folks.

While I fairly hate to support the system (including our “legal” system) that makes this kind of bullshit even possible, as it gives that system the air of fairness and thus legitimacy, if you want to donate to the Edward Snowden legal defense fund, you can do so here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Two ways you can help patriot Edward Snowden right now

Updated below

U.S. National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from a video during an interview with the Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong

Reuters image

Repugnican Tea Party Speaker of the House John Boehner has called 29-year-old National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden (pictured above) a “traitor.”

This is not all that surprising, coming from an alcoholic fascist like Boehner, whose treasonous, far-right-wing party’s only wish is to preserve the status quo. (Actually, the Repugnican Tea Party traitors want to take us back to the Dark Ages, but, at the minimum, they want to keep us trapped where we are; they seek to block all progress in the United States of America, and to a large degree, they succeed.)

Edward Snowden is a defender of the U.S. Constitution — specifically, Americans’ Fourth-Amendment right to privacy.

But in the down-the-rabbit-hole United States of America, where freedom and democracy died long, long ago, the actually treasonous criminals are let off scot-fucking-free while those who report the treasonous criminals’ criminal and treasonous activity, like Snowden, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, are made into the “criminals.” They’re called by the hypocritically treasonous powers that be “traitors,” even.

(If Snowden is a “traitor,” gee, maybe he’s a “terrorist,” too! Maybe there’s a killer drone hunting him down as I type this sentence!)

Today, the power-mad, democracy-hating, Constitution-violating traitors in Washington go after patriots like Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning. (I’d call Julian Assange a patriot, but he’s Australian… Still, he’s a lover of actual freedom and actual democracy and he rejects the faux freedom and the faux democracy that the plutocrats and their servants in D.C. claim are the real thing.)

Tomorrow, the fascists in D.C. come for the rest of us.

There are two simple things that you can do right now to help Edward Snowden:

  • One, you can contribute to his legal defense fund, which the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has set up. You can do that here. (If you decide to donate to Snowden’s legal defense fund via the PCCC, be sure to donate to the “PCCC Strategic Fund” that is shown on the webpage.) I’ve given $10 to Snowden’s legal defense fund and I probably will give more.
  • Two, you can sign the petition on the White House’s website to encourage President Barack Obama to pardon Snowden. The petition is available here. (You’ll have to register with the website if you’re not already registered; registration is simple.) When I signed the petition this morning, almost half of the necessary 100,000 signatures necessary for the White House to consider the petition had been collected.

And use your sphere of influence, of course.

Doing these things is better that doing nothing. They’re something.

We need to alter the sociopolitical environment that even makes it possible for an actually treasonous fascist like John Boehner to call a courageous patriot like Edward Snowden a “traitor.”

P.S. I have to note that it’s pretty fucking stupid for the Repugnican Tea Party, which is hurting among youthful voters, to attack the 29-year-old Snowden like this.

I don’t expect the Obama administration, which has depended upon youthful voters, to attack Snowden nearly as viciously, but it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration decides to proceed with Snowden.

Update: To be fair and balanced, I will point you to this Associated Press news story that I just read in which “Democratic” U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has referred to Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing as “an act of treason.”

Oh, sure, the right-wing Feinstein is the chair of the Senate “intelligence” committee, but she’s also a millionaire, one of the plutocrats who benefit from the unconstitutional vast spying upon Americans.

Feinstein also voted for the Vietraq War — from which her husband, Richard Blum, a war profiteer, just happened to make millions of dollars.

With “friends” like these, who needs the fucking Repugnicans?

(If memory serves, I voted for the fascistic Feinstein in 2000, being new to California and not knowing any better; however, I didn’t vote for her in 2006 or in 2012, and I never would cast a vote for her again. She’s one of the many examples one could point to in order to demonstrate that the average American’s interests are not represented in D.C. )

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

WHOSE security?

Despite President Hopey-Changey’s promises that the vast amount of data that is collected on us Americans — on our dime, of course — never would be used for nefarious purposes, I’m as confident of that as I am that killer drones never would be used on American soil on American citizens who have been branded by the powers that be as “terrorists” simply because they disagree with whichever right-wing (Repugnican Tea Party) or center-right-wing (“Democratic” Party) regime that’s in charge of the show.

Not to try to outdo Alex Jones, but I just don’t buy that the National Security Agency’s Job No. 1 actually is to protect Americans from actual terrorist attacks.

Oh, sure, if there were another 9/11-like terrorist attack, that would be embarrassing to the powers that be who claim that they’re so damned consumed about keeping all of us safe, but would they really care that some anonymous American commoners got snuffed out?

Of course not.

As long at their precious plutocratic asses are safe. That’s all that matters to them.

No, the NSA exists, I’m confident, primarily to sound the alarm for the plutocrats should the worst-case scenario ever actually arise: The American people actually rising up to overthrow their plutocratic overlords who have kept them — us — in politicosocioeconomic bondage for ages.

And the kicker is, as I mentioned, that we spied-upon-by-the-wolves sheeple are the ones who are paying for the whole “security” system that in all probability actually is meant to keep the plutocrats safe from us. (After all, we do have them vastly outnumbered.)

Perhaps the NSA’s greatest triumph is not in keeping us commoners safe, but in inducing us commoners to believe that the NSA actually works for us.

This Associated Press story on the NSA from today, for example, contains not a whiff of a hint that it might not be entirely true that the NSA exists entirely to protect American commoners from harm and that it does not at all exist, not even at least in part, to protect the plutocrats from the masses, should the masses ever actually rise up:

Washington — An email, a telephone call or even the murmur of a conversation captured by the vibration of a window — they’re all part of the data that can be swept up by the sophisticated machinery of the National Security Agency.

Its job is to use the world’s most cutting edge supercomputers and arguably the largest database storage sites to crunch and sift through immense amounts of data. The information analyzed might be stolen from a foreign official’s laptop by a Central Intelligence Agency officer overseas, intercepted by a Navy spy plane flying off the Chinese coast, or, as Americans found out this past week, gathered from U.S. phone records.

Code-breakers at the Fort Meade, Md.-based NSA use software to search for keywords in the emails or patterns in the phone numbers that might link known terrorist targets with possible new suspects. They farm out that information to the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and to law enforcement, depending on who has the right to access which type of information, acting as gatekeeper, and they say, guardian of the nation’s civil liberties as well as its security.

The super-secret agency is under the spotlight after last week’s revelations of two surveillance programs. One involves the sweeping collection of hundreds of millions of phone records of U.S. customers. The second collects the audio, video, email, photographic and Internet search usage of foreign nationals overseas — and probably some Americans in the process — who use major Internet companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and Yahoo.

NSA was founded in 1952. Only years later was the NSA publicly acknowledged, which explains its nickname, “No Such Agency.”

According to its website, NSA is not allowed to spy on Americans. It is supposed to use its formidable technology to “gather information that America’s adversaries wish to keep secret,” and to “protect America’s vital national security information and systems from theft or damage by others,” as well as enabling “network warfare, a military operation,” that includes offensive cyberoperations against U.S. adversaries.

The agency also includes the Central Security Service, the military arm of code-breakers who work jointly with the agency. The two services have their headquarters on a compound that’s technically part of Fort Meade, though it’s slightly set apart from the 5,000-acre Army base.

Visible from a main highway, the tightly guarded compound requires the highest of clearances to enter and is equipped with electronic means to ward off an attack by hackers.

Other NSA facilities in Georgia, Texas, Colorado and Hawaii duplicate much of the headquarters’ brain and computer power in case a terrorist attack takes out the main location, though each one focuses on a different part of the globe.

A new million-square-foot storage facility in Salt Lake City will give the agency untold additional capacity to store the massive amounts of data it collects, as well as adding to its analytical capability.

“NSA is the elephant of the U.S. intelligence community, the biggest organization by far with the most capability and (literally) the most memory,” said former senior CIA official Bruce Riedel, who now runs the Brookings Intelligence Project. …

NSA workers are notoriously secretive. They’re known for keeping their families in the dark about what they do, including their hunt for terror mastermind Osama bin Laden. NSA code-breakers were an essential part of the team that tracked down bin Laden at a compound in Pakistan in 2011.

Their mission tracking al-Qaida and related terrorist groups continues, with NSA analysts and operators sent out to every conflict zone and overseas U.S. post, in addition to surveillance and analysis conducted at headquarters outside Washington.

The director of national intelligence, James Clapper, said in a statement [yesterday] that the NSA’s programs do not target U.S. citizens. But last week’s revelations show that the NSA is allowed to gather U.S. phone calls and emails and to sift through them for information leading to terrorist suspects, as long as a judge signs off. Lawmakers are questioning the scope of the information gathered, and how long and how much of it is kept.

“Does that data all have to be held by the government?” asked Sen. Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

King, a Maine independent, was briefed on the program this past week, but would not discuss how long the government holds on to the phone records. “I don’t think there is evidence of abuse, but I think the program can be changed to be structured with less levels of intrusion on the privacy of Americans,” he said. …

“Through software, you can search for key words and key phrases linking a communication to a particular group or individual that would fire it off to individual agencies that have interest in it,” just like Amazon or Google scans millions of emails and purchases to track consumer preferences, explained Ronald Marks, a former CIA official and author of Spying in America in the Post 9/11 World.

Detailed algorithms try to determine whether something is U.S. citizen-related or not. “It shows analysts, ‘We’ve got a U.S. citizen here, so we’ve got to be careful with it,'” he said.

Another way counterterrorist officials try to protect U.S. citizens is through centers where operators from the military, CIA, NSA, FBI, Treasury and others sit side by side. When one comes across information that his or her agency is not supposed to access, it’s turned over to someone in the center who’s authorized to see it.

But the process isn’t perfect, and sometimes what should be private information reaches agencies not authorized to see it.

“When information gets sent to the CIA that shouldn’t, it gets destroyed, and a note sent back to NSA saying, ‘You shouldn’t have sent that,'” Marks said. “Mistakes get made, but my own experience on the inside of it is, they tend to be really careful about it.” …

I’m lovin’ those last several paragraphs. We commoners are just supposed to trust that the vast governmental spying that is perpetrated upon us never would be used against us by power-mad individuals who know fully well that information is power, and thus they’re doing their damnedest to gather as much information about us as is possible while they’re telling us that they themselves can’t give us any specific information about their information gathering that they are perpetrating upon us — and that all of this is for our own good. Trust us!

“I don’t think there is evidence of abuse, but I think the program can be changed to be structured with less levels of intrusion on the privacy of Americans,” Sen. Angus King proclaimed.

Of course there wouldn’t be any evidence of abuse by the NSA or any of its subsidiaries. Because of the uber-secretive nature of these organizations, any such evidence never would be made available to anyone on the outside, would it?

And that’s what we are going to be promised in the wake of NSAgate, of course: That, to use King’s words, the “program [will] be changed to be structured with less levels of intrusion on the privacy of Americans.”

Quite predictably, we will be told by the powers that be, including, of course, President Hopey-Changey and his cronies: Shut up and run along now, you silly, paranoid commoners! Trust us! We’ll fix any problems — although, of course, we can’t share any information about that with you! For your own security!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized