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Monthly Archives: November 2012

New details in the Deedy/Elderts case.

The prosecutors in the Deedy murder case have filed documents which bring to light new details in the case.  First, some background on the case thus far:

State Dept. Special Agent (Bureau of Diplomatic Security, or DS) Christopher Deedy shot and killed a local Hawaiian man, Kollin Elderts, on Nov. 5, 2011, during an argument at 3 a.m. in a Waikiki McDonald’s.  Elderts was unarmed; Deedy carried his knife and gun.  A videotape from inside the McDonald’s is being held as evidence and the judge has ordered it sealed from the public for fear it might taint the jury pool.  Deedy was in Hawai’i in advance of the APEC conference which was held later that month.  He was assigned to help provide diplomatic security for the APEC attendees. No diplomats were present in the McDonald’s that night, needless to say, and the State Dept. refuses to say whether or not Deedy was actually on duty at the time.  Tests on the victim’s body showed that he was legally drunk and had some amount of trace drugs in his system at the time of his death.  While it is known that Deedy had been drinking at a bar with friends prior to going to the McD’s and eyewitnesses say that he was clearly drunk, he was allowed to “decline” a blood-alcohol test at the time of his arrest.  (No law enforcement officer is permitted to carry deadly weapons while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, so the lack of a breathalyzer test may prove to be problematic.)  Deedy actually fired three shots at Elderts – it was the third shot that hit Elderts in the chest and killed him.  You may read background on this case here:

http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/05/update-on-a-murder-in-hawaii/

Deedy has been charged with two crimes: 2nd degree murder and use of firearm in the commission of a felony.

Deedy’s attorney, Brook Hart, filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on the idea that Deedy was acting in the role of a federal law enforcement officer and thus should be immune to charges.  The judge in this case, Karen Ahn, had scheduled a hearing to occur in July on the motion to dismiss; however, she has removed that hearing from her docket.  Apparently the trial against Deedy will go forward.  The murder trial is currently scheduled for September of this year – 10 months after the incident took place.  In the meantime, Deedy was allowed to post bail and return to Virginia.  He has been placed on a desk job at the State Dept., where he continues to draw his salary.  He has successfully sued the insurance company that carries his tenant’s insurance on the house he rents in Virginia so that the insurance company will now have to cover his legal expenses in the separate civil case for wrongful death filed against him by the Elderts family.[…]

http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/06/murder-trial-of-state-dept-special-agent-to-go-forward/

Since June, when I wrote the above, Deedy’s attorney lost his motion to move the case to federal court.   He also lost a bid to have the case dismissed on some technical grounds involving presentation of evidence.  The trial was delayed for unknown reasons and did not take place in September.  A jury trial is now scheduled for April, a year and a half after the event occurred.  Deedy’s attorney is now asking that the court dismiss the case based on the idea that Deedy is immune from prosecution because he was acting as a federal law enforcement officer (a hearing on this motion to dismiss was supposed to have occurred in July, but did not) – a contention that the prosecuting attorneys say is invalid.  In the new papers filed this week, prosecutors contend that Deedy was clearly the aggressor in the fight that led to Elderts’ death and that furthermore, Deedy was obviously drunk after being out at various bars with friends, celebrating the birthdays of two of them.

The videotape remains sealed from the public until the trial.  Deedy retains a job at the State Dept. in Virginia, where he was allowed to return shortly after being charged, rather than having to remain in custody in Hawaii.

HONOLULU — A State Department special agent charged with murder in the shooting of a man at a fast-food restaurant in Waikiki last year spent the night bar-hopping and drinking before going to the restaurant, prosecutors said.

Suspect Christopher Deedy appeared intoxicated before firing three shots from his handgun — the first narrowly missed a customer, another lodged in a restaurant wall, and the third fatally wounded 23-year-old Kollin Elderts, prosecutors said in court papers.

Deedy was not heard identifying himself as a law enforcement officer, but told Elderts he had a gun and would shoot him in the face, prosecutors said in the most detailed account of the shooting released thus far.

City Deputy Prosecutor Janice Futa filed the papers Friday in opposition to Deedy’s request for dismissal of the murder charge, the Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday (http://bit.ly/11d3oqS ).

Deedy, 28, has pleaded not guilty. His defense lawyers maintain he is immune from state prosecution under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause because he was acting as a federal law enforcement officer when the incident occurred.

Deedy identified himself as a law enforcement officer and acted to protect himself and others from a belligerent Elderts, who had assaulted him and tried to grab Deedy’s gun, said Brook Hart, Deedy’s attorney.

Futa countered that Deedy was the aggressor who “thrust kicked” Elderts and repeatedly told him, “I have a gun; I’m going to shoot you in the face.”

Elderts responded, “Shoot me, then,” the deputy prosecutor said in the court filing.

After the kick, Deedy reached for his holstered gun and moved toward Elderts, who then hit Deedy in the face, Futa said.

Deedy fell to the floor, and as he got up he pulled out the gun and began firing, Futa said.

Deedy had been “slurring his words as he argued with Elderts,” the prosecutor said.

“While defendant was bar-hopping he was in possession of his 9 mm Glock; conduct that the Department of State’s rules clearly prohibit,” Futa said.

Deedy was in Hawaii in November 2011 to provide security at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.

Circuit Judge Karen Ahn is scheduled to hear the dismissal request Jan. 22. Trial is scheduled for April.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/prosecutors-state-department-agent-was-aggressor-in-fatal-waikiki-shooting-at-restaurant/2012/11/28/ef96f6c8-3983-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html

 

Court documents show new details about the shooting death of Kollin Elderts of Kailua in Waikiki in November of 2011.  Special agent Christopher Deedy has been indicted for his murder.

It was First Friday in November and Elderts had been celebrating two friends’ birthdays.

Deedy was in town to provide security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings.

Prosecutors say Deedy was partying on this night.  He had been to Kings Pub, then Moose McGillicuddy’s and the now-closed Coconut Willy’s.

Both Elderts and Deedy wound up in the same McDonald’s at 2:30 a.m., according to court documents.

The two started arguing.  One witness, who prosecutors say tried to break it up, says Deedy appeared intoxicated and was slurring his words.

One of Deedy’s friends also tried to break up the fight. But, according to court documents, witnesses say Deedy delivered a thrust kick and was heard saying, “I have a gun.  I’m going to shoot you  in the face.”  Elderts reponded, “Shoot me then.”

A witness says Deedy reached for his gun and that’s when witnesses say Elderts punched Deedy in the face, knocking him to the ground.

As Deedy got up from the floor, court documents say Deedy pulled out his gun and fired three shots — the last hitting Elderts in the chest.

Deedy has argued all along that this was not murder — he was acting as a federal agent.

But, prosecutors say Deedy used unreasonable use of deadly force and instigated the fight that led to the shooting.

A jury trial is set for April.

Deedy’s attorney Brook Hart is trying to get the case dismissed under federal immunity protection and plans to file a response by Friday.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50004366/

 

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Deedy, State Dept/diplomacy

 

Andrew Marshall on the TPP.

Updates below.

Andrew Gavin Marshall has written an important and informative three-part series on the TPP (TransPacific Partnership) for Occupy.com.  The first part may be read here:

http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/11/19/the-trans-pacific-partnership-this-is-what-corporate-governance-looks-like/

The second part may be read here:

http://www.nationofchange.org/why-so-secretive-trans-pacific-partnership-global-corporate-coup-1353687546

I will give a link to part three when it is published on Monday.

Update:  Here is part three:

http://andrewgavinmarshall.com/2012/11/26/the-trans-pacific-partnership-what-free-trade-actually-means/

Update:

Hillary Clinton pointed out the importance of the TPP as it relates to the plans of the US in the Asian region during a speech she gave at the Singapore Management University on 17 Nov.  Her speech makes it clear that the “pivot to Asia” is not just an increase of US military in the area, but that, in fact, the build up of military might is to serve the interests of the American business community.  While China is not excluded from joining the TPP, it will have to pay a high price.  One specific target of the TPP is any sort of nationalized product or business endeavor (the dreaded “socialist agenda” wherein a nation regulates and controls certain resources for the benefit of its people rather than giving control over to private companies).  We see, for example, Hillary supporting the latest Australian measures aimed at privatizing everything in that country: energy, land, water, etc.  The purpose of the military is to ensure that certain corporations have control over the entire globe; countries which insist on holding resources for the good of their own people are a particular target and the intent of the TPP is to end such practices once and for all.

Clinton’s speech was remarkable in its frankness.  It will therefore remain unremarked in the media.  The wealthiest corporations and banks own people like the Clintons, Obama, and the US Congress, who will serve their interests even to the point of using the military and the State Department to protect them and enforce their agenda.  And they don’t care if you know it.  The fact that they also own the media, however, means they can make sure it is somewhat difficult for us little people to realize just how bad things are getting and how much worse they will become.  To those who do pay attention, the message from this corporatocracy is no longer denial, it is, “Fuck you.  We won, what are you going to do about it?”

Below are excerpts from the Clinton speech.  The excerpts are not taken out of context and do not change the meaning of mad Hillary’s words.  Bolding is mine.  You may click on the link at the bottom to read the speech in full.  Deep into the speech, we find the real reason we destroyed Libya: “to harness market forces and private-sector solutions for these growing African economies”.  Hillary-we-came-we-saw-he-died sure showed that socialist Ghaddafi with his ideas of nationalized banking and oil fields to support free health care and education for his people. We also discover the reason for the invasion of Afghanistan; namely that we would like to create a New Silk Road to benefit US companies.  (And you thought we were there to end the oppression of Afghan women or some such shit.)  Economic sanctions are seen as a wonderful “tool” to help force recalcitrant countries into cooperating with the program.  This is from our top “diplomat”, who has also threatened countries in the Eurozone with trade sanctions if they continue to resist Monsanto.  One of the most breath-taking hypocrisies in the speech is this sentence, “Now, regimes in places like Tehran and Pyongyang, that violate international norms and beggar their people in pursuit of greater military strength pose a stark contrast with emerging economic powers that are delivering benefits for their people.”  I should not have to point out, but will, that the US is beggaring its own people to support growing military strength or that the prime aim of the TPP (and the US) is to make sure that the economic policies of any given country cannot benefit its people.  Quite simply astonishing is her contention that private businesses are more transparent and accountable to the public than state-owned enterprises.  Note, too, the support for the World Bank, as though its high-interest loans and deregulation and privatization policies were a good thing for developing countries.

[…]Now, I think one of the questions that may be on your and others’ minds is: “Why is the American President spending all this time in Asia so soon after winning re-election?” Well, the answer for us is very simple. Because so much of the history of the 21st century will be, is being, written in this region. America’s expanded engagement represents our commitment to help shape that shared future. The strategic and security dimensions of our efforts are well known. But the untold story that is just as important is our economic engagement. Because it is clear that not only in the Asia Pacific but across the world, increasingly, economics are shaping the strategic landscape. Emerging powers are putting economics at the center of their foreign policies, and they are gaining clout less because of their size of their armies than because of the growth of their GDP.

For the first time in modern history, nations are becoming major global powers without also becoming global military powers. So, to maintain our strategic leadership in the region, the United States is also strengthening our economic leadership. And we know very well that America’s economic strength at home and our leadership around the world are a package deal. Each reinforces and requires the other.

[…] This connection between economic power and global influence explains why the United States is placing economics at the heart of our own foreign policy. I call it economic statecraft.

Now, these ideas are hardly new. After all, it was Harry Truman who said our relations, foreign and economic, are indivisible. But today that carries renewed urgency. Last year I laid out America’s economic statecraft agenda in a series of speeches in Washington, Hong Kong, San Francisco, and New York. Since then, we have turned this vision into action in four key areas: first, updating our foreign policy priorities to take economics more into account; second, turning to economic solutions for strategic challenges; third, stepping up commercial diplomacy — what I like to call jobs diplomacy — to boost U.S. exports, open new markets, and level the playing field for our businesses; and fourth, building the diplomatic capacity to execute this ambitious agenda.

In short, we are shaping our foreign policy to account for both the economics of power and the power of economics. The first and most fundamental task is to update our foreign policy and its priorities for a changing world. For the last decade, as you know, the United States focused enormous time, resources, and attention on a war in Iraq that is now over, and a war in Afghanistan that is winding down. Responding to threats will, of course, always be central to our foreign policy. But it cannot be our foreign policy. America has to seize opportunities that will shore up our strength for years to come. That means following through on our intensified engagement in the Asia Pacific and elevating the role of economics in our work around the world.

[…]In negotiations with China and India on bilateral investment treaties, we are seeking a level playing field between American companies and their competitors, including state-owned enterprises.

And with Singapore and a growing list of other countries on both sides of the Pacific, we are making progress toward finalizing a far-reaching new trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The so-called TPP will lower barriers, raise standards, and drive long-term growth across the region. It will cover 40 percent of the world’s total trade and establish strong protections for workers and the environment. Better jobs with higher wages and safer working conditions, including for women, migrant workers and others too often in the past excluded from the formal economy will help build Asia’s middle class and rebalance the global economy. Canada and Mexico have already joined the original TPP partners. We continue to consult with Japan. And we are offering to assist with capacity building, so that every country in ASEAN can eventually join. We welcome the interest of any nation willing to meet 21st century standards as embodied in the TPP, including China.

The United States is also moving economics to the center of our agenda elsewhere in the world. For example, we want to improve our economic partnership with our allies in Europe. That is every bit as compelling to us as our security partnership through the NATO alliance. So, to that end, we are exploring negotiations with the European Union for a comprehensive economic agreement that would increase trade and spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic.

Africa. Africa is currently home to 7 of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies. I deliberately said that slowly because so many people look surprised when I say it. And so, we are changing the way we do business with Africa. Certainly regarding our development agenda, but also trying to do more to harness market forces and private-sector solutions for these growing African economies.

[…] Now, our next step will be to transform these regional efforts — the TPP, the EU agreement, our bilateral trade deals — into a truly global vision. In the same way that the general agreement on trade and tariffs offered a global blueprint following World War II, we need new arrangements to take on the challenges that inhibit trade today, from non-tariff barriers to preferential treatment for state-owned enterprises.

As we do more to define our foreign policy priorities in economic terms, we also need to update the tools we use. So our second main area of action is finding ways to tap economic solutions for strategic challenges. Just look at what’s happening now in Burma. The cost of economic sanctions and the benefits of rejoining the global economy helped spur the government to begin opening up.

[…]The United States is also supporting World Bank programs that will provide more than $80 million for infrastructure projects in the country’s townships, and financial support for small businesses.[…]

The same goes for another regional vision we call the New Silk Road, a web of trade and transportation links reaching from the steps of Central Asia to the southern tip of India. Forging stronger economic ties across this region is a key element in our long-term strategy for Afghanistan. If you look at the map, you see why Afghanistan has been fought over and part of the great game for so many generations because of its very strategic position right in the middle of this trading route.[…]

We are also using new economic tools to address one of the world’s preeminent security challenges: Iran. A broad coalition is revolutionizing how the international community enforces sanctions and builds pressure. We went after Iran’s central bank and finance sector, and we reached out to private insurers, shippers, oil companies, and financial institutions to help us target pressure points that make it harder for companies and governments to do business with Iran.

Now we see results. Every major importer of Iranian oil has lowered their consumption. All 27 nations of the European Union have joined a boycott. In one year, Iran’s oil exports are down by more than one million barrels a day, costing the Iranian Government at least $3 billion each month. […]

Now, regimes in places like Tehran and Pyongyang, that violate international norms and beggar their people in pursuit of greater military strength pose a stark contrast with emerging economic powers that are delivering benefits for their people.[…]

So, the United States is stepping up our game, using our network of more than 270 embassies and consulates to advocate for American firms, and help achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports in 5 years. With 95 percent of the world’s customers living beyond our own borders, this has become an economic imperative. So our diplomats are working to make it easier for U.S. businesses to find answers and get advice about navigating markets. We’re helping them connect with foreign partners and compete for contracts. And whenever a U.S. Government official travels overseas now, we try to include business events on our schedules. In fact, later today I will visit a General Electric aviation facility here in Singapore.[…]

We’re proud to go to bat for the Boeings and Chevrons and General Motors and so many others. […]

Now, recently we saw a break-through when India retooled its policy on foreign direct investment. Their old rules barred companies that carry multiple brands in one store — like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, or similar foreign companies — from doing retail business in the Indian market. That limited competition. But, more than that, it prevented the kind of knowledge transfer and supply chain modernization that India needs. So we and — I should note — other countries, as well, raised this issue with India’s leaders at the highest level for years. And we are pleased that Delhi has now agreed to loosen its restrictions.[…]

The fourth and final area we are focused on is making sure America’s diplomats and development experts have all the skills and support they need to actually implement economic statecraft. So, we are focused on recruiting, retaining, and rewarding the most talented people we can find. I appointed the State Department’s first-ever chief economist. And I combined our work on energy, the environment, and economics under a single under secretary position to maximize synergy and cooperation. We are ramping up our training curriculum for economic officers, and developing new tools and incentives to help them do their jobs. Now, these kinds of changes unfold over years, but they show a commitment to match our practices to our priorities. And they will help hard-wire economic statecraft into American foreign policy.[…]

Now, state-owned or state-supported enterprises are not necessarily problematic in all cases. But they do often lack the transparency and accountability that come with private boards and investors. […]

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/11/200664.htm

My own posts on the TPP are mainly here: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/06/the-trans-pacific-partnership-tpp/

and here:  http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/06/the-trans-pacific-partnership/

 

Time for a sabbatical.

I have been maintaining this blog for five years.  Somewhere along the way I lost my original intent, which was to simply leave a record for my children.  This is how it was, these are the things I saw, this is how we got here, I was saying to the kids in their future lives.  I thought that eventually they would read all this, probably after I was gone, in an effort to understand how their world became what it is destined to become.  I could have left a private hand-written diary, but this has been easier, what with the ability to embed links to sources, etc.  I got that they did not want to hear all this depressing information right now – who, in his twenties, wants to think about how crappy his life will be when he is my age?  Not because of anything he has done, mind, but because that is the deliberate plan of a few very wealthy entities who have captured power over the entire planet.  As a matter of fact, my kids set up this website expressly for the purpose of giving me a place to vent – they did not want to hear all this stuff at the dinner table.  So I wrote and recorded, all the while thinking that eventually they will get old enough to become curious about some of the strange goings-on and nasty changes that would begin to affect their daily lives.  (Then old Mom will be vindicated!  Isn’t it funny how much smarter your parents get the older you get? they would say to each other.)  I knew they did not read this blog as I wrote it and I was okay with that.  I was writing for their future selves.  (Despite their lack of interest in my words, I have gotten advice from them on how to make money on the blogging adventure.  Dear God. Where did I go wrong?  No-one will see a “donate” button here or google ads; the idea of trying to hustle a buck from some other poor saps just like myself would be kind of an ironic and twisted perversion.)

My siblings and parents also knew all along I was writing, but they – with one exception – have no interest in this messy stuff, this depressing, awful shit; shit which they assume any crank in any generation could find to complain about, so they do not read it.  The one exception is one of my brothers, who will call and say, “Fine post you had today.”  Or, “How can people ignore what you talked about today?”  I can count on him to offer editorial advice or help in fleshing out a thought.  He never commented publicly here, but his private thoughts have been freely expressed and always helpful. (Me ke aloha, brah.  Mahalo.)

But somewhere along the line, I forgot my original intent.  One or two people left comments and I started thinking I had something to offer the public.  Why, strangers were reading this and finding it useful.  I can be somebody!  Heh, heh.  What silliness.  But that sort of thinking overtakes us gradually, doesn’t it?  Finally, I found that I was actually becoming bitter over the fact that so few people found me interesting or useful, as those couple of commenters never became a larger pool of readers.  And even they have mostly disappeared now.

It is time to regroup.  Writing about the state of things as they currently are and speculating about where we are headed – even though the disastrous direction this country has chosen should be obvious to anyone – really is depressing.  The fact, misguided though it may be and however it came to enter my psyche, that no-one seems to care really is depressing.  And so I have become depressed.  Distressed.

I have new obligations at work and new obligations in my family life that I should be focusing on.  Believe it or not, some of these articles I write take hours and hours.  I check and recheck facts, I search for the best resources, I edit many times before I post something.  I need a break from this self-induced schedule of chronicling our downfall.  I may post an occasional item of outstanding import, but I simply cannot continue inflicting this on myself, at least not until I get over this idea that someone should care.  I need, as they say, perspective.  Fact is, no-one cares and I need to get back to the point where I don’t care that no-one else cares, if you see what I mean.  One third of the Americans polled recently say they would agree to cavity searches on a regular basis while traveling.  What the hell can you possibly say to that?  When I remind someone that nationwide the electric companies and insurance companies used to be state-regulated and non-profit, or that we used to be allowed to protest without permits, in any public area, or that the government paid for all the cable lines to be laid and these communications companies have been making pure profit all along,  or that there did not used to be such things as derivatives and that speculators in the markets were heavily regulated so they served an actual social value, I get a shrug and a “Oh, yeah, I kinda remember that” if they are my age; I get a blanket denial from a younger person, a snotty remark such as, “Where did you hear that?  Where do you get your information?” as though I had not been alive then and remember it or were making up “socialist” crap.  Such is the power of propaganda.   We are not only losing our present and our future, our past is being rewritten for us as though it never happened.  Things were never different than they are right now – what are you on about?

I’ll be around, and no doubt I’ll be back once I collect myself and remember my place in the scheme of things.  In the meantime, stay alert.  Watch for developments on things like the TPP, a false-flag to start war with Iran, austerity inflicted to benefit the oligarchs, tearing up the entire place to frack it all, and the militarization of the country.  If I can find the information, so can you.   Oh, and when pundits tell you that it is now up to the “progressive community” to hold Obama to his words, smack them upside the punkin’ head, because they are deflecting the blame from the system and the brute beasts whom we elected (but none of whom actually gives a damn about us) to us.  They are basically admitting that he lied, his campaign promises are for jack, you did not vote for what you thought you did, in fact your vote never mattered at all, and if he continues to sell the country out to the neocons and big corporations, it is your fault.   Fuck that shit.   Obama does not hear you, compadre, you fucking retarded liberal, you.  You may have voted for him, but you did not elect him; and he serves the ones who made sure he was elected.  Half the country would have been just as happy to have Romney, think about that; a rich asshole who openly says that the wealthy should get everything and the rest of us can fuck off.  What a difference a few short years and a lot of bullshit from the media makes.  That we were content with these two “choices” and actually argued over them.  The die is cast.

Yes, well.  Good luck and Godspeed.

-Teri

 

 
8 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

The Petraeus affair.

What an intrigue, what a scandal, the Petraeus affair.  The twists and turns read like the screenplay for a day-time soap opera.  Presumably, we are all transfixed by all the sordid sexual components of the story and will ignore the main points.  The Army now wants assurance that Petraeus did not have extramarital sex before he retired from the military – they frown upon such sexual peccadilloes and might have to bring charges against him.  [http://gma.yahoo.com/petraeus-affair-military-prosecute-adulterers-103804132.html]  And they are now also looking into the sex lives of other top military men, just in case anyone else had consensual sex with an adult outside his marital bed. [http://abcnews.go.com/WNN/video/gen-john-allen-investigated-connection-petraeus-emails-17705525]

Oh, please.  This is the same military that, in response to the allegations of the rapes of young Japanese women by our brave boys stationed in Okinawa, Japan (rapes which have occurred regularly over decades) imposes a curfew on the military base.  That’s some tough action.  [http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/20/world/asia/curfew-imposed-on-american-troops-in-japan.html]  This is the same military reluctant to look into the rapes and sexual assaults committed by our servicemen against other American servicemen and women, an estimated 19,000 of which took place in 2010 alone.  [http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/07/opinion/speier-military-rape/index.html]

But they won’t tolerate a guy who cheats on his wife with a willing adult paramour.

Lots of questions here – why was the FBI digging through the emails of the head of the CIA?  Just because some well-heeled military hanger-on complained about “harassing emails”?  Really?  That was enough to get the FBI involved rather than a couple of local cops?  (It furthermore appears that the “harassment” was more along the lines of 5th-grade girls writing nasty notes to one another; “Stay away from my man”, etc.  Hardly death threats or the like.)  Why did the FBI continue to read his emails even after it became apparent that they were looking into Petraeus’ personal email account?  And continued to, long after it was obvious that no military secrets had been exchanged between the two.  And they never told the President?  But they, or an FBI whistle blower, took the bull by the horns and told a Republican Congressman about it, but neither the FBI nor this Congressman went to Obama or his attorney general.  Sounds more like a CIA/FBI turf war than anyone actually concerned with “state security”.  Now the FBI, in a belated attempt to make their investigation look like it actually had something to do with national security, has gone to the ridiculous and over-the-top lengths of searching the house of the “other woman”. [http://news.yahoo.com/fbi-agents-search-house-petraeus-former-mistress-035806862.html]

Is it really possible that Obama had no idea that this was coming?  Or perhaps he knew and lied about the whole reason for the Benghazi attack from the start and was protecting the CIA –  but I’ll get to that in a moment.  Certainly it is patently obvious that the attack had nothing to do with an anti-Muslim film, which doesn’t even seem to exist in any form but a short advertising trailer.  It would be interesting to know the truth about what and when Obama knew, however.  When John Kennedy was President, trying to rein in the CIA got him assassinated.  It is awful to think that we might now have a president and a Congress in collusion with the CIA’s covert and illegal operations.  Oh, and here’s another question: even if it turned out that Obama knew before the election, would the Republicans impeach him?  (That would be pretty dumb, considering he is poised to give them all their budget items on a silver platter, wreck social security and medicare so as to spare the wealthy, not to mention the fact that he paid for a pass up front by refusing to consider charges against Bush as soon as he took office himself.  But “smart” is no longer what Congress is known for.)

Okay, that’s enough of that.  I can’t stand it any more.

The whole thing is bizarre, unless you consider the real reason that Petraeus had to fall on his sword: they did not want him to testify on the Benghazi attack in which Ambassador Stevens was killed.  Guess we’ll never know much about “Ambassador” Stevens’ little CIA/State Dept front-group in Libya and Syria now.  And that is the main story here – they did not want Petraeus to testify.  I pointed out before how strange that is in itself: does having an affair so sully a man’s mind that he can no longer recall with accuracy the events, over which he had direct knowledge and purview, of a couple of months ago?  It turns out that his mistress, if that is what she was to him, talked to a group of people about the Benghazi attack recently; according to Broadwell, the attack happened because the CIA was involved in imprisoning some members of the Libyan militia.

The mistress of former CIA Director David Petraeus publicly discussed sensitive and previously unknown details about the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

In an Oct. 26 alumni symposium at the University of Denver, Paula Broadwell said that the CIA annex at the Benghazi consulate came under assault on Sept. 11 because it had earlier “taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.” (That information was not part of the CIA’s timeline of the Benghazi assault, though Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin did mention it on air. Eli Lake of the Daily Beast reports that the CIA has denied any such detention.) “I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this,” Broadwell prefaced her remarks by saying.

It was a surprising disclosure, given the deep classification of the CIA’s detention policies — and the enormous political stakes surrounding the Benghazi assault. But in many ways, it was only natural for Broadwell, given her evolution from Petraeus protegee to biographer to paramour and unofficial spokesperson.[…]

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11/broadwell-benghazi/

Other sources claim that it was not just Libyans being held by the CIA in Benghazi.  [http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/11/12/petraeus-mistress-may-have-revealed-classified-information-at-denver-speech/]

Of course, the CIA has dismissed these stories, because they technically aren’t allowed to do such things any more.  Which means you are supposed to believe they aren’t.  [http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/11/12/paula-broadwell-claims-about-benghazi-attack-dismissed-as-baseless-by-cia/]

Who else knows what was going on in Benghazi?  Stevens would, but he is, interestingly and irrevocably, dead.  Hillary Clinton should, as Stevens was one of her employees, she is the head of the State Dept., and she has even said that she “takes responsibility”.  However, it turns out that Hillary won’t testify regarding Benghazi either.  She’s going to be in Australia drumming up more money for the military pivot-to-Asia (because, yeah, that’s the primary job of the American diplomat).

She will attend the annual Australia-United States Ministerial (AUSMIN) consultations in Perth before travelling to Adelaide.

Ms Clinton will be accompanied by US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for the AUSMIN talks, to be held on Wednesday.

Although long expected, the visit comes just after the US presidential election and amid speculation that neither Ms Clinton or Mr Panetta will seek a second term of the Obama administration.

AUSMIN is the highest level forum for Australia and US consultation on foreign policy, defence and strategic issues.  On the Australian side will be Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Foreign Minister Bob Carr.
Ms Clinton arrives in Perth on Sunday.

She will meet Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Senator Carr, and visit the new United States and Asia Centre.

After AUSMIN Ms Clinton will travel to Adelaide to meet Australian business leaders and visit Techport Australia, the nation’s largest and most advanced shipbuilding facility and home of the navy’s air warfare destroyer project.[…]

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/hillary-clinton-to-travel-to-perth-adelaide-and-singapore/story-fnbzs1v0-1226514189226

It seems that no-one in Congress thought she would have anything of interest to say during the main hearings, as she was not even asked to testify there, and although she was asked to be present during another hearing in front of the House Foreign Affairs Comm. on the same topic, she just told Congress to stuff it.  She’ll be goddamned if she has to testify to those pikers about the lack of security for one of her ambassadors.  No actual realio-trulio Libyans will testify either, despite the fact that the lack of security keeps being blamed on the Libyans (rather than the British mercenary group which was hired for the purpose).

From Friday’s State Dept. press briefing:

MS. NULAND: Matt, they’ve asked for closed hearings, closed briefings; that’s what we’re complying with.

QUESTION: The Secretary won’t appear before any of these committees?

MS. NULAND: The Secretary has not been asked to appear. They’ve asked for the individuals that are coming.

QUESTION: Would she be willing to fly back from Australia to appear?

MS. NULAND: Again, she has not been asked to appear. She was asked to appear at House Foreign Affairs next week, and we have written back to the Chairman to say that she’ll be on travel next week.

QUESTION: Are you aware that any Libyans will be called to the hearings to be talked to?

MS. NULAND: That sounds like a question for the Hill. I’m not aware of any panels other than the government panels.

QUESTION: But you have not been asked to facilitate any visas or anything like this for –

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: — maybe some Libyan officials?

MS. NULAND: No.[…]

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2012/11/200409.htm

So the three people who might know the truth about CIA operations in Libya have, for one reason or another, had the burden of having to testify on the matter lifted from their shoulders.  Stevens may have paid the ultimate price just to keep this little black ops a secret.

As a side note, this article appeared yesterday, regarding Australia’s intention to privatize pretty much everything in the country.  At first glance, it may appear to be completely unrelated, but I suspect it is relevant in the larger scheme of things.  Everywhere one of the Clintons travels around the globe, privatization follows as surely as flame follows the path of an arsonist.  I do not find this announcement to be coincidence at all.  I also suspect we are supposed to be so enthralled by Petraeus’ personal life that we will ignore the plans of the wealthy oligarchy coming to fruition all over the planet.

Infrastructure Australia calls for privatisation of public assets.

By James Cogan
12 November 2012

A report issued last month by Infrastructure Australia, a statutory body established in 2008 to give policy advice to the federal government, demanded the sell-off of a vast swathe of publicly-owned infrastructure assets. These assets have an estimated value of between $195 and $219 billion, and could be sold on the stock market for between $116 and $140 billion. Their privatisation would provide a bonanza for the major banks and corporate investors, while triggering substantial job cuts and higher costs of living for working people.

Since the 1980s, under the pressures of financial deregulation and ever more closely integrated globalised production methods, Labor and Coalition governments at both the federal and state level have sold off numerous public assets. The list includes banks, telecommunication providers, airlines, airports, ports, railways and bus companies. The major freeways in most cities were constructed as partnerships with private corporations, and continue to operate as toll-roads.

Infrastructure Australia, however, identified four “asset classes” where there is still substantial public ownership: energy, water, transport and plantation forestry. These areas, the report stressed, had already been corporatised and restructured along “free market” and “user pays” lines, and therefore have the potential to generate attractive profits for private investors. With governments “facing increasing pressure on their budgets” and under pressure to “protect their financial position and credit rating and minimise borrowing costs”, the report stated that privatisations could improve their fiscal position.

The federal Labor government has signalled its agreement with the agenda outlined by Infrastructure Australia. In upcoming meetings with his state counterparts, Treasurer Wayne Swan is expected to push for wholesale privatisation by offering to transfer to the states all the corporate tax that will be collected from any publicly-owned companies sold off—partially compensating them for the loss of annual dividend payments. […]

http://wsws.org/articles/2012/nov2012/infr-n12.shtml

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Congress, Libya, MIC, State Dept/diplomacy

 

Change?

Updated below, Sunday.

Change you can believe in: Obama stays in the White House, Democrats keep the Senate and Republicans keep the House.  Paul Ryan gets to stay in Congress and Boehner will probably extend Ryan’s tour of duty as chairman of budget committee (by papal dispensation):  http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2012/11/07/paul-ryan-will-return-house-plans-continue-budget-committee-chairman/oFQ9dQXogm832YH8wcUGJL/story.html

Timmeh is stepping down, so the speculation is that, representing Obama’s new new mandate from the unreasonable liberals, Erskine Bowles is a likely candidate for Treasury Secretary.  Well, okay, liberals hate Bowles, but as Rahm Emanuel said, liberals are retards.  Wall Street, on the other hand, is notably not considered by the Obama administration to be fucking retards, and Wall St. wants Bowles.  This is real change right here; Bowles is not a Goldman, Sachs man, he is a Morgan Stanley and GE guy.  See?  Bipartisanship.

Nov. 8 (Bloomberg) — Wall Street executives who lost a bet that Republican Mitt Romney would defeat President Barack Obama are bracing for tougher regulation and hoping a deal can be struck with Congress to cut the deficit.

Obama’s choice to succeed Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner will be watched closely for signs about the administration’s approach to business and the deficit, industry executives said. Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton, would be a sign that Obama is willing to endorse a bipartisan debt-reduction plan supported by many business leaders, they said.

“With the appointment of the Treasury secretary, Obama will be sending an important message to the public and to the foreign governments who own a lot of Treasuries,” Curtis Arledge, chief executive officer of Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s investment-management arm, which oversees $1.4 trillion, told journalists in New York yesterday. “If he goes with somebody like Erskine Bowles, then the message will be that he cares about the deficit and is serious about cutting it.” […]

Still, executives at the firms downplayed the significance of the election, focusing instead on the need to achieve political agreement on debt reduction and avert the so-called fiscal cliff of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the beginning of next year.

“The outcome of the election almost takes a backseat to the formulation of a plan to address the federal deficit,” James Mahoney, Bank of America’s head of corporate communications and public policy, said in a phone interview. “That is clearly the No. 1 focus at this point. It’s an essential ingredient for stability of the financial markets and for a strong economy.” […]

Wall Street leaders started throwing their support behind Bowles’s debt-reduction efforts even before the election. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, 56, said last month that the economy “would be booming” if Congress had passed the so-called Simpson-Bowles plan co-authored with former Republican Senator Alan Simpson last year. [Teri’s note:  Ha, ha, ha, ha.]

Obama named the two in February 2010 to lead an 18-member bipartisan commission. Its $3.8 trillion budget-cutting plan would have lowered individual and corporate income-tax rates, eliminated deductions such as the one for mortgage interest, raised the gasoline tax and reduced Social Security, Medicare and discretionary spending. […]

Bowles has served as a board member of Morgan Stanley since December 2005, when Mack was CEO and chairman. He is also a director of Facebook Inc. and Norfolk Southern Corp. His wife, Crandall Bowles, is on JPMorgan’s board. […]

Mack said he doesn’t think the administration worked closely enough with the business community, adding that he would be comforted by seeing Obama choose a CEO to run Treasury such as BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink, General Electric Co.’s Jeff Immelt, American Express Co.’s Kenneth I. Chenault or Honeywell International Inc.’s David Cote. […]

http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/Wall-Street-Trades-Foiled-Romney-Dreams-for-4018468.php#page-1

Writing in the Washington Post on 10 Aug, Ezra Klein predicted that should Obama win re-election, he would nominate Bowles for Treasury Secretary:

One of Washington’s favorite guessing games — behind Mitt Romney’s veepstakes, but way ahead of who will run the Commerce Department — is who will replace Timothy Franz Geithner as Treasury Secretary. And as of today, I’m ready to name a frontrunner, at least if Barack Obama is re-elected: Erskine Bowles.

This wouldn’t be the first time Bowles got a call from the White House. The Obama administration tapped Bowles to co-chair the National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — better known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Word on the street is that this wouldn’t even be the second time Bowles got a call from the White House. They’ve felt him out about joining the administration in a more formal capacity before. But he wasn’t interested.

Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, had built up a huge storehouse of bipartisan credibility as co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles Commission. He didn’t want to join the administration in 2011, when joining the administration meant trench warfare with the Republicans. And as Bowles assiduously worked to show off how bipartisan he was — lavishly complimenting Rep. Paul Ryan, for instance — the administration cooled on him in return.

But next year is different. Next year is the year the fiscal deal has to be made. And if Bowles is Treasury Secretary, he’ll be the guy making the deal. That’s way better than leading a commission. It’s even better than being well-liked by both sides. That’s legacy material.

For the Obama administration, Bowles has a number of qualifications. For one thing, Republicans adore him. Ryan has called him “my favorite Democrat.” Appointing Bowles to be Treasury Secretary would ensure a smooth confirmation, and it would be interpreted as a sign of goodwill and “seriousness” both by Republicans and by the media. Coming after a bitterly partisan election and at the outset of a hugely consequential series of negotiations, that could have real appeal to the White House.

One reservation you often hear when playing the “who will be the next Treasury Secretary” guessing game is, “but they have no market experience.” For better or worse, it’s considered crucial that the Treasury Secretary understand, and be capable of working with, markets. Bowles was an investment banker before he entered politics, and he currently serves on the board of directors for both Morgan Stanley and GE. He’s also personally beloved by Wall Street, where “Simpson-Bowles” has deep and fervent supporters, including many who have no real idea what’s in it. Appointing Bowles would be a signal to them that Washington is getting serious.

The question for the White House is whether Bowles can be trusted to be a team player when it counts. After all, he’s Ryan’s favorite Democrat for a reason. And you can’t have your Treasury Secretary undercutting your negotiating strategy.[…]

There are downsides to Bowles, too. He’ll want the White House to go further than they’ve been willing to go on long-term health costs. But they’re prepared to do that once taxes are on the table.He’s also quite disliked by the left, which frequently refers to the Simpson-Bowles Commission as “the Catfood Commission.” That’s a drawback, but the Obama administration has always prized holding the center over placating the left. Indeed, Obama, who ran in 2008 as a post-partisan uniter and is unexpectedly and unhappily having to run a much more traditional and partisan campaign in 2012, might see that as a benefit. If he can press the reset button after this election, he’s going to do it.

So my answer to the guessing game is simple: If Barack Obama wins reelection this year, I’d bet that Erskine Bowles will be our next Treasury Secretary.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/08/10/will-erskine-bowles-be-our-next-treasury-secretary/

And that’s all I have time for today.  Good morning, America.

Update:

Even more promising “change” [this is sarcasm, you get that, right?] is that the possibility now exists to put John Brennan into the CIA spot, since Petraeus has “resigned” over his “affair”.  See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/10/us/citing-affair-petraeus-resigns-as-cia-director.html?pagewanted=3&_r=0&hp
Petraeus must just be relieved as hell that they didn’t make him admit to an affair with one of the enlisted men.  Now that would have been truly harsh.  Apparently having an affair makes a man lose his mind, because now Petraeus won’t have to testify in front of Congress about the Benghazi attack in which Amb. Stevens was killed, although being the head of the CIA, Petraeus is the guy who knows the most useful information about the little CIA operation “Ambassador” Stevens was running in Libya and Syria.

So, John Brennan.  Formerly the torture guy, now the “disposition matrix” guy.  Nothing like the unbridled murdering of possible innocents and the brazen acts of war on countries with whom we are not legally at war to get a man ahead.  His support of “enhanced interrogation” under Bush?  Forgetaboutit.  How soon before we bring the drone wars home?  Oh, wait, we are already in the process.  Why, I do believe I see the matrix closing in on some Americans.  (Which we will accept without protest.  Such Americans must be bad people, why else would they have been targeted?)  How long until we realize that the CIA and Pentagon run this country?  They are this country.  Just like a couple of big banks and corporations are pretending to be the economy, playing with their algorithms on Wall St. while the rest of us wonder where the jobs are.

A little refresher on John Brennan from his wikipedia entry (bolding mine):

John O. Brennan (born September 22, 1955) is chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; officially his title is Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President. His responsibilities include overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters, and he meets with the President daily. Previously, he advised Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues during the 2008 presidential campaign and transition. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the CIA in the new Obama administration over concerns about his support for the use of “enhanced interrogation” techniques by the CIA under President George W. Bush. Instead, Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.

[…]He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office which sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities. His final post with the CIA was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies. Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation, now renamed Sotera Defense, before returning to government service with the Obama administration. On May 2, 2011, Brennan represented a team which under the direction of President Obama killed Osama Bin Laden. He described the moments watching the SEAL Teams move into Osama’s compound as “one of the most anxiety filled times in the lives of the people assembled” and that “minutes passed like days”.

[…] In April 2012 Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge the existence of the secret US drone program (part of the GWOT in which UAVs are used in targeted killing of people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere). In his speech he argued for the legality, morality, and effectiveness of the program. The ACLU and other organizations disagreed. In 2011/2012 he also helped re-organize the process, under the aegis of the Disposition Matrix database, by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets. According to an Associated Press story, the reorganization helped “concentrate power” over the process inside the White House administration.

You can read about Sotera Defense, of which he was CEO, here:  http://www.soteradefense.com/about-us/  One of the gazillion intelligence companies serving the gov’t since 9/11.  The only business to be in since then.  Well, that, financial fraud, and making bombs.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 8, 2012 in Congress, economy, elections

 

Better late than never.

A guest post by paxhonu.

The answer is blowing in the wind.  Maybe, in addition to the idea that the answer is out there blowing in the wind, Dylan meant that the actual answer is the doing what he does – blowing in the wind.  Screaming out against the lies, even though your voice is seemingly lost in the howl.  Yell out the truth; testify against the machine, speak out to the noisy absence of information.  Perhaps that itself is the answer; the one that will keep you sane.

On this election day, a vote for either Romney or Obama is a vote for the status quo, and not much of a difference whether one or the other.

The much ballyhooed differences in “vision for America” between the two candidates in this two Party political system are illusory.  Contrary to their rhetoric, particularly that from Obama but Romney’s as well, each seems quite intent on prevailing against Lincoln’s prayer, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The alternative: a government of the money, by the money, for the money, shall be attained either way, via Romney, that is, or also via Obama, via any status quo candidate for that matter.  Already has been.  Many, myself included, believe that it’s already fait accompli; believe that government of the money, by the money, for the money is the condition under which we already exist.  Only a revolution, or profound evolution in our style of civilization and government, will bring “we, the people” back into the equation.

To vote for Romney is to take a calculated stance that only the most successful few in our model of zero-sum game corporate capitalism should be supported; that the nation cannot afford the debt associated with the funding of the Others’ so-called entitlement programs; and that the nation, for the sake of national security, cannot afford the risks attending any diminishment to the ever-growing budget of what is already, by many times over, the world’s strongest, best funded, most fantastically armed military twinned with the private war materiel industry it mutually supports.  Not only are U.S. troops and military exercises lavished with funding, but so too security contractors only slightly more obviously mercenary than the U.S. soldiers themselves; and all of them carrying a gun or wielding a joystick to perpetrate murder and terrorism for pay.  These are supported wholeheartedly, while crocodile tears are shed for those who could be helped, even saved, by just a portion of that money were it being spent on them, their health, their education, or their infrastructure.

A Romney vote is calculated to tax investment income at a drastically lower rate than we tax labor income, which perpetuates the wealth of the already wealthy and does nothing for the country or the overwhelming majority of the people in the country.  It is a vote that buys utterly into the myth that such special treatment is necessary for “jobs creators” to want to create jobs or for investors to want to invest.  That notion has, of course, been completely debunked and is now only believed by those not willing to think about it much, or who have never considered the morality or ethics of levying an immense burden of taxation on the labor of those who have only labor to sell and who struggle and lose ground daily, while sparing from an equal share of taxation those with fortunes to invest and not even the remotest danger of desperation in their lives.  To vote Romney is to simply take it on faith that setting a tax rate on the profits of “unearned” or “passive” income equal to the rate assessed against labor will somehow cripple our economy rather than invigorating it.

On no topic is the insanity of a Romney vote more pronounced than in the implicit acceptance of the rightness of the divesture of the U.S.’ national monetary policy to a Federal Reserve that is neither federal nor a reserve.  The Fed is not a governmental agency at all but a wholly owned creature of the major banks it purports to regulate.  In collusion with those same banks that are its owners, and supercharged by fractional reserve lending, and with the naked complicity now of the U.S. Treasury and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, the Fed is in open pursuit of bank profit at the expense of national economic recovery and stabilization.  This monetary system, codified by the criminally wrongheaded Federal Reserve Act of 1913, has made a debt slave of not only all our citizens, but of our government itself.  Every dollar created is created out of thin air by the Fed and its banks, and every dollar created is created as a debt instrument, bearing interest in favor of those banks.  That is true even with regard to those dollars created for the sole use of the U.S. government.  The U.S. gave to the banks (via their wholly owned and misleadingly named Federal Reserve), in 1913, its (the U.S. government’s) powers to create and regulate currency and monetary matters on its own accord.  It (we, the U.S.) opted instead to allow the Fed and its banks to set policy and create currency as it willed; forcing the government to then borrow from them (the banks) just as do we the masses, the citizenry.

All of these positions are voted for when one votes for Romney.

However, and lest ye think I be picking just on Romney voters, let me state unequivocally my belief that to vote for Obama is to have been deluded by his often lovely but completely false utterances.  Obama and the dubious Democratic Party (which has nonetheless moved right, hard right, right along with him), intends nothing different than the all of that afore-cited above in the preceding paragraphs as the components of the Romney position.  Their path is the same.  Their shining little fucking city on the hill is the same.  Make no mistake about it: no more than a hair’s breadth of practical difference exists between those two poseurs.

Both of them and all of today’s status quo, have proven their belief (and both Romney and Obama have stated in exactly so many words) that the primary purpose of government is to promote and protect free enterprise and a free marketplace.  Imagine that: a government intended not for the people but for an economic idea called free market capitalism, a model which no longer actually exists anywhere in practice.

In a market-based capitalist economy as mature as ours, the winners and losers have long been chosen.  That mature “free market” capitalism actuality reveals a fundamental set of contradictions making it no longer a free market model at all: first, the “anyone can succeed” idea upon which America was founded is long gone.  In every industry exists a handful of hugely successful, dominant firms or individuals that collectively control that industry and its market share so fully that the idea of a thinly capitalized start-up bootstrapping its way into the fray is a joke; proven a joke by the rarity of the exception.

Secondly, with the strength, lobbying power, and free rein they (the wealthy and corporate elite) enjoy in drafting the actual laws on which Congress will vote and in the making of policy at every jurisdictional level, by the setting of laws and policies that favor themselves, they (our wealthiest corporations and individuals), have tilted the scales far from the side that says “free enterprise” to the other place we are now, the place where the recipients of government subsidy, support, hand-out, and preferential treatment are not those who need those things the most but those who need it the least, those already in control.  The market is “free” only in that the cartels (insurance, pharma, fossil fuels, weapons manufacture, etc.) and the monopolies (the Fed Banking System, Monsanto, etc.) are “free” to plunder the carcass of America as they like.

Further, both of the men running have declared (and the status quo has accepted since early W) that their primary responsibility as POTUS is to protect America’s  citizens.  But where in all the founding documents does such a construction exist?  Not in the Constitution, nor the Declaration of Independence.  Nowhere else either.  It is a fabrication intended to allow them, as President, to bomb and/or financially cripple any sovereign nation or peoples he will; to assassinate or murder anyone he and his cadre might select; to oppress, take, steal any resources from anyone else wherever else in the world they might be found (or more accurately, to set the stage and pave the way (often literally) for U.S. corporations or nominally domiciled multinationals to steal others’ resources; all under the guise of “national security”, “protecting our nation’s interests”.  Think about it: the “keeping us safe” rubric has a whole lot more in common with martial law and dictatorship than it does with any Bill of Rights.

The minimum, the very smallest bit that this country needs now, and better late than never, is more people willing to be “blowing in the wind”; people willing to “throw away” their vote on Jill Stein (Green) or Rocky Anderson (Justice) to show the Republocrats (the Republican/Democrat status quo) that we don’t accept what they offer, nor are we any longer willing to endure where they have jointly brought this country over the last 200 years or so.  This country has achieved: the unrivaled position of world’s largest arms dealer; even more despicably, none other is even close in terms of being the world’s most horrid terrorist and bully, that dishonor is America’s and America’s alone; and the U.S. has become the world’s worst despoiler of the environment across the greatest swath of the earth (in total terms a worse environmental criminal than even China).  The status quo Parties have built us a nation in which we now sport: one of the world’s weakest public educational systems paired with one of the world’s weakest but most expensive university systems; perhaps the world’s most expensive, yet still distinctly mediocre in quality, health care system; and the inside track to having the worst financial inequality and the worst equality of opportunity to be found anywhere on the planet.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in corporatocracy, elections

 

6 Nov, 2012

Election Day.  Maybe.  With so many voting places still powerless because of Sandy The Storm, perhaps we won’t have an official election tally for weeks.  And the race is “tied” so far, according to the Magical Mysteries of Polling.  The Republicans have made great strides in barring as many potential Democrat voters as possible from the voting booths, with the Democrats abstaining from complaint and the media disinterested.  Maybe the truth is that the powers behind the throne have not yet chosen whom they want to be the king next.  Not that it matters much.  Robama, O’Romney – same diff.  Hell, for all I know, Sandy itself was brought on through the use of the HAARP arrays so as to provide a fall-back excuse for contested votes, peculiarities in results (or no verifiable results), or simply to gain more time for the elite to confer before announcing their choice.

And you won’t vote for a third party because the “experts” told you not to.  Matter of fact, you don’t even know who the third party candidates are.  Even Haiti, despite her distress after the horrible earthquake and centuries of abuse from larger nations, was able to field over twenty candidates in her last election.  But you are pretty sure that any third party candidate is probably a Commie.  And won’t keep you safe from the hordes of terrorists waiting outside the gates, which at least the Democrats and the Republicans will.  We must be safe while the banks and the wealthy plunder the land because, well, at least they are our wealthy.  At least they are Americans, dammit, and one day, oh, yes, one day, you too may be counted amongst the ranks of the wealthy demi-gods.  (Join the Mormon church; then you can really claim to be positioning yourself for godhood.)  Here in Maryland, the election officials allowed “Santa Claus” as a write-in candidate; the hoped-for psychological effect being that you will consider all third party candidates as frivolous and meaningless.

“Those who have put out the people’s eyes,” John Milton wrote, “reproach them of their blindness.”  (h/t Chris Hedges)

Creating problems seems to be a specialty of the human race.  Finding, or even thinking about, workable and realistic answers to these self-created issues is rather harder work and therefore shunned in favor of fervidly endorsing someone else‘s ideas – “someone else” having the qualifications of being famous, politically tied, and preferably very rich – ideas which always seem to be ‘let’s keep doing what we are doing but do more of it’.

You buy that shit every time.

“Blowin’ In The Wind”

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must the white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, and how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, and how many years can a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?
Yes, and how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, and how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, and how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in elections