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  • kapock commented on the blog post Why Act Now on Cuba

    2014-12-19 13:04:23View | Delete

    There’s some implicit late-imperial privilege in this post in only looking to domestic answers to “why now”. The biggest reason is a Western Hemisphere that was unwilling to keep playing along, and that now has the political autonomy to take action. With the next Summit of the Americas coming up in April, it was clear that continued U.S. intransigence would no longer serve to isolate Cuba, but instead would leave the U.S. alone.

  • That leads to the critical question: Why is NBC News protecting an overzealous torturer? The media organization claims that they are protecting her anonymity “at the request of the CIA” because the agency cited “a climate of fear and retaliation in the wake of the release of the committee’s report.” But the notorious CIA officer is already known to the world.

    NBC runs its stories past CIA; CIA demands irrational changes; NBC complies. It’s a ritual of dominance and submission to reinforce the hierarchy; it’s not about maintaining a (non-existent) secret.

  • Indeed, media reports of anonymous officialdom is not exactly ironclad assurance that the DoJ is going to get off your back.

    The bigger picture, though, is that even if the government officially patted Risen on the head and told him they were done with him, they’ve still won the larger battle: creating years of fear and legal uncertainty for a reporter who dared to shine light on idiocy like giving Iran nuclear weapon blueprints, and incompetence like emailing details of the entire CIA network in Iran to a double agent.

  • Thanks for sharing those compelling and disturbing facts, Sarah B.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Meaningless Human Life in Neoliberal America

    2014-12-07 15:13:28View | Delete

    You were the first writer that got me to visit FDL regularly. Thanks for that, and for your fine work here, masaccio! Good luck.

  • But these two — a soldier and a banker — share the same outlook on the the need to attack poverty if one seeks to build peace.

    Yunus, and the Nobel committee that celebrated him, and his fans, believe in “the need to attack poverty” by putting poor people in debt rather than allocating them a fair share of the capital amassed by the economic elite—and doing so in a way that indoctrinates people to worship the very system that is impoverishing them.

  • Don’t worry: we can count on the grand jury system to make sure there’ll be no indictment if the entrapment is too egregious.

    Just kidding! You can indict a ham sandwich … as long as the sandwich doesn’t carry a badge.

  • kapock commented on the blog post What Focusing on the Economy Could Have Looked Like

    2014-12-04 14:12:45View | Delete

    Krugman would say Jon’s point doesn’t respond the linked blog post. Krugman has set up a straw man: the person who says Obama failed to “focus on the economy” by failing to enact non-healthcare-related economic stimulus specifically because he was working on healthcare reform instead.

    So the person who says Obama could have gotten bigger stimulus at the beginning (a person like, um, Krugman) doesn’t count. Neither does a person, like Jon, who points out healthcare reform itself could have delivered more stimulus upfront.

    I’ve always both liked Krugman and thought he had some major limitations, but I think recently he has decided to become more of a Dem cheerleader than he ever was before. For example, when Obama gave his inequality speech Krugman praised it. When Obama subsequently chose to completely bail out on talking about inequality, Krugman was likewise silent. That’s the mark of a shill.

  • I think grand juries are largely older people (since they meet for weeks or months, it helps to be retired), and while of course that doesn’t exclude politically conscious people, I think the demographic reality is that it helps prevent indictments of cops, and secure them for everybody else (”ham sandwich”).

    For me, your lament is even better directed at trial juries, which are supposed to be more representative of the population, and where one holdout can often secure at least a mistrial. Yet the convictions keep on coming. Democracy Now! today had this, about a peace activist about to be sentenced for his conviction for demonstrating at a military base where people sit in front of screens instructing flying robots to murder defenseless people thousands or miles away. When are juries going to start just giving the finger to prosecutors who bring cases like that?

  • kapock commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Silenced

    2014-12-01 19:28:21View | Delete

    But the intent was for spies.

    Thanks for the reply, but I don’t think that’s the case. You may be under-rating the full breadth and intensity of pro-war hysteria that consumed the U.S. when it entered World War I, and the ferocity with which what we (even deep in the GWOT era) would consider clearly protected speech was attacked.

    I don’t believe the U.S. government was without tools to prosecute actual foreign agents (especially enemy agents in wartime) prior to this law’s enactment. What it lacked was a basis for prosecuting all sorts of activities that could be construed as interfering with the war effort, regardless of whether any secrets or foreign powers were involved, and that’s what the 1917 act gave it.

    I submit that Obama’s use of the law accords with its original intent: I can’t imagine its authors hesitating for a second to use it to prosecute conscientious leakers.

    I have a vague memory that you (Kevin) and I exchanged comments much like these on this topic at some point in the past, so I guess it’s a case of agree to disagree.

  • kapock commented on the blog post FDL Movie Night: Silenced

    2014-12-01 18:37:19View | Delete

    Thank you James, Jane, and Kevin.

    I take issue with this from the introductory post:

    … the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that was intended to be used against spies and not for punishing people who disclose information without authorization.

    I think the 1917 “espionage” law was originally, as it is now, a tool to cripple dissent from U.S. warmaking. Although it has sometimes been used to prosecute people actually (or ostensibly) working to deliver secrets to foreign governments, I believe it was primarily “intended” to function as it did in 1917-18, and has since 2009: to stifle political participation and dialog when they are seen to threaten public support for the government.

  • Strobe Talbott … agreed with Hadley that it was appropriate for the US to give weapons to Ukraine given that US intelligence was already identifying targets for the Ukrainian military. Talbott said it is a “no brainer” that the US should help eliminate targets it is already helping to identify.

    I’d like to ask Strobe & Co. which is the preferable target: the senior citizens, their pensions cut off by Kiev, trying to sell their last possessions to keep from starving? or the stray dogs who are already starving, their owners already killed or displaced by the war? Obliterating which group with heavy weaponry will give the greater boost to our Security here in the Homeland?

  • Yeah I’ve heard various references to that. Yet even with that as an affirmative defense that was ostensibly available to Wilson, the facts here far surpass the “probable cause” standard for an indictment.

    I wonder why McCulloch didn’t take the path of less resistance and secure an indictment (months ago!), and then just dog it at the trial. I don’t mean to brag, but that’s how they would have handled it in my town, as we saw in the Amadou Diallo case.

  • I want to get one more thing off my chest from McCulloch’s announcement of the grand jury finding:

    McCulloch said the chronological sequence of bullet wounds wasn’t clear from the autopsies except for the first and the last. But he only deduced which one was the last because it was a shot to the head that would have immediately brought down Brown. That explains why it would have been the final legally justifiable shot (assuming any of them were), but doesn’t show it was in fact the final shot.

  • When Wilson says he can’t think of any other action he could have taken, I’m led to ask: How about staying inside your SUV police cruiser and following your apparently (and actually) unarmed suspect, who was on foot, until backup arrived? Even “Hulk Hogan” couldn’t do anything to you in your vehicle, and he wasn’t threatening anyone else at that time.

  • It may be plausible motivation, but still a bad decision. Covering your ass on one particular concern doesn’t justify ignoring all the others. Purposely waiting until 8:30 pm added a weird energy to the whole proceeding that I don’t believe was helpful to anybody.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Secretary of Defense Hagel Announces Resignation

    2014-11-24 16:20:06View | Delete

    I nominate Jimmy Carter.

    Well, since the initial U.S. clandestine destabilization of modernizing, secularly governed Afghanistan took place on Carter’s watch, setting the stage for the Soviet invasion and all that followed, good ol’ peace-lovin’ Jimmy Carter might be a plausible choice to keep the flames of war raging.

  • kapock commented on the blog post Louisiana Senate: Mary Landrieu Way Behind in New Poll

    2014-11-19 15:52:11View | Delete

    How could Landrieu supporting a bill authored by her opponent, getting the Senate to schedule a special vote on it, failing to pass it, and basing the whole thing on the pipeline company’s marketing lies and denial of science not have worked to win her re-election?

  • kapock commented on the blog post Burying My Father Who Was One of My Biggest Fans

    2014-11-18 16:56:58View | Delete

    Thanks for sharing, Kevin. You and your dad were lucky to have had each other, even if for too short a time.

  • kapock commented on the diary post Okinawa Elects All Anti-U.S.-Bases Candidates by David Swanson.

    2014-11-18 13:57:21View | Delete

    I would just note that the previous Okinawa governor, Nakaima, was also elected on an anti-base platform, and later went back on the promise.

    I’m not predicting a repeat, but politicians are something that you have to keep a close eye on.

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