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  • surlawda commented on the blog post The Case Against U.S.-Arms Sales (and Iraq)

    2014-07-02 14:53:29View | Delete

    The question of whether or not it is in the best interests of the United States or the rest of the world is not really germane. Arm sales support the interests of the 1%, the Dick Cheney war profiteers, the oil companies, the arms manufacturers, etc. The NRA is not about supporting the second amendment–it is about supporting Smith&Wesson. The militarization of our own local police departments is not about thwarting crime, which is at historic lows–it’s about power and keeping the poor in their place. Naturally this informs our foreign policy as well. The powers that be in the US never saw a problem that couldn’t be fixed by shooting it, or cutting corporate taxes.

  • Let’s not forget that he also failed to prosecute anyone for torture, or to even seriously investigate it, while going hard after the whistleblowers who have exposed possible war crimes (Kiriakou) as well as plain old government corruption (Thomas Drake). As you point, not everything Holder has done is horrible, but certainly everything he hasn’t done is.

  • “In other words, allowing Meshal to sue US government officials would interfere with affairs that were entirely in the control of the Executive Branch and violate separation of powers.”

    in other words, the judge is saying that Congress can fix this and not violate the separation of powers, but the judiciary cannot because that would violate the separation of powers?

  • Terry Moran: Snowden asks if Russia intercepts personal data of ordinary citizens. Really, Snowden? Do you really expect a straight answer?

    It’s pretty bad that Terry Moran reserves his snark for Snowden vis a vis Putin when it’s clear that Obama lies as much as Putin, but of course no one “expects” any politician anywhere to answer such a question (or almost any question) honestly.

    On the other hand, when James Clapper is under oath and directly asked by Ron Wyden whether the NSA collects “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans,” I think we are legally to entitled a straight answer.

    The mainstream media’s treatment of Snowden is beyond hypocritical. They have actually aided and abetted Clapper in the commission of a crime.

  • Judge Collyer was appointed to the FISA court last year–she obviously knows how to do her job.

  • You are absolutely correct–it is 100% on the powers that be, which have perfected the PR game and purposively divorced us from any concern about what they do. Eliminating the draft, embedding journalists, not raising taxes during wartime, relying on the state secrets privilege to keep the courts from examining questionable policies, etc etc, has had the effect of keeping us completely in the dark and ensuring that resistance will be minimal. Again, I do believe the full report should be released, but all I am saying is that I doubt it will have much effect. There have been too many such revelations (somehow I forgot to mention the Iran-Contra affair) that should have made us say enough is enough but which have been met with a collective yawn to allow me to believe this one will be any different. That said, I do believe a tipping point is coming, but it will have to do with the economy and the continuing divergence of the 1 vs. the 99%. And, all things being related (the war after all was fought on behalf of the 1%, Halliburton, ExxonMobile, Cheney), this will have an effect on national security policies as well.

    Finally, I would say, despite my pessimism, your writing, Greenwald’s writing, the actions of Chelsea Manning and Ed Snowden, I think they are all having an effect–the edifice is crumbling, and continued attention on the intelligence and security policies is necessary. But I guess I think the American people do deserve to be called out. To quote the great WC Fields, you can’t cheat an honest man.

  • No doubt this information should be released, but, call me a cynic, I believe the majority of Americans simply would not care, at least not in any way that would make a difference. If we did, we would never have gotten to this point in the first place. It is no secret that the CIA has long been involved in political assassination and the overthrow of legitimate governments, and, after Vietnam, Watergate, Iraq, and the latest NSA scandal, it should be abundantly clear to anyone with an ounce of brains that our government is thoroughly corrupt and not to be trusted. Perhaps it is the clarity of our country’s failures that explains how jaded we are. When Bush told the American people not to worry themselves about the Iraq, to just go shopping instead, that let us off the hook, and thank goodness. It’s so much more entertaining to read about celebrity divorces and to learn about the real world from TV shows like 24.

  • surlawda commented on the diary post The Bermuda Triangle of National Security by Tom Engelhardt.

    2014-04-03 18:11:13View | Delete

    “The many parts of America’s growing shadow government — secret law, secret surveillance, secret power, and the secret state — are here to stay.” Except no society, no matter how advanced, is immune to complete collapse. If we continue along the path we are treading now, the U.S. is certain to follow the Roman, Han, [...]

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Top Ten At Ten 2/5/2014

    2014-02-05 13:21:55View | Delete

    There are many things about the Times, in both its reporting and its editorial positions, that deserve harsh criticism. Still, the idea that anything the Observer has anything useful to offer about practically any subject in the world is laughable. Are the Times’ editorials “reflexively liberal, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual”? I would say, no, yes, no, and often. Are the Observer’s editorials reflexively conservative, utterly predictable, usually poorly written and totally ineffectual? I would say yes to all. (Actually, it’s true that the Observer has supported gay marriage, so there’s that. But even Giuliani was okay with gays; a broken clock, as they say.) And while some of their reporters are good writers, the stories they choose to cover are worthless.

  • …a core goal the FBI had: “To enhance paranoia and make people think there is FBI agents behind every mailbox.”

    This is a key point that today’s defenders of the NSA overlook. We are told time and time again that the spying programs currently in place “have never been abused,” that violations are inadvertent, that no effort has been made to stifle dissent. This is a Phil Robertson view of things (“Blacks were not unhappy when Jim Crow was in place–I never heard one complaint!”)–the mere fact that spying occurs is enough to stifle dissent. Like blacks under Jim Crow, the general American citizenry becomes paranoid and afraid to dissent. “Abuse” of the program is not necessary because the program is itself an abuse.

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Any More U.S. “Stabilization” and Africa Will Collapse

    2013-12-23 13:43:35View | Delete

    Though I concur that incompetence has been a hallmark of Obama’s administration, I have no doubt that his worst policy decisions are entirely intentional. It is Obama’s own priorities, and not incompetence, that has kept him from prosecuting torturers and Wall Street crooks. As far as Obama is concerned, NSA spying is entirely justified, as are drones–he seems to really believe these programs are perfectly okay. In fact, it is only incompetence that has any chance of saving us–it will become increasingly difficult for the NSA to continue hiding everything it does. Also, we should thank Obama for promising to go to war with Syria once chemical weapons had been used –this truly was a blunder but thankfully the Russians came to our rescue and prevented us from waging another devastating war in the Middle East. As for PVB’s question “why,” it’s simple–defense contractors, security contractors, oil companies, banks, all love war, because it makes them rich. That is the American dream.

  • The government arguing about the “chilling effect” the release of these documents has caused, considering the chilling effect its own war on journalism and whistleblowers has had on the public’s right to be informed, is quite ironic. Like the administration blasting the Russians for not following “the rule of law” in granting asylum to someone who revealed the administration’s own law-breaking. Do these people realize how absolutely stupid they appear and just not care, or are they actually that stupid?

  • As Groucho Marx astutely observed, military justice is to justice what military music is to music.

  • surlawda commented on the diary post Good News for Italy: NYT Says Its National Debt Is Just $2.6 Billion by Dean Baker.

    2013-07-11 08:55:26View | Delete

    “It is impossible to understand why people who want a well-informed public would not push for changing this archaic and absurd practice.” This is true, but of course NYT’s commitment to a well-informed public is spotty at best. The refusal to use the word “torture” when describing Bush interrogation policies is one egregious example of [...]

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Obama Administration Also Seized Phone Records Of Fox News

    2013-05-22 06:49:52View | Delete

    you’ve nailed it. Just three months after the Obama administration justified its drone program by proudly pointing to Nixon’s excursions in Cambodia, it has resurrected Nixon’s legal theory in going after Neil Sheehan, the NYT reporter who broke the Pentagon Papers story. According to James Goodall, the NYT’s lawyer at the time,

    “Nixon convened a grand jury to indict the New York Times and its reporter, Neil Sheehan, for conspiracy to commit espionage . . . .The government’s ‘conspiracy’ theory centered around how Sheehan got the Pentagon Papers in the first place. While Daniel Ellsberg had his own copy stored in his apartment in Cambridge, the government believed Ellsberg had given part of the papers to anti-war activists. It apparently theorized further that the activists had talked to Sheehan about publication in the Times, all of which it believed amounted to a conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act.”

    Glen Greenwald points out: “As Goodale notes, this is exactly “the same charge Obama’s Justice Department is investigating Assange under today,” and it’s now exactly the same theory used to formally brand Fox’s James Rosen as a criminal in court.”

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Obama Gets a HAMP Question… On The Daily Show

    2012-10-19 08:01:08View | Delete

    unfortunately Stewart did not follow up on Obama’s claim that his national security policy is on firmer legal grounding than Bush’s was. Stewart should have immediately pointed out that virtually all of Obama’s legal reasoning remains classified, and that, just like Bush, Obama believes “trust me” should be sufficient for the American people.

    Too, when Obama refused to admit mistakes in the administration’s response to Benghazi, Stewart might have pointed out that the same kinds of half-truths and misinformation were offered after bin Laden had been killed.

    Stewart is the best, but not infallible. He dropped the ball here.

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Obama Speaks on Trayvon Martin Case

    2012-03-23 12:45:44View | Delete

    In the first place, the administration has never provided any evidence that al-Awlaki was a member of al Qaeda–instead they are relying on people to assume what they read in Wikipedia is just true. In the second place, I said nothing about al-Awlaki, I was talking about his son, and the hundreds of civilian children and adults have been killed just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time by a drone campaign the legality and morality of which, as hotdog points out, are just as suspect as the morality of stand your ground laws (which, sadly, are legal, thanks to politicians of all parties)

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Obama Speaks on Trayvon Martin Case

    2012-03-23 11:21:01View | Delete

    Al-Awalaki’s son was not a militant. Neither are the hundreds of civilian who have been killed in these attacks. Civilians! Women and children. You ask them to explain the difference when their babies are killed in their cribs by a bomb coming through the ceiling.

  • surlawda commented on the blog post Obama Speaks on Trayvon Martin Case

    2012-03-23 10:47:50View | Delete

    Obviously the 16-year-old son of Anwar al-Awlaki looks nothing like what Obama’s son would look like.

  • surlawda became a registered member

    2012-03-23 10:44:12View | Delete
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