Friday, July 20, 2012

If you love liberty, you might be a terrorist

With another July 4 holiday come and gone, it's worthwhile to reflect on the fact that in today's America, the Founding Fathers would be viewed as terrorists. According to Fatherland Security, one way you can spot a dangerous right-wing terrorist is to notice whether a person is "suspicious of centralized federal authority" or "reverent of individual liberty." I kid you not.

In case these fools have forgotten, we have a Constitution that was written to protect the American people from the overreaching tendencies of centralized government and to secure their individual liberties. Those values are the bedrock our nation was founded on.

The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.-- Terrorist John Adams

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere. -- Terrorist Thomas Jefferson

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one. -- Terrorist Thomas Paine

Real patriots, who may resist the intrigues of the favorite, are liable to become suspected and odious; while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests. -- Terrorist George Washington

A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence agst. foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. -- Terrorist James Madison

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Terrorist Benjamin Franklin

Give me liberty or give me death. -- Terrorist Patrick Henry

They'd all be in Guantanamo today.

Yeah, you remember Gitmo, right? The terror dungeon that Barky pledged to close but instead is now getting a $40 million upgrade, courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer. Obviously, we need a place where we can keep pumping detainees full of mind-altering drugs -- the same kind the Soviets used to use, no less -- in an attempt to extract information in between waterboardings.

We hear about more and more horrendous stories like this, and as always, the general public doesn't seem to care. Just a sampling of some of the outrageous stories to come down the pike in the past few weeks alone:
  • The Pentagon is thinking about giving medals to the cowards who safely operate drones from miles away as they use their remote-control buttons to drop bombs on women and children.
  • In another sweeping executive order, Barky decided to give himself complete control over American communication systems in the event of an emergency.
  • Fatherland Security is set to employ new laser scanners that will be able to determine virtually anything about you at a molecular level from 50 meters away.
  • Cell-phone carriers have reported that the feds asked for private information on their customers, including private communications, 1.3 million times last year -- further evidence that the NSA is conducting an ongoing and massive surveillance sting on the American people.
  • A journalist and administration whistleblower claims to have seen a drone spying on him.
  • CNN dutifully runs a graphic showing zero civilian deaths this year from drones in Pakistan -- without bothering to explain that the administration has changed its definition of combatants to include any adult male.
You don't hear about any of this in the mainstream press. CNN hasn't even run a retraction of it's Obama-cheerleading graphic. 

Why? Because the mainstream outlets bow to the military-industrial complex (especially when one of their own beloved Democrats is in office) and are owned by corporate interests who want to keep Americans stupid. Tell people what's really going on in the world around them and they might start asking questions. How else to explain these news-magazine covers from back in 2006 and 2007?

While Time and Newsweek ran cover stories for the rest of the world on the resurgence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, American readers were treated to a debate on teaching the Bible in school, and a fluff piece on photographer Annie Leibovitz. We mustn't disturb the narrative about how we're fighting to defend American freedom and winning the war on terror. Oh, goodness, no.

It's this same lack of a prominent independent media voice that doesn't let you hear about things like the Obama administration's assassination of an American teenager, or how Osama bin Laden may have been dead for years before Barky claimed credit for his death, or why there are people wondering how the United States gets to be above reproach for its actions while it terrorizes the rest of the world. Even when they're handed a hot story on a silver platter, sometimes the press just doesn't show any interest.

The Obama birth-certificate flap came around again, and after Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that two computer experts each ran more than 600 tests and found falsifications on the officially released document, the press decided to shoot the messenger. Being faced with documentation that, if truly forged, could mean Obama is not constitutionally eligible to be president, the gathered press ignored the evidence and hurled challenges and insults at Arpaio instead. 

Obama's own literary agent wrote the following biographical blurb back in 1991.

Mainstream-media interest: zero.

Your U.S. media, guardians of the truth, following wherever the facts lead. Or not. 

Arpaio was said to be upset to find out that not even Congress was willing to act on its constitutional duties in examining the evidence on Barky. But this is a Congress that overwhelmingly voted for indefinite detention of American citizens without trial, so it's not a huge surprise that this bunch would shirk its duties in defense of the rule of law. 

It's heartening that at least one brave American hero among the Congressional ranks, Dennis Kucinich, is willing to hold Obama's feet to the fire. Proving that not all liberals are spineless sellouts, Kucinich was instrumental in drafting the letter from 26 members of Congress that challenged Obama to explain his hideous foreign policy. Kucinich elaborated at length in an interview:
We have ventured into a world since 9/11 where international law is set aside and where the implements of war are becoming so ubiquitous that all the rules are being ignored and conflict zones are expanding. Where suspected terrorists – and we do not know what they are really suspected of doing, you know – they can be suspects now, and they can be executed. Or they can just be perceived to be a male of combat age and be executed. 
[ ... ] 
You are looking here at an executive power that is unleashed. Our system of justice, according to the Constitution, is highly structured. There are broad areas of our Constitution that have to do with people being investigated, arrested, charged, having a trial, and then if they are convicted being properly sentenced and incarcerated. 
[ ... ]  
What we have done here with the drone programme is to radically alter our system of justice. Because, remember, if the whole idea is that we are exporting American values, those drones represent American values. And now we are telling the world that American values are summary executions, no rights to an accused, no arrest process, no reading of charges, no trial by jury, no judge, only an executioner. If you have only an executioner that is not justice, that is something else.
[ ... ] 
[W]hen you have assassination programmes that lack any attempt to establish legal justification, then you have journeyed into moral depravity. International law means nothing, laws of war mean nothing.  
[ ... ]  
[S]omeday, I hope it is not going to be too far into the future, somebody is going to look back at this and go "oh my God, why was this permitted?" ... We cannot assume for ourselves the right to impose a war anywhere we well please, and yet we have. 
[ ... ] 
I look at it from my standpoint, as an American, as a member of Congress, what would we do if China, or Russia, or Iran sent a drone over the US? How would we respond? We would see it as, we would see the presence of a drone over our air-space as an act of war, no question about it. And a firing of a drone would invite a full retaliatory response. There is just no question about it, anyone who knows the US know how we would respond to that. Why then does our administration believe that America has some kind of a peremptory position? Why are we immune from international law? Where did we get that special privilege? 
[ ... ]  
[T]he UN Charter was established to protect the sovereignty of every nation and to stop the scourge of war. The United States, as a participant in the UN, has a responsibility not to aggress. Every nation has a right to defend itself, but no nation has the right to aggress against another. We are clearly aggressing against Pakistan, and against Yemen, and against a whole range of countries. This can only lead to more war. With war, these wars, any drone now is an incendiary that spreads war more broadly and it incites more people to join the cause of those who protest the US policies and who seeks to commit violence. 
[ ... ] 
How did the nation, that was founded under such egalitarian principles, find itself running a killing bureaucracy, how did that happen? How did we make that journey? This is clearly a story of a nation that is losing its way in the world to a mixture of fear and hubris.  
[ ... ]  
Killings become too easy, without a justice system to guide it. It is vigilantism conducted by robots. This is a venture into a realm that would have perhaps been conjured by the likes of Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe, but certainly not by Washington or Jefferson. 
[ ... ]  
The only time civilian casualties are used is to articulate a cause for further US involvement in a conflict such as in Syria. There's talk about civilian casualties there, it's a very regretful situation in Syria. And the US will almost daily report on those civilian casualties because there's a cry for intervention. But where there's no interest in intervention, where there’s a desire simply to dominate either militarily, politically, strategically, then you'll see the whole issue of civilian casualties buried. 
Why do they do that? I think the people of the United States would be horrified if they actually understood how many innocent people are being swept up in the maw of these wars. So people are just permitted to sleep. And it's going to be very disturbing for the American people when they awake from the slumber to look out upon a world where there's carnage everywhere that's created by our nation without any legal process, without any constitutional basis and without any articulated justification.
Wouldn't it be great to hear this kind of candid talk about the direction of our country in the presidential debates? To his credit, Ron Paul tried, but he was either cut short or ignored at every turn. It's the radical independent thinkers from each major party that still unabashedly speak truth to power. And that's exactly why the press ignores them.

The media has taken its marching orders well.

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