Saturday, June 8, 2013

Here's Looking at You, Reading Your Texts & Emails, & Listening to Your Phone Calls, Kid

Sen. Ron Wyden says in Jeremy Scahill’s (an excellent reporter, by the way) documentary Dirty Wars that it’s important for people to know when a president can & can’t kill an American citizen. Wyden’s stance is widely viewed as a challenge to Obama’s authority, question mark?   Um, I would think it’s important for people to know that the president CAN’T kill American citizens, period. Of course, Obama defends his drone program, saying that it’s not willy-nilly--he has a list (an unfortunate, unintentional allusion to Richard Nixon, I'd guess). Obama having a kill list hardly reassures me that everything’s jake, but is, to the contrary, unsettling. It sounds a tad draconian, doesn’t it? Besides, I’m not an expert, but claiming you were following a list doesn’t strike me as a particularly good legal defense, for there seem to be no prior rulings to indicate that lists trump law.

When former White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs, recently hired as an MSNBC contributor, recounted being directed to lie about drone attacks, he attempted to give the incident a humorous slant by explaining how awkward that press conference was for him. What’s funny, if you ask me, is that no interviewer since has bothered to question Gibbs (or his credibility) as to why it’s acceptable for a government spokesperson to lie about illegal acts, or why we accept, unflinchingly, that the government lies to us. Similarly, I have trouble remembering that Jay Carney, current White House spokesperson, isn’t Jim Carrey, since both are known for their shtik of talking out their asses. Also, neither is funny.

Apparently, most mainstream reporters consider the atrocities of the drone program of less importance than their access to the White House. Never have these self-satisfied lackies seemed particularly eager to confront or challenge Obama about his little-man rhetoric versus his fat-cat policies. They instead continue to embrace the lazy, fallacious narrative that he’s a liberal Democrat in the mold of FDR. Well, to be fair, he is a neo-liberal.  Lately, of course, this slime-biotic relationship between press & government took a hit when reporters, after playing dumb to illegal surveillance for so long, were outraged to learn that the administration is illegally spying on them, too.

Like Bush before him, Obama defends any illegal/unethical actions by calling them vital to national security, thus simultaneously red-stamping the cover-up as "Top Secret!" (Ironically, the administration bills itself as the most transparent in U.S. history, though the documentation that supports this claim is classified.) Democrats serving as Obama apologists–are there any other kind?–want to deflect attention from the lastest slew of scandals by constantly pointing out that Bush, Reagan, or any number of right-wing Republican nutjobs was/is/would be worse. Such obvious fallacies in logic show one of the fundamental flaws of the two-party system. By such "standards" of partisan politics, we could defend Charles Manson because he wasn’t as bad as Jeffrey Dahmer. Mussolini’s not as bad as Hitler, the party tells us & sells us a repackaged Mussolini in 2016.

That is not to suggest that Bush & Reagan weren't terrible presidents whose administrations committed atrocities equal to/worse than Obama's dastardly deeds, including his virtual pardon of war criminals--for instance, George Bush--while prosecuting/persecuting whistleblower Bradley Manning, who, if anything, is guilty of revealing war crimes. While Republican legislators make ridiculous, hypocritical, downright idiotic statements about Obama, their absurd duplicity doesn't excuse Obama of his wrongdoings. For what it's worth, he's made his fair share of ridiculous, hypocritical, downright idiotic statements.

I’m reminded that in lingua Latina, in can mean either "in" or "on." As a result, the warning Troy received (In equo multi Graeci sunt) about the Trojan horse was shrugged off as bad intelligence after a cursory examination of the horse revealed no riders. The rest, of course, is not precisely history, but my intention here is to make a point, & while I may not be 100% sure about the accuracy of any of this, including my Latin, my point, whatever it is, remains valid. As proof, I offer my scratch outline--in essence, a list--which I would reprint below if it weren't classified.

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