Bradley Manning

Fourth Turning: The People versus Big Brother

Off the keyboard of Jim Quinn

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Published on The Burning Platform on March 13, 2014

Discuss this article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

“The risk of catastrophe will be very high. The nation could erupt into insurrection or civil violence, crack up geographically, or succumb to authoritarian rule. If there is a war, it is likely to be one of maximum risk and effort – in other words, a total war. Every Fourth Turning has registered an upward ratchet in the technology of destruction, and in mankind’s willingness to use it.” 

– Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

“In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”Frank Church on Meet the Press regarding the NSA – 1975

Ever since Edward Snowden burst onto the worldwide stage in June 2013, I’ve been wondering how he fits into the fabric of this ongoing Fourth Turning. This period of Crisis that arrives like clockwork, 60 to 70 years after the end of the previous Fourth Turning (Civil War – 66 years after American Revolution, Great Depression/World War II – 64 years after Civil War, Global Financial Crisis – 62 years after World War II), arrived in September 2008 with the Federal Reserve created collapse of the global financial system. We are now five and a half years into this Fourth Turning, with its climax not likely until the late-2020’s. At this point in previous Fourth Turnings a regeneracy had unified sides in their cause and a grey champion or champions (Ben Franklin/Samuel Adams, Lincoln/Davis, FDR) had stepped forward to lead. Thus far, no one from the Prophet generation has been able to unify the nation and create a sense of common civic purpose. Societal trust continues to implode, as faith in political, financial, corporate, and religious institutions spirals downward. There is no sign of a unifying regeneracy on the horizon.

The core elements of this Fourth Turning continue to propel this Crisis: debt, civic decay, global disorder. Central bankers, politicians, and government bureaucrats have been able to fashion the illusion of recovery and return to normalcy, but their “solutions” are nothing more than smoke and mirrors exacerbating the next bloodier violent stage of this Fourth Turning. The emergencies will become increasingly dire, triggering unforeseen reactions and unintended consequences. The civic fabric of our society will be torn asunder.

In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. If foreign societies are also entering a Fourth Turning, this could accelerate the chain reaction. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” – The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe

Debt

The core crisis element of debt is far worse than it was at the outset of this Crisis in September 2008. The National Debt has risen from $9.7 trillion to $17.5 trillion, an 80% increase in five and half years. It took 215 years for the country to accumulate as much debt as it has accumulated since the start of this Crisis. We continue to add $2.8 billion a day to the National debt, and the president declares it is time for this austerity to end. The total unfunded liabilities of the Federal government for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, government pensions and now Obamacare exceeds $200 trillion and is mathematically impossible to honor. Corporate debt stands at an all-time high. Margin debt is at record levels, as faith in the Federal Reserve’s ability to levitate the stock market borders on delusional. Consumer debt has reached new heights, as the government doles out subprime auto loans to deadbeats and subprime student loans to future University of Phoenix Einsteins. Global debt has surged by 40% since 2008 to over $100 trillion, as central bankers have attempted to cure a disease caused by debt with more debt.

All of this debt accumulation is compliments of Bernanke/Yellen and the Federal Reserve, who have produced this new debt bubble with their zero interest rate policy and quantitative easing that has driven their balance sheet from $935 billion of mostly Treasury bonds in September 2008 to $4.2 trillion of toxic mortgage garbage acquired from their owners – the insolvent Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks. This entire house of cards is reliant upon permanently low interest rates, the faith of foreigners in our lies, and trust in Ivy League educated economists captured by Wall Street. This debt laden house of cards sits atop hundreds of trillions of derivatives of mass destruction used by the Wall Street casinos to generate “riskless” profits. When, not if, a trigger ignites this explosive concoction of debt, the collapse will be epic and the violent phase of this Fourth Turning will commence.

Civic Decay

The core crisis element of civic decay is evident everywhere you turn. Our failed public educational system is responsible for much of the civic decay, as a highly educated critical thinking populace is our only defense against a small cabal of bankers and billionaires acquiring unwarranted influence and control over our country. Our children have been taught how to feel and to believe government propaganda. The atrocious educational system is not a mistake. It has been designed and manipulated by your owners to produce the results they desire, as explained bluntly by George Carlin.

“There’s a reason that education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now, the big, wealthy, business interests that control all things and make the big decisions. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want—they don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interest.”

The urban ghettos become more dangerous and uninhabitable by the day. The inner cities are crumbling under the weight of welfare spending and declining tax revenues. The very welfare policies begun fifty years ago to alleviate poverty have hopelessly enslaved the poor and ignorant in permanent squalor and destitution. The four decade old drug war has done nothing to reduce the use of drugs. It has benefited the corporate prison industry, as millions have been thrown into prison for minor drug offenses. Meanwhile, millions more have been legally addicted to drugs peddled by the corporate healthcare complex. The culture warriors and advocates of new rights for every special interest group continue their never ending battles which receive an inordinate amount of publicity from the corporate media. Class warfare is simmering and being inflamed by politicians pushing their particular agendas. Violence provoked by race and religion is growing by the day. The fault lines are visible and the imminent financial earthquake will push distress levels beyond the breaking point. Once the EBT cards stop working, all hell will break loose. Three days of panic will empty grocery store shelves and the National Guard will be called out to try and restore control.

Global Disorder

The core crisis element of global disorder is evident everywhere you turn. The false flag revolution in the Ukraine, initiated by the U.S. and EU in order to blunt Russia’s control of natural gas to Europe, has the potential to erupt into a full blown shooting war at any moment. The attempt by Saudi Arabia, Israel and the U.S. to overthrow the Syrian dictator in order to run a natural gas pipeline across their land into Europe was blunted by Russia. Iraq is roiled in a civil war, after the U.S. invaded, occupied and destabilized the country. After 12 years of occupation, Afghanistan is more dysfunctional and dangerous than it was before the U.S. saved them from the evil Taliban. Unrest, violent protests, and brutal measures by rulers continue in Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Venezuela, Bahrain, Brazil, and throughout Africa. American predator drones roam the skies of the world murdering suspected terrorists. The European Union is insolvent, with Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal propped up with newly created debt. Austerity for the people and prosperity for the bankers is creating tremendous distress and tension across the continent. A global volcanic eruption is in the offing.

It is clear to me the American Empire is in terminal decline. Hubris, delusion, corruption, foolish disregard for future generations and endless foreign follies have set in motion a chain of events that will lead to a cascading sequence of debt defaults, mass poverty, collapsing financial markets, and hyperinflation or deflation, depending on the actions of feckless bankers and politicians. There is no avoiding the tragic outcome brought on by decades of bad choices and a century of allowing private banking interests to control our currency. The “emergency” QE and ZIRP responses by the Federal Reserve to the Federal Reserve created 2008 financial collapse continue, even though the propaganda peddled by the Deep State tries to convince the public we have fully recovered. This grand fraud cannot go on forever. Ponzi schemes no longer work once you run out of dupes. With societal trust levels approaching all-time lows and foreign countries beginning to understand they are the dupes, another global financial crisis is a lock.

The Snowden Factor

With ten to fifteen years likely remaining in this Fourth Turning Crisis, people familiar with generational turnings can’t help but ponder what will happen next. Linear thinkers, who constitute the majority, mistakenly believe things will magically return to normal and we’ll continue our never ending forward human progress. Their ignorance of history and generational turnings that recur like the four seasons will bite them in the ass. We are being flung forward across the vast chaos of time and our existing social order will be transformed beyond recognition into something far better or far worse. The actual events over the coming decade are unknowable in advance, but the mood and reactions of the generational archetypes to these events are predictable. The actions of individuals will matter during this Fourth Turning. The majority are trapped in their propaganda induced, techno distracted stupor of willful ignorance. It will take a minority of liberty minded individuals, who honor the principles of the U.S. Constitution and are willing to sacrifice their lives, to prevail in the coming struggle.

Despite fog engulfing the path of future events, we know they will be propelled by debt, civic decay, and global disorder. Finding a unifying grey champion figure seems unlikely at this point. I believe the revelations by Edward Snowden have set the course for future events during this Fourth Turning. The choices of private citizens, like Snowden, Assange, and Manning, have made a difference. The choices we all make over the next ten years will make a difference. A battle for the soul of this country is underway. The Deep State is firmly ingrained, controlling the financial, political and educational systems, while using their vast wealth to perpetuate endless war, and domination of the media to manipulate the masses with propaganda and triviality. They are powerful and malevolent. They will not relinquish their supremacy and wealth willingly.

Snowden has revealed the evil intent of the ruling class and their willingness to trash the Constitution in their psychopathic pursuit of mammon. The mass surveillance of the entire population, locking down of an entire city in pursuit of two teenagers, military training exercises in major metropolitan areas, militarization of local police forces by DHS, crushing peaceful demonstrations with brute force, attempting to restrict and confiscate guns, molesting innocent airline passengers, executive orders utilized on a regular basis by the president, and treating all citizens like suspects has set the stage for the coming conflict. Strauss & Howe warned that history has shown armed conflict is always a major ingredient during a Fourth Turning.

“History offers even more sobering warnings: Armed confrontation usually occurs around the climax of Crisis. If there is confrontation, it is likely to lead to war. This could be any kind of war – class war, sectional war, war against global anarchists or terrorists, or superpower war. If there is war, it is likely to culminate in total war, fought until the losing side has been rendered nil – its will broken, territory taken, and leaders captured.” The Fourth Turning – Strauss & Howe -1997

It appears to me the Deep State is preparing for armed conflict with the people. Why else would they be utilizing Big Brother methods of surveillance, militarization of police forces  and Gestapo like tactics of intimidation to control the masses? This doesn’t happen in a democratic republic where private individuals are supposed to know everything done by public government servants, not vice versa. They know the cheap, easy to access energy resources are essentially depleted. They know the system they have built upon a foundation of cheap energy and cheap debt is unsustainable and will crash in the near future. They know their fiat currency scheme is failing.They know it is going to come crashing down.  

They know America and the world will plunge into an era of depression, violence, and war. They also know they want to retain their wealth, power and control. There is no possibility the existing establishment can be purged through the ballot box. It’s a one party Big Brother system that provides the illusion of choice to the Proles. Like it or not, the only way this country can cast off the shackles of the banking, corporate, fascist elites, and the government surveillance state is through an armed revolution. The alternative is to allow an authoritarian regime, on par with Hitler, Stalin and Mao, to rise from the ashes of our financial collapse. This is a distinct possibility, given the ignorance and helplessness of most Americans after decades of government education and propaganda.       

The average mentally asleep American cannot conceive of armed conflict within the borders of the U.S. War, violence and dead bodies are something they see on their 52 inch HDTVs while gobbling chicken wings and cheetos in their Barcalounger. We’ve allowed a banking cartel and their central bank puppets to warp and deform our financial system into a hideous façade, sold to the masses as free market capitalism. We’ve allowed corporate interests to capture our political system through bribery and corruption.

We’ve allowed the rise of a surveillance state that has stripped us of our privacy, freedom, liberty and individuality in a futile pursuit of safety and security. We’ve allowed a military industrial complex to exercise undue influence in Washington DC, leading to endless undeclared wars designed to enrich the arms makers. We’ve allowed the corporate media and the government education complex to use propaganda, misinformation and social engineering techniques to dumb down the masses and make them compliant consumers. These delusions will be shattered when our financial and economic system no longer functions. The end is approaching rapidly and very few see it coming.

Glory or Ruin?

The scenario I envision is a collapse of our debt saturated financial system, with a domino effect of corporate, personal, and governmental defaults, exacerbated by the trillions of currency, interest rate, and stock derivatives. Global stock markets will crash. Trillions in paper wealth will evaporate into thin air. The Greater Depression will gain a choke-hold around the world. Mass bankruptcies, unemployment and poverty will sweep across the land. The social safety net will tear under the weight of un-payable entitlements. Riots and unrest will breakout in urban areas. Armed citizens in rural areas will begin to assemble in small units. The police and National Guard will be unable to regain control. The military will be called on to suppress any and all resistance to the Federal government. This act of war will spur further resistance from liberty minded armed patriots. The new American Revolution will have begun. Leaders will arise in the name of freedom. Regional and local bands of fighters will use guerilla tactics to defeat a slow top heavy military dependent upon technology and vast quantities of oil. A dictatorial regime may assume power on a Federal level. A breakup of the nation into regional states is a distinct possibility.

With the American Empire crumbling from within, our international influence will wane. With China also in the midst of a Fourth Turning, their debt bubble will burst and social unrest will explode into civil war. Global disorder, wars, terrorism, and financial collapse will lead to a dramatic decrease in oil production, further sinking the world into depression. The tensions caused by worldwide recession will lead to the rise of authoritarian regimes and global warfare. With “advances” in technological warfare and the proliferation of nuclear warheads, this scenario has the potential to end life on earth as we know it. The modern world could be set back into the stone-age with the push of a button. There are no guarantees of a happy ending for humanity.

The outcome of this Fourth Turning is dependent upon the actions of a minority of critical thinking Americans who decide to act. No one can avoid the trials and tribulations that lie ahead. We will be faced with immense challenges. Courage and sacrifice will be required in large doses. Elders will need to lead and millennials will need to carry a heavy load, doing most of the dying. The very survival of our society hangs in the balance. Edward Snowden has provided an example of the sacrifice required during this Fourth Turning. How we respond and the choices we make over the next decade will determine whether this Fourth Turning will result in glory or ruin for our nation.

 

“Eventually, all of America’s lesser problems will combine into one giant problem. The very survival of the society will feel at stake, as leaders lead and people follow. The emergent society may be something better, a nation that sustains its Framers’ visions with a robust new pride. Or it may be something unspeakably worse. The Fourth Turning will be a time of glory or ruin.” – Strauss & Howe – The Fourth Turning

Click these links to read the first two parts of this three part series:

Do No Evil Google – Censor & Snitch for the State

Google, China, the NSA and the Fourth Turning

This Was The Week That Was in Doom August 5, 2013

From the Keyboard of Surly1

Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on August 5, 2013

http://991.com/newGallery/That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964.jpg

Discuss this article here in the Diner Forum.

 

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

  ~MARTIN NIEMÖLLER

 exposing a crime

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps. Niemoller’s words, spoken at various times during the postwar era, and including various groups depending on the audience (Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Trade Unionists, or Communists), served as an indictment of the cowardice of the leaders of German Protestant churches–their complicit silence throughout the Nazi era, turning a blind eye to the imprisonment, persecution, and murder of millions.

It is irresistible to compare that era to this one as the spin-down becomes more pronounced, and the overreach more absurd. As in Germany in the 30s, the legal foundation for a more repressive order has already been laid here in the FSA, with laws and definitions sufficiently elastic as to enable any interpretation useful to TPTB. And now the meat is laid on the bone in the form of an unprecedented pursuit of whistleblowers, a panopticon of a surveillance state that ingests and stores every digital communication of every citizen, a hyper-militarized and nearly-out-of-control local constabulary, layers of federalized surveillance personnel, and one House of Congress as intent on wanton destruction and vandalism as the young serial-killers-to-be who, when I was a young boy, blew up a turtle with M80s, and equally possessed of empathy– sociopaths all.  And we watch in complicit silence.

“Complicit silence” is certainly a harbinger of these times, not only of churches, but of the other institutions of what used to be a social order. Media no longer informs, schools no longer teach, laws are written by scriveners employed by billionaires, to be duly passed by their craven hirelings in statehouses and Congress, industries control their own oversight, banks no longer lend money. When revealing the truth is a crime, we well and truly know we are governed by criminals. Voters are the only group in Washington without a lobbyist. And one might well quote Yeats, whose post World War I musings ring prophetic today:

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

The Second Coming,” 1919

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Manning convicted on only 19 charges

Apparently the only male member of the Manning family not currently quarterbacking an NFL franchise, Bradley Manning was acquited of the absurd and overreaching charge of “aiding the enemy,” but convicted on 19 other charges by a military judge this week. He is due to be sentenced this week. The Manning trial and the Snowden flap illustrate in full relief the depth of the Obama administration’s hot war against whistleblowers of all stripes.

It is breathtaking to consider the contrast between the rhetoric of the Obama administration today from what it was in the election in 2008, When BHO was promising “hope” and “change”.

 

 

 

Manning was acquitted on the worst of the charges, that of aiding the enemy. Had the judge found him guilty of that charge, he would’ve faced a life sentence in prison without any possibility for parole. Some say that civil libertarians fear that a conviction on that charge, not used since the Civil War, would have chilled would be government whistleblowers. One wonders if this climate for whistleblowers could possibly be any colder; the Obama administration has taken the worst excesses of hunting down whistleblowers and extended it to exotic new heights (see the post about Edward Snowden, below.) Esquire’s Charlie Pierce even took a few moments off of his vacation to opine thus:

The “aiding the enemy” charge was so preposterous on its face, and so evil in its intent, that it tended to obscure how contrary to acceptable American jurisprudence the entire situation — from his detention to his trial — regarding Bradley Manning was. But it was in that charge that this administration — this Democratic administration, headed by a former professor of constitutional law — demonstrated its willingness, if not its eagerness — to elevate information into a tin god to whom we are all suppliants, and against whom we have no civil rights worthy of the name. A conviction on this charge literally would have criminalized the dissemination of information, which is the central purpose of the First Amendment, as long as one of our many purported enemies had access to a computer, or a buck to pick up The New York Times at the newsstand in Abbottabad. It would have made free expression subject to the hypothetical future acts of international criminals and sociopaths. The prosecutors claimed that Manning should be punished because the people in the compound in which Osama bin Laden had been murdered had downloaded some of the information that Manning had released to WikiLeaks, as if that proved Manning’s desire to assist our “enemies,” and not the fact that the Internet is a marvelous environment for getting out the word. This is the logic of authoritarians. That it was pursued so vigorously by a putatively democratic state should terrify us all.

Indeed it should. One of the great services that both Manning and Snowden (not to mention Assange) have provided to American citizens still able to pay attention is that they have smoked out the slavering lackeys of the national security state.  After last week’s close vote in the House of Representatives affirming funding for the NSA spying programs, it is clear that the safety of the state is the state’s highest virtue, and that the truth does not even show up on the radar. This comes as no surprise to readers of this blog; yet all the snow people who, being decent people themselves and good neighbors, find it difficult to believe in the level of depravity exhibited by our so-called elected representatives and their appointees…

In a memo to the CIA workforce this week, Brennan says the “Honor the Oath,” campaign is intended to “reinforce our corporate culture of secrecy” through education and training. The Associated Press obtained the memo Wednesday, marked unclassified and for official use only.

Brennan writes that the campaign stems from a review of CIA security launched last summer by former director David Petraeus, following what Brennan calls “several high-profile anonymous leaks and publications by former senior officers.”

Some of us thought we could expect better from elected Democrats. Not so:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s response to the Snowden leaks on NSA mass surveillance illustrate the establishment’s response to the exposure of truths, especially when those truths involve the governments systematic targeting of innocent Americans in clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. Feinstein asserted:

“I don’t look at this as being a whistleblower. I think it’s an act of treason,” the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee told reporters.

The California lawmaker went on to say that Snowden had violated his oath to defend the Constitution.

“He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s treason.”

We have handed over the keys to our government and its policy making institutions to people who are eager for us to forget who we have been. Interesting that Feinstein should cite the violation of. It seems that if you take an oath to protect and uphold the Constitution, and the policies of your government run directly counter to that of, then whistleblowing is an act of heroism rather than treason.

Should you have any interest in understanding the specific ways in which Bradley Manning has changed the world and added to our knowledge, follow the link below. We will not belabor this further.

Top 10 Ways Bradley Manning Changed the World

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Will Barry Get His Groove Back?

shinners-lsat-blog-pre-law-criminal-background

One sign that Obama is off balance is his unforced errors in dealing with Russia. The bizarre assumption from the get-go seemed to be that Putin would cooperate and hand over Edward Snowden once the Russian leader was prodded a bit.  That clearly didn’t happen, and now Snowdon has asylum inside of Russia. Given the status of US-Russian relations,  believing that Putin would hand this Snowden over was borderline delusional. Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism had a terrific, in depth article this week. A Must Read. Here’s a taste:

Thanks to Obama’s famed “no drama” coolness, it’s hard to detect when he’s breaking a sweat. But if you look at the substance of his actions, it’s clear the President is losing his famed poise, at least as far as Snowden and the surveillance state revelations are concerned. I’m not sure yet whether his missteps are simply the result of personal obsession, or whether Obama recognizes he’s slipping into lame duck status, and his frustration with his declining power is most evident where he is most stressed, which is on the NSA revelations front.

One sign that Obama is off balance is his unforced errors in dealing with Russia. . . As Michael Hirsh explained:

In the decade after the Soviet Union’s collapse in late 1991, the United States offered up a lot of poor economic advice — high-minded tinkering by the free-market consultants at the Harvard Institute for International Development, as well as the IMF…

That era of mistrust of America led directly to era of Putin. Since then, despite various attempts at what former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called a “reset” of relations, the U.S. has tended to encourage Russian suspicions by generally treating “Russia as heir to the USSR’s policies and objectives,” Leslie Gelb and Dimitri Simes write in a new article in The National Interest…. “This creates an impression that the West’s top priorities, long after the Cold War, include not merely containing Russia but also transforming it.”

Putin cleared his throat early on and reminded the US that Russia had no extradition treaty with the US and in general did not extradite people. Packing Snowden off because the US asked for him was not on the table. Putin took the position that the Snowden wasn’t worth exploiting for his annoyance value to the US: “It’s like shearing a piglet: a lot of squealing and little wool.”

The Yves Smith article is well worth your time.

______________________________________________

The Death of Truth

 

The remarkable Chris Hedges, a national treasure, recently published an article in Truthdig that features an interview with Julian Assange  and which puts Assange, Manning, and wiki leaks in useful perspective.

U.S. government officials quoted in Australian diplomatic cables obtained by The Saturday Age described the campaign against Assange and WikiLeaks as “unprecedented both in its scale and nature.” The scope of the operation has also been gleaned from statements made during Manning’s pretrial hearing. The U.S. Department of Justice will apparently pay the contractor ManTech of Fairfax, Va., more than $2 million this year alone for a computer system that, from the tender, appears designed to handle the prosecution documents. The government line item refers only to “WikiLeaks Software and Hardware Maintenance.”

There are no divisions among government departments or the two major political parties over what should be Assange’s fate. “I think we should be clear here. WikiLeaks and people that disseminate information to people like this are criminals, first and foremost,” then-press secretary Robert Gibbs, speaking for the Obama administration, said during a 2010 press briefing.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, and then-Sen. Christopher S. Bond, a Republican, said in a joint letter to the U.S. attorney general calling for Assange’s prosecution: “If Mr. Assange and his possible accomplices cannot be charged under the Espionage Act (or any other applicable statute), please know that we stand ready and willing to support your efforts to ‘close those gaps’ in the law, as you also mentioned. …”

Republican Candice S. Miller, a U.S. representative from Michigan, said in the House: “It is time that the Obama administration treats WikiLeaks for what it is—a terrorist organization, whose continued operation threatens our security. Shut it down. Shut it down. It is time to shut down this terrorist, this terrorist Web site, WikiLeaks. Shut it down, Attorney General [Eric] Holder.”

It gets deeper, and more draconian:

The dragnet has swept up any person or organization that fits the profile of those with the technical skills and inclination to burrow into the archives of power and disseminate it to the public. It no longer matters if they have committed a crime. The group Anonymous, which has mounted cyberattacks on government agencies at the local and federal levels, saw Barrett Brown—a journalist associated with Anonymous and who specializes in military and intelligence contractors—arrested along with Jeremy Hammond, a political activist alleged to have provided WikiLeaks with 5.5 million emails between the security firm Strategic Forecasting (Stratfor) and its clients. Brown and Hammond were apparently seized because of allegations made by an informant named Hector Xavier Monsegur—known as Sabu—who appears to have attempted to entrap WikiLeaks while under FBI supervision.

Hedges conducts an extneded interview with Julian Assange in an impassioned essay that travels (by way of Oscar Wilde and the Cadogan Hotel) to an impassioned conclusion:

The world has been turned upside down. The pestilence of corporate totalitarianism is spreading rapidly over the earth. The criminals have seized power. It is not, in the end, simply Assange or Manning they want. It is all who dare to defy the official narrative, to expose the big lie of the global corporate state. The persecution of Assange and Manning is the harbinger of what is to come, the rise of a bitter world where criminals in Brooks Brothers suits and gangsters in beribboned military uniforms—propped up by a vast internal and external security apparatus, a compliant press and a morally bankrupt political elite—monitor and crush those who dissent. Writers, artists, actors, journalists, scientists, intellectuals and workers will be forced to obey or thrown into bondage. I fear for Julian Assange. I fear for Bradley Manning. I fear for us all.

This space cannot do this marvelous article justice. Read it at Truthdig.

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Earthquakes burp up methane bubbles

meanwhile, back here outside of the Ecuadorian Embassy, we still have to live on planet Earth, where conditions are going to get both hotter and meaner. Were already ticking away at carbon dioxide levels higher than we would have expected,  and as the earth gets warmer, the North Pole melts during a heat wave, the glaciers melt, methane bubbles up. As a greenhouse gas, methane makes carbon dioxide look like a piker.  Oh yeah, and then there are earthquakes:

The long-suspected link between earthquakes and underwater methane bursts has finally been confirmed, reports a study published on Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Though the temblor wasn’t caught in the act, the strong shaking left clues in methane-rich mud and sand offshore of Pakistan, where two of Earth’s tectonic plates collide at the Makran subduction zone. In 1945, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck along the subduction zone, killing at least 300 people and triggering a tsunami.

Recently, researchers studying methane seeps in the Arabian Sea discovered unexpectedly large quantities of methane gas and minerals such as barite and sulfate just below the seafloor surface, on a ridge near the Makran subduction zone. The minerals and gas accumulate at a certain rate, so the team could calculate when the methane indicators first appeared — between 1916 and 1962. Combined with other clues, such as seismic surveys of disturbed sediments, the scientists concluded that the 1945 earthquake released methane gas into the ocean.

“Three lines of evidence came together saying the earthquake triggered the amplification of the methane flux,” said David Fischer, lead study author and a geochemist at the MARUM Institute at the University of Bremen in Germany.

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Fukushima radiation levels as high as 2011

  It goes from bad to worse at Fukushima. This week, water samples taken underground below the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant contained levels of radiation comparable to those taken right after the catastrophe 1st occurred in 2011.

According to a Saturday statement by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the tested water contains 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter, and the radioactive water is now seeping into the sea. The findings were also evident from samples taken within a 50-meter radius around the plant.

TEPCO’s specialists have hit a wall trying to solve the problem of the leaking groundwater, which has persisted since 2011. However, unlike then, they cannot tell what the source of the new-found radioactivity is. The current explanation is that the radioactive water that had been left in the underground trench some two years ago is now mixing with the groundwater, which is in turn contaminating the sea.

The current investigation started back in May, when specialists registered a 17-fold hike in radiation levels compared to December 2012. More tests immediately followed.

It seems apparent that TEPCO does not really know how to contain the damage at Fukushima. It is quite unclear whether anybody on planet Earth does. Meanwhile, here in the FSA, the nuclear industry has come a cropper. The government has done everything possible to encourage nuclear power through subsidy, reducing safety standards after Fukushima, obliging Japan to restart its nuclear program, participating in a cover up of the severity of the Fukushima accident, raising acceptable radiation limits, shuttering radiation measuring stations, and agreeing to purchase radioactive Japanese seafood for consumption in the domestic American market. Your tax dollars at work.

______________________________________________

EPA Censored Key Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Study

 Perhaps you still retain some optimism. Perhaps you still believe in open change. Perhaps you think that in a Democratic administration, the co-optation of oversight agencies charged with protecting the commons, like the Environmental Protection Agency, would no longer be captive to special interests. That would mean you haven’t been paying attention to Obama’s appointees. But suffice it to say that the EPA brought the hammer down on its own study on hydraulic fracturing groundwater contamination in Dimock, Pennsylvania.

Though EPA said Dimock’s water wasn’t contaminated by fracking in a 2012 election year desk statement, internal documents obtained by LA Times reporter Neela Banerjee show regional EPA staff members saying the exact opposite among friends.

“In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation…staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production,” writes Banerjee.

“The presentation, based on data collected over 4 1/2 years at 11 wells around Dimock, concluded that ‘methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality.’ The presentation also concluded that ‘methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking [hydraulic fracturing] and other gas well work,” Banerjee further explained.

It’s essentially a repeat of Steve Lipsky’s water contamination by Range Resources in late-2010 in Weatherford, Texas. In that case, EPA conducted a taxpayer funded study, determined Range had contaminated his water, sued Range – and then proceeded to drop the suit and censor the study in March 2012.

Really, how transparent doesn’t have to be to see that the fix is in?
______________________________________________

Tiny Plastic Beads Are Latest Pollution Threat To The Great Lakes

It appears that in our postindustrial age, we’re not capable of making anything at all that does not have lasting deleterious effects. As if racking did not cause enough problems with water, comes this notice this past week about the Great Lakes and tiny little plastic beads.

Tiny plastic beads from beauty products are showing up in North America’s Great Lakes, and an environmental group is calling upon companies to stop using the plastic particles.

Scientists have already found the particles, known as microplastic, floating in the oceans but recently reported the same contamination in the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth. The particles are often less than a millimeter (0.04 inch).

A team of researchers with 5 Gyres Institute, a non-profit California-based environmental activist group, collected samples from lakes Erie, Superior and Huron last summer and found large quantities of round, plastic pellets.

“They matched the same size, color, texture and shape of the microbeads found in popular consumer products,” said the group’s executive director, Marcus Eriksen. He said the group plans to publish the research in a peer-reviewed journal later this year.

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 Dirty Hands: 77 ALEC Bills in 2013 Advance a Big Oil, Big Ag Agenda

While the House of Representatives votes for a 40th time to repeal Obama care, then dispatches itself on a 5 week paid vacation while the rest of the swelter in the hinterlands, we can comfort ourselves in knowing that ALEC never sleeps.

 

The American Legislative Exchange Council is busy writing legislation, which it then delivers to its hand-picked bill sponsors in nearly 30 states across the country. This off-the-shelf and ready to go legislation invariably serves corporate interests, is reliably anti-labor, and anti-environment. Not surprisingly, Alec’s tar sands and fracturing, and works diligently to make sure that those industries get the red carpet treatment for every time they show up at a statehouse.

 

At least 77 bills to oppose renewable energy standards, support fracking and the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, and otherwise undermine environmental laws were introduced in 34 states in 2013, according to a new analysis from the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of ALECexposed.org. In addition, nine states have been inspired by ALEC’s “Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act” to crack down on videographers documenting abuses on factory farms. 

ALEC, Fueled by Fossil Fuel Industry, Pursues Retrograde Energy Agenda

For decades, ALEC has been a favored conduit for some of the worlds largest polluters, like Koch Industries, BP, Shell, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil, and for decades has promoted less environmental regulation and more drilling and fracking. 

ALEC bills in recent years have pulled states out of regional climate initiatives, opposed carbon dioxide emission standards, created hurdles for state agencies attempting to regulate pollution, and tried to stop the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The legislation introduced in 2013 carries on this legacy. ALEC bills favor the fossil fuel barons and promote a retrograde energy agenda that pollutes our air and water and is slowly cooking the planet to what may soon be devastating temperatures.

“Disregarding science at every turn, ALEC is willing to simply serve as a front for the fossil fuel industry,” says Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org. “Given the stakes–the earth’s climate–that’s shabby and sad.”

Shabby and said. That’s ALEC  at work, every day. Rust never sleeps.

 
______________________________________________

You’re Shitting Me, Right?

And we now come to that portion of the column in which the headlines beggar belief, let alone reason. In which we read the headline and say, this can’t be true. Were there must be a catch. Or I need new glasses…

Lifelong ‘frack gag’: Two Pennsylvania children banned from discussing fracking

The 7- and 10-year-old children of a Pennsylvania couple that reached a settlement following a lawsuit involving health issues brought on by fracking have been barred from discussing details of the case for the rest of their lives.

Though a gag order is not unusual in itself when large corporations reach a settlement with plaintiffs in court, the August 2011 case of a family that went to court with Range Resources Corporation, Williams Gas/Laurel Mountain Midstream, and Markwest Energy due to the environmental and health impact caused by gas fracking operations has raised eyebrows for its inclusion of the couple’s young children.

The Pennsylvania family reached a $750,000 settlement with the gas companies, and have used the award to relocate. In exchange, however, Chris and Stephanie Hallowich agreed that no member of their family could comment on the case “in any fashion whatsoever.”

Details of the case only emerged recently when the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette managed to get court transcripts released. The paper’s reporters were originally barred from attending the settlement hearing, and had to wait until a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled that a lower court had erred in blocking the unsealing of the records.

Court records, which should have included details of the settlement but did not, paint a confusing picture for Chris and Stephanie Hallowich as they tackled the significance of their gag order.

“We know we’re signing for silence forever, but how is this taking away our children’s rights being minors?” Stephanie Hallowich asked the judge.

“I mean, my daughter is turning 7 today, my son is 10.”

_______________________________________________________

Armed Agents Raid Shelter to Kill Baby Deer — Apex of American Insanity Reached

www.dailykos.com

In a case that highlights absolutely everything wrong with this country,  Wisconsin state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) agents and sheriff’s deputies “armed to the teeth” raided a non-profit no kill shelter based on multiple anonymous tips of a deer on the premises. Aerial photos were taken, warrant issued, and the raid ensued by heavily armed agents. The staff was corralled, not permitted to make calls and a cellphone was confiscated to delete pictures of the raid. A baby deer (named Giggles by the staff) was indeed seized and stuffed into a body bag…and then promptly killed by the agents. The presiding warden compared it to a drug raid to justify the SWAT-like tactics.So a local family finds a fawn they believed abandoned by its mother, so they take it to the shelter. Some whacked if-you-see-it-say-it super citizen notified the authorities. Department of Natural Resources investigates covertly, including capturing aerial photos showing the deer. They get a warrant. Heavily armed agents raid the place, staffed by animal loving volunteers. They find the deer. They seize the deer. They kill the deer (according to subsequent inquiry into the fate of the deer). Wisconsin law does not permit possession of wild animals you see. So it requires a SWAT like raid. With guns. Lots of them.

Two weeks ago, Schulze was working in the barn at the Society of St. Francis on the Kenosha-Illinois border when a swarm of squad cars arrived and officers unloaded with a search warrant.“(There were) nine DNR agents and four deputy sheriffs, and they were all armed to the teeth,” Schulze said.

The focus of their search was a baby fawn brought there by an Illinois family worried she had been abandoned by her mother.

This is wrong on so many levels:

Are we over this police state shit yet? Does every damned thing require a SWAT like approach? It was a fucking baby deer! …at a shelter…staff mostly by kids.   And this took a raid? A warrant? Aerial shots? What, they send up a drone? Why not have a local DNR lady drive up in her state truck and walk through the fucking door like a sane human being? Where is the proportionality in our society?

Thus does our militarized police state justify the huge investment in military hardware. This is what happens when you give drones to Barney Fife.

___________________________________________________

Fox host: Feeding hungry seniors is ‘called buying votes’ –

Fox Business host Stuart Varney on Tuesday accused the AARP of signing hungry seniors up for food stamps as part of a “buy-the-vote campaign” to benefit President Barack Obama.

On Saturday, the Tribune-Democrat reported that the Pennsylvania chapter of the AARP launched an effort to sign more people up for food assistance after finding that “almost 350,000 seniors in Pennsylvania do not always have enough money to buy food.”

“It’s called buying votes,” Varney opined on Tuesday. “It’s happening in Pennsylvania, Georgia, a couple of other states.”

“What about pride?” Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade wondered. “What about pride in not getting food stamps because they don’t need them?”

“The AARP, huge supports of President Obama, politically and financially, big supporters of Obamacare,” Varney explained. “And now they’re out there signing people up for food stamps. This is part of the buy-the-vote campaign. They’re really shifting America, changing what America really is.”

“But if they’re hungry they should get it, and if they qualify,” co-host Steve Doocy noted.

“Yeah, should they?” Varney grimaced. “Should people be going out there, ‘Give it to me! Give it to me now!’ You want that? Is that America?”

“They are acting on behalf of the president and, I repeat, I think it’s buying votes with taxpayer money,” he insisted.

This page wishes Stuart Varney an edifying hunger that will restore his humanity and fellow-feeling for his neighbors, and the early opportunity to choose between food and medications by means of survival.

Assplug.

 

__________________________________________

O’Reilly: Blacks need ‘peer pressure’ more than sex education and contraception

More from the source of most unintentonal humor, Faux Newschannel™.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly suggested on Friday that many of the problems in the African-American community could be solved by using peer pressure instead of sex education and contraception to prevent unmarried women from having children.

In response to protests over the George Zimmerman verdict, O’Reilly has spent recent days opiningon how to solve problems in the African-American community.

“The big one is the collapse of the family, traditional family in the African-American precincts,” he told Democratic strategist James Carville on Thursday. “I want a big, public campaign funded by the federal government to go in and tell the girls and the young ladies, ‘Don’t do this, this condemns you to poverty, it is destructive to your child, wait until you have a stable situation to become pregnant.’ Would you get behind that campaign?”

“I would get behind if it had comprehensive sex education and had easy access to contraception,” Carville replied.

“That’s all adjacent,” O’Reilly said.

“No, it’s not,” Carville insisted. “I think the idea that the federal government is going to tell a 17-year-old that you just wait and you don’t have sex, I don’t think that’s going to be effective.”

“It has nothing to do with sex, it has to do with getting pregnant,” the Fox News host quipped.

“Well, you know, one leads to the other,” Carville pointed out. “Let’s really fund Planned Parenthood.”

“So, you don’t want peer pressure brought, you want to fund, fund, fund!” O’Reilly exclaimed. “More money, more money.”

__________________________________________________________

The “anti-God” party

You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time, Virginia’s GOP candidate for lieutenant governor says. More from the man whose political campaign is tantamount to being the “Political Columnists Full Relief Act of 2013.” After decades of sporting road signs that announced, “Virginia is For Lovers” at major roadways entering Virginia, the regime of major grifter Gov. Transvaginal Ultrasound has replaced them with signs that announce, “Virginia: Open For Business.” E.W. Jackson is Ultrasound’s intellectual spawn, as he hopes to occupy the statehouse with Ken Cuccinelli, the gubernatorial candidate. More proof that nowadays, Virginia is for haters. Salon posted this:

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

Jackson has said in the past that he thinks believing in God and voting Democratic are fundamentally incompatible, so WLEE host Jack Gravely asked if he still believes it. Gravely explained that he’s a Christian and tends to vote Democratic, just like his parents and family. Jackson didn’t back down.

“You are saying for us, we’re all wrong, leave that party. And all I’m saying to you is, if you said it before, you still have to believe it, why did you say it?” Gravely asked. “Oh, oh, oh I do believe it,” Jackson responded.

He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party, I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party. And these are all things I think Christians hold to very dearly.”

Listen to the interview here.

Jackson, a bishop and outspoken social conservative, has run intro trouble for his stridently anti-gay and antiquated social views in the past. Even his running mate, the state’s GOP gubernatorial nominee, Ken Cuccinelli, who is no San Francisco liberal himself, has distanced his campaign from Jackson’s.

While Republicans do tend to be slightly more religious than Democrats, 77 percent of Dems surveyed by Pew last year said they “never doubt the existence of God.” Sixty-two percent of Democrats also agreed that prayer is an important part of their daily life, and that “we will all be called before God at the Judgment Day to answer for our sins.”

 

We may well all be called to answer for our sins in the fullness of time. And at times like these, “complicit silence” may be the greatest sins. Having a ringside seat to these perfidies obliges us to act upon the knowledge that we possess, according to our own best lights. In days where truth has been sacrificed to expedience in the name of profit, knowing and spreading the truth becomes a moral–if dangerous– act.

Knarf plays the Doomer Blues

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