Hippity-Hopper and YouTube Extremist Sam Knight (right) and a Turkman Foreigner Collaborator (Left)
WASHINGTON — Two young men, believed to have been at least at one time Washingtonians, have been identified by agents at the Washington FBI Bureau as opposing austerity measures designed to keep Americans from committing the sin of passing on their debt to the next generation. One of them is Twitter extremist Sam Knight (@samknight1), and the other is obviously a foreigner, a Turkman believed to be linked to Sibel Edmonds, patriotically gag-ordered by former Attorney General John Ashcroft.
In a “hip-hop” video posted to YouTube by an anonymous source, the rag-tag “hip-hop” duo indict the Securities and Exchange Commission, late American freedom movement leader Alex Jones and what they delusionally imagine to be a right-wing opposition — all leading to the fiscal cliff crisis, which threatened America in late 2012 but is now well on its way to peaceful, civil resolution via the orderly legislative process. “Everything is under control,” said House Speaker John Boehner Monday evening, in response to the unsettling propaganda.
Intercepted is the young Turkman’s perverse music video, which features salacious “ghetto” images pruriently intended to titillate and confuse the viewer into draining funding from future generations of unwashed, as yet unborn masses ready to take the most menial of positions in order to pay into Medicare and the Social Security Trust Fund. Infiltraitors from The Internet Chronicle have discreetly captured images of the two men.
Acting Attorney General Neal Katyal, who this week outlined the administration’s shift from state-based health care exchanges to “chilling out”
WASHINGTON — Friday morning Acting Attorney General Neal Katyal announced that the Obama administration would be backpedaling from its take on the commerce clause to forward the “holy, righteous cause” of recreational cannabis legalization. Bolstered by praise from Colorado and Washington state Democratic leaders, and directives from the highest echelons of the Obama administration, Mr. Katyal announced in a press conference that the results of the landmark case Gonzales vs. Raich were “not cool” and were keeping millions of Americans from “chilling out” and “lighting up, man.”
Reached by phone in his Fairfax office at George Mason University Law School, Professor Michael Greve said the new anti-commandeering stance would prove exciting to Libertarian Party devotees at the Mercatur Institute and millions of drug-addled American liberals, most of whom are dependent on federal largesse for their barest subsistence.
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” said Mr. Greve, “established a conditional pre-emption regime in which the federal government told the states, ‘establish an exchange or we will do it for you.’” Following 18 more conservative states having in essence told the government to come in and establish exchanges, Mr. Greve said, “these states have told the federal government to take responsibility for the inevitable failure of these health care regimes.”
Mr. Katyal said in a press conference Friday morning, “As long as Congress refuses to act to deschedule cannabis from the same tier as heroin — come on, heroin, people — the administration must act.” The administration’s tight, 180-degree turn came on the heel of several online townterviews, during which poll respondents consistently begged the administration to cease the notoriously racist drug war. In his weekly address today, a visibly intoxicated President Barack Obama spoke to his office webcam in a cloud of smoke, admitting, “Millions of toothless Southern and Midwestern Americans, who will never vote for me, anyway, versus a good time for the peace-loving denizens of Colorado and Washington state? That’s an easy choice for me, bra.”
Following an on-screen hit from a gravity bong haphazardly constructed from a Chicago Bears novelty cup, which the 51-year-old U.S. president described as “vicious,” he said, “I realize the insane hypocrisy of my having smoked marijuana for recreation before overseeing a federal regime that incarcerates millions of Americans — particularly African-Americans — in such record numbers. Something had to be done, and I have directed the Department of Justice to just scrap this health care reform thing.”
Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement saying he now concedes that “all of these Republican attorneys general, they’re right, man. Just as we can’t force these conservative states to establish exchanges, we also can’t use the commerce clause to force this horrible drug war down the throats of Colorado and Washington citizens. The voters have spoken. Let freedom reign.”
House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), speaking to Politico, said that the legislative slowdown that faced descheduling cannabis was fueled by an ambiguity around the level of taxation that the illicit industrial psychoactive crop should receive. “If we had chosen to tax it too high, we would fuel black market activity. If we had voted to tax it too low, we just wouldn’t be taking our deficit seriously, and that would be unpatriotic.”
Internet Chronicle legal analysts have long predicted that the landmark Gonzales case would prove problematic for the Obama administration’s main objective — even if that objective were only background or covert — of legalizing the sticky-icky. In the wake of this decision, Iran and Russia are expected to overtake within weeks the United States in terms of arbitrary and/or politically motivated incarceration.
Yesterday I wrote, “What has happened to Chuck Hagel this week [as he awaits Senate confirmation for defense secretary] has kind of put me on edge about [accusations of anti-Semitism] […] The Weekly Standard and Hagel “friend” [Senator] John McCain [(R-AZ)] have been gloating that the defense secretary nominee has set Iranian leaders into a tizzy of joy. The Internet Chronicle will discuss that a bit more tomorrow.” And so we are, but not in the context of supposed shills claiming they feel guilty for blind deference to Israeli defense policies. This week consideration of Chuck Hagel culminated in a lot of blind furor at the Iranian regime — not for the tyranny that it visits upon domestic females but for the utterly paranoid claptrap continuously circulating in the West about how the supreme leader is chomping at the bit to see Jerusalem turned into a sea of Semitic glass.
New York Times Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof
Take, for example, New York Times Columnist Nick Kristof’s column on the Thursday pages of the Op-ed section. Due to anti-Semitism’s sober reality, reasons Mr. Kristof, the accusations against Chuck Hagel — particularly by the right-wing Israeli Likud Party and its American devotees — have been particularly disgusting to the columnist. Baffingly, Mr. Kristof nearly concludes his column with this worrying line:
“As for Iran, Hagel will need to sound more hawkish in public to mesh with the administration, and it is useful for Iran to worry about a military strike.”
From ‘In Defense Of Hagel For Defense’ – The New York Times – Thursday, January 10, 2013
In those initial 30 words, readers may extract a thousand. While Robert Spencer and his homicidal accolytes in the West claim to bemoan the Iranian human rights record, they — along with Mr. Kristof, albeit in minced words — sadisticly continue to seek to hold over the heads of the Iranian populace a fear of annihilation. The popular Beltway perception that this fear would discourage the Iranian regime from heightening their nuclear aspirations from those of energy development to weapons of mass destruction is — to borrow a turn of phrase suited to the Middle East — a mirage.
Equally along the lines of invisible things perceived in the deserts of Southwest Asia is the view that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. Now, the American intelligence community has been rubbing its collective hands together for 15 years about the prospect of the Twelvers getting their hands on the big one. For whatever reasons — probably including the tight financial blockage on the Iranian government (they can pretty much only bank out of Qatar now) — Iran, like Israel, has never announced having acquired a nuclear weapon. Many commentaters from the left — and we’ll visit now the opinion of sometime Internet Chronicle pen pal Noam Chomsky — espouse correctly that, “”No one in their right mind wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”
However Mr. Chomsky is himself emblematic of a wide culture of denial of terrible developments in Iran — developments that have led to the assassination of a handful of nuclear scientists by the Israeli and U.S. militaries, and the development of the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever, Stuxnet, which infected most of the face of the earth before sabotaging uranian enrichment centrifuges deep in the country. The famed linguist wrote on Common Dreams in September of last year, “If Iran is indeed moving toward nuclear-weapons capability – this is still unknown to U.S. intelligence [emphasis mine] – that may be because it is ‘inspired to do so’ by the U.S.-Israeli threats, regularly issued in explicit violation of the U.N. Charter.”
Well-Meaning Weapons Development Denialist Noam Chomsky
The anti-Vietnam war activist and self-described anarcho-syndicalist simply could not be more in denial about the dire state of development the Iranian government has reached at this point. An International Atomic Energy Agency report from 2011 makes it quite clear the agency’s concern about “a multipoint initiation system [being] used in a nuclear explosive device. However, Iran has not been willing to engage in discussion of this topic with the Agency.” Check out Sections C.5 and C.6 of that report for the real skinny on this.
With respect to Mr. Chomsky’s assessment of the U.S. intelligence community’s body of knowledge, we suspect that someone down at the Central Intelligence Agency might have skimmed that open-source report. To be sure, these are not high-enrichment activities, which international law does prohibit Iran from engaging in, but it is certainly an indicator that Iran is moving towards a nuclear weapon. In the Republican debates of early 2012 Representative and Islamic infiltration detector Michele Bachmann (MN) was trying to point out this report’s result to Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). But he declined to acknowledge it, and Mr. Chomsky and Rep. Paul declining to do so will do nothing to keep Israelis, Americans and Iranians safe — daresay make Iranians free.
Similarly unconcerned with these individuals’ safety is the National Security editor of ThinkProgress.org, a Mr. Ben Armbruster, who in his zeal to defend the administration’s SECDEF nominee, wildly accused the Iranian foreign ministry of engaging in “anti-American propaganda.”
This week, answering a question about Hagel, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations.”
Thursday, in discussing a supposedly confessing shill, we referenced the public doubts of Israel’s Likud Party, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and The Weekly Standard, all of whom scoffed at Foreign Minister Mehmanparast’s statement above. In attempting to disparage these Hagel critics — and to wit, to distance himself from any moderate statements made by the Iranian government — Mr. Armbruster himself wrote, “[T]he neocons have become so desperate in their anti-Hagel smear campaign that they’re now promoting anti-American propaganda from Iran’s foreign ministry to make their case.”
Anti-Iranian Think Progress National Security Editor Ben Armbruster
Mr. Armbruster seems to take Mr. Mehmanparast’s call for practical foreign policy changes and respect for national sovereignty to be hate speech against Americans. This is reputedly a liberal website intended to counteract neoconservative propaganda, but Think Progress is apparently saying that Iran is fanning flames by insisting that nations have rights. No good, daresay none of the “Progress” with a capital P espoused by this organization, can come to pass if even supposedly leftist foreign policy commentaters are this defensive and show this much disdain for Iranian diplomats.
Thursday a Conscious Life News report went viral, claiming to relay the point of view of a “pro-Israeli” shill, who claimed to have worked out of a mysterious, transient San Francisco office for a company that shills for corporate and political donors. Being apolitical, in addition to desperate, said guilty feeling alleged shill, was key to doing a good job fighting ideological opponents.
The San Francisco Office of Shill Central Floats Away to Safer Harbors: FILE
The mission of the poster was simple: Go on message boards and claim that critics of Israeli policy were necessarily racists or Nazis. This (probably) man was probably an expert in all of the facets of Godwin’s Law, especially as relentlessly accusing strangers of being Nazi sympathizers elicits some pretty serious outrage. The guilty-feeling shill says that, although he is still “pro-Israel” to this day, the dishonesty of the methods bothered him. Surely legions of Israel’s critics have already forwarded this to Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss, and they’re probably spilling some ink on these sort of thing, as I write this message. Anyway, says the supposedly confessing shill . . .
If a poster wrote something close to “X,” we were supposed to respond with something close to “Y.” “You have to mix it up a bit, though,” said my trainer. “Otherwise it gets too obvious. Learn to use a thesaurus.”
Talented Internet social engineers know that changing up phrasing is the best way to avoid seeming like a singular personality. If supposed shill was even halfway serious, he had probably flooded the message boards on which he posted with numerous sockpuppet accounts. If this stuff is true I wish he would elaborate on how he hid his IP address, as moderators would surely watch for that sort of thing
[His trainer also discussed] a number of hints for de-railing conversations that went too far away from what we were attempting. These strategies included various forms of personal attacks, complaining to the forum moderators, smearing the characters of our opponents, using images and icons effectively, and even dragging the tone of the conversation down with sexual innuendo, links to pornography, or other such things. “Sometimes we have to fight dirty,” or trainer told us. “Our opponents don’t hesitate to, so we can’t either.”
It’s interesting that this shadow advocacy firm did not seek to simply bring off-topic conversations back online. Anyone who has browsed the Internet enough — or especially commented on YouTube videos — knows that people often never hesitate to engage in character assassination, even with people whose backgrounds are totally obscured. It is really a shame that we cannot see these low-blow tactics in action, as they are surely really instructive. How would linking to pornography really smear anyone? That’s one of the more dubious claims made in this confessional. Surely there are many saying that this confessional is just an attempt to smear pro-Israel activists. I do not even need to wade into the waters of Stormfront to know that a bunch of evil racial supremacists, actual Jew haters, are congratulating each other on the reality of this confessional, as well as far actually more understandably frustrated Palestinian rights activists.
[The shill's trainer offered] some notes on how to “push the psychological buttons” of different posters. Although I didn’t work for [Above Top Secret], I did see they had a lot of info on your so-called “WATS” posters here (the ones with gold borders around their edges). “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.”
Fascinatingly, the inevitable Above Top Secret post of the original message was pulled, only a handful of comments on it available via a Google cache. It remains unclear whether this was the result of a lack of credulity offered to the article, or whether the moderators there are simply ashamed at not having been able to ID said shill.
As the Web crowd is ever larger and of diverse age groups, many news sources have actually been paying people to filter comments. How strenuous the filters are varies. The Huffington Post hires people who read the equivalent of Moby Dick in a matter of days. Reddit only edits “obvious nonsense.”
Supposed shill mentions that his trainers talked about playing hardball. Unlike in the famed art of politics, supposed shill firm were not seriously seeking to convince people in a conversation, but rather apparent bystanders who might stumble upon the article and be convinced either way.
“If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”
If this person is as pro-Israel as he or she claims, it’s fascinating that he or she does not bother to offer any defense of the seriously held beliefs. The not-converting thing seems like a veiled crack at the actual Jewish religion here, and so that makes me skeptical. After all, the author himself claims to be a great liar one way or the other.
What is so cynical about the “pro-Israel” shill was his willingness to call anyone racist to score political points for an unpopular foreign policy regime, as well as his unironic lack of consciousness that Semitism can refers to Arabs as well. What has happened to Chuck Hagel this week has kind of put me on edge about this, as The Weekly Standard and Hagel “friend” John McCain have been gloating that the defense secretary nominee has set Iranian leaders into a tizzy of joy. The Internet Chronicle will discuss that a bit more tomorrow.
A lot of my job was de-railing and spamming threads that didn’t go our way, or making accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. Sometimes I had to simply lie and claim a poster said something or did something “in another thread” they really hadn’t said or done I felt bad about this[...]but in the end I felt worse about the possibility of losing the first job I’d been able to get since losing my “real” job.
Another aspect of this article that made me skeptical of its source was that the supposed shill does not discuss his “real” job. While his habits were dubious they were not illegal. How rare and identifiable could his “real job” have been that he could not tell us how desperate he was? The self-described meme patrol would generate a lot more sympathy if we understood him to be dirt poor or accustomed to some humble lifestyle. All of this is suspect, especially since he calls himself such an awesome writer.
As “pro-Israel” shill came to know the issue, as though a Thesaurus-armed fundraiser or marketing specialist, he started to get farther into debate. Again, no policy details here, no information on what he was writing that was so compelling about drawing attention away from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The supposed shill became an expert in Internet pop art, which has long included the cat, due to the Internet user’s typically sedentary nature it mirrors.
There were a lot of details to this more advanced [complex debate] stage of the job – everything from how to select the right avatar to how to use “demotivationals” [link added] (humorous images with black borders that one finds floating around the web). Even the proper use of images of cats was discussed. Sometimes we used faked or photo-shopped images or doctored news reports (something else that bothered me).
It is only toward the end of his essay that the self-described shill gets into his pangs of conscience about what he was doing. There is little sense from him earlier in the essay that his smearing might actually be making the pro-Israel side of the debate look uninvolved. Whether this confessional is real, people have grabbed onto this story in the United States because they view defense of Israel as something that is more of the brain, a path that can be made with less of a bleeding heart for a disenfranchised, more recently, anyway, indigenous population. It reminds me of Pamela Geller’s now famous “support the civilized man/ defeat jihad” “pro-Israel” public transit ads.
This supposed shill has written a lot about his methods but very little about why Israel has a great foreign policy, treats Palestinians well (or why they would not deserve such treatment); or why Zionism is promulgating apartheid. The only obvious reason the poster would not do this is to cover his tracks, and we would think he was just more imaginative than that, given how he says he got the job.
If my arguments were so correct, I wondered, why did we have to do this in the first place? Shouldn’t truth propagate itself naturally, rather than through, well…propaganda? And who was behind this whole operation, anyway? Who was signing my paychecks?
It is believable that an ardently self-considered American “pro-Israel” activist would see that country’s enemies as being mainly neo-Nazis. However that just doesn’t jive with the vast majority of the people all over the world who remain critical of the way Israel treats Palestinians. If so desperate and able to operate more or less autonomously from the secret office, why does the shill care who was writing the checks? Is he insinuating worry that he was inadvertently being paid off by anti-Israel trolls, goy supremacists?
[T]he shill way of life . . . is a deceptive way of life, and no matter how noble the goals (I remain pro-Israel, by the way), these sleazy means cannot be justified by the end.
Make no mistake, though: Even if this letter is fake, or even written by genuine Jew haters, the shill way of life will remain profitable for anyone willing to get his or her hands dirty. Private conglomerates, I was aware, had the resources and interest in pushing their products. If you have ever read the obsequious reviews over at Amazon, you know of that industry. What is changing is that the shill is now a nihilist, a mercenary of states (certainly not just Israeli ultra-nationalism), instead of the famous, self-interested 419 scammer.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — This afternoon federal agents killed Alex Jones and 52 Genesis Communications Network associates, each with two gunshot wounds to the back of the head. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, now investigating the incident, describes these wounds as “self-inflicted.” Before the standoff reached its bloody conclusion, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified at the daily briefing that Mr. Jones faced charges of pedophilia, illicit gun alteration and roughly two decades of back income taxes. Photographers captured ATF agents placing the bodies of the 52 employees into plastic coffins. The compound collapsed in place after suffering damage from armored Caterpillar bulldozers specially deployed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Thursday morning undercover Waco Child Protective Service agents showed up at the door of the GCN compound and asked to speak to Mr. Jones. They presented themselves as wandering members of the milita movement, sympathetic following what Mr. Jones had termed his “explosive” appearance on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” When surrogates showed Mr. Jones to the door, they presented him with a Remington 870 shotgun. CPS asked if Mr. Jones could help them shorten the barrel below 22 inches. Mr. Jones, standing in his doorway, they say, happily agreed, took the American-made 12-gauge shotgun into a back lot and shortened it. When child protective services asked to take Mr. Jones’s children, the radio host disclosed that he was a sovereign citizen tax protester, having avoided the income tax due to its “unconstitutionality” since 1913.
Mr. Jones was 38 and is survived by millions of followers, having hosted the 10th most popular radio show in the United States. Mr. Jones was most famous for his December 31, 1999 broadcast, during which he was the only media source to break a taboo on reporting on the Russian missile attack that occurred that evening. During Y2K numerous power plants imploded due to computer error, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command failed to intercept Russian missiles, which killed millions of Americans in secret.
The radio host attracted international attention, including from the British royal family, after having made statements referring to his owning more than 50 “guns” and those “firearms” having increased in value two, three or four times. “It was at that point,” said FBI consultant Kenneth Lanning, previously responsible for helping cover up the Boystown fiasco with Larry King, “that we felt comfortable assuming that firearms referred to child spouses, and so we moved in.”
Friday morning ATF bulldozers, shipped to Houston 12 years ago from the West Bank, made their way slowly toward the South Wall of the Genesis Communications Network Compound. Upon mowing down solar panels and finally the outer wall of the compound, the six bulldozers reached a sudden halt. Their path, said one of the drivers, was impeded by cache of bullion six feet high just inside the inner wall. Representatives of the Dallas FBI Bureau, speaking by phone, said they feared the worst. “We were worried that the Prison Planet crew might be able to hold out for years on end.” Regardless, soon after having breached the flaming outer wall, the building collapsed.
A defector from the followers, whom Mr. Jones refers to as “listeners,” former Infowars.com contributor Mark Dice, informed authorities that GCN’s contract with eFoodsDirect would mean that freedom-loving audiovisual technicians and website contributors might be able to hold out for up to seven decades.
Citing the deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut last month, Bilderberg President and ATF chief David Rockefeller said, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse.”
At a Friday morning press conference in Washington, FBI Director David Mueller described subsequent events. He said Israeli Armored D9s, “teddy bears,” caused the walls of the compound to collapse. Mr. Mueller said, “Once the ‘doobis’ breached the outer wall, the mosquito-netting-like structure of the compound was compromised, causing the building to collapse, first starting with the penthouse, and then the children’s bedrooms.” Producer Aaron Dykes escaped, but his son, whom authorities believe to actually be Mr. Jones’s, was found in the remains of the compound.
As bulldozers approached initially, federal marshals demanded that Mr. Jones exit the building. After he did so, he ignored their calls that he continue walking toward waiting SUVs, instead re-entering his doorway. Returning from the doorway, facing away from authorities, he brandished what appeared to them be an M-16, but what was actually a Bushmaster he purchased at Wamart in early December. Officials say it was then, walking backwards, that Waco sheriff’s deputies opened fire. All of their bullets missed, but Mr. Jones, deputies said in sworn statements, placed the Bushmaster to the back of his head and pulled the trigger twice.
The fire spread faster due to hundreds of kilograms of uncured cannabis, which Mr. Jones’ one surviving child claimed no one was imbibing as a psychoactive but rather that Mr. Jones was encouraging his children to eat raw for anti-carcinogenic properties.
Obama background checks to predetermine likelihood of buyers shooting up a school
WASHINGTON–Joe Biden attempts to pacify several interest groups.
Vice President Joe Biden introduced a gun plan Thursday that he said will curb mass shootings.
Stan Milton, lead designer for the Obama plan, said the plan will institute software designed to comb through buyers’ histories, cross-referencing prior instances of gun-related crimes against humanity.
“With the right technology, we could even arrest buyers based on crimes they’re most likely to commit.”
The government is doing anything it can to demonstrate to the American public they are at least willing to pass impotent legislation designed to stem the attention of 24-hour news cycles.
“It’s an initiative like nothing I’ve ever seen this week,” said television viewer Christina Robinson, a 33 year old housewife and mother of two.
Milton said the scope of the Obama plan goes above and beyond background checks. If Congress adopts the federal initiative, he said, certain guns and components will become illegal, such as the part of the gun designed to point automatically in the direction of children.
“No longer will gun traders be permitted to sell weapons with child murdering technology preinstalled. Without these components, American guns can not be pointed at children.”
David Coombs, Army Reservist, America Hater Photo: Tyler Bass, Washington Correspondent, The Internet Chronicle
WASHINGTON — December 3rd Bradley Manning Attorney and Army Reservist spoke to a congregation near Mt. Pleasant, District of Columbia. He spoke for almost 90 minutes, part of which included a question period in which he answered questions from the press feed to him by members of the Bradley Manning Support Network, a group that has collected legal fees for the private suspected of leaking thousands of pages of data documenting war crimes, innocuous activity, the overclassification of information. Some call the Army Private a traitor; others, including Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg, have called him a whistleblower.
“He told me that his dream would be to go to college to get a degree. And as a young man at that time he was 23. That makes sense. We all know that college degrees are pretty much the ticket to a productive future.” The Unitarian Church is notable for being one of the most educated denominations in the country, and certainly this line resonated well with attendees.
While Mr. Coombs told the crowd that he did not want to try Private Manning’s case with the public, whether or not he believes that the immense public pressure surrounding the case — especially since the diminutive former, now demoted, specialist no longer leaves in doubt his being the source of the WikiLeaks data that sparked global revolutions — was and will be key to shining attention on his mistreatment at the hands of the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, where he was held and Judge Lind has ruled that he was mistreated. As though Mark Antony describing Caesar as an “honorable man,” Mr. Coombs said, “As I said to begin with, this public appearance is the exception for me. I believe that trying the case is not the way to representation of a client,” despite the public’s opinion certainly having an a heavy influence on the inevitable sentencing of the private. Mr. Coombs continued, “And Brad — at least from what he testified in the open hearing — didn’t want his case to be tried in the press, either. And also because that was his wishes early on but also because my perspective is you shouldn’t try your case in the press — I respected his wishes and didn’t grant issues. And even after this day I won’t be granting interviews. And the reason why, again, is because your focus has to be on your client and not on, you know, basically putting out facts to spin something your way in the press when that doesn’t achieve anything in the courtroom. When you’re in the courtroom, that’s what matters. What happens there matters. In the press, as I said here today, what really matters is you, the public, being involved and being informed and that the press can do wonderful things. That’s why I’m happy to see them here today. And that’s what really resulted in Brad being moved, in my opinion, from Quantico, to Fort Leavenworth.”
Next was The Internet Chronicle’s question (answered at 01:20:00 in the file below this article), which was based on concerns we had from the trial, in which Private Manning had complained about his jailers listening in on his phone call: “Are you and your client able to communicate freely on a privileged basis.”
Replied Mr. Coombs to The Internet Chronicle’s question, “Yes, Brad and I speak at least once a week, if not more, and we — obviously we see each other quite often as well. Our communications are always privileged. They’re never subject to any sort of recording or being monitored by anyone. And so because of that I act basically as kind of the conduit for Brad, giving him information and helping him stay in touch and informed. So those communications are not subject to monitoring.”
While attending the pre-trial in May, this reporter engaged in a conversation with a military police officer — last name “Parker” — who volunteered his view that protesters outside of Fort Meade, where the private’s trial was being held, in fact disliked the military. Asked if Lt. Dan Choi, a high-profile anti-“don’t ask, don’t tell” activist, also disliked the military, the MP still expressed skepticism. This is exactly the dynamic that drives Mr. Coombs to speak in public, despite his
Said Mr. Coombs, “I asked Brad: ‘Well, with that degree what do you plan on doing?’ And he said, ‘I want to go into pubic service.’ And I asked him what he meant by that. And he said, ‘I want to join some sort of campaign group, go into public service and perhaps one day run for public office.’”
That statement by the attorney was met by gentle murmurings.
Mr. Coombs continued with: “And I asked Brad, why would he want to do that. And he said, ‘I want to make a difference. I want to make a difference in this world.’”
“I can tell you that standing here today I hope that someday soon Brad can go to college. I hope someday soon he can in fact go into public service. But I am confident, as I stand here today, that Brad doesn’t have to worry about making a difference in this world. He has made a difference.” With that line, Mr. Coombs was greeted with steady applause by all in attendance except the press.
Of the two questions that The Internet Chronicle submitted on note cards to Nathan Fuller, this was perhaps the best answer to the other question staff had for Mr. Coombs, which we would later pose to leadership of the Center for Constitutional Rights: “Was there a net positive value in Private Manning have orchestrated the large leak of classified information in military history?”
Speaking to The Internet Chronicle, Michael Ratner, from the Center for Constitutional Rights, said, “Assuming [Private] Manning leaked it, there’s no doubt that he has exposed material that has been very important for both ending wars, end the hypocrisy of our government, and ending the corruption. I mean, it consider it to be no issue about it.” Mr. Ratner added, “What we have is a government of incredible secrecy that’s getting more secret. And unless you have people starting to expose material, we are facing a situation of a total surveillance state. And these guys are heroes, in my view, for what they’ve done.”
Asked if there were any negative consequences of leaking, even if they were outweighed by positives, Mr. Ratner told this reporter, “The government hasn’t come up with any that are negative in the sense of hurting anybody. What they’ve said is, yeah, they can’t do their diplomatic stuff in the same way and all that, but I don’t consider that a negative.”
Despite criticism from press, such as the highly intrepid Alexa O’Brien (@carwinb), who when we attended the trial, complained about lack of access and documentation, Defense Counsel Coombs said that the military justice system was the best place for Private Manning to be in and even said that it was more just than the civilian court system. He called it “the best courtroom you can go into.”
Speaking from the podium that evening to about 50 members of the public, “When you look at it from the outside, you could see and perhaps think that the system is built to obtain a certain outcome. I can tell you with confidence — again, having practiced both in state and federal and in military practice — that a court-martial is by far the fairest, justest system that I’ve ever practiced in. And that may sound confusing. And I actually get some looks of — I don’t — I don’t know about that.”
With that line, there was chuckling from the audience. The congregation, which I have attended, in which my own son was dedicated, I have noticed to be skeptical of military activities. Two years ago I attended a morning session in which an activist spoke of disassembling the entire nuclear weapons infrastructure in the United States to acclaim, to agreement and to accord.
“But let me tell you why,” said Mr. Coombs. “Military judges are not just picked out at random. They’re not voted in. A military judge is somebody who has done in most instances both federal — excuse me — acted as a prosecutor and as a defense counsel for a period of times, has seen both sides.
“Also that person usually has taken on the role of a chief of military justice, which would be the equivalent of a DA; or a senior defense counsel. And so from that perspective you have a lot of experience, plus once the judge becomes a judge usually that person is a lieutenant colonel or a colonel. People who go that route are not interested in becoming generals. And so you’ve kind of tapped out at the top of where you would want to be. So there is no influence issue. And you have somebody there that is truly experienced, who truly understands the law. And from my perspective I would take a judge who knows the law and is very experienced over many of the judges I’ve practiced in state and federal.
“And then from a panel standpoint, if you go with a panel, almost everybody in the military — once they have obtained a certain rank — has some sort of college degree.”
And here once again, Mr. Coombs was making an appeal to the members of the audience.
He said, “And I think that in and of itself speaks volumes about the person’s ability to at least have an open mind on certain topics.”
Since the date of this speaking engagement, the trial continues to be pushed back — court officials blaming the delay, as did Mr. Coombs, on “further defense motions.”
Nonsense at the beginning — Complete Internet Chronicle audio of the David Coombs speech on Manning, hosted via SoundCloud (Ratner begins at 35:00) while Coombs’ first public presentation begins at (51:00):
Washington–In a controversial ruling, the US Supreme Court has decided to take guns away from the general public until they are mature enough to talk about them on TV without yelling and name calling.
Americans have been ordered to leave their guns on top of their refrigerators, or a high enough place where they can’t reach it or see.
“If they don’t see it for long enough, they’re just going to forget about it and move on,” said MIT behavioral psychologist Angstrom H. Troubadour. “It’s out of sight, out of mind. They’ll go on to the next wedge issue. But for right now, the only thing that’s out sight is the price of a solid AR-15!”
Americans witnessed Alex Jones screaming at Piers Morgan last week, and reacted either by apprehensively petting their revolvers on their hips, or applauding Morgan, who did not raise his voice during the sound bites repeatedly broadcast on TV and the Internet.
By court order, Alex Jones was supervised Thursday locking his guns in a cabinet before handing over the keys to ATF agents standing by.
“Those guns,” Judge Meador said, who presided over the case, “will stay locked up until Americans learn to conduct themselves like adults. Sure, any stubborn asshole can shoot off his guns, there’s no questioning that. Just look at Aurora, look at Connecticut! It’s the freedom of speech which Americans can’t bother to point straight.”
WASHINGTON — In one of those long, rambling Alex Jones films, hip-hop artist KRS One summed up some substantial misgivings to be had with Occupy D.C. rather nicely when he said that if you have a problem with your burger at McDonald’s, you don’t go complain to the guy slapping on the cheese. You go to talk to the franchise owner. In relationship to America’s economic woes, Congress is pretty much the guys with the cheese. Whether what McDonald’s is using is in fact cheese is another topic, but there you go.
Last October I took a lot of time to ask about why National Review and Amanda Carpenter at The Washington Times had invested so much of their time trying to smear the, like, five anti-Semites who they managed to find footage of at the protests, as opposed to, say, the plethora of liberal Jews who inevitably showed up to the event in Zucotti. Although someone at the McPherson Square camp — not three blocks from the White House — had constructed a Sukkot, still there were the general accusations of anti-Semitism from the Breitbart set. The whole charade was indicative of the kind of atmosphere in Washington where what these people, you would think, would call anti-Semitic was brushed aside. For more of this, look at the uphill battle faced by former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-IN) as he waited to get the defense secretary nod. Even though the Hagel announcement will not come until next Monday, last Friday Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin had already broken the story. The White House is floating it early to congressional leaders to soften the blows from people like Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) et al.
These stereotypes of the Occupy protesters in general were pretty crude. Indeed, it takes quite a short-term memory to repeat long platitudes about the financial sector, as a part of the human megaphone. At the time I began this write-up I painted the Ron Paul-ites present as part of the Occupy status quo, but my goodness, I was wrong It had been years since I was able to romanticize the notion of protesters in Washington bringing a list of grievances. Again, the “real owners” are not in the Capitol or the White House, folks, and to be fair, even a good deal of them don’t even work on Wall Street.
One of the most clean-cut people I spoke to in McPherson was a guy named Matthew Patterson, who was working full-time but said he came down there after work from 5 p.m. till 11 p.m. He said, “I think there have been a lot of misconceptions about what this event is about here, and I think that part of that is because the biggest interests in our country do have well-financed PR and attack machines that do try to discredit genuine movements like this .”
“The conception that this is un-American for people to come out here exercising their First Amendment right — the goal that our government should be accountable to we the people — is absurd. This is the most American thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I think every single person who believes in our Constitution should be out here,” he added.
“When you feel that the system’s rigged against you and you feel that real wages have been declining or stagnating for this long, when we’ve been bailing out Wall Street and the big interests, and our money that we’ve worked for as taxpayers is now going to these guys, while they’ve — while they’ve only wrecked our economy, I think that’s where the anger comes from.”
I asked, “How do you respond to people who say, you know, that the protesters aren’t specific enough? What do you think about? I mean, is that — do you think aren’t? Or is it very broad-based, or are there a lot of things that are matter of consensus?”
Said Mr. Patterson, “We always operate by consensus. Obviously, each person here is here by free association [ . . . ] We don’t have a well-oiled PR machine where we have one spokesperson. If you take the time to listen, you’ll find the common thread. In my entire time here — I’ve been here since the first day. Every single person I’ve talked to here has echoed the sentiments that I’ve had, which is that our government, our corporations, our parties, our media should all be accountable for what they do here. I think that’s the common thread.”
I said,”I was wondering if I could pick your brain about some campaign finance reform, specifically about, like, contributions from hedge funds and, you know, our friends at Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan and the six major I-banks in general. I mean, what do you think can be done to dimish the influence of those contributions? Should they banned? Is money speech, as some have contended?” I was referring to the Citizens United decision, which has since received skepticism by right-wing figures such as Newt Gingrich and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, both of whom seemed to agree at the last national Republican convention that the anonymity, if not the amount, of the contributions was problematic to the system.
Mr. Paterson replied, “Well, I’ll tell you — one thing that I strongly believe in is that corporations are not people. And when you look at what the Supreme Court did in 2010, ruling that corporations are citizens; they’re people of this country; and that money equals speech in this country; therefore there can be unlimited corporate money spent to influence the outcomes of elections to buy politicians, that’s something that’s not right.
“There’s other options as far as helping publicly finance campaigns so independent parties and third-party candidates can have a voice and we have don’t this monopoly of two parties in our country. There’s a lot of options to be looked at, but we in this park have not charged any specific policy options yet. It could come over time, but I think it’s too early for that, but there’s a lot of things that could be done.”
Jesse Jackson showed up, and I asked him the same question, although severely flubbing it out of nervousness generated by some review I read of “Shakedown.”
TB: “How can we limit the influence of the financial services industry on politicians in the Senate, the House?”
Jesse Jackson: “By finding and having hearings on their campaign finance committees. There’s too much money involved in campaigns, too much money.”
TB: “Limit contributions?”
JJ: “Yeah. And those –”
TB: “Publicly funded campaigns?”
JJ: “– who invest money determine the legislation. They determine regulation. So it’s time to put a huge focus on public financing of campaigns.”
I spoke to a group of American University students, who by the very nature of their being a certain age, were probably representative of many of the motivations people have had to camp out in McPherson Square for the past few weeks. They didn’t give me their names, so I’m just going to make up names for them.
John Brown: “I think a lot of it is a lack of influence on the political process and an overabundance of corporate influence in the political process. I feel like — and this is a minute ago — that there’s — capitalism is a great system in a lot of ways, but when it goes unchecked and unregulated, you end up with people who have a vested interest in making more money. And when they already have a lot of money, they can invest that to keep making more money. And so that’s how we’ve gotten point in the political — by putting it in the political process and ensuring that they’ll keep making more money.”
I asked him what sort of regulations he would like to see.
JB: “I’d like to see higher taxes on the superwealthy. I mean, there’s been a lot of talk about people who make, you know, more than $200,000, more than $400,000 a year, which is good. But I mean, what about people who make millions of dollars a year or billions of dollars, you know? And there aren’t that many of them.” Just this month the Senate-passed “fiscal-cliff” bill indeed raised taxes on $400,000 earners.
Mr. Brown continued, “But 10 percent of America’s population controls something like 75 (percent) to 80 percent of its wealth. And that’s what makes capitalism an — and that kind of capitalism is anti-democratic because suddenly you have a system where people are voting with their dollars, but most of the people have no dollars to vote with, and a minority, a very small minority, of the people have all of the political influence.”
TB: “It seems like a lot of people — when people speak against corruption in capitalism, [the criticizers of the people who speak against corruption in capitalism] treat it like it’s an attack on meritocracy itself, like on a system where the just and the able are rewarded and are rewarded thus financially. But why do you think people are reacting that, that they treat regulation of an industry as an attack on the ability of the just and the able to achieve success and have an incentive to produce things for everyone?”
JB: “I think because it’s an easy argument to make, and I think that’s why. I mean, I’m a democratic socialist, but . . . I mean, welfare and socialism is important, and you know, that kind of having a touch of that. But I mean, capitalism’s also important. I mean, you’ve got to strike a balance. I would never call for a completely socialist state and I would never call for absolutely no — you know, like a libertarian state –
TB: “Like Somalia!”
JB: — where capitalism is totally free to whatever it wants. I don’t think either one will work. But somewhere in the middle, where you have a regulated capitalist economy and a lot of social programs, I think, is just right. You need that.
“And the people who make the most out of society, they didn’t make it on their own. They’re a product of this society. They should have to give back. I mean, that’s why I think there should be higher taxes on the superwealthy. Because they should have to give back according to what they take. And that money, they didn’t just make that themselves.
People spent that, so that came from someone else. Someone gave them that money, so they have — I mean, it is a cycle, and so they have to feed back in, I think, to the cycle. They have to promote.”
Another man said, “You know, Monsanto, they’re actually in Iraq. So after the invasion — or a great example of kind of what I think is completely repugnant about the government — where — you had, you know, L. Paul Bremer as the head of the provisional government and, you know, putting in these place decrees really. It wasn’t voted on by the Iraqi people. He has instituted over 80, you know, orders for post-war Iraqis, where it created the conditions, created the intellectual property laws, you know, the patent laws that allowed Monsanto to then come in and to, you know, make massive profits off these Iraqi farmers who unbenknownst to them were given Monsanto seeds by USAID. You know, once those seeds are in the ground, I mean, you’re paying for them for pretty much forever.
“And you know, that whole sort of system actually is one example: that entire system where, you know, it’s corporations — they’re not literally deciding policy. But when there’s not much divide all the time between these corporate interests and these political interests is pretty abominable.
“And you know, corporations., they make tons of profit, which they can then spend on campaign contributions or, you know, on political ads now. With Citizens United, a lot of restrictions are gone, these previous restrictions. And I think you have these, you know, government officials and stuff who are able to use the law to create favorable conditions for corporations.
“Or with the IMF — you know, what we see there is the IMF is kind of like a doctor that, you know, will save your life but cut off your foot, you know, in payment — where it goes into countries, Greece, for example; or a lot of South America: Argentina, Bolivia in the past. And you know, these countries are messes economically. What the IMF does is say essentially, you know, we’ll help you out here with this money, but you know, we’ll use these structural readjustment programs to impose these neoliberal trade policies that are extremely harmful for countries that don’t have a strong labor organization — they don’t have strong domestic industries — that allow — for example, this wasn’t IMF-imposed, but you know the policies were similar — I don’t believe it was IMF-imposed; I might be wrong — in Cote d’Ivoire where Cargill — you know,the agrobusiness company — has horribly exploited the workers there for, you know, the coca resources [...] But in general that whole sort of political culture where that’s acceptable, where that’s a regularly done thing, i think is something that needs to end as soon as we can, you know, bring it to an end.”
A woman seated nearby said, “Well, I think that Sandra was saying earlier about it easy argument to make that, like, attacking capitalism is like attaching, you know, hard work. I think the reason that that is such an easy argument to make is because everyone secretly hopes that they’re going to be that 1 percent someday, and like, they don’t want to regulate corporations or, like, tax the rich because they kind of hope that that will be them. And they want — you know, well, I wouldn’t want as much money as possible.”
“Or not so secretly,” suggested a man seated next to her.
Said another woman in the circle, “I know. It’s not a secret. They’re like, well, when I’m rich, I don’t want to be stifled.
Abbie Hoffman: “A big part of American culture, I think, is the idea that someday you’ll be the super — you’ll be that guy in the mansion.”
TB: “And then you can finally put your knee on someone else’s kneck? You know, like your old boss or something.”
‘Emma Goldman’: “Right, yeah. It’s like fraternities.”
AH: “It’s almost like a distortion of the American dream, or like, it’s the nasty side.”
‘John Brown’: “It’s the commercialization of it. “
‘Emma Goldman’: “People want to believe it, but it’s not really — it’s not going to happen to them.”
AH: “It could. It could. It’s possible. It’s not probable, but they’re going for that — you know, I’m going to be the 1 percent who makes it to the 1 percent.”
Said a bystander, “Yeah, but I think it’s also — it’s not a sustainable thing. And ‘sustainable’ is a word that gets thrown around a lot. It’s sort of, you know, the green movements.’
TB: “Did people really let the wealth gap in the United States spiral out of country since the ’60s and ’70s because they wanted to be so not just rich and well-off and comfortable compared to the rest of the world but even just relative to their neighbors in the United States?”
AH: “I mean, we’re a system based on competition. I think that’s certainly.”
EG: “We’re just really focused on individualism. Like, it’s a good thing but it’s also, like, to our detriment.”
AH: “Individual freedom to an extent of, like, being able to do whatever you want at whatever price to whoever else is around. And it doesn’t matter. If I can pay for it, I don’t care how it affects you. It’s my right to do it. It’s sort of a selfish thing.
TB: “It seems like we just publicly subsidize gambling, like we’re literally operating casinos as just a way of turning profit. And it’s an esoteric game for a very small group of people, and it doesn’t produce products. It’s obviously not moving money to the sectors of the economy where it’s needed most, in my opinion.”
Said again the bystander I did not bother to nickname, “Yeah, that’s what it used to be. Well, we reward — I don’t know about the most, but what’s extremely well-rewarded in this culture is moving money around, just playing around with money to maximize everyone’s profits.”
TB: “Just moving it anywhere, you think?”
Said the bystander, “I mean, if I think of it as just moving it anywhere, then that wouldn’t be the best financial strategy. But it’s certainly moving money around, and that’s not creating anything.”
EG: “Like taking risk to have great reward.”
AH: “I was reading about a man who just made a tremendous amount in the recession because he,like, bet against the economy. And like, the Occupy Wall Street proters, like, went by his home, and he just, like, sent out a press release or something along those lines just saying how it was a completely ridiculous movement.”
Said the bystander, “And the U.S. government has really kind of created a system that currently allows for, you know, virtually unlimited profit for banks because, you know, the government, like, lowered interest rates to pretty much zero percent for these banks to borrow money. And the idea was that, you know, OK, they borrow money at zero percent interest rates, and then they’ll be more willing to lend money; you know, they won’t be foreclosing.
‘That was the idea. It was supposed to benefit people. It hasn’t happened. What they do is they have been buying U.S. Treasury bonds, which you know, that you get interest on that. So you can just borrow money, buy bonds. You know, it’s just — where; like, what — why the entire systemis just designed, you know, to help these people. I think it’s awful. It’s really bad.”
I had been monitoring the McPherson Square campout of Occupy D.C. for a few weeks, and by October 15 — when I first wrote down these interactions — there were more tents out in the park than ever. The People’s Library was set up, complete with issues of Socialist Worker and Left Turn. There was a carefully named “comfort” tent with medical supplies, just like the flagship Zucotti Park manifestation of the Occupy demonstrations.
There are good reasons to be leery about the possible co-opting of these demonstrations against corporate greed, and particularly greed in the financial services industry. The end-the-Fed advocate out there with whom I spoke admitted that an outcome of adopting a gold standard for our currency would be unlikely to raise employment or lessen economic disparity in the United States.
‘Van Hayek:’ “I was here last weekend for a march, and one of the chants we had going during that was, ‘Banks got bailed out; we got sold out.’ So I would say the majority of people here at least in my experience are against the bailouts and against bailouts in general on principle [...] The main reason I’m against them is just the fact that trickle-down economics has proven not to work, you know? The idea is that in saving these banks that money will eventually return to the lower classes and the working classes and the middle classes of the economy and stimulate growth in that area. And that hasn’t happened.
“And what’s ended up happening is that the banks have turned record profits ever since the bailouts, as have other industries, and it’s not trickling down to the people that need it most. And that’s my problem with.”
TB: “Why would ending the Fed — what would that do? Would that decrease the wealth disparities, or what would that do?”
VH: “Well, my problem with the Fed is that — it has to do with the way the money supply works in the economy in that every dollar that comes into existence is already debt owed to a bank. And the Fed is really just a private bank. It’s not owned by the people of the United States. And that’s the problem I have with it. What we should have is a government that can print its own money that isn’t backed by debt that’s owed to a bank. And I’m not sure specifically how to solve that right now, but I know it’s not something that I like.”
TB: “I noticed a lot of people are really upset that the banks have all this money and these major corporations have all this money. And then people — you know, they’re creating jobs with it, at least not with the rate that, you know, the population’s expanding and stuff. Do you think that’s there’s any, like, conflict between the requirements that Congress and many people want to put on the banks to have larger and larger capital reserves, so when they mess up they can control their own consequences instead of having to get bailed; and the other demand, that is in fact they need to take their money and then invest it and take risk and then create all these jobs? Do you feel that there’s, like, a conflict there between those types of demands?”
Milton Friedman: “I’m not a big proponent of trickle-down economics as far as that goes. So I don’t really see that plan working. As far as investment goes — at least as far as I’ve seen — when investment is made, it’s usually in a foreign country, where land is very cheap and they can buy –
TB: “Labor, too.”
MF: ” — labor, exactly. They can buy a really nice house with a good bit of land. And you know, I mean, it’s –”
TB: “That’s not going to go down in value. Land at least never does.”
MF: “No, exactly. Well, I mean, like, the thing is I recently actually went to India. And I mean, when I was there, it was absolutely amazing to see the massive skyscrapers of telemarketers — just I mean, bigger than anything we have here, just of telemarketer buildings in India. And you know, the thing is we all kind of know that that money didn’t come from them; that was our money that was shuffled into their economy over the past decade.”
“And I personally have no problem with, you know, exchanging wealth and stuff. But when we’re talking about the stuff we’re in . . . you know, and we’re sending how much money to other countries in order to build out their economies. I mean, that’s my main problem with it as far as the investment side of it goes.”
“I mean, regulations — yes, I support regulation so that they should be able to — you know, they should definitely be regulated in how much they can lend. I don’t believe in fractional lending at all, but however, another point is I definitely hate the bailout idea, the very idea that that — I mean, that that is even an option for something that’s not like the — you know, the major food producer in the country or, you know, something like that, where everybody would starve if it didn’t happen. I mean, I think it’s absolutely insane.”
The International Business Times aired a set of graphs that quite thoroughly dispense with the insipid claim — even by voices as apparently sympathetic as Al Gore’s own — that the protesters are not being specific enough. As the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, making promises that the American Jobs Act would get unemployment below 9.1 percent, which would effectively happen two months later without the bill’s passage, anyone capable of so much as squinting could see that the real statistics about joblessness are a pure manipulation, as one’s finally giving up and resigning yourself to the dole gradually put one out of that “regular” unemployed category. Altogether hearing bystanders, pundits, reporters and especially electoral losers like Al Gore complain about how the protests weren’t specific just felt like impatience.
I even heard a lot of sneering from a crowd — one I would have perhaps years ago associated with MoveOn.org, named for a now-irrelevant political sex scandal — that the consensus, not plurality system of Occupy Atlanta blocked civil rights-era legend and now Congressman John Lewis’ addressing them. Rep. Lewis did yeoman’s work fighting the evils of segregation in the vicious 1960s South, but if the iron was not yet hot, there was no point in striking it yet. The most closely associated Occupy politician, Elizabeth Warren, eventually rode to victory in Massachusetts, having never spoken at a rally but having faced Karl Rove’s bizarre Crossroads ad.
The protest proved successful in pushing forward the surtax on incomes over a million dollars, cutting the odds of monthly account fees, and causing legions of Americans to move their money into credit unions. Even in December 2009, when the Bush-era tax cuts on the top 1 and 2 percent were extended, polls showed a slim majority of self-identified Republicans supported their repeal. By late 2010, four-fifths of the general population support the millionaire surtax, as do surely even more of the people who took the enormous hassle of assembling overnight in public spaces. That brand of protest is one of the best reasons why the Constitution pays lip service to freedom of assembly. In McPherson Square, at least, what was so strikingly different than the tea partyers of Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally is that the Occupy Wall Streeters contain some of the same very elements: the gold standarders, the end-the-Feders — even though those voices were marginalized.
The protesters in Cairo during the Arab spring proved obviously enormously influential on this movement, with The Occupied Wall Street Journal trumpeting a timeline of influence to the movement that traces everything as far back as Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation early this year. October 18th, Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig was giving a teach-in in McPherson Square, lightly browbeating a protester for his refusal to work with the tea party. And I was there listening to Mr. Lessig, even though he was looking very hip to the crowd.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians were the subjects of merciless persecution, seeing their churches bombed and their adherents murdered semi-routinely. But at the time of the actions in Cairo, those emblematic images of Christians circling praying Muslims to defend their right to pray in public rightfully stood as testimonials to the power of people against the elites, who endlessly, ruthlessly exploit divide-and-conquer tactics. Back then, before President Morsi’s Islamists drummed out regular elections, it looked like Egypt could unite around a cause bigger than cause, and that Americans could unite around a cause bigger than money. Now taxes on the wealthy are higher than the Bush era, and Congress is more unpopular than ever.
Hi, I’m a kangaroo and I’ve been hanging out at the Bradley Manning trial since day one. Maybe you noticed me standing between Lind and the ever-contorting face of Staff Sergeant George. Anyway, I hear that a lot of you out there — yes, I’m talking about you, Uncle Jimbo, Barack Hussein Obama, Patrick Leahy — a lot of you are bent on executing this guy, or throwing away the key. Let me do a little fishing around in my pouch up front because I’ve got something hiding in here for you all. Let me see, where is that… Keys? No. BlackBerry? Oh God no — oh, wait, here it is. It’s my middle claw! There we go.
Bradley Manning wants to run for office when he gets out, and as far as I’m concerned he should be the president the day he turns 35, or lower that oppressive age limit. This guy is Captain America, Sergeant Savage and white Jesus all rolled into one. He won’t be spending at least the next decade behind bars because our society is “just” or cares about national security or anything like that. He’ll be spending time behind bars because our government and the people it protects are cowards and liars. Cheats and thieves. Even Coombs, as he waxes Mark Antony-ously about how Manning’s jailers acted “honorably,” said in the same breath during his first public speech that they also acted “criminally.” Criminally honorable. Like terrorists. They’re criminals, get it, punishing a prisoner of conscience with balls. Lots of balls. Brad Roberts of Crash Test Dummies has three testicles. They couldn’t quite believe it. I’ve ducked down under the defense table a couple of times and I can assure you that Bradley Manning has four balls. Possibly seven. And they’re all leaking.
“Morsi anal fucked Manning over a fat bong of hashish.” ~ FanFic
It’s mind-boggling to think that Bradley Manning has received the bizarre scrutiny he is under from the public, heck, even from the folks down at Firedoglake going on endlessly about how the private has broken the law. As if laws were inherently just (remember black vagrancy laws, bans on actually owning a telephone?) or mean anything in the scope of the hyper-real street and courtroom justice Bradley Manning’s actions have seen visited upon some of the most charismatic sociopaths on the face of God’s green earth. R.I.P. Andrew Breitbart. Especially with the benefit of hindsight, Bradley Manning’s actions are worthy of scrutiny only in a meaningless, deontological sense that giving up all this information is bad for its own sake, as opposed to the myriad benefits that the world has seen as a consequence of the leaks. Leaks about North African decadence probably helped cause one of the world’s richest ever individuals, daresay eccentrics, to be murdered by an angry mob after having been stabbed in the anus, in a bad way. If Egyptian Islamists have their way, Morsi will be able to exercise his own degree of tyrannical, socially regressive power over the people of his country. He’s so regressive, even the men will have to wear hijabs. But still, hey, taking down Mubarak is something. Morsi is still the better “other guy,” and that’s how most people vote, anyway: against someone, not for anyone.
Oh, and all of you typical right-wing yee-haw evangelical militant types, even Benjamin Netanyahu is telling you to put down the strictnine and snakes long enough to notice that the Manning revelations actually show how the Saudis were chomping at the bit to get the United States into one of those famous Asian land wars. If you’re against Bradley Manning that’s like being in favor of four more Holocausts; or a contiguous, separate Palestinian state — which are the same thing, anyway.
Despite all of this gobbledygook about how Manning’s “motives and intentions” are being “stricken from the trial,” let’s face it: If he were some gungho Taliban supporter, Ashden Fein wouldn’t just be flashing Manning’s old Kuwaiti noose handiwork in the twink’s face to show us how ready he was to end it all; Fein would be yanking off that superstarched blazer and twisting it up like a towel in a locker room to make his own version in Manning’s face.
Is anyone really happy that, had Bradley Manning not done what he did, we would still be looking at an America where Hillary Clinton could violate serious international laws and call for the ability to monitor the private financial transactions and correspondences of ambassadors? Are we so cynical that we see our way to collective security through dishonesty? Is anyone upset about knowing that John McCain was selling C-130s to Moammar al-Gadhafi? Think that’s something we should have known before everyone started calling for a no-fly zone? If you’re in the military or in public service, how could you possibly be such a coward, such an utter sheep, such an utter tool as to not read the leaked cables? You do know the Taliban has them already, right? You do know that’s just your bosses trying to cover up how they’re screwing you over, right?
Does anyone remember the anguish of the years of the Iraq War when day after day citizens would awake to hear about more dead bodies coming back from Iraq, but the military, two presidents and everyone in the media summarily spitting in our collective faces by telling us the criminally insane lie that there was no available count ready of the dead Iraqis? They weren’t hiding that from you out of some concern for national security or your freedoms they were supposedly defending. They were hiding what Bradley Manning eventually revealed all along because they want you to think that some humans don’t matter, because they think you’re too busy squeezing them out to Kardashian, and because they don’t want you to call your congressman and tell him to get out of Iraq or else he’s complicit in mass murder. Oh, or that you’ll vote for the other candidate out of spite, even if he or she is in favor of the same thing. The homicidal maniacs at the highest echelons of western power all too eager to expand those land wars in Asia I was talking about in the name of women’s suffrage, rare-earth element acquisition, drug eradication, oil, whatever, they want Bradley Manning to get his what-for to distract you from the fact — the F-A-C-T — they want to keep body counts from you to make them rich. That’s it! Aren’t you mad? No? What the blue fuck is wrong with you? This was mass murder, and all of the beigist nihilists at The New York Times and PBS want you to think that Bradley Manning did this because he was upset about “don’t ask, don’t tell.” How can you possibly rob Manning’s acts of supreme righteousness of that dignity by saying that had he just felt like he was sexually attracted to the “right person,” he would have felt a grand sense of blind tribal loyalty to make him betray basic ethical fairness, Hillel’s axiom?
The Occupy movement — a natural happening after a bunch of middle-class Americans saw a similarity between their plight and that of a bunch of Cairo secular hipster intelligentsia — choked off the rent-seeking financial services, insurance and real estate markets by causing record numbers of Americans to move their assets out of the major I banks and into credit unions. Had those long-haired menaces not taken to the streets surely Wells Fargo and Bank of America would be charging $2 a month for free checking. Can people not see what a huge hassle that would have been?
This was the global change-up and shake up everyone wanted! Everyone hates Congress! The Afghanistan war is increasingly unpopular still! This was real democracy! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!