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Monthly Archives: November, 2007

It Already Happened

What if we have already been “rounded up?”

The pragmatism of a dystopian present-tense.

It seems reasonable to me that politically aware people would be waxing dystopian lately. We’re witnessing bizarre and regular shocks to our collective pysche…

  • The Katrina Massacre (a city overtaken by paramilitary thugs, mass death and random imprisonment/police violence

  • police brutality at shutting down mass demonstrations (such as the LAPD Immigration rally melee)
  • tasering civilians practicing free speech in a university setting
  • Grand jury subpoenas IP addresses of alt-newsweekly readership

Given these abuses, it’s only normal to air our anxiety about what happens next. We worry for our kids: what sort of world they are inheriting? We want to fix it. Instead of paranoid “fantasies,” I see worried “parents” are getting over their fear of what happens next and entering a “strategy” phase, as Naomi Klein hopefully posits in The Shock Doctrine: when the shock starts to wear off, we can get down to the business of making life better.

So, it’s with alarm and puzzlement, that “worst case scenario” discussions often attract heated debate as to whether or not the worst could really happen “here.” Some people seem personally invested in the notion that nothing that bad could ever happen here. Their posts are peppered with tinfoily hats and eyeroll icons. I guess the desire is to claim a moral or intellectual high ground, as if there’s an upside to ignoring creeping authoritarianism. Is there a real-world upside to ignoring the temperature rising under our amphibious butts?

I’m puzzled by this response, because, as I see it, no one loses when ideas are freely discussed. If no worse case scenario happens, well, yea. In the meantime, why wouldn’t you “reality check” and strategize?

Setting this aside for a moment, I think it’s significant that our discussions are evolving from mere anxiety to strategizing. Might we be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, if we are no longer afraid to answer these questions?

I’m going to assert that our worst case scenarios HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED. Consider New Orleans in the wake of the levee failures and the paramilitary takeover.

Doesn’t it seem like we had a worst case scenario there? For all the people who died in their attics, or lost their homes, or are forever poisoned from the environment, it doesn’t get any worse.

The narrative that has captured our imagination and generated controversy is the “good german” myth, where rights are diminished to the point of non-existence, while everyone looks on. We imagine that we’ll know when “it’s fascism” by the presence of government troops and concentration camps. But, the founders of this country imagined a different worse case scenario — tyranny in the form oligarchy and theocracy. Our laws and Constitution were written to protect the people from the concentration of wealth and political power. Who here can say that we are not yet danger regarding these threats? Who here can say that economic and political power haven’t ALREADY slipped from our grasp?

What if the shit hit the fan a long time ago and we’re not noticing it because we’ve grown accustomed to the constant stream of poo covering our cultural landscape? “Good german” scenarios warn against the loss of freedom. So, can someone please tell me what freedom it is that you are afraid of losing? Can you put that “freedom” in plain sight so that we can guard it more carefully? Because, think we have basic misunderstanding. The Good German Syndrome is the fear of complicity in the face of loss of freedom. I think our problem is more serious and talk about “freedom” is meaningless. Our problem is that we’ve lost our POWER, not our FREEDOM.

Our problem is that we’ve lost our POWER, not our FREEDOM.

We can speak all we want. We can speak in “free speech zones.” We can speak if we don’t mind being tasered. We can march in mass demonstrations if we aren’t too afraid of being caught in the middle of a melee. We can post on DU, as long as we don’t mind that the telecomms are keeping track of everything we say. We have freedom of movement as long as we don’t mind cavity searches if we show up on a secret “no-fly” list.

We have freedom-in-quotation-marks in spades.

The problem is we have no power to be heard because our government has no interest in speech that doesn’t come in an envelope with a large donation.

We have no power to be heard.

Does money equal speech, as the Supreme Court will likely rule 5-to-4 for the rest of our lifetimes? If corporations enjoy “freedom of speech” via money (which I have very little of), then, how likely is it that my speech will be heard?

Earlier this week, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi lamented her inability to arrest those exercising free speech outside her Bay Area mansion. Do you think, if those wishing to be heard, came bearing giant corporporate donations, that they’d be outside building buddahs? No, they’d be inside being heard. Forget about having the power to compete against the deafening ka-ching of lobbyist checks being cashed. We no longer even have the commodious tolerance for speech (even in San Francisco!), by our so-called Democratic leadership. Were that we were homeless, indeed.

Freedom is nothing without POWER, and we’re starting to realize just how vulnerable this has made us. Discussing “what if” and “worst case” scenarios is a response to our loss of power. It makes perfect sense to take inventory of our assets and formulate a response in the face of another, larger, deeper catastrophe — such as the “World War 3” Bush says is “worth starting” in Iran.

I think we’ve already been “rounded up.” We’re fed-up, and we’re not going to take it anymore. Our discussions at this point are about REGAINING POWER — not pre-empting a disaster.

We have already been “rounded up.”

To be fair, all of this stuff has been going on for 120+ years in America — the labor wars and Farm Holiday movements and strikebusters and Pinkertons and concentration camps for socialists, to mention just a few bright moments in American History, make today’s America look tame by comparison. And when I say “tame,” I mostly mean the level of dissent.

Actually, when you take into consideration such horrors as the slavery of Africans, the genocide of the Native tribes and the crushing of early anarchist and anti-tax crusades such as the Whiskey Rebellion, there was *never* a time when America was “free.” This country was simply less oppressive and less class-anchored than the grim starvation of post-serfdom Industrial Revolution Europe.

I had a moment of clarity a few weeks ago, reading some histories of the Great Depression and the wild fever of socialist revolution throughout urban Canada and the USA: It suddenly became clear why the communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era happened. It was because we were *this close* to socialist revolution in America in the 1930s.

Jesus, there were foreclosed farmers showing up with NOOSES at the courthouse, to hang the judges. Working people read all the Red papers, which were distributed across the country by working people riding the boxcars. Rural men — today’s loyal “conservatives” — would disarm sheriffs and Pinkertons, sometimes violently. Scabs working the ports were literally stomped to death by union men. Millionaires (today’s billionaires) would flee to walled compounds while their private armies fought the workers.

Goddamn. People used to have a *spine.* Now, the people are fat and dull, obedient to a dead god, obedient to aristocrats and kleptocrats, retarded by Pavlovian responses to things they don’t even comprehend: socialism, left, anarchism, communism, revolution.

You want keyword hijinx that matter? “Red” was the proudest thing a North American worker could claim, just a century ago. Now, if the anti-union service worker with $30K in credit card debt and a foreclosed tract home even knows what “Red” means, he’s against it.

Worse to come, so says Dante.

More Than You Wanted to Know About New Sedition Act

From the Huffington Post:

Harman’s bill contends that the United States will soon have to deal with home grown terrorists and that something must be done to anticipate and neutralize the problem. The act deals with the issue through the creation of a congressional commission that will be empowered to hold hearings, conduct investigations, and designate various groups as “homegrown terrorists.” The commission will be tasked to propose new legislation that will enable the government to take punitive action against both the groups and the individuals who are affiliated with them. Like Joe McCarthy and HUAC in the past, the commission will travel around the United States and hold hearings to find the terrorists and root them out. Unlike inquiries in the past where the activity was carried out collectively, the act establishing the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Commission will empower all the members on the commission to arrange hearings, obtain testimony, and even to administer oaths to witnesses, meaning that multiple hearings could be running simultaneously in various parts of the country. The ten commission members will be selected for their “expertise,” though most will be appointed by Congress itself and will reflect the usual political interests. They will be paid for their duties at the senior executive pay scale level and will have staffs and consultants to assist them. Harman’s bill does not spell out terrorist behavior and leaves it up to the Commission itself to identify what is terrorism and what isn’t. Language inserted in the act does partially define “homegrown terrorism” as “planning” or “threatening” to use force to promote a political objective, meaning that just thinking about doing something could be enough to merit the terrorist label. The act also describes “violent radicalization” as the promotion of an “extremist belief system” without attempting to define “extremist.”

As should be clear from the vagueness of the definitions, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act could easily be abused to define any group that is pressuring the political system as “terrorist,” ranging from polygamists, to second amendment rights supporters, anti-abortion protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, and peace demonstrators. In reality, of course, it will be primarily directed against Muslims and Muslim organizations. Given that, there is the question of who will select which groups will be investigated by the roving commissions. There is no evidence to suggest that there will be any transparent or objective screening process. Through their proven access both to the media and to Congress, the agenda will undoubtedly be shaped by the usual players including David Horowitz, Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, and Frank Gaffney who see a terrorist hiding under every rock, particularly if the rock is concealing a Muslim. They and their associates will undoubtedly find plenty of terrorists and radical groups to investigate. Many of the suspects will inevitably be “anti-American” professors at various universities and also groups of Palestinians organized against the Israeli occupation, but it will be easily to use the commission formula to sweep them all in for examination.

And if you’re not scared yet go watch this Naomi Wolf clip (posted by Uncle Scam). One comment about that clip: the dems have shown no willingness to hold effective hearings or oversight. Its part of a strategy that, oddly enough, would seem to reward the Republican Party by blurring the distinctions. I suppose, if you supported the Iraqi War as a proxy war for Israel, and you were a member of the DNC, these kinds of things could be considered as a thank you. I suppose.

Secrecynews: Executive Order on Asset Seizure Casts a Wide Net

Last July, President Bush issued a broadly-worded executive order authorizing the government to seize the assets of “any person” who threatens the stability of Iraq and, more controversially, any person who provides assistance to such a person.

The scope, objectives and precedents of the order — Executive Order 13,438, “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq” — were examined in a new report from the Congressional Research Service.

“The broad language of this executive order has been the subject of a degree of criticism as potentially reaching beyond insurgents in Iraq to third parties, such as U.S. citizens, who may unknowingly be providing support for the insurgency,” the CRS report noted, citing prior reports in the Washington Post, TPM Muckraker, and elsewhere.

In fact, the potential application of the order appears to be technically unlimited since it includes a recursive clause that has no defined endpoint.

Thus, section 1(b) of the Order states that any person who provides goods or services to a person whose actions are proscribed under section 1(a) is himself subject to section 1(a). But then, anyone who provides similar support to that person could likewise be swept up in the expansive terms of the order. And so on, without end.

In practice, the application of the order will be defined by implementing regulations to be issued by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which will also prepare an initial list of blocked individuals and organizations. Those have still not been published.

A copy of the new CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News.

See, Executive Order 13,438: Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq (pdf). November 16, 2007.

Also see, my post below.

DOJ attempts subpoena for list of 24,000 Amazon customers

[ Politicized ] Bush DOJ attempts subpoena for list of 24,000 Amazon customers

“The (subpoena’s) chilling effect on expressive e-commerce would frost keyboards across America. Well-founded or not, rumors of an Orwellian federal criminal investigation into the reading habits of Amazon’s customers could frighten countless potential customers into canceling planned online book purchases,” the judge wrote in a ruling he unsealed last week.

~U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Crocker

Interesting story on how this came to light, far more interesting is, wondering what other nefarious things are going on under cover of NSL’s (National Security Letters).

Also see,
In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans

NSLs….Since the Washington Post was nice enough to create an excellent graphical summary of Barton Gellman’s front page story about the skyrocketing use of “National Security Letters,” I’m going to reproduce it here instead of writing my own summary. When you’re done reading it, be sure to read the whole story above.

(Note: Click to enlarge).

Gaza’s electricity to be cut by Israel

Israel will begin to gradually reduce the amount of electricity supplies to Gaza starting from Dec .2 in its latest hostile action against Hamas.

Human rights groups have denounced Israel’s policy of cutting back on utilities to Gaza, calling it collective punishment.

Israel has generally closed off Gaza since Hamas took power in June 2006, following a massive election victory in January of that year. Several weeks ago Israel also began cutting back on fuel supplies.

Two Israeli groups that press for Israel to respect Palestinian human rights, Gisha and Adala, issued a statement Thursday charging that the proposed electricity cuts would ”cause certain and serious harm to the health and well-being of Gaza residents.

The UN has also warned of ‘dire consequences’ of the decision.

Penultimate Terror? What does Sibel Know?

CBS News: FBI Foreknowledge of 1993 WTC bombing

So dear reader, if they knew last time (93)and let it happen, why would they have any qualms about letting it happen again in 01?

Sibel Edmonds Case: the untellable story of AIPAC.

Last week, former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, announced that she was willing to tell everything that she knows if any of the major networks are willing to give her airtime, without airbrushing the essence of her case. Bradblog will have an update on the progress, or lack of it, next week.

Of course, Sibel would prefer to testify under oath in congress, but apparently our Democratic Congresscritters (I’m looking at you, Waxman) don’t care about the treason, bribery, and corruption that has hijacked US foreign policy.

Meanwhile, last week we learnt that the judge in the AIPAC case has allowed subpoenas to be issued to 15 current and former high-level officials. Many of us are excited about the prospect of the trial – but Sibel assures us that the case, as it stands, is just the tip of the iceberg.

‘AIPAC’ is at the core of Sibel’s case, and Sibel’s story needs to be heard – either in Congress, or in the media.

No wonder gatekeeper kos is so well entrenched in mediocrity. It has a cadre of covert spy support network on call 24/7.

Israel backed by army of cyber-soldiers in propaganda war on

Israel backed by army of cyber-soldiers

Israel’s Government has thrown its weight behind efforts by supporters to counter what it believes to be negative bias and a tide of pro-Arab propaganda. The Foreign Ministry has ordered trainee diplomats to track websites and chatrooms so that networks of US and European groups with hundreds of thousands of Jewish activists can place supportive messages.

Oh, and it has just come to my attention why the Sibel Edmonds/Val Plame Wilson case will never ever go anywhere, because, Waxman is an AIPAC member.

Either Blackmail’s a bitch … or “AIPAC Amnesia”.

Are we looking at why Impeachment is “off the table”?

I fear for her.

I Remember an article a while back –I’ll try to find it– where Bush gave the Mossad “extrajudicial assasinations” power via ‘executive privilege’ to hunt down and kill anyone they consider terrorist or detrimental to their National Security ON THE STREETS OF AMERICA. Surely she has this written down or filmed someplace, with a “disseminate upon my death” request on it.

Which is why Waxman won’t touch this one w/ a 10′ pole. The DNC leadership wants this one stored under the table where they’re currently storing impeachment.

Hmmm…There are more troops in Iraq than before, the WH blithely ignores subpoenas, Edmonds can’t get before a Cong committee, and nobody’s trying to stop Cheney from bombing Iran. What exactly was the point of the 2006 elections?

Waxman, ‘Duel citizenship’ Rahm Emanuel, Barney Frank, ‘Give em head’ Harry Reid, ‘no impeachment’ Nancy Pelosi, should all be waterboarded until such a time as it becomes illegal, AGAIN.

Ahhh, here it is, Israel to kill [kidnap]in U.S., allied nations

Israel is embarking upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries, former Israeli intelligence officials told United Press International.

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