America Is Out Of Control

by lizard

As pundits and politicians stupidly call for the execution of Julian Assange for treason (stupid because he’s an Australian citizen) I watch the spectacle and am confounded how once again an opportunity to truly see how this country is being run is lost on the dumbfounded public.

There should be absolutely no more illusions about the complicity of the Obama administration in perpetuating the policies of Bush. Obama and his lackeys have proven eager to go to bat by covering up crimes and coercing other nations from bringing criminals like Dick Cheney to justice (because our country refuses to). Obama too easily bows to the same corporate task masters running the war machine and sucking the public trough dry, and his inability to frame the issues we face in a way that might further a more progressive agenda, at this point, appears like an almost willful ineptitude.

Our political system is so corrupt, partisan, and dysfunctional that an aging Lawrence Eagleburger (Secretary of State under Pappy Bush) felt compelled to appear on Olberman of all places in order to plead for the obstructionist GOP to understand the dire need to pass the new START treaty, which they oppose for no good reason other than torpedoing Obama and ultimately the entire country.

And another former high-level Republican appointee, Paul Craig Roberts, continues his brave observations after being ostracized from the inner circles of corporate media for opposing the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation. His take on the wikileaks spectacle is, as usual, quite insightful.

It really is too bad the lesson we all should be getting from the latest wikileaks data dump—that even the most mundane workings of government is being reflexively kept secret from us—is getting buried in the noise.

Instead we’ll be treated to increasingly rabid calls for someone to pay for compromising our NATIONAL SECURITY, and executing Bradley Manning for treason will become a drumbeat on Fox News. As for the courageous Aussie standing up against the psychotic imperialism of America, we’ll get the sex treatment, and pundits will be talking about his penis, broken condoms, and a man’s capability to control his ejaculate.

Speaking of treason, if our laws are intended to be enforced equitably in this country, and it turns out a majority of Americans can be stirred into a frenzy of support for the execution of Bradley Manning, then to be fair we should also consider the execution of congresswoman Jane Harman for treason, because technically that’s what she did as supposedly evidenced by a conversation caught on a NSA wiretap.

Unfortunately we are not a nation where blind justice presides. Instead there is a growing fascist cyst growing on the skin of this country, and its pores are filled with secrecy and repression. Otherwise the extent of a truly frightening bipartisan attack on our constitutionally protected rights as citizens might percolate among the populace, and if we fully realized how far we’ve already gone toward a dark, authoritarian future that would make Orwell blush, then maybe we wouldn’t allow the kabuki theatre of national politics to distract us from the behind the scenes consensus of the wealthy few against the impoverished masses.

If that ever happened—if the masses could be roused from their slumber—then domestically the police state is in place and ready to go, wherever needed. The TSA controversy is just a normalizing piece of corporate media-hyped propaganda to incrementally move us toward acceptance of our new position as cattle for the ruling class.

This level of pessimism is getting more and more difficult to dismiss. It’s no longer just fringe-thinking, conspiracy-prone paranoids that see where continued passivity in the face of our fascist slide will take us.

The question, as always, is what can we do about it?

  1. the entire world has been insane for quite awhile. the problem is that poor leadership by republicans for eight years and continued abysmal performance by democrats has sucked us into the world insanity.

    the world is ruled not so much by terrorism itself but by the fear of terrorism. we are ruled by those we hate. that is why now, more than ever the wise words of this gentleman should be heard and we should strive to conquer hate rather than add fuel to the fire…..

    “If you hate people, you are controlled by those people.” – Curly Bear Wagner, late great Blackfeet leader

    • During half-time of the game (GO CATS!) I posted a response to a meme that’s floating around Facebook about the country crippling dollars that we spend on foreign aid. If I disagree with you problembear, it’s only this much. The poor leadership we’ve been seeing has been going on for 30 years, and spurred by an insanity we’ve faced for 65 years, the cold war, and it’s empire inspiring effects.

  2. Turner

    Lizard, I agree completely and liked you essay so well I shared it on my Facebook page. I think everyone should see it!

  3. I might add that, while agreeing with Kailey above (I shall slit my wrists tonight), that it could be a different kind of spectacle we are distressing. In the 1960’s, when we invaded Vietnam, there were no leaks, and the journalists were as submissive as now. It was only years later that Ellsberg upset the apple cart. Secrecy and back room murders and thuggery were as common then as now.

    Perhaps what we are witnessing is a birth of journalism, perhaps even some meaningful free speech. This could be a sign of better things to come – accountability.

    We can only hope, and thank Assange for his courage. Real courage – not American bravado while firing missiles at peasants. Courage. Real courage.

  4. 1. Be Brave!
    2. Resist!
    3. Cancel your Amazon account and never go to their website again.
    4. Cancel your Paypal accounts.
    5. Move your money from the banks Monday and Tuesday.

    6. Be prepared never to hold any sort of federal position, since that is being used as a threat and leverage to repress information, be prepared for this to flow downhill so start thinking about plan B if the states follow suit.

    7. Be prepared for worse.

    8. Join the Greens. Take a look at what’s real–4 years ago the Democrats could have held George Bush accountable for his abuse of power. They did not even ATTEMPT to do so. It turns out no one really wants to stop abuse of power, they just want to gain it for their own ends.

    get the info while you still can -yesterday’s broadcast was shocking–it’s unbelievable what’s happening right now while people snooze through it —

    Get Miro so we can share democracy now by bittorrent.

    Post the DNS address for wikileaks.

    • Turner

      Lizard’s excellent post keeps disappearing from the 4 & 20 site. I hate to be suspicious, but is someone trying to discourage us from reading it?

  5. lizard19

    i’m really not that technically savvy, so maybe others would like to offer up how and why this post would be getting stripped off the front page.

    i’m suspicious as well, considering people working for the state department have been effectively ordered to avoid the wikileak site on their work AND personal computers, and to avoid linking to it from networks like facebook.

    • I saw the comments on your “about” page earlier and I didn’t see your post either. Since I’m able, I went to he writing section and I didn’t see any reason there why it wouldn’t be showing on the front page either.

      I wouldn’t doubt that there aren’t cyberattack crawlers looking for key words or patterns or whatever. This is being said now, but China is pretty expert and well-practiced at that stuff – and they have reasons to want to stop wikileaks too.

  6. Turner

    I see the government put pressure on PayPal, a subsidiary of EBay, to stop receiving money for Wikileaks. I think we need to boycott both of these companies as well as Amazon.

    I’m not usually a believer in government conspiracies, but I’m sure becoming one.

    The State Dept, large crooked corporations, and most world govts are freaked out by having their dirty little secrets exposed. They got caught telling the truth and it’s killing them.

    Meanwhile, I wonder how we can help Assange. Any ideas?

  7. lizard19

    the post disappeared again, so i logged in and updated it, which seems to work.

    censoring me, if that is really what’s going on here, highlights the fact there is real fear among our ruling elites that winning the information war isn’t a given.

    the vulnerabilities being exposed by wikileaks is having a real impact. and that’s a good thing.

    may the light of transparency shine where clandestine forces hide from scrutiny.

  8. Pogo Possum

    I find it interesting that blogs who’s controlling contributors regularly ban or threaten to ban commenters are now outraged that private companies have (banned) terminated or denied access to WikiLeaks.

    • The inability of some, like Kailey and Fleischman, to let other people draw their own conclusions about what is written on a blog, results from their authoritarian natures. Just as speech is supposedly “free” in this country, what it really means is “speech that we like.”

      Thank you for pointing out their obvious and glaring hypocrisy. And watch this comment disappear.

    • lizard19

      there are bigger things going on here than your petty attempt to score points against a local blog you disdain. open your stupid partisan eyes.

      oh, and doesn’t electric city ban people like max bucks? do you give the contributors over there the same kind of scrutiny, or are you a partisan hypocrite as well?

      • I have written on the subject of Wikileaks on six prior occasions, and long before the long before the subject matter became a “bigger thing” with you.

        It was PP who initiated this with his comment, to which I responded. I don’t care who “bans”, as banning is the sign of the authoritarian, the weak-minded tyrant who cannot allow others to see his own weakness, and so clamps down on free expression, claiming some reason other than that exposure as the underlying reason. Fleischman and Kailey are weak minds who cannot stand exposure. PP so noted. Good for him.

        I am anything but a “partisan.” Partisans are the water in which I tread. “Partisans,” as the term is used in the U.S., are members of one of two branches of The Party. How dare you associate me with them.

        • lizard19

          untwist your undies, Mark. i wasn’t talking to you. my comment was a reply to Pogo.

          • Untwist your own. I wasn’t responding to you. I was actually responding to a post that Budge left on my blog in 2006.

            • lizard19

              How dare you associate me with them.

              then who is that addressed to?

              if you’ve written about this issue, Mark, then i have a wild idea: why don’t you respond to the substance of my post instead of reverting to your juvenile drama with your personal antagonists.

              and just to let you know, just because i haven’t written about this here yet, doesn’t mean it hasn’t been a “big thing” for me as well.

            • The substance of your post is the substance of my six posts. There’s nothing to respond to. We are in agreement. PP merely pointed out the hypocrisy of censors condemning censorship. You jumped down either his or my skin for daring to deviate from the precise subject matter that you are dealing with. That is Kailey-ish, though I think that Budge first perfected that technique.

              The deal is this: It’s a broad topic. It has many sides. It touches on many aspects of our existence. Most people who claim to believe in free speech don’t, because when people say thing they don’t like, they shut it down. The essence of free speech is the ability to say unpopular things. Any damned fool can say easy stuff.

              And writers usually write about the things on their mind, especially bloggers, who have an open forum. I know I do – six times so far.

              • lizard19

                so to avoid confusion, Mark, i would suggest not replying directly to me if that comment wasn’t suppose to be directed at me.

                and sorry for wasting your time with observations you have already covered.

                now stop wasting my time with beef you have with other people.

              • Good grief – I was mocking your response that you said was not actually directed at me even though it was right under mine. Humor?

                And it’s not important that I already covered all this stuff – I’m just a blogger! It doesn’t matter. I was just curious about your attitude that it was suddenly America out of control!!! On what planet?

  9. Ingemar Johansson

    I haven’t had time to read through all the leaked documents but I was wondering if Assange outed Valerie Plame?

    • lizard19

      good point. Scooter Libby should probably be considered for execution as well for his treasonous role in that affair.

      • Ingemar Johansson

        Say you’re sorry and you’re off the hook.

        **Oh I feel terrible. Every day, I think I let down the president. I let down the Secretary of State. I let down my department, my family and I also let down Mr. and Mrs. Wilson,” he says.

        When asked if he feels he owes the Wilsons an apology, he says, “I think I’ve just done it.”

        In July 2003, Armitage told columnist Robert Novak that Ambassador Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA, and Novak mentioned it in a column. It’s a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of an undercover CIA officer. But Armitage didn’t yet realize what he had done.**

        • lizard19

          oh, i don’t really want to see some fall guy take a hot shot for his crimes.

          but turd blossom Rove, well, i think it would be a better world if he was no longer using up oxygen.

  10. JC

    Thanks liz. Great post! Saved me the time from having to vent myself.

    Don’t know what’s up with the case of the disappearing post. That sound really weird. I was out of the loop all day yesterday, so didn’t see it happen myself.

    • lizard19

      most welcome.

      i would be interested, technically, about how a post might get scrubbed like that. j-girl mentioned crawlers. ideas?

      • if the government is responsible for attempting to scrub this post off the front page i cannot imagine a better example of just how pathetically incompetent they are at achieving any objective….. leave alone occupying two countries that hate us and telling us that we are achieving anything except making this country look weak and stupid.

        if the us wants to lead again it should withdraw its troops and set a better example – by pushing for world peace.

        by the way…. what pogo and mark think of me ranks right up there in the 756th position of priorities that currently occupy my time. and when i post something and i deem that any replier is getting personal by attacking anyone i am perfectly willing to delete and ban them without apologies….

        now back to more pressing matters…. and just one more thing….. how about those duckies?

        • If nothing else, pbear, it certainly shows that Mark and Pogo have a, shall we say, ‘unique’ understanding of the First Amendment.

          • wtf? What has congress making laws regarding freedom of speech right of free assembly, or practice of religion got to do with some insecure authoritative dickhead banning comments he doesn’t like from a blog? What the hell is wrong with you?

            Banning is an expression of insecurity. Sure, you and Fleischman are all over me for manners, but at least you and I know that it is that I undermine you, expose you. He’s a different breed of cat, all soft in the middle and unable to think properly because of it, and I confound him. You are just pure ugly, authoritarian, loving to bear down on people, make rules, ban, f-bomb, threaten, hover … anyway, where’s Monty these days, goofball? Did you put him on the shelf?

            • Off your meds again, Mark?

            • Answer the question, Kailey – where’s Monty? Where do you keep the little fella?

            • He’s hanging witchu, Mark. But you know that, don’t you? Now, you answer my question. Every so often, you deliberately and with mal-intent go off on the Montana blog-o-sphere, as if any single one of us owes you something. You’re usually offensive, always condescending and every time reviled for your crap-spew. I’d like to think that you’re just bipolar, and can’t help yourself. So answer my question: Are you off your meds again?

            • Now now now, Rod … and you know this, you’re not one to be talking about stuff like this. You’re an angry insecure man who quickly f-bombs people he doesn’t like. You talk down to everyone, correct people on minutia, and most annoyingly, claim to speak for everyone when you want to dump your crap on me.

              And most interestingly, you used the name “Monty” to fake-troll yourself, and then claimed it was me who did that. At every opportunity after that, you hurled that accusation in my face. Only you and I know what is true there, and you know this is true. You sad sorry f***. You’re an odd duck. Maybe Bucks did know you in college. We all knew people like you in college.

              Anyway, you need to back off now. I’ve posted here no more than you (interesting that your own new home at LITW gets so little traffic – perhaps the fact that you are boring causes that). I’ve not “gone off”. I am doing as I always do, no different than yesterday or the day before.

              You’re just pissed because I “Monty’d” you as you did me, and even used your own bad writing as my own in the process. That part hurt.

            • Hehehehe

              You couldn’t be more pathetic, but I’m certain that you’ll try. However, let’s not mess up anyone else’s website. Can we at least agree that much?

            • I love it when you go above battle, usually when you’re exposed.

              What is most interesting to me is why you chose me four years ago. At the time you pulled the “Monty” stunt, I hardly knew you. You hit me with it out of the blue. So something about me revved your engine four years ago. I actually didn’t have any problems with you at that time, and even enjoyed some of your writing. It’s gotten ugly since then, but if you were angry at me in 2006, it is not me that is the one stirring the nest.

              What could it be? I’m not sure. I have ideas, but it’s just speculation. Anyway, you want a piece of me, as always, you know where I’m at. Any day, any time. I’ll have you for lunch.

  11. Uhhm, did anyone contact WordPress? This strikes me as a software issue, and not a planned one. The post itself stored fine in the database as evidenced by the fact that feeds picked it up, and it could be accessed by any direct link to it. But for whatever reason, it didn’t seem to register correctly with the front page display script, until Lizard updated and re-saved his post. That doesn’t speak to a nefarious plot half as much as it does a software glitch.

  12. Pogo Possum

    I understand the 1st Amendment very well Rob, and apparently, so do Amazon, PayPal a few other companies who have legally terminated their business relationship with WikiLeaks. You have the right to say practically anything you wish and you have the right to ban anyone you wish for what ever legitimate or silly reason you choose.

    I find it a bit hypocritical, though, that bloggers who regularly ban their fellow bloggers criticize others who ban bloggers for very legitimate and legal reasons.

    • No, Pogo. You can’t show any “bloggers who regularly ban their fellow bloggers criticize others who ban bloggers for very legitimate and legal reasons.” You just made it up, and suckered Mark into your little fairy tail, not that that’s all that hard. The criticisms here were of the possibility that there was governmental influence, hence your extremely poor understanding of the First Amendment.

    • JC

      Um, first off, Wikileaks is not a blog. It is a business. With employees. Julian Assange is a journalist. He has his rights in the country his business is located in.

      Businesses like PayPal and Amazon have terms of service. There is a thing called due process.

      Before you go poo-poo-ing people here, popo, it would be good to have an understanding of 1) was Wikileaks breaking its terms of service with Amazon and PayPal, 2) did the U.S. government follow due process?

      It’s easy for people to just go along with the police state, but the whole Wikileaks episode is unveiling some really disturbing aspects of our government’s operations, the least of which is over-classification of mundane government documents.

  13. Pogo Possum

    That’s funny…….now that both Amazon and PayPal have refutted those charges I must have missed the apologies by the offended bloggers.

  14. Pogo Possum

    Amazon has been rather clear in why it dropped WikiLeaks:
    . . . There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.

    There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.

    Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.”

    InformationWeek summed it up rather succinctly:

    “If you are an EC2 user, this incident seems to illustrate that AWS can protect you from denial of service attacks. At the same time, if it comes to AWS’ attention that you are using stolen content or airing content with reckless disregard for individual safety, AWS doesn’t need to wait for the authorities or the legal system to act. It can do so on its own, based on its SLA. ”

    • JC

      I see you get sucked into the “official” story lines very quickly.

      But there is much more to the story than the posturing by Amazon and PayPal.

      Why don’t you ask Amazon if it has canceled the services of the news organizations that are publishing Wikileak’s material on the Kindle–a platform it owns and controls content access to. The answer would be, no it isn’t.

      ANd ask PayPal if it still allows payment for multitudes of other books and content that seemingly violate the same policy it says it used to restrict Wikileaks’ account. It does.

      For instance, you can subscribe to the Washington Post, which first off, published Robert Novaks’ piece outing Valerie Plame. The WaPo also has reprinted material from the Wikileaks archive. Yet you can still purchase it from both Amazon and PayPal.

      Why don’t Amazon and PayPal discontinue all services related to the republishing of material from WIkiLeaks?

      Because they are under pressure (political) to do the one (ban Wikileaks) and under pressure (economic) to not do the other (ban WaPo, i.e.).

      Classic fascism at work.

      • Pogo Possum

        Simple answer JC. They pick and choose who to ban just like this site picks and chooses who it bans.

        The difference is that political conspiracy is a juicy sell you use to rally your base. You and Mark T. have more in common than you want to admist.

        • JC

          “They pick and choose who to ban”

          And here I thought we had laws protecting first amendment rights and discrimination… silly me.

          • Pogo Possum

            We do. And short of some unproven anti-government liberal rumors, I haven’t seen evidence that Amazon or PayPal violated any first amendment rights.

            • JC

              Yes, it’s always up to the oppressed to fight to see their rights upheld.


              • Pogo Possum

                Yup………my rights, and your rights and Amazon’s rights, and PayPals rights.

              • JC

                Nice that you equate corporate rights with human rights. Let’s me know where your priorities are.

              • Pogo Possum

                Individuals have rights, the small business selling organic meet at the farmers market has rights and corporations have rights. I want to support and defend everyone’s rights. You want to pick and choose who’s rights are protected.

                And I wonder where the left gets its ‘anti-business’ label?

              • Pogo Possum

                meet = meat

              • JC

                Fine, protect “everyone’s” rights. But corporations are not people. Don’t lump a corporation in with “everyone”. I know it’s quibbling semantics. But the main problem our country has is treating corporations like people–hence our current activist SCOTUS overreaching on Citizen’s United.

        • Strawman. If you take time to listen to people, you’d find that, unless ExxonMobil is a “conspiracy”, unless the British Empire was a “conspirator”, that it is merely about balance of power. No one, no one, can be trusted with too much power, whether it is capitalists or Marxists, corporations or mobs.

          It gets tiresome arguing with people who don’t understand that simple fact – that power corrupts.

          Wikileaks has committed no crime other than to commit journalism, which is so strange that no one recognizes it. What VISA, PayPal and Amazon did was submit to power. That’s disgusting.

  15. Pogo Possum

    FYI…….Word Press bans accounts on a regular basis.

    Type in the words “wordpress banned terms of service” and see what you find. At last count there were 545,000 hits.

  16. The Polish Wolf

    I don’t even want to touch this. I just want to point out I’m going on Amazon currently to buy something, I’m not sure what. Assange is exaggerating his own importance, but most important he is buying into the popular myth that the US is the bully that needs to be stopped. The US has secrets, but the structure of our society and our tolerance of dissent means that our sins are much more open than the misdeeds of a country like China or Russia – thus, we convince ourselves that the US is a much worse country than others, that the world would be better off if the US were diplomatically weaker.

    Even if you believe that the US is inherently corrupt and that its foreign policy ought to be sabotaged, since when is weakneing a country’s diplomatic position a move likely to make it less violent and more open (DPRK, anyone)?

    • JC

      “Assange is exaggerating his own importance”

      Say what? He’s on the cover of time. He’s probably the most wanted person by the U.S. government (next to the mythic Osama BL). He’s talked about in more capitol buildings around the world right now than any other person.

      And you think he’s “exaggerating his own importance?”

      Ok… whatever…

    • lizard19

      Assange is exaggerating his own importance, but most important he is buying into the popular myth that the US is the bully that needs to be stopped.

      what other country has 700 bases around the world and is waging two wars of occupation while regularly blowing up people in an ally country with drone strikes?

      it’s no myth, wolf.

      The US has secrets, but the structure of our society and our tolerance of dissent means that our sins are much more open than the misdeeds of a country like China or Russia – thus, we convince ourselves that the US is a much worse country than others, that the world would be better off if the US were diplomatically weaker.

      a predictable “America is exceptional” response. just keep telling yourself how “tolerant” our society is. i suggest repeating it like a mantra to keep reality at arms length.

      reality: domestic spying, state-sponsored kidnapping, torture, surveillance of non-violent peace activists, watch lists, invasive searches (TSA), assassination lists, preemptive arrests (like at the RNC, which included journalists), and the signature of any burgeoning fascist entity; unchecked corporate power influencing our entire political process.

      supporting the efforts of wikileaks doesn’t mean i want weaker American diplomacy. what i want is smarter American diplomacy.

      that’s why i find it so distressing that Condi and now Hilary have turned diplomats into spies and US embassies into intelligence gathering centers.

      in summation, don’t blame wikileaks for the sorry state of American diplomacy, wolf. put the blame where it belongs.

      • The Polish Wolf

        What other country has the largest economy in the world, has (with that economy) fueled the largest increase in physical wealth worldwide in history, beat down the Nazis and stared down the Soviets?

        America is exceptional – America is the empire. We live in a world of Empires – there has never been a lack of imperialism in the world. But as empires go, America is favorable to any other viable candidate for world dominance. The Germans, the Russians, the Japanese, even the British were far worse. Can America do better? Sure. Is a world with a weaker America a more just world? No. All the misdeeds you list that make America unfree pale in comparison to the actions of any nation close to America’s size.

        • lizard19

          i find it really sad you simply take for granted that there will always be some destructive imperial force seeking world dominance.

          you seem to forget the fact that all empires fail. do you really think America is so exceptional that we’ll be somehow exempt from the consequences of imperial overreach?

          as for your meager positives you offer to counter the reality i outlined, well, they’re pretty sad as well.

          what good is the largest economy if financial deregulation and out of control greed allow wall street to bet it all and lose?

          what good is the largest increase of wealth if the disparity is at Great Depression levels?

          and what good is beating the Nazis and staring down the Soviets if we follow the same paths they did into fascism and imperial collapse?

          • The Polish Wolf

            “Empires are doomed to fail”. Really? That is a piece of ‘common wisdom’ that is commonly stated but never proven. Does an empire actually last less long than a regular state? I would argue that a nation state controlling a larger peripheral empire may lose the empire but increases its chances of continuing to exist as a State. The states of Western Europe have existed in a relatively stable form even as their Empires rose and fell, whereas teh non-imperial states of Central Europe, the Balkans, and Italy had much more turbulent histories and more likelihood of losing their state independence, either for an extended period or permanently.

            And some Empires never collapse back down to their core states – the Russian Empire has been existed far beyond the borders of Rus for 500 years or so in one form or another, the Chinese even longer.

            You point out the wealth disparity, which is a legitimate concern. Nonetheless, by most standards the quality of life for a working class person now is better than it was fifty years ago. But that’s not actually what I was referring to. I was referring to the fact that the global geo-political environment the United States has taken an active role in developing has seen the zone of high human development expand from thin strips of Western Europe and the United States to include nearly the whole Western hemisphere and substantial parts of the Global North-East. In that way, the US Empire is substantially different than most those that preceded it – its success has encouraged the prosperity of nations throughout the world.

            And I don’t want to shrug off the real loss of freedoms we have suffered – that’s a fact, and a hard one to imagine. But you failed to mention any country up to a third the size of the United States that doesn’t employ such measures. And comparing our restrictions on freedom to the gassing of six millions Jews or the starving of three million Ukrainians and a fifth of all Kazakhs would be laughable were it not so offensive.

            • lizard19

              offensive? everything you say in defense of American empire is offensive. and delusional.

              so it’s a good thing we’ve become an imperial force because that ensures our country will stay intact. is that what you’re saying?

              and by what standards do you assert the American worker has it better today than fifty years ago? why don’t you cite something.

              then there’s this gem:

              the global geo-political environment the United States has taken an active role in developing has seen the zone of high human development expand from thin strips of Western Europe and the United States to include nearly the whole Western hemisphere and substantial parts of the Global North-East. In that way, the US Empire is substantially different than most those that preceded it – its success has encouraged the prosperity of nations throughout the world.

              really? jesus, you just gobble up the America is exceptional propaganda like apple pie, don’t ya.

              it’s people like you that grease our slide into fascism because your blinders totally prevent you from seeing what has happened, is happening, and will happen if we continue on our current trajectory.

              in just our two current hot wars, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, maimed, or displaced. have we hit Nazi gassing jews numbers? not yet, but give it five more years and we’ll see what happens.

              just keep chanting America is peachy bedtime stories to yourself, wolf. if you ever come to your senses, the America you will find will resemble Germany in the 30’s more than the delusional shining city on the hill crap you keep swallowing, hook, line, and sinker.

              good luck with that.

              • Would you like to argue with my facts, or just be angry at them? What was China’s HDI in 1918? What is it now? Repeat that experiment with India, Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Easter Europe. I don’t want to get the numbers but I found easier ones. In China, life expectancy has improved by 11 years since 1960; in Brazil, it has improved by 15 years since 1967. In the US, since 1950, our life expectancy, even for poor workers, raised by a similar amount.

                You can look up the other components of HDI too, but looking up facts is not your style. Moreover, you are free to argue that the relative prosperity most of the world now enjoys is not worth the price paid. That doesn’t change the fact that the United States empire is the only empire in history (that I can think of) that materially enriched the world as a whole, not just itself.

                Now I will admit, invading Iraq was a classical hubristic imperialist move – the pretense flimsy, the motives selfish and short sighted, the results disastrous. But that means we committed an imperial sin, if you’ll pardon the religious language. That was one administration starting a war that the current administration is attempting to end. That’s neither a trend nor a slide. Indeed, the trend has been for the US foreign policy to cause fewer deaths, not more, as the decades go by.

                If we invade Iran, you’ll have a trend and I will admit that the US is becoming expansionist. However, expansionism among powerful countries is the rule. If we become an aggressively expansionist nation, we may be unethical in your and my view, but we will hardly be historically exceptional.

                Neither fascism nor communism are based on foreign policy, however. Thus, your arguments for us being ‘fascist’ come down basically to comparing occasional extraordinary rendition to a police state. I say this not to justify the former, but in order to make clear the exceptional nature of the latter, lest we forget what true fascism is and in diluting the word rob ourselves of a descriptor for those governments actually resembling fascism.

  17. Pogo Possum

    That sure is a sunny disposition on a cold winter’s day, Rob.

    Try this combination if it makes your happier:

    +wordpress +banned +”terms of service”

    It comes up with a few more hits. Mark T. can help you if you need help.

  18. JayByrd

    Welcome to the 21st century and the age of Information Warfare. (If you don’t believe me, turn on Fox News.)
    The question is whether manufactured “reality” will win out over the real reality.
    Of course, in the end, it won’t.
    When the body count for the lies gets high enough, people will figure it out.

  19. Wow –that AWS excuse was so lame it made me much happier to be leaving Amazon. They rolled over for Joe Lieberman and his attempt to make us just like China “Authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders’ views.”

    In our country the courts, not the politicians, are supposed to decide if someone owns the rights to information.

    Plus it was laughable for Amazon to say “it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy” when (1) only 650 or so documents have actually been published and (2) these are the same bozos that when people complained they were selling “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure” said “Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”

    So, they would hate to “censor” a manual on how to molest children and get away with it. But it is their clairvoyance about documents not even published yet and their “concern for human rights” prompting them to collaborate with Homeland Security to attempt to keep US citizens in the dark about:

    “(1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;

    (2) the State Department threatened Germany not to criminally investigate the CIA’s kidnapping of one of its citizens who turned out to be completely innocent;

    (3) the State Department under Bush and Obama applied continuous pressure on the Spanish Government to suppress investigations of the CIA’s torture of its citizens and the 2003 killing of a Spanish photojournalist when the U.S. military fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (see The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Will Bunch today about this: “The day Barack Obama Lied to me”);

    (4) the British Government privately promised to shield Bush officials from embarrassment as part of its Iraq War “investigation”;

    (5) there were at least 15,000 people killed in Iraq that were previously uncounted;

    (6) “American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world” about the Iraq war as it was prosecuted, a conclusion the Post’s own former Baghdad Bureau Chief wrote was proven by the WikiLeaks documents;

    (7) the U.S.’s own Ambassador concluded that the July, 2009 removal of the Honduran President was illegal — a coup — but the State Department did not want to conclude that and thus ignored it until it was too late to matter;

    (8) U.S. and British officials colluded to allow the U.S. to keep cluster bombs on British soil even though Britain had signed the treaty banning such weapons, and,

    (9) Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data on U.N. and other foreign officials, almost certainly in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.”

    There’s no tolerance of dissent here. There are war crimes and cover-up of war crimes and retaliation for truth-telling.
    And the urgency is hot now. They really need to hurry and clamp down before the info about the banks gets out.

    Sure Amazon is a business but there is no doubt this decision was imposed by the government. Our government which doesn’t want us to know the truth, while at the same time insists we no longer have the right to our privacy in our mail, our emails, our phone calls, or even our physical persons –even absent any probable cause.

    In solidarity with WikiLeaks, I have terminated my relationship with in protest of their complicity with state-imposed censorship, specifically the unconstitutional attempt made by one petty tyrant named Senator Joseph Lieberman. Since has chosen to so easily roll over for such self-appointed dictators as Senator Lieberman, it seems clear to me that Amazon is not deserving of my future business.

    My decision was in agreement with the public call made by Daniel Ellsberg, to boycott Amazon.

    Go here to close your account.

    When you do, be sure to mention that you are disgusted by their action to terminate WikiLeaks hosting and that you will only support companies that are in alignment with our Constitutional rights.

    • lizard19

      thank you, cosmicgarden, for the info and links.

    • Pogo Possum

      Thanks for the link Cosmicgarden. I just found some great deals on a few last minute Christmas presents. With Amazon’s free Super Savings shipping I should have them by the end of the week.

      • mr benson

        made a point of ordering the kindle.

        • JC

          Really poor technology decision on your part.

          Kindle can’t hold water for a minute when put up against an iPad as a content reader.

          • mr benson

            never a person for coughing up quadruple for the bleeding edge of technology. all i want is a reader.

          • Kindle is a better reading experience because it does not use a lights screen. The light from an iPad tires eyes faster than reading on an e-ink display.

            While Kindle is by no means as pretty, for an avid reader the choice is easy.

            I only say this because whether or not Amazon ran from Uncle Sam is irrelevant. It was never a good place for wikileaks to post. They should have used their own dedicated servers, end of story. There is no point to using an American corporate giant to post American secrets.

        • Congrats! Good choice, especially now that Amazon has graciously agreed to pre-screen your choice of reading material for you! That oughta save a lot of time. What a bargain!

    • Excellent post, Cosmic.

      Please note that all of the information that you list as released has no bearing on “national security”, but rather are secrets kept form the American public, as we are the real threat, the ones who have to be kept in line. (Which seems absurdly easy.)

      For instance,

      “(1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;

      Iraqis are all over that. They know all about it – it’s discussed on every street corner. It us who are kept in the dark and fed shit.

  20. The Polish Wolf

    Assange & his defenders talk as if the United States is out to assassinate him or at least arrest him. Has the US even put out a warrant for his arrest? He certainly didn’t commit treason, being Australian; I don’t believe he committed any crime in America, and politicians blustering for his execution are just blustering. He is not a fugitive from the US, the big bully. He is a ‘fugitive’ from Sweden, and hardly that. Whatever sexual crimes he is accused of, he ought to return to Sweden to clear his name of them rather than go on about how he doesn’t feel safe anywhere and so conveniently can’t face the charges against him in Sweden.
    In the US, he could conceivably be jailed for contempt of court for refusing to disclose his sources (sadly there is now a precedent for that), but I doubt the Swedes would extradite him to the US to make that possible.

    • lizard19

      that’s cute, are you being willfully naive?

      interpol is out for assange.

      interpol is also out for dick cheney (for halliburton related bribery in nigeria).

      and if you have been following this at all, you’ll know the “sexual crimes” against assange, as reported so far, are laughable.

      the naysayers and apologists for repression of information are pathetic.

      to highlight this point, i implore everyone watch glenn greenwald tear apart “transparency” advocate steven aftergood on democracy now.

      • Attention, GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA: I am American businessman RICHARD B. CHENEY. My company, HALLIBURTON, has selected you to receive an oil and gas contract worth US 6$BILLION. All that is required is that a small handling fee (US %10) be wired to my personal account located in European banking center of LUXEMBOURG. I pray to our LORD that you will receive this email positively. Warmest regards.

        (from Geoff Berg)

      • The Polish Wolf

        I agree that the sexual crimes against Assange sound like, in all likelihood, he was unaware of Swedish sex law. All the more reason for him to return to Sweden and face them.

        Interpol is ‘out for’ Assange for violating Swedish law. (And last I checked it wasn’t even a warrant, just an alert). And if Interpol is out for Cheney too, you can hardly claim that Interpol and US law enforcement are comparable.

        • Pogo Possum

          Note to self: “Cross Sweden off my bucket list”

          • The Polish Wolf

            It seems like the sort of place that could accidentally become the last place on the bucket list. I do think that someday a discussion of the laws Assange is said to have violated is in order – if what I last read is correct, the Swedish have some uncomfortably strict laws about consensual sex which by the same token could be seen as offering more protection to people who have unscrupulous sex partners. But here is probably not the place.

  21. Pogo Possum

    Just curious…….what do you think should happen to Pvt Badley Manning? A. Throw the book at him? B. Give him a medal and a heroes welcome? C. Other?

    • lizard19

      i really don’t know. if he is proven guilty, he can certainly be blamed for exposing how far this country’s once trumpeted moral standing has fallen.

      but, as i said, i expect calls for his execution to be forthcoming.

      it all depends on how the MSM is told how to frame it.

      and i can almost guarantee no one will mention Jane Harman.

      • Pogo Possum

        I am going to put that answer in the “give him a medal” column

        • mr benson

          My perspective on what part of america is out of control? i pick the part that thinks the world owes them a living, which generally coincides with the “hate america first” group.

          • since when is it considered patriotic to not question the government????

            if we had followed the path of pp and mr benson we would all be drinking warm beer right now and singing god save the queen….

            arrogant postures like mr benson takes regarding patriotism remind me of a similarly deluded character from an episode of seinfeld ….

            “i’m the wiz and nobody beats me.”

            strut around some more goof.

            • Pogo Possum

              “…if we had followed the path of pp and mr benson we would all be drinking warm beer right now and singing god save the queen….”

              I always pictured you joining up with the mercenary Hessian troops, PBear and complaining about those damn slime devil rich founding fathers who refused to pay their fair share of taxes to the Crown.

              • your picture is warped by bad reception, pp.

                and political posturing bores me.

                bottom line is; what do we as a people do to make this country well again?

                i am pretty sure it is not by holding pissing matches about who is the most patriotic.

                that is simply childish.

              • Pogo Possum

                I was responding to your “patriotic” comment on me PBear.

                Do you even pay attention to the stuff you write? Really? Do you

  22. Turner

    Well, well, well. The U.S. Dept. of State has contacted Columbia University’s Office of Career Services to tell them that students who discuss confidential documents on site like Facebook are hurting their chances of ever working for the federal government.

    • JC

      Yeah, everybody should begin to realize soon enough that FaceBook is the biggest source of free background info for the CIA, FBI, and about every other federal agency out there. Not to mention private job background investigators.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to find a tap out of a secret FaceBook room somewhere just like AT&T’s Room 641a, dumping raw info straight into a government database and analysis center. People bare their thoughts and their friend connections with hardly a second thought about the consequences.

      And people wonder why some of us want to remain anonymous while blogging? Not that anonymous blogging doesn’t get dumped into the master archive like all other bloggers, but at least they have to go through some more effort to pin a name on a pseudonym.

  23. By the way, the idea that posts are being taken down here or blocked or disappearing and reappearing due to content is absurd in the extreme. It’s a blog! 99% of the public do not read them, and 99.99999% of the public do not know that this one even exists.

    And yes, even few know about mine. Get real.

    • JC

      Um, more than 30 people in the U.S. know about 4&20. So ya got a few extra 9’s there to the right of your percentage. C’est la vie.

      But I’m not here to quibble with your numbers, just to say:

      “It’s the .00001% (in you estimation) who read 4&20 that count.”

      • Agreed. The ones who matter are the ones who are aware. But no way does blogging equate with organizing. We blogged ad nauseum about health care, and I went to a meeting in Boulder that had fliers all over the neighborhood advertising it, and a large church set aside for the meeting. Maybe ten people showed up. I don’t know how to deal with such … not so much indifference, as the feeling the we don’t make a difference.

        • JC

          Well, you deal with it by appreciating those who showed up, and moving forward with them. That’s organizing. Start small, build on success.

          Your statement about blogging not equaling organizing as a blanket statement doesn’t sit well with me, though. Typically, that is the case.

          But blogging as a technological tool, and not necessarily a communication tool–as defined by the notion of “contemporary blogging”–can most assuredly be used as an organizing tool.

          I make a pretty good living by leveraging technology–particularly blogging technology and software–in such a way as to market nonprofits, small businesses and activist movements.

          Blogging doesn’t have to get stuck in the rut that most blogs do on WordPress, Blogger, and the like. Technology, as was developed for blogging, can be leveraged to organize in a myriad of ways.

          The first blog I build was back in 1996, before blogging was even a term, or the notion had entered the national consciousness. I built it from scratch–the hardware, the serving software, compiled the queries from a developer kit. And I used it to organize a network of activists. I had some success, but it was a tool before its time, and I let it go dark for a while.

          Then when a more mature set of dev tools became available, I began building custom systems that borrowed the best of blogging, and melded it with my own brand of activism/organizing. Many, many outfits are using my sites, and more are on the way.

          For me, outside of the issue and writing arenas (which are my passionate hobbies, if nobody has noticed ;-) ), blogging becomes a way to analyze how people use online communications systems and interact And I get to apply what I learn to my day job (actually can be part of my day job), which I would refer to as a freelance technical communications specialist.

          So, yes, blogs can–but usually do not–work as effective organizing tools. It is all how they are constructed and marketed that makes the difference.

          • It’s difficult to know what technology holds for the future. Scratch that. Impossible. I don’t know where it is going. I like what Wikileaks is doing, and the hackers are having some fun teasing the banksters. I see the hacking movement as world-wide and a real threat to power, but power has its ways.

            So I can’t say with certainty that the Internet is not a good organizing tool. It is, after all, why we had the Battle in Seattle. But it doesn’t replace face-to-face and arm-in-arm. When labor strikes in France, it is raw power. If the same people stayed home and argued on the blogs, they’d be nowhere.

            Like everything, a mixed bag.

            • You might want to tell Anonymous that. As Paypal, VISA, Mastercard and Sweden can tell you, they seem to have organized just fine. No face to face, arm in arm, required.

        • not so much indifference, as the feeling the we don’t make a difference.

          You write that as if they aren’t one in the same. Not that I’m disagreeing all that much.

      • Glenn Greenwald: “Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization. What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose—which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions.”

  24. WOW – almost 80 replies –

    Tell you what guys –

    I got on the web and started reading some of the cables, for a couple of hours, and I cannot believe that the government isn’t a lot more upset about wikileaks.

    How would you like to be the King of Saudi Arabia, who tells Hillary to bomb Iraq, yet publicly denounces the idea, and now the whole world finds out?

    It’s a bad deal.

    • JC

      I think that’s a good deal. We need to know that we have allies that are pushing us to bomb neighboring countries. And then lying about it in public.

      You may be down with that. MOst of us here at 4&20 are not. I welcome the revelations that are seeping out of WikiLeaks.

      • mr benson

        I do think deception is part of diplomacy. Yes. “Being diplomatic” is sometimes synonymous with “not telling the truth”.

        • JC

          Well, yes it obviously is a part of diplomacy.

          But when “being diplomatic” means lying to your constituents about matters of war and peace, well then I take exception.

          The people who plane-bombed the World Trade Center came from Saudi Arabia. Now we have the King of that country wanted us to do his dirty businesses and police his neighborhood.

          I’m not down with that. No, not at all. No matter how diplomatic everybody is about it.

          • The Polish Wolf

            So you disagree that they have the right to communicate discretely? Do you really think the world would be better off if every diplomatic action were public knowledge? I have a very brief list of actions I’m glad remained secret as long as they did responding to Turner on intelligent discontent.

            • JC

              This isn’t a black and white situation. But I think that the public needs to know a great deal more about what’s going on in our foreign policy, and what the players are really doing in the background.

              How else can we have an informed citizenry? I for one do not trust the actions of our government. And I don’t trust our government to be open and honest about what it does. But I don’t demand that every diplomatic cable be broadcast. But as we have seen, for every cable that might be sensitive 10 or a hundred are not. And if it takes revealing a few that might be sensitive then that’s a risk I’m willing to take.

              • The Polish Wolf

                That’s where we disagree – getting 100 cables publicized at the price of releasing one state secret doesn’t seem like a good trade to me. And call me part of the sheeple, but I’m fine with the government taking diplomatic action without telling the public about it – frankly, I think the American public would generally move us in a more violent foreign policy direction if they had more say in our decisions. Joe the Plumber does not understand the sensitivity of diplomatic relationships.

                Perhaps more importantly, the same is true throughout the world. Take China – the Chinese government is actually far more subtle and willing to compromise on emotional issues like Japanese history textbooks than the Chinese public is. Thus, the Chinese government needs to talk out of both sides of its mouth to keep its people happy and avoid major confrontations.

                The same goes for the US in its dealings with Muslim nations. The US needs to work behind the scenes to do things like prevent governments we support from executing religious minorities. If the Afghan or Pakistani government can’t be confident that their communications in this regard are secret, such negotiations cannot take place and they have no choice but to do what they know is bad for international relations but is what they population wants.

              • JC

                ” a more violent foreign policy direction”

                How can our country be more violent than being in a state of perpetual war? The only thing that would make us more violent would be to use nukes. Which would assure the end of civilization as we know it.

                You really think that the Joe the Plumbers of the world really are ready for nuclear war and total annihilation?

          • mr benson

            I don’t welcome “the leaks coming from wikileaks”. For example, wikilinks is publishing lists of the most sensitive locations vital to national security.

            The state department, which, iirc, is headed by that flaming political posturing uber patriot (that’s a bit of back at ya, problembear) Hilary Clinton, says, “releasing such information amounts to giving a targeting list to groups like al-Quaida”. These are, for most here, your administration and your people in charge. They are the people you voted for. You don’t believe what they’re telling you?

            I’ll also say, we are at war with these “groups”. They’ve attacked us, we’ve attacked them. Giving “targeting” aid to the enemy is the act of a traitor.

            • how quickly does the chameleon change its colors to blend in with its surroundings?

              excuse me goof while my wry sense of humor grins at you quoting hillary clinton chapter and verse….

              “our enemies” as you call the terrorists cells are quite knowledgeable of those locations as i am sure you are aware, with or without these cables and memos from wikileaks.

              this is merely puffery.

  25. The Polish Wolf

    JC – Here’s how you have a more violent foreign policy.

    The US has now been in Afghanistan approximately as long as the the USSR was. In that time, a probable maximum of 34,000 civilians have been killed. On the other hand, during the time the Soviets were fighting in Afghanistan, one million civilians were killed.

    The exact same amount of war – 30 times fewer civilian victims. And I know it’s not just that the US is less brutal by nature – look at Vietnam or Korea and you’ll find comparable civilian casualties (though from much higher initial civilian populations). In the last thirty years, the United States has become substantially less violent and less willing to inflict civilian casualties as well as to suffer casualties among our soldiers. So don’t try to argue that our foreign policy can’t possibly become more violent – it already has been.

    • JC

      You measure violence by number of civilian deaths? And want to compare us to the USSR during the Cold War in order to ascertain the magnitude of our violence?

      I measure violence by the act. And fewer of them does not a lesser violent country make. In my estimation.

      We are gauged by what we do. Not how often we do it. To pretend to be the beacon of hope in the free world because we have only killed 34,000 innocent civilians, is ludicrous in my book.

    • You presume to know you have the necessary facts at hand to make that judgment? I don’t think you do.

  26. lizard19

    check out this very interesting, and skeptical, look at wikileaks. a must read.

  27. Pogo Possum

    The leaker demands no leaks.

    For those following this twisted tale, the king of all leakers, Julian Assange, is now demanding that the courts not ‘leak’ the address where he will be living because it will violate his “Right To Privacy”.

    “The Australian whistleblower won a hearing to be released from jail to stay at a friend’s luxury mansion while waiting to fight an extradition bid.

    His lawyer Geoffrey Robinson QC argued that to reveal its location would infringe his right to PRIVACY. But laughter rang out round London’s Horseferry Road Magistrates’ Court as District Judge Howard Riddle said not to disclose it would fly in the face of 39-year-old Assange’s own philosophy of open justice.”

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