FACTcomment: The US election and the end of days
April 13, 2012
[CJ Hinke of FACT comments: Compared to the measured outrage of most FACT postings, my editorial comment on the state of America may seem at first glance to be a little…, well, wingnut. The scope of the (hard-to-imagine-it’s-not) intentional demise of America is so vast that I’ve had to add new tidbits to this almost every day. I didn’t, however, have to dig into any conspiracy theory to realise how angry I am at the US govt for fucking up my world. I really barely scratched the surface but this information has never before been assembled in a single resource. I voted with my feet. It’s more pessimistic than the causes I usually speak for here. Bottom line: As an ex-American, I think the US is a zombie nation—they just don’t know how dead they are yet. My only hope is that when the corpse sinks, the rest of the world won’t be dragged down with it.]
We wish we could report it otherwise but Barack O’Bama has been no better than his predecessor. America simply went from hick to slick.
After the depressing Bush years, Americans rallied around Obama’s slogan of hope and change. But they were only that: slogans and no more. There has been no change and there is still no hope for America.
We thought a black President, a Constitutional scholar and one of the US’s younger presidents, would champion the oppressed and uphold human rights and civil liberties.
America, in fact, was founded on a cover-up. American schoolchildren are taught that George Washington was their first president, appointed in 1789. (This was long before elections joined popular fantasy.) The myth goes, as a boy, he chopped down a cherry tree and was so consumed by honesty that he confessed it to his father.
The facts are very different. The “War of Independence” defeated Britain in 1781 and was ratified by treaty in 1783. The first president of the United States of America was John Hanson of Maryland. He presided over the Second Continental Congress in 1781. He was elected by the delegates the first president under the Articles of Confederation eight years before the nascent nation ratified its constitution. Rather than Hanson, the political leader, all the glory was reserved for the conquering general, G.W. John Hanson’s gravesite has even been lost to history.
Hanson’s first act as President was to send his own personal funds of £800 Sterling to General Washington to provide the troops of the Revolutionary Army with shoes. Hanson also declared Thanksgiving Day as it stands today. In all, there were six presidents after him (some historical accounts even reference fourteen) before Washington’s appointment. Hanson’s picture appears officially only on the two-dollar bill. For extra credit: Who was the first black President?
Obama’s simplest promise—to close the extrajudicial prison at Guantánamo—was not even fulfilled in his first four years. In fact, far from pulling out of Afghanistan, the US has just signed a $35 million contract to expand its extrajudicial prison at in Parwan province at the edge of Bagram Air Base where extrajudicial murders and torture were first publicly exposed. The new prison will hold 2,000 detainees compared with Gitmo’s 180.
Illegal immigration and terrorists, oh my! “Guantánamo Bay: The Lighter Side of Torture” from First Church of Christ, Filmmaker — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWiLBjhmyPk.
Instead, Obama became the first US President to make the assassination of US citizens legal. Folks, he made murder legal!
The father-and-son Bush team created America’s enemies out of whole cloth. No Muslim insurgent or so-called jihadist groups existed before the US attacked Iraq under false pretences. Extra credit: Who created al-CIAda? Yes, there were the Taliban in Afghanistan but, shit, it was their country! Without enemies, there are no wars and, without wars, there are no war profits. When the mythology of America’s bogeyman, Osama, became no longer effective in rallying public support, the holy ghost, Obama, (just change one letter!), killed him off. Just like in a videogame. Just gone. No pix, no video, not even a murmur from anyone in the special ops team. The US invaded a sovereign nation and killed one of its residents. How would Americans feel if this happened next to Washington, say in a quiet community in Maryland or Virginia?
America has become a global gangster with 60,000 special ops forces and many more corporate mercenaries deployed all over the world using Americans’ tax dollars. The US maintains at least 1,180 military bases in 130 countries, including McDonalds, ski lifts and golf courses for the troops. Think that’s enough to scare the non-believers into submission?
As detailed in a US diplomatic cable released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks, the US govt has vastly expanded the DEA’s mandate. DEA sounds better than CIA. Any politician may be expected to be against drugs but maybe not support foreign spies and assassins. The DEA has been given carte-blanche, global jurisdiction to operate. Of particular concern is the DEA’s intelligence capabilities. The DEA has become a law unto itself and the agency now has 87 offices in 63 countries.
At home, The Washington Post reported in July 2010 that 1,271 government agencies and 1,931 private companies work on counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence at around 10,000 locations throughout the US. Every single day, the National Security Agency intercepts and stores more than 1.7 billion emails, phone conversations and other communications. Don’t you feel safer now? CIA Director, four-star Army general and former chief commander of the US wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, David Petraeus, is quoted, “We’ll spy on you through your dishwasher.” A new law, the Enemy Expatriation Act, allows government to revoke US nationality from any citizen for supporting “hostilities against the United States”. That includes thought crimes, my friends.
Just in case you were thinking of stepping out of line to try to change the system, thousands of CCTV surveillance cameras have been installed on virtually every street corner, in every business and workplace. In case they miss something, the US military operates 30,000 unmanned, remotely-controlled surveillance drones, each costing $300,000. That’s nine billion dollars. To spy on Americans. The drones can tap WiFi and phone networks, target individuals using biometrics, sense through walls and even…wait for it…see through clothing! This is some mad scientist shit, bro’. Bringing Afghanistan home. Nothing you do is a secret from Big Brother. Every citizen is a potential criminal.
2001’s PATRIOT Act just isn’t enough to protect us anymore. In December 2011, the US president signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act with a budget of $662 billion. The NDAA makes legal indefinite military detention without trial for anyone on US soil, including, of course, American citizens, on simple suspicion of terrorism. You know, like animal rights or environmental protection. Can’t be too careful these days. Mother Jones magazine calls it “turning the homeland into a battlefield”.
Obama’s administration, like Dubya’s, is based on keeping secrets. Just not yours. That’s why we’re called the public, Bunky. This government has waged war on whistleblowers, including soldier Bradley Manning who allegedly provided 250,000 US diplomatic cables in WikiLeaks’ 2009 Cablegate. The cables exposed US extrajudicial murders of civilians as well as so-called collateral damage, ignoring torture, prisoners in Gitmo, drone strikes and child prisoners among many other government lies.
These disclosures have evened the playing field around the world—even the State Department admits there was no harm to ‘national security’ (which means, of course, anything they want it to!).
Bradley Manning was kept in solitary confinement for more than a year, only getting ‘normal’ gaol privileges following US public, EU and UN outcry. He faces the death penalty under the US Espionage Act of 1917 (!) but military prosecutors have stated they will ‘only’ seek a sentence of life in prison.
Befitting such a hero, there is a growing movement nominated Bradley Manning for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize. This initiative has originated globally from former Prize-winners, political parties, even national parliaments, notably Iceland’s. Warmonger Obama got one, of course. (If he has any integrity, he should give it back.)
Bradley Manning exposed US war crimes and currently several countries have outstanding arrest warrants for Dubya, tricky Dick-y, Wolfie and the slippery Don. To give an idea of how serious this is, Harper’s Magazine reported “Former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney canceled a trip to Canada over concerns the country was too dangerous.” (Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant. We knew something was missing.) Why should US war criminals be treated any differently than those from (other) third-world countries?
The Espionage Act itself has an interesting history of repression. Passed in World War I, it was used to jail more than 1,500 anarchists and conscientious objectors to the war as well as shutting numerous publications for so-called disloyalty and even going so far as to censor antiwar cartoons. Sound familiar?
In 1953, conviction under the Espionage Act was used to execute accused atomic spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Today, five whistleblowers are being prosecuted using the Espionage Act on Obama’s watch. The US government even bans all photography of the coffins of its soldiers returning to US soil.
Bradley Manning’s one tremendous act of courage sped the US war on Iraq to a (sort-of) close and a drawdown in the US war on Afghanis. The New York Times reports the “Names of the Dead” every day just as for the US war on Vietnam. Not enough war for you? The USA was behind the bombing of Libya and Syria and has just sent military advisors to Uganda. Who else better deserves recognition for a selfless act for peace? Obama was awarded the Prize in 2009, described elsewhere as “an informercial for war”. In fact, there is a growing movement to demand the Nobel Committee rescind his prize. If he really were an honest man, he could never have accepted it in the first place. So who really did something to end these senseless wars?
Read my lips, Barry: Wars are not “tidal” as you’ve termed them. They don’t ‘recede’. They require the moral high ground to pull out. There simply are no ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Instead, America maintains 900 military bases where US military forces operate in 130 countries. America tortures. Just because the US president sends his kids to Quaker school doesn’t mean he’s not a warmonger. It is specious excuse to say Obama “inherited” these wars. The point is, he did nothing to stop them.
Of course, it’s not only Guantánamo. The United States is the world’s biggest gaoler ever. Bigger than Soviet gulags, bigger than South Africa under apartheid.
Commercial interests supporting private, for-profit, prisons have created a prison industry which gaols 743 of every 100,000 Americans, mostly people of colour. There’s a word for profiting from human suffering—it’s ‘greed’. The jobs and profits generated from millions of prisoners stretch throughout the fabric of American government. Community dying? Build a prison!
Some 20,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement and some estimate a magnitude of several times that figure. Many are held in this condition for decades, the longest, so far, being 31 years.
Human Rights Watch concludes that one-third to one-half are mentally ill at least some of them driven mad by lack of human contact. The UN’s Committee on Torture in 2006 called for a review of US prison conditions which, of course, has not been initiated.
The government is said to ‘win’ a case when an accused goes to prison. I think that makes everybody actually losers, including our broader society. This ain’t justice, Bunky, it’s revenge.
The inequities of bail amounts which cannot be met by the poor means accused face a presumption of guilt rather than innocence. Of course, the poor, people of colour and the mentally ill are disproportionately represented in prisons because we’ve closed off all society’s safety nets to feed the rich.
Under strict truth-in-sentencing rules, there is no parole. With mandatory minimum sentences, judges have no discretion to make compassionate and intelligent decisions.
The harm by no means stops there—ex-prisoners lose the right to vote, vastly skewing US elections for the monied classes. Prisons exist as a tool for social control.
We can only imagine what kind of social hopelessness this creates. Huge prisoner numbers will affect US society for several generations to come even if alternatives to incarceration are begun today.
And now the USA is gripped by election fever, a fever that wastes billions of dollars and halts any effective executive actions by the sitting President whose entire attention must be focused on winning his text term. It will cost Americans $6 billion to run the 2012 Presidential election show.
There is little oversight of campaign contributions and multiple loopholes, meaning that sectarian and commercial interests can, in effect, buy a US election. Why do you think the rich get richer?
Politics in all countries depend on political influence, most often corruption. This is particularly apparent in the lobbyist culture in Washington. Every interest group wants to buy America. So anything goes.
On the so-called right, we have three wannabe losers hoping to be the next opposition candidate.
Mitt Romney, a millionaire ($200M) Mormon businessman and former missionary with only one wife: 40% of Americans think Mitt’s first name is short for “Mittens”. Romney founded Bain Capital in 1984 which finances nationwide surveillance used for the “maintenance of social stability” to the Chinese government. In 1983, he strapped the family dog to the roof of his car for a 12-hour road trip to Canada. Literally scared the shit out of the abused pooch. “Romney” has been more recently coined as a verb meaning, “To defecate in terror.”
Romney’s American religion only began allowing non-whites in 1979, lifting the historical “Curse of Cain” and still don’t permit gay members; they believe the Garden of Eden was located in Jackson County, Missouri. “The modern Mahomet” Mormon prophet Joseph Smith’s spiritual revelations led him to marry 48 wives, some as young as fourteen, and about a dozen who were already married; second Church president Brigham Young had 56. In fact, early Mormons in Utah believed “celestial marriage” to native Indian brides would turn them “white, delightsome and just”. An angel named Moroni. Joseph Smith was lynched from his gaol cell in Carthage, Illinois, in 1844, surprisingly not by a mob of women.
Newt Gingrich ($7M), a millionaire politician named after a lizard. (He never had a real job.) TV’s Saturday Night Live gave Newt the sobriquet, “President of the Moon”, due to his outspoken promotion of establishing a permanent colony of Americans on our satellite sphere. The for-profit companies owned in full or part by Gingrich and his wife has revenues of nearly $100 million from 2001 to 2010.
And Rick Santorum ($2M), a millionaire lawyer (natch) whose anti-gay opinions have led to his last name being used for the anal discharge which follows gay sex. Yuck! He thinks Satan is targeting the US; that’s why they have Homeland Security. Our favourite quote: “Privacy. Neutrality. Free Expression. None of these terms is in the Constitution.” Santorum thinks, “Buddhists don’t belong in America.” Santorum, a Catholic, is quoted as saying the Constitutionally-mandated separation of church and state makes him “want to vomit”.
All three opposition candidates are against gay marriage, women’s rights to freely choose abortion, universal health care and support abstinence-only sex education, restricting birth control for students. Does it not seem counterintuitive to vote for a millionaire president (Obama is no better: $5M) when the US is hovering at 10% unemployed? 46.2 million Americans, 15.1%, were living in poverty in 2010, the highest figures ever. The politics of protecting the wealth of the super-rich is called an oligarchy, run by the 1% but defended by their minions, lackeys and wage-slaves. (That’s ys, Bunky.)
If you’re not laughing till you puke yet, another Bush son, Dubya’s kid brother Jeb (worth ‘only’ $1.3 million in 2007 but widely considered to be greatly underreported) may be drafted in a dark horse run for the Presidency in 2012. Jeb was a less prolific hangman than his brother. In his nine years in office as Governor of the US state of Florida, he approved 22 executions, unlike GW who executed 153 in only five years as governor of Texas. For sure, Jeb is biding his time. And seven more Bush young ‘uns still have a shot at American empire.
As Richard Nixon once remarked, “If the President does it, it’s not illegal.”
To use the Occupy movement’s turn of phrase, these guys are the 1%ers, far removed from just plain folks. In fact, they’ve never been ‘just plain folks’ so how can we expect them to understand and relieve the lives of ordinary Americans?
I didn’t mention libertarian Ron Paul nor consumer advocate Ralph Nader. They may be great guys. That’s why America will never allow them to be elected.
Fundamentalists are those religious folks who believe the mythology of their holy scriptures is historical fact. The Good Book ®. Cue Xians who worship Holy Bible’s Old and New Testaments, written centuries after the fact by the very people who would benefit. 38% of Americans consider themselves born-again. They relentlessly evangelise and proselytise to convert heathens, pagans and savages because no one who has not accepted walk-on-water JC as their saviour is going to heaven when they die. That’s an awful lot of homeless in the grand scheme of things.
Those people believe these books, translated into multiple languages (with all the errors that implies) are the word of god [sic]. That includes Jews who similarly worship the Torah which is, in fact, the Xian’s Old Testament. The Muslims worship the Noble Quran which is a relative latecomer proclaimed six centuries after their prophet Jesus.
Incidentally, all these religious teachings proscribe killing for their followers which must be why they fight so many wars. Like, what is so hard about “Thou shalt not kill”; sounds pretty straightforward to us. Maybe they worship the holy books but don’t pay any mind to what’s inside. Anyway, don’t use that nice, thin, rice paper to roll any reefer just in case (except mebbe in bad hotel rooms).
‘Murricans are simple people, Bunky. They got that ole time religion. 77% believe angels and demons are real, 20% have heard god™ speak to them, 74% believe they’re going to heaven but only 59% believe in hell. Of course, they don’t think they’ll go there, except for the guy who wrote the recent religious bestseller, 23 Minutes in Hell, who actually has been there. (Might have been something he et.) 41% believe in Armageddon as final battle between their God (good) and Satan (bad) and that their faith ensures they’ll be ‘raptured’ to heaven when it comes. At least if they’re one of 144,000, according to the Xian Bible. (So why do they want us to have more kids?)
A 2011 survey by the White House website reveal that 99% of Americans also believe that extraterrestrials and UFOs are real. “Take me to your leader” would sure throw a monkeywrench into their religion. Nobody owns E.T.
So cool it with the cartoons dissing all those prophets (and their profits), eh! It’s not funny! Those prophets who, incidentally, are the same for Christians, Jews and Muslims which must be why they all hate each other. Pick on aliens, not the illegal ones, the other kind. The real Jesus is a strawberry picker in Watsonville.
This should scare you, Bunky, because all these politicians play that religion card. What’s scarier still is that most American Xians believe they can’t be raptured when Armageddon comes if the state of Israel doesn’t exist. Israel, of course, is also America’s biggest customer for war weapons. Even President Obama affirms his commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. “When the chips are down,” he said “I have Israel’s back.”
We make no progress on genuine issues like getting rid of nuclear weapons (everybody’s), banning nuclear power (ditto), climate change (hmm, all of us), legalising all drugs (again, ditto) because corporate mass media distracts us with smoke and mirrors. American epidemics of morbid obesity and fatal diabetes isn’t important because we become fascinated by bulimia. We’ve lost our gross national happiness in Alice’s mirror.
Of course, as in Thailand, no pol can afford to buck the military. While the USA spends 54% of its annual budget—$1,449,000,000,000, $1.5 trillion—on past, present and future wars, the real figures are even worse. 80% of every tax dollar is used to finance the military, much of it to service the interest on past military debt. Listen up, now: We’re paying the bankers for their finance of killing. In fact, America is planning on doubling that number by buying 2.443 stealth fighter jets for a total cost of $1.51 trillion. Are Americans really any safer?
The USA is the world’s biggest arms dealer. $45-60 billion in profits in 2011. Legal arms dealers, that is; illegal weapons sales are those not brokered by governments, an evil trade estimated at $411.1 billion in 2010 by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. (“Illegal” arms dealers like Viktor Bout, the USA deep-sixes for 25 years.) There was an enormous US government disinformation campaign to demonise Bout. But Bout’s major crime was simply being too successful. Entrapment is not legal in America but the DEA had no such scruples against misrepresentation in Thailand. Viktor Bout was kidnapped and then renditioned.
We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false. ~ William Casey, CIA Director
Most of those arms sales go to developing countries. The USA is all about ‘equal opportunity’—they regularly sell to both sides of a given conflict with impunity. War is big business.
6,500,000 US private homes have been foreclosed by lenders (trust your banker!) because the homeowners could not pay the exorbitant interest on their loans. That means 6.5 million homeless American families, 7.6% of the US population. Of course, govt really needs that extra money for war.
“Mutually Assured Destruction” sounds so quaint in 2012, doesn’t it? The reality is, worldwide, there are still 23,574 nuclear weapons (as of 2009). Russia has 12,987 of them, the USA 9,552, along with a few hundred each in France, Israel, the United Kingdom and China, a hundred each in Pakistan and India and, a couple in North Korea. The biggest source for the plutonium required is…nuclear power plants. The US currently holds 400 metric tonnes of highly-enriched uranium. It’s completely amazing one of these aggressors hasn’t blown the world to kingdom come. We’re always on the edge of MAD but no country has the courage to just say no.
I don’t often quote Presidents, let alone Presidents who were decorated military generals, but here’s the truth:
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.
— Former U.S. President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, in a speech on April 16, 1953
Even though Americans think they’re the centre of the universe, outliers may not know the symbol for Obama’s Democrats is a donkey and for the opposition Republicans an elephant. War presidents always get reelected so no doubt Yanks will have four more years of Obama. It’s a shallow (gene) pool, folks.
Obama’s new slogan is based on the Dems’ mascot: “Kiss my ass!” (Like, whoever heard of “Kiss my pachyderm”!?!)
For one more election, Americans are being hoodwinked again into thinking their vote means anything. They all think that voting equals democracy.
The US drained the world and left a ring around the tub with its plan for globalisation for ‘free trade’. Only the fatcats benefit. The rest of us just end up paying more.
2012 is going to be a hot year in the US. The G8 and NATO are planned to hold twin summits in Chicago in May. The world’s military and political elites, heads of state, 7,500 officials from 80 nations…and more than 2,500 journalists have been invited. Chicago has nice weather in the spring—this is going to make Occupy look like a church camp. However, if anti-globalisation, antiwar activists think this will signal an ‘American Spring’, they should ponder how badly the so-called Arab Spring ended in nearly every country.
Latest news is the G8 Summit is being moved to the ultra-secure, presidential facility, Camp David in Maryland on invitation of President Obama. The whole world is not watching. Rather than demonstrate to world leaders an America founded on its freedom to protest (and, of course, to be beaten and jailed), Obama is showing government’s power and control over its citizens. In fact, POTUS just signed not only the Trespass Act but an executive order which does not need to be ratified by Congress to crack down hard on protesters. What Constitution?
Two political conventions are planned, the Republicans in Tampa in August and the Democrats in Charlotte in September before the Presidential election on November 6. Does anybody else remember the police riot outside Chicago’s 1968 Dem Convention at the height of America’s war on Vietnam when the Yippies nominated a pig for president? Will Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, who resigned directly from Obama’s White House, follow Democratic boss mayor Daley in putting down demonstrators with violence?
Will this be the final straw to break out the PATRIOT Act and NDAA, for FEMA to herd Americans into military concentration camps for indefinite detention without trial?
As much as the whole world desperately wants to believe in the American dream, the US government’s abject support for the dying corporate copyright industry is yet another nail in America’s coffin. SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA are its death rattles, expressed in acronyms. How shallow is that…
American anarchist Emma Goldman got it right for every country: “IF VOTING COULD CHANGE ANYTHING, IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL!” 1,788 dissatisfied Americans renounced their US citizenship in 2011, the highest number since government started keeping records in 1997: doesn’t that say something to you? No shame in voting with your feet.
How did America fall from being humanity’s moral compass to world bully, from economic powerhouse to world’s biggest debtor nation, with many government assets held by foreign governments such as China in the form of government bonds? When did America stop caring about the rest of the world and then its own citizens?
It may seem too simplistic and convenient to pin a date on the decline of America the world’s leader. However, I think that date is the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and the hydrogen bombing of Nagasaki on August 9. The US government proved itself willing to succumb to the most heinous of war crimes for human radiation experiments. Dropping the bombs certainly equalled the inhuman Nazi crimes of Josef Mengele at Buchenwald in intent—‘the others’ are expendable.
The British Empire suffered its first defeat at the hands of American revolutionaries in 1776; American designs on empire suffered their first defeat almost precisely 200 years later by Vietnamese revolutionaries in 1975.
There was, of course, always a solution to the demise of America the beautiful staring us in the face. But no US leader was brave enough to end military funding and withdraw all US military personnel from overseas so Americans would have enough. The Presidency just went from drone to clone.
Now the rest of the world simply cannot afford America anymore. The USA’s greed for power and money and war made us blind to the fact that we pretty much invented freedom. And then we killed it. We bet on a dead horse. We became Ouroboros, the dragon which was so hungry that it finally ate itself. America is just too broke to fix.
Contemplate, however, what the United States could have accomplished if its considerable resources, an unbeaten and creative populace among them, had been directed toward good rather than evil. We could have fixed the world. We could have built a world without poverty for anyone, education for all children, an end to all diseases. I think we’d all better listen again to John Lennon’s Imagine…and waterboard politicians into listening, too.
Freedom Against Censorship Thailand (FACT)