Sunday, October 3, 2010

Finger On Trigger (Not the Public Pulse) Obie Argues His Assassination Program Is A "State Secret" & CNN Fires Cuban (Tweet A Twit?) US = Police State

(The best part of South Carolina: The Grand Strand!) All thanks to the gracious guru at The Big Picture. Now this is creative! (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

Top 10 Ideas for Goldman Sachs New Ad Campaign

Barry Ritholtz September 30, 2010

It's been a challenging few years for Goldman Sachs. The financial collapse, the bailouts, the SEC case. That damned Matt Taibbi refuses to go away (what the hell is a Vampire Squid, anyway?).

Their latest plan: A PR campaign designed to show the softer side of Goldman, letting the public know what they really do (is that Buffett’s fingerprints we see on this idea?).

As soon as Dealbook reported the plan, we just knew had to help Goldie with such a noble undertaking. So we asked readers to contribute ideas [1], and soon 100s of suggestions [2] came pouring forth for the new GS ad campaign. These included ad slogans and tag lines, lots of variations of existing campaigns, quotes from movies (especially the Godfather). Oh, and the word Fuck. Lots and lots of uses of the word fuck.

We culled down the entries to a Top 10 list:

10 - Under Buffett’s protection since 2008 9 - Putting the zero in zero-sum game. 8 - Government Bailout: $29 billion; SEC Settlement: $550 million; Doing God’s work? Priceless. 7 - Helping you forget about Bernie Madoff one CDO at a time 6 - Goldman Sachs: America’s Counterparty 5 - Let us do for you what we did for Greece. 4 - Like we give a fuck what you think about us . . . 3 - Goldman Sachs: There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s JPMorgan. 2 - The Rothschilds were Pussies

And the number 1 advertising slogan for the new Goldman Sachs ad campaign:

1 - We put the douche in fiduciary Runners up and Honorable Mentions here [3]


Russ Baker has his finger on the pulse of the electorate (hardly beating?).

So, again, what’s going on here? Why are so many people inclined to either inaction or to support for positions that are at odds with their own interests? The answer, in all probability, is what it always is — a very clever effort, funded by exactly those few who stand to gain — to confuse, distract, discourage and disenfranchise the majority so it ends up giving away an opportunity to fix its own state of affairs.

One doesn’t need to be for progressive taxes; one can be rich or poor, Democratic or Republican, whatever, and still see that something doesn’t add up. Just as it didn’t add up that many people with no or limited or inferior health coverage were convinced that having more comprehensive insurance was somehow going to harm them. It’s not just about a lack of faith in government, about waste and bloat, all the usual suspects. There’s more to this story.

Learn what it is by clicking the pulse link above.

Owen Paine (Tom's nephew) from Stop Me Before I Vote Again! tells us gently that he is just (emphasis marks added - Ed.):

Loving the scraps fluttering out from Woodward's book on Ohbummer and the frontier war in the 'Stans. From what I can gather, despite great twists and anguish, the POTUS determined last year there can be no exit from empire.

That, in the end, is the message of every one of these dramas stretching back to Korea in the winter of '51.

Reading about the Emperor Barry and his evil dwarf minions grappling with Uncle's toy generals as they ponder and scuffle over the future course in the Afpak - well, damn it all, what great sport the Great Game is.

Is the Woodward account to be swallowed whole, just as cooked and presented? Why not? Surely we can be allowed this suspension of the critical-ideological faculty. As Monsignor Smiff might opine, none of us was invited to the meetings; Woodward is about as good as we're going to get.

Oh, I just love stuff like this. Blow by blow! Clever midget in agon with lumbering gold braid splashed oaf, whilst the hooded brow and deep penetrating gaze of our mocha Odin, the Unitary Prez, monitors it all, by turns petting, herding, culling, cuffing....

Missiles of October, maybe, it ain't, and as with all dramas in this ironic-mode age(*), all the parts are played by frogs and mice. Makes me wistful for the circles around the Generalissimo and Franklin. Ah, those guys, now they was giants!


"Send a twit a tweet"

Talk about glib! Well, all righty then!

Did you hear the latest? Try to untangle these tiny little strings of ill will. I, personally, cannot believe that that fraud Kathleen Parker is being given another MSM perch from which to spread her smug nastiness, but a Cuban calling the Jews entitled? Has he been in Miami lately?

CNN fired news anchor Rick Sanchez on Friday, a day after he called Jon Stewart a bigot in a radio show interview where he also questioned whether Jews should be considered a minority.

Sanchez, who was born in Cuba and had worked at CNN since 2004, was host of the two-hour "Rick's List" on CNN's afternoon lineup. He did a prime-time version of that show in recent months, but that ended this week because the time slot is being filled by a new show featuring former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and columnist Kathleen Parker.

Stewart had frequently poked fun of Sanchez on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," most recently for saying on the air that his show had received a tweet from House Republican leader John Boehner. Stewart called it a case of "send a twit a tweet."

"He's upset that someone of my ilk is almost at his level," Sanchez said during a satellite radio interview with Pete Dominick. Details of the interview were postedon the Mediaite website Friday and quickly became a topic of conversation in the media world.

Sanchez said that Stewart is bigoted toward "everybody else that's not like him." He said Stewart "can't relate to what I grew up with," saying his family had been poor and he had seen prejudice directed at his father. Sanchez dismisses it when Dominick points out that Stewart, who is Jewish, is also a minority. "I'm telling you that everyone who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they, the people in this country who are Jewish, are an oppressed minority?" Sanchez said, adding a sarcastic "yeah."

"I can't see someone not getting a job these days because they're Jewish," he said. CNN issued a statement late Friday that said Sanchez "is no longer with the company." In it, the network also thanked Sanchez "for his years of service" and wished him well.

Sanchez did not immediately return an e-mail or call to his mobile phone seeking comment, though it was unclear whether the CNN-issued phone or e-mail address were still active. Stewart had no comment on Sanchez's statements, a ComedyCentral spokesman said.

"Secret?" From whom?

Surely he jests! Our GlennZilla unwinds the torturous road to empire (emphasis marks added - Ed.).

Obama Argues His Assassination Program Is A "State Secret"

Glenn Greenwald At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's fatherasking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration late last night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims.

That's not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what's most notablehere is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate their legality.

A very intense case of food poisoning in New York on Thursday, combined with my traveling home all night last night, prevents me from writing much about this until tomorrow (and it's what rendered the blog uncharacteristically silent for the last two days). But I would hope that nobody needs me or anyone else to explain why this assertion of power is so pernicious - at least as pernicious as any power asserted during the Bush/Cheney years. If the President has the power to order American citizens killed with no due process, and to do so in such complete secrecy that no courts can even review his decisions, then what doesn't he have the power to do? Just for the moment, I'll note that The New York Times' Charlie Savage, two weeks ago, wrote about the possibility that Obama might raise this argument, and quoted the far-right, Bush-supporting, executive-power-revering lawyer David Rivkin as follows:

The government's increasing use of the state secrets doctrine to shield its actions from judicial review has been contentious. Some officials have argued that invoking it in the Awlaki matter, about which so much is already public, would risk a backlash. David Rivkin, a lawyer in the White House of President George H. W. Bush, echoed that concern.

"I'm a huge fan of executive power, but if someone came up to you and said the government wants to target you and you can't even talk about it in court to try to stop it, that’s too harsh even for me," he said.

Having debated him before, I genuinely didn't think it was possible for any President to concoct an assertion of executive power and secrecy that would be excessive and alarming to David Rivkin, but Barack Obama managed to do that, too. Obama's now asserting a power so radical - the right to kill American citizens and do so in total secrecy, beyond even the reach of the courts - that it's "too harsh even for" one of the most far-right War on Terror cheerleading-lawyers in the nation. But that power is certainly not "too harsh" for the kind-hearted Constitutional Scholar we elected as President, nor for his hordes of all-justifying supporters soon to place themselves to the right of David Rivkin as they explain why this is all perfectly justified. One other thing, as always: vote Democrat, because the Republicans are scary!

* * * * * The same Post article quotes a DOJ spokesman as saying that Awlaki "should surrender to American authorities and return to the United States, where he will be held accountable for his actions." But he's not been charged with any crimes, let alone indicted for any. The President has been trying to kill him for the entire year without any ofthat due process. And now the President refuses even to account to an American court for those efforts to kill this American citizen on the ground that the President's unilateral imposition of the death penalty is a "state secret." And, indeed, American courts - at Obama's urging - have been upholding that sort of a "state secrecy" claim even when it comes to war crimes such as torture and rendition. Does that sound like a political system to which any sane, rational person would "surrender"?

Marcy Wheeler has more on other aspects of the DOJ's arguments. . . .

UPDATE: As a reminder: Obama supporters who are dutifully insisting that the President not only has the right to order American citizens killed without due process, but to do so in total secrecy, on the ground that Awlaki is a Terrorist and Traitor, are embracing those accusations without having the slightest idea whether they're actually true. All they know is that Obama has issued these accusations, which is good enough for them.

That's the authoritarian mind, by definition: if the Leader accuses a fellow citizen of something, then it's true - no trial or any due process at all is needed and there is no need even for judicial review before the decreed sentence is meted out, even when the sentence is death.

For those reciting the "Awlaki-is-a-traitor" mantra, there's also the apparently irrelevant matter that Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution (the document which these same Obama supporters pretended to care about during the Bush years) provides that "No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court."

Treason is a crime that the Constitution specifically requires be proven with due process in court, not by unilateral presidential decree. And that's to say nothing of the fact that the same document - the Constitution - expressly forbids the deprivation of life "without due process of law." This one sentence from the Post article nicely summarizes the state of Obama's civil liberties record:

The Obama administration has cited the state-secrets argument in at least three cases since taking office - in defense of Bush-era warrantless wiretapping, surveillance of an Islamic charity, and the torture and rendition of CIA prisoners.

And now, in this case, Obama uses this secrecy and immunity weapon not to shield Bush lawlessness from judicial review, but his own.

PCR (Paul Craig Roberts) thinks he knows the official state of the US now. At times like these, I always have to step back from the printed page (or computer screen) and ask, how much did he worry about any of this when he worked so hard to help Rayguns pass the initial tax cut packages benefitting almost entirely the wealthy - like himself (and then watch what the Oliver North-types did with the public's tax money (and the drug smuggling trade) in funding the nefarious CIA activities in Central and South America)? Or has this always been mainly personal?

Just askin'! And do you think it's possible that all the new (incredibly spurious) evidence of communications from Osama bin Laden are leading up to something much more ominous? (Emphasis marks added - Ed.)

It Is Official: The US Is A Police State

On September 24, Jason Ditz reported on that “the FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of raids against the homes of antiwar activists in Illinois, Minneapolis, Michigan, and North Carolina, claiming that they are ‘seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.’ ”

Now we know what Homeland Security (sic) secretary Janet Napolitano meant when she said on September 10: “The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that - the old view.” The new view, Napolitano said, is “to counter violent extremism right here at home.” “Violent extremism” is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning’s FBI’s foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience, it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with “the material support of terrorism,” just as conservatives equated Vietnam era anti-war protesters with giving material support to communism. Anti-war activist Mick Kelly whose home was raided, sees the FBI raids as harassment to intimidate those who organize war protests.

I wonder if Kelly is under-estimating the threat. The FBI’s own words clearly indicate that the federal police agency and the judges who signed the warrants do not regard antiwar protesters as Americans exercising their Constitutional rights, but as unpatriotic elements offering material support to terrorism.

“Material support” is another of those undefined police state terms. In this context the term means that Americans who fail to believe their government’s lies and instead protest its policies, are supporting their government’s declared enemies and, thus, are not exercising their civil liberties but committing treason. As this initial FBI foray is a softening up move to get the public accustomed to the idea that the real terrorists are their fellow citizens here at home, Kelly will get off this time. But next time the FBI will find emails on his computer from a “terrorist group” set up by the CIA that will incriminate him.

Under the practices put in place by the Bush and Obama regimes, and approved by corrupt federal judges, protesters who have been compromised by fake terrorist groups can be declared “enemy combatants” and sent off to Egypt, Poland, or some other corrupt American puppet state - Canada perhaps - to be tortured until confession is forthcoming that antiwar protesters and, indeed, every critic of the US government, are on Osama bin Laden’s payroll.

Almost every Republican and conservative and, indeed, the majority of Americans will fall for this, only to find, later, that it is subversive to complain that their Social Security was cut in the interest of the war against Iran or some other demonized entity, or that they couldn’t have a Medicare operation because the wars in Central Asia and South America required the money. Americans are the most gullible people who ever existed. They tend to support the government instead of the Constitution, and almost every Republican and conservative regards civil liberty as a coddling device that encourages criminals and terrorists. The US media, highly concentrated in violation of the American principle of a diverse and independent media, will lend its support to the witch hunts that will close down all protests and independent thought in the US over the next few years.

As the Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels said, “think of the press as a great keyboard on which the Government can play.” An American Police State was inevitable once Americans let “their” government get away with 9/11. Americans are too gullible, too uneducated, and too jingoistic to remain a free people.

As another Nazi leader Herman Goering said, “ The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger.”

This is precisely what the Bush and Obama regimes have done. America, as people of my generation knew it, no longer exists.

Read the essay for yourself.

Suzan _________________


Beach Bum said...

It's too bad, sort of liked Sanchez at one time. He could have been a very effective journalist but I remember seeing him get sloppy and after that I stopped watching.

I'll give Roberts some credit because of several recent things I have read of his. He seems to understand how much the country has gone to shit. One piece of his read very much like my Second American Civil War stories which I wrote on a whim. Now that was chilling, no scary.

Suzan said...

I agree, Beach.

And, I only mention PCR's past because in this time of shadowy connections and false hope available on every corner, it's tough from my standpoint to always know who is who.

And that is scary.

Thanks for the comment!