SYRIA – JUST SAY NO

Aquarian Weekly
9/4/13
REALITY CHECK

James Campion

 

SYRIA – JUST SAY NO

                                                 Keep on chooglin’.
                                                         – John Fogarty

This is a nation of war junkies. I’m a junky, you’re a junky. We cannot get enough. There isn’t a skirmish, civil war, revolution or upheaval that we can’t comment on, Syriainvestigate, monitor or butt into. It is amazing. Since World War II, arguably the only war this nation has involved itself in that remotely hinted at national security or moral imperative, we have stumble-bummed our way around this globe to horrific results.

Now here comes the nightmare of Syria.

In no way, shape or form should we bother to even nod at this atrocity. It is classic Eighth century madness perpetuated by 21st century weapons. It is a firestorm. It is a quagmire. Most pressingly, it has no direct correlation to the running or defense of this nation. It will end in disaster and huge debt; none of which we can afford after 12 years of this miserable shit.

So, of course, we’re seriously discussing diving right in.

It is important to point out that despite begging the first of our fabulous warring Bushes to not sink us in the Kuwait tomfoolery; this space supported a second move on Iraq in 2003. Never in my most cynical, hell-addled imagination did I think we could fuck that up so spectacularly. I lived through it and reported on it and I still find it hard to believe what an incredible stank fest that thing became, and this was facing a fractured military force which had surrendered to CNN camera man a decade earlier.

Believe me when I write this; Syria is another animal entirely. This is not a good idea now, and never was. Even the humanitarian-chemical weapon excuse our government is pitching is weak when compared to the consequences. We get directly involved in this shit storm and there is a whole bunch of crap to pay.

Believe me when I write this; Syria is another animal entirely. This is not a good idea now, and never was. Even the humanitarian-chemical weapon excuse our government is pitching is weak when compared to the consequences.

Let the Russians deal with this. Syria is their bitch, their oil supply. We handle ours, Saudi Arabia, the right way. We forgive their human rights atrocities, their terrorist activities and toss them tons of money. We bow to their leaders on the tarmac and sell them huge chunks of our major cities. This is how it is done. But Russia is a broke anachronistic lump of atrophied machismo, whose leader is a foul wretch comically under the delusion he still matters. It is sad, but it is their sadness, not ours. We have our own broken Middle East junk; and that’s on the $$$ docket for many generations.

So we need to go cold turkey, turn away from the pure, deadly stuff before it gets on top of us for good and we end up like a bloated Elvis, slumped off his toilet and face down in the shag rug.

Consider this an intervention.

Was Viet Nam not enough of a near-death ride?

Sometimes it’s a party and then it’s that one time – a lethal speedball with John Belushi in a steamy cabin at the Chateau Marmont.

Syria is our speedball.

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EQYPT: DEMOCRACY, RELIGION & THE GREAT DIVIDE

Aquarian Weekly
7/24/13
REALITY CHECK

James Campion

EQYPT: DEMOCRACY, RELIGION & THE GREAT DIVIDE

Author’s Note: It is imperative that one comes to the following with the jaundiced view shared by this space that in no way do we think there was, is and will be anything truly binding to this fourth or fifth Arab Spring in Egypt. Mostly, these people are nuts. This is no way to run a democracy; incessant revolution is bad for commerce, tourism and general stability, and if history has taught us anything – and that concept only works if you know anything about past events that almost always effect current ones – then Egypt may well go the way of 19th century France or 20th century Russia. It was difficult for anyone to fathom the volatile nature of those places and the volumes of gibberish it produced from people who lived through it, much less those with the clarity of hindsight. Let’s just say if the entire place isn’t burned to the ground by late-October it is a victory for the human race. Now carry on…egypt

The current chaos that is Egypt provides juicy insight into how a 21st century Middle East democracy can run; either as an extension of the fourth century tribal councils that dominate a fair portion of the region or some semblance of a secular law-based structure which might serve as example and catalyst to the world stage.

Granted, the former has had a tremendous head start. Tribal councils are pretty straightforward and have little room for messy things like debate, dissent, diversity, human rights or, god-forbid, voting. Hard-line is easy; it’s the way things have been done and the guys in charge use mystical reams of holy rhetoric and violence to keep the occasional “How about we try…” set in line. Democracy, with its handing over major decisions on ideological concerns to the greater populace, is dangerous for any culture; even those not mired in the whole pre-enlightenment milieu.

Unlike Israel, which had partial democracy heaped upon it by world war, genocide, colonialism and the inevitable march of progress, Egypt has exhibited an insularly deliberate crawl into the values of individual freedoms. The Egyptian model is unique. It comes – with all due respect to the piles of money it receives to make nice-nice with super powers – from an internal will to balance its religious traditions with its yearning to grant a voice to all its people.

However, unlike Israel, the echo of puppet regimes and violent upheavals surrounding its boarders has given the nation pause. There has never been a sense that Islam is without its influence in Egypt. On the contrary, it lives and breathes within its tenuous democratic construct in a far more powerful way than the nationalistic fervor of the Zionists. One does not get the sense that the bankrolled democracy of Israel is flexible in the way it perceives its sovereignty or its separation from its enemies, which is every bordering state.

Egypt is bipolar; even in its geographical location – the cultural origins of Africa mired in Middle Eastern turmoil; loaded with oil and little else, save for a tourism trade slowly eroded over the years with a growing western sense that its potential dangers outweigh its seductive landscape.

Its generational gap is growing, and with it an embrace of the type of technologies which obliterate superstitions that oppress women, art, press, and general free expression. As in all nations teetering on social revolution, the world’s alternative visions wash over Egyptian youth with reckless abandon. And unlike the outrage aimed at western ideals and culture prevalent in the 1979 Iranian revolution, Egyptian youth do not appear to be sated by returning to the purity of the past.

This begs the question; can Egypt truly be a model for the rest of the region’s view of democracy; a far more organic and sane template than the war-ravaged, westernized abomination in Iraq formulated by aging, white, Anglo-Saxon Cold War relics at the barrel of a gun.

The Egyptian people, made up of some Christians, but mostly Muslims, and within the Islamic faith, the Salifis, Sunnis,Sufis, have not yet found a common ground democratically. The question for them, as it was in the first Arab Spring over two and a half years ago, is to choose a religious-based society run by a religious-based government or one democratic secular state that respects all sects and faiths and moves the evolution of free thinking forward. This was, allegedly, the nation’s aim when booting its previously democratically elected president, Hosni Mubarak in favor of a new order, dissolved parliament and restructured constitution.

However, after a military “handling” of a special election, the Salifi-led Muslim Brotherhood movement took the reins of the fractured parliament with less than 50 percent of the national will and then propped its new president (receiving barely 51 percent of the vote), Mohammad Mosi into power. Mosi and the Muslim Brotherhood, wholly unpopular among the rankled 49 percent from day-one, began to run things as if they had been handed one of those tribal council type deals and this was not going to fly with a country still stinging from the street protests that captured the world enough for the military to act in ousting Mubatrak in the first place.

Egypt is suddenly faced with a singular religious dilemma in its burgeoning if not slightly off-kilter democracy. The Mosi/Muslim Brotherhood “experiment” was a bust. The near-majority of the nation now roundly rejects the running of things by order of the Qu’ran, including state-sanctioned crimes against non-Salifi citizens. But what is the choice? To fully separate a deeply-held religious base from the public sector; respect its moral and traditional tenets, but keep it where it belongs in mosques and homes and not in the building of roads, delivering of mail or especially the law of the land. Or give up.

This begs the question; can Egypt truly be a model for the rest of the region’s view of democracy; a far more organic and sane template than the war-ravaged, westernized abomination in Iraq formulated by aging, white, Anglo-Saxon Cold War relics at the barrel of a gun.

It is, unfortunately, the barrel of the gun that rules the near complete anarchy that has exploded on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and many cities across Egypt now that the military has once again taken charge; failing to give into semantics that the country has suffered its second military coup in two years and faces sanctions from its benefactors, including a scrambling U.S. that appears it will continue to send its $1.6 billion of “aid” to its tenuous ally if an exhumed mummy ran the place.

Although half the country losing an election, throwing a hissy fit and forcing the army to take over the government does not a democracy make, this could well be Egypt’s chance to stand up for the human condition in a region ravaged by civil rights atrocities and religious madness. It is a chance, as rare as they come, to shift the course of history and find a legitimate, internal, democratic form of government which represents the whole of the people against the myths of religion and tyrannical traditions that conspire to strangle liberty.

Author Postscript: Not likely.

Do yourself no favors and “like” this idiot at www.facebook.com/jc.author

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GRAPEFRUIT CIRCUS BLOWS THROUGH TOWN

Aquarian Weekly
7/17/13
REALITY CHECK

James Campion

GRAPEFRUIT CIRCUS BLOWS THROUGH TOWN
Florida’s Reality Show Kangaroo Trial Achieves Maximum Effect

A spectacular bevy of ridiculous bullshit has gone down in the now-approaching seventeen years I’ve penned this column. I have been forced to write about more than a few of them – the last one being the whole Donald Trump pay-attention-to-me-I-have-money-and-a-tv-show-otherwise-I’m-the-guy-you-try-and-avoid-while-getting-on-the-subway-screaming-that-aliens-have-lodged-a-brain-washing-device-in-my-rectum media blitz. Normally I think everything is entertaining; mostly kids falling down wells or dogs dragging seniors from burning buildings or wells, but rarely is any of it news. But this whole George Zimmerman trial has to be news, right? It is on television all the time; and I mean ALL the time. It’s like the Olympics without all the talented shut-ins on steroids.zim_2

So, let’s see, we’ve already covered the outcome of this on the 28th of March, 2012 in a rather spiteful piece called LOOK AWAY DIXIE LAND on how embarrassingly terrible the South always seems to be when things like this “happen” – what with all their silly laws that allow people to shoot other people for “feeling threatened”. By the way, that is the law; this Stand Your Ground thing, which is so off the charts goofy it deserves to unearth the level of crap we have endured now for well over a year and in our faces for the past weeks.

Way back when, before Al Sharpton got involved, this was not self-defense or race profiling or gun control or even, (gulp!) politics, whether Floridian or national. This was and still is about a law that allows a man to kill another man at his discretion.

Outside of the poor souls that live in Florida, no one should give a shit about their laws anyway, unless they want to challenge that law as unconstitutional, which it may or may not be. Let’s face it; killing people on a whim was very popular in 1788, when the thing was ratified. Dueling was all the rage then, until it reached national status – kind of like a Zimmerman Trail circa 1804, sans cameras, lawyer-experts or HLN. When Aaron Burr, the sitting vice president, shot to death a founding father of the nation and a recent secretary of state because Aaron Burr was pissed about being framed as “voluptuary in the extreme”, only then did the whole dueling craze pass into oblivion.

For the record, the word “voluptuary” (the kind of accusation people understood as reasonable cause to be blasted in the chest with steaming hot lead at twenty paces) was a nineteenth century slight intimating that a person of repute was far more interested in money and sex than high-minded human endeavors, which is now considered high compliment among rappers, professional athletes, bishops and 83 percent of congress.

But, I digress, as is my wont here when procrastination beats actually putting into words that George Zimmerman was completely within his rights under Florida law to shoot a kid – a kid, mind you, armed with nothing but Skittles – in the heart at point-blank range, simply because he was getting his ass kicked.

And that’s the nut for me; Zimmerman is innocent of whatever happened in Florida, where killing is a way of life, like orange picking and dying in a retirement home, but he’s still a pussy.

Jesus, man. Do you have any idea how many ass-kickings I’ve received? And many of them have not been solicited; the way Zimmerman apparently felt the need to do. I hardly had to be chased down to get my beatings. In fact, it was mostly the other way around. And for the record, if I were being chased by that asshole, you can bet if he caught up to me, I would not be hanging around asking what it is he might think in his muddled I-need-to-be-important psyche. I might go at him like a wild banshee and sort out the consequences later.

For poor, young, black Trayvon Martin, the consequence was death.

In the end, whether South or North, this is the model of how we handle things in this country – a little show piece and then back to the business of bullshit. It is a rare delight, however, to have our steaming pile paraded the way it has in this “trail” hour after miserable hour and day after miserable day to help us fully understand how truly brutal the human condition can be.

And, by the way, I am not saying race was not a factor. Of course it was. Everyone admits the crimes in the area Zimmerman was patrolling were being committed by mostly, if not all, people of color. And by “patrolling”, I mean running around acting like he was some kind of de facto authority with his CB-radio and his gun and his little pick-up truck, trying to act like Chuck Norris or some other middle-aged goofy white guy the television culture has elevated to the level of folk hero.

The black kid running with the hoodie and the macho talk about “creepy looking crackers” and Zimmerman, in hot pursuit, intoning about “fucking punks always getting away with it” all plays a part. But the most pertinent is a man and a boy (male testosterone on heavy display) doing everything in their power to provoke, instigate, grandstand and put themselves into a position where violence ensued.

It’s pretty much a stark metaphor for human civilization and not so much a far cry from Burr’s fatal shooting of Hamilton all those years ago, and everything in between.

And here is where we get to why any of this got to trial in the first place, and why it has been rolled out like a reality show. The state of Florida wants this to go down with some kind of ancillary nod towards decorum. You can’t have all these shootings go on without someone getting their dander up. Throw them this dog & pony show for a few weeks, allow some cameras and commentators in, and then when the guy walks, and there are few riots here or there – one can only hope – then it’s back to business and nothing changes.

This is how it goes in the South: “Lynchings? Oh, they’re horrible, but a legal and perfectly honorable way to make sure black men don’t, you know, look in the general direction of a white woman or dare to take a sip out of a fountain marked for whites, or, apparently, walk down the street with some candy and soda. Sorry, it’s the law, have a nice day.”

In the end, whether South or North, this is the model of how we handle things in this country – a little show piece and then back to the business of bullshit. It is a rare delight, however, to have our steaming pile paraded the way it has in this “trail” hour after miserable hour and day after miserable day to help us fully understand how truly brutal the human condition can be.

What should happen is someone should sue the state and drag Jeb Bush – goddamn it if only George Senior had kept the thing in his pants, we might have avoided some serious crap these past decades – into court and pound him incessantly for signing such an unconscionably asinine bill into law.

The villain here is Florida and Bush and whatever local yahoos cobbled these suggestions of free-wheel killing on a “feel” to “feel” basis.

George Zimmerman is not the problem. He is the proverbial pimple on the monstrous ass of this lunacy. He is a lesion on the rotting husk of a dying man. He is mucus. He is pus. He’s our chubby symptom.

Oh, and as a postscript to this madness; over 70 people were murdered by gun violence over the holiday weekend in Chicago, Illinois.

When is Al Sharpton heading up there?

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EVERYTHING IS DISEASE

Aquarian Weekly
6/26/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

EVERYTHING IS DISEASE

Disease – a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.
– Webster Dictionary

The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease, a move that could induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments.
– NY Times June 18, 2013

The fancy bureaucratic body that brought you “bully awareness” in the summer of 2002, covered adroitly if not with snot-nosed assery in this space in the 6/26/02 Reality Check under the headline IN DEFENSE OF THE AMERICAN BULLY, now opens the floodgates to a juicy pile of human frailties with its “Obesity is a Disease” offering. And if you failed to notice the little nugget attached to the lead in this week’s NY Times piece about spurring more insurers to “pay for treatments”, then it gets even better for us all.

First things first; it is official that everything is now a disease and therefore must be treated as so.kid

I am vertically challenged.

Disease.

I am also a jerk.

Disease.

I cannot wait for my next annual physical. My doctor already thinks I’m insane. He’s going to love this one.

“How are you feeling, James?”

“Short.”

“Ha! Funny.”

“Discrimination!”

“What?”

“The person who came in before me was a load and I’m short; so what’s the difference?”

“There are no health concerns for being short.”

“Really? You should have seen the beatings I took in schoolyards. Also, I repeatedly wrench my back trying to reach high shelves. Not to mention the agony I’ve suffered searching for a decent-fitting tweed jacket.”

“This is not funny, what is actually wrong with you?”

“I’m also a jerk.”

“This is true, but it is not a disease.”

“Tell that to my wife.”

And believe me, I shall be taking these matters up with my insurance company, and just to stick the social knife in and twist it, I’m going to get a national insurer under the Affordable Care Act and you can pay for my being a jerk, which, in an existential sense, makes me an even greater jerk in need of serious attention.

Faith is now also a disease.

Believing in the existence of something with no immutable evidence is a serious disease. Now some would say this falls under the heading of insanity, but I ask; whose sicker, the corpulent or those who put the balance of their health and well-being on wild supernatural notions?

You know how many faiths there are and how much money these things bring in? There is a whole slew of the diseased out there just waiting to be treated. Soon there will be a pill for this; “Here, take two of these and by morning you’ll come to the conclusion that your entire belief system is childish and sad and you will then either turn into a jerk, which is something we also have a pill for, or live out your life not basing your view of reality on fairy tales.”

Now this is progress and evolution. The AMA has a point and I’m on board.

And is fat like obese, as in “I’m feeling fat today”? Is it “I’m feeling diseased today”? Or “Man, I should not have eaten that street burrito at two am after fifteen beers” diseased? Or the “Entire Midwest region of the continental United States” diseased? Or “80 percent of the Pittsburgh Steelers tailgaters” disease?

The only problem is it threatens the Gay Rehabilitation racket, especially now that everything is a disease – eye color, skin color, hair style, dialect, sexual orientation. Even Alan Chambers, whose unbelievably brilliant money-printing con-job Exodus International (another in the endless line of diseased faiths) had to close the largest gay rehabilitation centers going. Chambers, a self-loathing gay man whose wish was that everyone end up like him and shut off their identity under the guise of shame, guilt and that faith thing again to get “straight”, sees the writing on the wall: This is the AMA’s problem now.

Chambers recently addressed a gathering of the diseased faithful and said for the past 37 years this whole “you can pray the gay away” sham was hurtful and wrong and some other thing he thinks is either getting him into heaven or keeping him out of jail. Couldn’t be sure, since most of it was in tongues, but, suffice to say, there really isn’t any point in trying to change gays as there isn’t in changing caucasians or people who are really good at playing the piano. These people are simply diseased.

Not sure how far we can go with sexual proclivity here, it has many possibilities that go far beyond things like “sex-addict”, which has all the scientific probability in humans as say alcoholism or gambling addiction or drug addiction, all of which, beyond mere genetics like in a preponderance of cases with obesity or sexual orientation, height, race or whatever else we’re passing around with all the sex, are apparently diseases.

And should we get in on the whole “what and who decides what makes someone obese” discussion? Does the line shift, like how much alcohol in the blood stream is legal? Or how much sugar should be in drinks? Or what plant you can smoke and which one you can’t? Or how fast you can go on certain roads?

And is fat like obese, as in “I’m feeling fat today”? Is it “I’m feeling diseased today”? Or “Man, I should not have eaten that street burrito at two am after fifteen beers” diseased? Or the “Entire Midwest region of the continental United States” diseased? Or “80 percent of the Pittsburgh Steelers tailgaters” disease?

And where does stupid fall in all this? Can we get a little love for the stupid? There is so many of us out here. We have talk shows and run for congress and dupe the faithful and develop TV series that exploit the stupid and run customer service for Expedia and work the counters at Guitar Center and build condos in flood zones and get high ranking jobs with the NSA and consider Chris Bosh, who scored zero points in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, part of some imaginary Big Three or root for the NY Jets or play the lottery or continue to teach our children that Columbus discovered America.

But most importantly, should there be a Jerk Council now? Can we get some funding on developing a cure, maybe call it Jerk-Off? Something catchy like that.

Just trying to help.

Which is also a disease.

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EDWARD J. SNOWDEN & GLENN GREENWALD: HACKING INTO HYPOCRISY

Aquarian Weekly
6/19/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

EDWARD J. SNOWDEN & GLENN GREENWALD: HACKING INTO HYPOCRISY?

If there is one thing that this space has tried to illustrate for the past 16 years is that hypocrites are not the exclusive property of ideological or political affiliation. In the past weeks, as we have been inundated by a phalanx of stories depicting with grand detail one fuck up after the other from the current administration, which whisked into Washington five years ago on a transparent change in government delusion, here come hordes of congressman like Rand Paul (threatening to take the NSA to the Supreme Court after he dismissed the same body as meaningless following the landmark Affordable Care Act ruling) and senators like Lindsey Graham (supporting the government’s spying on citizens’ phone and e-mail records while arguing that gun background checks are an invasion of privacy). It is a wonder you vote.
snowden
I have never seriously voted. Mostly, I backed candidates with no chance to win as a protest against two representatives from massive corporate-backed political parties offering nothing approaching an original thought or concept. Then my mortal enemy, Al Gore decided he needed to be president, so I all-but worked with the Bush campaign to smear his sorry ass back to Tennessee only to watch the dumb-struck asshole who bested him make a mockery of governance for eight long years. Then I decided to vote for Barack Obama, as a member of my own generation in protest against the annoyingly overrated Boomer dipshits who preceded him, only to be once again stuck with another lost idiot acting as if he just woke up and someone told him he was president.

But my voting record and vast disappointment with politics aside, there never appears to be anyone truly minding the store, so it’s back to figuring out exactly how the shit-house will go down this time.

This week the latest in a long line of computer geeks given access to a spectacularly massive cadre of sensitive national security files, Edward J. Snowden has clearly represented why neither political party will ever have the answers needed to quell the rapacious need for the American people to appear free while feeling safe, or other such fairy tales.

Okay, so you would have to be completely in the tank for the sorry butt end of whatever remains of a national Right Wing movement in this country not to have noticed that for two congresses now Republicans have provided nothing in the way of serious legislative rebuttal to what they deem as “socialist, anti-American and freedom-threatening policies”. In place of doing its job, the GOP-controlled congress decided to throw feces against the wall and screech like monkeys to make the Democratic president look ineffectual.

This worked great. He was re-elected by the greatest margin a member of his party tallied to secure the presidency since Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. I was two at the time. I was 50 last November. That is a long run with no Democratic dominance at the executive level. And you know what; it ain’t gonna end soon. Not with the current demographics of the country pointing Left and an entire generation of young people fairly certain the majority of the Republican platform is religiously-based nihilistic bigotry.

Snowden’s anti Big Brother Libertarian roots are only outdone by Glenn Greenwald’s ultra-radical attempts at dismantling the American myth.

On the heels of this we have Mr. Snowden, a 29 year-old Booz Allen Hamilton employee (contractor to the National Security Agency) and chronicled supporter of Ron Paul’s anti-government brigade, leaking classified top-secret material to a foreign newspaper. As another quick aside, lord knows the sub-contractor element is not lost on me, the near victim of many hoaxes perpetuated by “businesses” I thought I was hiring to do jobs, only to find they merely fobbed it off to some other dinks, whose only care to the completion of said job was to not get caught screwing up, which in my case, they most assuredly did.

Snowden’s motivations for leaking vital defense intelligence on a lark are best framed by the reporter who broke the story, Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald told the NY Times this week that his infamous source for the British paper, The Guardian scoop “knew that in order for someone to do this story the way it had to be done he had to be in an adversarial posture vis-a-vis the U.S. government.”

Snowden, an “ex-CIA” (once CIA always CIA – ask Lee Harvey Oswald and George H.W. Bush) who claims after making a living working in the business of citizen surveillance suddenly found Jesus and decided this was crazy, wanted to join the “feces tossing task force” and make nasty for what could tactfully be described as a beleaguered president. However, Greenwald’s analysis mirrors the very argument for Daniel Ellsberg’s outing of the gargantuan lies the U.S. government laid on the American public for over a decade of unsanctioned mass murder in Viet Nam.

You see, although it appears as if Snowden is just a radicalized version of say Mitch McConnell, whose failed attempt at turning his senatorial position into the home-base for making Obama a one-term president, there is something far more interesting. Both Snowden and his non de plume Greenwald are Ellsberg worshippers (full disclosure, so is the author). Moreover, Snowden reportedly met directly with the nation’s most cherished whistleblower through documentarian, Laura Poitras this past January.

Snowden’s anti Big Brother Libertarian roots are only outdone by Glenn Greenwald’s ultra-radical attempts at dismantling the American myth. Greenwald’s current post at The Guardian has given the ex-litigator and award-winning blogger legitimate reporter contacts and sources, many of which were used to reveal the “secret wars” both hot and cold the U.S. has been running since 9/11, including the Dick Cheney/Karl Rove/Scooter Libby outing of a CIA agent in 2005.

Greenwald, an ex-patriot forced to live in Rio De Janeiro with his Brazilian partner because of discrimination against same-sex marriage, which consequently disallows similar rights of citizenship to heterosexual couples, has personal as well as ideological issues with the United States government of which he wrote in the preface to his wonderfully cynical 2006 book, How Would a Patriot Act, “the fact that this seizure of ever-expanding presidential power is largely justified through endless, rank fear-mongering—fear of terrorists, specifically—means that not only our system of government is radically changing, but so, too, are our national character, our national identity, and what it means to be American.”

The Snowden/Greenwald partnership in bi-partisan derision for the flimsy foundations of this republic has come at a crucial time, as new and old neo-con voices begin to bellow about dragging the U.S. into another bloody quagmire in Syria – trumped by ex-president, Democrat Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate, Republican John McCain.

Killer drones, Gitmo, an endless war in Afghanistan, the Patriot Act, systemic discrimination and the rank hypocrisy of our times, all neatly wrapped up in one single act of blessed conceit by pissed-off people with a pen.

That is something I can finally vote for.

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The Self-Perpetuating Gorge Of Power or How The IRS Becomes Hal 9000

Aquarian Weekly
6/5/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

Take heed and beware the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
– Matthew 16:6

irsJesus of Nazareth was as anti-establishment as it gets; a spiritual ascetic, who actually considered himself God within a sect of people weaned on the primacy of an all-powerful deity. And he took that lunacy to the streets, right into the heart of the power structure that was the religious and political fulcrums against individualism. Thus making a peasant from a fishing enclave nestled in the armpit of the Roman Empire, the most influential anti-religious and anti-systemic figure in Western thought.
But that’s not how we know this Jesus. His revolution, one of collective upheaval and a Nieitzschean sledgehammer railing against the hypocrisy of times, is reduced to religious worship and Roman blood ritual. His is less an inspirational siren for soul-saving grace as it is a cautionary tale of what power structures must do when threatened. Jesus told a religion and a republic it was not needed for spiritual attainment or cultural identity, so they strung him up and waited for the next doomed idiot to utter such insurrection.

This is why Jesus of Nazareth is my hero and I spent over a decade researching his methods and parables, or those attributed to him and his short-lived movement, and why it ended up in a monstrosity I titled Trailing Jesus. People normally read the thing and wonder what it is I was getting at, and quite frankly I’m not even sure – except for one key element: Once you have a structure of power surmised, erected, and maintained by humans, it is nearly impossible to eradicate it. Oh, you can revolt and rebuild some other thing in its place, but it will very likely be the same shit.

Or worse; presuming Christianity’s systemic machinations are more damaging than first century Judaism, which is a whole separate discussion.

Now, what we have today, say, with the IRS or the FBI in this country, is what we have endured for decades. And, as stated in this space two weeks ago, there is little we can actually do about it. Sure, whoever happens to control the legislative branch – especially if it is the opposing party of the executive branch – will rattle around like sniffing hounds and braying goats and tell us there is a pox on the house of lords, but it will just be the noise of those who only want to stick their own power monger in there to keep the ball rolling and the checks cashed.

To be more specific and less political, (I’ll need ten or so columns to dissect the tyrannical madness unleashed during the FBI’s first 105 years) I present to you the Internal Revenue Service, one of our republic’s most necessary evils. It is a massive and powerful branch of the treasury department that absorbs the flow of our money to be used for whatever the giant, bloated system sees fit; war, social programs, puppet regimes in third world countries, recovery projects for tornadoes, earthquakes or floods, torturing foreigners, propping up the welfare state, and other sundry items. This is an unchecked machine, not unlike Stanley Kubrick’s HAL 9000 super computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey (a metaphor that never gets old for me) which only cares about one thing, as all “conscious beings”, whether mammal or machine: Self-preservation.

The IRS did what any self-respecting power gorge would; it targeted its enemies and sought to defuse their influence over the electoral process. Made sense to Jesus and it makes sense to me.

For a democratic society, the power to tax is so absolute – a huge underlying factor to the perpetuation of the Roman Empire; the political assassins of Jesus of Nazareth – that the judicial branch of our system recently pronounced the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act as less an unconstitutional stronghold of the free market and more of the aforementioned tax. This was decided ultimately by the swing vote of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, a conservative.
Long before the Roberts’ ruling, the anti-government movement called the TEA Party gained traction – mainly due to the initial passing of the PPACA. At the beginning, this group was as organically fun-loving as those who protested the ten or so wars we had going in the first decade of this century. But then they were absorbed by the Republican Party (the ying to the yang of this systemic virus) and as a result caused a civil war within the GOP that produced many a goofy result. The most damaging of these was the completely asinine debt ceiling debate, which effectively prevented the congress of the United States from paying its bills. What the anti-war movement, and the subsequent 2006 Democratic re-taking of congress, failed to do, the TEA Party Republicans accomplished; temporarily sealing the purse strings of the federal government.

So, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes or Jesus to figure where this was going; a direct threat to the IRS, its powerbase and its influence over one of the most sweeping pieces of federal regulation ever enacted by congress. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the PPACA, which takes full effect in 2014, put a massive chunk of the federal budget in the hands and regulatory power of the Internal Revenue Service; meaning more branch locations and jobs and larger budgets with which to hand out apparently unchallenged payrolls.

The IRS did what any self-respecting power gorge would; it targeted its enemies and sought to defuse their influence over the electoral process. Made sense to Jesus and it makes sense to me.

Before we go this week, I offer up a potential red herring that has been rearing its ugly cranium; reports out of the Pentagon (the font of honesty and integrity for lo these many decades of power abuse) that the Chinese have been hacking into our systems to build similar death machines as that of our Air Force, etc. Little by little, I see a story here or there about it, and if FOXNEWS wasn’t ejaculating all over the place with all these purported Obama shenanigans, then they may well have been far more into it, since it reeks of the Military Industrial Complex, our other fat-ass necessary evil. Floating danger tales through the media is as old as the hills and has merit in the power gorge, simply because these cutbacks the Pentagon has suffered as a result of the infamous sequester will not do, like congress changing flight patterns to soften its collective travel plans while the rest of us slog it out.

You see, the use of the word “leaven” in the above quote from Matthew (the one Jewish author of the four canonical gospels, who knew exactly what Jesus, a Jew, was fighting against) is key here, because bread is a staple of survival, and when it leavens it expands or “swells”, not unlike systemic power that becomes its own being separate from its intended construct.

Or as Jesus may have couched it; “Woe unto you” to which HAL 9000 might have responded, “Sorry, Dave.”

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How I Learned To Stop Worrying & The Love The Shield Law

Aquarian Weekly
5/29/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

Quit while you’re ahead. – Carl Bernstein

holderJust received notice from the Federal Bureau of Investigation that I am a criminal.
Well, could be a criminal. Aim to be a criminal? Not sure. The statute of limitations must be up on this puppy from 10/10/01 — KASBAH ROCKING:
“Right now a Columbian refugee is having dinner with an overtly effeminate Taliban gunrunner in a quaint bistro on the outskirts of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. They’re discussing the coming ski season and desert fall fashions. Drinks are flowing and names are innocently exchanged. Every witty aside by the young gunrunner is met with hearty laughter, as a hidden tape recorder hums inside the Columbian’s left breast pocket.

By morning the gunrunner will be missing. Word will spread through the sequestered Taliban offices, memos will be sent, and maybe a few more soldiers will defect to the Northern Alliance. But after a few days, there will be no mention of him. When his family comes calling, they will be sent to a briefing, and perhaps, also turn up missing.

A few days later maps and phone records will mysteriously disappear. There will be internal arguments and stepped-up security. Rankled officials will call for strip searches, and someone might be shot for treason. Word will spread that two or three training camp security personnel didn’t show up for work that morning, and relative innocents will be tortured. The air of paranoia will thicken and the stench will spread quickly.

And what of the friendly Columbian gentlemen?

He will be enjoying a weekend in Paris by Halloween, and several other well-versed, highly cash-motivated ex-cons will take his place long before he boards the airplane.”

Oh, yes; those were heady times; mere weeks after 9/11 when reporters were afraid to print such nonsense, but the Reality Check News & Information Desk was on duty. Now, it seems, the FBI, to which we warned only two weeks ago, has gone Gestapo on us here at the Fourth Estate; The Government Will Decide The Difference Between Good Investigative Journalism and Treason.

By the mere exercise of excelling at my job, (to which I have avoided for lo these many years since my journalism professor at Trenton State wanted to know why I chose TV Guide for the semester’s internship) I stand accused by a system I am sworn to watchdog like the Dairy Council sitting on the board of review at the FDA and claiming that milk is good for the bones of a human over five months old when all of the science argues against it. Yeah, like that.
These are strange times to be a journalist, especially one on the fringes like myself and Geraldo Rivera, who once told me over several cocktails, and I assume from his manic stuttering and distracted blinking, a dangerous amount of cocaine that if one were to really think about it, what passes for journalism is at best a crime.

Ah, yes, but a threat to national security?

The nation’s greatest journalist, Mark Twain once wrote to a friend in 1880; “Journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft (when committed in the pecuniary interest of a journal) & admires the thief….However, these same journals combat despicable crimes quite valiantly–when committed in other quarters.”

The nation’s greatest journalist, Mark Twain once wrote to a friend in 1880; “Journalism is the one solitary respectable profession which honors theft (when committed in the pecuniary interest of a journal) & admires the thief….However, these same journals combat despicable crimes quite valiantly–when committed in other quarters.”

Or as investigative journalist extraordinaire, Carl Bernstein once imparted to me in the press box at Shea Stadium during Game 3 of the 2000 World Series, “Quite while you’re ahead.” I had asked him about the future of investigative journalism, such as it is beyond TMZ, which at the turn of the century had yet to exist but nonetheless had forefathers of wonderful schlock like Inside Edition or The Drudge Report. Oh, how we laughed.

Bernstein knew a few things, more so than his partner in the greatest of all scoops, The Watergate Scandal, which so many today wish would crop up again, so they can say they were there, but they would be wrong, because for journalists there was only one “there” there and it was that steamy night in D.C. when it all went wrong for Dick Nixon. Lately Bob Woodward has been feeling the heat from the current White House. Maybe he’s no longer welcome at Pennsylvania Avenue, even with a Democrat in there.

But Woodward, like Wall Street Journal columnist, Peggy Noonan is a registered Republican, although he did not work for Ronald Reagan like Noonan did or write seventeen books feeding into the myths of Reagan. None of this could be helped, because Noonan is an idiot, and I am not writing this to be mean or biting, she has an obvious mental disability, and if they allow her to speak anymore on Meet The Press THAT would be criminal.

Speaking of long-running “news” shows, I once received a fax here at The Desk from David Westin, then president of ABC NEWS, when the great Ted Koppel was sent packing to make room for some Hollywood bullshit, to which I sent this response and then later to press (THE RAPING OF ABC NEWS — 3/13/02): “Trouble is news doesn’t bring the big numbers anymore, otherwise how could anyone explain these infinite obsessions with Monica Lewinsky, O.J. Simpson and Jennifer Anniston? Maybe you can convince Koppel to chair a panel show where inbreeds beat each other with tire irons or maybe he can join degenerate imbecilic couples on blind dates and report on the wacky results?”

So nobody understands more than I that aside from pedophiles and terrorists, journalists are the most reviled of groups. I expect backlash to hearing incessantly and with little humor that you are not what mommy told you, but criminal? Not sure that beats the hell out of being hunted, as in the immediate wake of 9/11 when I sent to press this observation on the anthrax/journalist scare (CASUALTIES OF WAR — 11/7/01): “Most of these people are frightened now. You have to wear rubber gloves just to deliver pizza at the New York Times and everyone at the GE building are issued gasmasks and need four kinds of ID to get on the main floor of the NBC Nightly News.”

There were tougher times to be a journalist, like during the opening months of prohibition when giants in the business like H.L. Mencken would storm through Baltimore newsrooms flailing his arms about like a spastic ape spitting pistachio shells at secretaries. No booze is worse than being labeled a criminal by the FBI, believe me. Take me down, but leave the gin.

So now I hear they’re discussing passing another goddamn law called the Shield Law, which will officially grant the First Amendment to those whose livelihoods depend on it.

Shit, it’s more than freedom for some of us. It’s, you know, definition. Like congressmen wearing flag pins.

Not all obsessions need a symbol, bub.

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Second Term Jinx – Obama Style

Aquarian Weekly
5/22/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

obamaThis has been a stellar week for the federal government, and by proxy a bad week for our re-elected president, who has only had to traverse barely five months of a second term when the jinx began to kick in.

Those of us fairly sure that the glass was not only half full but spiked with arsenic have plenty of evidence that the long arm of Washington D.C. has a hand gripping a hammer. All of our greatest enemies; Congress, the Justice Department, The State Department and the dreaded and loathsome Internal Revenue Service have proven to slake our paranoia and crystallize what has been for the past 50 years, since the 36th president’s head exploded in Dallas, Texas, a sense that there is a systemic monster trolling the streets of this nation’s capital and it means business.

Taking the week that was in proper perspective, “we the people” have allowed, and in many ways championed this abuse of power. Both parties have expanded the roles of these institutions and given them far more leeway within the structure of our republic than any democracy, even a phony one such as this, can bear. So here’s the kicker, no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months in the wake of these shenanigans, there is not a whole lot we can do about it.

Let’s work our way backwards in chronology, starting with the biggest abomination.

The FBI, well within its rights under the unconscionable umbrella of the insidiously mad parameters of the Patriot Act and beneath the always-convenient auspices of National Security, infiltrated the sanctity of the Freedom of the Press by spying on and collecting private information gathered by Associated Press reporting. For an entire year, the FBI, whose constitutional abuses have gone unchecked for nearly a century and was given complete and legal autonomy over the private lives of the American citizenry after 9/11, collected the phone records, both cellular and office, of over 20 AP reporters and editors. Predictably, Attorney General Eric Holder, who should already be in prison for the Fast & Furious blunder, took a page from the last administration and began crying a breach of national security after the prominent and trusted journalistic outlet broke a story about a foiled terrorist attack in Yemen.
While there is definitely a rat in the highest corridors of power, this kind of overreach brings to mind decades of underhanded nonsense perpetrated under the guise of “protecting our citizens”, but also reeks of the pathetic type of vengeance the last administration unleashed on the spouse of a CIA agent for his speaking out against the failures of the Iraq War in print, which eventually put the vice president Dick Cheney, Bush Administration political mole Karl Rove and eventual jailbird Scooter Libby in hot water. (second term)

Do we even have to bring up The Pentagon Papers and the spawn of Nixon’s plumbers that put this constitution of ours on the brink of extinction? (second term) But it matters not, since no one seems to mind that we’ve handed federal law enforcers every avenue to manipulate the citizenry and now its Fourth Estate with impunity. The real outrage here should not be that it happened, because it almost always happens; it’s that we’ve allowed it to happen legally, and therefore have little recourse but to swallow this steaming lump of shit and salute the flag.

Next up is the IRS’s politically motivated targeting of TEA Party groups to disallow or delay tax-exempt status during an election season. Once again, the systemic problems with this are deeper than the brash accusations that this is merely an anti-Right Wing government conspiracy since the IRS pulled similar if not worse bullshit with the ACLU prior to the 2004 presidential election.

Firstly, why any political group is allowed tax exempt status is beyond me, as is any religious group for that matter. It is arbitrary and unconstitutional and should not even be an option; which supports this space’s backing of the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United ruling that allows any group to financially influence the political system. It is indeed free speech and the blowback against it by political affiliation or candidate is only displayed when it negatively affects them. If politics is about money — and it’s always about money — than everyone should be taxed for it.

All of our greatest enemies; Congress, the Justice Department, The State Department and the dreaded and loathsome Internal Revenue Service have proven to slake our paranoia and crystallize what has been for the past 50 years, since the 36th president’s head exploded in Dallas, Texas, a sense that there is a systemic monster trolling the streets of this nation’s capital and it means business.

Secondly, the IRS — like the FBI with the Patriot Act — which has now been handed by the same Supreme Court the full and complete power to run a national health care system that no one understands and less people actually want — has always had a dicey relationship with the law, not the least of which is its mere existence, which, by the way, is unconstitutional. Thus, the executive branch of this government for my entire lifetime, which now spans the aforementioned half-century, has used the IRS as some kind of political bullwhip against its opponents and enemies. And although there is no evidence this crap has been splashed on the White House, there is little excuse for this beyond political expedience and lends fighting momentum to what is primarily a useless and dying movement.

Finally, as a side note, someone has to tell me the difference between Arizona’s draconian and wholly unconstitutional racial profiling and the IRS discriminating against a particular group. The level of hypocrisy uncovered in the U.S. government’s most reviled and in many ways powerful wing singling out one group to persecute on the heels of that same government suing the state of Arizona for the same thing is off the charts.

We finish up with the fifth or sixth or tenth Benghazi hearing, which is a political carnival hardly worth mentioning, but has begun to ring the Monica Lewinsky bell in the most dense of political sensibilities and therefore will haunt this president as long as these Republican cretins continue to cash in on corpses as some kind of ticket to slandering a Clinton. And if the recent past is any indication, it will not abate anytime soon.

Many of the congressmen who enjoyed wasting our money prosecuting the president of the United States for a blowjob will have no problem trying to make this some kind of Watergate and Iran/Contra thing. And since there really isn’t anything to be uncovered but the usual incompetence of the Pentagon and State Department then this thing has Birther momentum written all over it.

The two biggest problems with this whole charade is timing and, once again, hypocrisy, both of which lessen the credibility of what appears now to most observers as a self-serving political pogrom.

Firstly, former deputy chief of mission in Libya, Gregory Hicks’ sudden damning testimony against the State Department’s handling of the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi incident, and specifically former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is coming far too late, which stinks of gutless hide-saving and less of heroic whistle-blowing. This is not unlike former G.W. Bush press secretary Scott McClellan’s revelations five years after he defended the Bush Administration’s lies about a multi-billion dollar boondoggle of a war that took the lives of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of Americans (hammered in this space in the pithy FUCK SCOTT MCCLELLAN — Issue: 6/4/08) or National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard Clarke’s late-to-the-party accusations that the highest ranking officials in the Bush Administration ignored many memos and warnings of an impending attack by al Qaeda mere days before 9/11 (also took a plucky pounding in THE DENIZENS OF POILTICS — Issue: 4/14/04).

If this was such a bombshell and Hicks was such a hero, where was he the first or second or third time around this Benghazi carousel? All of a sudden he’s got balls and dirt?

Secondly, many of these lawmakers’ faux outrage is either disingenuous or fabricated since during the previous administration 13 attacks on non-Iraqi American embassies resulting in 53 deaths hardly merited a peep. Does this pass even the most partisan smell test?
Nope.

But the fact that this is being written a few months into a second term means we are well on our way to another shitty run for a re-elected president and his government and a sad repeat of the last 50 years of disastrous leadership.

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Be Careful

Aquarian Weekly
5/1/13
REALITY CHECK
James Campion

BE CAREFUL

Men are qualified for civil liberties in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their appetites: in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity.— Edmund Burke

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.— Rahm Emanuel

edmund_burkeEdmund Burke is an interesting cat. I like to read him when alarmists shout incessantly about how things are worse than ever. Things are not worse than ever. It is far better. Not everything, of course. Most things are far, far better. Burke understood this concept more than most. Burke was not an absolutist. He was a realist. However, despite things being generally better, we tend to repeat our mistakes, especially ones made in recent history. Like this week, when for reasons understandable to human emotions; fear, grief and hate, but not so much in the pursuit of our intellectual and legal collective known as the United States of America, we are dangerously close to trading on our civil liberties…again.

Suddenly, as two bombs go off in Boston, we are faced, in a far less and entirely different set of circumstances as 9/11 — let’s not detach ourselves completely from reality, here — but with an equally charged political and social dilemma. When confronted with our own (false) sense of safety, how much does protecting the freedoms that separate us from most of the planet matter?

Burke is also an interesting cat because he is simultaneously the “philosophical founder of modern conservatism” and “the font of liberalism”; both forces always at work whenever this nation feels a tinge of vulnerability. We are constantly under siege from these two damaged and discredited notions on how our liberties should be compromised. Oh, they love to throw their aphorisms around, mostly framing the other side as some kind of enemy to “the greater cause”.

Then, ever so slowly, almost without notice, you become indebted to their ideologies and forced to ask their permission to see if you’ve been a good little American.

By all this I mean to say that the discussion (some of it serious, most of it drivel) following a tragedy, for instance, Newtown or Boston, most assuredly veers into the diminishing of our rights; whether it’s to curtail the purchase of a certain level of gun or its ammunition or blithely calling to wave every possible right granted to an American citizen by the amendments to the U.S. Constitution, like Miranda rights or search and seizure, etc. And what makes it all so interesting is that those who defend the rights granted by the Second Amendment in the former case are now the same clamoring about trashing Amendments 4 and 5 and a few more for good measure.

Don’t be fooled. Both liberals and conservatives are always keen on limiting your freedoms, while clouding up your vision of this by arguing that the other has a monopoly on those limits. We’ve discussed these anomalies, or more to the point, hypocrites many, many times in this space, far too many times to fathom. But be very aware and extremely careful when it comes to this bullshit about national security. This is when freedoms always end up on the chopping block.

Don’t be fooled. Both liberals and conservatives are always keen on limiting your freedoms, while clouding up your vision of this by arguing that the other has a monopoly on those limits. We’ve discussed these anomalies, or more to the point, hypocrites many, many times in this space, far too many times to fathom. But be very aware and extremely careful when it comes to this bullshit about national security. This is when freedoms always end up on the chopping block.

The disastrous response to 9/11, all of it still on display today, from airport security, the uselessness of Homeland Security, the ramp up in military action and the tragically tyrannical Patriot Act, was some of the most egregious attacks on our basic civil rights ever enacted. Don’t get me wrong, there were terrible examples of this each time war reared its ugly head in this country, but these were particularly thorny in a time when the expansion of knowledge (the internet and soon to be social media and these now ubiquitous phone/camera/video recorders) was giving us a more penetrating glimpse into our government’s direct role in the robbing of our rights.

The reason many over-shot the presumption that George W. Bush was “the worst president ever”, the way they now deem the current president (mostly through revenge, because Obama has some way to go to be as destructive as Bush) is because we have more information. Now, being riddled with information is not always the best thing, (most of it is paranoid innuendo) but it is preferable to being completely in the dark as Americans were during the War of 1812 or the Civil War or the Spanish/American War or pretty much every war through Viet Nam. It could be said that information was what eventually doomed the criminally insane doings in Viet Nam, or as military supporters will couch it: “We were too wishy-washy about our determined mission there”, which actually means that the government couldn’t quietly get away with the same level of chicanery it did for entirety of the 20th century up to that point.

So that brings us to now, where we have a 19 year-old American citizen incarcerated in the state of Massachusetts, the very breeding ground of the American experiment, for the crimes of murdering and seriously injuring other American citizens. Some want him tried as a military combatant, which would obliterate any case against him, for the simple and binding reason that he is not a military combatant, anymore than Timothy McVeigh, who as an American citizen (not given the title of president), perpetrated the greatest harm to this country’s citizenry ever.
This also bring us to the notion that because the FBI had once interviewed one of the Boston suspects some years ago and let him go, the government is now considering “lowering the bar” on what it means to be “a serious threat to national security”.

Whoa, jack. Hang on there.

Who decides this? What “bar” and who is deciding to “lower” it to what now?
This badly formed but wholly important previous sentence is what should have been asked in 2001, and, quite frankly, before each time the government tried to put its citizens on notice that “well, as long as you are safe (which we’ve already determined is a false premise to begin with) then you can endure a little less of your rights.”

Look, I do not believe gun control could work, or as history shows in the recent past, has worked in this country; however , I have a better shot at making the argument that it is a far more pressing issue than terrorism. Since 1970, when terrorism began to take hold as an effective method for those not fortunate enough to have nukes and ambassadors and a CIA or KGB at their disposal to make a mark on the international violence tote board, about 3,400 people have been killed in this country in “terror-related” deaths. From 1980 to the present, nearly one million people have been killed from a gun.
Either way, no tragedy or crisis, as former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel once mused leading up to the massively unconstitutional Affordable Care Act, ever passes around here without someone concocting some new way to eliminate a portion of your rights.

Be aware.

Be careful.

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Ten Lies About Health Care Reform

Aquarian Weekly 3/1/13 REALITY CHECK

TEN LIES ABOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM

Health Care Reform is a government take-over of the entire healthindustry.

Nope. It’s what the Democrats intended, and to varying degrees, the president, however with no Single Payer or Public Option, this is merely an expansion of the existing system loaded with extra taxes to defray national debt and provide more invasive oversight and regulations, some of which are needed badly, while others overreaching. But it is a far cry from anything Socialist or what countries in Europe and Canada have adopted. For one, doctors will not be working for the government, nor will hospitals be nationalized. But beware, anytime law invades the private sector, amendments and expansion of said law is almost guaranteed.

This is actually fiscally responsible legislation.

Not in the least. Although there is concern in the medical community as to the cost to tax payers for millions of uninsured citizens running to emergency rooms for primary care and a guarantee of ridiculously escalating insurance costs crippling the system, there is also grave doubts that this will not be another in a long line of bloated, over-taxed and under-funded government bureaucracies. The Congressional Budget Office estimates, which fueled final support among fence-sitting Democrats last week, are at best flimsy and at worst nonsense. This cost of $938 over ten years and deficit reduction of $1.3 trillion over 20 years is less inexact science than science fiction. Normally the CBO does not project anything accurately over a decade much less two. Truth is nobody knows anything, especially since most of the tax increases don’t kick in for another eight years and are unlikely to be enacted by a congress that had nothing to do with creating it.

The law is unconstitutional mainly because it contains strict mandates for all citizens to purchase some form of it.

This is not entirely false, but hardly true. There are low-income provisions for the law and those who’d argue it on the “not need” basis are mainly young people, who are now safe under their parents coverage until age 26. Technically, even when considering The Commerce Claus in Article One of the Constitution, a government mandating of anything is indeed unconstitutional, but then so is Social Security, Medicare, Income Tax, Speed Limits, The Civil Rights Act, Major League Baseball, the Federal Communications Commission, nearly every military action after WWII until the first Gulf War and the drafting of our youth to fight them, the Patriot Act, and every obscenity law on the books. Oh, and this latest idea for state attorney’s general to fight the new law in the courts will be mostly futile, but one must remember that every case taken to court against specific restraints of the Patriot Act has prevailed.

This is sweeping insurance reform.

On the contrary, insurances companies, although regulated more than they wished – and what company doesn’t want free reign to gouge – absorb nearly 33 million new customers, which immediately defrays the cost for what they will eventually face legally in 2014; an end to denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and dropping consumers with serious illnesses. This is one of the reasons – along with the lack of Single Payer or a Public Option – progressives are as miffed as conservatives. The day after the bill passed every health insurance stock on the market soared, not to mention the pharmaceutical trade, which will surge when millions more rush to join our already booming national prescription drug frenzy.

The American people don’t want it or the American people demand it.

This one of those ubiquitous fabrications on both sides. Tanked economies tend to not elicit clamor for major legislation, save for job creation or economic relief, and it is quite clear a healthy majority now fear and hate the government in any form. But as stated in this space weeks ago, universal pronouncements about what everyone wants are just stupid anyway. It is fair to say this; fiscal conservatives despise any tax or entitlement, as long as they are not benefiting from them. Liberals believe compromise beyond total government intervention on all things is never enough, as long as it doesn’t involve social issues. The center-left who supports the president is pleased at least something got done and the center-right who hate the president and thus want him to fail is pissed. Once again, no one can see into the future, therefore no one is certain about how anything will turn out.

This is a historic victory for the Democrats and President Obama.

Yes, but…As stated above many liberals are not happy and are hardly sated by “something is better than nothing”. Not to mention the wild shifting of the sell-job, which started as Affordable Health Care For All to Moral Obligation, then Insurance Reform to Deficit Reduction, and finally, Curtail Future Damages. However, this was a political must for Nancy Pelosi, Obama and the entire party. Seemingly, the president goes from Jimmy Carter to FDR in one vote, and the Democrats from weak, do-nothing hagglers to now owning a piece of history. Both will energize a sagging base and allow whatever happens to exist in reality and not fought in hyperbole on cable news and blogs. Obama could no longer lose this than Bush could lose Iraq. Once in, all in.

The process with which this bill became law was highly irregular and underhanded.

Sure, as long as you’re allowed to frame the making of every law this way. But just because people don’t freak out every time, doesn’t mean it ain’t happening. And folks, it happens. Everything the Republicans and the opposition punditry screamed about from kickback deals, political favors to lobbying and Reconciliation, has been a staple of our legislative system at every level from county to state to national. It’s like going to a boxing match and complaining about all the hitting or continuing to be shocked by Howard Stern. More to the point, since everyone in congress have at one time or another participated in acts some now call “sleazy”, it’s more like the guy running the casino in Casablanca looking stunned during a police raid.

The Republicans wanted health reform, but not this monstrosity.

Well…The GOP did have six years in congress after the Hillary Fiasco, and the bulk of eight years in executive and legislative power without so much as a peep about reform. There were signs, such as G.W. Bush’s Massive Prescription Drug overhaul and the formation of the Health Savings Accounts, but the truth is only when the Democrats finally pushed, Republicans seized the issue with kid gloves and appeared to be simultaneously on board and wounded by being ignored, neither of which is particularly accurate. In many ways the over 200 Republican amendments and bi-partisan wrangling with Blue Dog Dems watered down Obamacare from an aggressive overhaul to a centrist regulatory watchdog program, none of which Republican lawmakers voted for after months of wild demagoguery.

The violent threats and wacky overall behavior against Democratic members of congress who voted for the bill are calculated political stunts by the Republicans, who are prime instigators or inflated political chicanery by politically savvy Democrats.

No more than kids running off to shoot cops after listening to NWA songs or that goofball who tried to kill Reagan after seeing Taxi Driver. If Capitol Hill cannot be the home base of wildly melodramatic posturing, then we may as well just fold the whole shebang and let the Native Americans have it back. Arrest the assholes that spit on public officials and especially those who throw bricks through windows and call in death threats. Don’t we have some kind of unconstitutional spy ring set up for this crap?

The 2010 mid-term elections will be a referendum on this vote.

Not exactly. Just as the Democrats were selling partisan politics in their arm-twisting vote-a-rama, the Republicans selling of outrage in its wake is purely political. Every first-term president loses seats, and coupled with overall anti-government fervor puts the minority party in the driver’s seat. A lot can and will happen in six months and it will be difficult for Republicans to merely run on excoriating a system that now helps a fair amount of voters and has provisions for children with pre-existing health issues, never a good platform to attack.

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