Friday, August 09, 2013






Season one, episode 15 ("Hard Ball" written by Matt Hubbard) of the sitcom 30 Rock, starlet Jenna Maroney (played by Emmy award winning Jane Krakowski) is in damage control over her comments so she goes on Hardball and speaks with Chris Matthews (host) and Tucker Carlson.

Jenna: I have just as much right to my opinion as you or Chris.

Chris Matthews:  I'm not sure you do.  You've been on this show for 20 minutes now.  You sang six bars of something called "Muffin Top" --

Jenna:  Thank you.

Chris Matthews:  -- and then told a disgusting story about fleet week.

Tucker Carlson:  I guess this is the state of political discourse in this country and that's fine, let's just embrace it.  Let's have our policies determined by former Cable Ace Award nominees. 

Jenna:  First, I was great in that Arliss.  Second of all, if the president is so serious about the war on terror, why doesn't he hunt down and capture Barack Obama before he strikes again?  It's time for a change, America.  That's why I'm voting for Osama in 2008.  [Pause.]  Oh, no comeback? You burnt!

It was a hilarious moment and no one could top it . . . until Tuesday night when Barack Obama chose to channel his inner starlet on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Pure Jenna is the only way to describe Barack declaring, "And the odds of people dying in a terrorist attack obviously are still a lot lower than in a car accident, unfortunately."

Unfortunately?  Was that a Freudian slip or is Barack just the airhead we always secretly knew he was?

In the gab-fest, Jay Leno notes the Sunday embassy and consulate closures and wonders is it "safe to say that we learned about these threats through the NSA intelligence program? Is that a fair assessment?"  Barack has an interesting reply.

Barack Obama:  Well, you know, this intelligence-gathering,uh, that we do is a critical component of counterterrorism. Uh, And obviously, with, uh,  Mr. Snowden and the disclosures of classified information, it's raised a lot of questions for people. But what I said as soon as it happened I continue to believe in, which is a lot of these programs were put in place before I came in. I had some skepticism, and I think ther's a --  we should have a healthy skepticism about what government is doing. I had the programs reviewed. We put in some additional safeguards to make sure that there's federal court oversight as well as congressional oversight, that there is no spying on Americans. 

There is spying on Americans, the meta data recording alone is spying. Christopher H. Pyle (CounterPunch) observes, "With the blessing of this secret court [FISA], the National Security Agency (and well-paid companies like Booz Allen) have recorded billions of phone calls and e-mails belonging to nearly all Americans, with the intent of searching them later."  Informing Congress? Most claim they knew nothing about it.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) reported last week:

Members of Congress have been repeatedly thwarted when attempting to learn basic information about the National Security Agency (NSA) and the secret FISA court which authorizes its activities, documents provided by two House members demonstrate.
From the beginning of the NSA controversy, the agency's defenders have insisted that Congress is aware of the disclosed programs and exercises robust supervision over them. "These programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate," President Obama said the day after the first story on NSA bulk collection of phone records was published in this space. "And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up."
But members of Congress, including those in Obama's party, have flatly denied knowing about them. On MSNBC on Wednesday night, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct) was asked by host Chris Hayes: "How much are you learning about what the government that you are charged with overseeing and holding accountable is doing from the newspaper and how much of this do you know?" The Senator's reply:
The revelations about the magnitude, the scope and scale of these surveillances, the metadata and the invasive actions surveillance of social media Web sites were indeed revelations to me."

But it is not merely that members of Congress are unaware of the very existence of these programs, let alone their capabilities. Beyond that, members who seek out basic information - including about NSA programs they are required to vote on and FISA court (FISC) rulings on the legality of those programs - find that they are unable to obtain it.

Two House members, GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia and Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, have provided the Guardian with numerous letters and emails documenting their persistent, and unsuccessful, efforts to learn about NSA programs and relevant FISA court rulings.

Additionally, there are no safeguards with a secret court and there never will be which is why secret courts go against democracy.

Barack Obama:  We don't have a domestic spying program. What we do have are some mechanisms where we can track a phone number or an email address that we know is connected to some sort of terrorist threat.

A lie.  Where are the fact checkers?  The phone calls are all collected -- not just ones related to a so-called terrorist threat.  (Fact check?  Have you read Politico's 'transcript'?  They not only do away with Barack's uh-uhs, they 'help' him with verb choice.  Someone explain to Politico that a transcript is a transcription of what was said, not what fans wish was said.)

Barack Obama:  And that information is useful. But what I've said beforeuh, you know, I want to make sure I repeat, and that is we should be skeptical  uh about the potential encroachments on privacy. None of the revelations show that government has actually abused ih these powers, but they're pretty significant powers.

There's the ignorance of a man who didn't learn American history in Indonesia (naturally) and who struggled with basic classes after he finally came back to America (as his own grandmother admitted). The government has clearly abused powers and Barack and others know that which is why the programs were kept secret from the American people.

Dennis is a terrorist in Scotland working with Cecile in Madison, Wisconsin.  Finding out that all phone calls are tracked or all e-mails are read does not mean Dennis and Cecile stop communicating. They have to communicate.  They may try to communicate in code -- but if they're terrorists, they should already be doing that.  The only people these programs had to be kept secret from were the American people who would instantly grasp that these are unconstitutional and an abuse of government power.

Barack Obama: And I've been talking to Congress and civil libertarians and others about are there additional ways that we can make sure that people know nobody is listening to your phone call, but we do want to make sure that after a Boston bombing, for example, we've got, uh, we've got the phone numbers of those two brothers -- we want to be able to make sure did they call anybodUh, and if we can make sure that there's confidence on the part of the American people that there's oversight, then I think we can make sure that we're properly balancing our liberty and our security. 

He thinks?  Who really gives a damn what Barack, a whore for Big Business, thinks?  In three more years he's just another idiot we have to spend millions on each year while his own income (from corporate whoring) goes untouched when it comes to health or security issues.  Who gives a damn what he thinks?  He's not a king, he's a public servant who works for the people -- you know the one group he didn't mention consulting with.  Because he's such a chicken he hasn't had the guts to face a real conference on these issues.

Barack Obama:  But there have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality. And what I consistently say to them, and what I say to President Putin, is that's the past and we've got to think about the future, and there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to cooperate more effectively than we do. 

Well, golly, what leader of another country wouldn't love a lecture from Barack?  Does his preening ego ever fall into check?  And let's point out one more time, with temporary asylum, Putin (or whomever is president) is not supposed to have any input.  As far as anyone knows, the Russian government's system was followed.  That means the body in charge made the decision.  Yet Barack and his administration have repeatedly lied and implied or stated that Putin was responsible for the decision.  These lies debase the White House.

Jay Leno:  And Putin seems to me like one of those old-school KGB guys. 

Barack Obama:   Well, he headed up the KGB. 

No, he didn't.  And considering Ann Dunham's actions in Indonesia,  I don't know where you get off knocking the KGB.  Wikipedia on Putin and the KGB:

Putin joined the KGB in 1975 upon graduation, and underwent a year's training at the 401st KGB school in Okhta[disambiguation needed], Leningrad. He then went on to work briefly in the Second Chief Directorate (counter-intelligence) before he was transferred to the First Chief Directorate, where among his duties was the monitoring of foreigners and consular officials in Leningrad.[36][37]
From 1985 to 1990, the KGB stationed Putin in Dresden, East Germany.[38] Following the collapse of the East German government, Putin was recalled to the Soviet Union and returned to Leningrad, where in June 1991 he assumed a position with the International Affairs section of Leningrad State University, reporting to Vice-Rector Yuriy Molchanov.[37] In his new position, Putin maintained surveillance on the student body and kept an eye out for recruits. It was during his stint at the university that Putin grew reacquainted with his former professor Anatoly Sobchak, then mayor of Leningrad.[39]
Putin finally resigned from the active state security services with the rank of Lieutenant colonel on 20 August 1991 (with some attempts to resign made earlier),[39] on the second day of the KGB-supported abortive putsch against Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.[40] Putin later explained his decision: "As soon as the coup began, I immediately decided which side I was on", though he also noted that the choice was hard because he had spent the best part of his life with "the organs".[41]

And Barack's spy connections?  As John Pilger has explained:

In his book Dreams From My Father, Obama refers to the job he took after he graduated from Columbia in 1983.  He describes his employer as, and I quote, "a consulting house to multi-national corporations."  For some reason, he doesn't say who his employer was or what he did there.  The employer was Business International Corporation which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA with covert action and infiltrating unions on the left.  I know this because it was especially in my own country, Australia.  Obama doesn't say what he did at Business International and there may be absolutely nothing sinister but it seems worthy of inquiry and debate as a clue perhaps who the man is. During his brief period in the Senate, Obama voted to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  He voted for the PATRIOT Act.  He refused to support a bill for single-payer health care.  He supported the death penalty.  As a presidential candidate, he received more corporate backing than John McCain. He promised to close Guantanamo as a priority but instead he's excused torture, reinstated military commissions, kept the Bush gulag intact and opposed habeaus corpus. 

Back to the gab-fest.

Jay Leno:  [. . .] the NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Some call him a whistleblower. What do you call him?

Barack Obama: Well, we don’t know yet exactly what he did, other than what he's, uh,  said on the Internet, and. uh,  it's important for me not to prejudge something.

Jay Leno: Got you.

Barack Obama:  Hopefully, at some point he'll go to trial and uh he will have a lawyer and due process, and we can make those decisions. I can tell you, uh,  that there are ways, if you think that the government is abusing, uh, a program, of coming forward. In fact, I, through executive order, signed whistle-blower protection for intelligence officers or people who are involved in the intelligence industry. So you don't have to break the law. You don't have to, uh, divulge, uh, information that could compromise American security. You could, uh,  come forward, come to the, uh, appropriate individuals and say, look, I've got a problem with what's going on here, uh, I'm not sure whether it's being done properly. If, in fact, uh, the allegations are true, then he didn't do that. And, uh,  that is a huge problem because a lot of what we do depends on, uh,  terrorists networks not knowing, uh, that, in fact, we may be able to access their information. 

What a liar.  But a press that can't do an honest transcription of a TV segment can't handle a fact check.

Barack can make all the lofty claims he wants, that doesn't make them true.  This is the editorial board of Bloomberg News from June 10th:

But anyone seeking to pass judgment on Snowden should try to understand the dilemma he describes. He says he didn’t want to live in a society that engages in the sort of program he worked on. Based on statements from President Barack Obama and members of Congress, it seems unlikely that Snowden would have found much support from inside government for his view that the program was abusive. So he concluded -- perhaps irresponsibly, perhaps arrogantly -- that going public was the only way to force a change.
Snowden’s case highlights the difficulty, if not impossibility, of debating U.S. national security policy in this age of ubiquitous technology: How do you build informed public consent for surveillance when the only people who know about those programs can’t talk about them? And without the public’s consent, how can those programs be legitimate in a democratic society?
Those questions aren’t new, but Snowden’s revelations give them new importance. Those who think what he did was wrong need to do more than just criticize his actions. The goal should be to make it easier for others like him to follow their consciences without breaking the law. And we need to have the public debate that Snowden concluded was lacking -- a point that can’t reasonably be contested, even by his angriest detractors.
The Obama administration may be tempted to respond to Snowden’s actions by intensifying its policy of intimidating would-be leakers through prosecutions. Yet as this case demonstrates, the prospect of imprisonment doesn’t deter everyone. The administration and Congress should instead acknowledge that members of the intelligence community need better avenues for reporting practices they find to be abusive - - if only because, absent such avenues, there will be more Edward Snowdens.

Barack's remarks were troublesome and filled with errors.  At one point he insisted, "If we don't deepen our ports all along the Gulf -- places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia or Jacksonville, Florida -- if we don't do that, those ships are going to go someplace else.  And we'll lose jobs [. . .]"  Dan Quayle was crucified for his spelling of potato but Barack can list cities that are not "all along the Gulf" but claim that they are and no one corrects him?

 We all have to play stupid so the princess isn't outshined?

Larry Johnson (No Quarter) addresses Barack's claims of specific threats:

If you are waiting for the Al Qaeda terrorist offensive, stop waiting. It is here. But it is not in focused in the 22 countries where Barack Obama, choosing the route of a coward, shuttered US Embassies. Nope. It is in Iraq:

The United Nations said Thursday that July was Iraq’s deadliest month in more than five years, describing a series of bombings and shootings as an epidemic of sectarian-tinged violence that had killed 1,057 Iraqis and wounded 2,326. The organization’s acting special representative for Iraq, Gyorgy Busztin, said in a statement that the severity of the mayhem was the worst since 2008, when Iraq verged on civil war after the American-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and his Sunni minority from power. Many of the attacks in July were aimed at members of the Shiite majority that has dominated Iraq’s politics since the withdrawal of the American military at the end of 2011.
This is the deadly harvest the is the work of George W. Bush and now, Barack Obama.
The current warning issued by the Obama Administration is bulls**t. As I wrote earlier this week, Obama and members of Congress claim it is “specific” but, rather than focus on stopping a specific threat, they insist in the same breath that they don’t know what, when or how. That ain’t specific!

Meanwhile the Cambridge Chronicle notes:

The government is beginning to sound like the boy who cried wolf. First it was Bradley Manning and his leaks which damaged national security. Those leaks occurred in 2010 and we’ve yet to see how in any way they’ve damaged our national security.

Over 500 hundred people have died in Iraq just this month alone. Seems that’s more damaging to national security than Bradley Manning, who, by the way leaked documents showing the number of people killed in Iraq is greater than what the government is reporting. We’ve been here before, the Pentagon Papers proved that what the government knew and what they were telling the country about what was going on in Vietnam, were two different things.

Now they’re saying the same thing about Edward Snowden and his leaks telling of government collection and storage of data, they say the leaks are a great threat to our national security.

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