An accurate prediction
Oct 28th, 2013 by Ken Hagler

Five years ago, I wrote this:

Expe­ri­ence sug­gests that if Oba­ma does indeed win the elec­tion, the Obames­siah cult will praise him to the heav­ens for con­tin­u­ing to do exact­ly the same things that Bush has been doing for the past eight years, while the Bushe­viks will con­demn him as the Antichrist for doing exact­ly the same things that Bush has been doing. And of course none of them will ever acknowl­edge that their “beliefs” have reversed overnight, any more than they did when Bush replaced Clin­ton.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, I was right.

Nothing really changes in Washington
Apr 17th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Abuse of Pow­er Gets a Pass, Report­ing It Gets Jail Time.

Here’s Glenn Green­wald on the Oba­ma administration’s pros­e­cu­tion of NSA whistle­blow­er Thomas Drake, and it’s out­ra­geous tri­umphal­ism after win­ning an indict­ment.

As Green­wald writes, it’s now clear that Obama’s “Look For­ward, Not Back­ward” phi­los­o­phy applies only to high-ranking Bush admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials who abused their pow­er and posi­tion. The peo­ple who risked their careers and free­dom to come for­ward to report on those abus­es won’t be get­ting the same con­sid­er­a­tion. Or put anoth­er way: If you break the law to expand the pow­er of gov­ern­ment at the expense of the peo­ple, you get a pass. But if you break the law to make gov­ern­ment more trans­par­ent and account­able, expect them to throw the book at you.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

Anoth­er exam­ple of how noth­ing has changed, regard­less of who occu­pies the White House.

An easy question
Aug 24th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Where are the anti­war pro­test­ers now that we real­ly need them?.

Anti-war protests in all 50 states and in front of the hat­ed King Bush II”s Texas ranch were a fix­ture in Amer­i­can life and news­pa­pers from 2003 through mid-2008. The protests seem to have dis­ap­peared yet the ills of war remain. Let’s look at what is bad about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:

  • Amer­i­cans are being killed
  • Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers are being improver­ished
  • lim­it­ed Amer­i­can resources are divert­ed to unpro­duc­tive activ­i­ties (bomb­ing an opi­um fac­to­ry in Afghanistan is not like­ly to lead to long-term growth the way that build­ing a fac­to­ry in North Car­oli­na would)

All three of these things were bad in 2004 when the U.S. was rich and get­ting rich­er. They are even worse now. We have had a decline in birth rate and pop­u­la­tion growth due to the eco­nom­ic col­lapse. This makes the death of an Amer­i­can sol­dier if any­thing more cost­ly becuase there are few­er chil­dren grow­ing up to replace him or her. We have less mon­ey now, so what­ev­er it is that we’re spend­ing on our adven­tures amongst the Jihadis is less afford­able ( shows that spend­ing is high­er than ever and con­tin­u­ing to grow).

Giv­en that the cost of the wars in Amer­i­can life and tax­pay­er funds is less bear­able now than before, how come the anti­war pro­test­ers seem to have melt­ed away?

[Philip Green­spun Weblog]

The answer to that is real­ly obvi­ous: those pro­test­ers were nev­er real­ly anti-war, only anti-a Repub­li­can being the one in charge of the war. Now that a Demo­c­rat is in the White House, the war is fine with them.

Role reversal
Apr 15th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

The ulti­mate reap­ing of what one sows: right-wing edi­tion. Right-wing polemi­cists today are shriek­ing in self-pitying protest over a new report from the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty sent to local police forces which warns of grow­ing “right-wing extrem­ist activ­i­ty.” The report (.pdf) iden­ti­fies attrib­ut­es of these right-wing extrem­ists, warn­ing that a grow­ing domes­tic threat of vio­lence and ter­ror­ism “may include groups and indi­vid­u­als that are ded­i­cat­ed to a single-issue, such as oppo­si­tion to abor­tion or immi­gra­tion” and “groups that reject fed­er­al author­i­ty in favor of state or local author­i­ty.”


But the polit­i­cal fac­tion screech­ing about the dan­gers of the DHS is the same one that spent the last eight years vast­ly expand­ing the domes­tic Sur­veil­lance State and fed­er­al police pow­ers in every area. DHS — and the still-creepy phrase “home­land secu­ri­ty” — became George Bush’s call­ing card. The Repub­li­cans won the 2002 elec­tion by demo­niz­ing those who opposed its cre­ation. All of the enabling leg­is­la­tion under­ly­ing this Sur­veil­lance State — from the Patri­ot Act to the Mil­i­tary Com­mis­sions Act, from the var­i­ous FISA “reforms” to mas­sive increas­es in domes­tic “counter-Terrorism” pro­grams — are the spawns of the very right-wing move­ment that today is pet­ri­fied that this is all being direct­ed at them.

When you cheer on a Sur­veil­lance State, you have no grounds to com­plain when it turns its eyes on you. If you cre­ate a mas­sive and wild­ly empow­ered domes­tic sur­veil­lance appa­ra­tus, it’s going to mon­i­tor and inves­ti­gate domes­tic polit­i­cal activ­i­ty. That’s its nature. [Glenn Green­wald]

At least the British still give lip service to the rule of law
Mar 27th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

Britain responds to the “rule of law” nui­sance.

Britain responds to the “rule of law” nui­sance: Via Salon: Glenn Green­wald.

(updat­ed below — Update II)

One of the prob­lems for the U.S. Gov­ern­ment in releas­ing Guan­tanamo detainees has been that, upon release, they are free to talk to the world about the treat­ment to which they were sub­ject­ed.  When the Bush admin­is­tra­tion agreed to release Aus­tralian David Hicks after almost 6 years in cap­tiv­i­ty, they did so only on the con­di­tion that he first sign a doc­u­ment­ing stat­ing that he was not abused and that he also agree — as The Aus­tralian put it — to an “extra­or­di­nary 12-month gag order that prevent[ed] Hicks from speak­ing pub­licly about the actions to which he has plead­ed guilty or the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his cap­ture, inter­ro­ga­tion and deten­tion,” a gag order which “also silence[d] fam­i­ly mem­bers and any third par­ty.”

Last month, in response to increas­ing pres­sure in Britain over reports of British res­i­dent Binyam Mohamed’s dete­ri­o­ra­tion in Guan­tanamo, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion released him back to Britain.  Ever since, he has been detail­ing the often bru­tal tor­ture to which he was sub­ject­ed over sev­er­al years, tor­ture in which British intel­li­gence offi­cials appear to have been, at the very least, com­plic­it.   read more »

[Pri­va­cy Digest: Pri­va­cy News (Civ­il Rights, Encryp­tion, Free Speech, Cryp­tog­ra­phy)]

Hope­ful­ly the British inves­ti­ga­tion will be allowed to pro­ceed. Unfor­tu­nate­ly I sus­pect it’s more like­ly that either the Evil Empire will order them to drop the mat­ter or else they’ll fol­low the exam­ple of cops and find them­selves inno­cent of any wrong­do­ing.

Not a change for the better
Feb 13th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

No, It Isn’t.

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), post­ing on Twit­ter:

11 hours to review a 1000+ page spend­ing bill that spends near­ly a tril­lion dol­lars? This is not Con­gress’ finest hour.”

Looks like Oba­ma will also again be break­ing his pledge to post every bill on the web for the pub­lic to review for five days before sign­ing it. And this on the biggest and (by his mea­sure) most impor­tant bill he’s like­ly to sign in his pres­i­den­cy.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

Here we see the dif­fer­ence between a pres­i­dent who’s stu­pid and evil and one who’s smart and evil. It took Bush until Sep­tem­ber of his first year in office to get away with the “Patri­ot” Act, while Oba­ma has pulled off his own ver­sion in Feb­ru­ary.

Gaza analysis
Jan 6th, 2009 by Ken Hagler

The War Nerd: Hamas Ain’t No Hezbol­lah. What’s going on in Gaza now is pret­ty easy to under­stand if you think a lit­tle bit about the way mil­i­tary trends have been going in the past century-but you also have to be will­ing to take a cold look at how wars work these days, when there’s no such thing as those “pure­ly mil­i­tary” […] [EXILED ONLINE — MANKIND’S ONLY ALTERNATIVE]

An inter­est­ing view on what’s going on in Gaza. One thing’s cer­tain: the Israelis are act­ing just like Amer­i­cans these days.

An Iraqi hero
Dec 15th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Free Bush shoe-thrower, Iraqis urge. Pro­test­ers demand release of jour­nal­ist held after hurl­ing footwear at US pres­i­dent. [AL JAZEERA ENGLISH (AJE)]

In Arab cul­ture, throw­ing a shoe at some­one is a severe insult. Per­son­al­ly, I think what al-Zeidi did was a hero­ic act com­pa­ra­ble to the man who stood in front of the tanks in Tianan­men Square. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I think it’s like­ly that he’ll come to just as unpleas­ant an end. He’s prob­a­bly already dis­ap­peared into one of the Evil Empire’s secret pris­ons.

European hypocrisy
Nov 11th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Rwan­da expels Ger­man ambas­sador. Rose Kabuye, the director- gen­er­al of state pro­to­col in Rwan­da, was detained at Frank­furt air­port on Sun­day, a move that Paul Kagame, the Rwan­dan pres­i­dent, has called a “vio­la­tion of sov­er­eign­ty”.

Louise Mushiki­wabo, Rwanda’s infor­ma­tion min­is­ter, said: “The Rwan­dan gov­ern­ment told the Ger­man ambas­sador to leave with­in 48 hours until the arrest of Kabuye is resolved.

The ambas­sador should leave the coun­try by Thurs­day,” she said.

Kabuye was arrest­ed on an inter­na­tion­al war­rant issued by France in 2006 for her and eight oth­er asso­ciates of Kagame.

She is accused of involve­ment in the shoot­ing down of an aero­plane car­ry­ing Juve­nal Hab­ya­ri­mana, the Rwan­dan pres­i­dent, in 1994. His death was one of the sparks that ignit­ed a cam­paign of geno­cide in the cen­tral African nation, Ger­man pros­e­cu­tors have said. [Al Jazeera]

I note that Bush has been to both Ger­many and France with­out being arrest­ed, and there’s no ques­tion that he’s guilty of far worse crimes than what Ms. Kabuye is accused of. I don’t par­tic­u­lar­ly approve of coun­tries impos­ing their own laws on for­eign­ers for things that hap­pened in for­eign coun­tries (a prac­tice the Evil Empire is fond of), but the dou­ble stan­dard here is even more offen­sive.

Truth in advertising
Oct 28th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Get disappointed by someone new

I came across this amus­ing bumper stick­er—it’s prob­a­bly the clos­est we’ll ever see to an hon­est cam­paign ad. How­ev­er, I think it’s too opti­mistic. Expe­ri­ence sug­gests that if Oba­ma does indeed win the elec­tion, the Obames­si­ah cult will praise him to the heav­ens for con­tin­u­ing to do exact­ly the same things that Bush has been doing for the past eight years, while the Bushe­viks will con­demn him as the Antichrist for doing exact­ly the same things that Bush has been doing. And of course none of them will ever acknowl­edge that their “beliefs” have reversed overnight, any more than they did when Bush replaced Clin­ton.

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