CRIMINAL ASSET FORFEITURE

 

Last night I came across a recent report generated by the US Inspector General documenting the controversial policy of “civil asset seizure.” The conclusions, though unsurprising to me, should outrage ordinary American’s. Do most people even realize the power our government has to legally forfeit anyone’s property, should the agency –DEA, FBI, DOJ, Local Sheriff, etc– have reason to suspect the owner be a part to a crime? I can say that most of the people I’ve discussed the issue with hardly believe such practices are lawful, let alone common.

Here are some of the statistics found within the IG report: DEA has seized since 2008 over 4 billion in cash, not including cars, electronics, property, homes, clothing, etc. 81% of the cash was seized despite no civil or criminal charges ever being filed. Since 2007 the Department of Justice criminal seizure fund has ballooned to more than 28 billion in cash, 5 billion of which was stolen taken in 2014 alone. 

Summarizing the findings, the IG makes a strong case for patterns of clear misuse and abuse stating, “a perverse profit motive is at play.” Essentially the program funds the budgets of many entities, providing overtime, even high end electronics and sports cars reportedly allocated for “investigatory purposes.” 

My interest stems from an incident that occurred traveling with my uncle in western Texas in 2010. Stopped at a checkpoint run by the local Sheriff, we were removed from the vehicle and separated for questioning without any probable cause. The Mexican border was about 60 miles west and we were not coming from, or traveling to Mexico. Not that it matters.

The truth was, as tourists from California visiting a friend in the area, we were simply fish caught in their “lawful” net. I was asked where we were headed and where we came from, my uncles name and address, about the two firearms in the vehicle and “where” the narcotics were. After affirming my uncles name, I refused to answer further questions without legal representation. Over the course of the following two hours I was threatened with arrest and my uncle’s supposed confessions. Even as a former soldier, the ordeal was frightening. In my mind I kept telling myself, “stay firm, keep story straight and eventually I will be released.” 

After two hours we were released. But not without consequence. They had seized my uncle’s two firearms and $2,300 in cash, implying we were drug mules. It took my family 4 years to retrieve the property and cash, but only after spending $3,500 on legal fees, plus two more trips to the Sheriff’s facility. It almost defy’s believe that this can happening America, it’s outrageous that it is not uncommon. 

It made no difference that we were both veteran’s or that we had no criminal records. It made no difference that we knew the neighboring county judge, that we were white or that we told the truth. Truth is, it shouldn’t matter had those things not been true. The government taking peoples property for any reason is wrong and shortsighted. The people stealing from the people. What does matter is that there seems to be a large group of people in our country that can justify this behavior perpetrated upon fellow countrymen and women. Who are the real criminals? Yes, I’ll say it: these fuckers hiding behind nefarious laws and dime store badges are far worse than most criminals. At least regular criminals don’t pretend to be Range Rover driving Robin Hood’s.  

There is a limit to what “the people” will take from their government before changes are necessary by any means. Maybe reports like this are the answer? Maybe not? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#MoreElectableThanTrump?

The shock and awe; is it different this time? Please don’t try to tell us you didn’t already know Donald Trump spoke of women like this. Your indignation is pathetic, really. It seems this errant comment was the proverbial straw that broke the otherwise robotic support of our elected leaders in Congress? Not the vulgarity recorded in heaps on the Howard Stern Show? Not the phoning in to act as his own publicist under the cover of “John Barron,” trumpeting his alter ego’s prowess when it comes to random models or specific celebrities who, in his own words, “cannot resist the huge celebrity of Mr. Trump?” Give me a break! This all feels scripted in the way a so-called “reality” show or professional wrestling match actually isn’t, fake pretending to be real rather than real acting to be fake. And like the worst genre of B-roll horror films, there’s no surprise on what’s in the closet or hiding under the bed. Anyone paying attention could have predicted this a year ago: The Donald thrown out of the ring, hit over the head with a folding chair by Hillary Clinton, leaving the “true conservative” standing within the ropes, on the mat, to tussle with Clinton, or at least her alter ego…. The Inevitable vs. The Establishment.

The worst part of it all is the way the American people are treated, as if they are all stupid. There will be a fallout, a reckoning I suppose for all these theatrics. Whatever it is, or will be, is beyond my ability to forecast accurately. Politics in America is due for a massive shakeup. The question today is, in what form will change take hold? It would be simple to say a Revolution, however, I find this prediction out of date and lacking specificity. The problem with the theory is the Deep State and the firm grip these agencies have upon modern society. The tactics of Revolution as we’ve seen it historically can be utterly upended by a system that has the ability to exercise complete dominance over people’s movement, finances, communication, even the tactical ability to forecast trends with powerful analytics using data compiled in heaps till now.

Back to the point though. The media that has finally turned on Trump, along with the members of Congress dropping like flies today, do not have much effect on those out in America bitterly supporting the man. It’s the establishment in Washington DC, New York and LA that are the perceived enemy and their position on Donald is irrelevant, if not further reason to support him? And of course he cannot win. He never stood a chance to begin with looking at the electoral math and map. For the GOP to win the Presidency, the stars would need to align. In opposition you’d need an unpopular candidate, check Hillary Clinton, but you’d also need a candidate on your side that can appeal cross culturally with Hispanics and black voter’s. Unchecked, Trump!

It’s gotta be irritating to the ordinary American who is actually looking for a candidate they can wholeheartedly get behind? I think the younger voters unwilling to line up behind Clinton are the most honest, realistic, well-informed out there in the country. We all know Hillary is putting on a mask to win their votes, a little like Obama, just with about 5% of the charisma and 2% of the marketing strategy. “Stronger together?” Sounds like a corporate logo inspired by the healthcare industry which is appropriate considering her logo looks like a sign directing you to the Emergency Department?

Can’t wait for Meet the Press tomorrow morning. My chance to finally throw a television set off a hotel balcony. I’ve always wanted to do that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO THE SHOW

The 2016 Election just went from Plum, to Batshit cRAZY. Fresh audio of Donald Trump circa 2005 speaking with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush bragging, “being a celebrity you can do anything….anything; grab a girls pussy..anything.” There’s some kind of humorous irony in the fact that it was with a Bush…Billy “Bush,” but yeah, so what? It’s not a religious test to qualify for citizenship that’ll supposedly sink The Donald, but some off the record banter that could’ve been hurled from the mouth of almost any dickhead, reality TV douche. But seriously, the shocked indignation from NPR to CNN -who actually bleeps out “pussy,” describing the word as “between a woman’s legs starting with a, I shit you not: P” after playing the clip. It’s the sort of wimpy, cringe-worthy reporting that only tends to buttress my belief in the doom of our Democracy. I would never vote for Donald Trump as President of the United States, nevertheless, his candidacy has done more to expose the corrupt, incestuous, media/government marriage than anyone or anything since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In a distant 3rd place among the headlines today, behind the latest Trump gaff and the Hurricane threatening the Southeastern US, was the governments assertion that Russia has been meddling in our electoral system by hacking political organizations and then dumping the data by way of Wikileaks and Julian Assange. The latest of which reveals a trove of Clinton associate emails discussing, among many other things, the substance of her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street.

If Hillary Clinton were facing almost any other GOP candidate she’d be toast. I’d say, concerning these fresh leaks involving both candidates, that they only shed a kind of credibility to what we already know about them. Anyone acting truly surprised that The Donald used language like this concerning women is either lying or willfully ignorant. And likewise, if you believe Hillary Clinton truly intends on reigning in the corrupt practices of Wall Street and Corporate America, you’re just incredibly gullible or too young to have experienced the shady character of establishment Democrats.

The election is a month out now. There’s still time for the GOP to try to dump Trump for their authentic choice, Mike Pence. Count on the media to direct the narrative in this direction. They cannot wrap their heads around Donald Trump surviving the establishment until November and will begin pushing hard to have him step down. It’s a scenario like this playing out that excites me as a spectator. Imagine the blowback from Trump diehards throughout middle America? The GOP leadership might talk themselves into the notion that Pence is a “true” conservative, thus softening the blow from the anti-establishment, Trump crowd, but it wont. That’s the part of this that The Beltway cannot get their heads wrapped around. They see Mike Pence as just another Washington insider, which he actually is. Trump, above all other reasoning, is their “fuck you” to DC. If he is somehow convinced to step down, or even the impression is left that he is left out to dry, the GOP is probably finished?

As for Russia? I guess I was wrong back in June in making the case that the Russian State wouldn’t be behind these leaks? It could still be a red herring from the DCCC and the Obama Administration to lessen the damage, but that is becoming less likely. Still though, most of the media is focusing primarily on the Russian connection to the material, the substance of the leaks less importantly. In any other cycle, considering her penchant for security and her private server which exposed classified material in a grossly negligent -I say clearly illegal- manner, these tidbits revealing her true identity would be catastrophic. Luckily for her and unlucky for the country, her main opponent has disparaged parents of a Veteran killed in action, has called for a religious test to be American, hasn’t paid taxes for +/- 20 years, has called Mexican’s rapists, has called for punishing women choosing to have a legal abortion, on and on and on. Oh yeah, has a 65% dislikability score to her…eh hum, 55% unlikability.

So what does all this mean for the future? Probably very little besides excellent television ratings. As I’ve believed for years now, especially after serving in the US Army in both Afghanistan and Iraq, is that most Presidents are not strong enough in character to bend the will of established government bureaucrats in the Nation Security institutions and The Pentagon. Sure, Presidents have power, nevertheless, they typically modify their positions once sworn in to the preconceived paths of the Deep State. They talk about change, transparency and the rule of law, however, as best exemplified by Barack Obama, these positions are little more than “lip service.” Two examples off the top of my head are his intention to close Guantanamo Bay Cuba Detention Center and his wanting to clean up the so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques – Extraordinary Rendition – Black-sites programs. To say he didn’t have the authority to close GITMO within months as Commander-in-Chief is ridiculous. It’s exactly the sort of thing he could do as the Executive, but didn’t and wont because the Deep State opposes the action. To the torture regime, he could and should have directed his Attorney General to criminally prosecute those within the CIA and NSA that administrated that mess, but didn’t. Why? The simple fact that many of those involved continued to serve his administration, some even today, tells you almost everything you need to know. That the Deep State has power, if only implicitly, greater than that of a weak President.

Finally, the corruption endemic to Wall Street and high finance plays out even today without criminal ramifications of any kind. That is by choice, not by accident. Why? Weakness. Period. With Clinton and Trump you have two birds of the same feather, only myth and flock distinguish them from each other. In practice however, they both represent weakness and status quo. All the static we hear, all the sparks we see, they are little more than political showbiz. It’s all just one big game.

May the odds forever be in your favor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

@CBS #60MINUTES &DR STRANGELOVE

Isn’t it frustrating that the 2003 Iraq War has come down to petty squabbles over who did, or didn’t, support the initial invasion? It’s relevant sure, but more important to American’s is, what have you learned from what is quite possibly the worst foreign policy blunder in United States history? What did you learn Mrs. Clinton, from both the initial mistake of regime change to the disastrous policy of occupation? Same for Mr. Trump. Instead of speaking broadly with terms like “huge mistake,” and “failure,” tell us what you’ve learned from the debacle? But no, that’s not what Presidential politics is all about. It’s easy for me to picture both Clinton and Trump at their lecterns, with their thumbs in their ears, whaling, nananananananana.

I’m bored with them for now. The real heat under my collar these days stems from our eroding rule of law in America. My new favorite poster boy for the gilded court room award is billionaire Jeff Epstein. A man with powerful friends no doubt. From the British Royal’s to the American Royal’s, this pedophile travels the globe in his private jet; The Lolita. It seems President Clinton has earned plenty of mileage plan perks since 2001, some 30 times at minimum aboard the Lolita. What’s the chances that another creepy billionaire in the news is good pals with Pedophile Jeff who goes by The Donald? Oh yes, the cream certainly does congeal at the top of that evil circus troupe. It seems nothing touches old Jeffrey, especially not the pitiful local Sheriff who investigated him for a year, identifying scores of pre-teens inhabiting the scumbag palatial mansion, only to have the rug pulled out from under the investigation by the DA. For serial rape and trafficking children, 18 months in the local jail seems appropriate? Especially nice considering his spending a few days in the joint, a few at home, repeat. But we pretend that justice is blind. The truth is America has no rule of law. What we have is a police state that uses the threat of prison to control the less powerful. How else can you explain the fact that one of these young ladies ended up doing three years hard time for stealing a gold necklace from mister pedophile and friends, the same duckweed who repeatedly sexually abused her from age 13 to 15. Justice!

And if you thought it couldn’t get any more sleazy; consider the fact that both Donald Trump and Bill Clinton consider the douche a “good friend.” I wonder what kind of blackmail material Mr. Epstein has on these fine gentlemen?

In other news: Watching this weeks edition of 60 Minutes calmed my nerves a bit, not really. So apparently we are once again flying Nuclear armed B-52s around Russia’s borders like the good old days of the Cold War. Some Air Force General the likes of Curtis Le-may calmly described the fire power aboard each bomber: They carry four, six-cylinder cruise missile launchers, each armed with thermonuclear munitions some 25 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. These missiles can travel 1500 miles -a handy map was provided clearly showing the flight paths to major Russian cities- so with aircraft flying missions from the North Pole to Southeast Asia, we got them Roosky’s covered. WTF!

Have these clowns ever watched Dr. Strangelove? If not, they have replicated much of the subplot with uncanny, terrifying accuracy. This ‘ol General assured the American public that these exercises are now necessary due to ultra-provocative Russian behavior. Anyone else sense something approaching Kafka in rationality and Orwellian logic? Right! ISIS is our biggest threat?

I am making jokes here, but seriously, this bullshit is approaching insanity. Our political leadership is going to sit idly by while the Pentagon and CIA provoke Russia into Cold War 2.0? The amount of hubris dripping from that 60 Minutes feature was stunning. It was propaganda worthy of our bloated, unruly, cooked Deep State, no doubt. I ask this: If we had State sponsored media here in a supposed Democracy, would it look any different from that 60 Minutes piece? Look, the so-called journalists at CBS let our military command speak ill will of Russia and Syria for bombing indiscriminately, including a hospital. That’s appropriate, true, and accurate as far as we know? But to not ask anyone at the Pentagon about the Doctor’s Without Borders Hospital we recently destroyed in Afghanistan by “accident,” or the “accidental” bombing of Syrian troops in their own country last week, is worse than malpractice; it’s subservient and destructive to our Democratic process that requires our citizens learning the truth, so they can act appropriately and agree with, or disagree with, the policies playing out in our names.

Someone asked me today, a fellow Vet; “are you even on our side brother?” The whimsical nature of the question, asked so nonchalantly, depressed me profoundly.  “Am I on your side?” Wow! “Yes, I am brother!” “It’s some of these fools in command, making the policy, cavalierly toying with a country that’s capable of wiping our nation literally off the map, that should be asked that question.” Beginning with our addiction to meddling in what should be Russia’s sphere of influence. Pushing NATO right up to their border after committing to the opposite policy upon a reunited Germany. Even going so far as to help overthrow the Russia friendly Ukrainian Government, a piece of geography analogous to the United States and Mexico. These crimped and pressed desk jockeys have calculated that the best policy in regards to Russia is “poke the bear.” So yea, I’d ask them whose side are you on? The American public or the Boards of corporate raiders the likes of Raytheon and General Atomics, who would profit quite handsomely supplying the tools of Cold War 2.0.

What good is all that money sir, that paper currency and 1’s and zeros on a network after your freshman pranks cause the cold to boil?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#PRESIDENTIALDEBATE b.s.

So my last post was just all out word storm…and it felt good. Maybe I’ve discovered something vital to my mental health; unabridged political word vomit? Speaking of stomach and gut excrement, I just finished watching the 1st Presidential Debate of 2016. I was hoping to walk away from the 90 minutes with a better impression of Hillary Clinton, a hope that seemed within possibility considering the adjacent candidate sharing the stage with her. First thoughts are most important I think and the truth is, neither candidate said or acted in any way unexpected. My assessment of the two stands: I intensely dislike both Clinton and Trump as POTUS. Trump is simply a fool who might actually change Washington. The change might be for the worse, if that’s even possible? And Clinton represents the established “status quo.” Yes, I know both descriptors mean the same thing. Watching the show on my laptop I yearned for a West Wing President Bartlett smack down from Hillary that, despite the many moments of unguarded Trump, if you will, never materialized. Was that the strategy, to simply chuckle at his ranting madness? The one canned response I noticed was the “beauty queen” line that didn’t really emphasize the larger point..my opinion at least. But Lester Holt did a solid job. If anything, he leaned on The Donald with tough questions a couple more times than he did Clinton. Last thing I’ll mention: Clinton only addressed or referred to Trump as Donald the entire debate. Doubt he noticed.

The bigger theme is: From a Nation of 330 million, these two, somehow, have been lifted to such prominence, despite their flaws, despite their unlike-ability, despite their histories? What does this say about our democratic system? In my opinion, these national elections expose the truth, rather than perpetuate the myth, of our society. We like to prance around the world extolling our moral superiority and advanced justice systems. The nomination of Trump, a man connected both fundamentally and tangentially to bias and racism, exposes the entrenched social divides that continue to hound our culture. If social media could be attributed to a single benefit, I believe that would have to be the way in which these isolated, yet not infrequent acts of racial injustices, ie, unarmed black persons killed by law enforcement- are readily exposed to the masses, where as in past times only the most egregious acts like the Rodney King beatings went viral. This combination of ubiquitous recording and multi dimensional sharing is mainstreaming a social cause that’s been brewing for decades, yet heavily exposed today with the tools of modern technology.

Going back to these police killings for a minute. Just imagine how many unjustified homicides occurred prior to these technological advances? I mean look, many time today, even when captured on video, law enforcement will dance around the truth as in the case of Tamir Rice in Cleveland. A straight up murder by the way. Many of these incidents are buffeted with phrases like; “I saw a gun” or, “he looked like a madman on PCP.” Without video to contradict these accounts and the willingness of other police witnesses to falsify reports, the victims have been “up shit creek,” so to speak. Your word against theirs and you might be dead anyway right? So you can feel this storm brewing as regular citizens now have the opposing ammunition to contradict what otherwise would have likely been covered up with false reporting. Shit’s gotta change and the shock and confusion gripping police departments is palpable. Hopefully modern technology will help bridge this long running divide….but consider me skeptical.

No surprise Veteran’s issues of any kind were absent from the debate! After the forum last week I had many questions regarding both candidates comprehension of the wider issues. Actually, I don’t even want to know what these two think. Fuck ’em. They could say something sensible and be a lie or something outrageous that comes true. It’s all talk from them. It’s the moderator who asks the question…or doesn’t, as it were, that bears importance. Is that the correct “bears?” Or “bares?” At this point though, even I would be incredibly shocked if Trump even ends up winning more than 150 electoral votes. We are collectively a stupid nation, but not morons, right?

Hasn’t supply side -trickle down- economics been proven a sham? Isn’t it fucking obvious that Republicans spew this “voodoo” economic theory as a convenient way to slash taxes, most of all for the wealthy and corporate America? After all these years though it’s still trotted out by GOP candidates like some kind of paramnesia. Such bullshit. In fact, that’s a better metaphor than “trickle down.” It should be, “let the bull eat more so that even more shit trickles down on the rest of us.” The more gluttony, the more shit for all theory of economics. It’s about as believable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conflict of Interest[ed]?

So. Mrs. Clinton’s campaign seems to have really stepped into the muck this time, an unforced error so typical of those completely ensconced in the DC beltway echo chamber, far beyond the worries of most swing voter’s, specifically, those voters still undecided for whom they will cast a vote for, if they vote at all, in this November’s Presidential race. It’s funny the lengths these operations will go just to fall in front of themselves. Apparently, the Clinton’s will suspend their foundation’s financial collection operation upon Hillary winning the election? A move that obviously -but possibly beyond the grasp of Clinton secret decoder rings in Brooklyn- will create more uncomfortable questions than it’s intended to answer, right?

For example: If appropriate to suspend as POTUS, why not as Secretary of State? Why suspend? Is it because donations are given with an implied expectation of future quid pro quo? If that can be inferred from donors perspective, how can you claim the opposite in the case of Wall Street -Goldman Sachs- paid speeches? Do you expect the electorate to believe rich hedge fund managers find what you have to say so valuable as to reflect the enormous fees? If so, as an example, why didn’t these same money managers skip Obama’s FREE speech in 2009? Do you really want to treat your constituents like they are stupid?

Beyond all this trivial incompetence, the most troubling aspect of this campaign for Liberal’s in general should be, is the left’s grooming and showcasing of lifelong Republican’s who are coming out in support of Hillary Clinton. More than anything the campaign packages and presents to the public, the idea that Clinton is courting GOP voters is a flashing red warning of things to come.

We might end up with three parties on the National level: a far right Tea Party, a leftist Social Democrat Party, and a so-called center Clinton Party that governs in the past, avoiding significant change to the ruling class, the elite and big business in the foreseeable future.

Let’s call it the Establishment Party?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Not Kid Yourself

The self-righteous indignation spewing from the lips of Democratic Party loyalists over the Donald’s comments regarding the Khan family makes me laugh. Of course Trump is a disgrace to the country, to Vets and their families, but let’s not confuse political showmanship with actual empathy. You do not need to travel far back in time -2005-06 in fact- to dredge up a similarly offensive position espoused by the so-called liberals. I’ll get to that public shaming in a second. First let’s consider the chanting battles at this years convention in Philadelphia. While some in the crowd chanted “no more war” during some speakers time on stage, -a pretty standard liberal position going back 100 years at least- an even larger, louder group of democrats drowned the chant out with “USA, USA, USA!” Not exactly the sort of chant that brings the idea of peace to the world, a position most effective in preventing even more combat veteran’s joining the community henceforth.

Have we already forgotten the Cindy Sheehan story? For the brave, yet simple act of protest in the wake of her son losing his life serving in Iraq, she was roundly flogged by heavy hitters in both parties. So this idea that George Bush treated her with respect, while letting the hounds loose behind the scenes, is utter and complete bullshit. For her troubles, standing vigil outside of the Bush compound in Texas, she was dismissed in politics, as well as in the media, as a nut-job, narcissistic wife and follower of Bin Laden. Sure, some Democrat’s used her for political purposes, -i.e., to get elected- yet she was never treated with empathy. Sounds familiar?

Just a thought on a hot Sunday night.

 

 

 

 

LIP servicE

The web will find you, anywhere. The modern machine broke free today. My peaceful corner of the planet, no more than a few hundred stones throw’s south of the Arctic Circle, became, if only temporarily, the newest information landfill in the Galaxy, thanks to my closest neighbor half-a-mile away. The industrious gentlemen, a Korean and Vietnam War’s Vet and occasional Poker player, combined renewable and fuel generated energy to power, among other things, a DISH Network system with internet and WiFi Router -no password- for the communities pleasure. The community being him, his wife, two dogs and one neighbor, me. I cannot say that I’m happy for the hook-up, nevertheless, his ingenuity -necessary, he claims, to lure his wife away from the city for a few weeks- and effort makes me smile.

The obvious downside to this temporary connection with the sick world below is the fact I learned of Donald Trump’s newest -as of 11am Wednesday- mouth fart. WTF, really?Is it hyperbole to posit anyone else making that statement in public would bring a heavy hand from the law? Maybe not arrested, but certainly put under watch? There’s no question he meant 2nd Amendment folks might be able to get what they want through the use of gun violence, that’s almost certain. Now, we can parse whether he meant Clinton directly, or Justices, or a coup de’tat for fucks sake. The comment was beyond the pale, even for The Donald. And like my last post made clear, the media must stop with the mealy mouth coverage. But they wont. In fact, the most ridiculous parsing came from the supposed Liberal MSNBC. It leaves me to wonder: might they be trying to help Donald to keep him afloat long enough to get HRC elected? Doubt it. Not that smart…or, rather, not as smart as those operating the levers of power over at FOX news!

The sun just broke through the grey of last nights storm. Spending precious time attempting to unravel the tangled mess that is modern politics feels perverse, if not my own wicked corruption? Would it sound crazy admitting my interest in such ethereal, distant helms, actually blunts my otherwise, painful, aching loneliness? I know my opinion is of zero consequence beyond the games stretching out within my own mind. The spaces between these crowded arenas are so dark, there have been times I could have laid down in the opaqueness, and check out of the next game. It’s a journey of feet, on the razors edge between grey and black. I never would have believed the anguish this despair controls in here? I was a happy child, a young man of contentment. Now, after the blasts and regret, that other life is lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2nd vs 1st Amendment

preface: thanks for the comments. never really believed anyone would read so I will try to be better with the grammar and also try to include some photos. But thanks!

The consumers of media are being ill-served by the supposed laws of modern journalism. Journalism is being equally held hostage by the ethics of the profession. No better example of this dichotomy of sorts is NPR’s -albeit not alone- coverage of the unprecedented national presidential election that is 2016. Maybe this opinion and observation is far from unique, nevertheless, it’s an opinion that’s escaped my view in reading through the NYT, WaPost and WSJ’s editorial pages. I’ll try to briefly explain what I mean.

Mainstream media organizations, those that put on an air of fairness and balance in coverage, -let’s preclude MSNBC & FOX for now- almost never accuse someone outright of lying. And in many instances this is a sound policy, from my perspective at least. 2016 seems to have ventured into rather stormy waters? There have been several, if not many, statements made by both candidates and campaigns -I believe the lions share are from the Donald however- that fall far beyond the usual white lies and can -and should- be called out by the media as outright lies, fabrications and/or intentional deception.I’d argue that this is new. I’d also argue that being of the unprecedented nature, mainstream, objective media, needs to modify their general practices in order to serve the public, to serve Democracy and the 1st Amendment.

When Secretary Clinton uses legalese, oratory gymnastics, and obfuscation, as she continues to employ regarding her use of her private server, the media -CNN, NBC, CBS, NPR, ABC etc- should begin calling it for what it is: lying. When the Trump campaign claims they had nothing to do with the GOP platform committee changing language, softening its position in respect to Russia and the Ukraine, that same media needs to stop dancing around, applying the same techniques with words, and simply say: “that’s a lie.” 

Why is this simple, yet possibly dramatic modification necessary? Count me as ever skeptical, but the truth is, many American’s trust many of these news outlets to give them the truth. They might not like what they hear initially, might even tune out, yet in the end, I believe the ethical decision is gravely important for our Nation. When Walter Cronkite told us the War in Vietnam was lost, feelings were probably hurt, the Pentagon lost its shit and the Executive Branch howled, but in the end, it was the truth that did the most good, ultimately, along with courageous Americans the likes of Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali and Daniel Elsberg, we slowly corrected our course. The 15 year, unwinnable War On Terror is the modern equivalent and the media has failed epidemically. Like the Iraq War, those voices many Americans trusted, sounded off the truth far too late and only when popularity in the war had sunk so low, their ratings went unaffected.

Their ratings today cannot get any worse. Maybe telling the truth, in time that is, would paradoxically be the right move in our Capitalistic business/news/entertainment landscape? Maybe telling the truth by calling the lies a lie would ultimately be the most sound financial, moral, ethical and patriotic move? Maybe, in the words of Edwin Murrow, words condemning Senator McCarthy’s unconstitutional and abhorrent search for Communist’s in a supposed “free” United States, “let us speak the truth, for we are not born of fearful men,” or close to that, maybe that network could ascend to the top of the ratings along with the top of those protecting the 1st amendment? Because how can we expect our politicians, or candidates, to protect the 2nd Amendment if they aren’t willing, or not bright enough, or honest enough, to protect and defend the 1st?

So from me to you: they’re lying. Neither 2 major candidates has a stump to stand on when calling the other a liar. It’s not like the pot callin’ the kettle black, no, more like the coward callin’ the chickenhawk brave. So Meet the Press, This Morning whatever, NYT, Don Lemon….even Rachael Maddow or Megan Kelly, as a start; a spades a spade, a liars a liar…until they’re not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GOLD STAR’S & PURPLE HEART

Wow! War, Veteran’s, and sacrifice finally reached the national political zeitgeist…for basically, all the wrong reasons. I take that back. What I mean to say is that it’s great that the upper political class and media gave the subject airtime, however, the scope of the debate became narrow and somewhat pointless.

How about we discuss the fact that prior to the Khan’s extraordinarily brave and selfless speech, that barely 7% of the U.S. population over the age of 16, could accurately describe the meaning of a “Gold Star Family?” Or might we have more than a ‘gotcha’ type of public debate as to the merits, cost, and/or crime that was the 2003 Iraq War? I actually came across a few who said in one way or another that, if a certain he or she, or several he’s and she’s opposed the war, the Khan’s son might be alive and well today? This assertion was scoffed at with contempt of course. They’d say, “the intelligence was wrong,” or “the country was in shock because, you know, 9/11. Did I say 9/11 yet?” Or why not use the moment to discuss the problems with the VA, Vet suicides, ongoing, ever expanding war without end, on and on and on?

Not to put to fine a point on it, but even if Saddam Hussein still had some chemical weapons laying around; did that present an imminent threat to the United States, a country Iraq had never attacked beyond the outskirts of its own border? This intelligence failure reasoning is the most brilliant, yet stinky red herring in American foreign policy history. The thing that bothers me the most, even today, is that the only people to suffer, to pay the price for an illegal war and occupation of a sovereign state, is the civilian population of Iraq and the low level soldiers who followed orders, implicitly trusting a government and society that they/we wouldn’t be asked to sacrifice so much on a deliberate set of lies.

We will continue making the same errors, from ideological wars to illegal torture, not because we are inherently evil as a society, but because those who prosecute and approve these policies are not held to account, implicitly causing much of the country to agree with the process, no matter the eventual complete and utter failure. So yeah, I find men like Donald Trump wretched and small. A person so vacant of honor that he’d go around claiming he was against the Iraq War when in fact he’s on record supporting it. To campaign on a Navy warship, spewing bluster and grit, yet avoiding the Vietnam War four times due to school, then, avoiding service by having some shady doctor write a letter claiming the 22 year old had bone spurs, thereby precluding him from service. As POTUS, I have no doubt he’d have no qualms sending others into battle out of vanity. Hillary Clinton is little better, and is one of those who never paid the price for her poor judgement that ultimately cost the lives of many thousand soldiers and more than a million civilians. So fuck her too!

But these are not subject to discussion in the mainstream. It’s the gatekeeper’s of the forum who were also complicit in our wars of aggression. Even the chicken-hawk’s and carpetbagger’s throughout the media aren’t immune to that level of hypocrisy. And so we march on in lock step chanting hey-hey, ho-ho, exceptionalism is the way to go. Some day far down the road, history will be written by someone other than ourselves, only then will our hyperbolic pride be revealed in earnest.