Thursday, May 29, 2014

I, Too, Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

(Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader Stan the Man for the inspiration.)
     As I'd made mention several times over the near decade I've been blogging about politics, I was proud to have cast my first vote for John Kerry in 2004. I was proud that, for virtually all my adult life, he was my junior senator. I was even able to somehow ignore the fact that, during the Democratic National Convention in Boston that summer, the government and Boston PD had set up "Freedom cages" for the protesters to ensure none of the Democratic elite who would show up at the Fleet Center would ever have to see or hear them and that, just to be sure no one got out of hand, snipers were set up. That was out of Kerry's hands, I told myself.
     The convention was remarkable for several other things, including that of a credentialed female reporter (In an eerily prescient moment of another incident three years later in Florida) getting dragged off the convention floor while Kerry's bizarre wife Theresa Heinz-Kerry blathered on about freedom of speech, particularly for women. The late Maya Angelou, who passed away just yesterday, also spoke at the convention. That's why it was ironic to, surprisingly, no one that the nation's unofficial poet laureate who'd lyrically written about the brutality and oppression in the Jim Crow South would speak at that same convention in the Northeast while protesters were literally caged far from the Fleet Center with no tables, no chairs and no sanitation facilities.
     I even felt bad for Kerry while he was being savaged by the Swiftboat Veterans for "Truth", the same John Kerry who'd made it on Nixon's hit list for publicly embarrassing his administration over Vietnam with his pacifistic testimony before the same Senate of which he'd become a part the following decade.
     Then I realized years later that I'd voted not for the aloof, patrician, wealthy Democrat (who'd once been lampooned by the Onion, writing that Kerry would tour the campaign trail from the deck of his yacht) but against Bush. And, just a day ago, John Kerry reminded me how ashamed I was for being fooled by him and how ashamed I am that he's a senior official in my government. Because John Kerry, like most any Cabinet official, is but a stooge of the President, who is himself a stooge for corporate interests beyond his control.
     I'm speaking, of course, of the Edward Snowden interview on NBC against which Secretary Kerry felt the need to push back on the Today show. Taking an embarrassingly immature tactic that was actually painful to watch, the Very Serious Man With the Long Face said, ""If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States today, we'll have him on a flight today. We'd be delighted for him to come back..."
     Oh, I'm sure you would, despite the fact that the Justice Department had, nearly a year ago, charged Snowden with two violations of the Espionage Act of 1917. Later that day, in an interview with Chuck Todd, the Velveeta cheese of journalists, Kerry said, ""There are many a patriot. You can go back to the Pentagon Papers with Dan Ellsberg and others who stood and went to court system of America and made their case... He should man up and come back to the United States." And there's so much that is wrong about Kerry's stoogery that one is hard-pressed to know where to start.
     In the Today show interview, Kerry also said, "The fact is if he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust in the American system of justice." Which, one could say, is the same mistake Bradley/Chelsea Manning had made. The fact is, if Edward Snowden had any faith whatsoever in the federal criminal justice system, I have every confidence he would leave Russia and do so. But the courts' complicity with the federal government to suppress virtually every right granted to us in the first amendment and elsewhere in the Constitution, particularly the 4th Amendment preventing illegal search and seizure of one's papers, effects and person, is Snowden's reason for staying where he is.
     Secretary of State John Kerry's impugning Snowden's manhood (Like Kerry can talk, considering his meek acceptance of the second consecutive theft of the presidency in Ohio and refusal to pursue the Bush junta for war crimes) and patriotism (a word that's taken a significant beating no thanks to the Tea Party) makes him look like a schoolyard bully trying to draw a weaker opponent into a one-sided fight he knows he cannot win. And for a man who's supposed to be a low-level systems analyst and "hacker," as Head Stooge Obama called him at the same time the DOJ was drawing up espionage charges against him, he sure is getting a lot of attention from the most senior members of the administration, even rising to the presidential level. It's the tried-and-untrue government tactic of attempting to discredit and minimize the impact of a whistleblower while at the same time spending unprecedented amounts of time and resources to persecuting that individual.
     Elsewhere, Kerry also trotted out the tired tactic that Snowden is making it harder to track down and apprehend terrorists who would seek to do harm to our free and democratic way of life. In fact, according to the government's official line, short-circuiting our 4th Amendment rights has resulted in the thwarting of 54 terrorist attacks... that the same government can't even begin to prove.
     The fact is, the Obama administration had simply picked up where the Bush administration left off and, in many cases, ramped up the surveillance, the drone killings, the persecution of whistle blowers like Snowden, circumventing the secret FISA courts, you name it. The same so-called liberals who were rightly screaming about this when the New York Times revealed mass surveillance under the Bush administration are now disappointingly and oddly silent when the media reports the same is happening under the Obama administration that has used drones over our streets, vacuumed up massive amounts of metadata from our calls, texts, internet activity and God knows what else.
     And liberals are neatly divided on Snowden. Some of us call him a hero. others call him a traitor (53% of the NBC viewers in an online poll concluded he was the latter). And those alleged liberals who are calling for Snowden's head are trying to claim that he did this simply to embarrass their boy Obama.
     Another fact: Snowden did not make these revelations to the Guardian or the Washington Post or anywhere else against anyone but for the American people. And it's obvious to me and, I'd like to think, quite a few others, that if Snowden had made these revelations during the Bush years, he'd've been hailed a hero instead of a traitor. It seems Cardinal Richelieu was right when he once famously said, "Treason is a matter of timing."
     So, I know why the caged bird sings. It doesn't matter to Edward Snowden who the president is or what party he belongs to. Wrong is still wrong regardless of which party commits it. Snowden essentially sacrificed his entire life, including his job, his career, his income, his home, his girlfriend, everything to do essentially what Daniel Ellsberg did over 40 years ago (and whom John Kerry, outrageously, had brought up as an example of a man successfully standing up to the criminal justice system, conveniently forgetting the fact that the US was a much different country then than it is now).
     And the sooner you stupid liberals who are bleating that Obama's Constitutional crimes are keeping us safer (which is what the Bushbots of the previous decade had bleated) realize that, the better off we'll all be.

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