I completely missed the release of this film in July, and stumbled on it while picking movies for a sick son.
It opens with Henry Kissinger, since demonstrated to be a war criminal, calling Daniel Elsberg the most dangerous man in America, and lamenting the release of secret documents (that ultimately proved government perfidy). Fast forward to WikiLeaks as a sequel to the 935 documented lies led by Dick Cheney.
When things are not going well, until you get the truth out on the table, no matter how ugly, you are not in a position to deal with it. — Bob Seelert, Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide (New York), 2009
A Nation’s best defense is an educated citizenry. – Thomas Jefferson, circa 1776
Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. — James Madison, circa 1776
The truth at any cost reduces all others costs. — Robert Steele, 2010
In recent years, months, weeks, and days the confrontational convergence of 2012 has emerged with startling clarity. The key negative trends are these:
In short, the horror story collapses as soon as anyone gives it any serious thought. The Wall Street gang can hardly be faulted for trying cheap scare tactics for pushing its agenda; after all it worked so brilliantly with the TARP two years ago. At the time the plot line was that unless we immediately gave all our money to the Wall Street banks, with no questions asked, then the whole economy would collapse.
Joseph Stiglitz outlines a very sensible approach for placing the United States on a pathway toward correcting the problems paralyzing our political economy. Of course, his ideas will never be seriously considered by the let-them-eat-cake oligarchs now running Versailles on the Potomac, because to put this plan into action, someone must smash the Hall of Mirrors that is distorting what passes for reality in our collective OODA Loops. CS<
A five-part plan to cut the deficit, narrow inequality, and strengthen the economy—and why special interests would block it.
By Joseph E. Stiglitz, Slate, Monday, Dec. 6, 2010
Technically, reducing a deficit is a straightforward matter: One must either cut expenditures or raise taxes. It is already clear, however, that the deficit-reduction agenda, at least in the United States, goes further: It is an attempt to weaken social protections, reduce the progressivity of the tax system, and shrink the role and size of government— all while leaving established interests, like the military-industrial complex, as little-affected as possible.
Precis: history includes massive increase in defense expenditures, growth in inequality, underinvestment in public sector including infrastructure, and growth in corporate welfare. Remediation demands increased spending on high-return public investments, cut in military expenditures “not just funding for the fruitless wars, but also for the weapons that don’t work against enemies that don’t exist;” eliminate corporate welfare; create a fairer and more efficient tax system; 5% increase in taxes actually paod (focus on top 1%).
Phi Beta Iota: The Deficit Commission has not produced any supporting documentation. The public intelligence available, of which the above is a small sample, is overwhelming in suggesting that the deficit commission is a criminal fraud being perpetuated on the American public. Wall Street and the two-party tyranny appear to believe that the public is both stupid and permanently inert, and that they can get away with this. Time will tell. We condemn it–and note that Joseph Stiglitz was appointed Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Virtual Cabinet at Huffington Post. We trust him.
Sudan: Sudanese media broadcast the following decree on Monday.
Marshal Umer Hassan Al-Bashir the President of the Republic, the president of the National Congress Party has authorized the state governors to expel NGOs and persons that do not respect the country’s sovereignty, work guidelines within 24 hours. He added we respect the NGOs that come to assist us and we reject whoever intends to control us. He indicated that some NGOs have spread rumors that they work in Sudan without the need of the government approvals. He directed the governors to expel the NGOs that do not adhere to their authorities on the same day.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The government in Khartoum remains highly suspicious of western aid organizations that it suspects of encouraging separatism in Darfur and the South. This decree is a manifestation of that suspicion because it mentions rumor mongering. A government has a right to control foreigners without further justification. Odd behavior…
Phi Beta Iota: This is the beginning of the end for predatory NGO’s including the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and of course all the religious NGOs and the corporate pseudo-NGOs. They have lost all trust for a good reason. On the one hand, they have been spending less than 10% of what they have collected under the various guises (Katrina, Haiti, etcetera) and on the other they are now demonstrably untrustworthy and ineffective. The next big step forward will be hybrid arrangements in which public intelligence both validates every move, every expense, every bona fides, and harmonizes a diversity of efforts toward a common publicly-appraised and accepted purpose.
Phi Beta Iota: Robert Steele, our founder, has asked that we post the following as his testimonial.
If there were one person in America I would gladly sacrifice my life for, so as to give the larger group including my direct family the benefit of his continued wisdom, Tom Atlee is that person. He is without peer, and we are all blessed to have him in our lives and within our Commonwealth. PLEASE contribute to his endeavor–what he does creates real wealth for all of us, and that kind of wealth is the only riposte to the decades of unethical legalized looting that we have tolerated for too long. America the Beautiful is coming back–Tom is walking point and deserves our strongest possible support.
As America’s dysfunctional politics and governance swings wildly out of equilibrium, the Co-Intelligence Institute has increased its focus on the transformation of the way the U.S. does politics.
As we track the transpartisan movement, the Coffee Party, the Tea Party, the No Labels movement, the Palin pre-campaign, the strange shifting dance between the Administration and Congress, and other political currents, we sense an emerging and significant force demanding change in the power relationships between the vast majority of “we, the people” on the one hand, and corporate and government elites on the other.
It is very instructive to watch how this populist energy is being manipulated and co-opted. Many of the politicians positioning themselves as populists — “We’re not going to take it any more!” — are themselves active members of the elite class they are supposedly battling, and totally beholden to the financial powers behind the political circus.
EXTRACT: The basic platform for such a candidate is clear: Unequivocally call for an immediate end to the presence of U.S. troops, advisers and private U.S.-based security firms in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, and replace the “war on terror” with a Global Marshall Plan that roots homeland security in a strategy of generosity and concern for the well-being of everyone on the planet. Domestically, call for a massive jobs program; a freeze on mortgage foreclosures; a national bank that would offer interest-free loans to those seeking to create or expand small businesses; immediate implementation of the parts of the Obama health-care plan that would benefit ordinary citizens and build support for a health plan for all citizens; dramatically lower prices for drugs that treat critical diseases such as AIDS and cancer; a strong tax on carbon emissions; and immediate prosecution of those government employees involved in torture or coverups to justify the invasion of Iraq.
This candidate should push for the media to provide free and equal time to all major candidates for national office as well as for constitutional amendments requiring only public financing in elections and, separately, for corporations to prove every five years to a jury of ordinary citizens that they have a satisfactory history of environmental responsibility (as is sought by the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment, or ESRA, advocated by the Network of Spiritual Progressives).
This policy platform must be matched with a willingness to talk clearly about the spiritual and ethical need for a new bottom line – one of love, kindness and generosity. We need a progressive push for a new New Deal, which in the 21st century could be the Caring Society: “Caring for Each Other and the Earth.”
EXTRACT: It’s time to consider that the president accepts centrist and conservative policies because he himself is a centrist or conservative. This does not mean that President Obama is a Republican, or anything close to a Republican. The Republican Party is not conservative, it is extremist. But as the Republican Party has drifted farther and farther to the fringe, much of the establishment Democratic Party has intrepidly moved into the ideological space the Republican Party abandoned. The Republicans lead this movement to the right, and the Democrats follow, taking the political center with them and leaving the traditional left ever more disenfranchised, disenchanted, and politically alienated. The problem with Barack Obama isn’t that he is worse than establishment Village Democrats, the problem is that he is one of them.
EXTRACT: Last February, writing about the health care reform meltdown, Glenn Greenwald offered a theory:
The primary tactic in this game is Villain Rotation. They always have a handful of Democratic Senators announce that they will be the ones to deviate this time from the ostensible party position and impede success, but the designated Villain constantly shifts, so the Party itself can claim it supports these measures while an always-changing handful of their members invariably prevent it.
Phi Beta Iota: The first article, written by the author of The Left Hand of God–Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right, misses the key point: Barack Obama is a bought and paid for member of the club who takes his guidance from Vernon Jordan, Colin Powell, and a handful of other members of the club. He did not spend $750 million ($300 million still unaccounted for) to become our President, he took it to solidify his status and earn his retirement as their representative…four more years. The second piece gets closer to the truth–inter-changeable villains, all a charade–musical chairs, lights, camara, and no action in the public interest. What interests us is that Barack Obama has a choice, such as we have written about at the Huffington Post, and he can Change the Game, such as Tom Atlee has written about. He probably will not, and already we see fraudulent organizations with hidden agendas and secret sources of funding (No Labels, America Elects, IndependentVoting.org) all intent of protecting the status quo by putting forward yet another candidate who is Of Wall Street but just different enough to fool enough of the people enough of the time to buy Wall Street four more years. ENOUGH! There is one litmus test, and what Barack Obama has going for him is that he has right of first refusal: Electoral Reform. Electoral Reform introduced upon the inauguration of the new Congress, with a roll call vote demanded and televised, would end these decades of carpet-bagging and war-profiteering, and give us a government BETTER than any wwe have had since Jack Kennedy–a government Of, By, and For We the People, in which all voters are connected with all relevant information and policies are evidence-based and in the context of a balanced budget. Show us that, and we will show you the first great President of the 21st Century.
Welt am Sontag in Germany asked me for an op-ed on Wikileaks. Here it is, auf Englisch. Hier, auf Deutsch.
Government should be transparent by default, secret by necessity. Of course, it is not. Too much of government is secret. Why? Because those who hold secrets hold power.
Now Wikileaks has punctured that power. Whether or not it ever reveals another document—and we can be certain that it will—Wikileaks has made us all aware that no secret is safe. If something is known by one person, it can be known by the world.