>A good friend passed on this excellent analysis


Obama’s State of the Union speech is occurring at the moment, and against my better judgment I actually turned it on. It’s about 20 minutes into the incongruous jocularity of the President and the Chamber – and he just said that he will encourage legislation to reverse the ruling of the Supreme Court that Corporations are ‘persons’ and can donate to election funding. He says this is wrong – this will allow society’s most powerful to influence elections, as well as foreign interests – he won’t have it.

The Supreme justices sit there on camera like stunned corpses as a bipartisan standing ovation exploded in the chamber. He’s addressed ear mark spending, lobbying limits and transparency, changing political discourse, the super-majority dictated by the Republican minority leadership (60% majority needed to do anything), and futher tax cuts for education and child credits. He states that voting no on everything is hindering progress (what an astonishingly brilliant observation!).

He then goes into Al Queda (trademarked courtesy CIA) and that as a candidate he promised he would end the war and that this is what he is doing – he will “have all the combat troops out of Iraq by August”.

“All of our troops are coming home.” (flash to a general’s face who looks bewildered and Joe Lieberman mouthing something that looked a lot like ‘yeah right’.) No mention of Afghanistan or the many other countries where we are killing because it is what we (or our drones) do.

Then – to supporting the troops when they come home, Michelle and Joe Biden are heading a new committee to support military families! (rousing applause – yes – yes to the military families, the Chamber responds! Camera zooms in on those in uniform.)

Sheesh – I take it the “5D city on a hill” is next week with all these promises that cannot be fulfilled?

No way all of this is going through – he is righting all the most obvious (to the sleeping populace) wrongs in one speech – down to reducing our nuclear stockpiles and “the farthest reaching arms control treaty in two decades”… ( what? )

“Securing all vulnerable nuclear material around the world in 4 yrs so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.” Which brings us to isolating North Korea and Iran – A HAAAA – “they too will face consequences”, he says!

I now know why I’ve avoided these speeches in the past. “America must always stand on the side of human dignity and freedom” … (the nation glances nervously in the direction of the ‘naked’ airport scanners.)

“If you abide by the law, you should be protected by it” … (who defines the law?)

He has “finally reversed legislation that prevents gays and lesbians from serving their country in the armed forces” … (great, that’s really important while the globe is on fire! To get more cannon fodder – gay cannon fodder is even better!)

Now he’s attacking pundits “turning serious issues into soundbites” and how citizens are losing hope – “no wonder there is so much cynicism and disappointment” – “there are few Americans who believe we can change or that I can deliver it. I never said it would be easy or that i could do it alone.” (The nation thinks, ‘didn’t you?’ – could have sworn you said that somewhere between ‘yes we can’ and ‘hope’… somewhere between my KFC dinner and McDonald’s breakfast, I could have sworn you said you were the answer…)

“When you try to do big things it stirs controversy – we can respond to that by playing it safe and avoid hard truths and pointing fingers and keep our poll numbers high and get through the next election, instead of doing what is best for the next generation. I know if the people who were in this position had made that decision 100 years ago, we wouldn’t be here tonight – we must do what is hard, even if success is uncertain…” (paraphrased due to excessive rhetorical leading that caused my mind to spasm momentarily – or more than momentarily).

Then a rousing crescendo of hyperbolic emotional rhetoric of what it means to be an American – “USA, USA, USA” (he actually said that) – “it lives IN you” (get it out!!)

“a new decade!” “We don’t quit! I don’t quit! Strengthen our union!”

You get the point – he is a spell binder. As the pressure behind my brow increases to the point of pounding, I turn off the mind control device that is television, understanding why the sheeple are now more comfy, more sleepy and more secure in their dream – no matter what crashes in on them in the next few years.

Even the Republicans were applauding, so it must be the truth, right? “Any more KFC left in that bucket, honey?”

(No actual msg laden poisonous food was ingested during this experience – however I do now feel that I need a shower.)


Many civil liberties groups in the US are up in arms over Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United V Federal Election Commission, that gives corporations free reign to spend as much money as they can afford (which is a lot) to influence American political election outcomes. This is the same gaggle of Supreme Court Justices (more or less) that gave us, literally, the glorious reign of George Dubya Bush. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann dedicated one of his ‘special messages’ to the ruling which he said made all US politicians ‘prostitutes’ to big corporations.

Eh….so what’s new?

Here’s the relevant part of the ruling:

The relevant factors in deciding whether to adhere to [precedents] beyond workability – the precedent’s antiquity, the reliance interests at stake, and whether the decision was well reasoned – counsel in favor of abandoning Austin, which itself contravened the precedents of Buckley and Bellotti. As already explained, Austin was not well reasoned. It is also undermined by experience since its announcement. Political speech is so ingrained in this country’s culture that speakers find ways around campaign finance laws. Rapid changes in technology – and the creative dynamic inherent in the concept of free expression – counsel against upholding a law that restricts political speech in certain media or by certain speakers.

In addition, no serious reliance issues are at stake. Thus, due consideration leads to the conclusion that Austin should be overruled. The Court returns to the principle established in Buckley and Bellotti that the Government may not suppress political speech based on the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.

Forgive me if I can’t find it within me to get worked up over a ruling that allows multinational corporations to legally do that which they have been doing for many years. Has everyone in the US suddenly forgotten the word ‘lobby’? Or the fact that almost every member of Congress has, at some point, been bought and paid for by corporate lobby groups? Go to the Open Secrets web site and pick any congressman or woman or senator you like and see for yourself. Is there a difference between direct or indirect corporate influence of politicians and those same corporations spending money on, say, advertising to influence the same politicians? Up until now, corporations had to be satisfied with donating large sums of money to candidates that the candidates then used to run their campaigns, i.e. electioneering etc. Now the corporations can run the campaigns of candidates themselves. I can see it now, John Doe, presidential nominee, ‘sponsored by Coca Cola’. You like Coca Cola, right? Well you’re gonna LOVE our candidate!

And let’s be clear that influencing US politicians today is an activity that is owned, lock, stock and pork barrel by the corporations, because corporations effectively dictate government policy in the US. Unions have long since been neutered and lobby groups that actually represent ordinary people simply don’t have the financial clout to make any difference. It’s all about money in the land of the free market capitalist corporation and banker.

So what, in real terms, has changed? Nothing. So what’s the problem? Is it that corporations can now openly advertise for or against candidates for office at all levels, and in that way influence public opinion? Don’t worry about it! Because it’s not who gets elected (or appointed as the case may be), but rather the amount of money it takes to bribe them when they attain office.

My only gripe however is that the Supreme Court didn’t go ahead and ‘corporatize’ the state of Israel and the Israel lobby in its ruling and declare them eligible to legally manipulate, bribe and blackmail US politicians to ensure a continuing Israel-friendly US foreign policy.

Getting worked up over the Supreme Court ruling is akin to fretting over the door of the barn being unlocked while ignoring the fact that the barn itself is on fire. But the hubris doesn’t stop there. Not only are many deluded US-centric individuals and activist groups concerned about native corporations being let off their very long leash, but there is now also the looming specter of, horror of horrors, foreign corporations and governments muscling in on the farce that is the US political process!

Newsweek commented:

The biggest questions with this ruling is the scope of the term “corporation,” says Edward Foley, law professor at the Ohio State University College of Law and director of the election-law program. Does the high court want this decision to apply to foreign corporations as well as domestic ones, he ponders? The truth is, the court didn’t make a decision one way or the other.

Foley best explains the potential issues by talking about the electronic, video, and communication giant, Sony. The corporation is headquartered in Japan, but a large number of its shareholders reside in the United States. In fact, people can even buy and trade Sony’s stock on the New York Stock Exchange. The issue is whether this corporation, with strong ties to a foreign country and the United States, should be permitted to independently contribute money to presidential and congressional campaigns.

The Center For Public Integrity carried the headline:

Will the Citizens United Ruling Let Hugo Chavez and King Abdullah Buy U.S. Elections?

And wondered:

it’s one thing for U.S. firms to have their say. What about foreign companies that operate U.S. subsidiaries? Many of these, like American businesses, are owned by ordinary shareholders – but a host of others are owned, in whole or in part, by the foreign governments themselves.

One prominent examples is CITGO Petroleum Company – once the American-born Cities Services Company, but purchased in 1990 by the Venezuelan government-owned PetrĂ³leos de Venezuela S.A. The Citizens United ruling could conceivably allow Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who has sharply criticized both of the past two U.S. presidents, to spend government funds to defeat an American political candidate, just by having CITGO buy TV ads bashing his target.

Given that the US has for many years been a global empire, it seems only fair that some of its subjects should have a say in, or exert an influence over the deliberations of the empire builders. Isn’t Hugo Chavez due a little payback after the CIA tried to oust him in 2002? If it were able to, what kind of influence might Venezuela exert on the US politics and the lives of 300 million Americans? Free health care and third level education for all perhaps? Or subsidized gas in the winter time at least? Would that be a bad thing for the more than 10% of US citizens living below the poverty line?

And what about the Saudis? Well, they’re unlikely to stray far from the Neo-Liberal script, but they might nudge US politicians towards a more equitable treatment of Middle Eastern Arab states. They might even encourage the President not to invade any more Arab nations and to lay off slaughtering their people. Again, is that a bad idea? It is a bad idea that other nations would be in a position to check the power of the US military-industrial complex and forestall the worst of its excesses? Personally I think it’s a great idea, but its unlikely to happen, mainly because the Supreme Court ruling does not explicitly allow it and can therefore prohibit it at any stage, which it would very likely do, if US corporations paid the Supreme Court Justices enough money.

So there’s nothing to see here folks, other than the next logical step along the path that the USA began many years ago when everyone ignored Eisenhower’s warning about the threat from a military industrial complex. If that explanation doesn’t satisfy you, then just think of the US political scene as being a bit like Haiti is today, and as in all such wastelands of despair, the corporate vultures waste no time in finding a way to profit.

>Not content with faking Osama Bin Laden video tapes and audio recordings, the CIA and their ‘private sector’ friends at Intelcenter and SITE, have resorted to pilfering the physical features of living people in an effort to give life to the likely long-dead boogey man.

First of all we were told that the FBI had used “cutting edge technology” to produce a photo-fit of what Osama may look like now, as he struts around his cave in Toora Loora Loora, sans beard and turban:

It turns out however that it was more like cut and paste technology, when some uppity Spanish politician cried foul:

Gaspar Llamazares, 52, a member of Spain’s communist party and the former leader of the United Left coalition in parliament, said his forehead, hair and jaw-line had been “cut and pasted” from an old campaign photograph.

The UK Telegraph reported:

But yesterday Ken Hoffman, a spokesman the FBI, admitted that a technician “was not satisfied” with the hair features offered by the FBI’s software programme and instead used part of a photo of Mr Llamazares, found on the internet. “The technican had no idea whose image he had found and no dark motive for using it,” he said.

Mr Llamazares said the mistake showed the “low level” of US intelligence services. It could cause problems for any individual mistakenly seen to resemble the wanted terrorist, he said. “Bin Laden’s safety is not threatened by this but mine certainly is.”

I’m actually very happy to see that the FBI, CIA etc. are stooping to such low brow propaganda, coming hot on the heels of the ridiculous Christmas knicker bomber farce we can have renewed hope that many more people will begin to identify the war on terror for the global scam that it is.

And speaking of scams and scam artists, I just read this:

Obama hears Haitian calls for mercy… sends Dubya as “special relief envoy”

The White House announced late on Thursday that National Security Staff chief of staff Denis McDonough would travel to Haiti along with a public affairs official from the Pentagon to help coordinate communication efforts on the ground.

Obama enlisted the help of former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat who is already a U.N. special envoy for Haiti, and former President George W. Bush, the Republican who preceded Obama in the White House.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs dismissed a question as to why Obama would turn to Bush after criticizing him for the U.S. response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, saying bipartisan unity was needed.

So I take back my previous comment about having renewed hope. Reality has gone insane and to be honest, I’ve had enough. It’s the proverbial final straw. I’m powering up my intergalactic ship, and I’m outta here.

I’ll leave you all with these parting words, may they resonate forever throughout the multi-verse.

Heck of a job Bushy’