Sunday, August 03, 2014


Jim: It's roundtable time.  Remember our e-mail address is Our topics this go round include spying, Ukraine and more.   Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Spying.  The US government has been illegally spying on American citizens.  People like Senator Dianne Feinstein didn't give a damn.  C.I. you were at the hearing that the closeted lesbian Chaired.  Take us back to that, it was a long time ago.

C.I.: It was June 6, 2013, it was the Senate Appropriations Committee and Barbara Mikulski is the Chair.  The illegal spying had been going on forever and a day and had been repeatedly exposed by the press.  But at this hearing, Senator Mark Kirk voiced the concern that really mattered to the Committee:  "I want to just ask, could you assure to us that no phones inside the Capitol were monitored -- of members of Congress.  That would give a future executive branch, if they started pulling this stuff, kind of a -- would give them unique leverage over the legislature?"

Jim: And as you noted in your report on that hearing:

Kirk, Mikulski and Senator Richard Shelby all agreed it was an important question.  And it's important because it's them.  It's too bad that they don't feel it's important for non-members of Congress.  It's too bad that Mikulski's 'answer' is to call for a closed hearing.  It's too damn bad that she doesn't think the American people are owed answers.  Remember, in American now, "democracy" translates as something that belongs only to elected members of Congress.

Jim (Con't): Let's emphasize that last statement, "Remember, in America now, 'democracy' translates as something that belongs only to elected members of Congress."  Last week came new revelations. Betty?

Betty: As I did at my site, let me quote Patrick Martin of WSWS:

In the course of his White House press conference, Obama declared his “full confidence” in Brennan only one day after the release of a CIA inspector general’s report that exposed the CIA chief as a brazen liar. Brennan had denounced claims by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of illegal and unconstitutional CIA spying on the committee staff, which was investigating the CIA torture program carried out during the administration of George W. Bush. The inspector general’s report admitted that the spying had taken place.
The CIA’s surveillance of the Senate, which is legally mandated to oversee the agency, is a stark expression of the unchecked powers of the unelected spooks and generals who run the intelligence and military agencies. The fact that the top US spy agency can carry out secret torture programs, act to sabotage a congressional probe of this criminal activity, and then go scot-free reflects the disintegration of American democracy and the emergence, behind the formal trappings of elections, etc., of the framework of a police state.

Betty (Con't): It became an issue -- illegal spying -- only to certain members of Congress because they were the ones being spied upon.  For every Mark Udall or Ron Wyden, you've got ten more senators who don't give a damn about spying unless or until it effects them personally.

Isaiah: And let's remember that they are elected to represent the people.  Let's remember that because there is no indication that they remember it.

Ruth: And to be clear, we are all outraged that the CIA has spied on Congress, has broken into the Intelligence Committee's computers and much more.  That is appalling and disgusting.  It is illegal and there is no excuse for that.  But we do feel the need to note, as C.I. did in June of last year, the Senate only got concerned when they feared they were being spied upon.  Prior to that, they did not care, prior to that, they were fine with the fact that Americans were being illegally spied upon.

Mike: They were much more comfortable, back then, slamming whistle-blower Ed Snowden.  They really weren't interested in defending the American people.  Or in defending the importance of Ed Snowden's truth telling.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: I was at the hearing where Dianne Feinstein called Ed a liar and, of course, she was the damn fool who believed the government on what Ed could and couldn't do.  Turns out, he told the truth about the power he had, as a contracted employee of the US government, to spy on anyone.

Cedric: I think it's worth noting that had the spying on the Senate committee surfaced first, prior to Ed Snowden's whistle-blowing, a lot of rabid attack dogs like Dianne Feinstein and closet lesbian Barbara would have been far less likely to attack Ed.  They might have gotten immediately just how important his whistle-blowing was and how it changed everything.

Jim: Do most of us feel that Ed changed everything?  Elaine's nodding so let me go to her.

Elaine:  No matter how much denial has greeted the revelations, no matter how many attacks there have been on Ed, what he revealed was important and major.  His act of whistle-blowing is probably the most important to take place in the United States ever.  And, yes, I am aware of the importance of Chelsea Manning's whistle-blowing and Daniel Ellsberg, to cite only two.  I would still argue that Ed's whistle-blowing is the most important.

Jim: A lot of people have attacked and slammed him.

Elaine: Which goes to the importance of his actions.  If someone exposes that the string on a candy necklace is intentionally made weak, who cares?  It's whistle-blowing, it's exposure.  It doesn't really impact our lives.  So no one would spend forever attacking that whistle-blower.  The importance of his exposures goes to why Ed had been so viciously attacked.

Jess: Well, I said changing the topic, we could certainly use a whistle-blower with regards to Ukraine which War Criminal Barack Obama seems bound and determined to use as an attempt to start war with Russia.  And this has probably been the plan for some time.  For some strange reason, in August of 2013, Barack decided to launch a war of words with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  I'm quoting C.I. from August 2, 2013:

Reality, Putin's thrilled.
Why wouldn't he be?
He doesn't care for Barack.  He leads Russia today which isn't the USSR of yesteryear.
But it raises his profile to be clashing with Barack, as he fully knows.
In addition, it takes the focus off Russia's human rights abuses.  (The US has human rights abuses as well.  I'm neither picking on nor praising Russia.)
Russia goes from being beat up in the global public square to putting a spotlight on Barack's ridiculous efforts.
In addition, Putin now has leverage.  He can play the Snowden card for 12 months.

Jess (Con't): He can and he will.  And Barack worked overtime to inflate Putin's standing, to build him up as the great villain.

Kat: And he's getting a lot of help with that.  For example, everyone should stream or read the transcript of the disappeared BBC News report that Information Clearing House is highlighting.

Ann: And how about they grasp that bully Samantha Power is chomping at the bit for war on Russia.  She's such a dreadful person and it appalls me that idiots like Davey D were pimping that War Whore in 2008.  Samantha Power has had Barack's ear since he was a US senator.  If people had told the truth about her, the truth about Barack might have been known earlier. Instead, they were either silent or they applauded her.  Very few called her out.  Ava and C.I. called her out, Edward S. Herman called her out, Keith Harmon Snow called her out.  As far as I'm concerned, that's pretty much it.

Kat: I would agree and I am very glad you mentioned Keith Harmon Snow because he was probably the first to call out Power.

Wally: On him, I want to note something.  He told the truth, he did so repeatedly.  His thank you is that a lot of people don't know who he is.  The left outlets should have embraced him, Amy Goodman should have had him on repeatedly, The Nation should have amplified his writing, etc.  But they didn't.  They were cowardly and that's what we see from them today.

Rebecca: I agree with Wally to a degree.  I agree about Keith Harmon Snow.  But I don't know that the others were cowardly.  I think they were co-opted.  I think Amy Goodman's show is, time and again, little more than a public service announcement for the CIA and other elements of the government.  I think they do what Chris Hedges documented, allow a tiny bit of steam to be released while changing nothing.

Jim: Steam?

Rebecca: As the pressure builds, as outrage builds, Goodman and her ilk allow a tiny element of steam to be released.  It doesn't change anything, it doesn't try to.

Dona: I can see that completely.  And I find Amy Goodman's repeated use of CIA contractors on her show to be disgusting and suspect.

Ty: I think an argument can be made that our 'leaders' of the left have done nothing to help us or to improve the situation.  I think we can argue that, for example, Katrina vanden Heuvel's only interest is in increasing her own fame.  She wants to be on TV.  She doesn't want to change anything.  There's a whorish element to the 'leaders' that's truly disgusting.

Isaiah:  And, back to the earlier point, if you speak truth -- like Keith Harmon Snow -- you will be shut out by most outlets.  The Nation knows what Samantha Power is, they always knew.  They just chose to keep their mouths shut to advance themselves.

Jim: Is there any goal -- besides war -- that surprises you because we failed on it.

Trina:  Health care.  We all know the insurance companies profit off the current system and are responsible for the increase costs in health care.  We all know that but so many on the left did whore and pretend ObamaCare was something we needed.  What we needed was to cut out the insurance industry and to move towards universal, single-payer health care.  ObamaCare is not, for example, what Canadians have.  And there are no cost controls on it.

Marcia: I was going to say the same thing and note how all it did was force Americans to buy insurnce or pay a fine.  I agree with Trina that it's amazing we refused to fight this, that so many whored themselves for it.

Jim: Okay, we're out of time so Marcia's will be the last word.  This has been a rush transcript.

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