Government Hypocrisy Is the Core Problem
Congress has exempted itself from the prohibition against trading on inside information … the law that got Martha Stewart and many other people thrown in jail.
There are many other ways in which the hypocrisy of the politicians in D.C. is hurting our country.
Washington politicians say we have to slash basic services, and yet waste hundreds of billions of dollars on counter-productive boondoggles. If the politicos just stopped throwing money at corporate welfare queens, military and security boondoggles and pork, harmful quantitative easing, unnecessary nuclear subsidies, the failed war on drugs, and other wasted and counter-productive expenses, we wouldn’t need to impose austerity on the people.
The D.C. politicians said that the giant failed banks couldn’t be nationalized, because that would be socialism. Instead of temporarily nationalizing them and then spinning them off to the private sector – or breaking them up – the politicians have bailed them out to the tune of many tens of billions of dollars each year, and created a system where all of the profits are privatized, and all of the losses socialized.
Obama and Congress promised help for struggling homeowners, and passed numerous bills that they claimed would rescue the little guy. But every single one of these bills actually bails out the banks … and doesn’t really help the homeowner.
The Federal Reserve promises to do everything possible to reduce unemployment. But its policies are actually destroying jobs.
Many D.C. politicians pay lip service to helping the little guy … while pushing policies which have driven inequality to levels surpassing slave-owning societies.
The D.C. regulators pretend that they are being tough on the big banks, but are actually doing everything they can to help cover up their sins.
Many have pointed out Obama’s hypocrisy in slamming Bush’s spying programs … and then expanding them (millions more).
And – while the Obama administration is spying on everyone in the country – it is at the same time the most secretive administration ever (background). That’s despite Obama saying he’s running the most transparent administration ever.
Glenn Greenwald – the Guardian reporter who broke the NSA spying revelations – has documented for many years the hypocritical use of leaks by the government to make itself look good … while throwing the book at anyone who leaks information embarrassing to the government.
Greenwald notes today:
Prior to Barack Obama’s inauguration, there were a grand total of three prosecutions of leakers under the Espionage Act (including the prosecution of Dan Ellsberg by the Nixon DOJ). That’s because the statute is so broad that even the US government has largely refrained from using it. But during the Obama presidency, there are now seven such prosecutions: more than double the number under all prior US presidents combined.
Please read this rather good summary in this morning’s New York Times of the worldwide debate Snowden has enabled – how these disclosures have “set off a national debate over the proper limits of government surveillance” and “opened an unprecedented window on the details of surveillance by the NSA, including its compilation of logs of virtually all telephone calls in the United States and its collection of e-mails of foreigners from the major American Internet companies, including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple and Skype” – and ask yourself: has Snowden actually does anything to bring “injury to the United States”, or has he performed an immense public service?
The irony is obvious: the same people who are building a ubiquitous surveillance system to spy on everyone in the world, including their own citizens, are now accusing the person who exposed it of “espionage”. It seems clear that the people who are actually bringing “injury to the United States” are those who are waging war on basic tenets of transparency and secretly constructing a mass and often illegal and unconstitutional surveillance apparatus aimed at American citizens – and those who are lying to the American people and its Congress about what they’re doing – rather than those who are devoted to informing the American people that this is being done.
The Obama administration leaks classified information continuously. They do it to glorify the President, or manipulate public opinion, or even to help produce a pre-election propaganda film about the Osama bin Laden raid. The Obama administration does not hate unauthorized leaks of classified information. They are more responsible for such leaks than anyone.
What they hate are leaks that embarrass them or expose their wrongdoing. Those are the only kinds of leaks that are prosecuted. It’s a completely one-sided and manipulative abuse of secrecy laws. It’s all designed to ensure that the only information we as citizens can learn is what they want us to learn because it makes them look good. The only leaks they’re interested in severely punishing are those that undermine them politically. The “enemy” they’re seeking to keep ignorant with selective and excessive leak prosecutions are not The Terrorists or The Chinese Communists. It’s the American people.
The Terrorists already knew, and have long known, that the US government is doing everything possible to surveil their telephonic and internet communications. The Chinese have long known, and have repeatedly said, that the US is hacking into both their governmental and civilian systems (just as the Chinese are doing to the US). The Russians have long known that the US and UK try to intercept the conversations of their leaders just as the Russians do to the US and the UK.
They haven’t learned anything from these disclosures that they didn’t already well know. [He's right.] The people who have learned things they didn’t already know are American citizens who have no connection to terrorism or foreign intelligence, as well as hundreds of millions of citizens around the world about whom the same is true. What they have learned is that the vast bulk of this surveillance apparatus is directed not at the Chinese or Russian governments or the Terrorists, but at them.
And that is precisely why the US government is so furious and will bring its full weight to bear against these disclosures. What has been “harmed” is not the national security of the US but the ability of its political leaders to work against their own citizens and citizens around the world in the dark, with zero transparency or real accountability. If anything is a crime, it’s that secret, unaccountable and deceitful behavior: not the shining of light on it.
It has gotten so blatant that even New Yorker comic Andy Borowitz is lampooning the hypocrisy coming out of Washington:
At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.
“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”
“The American people have the right to assume that their private documents will remain private and won’t be collected by someone in the government for his own purposes.”
“Only by bringing Mr. Snowden to justice can we safeguard the most precious of American rights: privacy,” added the spokesman, apparently serious.
Similarly, journalists who act as mere stenographers for the government who never criticize in more than a superficial fashion are protected and rewarded … but reporters who actually report on government misdeeds are prosecuted and harassed.
In the name of fighting terrorism, the U.S. has been directly supporting Al Qaeda and other terrorists and providing them arms, money and logistical support in Syria, Libya, Mali, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iran, and many other countries … both before and after 9/11. And see this.
The American government has long labeled foreigners as terrorists for doing what America does.
This is especially hypocritical given that liberals like Noam Chomsky and conservatives like the director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan (Lt. General William Odom) all say that the American government is the world’s largest purveyor of terrorism.
As General Odom noted:
Because the United States itself has a long record of supporting terrorists and using terrorist tactics, the slogans of today’s war on terrorism merely makes the United States look hypocritical to the rest of the world.
These are just a couple of ways in which the D.C. politicians are hypocrites.