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Archive for January, 2014|Monthly archive page

Save our Farms– Fire the Feds!

In "Farming it out" forum on January 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm
MisfitsParents-MaandPaKettle

“You will be assimilated! Resistance is futile!”

Beck’s ineptly made but vital point:

Gentle readers, villainy is afoot in our Obamanation, and this, we fully realize, is news that will shock nobody—well, except for that 68 year old guy we heard talking with Glenn Beck the other day who thinks Barack is “a great president, doing a fine job,” and who couldn’t so much as manage a guess as to what “socialism” meant, except he decided, “it isn’t American—we don’t have that here!”—he might be a bit shocked if he reads this—but the odds of him being a WOOF reader are—well—remote. And we digress already. Is that a record? But we did want to say something else about Glenn Beck, namely that he was talking to a friendly politician the other day on his show about the alarming growth of Google as a monopolizer of power within the new national socialist construct of Omerica. Beck, of course, makes a good point. Google’s corporate advances since we caught them building those mystery barges last Halloween (click here if you want the info), are ruthless, rapacious, and geared to maximize control and knowledge of the American family home and any communications incoming or outgoing.

Google Barge II was constructed suspiciously near the WOOF cave in Portland, Maine.

Google Barge II was constructed suspiciously near the WOOF cave in Portland, Maine.

Now we have Google’s recent 3.2 billion-dollar acquisition of the Nest Corporation (the smart meter people who want to know what’s going on in your home, beginning with your temperature settings) and overnight expansion into controlling almost every aspect of the Internet— but you probably noticed that too, right? So you would probably think this was going to be all about the subversive threat posed by Google, unless you read WOOF a lot, in which case you know it’s probably just the opening thought and we’re really going to switch shortly to talking about agricultural—really—but first our point about Beck.: He was talking to Mike Lee, (of whom WOOF predictably and thoroughly approves), and elicited Lee’s promise to help constrain the proliferation of Google as a speedily metastasizing corporate malignancy. And WOOF was pleased to hear Senator Lee express agreement. Pleased indeed. But it was impossible for fair-minded individuals (as we all are in the WOOF cave, except for maybe one or two oddballs), to hear Glenn beck urging Senator Lee to reign in a dangerously bloated corporate entity without bethinking ourselves of the many criticisms Beck has aimed at Teddy Roosevelt for acting on similar impulses.

Friedman’s  well made and even better point:

milton

You tried to tell us, Uncle Milton, but we elected Barack Obama anyway!

Shortly, a caller dialed in, who professed to be a libertarian and who took Beck to task for the seeming hypocrisy of his position against Google. This was a magnificent opportunity for Beck to make a brilliant point, but he forgot his Milton Friedman. Had he recalled it at that moment, he would have quoted Friedman to the effect that almost all monopolies become monopolies because of governmental privilege. “Sources of monopoly are government intervention,” Friedman taught (click here for confirmation )—yet Beck lost his poise and handled the caller clumsily –and then churlishly, browbeating him a bit for his perceptions whilst clumsily attempting to distinguish between monopolies he wished to sustain (the good ones that weren’t in cahoots with big government) and the bad ones, like Google, that he wished to see defunded by Mike Lee and the other white hats in Congress. WOOF’s point, like Friedman’s point, is that no distinction need be drawn—and just as an aside, the beatdown the caller received need not have occurred, because the caller would have been better served by an education than by the snarly, mean-spirited treatment his polite inquiry earned him. This must not be construed as an anti-Beck rant, by the way, because WOOF does not indulge in anti-Glenn-Beck rants—WOOF, in fact, thoroughly admires Glenn Beck, but his maladroit handling of that particular caller reminded us that monopoly is a poorly understood evil that is, as Dr. Friedman strove to make clear, almost invariably a ramification of unrestrained government.

And Google is a simple case to make—remember, for instance, when the company got caught collecting and storing private user information plus passwords and private emails from a vast array of Wi-Fi networks? (For whom do you suppose?) And the FTC was really going to give ‘em what for, remember? Except they shelved the entire investigation citing “promises from the company” as sufficient cause to drop the case. And this is only the tip of the proverbial ice berg, Woofketeers…and no, this screed isn’t actually about Google, and it isn’t actually about Brother Beck . It’s actually about agriculture, we swear.

final prof bully

Run into this guy recently?

But first, digress with us a bit more—you’ll see why it’s important! You know how you sometimes foolishly say something about budget cutting at a party and some ultra-predictable college professor who turns out to be an adjunct film teacher at the local community college chuckles and says, “Ooooh, sure—every one wants to trim the budget, but would you mind telling me just where you’d start when there isn’t a dime to spare anywhere?” (These shrewd eristics also come armed nowadays with a complete roster of horrors and deprivations allegedly visited upon us by sequestration.) They will unblinkingly insist that even a nickel’s delay in the rate of budgetary increase will spell doom for all kids on dialysis while suicide prevention lines shut down coast to coast, and Korean War vets all have to forgo any hope of subsidized dental or podiatric care.  Perhaps, like us, you are already accustomed to leaving such pundits gasping incredulously by suggesting a few cuts they never seem to think of.  Eliminating the Department of Education, the Consumer Protection Agency, OSHA, the FCC, the Department of Education, the Postal Service, and almost all foreign aid, just for starters. These cuts would constitute a good beginning—and will almost always, in and of themselves, leave your opponents sputtering, but nothing makes them quite as apoplectic as when you add, “Oh yeah, and the Department of Energy– there’s a savings of 31 billion a year—let’s get rid of that, too!”  And If you want to make them really crazy, just add, “Heck, that’d buy 20 B-2 bombers!) True, we of WOOF get kicked out of a lot of faculty parties….but anyway:

Do you ever pay attention to what the Department of Energy gets up to? We know you have a lot on your mind out there—but you probably remember, if you think about it, that like a lot of our allegedly indispensable governmental departments, The Department of Energy is pretty new on the scene. It goes back to when Jimmy carter, formerly our nation’s worst president, noted that OPEC was putting a squeeze on oil supplies in 1973 and decided in true liberal fashion that a department of the government with a cabinet position should be established to ensure the continued flow of oil and gasoline to Americans. The result, predictably, was gas rationing, oil shortages, and a nationwide energy crisis, mainly brought about by central planners attempting to micromanage a huge portion of the economy (about which they knew nothing whatsoever), and the means of distributing its products.

The Democrat War on Eagles

Thanks, Obama!

Thanks, Obama!

There was the memorable (although, come to think of it, swiftly forgotten) incident involving Secretary of Energy Hazel O’Leary who took time out of her lavishly extravagant international gallivanting at tax payers’ expense to allow the Red Chinese to ransack Los Alamos for it nuclear secrets. O’Leary was caught, but quickly cleared of wrong doing by fellow cabinet appointee Janet Reno—remember Janet “Fireball” Reno–the hero of Waco and the savior of Elian Gonzales?  But anyhow—the Department shows up occasionally and annoyingly in the alternative media for this or that bothersome irregularity—and might have played a role in the ongoing war against eagles except that the hot potato got passed to the Department of the Interior. Please begin to notice the amount of seemingly illogical shuffleboard that goes on in these instances—it will come up again.

An already embattled Department of Energy breathed a sigh of relief as Obama’s  Secretary of the Interior announced last December she will allow companies to kill or injure eagles without fear of prosecution for up to three decades…in the sacred name of green energy, naturally. Gosh, green energy is a curious priority, isn’t it? It enabled Our Beloved Helmsman to spend 3.5 trillion in stimulus dollars to effectuate an economic recovery that never happened, partly because so many of those dollars went into green energy hustles that subsequently filed for bankruptcy—or simply faded into the verdant woodlands. It enabled him to shelve GM’s promising hydrogen car research and redirect it entirely to the phlegmatic “Volt.” It kills our national birds off in unprecedented numbers, (go green!) but gets a free pass from the government, and, as Beck was by way of pointing out, demands the installation of spyware throughout the home by Google and its acquired host of minion enterprises. (Yes, that’s green too- you are handing over control of your thermostat and air conditioner to ward off global warming, remember?) And think of the wreckage it levies against the nation’s economy.

Mass transit--dress it up and modernize it as you will, most Americans endemically dislike the concept.

Mass transit–dress it up and modernize it as you will, most Americans endemically dislike the concept.

The Department of Transportation meanwhile is steadfastly promoting mass transit which must also be green, of course, meaning costly and impractical, and government managed, meaning unreliable, thus impeding the American citizen’s freedom to drive himself about at will, by which heedless and renegade activity he may in the past have contributed to the melting of the polar caps…thus hastening the submergence of New York, Long Island, and most of and New Jersey. The thoughtlessness—the sheer thoughtlessness…and when did we drag the Department of Transportation into this ragout? Well just now—because we are about to make the point that focusing on cabinet-and-departmental-level malfeasances as isolated instances of dysfunction is like trying to keep one’s eye on the face-down queen of hearts while a card huckster shuffles her around and between a pair of additional face-down cards. The hustler’s magicianship always triumphs through the powers of misdirection and distraction.

Three-Card Monte at cabinet level…and beyond!

Find the little lady and win the dough!

Find the little lady and win the dough!

Remember when the Department of Energy’s czar, Secretary Steven Chu, announced that one of his goals was to bring American gas prices as high as those in Europe?  This stimulated a momentary outrage before we as a nation returned our thoughts to the caprices of Miley Cyrus and the Biebs. So when it came time to let Americans know that if they want to make green energy they’re going to have to frappe a few eagles, the official pronouncement came not from the Department of Energy, but rather from the Department of the Interior—surely this places the chore in less controversial hands and serves to further neutralize any waftage of taint associated with crazy ex-energy czar and Obama-green radical fanatic Steven Chu, right? And who was he, again?

No, it tosses the issue to one Sally Jewell, ideological keeper of the flame over at DOI, about whom more momentarily. Note that it tosses the issue in the same fashion that a lateral pass is tossed in football–to confuse the opposition through misdirection. Now we see that Sally has the ball—but she’s not that Chu nutcake—surely she’s okay?

Sally Jewell justifying the slaughter of eagles as a tribute to Aeolus, the Greek god of wind farms.

Sally Jewell justifying the slaughter of eagles as a tribute to Aeolus, the Greek god of wind farms.

But, no, Ms. Jewell is not a daisy; not a daisy at all. Ms. Jewell is just the newest addition to Mr. Obama’s second-term team of dedicated ideologues. It is in fact Ms. Jewell’s (relatively unknown) history on the environmental fringe, and her radically Luddite policy prescriptions, that prove her to be one more standard Obama shill in the cabinet version of Three-card Monte. How on earth congress approves such malignant flower-power leftovers to positions of authority continues to boggle rational minds, and also ours here at WOOF. The president knew he could trust Ms. Jewell to do for the federal government exactly what she’d done at an activist level: Lock down developmentally promising acreage, target industries, kill traditional jobs, and promote green jobs that will never exist because her green industry initiatives consistently flop.

monte 3

So what we here endeavor to make manifest to the discerning reader is the increasing symbiosis and interchangeability of the cabinet functions—a kind of melding of the various tasks they represent into the larger context of dialectical materialism—the onward march of international socialism. In this cause, individual departmental interests slowly morph into a kind of Marxian singularity. And since Marx unashamedly stole a good portion of his ideas from Hegel (who can’t really be blamed for their misappropriation) the Marxian dialectic ends each new historic dispensation with a newly concentrated, more intensely focused synthesis which is more purely, more openly Marxist than earlier versions. In his book, Marxism, the brilliant Tom Sowell wrote, “What Marxian philosophy derived from Hegel was that the way to understand the world was not to see it as a collection of things, but as an evolving process.”

Interior desecraters…

spin

Keep watching the spinning departmental scandals–closer!–you are getting sleeeepy!

This helps explain how Obama’s cabinet posts and “czardoms” function with the smooth, unified, ideological precision of a finely tuned socialist juggernaut. The goal is plain enough, although most Americans refuse to consider it: The destruction of America’s super power status and economic primacy by whatever means necessary. The function of the Obama cabinet is entirely dedicated to this purpose, overlapping smoothly in many areas while maintaining the appearance of variously interested cohorts. Why, for instance, can’t the department of energy chop up eagles as proficiently as it hands out millions to manufacturers of defective solar batteries? Because the responsibility has been laterally passed to Department of Interior radical, Sally Jewell. The criticism is thus spread out, and the tendency to focus criticism on any one department is depressed. Think of the cabinet departments under Obama as a pie chart on a crank, and when one turns the crank the chart revolves faster and faster, until it becomes one big unified circle, its colors blending into Marxist Red. Got the image? Good, now add medicine and the IRS and things get really scary.

Here’s a toughy: What is the Environmental Protection Agency doing this week to keep us green and promote environmental safety? Are they shutting down coal burning factories and power plants? Making certain we can’t avail ourselves of cheap nuclear power while driving up the price of carbon fuels to unaffordable heights? Possibly shutting down a Marine artillery range because a rare snail darter has been spotted frolicking in a pond thereabouts?  Isn’t that pretty much what we expect from your EPA?

insigWell, there’s that of course, gentle readers, but also so much more! After all, besides all that we’ve naturally come to expect from our EPA, how many of us would suspect that they are also an important instrument in assaulting American agriculture? Yes, there’s more deviltry afoot from the new, Marxian Uni-Cabinet, (subsector EPA), and you just wait until President Obama finds out about this (provided anyone asks him about it) because he’ll definitely exclaim to the throngs of lobotomized reporters that this sort of thing just isn’t supposed to be going on, that it isn’t what our country is supposed to be all about, and that he’s going to personally look into it!  And all the reporters will write that down and print it and say it to each other on television despite the fact that only the possessor of a freakishly nanoid brain could avoid concluding that the president himself ordered and oversaw the mischief.

“…a betrayal of trust.”

sad It was the Environmental Protection Agency that suddenly got up one morning last week and decided the time had come to leak a whole bunch of information, a la Snowden, or Asange—except that the material leaked by EPA contained no bombshell revelations about government secrets. Rather than that, the agency simply released a torrent of information on no fewer than 100,000 private citizens who happen to be agriculture industry workers, including their home address and phone numbers, GPS coordinates and even personal medical histories. The agency later acknowledged that none of this information should ever have been made public, and even went through the comic charade of asking the recipients…and this is our favorite part– to give it back.

America’s farming community is up in arms over the casual info dump. Mace Thorton, a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation, put it succinctly, saying, “If someone is setting out to create mischief at these locations, basically the government gave them a road map,” Mace expatiated, “It is very clearly an unjustified intrusion into citizens’ private lives by the government. And it is a betrayal of trust.” After a bit more thought on the subject, Mace Thornton announced that the American Farm Bureau Federation will participate in a joint lawsuit against the EPA.

In case you can't envision Mace Thornton filing a lawsuit, here's the icon from the dude's Twitter account!

And in case you can’t envision Mace Thornton filing a lawsuit, here’s the icon from the dude’s Twitter account!

The EPA responded with the implausible (to put it charitably) announcement that it had “collected all the erroneous disclosures,” thus somehow putting the genie back in the bottle. As an apparent good faith gesture, the EPA proceeded to send out batches of fresh disclosures, but this time with sensitive information redacted.  Comes now Caroline Behringer to explain on behalf of the EPA that the redacted versions were actually an exchange for the former (illegal) disclosures. According to Behringer, the “EPA redacted that information and asked the FOIA requesters to return the [previous] information.” And amazo, folks: “All requestors have returned the original data.” Now that deserves an award for far-fetchedness, along with Behringer’s solemn acknowledgment that, indeed, “ … EPA determined that some personal information that could have been protected under FOIA was inadvertently released.” Or to be more exact, the names of farmers, ranchers, and in many instances their employees as well as their places of work and residence in over 29 states were released. These data were “inadvertently” released to the Natural Resource Defense Council, The Pew Charitable Trust, and Earth Justice. We must take it on faith that none of the members of any of these radical organizations kept any copies of the original documents—that each and every one of them was returned unread, as it were, in exchange for the redacted versions.

Off the pigs?porky

The American Farm Bureau filed suit jointly with the National Pork Producers Council, who have good reason to consider the pork crop in jeopardy as a result of the EPA “leaks.” AFBF President Bob Stallman said in a statement:“We are sticking up for the tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers whose personal information would end up in the public domain,” Of course, the problem with that is—it already has.

Stallman noted the majority of farmers and ranchers live with their families on the farms they work personally. “We support transparency and frequently advocate for increased government transparency,” he told reporters,“but publicly sharing spreadsheet upon spreadsheet of tens of thousands of peoples’ names, addresses and other personal information is not transparency in the workings of government – it is an invasion of the personal privacy of citizens.” Gosh, President Stallman, you got that exactly right–especially considering that, according recent FBI reports, domestic eco-terrorists “…are believed to engage in significant intelligence gathering against potential targets, including the review of industry/trade publications and other open-source information, photographic/video surveillance of potential targets, obtaining proprietary or confidential information about intended victim companies through theft or from sympathetic insiders, and posting details about potential targets on the Internet for other extremists to use as they see fit.”  Translated from FBI-ese that means it’s a particularly bad idea to give away info about potential terror targets on the Internet.

A shot in the dark…elke and friend

Who in his right mind takes offense at farmers, or seeks to do them harm? Well, the problem, of course, is that a lot of people aren’t in their right minds. It is not offered much coverage in the Liberal Establishment Media, but family farms, ranches, and cattle processing facilities have been frequent targets of militant domestic groups Two years ago, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) claimed credit for a fire that caused $2 million in damage to a farm in California’s San JoaquinValley. The group issued a statement afterward ending with the words, “until next time.” It will not astonish our readers to learn that no arrests have been made. Following a 2003 bombing, an email to the FBI from the suspected perpetrators stated,  “You never know when your house, your car even, might go boom….Or maybe it will be a shot in the dark.” We have come a long way, it seems, from what Edith Efron used to call the “save the fishies” movement.

imagesCA8F7HPLSince the early ‘90s many animal rights organizations and radicalized groups of environmentalists have carried out hundreds of terrorist actions against America’s farming and ranching communities. It is conservatively estimated that damage from arson, vandalism and animal-release escapades already amounts to upwards of $100 million. Despite claims that no one has been injured in such actions, the fact is that enviro-terrorists often employ pipe bombs, mailed packages booby-trapped with razor blades, and physical assaults on scientists involved in agricultural research. And while ALF remains the best known cohort of farm and ranch blasters, they have a lot of company. Other threats and acts of violence have emanated from ELF (the Earth Liberation Front), who first won media attention with their New Year’s Eve destruction (by arson) of the University of Michigan’s Agriculture Hall – a symbolic gesture that caused $1 million in damage and destroyed offices involved in a project to enhance crop development in third-world countries. There are competing groups with names like Earth First, SHAC (Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty), and, of course, PETA. And these groups are powerfully financed by a variety of sources including PETA and the French conglomerate Groupe Danone which channels funds into the pockets of enviro-activists through their American holding, Stonyfield Organic. Considering all of this (and this is just a smattering of the examples to be had), why would the EPA visit potential violence and destructiveness on one-hundred thousand ranchers, farmers and their employees in 29 states?

Because in the ObamaNation the small farmers must be swept from the scene just as certainly as the kulaks were erradicated by Joseph Stalin. (Kulaks were a class of successful, independent farmers who resisted handing over their private farmlands to the Soviet collective. About 30,000 kulaks were shot on the spot while an additional 2 million were starved to death or sent to Siberia.  We guess no matter how bad American farmers have it, somebody else had it worse!)

Meet John Beale…Beale

John Beale is now a news item—at least on FOX, and in more muffled tones on CNN and MSNBC. It is now widely known that this former EPA officer managed to con taxpayers out of a cool million by pretending to be a CIA agent—but of more interest (actually) are Beale’s admissions to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee before which he testified to some fairly devious plotting and scheming while at EPA involving himself and his boss, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy who was at that time in charge of the Office of Air and Radiation. According to Beale, while he was with the EPA he was part of a major effort to “modify the DNA of the capitalist system.”  Beale told the committee that capitalism “…is not a God-given system that was created once and never changes. It changes all the time.” He testified that he and Gina McCarthy were part of an agency effort to essentially hinder free enterprise through the application of what he called “green economics.”

Gina McCarthy, ready to use karate if necessary to defend the environment!

Gina McCarthy, ready to use karate if necessary to defend the environment!

Daniel Kish, a senior vice president at the nonprofit Institute for Energy Research, who may well be the most naïve man in America, characterized Beale’s testimony as a“Smoking gun,” adding, “For years, we have been saying the real agenda behind this administration’s energy and environmental policies is just what President Obama has said it is: to fundamentally transform America. In his testimony under oath, Beale, perhaps unwittingly, has laid bare the administration’s end goal. The President’s policies are not about carbon, they are not about coal, they are not even about energy and the environment. … These policies are not about energy, but power.”

The Liberal Establishment Media react to Dan Krill's discovery of "the smoking gun!"

The Liberal Establishment Media react to Dan Kish’s discovery of “the smoking gun!”

Well, there’s a news flash! But what Mr. Kish seems to be overlooking in his excited condition is that no American with an IQ greater than his hat size and an ounce of insight doesn’t already know this…and a smoking gun? Well, Mr. Kish, a smoking gun is useless if nobody notices it, and the Liberal Establishment Media aren’t going to give this story any feet. Within days there will be fewer Americans aware of who John Beale is than can tell you about Benghazi, Fast and Furious, or Rosengate. But that’s not important now, gentle readers—what’s important is that we know—and we can easily interpret the EPA’s illegal endangerment of thousands upon thousands of agricultural workers as another adventure in “green economics.”  But it was more than that—it was another step toward tightening the government’s grip on the big three: Energy, Medicine, and Food…and, gentle readers, this isn’t so much green economics as red economics!

The coming agri-monopoly

Schacht is the only economist, so far as we know, to be tried for crimes against humanity...he was a liberal German democrat, by the way.

Schacht is the only economist, so far as we know, to be tried for crimes against humanity…he was a liberal German democrat, by the way.

This is where we’re supposed to begin ranting about Monsanto, right? Well, almost. We at WOOF keep a jeweler’s eye on Monsanto, to besure; and right now they are in the catbird’s seat with the Obama Administration—but this is simply because they are playing the game best. It is too early to call the shots in the efforts to create a uni-farm conglomerate that will find common purpose with Big Government–  any corporation that wishes to enter the competition to monopolize the farming industry and play on the administration’s team is in the running. This is survival-of-the-fittest corporatism based on the German model created by Hjalmar Schacht for Adolf Hitler.

Back when Obama’s Agricultural Secretary Dudley Butler was rampaging around, hollering about the meat industry and how he was going todudley bust up the monopolies it was spawning, and all the crunchy-lib and eviro-nutty websites were oozing praise for Obama’s magnificent fight against food-industry giganticism, WOOF was, even then, laughing up its figurative sleeve. Dudley, like his more famous namesake, was probably too busy trying to accomplish good deeds to realize he was a pawn in the game—a walking cover story for what the Obamans were actually up to—and when Dudley quit in frustration because (somehow or other) every one of his noble salients got blunted in the federal system, he probably did some serious head scratching. Justice was so convincing in its excoriations of Big Agra that it took Christine Varney (an assistant attorney general) and Philip Weisner, crusading justice department attorney, a while longer to catch on and drop out in frustration.

The oldest trick….houdini

As Sharon Kelly, an environmental lawyer and by no means a right-wing conspiracy theorist wrote in a recent article, “Not only have efforts [to halt the establishment of food-industry monopolies]…fallen short, but in some cases, the programs the federal government does fund seem to accelerate this trend [WOOF’s italics].” How did this come about while left-of-center websites unanimously raved about President Obama’s dedicated efforts to halt the advance of monopolies in the farming, dairy, beef and pork industries? Why are the results of all this presidential dedication to monopoly busting accelerating the trend toward monopoly, as noted by Ms. Kelly? In fact, why did the US Department of Justice ultimately announce, come 2012, it had closed its investigation into possible anticompetitive practices in the seed industry?  And doesn’t this seem like déjà-vu when we recall the FTC suddenly shelving the Google probe citing “promises from the company” as sufficient unto the day?

This is the oldest trick in Dear Leader’s playbook—it began with “how to wreck the economy while speechifying about saving it,” and,” “how to blow up the middle east while having news reporters rave about ‘Arab Spring,’” It ran straight through to making common cause with agri-monopolists while speechifying about breaking them up. The death of investigative journalism means that everyone prints the bull (Obamian, not Papal) and nobody notices reality.

Arab Spring arrives in Egypt; don't inhale!

Arab Spring arrives in Egypt; don’t inhale!

According to a study released by the Center for Rural Affairs only about 5 percent of the nearly $500 million spent by the US Department of Agriculture on research and grant programs went to projects benefiting small producers. Indeed, as the Washington Times recently noted, the agricultural industry is currently dominated by five major players. Four large corporations control 84% of beef packing and 66% of pork production, and one company (yes, Monsanto) controls more than 93% of soybeans and 80% of corn grown in the United States.  As Jeff Siegel remarked in WealthDaily, “I don’t care which side of the aisle you call home — there is a very real and very dangerous connection between the Obama administration and Monsanto.” WOOF would merely amend this to say, “…between Obama and whoever looks like they will monopolize and synthesize!” This government’s intent has always been to monopolize America’s resources, either through direct ownership, or Third Reich-style corporatism.

The Great Uniterobama-sitting-with-jdrf-delegates

Now, if you have survived these many paragraphs, you understand why we began this screed by rehearsing Milton Friedman’s observation that the “sources of monopoly are government intervention.” What’s increasingly apparent is that Obama’s legacy will be chiefly one of calculated “dialectical” advances toward the goal of centralized power achieved by synthesis. Under Obama’s leadership, mass communications are becoming one, the news media have become one (with a few obvious exceptions about which liberals complain ad nauseam), medical services are becoming one (and will soon be single-payer, you’ll see!), the various cabinet posts have become one, Democrats and RINOs on the Hill have become one, and our domestic sources of energy are en route to becoming one. And soon our domestic sources of food will be streamlined into one or two corporate cut-outs and irretrievably interwoven with government. In this context, however ironically, by the time President Obama’s second term expires (if indeed it expires at all), he may well have earned the title “the Great Uniter” …and for the most purposefully divisive president in American history, that’s quite an achievement!

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WOOF WISHES TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THIS ARTICLE’S SPLASH PICTURE (The “enhanced” Grant Wood painting) was borrowed from the website BEETHOVEN’S CAFE XV–and we aren’t really sure who they are or what they do–even after trying to figure it out–but we hope they don’t mind us using the pic, and if they do we know we’ll hear about it! (And replace it with something equally sophisticated!)  –The Management avatar dog

Solving the Snowden Problem: Parallels between the “Hero Traitor” and the Harvest King.

In "Wiccan work it out!" forum on January 16, 2014 at 1:01 pm

ed mask splash

Oldies but Guilty

Many readers are not old enough to remember the last time a problem like Edward Snowden beset our land—no, for it was long ago in the dark days of evil King Nixon that this problem first noticeably presented itself in anything approaching modern form….It was a problem redolent with the winds of change in our land—for it was only the swiftly shifting zeitgeist that made it a problem at all. Or put another way, it was only these effects that made it a problem of baffling complexity. See, time was when one could not  conceive of a guy like Snowden casting his countrymen into the mental and moralistic contortions his caprices now provoke…not at all. Consider some of treason’s greatest hits:

Ethel and Julius--just plain folks?

Ethel and Julius–just plain folks?

The last time this nation treated traitors as, well, traitors, and worthy therefore of the ultimate penalty, was the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. They were the first American civilians executed under Section 2 of the Espionage Act. And yes, WOOF understands that many of your trusting adolescent psyches were warped nearly beyond repair when your well meaning and perfectly sincere social studies teachers taught you that this was a travesty—an American atrocity—a horrendous miscarriage of justice in which a nation so besotted with the opportunistic ravings of the monstrous Joe McCarthy lost all sense of proportion or justice and blindly, even gleefully flung this pleasant, uncomprehending, patriotic couple into the electric chair(s) where the hapless Rosenberg’s paid the price for America’s cold war paranoia. Charges (which we now know were accurate despite all the hand wringing on the Left) connected the Rosenbergs directly to the passing of vital atomic bomb secrets to Russian agents. Additional data came from Ethel’s brother, who worked on the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos, as did, seemingly,every locatable communist party member with a post graduate education in physics. boris

Despite massive evidence of their guilt, the couple became a cause célèbre among the anti-anti-communists of the American left, and many felt the couple were unfairly convicted simply because they didn’t seem like bad folks at all—not Boris and Natasha –not Baader and Meinhof– just a sweet, doting couple approaching tranquil, middle age—not the sort who would enable the communist tyrant in the east to lay his blood-stained hands on the secrets of the most fearsome weapon of mass annihilation in history– by which the iron curtain could now lay waist to everything the West held sacred, reducing our barbecue-smoke-perfumed suburban neighborhoods to a death valley of  radioactive ash heaps at a nod from some faceless, atheistic commissar. The very fact that this was now conceivable sufficed to destabilize the world for all time to come, horribly and irretrievably. Every American school child of that era grew up under the mushroom-cloud visions of a  nuclear fusillade from the communist east. Indeed, much has been made by the psychotic left, as was also the case with execrable Alger Hiss, that the Atomic mom and pop super spies were simply railroaded—victims of Joe McCarthy (who never met them nor had anything whatever to do with their convictions) and the insensate FBI led by the deranged J. Edgar Hoover, probably while cavorting in his mythical pink tutu.

The Russians detonated their first A-bomb in August, 1949, shocking the West.

The Russians detonated their first A-bomb in August, 1949, shocking the West.

Since the couple’s execution, the left has spared no effort to portray America’s cold-war saboteurs as martyrs for civil liberties…for social justice. Somehow they have even taken on the raiment of righteous dissenters, heroes whose chief crime was to express their constitutionally protected political beliefs (after they were caught.) This is the inevitable result of allowing history to be written by liberals—and allowing it, still worse, to go unchallenged by right-thinking Americans. None of this alters the fact that  recently declassified cables from the Soviet Union’s ultra-secret Venona project prove beyond doubt that Julius was, indeed, a courier and recruiter for the USSR. And co-conspirator Morton Sobell, who was tried along with the Rosenbergs (and served 17 years in prison), admitted in 2008 (it takes a long time, sometimes!) that, yes, he was, after all, a communist spy for the Soviet Union who worked  hand in hand with Ethel and Julius  Rosenberg making certain the Reds could build an atomic bomb all their very own.

What Venona Transcripts?

Because the extraordinary significance of the Venona Transcripts demanded a critical rethinking of recent American history by historians of conscience and integrity, it is hardly surprising that most Americans never heard of them, especially from those flouncing guardians of left-wing doggerel who nowadays posture as America’s dedicated watchdogs of the press—our valiant investigative journalists—those blown-dry, spray-coiffed chickalet-toothed poseurs of the 4th estate who would no sooner utter or publish a word out of sync with the quotidian streams of rhetoric issuing from the mills of Official Liberal Newsdom than miss a power dinner at Bistro Bis or a confab with David Gregory or maybe Maureen Dowd on the 6th floor of the Watergate! Who among that gaggle of popinjays would sacrifice such glory, together with his good standing among the flock, to stress some irksomely discordant news item of the sort that less elevated reporters of a bygone era once quaintly called “a scoop?” None of them, in fact. And that’s why most Americans, if asked, would probably hazard a guess that Venona was the Judd who went solo after her mom quit the act. But if the network landscape painters were willing to exchange their roseate daubings for a few stark, naturalistic brush strokes, every American citizen would know full well that Venona is a the vital Rosetta Stone by which concerned Americans can reinterpret our almost wholly dissembled recent past—that part of American history that runs from the opening salvos of Pearl Harbor through the desperate years of world war two, and well into the eerie twilit topography of the “Cold War.”

The Venona decoders of the Army Signal Corps--pretty high-tech for the 1940s.

The Venona decoders of the Army Signal Corps– high-tech in 1943.

The Venona project was a counter-intelligence operation begun under the auspices of the United States Army Signal Intelligence Service (because in 1943 there wasn’t any NSA and the fledgling OSS, forerunner of today’s CIA, was still in its formative phases). The program began as an Army effort to decode messages sent by Soviet intelligence services, including its foreign intelligence office and military intelligence services, despite the fact that we were allied with the Russians in World War Two following Hitler’s violation of the Hitler/Stalin pact. So valuable to the United States were the Venona intercepts that their existence was not revealed even to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, nor to his chief assistant Harry Hopkins (who may well have been a Soviet agent himself.)  During the program’s four decades, approximately 3,000 messages were decrypted, conclusively demonstrating that Russian spies in the American government were running amok, and pretty much running the State Department while they were at it. These included Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Lachlan Currie—and a veritable who’s who of the Roosevelt Administration and a considerable portion of the British scientific and leftist political establishment into the bargain.

Alger Hiss testifies: "What, me a commie?"

Alger Hiss testifies: What, me a commie?

The decoded Russian messages made no bones about the fact that Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were dedicated communist spies. Not only were they instrumental in ushering in the dawn of the Soviet nuclear age, they succeeded also in handing over top military data on sonar and radar used by the Russians to shoot down American planes and track American submarines in the Korean and Vietnam wars. And thus, despite outcries of protest from an American public so propagandized by the soviet voices in our own media as to suppose innocent citizens were being framed by the nefarious FBI in a demonic alliance with scaremongers on the political right, even the often-phlegmatic Eisenhower refused to stay the Rosenbergs’ executions and the couple that gave Russia the atom bomb died in the electric chair on June 19, 1953.

First Russian A-blast--gosh, was Truman's face red!

First Russian A-blast–gosh, was Truman’s face red!

All of this is worth mentioning because it is practically the last time The United States did very much about the crime of treason. True, we threw the Walker family in the brig, and we jailed Aldrich Ames, the counter-intelligence expert at the CIA who admitted selling out every American and allied operative he knew to the Soviet Union (of whom at least ten were killed by the KGB and countless others imprisoned). But what sort of example did this set?  What sort of country watches an Aldrich Ames play his nation and his agency for fools, setting up brave operatives abroad for capture or execution, and offers him three hots and a cot instead of a cigarette and a blindfold? And this level of namby-pambyness pales to insignificance compared to the new spectacle of popular treason featuring the far more bizarre cases of celebrity traitors whose depredations against the national security are simply shrugged off because the perpetrators lay claim to righteousness!

The rise of the noble traitor

Ellsberg's Vietnam leaks--maybe Dan was just ahead of his time?

Ellsberg’s Vietnam leaks pioneered conscientious betrayal—maybe Dan was just ahead of his time?

Remember Dan Ellsberg? Perhaps you’d prefer not to…but Daniel Ellsberg is important because he is the first instance of the noble American traitor –perhaps what should be called the “new traitor” on the American scene–the Prince Hamlet of the sociopolitical set who ponders the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in the still and quiet places of the academy, or maybe the RAND Corporation, and assigns himself the quintessentially existential role of self-constructed ethicist. Characters like Ellsberg are not to be confused with men like Whittaker Chambers, or women like Elisabeth Bentley who found themselves in connivance with a luciferian evil seeking global domination and who broke fiercely from those ranks, confessing their pasts and pointing out the traitors in our midst. People like Chambers and Bentley are dismissed by the manufacturers of accepted opinion as liars, or psychos, or malcontents, while the Daniel Ellsbergs in our midst are portrayed as heroic adherents to loftier virtues that oblige them in their sensitivity to turn their coats for the good of mankind. As such they are always forgivable—even laudable to the chattering classes.

In Ellsberg’s case, he was a long-time Vietnam analyst who reported to the execrable Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (excoriated routinely in these pages) and did two years in Vietnam on the staff of General Lansdale. Afterwards, Ellsberg resumed working at RAND where he helped assemble a top secret study of the conduct of the war commissioned by McNamara. Ellsberg’s high-level security clearance made him privy to the entire report. But around this time (1968) Ellsberg began attending anti-war rallies and insists that after one particularly compelling rally, he “left the auditorium and found a deserted men’s room [where he] sat on the floor and cried for over an hour, just sobbing,” the rest room, it seems, remaining preternaturally deserted. And at some point during this  abreaction it occurred to him that a fine idea would be leaking the entire super secret Vietnam report (subsequently called “the Pentagon Papers”) to the New York Times and to Senator Teddy Kennedy who was, even then, unstintingly devoted to promoting a communist victory in Southeast Asia.

Robert McNamara, probably reporting his latest bright idea to LBJ.

Robert McNamara, probably reporting his latest bright idea to LBJ.

The result of this was that Ellsberg became a secular saint to the American Left—a darling of the radical-chic sets in LA and New York, a guest on Dick Cavett’s program, and a major player in the anti-war movement. But whether Ellsberg’s conscience served him well or falsely is a moot point. The remarkable thing about Ellsberg’s treasonable release of top secret American military material was that it had no perceptible effect on the man–ultimately–other than to accord him celebrity. Given that the Pentagon Papers revealed more of Lyndon Johnson’s cynical mendacity and Secretary McNamara’s moronic mismanagement and misrepresentation of the Vietnamese conflict than anything of material consequence to the enemy, perhaps this was understandable. But even if so, how are we to understand America’s suspension of outrage in other, considerably less defensible instances of sedition?

Jane’s affliction…

Jane Fonda visited Hanoi in July 1972. During her tour she made at least ten propaganda broadcasts for the communists.  She “visited” with American prisoners of war in the infamously brutal “Hanoi Hilton” (allegedly turning over information she learned from our men to their Communist captors) and capped off her visit by posing for photos in a Russian army helmet, perched at the controls of a communist anti-aircraft gun, giggling and applauding to the delight of the actual communist gunners. She returned stateside to organize a show troupe of like-minded Hollywood actors (including Peter Boyle and Donald Sutherland) into the “F*ck the Army” tour (only without the asterisk) specifically intended to play west-coast military towns in hopes of demoralizing soldiers about to deploy to Vietnam.

Fonda takes aim at Yankee imperialism.

Fonda takes aim at Yankee imperialism.

As the truth emerged about the systematic, brutal tortures experienced by American POWs at the hands of the North Vietnamese, Fonda rose to the occasion, denouncing the POWs as “hypocrites and liars,” adding that our captured pilots were “military careerists and professional killers…trying to make themselves look self-righteous, but they are war criminals according to the law.”

Jane will stoop to capitalism in a good cause.

Jane will always stoop to capitalism in a good cause.

Now, rather obviously, Jane Fonda is a traitor “according to the law,” and just as obviously this fact has in no real degree obstructed her from fame, fortune, and acclaim. Besides her successful film career and all the awards lavished on her in that conjunction,  the United Nations Population Fund named her its Goodwill Ambassador in 1994. She was among the winners of the “Women’s eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century” Award  (we don’t know what it is either) and was inducted into the California Hall of Fame in 2008. On the opposite coast, Jane received the “New York Women’s Agenda Lifetime Achievement Award” shortly thereafter…possibly for divorcing Ted Turner. Throughout the 1980s Fonda relentlessly whipped newly flabby baby boomers into shape. Her first exercise video, Jane Fonda’s Workout, sold well over a million copies and was quickly followed by 23 additional workout videos, five workout books and thirteen audio programs. In order to fully appreciate the surreal nature of these achievements, try to imagine Benedict Arnold promoting a cookbook in post-revolutionary America, or Axis Sally broadcasting advice for the lovelorn over the post-war BBC…and enjoying phenomenal popular success.

Stripes were all the rage for our POWs, too--although some of their daily exercises (see diagram) might have been too demanding for Jane's fans.

Stripes were all the rage for our POWs, too–although some of their daily exercises (see diagram) might have been too demanding for Jane’s fans.

For decades, the moral relativists of the political Left have enjoyed telling us that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter!” It seems increasingly obvious that nowadays one man’s traitor may be another man’s patriot—that our national bifurcation is so extreme that the behavior of Jane Fonda is extolled in some quarters as courageous and principled– whereas the most charitable interpretation that can be realistically applied is  giddy and stupid. A fascinating characteristic of “the new treason” is that people like Fonda can autograph autobiographies and deliver campus lectures detailing behaviors for which they also, occasionally, apologize. And now, into this increasingly postmodern level of casuistic disorder, comes—Edward Snowden!

TheTrueHOOHA imagesCAE024GJ

You could hire a major think tank to put together the perfect composite drawing of the modern metro-sexual American folk hero and if they did their job right, you’d get Edward Snowden. Take a bit of Dustin Hoffman from Marathon Man, add a bit of Robert Redford from Three Days of the Condor—a hint of Donnie Darko, a pinch of Holden Caulfield and stir in all the clichéd contradictions requisite to a manufactured mystique. Make him a Buddhist, naturally, and a geek—but let him be a martial artist and a former CIA employee. Let him convey his bitterness because he “believed in Obama’s promises,” but make plain the fact that he contributed to Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Let it be known that he pursued his master’s degree at Liverpool University—but didn’t quite get one; volunteered for the Green Berets (but didn’t show up for training) and often posted to high-tech chat rooms as “TheTrueHOOHA,”  a self-described computer wizard who once declared that Americans who leaked classified information “should be shot in the balls.” Ouch.

The CIA flew Snowden to Switzerland under diplomatic cover and assigned him to computer security. He served the agency in various computer-related capacities until 2009 when he was sent home after his supervisors expressed concerns that he repeatedly attempted to break into classified computer files he lacked clearances to access. No problem–he grabbed a job at the National Security Agency where his technical brilliance dazzled his handlers into overlooking numerous warning signs including faked academic credentials, and a tendency of Snowden’s to discuss his CIA experiences all too openly. Ironically, it was during his subsequent employment at Booz Allen that he was let go “for violations of the firm’s code of ethics…”.It also seems to be at this point that his determination to unburden himself of conventional responsibilities and oaths in order to go public with his purloined NSA data solidified.

Crossfires, left and right!

Who shot Nice Eddie?

“Who shot Nice Guy Eddie?”

Of all the developments that followed Snowden’s revelations, perhaps none is more comment-worthy than the manner in which his actions have led to internecine squabbling both Left and Right. Beyond merely becoming a wedge issue between liberalism and conservatism, Snowden’s espionage has peeled Obamans away from anti-establishment Leftists while setting defense conservatives at odds with libertarians and strict Constitutionalists. For this reason, WOOF will conclude this screed with a suggestion as to how free societies, increasingly stricken with ambivalence in the face of these sorts of incidents, may express appreciation for the insights gained, even while deploring the treasonable behavior that provided them.

Ed actually WAS in the CIA--and may now be their poster boy for better psych evals before induction.

Ed actually WAS in the CIA–and may now be their poster boy for better psych evals before induction.

In Edward Snowden we have a leaker for our time– a fugitive who brings domestic espionage into the 21st Century; a shy yet assertive anti-hero–an  ill-shaven sallow-featured man-boy in Sarah Palin glasses with clear, plaintive eyes that seem to call out, “Namaste!” A lad whose Miami Vice whiskers charm us on one level as his nobility entices us to glimpse the poet, the artiste, beneath the veneer of the CIA operative who, yes, once believed in Obama’s promises but finally grasped their falsity whereupon he comprehended the horror! The horror!  So carefully has the man-boy cast himself it seems, we are invited to see him as Hugh Jackman, the computer hacker in the thriller “Swordfish,” finally, reluctantly recruited by super spy John Travolta to fight terrorists in the realm of cyberspace—but at such a price… such a price!

A Prometheus for the Age of Obama?

A Prometheus for the Age of Obama?

So not only is our hero a kind of Frankenstein assemblage of viscerally appealing factors and attributes out of America’s current pop cultural unconscious, he is also Prometheus, for he revealed to us the horrible truth about unconstitutional machinations perpetrated upon us by our own federal government…a bestowal of knowledge so revelatory that the gods of political darkness are now arrayed against young Snowden and seek to punish him.

And make no  mistake, gentle readers, it is the nature of those revelations that now has an irregular conglomerate of libertarians and conservatives joining liberals and the broad populations of “uninformed voters” pondering clemency for our young beau ideal…our jeueneprimier godlet, our James Dean without the switchblades; our national Billy Jack who despite the lack of any (actual) martial arts or special-forces background….reminds us that “When policeman break the law–there is no law!”

Former Secretary of Energy O'Leary--she showed the Red Chinese a lot more than leg in exchange for donations to Bill Clinton's campaigns.

Former Secretary of Energy O’Leary– showed the Red Chinese a lot more than leg in exchange for donations to Bill Clinton’s campaigns.

But what if Snowden’s crime was handing over the names of personnel involved in hyper-secret assassinations in Mogadishu? What if he simply sold submarine technologies to the North Koreans? What if he’d unilaterally decided, as did President Clinton’s energy secretary, Hazel R. O’Leary, back in the’90s, that giving away all our nuclear secrets at the Los Alamos facility to the Communist Chinese was a sensible approach to building good will because the silly old cold war was over anyway?  Weelll, obviously, many of Snowden’s defenders on the left would be more reticent, his defenders in the middle would be significantly few and much dumber, and his defenders on the right would not exist. No, Snowden’s genius was matching the right persona to the right kind of leak. And he approached this point the way David Bowie seems to have approached rock super-stardom…finally moving when every last jot and tittle were in place, and the stars positively aligned.

"When policemen break the law, there is no law!"

“When policemen break the law, there is no law!”

Was our lad set up?

"Je suis un Patsy!"

“Je suis un Patsy!”

And yet today we also hear the voices of the 4th estate raised in great and utterly disingenuous concern that some churlish  renegade among them may willfully have  incited such disloyalty. Many such stewards of the media are shocked—shocked to suppose that  our young computer whiz fell into the clutches of press felons that, indeed, our chivalrous young gallant may have been set up—hustled– in the sensationalist British press. Say it ain’t so, Snow’!  But it’s all just thinly disguised jealousy.  And no, in fact it was clearly Snowden who made the decision to leak. Snowden. who after being bounced from his job with Booz Allen located some fairly subversive rabble rousers in the persons of Glenn Greenwald and his comely éminence grise, Laura Poitras…the types of globe-trotting journalists who look constantly for awful stuff to leak about the British or American governments because it seems to them the patriotic thing to do.  Consequently, they show up on Salon a lot, and clog the pages of the ultra-left-wing Guardian newspaper in England. Apparently Greenwald and Poitras share a journalistic common ground  in their urge to blow the whistle on government surveillance, and this leads them to share a bohemian-though-highly computerized flat on the Copacabana Beach in Brazil–an ideal location for spying on the Brits and the Yanks, (who are all that they wish to spy on) and which also sports the 11th highest human development index in Rio and is thus a good spot from which to keep a weather eye on one-percenters in general. But these two cannot be blamed for ferreting out Edward Snowden. Quite the contrary.

greenwald

Greenwald

Snowden noticed an article Greenwald wrote about his (Greenwald’s) girl Friday getting held up by extreme searches and interrogation at U.S. airports (which worked well enough that the harassment ceased for a while). Snowden also knew from the publicity that Poitras was making a film about the government’s surveillance programs; and he had also seen one of her documentaries and noticed her in he New York Times Op-Docs now and then. He assumed she would be interested in the programs he wanted to leak about and would know how to communicate in a secure way. So it was Snowden who reached out to La Poitras, ultimately explaining to the NY TIMES that “Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, [which] resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world — making her an obvious choice.”

Reporter/documentary filmmaker Poitras--the obvious choice.

Reporter/documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras–“an obvious choice.”

And to make contact, Snowden turned to the dopiest of trade-craft mythologems, the rubrics cube—an idea he got from Bourne series screenwriter and director Tony Gilroy (now a big fan) who wrote the rubrics cube idea into Duplicity for Clive Owen and Julia Roberts.  The way Snowden worked it, he had everybody fly to Hong Kong—and then he had LaPoitras and Greenwald  wait around the Kowloon district loitering  outside a restaurant that was in a mall connected to the Mira Hotel. After a while, Snowden, armed with the aforementioned cube, shambled by and was thus identified, prompting Poitras to ask, as planned, if the restaurant in the adjacent mall would open soon. Snowden, by previous agreement, replied that it would open soon but the food was lousy.

"Yeah, but the food is terrible!"

Yeah, but the food is terrible!”

And yes, if you are reading this at Camp Peary you are within your rights to point out that Snowden’s “tradecraft” is subject to the “Eric Ambler” criticism, to wit, none of it lay sufficiently outside the realm of chance as to proof it against an accidental conjoinment in which some nitwit with a rubric’s cube and a low opinion of the local cuisine is suddenly bollixed by ebullient greetings from two wild-eyed, expectant journalists. But in the event, the ploy worked perfectly, permitting La Poitras the opportunity to scribble the requisite chestnut in her notebook that she and Greenwald “…almost fell over when we saw how young he [Snowden] was,  I assumed I was dealing with somebody who was really high-level and therefore older.” The additional hokum that typically accompanies this part of the melodrama goes something like, “Ah, but Monsieur DiCaprio, zoot alors, you must pardon mon astonishment, but you zee, you are zooo much younger zen one expects an ultra-sophisticated international folk hero and super spy to be!”

But enough of the blarney, on which glossy pages will be lavished by Der Spiegel, Paris Match, and by TIME (probably with those vintage commercial-art drawings showing how stuff got done and in what order by the adroit placement of cartoon arrows and time signatures)…rather, let us turn our attention to the kinds of information that Snowden proceeded to leak or remains likely to leak. They fall into four basic categories. And each category invites us to perceive Snowden in an entirely distinct way, too—which is what makes them so interesting and for many of us so frustrating!

The whistleblower whistleblower

First we have Snowden as Prometheus—the light bringer who cast open the forbidden vaults of the NSA and demonstrated, shockingly, that every American telephone conversation, e-mail, text and “selfie” was stored somewhere in the vast bowls of the NSA’s massive new twenty-building headquarters at Camp Williams Military Reservation in Utah County, Utah. The Snowden leaks revealed that NSA analysts are equipped to snoop internet traffic, emails, chat-room logs, Facebook pages, and yes, even lovable, patriotic and uplifting websites like the one you are currently reading! By cross-referencing phone and e-mail metadata with insights gained from accessing bank codes, insurance information, user profiles, voter registration rolls, GPS location information, property records and IRS data—which last, bear in mind, will soon include health data, a targeted individual can become naked before the curious superstate in a matter of minutes. That this places the NSA’s inexhaustible appetite for knowledge in stark contrast to 4th Amendment proscription of unreasonable searches as well as the 5th Amendment’s provisions against self-incrimination seems not to have particularly concerned anyone at NSA or in the administration. Indeed, the sign at the entrance to the new NSA complex reads: “Welcome to the Utah Data Center: If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear!” You don’t have to be Ed Snowden to sense instinctually that this sleazy reversal of the 5th Amendment’s intent is simply Un-American. Who doesn’t have something to hide? Perhaps simply some small personal detail, unthreatening to the security of the country? But the tyrant will harness any means of coercion to ensure obedience. This is the stuff of police states. And even if we were each as pure as the driven snow, does that make it okay for the government to know everything it wants to know about us? (You’re right, we intended that rhetorically.) And this makes Snowden appear to be the guardian angel of our liberty—this is his best persona, his strongest suit, and he knows it.

Eeek?

Eeek?

The traitor imagesCA57X7RD traitor

Next we have leaks about America’s foreign policy and spying —leaks that reveal espionage projects ongoing against U.S. adversaries and rivals. When the beautiful and talented Michelle Bachmann and the seriously curmudgeonly Peter King of New York raise their hackles over this stuff, it isn’t because they’re too unhip to revel gleefully with their libertarian brethren—the fact is that Snowden, whatever his motives, blew the lid off an amazing number of intelligence gathering mechanisms that were of huge benefit to the United States in the so called war on terror…and perhaps even more important, in the struggle to keep tabs on the evolving purposes of the Russians, Chinese, and North Koreans. “These were important tools,” Bachmann stormed, “that we had at our ready to be able to use to thwart terror attacks. We need to focus on the fact that we cannot allow people to be in positions of sensitive information and to be able to betray the American trust the way that Snowden did. He’s clearly a traitor,” Peter King pointed out that reporter Greenwald (who is also American despite his foreign addresses and associations) has threatened to release the names of American intelligence agents in sensitive stations around the world—information that he would not possess had Snowden not supplied him with it. This month (January, 2014) The Hill cited a classified Pentagon report to the effect that Snowden’s leaks put U.S. troops at risk and tipped off various terror networks to U.S. surveillance methods, leading the terrorists to change their tactics. The Hill also asserted that “most files copied” were related to current US military operations. All of this is not only tantamount to treason…it is easily seen as such by a great many Americans.

To millions of millennials and their TV patronizers (professional mimpers of the  Stephen Colbert variety), Bachmann and King are just old fuddy duds who can’t see the beauty in this much “truthiness” getting spoken to this much power—but in fact they are grown-ups who’ve seen the game played enough times to realize Snowden’s excellent adventure is seriously damaging the nation’s security and placing the lives of countless loyal, patriotic operatives at severe risk. In this sense, King’s and Bachmann’s critiques represent a hard nosed view of a cold, viperous  underworld of high-stakes espionage  that preening fops like Colbert cannot imagine exists. Indeed, a solipsist like Snowden envisions this world only as an abstract. Thus, old intelligence hands in particular are going to be more likely to judge Snowden harshly for his caprices, and they will demand to see him judged harshly. change schedule

The merry pranksterjoker edward

Everybody who has ever been connected to espionage knows that a lot of secrets are kept secret because they are simply embarrassing. Snowden succeeded in uncovering and leaking a vast array of such secrets, and the result is at once tantalizing, entertaining, and amusing—especially, it must be acknowledged, to those of us who enjoy seeing the current administration’s follies exposed. Getting caught monitoring the cell phone conversations of German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a major faux pas—especially since Merkel grew up in East Germany where having one’s phone monitored was an intensely-loathed fact of life.  In the same week, French president Francois Hollande learned from press reports that the NSA accessed the phone records of somewhere around 100 French citizens per month, and that Hollande was almost certainly one of them– as well as every senior official of the European Union. It was further revealed that the NSA monitored the phone calls of any world leader whose phone number it acquired— and that almost no useful intelligence had been garnered in this fashion (a tidbit that fuming world leaders found in no respect reassuring). Watching Jay Carney and Caitlin Hayden, the White House’s National Security Council spokeswoman, playing diplomatic “Twister” as they bravely contrived to double-talk their way around these matters was certainly fun—but let’s face it: Intelligence agencies spy on friendly governments all the time. Obama’s real mortification was getting caught at it and having to make all those apologetic phone calls to world leaders, most of whom already regarded him as a flyweight and the majority of whom probably enjoyed the occasion a bit more than they let on. Is it any wonder Obama wants Snowden in irons?

The keeper of the bombshells imagessnowfo

And finally and most fascinatingly in some respects, there is the information Snowden presumably accessed, but has yet to reveal to the world. The funny part about this category is that only Snowden and the NSA (and affiliated intelligence services) have any idea what that info is, unless he has already handed it to the Russians or the Chinese. Rumors, therefore, run rampant, involving everything from crashed flying saucers to alien contact with our government to weather control weaponry to time travel technology, to the master plans of the Illuminati for world domination. Obviously, hidden knowledge is always more exciting than exposed knowledge, because we can fit its contents to our wildest fears and fantasies. What has our young Prometheus yet to reveal? The NSA obviously knows what Snowden took, and Snowden obviously knows too, but so far we the people have no clue—and the Obama administration obviously wishes it kept that way.

The inept escape artist

where in the world Snowden fled Hawaii on May 20, landing in Hong Kong. There may be some irony to be savored in the fact that Wikileaks snitched on his desire to seek asylum in Iceland because of unspecified “shared values.” Iceland pointed out that applications for asylum in Iceland have to be filled out in Iceland. Snowden explained that because leaking state secrets and stealing gigantic amounts of classified data made travel difficult, he should be seen as exceptional, but Iceland disagreed. Snowden at that juncture declared his intention to remain in Hong Kong unless “asked to leave,” and ingratiated himself by exposing a few NSA secrets in the local papers. The Chinese asked him to leave anyway, so he moved into the Russian consulate. On June 23, 2013, Snowden flew to Moscow with the intention of proceeding to Ecuador “for purposes of asylum,” but while in Moscow the Obama administration yanked his passport, stranding him in Moscow. This made Snowden vociferously unhappy and he made it public knowledge that he didn’t want to live in Russia, preferring asylum in a Western Country. While complaining that the Obama Administration was “using citizenship as a weapon,” which comment is ironic on more than a few levels, Snowden applied for asylum in Norway, Finland, Germany, India, Poland, Austria, Italy, and the Netherlands, all of which declined. Ecuador chimed in at this point, announcing that its initial willingness to grant asylum had been “a mistake.” The unkindest cut of all may have been when Vladimir Putin called Snowden “an unwanted Christmas gift” and made it known that Snowden could not be considered for asylum in Russia unless he stopped “his work aimed at harming our American partners.” Et tu, Vladimir?  Well…Snowden was finally granted “temporary” asylum in Russia, renewable on a per-annum basis, despite which Snowden continued to seek asylum elsewhere, pleading with Brazil to take him in. Brazil regards Snowden favorably because of his revelations that the NSA was spying on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as her senior staff members and advisers, not to mention executives of Brazil’s national oil company, Petrobras. As of this posting, however, Snowden remains in Russia.

What is to be done?

Sir-James-George-Frazer

Sir James George Frazer–the man with the plan.

As everyone who has read or heard of The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer is aware, there is, from antiquity, the long-standing tradition of the sacrificial king, or dying god—indeed, Frazer’s chief hypothesis (to be absurdly synoptic) expressed his belief that ancient fertility cults and rituals all entailed the worship and the subsequent sacrifice of a “sacred” or sacrificial king. Frazer theorized that these practices eventually melded into a kind of universal pagan lore and symbolism. It is not WOOF’s purpose here to support or rebut Frazer’s argument, but merely to remark on its possible utility in Snowden-style  impasses. Consider:

Frazer’s basal example of the sacrificial king idea derived from his study of the pre-Roman “fane of Nemi,” a ritually installed king who was, in due course, ritually murdered by his successor—and the fane (king) wasn’t initially regal, he came from the slave class and was awarded his royal office only until the time of his sacrifice. A derivative of the sacrificial tradition is found in the John Barleycorn mythos, or what Celtic pagans refer to as the sacrifice of the corn king, or the Ivy King, the royal figure who sacrifices himself in exchange for the good harvest of the coming year.

The village idiot…? This idea, as Frazer maintains in protracted detail, spread through many cultures in many forms, but the mythologem is always pretty much the same: A king is declared, gets treated for a span of time to all the glories and pleasures to which his office entitles him, and then gets sacrificed—for the good of the land. An important element of the narrative is that the king is not derived from regal circumstances, but rather from common stock—in fact, in some iterations of the mythology, he is the village idiot, promoted by the townspeople to the loftiest estate—to be denied nothing—until the appointed time of his ritual slaying and replacement by the next idiot, to put it bluffly.  You can see where we’re going with this, right? idiot king b No, WOOF is not suggesting anything so bizarre as the institutionalization of paganism on a national basis. First, this would offend millions of Americans, and while WOOF has expressed its disapproval of the anti-pagan bigotry evident in the Democrat party (click here if you don’t believe us), we certainly uphold and defend the Judeo-Christian principles on which this nation was founded. However, on an ad hoc basis, given the national predicament of how to handle Snowden and his ilk—the traditions of antiquity may provide guidance. Consider: whateverThe “new treason” presents the new problem of how to mete out punishment to popular public figures whose popularity and public personae derive from acts that are categorically treasonable. The problem seems to have first evinced itself with Daniel Ellsberg, but has only intensified since—and the problem is solvable by application of a secular version of the ancient ritual of the sacrificial king—one that satisfies our schizoid national psyche by providing lionization and praise on the one hand, and retribution on the other.  (And was originally intended to celebrate Mother Gaia, which should inspire liberals!) No constitutional concerns seem evident, since the 8th Amendment precludes cruel and unusual punishment, but says nothing against creating unusually enjoyable preludes to execution. Those wearisome 1st Amendment arguments against state sponsored religious practices are easily circumvented by deleting all references to gods, goddesses, alters, reincarnation, sacred daggers, chalices, seasons, spirals, trees, cauldrons, or anything else that seems even remotely faith-based, heathen or otherwise.

Simple plan… The overall idea is simple, and bridges the seemingly unbridgeable gap between even the most dichotomous views.  Former CIA director James Woolsey recently declared that Edward Snowden “should be prosecuted for treason [and] hanged by his neck until he is dead,” which is a solid point. On the other hand, Manhattanville College student Daniel Raphael undoubtedly spoke for millions when he asserted (albeit in the subversive Huffington Post) that Edward Snowden “is beyond all else a hero,” who “revealed the workings of an illegal government program…” and once again, WOOF considers this a solid point. But now we have a means of addressing both points fairly while revitalizing those disincentives to the commission of treason established in Article III of the Constitution. Since congress is granted the power to “declare the punishment for treason,” congress need only establish some version of the Frazer mythologem by which to penalize the guilty, and the means will be at hand to proceed expeditiously, even in the ambivalent era of the hero-traitor.

The basic idea…

year

So just when it seems the party will never end…

To generalize, when any hero-traitor is found guilty of treason (a necessary prerequisite to punishment, naturally), he would enjoy a year of sumptuous accommodations and acclaim—a time of conferred privilege, especially given that sacrificial kings (and people like Asange and Snowden) hold no august offices at the time of their elevation to pop cultural royalty, or however one describes their new circumstances. For the convicted “righteous traitor,” this would be a time during which supporters would be encouraged to write applausive editorials and magazine articles, rock bands and rap composers would apotheosize him in song and verse, movies would be produced portraying him as an heroic champion of the commonweal, and wannabe Norman Mailers and Truman Capotes would write “nonfiction novels” about him. Naturally he would be presented with every imaginable variety of humanitarian award, while major universities would bestow honorific doctorates and invite him to make commencement speeches. Praise would be lavished upon him on the floor of the House and Senate by any members so inclined.  A government budget would be established to keep the guilty party in the lap of luxury for a full twelve months during which no effort would be spared to ensure his creature comforts– our readers can undoubtedly fill in the details more creatively than we.  Finally, of course, precisely a year from the date of sentencing, the convicted traitor would be hanged, or dispatched by whichever alternative means was currently held to be least cruel and unusual—and buried. WOOF advocates burial at sea, but that’s just our thinking on the matter. The fact is, within a year, the public attention will have turned completely elsewhere—perhaps to the next hero traitor’s revelations, apprehension and trial, perhaps to the latest wardrobe malfunction, oil spill or teacher/student sex scandal—leaving only a faithful few to keep alive the embers of the executed party’s martyrdom. Sic transit gloria mundi—especially in the age of the 24-hour news cycle.

Still, Snowden walks…?

All right, WOOF admits this probably will not solve the Snowden problem per se—for one thing, no such congressional action is likely to prove retroactive, and for another, we can’t get our hands on Snowden unless he makes it to Brazil where we could presumably encourage the Mossad to kidnap him for us—they having done the same with Eichmann when he fled to Argentina—but this would make the Brazilians even angrier at us that Obama has already made them, and the Mossad might interrogate and shoot Ed before he’d had his scheduled year of accolades and delights—oops!–so we may have to accept Snowden as on ongoing perplexity—and why not, really? He thoroughly exposed the creeping Orwellianism in our shadow government and he obviously drives the president crazy and amuses Putin—which, God help us, we’ve come to enjoy–so we might as well write him off as a keeper; but, the next example of the noble traitor who comes along should be caught, tried, and, if convicted, go straight into the Frazer treatment—a year at the top, and then—bang!—instantaneous transfer to that Highest Court, where non-secularism is still the rage, and then ultimate judgment will be rendered by One Whom traitors, heroic or otherwise, fear far more than they do Eric Holder. closing splash