National Conversation

President Obama hid and lied about the fact that the NSA and FBI are spying on the emails and phone calls of ordinary Americans. But now he claims he wants to set up a national conversation about it. Given how Edward Snowden is being pursued as a criminal, and how Pfc. Bradley Manning was viciously tortured, one imagines that his idea of a national conversation begins with Snowden in a government secret prison trying to talk from underwater.

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  • Consider the following hypothetical:

    A group of high-ranking military officials set up what amounts to “rape parties” which are exactly what they sound like. Someone blows the whistle on this horrible practice and runs in fear of retaliation. Obama says we need a “conversation” about rape parties.

    Now, wouldn’t that be not just obviously evil, but stupid? What would there to be to talk about? The only possible point of contention would be whether or not rape is wrong, else the only concern would be arresting the perpetrators.

    The point of the conversation is to decriminalize criminal acts. This is why there is no true “debate” in western political civilization. Rightwingers don’t need to “win” a debate; they just need to throw enough mud to make both sides look like they have a point, what Orwell called the “defense of the indefensible” and the Krugman described in his “Shape of the Earth: Views Differ” comment. If you point out, as in the case of torture, that there is no debate, you’re shrill. That’s why fake liberals are so very important; they give the impression of debate.

    Once you control the status quo, the only thing you need to maintain your agenda is to maintain the status quo. If you break the law, you don’t want to defend yourself on the merits, you want to distract from your lawbreaking in the first place. And one way to do that is to create unconstitutional laws that “legalize” your actions in an incoherent fashion and then accuse whoever pointed out your lawbreaking of treason. The “conversation” is the lock on this technique.

    But never forget: if there is a conversation about criminality, the crimes involved will be obvious, unforgivable, and undiscussed.

  • @Ted

    The Ingsoc logo around the TV is rather clever and appropriate.

  • Beautiful, Ted. Thank you so much for drawing one about Obama’s ‘national conversation’ comment. The man is a barbarian. I’ve been saying he’s evil since 2010 when he sold us out on the rich’s Bush Tax Cuts extensions. That’s when he lost the benefit of the doubt from me.

  • Mr Snowden seems to want to go to Latin America.

    If, as many comments (e.g. Ms Stark’s) say, he had gone to a good American newspaper instead of the Manchester Guardian, he would have had the Spanish lesson he needs before going to Latin America. He would have learned the word desaparecido.

  • alex_the_tired
    June 27, 2013 4:40 PM

    Obama wants a conversation? Fine.

    “Mr. Obama. Sit down. Raise your right hand. Okay. Now you’re sworn. You must tell the truth, the whole truth, etc. If you lie, you will go to jail. Do you understand?”

    “Now, you …”

    “Excuse me, Mr. Obama. This will be your only warning. You will answer the questions addressed to you concisely. You will not attempt to gimmick this with legal hairsplitting. ‘Do you understand?’ is a yes or no question. Answer the question.”

    And we can proceed from there. As long as Mr. Obama understands that he isn’t the king deigning to humor his subjects, but rather someone who is being investigated for criminal activities, I’d be thrilled to have a conversation with him. I ask the questions, he sticks to answers.

  • @ Sekhmet –
    “And one way to do that is to create unconstitutional laws that ‘legalize’ your actions in an incoherent fashion and then accuse whoever pointed out your lawbreaking of treason.”
    One of the biggest eye-openers in my past was learning that everything that the Nazi Government did in Germany was legal.

  • Isn’t Bradley Manning to be defrocked before deportation to Aquastan, Ted – i e, to be stripped naked or at most, be drowned in his skivvies ?…


    PS : The Guardian hasn’t appeared under the name Manchester Guardian since 1959 and moved its offices to London in 1964….

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