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The Obamanan Empire: SOTU and Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg

The Obamanan Empire: SOTU and Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg

By Dennis Loo (1/31/14)

“Being an imperial power, however, is more than being the most powerful nation or just the most hated one. It means enforcing such order as there is in the world and doing so in the American interest. It means laying down the rules America wants (on everything from markets to weapons of mass destruction) while exempting itself from other rules (the Kyoto Protocol on climate change and the International Criminal Court) that go against its interest.”

– Michael Ignatieff, Director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, writing in The New York Times Magazine, “American Empire: Get Used to It,” January 6, 2003.

This article by Ignatieff was published before the Abu Ghraib Scandal. In this essay – note its title: “American Empire: Get Used to It” - Ignatieff fully and unapologetically embraced the descriptor of “Empire” for the US’s role in the world. This represented a turning point where liberals like Ignatieff - note that his job was as a human rights director – as well as conservatives, who had for years been denying that the US was an Empire, finally dropped the pretense and said that Americans should happily own up to being an Empire and all that that entails. Bandwagons are big enough for hypocritical liberals as much as unabashed right-wingers, after all.

When Ignatieff says that being an Empire means that you choose what rules you demand that others abide by and decide which ones you will exempt yourself from observing if it doesn’t serve your interest, he wasn’t being satirical. Read what he says above again and savor these words of his. We don’t need to be loved and in fact, we need to get used to being the “most hated,” as the US does what it does “in the American interest.” If the Kyoto Protocol on climate change doesn’t suit “American interests,” or if the ICC goes against “American interests,” then screw ‘em.

In a subsequent NYT article, entitled "Lesser Evils" and published on May 2, 2004,  Ignatieff, channeling Dick Cheney, explicitly and specifically advocated that the US engage in violations of human rights and international law, including “targeted assassinations,” “pre-emptive war,” and “coercive interrogations,” among other things, because these were the “lesser evil” in comparison to the “greater evil” of another 9/11:

To defeat evil, we may have to traffic in evils: indefinite detention of suspects, coercive interrogations, targeted assassinations, even pre-emptive war. These are evils because each strays from national and international law and because they kill people or deprive them of freedom without due process. They can be justified only because they prevent the greater evil. The question is not whether we should be trafficking in lesser evils but whether we can keep lesser evils under the control of free institutions.

Unstated in his commentary was an explanation of why committing war crimes and crimes against humanity were justified against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. The fact checkers at The New York Times were apparently on an extended holiday and no one, including Ignatieff and the Times’ staff, thought to ask the obvious question: how can any war crimes and violations of human rights be justified when they’re not even being used against terrorists who were responsible for or connected in any way to 9/11?

But then again, perhaps Ignatieff was being consistent in his argument inasmuch as he explicitly states that Empires get to make their own rules and get to decide what rules others have to abide that the Empire itself does not. That rule that others must abide by but the US Empire does not have to apparently includes having to be logically consistent. If you’re not going to be an upholder of the consistency of the application of laws for everyone, then why should you be consistent in your reasoning? When the Empire says it’s right and you better abide by it or we’ll imprison you, torture or kill you, it does so in its own Interest, get it?

When the Abu Ghraib Scandal broke very shortly after this Ignatieff apologia for war crimes, and some deeply revealing and embarrassing photographs of the US torture of prisoners were released to the world, Ignatieff hurriedly tried to back off from his "lesser evil" argument and tried to dissociate himself from what he had just previously advocated. The visual evidence of exactly what these “lesser evils” looked like was altogether too much for Mr. Human Rights to continue to stand by for so blatantly.

I bring this all up now because it provides a perfect introduction to the SOTU speech of three days ago by Obama. In his SOTUS address, Obama concluded his address by invoking a nearly mortally wounded soldier who has partially and painfully recovered, as an exemplar of the American spirit:

I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day.  Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack.  We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain. 

For months, he lay in a coma.  The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move.  Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day. 

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye.  He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again. 

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.” 

Cory is here tonight.  And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit. 

This section of the speech provoked a standing ovation lasting two minutes. It was clearly the speech’s emotional high point, a speech that ought to be referred to as “Fanfare for Fools” in which Obama tries to recapture his prior charisma, badly damaged by the Obamacare rollout debacle, his drone assassinations, his bailouts of the big banks, his odious and vindictive persecution of whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, and the revelations of NSA spying by Edward Snowden, by waving his hands about and trying to convince an increasingly skeptical public that he really is the “hope” and “change” president who is going to reverse the dramatic slide downhill for most Americans’ living standards, annihilations of civil liberties, his ongoing war occupations, and the ever more obvious signs of global climate disaster.

There is something very perverse about Obama’s invocation of Sgt First Class Cory Remsburg. Remburg has a very obvious bright red scar down the right side of his skull and had to be helped up by his father as he lifted his badly damaged right hand to acknowledge the uncallused clapping hands of Congress, the most exclusive club in the world. Remburg, as Obama himself explicitly states, was nearly killed on his tenth deployment to Iraq.

But beyond the ridiculousness of a tenth tour – the tours themselves would have nearly killed Remburg if the IED hadn’t blown up on him – is the fact that Obama would think it suitable to celebrate this terribly damaged young man as an icon for a durable and irrepressible America.

What Obama is and does as leader of the American Empire is to justify the crimes that Empires commit and try to make Americans feel proud of all of it. The Celebration Of All Things Military (COTM) is the backdrop to the grotesqueness of Obama’s SOTU’s emotional high point. Coat ‘em, coat over the grisly reality of what it means to serve that Empire and its yawning maw as it feeds on the bodies and lives of people and the disintegration of the planet’s biosystems. If this speech weren’t sufficient reason to want to do everything we can to wrest a radically different society and world from the dying, trembling, rapacious hands of the Obamaman Empire and its lying front men, then what is?

Comments   

 
0 # Wolfian 2014-02-05 04:14
Can we say that the USA is an empire and should be labeled as such? If we look at the definition of an empire the term empire derives from the Latin imperium (power, authority). Surely most people and presidents will deny that the U.S is an empire. Nevertheless this imperialism started way before Obama. President George W. Bush during his campaign asserted “America has never been an empire” Bush stated “Our country doesn’t seek the expansion of territory” but rather “to enlarge the realm of liberty.” yet we can speak about the U.S invasion and occupation of Iraq.(cont'd)
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 04:33
Pundits, intellectuals & some public officials are no longer denying but openly embracing the idea that the US is an empire. See, for ex., Michael Ignatieff's 2003 NYT Magazine article "American Empire (Get Used to It)" that I reference here: http://www.dennisloo.com/Articles/the-obamanan-empire-sotu-and-sgt-first-class-cory-remsburg.html. Ignatieff's point was that being an empire includes the US picking & choosing what laws it wants to abide by yet forcing other countries to abide by those same laws. He also argues that torture, assassinations & pre-emptive war are justifiable. !!
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0 # Wolfian 2014-02-05 04:15
Americans might not seem to want to expand territory, but isn’t it truth that believing that the American cultural values liberty and democracy are better than other countries is a way of imposing a type of imperialism? When we showcase and export our cultural values to other people and make them adopt them voluntarily, we can say that, yes, America is an empire that is slowly growing. Not in territory, but in expansion of political views and our definition of liberty and values.
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+1 # Flow14 2014-02-05 04:37
This article truly makes it clear that a person with charisma can get away with almost anything. That person in this case is the president, our leader, someone we're supposed 2 be able 2 trust. It's obvious that the average person is expected 2 listen 2 Obama's speech & react 2 it with a standing ovation. The story points out all the positive aspects at the beginning in order to captivate the audience, then dramatically starts 2 point out the negative, & makes it clear that we, the U.S., are the victims & the peacemakers, while Afghanistan is clearly the enemy. Obama wants 2 remind everyone, in case they've forgotten, that Afghanistan is full of terrorists; it was their bomb that almost caused this American soldier his life. Obama very cleverly puts the blame on the other country instead of addressing the fact that it's his fault our soldiers are still out there exposing their lives on a daily basis. Rather than feeling honored Remburg should've been outraged. He was simply a prop.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 05:15
Remsburg was a prop, it's true. Charismatic individuals can get away with a lot, but if we subject what they say to close analysis it's possible to expose what they're really saying and provide the material that can help to reveal what's really going on under the surface.
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-1 # KG7 2014-02-05 16:21
Captive punishment mentioned above is indeed a necessary evil ONLY IF said captives are proven terrorists. Sometimes evil is required to stop evil men.We have no way of knowing how many acts of terrorism are thwarted every yr. do to these practices.Human rights activists dream of a utopian world:no war, no terrorism,no violence.This will never happen as mankind itself is a being of greed and war. Barack needs to stop flip flopping his stance on the issue. He stated this type of interrogation is a violation of human rights and can't continue. Hence, his promise to close GTMO and restore habeas corpus. However, on the sly he attempts to sell the public on its necessity by shamelessly showcasing Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg in front of the world. Possibly an ulterior motive to remove the focus on the failed rollout of Obama care amongst other things. How would Durkheim feel about Obama deciding which rules to play by/which laws to ignore? I see zero social solidarity and zero harmony.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 17:29
The reason why laws both national & int'l are so important (e.g., the Geneva Conventions) is to set standards which everyone is obliged to follow. Esp if we accept yr claim that people are greedy & warlike, then all the more reason why standards have to be set, to ensure that those who are in fact greedy & warlike are barred under the law from doing this without consequences. If u accept that evils may be done in our name by those who can always claim they had to do so to keep us safe, & accept their violating int'l & nat'l laws, then laws have no meaning. As Nazi leader Hermann Goering sd at Nuremberg: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of leaders. All you have to do is tell them they're being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 16:49
We actually do know how many terrorist acts have been thwarted due to these inhumane and evil practices: NONE. The Senate Intelligence Committee has said this. Moreover, you can bet that the gov't would brag abt any incidents they've prevented & they've not when you examine the fact that any alleged info they've gotten thru torture was available thru other non-torturous means. The only place that claims torture has prevented incidents was in the made up faux documentary Zero Dark Thirty. I agree with you about Obama's two-faced stance. Why do u think that mankind is greedy and warlike? If u look at human history the vast majority of it greed didn't exist & int'l law bars torture because gov'ts and peo agreed to ban it.
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0 # KG7 2014-02-06 14:47
You must take into account the integrity of the SIC when believing them when they say "NONE". Weber "...by keeping their knowledge and intentions secret...it hides its action and knowledge from criticism." Not to mention the constant barrage of blatant flat out lies spewed forth by our government to help push their agenda or to keep them from looking bad. "lf you like your current health care coverage, you can keep it" (Obama). "We're not reading emails, recording calls, or reading txt mess' of American citizens"(NSA). Fast and Furious all pled the 5th when ordered to testify on events of the botched operation and were held in contempt of court (Atty. Gen. E. Holder DOJ). Obama uses his EO to allow them not to bring forth documents on said operation. Illegal targeting of conservative organizations for intense scrutiny (IRS). With the examples provided why should we believe the SIC when they say "none"?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-06 15:47
It's a question here of what interests are they serving and what are the conflicts between different bureaucracies and how are they jointly trying to keep the system they are atop of credible. The SIC has no interest in denying that torture works and would say so if they thought it did. There are conflicts w/in the ruling class over how best to govern and hold onto power and how to keep the peo here and ard the world in check.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-06 16:12
Remember here too that bureaucracies conflict with other bureaucracies. It isn't just one big bureaucracy acting with monolithic interests.
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0 # KG7 2014-02-06 17:36
Yes, I agree w/you that it isn't one big bureaucracy acting with monolithic interests. Yet the argument I've presented makes it difficult to trust those in power. The facts/evidence speak for themselves.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-06 17:42
What evidence are you referring to? Just as a gen'l point: facts almost always don't speak for themselves, they need interpretation. : )
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0 # KG7 2014-02-06 17:52
Shall we interpret? :)
"If you like your current health care coverage, you can keep it" (Obama). "We're not reading emails, recording calls, or reading txt mess' of American citizens"(NSA). Fast and Furious all pled the 5th when ordered to testify on events of the botched operation and were held in contempt of court (Atty. Gen. E. Holder DOJ). Obama uses his EO to allow them not to bring forth documents on said operation. Illegal targeting of conservative organizations for intense scrutiny (IRS).
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-06 18:26
There's a need for as many in the public as possible to learn how to sift through information & analyze it so that they aren't wholly dependent upon the conclusions of authorities. To say that the gov't cannot be trusted in general is too blanket a statement to use as our overall guideline. Yes, they lie a great deal, but with training one can learn how to take into account various factors that are in play besides their tendency to lie. Much of what I write involves doing that.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-06 18:34
Here's a specific example of what I'm talking about: http://dennisloo.com/Articles/of-pedagogy-and-politics-listening-to-authority-and-listening-to-the-outside-evidence.html
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0 # mart90 2014-02-05 18:40
W/in the country Americans believe in the idea that democracy lays out our foundation yet the bigger picture shows those empowered involved in actions opposed to the believes that are within the rights people are supposed to have. These actions committed are a simple act of the past now is what Obama tries to instill on the people manipulating so-called heroic stories and portraying the idea that there is bad (terrorism) out there that is out to harm Americans. This only gives a better understanding of how much charismatic leaders can put under the rug and wouldn’t these actions signify there being a socialist ideology as the country sets out the rules and enforces them throughout the world but then within the walls they declare to the ppl that they carry out a capitalistic system. This points out the bureaucratic secrecy within as they try to push away the criticism by hiding their actions and point out that they are right doing as they look to protect their own.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 19:59
The two-faced nature of this is there for sure. The foundation for their argument that they're protecting their own is how they are smuggling in an extremely immoral policy of torturing and killing others in order to allegedly protect Americans. Yet when you breach universally applicable laws such as due process, you open the door to tyranny over all, including those who you are supposedly protecting.

What do you mean by a socialist ideology in this case?
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0 # mart909 2014-02-07 20:43
It is unbelievable though the amount of Americans who are unaware of all these events committed by this country. Even when they become public it is not to an extent in which the entire population is exposed through and this is due to the authority that the rich and powerful have over the media. Can it be though that many know yet fear implementing a change would do harm to them?
Socialism meaning that the US began as a controlling nation laying out the rules for their advantage and from one day to the other became an empire as they only follow certain rules and expect the rest to abide with the rules
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0 # Daniel Carrillo 2014-02-05 19:15
When Obama used Sgt. Remsburg as a prop in his speech he was employing artifice. He used his charisma to elicit sympathy from the audience; the momentum of this emotion was then easily projected/chann eled into support for our military industrial complex. By having his audience focus on an "enemy" (clearly from the looks of Sgt. Remsburg it is hard to dispute he encountered some "enemy") instead of the exploitation of young men to protect the interests of a few American multinational corporations, Obama was being secretive and keeping many Americans ignorant as to the realities of military action in the way Weber warned about, when he spoke of secrecy in bureaucracies. By displaying "heroes" and promoting patriotism, Obama was not only deceiving the public, but was also ensuring the status quo (support for military spending from our tax dollars), which is also consistent with Weber's beliefs that bureaucracies continue to do what they do.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-05 20:00
Have you noticed the pronounced increase in other arenas such as sporting events in very overt and over the top patriotic displays linked directly to worship for the military?
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0 # Daniel Carrillo 2014-02-05 20:12
Yes,during the Superbowl there was a Bud Light commercial that showed a soldier's homecoming welcome in which his whole town participates and is portrayed as showing their enormous "thanks and respect" for his service. Anheuser–Busch has a long history of incorporating iconic military imagery in their advertisements and in–store displays.
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0 # Daniel Carrillo 2014-02-05 20:47
Additionally, by doing so Anheuser–Busch turns the focus away from VA backlogs, PTSD and the maiming or death of young Americans onto the concept of "patriotism" which necessitates support for continued military spending. Anheuser–Busch' s ties to our government are deep—between them they form an even greater, more omnipotent bureaucracy.
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0 # Denisse Adue 2014-02-06 04:13
As stated in "Classical Sociology Theory" by Ian McIntosh, "The holder of charisma seizes the task that is adequate for him and demands obedience and a following by virtue of his mission." I think that Obama, being the charismatic leader that he is, is trying to regain followers by showing that he is empathetic and has high moral standards. It has been said that about 53% of the American public does not believe the Obama administration is competent at running the government. This is evident in Obama's approval ratings having been stuck in the low 40s for several months now. A lot of the scrutiny that he has been getting has to do with people opposing Obama Care as well as the National Security Agency’s surveillance program. He was obviously using Sgt First Class Cory Remsburg as a tool to take some of the attention off himself and to make himself look good. To know that Remsburg was celebrated for being severely injured because of his 10th deployment is devastating.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-08 04:09
D: Nice use of data from polls here in conjunction with McIntosh and the SOTU speech. I agree that he is trying to regain his previous popularity but it's difficult because by now he's done a # of things that people can't accept. His rhetoric can only go so far relative to his actual deeds. And the strain is showing but needs to be highlighted to others so that they can see this very clearly...
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0 # Denisse Adue 2014-02-09 00:29
Yes, I agree. I myself have seen many people I know lose a lot of faith in him. I have friends who voted for him initially but when it came to the last election they didn't vote at all because they didn't like either candidate. I don't feel there had been enough progression since he was voted into office and people are getting tired of his empty promises. As difficult as it may be to see your once large following dwindle down I don't think that capitalizing on Remsburg unfortunate situation was enough to regain the respect he has lost. His charisma could only get him so far and clearly it was not enough to convince everybody who once stood behind him.
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0 # debdawg91 2014-02-08 06:57
Part 1
Yes, we can say that this country is an empire in comparison to the definition stated, however, being as powerful as the United States is, we no longer have to go out and acquire land. Every country could be seen as an empire. The United Nations are there to hold the counties of this world in check, for the most part. However, the orders given do not have to be followed if a powerful country wishes not to comply. Powerful nations can ignore the rules since they have the power to oppose sanctions. The U.S is powerful enough to take care of their needs internally. On the other hand, powerful countries can impose sanctions by using various degrees of force from economic to military.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-08 14:37
Being an Empire has a very specific meaning. Any country that tries to acquire land isn't an Empire, so for you to say that every country could be seen as one misunderstands the term Empire. Does the fact that a country can choose to ignore the laws that don't suit it because it's powerful mean the same thing as if someone's strong or has a deadly weapon in their hands this makes it ok for them to ignore the laws against homicide? Is that a standard you'd want to be living by? Why would you be ok with it being implemented in int'l affairs, particularly when under such a rationale, over a million have been killed in Iraq since the US invasion and tens of millions were killed in WW II under the Nazi's justification that they were strong and had the right to ignore int'l law.
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0 # debdawg91 2014-02-08 06:58
Part 2
Every Politician has their own agenda and uses people as props to get their point across. Obama used Sgt. Remsburg as a scapegoat to take away from the major issues at hand. He deflected from talking about Obama care, NSA spying in the people’s personal life and much more. In Obama’s SOTU speech he kept talking about many different proposals he had in mind, however, not once did he describe how these proposals would be implemented.
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0 # debdawg91 2014-02-08 06:59
part 3
As far as Ghraib, was this torture or just humiliation of a human being, which I must say, is pretty bad in itself. How much worse are persons of the U.S treated in similar situations compared to these actions? Everyone has ways of getting information and there is no doubt about it, torture in every country. In describing torture, what actions rise to the definition of torture? The U.S is accused of great torture, but we must examine who is defining what torture really is. One can argue that torture is not affective, however what are the facts to support that argument, especially since we are not presence to see the torture take place?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-08 14:31
As of several yrs ago, the US had killed at least 100 ppl through torture, documented by the US gov't itself. That's not just humiliation. Google "Abu Ghraib" and spend a few minutes looking at the bloody pictures & ask yourself if this is torture and murder or not. There is not torture in every country. The int'l definition of torture is in the Geneva Conventions. As for the ques of its "effectiveness, " see, for ex., http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/1110-defending-the-indefensible-torture-and-the-american-empire--dennis-loo which is an excerpt online of Chap 5 from Impeach the President. U want to ask yourself if you're willing to have ppl killed & tortured even if it supposedly did "work," including entirely innocent ppl.
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0 # jorigby 2014-02-08 18:43
Of course, every country has a technique of interrogation but the techniques used by the U.S. are far and beyond to get information. For example, the U.S. got caught using water boarding. That is no longer a technique of interrogation. It is now torture.
How do you define torture? And does your definition of torture relate to the actions of the U.S. government towards the prisoners are GTMO?
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0 # jorigby 2014-02-08 18:30
America is not an Empire without it's bureaucracies. The bureaucracies help America function as an empire as in enforcing certain orders to accommodate the country's government interests. This relates to the "lesser evils" that American bureaucracies commit to and why it is such a huge secrecy to the majority of the American people. These systems are suppose to protect the people and let them know what is going on. However, they choose not to inform the people because the bureaucracies do not want to reveal their operations to other bureaucracies to take credit of what a bureaucracy has done. This goes along with the "rational of the irrational" idiotic logic. However, the majority of the American people will not see that bureaucracies are a threat to them because of the distraction that people see in the media - President Barack Obama. America's government needs a charismatic leader as a distraction for their immoral actions.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-08 18:38
American bureaucracies commit both the greater and lesser evils. For ex., the invasion of Iraq, the thousands killed by drones, the billions spied upon by NSA, indefinite & preventive detention, torture & murders. Part of the reason why bureaucracies lie and mislead is due to turf battles but mostly it's b/c they don't want to be interfered with & they regard themselves as the experts. When u say the majority won't see this b/c of the media's distractions, this is very fatalistic thinking. Why is it a foregone conclusion that this will be the case when you know that if people ARE shown the truth, most will respond appropriately. What you and others do WILL make a difference.
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0 # jorigby 2014-02-08 19:06
Yeah, most will respond to IF they are shown the truth. But the problem is the media doesn't show what the bureaucracies do all the time such as the covert operations done by the CIA or the FBI because it's suppose to follow the rule of secrecy and it's also an interest of Homeland Security.
The media only reports when it wants to unite the nation to fight the "common enemy" such as communism and "terrorism". However, the mainstream media does not go into detail. We are not inform what is happening while it is going on.
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0 # OLI 2014-02-09 04:09
I know in class u said that u wanted to broaden our awareness of our govt and the people in power, and I appreciate that u are taking the efforts to communicate these ideas. Personally, I am benefitting indirectly from the efforts (whether correct or incorrect) created by the government. I have all the basic necessities to live in this nation. As for the NSA, they could spy on me anytime they want because I have nothing to hide, I am not against the system , but I will use the system for my benefit. Could the the government take away my freedom? Yes, they could but who am I and what would they want with it and how could they use if for their benefit. For me to believe that the govt has something to gain from taking away my rights, I am making myself too important. Obama brought the SGT to show the American human quality to survive. Humans have subscribed to survival of the fittest since the beginning of time and the US govt executes on that.
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-09 04:21
You need to broaden out your understanding of what exactly is at stake with the NSA spying because your "I have nothing to hide" statement, shared by many others, is honestly a HUGE mistake. See these two articles to help to explain why: http://dennisloo.com/Sample-Data-Articles/to-those-americans-who-say-i-have-nothing-to-hide.html and http://dennisloo.com/Articles/i-have-nothing-to-hide-this-is-not-about-you-it-s-about-us.html.
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0 # OLI 2014-02-09 05:21
I agree with Dave Eggers from the point of view that for the govt to search my house they need a warrant. So the NSA is already collecting all this information, bypassing this important requirement, but we have given up some of these rights already, havent we? Ex. we give up information to employers in hopes that this information will be kept private, our trash could be searched through (some people doing something about it and others dont). Since you are trying to broaden the understanding of the 4th Amendment, how would you defend against the invasion of privacy that is already taking place?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-09 05:44
There is a very big difference between someone who snoops through your trash and the idea that one is somehow consenting to such a search if they don't go to the trouble of shredding everything. There is an even bigger difference btw the necessity of giving employers info that is supposed to be kept confidential and the gov't secretly intercepting and storing ALL electronic activities of everyone. These are entirely different phenomena. Just because it is harder to maintain privacy than it used to be because of electronic media such as PCs, the web, GPS devices, cell phones, electronic banking & social media doesn't mean that the gov't has a right to destroy the 4th Amendment and overthrow the core right of probable cause as the basis for search and seizure by the gov't.
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0 # KG7 2014-02-09 14:47
I agree with Dr. Loo in regards to taking the stance of "I have nothing to hide" is a huge mistake in thinking. Remove the individualistic perspective and think of it in global terms. What's the point in laws/Bill of Rights if they aren't followed/obeyed . If the govt. doesn't abide by laws that they are sworn to uphold, laws have no meaning. Where will it end?
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0 # Dennis Loo 2014-02-09 04:28
Re: survival of the fittest being subscribed to from the beginning of time: this is not true. Social Darwinism originates in the 1800s and humanity has been around for over 200,000 years. You are not making yourself too important. You are relinquishing the rights of anyone who would dare to dissent from the government's definition of orthodoxy by acceding to the demise of the Fourth Amendment.
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0 # sickmacias89 2014-02-09 05:42
As previously discussed in lecture i saw the taping of BA, but upon watching it i realized i felt totally comfortable hearing the U.S. called an Empire. It was answered in class that many of us do need to broaden our horizons & that some had already had experiences which made it easier to swallow a large pill like coming to the realization that POTUS has a kill list. Through my experiences of growing up in a rough neighborhood, being a minority, and being a woman led to myself seeing my gov't in a different way because those of us who have had similar lives like mine know what can go on behind closed doors. Obama uplifting the audience with the wounded soldier not only felt like he was making up for things he has already failed at but it felt like a parent waving candy in a child's face so is to distract from the ugly truth. Our country is already an Empire far exceeding expectations from being just another cog in the machine & us being ignorant enough to be ok with it.
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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12