Mike’s Perspective

As a Marine Corps veteran who honorably fought and served in Iraq, I am very concerned about the policies of our current federal government. I took an oath when I joined the Marine Corps: I swore to defend the constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Congressmen are also required to take an oath to support the Constitution, but lately, many of Washington’s policies have shown complete disregard for both the constitutional rights of American citizens and our national security. I’m here to expose those policies and actions, hoping that those who read my reports will spread the words and messages of freedom. I’m also here to offer solutions when I can. Mike in Iraq

 

 

Editor’s Note (11/26/12):

Discourse and Diatribe has a new writer.  Mike is an Iraq War veteran (two tours) whose unique perspective on our nation’s politics will add a distinctive viewpoint to the discourse (and occasional diatribe) presented on this website.  Mike will be writing on a wide variety of subjects, and I expect that his views will often be in conflict with my own and/or those of the other writers on Discourse and Diatribe – but that is the whole point of political discourse.  As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently put it, to present more than one side of a given argument helps to “educate and inform the whole mass of the people”, and Mike intends to do just that!

Enjoy – and welcome, Mike!

David Bleidistel

Editor, Discourse and Diatribe

 

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December 3, 2012:  Our Two-Tiered Justice System

 

Leaving matters of national security, I shall next discuss the two-tiered justice system. BP pleaded guilty to causing the oil spill, lying to Congress about the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico, and causing the death of 11 people. What was their punishment? 4.5 billion dollars in fines. The problem is that BP makes more than $4.5 billion in profits every three months, and that the fine is to be paid incrementally over 5 years. When my friends in the Marines got in trouble for underage drinking, they were fined 3 months salary to be paid over 6 months, in addition to restriction to quarters and a reduction in rank. Apparently the US Department of Justice feels that off-duty underage drinking is a more serious offense than causing the deaths of 11 people and unleashing the worst environmental disaster in history. To make things even better, two workers aboard Deepwater Horizon are being charged with manslaughter and face sentences of over 11 years each. Will any of BP’s executives face jail time? Of course not; rich people don’t go to jail in America (duh). Despicable.

 

As another aspect of the two-tiered justice system, Bradley Manning reached over 900 days of captivity being given a pre-trial hearing, although the law mandates 120 days is the maximum amount of time someone can be held before receiving a trial. What did Bradley Manning allegedly do? He was allegedly witness to hundreds of thousands of documents proving the corruption, deception, murder, torture, and other vile practices of the US government abroad and the despicable governments the US State Department was spying on. Bradley Manning found the courage to do the right thing and supply these documents to someone who could ensure that they could all be seen by the entire world. Bradley Manning is a hero who upheld his oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and a hero who found the courage to do what was right and stand up to the powers that be. Instead of ceasing these horrible activities that enraged just about everyone around the globe, the US government has kept up these activities and is attempting to brand Bradley Manning a traitor as well as plotting to kidnap and kill Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks. If Manning is found guilty of treason, he will receive a harsher punishment than the soldier who murdered 16 Afghan civilians. Whistleblowers and truth-tellers are being persecuted for exposing evil and despicable acts. The military refused to let Manning be seen by Amnesty International and the ACLU to determine whether or not he has been tortured.

 

Now that Manning has had a pre-trial hearing, he has testified to the treatment he received during his captivity. Click here to watch a video describing the hearing.

 

While Manning is being prosecuted, are any of the diplomats, military commanders, CIA operatives, or other government agents being prosecuted for the inconceivably horrible acts that Wikileaks exposed? No, they’re being pardoned or swept under the rug, receiving no coverage from the mainstream media. After all, the current administration only attacks whistleblowers, not what they blow the whistle on. Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, is trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Assange can’t leave the embassy without being arrested by British authorities and sent to Sweden on alleged sexual assault charges, where he will then be extradited to the US for whatever the government has planned for him. The case of sexual assault is so weak and clearly untrue that Assange has stated it is a ruse to get him to leave the embassy where he will be extradited to America. The only other purpose for the charges is to discredit the man internationally.

 

Wikileaks has been denied service on many internet servers across the globe. In fact, one American server sent Assange an email saying they were denying him service because so many cyber attacks were being directed at Wikileaks that they had to end service with him to protect their other customers from the assaults. To make matters worse, Paypal, Visa, and MasterCard have all denied use of their services to Wikileaks and Assange. What that means is that Wikileaks cannot receive funding or donations that are using those services; Assange is currently only receiving donations by being given wads of cash through the gate of the Ecuadorian embassy.

 

The worst aspect of the current state of our unreliable and hypocritical justice system is the perversion of the First Amendment of the US Constitution. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press are the two worst abuses of the Constitution in today’s government. The assault on whistleblowers and the journalists who publish their work is suppression of the press- no ifs, ands, or buts! Passive suppression of the press also exists today in the form of media giant corporations. They take up all the radio and TV time by paying so much for that time that no other news agencies can afford to compete for those spots. The newspapers are in a similar state, although small newspaper start-ups rarely are taken as seriously or reach such a large audience as the big corporate papers. The internet is the only financially feasible medium for news agencies who wish to report real news instead of the mainstream garbage. Because of this, the majority of Americans are not even aware of the heinous atrocities being committed on a daily basis.

 

Perversion of Freedom of Speech is even more ridiculous and out in the open than suppression of Freedom of the Press. Look at what happened to Occupy Wall Street: numerous attempts were made to disband the protestors, including forced relocation and violent assaults by the police. NYPD even arrested people for using their First Amendment rights, under the guise of “disturbing the peace” and “disorderly conduct” charges (the “catch all” charges). On the other end of the spectrum, the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that large cash donations to political candidates (including bundling of groups of donors to effectively bypass restrictions on the amounts donated) are protected by First Amendment Freedom of Speech rights. In short, the court has ruled that MONEY=FREE SPEECH and that CORPORATIONS ARE PEOPLE PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION!!!!!! These rulings show just how little the government cares about the people and how submissive they are to corporations and their money. As Jesse Ventura has said, “I’d love to see the next bank robber say they were only practicing their First Amendment rights!”

 

The reality is that the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of large-scale bribery and purchasing of politicians. Since these have been the Court’s rulings, there are only three ways to overturn the rulings: (1) Congress passes a law explicitly outlawing bribery, (2) an amendment to the Constitution is passed which defines a person (as mentioned in the Constitution) to be an individual human being with a measurable heartbeat, or (3) the Supreme Court revisits the topic and changes their stance. Considering the Court has not stricken down the NDAA, Patriot Act, or various other totalitarian laws recently passed, option 3 is most likely not going to happen. Option 2 could happen if people only voted for Congressional candidates who were not going to give in to bribery and partisan pressure, but there are still too many misguided and uninformed voters in our population. Spreading knowledge can change that, so tell everyone you know about these issues. Social media is an excellent tool for this. Finally, option 1 seems the most far-fetched of all, for the recipients of legal bribery to outlaw that same bribery. Yet there is hope, for a bill is requesting online signatures that will create that same law. The bill will be sent to congress only when it has one million signatures, and it will double as a message to congress that everyone is sick of this obscene corruption. The bill can be signed and found at represent.us

 

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December 3, 2012:  The Truth About the Two-Party System

 

There are so many things wrong with this government that I couldn’t even begin to list them all. The question still remains: What can we do about it? Knowledge is power, and knowledge is what the hundreds of millions of Americans who aimlessly watch TV do not have. Once a majority of the American people have knowledge of these atrocities, we can vote-out all the assholes in government who have allowed these problems to happen. Spreading the word to all of your friends and families is how we can triumph over the unacceptable status quo.

 

What if the only candidates running for office are people who will support these foul actions our government is currently engaged in? That was the apparent situation of the 2012 presidential election, in which both Obama and Romney advocated the continuation of these policies. The fact that both the Democratic and Republican parties are loaded with the corrupting influence of money from large corporations only makes matters worse. Did you know that the corporations who own and control the mainstream media are the largest investors in the Presidential Debates? In fact, during the 2012 Presidential Election, the mainstream media had a complete blackout on the candidates from third parties. They wanted to make the American people believe they only had two choices: bad (Obama) and worse (Romney).

 

Free and Equal Elections, a nonprofit organization, is committed to ending the corrupt and antiquated Electoral College system. During the 2012 Presidential race, the international news network RT, specifically their RT America branch, teamed up with Free and Equal Elections to broadcast live two Presidential Debates. The first, moderated by Larry King, consisted of four presidential candidates: Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party, Jill Stein of the Green Party, Virgil Goode of the American Constitution Party, and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party. Free and Equal invited Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to join the debate, but both of their campaigns refused to attend; they were afraid of being asked real questions and of Americans across the country learning of real problems. The second debate was between two candidates whom viewers of the first debate voted winners of that debate. It was a debate between Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, and was still more genuine than the sham of debates between Obama and Romney.

 

The answer to this problem is to get as many Americans as possible to vote for third party candidates. Third parties offer real solutions and aren’t afraid to talk about real issues. During the 2012 election season, all of the third party candidates discussed the problems I discussed above in addition to even more problems our country faces. No matter your beliefs, there is a party out there who will match your beliefs better than the Democrats or Republicans. The state of the union has come to the point where the only way to save this country is to not vote for Republicans or Democrats ever again. By voting for Democrats and Republicans, the parties think Americans like these actions and want to see them continue.

 

If you traditionally vote Republican, consider voting for the Libertarian Party or the American Constitutional Party. If you traditionally vote Democrat, consider voting for the Green Party or the Justice Party. Jill Stein of the Green Party is quoted saying, “voting for the lesser of two evils only serves to keep things the same” and “the lesser of two evils is still evil.” Voting for something/someone you don’t believe in is wasting your vote; voting for what you believe is best for America is what voting was meant to be.

 

 

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December 3, 2012:  Climate Change and Our Nation’s Priorities

 

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced that climate change is a larger threat to national security, yet so far nothing has been done to reduce CO2 emissions. When global climate change leads to sea level rise, widespread droughts, and shifting climate patterns, billions of people are going to die across the globe. Who do you think the survivors of such terrible occurrences will direct their anger and retaliation towards? Most likely, the nation that single-handedly caused the crisis. I’m aware that emissions from China and India are close to surpassing those of the United States, but the emissions in China and India result from the manufacture of goods either meant for sale in America or made by American companies who have outsourced manufacturing into these countries. Therefore, the United States is single-handedly causing the global climate crisis currently unfolding around us. Instead of helping the people of America and the people of the world, the US government is helping the fossil fuel industry increase the severity of the global climate crisis. Why is the US government aiding greedy corporations run the whole planet into the ground? Why do our tax dollars provide subsidies to oil corporations whose annual profits are in the billions? Why does our government support corporate elites who are willing to drive the human race to near extinction simply because they want more money than they already have? Since oil corporations are some of the wealthiest corporations in the world, why do they need even more money, and why are they willing to get it at the expense of the entire planet?

 

During the election season, much talk was heard about the “importance of clean coal.” Newsflash: clean coal does not exist! It is a lie! For some reason, direct misinformation and lying to the public to gain political support is not punishable by law. What do exist are alternative energy sources, if infrastructure could be built to facilitate their use. Rather than building pipelines and giving massive subsidies to oil companies that don’t actually need them, the money could be spent constructing the infrastructure necessary to replace fossil fuel consumption. Washington has clearly made their choice, and they’ve chosen to side with corruption and apathy.

 

Why are American citizens being removed from their property in Texas by eminent domain? The government has granted the CANADIAN oil company TransCanada the ability to use eminent domain to seize the property of AMERICAN CITIZENS. In October, a woman was arrested for trespassing on her own property because she didn’t want the foreigners to demolish her only home with a bulldozer! TransCanada is planning on building tar sand refineries in Texas, polluting the area and subjecting residents of poor neighborhoods of Texas and Louisiana to toxic air pollution. In addition, if the Keystone XL pipeline is completed, it will carry toxic tar sands directly over the Ogallala aquifer, threatening to poison the main water source for agriculture in the Midwestern United States. With the climate crisis worsening, this is not a risk the government should be willing to make. I’m asking you to act responsible to the interests of the American people and do everything you can to prevent this violation of American sovereignty and destruction of our critical national resources.

 

 

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December 3, 2012:  The Flawed and Pointless American Foreign Policy

 

Our nation’s current foreign policy serves only to make more enemies of America abroad, not to keep Americans safe. When will drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other sovereign nations cease? These attacks have an alarmingly high civilian casualty rate (upwards of 98%), yet the government continues to use these tactics. Invading the airspace of sovereign nations and committing acts of terror within that nation serve only to turn the populations of those countries against us. Pakistan is considering breaking all ties with the United States in response to the growing numbers of civilians murdered by drone strikes every day. They’ve already lost thousands of civilians to drone strikes, yet they are still diplomatically negotiating with the US to stop these acts of murder and terror. As was featured on RT America’s news channel, imagine how Americans would respond if Mexico flew drones into California and started bombing entire city blocks in an attempt to kill criminals who had fled from Mexico: chances are, we would be at war and not negotiating while the strikes continued.

 

Since the economy is hurting and spending cuts need to be made, canceling the drone strikes and ceasing production of the missiles the drones use would be a great place to start making cuts. Why do we as Americans tolerate our government legislating away our constitutional freedoms, and bankrupting our country to fund wars across the globe? The government seems to feel that things like labor unions, social security, Medicare, overtime pay, minimum wage, and pensions are much worse for America than gradually turning the whole world against us through our aggressive, violent and hypocritical foreign policy. Considering the social safety net of the remaining New Deal programs are all that kept Americans from facing the same conditions as the Great Depression (verifiable fact, not opinion), you tell me which one is worse.

 

Another foreign policy that serves only to make new enemies of America is the use of torture. Everyone knows that torture is one of the least reliable methods of obtaining information, and this fact can be verified throughout history. Not to mention the fact that existing US laws and international laws expressly prohibit the use of torture. The torture of detainees needs to stop. It serves no purpose other than to degrade America’s image and create resentment and hatred towards the US. A nation who claims to be a champion of human rights cannot simultaneously be one of the world’s worst violators of international law, human rights, and human dignity. The hypocrisy will, again, cause the US to lose allies and gain enemies. The use of torture by American agencies is a serious threat to national security. Torturers must be brought to the same justice that the Abu Ghraib scapegoats were brought to, and torturers who have killed their captives must be prosecuted for murder.

 

Iran is not an enemy of the American people, and our history with Iran is unfortunate and corrupt. When the Shah (who used American-provided weapons to persecute and oppress his people) was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeini, the new government of Iran nationalized all of the oil in Iran so that the Iranian people, and not international corporations, would control the country’s resources. BP was the primary oil company who had been exploiting the Iranian people in order to profit off their oil resources, and BP perpetuated the doctrine that Iran is the enemy of the UK and the US. After 9/11, Iran (Tehran, specifically) held the largest mourning and support rally for the United States in the world. Why do we have a government that allows the greed of FOREIGN corporations to dictate policy? Why haven’t children in schools been taught this history? Why has the government given up on the interests of the American people?

 

In spite of the support Iran has been willing to show us, the government and corporately owned mass media have continued to warmonger and spread fear. This is something that I, as a Marine who is sworn to defend America, cannot tolerate. Our military forces are practically pre-staged and ready for an invasion of Iran, a country who does not want to be our enemy. The only reason there is tension between Tehran and Washington is because Washington is constantly putting pressure on Iran to give in to its demands, and even goes as far as mistranslating Ahmadinejad’s speeches to incite warmongering. The fact of the matter is America has no right to go into sovereign countries and inspect anything. What would the US government say if Iran demanded to inspect the conditions of detainees in Guantanamo Bay? Instead of respecting the sovereignty of a nation who is not our enemy, the US government is intent on doing everything it can to provoke Iran into a violent conflict. This needs to stop!

 

Perhaps the worst foreign policy of the United States is its stance on Israel. It is blatantly obvious that the Israeli government has been persecuting, harassing, forcefully relocating, and decimating the Palestinian people since Israel’s founding in 1947. Gaza is nothing more than an open-air prison in which Palestinians are forced to live in destitution and poverty, and Israel’s blockade serves no purpose other than psychological warfare on the Palestinian people. It’s time to tell America the truth- the rocket attacks were in response to the IDF shelling of a group of Palestinian children who were playing soccer too close to the wall staffed with IDF forces maintaining the siege of Gaza. It’s time to let the American people know that Israel is directly responsible for the conflicts since the nation began in 1947. There are no ifs, ands, or buts: Israel has held and continues to hold the Palestinian people in a state of terror, in increasingly shrinking territory. Why do billions of US taxpayer dollars go to Israel’s military abuse and slaughter of the Palestinian people every year? Why does Washington behave like it owes Israel anything? How can Washington denounce the treatment of Syrian peoples by their government while simultaneously supporting even worse treatment of the Palestinians by Israel? Why do we support a nation in which a large number of citizens, including the son of Arial Sharon, are giving calls for ethnic cleansing and the genocide of the Palestinian people? By supporting Israel, the aggressor and tyrant, America is making more enemies and losing allies.

 

 

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November 26, 2012:  The “National Defense Authorization Act” is Indefensible

 

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the largest betrayal of the American people that the US government has EVER committed. Upon first learning about the NDAA, I fell to my knees and hysterically cried because my service to this country was completely and utterly betrayed; I didn’t join the military to protect a government who legislates away the rights of the American people. Already American citizens are being placed on secretive “No Fly” lists, having their emails and electronic communications monitored through subpoena rather than search warrants, surveillance cameras are being installed in cities and communities across the country, and surveillance drones are being offered to local Police Departments nationwide. This is unacceptable and immoral, in addition to being a clear mass violation of every citizen’s 4th Amendment rights.

 

As if the NDAA and surveillance state weren’t bad enough, President Obama secretly signed a Presidential Directive 20, allowing the NSA to spy on all electronic communications without a warrant. The Washington Post originally broke this story. The NSA has refused to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests, stating that exposing the contents of the directive would endanger national security. Somehow, if I wanted to know whether or not the NSA is monitoring me, it is a grave threat to national security. Is it? The only threat the Freedom of Information Act requests could pose would be to expose how little the current government cares about Constitutional rights.

 

The mainstream media has been silent on these issues. The mainstream media consists primarily of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and the major newspapers across the country. All they talk about is General Petraeus having sex with women. They also give extremely one-sided, pro-Israel biased reports from Gaza. But they’ve more or less had a blackout on all the real issues Americans face, especially the erosion of civil liberties and the American government’s defilement of human rights across the globe. In regards to Benghazi, I absolutely believe the allegations of a CIA secret prison in which kidnapped Libyans were held and tortured. Why do I believe it’s true? When I was in Iraq, a concerned mother in the area alerted my squad to the presence of a secret, underground, prison-like facility near the outskirts of Fallujah. We found the facility, and it was undoubtedly a secret underground facility. It had also been clearly abandoned for at least 10 years, suggesting that it was in use during the Gulf War and beyond. The government even admitted that the CIA conducted torture of captives when President Obama pardoned all CIA employees who had engaged in torture. The President went even further by granting the CIA and private military contractors impunity from prosecution and a green light to continue torturing captives.

 

In addition to the heightened police state, the FBI is involved in creating domestic terrorist threats and then arresting the terrorists, all in a glorious PR stunt to justify the systematic removal of civil liberties in this country. Earlier this week, an anarchist domestic terrorist cell was arrested, foiling their plot to blow up a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. Evidence in the case strongly supports the fact that an undercover FBI agent entrapped the group, coercing them into agreeing to use explosives. The evidence was so strong that the presiding judge gave a light sentence of 8-11 years for those arrested. Why was the FBI not held accountable for entrapment, a clear violation of law? According to Mother Jones, in about half of the 500 prosecutions related to terrorism charges, the FBI relied upon informants. To make matters worse, over one-third of the convictions were for plots that the FBI perpetrated onto the individuals. Again, why has this been allowed to proceed unchecked? Where is the accountability? I’m of the understanding that no individual is to be held above the law. When was this ever acceptable? Is the situation so desperate that the government has to create domestic terrorists to justify the war on terror and it’s subsequent raping of the Bill of Rights?

 

To shed light on more serious concerns, why have the various police agencies across the country not been held accountable for violently attacking the Occupy protestors? Why have they not been held accountable for using force, intimidation and violence to stifle the First Amendment rights of Americans? Has anyone been charged for these offenses against the Bill of Rights? As a Marine, I was led to believe I was fighting to defend the American people and their Constitutional Rights. I don’t like being lied to! I don’t appreciate my life and the lives of all military men and women being used to defend the enemies of freedom currently holding positions of power in Washington!

 

All hope is not lost. An organization known as Represent.us is collecting signatures for a bill they hope will become law. I proudly signed their petition, and encourage everyone to do the same. The synopsis of their mission is to collect over one million signatures before sending the bill to congress. The bill will force transparency in addition to reform of any candidate’s ability to accept money from campaign contributors. The idea is to get big money out of politics and make government responsible to the people, not the 46 people who donate massive amounts of money to campaigns. For more information and to join the movement of bringing government back to the will of the people, I implore you to visit Represent.us and sign their bill.

 

Help spread the message. One thing we can learn from the Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Suffrage, the Voting Rights Act, the Privacy Act, and the Freedom of Information Act (among others) is that it takes a movement of the people to create real change.

 

Knowledge is power. Spread the knowledge.

 

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 © 2012-2016 by David Bleidistel.  All rights reserved.