Presidential Rule by Deception: Obama, the Master Con-man

James Petras

Introduction: In an electoral system, run by and for a corporate oligarchy, deception and demagoguery are essential elements - entertaining the people while working for the wealthy.

Every US President has engaged, in one fashion or another, in ‘play acting’ to secure popular approval, neutralize hostility and distract voters from the reactionary substance of their foreign and domestic policies.

Every substantive policy is accompanied by a ‘down home’ folksy message to win public approval. This happened with President ‘Jimmy’ Carter’s revival of large-scale proxy wars in Afghanistan in the post-Viet Nam War period; Ronald Reagan’s genocidal wars in Central America, George Bush Sr.’s savaging of Iraq in the First Gulf War; ‘Bill’ Clinton’s decimation of social welfare in the US while bombing civilians in Yugoslavia and deregulating Wall Street; George Bush Jr.’s invasion and partition of Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempted coup in Venezuela and massive tax cuts for the rich; and Barack Obama’s staggering bailout of the biggest Wall Street speculators, unprecedented launching of five consecutive wars, and arrest and deportation of millions of immigrant workers. Each President has elaborated a style in order to ingratiate himself with the public while pursuing his reactionary agenda.

In rhetoric, appearance and in public persona, it is ‘de rigueur’ for US Presidents to present themselves as an ‘everyman’ while committing political actions – including war crimes worthy of prosecution.

Each President, in his ‘play acting’, develops a style suitable to the times. They constantly strive to overcome the public’s suspicion and potential hostility to their overt and covert policies designed to build empire as domestic conditions deteriorate. However, not all play acting is the same: each President’s ‘populist’ style in defense of oligarchic interests has its characteristic nuances.

Quelle Surprise: NSA Spies on Europe...

Stephen Lendman

NSA spies globally. Enormous amounts of meta-data and data content are collected. It's been ongoing for decades. Post-9/11, it intensified. It's out-of-control today. It's lawless. It's menacing. It persists.

Spying domestically isn't for national security. Nor is monitoring allies. It's about control. It's for economic advantage. It's to be one up on foreign competitors. It's for information used advantageously in trade, political, and military relations.

On June 30, London's Guardian headlined "New NSA leaks show how US is bugging its European allies. Exclusive: Edward Snowden papers reveal 38 targets including EU, France, Italy. Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics."

One document includes 38 embassies and missions. It calls them "targets." Extraordinary spying methods are used. Bugs are planted in electronic communications gear. They monitor cable transmissions. They do so with "specialised antennae." Targets include EU nations, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, India and Turkey. China, Russia, Iran, and numerous other countries are spied on intensively. One bugging method is codenamed "Dropmire." According to a 2007 document, it's "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC." It refers to "a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. (It's) used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals."

NSA spying disclosures long pre-date Snowden's revelations. He connected important dots. He provided additional information. He made millions aware globally. Previously they didn't know. America's allies and enemies do. Perhaps they now know more. Maybe they criticized privately. Likely they were silent. They do the same things.

Just Say No . . . to Cops

Eric Peters

Photo: Hoboken is superhero saturated and I personally love a bit of the eccentricity in the Mile Square. Over this weekend, Hoboken Spiderman was pulled over by the Hoboken Police Department and issued a ticket or tickets according to an anonymous source. As a result of being pulled over the diminutive super hero had to unmask himself in order to deal with the officer. It was mentioned by the source that the police officer gave Hoboken Spiderman a ticket for driving his electric vehicle without a license and a helmet. It is The Boken’s understanding that such a small electric vehicle does not require a motorcycle license. We are unsure if a regular driver’s license is required to operate an electric bike of this size and power.

Few of us like to interact with cops – like scabies, they are best avoided entirely. But when do you have a choice – and when don’t you have a choice about interacting with a costumed enforcer? When are you legally required to identify yourself? To produce ID? Laws vary, state to state, but here are some general things to know:

The (so-called) “consensual” interaction

This generally applies to pedestrians and so on – people out in public, but not operating a motor vehicle. A cop may – like anyone else – approach you at any time and ask you questions. He is not required to have “reasonable suspicion” a crime has been committed – much less “probable cause” suggesting that a crime has been committed.

Most people – because they have been taught to defer to people wearing state-issued costumes – will answer a cop’s questions, even though they would rather not – and probably would not have, if the person asking were just an ordinary citizen as opposed to a costumed enforcer. They feel pressured. Some will show their IDs, if asked – and even grant permission to let the cop rifle through their possessions.

Arguably, all of this is less than consensual, real-world-wise, if not legally speaking. Because it can be intimidating to find yourself face to face with one of the state’s costumed (and armed) enforcers. Absent the costume (and the gun) you might be inclined to tell the person to piss off and leave you the hell alone.

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