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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/19/10

Obama DoJ indicts NSA whistleblower...are you mad yet?

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A large part of the reason why this is so maddening is that there is a clear double standard. The Bush administration were the people who actually did wiretap, and they also destroyed a lot of documents (those emails, for instance). Yet they all pretty much remain safe.

Two, large corporations have a stranglehold on our government. In many cases, they are becoming indistinguishable. In the words of Glenn Greenwald, talking about the companies who were involved in this program,

SAIC itself is, by its own description, an enormous defense contractor devoted to "customers in the U.S. Department of Defense, the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, other U.S. Government civil agencies and selected commercial markets." Just like its Trailblazer partners -- Boeing, Booz Allen and Northrop Grumman -- SAIC feeds off the massive Pentagon and intelligence budgets. In other words, Drake's leaks to Gorman exposed serious wrongdoing on the part of (a) the NSA and its illegal domestic spying activities and (b) the vast private intelligence and defense industry that has all but formally merged with the CIA, NSA and Pentagon to become the public-private National Security and Surveillance State that exercises more power, by far, than any single faction in the country.

This is not just apparent in military policy, but in every aspect of politics. Although the government and big business have pretty much always had a cozy relationship, what we are seeing now is likely different than anything since perhaps the Gilded Age. Even in the Obama Adminstration - further evidence of the president not being the answer to any of the great political questions of our time - there are countless examples of the revolving door and other disgusting political practices playing themselves out.

And finally, three. Progressives and other allies in the fight to make government honest, functional, and a servant of the people have been losing since the so-called Reagan Revolution. This is no secret. But perhaps it's time for us to have a more open, honest discussion about this, our failings, and what will move us forward. Because apparently focusing solely on the electoral arena and solely on the Democratic Party is not changing the political tides. Not to mention, in the words of Lawrence O'Donnell (yes, that Lawrence O'Donnell),

If you don't show them you're capable of not voting for them, they don't have to listen to you.

But that's not just applicable to elections (or the presidency, which, as a side note, I believe too much activist energy is focused on at any given time). We must be more of a threat in general - not a violent threat, of course, but a threat to the power of those who thrive off the status quo. A threat to the power and profits of the Boeings of the world.

We know what is going on, so now we just have to get mad as hell and decide how we're not going to take it anymore.

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Ross Levin a young activist who also writes for,, He first became active in politics in the 2008 presidential campaign through Mike Gravel's quixotic run for the Democratic (more...)
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