We Can Do A Lot Better Than This

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by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear.

Politics is absolutely hopeless. That’s why everything has gone wrong. You have ninety-nine percent of the people thinking “politics,” and hollering and yelling. And that won’t get you anywhere. Hollering and yelling won’t get you across the English Channel. It won’t reach from continent to continent; you need electronics for that, and you have to know what you’re doing. Evolution has been at work doing all these things so it is now possible. Nobody has consciously been doing it. The universe is a lot bigger than you and me. We didn’t invent it. If you take all the machinery in the world and dump it in the ocean, within months more than half of all humanity will die and within another six months they’d almost all be gone; if you took all the politicians in the world, put them in a rocket, and sent them to the moon, everyone would get along fine.

– Quotes by Buckminster Fuller

When thinking about the financial crisis of nearly a decade ago, many people wrongly focus on the event itself as opposed to the response. I’m of the view that the most destructive aspect of that grotesque period of American history wasn’t the collapse itself, but the government and central bank response to it. This response centered around bailing out and rewarding those most responsible for the disaster, which merely served to further concentrate power and wealth in the hands of people who should be rotting in jail as opposed to guzzling Château Lafite at Davos.

Once the U.S. permitted the crime of the century to go, not just unpunished, but handsomely rewarded, we solidified an incentive structure in which elite criminality became the only game in town. If you’re a sociopathic person driven by greed and unbounded by any semblance of decency, the response to the crisis proved you’ll never face consequences for your crimes as long as you’re a top tier predator. As such, there’s absolutely nothing holding back the worst of the worst, and things are turning out exactly as you’d expect within such an environment.

There’s nothing more destructive to a society than the institutionalization of immunity for elite criminals, yet that’s exactly what’s happened since the financial crisis. Top tier predators, whether they operate within government or mega corporations, recognize that the system they control will never hold them accountable for anything they do. In the past week alone, we’ve seen two additional examples of what occurs within a culture of rampant elite lawlessness.

First, we learned that the FBI conveniently “lost” text messages between two key government officials. Politico reports:

 

The FBI is missing five months of text messages between two senior officials who Republicans on Capitol Hill have accused of political bias, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) revealed in a letter to the bureau made public on Sunday.

Republicans have been scrutinizing the text messages between senior counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page as part of their inquiry into whether bias infected the bureau’s investigations into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state and into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia. 

Johnson, who leads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray with questions about the missing communication, which he said spanned Dec. 14, 2016 to May 17, 2017, the day Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

In his letter — delivered Saturday — Johnson said correspondence from the FBI a day earlier ascribed the missing text messages to “misconfiguration issues related to rollouts, provisioning, and software upgrades that conflicted with the FBI’s collection capabilities.”

Just an honest mistake, right? To the contrary, it appears such “mistakes” have turned into an epidemic these days when it comes to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Also from Politico:

The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.

Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms. President Donald Trump signed that measure into law Friday.

Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.

However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

“The NSA sincerely regrets its failure to prevent the deletion of this data,” NSA’s deputy director of capabilities, identified publicly as “Elizabeth B.,” wrote in a declaration filed in October. “NSA senior management is fully aware of this failure, and the Agency is committed to taking swift action to respond to the loss of this data.”

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