Busy, busy, busy:
(Okay, so that’s not the exact headline the New York Times slapped on their slobbering love letter to Bradley Manning, but it seemed close enough.)
I don’t know where to begin. The only redeeming quality of this piece is that they didn’t somehow invoke the race card. (Poor, beleaguered British immigrants…won’t someone please think of them?) Instead, less than three sentences into the thing, they invoke what may grow to be come the progressive machine’s new best friend…the gay card:
He spent part of his childhood with his father in the arid plains of central Oklahoma, where classmates made fun of him for being a geek. He spent another part with his mother in a small, remote corner of southwest Wales, where classmates made fun of him for being gay.
Nerdy and homosexual? Oh, the humanity.
Then he joined the Army, where, friends said, his social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under “don’t ask, don’t tell” and he wasted brainpower fetching coffee for officers.
Can we somehow blame Bush for this complete and utter lack of fabulousness? Because blaming his soldier father, struggling mother, former classmates, Bible-belt upbringing, and the entirety of the population of the UK doesn’t seem to be enough:
Sometimes, former classmates said, he reacted to the teasing by idly boasting about stealing other students’ girlfriends. At other times, he openly flirted with boys. Often, with only the slightest provocation, he would launch into fits of rage.
“It was probably the worst experience anybody could go through,” said Rowan John, a former classmate who was openly gay in high school. “Being different like me, or Bradley, in the middle of nowhere is like going back in time to the Dark Ages.”
So, that happened. Later in the article, we come to find out Manning was a completely intolerable jackass who joined the Army in an attempt to get his life together. (I feel safe.) Apparently, the utter meanness of his superiors and colleagues caused Manning to “cling to” his “hacker friends,” and in what was probably a cry for help/attention/more pity/a hug, release classified information to WikiLeaks.
In a computer chat with Mr. Lamo, Private Manning said he gave the video to WikiLeaks in February. Then, after WikiLeaks released it in April, Private Manning hounded Mr. Watkins about whether there had been any public reaction. “That was one of his major concerns once he’d done this,” Mr. Watkins told Wired. “Was it really going to make a difference?”
In his computer chats with Mr. Lamo, Private Manning described how he downloaded the video and lip-synched to Lady Gaga as he copied hundreds of thousand of diplomatic cables.
“Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack,” he boasted. But even as he professed a perhaps inflated sense of purpose, he called himself “emotionally fractured” and a “wreck” and said he was “self-medicating like crazy.”
And as he faces the possibility of a lifetime in prison, some of Private Manning’s remarks now seem somewhat prophetic.
“I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much,” he wrote, “if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me plastered all over the world press.”
Ask and you shall receive, Mr. Manning. You wanted your picture plastered all over the world press? Wish granted. Truth be told, you’re lucky the contents of your skull aren’t plastered all over a far-flung rock face. That’s all I have to say to you.
This is serious. We’re devolving. We’ve used the race card to justify murder, and now we’re oh-so-stealthily using the gay card to justify this whiny, self-absorbed, soulless traitor’s betrayal of American soldiers, and the civilians who help them fight. Blame his past, blame his colleagues, blame whoever you want, as long as you don’t blame this man’s own selfish disdain for the value of another human life.
Manning sought infamy, but I say we should allow him one more moment in the limelight. Let’s send him over to Afghanistan, and let the Taliban thank him in person for a job well done.
He deserves it.
Wealth is not Created at the Top: It is Only Devoured There
The UK has left the EU and we can argue about the minutiae of Wealth until we’re blue in the face. But the overriding factors are apparent and in one of the richest countries in the world it is shocking that so many people can’t even be sure if they are going to be able to eat enough today or provide for their loved ones.
These days, politicians from the left to the right assume that most wealth is created at the top. By the visionaries, by the job creators, and by the people who have “made it”. By the go-getters oozing talent and entrepreneurial-ism that are helping to advance the whole world – Opinion by Rutger Bregman
… across the spectrum virtually all agree that wealth is created primarily at the top and so entrenched is this assumption that it’s even embedded in our language. When economists talk about “productivity”, what they really mean is the size of your paycheck. And when we use terms like “welfare state”, “redistribution” and “solidarity”, we’re implicitly subscribing to the view that there are two strata: the makers and the takers, the producers and the couch potatoes, the hardworking citizens – and everybody else.
Bankers, pharmaceutical giants, Google, Facebook … a new breed of rentiers are at the very top of the pyramid and they’re sucking the rest of us dry
In reality, it is precisely the other way around. In reality, it is the waste collectors, the nurses, and the cleaners whose shoulders are supporting the apex of the pyramid. They are the true mechanism of social solidarity. Meanwhile, a growing share of those we hail as “successful” and “innovative” are earning their wealth at the expense of others. The people getting the biggest handouts are not down around the bottom, but at the very top. Yet their perilous dependence on others goes unseen. Almost no one talks about it. Even for politicians on the left, it’s a non-issue.
To understand why, we need to recognise that there are two ways of making money. The first is what most of us do: work. That means tapping into our knowledge and know-how (our “human capital” in economic terms) to create something new, whether that’s a takeout app, a wedding cake, a stylish updo, or a perfectly poured pint. To work is to create. Ergo, to work is to create new wealth.
But there is also a second way to make money. That’s the rentier way: by leveraging control over something that already exists, such as land, knowledge, or money, to increase your wealth. You produce nothing, yet profit nonetheless. By definition, the rentier makes his living at others’ expense, using his power to claim economic benefit.
But here comes the rub. Most rentiers are not as easily identified as the greedy banker or manager. Many are disguised. On the face of it, they look like industrious folks, because for part of the time they really are doing something worthwhile. Precisely that makes us overlook their massive rent-seeking…
The problems we face are that the politicians are firmly in the hands (pockets) of the uber wealthy. We live in a corporate plutocracy and those holding all the wealth and therefore power have no intention of changing the status quo, even if it isn’t sustainable. They remind me of bacteria (or cancer) devouring the host body more and more even though eventually it will kill them too.
Donald Trump Forgets Important Lesson From Grandad:
Harper’s Magazine reprints an interesting letter from US President Donald J. Trump’s own grandfather that may get you thinking. Here is it then:
The Emigrants – By Friedrich Trump – From a letter written in 1905 by Friedrich Trump, Donald Trump’s grandfather, to Luitpold, prince regent of Bavaria. Trump had been ordered to leave Bavaria for failing to complete mandatory military service and to register his initial emigration to the United States twenty years earlier.
Prince Luitpold rejected Trump’s request for repatriation; the family later settled in New York. Translated from the German by Austen Hinkley.
Most Serene, Most Powerful Prince Regent! Most Gracious Regent and Lord!
I was born in Kallstadt on March 14, 1869. My parents were honest, plain, pious vineyard workers. They strictly held me to everything good — to diligence and piety, to regular attendance in school and church, to absolute obedience toward the high authority.
After my confirmation, in 1882, I apprenticed to become a barber. I emigrated in 1885, in my sixteenth year. In America I carried on my business with diligence, discretion, and prudence. God’s blessing was with me, and I became rich. I obtained American citizenship in 1892. In 1902 I met my current wife. Sadly, she could not tolerate the climate in New York, and I went with my dear family back to Kallstadt.
The town was glad to have received a capable and productive citizen. My old mother was happy to see her son, her dear daughter-in-law, and her granddaughter around her; she knows now that I will take care of her in her old age.
But we were confronted all at once, as if by a lightning strike from fair skies, with the news that the High Royal State Ministry had decided that we must leave our residence in the Kingdom of Bavaria. We were paralyzed with fright; our happy family life was tarnished. My wife has been overcome by anxiety, and my lovely child has become sick.
Why should we be deported? This is very, very hard for a family. What will our fellow citizens think if honest subjects are faced with such a decree — not to mention the great material losses it would incur. I would like to become a Bavarian citizen again.
In this urgent situation I have no other recourse than to turn to our adored, noble, wise, and just sovereign lord, our exalted ruler His Royal Highness, highest of all, who has already dried so many tears, who has ruled so beneficially and justly and wisely and softly and is warmly and deeply loved, with the most humble request that the highest of all will himself in mercy deign to allow the applicant to stay in the most gracious Kingdom of Bavaria.
Your most humble and obedient,
… Well then. Long ago, yes.. Still applies? You tell me.
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