Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Erickson Report, Page 6: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

The Erickson Report, Page 6: Two Weeks of Stupid: Clowns and Outrages [the Outrages]

Now we turn to our Outrages.

Here's an outrage for you: American hero Chelsea Manning is still in prison.

She's the former Army intelligence analyst-turned-whistleblower who was court-martialed and sentenced to 35 years in prison for telling the truth about the Iraq War and US foreign policy by leaking documents to Wikileaks. She was in prison for seven years, mored than a year of it in what amounted to solitary confinement and under continuing mental duress designed to break her and force her to testify against - and thus justify charges against - Julian Assange with the goal of destroying Wikileaks. Her sentence was commuted in January 2017.

The goal of destroying Wikileaks has not changed. On March 8 of this year she was arrested for contempt of court after she refused to testify before a grand jury about her association with WikiLeaks, testimony demanded even though it's unclear what it's imagined she could tell about Assange and Wikileaks that is not already known.

Manning says she refuses because of ethical and legal objections to the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, arguing, as many other activists have and do, that such proceedings are designed to be tools for prosecutors to engage in fishing expeditions against peaceful activists. Whether or not grand juries are inherently illegal can be argued, but that they have been used in that oppressive way can't be and yes I know from experience of cases in which I have been involved.

She was released on May 9, when the grand jury's term expired. She was immediately served with another subpoena to appear before a new grand jury on May 16. She again refused to testify and was immediately sent back to jail for what could be 18 months, the term of a grand jury. In addition, a fine was imposed of $500 for each day she spends in jail over 30 days and $1,000 for each day she spends in jail over 60 days, which could ultimately total $441,000.

On August 5, a federal judge denied a motion for a hearing to press the court to reconsider its sanctions, declaring she can just sit in jail until she cooperates.

Chelsea Manning
But not only should they be reconsidered because of their harshness but because they are improper and should not be imposed at all.

Y'see, imprisonment for refusal to testify is, in legal terms, non-punitive. That is, it's not for something she has done but to compel her to do something. Put simply, it's legalized coercion. Which also means that if the sanctions have proven to be ineffective, they should no longer be in place.

Chelsea Manning should be freed.

Chelsea Manning was in prison for seven years and the government didn't break her. They put her in jail for another three months this spring and she didn't back down. They've put her back in prison again for - so far - five more months and she still stands on her principles. What makes them think that some more months will do what the nearly eight years have not?

This is no longer if indeed it ever was about compelling her to testify. This is about making her grovel before the power of the state about proving that they can make her do what they want.

Chelsea Manning is still in prison - and it is an Outrage.


You may well have heard about this other one, maybe more than you wanted to, but it can't be allowed to slip away without getting the denunciation it deserves.

On October 17, in a conversation about the 2020 election with David Plouffe on his podcast, Hillary "It Wasn't My Fault" Clinton said this:
I think they've got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate. She's the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far, and that's assuming Jill Stein will give it up. Which she might not, 'cause she's also a Russian asset. I mean, totally.
Hillary Clinton
Okay. It was immediately clear to everyone that the candidate in question, the "favorite of the Russians" who is being "groomed" to be a third-party candidate, is Tulsi Gabbard. Ties to Russia have not been suggested about any other woman running. Indeed, when Clinton shill Nick Merrill was asked if Gabbard was the candidate Clinton was referring to, he said, "If the nesting doll fits."

That was in a Tweet at 11:58 am on October 18, shortly after the podcast was released that morning.

At 5:13 pm, over five hours later and after the negative reactions had started coming in from folks like Noah Schachtman, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, Krystal Ball of Hill.TV, Aaron Blake, a senior political reporter for the Washington Post, Van Jones of CNN, and journalist Glenn Greenwald, Merrill replied by going after the single point that some media had reported that Clinton had said it was the Russians who were "grooming" Gabbard, when in fact, he insisted, she meant the Republicans - the GOPpers.

After a few days of what I'm sure were a long string of furious phone calls from the Clinton people and the DNC to the owners and editors of various media outlets, those outlets started issuing "corrections" that, "yeah, okay, she was talking about the GOPpers there" and media bosses - and Clinton's people - happily dropped the whole thing.

Dropped it, that is, without addressing the fact, the central fact, the main fact, that while she may have been talking about the GOPpers as the ones "grooming" Gabbard, by focusing on that, they avoided having to address the real point, the "this is what matters"point, that she had called Tulsi Gabbard, and whatever you may think about her politics she is still a member of Congress, she had called her a Russian asset! Period. There is no disputing that. Doesn't make a damn bit of difference who is "grooming" her except to the extent it says that Clinton regards the GOPper presidential campaign and Russian propaganda as being the same thing.

Tulsi Gabbard
Do not give me any crap about "she didn't say that!" Of course she did! Note that she said Jill Stein is - quoting - "also a Russian asset." The only conceivable antecedent for that "also," both logically and grammatically, is Gabbard. So yes, she called Tulsi Gabbard "a Russian asset" and she called Jill Stein "totally" a "Russian asset."

Supposedly, US intelligence services make a distinction between the terms "asset" and "agent" in regard to foreign intelligence but that's a distinction that people in normal conversation do not.

So don't give me the crap nitpicking about the precise meaning of "asset," such as Merrill whining on Twitter that "we never said she" - that is, Gabbard - "is a spy." No, what you said - since you now apparently are wrapping youself and Ms. "Dont blame me" into a single package - what you said is that Gabbard is, as Glenn Greenwald put it, someone "who will act to serve the Kremlin's interest," someone who acts with the intent of being of benefit to Vladimir Putin. And you said the same thing - with the exclamation point of "totally" - about Jill Stein.

Jill Stein
That is at best sleazy, cowardly, innuendo and it's more accurately scummy, despicable, and McCarthyism in its purest form.

Worse than that in fact, because by talking about the whole thing in the context of a third-party candidacy, Clinton - along with those now spewing out nausea-inducing defenses of her - has smeared the very idea of a left third party campaign as one being run and operated for the benefit of, to advance the interests of, a foreign government, whoever the candidate might be.

This is beyond scummy, beyond despicable, beyond contemptible, so far beyond being an Outrage I won't even call it one.

Hill'o'crap Clinton, still desperately trying to weasel her way out of responsibility for incompetently losing an election to - as far as we know - the least popular major party presidential candidate in US history and now trying to connive her way back into the top ranks of the Democratic Party, should do two things, neither of which she will: One, apologize publicly and abjectly to Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein and two, immediately after that shut up and go away and take her sycophants with her.

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