Friday, November 18, 2016

Bill Maher’s Conspiracy Theory- His Opinions About 9/11 Strongly Expressed, He Makes An Accusation of US Government Implementation of “False Flag” Attack On American Public- Weird?

With an election result that few except Michael Moore apparently expected there are quite a few people who may be in a weird place these days, but Bill Maher seemed to be coming from a rather weird place before the election.  He offered his viewers a conspiracy theory.

On his last Real Time With Bill Maher show broadcast before the election, Friday, November 4 (Season 14, Episode 37- It's the episode where Maher finally attains his long sought goal of interviewing President Obama), Maher spoke about a “slow moving right wing coup” telling us that: “This could fucking happen in this country.”

He wasn’t just speaking of the possible materialization of the election outcome prophesied by Michael Moore.  It went beyond.

Worriedly mentioning the recent rash of media reports about the `politicization' of the FBI, Maher said: “And of course in security law enforcement agencies it's usually right wing folks. The difference between fascism- And I know that's a strong word- that's what it is - and what we have enjoyed in this country for 240 years is that those types are under the rule of law. If Trump gets elected they're not: they ARE the rule of law.”

In criticizing the complacency of David Frum, one of the guests on his panel that night, he spoke about “old thinking”:
“Thinking in terms of someone who gets elected and is going to abide by the rule of law. That's not what these people will do. The reason why I use the word `fascism' is because of the cult of personality with the dictator, and they don't care about rule of law. It's going to be Donald Trump president, Chris Christie attorney general of the United States, and he's never been a vengeful guy-we know that from Bridgegate - and Rudy Giuliani the head of the FBI. You want to live in that country?”
Bill Maher then went so far as to suggest to his audience that, with the rule of law departed from by these individuals, we'd see our U.S. Government mount a false flag attack on our own county to seize even more power (he brought up the notorious German Reichstag fire after Hitler's election).

He said: “You know that Hitler was elected, And three months after he was elected, What did he do? He burned the Reichstag to create an `emergency' where he needed more powers. Don't you think that they would have that in their mind?”

FASCINATING: Bill Maher's “conspiracy theory” duplicates almost exactly the 9/11 “conspiracy theories” of others that Maher has vehemently castigated,* the only real difference being that Bill Maher is positing his conspiracy in the future and that he thinks that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were characters more constrained by the “rule of law” than Trump, Christie and Guiliani would be.
 (* On  September 14, 2007 in the New Rules segment of his show Maher made fun of “crazy people” who thought the government brought down the two Twin Towers in a controlled explosion.  This was followed up, October 24, 2007, with the widely reported incident where Maher got tough with and insulted six heckling 9/11 Truther activist protestors who had infiltrated his audience and interrupted his show, shouting things like the question: “What about Building 7 " -i.e. the third tower that went down much later that day in a similar-looking fast and total collapse. The heckling incident does not appear to have been a faked one to make Maher look tough, because more about it, including the names of the protesters, and an interview, are available.  In 2011 Maher criticized those doubting that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for the attack.)
Interestingly weird on Bill Maher’s part. . . And, in another weirdness, just a few programs before this accusation against a possible incoming Trump administration he suggested (clip available) that because the people of the USA are “stupid” (and we face apocalypse) that a despotic elite should simply anoint technocrat Hillary Rodam Clinton as president. Merely another comicly based fantasy on his part?

On the show where Maher posited a “false flag” operation by the incoming Trump administration, he off-handedly quipped how, the election pending, the show could even be his very last.  Such speculation is not far-fetched.  Maher’s previous show, “Politically Incorrect” was canceled by ABC because in September of 2001 he controversially contradicted statements of President George W. Bush after the World Trade Center was destroyed.

Bush said (with the House of Representatives and Senate following suit to back him) that the World Trade Center had been destroyed by hijackers who were `cowards’ and “cowardly.”  Maher said that choosing to be in an “airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, . .   not cowardly.”  When the subject is `courage’ vs. `cowardice,’ not the despicability of attacks undertaken with the knowldge thousands of civilians will be killed, that seems correct: If you believe hijackers got on airplanes intending that they die by slamming into buildings it is hard to call them cowards.

Maher suggested something else even more controversial that, by comparison, it was “cowardly for the United States to launch cruise missiles on targets thousands of miles away,” a remark that, would today assuredly be updated to refer to overseas drone attacks conducted by operators not physically in any jeopardy as they remain in the United States.

What happened to Mr. Maher and his “Politically Incorrect” after 9/11?. .

Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, denounced Mr. Maher, saying the nation was in a time when people have to watch what they say and watch what they do.”  Mr. Maher lost his sponsors and his show was promptly off the air.

Last week, the week after the election, was Maher's last show of the season.  His conspiracy theory was out-of-sight and he was speaking more mildly of being in "uncharted waters."  His next show: He expects the first show of his next season will broadcast in January on Inauguration DayHere's expecting. . . . what?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How Much Do We Spend On Our Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex? TRILLIONS (That's Millions of Millions Times Several), And We Are Headed To Spend TRILLIONS More!

The other day I was writing an article for Noticing New York and for background purposes I created a footnote about how much we spend on our Unites States Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex.  It was a very long footnote, long enough to be an entire article unto itself so I thought I'd publish it as such here.

I was interested in how much we spent on the Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex overall, with a particular interest in what we spend on surveillance, about which we know far too little.

Here, formatted a little differently for easier reading, is the footnote I included in that article. . .

* * * *

* If you want to consider this further, follow the money. . .  And there is a huge amount of money to follow.

The amount of money that flows through our military-industrial-surveillance complex, with all that implies, is mind boggling-especially if you consider that, statistically speaking, it is 82 times more likely for someone to be killed falling out of bed than by a terrorist.  The amounts and portions of our budgets that flow to the spy agencies is not transparent, with a significant amount of such spending in a so-called "black budget" component involving little oversight or check against potential waste.

Frontline’s "Top Secret America" while referring to the secret expenditure figures tells us: "Exactly how much money the NSA was spending in the years after 9/11 is one of the government's most closely guarded secrets. The agency's budget, like its work, is a state secret."  There are some sixteen or so different U.S. intelligence agencies.  The Guardian reported that, as of 2013, the government's "black budget" security agency spending had doubled over what was spent in 2001. But how precisely known these figures are has to be a guess as, for instance, the intricately related Pentagon's budget is very leaky and imprecise with trillions of dollars not properly accounted for on a recurring basis.

It is reported that the Pentagon controls 85% of the intelligence budget.  Budgets of other agencies, like the US Agency for International Development, are also leaky with amounts supposedly designated for other projects diverted to covert intelligence enterprises.  Then there have been the problems with off-budget spending with things like Iran-Contra arms sales or CIA drug trafficking generating unsupervised revenues. 

In May of 2011 after the U.S. announced that it had killed Osama Bin Laden in a secret CIA-led operation- about which there are disputed stories- The National Priorities Project calculated that, as of that time, "in all, the U.S. government has spent more than $7.6 trillion on defense and homeland security since the 9/11 attacks."  Point of reference: a "trillion" is one million millions.

Notably, there was a significant increase in this torrential spending right after 9/11.  The National Priorities Project calculated that as of that May 2011, in adjusted for inflation terms, the Pentagon base budget- exclusive of the $1.4 trillion spend on the Iraq and Afghan wars- increased 43%, spending on nuclear weapons increased 21% and spending on "Homeland Security" went up 301%.

Prior to 9/11 there had been appreciable decreases in our military-industrial-surveillance complex spending with there being talk of still further reductions due to the expected "peace dividend" flowing from the demise of the Soviet Union.  Total expenditure figures continue to escalate at a fast rate since those 2011 calculations were done: For instance, the $365.9 billion figure the National Priorities Project gave for Homeland Security spending then it now states to have surpassed a total of $708 billion since 9/11 and the total cost of the wars we have waged since 9/11, exclusive of what is spent on the Pentagon base budget now exceeds $1.721 trillion, and just in the year of 2016 we have already spent about $1.1 billion on Predator and Reaper drones.

Put this in perspective of the entire national budget.  Offering its own calculation, the Friends Committee on National Legislation calculates that of the $2.674 trillion “federal fund” budget, which is the spending supported by income taxes, estate taxes, and other general revenues- not the trust funds self-supported by dedicated revenue like Social Security- 37.5% is going to pay for the cost of current and past wars.  It's not clear whether their 37.5% figure includes surveillance expenditures.  The surveillance expenditures also flow through the economy in interesting ways.

Snowden revelations disclosed that security spending included the NSA's making huge payments to internet companies including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook under the Prism program.  If properly calculated, these payments just reimbursed those companies for the cost of compliance with government surveillance requirements.  If not then. . .- Yahoo has recently been prominently in the news for the over-surveillance it did for the NSA.  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were similarly in the news for such surveillance.  Thoughts on this? New York Magazine quips: "Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were shocked that law enforcement was using a company called Geofeedia to track their users. Only they're allowed to do that!"  As the main body of this piece will go on to make clear one thing that is key to remember about U.S. surveillance spending is that most of it is directed through what is officially the private sector.

*  *  *  *  

The article I wrote for Noticing New York?  It asks why the nation's largest private surveillance corporation was hired to overhaul New York City Libraries, starting with the dismantling of four of the most important in Manhattan (Donnell, Mid-Mahattan and SIBL libraries and the central research stacks of the 42nd Street Central Research Library):
If librarians were the first to successfully stand up and oppose the intelligence overreaching [of the PATRIOT Act] and if Booz Allen Hamilton "is really an arm of the intelligence community" involved with the federal government's "most controversial federal surveillance programs in recent years" then why was Booz Allen Hamilton hired to help reorganize the New York Public Library's most important libraries?
As noted above, with the U.S. spending trillions on the military-industrial-surveillance complex since 911,  70% of the nation's surveillance budget goes to private contractors.  Of this 80% is spent on just five private contractors, the “colossus” of which is Booz Allen Hamilton.

You can read the Noticing New York article here: Snowden, Booz and the Dismantling of Libraries As We Know Them: Why Was A Private Government Spy Agency Hired to Take Apart New York's Most Important Libraries And Turn Them Into Something Else? (Sunday, October 30, 2016).

If we weren't spending these trillions (these millions of millions times many) on the Military-Industrial-Surveillance Complex we could be spending on other things like schools- make your own list and don't feel constrained to keep it short.  . . .  How much do we spend on our libraries?  Another, Noticing New York article makes clear that we spend a relative pittance on highly valued NYC libraries, an immeasurably small amount by comparison, just "millions": What's Wrong With These Numbers?: The Baccarat Tower's $60M Penthouse and NYC's Library Budget (Tuesday, April 29, 2014)