playing for keeps

the blog of g.a. matiasz

  • MY BOOKS FOR SALE:

  • 1% FREE on sale now


    Copies of 1% FREE can be purchased from Barnes & Noble POD, and the ebook can be had at Barnes & Noble ebook. The physical book is $18.95 and the ebook is $13.99.

  • END TIME reprinted


    Downloads of END TIME can be purchased from SMASHWORDS.
  • Copyright

    The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2007 - 2016 by G. A. Matiasz.
  • My Pages

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Category Cloud

  • Categories

  • Tag Cloud

  • My Facebook Writer’s Page

  • My Facebook Publisher’s Page

  • My Social

Archive for the ‘Federal Government’ Category

Big Business is the new Big Government

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on July 26, 2014

Bill Maher got this right. A clip from his Real Time HBO show:

And yet Republicans love big business and hate big government.

Posted in capitalism, capitalist monopolies, Federal Government, Republican Party | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Oh, for fuck’s sake

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on June 13, 2014

For the moment, ignore that we went to war in Iraq in 2003 on the excuse that Saddam Hussein had WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) fully expecting that US troops would be greeted as liberators, to be showered with flowers and candy. For the moment, forget that the Iraq we had invaded almost disintegrated into a Sunni/Shi’ite civil war, with the northern Kurds standing on the sidelines, until the US military surge in 2007 temporarily shored up the situation on the ground, leaving all the old ethnic/religious tensions firmly in place. For the moment, pretend that neo-conservative predictions that the US/Iraq war would produce liberty and democracy not just in that country but throughout the region weren’t entirely idiotic.

Let’s consider just one set of factors of this fucked-up mess that the US left when America officially ended military operations in Iraq in 2011 and withdrew US troops.

Here are several maps charting the ethnic/religious divisions in Iraq:
iraq-disintegrationiraqi.ethnic_75512407_iraq_ethnic_groups_624<Ethnic:religious

When the US declared “mission accomplished” for a second time in 2011, the majority Shi’ite government held power in Baghdad with the minority Sunni population bridling under this arrangement, and the Kurds enjoying relative autonomy in the north. Enter ISIS, the radical Sunni movement for an Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. This al-Qaeda affiliate is more popular, more determined, more uncompromising and more violent than al-Qaeda itself, intent upon establishing a sharia-governed Islamic Caliphate from Lebanon through Iraq. Here are maps charting the activity of ISIS through 2014:
_69928349_syria_control_20.09.13_624mapw-Iraq_ISIS_75481316_iraq_isis_control_624_v3ISIS Actual Sanctuary June 2014w-EthnoIRAQ_75514982_iraq_isis_976CitiesControlledByMilitants20140614_MAM914

Here are maps indicating the general territory currently controlled by the ISIS as of June 2014:
WO-AS673A_IRAQ__G_201406121227091024px-Territorial_control_of_the_ISIS.svg

And here is a map representing the Islamic Caliphate that is the ultimate goal of ISIS:
ISIS-Wilayats-thumb-560x408-2998ISIS Caliphate

Let me restate matters. In 2011, when the US declared victory in Iraq, ceased military operations and withdrew its troops, the nation of Iraq was nominally a democracy under Shi’ite control and heavily influenced by Iran, with al-Qaeda decimated, on the run, and its leader Osama bin-Ladin dead. Now, in 2014, ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, is fully resurgent and militarily on the move while Iraq totters on the brink of complete collapse. Hell, the whole region remains profoundly unstable, teetering on the brink of total social chaos and bloody violence. Forget Left or Right. Anybody up for some serious war crimes trials?
neoconservatives-2warcrimes

Here’s the BBC’s ongoing coverage of the STRUGGLE FOR IRAQ.

[A WORD ON THE MAPS: Treat each series of multiple maps as a slide show, and try to build up a multi-layered, close to 3D image of the situation they separately are two-dimensionally attempting to portray. Merge the information the maps have in common, and accumulate the unique information each map provides.]

Posted in American Empire, American intervention, Baghdad, Democrats & Republicans, Federal Government, Iraq, Iraq War, Islamic extremists, Islamic militants, Islamic terrorism, life, maps, military intervention, neocon, neoconservative, neoliberalism, politics, US military | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“See something, Leak something” from Ryan Shapiro

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on March 26, 2014

nelson-mandela-fist
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was intended to provide clear democratic access and oversight of federal intelligence and security agencies—the CIA, NSA, FBI and DIA specifically—by giving individual citizens a mechanism to request and receive classified documents being held by those agencies. But when MIT PhD candidate Ryan Shapiro made FOIA requests of three of the above agencies for documents regarding allegations that a CIA tip led to the arrest of Nelson Mandela by South Africa’s apartheid government in 1962, and Mandela’s subsequent internment in prison for 27 years, all three stonewalled Shapiro and denied his FOIA requests on grounds of national security, national defense, and executive privilege.

FBI x CIA x NSA
The Catch 22 Squared around this needs to be emphasized. The CIA, NSA, FBI and DIA are tasked with protecting national security, and thus see threats to national security at every turn and under every rock. The anti-war, anti-apartheid, and radical green movements, everything from the Left to Occupy Wall Street, have all been considered threats to national security and potential sources of domestic terrorism. Nelson Mandela himself was denounced as a Marxist terrorist, and remained on the US terror watch list until 2008. US security and intelligence agencies have been, and continue to be instrumental in the surveillance and subversion of all these progressive movements. For these agencies, the FOIA itself is a threat to national security, and those who request classified material through the FOIA are also considered threats to national security. In the case of the NSA, that agency completely refused to acknowledge the very existence of the documents requested by Shapiro in denying his FOIA application.

Ryan_Shapiro_Mandela
Shapiro, who has made 400 odd FOIA requests over other issues in the past, decided to draw the line when the CIA, FBI, NSA and DIA used their official position to thwart his FOIA requests regarding Mandela by issuing repeated national security exemptions. In January 2014, Shapiro filed a lawsuit against the CIA, DOD, DOJ and NSA for their non-compliance.

freedom_of_information
“The failure of the NSA, FBI, DIA, and CIA to comply with my FOIA requests for records on Mandela highlights that FOIA is broken and that this sad reality is just one component among many of the ongoing crisis of secrecy we now face,” Shapiro says. The issue for him is that the public needs to keep the government accountable. “It’s not surprising those in power wish to keep their actions secret. What’s surprising is how readily we tolerate it. We are all familiar with the security-oriented signage instructing us to ‘See something, Say something.’ In the interest of promoting a fuller conception of national security, I add, ‘See something, Leak something.’ The viability of our democracy may depend upon it.”

Snowden-Manning-whistleblowers-set-us-free
It’s simple. See something, Leak something.

Posted in CIA, FBI, Federal Government, life, NSA, terrorists | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I call bullshit!

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on October 16, 2013

The Beltway budget melodrama rolls on to its predictable and dreary end, with both sides now split over increasingly small differences. None of this is worth a partial government shutdown, much less the risk of a debt default, and both sides are looking like losers. Let’s get it over with.

“The Debt Denouement,” Wall Street Journal, 10-15-13

BULLSHIT!

I call mutherfucking bullshit!

This isn’t a matter of “everybody’s at fault here, let’s dole the blame out equally and move on.” One side, and one particularly tiny faction of one minority party is disproportionately at fault here. The fucking Tea Party loonies of the loser Republican Party, which capitulated to them, is to blame here. I’m no fan of the sad sack Democratic Party, which has its fair share of nutjobs. But the idiocy here cannot be evenly apportioned.

My wife watches the fictional TV drama “Hostages.” It’s a show about a shadowy cadre of heavily armed quasi-government spooks who attempt to force a famous surgeon to assassinate the president of the United States by proxy by taking her and her whole family hostage. Well, it turns out that the son is dealing pot, the daughter is having sex with a “bad boy” boyfriend, the husband is having an affair, yada, yada, yada. Everybody in the family has their dirty little secrets, and they’re all morally culpable to a degree. But they’re being held hostage, damnit! There’s no equivalency between the sordid lives of the family members who are being held hostage, and their thuggish, murderous hostage takers!

I’m making a no-holds-barred analogy to US politics here and now.

WANTED FOR CRIMINAL ACTIVITY: HOSTAGE TAKERS!
dylan-mcdermott-hostages-tv-showgal-tan-boehner-jpg

Posted in "Hostages", debt ceiling limit, Democratic Party, Democrats & Republicans, Federal Government, Federal government shutdown, government sequestration, hostage taking, John Boehner, politics, Republican Party, Tea Party | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »