CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE — Thoreau, Snowden, and the Booz

Tuesday, July 12th 2016 @ 9:30 PM

 
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Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, which advocates simple living in natural surroundings, and his 1849 essay Resistance to Civil Government (a/k/a Civil Disobedience) which states that the individual has an obligation to disobey the laws of an unjust state.

Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau is best known for his seminal book Walden (first published in 1854 in Boston), which advocates simple living in natural surroundings; and his 1849 essay Resistance to Civil Government (a/k/a Civil Disobedience) which avers that the individual has an obligation to disobey the laws of an unjust state.

WHAT THE PHILOSOPHER/POET
AND THE WHISTLEBLOWER
HAVE IN COMMON

 
Posting as ‘TheTrueHOOHA’
 
By Bjarne Rostaing

Edward Snowden and Henry David Thoreau have little in common other than WASPdom.

Snowden is from a respectable middle class family, many of whose members worked for the government, and he happens to have a gift for computers and electronic information. Nothing to raise suspicion, and it was natural for him to work for the CIA, which he did for a time.

Thoreau was a different animal, a Boston Brahmin of the New England aristocracy, a dominant elite full of independent thinkers of impeccable roots going back to colonial times. The Adamses, Emerson, Hawthorne, William and Henry James, Melville, and the physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. (who coined the term) were members.

Snowden held tech jobs, Thoreau went off to live in the woods and think. He was a theorist, opinionated, lacking finesse. Not a hands-on guy or a leader in his set, but strong in his views. He wrote Walden, and then he came up with the notion of “civil disobedience,” a wild and crazy idea that when government creates a stench that your conscience can’t abide, it’s appropriate to be “disobedient,” and if possible, “stop the machine,” by which he meant the government.

The idea had legs, and so Thoreau became the patron saint of whistleblowers.

Snowden is a loner, too, like many techs, and very expert on information systems. He bypassed college degrees but was eminently employable, and smart enough to be trained by the government as a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), an ambiguous and controversial government qualification.

He was always civil, and became extremely disobedient. In his world he will be remembered as a heroic practitioner of what Thoreau wrote about in his Boston cocoon — though also a traitor by traditional definition.

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“Woodstein”:  Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein, left, and Bob Woodward heeded the advice of investigative source “Deep Throat” to “follow the money” and brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon.

“Woodstein”:  When young Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward, right, and Carl Bernstein (shown here in 1973) heeded the sage advice of inside Watergate source “Deep Throat” to “Follow the Money,” they help- ed bring down the corrupt presidency of Richard Nixon.

WHAT THE TRUMP & SANDERS FOLKS
HAVE IN COMMON:  RAW ENERGY

The Donald knows a good deal from a screwing

FOLLOWING THE MONEY;
HILLARY ABOVE THE LAW

 
By Bjarne Rostaing
 
Where did Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump come from? Their populist armies exploded from nowhere and made them national figures overnight, and except for raw energy they looked totally different.

Trump’s base was mainly angry disenfranchised white males from the right, and Sanders’ youthful gang of progressives looked as optimistic and innocent as Occupy Wall Street.

Neither man was politically connected or ever governed, but they were the story of the primaries, two underdogs tapping into a hard, grim dissatisfaction with 21st Century America, a place where you can’t afford an education that used to be almost free, or get a decent job once you have your sheepskin.

As far back as 1792, Alexander Hamilton described the American people as “a great beast.” In 2016, the “beast” is finally awake — and angry.

The raw energy of that angry beast is what the Trump and Sanders people have in common, and change is what they want, right and left, a need so urgent that both groups accept that it was worth the risk to break out.

Rearranging the deck chairs on our Titanic debt-ridden economy wasn’t working, and both groups were in revolt against globalism. Specifically they wanted out of those massive trade deals, which they saw as working for special interests and against the common good.

Say what you will about Trump, he knows a good deal from a screwing. Sanders gets that too: he’s an idealist, but he’s also a tough, smart Brooklyn Jew.

The heat was on and the most basic issues were finally being confronted: Do we continue to prioritize expensive foreign adventures like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and the “Asia Pivot,” or do we deal with domestic emergencies, starting with our reduced-income service economy, immigration, and our collapsing Third World infrastructure?

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A VOICE of BALTIMORE BOOK REVIEW

Journalist/author Bjarne Rostaing reviews two books by
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick exclusively for VoB

Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS is Reviewed for VoB by Bjarne Rostaing.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joby Warrick’s Black Flags:
The Rise Of ISIS
is Reviewed for VoB by Bjarne Rostaing.

2 REMARKABLE, REVEALING BOOKS
FOCUSING ON THE BEGINNING OF
THE ISLAMIC STATE (ISIS/ISIL)
BY A REMARKABLE WRITER

By Bjarne Rostaing

Do we really want to know what happened in Iraq and the Middle East? Joby Warrick’s handle on that is solid and troubling.

He is of a rare breed, a very well-informed investigative journalist who can write. As it happens, he’s writing about the hottest, most avoided and most propagandized subject of the day: ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.

He is very clear that deposing Saddam Hussein split the fragile stability of Sunni and Shia coexistence and led to the Islamic State.

Warrick’s résumé is replete with a pair of Pulitzers and other awards, and his information is so deep and current that I assumed an intelligence background. But it’s the Washington Post that developed this remarkable writer, with an assist by Bob Woodward.

There are two hot-button books:

The Triple Agent (2012) is a personal and professional biography of a mild-mannered Jordanian physician who was radicalized via the Internet, became an influential presence there, and was recruited by the Mukharabat, Jordan’s very respected intelligence agency, then to be exploited by them and the CIA, which did not work out well.

In fact, it blew up in the face of both agencies as few operations ever do, ending with his death and that of many key high-level Western intelligence personnel. Part of that group were two influential women carving careers out of the stubborn male espionage culture, a subplot Warrick explores in some detail.

Sent to a likely death in Afghanistan, the inexperienced idealistic doctor survives and makes contact with the enemy — first the Taliban and then Al-Qaeda, at the highest level. How this backfires is a tale straight out of John le Carré; and Warrick’s ability to make “personnel” into people is remarkable.

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Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard recently risked her polit- ical career by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.

Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard recently risked her polit- ical career by resigning as a Vice-Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for President.

COULD THE DNC’S FORMER NO. 2
EMERGE AS CANDIDATE SANDERS’
FEMALE VP RUNNING MATE?

Hawaiian Representative’s gutsy trajectory

MANY WOMEN DON’T LIKE CLINTON
 
By Bjarne Rostaing
 
A while ago I suggested in Voice of Baltimore that while Elizabeth Warren’s conspicuous absence was critical to Bernie Sanders’ primary election loss in Massachusetts, Hawaiian Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard was on a more gutsy trajectory.  (March 9, 2016: TULSI GABBARD—The real Elizabeth Warren)

Gabbard did not tiptoe through the tulips, but walked away from the stench that is the Democratic National Committee, currently a mutual admiration society between Debbie Wasserman Schultz and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Gabbard had been a rising star, the DNC’s No. 2, and her resignation was a courageous and politically dangerous move that got attention. However when she campaigns for Sanders it is rarely covered.

Disinvited to a Sanders-Clinton debate a while back, she was clear enough in making her case on CNN, but lacked drive and power. She is a fast learner, and given time with Wolf Blitzer, her current performances lack nothing – plenty of energy, clarity, and no wasted words. It was political, but so clear and fact-oriented it didn’t have that smell.

And finally, why is it CNN (Wolf Blitzer no less) rather than “liberal” MSNBC that is giving Gabbard this kind of exposure? Is MSNBC in Clinton’s pocket? Some of their stars are, for sure, and you can feel it when they question her.

Gabbard’s positions are tough, with long-range significance.

For example, getting real about foreign policy. She wants to stop messing around in Syria and other places where we don’t belong. It’s in complete opposition to Clinton’s failed aggression in this area (her lauded “experience”), and as a combat vet in contact with the reality, Gabbard is grounded as few politicians are.

The long-range issue is whether the war lobby continues to involve us in moneymaking wars or whether we turn our attention to our own internal problems, like debt and infrastructure. The grass-roots are tired of war, but Clinton isn’t.

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Jackie Gleason plays Chris Christie — or is it the other way around? — in 2016 Voice of Baltimore horror flick. (Ya gotta read the column or you’ll never understand!) Gleason is at upper left and lower right — or is that Christie? (No, it’s definitely Gleason; upper right and lower left is Christie.)

Jackie Gleason plays Chris Christie — or is it the other way around? — in prospective Voice of Baltimore horror flick.  (Ya gotta read the col- umn or you’ll never understand!)  Gleason is at upper left and lower right — or is that Christie?  …No, it’s definitely Gleason; the comedian at upper right and lower left is Christie.  [Composite Photos/VoB Staff]

CREATURE DOUBLE-FEATURES
AND TALES FROM THE CRYPT
SET STAGE FOR 2016 DEBATES

Nuclear fear of 1950s/’60s
spawned movie madness
featuring monsters, ghouls
and aliens from outer space

ALSO FILM AND TV CHARACTERS
WITH MANNERISMS REMINISCENT
OF TODAY’S TOP OFFICE SEEKERS

POD PEOPLE IN POTUS PROFILE?
 
By David Maril and Alan Z. Forman
 
“It’s only a movie, folks.  Remember… it’s only a movie.”

That was the disclaimer feature-film audiences, especially at drive-in theaters in the 1950s and ’60s, used to hear as assurance that the fear they were experiencing from the horror images on the big screen would end once the film projector stopped rolling and moviegoers went safely home.

That’s the way it was back then when theaters were swamped by countless numbers of films with frightening themes connected to science fiction and horror, including creatures from outer space, all sorts of strange mutants, and earth-born “monsters” as well.

Oftentimes the plot-lines involved otherworldly aliens living surreptitiously among us in disguise, plotting to take over the earth…  Like Donald Trump. Or Ted Cruz …or Hillary Clinton.

But where’s the disclaimer for the horror of the 2016 presidential race? including the prospect of a blowhard or a felon becoming America’s next President? or a candidate so unqualified as to make even the toughest cynic shudder?

Are the perfidious POTUS prospects, prevaricating Pod People in presidential profile?

The list of this fear-drenched 1950s/’60s movie genre includes such “classics” as “Plan 9 From Outer Space,” “The Wasp Woman,” “House On Haunted Hill” and “Night of the Ghouls” (all released in 1959); “The Giant Claw,” “Daughter of Dr. Jekyll” and “Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957); “The Terror” (1963) and “Teenage Zombies” (1960), to mention just a few.

Moviegoers during this Cold War period were living through an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Audiences could not resist an hour or more of screams and tension to take their mind off real-world concerns related to the threat of Communism and nuclear war.

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