Category Archives: Preventing the Collapse of the Empire

The phone call Jeff Bezos received just before his $15 an hour wage announcement

SATIRE: published October 12, 2018

(In no way am I suggesting that any federal agency would threaten the life of a poor defenseless data cloud in order to leverage a multinational corporation into paying its workers enough money to eat food and pay rent. THIS IS JUST AN EXPLORATION of a funny idea I had for a sketch.)

Ring ring [sound of a telephone ringing]

Bezos: Yes, secretary?

Secretary: It’s the CIA for you, sir.

Bezos: Oh. Ok, put them through … [sound of a call being connected] this is Jeff.

CIA: Nice cloud you have there, Jeffrey. Be a shame if something happened to it.

088ABCE5-0164-4F72-B993-521818B1FBEE.jpeg

Bezos: It is. A very nice cloud. I can’t tell you how thankful I am that the CIA chose Amazon to create and maintain it instead of a competitor.

CIA: Don’t thank us. Thank the American taxpayer. Plus, we like to keep abreast of who’s buying pressure cookers & nails.

Bezos: Uh, great. Glad I could help.

CIA: Back to the American taxpayer.

Bezos: Not the post office thing again.

CIA: Oh no, the President is going to get you for that.

Bezos: I hate it when he calls; it’s like talking to an AK-47. Jesus.

CIA: Yes, the man of miracles. Which is what you’ll need if our cloud goes down.

Bezos: My overwhelming preference would be to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario.

CIA: Agree, agree! Well, Senator Bernie Sanders drafted a really interesting bill. Even named it after you.

Bezos: He’s a socialist commie.

CIA: Which is it: is he a socialist or a commie?

Bezos: Does it matter? He wants the government to mandate my business practices.

CIA: The Stop BEZOS Act — or Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies — would require multi-million dollar companies to cover any cost of government aid programs like SNAP or subsidized housing their workers receive. Guess you could just pay your employees enough money to pay for their own food & rent.

Bezos: Forcing private enterprise to pay the federal government millions? It’s what any good strongman would do.

CIA: In the last year alone, the DC Housing Authority provided more than $130 million in rent payments to the landlords of low income families who can’t afford housing costs. That’s all federal money — siphoned out of middle class American taxpayers’ income and into Section 8 Housing. Want to know how much of that $130 million went to Amazon & Whole Foods employees who live in Washington, DC?

Bezos: No, but I imagine you’re going to tell me.

CIA: Yes, we’ll email you a breakdown by all 50 states plus the District of Columbia. You’re quite the welfare king.

Bezos: Do you know how much prices would increase if I paid everyone enough to get off the dole?

CIA: They wouldn’t have to. Instead of making billions, you’d only make millions. Sounds like you’re the one who feels entitled to the handout.

Bezos: This isn’t even communist! It’s fascist! The CIA is calling me threatening to take my cloud away to extort me!

CIA: Our cloud. It’s our cloud. OUR cloud that you enjoy the privilege of maintaining. You’re welcome. And if you don’t like it, you could always set up shop in Cuba. And we can take our business to IBM.

Bezos: No thanks.

CIA: Well, you wouldn’t have to offer health insurance as a benefit there since Cuba has single payer healthcare.

Bezos: Yeah, and only the rich & well-connected get access to the best doctors. Look, I know what this is: it’s blatant redistribution of wealth. This is all Bernie Sanders’ doing.

CIA: It’s not redistributing anything. You get to keep the billions you’ve already made. Look, I made a cool $90k last year & if I died tomorrow, I’d be happy & know I lived a good life serving my country.

FBI: He doesn’t feel joy, CIA. He’s not capable of feeling contentedness so don’t go down that road.

Bezos: Who’s that?

CIA: Oh, that’s just the FBI. Their profilers told us to use pride & your compulsion to avoid societal shame since you don’t feel guilt or empathy like a normal person. But … we’re not going to waste time on that profiling BS. We’re going straight to force.

Bezos: The FBI is on the line!? What?

CIA: They’re always on the line.

FBI: Yeah, PATRIOT Act. Just kidding. FISA Amendments of 2008.

CIA: lol

FBI: ha ha

Bezos: I grew up poor! What about that?

CIA: Lots of people grew up poor. They don’t grow up to be parasites that exploit every loophole in the War on Poverty known to man.

FBI: Yeah, you’re a sociopath.

Bezos: I’m not a sociopath. I’m a philanthropist!

CIA: I’m about to break this cloud.

FBI: Lol, most philanthropists are sociopaths. Although some are narcissists. But, not Bezos.

Bezos: You’re talking about me as if I weren’t here. I can hear you.

NSA: We can hear you.

Bezos: Who the hell was that?

CIA: Ohhhhh. Soooo sorry. That’s now how this works. We ask the questions. You answer them! See? Here’s one I just came up with. What date are you going to start paying your employees a living wage? I have a calendar here. I’m looking at it now. Let me know if you need help. I can help you, Jeff.

Bezos: No, I’m not done asking questions. What’s next? A Basic Income?

CIA: Nope. Even Bernie knows that’s a nonstarter.

FBI: Yeah, that is wealth redistribution.

NSA: if I could just interject with some math

CIA: God, yes, more math! Give us the numbers, you little math lover.

NSA: Um, ok. The ratio of CEO pay to average worker was 42:1 in 1980. As of 2013 it was roughly 300:1.

FBI: That’s out of hand.

CIA: Why do we let a handful of CEO’s take advantage of our people this way? Our countrymen?

FBI: Congress. Those scoundrels.

CIA: What a bunch of rapscallions. And the amount of porn they watch, good grief.

NSA: And the type of porn they watch.

Bezos: What the fuck is this?

CIA: What is what? I’m pulling the plug on Mr Cloud. Who doesn’t love the scent of autumnal rainfall, am I right? Tell me I’m wrong. Singing in the rain!

Bezos: Oh my God, the CIA is threatening me!!

FBI: That sounded more like a promise than a threat to me.

NSA: Yeah, definitely a promise. You shouldn’t have been mean to your workers.

FBI: We know what you did.

Bezos’ Lawyer: You don’t speak, Jeff. Not another word.

CIA: Oh, this is ridiculous. Just pay your workers, for God’s sake. It’s not like we’re sending in the DOL with guns blazing. On a DOL tank.

FBI: No one is being charged with any crime. And there aren’t typically Department of Labor tanks.

DOD: Not that we couldn’t retrofit one for a special occasion.

CIA: Like, for example, storming Amazon headquarters.

Amazon General Counsel: Just exactly how much of a wage increase are we talking here?

CIA: $15 an hour is a good start.

Amazon General Counsel: Jeff, it’s not a terrible demand. We can make it work.

CIA: Do you know how many macrame invisibility ponchos we could make with a billion dollars?

DARPA: Ten.

CIA: Oh, so fewer than I thought.

Bezos: So to recap, you’re holding the cloud hostage until I pay my workers $31,000 a year?

CIA: $31,200. Which won’t even be enough money to get them off the dole in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, LA or Washington, DC. Would you rather Bernie’s law passes and you can repay every dime of public assistance your workers receive? We can make that happen.

Bezos: $31,000 a year for entry level work?!?

CIA: $31,000 a year for work. Lol, “entry level” work. That’s like saying “conspiracy theorist” to refer to someone who presents a fact-based narrative regarding events of historical import in order to encourage the pursuit of truth and accuracy in the face of unanswered questions. It costs what it costs to live. The government subsidizing the price of food, rent & healthcare has artificially suppressed the cost of labor for decades. Again, this won’t be retroactive. So look on the bright side.

NSA: um, if I could … there’s some more math that might help

CIA: More math, yes, please. The magic word! Everyone loves math.

NSA: In the 1950s, a typical CEO made 20 times the salary of their average worker. Last year, CEO pay at an S&P 500 Index firm was 361 times more than the average rank-and-file worker, or pay of $13,940,000 a year. Meanwhile, the average US production worker earned just $38,613.

CIA: The bottom line is that it costs what it costs to live. We’d rather covertly force one bad actor to do the right thing, and then sit back and watch free market competition among firms cause wages to rise because the other bad actors are now forced to offer higher wages in order to compete in a tighter labor market, rather than pulling the subsidy rug out from under an artificially depressed minimum wage suddenly, impacting all firms simultaneously.

Bezos: So it’s personal.

CIA: In a word, yes. In other news, the floor plans of your new $23,000,000 house in DC look nice.

Bezos: Yeah. The property taxes are going to be through the roof.

CIA: Well, the streets don’t sweep themselves. Look, even if some day on the off OFF chance Amazon was forced to break into pieces under anti-trust law … in the rare instance that monopoly-combatting laws were ever enforced … even if you never made another dollar, you and your family would be set for life, many many lifetimes.

FBI: Again, you might as well be trying to teach a pack of wolves to take a break from gorging on their fresh kill. He’s a broken person. He’ll never feel satiation: he can’t. Neurologically. The neuropathways just don’t connect that way. They never did.

Amazon General Counsel: That’s enough. What do we have to do to end this call.

CIA: What are you willing to do?

Amazon General Counsel: Pay Amazon and Whole Foods workers $15 per hour starting January 1, 2020.

CIA: How about November 1, 2018?

Amazon General Counsel: How about January 1, 2019?

CIA: Ok, November 1, 2018 it is. Have a great day. Bye.

FBI: Bye.

NSA: Bye

DOD: Bye

DARPA: Bye

CIA: Hang up.

DOD: You hang up.

CIA: No, you.

DOD: You first.

CIA: No, you.

NSA: Everyone is getting disconnected now. At the same time. You two — get a room.

Bezos: Unbefuckinglievable

CIA: No, you know what’s unbeLIEVable? Bilking the American taxpayer for millions of dollars ANNUALLY and then jibber jabbering about free shipping. There is NO SUCH THING AS FREE SHIPPING. The consumer is paying for it. How do people not know this?

NSA: It’s because we don’t teach logic in the schools. Also the fluoride in the water probably doesn’t help.

FBI: Don’t forget no one’s parents are home after school to help with homework.

CIA: Ok, who’s calling Bernie to tell him the good news?

[FADE TO BLACK]

 

Author’s note: Bezos changed his tune quite literally overnight. From doubling down on his anti-Bernie messaging through his paid shills on twitter to announcing (in a little over a month!) that a wage increase would be implemented (fewer than 30 days later!). I’m not saying any federal agency had anything to do with it. But if they did, good.

TIMELINE:

Amazon fires back at Bernie Sanders’ ‘inaccurate’ claims about its warehouse working conditions and low wages and workers’ dependence on SNAP (food stamps); from Aug 29: https://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-fires-back-at-bernie-sanders-inaccurate-claims-about-its-warehouse-working-conditions

Bernie Sanders doubled down on his war with Amazon by introducing a bill named after Jeff Bezos; from Sept 6 https://www.businessinsider.com.au/bernie-sanders-has-introduced-a-stop-bezos-bill-2018-9

Amazon announces $15 minimum wage for all U.S. employees, October 2! https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2018/10/02/amazon-announces-15-minimum-wage-for-all-employees.html

THAT WAS FAST!

 

 

Interesting relevant tweets from the past:

(I called it)

 

 

 

Interesting subsidized housing info (mainly this: more than 1.5 million US households receive housing subsidy):

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Call POTUS @realDonaldTrump today: ask him to grant @JulianAssange a pre-emptive pardon

Here’s what to say, how to call, and the video of me saying it on the White House comment line!

(For those who think Wikileaks is “Russian Wikileaks” or think that there is some conspiracy between Julian Assange and Russia, you’ve been dis-informed and for that I am deeply sorry because our country is being divided and conquered. **scroll down if you already know this part** You may or may not think that the leakers themselves should be prosecuted — that’s a different issue. Seth Rich was the leaker of the DNC emails, and I believe he is the 21st Century Nathan Hale; he quite literally died (was murdered) for the freedom of Americans in order to expose corruption of a ruling party, and the collusion between the DNC and a primary candidate to ensure a particular outcome in an election process for the leader of the United States of America in 2016. Please learn more about why Seth Rich is the 21st Century Nathan Hale by clicking here. And see the tweets below in order to learn more about Wikileaks as a news organization. Wikileaks is an equal opportunity publisher: if there is corruption in ANY government and they get their hands on proof of it, they WILL publish it.

 

From Wikileaks: “Russia’s laws – especially the new Yarovaya Law – make literally no distinction between Lawful Interception and mass surveillance by state intelligence authorities (SIAs) without court orders. Russian communication providers are required by Russian law to install the so-called SORM ( Система Оперативно-Розыскных Мероприятий) components for surveillance provided by the FSB at their own expense. The SORM infrastructure is developed and deployed in Russia with close cooperation between the FSB, the Interior Ministry of Russia and Russian surveillance contractors.”

So, newsflash, Wikileaks wants to expose corruption wherever it finds it, not just in the US government.

 

************************************************************************

**************CALLING THE WHITE HOUSE******************************

************************************************************************

 

If you film yourself calling the White House, and tweet me with the link on twitter at @Sarah__Reynolds, I will embed it on this website!! The script I used is below this video.

 

PROFANITY ALERT: here’s my attempt from the day before, but I called too late in the day to get to leave my comment. You do speak to a real human being, but you have to call 1 (202) 456-1111 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time. I was slightly irritated by this because during the Obama Administration when I called and read the 8th Amendment over the phone during the time Manning was being held at Quantico with no blanket and forced to be naked and cold, I didn’t have to be transferred to the comment line. So, you can watch that video too. (Ok, I drop one tiny F-bomb. No big whoop!)

 

 

LONG VERSION of the Script (also great for copy/pasting into the online comment form online or into a handwritten letter; scroll down for the short version)

Hi, my name is ____ and I’m calling from (city, state, country).

——————————————-

[SKIP THIS NEXT SENTENCE IF YOU’RE NOT A SUPPORTER OF TRUMP]

I am a supporter of President Trump, I voted for him in 2016 (and plan on voting for him again in 2020). (please don’t say you’re planning on voting for him again in 2020 if you’re not going to)

——————————————–

Today I’m calling to ask the President to grant Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of Wikileaks, a preemptive pardon and to ask him to direct the Justice Department to drop all charges against Mr Assange and Wikileaks. The New York Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Post all published news articles based on the documents published by Wikileaks, and even the New York Times’ own General counsel has said that prosecuting Assange would set “a very very bad precedent for publishers …” and that “the Law would have a very hard time drawing a distinction between the New York Times and Wikileaks.” The First Amendment protects the American people’s right to read news articles, whether printed on paper or published online, and the Founders guaranteed this right as part of the very first Amendment because they knew that freedom of the press was foundational to preserving our constitutional republic.

 

President Trump said, “I love wikileaks” over and over again at his 2016 campaign rallies, and the American people cheered his brave appreciation for Wikileaks’ willingness to publish emails that revealed corruption and collusion at the highest levels of our American government, as evidence in both the DNC emails and Podesta emails shows.

So I ask President Trump to work with other world leaders to ensure Mr Assange’s safe passage from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to his home country of Australia. Additionally, he has been granted asylum by Ecuador, and the United States and the United Kingdom should respect the protected status of Mr Assange under international law.

Thank you very much.

 

SHORTER:

Hi, my name is ________.

I’m calling to ask President Trump to grant Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of Wikileaks, a preemptive pardon and to ask him to direct the Justice Department to drop all charges against Mr Assange and Wikileaks. As Assange has been granted asylum by Ecuador, the United States and the United Kingdom should respect the protected status of Mr Assange under international law; and so I ask President Trump to work with other world leaders to ensure Mr Assange’s safe passage from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London to his home country of Australia.

Thank you for your time.

 

______________________________________________________

Please follow me on Twitter at @Sarah__Reynolds  (that’s 2 underscores)

Please like and subscribe to my youtube channel! Click here and my page will open in a new window

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The Biggest Thing You Missed from Wikileaks Vault 7: Body Language & Speech Analysis of Julian Assange

The most interesting thing about Vault 7? Nope, not the eavesdropping phone, hackable car, or spying microwave — it was this response from Julian Assange to a question tweeted at him during a virtual press conference.

 

Is there proof that the CIA is involved in an internal struggle, leaking as opposed to something else?

 

 

The video below is embedded to start at exactly 18 minutes and 22 seconds so you can see where he reads the question and “answers” it.

 

 

 

If you’ve read my previous body language/speech pattern analysis posts, you’ll recall the three elements of communication: 1) the words that are coming out of the person’s mouth (i.e. what they’re saying), 2) what they’re really saying, and 3)what they’re specifically not saying or trying not to say or omitting consciously or unconsciously — this third component is sometimes the most revealing.

 

For the sake of brevity, I’m only going to analyze this one question and the one answer Julian gave on March 9, 2017. I use all caps when a person, in this case Julian, unconsciously emphasizes a certain syllable or word in their speech. These are weak spots, places where their societal mask slips for a second. Julian Assange is unique: he has zero poker face and is a remarkably guile-less person for someone who is so hellbent on exposing the sins of others. This is usually the indicator of a person who really does have nothing to hide and whose motives are sincerely pure. Consider for a moment that before the first dump — I want to say the Bradley, now Chelsea, Manning leaks of the GTMO files and Iraq War logs — he asked the US State Dept to help him redact documents for national security purposes but the State Dept refused to in any way acknowledge Wikileaks as legit — until later, when they were forced to as a part of damage control. It’s very interesting. Many people recoil at the totally uncensored unredacted version of reality that wikileaks presents precisely because most people do have something to hide, or at least something that would make them feel bad or ashamed if it became public. Julian Assange doesn’t — at least his candid, almost childlike inability to self-censor, would lend itself to that conclusion.

(Full disclosure: I was very pleased with the Manning leaks as well as the DNC and Podesta email leaks but thought the CWA leaks were really over the top and unnecessary — and mean. So, I like true whistleblowing not pointless privacy violation.)

 

Julian reads a question from twitter: “Is there proof that the CIA are involved in internal struggle, leaking as opposed to [he pauses, he furrows his brow, he looks up] something else?”

 

“Uhhh, while … we can’t comment directly on sourcing [HE NODS HIS HEAD UP AND DOWN — lol], as someone who’s studied the behavior of intelligence agencies for many years in different countries, it is an unusual time in the United States to see an intelligence agency so prominently involved [this is the best – he looks away then quickly back, emphasizing the syllable VOLVED in involved] in domestic politics. Now, as a sort of lev-level of PRINCIPLE, that’s quite problematic. There are arguments on the other side that — obviously — if there’s an extreme … uh, government, uh, then perhaps that does call for … illegal behavior … uh, by an intelligence agency. Uh, we don’t have an opinion uh, on whether or not that is the case. Yet. We’re not the United States. Uh, Wikileaks is, um, in- I guess, in- intellectually inTRIGUED to see this conflict occurring, uh, because it does tend to generATE whistleblowers and sources on both sides of the equation.”

 

This was an easy one. Assange answered it affirmatively in multiple ways, but I bolded the clearest yes. The question was, is there a struggle? And Julian said Wikileaks see[s] this conflict occurring. But he first answered the question right off the bat by nodding his head repeatedly while saying he can’t comment directly on sourcing. So the words coming out of his mouth were neither a yes nor a no, but his body – his right brain, the truthteller and confessor – wanted the asker of this intellectually intriguing question to know, YES, and you hit the nail on the head! And by the way, not only do we see this conflict occurring, the conflict is generating sources on BOTH sides of the equation.

 

Note the use of the word source. Now if you saw the recent Comey hearing where the FBI Director confirmed to a member of Congress that it is not illegal for a member of the intel committee (Senators or Representatives on the panel) to lie to the news media the second they walk out of a closed hearing, even though all the other members of congress who were present will know that one of them has lied to the media after the evening news or morning paper comes out, then you know that fake news is LITERALLY fake news on these special occasions.

 

 

AND it’s also not illegal for members of the intel community (those “anonymous officials” cited by the media) to lie to the media. So there are two streams leading to the pool of fake news (two sources): the IC members themselves or the members of congress who are briefed by them (usually under oath — maybe the media should start requiring their sources to swear under oath before accepting the leaks of unsubstantiated unverifiable claims). So when Assange says source, and he’s answering a question about a good vs evil battle within the CIA, and he’s contrasting sources and whistleblowers on both sides, he’s signally (unconsciously) that there are sources who are good and sources who are … not good, and may be providing bad intel for bad reasons.

 

Now let’s look at part of Julian’s statement more closely:

“It is an unusual time in the United States to see an intelligence agency so prominently involved [he looks away then quickly back, emphasizing the syllable VOLVED in involved] in domestic politics.”

This is a nonstatement on its face: an unusual time? Is there ever a usual time for an intelligence agency to be involved in domestic politics? No. But those are the words coming out of his mouth. But that’s not what he’s *really* saying. He’s really saying two things: 1) that it’s an unusual time in the United States (!), and 2) that he sees AN intelligence agency prominently involved in domestic politics. And notice his interesting eye movement on “involved.” Then close your eyes and listen to that sentence again.

 

He says it the way you warn a friend who arrives unexpectedly at your front door that the person they’ve been trying to avoid is in your living room RIGHT NOW by mentioning their name out of context while looking in the direction of said living room. “Get it?” Julian is saying. “InVOLVED?!?” For all we know, someone from AN intelligence agency *is* right there in his living room. Which leads me to the next bizarre thing Mr Mumbler says … (sorry, Julian, but sometimes you really do give an amateur speech pattern analyst a run for her money).

 

“Uh, we don’t have an opinion uh, on whether or not that is the case. Yet. We’re not the United States.” Ok, Julian, we know you’re not the United States. We know Wikileaks is not the United States. So then why does he feel compelled to clarify that, or declare it, as it were? Plus he could have an opinion on a potential battle existing inside the CIA regardless of whether or not Wikileaks is involved with the United States. Now, we can’t really know unless he tells us why but the important thing to notice for our purposes is that he side-eyed on inVOLVED and … hey, everybody, Wikileaks is not the United States. Ok?? So even if they somehow used a macrame invisibility poncho to get into the room with him, he, Julian Assange, is still saying what he wants to say. Ok?? Okey dokey.

 

Finally, he mentions that he is intellectually inTRIGUED by the conflict inside the CIA, this internal struggle that he is SEEing. That is not (probably) what he intended to say because he probably didn’t mean to confirm that one exists. But we know that when someone answers using the same word (or a synonym) that was used in the question (as with “struggle” and “conflict,”) that they are being generally nonevasive – in other words, if he avoided any use of the word or avoided the topic of internal struggle altogether, it would more likely that he was being untruthful. This was yet another way he answered this question affirmatively.

 

And notice the word “intrigue” popping out of his mouth to say, “hai hai!” He can’t help but to use and say this word. Why? Because it means collusion, conspiracy or subterfuge. He could have used any word to express how intellectually interested or fascinated he was with the prospect of an internal struggle inside the CIA, a battle between patriots and traitors, warriors & election meddlers. But his truth-teller right brain picked “intrigued”!

Very intellectually intriguing indeed.

 

 

 

 

Feeling Patriotic? Protest Tyranny and Absolute Monarchy: Buy an Electric Car

Feeling patriotic? Sell your gas-guzzling absolute monarchy-funding, human rights tragedy-perpetuating car and buy an electric car! Let’s all stop voting with our dollars for public beheadings, public lashings, internet censorship, repression of speech, an absence of an independent free press, and woman-hating kings who make life a fascist regime hell for their subjects in Saudi Arabia by donating to their cause every time we purchase gasoline.

 

 

I’ve said before that we vote in three ways, first with our actual ballot at the polls; second, with our dollars, with which we vote affirmatively for all the laws and policies of the government of the country the product is manufactured in when we buy it; and third, with our time, minutes and hours we spend assenting to the practices of the major corporations who create our news, our television, our music, and our books, by spending that time reading/watching/listening to it (to say nothing of the free advertising we give away every time we wear branded clothing/shoes/handbags, etc.). And because we get to vote at the polls once a year at the most, we technically do much more voting with our time and money — especially when we pay our taxes, in which case we re-vote, and confirm the presence of every member of Congress, and second their every legislative move.

 

 

This is why it’s so important to sign petitions and write to Congress regularly, reminding them that they work for us and promising them that we will fire them next election day if they don’t do what we want. Hey, that’s how lobbyists do it. It’s an incredibly effective strategy. Less than a third of eligible voters turned out last mid-term election — how many voters would you guess actually picked up the phone and called their one Rep and two Senators? Guarantee lobbyists picked up the phone. Multiple times. And showed up in person.

 

 

So every time we fill our cars up with gas, we are voting with our dollars for the laws and policies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, most American gasoline’s country of origin. Now, I was ten during the first war in Iraq, the Gulf War that began in 1991, and I remember my mom calling me downstairs to watch President George H W Bush on the TV in the family room so that she could teach me the body language of lying. As he yammered about how urgent it was to declare war (a declaration that started the instability in Iraq we are still fighting today; people often refer to our 2003 invasion as the impetus, but this blogger suggests that our 1991 invasion is a better historical peg), my mom said to me, “You’re watching the President of the United States lie to the American people on live national television. Now, I want you to watch his face.” Now in my little SNL’d brain, I immediately thought of Dana Carvey and his brilliant impression of Bush the first, and my mom, anticipating this, told me it was not time to improve my comedy routine; it was time to learn the facial ticks and speech blips of liars. (I put my GHWB hand gestures back into my pockets and put “Not gonna do it” firmly out of my head.) So she says, “Now, Sarah Louise, there are people who lie, people who lie pathologically, and people like this man who look straight into the camera when they lie. No compunction whatsoever.” (Me: “What’s compunction?” Mom: “No qualms.” Me: “What’s a qualm?” Mom: “Jesus, Sarah, what do I look like, a human dictionary?” Me, nodding sweetly: “Yep.” Later she made me look up compunction and qualms in the big dictionary in the dining room. Thanks, mom.) After the address from the Oval Office was over, we talked (she talked, I listened) a bit more about the nature of someone who could feel gratified by getting away with deceiving millions of people and how they are few and far between in every day life but very frequently found in people who occupy positions of authority in government.

 

 

Now, this was a game we played with lots of public figures on the glowing oracle-box of truth (the TV) over the years; for example, a year later, we would watch the Bush/Perot/Clinton debates together and she would tell me that the difference between George H W Bush and Bill Clinton was that Clinton actually believed his own lies. But that night, on the eve of Desert Storm in 1991, she just wanted to me to know that the most important thing to remember about the United States’ involvement in the Middle East was that it was about oil. Period.

 

 

Long story short, our military protection of the Saudi regime is how we protect our access to cheap, readily available oil.

 

 

If your next question is why, let me be the first to admit that Abby Martin’s answer rivals the one my mom gave me twenty-five years ago. (Ok, truth: Abby’s 27 minute answer is so thorough, so concise, and so well-researched that it is actually better than my mom’s — and if my mom were alive, she would love Abby Martin and agree.) The historical perspective provided in the episode of the Empire Files embedded below tells you everything you need to know, going all the way back to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. And it makes it very very clear that our “dependence” on oil is actually the Saudi monarchy’s dependence on US consumption of their oil. But, long story short, the answer to “why?” is that our military protection of their regime is how we protect our access to cheap, readily available oil.

 

 

 

 

This is a paradigm 100% in our power to change. We don’t have to buy gas. We don’t have to vote with our dollars for monarchs who believe it’s okay for women to vote as long as the men they live with and are financially dependent on give them permission to leave the house. We don’t have to collectively prop up a regime that denies due process (what courts? oh, secret courts with “private” trials), a regime that beheads people for stealing, for being gay, and for objecting to abuse of power by the government and protesting that injustice in public, in print or online, a regime that lashes women for being raped (yes, a woman who is raped will receive more public lashings than her rapist), a regime that is destined to be overthrown. And it knows it. As Abby Martin points out in her brilliant withering expose, the House of Saud is scared — and they should be. History hasn’t been kind to kings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, please sign this petition asking the UN to remove Saudi Arabia from the Human Rights Council:

Click on the image to go to the petition.
Click on the image to go to the petition.

 

 

**Brief Aside: I managed to find the No Compunction, No Qualms speech from 1991 on youtube. Watch it here. Notice GHWB trip up on the word diplomatic starting at the 53 second mark. No, flubbing a word isn’t always an indicator of dishonesty. In this case it is.

 

 

**Second brief aside: Have you ever watched the documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” Try watching it again with this whole new additional perspective.

 

 

Also, this: http://www.theforeignservicemn.com/electric_ford_ranger/index.php