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Opinion » Letters to the Editor

Free America and Assange: Whatever will become of Wikileaks?

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The author is reporting from a cell in Britain, patting Julian Assange on the back.

By the time you read this, America will have added another trillion (or several trillion if/when anyone reads the bill) dollars to our shared debt. On the eve of this incredibly stupid moment and hot on the heels of President Obama's "Deficit Commission" recommending that we don't do dumb things like spend hundreds of billions on war machines we'll never use or give tax breaks to rich people who don't really help the economy because they don't live hand-to-mouth like the rest of us poor folks, let's play the game, "Who Said That?"

"Haven't we already given money to rich people? This second tax cut's gonna do it again. Didn't we already, why are we doing it again? Shouldn't we be giving money to the middle?"

That's our former president George W. Bush, as quoted by former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil on November 26, 2002. Yep, eight years ago - exactly as long as it took Bush-Cheney to turn Clinton's half-trillion dollar surplus into the mess Obama inherited - even Bush was questioning the sanity of more tax-breaks for rich people.

Congratulations, hedge fund managers (who still only pay 15 percent on their billions in earnings) and trustafarians, Wal-Mart heirs and GOP donors. You totally earned this tax break, on the backs of seven million unemployed for over a year now who were used as a bargaining chip by the White House to get something accomplished in this very lame duck session of Congress.

Speaking of survival, WikiLeaks founder Julian "OMG" Assange is still somehow alive, in spite of American "patriots" everywhere threatening his life for daring to disclose what American officials do with our money and moral standing worldwide. Anyway, instead of assassination, Assange turned himself into British authorities early Tuesday, and said he will fight extradition while being denied bail. Brilliant.

"A Pearl Harbor of American foreign policy," described Pat "Blah Blah" Buchanan of the WikiLeaks disclosures on the McLaughlin Group on Sunday. Bible-thumper and failed presidential candidate, at least Buchanan got the Bush-Cheney junta right when he warned that "a neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America's interest." In 2003.

PayPal cut off donations to WikiLeaks, Yahoo and other sites denied access and WikiLeaks.org was bounced around the Internet like a cougar at a prom. The might of the insulted U.S. was fully on display, as someone who dared challenge authority was virtually decapitated. Don't expect a fair trial or to see Assange anytime soon. Yet he may have the last laugh: Assange has the passwords for all of WikiLeaks's databases ready to be released worldwide if anything happens to him, including five gigabytes of Bank of America records.

"They don't gotta burn the books, they just remove them." That's Rage Against The Machine, the band. Remember the term, it has become a mantra.

Perhaps the only comfort in the release of cables demanding biometric data and spying on our allies is the reality that the Obama Administration's message is actually consistent and honest. What we are hearing from our leaders is exactly what they are telling our friends: North Korea is a threat; Iran must be dealt with (Saudi Arabia advised to "cut the head off the snake") and Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi is a "vain party animal." We already knew all of this and the uproar over WikiLeaks should bring pause. Those questioning freedom of speech and trying to use outdated espionage laws (favorite tools of "Red Scare" fascist Joseph McCarthy) should consider why they are Americans, or become expatriates.

That's my theme this week: Suck it!

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