Just another Reality-based bubble in the foam of the multiverse.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Eve of the Dead

Edwards gets uneasy as the Frontrunner moans, "Braaiiinnnsss"

Of course, HHHillary's new hometown paper of record expects you to believe this tripe:

Taken together, the events of the day suggested the difficulties Mrs. Clinton faces as she in effect tries to bridge two very different electorates: Democratic primary voters and general election voters. Going into the debate last night, she had been largely successful offering views on Iran, Iraq, and Social Security tailored to a general election audience.

Successful, indeed, and please pass the avocado dip. I am sure the general election audience is all for the things HHHillary supports, like RealID, keeping troops in Iraq Forevah, and extending the War on Terra to Iran. I'm sure the general audience can't be compared to those difficult Democrats that vote in primaries. I'm sure that's why Ron Paul is so unpopular among the working class republicans, and why Rudy also scores so well with them once he leaves his own focus group polls.

Somebody give me an honest zombie. Or better yet, somebody who knows how to deal with zombies and the Company that infected them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What Detroit and Darth Cheneyburton Don't Want You to See

Check out the Great Orange Satan, commenting on this story.

Why do people that increase horsepower, fuel efficiency, and use biodiesel hate America?

On the other hand, the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security are most likely about to Classify everything Johnathan Goodwin's ever built, because these cars would also probably end the War on Terra.

Blow Up

Monday, October 29, 2007

Accelerating the change

Of course, there are those with an interest in bringing it about:

...Greenland, a self-governing province of Denmark, was settled by the pugilistic Viking Erik the Red in the 10th century, after his murderous ways got him ejected from Iceland. Legend has it that he called it Greenland as a way to entice others to join him, and, in fact, it was.

It was relatively green then, with forests and fertile soil, and the Vikings grew crops and raised sheep for hundreds of years. But temperatures dropped precipitously in the so-called Little Ice Age, which began in the 16th century, the Norse settlers died out and agriculture was no longer possible.

Climate is a delicate matter in a place like this. A degree more of warmth here, an inch less of rain there; these can have serious repercussions for a farmer eking out a living raising sheep on the harsh terrain. But while temperatures here in the south dipped in the 1980s, they have risen steadily since. Between 1961 and 1990, the average annual temperature was 33 degrees; in 2006, it was 35 degrees, according to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Winter is coming later and leaving earlier. That means there is more time to leave sheep in the mountains, more time to grow crops, more time to work outdoors, more opportunity to travel by boat, since the fjords freeze later and less frequently.

Cod, which prefer warmer waters, have started appearing off the coast again. Ewes are having fatter lambs, and more of them every season. The growing season, such as it is, now lasts roughly from mid-May through mid-September, about three weeks longer than a decade ago. “Now spring is coming earlier, and you can have earlier lambings and longer grazing periods,” said Eenoraq Frederiksen, 68, a sheep farmer whose farm, near Qassiarsuk, is accessible by a harrowing drive across a rudimentary road plowed in the hillside. “Young people now have a lot of possibilities for the future.”

Scattered reports of successful strawberry crops in the odd home garden are heard, although it helps to keep them in perspective. As Hans Gronborg, a Danish horticulturist, put it, laughing, “They know whether they’ve harvested 20 strawberries, or 25.” He works at Upernaviarsuk, an agricultural research station near Qaqortoq, one of the largest towns in the south. Like everywhere else, it is accessible only by boat or helicopter. As a rule, no roads connect Greenland towns.

As if visiting the zoo, people come from all over to gape at the varieties of grass in the fields and to see what is growing here, among other things, 15 strains of potatoes and, for the first time, annual flowers: chrysanthemums, violas, petunias.

Mr. Gronborg plucked a head of cauliflower from its nest of leaves. It had a rich, almost sweet flavor — the result, he explained, of slow growth, long summer days of 20 hours of light, and wide swings in temperature from day to night. “It’s small, but it means you get all that flavor concentrated in one-third the size of a regular cauliflower,” he said.

Mr. Gronborg loaded a dozen trays of vegetables into a motorboat to take them to the supermarket in Qaqortoq. Soon, he said, restaurants will serve Greenlandic vegetables beside Greenlandic lamb and reindeer.

“Greenlanders are hunters, and it takes time to change their way of living and being,” he said. “But I am confident that things can grow in south Greenland.”

The Netherlands has someplace to go to when the waters rise, but only if no one finds oil there.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

There isn't a paradox that can't be paradoctored

Ben Stein, a conservative economist who knows he's a comedian, ponders:

...Supposedly, a number of wizard managers consistently earn more than 40 percent a year for their hedge funds. Yes, I know that this conflicts with every bit of investment and market theory — or almost every bit. I know that such a thing should be impossible. But, supposedly, magicians like Steven A. Cohen, founder of SAC Capital in Stamford, Conn., can regularly earn 40 percent a year — often more — on their capital.

But why waste our time on envy or disbelief? Let’s put Mr. Cohen to work for the greater good. Let’s have the federal government issue about $10 trillion in Steven A. Cohen National Debt Retirement Fund Bonds. After interest is paid on the bonds, if Mr. Cohen makes 40 percent on the money, the fund will return 36 percent a year. That means that in only two years, he will have made roughly $10 trillion for the taxpayers, with which he can pay off the entire United States federal debt...

But wait, as they say in the infomercials, there’s more! Why do we need federal taxes? The government spends very roughly $2.3 trillion a year. Suppose that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. issues $6 trillion in Steven A. Cohen Budget Anticipation Trust Bonds. And suppose Congress mandates that Mr. Cohen not charge a fee for managing this fund. In one year, his bonds will have earned enough for all federal expenditures, thus eliminating the need for taxes. And why not do this every year? Why burden us peons with taxes when stock market and other speculation can take up the slack?

And that’s just the beginning. Why not have a Medicare Anticipation account in which speculation is used to defray the avalanche of costs reasonably anticipated by Medicare? The power of uncompromising pure research and split-second timing is limitless.

My pal Phil DeMuth, investment guru of Conservative Wealth Management, has calculated that if Mr. Cohen uses his laser vision to keep making 40 percent a year indefinitely, by 2075 he will have as much money as the rest of the country put together.

By 2080, on the same assumptions, he will have all of the wealth of the United States unto himself. Within a decade or so more (very, very roughly) he will have all the wealth in the world.

I KNOW that there is a little problem called mortality here. But do you really think that a man who can consistently get 40 percent a year in speculation cannot defeat that problem? Anyway, he probably has a little black book with phone numbers or a black box with unimaginably complex strategies for trading locked up somewhere that will keep on churning out these results for his heirs.

Now, I am a little troubled by where this leaves the other hedge fund managers who are also making 40 percent a year for their hedge funds, both here and abroad. At some point, the top players will start bumping up against limits, and against one another. Then it will be like King Kong versus Godzilla versus Mothra — a giant creature in early horror movies that resembled an immense moth. Only the toughest hedge fund manager will be left standing. And I am not sure where this leaves China, which is growing, and will surely keep growing, at 10 percent a year.

Mr. Cohen has the sechel (a Yiddish word meaning wisdom), but China has the bomb and the Thought of Mao Zedong. It’s all too complicated for me. And I think that by solving the problems of the national debt and taxation, I have done enough for today.

Hedge fund power. Unlimited, clean and silent. In the meantime, enjoy Lake Pend Oreille and the splendid empty waterways and mountain forests of North Idaho before it all becomes the United States of Cohen.

Too late, Ben. But my money's on the priestesses. Godzilla never managed to nail those two...

The Bill of Rights is Classified

If they told you about it without the proper clearance, DHS would have to kill you. Or at least waterboard you until you confessed:

Anybody who has read many official documents—including those making headlines in the last year or more—has seen plenty of redactions (those portions that are blacked out or otherwise made unreadable). This, we're told, is for legitimate reasons, such as "national security" or "protecting intelligence sources and methods." But now we have absolute, incontrovertible proof that the government also censors completely innocuous material simply because they don't like it.

The Justice Department tipped its hand in its ongoing legal war with the ACLU over the Patriot Act. Because the matter is so sensitive, the Justice Dept is allowed to black out those passages in the ACLU's court filings that it feels should not be publicly released.

Ostensibly, they would use their powers of censorship only to remove material that truly could jeopardize US operations. But in reality, what did they do? They blacked out a quotation from a Supreme Court decision:

"The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent."

The mind reels at such a blatant abuse of power (and at the sheer chutzpah of using national security as an excuse to censor a quotation about using national security as an excuse to stifle dissent).

It's hard to imagine a more public, open document than a decision written by the Supreme Court. It is incontestably public property: widely reprinted online and on paper; poured over by generations of judges, attorneys, prosecutors, and law students; quoted for centuries to come in court cases and political essays.

Yet the Justice Department had the incomprehensible arrogance and gall to strip this quotation from a court document, as if it represented a grave threat to the republic. Luckily, the court slapped down this redaction and several others. If it hadn't, we would've been left with the impression that this was a legitimate redaction, that whatever was underneath the thick black ink was something so incredibly sensitive and damaging that it must be kept from our eyes.

Now we know the truth. Think about this the next time you see a black mark on a public document.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

World War Groove

War from the Mediterranean to Kashmir

Just read it, and wonder.

If somebody made a recombinant blue green algae that could take light, CO2, and water to make O2 and hydrocarbon and gave it to the world, the killing would stop.

So would the profit to those who run the war machine.

And smoking is good for you, too.

Just ask the White House.

...The original, unedited testimony presented to Congress by Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and obtained by ABC News was 14 pages long, but the White House Office of Management and Budget edited the final version down to a mere six pages.

Scientists and public health organizations called the move "frustrating," "terrible" and "appalling." The edits essentially deleted all sections that referred to climate change as a public health concern -- including the risks of increased food-borne and waterborne diseases, worsening extreme weather events, worsening air pollution and the effect of heat stress on humans...

But look at all those cases of frostbite you avoid when you're dying of thirst in the desert and/or drowning in a tidal surge in New Orleans.

If you can't get the CIA to lie, let your budget fudgers do it.

From the same people who say we've got the best economy in the world!

You can not make this shit up. In fact, you don't have to, the Treasury Department's done it for you.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Hungry Like The Wolf

What Len Hart says. Most people have a "tell" when they're lying. Bu$hie has one when he exposes what he really thinks.

Or what approximates thought in that reptilican brain.

Len's right, if we could get rid of the Grand Old Perverts we'd be able to rescue America.

But that's a little bit like trying to get rid of HIV. You can control it, but you know it'll still be out there somewhere. The best you can do is watch things carefully and stick to the medicine. And try not to spread the damage.

That being said, if we can get a different $elected preznit in November '08, we'd be better off with a DINOcrat than any other Republican. Not as good as with a real Democrat, but better than a Republican.

The disease would still be there, just under control. Somewhat. Perhaps enough to buy us time to act.

But if Cheney or Bu$hie had anything to do with it, they'd take over immediately.

The only thing is, it's not just Cheney and Bu$hie. It's a whole criminal organization, and Big Time Dick's got the right attitude but he's too old and sick to command the respect a real dictator needs from his minions. And li'l Bu$hie's mean enough, but not smart enough to control the hired help without his Poppy's guidance.

Hence Gates on the scene.

That's the only thing standing in the way of either one of these two. They scare much of the rest of their Company. That introduces a variable, one that could change the equation.

If an exceedingly violent false flag operation is carried out on the Homeland, look for the Praetorian Guard to choose its own Caesar.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thus Sprach Titor

Avedon points to Natasha at Pacific Views:

The war criminals are up to their usual skullduggery.

I've been reading The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein, as I mentioned the other day. It's the most horrifying book I've ever read and I'm not even done with it yet. But essentially, the point is that economists of the Milton Friedman school working hand in hand with the US State Department have been engaged in what Klein describes as extraordinarily violent armed robberies all over the globe since the 1970s. From early on, their economic programs have been referred to as aiming for shock and awe.

For all that it happens on paper and in banking transactions, economic shock and awe isn't that different from the kind Bush perpetrated against Iraq in the early days of the invasion. And it's exactly what the Coalition Provisional Authority enacted once they got hold of the country's accounts and law books.

At first, before Friedman's disciples perfected the technique, starting with Indonesia and Chile, they could only impose their heinously unpopular reforms at gunpoint and with the disappearance, torture and murder of political opponents. When Bolivia finally struggled back to nominally democratic rule, with the help of economist Jeffrey Sachs, their newly elected president implemented these reforms by surprise and by putting the country on lockdown.

After that, the hyperinflationary debt crises rocking the developing world, as one corrupt dictatorship after another collapsed under the weight of their failures, served as the new entry point. The World Bank and IMF were invariably called in to help stabilize the currency and they imposed what's euphemistically called "structural adjustment." These radical privatization agendas insisted that the governments drop public services, end food assistance, fire thousands of government workers without there being other jobs for them, freeze wages, drop all the trade barriers, then finally sell off all public assets at fire sale prices on the principle that it's wrong to have public ownership of anything that could be turned to a profit.

Consider for a moment that if you live in a repressive dictatorship with no middle class, there are basically only four types of people who have enough money to buy public assets, even at fire sale prices: corrupt officials, criminals, people with relatives outside the country, and foreigners. It's not mysterious.

These policies always result in higher unemployment. In hunger and privation. In the destruction of native industries engaged in the processing of raw materials, where all the significant value is created. You have heard the term 'value-added', right? Right. So naturally, there is opposition.

But when people are shocked and alarmed, when there's war and nationalistic fervor whipped up, when there's hyperinflation, when there's political uncertainty, there comes a moment of opportunity when a government by surprise can replace all semblance of democracy. People's faculties are unbalanced, it's as if they're sleepwalking, they're trying so hard to adjust to rapidly changing and highly charged circumstances. And then when they wake up, the world has been remade before their eyes...

...Can we possibly keep our Republic against the wishes of the highest officeholders in the land and their cringing lapdogs? Can we hope to avert their latest criminal fancy?

I don't think so. Chaos is the plan. If you would avert it, you must create an order that can withstand it.

The wind is just beginning to blow, and when the storm really hits, it might be beyond anyone's belief. On some worldlines, anyway.

There may be a Republic when this is all over, but you can bet it won't be the one we have right now.


See? I told you, you might not believe it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Talk is Cheap. Chaos Makes Money

I get questioned:

I would like you to make a post that backs up your "Chaos is the plan" contention. ...architects of power do not want chaos (because chaos would threaten their control). What they want is control and to keep the people pacified and asleep. Chaos would work against their goals. In the case of Iraq, you would say that the chaos they have caused there is by design instead of the incompetence I see.

Complacency is certainly selected for, anon., but there are certain inevitable results of our dependence on fossil fuels. You might find the link that Logan sent interesting. These results aren't secret, and the cliff Logan refers to has been visibly approaching for quite sometime.

It's also unneccessary. Most of the things Al Gore supports to end the climate crisis would produce conditions where renewable energy becomes the norm. This avoids the cliff entirely. It also pretty much ends the strife in the Middle East with the end of the Great Game.

Again, read Naomi Kline's Shock Doctine. Watch the film on her home page.

One could spend a very long time trying to find a policy of the Bu$h administration that worked the way it was sold. It's a hallmark of these authoritarians to mislabel every action for what it isn't. The Clean Air Act. No Child Left Behind. The War on Terror. Some people argue this is incompetence, and perhaps on one level it is. But patterns do emerge.

One of the central themes of this website is that the criminals that make up the government fully intend to use every opportunity for disruption to press forward their agenda. Darth Rumsfeld's Pentagon lost a trillion dollars between the cracks, and the day after it was announced, a Saudi dissident group initially trained by the CIA pulled off 9/11. The disaster on 9/11 gave us the Iraqi war, with an insurgency principally fueled by Saudi funding. The disaster of the Iraqi war has resulted in $2.4 trillion in expenditures, most of it unaccountable.

No little bit of it goes to the private contractors that support the crime syndicate that rules us. You can count the Saudis in on that, too. And you can find links for all this throughout this blog. So I won't repeat them all here.

But I will give you a couple of links that lead to a lot of other links to get you started.

And another old post of Stirling Newberry's that I find germane.

Of course, this post wouldn't be complete without a link to Shystee's Emergent Conspiracy Theory, the Correntewire thread of posts it has generated, and my own interpretation of it's implications.

There's no accident involved with making big money, and believe it, Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton have made big money.

Lambert has elaborated on my corrollary that you've noted.

Finally, let's leave you, anon., with a little recent Jeff Wells:

...We have rulers who look like us, and appear to talk to us about what we're told are our concerns and values, yet whose experience and environment and whose own values are so alien to our own that they may as well be aliens themselves. In turn neither do they recognize themselves in us, and only grudgingly and for their own ends use the power of state with egalitarian benevolence. You could call them reptiles, but just as truthfully you can call them Morlocks. And if you do then you must know what they eat...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bumpy Ride

...down the oil depletion curve has started.

Steep decline in oil production brings risk of war and unrest, says new study

· Output peaked in 2006 and will fall 7% a year
· Decline in gas, coal and uranium also predicted

Ashley Seager
Monday October 22, 2007
The Guardian

World oil production has already peaked and will fall by half as soon as 2030, according to a report which also warns that extreme shortages of fossil fuels will lead to wars and social breakdown.

The German-based Energy Watch Group will release its study in London today saying that global oil production peaked in 2006 - much earlier than most experts had expected. The report, which predicts that production will now fall by 7% a year, comes after oil prices set new records almost every day last week, on Friday hitting more than $90 (£44) a barrel...

The report's author, Joerg Schindler, said its most alarming finding was the steep decline in oil production after its peak, which he says is now behind us.

The results are in contrast to projections from the International Energy Agency, which says there is little reason to worry about oil supplies at the moment.

However, the EWG study relies more on actual oil production data which, it says, are more reliable than estimates of reserves still in the ground. The group says official industry estimates put global reserves at about 1.255 gigabarrels - equivalent to 42 years' supply at current consumption rates. But it thinks the figure is only about two thirds of that.

Global oil production is currently about 81m barrels a day - EWG expects that to fall to 39m by 2030. It also predicts significant falls in gas, coal and uranium production as those energy sources are used up.

Britain's oil production peaked in 1999 and has already dropped by half to about 1.6 million barrels a day.

The report presents a bleak view of the future unless a radically different approach is adopted. It quotes the British energy economist David Fleming as saying: "Anticipated supply shortages could lead easily to disturbing scenes of mass unrest as witnessed in Burma this month. For government, industry and the wider public, just muddling through is not an option any more as this situation could spin out of control and turn into a complete meltdown of society."

Mr Schindler comes to a similar conclusion. "The world is at the beginning of a structural change of its economic system. This change will be triggered by declining fossil fuel supplies and will influence almost all aspects of our daily life."

Jeremy Leggett, one of Britain's leading environmentalists and the author of Half Gone, a book about "peak oil" - defined as the moment when maximum production is reached, said that both the UK government and the energy industry were in "institutionalised denial" and that action should have been taken sooner.

"When I was an adviser to government, I proposed that we set up a taskforce to look at how fast the UK could mobilise alternative energy technologies in extremis, come the peak," he said. "Other industry advisers supported that. But the government prefers to sleep on without even doing a contingency study. For those of us who know that premature peak oil is a clear and present danger, it is impossible to understand such complacency."

Mr Fell said that the world had to move quickly towards the massive deployment of renewable energy and to a dramatic increase in energy efficiency, both as a way to combat climate change and to ensure that the lights stayed on. "If we did all this we may not have an energy crisis."

Unless the energy crisis has been incorporated into the shock doctrine and chaos is the plan.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Straw Woman Argument

Digby notices the Hillary is the one thing all the Rethuglican preznitial candidates are really running against.

The comments are great:

Hillary is the briar patch candidate. I think they're really afraid of Edwards. They would be afraid of Dodd except that they know that they can count on the Dems to destroy him...

Hillary is a lot more like them--in actual policy positions--than some fire-breathing, cloven-hoofed leftie (and, hint, hint, she has been, for most of her professional life).

Just as with them, she'll be more mindful of Wall Street, of the private insurers and the WalMarts of the country than she should be, but what she won't do is promise right-wing judges and support legislation to overturn Roe v. Wade and promote anti-gay Constitutional amendments...

Hillary is the GOP's only hope of retaining the White House. She's the only candidate the Repubicans hate worse than Bush...

...Do you not understand that Clinton is who they are salivating to run against? She is the only one they have a chance of beating, and not because she is a woman (though that will motivate some) but because she is a Clinton, the most reviled, among the wingers, politician since Lincoln. They hate her more than Carter and Gore put together. She is the one galvanizing pol that will bring out every fucking confederate wannabe from sea to shining sea. Why do you think the right has made her primary win a foregone conclusion? They want Hillary! They think, and it may be true, that they can beat Hillary and if not, they will beat the dems over the head w/ her for her one term in office (and it will be one term because she will not do what is necessary to put the economy back in shape once the 10 trillion dollars in bills come due.)...

Lets see a few hours earlier Digby was suggesting that the Democrats can win while suffering a near catastrophic drop in support among those horribly racist "White Males". Want to make a bet???

Funny thing, all those White Males losing their livelihoods to globalization, "Free Trade" and unsustainable levels of both legal and illegal immigration tend to be in relationships with women who are suffering right along with them. Any pollster worth a shit will tell you that White Males and their wifes/partners always have turnout rates that surpass single females and any other racial minority. So while the Democrats might hope to win votes with excessive pandering to Latinos by promising to back further futile and wildly unpopular attempts at "Comprehensive Immigration Reform", the likely result will be to insure a massive defection of record turnout "White Males" to any candidate that promises to enforce our existing immigration laws that will more than swamp any additional Latino votes... Digby needs to take a time out and read this article by always wise David Sirota on the perils of the netroot's triumphalism and narcissistic self delusions...

Sad to say you can not make this shit up. Courtesy of David Sirota

"Rural Americans for Hillary"

According to ABC News, Hillary Clinton is holding a "Rural Americans for Hillary" lunch and campaign briefing at the Washington, D.C. offices of the lawfirm that represents Monsanto...

Obviously, a lot of people get it.

Even the Editorial page of the New York Pravda gets it, in a bizarre piece that bemoans the ineffectiveness of the Democrats on the FISA legistlation last week, without admitting it's not a done deal yet, and casually mentioning the Dodd hold in passing at the next to the last sentence. Without trying to drum up any support for it.

The disinformation runs deep. The system obviously is being kept from working. Chaos is the inevitable and planned result.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Darth Cheney's DisInformation Factory

Allegations that a Syrian envoy admitted during a United Nations meeting Oct. 17 that an Israeli air strike hit a nuclear facility in September are inaccurate and have raised the ire of some in the US intelligence community, who see the Vice President’s hand as allegedly being behind the disinformation.

A United Nations press release discussing the General Assembly’s Disarmament Committee meeting mistranslated comments ascribed to an unnamed Syrian diplomat as saying that Israel had on various occasions “taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria.”

The UN has since gone through the tape recordings of the meeting and found that there was no mention of the word “nuclear” at all. According to the UN, the error was one of translation, involving several interpreters translating the same meeting.

Recent news articles, however, continue to make allegations and suggest that a nuclear weapons facility was hit -- something that the Syrian government has denied, the Israeli government has not officially confirmed and US intelligence does not show...

Of course, the biggest stumbling block to peace in the Middle East, Darth Cheney, continues to rattle sabers at both Iran and Syria.

He's not alone, he's doing it along with the rest of his PNAC cabal.

Like Nicole Belle says:

...the last time a country started an aggression that was not supported by the vast majority of other countries on the planet, it didn’t end up so well for them. Is this the outcome you’re hoping for, you sorry fascist excuse for a human being?

Well, in a word, yes.

Good Question

Why do people who know about corrupt mercenaries in Iraq keep "committing suicide"?

Lambert gives links to Rich's op-ed in the Pravda today, which is good for background.

Leah doesn't buy the CT aspects of it- although I do, I won't argue with her (again). She does, however, provide a couple of links to Moyers about Blackwater and corporate takeovers that are worth reading.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Either Way, Things are a Lot Worse Than We Thought

Watch this video.

...Former and possibly future presidential candidate, attorney and political activist Ralph Nader quotes Democratic Congressman Olver (Mass.) on why the Democrats are powerless to stop Bush, Cheney and Co.

According to Nader, Olver said that if the Democrats started impeachment proceedings, the Bush administration would immediately bomb Iran. When Iran retaliates at all, Bush will declare a national emergency, declare martial law, and cancel the 2008 elections.

As Nader commented, either Olver, a PhD. MIT scientist who has never been known to be on the fringe of anything, is either terribly wrong or very paranoid. Either way, said Nader "things are a lot worse than we thought."

What, me worry?

Big Surprises


Here for your consideration, Britain:

...Ten years of Labour rule have failed to create a classless society, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today. It shows that Britain remains a nation dominated by class division, with a huge majority certain that their social standing determines the way they are judged.

Of those questioned, 89% said they think people are still judged by their class - with almost half saying that it still counts for "a lot". Only 8% think that class does not matter at all in shaping the way people are seen.

The poorest people in society are most aware of its impact, with 55% of them saying class, not ability, greatly affects the way they are seen.

Gordon Brown claimed at this year's Labour conference that "a class-free society is not a slogan but in Britain can become a reality". But even the supposedly meritocratic Thatcher generation of adults born in the 1980s appear to doubt that: 90% of 18-24 year-olds say people are judged by their class.

The poll also shows that after 10 years of Labour government, social change in Britain is almost static. Despite the collapse of industrial employment, the working class is an unchanging majority. In 1998, when ICM last asked, 55% of people considered themselves working class. Now the figure stands at 53%.

Of people born to working class parents, 77% say they are working class too. Only one fifth say they have become middle class.

Despite huge economic change and the government's efforts to build what it calls an opportunity society, people who think of themselves as middle class are still in a minority. In 1998, 41% of people thought of themselves as middle class, exactly the same proportion as today. The upper class is almost extinct, with only 2% of those who answered claiming to be part of it...


WASHINGTON—House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked a fellow San Francisco Bay-area liberal Friday for what she said were "inappropriate" comments about Iraq during a congressional debate.

During a debate on children's health care Thursday, Rep. Pete Stark accused Republicans of sending troops to Iraq to "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

Condemnations rolled in from Republican politicians, right-leaning bloggers had a field day, and a White House spokesman declined to "dignify those remarks" with a response.

Pelosi issued a statement late Friday rapping Stark, who is in his 18th term representing the liberal East Bay. He's California's longest-serving House member.

"While members of Congress are passionate about their views, what U.S. Rep. Stark said during the debate was inappropriate and distracted from the seriousness of the subject at hand—providing health care for America's children," Pelosi said.

Stark's comment came as the House failed Thursday to override President Bush's veto of legislation to expand the popular State Children's Health Insurance Program.

"You don't have money to fund the war or children," Stark accused Republicans. "But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

After numerous Republicans called on him to apologize, Stark said it was they who should be apologizing, for failing to provide the votes to override Bush's veto...

He's right. And DINOcrats like Pelosi and Reid are right in there with them, for enabling the entire farce.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Dodd is back on the map

...with the net roots even if not the main$tream.

The Senator from MGM Mirage Tries to Hold Dodd's Hold

Just Reid it and get SIC (that's Security Industrial Complex).

Reid is owned by the Vegas casinos, who are owned by organized criminals with a big stake in the Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton monopoly of the Security Industrial Complex.

Lambert gets it right:

...you’re probably too young to remember, but under Nixon, Watergate was all about blackmailing political opponents. And some are speculating that Reid is being blackmailed using information from this program, and that’s why he’s changed from the Reid we know...

...Las Vegas was already totally wired, before Bush wired the country.

The blackmail doesn't need to be about anything exotic with Harry Reid. The casinos and the telcoms have owned that beotch for awhile now. There's nothing quite like a cheap date, is there?

Abu Gonzo v.2: Appearances aren't the Only Deceivers

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 — President Bush’s nominee for attorney general, Michael B. Mukasey, declined Thursday to say if he considered harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to constitute torture or to be illegal if used on terrorism suspects.

...Mr. Mukasey went further than he had the day before in arguing that the White House had constitutional authority to act beyond the limits of laws enacted by Congress...

...He suggested that both the administration’s program of eavesdropping without warrants and its use of “enhanced” interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects, including waterboarding, might be acceptable under the Constitution even if they went beyond what the law technically allowed. Mr. Mukasey said the president’s authority as commander in chief might allow him to supersede laws written by Congress.

The tone of questioning was far more aggressive than on Wednesday, the first day of the hearings, as Mr. Mukasey, a retired federal judge, was challenged by Democrats who pressed him for his views on President Bush’s disputed antiterrorism policies.

In the case of the eavesdropping program, Mr. Mukasey suggested that the president might have acted appropriately under his constitutional powers in ordering the surveillance without court approval even if federal law would appear to require a warrant...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Undoing a done deal

Both Pravdas- in New York and Washington- report that the Senate tows the Bu$hCo-Telcom line in trashing the Consititution and what do you know happens, a fading Presidential candidate shows a little backbone and stops it, hopefully for more than a little while.

And now the Hillary's only real competition, Barak Obama comes out against it.

It's important to stop this law. The telcoms don't have the right to eavesdrop without a warrant. It's not only unconstitutional, they were doing it before 9/11, and making a whole helluva lot of money off of the Rethuglicans for doing it. They don't need retroactive immunity for breaking the law and making millions if not billions doing it.

As of the AM on the 19th, both the official Senate OK and the story of the Dodd hold and the Obama back up on the FISA story are missing in the New York Pravda.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why the TelComs Love to Snoop

Because it pays so well. Justin Rood:

If you cringe when your read your monthly Internet or phone bill, take heart: Uncle Sam probably does too.

I wouldn't count on it, but let's give Justin the benefit and continue:

According to an internal Comcast cable company document, the giant cable-Internet-phone provider charges the government $1,000 nearly every time the FBI or other intelligence or law enforcement agency wants to surveil a person's e-mail or digital phone account...

On top of its "start-up" fee, Comcast charges state and federal authorities $750 a month to maintain electronic surveillance, according to the document, which was obtained by the nonprofit Secrecy News Web site.

The fees are charged for nearly all law enforcement or intelligence surveillance requests. In cases involving child exploitation, Comcast waives the fees, the document states.

In addition to those surveillance services, Comcast can also provide state and federal authorities with customer billing information for a fee, according to the 35-page document, entitled "Law Enforcement Handbook." The company strives to respond "within eight to ten days" to government requests, the handbook states...

With that kind of profit, I should think so.

...In letters to Congress released yesterday, carriers AT&T, Verizon and Qwest declined to discuss the program. Qwest has previously stated it declined to participate in the program, despite overtures from the administration.

There have been no reports that Comcast, which provides digital phone service to 3.5 million people, has been involved in the TSP.

The Comcast handbook, dated September 2007 and stamped "Comcast Confidential," does not say how many requests for surveillance assistance Comcast has received.

With that kind of financial incentive, it's not surprising AT&T and Verizon practically stampeded Dear Leader into becoming Big Brother.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Just in Time for $election 2008

Vigilant Shield, the preemptive war and martial law war game being played right here at home, the Pacific, and the Middle East, too.

US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) has announced the conduct of major war games under Vigilant Shield 2008 (VS-08).

Vigilant Shield 2008 (15 to 20 October, 2007) is designed to deal with a "terrorist" or "natural disaster" scenario in the United States. The operation will be coordinated in a joint endeavor by the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security.

Yet, VS-08, which includes a massive deployment of the US Air Force resembles a war-time air scenario rather than an anti-terrorist drill. The VS-08 war games extend over the entire North American shelf. Canadian territory is also involved through Canada's participation in NORAD. (See Nazemroaya, October 2007)

These war games are being conducted at an important historical crossroads, amidst mounting US pressures and threats to actually declare a "real war" on Iran.

VS-08 is predicated on the doctrine of preemptive warfare, with a vie to protecting the Homeland. The war games are coordinated with anti-terrorist drills directed against presumed Islamic terrorists...

VS-08 is a large scale military exercise to be conducted over North America and the Northern Pacific Ocean, extending westwards towards the Far East borders of Russia and China:

"USNORTHCOM�s primary exercise venues for VS-08 include locations in Oregon, Arizona and a cooperative venue with USPACOM in the Territory of Guam. NORAD�s aerospace detection and defense events will take place across all the exercise venues, to exercise the ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense, aerospace control, maritime warning, and coordination of air operations in a disaster area." (PNC, October 2007)

Both the war games under VS-08 as well as the domestic antiterrorist drills involve the participation of Canada, Britain and Australia:

"VS-08 and National Level Exercise 1-08 will provide local, state, tribal, interagency, Department of Defense, and non-governmental organizations and agencies involved in homeland security and homeland defense the opportunity to participate in a full range of exercise scenarios that will better prepare participants to prevent and respond to national crises. The participating organizations will conduct a multi-layered, civilian-led response to a national crisis."( See NORTHCOM Fact Sheet).

...This year's VS-08 exercise combines the VS-08 hypothetical war scenario over the North American shelf with the conduct of major domestic anti-terrorist drills under TOPOFF 4.

The latter is a large scale anti-terror exercise for "top officials". It includes the participation of senior decision makers from federal, State and municipal governments, law enforcement, nongovernmental bodies as well as representatives from the business community.

According to Denis Shrader, Deputy DHS Administrator in testimony to the US Congress (October 3):

"The exercise will be executed with the participation of all appropriate Cabinet-level secretaries or their deputies, and will include the activation of all necessary operations centers to accurately simulate a truly national response to these major terrorist incidents. This will include the utilization of all five elements of the National Operations Center and the FEMA Region IX and X Regional Response Coordination Centers. In addition, the FEMA Emergency Response Teams and Federal Incident Response Support Teams as well as DHS Situational Awareness Teams will activate in each of the venues and will simulate the establishment of a Joint Field Office in accordance with the latest National Response Framework guidance."

This year's TOPOFF 4 exercises involves setting off fake radiological dispersal devices (RDD) or "dirty bombs" in Oregon, Arizona and the US Pacific island territory of Guam. According to Northern Command:

"The T4 FSE, based on National Planning Scenario � 11 (NPS-11), begins as terrorists, who have been planning attacks in Oregon, Arizona, and the U.S. Territory of Guam successfully bring radioactive material into the United States. The first of three coordinated attacks occurs in Guam, with the simulated detonation of a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD), or �dirty bomb,� causing casualties and widespread contamination in a populous area. Similar attacks occur in the hours that follow in Portland and Phoenix. A RDD is not the same as a nuclear attack. It is a conventional explosive that, upon detonation, releases radioactive material into the surrounding area. Although it does not cause the type of catastrophic damage associated with a nuclear detonation, there are severe rescue, health, and long-term decontamination concerns associated with a RDD."

TOPOFF 4 will involve the participation of some 15,000 federal, state, territorial and local officials in what is described as "a full-scale response to a multi-faceted terrorist threat". Canada, Australia and the UK will participate in TOPOFF. Observers from some 30 countries have also been invited.

...We are not, however, dealing with a classical media disinformation campaign. While the TOPOFF exercise has been casually mentioned in press reports, it is not the object of extensive media coverage. In fact very few people are aware of these exercises.

With regard to TOPOFF, the consensus building process is "internal", it does not pertain to the public at large. The disinformation campaing is intended for key decision-makers within these various governmental and nongovernmental bodies. It includes more than 10,000 participants in important decision-making positions (federal and State officials, law enforcement, fire departments, hospitals, etc), who may be called to act in the case of an emergency situation. These individuals in turn have a mandate to impose the "Global War on Terrorism" consensus within their respective organizations, --i.e. with their co-workers and colleagues, as well as with the people working under their direct supervision.

In other words, this consensus building process reaches out to tens of thousands of people in positions of authority. The antiterrorist agenda and exercises thus become a "talking point" within numerous governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

In turn, the holding of these antiterrorist exercises supports the National Security doctrine of "preemptive war", --i.e. that America has to legitimate right to self defense by intervening in foreign lands including Iran and that America must defend itself against terrorists.

It also sustains the myth of WMD in the hands of terrorists, being used against America, when in fact the US is the largest producer of WMD, with a defense budget of more than 450 billion dollars a year.

The objective is to sustain the war and national security agenda --and of course the possibility of martial law-- within the governmental, nongovernmental and corporate business sectors. Ultimately, the objective is develop across the land, an unequivocal acceptance by key officials (and of their coworkers and subordinates), from the federal to the local level, for an emergency situation, where civil liberties and the rights of citizens would be suspended.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Invited Onwards

Something tells me the Vince Foster story has nothing on this:

..The second-highest ranking member of the US air force's procurement office, who oversaw billions of dollars in priority weapons purchases, has committed suicide, military officials said yesterday.

Charles Riechers, 47, came under scrutiny by the Senate armed services committee earlier this month for taking a lucrative job at a defence contractor while awaiting confirmation in his new job as the principle deputy assistant secretary for acquisition.

The job put Mr Riechers in charge of ordering some of the highest priority weapons programmes of the air force, including a $40bn aerial refuelling tanker and a $15bn combat and rescue helicopter...

Move along, move along nothing to see here, I'm sure...

And oh, by the way, the New York Pravda notes:

... At a hearing by the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, Senator Carl M. Levin of Michigan said far too many weapons acquisitions had been plagued by “cost increases, late deliveries to the war fighters and performance shortfalls.”

Senator Levin added that 25 of the Pentagon’s major defense acquisition programs had overruns of at least 50 percent. And he expressed concern about an “alarming lack of acquisition planning across the department.”

“The root cause of these and other problems in the defense acquisition system is our failure to maintain an acquisition work force with the resources and skills needed to manage the department’s acquisition system,” Mr. Levin said. “The Pentagon and Justice Department are currently conducting criminal investigations into some $6 billion in contracts to supply essential supplies to American troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Survival Frame of Reference

David Podvin:

When Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez commanded the American troops in Iraq he passionately insisted that the United States was winning. Now that Sanchez has retired he describes our nation’s occupation of Iraq as being “a nightmare with no end in sight.” This statement not only reverses Sanchez’ pronouncements made while in uniform, it also contradicts the optimistic congressional testimony of current commander General David Petraeus… who apparently really did betray us. Sanchez says it was his duty to obey orders and not dissent publicly when he was on active duty, but that in retirement he feels obliged to speak the truth. By acknowledging candor is incompatible with military service the former officer has mocked the Senate resolution that condemns questioning the integrity of warriors. According to the prevailing wisdom, Sanchez must be regarded as a traitor.

He is not alone. Everyone who tells the truth about the Iraq War is deemed to be a traitor, just as everyone who lies about the Iraq War is exalted as a patriot. Modern America is reality inverted, a fabulist’s Wonderland that transcends the wildest imagination of Lewis Carroll. Once, the United States destroyed Vietnamese villages in order to save them. Now, we are winning a glorious victory in Iraq by getting our asses kicked. Surrealism is a wonderful artistic device, but it is even more effective as a governing tool. The American people have become so disoriented by ambient fantasy that they are subsidizing the war as they oppose it. Yet when the fairy tales are cast aside, it becomes clear that America is losing in Iraq and will continue to lose in Iraq because there is nothing to win in Iraq.

Except for oil. The price of crude oil reached a new high on Friday, so the estimated Iraqi petroleum reserves are now worth eighteen trillion dollars. It should not be hard to believe that people will lie when so much money is at stake, especially when you consider that most people are willing to lie for free. But when the mammon is vast the lies become correspondingly enormous, with presidents and generals and senators and journalists all brazenly insisting that truth is fiction and vice versa...

When the deceivers are no longer dependent upon corporate largesse they occasionally tell the truth. Like Sanchez, Alan Greenspan is a former government official who since retiring has been possessed by a newfound compulsion to be honest. The ex-Federal Reserve Board Chairman wrote in his book that the Iraq War is “all about oil”. Greenspan has already earned a considerable fortune by lying for Wall Street so he feels free to dabble in forbidden truth, which has led him to state publicly that America’s motivation for invading Iraq was entirely venal.

But of course. What other motive could there have been? Protecting the homeland from non-existent super weapons poised to smite us all? Vanquishing Al Qaeda in Iraq even though Al Qaeda wasn’t in Iraq? Deposing a brutal dictator (in the name of fighting tyranny) after having supported that brutal dictator (also in the name of fighting tyranny)? Promoting the sacred democratic values that we don’t bother practicing in the United States? Selflessly shepherding Iraqi peasants towards modernity so they can afford to join Club Med?

...Rudolph Giuliani says that the United States will be in Iraq “for the long haul”. Hillary Clinton has been quoted as saying that American troops will still be in Iraq after she serves two presidential terms. That is one political promise which definitely will be kept. With so much wealth at stake, American troops will still be in Iraq after Chelsea Clinton serves two presidential terms.

During the 2000 Florida recount, I became acquainted with an advisor to Al Gore’s campaign. I recently asked this guy why the former vice president had decided against running in 2008. He responded that if Gore became president the Iraq War would end and that Gore understands the Iraq War will not be allowed to end, therefore Gore cannot become president. Mr. Gore believes that he could win the presidency again, but as the 2000 election demonstrated winning the presidency and becoming president are two very different things...

Al Gore knows how to end the Endless War.

Al Gore knows how to solve the Palestinian/ Israeli conflict.

Al Gore knows how to halt the climate crisis.

They have the same answer: renewable energy sources developed to run an industrial economy, fixing carbon from the atmosphere with the energy of the sun.

Al Gore is not convinced he will be allowed to survive the presidency especially if he wins it. Again.

What the caption doesn't tell you

Caption in the main$tream:

Blackwater security contractors taking part in a fire fight in Najaf

The American soldiers in the pic are behind a wall acting as a screen barrier to hostile fire.

The Blackwater ops are running away from the wall.

Chances are the soldiers are having to settle a firefight the mercs precipitated.

Which tells you exactly what has gone wrong in Iraq from the beginning.

"The Cities are the Problem"

Didn't the Khmer Rouge say something like that?

Yes, but apparently so does the D.o'D. And the oil companies who would rule them.

Check out Tom Englehardt's post on some of the Future Combat plans for the Endless War on Terra, and Nick Turse's analysis of the Pentagon's plans for a multigenerational war on the part of the world with most of the oil.

The Questions that Could End the Endless War

...if anybody in the main$tream bothered to ask them. Kagro X:

If Qwest's competitors were already abetting this bloodless(?) coup before 9/11, then the "administration's" domestic spying not only has little if anything to do with response to terrorism, but it also objectively failed to prevent 9/11.

This leads to a whole series of other questions, however, concerning everything that's happened since November 2000. The answers to these questions would prove highly embarrassing to virtually every elected official in the United States Government, and would send dozens, possibly hundreds of the wealthiest and most powerful Americans to prison.

This story will go nowhere outside of cyberspace.

On the other hand, notice how the New York Pravda's liberal op-ed by Frank Rich today diffuses the blame... too far:

...We can continue to blame the Bush administration for the horrors of Iraq — and should. Paul Bremer, our post-invasion viceroy and the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his efforts, issued the order that allows contractors to elude Iraqi law, a folly second only to his disbanding of the Iraqi Army. But we must also examine our own responsibility for the hideous acts committed in our name in a war where we have now fought longer than we did in the one that put Verschärfte Vernehmung on the map.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin...

There were millions of people that protested against the war before it began. There have been millions of people protesting it ever since. The main$tream has consistently denigrated our views and tried to hush up all opposition... until it became glaringly obvious how bad for business the endless war really is.

Have you ever examined the blogsphere, Mr. Rich? There are thousands of websites devoted to trying to present the truth the main$tream ignores. Or actively lies about.

Mr. Rich, 70% of America are against the war. It's just we have all noticed the private prisons Mr. Cheney's business partners have built since the war began, and the draconian laws a complicit Congress has enacted to ensure the compliance of the American people.

But we have been asking questions, and continue to ask questions, the main$tream won't.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More 9/10 thinking

Via Lambert, from Wired:

Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9/11
By Ryan Singel

Startling statements from former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio's defense documents alleging the National Security Agency began building a massive call records database seven months before 9/11 aren't the only accusations that the controversial program predated the attacks of 9/11.

According to court documents unveiled this week, former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio clearly wanted to argue in court that the NSA retaliated against his company after he turned down a NSA request on February 27, 2001 that he thought was illegal. Nacchio's attorney issued a carefully worded statement in 2006, saying that Nacchio had turned down the NSA's repeated requests for customer call records. The statement says that Nacchio was asked for the records in the fall of 2001, but doesn't say he was "first asked" then.

And in May 2006, a lawsuit filed against Verizon for allegedly turning over call records to the NSA alleged that AT&T began building a spying facility for the NSA just days after President Bush was inaugurated...

The allegations in that case come from unnamed AT&T insiders, who have never stepped forward or provided any documentation to the courts. But Carl Mayer, one of the attorneys in the case, stands by the allegations in the lawsuit.

"All we can say is, we told you so," Mayer told THREAT LEVEL.

Mayer says the issue of when the call records program started - a program that unlike the admitted warrantless wiretapping, the administration has never confirmed nor denied - should play a role in the upcoming confirmation hearings of Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey...

Read it all, pilgrims, and read the suit here [.pdf].

Will the Democrats bring this up? Or will they continue to bring a fruit platter to a knife fight?

Avocodo dip, anyone?

* * *

And of course, I get questions:

...How is this even possible? And how did it only come to light now?! Did nobody even try to investigate when the program was initiated?

Alas, it's not only possible, it's Classified and verified by another witness:

Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm
Qwest Feared NSA Plan Was Illegal, Filing Says

By Ellen Nakashima and Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, October 13, 2007; Page A01

A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.

Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week...

Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

The allegations could affect the debate on Capitol Hill over whether telecoms sued for disclosing customers' phone records and other data to the government after the Sept. 11 attacks should be given legal immunity, even if they did not have court authorization to do so.

Spokesmen for the Justice Department, the NSA, the White House and the director of national intelligence declined to comment, citing the ongoing legal case against Nacchio and the classified nature of the NSA's activities. Federal filings in the appeal have not yet been disclosed.

In May 2006, USA Today reported that the NSA had been secretly collecting the phone-call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by major telecom firms. Qwest, it reported, declined to participate because of fears that the program lacked legal standing.

In a statement released after the story was published, Nacchio attorney Herbert Stern said that in fall 2001, Qwest was approached to give the government access to the private phone records of Qwest customers. At the time, Nacchio was chairman of the president's National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee...

The newly released court documents say that, on Feb. 27, 2001, Nacchio and James Payne, then Qwest's senior vice president of government systems, met with NSA officials at Fort Meade, expecting to discuss "Groundbreaker," a project to outsource the NSA's non-mission-critical systems...

Mike German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the documents show "that there is more to this story about the government's relationship with the telecoms than what the administration has admitted to."

Kurt Opsahl, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said: "It's inappropriate for the government to be awarding a contract conditioned upon an agreement to an illegal program. That truly is what's going on here."

The foundation has sued AT&T, charging that it violated privacy laws by cooperating with the government's warrantless surveillance program.

As to how it happened, and why it came to light now, the prospect of jail time does make birds sing. And as to why it was never investigated, exactly who would do the investigating? The D.o'J. under John Ashcroft or Alberto Gonzales?

That's like asking Dick Nixon to investigate his own plumbers. Or the Company to oversee the operations of big campaign donors whose actions enable its hegemony. Not gonna happen.

But try the avocado dip, it's just the thing for the knife fight.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Will The Real Israelites Please Stand Up?

Liberals generally don't like the far Right that runs Israel now, but most have nothing against the existence of Israel. They just think it's been taken over by the kind of extremists that have taken over the United States and have always run Saudi Arabia. You know, religious fundamentalists.

Although the TheoCons of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have their differences, they basically all want the same kind of society. You know, a theocratic feudalism where the Big Daddy makes the rules and you obey. Or else.

Now, the underlying tension in any world spanning hegemony run by the Big Three is deciding who's Daddy is the Biggest.

And you can count on an idiot like Ann Coulter to want the bragging rights.

...“We just want Jews to be perfected,” Ms. Coulter said, explaining why she thinks a Christian America would be ideal...

After Mr. Deutsch asked her what the country would look like if her “dreams, which are genuine, came true” on the show on Tuesday, Ms. Coulter initially responded, “It would look like New York City during the Republican National Convention” in 2004.

Pressed to elaborate, she said, “People were happy. They’re Christian. They’re tolerant. They defend America.”

Then Mr. Deutsch cut her off, asking if she thinks “we should all be Christian, to which she replied, “yes.”

... Mr. Deutsch: Really?

Ms. Coulter: Well, it’s a lot easier. It’s kind of a fast track.

Mr. Deutsch: Really?

Ms. Coulter: Yeah. You have to obey.

Mr. Deutsch: You can’t possibly believe that.

Ms. Coulter: Yes.

Coulter states what should have been obvious all along. The Dominionist Christian Zionists won't be happy until everyone is a Dominionist Christian Zionist or at least all the survivors of the World War they want to precipitate with Israel as ground zero.

The biggest danger to Israel is not from the Palestinians.

It's from the people who call themselves Americans but have not the slightest regard for the values that made America the land of the brave and the home of the free or your rights as a free people either.

It doesn't matter that Leo Strauss was a Jew. It doesn't matter that Milton Friedman or Alan Greenspan was either. The entire Chicago School that's been the philosophical basis for a whole political movement in America- and Israel- has been assimilated. The Chicago School's ascendence to power in the markets of the world is based solely on its utility to those who would rule. It's been used as a tool for the Dominion, and at the heart of it are people who care nothing for your identity or anyone else's.

Their one and only priority is power, and they will use you and discard you when you are no longer useful.

Can we shut down these assholes now?

Oct. 15, 2007 issue - The colonel was furious. "Can you believe it? They actually drew their weapons on U.S. soldiers." He was describing a 2006 car accident, in which an SUV full of Blackwater operatives had crashed into a U.S. Army Humvee on a street in Baghdad's Green Zone. The colonel, who was involved in a follow-up investigation and spoke on the condition he not be named, said the Blackwater guards disarmed the U.S. Army soldiers and made them lie on the ground at gunpoint until they could disentangle the SUV. His account was confirmed by the head of another private security company...

The Company prefers them to actual Marines, because Marines are bound by a code of honor.

The Bu$h Zone

Via Avedon via the Daily Scribble:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Git out o' jail free

Lambert and digby grok the nature of our new corporate overlords.


...Suppose you were dealing with an eight-year-old kid, maybe your kid.

The kid comes to you, and says “I did something, uh, really bad. And if you promise not to punish me for it, I’ll tell you what it was...”

But the best reason not to make the deal, not to give the kid a get out of jail free card, is because if you do, the kid will just keep doing it. Again and again, and again.

Just like every other corporation will, about anything, after the Democrats gut the rule of law “just this one time.”

Anyhow, who needs the deal? Why not just subpoena the telcos?

Umm... because the telcos own the Congress?


...It's pretty clear why McConnell is so hellbent on immunity for telcoms isn't it? This man is one of the architects of a new shadowy, privatized defense industry that's sprung up over the past few years, an industry that's paid for by you and me, but over which we don't have any say, either as individuals or through our representatives in congress. It makes Ike's military industrial complex look positively benign by comparison.

His insistence on this telcom liability and, considering his job, rather bizarre willingness to engage in demagogic public relations makes you wonder: Who is Michael McConnell working for?

I think that's pretty clear. But that's a rhetorical question, no?

Fear is the Mind Killer


... In the original “sense of Senate on Iran” document, sponsored by Joe Lieberman and the Republican Jon Kyl last month, there was a paragraph that supported “the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence and military instruments, in support of the policy with respect to” Iran. That original draft, called “tantamount to a declaration of war” and “Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” by Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, was softened.

Even so, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd voted no, and Barack Obama would have voted no if he had voted.

If you know the dingbat vice president is agitating for a conflict with Iran, if you know that Condi is chasing after Cheney with a butterfly net on Iran and Syria, if you know you can’t believe anything this administration says, why vote to give them more backing on their dysfunctional Middle East policy?

The schism in the administration is deepening in a way that should alarm Hillary. Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper report in today’s Times that Cheney and his hawks are arguing that the Israeli intelligence about Syria’s nascent nuclear capabilities that led to last month’s Israeli strike on Syria was credible and should dictate a harsher policy toward Syria and North Korea, while Condi, Bob Gates and calmer heads “did not believe the intelligence presented so far merits any change in the American diplomatic approach.”

Hillary’s hawkish Iran vote was an ill-advised move, especially given her private view that Cheney is untrustworthy and given Sy Hersh’s New Yorker report claiming that Cheney had pushed to devise a plan to attack the Revolutionary Guard facilities in Iran.

She made a course correction on Oct. 1, co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Mr. Webb to prohibit the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization.

Her opponents have sounded the fool-me-once-shame-on-you, fool-me-twice-shame-on-me drumbeat. Obama chided Hillary for her willingness “to once again extend to the president the benefit of the doubt.” John Edwards wondered if in “six months from now he goes to war in Iran, are we going to hear her once again say if only I had known then what I know now?”

When Hillary voted to let W. use force in Iraq, she didn’t even read the intelligence estimate. She wasn’t trying to do the right thing. She was trying to do the opportunistic thing. She felt she could not run for president, as a woman, if she played the peacenik.

By throwing in with Joe Lieberman and the conservative hawks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard issue, she once more overcompensated in a cynical way. She’d like to paint Obama as the weak reed who wants to cozy up to dictators, while she’s the one who will play tough. It was odd, given her success in the debates conveying the sense that she is the manliest candidate among the Democrats, that she felt the need to man-up on Iran.

But maybe she knows that Rudy will hurl thunderbolts at her, as he did in the debate yesterday, suggesting that she doesn’t have the guts to use a military option to stop Iran from going nuclear.

Voters seem more concerned with Hillary’s political expediency — which the vote underscored — than with her ability to be manly.

Her camp seems to think her vote was a safe one because W. and Cheney do not have the time or support to bomb Iran, and that Bob Gates can stop it. But she may be underestimating W. and Cheney. She should be at least as paranoid about that pair as she was about an Iowa Democrat.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nothing to see here

Move along, move along.

These aren't the 'droids you're looking for.

Now where have I seen a result like this before?

With 97 percent of precincts reporting Monday, 51.5 percent of Costa Ricans voted in favor of the trade deal, which is known as CAFTA.

The True Faith

With Mammon as the Elder God:

Jonathan Chait in The New York Pravda on their competitors in the Cheneyburton wing of the Company:

REMEMBER the Republican presidential debate a few months ago, when three candidates raised their hands to indicate they didn’t believe in evolution? Something just as laughable is likely to happen today, at the first Republican debate on the economy. Every candidate will probably embrace the myth that cutting taxes increases government revenues. At the very least, no one will denounce it as a falsehood.

It’s been said for years that the Republican nominating process is controlled by social conservatives, and that any aspiring nominee must kowtow to their demands. But this year’s Republican primary is making it increasingly clear that a different tiny minority — the economic far right — truly calls the shots.

Last year, Senator John McCain earned widespread ridicule for publicly embracing Jerry Falwell, whom he had once described as “evil.” But an equally breathtaking turnabout occurred earlier in the year, when Mr. McCain embraced the Bush tax cuts he had once denounced as an unaffordable giveaway to the rich. In an interview with National Review, Mr. McCain justified his reversal by saying, “Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues.” It was the political equivalent of Galileo conceding that the Sun does indeed revolve around the Earth.

Mr. McCain is not alone. Every major Republican contender — Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney — has said that the Bush tax cuts have caused government revenues to rise. No prominent Republican office-seeker dare challenge this dogma for fear of offending the economic far right.

Yet there is no more debate about this question among economists than there is debate about the existence of evolution among biologists...

Even very conservative economists who have worked for the Bush administration — including Greg Mankiw, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bush who is now an adviser to Mr. Romney — have publicly stated that today’s tax revenues would be even higher were it not for the Bush tax cuts.

No Republican candidate can risk committing heresy by acknowledging this bipartisan consensus among economists. On social issues, however, Republicans actually tolerate diversity of thought. For example, Mr. McCain, Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Thompson all oppose, on federalist grounds, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage...

The most recent Pew survey of the electorate, which came out two years ago, revealed that Republicans find common ground on social issues like discouraging homosexuality and teaching creationism alongside evolution in the public schools. They disagree on economic policy. In the survey, most members of the Republican coalition preferred deficit reduction to tax cuts.

Ardent anti-tax conservatives represent a clear minority among Republican voters. And yet the most extreme and counterfactual subgroup among them — supply-siders — remain firmly in control of the party.

The party’s economic priorities are reinforced at Grover Norquist’s weekly “Wednesday Group” meetings, where conservative activists, politicians, business lobbyists and pundits meet to hash out a common agenda. Mr. Norquist is known to cut off any mention of issues like abortion or homosexuality with a curt “No sex talk, please.”

A handful of fanatical ideologues, along with a somewhat larger number of money men who stand to gain a fortune from supply-side policies, relentlessly enforce the faith. They do so with far more success than the religious right, and they receive far less mockery for their efforts.

Just last month President Bush insisted, yet again, that “supply-side economics yields additional tax revenues.” Hardly an eyebrow was raised.

In the Rethuglican partei, heretics get burned at their stakes.

Monday, October 08, 2007


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The heat on U.S. mortgage lenders and servicers was turned up a few degrees this week when the country's chief bank regulator publicly proposed that they permanently freeze interest rates on subprime adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) for many homeowners...

ARMs often have a low introductory interest rate for two or three years and then reset to much higher levels.

Roughly 1.3 million subprime ARMs are due for a rate reset between now and the end of 2008, according to data from First American Loan Performance.

Bair proposed that servicers convert only those ARMs that haven't reset yet and only for borrowers who are current in their payments and occupy their homes. Loans taken out by speculators who don't live in the homes they bought would not qualify for the automatic conversion.

Consumer advocates have also been calling on lenders and servicers to modify subprime mortgages to make the payments affordable for homeowners who would struggle to keep the house once their rates reset. But rate reductions, while they do happen in some cases, are far from widespread, they say.

"We can't just sit here doing this kind of case-by-case, laborious restructuring process with all these millions of subprime hybrid ARMs," Bair said, citing a recent Moody's survey, which found that less than 1 percent of problem subprime ARMs were being restructured.

"[Bair's recommendation] is exactly what's needed," said Michael Shea, executive director of ACORN Housing, which has offices around the country where counselors have been working with troubled homeowners to renegotiate their subprime mortgages with servicers...

Like that's gonna happen in this bubble of the multiverse.

There's a greater chance John Titor will pull up in his hotrod space-time twister than banks will spontaneously regulate their predatory interest rates in order to keep from foreclosing themselves out of business. After all, it's only a wafer-thin mint, isn't it Mr. Creosote?

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Creeping Normalcy

..., landscape amnesia and the cicadas sing in Michigan on October 7, with two days in a row at 90 degrees F.

Previously, the latest I'd heard them here was September 16th. Last year.

Of course, this has nothing to do with it.

The Energizer Bunnypants for the Apocalypse

EAST OF BAQUBA, Iraq (Reuters) - The U.S. military commander in Iraq stepped up accusations over the weekend that Iran was inciting violence there and said Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad was a member of the Revolutionary Guards Qods force...

Hell, yes. It's obvious the entire U.S. backed government are agents of the Iranians. And those 170,000 American troops that aren't private contractors? There's 70% that must be spies for the Qods, since like most the American public, 70% of the American military think the Iraq war is a totally bogus waste of manpower to protect the oil for Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton!

When we drop the Big One on Tehran, God's Will is that we drop one on the Green Zone and the city of New York, too, since they obviously support the Qod and refuse to pray for President Bu$h!

General Betrayus, holding True to the One True Faith of the Homeland, his Faith in Dear Leader and his Divine guidance.

Statute of Limitations


...Yesterday on Countdown, Keith Olbermann interviewed former CIA Case Officer Robert Baer about this New York Times article on secret “interrogation” methods. I can’t figure out how to link to the MSNBC video directly, but you can find it on the Countdown page; click on “Bush’s Torture Woes.” Here’s a transcript I made from the video:

BAER: Keith, I’ve spent 21 years in the Middle East working for the CIA, I’ve seen the results of torture, in countries from Egypt to Syria to Saudi Arabia, and the intelligence is dribble. It leads to false leads. People will say anything if the pain is bad enough. It is useless, and I reiterate it is useless. I’ve spent three years now visiting Israeli jails talking to Hamas prisoners, talking to Shin Bet, their intelligence service, and they agree it’s useless. They use traditional police techniques, interrogations, legal interrogations, and they get more out of an investigation than torture.

OLBERMANN: As a professional and an experienced researcher now, I imagine something in the Times story yesterday might have been the most disturbing thing here, just on a professional, what in the world are they doing level, to you, the case of Mohammed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was severely interrogated over a period of about two weeks, but the problem was as the Times put it, the initial interrogators were not experts on Mr. Mohammed’s background or al Qaeda. Instead of beating him up, does it shock you that the agency could have been much more easily served by having some guy who knew what the hell he was talking about and ask him questions? Because, obviously, a lot of these statements proved to be wildly false, and as you said produced extraordinarily misleading lines of inquiry and perhaps, who knows what else, besides inquiry.

BAER: We know that he lied about his participation in the murder of Danny Pearl, the Wall Street Journal journalist who was killed in Pakistan, his head cut off. He just made that up, that he wielded the knife. He did that under torture. The problem I have is that if he’s our main source of information on what happened on 9/11, and it was extracted by torture, which everyone will tell you is unreliable, I’m not quite sure what happened on 9/11. We’re just adding conspiracy theories when we get information like this, and that’s not to mention that we’re trying to win the hearts and minds of people in the Middle East, but that’s a moral question that someone should answer.

Once the Bushies are pried out of the White House it may take us years to unravel what’s real and what isn’t...

But isn't that the idea?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Subcontracting the Company

The New York Pravda:

WHILE most Americans are aware of the controversy over the role of the private security company Blackwater in Iraq, probably few understand that armed contractors in Iraq are just the tip of an iceberg. Across the globe, in everything from diplomacy to development to intelligence, contractors are a major American presence, and only a small fraction of them carry weapons. American foreign policy, to a great extent, has been privatized...

...Some are tempted to turn back the clock and reassert traditional government authority, denouncing private-sector greed and the “coalition of the billing.” But that would be a terrible mistake, for outsourcing is in part a rational response to the new possibilities of the information age...

...and with that statement, The New York Pravda satisfies its Carlyle Group Board members.

Some, indeed. Count me in on that.

If America was intended to be the Corporate States of America, one thinks it would have been mentioned in the Constitution somewhere.

One more thing in the text:

...It has become conventional wisdom to blame the Bush administration for the “hollowing out” of government, but this misses the mark. While contract spending has more than doubled since 2001, serious federal efforts to outsource began under President Bill Clinton...

Which is why the main$tream follows every tic of the Clinton campaign, while pretty much ignoring everyone else. Okay, the marketeers say Obama also sells to a segment of the population, so give him a token spot. And know you know why ex-Clinton Commerce Secretary and Carlyle Group Board member William Kennard's New York Pravda makes such breathtakingly wrong Corporatist statements about how to run things.


Just watch it.

"This technological terror is as nothing compared to the Power of the Force.."

But it's pretty damned heavy duty regardless.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Suppose they hold a war and nobody comes?

It's not Israel pulling Washington's strings, kids, it's the other way around.

And just when Bu$hCo-Cheneyburton is all set to expand WWIII with the aid of its pawns in the Israeli government, Syria won't play.

It's enough to make a NeoCon cry.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Is the Department of Homeland Security using Chinese surveillance companies to spy on American citizens? Just askin', 'cause:

SHENZHEN, China, Sept. 7 — Li Runsen, the powerful technology director of China’s ministry of public security, is best known for leading Project Golden Shield, China’s intensive effort to strengthen police control over the Internet.

But last month Mr. Li took an additional title: director for China Security and Surveillance Technology, a fast-growing company that installs and sometimes operates surveillance systems for Chinese police agencies, jails and banks, among other customers. The company has just been approved for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company’s listing and Mr. Li’s membership on its board are just the latest signs of ever-closer ties among Wall Street, surveillance companies and the Chinese government’s security apparatus.

Wall Street analysts now follow the growth of companies that install surveillance systems providing Chinese police stations with 24-hour video feeds from nearby Internet cafes. Hedge fund money from the United States has paid for the development of not just better video cameras, but face-recognition software and even newer behavior-recognition software designed to spot the beginnings of a street protest and notify police.

Now, the ties between China’s surveillance sector and American capital markets are starting to draw Washington’s attention.

Rep. Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was disturbed by a recent report in The New York Times about the development of surveillance systems in China by another company, China Public Security Technology, which, like China Security and Surveillance, incorporated itself in the United States to make it easier to sell shares to Western investors.

Mr. Lantos called American involvement in the Chinese surveillance industry “an absolutely incredible phenomenon of extreme corporate irresponsibility.”

He said he planned to broaden an existing investigation into “the cooperation of American companies in the Chinese police state.”

Executives of Chinese surveillance companies say they are helping their government reduce street crime, preserve social stability and prevent terrorism. They note that London has a more sophisticated surveillance system, although the Chinese system will soon be far more extensive...

The New York Stock Exchange said that it had no comment except to confirm that China Security and Surveillance was expected to list on the exchange “later this year, subject to the usual conditions, including approval by the S.E.C.”

Because the company already has shares traded in the United States and is not selling any additional shares, Securities and Exchange Commission regulations say approval is automatic once the company fills out a notification form and the New York Stock Exchange confirms it has approved the listing.

Over the last year, American hedge funds have put more than $150 million into Chinese surveillance companies.

The Chinese government trade association for surveillance companies, which also regulates the industry, predicts that the surveillance market here will expand to more than $43.1 billion by 2010, compared with less than $500 million in 2003. Under the Safe Cities program adopted by the government last winter, 660 cities are starting work on high-tech surveillance systems...

China Security and Surveillance has been aggressively raising money in the United States, including $110 million in convertible loans so far this year from the Citadel Group, a big hedge fund in Chicago. In the last 18 months, the company has used the money to acquire or make a deal to buy 10 of the 50 largest surveillance companies in China.

James Mulvenon, the director of the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, which does classified analyses of foreign military and intelligence programs for the Pentagon and other government agencies, said that Beijing clearly wanted the company to consolidate the industry.

“They’re really sort of the Ministry of Public Security’s national champion,” Mr. Mulvenon said of China Security and Surveillance. “In terms of the gear and building the surveillance society, they are the ones.”

After the company announced sharply higher sales and profit on Aug. 13, a succession of American hedge fund managers and investment bank analysts took turns on a conference call questioning and congratulating Mr. Yap.

Traded on the over-the-counter bulletin board market while waiting for the beginning of trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the company has raised almost all of its money through the Citadel loans and private placements of stock with 17 institutional investors in the United States, including the Pinnacle Fund and Pinnacle China Fund in Plano, Tex., and JLF, a hedge fund based in Del Mar, Calif.

The Pinnacle funds’ investments have risen six-fold in 17 months. The funds, which raise all their money in the United States, are also the main investors in China Public Security Technology, with a stake that has nearly tripled in value since February...

So they use our private security companies and funds. One wonders if "we" use theirs for things we don't want to talk about in polite company too...

[with a tip of the tinfoil to TomDispatch]