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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seven Sisters, Mercury, and a New Moon

Last Sunday, NASA.

You're Either With Us or Against Us

The D.o'D.'s information warfighters have some interesting things to say- via the BBC, of course:

A US Air Force officer has told the BBC that his country should create an offensive botnet to target any forces that launch a cyber-attack against it.

Speaking on Radio 4's The Report, Col Charlie Williamson said the US was currently in "defensive mode" on cyber-warfare and that needed to change.

"[Armies] have always had some form of offensive capability. And that's really all I'm calling for," he said

Col Williamson stressed he was speaking in a personal capacity.

Botnets are networks of computers which have been subverted by malicious code so they fall under someone else's control, usually that of a cyber-criminal. However, there have been reports of politically motivated botnet attacks on Georgian computers during the South Ossetia conflict and on the Dalai Lama's network.

Typically owners of machines forming a botnet do not know their computer has been hijacked. Home users account for 95% of all attacks mounted by botnet, according to figures from security firm Symantec...

"I recommend that we make our botnet - the botnet I propose - public. The whole world knows about it. That we exercise it on ranges that other countries can see electronically, that they know what we're doing and then they are going to be more likely to back off before doing an attack because they have to take this into account," he said

He believes that the botnet would be legal under international law, whether it is used against an enemy country or a terrorist group. Botnet controllers would need a "no-strike list" of protected computers, such as those used in hospitals.

And he argues that if a computer owner has failed to use anti-virus software and install the latest security patches, that machine may be a legitimate military target...

Now that's an interesting concept. Any computer without the D.o'D.'s backdoor Company approval code is therefore an enemy. Because the bad guys always wear black hats and never wear flag lapel pins.

It says so, right there on their label.

A single bullet ricochet

Chris Floyd speaks volumes about Arlen Specter:

So the Democrats have yet another supporter of aggressive war, oligarchy, authoritarianism and torture in their Senate ranks. Wow, that will certainly shake up the political landscape in Washington! It looks like the promised New Jerusalem of hope and change has well and truly arrived at last.

The chattering classes are all, well, a-chatter with the cosmic significance of the switcheroo by the aptly named Arlen Specter from the Republican faction of the imperial court to the Democratic faction. The late-life conversion of this greasy, cadaverous bagman apparently heralds not only a filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats (once they are joined by that guy who used to be on Saturday Night Live), but also the potential death of the entire Republican Party! Who knew that little old Arlen -- who has been obediently toting Establishment water since he devised the "single bullet theory" for the Warren Commission (one of the first great instances of "magical realism" in modern fiction) -- was such a linchpin of the American political system?

[via BAGnewsNotes]

A DINOcrat by any other name is just as Reptilican as the Rethuglicans.

Thuja plicata

There is that which grows and is green even in the shadow, that builds on the passing of time, and finds the light above the darkness of others.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

White Man's Burden

The New American Century Has Not Been Cancelled

I can't imagine why the locals aren't thrilled.

Lots of people aren't buying into the cover story, either.

Wait a minute, let's get this straight: Neither Mayor Bloomberg nor President Obama KNEW that USAF fighter jets would be pursuing a mock-up of Air Force One over the Statue of Liberty???

Bloomberg and Obama are starting to look like proles and drones themselves.

What the hell is going on there? Who runs your country, and its biggest city? The fucking generals? Or King Dick Cheney?

Not proles and drones. Figureheads and puppets.

Monday, April 27, 2009

"Sheer Coincidence"

Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain.

The Return of the Liberated Market

Paul Krugman notes that they're back at their essential social function of liberating you from your money, of course. But at least that's not socialism, is it?

Money for Nothing

On July 15, 2007, The New York Times published an article with the headline “The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Age.” The most prominently featured of the “new titans” was Sanford Weill, the former chairman of Citigroup, who insisted that he and his peers in the financial sector had earned their immense wealth through their contributions to society.

Soon after that article was printed, the financial edifice Mr. Weill took credit for helping to build collapsed, inflicting immense collateral damage in the process. Even if we manage to avoid a repeat of the Great Depression, the world economy will take years to recover from this crisis.

All of which explains why we should be disturbed by an article in Sunday’s Times reporting that pay at investment banks, after dipping last year, is soaring again — right back up to 2007 levels.

Why is this disturbing? Let me count the ways.

First, there’s no longer any reason to believe that the wizards of Wall Street actually contribute anything positive to society, let alone enough to justify those humongous paychecks.

Remember that the gilded Wall Street of 2007 was a fairly new phenomenon. From the 1930s until around 1980 banking was a staid, rather boring business that paid no better, on average, than other industries, yet kept the economy’s wheels turning.

So why did some bankers suddenly begin making vast fortunes? It was, we were told, a reward for their creativity — for financial innovation. At this point, however, it’s hard to think of any major recent financial innovations that actually aided society, as opposed to being new, improved ways to blow bubbles, evade regulations and implement de facto Ponzi schemes.

Consider a recent speech by Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, in which he tried to defend financial innovation. His examples of “good” financial innovations were (1) credit cards — not exactly a new idea; (2) overdraft protection; and (3) subprime mortgages. (I am not making this up.) These were the things for which bankers got paid the big bucks?

Still, you might argue that we have a free-market economy, and it’s up to the private sector to decide how much its employees are worth. But this brings me to my second point: Wall Street is no longer, in any real sense, part of the private sector. It’s a ward of the state, every bit as dependent on government aid as recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a k a “welfare.”

I’m not just talking about the $600 billion or so already committed under the TARP. There are also the huge credit lines extended by the Federal Reserve; large-scale lending by Federal Home Loan Banks; the taxpayer-financed payoffs of A.I.G. contracts; the vast expansion of F.D.I.C. guarantees; and, more broadly, the implicit backing provided to every financial firm considered too big, or too strategic, to fail.

One can argue that it’s necessary to rescue Wall Street to protect the economy as a whole — and in fact I agree. But given all that taxpayer money on the line, financial firms should be acting like public utilities, not returning to the practices and paychecks of 2007.

Furthermore, paying vast sums to wheeler-dealers isn’t just outrageous; it’s dangerous. Why, after all, did bankers take such huge risks? Because success — or even the temporary appearance of success — offered such gigantic rewards: even executives who blew up their companies could and did walk away with hundreds of millions. Now we’re seeing similar rewards offered to people who can play their risky games with federal backing.

So what’s going on here? Why are paychecks heading for the stratosphere again? Claims that firms have to pay these salaries to retain their best people aren’t plausible: with employment in the financial sector plunging, where are those people going to go?

No, the real reason financial firms are paying big again is simply because they can. They’re making money again (although not as much as they claim), and why not? After all, they can borrow cheaply, thanks to all those federal guarantees, and lend at much higher rates. So it’s eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may be regulated.

Or maybe not. There’s a palpable sense in the financial press that the storm has passed: stocks are up, the economy’s nose-dive may be leveling off, and the Obama administration will probably let the bankers off with nothing more than a few stern speeches. Rightly or wrongly, the bankers seem to believe that a return to business as usual is just around the corner.

We can only hope that our leaders prove them wrong, and carry through with real reform. In 2008, overpaid bankers taking big risks with other people’s money brought the world economy to its knees. The last thing we need is to give them a chance to do it all over again.

It should come as no surprise that a full professor of the University of Chicago seeks more than anything else to preserve the consensual reality of Chicago School economics.

In fact, that's what he was $elected for. Oh, I remember all that chatter about Hope and Change, but that was simply the sales pitch to get his foot in the door of the DINOcratic party. Larry Summers and the people that backed him frankly don't care whose name is on the desk of the Oval Office as long as they follow orders. The policy is a foregone conclusion.

All the rest is tediuous chatter.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sacrifices for the Jaguar God

Joe Bagent speaks to a psychology class and suggests the blood and fresh still beating hearts aren't needed:

...here I am with you good people asking myself the first logical question: What the hell is a redneck writer supposed to say to a prestigious school of psychology? Why of all places am I here? It is intimidating as hell. But as Janna Henning and Sharrod Taylor here have reassured me that all I need to do is talk about is what I write about. And what I write about is Americans, and why we think and behave the way we so. To do that here today I am forced to talk about three things -- corporations, television and human spirituality.
No matter how smart we may think we are, the larger world cannot and does not exist for most of us in this room, except through media and maybe through the shallow experience of tourism, or in the minority instance, we may know of it through higher education.

...As psych students, most of you understand that there is no way you can escape being conditioned by your society, one way or another. You are as conditioned as any trained chicken in a carnival. So am I. When we go to the ATM machine and punch the buttons to make cash fall out, we are doing the same thing as the chickens that peck the colored buttons make corn drop from the feeder. You will not do a single thing today, tomorrow or the next day that you have not been generally indoctrinated and deeply conditioned to do -- mostly along class lines.

For instance, as university students, you are among the 20% or so of Americans indoctrinated and conditioned to be the administrating and operating class of the American Empire in some form or another. In the business of managing the other 75% in innumerable ways. Psychologists, teachers, lawyers, social workers, doctors, accountants, sociologists, mental health workers, clergy -- all are in the business of coordinating and managing the greater mass of working class citizenry by the Empire's approved methods, and toward the same end: Maximum profitability for a corporate based state.

Yet it all seems so normal. Certainly the psychologists who have prescribed so much Prozac that it now shows up in the piss of penguins, saw what they did as necessary...

Given the financialization of all aspects of our culture and lives, even our so-called leisure time, it is not an exaggeration to say that true democracy is dead and a corporate financial state has now arrived. If you can get your head around that, it's not hard to see an ever merging global corporate system masquerading electronically and digitally as a nation called the United States. Or Japan for that matter. The corporation now animates us from within our very selves through management of the need hierarchy in goods and information.

As students, even in such an enlightened institution as this one, you are being subjected to the at least some of pedagogy of the corporate management of society for maximum profit. Unarguably your training will help many fellow human beings. But in the larger scheme of things, you are part of an institution, the American Psycho-socio-medical complex, and thus authorized to manage public consciousness, one person at a time...

This financialization of our consciousness under American style capitalism has become all we know. That's why we fear its loss. Hence the bailouts of the thousands of "zombie banks," dead but still walking, thanks to the people's taxpayer offerings to the money god so that banks will not die... Corporations are, of course, deathless and faceless machines, and have no soul or human emotions. That we look to them for so much makes us a corporate cult, and makes corporations a fetish of our culture. Yet to us, they are like the weather just there.

All of us live together in this corporate fetish cult. We agree upon and consent to its reality, just as the Aztecs agreed upon Quetzalcoatl and the lost people of Easter Island agreed that the great stone effigies of their remote island had significance.

... If we exercise enough personal courage, we can possess the freedom to discover real meaning and value in our all-too-brief lives. We either wake up to life, or we do not. We are either in charge of our own awareness or we let someone else manage it by default. That we have a choice is damned good news.

The bad news is that we nevertheless remain one of the most controlled peoples on the planet, especially regarding control of our consciousness, public and private. And the control is tightening. I know it doesn't feel like that to most Americans. But therein rests the proof. Everything feels normal; everybody else around us is doing the same things, so it must be OK. This is a sort of Stockholm Syndrome of the soul, in which the prisoner identifies with the values of his or her captors, which in our case is of course, the American corporate state and its manufactured popular culture.

...North Americans live in a parallel universe in which they are conditioned to see everything in terms of consumer goods and "safety," as defined by police control. Conditioned to believe they have the best lives on the planet by every measure. So when they see our village and its veneer of "tropical grunge," they experience fear. Anything outside of the parameters of the cultural hallucination they call "the first world" represents fear and psychological free fall.

Yet, even if we think in that sort of outdated terminology, first, second and Third World, and most Americans do, then America is a second world nation. We have no universal free health care (don't kid yourself about the plan underway), no guarantee of anything really, except competitive struggle with one another for work and money and career status, if you are one of those conditioned to think of your job and feudal debt enslavement as a "career." High infant mortality rates, abysmal educational scores, poor diet, no national public transportation system, crumbling infrastructure, a collapsed economy, even by our own definition we are a second world nation.

So how is it that we Americans came to live in such a parallel universe? How is it that we prefer such things as Facebook (don't get me wrong, I'm on Facebook too), and riding around the suburbs with an iPod plugged into our brain looking for fried chicken in a Styrofoam box? Why prefer these expensive earth destroying things over love and laughter with real people, and making real human music together with other human beings -- lifting our voices together, dancing and enjoying the world that was given to us? Absolutely for free.

And the answer is this: We suffer under a mass national hallucination. Americans, regardless of income or social position, now live in a culture entirely perceived inside a self-referential media hologram of a nation and world that does not exist. Our national reality is staged and held together by media, chiefly movie and television images. We live in a "theater state."

In our theater state, we know the world through media productions which are edited and shaped to instruct us on how to look and behave and view the outside world. As in all staged productions and illusions, everyone we see is an actor. There are the television actors portraying what supposedly represents reality. Non-actors in Congress perform in front of the cameras, as the American empire's cultural machinery weaves and spins out our cultural mythology.

...You may or may not watch much television, but the average American spends almost one-third of his or her waking life doing so. The neurological implications of this are so profound that they cannot even be comprehended in words, much less described by them. Television constitutes our reality in the same fashion that water constitutes the environment in a goldfish bowl. It's everywhere and affects everything, even when we are not watching it. Television regulates our national perceptions and our interior ideations of who we Americans are. It schedules our cultural illusions of choice. It pre-selects candidates in our elections. By the way, as much as I like Obama, I fully understand he is there because he was selected by the illusion producing machinery of television, and citizens under its influence. It is hard to underestimate the strength of these illusions.

...The media have colonized our inner lives like a virus. The virus is not going away. This commoditization of our human consciousness is probably the most astounding, most chilling accomplishment of American capitalist culture.

Capitalist society however, can only survive by defying the laws of thermodynamics, through endlessly expanding growth, buying and using more of everything, every year and forever. Thus the cult of radical consumerism. It has been the deadliest cult of all because, so far, it has always triumphed, and has now spread around the earth and its nations.

...Do what Gandhi advised, let the poor be the teachers. Go among them with nothing, one set of clothing and no money, keep your mouth shut, and do your best not to affect anything (which is impossible, I know. But you can come, as they say, "close enough for government work.")

Then just let the world happen to you, like they do in the so-called "passive societies," instead of trying to happen to it in typical Western fashion. Not trying to "improve" things. Maybe practice milpa agriculture with Mayans on the Guatemalan border, watching corn grow for three months. Fish in a lonely dugout, sun-up to sun-down, in the dying reefs of the Caribbean, with only a meal or two of fish as your reward. Do such things for a month or two.

First you will experience boredom, then comes an internal psychic violence and anger, much like the experience of zazen, or sitting meditation, as the layers of your mind conditioning peel away. Don't quit, keep at it, endure it, to the end. And when you return you will find that deeply experiencing a non-conditioned reality changes things forever. What you have experienced will animate whatever intellectual life you have developed. Or negate much of it. But in serious, intelligent people, experiencing non-manufactured reality usually gives lifelong meaning and insight to the work. You will have experienced the eternal verities of the world and mankind at ground zero. And you will find that the healthy social structures our well intentioned Western minds seek are already inherent in the psyche of mankind, but imprisoned. And the startling realization that you and I are the unknowing captors.

In conclusion, I would point out that the high technological imprisonment of our consciousness has been fairly recent. There are still those among us who remember when it was not so entrapped. A few of us still know what it was like to experience non-manufactured realities -- life outside our mass produced kitsch culture. Particularly some aging Sixties types, who sought to pass through the doors of perception. Many made it through. But in my travels to places such as this one, I also meet a new breed of younger people, who get it completely. I meet them in the more advanced psychological venues such as Adler. And especially in the ecological movement.

They seem to already know what it took me a lifetime to learn: that each of us is but one strand in the vast organic web of flesh and blood chlorophyll. All things and all beings are inextricably connected at the most profound level. Any physicist will confirm this. We are bound by its every wave and particle, all of us -- the lonely night clerk at Motel 6 and the leviathans of the deep, the sleeping grandmother in New Haven, Connecticut and the maimed Iraqi child in Kirkuk. It can be understood by anyone though, simply by owning one's own consciousness. And in doing so we find that ownership and domination are both temporary and meaningless. And that the animating spirit of the earth is real and within us and claimable.

The purpose of life is to know this. Einstein glimpsed it. Lao-Tzu knew it. So did St. Francis. But you and I are not supposed to. It would shatter the revered, digitized, super-sized, utterly meaningless hologram. The one that mesmerizes us, and mediates our every experience, but isolates us from universal humanness and its coursing energies. Such as love. Or mercy. Compassion. Existential pain. Hunger. Or the unmitigated joy of simply being alive one finds in children everywhere, even among the poorest. Most of the human race still lives in that realm.

Blessed is the one who joins them. Because he or she learns that the truth is not relative, and that because the human mind seeks balance, social justice is not only inescapable in the long run, but inevitable. I won't be around for that, but on a clear day if I squint real hard I can see down that road ahead. And on that road I can see the long chain of decent human beings like yourselves walking toward the light...

Of course, Joe got paid for that speech. The Jaguar God smiled.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dirty Laundry Time Bomb

Frank Rich:

...the ticking time bomb was not another potential Qaeda attack on America but the Bush administration’s ticking timetable for selling a war in Iraq; it wanted to pressure Congress to pass a war resolution before the 2002 midterm elections...

More good stuff there, too.

Chris Floyd has some things you should hear:

...It is really very simple. Ample, credible evidence of violations of federal law have been produced by a plethora of reputable sources -- including the United States Senate and even the Pentagon. It is the function of the Justice Department to investigate possible violations of federal law, and, if warranted, prosecute them. Barack Obama would not -- could not -- carry out such a criminal investigation or direct the prosecution. The United States Congress would not carry out such a criminal investigation or direct the prosecution. Not a single government official now involved in dealing with the wars, with foreign policy, with the economy and the bailout, with health care, with employment and housing, with the environment, with the budget, with immigration -- in short, with any single activity of governing whatsoever -- would have their "time and energy" taken up by a straightforward criminal investigation undertaken by the Justice Department...

If anyone -- politician, pundit, pal at the water cooler -- gives you the argument that torture can't be investigated because it would be a "distraction" from other government business, they are either lying to your face, or else ignorantly repeating a lie that's been filtered down from the elite. The argument about "distraction" is ludicrous, and insulting, on its face. It is exactly like saying, "Oh, we can't investigate these murders by Al Capone and his mob, because the mayor and city council have a lot on their plates right now, with this Depression and all. This is a time for looking forward, not retribution."

...And here we come to the crux of the matter. There will be no genuine accounting (or, apparently, not even any ersatz accounting, with a couple of scapegoat scalps paraded before the rubes) on the question of torture by the United States government for two simple reasons. First, the Democratic leaders of Congress are themselves thoroughly complicit in the torture system, about which they were often briefed by the Bush Administration itself. And if the Bush Administration withheld information about many of its atrocities in these official briefings (which is highly likely), detailed revelations of what was really going on has been readily available for years from a number of, again, credible and respectable sources, from human rights organizations to U.S. government agencies.

Any full and genuine investigation of the torture system would reveal the shocking extent of Democratic complicity with it. And certainly a criminal investigation -- which could not be steered and hobbled by a "blue-ribbon" panel of Establishment grandees -- would be even more dangerous in that regard. A genuine, independent probe of the Bush torture system would also doubtless lead back to covert tortures countenanced by Democratic and Republican administrations going back for several decades, as Bernard Chazelle noted recently.

The second reason why Barack Obama and the Democratic leadership are resisting, with all their might, a full investigation for the torture system is that they want to uphold what is perhaps the central principle of the American state today: the unaccountability of the ruling elite. [Glenn Greenwald speaks to this point here.] They want to retain the freedom of action to do "whatever it takes" (that tough-guy phrase so beloved by "savvy" insiders and their sycophants in the press) to maintain themselves and their cronies and their class in a position of dominance, wealth and privilege. The law is not for them; the law is for the rubes, the suckers, the rabble, the losers -- for you and me, in other words.

...Here is one of the most clear-cut points of national decision and self-definition that can be imagined. Clear, credible evidence of atrocity and conspiracy has been produced. The course prescribed by law is clear: criminal investigation and, if warranted, prosecution. If, as you claim, your state is founded upon the rule of law, then there simply is no choice in the matter: the torture program and all of its perpetrators, facilitators and instigators must be subjected to the due process of law, without fear or favor.

If this does not happen, then your state, however modernized and sophisticated, is nothing but a gilded barbarism, a gangland, where the brute force of money, privilege and power hold tyrannical sway. There is no law, only the triumph of the will of corrupt and criminal factions as they preen and jostle for position atop a fetid heap of blood and filth...

The robber barons supported the DINOcrats in the last $election for the pure and simple reason the Rethuglicans were totally wrecking the $ystem. They were nice and profitable, but really too profitable. As they bled the $ystem for all it was worth, they were in the process of killing off all the sources of income for the Company.

The touchy feely DINOcrats realized the ship of state couldn't sail without the slaves at the oars. That was the difference, the only real difference, between the Hope and Faith crew and the Cheneyburton thugs. Different factions of the Company, but both concerned with keeping the dirty laundry hidden.

What is this "Unthinkable" of which you speak?

Remember this story, lost in the dawn of the Endless War?

(April 23, 2009) -- With each new revelation on U.S. torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gitmo (and who, knows, probably elsewhere), I am reminded of the chilling story of Alyssa Peterson, who I have written about numerous times in the past three years but now with especially sad relevance. Appalled when ordered to take part in interrogations that, no doubt, involved what we would call torture, she refused, then killed herself a few days later, in September 2003.

Of course, we now know from the torture memos and the U.S. Senate committee probe and various new press reports, that the "Gitmo-izing" of Iraq was happening just at the time Alyssa got swept up in it.

Alyssa Peterson was one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq. A cover-up, naturally, followed...

People should realise by now there is nothing the Cheneyburton branch of the Company wouldn't do.

Blackmail is just the tip of the iceberg.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Limited imagination

Krugman had better stay out of small airplanes:

“Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” So declared President Obama, after his commendable decision to release the legal memos that his predecessor used to justify torture. Some people in the political and media establishments have echoed his position. We need to look forward, not backward, they say. No prosecutions, please; no investigations; we’re just too busy.

...We are, or at least we used to be, a nation of moral ideals. In the past, our government has sometimes done an imperfect job of upholding those ideals. But never before have our leaders so utterly betrayed everything our nation stands for. “This government does not torture people,” declared former President Bush, but it did, and all the world knows it.

And the only way we can regain our moral compass, not just for the sake of our position in the world, but for the sake of our own national conscience, is to investigate how that happened, and, if necessary, to prosecute those responsible.

...Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to rescue the economy. Peter Orszag, the budget director, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to reform health care. Steven Chu, the energy secretary, wouldn’t be called away from his efforts to limit climate change. Even the president needn’t, and indeed shouldn’t, be involved. All he would have to do is let the Justice Department do its job — which he’s supposed to do in any case — and not get in the way of any Congressional investigations.

...alas, a significant number of people in our political life who stand on the side of the torturers. But these are the same people who have been relentless in their efforts to block President Obama’s attempt to deal with our economic crisis and will be equally relentless in their opposition when he endeavors to deal with health care and climate change. The president cannot lose their good will, because they never offered any.

That said, there are a lot of people in Washington who weren’t allied with the torturers but would nonetheless rather not revisit what happened in the Bush years.

...they don’t want to be reminded of their own sins of omission.

For the fact is that officials in the Bush administration instituted torture as a policy, misled the nation into a war they wanted to fight and, probably, tortured people in the attempt to extract “confessions” that would justify that war. And during the march to war, most of the political and media establishment looked the other way...

Aside from some very powerful DINOcrats, there are many members of said Justice Department that might join Cheney, Addington, et alia in spending the rest of their natural lives in prison if what happened in the Bu$h years ever got investigated.

Perhaps Dr. Krugman realizes this. But perhaps the scope of what has been going on in this country even before Bu$hCo's hostile takeover would simply stagger his broad imagination. That's why the Company simply wants you to forget, and keep the sleepers sleeping.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Water Gauging Success


The Saddam-al Qaeda-9/11 connection was always transparently false. It was an obvious fabrication. I don't know if all involved with torturing the shit of people knew that, but certainly the people pushing for the "information" did. So false confessions were, you know, what they were looking for.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

War Criminals

No wonder the DINOcrats don't want to prosecute 'em.

Of course, it all depends on what your definition of "worked" is.

Michael V. Hayden, who served as C.I.A. director for the last two years of the Bush administration, devoted part of his last press briefing in January to defending the C.I.A. program. “It worked,” Mr. Hayden insisted.

So when did they have time to sleep? Oh that's right, they weren't allowed to. No wonder the program was so successful.

You could make anyone confess to anything and say whatever you wanted to hear with a program like that, whether they did it or not.

That's success Cheneyburton style.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Truth is Out There

Way out there.

... Mitchell, who was part of the 1971 Apollo 14 moon mission, asserted Monday that extraterrestrial life exists, and that the truth is being concealed by the U.S. and other governments.

He delivered his remarks during an appearance at the National Press Club following the conclusion of the fifth annual X-Conference, a meeting of UFO activists and researchers studying the possibility of alien life forms.

Mankind has long wondered if we're "alone in the universe. [But] only in our period do we really have evidence. No, we're not alone," Mitchell said.

"Our destiny, in my opinion, and we might as well get started with it, is [to] become a part of the planetary community. ... We should be ready to reach out beyond our planet and beyond our solar system to find out what is really going on out there."

Mitchell grew up in Roswell, New Mexico, which some UFO believers maintain was the site of a UFO crash in 1947. He said residents of his hometown "had been hushed and told not to talk about their experience by military authorities." They had been warned of "dire consequences" if they did so...

... Roughly 10 years ago, Mitchell claimed, he was finally given an appointment at Pentagon to discuss what he had been told.

An unnamed admiral working for the Joint Chiefs of Staff promised to uncover the truth behind the Roswell story, Mitchell said. The stories of a UFO crash "were confirmed," but the admiral was then denied access when he "tried to get into the inner workings of that process."

The same admiral, Mitchell claimed, now denies the story...

The center will not hold

As the One attempts his own Company purge.

Obviously it's time to manufacture another one, before the extent of Company control of opinion becomes too clear to too many people.

The One had best watch his back- or his faction of Praetorians should, anyway. The Cheneyburton boys are beginning to sweat bullets. Which is a problem, because they enjoy their work.

No matter how devoted his inner circle appear, the One should avoid riding in open cars in Dallas.

All it takes is for one to step aside- or be officially distracted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What happens when debt peonage strikes the peons

The New York Pravda notes the upswing of suicides in rural India to about 1500 farmers per month and writes it off as times are tough all over.

But the circumstances behind this could be coming to a field near you sooner than you think. Its the old money that's worried about it- possibly because they know what keeps their dollars rolling in:

Shankara, respected farmer, loving husband and father, had taken his own life. Less than 24 hours earlier, facing the loss of his land due to debt, he drank a cupful of chemical insecticide.

Unable to pay back the equivalent of two years' earnings, he was in despair. He could see no way out...

Shankara's crop had failed - twice. Of course, famine and pestilence are part of India's ancient story.

But the death of this respected farmer has been blamed on something far more modern and sinister: genetically modified crops.

Shankara, like millions of other Indian farmers, had been promised previously unheard of harvests and income if he switched from farming with traditional seeds to planting GM seeds instead.

Beguiled by the promise of future riches, he borrowed money in order to buy the GM seeds. But when the harvests failed, he was left with spiralling debts - and no income.

So Shankara became one of an estimated 125,000 farmers to take their own life as a result of the ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops.

The crisis, branded the 'GM Genocide' by campaigners, was highlighted recently when Prince Charles claimed that the issue of GM had become a 'global moral question' - and the time had come to end its unstoppable march.

Speaking by video link to a conference in the Indian capital, Delhi, he infuriated bio-tech leaders and some politicians by condemning 'the truly appalling and tragic rate of small farmer suicides in India, stemming... from the failure of many GM crop varieties'.

Ranged against the Prince are powerful GM lobbyists and prominent politicians, who claim that genetically modified crops have transformed Indian agriculture, providing greater yields than ever before.

The rest of the world, they insist, should embrace 'the future' and follow suit...

...official figures from the Indian Ministry of Agriculture do indeed confirm that in a huge humanitarian crisis, more than 1,000 farmers kill themselves here each month.

Simple, rural people, they are dying slow, agonising deaths. Most swallow insecticide - a pricey substance they were promised they would not need when they were coerced into growing expensive GM crops.

It seems that many are massively in debt to local money-lenders, having over-borrowed to purchase GM seed...

...Village after village, families told how they had fallen into debt after being persuaded to buy GM seeds instead of traditional cotton seeds.

The price difference is staggering: £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, compared with less than £10 for 1,000 times more traditional seeds.

But GM salesmen and government officials had promised farmers that these were 'magic seeds' - with better crops that would be free from parasites and insects.

Indeed, in a bid to promote the uptake of GM seeds, traditional varieties were banned from many government seed banks.

The authorities had a vested interest in promoting this new biotechnology. Desperate to escape the grinding poverty of the post-independence years, the Indian government had agreed to allow new bio-tech giants, such as the U.S. market-leader Monsanto, to sell their new seed creations.

In return for allowing western companies access to the second most populated country in the world, with more than one billion people, India was granted International Monetary Fund loans in the Eighties and Nineties, helping to launch an economic revolution.

But while cities such as Mumbai and Delhi have boomed, the farmers' lives have slid back into the dark ages.

Though areas of India planted with GM seeds have doubled in two years - up to 17 million acres - many famers have found there is a terrible price to be paid.

Far from being 'magic seeds', GM pest-proof 'breeds' of cotton have been devastated by bollworms, a voracious parasite.

Nor were the farmers told that these seeds require double the amount of water. This has proved a matter of life and death.

With rains failing for the past two years, many GM crops have simply withered and died, leaving the farmers with crippling debts and no means of paying them off.

Having taken loans from traditional money lenders at extortionate rates, hundreds of thousands of small farmers have faced losing their land as the expensive seeds fail, while those who could struggle on faced a fresh crisis.

When crops failed in the past, farmers could still save seeds and replant them the following year.

But with GM seeds they cannot do this. That's because GM seeds contain so- called 'terminator technology', meaning that they have been genetically modified so that the resulting crops do not produce viable seeds of their own.

As a result, farmers have to buy new seeds each year at the same punitive prices. For some, that means the difference between life and death...

It's not just the banks that need regulation. When any company wants to corner 100% of the market the entire world depends on, it's engaging in sociopathic behavior. The Free Market isn't free nor a market when the law that upholds it is used to serve madness.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Baiting Open Secrets and Hanging the Lawyers

The UN wants to call a war criminal a war criminal regardless of what the One says.

The New York Pravda's editorial page is full of righteous indignation about the things the freaks and geeks told everybody about 6 years ago, from Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 on.

...To read the four newly released memos on prisoner interrogation written by George W. Bush’s Justice Department is to take a journey into depravity...

These memos are not an honest attempt to set the legal limits on interrogations, which was the authors’ statutory obligation. They were written to provide legal immunity for acts that are clearly illegal, immoral and a violation of this country’s most basic values.

It sounds like the plot of a mob film, except the lawyers asking how much their clients can get away with are from the C.I.A. and the lawyers coaching them on how to commit the abuses are from the Justice Department. And it all played out with the blessing of the defense secretary, the attorney general, the intelligence director and, most likely, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

The Americans Civil Liberties Union deserves credit for suing for the memos’ release. And President Obama deserves credit for overruling his own C.I.A. director and ordering that the memos be made public. It is hard to think of another case in which documents stamped “Top Secret” were released with hardly any deletions.

But this cannot be the end of the scrutiny for these and other decisions by the Bush administration.

Until Americans and their leaders fully understand the rules the Bush administration concocted to justify such abuses — and who set the rules and who approved them — there is no hope of fixing a profoundly broken system of justice and ensuring that that these acts are never repeated.

The abuses and the dangers do not end with the torture memos. Americans still know far too little about President Bush’s decision to illegally eavesdrop on Americans — a program that has since been given legal cover by the Congress.

Last week, The Times reported that the nation’s intelligence agencies have been collecting private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans on a scale that went beyond the broad limits established in legislation last year. The article quoted the Justice Department as saying there had been problems in the surveillance program that had been resolved. But Justice did not say what those problems were or what the resolution was.

That is the heart of the matter: nobody really knows what any of the rules were. Mr. Bush never offered the slightest explanation of what he found lacking in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when he decided to ignore the law after 9/11 and ordered the warrantless wiretapping of Americans’ overseas calls and e-mail. He said he was president and could do what he wanted...

So far, so good. One might quibble with the breathless tone. But perhaps it's because one has been trying to tell others about this for so very long. After all, there's nothing in these newly released notes you haven't read here (and many other leftie websites) first... years ago.

But then the old Pravda curveball comes into play.

...The Bush administration also never explained how it interpreted laws that were later passed to expand the government’s powers to eavesdrop. And the Obama administration argued in a recent court filing that everything associated with electronic eavesdropping, including what is allowed and what is not, is a state secret.

We do not think Mr. Obama will violate Americans’ rights as Mr. Bush did. But if Americans do not know the rules, they cannot judge whether this government or any one that follows is abiding by the rules.

In the case of detainee abuse, Mr. Obama assured C.I.A. operatives that they would not be prosecuted for actions that their superiors told them were legal. We have never been comfortable with the “only following orders” excuse, especially because Americans still do not know what was actually done or who was giving the orders.

After all, as far as Mr. Bush’s lawyers were concerned, it was not really torture unless it involved breaking bones, burning flesh or pulling teeth. That, Mr. Bybee kept noting, was what the Libyan secret police did to one prisoner. The standard for American behavior should be a lot higher than that of the Libyan secret police.

At least Mr. Obama is not following Mr. Bush’s example of showy trials for the small fry — like Lynndie England of Abu Ghraib notoriety. But he has an obligation to pursue what is clear evidence of a government policy sanctioning the torture and abuse of prisoners — in violation of international law and the Constitution.

That investigation should start with the lawyers who wrote these sickening memos, including John Yoo, who now teaches law in California; Steven Bradbury, who was job-hunting when we last heard; and Mr. Bybee, who holds the lifetime seat on the federal appeals court that Mr. Bush rewarded him with.

These memos make it clear that Mr. Bybee is unfit for a job that requires legal judgment and a respect for the Constitution. Congress should impeach him. And if the administration will not conduct a thorough investigation of these issues, then Congress has a constitutional duty to hold the executive branch accountable. If that means putting Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales on the stand, even Dick Cheney, we are sure Americans can handle it.

After eight years without transparency or accountability, Mr. Obama promised the American people both. His decision to release these memos was another sign of his commitment to transparency. We are waiting to see an equal commitment to accountability...

Now that's a novel strategery. Obama can't nail the Company operators, nor can he do any more to Cheneyburton or Commander Bunnypants. Something about a Caesar who knows which side the Praetorian Guard is buttered on comes to mind.

But the lawyers, now. There's a set of goats almost everyone would like to scape. The only question is whether they can be paid enough to play the role. The CIA would doubtless rather draw the international attention span away from the Company spooks. The shadier ones have doubtless never been comfortable with the mass media marketing of their favorite games.

But they're lawyers, no? Unlike other whores, if you can pay them enough, they'll do anything. One is told.

Strange in a Stranger Land

“If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.”

I don't see why this surprises anyone.

Upon reflection, it all makes sense.

In 2000, there was a corporate-military coup in the United States, which delivered a New Pearl Harbor in 2001 to revitalize the robber barons.

The problem that rapidly developed was that when the robber barons run things, they steal more than the people can lose and still survive. This is bad for those who would rule us. Where's the cash flow for the centurions if the rubes are broke?

So the figurehead of hope and change was erected to soothe the markets and restore the bank accounts of the praetorian guard.

The DINOcrats will remain in power just long enough to stabilize things.

The only DINOcrats that will actually obtain power in the interregnum will be those that strengthen the structures of power for their betters.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

"We" still "do not" admit we "torture".

Let's not sully our beautiful minds with thoughts of anything but Faith and Hope and Change. The DINOcrats want to keep those black ops black- which means they don't admit to them at all. The Oborg seemed to have learned the meaning of the word "teflon".

WASHINGTON — The CIA is decommissioning the secret overseas prisons where top al Qaida suspects were subjected to interrogation methods, including simulated drowning, that Attorney General Eric Holder, allied governments, the Red Cross and numerous other experts consider torture, the agency said Thursday.

In an e-mail to the agency's work force outlining current interrogation and detention policies, CIA Director Leon Panetta also announced that agreements with the private security firms guarding the so-called black sites will be "promptly terminated," and contractors no longer will be used to conduct interrogations.

Panetta, however, said that CIA officers who were involved in interrogations using "enhanced" methods authorized by the Justice Department during the Bush administration "should not be investigated, let alone punished."

That last statement tells you who's really running things.

Somebody must have forgotten to tell the Prime Unit his minions are restless- and chances are with Rahm running the blackberry Obama'll never know what the kids are saying about him now.

And if you tried to tell him, it's (don't say Gitmo 'cause they officially do it anymore) the slammer for you:

...GG: There was an article I think this week or late last week, in The Guardian, the British daily newspaper, detailing the controversy that arose as a result of a letter that you sent to President Obama detailing the torture to which your client was subjected and that letter ended up being heavily redacted, I think in fact redacted in full other than the "from" line.

Can you talk about the circumstances surrounding that letter to the extent that you can consistent with your legal obligations and what happened?

CSS: Well what happened with that was this. I wrote a letter to President Obama and then from the place where all the censorship happens...

GG: What was the purpose of that letter? Why did you decide to write it?

CSS: The purpose is this. The British courts are saying that the British government relied on President Obama's view that this material about torture shouldn't be released to the public. It became clear to us in Britain that actually President Obama had never made that decision and that the British government had somewhat misrepresented his position to the courts. And what I thought was only fair and appropriate was for President Obama to make a decision himself: Do you, President Obama, I voted for you and I think he's a good man, do you really, really tell your officials to cover up evidence of torture committed by US personnel?

And so I wrote him this letter, with a cover letter saying what the situation was, and then we requested that this memorandum, which is a couple of pages which details the factual evidence of torture within these memoranda discussed by the British courts, and we wanted to send that memorandum to the president, to have it reviewed to determine whether he really does want to take this position in the British courts.

Now, all of the evidence of torture as you say was redacted out of the memorandum. In the end, all I was able to send the president was the cover letter, then with this two-page memo totally blacked out from beginning to end.

GG: This is the part I find baffling, and I just want to make sure that I understand it. Obviously, if you want to make public statements, to the media or otherwise, you're required to submit whatever information you want to disclose to this privilege office, that reviews what it is you want to say, and it either gives you permission to say it or tells you it's classified and you're not allowed to. That, I understand.

But here you are, not making a public statement per se, you were writing a letter to the President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, who has complete security clearances. You were required even in that case to submit your letter for approval to this privilege agency within the Pentagon?

CSS: Well, yes. There's only two alternatives. They could pass it along to him sealed, as a classified document, which would be fine by us, but they're not willing to do that. So the alternative is that they review it and determine whether we're allowed to send it to him another way. And all I'm trying to illustrate through this process is how the system is absurd in this context. It just doesn't allow for meaningful decisions to be made by the Commander-in-Chief, who, as you say, has a higher security clearance than anybody, so how can it be that this man is not allowed to make the right judgment?

What I really want to do here is bring the issue to his attention so that he instructs the people who are working for him, instruct them to do their jobs differently, and to stop covering up this evidence of torture, because that's the government - we shouldn't be covering up evidence of criminal offenses.

GG: So, you got this letter back, and it was completely blacked out except for your name at the top, "from Clive Stafford Smith," and I think maybe the date. And, what did you do then with that letter?

CSS: I just sent it with my cover letter to the president, in hopes of getting a response from him at some point. They covered this in the British media and the New York Times. So on one level the only way to get our attention, certainly from the Obama administration right now, it's very busy trying to deal with so many political challenges inherited from the Bush administration. But you've got to get their attention somehow on this issue, and I'm afraid at the moment the Obama administration is not paying attention to this very important issue.

GG: So, now, the article in The Guardian reported that, as a result of what you did -- namely, sending a cover letter to President Obama, and attaching the redacted letter -- that you were notified by this agency within the Pentagon that you face some sort of potential disciplinary or even criminal sanction for allegedly having violated the commitments that you made with regard to secrecy at Guantanamo...

What happens at Gitmo is possibly the biggest non-secret the Company has. Of course, they do not do that anymore. In fact, they never did.

Because they said so.

Normalization of the Abnormal: Life Under the Smokescreen

The beginnings of a good thread here, spurred by this report:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president's new science adviser said Wednesday that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth's air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun's rays. Holdren said such an experimental measure would only be used as a last resort.

"It's got to be looked at," he said. "We don't have the luxury of taking any approach off the table..."

wintler2: ...
Except of course approaches like reducing GHG pollution emissions or making polluters pay for impacts, both of which fail the "way of life not up for negotiation" test. Geoengineering is the logical conclusion of an insane culture...

There's the old smoke and mirrors story here.

This comment by Hugh is appropriate and correct, I think:

Senate Bill 517 in 2005, the Weather Modification bill, was just paperwork for the cloud-seeding programs going on since the early 1990s.

The actual response to global warming has been an effort to increase cloud cover which is ongoing.

This has not been overtly announced to prevent spooking the herd.
But lots of disinfo has been put out by Scott Stevens, Exxon-Mobil, and other USG assets to give the masses a clue without evoking outrage and panic.

Now, this sounds absurd, and the moreso when you read all the ridiculous claims associated with the people alarmed over contrails in the sky. Which is exactly what a good Company disinformation op would sound like, isn't it?

Uncle $cam closes this with an observation:

...Interesting to me, are the things we've been doing all along, where each Admin, simply brings into the awareness things we have covertly been doing for years. For example, Bush/Cheney torture; The Normalization of War, poverty, corruption the normalization of the subversion of the Constitution, etc...


Edward S. Herman's landmark essay, "The Banality of Evil," has never seemed more apposite. "Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on 'normalization,'" wrote Herman. "There is usually a division of labor in doing and rationalizing the unthinkable, with the direct brutalizing and killing done by one set of individuals ... others working on improving technology (a better crematory gas, a longer burning and more adhesive napalm, bomb fragments that penetrate flesh in hard-to-trace patterns). It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

You can't make this up

Like you haven't lost enough money in the market:

...As part of its sweeping plan to purge banks of troublesome assets, the Obama administration is encouraging several large investment companies to create the financial-crisis equivalent of war bonds: bailout funds...

...The funds, the thinking goes, would buy troubled mortgage securities from banks, enabling the lenders to make the loans that are needed to rekindle the economy. Many of the loans that back these securities were made during the subprime era. If all goes well, the funds will eventually sell the investments at a profit...

About the same time pigs learn how to fly.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Don't tell the children!

The government's official view that toxic assets are incorrectly priced due to illiquidity "fire sales" is wrong, a new study by Harvard and Princeton finance professors suggests.

You can read the whole paper by Harvard's Joshua Coval and Erik Stafford and Princeton's Jakub Jurek below. The striking conclusion is that the low prices of toxic assets actually reflect the fundamentals, rather than being driven by an illiquidity discount.

"The analysis of this paper suggests that recent credit market prices are actually highly consistent with fundamentals. A structural framework confirms that bonds and credit derivatives should have experienced a significant repricing in 2008 as the economic outlook darkened and volatility increased. The analysis also confirms that severe mispricing existed in the structured credit tranches prior to the crisis and that a large part of the dramatic rise in spreads has been the elimination of this mispricing."

This contrasts sharply with the analysis that underlies most of the financial rescue programs launched by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department. The white paper released to support the Private-Public Investment Partnerships, the program that seeks to encourage private firms to buy toxic assets with government subsidized loans, took the opposite point of view.

"Troubled real estate-related assets comprised of legacy loans and securities, are at the center of the problems currently impacting the U.S. financial system...The resulting need to reduce risk triggered a wide-scale deleveraging in these markets and led to fire sales," the Treasury and the Fed claimed.

Many prominent economists--including such diverse types as Anna Schwartz and Paul Krugman--have taken issue with this official view, saying the government was mistaking a solvency crisis for a liquidity crisis. This latest paper effectively demolishes the "fire sale" view. It draws three important conclusions.

* Many banks are now insolvent. "...many major US banks are now legitimately insolvent. This insolvency can no longer be viewed as an artifact of bank assets being marked to artificially depressed prices coming out of an illiquid market. It means that bank assets are being fairly priced at valuations that sum to less than bank liabilities."

* Supporting markets in toxic assets has no purpose other than transfering money from taxpayers to banks. "...any taxpayer dollars allocated to supporting these markets will simply transfer wealth to the current owners of these securities."

* We're making it worse. "...policies that attempt to prevent a widespread mark-down in the value of credit-sensitive assets are likely to only delay – and perhaps even worsen – the day of reckoning."

In short, the government cannot save the banks by improving liquidity or changing mark to market rules because the problem isn't illiquidity or accounting. The problem is that highly leveraged financial firms own assets that are worth far less than they thought they would be, and the firms are insolvent as a result. This is why the latest bailout plans secretly give huge subsidies to banks--because the only way to keep the insolvent zombies afloat is to transfer billions of dollars to banks, bank stockholders, and bank creditors. The alternative--allowing the insolvent banks to fail, seizing the assets, wiping our shareholders, giving bond holders a serious haircut--is still not on the official agenda.

More here.

Meanwhile, The New York Pravda tells us all the Cool Kids are being assimilated:

If you actually look at the numbers associated with those cheery upward ticking curves and headlines, that's only 39% of people thinking "the country is going in the right direction" and 20% thinking the economy is getting better.

The DINOcrat Faithful, the counterpart to the Rethuglican Faithful, and about the same fraction of the population.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Timely Inventions

How long before it's outlawed:

Thor Shield is a polyester fabric bonded to a conducted material that effectively loops the electricity coming from a nonlethal electricity weapon back to the weapon.

"If you are hit, the Taser gun won't work," said Greg Schultz, co-owner of G2 Consulting in Tucson, Ariz., which invented Thor Shield. "We return the voltage back to the gun."

Tasers and other electricity weapons work by jolting a person's body with enough electricity to overwhelm their neuromuscular system. When fired, a Taser launches two probes, connected to the gun by wires. When the probes hit a person's body, they create a circuit and 50,000 volts that pass through an individual's system.

A hit from a stun gun is incredibly painful and knocks individuals instantly to the ground in most circumstances. For maximum effect, the probes need to land four inches apart.

Because Thor Shield is conductive, it can complete the circuit with probes without having the electricity pass through an individual's body. In a video submitted by G2--and not independently tested by CNET News.com--Greg Williams, G2's other co-owner, takes a jolt to the head from a stun gun but remains unfazed. He is wearing a cap made of the material, according to G2. He also remains nonchalant in a Thor Shield windbreaker after being repeatedly zapped...

Note: the product site says Thor Shield is only sold to Military and Law Enforcement Agencies

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gnu Whirled Mordor

Because, you know, we'd hate to get Googled by the wrong people. Look at what's happened to Len Hart's site- or rather, don't, because its code has been hacked to bounce you to an attack site. A similar thing happened to the Dark Wraith last week, except he managed to shut his down quickly.

But apparently whatever your affiliation, Right or Left or Ron Paulist, you're being targeted if you don't buy the main$tream $tory:

...Last month's warnings (or threats?) from the US director of national intelligence Dennis Blair and the UK's Metropolitan police's head for public order, David Hartshorn, that the economic crisis could trigger a return to the "violent extremism" of the 1920s and 1930s, and that the UK was heading for a "summer of rage", marked a significant expansion in the rhetoric of the authorities and therefore in what we can expect from the elite.

Even with that in mind, we were quite shocked to learn this month that a Missouri police report on militias and terrorists identifies bumper-stickers for third-party candidates, talk of conspiracies and 'subversive literature, as warning signs of "terrorist" associations. It mentions discussions about the North American union, the America: Freedom to Fascism video and the Zeitgeist movie among other signs of potential "paramilitary" activity. The document (which can be downloaded here) includes alarming fragments such as this one:

[...] These groups communicate through forums, yahoo groups, blogs, and social networking sites. Websites and online talk shows have been established to push rhetoric, usually a skewed version of current events. [...] Militias are recruiting members and supporters through the following means: gun shows, online forums, websites, social networking sites, and informal social networks. Additionally, militia recruitment may be done at events or meetings held by organizations that share ideologies with the militia.

The indictment of "websites [that promote] a skewed version of current events" seems to be forbidding the promotion of any view of reality that diverges from the official government line. In essence, a terrorist is anyone that attempts to discern and publicly disseminate ideas about what is really happening on our planet.

The report is also remarkable for placing very dissimilar groups in one basket and thus adding to the general confusion. In effect, it makes virtually anyone a potential target. As far as the authors of the report are concerned, anti-abortionists, defenders of constitutional rights and people who discuss the 'New World Order', FEMA 'concentration camps' or Zionism, all fall into the same category as white supremacist paramilitaries, Neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. It is also quite ironic that the document warns that the militias are motivated by conspiracy theories about a fascist government when the document itself shows an overtly fascist face and promotes a wild conspiracy theory.

The report was created by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), one of 58 "fusion centers" nationwide created by the Department of Homeland Security to collect local intelligence. DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano has called fusion centers the "centerpiece of state, local, federal intelligence-sharing" for the future. It's the Elite's version of online discussion groups...

Now, once again, admittedly sites that take UFOs seriously shouldn't be taken too seriously themselves. Except when they're willing to point out what everyone else isn't willing to discuss.

The Calorie that Broke the Bridge

It's almost one month into the Antarctic fall season, but the stormy seas added just enought energy to do the rest:

OSLO (Reuters) — An ice bridge holding a vast Antarctic ice shelf in place has shattered and may herald a wider collapse caused by global warming, a scientist said Saturday...

The satellite picture, by the European Space Agency, showed that a strip of ice about 25 miles long that is believed to pin the ice shelf in place had snapped.

The loss of the ice bridge could mean a wider breakup of the ice shelf, which is about the size of Connecticut.


and now

The Populist Lightning Rod

Frank Rich:

...Sure, Rick Wagoner deserved his fate. He did too little too late to save an iconic American institution from devolving into a government charity case. He embraced the Hummer. G.M.’s share price fell from above $70 to under $3 on his watch. Yet few disputed the judgment of the Michigan governor, Jennifer Granholm, that Wagoner was a “sacrificial lamb,” a symbolic concession to public rage ordered by a president who had to look tough after being blindsided by the A.I.G. bonuses. Detroit’s chief executive had to be beheaded so that the masters of the universe at the top of Wall Street’s bailed-out behemoths might survive.

On this point even the left and the right could agree. The union leader Andy Stern publicly wondered why the administration didn’t also dethrone Ken Lewis of Bank of America. Thaddeus McCotter, a conservative Republican congressman from suburban Detroit, asked, “When will the Wall Street C.E.O.’s receiving TARP funds summon the honor to resign? Will this White House ever bother to raise the issue?”

When reporters did raise the issue of a double standard to the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, they got double talk: “I don’t have anything specific on Bank of America.”

He knew nothing his Company hadn't redacted, anyway.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

"Yes we can!"


There they go again

Pesky scientists...

The Open Chemical Physics Journal

Volume 2
ISSN: 1874-4125

Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe
pp.7-31 (25) Authors: Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen
doi: 10.2174/1874412500902010007 [.pdf]


We have discovered distinctive red/gray chips in all the samples we have studied of the dust produced by the destruction of the World Trade Center. Examination of four of these samples, collected from separate sites, is reported in this paper. These red/gray chips show marked similarities in all four samples. One sample was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower, two the next day, and a fourth about a week later. The properties of these chips were analyzed using optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The red material contains grains approximately 100 nm across which are largely iron oxide, while aluminum is contained in tiny plate-like structures. Separation of components using methyl ethyl ketone demonstrated that elemental aluminum is present. The iron oxide and aluminum are intimately mixed in the red material. When ignited in a DSC device the chips exhibit large but narrow exotherms occurring at approximately 430 °C, far below the normal ignition temperature for conventional thermite. Numerous iron-rich spheres are clearly observed in the residue following the ignition of these peculiar red/gray chips. The red portion of these chips is found to be an unreacted thermitic material and highly energetic.

This article seems to be the real thing, speaking as a trained chemist. That is highly processed thermite- note the sandwiched, micron thin layers of iron oxide and metallic aluminum in Figure 4 of the .pdf. Whether it's origin is as specified is a question only Marvin Bu$h knows for sure.

Who would've known?

The Right is doing it's best to stir and to use the populist anger against the banksters to it's own advantage.

It's doing a good job of stirring, alright.

Meanwhile, the heartland gets grimmer , but Wall Street continues with the Sargeant Schultz defense.

The thought occurs that the Company doesn't really care whether its scapegoats are on the Left or the Right, or whether the people it incites to violence are Islamists or hippies or Southern Baptists.

As long as there is a blank check for endless war, there's gold for guns.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rearming the Iraqi Air Force. Or Not.

Thanks, of course, due to no-bid contracts given to a subsidiary of the Carlyle Group.

How did a company best known for its communications gear manage to get a $322 million, no-bid contract to supply the Iraqi military with Russian helicopters? Not even the Pentagon can come up with a convincing explanation...

For the past year, I've followed the U.S. government's involvement in buying Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters for Iraq and Afghanistan to support the global War on Terror (or whatever it's called now). Those purchases have included no-bid and limited-competition contracts worth over $500 million, all provided to one company, ARINC, despite the company's modest track record in the field.

ARINC is not typically the provider of aircraft, let alone Russian aircraft, though it did have one foot in the Russian helicopter world — it was on contract in Iraq maintaining some of Iraq's older Mi-17s (several other American companies perform similar services). That's a long way away from buying, modifying and delivering a fleet of new aircraft.

Yet ARINC managed to convince the Defense Department — or more specifically, the Army's Threat Systems Management Office (TSMO) — to give them hundreds of millions in exclusive contracts. The key, according to e-mails released this week, was ARINC's assertion that it was the only company capable of buying the helicopters. It's a claim that strains credulity, given the number of companies and factories involved in this field (and the fact you can practically order one online). More troubling, Army contracting officials then worked with ARINC officials to tailor the paperwork to back up this claim and justify a sole-source contract...

Now, money has changed hands, but as is apparent from this post, the helicopters haven't. Ordering used weapons from the Russians is about as good an investment as buying a bridge in Brooklyn. But likely Someone knew that.

The other curious thing about this post is its source, Sharon Weinberger.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Old Times There are Not Forgotten

And you thought $elections had consequences.

The Undead still walk.

HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind that you can continue to contacts with, to do sabotage, whatever you want to do. Cheney’s left a stay behind. He’s got people in a lot of agencies that still tell him what’s going on. Particularly in defense, obviously. Also in the NSA, there’s still people that talk to him. He still knows what’s going on. Can he still control policy up to a point? Probably up to a point... he’s still there. He’s still a presence.

[tip o'teh tinfoil to Matt Corley]

This is what helps keep our government, as Chris Floyd says,

...horseshit and fairytales wrapped up in threadbare pieties and Orwellian doublespeak... expect power and money and militarism to carry the day.