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

Friday, December 31, 2010

it's all that hot air

E.P.A. Limit on Gases to Pose Risk to Obama and Congress


This will all turn out badly:

...President Obama vowed as a candidate that he would put the United States on a path to addressing climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas pollutants. He offered Congress wide latitude to pass climate change legislation, but held in reserve the threat of E.P.A. regulation if it failed to act. The deeply polarized Senate’s refusal to enact climate change legislation essentially called his bluff.

With Mr. Obama’s hand forced by the mandates of the Clean Air Act and a 2007 Supreme Court decision, his E.P.A. will impose the first regulation of major stationary sources of greenhouse gases starting Jan. 2.

For now, administration officials are treading lightly, fearful of inflaming an already charged atmosphere on the issue and mindful that its stated priorities are job creation and economic recovery. Officials are not seeking a major confrontation over carbon regulation, which offers formidable challenges even in a less stressed economic and political climate...


It was a campaign promise. You might as well forget about it. We'll be lucky if the feds don't build factories to spew out sulfate and sulfide aerosols to try to offset carbon emissions' effect on global warming.

A lot of the literature now downplays the role of sulfuric acid in the runaway greenhouse on Venus, despite the fact all the clouds are sulfuric acid in a CO2 atmosphere. No free oxygen or water to speak of: it's all bound up as CO2 and sulfuric acid (H2SO4).

So the Serious people (you know, the same people who gave us the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act and Endless War on Terra) really are considering trying to geoengineer away global warming in the face of increasing CO2 emissions by pumping enough sulfur in the atmosphere to dim the sun? The Serious people really ought to do a little reading in basic college chemistry on what happens when you mix sulfur, oxygen, and water under oxidizing conditions with ultraviolet light...

"...the year of arsonists posing as firemen..."

Krugman

Thursday, December 30, 2010

a very short road

The US Supreme Court's striking down of nearly a century's worth of campaign finance laws means the US government can now be "bought" and the country may be headed for fascism, says an outgoing Democratic House representative.

In an interview this week, Rep. John Hall (D-NY), who lost his seat in the mid-term elections, told the New York Observer that he sees a threat to American democracy in the court's ruling.

"I learned when I was in social studies class in school that corporate ownership or corporate control of government is called fascism. So that's really the question -- is that the destination if this court decision goes unchecked?"

The Citizens United decision upended decades of campaign finance regulation, allowing corporations, unions and other groups to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns without having to identify themselves. In a decision split along ideological lines, the court ruled that restrictions on spending amounted to a violation of First Amendment rights. Others have challenged the notion that corporations and other organizations have the "personhood" needed to be granted constitutional rights.

"The country was bought," Hall told the Observer, arguing that the Citizens United decision was one of the reasons Democrats lost control of the House.

The influx of unregulated cash into election campaigns has been linked to an increase in misinformation in campaign ads. CBS reported in October:

Outside groups, which are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence elections this year (largely on behalf of Republicans), are most likely to stretch or ignore the truth on their advertising. These groups, which have exploded in size and influence in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, are often funded by donors whose identities are not revealed to the public.


Hall said that Bush appointees Samuel Alito and John Roberts "claimed in their confirmation hearings before the Senate that they would not be activist judges [but] made a very activist decision in that it overturned more than a century of precedent. And as a result there were millions of extra dollars thrown into this race."

He described Alito and Roberts as "extremists."...


That is far to polite. Call them corrupt. That shoe fits much better.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Un'Merikan Activities

We're all Rosenbergs now:

..."Viewing the Wikileaks situation through this lens, it becomes apparent why the government would seek to charge Assange with conspiracy," he continued. "Not only Assange, but anyone involved in the Wikileaks community could be swept up in a dragnet. Just as in my parents’ case, the prosecutors could seek to bully some involved into ratting out others, in return for more favorable treatment. This divide and conquer approach would turn individuals against each other, sow the seeds of distrust within the broader community, and intimidate others into quiescence.

"This kind of attack threatens every left wing activist. I urge all progressives to come to the defense of Julian Assange should he be indicted for violating the Espionage Act of 1917."


Assuredly if we don't hang together on this we may all hang separately. Which, many people feel, is why these things were all leaked in the first place, despite being reported separately before.

..."By its terms, it criminalizes not merely the disclosure of national defense information by organizations such as Wikileaks, but also the reporting on that information by countless news organizations... It also criminalizes all casual discussions of such disclosures by persons not authorized to receive them to other persons not authorized to receive them–in other words, all tweets sending around those countless news stories, all blogging on them, and all dinner party conversations about their contents...

"Taken at its word, the Espionage Act makes felons of us all..."


Well, sure, that was the point.

Alan Grayson for President in 2012

This sounds like a good idea to me.

Official Positioners

But Mr. Greenwald, we've always been at War with Terra, right?

(1) Over the last month, I've done many television and radio segments about WikiLeaks and what always strikes me is how indistinguishable -- identical -- are the political figures and the journalists. There's just no difference in how they think, what their values and priorities are, how completely they've ingested and how eagerly they recite the same anti-WikiLeaks, "Assange = Saddam" script. So absolute is the WikiLeaks-is-Evil bipartisan orthodoxy among the Beltway political and media class (forever cemented by the joint Biden/McConnell decree that Assange is a "high-tech Terrorist,") that you're viewed as being from another planet if you don't spout it. It's the equivalent of questioning Saddam's WMD stockpile in early 2003...

(2) From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks -- the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy -- have been . . . America's intrepid Watchdog journalists. What illustrates how warped our political and media culture is as potently as that? It just never seems to dawn on them -- even when you explain it -- that the transparency and undermining of the secrecy regime against which they are angrily railing is supposed to be . . . what they do...

(3) It's extraordinary how -- even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release -- extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge. It's understandable that on the first day or in the first week of a controversy, there would be some confusion; but a full month into it, the most basic facts are still being wildly distorted. Thus, there was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables...

(4) If one thinks about it, there's something quite surreal about sitting there listening to a CNN anchor and her fellow CNN employee angrily proclaim that Julian Assange is a "terrorist" and a "criminal" when the CNN employee doing that is . . . . George W. Bush's Homeland Security and Terrorism adviser. Fran Townsend was a high-level national security official for a President who destroyed another nation with an illegal, lie-fueled military attack that killed well over 100,000 innocent people, created a worldwide torture regime, illegally spied on his own citizens without warrants, disappeared people to CIA "black sites," and erected a due-process-free gulag where scores of knowingly innocent people were put in cages for years. Julian Assange never did any of those things, or anything like them. But it's Assange who is the "terrorist" and the "criminal..."


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"it's all good"

Chris Hedges:

...Orwell warned of a world where books were banned. Huxley warned of a world where no one wanted to read books. Orwell warned of a state of permanent war and fear. Huxley warned of a culture diverted by mindless pleasure. Orwell warned of a state where every conversation and thought was monitored and dissent was brutally punished. Huxley warned of a state where a population, preoccupied by trivia and gossip, no longer cared about truth or information. Orwell saw us frightened into submission. Huxley saw us seduced into submission. But Huxley, we are discovering, was merely the prelude to Orwell. Huxley understood the process by which we would be complicit in our own enslavement. Orwell understood the enslavement. Now that the corporate coup is over, we stand naked and defenseless. We are beginning to understand, as Karl Marx knew, that unfettered and unregulated capitalism is a brutal and revolutionary force that exploits human beings and the natural world until exhaustion or collapse...

...In inverted totalitarianism, the sophisticated technologies of corporate control, intimidation and mass manipulation, which far surpass those employed by previous totalitarian states, are effectively masked by the glitter, noise and abundance of a consumer society. Political participation and civil liberties are gradually surrendered. The corporation state, hiding behind the smokescreen of the public relations industry, the entertainment industry and the tawdry materialism of a consumer society, devours us from the inside out. It owes no allegiance to us or the nation. It feasts upon our carcass.

The corporate state does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader. It is defined by the anonymity and facelessness of the corporation. Corporations, who hire attractive spokespeople like Barack Obama, control the uses of science, technology, education and mass communication. They control the messages in movies and television. And, as in “Brave New World,” they use these tools of communication to bolster tyranny. Our systems of mass communication, as Wolin writes, “block out, eliminate whatever might introduce qualification, ambiguity, or dialogue, anything that might weaken or complicate the holistic force of their creation, to its total impression.”

The result is a monochromatic system of information. Celebrity courtiers, masquerading as journalists, experts and specialists, identify our problems and patiently explain the parameters. All those who argue outside the imposed parameters are dismissed as irrelevant cranks, extremists or members of a radical left. Prescient social critics, from Ralph Nader to Noam Chomsky, are banished. Acceptable opinions have a range of A to B. The culture, under the tutelage of these corporate courtiers, becomes, as Huxley noted, a world of cheerful conformity, as well as an endless and finally fatal optimism. We busy ourselves buying products that promise to change our lives, make us more beautiful, confident or successful as we are steadily stripped of rights, money and influence. All messages we receive through these systems of communication, whether on the nightly news or talk shows like “Oprah,” promise a brighter, happier tomorrow. And this, as Wolin points out, is “the same ideology that invites corporate executives to exaggerate profits and conceal losses, but always with a sunny face.” We have been entranced, as Wolin writes, by “continuous technological advances” that “encourage elaborate fantasies of individual prowess, eternal youthfulness, beauty through surgery, actions measured in nanoseconds: a dream-laden culture of ever-expanding control and possibility, whose denizens are prone to fantasies because the vast majority have imagination but little scientific knowledge.”

Our manufacturing base has been dismantled. Speculators and swindlers have looted the U.S. Treasury and stolen billions from small shareholders who had set aside money for retirement or college. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus and protection from warrantless wiretapping, have been taken away. Basic services, including public education and health care, have been handed over to the corporations to exploit for profit. The few who raise voices of dissent, who refuse to engage in the corporate happy talk, are derided by the corporate establishment as freaks...

...as more and more people realize that they have been used and robbed, we will move swiftly from Huxley’s “Brave New World” to Orwell’s “1984.” The public, at some point, will have to face some very unpleasant truths. The good-paying jobs are not coming back. The largest deficits in human history mean that we are trapped in a debt peonage system that will be used by the corporate state to eradicate the last vestiges of social protection for citizens, including Social Security. The state has devolved from a capitalist democracy to neo-feudalism. And when these truths become apparent, anger will replace the corporate-imposed cheerful conformity. The bleakness of our post-industrial pockets, where some 40 million Americans live in a state of poverty and tens of millions in a category called “near poverty,” coupled with the lack of credit to save families from foreclosures, bank repossessions and bankruptcy from medical bills, means that inverted totalitarianism will no longer work.

We increasingly live in Orwell’s Oceania, not Huxley’s The World State. Osama bin Laden plays the role assumed by Emmanuel Goldstein in “1984.” Goldstein, in the novel, is the public face of terror. His evil machinations and clandestine acts of violence dominate the nightly news. Goldstein’s image appears each day on Oceania’s television screens as part of the nation’s “Two Minutes of Hate” daily ritual. And without the intervention of the state, Goldstein, like bin Laden, will kill you. All excesses are justified in the titanic fight against evil personified.

The psychological torture of Pvt. Bradley Manning—who has now been imprisoned for seven months without being convicted of any crime—mirrors the breaking of the dissident Winston Smith at the end of “1984.” Manning is being held as a “maximum custody detainee” in the brig at Marine Corps Base Quantico, in Virginia. He spends 23 of every 24 hours alone. He is denied exercise. He cannot have a pillow or sheets for his bed. Army doctors have been plying him with antidepressants. The cruder forms of torture of the Gestapo have been replaced with refined Orwellian techniques, largely developed by government psychologists, to turn dissidents like Manning into vegetables. We break souls as well as bodies. It is more effective. Now we can all be taken to Orwell’s dreaded Room 101 to become compliant and harmless. These “special administrative measures” are regularly imposed on our dissidents, including Syed Fahad Hashmi, who was imprisoned under similar conditions for three years before going to trial. The techniques have psychologically maimed thousands of detainees in our black sites around the globe. They are the staple form of control in our maximum security prisons where the corporate state makes war on our most politically astute underclass—African-Americans. It all presages the shift from Huxley to Orwell...

...Those who do not comply with the dictates of the war on terror, a war which, as Orwell noted, is endless, are brutally silenced. The draconian security measures used to cripple protests at the G-20 gatherings in Pittsburgh and Toronto were wildly disproportionate for the level of street activity. But they sent a clear message—DO NOT TRY THIS. The FBI’s targeting of antiwar and Palestinian activists, which in late September saw agents raid homes in Minneapolis and Chicago, is a harbinger of what is to come for all who dare defy the state’s official Newspeak. The agents—our Thought Police—seized phones, computers, documents and other personal belongings. Subpoenas to appear before a grand jury have since been served on 26 people. The subpoenas cite federal law prohibiting “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.” Terror, even for those who have nothing to do with terror, becomes the blunt instrument used by Big Brother to protect us from ourselves...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Do What Thou Whilst

What some of us will might well surprise others.

Rebecca Solnit:

Who wouldn’t agree that our society is capitalistic, based on competition and selfishness? As it happens, however, huge areas of our lives are also based on gift economies, barter, mutual aid, and giving without hope of return (principles that have little or nothing to do with competition, selfishness, or scarcity economics). Think of the relations between friends, between family members, the activities of volunteers or those who have chosen their vocation on principle rather than for profit.

Think of the acts of those -- from daycare worker to nursing home aide or the editor of TomDispatch.com -- who do more, and do it more passionately, than they are paid to do; think of the armies of the unpaid who are at “work” counterbalancing and cleaning up after the invisible hand and making every effort to loosen its grip on our collective throat. Such acts represent the relations of the great majority of us some of the time and a minority of us all the time. They are, as the two feminist economists who published together as J. K. Gibson-Graham noted, the nine-tenths of the economic iceberg that is below the waterline.

Capitalism is only kept going by this army of anti-capitalists, who constantly exert their powers to clean up after it, and at least partially compensate for its destructiveness. Behind the system we all know, in other words, is a shadow system of kindness, the other invisible hand. Much of its work now lies in simply undoing the depredations of the official system. Its achievements are often hard to see or grasp. How can you add up the foreclosures and evictions that don’t happen, the forests that aren’t leveled, the species that don’t go extinct, the discriminations that don’t occur?

...Most of the real work on this planet is not done for profit: it’s done at home, for each other, for affection, out of idealism, and it starts with the heroic effort to sustain each helpless human being for all those years before fending for yourself becomes feasible. Years ago, when my friends started having babies I finally began to grasp just what kind of labor goes into sustaining one baby from birth just to toddlerhood.

If you do the math, with nearly seven billion of us on Earth right now, that means seven billion years of near-constant tending only to get children upright and walking, a labor of love that adds up to more than the age of this planet. That’s not a small force, even if it is only a force of maintenance. Still, the same fierce affection and determination pushes back everywhere at the forces of destruction...


So be it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

xmas jollies

Dawkins on Ratzinger:

...We've already had what little apology we are going to get (none in most cases) for the raped children, the Aids-sufferers in Africa, the centuries spent attacking Jews, science, women and "heretics", the indulgences and more modern (and tax-deductible) methods of fleecing the gullible to build the Vatican's vast fortune. So, no surprise that these weren't mentioned. But there's something else for which the pope should go to confession, and it's arguably the nastiest of all. I refer to the main doctrine of Christian theology itself, which was the centrepiece of what Ratzinger actually did say in his Thought for the Day.

"Christ destroyed death forever and restored life by means of his shameful death on the Cross."


More shameful than the death itself is the Christian theory that it was necessary. It was necessary because all humans are born in sin. Every tiny baby, too young to have a deed or a thought, is riddled with sin: original sin. Here's Thomas Aquinas:

". . . the original sin of all men was in Adam indeed, as in its principal cause, according to the words of the Apostle (Romans 5:12): "In whom all have sinned": whereas it is in the bodily semen, as in its instrumental cause, since it is by the active power of the semen that original sin together with human nature is transmitted to the child."


Adam (who never existed) bequeathed his "sin" in his bodily semen (charming notion) to all of humanity. That sin, with which every newborn baby is hideously stained (another charming notion), was so terrible that it could be forgiven only through the blood sacrifice of a scapegoat. But no ordinary scapegoat would do. The sin of humanity was so great that the only adequate sacrificial victim was God himself.

That's right. The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn't think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven's sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself.

Ratzinger has much to confess in his own conduct, as cardinal and pope. But he is also guilty of promoting one of the most repugnant ideas ever to occur to a human mind: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).


Ancient evil, indeed. When Emperor Constantine held the council of Nicea the religion of the slaves became the religion of the slave owners. That's when those who would rule Rome decided what to include in the state-sanctioned religion they developed to hold together their Empire. That's when original sin, along with the policies that ushered in the Dark Ages became what's known as the Church.

Friday, December 24, 2010

missing the point

Atrios:

As Ireland lights another pile of money on fire, I'm reminded that another way to save the big banks and let rich assholes continue to receive absurd bonuses would have been to give people money to pay down their debts. Banks would have gotten their money, and people would have less debt. This would never happen because it would grossly unfair to help some people so we'll do the fair thing and just give money to rich assholes.


What's the point of having more money than you can count if you can't lord it over your hapless sycophantic servants?

some people are more equal than others

The United States government has quietly granted 10,000 companies licenses to do business in Iran.

What's the point of having an Axis of Evil if it's not strong enough to pose a creditable threat?

giving nukes to the right people with the right stuff

The Swiss have decided to prosecute the international arms smugglers who gave the Paks and by extension the North Koreans their nukes and who also happened to be following CIA orders in doing so.

A seven-year effort by the Central Intelligence Agency to hide its relationship with a Swiss family who once acted as moles inside the world’s most successful atomic black market hit a turning point on Thursday when a Swiss magistrate recommended charging the men with trafficking in technology and information for making nuclear arms.

The prospect of a prosecution, and a public trial, threatens to expose some of the C.I.A.’s deepest secrets if defense lawyers try to protect their clients by revealing how they operated on the agency’s behalf. It could also tarnish what the Bush administration once hailed as a resounding victory in breaking up the nuclear arms network by laying bare how much of it remained intact...

The three men — Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Urs and Marco — helped run the atomic smuggling ring of A. Q. Khan, an architect of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program, officials in several countries have said. In return for millions of dollars, according to former Bush administration officials, the Tinners secretly worked for the C.I.A. as well, not only providing information about the Khan network’s manufacturing and sales efforts, which stretched from Iran to Libya to North Korea, but also helping the agency introduce flaws into the equipment sent to some of those countries...


The aim of the Company is endless, low level war, and if an occasional low intensity nuke gets fired now and then- at the appropriate Company-sanctioned moment- that would doubtless just be part of the plan.

One wonders if this has anything to do with the two bombs that went off at the Swiss embassy yesterday.

Terrorists, no doubt.

blow a whistle and face charges

Stopping terrorists has never been the real goal. The real goal is intimidating you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

year of the undead weiner

We're better off without him:

One of “the best and the brightest” died last week, and in Richard Holbrooke we had a perfect example of the dark mischief to which David Halberstam referred when he authored that ironic label. Holbrooke’s life marks the propensity of our elite institutions to turn out alpha leaders with simplistic world-ordering ambitions unrestrained by moral conscience or intellectual humility...


As Robert Scheer documents, he was everything we've come to expect from those who who rule us.

Speaking of expectations, what is this man speaking about. If a Bu$h had supported the START treaty it would have been voted through with no noise. Likely, the reason it did make it through was that Poppy liked it and called off the dogs. Exploding nukes put a crimp in the profit margin.

We're told, from the One on down the bipartisan DINOcrat line, that the Great Compromiser has only begun to compromise.

We have to compromise, we're told, with those who would rule us to get laws most people support.

The zombies only want a little bite of your brain.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

don't ask don't think

Someone please tell people that spending all the political capital of the left on making sure gays, lesbians, and transexuals can participate in the Imperial carnage and be as miserable as half of all the straight adults is a lousy deal.

the difference

Greenwald wonders why The New York Pravda isn't getting the Assange treatment for leaking information about the secret war in Pakistan.

Quite simple, really. Pravda prints unofficially sanctioned links to try to convince its demographic audience of largely progressive liberals of the need to expand the War on Terra.

It is quite likely that Pravda is savvy enough to understand the slickest way to lie for your masters is to only tell part of the truth. And then stop.

Assange released unofficially sanctioned information the Company wants to use to shut down free speech on the internet.

Assange and his band of merry hackers and backers have no idea they are totally pwned assets of the Company.

shooting his horse from beneath him

They couldn't get him voted out of office, but they are happy to do it any which way they can.

...The Census Bureau announced this week that Ohio will lose two of its 18 House seats. Local news sources say that puts Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) at risk of losing the seat he has held for 14 years.

That's because the Ohio General Assembly is now dominated by Republicans, meaning the legislature will likely target Democrat-held districts when the time comes eliminate two House seats.

Kucinich's 10th congressional district is a prime candidate for elimination because it's located in the Cleveland area, which has lost population...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"Them that don't do politics will be done."

...I'm telling you that our leaders lie to us, they lie to us systematically, they lie to us with a purpose that may not be your purpose. Some of their lies, if you're a young man, may motivate you to go off some day and die, be killed, or to kill people.

And the only way you can defend yourself against other people programming you--because we are programmable, marine corps boot camp taught me that--they can teach you and get you fired up and they say charge and you will charge up the hill without asking why, and perhaps may not come down the hill feet first.

The French have a saying that I mangle in translation "Them that don't do politics will be done." If you don't defend yourself by filling your mind with a true understanding of what's happening in the world then others will fill it up for you, and then at some point in time use the information and the conditioning that they planted in your mind and breast to use you...


-John Stockwell, 1989



Next item to consider: why did they let him talk?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

blackout hole

Dave Lindorff:

There was a black-out and a white-out Thursday and Friday as over a hundred US veterans opposed to US wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world, and their civilian supporters, chained and tied themselves to the White House fence during an early snowstorm to say enough is enough.

Washington Police arrested 135 of the protesters, in what is being called the largest mass detention in recent years. Among those arrested were Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who used to provide the president’s daily briefings, Daniel Ellsberg, who released the government’s Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration, and Chris Hedges, former war correspondent for the New York Times.

No major US news media reported on the demonstration or the arrests. It was blacked out of the New York Times, blacked out of the Philadelphia Inquirer, blacked out in the Los Angeles Times, blacked out of the Wall Street Journal, and even blacked out of the capital’s local daily, the Washington Post, which apparently didn't even think it was a local story worth publishing...


Here's another blackout:

...Tonight Bradley Manning is being tortured and destroyed in a prison cell because he has been accused of trying to tell the truth about war that all so-called enlightened people know: it is brutalizing, senseless, futile and cruel. He is also being tortured in the hope that he can be used as an instrument to stop Julian Assange from telling the truth about war and the corruptions of power that all so-called enlightened people claim to know.

Meanwhile, the man who last year received the world's most noted accolade the enlightened pursuit of peace is now expanding a senseless, brutal and futile war in one foreign land into another, where he has already killed hundreds of innocent people with cowardly bombs fired at defenseless villages from robot drones controlled by armchair warriors thousands of miles away. Another 54 people died from these assassinations just last night; it is claimed they were "militants," but no names were given, no evidence at all to back up these assertions -- and no real reason at all given as to why these assassinations and escalations must continue, on and on, for years, decades, perhaps generations, we are told...


There is just no precedence to ask for the dynamite money back... if they let Kissinger keep it, obviously they'll give it to anyone.

unintended consequences

Now, if the draft is revived, you can't get out by saying you're gay anymore.

This is not a compromise worth throwing the economy- and millions of jobs- into the bank$ters' casino. On the other hand...

re-triangulating the stoned

What a marvelous year for bullshit!

And the real marvel is deep down (or as deep as these individuals go) They know it:

“Unfortunately, instead of establishing a 21st century regulatory framework, we simply dismantled the old one—aided by a legal but corrupt bargain in which campaign money all too often shaped policy and watered down oversight. In doing so, we encouraged a winner-take-all, anything-goes environment that helped foster devastating dislocations in our economy.”


Indeed.

Meanwhile, they'll likely blame it all on wikileaks, and it has been a really great week for the Great Compromiser and the Excellent Adventure.

You just can't make this stuff up; it's been a great year for bullshit.

Friday, December 17, 2010

singing in the dead of night

but only to Petraeus Caesar:

...Without much notice or debate, the Obama administration has greatly expanded the outsourcing of key parts of the U.S.-led counterinsurgency wars in the Middle East and Africa, and as a result, for its secretive air war and special operations missions around the world, the U.S. has become increasingly reliant on a new breed of specialized companies that are virtually unknown to the American public, yet carry out vital U.S. missions abroad.

Companies such as Blackbird Technologies, Glevum Associates, K2 Solutions, and others have won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of military and intelligence contracts in recent years to provide technology, information on insurgents, Special Forces training, and personnel rescue. They win their work through the large, established prime contractors, but are tasked with missions only companies with specific skills and background in covert and counterinsurgency can accomplish.

Some observers fear that the widespread use of contractors for U.S. counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Horn of Africa could deepen the secrecy surrounding the American presence in those regions, making it harder for Congress to provide proper oversight...

...Among the companies getting contracts is Blackbird, which is staffed by former CIA operatives, and is a key contractor in a highly classified program that sends secret teams into enemy territory to rescue downed or captured U.S. soldiers.

Glevum, meanwhile, fields a small army of analysts in Iraq and Afghanistan who provide the U.S. military with what the company opaquely describes as "information operations and influence activities."

And K2 is a highly sought-after subcontractor and trainer for the most secretive units of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, including the SEAL team that rescued the crew of the Maersk Alabama from a gang of pirates last year. It is based near the Army's Special Forces headquarters in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and was founded by Lane Kjellsen, a former Special Forces soldier.

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander of conventional and special forces in the war zones, is using contractors because "he wants an organization that reports directly to him," said a former top aide to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, the umbrella organization for all Special Forces. "Everyone knows Petraeus can't execute his strategy without the private sector..."


Eveyone knows, indeed.

...The Pentagon's Central Command had nearly 225,000 contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan and other areas at last count, doing tasks ranging from providing security to base support. Intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the National Security Agency field thousands more under classified contracts that are not publicly disclosed, but extend into every U.S. military command around the world. (According to reports in The Nation and elsewhere, Blackwater, which is now known as Xe, has contracted to send personnel into Pakistan to fight with the Joint Special Operations Command, although a command spokesman said the reports were "totally wrong.")

...A spokesman for SOCOM would not say exactly how many people work on its contracts, but did say that between 2001 and 2009, SOCOM's budget has grown from about $3 billion to about $10 billion. Neither SOCOM nor Special Operations forces outsource combat operations, the spokesman said. "About the only contractors Special Operations forces might have with them on operations are interpreters," he said.

However, private contractors are now fulfilling vital functions previously done by the military itself.

Blackbird is a case in point. Based in Herndon, Virginia, a stone's throw from the CIA, Blackbird deploys dozens of former CIA operatives and provides "technology solutions" to military and intelligence agencies. Much of the company's revenue—including a $450 million contract awarded last year by the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command—comes from the deployment of special teams and equipment into enemy territory to rescue American soldiers who have been captured by Taliban or al Qaeda units or have stranded after losing their helicopters in battle.

Until recently, the task of rescuing American soldiers was largely carried out by the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has recommended that the agency's parent command in Virginia be closed. If the recovery agency is shut down, Blackbird would likely pick up the rescue business as it is outsourced. In that case, recovery of captured or stranded American soldiers "won't be a military command anymore; it will be a business," said the former Special Operations command aide (an agency spokesman said, "It's too early to say what will happen.")

Blackbird is run by CEO Peggy Styer, an investor once labeled a "serial defense entrepreneur" by CNN. Last year, she hired Cofer Black, the former head of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, to a senior position. (Black hired and managed some of the first private operatives to enter Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks, and later joined Blackwater.) Perhaps anticipating a pickup in future business, a venture-capital fund launched by Styer and two other Blackbird founders recently raised $21 million on Wall Street. Blackbird did not return phone calls or emails.

Glevum Associates, for its part, has won contracts for controversial intelligence-gathering work.

The Boston-based company was founded in 2006 by Andrew Garfield, a former British intelligence officer with counterinsurgency experience in Northern Ireland. Garfield first gained public notice in 2004, when he was a key player in the Lincoln Group, a defense contractor that became notorious for engaging in a covert psychological operation to plant stories in the Iraqi press that put a positive spin on America and the U.S. war effort in Iraq. (Covert psychological operations are known in the trade as psy-ops.)

Garfield won his first contracts for Glevum as an adviser to the U.S. military in Iraq. Drawing on his experience in Northern Ireland, his company began researching the views of Iraqi citizens toward the U.S. military. At the time, "no one was doing systematic target audience research," he told me in an interview.

Glevum's contribution to counterinsurgency efforts is a trademarked program called "Face-to-face Research Analysis" that combines intelligence collection with polls and interviews, primarily for the Army's Human Terrain System—a system that some American social scientists have described as unethical because information gleaned from anthropological researchers ultimately can be used to kill people...

Glevum's corporate partners include primary contractors BAE Systems and ManTech International. K2, which declined to comment, also wins much of its classified work as a subcontractor for larger companies such as Boeing and CACI.


That's because everyone knows any culture that refuses to open corner Wal-Marts and doesn't air Fox News has to be considered a terrorist threat.

teachable moments

...should show you that some people just won't learn anything. Especially if they think they can make a bundle dumbing down:

...How na├»ve we were. We should have realized that the modern Republican Party is utterly dedicated to the Reaganite slogan that government is always the problem, never the solution. And, therefore, we should have realized that party loyalists, confronted with facts that don’t fit the slogan, would adjust the facts.

Which brings me to the case of the collapsing crisis commission.

The bipartisan Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission was established by law to “examine the causes, domestic and global, of the current financial and economic crisis in the United States.” The hope was that it would be a modern version of the Pecora investigation of the 1930s, which documented Wall Street abuses and helped pave the way for financial reform.

Instead, however, the commission has broken down along partisan lines, unable to agree on even the most basic points.

It’s not as if the story of the crisis is particularly obscure. First, there was a widely spread housing bubble, not just in the United States, but in Ireland, Spain, and other countries as well. This bubble was inflated by irresponsible lending, made possible both by bank deregulation and the failure to extend regulation to “shadow banks,” which weren’t covered by traditional regulation but nonetheless engaged in banking activities and created bank-type risks.

Then the bubble burst, with hugely disruptive consequences. It turned out that Wall Street had created a web of interconnection nobody understood, so that the failure of Lehman Brothers, a medium-size investment bank, could threaten to take down the whole world financial system.

It’s a straightforward story, but a story that the Republican members of the commission don’t want told. Literally...


Anyone with a half-open eye can see where all this is headed. Bernie Saunders, via Susie Madrak.



Well, that's a good start, isn't it?

However, it's overly simplistic. Right wingers view any government they don't control as the enemy. Although they'll trash Social Security, they're happy to put you into the poorhouse with debt to pay for a police state powerful enough to control every moment of your every day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"...it's more survivable than most people think"

The bipartisan effort to sell you a bunker, too.

...Over the years, Washington has sought to prevent nuclear terrorism and limit its harm, mainly by governmental means. It has spent tens of billions of dollars on everything from intelligence and securing loose nuclear materials to equipping local authorities with radiation detectors.

The new wave is citizen preparedness. For people who survive the initial blast, the main advice is to fight the impulse to run and instead seek shelter to save themselves and their families from lethal radioactivity.

Administration officials argue that the cold war created an unrealistic sense of fatalism about a terrorist nuclear attack. “It’s more survivable than most people think,” said an official deeply involved in the planning, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The key is avoiding nuclear fallout.”


The government would like you to ignore all that ash and dust all around you and stay in your basement. Can they sell you some duct tape? You use it to tape a plastic bag around your head. The Homeland Security link [.pdf] says: "Breathing in fallout dust is only a minor concern."

I'll say. Current nuclear devices can vaporize cities. Hiroshima and Nagasaki-style explosions were firecrackers compared to the arsenals of the United States, Russia, and China.

The biggest the Russians ever tested, the Tsar Bomba test, had a blast zone 68 miles wide. It generated enough heat to cause third degree burns 62 miles from ground zero. It blew out windowpanes 170 miles away. In 1961.



One supposes the Powers that Be have improved on this since then- but if they told us, I suppose they'd have to kill us.

That should be easier since our armed forces aren't allowed to read the news anymore to realize what they're doing to whom.

Go hide and duck and cover? Just so you don't get in the way of the Right Sort of People, I suppose, tear-assing away from ground zero as fast as their Authority can take them...

It's obviously not Patriotic to get in their way.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can't see where it keeps its brain."

-J.K. Rowling

Well said, too, Richard Stallman:

Google's new cloud computing ChromeOS looks like a plan "to push people into careless computing" by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control, warns Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the operating system GNU.

Two years ago Stallman, a computing veteran who is a strong advocate of free software via his Free Software Foundation, warned that making extensive use of cloud computing was "worse than stupidity" because it meant a loss of control of data.

Now he says he is increasingly concerned about the release by Google of its ChromeOS operating system, which is based on GNU/Linux and designed to store the minimum possible data locally. Instead it relies on a data connection to link to Google's "cloud" of servers, which are at unknown locations, to store documents and other information.

The risks include loss of legal rights to data if it is stored on a company's machine's rather than your own, Stallman points out: "In the US, you even lose legal rights if you store your data in a company's machines instead of your own. The police need to present you with a search warrant to get your data from you; but if they are stored in a company's server, the police can get it without showing you anything. They may not even have to give the company a search warrant."

...Stallman is unimpressed. "I think that marketers like "cloud computing" because it is devoid of substantive meaning. The term's meaning is not substance, it's an attitude: 'Let any Tom, Dick and Harry hold your data, let any Tom, Dick and Harry do your computing for you (and control it).' Perhaps the term 'careless computing' would suit it better."

He sees a creeping problem: "I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear."

The accountability of cloud computing providers has come under close focus in the past fortnight after Amazon removed Wikileaks content from its EC2 cloud computing service, saying that the leaks site had breached its terms and conditions, and without offering any mediation in the dispute.

...He adds: "I suppose many people will continue moving towards careless computing, because there's a sucker born every minute. The US government may try to encourage people to place their data where the US government can seize it without showing them a search warrant, rather than in their own property. However, as long as enough of us continue keeping our data under our own control, we can still do so. And we had better do so, or the option may disappear."

• Stallman warns would-be hackers not to download the LOIC software being pushed as a method of expressing anger with sites that have acted against Wikileaks - not because he thinks the protest is wrong, but because the tool's code is not visible to the user. "It seems to me that running LOIC is the network equivalent of the protests against the tax-avoiders' stores in London. We must not allow that to constrict the right to protest," he notes. "[But] if users can't recompile it, users should not trust it."


Then, without even having to invoke the specter of Big Brother, there's the simple fact that keeping all your information in the cloud makes it easy for a thief with the right passwords to steal it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

it's quite simple really



Andy Kroll:

...Indeed, pundits predict that spending in the 2012 elections will smash all records. Think of it this way: in 2008, total election spending reached $5.3 billion, while the $1.8 billion spent on the presidential race alone more than doubled 2004's total. How high could we go in 2012? $7 billion? $10 billion? It looks like the sky’s the limit.



We don't need to wait for 2012 to arrive, however, to know that the sheer amount of money being pumped into American politics makes a mockery out of our democracy (or what's left of it). Worse yet, few solutions exist to staunch the cash flow: the DISCLOSE Act, intended to counter the effects of Citizens United, twice failed in the Senate this year; and the best option, public financing of elections, can't even get a hearing in Washington.



Until lawmakers cap the amount of money in politics, while forcing donors to reveal their identities and not hide in the shadows, the New Oligarchy will only grow in stature and influence. Left unchecked, this ultimate elite will continue to root out the few members of Congress not beholden to them and their “contributions” (see: Wisconsin's Russ Feingold) and will replace them with lawmakers eager to do their bidding, a Congress full of obedient placeholders ready to give their donors what they want.



Never before has the United States looked so much like a country of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.




You birds and mammals out there not dominated by the Reptilian portions of your brain had better sharpen your wits and stay small and obscure. The terrible lizards now rule the earth, and we can't be sure when- or even where- the next asteroid hit will wipe the slate clean. Only that, eventually, it certainly will. I'm often told this worldview is depressing, but you have to look at the depression as all part of the selection process of a Mesozoic era.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

the balance

Olbermann:

privateer enterprise

via Jack Crow:

Amazon tried to sell the free wikileaks cables as an e-book in Britain before the wikileaks site yanked it back from them.

50 year plan

It's not just the United States and Britain where college graduates can't find jobs.

This is occurring even in the economic powerhouse we're told are taking all of ours.

The reality is that in 50 years the fossil fuels will be pretty much gone. Some of those who would rule us view this as a marvelous opportunity to point the larger part of humanity towards a post-industrial neo-feudalism. Restricting education makes a population so much easier to control, particularly if you need a world war or two to readjust the boundaries for the different groups of hegemon wanna-bees.

Thus the failure to develop renewable energy sources. Thus the global turn away from scientific and social progress. Thus the resurgence of old beliefs and prejudices and a new dark age.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Company Business


Peacekeepers


When Hajji Juma Khan was arrested and transported to New York to face charges under a new American narco-terrorism law in 2008, federal prosecutors described him as perhaps the biggest and most dangerous drug lord in Afghanistan, a shadowy figure who had helped keep the Taliban in business with a steady stream of money and weapons.

But what the government did not say was that Mr. Juma Khan was also a longtime American informer, who provided information about the Taliban, Afghan corruption and other drug traffickers. Central Intelligence Agency officers and Drug Enforcement Administration agents relied on him as a valued source for years, even as he was building one of Afghanistan’s biggest drug operations after the United States-led invasion of the country, according to current and former American officials. Along the way, he was also paid a large amount of cash by the United States.

At the height of his power, Mr. Juma Khan was secretly flown to Washington for a series of clandestine meetings with C.I.A. and D.E.A. officials in 2006. Even then, the United States was receiving reports that he was on his way to becoming Afghanistan’s most important narcotics trafficker by taking over the drug operations of his rivals and paying off Taliban leaders and corrupt politicians in President Hamid Karzai’s government.

In a series of videotaped meetings in Washington hotels, Mr. Juma Khan offered tantalizing leads to the C.I.A. and D.E.A., in return for what he hoped would be protected status as an American asset, according to American officials. And then, before he left the United States, he took a side trip to New York to see the sights and do some shopping...
,


He had to spend all that CIA drug money on something.

Maybe he did some investing.

comedy classic stage fright


"Off with their heads!", chanted the M!5 undercover agents


With the heavy surveillance that is British society these days, if they don't find scapegoats, you can bet it all was completely staged.

Friday, December 10, 2010

zombie computers attack



I'd sooner suck T-virus and go out looking for brains.

In case you hadn't noticed, the LOIC program acts like a virus. You have no earthly idea who you are putting into your computer. You have no idea what other spamming you're also doing.

Second point: this is precisely the excuse the Feds want to use to end net neutrality once and for all time.

There are effective ways to fight the Company. This is not one of them. Once again, the Wikileaks debacle is a boon for the police state. If it hadn't happened, they would have had to engineer it, and I'm not convinced they didn't anyway.

It's rather like having idiot Charles and his squeeze Camilla sashay into a riot with minimal security. Absolutely choreographed stupidity produces a highly prefabricated response. Now everyone's talking about the bad college students and nobody's talking about tripling their tuition.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

coming to a city near you soon

the kids are alright



Here's a nice summary of the British problem, which is also emerging here in the Homeland if somewhat less abruptly. After all, most people in 'Merika think nothing of owing a hundred thousand dollars to bank$ters that gouge them their entire lives:

...For something like 100-150 years that System required an educated, skilled workforce to tend machinery and manage empire. Thanks to advances in technology, most of that educated, skilled workforce is now surplus to requirements and the System would like Us to, thanks for everything, go away now

And before We go away, that System would like to hoover up whatever crumbs of capital We managed to collectively accumulate over those last 100-150 years...

...It would seem that, by some completely unguided, stochastic process, our colleges and universities are being transformed from institutions which produce educated people capable of productive work and critical thinking into factories which produce dumbed-down debt bitches primed for a lifetime of shitty, service sector jobs and neo-serfdom

Which is just what our establishment needs and wants

What a marvelous coincidence

At which point one could argue till the cows come home whether this marvelous coincidence is...

a) the result of deliberate planning by a shadowy cabal of finance capitalists conspiring away on a little island somewhere

or

b) the natural consequence of finance capitalists acting in their class interest without much in the way of deliberate collusion

But to be honest, as with most of these debates about whether or not a conspiracy is at work, when you are on the receiving end the motivations of the people fucking you are largely academic

Your first priority should be to relieve your tormentors of the means by which they are fucking you...


See, that's a mistake. If you don't understand the motivations of the man with the cattle prod, you won't see where you're being driven to until it's too late, and you're hamburger.

Democrats In Name Only run the show right into the ground

Head transition economist and Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, Robert Reich points out the tax deal is pure austerity-for-everyone-else republican worldview and an absolute abombination in the direction it points the economy:

...It will cost $900 billion over the next two years — larger than the bailout of Wall Street, GM, and Chrysler put together, larger than the stimulus package, larger than anything that’s come out of Washington in years.

It makes a mockery of deficit reduction. Worse, the lion’s share of that $900 billion will go to the very rich. Families with incomes of over $1 million will reap an average of about $70,000, while middle-class families earning $50,000 a year will get an average of around $1,500. In addition, the deal just about eviscerates the estate tax — yanking the exemption up to $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent.

And for what?

Wealthy families won’t spend nearly as large a share of what they get out of this deal as will middle-class and working-class families, so it doesn’t do much to stimulate the economy.

The deal further concentrates income and wealth in America — when it’s already more concentrated than at any time in the last 80 years.

The bits and pieces the President got in return — extended unemployment benefits, a continuation of certain small tax benefits for the middle class — are peanuts. After last week’s awful jobs report, Senate Republicans would have been forced to extend unemployment insurance anyway...


His conclusion?

...House and Senate Democrats should reject this abomination.

The President should get himself new advisors.


Not gonna happen on either account. Now, the House and Senate democrats DINOcrats will posture and wring hands and refuse to block passage of this, as they easily could. Even a single Senator could ice the deal by putting a hold on it.

They won't. After all, they're all going to make a lot of money off it.

And the Obamanation Hisself? Despite his posturing, you can bet this fits entirely with his private worldview. He's a Chicago School man, after all. He thinks policies that make him and the class of people he really identifies with money should be the law of the land.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

how do you know Larry Summers is lying?

His mouth is open.

We're already in a double-dip recession, Summers you asshat.

Notably, the wealthy said the same thing about the Clinton tax hikes... shortly before the longest economic expansion in the last generation.

The Bu$h tax cuts precipitated the Great Recession the same way the Bu$h War on Terra created record budget deficits.

Bombi had best listen to Krugman, or Olbermann.

But he won't. He's an advocate of neoliberal Chicago School economics. Just like the Bu$hies.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

much ado about nothing: riding a trojan horse

The Wikileaks story is decidedly not what the main$tream makes it out to be.

Glenn Greenwald:

...Anyone listening to most media accounts would believe that WikiLeaks has indiscriminately published all 250,000 of the diplomatic cables it possesses, and Gitlin -- in the course of denouncing Julian Assange -- bolsters this falsehood: "Wikileaks’s huge data dump, including the names of agents and recent diplomatic cables, is indiscriminate" and Assange is "fighting for a world of total transparency."

The reality is the exact opposite -- literally -- of what Gitlin told TNR readers. WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has. Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.). Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm...


But damn, it's a great trojan horse to bring about the death of net neutrality and greater police state control of information.

In fact, if Joe Lieberman has his way, it may result in charges against some news outlets for reporting Wikileaks reports of information they'd released prior to to Wikileaks release of the same information.

dealing the lack of a deal

If Bombi showed a fraction of the public indignation to the ones that bankroll him that he shows to his own electoral base, perhaps his base wouldn't feel him to be in collusion with said financial interests.

Monday, December 06, 2010

just say no

How easy does it get?

Krugman:

...Democrats have tried to push a compromise: let tax cuts for the wealthy expire, but extend tax cuts for the middle class. Republicans, however, are having none of it. They have been filibustering Democratic attempts to separate tax cuts that mainly benefit a tiny group of wealthy Americans from those that mainly help the middle class. It’s all or nothing, they say: all the Bush tax cuts must be extended. What should Democrats do?

The answer is that they should just say no. If G.O.P. intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it.

Think about the logic of the situation. Right now, the Republicans see themselves as successful blackmailers, holding a clear upper hand. President Obama, they believe, wouldn’t dare preside over a broad tax increase while the economy is depressed. And they therefore believe that he will give in to their demands.

But while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils.

Bear in mind that Republicans want to make those tax cuts permanent. They might agree to a two- or three-year extension — but only because they believe that this would set up the conditions for a permanent extension later. And they may well be right: if tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later?

America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis — a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending.

And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare...


Because, you know, they aren't going to cut back on the other reason the economy's gone to hell: the Endless War(s).

It's just that simple. Stop the banks from functioning as casinos. Return taxes to pre-Bu$h levels. End the endless imperial wars for the UnEmpire.

If the Austerity crowd were at all serious, that's what they'd really target. But they're not. They're using economic reasons to try to enforce a repressive police state, the same way they're using an economic draft to send warm young minds and bodies into the military for indoctrination and/or elimination.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

riding the trojan horse into the sunset of the Empire

Wikileaks is the gift that just keeps on giving for the police state.

Graduate students at US universities are being warned not to read or post links to WikiLeaks documents, or they could be denied work with the US government.

Several news reports suggest the State Department has been warning university departments that students could fail security screening if they are seen to discuss or post links to WikiLeaks documents on social networking sites...


It's because of statements like this, "WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists: Hillary Clinton memo highlights Gulf states' failure to block funding for groups like al-Qaida, Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba," that everyone already knew but that those who would own us would like us to forget about.

State is embarking on a policy that would endanger the employment of anyone working for the government who bothered to look at the front page of The New York Pravda.

Who knows? With a Hostage-in-Chief, maybe encouraging Stockholm Syndrome doublethink is now national policy.

deja vu all over again

Ah, Ireland, under the yoke once more.

“Repression, recession, it’s all the same thing, man.”
- Tommy Chong

hand in the cookie jar

Your tax dollars at work, inciting violence against you.

IRVINE, CALIF. - Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.

The undercover FBI informant - a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh - then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.

But the FBI's approach has come under fire from some Muslims, criticism that surfaced again late last month after agents arrested an Oregon man they said tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

In the Irvine case, Monteilh's mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

He had helped build a terrorism-related case against a mosque member, but that also collapsed. The Justice Department recently took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshiper, who Monteilh had caught on tape agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors had portrayed the man as a dire threat.

Compounding the damage, Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his "handlers" trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh's tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI - he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months - but that he provided vital information on a number of cases...

...FBI and Justice Department officials say that the Monteilh case is not representative of their relations with the Muslim community and that they continue to work closely with Muslims in investigating violence and other hate crimes against them. Officials also credit U.S. Muslims with reporting critical information in a variety of counterterrorism cases.

The bureau "relies on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities it serves and protects," FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said, adding that agents conduct investigations "under well-defined investigative guidelines and the law, and in close coordination with the Department of Justice."


Why, it says so right there on the label.

...Monteilh's career as an informant began in 2003. Like many other informants, he was familiar with the inside of a prison cell. He had just finished a sentence for forging bank notes when local police officers he met at a gym asked him to infiltrate drug gangs and white supremacist groups for a federal-state task force...

...Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

"She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques," he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that "Islam is a threat to our national security."

...FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers. With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI's Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.

"If we're going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you," he said, according to a video of his speech. ". . . The FBI will tell you we're coming for the very reason that we don't want you to think you're being monitored. We would come only to learn."

Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.

Worshipers said that in Monteilh's 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day and waiting in the parking lot before the 5 a.m. prayer. Monteilh said he was told by the FBI to take notes on who opened the mosque each day.

Worshipers said his Western clothes gave way to an Islamic robe, a white skullcap and sandals, an outfit Monteilh said was chosen by his handlers. As he grew closer to Muslims, he said, the FBI told him to date Muslim women if it gained him intelligence.

Worshipers noticed that Monteilh often left his keys around the mosque, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who speaks often at the mosque...

...Inside the car remote on the bundle of keys was a microphone that recorded Muslims at the mosque, in their homes and at a local gym. Monteilh, who told people he was a fitness trainer, used the gym to seek out Muslim men.

"We started hearing that he was saying weird things," said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who knew Monteilh from the mosque and gym. "He would walk up to one of my friends and say, 'It's good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad..."


Obviously this entrepreneur was simply a private contractor drumming up business.

...In May 2007, Monteilh said he recorded a conversation about jihad during a car ride with Niazi and another man. Monteilh said he suggested an operation to blow up buildings and Niazi agreed. An FBI agent later cited that and other taped conversations between the two in court as evidence that Niazi was a threat.

A few days later, Ayloush got an anguished phone call from Niazi and the other man in the car.

"They said Farouk had told them he had access to weapons and that they should blow up a mall,'' Ayloush recalled. "They were convinced this man was a terrorist."

Ayloush reported the FBI's own informant to the FBI. He said agents interviewed Niazi, who gave them the same account, but the agency took no action against Monteilh.

Still, Monteilh's mission was collapsing. Members of the mosque told its leaders that they were afraid of Monteilh and that he was "trying to entrap them into a mission," according to Asim Khan, the former mosque president. The mosque went to Orange County Superior Court in June 2007 and obtained a restraining order against Monteilh, court records show.

Soon afterward, Monteilh said FBI agents "told me they wanted to cut me loose." After he vowed to go public, he said, he met with three agents at the Anaheim Hilton, where an FBI supervisor threatened him with arrest.

"She said, 'If you reveal your informant status to the media, it will destroy the Muslim community's relationship with the FBI forever..'"

At a subsequent meeting, Monteilh said, he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000 in cash. An FBI letter to Monteilh's attorney, on file in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, says Monteilh signed the non-disclosure agreement in October 2007.

But Monteilh was arrested in December 2007 on a grand-theft charge and ended up back in jail for 16 months. In January, he sued the FBI, alleging that the bureau and Irvine police conspired to have him arrested, then allowed his informant status to become known in prison, where he was stabbed...

...In the meantime, the case against Niazi unfolded. He was indicted in February 2009 by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about his ties to terrorists on immigration documents. In court, prosecutors said that jihadist materials were found on Niazi's computer and that he had wired money to an alleged al-Qaeda financier. Prosecutors said he is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden's security coordinator. Much of the evidence was FBI testimony about Niazi's recorded conversations with an FBI informant...

Within days of Niazi's indictment, Monteilh revealed his informant status in a series of interviews with Los Angeles area media.

"I think the FBI treated me with the utmost treachery," he said in the interview with The Post.

In subsequent months, Monteilh sought out Niazi's attorneys and told them he was ordered to entrap their client.

A year and a half later, on Sept. 30, prosecutors summarily moved to dismiss the case against Niazi, and a judge agreed. The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles cited the lack of an overseas witness and "evidentiary issues." Sources familiar with the decision said Monteilh's role - and his potential testimony for the defense - was also a factor.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

the unidentified flying leaks


Grab your popcorn:

Mr Assange,
have there ever been documents forwarded to you which deal with the topic of UFOs or extraterrestrials?

Julian Assange:
Many weirdos email us about UFOs or how they discovered that they were the anti-christ whilst talking with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant. However, as yet they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules.
1) that the documents not be self-authored;
2) that they be original.
However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.


Leaked doubtless by the same people that put the "dis" in "disinformation".

The Other Agency

More high comedy on the international stage:

The US state department's wishlist of information about the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and other senior members of his organisation was drawn up by the CIA, the Guardian has learned.

The disclosure comes as new information emerged about Washington's intelligence gathering on foreign diplomats, including surveillance of the telephone and internet use of Iranian and Chinese diplomats.

One of the most embarrassing revelations to emerge from US diplomatic cables obtained by the whistleblowers' website WikiLeaks has been that US diplomats were asked to gather intelligence on Ban, other senior UN staff, security council members and other foreign diplomats – a possible violation of international law.

US state department spokesman PJ Crowley, in interviews since the release, has tried to deflect criticism by repeatedly hinting that although the cables were signed by secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, they originated with another agency. But he refused to identify it...


One hears the Guardian, in interviewing Assange, is also getting some of the denial of service attack now that Wikileaks has been run off the web.

If the D.o'D./ NSA/ CIA cyberwarriors are successful at that, and without a wealthy enough patron to buy them off advocate their end, the attacks will spread to others that don't follow the Company line.

"...an idea whose time has come"


"Welcome to the desert of the real"


Except they're not going to darken the skies to fight the machines, they're advocating to darken the skies so they can continue to burn fossil fuels.

CANCUN, Mexico (AP) — Like the warming atmosphere above, a once-taboo idea hangs over the slow, frustrating U.N. talks to curb climate change: the idea to tinker with the atmosphere or the planet itself, pollute the skies to ward off the sun, fill the oceans with gas-eating plankton, do whatever it takes.

As climate negotiators grew more discouraged in recent months, U.S. and British government bodies urged stepped-up studies of such "geoengineering." The U.N. climate science network decided to assess the options. And a range of new research moved ahead in America and elsewhere...

Schemes were floated for using aircraft, balloons or big guns to spread sulfate particles in the lower stratosphere to reflect sunlight, easing the warming scientists say is being caused by carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted by industry, vehicles and agriculture.

Others suggested assembling gargantuan mirrors in orbit to fend off the solar radiation. Still others propose — and a German experiment tried — seeding the ocean with iron, a nutrient that would spur the spread of plankton, which absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide...

Specialists regard the stratospheric sulfates proposal as among the most feasible. The U.S. government's National Center for Atmospheric Research has undertaken computer modeling to assess its effect, for one thing, on the protective ozone layer...

a report from U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon, a Democrat from Georgia who chairs the House Science and Technology Committee, urged the government to consider climate-engineering research "as soon as possible in order to ensure scientific preparedness for future climate events."

The U.S. panel had collaborated in its study with a British House of Commons committee.

"We may need geoengineering as a 'Plan B,'" the British report said, if nations fail to forge agreement on a binding treaty to rein in greenhouse gases.

Perhaps most significantly, the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC, the global authority on climate science, agreed in October to take on geoengineering in its next assessment report. Its hundreds of scientists will begin with a session next spring...

Activist Ribeiro's Canada-based ETC organization accuses Washington of taking a "coalition of the willing" approach to geoengineering, going ahead with its British ally and perhaps others, disregarding the rest of the world.

Ribeiro said the United Nations must be in control: "It can't be voluntary schemes outside the U.N. when you're talking about manipulating the climate."

Critics suggest the Americans, whose resistance to mandatory emissions reductions has long helped block a global climate deal, view "Plan B" as a "Plan A," to avoid having to rein in emissions.

The U.S. and British parliamentary reports seem to diverge on governance. The House of Commons committee concluded, "The U.N. is the route" to a regulatory framework. The U.S. report never mentions the U.N...


Doubtless Somebody realizes the potential to scam billions from the United States government to legally pollute the planet

all the right people hate him

Alan Grayson, going out with style.

On why the pundits love the Bu$h tax cuts:



On how the war is making you poor:



More true facts at those links, and that pretty much explains why they did their damn'dest to get him out of Congress.

However, they didn't get everyone:



Live free and never die, baby.

Friday, December 03, 2010

late to the party

The Electronic Freedom Foundation says we're in "the first serious InfoWar".

The first, huh? Well, doubtless the first they've noticed.

Similarly, Ian Welsh is trying to get across his realization that Bombi is, was, and always has been a Reaganite, not a liberal.

Could it possibly be that the Democratic wing of the Democratic party is realizing that things are not quite what they seem?

One doubts it. That the D.o'D. set up Assange to be a fall guy to justify the complete collapse of the internet into a corporate version of pseudo-interactive tee vee hasn't occurred to them yet. Much less that information warfare has targeted the American people since well before Someone convinced F.D.R. to let Japan attack Pearl Harbor to jump start the Second World War.

And Bombi? Like he's really going to fall in the primaries. Look for all the aggression he's refused to show against the Reptilians to surface against any real liberal opposing him. Not to mention denial-of-service attacks, too.

free market values

Dyncorp, the same mercenary outfit that bought girls in Bosnia is now apparently buying boys in Afghanistan.

Apparently they were neither asking nor telling.

Your tax dollars at work!

too crooked to be a Nigerian scammer

Apparently Big Time Dick, granted immunity from prosecution by the Bombi, is too dirty for the Nigerians.

Cheneyburton has to remember to bribe the Nigerian court system, next time.

it depends on which people you speak of

Krugman:

...The real question is what Mr. Obama and his inner circle are thinking. Do they really believe, after all this time, that gestures of appeasement to the G.O.P. will elicit a good-faith response?

What’s even more puzzling is the apparent indifference of the Obama team to the effect of such gestures on their supporters. One would have expected a candidate who rode the enthusiasm of activists to an upset victory in the Democratic primary to realize that this enthusiasm was an important asset. Instead, however, Mr. Obama almost seems as if he’s trying, systematically, to disappoint his once-fervent supporters, to convince the people who put him where he is that they made an embarrassing mistake...


I think Obomba and friends are taking care of their own quite nicely, as is evidenced by the response of Bombi's $enatorial Mentor, Joe Lieberman, who shut the site down.

But only after hearing the next release would be all about Bank of America...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

making an example of 'em

Far from suggesting that Assange himself is a Company agent, Assange's sources are compromised when they reveal wrongdoing and downright disinformation- Iran's gonna nuke us!- that has been thoroughly examined elsewhere and pointedly ignored by the main$tream.

I have no doubt that if American Justice got their hands on him he'd be in jail for a long, long, time, and probably treated with the best Gitmo has to offer its scapegoats.

The main$tream's the one owned by the Company. Greenwald captures the essence of their reaction:

...That's CNN's journalism: uncritically passing on one government claim after the next -- without any contradiction, challenge, or scrutiny. Other than Blitzer's anger over the Government's failure to more effectively keep secrets from everyone, what would an overtly state-run media do differently? Absolutely nothing. It's just so revealing that the sole criticism of the Government allowed to be heard is that they haven't done enough to keep us all in the dark...


You can bet this will certainly serve as an excuse for them to try.

I feel nothing but pity for Assange, who is being set up in a grand global scale for a lynching in a grand global style. When they capture him, they'll hammer the nails into the coffin of the free press. But it's already embalmed, people realize this.