Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Sunday, 8 June 2008 at 9h 9m 52s|
Spying on Americans is unconstitutional
Here is the reason we have FISA laws, and the reason why ATT and the other Telecoms should not get immunity for
Reuters: "A spate of chilling snooping scandals involving some of their country's biggest corporations has
unsettled Germans who have not forgotten the dark days of the Cold War. Revelations by Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest
telecommunications firm, that it illegally monitored phone records in 2005 have reawakened memories of communist East
Germany's Stasi secret police and even Hitler's Gestapo. [...] The Telekom scandal, based on a report that the firm had spied on
journalists and directors to find out who was leaking information to the press, is the dominant case but others have also made
headlines. Discount retailer Lidl was investigated after accusations it was monitoring staff activity -- from toilet breaks to
suspected love affairs. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn this week denied illegal snooping despite using the same firm as Telekom.
These incidents may be seen as ordinary business practice in some countries. But not in Germany. ..."
The telecoms were invited to break the law by the Bush administration as soon as they took over in February 2001. All data (from
telephones, cell phones, and emails) was sent to government servers, without any oversight by a FISA judge. And the
government did not notify the FISA court 72 hours after the surveillance was being conducted either.
This was never about terrorism. It was about political and press intimidation so they could run their agenda over the american
people without anyone contradicting their lies and propaganda. And just look how incompetently the administration handled
This has been a case history about why we have a system of checks and balances, why we have government and media oversight,
and why the consolidation of media into large holding companies is a very bad thing for our democracy. The result is group think
and government run by the selfish interests of political insiders, whose morbid stupidity does not get analyzed or contradicted -
- and now millions have died, the economy is in shambles, and we are going to have a much more difficult time getting our
foreign policy and economy in order.
You can read about the perfidy here and here.
Here is the pdf of phase Two of the
Congressional investigation on how the Bush administration purposely misrepresented and distorted the actual intelligence on
Iraq to justify the agenda. This should have been the major story in the press this last week. But alas, our media doesn't tell the
American people the important news stories. Instead, CNN promotes "Alabama drummer lawsuit", "Earthquakes in Greece",
"What will Hillary do next?", "5 of 6 missing sailors rescued in Gulf", and "Troops are on anti-depressants".
CNN did one story on Thursday, 5 June 2008. Here is that story. Naturally, the CNN story actually misrepresents the Senate report by
including choice quotations from Republican partisans and the liberal use of qualifiers and secondary phrases to render the truth
Absolutely pathetic. The media that couldn't tell the truth in 2002-2003, still can't tell the truth in 2008.
The gung-ho mindless patriots need to shut the f**k up, because they are anything but patriotic. They are slavish followers of a
small group of arrogant political nincompops who have used the bumper sticker patriots to pursue their own self-serving ends,
and will leave them
holding the debts and the debacle while they flee to their mansions in Switzerland and South America on their yachts and jet
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 9h 15m 52s|
Richard Clarke speaks ... again
Will anyone listen this time? Or watch American idol instead?
for the podcast
Clarke talks about his recent book "Your Government Failed You." He was the counter-terrorism chief from Reagan to Dubya Bush,
and resigned in disgust in March 2003 because he is a patriotic american. He talks about how bin laden was allowed to escape at
Tora Bora by direct intervention from Centcom. He talks about how General Franks and Rumsfeld refused to allowed government
oversight into their military operations. He talks about how purposely bungled the department of Homeland Security has become,
and how it is just a cash cow for political operators and government contractors that get paid even though their projects don't get
This won't be on the history channel.
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 8h 58m 6s|
Hillary is trying to strip Texas delegates
Here is yet another reason why I have become disgusted with Hillary Clinton. I quote from John Aravosis, because he says what I feel.
Hillary Clinton, champion of the blue collar, Jack Daniels' drinking woman is now trying to unseat delegates in Texas. You see, you
can't claim that the only reason you're still in the race, after you lost, is because you want to see every vote counted, and then
repeatedly try to stop people from having their vote count in Texas and Nevada, for starters. That makes you a hypocrite. It makes
you an opportunist. And it makes you a liar. It makes you every nasty thing that the Republicans have said about you for years.
Please stop proving them right.
[SOURCE: | Dailykos.com | 29 May 2008]
[SOURCE: | Americablog.com | 30 May 2008]
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 8h 44m 4s|
How Florida and Michigan happened
Before the media starts re-writing history again, and before the ignorant masses start believing the re-writes, let's all
remember how the Michigan and Florida primary mess happened.
From John Aravosis at America Blog:
The DNC sanctioned Florida on August 25, 2007 by stripping away its delegates. That made it painfully clear what would happen
to any state that moved its primary up in violation of DNC rules. So what does Michigan do one week later, on September 4,
2007? Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat, signs a law establishing their January 15th primary, in violation of DNC
rules. Michigan knew exactly what was going to happen if they broke the rules, they just watched Florida lose its delegates one
week earlier, and they did it anyway. And now they're acting all surprised.
There really are some atrocious issues underlying this entire conflict.
1. Florida and Michigan Democrats were complicit in all of this. This wasn't something the Republicans forced on them - they
wanted to break the rules, and they did.
2. Florida and Michigan knew in advance that they'd lose their delegates if they moved their primaries up. They didn't care.
3. The reason we have these rules, the reason we have these sanctions, is to protect the primary process, and in particular to
protect the first-in-the-nation status of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. If FL and MI are let off the hook, as
Hillary is proposing, then there are no rules, and we'll have a free-for-all the next time around when every state keeps moving
their primaries up and up and up until we have non-stop primaries for 4 years.
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 8h 30m 52s|
Here's a few choicey quotes from the man with military know-how and expertise:
- "But the fact is, I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But any military man
worth his salt is going to have to prepare for any contingency, but I don't believe it's going to be nearly the size and scope that it
was in 1991." -- John McCain, September 15, 2002.
- "Absolutely. Absolutely,"says John McCain, when asked by Chris Matthews, "[Do] you believe that the people of Iraq or
at least a large number of them will treat us as liberators?" -- March 12, 2003.
- "[There] there "are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today."
says John McCain, after touring a Baghdad market wearing a bulletproof vest and guarded by "100 American soldiers, with three
Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead -- April 1, 2007.
You'll have to check out the full link to read the compiled list.
Perr | perrspectives.com | 27 May 2008]
|Saturday, 31 May 2008 at 8h 19m 56s|
McCain uses a General Petraeus in a fundraising photo and fills his campaign team with lobbyists, while also pretending he's an
independent maverick. Now it seems that McCain is putting up billboard advertisements with "West Point Grads for McCain" as the
Hmmm...Paid for and approved by West Point Grads for McCain. Okay, so a few super gung-ho patriots think McCain is
the man to lead the nation down the path towards World War Three. Wowwie-zowwie.
There is a problem with this ad however, as Cliff Schecter points out:
It seems just two years ago West Point sued another group also calling themselves "West Point Grads" who were in fact anti-war,
claiming trademark violation over use of the name West Point.
The above "West Point Grads" were not partisan. The McCain Campaign is. So it's a trademark violation when a progressive group
uses "West Point Grads," but when it is partisan Republicans, it's a-ok with West Point.
[SOURCE: Cliff Schecter | firedoglake.com | 30 May
Here's the 2006 lawsuit the United States Government pursued against the anti-war group.
The United States Military Academy, a/k/a, the United States Government, a/k/a the citizens of the United States are suing a
group of West Point graduates who have organized against the Iraq War to prevent their use of the “West Point” name.
The Army warned an anti-war group of former U.S. Military Academy cadets to stop using the words “West Point” in its name,
saying they are trademarked. A co-founder of West Point Graduates Against the War countered Friday that his organization is
simply following the cadets’ code. “At West Point, we were taught that cadets do not lie, cheat or steal — and to oppose those
who do,” said William Cross, a 1962 West Point graduate. “We are a positive organization. We are not anti-West Point or anti-
military. We are just trying to uphold what we were taught.”
West Point spokesman Lt. Col. Kent Cassella said the academy sent the April 12 warning letter because the group failed to go
through a licensing process to get permission to use the term “West Point.” The group’s anti-war stance is irrelevant, he said.
“This is not a political issue. They did not ask for permission. We are doing what any college or university would do to enforce its
trademarks,” Cassella said.
The Army registered the words “West Point” — as well as “United States Military Academy,” “USMA,” and “U.S. Army” — as
trademarks in 2000 to control their use on educational material and commercial goods.
An attorney hired by Cross and his colleagues said the warning raises questions of First Amendment speech protection and
selective enforcement. Joseph Heath said he noted the concerns in a response sent to the Army on Monday; he has not yet
received a reply, he said.
[SOURCE: James Joyner | outsidethebeltway.com | 6 May
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 9h 1m 24s|
News agency polls in perspective
I was reading the Mad Biologist today, and he mentioned that he thought the news agencies should release their poll data. There
was a comment to the blog that I found interesting, so I thought I'd share it.
[SOURCE: Mad Biologist | ]
I work at a call centre where we conduct these sorts of polls. Most of our clients are businesses wanting to gather information on
the success of their advertising, opinions on future advertising, or what people think of their competitors. Every so often,
however, we do get work from news and government agencies looking to gather this sort of stuff.
I must say that most of the questions are very loaded and it usually becomes fairly obvious to me who is sponsoring the poll.
Worse than that, most of these polls are just advertisements in disguise. The way that the questions are worded makes it almost
impossible for the respondent to do anything but agree. The idea behind it is either that if you repeat something to someone
enough times, they start to believe it, or that if you present poll results that show that 90% of people agree with X, people who
don't agree with X start to feel as though they are missing something and become more open to the possibility of agreeing with X.
The people who write these polls can make the results say whatever they want them to, even on the level of the data. So my point
in all of this is just to say that the interpretation of the data you are getting from the news agencies is probably about as accurate
as the data itself. What you want is the data AS WELL as the scripts that were used to gather it.
And remember that the sample used to collect this data is a list of publically phone numbers. Not cell phones and unlisted
telephone numbers. The time's when the phone calls are also placed are between 5pm and 8pm for most polls.
Now when you get samples from a large population you first have to analyze who might be excluded, because the sample will
not be representative of the larger population UNLESS each member of the larger population is equally likely to be selected.
So who is being excluded? People with unlisted phone numbers. People who don't answer their phones. People who tend to go
outside or don't go home after work People who use their cell phones as their primary source of phone calls.
What these polls are sampling are the people who are home that answer their publically listed telephone number. These people
are probably home because they watch a lot of television. So what these polls actually measure is the effectiveness of the media
spin machine. Pump out the propaganda and then follow up with polls until the desired results appear.
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 8h 33m 10s|
Ancient microbes will accelerate Global Climate Change
The Northern Hemisphere is covered with millions of acres of Permafrost. Until the last 100 years, Northern Canada and Siberian
Russia stayed frozen almost all year long, and the ground 4 feet below the surface stayed frozen. That has changed. And this is
going to release the microbes that feed on the dead mammoth carcasses at a rate which will increase the release of methane
gases faster than can be controlled, because the microbes will all become alive and start expelling methane.
Here is Russian scientist Sergei Zimov.
Russian scientist, Sergei Zimov, has been studying climate change in Russia's Arctic for 30 years now. He is worried that as this
organic matter becomes exposed to the air it will drastically accelerate global warming predictions even beyond some of the most
"This will lead to a type of global warming which will be impossible to stop," he said.
According to Zimov, when the organic matter left behind by mammoths and other wildlife is exposed to the air by the thawing
permafrost, microbes that have been dormant for thousands of years will spring back into action. They’ll begin once again to
emit carbon dioxide and methane gas as a by-product. Zimov says thought the microbes are tiny, they will start emitting these
gases in enormous quantities simply because there will be a lot of them.
Yakutia is a region in the north-eastern corner of Siberia, where a belt of permafrost contains the mammoth-era soil. It covers
an area roughly the size of France and Germany combined. There is even more of it elsewhere in Siberia.
"The deposits of organic matter in these soils are so gigantic that they dwarf global oil reserves," Zimov said. U.S.
government statistics show mankind emits about 7 billion tons of carbon a year."Permafrost areas hold 500 billion tons of
carbon, which can fast turn into greenhouse gases," Zimov added. "If you don't stop emissions of greenhouse gases into the
atmosphere ... the Kyoto Protocol (an international pact aimed at reducing greenhouse emissions) will seem like childish prattle."
[SOURCE: Casey Kazan | Daily Galaxy | 15 May
|Sunday, 18 May 2008 at 8h 16m 1s|
The bush media covers his ass once again
So Bush stands in front of the Israeli legislature and accuses Obama of being an appeaser when he wants to have talks
Meanwhile, Bush's own Defense Secretary Robert Gates has a speech that says
that the United States needs to "sit down and talk with" Iran. Not only that, Gates added, "We can't go to a discussion and be
completely the demander."
Now of course the media jumped all over this extreme contradiction and disgusting display of dissolute hypocrisy. Wrong.
Here is Jamison Foster at Media Matters
Instead, much of the news media got busy pretending the Post article didn't exist and that Gates had not undermined Bush's
political attack on Obama. Instead, many news outlets simply rushed to repeat Bush's assault over and over again, as though it
A quick look at ABC's The Note -- which claims for itself the responsibility for providing "editorial guidance on the leading
political stories of the day" -- demonstrates how thoroughly Gates' comments were ignored in coverage of Bush's attack.
Yesterday's edition of The Note didn't mention either Bush's comments (which came after The Note was finished) or Gates'. But a
later posting did devote 341 words to Bush's criticism of Obama without bothering to mention Gates' comments about meeting
with Iran. Today, The Note included 560 words about Bush's remarks -- but still no mention of Gates....
But the most striking disappearance of Gates' comments came on CNN. On yesterday's American Morning, host John Roberts
interviewed Obama communications director Robert Gibbs. Gibbs twice brought up Gates' comments -- though when CNN aired
clips of the interview later in the day, the cable network edited Gibbs' comments to include the sentence before he mentioned
Gates, and the sentence after he mentioned Gates -- but to omit any reference to the defense secretary.
Here's what Gibbs actually said, which CNN did air in its entirety the first time:
GIBBS: Obviously this is an unprecedented political attack on foreign soil. It's quite frankly sad and astonishing that
the president of the United States would politicize the 60th anniversary of Israel with a false political attack. I assume he also
going to come home and fire his secretary of defense who was quoted in The Washington Post just yesterday saying we need to
figure -- quote, "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage and then sit down and talk with them." Them being
Look, we have come to expect, and we've seen from this administration over the last eight years this type of cowboy diplomacy.
Again, we've come to expect it. But over the past eight years it's made this country far less safe than we were.
But twice during the day, CNN again aired that clip of Gibbs -- except that it edited out the portion in bold, in which Gibbs
pointed out the Bush administration's hypocrisy. Several other times, CNN aired a portion of Gibbs' comments, without the
references to Gates.
Foster | Media Matters | 16 May 2008]
Your media professionals at work again.
|Saturday, 17 May 2008 at 8h 43m 42s|
About those employment numbers again
"Companies did not cut as many positions as expected, they cut the hours instead. The average work week plunged 0.3% (and,
aggregate hours worked were down at an annual rate of 1% in the past three months), which, by the way, would be the equivalent
of 400,000 job cuts.
This is a sign that labor market conditions and domestic demand are far softer than the headline suggests. What drives consumer
spending inevitably is income growth. Average weekly earnings fell 0.2% sequentially in April in what was the largest decline in
two years. This dragged the year-on-year rate down to 3.1% from 3.3% in March, 3.7% in February and the nearby peak of 3.8%
posted last November in what is clear disinflationary trend in wages.
The rebound in the Household survey was all in part-time employment. While there was a nice rebound in the Household Survey,
it was all in part-time employment – that is not the driver of confidence and spending. Growth in full-time jobs is what drives
those things. And, full-time employment actually fell 375,000 in April and is down 572,000 year-to-date; of the folks who were
working part-time in April, the number doing so because of “economic reasons” (mostly slack business conditions) surged
306,000 or 6.3% – again the steepest runup in two years. The diffusion indices fell through the floor to 45.4 in April from 48 in
March – this measures the share of industries adding to payrolls and shows that even though the headline job loss was lower
than expected, the decline was very broadly based across sectors.
[SOURCE: David Rosenberg | Merrill Lynch | ]
hat-tip to Barry Ritholtz at thebigpicture blog
You should click the source link and read further. Rosenberg "debunks" 5 myths:
- The first quarter GDP report says no recession
- The April employment report was benign
- The Fed is done and the next move is to hike
- The credit crunch is over
- Housing looks set to stabilize
You see, when you manage the portfolios of billions of dollars, you have to be honest. The television talking heads are for the
useful idiots. The elites don't listen to the hired hacks who promote Walt Disney World economics for the lower classes.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS