Loyalty without truth
is a trail to tyranny.
|Thursday, 26 June 2008 at 11h 17m 3s|
Democrats who voted for immunity got campaign cash
Selling out the country for $8,359 in fact. Are they clueless, stupid, insulated from reality, or blackmailed?
In March, the House passed an amendment that rejected retroactive immunity. But last week, 94 Democrats who supported the
March amendment voted to support the compromise FISA legislation, which includes a provision that could let telecom
companies that cooperated with the government’s warrantless electronic surveillance off the hook.
The 94 Democrats who changed their positions received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from
January, 2005, to March, 2008, according to the analysis by MAPLight, a nonpartisan organization that tracks the connection
between campaign contributions and legislative outcomes.
Retroactive immunity could squash about 40 lawsuits pending against telecommunication companies that helped the government
monitor the telecommunications traffic of Americans without warrants. The telecom industry has lobbied hard to insure that the
provision is included in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act update Congress is currently considering.
[SOURCE: CBS NEWS | | 24 June 2008]
Why are these companies fighting so hard to squash these 40 lawsuits? Are we a nation of laws? If you or I broke the law, would
we be able to
bribe lobby our public officials to stop the lawsuits from going to court?
This bill enables telecoms to allow the government to keep databases of every single phone call, every single email, and then
mine the data to filter for stuff. What they do with what they find is unknowable. If they decide to blackmail you, or if they put
pressure on your employer to fire employees for partisan political reasons, we would have no way of knowing, because this bill
allows the telecoms to give the government (the NSA) this data with only a written statement from the Attorney General. There is
no judicial oversight of what is being mined and who gets collected in the mining data filter. Even if the filters are 99.99%
accurate, we are talking about billions of data. 0.01% of one billion is still 100,000 pieces of information. Mistakes are going to
happen even in the most altruistic usage of this data mining, and there is no guarantee that the bad guys are more efficiently
isoltated. Are we willing to toss the innocent to the wolves merely to obtain a mild improvement? And what is going to stop large
corporations from using this power of surveillance to intimidate the work place -- union leaders and political beliefs?
Oh, silly me, this can't happen here, right?
|Thursday, 26 June 2008 at 10h 49m 18s|
The FISA capitulation
Click here to read
Julian Sanchez at the American Progress magazine on the FISA bill capitulation that is being called a "compromise" by the
clueless democratic leadership.
The FISA provisions were worked out in the latter 70's after it was discovered that Nixon and the FBI were wiretapping and
infiltrating anti-war groups. They give authorities 72 hours to do what they think they need to do the catch the bad guys, after
which they have to go to one of 12 FISA court judges to get oversight. Since the FISA law was put in place there have been about
4,000 times the Feds went to the FISA court, and only twice were they denied approval. The laws are not getting in the way of
catching the bad guys.
The administration had a plethora of evidence about the terrorist attacks that were coming during the first 6 months of 2001,
according to multiple sources, including Richard Clarke. However, Cheney and Condolezza Rice did not convene the terrorism
task force until August 6th when they were briefed about "Bin Laden determined to attack in the United States". Cheney held
secret energy task force meetings with big energy and oil conglomerates looking at oil maps of Iraq. Federal agents knew about
the flight schools. The "terrorists" were living on government paid apartments adjacent to Federal agents, and were allowed in
on expired VISA's. There phones and emails were tapped and known. Secret service agencies in Germany, France, Russia, and
Israel warned the Feds about the chatter.
The FISA laws were even circumvented, but the attack happened anyway, because the Bush administration had other priorities.
They are breaking the laws with the help of telecoms, who incidentally already routinely re-route your emails and phone calls
outside of the United States. The Feds were spying on anti-war Quakers and other anti-wars groups. Telecoms were spying on
their employees and reporters to ensure top-down control.
They are breaking the laws for political reasons people. It isn't about terrorism. It never was about terrorism.
|Wednesday, 25 June 2008 at 11h 26m 31s|
Our military contractors at work
Hear about the 22 year-old CEO smuggling shoddy Chinese weapons thru Albania -- with the help of the US embassy -
to conceal their origin before he shipped them to soldiers in Afghanistan.
The US Embassy in Albania approved an effort to conceal the illegal Chinese origin of ammunition provided to troops in
Afghanistan under a Pentagon contract by a just-indicted 22-year-old Florida man, according to an investigation by the House
In a 10-page letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Chairman Henry Waxman reviewed the committee’s findings in its
investigation of AEY Inc., a start-up contractor that received up to $300 million in Pentagon contracts.
“The Oversight Committee has received information that the U.S. Ambassador to Albania held a late-night meeting with the
Albanian Defense Minister at which the Ambassador approved removing evidence of the illegal Chinese origins of ammunition
being shipped from Albania to Afghanistan by a U.S. contractor,” Waxman wrote. “The Committee has also received information
that State Department officials. tried to conceal this information from the Committee.”
The committee announced its investigation in March after a report [from the New York Times] revealed that AEY’s 22-year-old CEO, Efraim E. Diveroli, was
selling shoddy, decades old, Chinese manufactured munitions to US and Afghan forces.
Waxman’s letter laid out the results of the investigation:
On June 9, 2008, Committee staff interviewed Major Larry Harrison, the Chief of the Office of Defense Cooperation at the U.S.
Embassy in Albania. According to Major Harrison:
• On November 19,2007, the U.S. Ambassador to Albania and his top aides met with the Albanian Defense Minister to discuss
how to respond to a request by the New York Times to visit a site in Albania where a U.S. arms contractor, AEY, Inc., was
removing Chinese ammunition from its original packaging before sending it to Afghanistan.
• As a result of discussions that went late into the night, the Albanian Defense Minister ordered one of his top generals to
remove all evidence of Chinese packaging before the site was inspected the following day. Major Harrison told the Committee:
“the Ambassador agreed that this would alleviate the suspicion of wrongdoing.”
• At the time of this meeting, AEY was under investigation for illegal arms trafficking involving Chinese ammunition. Major
Harrison told the Committee that he did not agree with the decision to remove the Chinese markings and felt “very
uncomfortable” during the meeting.
Moreover, it appears that Embassy officials sought to keep this information from the Committee. The Committee asked the State
Department to provide any information concerning meetings between Embassy officials and the Albanian Defense Ministry, as
well as any information about interventions into AEY’s repackaging operation. Although Major Harrison urged Embassy officials to
inform the Committee of the November 19,2007, meeting, Embassy officials omitted any reference to the meeting in their
Copies of Waxman’s letter to Rice and further evidence are available on the Committee’s Web site.
[SOURCE: Raw Story | Nick
Juliano | 23 June 2008]
There's more. Seems that ex-homeland security
mouthpiece commissioner Tom Ridge was a paid lobbyist for
Albania for 2 years before he disclosed it legally on June 12th of this year at the advice of his lawyers.
For almost two years former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge failed to register a nearly half-million-dollar lobbying
contract that he had with the government of Albania.
Ridge filed a registration statement on behalf of the country earlier this month after being contacted by the Department of
"It was brought to my attention after the contract expired and my lawyer said under the circumstances I probably should have
filed," said Ridge, who is a national co-chairman of Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign and has been mentioned
as a potential vice presidential running mate. "I didn't think it was [necessary] to register."
The Foreign Agents Registration Act requires agents to register with the DOJ within 10 days of signing a contract with a foreign
government and before performing any duties for the client.
Additionally, "foreign agents" must file biannual reports detailing any agreements, income received and expenditures on behalf of
foreign countries or corporations owned by countries.
Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor, represented Albania from October 2006 through the end of August 2007 on issues
ranging from homeland security to NATO membership.
On May 7, 2007, Ridge and Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha met with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Chuck Hagel (R-
Neb.) to discuss "various reforms undertaken by the government of Albania to comply with NATO and EU requirements,"
according to the FARA supplemental statement. Ridge and Berisha met with Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) to discuss the same issues
on May 8.
The time stamp on Ridge's registration statement with the Justice Department is dated June 12, 2008. ...
CALL | Laura Rozen's blog | 24 June 2008 ]
Ridge was paid $40,000 a month for these services.
|Tuesday, 24 June 2008 at 11h 45m 46s|
DNC files lawsuit against John McCain
Remember how I said John McCain was breaking the Federal Elections laws ....
From the DNC:
Washington, DC -The Democratic National Committee today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in D.C. to compel the Federal
Election Commission (FEC) to investigate John McCain's decision to unilaterally withdraw from the FEC's matching funds program
despite using the program to financially benefit his campaign - just one of many McCain campaign improprieties. To view a copy
of the DNC's lawsuit, please visit [here].
John McCain talks about setting a new standard for "transparency and accountability" yet when it comes to his campaign, he
doesn't seem to think the rules apply to him. First, he used taxpayer dollars to secure a loan to keep his campaign afloat in the
primary, a move that's clearly against the law. Then the Wall Street Journal reported that McCain refused to pay for his campaign's
use of a corporate jet - again against the law - and last week, his trip to Canada came under question for possible violations of
"Whether it's using a taxpayer funded loan to keep his campaign afloat, refusing to reimburse for his campaign's use of a
corporate jet, or violating federal laws on a foreign campaign trip, John McCain has shown an increasingly troubling pattern of
impropriety," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "John McCain tries to brand himself as a reformer but
how can the American people believe he'll change Washington when it's clear he thinks the rules apply to everyone but him? We
had enough of that with the Bush Administration. We don't need it again with John McCain."
In order to receive matching funds, John McCain signed a binding agreement with the FEC to accept spending limits and to abide
by the conditions of receiving those funds. The FEC requires that any request to withdraw from the agreement must be granted
by the FEC. FEC Chairman David Mason made this clear in a letter to McCain advising him that the law requires the FEC to
approve his request to withdraw from his contract - a move McCain ignored and cost Mason his job.
According to past Commission rulings, the McCain campaign would not be allowed to withdraw from matching funds because it
already violated a key condition for being let out of the program - pledging matching funds as collateral for a private loan.
McCain obtained a $4 million line of credit -- drew $2,971,697 from it - and documents make clear that the promise of public
financing was used to secure his loan.
On February 25, 2008, the DNC filed a complaint with the FEC calling on the Commission to investigate whether the McCain
campaign is breaking the law by ignoring spending limits in the primary.The FEC has failed to act within 120 days, so the DNC is
now asking the court to require the Commission to act on the original administrative complaint. Now that it appears that the
Senate is on track to approve the needed FEC nominations, the DNC is also making clear that this should be on the top of the
I got this from Americablog. I wonder if the professional journalist who work for the mass media will discuss this at all. Today's
San Francisco Comical headline flatters John McCain, actually giving him a front page press release by none other than political
hack Carla Marinucci. The headline: "McCain touts plans to fuel U.S. energy needs". Accordingly, the first sentence in
the second paragraph, "McCain received a standing ovation before a crowd of about 600 at Fresno State University. "
Gosh golly, you mean the packed house of idiots applauded him for his lies and misrepresentations. Nice work Carla. You write
an article about a political speech, providing a few quotes about reactions to that speech -- none of which contain anything
factual -- and this story gets on the front page.
Once again, the San Francisco Comical is nothing but an mouth piece of the political elites. You learn nothing if you read this
paper, and your mind is filled with distortions and out-right propaganda. It's shameful.
|Monday, 23 June 2008 at 23h 53m 45s|
Shakespeare wrote ...
Trust a few
Do wrong to none.
Sometimes it only takes nine words to state a life's statement succinctly.
|Monday, 23 June 2008 at 19h 29m 28s|
A LOVE LETTER
I am not the one you are searching for. That person is just a dream you like to
hold onto, and all those whom you thought resembled the picture were only accessories
to the illusions, helping you believe fairy tales and stories about superheroes
that either saved you from complete apathetic boredom, or allowed you to forget
about your tortured soul for a brief moment of time.
And when the inescapable truth comes, when the imperfections of the charade come
crashing down like the next wave on the nudist beach, you will blame the statues
you have placed in the sky, who could never live up to the expectations.
But it is your own fault, because love cannot be found in the places where you seek.
What you really want is a savior. You have no idea what love is, or could be, because
you are too self-absorbed about issues of personal inadequacy and delusions of grandeur.
You see, love is everywhere, and resides even now, within your own heart. Unfortunately,
you confuse love with a solution, and you want someone special out there in the
universe to make you feel unique and special, when you already are unique and special.
You just think having someone hold you and tell you the magic words is more powerful,
like a drug addict who cannot live happily in the moment without imbibing the deadly
You already have love, you cannot find it. Love is who you are. Love is what you
pay attention to, what you occupy your thoughts with, and what you share with everyone,
but you want to make distinctions so you can achieve self-satisfaction through some
role-playing game you call romance with those individuals who don't challenge
you on your insecurity issues. Love for you is just the path of least resistance.
It isn't anything actually deep, meaningful, or profound. It's just a poker
game with people who show you the cards you want to see while they keep their stratagems
and fears close to the chest.
Love doesn't play games with 52 cards, or strategize how to win over another
soul's heart. Love is something you have already, that is either recognized
or shared, or is ignored and kept in safe-deposit box. Love isn't a quick fix
at the 24 hour drive-thru burger joint. Love is endlessly nourishing, and always
understanding even when that which is understood is also deeply painful, because
love is painful. You cannot control it, or dress love in fine clothing. You either
see love for what it is -- or you want something else that you just like to call love,
because all ego-based neurosis indulges flattering the self.
Popularity and fame are only just another facet of this projected mental disorder. Fans do not "love"
anything. They only seek self-absolution by identifying with someone they think
is larger than themselves. If given a chance, they will tear off the flesh of stardom
and hang it on necklaces so they can possess little mystic pieces of eternal bliss.
Once again, vanity has misunderstood devotion.
So when I say, I love you, understand that those 3 simple words can mean many different
things. Love in the absence of understanding is only a lonely delusion, and if I
sacrifice my life for what I believe in, it is not because of love. It is because
that is the nature of my being, and my being is one of consummate love.
|Monday, 23 June 2008 at 8h 44m 10s|
An Honest assessment of the energy future, from a Physics perspective
Click here for
a refreshingly frank assessment of every single one of the energy options by mankind, from Professor David J C MacKay of the
Cambridge University Department of Physics.
This debate should be based upon the merits of science and fact, not colored by the self-serving motivations of Energy
conglomerates OR the dreamy notions of eco-friendly consumerism. How many putative enviro-saavy persons can't change
their own personal consumption-waste-water-usage habits -- like buying their everyday coffee with a paper cup, or taking a
shower every single day?
Our current (American) consumption habits were formed on the backs of a human revolution in relatively cheap, easily accessible,
easily convertible, oil and coal resources. The era will be ending within the next 50 years, and many of the habits we have formed
in the meantime are going to be impossible to maintain.
Read what the professor has to say, and draw your own conclusions. Furthermore, consult these two other resources
- A book by Paul C. Roberts : The End Of Oil
- The book by Professor David J C MacKay : Without Hot Air.
Don't let the mindless media pundits warp your brain with nonsense and hyperbole. You can sit around watching the Discovery
channel and the History channel, but what you really get is cheap speculative productions more often than not. Television is not a
reliable resource, and is only a substitute for intellectually lazy and socially depraved individuals who want compromised savants
telling them how to think and what to think about while spewing egregious dishonesty.
|Sunday, 22 June 2008 at 9h 52m 11s|
The FISA surrender
Click here for a solid
analysis of the FISA bill
surrender compromise that occurred this week by Salon's Glenn Greenwald -- who not
only tears it apart, but also dissects the pathetic news analysts who are inundating the public with justifications for throwing away
the 4th amendment.
Apparently, in an election year, you have to make compromises with authoritarian corporatists.
|Friday, 20 June 2008 at 11h 2m 26s|
McCain is breaking the law ... Obama is not.
Obama is not a hypocrite when he decides to opt out of public financing. Obama has not accepted any corporate funds
Lobbying PAC money, and is raising all of his millions from small online donors. 2 million times 100 dollars each equals 200
million dollars people. The star has not fallen.
But if you listen to the genuflecting press corps, you might think otherwise. Saint McCain is called "authentic". Funny. Did you
know he's is breaking the Federal Public Financing laws?
it was quite a thing to see John McCain denouncing Barack Obama for breaking his word on public financing when McCain himself
is at this moment breaking the law in continuing to spend over the spending limits he promised to abide by through the primary
season in exchange for public financing. (By the FEC's rules, we're still in the primary phase of the election and will be until the
I want to return to this subject though because this is not hyperbole or some throw away line. He's really doing it. McCain opting
into public financing, accepted the spending limits and then profited from that opt-in by securing a campaign saving loan. And
then he used some clever, but not clever enough lawyering, to opt back out. And the person charged with saying what flies and
what doesn't -- the Republican head of the FEC -- said he's not allowed to do that. He can't opt out unilaterally unless the FEC
says he can.
The most generous interpretation of what happened is that McCain's lawyer came up with an ingenious legal two step that
allowed him to double dip in the campaign finance system, eat his cake and spend it too. But even if you buy that line, successful
gaming of the system doesn't really count as strict adherence. And the point is irrelevant since the head of the FEC -- a
Republican -- says McCain cannot do this on his own.
Marshall | TalkingPointsMemo | 20 June 2008]
If you click the SOURCE link, there is a video where Josh Marshall explains the legal details of how McCain is breaking the laws in
about 7 minutes.
Click here for Jane
Hamsher's explanation of all this madness.
Here's the skinny. Basically, you can't spend more than 54 million dollars over the course of the primary election season once
you accept public financing. McCain applied for public financing in the Fall of 2007, and got access to 5 million dollars in public
funds. McCain then used the guaranteed 5 million federal dollars as collateral to obtain a million dollar loan during the primary
season. The Republican head of the FEC (David Mason) says McCain can't opt out unless the FEC says he can opt out, and told
McCain. Then Bush fired David Mason. Also, since new nominees to the FEC are being held up by the Bush administration's
unwillingness to compromise
with Congress (and insistence upon pushing corrupt individuals), the FEC doesn't have a quorum of commissioners to enforce the
law. So John McCain is ignoring the law, and using creative lawyering to justify his position.
That's the Straight Talk Express authenticity, yep.
|Thursday, 19 June 2008 at 9h 23m 19s|
Show trials are more important than the administration of Justice
According to Lt. Cmdr. William C. Kuebler, a military lawyer for a Guantánamo detainee, in a recent interview by the New York
The Bush administration’s war crimes system “is designed to get criminal convictions” with “no real evidence,” Commander
Kuebler says. Or he lets fly that military prosecutors “launder evidence derived from torture.”
“You put the whole package together and it stinks,” he said in an interview.
The lawyers, trained in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, were selected to defend detainees in a judicial system established
especially for terrorism suspects. But many of them share a sense of indignation that Guantánamo makes military justice seem
like watered-down justice. Representing detainees, said one of them, Lt. Cmdr. Brian L. Mizer, “is a historic opportunity to defend
the rule of law.
Commander Kuebler (pronounced KEEB-ler) is the latest example of a lawyer in uniform attacking the Pentagon’s legal system.
He is no natural agitator. At 37, he is in some ways deeply conventional. Married to the first girl he ever dated in high school, he
is a self-described born-again Christian and conservative who has “never voted for a Democrat.” Tom Fleener, a former
Guantánamo military defense lawyer, described Commander Kuebler, saying, “Take the average conservative guy in the street and
multiply that by a million.”
Glaberson | New York Times | 19 June 2008]
Today's SF Comical front page story?
- Cal and Tree-sitters both claim victory
- Tiger Woods knee injury
- African Penguins welcomed to new SF home
Proof again that the SF Comical isn't worthy of being used to wrap fish.
GOTO THE NEXT 10 COLUMNS