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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Pre 9/11 warrantless domestic wiretapping

ooooo... i'm shocked, SHOCKED, i tell you...!
In a separate N.S.A. project, executives at a Denver phone carrier, Qwest, refused in early 2001 to give the agency access to their most localized communications switches, which primarily carry domestic calls, according to people aware of the request, which has not been previously reported. They say the arrangement could have permitted neighborhood-by-neighborhood surveillance of phone traffic without a court order, which alarmed them.


“What he [a former engineer ... who spoke on the condition of anonymity], saw,” said Bruce Afran, a New Jersey lawyer representing the plaintiffs along with Carl Mayer, “was decisive evidence that within two weeks of taking office, the Bush administration was planning a comprehensive effort of spying on Americans’ phone usage.”

really...? REALLY...? damn... what a bunch of sneaky guys...

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Sign Wexler's petition

see yesterday's post...

45,109 as of 4:45 p.m. PST, heading for 500,000...

The charges are too serious to ignore. There is credible evidence that the Vice President abused the power of his office, and not only brought us into an unneccesary war but violated the civil liberties and privacy of American citizens. It is the constitutional duty of Congress to hold impeachment hearings.

sign the petition here...

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Not only should you believe us when we say we don't torture, just stop asking the damn questions, willya...?

what's going on here...? imho, the effort to inure us to the existence of torture as an accepted policy of government is continuing full-force... bush will veto any bill curtailing interrogation practices (see previous post) and will spare no effort to prevent us from knowing exactly what is being done in our name...
The Bush administration told a federal judge it was not obligated to preserve videotapes of CIA interrogations of suspected terrorists and urged the court not to look into the tapes' destruction.

In court documents filed Friday night, government lawyers told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about the tapes would interfere with current investigations by Congress and the Justice Department.

It was the first time the government had addressed the issue of the videotapes in court.

Kennedy ordered the administration in June 2005 to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

Government lawyers told Kennedy the tapes were not covered by his court order because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not at the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba. The men were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes had been destroyed.

criminals are running our government... denying that fact merely prolongs their tenure and reinforces their power over us... accepting that fact without active resistance signals our defeat... so, what can we do...? if nothing else, we can insure that the truth is spread far and wide... spreading truth is an act of reclaiming our own power... truth-tellers are powerful in every society and, by doing nothing else but speaking and spreading the truth, we are doing important work...

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"But the doctors are there so that they don't die, so as to be able to torture them one more day," and torture is fully supported by our president

juan cole posts a bone-chilling interview with former u.s. army interrogator, damien corsetti, translated from the spanish newspaper, el mundo...
"In Abu-Ghurayb and Bagram they were tortured to make them suffer, not to get information out of them". And the fact is that at times the torture had no other goal that "to punish them for being terrorists. They tortured them and didn't ask them anything". That is the case of the practice known as "the submarine": to simulate the drowning of the prisoner. "They have them hooded and they pour water on them. That makes it very difficult to breath. I think you can't die with the submarine. I certainly never saw anyone die. However, they do cough like crazy because they are totally submerged in water and that gets on their lungs. Perhaps what it can give you is serious pneumonia". The civilians who took part in the interrogations used the submarine whenever they wanted. They gave it to them for five or 10 minutes and didn't ask anything".

Other torture included using extreme cold and heat. "I remember one of my prisoners trembling with cold. His teeth wouldn't stop chattering. I put a blanket on him and then another, and another, and his teeth never stopped chattering, never stopped. You could see that man was going to die of hypothermia. But the doctors are there so that they don't die, so as to be able to torture them one more day".

here's corsetti talking about his experience...

this is what is being done in my name and the name of my fellow citizens of the united states of america... ours is a country, after all, where the power of government supposedly springs from "we, the people"... and our president, the individual that "we, the people" chose to represent us among the peoples of the world, to work for our common good, and to be a shining example of the principles upon which our nation was founded, is always fully prepared to show us how it's done...
The House approved legislation [Thursday] that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, drawing an immediate veto threat from the White House and setting up another political showdown over what constitutes torture.

The measure, approved by a largely party-line vote of 222 to 199, would require U.S. intelligence agencies to follow Army rules adopted last year that explicitly forbid waterboarding. It also would require interrogators to adhere to a strict interpretation of the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners of war. The rules, required by Congress for all Defense Department personnel, also ban sexual humiliation, "mock" executions and the use of attack dogs, and prohibit the withholding of food and medical care.


Limiting the CIA to interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual "would prevent the United States from conducting lawful interrogations of senior al Qaeda terrorists to obtain intelligence needed to protect Americans from attack," the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

beam me up, scotty, there's no intelligent life here...

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Friday, December 14, 2007

Harry Reid, White House ally, and MY U.S. Senator

The criticism isn't that Harry Reid is being insufficiently aggressive in opposing the White House. It's that he's doing what he can to support the White House, serving as their key ally.

would that it wasn't true...

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Leahy and contempt of Congress - too little, too late


Dear [name redacted],

It should never have had to come to this.

Yesterday, on a bipartisan vote of 12-7, the Senate Judiciary Committee ruled that White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove are in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with subpoenas issued in the U.S. Attorneys investigation. As Chairman of the Committee, I have gone to real lengths to avoid this sort of legal confrontation, but after many months the White House has yet to cooperate with these requests from our investigation -- and the American people deserve the truth.

The President denies any involvement in the political firings of Justice Department officials. Yet he and his staff continue to hide behind the veil of "executive privilege." They have essentially asserted that this privilege -- historically applied very narrowly -- covers all documents and information in their possession. It's a dramatic departure from precedent, and the Bush-Cheney administration's blanket claim of immunity from congressional subpoenas flies in the face of our system of checks and balances.

This is not about pulling a partisan "gotcha" or scoring political points. After all, Committee members of both parties supported yesterday's ruling. No, this is about defending Congress's oversight function and protecting the right of the American people to know the whole truth about the mass firings of attorneys at the Justice Department. Withholding critical evidence requested by a subpoena is a serious crime, and it's time we reminded the President and his staff that they are not above the law.

The White House's refusal to cooperate with our investigation casts further doubt on its contention that it had nothing to do with the political firings of Justice Department officials. In fact, it's now quite clear that political officials in the White House pressured federal prosecutors to bring partisan cases and sought retribution against those who refused.

Since World War II, presidential advisers have testified before Congress 74 times, either voluntarily or compelled by subpoenas -- never once refusing to comply. Executive privilege should not be invoked to prevent investigations into wrongdoing, and certainly should not prevail.

Thank you for your support for holding the Bush-Cheney Administration accountable as we get to the bottom of the mass firings of U.S. attorneys.


Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

another forlorn plea...
Dear Senator Leahy,

As I've written previously, I am in full support of all of your desperately needed efforts to hold an outlaw presidential administration accountable. I have witnessed over seven years of determined attacks on our precious Constitution and willful repudiation of the rule of law. I have also been devastated to see Congress continuously, even with a Democratic majority, capitulate and seemingly collaborate with the criminals in the executive branch.

Contempt of Congress charges are not only highly appropriate, but long overdue. However, with the Bush administration's announced intent to prevent the Department of Justice from prosecuting contempt citations, I have little doubt that the contempt of Congress charges will amount to little more than an empty gesture. In my opinion, had you been more forceful and timely on this issue, you would already be at the point of invoking inherent contempt, but that is water under the bridge now.

Unfortunately, Senator Leahy, our nation is already well past the point where what should be an unprecedented use of contempt charges will serve to restore the constitutionally-specified checks and balances and necessary oversight granted to the United States Congress. It is abundantly clear that the current occupants of the White House, via the revelation of so-called legal opinions that were vividly presented by Senator Whitehouse in his recent Senate floor speech, will never accede to any dimunition of their vision of unfettered executive power.

My point is this, Senator Leahy. The current administration will continue its outlaw reign unabated until they are removed from office, and waiting until 20 January 2009 for that to happen is putting our country at even more critical risk than it is already. Moreover, allowing the mechanisms of unchecked power to remain in place for a new president to decide to use or not use is an even more unacceptable risk.

I beg you, Senator Leahy, take a stand for me, my fellow citizens, your country, and your oath to preserve and protect the United States Constitution. I realize that you have many competing obligations, but all of them pale when placed up against the need to defend the Constitution and rule of law without which our nation, as we know it, would cease to exist. Throw all of your available energy and resources toward ridding us of the scourge called the Bush administration. I'm counting on you.

Best regards,

rather than composing all these letters from scratch, i really should compose a piece of boiler-plate... "dear [insert name here]..."

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Faced with media censorship, Congressman Wexler pleads for Cheney's impeachment

after getting rejected by the major print news outlets, he set up his own website...

As the House Judiciary Committee continues to refuse any action on proposals to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney, three of that panel's members tried to take their case to influential op-ed pages of the nation's largest newspapers.

They were turned down by every one -- including the New York Times, Washington Post and Miami Herald -- so now one of the lawmakers has taken his campaign to the Internet.

Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) on Friday launched a new Web site, to advance his call to impeach Cheney. The site hosts an op-ed article censored by the nation's major newspapers and outlines the case for impeaching Cheney.

this must be what media censorship in the old soviet union felt like, only THEY didn't have the internet...

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The FISA bill may come up today and here's Reid's response to me on telecom immunity

a gracious acknowledgement with zero indication of opposition...
I appreciate hearing from you, and I have noted your opposition to granting retroactive immunity to telecom companies.

the nyt doesn't see harry working in the interests of either the common good or the u.s. constitution...
Mr. Bush, of course, wants fewer, not more, restrictions and wants those powers to be made permanent. He also wants amnesty for telecommunications companies that gave Americans’ private data to the government for at least five years without a warrant.

Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, seems intent on doing the president’s bidding. He has indicated that instead of the Judiciary Committee’s bill, he may put on the floor a deeply flawed measure from the Senate Intelligence Committee that dangerously expands the government’s powers and gives undeserved amnesty to the telecommunications companies. The White House says amnesty is intended to ensure future cooperation but seems truly aimed at making sure the public never learns the extent of the companies’ involvement in illegal wiretapping.

That will leave Democratic senators like Christopher Dodd and Russ Feingold in the absurd position of having to stage filibusters against their own party’s leadership to try to forestall more harm to civil liberties.

i've repeatedly implored my united states senator and the leader of the democratic majority in the unites states senate to take a strong stand for the rule of law and the u.s. constitution and the above is a good example of what i've gotten back...

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Iraq police state testbed... (Be sure to note the choice of words...!)

A testbed is a platform for experimentation for large development projects. Testbeds allow for rigorous, transparent and replicable testing of scientific theories, computational tools, and other new technologies.

iraq testbed...
[T]he Bush administration is transforming Iraq into a test tube for modern techniques of repression, which already include use of night-vision optics on drone aircraft, heat resonance imaging, and firepower that is both deadly and precise.

three choices... will it be door number one, door number two, or door number three...?
A war fighter needs to know one of three things: Do I let him go? Keep him? Or shoot him on the spot?

ya gotta love "door number three..."
Though [Pentagon weapons designer Anh] Duong is best known for designing high-explosives used to destroy hardened targets, she also supervised the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities project, known as a “lab in a box” for analyzing biometric data, such as iris scans and fingerprints, that have been collected on more than one million Iraqis.

The labs – collapsible, 20-by-20-foot units each with a generator and a satellite link to a biometric data base in West Virginia – will let U.S. forces cross-check data in the field against information collected previously that can be used to identify insurgents. These labs are expected to be deployed across Iraq in early 2008.

Duong said the next step will be to shrink the lab to the size of a “backpack” so soldiers who encounter a suspect “could find out within minutes” if he’s on a terrorist watch list and should be killed.

Duong justified this biometric-data program as a humanitarian way of singling out “bad guys” for elimination while sparing innocent civilians.

so, howrya likin' it so far...? does it give you that warm, fuzzy feeling, knowing that our government is busy figuring out how to "eliminate" the bad guys...?

oops...! bad reading... sayonara, baby...!

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A resolution to prevent Bush going to war in Iran

this moveon ad calls for the passage of a resolution in congress stating that george bush has been given no authority to go to war in iran and is raising money to run it as a full-page ad in the new york times...

click image to see full size

yeah, well, ok... let's go ahead and submit yet ANOTHER worthless resolution that doesn't address the REAL problem and watch it not get passed... oh, yay... the REAL problem is that, unless and until the current band of criminals that is passing themselves off as our elected leaders is removed, we don't stand a snowball's chance in HELL of getting anything fixed or preventing the megalomaniacs in the white house from keeping us solidly on the luge run to a totalitarian state...

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007


let's lighten up a little from the constitutional crisis...


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The tale of two NCRIs (one a "global terrorist organization") and White House desperation

deja vu all over again...
An Iranian exile group accused Tehran on Tuesday of pursuing efforts to develop nuclear weapons, dismissing as incomplete a U.S. intelligence report that Iran's nuclear arms program was frozen in 2003.


The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), which first exposed Iran's nuclear fuel program in 2002, said it published information three years ago alleging that Tehran had restarted weapons-related work after a short break.

NCRI officials said they checked back with sources inside Iran after the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) was released, and those informants reported that work on nuclear weapons was still being pursued at three sites.

remember how we were set up by this group...?

The Iraqi National Congress (INC) was created at the behest of the U.S. government for the purpose of fomenting the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. The INC has been funded since 1992. An unnamed INC offical told the New York Times in 2004 that INC had received $27 million in the last four years. [1].

In May 1991, following the end of Operation Desert Storm, then-President George H.W. Bush signed a presidential finding directing the CIA to create the conditions for Hussein's removal. The hope was that members of the Iraqi military would turn on Hussein and stage a military coup. The CIA did not have the mechanisms in place to make that happen, so they hired the Rendon Group, a PR firm run by John Rendon, to run a covert anti-Saddam propaganda campaign.

"The Iraqi National Congress, and its most famous spokesperson Ahmad Chalabi, are entirely the creation of a media strategy company (Rendon Group) doing the bidding of the United States government." [2]

and this man...?

Dr. Ahmed Chalabi (also spelled "Ahmad") is part of a three-man leadership council for the Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress (INC), which was created at the behest of the U.S. government for the purpose of fomenting the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Chalabi, a secular Iraqi Shiite Muslim and mathematician by training, previously served as chairman of the Petra Bank in Jordan, where he engaged in various cloak-and-dagger operations that ended abruptly in August 1989 when he fled the country "under mysterious circumstances" and in 1992 was convicted in absentia for embezzlement, fraud and currency-trading irregularities, sentencing him to 22 years' hard labour. [1],[2]

so, why would we want to pay the slightest bit of attention to THESE people...?

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was founded in 1981 in Tehran upon the initiative of Massoud Rajavi (Leader of the Iranian Resistance) and is closely linked to the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (MEK); according to their website the NCRI "is the parliament-in-exile of the Iranian Resistance."

"The NCRI is a broad-based political coalition comprising five opposition political organizations and parties and more than 550 well-known political, cultural and social figures, specialists, artists, intellectuals, sports champions, scientists, and military officers.
"Every part of the spectrum of Iran's social and political mosaic is represented in the NCRI, including those of religious, secular, liberal and nationalist persuasions, as well as the representatives of ethnic minorities, namely Kurds, Baluchis, Turkmens, and Arabs, Sunni Moslems, and members of smaller religious communities, such as Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians. Half of the members of the NCRI are women." [1]

In its two-day plenary session in November 2002, NCRI adopted a plan to form the "National Solidarity Front to Overthrow Religious Dictatorship in Iran." :The front was designed as a platform to encompass all Iranian republicans who "are campaigning for a democratic, independent and secular regime." [2]

In August 1993, the NCRI unanimously elected Mrs. Maryam Rajavi as President. [3] (She is now president elect)

The President and official spokesman of the National Council of Resistance is Massoud Rajavi. [4]

In 1992 Mohammad Mohaddessin was assigned chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance, a post he has held ever since. [5]

On August 15, 2003, the Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) to the Specially Designated Global Terrorist list.

putting any credence in the "intelligence" of groups like this is absurd... if you ask cheney if the u.s. should bomb iran, what is he going to say...? if you ask israel if the u.s. should bomb iran, what do you think they will say...? when the NCRI (Iraq version) was asked if the u.s. should attack and overthrow saddam, what do you think they said...? if you ask the ncri (iran version) if we should attack iran and overthrow the current regime, what do you think they will say...? the fact that the iran ncri, despite the fact that the u.s. has declared them a "specially designated global terrorist" organization, is being given prime u.s. media space to air their own version of "intelligence," suggests to me the level of desperation of the bush administration... why else would be be seeing an effort, once again, to establish a basis for an attack on iran... it must really suck to be them...

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Monday, December 10, 2007

"This is a more secure system that improves safety for everybody"

liar, liar, liar... it's another step carefully designed to inure us to omnipresent surveillance and the blooming of the full-tilt boogie police state...
Foreigners who entered the United States at Dulles airport, near Washington, were required to give officials 10 fingerprints instead of two, as new security measures were rolled out Monday.

"This is a more secure system that improves safety for everybody," Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff told a news conference at the airport.

Most foreigners aged between 14 and 79 who travel to the United States have been required since 2004 to provide the prints of two fingers and a digital photograph to US officials, either when they apply for a visa or arrive in the United States.

The data are checked against a watch list of criminals, known or suspected terrorists, and people who have violated the tough immigration laws in the United States, a statement issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said.

By increasing the number of required fingerprints from two to 10, the DHS hopes to enhance security and improve the accuracy of checking a traveler's fingerprints against the watch list, which includes data supplied by the FBI, homeland security, defense department and other US government agencies.

"the data are checked against a 'watch list'" is patent crap... sure, the data may WELL be checked against a list, but the data WILL ALSO BE RETAINED and used to create EVEN MORE LISTS that will be carefully analyzed to reveal who is traveling to where, from where, when, how often, and then added to all of the data ALREADY being collected on persons arriving on international flights, to create a extremely sophisticated profile of each individual, down to the least little bit and byte...

so what, you might ask, do they intend to do with all this information...? well, for one thing, they will use it to prevent individuals who have been deemed "undesirable" from EVEN BOARDING a flight to the united states in the first place, thus eliminating all the muss and fuss (and unpleasant publicity) of turning someone back at immigration, insuring that one and all become highly cognizant of the power of a government to restrict freedom of travel, and, certainly not least, to keep all of us in a state of perpetual awareness that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING we do is visible to those in "authority"... liking it so far...?

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A highly articulate, front-page Daily Kos post describes the problem and misses the entire point

another tragically myopic daily kos front page post, this one by hunter...

the problem, as he sees it...

In battle after battle the House and Senate Dems have made it crystal clear that they do not give a flying shit about their base. They wish we'd just curl up and die. They're happy to have the free help spreading their points, but that help does not reciprocate in any way. There's not a damn thing they'll do on our behalf, or on behalf of the voters who made their regained power possible -- not one thing. They'll even sell out Move On by name -- and all in fear of this mythical overwhelming conservative tide of voters who will wag their fingers sternly and supposedly dangerously at the slightest provocation. They spend a hell of a lot more time worrying about what the racists think about brown people, and the religious extremists think about non-extremists, and the corporate lobbyists think about corporate needs, than they've ever once worried about any of us. Their strategy is all about placating, of all fucking things, the Republican base. That's who they're absolutely obsessed with: making sure the Republicans aren't mad at them, that thirty percent of voters who would rather join militias and drift off into the countryside than vote against hardcore Republicanism anyway.

They really have learned nothing, in their decade-plus of being out of power. Not a damn thing. They're still obsessed with strategic, plodding, inoffensive timidity as the answer to all possible situations and questions. We can only be glad that the civil rights battles are largely over for black Americans, because these people would sell out absolutely anyone and anything in order to continue their consultant-honed strategy of taking absolutely no stand on anything the slightest bit difficult.

It seems hard to come to any other conclusion but that a large part of the party, people like Rahm Emanuel and Steny Hoyer foremost in that group, wants to cripple and kill us every bit as much as the Republicans do, all for the lazy-assed sake of avoiding hard fights on hard issues and being able to go back to the milquetoast, visionless blandfest that the party is at this point rightfully famous for. And the majority of the rest are more interested in their goddamn strategists than their goddamn consciences.

and that terribly mistaken point...?
It is crystal clear that the Congressional Democrats are divided and incapable at best, and incompetent at worst. We have been through month after month of similar "showdowns", followed by similar collapses. This time, it at least has a financial price attached: if the Democrats are willing to sell out on the one overriding issue that brought them back into power, in the 2006 elections, at least we know they are able to use it as bargaining chip for other issues. Somehow, that is the exact opposite of comforting.

How do we work for them, in the next election, knowing that on the central issue the last election, they are unapologetically uninterested? Nationwide, Democrats were thrust into power in an overwhelming tide due to voter anger over the course of the war, and over the governance of the nation in general. What is there, in 2008, to vote for? What possible credibility do Democrats have over Republicans in ending the war, after time after time after time of abandoning all responsibility for it?

ok, fine... i'll keep banging my lonely drum... i'll continue to play the voice crying in the desert... hey...! what's yet another exercise in futility...? here goes...


one more time...


the sooner the united states fully wakes up to this tragic fact, the sooner we can get on with hosing the accumulated sewage and encrusted excrement off of the principles that were designed to make the united states a bright beacon of truth and hope to all of humanity...

* qualifier: not ALL democrats, to be sure, but a sickeningly large majority, and, to be fair, not ALL republicans, to be sure, but an even more sickening and even larger majority...

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"Those in the private sector who stand by us in times of national security emergencies deserve thanks, not lawsuits"

i saw this title above michael mcconnell's name on an op-ed in today's nyt and couldn't resist the urge...
Help Me Spy on Al Qaeda Everybody

as i started reading it, i found myself thinking that there just HAD to be something about telecom immunity buried in there SOMEWHERE... sure enough, eight paragraphs in, we find...
The intelligence community cannot go it alone. Those in the private sector who stand by us in times of national security emergencies deserve thanks, not lawsuits. I share the view of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which, after a year of study, concluded that “without retroactive immunity, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful government requests in the future,” and warned that “the possible reduction in intelligence that might result from this delay is simply unacceptable for the safety of our nation.”

the administration broke the law by asking the telecoms to engage in illegal activity... the telecoms broke the law by agreeing to that request... retroactive immunity from criminal activity is against everything the united states stands for... moreover, having congress pass a law that overrides the 4th amendment to the united states constitution does not make overriding the 4th amendment a legal act... michael mcconnell, in the very public forum of the opinion pages of the new york times, is pushing for the citizens of this country to be as complicit as the executive branch, the congress, and the courts in the destruction of the foundations of the country... no way, mike... ain't buyin' it...

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Defending Democratic complicity

i was deeply angry yesterday to learn of the dems' five-year conspiracy of silence in covering up the bush administration's endemic violations of our constitution and the rule of law...

today, i read this from glenn...

If someone wants to defend these Democrats' complicit behavior (on the craven ground that what they did was understandable because it was politically wise), then they should make that argument. But nobody should pretend that these Senators and Representatives were "helpless" and had no options for putting a stop to Bush's torture programs and other lawbreaking if they were actually interested in doing so.

that was shortly after i read this by john aravosis...
It's also clear that had Pelosi raised any private objections during the meeting - remember, it took place in the first year after September 11 - Bush and the Republicans would have leaked that fact to the public (like they just did) and destroyed her career and marked her publicly as a traitor. No member of Congress, no American, could have spoken up about anything in the months after September 11 and survived. It's patently unfair to suggest that somehow because Pelosi didn't object then that she doesn't have the right to object now.

sigh... i am terribly disappointed to read john's perspective... hell yes, pelosi has the right to object now, but she didn't when she should have and that fact cannot be excused... would it have destroyed her career...? very possibly... would it have marked her publicly as a traitor...? quite likely... but sorry, john, i don't give a rat's ass... she took an oath to protect and defend the constitution, she chose not to do that, and THAT is the REAL treason she is guilty of...

on another note... while i completely understand that, in the bigger picture of things, what i think about anything matters little, i must say that i am liking what i am seeing of john aravosis' perspectives less and less every day... in many, many ways, i admire and respect john, but his determined blindness in the face of our nation's constitutional crisis is disappointing, disturbing, and puzzling in equal measure... while it's certainly his prerogative to form and express his own opinions, this defense of nancy pelosi is another nail in his coffin, as far as i'm concerned... ah, well...

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The Iranian time travel program

i sure like the way tom tomorrow thinks...

tom tomorrow is no doubt inspired by the neocons' truly amazing ability to take even the basest of lies and spin it to the benefit of their born-loser masters, as so clearly illustrated in the following...
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol claimed that the reason Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in mid-2003 was because of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "I believe we invaded a neighboring country in 2003 and removed their dictator and that sent shock waves through the region and at the time people were quite worried," said Kristol, later adding, "This is yet another feather in the cap for the invasion of Iraq." NPR's Juan Williams responded by calling Kristol the "iron glove," asking, "So you want us to start invading everybody everywhere? That'll stop all nuclear proliferation?" Kristol replied that if it works, it's "a pretty good thing."

the brilliant, long-term, highly strategic, and faultless tactical execution of the bush administration simply WILL NOT BE DENIED...

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sold down the river by Congress since 2002 and we would be suprised by this because?

these aren't the rightful leaders of the legislative branch of our government... they are treasonous traitors, every bit as complicit in the destruction of our constitution and the abrogation of the rule of law as the criminals in the executive branch...
In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

and this is supposed to make everything all right...?

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An Old Idea That Warrants a Re-Visit

There is an economic theory dating back to the 20's called Social Credit. The man who originally proposed the idea was an engineer, but his idea has mathematical merit. Another great engineer and mathematical genius, Robert Heinlein, expanded and refined the mathematical model. Heinlein is best known for his Sci-Fi these days. Actually, he made his living writing children's' books under a pen name. If you ever read his Sci-Fi, it is beyond "racy".
I have a short description from Wikipedia, but I encourage you to study the idea further.
C. H. Douglas proposed that because rate of flow of income received in any period of production was less than the prices generated in the same period there arose a deficiency in purchasing power in that period. He demonstrated this ostensible flaw with his A+B theorem, which states that if A is the payments made to all the consumers in the economy (through wages, salaries and dividends) and B is the payments made by producers that are not paid to consumers (such as the overhead costs of buildings and equipment as they wear out) then the price charged for all goods must be at least A+B , but as only "A" payments are received as income then incomes received were less than prices generated in the same period of production.

For such a system to sustain itself Douglas asserted that some or all of the following must happen:

People go into debt by buying on credit
Governments borrow and increase the national debt
Businesses borrow from banks to finance expansion, in a way that creates new money
Businesses sell below cost, and eventually go bankrupt
A state wins a trade war, putting foreigners in debt to us for our surplus of exports
A state has a real war, "exporting" goods such as tanks and bombs to the enemy without ever expecting to be paid for them, financing this by government borrowing
If these things don't happen "businesses are forced to lay off workers, unemployment rises, the economy stagnates, taxes go unpaid, governments cut back services, and we have widespread poverty, when physically all of us could be living in plenty."

Douglas believed that Social Credit could fix this problem by ensuring that there was always enough money (credits) issued to buy all the goods that could be produced. His solution is outlined in three core demands:

For a "National Credit Office" to calculate on a statistical basis the amount of credit that should be circulating in the economy;
For a price adjustment mechanism that reflects the real cost of production (aggregate consumption in the same period of time);
For a "National Dividend" to give a basic guaranteed income to all regardless of whether or not they have a job.
The engineer argued that this last demand makes sense now that automation and labor-saving devices have reduced the number of workers we need to produce our goods, and the hours they would have to work.

Douglas' ideas enjoyed great popularity during the Great Depression, although not enough to realize his plan.

Some prominent groups and individuals, most notably the poet Ezra Pound and the leaders of the Australian League of Rights, have subscribed to Social Credit as an economic theory, believing that it demonstrated the guilt of "Jewish bankers," who supposedly control the world's economy[citation needed]. Social Credit lays the blame for many economic woes at the feet of private banks, most especially those that practice fractional-reserve banking. Douglas turned to anti-Semitism by the end of the Second World War.[1] Anti-Semitism was not wide-spread among the theory's supporters(emphasis added), although Solon Earl Low, leader of the Social Credit Party of Canada from 1944 to 1961 was a noted anti-Semite.

Later versions of Social Credit theory
Robert A. Heinlein described a Social Credit economy in his first novel, For Us, the Living (published in 2003, but apparently written ca. 1939). (Beyond This Horizon describes a similar system, but in less detail.) The society in the book uses a method to prevent inflation: the government makes a deal with business owners. Instead of increasing prices, they cut prices, and the government (or the Bank of the United States) pays them the difference after seeing their sales receipts. Like the guaranteed income or heritage checks, this money comes out of the inkwell. In the future, the government no longer uses taxation to fund itself. The characters point out that present "fractional reserve" law allows banks to create money (by loaning out many times more money than they have on hand), while in Heinlein's future society only the US government can create US currency.

Robert Anton Wilson proposed another form of Social Credit. His plan aimed to end wage slavery, and began by offering a reward to any worker who designed him-or-herself out of a job. The guaranteed income (or, in the Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy, a lesser reward to all other workers who "lose" their jobs to innovation) would prevent starvation. This income would consist of "trade aids" which would lose numerical value with the passage of time. This official reduction in value would encourage spending and (although Wilson does not state this explicitly) limit price inflation. Elsewhere, Wilson attributed this strategy to Silvio Gesell, who also suggested the government encourage small communities to experiment with alternative economic models. If one of these enclaves seemed especially successful, the country could copy their model in place of Gesell's own plan.

Many if not all critics of Social Credit have argued that it would cause inflation.

Heinlein's presentation contains a modified A+B theorem, stressing the argument that all savings remove money from circulation. Wilson does not seem to mention this justification for the plan, stressing instead that the plan (in his view) would end poverty, taxation and wage slavery.

Don't get caught up in the Anti-Semetic issues that clouded the economic theory. A few crazies of the time gave an idea with merit a black eye. The international banking community seized upon the anti-semetic proponents of the idea to discredit the whole theory. Not good science, but politcally expedient. The theory was pretty much ignored from then on in the U.S.
The mathematics of the model can be a bit heavy, but Heinlein actually does a fair job of simplifying it in some of his writings. It's an idea that speaks to many of the failures of 20th century economic systems.
I'm curious what others think of it. Let me know.

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