Politics Links 2

 

7/29/16


CREDO: 135,000+ Petition DNI James Clapper to Withhold Security Briefing From Trump - Trump can’t be trusted. But then again, neither can Clapper, and Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here, especially when he says that he’s only vacuuming up “the meta-data”, and Here and Here, even after the FBI had to admit that all that surveillance accomplished exactly zero, and Here and Here. But Clapper can be a very dangerous foe when cornered. Greenwald on where all this has led us.

See entries of 6/5/13, 11/18/15, 11/17/15, 1/4/14


7/25-28/16


Democratic National Convention 2016


7/25/16


UK Guardian: Debbie Wasserman Schultz Resigns As DNC Chair


Matt Taibbi: DNC Leak Shows Mechanics of a Slanted Campaign - Conclusion: “The Sanders camp was forced to fund all of its own operations, while the Clinton campaign could essentially use the entire Democratic Party structure as adjunct staff. The DNC not only wasn't neutral, but helped with oppo research against Sanders and media crisis management.”


Common Dreams: Betraying Progressives, DNC Platform Backs Fracking, TPP, and Israel Occupation - The platform committee also refused to support a carbon tax, or Single Payer! After much debate, it did adopt a minimum wage but refused to include a clause to index it to inflation. Sanders found it ‘inexplicable.’ Well I can explain it. The Democrapic party is run by corporate stooges. They answer to the oligarchs and no one else.


7/22/16


This was the blockbuster caused when DNC emails were leaked to Wikileaks:

NYTimes: Released Emails Suggest the DNC Derided the Sanders Campaign - Derided? After reading the article, I think ‘railroaded’ would be a better term. Attempts to collude with journalists to cover Sanders in a falsely negative light, scheduling debates to limit any further name recognition for Sanders, an effort to highlight Sanders’ religious beliefs. And now Hillary has chosen a pro-TPP senator  and Here, Here, as her running mate. Democrats have now given the middle finger to progressives energized by the Sanders campaign, a huge boost for Donald Trump. Democrats will never change. Screw them forever.


7/18/16


In These Times: Disappointed By the Democratic Party Platform? Follow the Money - Every single progressive reform proposal voted down, even in what is a purely symbolic document: single-payer, every single climate change proposal, any specific minimum wage proposal, the amendment to oppose the TPP...and look who finally killed that idea. It might seem odd, but the answer is clear upon examining a list of big donors to the DP. Disgraceful


Democracy-NOW: Cornel West: Why I Endorse Green Party’s Jill Stein Over “Neoliberal Disaster” Hillary Clinton


7/14/16


NYTimes: Poll Finds Emails Weighing on Hillary Clinton, Now Tied with Donald Trump - 2/3 of the electorate finds Hillary is not honest or trustworthy - unprecedented. That’s mostly because she’s not. The Democratic party has officially pooped in its own Easter Basket. Party leaders, and their gullible sycophants, passed up the opportunity to nominated a candidate who polls showed could have easily defeated any of the Rethug candidates and would have trounced Donald Trump, and Here. Too bad.


7/12/16


Shadowproof: Hard Choices: Where Does the Political Revolution Go From Here? - Now that Clinton, by the use of a ‘closed primary’ system and other means, was successful in rigging the nominating process (and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here) and Sanders has capitulated, even after the DNC refused to endorse Single Payer, refused to oppose the TPP, refused to endorse any meaningful action to address climate change, refused to support a ban on fracking, refused to support a living wage for workers, refused to end corporate welfare for big corporations that are moving US jobs overseas, refused to outlaw racial gerrymandering, refused to endorse public banking, and refused to support expansion of Social Security, where does the ‘political revolution’ go from here?


From the article:

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, who made numerous overtures to Sanders during the primary, released a statement with some hard truths about the Democratic Party. Her remarks were born from the Democratic Party’s history of co-opting social movements and insurgent political campaigns to protect the capitalist status quo from being significantly altered.

“Sanders, a life-long independent who has advocated for building an independent democratic socialist party similar to Canada’s New Democratic Party, has said that his decision to run as a Democrat was based on pragmatism, but there is nothing pragmatic about supporting a party that for decades has consistently sold out the progressive majority to the billionaire class,” Stein declared. “This false pragmatism is not the path to revolutionary change but rather an incrementalism that keeps us trapped, voting for lesser evil again and again.

“Each time a progressive challenger like Sanders, Dennis Kucinich or Jesse Jackson has inspired hope for real change, the Democratic Party has sabotaged them while marching to the right, becoming more corporatist and militarist with each election cycle,” Stein added. “Millions are realizing that if we want to fix the rigged economy, the rigged racial injustice system, the rigged health care system, toxic fossil fuel energy and all the other systems failing us, we must fix the rigged political system, and that will not happen through the rigged Democratic Party.”

Numerous campaigns and projects are about to be launched or escalated to keep up the movement energy, which has fueled a “political revolution.” There are thousands of individuals, who are considering whether to run for office. Some of them are convinced they can transform the Democratic Party into a party of the working class, however, they should not let political amnesia erase the dark memories of how Sanders was handled. This is what will happen to anyone who poses a threat to the ruling class of the Democratic Party.

The “political revolution” can expect “the ‘party of the people’ will pursue policies that may produce some minimal reforms for workers and the oppressed, but only as a byproduct of its historic role: to save the capitalist system from its own excesses in order to preserve the political status quo,” as Lance Selfa, author of “The Democrats: A Critical History,” wrote.”

6/14/16

WSJ: Orlando Mass Shooting Not Deadliest in American History - At least 100 (possibly 250) African Americans killed in one night in East St. Louis in 1917; 119 killed in NYC in July, 1863; between 55 and 300 in Tulsa, OK June 1921; dozens killed in Rosewood, FL in Jan. 1923; 32 died in the bombing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973. The “gun culture in the US has gone hand in hand with violent hatred for a long time.” “beheadings, lynchings, rapes, kidnappings, selling children, working and boiling people to death did not start with ISIL – these perverted and psychopathic practices constituted the building blocks of the American empire.”


5/31/16


The Atlantic: How Correct the Record Spent $1M to Finance A Hillary Clinton Online Troll Army - See Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here. And as of 5/7/17, they’re still out there in certain publications such as MoJo.


5/26/16


Current Affairs: Democrats Are Making a Suicidal Mistake - Hillary has a habit of lying and then lying again to cover up her first lie - several examples in this article. It is her Achilles heal and it will bring her down in November.


5/18/16


Heat St.: Poll: Third-Party Candidate Viable vs Trump and Clinton - Of those people ‘dissatisfied’ with current R & D apparent nominees (58% of all voters), 55% favor having a 3rd party independent candidate for president. Of voters 29 and younger, 91% favor a third party candidate.


4/21/16


Daily Beast: Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million On Internet Trolls


3/30/16


Salon: Please Get Over the Susan Sarandon ‘Scandal.’ The Establishment Is Not Entitled to the Progressive Vote.


3/29/16


Aljazeera: Hillary Clinton’s Faux Feminism - She has a very clear track record of harming women’s causes throughout the world.


The Nation: Distinguished Professor of Economics and Co-Director of Political Economy Research Institute Univ. Mass: The Sanders Economic Plan Will Make the US Economy Great Again - A detailed breakdown of the Sanders plan and why his critics (most of whom supported each of his proposals until he began to threaten Hillary) are dead wrong. Synopsis:

Single Payer: Countries like UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan and France, which all have some form of centralized government control of health care + price controls, use between 9.1 to 11.7 percent of their GDP on health care with better outcomes than the US, which spends 17.1%. The difference between 10 and 17 percent of US GDP is $1.3 Trillion - and this is the amount that we pay to insurance and pharmaceutical companies. With Single Payer, insurance companies are eliminated and because of the government’s monopsony negotiating position, pharmaceutical costs can be controlled. Small (and large) businesses would be relieved of the cost of providing health insurance for their employees.

$15 Minimum Wage: The Sanders proposal is to move the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $15 over 4 years. This would raise the wages of 65 million workers or 44% of the US work force. Despite the standard objections raised every time there has ever been an increase, that this rise would force massive layoffs and reduced work opportunities, all of the studies and data over decades indicates that businesses would only have to raise prices a moderate amount (15 cents on the cost of a Big Mac) because labor costs do not represent the majority of production costs and because of the savings in reduced workforce turnover and absenteeism. In addition, putting more money in the pockets of working people means more spending and thus increased economic activity.

Taxing Wall St. aka the Inclusive Prosperity Act: A tax of 0.5% on stock trades, 0.1% on bond trades, and 0.005% on the underlying value of derivatives trade; or $5 on a $1,000 stock trade, $1 on a $1,000 bond and 5 cents on a $1,000 derivatives trade. Is that too much to ask when the average sales tax that you and I pay on every purchase is 8.4%? This tax serves two purposes: a damper on speculation and investment bubbles and a large new source of government revenues which could be used to eliminate student debt, and pay for clean energy and infrastructure improvements which translates into more job opportunities. Even if this tax reduced Wall St. trading by 50%, it would still generate $300 Billion per year in new revenues. The cost of Sanders’ free-college-tuition program is $75 Billion per year. Detractors like to say that financial market trading would decrease by 80-90%, a number which is not supported by the experiences of every country (UK, France, Italy, Hong Kong and Taiwan) that has so far implemented such a tax.

Overall Economic Growth: Critics like to quibble with the estimates of overall jobs and economic growth, but they miss the point. None of the critics claim that Sanders’ proposals would lower that growth, only that it might not be what is predicted by its proponents. Both camps (implicitly or explicitly) agree that these changes would raise living standards and reduce insecurity for working people and the poor, expand educational opportunities and reverse the decades-long trend towards rising inequality. They would bring Wall St. dominance under control and help prevent a repeat of the financial crisis. They would also strongly support investments in education, clean energy, and public infrastructure, generating millions of good jobs in the process.

Summary:  None of Sanders’s liberal critics have shown how, overall, these developments would be harmful to economic growth. In fact, there are several channels through which they support growth. A single-payer healthcare system would relieve businesses of having to cover health insurance costs for their employees. Higher average wages and greater overall equality will put more money in the pockets of most US consumers, enabling them to buy more from US businesses. Investments in education and infrastructure will raise US productivity and global competitiveness over the long term, as well as expand job opportunities in the short term. Large-scale investments to build a clean-energy economy, finally, is the only way in which any level of economic growth can be made compatible with stabilizing the climate.


3/26/16


UK Spectator: Yes, Donald Trump Is Grotesque But I Will Never Vote for Hillary Clinton - A great summarization of some of the reasons why voting for “the lesser of two evils” is no longer an option.


3/25/16


Matt Taibbi: Why Young People Are Right About Hillary Clinton - Synopsis: They refuse to succumb to the politics of ‘triangulation’, fear, and lesser evil. They don’t believe that politicians of Hillary’s generation even know what’s ‘realistic.’ They know that politicians who say they can take the money and still do what’s right, mostly just end up taking the money.


For young voters, the foundational issues of our age have been the Iraq invasion, the financial crisis, free trade, mass incarceration, domestic surveillance, police brutality, debt and income inequality, among others.

And to one degree or another, the modern Democratic Party, often including Hillary Clinton personally, has been on the wrong side of virtually all of these issues.”

3/23/16

Democracy-NOW: Debate: Who is the Best Democrat to Beat Donald Trump? - ...or any rethug candidate? Hillary is competent, intelligent with lots of experience at the highest level of government. She has the skills and the knowledge. But the one thing she doesn’t have is integrity.


She constantly tailors her message - her flip-flops would take a full page - to whatever the polls are currently showing. She sometimes even re-tweets whatever Bernie says. If she is elected, it doesn’t matter what she says. Wall St. and multi-national corporations will be in charge. That is her track record and those are her contributors.


The middle-class and the poor will continue their downward spiral. The fascist police-state that she will very efficiently put in place will be much worse than anything the bumbling rethugs could ever do. If she is elected, her supporters will be complicit in the continued surveillance, corporate welfare, wars, murder and repression in dictatorships that she supports, and continued suppression of any and every dissenting voice.


3/1/16

The Nation: Why It Matters That Hillary Clinton Championed Welfare Reform - Hillary’s running this time as a “pragmatic progressive,” kind of like George Bush’s “compassionate conservative.” Basically for Hillary it means anything truly progressive is “not realistic.” She’s great with her loaded terms, like calling all young black men “super-predators.”


The Clintons’ welfare reform (the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Reconciliation Act - PRWORA) changed welfare from a federal program to block grants directly to each state to handle as they wished. The new program was called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). It’s strict work requirements made it almost impossible for working moms to attend college.


Bill and Hillary’s welfare reform has “driven an historic number of black and Latino children into deep poverty.” Using loaded terminology such as “dependent” instead of black and Hispanic; “a hand up-not a hand out”; poor women kicked off the welfare rolls were “no longer deadbeats”. It led to a sharp increase in families living in extreme poverty. The people most in need, families of color and families with working moms, “fell through the shredded safety net, making it increasingly difficult to escape poverty.” What’s that about defending working women, Hillary?


Hillary has defended her work rounding up votes for this 1996 bill as late as 2008. In this campaign she avoids the issue. “The “reformed” welfare system provides little safety net, and no hand up. Instead, it traps poor mothers into exploitative, poverty-wage jobs and dangerous personal situations, deters them from college, and contributes to the growing trend of poor mothers who can neither find a job nor access public assistance. It is our failed social policy...that is responsible for crisis-level poverty in the United States.”


“In 2014, a record 47 million Americans - nearly one in six - lived below the poverty line. Economic deprivation is closely tied to racial inequality, as poverty rates for Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and SE Asians range between 23 and 38 percent, compared to 10 percent for whites.” Because of wage discrimination in the workplace, these numbers always hit women and single moms the worst.


Before the Clintons’ ‘welfare reform,’ cash assistance reached 68 percent of eligible poor households. After ‘welfare reform’ that number dropped to 26 percent.


The US now has the highest child poverty rate in the industrialized world. Most of the other nations in this category have programs for cash transfers to children in economically struggling households. The child poverty rate in Denmark is 2.7%, Finland: 4.6%, Norway: 5.9%. In the USA it is 19.6%. There are now 2.5 million homeless children in America.


1/22/16


Washington Post: 76 Trump Campaign Promises


1/12/16


Medium: Organize or Die - A great 10 minute read on the limitations of voting. The author lists the 9 ways that voting is limited (both the act of voting and the effects of voting) and obstructed.  “the vote is one of the most powerful methods to discipline citizens along a patriarchal, heteronormative, and capitalist status quo. It encourages people to give themselves over to a corrupt social order...greater access to the vote has typically been a byproduct of powerful grassroots movements for greater social, political, and economic equity. Movements whose origins, though they have varied deeply, have always exercised a willingness to act outside the narrow confines of electoral politics. It is this willingness, and the actions that followed, not ballots, that have brought about change.”


Howard Zinn: “Voting is marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens.”


Nine ways voting is limited:

  1. 1.Frequency

  2. 2. Time and location

  3. 3. How candidates are chosen

  4. 4. Oligarchy and Plutocracy

  5. 5. Most policy is not made by elected officials

  6. 6. Citizens have no say whatever in how policy is made

  7. 7. Disenfranchisement

  8. 8. Gerrymandering

  9. 9. Apathy caused by disempowerment


12/2/15


Truth Out: Hillary Clinton’s Ghosts: A Legacy of Pushing the Democratic Party to the Right - Whenever she is confronted with her ties to Wall Street, she adopts the language of Bernie Sanders. However, she’s a New Democrat - funded by Wall Street and the largest multi-national corporations, constantly pulling the party to the right. This group, behind closed doors is pledged to fiscal restraint, less government pro-business, pro-‘free market’ ideology. This is also true for every other powerful member of the Democratic party and following right in the footsteps of the old DLC which for example took down Howard Dean the moment he became anti-war and pro-Single Payer. Very interesting historical detail and lots of good links in this article. This is the real Hillary Clinton - her fake populism is not too hot, not too cold, but just fake enough.


11/18/15


ProPublica: What’s the Evidence Mass Surveillance Works? None.


11/17/15


Intercept: US Mass Surveillance Has No Record of Thwarting Large Terror Attacks, Regardless of Snowden Leaks See entry of 1/4/14.


11/12/15


Telesur: Taxpayer Money Wasted by FBI Spying/Infiltrating Peaceful Demonstrators Against School of the Americas - Just as they did against Occupy, and Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, Here, and Here.


9/2/15


Washington Post: Judge Lays Out Path to Revive Challenge to NSA Phone Surveillance Program - See entries of 12/27 and 12/16/13.


8/12/15


NYTimes: NSA Used Phone Records to Seek Iran Operatives - The interesting thing about this article, which originally was placed on page 14 of the print edition, is that buried way down in paragraph 12 there is this: “After praising the program as crucial to preventing terrorist attacks, intelligence agency officials now say that it has never thwarted one.” After telling us for years, all over cable, radio and print media that mass surveillance had thwarted at least 54 terrorist attacks, and Here, and Here, and now that the 4th Amendment has been completely shredded in the interest of nonexistent national security, the NYTimes buries that statement so far down that most people will never see it. Here’s a big surprise: NSA officials lie and Here, Here, Here, Here and Here every time they speak and they always will. Neither the MSM nor Rethugs or Democraps will ever hold them accountable. The Church Committee was a ‘lesson of history.’ By not learning that lesson, we have now repeated it.


7/10/15


UK Guardian: Pope Francis: “Unbridled Capitalism Is The Dung of the Devil” - "Let us not be afraid to say it: we want change, real change, structural change," the Pope declared, as he blasted a system of unbridled capitalism across the planet that "has imposed the mentality of profit at any price, with no concern for social exclusion or the destruction of nature." “This system is by now intolerable: farm workers find it intolerable, laborers find it intolerable, communities find it intolerable, peoples find it intolerable. The earth itself – our sister, Mother Earth, as Saint Francis would say – also finds it intolerable,” Referring to IMF policies in the 3rd world: “The new colonialism takes on different faces. At times it appears as the anonymous influence of mammon: corporations, loan agencies, certain ‘free trade’ treaties, and the imposition of measures of ‘austerity’ which always tighten the belt of workers and the poor,” he said. He defended labor unions and praised poor people who had formed cooperatives to create jobs where previously “there were only crumbs of an idolatrous economy”.


4/23/15


NYTimes: Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal


4/8/15


USA Today: US Secretly Tracked Billions of Phone Calls Illegally Prior to 9/11 and Democracy-NOW - Conclusion: The statement that we need to continue blanket NSA surveillance of all forms of communication in order to prevent another 911 is false. Blanket surveillance prior to 911 didn’t prevent anything. See entry of 12/30/13, 9/11/12, 5/14/12, 9/9/11.


12/4/14


PC World: Judge: Give NSA Unlimited Access - When a US Court of Appeals Justice says, “Privacy is overrated.” our nation is in deep trouble.


7/21/14


UK Guardian: Human Rights Watch: Most High-Profile US ‘Terror Plots’ Are Actually the Brain Children of FBI and Human Rights Watch - MoJo reported on this months ago, but at least now an internationally recognized watchdog group is bringing it to the world’s attention. The FBI hires a paid informant (already a conflict of interest) to invent the plot, recruit the victim - normally an individual with compromised mental ability, provide the materials, provide and drive the transportation, then make the arrest. That’s known as entrapment. Then they hold a news conference which the stenographic media attends and takes down everything the FBI says verbatim, without asking any real questions. To read MSM coverage of these ‘terror plots,’ you’d never know. This then becomes the rationale behind universal suspicion-less eavesdropping on all forms of communication everywhere - here on American citizens and abroad, not to mention the multi-billion dollar industry that goes along with it and the War On Terror and the Homeland Security Agency.


Minn. Public Radio: Betrayed By Silence - An extremely long article regarding the entire sordid and evil history of child abuse in the Catholic Church and its ongoing and unrelenting efforts to avoid any form of responsibility. I still have the utmost respect for devout believers of any faith, but I will never enter a Catholic Church again. Charges were finally brought in June, 2015


6/26/14


NYTimes: Court Rejects Zone to Buffer Abortion Clinics and LA Times - Unanimous. So much for those who, despite his war crimes etc etc, advocated for re-electing Obama - because he might get another Whore Court nominee. Here’s what those nominees did to us. This decision and the Court’s unanimous rejection of all Guantanamo appeals, even for prisoners who had nothing to do with al Qaeda or any of the fighting and had been approved for release by Obama’s Guantanamo Review Task Force, stand as the two most egregious by Obama appointees.


5/21/14


BBC: The Best Way to Win An Argument - “They were asked to trace, step by step, from start to finish, the causal path from the policy to the effects it was supposed to have.”


5/8/14


The Intercept: Keith Alexander Unplugged - “Obama, in 2008, specifically vowed to his followers angered over his campaign-season NSA reversal that he possessed “the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.” He never mentioned it again. Amazing to think about that now!


5/5/14


Atlantic: Which States Are Givers and Which Are Takers? - Red states talk a good game, but the fact is, the redder the state, the more federal they take per capita. The let the Blue states pay the majority of the their bills.


4/14/14


Common Dreams: Pulitzer Vindication: Snowden Journalists Win Top Award and UK Guardian - In addition to the Polk Award and Ridenhour Award. Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill, Barton Gellman. See entries of 4/11, 4/6, 2/17/14.


4/11/14


NYTimes: Journalists Who Broke News on NSA Surveillance Receive Polk Award - and Here and Here


4/6/14


NYTimes: Snowden, Poitras Receive Truth-Telling Award - Adding to a growing list of recognitions for their heroic actions.


4/1/14


Common Dreams: Clapper Caught In Yet Another Lie and UK Guardian - It wasn’t and isn’t just ‘meta-data.’ He’s a pathological liar.


2/17/14


Truthdig: Honoring the ‘Accomplices’ To Truth Who Caught Clapper In A Lie and Occupy.com - Greenwald, Poitras, Gellman, MacAskill.


1/21/14


Bloomberg: Snowden Seeking Russian Protection After Threats and NYTimes - Just like the well orchestrated propaganda buildup over WMDs in Iraq and the ‘smoking gun; mushroom cloud’ blitz that began on all the Sunday talk shows on 9/8/2002; the propaganda blitz, again without one single bit of evidence, that ‘Snowden had to have Russian help’ because he ‘couldn’t have done this by himself’ began Sunday 1/19/14, and will continue from both corporate parties. Now he’s received death threats from the US government. This is the behavior of thugs - which is what our 2 party system has become. Booz-Allen, partially owned by the Carlyle Group, which currently makes $1.3 Billion/year in government contracts to illegally snoop on the American public, has $5 Billion in the pipeline and continues the revolving door relationship with our ‘national security’ apparatus, wants to make an example of this guy. And so do its obedient proxies in our government and fake news media.


1/4/14


NYTimes: Moves To Curb Spying Help Drive the Clemency Argument for Snowden - There is a reason why the most flagrant abusers of the 4th Amendment want Snowden’s head - he revealed their illegal behavior. But remember they are all liars and Here and Here and Here. The infamous “54 Attacks Thwarted” line is pure baloney and Here. There has been essentially no damage from any of the leaks by Manning, Snowden, Swartz, Kiriakou,  or Hammond. But no matter, because this is a multi-billion dollar industry for companies like Booz-Allen ($1.3 Billion/yr; with contracts for $5.6 Billon over the next 5 years, current CEO was previously director of National Security; current director was previously the CEO) and they don’t want anybody messing with the wide open taxpayer spigot that goes directly into their pockets. The Dems and Rethugs in Congress are never going take any serious action.


12/30/13


CNN: Would NSA Surveillance Have Prevented 9/11? - No. The CIA had the phone records and much more information about the hijackers who were in the US before 9/11 and simply failed to pass the information along to the FBI.


12/27/13


NYTimes: 11 Days After Federal Judge Calls NSA Unconstitutional, Another One Makes The Opposite Ruling - What does all this mean? Essentially, we have no reliable judicial branch anymore. You can get any ruling you want if you put it before the right judge. The reasoning for today’s ruling is totally nonsensical. Here’s his bottom line reasoning: “This blunt tool only works because it collects everything.” Wha? The 4th Amendment is not tricky: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” So a blunt tool works because it collects everything? Really? What happens next is abundantly clear: The Whore Court will find in favor of those currently in power. The wealth gap will continue to widen. The people will become less and less willing to live in such a system. All we need now is the spark. See entry below of 12/16/13.


12/18/13


The Nation: Is Pope Francis the New Champion of Liberation Theology?


12/16/13


NYTimes: Federal Judge Rules NSA Unconstitutional and UK Guardian - He almost got a pair, but then immediately stayed his own ruling. What a country!!


12/9/13


New Yorker: Our Broken Constitution - An overview of the process that delegates to the Constitutional Convention (1787) went through. I read this at least once per year. “The process that produced the Senate is understandable but the end result is indefensible.” Awesome overview.


11/25/13


NYTimes: Why Care About the NSA? - Here’s why. This short video should be mandatory for all. Do you think: ‘Nobody’s looking at my stuff anyway, so why should I care?’ or ‘Everything they’re doing is legal.’ or ‘Tech companies already have all this data anyway.’ or ‘We need this to keep us safe.’ All wrong. Here’s why: 1. It’s the infrastructure for a police state. There are so many laws, statutes and rules on the books that you probably are breaking some of them. So if you ever decide to take a position that the state doesn’t like, you are toast. If you aren’t prepared to speak up for everybody’s rights, then you better be ready for your own rights to be trampled when you least expect it. 3. There can be no frank, free flow of information if you have the feeling that you are being watched. If you are concerned about a certain law, say abortion restrictions or union activity, you’ll be less likely to speak out if you feel the govt. is watching you. 4. If the govt. collects this information, history shows they’re going to use it. 5. Activists are targeted routinely in this way right now. 6. What if Joe McCarthy had had this power? 6. How many more lives could he have ruined? It hampers democracy - or possibly even ruins it - when every journalist, every source and every potential source knows they are being monitored. Without investigative journalism, we have no democracy. 7. With the tools they have now they know every detail of your private life, all of your communications. 8. Just because some professional politician says everything they are doing is legal, that is pure speculation and has already been shown to be false. 9. Tech companies such as Booz Allen who make $ millions by keeping this infrastructure intact, have a vested interest in the status quo. They pass this information to the govt. and the govt. has the power to detain, arrest and prosecute. 10. If we don’t know what they are collecting on us, then they are in control. 11. The choice between safety or liberty is a false choice, but that’s the assumption that keeps this system going. The Patriot Act is a secret law - we’re not allowed to know what it says. 12. This is about preserving a society that we want to live in - and that includes civil liberties. 13. The aim of a security state is to have power over those who would reveal its mistakes and illegal activities. Aaron Swartz was literally hounded to death for copying the contents of a non-restricted hard drive. Bradley Manning was kept naked in solitary confinement for 8 months and sentenced to 35 years in jail for revealing war crimes. John Kiriakou was sentenced to 3 years by the Obama Administration for being the first to speak out on Bush’s torture. Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in jail for revealing the cooperation between private corporations and the federal government for the purpose of stifling dissent. Edward Snowden was forced to flee the country for pointing out illegal government snooping. In none of these cases has anyone shown any harm to US security or to any individual as a result of any of these examples of whistle-blowing.


10/15/13


Tikkun: Simon Schama and the Error of Jewish Silence


7/30/13


NYTimes: Manning Found Guilty - The military judge in this case was just following orders. Her Commander in Chief, the man who forced Manning to be held naked for eight months in solitary confinement, had already pronounced Manning guilty - something no president in history has ever done  and Here and Here and Here. The Times dutifully follows the rest of the MSM in calling it ‘one of the greatest betrayals in the nations’s history’ - giving no details to corroborate such a statement. Then the article concentrates on Manning’s conflicted youth. So the pattern here is familiar: make a vague statement of guilt and follow it with personal disparagement. But privately US officials all along have admitted that there was no major damage from Manning’s whistleblowing and continue to say that, even though they’re still looking, “we have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the Wikileaks documents.” The damage is always said to be “potential.” They can never “point to anything that has actually happened as a result of the release.” After Hillary stated that the release was an ‘attack on the United States,’ and Biden said it ‘placed at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals,’ Sec. of Defense at the time Robert Gates publicly mocked them, saying that these concerns were “significantly overwrought.” In fact the only real damage from Wikileaks and the Manning whistleblowing has been to the very people, primarily Obama himself, whose misconduct was revealed and who have been exposed lying to the American people and Here, and probably helped prevent an extension of the Iraq war. The actual impact of the Manning case will be to continue to hide government and military misdeeds at the expense of informed representative government, which actually undermines the security of our nation. Daniel Ellsberg - who revealed 7,000 pages of documents, all of which were classified ‘Top Secret,’ while none of the documents revealed by Manning were so classified -  has called Manning “a hero and a patriot.” And so have other veterans. Essentially what happened is that Manning saw evidence of war crimes and government lies and chose not to participate in the ongoing cover-up, but instead he chose to do the right thing. And because the misconduct that he revealed was that of the most powerful people on earth, those people have predictably made an example of him and in so doing have intimidated anyone else who might in the future choose to do the right thing. It’s also interesting to note how silent most of the American news media is about Manning.


6/28/13


NYTimes: Whitewater Down - The blog article where Krugman calls “the NSA stuff is a policy dispute.” The final evisceration of the 4th Amendment is nothing but a simple policy dispute. The last time I’ll ever quote Krugman on this web site. He has lost all relevance. Just another bloviating Ed Shultz Democrat shill.


6/5/13 - The initial report that NSA is recording ‘meta-data’ on all phone calls in USA. It later turned out to be much more invasive than just phone calls, and just ‘meta-data’.


UK Guardian: NSA Collecting Phone Records of Millions of Verizon Customers Daily  and NYTimes - A leaked document from the NSA to Verizon indicates that NSA is collecting all phone records from all of the major carriers - regardless of whether they are international calls or whether the parties are suspected of any wrongdoing; no warrant needed. On May 1st, former FBI agent Tim Clemente stated on CNN that the FBI has ways to find out exactly what is said on any telephone conversation in the US. Former NSA employee  William Binney has repeatedly stated the same thing. We also know that the NSA is building the largest data center in the world in the Utah desert and Here, with enough capacity to store all phone calls, emails, Facebook entries, personal histories, even traffic tickets and library checkout records, etc, etc etc of all Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly maintained that no warrants are necessary for any of this. A further irony here is that the famous unknown aspect of Bush’s wiretap program that caused the even more famous confrontation in Ashcroft’s ICU room was exactly what has been revealed here - not warrantless wiretapping of individuals, but rather the mass vacuuming of all metadata. Once again, Obama has taken Bush’s evil to unprecedented levels that even GWB did not attempt. Also remember that Obama was the only presidential candidate that voted for “expanded-FISA” that passed in July 2008, which gave telecoms retroactive immunity for illegal actions. Neither Hillary nor McCain voted for this bill.


5/30/13


Earth Island Journal: We’re Being Watched - The ‘Surveillance Industrial Complex’ becomes ever stronger with collusion between private security firms working for large corporations such as Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Blackwater and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity (AFP), and government agencies such as FBI, CIA, NSA, etc. to carry out black ops against peaceful citizens groups. These groups are coordinating their attacks on non-violent civilian groups even before they stage Constitutionally protected non-violent free speech actions. “Accusations of ‘terrorism,’ even if completely unfounded, are being used as a tool to undermine peaceful political protest,” while the actual terrorists are the personnel of our own government working for the large corporations. See entries of 5/22/13 and 12/29/12.


5/21/13


The Nation: The Secret Donors Behind the Center for American Progress (ThinkProgress)


5/20/13


Edward Snowden flies to Hong Kong. In early June, he passes his information to Glenn Greenwald, et. al.


5/4/13


UK Guardian: Former FBI Counterterrorism Agent Claims All US Phone Calls Are Recorded - The Total Information Awareness (TIA) program apparently was never disbanded. Other reports on NSA spying on Americans and Here. So that’s why NSA is building its new $2 Billion data center and Here in the middle of the Utah desert which will have the capacity to store over 1 yottabyte (no kidding).


5/1/13


Slate: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s Bush v Gore Regrets


4/30/13


Consortium News: Sandra Day O’Connor’s ‘Maybe’ Regret - A great article fully explaining the outrageous SCOTUS decision in Bush v Gore, and the pivotal role that O’Connor played in it. A long article so here are some excerpts:

In the 5-4 decision, the highest court in the land told vote-counters across Florida to stop the recount out of fear that it would show that Gore got more votes in Florida than Bush did. Such an outcome would “cast a cloud” over the “legitimacy” of an eventual Bush presidency if the U.S. Supreme Court later decided to throw out the Gore gains as illegal, explained Justice Antonin Scalia in an opinion speaking for the majority, which included Justices William Rehnquist, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and O’Connor.


Justice John Paul Stevens took Scalia’s reasoning to task. Stevens, a moderate who was appointed by Republican President Gerald Ford, said the injunction against the vote tally violated the traditions of “judicial restraint that have guided the Court throughout its history.” Stevens complained that the high court’s action overrode the judgment of a state supreme court, took sides on a constitutional question before that issue was argued to the justices, and misinterpreted the principles of “irreparable harm.”


With her husband ailing from Alzheimer’s disease, O’Connor was contemplating retiring and wanted a Republican appointed as her successor.


According to a knowledgeable source, O’Connor was visibly upset indeed furious when the networks called Florida for Vice President Al Gore on Election Night. ‘This is terrible,’ she said, giving the impression that she desperately wanted Bush to win.


The pro-Bush justices had devised a Catch-22. If the Florida Supreme Court set clearer standards, they would be struck down as creating “new law.” Yet, if the state court didn’t set clearer standards, that would be struck down as violating the “equal protection” principle. Heads Bush wins; tails Gore loses.


Tacitly recognizing the nonsensical nature of its own ruling, the majority barred the Bush v. Gore decision from ever being cited as a precedent in any other case. It was a one-time deal to put Bush in the White House.


3/15/13


Counter Punch: The Progressive Movement as PR Front - This article caused an epiphany for me. It explains a lot of what I see going on in “progressive” organizations over the last several years. See also: Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks.


1/6/13


NYTimes: Ex-CIA Officer is First To Face Prison Term for a ‘Leak’ - Obama’s shameful war on whistleblowers continues full force. Everyone, including the prosecution, in this case agrees that the officer did not damage, and never intended to damage, national security. For the exact same action for which the entire Bush Administration got a free pass, except for Scooter Libby who got a commuted sentence, this guy gets 30 months in jail. Why? Because he spoke out about waterboarding when no one else would. Ironically, he will be the only CIA officer to be convicted and serve time because of that practice. And whereas the Bush/Cheney/Libby leak did result in the outing of a current undercover agent and the probable deaths of numerous operatives, this one did not. Obama has used the espionage act to charge twice as many whistleblowers (not leakers) as all previous presidents combined. One has to dig through this typically sycophantic NYTimes article to get these facts, but they are there. Even this article does finally admit (on page 5 of 6) that it is clear that Obama’s clear goal is to silence all whistleblowers. This is the third most shameful, and of course illegal and un-Constitutional, practice of the Obama Admin. after drone-murders of hundreds of women and children and illegal wiretapping, which of course he and all the Democrats promised they would never do when Bush was in office, and about which all progressive-wannabes now that it’s a Democrat doing it, are silent.


12/28/12


Glenn Greenwald: GOP + Feinstein + Pelosi + Reid Join to Fulfill Obama’s UnConstitutional Demand For Renewed Warrantless Wiretapping


12/21/12


Nation of Change: Obama Playing to Lose?


11/12/12


AlterNet: Will the Democrats Continue Their Rightward Turn or Start Working for the 99%? - "The essence of being a politician today: to deliver one's constituency of voters to the campaign contributors." "Obama’s policies have enabled the 1% to monopolize 93% of America's income gains since the 2008 financial crisis." “Only a Democrat can make it politically safe for Republicans to unravel the safety net.”


11/7/12


UK Guardian: What Will Progressives Do With Their Big Election Victory? - It’s called self-disempowerment, in 6 steps. The ‘Grand Bargain’ that all liberals are now claiming they will never accept is all but assured - and by their own doing.


10/25/12


Nation of Change: Three Ways Big Oil Spends Its Profits to Defend Oil Subsidies, Defeat Clean Energy - and defeat efforts at climate change mitigation. Summary: The most profitable business in history, with about $100 B in profits per year, gets $4 Billion annually in tax subsidies, shelters most of its profits overseas and spends about $100 Million in lobbying activities, plus another $150 Million in climate-change-denial and other types of misinformation campaigns. Oil production on public land is up 240 million barrels/year under Obama, with an additional 20 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico yet to be developed. They will be announcing their 3rd quarterly profits beginning today. Shell, Exxon ($45 Billion Profit/year), ConocoPhillips, Koch Brothers, BP ($25 Billion Profit/year). To admit the validity of human caused climate change would mean they would have to write off $20 Trillion in reserves, which would devastate the most profitable business in history. This article focuses on the contributions to Republicans, but I don’t see Obama or the Democrats making any substantial noises in favor of climate change mitigation or the removal of the $4 Billion annual government welfare for the oil companies.


9/11/12


Institute for Public Accuracy: How the Bush Administration Could Have Prevented 9/11 - The FBI, CIA, and NSA all had bits and pieces of information on the 9/11 attackers. But none of them shared any information. In addition, upper level FBI directors failed to read a lot of the memos pertaining to bin Laden. And Bush ignored repeated presidential briefings, especially one dated 4/6/01, entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the US’ which contained the following bulleted entry: “FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.” But Bush concluded that there were no ‘actionable items’ and took off to go mountain biking.


8/1/12


Democracy-NOW!: As US Postal Service Faces Default, Critics See Manufactured Crisis to Speed Up Privatization - Quick history:

1792 - USPO is set up as department of US government, thanks in large part to Ben Franklin.


1969 - 70 - US government goes to ‘unified budget’ (in order to include Soc. Security, USPO retirement fund, etc. as ‘assets’ of federal govt.) and then begins the process of ‘spinning off’ USPS from the federal govt. into a ‘self-sufficient’ entity.


1985 - Spin-off process is complete. Last subsidy from federal govt. received by USPS.


2002 - US Office of Personnel Management ‘discovers’ that USPS is ‘overpaying’ into its retirement fund. OMB and CBO refuse to view USPS as a separate, ‘self-sufficient’ entity and so balk at any attempts by the USPS to take the prudent steps of 1. reducing the yearly overpayments and 2. tapping into the surplus to defray current expenses, because this would have ‘negative impacts’ on the ‘unified budget.’ Wait, what? Either it is or it isn’t a separate entity.


2003 - Congress passes a law which 1. Places USPS pension overpayments into ‘escrow account’ which USPS can’t touch until Congress decides what to do with it and 2. Moves the military pension responsibility for postal workers from the Treasury to the USPS. ??? This effectively wipes out all USPS surpluses.


2006 - Congress passes follow-up law which allows USPS to tap into its own escrow account/pension fund but as a ‘quid pro quo’: 1. forces the USPS to set up a “Postal Service Retiree Health Fund” and make 10 annual payments into that fund of $5.4 to $5.8 Billion. These numbers are not actuarially determined, but rather are what CBO calculates will make the law ‘unified-budget-neutral.’


So this ‘Default’ is a Congressionally contrived shell game designed to ‘out source’ the postal service in the United States.


See also related entries:


ThinkProgress: US Postal Service Is Nothing But a Manufactured Crisis


On The Commons: How The Post Office is Being Destroyed By a Phony Budget Crisis


Common Dreams: No Peter Orszag, Let’s NOT Privatize the US Postal Service


Bloomberg: Congress, Not Amazon, Messed Up the Post Office


Institute for Policy Studies: How Congress Manufactured a Postal Crisis - And How to Fix It


7/23/12


LATimes: So Who Really Invented the Internet?


7/22/12


The Nation: TomDispatch: Noam Chomsky: The Great Charter, Its Fate and Ours - The history of the destruction of the Magna Carta, and its companion document The Charter of the Forest, showing how Obama has continued a long line of corporate servants who enrich the few while bamboozling the “ignorant and meddlesome rascal multitude” (that would be you and me), by “fabricating wants,” “manufacturing consent,” directing our attention to “superficial and fashionable consumption,” so we will hardly be aware of our subjugation and enslavement in the ongoing assault on our natural world in the name of corporate profit. A great read.


6/12/12


Democracy-NOW: Supreme Court Rejects Gitmo Appeals, Spelling End to Prisoners’ Legal Rights for Release and RT News - On a unanimous vote, including Obama’s faux-liberal appointees. After this vote, no one can claim that Obama might appoint a liberal justice to counteract Bush’s appointees.


MoJo: Obama’s War on Whistleblowers


5/25/12


On The Commons: How The Post Office is Being Destroyed By a Phony Budget Crisis


5/14/12


HuffPo: NSA Analyst: ‘We Could Have Prevented 9/11”


4/27/12


HuffPo: Pelosi Backs Recommendations of the Catfood Commission - Including large cuts to Social Security and Medicare. DemocRATs!


3/5/12


Progressive Magazine: Eric Holder’s Pathetic Rationale for Assassinating US Citizens and Democracy-NOW! and Salon - Holder: “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.” And the stenographers that now substitute for the American press were silent. No one asked for any clarification of this utter nonsense.


2/28/12


Freakonomics: Days of Wine and Mouses - A break from the serious. Next time that wine snob you know tries to tell you that you shouldn’t drink that cheap wine that you happen to like, cite these studies. It’s a long interview, so if you want you can skip down to the first occurrence of “Robin Goldstein.” This is a writer/lawyer/economist who writes about food and wine.


He performed two now famous economics experiments. First experiment: he paid a $250 submission fee to Wine Spectator as a candidate for its “Award of Excellence.” He made up a fake restaurant with a fake web site, a fake address, a fake answering machine and a wine list made up of expensive wines that Wine Spectator had already rated in the low 60s, describing them as “decayed,” “barnyardy,” and “smells like bug spray.” Result: His fake restaurant got the Award. Conclusion: It had nothing to do with the wine list. It was all about the $250 submission fee. You can’t trust Wine Spectator.


Second experiment: he did a blind test: 500 people (from sommeliers and wine makers to amateur wine drinkers), 7,000 observations, wines that varied in price from $1.59 to $150 per bottle. Result: Overall, people like cheap wine better than expensive wine. Even the experts could barely tell the difference between the most and least expensive.


Takeaway: Wine “experts” don’t know squat.


11/1/11


US Census Report: 1 In Every 5 Children In America Goes To Bed Hungry At Night


10/18/11


Wash Po: Obama + DNC Have Received More Money From Wall St. Than All Republicans Combined


9/28/11


ThinkProgress: US Postal Service Is Nothing But a Manufactured Crisis


9/9/11


RT News: Counterterrorism Czar: 9/11 Could Have Been Prevented


10/25/10


ProPublica: The New Democrats: New Boss same as the Old Boss, Big Pharma and Wall Street approve


8/9/10


Glenn Greenwald: The Digital Surveillance State: Vast, Secret, and Dangerous


10/26/09


Nation: How the Obama Administration has subverted organizations such as MoveOn, PDA, HCAN and Planned Parenthood to the corporate agenda - Tuesdays with Rahm. It’s all about access.


4/7/09


EFF: Obama’s Illegal Warrantless Wiretapping Defense Worse that Bush’s - Obama DOJ just calls everything a State Secret and the courts compliantly back down.


8/11/08


New Yorker: Super Bugs: A New Generation of Superbugs Almost Impossible to Treat - Drug resistant, gram-negative Klebsiella, Acinetobacter, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas probably originating on industrial livestock farms and able to alter their own DNA to thwart new antibiotics, on the fly. These bacteria put us almost back to the pre-antibiotic era. The most dangerous places to be in or near: livestock farms and hospitals. These bacteria are even able to communicate (“quorum sensing”) and wait until there is a critical number present before turning on their virulence gene, at which point it is too late for the host’s immune system to fight them.


3/24/08


Fact Check: Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote - It’s happened 5 times. Each time the Republican candidate has prevailed over the Democrat. Factoid: In 1824 J. Q. Adams, member of the ‘Democratic-Republican’ party which would soon become the Republican party won over Andrew Jackson of the ‘Jacksonian Movement’ which was soon to become the Democratic party.


8/4/05


Good Description of the ‘Nuclear Option’ to Overcome a Filibuster - The Democrats almost never use the filibuster, but it provides them a great excuse to do nothing.


11/1/02


Salon: Jeb Bush’s Secret Weapon - Voter Disenfranchisement - Almost 100,000 voters names were scrubbed from voter rolls by J. Bush/Katherine Harris/Choice Point just before the 2000 election and 40,000 more were prevented from registering - all in mostly Democratic jurisdictions. Note: The low end of estimates of disenfranchisement are at 10,000; still 20 X the margin of the republican ‘victory’ at the time the Supreme Court stopped the counting. And Here, Here, Here and Here.


12/8/99


The King Center: Memphis Jury Finds US Govt Guilty of the Murder of MLK, J. E. Ray Innocent and Nation of Change and Examiner.com.