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Links 7/21/13

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Journalist Helen Thomas dies at 92 Washington Post

US jets ‘bombed’ Great Barrier Reef BBC

The CIA Is Studying How It Can Control the Weather Gawker

First lady’s nutrition drive loses steam Los Angeles Times. Why am I not surprised?

Potential for the International Spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome in Association with Mass Gatherings in Saudi Arabia PLOS (Paul Tioxon)

Former Secretary of State for Human Rights kidnapped in Brazil (tim fong)

‘Is there no limit to what this Government will privatise?’: UK plasma supplier sold to US private equity firm Bain Capital Independent (1 SK)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

‘Prolific Partner’: German Intelligence Used NSA Spy Program Der Spiegel

The Military Industrial Complex: We Know It Just Didn’t Stick — It Was Our Fault Huffington Post. By one of Ellsberg’s lawyers. Better than the headline.

Senate Resolution Calling on Russian Federation to Surrender Edward Snowden to US (martha r). What are these bizarre gestures about? Putin has made extremely clear that all he’ll give the US is an itty bit of lip service.

NSA Spokesman Accidentally Admits that the Government Is Spying On Virtually All Americans George Washington

This week in press freedoms and privacy rights Glenn Greenwald

“Collecting The Haystack” And Almightiness Moon of Alabama

FAA WARNS PUBLIC AGAINST SHOOTING GUNS AT DRONES Associated Press. I love the drone shooting permits plan. But you can’t take it seriously until you see local governments in Texas (the heartland of gun enthusiasts) start talking it up. (Background in case you missed it: Town of Deer Trail considering hunting licenses for unmanned aerial vehicles, bounties for drones 7News, with video, courtesy furzy mouse)

The Drone That Killed My Grandson New York Times

US 98 at Tyndall Blocked Due to Drone Crash Economic Policy Journal (Lambert)

Panasonic and Its Subsidiary Sanyo Agree to Plead Guilty in Separate Price-Fixing Conspiracies Involving Automotive Parts and Battery Cells Department of Justice. Oh, the DoJ will file criminal charges against people in the car business. What about the folks at Goldman manipulating aluminum prices? How is that not a Sherman Act violation?

Public Cops for Private Kochs Yasha Levine, NSFW (mookie, unlocked for next 30 hours or so)

What’s Happening in Detroit Adam Levitin, Credit Slips. On the state challenge to the BK.

The River of Purchasing Power Dries Up at Detroit Balkinization

Miami faces SEC charges over bonds Associated Press

4 of America’s Most Abusive Prosecutors Alternet

Washington Push for Higher Minimum Wage for Workers Has Walmart Balking New York Times. Quelle suprise!

“Dizzy and sick”: McDonald’s workers strike after enduring 110 degree heat Salon

America’s Worst Companies To Work For 24/7 Wall Street (Carol B)

Unfunded Pension Liabilities Are $1 Trillion, Not $3.8 Trillion: Never Take Anything in a Washington Post Editorial at Face Value Dean Baker, Firedoglake

BECU has surpassed Chase Bank in Seattle Seattle Times (martha r)

Trying to Pierce a Wall Street Fog Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

Elizabeth Warren, hard-liner Politico. Warren is starting to kick the traces.

Antidote du jour (Richard Smith). The photo may look a bit weird, but getting sanded up is apparently sea lion sunscreen.

ld_sea_lions1_ss_ml_130705_ssh

And: Dog Finds A Tiny Kitten, Risks Everything To Save Her BuzzFeed. martha r: “Very high aww factor. Photos”

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104 comments

    1. sleepy

      Yeah, I know this sounds all nutcase and tinfoil hattery, but the first thought in my head when I first read about this disease was that it was and is a planned form of bio-warfare.

      I only say that since we live in an age where reality tends to outrun the unthinkable.

      1. F. Beard

        The thought occurred to me too.

        And those who keep fretting (aloud) about overpopulation?

        Will they be accomplishes to mass genocide, should it occur?

        1. F. Beard

          make that accomplices.

          I hate my spell checker. Can anyone recommend a good one for FireFox?

      2. Beppo

        For what it’s worth, I’ve done a lot of research about Saudi’s ballistic missile program, and while they’ve specifically ruled out a nuclear program, they have done work toward creating chemical and biological warheads for their large missile fleet. Not that people aren’t capable of catching disease on the natch when they get together.

      3. wunsacon

        Do you mean you think the authorities issued a statement about the disease not to protect people’s health but rather to thwart mass protest?

    2. evodevo

      There really isn’t any Christian equivalent to the Hajj – millions of muslim pilgrims converging on Mecca, etc. for religious reasons EVERY year – most of them from 3rd World countries with execrable public health infrastructures. Recipe for disaster if you have an emerging viral epidemic in the same place.
      Gigantic Darwin awards situation.

  1. Skeptic

    “Collecting The Haystack” And Almightiness Moon of Alabama

    “The assertion that one needs a haystack to find a needle is incredibly stupid. It assumes that there is a needle (or “terrorist”). Something neither given nor provable. Even if there were a needle how will making the haystack bigger it easier to find it?”

    Continuing this line of thought, why not make the Haystack bigger? That is create software, HAYSTACKER, that will fill the unconstitutionally spying entity’s hardware with confusing, contradictory, paradoxical, etc. garbage. GIGO, garbage in garbage out and the more the better. At a certain point, databases become worthless when they contain a certain percentage of garbage. Spammers might be just the folks to solve this problem. Spammers unite, protect our privacy!

    One practical way to also protect privacy and probably partly achieve the above is to provide individual computers with software that will alter or generate profiles on demand. For instance, when the user has downtime he activates that software which then runs as a new profile or as a profile skewer/masker. You could select from profiles such as Right Winger, Naturalist, Accountant, Harmless Zombie, etc. Mix n Match. Firefox already has a primitive version of this, TrackMeNot, but only as regards searches.

    Another way to approach this would be to set up a Torrent type site where one could use multiple email sites to exchange auto generated emails. Artificial Intelligence might be used.

    Privacy protection strategies now seem to be based defensively, that is protect the machine/data from access or collection. Change the strategy, go on the offense, start sending out lots of false, misleading data. This would seem obvious, it is what many people do daily in their lives. In business negotiations, for example, one would set false trails, give off misleading signals, etc. Same situation with protecting privacy.

    There may be a very large market for such products.

    1. from Mexico

      My takeaway line for the post was this:

      If one believes that the NSA genuinely wants to find terrorists…

      I don’t think finding terrorists has anything to do with it. Take Tamerlan Tsarnaev, for instance. There were red flags flying up all over, which our lofty security-surveilance state promptly and systematically ignored.

      No, there’s an unspoken agenda and justification for the “War on Terroism,” just like there is for the “War on Drugs.”

      Anybody who has even the slightest knowledge of current affairs in Latin America knows there is no “War on Drugs,” but a “War for Drugs,” as Charles Bowden explains here:

      http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/14/charles_bowden_murder_city_ciudad_jurez

      So why is the U.S. government so deeply involved in promoting illegal drug usage?

      One motive came to mind on the Hedges thread yesterday. It has been aleged that it keeps would-be revolutionaries drugged out of their mind in order to keep them passive and submissive. Bread and cirucuses didn’t work? Well maybe bread and circuses along with keeping 25% of the nation’s youth stoned out of its mind will work.

      There are a number of other theories advanced as to how and why the War for Drugs fits into a grander neoliberal scheme of domestic social control.

      Here in Latin America there are different concerns, which include:

      1) The US deep state runs drugs in order to finance those operations which are illegal and immoral, those activities which it can’t approach congress to fund,

      2) The putative “War on Drugs” serves as a justification to interfere into the internal affairs of Latin American nations, always with the intent of furthering a neoliberal agenda, and if you don’t have a drug problem, then the US government has to create one, and

      3) Since the drug capos are a source of great political power in Latin America (in Mexico arguagly even more powerful than the state itself), the US deep state is interested in currying favor with them in case political allies are needed to depose offical leadership that won’t walk the neoliberal straight and narrow.

      1. from Mexico

        Thirty years ago there was a well stimulation (fracking) company called the Western Corporation which ran a radio advertisement that exclaimed: “If you don’t have an oil well, get one!”

        So maybe the US government, with it’s long history of funding extremist Islamic organizations in Afghanistan and now Syria and other places, has taken that motto to heart: “If you don’t have a terrorist problem, get one!”

        1. Kokuanani

          OMG, I grew up in Houston and well remember the “if you don’t have an oil well, get one” commercials. My husband constantly tells friends about hearing it on the tv. [We are currently FAR away from TX.]

      2. Chris Rogers

        @from Mexico,

        I’m very much in favour of our older youths shall we say getting stoned, drunk and tripping – particularly given these are best undertaken in the company of others to share the experience with.

        On the other hand, I’m opposed to the IV use of any substance – which is not a group actively, rather the reverse, its a singular experience that should be avoided.

        My experience of cocaine, much of which originates in numerous South American countries, is rather limited due to its expense.

        As a liberally-minded parent, I’m in favour of all things in moderation and life experimentation – particularly given on has inhaled himself shall we say.

        Hence, one favours a decriminalisation policy for most narcotics similar to that undertaken in Portugal- I’m opposed to the CIA and other US agencies profiteering from this though.

        So, heres for rites of passage, but lets not get too carried away and encourage it on a regular basis – for, it may lead to addiction and certainly would undermine any revolutionary zeal our youth may have to change this deplorable world construct that favours a very small minority at ours and everyone else’s expense.

        1. Deboughtcheri

          You’re missing the point. The war is predatory capitalism. HSBC Bank, for profit human warehousing, police state social control – that has destroyed more lives and burned more wealth than narcotics ever could have. Addiction, or poverty is traditionally used as excuse for harm not for help. Note that prescription drugs kill more people than illegal drugs. and Popov is available every day in most American neighborhoods. Pot isn’t completely benign either. It’s greater danger clearly being the possibility of arrest. Treatment not violence or gulags and further damage.

      3. nobody

        “It has been [alleged] that it keeps would-be revolutionaries drugged out of their mind in order to keep them passive and submissive.”

        I’m doubtful about that notion. Most of the people I know who are going out on the streets and building communities and actively resisting the status quo smoke week. Meanwhile, most of the people I know who don’t smoke weed are passive and submissive and under the spell of the mind-control magic Banger was banging on about yesterday.

        1. Nathanael

          TV is a much more effective narcotic than most drugs.

          And religion is even more effective, as Karl Marx pointed out.

          1. Optimader

            Some of the brightest/accomplished people i know, and i know some pretty bright/ accomplished people are regular weed smokers. Certainly some people should not, the human race is on a natural distribution, hats what people that legislate social policy dont get.

          2. psychohistorian

            YES!!

            TV makes the Big Lie work better than most understand.

            Faith breathers shirk true social responsibility by abdicating critical thinking to religious leaders and man made language.

    2. hunkerdown

      It’s far too easy to elevate the wry observation GIGO to a law of computing. I suggest that fuzzing can be recognized and at least partially corrected for.

      Observations can be both consistent and inconsistent with various premises, and in varying degree. As an analyst, if you have reason to believe someone’s fuzzing one or more of your sources, you can usually assume that fuzz is intended to raise doubt about hypotheses consistently supported by other sources, so you can discount the strength of inconsistency supported by fuzzy sources.

      For example, a scoring system might well have a heuristic that “heavy use of Special Keywords” is strongly consistent with “low-information” because there are well-known ways of detecting, predicting and correcting for fuzz; and “not a foreign spy” based on that people who have missions to protect can’t afford undue scrutiny and therefore take care to appear unremarkable within their environment (noting well that, say, a foreign infiltrator into a chapter of a low-info populist group might be expected to be observed fuzzing by the group — and that people affiliated with a low-info group observed in other contexts at a high-info level may have ulterior motives).

  2. DakotabornKansan

    The unconditional love and devotion to that kitten by that Shih-Tzu…

    “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” – James Boswell

    “Once when I had remarked on the affection quite often found between cat and dog, my friend replied, “Yes. But I bet no dog would ever confess it to the other dogs.” – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

    1. diptherio

      The most shocking thing to me was that the dog was nursing the kitten. So did the dog recently give birth, or did it start lactating when it found the kitten? And cats can nurse on dog milk…who knew?

      But still, we humans insist that we are somehow “special,” somehow more advanced than our furry kin. We claim that to see them as having emotions or complex thought processes is somehow to “anthropomorphize” them, rather than being merely an acknowledgement of our mammalian commonalities.

      1. Emma

        Satre had it right for once – we humans live by coexistence and submission only recognizing ourselves in the presence of another.
        Personally, I think the seals rolling round in sand on the Galapagos islands are far superior to us and I would quite happily submit to their ways!

      2. Susan the other

        Endorphins to die for. Just goes to show that even symbolic nursing triggers a fierce attachment, commonly felt as love. Maybe the Shih Tzu also got a dose of the cats’ best friend, the plasmosis that makes us love cats. Can we bottle that stuff. Somebody call Monsanto and see if they can engineer a human-love parasite. Delightful story because it just shows how we creatures are all so similar.

  3. financial matters

    Elizabeth Warren, hard-liner Politico. Warren is starting to kick the traces.

    “”Warren’s allies say she is helping reframe the debate and pushing lawmakers to consider consumers more above banks.”"

    too bad this is such an anomaly in our legislative, executive and judicial branches..

      1. danb

        I think we should consider Warren’s endgame. 1. Be the token flame thrower of the Dem party so as to keep as many people as possible from leaving the party in disgust. 2. She’s laying out a path to challenge Hillary. 3. She’s got no endgame, but one may emerge. This suggests that she’s just astonished by the corruption, decadence, short-termism and depravity she finds in Congress. Remember, FWIW, she’s compromised/contradicted her professorial (advocating single payer in a book) views on health care with her campaign support for Obamacare. Where does she go if Obamacare turns out to be a stone cold disaster?

        1. financial matters

          I think there’s no doubt that Obamacare is going to turn into a stone cold disaster. But medicine has always been a huge problem. I agree that single payer is the way to go but it probably also has to be within a monetary system more MMT oriented. Society has huge problems with rationing health care.

          But as a bankruptcy specialist she understands the strains and costs of healthcare on families and now the foreclosure problem. Both problems tightly related to the FIRE sector.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A

    1. MacCruiskeen

      “Warren is starting to kick the traces.”

      This is pretty good considering that at the time of her election, this blog was predicting she was being pushed into the senate so she could be sidelined and without influence.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        1. She is having an impact on (as Lambert has pointed out, that Democratic whistle-word) the conversation but

        2. As a Senator, she does not have much power. Look at the bill she proposed. That didn’t pass and what instead passed wasn’t even what the Dems supposedly wanted (a one year extension at current 3% ish rates). So the jury is still out in a big way on her effectiveness in terms of real world outcomes.

        3. We had said she’s have done more to change the conversation (if that had been her aim) by primarying Obama (had she really been a progressive, this isn’t at all clear, even her student bill was an endorsement of the bad system of having students borrow to fund higher eduction) OR forming a shadow CFPB and keeping the real one honest (basically a Ralph Nader of finance, and if you look at the historical record, Ralph Nader was responsible for a ton of legislation).

        4. The party has a pay to play system. Each party has now centralized a ton of fundraising (see this post on the system: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/04/our-polarized-and-money-driven-congress-created-over-25-years-by-republicans.html) and the party in turn controls critical resources for Congresscritters, such as issues research. Warren apparently figures as a star fundraiser she can defy Obama (leader of the party) up to a point. But Obama is famously ruthless. How far she can push this (assuming she gets bolder, she may just push back now and again) remains to be seen.

        1. Susan the other

          She can do this as long as she serves the banks… those parasites which almost killed the gasping exsanguinated host. So she can do this for however long it takes to resuscitate the host. And even John McCain is along for the publicity. That’s revealing.

          1. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

            I’ll not sign onto the “Elizabeth Warren is one of THEM” tinfoil-hattery.

            If it were true, the Administration wouldn’t have cast her out, with only a dicey successful Senate election campaign as her way back in to complete the conspiracy.
            ~

        2. Nathanael

          Obama’s ruthlessness doesn’t really matter. Why?

          Because Obama has proven himself *incompetent*. Repeatedly. Following Obama has lost a lot of Congressmen a lot of elections. This means they aren’t going to give a damn about whether he’s “ruthless” — it’s too much of a risk to back him.

          Demonstrating competence is really important if you want to be ruthless. Really, *really* important. If you’re incompetent, ruthlessness just puts you more at risk.

          1. Nathanael

            I guess the adage which goes along with this is “Nothing succeeds like success”.

            As a stone-cold pragmatist, I can tell when I’m looking at fake pragmatism. And Obama is dripping with fake pragmatism — stuff which is actually the opposite of pragmatic. He doesn’t even know who he ought to be destroying. It’s kind of sad, from a Game of Thrones point of view; he’s simply *inept*.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Huh? Obama is EXTREMELY competent. You just don’t like the ends he’s pursued. Neither do I.

            1. He managed to get everyone to accept that the banking industry has made a mess of title and can and just might put you in foreclosure out of incompetence or greed. Not only did he make the banks’ monster liability problem go away, he’s got normal Americans back to wanting to buy houses!

            2. He repudiated just about every campaign promise he made, flagrantly, and got reelected

            3. He systematically kneecapped the left. Google “Jane Hamsher” + “veal pen” for details

            4. He got through phony horrible health care reform that enriches big Pharma and insurers and will probably be able to keep the bitching down to a low level

            5. He’s escalated all our wars for at least a while and started new mischief (Syria)

            6. Fracking. Fracking. Fracking.

            7. Continued gutting of constitutional protections and civil rights (except gay marriage!)

            And Dems in Congress still pretty much follow orders despite the fact that the most loyal tribalists got whacked in the 2010 midterms.

            1. Kokuanani

              I’d add to this list, “He’s been able, either by ruthlessness, trickery or phony appeals to ‘togetherness,’ to convince to strong-arm traditional Democrats into both going along with him AND keeping their mouths shut. The “left,” labor and what was once the Democratic party have been totally neutered, and will never be able to convince Americans that they stand for anything or are worthy of support.”

    1. optimader

      The Denver Deer Trail article is retread from last week,
      re: small inexpensive drones; they will be a case study for unintended consequences.

      Commodity drones have all the qualities of a fifth generation weapon nightmare that has potential to favor insurgents not conventional military. The later has a long historical record of preoccupation with ponderously complex, obscenely EXPENSIVE, progressively underperforming high maintenance weapon systems that are numerically (economically) limited due to these constraints.

      An obvious example will be swarms of dead simple cottage industry disposable drones waiting on the perimeter runways with no designed in capability other than to serve as a stand off FOD (foreign object debris)weapon .

      If the notion of ~$1,000 worth of little ferrite painted widgets that don’t need a payload other than their own mass isn’t keeping some Pentagon Col. up at night, it certainly should be.

      Our Organs of Security (IMO) seem to be sowing the seeds of their own fate by weaponizing that which potentially requires relatively modest physical resource (low entrance barrier) and more long in intellectual persistence and creativity. (read: militarized software virus, miniature drones).

      I thought the Deer article amusingly noteworthy last week, but the underlaying theme is the civilian intent to neutralize. Sure shooting down drones may sound primitive, but how long before small stand off drones that will either interfere with them physically or on a more sophisticated level, interfere with their telemetry , say telling them to roll into a flat spin, or do a loop through -100ft BSL?

      This story has just started and I think advantage low budget, high numerical count and disposable-single use. These are not necessarily the qualities our military-industrial complex favors at the contract trough.

      1. F. Beard

        An obvious example will be swarms of dead simple cottage industry disposable drones waiting on the perimeter runways with no designed in capability other than to serve as a stand off FOD (foreign object debris)weapon . optimader

        To be sucked into jet engines? You have a wicked mind!

        Peace would be a lot cheaper, no?

        We used to be
        a light on a hill
        till we lost patience
        and set out to kill.

        1. optimader

          Beard..
          I don’t have a wicked mind, but I can a decent sense of the inevitable. Expensive ponderous weapons are defeated by inexpensive cheap weapons, that’s no news flash.

          This is maker faire commodity technology, the ability to laser target a slow moving drone or aircraft is not a challenging exercise, no secret, this.

          …Peace would be a lot cheaper, no?….

          Of course, put that on the next ballot as a referendum?

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sjSHazjrWg
          Peace Train

  4. from Mexico

    @ “The Drone That Killed My Grandson”

    NASSER al-AWLAKI wrote:

    In 2010, the Obama administration put Abdulrahman’s father, my son Anwar, on C.I.A. and Pentagon “kill lists” of suspected terrorists targeted for death. A drone took his life on Sept. 30, 2011.

    The government repeatedly made accusations of terrorism against Anwar — who was also an American citizen — but never charged him with a crime. No court ever reviewed the government’s claims nor was any evidence of criminal wrongdoing ever presented to a court. He did not deserve to be deprived of his constitutional rights as an American citizen and killed.

    Has anyone noticed the proliferation of mini-Obamas out there, the growing ranks of those who, like Obama, believe they have an inalieanable right to be prosecutor, judge, and executioner, with no questions asked?

    It’s like some strange Red Queen curse is sweeping over the nation:

    Red Queen : OFF WITH HIS HEAD!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Eobuu-IexvI

    They’re even popping up on NC threads:

    FROM MEXICO: I remember many years ago, when I was living in West Texas, there was a doctor who shot and killed a teenage boy. The boy was stealing a battery from the doctor’s car and the doctor shot him from the second story window of his home using a high-powered rifle.

    So let me ask you, was what the doctor did morally justified? It sounds like under Stand Your Ground that what he did would have been legal. But is summary execution an appropriate punishment for someone stealing a car battery?

    JESS: As I said in another reply to you (which may or may not show up at some later time) “You don’t wanna get shot, don’t steal.”

    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/07/chris-hedges-america-is-a-tinderbox.html#R4IswoIv49C3xxW1.99

    1. sleepy

      Historically, in the US, deadly force could only legally be used defensively against a threat of deadly force or injury to yourself or someone else. In other words, someone physically attacks you with a machete, you had the right to fight back and kill them if necessary and reasonable under the circumstances.

      I do know that Texas–and probably other states as well–have revised those laws to now allow deadly force in the protection of property. So, I guess if someone steals a potted geranium from your front porch you now have the right to shoot them in the back.

      As they say, “don’t mess with Texas”.

      1. from Mexico

        The principle I believe you are alluding to is called “proportionality.” It is guaranteed in the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution:

        Article [VIII]: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

        “The time should fit the crime,” to invoke a popular colloquialism.

        In this orgy of lawlessness Obama has unleashed, another constitutional principle is also being trashed:

        Article [VI]: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

        So we not only have draconian punishments, but they are extrajudicial as well: a person is guilty as charged.

        Personally, seeing all this happen, I’m experiencing a sense of loss, not unlike when someone dies. I don’t know what bothers me more, the death of economic opportunity for the US working class and petty bourgeoisie, or the the death of the rule of law.

        1. sleepy

          I have a law degree from the mid 70s, and would have absolutely no clue how what I learned back then about the bill of rights or restrictions on state power is relevant at all today.

          In school, if anyone had raised the legality of extra-judicial murder by the state, that person would’ve been hooted out of class–by rightwing students as much as leftwing students.

          Btw–a shooting of a thief by a police officer–without any personal threat to the cop–would still be prohibited by the 8th amendment. The constitution is a restriction on state action only. None of the bill of rights, including the 8th amendment, applies to private citizens. A property owner can shoot a thief, a cop can’t (all in theory of course).

          1. Nathanael

            In fact, I think that traditional idea is wrong…

            …the passive voice construction of the Bill of Rights is deliberate. The anti-federalists, who wrote it, intended it to apply to everyone, not just “the government”.

            Most of the things the Bill of Rights prohibits really can only be done by an organization with governmental levels of power. But the anti-Federalists weren’t going to allow private corporations with governmental levels of power to abuse people under a technicality.

            So, no, as a private citizen, the 8th amendment prohibits you from imposing “cruel and unusual punishment”. You’ll be arrested for assault and battery if you do. That’s the idea, anyway.

          2. davidgmills

            As a lawyer who got his degree in the 70′s as well, I would say my experience mirrors yours.

    2. Massinissa

      I think I know a way to fix Jess’s comment.

      “If you dont want to get shot, dont be poor”

      There we go, much better now.

    3. F. Beard

      So let me ask you, was what the doctor did morally justified?

      Nope.

      “If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. Exodus 22:2-3 New American Standard Bible (NASB) [bold added]

  5. DC Swamp

    Helen Thomas. The plutocracy still has an axe to grind, a taboo to enforce. More “reporters” need to leap over the threshold. Any out there?

    1. Glenn Condell

      Vale Helen Thomas. Doyenne. Decorated alumnus of Lobby Resistance. Leader and sole member of the Bush Press Galley for Truth.

      I wrote to her to thank her for a column once, early in the GWOT, and she graciously replied. Not quite the last of a breed, but a late example of quality US reporting before the fall, before the embedding of a profession. When she started there were lots more like her; when she finished, not so much.

  6. F. Beard

    “Why do they hate us, daddy?”

    “Because of what they’ve done to us.”

    The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion. Proverbs 28:1

      1. F. Beard

        Who’s quarreling?

        The US is paranoid because it knows it’s made enemies and is therefor afraid.

        1. optimader

          Agreed Beard
          The most belligerent/aggressive is usually the most paranoid as well.

          Easily observed in ….Kats

          1. F. Beard

            One more for the road:

            When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7 (New American Standard Bible)

            1. optimader

              If its all the same, I’d rather be pleasing to the me Lady, the Lord’s wife.

              Not that there is anything wrong with…..

      1. F. Beard

        Huh? If one doesn’t feel bold then one shouldn’t make himself a target. One might also question his own righteous too, I suppose.

        Pardon the relatively long Bible quote but it’s shorter than some comments here.

        “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’ The officers also shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Who is the man that has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would dedicate it. Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit. And who is the man that is engaged to a woman and has not married her? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would marry her.’ Then the officers shall speak further to the people and say, ‘Who is the man that is afraid and fainthearted? Let him depart and return to his house, so that he might not make his brothers’ hearts melt like his heart.’ When the officers have finished speaking to the people, they shall appoint commanders of armies at the head of the people. Deuteronomy 20 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

        Note the draft exemptions are a LOT more lenient than any the US has ever had.

        “Bloody Old Testament?” Not always and not more than occasionally, I’d say.

      2. Goyo Marquez

        I don’t think that proverb is advocating action, it’s stating the condition of people who do evil or good.

        People who do evil will have fear come upon them. People who do good will be courageous. Think Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment.

        There’s a similar thought in the NT: “21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.”
        1 John 3:21, KJV.

        1. Emma

          Hmmm…..and didn’t Elie Wiesel say that people who thought they could do what the hell they liked were not people who thought God was dead, but rather people who thought they themselves were God?

        2. F. Beard

          I don’t think that proverb is advocating action, it’s stating the condition of people who do evil or good. Goyo Marquez

          Yes. And the point is ALWAYS to encourage the wicked to turn from their wickedness and be forgiven.

          1. davidgmills

            I think science has pretty well proven that nature beats nurture almost every time. When you are born wicked you are stuck with it.

  7. Emma

    Re: US jets “bombed” Great Barrier Reef
    Re: The CIA is Studying How it can Control the Weather
    This is all we need – US Fighter pilots trying to emulate the Luftwaffe on the Russian Front above the Great Barrier Reef.
    Whilst the CIA attempts to take over our weather because they’re incapable of taking over the hoi-polloi climate.

  8. McMike

    O/T, but… I am trying to locate a piece I read maybe four weeks ago about energy policy & fracking. I think it was here on NC.

    As I recal, the point was that the esclation of fracking is deepy ingraned in the “fortress america” strategy. And so we are not just fighting the oil companies, but also the defense establishment.

    Ring any bells?

    1. Emma

      Well, given what just happened over the Great Barrier Reef, it is not just American citizens suffering at the hands of their oil and defense companies.
      Not only did the US Navy dump the unactivated bombs (hopefully unlikely to detonate bien-sur….)indiscriminately into the Great Barrier Reef, but they also miscalculated how much fuel they required and didn’t consider a back-up plan in case of emergency such as their inability to land…..
      I’m wondering if the US Navy along with the US Government would allow the Aussie Navy to do likewise over the Hawaiian Island marine reserves?

  9. optimader

    someone didn’t like my drone comments? It is what it is, and the technology does not tip in the favor of Empire IMHO

    1. aletheia33

      i appreciated your comments as i had just had the idea, on reading the deer trail story, that it might be possible for geeky folks to devise ingenious ways to bring drones down.

      how much risk is there to people below when a drone crashes?

      appreciated your point that big and invulnerable does not always trump small, maneuverable and quick.

      1. F. Beard

        Reminds me of a chocolate ice cream cone with nuts. What were they called? Nutty Buddies?

      1. Emma

        ps. “A lamington is a dessert of Australian origin. It consists of squares of sponge cake coated first in a layer of traditionally chocolate icing, then in desiccated coconut.”

        1. F. Beard

          I like your name. It’s not at all common in the US. It reminds me of Mrs. Emma Peel, ooh la la!

          Short for anything?

            1. F. Beard

              I never noticed the car except, like all British, she drove on the wrong side of the road!

              1. Emma

                It isn’t the wrong side – in Oz we drive that side too. It’s only the wrong side when I do likewise here in the US…

                1. F. Beard

                  Well, south of the Equator it’s only natural, I suppose, since water spirals down drains the wrong way too. And you have the wrong Constellations too. Not your fault to be sure. But the English have no excuse. Nor for the Bank of England since they had long experience with Tally Sticks*.

                  *Tally Sticks had the last laugh though when they burned down the House of Parliment

                  1. Emma

                    Thanks for the History Lesson F Beard – much appreciated.
                    Didn’t know about Tally Sticks, nor their power…
                    And since I’m partial to Turner, I will have to go visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art some time.

                    1. Emma

                      For F Beard – Australia may have some faults but the Southern Sky is far more striking and magnificent than the Northern hemisphere. Aside from which, the Aboriginal people knew about the stars long before the rest of the world did.

                    2. F. Beard

                      Just teasing and mocking my own provincialism, I’m sure you know, except for the BoE which is no laughing matter.

                      Australia (New Zealand is probably too refined) is probably the only other country in the world I might want to live in (except for a strange attraction to Russia).

                      And you have Professor Steve Keen who’s gonna prove what a load of crap banking is.

  10. Dr. Hackenbush

    Banger- (carrying over from the Hedges thread) It is so strange that so many people have such a hang-up about investigating anything with a whiff of “conspiracy theory.” Talk about “mind-control.” I think Chris Rogers said something in reply to you like, “I’m not one for conspiracy theories…” Good grief. People don’t even realize they’ve been taken in by this red-flag phrase and coerced to close their minds, to voluntarily put mental shackles on themselves lest they become UFO believers and start seeing lizard-people everywhere.

    And you’re so right, they like to cite the Hofstadter “Paranoid Style in American Politics” “sophistry” as you call it (with some qualification), to feel as though they’re being intellectually respectable somehow when they dismiss the need to examine even just the one piece of evidence that you give them.

    But there are other factors too, in their avoidance of the topic. I think people often feel smugly complacent in their current outlook. They think they’ve got things figured out, and can’t imagine that anybody could actually have information that would shake up their world-view if they examined it honestly. This is maybe hard-wired in a lot of people, as a useful coping mechanism- complacency, usually combined with subscribing to some ready-made belief system, permits one to get on with practical matters and not confront the myriad difficulties that great critical thinkers, even, can argue and debate endlessly. So it’s a very practical response: they’ve got their “answer,” so it’s easy to accept the programmed belief that “conspiracy theory” is too outre to even consider. It’s been programmed as a Pavlovian response, where talking heads on TV smirk and dismiss it ruthlessly, triggering a sort of high school anxiety about being cast into the out group if they ever so much as look in that direction without contempt.

    Yet there are still more factors: the legit researchers are tarred by association with the tabloid/UFO/lizard-people researchers (some of whom are probably quite decent folks, whether as hokey entertainment or approaching such topics with honest curiosity and willingness to grow and learn; but they can be used by propagandists against the investigative journalists who confine themselves to more down-to-earth matters.)

    Another factor is that people who read widely and *are* intellectually curious can’t believe the idea that they could have missed such a huge iceberg beneath the placid waters of the many books and articles they’ve read. They don’t credit the tight hold on academics and intellectuals to avoid certain third-rail topics or suffer exclusion from getting published, from having their books reviewed and covered by the media, etc. Just as this blog details in the field of economics how a certain view of economics is enforced, likewise the establishment view of recent historical events is enforced ruthlessly and alternative views excluded and marginalized.

    We live in the American hologram (Joe Bageant I think) but that applies equally to much of the tiny minority that reads and considers themselves well-informed as to the more obviously deluded low-brows watching reality TV. (And I’m sure there’s much, much, much I miss and don’t comprehend, but it’s not for having voluntarily put chains on myself and decided any topic is ipso facto off the table, no matter how well-documented or how much evidence is presented in a cogent and well-reasoned way.)

    1. Nathanael

      Real conspiracies are usually freaking bloody obvious. The conspirators have announced their intentions to commit the consipracy, then they have funded the conspiracy, then they have executed it pretty blatantly, and lots of people have reported on it.

      For instance, the NSA conspiracy against the American people — what are there, 8 whistleblowers already?

      For instance, the conspiracy to promote tetraethyl lead. Blatant blatant blatant.

      That’s usually my test for whether a conspiracy is real; is it really astoundingly obvious from public information that the conspirators wanted to to it, were able to do it, and did it.

      Many people might be surprised how many conspiracies are obviously real, by that metric.

      Other conspiracies can be dismissed because they require *more secrecy than most people can actually manage*. Conspirators are usually no more competent than anyone else; often less competent.

    1. Massinissa

      I never thought I would thank a bankster for anything (besides maybe accidentally destroying capitalism), but I must give thanks for linking this article.

    2. F. Beard

      I don’t think Maggie realized that banking was completely contrary to her free market ideas until too late.

  11. barrisj

    For those of you who are casting about for something to do on Sunday, FoxNews is hitting hard on “black crime” and “black-on-black” homicides, as a riposte to Obama’s Z-trial commentary the other day. In fact, as noted previously, the right-wing media is absolutely going spare in denouncing Obama’s remarks, and of course the leading-edge of the wedge is always “black propensity for violent crimes” – statistics willingly provided, of course – amongst other racial “attributes”. Herrnstein and Murray live on in the minds of a lot of white people, and the Zimmerman trial only catalysed the resurfacing of these barely-suppressed views: “Those people” are dumb and violent.
    One could glean some representative opinions from the average white chap in the Comments section of Philadelphia attorney and blogger Wayne Bennett, who blogs under the name of “the field negro”.
    http://field-negro.blogspot.com/.
    And the remarkable thing about all this pushback is how the “post-racial” meme has been so thoroughly discredited, almost as if it had never existed in the first place.

  12. diane

    I have a feeling you took quite a bit a time as to determining what link you used for Helen Thomas, and it looks like you did the best you could possibly do with Patricia Sullivan’s piece (there appears to be a silence among the ‘normal’(predominately competitive anglo male) go to, Non Major News Blawwwg sites (Silber’s included). I pray it is just a humbled, sorrowful, in mourning …. silence

    Thank you so much dear ‘Yves’ ….. for your humanity …. ;0) :

    Although she identified herself as a political liberal, Ms. Thomas did not hesitate to criticize the Democratic administration of President Obama, even after he presented her with cupcakes on Aug. 4, 2009, their shared birthday. She once told CNSNews.com that not even Nixon attempted to control the news media the way Obama’s administration tried to do.

    “What the hell do they think we are — puppets?” Ms. Thomas asked. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”

    For those who asslickers, all over the map in the last two days, who have blatantly implied that Helen Thomas did not “cover” the Oh Bomb Ya Administration, good luck living the rest of your lives out, with that “Whale” of an abominable LIE, as that is what ended her voice.

    (bolding, mine)

  13. JTFaraday

    re: What are these bizarre gestures about? Putin has made extremely clear that all he’ll give the US is an itty bit of lip service.

    Having taken Snowden captive, that’s what I would give if I were Putin.

    1. AbyNormal

      WoW…excellent workup and thanks wunsacon! this needs to make the links tomorrow.
      (dig the ‘mapping’ idea…your thinking wall map, right?’)

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