Links 7/27/13

NASA’s Van Allen Probes Discover Particle Accelerator in the Heart of Earth’s Radiation Belts NASA (martha r)

Nuclear Power Is Being Abandoned Worldwide George Washington. Lambert urges you the pictures.

Programmer Barnaby Jack dies a week before showing off heart-attack hack that can kill a man from 30 feet away Reuters (Bill C)

Two Faux Democracies That Threaten the World CounterPunch (Carol B)

Demonstrators say police infiltrator threw the molotov cocktail used to justify severe police violence Common Dreams (martha r)

Strauss-Kahn to stand trial for ‘aggravated pimping’ Irish Times (martha r)

Egypt Army Ultimatum Ends Today, Following More Clashes Bloomberg

How two Iranian brothers created one of the world’s first travel documentaries Guardian (Dikaios Logos)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Three Different Prisms? Parliament Seeks Clarity in NSA Scandal Der Spiegel (Deontos)

Roberts’s Picks Reshaping Secret Surveillance Court New York Times (furzy mouse)

Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying Glenn Greenwald (John M)

Snowden’s father: Son better off now in Russia Associated Press (martha r). Um, notice how the father isn’t able to see that his son figured that out a LONG time ago? No wonder Edward left home young.

Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash Wired (Deontos, martha r)

How Nancy Pelosi Saved the NSA Surveillance Program Foreign Policy (furzy mouse)

Scientist banned from revealing codes used to start luxury cars Guardian

Snowden Case Reveals Obama’s Personal Arrogance Moon of Alabama (Lambert). OMG you must read this! It was clear from the get-go that Putin was not going to extradite Snowden, and Obama’s refusal to get that “no” means “no” (what about nukes don’t you understand?) is revealing how pathological he really is.

Shocking ‘Extermination’ Fantasies By the People Running America’s Empire on Full Display at Aspen Summit Alternet (furzy mouse). Eeek.

Obama Promise To ‘Protect Whistleblowers’ Just Disappeared From TechDirt (Deontos, martha r)

The FBI has flown drones 10 times in US The Hill (martha r). And what do you want to bet they did some creative accounting to get the number down to 10?

United Nations Urged To Take Action Following Chicago School Closures Huffington Post (martha r)

FBI Investigating Orange County, California, Supervisors Testosterone Pit

The Satanist Altars Of The New South NSFW and where it takes you: Satanism in America Today: Asheville, NC Before It’s News (bob)

Pepper-spray cop seeks workers’ comp SFGate. So a sadist now wants us to believe his delicate psyche was damaged.

Prison Labor Booms As Unemployment Remains High; Companies Reap Benefits Huffington Post (martha r). This has been a below the radar story for a while….

SPLC secures release of Alabama man jailed after failing to pay $88 trash bill Southern Poverty Law Center (martha r). Debtor’s prison watch.

You Want a Living Wage With That? Fast Food Workers of N.Y.C. Prep for Another Strike Village Voice (Mrs. G)

F.D.A. Says Importers Must Audit Food Safety New York Times. Lovely. We saw from the financial services industry how well self-regulation works.

Obama Said Not Ready to Decide on Fed Chief for Several Weeks Bloomberg

Rivalry Over Next Fed Leader Comes Out of the Shadows New York Times

Former SEC Enforcer Joins Major Law Firm POGO. I didn’t have time to write up the vile SEC enforcement cash-out, so you can catch up here. They were kind enough to cite our work.

“There is still a risk of the whole world turning Japanese” Pieria. An interview with Steve Keen.

Interchange Updates: Canada, EU, and the US Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

Wall Street braces itself for SAC fallout Financial Times

J.P. Morgan to Explore Strategic Alternatives for its Physical Commodities Business MarketWatch

Antidote du jour:


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  1. Richard Kline

    Re: nuc power let by the roadside to rust, that’s what one Fukushima will do for a system. —And we’ve had two! Chernobyl. Nuc power had its bone marrow flashed with Chernobyl, and only friends in high places, as significant installed base, and huge money spent on favorable media have papered over the steady decline of ‘demon tech’ since. I drove down to Oregon the other week; the cooling tower of a long term eyesore plant wasn’t there anymore. I had phantom images on the retina looking at the landscape with the landscape in the blot where it used to be. (It was decommissioned permanently several years ago in a popular referendum, and finally disassembled.) Nuclear power still holds the prize for the worst technology folly ever. Fracking is bad, but won’t quite make that level of sheer stupidity. GM modified seeds may be worse. Mass irradiation of the human biomass by microwave and ambient electical fields will probably prove to be worse than nuck madness once the data is all in (why most of us are really sicker than ever before, I suspect), but that’s a situation which took a century and a large installed base to demonstrate. Nuclear power was NEVER a good idea, but only pushed to make the public with nuclear WAR power, i.e. ‘friendly’ nukes ‘for peace.’ Big Lies come back to bite us, um-hmm, um-hmmmmh . . . .

    1. Andrew Watts

      “I drove down to Oregon the other week; the cooling tower of a long term eyesore plant wasn’t there anymore.”

      I assume you’re talking about the Trojan nuclear power plant that’s outside Rainier? That could’ve ended very badly. The geniuses who built it did so over a previously undiscovered fault line.

      Epic fail.

        1. Andrew Watts

          Yup. The three eyed fish too.

          But that was just a rumor at the time the reactor was in operation. And a long running joke on the Simpsons/Futurama.

    2. Paul Tioxon


      It stands out on a highway
      like a Creature from another time.
      It inspires the babies’ questions,
      “What’s that?”

      For their mothers as they ride.
      But no one stopped to think about the babies
      or how they would survive,
      and we almost lost Detroit
      this time.

      How would we ever get over
      losing our minds?
      Just thirty miles from Detroit
      stands a giant power station.
      It ticks each night as the city sleeps
      seconds from anniahlation.
      But no one stopped to think about the people
      or how they would survive,
      and we almost lost Detroit
      this time.

      How would we ever get over
      over loosing our minds?
      The sherrif of Monroe county had,
      sure enough disasters on his mind,
      and what would karen Silkwood say
      if she was still alive?

      That when it comes to people’s safety
      money wins out every time.
      and we almost lost Detroit
      this time, this time.
      How would we ever get over
      over loosing our minds?
      You see, we almost lost Detroit
      that time.

      Almost lost Detroit
      that time.
      And how would we ever get over…
      Cause odds are,
      we gonna loose somewhere, one time.
      Odds are
      we gonna loose somewhere sometime.
      And how would we ever get over
      loosing our minds?

      And how would we ever get over
      loosing our minds?
      Didn’t they, didn’t they decide?
      Almost lost Detroit
      that time.

      Damn near totally destroyed,
      one time.

      Didn’t all of the world know?
      Say didn’t you know?
      Didn’t all of the world know?
      Say didn’t you know?

      Fermi I Breeder Reactor

      The Fermi I reactor was a breeder located at Lagoona Beach, 30 miles from Detroit. On October 5, 1966, high temperatures were measured (700 compared to normal 580¡F) and radiation alarms sounded involving two fuel rod subassemblies. The reactor scrammed and there was indication of fuel melting. After a month of sweating, they tested out enough subassemblies to limit the damage to 6 subassemblies. By January 67 they had learned that 4 subassemblies were damaged with two stuck together, but it took until May to remove the assemblies.

      When they had checked the sodium flow earlier, they had detected a clapping noise. In August 67 they were able to lower a periscope device into the meltdown pan and found that a piece of zirconium cladding had come loose and was blocking the sodium coolant nozzles. The zirconium cladding was part of the lining of the meltdown cone designed to direct the distribution of fuel material should a meltdown of the fuel occur. Such structures are necessary in a breeder reactor because of the possibliity of molten fuel reassembling itself in a critical configuration. This is not a possibility in an ordinary light water reactor because of the low level of enrichment of the uranium, but a fast breeder reactor is operated with a much higher level of enrichment. The phrase “China syndrome” was coined in regard to this accident as they were contemplating the possibilities should a meltdown of fuel with critical reassembly take place. The uncontrolled fission reaction could create enough heat to melt its way into the earth, and some engineer remarked “it could go all the way to China”.

      With ingenious tools designed and built for the purpose, the piece of zirconium was fished out in April of 1968. In May of 1970, the reactor was ready to resume operation, but a sodium explosion delayed it until July of 1970. In October it finally reached a level of 200 Mwatts. The total cost of the repair was about $132 million. In August of 1972 upon denial of the extension of its operating license, the shutdown process for the plant was initiated.

  2. sd

    Shocking ‘Extermination’ Fantasies By the People Running America’s Empire on Full Display at Aspen Summit

    I take it the Aspen Summit attracts Marquis de Sade wannabes. Horrifying article.

    1. from Mexico

      Horrifying indeed.

      Tribalism, the setting up of “us” versus “them” social constructs, has to be one of the most successful tactics of social control of our era. But if we pull the curtain back ever so slightly, allowing us to get a fleeting glimpse of reality, the constructs begin to fall apart.

      Take partisanship, for instance. The PTB pit the people against each other along partisan lines. But as the article makes clear, when it comes to warmongers and control freaks, partisanship is irrelevant. The Republican tribe and the Democratic tribe sing from the same hymnal. I would say the same is true of the liberal and the conservative tribes.

      Then, in the war on terror, what we get is the terrorist tribe vs. the non-terrorist tribe. So the warmongers and control freaks can go on about “exterminating terrorists,” when we know from things like Operation Cyclone and Obama’s impending funding of Islamic extremists in Syria that war mongers and control freaks are some of the biggest promoters of terrorism around.

      The same goes for the war on drugs. The warmongers and control freaks can beat their chests and talk about “smoking drug cartel leaders” all they want, but we know from the work of folks like Peter Dale Scott and others that these same people are deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.

      1. from Mexico

        I also see the TPTB, whether they call themselves Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, as having declared war on three different tribes:

        1) Terrorists
        2) Drug Dealers
        3) Black and Brown people

        But, as Cornel West makes clear in this interview, all three engagements are in reality class conflicts, wars on poor people:

        And as West points out, the war on black and brown people doesn’t break the mold. Just like we have terrorists fighting the war on terrorists, drug dealers fighting the war on drug dealers, we also have a black man, Barak Obama, fighting the war on black and brown people.

      2. Brindle

        These people—Hayden, Ashcroft etc., are simply criminals. That they are not in prison does not alter the fact.

        —“Competing with Ashcroft for the High Authoritarian prize was former NSA chief Michael Hayden, who emphasized the importance of Obama’s drone assassinations, at least in countries the U.S. has deemed to be Al Qaeda havens. “Here’s the strategic question,” Hayden said. “People in Pakistan? I think that’s very clear. Kill ’em. People in Yemen? The same. Kill ’em.” —

        1. YankeeFrank

          Amazing. He didn’t even bother to cover his mass murder ethos by calling them “terrorists” instead of people.

    2. David Lentini

      What’s really horrifying is how the origial mission of the Institute has been corrupted. Paepcke, Adler, and Hutchins must be cyring somewhere in Heaven at the thought of the Instituted associating itself war criminals (who are also serve on the board).

      1. m agog

        I went to a thing there. It was nice to genuflect at the bust of Robert Hutchins, as a middlebrow great books acolyte from childhood, but basically felt like a biblehumper at an Asheville fetus-stew potluck. Bank racketeers and PNAC Strangeloves. The only fun was pissing off a 9/11 commission staffer with impertinent questions about their bullshit bedtime story.

    3. craazyman

      faaaaak these guys are all crazy and they have no idea how crazy they are, that’s when you’re really nuts is when you have no idea at all that you’re nuts and you think you’re completely normal and sane.

      the property on display as what I would refer to as “the ascension of the absolute” which is a property of human thinking in all spheres of perception. this is an important property of analysis, but when it goes off the rails all hell break loose eventually

      what hpappens is you stare at a landscape and ask yourself– OK, what are the things i’m looking at that make everthing real? you might say “trees, grass, sky, clouds, sun” then you think “wait a minutes!” that’s just the manifestation of the underlying phenomenon – I have to go deeper, And you say “line, shape, light, shade and order” Now you’re getting somewhere. Then you say “faaaak, I forgot color”. Then you say “I’m looking at color and that’s it!” Now you’re experiencing the ascension of the absolute.

      In math you say “what is the law by which all numbers have order?” and then you figure out 8 or 10 laws. and then you abstract them into 3 or 4 because you realize some are redundent. eventually you don’t even need numbers anymore since you have the laws themselves, and then you think “there must be one law that all laws reduce to” And then you start to drool, possessed by the absolute.

      Or you say “Why do people do what they do?” and you initially have many reasons. And then you reduce them to “procreating and avoiding death”

      Each time you reduce, you think you’re gaining information and insight, and you gain some, but you lose some. And when you reduce to an absolute, you have lost more than you gained, because you’ve forgotten all the variety of phenomenon that the absolute cannot explain.

      Now the absolute is “terrorist” and all the variety of phenomenon that you’ve parsed away – all of history, all of human nature, all capacity for error and delusion – in your drive for clarity and “efficiency” of outcome, all of it is gone and now you’re under a trance completely possessed by the absolute, and when you look at it you stare with shining eyes and you howl like an animal in the night.

      1. barrisj

        And, what of the role of CNN in all this…you know, “The Most Trusted Name in News”. What used to be called “The Fourth Estate” is nothing more than an appendage of government, and woeful hacks such as the Wolfman are forever celebrated for their “journalism”. Blitzer, formerly with the Jerusalem Post, and a contributor to AIPAC, is a contemporary archetype of the “embedded reporter”, serving the interests of his hosts, rather than ferreting out the various crimes and misdeeds of officialdom. IF Stone, where are you? Blitzer…Jesus wept.

    4. anon y'mouse

      Ashcroft: “for the guy who’s on the other end of a Hellfire missile he doesn’t see that as a nuance.”

      no, really? and what do the children think? “ooh, pretty colors!”

      sickening subhumans.

        1. HotFlash

          Thanks for this, F Beard. I particularly liked ‘Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both.
          Proverbs 17:14-16’

          Eric, you hear that?

          1. F. Beard

            You’re welcome but I should have included this:

            The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Psalm 11:5

            The above cured me of weapons designing in my head to idle away the time. In my defense, I thought the US could never be wrong and I did not understand banking either.

            But anyway, the thought of my only possible Savior hating me was enough.

      1. craazyman

        faaaaaak these guys are nuts. wasn’t he the dude who put a cloth over a statue’s marble tits down at the Justice Department lobby so they wouldn’t show in the background on TV press conferences.

        Why not just put a bikini top on the statue and maybe a statue of liberty spiked hat? That’s what any normal person would do.

        I can see not wanting naked tits bumping against your head if you’re on TV talking about justice. I can certainly understand that, but I wouldn’t cover them with a sheet. I’d try turning the statue around, unless the butt is showing. Usually these statues have marble robes over the butt. Most of the ones I’ve seen anyway. Not that I check out statue butts but sometimes you notice these things.

        Otherwise you can move the lectern and tell the press corp. “Let’s not get the tits in the picture, OK?” That’s a reasonable request. faaaak if I was a camera-man I’d be righteous about it and obey the No Tits rule out of respect for my country. I really would, I’m not just being flip. The sheet just makes it more obvious there’s naked tits in the room. It’s best to ignore them and pretend they’re not there. If anybody wants to look at them, that’s their business, but it shouldn’t be on TV.

  3. from Mexico

    @ “Snowden Case Reveals Obama’s Personal Arrogance”

    Andrew M. Lobaczewski, in Political Ponerology, makes the point that not only pathological egoism, but also pathological egotism and pathological egocentricism are hallmarks of a characteropathic leader.

    This incident also reminds me of something Reinhold Niebuhr wrote in The Irony of American History:

    The false abstraction of “economic man” remains a permanent defect in all bourgeois liberal ideology. It seems to know nohting of what Thomas Hobbes termed “the continual competition for honor and dignity” in human affairs. It understands neither the traditional ethnic and cultural loyalties which qualify a consistent economic rationalism; nor the deep and complex motives in the human psyche which express themselves in the desire for “power and glory.” All the conflicts in human society involving passions and ambitions, hatreds and loves, envies and ideals not recorded in the market place, are behond the comprehension of the typical bourgeois ethos.

      1. G3

        Not really. KOS was dismissive of the fallout from the scandal as coming out of “white privilege” but there are tons of diaries on the topic daily. Real good ones too. Tom Tomorrow and lefty cartoonists post there. But any diary advocating 3rd parties is a no-no. Think it could get the author banned.

    1. diptherio

      Thanks for that link. It led me to this article from the Economist which is worth reading in it’s own right: Secret Government
      I think W.W. hits the nail on the head with this chilling description of the likely rationalization of the secret spying programs, which Joe Shickspack also quotes in the Kos article

      You see, democracy here at home must be balanced against the requirements of security, and it is simply too dangerous to leave the question of this balance to the democratic public. Open deliberation over the appropriate balance would require saying something concrete about threats to public safety, and also about the means by which those threats might be checked. But revealing such information would only empower America’s enemies and endanger American lives. Therefore, this is a discussion Americans can’t afford to have. Therefore, the power to determine that this is a discussion the public cannot afford to have cannot reside in the democratic public. That power must reside elsewhere, with the best and brightest, with those who have surveyed the perils of the world and know what it takes to meet them. Those deep within the security apparatus, within the charmed circle, must therefore make the decision, on America’s behalf, about how much democracy—about how much discussion about the limits of democracy, even—it is safe for Americans to have.

      This decision will not be effective, however, if it is openly questioned. The point is that is not up for debate. It is crucial, then, that any attempt by those on the inside to reveal the real, secret rules governing American life be met with overwhelming, intimidating retaliation. In order to maintain a legitimising democratic imprimatur, it is of course important that a handful of elected officials be brought into the anteroom of the inner council, but it’s important that they know barely more than that there is a significant risk that we will all perish if they, or the rest of us, know too much, and they must be made to feel that they dare not publicly speak what little they have been allowed know. Even senators. Even senators must fear to describe America’s laws to America’s citizens. This is, yes, democracy-suppression, but it is a vitally necessary arrangement. It keeps you and your adorable kids and even your cute pet dog alive.

      1. Ruben

        Shorty after WWII (IIRC) the Austrian logician Kurt Godel was going through an examination to get the American citizenship, in the company of Einstein and Morgenstern as witnesses, and the judge asked him whether he thought that the USA can turn into a dictatorship like nazi Germany, the country Godel escaped from some years back. Godel replied that he found an inconsistency within the USA constitution that would make it legally possible to turn the USA into a dictatorship. He went on to explain his findings to Einstein and Morgenstern consternation but was stopped by the judge in order not to have to deny the request for citizenship.

  4. Sara K.

    Re: Two Faux Democracies

    “The Chinese government has not seized Taiwan, which China could do at will.”

    Not true – at least, not without great cost to China. While the Taiwnanese military is not as powerful (in relative terms) as it once was, it still is an island with many heavily fortified outer islands, deepwater ports (which China does not have) high mountains (this is why it took the Japanese empire a long time to gain full control of Taiwan), and a population who is strongly against being ruled by the People’s Republic of China. Unless China could finish the war very quickly (i.e. take over the Linkou plateau and threaten to bombard Taipei – this is precisely why the Linkou plateau has a heavy military presence), the Taiwanese military would relatiate and, at a minimum, bombard Fujian province.

    I think China’s current strategy is to try to take Taiwan over by ‘soft power’ – i.e. buy corrupt Taiwanese politicians/leaders and flood Taiwan with bubble-blowing money – because that is far less risky and expensive than a military strike. If China were truly uninterested in taking over Taiwan, why would they offer such lavish vacations to recently retired military officers who just happen to know important strategic information?

    It’s not just Taiwan – there is also the dispute between China and Japan over the Senkakus (noted regularly by NC), the tension between China and Vietnam, between China and India, etc … and I think the Uyghurs and Tibetans may have something to say about China’s territorial ambitions as well.

    This is not a defence of U.S. or Israeli policy. It is merely flat-out inccorrect that China does not have any ambitions to expand its territory – and in this corner of the world (I live in Taiwan), China is much more feared than the U.S.

    1. realguy

      sara k from taiwan
      china ia also playing same strategy in two indian states:west bengal and andhra pradesh…china is going to give 180 billion to politicians in one state alone
      while chinese army is slowly taking over kashmir in ladakh..
      but have no fear from indian royal family….they don’t want to oppose china

    2. Not Chinese

      I’m not sure what China would have to gain from any kind of forceful takeover of Taiwan – indeed , it seems to me that they’d lose more than they could possibly hope to gain from any violent moves towards any such goal; and that peaceful co-operation and trade with Taiwan would be more to their profit.
      I mean, what would be hurrying the mainland Chinese, just now, about this? What would they gain, or what would they fear to lose, such that they would feel impelled to take any such action now, and not say ten years from now? Haven’t they always looked at their desired “re-unification” with Taiwan as a very long-term goal, albeit one they avow to be constantly on their minds?
      I’m not Chinese, and know but little of the realities, tensions and complexities of Taiwanese-Chinese relations: but is it not simply inevitable that with the revolving of the generations, over a sufficient length of time, that Taiwan and China, fated by geography to be neighbours albeit slightly removed, will over the decades simply continue to naturally and slowly deepen and extend their ties and co-operation, until one peaceful day they “look up and notice”, so to speak, perhaps with a sudden realization, that they’ve started working and living together, as if nothing had ever driven them apart?

      Perhaps I’m too much of an optimist. I hope not, though.

  5. Jim Haygood

    Satanism in Asheville? Could be, but Asheville is minor league compared to Washington DC.

    I find personages such as Lindsay Graham a lot scarier than the goth chick pictured in the article, with the side of her skull shaved.

    And Obama’s racked up a body count many times that of the Asheville coven. Amateurs!

    1. bob

      I was hoping beard would comment on that one.

      Satan in the heartland!

      I’d also like to see a group that might claim the label “satanism” or “wiccan” sue that woman for slander.

      Not one fact in there. Lots of “I” and “He”.

      It’s mountain voodoo.

  6. Jim Haygood

    Lambert is gonna love this one:

    In order to ensure Americans understand how to access the benefits available to them when many provisions of the Affordable Care Act go online October 1, the Obama administration announced last month that it is setting up a call center that will be accessible to Americans 24 hours a day.

    One branch of that call center will be located in California’s Contra Costa County, where, reportedly, 7,000 people applied for the 204 jobs. According to the Contra Costa Times, however, “about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.”

    Ah ha ha ha … send them to the exchanges! What better training can there be, than personal experience? People helping people, it’s the American way.

  7. K Ackermann

    At least Khuzami is out of the SEC. One less POS in the government. He new job is the same as the old one… fighting the SEC.

  8. diptherio

    Re: Egypt Army Ultimatum Ends Today

    At the end of this article, the U.S. State Dept claims that Egypt is “a stabilizing force in the region.” WTF??? You mean the country that is currently tearing itself apart and headed for civil war? Ok…

    And then there’s the administration’s refusal to make a determination on whether or not Morsi’s ouster was a coup. It obviously was, since Obama was congratulating Morsi not too long ago on being Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, but that would be inconvenient to admit, so the administration is taking the old “neither confirm nor deny” approach to justify their violation of U.S. law (the intent, if not the letter).

    I blogged about it a little here:

    1. John Miller

      Hillary was on TV defending Mubarak as he was killing people in the street in 2011. Gotta get those F-16s shipped to the right people, big money.

    1. Brindle

      Went to JJ gig in the early-mid 90’s, small club 150-200 people. I sat about 10 feet away from him—wonderful memory.
      He was such an unassuming musician.

  9. Heretic

    To Yves,
    Thank you for your excellent post ‘ A Pox on Optimists’. There were some very important points for me to further digest.

    I do have an MBA. I felt I did learn some useful stuff, but I have realized that it is a school of cultural propaganda…much glitz and glamour, talking big business lingo, ‘having it all’, shareholder value, and very little discussions on tenacity, uncertainty and risk, and none at all on compassion or real working ethics. (Mind you, there were a few professors who did subtlety but strongly advocate a humane view of ones employees)

    Thank you again for the article.

  10. fresno dan

    Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying Glenn Greenwald (John M)

    “The White House then condemned Amash/Conyers this way: “This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.” What a multi-level masterpiece of Orwellian political deceit that sentence is. The highly surgical Amash/Conyers amendment – which would eliminate a single, specific NSA program of indiscriminate domestic spying – is a “blunt approach”, but the Obama NSA’s bulk, indiscriminate collection of all Americans’ telephone records is not a “blunt approach”. Even worse: Amash/Conyers – a House bill debated in public and then voted on in public – is not an “open or deliberative process”, as opposed to the Obama administration’s secret spying activities and the secret court that blesses its secret interpretations of law, which is “open and deliberative”. That anyone can write a statement like the one that came from the Obama White House without dying of shame, or giggles, is impressive.”

    Black is white, up is down, and war is security…
    One hopeful note (and I am never hopeful):
    “The House voted on an amendment sponsored by Justin Amash, the young Michigan lawyer elected in 2010 as a Tea Party candidate, and co-sponsored by John Conyers, the 24-term senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. The amendment was simple. It would de-fund one single NSA program:”
    Maybe we will start looking at representatives not by well worn tropes (democrats are all for civil liberties, republicans want small government) but by how they actually stand on issues. Slightly more than Half of them think the constitution is a hindrance.

    1. Stevo

      Pelosi, Van Hollen, etc – they don’t care if their country is against wiretapping per se, they serve industry in their Districts.
      Note that open secrets will list the most campaign funding from the FIRE sector, that’s because it is verbotten to shrink “Defense” No secrets to reveal, since the lobbyist is already elected. Being bought and sold, the ultimate cynicism!

      1. Bruno Marr

        Pelosi needs to be Primary’d!

        I think there are enough digusted voters in her liberal Bay Area district to make it eventful.

  11. Benji

    As a defense contractor, I can see the truckloads of office furniture that are being assembled by prison labor from federal human warehouses. As the process of using wards of the state to produce license plates and beyond increases (and it has exponentially over the last decade) the motivation to get people behind bars in the first place is attenuated by lawmakers who must make sure “there is a reason” for their incarceration. It can’t be said enough, we lead the world in locking people up and destroying. It is disgusting to see pitchmen for incarceration trot out lines like: “We’ll she was homeless, so locking her up gave her food and a bed for the first time in a while”

    1. sd

      I believe that’s called ‘slavery’ – otherwise known as the punishment for being poor.

  12. anon y'mouse

    those pictures are just like some cartoon strips from Heavy Metal Magazine back in the 70’s, which were all massive ruins of decayed civilizations rising out the sand ala Planet of the Apes endscene.

  13. Jess

    Not to excuse ex-officer Pike in any way for any reason, I can see how his claim for disability rings true from his perspective. I’m sure he was shocked to find himself fired for doing what he was hired and train to do. I bet he saw his action as being exactly what his superiors at UC Davis expected and wanted him to do. (Don’t forget that his boss, the campus police chief, also had to resign and the campus chancellor was the object of heavy criticism and protest.) I’m pretty sure that Pike was both astounded and emotionally hurt when the campus PTB didn’t come to his defense and instead threw him to the wolves. I’m sure his entire world has been turned upside down.

    But OTOH, maybe he learned a lesson that fascism is like the Mafia; when things get dicey, loyal soldiers for the cause are quickly thrown under the bus (or whacked) by the capos up the line.

    1. petridish

      Poor effin’ OFFICER Pike. He was just doin’ his job. And now his world is turned upside down.

      Boo Hoo.

      Give me a break.

      1. Jess

        Sorry to be unclear. Never meant to imply any sympathy for Pike, just pointing out how divorced from normal emotional reality a lot of these authoritarian types can be. Their view is so distorted that they end up thinking they’re the victims.

        1. petridish

          Memo to Ofc. Pike: The “emotional reality” of police brutality is a sword that cuts both ways. Tell your friends.

          1. Bruno Marr

            Exactly! All those folks who were on the butt end of a baton will be lookin’ for payback when the tables are turned. US Police should look closely at Egypt. The payback to Mubarak’s police was severe; as in severed hands and heads.

  14. Ms G

    Political-economic satire at its finest, care of John Oliver who is replacing Jon Stewart on Daily Show (not for long enough, I’m afraid).

    This video in 2 parts is a must watch – it is side-splitting and smack on the money. Monopoly just removed the “Go to Jail” box … Oliver has a theory why and what the replacement “moves” will be (think TBTJ, Caymans, etc.). The Goldman Sachs Aluminum story rendered more pithily, accurately and absurdly than any other outlet. Then the Monopoly and GS Aluminum stories intersect …

    And it’s Freeeeee!

    Be sure to watch both parts!

  15. Jacie

    “A military prosecutor spent hours Thursday depicting Army Pfc. Bradley Manning as a methodical, attention-seeking traitor who used advanced computer skills to dredge up hundreds of thousands of secret documents sought by the anti-secrecy group .” WaPo

    Compelling depiction. See? He’s guilty of attention seeking. The traitors are the folks who started the war, lied, tortured, successfully deploying perhaps the greatest tragedy in US history. Not a day goes by where a solider isn’t killing themselves and we see this jackass spectacle at a military base.

    1. AbyNormal

      A Cherokee is telling his grandson about a fight
      that is going on inside himself.
      He said it is between 2 wolves.

      One is evil: Anger, envy, sorrow, regret,
      fearful thinking, greed, arrogance, self-pity,
      guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies,
      false pride, superiority and ego.

      The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity,
      humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity,
      truth, compassion and faith.

      The grandson thought about it for a minute
      and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”

      The Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.”

      Author Unknown

        1. AbyNormal

          Christian Lessons from Zen Buddhism

          As a Christian, I’ve gained some of my most valuable insights into spirituality from Zen Buddhism. During visits to monasteries in South Korea and Japan, I’ve encountered exquisite beauties and powerful insights that have greatly enriched my Christian faith.

          I’m not alone in drawing inspiration from Zen. Thomas Merton and David Steindl-Rast are among the many Christians who have been influenced by this form of Buddhism, which is dominant in Japan but has spread throughout the world. Here are ten things Christians can learn from Zen…

          1. F. Beard

            According to wiki, Zen Buddhism developed in the 6th century AD.

            I am often amazed at how many surviving belief systems the Bible predates. But why be content with an imitation when one can have the original instead?

            It’s also amazing but sad than many accept Christian beliefs but reject Christ!

            You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. John 5:39-40 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

            1. AbyNormal

              i was reared by southern christian fanatics, my step-grandfather was jewish and my oldest brother adopted a muslim child…im gloriously blessed with no issues encompassing different faiths into my spiritual growth (unlike too many).

              hint: its a common that westerners mistake zen for a religion…its a way myFriend.

              Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.

              Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring.

              The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

              “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

              1. F. Beard

                Even your tea cup example resonates with Scripture:

                Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him Proverbs 26:12

                But one does not simply empty one’s self; rather he must be cleansed “by the washing of water with the word” Ephesians 5:26

                Look, I sympathize with any who have been raised by fanatics but the cause of Christian fanaticism is Biblical ignorance and the cure is to remain in the word (John 8:31-32), INCLUDING the Old Testament!

                1. AbyNormal

                  “the cure is to remain in the word”

                  “Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.” Joseph Campbell

                  my kinda cure ‘ ))

                  1. F. Beard

                    Catchy toon with my new wireless headphones. They’re finally perfected. Doing household chores is now a pleasure!

  16. rich

    Has Carl June Found a Key to Fighting Cancer?

    Walter Keller had nearly lost his battle with leukemia when he went to Penn’s Carl June and his group of researchers for a radical new cancer treatment. What happened next may change medicine forever.

    2004, Philadelphia

    T cells. Carl June had an idea for a new kind of cancer treatment involving T cells, those building blocks of the immune system.

    In their natural state, T cells usually aren’t able to kill tumor cells, partly because they can’t latch on strongly enough. But June was fascinated by scientific papers showing it was possible to change this. A few researchers—first an Israeli named Zelig Eshhar in the ’80s, then other investigators around the world—had discovered that you could force a T cell to stick to a tumor cell and kill it. To pull this off, you built an “engineered T cell”—a T cell never before seen in nature. You altered the T cell’s genetic blueprint by injecting a new gene into the cell. The new gene would tell it to build a new molecular limb. The limb, called a “chimeric antigen receptor,” would sit partly inside the cell and partly outside, and it could send signals either in or out. One signal it could send was: kill. Another was: replicate.

    June loved this approach. So elegant. Put the immune system on steroids. What if you could train the body to fight cancer on its own? What if, instead of replacing a patient’s immune system (as in a bone-marrow transplant) or pumping him full of poison (chemo), you could just borrow some cells, tweak them, and infuse them back into the patient? In theory, the engineered cells would stay alive in the blood, replenishing themselves, killing any tumors that recurred. It occurred to June that one infusion could last a lifetime.

    He was also excited by the flexibility of engineered T cells. Normally, a drug for one kind of cancer couldn’t ever work on another kind; you had to start over from scratch. But here, since you were starting with a T cell and adding a limb, you only had to change the shape of the limb. You could snap a new piece on the end, like a LEGO, that fit into a molecule on the surface of a breast-cancer cell, or a pancreatic-cancer cell, or whatever kind of cancer you wanted to attack.

  17. Hugh

    “The bad guys…hide amongst us to kill our people. Our job is to stop them without impacting your civil liberties and privacy and these programs are set up to do that.”

    “The reason we use secrecy is not to hide it from the American people, but to hide it from the people who walk among you and are trying to kill you,” Alexander insisted.

    General Keith Alexander, director of the NSA

    “Real power begins where secrecy begins.”

    Hannah Arendt, Origins of Totalitarianism

    As Arendt also writes (with my updating in brackets),

    “Totalitarian propaganda can outrageously insult common sense only where common sense has lost its validity. Before the alternative of facing the anarchic growth and total arbitrariness of decay [kleptocracy] or bowing down before the most rigid, fantastically fictitious consistency of an ideology [American exceptionalism defended by the surveillance state, the War on Terror, and the war on drugs, etc.], the masses probably will always choose the latter and be ready to pay for it with individual sacrifices [civil liberties]—and this not because they are stupid or wicked, but because in the general disaster this escape grants them a minimum of self-respect.”

    In other words, rather than face their plundering by the rich and elites, many derive some comfort and retain some semblance of self-respect by adopting a mature and pragmatic attitude toward signing off their rights before the specter of the fantasy threats and wars of the powers that be. In this world the concept of privacy is lost or bastardized: only the terrorists and people with something to hide need the 4th Amendment. Only the surrendering of one’s rights shows that one is truly an honest and loyal citizen. Which are you? As Arendt writes, such questions can only arise under conditions where common sense no longer operates.

  18. Hugh

    In the friendly confines of the Aspen Institute’s Security Forum, Leiter did his best to burnish his company’s tarnished image, and do some damage control on behalf of the national security apparatus it depends on for contracts. Like most other participants, Leiter appeared in smart casual dress, with an open collar, loafers, a loose-fitting jacket and slacks.

    “Just seeing us here,” he said, “that inspires [public] confidence, because we’re not a bunch of ogres.”

    I for one am not re-assured. I seem to be on a Hannah Arendt tangent today. As she wrote,

    “The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal.”

    Eichmann in Jerusalem

  19. Seal

    Paul and Nancy Pelosi found a horse head in their bed with a note on it “Neigh” and Nancy took it as a sign to vote No on the Amash amendment.

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