Daily Archive: 03/01/2011

Mar 01 2011

The Fall Out From Anonymous

House Representative Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)and several other Democratic lawmakers are calling on the House Republicans to investigate a Washington law firm, Hunton & Williams, and three federal security contractors for using illegal tactics to target the critics of the US Chamber of Commerce. The plan was revealed in e-mails exchanges from HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies that were obtained by Anonymous when they hacked HBGary’s computers and CEO Aaron Barr’s i-phone and twitter account.

The companies proposed forming a “corporate information reconnaissance cell” and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software

The e-mails contain test runs in which the firms culled personal information, including family and religious data, on anti-chamber activists.

The chamber has denied knowledge of the proposals.

The three security firms named in the e-mails have substantial federal contracts. A sales document produced for the Hunton & Williams law firm in November said the firms have “extensive experience in providing game-changing results across the Intelligence Community and defense/government sector.”

Other e-mails contain similar proposals to target supporters of WikiLeaks on behalf of Bank of America, which fears it will be that group’s next target. Bank of America has denied knowledge of the proposals.

The fall out from these revelations has produced denials of any involvement by US Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America officials, the condemnation of the proposal and the severance of ties wiht with HBGary Federal by Berico and Palantir and the resignation of HBGary CEO Aaron Barr.

Let’s see if the Republicans will go after some of the companies that are tools of their corporate owners.

Mar 01 2011

Obama: Get Out Your Comfortable Shoes

h/t to Sam Pratt:

I invited you to please go to Wisconsin. You apparently declined.  Or didn’t get the invitation.  Ok.  I guess you forgot about this.

———

from The Dream Antilles

Mar 01 2011

Obama Still Protecting US War Criminals

The Obama administration is still protecting US war criminals from prosecution in the International Criminal Court. A little noticed clause in the UN Security Council resolution that brought sanctions against Libyan dictator Moammar Gadafi and his regime forbids the prosecution of the mercenaries from nations which are not signatories to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which protects many of the mercenaries Gadaffi has hired to kill Libyan protesters.

“6. Decides that nationals, current or former officials or personnel from a State outside the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya which is not a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya established or authorized by the Council, unless such exclusive jurisdiction has been expressly waived by the State;

That clause was inserted at the insistence of the US and was a deal breaker if it was not included. Why would the US do that? After all. hadn’t US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said that all those “who slaughter civilians” would “be held personally accountable”? Well, my dears, it is once again an attempt to prevent a precedent that would permit the prosecutions of Americans  by the ICC for alleged crimes in other conflicts.

So now while protecting US war criminals from justice. Obama is protecting the foreign mercenaries from countries who are not signatories to the ICC from accountability. Good going there, Mr. Rule of Law.

h/t Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com

Mar 01 2011

Direct Non-Violent Action

The facts are hardly in dispute.  On December 19th, 2008 W gave his Oil and Gas crony capitalist buddy’s a parting gift by auctioning off 130,000 acres of leases on Public Lands near environmentally sensitive National Parks and Monuments.

Tim DeChristopher, an economics major at the University of Utah, registered as a bidder and succeeded in obtaining leases to 22,500 acres for the bargain price of $1.7 Million and running up the bids on even more.

“We were hosed,” said Jason Blake of Park City, shortly after the consulting geologist was outbid on a 320-acre parcel. “It’s very frustrating.”

Upon coming to office Interior Secretary Salazar suspended processing of the sales, many of which were later blocked in Federal Court.  DeChristopher was arrested and his trial starts today on two counts- Making a False Statement and violating the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act.  If convicted he faces up to 10 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.

DeChristopher had offered to cover the bill with an Internet fundraising campaign, but the government refused to accept any of the money after the fact.

Federal prosecutors have acknowledged that DeChristopher is the only person ever charged with failing to make good on bids at a lease auction of public lands in Utah.

“There’s people who didn’t have the money, but they didn’t have the intent to disrupt” the auction, assistant U.S. attorney John Huber told The Associated Press in 2009.

Thank you Barack Hussein Obama, fierce advocate for the environment.

Mar 01 2011

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”

Dean Baker: Right to Work: Representation Without Taxation

Part of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s union-busting agenda is including a “right to work” rule for public-sector employees. Several other Republican governors are considering similar measures for both the public and private sectors. Insofar as they succeed, these right-to-work measures will seriously weaken the bargaining power of workers.

“Right to work” is a great name from the standpoint of proponents, just like the term “death tax” is effective for opponents of the estate tax, but it has nothing to do with the issue at hand. It is widely believed that in the absence of right-to-work laws workers can be forced to join a union. This is not true. Workers at any workplace always have the option as to whether or not to join a union.

Ari Berman: Civil War in the GOP? Top Republican Supports Government Shutdown

Last week National Journal asked Democratic and Republicans “insiders” in Washington whether a government shutdown would be in their party’s best interest politically. Fifty-six percent of Democrats said yes, while 65 percent of Republicans said no.

Tim Pawlenty, the ex-governor of Minnesota and likely 2012 GOP presidential candidate, evidently is not one of those Republicans. In an interview with Think Progress over the weekend after his speech at the Tea Party Patriots summit in Phoenix, Pawlenty welcomed the idea of an imminent government shutdown.

Greg Mitchell: When ‘The Age of Wikileaks’ Began, One Year Ago, With ‘Collateral Murder’

Exactly three months ago,  I started live-blogging when a major story broke, as I’d done previously in a few cases. But a funny thing happened with WikiLeaks’ “Cablegate” release: The story, and the reader interest, did not go away after a couple of days-as the cables kept coming out, the controversies spread, and Julian Assange became a household name in America.

One week passed, then another. I started labeling it The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog and giving it a number, e.g. “Day 20.” Then “30.” Echoing the early days of Nightline during the Iran crisis in the late-1970s, I wrote that like America then I was being held “hostage.”  Now it’s day 93 and counting.

But with the arrival of March, another marker to note:  It’s now been a year since WikiLeaks began processing a massive leak, for which Pvt. Bradley Manning, in his Quantico cell in near-isolation,  stands accused.

Mar 01 2011

On This Day in History March 1

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 1 is the 60th day of the year (61st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency within the Department of State. The same day, he sent a message to Congress asking for permanent funding for the agency, which would send trained American men and women to foreign nations to assist in development efforts. The Peace Corps captured the imagination of the U.S. public, and during the week after its creation thousands of letters poured into Washington from young Americans hoping to volunteer.

The Peace Corps is an American volunteer program run by the United States Government, as well as a government agency of the same name. The mission of the Peace Corps includes three goals: providing technical assistance, helping people outside the United States to understand U.S. culture, and helping Americans understand the cultures of other countries. Generally, the work is related to social and economic development. Each program participant, (aka Peace Corps Volunteer), is an American citizen, typically with a college degree, who works abroad for a period of 24 months after three months of training. Volunteers work with governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in education, hunger, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. After 24 months of service, volunteers can request an extension of service.

Kennedy appointed his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver to be the program’s first director. Shriver fleshed out the organization with the help of Warren Wiggins and others. Shriver and his think tank outlined the organization’s goals and set the initial number of volunteers. The program began recruiting in July, 1962.

Until about 1967, applicants had to pass a placement test that tested “general aptitude” (knowledge of various skills needed for Peace Corps assignments) and language aptitude. After an address from Kennedy, who was introduced by Rev. Russell Fuller of Memorial Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, on August 28, 1961, the first group of volunteers left for Ghana and Tanzania. The program was formally authorized by Congress on September 22, 1961, and within two years over 7,300 volunteers were serving in 44 countries. This number increased to 15,000 in June 1966, the largest number in the organization’s history.

Mar 01 2011

Six In The Morning

US says Gaddafi is ‘delusional’ and unfit to lead



A senior US diplomat says Gaddafi’s behaviour ‘underscores how unfit he is to lead and how disconnected he is from reality’

Ben Quinn and agencies

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 March 2011


Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional”,  “unfit to lead” and “disconnected from reality”, according to the US ambassador to the UN.

Susan Rice made the comments following an interview Gaddafi gave in which he insisted the people of Libya love him and denied that there have been any demonstrations against his regime.

“All my people love me. They would die to protect me,” the Libyan leader said, speaking to news organisations including the BBC, laughing off international pressure to step down.

“As if anyone would leave their homeland,” he replied, accusing western leaders of betrayal and of having “no morals.”

Mar 01 2011

DocuDharma Digest

Regular Features-

Featured Essays for February 28, 2011-

DocuDharma

Mar 01 2011

Prime Time

American Experience covers the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.  New House.  Some other premiers not worth remarking on.

Everyone who drinks is not a poet. Maybe some of us drink because we’re not poets.

I’ve taken the liberty of anticipating your condition. I have brought you orange juice, coffee, and aspirins. Or do you need to throw up?

Later-

I can’t believe we’re paying to see something we get on TV for free! If you ask me, everybody in this theater is a giant sucker! Especially you!

Dave hosts Brian Williams (ugh), Trey Parker and Matt Stone (double ugh), and Zac Brown Band.  Jon has Howard Stern, Stephen Michael Scheuer.  Alton does Popovers and Meat Pie.  Conan hosts Marisa Tomei, Harland Williams, and Fitz & the Tantrums.

Hello. I’m Tom Hanks. The US Government has lost its credibility, so it’s borrowing some of mine.

Zap2it TV Listings, Yahoo TV Listings

Mar 01 2011

from firefly-dreaming 28.2.11

Regular Daily Features:

  • Six Brilliant Articles!    from Six Different Places!!     on Six Different Topics!!!

                    Six Days a Week!!!                at Six in the Morning!!!!
  • Silent Lucidity begins the day in Late Night Karaoke, mishima DJs

Essays Featured Monday, February 28th: