Tag Archive: Obama

Apr 24 2015

It’s long past time to take away Obama’s flying death robots

Back in 2013, in the aftermath of his murder of Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, when Mr. Obama was trying to justify his arrogated powers to incinerate people with his fleet of flying death robots, he made certain assertions about the process by which he and his merry minions selected victims [bolding mine]:

First, there must be a legal basis for using lethal force, whether it is against a senior operational leader of a terrorist organization or the forces that organization is using or intends to use to conduct terrorist attacks.  

Second, the United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that

all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.

Third, the following criteria must be met before

lethal action may be taken:

1) Near certainty that the terrorist target is present;

2) Near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed;

3) An assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

4) An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S.

persons; and

5) An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

Further on in the document Obama states:

These decisions will be informed by a broad

analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in

plots threatening U.S. persons.

Fast forward to 2015.

From recent news coverage:

The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity.

Conceding that the operation was not ordered against any individual targets, Earnest said the administration only discovered later that the compound was occupied by Weinstein, La Porto and another American named Ahmed Farouq, who the White House says was a “leader” of the terrorist group.

Farouq was not, however, the target of the operation. The drone strike was not targeted at known al-Qaida members; instead, it was directed against anyone in the vicinity of what the US believed was a compound being used by the terrorist group.

Here’s one of today’s headlines:

White House admits: we didn’t know who drone strike was aiming to kill

Here’s a little additional information:

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. …

The two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death, he confirmed.

What we have here is very strong evidence that at best Mr. Obama is operating in bad faith with the American people and at worst he is a devious liar.

The standards that he proclaimed in the document entitled “U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities” are nothing but a sham.

To wit: Obama did not know that the persons he incinerated posed “a contniuing, imminent threat to US persons,” Obama did not know to a “near certainty that the [or any] terrorist target [was] present,” and one can only hope that he isn’t lying that he did not know to a “near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed.”

Further, since Obama had no idea of who he was incinerating, it would be impossible to know whether they could have been captured, that the relevant authorities would not have cooperated in “effectively addressing the [unknown] threat” that the unknown persons posed, nor could Obama have known of any other reasonable alternatives existed.

There’s good reason to wonder if Obama ever really knows who is present when he sends his flying death robots. Amy Goodman points out on Democracy Now:

Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the U.S. and Italian hostages were being detained in the al-Qaeda compound targeted during the operation.

It appears that the methods by which Obama collects information in order to verify to a “near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed” is horribly unreliable and hence amounts to a violation of his stated standards. Frankly, if the intelligence that Obama collects “hundreds of hours of” is this poor, then there would seem to be no reasonable basis for his flying death robot attacks at all.

Regardless of whether use of the intelligence was negligent, it is quite plain that no “broad analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in plots threatening U.S. persons,” was ever conducted, since of course, there was no intended target.

It’s not like this, “let’s blow some stuff up and see who we kill,” is something new for Obama, though:

Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade

For years, the vast majority of drone strikes victims have never been positively identified as terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has the most comprehensive data on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, published a study last year showing only 12% of victims were identified as militants and only 4% were identified as members of al-Qaida. This study is backed up by the excellent reporting by McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, who gained access to years of classified CIA reports to show that the vast majority of drone strike victims were not high level terrorist operatives like the administration claimed.

And we know the government thinks it can kill US citizens overseas without a trial or even a finding by any independent body. Despite a clear public interest in knowing about such an extreme claim to power, the Justice Department has fought to keep its supposed legal authority for drone strikes on Americans completely secret.

When will there be accountability?

Unfortunately, members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee have been the biggest cheerleaders of drone strikes, rather than their biggest skeptics. … If there’s ever going to be accountability for the CIA and military drone program, we need a fully independent commission, divorced from the intelligence committees. Without it, this controversy will just fade back into the background, where it will stay hidden under the government’s ever-expanding veil of secrecy.

Obama has irresponsibly used the vast powers that come with the office of President. His use of the fleet of flying death robots under his command is both a crime and a national disgrace.

To use an idiom that the President is known for, it is time for Americans to step up and take away the car keys.

Jan 14 2015

Lip Service – Caution Democrats At Work!

HueyPLongLook out! The ghost of Huey Long has taken over for all three of Dickens’ spirits and is haunting the Corporate Democrats. How else to explain the recent conversions of the darling of Goldman Sachs’ and Robert Rubin’s Hamilton Project, the Crown family of General Dynamics and Penny Pritzger of the Hyatt fortune suddenly getting all populist and proposing a free community college education for one and all?

President Obama said Thursday that he would propose a government program to make community college tuition-free for millions of students, an ambitious plan that would expand educational opportunities across the United States. …

The proposal would cover half-time and full-time students who maintain a 2.5 grade point average – about a C-plus – and who “make steady progress toward completing a program,” White House officials said. It would apply to colleges that offered credit toward a four-year degree or occupational-training programs that award degrees in high-demand fields. The federal government would cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college for those students, and states that choose to participate would cover the remainder. If all states participate, the administration estimates, the program could cover as many as nine million students, saving them each an average of $3,800 a year.

Mr. Obama will include the program, which would need congressional approval, in his budget for the coming year, his advisers said, and detail it in his State of the Union address Jan. 20. …

White House officials acknowledged in a conference call with reporters that the program was unlikely to win quick approval in Congress.

Huey has also been haunting congressional corporate Democrats, too! Programs and ideas that liberals/progressives and decent people have been politely pushing the Democrats to get behind are suddenly popping up all over! The “Robin Hood” (Tobin) Tax, incentives to raise worker pay, tripling the child-care tax credits – a program that for once redistributes wealth downwards!

All this from an administration that created a budget sequestration process and stood by with its hands in its pockets as a bipartisan deal was cut which rewarded the military industrial complex while failing to address drastic cuts in food stamp benefits and did not extend unemployment benefits for workers displaced by the banksters’ (whom Obama continues to protect) looting of the economy.The same administration that has been aching to cut old folk’s social security to reward his rich buddies. Corporate Democrats came out of the woodwork to support Obama in his attack on poor old folks with rhetoric that would make Frank Luntz wonder which party he works for:

Congressional Democrats, led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), signaled greater willingness on Wednesday to cut Social Security benefits … Pelosi told reporters on Capitol Hill that a cut proposed by President Barack Obama in the fiscal cliff negotiations would in fact “strengthen” the program, echoing the claims often made by Republicans about entitlement programs they want to slash. …

The cut involves swapping out the traditional method for calculating cost of living increases, based on the current standard for measuring inflation, for something called a chained CPI, or chained Consumer Price Index.

The cuts would start small, but wind up costing beneficiaries thousands of dollars over time … Pelosi wrapped both her arms around it Wednesday, insisting she does not regard it as a “cut.”

Huey must have clapped these guys upside the head with a spectral clue-by-four!

Nov 30 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Ferguson: Do the Right Thing Redux

This has been a busy weekend — dividing time somewhat schizophrenically between participating in one or the other of the many actions sparked by the decision in Ferguson not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown — while at the same time planning an annual Thanksgiving meal.  Being a “conscious” political and multi-racial “family”, on past Thanksgivings we often commemorated the day by attending a local American Indian event.  As the years past, we reverted to a somewhat more traditional community potluck dinner with friends with turfu, organic dishes, etc. Still later, as biological families divided into nuclear subdivisions with children, somewhat smaller gatherings were held where we would prepare the traditional feast with a nod to  and solemn commemoration of the genocidal history behind the holiday and watch a socially conscious movie.

This year, someone suggested that we Watch Do the Right Thing. (In full disclosure, we did not end up watching Do the Right Thing because one young black guest who happens to be gay felt that he had been bullied by his peers in the neighborhood as he was growing up and it would be a painful reminder (he still lives in central Harlem about a block from the National Action Headquarters) and another young black woman felt that she needed a break from the intensity of the explosion of feelings and responses that the Ferguson decision brought on. Life is often more full of contradictions and ambiguities than our political struggle for justice would suggest.

Still, the reminder of the controversial movie, first released to great criticism as to whether it was promoting violence or showing how destroying property was better than killing human beings, reminds us how a cultural representation can help people understand the emotions behind our struggle in a way that facts and figures can’t.

First released in 1989, Do the Right Thing, one of Spike Lee’s earliest movies,  tells the story of the racial tensions in the black community in a Brooklyn neighborhood which culminates in tragedy when a young black man is killed by police. The young man’s death results in a night of rebellion in which the people in the community burn down local businesses including the local pizzeria.

The movie was released long after the racial tensions and the riots of the 1960s which it was meant to portray, and before the Rodney King beating in 1991 resulted in the rebellion in Los Angeles. Long before 41 bullets felled Amadu Diallo, the African immigrant shot at his front door by police in the Bronx, or the brutal torture of Abner Louima who was beaten and sodomized with a broomstick by police after he was arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub. (Sidenote: Neither of these later incidents resulted in riots, but in organized nonviolent civil disobedience and, eventually in sort of very limited conviction of some of the perpetrators. It is interesting to note, however, the Louima case only came to light after a nurse reported the incident when he was brought to the hospital. She was the only one of 28 people who had witnessed parts of the incident the night he was arrested. The other 27 people threatened her for speaking out.)

In Do the Right Thing, Lee sets out the many cultural signifiers of the community’s racial tensions that lead to the violence of both police brutality and the violence of enraged communities of color — in other words, the  very American history of the culture of oppression in the black community:

Mookie, played by Spike Lee, is the young man who, as the pizza delivery man, is viewed by a frustrated Tina, his girlfriend and mother of his child, as unambitious and unable or unwilling to live up to the model of the father and family man that is portrayed on TV, reflecting the tensions between the sexes in a community held down by racism.

Sal, the pizzeria’s Italian American owner, has been in the neighborhood for 25 years. His older son is openly racist while his younger son is friendly with Mookie. Sal sees himself as part of the neighborhood, but when asked by Smiley, a mentally disturbed young man who is always carrying around pictures of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and “Bugging Out” (described by his name)to put up pictures of Malcolm and Martin on his “Wall of Fame”, along with the Italian Americans such as Sinatra, he refuses because, as he says, he owns the restaurant.

There are many other signifiers — “Da Mayor,” an old alcoholic man who signifies street wisdom and compassion (but who is not respected by the younger generation in the neighborhood), the young men who hang on the corner, the Asian store owner who signifies new cultures moving into the neighborhood and the conflict that brings (but who can hold her own in a swearing match in a confrontation with her black American neighbors).

But most significant is Radio Raheem, a big young black man who supported Smiley and Buggin Out’s demand to post Malcolm and Martin’s pictures in the pizza parlor. Raheem is well  meaning, but is always getting into trouble for playing his radio too loud.

When Sal and Radio Raheem get into a fight over turning down the radio and Sal calls him a “nigger,” a fight breaks out that spills into the street and draws a crowd and Sal calls the police. When the police come, they arrest “Buggin Out” and put Raheem in a chokehold which kills him. Once the cops realize he is dead, they beat up “Buggin Out” and leave the scene, leaving Sal and his sons exposed to the crowd’s rath.  When the Mayor tries to calm the crowd down, the crowd turns on him. Mookie then picks up a trash can and throws it through the window of the pizzeria and a race riot begins. In the melee, the Mayor saves Sal and his sons.  

While this is not a very good or complete synopsis of the movie, you get the picture Radio Raheem could be Michael Brown – or Earl Gardner, another “big” black man who was selling “loosies” on the street in Staten Island who was killed shortly after Michael Brown by NYPD officers in a chokehold, which was also witnesses by several citiznes (This raised new critiques about the appointment of William Bratton as the new New York City police chief since he has a known history of going after nonviolent offenders for small street “crimes” as well as a bad track record of chokehold deaths under his command)– or Anthony Baez (my neighbor in the Bronx) who was playing football with his nephew when the ball bounced and struck a police car and the policeman (who had already been moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to hide his history of excessive force) put 17 year old Baez into the chokehold and killed him — or 17 year old Jordan Davis who was killed in a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida for playing loud music because a 47 year old software engineer who was a known racist felt that Davis’ refusal to turn the music down “threatened” him and that he was  entitled to shoot Davis and would not be held accountable by the police or courts. He was in fact convicted of murder, but 17 year old Davis is still dead.

The fact is, we all have our own memories of the cases that most specifically affected us and there are many other cases across the country and across the years– far far too many to recount here and they seem to be increasing.  Which is why it is important to raise the question that Lee asks in Do the Right Thing.What must the black community do to finally overcome, once and for all, the virulent racism that is so endemic in the United.   (For an analysis of the importance of the movie and the Ferguson situation to questions of violence, issues of the “Rule of Law” or why it is important not to conflate race and class, read below the fold.)

Sep 25 2014

Daily Kos/Democratic Party Asks Where is the Antiwar Movement

Rabble rouse, agitate, disturb, unsettle, disrupt, push, unnerve, disturb, battle.

“War is a Racket”  Come on, he didn’t mean some wars, he meant all wars!”  Figure it out.

I see Daily Kos, a partisan Democratic party political blog is asking “Where are the Antiwar Protests.”

http://www.dailykos.com/story/…

Of course alot of us have been asking that same question for a long time, over ten years. But it’s ironic that a site like Daily Kos can be asking that question now.

We’re talking about a democratic party political blog that in cue with the party itself, has done more than it’s share to squash, ridicule, and marginalize antiwar and imperialism dissent since Obama took office. It is a blog with the singular goal of supporting the Democratic party, especially it’s feckless leader, no matter what it or Obama does. The Democratic party that does not represent you or me, the one that represents the 1% (or less). We all know about that, we’ve taken the Occupy training class. Repeat the mantra, 99 percent vs. 1 percent.

The Democratic party that is fully on board with U.S. imperialism. The current Democratic administration, led by a Democratic party POTUS and CINC, has taken U.S. imperialism to the mind bender stage. We’re talking what appears to be end game defcon level five to those who want to try to stop it. That’s a fact, there should be no doubt any longer, and make no mistake, what is happening in Iraq and Syria is U.S. imperialism in action. Just ask John McCain, or Lindsey Graham, or John Boehner. who agree with Obama.  If you believe them relative to what’s happening in Iraq and Syria right now, then you must be a Democrat.

It wasn’t always that bad, not when Bush was President. In fact, that site actually rode the coattails, unjustly considering it’s owner, management and agenda, of the antiwar movement by pretending to be against Bush (U.S.) imperialism while building it’s partisan democratic party corporate establishment blog. Although in the end, the semi-antiwar stance was deceitful and based on partisan poltiics instead of opposition to U.S. imperialism. Once Obama was elected, the democratic partisan’s savior who can do no wrong, it was all antiwar, anti-imperialism downhill from there for the Democratic party, partisan democrats, and Daily Kos. At this point there is just a tiny contingent remaining who will use their voices against war and imperialism on that site and in the Democratic party. There are many more that say they’re against U.S. imperialism but they continue to vote for the Democratic party which supports it. They have some soul searching to do if they are really against all this murder and manipulation. It’s pretty hard to support something and be against it at the same time, especially something so fucking evil.

It’s nearly always been the left leaning people who have led the protests against war and imperialism. There are still many out there, many organizations. Many of those organizations have been weakened since the early part of the century due to lack of participation (Obama), lack of money for organizing (Obama), and many are just plain getting old. Not enough new blood has taken up the slack at this point. Climate change seems to get the bigger share of the youth. Maybe they’re used to war now and think it’s normal. Maybe climate change is more fashionable because they can pretend to be earthy like the Indians. We’ve seen that before with the hippies. Then most of us became yippies. Yippiee!! Socrates knew, humans are predictable.

The Democratic Party is a warmonger imperialist political party. It fully supports U.S. imperialism from top to bottom. It is represented as such by the POTUS CINC, Obama, who has now attacked seven Muslim countries since in office, in less than six years. Can you count them? (Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somolia.) The Democratic Party and Daily Kos have been right behind him all the way, including now with his illegal bombing in Iraq and Syria. At this point, neither has any moral standing left when it comes to war and imperialism. The verdict is in and they are both joined at the hip and all in for Obama’s imperialism and resulting wars. If you vote for and support the democratic party you are voting for U.S. imperialism and all it entails. It’s kind of like buying shirts from Walmart made in those Bangladesh sweatshop factories, only worse.  Hey man, own up.

What does that mean? It means what we’ve known for years, that the Democratic party and all it’s accoutrements is part of the establishment, part of the 1% or less of the population that it represents. There will be no participation against U.S. imperialism and it’s wars from the Democratic party or Daily Kos.

Until we get a republican president it will stay that way relative to the partisan democrats and the Democratic party. I think it’s too late for the party, which amazingly is prepping it’s serf delusionoid partisans for Hillary “Rodman” Clinton, warmonger and imperialist extraordinnaire. But, if an effort could be made, it would be to punish those democratic politicians, and by extension the entire party, by removing from office the 114 Democratic party congressional representatives (a higher percentage voting yes than republicans) and 44 Democratic party senators (also a higher percentage voting yes than republicans) that recently voted for the latest imperialist plan in the ME/NA region, H.J. Res. 124, Obama’s illegal imperialist war crime plan to bomb Iraq and Syria.

If you are against U.S. imperialism, DO NOT Vote for these people.  They are accessories to war crimes.

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/201…

http://www.senate.gov/legislat…

However that works out, we who are against U.S. imperialism should know that we cannot count on the Democratic party or any of it’s allegience subjects, not while Obama is President. We have over two more years of Obama as President. Many thought his second term would show less proclivity toward imperialism and war as a lame duck with no reelection aspirations. Those of us that knew better, knew the imperialist agenda would continue no matter what, the only factors being timing and tactics. Obama still has plenty of time to kill us all. And we have this big fucking political party supporting him.

Aug 24 2014

There’s a new “worse than Hitler” bogeyman, prepare to bomb some more brown people!

'Destroy_this_mad_brute'_WWI_propaganda_poster_(US_version)There’s a new bogeyman in the middle east. It is a terrible monster of great proportions, a barbaric, sectarian, unrepentant butchery machine. Its name is ISIS and like the previous bogeymen (Saddam, Ahmadinejad, Gaddaffi, Osama bin Laden, Assad and Putin) it is like (or worse than) Hitler. You would think by now government propagandists would get worried that trotting out the Hitler meme so frequently would cause “Hitler fatigue.” Nonetheless, now that the terrible threat has been identified by a news media eager for action and ratings, there is a growing push for America to jump in and start killing brown people again.

So where did this new “worse than Hitler” bogeyman come from? Well, sorry to say it appears that some of our policy geniuses in the US government created it:

The reality of US policy is to support the government of Iraq, but not Syria, against ISIS. But one reason that group has been able to grow so strong in Iraq is that it can draw on its resources and fighters in Syria. Not everything that went wrong in Iraq was the fault of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as has now become the political and media consensus in the West. Iraqi politicians have been telling me for the last two years that foreign backing for the Sunni revolt in Syria would inevitably destabilize their country as well. This has now happened.

By continuing these contradictory policies in two countries, the US has ensured that ISIS can reinforce its fighters in Iraq from Syria and vice versa. So far, Washington has been successful in escaping blame for the rise of ISIS by putting all the blame on the Iraqi government. In fact, it has created a situation in which ISIS can survive and may well flourish.

… with a good bit of help from some of our frenemies allies:

[I]n the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime. …

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been publicly accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS for months. Several reports have detailed how private Gulf funding to various Syrian rebel groups has splintered the Syrian opposition and paved the way for the rise of groups like ISIS and others. …

“The U.S. Treasury is aware of this activity and has expressed concern about this flow of private financing. But Western diplomats’ and officials’ general response has been a collective shrug,” [a Brookings] report states.

… But in fact, these policy geniuses have been running the asylum installed in government for years and have been allowed to create havoc unsupervised. For these geniuses, the creation of a vacuum of power in the oil-rich middle-east is an accomplishment not a failure:

The simple fact is that the Iraq War was a smashing success – at least for the neocons – because it smashed the keystone in the arch of the region’s stability. By removing Saddam Hussein, his government and the Republican Guard, neocons removed a bulwark against the very jihadism that has policymakers and pundits forever wringing their hands raw, military contractors ringing their cash registers, and the denizens of the national security state resting assured under a blanket of secrecy. …

The Iraq War made it functionally impossible for the United States to ever fully walk away from Iraq, the Persian Gulf or anywhere Muslims and oil mix. And for Wolfowitz, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and William Kristol, it’s a dream come true. Regime change in Iraq created a power vacuum that was and is too strong to resist.

In fact, that vacuum allowed a wandering Jordanian jihadist named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his group of international also-rans to run amok in the chaos of post-Saddam Iraq. After a series of suicide attacks and a pledge to al-Qaeda, the anti-Shi’ite, anti-American, anti-almost-everything group became “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” and, as Bobby Ghosh explains, eventually metastasized into ISIS.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of being lied to by the US government about the true nature of our wars and policies while being expected to support them based on their lies and deceptions. Their actions of bombing liberally (for “humanitarian” reasons) are clearly not fixing the problems. US covert actions and wars of choice against other nations and peoples only seem to be exacerbating the problems (often long running sectarian and ethnic strife) by larding up the local adversaries with weaponry, which grows the numbers of people who wish America harm exponentially.

Can we (the people), in good conscience support any military action by the US until the government comes clean about the history and chronology of events and fully explains our goals in the process?  If the US is bombing to protect “American interests,” which are virtually synonymous with the interests of large corporations which have no loyalty to anything but profit, then military intervention is morally insupportable.

Years of dubious decisions and foolish policy based upon destroying a series of bogeymen (all of whom are “worse than Hitler”) and their armies for “humanitarian” reasons or to “spread democracy” (which presumably propagates in a wide range of calibers) have left the US government fighting against its own expensive weapons surrendered in haste by armies that the US has hastily stood up without adequate political and social support. In short, our ill-advised policies continue to come back and bite us in the posterior.

It is time for an accounting, not another bombing campaign.

May 25 2014

Promises, promises…

Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian, May 22/14:

“It does not deserve the name ‘USA Freedom Act’ any more than the ‘Patriot Act’ merits its moniker,” wrote four former NSA whistleblowers and their old ally on the House intelligence committee staff.

The former NSA officials – Thomas Drake, William Binney, Edward Loomis and J Kirk Wiebe – and former congressional staffer Diane Roark denounced 11th-hour changes to the Freedom Act as resulting in “a very weak” bill.

[…snip…]

Most significantly, the version emerging from the rules committee expanded the definition of a “specific selection term,” the root thing – formerly defined as information that “uniquely describe[s] a person, entity, or account” – the government must present to a judge, with suspicion of connection of terrorism or espionage, in order to collect data under the bill.

The new definition is “a discrete term, such as” a person, entity, account, “address or device”. That revision has spurred privacy advocates and even major technology companies to doubt that the bill will actually ban the mass collection of Americans’ data, its ostensible purpose.

A coalition of the US’s largest technology companies – including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, AOL, Dropbox, Twitter, Yahoo and LinkedIn – warned that definition created an “unacceptable loophole that could enable the bulk collection of internet users’ data”.

NSA reform bill loses backing from privacy advocates after major revisions

Mar 15 2014

Paraphrasing Prophecy


From Hunter S. Thompson, 2003

Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century

Let’s face it, the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do, says what he is told to say, poses the way he is told to pose. He is a fool.

No. Nonsense. The president cannot be a Fool. Not at this moment in time, when the last living vestiges of the American Dream are on the line. This is not the time to have a bogus rich kid in charge of the White House.

Which is, after all, our house. That is our headquarters, it is where the heart of America lives. So, if the president lies and acts giddy about other people’s lives, if he wantonly and stupidly endorses mass murder by definition, he is a loud and meaningless animal with no functional intelligence and no balls.

To say this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.

Whoops! Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age DemoPublican whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look like a Liberal?

Jan 29 2014

The State of Obama 2014

I used to think that he’s intelligent enough that he couldn’t possibly be stupid enough to actually believe that anyone else could possibly be stupid enough to think he makes any sense.

And now?

Well…. now I think he just doesn’t give a flying fuck what anyone thinks of him lying through his teeth with a big shit eating grin.

And he’s not overly concerned that no one will ever vote for him again.

Dec 01 2013

Anti-capitalist Meetup: “Separate but Equal” Shuts Down Women’s Health Care by TPau

This week has a certain nostalgia for me. I am working the last four shifts in my home, Humboldt County. Nestled between pristine redwoods and dramatic cliffs overlooking the west coast of California, I want to stay here, but cannot. I am feeling the full force of the United States health care crisis. In the four years I have worked here eight of ten obstetricians in the southern half of the county have left, and now I find I am one of them.

Two obstetricians, far apart geographically and serving two different hospitals, are all that is left to serve an area once supporting 10 obstetricians. Both doctors are men over 60, who have a tough future ahead of them. Without outside help there is no way they can see all the patients that will need them. They have to remain within 30 minutes of the hospital and can be told to come to work any time of the day or night. They can never have a moment off, a full night’s sleep, a drink of alcohol to ring in the New Year. Watching a full length movie, or having a nice dinner with the spouse without interruption is a thing of the past. Neither of the remaining doctors can get sick or injured. This is really asking them to be super human and there is no cavalry on their horizon. In fact, if Catholic Health Systems is successful at closing one of the two hospitals, only one physician will remain.

As a young person, I wanted to take my medical skills to a disadvantaged third world nation. Looks like I got my wish – right here in the US. How did we get here?

Sep 27 2013

Grand Bargain Circus – Red Clowns Gone Wild!

Dogs and horses in usual circus act

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.

Step right up! Come one, come all to the continuing Grand Bargain Circus!  

Just as when last we checked, the red clowns are still refusing to get in the car and leave the ring until the Ringmaster makes an enticing offer.  Some of the red clowns have been imbibing in the fermented popcorn and their demands are becoming increasingly delusional.  Today the red clowns are going wild, making all of the outrageous demands that they can think of to force the Ringmaster to beat more concessions out of the audience.  

All the rage for the past couple of days has been the red clowns saying that they won’t get in the car if the Ringmaster reduces the number of those in the audience without health insurance to about 30 million and provides a sizable return to the Ringmaster’s donors in the health care sector rewards the insurance and pharmaceutical industries handsomely.

That simple demand which the Ringmaster refuses to countenance has festered into a raging torrent of demands, among them that the audience fork over more taxes to offset the tax liability of the rich and also acquiesce to more environmental destruction.

The drama here under the big top is growing as the demands rise…

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