Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why Internet driver's licenses is a very bad idea

UN agency calls for global cyberwarfare treaty, ‘driver’s license’ for Web users

"The world needs a treaty to prevent cyber attacks becoming an all-out war, the head of the main UN communications and technology agency warned Saturday.

Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer for Microsoft, said "there are at least 10 countries in the world whose internet capability is sophisticated enough to carry out cyber attacks ... and they can make it appear to come from anywhere."

"People don't understand the scale of criminal activity on the internet. Whether criminal, individual or nation states, the community is growing more sophisticated," the Microsoft executive said.

He also called for a "driver's license" for internet users.

"If you want to drive a car you have to have a license to say that you are capable of driving a car, the car has to pass a test to say it is fit to drive and you have to have insurance."

Andre Kudelski, chairman of Kudelski Group, said that a new internet might have to be created forcing people to have two computers that cannot connect and pass on viruses. "One internet for secure operations and one internet for freedom."

As with other major problems that our generation has faced and been duped over, here we are with yet another, only this one may well turn out to the worst of the lot.

It's been a no-brainer for some time that there would be a movement towards positive identification to use the Internet. The question really was “when?”. Unfortunately, the answer is on the horizon: soon.

First, terminology. The words “driver’s license” are a curve ball. The real words are “positive identification”, an undeniable link between people and transmissions over the net.

Why is this such a monstrously bad thing? It’s because positive identification adds the missing ingredient to what's being collected in the “data mountain” behind the super-computers that record Internet traffic in real time already: a precise link-back to specific, individual people who entered that data, as well as the data itself, whatever it is. This amounts to a data collection exercise the likes of which even we struggle to comprehend, but when we really think about it we realize that “yeah, that could happen”. I’ve read testimony that it is happening, and I’m familiar enough with ‘big iron’ to reach my own conclusion (“that there is no doubt whatsoever about it”).

Of course, no sooner are words like these spoken then the God-fearing, upstanding, self-righteous citizen instantly jumps up to ask “What’s so bad about that? If you have nothing to hide, why are you worried?”

Here’s why that’s so bad: since we’re already looking slightly into the future, let’s turn it’s face another way, and see the part where it “just turns out, by pure chance” that some (a few) people will have access to the data mountain, and others (most) wouldn’t, for “security reasons”, of course.

Now do you remember the adage about “he who runs the information runs the show”? Think: If you had an adversary, for whatever reason, and that person has access to the mountain, and as a result knows more about you then you do, but you do not have that access, who has the advantage?

In a world like that, even Gandhi himself wouldn’t have a chance to grow old enough to lead anyone. The fact is that nobody walking today can throw the first stone at anyone else - if all the facts were known. The thought police would have had him locked up for life at a very early age, and certainly by the time he was ready to lead.

If you want to talk about power, there you have it.

And yes, I’m particularly worried. I have nothing but disdain for those with the power today, they who have already destroyed would could have been - and they aren’t finished. The very last thing we need is to keep feeding them, yet that’s exactly what we’re doing.

You, I and every one of us should be working on this problem BEFORE attacks get to the point where people give in and accept anything that works. If we do that, it will be too late.

To explore alternatives, I realize that the OS is center stage, but it seems that Microsoft is incapable of making Windows secure. So I’ve been thinking that maybe VM can handle the problem. At least by virtualizing Windows, attacks can be repelled by rebooting Windows, so long as the VM itself is secure. There may still be problems, but nothing like those we’re hit by today, which involve programming installed on our computers from anywhere. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that a capable version of VM is too expensive to burden myself and clients with.

Complimentary to a technology solution is getting the police to do their job and bring these criminals to justice. Yes, of course that means an international, UN based effort. But it’s already that. This missing parts are the direction and the will.

Realizing we may never have a perfect solution to this problem, we can - and must - forestall what appears to a consensus forming in the direction of positive identification (aka “driver’s licenses”).

It’s reasonable to expect the industry and the powers-that-be to back the positive identification track, because they will one way or the other be beneficiaries, they’ll see to that. But ordinary people need a better solution then one that will become yet a monster.

What we need to realize now is that what will NOT work is continuing to pay extortion/protection to so-called “anti-virus” software makers. At first their “protection” worked, but the attackers have gotten more sophisticated. It’s easy to see people in groups strapping on harness/frameworks when they start their day, just like we do. Imagine your framework having the ability to create destructive programs, each rendition with slightly different code, by the hundreds - or thousands? And suppose you’re just one of many.

It may be well be true that we are the builders (the good guys) and they are the destroyers (the bad guys), but let’s not make the mistake (again) of underestimating our adversary. These people share the power of these machines and networks, they are every bit as “smart” and “clever” as we are, and some of them are highly motivated with religious fervor.

Update: Just read this:
The Value of Government Surveillance of Citizens by Jacob G. Hornberger

"As it turns out, the U.S. government, operating through the NSA in cooperation with U.S. telecoms, was secretly recording countless telephone conversations of countless Americans for an extended period of time. The recordings of those conversations are now in the permanent databases of the NSA and possibly other government agencies.

What better way to keep an entire populace subdued, subservient, and obedient?

People who are now tempted to, say, join a Tea Party protest movement now have to factor in their deliberations the fact that the government potentially has some very incriminating or embarrassing information that it could use against them in retaliation.

How could the government use that type of information against someone? Simple — by simply leaking it to a favored journalist, who proceeds to share the gossip with others until it begins to percolate within society, in much the same way that U.S. officials ensured that people found out that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA. "

Update: Enemies Of Free Speech Call For Internet Licensing by Paul Joseph Watson, Alex Jones & Steve Watson

" “Don’t be surprised if it becomes reality in the near future,” writes ZD Net’s Doug Hanchard. “Every device connected to the Internet will have a permament license plate and without it, the network won’t allow you to log in.”

The graphic below illustrates how you would be blocked from using the Internet if your device had not obtained government permission to access the network."


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Remember the illegal destruction of Iraq?

Remember the illegal destruction of Iraq? By Glenn Greenwald

"All of this underscores the fact that -- despite how much public debate it has received -- we still childishly, and with moral blindness, refuse to come to terms with the true scope of our wrongdoing when it comes to the Iraq War. Several hundred thousand Iraqis -- at least -- were killed as a result of this war, with another 4 million being turned into refugees.


The invasion of Iraq was unquestionably one of the greatest crimes of the last several decades. Imagine what future historians will say about it -- a nakedly aggressive war launched under the falsest of pretenses, in brazen violation of every relevant precept of law, which destroyed an entire country, killed huge numbers of innocent people, and devastated the entire population. Have we even remotely treated it as what it is? We're willing to concede it was a "mistake" -- a good-natured and completely understandable lapse of judgment -- but only the shrill and unhinged among us call it a crime.


I'm periodically criticized for an "angry" tone in my writing, which I always find mystifying. I genuinely don't understand why anger should be avoided or even how it could be. What other reaction is possible when one looks around and sees the government leaders who committed these grave crimes completely unburdened by any accountability and treated as respectable dignitaries"

Not for Sale. Kabul's Western allies want to pay Taliban fighters to quit the insurgency. Lots of luck By Ron Moreau


Friday, January 29, 2010

Tony Blair is a pig

When I first saw Tony Blair talking on TV, I was pretty impressed. He seems like such a nice, like-able guy.

What happened since? Well, here's an article about his testimony at the Chilcot inquiry Blair Defends Iraq War, Citing 9/11 Eyes Similar Upcoming War With Iran by Jason Ditz

"Incredibly, the former prime minister was totally unrepentant over the war"

So much for like-able guys!

Blair belongs on trial for murder and war crimes, right alongside his pal Bush and the Neocon gang.

On the subject of a trial, I have read Vincent Bugliosi's book on prosecuting Bush for murder, and he does make the case clearly enough. As expected, there's a news blackout on this subject, but I still would have thought at least one progressive-minded publisher with a following would have picked up the story and kept it alive until Bugliosi finds a prosecutor willing to take the case on. Such uniformity in keeping Bugliosi down can only suggest that nobody wants to start pulling strings that will unravel what amounts to a completely corrupt system in Washington. Start pulling strings like this, and they all come down. Isn't that amazing? We grew up believing in an America that has a sense of morality, only to find it exists in clever-speak lip service only.

I did find this article from last year that has some current comments, but c'mon, a proposal of this magnitude coming from a highly respected legal mind with an outstanding track record - and an excellent case - belongs on the front burner, don't you think?

Update: Read what people are saying about Blair

Update II: Where Is Our Chilcot? by Kelley B. Vlahos

Update III: The Case Against Tony Blair By Patrick Cockburn


Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Duped President’s Wasted Foreign-Policy Year

A Duped President’s Wasted Foreign-Policy Year by William Pfaff

"Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address has passed with his administration’s record widely criticized by his own supporters as one of unexpected ineptitude and political incompetence, in astonishing contrast with the foresight, innovation, and ability displayed during his campaign for the presidency.


According to a common estimate, the United States now has 1.25 million service men and women on active duty, 700,000 civilians in service and supporting roles, and that it outsources guard and security duties, some combat, (and in the past, at least, some torturing of prisoners), to an unknown number of private and foreign mercenaries. The whole of this force is on 800 to 1,000 bases scattered about the world.

What, ultimately, is this for? Barack Obama would say that it is meant to assure the security of the United States. He has been duped."

He's been duped, but he's living high on the hog, and not a victim in any sense - we're the victims.

NATO's Role in the Afghanistan Escalation By Tom Hayden

"In Afghanistan, the Taliban are powerful among the 45 percent Pashtun population, and cannot be defeated by Karzai's dysfunctional government or the northern Hazara, Tajik or Uzbek minorities. The situation resembles an ethnic-based stalemate, which Secretary of Defense Robert Gates acknowledged this week , in saying the Taliban are woven into the "political fabric" of Afghanistan.

One reason for the dovish hints is that European and Canadian public opinion strongly oppose the escalation. In Germany 71 percent are opposed, and in the UK 56 percent . In France, 82 percent are against increased troop commitments. Canada is committed to withdrawing troops in 2011, and pressure is building for other NATO nations to follow.


The present quagmire is likely to result in bloodshed through 2011, reaching a crisis point when Obama is scheduled to begin the withdrawal of US troops. The Europeans and Canadians will be packed and ready to go by that point, and likely will linger no later. But the Pentagon, and the domestic hawks, could be predicting catastrophe if the United States departs, leaving Obama and the Democrats to choose between a deeper stalemate and the politics of strategic disengagement as the 2012 elections approach."

A Just Cause, Not a Just War by Howard Zinn

"This suggests actions that not only deal with the long-term problem of terrorism but are in themselves just.

Instead of using two planes a day to drop food on Afghanistan and 100 planes to drop bombs (which have been making it difficult for the trucks of the international agencies to bring in food), use 102 planes to bring food.

Take the money allocated for our huge military machine and use it to combat starvation and disease around the world. One-third of our military budget would annually provide clean water and sanitation facilities for the billion people in the world who have none.

Withdraw troops from Saudi Arabia, because their presence near the holy shrines of Mecca and Medina angers not just bin Laden (we need not care about angering him) but huge numbers of Arabs who are not terrorists.

Stop the cruel sanctions on Iraq, which are killing more than a thousand children every week without doing anything to weaken Saddam Hussein's tyrannical hold over the country.

Insist that Israel withdraw from the occupied territories, something that many Israelis also think is right, and which will make Israel more secure than it is now.

In short, let us pull back from being a military superpower, and become a humanitarian superpower.

Let us be a more modest nation. We will then be more secure. The modest nations of the world don't face the threat of terrorism.

Such a fundamental change in foreign policy is hardly to be expected. It would threaten too many interests: the power of political leaders, the ambitions of the military, the corporations that profit from the nation's enormous military commitments.

Change will come, as at other times in our history, only when American citizens-- becoming better informed, having second thoughts after the first instinctive support for official policy--demand it. That change in citizen opinion, especially if it coincides with a pragmatic decision by the government that its violence isn't working, could bring about a retreat from the military solution."


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Obama Deception

The Obama Deception HQ Full length version by Alex Jones

To summarize, this video describes the activities of a group including
The Bilderberg Group, , the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations (note that these links are to "alternative" sources, Google for others), who seek a "new world order" and power through financial controls. The authors make a case that Obama is their puppet/stooge/front man. They correctly point out that Obama has consistently said he was going to do one thing and then did another, and virtually everything here's done has supported their agenda. The authors have collected quite a bit of information supporting their claims.

There are moments when this videos seems a little too shrill and maybe over the top, but as the authors say, check their facts. I have been doing that for some time now, indeed it's why I took the time to view their video, to see if I could learn something. Yes, I did.

A question I'll be looking into is the relationship between the Neocons and these groups. Are they the same people? Are they in bed together? Control of foreign policy is certainly on all of their agendas, and that's the Neocons forte, since it was they who engineered and executed the military invasion of the Middle East (just to be sure we a spade a spade).

Doesn't all this give you such a warm and fuzzy about sending your family member off to do the killing and dying?

The most troublesome aspect of these gangs is that every time a small group of people take control of a much larger group of people (i.e. the opposite of democracy) there is big trouble. People wouldn't stand for it. You have to wonder how smart they really are. But all the facts/truth I can find so far point in the direction of it being true that we are being duped, manipulated and mislead for the benefit of some group, perhaps several.

BTW, do you think the Federal Reserve is a branch of government? It's not - any more then is Federal Express.

The Obama Brand: Feel Good While Overlords Loot the Treasury and Launch Imperial Wars by Chris Hedges

"Brand Obama makes us hopeful. We like our president and we believe he's like us. But we're being duped into doing a lot of things that are not in our interest."


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to fix America

I'm starting this topic now with a minimal short list, but will be revisiting it as time permits.

Please forgive that this is very much a work in progress. I hope that with revisions over time, this will eventually be of some use to somebody.

These items are not in any particular order, other then the order in which they come to mind. I'll start with The Big 3.

1. Justice

The linchpin of our future can be said to hang on this one word. Our very concept of justice is so completely at odds with what has actually happened in our name. We cannot tolerate this condition to exist.

Our world today, in America, is mesmerized by a propaganda machine way that learned from the masters, such as Stalin and Goebles, how to use the media to manipulate the masses.

- Bush and the Neocon gang must be put on trial for war crimes and murder. Yes, one trial will lead to another, and this will go on a long time, but as it progresses, so will our feeling that justice is finally being served. We cannot live, more less thrive, in a system without justice. The "news" made jokes about Neocon Cheney, calling him "Darth Vader" with grins. Imagine being on the receiving end of what he actually did? Please see yet another well written article on this subject We Should Not 'Move On' from Mass Murder. And Vincent Bugliosi's book on charging Bush with murder. Justice demands this trial. Where is the trial?

- we must make amends with the people in the Middle East and Asia who we have suffered so much at our hand. We possess knowledge that is potentially very valuable to them. We should share this knowledge with them, over the Internet, for free and forever.

- punish the criminals behind the greatest robbery in all of history: the so-called Wall Street Bailout and selling our economy down the tubes for their own enrichment

Justice means being true to the principles we stand for, and those principles don't have to come from any religious organization, but from our own innate senses of right and wrong. Justice is a function of society and the world around us, and changes over time as it learns. The problem that we have to correct is that it's (society has) learned some very wrong things. Some very big lies have been perpetrated - and are still being told.

For another view on justice, Google on "incarceration in America"

2. Truth vs the Propaganda machine

We've been lied to so much by our information supply (the so-called "mass media") that a list of the Big Lies alone would fill a volume.

If you Google on "who controls the media", you'll find a great deal of information that paints a frightening picture - unless you're a Zionist.

3. The American Way

"Truth, justice and the American way" is a refrain dating back at least to Superman comics. Years ago, we took it for granted that there was an American Way and it was the right way. Today, look around you and ask yourself if you feel this way now.

4. Congress does not represent America

Start with a Google on "AIPAC congress". See John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt's book.

Think about the implications of people who do get into elected offices in this climate, and what they'll do with our power when they control it. (Witness the invasion of the Middle East for the prime # 1 example of just how far this power goes).

5. Freedom of religion

We need freedom FROM religion. Our Constitution mandates separation of church and state, and wisely so. But religion is a subtle thing that exists in the ether, even if it's name is never used.

From the beginning, America has always been largely Christian. But there is no one Christian religion, instead there are splinter groups, each with some difference from the others, and each claiming to be right.

Enter our information supply, whose editorial slant is controlled at the top by a handful of people, who get to make policy and decide what comprises "information" that matters to us, and then repeating that information countless times until it becomes part of our consciousness. It's been said some many times, it must be true, people think. Stalin, Mao and the Nazi's were good with propaganda, but these guys are a whole new generation who have learned from their teachers.

Christianity is represented in the "news" by the "evangelists", whose voices are always turned to when the subject comes up. The Catholic Church does have a spokesperson, the Pope, and he has taken positions on American foreign policies - not that you or I would know it because our "news" has virtually erased him. Similar treatment to body bags coming out of the Middle East. But we do get an earful on what some "evangelists" thinks.


Thomas Paine argued against religious institutions in "Age of Reason", from which the notion of separation of Church and State was born. The degree to which this separation is an illusion was a question then, and more so today with so much hanging in the balance. Behind the scenes in Washington today is an intense fight between Zionists and those who disagree with their rule and direction (Google "who runs American foreign policy").

6. The Election process

I don't vote. Why not? Because I have no interest in picking one of the puppets the powerful allow to get on stage, and letting myself be fooled into thinking this is what democracy looks like. Remember how Ron Paul was marginalized by the "news"? Witness the fate of someone who would have represented the interests of the American people, and the imposition of yet another lackey.

Our problem of finding and electing people who would truly represent and lead up is an easy one to solve nowadays, given the existence of the Internet and some very smart programmers.

We can remove money from the election process by using the Internet effectively.

We've been duped into thinking the richest people are also the wisest. They've never been able to see past their 5-year-plan noses, and they are in control of our long term future? Nyet! How foolish have we been! And now we're on the brink of some escalation of their war. How much longer do you think it will be before you yourself actually feel the impact, and perhaps the horror, of war? Whoa, you say, no war here! War only happens over there and on our TV.

Maybe a shooting war isn't the first war to be launched on us. Maybe it will be electronic, or maybe financial. In fact, if we consider the greatest heist of all time, the Wall Street Bailout, as an act of war upon us, that would be true.

But there are all kinds of war. There's war that employs terrorism, there's war that is traditional, with soldiers, tanks and planes, there's war with mercenaries such as Blackwater, and there's covert war with assassins and drones, and there's information war fought with propaganda.

Which of these wars affect you today, and which are likely to affect you tomorrow? How long will it go on?

In war, the real horror comes from the daily grind of it all. People are tolerant at first, then progressively less so, and eventually many will get to the point of not being able to stand it anymore. Remember the "war to end all wars"? That war helped to prove that there is no such thing as a war to end all wars, except perhaps the last one in which everyone dies.

An Internet based election process can work. I've got a design in my own mind for one, and this is one type of computer program that I truly wish someone else could destroy with something so much better. Regardless of the winner, the result will be the removal of money and turning our attention to putting people who truly represent us in office.

Look back over history and note some of the great people that shaped what's good about our world. Where are they today? Would you for even one second think to compare Bush to, say, George Washington or the great thinker Thomas Paine, in his day? Where are people of this caliber and mold today?

Why is this so damn important? The wars we're engaged in today are much bigger - and far more intractable - then we realize. Heck, we didn't even realize that at the beginning it was an invasion of the Middle East. It wasn't all about Afghanistan or Iraq in the first place, it was about the Middle East as a whole. Only from this point of view does the big picture of what actually happened come together. It also, in my view, what I call evil that made it happen.

It's the weapons at their disposal and their inclination to use them. Given the climate of fear and hatred they have fostered on our world, the direction is very clear: they will use those weapons, and unless we stop them, it's only a matter of time.

Who do we stop? Our information supply has to move to the Internet, with (here's our election process at work) elected overseers who insure the net remains open and
"neutral" and insures everyone (such as me) will have an equal presence. Give us this and our best people will rise to the surface. Bill Moyers, who unfortunately is soon to retire, is a perfect example of someone we can trust to represent us. Try to find someone even remotely like Bill Moyers in Congress - if you need more proof that we need to dump them all, there you have it.

A key feature of a replacement voting system would be how it develops the list of issues in the 1st place. Today we're told what the issues are by the "news" and "pollsters" et al, meaning the issues that are important to them, or framed by them. Instead we need to start with asking people what THEY think the issues are, and then work from that list.

Once we know what the issues that people actually care about, and they aren't spun, but laid bare, then we can match these issues to candidate positions, and eventually cull from the list of candidates those whose positions on the issues most closely match our own, or the majority of us, anyway.

A perfect example of an issue that has been spun until it looks like something else is the economy. Nowhere in the "news" are we told that the real root problems for our economy are that war, the debt it's cost us, and Wall Street's biggest theft of all time. Those 3 factors are our economic problem, but the spinsters have it framed differently, that's it's this or that or some other thing.

7. Honor

America isn't all about who can make the most money, it's about how we conduct ourselves.

The means justify the ends, not the other way around.

8. End the special relationship with Israel

Israel is no friend of America, more less a "special" friend. Israel's manipulation of American foreign policy has contributed mightily to America's biggest problem in a very long time: that war and Middle East policies that have many millions of people hating our guts.

Millions - a billion - people watched what happened in Gaza - for the latest atrocity - and they blame American complicity, because without it they reason that Israel wouldn't even exist. We're responsible for propping up what is a monster to them. Is it any wonder why they hate us?

I have no affinity with Zionist Israel, and if I ever did, it all went by the wayside with the attack on the Liberty. I think the average thinking person with some awareness of the facts feels the same. With our information supply subject to so much manipulation (puffing this and snuffing that that distorts discussions, Google "who controls the media"), and the lack of a common outlet, everyone thinks that everyone else thinks positively about Israel. It's not true. People are fed up with being robbed, and worse: misled.


The real wmd threat; Gov't massively unpopular; Social Security on the block; Robots doing our killing

Al-Qaeda seeks WMD, US unprepared: reports by Breitbart

"His report said Al-Qaeda's efforts to develop biological and nuclear weapons were not "empty rhetoric" and that the group's leaders appeared to have ruled out smaller-scale attacks with simpler devices.

"If Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants had been interested in employing crude chemical, biological and radiological materials in small-scale attacks, there is little doubt they could have done so by now," he wrote.

... in 2003 had called off plans for a chemical attack on New York's subways "for something better," a cryptic remark that remains a mystery. "

Poll: American public fed up with Washington. 70% say government isn't working well; Obama approval back at 50% By Mark Murray

"Only 28 percent believe the federal government is “working well” or even works “okay,” versus seven in 10 who think it’s “unhealthy,” “stagnant” or needs large reforms. ... What’s more, a whopping 93 percent believe there’s too much partisan infighting ... And the percentage who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction now stands at 58 percent ... 48 percent blame Republicans in Congress and 41 percent blame congressional Democrats. "

Obama Puts Social Security on the Chopping Block By James Ridgeway

"Under the agreement, President Obama would issue an executive order to create an 18-member panel that would be granted broad authority to propose changes in the tax code and in the massive federal entitlement programs — including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — that threaten to drive the nation’s debt to levels not seen since World War II.


The truth is that neither the $1.4 trillion deficit nor the nearly $12 trillion debt has anything to do with Social Security benefits.

For nearly three decades, Social Security has taken in more revenue each year than it has paid out in benefits. These excess funds have been invested in special issue U.S. government securities. Thus, Social Security has effectively been loaning its excess funds to the federal government to spend on other programs. Rather than increasing the federal deficit, Social Security’s annual surpluses have actually been covering up the true size of the deficit in the general fund."

Robots Will Soon Do All Our Killing for Us By Nick Turse

"In the years ahead, unmanned machines will increasingly fight our wars.


What were once unacknowledged, relatively infrequent targeted killings of suspected militants or terrorists in the Bush years have become commonplace under the Obama administration."

Oscar-winning US filmmaker Oliver Stone says Adolf Hitler was 'enabled by Western bankers'

"Adolf Hitler was a psychopath and a monster but rose to power thanks to big business leaders and other supporters who appreciated his vow to destroy communism and control workers, Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone said Monday.


He said the aim of his documentary, which two historians are helping him with, was to offer a fuller understanding of the 20th century and how some of those lessons may be relevant to President Barack Obama in 2010.


"What has America become? How can we in America not learn from Germany in the 1930s," the Oscar-winning director asked."

The Sanctity of Military Spending by Glenn Greenwald

"I'm sure if we just buy some more fighter jets, create some better underground bombs, invade a few more Muslim countries, keep more Muslims imprisoned forever with no charges, give the Pentagon, the CIA and their private contractors a lot more unaccounted-for cash and stay out of their way, expand our domestic spying networks even further through private sector telecom contracts, pour tens of billions of dollars more into the coffers of our Middle East client states, and kill a few more civilians with drones, this problem will be handled. It's just a matter of making sure we bulk up our military budget -- and Look Forward, not Backward to what was done in the past -- and we'll be able to Stay Safe from this Terrorist-WMD menace.

As for the deficit, no need to worry about that. We can just freeze programs for national parks and cut Social Security and Medicare."


Monday, January 25, 2010

Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction

Democracy in America Is a Useful Fiction by Chris Hedges

"Corporations have 35,000 lobbyists in Washington and thousands more in state capitals that dole out corporate money to shape and write legislation. They use their political action committees to solicit employees and shareholders for donations to fund pliable candidates. The financial sector, for example, spent more than $5 billion on political campaigns, influence peddling and lobbying during the past decade, which resulted in sweeping deregulation, the gouging of consumers, our global financial meltdown and the subsequent looting of the U.S. Treasury. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $26 million last year and drug companies such as Pfizer, Amgen and Eli Lilly kicked in tens of millions more to buy off the two parties. These corporations have made sure our so-called health reform bill will force us to buy their predatory and defective products. The oil and gas industry, the coal industry, defense contractors and telecommunications companies have thwarted the drive for sustainable energy and orchestrated the steady erosion of civil liberties. Politicians do corporate bidding and stage hollow acts of political theater to keep the fiction of the democratic state alive. "

The mortgage crisis is only the beginning … By James Howard Kunstler

"The scores of billions of dollars, euros, and other monies that central banks have recently poured into the sinkhole of losses will only paper over the essential problem for another few weeks, at most. The damage to global structured finance has been done, and there is a widespread, belated recognition that it’s not possible to get something for nothing after all. When you hold a lot of paper that represents nothing and put it up for sale, nothing will be offered for it. What a surprise!


There will be so many assets up for sale across the U.S. in the months and years ahead that the very sun in the heavens will take on a K-Mart blue-light-special glow. From houses with miles of granite countertops, to Maybach automobiles, to cabin cruisers that burn 30 gallons of diesel an hour, there will be so much slightly used (or barely “pre-owned”) stuff for sale that manufacturing another unit of anything (or importing it) will seem like a sick joke. This leads to a deadly downward spiral of what the realtors have cleverly termed “new pricing.”


Our adventure in Iraq is self-evidently a troubling thing. But what astounds me about our intellectual classes is how they complain about our military presence in the Middle East while they enjoy lifestyles based utterly on supplies of cheap oil imported from the Middle East—and therefore on our continued influence over affairs in that region. Missing entirely is any sense of consequence, and even more particularly of what the overall situation means for our behavior at home. Based on how we live, we got the war we deserve. We’ve run out our string of stunts and tricks in the money rackets. We’ve spent our political legitimacy. The rest of the world will strive mightily to get free of their obligations to us, including their respect for the value of our currency. Events are in control, not personalities.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Forty-Year Drone War

Tomgram: Nick Turse, The Forty-Year Drone War by Nick Turse

"There is no evidence that the drones are breaking the back of either the Taliban (Afghan or Pakistani) or al-Qaeda in our distant wars, but plenty of evidence that they are helping to destabilize Pakistan and create intense anti-American feelings there. Now, as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates indicated on arriving in Pakistan last week, we are thinking of giving the Pakistanis their own unarmed surveillance drones, while from Iran to China, Israel to Russia, powers everywhere are rushing to enter the age of 24/7 robotic assassination along with, or just behind, us. You might think that this would give the Pentagon pause, but a prospective arms race just gets the blood there boiling, and when it comes to Terminator-style war, as Nick Turse indicates below, the U.S. Air Force has plans. Boy, does it ever! Tom "

You don't have to be a genius to connect the dots here. The Neocon-led warmongers are doing exactly what will lead to further escalation of their war. That's what they want because they need something to rally the troops over, and are taking these actions knowing what to expect. They aren't ignorant of history. Try to imagine how you'd feel living under these weapons. Ordinary people who dont' know anything about politics are coming out of the woodwork to become our enemies. There mere thought of robots killing people should make your hair stand up too! People will not tolerate institutional level injustice, and that's exactly what has infected our information supply, government and Wall Street.

This warlike behavior is deliberate and intentional. War, belligerence, arrogance, fear and hatred go right to core of their existence. But they word things so cleverly, they not only get away with it, but they have so many ordinary people duped it's astonishing.

At the core of their enterprise is our greatest vulnerability: our information supply, the so-called 'mass media'. If you've ever wondered why Israel is treated so favorably by our information supply, Google "who controls the media" and read all about it. Of course we don't believe everything we read on the Internet, so we dig enough until we're satisfied we've seen the big picture - which of course means considering all arguments. I believe the case can be made that their arguments are well known, because they are the positions taken in our information supply. What's not been presented is the other point of view, which if you will take the time to look, overwhelms their arguments. If every American had this information, the Neocon gang would be on trial today for murder and war crimes.


The Minds Behind the Meltdown

The Minds Behind the Meltdown By Scott Patterson

"The carnage revealed a dangerous lack of transparency in the market. No one knew which fund was behind the meltdown."


Friday, January 22, 2010

Ignoring Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis

Ignoring Gaza's Humanitarian Crisis by Juan Cole

"There is a virtual news blackout on this atrocity in the US mass media"

This mention, the "news blackout", While intended to support the subject at hand, it's also quite the tip of an iceberg. Imagine being able to control the message delivered - over and over again - by what amounts to our information supply. What else could be done with control like that? If this "blackout" isn't evidence enough that our information supply is controlled and manipulated, just what would it take to convince you? When you think about the Big Lies that have us living in a fog deceit, and the terror unleashed in our name. Once you realize that America has been massively duped by Israeli operatives, you see they've been busy not only working our information supply, but from Wall Street to K street. Here's a Ron Paul video, I hope you take the time to watch.

"As Turkey has democratized and Muslim sentiments have become more important in its politics, and as it has increasingly emerged as a new Middle Eastern power (some speak of neo-Ottomanism), its concern with issues such as Gaza has become more central. The horrible condition of the Gazans is often the lead story on Arab satellite news channels such as al-Jazeera, and public anger about it (expressed as much toward the US and the Egyptian regime as toward Israel) is at a boiling point. That anger feeds into terrorism against the West. The Gaza blockade is isolating Israel and fuelling a widespread boycott movement in Europe, Canada and South Africa."


Thursday, January 21, 2010

The crime of not "Looking Backward"

The crime of not "Looking Backward" By Glenn Greenwald

" "We tortured people unmercifully. We probably murdered dozens of them during the course of that, both the armed forces and the C.I.A."

"there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes. The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Every Obama-justifying excuse for Looking Forward, Not Backwards has been exposed as a sham (recall, for instance, the claim that we couldn't prosecute Bush war crimes because it would ruin bipartisanship and Republicans wouldn't support health care reform)."

Security Fools By Paul Craig Roberts

"The greatest human achievement is the subordination of government to law.

In the first decade of the twenty-first century, this achievement was lost in the United States and, perhaps, in England as well.

One Obama appointee, Harvard law professor Cass Sunstein, advocates that the U.S. government create a cadre of covert agents to infiltrate anti-war groups and groups opposed to U.S.government policies in order to provoke them into actions or statements for which they can be discredited and even arrested. "

Chris Matthews and His 'Hardball' Follies: Taking Us to New Depths of Dumbed-Down Politics By Robert Parry

"Indeed, Matthews may be the archetype of what's wrong with the U.S. news media, a devotee of conventional wisdom who splashes in the shallowest baby pool of American politics while pretending to be the big boy who's diving into the deep end."

It's the Fault of the All-Powerful 'Left' by Glenn Greenwald

"In what universe must someone be living to believe that the Democratic Party is controlled by "the Left," let alone "the furthest left elements" of the Party? As Ezra Klein says, the Left "ha[s] gotten exactly nothing they wanted in recent months." The Left wanted a single-payer system, then settled for a public option, then an opt-out public option, then Medicare expansion -- only to get none of it, instead being handed a bill that forces every American to buy health insurance from the private insurance industry. Nor was it "the Left" -- but rather corportist Democrats like Evan Bayh and Lanny Davis -- who cheered for the hated Wall Street bailout; blocked drug re-importation; are stopping genuine reform of the financial industry; prevented a larger stimulus package to lower unemployment; refuse to allow programs to help Americans with foreclosures; supported escalation in Afghanistan (twice); and favor the same Bush/Cheney terrorism policies of indefinite detention, military commissions, and state secrets."


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal

Obama Confidant's Spine-Chilling Proposal by Glenn Greenwald

"Sunstein advocates that the Government's stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups." "

Funny thing is that I've seen this behavior, or at least it's functional equivalent (because I have no means to look under the covers to see the connections), in an online software developer's forum I've been a member of for a decade or so. If there was a talking point developed by a right-wing think tank, it found it's way into the discussion, prominently and repeatedly. The small number of people in the group who argued against the war and it's machine were continuously and relentlessly bombarded with all the cleverly worded propaganda used to make that invasion happen. I strongly suspected there were plants in the group, much as described in this article. Perhaps you're a member of a group similarly infiltrated?

Scott Ritter

No, the right-wing attack machine didn't make this up, but you must be impressed with the ease with which this story made it into virtually every "news" source in the country overnight. Unless you've been under a rock, you've seen this report at least once.

I'll be interested in hearing the whole story, that is including his side of it, but on the surface it looks like he did something really, really stupid.

BUT - does his sexual behavior invalidate his reports? Of course not. They've already withstood the test of time and been proven correct. Ritter was dead right on Iraq. Has he been destroyed anyway? You bet.

Seems to me that - take Clinton as an example - many people have decided to accept that great people have great weaknesses, and many would support Clinton today despite his sexual dalliances, because he is, as they say, "really smart" and we'd have fared much better with him in office then, say, Bush. Even though I'm no big Clinton fan, I believe he wouldn't have done anywhere near as much damage to this country as Bush did.


Saturday, January 9, 2010

Our Stupid Foreign Policy

Our Stupid Foreign Policy by Jack Hunter

"It is past time to ask the big questions. How can invading and occupying a nation stop an individual or a collection of individuals from carrying out terrorist acts? How can invading and occupying a nation, or a handful of nations, stop a terrorist network that exists in over 80 countries? What could our presence in Iraq, stepping up the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes in Pakistan, or a new war in Yemen possibly have done to deter the so-called “underwear bomber” on Christmas day? Would the Nigerian, would-be suicide bomber have been radicalized, or would a terrorist network be as available to accommodate and encourage his radicalization, if the U.S. did not have such a massive presence in the Middle East? Do terrorists simply hate our “freedom” or is there indeed a correlation between US intervention and terrorist recruitment and activity? Hell, let’s get extreme: would completely annihilating the Middle East through nuclear war finally eliminate the terrorist threat-or create the greatest terrorist threat in our history? Might such genocide make the Islamic world mad? Or just “freedom?” "

I'm a little confused over the website's title "The American Conservative" because the word "conservative" has become symbolic of all that's wrong here. I get the feeling that if I read more on this website, he'll accuse the Neocons of hijacking the word, and I would agree. Years ago I regarded myself as somewhat of a conservative, but not these days, after the hijacking.

More cause and effect in our ever-expanding "war" By Glenn Greenwald

"If it is taboo to discuss how America's actions in the Middle East cause Terrorism -- and it generally is -- that taboo is far stronger still when it comes to specifically discussing how our blind, endless enabling of Israeli actions fuels Terrorism directed at the U.S."

Glenn Greenwald is one of the smartest people of our time. He's been kept out of the public eye, but you can see him in an interview by Bill Moyers (another of our smartest, but he's retiring - to our great detriment).


Friday, January 8, 2010

Obama’s Alternate Universe

Obama’s Alternate Universe By Scott Ritter

Be sure to read Scott Ritter's excellent analysis. In an information environment packed with double-speak and Orwellian "up is down" ... his analysis is refreshing and serves very well to remind people who care that we aren't crazy.

"The heart of the problems facing the United States in the Middle East lies not in actions taking place in Baghdad or Tehran but rather in Gaza and Tel Aviv. The continued refusal of the United States to address the issue of Palestine and the Palestinians in a manner that reflects the reality of the situation on the ground, rather than the situation that exists inside Washington, as manipulated and interpreted by Israeli interests, means that the tension and unrest this issue generates will never be resolved. The conflicts with Iraq and Iran are, in many ways, simply symptoms of a larger disease represented by the failure of the United States to formulate a sound and realistic policy regarding Palestine. So long as American politicians find themselves constrained by a pro-Israeli lobby that refuses to permit the inclusion of either the concept or reality of Palestine into the lexicon of American foreign policy considerations (beyond simplistic “dual-state” and other demeaning and dishonest formulations), then there can and will be no long-term solution to any other modern Middle Eastern problem. Solving the Palestine-Israel problem wouldn’t by and of itself resolve all outstanding issues. But it would create the foundation of regional stability and rationality upon which all other solutions could be constructed."

The Question No U.S. Official Dare Ask By William Pfaff

"My question is the following. Has it been a terrible, and by now all but irreversible, error for the United States to have built a system of more than 700 military bases and stations girdling the world? Does it provoke war rather than provide security?"

Seems to me that Scott Ritter and William Pfaff should get together with John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt to follow-up and get their minds around the foreign policy mindset that is bringing America to it's knees.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The ‘Long War’: Who’s Winning? It ain’t us…

The ‘Long War’: Who’s Winning? It ain’t us… by Justin Raimondo

By the time you get to the end of this outstanding piece, you may pass through some mental bridges, but you'll be where Justin, myself and many others believe we're at.

The whole discussion on airline security is ridiculous when you ask yourself how hard it would be to send suicide bombers into midtown New York, Wall Street, and maybe a few dozen other places to blow up all at the same time.

In Vietnam, in the wee hours, the VC would punch a hole in the roof of a hootch to shoot mortars and rockets through. Could this same technique be used to shoot down planes, with modern, compact shoulder-fired rockets better then the LAW we had 40 years ago?

Why *haven't* these events happened yet is a question we'll ponder until something does happen, and the 9/11 cycle plays out again. Given the trajectory of events, it seems very much it's just a matter of time.

The solution, to the extent there is one, is to put Bush and the Neocon gang on trial for war crimes related to what they did to dupe us into invading Iraq. Then we need to start apologizing, big time, and do everything we can to help the people who have suffered at our hand. And even then, no guarantees. There are millions of people who hate us for what we've done. It's going to take a long time and a lot of effort to put the fire out.


Monday, January 4, 2010

The Pictures of War You Aren’t Supposed to See

The Pictures of War You Aren’t Supposed to See By Chris Hedges

"Look beyond the nationalist cant used to justify war. Look beyond the seduction of the weapons and the pornography of violence. Look beyond Barack Obama’s ridiculous rhetoric about finishing the job or fighting terror. Focus on the evil of war. War begins by calling for the annihilation of the others but ends ultimately in self-annihilation. It corrupts souls and mutilates bodies. It destroys homes and villages and murders children on their way to school. It grinds into the dirt all that is tender and beautiful and sacred. It empowers human deformities—warlords, Shiite death squads, Sunni insurgents, the Taliban, al-Qaida and our own killers—who can speak only in the despicable language of force. War is a scourge. It is a plague. It is industrial murder. And before you support war, especially the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, look into the hollow eyes of the men, women and children who know it."

In this "war", there are 2 kinds of people: those who feel and experience it personally, and everyone else. Here at home, we go to work, shop and do all the things we usually do, without even so much as the smell of death in the air.

Photos can only do such much, but even these have been kept from the public, as Chris Hedges points out. Are people so stupid, so ignorant, that they don't realize they've been so completely duped over something so important as this war?


Friday, January 1, 2010

Google's next coupe

[ ] Follow this story

Imagine ... you're reading a story of interest to you and at the bottom of the page, inserted by Google, is a checkbox you can check to indicate you want to follow this story.

Then, each day when you read the "news" online, you've got another link to click, which leads to a webpage constructed by Google that shows each of the stories you've elected to follow and links to follow-ups.

Inspiration for this idea came when I checked today to see if there are any follow-ups to Vincent Bugliosi's idea/book on prosecuting George W Bush for murder and I realized there is no mechanic to help me follow this story - but there should be!