Who is Edward Snowden (an “Imitation Game” analogy)?

You may hate the NSA, but I’ll bet you like that terror attacks on U.S. soil are very rare things.

This may surprise you, or not, but there are actually quite a few people in the world who would like to change that.

In real world, the protections of the Constitution do apply only to Americans, and if you use our infrastructure and technology and inventions to plan attacks against the citizens of this country, well, it would be silly for us not to know about it.

Have you seen “The Imitation Game”?

Edward Snowden would be like a low-level clerk at Bletchley Park who saw the de-cryption device, realized they were listening to RADIO signals…just like the English used…and while all everyone at the NSA cared about was German codes, the device also gave the ability to listen to local radio signals…and oh my god he had to tell the papers…which also alerted the Germans that all their codes were hacked.

That’s who Snowden is.

That’s why he’s a traitor (and currently taking refuge in a country we are all but at war with).

Keystone Pipe Lies

Wow…Keystone XL…50 permanent jobs and nearly $50,000,000 in “property taxes” **over the next decade** for the country. Meanwhile…

“[Keystone XL] would have the capacity to deliver up to 830,000 bpd, of which 730,000 bpd of capacity has been set aside for [tar sands] and the remaining 100,000 bpd of capacity set aside for [Bakken] crude oil,” the report details.

Which at current prices…roughly $75/barrel * that’s $62,250,000…per day…not per decade (and nearly $22,721,250,000/year…so a few hundred million for lobbying is barely material).

Anyway, the main reason this is a big deal is because Koch Industries has a big piece of the tar sands oil, but has to pay more to send it anywhere for refining. The problem with the pipeline for most is that it increased risk (i.e. after the Koch Bros assholes die in the next few years and their heirs are even bigger dicks and stop maintaining the pipeline and it pops) for the people where it exists with no actual benefit to those people.

It is a perfect example of the “publicize the risk and privatize the profit” type project that NEARLY EVERYONE claims to hate in reality. While it is true, yes, some Dems have also been bought by the Kochs and support the project, there is NO QUESTION that one the main reasons guys who hate politics just gave hundreds of millions of dollars to politicians is to get their pipeline built.

And now that it worked, it’s going to be the first bill the lame-duck-prelude-to-the-Jim-Crow-Congress** sends to the President’s desk.

One of the things I’m so happy for is that oil and gas prices have PLUMMETED as they so often do in this boom and bust industry. Investments in explorations and infrastructure (yes, including pipelines) has long term effects on market prices. We’ve had a boom in drilling and exploration and infrastructure (extraction/fracking), and so the prices have plummeted.

Had they *not* plummeted previously, the claim that the transportation of the raw materials part of the price of gasoline was *really going to change* because of Keystone XL, might have actually gained some traction. Had we BUILT the pipeline, and prices plummeted as they have, the Kochs would have looked like the Market Gods they think they are.

Instead we saw prices plummet as the President “dawdles” (i.e. stick to what he’s said all along…he’s going to take his time and not force anything though, if it works at at all) and the Kochs go the raw political brute force route for approval.

This takes the wind out of the “it’ll lower the record high gas prices!!” part of the argument for approval, which was the main force pushing the public at large. Because of this, I don’t think it’s going to be approved while Obama is in office…but we’ll see a lot more b.s. about it.

* oil/gas price dynamics are a billion dollar industry unto themselves, so please excuse my massive paraphrasing.

** Yes, I’m going to call the Congress elected by the lowest voter turnout in 70 years (nearly twice my lifespan) the Jim Crow Congress. While the media elites might tell you voting was down because people don’t care (a self-fulfilling prophecy for the powerful), in reality I know lots of folks who were TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS. Since I don’t know all the folks, I know that a certain percentage of the folks you know, were also TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS. This means that a certain percentage of all folks were TURNED AWAY AT THE POLLS.

If you don’t think I think this is a big deal, please re-read the bolded statement again, and again, and again. We should *always* be working to EXPAND voting rights, because it is one of our most fundamental ideals. If you want to worry about our Democracy and “The Future of Our Country” , worry about this, because it’s the fundamental way a democracy functions and a populace communicates with itself.

So…for the next two years (and maybe more), it’s the Jim Crow Congress. The GOP doesn’t get to hide behind a slim Senate minority anymore. Own the assholeness, GOP, you’ve earned it.

Republicans Ecstatic Over Bad Jobs Report, Vow to Crush Economy/Obama, Lead Country to Freedom!

So this has officially reached sickening proportions.   Many didn’t think the Republicans were stupid/evil enough to push it this far, and then go for the throat of the country when it was exposed, but those folks haven’t actually been following what the Republicans have been doing or saying for the last little while.

To rewind a bit, the current Republican leadership voted 19 times to raise the debt limit under Bush.  They did so with no protest, no riders, no taxes (hence the constant need to raise the limit), multiple expensive wars, expanding “entitlements” (Med Part D), and with what could damn near be called enthusiam.   Over the 8 years of the Bush presidency, and all his tax cuts, we ended up with Zero (0, that’s none, nada, zilch) net jobs created.

That’s the big rewind.  The little rewind has Eric Cantor (R-Douchebag) walking out of the debt ceiling discussions after Democrats mentioned changing the tax depreciation limit for Rush Limbaugh’s jet from 5 years to 7 years (amoung many other loopholes that mostly benefit people who, from the amount of drugs and Haitian prostidudes they consume, seem to be doing just fine).  That was simply too much for Eric to stomach, so he had to walk out of the talks. (this was two weeks ago).

Now, after that spectacular failure of leadership,they want to double down and totally fuck the country.   What is the problem now?   Any compromise *at all*.

DES MOINES — The decision by House Speaker John A. Boehner to scale back budget talks with President Obama unfolded as Republican presidential candidates were campaigning against any outcome that smacks of compromise, underscoring divisions in the party over whether to raise the federal debt limit.

The action by Mr. Boehner, which was announced Saturday night, illustrated just how difficult negotiations had become in this political climate to reach agreement on a sweeping plan to lower the deficit without an infusion of new tax revenues.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota seized on the issue and used the first television commercial of her campaign to highlight her opposition to raising the debt ceiling. She drew enthusiastic applause on Saturday as she amplified her position.

“It’s time for tough love,” Mrs. Bachmann told supporters at a rally. “Don’t let them scare you by telling you that the country’s going to fall apart.”

So now the frontrunner in the Republican joke parade has crossed over completely into insano-parody.   One needs to realize the context of Mrs. Bachmann’s comments…her entire campaign is about scaring people about how the country is going to fall apart under Obama.

One of the quickest ways to do this, as pretty much everyone who has a rational understanding of world economics agrees, is for the U.S. to default on our debt.   Despite Mrs. Bachmann’s idiotic statements to the contrary (and her idiotic economic statements are legion), not raising the debt ceiling when government revenues are at historic lows (as perecentage of GDP),  and we are still trying to recover from a recession, is about the worst thing one can do for the economy.

This is putting somebody who is starving on a diet, and then burning down their pantry.    It can only lead one direction, as we’ll note when we get to the jobs numbers next.

I mentioned that jobs reports.  The Republicans loved it.   It’s what emboldened them to push for an absolute destruction of the economy…because they now feel they can safely blame it on Obama. (yea, they campaigned on “jobs, jobs, jobs”…no they haven’t yet put forth an actual jobs bill (they claimed trying to repeal “Obamacare” was their “jobs” bill)…yes, it only shows what an evil/partisan/liberal I am to point this out…yes that quote from Boehner about “Where are the jobs?” should have resulted in him being struck down by lightning in a  just universe with an engaged God).

Here’s the jobs numbers….

WASHINGTON — Facing a dismal jobs report, President Barack Obama called on Congress Friday to end uncertainty over their debt standoff and pass a litany of administration-backed proposals, including a payroll tax cut extension and three free trade agreements.

Obama spoke from the Rose Garden shortly after the release of fresh figures that showed employers added just 18,000 jobs in June, the fewest in nine months, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent. The president said the numbers were yet another sign that a full economic recovery is still elusive.

[full story]

I want to talk about those numbers real quick, and the notion of “small government” the Republicans keep pushing.   That rising unemployment number?  It’s a reflection of a “smaller government”, literally.  Here’s what underlies those 18,000 new jobs…

The actual: private payrolls up 57,000; government payrolls down 39,000.

“It’s as if the economy hit a brick wall in May,” said [Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight]. In the three previous months, payroll jobs had increased an average of 215,000; the May-June average was 22,000. Keep in mind that, with an expanding labor force, the economy needs 100,000 to 125,000 new jobs a month to prevent unemployment from rising. Reducing it requires even more job-creation.

It isn’t clear what happened. Standard explanations for the economy’s sluggish first half of 2011 cite three causes: bad weather (flooding in the Midwest); Japan’s earthquake, which depressed auto production by disrupting supply chains; and high oil prices, which sapped consumer buying power

[full story]

Yup, that’s right, it’s more teachers and government workers being laid off.  Same exact thing as I mentioned in June.

So…what…pray tell, was that brick wall the economy hit in May?    Oh yea….(and yes…I mentioned this when it happened)

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — It’s official: The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling on May 16.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told Congress he would have to suspend investments in federal retirement funds until Aug. 2 in order to create room for the government to continue borrowing in the debt markets.

[full story]

Yes, that’s right.  The Media (fuck them to hell) has been operating under this pseudo-lie for the last two months.  Every time they ever mentioned the debt ceiling, they should have mentioned how we hit it a couple months ago, and have been using tricks since then to pay the bills.  They should mention how China thinks we’ve already defaulted.  Instead they keep talking as if A) the “debt ceiling” is the same as the debt, or that not raising it somehow alleviates our debt and B) AS IF WE HAVEN’T ALREADY CROSSED IT.

That “brick wall” our economy hit in May?  IT WAS THE DEBT CEILING!!!

Let’s think about this for a second…hmmm…Republicans refusing to raise the debt ceiling (err,”brick wall”)…economy slows….Republicans add more bricks to the wall, saying how it’s all Obama’s fault…idiotic Media doesn’t explain two simple facts that expose this bullshit….the economy slows….Republican governors fire a bunch of people…unemployment goes up….economy slows….Republicans add more bricks to wall…the economy slows….unemployment goes up….and then the most important thing to Republicans happens…

Obama loses.

So to the Republicans it’s very much worth it to destroy the full faith and credit of U.S. debt, push unemployment up, and slow the economy, all because it’s good for them politically.   It’s about priorities, people, and every single one of you, by now, should know exactly what those Republican priorities are.   The Senate Majority leader laid it out, early on.

“Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office,” the Senate Republican leader will tell the conservative Heritage Foundation, according to excerpts of his speech provided to POLITICO.

“But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill, to end the bailouts, cut spending and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things,” the Kentucky Republican will say. “We can hope the president will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/44688.html#ixzz1RjHfCQ8D

So that’s the only way they can end Medicare and Medicaid, and raise the retirement age and *extend those tax cuts for the rich*….get Obama out of office.  The only way they can do that…is for the U.S. to default on its debt (*or flirt with the idea long enough to screw up the global economy…which they’ve already done*)…and have the economy tank.

Once that happens our corporate media will simply pass along the messages, the unlimited spending by the Koch Broth, et. al. during the campaign will turn everyone off with the ugliness, and we very well might end up with country of Michelle Bachmann’s dreams, where the only thing the Government does is tell you who you can’t marry, sleep with, drink with, abort, or die for.     Government “services” and taxes, will be a thing of the past.

We will finally have achieved the Tea Party paradise…no taxes, no government, only Freedom.

Just like Somalia.

UPDATE:  One final note on this, and it’s a phrase that has been chapping my hide.  Here’s the quote…

Before the meeting, GOP leaders took a hard line against tax hikes as part of any debt ceiling deal.

“Everything is on the table except raising taxes on the American people,” Boehner said. “We are not going to raise taxes on the very people that we expect to reinvest in our economy and to help create jobs.”

That statement there, the part I bolded,  IS A LIE.  Everything, literally, is NOT on the table, if raising taxes is not on the table.  You have, in fact, said the only thing that’s on the table is the “other guy’s” food.   This is an absurd position, that’s is LITERALLY A LIE.

To further annoy my logic sensors, the jobs that the people he’s talking about create (Rush, for example) WOULD ACTUALLY EXIST if they were created for the reasons he is implying they do (that is…the wealthy have extra money and, naturally, spend it to hire people regardless of demand…yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but that’s how he’s implying it works.    It’s “supply side” economics.   To understand why this doesn’t work, and why spreading the wealth a bit works much better under certain circumstances, watch this short video.  Short version…you run a store…do you need more employees to service one guy making $1B/yr buying one hamburger a year, or 10,000 people making $100K/yr buying 10,000 hamburgers.).

Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality

Network neutrality has gathered enough political momentum for both candidates to take an official stand on it. Although the issue was debated furiously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2006, neither side managed to produce a bill that could be signed into law. (The only lasting result of the efforts on Capitol Hill was an unintentionally comical bit of grandstanding by Alaska senator Ted Stevens, where he offered an analogy describing the Internet as a “series of tubes.”) In the absence of any clear legislation on the matter, the FCC has taken up the role of neutrality enforcer, forcing cable provider Comcast to stop restricting BitTorrent traffic earlier this year.

According to their position statements on the issues, John McCain is against Net neutrality and Barack Obama is for it. This makes it one of the few technology issues on which the candidates clearly disagree.

via Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality – Internet Policy from McCain and Obama – Popular Mechanics

This article is an outstanding primer on the topic of “network neutrality”. They didn’t get specific responses from the campaigns (this issue is currently more of a nerd only thing), but the basic slant of each candidate is evident…

…the general philosophies of each side seem clear: McCain believes in a lightly regulated Internet, while Obama believes in more government involvement. But it gets a bit more complicated. When it comes to net neutrality, both sides can make a credible case that they’re the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication.

The author then does an excellent job of defining the term…

One reason is that there’s no accepted definition of network neutrality itself. It is, in fact, more of a networking philosophy than a defined political position. A pure “neutral” network is one that would treat all content that traveled across it equally. No one data packet would be prioritized above another. Image files, audio files, a request from a consumer for a web page—all would be blindly routed from one location to another, and the network would neither know nor care what kind of data was encompassed in each packet.For most but not all kinds of files, that’s how it works now.

…and then talks about the literal “technical difficulties” that face the topic in the future.

Go read the article to get a better idea of what those are going to be. Feel free to suggest your own.

It’s an interesting question, as it gets directly at the question of the degree to which the government should regulate the market to protect rights of people, to protect rights of “property” ownership*, and how much we should let the market itself do both…or neither.

* This asterisk is for intellectual property and the whole copyright/internet question, which is of itself a stimulatingly difficult situation to resolve. It is tangential to the Internet as a whole, but also drives a lot of the demand for the bandwidth in question. Comcast got busted for making a decision along this axis.

That is, the copyright/internet question of what is in the dumptrucks. The network neutrality question is what information super-highway they can get on, and whether or not the telecom industry can set up toll booths in the fast lane…and harass the riff-raff.

“They Hate Us For Our Freedom”

This is perhaps the stupidest idea ever put forth in the arena of foreign relations.

May I quote someone?

All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over ablack, nor a black has any superiority over a white- except by piety and good action.

Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood.  Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.

Do not therefor, do injustice to yourselves.

There’s other parts of the speech i don’t agree with, obviously, but the basic premise is a fairly strong argument against the idiocy displayed by those who would profess that the title of this post is true.

Aaaaand…I’m free again

Good news today as I have made my resignation official.  Good news for you, dear reader, as you’ll have more to read.  And good new for me, your writer, as I’ll have more time to write and the ability to do so with a clean conscience.

You see, I was previously employed by a large, global firm with clients of every caliber.  Most of which I tend to write about about argue about.  In my deference to my employer, I held off writing a great deal which could have eventually led back to me and to them.  As it would have been unfair to ask them to take responsibility for me shagging their clients, I had been reluctant to focus on certain topics and companies. 
Now I am once again free and the fingers feel like flying. 

More to come…

27 Years of Broken Justice and 32 Years of False Freedom

NEWS RADIO 590 KLBJ – Breaking News Headlines and Video from 590 KLBJ

A judge in Dallas today freed a man who served 27 years in prison for the slaying of his girlfriend — since DNA evidence has cleared him.

The case of James Lee Woodard still must be formalized by an appeals court or a pardon from Governor Rick Perry. Woodard, jailed since New Year’s Day 1981 after his girlfriend was raped and murdered, became the 18th person in Dallas County to have his conviction cast aside.

Woodard was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 21-year-old Dallas woman found sexually assaulted and strangled near the banks of the Trinity River

That’s some good detective work there, Lou.  This one would probably be a good example for the black bias post I’m working on.  It’s coming up later.

UPDATE: Ran into this story today as well.  Figured the two would go well together.

A southern California family is standing by the wife and mother who lived under a false name and with a colossal secret: Susan M. LeFevre escaped from a Plymouth prison 32 years ago.

Her husband of 23 years, Alan Walsh, said his family was blindsided and grief-stricken by the revelation that Marie Day, the woman he fell in love with and who bore his three children, had hidden a criminal past.

“She has raised three beautiful children and has worked hard to build a good life for them in this community,” he said in a prepared statement. “Surely society is better off having Marie contribute to the betterment of her community than having to cost Michigan taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars to lock up a person who obviously poses no threat to anyone.”

[full story]

Druggies *are* Terror, right?

Kansas.com | 03/25/2008 | Patriot Act used in drug case; lawyer riled

The lawyer for a man accused of being a major cocaine supplier for the Wichita Crips gang contends that a secret search of the man’s house under the Patriot Act was illegal.

In a recent motion to suppress any evidence from the search, defense lawyer Charles O’Hara argued that the Patriot Act was meant for “serious matters involving national security,” not drug cases like the one involving his client, Tyrone Andrews.

“I thought that this Patriot Act was something passed to protect us all from these terrorist acts, and it would be used very judiciously,” O’Hara said Monday. “This doesn’t seem to be one where these secret searches would be used.”

Jim Cross, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Wichita, said the office “believes the evidence in this case was legally obtained.”

As a pirate and ninja, I’ve long known that laws targeted one type of malcontent eventually get used to go after all the others.