Monthly Archives: September 2013

NSA: The Anal Retents Of The US Government

No one could have known,

The US government has always insisted that – as far as possible – data is only collected on either non-US citizens or people deemed worthy of investigation. But according to a training manual obtained by Snowden, all the internet metadata slurped by the NSA’s surveillance apparatus is fed into Marina and stored for a year so that analysts can pore over it.

“The Marina metadata application tracks a user’s browser experience, gathers contact information/content and develops summaries of target,” the analysts’ guide leaked to The Guardian explains – a statement that sounds remarkably like Facebook’s business plan.

The seven degrees of barking up the wrong trees. Maybe DiFi will condescend to the Constitution and put these guys into a smaller box.

The emperor’s coverup has no clothes. I wonder if Congress will figure out that a few Generals havel lied to them, under oath, with the whole world watching? Or is this one of those Oliver North deals, where it’s OK when we do it?

Will The ACA/ObamaCare Fuel Entrepreneurship?

Better insurance means better cost controls,

“A relatively short stay in a hospital can bankrupt someone,” said Bruce Bachenheimer, a professor of management at Pace University and director of its Entrepreneurship Lab. He said that, anecdotally, he’s seen many people who will take a job they don’t even care about just to get health coverage. “It’s become such an important factor,” he said.

The average age of people who create a tech start-up is 39, and not 20-something,” said Bachenheimer, despite the famous examples created by people such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. On top of that, there are twice as many tech start-up founders who are over the age of 50 as those who are younger than 25, he said.

Entrepreneurs are willing to take on risks, but health care is not a manageable risk, said Bachenheimer.

via Slashdot

Interesting if only for the statistics on startups.

Republican House Demands Health Mandates

Of course they do.

No, I’m not going to say that is why they are asshole babies.

Pretty Much The Way We All See It

It may be difficult,

“That’s really difficult for me, Evan, because I see it as a women’s right,” Perry said. “If they want to do that, that is their decision, they have to live with that decision.”

Smith then asked the state’s first lady to clarify whether she believes it’s a woman’s right within the law to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

“Yeah, that could be a women’s right,” Perry responded. “Just like it’s a man’s right if he wants to have some kind of procedure. But I don’t agree with it, and that’s not my view.”

Liberty is not so easily boxed, nor defined by one person for another. But so long as the decision is framed for discussion by religious dogma and tenets, then I absolutely refuse to adhere to those doctrines and tenets as a basis for imposing ones will, and conceptions, on another individual, for there is no end to religious variations of dogma and doctrines, and therefore no limit to outcomes bound to infringe on the liberty, and conscience of another individual.

Along Those Same Lines

“… truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate ; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them. ” ~Th. Jefferson

Compare and contrast, with the previous post, perhaps there is a common denominator,

In fact, the United States and Iran are facing a classic problem in international relations (and other forms of bargaining): Given that an adversary could be bluffing or dissembling, how do you know when a seemingly friendly gesture is sincere? Political scientist Robert Jervis explored this issue in depth in The Logic of Images in International Relations (1970) and drew a nice distinction between “signals” (i.e., actions that contain no inherent credibility) and “indices,” which he defined as “statements or actions that carry some inherent evidence that the image projected is correct.”

More recently, this basic idea was resurrected in economics (and borrowed by IR scholars) in the notion of a “costly signal.” Unlike “cheap talk,” a costly signal is an action that involves some cost or risk for the sender and therefore is one that the sender would be unlikely to make if they didn’t really mean it. A classic example was Anwar Sadat’s 1977 offer to fly to Jerusalem and speak directly to the Israeli Knesset in search of a peace deal. Because this move was obviously a risky step for Sadat (who was condemned throughout the Arab world), his Israeli counterparts had good reason to believe that his desire for peace was genuine.

It is better it has been said to keep quiet and appear a fool rather than to speak and remove the doubt,

Here is what NBC News anchor Brian Williams told his viewers about this event when leading off his broadcast last night, with a particularly mocking and cynical tone used for the bolded words:

This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran – suddenly claiming they don’t want nuclear weapons! ; what they want is talks and transparency and good will. And while that would be enough to define a whole new era, skepticism is high and there’s a good reason for it.”

Mr. Williams I would imagine suffers confirmation bias like the rest of us, so,

In fact, the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a 2005 religious edict banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and in January of this year, Iranian official Ramin Mehmanparast declared: “There is nothing higher than the exalted supreme leader’s fatwa to define the framework for our activities in the nuclear field.” He added: “We are the first country to call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons. When the highest jurist and authority in the country’s leadership issues a fatwa, this will be binding for all of us to follow. So, this fatwa will be our top agenda.”

That statement is a more direct challenge to Israel than we hear reported in the States, and a very long ways off too. But it is a truth and a fact we should not overlook or ignore because it is politically expedient, except for the previous post.

I shudder to think that we live in a time when those in power fear peace more than war.

The Conservakaze

Apropos. Just read it.

Nazi’s For Ted

There you go Ted, real Nazis in a real American context.

Five of Adolph Eichmann’s Nazi assistants were recruited and employed by the Central Intelligence Agency after World War II, according to recently declassified intelligence documents.

The information came to light after a lengthy battle waged by the non-profit group, The National Security Archive, whose goal is to expose government documents under the framework of the Freedom of Information Act.

The newly-revealed documents are based on internal investigations in the CIA’s history department. The agency has steadfastly refused to make the documents public for fear they would cause embarassment.

Well hello Mr. Snowden! What have we here?

Operation Paperclip (also Project Paperclip) was the code name for the O.S.S.–U.S. Military rescue of scientists from Nazi Germany, during the terminus and aftermath of World War II. In 1945, the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established with direct responsibility for effecting Operation Paperclip.

Americans need not worry though because they have always risen to the great challenges.

If this is really ok with everyone, I give up. The New York Times reports today:

Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials.

So at the risk of violating Godwin’s Law over health care you overlook the goose stepping in the US intelligence community?

If that’s the best the elite colleges can do, I’m glad I’m an under acheiver. I would suggest sir, that you do us all a favor and read a fucking book sometime.

Screw You Ted

I didn’t just say, “Screw You Ted,”

“The premise of your question isn’t true. I didn’t make that comparison,” Cruz said when asked by Meet The Press host David Gregory if he regretted the comments. “I went through the centuries, when over and over again, when facing big challenges, Americans have risen to the challenge. At every stage, there were the voices of conventional wisdom that said this cannot be done, and every time, Americans have risen to the challenge.”

I’m sure John McCain misundersttod you too. Of course the premise of your rebuttal is false, since Americans have not risen to the challenge of providing basic health care to all of its’ citizens, like Mexico and Canada to name a few.

Maybe you can join the MIT guys and form a cartel union to demand your money back.

Sen. Cruz’s epic tantrum this week notwithstanding, the truth about the Affordable Care Act is far more mundane: The plans in question are administered by private companies, and the role played by the federal government is generally limited to subsidizing the cost of plans, regulating what they must cover and at what cost, and using the tax code to create incentives for people to obtain insurance and for employers to provide it. Witnessing a Koch-funded front group peddle falsehoods to the American public is nothing new. Watching them betray their own principles in the process, however, is something different altogether.

Now I have to disagree with Dante, because for Republicans to have any principles we’d have to start with Aristotle and work our way up.

The only difference between these radical Republicans and the ones that foisted Reconstruction on the South is that now they are are Southerners doing it to themselves, spurred on by a Canadian from Texas that graduated from the finest of Ivy league schools. Talk about having your flags crossed.

All y’all, y’all.

Flashback 2009

We want Obama to fail.

Of course there’s no end to clueless well meaning villagers telling me both sides do it.

Americans Demand Bigger Butts

“We need, nay demand, more room for more microphones!”

Because health care is such an imposition.



Billions of humans around the world were saved from the mushy middle and lunatic fringe of America today by logging on to the internet, still widely believed to be a series of interconnected tubes, bringing both information and entertainment, although on different platforms.

1-888-373-7888 Human Trafficking Hotline

Latina Voices brought this to my attention this morning, here’s more information.

Basically it is a polite way of saying slave trade. A lot of it is the skin business, but

The “Be Smart, Be Safe” brochures describe the tactics criminal groups use to coerce and traffic women, the risks of trafficking, what women can do to protect themselves against illegitimate groups, what are victims’ rights in the U.S., and how women can get help while in the United States.

Through its Global TV Campaign on Human Trafficking, the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP) warns millions of potential victims about the dangers of trafficking.

In a land that’s know for freedom, how can such a thing be true?

Fire The Liars At NSA

Interesting post,

Every once in a while, I like to check the Federal Register. This is a vice I should indulge more frequently, apparently. This evening I indulged, and discovered this:

Designation of Officers of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence To Act as Director of National Intelligence
A Presidential Document by the Executive Office of the President on 09/25/2013

Hope you can believe in.

Pat Lang has some other interesting posts up as well.

That being said, and given the current developments I would hope that we don’t go bouncing from one extreme to another trying to get our feet on the ground. The old electricians wisdom is, it isn’t the shock that kills you, it’s the reaction to it.

Basically I don’t think most Americans have enough world geo-political knowledge of who is where and what they stand for to be favorably or unfavorably disposed toward any of them, they just follow whatever they’re told by whomever they trust, and that’s that. There just isn’t an innate hostility towards other peoples and nations.

This may be as good as time as any, if not a last chance for a long, long time, to make that a hallmark of our foreign policy. I take the reporting, like above on Israelis, with a grain of salt. I think it should be clear to the Israelis that America has no intention of abandoning them to their own devices and fate. The Jewish people have a national homeland for a reason, and while we can’t right every wrong of history we can do our best to accomadate the hopes and fears of displaced peoples wherever they may reside. There is absolutely nothing wrong with America being good, as well as great, but I think we should primarily be good and that greatness will follow. Perhaps Israel, and the rest of the world can learn that from us, if we learn it ourselves.

I also think it is in our national interest to move forward with animosity toward none and charity towards all. When history opens a door we should be bold enough to walk through it. War is over if we want it.