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Can science fiction lead us away from economic collapse?

Recent SF novels dealing with the fall of western capitalism seem right on the mark. But do they offer any answers?

Damien Walter's weird things,, 201112.01, Article Source

Post-apocalyptic visions ... Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Post-apocalyptic visions ... Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's The Road

It's a truism that science fiction, however distinct its vision of the future, is always just as much a reflection of its present. The golden age of SF writers, including Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Arthur C Clarke, predicted near futures of a colonised solar system and an era of engineering marvels from robotics to space elevators. But, viewed through a historical lens, their futures say far more about the cold war politics of 1950s America than the post-industrial world of 2011. If science fiction provides a record of the hopes and fears of each generation for the future ahead, what do contemporary SFwriters say about today?

Seed, by debut novelist Rob Ziegler, extrapolates a future rooted in the economic and environmental concerns of the early 21st century. In common with novels such as Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, it explores one of the main preoccupations of science fiction in recent years, the collapse of western-style capitalism. Hardwired into Ziegler's post-apocalyptic vision of a US ravaged by famine and warfare, is an exploration of the extreme material scarcity that the collapse will create for generations to come.

Through a Rust Belt landscape of decaying cities and starving refugees, Ziegler weaves a fast-paced action plot, creating a powerful metaphor for the choices we face today in a world of economic uncertainty. Seed's narrative turns on the mega-corporation city state that controls the future economy, significantly named Satori, the Zen Buddhist term for spiritual enlightenment. Solutions lie, Ziegler's novel suggests, not in the military or political spheres, but in our capacity to address and improve our own nature as humans.

If western capitalism is the victim in much of contemporary science fiction, then China is often the beneficiary. Maureen F McHugh's China Mountain Zhang is surely among the most prescient SF novels of the last century. In McHugh's future, China's command economy dominates the world, and the US has become a secondary power following the Cleansing Winds Campaign, a socialist revolution similar in nature to China's own cultural revolution. At a time when the Occupy movement has taken centre stage in the battle against unbridled capitalism, it's an all too credible scenario (but one McHugh paints in both bright colours and deep shadows; she shows how many of the freedoms and civil liberties now taken for granted in the west might easily be lost in a swing back toward state socialism).

Too often, science fiction views the future from the macro scale, from the standpoints of the movers and shakers shaping its invented worlds. Conversely, McHugh opens China Mountain Zhang with a quote from Albert Camus' The Plague: "A simple way to get to know a town is to see how the people work, how they love and how they die." The novel's protagonist Rafael Zhang faces the dual problems of a mixed-race heritage and being a homosexual in a world where the first defines him as a second-class citizen, and the second merits "re-education" or even execution.

The world McHugh presents through Zhang's quest for individual freedom is all too recognisable today, where human lives are often controlled by the overwhelmingly powerful structures of both government and corporations. But McHugh guides Zhang to freedom from those structures – not through political or military struggle, but the improvement of his own nature as a human being. In his training as an organic or "Daoist" engineer – a discipline which combines computer design technology with the limitless capacity of the human imagination – Zhang finds his own personal Satori, and his own freedom.

Personal freedom, and the discipline required to attain it, are themes science fiction explores in its more positive views of our future. Cory Doctorow's novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom is one of the best explorations of a post-scarcity future, in which technology meets all of humanity's material needs. Money has been replaced with the "reputation-based currency" Whuffie, government is conducted through adhocracy, and the world for most humans is one big playground. The challenge in this scenario is how mankind deals with true freedom after a history of oppression and social conditioning.

The irony of a post-scarcity setting is that our civilisation could have achieved it a century or more ago. Once again, the solutions are not technological but rooted in our own nature as human beings. Overcoming or improving our nature may require a moment of society-wide Satori. Whether we are ready for that yet is up for debate.

Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #108: NOBODY CAN SEE INSIDE YOUR MIND
Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #108: NOBODY CAN SEE INSIDE YOUR MIND

The Green Thing

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Remember this: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

I May Be Old, But I Got To Party With the Best Bands In Rock'n'Roll

PG&E Begins Removing 'Smart' Meters Due to Health Effects

by Joshua Hart,, Tuesday Nov 1st, 2011 1:39 PM, Article Source

Santa Cruz, Calif.—Just as PG&E enters the final phase of its deployment of wireless “smart” meters in California, the largest of the state’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s) has reversed course, quietly beginning to replace the ‘smart’ meters of those reporting health impacts with the old trusty analog version. Consumer rights and health groups immediately seized on the news, demanding that millions of Californians unhappy with their new wireless meters get their analogs returned immediately at no cost.

Is PG&E Going To Remove Dangerous Smart Meters That Cause Human and Animal Health Problems?

‘Smart’ meters are new wireless utility meters being installed as part of the “smart” grid initiative, spearheaded by technology firms and backed by the Obama administration and the Department of Energy. Promises ranging from lower utility bills to enhanced renewable generation capacity have failed to materialize, with widespread reports of higher bills, privacy violations, fires and explosions, and commonly reported health impacts such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, and heart problems associated with powerful wireless transmissions. Widely disparate political groups- from members of the Green Party to the Tea Party and Occupy protesters have attacked the program, and dozens of grassroots organizations have sprouted up over the past several months to fight what they call an undemocratic, unconstitutional and dangerous assault on people in their own homes and neighborhoods. Dozens of people have been detained or arrested for peaceful civil disobedience and even simply speaking out against deployments.

In California, more than 47 cities and counties have demanded a halt to halt installation, and a dozen local governments have passed laws prohibiting the controversial technology. The ‘smart’ meter issue has further angered a public already seething at the utilities over repeated gas explosions, safety breaches at nuclear reactors, and an increasingly extortionate rate structure. Word of California’s ‘smart’ meter nightmare has spread across the country and around the world, prompting some utilities to place smart meter plans on hold, and recently Nevada’s PUC to call for investigations into the health effects and other smart meter problems.

Now in a dramatic turnaround that could signal the beginning of a widespread recall of wireless ‘smart’ meters, on October 28th PG&E re-installed a classic spinning disc analog meter on the home of Santa Cruz, CA resident Caitlin Phillips, who had been suffering headaches and other symptoms from her ‘smart’ meter. The move comes in response to verbal directives from the California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, who recently told members of the public that the utility “will provide for you to go back to the analog meter if that’s your choice.” The CPUC has been slow to respond to thousands of ordinary citizens reporting health effects from the new meters.

When a Wellington Energy installer (contracted with PG&E) came to install a smart meter at her home, Caitlin asked the installer to get off her property and not install, because of what a neighbor had told her about possible health damage and privacy violations. “When I returned home later, I discovered a smart meter on my house. That night I awoke to severe anxiety, headache, and buzzing in my teeth, and realized the new smart meter was on the other side of the wall from my bed.” Caitlin reported her experience to PG&E and the CPUC, who both declined to rectify the situation. When the symptoms persisted, Caitlin sought the assistance of the Scotts Valley based group Stop Smart Meters! who provided an analog meter and referred her to a professional who could help her remove her ‘smart’ meter. As soon as the analog was installed, Caitlin’s symptoms disappeared.

Frustrated and outraged about her treatment by the utility and the PUC, Caitlin travelled to San Francisco to speak at a commission meeting on Oct. 20th. About a week later, PG&E crews were at her house replacing her temporary analog meter with a brand new official PG&E analog meter. This is believed to be the first time PG&E have willingly replaced an analog meter on the home of someone suffering from health effects.

An “opt-out” proceeding overseen by an Administrative Law Judge is underway at the CA Public Utilities Commission, yet those suffering (in some cases severe) health impacts have been stuck in limbo as utilities refuse to remove the harmful meters upon request- until now.

“There are hundreds of thousands- if not millions- of people suffering in their homes from forced ‘smart’ meter radiation,” said Joshua Hart, Director of the grassroots organization Stop Smart Meters! “The utilities and PUC’s must respond promptly to all requests that analogs be returned. The alternative is that people will increasingly turn to independent professionals to remove unwanted ‘smart’ meters from their homes, a reasonable action we assert is within our legal rights. Protecting your family’s health is not tampering.”

PG&E and other utilities have also been responding to health complaints by replacing wireless ‘smart’ meters with digital meters that are “wireless-ready.” These digital meters have been associated with health problems from “dirty electricity” frequencies that pass into a home via the electrical wiring. These “trojan horse” meters have been roundly rejected by those who report continuing health impacts after installation. Susan Brinchman, Director of San Diego based Center for Electrosmog Prevention. said “At this point, the burden of responsibility is on the utilities to demonstrate that any new meter they want to install on our homes is safe. Communities have the right to retain analog meters at no extra charge. Period.”

~end~ - Time For A Corporate Death Penalty

Is PG&E Going To Remove Dangerous Smart Meters That Cause Human and Animal Health Problems?

It's The End of the World As We Know It...Again by M.Wuerke - A Brief History of Socialist Plots to End the American Way of Life
It's The End of the World As We Know It...Again by M.Wuerker

A Brief History of Socialist Plots to End the American Way of Life
Who Is Going To Protect U.S. From Congress?


Jesus piked with pepper spray
Jesus Piked With Pepper Spray
John Pepper Spray Pike's Goulish Nightmare

Peaceful Former Marine Veteran shot in the face by government projectile at Occupy Oakland protests

Peaceful Former Marine Veteran beaten by government receives lacerated spleen at Occupy Oakland protests

Peaceful UC Davis Student Protestors Brutally Pepper Sprayed by Government

Opposition to new online bill grows;
concerns rise over blacklisting, censorship

Written by Elizabeth Larson, Lake County News, Monday, 28 November 2011, Article Source

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – A broad spectrum of businesses, organizations and citizens are banding together to fight a newly introduced bill in Congress that they believe could pose serious dangers to the freedom of the Internet.

HR 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” – or SOPA – is considered by its opponents to be an effort to give corporations the power to get Web sites shut down based on copyright infringement claims.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) introduced SOPA on Oct. 26. It’s similar to the Senate’s Protect IP Act, which has been placed on hold.

Google, Mozilla, Facebook, AOL, eBay, LinkedIn, Twitter, Zynga Game Network and Yahoo are among many SOPA opponents, who cite myriad potential issues, from censorship to security.

Bill supporters, who want an end put to “rogue sites” that infringe on copyright law include the AFL-CIO, the Recording Industry Association of America, Directors Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Film & Television Alliance, National Association of Theatre Owners, Motion Picture Association of America, National Criminal Justice Association, National District Attorneys Association, Council of State Governments and National Sheriffs Association, among many more.

SOPA was praised on the day of its introduction by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which said it would provide law enforcement with refined legal tools to act against rogue sites that attract an estimated 53 billion visits per year.

Such sites, the chamber said, jeopardize the more than $7.7 trillion of U.S. GDP and 60 percent of exports that the industries they steal from produce for our economy.

According to a bill summary, it would authorize the attorney general to seek a court order to stop foreign Internet sites suspected of committing or facilitating online piracy from publishing pirated materials.

The bill sets up an additional two-step process in which intellectual property rights holders can provide written notification to U.S.-directed sites alleged to contain pirated materials. Those notifications would direct that a site’s services be suspended unless the site’s owner or operator provides a counter notification that it is not involved in violations.

In that process, intellectual property rights holders would be allowed to pursue injunctive relief against sites accused of violations, according to the bill’s language.

Service providers – including Internet service providers, payment network providers and online advertising services – would be required to withhold services from sites accused of violations.

SOPA also makes service providers, payment network providers, Internet advertising services, advertisers, Internet search engines, domain name registries or domain name registrars that take action to block sites legally immune.

The bill would expose owners of blacklisted Web sites to potential criminal prosecutions by expanding criminal copyright infringement to include digital transmission of copyrighted work and work intended for commercial dissemination that’s made available on a computer network.

Intellectual property offenses would be added to criminal offenses of trafficking in inherently dangerous goods or services.

Opponents are concerned that the bill would give corporations too much power – including the authority to shut down Web sites that are only accused of wrongdoing and which have not actually been proved to have published copyrighted material.

Another issue is that it’s possible SOPA could lead to Web site shutdowns and prosecutions over something as seemingly minor as an amateur cover of a copyrighted song, such as one might see on YouTube.

On Nov. 10, several members of Congress, including North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena), sent a letter to Smith and Congressman John Conyers expressing misgivings over the bill.

“You've previously stated that this legislation is intended to target 'rogue' foreign websites engaging in copyright infringement,” the letter stated. “While this is a laudable goal and one we support, the SOPA's overly broad language, in its current form, would target legitimate domestic websites, creating significant uncertainty for those in the technology and venture capital industries.”

The members of Congress who signed the letter warned that the legislation could in fact harm business and industry, causing investment in the Internet to dry up.

The House of Representatives’ Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing on SOPA were held on Nov. 16.

In preparation for the hearing, Smith – who chairs the committee – and Conyers, the committee’s ranking member, wrote to their colleagues to urge them to support the legislation, which they said “will modernize our criminal and civil statutes to meet new IP enforcement challenges and protect American investment and jobs.”

They added, “Rogue sites do not pay taxes, they do not adhere to manufacturing standards, they do not innovate, and they do not respect U.S. laws. They do steal American jobs, harm consumers, thwart the incentives that promote innovation and creativity, and undermine those engaged in legitimate Internet commerce.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who in the Senate placed the hold on the Protect IP Act, read a statement into the record for the Nov. 16 meeting in which he warned that SOPA poses dangers to a free and open Internet, and vowed that he will fight such efforts.

No vote was reported as being taken in that hearing, and SOPA also is set for a hearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet.

Rep. Eshoo Letter Against SOPA:

Rep. Eshoo Letter Against SOPA

The Original Occupy Wall Street Protestor - Jesus Throwing the Money Changers Out of the Temple
The Original Occupy Wall Street Protestor
Jesus Throwing the 1%
(Zionist Money Changers) Out of the Temple

9 Reasons Wired Readers Should Wear Tinfoil Hats

By David Kravets, November 24, 2011, Article Source

The FBI's Digital Collection System connects FBI offices and telecom providers around the country to coordinate collection of phone taps for investigations of all sorts. via Wired
The FBI's Digital Collection System connects FBI offices and telecom providers around the
country to coordinate collection of phone taps for investigations of all sorts.

There's plenty of reason to be concerned Big Brother is watching.

We're paranoid not because we have grandiose notions of our self-importance, but because the facts speak for themselves.

Here's our short list of nine reasons that Wired readers ought to wear tinfoil hats, or at least, fight for their rights and consider ways to protect themselves with encryption and defensive digital technologies.

We know the list is incomplete, so if you have better reasons that we list here, put them in the comments and we'll make a list based off them.

Until then, remember: Don't suspect a friend; report him.

Warrantless Wiretapping

The government refuses to acknowledge whether the National Security Agency is secretly siphoning the nation's electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleges. The lawsuit was based on evidence provided by a former AT&T technician Mark Klein that showed that AT&T had installed a secret spying room in an internet hub in San Francisco. The spying got so bad that Attorney General Ashcroft threatened to resign over it.

When a federal judge said a lawsuit on that issue could go forward, Congress passed legislation stopping the case in its tracks. Two American lawyers for an Islamic charity did, however, prevail in their suit that they were wiretapped without warrants, but the Administration is appealing. Much of the program was legalized in 2008 by the FISA Amendments Act.

The FBI has also built a nationwide computer system called the Digital Collection System, connected by fiber optic cables, to collect and analyze wiretaps of all types, including ones used in ultra-secret terrorism investigations.

Warrantless GPS Tracking

The Obama administration claims Americans have no right to privacy in their public movements. The issue surfaced this month in a landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court to determine if law enforcement agents should be required to obtain a probable-cause warrant in order to place a GPS tracking device on a citizen's car. The government admitted to the Supreme Court that it thinks it would have the power to track the justices' cars without a warrant.

The invasive technology allows police, the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies to engage in covert round-the-clock surveillance over an extended period of time, collecting vast amounts of information about anyone who drives the vehicle that is being tracked. The Justice Department has said that law enforcement agents employ GPS as a crime-fighting tool with "great frequency," and GPS retailers have told Wired that they've sold thousands of the devices to the feds.

Tracking Devices in Your Pocket

That mobile phone in your pocket chronicles almost everything. Once-secret software developed by a private company pretty much chronicles all you do on your smartphone and sends it to the carriers. The carriers themselves keep a wealth of information, such as text messages, call-location data, and PINs -- though none of them disclose to their customers what data they store or how long they keep the data.

Law enforcement can get at much of that historical data -- and often get real-time tracking information without proving probable cause to a judge.

Fake Cell Phone Towers

You make a call on your cellphone thinking the only thing standing between you and the recipient of your call is your carrier's cellphone tower. In fact, that tower your phone is connecting to just might be a boobytrap set up by law enforcement to ensnare your phone signals and maybe even the content of your calls.

So-called stingrays are one of the new high-tech tools that authorities are using to track and identify you. The devices, about the size of a suitcase, spoof a legitimate cellphone tower in order to trick nearby cellphones and other wireless communication devices into connecting to the tower, as they would to a real cellphone tower.

The government maintains that the stingrays don't violate Fourth Amendment rights, since Americans don't have a legitimate expectation of privacy for data sent from their mobile phones and other wireless devices to a cell tower. While the technology sounds ultra-new, the feds have had this in their arsenal for at least 15 years, and used a stingray to bust the notorious hacker Kevin Mitnick in 1995.

The Border Exception

The Fourth Amendment doesn't exist along the U.S. border. You know that if you're a close supporter of WikiLeaks or a friend of alleged WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning. You're no doubt very familiar with the U.S. government's laptop border search policy, which allows Customs and Border Protection agents to seize and search a laptop belonging to anyone crossing a border into the U.S.

Agents can search through files on a traveler's laptop, phone or other mobile device, read e-mail or view digital snapshots to uncover incriminating evidence, and they don't need any reason to do so.

The government argues, and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court agrees that searching through a person's laptop for copyright violations is no different than looking through their suitcase for cocaine -- and thus fits squarely with what is known as the 'border exception' to the Fourth Amendment. That means a border agent doesn't need reasonable suspicion, probable cause or even a hunch to open your laptop, seize it and make copies of your data.

At least three supporters of WikiLeaks, including security researcher Jacob Appelbaum. have been subject to the policy and had devices seized and searched as they re-entered the U.S. from foreign trips. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol seem to particularly like searching Appeblaum's devices and questioning him, despite the fact that Wikileaks has never been charged with a crime in the U.S..

The "6 Months and It's the Government's" Rule

If you're already not wanting a dose of Prozac, consider that the law allows the government to obtain Americans' e-mails, without a warrant, if it's stored on some other company's servers for more than six months. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act, adopted in 1986, turned 25 this year. When written, the law assumed e-mails left on a server for that long were abandoned.

In the age of Gmail, that's simply ridiculous. A proposal to demand a court warrant for any and all e-mail never got a Senate hearing and was opposed by the Obama administration.

The Patriot Act

No paranoia list would be complete without including the Patriot Act, the now 10-year-old law adopted in the wake of September 11. The act, which has remained largely the same since former president George W. Bush signed the legislation six weeks after 9/11, gives the government, among other things, the power to acquire phone, banking and other records via the power of a so-called "national security letter," which does not require a court warrant.

National security letters, perhaps the most invasive facet of the law, are written demands from the FBI that compel internet service providers, financial institutions and others to hand over confidential records about their customers, such as subscriber information, phone numbers and e-mail addresses, bank records and arguably websites you have visited.

The FBI need merely assert, in writing, that the information is "relevant" to an ongoing terrorism or national security investigation. Nearly everyone who gets a national security letter is prohibited from even disclosing that they've received one. More than 200,000 letters have been issued by the FBI, despite a series of stinging reports from the Justice Department's internal watchdog, who found FBI agents weren't just routinely sloppy; they also violated the law.

Moreover, a decade after Bush's signature, information is sketchy about how the law is being used in practice. For instance, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) claims the government applies a far broader, and classified, legal interpretation of the Patriot Act's power to let the government seize most anything it deems relevant to an investigation (Section 215).

"We're getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says," the Senate Intelligence Committee member said in a recent interview with Wired. "When you've got that kind of a gap, you're going to have a problem on your hands."

Government Malware

It's little known, but governments have their own malware/spyware that it deploys against suspected lawbreakers. The FBI's version, the last time we checked, was called CIPAV. Once an FBI agent convinced a target to install it (by clicking an e-mail attachment or link on the web), the spyware reports back everything that computer does online.

German states recently came under fire for misusing a similar program that reportedly could turn on a computer's camera and take screenshots. And a recent Wall Street Journal story catalogs a surveillance software company which trumpeted its ability to infect users via a fake iTunes update. The company sells its wares to governments around the world.

Known Unknowns

Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld took an unfair amount of abuse for his deployment of the phrase "known unknowns." And it's these known unknowns that might be the most disturbing part of the list. For instance, does the government think the Patriot Act allows it to force Google to turn over information about anyone who has searched for certain keywords using orders that come with a gag order? Is the NSA sucking up everything we say on our phones and that we do online, under the theory it pushed in a court case that it's not a search until a human actually looks at the data? How often do police investigating a crime ask wireless providers to give them a list of all the people whose phones were in use in the area when they think a crime was committed? What kind of sweeping surveillance orders have been issued under the 1998 law that Congress passed to legalize much of the warrantless wiretapping of Americans? And finally, how long is the government storing all this data, and how can we be sure that our future governments won't start using this data to target Americans based on activities protected by the First Amendment?

And no -- a tinfoil hat won't help you at all.

Bruce Springsteen & Tom Morello - The ghost of Tom Joad (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2009) via Phoenix

David Normal - Artist

Hello !

I'm sharing some photos from my recent exhibit in Los Angeles. The show included an installation of my "Illumination" light boxes (pictured below), as well as a selection of my original paintings. You may view more documentation of the show here

Illuminations Installation at Sancho Gallery in Los Angeles.  October 2011.
Illuminations Installation at Sancho Gallery in Los Angeles. October 2011.


My studio, located in Stinson Beach, California, will be part of the " 2011 Stinson Beach/Bolinas Open Studios". This is an annual open studios event comprising nearly two dozen studios in the small coastal Northern California towns of Bolinas and Stinson Beach.

Many of my original works may be viewed, as well as Illuminations, and also work in progress. My wife, April Lelia, will be displaying her outdoor sculptures. Additionally, San Francisco sculptor, Dana Albany, will be our guest displaying her recent mosaics. All participating studios are open from 11 am to 5 pm on Thanksgiving weekend (Fri, Sat, Sun). My studio is at:

9 Calle Del Embarcadero
Stinson Beach, CA 94970

For further info:

Please come on out and visit if you can! Happy holidays! - David Normal

ERIK MOLL - Voksne Herrers Orkster - Bergen, Norway 21.11.11


The Bear Film by Jean Jacques Annaud via Joe

The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy

The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality

Naomi Wolf,, Friday 25 November 2011 17.25 GMT, Article history, Article Source

Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images
Occupy Wall Street protester Brandon Watts lies injured on the ground after clashes with
police over the eviction of OWS from Zuccotti Park. Photograph: Allison Joyce/Getty Images

US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.

But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."

In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on "how to suppress" Occupy protests.

To Europeans, the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.

I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors', city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.

That is, until I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted.

The mainstream media was declaring continually "OWS has no message". Frustrated, I simply asked them. I began soliciting online "What is it you want?" answers from Occupy. In the first 15 minutes, I received 100 answers. These were truly eye-opening.

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process. No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

When I saw this list – and especially the last agenda item – the scales fell from my eyes. Of course, these unarmed people would be having the shit kicked out of them.

For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the "scandal" of presidential contender Newt Gingrich's having been paid $1.8m for a few hours' "consulting" to special interests. The inflated fees to lawmakers who turn lobbyists are common knowledge, but the notion that congressmen and women are legislating their own companies' profitsis less widely known – and if the books were to be opened, they would surely reveal corruption on a Wall Street spectrum. Indeed, we do already know that congresspeople are massively profiting from trading on non-public information they have on companies about which they are legislating – a form of insider trading that sent Martha Stewart to jail.

Since Occupy is heavily surveilled and infiltrated, it is likely that the DHS and police informers are aware, before Occupy itself is, what its emerging agenda is going to look like. If legislating away lobbyists' privileges to earn boundless fees once they are close to the legislative process, reforming the banks so they can't suck money out of fake derivatives products, and, most critically, opening the books on a system that allowed members of Congress to profit personally – and immensely – from their own legislation, are two beats away from the grasp of an electorally organised Occupy movement … well, you will call out the troops on stopping that advance.

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent. Occupy has touched the third rail: personal congressional profits streams. Even though they are, as yet, unaware of what the implications of their movement are, those threatened by the stirrings of their dreams of reform are not.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

Kerouac's 'lost' debut novel is published 70 years after its conception at sea

Beat generation author Kerouac shows signs of future rebellion in 158-page maritime tale published by Penguin - Article Source

Activists accuse Mexican president of war crimes in drug crackdown

International criminal court asked to investigate Felipe Caldéron over killing, torture and kidnap of civilians by army and police - Article Source

Birds of a Feather ??? Felipe Calderon and War Criminal George W Bush - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Felipe Calderon and [War Criminal] George W Bush - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

[War Criminal] Bush seeks $500 million for Mexico's drug war

The funding request, part of a two- to three-year package that would total about $1.4 billion, is included in a $46 billion request to increase funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. - Article Source

RoboKopter Zamieszki I

News Burps

Supershittycommittee Double crosses U.S.
Eff the 99% Democrats and Republicans Support the 1%

Obama threatens veto on Republicans trying to water down deficit cuts

Democrats and Republicans push blame each other as supercommittee fails to reach agreement after months of talks - Source

War Criminals Bush/Cheney Screw 99%, Again
With Eff'n Republican and Democrat Off the Table Help

The Bush-era tax cuts that sank the supercommittee

The tax cuts have proved to be the kryptonite that defeated supercommittee set up to tackle the US's $15tn deficit - Source

Congress Is Like A POS
It's dirty from lobby money and smells of corporatism

For corporate welfare queens & their crystal baths, there's no benefit cap

Limited liability, offshore secrecy regimes and state handouts ensure those at the top bear none of the costs they inflict on us - Source

Telcos, Who Illegally Spied, Want Your Soul
They will employ data caps so more of your money goes to them

Mobile web users face unlimited confusion over data caps

Networks have started capping data as they run out of capacity – but their policies are far from transparent for consumers - Source

Taxing Everybody, But the Rich
Are the days of indentured servant around the corner, again?

The myth of 'road tax' returns to haunt us again

Comparison website seem to think cyclists should be liable for a tax abolished more than 70 years ago - Source

There Will Never Be A Cure for Cancer
Treatment is a big money maker for medical corporations

Dramatic increase in survival rates for some cancer types, study shows

Macmillan Cancer Support hails improvements but warns of 'woeful' lack of progress in treating other forms of cancer - Source

Amestizo - BLOG

A Day to Give Thanks?

By Ward Churchill

by gobble gobble, 11/20/2001, Article Source via Amestizo

gobble gobble!

Thanksgiving is the day the United States celebrates the fact that the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony successfully avoided starvation during the winter of 1620-21.

But from an American Indian perspective, what is it we're supposed to be so thankful for?

Does anyone really expect us to give thanks for the fact that soon after the Pilgrim Fathers regained their strength, they set out to dispossess and exterminate the very Indians who had fed them that first winter?

Are we to express our gratitude for the colonists' 1637 massacre of the Pequots at Mystic, Conn., or their rhetoric justifying the butchery by comparing Indians to "rats and mice and swarms of lice"?

Or should we be joyous about the endless series of similar slaughters that followed: at St. Francis (1759), Horseshoe Bend (1814), Bad Axe (1833), Blue Water (1854), Sand Creek (1864), Marias River (1870), Camp Robinson (1878) and Wounded Knee (1890), to name only the worst?

Should we be thankful for the scalp bounties paid by every English colony -- as well as every U.S. state and territory in the lower 48 -- for proof of the deaths of individual Indians, including women and children?

How might we best show our appreciation of the order issued by Lord Jeffrey Amherst in 1763, requiring smallpox-infested items be given as gifts to the Ottawas so that "we might extirpate this execrable race"?

Is it reasonable to assume that we might be jubilant that our overall population, numbering perhaps 15 million at the outset of the European invasion, was reduced to less than a quarter-million by 1890?

Maybe we should be glad the "peaceful settlers" didn't kill the rest of us outright. But they didn't really need to, did they? By 1900, they already had 98 percent of our land. The remaining Indians were simply dumped in the mostly arid and unwanted locales, where it was confidently predicted that we'd shortly die off altogether, out of sight and mind of the settler society.

We haven't died off yet, but we comprise far and away the most impoverished, malnourished and disease-ridden population on the continent today. Life expectancy on many reservations is about 50 years; that of Euroamericans more than 75.

We've also endured a pattern of cultural genocide during the 20th century. Our children were processed for generations through government boarding schools designed to "kill the Indian" in every child's consciousness and to replace Native traditions with a "more enlightened" Euroamerican set of values and understandings.

Should we feel grateful for the disastrous self-concept thereby fostered within our kids?

Are we to be thankful that their self-esteem is still degraded every day on cable television by a constant bombardment of recycled Hollywood Westerns and television segments presenting Indians as absurd and utterly dehumanized caricatures?

Should we tell our children to find pride in the sorts of insults to which we are subjected to as a matter of course: Tumbleweeds cartoons, for instance, or the presence of Chief Wahoo and the Redskins in professional sports?

Does anybody really believe we should feel honored by such things, or by place names like Squaw Valley and Squaw Peak? "Squaw," after all, is the Onondaga word for female genitalia. The derogatory effect on Native women should be quite clear.

About three-quarters of all adult Indians suffer alcoholism and/or other forms of substance abuse. This is not a "genetic condition." It is a desperate, collective attempt to escape our horrible reality since "America's Triumph."

It's no mystery why Indians don't observe Thanksgiving. The real question is why do you feast rather than fast on what should be a national day of mourning and atonement.

Before digging into your turkey and dressing on Nov. 23, you might wish to glance in a mirror and see if you can come up with an answer.

Ward Churchill is professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado. He's the author of "A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, 1492 to the Present" (City Lights Books, 1998) and "Struggle For the Land: Indigenous Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide and Expropriation in Contemporary North America" (Common Courage Press, 1992).

Ward Churchill, Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0339 - Ward.Churchill@Colorado.EDU - office: 303-492-5066

If This Is What Corporatism Looks Like,
Boycott Holiday $hopping?

UC Davis Protestors Brutally Pepper Sprayed by Government

Hear The People (Wilhelm/Kunstler) by Loose Gravel - From: Wilhelm LP 1976 (recorded 1971) Lead vocal, lead guitar – Mike Wilhelm Back up vocal – Chris Wilson Back up vocal, acoustic guitar – Rick Kunstler Bass – Kenny Streight Drums – Gene Rhymer - Click for more free music

Republican Bush Administration, with Democrat Help, Responsible for Veteran Suicides?
A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes
Center For A New American Security Study Reveals Startling Statistic.

by Ken Smith, Article Source, via Phoenix

A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes, according to a study published Monday.

Military suicides have increased since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Center for a New American Security Suicide report. In the fiscal year 2009 alone, 1,868 veterans of these wars have made suicide attempts, according to

Suicide Rates by Service (2001 - 2010) via Veterans Today
Suicide Rates by Service (2001 - 2010) via Veterans Today

The VA estimates that about 18 veterans commit suicide every day, but this statistic is based on limited data. Only 16 states submit the cause of death among veterans and the VA relies on 3-year-old data for its reports. Improved information collection could help determine if veterans are committing suicide soon after leaving the military and if there's a higher risk among post-9/11 veterans compared with earlier generations, the study noted.

"The DOD does not currently take sufficient responsibility for veteran suicide," the authors said. "Given the potential implications of veteran suicide for the all volunteer force, the DOD should seek to understand which veterans, and how many veterans, are dying by suicide."

These staggering figures underscore the need for the VA to develop more mental-health programs and an accurate system for recording the number of veterans and service members who take their lives.

"America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members," authors Dr. Margaret C. Harrell and Nancy Berglass concluded. "And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow."

Faced with the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder, unemployment rates tipping 12 percent and a loss of the military camaraderie, many veterans report feeling purposeless upon returning home.

Marine Corps veteran Jason Christiansen, 35, of St. Paul, Minn. is one such veteran that nearly killed himself after watching his life unravel upon completing his service. He lost his job as an auto dealer in 2008, avoided debt collectors and fell into a serious depression, reports.

"At one point, I was sitting there with a gun in my mouth," Christiansen told the news outlet.

A friend pushed Christiansen to seek help at a VA program, a key player in the rescuing of veterans in despair.

The Veterans Crisis Line, launched in 2007, has fielded more than 400,000 calls and has saved more than 14,000 lives, according to the Veterans Affairs mental health website.

The epidemic is raging among those who are currently serving too. From 2005 to 2010, approximately one service member committed suicide every 36 hours, the CNAS study revealed.

While the VA mental-health programs have proven to be effective, the authors of the report offered concrete suggestions on how to prevent even more military members and veterans from taking their lives.

In case you haven't noticed,

Photo of George and George fishing in 'Nawlins'  during Katrina.  With smiles on their faces, Sr. holds the rod and Jr. holds the fish on a boat, while African Americans, in the background, wade through the flooded streets. (Spoof)

THEY Took Your Jobs
Took Your Homes
Took Your Money
Started Illegal Wars
Destroyed the Economy
THEY Murdered Women & Children
Put Martha Stewart & Tommy Chong In Jail

and... THEY
Held the Teachers Accountable!

Mass Murder Morons Congress Let Walk Free
good ol' boy network
Brought Disgrace to the United States

with Republican, Democrat, Senate, Congress, Supreme Court Approval,


Thanks to War Criminal Pelosi's OFF THE TABLE Government.

Paul Krassner - The Realist/Writer/Comic

The Yippies and the Occupiers

By Paul Krassner

As a co-founder of the Yippies (Youth International Party)—known for demonstrating against the Vietnam War at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago--I find myself comparing and contrasting the Yippies and the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

We had to perform stunts to get media coverage of our cause, so a group of us went to the New York Stock Exchange, upstairs to the balcony, and threw $200 worth of singles onto the floor below, watching the gang of manic brokers suddenly morph from yelling "Pork Bellies" into playing "Diving for Dollars." Then we held a press conference outside, explaining the connection between the capitalist system and the war.

Now, a particular placard, “Wall Street Is War Street, gives me a sense of continuity. Other anonymous Occupier spokespersons carried posters proclaiming “God Forbid We Have Sex & Smoke Pot. They Want Us to Grab Guns & Go to War! and “I am an immigrant. I came here to take your job. But you don’t have one.

By the sheer power of numbers without the necessity of stunts, the Occupiers have broadened public awareness about the economic injustice perpetuated by corporations without compassion conspiring with government corruption resulting in immeasurable suffering.

NPR waited until eleven days of Occupy Wall Street had passed before reporting its existence. The executive news editor explained that the Occupiers “did not involve large numbers of people (actually, there were already several hundred), no “prominent people showed up (thus ignoring Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon), the lack of “a great disruption (the police pepper-spraying protesters trapped in a cage of orange netting finally met that need), “or an especially clear objective (oh, right, like all those flip-floppy pandering politicians whose clear objective is to get elected).

The Occupiers appear to be a leaderless community—most likely, you can’t name a single one; not yet, anyway—whereas Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and I served as spokespeople for the Yippies. We had media contacts and knew how to speak in sound bytes. If we gave good quote, they gave free publicity for upcoming demonstrations. It was mutual manipulation.

Example: A reporter asked me about the 1968 counter-contention we were planning, “Will you be staying in tents? I replied, “Some of us will be intense. Others will be frivolous.

During an interview with Abbie and me for the CBS Evening News, taped at his apartment, Abbie paraphrased Che Guevara and said, “I'm prepared to win or die. However, that never got on the air. When the reporter asked me, “What do the Yippies actually plan to do in Chicago? I smiled at her and said, “You think I'm gonna tell you? That portion of my answer was used to end Walter Cronkite's segment on the Yippies, but my follow-up sentence--“The first thing we're gonna do is put truth serum in the reporters' drinks--was omitted. They had beaten me at my own game.

The Yippies were inspired by the Buddhist monk in Vietnam who set himself on fire in order to call attention to the war. The photo of that incident traveled around the globe, and I wore a lapel button which featured that flaming image. Similarly, in 2010, a young man immolated himself, which inspired the rebellion in Egypt, which inspired Arab Spring, which in turn inspired American Autumn.

Inspired by the Yippies attempt to levitate the Pentagon, Aron Kay wanted to get fellow Occupiers to levitate Wall Street, to no avail. Likewise, inspired by the Yippies nomination of an actual pig named Pigasus for president, Michael Dare tried unsuccessfully to persuade fellow protesters at Occupy Seattle to carry out his notion that, “If corporations are people, let’s run one for president. I offered myself as Secretary of Greed.

The evolution of technology has changed the way protests are organized and carried out. The Yippies had to use messy mimeograph machines to print out flyers that had to be stuffed into envelopes, addressed, stamped and mailed. The Internet enables Occupiers to inexpensively reach countless people immediately.

When the Yippies were being tear-gassed, and beaten sadistically and indiscriminately, we chanted, “The whole world is watching! But now, when a bloodbath was expected to happen if the New York police forced the Occupiers out of the park—and then that didn’t happen—Michael Moore asked a cop, “Why don’t you think the eviction happened? The reply: “Because the mayor’s afraid of YouTube.

(One month later, Mayor Bloomberg apparently lost that fear; by his order, the eviction happened at 1 a.m. The next afternoon, a protester, before being allowed back in, was overheard remarking, “The cops have occupied Zuccotti Park. We're just trying to figure out what their demands are.")

Not only what occurred in Chicago in 1968 was officially labeled “a police riot by a government-sponsored investigation, but also an undercover police provocateur—who was disguised as a local biker and acted as Jerry Rubin’s bodyguard—would ultimately state that he participated in pulling down the American flag in Grant Park, destroying it, then running up the black flag of the Viet Cong in its place.

“I joined in the chants and taunts against the police, he said, “and provoked them to hitting me with their clubs. They didn’t know who I was, but they did know that I had called them names and struck them with one or more weapons.

As the Occupy model has spread around the country, police brutality has increased, and it’s not surprising that there have been accusations of provocateurs sabotaging the nonviolent principle, not to mention an assistant editor at a conservative magazine who infiltrated a group of protesters in Washington, D.C., later claiming that his purpose was “to mock and undermine them in the pages of the American Spectator, and that he helped incite a riot at the National Air and Space Museum, getting pepper-sprayed in the process.

The Yippies were countercultural, an amalgam of stoned hippies political acttivists. And, although the Occupiers are essentially mainstream, their demonization by right-wing media pundits has been providing a replay performance of the Dinosaur Follies.

Bill O’Reilly called the Occupiers “drug-trafficking crackheads and “violent America-hating anarchists. Ann Coulter referred to them as mobs of “teenage runaways and “tattooed, body–pierced, sunken-chested 19-year-olds getting in fights with the police for fun. Glenn Beck warned that they “will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you. Andrew Breitbart declared that Occupy Wall Street is “a group of public masturbating violent freaks. Rush Limbaugh labeled them “dumbed down and “propagandized and asked a rhetorical question reeking with layers of irony: “Whatever happened to the ‘60s Question Authority? Limbaugh is like a castrated canine that is still busy humping the living-room sofa.

I’ll conclude here with a little gift for the infamous 1% in the form of what could eventually become a riddle for reactionaries. “What do corporations and fetuses have in common? And the answer is: “They’re both persons.

Mike Wilhelm - Charlatans, Flamin' Groovies, and more - Local - Alternative

Rocks And Gravel by Mike Wilhelm

Occupy Oakland: Iraq war veteran Kayvan Sabehgi beaten by Government - video

Chickenhawk War Criminal for Helliburdon

Protester and three-tour American veteran Kayvan Sabehgi was beaten by Oakland police during the Occupy protest's general strike on 2 November. Sabehgi, who was 'completely peaceful', according to witnesses, was left with a lacerated spleen - Video Source - [[War Criminals] G.W. Bush, Dick (GFY) Cheney, and most of Congress are the real eff'n chickenhawk cowards responsible for this atrocity.]



Neutrinos still faster than light in latest version of experiment
[;-) Now ... how about speeding up string theory acceptance? ~@~]

Finding that contradicts Einstein's theory of special relativity is repeated with fine-tuned procedures and equipment

Alok Jha, science correspondent,, Thursday 17 November 2011 21.52 EST, Article history, Article Source

Scientists from Cern have repeated their finding of neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light. Photograph: Cern/Science Photo Library
Scientists from Cern have repeated their finding of neutrinos travelling faster
than the speed of light. Photograph: Cern/Science Photo Library

The scientists who appeared to have found in September that certain subatomic particles can travel faster than light have ruled out one potential source of error in their measurements after completing a second, fine-tuned version of their experiment.

Their results, posted on the ArXiv preprint server on Friday morning and submitted for peer review in the Journal of High Energy Physics, confirmed earlier measurements that neutrinos, sent through the ground from Cern near Geneva to the Gran Sasso lab in Italy 450 miles (720km) away seemed to travel faster than light.

The finding that neutrinos might break one of the most fundamental laws of physics sent scientists into a frenzy when it was first reported in September. Not only because it appeared to go against Albert Einstein's theory of special relativity but, if correct, the finding opened up the troubling possibility of being able to send information back in time, blurring the line between past and present and wreaking havoc with the fundamental principle of cause and effect.

The physicist and TV presenter Professor Jim Al-Khalili of the University of Surrey expressed the incredulity of many in the field when he said that if the findings "prove to be correct and neutrinos have broken the speed of light, I will eat my boxer shorts on live TV".

In their original experiment scientists fired beams of neutrinos from Cern to the Gran Sasso lab and the neutrinos seemed to arrive sixty billionths of a second earlier than they should if travelling at the speed of light in a vacuum.

One potential source of error pointed out by other scientists was that the pulses of neutrinos sent by Cern were relatively long, around 10 microseconds each, so measuring the exact arrival time of the particles at Gran Sasso could have relatively large errors. To account for this potential problem in the latest version of the test, the beams sent by Cern were thousands of times shorter – around three nanoseconds – with large gaps of 524 nanoseconds between them. This allowed scientists to time the arrival of the neutrinos at Gran Sasso with greater accuracy.

Writing on his blog when the fine-tuned experiment started last month, Matt Strassler, a theoretical physicist at Rutgers University, said the shorter pulses of neutrinos being sent from Cern to Gran Sasso would remove the need to measure the shape and duration of the beam. "It's like sending a series of loud and isolated clicks instead of a long blast on a horn," he said. "In the latter case you have to figure out exactly when the horn starts and stops, but in the former you just hear each click and then it's already over. In other words, with the short pulses you don't need to know the pulse shape, just the pulse time."

"And you also don't need to measure thousands of neutrinos in order to reproduce the pulse shape, getting the leading and trailing edges just right; you just need a small number – maybe even as few as 10 or so – to check the timing of just those few pulses for which a neutrino makes a splash in Opera."

Around 20 neutrino events have been measured at the Gran Sasso lab in the fine-tuned version of the experiment in the past few weeks, each one precisely associated with a pulse leaving Cern. The scientists concluded from the new measurements that the neutrinos still appeared to be arriving earlier than they should.

"With the new type of beam produced by Cern's accelerators we've been able to to measure with accuracy the time of flight of neutrinos one by one," said Dario Autiero of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). "The 20 neutrinos we recorded provide comparable accuracy to the 15,000 on which our original measurement was based. In addition their analysis is simpler and less dependent on the measurement of the time structure of the proton pulses and its relation to the neutrinos' production mechanism."

In a statement released on Friday, Fernando Ferroni, president of the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics, said: "A measurement so delicate and carrying a profound implication on physics requires an extraordinary level of scrutiny. The experiment at Opera, thanks to a specially adapted Cern beam, has made an important test of consistency of its result. The positive outcome of the test makes us more confident in the result, although a final word can only be said by analogous measurements performed elsewhere in the world."

Since the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) team at Gran Sasso announced its results, physicists around the world have published scores of online papers trying to explain the strange finding as either the result of a trivial mistake or evidence for new physics.

Dr Carlo Contaldi of Imperial College London suggested that different gravitational effects at Cern and Gran Sasso could have affected the clocks used to measure the neutrinos. Others have come up with ideas about new physics that modify special relativity by taking the unexpected effects of higher dimensions into account.

Despite the latest result, said Autiero, the observed faster-than-light anomaly in the neutrinos' speed from Cern to Gran Sasso needed further scrutiny and independent tests before it could be refuted or confirmed definitively. The Opera experiment will continue to take data with a new muon detector well into next year, to improve the accuracy of the results.

The search for errors is not yet over, according to Jacques Martino, director of the National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics at CNRS. He said that more checks would be under way in future, including ensuring that the clocks at Cern and Gran Sasso were properly synchronised, perhaps by using an optical fibre as opposed to the GPS system used at the moment.

This would remove any potential errors that might occur due to the effects of Einstein's theory of general relativity, which says that clocks tick at different rates depending on the amount of gravitational force they experience – clocks closer to the surface of the Earth tick slower than those further away.

Even a tiny discrepancy between the clocks at Cern and Gran Sasso could be at the root of the faster-than-light results seen in September.

Help Ann Coulter find his penuis
Help An Coul Ter Find Hir Penis

Does Bill O'Really Have Sex With His Mother?

"Here's the bottom line on this for every American and everybody in the world, nobody knows for sure, all right? We don't know what he has. We think he has 8,500 liters of anthrax. But let's see. But there's a doubt on both sides. And I said on my program, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right? But I'm giving my government the benefit of the doubt. - Bill EFF'N LIAR O'Reilly on Good Morning America, March 18, 2003

Looking at 1968 and 2011

Corporate Owned Politicians Are Destroying the United States

Does Congress Really Want To Give China & Other
Oppressive Regimes A Blueprint For Internet Censorship?

from the one-hopes-not dept, techdirt Article Source

Rebecca MacKinnon, from the New America Foundation, has an absolutely fantastic opinion piece in the NY Times today, explaining why SOPA/PROTECT IP represent the Great Firewall of America, and why it's the exact wrong approach. It notes that the bill doesn't just bring the "major features" of China's Great Firewall to America, but that it also strengthen's China's ability to censor. While she notes that the intentions are not the same, the "practical effect," would be:

Abuses under existing American law serve as troubling predictors for the kinds of abuse by private actors that the House bill would make possible. Take, for example, the cease-and-desist letters that Diebold, a maker of voting machines, sent in 2003, demanding that Internet service providers shut down Web sites that had published internal company e-mails about problems with the company’s voting machines. The letter cited copyright violations, and most of the service providers took down the content without question, despite the strong case to be made that the material was speech protected under the First Amendment.

The House bill would also emulate China’s system of corporate “self-discipline, making companies liable for users’ actions. The burden would be on the Web site operator to prove that the site was not being used for copyright infringement. The effect on user-generated sites like YouTube would be chilling.

I'd argue it's even worse than that. We've already seen how countries like Russia have abused copyright law to stifle speech. Do we really want to justify that kind of activity? If SOPA/PROTECT IP is in place, any government around the world can put in place something similar, justify blocking access to just about any website by abusing copyright law to find some form of "infringement."

In the hearings today, the MPAA's Michael O'Leary somewhat stunningly suggested that repressive regimes that censor the internet are a model worth emulating in the US, since they didn't "break the internet." Perhaps he should speak to those who have had their speech blocked in countries like China and Iran to see how they really feel about that. And is he really comfortable setting up the same system here in the US? Is he convinced that it won't be abused, despite the long history of abuse we've seen by the members of the MPAA? Just last week alone we heard a story about how MPAA member Warner Bros., took down tons of content it had no right to, including some open source software it just didn't like.

Fact is: we've seen copyright law abused repeatedly, even by MPAA members, to stifle companies and speech they don't like. We've seen how repressive regimes use the same tools in their countries to stifle speech. Setting up such a system in the US would be an epic mistake.

Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #105: THE SUPPORT OF FRIENDS
Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #105: THE SUPPORT OF FRIENDS

Democrats and Republicans,
With A Side of Judicial,
Hate Cancer Patients?
Pot raids souring state's dispensaries on Obama

Is Obama Bush in Disguise?
Is Obama Really Bush In Disguise?

In New Hampshire, EFF'N LIAR said, "I would not have the Justice Department prosecuting and raiding medical marijuana users. It's not a good use of our resources."

cartoon of war on terror people tearing up a house trying to find evidence and not finding it...then they start looking for drugs
So...As Long As We're Here... Does Your Evil Kid Smoke Dope?

Arrest Corporate Congress Criminals

Telecom Crimes

Congress votes to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, legalize ...

Jul 9, 2008 ... It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment." EFF, the other non-profit organization behind the telecom lawsuits, announced the same, ...

The Democratic-led Congress this afternoon voted to put an end to the NSA spying scandal, as the Senate approved a bill -- approved last week by the House -- to immunize lawbreaking telecoms, terminate all pending lawsuits against them, and vest whole new warrantless eavesdropping powers in the President.

The vote in favor of the new FISA bill was 69-28. Barack Obama joined every Senate Republican (and every House Republican other than one) by voting in favor of it,

while his now-vanquished primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, voted against it. John McCain wasn't present for any of the votes, but shared Obama's support for the bill. The bill will now be sent to an extremely happy George Bush, who already announced that he enthusiastically supports it, and he will sign it into law very shortly. [Continue Reading] - RELATED: Telecom Crimes & Punishment

Obama Resigns Presidency:
Joins G.W. Bush Jr. in:
"Me & My Shadow Government"
Vaudeville Tour?

Pot shots

The US government is waging a Reefer Madness-style war of words and deeds on the country's cannabis growers.

Mark Honigsbaum,, Wednesday 8 August 2007 14.30 EDT, Article history, Article Source

What is the most valuable cash crop in America? If you answered wheat or corn then either you've been eating too many Fruit Loops or you haven't been inhaling deeply enough. As any fan of Weeds - Showtime's hit series about a dope-dealing suburban mom - will tell you, when it comes to hard cash these days, cannabis is king.

According to a study by John Gettman of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, marijuana cultivation in the US is now worth a staggering $35bn (£17.3bn) a year, making old Mary J bigger than corn and wheat combined.

And that's just the illegal variety. Cross the Californian state line and search out a sympathetic physician and you can purchase pot and even cannabis-laced Munchy Way chocolate bars perfectly legally at one the state's 600 medical marijuana dispensaries. Little wonder that the White House is up in arms. Never mind the war on terror, scream the neo-cons, what about the war on weed?

Perhaps that explains why last month the Drug Enforcement Agency torched 60,000 marijuana plants with a street value of $30m concealed in a forested preserve in Cook Country, Illinois, as part of a nationwide campaign against marijuana cultivation on public land. Or why two weeks ago the DEA raided 10 marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles and charged four operators with violating the Controlled Substances Act. Or why the DEA has been using the same federal drug laws to target the cultivation of industrial hemp on Indian reservations.

Never mind that hemp, used in everything from rope-making to clothing to car door insulation, is ideal for the dry climate of the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where farmers like Alex White Plume and other members of the Ogala Sioux tribe eke a living. Or that hemp contains only traces of THC - the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gets you high - or that in the 1930s the federal government encouraged the Ogala to cultivate hemp to ease the effects of the Great Depression. According to the DEA, hemp fields could be used to conceal high THC-bearing strains, hence the feds' "zero tolerance" policy.

The crackdown comes as Bush's drug czar John Walters - in a series of statements that recall the Reefer Madness campaigns of the 1930s - has sought to demonise marijuana in the public's mind, claiming the current strains are far stronger than the "mom and pop" varieties popular in the 1960s and 70s. In fact, according to the DEA's own handbook, of more than 4, 600 domestic strains analysed by the government between 1998 and 2002, fewer than 2% were found to contain THC levels above 20%.

But such is the paranoia in the US today about any form of "subversive activity" that now even local law enforcement officials are getting in on the act - hence the raid last month on Dennis "Day" Yusko, a 71-year-old hippy and veteran of the Woodstock festival by anti-narcotics police dressed in Kevlar jackets (Yusko, a leading light in Woodstock's Rainbow Tribe, was charged with possession of just two grams of marijuana, hardly enough to get a hamster buzzed, let alone Fat Freddy's Cat).

The irony is that the crackdown coincides with the 70th anniversary of the Marijuana Tax Act, a law that like the Controlled Substances Act which replaced it, proved a spectacular failure. The 1937 act was conceived as a tax on buyers and sellers, but the penalties for non-compliance were so draconian that it effectively functioned as a ban, prompting the removal of cannabis from the US Pharmacopeia in 1942 (because it required buyers to purchase a stamp, it also clashed with the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination). Unfortunately, the 1970 Controlled Substances Act has proved even more punitive, placing marijuana in the same category as heroin and LSD, with stiff 20-year jail terms for those caught "trafficking" across state lines.

Yet for all that the White House has sort to demonise weed, dope remains as popular as ever. In a survey last year, 28 million Americans admitted smoking pot and approximately 85% of high school seniors described marijuana as "easy to get" - a figure that has remained virtually unchanged since 1975. And this despite a record 800,000 busts last year, nearly all for simple possession.

As Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which has been pushing for decriminalisation of marijuana, puts it: "It's hard to think of a more spectacularly bad, long-term policy failure than our government's 70-year war on marijuana users."

So will the White House roll over and agree to take a hit on this one? Don't count on it. Although California, in common with 11 other states, has deemed the sale of marijuana to treat such medical conditions as glaucoma, cancer and Aids legal and House Democrats are pushing for a ban on the use of federal funds by the DEA to prosecute medical marijuana patients, the justice department argues that the dispensaries are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act and charges the operators with being little better than licensed drug dealers. The result is that the stage is now set for a classic federalist-style confrontation over state's rights, with hundreds of medical marijuana cases pending in the Californian courts.

But perhaps we should take heart from the reaction of medical marijuana patients. Earlier this year, they risked arrest by blockading clinics in Santa Monica ahead of DEA raids. Now, with the first court hearings pending, they're threatening to take their campaign state-wide. Proof positive, you might think, that the new strains of marijuana aren't quite the lifeforce-sapping evil portrayed by opponents.

Beatles Cartoon STEREO - I Am the Walrus via Paul Krassner

Did Cannabis Prohibition Kill Steve Jobs?

Thursday, 06 October 2011 14:43, Article Source

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs died yesterday after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer. In 2009, he had a liver transplant.

Cannabis activist Steve Kubby, who's chief officer of the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative campaign in California and a cancer survivor, tells CelebStoner:

One of Job's closest friends, Daniel Kottke, talked with Jobs about using our medical marijuana lozenges to treat his illness.We provided Jobs with peer-reviewed study on the cancer-fighting properties of cannabis, for which I am, literally, living proof.

Unfortunately, Jobs was told if it didn't work and he tested positive for cannabis, he would be denied a liver transplant, which his physicians told him was his only other option. Steve Jobs decided against using medical cannabis to treat his cancer, not based on science or medicine, but upon the consequences for him if he used this legal medicine, because of Prohibition and a federal government that puts policy above lives.

"The loss of this visionary pioneer is a loss for the entire planet. Tragically, it appears it might have been prevented."

Say No To Bullies

Obama Administration Bullies Cancer Patients?

Turkeys at Flying Snail - News & Views for Remnants of Paradise

Thanksgiving Is A Celebration of Genocide
The End of American Thanksgivings
The Black Commentator - Issue 66

Nobody but Americans celebrates Thanksgiving. It is reserved by history and the intent of "the founders" as the supremely white American holiday, the most ghoulish event on the national calendar. No Halloween of the imagination can rival the exterminationist reality that was the genesis, and remains the legacy, of the American Thanksgiving. It is the most loathsome, humanity-insulting day of the year - a pure glorification of racist barbarity.

We at [Black Commentator] are thankful that the day grows nearer when the almost four centuries-old abomination will be deprived of its reason for being: white supremacy. Then we may all eat and drink in peace and gratitude for the blessings of humanity's deliverance from the rule of evil men.

Thanksgiving is much more than a lie - if it were that simple, an historical correction of the record of events in 1600s Massachusetts would suffice to purge the "flaw" in the national mythology. But Thanksgiving is not just a twisted fable, and the mythology it nurtures is itself inherently evil. The real-life events - subsequently revised - were perfectly understood at the time as the first, definitive triumphs of the genocidal European project in New England. The near-erasure of Native Americans in Massachusetts and, soon thereafter, from most of the remainder of the northern English colonial seaboard was the true mission of the Pilgrim enterprise - Act One of the American Dream. African Slavery commenced contemporaneously - an overlapping and ultimately inseparable Act Two. [Continue reading at]:

Turkey In A Tree
Thanksgiving, Celebration of Genocide
Native American Holocaust Absolution by Pilgrims

Skipping past the signing of the Mayflower Compact, the first concerns of the new arrivals were finding something to eat and a place to settle. After anchoring off Cape Cod on November 11, 1620, a small party was sent ashore to explore. Pilgrims in every sense of the word, they promptly stumbled into a Nauset graveyard where they found baskets of corn which had been left as gifts for the deceased. The gathering of this unexpected bounty was interrupted by the angry Nauset warriors, and the hapless Pilgrims beat a hasty retreat back to their boat with little to show for their efforts. Shaken but undaunted by their welcome to the New World, the Pilgrims continued across Cape Cod Bay and decided to settle, of all places, at the site of the now-deserted Wampanoag village of Patuxet. There they sat for the next few months in crude shelters - cold, sick and slowly starving to death. Half did not survive that terrible first winter. The Wampanoag were aware of the English but chose to avoid contact them for the time being.

In keeping with the strange sequence of unlikely events, Samoset, a Pemaquid (Abenaki) sachem from Maine hunting in Massachusetts, came across the growing disaster at Plymouth. Having acquired some English from contact with English fishermen and the short-lived colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River in 1607, he walked into Plymouth in March and startled the Pilgrims with "Hello Englishmen." Samoset stayed the night surveying the situation and left the next morning. He soon returned with Squanto. Until he succumbed to sickness and joined his people in 1622, Squanto devoted himself to helping the Pilgrims who were now living at the site of his old village. Whatever his motivations, with great kindness and patience, he taught the English the skills they needed to survive, and in so doing, assured the destruction of his own people. [Continue Reading at]:

National Day of Mourning - Plymouth, Mass.
Native American Issues & Causes & NDN News Website -

The Thanksgiving Myth
by John Two-Hawks

Let me begin by stating that thousands of years before the 'official' Thanksgiving Day was proclaimed by Governor Winthrop of the Massachussetts Bay Colony in 1637, North American Indigenous people across the continent had celebrated seasons of Thanksgiving.

'Thanksgiving' is a very ancient concept to American Indian nations. The big problem with the American Thanksgiving holiday is its false association with American Indian people. The infamous 'Indians and pilgrims' myth.

It is good to celebrate Thanksgiving, to be thankful for your blessings. It is not good to distort history, to falsely portray the origin of this holiday and lie about the truth of its actual inception. Here are some accurate historical facts about the true origin of this American holiday that may interest you [Continue Reading at]:

Develop Your Mind, NOT Sacred Sites

Develop Your Mind, Not Sacred Sites

In an 1868 treaty, drafted at Fort Laramie in Sioux country, the United States established the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. However, after the discovery of gold there in 1874, the United States confiscated the land in 1877. To this day, ownership of the Black Hills remains the subject of a legal dispute between the U.S. government and the Sioux.

Homeland Security - Fighting Terrorism Since 1492

I'm Sorry You Have Taken So Long to Say You're Sorry
by David Pego

"I think America clearly knows the atrocities - the holocaust, the land theft, the boarding school experience completely wiping out the language and cultures of our Native brothers and sisters."

Turkey on car

Robbie Basho (Wounded Knee) - 1975 - Click MP3
Laura Allan (Native American Ceremonial Song) - 1975 - Click MP3

Only after the last tree has been cut down, Only after the last river has been poisoned, Only after the last fish has been caught, Only then will you find money cannot be eaten. - Cree Prophecy

Devo - Beautiful World

2 Mikes at the Blue Wing: Monday - November 14, 6:00-9pm

November 10, 2011


Mike Wilhelm, Mighty Mike Schermer & Hired Guns add mystery guest

By Alex Johns, Contributing writer

UPPER LAKE - Blues fans are in for a treat when Mike Wilhelm & Hired Guns welcome their special guest Mighty Mike Schermer to reprise his last performance with the band at the Blue Wing on Monday. It seemed that Wilhelm and Schermer had an instant rapport and easy interplay the first time they were paired enabling these seasoned blues guitar stylists to give a memorable performance which left the dancing audience exhausted but happy.

When Blue Wing proprietor Bernie Butcher learned that Schermer would be touring in northern California in November, he contacted Schermer to find out if he would be available on the 14th which indeed he was. Wilhelm was agreeable as well. Just announced is an appearance by a surprise guest vocalist who has starred at a past Blue Wing Blues Festival. Filling out the band will be Randy Hare, guitar/backup vocal; Slammin' Scott Slagle, drums/backup vocal; Jamie Webber, bass and James "Jimmy the Lion" Leonardis, tenor saxophone.

Show time is 6:00 to 9:00 pm, beginning with a short solo set by Wilhelm. The Blue Wing Saloon & Cafe is part of the historic Tallman Hotel complex. Reservations are recommended for parties of 6 or more. Telephone 707-275-2244. For further information go to Mike Wilhelm's site is Mike Schermer's is

US court verdict 'huge blow' to privacy, says fomer WikiLeaks aide

Decision made to open Twitter account of Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, who is taking the case to the Council of Europe

Birgitta Jonsdottir: How the US Justice Department legally hacked my Twitter account

Dominic Rushe,, Friday 11 November 2011 13.03 EST, Article history, Article Source

A US court ruled Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir must release details of her Twitter account. Photograph: Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images
A US court ruled Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir must release
details of her Twitter account. Photograph: Halldor Kolbeins/AFP/Getty Images

Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir has slammed the decision by US courts to open her Twitter account to the US authorities and is taking her case to the Council of Europe.

On Thursday a US judge ruled Twitter must release the details of her account and those of two other Twitter users linked to WikiLeaks. Jonsdottir learned in January that her Twitter account was under scrutiny from the Justice Department because of her involvement last year with WikiLeaks' release of a video showing a US military helicopter shooting two Reuters reporters in Iraq. She believes the US authorities want to use her information to try and build a case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media," said Jonsdottir. "We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the US authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It's absolutely unacceptable."

She said she would press for the Council of Europe to act on the case, which she believes sets a worrying precedent for private citizens and politicians across the world.

Last month the Inter-Parliamentary Union, which represents MPs from 157 countries, unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the move by the Justice Department. The IPU said the move threatened free speech and suggested it could violate Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which upholds the right of everyone to freedom of opinion and expression.

"Members of parliament are elected by people to represent them in parliament. In their daily work they legislate and they hold the governments to account. They are unable to perform these duties if they cannot receive and exchange information freely without fear of intimidation," wrote the IPU.

Jonsdottir's account was targeted alongside Seattle-based WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp. The order also sought records relating to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and alleged WikiLeaks source private Bradley Manning.

This is the second court victory for the US authorities in a case that has alarmed privacy and free speech advocates; in part because the inquiries' targets might never have known they were being investigated had Twitter not challenged the subpoenas.

The Justice Department also sought the information without a search warrant. US authorities used a 1994 law called the stored communications act to demand that Twitter provide the internet protocol addresses of users, a move that would give the location of the computer they used to log onto the internet. They also asked for bank account details, user names, screen names or other identities, mailing and other addresses.

The petitioners argued that the order suppressed their right to free speech and that their internet protocol addresses should be considered private information. They also argued the demand for information was too broad and unrelated to WikiLeaks.

Judge Liam O'Grady disagreed. In his opinion, "the information sought was clearly material to establishing key facts related to an ongoing investigation and would have assisted a grand jury in conducting an inquiry into the particular matters under investigation."

The Twitter users "voluntarily" turned over the internet protocol addresses when they signed up for an account and relinquished an expectation of privacy, he ruled.

"Petitioners knew or should have known that their IP information was subject to examination by Twitter, so they had a lessened expectation of privacy in that information, particularly in light of their apparent consent to the Twitter terms of service and privacy policy," Judge O'Grady wrote. He also dismissed a petition to unseal the Justice Department's explanation for why it sought the account information.

The fight comes amid widening concerns about online privacy. Facebook is expected to revamp its privacy rules after widespread criticism. Twitter too has become an increasing concern for privacy advocates.

"I want everybody to be fully aware of the rights we apparently forfeit every time we sign one of these user agreements that no one reads," said Jonsdottir.

Twitter Double Crosses Users, facebook Next?

New World Order = Watch This Video

Congress and Justice Department
Let Real Criminals Walk Free:

Who Was Responsible for Instituting Torture in the United States?
It Was: Stanford
[War Criminal] Condoleezza Rice

Rice gave early approval for CIA waterboarding, Senate report reveals

Go-ahead in July 2002 is first known official approval
Finding suggests
greater Rice role than she admitted

Ewen MacAskill in Washington, Stephen Bates and agencies,, Thursday 23 April 2009 07.27 EDT, Article history, Article Source

Condoleezza Rice: gave the first known official approval of waterboarding, Senate report claims. Photograph: Stefan Zaklin/EPA
Condoleezza Rice: gave the first known official approval of waterboarding,
Senatereport claims. Photograph: Stefan Zaklin/EPA

Condoleezza Rice gave permission for the CIA to use waterboarding techniques on the alleged al-Qaida terrorist Abu Zubaydah as early as July 2002, the first known official approval for the technique, according to a report released by the Senate intelligence committee yesterday.

The revelation indicates that Rice, who at the time was national security adviser and went on to be secretary of state, played a greater role than she admitted in written testimony last autumn.

The committee's narrative report (pdf) also shows that dissenting legal views about the interrogation methods were brushed aside repeatedly. The mood within the Bush administration at the time is caught in a handwritten note attached to a December 2002 memo from Donald Rumsfeld, the then defence secretary, on the use of stress positions. "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?" he asked.

The intelligence committee's timeline comes a day after the Senate armed services committee released an exhaustive report detailing direct links between the harsh interrogation programme of the CIA and abuses of prisoners at the US prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, in Afghanistan and at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

The latest report, which compiles legal advice provided by the Bush administration to the CIA, indicates that Rice personally conveyed the administration's approval for waterboarding Zubaydah to the then CIA director, George Tenet, in July 2002.

Last autumn, Rice acknowledged to the armed services committee only that she had attended meetings where the CIA interrogation request was discussed. She said she did not recall details. Within days, the justice department secretly approved the use of waterboarding. Zubaydah underwent waterboarding at least 83 times in August 2002.

In the years that followed, according to yesterday's report, there were numerous internal legal reviews, suggesting government lawyers were concerned that methods such as waterboarding might violate federal laws against torture and the US constitution. Bush administration lawyers continued to validate the programme, but the CIA voluntarily dropped the use of waterboarding after 2005.

The 232-page armed services committee report, the most detailed investigation yet into the background of torture, undercut the claim of the then deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq was the work of "a few bad apples".

Its release yesterday added to the debate raging within the US after President Barack Obama, who regards the techniques as torture, opened the way for possible prosecution of members of the Bush administration.

Carl Levin, the Democratic chairman of the committee, said: "The paper trail on abuse leads to top civilian leaders, and our report connects the dots." The report shows a paper trail going from Rumsfeld to Guantánamo to Afghanistan and to Iraq.

The report says: "The abuse of detainees in US custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of "a few bad apples" acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorised their use against detainees."

The report, the result of an 18-month inquiry, revealed that the administration rejected advice from various branches of the armed services against using more aggressive techniques. The military questioned the morality and the reliability of information gained.

The report condemned the techniques adopted, saying: "Those efforts damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."

The report disclosed that waterboarding and other techniques used were based on a faulty premise. The methods were lifted from a military programme known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, but the armed forces pointed out this was intended to train troops in resisting torture during the Korean war, rather than establishing whether these were useful interrogation methods.

A New York Times report says that, even then, it was appreciated that the techniques induced false confessions from the American personnel on which it was tried. The paper adds that the US prosecuted torturers who employed waterboarding in war crimes trials following the second world war and that it was a technique known to have been used by despots including Pol Pot in Cambodia.

The New York Times says administration officials briefed by Tenet were not aware that the former military psychologist who played a central role in persuading the CIA to use waterboarding had never conducted a real interrogation and that the justice department lawyer most responsible for declaring the method legal had "idiosyncratic ideas" that the department would later renounce.

Bush administration memos released by Obama last week were confined to interrogations at Guantánamo and CIA secret prisons around the world, but the Senate report goes wider, including prisons run by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Murdering & Maiming Women & Children
Is A Big Joke To Republicans, Democrats, & Justice Department

Just Ask Nancy 'Off the Table' Pelosi

by Dahbud Mensch

On October 3, 2000 George W. Bush, before he was appointed to office by the Supreme Court, said:

If we don't have a clear vision of the military, if we don't stop extending our troops all around the world and nation building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road, and I'm going to prevent that.

For the record Bush also said, 'Anyone who harms children is a terrorist.'
Liberated Iraqi Boy
This is a Child Congress and a Republican Bush Administration Harmed

This is the same person who, on 9/11, read a children's book for 18 minutes while the United States was under attack, pulled troops out of Afghanistan before getting Osama; but then again the Bush and bin Laden families are friends that worked together. They started, what most people consider, an illegal Iraq War that destroyed United States economy. They did not supply troops with simple basics, which got our military unnecessarily maimed and murdered; a crime in itself. He played guitar while U.S. citizens were abused and killed during Katrina, and for his personal reward gets to publish a book, probably filled with lies, and promoted by a Corporate Media, that sold out American citizens and U.S. Military to encourage an illegal war. Shame on them!

We are left to assume his words include Everybody and on March 19, 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court & Congress were responsible for the Murder & Maiming of Innocent Children, Women, and civilians.... Plus, It Will Probably Be A 100 Years Before Anybody Finds Out What THEY Did to U.S. Military During Either Illegal, Iraq War, Vietnam, etc.!

Steve Bell: Bush: All of a Sudden I'm Lookin' Statesmanlike! with Book: I Am Not A Teapot
Steve Bell
: Bush - All of a Sudden I'm Lookin' Statesmanlike! with Book: I Am Not A Teapot

George W Bush: Kanye West attack was worst moment of presidency

Former US president says rapper calling him a racist during a Hurricane Katrina telethon in 2005 was an 'all-time low'

Sean Michaels,, Thursday 4 November 2010 10.26 GMT, Article history

Despite leading the US into war and presiding over one of the greatest financial disasters in history, the worst moment of George W Bush's presidency was, he said this week, when Kanye West called him a racist. "It was a disgusting moment, pure and simple," Bush said. "I didn't appreciate it then [and] I don't appreciate it now."

In 2005 West appeared before millions on a live telethon for Hurricane Katrina relief. As Mike Myers stood dumbfounded beside him, the rapper extemporised on race, money and aid efforts, finishing with the now notorious accusation: "George Bush doesn't care about black people." West's outburst helped spur a national debate about the White House's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Five years later, Bush hasn't forgotten. "I can barely write [West's] words without feeling disgust," the former president explains in a forthcoming book. "I faced a lot of criticism as president. I didn't like hearing people claim that I lied about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or cut taxes to benefit the rich. But the suggestion that I was racist because of the response to Katrina represented an all-time low."

"I still feel that way," Bush told NBC's Matt Lauer. "I felt [that way] when I heard [those words], felt 'em when I wrote 'em, and I felt 'em when I'm listening to 'em." Bush also recalled telling his wife it was "the worst moment" of his presidency. "It's one thing to say, 'I don't appreciate the way he's handled his business,'" he said. "It's another thing to say, 'This man's a racist'. I resent it, it's not true."

"I wonder if some people are going to read that, now that you've written it, and they might give you some heat for that," Lauer suggested. "The reason is this ..."

"Don't care," Bush said, interrupting.

"Well, here's the reason," Lauer continued. "You're not saying that the worst moment in your presidency was watching the misery in Louisiana. You're saying it was when someone insulted you because of that."

"No, and I also make it clear that the misery in Louisiana affected me deeply as well," Bush said. "There's a lot of tough moments in the book."

While this incident may have bruised Bush's ego, the affair hasn't touched West as deeply. This week the rapper said his gaffe at the MTV Video Music awards in 2009 was "bigger ... than the Bush moment". "There's just so few black men [who] make it that far," he told hip-hop DJ Funkmaster Flex. "That's a responsibility, that's why so many fans of mine were upset because they're like: 'Man, you've got a powerful situation ... You can't be so reckless with your opinion. We can agree with you but you've got to play it in another type of way, because you can't throw away the opportunity.'" Apparently dissing Taylor Swift is more outrageous than taking shots at a sitting president.


Arrest War Criminals

Hip-Hop Experts React To George Bush's Kanye

By Alvin Blanco

Like Bill Clinton and Lil Wayne, George Bush cares what Kanye West has to say.

In an interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Bush relayed that the lowest point of his presidency was in 2005 when, during a live benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims on NBC, West broke from the script and told the world “George Bush does not care about Black people.

"I resent it, it's not true, and it was one of the most disgusting moments of my presidency," Bush told Lauer.

Bush’s tenure as Commander in Chief was controversial for a number of reasons—including the war in Iraq and the economic crisis—but most intriguing was the former President’s commentary admitting that while he was the leader of the free world, was worried about what West, a humble rapper/producer from Chicago, had to say.

Here’s what a selection of esteemed hip-hop journalists and bloggers had to say about the 41st president’s admission, beginning with his “of course I’m not a racist pleas.

“Kanye is in the news again?" asked Andreas Hale, Editor-in-Chief of “In all seriousness, Bush mentioning Kanye today does nothing but help him promote My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and make Bush look like a crybaby. Kanye is now two for two when it comes to Presidents speaking his name, not too bad in my book. As for Bush being disgusted with Kanye calling him a racist? I think G.W. is hard of hearing. Kanye said he doesn't care about Black people. But if the shoe fits ...

A president realizing an artist’s existence—especially considering the fact that Kanye West’s outburst came during a live television program with an audience of millions—is not surprising. It’s just that, well, surely more important issues came across his Oval Office desk.

“When I think of disgusting moments during the George Dubya Bush presidency I think of wild WMD goose chases, a war in Iraq, the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, the economic downturn, unemployment rising and poor people getting poorer and the wealthy getting wealthier, not Kanye West's comment, says Timmhotep Aku, Editor of Aol’s “George Jr. needs to get his priorities straight and if he were really that outraged he'd gone out of his way to his way to prove Kanye wrong. But, like he responded to Matt Lauer when asked about the statement and getting heat for it, he ‘don't care.’

Disdain at Bush’s concern about one man’s remarks in lieu of the nation’s ills was a common thread.

“That quote, that completely idiotic quote just wrapped a nice little bow on top of the crappy presidency that was George W. Bush, says Kazeem Famuyide, Online Editor of The Source. “Blowing it on 9-11 when there were multiple warnings, watching thousands of bodies float away and die in New Orleans, that big ass "Mission Accomplished" spectacle, not finding Osama bin Laden yet, wasting money and lives in Iraq (stop me at any time) wasn't the worst—it was a rapper saying you didn't care about black people. That was his low point?

While Bush’s concerns seem quizzical at best, the fact that Kanye West is still on his mind can be considered a win for hip-hop.

“My initial thoughts about Dubya's delayed-reaction to Kanye West's 2005 comments were [to be] proud, said Jake Paine, Editor-in-Chief of “Hip-Hop was heard, finally. More than ever before, our artists and our voices are impacting mainstream culture to the point where a U.S. President can be affected by something we say. If only Bush-41 could have heard Chuck D, or Ronald Reagan could have heard Ice-T. What Kanye West did was meaningful to anybody who was angered by America's leadership at that time, and it was a lot more poised than throwing a shoe.

At the time of West’s commentary he had just released his third album, Late Registration. So while West was already one of hip-hop’s biggest stars, the weight of his words can be considered an early hint of his rise to pop culture ubiquity.

“The first thing I thought after reading Bush's comment, was how much of an impact Kanye has gained over the years, said Carl Chery, Executive Editor at “It makes ‘Power’ that much more significant. Of all the things Bush has had to deal with during his time in office, from going down as one of the presidents with the lowest approval rates in history to the country's plummeting economy, you'd think Kanye was the least of his worries. But here we are five years later and he says he resented ‘Ye's comment then and does now.

In the case of this Kanye West vs. George Bush Jr. non-debacle, the power of words could not be more evident.

The full interview is set to air November 8 on NBC as a part of an evening telecast billed "Matt Lauer Reports." Bush is promoting his forthcoming book "Decision Points."


David Cameron challenges George Bush claim over waterboarding

British PM fails to endorse claim by former US president that America's use of waterboarding prevented terrorist attacks in UK

by Hélène Mulholland and agencies,, Thursday 11 November 2010 11.43 GMT, Article history

AWOL COWARDS don't get to participate on VETERAN'S DAY - Porgy!!!
AWOL Cowards Don't Get to Celebrate Veteran's Day

David Cameron has challenged George Bush's claim that the use of waterboarding saved British lives.

The prime minister said torture was wrong and any information received as a result was "very likely to be unreliable".

Cameron outlined his views following claims made in the former US president's new book, Decision Point, published this week, which said that the use of the technique – a kind of simulated drowning – on terrorism suspects "helped break up plots" to attack Heathrow and Canary Wharf.

Bush vigorously defended the use of waterboarding and denied it amounted to torture, as critics and some allies claim. The British government has long regarded it as a form of torture.

The former president's claim that British lives had been saved as a result was dismissed earlier this week by British officials, who said there was no evidence to support it.

Today, Cameron spoke out against the use of torture as both immoral and counterproductive.

Asked today whether US use of waterboarding had prevented attacks in the UK, the prime minister said: "Look, I think torture is wrong and I think we ought to be very clear about that. And I think we should also be clear that if actually you're getting information from torture, it's very likely to be unreliable information."

Cameron suggested that the use of torture – and the incarceration of suspects in the Guantánamo Bay detention centre without trial – could be counterproductive, by encouraging support for terrorists.

Speaking during a round of broadcast interviews in Seoul, Cameron said: "I think there is both a moral reason for being opposed to torture – and Britain doesn't sanction torture – but secondly I think there's also an effectiveness thing about what he said.

"Thirdly, I would say if you look at the effect of Guantánamo Bay and other things like that, long term that has actually helped to radicalise people and make our country and our world less safe, so I don't agree."

U.S.S. G W BUSH - A ship that sunk the United States

George Bush settles the score -
it was everybody's fault but his own

Does the former president understand the profound global changes his unilateralist policies helped accentuate? I think not

Posted by Michael White Tuesday 9 November 2010 12.36 GMT

Is George W Bush a closet intellectual? I don't ask the question this morning to annoy you or sell another copy of the former president's new memoirs, but because he reveals in an interview that he once competed with Karl Rove, his crafty adviser, to see who could read the most books in a year.

Mostly history books too. Rove, who used to be called "Bush's Brain", won, according to the interview in the Times. He read 110 books totalling 40,347 pages compared with the president's 95 books and 37,343 pages. Pause a moment, make a Bush joke ("How many were picture books?"), then let's move on.

Bush is not stupid, but he is not an intellectual either, as his book is likely to confirm when reviewers have had time to get through it. And there's a downside to being a highbrow in the active world of politics, as Barack Obama is currently demonstrating. All Bush is trying to show is that he is more reflective than his "gut instinct" reputation suggests.

Meanwhile, never trust newspaper excerpts or interviews, which distort for all sorts of reasons, mostly commercial. The publicity machine is doing well, all the same. Bush's memoirs are leading some of the news bulletins today, as well as some newspapers, including the Guardian and Times.

"Waterboarding saved London from attacks," reports the Times, which used Rupert Murdoch's season ticket to get the British interview with Bush at his Houston office.

The Guardian Washington team's speed-reading analysis of Decision Points (Virgin Books, £25) leads Ewen MacAskill and Chris McGreal to highlight thoughts of bombing Iranian nuclear and Syrian suspected nuclear facilities – neither of which the US did, though Israel attacked Syria's plant.

Bush, who settles scores in his own way, reveals that Israel's then-PM Ehud Olmert asked Washington to make the raid, which Israel has never admitted doing after Bush said no.

The Times suggests he is dropping Olmert in it by confirming what everyone suspected back in September 2007.

But here I am, getting ahead of the big questions about 9/11, Iraq and the use of waterboarding to extract information from al-Qaida suspects. So far as we can tell so far, Bush is predictable on all three, defends his own decisions and blames others.

As the BBC reports prominently, he insists that waterboarding is not torture – "because a lawyer said it was legal" – and that it provided vital information that helped protect Canary Wharf and Heathrow among other targets.

OK, if you say so, Mr President. Except it's not OK. For one thing, many experts say that more information obtained by torture is wrong than right. More to the point, torture is wrong in principle.

It degrades both parties. It is what the 18th century Enlightenment – of which the infant American republic was a significant part – stood against.

What it stood for was reason, science, liberty under the law, unfettered commerce, and political accountability, however imperfect. As Ian Morris's new book, Why the West Rules (Profile, £25), suggests, these factors – and inventions such as the steam engine, which displaced muscle power – are what allowed a small foggy island like ours to dominate world affairs for 200 years and then pass the steering wheel to our former colony.

That period is now ending as the east reasserts its natural and numerical superiority after a 500-year lapse. The fact that the rise of China and – Obama was there this week – India became unmistakable during Bush's presidency only reinforces the large strategic question mark over his presidency.

Does Bush get much of this profound change that his unilateralist policies – the free-market banking crisis at home, those ill-judged adventures abroad – did not create but certainly accentuated, taking a lot of America's accumulated moral and financial capital with it? I think not.

You may have read today's Guardian extracts, including Bush's insistence that it remains right to have invaded Iraq despite the "sickening" absence of WMD; his friendship with and admiration for Tony Blair: his claim that he – not ("the Cheney myth") his officials – called the shots on the big decisions of peace, war and appointments. It was they, not him, who were keenest to overthrow Saddam Hussein, he writes.

Much of this sounds unconvincing and the printed extracts in today's Times reinforce this impression. The "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him when he declared the Iraq war over on the USS Lincoln was meant for the ship's crew, not as a victory slogan: a mistake, he says. But not his.

Trivial? Yes, but he also seems to regard the disbanding of the Ba'ath party and the Iraqi army as someone else's decision – America's post-2003 Iraq administrator Paul Bremer's – not his.

At the same time he acknowledges that the vacuum thereby creating allowed the Sunni revolt and al-Qaida's terror-tourists to destabilise all chance of an orderly post-Saddam transition.

Bush was angry at pictures of looted museums and shops, yet – he admits this mistake – allowed US troop numbers (too low in the first place) to be reduced from 192,000 to 109,000 in the first 10 months. As for his other mistake, the absence of WMD, he says Saddam lied about having them because he feared Iran. Bush himself did not lie; he believed the intelligence.

On that detail, I agree. Most people inside the loop thought Saddam had WMD, including the late David Kelly. They turned out to be wrong. Bush justifies what he did – as most retired leaders do, Tony Blair among them – and appeals to the judgment of history.

Who knows, it may be kinder than many western progressives think – Bush is still cross with Germany and France – as facts unfold. Thus he reveals an intercepted letter written by a top al-Qaida leader under pressure in Iraq in 2004 in which he explicitly urges the launch of a "sectarian war" against the country's long-oppressed Shia majority in order to prolong the fighting. That makes cruel sense, too, and Bush's critics chose to ignore it.

Today's reading includes the calamitous under-reaction to Hurricane Katrina, which took 1,800 lives and devastated New Orleans. Bush hesitated to overrule Louisiana's governor, a woman and a Democrat, to send troops into a black city in the south. So that delay wasn't really his fault either.

We have yet to read about the banking crisis that brought the US economy close to disaster – and will seal other doubts about the second Bush presidency as a harbinger of US decline if that is what (too soon to say) it proves to be.

There is sentimental personal stuff about his drinking, his close family life – especially that matriarch, his mother, Barbara Bush, to whom he is close. He asserts that Dad, ex-President Bush Sr, did not oppose the 2003 invasion, as many suspected because some of his former team were openly sceptical. But there, the Bushes stick together, as close families do.

Bush calls himself a "comfortable dude", which was the impression I formed when I first saw him in action close up, probably with Blair at his Crawford ranch in 2002. Much more at ease with himself than his father, which is "usually a good sign", I recall writing at the time.

The observation in general holds good, but the evidence of this book suggests – yet again – that my conclusion was wrong. He was a bit too comfy with himself.

The Republican Bush Administration did not supply U.S. troops with simple basics, which got our military unnecessarily maimed and murdered;  a crime in itself.

George Bush's torture admission is a dismal moment for democracy

When again will the US be able to direct others to meet their human rights standards?

by Philippe Sands,, Tuesday 9 November 2010 16.52 GMT, Article history

Although it comes as no surprise, George Bush's straight admission that he personally authorised waterboarding – an act of torture and a crime under US and international law – marks a dismal moment for western democracies and the rule of law. When again will the US be able to direct others to meet their human rights standards? Certainly not before it takes steps to bring its own house in order.

Unlike the UK's coalition government, which has announced a judicial inquiry on allegations of British involvement in torture, Barack Obama's administration has apparently ended the practice – but has done nothing to investigate the circumstances in which it was used by the Bush administration.

Bush claims that the use of waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah "saved lives", including British ones. There is not a shred of evidence to support that claim, one that falls into the same category as the bogus intelligence relied on to justify war in Iraq.

Indeed, waterboarding and Iraq appear to be interconnected, as torture-induced information was relied upon to justify the invasion. Torture may produce information, but it doesn't produce reliable information, as every experienced interrogator I have spoken with repeatedly tells me – on both sides of the Atlantic. It produces the information that the subject believes the interrogator wants to hear.

What is accurate – up to a point – is Bush's claim to have acted on legal advice. The circumstances are set out in a narrative account published by the Senate select committee intelligence committee in April 2009 . This indicates that on 17 July 2002 national security adviser Condoleezza Rice "advised that the CIA could proceed with its proposed interrogation of Abu Zubaydah", following a meeting between CIA lawyers, Bush's White House counsel and the NSA legal adviser.

This was then "subject to a determination of legality" by the office of legal counsel at the department of justice (DOJ). Written approval followed a couple of weeks later, in the form of two now notorious 1 August 2002 'torture memos' authored by John Yoo, currently teaching at Berkeley Law School, and Jay Bybee, now a US federal court of appeals judge.

Bush fails to mention that the advice prepared by Yoo and Bybee – which did not go through the normal inter-departmental consultations – has been subject to devastating criticism. The DOJ's own office of professional responsibility concluded that Yoo "put his desire to accommodate the client above his obligation to provide thorough, objective and candid legal advice and … therefore committed intentional professional misconduct".

It found that Bybee had acted in "reckless disregard" of his professional obligations. Both men escaped sanctions only because an associate deputy general counsel, David Margolis, later concluded that both men had exercised "poor judgment" but did not knowingly provide false advice. Margolis nevertheless concluded that Yoo's "loyalty to his own ideology and convictions clouded his view of his obligation to his client".

This is the dismal, bogus legal advice on which Bush relied, and the fact that he continues to invoke it today says much about his judgment. He would do better to take on board those with first-hand experience of what the embrace of torture might mean for Americans abroad, who recognise that its use by the US will justify its use against the US.

When Bush first authorised waterboarding, says former US Centcom commander General Joseph Hoar, "he sent America down the wrong road, battering our alliances, damaging counterinsurgency efforts, and increasing threats to our soldiers". So much for saving lives.

• Philippe Sands QC is professor of law at University College London, and author of Torture Team

Hawk Loves Chickenhawk - Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Waterboarding is torture, Downing Street confirms

No 10 dismisses George Bush's claim in his memoirs that interrogation technique is legal and helped foil attacks on Heathrow and Canary Wharf

by Haroon Siddique and Chris McGreal,, Tuesday 9 November 2010 15.04 GMT, Article history

Downing Street today dismissed George Bush's claim that waterboarding is not torture after the former president used his memoirs to play down the brutality of the interrogation technique and claimed that it saved British lives.

Waterboarding, which was banned by President Barack Obama, helped foil attacks on Heathrow airport, Canary Wharf and a number of US targets around the world, according to Bush.

In Decision Points, published today, Bush insists the practice – which simulates drowning – is not torture, describing it instead as one of a number of "enhanced interrogation techniques".

But Downing Street confirmed the British government still shared Obama's opinion that waterboarding constitutes torture. "It comes under that definition in our view," a No 10 spokeswoman said.

The former chair of the Commons intelligence and security committee, Kim Howells, cast doubt on Bush's claim that it had helped save British lives. "We are not convinced," said the Labour MP.

In an interview with the Times, Bush said: "Three people were waterboarded and I believe that decision saved lives."

Asked if he had authorised the use of the technique in the interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Bush answered: "Damn right!"

"We capture the guy, the chief operating officer of al-Qaida, who kills 3,000 people. We felt he had the information about another attack.

"He says: 'I'll talk to you when I get my lawyer.' I say: 'What options are available and legal?'"

In his memoir, Bush writes that waterboarding was highly effective, providing "large amounts of information".

"No doubt the procedure was tough, but medical experts assured the CIA that it did no lasting harm," he writes. "I knew an interrogation programme this sensitive and controversial would one day become public. When it did, we would open ourselves up to criticism that America had compromised our moral values. I would have preferred that we get the information another way. But the choice between security and values was real.

"Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States."

The technique was first approved for Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaida figure arrested in Pakistan in 2002 who was suspected of involvement in a plot to attack Los Angeles International airport.

"His understanding of Islam was that he had to resist interrogation only up to a certain point," Bush writes. "Waterboarding was the technique that allowed him to reach that threshold, fulfil his religious duty, and then co-operate."

Waterboarding is one of a number of controversial practices banned by Obama since he succeeded Bush. The new president has denounced the practice as torture.

Bush refused to accept that definition. "The lawyer said it was legal," the former president told NBC's Today programme. "He said it did not fall within the anti-torture act. I'm not a lawyer. But you gotta trust the judgment of people around you, and I do."

Asked about allegations that lawyers had been pressurised into giving the president the answer he wanted to hear, Bush directed his critics to read the book. He gave an identical response when NBC interviewer Matt Lauer asked him whether it would be legal for another country to waterboard a captured US solider.

While Obama has said the US is no safer as a result of waterboarding and other forms of torture, Bush insisted: "Using those techniques saved lives. My job was to protect America. And I did."

He writes that waterboarding would have been used on more prisoners if the right people had been captured.

"Had we captured more al-Qaida operatives with significant intelligence value, I would have used the programme for them as well."

The claim that waterboarding prevented London attacks was challenged by Howells, . He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that there had been and still were "real plots", but added that "we're not convinced" that waterboarding produced information which was "instrumental in preventing these plots coming to fruition and murdering people".

Howells said Bush was trying to "justify what he did to the world", a viewpoint echoed by the former shadow home secretary David Davis.

Davis told Today that although security information provided from abroad would have to be used regardless of how it was obtained, torture did not work and should be discouraged.

"People under torture tell you what you want to hear," he said. "You'll get the wrong information and ... apart from being immoral, apart from destroying our standing in the world, and apart from undermining the way of life we're trying to defend, it actually doesn't deliver."


No charges over destruction of CIA interrogation tapes

Videos showed harsh interrogation techniques used on two al-Qaida suspects at secret CIA detention centre after 9/11 attacks

by Ewen MacAskill in Washington,, Tuesday 9 November 2010 18.34 GMT, Article history

Nobody from the CIA will be charged in connection with the destruction of videos of the interrogation of terrorist suspects in the years after the September 11 attacks, the US justice department said today.

The 92 tapes showed harsh interrogation techniques being used on two al-Qaida suspects held at a secret CIA detention centre in Thailand.

They were destroyed on the orders of a senior CIA official, but it is not known whether the decision was his or came from higher up.

The justice department has also struggled to established a motivation – whether the US did not want any further bad publicity in the wake of the Iraqi Abu Ghraib prison scandal or whether CIA operatives feared prosecution.

Matthew Miller, the director of the office of public affairs at the department, said: "In January 2008, attorney general Michael Mukasey appointed assistant United States attorney John Durham to investigate the destruction by CIA personnel of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

"Since that time, a team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter.

"As a result of that investigation, Mr Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes."

George W. Bush is a lying, baby murdering, war criminal

Seymour Hersh :
The US government has had videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison.

"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."
Transcript of Seymour Hersh's ACLU Keynote Speech Here

07/14/04, Seymour Hersh's ACLU Keynote Speech Transcribed

On July 8, Seymour Hersh addressed the ACLU's 2004 Membership Conference. 

Introduction [1:07:40]

… The truth is, it's so ironic… the best information we may get about this election may come from a combination of The Control Room, Fahrenheit 9/11, John Sayles, the nightly news from Jon Stewart if some of you watch that. At the height of the prisoner abuse stories, [Jon Stewart] had one of his mock news broadcasters say very seriously to the camera, on the Stewart show, he said, "The important thing is not that we commit torture and abuses, it's that we're a country that doesn't condone torture and abuses" [laughter] — that's a wonderful line.

And so, you start talking about failures of communication, I don't know where we're going to go with this, I can't make you feel happy about where we are. We've got a very important election coming up, probably the most important since, what, 1860. I think it is, and there's nothing I can say to you about any of that. …

So here we are. The bottom line is, by the way, I'm in a tough position because I'm not done reporting on all of this. … It's a tough position because there is more to the story. …

Standards for Government Ethics [1:10:25]

I guess the way to describe how you look at things is, I don’t know about you, but I have a wife and children, and one of the things that makes life livable is trusting in my partner, never lying to my children and never wanting my children — with the exception of teenage girls [laughter] — to lie to me about anything. …

But basically you know what I’m talking about, the core of how we exist. The way we live — not us, there’s nothing special about us, everybody in the world — we all live, the most important thing in our life is our family structure and the integrity with which we live, and the honesty with which we conduct our life, and the trust with which we have people [sic].

And if you think about it, you begin to understand the bad bargain we have [now]. It’s, it's, it's a condition, a requirement, one that we so desperately live with our own families with that we don’t even begin to levy on the President of the United States and the National Security Advisor. It’s not even a requirement [for them]. We don’t even have any expectation that they’re going to have the same trust and integrity in conducting their affairs as we do in our own personal life.

It’s a bad bargain for us in the commonweal. We don’t even begin — we understand what they are. You heard talking about Henry Kissinger, who, for all of his genius, lied like most of us breathe. And when you’re in a situation like that — is that partisan or non-partisan, I don't know [referring to the ACLU's need to remain non-partisan].

But it’s really a bad bargain. And we live with it pretty happily, we go along, ok another President, another National Security Advisor, Condi Rice in this case — and we know we don’t get the story, and what do they have the right to do? They have the right to send our children, men and women now, in the name of democracy to go kill people and be killed and torture and perhaps be tortured in return, which is always going to be the end result of torture. And so, I think there’s nothing wrong with holding these people to the highest possible standards. It doesn’t happen enough. But that’s what we have to do.

Scope of the Crimes of Torture [1:12:50]

We don’t know — I’ll tell you right now, the reason I’m saying all that — is what happened at Abu Ghraib, I can just tell you this, and I have to do the reporting on this and you have to wait for me to do it — but it’s not about an academic debate in long essays between the Justice Department and the White House, legal essays about where the Geneva Convention ends and the Presidential prerogative begins.

What we had was a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the President and the Vice President, by this administration anyway, I can say that, I can’t say who did it.

The only way to look at this is as war crimes. What happened are war crimes. I’m not saying it’s there yet. It’s not there yet. But that’s where it has to go. We have to stop looking at it as some sort of academic debate about Geneva Conventions and really begin to look at it in terms of: Who did what? Who died? Why did he die? Are there people missing? Are we doing what the Brazilians and Argentineans did back two or three decades ago and actually into this decade? Are we disappearing people? Are there people being tortured knowingly in advance that the torture was going to put their lives in peril and is nothing being done to relieve their suffering to the point that they die?

Is there mens rea? Is there guilty knowledge? Is it a crime? And we’re going to get there, because I think that’s where it’s sort of ineluctably going, you can just see on and on and on, and we’re not there yet. I’m not telling you I can take it there, I’m just telling you that that’s the way you have to look at it.

Repercussions in the Arab World [1:14:25]

I’ll tell you what an Israeli told me. And the Israelis as you know — a very tough, hard-nosed Israeli told me at one point, about all this — he said, you know, we hate the Arabs. This is a guy who spent his career in the intelligence service and, you know, his hands are bloody. He said, we hate the Arabs, and the Arabs hate us, and before 1948, we’ve been killing Arabs, and they’ve been killing us. But I have to tell you something, he said. We know somewhere down the line, we’re going to have to live with these people, much as we can’t stand them, they’re going to have to be our neighbors. And if we had done in our prisons to the Arabs what you have done to the Arabs in your prisons, we couldn’t live that way.

And so the bottom line is we have started something that we don’t know [what] the end, the bottom line, is of this treatment, as more details come out.

And I can tell you it was much worse, and the government knows it's much worse, than they’ve even told you. There are worse photos, worse videotapes, worse events. To The New Yorker’s credit we decided, not for censorship, but just how much can you, how much can you levy on Arab manhood, in public?

But Arabs, I will tell you, it’s not just the radicals — and we all know how this policy, this administration’s policies, in Afghanistan, too, and also of course in Iraq, has really done exactly the contrary of what they said they were going to do. They haven't ended the war of terrorism — they’ve expanded it — that’s nothing obvious [sic], that’s totally clear.

But Arabs now, moderate Arabs, Arabs that normally would be doing the kind of — as you know, the overwhelming, the vastly overwhelming percentage of moderate Arabs deplored what happened to this country on 9/11, as much as anybody here — but those Arabs we’ve lost. They see us as a sexually perverse society. The sexual stuff we did to them is seen as just perversion. And I think we’re going to have consequences for a long time to come. There’s an awful lot of respect in the Arab world for Americans, I travel there all the time, and American Jews even, it’s not, nobody’s going to — I wouldn’t walk around Baghdad — but most of the world is very safe. We have a lot of problems.

The Neocon Cult [1:16:47]

So, rather than deal with the obvious stuff about Bush and this election and what it means, I think the real question we have to answer, and this is the question I'm inchoate about, I don't have an answer …

The question we have to say to ourselves is, ok, so here’s what happens, a bunch of guys, 8 or 9 neoconservatives, cultists — not Charles Manson cultists, but cultists — get in and it's not, with all due respect to Michael Moore, and you’ll read it, his movie’s fine, but it’s not about oil, it’s not even about protecting Israel, it’s about a Utopia they have, it’s about an idea they have. Not only about — democracy can be spread — in a sense, I would say Paul Wolfowitz is the greatest Trotskyite of our time, he believes in permanent revolution, and in the Middle East to begin, needless to say.

And so you have a bunch of people who've been for 10, 12 years have been fantasizing since the 1991 Gulf War on the way to resolve problems. And of course Israel will be a beneficiary and etc. etc., but the world in their eyes — this was Utopia. And so they got together, this small group of cultists, and how did they do it? They did do it. They’ve taken the government over. And what’s amazing to me, and what really is troubling, is how fragile our democracy is. Look what happened to us.

[In the press, there is] self-censorship, which is the beacon word for me, you know I always think it comes more, you know there is a corporate mentality out there, but there’s also a tremendous amount of self-censorship among the press. It’s like a disease.

But also — they not only — they took away the edge from the press, they also muzzled the bureaucracy, they muzzled the military, they muzzled the Congress, and it’s an amazing feat. We’re supposed to be a democratic society, and all of those areas of our democracy bowed and scraped to this group of neocons who advocated a policy.

General Shinseki [1:19:05]

You know, we all know the story of how mad they got at General Shinseki, who I think is going to run for the Senate in Hawaii and should, for Inouye’s seat, he’s a great general. The important thing about Shinseki for me, and this is just heuristic, I don’t know this, the important thing about Shinseki is this. He testifies before the Gulf War we’re going to need a couple hundred thousand troops and everybody, Wolfowitz and the others — I count Wolfowitz, I lead with him, because he’s sort of the, he’s the genius in the background, he’s the man, very articulate, very persuasive — and so Shinseki testifies we need a couple hundred thousand and everybody’s mad at him, it's about two weeks before the war, and it made sense, everybody said, they were mad because he's talking about numbers these guys say you won’t need. They're going to go invade Iraq and you know the story, they were going to be greeted with flowers and all that stuff, we all know that story.

But it wasn’t that. Their complaint with Shinseki was really much more interesting. It was: didn’t he get it? Didn’t he know what we’ve been talking about, in the tank with the JCS and the generals — didn’t he get it? We could do it with five thousand troops, we have to make these bargains with these crazy Clinton-ized generals — I’m talking like Rummy, like Rumsfeld would talk — literally, unfortunately — these soft generals, these Clinton-ized generals — didn’t Shinseki get it? Didn’t he understand what we’re doing here? We did it in Afghanistan, we’re going to do it in Iraq. Some Special Forces, some bombing, we’re going to take it over. It’s going to be like this. He didn’t get it, that was the problem, that’s why they had to read him out. He wasn’t on the team.

And so you have a government that basically has been operating since 9/11 very successfully on the principle that if you’re with us you’re a genius, if you’re against us you’re not just somebody [in the] loyal opposition, you’re a traitor. They can’t deal with you. I’m exaggerating very slightly.

Pentagon in Disarray [1:21:00]

So what does that mean? That means no dissent. Somebody I know recently was working with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a budget issue. The budget’s in incredible chaos, the Defense Department budget. Don’t hold me to this, because, you know The New Yorker has this great fact-checking system, this is just something I’ve heard, but among the problems they have, they can’t find something like one billion dollars in cash that was known to be in Iraq, they just can’t find it. And you know we’re talking with the b-word there, you known one billion.

And so they’ve got huge problems that they’re spending and the Joint Chiefs, this was in big league meetings, and then this gentleman has to go and brief his findings. He’s an outside expert, he’s done an investigation, he has to brief Rumsfeld, and one of the senior generals who happens to be a very good guy — not General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who’s know to many generals as “hear no evil, see no evil, you know we have that incredible sort of problem — I wish, this is a digression, I wish they had more guts, the two, three, and four stars. I shouldn’t say that because I’m obviously a beneficiary, you know, indirectly, I’m the beneficiary for their thoughts in some cases, but it is sort of sad that none of them have come forward and really blasted away, because I can tell you right now, the disaffection inside the Pentagon is really extremely acute, there’s never been anything like it, and they feel that this government doesn’t care about — you know a good officer, and I could tell you right now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re not good people, they are, and in the intelligence service too, they’re people like everybody else. They want to do their job right, they want to do it with as much honor as they can. And this is something that I feel — I know these guys, and they do care. But they also, the good ones, also they’re in loco parentis. One of the things they take very seriously, particularly, you known I'm a Marine, you know what I’m talking about, you give your children to them, they take of you. They can’t do that now in Iraq. They really don’t think we care, and they don' think, they certainly don’t think people in the White House care. …

Rumsfeld Refuses to Listen [1:23:10]

So one of the good generals, one of the good guys goes in for a meeting with Rumsfeld, and the person I’m talking about is describing the condition that he’s discovered of the budget planning. We’re talking about lots of billions of dollars, this war is going to probably end up being the trillion dollar war that nobody — you can’t even begin to estimate the cost.

When you see the Moore movie, and in [The] Control Room, when you see those movies, the photographs that are the most gripping are the photographs of Baghdad before the war. And look, I know he's a bad guy, etc., etc., etc., Saddam, but still, and the rebuilding —

Anyway, the point is that my friend, this person told Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rumsfeld of course said, oh my God, that’s absolutely wrong, he said, there’s nothing like that, there’s no problem with the budget and he turned to this ranking general and said, isn’t that right? And this general, in front of this outsider, said yes sir, you’re right. And that’s what happens, that’s what you have now, and to me, there’s nothing more scary. That the Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear. And he’s not the ideologue that Wolfowitz is. You couple that with an ideologue, and I don’t know what we can do. I don’t know what any of us can do to stop it.

Transfer of Iraqi “Sovereignty [1:24:50]

I think what’s going to happen is the President’s — my guess is, first of all, again, the idea that three networks — or at least two of them — I think all three sent their anchormen through Baghdad on the 30th for this transfer of sovereignty and I just wonder, I mean, how out of touch are they? What sovereignty? What sovereignty do we have to give? There’s no phones, there’s no electricity [laughter] — no, this is a sad fact. There is no sovereignty, there’s no army. It’s a Potemkin village maybe, yes, so they’re going to go inside the CPA where the grass is green and the air-conditioning works and they’re going to have a change of command with the press monitoring it and they had all three anchors there. I thought to myself, wow, it’s really scary. We’re getting into — we’re making the pictures and we’re believing them now, more than ever. So it doesn’t have much reality.

So the President’s, I would guess the President’s policy is — he’s got no, he doesn’t have a policy behind the new government, the Allawi government, which is basically a bunch of outsiders taking control, and everybody’s got their hands in certain — there’s no way this government’s going to be acceptable to anybody except a very small minority of people. It’s not going to work, it’s not going to stop the insurgency.

What’s Next in Iraq [1:26:10]

I think you’re going to see a lot of efforts to try to paint the insurgency in the next month as increasingly being outsiders. I’ve seen already the first “showdown between al Qaeda and the United States. “Al Qaeda’s taken over the insurgency — I don’t think that’s true at all. And I can tell you right now — this I'm telling you I know — a year ago, a year and a half ago, there was total panic inside, because the opposition, the insurgency, was operating in 1, 2, and 3 man cells and we knew nothing about them. I can tell you right now, they're operating in 10 and 15 man cells right now and we still know nothing about them. The interrogations haven’t worked, no matter how much pressure they put on people. We have no tactical information of any use whatsoever.

And if you go to Europe and talk to some of the intelligence people there and some of the people in the Middle East who are our friends — we have many friends, who are very sad about what’s happened to America, are praying for the next election — they will tell you even the stuff you’re hearing about Zarqawi — Zarqawi, excuse me, Zarqawi is mister everybody, he’s never liked bin Laden, and it’s not clear that the person that we claim responsible for all those acts is he. Some of the people who know the Arab world very well and very carefully and listen to his statements. He’s a Jordanian, and many of the comments that have been alleged to have been in his name are not made by him. In other words, the suggestion is that he’s a composite figure. He’s very convenient.

I don’t want to suggest to you that we’ve ever been propagandized by our government [laughter], but it’s very convenient. It’s very convenient to keep on telling the press that Zarqawi’s — my favorite one is that nice kid that was beheaded, remember. The guy that beheaded him had a hood over him. He was described very confidently by the American establishment government as Zarqawi. Well, if they can see through hoods. Anyway —

So, I think the policy’s going to be, we’ve got this guy Allawi and this government, let’s stand him up and see if he can past the election, and let’s just escalate, and bomb, and bomb, and bomb. And the only answer for these guys is going to be more pressure, more military force. We accept as commonplace, every day now, we’re emulating Israel in [their] missile attacks, and it’s a daily occurrence. We keep on bombing places in Fallujah, claiming we’ve gotten rid of Zarqawi, who keeps on not showing up anyway, whoever he is.

We don’t have much intelligence, and we’re escalating a war. Bombing, missile attacks, much more violence, it’s come, crept up on us, you know little cat paw, and we’re there. We’re there in a full-scale, increasingly intense military activity, more bombing, more air force planes, more ordnance, more shelling, what we call force protection — that is, you’re not going to send troops somewhere where you can just fire a lot of missiles [instead], which means of course more collateral damage, more civilians, which means of course more opposition, more insurgency.

Torture: Worse Revelations to Come [1:29:08]

What they did at Abu Ghraib and other places was, the people they would get, they would torture. And sometimes, for an Arab man, being photographed without clothes on — in the Koran, you’re not allowed, this front [motioning to his body] cannot be exposed — and to be exposed that way and to be forced to simulate sexual activity with other males and have women give the thumbs-up sign is the ultimate degradation. It’s literally — any classic definition of — it’s torture. Torture isn’t always physical. It’s a torturous process.

And the purpose of it, of course, is to generate information. So what do you get? You get people that know nothing. The ICRC, the international Red Cross, estimated in the prison population at Abu Ghraib at the time of the worst abuses, they estimated that upwards of 90% had no bearing at all on anthing anti-American, or any activity that had anything to do with the insurgency. This wonderful general, Antonio Taguba, the report that I got, this guy Taguba's report estimated that 60% had nothing to do [with it].

So you take these people, you expose them to the ridicule and physical torture that you can, and they end up telling you. Yes, they'll give you the names of people in their neighborhood that are al Qaeda, or terrorists, insurgency, and they give you names. And of course they're just names, they're just doing it, and then you arrest those people, and bring them in, and you start the process. And the circle gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

And I would — debating about it [long pause]. Some of the worst things that happened that you don’t know about. OK? Videos. There are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at [Abu Ghraib], which is about 30 miles from Baghdad — 30 kilometers, maybe, just 20 miles, I'm not sure whether it's — anyway. The women were passing messages out saying please come and kill me because of what’s happened. And basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children, in cases that have been [video] recorded, the boys were sodomized, with the cameras rolling, and the worst above all of them is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking. That your government has, and they’re in total terror it’s going to come out. It’s impossible to say to yourself, how did we get there, who are we, who are these people that sent us there.

When I did My Lai, I was very troubled, like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened, and I ended up in something I wrote saying, in the end, I said, the people that did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed, because of the scars they had.

I can tell you some of the personal stories of some of the people who were in these units who witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers. And so we’re dealing with an enormous, massive amount of criminal wrong-doing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher. And we have to get to it, and we will. And we will, I mean, you know, there’s enough out there, they can't — [applause]

So — so, it’s going to be an interesting election year, it is. It’s going to be Bush vs. Bush, I think, largely, in my view, not that the Democrats, or Ralph Nader, won’t have something to do with it, but it’s really going to be, it’s Bush running against Bush.

The Justice Department [1:33:05]

And, I don’t know where we’re going to come out. And, I guess, I guess the only thing I can say is that above and beyond that, all of you know because all of you care about the Constitutional rights and what’s going on in the government, the issues that many in [the ACLU] are deeply involved in, one of the other great shocking examples of self-censorship, or just sheer cowardness, or what you will, is just the inability of the press corps to deal with the Justice Department and what’s happened there.

It’s one of the great failings — I can tell you the degradation of that place has been so total, and there are people, again, there are many people in those places that really care about human rights. I was getting emails on September the 12th, 2001, from people the inside the FBI saying we are in real trouble with this guy Ashcroft. So there are people there that care, they fight, as hard as they can. It’s not as if — when you have the kind of leadership we have, I don’t know where we go. I just wish I could tell you — I am telling you — go back, do what you can, … you’re going to say to yourself, as many people have said to me, I’d better do more. But also be terribly aware, that we are so disconnected with this leadership that it’s not necessarily clear that what you do is going to impact on them.

Because these are people that are really out there. We have really been — you know, as I say, it’s not the Manson clan — but we really have been taken over, and we have to do something to stop it, and let’s hope we can do it electorally.

Transcript by


Bush & Blair Secret Lovers?

Bush's War on U.S. Citizens

FLASH MOB - Put A War Criminal's Book In the Section Where It Belongs: UNRESOLVED CRIMES

11-11-11 11:11:11

Revelations - Awakening As One - 11:11:11 Next Influx of Cosmic Energy

11:11:11 Star Knowledge Gathering Invitation

Phoenix at Rainbow Puddle writes, "Permission to publish & share:"

Please Don't Thank Me For My Service - Veterans Day 2011

I've dreamt my name is on The Wall in Washington, DC.

And, right now, I'm thinking That Wall; I'm recalling also trips to the Armory with my dad, a WWII vet & an officer in the National Guard. I'm thinking of my uncle, a WWII and Korean vet who just celebrated his 94th birthday. I'm thinking of those two hundred names and faces I can't remember, eighteen and nineteen year old kids from my Basic Training company, KIA long before their 20th birthdays. I've seen their names on that wall while looking for my own.

Every time I hear, "Thank-you for serving!" I want to reply, "Fuck You!" But, I usually ask, "For What are you thanking me? Shooting old people and children or NOT shooting them?"


a) learning how to do field abortions on "pregnant gook girls";
b) Being part of a military that is responsible for millions of deaths in Vietnam;
c) Refusing orders to Vietnam;
d) Participating in the GI Movement;
e) Thinking for myself;
f) Not thinking for myself;
g) Following or not following orders?

As a member of the United States Army from 1965 - 1970, I was NOT defending America, our allies, your ancestors, families friends. America was NOT being attacked by the Vietnamese, much in the same way that America is NOT being attacked by Iraq or Afghanistan.

I for one, do NOT thank current soldiers for their service in Iraq or Afghanistan! I thank and honor those who repudiate this nation's militarism. I thank Iraq Veterans Against the War for their thought, action and lives. I thank those veterans who organized and testified at the IVAW Winter Soldier Hearings and who continue to give witness to atrocity and mayhem.

I especially thank those veterans who are activists against militarism, occupation and madness.

On Veteran's Day, I salute, in addition to IVAW, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, The National Liberation Front of Vietnam, WWII Allied Forces led by General Dwight Eisenhower; Veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and all "premature anti-fascists"' Resistance fighters against the nazi's throughout Europe; Resistance movements from South Africa to South Harlem, from Philadelphia to Nicaragua where my government spent millions attempting to overthrow a democratic government who's president had the nerve to be critical of the United States.

I do salute those who choose to defend America. Go get the bad guy, McCain will tell you right where he is, but why thank anyone for killing tens of thousands of civilians cause you can't find the right cave and invaded the wrong nation? Should I thank today's soldiers for being lied to and believing in that lie? Perhaps their "good intentions" deserve a salute?

On this Veteran's Day, I again salute those veterans, from the armed forces of all nations who use their training, intelligence and compassion to seek ways in which our governments can find peace without increased militarization of the globe and our ways of life.

You may thank me, and I'd be honored, for my resistance to imperial war, for my support of the National Liberation Front of Vietnam, for my continued activism that nourishes my soul and gives me reason to live and create.

Just don't blindly thank me for anything you don't know about.

Perhaps that's why I can't seem to find my name on that Wall in a waking state.

Why Bush Didn't Want Dover Pictures of War Dead?
George W. Bush AWOL Coward
Remains of war dead dumped in landfill

Caskets of War Dead

Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it's, not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that? - Barbara (POS) Bush - snopes

U.S. Government Confirms Link Between
Earthquakes and Hydraulic Fracturing

Written by John Daly,, Tuesday, 08 November 2011 13:49, Article Source via prez @ usa-exile

On 5 November an earthquake measuring 5.6 rattled Oklahoma and was felt as far away as Illinois.

Until two years ago Oklahoma typically had about 50 earthquakes a year, but in 2010, 1,047 quakes shook the state.


In Lincoln County, where most of this past weekend's seismic incidents were centered, there are 181 injection wells, according to Matt Skinner, an official from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the agency which oversees oil and gas production in the state.

Cause and effect?

The practice of injecting water into deep rock formations causes earthquakes, both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Geological Survey have concluded.

The U.S. natural gas industry pumps a mixture of water and assorted chemicals deep underground to shatter sediment layers containing natural gas, a process called hydraulic fracturing, known more informally as “fracking. While environmental groups have primarily focused on fracking’s capacity to pollute underground water, a more ominous byproduct emerges from U.S. government studies – that forcing fluids under high pressure deep underground produces increased regional seismic activity.

As the U.S. natural gas industry mounts an unprecedented and expensive advertising campaign to convince the public that such practices are environmentally benign, U.S. government agencies have determined otherwise.

According to the U.S. Army’s Rocky Mountain Arsenal website, the RMA drilled a deep well for disposing of the site’s liquid waste after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “concluded that this procedure is effective and protective of the environment. According to the RMA, “The Rocky Mountain Arsenal deep injection well was constructed in 1961, and was drilled to a depth of 12,045 feet and 165 million gallons of Basin F liquid waste, consisting of “very salty water that includes some metals, chlorides, wastewater and toxic organics was injected into the well during 1962-1966.

Why was the process halted? “The Army discontinued use of the well in February 1966 because of the possibility that the fluid injection was “triggering earthquakes in the area, according to the RMA. In 1990, the “Earthquake Hazard Associated with Deep Well Injection--A Report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study of RMA events by Craig Nicholson, and R.I. Wesson stated simply, “Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.

Twenty-five years later, “possibility and ‘established changed in the Environmental Protection Agency’s July 2001 87 page study, “Technical Program Overview: Underground Injection Control Regulations EPA 816-r-02-025, which reported, “In 1967, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) determined that a deep, hazardous waste disposal well at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal was causing significant seismic events in the vicinity of Denver, Colorado.

There is a significant divergence between “possibility, “established and “was causing, and the most recent report was a decade ago. Much hydraulic fracturing to liberate shale oil gas in the Marcellus shale has occurred since.

According to the USGS website, under the undated heading, “Can we cause earthquakes? Is there any way to prevent earthquakes? the agency notes, “Earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in a few locations in the United States, Japan, and Canada.

The cause was injection of fluids into deep wells for waste disposal and secondary recovery of oil, and the use of reservoirs for water supplies. Most of these earthquakes were minor. The largest and most widely known resulted from fluid injection at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal near Denver, Colorado. In 1967, an earthquake of magnitude 5.5 followed a series of smaller earthquakes. Injection had been discontinued at the site in the previous year once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.

Note the phrase, “Once the link between the fluid injection and the earlier series of earthquakes was established.

So both the U.S Army and the U.S. Geological Survey over fifty years of research confirm on a federal level that that “fluid injection introduces subterranean instability and is a contributory factor in inducing increased seismic activity. How about “causing significant seismic events?

Fast forward to the present.

Overseas, last month Britain’s Cuadrilla Resources announced that it has discovered huge underground deposits of natural gas in Lancashire, up to 200 trillion cubic feet of gas in all.

On 2 November a report commissioned by Cuadrilla Resources acknowledged that hydraulic fracturing was responsible for two tremors which hit Lancashire and possibly as many as fifty separate earth tremors overall. The British Geological Survey also linked smaller quakes in the Blackpool area to fracking. BGS Dr. Brian Baptie said, “It seems quite likely that they are related, noting, “We had a couple of instruments close to the site and they show that both events occurred near the site and at a shallow depth.

But, back to Oklahoma. Austin Holland’s August 2011 report, “Examination of Possibly Induced Seismicity from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Eola Field, Garvin County, Oklahoma Oklahoma Geological Survey OF1-2011, studied 43 earthquakes that occurred on 18 January, ranging in intensity from 1.0 to 2.8 Md (milliDarcies.) While the report’s conclusions are understandably cautious, it does state, “Our analysis showed that shortly after hydraulic fracturing began small earthquakes started occurring, and more than 50 were identified, of which 43 were large enough to be located.

Sensitized to the issue, the oil and natural gas industry has been quick to dismiss the charges and deluge the public with a plethora of televisions advertisements about how natural gas from shale deposits is not only America’s future, but provides jobs and energy companies are responsible custodians of the environment.

It seems likely that Washington will eventually be forced to address the issue, as the U.S. Army and the USGS have noted a causal link between the forced injection of liquids underground and increased seismic activity. While the Oklahoma quake caused a deal of property damage, had lives been lost, the policy would most certainly have come under increased scrutiny from the legal community.

While polluting a local community’s water supply is a local tragedy barely heard inside the Beltway, an earthquake ranging from Oklahoma to Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas is an issue that might yet shake voters out of their torpor, and national elections are slightly less than a year away.

Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #104: NOT BEING CONNECTED
Reasons 2-B Happy by Xeth #104: NOT BEING CONNECTED

Ken Kesey Interview via Rainbow Puddle

Jackie Evancho performing Angel via Lidia

UNGRIP penetrates the illusions and delusions of the legal system with direct relation to the psychology of humanity. via Robin Kilgore

The 1% are the very best destroyers of wealth the world has ever seen

Our common treasury in the last 30 years has been captured by industrial psychopaths. That's why we're nearly bankrupt

George Monbiot,, Monday 7 November 2011 15.30 EST, Article Source

Daniel Pudles 082011
Illustration by Daniel Pudles

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire. The claims that the ultra-rich 1% make for themselves – that they are possessed of unique intelligence or creativity or drive – are examples of the self-attribution fallacy. This means crediting yourself with outcomes for which you weren't responsible. Many of those who are rich today got there because they were able to capture certain jobs. This capture owes less to talent and intelligence than to a combination of the ruthless exploitation of others and accidents of birth, as such jobs are taken disproportionately by people born in certain places and into certain classes.

The findings of the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, winner of a Nobel economics prize, are devastating to the beliefs that financial high-fliers entertain about themselves. He discovered that their apparent success is a cognitive illusion. For example, he studied the results achieved by 25 wealth advisers across eight years. He found that the consistency of their performance was zero. "The results resembled what you would expect from a dice-rolling contest, not a game of skill." Those who received the biggest bonuses had simply got lucky.

Such results have been widely replicated. They show that traders and fund managers throughout Wall Street receive their massive remuneration for doing no better than would a chimpanzee flipping a coin. When Kahneman tried to point this out, they blanked him. "The illusion of skill … is deeply ingrained in their culture."

So much for the financial sector and its super-educated analysts. As for other kinds of business, you tell me. Is your boss possessed of judgment, vision and management skills superior to those of anyone else in the firm, or did he or she get there through bluff, bullshit and bullying?

In a study published by the journal Psychology, Crime and Law, Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon tested 39 senior managers and chief executives from leading British businesses. They compared the results to the same tests on patients at Broadmoor special hospital, where people who have been convicted of serious crimes are incarcerated. On certain indicators of psychopathy, the bosses's scores either matched or exceeded those of the patients. In fact, on these criteria, they beat even the subset of patients who had been diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders.

The psychopathic traits on which the bosses scored so highly, Board and Fritzon point out, closely resemble the characteristics that companies look for. Those who have these traits often possess great skill in flattering and manipulating powerful people. Egocentricity, a strong sense of entitlement, a readiness to exploit others and a lack of empathy and conscience are also unlikely to damage their prospects in many corporations.

In their book Snakes in Suits, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare point out that as the old corporate bureaucracies have been replaced by flexible, ever-changing structures, and as team players are deemed less valuable than competitive risk-takers, psychopathic traits are more likely to be selected and rewarded. Reading their work, it seems to me that if you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a poor family, you're likely to go to prison. If you have psychopathic tendencies and are born to a rich family, you're likely to go to business school.

This is not to suggest that all executives are psychopaths. It is to suggest that the economy has been rewarding the wrong skills. As the bosses have shaken off the trade unions and captured both regulators and tax authorities, the distinction between the productive and rentier upper classes has broken down. Chief executives now behave like dukes, extracting from their financial estates sums out of all proportion to the work they do or the value they generate, sums that sometimes exhaust the businesses they parasitise. They are no more deserving of the share of wealth they've captured than oil sheikhs.

The rest of us are invited, by governments and by fawning interviews in the press, to subscribe to their myth of election: the belief that they are possessed of superhuman talents. The very rich are often described as wealth creators. But they have preyed on the earth's natural wealth and their workers' labour and creativity, impoverishing both people and planet. Now they have almost bankrupted us. The wealth creators of neoliberal mythology are some of the most effective wealth destroyers the world has ever seen.

What has happened over the past 30 years is the capture of the world's common treasury by a handful of people, assisted by neoliberal policies which were first imposed on rich nations by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. I am now going to bombard you with figures. I'm sorry about that, but these numbers need to be tattooed on our minds. Between 1947 and 1979, productivity in the US rose by 119%, while the income of the bottom fifth of the population rose by 122%. But from 1979 to 2009, productivity rose by 80%, while the income of the bottom fifth fell by 4%. In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by 270%.

In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and 2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%. The Gini coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in this country from 26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009.

In his book The Haves and the Have Nots, Branko Milanovic tries to discover who was the richest person who has ever lived. Beginning with the loaded Roman triumvir Marcus Crassus, he measures wealth according to the quantity of his compatriots' labour a rich man could buy. It appears that the richest man to have lived in the past 2,000 years is alive today. Carlos Slim could buy the labour of 440,000 average Mexicans. This makes him 14 times as rich as Crassus, nine times as rich as Carnegie and four times as rich as Rockefeller.

Until recently, we were mesmerised by the bosses' self-attribution. Their acolytes, in academia, the media, thinktanks and government, created an extensive infrastructure of junk economics and flattery to justify their seizure of other people's wealth. So immersed in this nonsense did we become that we seldom challenged its veracity.

This is now changing. On Sunday evening I witnessed a remarkable thing: a debate on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral between Stuart Fraser, chairman of the Corporation of the City of London, another official from the corporation, the turbulent priest Father William Taylor, John Christensen of the Tax Justice Network and the people of Occupy London. It had something of the flavour of the Putney debates of 1647. For the first time in decades – and all credit to the corporation officials for turning up – financial power was obliged to answer directly to the people.

It felt like history being made. The undeserving rich are now in the frame, and the rest of us want our money back.

A fully referenced version of this article can be found at

Obama and Netanyahu: up close and personal
Obama and Netanyahu: up close and personal - Steve Bell

Sarkozy and Obama's Netanyahu gaffe broadcast via microphones
French president called Israeli PM a liar in exchange with US president inadvertently shared with journalists

Henning Sandström

Profits Not People Watch:

When Dick Cheney Farts Does Oklahoma Listen?
Republicans & Democrats Responsible for the Frackin' Earthquakes?

1) Dick Cheney's old company Haliburton/KBR is responsible for fracking.

a) How Halliburton STEALS From the American People

b) Halliburton goes after fracking critics; hires tobacco-linked PR firm

c) Is Halliburton Forgiven and Forgotten? Or How to Stay Out of Sight While Profiting From the War in Iraq

d) KBR Got Bonuses for Work that Killed Soldiers

e) KBR Connected to Alleged Fraud, Pentagon Auditor Says

f) Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR

g) Federal Judge Rules Iraq KBR 'Rape Victim' Can Seek Trial In US

h) KBR Named In Report On Soldier Illnesses

i) Halliburton Flees the Scene of the Crime

What if Halliburton's CEO came clean?

j) Halliburton Hearts Congress - Do partisanship and cronyism trump congressional oversight and corporate accountability?

2) Dick Cheney included fracking during his Secret Energy Meetings.

3) The Democrats, Led by Nancy Pelosi, Have Betrayed America

a) After Declaring ‘Impeachment Off the Table’, Pelosi Now Backs Bush Probes

4) US Being Destroyed By Republican AND Democrat Traitors:

New World Order = Watch This Video

Oklahoma quakes associated with fracking

Paul Voosen, E&E reporter, E&ENews PM: Wednesday, November 2, 2011, Article Source

Hydraulic fracturing may be in for a bumpy ride.

A previously unreported study out of the Oklahoma Geological Survey has found that hydraulic fracturing may have triggered a swarm of small earthquakes earlier this year in Oklahoma. The quakes, which struck on Jan. 18 in a rural area near Elmore City, peaked at magnitude 2.8 and caused no deaths or property damage.

The study, currently being prepared for peer review, follows news today that Cuadrilla Resources, a British shale gas developer, has found that it was "highly probable" its fracturing operations caused minor quakes of magnitude 2.3 and 1.5 in Lancashire, England (Greenwire, Nov. 2). The Cuadrilla study could complicate the expansion of hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in risk-averse Europe, where France has already banned the practice.

Fears of induced minor earthquakes have already complicated development of geothermal energy in regions like Nevada and Switzerland. Triggered earthquakes have also been tied to the long-standing American practice of injecting wastewater into wells. However, most geologists doubt that fracturing can muster similar seismic activity.

That is exactly what the Oklahoma seismologist who prepared the study, Austin Holland, told the resident reporting the quakes, who mentioned that fracturing had begun the day before at a nearby well. Earthquakes are typically triggered by stresses more prolonged than those found in fracturing, a reason it is generally held in the geology business to cause seismic events of magnitudes less than zero.

"These were just normal naturally occuring earthquakes," Holland told the resident.

But out of due diligence, Holland began examining the suite of almost 50 seismic events that followed the 2.8-magnitude quake. The majority of the microquakes struck within 3.5 kilometers of the fracturing well, Picket Unit B 4-18. The quakes were shallow and fit well in time and space with the start of fracturing in the nearby well. The geophysical model fit, too.

"The more and more we looked at it, it looked like it was a correlation," Holland said.

This is not the first time that fracturing has faced a possible link to earthquakes. The first case occurred in Oklahoma in 1978, featuring 70 microquakes in just over six hours, while a decade later, scientists linked fracturing to 90 small events. Both studies suffered from limited data, however, and their connections were far from definite.

With his arm twisted, Holland would still not definitively tie the microquakes to fracturing at the well. It is fiendishly difficult to attribute earthquakes, given existing scientific uncertainties about why and when quakes are triggered. What is clear is that the quakes are not common: As Holland noted, firms have drilled 100,000 fracturing wells in Oklahoma, with three minor seismic events reported.

The fracturing continued at the Picket well after the earthquakes, and the survey detected no additional seismic activity during that time, Holland said. The well was located in a geologically complex region riven by thrust rocks, he added, and a quake would likely have occurred at some point with or without the drilling -- the rocks were primed for it.

"These earthquakes were likely to happen," he said.

Holland's findings are likely to draw broad interest from groups opposed to fracturing, and he has already received queries from the industry about his work. Indeed, both the Cuadrilla study and Holland's report contain important lessons for the industry, said Chris Tucker, a spokesman for Energy in Depth, an oil and gas trade group.

"These reports from Oklahoma and the U.K. include a pretty good number of recommendations on how to avoid these issues in the future," Tucker said, "and so I'm sure they'll be something to which folks both here and abroad pay pretty close attention moving forward."

Reporter Mike Soraghan contributed.

Fracking In Oklahoma and Across America
Enough With the Earthquakes, Already!

The below graphic lists four (4) locations near the epicenter of a recent 5.6 magnitude earthquake in Oklahoma, including Stillwater and Oklahoma City.

There are 3 Drilling Oil and Gas Wells Companies in Stillwater, OK and there are 51 Drilling Oil and Gas Wells Companies in Oklahoma City, OK.

In fact there are a total of 237 Drilling Oil and Gas Wells Companies in Oklahoma, which are a possible source of earthquakes.

If there is a loud, explosive sound before an earthquake, despite what one is led to believe, it is a man made earthquake that was probably caused by fracking.

Magnitude 5.6 - OKLAHOMA - 2011 November 06 03:53:10 UTC
Magnitude 5.6 - OKLAHOMA - 2011 November 06 03:53:10 UTC - Source

Oklahoma Earthquakes ? Caused by FRACKING ? November 6, 2011 - USGS
Oklahoma Earthquakes ? Caused by FRACKING ? November 6, 2011 - USGS (Dated) Source

EIA Shale Gas Plays, Lower 48 States Map - Also known as a Fracking Map
Public domain and use of EIA content

Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: Santa Clara University)
Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: Santa Clara University)

The Fracking Industry's War on the Truth

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Reader Supported News, 20 October 11, Article Source

The fracking industry's war on The New York Times - and the truth.

Superb investigative journalism by the New York Times has brought the paper under attack by the natural gas industry. That campaign of intimidation and obfuscation has been orchestrated by top-shelf players like Exxon and Chesapeake, aligned with the industry's worst bottom feeders. This coalition has launched an impressive propaganda effort carried by slick PR firms, industry-funded front groups and a predictable cabal of right-wing industry toadies from cable TV and talk radio. In pitting itself against public disclosure and reasonable regulation, the natural gas industry is once again proving that it is its own worst enemy.

I confess to being an early optimist on natural gas. In July of 2009, I wrote a widely circulated op-ed for the Financial Times predicting that newly accessible deposits of natural gas had the potential to rapidly relieve our country of its deadly addiction to Appalachian coal and end forever catastrophically destructive mountaintop-removal mining. At that time, government and industry geologists were predicting that new methods of fracturing gas-rich shale beds had provided access to an astounding 2,000-5,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the lower 48 - enough, they claimed - to power our country for a century.

These rich reserves might have allowed America to mothball or throttle back our 336 gigawatts of mainly antiquated and inefficient coal fired electric plants, replacing them with underutilized capacity from existing gas-generation plants. That transition could reduce US mercury emissions by 20%-25%, dramatically cut deadly particulate matter and the pollutants that cause acid rain, and slash America's grid-based CO2 by an astonishing 20% - literally overnight! Gas could have been a natural companion for wind and solar energy with its capacity to transform variable power into base load, and could have been a critical bridge fuel to the new energy economy rooted in America's abundant renewables.

American-sourced natural gas might also have helped free us from our debilitating reliance on foreign oil now costing our country so dearly in blood, national security, energy independence, global leadership, moral authority, and treasure amounting to $700 billion per year - the total cost to our country of annual oil imports - in addition to two pricey wars that are currently running tabs of $2 billion per week.

My caveat was that the natural gas industry and government regulators needed to act responsibly to protect the environment, safeguard communities from irresponsible practices, and to candidly inform the public about the true risks and benefits of shale-extraction gas.

The opposite has happened.

The industry's worst actors have successfully battled reasonable regulation and stifled public disclosure while bending compliant government regulators to engineer exceptions to existing environmental rules. Captive agencies and political leaders have obligingly reduced already meager enforcement resources and helped propagate the industry's deceptive economic projections. As a result, public skepticism toward the industry and its government regulators is at a record high. With an army of over 40,000 highly motivated anti-fracking activists in New York alone, popular mistrust of the industry is presenting a daunting impediment to its expansion.

I sit on the New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo's High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel. I, and the other panelists, are charged with developing recommendations to the Commissioner regarding rules that will hopefully safeguard New Yorkers from the kind of calamities caused by the natural gas industry to communities just across our border with Pennsylvania. We spend much of our time sorting truth from the web of myths spun about fracking by fast talking landsmen, smarmy CEOs and federal regulators.

Recent studies have raised doubts about many of the industry's fundamental presumptions;

  • For example, releases of methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas, may counterbalance virtually all the benefits of CO2 reductions projected to result from substituting gas power for coal. Robert W. Howarth, Renee Santoro, Anthony Ingraffea, Coal to Gas: The Influence of Methane Leakage. Climate Change Letters. DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0217-3.
  • The human health impacts of gas extraction on local communities may rival those associated with coal. A new study by the Centers for Disease Control finds that breast cancer rates have dropped in every county in Texas, but have increased in the six counties with the heaviest natural gas air emissions.
  • The US Geological Survey just slashed its estimate on the amount of gas in the Marcellus Shale by 80%, raising doubts about all the industry's positive economic projections about jobs, royalties and revenues. Industry based those projections on resource estimates that the federal government has now jettisoned.
  • Meanwhile, local communities are finding the costs of irresponsible drilling to be ruinous. Contaminated well water, poisoned air, nuisance noise and dust, diminished property values and collapsing quality of life are often the predictable collateral damage of gas-shale development in the rural towns of the east. Barth. The Unanswered Questions About the Economic Impact of Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale: Don't Jump to Conclusions. March 2010. Accessed 8/10/11; Christopherson & Rightor. How Should We Think About the Economic Consequences of Shale Gas Drilling? May 2011. Accessed 8/10/11;Stephen G. Osborn, Avner Vengosh, et al., Methane Contamination of drinking water accompanying gas wells drilling and hydraulic fracturing, PNAS Early Edition, April 14, 2011; Riverkeeper, Fractured Communities (Sept. 2010).
  • In a devastating admission, the industry now acknowledges that it absolutely cannot afford to pay localities the costs of roads damaged from the thousands of truck trips per wellhead, leaving those ruinous costs to local taxpayers, many of whom will see no benefits from the shale boom, but only declines in their quality of life.
  • With several notable exceptions, like Southwest Energy, the industry has demonstrated a disturbing fervor for secrecy while advocating regulatory policies that favor the most irresponsible practices and the worst actors.

The shale gas industry's campaign against The Times illustrates the difficulty in getting solid information upon which to base a regulatory scheme. The Times is doing an unusually rigorous job at covering this extremely important and complex issue. The paper's ongoing series on natural gas drilling is one of the strongest pieces of investigative journalism this year from any news venue. Thankfully, The Times is covering this extremely important topic with rigor and balance. But it is also going the extra mile in the level of documentation it provides to bolster its stories, a move that raises the bar on public-service journalism.

In an era when few papers or news outlets are still willing to take on very powerful interests, The Times has pursued very difficult questions about one of our country's richest and most aggressive industries. At a time when accessing documents through open records requests faces an obstacle course of daunting roadblocks, the series has spent nearly a year using these flawed tools to collect and publish an extraordinary trove of original documentation. Archives published by The Times include thousands of pages obtained through leaks and/or public records requests. The Times reporters provide page-by-page annotations explaining the documents so that the reader can sift through them in guided fashion.

Among the revelations uncovered by The Times' admirable reporting;

  • Sewage treatment plants in the Marcellus region have been accepting millions of gallons of natural gas industry wastewater that carry significant levels of radioactive elements and other pollutants that they are incapable of treating.
  • An EPA study published by The Times shows receiving rivers and streams into which these plants discharge are unable to consistently dilute this kind of highly toxic effluent.
  • Most of the state's drinking water intakes, streams and rivers have not been tested for radioactivity for years - since long before the drilling boom began.
  • Industry is routinely making inflated claims about how much of its wastewater it is actually recycling.
  • EPA, caving to industry lobbyists and high level political interference reminiscent of the Bush/Cheney era, has narrowed the scope of its national study on hydrofracking despite vocal protests from agency scientists. The EPA had, for example, planned to study in detail the effect on rivers of sending radioactive wastewater through sewage plants, but dropped these plans during the phase when White House-level review was conducted.
  • Similar studies in the past had been narrowed by industry pressure, leading to widespread exemptions for the oil and gas industry from environmental laws.
  • The Times revealed an ongoing and red-hot debate within the EPA about whether the agency should force Pennsylvania to handle its drilling waste more carefully and strengthen that state's notoriously lax regulations and anemic enforcement.
  • The Times investigation also explodes the industry's decade-old mantra that a "there is not a single documented case of drinking water being contaminated by fracking." The Times investigation of EPA archives exposes this claim as demonstrably false.

A second round of New York Times stories showed that within the natural gas industry and among federal energy officials, there were serious and disturbing reservations about the economic prospects of shale gas:

  • Government and industry officials made sure that all of their reservations were discussed privately and never revealed to the American public. Internal commentary by these officials is striking because it contrasts so sharply with the excited public rhetoric from the same agencies, lawmakers, industry officials and energy experts about shale gas.
  • Many industry experts have reservations over whether the wells produce as much gas as industry is claiming and whether companies may be misleading investors, landowners and the public about the true costs of shale gas.
  • Shale gas wells often dry up faster than companies expected - sometimes several decades faster than predicted.
  • Rather than coming clean, the companies downplay how much it costs to keep these wells flowing and overstate how much profit companies can make by these wells.
  • Furthermore, only a small percentage of the land in each shale gas field turns out to be highly productive, even at the start. Nevertheless, companies routinely pretend that all of their acreage will be equally promising.
  • These emerging issues also sparked private discussion among federal energy experts, who expressed grave concern that their agency's predictions were too heavily influenced by the natural gas industry's over-optimism. The Times found that the EPA was heavily reliant on data provided by companies with shale-gas industry ties.

The science writer for the Knight Ridder Journalism website summed up the significance of the Times' revelations about the industry's ballyhooed economic prospects: "From here, it appears that the Times and [the series' principal author] Mr. Urbina are calmly saying we should learn a lesson from the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble, suggesting investors and regulators and gov't planners step with care and not be blinkered by all the money that's pouring in."

The organized attack on the Times and its reputation by well-financed industry spin machines is illustrative of the perils and real challenges facing public-service journalism today.

The Times' piece has been the target of massive industry blowback. Industry-funded front groups like Energy in Depth, an army of slick PR firms, and former regulatory officials like PA DEP Commissioner John Hanger - now on industry's payroll, have artfully manufactured deceptive talking points and posted blogs that are parroted by journalists looking for an industry response to the Times' coverage, and then emailed as "facts" to the industry's supporters and its indentured servants in Congress.

Ironically, many of the attacks against the series have claimed that the articles were poorly sourced or under-researched. Yet, The Times has not printed a single factual correction. This is certainly an admirable reporting record for a series that has been running in the paper for nearly a year. This is because, despite massive efforts by the industry to find errors, no critic has been able to identify a single fact that The Times actually got wrong. The Times posted thousands of pages of closely annotated original-source documents along with its news articles.

Rarely has a series had such wide-reaching and immediate impact. The New York Times articles have led to major changes in how the industry as well as state and federal regulators are handling one of America's most important energy issues.

Documents uncovered by The Times have already been put to use in litigation by injured parties seeking to force some treatment plants to stop handling the frack wastewater. The Times' series has also pressured the EPA to begin a review of treatment plant permits (signaling the agency's possible intent to prohibit plants from discharging treated waste into rivers without comprehensive testing for shale gas contaminants). Healthy skepticism raised by the series has dampened some of the thrilled exuberance among Wall Street bankers ecstatic about the latest gold rush, federal lawmakers in the thrall of industry money, and in hard-pressed rural communities seduced by hollow promises of massive royalties, local prosperity and abundant jobs.

As our panel grapples with these complex and difficult problems, we have found that the principal impediment to going forward with recommendations regarding regulations that could allow fracking in our state is a general mistrust of the claims we are hearing from industry and federal regulators. Revelations from The Times series and elsewhere have cast doubt upon all the industry's assurances about fracking, and have complicated the task for those of us charged with advising the regulatory agencies on developing rules that could allow the industry to proceed while safeguarding the public interest.

For many of us on New York State's fracking panel, the one bright light has been the presence of Southwest Energy's Vice President and General Counsel Mark Boling. Boling is bullish on shale gas but his passion for public disclosure and a rigorous and rational regulatory framework, his candor about the perils of certain practices and his honest assessments of the costs and benefits of gas-shale extraction have inspired trust and confidence among his fellow panelists. Boling's candor may have made him a pariah in his industry, but the panel's confidence in his integrity is the one thing that might allow us to go forward with recommendations regarding a regulatory scheme that could allow certain kinds of fracking to proceed in New York State. None of us wants to be in the position of getting seduced by sweet and lofty promises that quickly turn into a sour gas and impoverished communities.

Gas-fracking flacks routinely make extravagant promises about bringing jobs and income to the depressed rural communities. If those jobs and royalties don't come - the way they have not come for people in Bradford County, Pa. - New Yorkers will be justifiably angry, as they wonder why the government and our panel did not protect them when there were so many warning signs.


Samuel R. Caldwell - The first POT POW
Samuel R. Caldwell - America's First Victim of Marijuana Prohibition - Arrested October 5, 1937

The First Pot POW

After a decade of U.S. government scare propaganda that convinced Americans that crazed Mexicans, blacks and fans of jazz clubs were pushing marijuana "reefers" on school children and honest youths, turning them into raving murderers, politicians decided to act.

The U.S. Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act. Growing and selling marijuana were still legal, but only if you bought a $1 government stamp. And that stamp was not for sale.

On the day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted -- Oct. 2, 1937 -- the FBI and Denver, Colo., police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed labourer and Moses Baca, 26. On Oct. 5, Caldwell went into the history trivia books as the first marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer, Baca, was found guilty of possession.

Caldwell's wares, two marijuana cigarettes, deeply offended Judge Foster Symes, who said: "I consider marijuana the worst of all narcotics, far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts. Marijuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. The government is going to enforce this new law to the letter."

Caldwell was sentenced to four years of hard labour in Leavenworth Penitentiary, plus a $1,000 fine. Baca received 18 months incarceration. Both men served every day of their sentence. A year after Caldwell was released from prison, he died. (From Cannabis News) - Article Source

Drilling Holes In Our Souls:

Teach your children well Texas Child Beater

No Need To Wonder Why THEY Execute Mentally Challenged
Texas: Where Friendship Means Judicial BDSM

Bondage & Discipline/ Dominance & Submission/ Sado-Masochism

PROGRAMMING THE NATION? Official Theatrical Trailer 2011 via Dr. Tom

Occupy's V for Vendetta protest mask is a symbol of festive citizenship

The real meaning of the Guy Fawkes mask seen around the world is sophisticated, self-knowing and carnivalesque

Jonathan Jones,, Friday 4 November 2011 10.30 GMT, Article history, Article Source

A protester at Occupy Seattle wears a V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP
A protester at Occupy Seattle wears a V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes mask. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

The skin is pallid, the cheeks touched with pink. The eyes are holes. And the smile is frozen, set forever, a fixed uncanny moustachioed grin above a devilish goatee beard.

This is the face of protest in 2011. At Occupy demonstrations from Wall Street to St Paul's people choose to wear the same mask, an eerie phantom face of a diabolical musketeer, a cheerfully sinister underground d'Artagnan. The mask started its revolutionary career as the public face of the Anonymous movement. All in all it marks a massive change of fortune for one of British history's greatest villains.

For this is the face of Guy Fawkes, transformed into the mask of a modern avenger by artist David Lloyd and writer Alan Moore in their 1980s graphic novel V for Vendetta and popularised by the 2006 film of the comic book – not to mention merchandised; the mask is an official movie byproduct licensed by Time Warner, which has thus found a way to profit from the Crisis of Capitalism. A man demonised for centuries in British culture has become an icon of dissidence and defiance.

Guy Fawkes has taken to the streets, just as he disappears from his traditional starring role on Bonfire Night, 5 November. When Moore and Lloyd started their comic serial V for Vendetta in 1981 in a magazine called Warrior, British children still made rude effigies of the great inflammable Catholic and wheeled their lumpen creations around demanding "a penny for the Guy": today Halloween has taken over in children's culture and, in many parts of Britain, Guy Fawkes Night is merely Bonfire Night, with fireworks but no effigy.

Moore – whose wildly imaginative scripts for comics that also include From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen prove him one of the most original writers in Britain today – has acknowledged in an essay called Behind the Painted Smile that it was his artist collaborator David Lloyd who invented the Guy Fawkes persona for their modern freedom fighter. Lloyd wrote: "He'd look really bizarre and it would give Guy Fawkes the image he's deserved all these years. We shouldn't burn the chap every 5 November but celebrate his attempt to blow up parliament!"

It was, says Moore, "the best idea I'd ever heard in my entire life". It was certainly prophetic. Who knew that by 2011 the old Protestant demonisation of Guy Fawkes would be virtually forgotten and his attempt to blow up the mother of parliaments reclaimed as a great democratic act? In the 2006 film (which credits only Lloyd as it was disowned, with good aesthetic reason, by Moore) the culminating, triumphant scene has a mass movement of Guy Fawkes avengers removing their masks to reveal themselves as you and me, the 99%, as they proudly watch the Houses of Parliament explode.

Outside the world of sublime comic books and ridiculous films, is it really such a great idea to identify with Guy Fawkes? The impulse crosses political divisions: the Conservative blogger Guido Fawkes also uses the name, and the logo on his site resembles the V for Vendetta visage. This is all a colossal forgetting of history. There is not much to romanticise in the career of Guy Fawkes. Religious violence was a dark reality of life in 17th-century Britain, and the plot hatched by a group of Catholics in 1605 reflected decades of frustration at their faith's proscribed status. The would-be mass murderers planned to blow up the new King James I and his entire parliament in assembly at the Palace of Westminster on 5 November. They dug a tunnel from a nearby rented house, piled up enough gunpowder beneath the palace to send it into the sky in flames, but when Fawkes was caught down there with the barrels and kindling, the failed assassin went down in popular memory as a demon to be ritually burned by Protestant crowds on smoky Autumn evenings.

For many observers, the V for Vendetta mask has nothing to do with a Jacobean conspirator or a modern comic-book slash movie. It is just a very strange mask. It has taken on a life of its own, and its meaning is not fixed by its origins. Images slip their moorings. The Guy Fawkes mask is not Guy Fawkes. It is, in fact, the quintessence of a mask. "To each his own mask", says a Latin motto on a Renaissance painting of a masked face. The stylised face of the Fawkes mask resembles the monstrous and bizarre faces of papier mache, carved wood or leather donned by revellers at carnivals and masquerades in the early modern Europe that invented Guy Fawkes Night. A traditional carnival was a day when the world turned upside down, when the rules of society were mocked.

It would obviously be absurd to write about the mask in modern protest without noticing the weird humour of it; no one can see the film of V for Vendetta with a completely straight face (can they?), as it turns the intense vision of the original comic into an American fantasy of fascist Britain that at times resembles the 1980s comedy film series The Comic Strip Presents… The mask is surreal, self-mocking, funny. In fact it is truly carnivalesque. Those who wear it are not so much emulating Guy Fawkes as the masked revellers of yore who might mock the local bishop at a fair. Strangely enough, at St Paul's Cathedral this suggestion of medieval misrule has become very real as an attack on the City turned into a dissolution of the orderly facade of the Church of England.

Carnivals can turn into revolutions, like a notorious carnival that became a masked civic war in 16th-century France. But they usually don't. In fact, the real meaning of the mask is that modern protest is sophisticated, self-knowing, and cunning. It does not necessarily show its true face – and it does not necessarily want or expect too much. The world is being shaken by protests against the excesses of finance, but this is not a revolution – it is a carnival. That does not make it false, but wise. Real revolution is bloody and cruel and mad. A carnival is entertaining and opens up questions that cannot usually be asked. Guy Fawkes has become the king of a carnival of questions. Far from being sinister, his mask is a jokey icon of festive citizenship.

David Lynch and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons dream about machines

The beauty and power of industry have always fascinated David Lynch; likewise ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. They got together to discuss the forces that drive factories, rock'n'roll - and us

Michael Hann,, Thursday 3 November 2011 22.00 GMT, Article history, Article Source

Billy had got a kind of guitar power - I always like the idea that his guitar is gasoline-powered - David Lynch on ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (pictured). Photograph: Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images Europe
Billy had got a kind of guitar power - I always like the idea that his guitar is gasoline- powered
David Lynch on ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons (pictured). Photograph: Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images Europe

Down a clear and untroubled phone line from the other side of the Atlantic, Billy Gibbons is talking about noise, while David Lynch and I listen. "You guys may recall the disappointing turn of events within hydroplane boat racing when they discovered that the discarded helicopter jet engines could be had for a song," he says in a rich Texas drawl, a sea-salted caramel of a voice. The ZZ Top guitarist has, perhaps, overestimated our knowledge of hydroplane boat racing, but he presses on regardless. "Yes, they could go faster, but they were quiet. The thunderboats, as they were affectionately referred to – those were those old Rolls Royce [Merlin] engines from world war two, and, brother, you heard 'em coming from miles away. And all of a sudden you've got this quietly whirring whine of a modern jet engine. And, yeah, you're going faster, but where's the excitement?"

Gibbons and Lynch – but mainly Gibbons, with the occasional "Doggone right" and "Exactly right, Billy" from Lynch – are talking about the beauty and power of industry. About the roar of factories, the growl of engines, about how the clang and clank speak to something within us. We're meant to be talking about the block and tackle pulley system, but it's pretty clear from the start that none of us can sustain a conversation about that, and so the block and tackle is just the key that starts the motor that in turn drives our discussion down the highway.

For Lynch, in any case, the block and tackle seems to be as much metaphor as literal device. It's a system of pulleys, designed to enable a person to lift a greater weight than they could unaided. The pulley was invented around 2,400 years ago by the Greek philosopher Archytas, a scientist of the Pythagorean school (he's also thought to have been the first person to invent a flying machine. Bright boy; his mother must have been proud). Then Archimedes realised the simple pulley could be expanded into something with even greater power – the block and tackle system, which he designed to help sailors lift ever greater loads, according to Plutarch. Thousands of years later, the basic system is unchanged: the block is the pulleys – the more pulleys you put in the block, the less the force you need to apply – and the tackle is the rest of the of the apparatus.

"I heard about the block and tackle and I've seen it work and it seems so magical," Lynch says of his fascination. "It's connected in my mind with the American car" – one of its common usages is to lift the engine block from the body of a vehicle – "and it's kind of perfect that Billy talks about it. Billy had got a kind of guitar power – I always like the idea that his guitar is gasoline-powered." That's not quite the only reason Gibbons is joining us today. When Lynch originally asked for a piece about the block and tackle in this week's Film&Music, we pointed out that the section dealt with film and music, rather than physics and mechanics. Lynch, though, was insistent. OK, he said, if you're only going to do it if it's got a film or music angle, then you can have ZZ Top talking about the block and tackle. And here we are.

Of course, ZZ Top are also more closely associated with engineering – thanks to one particular car – than most other bands. The Eliminator car was a 1933 Ford that Gibbons, a hot rod enthusiast, had transformed into a V8-engined racecar back in the early 80s. It then featured on the cover of the band's 1983 smash album Eliminator, and in the videos – Gimme All Your Lovin', Sharp Dressed Man, and Legs – that made ZZ Top MTV stars.

Lynch and Gibbons share an odd combination of revering both the past and progress. Gibbons snorts at musicians who dismiss digital technology (Eliminator itself was pioneering in its use of recording techniques). "There's this false sense of romance," he says, "of waxing nostalgically when attempting to dismiss things that are helpful. Any measure of assistance is now seen to fall into the wanton position that it should be thrown away, that we should return to days of old. It's almost as if you are castigated if you engage in getting further ahead in any kind of faster manner. To add the element of ridiculousness to this fanciful nostaglic romance, is trying to incorporate the word 'real': 'Oh we don't use digital equipment. We're going analogue because we want to sound more real.' OK – let me see if I can buy into this. You're saying you don't want to play into a digital machine, you want to play into an analogue machine. But you've got a Fender Esquire going into a Fender Champ amp. By the way, we've got to use wire to connect those two, then we've got a microphone in front of the amp, then on and on and on. What's real about that?" He picks a tangible example: "Did Muddy Waters play an acoustic? Well of course he did. But did he turn his back on being able to plug it in and play louder? No, he plugged in and turned it up and got miles and miles ahead of the game in one fateful act of just plugging in."

At which point Lynch interjects with a "doggone right".

Yet both look back at the old days of heavy industry with – well, not so much nostalgia as deep and abiding love. Lynch talks of the smokestack industries: "There was a downside to it, but the smokestack industry had a real tangible power. Today's factories don't have that sound and sense of power. They might even be more powerful, but they don't have any sound or visual that goes with it. The smokestack industry factories were so inspiring, and rock'n'rollers want to get that driving power, and electricity is a big, big, big friend, but so's the factories."

It's Gibbons who locates that sense of power, of mechanisation, in Lynch's work. "I remember Eraserhead showed in Austin, Texas, at an art theatre. It was a one-performance showing, and I got in the car and drove down to Houston because the film was being yanked out of the theatre and driven down to Houston and I had to go see it again. I realised it was bringing to the fore what seemed to be eroding and downright evaporating. Just watching the guys making the pencil eraser machine, and the smokestacks and the overhead train – you ask a youngster and they can't relate to the sound. I can immediately call memories of laying in the back yard at five years old and hearing the sound of electric wires zinging as an old twin-engined DC3 flew past. Those sounds are not heard any longer. So our entire environment and points of relationship have changed."

Of course, rock and pop music has long had an unbreakable relationship with the environments that produce it. One thinks of the Fordist model of Motown, replicating the production lines of Detroit's car manufacturers. Or of the West Midlands heavy metal bands making music that sounded like the factories they worked in or lived near. Perhaps that's why so many of today's musicians, who have grown up in a world of call centres and clacking keyboards rather than foundries and banging piledrivers, make music based around clicks and glitches – the sound of today's industries. Gibbons isn't so sure. "There's certan things that resonate with this neurological framework," he reckons. "That much, I think, won't change too drastically."

To test his thesis, Gibbons proposes some fieldwork based around the work of Fred Below, the Chess Records session drummer who pioneered the rhythmic pulse of rock'n'roll, placing the percussive emphasis on the second and fourth beats of the bar. He wants us all to go to South America, then hike into the remotest fastnesses of the Amazon. It's a nice picture: Gibbons in beard and shades, Lynch in a black suit, an overweight ginger journalist panting along behind, moaning about the heat. "What effect would a field crew have on the most primitive tribe that could be located and invited in and be willing to volunteer to listen to, instead of the sounds of birds and the Brazilian jungle, a powerful sound system playing nothing but the drumbeat leaning heavily on the two and the four, the backbone of rock'n'roll," Gibbons ponders. "I think it goes back to that wiring. Our skin colours may vary, but what's upstairs – there's certain things we've all got in common. Freddie Below stumbled on it, and I'm digging it."

How a simple block and tackle works

The block and tackle is a device for multiplying force: in other words, it allows the user to lift a heavier object with less effort. If you had a 10kg object, for example, and you wanted to lift it 10m in the air with a rope, you'd have to apply 10kg of force from above, and pull in 10m of rope. With a single pulley, you still need to apply 10kg of force, and pull in 10m of rope, but you're applying the force from a different direction, making the lifting slightly easier. A block and tackle makes things easier still. Two or more pulleys are assembled into blocks – usually two blocks, one fixed at the top and one that moves with the load at the bottom. The rope is threaded through the pulleys, providing mechanical advantage – that's what multiplies the force being exerted. The greater the number of pulleys, the greater the mechanical advantage. So a two-pulley block would spilt the weight of your notional 10kg object evenly, meaning you would only have to apply 5kg of force to lift it. But to lift it 10m in the air, you'll have to pull in 20m of rope. With four pulleys, you'll only need to apply 2.5kg of force, but 40m of rope will be needed to pull it 10m in the air.

Republican Bush Administration, with Democrat Help, Responsible for Veteran Suicides?
A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes

Center For A New American Security Study Reveals Startling Statistic.

by Ken Smith, Article Source, via Phoenix

A veteran commits suicide every 80 minutes, according to a study published Monday.

Military suicides have increased since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Center for a New American Security Suicide report. In the fiscal year 2009 alone, 1,868 veterans of these wars have made suicide attempts, according to

Suicide Rates by Service (2001 - 2010) via Veterans Today
Suicide Rates by Service (2001 - 2010) via Veterans Today

The VA estimates that about 18 veterans commit suicide every day, but this statistic is based on limited data. Only 16 states submit the cause of death among veterans and the VA relies on 3-year-old data for its reports. Improved information collection could help determine if veterans are committing suicide soon after leaving the military and if there's a higher risk among post-9/11 veterans compared with earlier generations, the study noted.

"The DOD does not currently take sufficient responsibility for veteran suicide," the authors said. "Given the potential implications of veteran suicide for the all volunteer force, the DOD should seek to understand which veterans, and how many veterans, are dying by suicide."

These staggering figures underscore the need for the VA to develop more mental-health programs and an accurate system for recording the number of veterans and service members who take their lives.

"America is losing its battle against suicide by veterans and service members," authors Dr. Margaret C. Harrell and Nancy Berglass concluded. "And as more troops return from deployment, the risk will only grow."

Faced with the stigma of post-traumatic stress disorder, unemployment rates tipping 12 percent and a loss of the military camaraderie, many veterans report feeling purposeless upon returning home.

Marine Corps veteran Jason Christiansen, 35, of St. Paul, Minn. is one such veteran that nearly killed himself after watching his life unravel upon completing his service. He lost his job as an auto dealer in 2008, avoided debt collectors and fell into a serious depression, reports.

"At one point, I was sitting there with a gun in my mouth," Christiansen told the news outlet.

A friend pushed Christiansen to seek help at a VA program, a key player in the rescuing of veterans in despair.

The Veterans Crisis Line, launched in 2007, has fielded more than 400,000 calls and has saved more than 14,000 lives, according to the Veterans Affairs mental health website.

The epidemic is raging among those who are currently serving too. From 2005 to 2010, approximately one service member committed suicide every 36 hours, the CNAS study revealed.

While the VA mental-health programs have proven to be effective, the authors of the report offered concrete suggestions on how to prevent even more military members and veterans from taking their lives.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,
It Will Be Streamed On the Internet
Because, "citizen media is not a crime!"

1946 Harley-Davidson Springer
1946 Harley-Davidson Springer

Hear The People (Wilhelm/Kunstler) by Loose Gravel - From: Wilhelm LP 1976 (recorded 1971) Lead vocal, lead guitar – Mike Wilhelm Back up vocal – Chris Wilson Back up vocal, acoustic guitar – Rick Kunstler Bass – Kenny Streight Drums – Gene Rhymer - Click for more free music

What Does the Occupy Oakland Strike Have to do With 1946?

By Tasneem Raja and Gavin Aronsen, Mother Jones, Tue Nov. 1, 2011 10:06 PM PDT, Article Source

When the acrid fog of flash-bang grenades and tear gas cleared on last week's violent clash between protesters and police in Oakland, the city emerged as a new focal point of the worldwide Occupy movement. On Wednesday, thousands are expected to flood downtown and march on the Port of Oakland--the country's fifth-largest--in a massive daylong protest and general strike. It's an impressive escalation from a patchy idea first tossed out just days ago at a General Assembly meeting in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the scene of last week's showdown. This is collective action on speed, and while most (not all) Occupy protesters are calling for a peaceful protest, city officials are preparing for trouble, just in case.

So can you really organize a citywide general strike in one week? Local Occupiers like to point out that Oakland hosted a general strike in 1946, and are using the city's claim to history as a rallying cry. So what worked then, and what would it take to pull it off again?

Fred Glass, a professor of labor history at City College of San Francisco, recently went on local public radio show KQED to discuss optimal conditions for brewing up a general strike. His recipe calls for four conditions: widespread anger among the working class, a "spark" to kick things off, someone willing to stick their neck out and call for a general strike, and an organizing structure. In Oakland today, the first is largely a given and Occupy Oakland has provided the latter two. If school teachers and port workers don't show up for work en masse on Wednesday, the injury suffered by Iraq vet-turned-activist Scott Olsen last week could be credited as the spark that drew mainstream sympathy to the local Occupy movement.

The 1946 general strike was sparked when store managers at two downtown Oakland department stores where retail clerks were striking--Hastings and Kahn's--enlisted the aid of "some 250 police . . . with tear gas and riot gear" to push through picket lines and escort non-union delivery trucks to the stores. The American Federation of Labor voted to strike in solidarity with the clerks, and 100,000 workers from 142 unions across Alameda County declared a "work holiday" and walked off their jobs on December 3 of that year. Their protest ended a wave of postwar strikes across the country, fed by working class anger against outsized corporate profits and high inflation, says Glass. Oakland's general strike lasted 54 hours, finally called off by the AFL after the city promised to stop sending "scab" delivery trucks to businesses with workers on strike. In terms of tangible gains, the mostly female retail clerks of Hastings and Kahn's didn't get any of the concessions they wanted, but four labor candidates were elected to Oakland's city council the next year.

While several local unions have endorsed Wednesday's action, Glass says Occupy Oakland's idea of a general strike doesn't jibe with the legal and logistical realities on the ground today. "I think that the Occupy Oakland has a marvelous spirit and it has a great moral authority to it," he told KQED. "But their democratic process does not have the kind of legal responsibilities that unions do with their contracts." For instance, there's the Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1947, which mades solidarity strikes in support of other workers illegal. Moreover, several local unions have their hands tied by no-strike clauses in their contracts; SEIU Local 1021, Oakland biggest union, can endorse the strike but can't officially tell its members to join in. For the same reason, the Oakland Education Association is encouraging its members to take personal days.

Beyond geography, Wednesday's protest may bear little in common with Oakland's 1946 strike. But here's hoping the overlap is heavy on the beer, dancing, and jukeboxes in the street that one '46 participant remembered fondly

Pistol Packin' Mama, Lay That Pistol Down', the number one hit, echoed off all the buildings. That first 24-hour period of the 54-hour strike had a carnival spirit. A mass of couples danced in the streets. The participants were making history, knew it, and were having fun.

Al Dexter : Pistol Packin' Mama ( 1943 )

‘Bank Transfer Day’ Causes CU Buzz

By Jim Rubenstein, Credit Union Times, October 10, 2011, Article Source, via prez @ usa-exile - Live Occupy

Boycott the Banksters - November 5, 2011
Boycott the Banksters - November 5, 2011

Even with most credit unions closed for Columbus Day there was plenty of online buzz, and uncertainty, about what the credit union industry role might be on "Bank Transfer Day," the latest event surfacing from the "Occupy Wall Street" protests.

Industry sources, speaking off the record, suggested any wholesale switch from large banks to CUs on Nov. 5, the day designated by one Californian and carried a twitter Monday, could conceivably put net worth ratios out of whack. 

The balance sheet problem was raised by several industry officials as a potential hazard as online articles focused on what "Occupy" supporters are calling now for a specific action to underscore their complaints against big banks and corporate "greed."

For the record, Mark Wolff, CUNA senior vice president-communications, said only that the trade group welcomes the idea of "a viral 'Bank Transfer Day" since it shows "just how angry consumers are becoming with their treatment by big banks" and will now look at CUs.

CUNA said its Facebook posts have already witnessed big jumps in traffic on There also have been big gains on

Many consumers, said CUNA, are already "discovering" credit unions online and "many more no doubt will as a result of this Bank Transfer Day initiative."

Wire service reports Monday identified the ringleader of "Bank Transfer Day" as Kristen Christian, a 27-year-old Los Angeles art gallery owner who said she is not affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street protest, but that demonstration organizers had reached out to her to express support.

Christian reportedly chose Nov. 5 because of its association with 17th century British folk hero Guy Fawkes, who tried to blow up the British House of Lords but was captured on that day.

A Facebook page for the event states that "together we can ensure that these banking institutions will ALWAYS remember the 5th of November!! If the 99% removes our funds from the major banking institutions on or by this date, we will send a clear message and give the 1% a taste of the fear that we experience every day when we aren't able to pay for our rent, food, medication, utilities, student loans, etc."

The protests began in New York and have popped up around the country. A few hundred protesters gathered in Las Vegas, for instance, on Thursday night and were escorted by police for a march down the Strip. Among the calls for action on the flyers being distributed was to move banking accounts to credit unions.

Occupy Oakland:
City braces for general strike

Kevin Fagan, Demian Bulwa, Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writers, Tuesday, November 1, 2011, Article Source

OAKLAND -- From schools and downtown stores to the nation's fifth busiest port, Oakland is bracing for Wednesday's citywide general strike, a hastily planned and ambitious action called by Occupy protesters a day after police forcibly removed their City Hall encampment last week.

Occupy Oakland has since returned to Frank Ogawa Plaza, but the leaderless group is still asking workers and students in the city to take the day off to come downtown and protest economic inequality and corporate greed.

Major goals will be protesting at banks or corporations that refuse to shut down for the day, then marching in the evening to the Port of Oakland to try to shut down the night shift.

Some employees and businesses downtown, where the core activities are scheduled, intend to participate, while others plan to carry on as normal - hoping there won't be a resumption of last week's violent clashes between protesters and police.

"The entire world is tired of the greedy corporations controlling everything, and now is the time that people are doing something about it," rapper Boots Riley, an organizer of the strike day, said Monday. "All over the world, people are looking to Oakland."

Unions supportive

While major labor unions in the city have voiced support, most workers cannot legally strike while under contract. But some said they plan to take the day off, participate during off hours or walk off the job spontaneously.

Rebecca Band, spokeswoman for the California Labor Federation, said union members will be participating in several ways, including a march to a Wells Fargo branch. They'll also be cooking from 4:30 to 8 p.m. for protesters.

Wells Fargo plans to "run our business on Wednesday the same way we run it any other day," said spokeswoman Holly Rockwell.

Occupy representatives said in a statement that they will hit the port to show "solidarity with longshore workers in their struggle against EGT in Longview, Wash." EGT is a grain exporter.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union local units, which do most of the work at the port, expressed support for the Occupy protest while noting they haven't authorized a strike. But if enough protesters gather outside the port, union workers could deem it a community picket line and refuse to cross it for their 7 p.m. shift, one spokesman said.

"There have been seven community picket lines honored by our workers since 1985, the most recent one being last year," said Stan Woods, spokesman for the ILWU. "But it has to be a serious picket line with a serious number of people with goals that don't conflict with labor."

Port to remain open

Marilyn Sandifur, a spokeswoman for the Port of Oakland, said there were no plans to alter operations. Port security is handled by a variety of local, state and federal agencies.

The Port of Oakland was the site of an infamous 2003 clash that saw police injure antiwar activists and port workers with wood and rubber bullets.

City offices will stay open, although City Administrator Deanna Santana said in a memo that employees can use vacation or other paid time off if they want to participate in the walkout.

Mayor Jean Quan's office said the city will provide alerts to merchants and was "not urging businesses to close on Wednesday. Instead, we advise that they use common-sense precautions."

Mixed views on council

Although City Council members all say they support the cause, they have mixed views about Wednesday's strike.

Councilwoman Jane Brunner said she will join in the demonstration. Councilwoman Nancy Nadel said she will support it.

"This is aimed at big corporations," Brunner said. "We're not taking care of the 99 percent, but the 1 percent."

Others aren't as enthusiastic.

Council President Larry Reid said the encampment and Wednesday's strike were having a "devastating" effect on the city's image with business.

"We've worked hard to get this city on sound footing, to get the kinds of retailers that other cities have in their urban core," Reid said. "This sends the message to those that may have had an interest that we as a city of Oakland will allow these kinds of activities to take place. Nobody is going to open up businesses in downtown Oakland."

Great Oakland, a nonprofit at Jack London Square that advocates for parents on school issues, will close in support of the protesters, said Sara Nuno, community organizer there.

"A day like this calls attention, and that's what it takes to build a movement," Nuno said.

At a deli near City Hall on Monday, manager Elaine Hong said she wasn't sure whether to close and will make a decision today.

"I support the message, but do you really want to walk off your job?" Hong asked. "It's hard enough to get a job as it is."

Teachers union won't picket

Steve Neat, secretary of the Oakland Education Association, which represents 2,700 school district teachers, nurses, counselors and psychologists, said the union has voted to support Wednesday's action but will not stage picket lines.

"We want teachers to take whatever action at their sites they feel comfortable with," Neat said.

Many teachers are putting in for a day of unpaid leave, but a district spokesman said there were no plans to shut down any schools.

Chronicle staff writer Carolyn Said contributed to this report.

Occupy Oakland:
Scott Olsen gives 'thumbs-up' to messages of support

Iraq war veteran, who fractured his skull after he was apparently hit by a police projectile, still communicating via written notes

Adam Gabbatt in Oakland,, Monday 31 October 2011 11.00 EDT, Article history, Article Source

Occupy Oakland: Scott Olsen was hit on the right side of his head during the protests, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Photograph: Kathy Pacconi
Occupy Oakland: Scott Olsen was hit on the right side of his head during the
protests, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Photograph: Kathy Pacconi

Scott Olsen, the Iraq war veteran injured during police attempts to clear Occupy Oakland on Tuesday, has given a sign of appreciation for the wave of goodwill shown by fellow protesters across the US.

Olsen's roommate, Keith Shannon, said the 24-year-old gave a "thumbs-up" after being told of the support he has received – which has included vigils across the US and marches against police brutality.

Olsen, 24, suffered a fractured skull when he was apparently being struck by a police projectile on Tuesday and is unable to talk. Officers from more than 15 different police agencies were involved in operations in Oakland on Tuesday, which included the use of tear gas and 'less lethal' weapons.

Shannon said he had visited Olsen on Sunday, and told him of the reaction to his injuries across the hundreds of Occupy protests. "He gave a thumbs-up," Shannon said.

Olsen was hit on the right side of the head, damaging the speech centre of the brain. Video footage showed a police officer throwing a non-lethal explosive near to a stricken Olsen as fellow protesters came to his aid.

Shannon told the Guardian that Olsen is still communicating via written notes – although these tend to be short – and that Olsen's spelling has suffered since he was injured.

"He only really writes when he needs something," Shannon said. Olsen keeps a notepad and pen beside him on the bed to issue the messages, which often consist of just one word.

Shannon said his roommate is "still really tired", adding that during Sunday's visit: "At one point he wrote asking us to go out," so he could rest.

Shannon visited his roommate and fellow Iraq war veteran on Sunday afternoon, sitting at Olsen's bedside with his parents and sister, who have flown to Oakland from Wisconsin.

The injured 24-year-old was originally admitted to Highland hospital in Oakland on Tuesday night, but was moved to a different hospital on Friday afternoon, according to a spokeswoman.

"He left at 6.30pm," she said, adding that the move of locations was done "at the request of his insurers". He is understood to have been transported by ambulance, although there was no deterioration in his condition.

Shannon has not disclosed the new location, while Olsen's family have requested privacy and are not speaking to the press.

The activist and documentary maker Michael Moore posted a photo to Twitter of himself outside Highland hospital on Saturday, apparently unaware of the move.

Occupy demonstrators across America held vigils for Olsen on Thursday night, while in Occupy Oakland more than 500 people attended a march against police brutality on Saturday.

Demonstrators gathered at the base of Frank Ogawa plaza, outside Oakland city hall, to listen to speeches on the conduct of police in Oakland, which touched on infamous cases such as the shooting of Oscar Grant, killed by a police officer on 1 January 2009, protesters marched down Broadway towards the Oakland police department headquarters.

Police lined the street – which prompted chants of "No justice, no peace, fuck the racist police" – and prevented protesters from reaching the police department on adjacent streets.

About 30 protesters carried black plastic 'shields' at the front of the march with the slogan "Stop police brutality", and there were occasional solitary insults hurled at police, of whom Oakland mayor Jean Quan promised a "minimal presence" in a statement published to her Facebook page on Thursday.

About 100 officers were present in three separate locations, some with batons drawn, while others carried weapons capable of firing non-lethal projectiles, but there were no clashes between protesters and police, and the march ended without arrests.

On Sunday the mood was calm at the camp, which has now been largely rebuilt after the plaza was cleared by police on Tuesday, with about 40 tents and gazebos.

Among those gathered at the plaza was Jesse LaGreca, who rose to prominence as an occupier of Wall Street when a video of him criticising Fox News as he was interviewed by a Fox News reporter went viral.

LaGreca, who has visited ten Occupy camps in the last few weeks, had flown into Oakland on Sunday morning after asking readers of his blog to fund the visit.

"As soon as I heard the news on Tuesday, I was like: 'Get me to Oakland'," he said. LaGreca had soon raised enough, thanks to donations of "ten dollars here, a hundred dollars there" to buy a flight to California from Washington DC, where he had been speaking outside the Capitol, and a flight back to his home in New York on Monday.

Asked how Oakland compared with the Wall Street original, LaGreca told the Guardian: "They're almost synonymous.

"I've been through a lot [of camps], and I thought they would be really different. But they're not. It's the same story, it's just from different perspectives."

According to Democrats & Republicans Receiving Corporate Money,

Americans were subjected to violence at the hands of their own government for exercising the constitutional freedoms their government is sworn to protect.
Americans were subjected to violence at the hands of their own government for exercising the constitutional freedoms their government is sworn to protect.
Americans were subjected to violence at the hands of their own government for exercising the constitutional freedoms their government is sworn to protect.

[Time For A Corporate Death Penalty]
PG&E used wrong tests for years after '74 rupture

Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer, Tuesday, November 1, 2011, Article Source

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pacific Gas and Electric Co. knew that the major natural-gas line that failed in a test near Bakersfield last week had ruptured nearly 40 years ago because of a flawed seam weld, but the company long relied on an improper inspection method for the pipeline that was not capable of finding such problems, The Chronicle has learned.

The longitudinal seam flaw found in 1974 during a test on the pipe that carries gas from the Arizona border to the Bay Area was the same defect that caused last year's deadly explosion on a transmission pipeline in San Bruno. However, as on the San Bruno line, PG&E persisted in vouching for the pipe's safety by using an inspection method that is suited mainly for finding corrosion, not bad welds.

A federal pipeline safety official said that under a pipeline safety law passed in 2002, PG&E should have been using tests designed to catch flawed welds on the Central Valley line because of the earlier rupture. Instead, the company didn't start conducting them until after the San Bruno disaster in September 2010.

It was such a test - in which the pipeline is shut down and filled with water boosted to high pressure levels - that found another flawed weld Oct. 24 on the line just west of Bakersfield.

The 1974 test tore an 18-inch gash along a longitudinal seam of the pipe, known as Line 300B, one of two parallel lines that supply the Bay Area with much of its natural gas. PG&E has replaced 100 feet of the pipe, intends to pressure test another 29 miles and hopes to put the line back in service in time for winter.

'Part of a pattern'

PG&E's past inspection practices on Line 300B are "part of a pattern of failing to comply with the regulations and the law of common sense," said Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert and consultant to a ratepayers group, The Utility Reform Network. "It shows a serious lack of respect, a serious disregard for what these lines are capable of and of what can happen when gas transmission pipelines rupture."

PG&E officials have conceded that the company's pipeline inspection efforts before the San Bruno disaster were lacking, and say they have taken steps to improve them.

"We have openly acknowledged the need to significantly improve many of our historic integrity management practices," said Brian Swanson, a company spokesman. "Since the tragedy in San Bruno, we have been working very intensively to do exactly that.

"We are taking whatever steps necessary to bring our pipeline testing and inspection programs up to industry-leading levels and to assure our customers that our system is operating safely," Swanson said.

Bad weld near Coalinga

The earlier rupture on Line 300B happened during a pressure test on a section of pipe near the Harris Ranch in Coalinga (Fresno County), about 100 miles north of where the line failed last week. A PG&E in-house analysis of the June 20, 1974, incident described the failure as being caused by a "poor weld."

"It is evident that the cause of the failure was a defective longitudinal seam weld," said the document, which PG&E provided to state regulators investigating how it accounted for weld problems in its system. "This weld has poor penetration (less than 50 percent in some places) over a length of approximately 18 inches."

In subsequent years, PG&E inspected Line 300B mainly with a test called direct assessment. That method is cheaper than pressure tests and does not require pipeline shutdowns, but cannot find bad welds. Instead, the test is best suited for finding pipeline corrosion.

Until the San Bruno blast, PG&E conducted most of its transmission-line inspections with direct assessment. It has since announced plans to use pressure tests for hundreds of miles of pipeline over the next few years.

Under federal law, the company should have been barred from using direct assessment on Line 300B once it had evidence of a previous seam-weld rupture anywhere along the pipe's more than 500-mile route, said an official with the government's pipeline safety agency.

Wrong method under law

"Direct assessment cannot be used to assess manufacturing- and construction-related defects," said Damon Hill, a spokesman for the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. "Seam failure would be a manufacturing and construction defect - so the proper assessment" would be either high-pressure water tests or automated in-line devices known as smart pigs.

"You can only use tools authorized to check for seam failure," Hill said.

Besides the 1974 failure, Line 300B and its parallel line, 300A, both have a history of unexplained leaks.

PG&E logged five leaks of unknown cause along a 20-mile stretch of Line 300B south of Bakersfield in the 1950s, company documents show.

Line 300A also had two unexplained leaks, one in 1951 and one in 1999, as well as several troubling incidents recently.

In September 2009, the pipe failed at a longitudinal seam weld near Needles (San Bernardino County), a problem discovered during a routine leak inspection. PG&E documents show an earlier defective seam weld caused a leak in 2002 about 183 miles northwest of Needles.

No mention to state

Neither those problems nor the 1974 rupture were mentioned on pipeline data reports that PG&E provided to the state to justify its use of corrosion-only inspections. Experts called the omission inexcusable.

"You have to look at the history and all types of failures - if you don't, you're not identifying all the threats under law," said Royce Don Deaver, formerly an engineering adviser for Exxon and now a pipeline safety consultant. "If you have a failure, you are obligated to investigate the cause and you are supposed to identify corrective measures for the whole system."

To Deaver, PG&E's treatment of Lines 300A and B were reminiscent of how it handled the pipeline that exploded in San Bruno, a disaster that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. In that case, the company knew of at least 26 unexplained leaks dating back decades, any of which could have been caused by a bad weld, yet never inspected for such a problem.

"Basically, they do what they think they can get away with," Deaver said. "The law is only relevant if they get caught."

PG&E's Swanson said the company's focus is on "taking immediate and aggressive action" to assure the safety of the company's pipelines. He noted that it was PG&E's decision to pressure test Line 300B that resulted in finding the flaw in the line last week.

"Stories about what we could have done better in the past have already been shared numerous times," Swanson said. "Our customers need to know that we've learned valuable lessons from the past and that we're implementing what we learned toward building one of the safest gas systems in the country."

Complete coverage: To see Chronicle reports on pipeline safety since the 2010 explosion in San Bruno, video of the disaster and government investigative documents, go to

Republicans and Democrats are Lying Hypocrites
Who Support Selective Terrorism Against U.S. Military:
Israel Attacked the U.S.S. Liberty
USS Liberty  Memorial
34 U.S. Military Dead, 171 Wounded

US pulls Unesco funding after Palestine is granted full membership

Controversial move endorsed in UN cultural agency vote despite US threat of withholding £50m in funds

Harriet Sherwood in Jerusalem,, Monday 31 October 2011 09.11 EDT, Article history, Article Source

Unesco vote on Palestine membership gets angry response from US
The Above Video Goes Here

The United States has cut off funds to Unesco as a punitive action after the Palestinian Authority was accepted into the UN agency as a full member in defiance of American, Israeli and European pressure.

The overwhelming backing for the Palestinians' bid to join the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation was a huge boost for their campaign for international recognition of an independent state, and a blow to Israel and the US, who had opposed the move.

Members voted by 107 votes to 14 to accept Palestine as a full member state to loud cheers from delegates in Paris. Fifty-two countries, including the UK, abstained.

Within hours, the US announced it would withhold its huge contribution to Unesco's budget as a result of the vote. State department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the US had no choice due to a 21-year-old law prohibiting the payment of funds to any UN body accepting the Palestinians as full members.

A $60m (£38m) transfer that was due later this month would be halted in a move that will have serious consequences for Unesco activities. The US contributes 22% of the agency's annual budget.

Unesco's decision was "regrettable, premature and undermines our shared goal to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace [between Israelis and Palestinians]", said Nuland.

Israel also hinted at punitive measures. A statement from the foreign ministry said it would "consider its further steps and ongoing co-operation" with Unesco following the decision. The move was a "unilateral Palestinian manoeuvre which will bring no change on the ground but further removes the possibility for a peace agreement", it added.

Nimrod Barkan, Israel's ambassador to Unesco, described the vote as a "tragedy". "Unesco deals in science, not science fiction. They forced on Unesco a political subject out of its competence," he said.

Palestinian officials, who described the vote as historic, were jubilant. "This vote will erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people," foreign minister Riyad al-Malk told the Unesco gathering in Paris.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said the vote "represents support for freedom and justice".

In a statement to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, he said: "This vote is for the sake of peace and represents international consensus on support for the legitimate Palestinian national rights of our people, the foremost of which is the establishment of its independent state."

Some ridiculed the US response. "You would think we were asking to be accepted by al-Qaida," senior official Nabil Shaath said before the vote.

The swift action of the US in withdrawing funding is likely to increase cynicism among Palestinians about the credibility of the US as a mediator between them and the Israelis.

Membership of Unesco is largely symbolic, although it will allow the Palestinian Authority to seek world heritage status for historical sites. Israel would be expected to vigorously object to applications for sites in areas of the West Bank and East Jerusalem currently under its control. The Palestinian Authority is expected to seek Unesco world heritage status for the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

A nomination attempt was rejected earlier this year because the Palestinians were not a full Unesco member. The nomination of other sites is expected to follow.

The vote was the first taken in a UN body since the Palestinians embarked on their campaign for recognition of an independent state in the international arena. The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, submitted a formal application for full membership of the UN in September in defiance of US opposition.

The process has become mired in UN bureaucracy after the security council set up a subcommittee to examine the application. No date has been set for a decision, which is bound to go against the Palestinians as the US has pledged to veto the move.

The Palestinians may then take their case to the UN general assembly, which is barred from granting full membership without security council approval.

Monday's vote at the Unesco general conference is an indication of the extent of support for the Palestinian case in the international community.

France was among those voting in the Palestinians' favour, a move which could indicate its as yet unstated stance in the forthcoming security council vote on full membership of the UN.

The UK has not declared its voting intentions but is expected to line up with the US.

Others countries that voted in favour included China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa. The US, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands voted against. US and European diplomats made unsuccessful efforts to seek a postponement of the Unesco vote in the runup to the debate at the general conference in Paris.

Despite US and EU insistence that negotiations are the only way to secure a lasting settlement and an independent Palestinian state, efforts led by the Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair to restart talks between the two parties have made little progress.

Palestinian negotiators have largely despaired of securing a state through talks with Israel while the latter continues to build and expand settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

They are also deeply disappointed in the lack of pressure exerted on Israel by the US. Many feel that taking the Palestinian cause into the international arena has a greater potential for progress.

China 'targeted 48 chemical and military companies in hacking attack'

Attacks are latest in a long line of internet hacks aimed at industrial and military targets traced back to China, Article Source


via Robin Kilgore

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, e-mail, cellphones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

*Congressional Reform Act of 2011*

1. No Tenure / No Pension. A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S.) to receive the message.

Dear Citizens of the World,

I believe the time has come to reveal to you some of the perplexities you have faced in recent decades.

It is important to understand some of these things, so that you might know how to behave in the New Order now taking shape on this planet you call Earth. We want you to be able to become fully involved and integrated into our new society. After all, doing this is for your best interest.

First of all, it is best if you understand some of our purposes so that you may more fully cooperate. I cannot tell you the hard times you will face if you resist us.

We have ways of dealing with resisters and you are being told this now, since it is much too late to turn things around. The days of putting a stop to us have long since past.

We have full control of the earth and it's finances, along with control of major corporate media propaganda, and there is simply no way any nation or power can defeat us.

We have eyes in every level of government in every nation of the world. We know what is being planned, for our ears and eyes are ever present. State secrets are fully known to us.

U.S. corporate media are constantly accused of lying for their government by everyone; including foreign governments.

Oh, you silly people, of course we lie. In this way we can keep the people unbalanced and always facing controversy, which is very helpful to us. Have you not seen the talk show spectacles on FOX?

Some of you believe we are the liberals and the good people are the conservatives. In reality, both serve our purposes. Each camp merely serves with the stamp of our approval, but they are not allowed to present real issues.

For example, consider BP's Oil Spill. By creating controversy on all levels, no one knows what to do. So, in all of this confusion, we go ahead and accomplish what we want with no hindrance. If fact, we teach this within a fraternity in one of your nation's older universities.

Consider President George W. Bush of the United States. Even though he regularly broke every known check on his power, no one could stop him, and he went ahead, and did whatever we wanted him to do.

Congress and 'The People' had no power to stop him. He did what we wanted, since he knew, if he did not, because of his rather dark character, we could have him removed in an instant. I'd say it was, "Rather brilliant strategy on our part?"

You cannot take us to court because you can't see us and the courts are our servants as well. We run everything and you do not know who to attack. I must say this invisible hand is wonderfully devised without any known historical precedent on this scale. We rule the world and the world cannot even find out who is ruling them.

This is truly a wonderful thing. In our corporate media, we present before you exactly what it is we want you to do. Then, as if in a flash you, our little servants, obey!

We can send American or European troops to wherever we like, whenever we like, and for whatever purpose we like, and you dutifully go about our business and don't even look up to see the poisons we are spraying on you in the form of chemtrails. How much more evidence do you need?

We can make you desire to leave your homes and family and go to war merely at our command. We only need to present some nonsense to you from the president's desk, or on the evening news, and we can get you all fired up to do whatever we like. You can do nothing but what we put before you.

Your Vain Resistance

When any of you seek to resist us, we have ways of making you look ridiculous with corporate media, as we have done with all your movements to show the world how impotent any resistance is.

Look at what we did near Waco. Did the Davidian's little store of weapons help them?

We have generously taxed you and used that money to make such sophisticated weapons you can in no way compete. Your own money has served to forge the chains we bind you with; especially, since we are in control of all money.

Some of you think you may escape by buying some land in the country and growing a garden. Let me remind you that you still pay us ground rent. Oh, you may call it property taxes, but it still goes to us.

You see, you need money no matter what you do. If you fail to pay your ground rent to us, we will take your land and sell it to someone who will pay us. Do you think we cannot do this? And with your ground rent we pay for the indoctrination of your children in the public schools we have set up.

We want them to grow up well trained into the system of our thinking. Your children will learn what we want them to learn, when we want them to learn it, and you pay for it through your ground rent.

Those funds are also used for other projects we have in mind, like drilling for oil in the Gulf, and our contractors are paid handsomely for their work.

You may doubt that we own your children, or have such control, but you will find that we do. We can declare that you abuse your children, when you spank them, and have them confiscated. If they do not show up for school indoctrination, we can accuse you of neglect, thereby, giving them to us.

Your children are not yours. They are ours. You must inoculate them, you must bring them to our hospitals, if we decree, or we will take them from you. You know this and we know this.

Through our electronic commerce and iDevices we are able to see where you are, what you are buying, and how much you have to buy things with. Where do you suppose we come up with our monthly financial statistics?

Through the Internet, Telecoms, and other sources we can even know how you think and what you say. It is not especially important to us what you believe as long as you do what we say.

Your beliefs are nonsense anyway. But if you think you have a following, and we perceive that you might be somewhat dangerous to our agenda, we have ways to deal with you. Do you remember how we used Telecoms to spy for us?

We have a Pandora's box of mischief with which to snare you. We can have you in court so long, you will never get out. We can easily drain away all your assets over one pretext or another. We have an inexhaustible fund with which to draw from to pay our lawyers.

These lawyers are paid by you in the form of taxes. You do not have this vast supply of wealth. We know how to divide and conquer. Have we not brought down rulers of countries through our devices?

Do you think your tiny self will be any match for us?

Your Vain Organizations

Let us consider your religions, tea parties, and "moral majority."

The "moral majority" is neither moral nor is it in the majority. We have delighted to use this wet noodle of a movement to make ridiculous the Christian faith.

The silly men who run that organization always end up with egg on their faces. We have always put them in defense of themselves, as we have so successfully done with the NRA.

We can make it seem, by our corporate media propaganda, that the National Rifle Association is actually the new Al Qaeda.

Have we not turned the American conservative movement on its ear? If it serves our purposes we can use the conservatives to turn the liberals on their ear.

It makes no difference to us but it serves to make you believe there are two sides struggling for their particular position. This helps to make things seem fair and free, since everyone has a voice.

Actually, there is only one side now with all kinds of masks on, but you are unable to penetrate our purposes.

You see, we can do whatever we like and you can do nothing about it.

Does it not seem reasonable that you should simply obey and serve us? Otherwise, you get eaten up in the resistance you suppose that will liberate you.

You cannot be liberated ... Try to Imagine how you can.

We supply fuel for your cars and we can turn it off whenever we like, claiming there is some sort of fuel shortage. What if your car breaks down? You cannot get parts for it without us.

We supply all money you use and at any whim of our desire, we can stop the money supply, or ... cause a complete crash all together.

We can then order the president to declare all money worthless and that we will have to have new money. All of your stashes of cash will go up in smoke in an instant.

Don't you need food?

If necessary, we can cause a trucker's strike which would stop deliveries of food to your local store. We can starve you whenever we like. You only have food because we have provided it for you from our 'supermarket to the world' table.

During the great depression we controlled food and heaped mountains of it behind fences, to let it rot.

The hungry were then made to work in our labor camps, even though there was enough, and more, to feed them. Do you really think you can beat us?

You say you will hoard gold coins so you will still have money in the time of the crash. We can simply pass a law which outlaws the possession of gold as we have done in the past.

If we find gold in your possession, we would simply confiscate it, and put you in prison for breaking the law.

While in prison, or at one of our recently reconstructed FEMA camps, you would be required to work for one of our prison industries. We have so formed a picture of the labor camps in our prisons, these days, that no one seems to object to them.

We tell people that murderers should pay for their own keep.

No one seems to consider that we have the power to put tomato growers in prison.

We can pass laws that prohibit gardens, and then make up some scientific reason why you may only buy food from our sources.

If someone sees you growing tomatoes, they will report you to us, and then we will have you in our fields, working for us.

Oh, silly, stoned out of your minds, people, there is no escape for you, for since long before you were born, we were planning your capture.

Your teachers and ministers have been forming your thoughts for us, for generations now. You have been tricked into taking corporate drugs that were intended for short term usage, which have turned you into a nation of controlled mood zombies, and you have no idea how to pull out of our influence, short of suicide. Go ahead and commit suicide, it will only help us to deal with excessive population.

You cannot hurt us, find us, or even imagine what we are up to. I am throwing you these few crumbs only so that you may, if you have a little good sense, obey and follow our orders.

Your Controlled Mind

We run Hollywood. The movies such as Terminator and Armageddon, along with a great host of others, were simply created to get you thinking according to our directions.

You have been made to delight in violence, so that when we send you off to kill some bad man, we have put before you, you move without a whimper.

We have placed violent arcade games in your malls to prepare your young children's minds in the art of battle.

We have made you view our armies and police as the good forces, which cause you to submit to things that were unthinkable a few decades ago.

We totally orchestrated 9/11 and blamed it on somebody else using our corporate media and through our lobbies, Congress.

Think about it ... Congress spent about 60 million (60,000,000) of your income tax dollars, to discover if Monica swallowed (a little pre-reality show we dreamed up) and a little over 3 million dollars on the 9/11 Commission because we did not want an investigation of secret energy meetings or 9/11 to surface. See how easy it is to trick you?

Our artful programs are all designed to help you to submit and help the New World Order. Star Trek, and other such creations, have taught you to simply: obey orders from new international rulers.

Oh, silly people, you thought you were being entertained, while you were actually being educated. Dare I use the words, "brainwashed" or "mind control?" By the way, have you ever seen Star Wars?

What a masterpiece of mental manipulation. Humans confer with nondescript beasts of all shapes and sizes, and they confer in English.

I wonder where those space beasts learned English. Oh, the simple-ness of the mind of the citizen, for sh-he never considers sh-he is being taken into fairyland.

We placed advertisements for Star Wars everywhere you go. They were in WalMart, K-Mart, Taco Bell and a host of our institutions of corporate commerce.

There is something we want you to learn from Star Wars. Or, perhaps it could be said, there is something we do not want you to learn. Either way, we will have what we want in the whole affair.

Of course, to keep you off guard, we have instructed our elected officials to appear to be correcting the evil of our violence. Presidents often speak against violence in Hollywood movies.

This will not solve the problem, but it will make the people believe the problem is being worked on.

Sex and violence are the very best powers to use, to help us gain our advantage. How the people loathe to give up their sex and violence, so we place all they want before them. In this way, we keep them so occupied they do not have the integrity or brain-power to deal with the really important matters which are left entirely in our hands.

President Bush was very helpful to us. We knew of what character he was before we placed him as president. Exposing him was very helpful in adjusting the moral habits of the youth downward and this is too, our advantage.

Even more agreeable to us were the vain efforts of those who thought they could remove him against our will. He was useful to us and we control who is removed or not removed.

Excuse me if I seem to be mocking your system of beliefs, but they are rather outdated. Have you no eyes to see your vain liberties and your righteous pontifications are nothing before us? You can only do what we say you can do.

We remove presidents when we are ready and the leader we set up will be there until it serves us to have another. At that time we place our purposed politicians before you, and you vote for what we want.

In that way we give you the vain voting exercise in the belief you had something to do with placing your politicians in office.

Our Unfathomable Mysteries

Our recent war in Iraq had many purposes to it, but we do not speak of these things openly. We let the talk show hosts blather all sorts of nonsense, but none of it touches the core.

First of all, there is a wealth of natural resources on the planet we must have complete control of.

Iraq has large supplies of oil in its soil and oil is very helpful to our regime. Also, it suits us to keep this oil out of the hands of potential enemies.

For those who have not been helpful in getting these resources into our hands, we simply make things difficult until submission. Does anyone recall the word "sanction?"

We can reduce any proud nation to the level of humility we require from all people. For example if Zionist Israel does not sufficiently humble itself, we will take them to the world court, and have them charged with "war crimes." We made up that term; rather ingenious, don't you think?

How could there be such a thing as a war crime? The very nature of war is that the rules are off. It is so entertaining to watch the nations try to fight war according to the laws we have placed before them.

The only war crime there really is, involves the crime of being against us.

Anyone against us is violating our law and, as you have seen, when someone is for us, we do not care what they do. Was not Ariel Sharon a self professed murdering terrorist who tortured and horribly killed many of his enemies women and children? We made a hero of him. And what about the Bush administration? Are any of them in jail? No, they are still working for us and on your televisions, getting paid big salaries.

We observe no laws when it comes to war. We do what we want, when we want, and where we want.

We can starve nations to death, ruin civilizations, and commit other horrors for which we take our enemies to court. Look at one of our examples.

We bomb Iraq out of its wits. We can bomb rock throwing Palestinians out of their homes, poison their rivers and streams, turn off their electricity, making a grand crisis, and then we masterfully make it appear it is the fault of Islam.

It is the same way we made our inferno at Waco look like Mr. Koresh's fault. Then there was our chief villain, Saddam with all of his non existent weapons of mass destruction.

Bad men are a dime a dozen, we can conjure one up whenever it suits us, and ultimately, this is really quite funny when you think of it.

I am not one who is usually given to 'this sort' of humor, but I do catch myself laughing sometimes at the absolute absurdity of the notions we place before you, that you readily accept.

Do you wonder that the leaders of the world tremble at our presence? They know they have no power except the power we give them.

We have no fear of Russia or China, for we are already in full control of their system of things.

China knows we can freeze any number of their corporations in America and all of its capitol at the stroke of a pen. We use nations for what we want to use them for. Everyone knows that they must yield to us or die.

Fortunately, we have had a few resisters, such as Saddam, that have been helpful in showing world leaders what we will do to them if they do not submit.

There is only glory in following our purposes and doing what we say. If one does not, there will be a sad and tragic result.

I would have spared you of such an end, but, then, again, if you are not spared, it is of no consequence to us. We will use you to alleviate some of the overpopulation problem.

Your Silly Rebellions Against Us

Some of you have thought you could stop us by placing a bomb in one of our abortion clinics or in a government building.

Silly souls! How can that hurt us? All that does is give us an example to use so that we might place more controls, and heavy burdens, on the population.

We love it when you rebel and blow something up. You are our reason for making more laws against all those things, which might contribute to your freedom from us.

If someone did not blow something up on occasion, we would have no justification in placing more laws on you. Can't you see how impossible it is for you to resist us? The more you wiggle, the more we squeeze.

It is said our kingdom is the kingdom of money, but I must confess we are rulers of a kingdom of non-money.

You must see the humor in that statement. We have given you a piece of paper or some numbers on a computer screen that we have termed money.

It is backed up by nothing and proven by nothing, but what we say it is. We create it from nothing, we print it, we loan it, we give it its value, we take its value away. All things that have to do with money are in our hands.

Think of it, what is it that you can do against us without money? If you try to resist, we can cancel your credit or freeze your accounts. Your cash is easily confiscated.

We have made so many rules in the realm of living that you cannot live without money.

Camp on government land and you must move in two weeks. You cannot grow much of a garden in two weeks.

Many of our wilderness trails are entered by permit only.

We have passed laws that do not allow you to live in trailers over a certain period without moving to another location.

Have you not thought it ridiculous that we will allow a man to live in a box, full time, but we will not allow a man to live in a RV, full time, unless he is in a taxpaying campground? We want you to be in the system.

When you are buying a house, we not only receive the tax revenue to use for our purposes, but we gain large increases from the interest on the loan. You may pay for your house two or three times over from the interest alone. The interest is also taxed which is again placed for use in those sectors of influence we choose.

We do not want you to escape free and that is why we have made it as we have.

You are our property. We will not permit you to buy or sell unless you submit to our mark of authority.

If you go to court against us, we will wear you out, and in the end you will lose.

If you use violence, we will end up having you in one of our labor camps; more specifically called, prison industries.

You need our money, our entertainments, our fuel, and our utilities to function and if you don't have them, you feel deprived. By this, you are made to yield to our will.

You don't even know how to think anymore since we have thoroughly emasculated your religions and your faith in God. Now, you only have yourself ... and we have gotten 'that self' pretty well chasing its tail these days.

I hope this little note is sufficient to inform you what the new millennium is all about.

The 21st century is our century. You may stay if you do as you are told.

We have no intention of playing around with your so-called human rights or your so-called Constitution. These things were only used for our purposes, for a time. Your Constitution is a joke to us, and we can do with it what we please.

It probably never occurred to you, that years ago, your Constitution was used to refuse abortions. When we decided to have abortions legalized, we used the same Constitution to justify it.

Your human rights are what we say they are and your Constitution is what we say it is.

We have only used this phrase of "human rights" to keep things sufficiently in turmoil. The more things are unsettled, the better we like them, until we have everything in complete servitude.

This little letter may offend some of you, because it is presented so plainly, but that truly is no concern of ours. In simple terms, to quote our boy Dick Cheney, "You're eff'd!" Have a nice day... [permalink]

George Carlin - The Owners of America

Nobody for President 2012 - None of the Above on Voter Ballots
Nobody Brought Peace To Our Times

"None of the Above" Should Be On Voter Ballots

Oh, I hope that I see you again I never even caught your name As you looked through my window pane -- So I'm writing this message today I'm thinking that you'll have a way Of hearing the notes in my tune -- Where are you going? Where have you been? I can imagine other worlds you have seen -- Beautiful faces and music so serene -- So I do hope I see you again My universal citizen You went as quickly as you came -- You know the power Your love is right You have good reason To stay out of sight -- But break our illusions and help us Be the light -- Message by Michael Pinder

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Freedom of expression and freedom of speech aren't really important unless they're heard...It's hard for me to stay silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war. And there's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action. So I dedicated this Emmy to all the people who feel compelled to speak out and not afraid to speak to power and won't shut up and refuse to be silenced. - Tommy Smothers

Artist, John Flores

The man whispered, "God, speak to me" and a meadowlark sang. But the man did not hear. So the man yelled "God, speak to me" and the thunder rolled across the sky. But the man did not listen. The man looked around and said, "God let me see you" and a star shined brightly. But the man did not notice. And the man shouted, "God show me a miracle" and a life was born. But the man did not know. So the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are there" Whereupon God reached down and touched the man. But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

Somebody is looking at whatever you do, so always present your most charming you
Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way you expect.