Flying Snail - News & Views for Remnants of Paradise
Tell-A-Vision = Why Not Try Love Again?

Blind Spot Band
Blind Spot is scheduled to play at Hidden Valley Lake,
Big Beach, Sunday, July 1, 2012 - 10:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. FREE

Amestizo - BLOG

Putting' on the Ritz ... in Moscow! A GREAT SHOW! == TURN UP YOUR VOLUME!

Young Russians seem a lot happier than their parents! have a look at this scene in Moscow...

Цекало и Puttin` отожгли на Воробьевых горах

What a crazy, delightful ever changing world! Who could have thought that in 2012 young people in Moscow would put on a"flash mob" happening, dancing to an *83 year old* *American song* written by a Russian born American-Jew (Irving Berlin), whose last name is the capital of Germany.

Keith Lampe - Co-Founder of YIPPIE and Progressive Activist Groups

Liberty, freedom, and the attack on the USS Liberty

By Rand Clifford, Posted on June 26, 2012, Article Source

In most languages the terms “liberty” and “freedom” are interchangeable, but there is a fine distinction. Freedom is more general, implying simple exemption from any control or influence by another person or agency; liberty implies laws, a system of order and restraint.

One might say that liberty is the freedom to obey the rules.

Folks taken to task for social improprieties sometimes say, “Hey, it’s a free country.”

People who might know better if politics didn’t stink them up often say: “America is spreading freedom and democracy.”

Benjamin Franklin knew better, but that didn’t stop him from saying that people willing to give up freedom to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.

“Land of the free, home of the brave. . . .”

In his speech to the Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry concluded with, “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death!” So let’s go from here with the term, liberty.

Especially since 9/11, our liberties have been under savage attack. The Constitution is strafed and bombed as the US is marched toward a fascist police state—even torpedoed by much the same forces that labor to cover up the attack on the USS Liberty back on June 8, 1967 . . .

The world’s most sophisticated intelligence ship, the USS Liberty was a $40,000,000 Signals Intelligence platform (SIGNIT) with a crew of 294.

About 6 am local time, an Israeli reconnaissance plane spotted the USS Liberty just outside Israeli coastal radar. Throughout the day, more Israeli reconnaissance planes flew out and orbited the ship at least eight times altogether. Meanwhile, the flight officer who originally spotted the ship teamed with an air-naval liaison officer at Israeli air force headquarters, and they consulted Janes’ Fighting Ships. At 11 am, they identified the ship as the USS Liberty.

At 2 pm, Israeli fighter jets attacked the USS Liberty, initially targeting the command bridge, communications antennas, and the four .50 caliber machine guns placed to repel boarders. After those fighters spent their ordnance, consecutive new waves engaged, adding napalm to the rocket and 30 mm cannon fire. Intense radio jamming contributed to stifling the Liberty’s calls for help to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.

Thirty-five minutes into the air attack, fighters disengaged. Three Israeli torpedo boats closed in for a surface attack, launching five torpedoes—one struck the Liberty opposite its research spaces. The torpedo boats then moved up and down port and starboard, raking the ship with cannon and machine gun fire, targeting anyone who came above decks, destroying firefighting equipment and life rafts.

The Liberty’s defenseless crew eventually patched different systems together and got a distress message through to the Sixth Fleet.

The USS Saratoga and USS America both launched fighters to aid the Liberty; the message for them to destroy the attackers upon arrival was sent “clear” (not encrypted). The torpedo boats suddenly broke off their attack and began radioing the USS Liberty, asking if she needed assistance. An Israeli naval officer notified the US Naval Attaché at the embassy in Tel Aviv, and apologized for Israeli forces mistakenly attacking an American ship.

Then for the first and only time in our history, rescue aircraft were recalled before arriving at the attack site. . . .

So, 17 miles off the coast of Gaza, after eight hours of aerial surveillance, Israel attacked the USS Liberty for two hours, killing 34 and wounding 173. Besides the torpedo and napalm damage, 861 holes the size of a man’s hand and larger were counted, plus thousands of .50 caliber machine gun holes. The SIGINT platform was so damaged the ship never again sailed on a mission. The USS Liberty was sold as scrap for $102,666.66.

Israel freely acknowledged that the ship was American, had remained in international waters; and claimed they never made positive identification before attacking.

Secretary of State Dean Rusk sent a letter to the ambassador of Israel stating that we expected them to take disciplinary measures as required by international law . . . and that was it. There were no disciplinary measures—at least not in Israel. Closing off the affair was a rushed and phony American inquiry into the attack, plus threats to surviving crew members of “court-martial, imprisonment, or worse” if they exposed the truth. Perpetual pressure from the pro-Israel lobby in our country has kept this the only serious naval incident never to be investigated by Congress. The only one—and to this day no surviving crewman has been allowed to officially and publicly testify about the attack.

Richard Helms, CIA director in 1967, later wrote in his memoirs, “ . . . there could be no doubt that the Israelis knew exactly what they were doing in attacking the Liberty.”

In 2005, a request was issued to the Secretary of the Army, as Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense, regarding investigation of war crimes committed against U.S. Military personnel, on behalf of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, Inc. High-level intrigues trumped the request, kept the top-secret lid welded over the truth.

What happened to the USS Liberty seems an excellent metaphor for what is happening to the liberty of Americans. Though torpedoed by the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012), the Constitution still floats. Will it be sold as scrap, like the USS Liberty?

The NDAA torpedo, with its warhead of provisions regarding indefinite military detention of anyone, without charge, nearly blew away the Bill of Rights. A green light for government to disappear American citizens? Sure, “suspicion” of some kind of “connection” with a terrorist group is a requirement for being disappeared, but the suspicion can be anything, even nothing but a whim . . . even nothing at all.

“Evidence? We don’t need no stinkin’ evidence!”

The bottom line of the NDAA, beneath all the specific and carefully worded incoherence: If there is something the government does not like about a citizen, whatever rights they might’ve still had are gone.

But just when it seemed the Constitution might sink in terms of protecting citizens from corporate government out of control, good news floats from the courts, blocking the NDAA—for now at least, pointing toward future missions? With such extensive damage, perhaps the only hope for the USS Constitution is dry dock, massive repairs, and further protection as the NDAA rises toward the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Congress and the Obama administration keep circling the remains. Remember the U.S.S. Liberty

The Bush Crime Family:
Four Generations of Wall Street War-Making and War-Profiteering

by Dr. Eric Karlstrom, August, 2004, Article Source (with clickable links)

I. Introduction

Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company, once stated there are two classes of financiers: 1) Those who profit from war and use their influence to bring about war for profit, and 2) “constructive” financiers. Ford Motor Co., along with about 100 other major U.S. banks and corporations, belongs to the first group (see C. Higham’s Trading with the Enemy). Indeed, Ford himself was actually decorated by the Nazis for his service to Nazism.

Other prominent international banking families that simultaneously bankrolled Hitler, Stalin, and Roosevelt during the first half of the 20th century include the Rockefellers (Standard Oil Company, Chase Bank), the Rothschilds, the Schiffs, the Warburgs, and the Bushes, among others.

Why would the world’s richest individuals simultaneously fund communism in Russia, fascism in Germany, and socialist democracy in the United States? Georgetown historian Carrol Quigley put it this way: “The powers of financial capitalism had a far reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole.” These financial powers had learned that war is the most profitable of all businesses and also the most effective means of changing the global political landscape. Thus, over the past 2 centuries at least, they have covertly manipulated politicians and nations into wars. Their ultimate goal was and is to establish a “New World Order”, a totalitarian one-world government ruled by the very few and very rich, i.e., them. Des Griffin has termed this a “Fourth Reich of the Rich” (Griffin, 1976). George Orwell and Aldous Huxley described what such a world might look like in their classic novels, 1984 and Brave New World.

President George Herbert Walker Bush was not the first or only prominent man to proclaim this “New World Order”. Hitler, President Woodrow Wilson, author H.G. Wells and innumerable other politicians, writers and businessmen have also heralded its immanent arrival. David Rockefeller, Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank and arguably the most powerful American of the last half-century, proclaimed: “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”

Among the most pro-active implementers of this centuries-old project to establish a one-world government are the Bush family, two of which have risen to become U.S. presidents. A brief summary of their major accomplishments should be sufficient to indicate that their activities constitute the highest crimes against the people of the United States and humanity.

II. Samuel Prescott Bush (1863-1948: George W. Bush’s great grandfather). Founder of the Buckeye Steel Castings Company in 1894, Remington Arms Company, and Chief of the Ordnance, Small Arms and Ammunition Section of the War Industries Board for World War I.

In 1918, just after the US entered World War I, Bush became chief of the Ordnance, Small Arms and Ammunition Section of the War Industries Board. In this capacity, he sold weapons made by manufacturers such as his own Remington Arms Company to 75% of the WWI combatants on both sides. Congressional committee hearings in 1934 by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye attacked Bush and other weapons salesmen as war profiteers and “Merchants of Death.” Salesmen from these companies had helped to manipulate the nations into World War I and then made astronomical profits from the sales of the weapons, at the taxpayer’s expense of course. In 1914, the German army under the Kaiser, armed mainly by Samuel Bush, was the largest and best armed in the world. After WWI, the German army was forced to disarm, but Bush was allowed to keep his many millions, and his arms business thrived. In 1944, Bush was awarded a huge government contract to make armor casings for WWII. Most of the records and correspondence of Samuel Bush’s arms deals have been burned “to save space” in the National Archives. This pattern of the systematic deletion of large portions of the public records is typical of all the Bushes.

III. George Herbert Walker (George W. Bush’s other great grandfather): Wall Street banker and director or president of G.H. Walker and Co., J.P. Morgan and Co., Guaranty Trust Co., W.A. Harriman and Co., and Union Banking Corporation.

Walker made his fortune building up the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, financing their oil, coal, steel, and manganese industries, among others. As President of Union Banking Corp. (UBC), he laundered money for Hitler and supplied raw materials essential for Germany’s waging World War II. His most prominent partners in financing Hitler’s war machine were Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush. Together, they ran Harriman-Walker, the Hamburg-Amerika Line (a cover for I.G. Farben’s Nazi espionage unit in the U.S.), the American Ship and Commerce Co. (which smuggled German agents, propaganda, and money into America to bribe American politicians to support the Nazi cause), the Harriman Fifteen Corporation, and the Silesian Holding Company. In addition, their Consolidated Silesian Steel Corporation owned 1/3 of a complex of steel-making, coal-mining, and zinc-mining activities in Germany. (Friederich Flick owned two-thirds and was sentenced to 7 years imprisonment by the Nuremburg Tribunal, but the American partners were never tried). The Nazi army was equipped by Flick, Harriman, Walker, and Bush with materials stolen from Poland. Meanwhile, Soviet army vehicles were fueled by oil pumped from Baku wells revived by the Harriman/Walker/Bush enterprise.

When the U.S. government seized the Silesian-American Corp. in 1942 under the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” George Herbert Walker was still the senior director of the company.

IV. Prescott Sheldon Bush (George W. Bush’s grandfather; 1885-1972, Yale, Skull & Bones, class of 1917): Wall Street banker, Vice President of W. A. Harriman and Co., and director or senior partner in Union Banking Corporation (UBC) and Brown Brothers, Harriman, and a manager of Silesian-American Corp., the Holland-American Trading Corp. and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation, which were Nazi front organizations run by the Bush-Harriman bank, UBC.

Although Union Banking Corporation (UBC) was exposed as a de facto Nazi front organization by the U.S. government in Congressional hearings, Prescott Bush, Harriman, and George Herbert Walker continued doing business with the Nazis for 8 months after the U.S. entered World War II. When the US government seized control of UBC under the “Trading with the Enemy Act,” all the shares were owned by Prescott Bush, E. Roland Harriman, three Nazi executives, and two other Bush associates (Four of the eight directors were members of Skull and Bones, class of 1917). The US government also seized several subsidiaries run by the Bush-Harriman bank (UBC), including The Holland-American Trading Corp., the Seamless Steel Equipment Corp, the Silesian-American Corp., and the Harriman Fifteen Holding Company and determined that huge sections of Prescott Bush’s empire were operated on behalf of Nazi Germany and had greatly assisted the Nazi war effort.

Bush and his partners profited greatly from the slave labor at Auschwitz via a partnership with I.G. Farben, the third largest business in Germany under Hitler. U.S. government reports also indicate that UBC was an interlocking concern with the German Steel Trust and Congressional reports show that German Steel Trust furnished the Nazi government with 51% of its pig iron, 41.4% of its universal plat, 36% of heavy plate, 38.5% of galvanized plate, 42.5% of pipes and tubes, 22.1% of wire, and 35% of explosives. Bush and Harriman each received $1.5 million in compensation for their seized assets.

This story has been suppressed by the US media. And it has not appeared in any of the major Bush family biographies. However, not only were Prescott Bush and the other directors of UBC legally front men for the Nazis, they hired, armed and instructed Hitler’s Nazi army. (Adolf Hitler, once a destitute artist who lived in flop houses, came to power with a private army of 300,000 to 400,000 men, which included the Brown Shirts).

Prescott Bush later served as a director of Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., Prudential Insurance, Dresser Industries, Inc., Hydrocarbon Research, Inc., Wanadium Corp. of America, and U.S. Guaranty Trust, among other companies, until 1952 when he was elected U.S. Senator from Connecticut.

Conclusion: A major part of the Bush family fortune is due to the “Hitler Project”, which included the slave labor and Holocaust at Auschwitz.

V. George Herbert Walker Bush (George W. Bush’s father; 1924- present, Yale, Skull & Bones, class of 1948).

Our 41st president’s political life has been intertwined with four of the most powerful and profitable business enterprises on the planet: banking, oil, the arms/intelligence industries, and sales of illegal drugs. He began his career as an oil salesman for Dresser Industries and went on to co-found his own oil company, Zapata Petroleum Corp. of Houston. This would spin off to Zapata Offshore and Pennzoil/Zapata. Bush was president of Zapata Oil from 1954 to 1964 and Zapata Offshore from 1964 to 1966.

Persistent reports indicate Bush was also an undercover CIA agent in the early 60’s, playing a prominent role in the “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba (code name: Operation Zapata) in 1961 and probably the Kennedy assassination in 1963. Newly released FBI documents place Bush in Miami in 1960 and 1961, recruiting Cubans for the Bay of Pigs invasion. That’s how he met Felix Rodriguez who became part of a special CIA shooter team. George Bush, Howard Hunt, Frank Sturgis, and Richard Nixon have all been traced to Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, the day of Kennedy’s assassination. Hunt and Sturgis were among the 6 to 8 “derelicts” or “hobos” found in boxcars near railroad tracks behind the grassy knoll near Dealy Plaza. But they were never finger-printed or photographed in association with Kennedy’s murder.

Bush was elected to Congress in 1966, but lost a bid for the Senate in 1970. Even so, Nixon appointed him ambassador to the UN in 1971. Here he took orders from Henry Kissinger (who worked for the Rockefeller interests) and became a Kissinger-clone. In 1973, Nixon appointed him Republican National Chairman, where he seems to have played an important, behind-the-scenes role in the Watergate Scandal. Then, as Ambassador to China, Bush helped Kissinger oust Cambodian leader Lon Nol and install Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. More than 2 of a total 7 million Cambodians perished under Pol Pot, an estimated 32% of the population.

In 1976, Bush became Director of the CIA. When elected Vice President in 1980, he put his family fortune into a blind trust under the control of his close friend, William Stamps Farish, III, who also had inherited much of the Auschwitz death camp fortune. (Farish’s grandfather was president of Standard Oil and controller of the global cartel between Standard Oil and the German I.G. Farben Corp., which operated the Auschwitz slave labor camps to produce artificial rubber and gasoline from coal. There, Jews and political opponents of Hitler were worked to death or murdered.)

Some of Bush’s other notable, but generally under-reported, contributions include:

1) Helping to orchestrate the “October Surprise,” in which the Iranian government was bribed or coerced into holding the American hostages until after the 1980 election, thereby helping to ensure Carter’s defeat and a Reagan/Bush victory.

2) The assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan two months after he took office. The Hinkley family, a Houston oil family, are long-time friends of the Bushes.

3) Presiding over the Savings and Loan/HUD scandal, in which taxpayers were made to pay over $500 billion for bailing out failed S&Ls. Son Neil Bush, director of Silverado Savings and Loan in Denver, is reported to have personally profited by about $1 billion.

4) As VP and therefore Head of the National Security Council’s Groups on Crisis Management, Drug Addiction, and Terrorism, Bush directed the Iran-Contra drug scandal, in which the secret government (comprised of ex-CIA and military intelligence operatives and businessmen) diverted profits from illegal arms sales to Iran to illegally fund the revolutionary Contras of Nicaragua and the Mujahadeen of Afghanistan. Under CIA protection, these covert operators flew vast quantities of cocaine and heroin into the poor neighborhoods of America, again using drug profits to fund the illegal covert war in Nicaragua, etc.

5) Under Bush’s watch, the CIA spent over $3 billion dollars fomenting holy war (“Jihad”) and training and funding the Mujahadeen terorists (including Osama bin Laden), their networks, and training camps in Afghanistan. Thus, the Taliban, the Mujahadeen, and Osama bin Laden were established as CIA assets and remain so to this day. Not coincidentally, under CIA supervision during the 80’s, Afghanistan became the number one heroin producer and exporter in the world. In 2000, the Taliban government banned the production of poppies (heroin). However, after the recent invasion of Iraq and installation of an American puppet government, Afghanistan is again the number heroin producer in the world.

6) Under Bush’s supervision of the first “War on Terrorism,” hundreds of thousands of Innocent civilians were killed, tortured and disappeared in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. Another million or so each, again mostly civilians, were killed in the U.S.-supported and funded wars in Afghanistan and Iraq/Iran.

7) Presiding over invasions into both Panama and Iraq in which some 8000 Panamanians and over 200,000 Iraqis were killed. The U.S had illegally sold tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons, including chemical and biological weapons, to Saddam Hussein during the 80’s to help him build the strongest regional power in the Middle East. Evidence indicates that Saddam was more or less set up for the Gulf War when U.S. Ambassador Glaspie told him the U.S. had no interest in his border dispute with Kuwait. I.e., it was a trap.

However, there were also perks for this hardworking politician/businessman. According to retired Brigadier General Bowen (in The Immaculate Deception: The Bush Crime Family Exposed), Bush and Saddam Hussein split about $250 billion in Persian Gulf oil kickbacks during the 1980’s, which were laundered through the scandal-ridden Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
In 1988, Project Censored awarded the honor of “Top Censored Story” to the story of George Bush, revealing “how the major mass media ignored, overlooked or under-covered at least ten critical stories reported in America’s alternative press that raised serious questions about the Republican candidate, George Bush, dating from his reported role as a CIA “asset” in 1963 to his Presidential campaign’s connection with a network of anti-Semites with Nazi and fascist affiliations in 1988.”

Today, Bush Sr. is a highly-paid consultant for the Carlyle Group, America’s 11th largest military contractor. In this capacity, he went to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Bin Laden family and the Saudi Royal family in 1998 and 2000. The Carlyle Group stands to make billions of dollars from Jr. Bush’s “War on Terror.” Thus, Bush Sr. is still profiteering handsomely from his insider connections.

VI. George W. Bush (1946-present, Yale, Skull & Bones, class of 1968).

As governor of Texas, the 43rd president of the United States presided over the execution of 52 inmates, including mentally retarded prisoners- more than any other governor in US history. He did, however, pardon one death row prisoner, a serial killer. As governor, he changed pollution laws to benefit energy companies and made Texas the most polluted state in the nation. Some of his other notable contributions include:

1) Presiding over the government’s complicity and cover-up of the killing of about 3,000 people at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (see many references below).

2) Presiding over the greatest rollback of Constitutional civil liberties in the history of the country. The Patriot I and Homeland Security Acts, passed in 2001 and 2002, respectively, along with the pending Patriot II Act eliminate or threaten Constitutional rights guaranteed in our 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments (see attachment).

3) The high-tech massacre of many thousands of innocent and defenseless Afghani and Iraqi civilians who posed no security threat to the U.S. whatsoever and had no part in the crimes of 9-11. The two primary resources thereby controlled are opium and an oil pipeline in Afghanistan and, of course, oil in Iraq. The Bush administration, obviously responding to demands from the major oil companies, is clearly pursuing a strategy to dominate the world’s last, greatest fossil fuel reserves in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Basin.

4) Leading a “pre-emptive” war against Iraq in violation of international law (including the UN charter, the Nuremburg Tribunal and the Geneva Accords) and on the basis of entirely false pretexts. Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) carefully documents 237 lies told by the Bush administration in their efforts to convince the American people, the Congress, and the UN to go to war in Iraq. Interestingly, this document is no longer on the web.

5) Proposing an endless “War on Terror” (i.e., military conquest abroad in service of resource looting for international corporations and a police state at home to suppress dissent), when, in fact, evidence shows that the “War on Terror” is a fraud and that the greatest purveyor of terror in the world, by far, is the U.S. government, with its CIA, School of the Americas, etc.

6) Presiding over the loss, mostly by outsourcing, of some 2.5 million American jobs in his first two years in office.

7) Granting trillions of dollars worth of tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans. Thereby, spending the $7 trillion surplus he inherited from Clinton and allowing the federal deficit to exceed a record $7 trillion, mainly by granting gigantic tax cuts to the rich and making huge increases in military spending.

8) Presiding over one of the greatest Wall Street scandals (and stock market crashes) of all time (the Enron scandal, the creation of artificial gas shortages in California, etc.).

9) De-funding and thereby further crippling our education, social services, health care, etc.

10) The worst environmental record of any U.S. president in history, including the systematic weakening and rollback of all major environmental laws and regulations.

VII. Conclusion
Four generations of Bushes have been instrumental, along with other Wall Street and international bankers, in creating and financing a series of great enemies (including the Soviets, the Nazis, Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden). They and their international business partners, which typically include enemy leaders, have reaped tremendous profits from the wars they have orchestrated. The Bushes have been intimately involved in all the most profitable businesses, including banking (usury), energy (oil), sales of illicit drugs, and weapons/intelligence. Three generations of Bushes have been involved in America’s most elite secret society, Yale’s Skull and Bones, which many believe to be Satanic. The “Great Plan” which they have been working so hard to usher in calls for the destruction of the United States of America as a sovereign nation and the establishment of a “New World Order”, effectively a “Fourth Reich of the Rich.” Thus, they are all guilty of the highest crimes against humanity and the American people.

Rough tally of humans killed by the New World Order so far:

World War I
21 million
World War II
25 million

Korean War
1 million

Southeast Asian Wars (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia)
6 million

Iraq War (1991-2004)
nearly 2 million

Afghanistan Wars of 1980s and 2001
over 1 million

Other miscellaneous Third World Wars
over 5 million

Russians killed in one decade in WWI And under Lenin and Stalin
75 million

Chinese killed by Mao Tse Tung
100 milllion

Rough total
over 236 million

It seems obvious that unless and until the Bush dynasty and their associates (international bankers, corporate and military leaders, secret societies, etc.) are exposed and brought to justice, they will continue to orchestrate and profit from future wars to the detriment of all humanity.


Ahmed, N.M., 2002. The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked September 11, 2001, Media Messenger Books, 398 pp.

Andreas, J., 2002, Addicted to War: Why the U.S. Can’t Kick Militarism, AK Press, Oakland.

Bowen, R.W., 1991, The Immaculate Deception; The Bush Crime Family Exposed, America West Publishers, 210 pp.

Brewton, P., 1992, The Mafia, CIA, and George Bush, S.P.I. Books, 418 pp.

Burbach, R., and Clark, B., 2002, September 11 and the U.S. War: Beyond the Curtain of Smoke, City Lights Books, San Francisco, 174 pp.

Chossudovsky, M., 2002, War and Globalization: The Truth Behind September 11, Global Outlook, 158 pp.

Dowbenko, U., 2003, Bushwhacked: Inside Stories of True Conspiracy, Conspiracy Digest, LLC 357 pp.

Griffin, D., 1976, Fourth Reich of the Rich, Emissary Publications.

Griffin, D.R., 2004, The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11. Olive Branch Press, 214 pp.

Higham, C., 1983, Trading with the Enemy: An Expose of the Nazi-American Money Plot 1933- 1949, Delacorte Press, New York, 277 pp.

Hufschmidt, E., 2002, Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11 Attack, Endpoint Software, Goleta, CA, 154 pp.

Klein, N., 2004, Baghdad year zero: Pillaging Iraq in pursuit of neocon utopia, Harpers, vol. 309, no. 1852, 43-53.

Meyssen, T., 9/11 The Big Lie, Carnot Publishing, Ltd., 236 pp.

Millegan, K.Ed., Fleshing Out Skull and Bones: Investigations into America’s Most Powerful Secret Society. 712 pp.

Paul, D., 2002, “9/11”: Facing our Fascist State & What a Plot!, Irresistable/Revolutionary, San Francisco, 144 pp.

Scheer, C., Scheer, R., and Chaudhry, L., 2003, The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told us about Iraq, Seven Stories Press, 174 pp.

Sutton, A.C., 1975, Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler, Bloomfield Books.

Sutton, A.c., 1986, America’s Secret Establishment: An Introduction to the Order of Skull and Bones, Trine Day, 317 pp.

Tarpley, W. and Chaitkin, A., 1992, George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, Executive Intelligence Review, 659 pp.


Aftermath: Unanswered Questions from 9-11, Guerilla News Network,

The Great Deception: The War on Terrorism, An Alternative View,

Painful Deceptions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack, Eric Hufschmid,

Truth and Lies of 9-11, Michael Ruppert, 2001.

War and Globalization: The Truth Behind September 11, Global Outlook, M. Chossudovsky, 2003.

9-11 Failure, Ted Gunderson (career FBI agent),

911 In Plane Site, The Power Hour, David Von Kleist, 2004.

Web sites

Mike Wilhelm - Charlatans, Flamin' Groovies, Loose Gravel, and more

Bay Area Blues Greats honored by Blues Hall of Fame

By Alex Johns

SAUSALITO - A very special event will happen at Presidio Yacht Club on Thursday, July 5 when the National Blues Hall Of Fame's San Francisco Ambassador Monica Dupont presents certificates inducting several great blues artists into the National Blues Hall of Fame. Musicians being inducted are Alice Stuart, Mike Wilhelm, Ron Thompson, Volker Strifler, Addie, Mitch Woods and Stompy Jones. Legendary blues artists from the Bay Area will be posthumously honored as well. In her personal invitation to participants Dupont writes, "Many talented people will be there, sitting in and showing their love and support. This will be a great evening!!!" A door prize raffle drawing will be held to award autographed CDs from artists in attendance.

The house band for this historic event is Mike Wilhelm & Hired Guns augmented by special guest stars including NBHOF Ambassador Monica Dupont, multi-instrumentalists Gary Novak and Buzzy Linhart, guitarist/vocalist Volker Strifler, Stompy Jones vocalist Christopher Binnings, vocalist Warren Cushenberry, trombonist/vocalist Ed Earley, vocalist Lisa Kindred, drummer Bill Baron, the Ravines, vocalist/guitarist Rev. Rabia and many more outstanding players. The event will be recorded on video for the NBHOF archives. [click to continue reading]

Ancient Chinese pottery confirmed as the oldest yet found

20,000-year-old discovery helps dispel conventional theories that hunter-gatherers did not use pottery

Associated Press,, Thursday 28 June 2012 20.25 BST, Article Source

One of the pottery fragments recovered from the Xianrendong cave in south China's Jiangxi province. Photograph: AP
One of the pottery fragments recovered from the Xianrendong cave in south China's Jiangxi province. Photograph: AP

Pottery fragments found in a south China cave have been confirmed to be 20,000 years old, making them the oldest known pottery in the world, archaeologists say.

The findings, which appear in the journal Science on Friday, add to recent efforts that have dated pottery piles in east Asia to more than 15,000 years ago, refuting conventional theories that the invention of pottery correlates to the period about 10,000 years ago when humans moved from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.

The research by a team of Chinese and American scientists also pushes the emergence of pottery back to the last ice age, which might provide new explanations for the creation of pottery, said Gideon Shelach, chair of the Louis Frieberg Center for East Asian Studies at The Hebrew University in Israel.

"The focus of research has to change," Shelach, who is not involved in the research project in China, said by telephone.

In an accompanying Science article, Shelach wrote that such research efforts "are fundamental for a better understanding of socio-economic change (25,000 to 19,000 years ago) and the development that led to the emergence of sedentary agricultural societies".

He said the disconnection between pottery and agriculture as shown in east Asia might shed light on specifics of human development in the region.

Wu Xiaohong, professor of archaeology and museology at Peking University and the lead author of the Science article that details the radiocarbon dating efforts, told The Associated Press that her team was eager to build on the research.

"We are very excited about the findings. The paper is the result of efforts done by generations of scholars," Wu said. "Now we can explore why there was pottery in that particular time, what were the uses of the vessels, and what role they played in the survival of human beings."

The ancient fragments were discovered in the Xianrendong cave in south China's Jiangxi province, which was excavated in the 1960s and again in the 1990s, according to the journal article.

Wu, a chemist by training, said some researchers had estimated that the pieces could be 20,000 years old, but that there were doubts.

"We thought it would be impossible because the conventional theory was that pottery was invented after the transition to agriculture that allowed for human settlement."

But by 2009, the team – which includes experts from Harvard and Boston universities – was able to calculate the age of the pottery fragments with such precision that the scientists were comfortable with their findings, Wu said.

"The key was to ensure the samples we used to date were indeed from the same period of the pottery fragments," she said.

That became possible when the team was able to determine the sediments in the cave were accumulated gradually without disruption that might have altered the time sequence, she said.

Scientists took samples, such as bones and charcoal, from above and below the ancient fragments in the dating process, Wu said.

"This way, we can determine with precision the age of the fragments, and our results can be recognised by peers," Wu said.

Shelach said he found the process done by Wu's team to be meticulous and that the cave had been well protected throughout the research.

The same team in 2009 published an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in which they determined the pottery fragments found in south China's Hunan province to be 18,000 years old, Wu said.

"The difference of 2,000 years might not be significant in itself, but we always like to trace everything to its earliest possible time," Wu said. "The age and location of pottery fragments help us set up a framework to understand the dissemination of the artifacts and the development of human civilisation."

Keith Lampe - Co-Founder of YIPPIE and Progressive Activist Groups

The Dirty Fucking Hippies Were Right

Manipulation Accomplished

Manipulation Accomplished by War Criminals Cheney and Bush
Supreme Court Sucks Corporate Richards

Supreme Court to democracy: Drop dead

With a single rash, partisan act, the high court has tainted the Bush presidency, besmirched its own reputation and soiled our nation's proudest legacy.

By Gary Kamiya, Salon's executive editor

Dec. 14, 2000 | Tuesday, Dec. 12, is a day that will live in American infamy long after the tainted election of George W. Bush has faded from memory. With their rash, divisive decision to dispense with the risky and inconvenient workings of democracy and simply award the presidency to their fellow Republican, five right-wing justices dragged the Supreme Court down to perhaps its most ignominious point since the Dred Scott decision.

The court was the last American civic institution to have preserved an aura of impartiality, to be regarded as above the gutter of partisanship and self-interest. The reality, of course, is that no court, no judge, no human being, is completely free of those entanglements. Yet the court has generally acted wisely in avoiding judgments that would inevitably and utterly besmirch it. With one reckless and partisan ruling, it squandered its most precious possession: its reputation. It may take years, even decades, to repair the damage done by the Scalia-Rehnquist court's decision to cancel the election and crown the winner.

It's hard not to conclude, now that this whole sorry saga is over, that the fix was in from the beginning. Not the crude, "vast right-wing conspiracy" fix of Hillary Clinton's imagination, but a de facto fix. Why shouldn't one think the game was rigged, when five Republican-appointed justices -- one of whose son works for the law firm of the lawyer representing Bush, another of whose wife is recruiting staff for the Bush admininstration and two of whom have made clear their desire to retire under a Republican administration -- trashed their entire judicial philosophy to ram through, with only the most cramped of legal justifications, a last-second victory for a Republican who lost the national popular vote and, when the votes in Florida are actually counted, is likely to have lost the Florida one as well?

Perfect justice does not exist. But this was judicial folly, politically explosive and judicially threadbare. This was the court stepping in and awarding victory to one side before the game was over. Even those of us who don't often agree with the court's conservative majority expected better.

As Justice Stevens wrote in his savage dissent, "The position by the majority of this court can only lend credence to the most cynical appraisal of the work of judges throughout the land ... Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

As soon as the ruling was handed down, a nearly hysterical chorus of TV commentators, many of them cynical bear-baiters who wouldn't believe oaths sworn by their own mothers, suddenly pulled long faces and began urging the American people to accept the court's verdict, defer to its wisdom, venerate its grandeur, unite around Bush and generally go quietly back indoors to await further instructions. Television is never more nauseating than when it slips imperceptibly into its role as quasi-official national nanny, instructing the unruly masses in correct civic comportment. But if the dissenting justices can pour bile on the majority's opinions -- Stevens explicitly accuses his conservative brethren of impugning the integrity of their judicial colleagues -- why is it so frightening for the people to do the same thing? The American people's allegiance to democracy should be greater than our fealty to a court that has just spat in its face. In any case, we survived His Fraudulency I, the unduly elected Rutherford B. Hayes, and we will survive His Fraudulency II.

What the court ruled, when you get down to it, was that democracy shouldn't be allowed to get in the way of bureaucracy. One man, one vote? Overrated. Every vote counts? Too much trouble. None of those democratic pieties, the court in its infinite wisdom ruled, are as important as strict adherence to niggling rules and timetables -- rules and timetables that the court itself had the power to set aside.

If a court received evidence that a condemned prisoner was actually innocent, but that evidence arrived five minutes after some subclerk's filing deadline, you would not expect it to simply blithely proceed with the execution on the grounds that proper paperwork had not been done. But that, in effect, is precisely what the Supreme Court did. And what it killed was not only any possibility that this election will ever be regarded as fair or final but the principle that every vote must be counted.

Of course, the Florida recount was flawed. The justices had legitimate reason to be troubled by irregularities in the recount process. The differing standards about what constituted a legal vote, left open by the vague Florida statutory language about the "intent of the voter" and the "clear intent of the voter," opened a Pandora's box -- start recounting without a clear standard and you're in an endless wilderness of enigmatic chads.

But the court's position that those irregularities -- which are comparable to the irregularities that plague every election in every state in the country -- violated equal protection rights and therefore are a matter for federal intervention, is indefensible. It's indefensible on grounds of judicial consistency, considering the court's long history of deference to the states in establishing and interpreting local law. But the real reason it's indefensible is factual.

If the recount violated equal protection rights, then the entire Florida election -- not to mention the national one -- did, too. As Gore attorney David Boies pointed out in oral arguments before the court (although he might as well have been talking to five potted plants -- those minds were closed), the different standards used in counting punch-card ballots have considerably less impact on which votes end up counting (the heart of the equal protection claim) than the different voting machines that are used. Optical scan devices, found in richer, whiter, pro-Bush counties, generate many fewer errors than punch-card devices, which are found in poorer, blacker, pro-Gore ones. Yet the U.S. Supreme Court did not suddenly drop its long-standing aversion to meddling in state affairs and rush into Florida to rectify this grave inequality. That apparently only happens when a fellow Republican needs rescuing.

In any case, even assuming that the differing standards used to evaluate punch-card ballots constitute grounds for federal intervention, there was a clear and fair solution, as suggested by Justice Souter in his dissent: Impose a statewide standard, to be overseen by a judge, and see if the recount could be completed by Dec. 18, the date set for the meeting of electors.

What harm would there be in attempting to carry out this remedy? The court made much of Dec. 12, the "safe harbor" deadline after which the frail craft carrying Florida's precious electors would be buffeted by unknown seas -- smashed by Hurricane DeLay, drenched by Tsunami Lott. But as all the dissenters pointed out, nothing in the Constitution requires states to send electors by that date. A safe harbor means exactly that: a safe harbor. Why not expose the electoral dinghy to those seas? What was the court so worried about? Could it be that, like the man to whom they served up the election, their real fear was that Bush might not win? How else to explain their refusal to pursue the option that many observers thought they would -- an evenhanded solution that would have guaranteed victory to neither man, honored the sacred principle that every vote counts, restored the luster to the court and prevented their legacy from being tarnished forever?

Instead of starting with the principle that the sacred duty of any court intervening in an election is to get the votes counted, and doing everything in their power to make that happen in as fair a way as possible, the five GOP justices simply declared that it couldn't be done because recounts weren't perfect and -- gosh, look at my watch! -- time had expired.

This argument is the epitome of probity, if you take your judicial philosophy from Kafka. The majority said the recount couldn't be done in time -- then smashed the clock with a hammer. They had the colossal gall to write, "A desire for speed is not a general excuse for ignoring equal protection guarantees" -- when they were the ones who halted the recount and imposed artificial deadlines that made that "desire for speed" necessary. As Justice Ginsburg said in her dissent, "The court's conclusion that a constitutionally adequate recount is impractical is a prophecy the court's own judgment will not allow to be tested. Such an untested prophecy should not decide the presidency of the United States."

It is difficult to avoid the degrading conclusion -- degrading, because it implies a substantial lack of judicial competence and integrity on the part of the court's majority -- that from the start the court's right-wing majority, like the Bush camp to which it has so many ties, secretly regarded the very idea of a recount as suspect, inferior, secondary, an ignoble and unacceptable tainting of the God-given, majestic, sacrosanct first-count results (which just happened to show Bush in a razor-thin lead). The single most frightening image of the entire surreal episode may have been James Baker's icy, contemptuous rage as he denounced Gore's request for a recount -- his scowling face almost a caricature of the left's cartoon image of the authoritarian, white-haired, vengeful, win-at-all-costs, God-is-on-our-side right-winger. The Supreme Court ruling had footnotes instead of rage, but it seems to have operated on the same assumptions.

Justice Scalia confirmed this with his bizarre defense of his order to stop the recount, in which he gratuitously said, "The counting of votes that are of questionable legality does in my view threaten irreparable harm to petitioner, and to the country, by casting a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election." It was prudent of Justice Scalia to include the words "what he claims to be," but does anyone really doubt that Scalia, like those Bush supporters who kept angrily braying that Bush had "won," believed that the Texas governor should by rights have already moved into the White House, and Gore's attempts to find out what the vote actually was were damn near treasonous?

This we-already-won mind-set explains why the court signally failed to look at the election as a whole, and craft a remedy that tacitly acknowledged the errors both sides made -- a ruling that would have been as politically wise as the one it issued was divisive and rash.

Courts are not explicitly political institutions, but when dealing with an issue as momentous as the election of a president, it would seem wise for the court to assess the entire context in which a given legal challenge takes place. The Florida election was an equal-opportunity debacle: Both sides acted wrongly and bear some responsibility for the mess. But no one objective could conceivably look at it and claim that the Democrats had overreached so badly that they deserved to be terminated by judicial fiat.

Florida's governor was George W. Bush's brother. Its secretary of state, who never ruled against him, was a high-ranking official in his campaign who hired a private voter-roll cleansing company with Republican ties that disqualified hundreds of legitimate Democratic voters. The Florida GOP illegally completed Republican ballot applications in Martin and Seminole counties while denying Gore campaign workers the same opportunity to correct Democratic ballot applications. It took every opportunity to disqualify improper ballots for Gore, while demonizing Gore for doing the same thing to military overseas ballots. Determined to ensure a Bush victory at all cost, the GOP-controlled Legislature voted to push a slate of Bush electors through -- regardless of what recounts might show. And, of course, the GOP dragged its feet at every turn, resisting recounts and trying to run out the clock.

The Democrats, for their part, lost the moral high ground by failing to call for a statewide manual recount from the beginning. They squandered more capital threatening to sue over a ballot designed by a Democrat. They ignored the obvious injustice of changing the definition of what vote should count in the middle of the process: Palm Beach's recount, in which the standard kept changing, was a travesty. And, like their Republican counterparts, they played hardball with every ballot they could get their hands on.

In light of this situation, a ruling that handed victory to one side and not the other was the last thing, from a political as well as an ethical perspective, the court should have been looking for. And fortunately for the court, a decision to remand back to the Florida Supreme Court would not by any means have ensured a Gore victory -- Bush was actually gaining votes by some accounts -- making it the right thing to do both legally and politically. Yet the court, in thrall to the idea that Bush had already won and, one suspects, secretly accepting the Rush Limbaugh crowd's canard that the hand recounts were not just subject to different standards but to malevolent Democratic manipulation and chad chomping, did not even try. It stopped the counting. It stopped the election. It stopped democracy.

Justice Ginsberg, in her dissent, summed up the case with quiet eloquence. "Ideally, perfection would be the appropriate standard for judging the recount. But we live in an imperfect world, one in which thousands of votes have not been counted. I cannot grant that the recount adopted by the Florida court, flawed as it is, would yield a result less fair or precise than the certification that preceded recount."

Thousands of votes have not been counted. Think about that, whatever your political persuasion is, from time to time during the next four years. Imagine them, gathering dust in a filing cabinet somewhere, each one of them expressing the choice of a person who, when he went to the polling place that Tuesday in November, had every expectation that the United States would do its very best to ensure that whether he was rich or poor, black or white, he would be heard.

The people have not been heard. They will not be heard. And each of those uncounted ballots is a cry of reproach against the act of judicial arrogance that has now forever silenced them. [permalink]

People Believe What They Want To Believe

All Things Wildly Considered, Posted by Frank's Think Tank, Sunday, April 11, 2010, Article Source

The truth of the matter is disturbing. Most people will believe what they want. Despite knowledge, circumstance, evidence, and other means that aid positive discernment, most people will face resistance to the contrary and still believe what they want to believe. In this sense, not much has changed human nature: people often believe without good reason. Support for this thesis is well documented.

When people do have a belief for certain reasons, and those reasons are refuted-- taken away or weakened by other evidence--they still often stand on their original point of view instead of making needed adjustments. Even if the alternative is compelling, people will tend to hang onto scanty evidence rather than to change their minds. Personal bias has strong roots that prove difficult to remove.

Gregory Koukl ("People Believe What They Want,", 1996) states,

"So, people will say, 'Life on Mars! It's already been proven.' Well, it hasn't...The point is, the evidence for ancient life on Mars wasn't conclusive in any way, shape or form. Yet those who want to believe in life on other planets or in evolution-- and even if there was life on Mars, it wouldn't prove evolution, as I pointed out-- they seize on this scanty evidence... I think the Mars rock is much ado about nothing... All of a sudden this rock makes it into the news. They see a couple of forms one-hundredth the width of a human hair through an electron microscope. Scattered around it are some chemicals that are sometimes, but not necessarily, associated with life. As one person pointed out, if this had been found on earth, no one would have ever drawn the conclusion that this was life."

People have propensities for the confirmation bias (which seeks and finds confirmatory evidence for what they already believe) and the hindsight bias (which tailors after-the-fact explanations to what they already know happened). Arthur Goldwag’s book, Cults, Conspiracies, and Secret Societies (Vintage, 2009) finds bias in this example:

"Even the most trivial detail seems to glow with significance," Goldwag explains, noting the JFK assassination as a prime example. "Knowing what we know now ... film footage of Dealey Plaza from November 22, 1963, seems pregnant with enigmas and ironies—from the oddly expectant expressions on the faces of the onlookers on the grassy knoll in the instants before the shots were fired (What were they thinking?) to the play of shadows in the background (Could that flash up there on the overpass have been a gun barrel gleaming in the sun?).

"Each odd excrescence, every random lump in the visual texture seems suspicious. Add to these factors how compellingly a good narrative story can tie it all together—think of Oliver Stone’s JFK or Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, both equally fictional." (Michael Shermer, "Why People Believe In Conspiracies," Scientific American, September 2009)

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis, and ignore or underweigh evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. Robert T. Carroll (The Skeptic's Dictionary, 2009) says, "For example, if you believe that during a full moon there is an increase in admissions to the emergency room where you work, you will take notice of admissions during a full moon, but be inattentive to the moon when admissions occur during other nights of the month. A tendency to do this over time unjustifiably strengthens your belief in the relationship between the full moon and accidents and other lunar effects."

Thomas Gilovich confirms that the "most likely reason for the excessive influence of confirmatory information is that it is easier to deal with cognitively" (How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life, 1993) It is much easier to see how a piece of data supports a position than it is to see how it might count against the position.

A person can apply confirmation bias in extra-perception. When one considers a typical ESP experiment or a seemingly clairvoyant dream, successes are often unambiguous or data are easily massaged to count as successes, while negative instances require intellectual effort to even see them as negative or to consider them as significant. And, the tendency to give more attention and weight to the positive and the confirmatory has been shown to influence people's memories. When digging into their memories for data relevant to a position, people are more likely to recall data that confirms the position.

Hindsight Bias

Hindsight bias occurs when people who know the answer vastly overestimate its predictability or obviousness, compared to the estimates of subjects who must guess without advance knowledge. In other words, hindsight bais is the tendency people have to view events as more predictable than they really are. After an event, they often believe that they knew the outcome of the event before it actually happened.

Even in experiments, people often recall their predictions before the event as much stronger than they actually were.
The hindsight bias is often referred to as the "I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon." College students have also experienced the hindsight bias in their own studies. As they read their course texts, the information may seem easy. "Of course," they might think after reading the results of a study or experiment. "I knew that all along." When it comes to test time, however, the presence of many different answers on a multiple choice test may make people realize that they did not know the material quite as well as they thought they did. By being aware of this problem, people can develop good study habits to overcome the tendency to assume that they "knew-it-all-along." (David G. Myers, Social Psychology, 8th ed., 2005)

Of course, this famous example of hindsight bias occurred after the 1986 Challenger exploded for reasons traced to an O-ring losing flexibility at low temperature. There were warning signs of a problem with the O-rings. Still, according to Eliezer Yudkowsky (, August 16 2007), "...preventing the Challenger disaster would have required, not attending to the problem with the O-rings, but attending to every warning sign which seemed as severe as the O-ring problem, without benefit of hindsight. It could have been done, but it would have required a general policy much more expensive than just fixing the O-Rings."


It may prove dangerous and certainly stupid "to believe what you want to believe." In matters of human interest and in affairs of human communication, many people want their instinct to guide them through muddy waters. Not only do the biases of confirmation and hindsight push themselves into argumentation but also the deliberate use of fallacies to confuse information apply their negative influence. Often in arguments, people completely ignore facts.

"I don't like the looks of it."
"Something about it doesn't smell right."
"I knew it all along."
"He or she is just like that."
"He (or she) did it once, so he (or she) will do it again."
"I could tell this was going to happen."
"He (or she) is certainly not one of us."
"He (or she) just doesn't have any faith."
"People with those dumb opinions just get on my nerves."

Do any of these sentences sound familiar? Have you encountered resistance because you have a different opinion or because someone refuses to think about an alternative? Do friends and even family prejudge your motives or your words? Do they simply wish you would "shut up"?

Without much doubt, people believe what they want to believe; however, we all don't believe the same set of ideals and values for the same set of reasons. Diversity can be a strong motive for change when it is allowed to develop.
Without a voice, people are denied the opportunity to affect change. Without different voices, society stagnates.

Tonight, I'm feeling as if someone could listen to my point of view, even if it is unpopular, because I value expression and because I am not like everyone else. Judgments and sentences do not always change conditions for the better. Isolation and disregard leave scars that seldom heal. My sense of the truth is far from perfect, but I do believe the so-called truth is not as straight and narrow as many may believe. To most, truth depends upon what they want to believe. And, believe me, hypocrisy is present in the beliefs of a great number.

“The stupid believe that to be truthful is easy; only the artist, the great artist, knows how difficult it is.” Willa Sibert Cather

War On Pot - A John Jonik cartoon
War on Pot: A Raving Success!!! by John Jonik via Hal Phoenix

Field Day

Field Day is an annual amateur radio exercise, widely sponsored by IARU regions and member organizations, encouraging emergency communications preparedness among amateur radio operators. In the United States, it is typically the largest single emergency preparedness exercise in the country, with over 30,000 operators participating each year.

Since the first ARRL Field Day in 1933, radio amateurs throughout North America have practiced the rapid deployment of radio communications equipment in environments ranging from operations under tents in remote areas to operations inside Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). Operations using emergency and alternative power sources are highly encouraged, since electricity and other public infrastructures are often among the first to fail during a natural disaster or severe weather.

To determine the effectiveness of the exercise and of each participant's operations, there is an integrated contesting component, and many clubs also engage in concurrent leisure activities (camping out, cookouts, etc.). Operations typically last a continuous twenty-four hours, requiring scheduled relief operators to keep stations on the air. Additional contest points are awarded for experimenting with unusual modes, making contacts via satellite, and involving youth in the activity.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Article Source

What Is Field Day?

Amateur Radio operators have been transmitting from “the field” ever since radio has been around. Since 1933, the American Radio Relay League – the National Association for Amateur Radio – has formalized this activity for one weekend each June, called Field Day. During Field Day, over 35,000 “hams” across the United States, Canada, and many other countries take their radio gear out of their homes and set up temporary stations almost anywhere imaginable: public parks, beaches, mountaintops, baseball diamonds, atop parking garages, and yes, even in fields. They do so as part of a local club, with just a friend or two or their family, or individually. In 2011, over 1.4 million radio contacts were made between Amateur Radio operators during the Field Day weekend.

Why do hams do this? Many radio clubs treat Field Day as a way to keep their communications skills up in case they are needed for an emergency. Still others treat it as a competitive event and try to make as many contacts as they possibly can (good clubs will make several thousand in a weekend). Some enjoy setting up in a public place, such as a neighborhood park or the parking lot of a shopping center, to help educate the public about what Amateur Radio is and what we do. Perhaps the best reason is, it’s simply fun! Combining the great outdoors with radio fun makes for a great weekend.

Setting up an Amateur Radio station in the field, often using makeshift antennas and a power source off the commercial power grid, is at the very essence of the DIY (Do It Yourself) spirit that runs through the Amateur Radio community. Hams use Field Day to teach the general public (and themselves, too) about what it takes to reliably communicate with a person across the country, without using the Internet or a cell phone network. They learn about electronics, physics and geography, and often use “green” energy sources (such as solar or wind power) to power their transmitters.

Communication takes place via a variety of methods. You can use a microphone and talk to people, interface your computer to a radio and type messages back and forth, or even use the tried-and-true method of Morse code; it’s been around since the 1840s and is still very much alive today.

Sound like a lot of fun? It is! If you’d like to learn more about Amateur Radio, follow the links listed below. If you‘re reading this because a local club pointed you here, be sure to ask when that club is having its next meeting; they’d be happy to welcome new people interested in learning more about Amateur Radio.

ARRL, Article Source

Lake County Amateur Radio Society
participates in ham radio Worldwide Field Day


LAKEPORT, Calif. – Participating for its 31st year, the Lake County Amateur Radio Society once again took part in the Worldwide Field Day.

The event began at 11 a.m. Saturday and runs through 11 a.m. Sunday with a mobile field operations center atop Vista Point in Lakeport.

The public is encouraged to visit and learn about amateur shortwave radio, also know has ham radio.

“We do it for fun, but we also provide a valuable service to the community,” said Tom Patton, a member of the group.

Jeff Plank, president of the Lake County Amateur Radio Society, said the club’s members provide supplemental communications not only to emergency responders but also for events where other forms of communication are impossible – for instance, in areas without cell phone signals or at large events without enough personnel.

Some of the events and organizations they help provide communications assistance to include the Lake County Fair, Konocti Challenge, Davis Double Century Bike Club, Lake County Public Health, Red Cross, area hospitals and more.

“Wherever help is needed, we will be there,” said Plank.

The annual field day allows members of the Lake County Amateur Radio Society to demonstrate to the public what amateur radio is all about, allowing people to learn and try out the mobile equipment – some of which can be set up in less than a minute or carried like a cell phone – and explain the importance of the equipment in emergency situations.

During local events, amateur radio operators can communicate with one another as well as emergency responders – but they can also communicate across long distances.

“Tonight, with our battery-operated equipment and mobile antennas, we've been in contact with other operators on the East Coast, including Vermont and Pennsylvania,” Patton said.

For more information, you can stop by Vista Point in Lakeport, in the parking lot of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, before 11 a.m. Sunday, or contact Arland Souza of the Nice Amateur Radio Club at 707-349-1519.

Lake County News, Photographs located at: Article Source


I really used to enjoy San Francisco Radio Club's Field Days when I was young.

I was very lucky because when I joined the radio club, W6BIP (Bip) and his DX/Contest partner Hensley (WA6DJI) took a shine to me and were my Elmers.

When Hensley became ill, Bip took me on as his second operator, which was (imo) an incredible honor !!!

(imo) The SFRC had, at one time, some of the best pioneers in electronics and i got to hang out with them.

Too bad the FCC 'effed up' 1st Class Licenses and Amateur Radio; something I really enjoyed !!!

LA film festival: sweet surprise follows Searching for Sugar Man screening

Sixto Rodriguez - Sugar Man -

Malik Bendjelloul's heartfelt tale about the Detroit folk musician was followed by an unexpected turn from the singer himself

Director Malik Bendjelloul with Sixto Rodriguez and music producer Steve Rowland at the LA premiere of Searching for Sugarman. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Director Malik Bendjelloul with Sixto Rodriguez and music producer Steve Rowlan at
the LA premiere of Searching for Sugarman. Photograph: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

the Guardian Film Blog, Article Source

The most famous folk singer you've never heard of, Sixto Rodriguez, flew in from Detroit last night to sing one song, Inner City Blues, at the LA film festival screening of Searching for Sugar Man (which premiered in the UK last week at the Sheffield Doc/Fest).

The film follows two South Africans, who – believing Rodriguez dead – embark on a journey to find out what happened to the mysterious singer who provided the backdrop to the anti-apartheid movement, as well as the soundtrack to their youth.

For years, Rodriguez had no idea that – halfway across the world– he was bigger than Elvis. It's truly a crime that his poetic, soulful records sank without a trace, forcing him to turn his back on the music industry and scrape a living working in construction in Detroit. So the excitement was palpable when, after the screening of Malik Bendjelloul's heartfelt movie, the director announced his surprise guest, who ambled into the room dressed entirely in black, like a Mexican Johnny Cash.

Rodriguez was humble, and clearly overwhelmed by this late resurgence. While he can play to adoring thousands in South Africa, he still lives in relative poverty, having given away most of the money to his friends and family.

When asked by a member of the audience why he hadn't capitalised on his fame and had chosen to stay in Detroit, he replied simply: "Well, you've gotta come from somewhere."

Alex Karpovsky's parents came from somewhere too. As the son of Russian immigrants, who made little effort to integrate, the east coast–based indie film-maker admits his younger life was at times isolated. That theme appears to be informing his work.

The premise of Red Flag, which is a strong contender in the festival's narrative feature competition, was born out of a real life film tour he was booked to do around the southern states. This intimate low-key relationship/life crisis study shows flashes of both Woody Allen angst and Coen brothers bravado (in fact, he's just landed a part in their new movie, Inside Llewyn Davis).

Karpovsky is now a familiar name on the indie circuit; he appeared in Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture, and plays obnoxious Ray Ploshansky in her HBO show, Girls. Armed with just a 13-page outline and the help of his small but perfectly formed cast, including Onur Tukel, Jennifer Prediger, Caroline White and sound mixer/cinemataographer/editor Adam Ginsberg, he found a way to stave off hours of boredom on the open road. "I thought: 'I can spend the time in my car, driving by myself listening to This American Life podcasts, or I can do it cracking jokes with my friends'," he said. "The movie cost next to nothing to make so if it failed, it failed."

There's not a chance of that, but no doubt Rodriguez would agree with the sentiment.

Why does Bruce Springsteen make middle-aged men behave like teenagers at their first pop show?

For all the everyman gestures, what the Boss really does is remind his fans how perfect and ridiculous pop can be

the Guardian Music Blog, Article Source

I'm your fan … Supplicants to a bearded Boss reach for his blessing in 1975. Photograph: Chris Walter/WireImage
I'm your fan … Supplicants to a bearded Boss reach for his blessing in 1975. Photograph: Chris Walter/WireImage

In 2000 I interviewed Badly Drawn Boy for Select magazine and asked him about his obsession with Bruce Springsteen. In the Select office, this was the source of some bemusement. It was during Springsteen's lost decade, when he moved to California, remarried, sacked the E Street Band and released commercially limp (though not terrible) albums. In 2000, especially to a lo-fi singer-songwriter such as Badly Drawn Boy, Springsteen seemed as eccentric an object of passion as Billy Joel. But when Badly Drawn Boy talked about seeing Springsteen on television for the first time as kid, his eyes glowed with the zeal of the true believer.

In 2012 there is nothing eccentric about Springsteen fandom. Rekindling his bromance with the E Street Band while ramping up his political activism, he has reaffirmed his place in the rock landscape as a kind of liberal, baby-boomer Superman, and no praise is deemed too excessive. The writer and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor has written a memoir (Greetings from Bury Park), Radio 4 documentary (From Luton Streets to Jersey Shores) and an Edinburgh fringe show (The Boss Rules) about his Bruce love. The Observer's Ed Vulliamy ended a long, detailed salute to Springsteen's protest-singing credentials with the prose equivalent of a sweaty air-punch: "Bring on Bastille Day! Bring on the Boss!" In Salon, Joan Walsh recently wrote about a Springsteen show in language as hyperbolic as her idol's grandest songs. "As he passed above me, dressed in all black, drenched in sweat, I felt his literal body weight in my hands as I handed him back to the folks behind me. (I had a lot of help – we were never in danger of dropping him, only of maybe devouring him with love, lust and need.) The corporeal reality, his body in my hands, reminded me for one eerie moment of the duty of a pall-bearer." Biographers melt in his presence: City University of New York professor Marc Dolan's new book bears the grandiose title Bruce Springsteen and the Promise of Rock'n'Roll. Critics no longer write reviews of his concerts so much as testimonials.

Although I've grown fond of parts of Springsteen's catalogue, I know I'm only a part-timer. Watching him headline Glastonbury in 2009, I felt like an atheist in church, albeit one in the company of several other atheists complaining about his failure to play Born in the USA. There was something happening further down the field that felt as alien to me as a revival meeting. As Slate's Stephen Metcalf wrote: "Springsteen is no longer a musician. He's a belief system. And, like any belief system worth its salt, he brooks no in-between … And so we've reached a strange juncture. About America's last rock star, it's either Pentecostal enthusiasm or total disdain."

So what's going on here? A few qualities are obvious. Springsteen is principled, decent, loyal, outspoken without being pompous and he still looks good in jeans. He enjoys both the auteurish cachet of a solo artist and (the 90s aside) the through-thick-and-thin mythos of a band. Even if you can't stand a note of his music, he's plainly one of the good guys.

But there's something else. Descriptions of pop fandom (as catch-alls go I've always preferred "pop music" to "rock'n'roll") tend to be strongly gendered. Men, goes the assumption, are serious about the art. They collect all the records, catalogue the live shows, debate the minutiae with fellow disciples. Take Dylanologists, who pore over the sacred texts with the intensity of Talmudic scholars. Meanwhile women, or rather "girls", scream at pop stars. We may have moved on from the days of Lisztomania, when female fandom was described in terms of mental illness, but the prejudice endures. Gig reviewers tend to describe crowds at boy-band shows in a tone of puzzled alarm, like Victorian anthropologists observing some gory and baffling ritual.

Springsteen fans shatter that artificial distinction. They don't just respect the art, they love the man. He's the Dylan who will return your calls, the Neil Young who will join you for a beer. His heart outweighs his brain (by which I mean to praise his heart rather than diminish his brain). No other rock star of his stature would happily consent to having his photograph taken with a string of journalists, as Springsteen will do in gatherings of them, or find so many takers willing to ditch their usual professional reserve for an arm-around-shoulder snapshot. Writers who have outgrown the intensity of their adolescent crushes find themselves giddy teenagers again.

Of course, the myth of Springsteen began with a man worrying that he was too old for rock'n'roll. When critic-turned-manager Jon Landau wrote his famous line, used in subsquent newspaper ads, "I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen," he didn't mean Springsteen was the future of rock'n'roll." He meant that he realised, as a fan, that he had a future with this music after all. In the next line he wrote: "On a night when I needed to feel young, he made me feel like I was hearing music for the very first time."

The language of epiphany and rebirth, echoing a religion-conversion narrative, repeats itself even now. Salon's Joan Walsh called the Springsteen show she attended "a thoroughgoing, transcendent exercise in communal grief and joy" and concluded: "If there were a church like this, I'd be there every Sunday." In Tramps Like Us: Music and Meaning Among Springsteen Fans, college professor Daniel Cavicchi writes that a concert "filled me up with electricity and sound and a strange sensation that I could do or be anything I wanted". In his interviews with fans, Cavicchi found the phrases "religious experience" and "spiritual experience" appearing again and again.

Some fans will tolerate criticism and accept that there's a leap of faith involved. In his essay collection 31 Songs, Nick Hornby concedes that his favourite ever song, Thunder Road, is "overwrought", "po-faced" and "corny", but argues that it "knows how I feel and who I am, and that, in the end, is one of the consolations of art." Say Born to Run sounds like Meat Loaf. Say he's a ham. Say his lyrics are too obvious – as Hornby notes, "surely the word 'redemption' is to be avoided like the plague when you're writing about redemption". Smart Springsteen fans won't say "no" but "yes, so what?" His occasional ridiculousness is not the failing I used to think it was: it's core to his appeal, as Lady Gaga understood when she hired the late Clarence Clemons to help her go gay-techno-Boss on last year's Edge of Glory. He gives you license to be ridiculous yourself, however old you are.

I think I like this Bruce Springsteen. Not the man I grew up perceiving as an icon of that dreadful, bogus concept "authenticity" and the hoary, blokey mythology of "rock'n'roll", but the pop star who turns people who thought they'd outgrown this into screaming kids, going home to scrawl his name on their exercise book with hearts around it, or write articles that end with exclamation marks. Slate's Stephen Metcalf talks about "peeling back all the layers of awful heartland authenticity and rediscovering the old Jersey bullshitter underneath". He doesn't mean the cynical, numbing, everyday bullshit we all deal with but a joyous, transcendent, suspension-of-disbelief bullshit that invites you to surrender for a couple of hours. I may not be right there on the front row but that's the kind of bullshit I can't help but admire.

Why Do Democrats Support Perversion?

Congress Murdered Innocent Women, Children, and Civilians!
Why Is Nobody from A Republican Bush Administration
or Pelosi's Democraps In Jail for Iraq War Crimes?

Julian Assange: Ecuador set to make decision on asylum application

Ecuador's deputy foreign minister says president is considering WikiLeaks founder's application for political asylum

Press Association,, Thursday 21 June 2012 08.37 BST, Article Source

Police and protesters outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where Julian Assange has sought asylum. Photograph: Karel Prinsloo/EPA
Police and protesters outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where
Julian Assange has sought asylum. Photograph: Karel Prinsloo/EPA

Julian Assange has spent a second night at the Ecuadorean embassy in London amid reports that a decision on his request for political asylum will be made on Thursday.

The 40-year-old WikiLeaks founder has been inside the building in Knightsbridge since Tuesday afternoon, when he went there to request political asylum under the UN refugee convention.

Ecuador's president, Rafael Correa, will make a decision on Assange's application later on Thursday, the country's deputy foreign minister, Marco Albuja, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

On Wednesday night Albuja said: "We still can't make a final decision public yet until tomorrow.

"The national government is considering its position and the president will give us his instructions tomorrow."

Assange faces arrest for breaching the terms of his bail if he leaves the embassy.

Ecuador's UK ambassador, Anna Alban, met the government on Wednesday morning, and said he was under its protection while it considered the application, which came after his failed bid to avoid extradition to Sweden under a European arrest warrant to face sex crime allegations.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed in a statement that he was "beyond the reach of the police" while he remained in the building.

Alban said she held "cordial and constructive" talks with the government at the FCO.

"I welcome the statement from the UK government in which they stated that they would work with the Ecuadorean government to find a resolution," she said in a statement.

"I also took the opportunity to explain that the decision on Mr Assange's application would be assessed by the department of foreign affairs in Quito and would take into account Ecuador's long and well established tradition in supporting human rights.

"I also emphasised to the UK government that it was not the intention of the Ecuadorean government to interfere with the processes of either the UK or Swedish governments.

"I have made clear that I will make myself available to meet with the UK government's representatives at any time so that we can find a just and fair solution to this situation."

The Swedish ministry of justice issued a statement saying: "We have noted that Mr Assange seeks asylum. The European arrest warrant is valid. We assume that Britain will carry out the decision made by their supreme court."

The Metropolitan police said it had been told at 10.20pm on Tuesday that Assange had breached a condition of the £200,000 bail imposed by the high court – that he stay at a bail address between 10pm and 8am.

"He is now subject to arrest under the Bail Act for breach of these conditions," a police spokeswoman said.

"Officers are aware of his location at the Ecuador embassy in Hans Crescent, London."

Several high-profile figures have supported Assange since his arrest in December 2010, including the film director Ken Loach and socialite and charity fundraiser Jemima Khan, who each offered £20,000 as surety. Other supporters included Bianca Jagger and the veteran leftwinger Tony Benn.

Khan voiced her surprise at his move, writing on Twitter: "I had expected him to face the allegations. I am as surprised as anyone by this."

Jagger wrote on Twitter: "I would like to set the record straight. I didn't post bail for Julian Assange."

A small group of protesters arrived at the embassy shortly after midday on Wednesday, waving placards that read: "Free Assange, No Rendition" and "Free Assange, No Extradition" and a large sign reading: "Free Assange! Free Manning! End The Wars."

Gavin Macfadyen, from the Centre for Investigative Journalism at City University, who visited Assange inside the embassy on Wednesday, said: "He is fine. He is in very good humour and grateful for the hospitality of the embassy.

"He is meeting with the lawyers now to discuss all of it … It's a very fluid situation."

Assange's move to claim asylum is the latest twist in a marathon legal battle played out in the glare of worldwide publicity.

He was set to be extradited to Sweden, where he faces accusations of raping a woman and sexually molesting and coercing another in Stockholm while on a visit to give a lecture in August 2010.

Assange, whose WikiLeaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables that embarrassed several governments and international businesses, says the sex was consensual and the allegations against him are politically motivated.

Last month the supreme court upheld a high court ruling made in November last year that his extradition was legal. Last week the same court refused an attempt by him to reopen his appeal against extradition, saying it was without merit.

He had until 28 June to ask European judges in Strasbourg to consider his case and postpone extradition on the basis that he had not had a fair hearing from the UK courts.

In a short statement on Tuesday night, Assange said: "I can confirm that today I arrived at the Ecuadorean embassy and sought diplomatic sanctuary and political asylum.

"This application has been passed to the ministry of foreign affairs in the capital Quito.

"I am grateful to the Ecuadorean ambassador and the government of Ecuador for considering my application."

A statement issued on behalf of the Ecuadorean embassy on Tuesday said Assange would remain there while his request was considered.

Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, told a press conference in Quito that Assange had written to the country's president saying he was being persecuted and was seeking asylum.

He told the press conference Assange had argued that "the authorities in his country will not defend his minimum guarantees in front of any government or ignore the obligation to protect a politically persecuted citizen".

He added that Assange wrote that he could not return to his home country because it would not block his extradition to "a foreign country that applies the death penalty for the crime of espionage and sedition".

G4S chief predicts mass police privatisation

Private companies will be running large parts of the police service within five years, according to security firm head

Matthew Taylor and Alan Travis,, Wednesday 20 June 2012 19.31 BST, Article Source

David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected most UK police forces to sign up to privatisation deals. Photograph: Guardian
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected most
UK police forces to sign up to privatisation deals. Photograph: Guardian

Private companies will be running large parts of the UK's police service within five years, according to the world's biggest security firm.

David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.

The prediction comes as it emerged that 10 more police forces were considering outsourcing deals that would see services, such as running police cells and operating IT, run by private firms.

Taylor-Smith, whose company is in the running for the £1.5bn contract with West Midlands and Surrey police, said he expected forces across the country to have taken similar steps within five years . "For most members of the public what they will see is the same or better policing and they really don't care who is running the fleet, the payroll or the firearms licensing – they don't really care," he said.

G4S, which is providing security for the Olympics, has 657,000 staff operating in more than 125 countries and is one of the world's biggest private employers. It already runs six prisons in the UK and in April started work on a £200m police contract in Lincolnshire, where it will design, build and run a police station. Under the terms of the deal, 575 public sector police staff transferred to the company.

Taylor-Smith said core policing would remain a public-sector preserve but added: "We have been long-term optimistic about the police and short-to-medium-term pessimistic about the police for many years. Our view was, look, we would never try to take away core policing functions from the police but for a number of years it has been absolutely clear as day to us – and to others – that the configuration of the police in the UK is just simply not as effective and as efficient as it could be."

Concern has grown about the involvement of private firms in policing. In May more than 20,000 officers took to the streets to outline their fears about pay, conditions and police privatisation. The Police Federation has warned that the service is being undermined by creeping privatisation.

Unite, the union that represents many police staff, said the potential scale of private-sector involvement in policing was "a frightening prospect". Peter Allenson, national officer, said: "This is not the back office – we are talking about the privatisation of core parts of the police service right across the country, including crime investigation, forensics, 999 call-handling, custody and detention and a wide range of police services."

Taylor-Smith said "budgetary pressure and political will" were driving the private-sector involvement in policing but insisted that the "public sector ethos" had not been lost.

"I have always found it somewhere between patronising and insulting the notion that the public sector has an exclusive franchise on some ethos, spirit, morality – it is just nonsense," he said. "The thought that everyone in the private sector is primarily motivated by profit and that is why they come to work is just simply not accurate … we employ 675,000 people and they are primarily motivated by pretty much the same as would motivate someone in the public sector."

In the £1.5bn deal being discussed by West Midlands and Surrey police, the list of policing activities up for grabs includes investigating crimes, detaining suspects, developing cases, responding to and investigating incidents, supporting victims and witnesses, managing high-risk individuals, managing intelligence, managing engagement with the public, as well as more traditional back-office functions such as managing forensics, providing legal services, managing the vehicle fleet, finance and human resources.

Chris Sims, West Midlands chief constable, has said his force is a good testing ground for fundamental change as he battled to find £126m of savings. He said the armed forces had embraced a greater role for the private sector more fully than the police without sparking uproar.

But a home affairs select committee report said many of the policing contracts being put up for tender amounted to a "fishing expedition". MPs added that they were not convinced the forces understood what they were doing. The committee chair, Keith Vaz, said: "The Home Office must ensure it knows what services local forces wish to contract out before agreeing to allow expenditure of £5m on what is little more than a fishing expedition."

Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire police announced this month that they were considering privatising some services in an attempt to tackle a £73m funding shortfall created by government cuts. Police authority members in the three counties will be asked to consider how services including HR, finance and IT could be outsourced in line with the G4S contract in Lincolnshire as part of a joint recommendation made by the three chief constables.

It has also emerged that Thames Valley, West Mercia, Warwickshire, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Hampshire forces have begun a tendering process to outsource the running of 30 custody suites and 600 cells.

A Home Office spokesperson said, "Policing is not being privatised — core police functions will continue to be delivered by sworn officers and no police powers will be given to private contractors beyond the limited powers allowed by the last government.

But he said there was potential for a bigger role for private companies in future. "The private sector can help to support delivery of police services better and at lower cost, for example providing staff for control rooms and custody centres, releasing officers for frontline duties."

• This article was amended on 21 June to add a quote from a Home Office spokesperson.

Try Not To Be A Dick by Emily Yates

Environmental activists 'being killed at rate of two a week'

Death toll of campaigners involved in protection of forests, rivers and land has almost doubled in three years

Jonathan Watts in Rio de Janeiro,, Tuesday 19 June 2012 01.54 BST, Article Source

Amazon rainforest activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo, who were murdered last year. Photograph: Reuters
Amazon rainforest activists José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo,
who were murdered last year. Photograph: Reuters

The struggle for the world's remaining natural resources is becoming more murderous, according to a new report that reveals that environmental activists were killed at the rate of more than two a week in 2011.

The death toll of campaigners, community leaders and journalists involved in the protection of forests, rivers and land has risen dramatically in the past three years, said Global Witness.

Brazil – the host of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development – has the worst record for danger in a decade that has seen the deaths of more than 737 defenders, said the briefing, which was released on the eve of the high-level segment of the Earth Summit.

The group called on the leaders at Rio to set up systems to monitor and counter the rising violence, which in many cases involves governments and foreign corporations, and to reduce the consumption pressures that are driving development into remote areas.

"This trend points to the increasingly fierce global battle for resources, and represents the sharpest of wake-up calls for delegates in Rio," said Billy Kyte, campaigner at Global Witness.

The group acknowledges that their results are incomplete and skewed towards certain countries because information is fragmented and often missing. This means the toll is likely to be higher than their findings, which did not include deaths related to cross-border conflicts prompted by competition for natural resources, and fighting over gas and oil.

Brazil recorded almost half of the killings worldwide, the majority of which were connected to illegal forest clearance by loggers and farmers in the Amazon and other remote areas, often described as the "wild west".

Among the recent high-profile cases were the murders last year of two high-profile Amazon activists, José Cláudio Ribeiro da Silva and Maria do Espirito Santo. Such are the risks that dozens of other activists and informers are now under state protection.

Unlike most countries on the list, however, the number of killings in Brazil declined slightly last year, perhaps because the government is making a greater effort to intervene in deforestation cases.

The reverse trend is apparent in the Philippines, where four activists were killed last month, prompting the Kalikasan People's Network for Environment to talk of "bloody May".

Though Brazil, Peru and Colombia have reported high rates of killing in the past 10 years, this is partly because they are relatively transparent about the problem thanks to strong civil society groups, media organisations and church groups – notably the Catholic Land Commission in Brazil – which can monitor such crimes. Under-reporting is thought likely in China and Central Asia, which have more closed systems, said the report. The full picture has still to emerge.

Last December, the UN special rapporteur on human rights noted: "Defenders working on land and environmental issues in connection with extractive industries and construction and development projects in the Americas … face the highest risk of death as result of their human rights activities."

Amestizo - BLOG

Dead Heads: An American Subculture (Part 1)

Dead Heads: An American Subculture (Part 2)

Justice Department probing pay-TV industry

Advertisers Should Pay For Subscription Television, Not Subscribers !!! Paying for Subscription TV Commercials Is Stupid
Advertisers Should Pay For Subscription Television, Not Subscribers !!!
Paying for Subscription TV Commercials Is Stupid

By Joe Flint, June 13, 2012, 2:46 p.m., Article Source

The Department of Justice has launched a probe into the pay-television business to determine whether cable and satellite operators and programmers are engaging in business practices that, among other things, could derail the emergence of competing broadband distribution services.

The wide-ranging examination is looking at such topics as contracts between programmers and distribution companies and how that affects consumers and competitors, and caps on the amount of data that cable subscribers can use for downloads, according to several people familiar with the situation who declined to speak publicly. A Justice Department spokeswoman also declined to comment.

The Justice Department has sought information from companies including cable behemoths Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable; movie and TV service Netflix Inc.; and Hulu, the online programming service owned by Comcast, Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. News of the Justice Department inquiry was first reported by News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal.

It remains to be seen whether the probe will turn into a full-blown investigation into the pay-TV business. The examination, described by some media insiders as exploratory in nature, started several weeks ago when the Justice Department sent letters requesting information on deal-making and business practices.

The timing of the Justice Department's investigation has led many industry observers to tie it to a recent feud between Comcast and Netflix over data caps. Specifically, Netflix has accused Comcast of unfairly favoring its own Internet video service Xfinity over those of competitors when used via the Xbox 360 video game console. Video from Netflix and other providers such as Hulu counts against Comcast's data limits, but Xfinity video does not.

Last month, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn), an outspoken critic of Comcast, wrote a letter to the Justice Department encouraging it to investigate whether Comcast was engaged in anti-competitive behavior with regards to Netflix.

It is "reasonable to assume that Netflix is a principal mover of the DOJ probe," Craig Moffett, a prominent media analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a Wednesday report.

Netflix has not been shy in its criticism of Comcast. Last month the cable operator said it would end its 250-GB-per-month cap on the amount of data that Internet subscribers can access, and would start testing "tiered pricing" for people who use more than 300 GB per month.

Although data caps and they ways cable and broadband providers are treating rival content suppliers such as Netflix may be issues, they are not the only ones, people with direct knowledge of the inquiry said.
Also getting particular scrutiny by Justice Department officials are the programming agreements between networks and distributors. There is concern that the contracts might be anti-competitive because they discourage the use of emerging Internet delivery platforms known in the industry as "over the top" platforms.

Charles Herring, president of Wealth TV, a small cable channel that has struggled to get distribution, said some distributors try to force programmers to contractually agree not to sell their channels to a broadband-delivered service.

"A lot of the programmers are being hindered from offering their services over the top because they don’t want to alienate their cable affiliates," Herring said. If they do, he said, "they will be in direct conflict with the cable operators that provide them their primary source of revenue." Herring said he has talked with the Justice Department about this issue. He added that Wealth TV is available to consumers online and via Roku despite those clauses.

"They haven’t called us on it yet," he said. "Maybe we’re flying under the radar."

Most cable operators and programmers are not averse to putting content online, provided it is available only to people who already subscribe to a pay-TV provider. The initiative, known as TV Everywhere, was launched primarily with the intent of protecting the current television distribution ecosystem.

But some media watchdogs see TV Everywhere as a way to stave off potential competition and keep the television business closed to outsiders.

“We were very pleased to find out that the Justice Department is investigating whether the cable industry is trying to squelch emerging online competition," said Harold Feld, legal director of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group focused on emerging platforms. "The future of online competition for cable is being decided right now, and it is crucial that government agencies responsible for protecting the public interest do so."

Also under scrutiny are most-favored nation (MFN) clauses that are often used in agreements between programmers and distributors. An MFN clause typically enables a large distributor to get programming more cheaply than a smaller distributor, much in the same way a chain such as Wal-Mart often gets products from suppliers at a lower rate than a stand-alone supermarket.

Another hot topic that may get attention from the Justice Department is how programmers package channels that are licensed to distributors, a practice in the industry that is known as bundling. Programmers such as Viacom and Disney often package less popular channels with their more successful ones. For example, if a distributor wanted to carry Disney's ESPN and not its various spin-off channels, it would have to pay more to do that than to carry all the ESPN outlets.

Although bundling is a sore point for both distributors and smaller programmers such as Herring's Wealth TV, efforts to get eliminate it through the courts have not succeeded.

"We see little or no chance that the DOJ will take on that issue," wrote Sanford Bernstein's Moffett.


How to predict the outcome of the US election

My scientific formula is not based on anything as distasteful as rich men funnelling donations

Hadley Freeman,, Tuesday 12 June 2012 20.00 BST, Article Source

Obama ... beating Romney three to one in likability ratings. Photograph: MandelNgan/AFP
Obama ... beating Romney three to one in likability ratings. Photograph: MandelNgan/AFP

President Obama has not had a good couple of weeks. How bad has it been? Well, last week his campaign manager, Jim Messina, sent out an email with the inspiring subject line: "We got beat." The distance from what someone whose name I now forget called the "hopey changey stuff" to playing the pity card is a long, sad drop.

What Messina's email may have lacked in optimism it made up for in honesty: they did get beat. Beat in fundraising terms, with Mitt Romney raising at least $17m more than Obama in May alone. What made this gap even more ominous for the Democrats is that union-crushing Wisconsin governor Scott Walker won a vote that could have removed him from office last week, despite months of high-profile demonstrations and sit-ins against his austerity measures. It's safe to say the win was partly due to the fact that Walker raised a truckload of Benjamins (as the kids would say) (in the 1990s). Obama's strategist, the distinctively moustachioed David Axelrod, tweeted last week that the billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch (who I always imagine as resembling Mr Burns in double vision), "gave Walker nearly double what [his opponent Tom] Barrett raised in total and lined up millions more." Koch Industries has said that Walker didn't get any money from them personally yet did not say whether Walker did get money from the brothers' non-profit group, Americans For Prosperity (AFP).

Obama (pictured) has done his best to distance himself from the Wisconsin palaver but the message from that state was hard to miss. The fundraising battle is looking, more than ever, synonymous with the election itself. Just a few weeks earlier, at a fundraising event in London, Axelrod said the only two things that worried him about the upcoming election were the financial crisis in Europe and the Super Pacs, the political action committees that may not contribute directly to a campaign but can engage in unlimited political spending independently (AFP is not a Super Pac but it acts in a similar way and is, to be honest, worse because it is not obliged to disclose its donors.)

On the plus side, Obama is beating Romney three to one in likability ratings, but at this rate he will be outspent by him by godonlyknows to one, and contrary to what your mother told you, being rich is a lot more important than being liked – in politics, that is. At least Axelrod can stroke his moustache and muse that while he may not be happy with the way things are panning out, he is pretty good at prediction-making.

Or is he? This desire to be the political Mystic Meg is understandable. The election is going to be nasty, brutish and – with apologies to Thomas Hobbes – long: who doesn't wish they could just skip to the end result now? Happily, we can. Here, I can exclusively reveal the formula for predicting the outcome of this election, one that is not predicated on anything as depressingly distasteful as rich men funnelling donations. To quote that famous political pundit Jennifer Aniston, here comes the science part!

1. How are the winds blowing in the world of modern technology?

Not so great. Romney's camp achieved the impossible in making Dan "potatoe" Quayle look like a spelling genius when they attempted to get down with the yoof and launch an app on which they revealed they can't spell "America", preferring instead to go with "Amercia". Maybe that's the Mormon spelling?

Meanwhile, Obama, the king of the internet in 2008, has been abandoned by his once most devoted supporter, Obama Girl: "I'm not as excited as I was last time," she announced, hanging up her bikini.


2. How's the base feeling?

Mmm, not so great. Romney is a flip-flopping Mormon and therefore not the ideal candidate for GOP's current incarnation as the party of intractable rightwing Christians. Obama and his recently exposed "Kill List" isn't exactly fitting in with his liberal supporters' image of him as a wise and progressive professor.


3. How are the ghosts of Christmas past behaving?

Not so great. Bill Clinton has a tendency to foot-in-mouth disease. On the other side, Jeb Bush gave an interview on Monday in which he criticised not just the Republican party but Romney himself, telling him to "change the tone" on immigration.


4. Any unfortunate double entendres involving blow jobs?

Yes. Some people thought President Obama made one last week although I'm still failing to fathom how anyone saw fellatio in a discussion about exercise. When Ann Romney was asked back in April how she could prove her husband isn't "stiff", she replied, "Well, I guess we better unzip him and let the real Mitt out." Even innocent lil' ol' me snickered at that one.

1-0 to Obama.

5. Who has that crucial dog-owner vote?

Seeing as Romney famously once drove to Canada with his dog strapped to his car roof, Obama has this one locked down.


6. Ah, but who has that all crucial men-named-after-item-used-to-handle-hot-pans vote?

Romney, in the bag.


7. And finally, the vote decider, who is saddled with Donald Trump?

Romney, for reasons known only to himself.


So there we have it: Obama 2012. You can't argue with science! Can we all go home now?


People haven't turned to the right. They just don't vote

A new theory of choice isn't useful to politicians. The left is losing because it isn't offering policies of care and economic justice

George Monbiot,, Monday 11 June 2012 20.30 BST, Article Source

Illustration by Daniel Pudles
Illustration by Daniel Pudles

It's an unlikely match, I know, but I have a friend who is a Jehovah's Witness. One day, after overcoming a certain amount of embarrassment on both sides, he asked whether he could try to persuade me to let Jesus into my life. I promised him a fair hearing. Some of what he said made sense, but the story fell apart for me when he claimed that in biblical times "people were a lot more moral than they are today". I argued that half the Old Testament appears to be a record of divinely inspired genocide, as God's people sought to exterminate the other tribes they encountered. "Ah yes," said my friend, "but there was a lot less fornication."

This was the point at which I understood that people of the same neighbourhood can entertain very different conceptions of morality. It is a theme on which the psychologist Jonathan Haidt expands, fascinatingly and persuasively, in his book The Righteous Mind. And it is the theme on which he stumbles, stupidly and disastrously, when seeking to apply his findings to politics, as he did in the Guardian last week, and as he has done to great effect within the Democratic party.

Drawing on a wealth of experimental evidence, Haidt argues that we tend to make moral decisions on the basis of intuition, rather than strategic reasoning. We then use our capacity for reason to find justifications for the decisions we have already made. "Our moral thinking," he says, "is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for truth."

Our intuitions are shaped by, and help to bind, the groups or tribes to which we belong. The moral codes of progressives in the west are built, Haidt says, on just three foundations: the pursuit of care rather than harm, of liberty rather than oppression, and of fairness rather than cheating.

Conservative politicians, by contrast, have "a broader variety of ways to connect with voters", as their moral narrative is built on these foundations plus three more: loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion and sanctity/degradation. "Most Americans", he tells us, "don't want to live in a nation based primarily on caring."

Rather than voting on economic issues, working-class people have been "voting for their moral interests". He argues that "when people fear the collapse of their society, they want order and national greatness, not a more nurturing government". This helps to explain, he says, why "working-class people vote conservative, as most do in the US".

Haidt's analysis has been taken up enthusiastically on both sides of the Atlantic. But his admirers appear to have missed something. While the psychological findings he presents are well-attested and thoroughly referenced, he offers not a shred of evidence to support his political contentions, either in the article or in his book. His claims are unsourced, unsubstantiated and plain wrong.

As Larry Bartels, professor of political science at Vanderbilt, Nashville, points out, the political views of white working-class voters in the US "have remained virtually unchanged over the past 30 years". Voting for the Democrats by those on low incomes has in fact increased. Political decisions in this class are still shaped overwhelmingly by economics. On what Haidt calls "moral" values, there is "no evidence of any shift" in this group. It is only among more affluent voters that the Democrats have lost support. "Economic status has become more important, not less important, in structuring the presidential voting behaviour."

The real issue is surely turnout. In the US it has been low for a long time: between 50% and 60% for presidential elections and 30% to 45% for mid-term congressionals since the second world war. In the UK it has slipped dramatically, from 84% in 1950 to 65% in 2010. An analysis by the Institute for Public Policy Research shows that the collapse has occurred largely among younger and poorer people. "Older people and richer or better educated people … are now much more influential at the ballot box".

The major reason, the institute says, is the "'low-stakes' character of recent elections": the major parties "fought on quite similar platforms". The biggest decline in recent political history – from 1997 to 2001 – lends weight to this contention. In 1997 the young and the poor believed they faced a real political and economic choice. By 2001, Blair had moved Labour so far to the right that there was scarcely a choice to be made.

If Haidt and his admirers were right, the correct strategy would be for Labour, the Democrats and other once progressive parties to swing even further to the right, triangulate even more furiously, and – by seeking to satisfy an apparent appetite for loyalty, authority and sanctity – to join the opposing tribe. But if the real problem is not that working-class voters have switched their voting preferences but that they are not voting at all because there's too little at stake, the correct political prescription is to do the opposite: to swing further to the left and to emphasise not "order and national greatness" but care and economic justice.

Haidt's unsupported assertions suggest that he, too, is using reasoning to justify his intuitions. I am sure he is right when he claims that we all have this tendency. But we might have expected him, of all people, to try to think like "a scientist searching for truth".

Twitter: @georgemonbiot

A fully referenced version of this article is available on George Monbiot's website


Stuxnet: the worm that turned Obama into a hypocrite?

The president who made a stirring declaration about internet freedom authorised a wave of cyber-attacks on Iran, it has been revealed

John Naughton, The Observer, Saturday 9 June 2012, Article Source

Iranians work in an Internet cafe in Tehran. President Obama authorised cyber-attacks on the country's nuclear programme. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA, Rex Features
Iranians work in an Internet cafe in Tehran. President Obama authorisedcyber-attacks
on the country's nuclear programme. Photograph: KeystoneUSA-ZUMA / Rex Features

'"Great nations", said General (and President) de Gaulle, "do not have friends; they merely have interests". Substitute "ethics" for "friends" and you'd be closer to the mark. In May 2011, the Obama administration published an admirable document setting out the US's international strategy for cyberspace. It was subtitled "Prosperity, Security, and Openness in a Networked World", and contained a foreword signed by the president himself.

"Today," wrote Obama, "as nations and people harness the networks that are all around us, we have a choice. We can either work together to realise their potential for greater prosperity and security, or we can succumb to narrow interests and undue fears that limit progress. Cybersecurity is not an end unto itself; it is instead an obligation that our governments and societies must take on willingly, to ensure that innovation continues to flourish, drive markets, and improve lives."

Stirring stuff, eh? Obama goes on. "The digital world is no longer the province of a small elite. It is a place where the norms of responsible, just, and peaceful conduct among states and peoples have begun to take hold. It is one of the finest examples of a community self-organising, as civil society, academia, the private sector, and governments work together democratically to ensure its effective management. Most important of all, this space continues to grow, develop, and promote prosperity, security, and openness as it has since its invention. This is what sets the internet apart in the international environment, and why it is so important to protect."

I couldn't have put it better myself. But there is a small problem. At the time when he signed that stirring declaration, Obama knew something that the rest of us didn't – namely that the Stuxnet worm, which caused such havoc at the heart of Iran's uranium-enrichment process had been written, under his authorisation, by programmers in the US National Security Agency (with some assistance from software engineers working for the Israeli military).

When Stuxnet was first discovered in 2010, it attracted a great deal of attention for several reasons. For one thing it was so remarkably sophisticated and complex that its creation would have required a large software team. This led many of us to suppose that it must be the work of the security services of a major industrial country: it was hard to imagine run-of-the-mill malware authors going to all that trouble when they could be harvesting stolen credit-card numbers without getting out of bed. But the most intriguing thing about Stuxnet was the way it targeted a very specific piece of equipment: the Siemens Simatic programmable logic controller. It is commonplace in industrial operations everywhere – oil refineries, chemical plants, water-treatment facilities and so on. And it is also the device that controlled the centrifuges of the Iranian nuclear programme. Stuxnet could – and did – instruct the Siemens controller to cause the centrifuges to accelerate until they disintegrated.

All this pointed toward one conclusion – that Stuxnet must have been the creation of either the US or Israel. But no one knew for sure. Now, thanks to some fine investigative reporting by David Sanger, we do. The Stuxnet project – codenamed "Olympic Games" – was actually started by the Bush administration and accelerated by Obama in his first months in office. What's more, Sanger claims that Obama took a detailed, personal interest in the progress of the Stuxnet attack and that there were some agonised discussions in the White House when it was realised that the worm, instead of remaining inside the Natanz nuclear plant, had escaped into the wild, as it were. An error in the code led it to infect an engineer's computer. When he left the plant and hooked up his laptop elsewhere the software didn't recognise that its environment had changed. And then the cat was out of the bag – which is how we first got to hear of it.

Sanger's revelations raise some thorny issues, of which two immediately spring to mind. One: does Obama's duplicity – publicly espousing the internet as a space that is unpolluted by cyberwar and cyberespionage while covertly sponsoring a cyberweapon like Stuxnet – fatally undermine America's credibility as a defender of internet freedoms?

Or should it be seen as a defensible exercise in realpolitik – on the grounds that using software to sabotage Iran's nuclear ambitions would cause less collateral damage than an Israeli airstrike? And two: given that (a) software like Stuxnet could bring our entire industrial infrastructure to a halt, and (b) the likelihood that any piece of malware will escape into the wild, should we treat cyberweapons like biological weapons and ban their use entirely? Discuss, as they say in politics exams.

In Memory of Bob Welch
Christine & John McVie, Bob Welch & Mick Fleetwood."Miles Away" & "Believe Me" 1973

Paul Krassner - The Realist/Writer/Comic/Investigative Satirist

INTERVIEW / Jonah Raskin : Paul Krassner Is Still Smokin' at 80

Paul Krassner at his 80th birthday party.
Paul Krassner at his 80th birthday party.

The counterculture was a spiritual revolution:
A Rag Blog interview with Paul Krassner

As the editor of The Realist, Krassner taught me not to take myself too seriously and not to gaze with absolute reverence at the icons of the Sixties.

By Jonah Raskin / The Rag Blog / June 7, 2012 / Article Source

Alive and well and still kicking, with a satirical brand of biting humor that’s right on-target and as deadly as ever, Paul Krassner is an American national treasure.

In April 2012, he celebrated his 80th birthday with his daughter and grandchild. During the first week of June, he published, in a new, updated edition, his 1999 marijuana compendium, Pot Stories for the Soul. (Soft Skull Press; $17.95).

Right about here, and now, the ethics of the profession demand that I make a full disclosure. Krassner and I belong to the vast American underground that began before 1776 and that like him is still going strong. I’m also in his new book, along with Kate Coleman, Lynn Phillips, Robert Anton Wilson, and the usual suspects: Tommy Chong, Hunter S. Thompson, Wavy Gravy, Allen Ginsberg, and more.

The provocative editor of The Realist, as well as one of the zaniest of the zany Yippies, and a founding brother of the underground press, Krassner surely needs no introduction, at least not to survivors of the Sixties, readers of The Rag Blog (to which he is a semi-regular contributor), and to lovers of political satire from any generation.

The Realist
The Realist

Still, it might be helpful to remind the old, the young, the in-between, and even those in the know, that Krassner belonged to Ken Kesey’s band of outlaws, the Merry Pranksters, that he testified at the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, and that he has written or edited 11 books, several of them classics of American humor: Confessions of a Raving, Unconfined Nut; The Winner of the Slow Bicycle Race; and the superlative, Who’s to Say What's Obscene?: Politics, Culture, and Comedy in America Today.

Unafraid to poke fun at himself and unafraid to move at the pace of a turtle, not a rabbit, he has outlived many of his hilarious and deadly serious co-conspirators including Jerry, Abbie, Phil, and Stew (Rubin, Hoffman, Ochs, and Albert). As the editor of The Realist, Krassner taught me not to take myself too seriously and not to gaze with absolute reverence at the icons of the Sixties.

In 1970, when I submitted an article to The Realist about my experiences in Algeria with Eldridge Cleaver and Timothy Leary, he promptly changed my title and published it as “Eldridge & Tim & Kathleen & Rosemary.”

The previous year, moviegoers had flocked to theaters to see Paul Mazursky’s romantic comedy, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, with Natalie Wood, Elliot Gould, Robert Culp, and Dyan Cannon. Ads for the movie depicted the two couples in the same bed together. With a sharp eye on the sense and nonsense of pop culture and an unerring sense of satire, Krassner ran, on the cover of The Realist, a cartoon of Eldridge, Tim, Kathleen, and Rosemary in bed together.

I don’t know if they laughed, but I did, and thanks to Paul I have been laughing ever since, as much as I can, even when it hurts.

Pot Stories for the Soul
Pot Stories for the Soul

Jonah Raskin: The new, updated version of your old book is entitled Pot Stories for the Soul. Why the “the soul” and not “the head”?

Paul Krassner: It was a takeoff on the series of books entitled Chicken Soup for the Soul. I suppose if those books had been called Chicken Soup for the Head, then my book would be titled Pot Stories for the Head.

Why do you think that President Obama -- a pot smoker as a teenager -- is so opposed to pot now?

Fear of losing the election. Maybe Big Pharma threatened not to fund his campaign. But it's still a mystery. After all, his position on same-sex marriages "evolved" because of the polls. The irony is that if he had been busted as a teenager, he would never have been elected president.

In the title of your book, why do you call it pot and not weed, marijuana, cannabis, or grass?

It just felt right: the rhythm and the informality.

Do you really think that pot has medicinal values, or is that concept just a stalking horse for legalization for recreational purposes?

I absolutely believe it has medicinal values, not only because of research, but also from my own experience. Even if it could only relieve stress, the cause of so much disease is stress. Medical vs. recreational is a false distinction -- it's the anti-pleasure movement in action. Nobody ever says you should drink red wine and eat dark chocolate for their medical properties, but not for enjoyment.

Is there any truth to the rumor that The Realist was published on hemp paper?

It's a great rumor, though false, but if I had to do it all over again, it would be true.

Do you think that there’s a Yippie gene and that some are born with it and some not?

I think that every child is born with innocent irreverence, but it's canceled by the osmosis of cultural repression. It’s retrieved by those of us fortunate enough to break through society's brainwashing.

Few if any plants take more abuse than marijuana. Why is that? What’s so funny about marijuana?

What's funny is that Prozac is expensive and a side effect is suicidal tendencies, whereas marijuana can be grown in your window box for free, and the "worst" side effect is the munchies.

In 1968, the Yippies called for the legalization of marijuana. It’s almost 45 years later. Why didn’t legalization happen?

The influence of anti-pot propaganda, and the fact that Richard Nixon ignored the advice of the commission that he authorized.

If pot makes you forget what would you most like to forget after taking a hit?

I'd like to forget, but can't, that there are so many prisoners serving time, as Lenny Bruce said, "for smoking flowers." The abuse of power without compassion extends to the injustice and inhumanity of American drones killing children in Pakistan.

I suppose at your age you don’t think pot will be legalized in your lifetime?

It's not impossible. All the president has to do is have it removed from Schedule One of dangerous drugs. Maybe I'm just optimistic from smoking too much pot. High Times once published a questionnaire, and one of the questions was, "Is it possible to smoke too much pot?" A reader responded, "I don't understand the question."

Is there pot in Heaven, in Hell? Who’s more likely to smoke it: god, the goddess, the devil?

There's pot in Heaven on Earth, not in Hell on Earth. Only the Goddess of Reefer Madness knows why it's called Devil Weed.

Who are the leading pot smokers in your Hall of Fame?

Willie Nelson, Bill Maher, Jack Herer, Ken Kesey, Allen Ginsberg, Valerie Corral... the list goes on.

And what enforcement figures are the main figures in your Hall of Shame?

Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Ronald Reagan, the DEA, and the prison guards’ union.

In a group, how can you tell the pot smokers, growers, and smugglers on trial from the lawyers who defend them?

The defendants are the ones who supply their lawyers.

Are you stoned now?

Of course, it was on my to-do list.

Can you tell me where I can buy a righteous joint or two?

Most likely from your students.

You were born before TV, before the fax, email, the cellphone, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Would you like to return to the golden age of radio?

I prefer to live in the present; it's a matter of choice. I decided to quit Facebook after I reached 5,000 "friends." It just became too much of a distraction.

What were the 1960s about, other than sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll?

At its core, the counterculture was a spiritual revolution, replacing religions of control with disciplines of liberation.

What would Lenny Bruce say about pot if he were alive today?

"Hey, this shit is fucking powerful."

[Jonah Raskin, a regular contributor to The Rag Blog, is the author of Marijuanaland: Dispatches from an American War, For the Hell of It: The Life and Times of Abbie Hoffman, and American Scream: Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” and the Making of the Beat Generation. Read more articles by Jonah Raskin on The Rag Blog.]

Listen to Thorne Dreyer's three hour-long interviews with Paul Krassner on Rag Radio, and read Paul Krassner's writing on The Rag Blog.

Karl Cohen - Association International du Film d'Animation-SF Newsletter

The April/May issue begins with several articles about animation news some readers will find disturbing. I was quite surprised so much of it occurred in just one month.

Buried in the following 2 issues are stories about the Oscar nominated films and filmmakers, several book reviews, a fascinating reemergence of the artist Moebius by Arnie Wong who was his friend for many years, notes on Peter Lord's visit to SF (The Pirates! Band of Misfits) and much more.

Amestizo - BLOG

Live June 5, 2012, 22:00 UT Venus Transit - Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii
Find out what time the webcast starts in your time zone.

Steven Leech - Writer/Poet/D.J.

The Legends of Wilmington Jazz

Tuesday afternoons at 1 pm eastern time - 10 am pacific time
Listen-On-Line at

Jazz musicians from Wilmington, Delaware have performed and recorded with many of America's greatest jazz artists for over the past 70 years, and some of them have reached legendary status in our national jazz canon. This summer (2012) on every Tuesday afternoon at 1 o'clock eastern time on you can learn about Wilmington's unique jazz legacy on The Legends of Wilmington Jazz. It's one of Delaware's proudest contributions to American arts and culture.

Gerald PriceGerald Price
Legend of Wilmington Jazz, Gerald Price + Legend of Wilmington Jazz, Clifford Brown
Gerald Price recorded with Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson and Richie Cole.

The Legend of Wilmington covers 70 years of jazz produced by such artists from the past and present as Clifford Brown, Lem Winchester and Betty Roché to Ernie Watts and Matthew Shipp. Works of others who had produced jazz in Wilmington will be heard, along with some rare recordings.

Boysie LoweryBetty Roché
Legend of Wilmington Jazz, Boysie Lowery + Legend of Wilmington Jazz, Betty Roché

Boysie Lowery not only was Clifford Brown's music teacher, but he mentored nearly every jazz artist to have come from Wilmington.

Betty Roché was born in Wilmington in 1920. She was a member of Duke Ellington's band in the early 1940s and early 1950s, and first performed with Ellington at his Carnegie Hall concert in 1943. Because she recorded only one commercial recording with Ellington, all other Ellington sides will be rare recordings. She also recorded three solo albums in the 1956 and the early 1960s.

Powmia Among the Dragonflies

Powmia Among the Dragonflies a Vietnam War novel by Steven Leech
a Vietnam War novel by Steven Leech
CLICK TO READ PDF NOVEL - Click to visit Steven's Broken Turtle Blog

Republicans and Democrats are Lying Hypocrites
Who Support Selective Terrorism Against U.S. Military

On June 8, 1967, US Navy intelligence ship USS Liberty was suddenly and brutally attacked on the high seas in international waters by the air and naval forces of Israel. The Israeli forces attacked with full knowledge that this was an American ship and lied about it. Survivors have been forbidden for 40 years to tell their story under oath to the American public. The USS Liberty Memorial web site tells their story and is dedicated to the memory of the 34 brave men who died.

U.S.S. Liberty Memorial
34 U.S. Military Dead, 171 Wounded
Remember the U.S.S. Liberty
U.S. Navy Veteran

Click to View

Keith Lampe - Co-Founder of YIPPIE and Progressive Activist Groups

USS Liberty survivors for guests on Radio Shows for June 8th; 45 anniv of attack

Attention Respected Radio Show Hosts, Columnists and Other Friends:

Please, please, please do what you can to not let the 45th anniversary of the June 8, 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty which left 34 and 171 U.S. sailors and marines dead and wounded, respectively, go unaddressed on your respective radio programs. Next Friday June 8, 2012 will mark the 45th anniversary of the attack on the USS Liberty. Hopefully you will be able to schedule survivors of the attack to share their stories with your listening audience.

Here are the email addresses for two survivors of the attack and one former crew member of the USS Liberty that I know of:

Phil Tourney -
Ernie Gallo -
John Gidusko -

John Gidusko of Casselberry, FL has an incredible webpage offering all kinds of information on the USS Liberty and the outrageous, unprovoked attack on it by the Israeli military on June 8, 1967. Here is the link to John's wonderful webpage:

Also, please take the time to read the article published on the 40th anniversary in June of 2007 in the Chicago Tribune exposing the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. The link to the article is at:

New revelations in attack on American spy ship
Veterans, documents suggest U.S., Israel didn't tell full story of deadly '67 incident,0,43090.story

Should you like to discuss the incident with some of the survivors, these survivors are willing to talk with you:

Gary Brummett - Phone: (318) 858-2258
Stan White - Phone: (815) 379-2066
Phil Tourney - Phone: (970) 835-4076
Larry Weaver - Phone: (808) 874-0201
Dave Lewis - Phone: (802) 277-8379
Ron Kukal - Phone: (307) 672 5152

Survivor Ernie Gallo and former Liberty crew member John Gidusko both live in Central Florida. Ernie in Palm Coast and John in Casselberry.

For 45 years this blatant, murderous attack on a clearly marked U.S. naval vessel sailing in International waters has been covered up by the U.S. government. I've heard for years that the U.S. military leaves non of its own behind ... well, I ask you all to try to square that with the outrageous injustice to the men of the USS Liberty.

Please, please, please remember the men of the USS Liberty and offer some of your show time next week to address the outrageous injustice to the men of the USS Liberty.

Thank you very much,

Phil Restino
Chapter Co-Chair, VFP Chapter 136
Central Florida Veterans For Peace
ph/fax: (386) 788-2918

PS - Please watch and share with others this short YouTube video of Traitor John John McCain Confronted About USS Liberty Cover-up Memorial Day 2012 by True Patriot James Morris:

Chicken Love Hawk
Chicken Loves Hawk = War Criminal Bush & Traitor John

Best No 1 singles, 1952-2012 -- interactive

To celebrate 60 years of the UK singles chart, we asked our writers to pick one song from each year that made it to the coveted No 1 slot. Their choices reflect personal favourites, one-hit wonders, musical genius and perfect pop -- see what they have to say, then tell us about your all-time favourite No 1s.

Interactive by Paddy Allen, Theresa Malone and Amanda Shendruk. Picture and video research by Imogen Blake,, Thursday 31 May 2012 17.02 EDT, Article Source

Sex Pistols

As the nation prepares to celebrate the Queen's diamond jubilee, some will be marking another anniversary -- 35 years since Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen was released. Here, five readers tell us their thoughts on the band's legacy

Guardian readers,, Friday 1 June 2012 06.32 EDT, Article Source

The Sex Pistols performing in 1978. Photograph: Rex Features
The Sex Pistols performing in 1978. Photograph: Rex Features

Sonia Kilvington: 'They expressed the fears and disillusionment of our generation'

The Sex Pistols exploded onto the music scene in '77 as an antipathy of disco; and it had never felt so good to be so bad. With their slashed shirts, safety pins and bondage straps, everything about them screamed – stand back before you are consumed in the flames.

Who were these spikey haired villains, who scared the establishment so much? Were they the disenfranchised youth of Britain searching for an outlet for their aggression or a cynically staged musical movement, hell bent on grabbing Britain's appalled attention?
For me at seventeen, they were simply amazing. I had never seen such an explosion of creative energy. They made it cool to be angry and expressed the fears and disillusionment of our generation. It felt great to acknowledge that, yes; we had indeed, been cheated.

Who can forget sad Sid who could barely play his guitar or that Jonny had nasty, rotten teeth? As the years passed, we were supposed to calm down, shut and get on with it, as if nothing remarkable had happened. The Sex Pistols claimed to be anarchists and the antichrist, but they were absolute heaven to me.

Richard Bibby: 'It felt like Punk was taking over the country'

I was an impressionable 15 year old during the Summer of 1977. I remember hearing an early pressing of God Save The Queen in Virgin Records Hull store one Saturday morning.It was like nothing i'd heard before and the most exciting record i'd ever heard. I vividly remember a Steve Hillage type long hair playing air guitar along with it behind the counter. Now that just wasn't right, but the image stuck with me. Never trust a hippy indeed.

When the record was released and hit the charts, receiving pretty much a blanket radio ban (apart from John Peel's show of course) and hearing that it charted at number 2 in Jubilee week (we found out later it was kept off number one my Rod Stewart under false pretenses) it felt like Punk was taking over the country. It was THAT serious.

Then news of the jubilee boat trip was reported in the media later (Had to wait for the NME to hear about that - no Facebook/Twitter in those days) and it felt like Anarchy was only a matter of days away.

Looking back on it now, the passage of time makes the whole situation seems a bit twee, but being a 15 year old at the time, it seemed like we could take over the world.

The feeling lasted but a matter of weeks, before the media etc. diluted the whole thing, and Punk became a cartoon of itself, but the legacy of the Summer of 1977 has stayed with me, and many others for the rest of my life. Those who "understood" cannot have failed to be influenced by it - in many different walks of life.

Never mind the Bollocks - This WAS the shit.

Phil Rebbeck: 'Their legacy has not endured'

As a band and a phenomenon the Sex Pistols were a blast of molten nihilism that sent-albeit briefly- shockwaves through the nation. In these days of expletive strewn reality TV shows it is easy to forget just how incendiary Rotten and his band of desperadoes were. Exhibiting personal bravery-they were subject to frequent attacks on the street-and a unwavering contempt for the bloated prog rock that dominated the music industry then, The Sex Pistols caused a moral panic like no other band before or since.

Musically, though, their legacy has not endured. Their two great singles still sound thrilling but much else of their limited output sounds tinny and even juvenile. Their three-chord rock, pared down rock spawned countless imitators but few of note. Of their contemporaries Joy Division, The Clash, even The Police have all been more influential. The Pistols themselves imploded after a few brief years culminating in Rotten's notorious San Francisco declaration "Ever had the feeling you been cheated?' And for all their bluster the institutions that they so despised are still here stronger than ever.

And let's not forget that this one time scourge of middle England ended up selling butter substitutes on television.

Dominic Mod: 'The Sex Pistols were useless, artless tossers'

The Sex Pistols were a bunch of wankers, we know this much is true.

Those who bleat today that they lack credibility forget they didn't have any credibility in the first place. They were proud of the fact indeed they made a virtue of it.

It's no surprise Rotten is selling butter or mincing about on I'm A Celebrity, if Sid hadn't checked out he would probably be gobbing in the swimming pool of the Celebrity Big Brother house by now.

But that is exactly why the Pistols made such a seismic impact on music and the whole of society in the 1970s and continue to do so today.

It needed telling, the time for earnest hairy blokes indulging in ten minute guitars solos was over,

The Pistols helped define the teenage nihilism of today and the message is almost more relevant now.

In an age of bland talent shows and manufactured nonsense, the Pistols' notion that everything is crap and the only thing to do about it is make your own crap remains the perfect definition of modern youth rebellion.

The Sex Pistols were useless, artless tossers and god bless them for it.

Tony Rhodes: 'The forerunners to changing trends in modern music'

Two schools of thought:

1. The Sex Pistols were a manufactured band who couldn't play their instruments , sing in tune or play live ; they relied entirely on shock value , reputation & hype to fuel their questionable success in the form of several lucrative record contracts before they disappeared from the scene. The parallels to today's Voice & X Factor contestants is uncanny – the lack of musical ability in abundance and careers based on hype - it is almost a replica.

2. Alternatively there is a strong argument to say the hype and chaos hid a unique talent and innovation that paved the way for 3 or 4 decades of music – where would modern music of the 80s, 90s and 00s be without the fast , throw away hallmarks of punk pioneered by the Pistols.

As with all schools of truth the answer probably lies in the middle but which ever theory you advocate there is no getting away from the fact that the Pistols were the forerunners to the ever changing trends in modern music and however uncomfortable the main characters are with that it is something all music lovers should be grateful for.

Heist of the century: Wall Street's role in the financial crisis

Wall Street bankers could have averted the global financial crisis, so why didn't they? In this exclusive extract from his book Inside Job, Charles Ferguson argues that they should be prosecuted

Charles Ferguson,, Sunday 20 May 2012 15.00 EDT, Article Source

When did Wall street know there was a bubble and that they could game it?' Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters/Corbis
When did Wall street know there was a bubble and that they could game it?' Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters/Corbis

Bernard L Madoff ran the biggest Ponzi scheme in history, operating it for 30 years and causing cash losses of $19.5bn. Shortly after the scheme collapsed and Madoff confessed in 2008, evidence began to surface that for years, major banks had suspected he was a fraud. None of them reported their suspicions to the authorities, and several banks decided to make money from him without, of course, risking any of their own funds. Theories about his fraud varied. Some thought he might have access to insider information. But quite a few thought he was running a Ponzi scheme. Goldman Sachs executives paid a visit to Madoff to see ifthey should recommend him to clients. A partner later recalled: "Madoff refused to let them do any due diligence on the funds and when asked about the firm's investment strategy they couldn't understand it. Goldman not only blacklisted Madoff in the asset management division but banned its brokerage from trading with the firm too."

Inside Job: The Financiers Who Pulled Off the Heist of the Century
Inside Job: The Financiers Who Pulled Off the Heist of the Century

UBS headquarters forbade investing any bank or client money in Madoff accounts, but created or worked with several Madoff feeder funds. A memo to one of these in 2005 contained the following, in large boldface type: "Not to do: ever enter into a direct contact with Bernard Madoff!!!"

JPMorgan Chase had more evidence, because it served as Madoff's primary banker for more than 20 years. The lawsuit filed by the Madoff bankruptcy trustee against JPMorgan Chase makes astonishing reading. More than a dozen senior JPMorgan Chase bankers discussed a long list of suspicions.

The Securities and Exchanges Commission has been deservedly criticised for not following up on years of complaints about Madoff, many of which came from a Boston investigator, Harry Markopolos, whom they treated as a crank. But suppose a senior executive at Goldman Sachs, UBS or JPMorgan Chase had called the SEC and said: "You really need to take a close look at Bernard Madoff. He must be working a scam."

But not a single bank that had suspicions about Madoff made such a call. Instead, they assumed he was probably a crook, but either just left him alone or were happy to make money from him.

It is no exaggeration to say that since the 1980s, much of the global financial sector has become criminalised, creating an industry culture that tolerates or even encourages systematic fraud. The behaviour that caused the mortgage bubble and financial crisis of 2008 was a natural outcome and continuation of this pattern, rather than some kind of economic accident.

This behaviour is criminal. We are talking about deliberate concealment of financial transactions that aided terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation and large-scale tax evasion; assisting in major financial frauds and in concealment of criminal assets; and committing frauds that substantially worsened the worst financial bubbles and crises since the Depression.

And yet none of this conduct has been punished in any significant way.

Total fines on the banks for their role in the Enron fraud, the internet bubble, violation of sanctions against countries including Iran and money-laundering activities appear to be far less than 1% of financial sector profits and bonuses during the same period.

There have been very few prosecutions and no criminal convictions of large US financial institutions or their senior executives. Where individuals not linked to major banks have committed similar offences, they have been treated far more harshly.

Goldman Sachs blacklisted Madoff, but didn’t alert the authorities. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Goldman Sachs blacklisted Madoff, but didn’t alert the authorities. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Obama government has rationalised its failure to prosecute anyone (literally, anyone at all) for bubble-related crimes by saying that while much of Wall Street's behaviour was unwise or unethical, it wasn't illegal. With apologies for my vulgarity, this is complete horseshit.

When the government is really serious about something – preventing another 9/11, or pursuing major organised crime figures – it has many tools at its disposal and often uses them. There are wiretaps and electronic eavesdropping. There are undercover agents who pretend to be criminals in order to entrap their targets. There are National Security Letters, an aggressive form of administrative subpoena that allows US authorities to secretly obtain almost any electronic record – complete with a gag order making it illegal for the target of the subpoena to tell anyone about it. There are special prosecutors, task forces and grand juries. When Patty Hearst was kidnapped in 1974, the FBI assigned hundreds of agents to the case.

In organised crime investigations, the FBI and government prosecutors often start at the bottom in order to get to the top. They use the well-established technique of nailing lower-level people and then offering them a deal if they inform on and/or testify about their superiors – whereupon the FBI nails their superiors, and does the same thing to them, until climbing to the top of the tree. There is also the technique of nailing people for what can be proven against them, even if it's not the main offence. Al Capone was never convicted of bootlegging, large-scale corruption or murder; he was convicted of tax evasion.

A reasonable list of prosecutable crimes committed during the bubble, the crisis, and the aftermath period by financial services firms includes: securities fraud, accounting fraud, honest services violations, bribery, perjury and making false statements to US government investigators, Sarbanes-Oxley violations (false accounting), Rico (Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organisations Act) offences, federal aid disclosure regulations offences and personal conduct offences (drug use, tax evasion etc).

Let's take the example of securities fraud. Where to begin?

When did Wall Street insiders know there was a really serious sub-prime mortgage bubble, and that they could game it? Many of the clever ones knew by about 2004, when Howie Hubler at Morgan Stanley first started to bet against the worst securities with the approval of his management. But you can only make money betting against a bubble as it unravels. As long as there was room for the bubble to grow, Wall Street's overwhelming incentive was to keep it going. But when they saw that the bubble was ending, their incentives changed. And we therefore know that many on Wall Street realised there was a huge bubble by late 2006, because that's when they started massively betting on its collapse.

Here, I must briefly mention a problem with Michael Lewis's generally superb financial journalism. In his book The Big Short, Lewis leaves the impression that Wall Street was blindly running itself off a cliff, whereas a few wild and crazy, off-the-beaten-track, adorably weird loners figured out how to short the mortgage market and beat the system. With all due respect to Mr Lewis, it didn't happen like that. The Big Short was seriously big business, and much of Wall Street was ruthlessly good at it.

To begin with, a number of big hedge funds figured it out. Unlike investment banks, however, they couldn't make serious money by securitising loans and selling CDOs (collateralised debt obligations), so they had to wait until the bubble was about to burst and make their money from the collapse. And this they did. Major hedge funds including Magnetar, Tricadia, Harbinger Capital, George Soros, and John Paulson made billions of dollars each by betting against mortgage securities as the bubble ended, and all of them worked closely with Wall Street in order to do so.

In fairness to Mr Lewis, it is true that in several major cases – most notably Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Lehman and Bear Stearns – senior management was indeed disconnected and thus clueless, allowed their employees to take advantage too long and therefore destroyed their own firms.

But cluelessness was most definitely not an issue with the senior management of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley. As we saw, Morgan Stanley started betting against the bubble as early as 2004. Conversely, JPMorgan Chase mostly just remained prudently above the junk mortgage fray. Goldman Sachs, though, was in a class by itself. It made billions of dollars by betting against the very same stuff that it had been making billions selling only a year or two before.

Almost all the prospectuses and sales material on mortgage-backed bonds sold from 2005 until 2007 were a compound of falsehoods. And as the bubble peaked and started to collapse, executives repeatedly lied about their companies' financial condition. In some cases, they also concealed other material information, such as the extent to which executives were selling or hedging their own stock holdings because they knew their firms were about to collapse.

In some cases, we have evidence of senior executive knowledge of and involvement in misrepresentations. For example, quarterly presentations to investors are nearly always made by the CEO or chief financial officer of the firm; if lies were told in these presentations, or if material facts were omitted, the responsibility lies with senior management. In other cases, such as Bear Stearns, we have evidence from civil lawsuits that senior executives were directly involved in selling securities whose prospectuses allegedly contained lies and omissions.

The Rico Act provides for severe criminal (and civil) penalties for operating a criminal organisation. It specifically enables prosecution of the leaders of a criminal organisation for having ordered or assisted others to commit crimes. It also provides that racketeers must forfeit all ill-gotten gains obtained through a pattern of criminal activity, and allows government prosecutors to obtain pre-trial restraining orders to seize defendants' assets. Finally, it provides for criminal prosecution of corporations that employ Rico offenders.

Bernard Madoff confessed to operating a giant Ponzi scheme. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images
Bernard Madoff confessed to operating a giant Ponzi scheme. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Rico was explicitly intended to cover organised financial crime as well as violent criminal organisations such as the mafia and drug cartels. A great deal of the behaviour that occurred during the bubble would appear to fall under Rico statutes. Moreover, pre-trial asset seizure is a widely and successfully used technique in combating organised crime, and asset seizures now generate more tha $1bn a year for the US government. However, there has not been a single Rico prosecution related to the financial crisis, nor has a single Rico restraining order been issued to seize the assets of any individual banker or any firm.

It is important to note here that these asset seizures would not merely represent justice for offenders but for victims as well. US law allows seized assets to be used to compensate victims. In this case, the potential economic impact of seizures could be enormous.

Finally, personal conduct subject to criminal prosecution might range from possession and use of drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, to hiring of prostitutes, employment of prostitutes for business purposes, fraudulent billing of personal or illegal services as business expenses (sexual services, strip club and nightclub patronage), fraudulent use or misappropriation of corporate assets or services for personal use (eg use of corporate jets), personal tax evasion and a variety of other offences.

I should perhaps make clear here that I'm not enthusiastic about prosecuting people for possession or use of marijuana, which I think should be legal. In general, I tend to think that anything done by two healthy consenting adults, including sex for pay, should be legal as well.

But the circumstances here are not ordinary. First, there is once again a vast disparity between the treatment of ordinary people and investment bankers. Every year, about 50,000 people are arrested in New York City for possession of marijuana – most of them ordinary people, not criminals, whose only offence was to accidentally end up within the orbit of a police officer. Not a single one of them is ever named Jimmy Cayne, despite the fact that the marijuana habit of the former CEO of Bear Stearns has been discussed multiple times in the national media (his predecessor in the job, Ace Greenberg, called him a "dope-smoking megalomaniac").

There is also a second, even more serious, point about this. If the supposed reason for failure to prosecute is the difficulty of making cases, then there is an awfully easy way to get a lot of bankers to talk. It is a technique used routinely in organised crime cases. What is this, if not organised?

As time passes, criminal prosecution of bubble-era frauds will become even more difficult, even impossible, because the statute of limitations for many of these crimes is short – three to five years. So an immense opportunity for both justice and public education will soon be lost. In some circumstances, cases can be opened or reopened after the statute of limitations has expired, if new evidence appears; but finding new evidence will grow more difficult with time as well. And there is no sign whatsoever that the Obama administration is interested.

Charles Ferguson will appear at the Edinburgh international book festival on Sunday 12 August.

Bruce Springsteen lashes bankers during Berlin concert

Rocker taps into anger at financial world, dedicating anti-bank song to 'those who are struggling in Europe and Berlin'

Reuters in Berlin,, Thursday 31 May 2012 03.03 BST, Article Source

Bruce Springsteen tapped into Europe's anger at bankers while performing at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Photograph: Britta Pedersen/EPA
Bruce Springsteen tapped into Europe's anger at bankers while performing
at the Olympiastadion in Berlin. Photograph: Britta Pedersen/EPA

Bruce Springsteen has touched on a nerve of widespread discontent with financiers and bankers while performing a concert in Berlin.

Springsteen played to a sold-out crowd at Berlin's Olympiastadion, singing from his album Wrecking Ball and speaking about tough economic times that have put people out of work worldwide and led to debt crises in Greece and other countries.

"In America a lot of people have lost their jobs," said Springsteen, 62, who performed for three hours to 58,000 fans in the stadium that hosted the 1936 Olympics and 2006 World Cup final.

"But also in Europe and in Berlin, times are tough," he said, speaking in German. "This song is for all those who are struggling." He then introduced Jack of All Trades, a withering attack on bankers that includes the lyrics: "The banker man grows fat, working man grows thin."

Europe has been especially hard hit since 2008's financial meltdown that sparked an enduring sovereign debt crisis. Unemployment on the continent has risen to levels not seen since the 1990s.

Springsteen's Wrecking Ball tour began on 13 May in Spain, which is struggling with its crushing debt load, and runs for two and a half months with 33 stops in 15 countries before concluding on 31 July in Helsinki.

Berlin has been a special place for Springsteen since his July 1988 concert behind the old Iron Curtain in East Berlin.

Watched by 160,000 people, it was the biggest rock show in East German history, and The Boss spoke out against the "barriers" keeping East Germans prisoners in their country. Some historians have said the concert fed into a movement gaining moment at the time that contributed to the tearing down of the Berlin Wall 16 months later in November 1989.

"Once in a while you play a place, a show that ends up staying inside of you, living with you for the rest of your life," he told the crowd on Wednesday after being handed a poster from a fan thanking him for the 1988 concert. "East Berlin in 1988 was certainly one of them."

Germany has weathered the financial crisis well so far but Berlin itself is struggling with double-digit unemployment, low wages and a high incidence of poverty.

"The financial world has caused us all a lot of our problems and Springsteen has always been a critical spirit – that's what I like about him," said Kathleen Wapp, a 42-year-old doctor's assistant from Wolfsburg who was at the show. "I like the way he's not afraid to put a critical light on the key issues."

"I think it's great the way he's taking on the banking industry - he's got it dead right," said Matthias Beck, 46, a carpenter from Leipzig. "There's hardly anything good about banks. They take advantage of the little people and it's always hard to find someone who'll take responsibility when it all goes wrong."

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

Ecstasy and cannabis should be freely available for study, says David Nutt

Former government adviser says regulations make it too difficult to research psychoactive drugs with potential medical uses

Alok Jha, science correspondent, The Guardian, Thursday 31 May 2012, Article Source

Nutt said there had been little research on drugs like cannabis that could help scientists understand consciousness, mood and psychosis. Photograph: Guardian
Nutt said there had been little research on drugs like cannabis that could help scientists
understand consciousness, mood and psychosis. Photograph: Guardian

The classification system that makes drugs such as cannabis and MDMA (ecstasy) illegal has prevented scientists from properly researching their possible therapeutic uses for conditions such as schizophrenia and depression, according to the government's former chief adviser on drugs.

Professor David Nutt said the UK's laws on misuse of drugs needed to be rewritten to more accurately reflect their relative harms and called for a regulated approach to making drugs such as MDMA and cannabis available for medical and research purposes.

"Regulations, which are arbitrary, actually make it virtually impossible to research these drugs," said Nutt. "The effect these laws have had on research is greater than the effects that [George] Bush stopping stem cell research has had because it's been going on since the 1960s."

Almost all the drugs that could help scientists to understand brain phenomena such as consciousness, perception, mood and psychosis are illegal, including ketamine, cannabis, MDMA and psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms. Nutt said there had been almost no work in this field because the government made it difficult for scientists to access the drugs.

A Home Office spokesperson told the Guardian: "The Home Office licensing regime enables bona fide institutions to carry out scientific research on controlled substances while ensuring necessary safeguards are in place."

Nutt, who is professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, made his comments at a briefing in London on Wednesday to mark the launch of his book, Drugs Without the Hot Air.

He is used to being a thorn in the side of the authorities when it comes to drugs regulation. In 2009, he was sacked by the then health secretary, Alan Johnson, from his post as chair of the government's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for publicly stating that alcohol and tobacco were more harmful than LSD, ecstasy and cannabis.

Researchers who want to experiment on illegal drugs, which come under the schedule 1 list of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001, must apply for a licence from the Home Office. This takes a year to approve and costs thousands of pounds. Researchers are also required to have secure storage facilities and are subject to random inspections by police.

"[The rules] completely limit research at the real cutting edge of science," said Nutt. "I wonder how many other opportunities have been lost in the last 40 years with important drugs like MDMA, with its empathetic qualities, drugs like LSD in terms of treating addictions, cannabis for all the possible uses and insights which it might have for things like schizophrenia. All of those opportunities have been wasted because it is virtually impossible, when a drug's illegal, to work with it."

One of the best treatments for people with post-traumatic stress disorder is to get them to relive their trauma and then teach them how to delete or somehow control the memories. "But many people are so traumatised that, once the memories come back, they just dissociate and can't hold it long enough in order to deal with it," said Nutt.

"There's been one study in the US showing that MDMA, by damping down the negative emotions associated with the trauma, allow people to get into the therapy and get better. We're very keen to set up a similar trial in the UK. The paradox will be that, even if we can show it could work, no one could use it in the UK because no doctor would have the licence.

"LSD was trialled as a treatment for alcoholism in the 1960s and Nutt said the "evidence is that it's as good as anything we've got, maybe better. But no one's using it because it's too difficult."

Nutt said that the lack of scientific research was a direct result of the UK's arbitrary classification of drugs. "Drugs are drugs – they differ in terms of their brain effects but, fundamentally, they're all psychotropic agents and it is arbitrary whether we choose to keep alcohol legal or ban cannabis or make tobacco legal and ban ecstasy. Those are not scientific decisions, they're political or moral or religious decisions."

According to Nutt, research into the effects of drugs would lead to a more rational approach. He said the laws around the misuse of drugs needed to be rewritten, after a thorough, independent review of the harms involved.

"I'm not in favour of legalisation, a free open market of all drugs – that does lead to more use," he said. "We need regulated access across the board."

This would mean drugs such as cannabis, MDMA or PZP being made available for treatments through a pharmacy. Patients could be issued with a card and given access to an annual supply, he said. "Then at least you would know what you were getting."

Doc Watson - Deep River Blues

Arthel 'Doc' Watson dies

Blind folk guitarist from North Carolina won eight Grammy awards and inspired generations of musicians

Charles Taylor, Mujahideen, al Qaeda, Pat Robertson, and Foggy Bottom

Shouldn't Birds Of A Feather Do Time Together?

I noticed Charles Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes and the Judge at court in The Hague says ex-Liberia president's crimes were of the 'utmost gravity in scale and brutality'.

Screen shot of Charles Taylor sentenced to 50 year from Google news

Charles Taylor: Pat Robertson was my man in Washington

Posted By Colum Lynch Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 8:14 PM, Article Source

War Criminal Charles Taylor with Pat Robertson

Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, testifying in his own war crimes trial today, said that the American conservative evangelist Pat Robertson was awarded a Liberian gold-mining concession in 1999 and subsequently offered to lobby the Bush administration to support his government.

The revelations came in the midst of a U.N.-backed trial of Taylor at The Hague on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity during Sierra Leone's 1990s civil war. Taylor is accused of directing a Sierra Leone rebel group, the United Revolutionary Front (RUF), in a campaign aimed at securing access to the country's diamond mines. The rebel movement stands accused of committing mass atrocities in the late 1990s in the West African country, including the mutilation of thousands of civilians.

The international prosecutors contend that Taylor offered concessions to Western individuals in exchange for lobbying work aimed at enhancing his image in the United States. The prosecution maintains that Taylor also spent $2.6 million on lobbying firms and public relations outfits in the hopes of influencing the policies of former President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Under cross-examination, Taylor said that Robertson had volunteered to make Liberia's case before U.S. administration officials, and had spoken directly to President Bush about Taylor. He also confirmed that Robertson's company, Freedom Gold Limited, signed an agreement to exploit gold in southeastern Liberia, but that it never generated any profit.

"Mr. Taylor, indeed at one point you said that you can count on Pat Robertson to get Washington on your side," he was asked by the lead prosecution counsel, Col. Brenda Hollis, a former U.S. Air Force officer. Taylor replied: "I don't recall the exact words, but something to that effect."

A spokesman for Robertson, Chris Roslan, confirmed that Robertson was awarded a gold exploration concession by the Liberian government during the 1990s. But he said that there was "no quid pro quo" to provide the government with anything in return. Roslan said the company, Freedom Gold, is no longer in operation and has never found any gold.

"This concession was granted by the Liberian government to promote economic activity and alleviate the suffering of the people of Liberia following a terrible civil war," said Roslan, adding that Robertson had never met Taylor or paid him any money. "Freedom Gold accomplished this by employing some 200 Liberians in addition to providing humanitarian efforts including free medical care and installation of clean water wells for area residents."

Charles Taylor's al Qaeda Links...Global Witness Opens Lid

Montserrado County, Liberia
20 February, 2009
Categorized as pertaining to: Hearings

Then President Charles Taylor received a US$1 million payment for arranging to harbor two al Qaeda operatives in Liberia soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States, Global Witness said.

The men, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani and Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, both of whom were on the FBI's Most Wanted List of Terrorists, Global Witness said, were hidden at the Gbartala Base in Bong County.

Testifying Friday at the Economic Crimes Hearing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia (TRC), Patrick Alley, one of the directors of Global Witness said Al Qaeda's interest in Liberia and Sierra Leone goes back to the late 1990s, when the Taylor-backed RUF rebels were in control of the lucrative diamond fields of Sierra Leone.

Global Witness said in 1998, soon after the attacks on US missions in Africa, a senior al Qaeda financial officer, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, arrived in Monrovia. The group said that Abdullah was introduced to RUF leaders including Sam "Maskita" Bockarie, by Ibrahim Bah.

According to Mr. Alley, the same two al Qaeda operatives traveled to Liberia in March 1999 in order to establish a diamonds for arms deal and spent a few days scouting the RUF diamond fields in Sierra Leone, as well as meeting with Bockarie and giving him US$100,000 in cash for a parcel of diamonds.

"By January 2001, employees of Aziz Nassour, who is associated with the Antwerp based diamond trading company ASA Diam, had established control over RUF diamonds in exchange for arms, and his control continued until November 2001."

Mr. Alley said Nassour along with his business associate and cousin Samih Osailly, were named in international criminal investigations as being involved in dealing in diamonds for al Qaeda but all three men denied the allegations. But he said that Nassour, though denying any illegal wrongdoing, admitted to being involved in the diamond trade in Sierra Leone and elsewhere and also admitted to attempting to do other business deals with President Taylor.

"In fact Nassour and Taylor are quite well acquainted. Eyewitnesses put Nassour and Taylor together for a July 2001 meeting at Harper Port in Maryland County near the border with Cote d'I voire, where much of Liberia's illicit weaponry arrives. There Nassour allegedly gave Taylor US$200,00 to ensure his support for the ongoing diamond dealing," he said.

He said Global Witness research and investigations found that since 1993, al Qaeda was buying diamonds to make money and to commodify its assets, shifting them away from traditional bank accounts that are subjected to surveillance by financial authorities and are under threat of being frozen to less traceable commodities such as diamonds.

Under the theme: "Economic Crimes, Corruption and the Conflict in Liberia: Policy Options for an Emerging Democracy and sustainable peace," the weeklong hearing addressed the contribution of economic crimes to the conflict including corruption and the illicit exploitation of natural resources.

The hearing also discussed the correlation between the extractive industry and the fueling of the conflict and appropriate policies aimed at reversing the unauthorized exploitation of the natural resources by individuals, groups and the government for purposes external to the national good.

Pursuant to the TRC Act of 2005, the commission is mandated to investigate gross human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law as well as abuses that occurred, including massacres, sexual violations, murder, extra-judicial killings and economic crimes, such as the exploitation of natural or public resources to perpetuate armed conflicts during the period January 1979 to October 14, 2003.

The commission is mandated to determine whether these were isolated incidents or part of a systematic pattern; establishing the antecedents, circumstances, factors and context of such violations and abuses; and determining those responsible for the commission of the violations and abuses and their motives as well as their impact on victims.

Pat Robertson: The Anglo-American support apparatus behind the Afghani mujahideen

Following the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union in December 1979, the U.S. administration, first under Carter and then under Reagan, launched a massive support and training campaign for the Afghan freedom fighters, or "mujahideen" (holy warriors), as they came to be known. In addition to overt and covert funding operations by various U.S. governmental agencies for the mujahideen, a plethora of private "aid" agencies, think-tanks, and other odd outfits joined the fray, with the ostensible aim of helping the Afghans to liberate their nation from the clutches of the Soviet invaders.

However, a closer look at the activities of these private agencies reveals that there was much more at stake. As the profiles below show, the source of policy for most of these groups was British intelligence. As such, these groups lobbied the U.S. Congress, set up conferences, launched pro-mujahideen propaganda campaigns, and, in some cases, even provided military training for various mujahideen groups. U.S. policy toward Afghanistan, and the region, was largely determined by the aims of these "committees," which also represented the controlling "mediators" between the mujahideen and British policy.

Some of the members and leaders of the organizations profiled below were also involved with some of the figures in the drugs-for-guns related Iran-Contra networks of then - Vice President George Bush and his sidekick Oliver North.


Fundraisers for the CFA included the Bush-linked televangelist Pat Robertson, former Ambassador Angier Biddle Duke, and former U.S. Attorney General Eliot Richardson. - [Continue Reading - Also note: Diamonds are Robertson's best friend and Pat Robertson and His Business Buddies]

Pat Robertson's 'nuke' idea draws protest

State Dept. spokesman: 'Idea is despicable'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Television evangelist and Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson's suggestion that a nuclear device should be used to wipe out the State Department was "despicable," department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday.

"I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain," Boucher said. "I think the very idea is despicable."

A senior State Department official, who did not want to be identified, said the department has expressed its displeasure to Robertson.

Robertson made the comments during a series of interviews on his "700 Club" television show with journalist Joel Mowbray, author of a new book, "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security."

Robertson founded the Christian Coalition in 1989 after running for U.S. president as a Republican in 1988.

Introducing Mowbray on his show, Robertson said that a reader of his book could conclude that the State Department needed a nuclear explosion.

"I read your book," Robertson said. "When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer,' and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.' I mean, is it as bad as you say?" Robertson said.

"It is," Mowbray said, although his book never suggests that the State Department should be blown up with a nuclear device.

Foggy Bottom is the nickname for the State Department's Washington headquarters.

In a June interview with Mowbray on the "700 Club", Robertson made similar remarks.

"Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up like Newt Gingrich wants to do," he said.

Robertson was referring to former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was part of a group of conservatives accusing the State Department of undermining U.S. foreign policy by coddling authoritarian governments in the Middle East.

Mowbray has been a critic of the State Department, especially its visa program with Saudi Arabia. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the September 11, 2001, attacks were Saudi citizens.

Lies, Lies, Lies -

Amestizo - BLOG

White Horse Prophecy

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The White Horse Prophecy is a statement purported to have been made in 1843 by Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, regarding the future of the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the United States of America. The Latter Day Saints, according to the prophecy, would "go to the Rocky Mountains and ... be a great and mighty people", identified figuratively with the White Horse described in the Revelation of John. The prophecy further predicts that the United States Constitution will one day "hang like a thread" and will be saved "by the efforts of the White Horse".

Some have speculated, on the basis of the White Horse Prophecy, that Mormons expect the United States to eventually become a theocracy dominated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The authenticity of the prophecy as a whole, which was not made public until long after Smith's death, is debated, and the leadership of the LDS Church has stated that "the so-called 'White Horse Prophecy' ... is not embraced as Church doctrine." However, the belief that members of the LDS Church will one day need to take action to save the imperiled US Constitution has been attributed to Smith in several sources and has been discussed in an approving fashion by Brigham Young and other LDS leaders.

Several prominent Mormons have made statements related to the White Horse Prophecy. For instance, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he considers the White Horse Prophecy to be a matter of "speculation and discussion by [LDS] church members" and "not official [LDS] church doctrine.

Continue reading at:

Fukushima Day 444 - Terry the Radioactive Tuna...STAY OFF the TUNA

Tuna contaminated with Fukushima radiation found in California

Scientists amazed that bluefins swimming in Pacific five months after Japanese disaster contained tiny amounts of caesium

Justin McCurry in Tokyo and agencies,, Tuesday 29 May 2012 05.59 EDT, Article Source

The Japanese government says it will look into international monitoring of fish products after low levels of radiation were found in bluefin tuna in Californian waters == Click to Watch Video

The Japanese government says it will look into international monitoring of fish products after low levels of radiation were found in bluefin tuna in Californian waters. A report shows radiation was detected in 15 tuna caught near San Diego in August 2011, about four months after chemicals were released into the water off Japan's east coast

Bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi turned up off the coast of California just five months after the Japanese nuclear plant suffered meltdown last March, US scientists said.

Tiny amounts of caesium-137 and caesium-134 were detected in 15 bluefin caught near San Diego in August last year, according to a study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal.

The levels were 10 times higher than those found in tuna in the same area in previous years, but still well below those that the Japanese and US governments consider a risk to health. Japan recently introduced a new safety limit of 100 becquerels per kilogram in food.

The timing of the discovery suggests that the fish, a prized but dangerously overfished delicacy in Japan, had carried the radioactive materials across the Pacific ocean faster than those conveyed by wind or water.

The researchers, led by Daniel Madigan at Stanford University, said they had found evidence that the fish had been contaminated at "modestly elevated" levels with caesium. The chemical was released into the ocean in the wake of the accident at Fukushima Daiichi on 11 March 2011.

Madigan told Reuters: "I wouldn't tell anyone what's safe to eat or what's not safe to eat. It's become clear that some people feel that any amount of radioactivity, in their minds, is bad and they'd like to avoid it. But compared to what's there naturally ... and what's established as safety limits, it's not a large amount at all."

The fish are thought to have been exposed to radiation for about a month before beginning their journey east across the Pacific. They were found to contain 4 becquerels per kilogram of caesium-134 and 6.3 becquerels per kilogram of caesium-137, the report said. A 2008 study of fish in the area found no evidence of caesium-134, which is produced only by nuclear power plants and weapons, and caesium-134 only at levels that naturally occur in the environment.

The results "are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source", said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who played no part in the research.

Japan's chief cabinet secretary, Osamu Fujimura, conceded that the findings suggested the monitoring of radiation levels in fish outside Japanese waters may have to be stepped up.

The spawning and migratory patterns of bluefin tuna indicate that the issue of contaminated fish will be confined to Pacific coastlines.

Bluefin spawn only in the western Pacific, off the coasts of Japan and the Philippines. Some juvenile or adolescent fish migrate east to the coast of California coast and remain there to fatten up.

Scientists say they do not believe contamination will linger in large fish capable of swimming farther afield, as they are able to metabolise and excrete radioactive substances.

The fish examined in the US study weighed an average of 15 pounds. They had shed some of the radionuclides during their journey but had been unable to flush them out altogether.

"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, an expert at Stony Brook University in New York who took part in the study. "That's a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing."

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Tokyo Electric Power, estimates that 18,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials flowed into the Pacific after the accident, either in the form of fallout, or through mixing with water that leaked from the facility. A terabecquerel is equal to 1tn becquerels.

Advertisers Should Pay For Subscription Television,
Not Subscribers !!!
Paying for Subscription TV Commercials Is Stupid

Cutting the Cord on Cable TV's Pricey Monthly Bill Savings - Click to visit Source - via aha

Broadcasters Warn of Apocalypse in Dish's Ad-Skipping Service

By David Kravets, May 25, 2012, 3:16 pm, Article Source

Broadcasters are claiming in federal lawsuits Thursday that Dish Network's DVR service, which allows the automatic skipping of commercials, breaches copyright law and retransmission agreements.

The suits by Fox, CBS and NBC are the broadcasters' latest legal salvos against technological innovations, as those advances bring into question whether broadcasters' longstanding business model can survive the digital age.

The Dish Network litigation concerns the March introduction of what the satellite company calls PrimeTime Anytime, which allows customers to record and store about a week's worth of prime-time broadcast television. And two weeks ago, the Colorado company enabled playback of those archives without users seeing commercials.

The networks are labeling it a "bootleg" service that produces unauthorized copies of their shows and say it breaches signed licensing deals. And the consequences are dire, they warn. If the courts don't block the service, it "will ultimately destroy the advertising-supported ecosystem that provides consumers with the choice to enjoy free over-the-air, varied, high-quality primetime broadcast programming," the broadcasters told the court.

In the early 1980s, the Supreme Court ruled Americans have the fair use right to time-shift lawfully obtained content for later viewing. But that was using primitive technology like the VCR and Betamax, with limited recording capabilities. The Dish service records a day's prime time lineup from ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and stores up to 100 hours of those shows for up to eight days - all without the broadcasters' consent.

"Fox has not consented to the recording of its copyrighted programs by Dish, or to the distribution by Dish to its subscribers of copies of all of Fox's prime time programming for subsequent on-demand, commercial-free viewing," Fox wrote in its suit.

Dish has also lodged its own federal lawsuit, seeking a declaratory judgement that its service is legal.

"Dish's subscribers, private home viewers sitting in their living rooms, may fairly choose for themselves the content that they do and do not want to watch, and have paid for the right to do so," Dish said in the filing. (.pdf)

Dish said that its customers, "with one click," are doing the copying of the broadcasts, and have that right. And the broadcasters are still getting their retransmission fees, the company added.

"Dish subscribers are already paying for their television service. Dish passes along hundreds of millions of dollars collected from its subscriber base to the major television networks in the form of retransmission fees," Dish said in its filing.

Analysts suspect the ad-skipping feature was just introduced to give Dish leverage in the next round of retransmission-fee negotiations. The Big Four broadcasters' retransmission fees doubled last year to combined $394 million, and might double again this year, Variety said.

Variety quoted Janney Capital Markets analyst Tony Wible as saying the broadcasters are overstating their case. He suggested the ad-skipping feature might eat into 1 percent of their advertising revenue, about $162 million.

But the feature does point to an interesting possible future of a TiVo without real limitations. Given how storage prices continue to drop and that you can buy a 1Terabyte hard drive for under $100, one could imagine a future where anyone who wanted to could skip all commercials by having every show recorded to disk.

The development comes a week before a New York federal judge is set to hear broadcasters' arguments that an upstart technology company called Aereo that streams over-the-air broadcasts to New Yorkers should be shut down.

Aereo's New York customers basically rent two tiny antennas, each about the size of a dime. Tens of thousands of the antennas are housed in a Brooklyn data center. One antenna - unique to a customer - is used when a customer wants to watch a program in real time from a computer, tablet or mobile phone. The other works with a DVR service to record programs for later online viewing.

Federal retransmission licensing agreements are silent when it comes to internet streaming, so Aereo claims it does not have to licensing fees. The broadcasters claim Aereo is practicing "technological gimmickry" to skirt paying them licensing fees.

Ram Dass on Faith, Belief and Surviving a Stroke (with Oprah) via Wavy Gravy

Alerts + Notes from ~@~ Listed Below:

Punk Rock Exhibit, May 11 - June 8, 2012

James Stark - Punk Rock Exhibit - May 11 - June 8, 2012
Punk Rock Photographs and Posters featuring the band CRIME by James Stark
May 11 - June 8, 2012 - Reception Friday May 11, 2012 from 6 - 9:30pm
1234Go Records, 420 40th Street, Oakland, California 510-985-0325

Expect A Bumpy Ride In the Future

Earth and the Human body both require lubricants, pores, and gas vents.

Earth's pores and vents are being closed or tapped, lubricants are constantly being depleted, and this is being done for profit without consideration or regard for consequence.

Know Your Earth: A Simple Start

Missing BBS Files - Some of the first Bulletin Board Systems in the United States

C. Spangler - Photograph: FlyingSnail
Curtis Spangler - The CommuniTree's First Fairwitness

Let's look at some of the earliest electronic virtual communities. This kinship chart shows the origins of the first computer bulletin boards (BBSs) that supported social interaction. Prior to this moment, BBSs messages were organized by alphabetical order, or by date. BBSs were metaphors for physical bulletin boards... objects for the exchange of simple messages, not conversations. Now, in 1978 a group of people in Northern California designed a BBS that used message attachment protocols that facilitated conversations. As a metaphor for this structure they used a tree, firstly because it was based on a principle of computer science called binary tree protocol, and secondly because Northern California near Silicon Valley was a land of hot tubs, Eastern mysticism, and computer hackers, and the organicity that the word "tree" suggested was important to those hackers' worldview.

The story of the life and death of the first CommuniTree tells us how and why the later virtual community systems were designed. The original CommuniTree was designed with the idea that the community it facilitated would be completely free. Anyone could enter any sort of message. In fact, censorship was completely prohibited at the level of the code, of the Tree's program. It worked this way: First, the system operator was prevented from reading messages as they arrived. Second, messages were hard to remove once they were entered. Third, anything could be entered into the system, including so-called control characters, which are not part of the standard alphanumeric set and which can be used to control the operation of the host computer. Lastly, to make sure that no system operator could tamper with the system, the code was written in language called Forth, and not documented. Now Forth is a religion unto itself, and if you know anything about Forth you recognize that this makes the system a total black box -- it's impossible to know anything about how the code works.

CommuniTree went online in 1978. The kinds of conversations they had in there were of a high intellectual and spiritual character. They talked about new philosophies and new religions for post-Enlightenment humanity, the first time such conversations had taken place online.

Now, at the same moment Apple Computer had reached an agreement with the U. S. Government that in return for a tax break, Apple put computers into primary and secondary schools in the U.S., and some of those computers had modems. This meant that quite suddenly a lot of kids could get online. At first both boys and girls had access, but the boys quickly elbowed the girls out of the way -- high tech was men's work. The boys quickly found out CommuniTree's phone number and logged on. They were clearly unimpressed with the high intellectual level of the discourse on CommuniTree, and they expressed their dissatisfaction in ways that were appropriate to their age and linguistic abilities. Now, the hardware of the Tree was the best that Apple had to offer in 1978, it had two floppy disk drives with a combined total of 300 kilobytes of storage. At the time, the folks who designed the Tree said "300K -- we can go on forever. We'll never fill this up." A common BBS today would have at least 100 megabytes of storage, many orders of magnitude greater than the Tree. So it didn't take long for the kids to fill every byte of disk space with every word they could think of that meant shitting or fucking, and then they'd add control characters on top of that, characters that could mess with the program or stop the floppy drives. The sysops couldn't see the messages arriving and couldn't remove them afterward. The Tree was doomed.

One of the participants in the Tree discourse said "Well, the barbarian hordes mowed us down." And the people who were on the Tree ran away, just like the population of a village during a sack. It was a kind of scattering of the tribes. Some of those people went off and designed BBSs of their own that had built into them the elements of control and surveillance that appeared to be necessary to ensure the BBS's survival in a real world that included roaming barbarians. That kind of surveillance and control continues to the present day, built right into the software; we don't think about it much any more. And that's how, back at the beginning of virtual time, the first virtual community left the Magic Garden and entered the "real" virtual world in which good had to find ways to coexist with evil.


World Health Organization has classified Smart Meter Radiation
as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."

PG&E Smart Meters via prez @ usa-exile

Devo - Beautiful World

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

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

Social Bookmarking

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.