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Undone Lullaby from dj schmolli ~

Rivers Of Babylon, Boney M ~

Why I Think This World Should End, Brandon Sloan

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Peyote, it was Sweet from Edward Folger -Trust the Unknown

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Notes from ~@~

Imelda May, It's Good To Be Alive from prano bailey-bond,

Have & Have Not:
A Different Level

A story I heard while traveling in India

Translated and Retold for the Western Mindset by C. Spangler

Two elder men, one hundred three (103) years old, who were friends since childhood, die at the same exact time.

One man spent his entire lifetime in Whorehouses and the other man spent his entire lifetime in a Place of Worship.

They arrive at the Pearly gates and are greeted by Christian gatekeeper, Saint Peter.

Saint Peter says to the man who spent his life in Whorehouses, "Go through the gates, walk down the path to God's house, open the door, walk to the grand room, and sit next to God."

The man who spent his life in a place of worship begins to think to himself, "If my friend gets to sit next to God, then my reward will be incredible."

Almost as if 'minds can be read' Saint Peter says, "You, ... you who spent your life in places of worship, ... see that broom? ... Well, grab it, walk through the gates, and start sweeping the streets of Heaven."

The man who spent his life in a house of God is shocked and starts grumbling to himself about fairness as he walks toward the broom.

Almost as if 'minds can be read', Saint Peter yells out, "Do you really need to be told why you are going to spend eternity sweeping Heaven's streets?"

The religious man, looking down, sadly nods yes.

Saint Peter continues, "During his lifetime your friend who lived in Whorehouses constantly thought about God and how wonderful it was that you were able to serve in a place of worship."

"During your entire lifetime, all you could think about was your friend getting high, hanging out with bands, dancing to live music, smoking pot, drinking beer, plus, 'on and on and on' about all the fabulous sex, ... and ... how very, very much you wanted to be able to do what he was doing and never, ever thought of God or the glories of your service !!!"

"Tell me in truth who should sit next to God and who should sweep Heaven's streets?"

The man picked up the broom, walked through Heaven's gates, and started sweeping.

Dahbud Mensch ~ is SANITY the PLAYGROUND of the unIMAGINATIVE ?

There are even more
inappropriate PG&E emails

Rebecca Bowe, 10.08.14 - 4:30 pm, SFBG Source

Even more internal Pacific Gas & Electric Co. emails – this time flagged by activists focused on safety concerns at a nuclear power plant – raise new questions about the company's tactics of manipulating the state regulatory process.

PG&E – which is facing federal charges in connection with a 2010 fatal gas line explosion in San Bruno – has come under scrutiny in recent months due to a series of questionable email exchanges revealing a cozy relationship between company executives and members of the California Public Utilities Commission, the state regulatory body that monitors utility spending and rate setting.

Much has been made of emails spotlighted by San Bruno officials, revealing a relationship so cozy that one PG&E executive signed off on an email with a CPUC representative by writing, “love you.” 

Those exchanges were the subject of an Oct. 7 hearing at the CPUC, and could result in financial penalties if an administrative law judge cracks down on PG&E for negotiating with state officials in what's been dubbed a “judge-shopping” scandal. On Oct. 6, PG&E self-reported even more questionable “ex parte” communications with CPUC officials, correspondence it revealed is being scrutinized by federal prosecutors.

Meanwhile, when it came to an earthquake risk assessment at Diablo Canyon, according to a legal brief filed at the CPUC by the nuclear watchdog group Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, PG&E “brazenly ignored the commission’s requirements” for working with a state-appointed independent review panel.

The panel of independent experts was appointed because the CPUC lacked staff with the expertise needed to review seismic safety studies concerning the nuclear facility, which is located in proximity to several earthquake fault lines. 

Internal PG&E emails obtained by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility, which used discovery to obtain documentation through its status as an intervener in the CPUC rulemaking process, revealed that PG&E was concerned about how to field inquiries from the independent panel.

In one email, a utility executive suggested submitting “processed” data, rather than raw data, to demonstrate how it had arrived at certain conclusions.

Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility spokesperson David Weisman discussed why that matters with an analogy: “Why don’t they want anyone else to look at the raw numbers? It’s like saying, here’s the cake. You might find that it tastes a little funny, but we aren’t going to tell you what went into it.”

In another internal PG&E email, a government affairs representative went so far as to ask his coworker: “Do you believe we could get the [independent panel] ‘decommissioned?’”

Several weeks ago, PG&E announced that it had found no safety hazard at Diablo Canyon, essentially telegraphing that there’s nothing to worry about. But that determination was made before the independent review panel had a chance to review the company’s analysis, or weigh in on whether it agreed with the science supporting this finding.

“If you release a report without the panel’s review, that’s not science,” Weisman charged. “That’s propaganda.”

PG&E did not respond to a request for comment.

As the Bay Guardian previously reported, the discovery of previously undetected fault lines around Diablo Canyon six years ago set in motion a new risk assessment to determine whether a major earthquake near San Luis Obispo, where Diablo Canyon is located, would result in power plant equipment failure. State legislators passed a law mandating that these risks be analyzed – long before Japan's Fukushima nuclear meltdown underscored the importance of taking such hazards seriously.

Now, the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility is arguing that PG&E should not be allowed to recoup $64 million in ratepayer dollars that the CPUC agreed to set aside to fund the seismic study. “The CPUC granted PG&E ratepayer funding to carry out those seismic studies,” Weisman explained. “Our concern is that that the study itself is inadequate and poorly vetted."

The Bay Guardian submitted several requests to speak with a knowledgeable CPUC staff member about the matter, but the agency did not grant an interview. Instead, public information officer Constance Gordon emailed a prepared statement that stated simply: “The Independent Peer Review Panel will review the seismic report and will hold a public meeting shortly to discuss it and receive public feedback.”

Interestingly, PG&E’s determination that Diablo Canyon is risk-free was issued on the very same day that the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission publicly dismissed the concerns of Michael Peck, the former on-site safety inspector at the nuclear facility.

The senior NRC staff member made headlines for formally suggesting that the plant should be temporarily shut down until the science could prove that it would safely withstand a major earthquake. News of Peck's “differing professional opinion” caused California nuclear activists to immediately file petitions calling for Diablo Canyon to be shut down. 

In a lengthy op-ed published in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, Peck said he stood by his conclusion.

“I have exhausted the NRC processes for raising nuclear safety concerns,” he wrote. “At every turn, the agency reinforced that their original conclusions and actions had been correct. From my perspective, I applied the same NRC inspection standards and agency rules to the Diablo Canyon seismic issues that I’ve used to disposition many other design bases issues during my 20-plus years as an inspector. Because the [differing professional opinion] was reviewed by the highest levels of agency management, I was left with the impression that the NRC may have applied a special standard to Diablo Canyon.”

• CPUC head Michael Peevey is stepping down Rebecca Bowe, 10.09.14 - 12:43 pm, SFBG Source

Notes from ~@~

Dr. Carl Jensen, Founder of
Project Censored, Memorial Service

A memorial service was held for Project Censored founder Dr. Carl Jensen at 2:00 P.M. on Saturday, July 25, at Cross and Crown Lutheran Church in Rohnert Park. Jensen passed away April 23, 2015. [Click to Continue Reading at Project Censored]

Chicago 10: animated excerpts from Tourist Pictures ~

Kensho from Aaron Paradox ~

Forget the Ashley Madison or Sony hacks
a crippling cyberattack
is imminent in the US

Instead of mobilising a national defence against cyberattacks, we want a toaster that communicates with the washing machine over the internet

Thomas Lee, Saturday 25 July 2015 19.04 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

Computer experts have long warned about a catastrophic cyber-attack in the US, a sort of Web 3.0 version of 9/11 that would wreak enormous damage throughout the country. Like most Americans, I shrugged. With all of the enormous resources the country enjoys, those warnings seemed like the rantings of a digital Chicken Little.

Oddly enough, the revelations of the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden gave me some false comfort. If the powerful NSA was so good at hacking its own citizens, then surely the agency could prevent criminals, terrorists and foreign enemies from doing the same?

And then there’s Silicon Valley, which I frequently write about. Surely the uber-geeks who run the world’s greatest innovation cluster could code something to smite the evildoers? Well, on behalf on the US, I admit I was terribly wrong. We are so screwed.

I came to this conclusion recently, over a span of seven days. Earlier this month I attended a preview of retail giant Target’s new “Internet of Things” showroom in downtown San Francisco. The company had constructed a mock house intended to show how “smart devices” connected to the internet could seamlessly work together to automate the 21st-century digital home. A car alarm wakes up the baby sleeping in the nursery. A sensor detects the baby’s cries, alerts the parents and automatically triggers the stereo to play soothing music.

It was all very impressive, but I couldn’t help notice an irony: the retailer that in 2013 was subject to a hack that comprised the credit-card data of 100 million consumers now wanted people to entrust their entire homes to the internet. “It’s been a long time coming, but we are just getting started,” a Target executive said.

One week later I found myself at a dinner in a fancy hotel to discuss cybersecurity with the executives of top Silicon Valley firms. Unlike the festive Target event, the mood was decidedly grim. Actually it was downright alarming.

Forget about the Sony and Ashley Madison hacks. Those cyberthefts may cost companies some money and embarrassment, but that’s not what the execs were nervous about. Even the successful breach of Chrysler’s in-car systems, which allowed hackers to take control of a Jeep on the highway and prompted the recall of 1.4 million vehicles, is a mere appetiser compared with what’s coming down the road.

By 2020 the US will be hit with an earthquake of a cyber-attack that will cripple banks, stock exchanges, power plants and communications, an executive from Hewlett-Packard predicted. Companies are nowhere near prepared for it. Neither are the Feds. And yet, instead of mobilising a national defence, we want a toaster that communicates with the washing machine over the internet.

In many ways the Target event and the dinner demonstrate a kind of collective cognitive dissonance about technology. We’ll eagerly pursue innovations like the internet of things and electronic health records even as we’re increasingly aware of how vulnerable such technology makes us to terrorists and criminals. In fact, the reference to earthquakes was fitting. Scientists have long predicted the “Big One” – a massive earthquake in Seattle or San Francisco that will kill lots of people and cause trillions of dollars of damage. Yet people still build houses and buildings on what is essentially the most dangerous land in the country.

What struck me about the dinner, attended by executives from Hewlett-Packard, software company Cloudera and PayPal, along with academics and investors, was the naked pessimism in the room. Nobody even tried to put a happy face on the situation. “A slow-moving train wreck,” one executive said. Forget about coordinating with each other or the Feds: companies don’t even know how to deal with their own hacks, never mind worry about someone else’s. A whopping 57% of chief executives have not been trained on what to do after a data breach, according to a report by HP. And more than 70% of executives think their companies only partially understand the risks. Buying antivirus software is one thing; deploying an effective strategy is quite another. However, companies don’t even want to admit they were hacked in the first place.

Think about the big hacks that have dominated headlines in recent years. In most cases the companies disclosed the intrusion only after someone forced them to do so – either journalists or the hackers themselves. Again, let’s focus on Target. In December 2013, blogger Brian Krebs disclosed that hackers stole data from millions of Target REDcard users. Yet it took Target more than 24 hours to confirm it. One wonders when or even if Target would have admitted the breach had it not been for Krebs’s story. The hack took place at the height of the holiday shopping season, the most important sales period for retailers. Indeed, hours before Krebs broke the story, then CEO Gregg Steinhafel issued an unusual statement to say that he was pleased with holiday sales. Once the hack became public, sales sharply fell. A few months later I wrote a story for the San Francisco Chronicle that disclosed hackers, possibly from China, had inflitrated the systems of the country’s top three medical-device companies. Only Medtronic eventually admitted to the hack – about four months after my story appeared and more than a year after the hack occurred. Sadly, Corporate America’s ineptitude is only half the problem. In general, people “just don’t give a shit” because they don’t have any real skin in the game, said one person at the dinner. Unless lots of consumers lose lots of money, cybercrime will continue to remain a vague and distant threat.

Oh sure, it’s pretty annoying when you have to cancel your credit cards. But since banks and other financial institutions cover any financial losses from fraud, people don’t feel any financial pain from cybercrime – at least not enough to make them care.

How else to explain this? According to SplashData, the five most popular passwords in circulation are “123456”, “password”, “12345”, “12345678” and “qwerty”. Darwin wins again.

For all American pontifications about privacy, we don’t exactly make it hard for people to see our stuff.

A survey by the Pew Center showed that in 2014, while Americans said that they care deeply about privacy, the vast majority of respondents – 91% – had not made any changes to their internet or cellphone use to avoid having their activities tracked or noticed. Only 7% reported that they had made these kinds of changes in “recent months”.

Sadly, the people at the dinner all agreed, the only thing to shake companies, consumers, and the government out of our weird stupor is a massive cyber-attack akin to 9/11. Only instead of planes flying into the World Trade Center, these cyber-attacks, whether from a hostile state or terrorists, will hurt all of us, not just people who happen to shop at Target. In the meantime we will continue to connect our appliances to the internet and download attachments from sketchy emails. But don’t count on companies or the Feds to prevent the Big One. Because they are just as lost as we are.

Thomas Lee is a columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle who frequently writes about cybersecurity. This is adapted from a column that appeared in the newspaper last week.

Dahbud Mensch ~ is SANITY the PLAYGROUND of the unIMAGINATIVE ?

View of PG&E initiated San Bruno fire on Sep. 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm PDT ~ Wikipedia
View of PG&E initiated San Bruno fire on Sep. 9, 2010 at 11:31 pm PDT ~ Wikipedia

Time For a Corporate Death Penalty?

Mercury News editorial:
Don't let PG&E dodge
San Bruno responsibility

Mercury News Editorial, 07/21/2015 12:24:50 PM PDT, San Jose Mercury News Source

The Legislature has to emphatically block PG&E's obscene effort to take a tax deduction on the $1.6 billion fine it's paying for the utility's role in the San Bruno pipeline blast.

The California Public Utilities Commission made it clear when it issued the fine in April that shareholders should bear the brunt of it and that no tax deduction should be allowed. San Mateo Sen. Jerry Hill's SB 681 would specifically prevent PG&E from realizing a tax windfall from the penalty.

SB 681 is an urgency bill, taking effect immediately upon the governor's signature. It requires two-thirds support of the Legislature. The vote should be unanimous, but there are signs of a partisan divide.

That's incomprehensible to us. PG&E took money intended for gas pipeline improvements and instead spent it on executive bonuses and shareholder dividends. The result was death and destruction in San Bruno. Republicans should be as committed as Democrats to holding the company responsible.

Unfortunately, the Senate Finance and Governance Committee voted along party lines last week in sending the bill to the Appropriations Committee, which will take it up later this summer. Republicans could block passage.

In a letter to the Internal Revenue Service from PUC President Michael Picker and Commissioners Catherine Sandoval, Carla Peterman and Liane Randolph, the California State Board of Equalization and the California Franchise Tax Board, the PUC wrote:

"We fully intended and hope that any attempt by PG&E to deduct any of the costs of complying with the commission's final decision be clearly and decidedly disallowed on the basis of their punitive nature."

The PUC carefully structured the penalty so that ratepayers would absorb as little pain as possible. In fact, $400 million will go to PG&E customers as a one-time credit. Another $850 million will help pay for the pipeline improvements PG&E failed to make when it diverted funds to line various pockets instead.

It's not like PG&E can't afford the fine. Its first-quarter profit was $418 million, up more than 65 percent from the same period in 2014 and beating Wall Street projections. The company said that despite the fine, it expects earnings to range from $3.50 to $3.75 a share for the year, which would also top Wall Street expectations.

But PG&E is trying to exploit a technicality in tax law to avoid taking full responsibility.

It shows the cynicism of those corny commercials the utility is running to try to improve the company's image. As for retiring PG&E CEO Anthony Early's statement that "The lessons of San Bruno will never be forgotten and will continue to guide our work" -- he must have been smirking when he said it.

PG&E won't do the right thing on its own. The PUC finally tried to impose responsibility, but now it's up to the Legislature to pass Hill's SB 681 so that justice is done.

From A Small Community, In the past:
Lake County Residents Call for
Resignation of PG&E Executives

by B.J. Glynn

On Sunday afternoon, during the big storm, a small group of citizens held a lively protest against PG&E executives in front of the Cobb post office.

Their problem, PG&E executives have not upgraded Lake County's Electricity in almost 40 years and they are tired of the lies.

"They (PG&E executives) have promised three upgrades in the past 25 years, but pulled them, claiming they lacked funds.", one protester said. "I am tired of those fat cats keeping the power on, in their homes in Marin, while they turn their back on the poorer counties in California."

"They try to blame it (brown outs) on anything, other than what it is; Lake County has become a bedroom community during the past 10 years and the current electrical system can not handle all of the new people... and this is common knowledge amongst the residents and PG&E employees.", he continued. "There has never been a situation where my phone failed to work during a power out, so when they tell me a tree has caused the problem, I know they are not telling the truth, because I live near one of the transformers that blows out all the time."

An elder couple in their '90s carried a sign, "SUPPORT PG&E WORKERS & FIRE THE MILLION DOLLAR EXECUTIVES".

When I asked why they were here, in the rain, the gentleman responded, "I'm 95 years old and everything in our house is electric. When the power goes out, I have to climb down to the stream to get water. I have broken my hip doing this and PG&E said they would fix this problem, but they never have and every time we loose another ice box of food, they want to claim it as an act of GOD... when the truth is, they can't handle the number of people who live here now and transformers keep blowing out."

A woman in her late '30s carried a sign saying, "F* EXCREMENTITIOUS PG&E EXECUTIVES" and was very angry because she claimed, "PG&E surges have cost me a little over three thousand dollars." (to replace electrical equipment in her home).

One man, in his early '60s was handing out leaflets containing a letter documenting a "PG&E Executive Flunky" who had sent a letter in 1995 stating "PG&E would fix the problems in Lake County, but this has not happened", he said, "and I really believed the woman at PG&E Consumer Affairs when she told a bunch of residents that PG&E was aware of the problems, but it appears she was just stringing us along so her corporate bosses could lay off more workers, while keeping their million dollar salaries." The leaflets also contained a long list of inside PG&E phone numbers' and Executive addresses that were " provided by a PG&E Mole".

I asked if anyone had filed a complaint with the PUC, and everyone there had sent, at least, one letter.

One resident said, "The PUC is in bed with PG&E executives and I expect them to do, as they have done in the past, NOTHING!"

Another woman and a grandmother of five, with a relative who works for PG&E said, "I am here, because a few years ago, PG&E executives pulled all the workers from Lake County and sent them to Fort Bragg to serve the richer communities."

"We were without power for four days, until they returned the crews to the county... and then they (PG&E EXECUTIVES) lied and said they would never do something like that." What they don't get is, they may be able to control their employees, but they can't control their families, besides, the population here is around 300, and everyone knows every bodies business and although I may be one sided, the PG&E EMPLOYEES, up here, are some of the best and really good folks."

One family, I spoke with, lives near the Geysers (a geothermal power source) and they were angry because, "Every time the power goes out up here, we still hear the generators running over at CALPINE and know 'that power' is going everywhere else, but here in the county."

"I'm a retired engineer and 'they' are ripping us off and we are not going to take it anymore. We know what happened over at the GEYSERS and this information will become public if PG&E executives don't make things right soon and I'm sure the environmentalists would love to know, what we know... and did you know PG&E owns the CALPINE generators?"

"We are going to show up at every post office in the county to collect signatures and stories to REMOVE THESE LYING B*. We already have the evidence, but we need more people to join us and we need people to call, write, and complain. It is only fair to get the upgraded service we were promised."

The protest ended with the singing of "We Shall Overcome" followed by loud shouts of "PG&E EXECUTIVES SUCK!"

PG&E, corporate criminal

The utility likes to pretend it's a good corporate citizen – but the record shows otherwise.

By Savannah Blackwell, Article source

WHEN IRISH IMMIGRANTS arrived on San Francisco's shores during the first few decades of the past century, it wasn't easy for them to find decent, stable jobs. John Hanley, the president of the local firefighters union, likes to say that for many the only options were the police department, the fire department and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

PG&E has played hard on its reputation from those days, using stories like Hanley's to push blue-collar workers to oppose public power. The company has spent millions on other public relations efforts: for years, PG&E representatives talked about all the widows and orphans who were living off company stock, and hyped the money the company gave to local charities.

But the image of PG&E as a fine, benevolent, and upstanding corporate citizen is long gone.

Today, with PG&E's stock in free fall, the small shareholders who had hoped to use the utility's stock as part of their retirement income are in trouble – while the same executives who drove the company into bankruptcy are earning multimillion-dollar bonuses.

The charitable contributions that once helped buy PG&E political protection have dried up.

And over the past few years, PG&E's most lasting legacy has become that of a corporate criminal.


• In 1997 PG&E was tried and convicted in criminal court for endangering the lives and property of gold country residents by failing to trim tree branches near electrical wires frequently enough to prevent major fires. Evidence showed that PG&E executives had diverted tree-trimming money to fatten profits and salaries of top corporate executives.

The story of the company's poisoning of community water supplies in Hinkley became a major Hollywood movie called Erin Brockovich, and a similar environmental disaster is still underway just south of San Francisco. Meanwhile, residents of the Bayview-Hunters Point district in San Francisco are suffering from alarmingly high rates of asthma and other illnesses that they link to PG&E's dirty power plant in the neighborhood (see "Poison Power," 1/28/98). In addition, the nearby Potrero power plant, which PG&E sold to Mirant Corp. in 1998, is scheduled for expansion.

• PG&E stole nearly $200,000 from San Francisco by illegally running its power lines to the Presidio, according to a 1995 lawsuit the city filed against the company. Indeed, PG&E's service to San Francisco residents is illegal, according to the terms of the 1913 Raker Act, which requires the city to operate a public power system. The company's monopoly has led to decades of structural corruption at City Hall (see "How PG&E Wires the City," page 26).

• In 1998 a major blackout hit the city – leaving nearly half a million San Francisco residents without electricity (see "Still in the Dark," 12/16/98). Officials determined that a failure to make a key backup safety check at a San Mateo substation caused the outage. For several years the company had been cutting back on maintenance staff to fatten profits.

• In 2001, after lobbying for the 1996 bill that deregulated part of the state's electricity industry, PG&E shuffled off more than $600 million in profits to its holding company, gave its top brass $50 million in bonuses and raises, and declared bankruptcy. Since spring 2001, rates have soared 40 percent and customer service for everything from hook-ups to billing problems has worsened (see "Feeling the Crunch," 9/4/02).

• Under its proposed plan to get out of bankruptcy, PG&E wants to free itself of the last vestiges of state regulation while at the same time making a very anti-free market demand: ratepayers must protect its shareholders and CEOs from any potential future losses (see "Competing Energy Visions," page 30).

• PG&E has a long record of harassing internal whistle-blowers and reporters who dare to take on the giant company.

When former presidential candidate Ralph Nader talked to reporters at an Oct. 8 forum at the Commonwealth Club of California, he slammed the company's business practices: "PG&E was caught up in the whole deregulation scam, which it helped frame and get through the [California] legislature unanimously. [It] promised that rates would be reduced by 2000. Instead, PG&E has been caught up in a wild gyration of transforming the electricity industry into a speculative commodity marked by secret deals and collusion, which is just now being exposed by government investigators and newspaper reporters. Nader was at the club to support fellow Green party candidate Peter Camejo in his bid for governor.

"I think on the philosophy of 'Three Strikes, You're Out,' there have been more than three strikes. [The company] should be subject to eminent domain and takeover by a public power entity to establish lower rates, cleaner energy, and the more focused efficiency we've learned to expect from the better-run public power districts in California."

Burning down the houses

In 1994 a disastrous wildfire struck the community of Rough and Ready in Nevada County, scorching 500 acres, destroying a dozen homes, burning a historic schoolhouse down to the ground, and running up $2 million in damages. Residents, some of whom lost everything they owned, literally had to run for their lives.

The local district attorney was livid: the fire was started by tree branches brushing against high-voltage PG&E lines – and for years California forestry officials had been telling the company to cut back those tree limbs. In 1997, D.A. Michael Ferguson, in an unusual move, took the corporation to criminal court, charging it with 746 counts of violating the state law requiring the utility to maintain safe clearance around power lines. Ferguson accused PG&E of a chronic and widespread pattern of negligence that resulted in the 1994 fire (see "Burning Secrets," 3/12/97, and "The People v. PG&E," 4/2/97).

PG&E brought in the big guns. The company hired former U.S. prosecutor Joseph Russoniello to defend its actions. But a quiet, determined assistant D.A. named Jenny Ross, who had practiced in San Francisco with Pillsbury Madison and Sutro, prevailed with the jury. The company was found guilty of 739 counts of criminal negligence and fined $2 million.

The evidence brought forward by the prosecutor was overwhelming. With the help of utility analyst Bill Marcus of Sacramento, Ross showed how PG&E had taken $80 million from ratepayers between 1987 to 1994 that was supposed to pay for tree trimming. Instead, the company used it to pad profits and ensure hefty salaries for CEOs at a time when it was trying to make up for losses incurred from the screwed-up construction of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. PG&E had raked in more than $1 billion in profits the year prior to the fire.

Ross presented loads of documents (which PG&E fought fiercely to keep confidential) – including personal e-mails between staffers – in which it was clear PG&E's brass had made a fatal decision to save money by drastically cutting back on tree-trimming staff. PG&E's managers even mocked the forestry officials for their constant warnings of danger.

The California Public Utilities Commission, whose officials were angry PG&E had hoodwinked them during rate cases involving the tree-trimming money, took up the matter and fined the company $29 million in 1999.

Nevada County wasn't the only site of major fires caused by PG&E. In fact, California Department of Forestry officials told us in 1997 that PG&E's failure to trim overgrown trees had caused some 760 fires.

In 1997 a devastating fire in Los Gatos was caused by molten aluminum particles spewing from a PG&E power pole. Although PG&E was never charged with a crime, the company agreed to pay the full cost – $2.5 million – of the fire.

Poisoning the water

Not many utility companies have been the subject of major Hollywood films. But in 2000, director Steven Soderbergh released a blockbuster about the illnesses and deaths in Hinkley, a Mojave Desert town of 3,500, and how a rough-and-tumble law-firm clerk named Erin Brockovich forced the company into what was the largest class-action settlement of its time: $333 million.

The rampant sickness in the community was tied to exposure to chromium 6 prevalent in the groundwater. PG&E, which owned a natural-gas pumping station on about 20 acres near the town, never acknowledged direct responsibility for the illnesses. Runoff from the station, which also contained chromium 6, was stored in unlined wastewater ponds. The corporation knew the ponds were leaking into the water supply.

In Daly City, residents living in Midway Village, a 150-unit federally subsidized housing development, have for years suffered unexplained headaches and high rates of cancer, as well as skin disorders and neurological problems. They found out they were living amid toxic waste from lampblack (a kind of carbon) and coal tar in their yards and under the property directly next door, which PG&E owns as part of its Martin Service Center. The stuff had been there for at least 100 years – left behind by a gas manufacturing plant. Residents charged that PG&E had known for more than 15 years that residents were being exposed to dangerous carcinogens such as benzoapyrene and other petroleum-based cancer-causing toxins yet did nothing to warn residents or sufficiently clean up the mess. In 1980, state records showed, PG&E workers even complained to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the problem, and some of the waste was removed.

Ten years later, the first set of residents sued PG&E. Eventually, 180 plaintiffs accused the company of endangering their health. In 1997, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Joseph Bergeron dismissed the case, saying that residents hadn't proved a direct link between their illnesses and the chemicals in the soil. The residents appealed. In 2000 the state Court of Appeals upheld the superior court judge's findings and threw out the residents' suit. Now residents are focusing on trying to force state officials, who removed more contaminated soil in 2001, to compensate them for the costs of treating their illnesses and to pay to relocate them.

"From Bayview-Hunters Point to Midway Village and other communities, you see a pattern of PG&E putting corporate greed above the health of people impacted by their operations," Bradley Angel, director of Greenaction, an environmental justice group based in San Francisco, told us. Angel said it was only in the past few weeks that environmental and Native American activists, with the help of a bill authored by state assembly member Fred Keeley and signed by Gov. Gray Davis, succeeded in stopping PG&E's plans to send radioactive waste to Ward Valley. "We see a pattern of threats to community health as well as a pattern of environmental racism and injustice."

These are just a few examples of PG&E's blatant disregard for public health and safety. There are numerous others: For example, in 1997 Sonoma County settled a case against PG&E in which the district attorney alleged that the company's Geysers geothermal plant emitted hydrogen sulfide at levels higher than the law allowed (see "Another Step Forward," 3/19/97). That same year a Santa Clara jury awarded $30 million to the family of seven-year-old Cole Behr. The family claimed that Behr, who can barely walk and cannot speak, was born with brain damage because his mother, Cynthia, was exposed to carbon monoxide related to PG&E's gas service when the dangerous chemical infiltrated the heating system of a San Jose office building where she worked when she was pregnant.

Cheating the city

PG&E never should have delivered power to San Francisco. But even the terms under which it breaks the federal Raker Act are unfair. Since 1939, PG&E has paid San Francisco a pittance – 0.5 percent of its annual gross receipts on electricity sales – for the right to run its gas and electric lines across city property. San Francisco granted PG&E that deal under an agreement that supposedly lasts "in perpetuity" – a clause city attorneys, including Louise Renne, have used to staunch efforts to take the utility to court and get a better deal. The national average for so-called franchise fees is 4 percent.

But low fees weren't enough for the company – it tried to get away with paying nothing for a key part of its system. The Bay Guardian reported in 1994 that PG&E had illegally run its lines into the Presidio and never paid the city a dime in franchise fees for those lines (see "The Presidio Power Grab," 1/12/94).

After the story came out, Controller Ed Harrington undertook the first audit of the franchise fees and determined that PG&E owed $114,000 for delivering power to the Presidio over the years 1991 to 1993 and $18,218 for 1994 and 1995.

Former supervisor Angela Alioto forced then-city attorney Louise Renne to take PG&E to both state and federal court over the issue. In 1997, at the behest of Renne, the city settled the state case for a mere $132,494 (see "Settling for Less," 5/7/97, and "City Hall's Gift to PG&E," 7/16/97). The city had originally asked that all of the money the utility made while engaged in the unlawful business of using city property without the right to do so be returned to city coffers and that PG&E be fined $2,500 for each day broke the law. That would have been $53 million.

The federal case was decided in PG&E's favor in part due to mistakes Renne made in the case in 1996 (see "Presidio Power Outage," 1/1/97).

In addition PG&E successfully fought off the city's efforts to get the Presidio electricity contract, which would have brought in needed revenue and allowed for a significant expansion of the city's public system, which currently serves city agencies.

Thanks, PG&E

If you like higher electric rates, and you enjoyed the rolling blackouts of 2000, you can thank PG&E, which played a major role in bringing deregulation to California.

PG&E and the state's two other major private electric companies, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, were not the initial instigators of the push to deregulate the industry. That came from large commercial users and former Republican governor Pete Wilson. But soon the utilities became boosters and saw a way to rid themselves of the historic limits on their profits.

With San Diego state senator Steve Peace at the helm, PG&E and the other utilities succeeded in getting a sweetheart deal from the legislature. Spending some $4 million in lobbying efforts and $1 million on campaign contributions, the three companies got a bill that protected their profits and forced customers to foot the bill for more than $28 billion in money they lost building nuclear power plants – even though PG&E customers had already paid inflated rates to make up for Diablo Canyon for years (see "You Lose," 8/13/97).

PG&E was particularly effective at pushing the deregulation bill. Midway through the bill-making process, the company brought on Dan Richard, who had been representing independent power producers, to lobby for its interests instead. Richard didn't even tell former assembly member Diane Martinez, who was in charge of the legislation in the assembly, that he had changed jobs and had become a flack for PG&E, she told us in 1997.

The final bill was supposed to allow customers choice in the electricity market. But it required all customers in PG&E's service territory, whether they wanted to buy power from PG&E or not, to pay for PG&E's nuclear power plant costs. That prevented potential rivals from being able to offer cheaper deals and made a mockery of Peace's promise that ratepayers would get a choice (see "Guilty Parties," 2/14/01).

In 1998 consumer advocates Nader, Harvey Rosenfield, the Consumers Union, and the Utility Reform Network tried to overturn the part of A.B. 1890 that required customers to pay for the nukes. But PG&E and the other two utilities poured some $30 million – with PG&E accounting for more than half – into a rash of misleading ads, bought the support of key environmental and consumer groups, and defeated the measure at the November ballot (see "Buying the Bailout," 10/14/98).

Then, in 2001, reeling from the implosion of the deregulated energy market and the high cost of power from out-of-state utilities, PG&E demanded that someone else bail the company out of its troubles. PG&E declared its utility company bankrupt – after shipping over the previous nine months more than $600 million to its parent company and shielding other revenues from creditors (see "Missing in Action," 4/11/01)

PG&E's top executives, who had started this whole debacle, got raises and bonuses totaling $50 million.

Silencing critics

Although PG&E likes to insist it is a tolerant and responsible company, it has a long history of retaliating against any employee who blows the whistle on its irresponsible practices.

In the 1997 Nevada County fire case, one of the prosecution's star witnesses was Jim Sprecher, a PG&E engineer who had written a report concluding that the company was letting trees go untrimmed for too long and jeopardizing public safety. Instead of heeding Sprecher's concerns, the company demoted him, relegating him to an unimportant job and ostracizing him socially, he testified.

He also testified that the report mysteriously disappeared from his unlocked filing cabinet at work at some point between 1993 and late 1996, when he was contacted by Nevada County prosecutors (see "Vanishing Report," 5/21/97). The report's recommendation to increase spending on tree trimming was ignored by PG&E higher-ups.

At PG&E's April 1998 shareholders meeting, Neil Aiken, a shift foreperson at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, stood up and told shareholders about safety problems that came from cost cutting at the plant. He told the audience he came forward only in desperation, because he had exhausted all possible routes of solving the problem within the company. He also released a report detailing the safety issues called "Going Critical" (see "Nuclear Leak," 4/22/98).

That year PG&E executives forced Aiken to undergo psychiatric evaluation. He was locked out of the plant and forced off his job after 24 years (see "Plugging the Leak," 11/18/98). The Project on Liberty and the Workplace took up his case, and the U.S. Department of Labor found PG&E guilty of retaliation in November 1999 (see "PG&E Fires Whistleblower," 4/5/00).

PG&E also has a history of blackballing reporters who challenge the utility. Energy writer J.A. Savage sued PG&E in 1988, charging that the company had gotten her fired from two jobs because she had once worked for an antinuclear group and had written for the Bay Guardian. She settled the suit for an undisclosed sum in 1995 after the state Court of Appeals found that her allegations had enough merit to go to trial (see "Reporter Beats PG&E," 11/8/95).

"PG&E wields considerable power over the press covering its activities," Judge Williams Newsom wrote in a 1993 appeals court opinion dealing with the question of whether PG&E should be able to blacklist reporters who work for the Bay Guardian. "In the case of a public utility enjoying such extensive monopolistic authority ... there is an important public interest in assuring the freedom of the press in reporting on matters lying within the exercise of its franchise."

PG&E has used its formidable power to undermine that constitutionally protected freedom. The haze of P.R. the company generates regarding its operations has proved effective in protecting the utility's empire – at the direct expense of the public's financial interests, safety, and health.

P.S. Sup. Chris Daly will hold a hearing at the Board of Supervisors' Public Works and Public Protection Committee about the impact of PG&E's 40 percent rate increase on the local economy and small businesses and the deterioration of the company's customer service Oct. 16, 10 a.m., City Hall, Legislative Chamber, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, S.F. (415) 554-7970. E-mail Savannah Blackwell at

Skip Showers For Beef and Wine

If one skips forty days of showers, one can eat 4 to 6 ounces of beef and (btw) "29 gallons of water were used to produce that glass of cabernet sauvignon you look forward to drinking with tonight’s dinner" **.

Skip Showers For Beef from Austyn Jeffs ~

The solution to California's drought:
if you eat beef, don't wash

Monday 20 July 2015 06.18 EDT ~ Would you stop showering if it meant that was the only way you could keep eating beef? California's ongoing drought needs radical action. But in a state dependent on water-hungry meat production, it would be politically dangerous to suggest eating less beef. Activists the Yes Men collaborated with comedy video website Funny or Die to produce a spoof campaign encouraging California's hipsters to skip showers for beef. Did it fool anyone? ~ [Click to view the Guardian article source]

Dunne on Wine: Water used to make
wine becomes issue during drought

** Mike Dunne on Wine, October 7, 2014 ~ The Sacramento Bee source

In California vineyards and cellars, is 29 gallons of water to produce a single glass of wine a realistic estimate?

No, says Larry Williams, a professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis who long has studied the water needs of vineyards. For one, the Dutch calculations, says Williams, don’t consider the much higher yields of California vines compared with vines of other grape-growing regions. His research indicates that California vineyards produce two to four times as much fruit as vineyards in Europe.

“The mean yield of wine grapes in Europe ... is around 1.8 tons per acre using data I’ve gleaned from research papers,” Williams says. “The mean chardonnay yields across California are 7.4 tons per acre.”

While higher yields in California may provide more wine for the water buck, no one knows just how much water is tapped to grow grapes and make wine here, though Williams, among others, can run calculations to estimate how much water a vine will use. [Click to read entire article at Sacramento Bee source]

As a vegetarian and non-wine drinker, it appears I am able to safely shower anytime I please; however, to be completely honest, I still enjoy an occasional sip of very good champaign or bottle of Arrogant Bastard Ale. ~@~

Latitude Jotta & Fallion from jotta ~

Paul Krassner ~ The Realist, Writer, Comic, Investigative Satirist

When the FBI Went
After 'Mad' Magazine

MAD Image Credit: Warner Bros., Istock
MAD Image Credit: Warner Bros., IStock

Jake Rossen, July 8, 2015 - 10:00pm, Mental_Floss Source, FWD by Pat Thomas via email from Paul

In a memo dated November 30, 1957, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation identified as “A. Jones” raised an issue of critical importance: "Several complaints to the Bureau have been made concerning the 'Mad' comic book [sic], which at one time presented the horror of war to readers."

Attached to the document were pages taken from a recent issue of Mad that featured a tongue-in-cheek game about draft dodging. Players who earned such status were advised to write to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and request a membership card certifying themselves as a “full-fledged draft dodger.” At least three readers, the agent reported, did exactly that.

Mad, of course, was the wildly popular satirical magazine that was reaching upwards of a million readers every other month. Published by William Gaines, who had already gotten into some trouble with Congress when he was called to testify about his gruesome horror comics in 1954, Mad lampooned everyone and everything. But in name-checking the notoriously humorless Hoover, Gaines had invited the wrong kind of attention.

The memo got several facts incorrect: Mad had switched from a comic book to a magazine format in 1955, and it was Gaines’ E.C. Comics that had “presented the horror of war” in other titles. Despite getting these crucial pieces of information wrong, Jones didn’t hesitate to editorialize: "It is also of interest to note that…it is rather unfunny.”

The agent recommended the Bureau’s New York offices “make contact” with Mad’s headquarters to “advise them of our displeasure” and to make sure “that there be no repetition of such misuse of the Director’s name.”

Less than a week later, the Feds entered the hallowed hallways patrolled by Alfred E. Neuman. Their New York office would later report to Hoover directly that they had met with John Putnam, the magazine’s art director. (Conveniently, Gaines was not in that day.) Putnam told the agents he regretted the magazine using Hoover’s name and that nothing malicious was intended:

Putnam said that the use of the membership card and the name and address of the Director at the end of the game was referred to in their business as a 'gag' or 'kicker' in the same way that a comedian like Bob Hope or Milton Berle might use it.

Putnam swore that Mad would never again take Hoover’s name in vain; Gaines sent off a letter of sincere apology to the Director.

Alfred E. Neuman: A Marked Man ~ The Smoking Gun FBI letter image
Alfred E. Neuman: A Marked Man ~ The Smoking Gun FBI letter image

Just two years later, in January 1960, Agent A. Jones was forced to file a second notice about the shenanigans at Mad. A recent issue had made not one, but two derogatory mentions of Hoover, including one in which he is blatantly and disrespectfully portrayed as being associated with a vacuum cleaner, “The Honorable J. Edgar Electrolux”:

Obviously, Gaines was insincere in this promise…and has again placed the Director in a position of ridicule…it is felt we should contact Gaines…and firmly and severely admonish them concerning our displeasure…

It was by now clear Mad was not only polluting young minds, but that Gaines had absolutely no regard for the honorable Hoover’s position.

In June 1961, the FBI’s worst fears had been realized. Detailing an investigation into a Seattle-area extortion attempt led to the following:

Investigation … resulted in gaining admissions from the victim’s 12-year-old son and an 11-year-old companion that they had gotten the idea of preparing an extortion letter after reading the June issue of 'Mad' magazine.

Working in concert with the Buffalo field office, the FBI determined another letter had been sent by a young boy demanding money in the style of a recent issue’s extortion advice. And there was a third under review that was sent to the agent of some professional wrestlers.

Mad was quickly becoming the scourge of the federal government. The FBI suggested the magazine be brought the attention of the Attorney General for “instructing [readers] to deliberately violate the Federal Law.” They tried reaching out to Gaines, who was on vacation. (Time and again, Gaines simply not being in the office when called upon seemed to confound the FBI.)

Agent A. Jones, having exhausted all attempts to reason with these irresponsible anarchists, filed one last memo:

Despite assurances, they have continued to publish slurring remarks about the Bureau. In view of this situation, it was deemed useless to protest all such irresponsible remarks to a magazine of this poor judgment and capriciousness … we will have to wait and see if our action will result in increased discretion by this publication.

Poor A. Jones was unable to put an end to Mad’s reign of terror. But the magazine redeemed itself somewhat. In the 1970s, when the Bureau was trying to suppress the influence of the Ku Klux Klan, an agent suggested they copy and distribute a sticker from the magazine that read, “Support Mental Illness—Join the Klan!”

Hoover said no.

Dahbud Mensch ~ is SANITY the PLAYGROUND of the unIMAGINATIVE ?

Does the Bible really say that
global warming will make
the Earth ‘vomit us out’?

A clergyman’s borrowed warning of ecological doom reminds me that theology can be flexible enough to fit many times and places

Steve Bell cartoon
Hi! I'm George! Hear GOD Talk Through Me! by Steve Bell

Andrew Brown, Friday 17 July 2015 13.31 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

My ears pricked up in the Church of England’s global warming debate when a clergyman in a brightly coloured shirt announced that the Earth would “vomit us out” because we had defiled it. People should say more of this kind of thing at synod. They should say more of this in almost all dull meetings. Certainly, it is an arresting figure of ecological doom.

The speaker, Richard Burridge, the dean of Kings College London, went on to describe the form this vomiting out would take: “God says: ‘I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: and your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

All these things, the dean said, were happening now, he had seen them on his travels in Africa, where global warming is already causing havoc.

After the debate, I went to find him, to track down where the second quote had come from, and also to tease him a bit, for the first quote was from the book of Leviticus, and the things which upset God in Leviticus are not always those which upset the God of today’s Church of England, still less the Green party. Leviticus 18, in particular, is a long list of sexual prohibitions addressed to the ferociously libidinous men of a slave-holding society where women are a dangerously filthy form of property even when they are not actually slaves. God, addressing himself entirely to men, forbids them to have sex with their mothers, aunts, grandmothers, sisters, half-sisters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, neighbours’ wives, their own wives’ sisters or even other men and animals.

These are not the sins for which we nowadays expect God to reserve his sternest punishments. There is some overlap between today’s values and the Mosaic ones. The Children of Israel are forbidden to sacrifice their children, or to turn their daughters into prostitutes just as sternly as they are forbidden to mix fibres or to clip the edges of their beards.

And the second of his quotes, the wonderfully powerful description of the workings of God’s wrath if his commandments are not obeyed, follows the explicit injunction to chattel slavery of Leviticus 25: “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you … you can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life.”

This is clearly behaviour for which we now believe that God would be justified in calling on the Earth to vomit out its practitioners. Yet by the rules of theological debate, it seemed quite approved to twist his disapproval through 180 degrees, so to say. The speech left me wondering, for the umpteenth time, whether there is substance at all to theology, or why it is that highly intelligent and well-educated people of unquestioned benevolence talk as if there is.

The nearest I can come to an answer is to suppose that it is the very dislocation of meaning that makes theology so unattractive to the rational mind, which simultaneously makes it useful to the practitioners. A theological image, or a story, is not anchored to the historical world in any fixed way. It has its own interior logic and coherence. In the story of Sinai this core is that God would like to love us, but he is angered by our stubborn reluctance to behave in ways he finds lovable. That is a pattern we can easily understand from our own childhoods, and parenting experience too. It works, emotionally, as a spur to action. But how that is mapped on to the external world is negotiable: what it is that angers God, and what it is he demands of workers for justice and mercy, varies from age to age.

Theological reasoning, then, can look like an attempt to fix the world into an unchanging pattern but it’s actually a way of managing change. In this light it doesn’t look fundamentally different from other forms of collective symbolism, like flags or countries. The soldiers who died for their flag and country at Waterloo were fighting for entirely different values than those who died for the same flag and the same country on D-day. The Duke of Wellington was not an enthusiast of democracy, and would certainly not have approved of the welfare state. Yet the persistence of the flag allows us to see the continuity between them. It turns out that the disconnection of theology from the real world is not a bug, but the feature from which it derives all its power to change the world around us.

The Met’s helicopter snap of Michael
is a wake-up call to all of us

Reaction to the photo was predictably bad – why are police invading privacy? – but it serves to remind us surveillance is a human activity and as such, fallible

Local Craphic: John Ashcroft's War on Terrorists ~ A large eye is watching a couple in bed, who are trying to sleep.
John Ashcroft's War on Terrorists
A large intrustive government eye watches a couple in bed, who are trying to sleep.

James Ball, Friday 17 July 2015 10.55 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

On the surface of it, the incident is entirely trivial: in a thoughtless moment, a police officer on a surveillance helicopter decides to tweet a photo of a celebrity he’s spotted (in this case Michael McIntyre), briefly adding the Metropolitan police to the ranks of London paparazzi.

The Met’s snap had a few features a standard press photo lacks, though, including an exact timestamp, location data, and a vantage point from an expensive and taxpayer-funded aerial spot. Online reaction to the photograph was predictably bad – why are police invading the privacy of someone who’s doing nothing wrong? – and was followed by questioning whether the photo breached the Data Protection Act, which it may well have done.

But what the picture really serves to do is to remind us that surveillance – whether of photos, data, phone records or emails – is a human activity, despite the technology involved and the safeguards we’re endlessly told about.

People in the police and in intelligence agencies are still people, and have all the human failings and fallibilities the rest of us do. The difference is the sheer scale of information available to them: police forces in the UK have access to photography, to movements of cars through numberplate-recognition technology, to phone records without any judicial oversight through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), and more. Intelligence agencies hoover up even more information than that.

The debate around surveillance powers tends to focus on the serious risks our culture of over-collection poses: at the tinfoil hat end, whether such quantities of data would allow some future government to bring an end to liberal democracy; or at the more realistic end, the dangers of overactive algorithms and false positives leading to the pursuit, monitoring, arrest or worse of innocent people.

But we shouldn’t forget this human factor either. When one GCHQ webcam monitoring programme sucked up huge volumes of adult content – making the UK government the accidental owner of perhaps the world’s largest collection of amateur porn – staff had to be politely reminded as to policies of sharing content with colleagues.

Multiple staff over at GCHQ’s close ally, the US National Security Agency, have been disciplined or even dismissed after using the surveillance tools of the world’s largest superpower to keep tabs on their spouses – or exes. And council staff have often landed themselves in trouble for using their own surveillance powers and databases – which, as the Daily Mail often laments, are routinely used to spy on “bin offenders” – to keep tabs on celebrities in their patch.

Surveillance advocates are keen to paint a rigorous, automated, algorithmic system free from human foibles and only ever dedicated to keeping us all safe. This week’s helicopter snap, like the incidents before it, remind us that the reality is rather messier. That’s likely the attitude of many of the staff, most of the time. People get nosey, people get bored, people get hung up over their exes, and people show off. We can only hope they get caught when they do so.

Most of us don’t need to fear being snapped from on high. But as we hand over ever more information about ourselves, often with little to no say in the matter, it’s worth remembering the rare and memorable cases when it comes to light, and wondering who’s looking at our private information – and why.

Keith Lampe ~ Co-Founder of YIPPIE and Progressive Activist Groups + Video Channel

Keith Lampe
Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine

Remembering Our Dear Missed Friend
July 25, 1931 ~ November 11, 2014

Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine ~ Volunteer
Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine ~ Volunteer ~ Photo: James Stark

by keith lampe

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today's installment from my issue number two of Earth Read-Out (ERO) at the end of May '69 gives us an opportunity to understand how much more confidence people had in themselves then than now. For example, do AFT locals talk now the way they talked then? Or do high-ranking U-C officials talk now the way Robert Greenway (all honor to his name) talked then? Or does the despicable Washington Post ever play a positive role at rallies as it did at this one?

And this information is critically important today--especially for our last hope, the campus generation. It helps all of us grok that in fact we've been enormously dumbed-down and intimidated.

Given the intense uncompromising integrity of this teach-in, it's quite easy to understand why the MIAC (Military-Industrial-Academic Complex) thought it necessary a year later to murder four peaceful students at Kent State, then make a point of not punishing the murderers. They needed strong writing on the wall:

We'll kill you whenever we wish
and nobody's gonna stop us.

Please note that you can learn hardly anything about this immensely important stuff in the twerpy-hustler Limited Hangout "alternate" histories of Howard Zinn and Carolyn Baker.

I must confess that I hadn't read my material for many years and--though I expected to find it quite significant for our current times--I am blown by just how significant it in fact is. I almost wish I'd let Herder & Herder publish it back in '70. But as you can see from the spirit of the times--so many people (mainly hippies and hardly any leftists) gallantly taking-it-to-the-limit over and over again!--my role as a socalled environmental leader (ERO quickly became the central info vehicle for the movement and remained so till autumn '70) was to try to force the sleazy corporate publishing world to start being transparent about their various immensely negative eco impacts. Today it is even more important that they start doing so.

Now that you understand how much was happening environmentally in the late '60s aren't you at least a bit exasperated when the pimps and whores of CNN, etc, act like they invented TEC (True Environmental Concern) a few years ago? Or when Bill McKibben acts like he invented it twenty years ago?

Yours for waking to the quantum ether,
Keith Lampe aka Pondo
Volunteer and Complete Unknown

United State Cafe Sign - Artist: Douglas Comstock

United State Cafe ~ featuring Keith Lampe in this recording
Click to play July 29, 1975 MP3 Audio

Earth Readoutat the United State Cafe
Click to open page on the United State Cafe

May 29, 1969
by keith lampe

About 2000 persons attended--off and on--a six-hour teach-in on "Ecology and Politics in America" May 28 on the U-C Berkeley campus.

Idea was to relate the People's Park issue to broader questions of planetary survival.

A lot of language under a hot sun--but hopefully the thing will get made into a book to help people past the old politics and into a root politics of ecology.

Sponsors were American Federation of Teachers locals 1474 and 1795. Their leaflet for the occasion put it succinctly where it's at:

"The battle for a people's park in Berkeley has raised questions that go far beyond the immediate objects of public attention. They are questions about the quality of our lives, about the deterioration of the environment and about the propriety and legitimacy of the uses to which we put our land. The questions raised by this issue reach into two worlds at once: the world of power, politics and the institutional shape of American society on the one hand, and the world of ecology, conservation and the biological shape of our environment on the other.

"The People's Park is a mirror in which our society may see itself. A country which destroys Vietnam in order to liberate it sees no paradox in building fences around parks so that people may enjoy them. It is not at all ironic that officers of the law uproot shrubbery in order to preserve the peace. It is the way of the world! Trees are anarchic; concrete and asphalt are orderly and tractable. Defoliation is Civilization!

"Our cities are increasingly unlivable. The ghettos are anathema to any form of human existence. Our back country is no retreat; today's forest is tomorrow's Disneyland. Our rivers are industrial sewers; our lakes are all future resorts; our wildlife are commercial resources.

"The history of America is a history of hostility and conquest. We have constituted ourselves socially and politically to conquer and transform nature. We measure 'progress' in casualties, human and environmental, in bodies of men or board-feet of lumber.

"Ecology and politics are no longer separate or separable issues. . ."

Biggest mindblow of the day came from Robert Greenway, vice president for academic planning at U-C Santa Cruz. Greenway's contract isn't to be renewed because he's acting up--and the U-C regents got a court order forbidding him to make speeches because he's "inflammmatory".

Greenway told his audience "we have to go down to People's Park Friday with our women, children and neighbors and we have to say we're going to pull up the fence--gently--and then say to the National Guard 'Go ahead and shoot'".

Greenway said the fight for People's Park is part of a larger fight for physical and psychic space: "We must take every shred of university land that's not already built and make it a park."

He invited everybody down to Santa Cruz "where we have 3000 acres for dancing and singing and holding each other--and it would take them a year to fence it".

Prof. Sim van der Ryn, a member of the U-C Berkeley Chancellor's Committee on Environment, explained why we often have heavily polluted air in the Bay Area even during early morning hours: the air-pollution surveillance bureaucrats do only a 9-to-5 thing, so most of the biggest industries release their poisons after dark or in early morning.

Van der Ryn reminded everybody that DDT is killing enormous numbers of crabs on the West Coast, that high concentrations of DDT have been found even in High Sierra lakes--and that lots of people get busted for LSD, but nobody for DDT.

Dr. Tom Bodenheimer warned that DDT may get banned but be replaced by something even worse--that there are certain pesticides in use now (e.g., Parathion) which originally were developed as nerve gases. He said pesticides are the direct cause of about 150 deaths annually in the U.S. He said the nerve-gas leak which killed 6000 sheep in Utah last year might well have wiped out much of Salt Lake City also if it hadn't been for a shift in the wind.

Bodenheimer said the concentrations of CS gas on the Berkeley campus are probably still so great that "next time it rains it'll be like a gas attack." [Ed. Note: he refers here to the spraying of gaseous toxins onto innocent students by the infamous U.S. military.] He said the regime possibly soon may try to control demonstrations entirely from the air. He said the regime considers students, like insects, to be pests.

Cliff Humphrey of (Berkeley) Ecology Action said he plans to turn his auto into a piece of sculpture so it can't continue poisoning the air. "My Rambler is a pig," Humphrey said. "There are all kinds of pigs."

Dennis Maynis, a mountain climber, told the audience he's been watching Yosemite being destroyed. "They've paved trails, ripped out trees and flowers--but we're watched by telescope to make sure we don't break any rules."

Barry Weisberg, of the Bay Area institute, said 95% of all fresh water on the planet is being used faster than it's being replaced. He said Amerika constitutes only 7% of the world's population--but is presently consuming about 70% of the world's resources.

Landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, who was busted several weeks ago trying to stop Army engineers from wrecking Tamalpais Creek in the name of flood control, equated the creek with People's Park: 'each little blade of grass is important."

Wolf von Eckhart, architectural critic of the Washington Post, sent a wire saying "the city belongs to the people".

Folk singer Malvina Reynolds sang "God Bless the Grass."

Paul Goodman sent a wire from New York expressing outrage at "the vandalism committed by the authorities".

Jane Jacobs sent a wire from New York saying universities traditionally have used parks as a cover-story for land grabs in order to "lull lazy liberals". To those battling for People's Park she said "be brave but be careful: against armor and sadism your weapon must be ingenuity".

Among many other speakers was Stanley Smart, a Paiute who recently was busted for--dig--hunting without a license. "We don't believe in the white man's law," he said.

Forester Don Harkins urged street people to spend some time in the wilderness. He said he knew that some street people thought the wilderness was counterrevolutionary--"but they'll pull a lot of power into themselves by getting out there." He offered to teach street people how to move through snow and storms in mountains.

Poet Gary Snyder said we must "recover gut knowledge of our relationship to nature" through which "nature becomes the supernatural". He called for establishment of an "Earth People's Park because nations and corporations are not going to do anything because it calls for renunciation instead of profit and growth".

He said the Soviet Union, China, Amerika and Europe all are equally culpable.

Of the Amerikan scene he said "the materialistic, exploitative, white-western mentality swept across the continent east to west, destroying the passenger pigeon, the bison, the indian and the topsoil till finally it came right up to the Pacific and polluted the offshore waters there.

"Now it is time for us symbolically to become indians--people of this land--and take Amerika back from west to east. People's Park is the first little piece of liberated territory in Amerika and I hope we keep going and take the whole thing."

Poet Lew Welch said: "My goddess is Mt. Tamalpais and I sit on the rocks of her slopes and ask her questions and she gives me answers. . . the last cliff on the continent. . . This is the Last Place. . . There is Nowhere Else to Go. . . There is Nowhere Else We Need to Go."

Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine ~ Volunteer

February 2, 2005
by keith lampe

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As part of my ongoing efforts to improve human mood, I'd like on this annual occasion of my State of the Union Address to talk about the State of the Hippie instead.

I think that a return to Hippie spirit and values provides our best opportunity to improve significantly average human mood at this time. Not till we've achieved elation much more frequently can we resist the Fourth Reich effectively.

Currently I'm working on a Lost History of Hippie for all our dear high school students because they've been down so long it looks like up to them. That is, they've endured a merciless US police state for so many years now that they've forgotten anything better and thus can't imagine anything better. I'm so eager for them to become able to imagine something much much much better!!!

Before continuing, I'll sketch a brief summary of that history.

Most of you already know that Hippie began in San Francisco in the mid-60s and quickly spread around the nation and planet because smaller numbers of Hippies in New York City relayed the sense of it into various huge media machines there.

By '67 Hippie had become the main influence behind new forms of activism. For example, in that year a few of us in NYC started a number called Support-in-Action in order to provide support from middle-aged people (I was already 35) for young draft resisters. Most of us were Hippies -- though the venerable Karl Bissinger also was quite helpfully present. This idea then spread to a bunch in the Boston-Cambridge area who called themselves Resist.

Despite the fact that they were mainly Straights they came up with a statement very nearly as firm as ours -- e.g., their language risked a five-year-federal-felony bust. Two of the Straights among them -- Noam Chomsky and Benjamin Spock -- became the media character actors of that occasion. (Alas, it has been all downhill for poor Noam ever since: these days he's never in the streets and has kept his mouth shut about the US Government's cover-up of its murders of JFK, MLK, RFK, the OKC-Murrah explosion victims, the nearly 3000 9/11 victims, the Wellstone Family and also about the stolen presidential elections of 2000 and 2004.) So Hippies initiated the concept but Straights got credit for it from all the Straight academic histwhorians.

The great Initiating Genius at this time was Hippie Robert M. Ockene, then executive editor of Bobbs-Merrill Publishing Company. It was he who in late '67 gave us Yippie!

During the major demo and exorcistic levitation of the Pentagon in autumn '67 Judith Lampe and he slipped quietly into the Pentagon itself (behind Sy Hersh's NY Times credentials) -- he to check out the vibes and she mainly because she was pregnant with our dear daughter and didn't want to risk getting her belly bashed by the crude vicious federal marshals outside.

This gave Bob the perspective necessary to notice that the great intramural injustice of that action was the New Left Short-Hair Straights -- e.g., Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, Carl Oglesby -- who totally controlled the rhetoric with their bullhorns but fled when the marshals moved in and left us voiceless Hippies to take the skull bash, tear gas and jail time.

So Bob suggested we start a group to give Hippies a voice -- and that the group should have a sense of humor to heal the psychic wounds caused by the continuing upsurge in police terrorism. In December we split around sixteen phone calls and the ensuing meeting resulted in Yippie -- a deft label provided by Paul Krassner in response to the need for humor. As most of you know, the late Abbie Hoffman and the late Jerry Rubin became the main character actors of the Yippie occasion. Bob died in autumn '69 -- evidently taken out by the dreaded US secret police.

This pattern of Hippies initiating a concept and Straights getting credit for it can be seen most clearly in the early history of the environmental movement. In autumn '69 in Berkeley three Hippies (Gary Snyder, Michael McClure and I) had dinner together because we'd played the major roles in getting that movement started and we wanted to talk about ways to protect it from corruption, co-optation, etc. The vicious secret police stomp-out of the Hippie at that time made it easy for come-lately fame-craving Straight David Brower (now also deceased) to move over into this new movement from the quaint conservation movement (I helped him) and get himself depicted among histwhorians as the "father" of it.

What a ludicrous irony! We Hippies had been in the streets risking our asses (e.g., several of us busted blocking a truck carrying redwood corpses in early spring of '69 and 1500 folks paralyzing traffic in downtown Eugene (OR) later that year) and now here comes "father" to lure the movement from street to office, from disobedient actions to obedient gestures -- e.g., write-yr-Congressperson. So Brower was the greatest individual human disaster that the biosphere had experienced till George Boosch.

I did the introductory press relations for the US women's-lib movement even though the originators were mainly Straight. The occasion was the Atlantic City (NJ) beauty pageant of September '68. Women journeyed there from Manhattan Island to remove their lipstick and brassieres and make statements about gender equality. It established Robin Morgan as the media character actress -- and she was rather Straight. Several weeks later Gloria Steinem suddenly popped up as Women's Lib Media Character Actress Number Two -- and she was so breathtakingly straight that one must suspect that she was planted by the sly CIA to prevent the movement from targeting capitalism as macho.

In late '68 or sometime in '69 a bunch of marvelous feminist Hippies in Marin County (CA) mounted a formidable challenge to Straight NYC women's-lib. They wanted to run the movement on yin energy rather than yang, wanted to link psychedelics with the liberation of both genders and lots of other interesting stuff. But they were swiftly taken over by women representing the East-Coast Yang Straightness which they'd organized to oppose. The manner of the take-over has to make one wonder whether the East Coast infiltrational energy had been instigated by the dreaded US secret police. In '71 I picked up with one of those Originating Hippies and her experience led her to say: "I have no more illusions about the women's movement." I felt lucky to be with her because I knew that most US women hadn't even begun to have their illusions yet.

So as we fold Hippie into the thick broth of Recent US History, it starts to look quite different from what was fed you by the professwhores of the military-industrial-academic complex back at your college or university -- right? The reason you know almost nothing about early eco-movement history is I didn't let Herder & Herder publish my Earth Read-Out news service in book form (despite their urgings) because they couldn't or wouldn't tell me how many sentient brother/sister trees would be sacrificed to its first printing.

The pattern of Initiating-Hippie and Straight-Getting-Credit continues to this day -- though at a much slower pace because of much tighter corporate control of the info flow. For example, fourteen years ago in San Francisco during the bombing of Baghdad I started the US Pro-Democracy Movement (USPDM) and just last month I was pleased to find a reference to "the mushrooming pro-democracy movement" in a piece by Straight Ted Glick. It's reasonable to assume that professwhorial histwhorians still are so inept and corrupt that they won't be able to trace it back very far -- and thus Ted or some other Johnny/Jeanny-Come-Lately Straight will get proclaimed the "father" of it. Fine! I'm glad not to have to go around Famous and I've used three different names as part of a strategy for avoiding such. Fame is a trap because it always slows down your evolution as you bask in it and repeat yourself within it. Meanwhile, let's hope those active in the current pro-democracy movement take it into the streets rather than merely getting paid writing books and making speeches about it.

In any case, I think it's time for high school students to know the truth rather than be victimized by all the "history" bullshit waiting for them in the wings of their onrushing colleges and universities. Of course, the history bullshit is much broader than just Hippies. For example, Ross Gelbspan -- a relatively effective climate-change commentator -- said on a radio show yesterday that warnings about climate change have been occurring since '88. Such warnings in fact go back at least to '68. These paragraphs from a letter I wrote in '01 bring that out:

Okay. Let's now take a look at my transition from anthropocentric activism to biocentric activism. In spring '68 Bob Ockene had noticed that the sinister U.S. MonoMassMedia (MMM) were conditioning Americans to accept the Vietnam War for an utterly indefinite period of time. So we did a caper called The War Is Over so people could at least imagine such a possibility. We dashed exultantly up Fifth Avenue, disrupting traffic. I can't remember whether the late great Phil Ochs did his song "I Declare the War Is Over" just before the caper or just after. (Hey, all honor to Phil's name, too!)

Anyway, I was co-ordinating the number as we gathered in Washington Square Park for the dash. The police didn't like our idea, had surrounded us and were playing with their batons somewhat menacingly. Old friend Allen Ginsberg (I met him in Calcutta in '62) came up to me and began talking about the Dialectics of Liberation conference in London from which he'd just returned. I was so concerned about the police that my unspoken attitude towards him was: Hey, can't you see I'm busy?

But what he told me led several months later to perhaps the biggest single change I've ever gone through. At the conference -- besides Stokely Carmichael and Bertrand Russell -- was an anthropologist from Hawaii by the name of Gregory Bateson. In his speech he said the planet was heating up and rather soon the polar caps would melt, inundatng the continents. Wow!

Thus soon after moving to Berkeley at the beginning of '69 I started the planet's first environmental newsservice. It was called Earth Read-Out (ERO) and it ran as a column in fifteen or twenty newspapers. It was the main information conduit for the new environmental movement, which had begun with a civil-disobedience action in Marin County about six weeks before my first issue on May 15.

The movement began when several of us sat down on a road north of Bolinas to stop a truck loaded with redwood corpses. We stopped it and were busted. So we started with a victory (extremely rare since then): never again has there been logging of that sort in that county.

All the bloody flotsam historians will tell you that the movement began with Earth Day '70 -- but that actually was the occasion that swiftly led to the movement being co-opted by effete bureaucrats using movement-sounding rhetoric in order to suck foundation grants and get book contracts. I was asked to make an Earth Day '70 speech in Denver or Boulder (can't remember which) but told them I was unwilling to expend so much petrol getting there and they should get a local person instead.

So a vibrant predominantly Hippie volunteer in-your-face movement was taken over by people like Stewart Brand, the late David Brower and Jerry Mander -- people who manipulated the eco-emergency on behalf of their personal desire to get famous and become adulated.

In autumn '69 Gary Snyder (whom I'd met in Kyoto in '60), Michael McClure and I had dinner together because we'd played the major roles in establishing the movement and wanted to discuss ways of keeping it from being co-opted and corrupted. We'd opened up a rather wide media-niche for it -- enough that David Brower, then a book editor in the quaint conservation movement, sensed he might be able to get in front of more TV cameras as an environmentalist than as a conservationist and so started moving our way. I actually helped him with the transition by doing press relations for a speech he made in Berkeley.

It was lewd of Jerry Mander to aid and abet Brower's ego-ridden fantasy that he was the fuckin father of the eco-movement. Jerry is easily bright enough to know the difference between the father of a movement and the oldest person in it. Between '71 and '99 Brower was more responsible for the breathtaking weakness of the movement than anyone else. The Backroom Boys controlling MonoMassMedia were delighted to feature David as a leader because they knew he was abjectly obedient to both their nefarious legal system and nefarious tax system and would advocate only the very most effete gestures of resistance to their ongoing destruction of the biosphere. David specialized in cutie-pie environmentalism. In a way, it's appropriate that Berkeley was selected for a David Brower Day. The citizens there already live with so many illusions that they might as well add one more.

In '69 I felt our strength lay in anonymity rather than fame. So I stopped signing my pieces with "Keith Lampe" and started using "K.L." Or if I could find somebody to add a paragraph or two, I'd then use "Members of the Staff." In late '69 or early '70 I did an issue which included poetry by Ginsberg, McClure and Snyder. I used only their initials and they were pissed -- though Ginsberg less so. They'd become junkies of their own names! Their names were their ticket-to-ride!

On the spring equinox of '70 I did an issue devoted to regionalizing North America. Fourteen years later Peter Berg would come up to me at a bioregional gathering and say, "So what do you think of this?" I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Hey, man, the two of us started this thing." That was accurate except for some major male chauvinism. In alphabetical order the actual founders of bioregionalism are: Judy Berg, Peter Berg, Judy Lampe and Keith Lampe (I was still using my human-chauvinist name). Sadly, I must report to you that a few years later Peter had become so ego-ridden that he failed to relay to flotsam historian Kirkpatrick Sale that I was a co-founder.

I must also sadly report that within just a few years after that dinner with Snyder and McClure, both of them had degenerated into fashionable eco-lapdogs. Perhaps they'd been frightened by the infamous U.S. military's murders of those four well-intentioned Kent State University students in spring '70. In any case, these days I'm not willing to be seen in public with either of them.

One reason you don't know anything about all this is that I did not allow Herder & Herder to publish Earth Read-Out in book form. They were eager but I said I wanted to know the number of sentient arboreal beings who would be screamingly sacrificed for the first edition. I wanted to include the number in the volume. I felt that minimal human decency called for at least that gesture. They couldn't or wouldn't give me a number.

And obviously there was lots of other important climate-destabilization info made available between '70 and '88 -- when Ross starts catching on to it.

Hippies also were the predominant influence in the early days of the Back-to-the-Land Movement. The first Hippie rural commune evidently was Drop City in Iowa in '65. Peter Rabbit, now living in Taos, is widely regarded as one of the venerable mentors of that movement.

Perhaps the most helpful suggestion from the heyday of Hippie was Gary Snyder's about "the transfer of prime human attention from objects to states of mind." If applied today in the form of massive boycotts it could be an effective tool of resistance to the Bush Junta, which, after all, is impervious to moral appeals but fetishistic about profits. More attention on states of mind also can significantly improve average mood. Most important of all, such a transfer would greatly lessen the pressure on our fragile home-planet life-support systems.

More on this later.

Meanwhile, there obviously should be additional categories of lost history for high school students. I hope you have suggestions for how they should be labeled and organized.

I hope this has been more interesting for you than that Brand X State-of-the-Union Speech delivered today by that ignominious Fourth Reich puppet.

Yours for all species,
Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine
Transition Prez


Free Americans Reaching Out to Amerika's Huddled Masses Yearning to Breathe Free

A local page on Keith Lampe and "Earth Readout" is located at:

Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine ~ Volunteer and me
Keith and Curtis ~ Photo: James Stark

Keith Lampe (Ponderosa Pine), Vocals and Doug Adamz, Tibetan Bell

Part One:

Part Two:

With VEH (Vocal Energy Health), after a few sessions of imitating these sounds, one can start doing them alone or--even better--with others; creating an effective practice that requires no gear. - Ponderosa Pine

Click to view local page on Keith Lampe
Co-Founder of YIPPIE and Progressive Activist Groups

Google Is Evil ~ For using insinuation to destroy hobbies of a Vietnam Veteran Cancer patient

"I will spend every penny of Apple's $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I'm going to destroy Android [Google], because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." ~ Steve Jobs

Google accidentally reveals data
on 'right to be forgotten' requests

Data shows 95% of Google privacy requests are from citizens out to protect personal and private information – not criminals, politicians and public figures

Google’s data leak reveals flaws in making it judge and jury over our rights

Sylvia Tippman and Julia Powles, Tuesday 14 July 2015 09.28 EDT ~ All references at: TheGuardian Source

Less than 5% of nearly 220,000 individual requests made to Google to selectively remove links to online information concern criminals, politicians and high-profile public figures, the Guardian has learned, with more than 95% of requests coming from everyday members of the public.

The Guardian has discovered new data hidden in source code on Google’s own transparency report that indicates the scale and flavour of the types of requests being dealt with by Google – information it has always refused to make public. The data covers more than three-quarters of all requests to date.

Previously, more emphasis has been placed on selective information concerning the more sensational examples of so-called right to be forgotten requests released by Google and reported by some of the media, which have largely ignored the majority of requests made by citizens concerned with protecting their personal privacy.

These include a woman whose name appeared in prominent news articles after her husband died, another seeking removal of her address, and an individual who contracted HIV a decade ago.

The data, which has not been revealed publicly until now, was found during an analysis of archived versions of Google’s transparency report and details the numeric breakdown of each request and associated link by country and issue type. The underlying source code has since been updated to remove these details.

This data covers the majority of requests received by Google, which have now exceeded 280,000 since the company first started to process requests in May 2014 as a result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice.

Of 218,320 requests to remove links between 29 May 2014 and 23 March 2015, 101,461 (46%) have been successfully delisted on individual name searches. Of these, 99,569 involve “private or personal information”.

Only 1,892 requests – less than 1% of the overall total – were successful for the four remaining issue types identified within Google’s source code: “serious crime” (728 requests), “public figure” (454), “political” (534) or “child protection” (176) – presumably because they concern victims, incidental witnesses, spent convictions, or the private lives of public persons.

Breakdowns for each country reveal that within the primary category of “private or personal information”, just shy of half the requests are delisted, more than a third are refused, and the remaining are pending.

By contrast, for each of the other categories, around one in five have actually been delisted. The numbers fall evenly between crime, public figures, political and child protection. Around two-thirds of these requests are refused.

In many countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Cyprus, 98% of requests concern private information. In only three countries did proportions of private information fall below 90%: Italy (85%), Romania (87%) and Hungary (88%). In the remaining most-populous countries, the UK and Spain, the proportion is 95%. In Italy, the second largest issue type is “serious crime” (1,951 requests, comprising 12% of the country’s total).

It is not clear whether requests have been made by those who are the main subject of web links or by a third party. A link categorised as serious crime, for example, may involve a request from a victim or witness rather than the perpetrator.

Between countries, there is variation in the rate of compliance. For example, more than half the private information requests through France and Germany have been successfully delisted, yet this comes closer to a third in the UK and Italy. These differences may be attributable to the requests themselves, the result of cultural and legal variation between countries, the impact of data protection authorities, or because Google doesn’t synchronise the decision criteria and processing between countries.

Google said in a statement: “We’ve always aimed to be as transparent as possible about our right to be forgotten decisions. The data the Guardian found in our Transparency Report’s source code does of course come from Google, but it was part of a test to figure out how we could best categorise requests. We discontinued that test in March because the data was not reliable enough for publication. We are however currently working on ways to improve our transparency reporting.”

Stefan Kulk, a Dutch researcher specialising in the liabilities of search engine providers, said: “Google is taking decisions that are publicly relevant. As such, it is becoming almost like a court or government, but without the fundamental checks on its power.”

“Because we know so little about the cases, Google can push the discussion about the right to be forgotten in a particular direction – overdramatise, or play it down.”

He notes that the governing legal framework is in part responsible, because it allows data controllers such as Google to be in charge of the delisting process.

“To me, this stresses all the more the importance of Google being more open about the requests it receives and the processing it undertakes,” said Kulk. “The company doesn’t have to put all the info of every request online – that wouldn’t work, and is clearly against data protection law itself. But it clearly needs to provide more granular information.”

Dr Paul Bernal, lecturer in technology and media law at the UEA School of Law, argues that the data reveals that the right to be forgotten seems to be a legitimate piece of law. “If most of the requests are private and personal ones, then it’s a good law for the individuals concerned. It seems there is a need for this – and people go for it for genuine reasons.”

The totals used for calculation are based on the sum of the individual categories presented in Google’s source code, not the totals visualised on the front page of the archived data set for 23 March 2015, which differ slightly.

The non-profit investigative site CORRECT!V has published a German-language story on this topic ~ Explore the data.

Is Google Evil?

Internet privacy? Google already knows more about you than the National Security Agency ever will. And don?t assume for a minute it can keep a secret. YouTube fans -- and everybody else -- beware.

By Adam L. Penenberg, Tue Oct. 10, 2006 3:00 AM EDT ~ All references at: Mother Jones Source

Google Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two former Stanford geeks who founded the company that has become synonymous with Internet searching, and you’ll find more than a million entries each. But amid the inevitable dump of press clippings, corporate bios, and conference appearances, there’s very little about Page’s and Brin’s personal lives; it’s as if the pair had known all along that Google would change the way we acquire information, and had carefully insulated their lives—putting their homes under other people’s names, choosing unlisted numbers, abstaining from posting anything personal on web pages.

That obsession with privacy may explain Google’s puzzling reaction last year, when Elinor Mills, a reporter with the tech news service cnet, ran a search on Google CEO Eric Schmidt and published the results: Schmidt lived with his wife in Atherton, California, was worth about $1.5 billion, had dumped about $140 million in Google shares that year, was an amateur pilot, and had been to the Burning Man festival. Google threw a fit, claimed that the information was a security threat, and announced it was blacklisting cnet’s reporters for a year. (The company eventually backed down.) It was a peculiar response, especially given that the information Mills published was far less intimate than the details easily found online on every one of us. But then, this is something of a pattern with Google: When it comes to information, it knows what’s best.

From the start, Google’s informal motto has been “Don’t Be Evil,” and the company earned cred early on by going toe-to-toe with Microsoft over desktop software and other issues. But make no mistake. Faced with doing the right thing or doing what is in its best interests, Google has almost always chosen expediency. In 2002, it removed links to an anti-Scientology site after the Church of Scientology claimed copyright infringement. Scores of website operators have complained that Google pulls ads if it discovers words on a page that it apparently has flagged, although it will not say what those words are. In September, Google handed over the records of some users of its social-networking service, Orkut, to the Brazilian government, which was investigating alleged racist, homophobic, and pornographic content.

Google’s stated mission may be to provide “unbiased, accurate, and free access to information,” but that didn’t stop it from censoring its Chinese search engine to gain access to a lucrative market (prompting Bill Gates to crack that perhaps the motto should be “Do Less Evil”). Now that the company is publicly traded, it has a legal responsibility to its shareholders and bottom line that overrides any higher calling.

So the question is not whether Google will always do the right thing—it hasn’t, and it won’t. It’s whether Google, with its insatiable thirst for your personal data, has become the greatest threat to privacy ever known, a vast informational honey pot that attracts hackers, crackers, online thieves, and—perhaps most worrisome of all—a government intent on finding convenient ways to spy on its own citizenry.

It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to worry about such a threat. “I always thought it was fertile ground for the government to snoop,” CEO Schmidt told a search engine conference in San Jose, California, in August. While Google earned praise from civil libertarians earlier this year when it resisted a Justice Department subpoena for millions of search queries in connection with a child pornography case, don’t expect it will stand up to the government every time: On its website, Google asserts that it “does comply with valid legal process, such as search warrants, court orders, or subpoenas seeking personal information.”

What’s at stake? Over the years, Google has collected a staggering amount of data, and the company cheerfully admits that in nine years of operation, it has never knowingly erased a single search query. It’s the biggest data pack rat west of the NSA, and for good reason: 99 percent of its revenue comes from selling ads that are specifically targeted to a user’s interests. “Google’s entire value proposition is to figure out what people want,” says Eric Goldman, a professor at Silicon Valley’s Santa Clara School of Law and director of the High Tech Law Institute. “But to read our minds, they need to know a lot about us.”

Every search engine gathers information about its users—primarily by sending us “cookies,” or text files that track our online movements. Most cookies expire within a few months or years. Google’s, though, don’t expire until 2038. Until then, when you use the company’s search engine or visit any of myriad affiliated sites, it will record what you search for and when, which links you click on, which ads you access. Google’s cookies can’t identify you by name, but they log your computer’s IP address; by way of metaphor, Google doesn’t have your driver’s license number, but it knows the license plate number of the car you are driving. And search queries are windows into our souls, as 658,000 AOL users learned when their search profiles were mistakenly posted on the Internet: Would user 1997374 have searched for information on better erections or cunnilingus if he’d known that AOL was recording every keystroke? Would user 22155378 have keyed in “marijuana detox” over and over knowing someone could play it all back for the world to see? If you’ve ever been seized by a morbid curiosity after a night of hard drinking, a search engine knows—and chances are it’s Google, which owns roughly half of the entire search market and processes more than 3 billion queries a month.

And Google knows far more than that. If you are a Gmail user, Google stashes copies of every email you send and receive. If you use any of its other products—Google Maps, Froogle, Google Book Search, Google Earth, Google Scholar, Talk, Images, Video, and News—it will keep track of which directions you seek, which products you shop for, which phrases you research in a book, which satellite photos and news stories you view, and on and on. Served up à la carte, this is probably no big deal. Many websites stow snippets of your data. The problem is that there’s nothing to prevent Google from combining all of this information to create detailed dossiers on its customers, something the company admits is possible in principle. Soon Google may even be able to keep track of users in the real world: Its latest move is into free wifi, which will require it to know your whereabouts (i.e., which router you are closest to).

Google insists that it uses individual data only to provide targeted advertising. But history shows that information seldom remains limited to the purpose for which it was collected. Accordingly, some privacy advocates suggest that Google and other search companies should stop hoarding user queries altogether: Internet searches, argues Lillie Coney of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, are part of your protected personal space just like your physical home. In February, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to this effect, but Republicans have kept it stalled in committee. Google, which only recently retained a lobbying firm in Washington, is among the tech companies fighting the measure.

When I first contacted Google for this story, a company publicist insisted I provide a list of detailed questions, in writing; when I said that I had a problem with a source dictating the terms for an interview, he claimed that everyone who covers Google—including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal—submits advance questions. (A Times spokeswoman told me the paper sees no ethical problems with such a procedure, though individual reporters’ decisions may vary; an editor in charge of editorial standards at the Journal said the same thing.) The Google flack assured me that this was so he could find the best person for me to talk to—more information for Google, so that Google could better serve me.

Eventually he agreed to put me in touch, sans scripted questions, with Nicole Wong, Google’s associate corporate counsel. I asked her if the company had ever been subpoenaed for user records, and whether it had complied. She said yes, but wouldn’t comment on how many times. Google’s website says that as a matter of policy the company does “not publicly discuss the nature, number or specifics of law enforcement requests.”

So can you trust Google only as far as you can trust the Bush administration? “I don’t know,” Wong replied. “I’ve never been asked that question before.”

Google's Broken Promise:
The End of "Don't Be Evil"

Mat Honan, 1/24/12 5:41pm ~ All references at: Gizmodo Source

In a privacy policy shift, Google announced today that it will begin tracking users universally across all its services—Gmail, Search, YouTube and more—and sharing data on user activity across all of them. So much for the Google we signed up for.

The change was announced in a blog post today, and will go into effect March 1. After that, if you are signed into your Google Account to use any service at all, the company can use that information on other services as well. As Google puts it:

Our new Privacy Policy makes clear that, if you're signed in, we may combine information you've provided from one service with information from other services. In short, we'll treat you as a single user across all our products, which will mean a simpler, more intuitive Google experience.

This has been long coming. Google's privacy policies have been shifting towards sharing data across services, and away from data compartmentalization for some time. It's been consistently de-anonymizing you, initially requiring real names with Plus, for example, and then tying your Plus account to your Gmail account. But this is an entirely new level of sharing. And given all of the negative feedback that it had with Google+ privacy issues, it's especially troubling that it would take actions that further erode users' privacy.

What this means for you is that data from the things you search for, the emails you send, the places you look up on Google Maps, the videos you watch in YouTube, the discussions you have on Google+ will all be collected in one place. It seems like it will particularly affect Android users, whose real-time location (if they are Latitude users), Google Wallet data and much more will be up for grabs. And if you have signed up for Google+, odds are the company even knows your real name, as it still places hurdles in front of using a pseudonym (although it no longer explicitly requires users to go by their real names).

All of that data history will now be explicitly cross-referenced. Although it refers to providing users a better experience (read: more highly tailored results), presumably it is so that Google can deliver more highly targeted ads. (There has, incidentally, never been a better time to familiarize yourself with Google's Ad Preferences.)

So why are we calling this evil? Because Google changed the rules that it defined itself. Google built its reputation, and its multi-billion dollar business, on the promise of its "don't be evil" philosophy. That's been largely interpreted as meaning that Google will always put its users first, an interpretation that Google has cultivated and encouraged. Google has built a very lucrative company on the reputation of user respect. It has made billions of dollars in that effort to get us all under its feel-good tent. And now it's pulling the stakes out, collapsing it. It gives you a few weeks to pull your data out, using its data-liberation service, but if you want to use Google services, you have to agree to these rules.

Google's philosophy speaks directly to making money without doing evil. And it is very explicit in calling out advertising in the section on "evil." But while it emphasizes that ads should be relevant, obvious, and "not flashy," what seems to have been forgotten is a respect for its users privacy, and established practices.

Among its privacy principles, number four notes:

People have different privacy concerns and needs. To best serve the full range of our users, Google strives to offer them meaningful and fine-grained choices over the use of their personal information. We believe personal information should not be held hostage and we are committed to building products that let users export their personal information to other services. We don‘t sell users' personal information.

This crosses that line. It eliminates that fine-grained control, and means that things you could do in relative anonymity today, will be explicitly associated with your name, your face, your phone number come March 1st. If you use Google's services, you have to agree to this new privacy policy. Yet a real concern for various privacy concerns would recognize that I might not want Google associating two pieces of personal information.

And much worse, it is an explicit reversal of its previous policies. As Google noted in 2009:

Previously, we only offered Personalized Search for signed-in users, and only when they had Web History enabled on their Google Accounts. What we're doing today is expanding Personalized Search so that we can provide it to signed-out users as well. This addition enables us to customize search results for you based upon 180 days of search activity linked to an anonymous cookie in your browser. It's completely separate from your Google Account and Web History (which are only available to signed-in users). You'll know when we customize results because a "View customizations" link will appear on the top right of the search results page. Clicking the link will let you see how we've customized your results and also let you turn off this type of customization.

The changes come shortly after Google revamped its search results to include social results it called Search plus Your World. Although that move has drawn heavy criticism from all over the Web, at least it gives users the option to not participate.

Google Is Evil

Rory O' Connor, 06.12.12, 8:02 PM ~ All references at: Wired Source

IT’S BAD ENOUGH when you run a search company in an increasingly social world. It’s worse when anti-trust regulators say you have unfairly and illegally used your dominance in search to promote your own products over those of competitors. Now Google executives, who like to boast of their company’s informal motto, “Don’t Be Evil,” also stand accused of being just that — and rightly so. What other interpretation is possible in light of persistent allegations that the internet titan deliberately engaged in “the single greatest breach in the history of privacy” and “one of the biggest violations of data protection laws that we had ever seen?”

Google’s history of anti-social social networks and anti-trust trust relations that deceptively breach online consumer privacy and trust has already begun to threaten its longstanding web hegemony and its vaunted brand. Now the company’s repeatedly defensive and dishonest responses to charges that its specially equipped Street View cars surreptitiously collected private internet communications — including emails, photographs, passwords, chat messages, and postings on websites and social networks — could signal a tipping point.

With the phenomenally successful and profitable internet giant being newly scrutinized by consumers, competitors, regulators and elected officials alike, all concerned about basic issues of privacy, trust and anti-trust, the question must be raised: Is Google facing an existential threat? With government regulators nipping at its heels on both sides of the Atlantic, Facebook leading in the race for attention and prestige, and “social” beginning to replace “search” as a focus of online activity, the company that revolutionized our means of finding information just a decade ago now finds itself increasingly under siege and in danger of fading from prominence to become, in essence, the “next Microsoft.”

That possibility came into sharper focus recently when fed-up European regulators gave the company an ultimatum — change your lying ways about your anticompetitive practices in search, online advertising and smartphone software or face the consequences. Regulators in the United States are poised to follow suit.

Meanwhile, the secret Street View data collection has already led to inquiries in at least a dozen countries. Yet Google still refuses to ‘fess up and supply an adequate explanation of what it was up to, why the data was collected and who knew about it. To date, no domestic regulator has even seen the information that Google gathered from American citizens. Instead, Google chose first to deny everything, then blamed a programming mistake involving experimental software, claimed that no use of the illicit data in Google products was foreseen, and said that a single “rogue” programmer was responsible for the whole imbroglio. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) determined instead that the data collection was no accident, that supervisors knew all about it and that Google in fact “intended to collect, store and review” the data “for possible use in other Google products,” and fined Google for obstructing the investigation.

Google’s response to the FCC was not unusual. At every step of the way, the company has delayed, denied and obstructed investigations into its data collection. It has consistently resisted providing information to both European and American regulators and made them wait months for it — as well as for answers as to why it was collected. Company executives even had the temerity to tell regulators they could not show them the collected data, because to do so might be breaking privacy and wiretapping laws! As Bradford L. Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel, told The New York Times while citing Google’s stated mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” it seems “Google’s practice is to prevent others from doing the same thing.”

Given its record, and with so little accountability, how can any of us trust Google — or other Internet giants like Facebook, which now faces its own privacy and anti-trust concerns? Who gave these new media companies the right to invade our privacy without our permission or knowledge and then secretly store the data until they can figure out how to profit from it in the future?

No one, obviously … and as a direct result of their arrogant behavior, both Google and Facebook now face the possibility of eventual showdowns with regulators, the biggest to hit Silicon Valley since the US government went after Microsoft more than a decade ago. Their constant privacy controversies have also caused politicians to begin taking notice. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, for example, who is in charge of a subcommittee on privacy, noted in a recent speech that companies such as Google and Facebook accumulated data on users because “it’s their whole business model. And you are not their client; you are their product.”

Small wonder that Google co-founder Larry Page is feeling “paranoid”, as the Associated Press recently reported. Why? As I detail in my new book Friends, Followers and the Future: How Social Media are Changing Politics, Threatening Big Brands and Killing Traditional Media, as the new “contextual web” takes the place of the data-driven web of the early 21st century, it will mean further bad news for Google — even though the company still sold $36.5 billion in advertising last year. Couple Google’s paranoia about Facebook and the evident failure of its latest social network, Google Plus, with its problems about privacy, trust and anti-trust, and it’s no surprise that executives are feeling paranoid. After all, they are facing the very real prospect of waging a defensive war on many fronts — social, privacy, and trust — simultaneously. Despite its incredible reach, power and profit, it’s a war that Google — the 21st century equivalent of the still-powerful but increasingly irrelevant Microsoft — may well be destined to lose, along with the trust its users have long extended to one of the world’s most powerful brands.

Editor: Caitlin Roper

Google? Evil? You have no idea

Brace yourself for an exhaustive rundown of Google's master plan and the company's ultimate goal

By Robert X. Cringely, Mar 13, 2014 ~ All references at: InfoWorld Source

The Web abounds with conspiracy theories, like the guy who thinks Comcast is sabotaging its own DNS servers to limit our contact with secondhand Chinese furniture sellers. For the last decade and a half, most of our tech-oriented secret plots were aimed at ultrarich Microsoft or scheming telecom giants. Those petty thinkers have been eclipsed. When it comes to the dark shadow of the Illuminati, they've been passed over for Google.

Check your geek headlines any day of the week, and Google's name will be there ... somehow. But the headlines always seem to lack a cohesive strategy. This week, for example, we learned that Google is buying into a mobile game console controller, its fiber service is gathering steam, it's investing in an online credit service, and it's apparently building a Big Brother-style municipal surveillance silo in Oakland, Calif.

[ From Android to AI: Google's bot plot revealed | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter and follow Cringely on Twitter. ]

They can't be part of the same plan, right? I mean, it's grown so big that the left Google can't possibly know what the right Google is doing, correct? News flash: That's exactly what the company would have you believe.

I can now reveal that after at least one hour of intense investigative journalism fueled by dedication and scotch while bravely using Google's own search engine against the company, I've been able to discern a method to Google's madness, a clear line that leads directly to Google's endgame. It's the mother of all conspiracy theories: Google wants to own it all, starting with you.

Humble beginnings

It began with the simple benevolence of tracked search and a slogan sign, now pockmarked with virtual bullets that read "Don't be evil." Was it evil to turn tracked search into Google Ads and Google Analytics? That's for future, post-Googlepocalypse generations (if they exist) to decide. But it established an engine whereby Google knows what you're looking for, moves you toward more of the same, and offers merchants a crack at us -- though, merchants and customers alike, we're all pawns in Google's grid.

That's a short and natural hop to e-tailing, and Google jumped in immediately, developing shopping technology alongside its search empire. Witness Google Wallet, Google Catalogs, and most recently Credit Karma, soon to be renamed Google Credit (probably). The timeline might be off, but these plots are constantly evolving -- and why screw up a perfectly good rant with precise information anyway?

From e-tail, it's an easy leap to content: Google News, Google Finance, YouTube, and the rest -- bread and circuses, albeit bread and circuses as programmed by Google. That proceeds today with what looks like a push into console gaming. Which games do you like? Check. Where are you buying them now? Check. Can we sell them to you instead? Check. Where are you playing them and can we own that, too? Check.

Direct connection

Google knew us in the abstract, but it needed direct, firsthand, brain stem access. It set its sights on what we're working on; what we're writing to friends and family; what we're talking about; and what files and data we've squirreled away on our computers. Enter Google Apps, Gmail, Google Drive, Google Voice, and the seemingly unavoidable G+. Now Google had access to all of it, from our love notes to our vacation photos to our phone calls with Mom. It's all part of the database and about as benign as dropping a kitten in a Cuisinart.

A wrinkle arose when consumers started moving away from PCs and onto mobile devices -- a new platform with new interfaces, new content formats, and a new app model. We definitely need to own that, Google cried, and let's not stop at top-level software. Let's drill down to the silicon and develop a mobile OS and offer our own hardware: phones, netbooks, USB dongles. We'll not only influence all mobile users in some way, we'll have a huge and growing swath of them where it counts.

But Google can't glean dreams from fingertips. Let's strap an industrial device directly to their heads. Thus, Google Glass was born. It knows where you are; it knows whom you're talking to and in what language; it knows what pictures you're snapping; it knows when you've been bad or good; and it knows when you are sleeping. Santa works for Google now.

Luddites, get in line

You may ask: "But what about folks who are still off the Web or can't afford Cylon headgear?" Easy fix, we'll bring the Internet to them through Google Fiber. If that doesn't work, we'll use powerline technology to track them through their fuse boxes via our new, benevolently named Google Energy division. Burning wood in upstate Vermont? No problem, we'll co-opt the technology we developed in conjunction with the U.S. and European intelligence community (military-industrial complex to you hardcore theorists) and track your backward, hillbilly butts via Googlesats, which power Google Earth and Google Maps. Whew, all bases covered.

To govern the growing empire, Google would need a lot of secured manpower and infrastructure, preferably based in a slick-looking, isolated, and secure site that could easily secede from the Union to form its own techno-corporate state unburdened by the U.S. legal code, morality, and marriage conventions. Up went the Area 51-style Googleplex, equipped with housing, human testing labs, and hidden, Maginot-line machine gun nests.

But the nearby populace cramped Google's style, so an idea was born: Why not buy the town? Bit by bit, Google's real estate and municipal interests consumed Mountain View and spread around the bay, all the way to Oakland, now subject to real-time population and activity monitoring. Google had an eye on San Francisco too offering a fleet of Toyota Priuses to ferry Whole Foods snacks around town behind Google Shopping Express's socially acceptable veneer. Meanwhile, corporate-owned, isolationist buses whisked Googlers to work with the goal of never letting them leave the compound, lest they be poisoned with non-shuttled citizens' subversive thoughts.

There it is: a clear path to total worldwide domination radiating outward from Northern California. With this nefarious plot, Google owns you, me, and, more important, politicians from world leaders down to the local constabulary -- anyone with even a shred of power or influence.

Beyond the Googledome

If you're one of the few remaining rebel fighters sitting in an unmarked, unconnected, no-power cave wearing a tinfoil hat and writing your True Non-Googled Account of History for future generations with charcoal pencil by earwax candlelight, while occasionally talking to trees, Google will leave you alone for now. But as soon as the technology is semi-stable, a Google drone will strafe your Oregon yurt and a grinning Googlebot will drag you kicking and screaming to a black site re-indoctrination center masquerading as one of the new Google retail outlets.

Take that Satya, Tim, and all you other small-time billionaire hicks: It's a brave, new, Googleworld.

This article, "Google? Evil? You have no idea," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, follow Cringely on Twitter, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Dahbud Mensch ~ is SANITY the PLAYGROUND of the unIMAGINATIVE ?

'A national hero':
psychologist who warned of torture collusion gets her due

Jean Maria Arrigo was largely ignored and the subject of a smear campaign for sounding alarms about psychologists’ post-9/11 torture complicity but has emerged from the damning report as the story’s hero – and martyr

Electrified Human being tortured standing on a box because of a Republican Administration with Democratic support ~ NONE of the ABOVE should be a choice on VOTER BALLOTS and Nobody should be President
Republican Bush Administration with Democrat Support
Introduces A New Form of Compassionate Conservatism

Spencer Ackerman in New York, Monday 13 July 2015 16.24 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

Jean Maria Arrigo’s inbox is filling up with apologies.

For a decade, colleagues of the 71-year-old psychologist ignored, derided and in some cases attacked Arrigo for sounding alarms that the American Psychological Association was implicated in US torture. But now that a devastating report has exposed deep APA complicity with brutal CIA and US military interrogations – and a smear campaign against Arrigo herself – her colleagues are expressing contrition.

“I have been wanting to email you since reading the Hoffman report on Wednesday to let you know how ashamed I am about not believing what you and others had been saying about APA’s actions,” wrote a psychologist Arrigo wished to remain anonymous.

Arrigo estimates she has received perhaps a dozen such emails since David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, confirmed what she has crusaded against for a decade: the APA’s institutional involvement with torture led to a concerted effort to quash dissent, lie to the public, and silence people like her. In a story full of villains, Arrigo emerges from Hoffman’s report as a hero – and a martyr.

Arrigo herself is fearful that the APA will ride out the wave of bad publicity rather then remove the rot of torture from the root. More personally, she told the Guardian, it has been jarring to see what her colleagues were saying – and doing – about her behind closed doors.

“I think the effect on me, which has intensified, may be more like what happened to people in East Germany when the Stasi records were opened,” she told the Guardian.

Arrigo did not expect to spend her 60s at war with the APA over torture. The daughter of an intelligence operative, Arrigo focuses her work on the intersection of human rights and social psychology, “to give moral voice to intelligence professionals”.

But in 2005, Arrigo found herself with an unexpected appointment. She was a member of an internal panel, known as the Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (Pens), that greenlit psychologist participation in national-security interrogations. Hoffman found that the taskforce was “intentionally weighted in favor” of the US department of defense, through stacking it with representatives from the military and CIA. It rejected efforts by Arrigo and two like-minded colleagues to include references to the Geneva Convention and specific interrogation techniques that psychologists could not be involved in.

The discussions within the taskforce appear acrimonious. Hoffman writes that a member of the APA board, Gerald Koocher, “challenged each of Arrigo’s points” on a taskforce email group when Arrigo expressed discomfort with the panel’s ties to the military.

But the acrimony intensified after Arrigo took her concerns public at APA conventions. One of those meetings, in 2007 in San Francisco, attracted the attention of journalist Amy Goodman, who used it for a story on her Democracy Now broadcast. In response, Koocher told Goodman in an open letter that Arrigo was improperly influenced by the supposed “suicide” of her father – a former operative for the CIA’s second world war predecessor, who was actually alive when Koocher wrote his letter – and her “troubled upbringing”.

Hoffman called the letter from Koocher, who served as APA president in 2006, “part of a highly personal attack on Arrigo” from prominent APA figures.

“Former president Koocher spread false gossip about her family to try to undermine her credibility,” said Stephen Soldz of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and Physicians for Human Rights. “No one in leadership stood up and protested.”

Arrigo said she was untroubled by Koocher’s “idiotic” broadside, and simply forwarded around a photograph of her with her very-much-alive father. What was more troubling to her, she said, were the well-meaning members of APA who did not challenge the attacks.

“Not only did they do nothing, but they allowed themselves to be used,” she said.

Some of the APA officials named in the Hoffman report have begun a counteroffensive against it. On Sunday, the former FBI director Louis Freeh issued a statement on behalf of ousted ethics chief Stephen Behnke, a critical figure in the “collusion” Hoffman identified, threatening legal action.

Over the weekend, Koocher emailed colleagues to complain that Hoffman had misrepresented him.

“The fact that APA consistently clearly came down against torture and against degrading or inhumane interrogation, is lost as they seem to weave a picture that we all conspired to simply rubber-stamp whatever the DoD and intelligence community wanted. The irony is that I was strongly opposed to the ‘enhanced interrogation’ advocacy of Dick Cheny [sic] and others. We mostly saw it as our job to help those serving our country to behave ethically,” Koocher wrote, according to an email obtained by the Guardian.

Koocher did not respond to requests for comment.

Still, the APA, in its moment of turmoil, has struck a tone of embracing the report – and, belatedly, Arrigo.

At the APA’s upcoming convention in Toronto next month, former APA president Nadine Koslow said she would “personally apologize to [Arrigo] for the fact that other people mistreated her”, and thank Arrigo for her advocacy.

Now that she doesn’t have the specter of the APA’s obfuscation over her head, Arrigo intends to move forward with a project developing “a moral understanding [of] where the line should be drawn” between operational psychologists and military intelligence – “what the Pens taskforce should have done”, she said.

“Jean Maria Arrigo is a national hero. When many were fooled by the complicity now revealed in the Hoffman report, she penetrated the darkness and stood up and spoke the truth,” said Soldz.

War Criminals Cheney and Bush give a thumbs up to their Manipulation Accomplished
War Criminals Cheney and Bush give a thumbs up to their Manipulation Accomplished

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

Photographs of the Charlatans 50th Anniversary Celebration
Pipers Opera House & Red Dog Saloon ~ June 20th & 21st 2015
Bill Ham Light Show featured in background

The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration
The Charlatans ~ 50th Anniversary Celebration

Louie, Louie ~ Mike Wilhelm & Hired Guns ~ Blue Wing Saloon
from Ed Chatham ~

Rev Rabia ~ Peavine ~ Mike Wilhelm & Hired Guns ~ Blue Wing Saloon
from Ed Chatham ~

Sprung ~ Harley-Davidson® Springer® Enthusiast

Jibaros Forever from Victor Zahino ~

Daddy Yankee ~ Gasolina from esat eral ~

Goth Girls Also from Jennifer Miguel ~

Hacking Team hack casts spotlight
on murky world of state surveillance

The recent dump of the company’s private documents revealed the blurred moral lines of ‘digital mercenaries’ providing software that could violate human rights

Alex Hern, Saturday 11 July 2015 05.00 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

In contrast to many of the private companies performing outsourced aggressive surveillance work for the world’s spy agencies, Hacking Team doesn’t try to hide behind a generic corporate identity. Gamma International, Academi and QintetiQ could be companies doing anything, but Hacking Team – well, it doesn’t take a genius to guess what line of work they are in.

Hacking Team works in the “cybersecurity” industry. That’s “cybersecurity” in the same way that arms manufacturers describe their business as “defence”. It doesn’t provide security at all, really; none of their software will help clients avoid cyberattacks, tighten up their internal networks, or patch flaws in their software. Its main business is offensive hacking.

It sells its Remote Control System (RCS) software to law enforcement and national security agencies around the world, letting them hack into targets’ computers and mobile devices, install backdoors, and monitor them with ease.

The company’s promotional material advertises its abilities: “Hack into your targets with the most advanced infection vectors available. Enter his wireless network and tackle tactical operations with ad-hoc equipment designed to operate while on the move … Remote Control System: the hacking suite for governmental interception. Right at your fingertips.”

But apart from the clarity of its name, Hacking Team was just as opaque as the other companies in its industry. It didn’t disclose its clients, the technology behind its software, or the sort of work it was contracted to do, citing the need for privacy and security. All that changed this week when its own security was compromised, to the tune of 400GB of its data published online.

Back up for a minute to 2013. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published an extensive report into “digital mercenaries” such as Hacking Team, who provide the technical expertise which underpins Snowden-era electronic surveillance. In it, the group named five “corporate enemies of the internet”: Hacking Team, Britain’s Gamma Group, Germany’s Trovicor, France’s Amesys, and America’s Blue Coat Systems. All of them, it said, “sell products that are liable to be used by governments to violate human rights and freedom of information”.

The report warned that those companies all sold products used to commit violations of human rights and freedom of information. “If these companies decided to sell to authoritarian regimes, they must have known that their products could be used to spy on journalists, dissidents and netizens,” it warned. And if they didn’t directly sell to authoritarian regimes, they were almost as guilty, of letting dangerous tools fall into the hands of malicious actors. If that happened, “their failure to keep track of the exports of their own software means they did not care if their technology was misused and did not care about the vulnerability of those who defend human rights,” the report said.

Throughout, Hacking Team has insisted that it does not sell to repressive regimes. Following the RSF report, it said that “Hacking Team goes to great lengths to assure that our software is not sold to governments that are blacklisted by the EU, the US, Nato and similar international organisations or any ‘repressive’ regime”.

“We also go to some lengths to monitor reports of use of our software in ways that might be inappropriate or illegal. When we find reports of such issues, we conduct an investigation to determine if action is needed.”

Yet still the accusations kept coming. Most recently, in March 2015, Hacking Team was accused of providing the tools used by the Ethiopian government to spy on journalists and activists based overseas. A report from CitizenLab, based at the University of Toronto, found that several journalists based in Washington DC, working for an Ethiopian diaspora news channel called ESAT, had been infected with what appeared to be Hacking Team’s RCS spyware.

It was the second such report from CitizenLab. In February 2014, they had reported similar targeting of journalists, again with the telltale signs of the RCS spyware.

Despite Hacking Team’s assurance that “we will refuse to provide or we will stop supporting our technologies to governments or government agencies that … we believe have used HT technology to facilitate gross human rights abuses”, it appears that it continued to provide the software to Ethiopia, even after CitizenLab unveiled abuses over a year earlier. CitizenLab says that its findings “suggest that Hacking Team may have continued to provide updated versions of its spyware to the same attacker, despite reports of use of the spyware against journalists.”

Hacking Team’s response was to criticise the research: “We’re aware of their work and have seen some of their past reporting, some of which, it seems, to be based on some nicely presented suppositions,” a spokesman told Vice.

Then, on Sunday 5 July, the company’s most private secrets were blown wide open. Almost half a terabyte of private documents were posted on its twitter feed by an anonymous hacker – and they proved damning reading.

The company, which accepted that documents had been stolen in the attack, refused to comment on the validity of the dump as a whole, and a spokesman told the Guardian that “interpreting even valid documents without complete picture of why they were created or how they were used can easily lead to misunderstandings and even false conclusions”.

But the documents suggest the company is eager to encourage misunderstandings when they are in its favour. In an internal email, sent after yet another CitizenLab exposé, a company spokesman appeared to brainstorm ways to discount the story. Part of the proposed response leant on the evidence that its RCS was involved:

“The Citizen Lab report … also asserts that HT [Hacking Team] software was involved, but bases this assertion on speculation by Citizen Lab investigators, on other press accounts and the presence of three letters ‘rcs’ in the code. The initials RCS are, of course, the initials of a Hacking Team product, Remote Control System, but are also commonly used in software code for the term (WHAT?) Frankly, they could mean anything.”

Wikileaks has subsequently created a searchable archive of Hacking Team emails pulled from the data dump. These have revealed that Mexico tops the list for revenues for the company with Italy and Morocco not far behind. The US, South Korea, Switzerland, Hungary and Russia have also been clients.

The emails also show that the UK has trialled Hacking Team software, but that a £385,000 deal was halted over the legality of the use of such software, and that the company’s primary “targets”, or adversaries to its business, were groups including Human Rights Watch and Privacy International.

This hack is not the first time that one of the digital mercenaries has been dragged into the sunlight. A year ago, the same hacker made a public dump of documents belonging to Gamma International, another of the five firms highlighted by RSF in its report. But the Gamma document dumps amounted to barely 1% of what was taken from Hacking Team, and correspondingly fewer revelations were contained within.

The tortured mess of regulations around the provision and export of spyware means it’s difficult to hold these companies to account, but slowly, public opinion seems to be turning against them. In November, new EU regulations meant that software like Hacking Team’s RCS and Gamma’s FinFisher became classed as a “dual use” good, one with civilian and military applications. It puts it in the same category as nuclear reactors and rocket fuel, and means it will become significantly harder to legally export to repressive regimes.

To a certain extent, that last point may be moot, however. Because the hack revealed more than just the internal documents of Hacking Team: it also laid bare the code for their intrusion software, and even revealed a critical vulnerability in Adobe Flash that the group had been using to inject malware in targets’ computers.

Just days after the data leak, that vulnerability was adopted by virus writers who used it to deliver their own malware, taking advantage of the fact that Hacking Team had never told Adobe of the flaw it had discovered. And the company is now warning that its own software is being used: “Before the attack, Hacking Team could control who had access to the technology that was sold exclusively to governments and government agencies. Now, because of the work of criminals, that ability to control who uses the technology has been lost. Terrorists, extortionists and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so.”

The data dump is clearly not an unalloyed good. But if it’s the only way to discover what is going on inside the digital mercenaries of the world, it may be worth it anyway.

US torture doctors could face charges
after report alleges post-9/11 'collusion'

Following repeated denials that its members were complicit in Bush administration-era torture, leading group of psychologists faces a reckoning

Electrified Human being tortured standing on a box because of a Republican Administration with Democratic support ~ NONE of the ABOVE should be a choice on VOTER BALLOTS and Nobody should be President
Republican Bush Administration with Democrat Support
Introduces A New Form of Compassionate Conservatism

Spencer Ackerman, Friday 10 July 2015 15.48 EDT, [Click for links, photos, etc. at: The Guardian]

The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, as an independent review prepares to reveal that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, creates the potential for leadership firings, loss of licenses and even prosecutions.

For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics that prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of detainees while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations. The group has rejected media reporting on psychologists’ complicity in torture; suppressed internal dissent from anti-torture doctors; cleared members of wrongdoing; and portrayed itself as a consistent ally against abuse.

Now, a voluminous independent review conducted by a former assistant US attorney, David Hoffman, is said to undermine the APA’s denials in full – and vindicate the dissenters.

Sources with knowledge of the report and its consequences, who requested anonymity to discuss the findings before public release, expected a wave of firings and resignations across the leadership of an organization that Hoffman finds used its extensive institutional links to the CIA and US military to facilitate abusive interrogations.

Several officials are likely to be sacked, including Stephen Behnke, the APA’s ethics chief and a leading figure in recasting its ethics guidelines in a manner conducive to interrogations that, from the start, relied heavily on psychologists to design and implement techniques like waterboarding.

But the reckoning with psychologists’ institutional complicity in torture may not stop there.

Evidence in the Hoffman report, sources believe, may merit referral to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over potential criminal wrongdoing by the APA involvement in torture. The findings could reopen something human rights groups have urged for years: the potential for prosecutions of people involved in torture. The definition of “collusion” adopted by Hoffman is said to be similar to language used in the federal racketeering statute known as Rico.

If so, however, it would not be American military or intelligence interrogators themselves under investigation, nor the senior officials who devised torture policy in the Bush administration, but the psychologists who enabled them.

Additionally, sources believe there will be grounds to initiate ethics charges against responsible individuals both within the APA and in the states in which they operate, which would be the first step toward the loss of a professional license.

Sources familiar with Hoffman’s report said the APA, knowing that the findings will undermine years of its public positions, is negotiating with its dissenters and critics to deliver a public apology. Recommendations for structural reform are said to be likely ahead of the organization’s 123rd annual convention, scheduled to begin on 6 August in Toronto.

Manipulating the opposition: three doctors and torture tactics

A section of the report focuses on the APA ethics chief and is said to be titled “Behnke manipulates the opposition”. A University of Michigan-pedigreed psychologist, Behnke has held his position within the APA since 2000, and, according to sources, used it to stifle dissent. Hoffman’s report will find Behnke ghostwrote statements opposing member motions to rebuke torture; was involved in voter irregularity on motion passings; spiked ethics complaints; and took other actions to suppress complaints.

But Behnke was hardly the only psychologist involved in the establishment and application of torture.

According to two landmark Senate reports, one from the armed services committee in 2009 and the other from the intelligence committee in 2014, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were instrumental in persuading the CIA to adopt stress positions, temperature and dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation and waterboarding in interrogations. (Neither man is an APA member.)

Psychologists assigned to the CIA’s office of medical services assisted abusive interrogations, which the Guardian revealed in June appear to violate longstanding CIA rules against human experimentation.

Those tactics, save waterboarding, spread from the CIA to the military. Psychologists joined “behavioral science consultation teams” that advised interrogations at Guantánamo Bay.

Human rights-minded psychologists railed for years that the APA had created an environment that was conducive to medical professionals effectively participating in torture. Critically, in 2005, a prominent and highly controversial APA taskforce ruled that members could perform “consultative roles to interrogation- or information-gathering processes for national security-related purposes”.

Yet the organization withstood all public criticism, until New York Times reporter James Risen revealed, based in part on a hoard of emails from a deceased behavioral-science researcher named Scott Gerwehr, the behind-the-scenes ties between psychologists from the APA and their influential counterparts within the CIA and the Pentagon.

In 2002 – the critical year for the Bush administration’s embrace of torture – the APA amended its longstanding ethics rules to permit psychologists to follow a “governing legal authority” in the event of a conflict between an order and the APA ethics code.

Without the change, Risen wrote in his 2014 book Pay Any Price, it was likely that psychologists would have “taken the view that they were prevented by their own professional standards from involvement” in interrogations, making it “far more difficult for the Justice Department to craft opinions that provided the legal approvals needed for the CIA to go ahead with the interrogation tactics”.

In 2004, after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal burst into public view, the emails detailed a private meeting of APA officials with CIA and military psychologists to “provide input on how the APA should deal with the growing furor”, Risen wrote.

Ethics chief Behnke emailed: “I would like to emphasize that we will not advertise the meeting other than this letter to the individual invitees, that we will not publish or otherwise make public the names of attendees or the substance of our discussions, and that in the meeting we will neither assess nor investigate the behavior of any specific individual or group.”

Risen went on to report that six of the 10 psychologists on the seminal 2005 APA taskforce “had connections with the defense or intelligence communities; one member was the chief psychologist for US Special Forces”. The subject of tremendous internal controversy, the APA ultimately rescinded the taskforce report in 2013.

Collusion to promote torture: a reckoning finally arrives

In October, the APA called Risen’s account “largely based on innuendo and one-sided reporting”. Yet the next month the association announced it had asked Hoffman to investigate potential “collusion with the Bush administration to promote, support or facilitate the use of ‘enhanced’ interrogation techniques by the United States in the war on terror”.

Throughout the controversy, the APA has preferred to treat criticism of its involvement in torture, either from journalists or from human rights-minded psychologists, with dismissal. Its internal investigations of the criticisms have typically ended up exonerating its members.

“A thorough review of these public materials and our standing policies will clearly demonstrate that APA will not tolerate psychologist participation in torture,” the APA communications chief, Rhea Farberman, told the Guardian in January 2014, after the Guardian revealed that an APA inquiry declined to pursue charges against a psychologist involved in the Guantánamo Bay torture of Mohammed al-Qahtani.

The psychologist, former US army reserve major John Leso, took part in a brutal interrogation of Qahtani, the suspected intended 20th 9/11 hijacker, according to a leaked interrogation log and investigation by the Senate armed services committee.

Interrogators extensively deprived Qahtani of sleep, forced him to perform what the log called “dog tricks”, inundated him with loud music for extended periods, and forcibly hydrated him intravenously until he urinated on himself.

“The concern that APA’s decision to close the matter against Dr John Leso will set a precedent against disciplining members who participate in abusive interrogations is utterly unfounded,” the APA’s Farberman told the Guardian in January 2014.

War Criminals Cheney and Bush give a thumbs up to their Manipulation Accomplished
War Criminals Cheney and Bush give a thumbs up to their Manipulation Accomplished

Full-length documentry about Tim Leary and Ram Dass via Paul Krassner
"Dying To Know" from Ethan Boehme on Vimeo
Email ~@~ for Password

ARPSN ~ M 3.8 - NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 2015-07-10 03:29:49 UTC
ARPSN ~ M 3.8 - NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 2015-07-10 03:29:49 UTC

ARPSN FFT ~ M 3.8 - NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 2015-07-10 03:29:49 UTC
ARPSN FFT ~ M 3.8 - NORTHERN CALIFORNIA - 2015-07-10 03:29:49 UTC

Fare Thee Well Chicago Art Timelapse from Android Jones via Rainbow Puddle

Madness from Oliver Crockett ~ via Amestizo

The Flower ~ Haik Hoisington ~ via Oral Cancer Struggle

Pope Francis says,
Unbridled capitalism is the 'dung of the devil'

The pontiff condemns the impoverishment of developing countries by the world economic order and apologised for the church’s treatment of native Americans

Quoting a fourth century bishop, he called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil”, and said poor countries should not be reduced to being providers of raw material and cheap labour for developed countries. [Continue Reading at The Guardian]


Alan Grayson lets both parties have it:
"People's lives are circling the drain, and Nobody's even talking about it"
Life's getting harder. Incomes are declining.
People are mad because they think D.C. isn't listening. They're right

Rep. Alan Grayson

Jeb Bush says Americans
'need to work longer hours' to earn more for their families
Democrats pounce on remark as proof Republican presidential
candidate is 'out of touch' with ordinary Americans


Pubic hair has a job to do – stop shaving and leave it alone
Shaving pubic hair only removes a cushion against friction,
leaves microscopic open wounds and exposes you to infections

Emily Gibson

Fox News built a f**ked-up Frankenstein, dumb, angry and
divorced from facts. Now Donald Trump will devour them

Conservative media destroyed conservative politics.
The right's impossible to take seriously. Then came Trump!

Sean Illing

Exxon knew of climate change in 1981,
email says – but it funded deniers for 27 more years

A newly unearthed missive from Lenny Bernstein, a climate expert with the oil firm
for 30 years, shows concerns over high presence of carbon dioxide in enormous
gas field in south-east Asia factored into decision not to tap it

Suzanne Goldenberg

The GOP's pathetic crybaby agenda:
Trump, Scalia and the whiny, paranoid new face of the right

Republicans have no agenda. America won't fall for culture/religion wars
anymore. Petulance is all they have left

Bill Curry

Google's Ad System Has Become Too Big to Control
GOOGLE IS ONE of the most advanced search and advertising platforms on the
Internet, but a research paper suggests the company may lack the ability to keep
discriminatory and privacy policy-violating advertisements off its services.

Kevin Montgomery

Did Anonymous take down the NYSE?
Some very amusing tweets suggest it's possible…

Account close to the hacktivists posts funny clips from "The Office"
after warning the NYSE was in for a rough day

Scott Eric Kaufman

Guy Fawkes

This is a male nipple. If you are going to post pictures of topless women please use this acceptable male nipple template to cover over the unacceptable female nipples. ~ Simply Cut, Resize, and Paste ~ Thank you for helping make the world a safer place.
This is a male nipple.
If you are going to post pictures of topless women on
Instagram and Facebook please use this acceptable male nipple template
to cover over the unacceptable female nipples. ~ Simply Cut, Resize, and Paste
Thank you for helping make the world a safer place.

I did not have sexual relations with that pudding
I did not have sexual relations with that pudding !

When drugs are used to coerce sex, it's rape. Even if you're Bill Cosby

Man Man ~ "Rabbit Habits" from Lex Halaby ~

AC/DC review
rock'n'roll reduced to its purest essence

Death Valley Motorcycle Trip from Cameron Gardner ~

Wembley Stadium, London: Circumstances and age have changed the band and its lineup, but they keep on doing what countless newer acts can only copy

Michael Hann, Monday 6 July 2015 06.29 EDT, theGuardianSource

It's possible this might be the last time Britain ever gets to see AC/DC. Shorn of their de facto leader, Malcolm Young, whose dementia has caused him to retire, and with drummer Phil Rudd absent owing to his ongoing legal difficulties in New Zealand, it's a different band that takes to the stage from the one that played this same stadium almost exactly six years ago. Malcolm's nephew Stevie, a similarly gargoyleish presence, takes his place on rhythm guitar, while Chris Slade – who had a spell with the band in the 80s – replaces Rudd.

Age has withered them, a little. Singer Brian Johnson is these days content to let the giant bell that hangs above them during Hell's Bells swing without him leaping on to a rope to swing with it, and there are times when he drops an octave to accomodate notes he can no longer reach. At 60, Angus Young's removal of his school uniform reveals the body of a man far removed from his schooldays.

But the essence of AC/DC remains utterly unchanged. For all that the band, international superstars for 35 years, might live thousands of miles apart around the world, what they offer is something that countless rock'n'roll bands – from the Libertines through to today's Palma Violets – have tried to copy: a celebration of mateship. There's no homoeroticism in their version: it's gloriously uncomplicated. Johnson slings his arm around Young's shoulder; the band convene around the drum riser at the end of each song, leaving the vast stage seemingly unoccupied.

It's there in the songs, too, which aren't to be taken literally – they're the tall tales told when men gather and alcohol is consumed. You can almost imagine the lyrics to Whole Lotta Rose – about a woman who "gives it all she's got / Weighing in at 19 stone" – being recounted round a pub table, late in the night. Even the violence of early songs like TNT and Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap is cartoonish, the kind of talk offered by men who talk a good fight. It's possible the key line in the entire AC/DC catalogue comes from Have a Drink on Me: "So join me for a drink, boys." Have a drink, and we'll tell the stories we no longer tell at home, because we're older and wiser – and no one at home wants to hear them any longer.

It is, of course, magnificent. It's too loud, the sound is imperfect, and Angus Young's solo during Let There Be Rock seems to last – as it always does – several eternities. But it is also wonderful: rock'n'roll reduced to its purest essence, in doses of flavour so concentrated they seem to set the world alight. If it's farewell, it's a glorious one.

Links, photographs, graphics, etc. located at source.

AC/DC with Bon Scott live in 1978 from Banjo Music ~

Hacking Team hacked:
firm sold spying tools to repressive
regimes, documents claim

Cybersecurity firm has 400GB of what purport to be its own documents published via its Twitter feed after hack

Alex Hern, Monday 6 July 2015 07.46 EDT, theGuardian Article Source

The cybersecurity firm Hacking Team appears to have itself been the victim of a hack, with documents that purport to show it sold software to repressive regimes being posted to the company's own Twitter feed.

The Italy-based company offers security services to law enforcement and national security organisations. It offers legal offensive and defensive security services, using malware and vulnerabilities to gain access to target's networks.

According to the documents, 400GB of which have been published, Hacking Team has also been working with numerous repressive governments – something it has previously explicitly denied doing. It has not been possible to independently verify the veracity of the documents.

The perpetrators of the apparent hack have not made themselves known, instead using the company's own official Twitter feed (renamed to "Hacked Team") to communicate. They have continued to post to the feed for hours after, highlighting specific documents they claim come from the hack, such as emails, invoices, and even screenshots of Hacking Team employee's computers, until the company regained control on Monday morning and removed the posts.

One such tweet, which has since been removed, purports to show Hacking Team negotiating with a third-party reseller to export its malware to Nigeria. If the sale took place, it may have bypassed Italian export controls. Another is claimed to show the company debating what to do after an independent investigation from the University of Toronto attacked it for selling hacking tools to Ethiopia, which then used it to target journalists in the US and elsewhere. The company has never publicly confirmed nor denied working with Ethopia, and in March this year a spokesman dismissed earlier reports as "based on some nicely presented suppositions".

The company has repeatedly denied selling its technology to repressive regimes. In 2013, a Reporters Without Borders report which named Hacking Team as one of the "corporate enemies of the internet" for its position as a "digital mercenary" prompted a response from the firm. In a statement, it said that "Hacking Team goes to great lengths to assure that our software is not sold to governments that are blacklisted by the EU, the USA, Nato and similar international organisations or any 'repressive' regime."

But, if genuine, the leaked documents suggest that among Hacking Teams clients are the governments and security services of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Russia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, many of whom have been criticised by international human rights organisations for their aggressive surveillance of citizens, activists and journalists both domestically and overseas.

Most notably, the documents include an invoice for €480,000 which purports to be from the Sudanese national intelligence service, dated June 2012. Three years later, in January 2015, the company told the UN's Italian representative that it had no current business relations with the country, prompting the follow-up question "as to whether there have any previous business arrangements" with Sudan, the answer to which is not recorded.

A separate document contained in the apparent file dump appears to show Sudan, along with Russia, listed as "not officially supported", as opposed to the "active" or "expired" status held by most other nation states.

The company describes itself as in the business of "providing tools to police organisations and other government agencies that can prevent crimes or terrorism", but if the documents are genuine they suggest it may be willing to sell to non-state actors as well. One invoice apparently reveals the company dealing with a private Brazilian firm, YasNiTech, to whom it sold three months access to its remote access tool, allowing the firm to hack in to Android and Blackberry phones, and Windows devices. We do not know if this sale was part of a wider contract with the Brazilian government.

Hacking Team is one of a number of security firms which sell surveillance technology and malware to national governments, enabling them to access the computers of their targets. Gamma International, another firm in the same space which was best known for its FinFisher surveillance software, suffered a similar hack in 2014. In the 40GB of data on FinFisher leaked, the company's clients, capabilities and pricing was revealed; according to the leaked documents, Hacking Team was celebrating the demise of "a wannabe competitor of ours".

Hacking Team refused to give comment over the phone, directing the Guardian to an email address. Multiple emails to that address and others given on the firm's website were returned as undeliverable, and on a follow-up call, Hacking Team again declined to comment and directed the paper to the broken email address. When the Guardian explained that the email address was not working, Hacking Team declined to give an alternative address or any other form of contact.

Christian Pozzi, one of the firm's employees, tweeted to say that the documents contained "false lies" about the services the company offers.

"A lot of what the attackers are claiming regarding our company is not true. Please stop spreading false lies about the services we offer," Pozzi tweeted. "We are currently working closely with the police at the moment. I can't comment about the recent breach."

Pozzi's feed was later itself hacked, and later still the entire account was deleted.

Links, photographs, graphics, etc. located at source.


Excuse 17 and Lois Maffeo in Massachusetts from Jennie Fennelle

by ~@~ from a soon to be released Stories page on this site

My eldest child is quite fond of the television series Portlandia and said, "I like to watch it because it makes me laugh at myself."

I was asked to check it out, have finished watching three (3) seasons, am about to start on season four (4), and appreciate the Portlandia approach to humor.

Carrie Brownstein, Fred Armisen, and cast, under the direction of Jonathan Krisel, provide excellent entertainment.

Speaking of "cast," one never knows who is going to drop by or be in a background shot.

Out of many wonderful Portlandia guest appearances, two (2) of my very favorites, Penny Marshall & Roseanne, have had cameo roles.

Brief background before the final sentence:

One of the sounds I am partial to is Punk rock and during that period of time James Stark (Punk art, books, posters, etc.) was heavily associated with San Francisco's First Punk Rock Band, Crime ...and I was their sound person.

Because of doing sound for Crime, I managed to work with most every Punk rock band that played Mabuhay Gardens.

Joe Reese of Target Video filmed Crime's appearance at San Quentin, where I can be seen running around the stage and doing sound.

Thanks to Jennie Fennelle, within the past week Excuse 17 (a punk rock band from Olympia, Washington) and "Lois Maffeo" in Massachusetts, dated August 1994, with Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein (guitar and vocals), was released on Vimeo and presented above for your enjoyment.

Steven Leech ~ Writer, Poet, [Boptime] D.J. + The Legends of Wilmington Jazz


Dreamstreets is broadcasting this summer at 1pm (East) ~ 10am (West) every Monday, until the end of August, to help promote an exhibit: "Dream Streets: Art in Wilmington 1970 -- 1990" at the Delaware Art Museum, opening on June 27, 2015. Related sites & materials: Broken Turtle Blog and Broken Turtle Booklist

Amestizo (Crazy Horse) ~ Shaman ~ Available Curios

You vs. Corporations
from Mark Fiore ~ Click to view at:

Blame the Flag
from Mark Fiore ~ Click to view at:

Abundance Without Ecocide:
The Kogi & Hopi Come Together To Share A Message

Sunday, July 5th thru 12th, 2015 ~ 5:00pm to 9:00pm
Continue Reading at The Ojai Foundation or below

Ken Schneider ~ Filmmaker, PatchWorks Films

Latest documentary by award-winning filmmakers Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider.
Learn more online at

Paul Krassner ~ The Realist, Writer, Comic, Investigative Satirist

Outspoken Authors Series by PM Press featuring Paul Krassner
from Michelle Shocked ~ Click to view video at:

United State Cafe ~ Historic Haight/Ashbury Coffee House, San Francisco

Complete MP3 Music Sets ~ Sound & Recording by C. Spangler
More U.S. Cafe recordings and MP3 music located on the Podcast page

Tuesday Night Class ~ July 29, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic with Keith Lampe

Robin Kilgore ~ August 02, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic ~ page

Jumpin' Jupiter ~ August 09, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic ~ page

Gabriel Gladstar ~ August 12, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic ~ page

Happy Valley String Band ~ August 13, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic ~ page

Honey Creek ~ August 26, 1975 ~ MP3 graphic ~ page

Notes from ~@~

Carlin Step ~ DJ Steve Porter & Eli Wilkie ~

The Great Bell Chant (The End of Suffering) ~

Beautiful Child

One Day ~ Matisyahu ~

Unsung Hero ~ Still Anonymous ~

Rock Of Ages ~ DJ Schmolli / Video: Panos T ~

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. ~ Tom Smothers

Internet Tombstone 1991-2013 ~ Destroyed by the: Bush Administration, Obama Administration, and Evil, Greedy Corporations who had NOTHING to do with Internet Construction
Turn It Off, Tune It Out, Re-learn to Go Outside and Play

Internet (1991~2013): A virus forced into prostitution by
greedy corporations & used as a tool to Divide & Conquer.

If every politician who lied quit politics,
NOBODY would be running the country.

NONE of the ABOVE should be a choice on voter ballots!

Tommy Chong's Unaired Lincoln Ad ~ suzanne taylor ~

Abundance Without Ecocide:
The Kogi & Hopi Come Together
To Share A Message

Kojai and Hopi in Southern California ~ Two Indigenous tribes coming together to help heal our land and share their wisdom.
Kogi & Hopi
In Southern California
Two Indigenous tribes coming together
to help heal our land and share their wisdom.

July 5th thru 12th, 2015 ~ Article Source via Amestizo

Abundance Without Ecocide is a Principal-based philosophy for moving forward with our existence on Earth in a more Conscious and Compassionate way. More Love and Compassion for Each Other. More Love and Compassion for All Life. More Love and Compassion for Mother Earth herself, after all She is Alive and feels just as you and I are alive and feel. Think about this. Abundance Without Ecocide brings a modern voice to calls from the Earth and the many Indigenous Peoples who maintain a deep loving relationship with her.

Become inspired by the message of the Kogi, whom many would consider a "lost tribe" from the highest coastal mountain range in the world in Colombia, South America. They believe and very eloquently communicate their message that Mother Earth is Alive and that we are literally killing her with negligence, abuse and destructive practices, while there are very real viable options which would still allow us to Live Abundantly and still have all the things we need and want Without Destroying the Earth and jeopardizing all of life, which is our current Global path.

Who Is Involved?

Kogi Mama Luis Nuavita – Spiritual Leader Visiting from Colombia South America ~ Mama Luis (pronounced Mamo) is Son of the sun, traditional authority of Tungueka and The Sierra nevada de Santa marta, a River seeder and interbridger of sacred places, a town seeder, Time keeper, Danta Guardian,(Sacred animal form the Amazon), and guardian of the Jaguar, a recuperator of the sacred sites, a caller of the rain, a knower of sacred objects, master and founder of the towns: Naranjal, Teyumake, Baraguera and Tayku

Kogi Jorge Luis Dib – Visiting from Colombia South America ~ Director of Jumeleishi mission, Recuperator of natural spaces, socially and culturally. A seeder of rivers, along with Mama Luis and other traditional Kogis authorities, Jorge has helped recuperate the first City of original or indigenous people in La Sierra. Interconnector of apparent opposites. Messenger and keeper of Time. Visionary of Vital Santa Marta Plan (Hummingbird Spirit) for the continuation of Life on our Earth. Jorge works in agreement with Social, Public, Private and Religious organizations as well as with the Spiritual Fathers and Mothers of Nature.

Ruben Saufkie Sr. – Visiting from Hopi ~ From Ruben: I am from the Water Clan of the Hopi People of Arizona. A Messenger of H2OPI, Sharing Peace through Water. My own personal recovery has helped me to encourage as many people to find the Compassion toward Forgiveness to awaken their Hearts. This the way to living in Balance, Harmony, and Unity which leads to Peace and Being Hopi. No matter how challenging life becomes we must not lose Faith within ourselves because Creator will not give up on us. We must do our very best to live by Creators Law which is very simple, take care of the Land and it will take of you. This is what we share when we do the Eagle dance. We depend on the Eagles strength to carry our prayers from our Hearts to the Creator and the Universe for all Beings to Live in Oneness once again. May Peace Prevail within and throughout the World and Universe. Kwak-Leah, H2OPI

American Dream, George Carlin ~ from Ishtar ~

Nobody should have that much power

Nobody for President 2016 = NONE OF THE ABOVE 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 ~ The Promise by Mike Pinder

Without love in the dream, it will never come true. ~ Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter

And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make. ~ John Lennon

Why I Think This World Should End, Brandon Sloan ~

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.