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Enough Drips Become a Torrent

November 30, 2010

Still not quite sure what to make of the whole wikileaks saga. If I were to imagine a hero for the current age it would be a previously unknown character bursting onto the scene laying the truth bare for all to see while eluding the pursuing authorities every step of the way. And along comes Julian Assange. The old saw about when something seems too good to be true comes to mind. But who knows, maybe this time it is so for now let’s see what he’s got.

And it sounds like he’s got a lot. After recently giving the governments of the world some serious shiners, Assange now plans to release corporate documents which according to him may take down a bank or two when all is said and done. I’d imagine that if he takes down a couple, more will follow as their insolvency is made apparent. We’ll see. Recent interview with Assange on the next round of leaks here.

Also, Rafael Correa doesn’t seem to have any qualms whatsoever regarding Assange. Yesterday Ecuador’s government offered Assange residency any time he wants it

Ecuador on Monday offered Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has enraged Washington by releasing masses of classified U.S. documents, residency with no questions asked.

“We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told the Internet site Ecuadorinmediato.

“We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums,” he said.

Couple years ago Correa told the world that unless Ecuador’s onerous debt were restructured, Ecuador would be stiffing all of its creditors and declaring a Jubilee for itself. And it worked. The rest of the world would be smart to follow suit right about know. With Assange in Ecuador laying bare the secrets of the banks, maybe some other countries will follow Ecuador’s lead and we can finally be rid of these bankster parasites.

Fuck ’em up Raffy!

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81 Comments leave one →
  1. artemis54 permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:16 pm

    Listening to Gates on the DADT report. He must have gone to the John Kerry School of Public Speaking at Great Length About Very Little with As Many Dependent Clauses and Asides as Can Be Crammed Into the Time Available, Notwithstanding . . . . . . .

  2. artemis54 permalink
    November 30, 2010 12:48 pm

    More crazy: Elected Official Says TSA Pat Downs Promote ‘Homosexual Agenda’

    It’s the federal employee’s version of the Gay Bill of Special Rights… That means the next TSA official that gives you an ‘enhanced pat down’ could be a practicing homosexual secretly getting pleasure from your submission.

    Right. Who wouldn’t get all hot and bothered on the job, examining fat ugly strangers with questionable hygiene in view of several hundred onlookers, many of them angry with you? It’s certainly my fantasy.

    • cometman permalink*
      November 30, 2010 1:19 pm

      Another case of “The lady doth protest too much”.

      HE’S NOT QUEER!

      HE”S NOT GAY! (He’s just a little fond of chiffon in a wrist array-ay-ay-ayaaaaaay!)

      Since I’m doing reruns today, let’s see if the youtubes are working again yet –

      • cometman permalink*
        November 30, 2010 1:20 pm

        Dammit. Guess not.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 1, 2010 2:32 pm

      This one seems like a much more valid critique of the new TSA procedures – Don’t worry sweety, it’s OK if the strange man touches your vajayjay.

  3. cometman permalink*
    November 30, 2010 3:25 pm

    Comcast behaving badly.

    FCC needs to step up here. If the future is going to be digital, we must come up with some way to make the pipes or the satellites or whatever the medium used to transmit is common property available to all, like the airwaves used to be. One company shouldn’t be able to own them and charge everyone else uncompetitive rents.

  4. cometman permalink*
    December 1, 2010 11:51 am

    The Cassini Mission finds evidence of an oxygen atmosphere on Saturn’s moon Rhea. Pretty thin, but oxygen nonetheless –

    NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected a very tenuous atmosphere known as an exosphere, infused with oxygen and carbon dioxide around Saturn’s icy moon Rhea. This is the first time a spacecraft has directly captured molecules of an oxygen atmosphere – albeit a very thin one — at a world other than Earth.

    The oxygen appears to arise when Saturn’s magnetic field rotates over Rhea. Energetic particles trapped in the planet’s magnetic field pepper the moon’s water-ice surface. They cause chemical reactions that decompose the surface and release oxygen. The source of the carbon dioxide is less certain.

    Oxygen at Rhea’s surface is estimated to be about 5 trillion times less dense than what we have at Earth. But the new results show that surface decomposition could contribute abundant molecules of oxygen, leading to surface densities roughly 100 times greater than the exospheres of either Earth’s moon or Mercury. The formation of oxygen and carbon dioxide could possibly drive complex chemistry on the surfaces of many icy bodies in the universe.

    If the world can keep its shit together, won’t be long before we get off this rock, relatively speaking.

  5. artemis54 permalink
    December 1, 2010 12:00 pm

    A Rocha newsletter – Dec 2010

  6. artemis54 permalink
    December 1, 2010 12:56 pm

    I would really like to know what if anything is in Obama’s head sometimes.

    Take the matter of the wolf listing in the Rocky Mountain states. He’s dispatched Salazar to find a way to compromise with the governors of Wyoming and Idaho. Their apparent answer is to for the first time begin administratively dismantling the endangered species act. It is impossible to imagine a worse precedent than this – as usual with Obama – preemptive caving to special interests.

    Has he just run out of right wing ass to kiss in DC and has to search ever further to find fresh?

    Or does he imagine that WY and ID will suddenly switch blue in appreciation in 2012?

    Honestly, wtf is in that head?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 1, 2010 2:19 pm

      Perhaps he’s trying the Zeno’s paradox approach to conservation. You can kill half the wolves innumerable times without ever getting down to zero.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    December 1, 2010 1:07 pm

    Tea Party Nation: Only property owners should have the right to vote.

    Does anyone think there is limit with these nuts? Why not repeal child labor laws? Reimpose slavery?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 2, 2010 12:01 pm

      Wonder how that’s going to go over with all the Teabaggers living in rented trailers.

  8. cometman permalink*
    December 1, 2010 2:29 pm

    Have to say i was a little annoyed with Jon Stewart’s take that the wikileaks story wasn’t all that important and nothing but a bunch of posturing on Assange’s part.

    Couple good articles describing why the leaks are very important –

    Greenwald –The moral standards of WikiLeaks critics.

    Amy Goodman – WikiLeaks and the End of U.S. ‘Diplomacy’.

    Meanwhile Interpol is after Assange on of all things, sex charges.

    I bring this up for a couple reasons. First, it’s the first time I’ve seen Interpol mentioned in fucking years. Maybe my memory is bad and/or I’m unsure what their around to enforce, but weren’t they the ones who back in the day used to track down international terrorists? Ever since 2001 I’ve been wondering why nobody has mentioned Interpol as a method of tracking down “terrorists” and now we have to send whole armies after them.

    And second, doesn’t Interpol track down terrorists? But they are going after Assange on anything to do with terrorists, they’re after him for sex crimes, something that doesn’t generally rise to the level of an international manhunt. Sounds to me like somebody isn’t quite being upfront here.

    Perhaps Assange has some documents that recently went back and forth between Sweden, the US , and Interpol that he’d like everyone to see….

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 1, 2010 3:06 pm

      We are in Brunner’s world again.

      Will WW III be sparked by some interpol member – Sweden? Andorra? – declaring war on Ecuador over the modern day Scarlet Pimpernel?

    • sisdevore permalink
      December 1, 2010 7:21 pm

      I am amazed at people thinking Assange arrogant, and putting innocent lives in danger. Those terms find better application to the US as viewed through its foreign policy. And the US has plenty cooperation with other governments that hold global corporatism together.

      I read some comment on Huffpo (?), in a line of long comments despairing about Obama—the writer regretting HClinton wasn’t the nominee. There is nothing to indicate she would have been any different. I thought she was a lousy choice for Sec. of State, too.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 2, 2010 11:17 am

        Yeah it’s all pretty hypocritical. Nothing much more arrogant than believing you have the right to send armies half way around the world and decide who gets to live and die, but that generally gets a pass.

        And I think sHillary would have been a lousy choice for Registrar of Deeds in some podunk town with three houses. Have I mentioned lately how much I despise that woman? :)

  9. cometman permalink*
    December 1, 2010 3:31 pm

    Couple financial notes –

    Bernie’s Fed transparency legislation (albeit watered down) forces the rats to cough up where at least part of the money went. Looked briefly around the Fed’s website and surprise, surprise, it’s not like they just made a list of banks and hoe much they got. I’m sure that financial sites will have more detail tomorrow.

    And the guy who stole Goldman’s trading algorithms is going on trial and plans to argue that what he took was open source.

    …his defence attorney, Kevin Marino, in opening arguments, said that the defence intended to show that “Goldman Sachs’s so called top-secret, highly profitable system, is loaded with open source ”.

    “[Mr Aleynikov] rejected Goldman Sach’s assertion of ownership. That’s a mistake,” said Mr Marino, conceding that Mr Aleynikov probably violated his contract with Goldman. But “I will dispute to my death that violating Goldman Sachs’s confidentiality policy is a crime”.

    Could get interesting.

  10. triv33 permalink
    December 2, 2010 9:21 am

    Hey, c-man…question? You read Zero Hedge and a lot of those finance blogs…are you familiar with Jim Quinn?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 2, 2010 11:12 am

      That name doesn’t ring a bell. What’s he all about?

      • triv33 permalink
        December 2, 2010 2:48 pm

        Well, he posts at Zero Hedge and some of the financial blogs and bobswern based [url=http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/29/923877/-Jim-Quinn-%28via-Naked-Capitalism%29:-Lies-Across-America]wreck list diary[/url] on one of his fucking screeds the other day and I kinda threw a turd in his punch bowl. Fucker lives near me. I’ve been treated to his shit for years. He’s a John Birchin’ , teabag loving shit weasel, who might have a point about the Fed, but fuck him anyway. I just wondered if you had ever read anything by him. Before the world fell apart…I think he got most of his action at Lew Rockwell, but now his more tailored for “populism-style” shit is popping up all over. Gah.

        • triv33 permalink
          December 2, 2010 2:49 pm

          messed up the damn link!
          http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/11/29/923877/-Jim-Quinn-%28via-Naked-Capitalism%29:-Lies-Across-America

        • cometman permalink*
          December 2, 2010 3:19 pm

          I don’t remember reading anything by him but I might have. I’ll check out your links a bit later. I’ve seen a couple of that bobswern guy’s posts and thought they were pretty good.

          Got to be careful reading the zerohedge I’ve found. Lots of libertarian crazies around there. They rail against “Keynesianism” all the time but IMO they have a pretty distorted view of what Keynes was all about. But libertarians in general have pretty distorted views about everything – an ideology for spoiled five year olds if you ask me.

          • triv33 permalink
            December 2, 2010 4:12 pm

            Oh yeah! I love bobswern and I do see why he went for that particular post, Quinn has been refining his message so he can get more play, but as you said:
            libertarian crazy-check
            anti-Keynesian- check check
            distorted worldview-check check check
            ideology of a spoiled five year old-are you sure you aren’t exceedingly familiar with this asswipe?

            Fuckface gets his drivel published in my local paper all the time, us local yokels don’t get the benefit of the great man ever logging on and having any feedback tho, he only does that on his personal blog, where he moderates the comments. Galling as hell to see him framing any of his shit in a way it winds up on the so-called liberal GOS.

            • cometman permalink*
              December 3, 2010 11:29 am

              no more room. reply below!

  11. artemis54 permalink
    December 2, 2010 10:13 am

    Psst. Wanna see the Miss TSA Pinup Calendar?

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 2, 2010 10:42 am

      Woops Trying again

      • cometman permalink*
        December 2, 2010 11:21 am

        That calendar is a ripoff!!!!!!!! Unless women have all taken to wearing the same shoes, that’s just the same woman in different poses!! I feel so cheated….

        But as long as we’re on the subject, check out the heavenly bodies in the new 2010 Hubble Advent calendar.

        Nice orbs.

  12. artemis54 permalink
    December 2, 2010 10:29 am

    Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on DADT. Grandpa McCain bitching he hasn’t had enough time, getting awfully snippy when Mullen fails to give him the answers he wants.

    Miss Graham digging in her heels. Looks like a new dye job up top.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 2, 2010 11:27 am

      McCain is openly contemptuous of Gates, frowning throughout his testimony and screwing his face around like he’s chewing on a lemon.

  13. cometman permalink*
    December 2, 2010 2:05 pm

    Some science notes which may completely change our understanding of the world around us.

    One thing that’s always bugged me about scientists looking for life outside our planet is that they often assume that for life to arise on other planets, conditions there must be similar to those on earth, but I’ve always wondered if we might find life based on silicon or some other element. Well now NASA researchers have discovered a unique new bacteria that doesn’t resemble anything else on earth.

    NASA has discovered a new life form—called GFAJ-1—that doesn’t share the biological building blocks of anything currently living in planet Earth. It’s capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This changes everything.

    NASA is saying that this is “life as we do not know it”. The reason is that all life on Earth is made of six components: Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

    In a surprising discovery, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon and her team have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the newly discovered microorganism—called GFAJ-1 and found in Mono Lake, California—uses the poisonous arsenic for its building blocks.

    Perhaps SETI will be setting some new parameters soon.

    Next up, the concepts of dark matter and dark energy have received a fair amount of notice but they are basically just fudges astronomers use for things they can’t explain. Astronomers can measure the mass of galaxies based on the matter they see and they can also measure how fast those galaxies rotate. The concept of dark matter came about when it became clear that based on the speed of rotation, there wasn’t enough observable matter in galaxies to keep them from flying apart. They don’t fly apart so the ambiguous dark matter was postulated to account for this, the notion being that is was some form of exotic matter different from the kind we see around us. I always thought that maybe they just weren’t able to look close enough yet.

    Now researchers have discovered that the universe contains a lot more stars than previously thought, they’re just very small and dim and went unnoticed. More regular matter means less dark matter needed to explain the observations. This discovery also suggests that not conditions are not the same everywhere in the universe –

    The team discovered that there are about 20 times more red dwarfs in elliptical galaxies than in the Milky Way, said Charlie Conroy of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who was also involved in the research.

    “We usually assume other galaxies look like our own. But this suggests other conditions are possible in other galaxies,” Conroy said. “So this discovery could have a major impact on our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution.”

    Finally, scientists were able to manipulate the genes of roundworms, changing their metabolisms and causing them to live longer.

    With all these breakthroughs plus the 100 Year Starship project, maybe I’ll live long enough to take a vacation off this rock after all.

  14. cometman permalink*
    December 2, 2010 3:06 pm

    More wikileaks stuff.

    Rawstory has several articles about the “unimportant” findings from the most recent wikileaks dump – Cable reveals US behind airstrike that killed 21 children in Yemen, Obama White House pressured Spain to drop Bush torture prosecution, leaked cable shows, and US stored banned cluster bombs on UK soil, leaked cable reveals.

    Amazon.com stops hosting Wikileaks and all it took was a polite phone call from Droopy Dog’s minions. Also a good list of more “unimportant” revelations at the last link. Side note: I recently got an out of print book used book through an independent bookstore via Amazon. Looks like it’s Abe books from here on out.

    And in yet another strange twist, Scotland yard knows the whereabouts of Assange because he told them when he arrived in the UK. Supposedly his arrest is imminent if a technicality on the arrest warrant can be cleared up. Guess we’ll see soon if he’s really there or not.

  15. cometman permalink*
    December 2, 2010 3:14 pm

    Hadn’t heard Interpol mentioned in years and now twice in two days. Maybe they are still used for going after terrorists because Nigeria is siccing them on Dick Cheney. If anybody’s wondering where he is, try turning over a rock.

  16. cometman permalink*
    December 2, 2010 4:08 pm

    Financial news-

    More specifics on the fed audit and where all our money went. The Nation has a few details and washington’s blog has a lot more. Not surprising to see that this was a back door bailout of non-banking companies as well.

    While the Fed did release some data they also blatantly disregarded some of the required disclosures making what they did release difficult to assess –

    …the Fed has withheld information that was of the collateral posted by borrowers to secure $885 billion of loans. Without this information, it is impossible to ascertain the risks undertaken in various emergency facilities. Dodd Frank specifically requires this detail be released…

    If you happen to be foolish enough to think that transparency was going to become a trend (I’m sure our vast readership is not quite that gullible), think again

    Just when you thought the parasitism at the SEC could no longer surprise, we find ourselves stunned yet again: “The Securities and Exchange Commission, facing the probability that resurgent congressional Republicans will cut its budget, has put on hold part of the work it has been tasked with by the Dodd-Frank financial law. The SEC will delay setting up five new offices mandated by the law, including a new office to field tips from informants about wrongdoing that was a signature accomplishment of SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. The so-called whistleblower office won’t be staffed; its functions will temporarily be carried out instead by existing enforcement staff, the SEC said on its website. A new credit rating office, an office for municipal securities and two separate offices focused on investors and women and minorities are also on hold.”

    Meanwhile, the Fed turns around and tries to fuck over homeowners one more time

    As Americans continue to lose their homes in record numbers, the Federal Reserve is considering making it much harder for homeowners to stop foreclosures and escape predatory home loans with onerous terms.

    The Fed’s proposal to amend a 42-year-old provision of the federal Truth in Lending Act has angered labor, civil rights and consumer advocacy groups along with a slew of foreclosure defense attorneys.

    ~snip~

    Since 1968, the Truth in Lending Act has given homeowners the right to cancel, or rescind illegal loans for up to three years after the transaction was completed if the buyer wasn’t provided with proper disclosures at the time of closing.

    Attorneys at AARP have used the rescission clause for decades to protect older homeowners stuck in predatory loans with costly terms. The provision is also helping struggling homeowners to fight a wave of foreclosure cases in which faulty and sometimes-fraudulent disclosures were used.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    December 3, 2010 7:31 am

    61 First Nations declare opposition to Northern Gateway pipeline

    As usual, the first nations are quite clear:

    We will not allow the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines, or similar tar sands projects, to cross our lands, territories and watersheds, or the ocean migration routes of the Fraser River salmon.

    In the surrounding press hubbub, several chiefs reiterated that civil disobedience is very much on the table. One thanked Enbridge for finally uniting BC’s first nations.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    December 3, 2010 8:04 am

    McCain’s new tack today: he has to hear from all senior officers, all theater commanders, and he has to hear absolute unanimity from all of them, plus 10 or 15 more hearings, before he can decide.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 3, 2010 12:13 pm

      Guess the SecDef and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs wasn’t good enough. Sounds like Mr. War Hero needs to bone up on the military chain of command and who is supposed to answer to whom.

      If the officers agree I suspect he’ll just go looking for some buck private with a bad case of homophobia.

  19. artemis54 permalink
    December 3, 2010 11:56 am

    w0w!

    Hadn’t looked around dk in a while.

    When you’ve lost the pom-pom girls, . . . .

    • cometman permalink*
      December 3, 2010 12:17 pm

      Heh.

      Just looked in at the wreck list. If that keeps up, pretty soon it’ll be “U – G – L – Y, you ain’t got no alibi, you’re UGLY, that’s right you’re ugly”.

      Not sure if that one is widespread or not, but my high school cheerleaders used it extensively.

      • triv33 permalink
        December 3, 2010 1:22 pm

        Ugly? You don’t know the half of it! LOL!

  20. cometman permalink*
    December 3, 2010 12:42 pm

    So triv, I checked out the bobswern diary and some of the links you posted in the comments. This Quinn guy is definitely of the ‘broken clock right twice a day’ variety. I hadn’t caught his piece at naked capitalism when it first ran – generally I just read Yves’ posts and stuff from Marshall Auerback and Washington’s blog that I see there. Only so much time in a day.

    Quinn didn’t get a very good reception at naked capitalism and he went to town on the detractors in the comments with all kinds of dumb insults. Saw your link where he claims the good people in the middle class are caught between the Free Shit people and whatever he called the bankers. Definitely has the attitude that a lot of people are just looking for a handout. And yeah, there are people who look to take advantage of various safety net programs – I’ve been told one of my own grandfathers ripped off the Social Security system for years. But that’s the exception rather than the rule. I think most people who’d like a national health care system for example, expect to pay their taxes to pay for it. And I feel it’s a false equivalence because the money that some unscrupulous poor manage to wrangle for themselves pales in comparison to the trillions the bankers have basically blackmailed the entire country to get. I’m kinda surprised Yves’ put his post on at all since she’s has come out strong repeatedly against the bogus claims that the mortgage problem was created by people who were looking for easy money.

    I do tend to agree with Quinn’s claim that people have a responsibility to educate themselves and many chose not to. It’s one of the reasons I get pissed off by political callers and refuse to do phone banking or candidate outreach myself. I feel like people should educate themselves about how the world works, what candidates are running, what they have to offer, etc. When people call me they are generally just bugging me at home and telling me stuff I already know (or being dishonest trying to get votes). I don’t want people to take my word for anything because whatever I’d tell them I learned by doing my own research from multiple sources. Sometimes I give people suggestions of things to look into for themselves, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to go.

    That being said, Quinn seems to be of the opinion that those who don’t educate themselves deserve whatever they get and that’s where I draw the line. It’s the same old every-man-for-themselves libertarian claptrap. I don’t want to live in a society where it’s OK to rip off the ignorant. Nobody knows everything about everything and there are always ways to take advantage but I have nothing but contempt for those who do. It’s the same mentality that says you deserve to be robbed if you accidentally forget to lock your car one day.

    Anyway, good on you for pointing out the kind of guy Quinn is. I’ve said many times, it’s always good to know exactly who you’re dealing with.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 3, 2010 2:33 pm

      Oh, and another thing.

      Fuck that guy for starting his article off with an Edward Said quote.

  21. cometman permalink*
    December 3, 2010 2:34 pm

    So does this even mean anything? – Deficit panel’s plan goes down to defeat.

  22. cometman permalink*
    December 3, 2010 2:38 pm

    The Spaniards get creative.

    Spain has had to close most of its airspace after air traffic controllers began an unannounced strike.

    Spanish airport authority Aena said the action began at 1700 (1600 GMT), when controllers began abandoning their posts, claiming sick leave.

    Aena said the whole of Spanish airspace was now closed except for the southern region of Andalucia.

    Now THAT’S how you get people’s attention. I like it. No announcement that they’re going to protest in some set area for some set amount of time. No notice of a strike giving the authorities time to bring in scabs.

    Got a chuckle out of this part –

    Spanish Transport Minister Jose Blanco also condemned the strike, saying: “We will not allow this blackmail, which is using citizens as hostages.”

    Yes, because ‘blackmail’ isn’t for the little people. Who do these air traffic controllers think they are, bankers or something?

  23. artemis54 permalink
    December 5, 2010 8:05 pm

    Holy anarchy in the USA!

    The Ber-nank opined on 60 minutes that unemployment will continue at current levels for another five years.

    I hear there’s some cheap real estate in Connemara. Anybody want to move with me?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 6, 2010 9:36 am

      Joining the Ber-nank on the TV yesterday was Newt who thinks we should just let rich people pay whatever taxes they feel like while slashing unemployment benefits!

      Great idea Newt! Maybe next you can get rid of the minimum wage and just let employers pay whatever they want to pay. Think of how much extra profit they could make if we just re-instituted slavery! Just think of all the no-paying jobs that could be created!

  24. cometman permalink*
    December 6, 2010 9:37 am

    Guess I’m no longer cut out for government work.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 6, 2010 2:12 pm

      But perhaps I could become an FBI informant. Pretty good money in it judging by this article – Alarmed Mosque-Goers Turn FBI Informant over to FBI.

      These are the people keeping us safe from “terrorists” – petty criminals looking to make some quick cash from Uncle Sugar.

      The undercover FBI informant a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

      ~snip~

      Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh’s tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI – he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months – but that he provided vital information on a number of cases.

      A lot better money than passing bad checks around town…

  25. artemis54 permalink
    December 6, 2010 12:15 pm

    The Prop 8 appeal before the 9th circuit panel is being streamed on towleroad.com It is also on cspan, but towleroad has a great comment board going with a number of legal eagles.

    Just spend an hour on standing. Now on potty break. Don’t know if they will proceed to merits or what.

  26. cometman permalink*
    December 6, 2010 2:09 pm

    Lots of wikileaks news over the last few days. Rather than posting all of it separately, Greenwald has a good rundown of the latest with links – The lawless Wild West attacks WikiLeaks.

    Also, the Guardian on leaks related to climate change initiatives – WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord.

  27. cometman permalink*
    December 6, 2010 2:24 pm

    There is some controversy in this neck of the woods about new “smart meters” to monitor electricity usage. People are afraid of the potential health hazards from radiation, which I find to be nonsensical.

    My beef comes from a labor standpoint. I was already annoyed that the meter on my house is only read every two months but we have to pay every month – one month you pay for the “estimated” usage and the next month you pay based on what the meter actually said. So they’d already cut out half the labor and now these smart meters will eliminate the need for any human interaction whatsoever. It may seem like a small thing – just a few jobs lost in one industry – but the cumulative effect of all this is extremely damaging. Are we creating jobs for people any more, or just machines? A good portion of the manufacturing jobs have already disappeared overseas or to automation, and now the service industry jobs are next. Some grocery stores now have automated check outs and banks have been discouraging people to go inside and talk to a teller for years.

    Today I ran across this article about new robots created to pick fruit.

    The Institute of Agricultural Machinery at Japan’s National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, along with SI Seiko, has developed a robot that can select and harvest strawberries based on their color. Ripened berries are detected using the robot’s stereoscopic cameras, and analyzed to measure how red they appear. When the fruit is ready to come off the vine, the robot quickly locates it in 3D space and cuts it free. From observation to collection, the harvesting process takes about 9 seconds per berry. Creators estimate that it will be able to cut down harvesting time by 40%. Prototypes are currently being tested in the field with marketable versions expected in the next few years.

    As the oligarchs attempt to bring about some new world order, just what exactly is it they expect everyone to do? Take turns polishing the shoes of the rich? Or just starve?

    I’m no luddite and it might be nice to have robots do some of the drudge work, but xristalmighty, it would be nice if every once in a while somebody would think things through before throwing out new technology. because this part was just bullshit –

    Such machines allow humans to fill management roles and let robots maintain cheaper, healthier, and more valuable crops.

    Riiiiiiight. All those migrant fruit pickers won’t get fired, they’ll get a promotion!

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 6, 2010 5:12 pm

      Been going on a long time now. When my grandfather first farmed his grain land, it took a crew plus a couple people taking care of all the horses. Now it’s one guy with a little leased crew at harvest.

      The marxist dream was a little labour in the morning and philosophy in the afternoon. Not exactly. It’s the concentration of ownership that is the problem.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 7, 2010 10:43 am

        Yeah it has. One of my favorite pictures is of my great grandfather and my grandfather as a teenager bringing in the hay by hand, throwing it on an ox cart with wooden pitchforks. Must have been in the 30s – I think they got tractors soon after that.

        But something’s gotta give one of these days, especially if the capitalists want capitalism to continue. Henry Ford, as big of a dick as he was about some things, was smart enough to realize that his company would do better if the workers made enough to afford what they were making. Today that lesson seems to have been lost. More pay for less work would seem to be the answer to my rhetorical question above if the capitalists want people to keep buying crap, but instead they’re taking the opposite approach – work longer for less pay. Seems pretty self-defeating, not that I’d mind some of these assholes being defeated.

  28. artemis54 permalink
    December 6, 2010 5:14 pm

    Obama can’t even bring a butter knife to the gunfight. He brings a scholarly footnote.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 7, 2010 11:38 am

      Par for the course.

      Saw somewhere that the White House is now trying to blame the House for the cave in with some dispute about the Senate too.

      How do you score that one? I’m going to give it the relatively unknown “albatross”. Because that’s what it feels like is around the neck of the public.

  29. sisdevore permalink
    December 6, 2010 8:25 pm

    a have a few smoked whitefish on the fire:

    http://sisdevore.wordpress.com/2010/12/06/the-self-assassinating-president/

  30. artemis54 permalink
    December 6, 2010 10:10 pm

    Get the lead out Victory: WA bans lead tackle on lakes with breeding loons

    • cometman permalink*
      December 7, 2010 11:16 am

      Is it just loons that eat lead weights for some reason or do other birds too? Haven’t been fishing for a while but I’ll keep this in mind if I ever get to go again.

      • artemis54 permalink
        December 7, 2010 12:00 pm

        No it is also ducks, geese, swans, raptors, aquatic mammals, etc. And it is not just sinkers. A lot of the problem with loons is lures of a certain size and visual appeal that are weighted with lead. Extra attention to loons because they are approaching the edge already.

        Lead-free tackle sources

        • cometman permalink*
          December 7, 2010 12:07 pm

          Well hopefully nobody ate the lead I donated last time I went fishing. Tried surf fishing for striped bass a few years back without any instruction from someone who knew what they were doing. You need a pretty big weight on the lure for these fish. Cast into the surf and the line snapped, sending all the tackle flying out into the waves. Luckily no one was nearby to laugh at me too hard. Some nice chunks of mackerel went flying too so at least I donated something edible. Didn’t catch a damned thing.

  31. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2010 12:00 pm

    Guess they can stop the “international manhunt” now that the authorities got their paperwork together and Assange turned himself in.

    Visa, Master card and Paypal suspend all payments going to wikileaks.

    Hackers vow revenge.

    Assange won’t release key to “insurance” file…yet.

    Live updates from The Guardian.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 7, 2010 1:14 pm

      Too funny. Released by the State Dept. today – U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011.

      Press Statement
      Philip J. Crowley
      Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs
      Washington, DC
      December 7, 2010

      The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 – May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

      The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

  32. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2010 12:17 pm

    More from Cassini, now that youtubes are working again –

  33. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2010 1:08 pm

    One more reason not to shop at Mal Wart – Homeland Security ‘messages’ coming to Walmart, hotels, malls.

    Shoppers at Walmart will soon have something other than glossy magazines and chewing gum to look at when in the checkout line: A “video message” from the Department of Homeland Security asking them to look out for “suspicious” activity and report it immediately.

    It’s part of a new Department of Homeland Security program that could see Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s face on video screens in malls, retail outlets and hotels across the United States.

    The Walmart video, which will soon be launched at 230 locations nationwide and may eventually be expanded to nearly 600 locations in 27 states, features Napolitano thanking the retailer by name for participating in the program.

    Well, I know the US isn’t at war with Pakistan and they definitely are not using predator drones there according to US officials. But bombs keep dropping there and killing innocent people.

    Should I tell Janet?!?! Or go to Mal Wart security first and let the professionals handle it???

  34. cometman permalink*
    December 7, 2010 1:39 pm

    Ha! Richard Dawkins encourages shenanigans!

  35. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2010 11:16 am

    While I haven’t managed to read the entire internet yet today, other than some denunciations of Obama’s most recent capitulation on tax cuts, it’s wikileaks everywhere on the news sites. And I have to say the story is starting to resemble the scifi book I’m currently reading, The Star Fraction by Ken Macleod.

    That story written about 15 years ago involves many different political factions as old empires crumble and new mini-states arise, not all of them with a distinct physical location, cyberwarfare, Trojan viruses and computer programs set to activate at some undetermined later date, mysterious resistance organizations funded by from mysterious sources, etc.

    Back to “real” life, today it appears the hackers have carried out their threats mentioned yesterday as Operation: Payback wages a DDOS attack on MasterCard. And that was just for starters. More here, including attacks against PayPal, Swedish prosecutors, and Droopy Dog’s website. Taking that last one with a grain of salt since I seem to recall Droopy Joe claiming hackers screwed with his website a few years ago when it was really the fault of his hosting service. Anyhoo –

    Secure Computing Magazine called what’s happening “an all-out cyber war,” noting that massive botnets were attacking each other by mid-Wednesday morning as even the ‘Anonymous’ group had come under fire from another group of hackers that sought to defend US interests. That group, which was successful in taking WikiLeaks offline in late November, was also thought to be behind attacks on the ‘Anonymous’ website, anonops.net, which was still online at time of this writing.

    Rumors have been floating about that one of Assange’s accusers has some ties to the CIA. Laura Flanders wonders like I did when exactly Interpol became interested in low level sexual assault cases.

    Wikileaks mirror sites are appearing everywhere showing the futility of the government trying to close them down. And then there’s this, which at first glance looks like the Bolivian vice-president has set up a mirror site of his own and begun posting leaks related to his country.

    Meanwhile, the cables themselves suggest that the Lockerbie bomber was released after Libya pressured the UK government, possibly threatening some oil deals involving BP. Jack Straw denies this but it certainly seems plausible to me. Really doubt they released this guy solely out of the goodness of their hearts.

    And lastly, it it just a coincidence that when I click on links related to this story, not too many seem to be coming from mainstream US papers?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 8, 2010 11:39 am

      Meant to add above, people have been donating $$ to wikileaks but it doesn’t seem like that’s where the majority of their funding comes from. In the book I’m reading, one shady resistance group suddenly gets a large amount of funding with the implication being that the money that was funneled to the organization came from a computer program written years before that was presumably embezzling money anonymously from elsewhere. Kinda like the plot in Office Space – taking unnoticed fractions of pennies from banks and depositing them into your own account.

      Makes me wonder if that could be where Assange gets some funds from…. Thought for a while now that there must be somebody out there doing something like this.

      • artemis54 permalink
        December 8, 2010 2:13 pm

        Interesting that while entries on Nature’s blog The Great Beyond typically get no comments at all, a note there yesterday on the US govt’s various hamhanded responses to Wikileaks received 12, including calls for a Nobel for Assange and the – I think – good point that he would be safer in Sweden in that he would be further from the clutches of the US.

        • cometman permalink*
          December 8, 2010 2:18 pm

          Heh.

          If the US does get its hands on him, they may wind up with more than they bargained for. He seems to have a lot more popular support around the world than the US does and his minions have shown the ability to fight back.

  36. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2010 1:51 pm

    Despite all the promised international aid (which never showed up), things are not going well in Haiti. First cholera, now this – Haiti election riot grows, govt party office burns.

  37. artemis54 permalink
    December 8, 2010 2:07 pm

    Flightless fly – the world’s rarest – rediscovered in its little crack in the rock, breeding away in bat feces. And every bit as attractive and cuddly as it sounds.

    It isn’t quite wingless, having little nonfunctional stubs. But “flightless fly” just can’t be right, can it?

    • cometman permalink*
      December 8, 2010 2:22 pm

      Huh. Never heard of anything like that before. Like the researcher in the article, I’d be really interested to see where this bugger fits in evolution-wise.

  38. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2010 2:12 pm

    Some space/physics news –

    New theory purporting to solve both the anti-matter and dark matter questions requiring a new as-yet-undiscovered particle – X Particle Explains Dark Matter and Antimatter at the Same Time.

    The new theoretical particle “is completely different from the WIMP idea,” Tulin said. The proposed particle, named simply “X,” has a separate antiparticle called “anti-X.” Equal amounts of X and anti-X were created in the Big Bang, and then decayed to lighter particles. Each X decayed into either a neutron or two dark-matter particles, called Y and Φ. Every anti-X converted to an anti-neutron or some anti-dark matter.

    But the hypothetical X particle would rather decay into ordinary matter than dark matter, so it produced more neutrons than dark matter. Anti-X preferred decaying into anti-dark matter, and so produced more of it.

    This dilettante thinks they should wait and see if the Higgs boson turns up first.

    Next, SpaceX, a private space exploration company, launched a capsule into orbit today to become the first private entity to achieve launch, re-entry, and recovery of a space vehicle. More at the company’s website – SpaceX.

  39. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2010 2:25 pm

    Scared of cats or more likely just not hungry? UB the judge…

    Kept waiting for the alligator tear into the kid, but alas….

    Don’t spend a lot of time around enormous deadly reptiles that can run much faster than me, but I’m thinking I wouldn’t let my kind play there.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 8, 2010 2:42 pm

      I’m with you, but I’ve spent a little time in Orlando. Gators really pass on all sorts of opportunities to attack kids, but seem to go well out of their way, and up on land, to attack dogs for instance.

  40. cometman permalink*
    December 8, 2010 2:37 pm

    This can’t be good – Trojan Horse in Tax Compromise: GOP Plan to Bankrupt States, Break Unions .

    In a nutshell, the tax legislation failed to extend the Build America Bonds program which had made it easier for states to borrow money. If, or more likely when, states have a budget shortfall, it will now be a lot easier to force concessions on government employees and break their unions.

    Ratfuckers everywhere you look.

  41. artemis54 permalink
    December 8, 2010 2:40 pm

    Glen Beck analyzes the Assange affair, complete with colored chalk, etc.

    Eighteen minutes? I don’t think so. I skipped around enough to pick up that it is a false false flag operation orchestrated by the left. (Who else?)

    Or something.

    Interesting note: in introducing the principals, Beck has to tag each Swede with the “uber-leftist” descriptor. By Beck’s standards, every rock, bush, and head of cabbage in Sweden is “uber-left,” as is every paving stone in Glasgow and every cup of espresso and paperback book stall in Seattle.

  42. artemis54 permalink
    December 9, 2010 7:14 am

    John Brunner again: Normal healthy mammalian offspring of same sex biological parents.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 9, 2010 9:43 am

      Heh. How’s Beck going to diagram this vast homosexual conspiracy?

      Pretty amazing breakthrough though with all kinds of potential ramifications.

      One scifi scenario I find intriguing is from Iain Banks’ Culture series. Members of the Culture are able to change from female to male and back again at will if life gets too boring just being one sex all the time.

  43. artemis54 permalink
    December 9, 2010 2:04 pm

    Victory at Sea:

    Federal Court finds DFO in violation of law, orders it to protect BC orca habitat

    BETWEEN:
    DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION, DOGWOOD INITIATIVE, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENCE CANADA, GREENPEACE CANADA, INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR ANIMAL WELFARE, RAINCOAST CONSERVATION SOCIETY, SIERRA CLUB OF CANADA, and WESTERN CANADA WILDERNESS COMMITTEE, Applicants

    and
    THE MINISTER OF FISHERIES AND OCEANS, THE MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT, Respondents

    Judgement (page 124):

    THIS COURT hereby makes the following declarations:

    1. With respect to the Protection Statement Application:

    a. The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans erred in law in determining that the critical habitat of the Resident Killer Whales was already legally protected by existing laws of Canada;

    b. Section 58 of SARA requires that all elements of critical habitat be legally protected by the competent ministers;

    c. Outreach programs, stewardship programs, voluntary codes of conduct or practice, voluntary protocols and/or voluntary guidelines and policy do not legally protect critical habitat within the meaning of section 58 of SARA, and it was unlawful for the Minister to have cited policy documents in the Protection Statement;

    d. Ministerial discretion does not legally protect critical habitat within the meaning of section 58 of SARA, and it was unlawful for the Minister to have cited discretionary provisions of the Fisheries Act in the Protection Statement;

    e. Prospective laws and regulations that are not yet in force do not legally protect critical habitat within the meaning of section 58 of SARA, and it was unlawful for the Minister to have cited provisions in the Protection Statement that are not yet in force;

    f. Provincial laws do not legally protect critical habitat within the meaning of section 58 of SARA, and it was unlawful for the Minister to have cited provincial laws in the Protection Statement.

    2. With respect to the Protection Order Application:

    a. The Ministers acted unlawfully in limiting the application and scope of the Protection Order made under section 58(4) of SARA;

    b. The Ministers have a duty under section 58 to provide legal protection against destruction for all components of the Resident Killer Whales’ critical habitat;

    c. The Ministers acted unlawfully when they limited the application and scope of the destruction prohibition in section 58(1) of SARA to certain components of critical habitat but not others;

    d. It was an error of law for the Ministers to limit the application and scope of the Protection Order to provide legal protection for geophysical parts of critical habitat only;

    e. It was unlawful for the Ministers to exclude the ecosystem features of Resident Killer Whales’ critical habitat, including availability of prey and acoustic and environmental factors from the scope of the Protection Order.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 9, 2010 2:10 pm

      Link to judgement

      This will require the protection of wild salmon populations as a nutrient part of essential habitat for orcas under Canada’s Species At Risk Act.

      It is a whole new day.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 9, 2010 2:25 pm

        Well hallelujah! Voluntary measures don’t constitute adequate protection! Finally, some fucking common sense. Thanks for the good news.

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