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Don’t Even Think About It

December 9, 2010

Hard to keep track of all the abuses to civil liberties these days – illegal spying on US citizens, extrajudiciary murders, TSA grope-fests, etc. But there’s another government tactic becoming more prominent that hasn’t received nearly the attention it deserves. In recent weeks the FBI has been conducting sting operations to round up suspected “terrorists” and all of these operations have one thing in common. These “terrorists” didn’t do a damn thing at all until they were approached and trained by the FBI.

Couple weeks ago in Oregon the spooks arrested a teenager after convincing him to try bombing a Xmas tree lighting ceremony.

Then members of a California mosque reported a suspicious new member trying to inflame their congregation who turned out to be an FBI informant himself, causing charges to be dropped against another member the informant was trying to coerce.

Yesterday another man was arrested in Baltimore under very similar circumstances.

These cases have been getting some attention I suppose, but not the kind they should. What I’d like to know is how in the hell is this not entrapment? For it not to be entrapment, the accused must have been both willing and able to commit the crime before contacted by undercover authorities. Some of these people may have been willing to commit a crime although that’s difficult to tell, but they certainly don’t seem to have been able to do so without the FBI providing weapons, explosives, and directions on how to use them. The articles I’ve seen in the corporate press all fail to bring up this concept at all. It’s all just good detective work protecting us from dangerous criminals we’re told. But we’re not told how the FBI became aware that any of these men were interested in committing violent acts in the first place. The public has been reminded repeatedly over the last few years to report anything that looks or sounds “suspicious” to the authorities. Now the very Teutonic-sounding Department of Homeland Security is taking their “If you see something, say something” snitch campaign to Wal Mart which is only too happy to comply.

If just thinking about a crime and shooting one’s mouth off about it is all it takes, then there are few among us who would be found not guilty. As a matter of fact I’m thinking of some not-so-pleasant things I’d like to do to soulless spooks looking to ruin people’s lives so they can keep getting Uncle Sugar’s paycheck right now.

Wake the hell up people, or the next time you have a little social lubrication and shoot your mouth off in public you may find yourself visited by a nice man talking into his sleeve who just wants to “help”.

And by the way, fuuuuuuuuck you Janet, you miserable, wretched battleaxe.

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71 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    December 9, 2010 2:35 pm

    Some links –

    Pam Martens with some info on the TSA scanners that’s news to me. The technology is 20 years old and even the inventor is saying they can’t do what the government claims. But they’re making Michael Chertoff shitloads of cash, so what’s a few hundred million pissed off people?

    British students take to the streets again to protest tuition hikes.

    The Sec of the Navy wants to support the troops by sending them tons of tainted Gulf seafood.

    Haven’t mentioned Holder’s “crackdown” on financial malfeasance yet because it sounded like another stupid PR stunt to make it look like they were doing something. Turns out it is – Pulling Back the Curtain on Fraud Inquiries.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 9, 2010 4:16 pm

      Update on today’s British protests. Looks like the kids got a little rowdier as the day went on, including fucking up Chuckie’s Rolls.

      Even Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall received a taste of the protesters’ fury. Demonstrators attacked a car containing the couple, breaking a window and tossing paint on the car, before it was able to drive away, according to an Associated Press photographer.

      The royal Rolls Royce reportedly had a window smashed and its read-end covered in white paint.

  2. cometman permalink*
    December 9, 2010 2:59 pm

    A few wikileaks notes –

    Rumor had it that Assange may release some bank documents and now Gitmo may be in his sights. Reporters for Harper’s had done an excellent job a few months back shedding some light on Gitmo but the story never really went anywhere. Perhaps Assange can give it more legs. This part gave me a chuckle –

    They could further embarrass the U.S. government if they show that detainees deemed likely to return to terrorism were released and subsequently involved in anti-U.S. violence.

    Riiiiight, the damaging part would be to find out the US was a little too soft.

    Hackers have released a manifesto.

    And this could turn into a nerdbot battle of epic proportions – Facebook deletes pro-WikiLeaks hackers’ account.

  3. artemis54 permalink
    December 11, 2010 10:49 am

    As if I needed another reason to avoid Walmart. I noticed the last time I was there all these video screens at the end of the aisle pitching this and that – Babel. It’s like Blade Runner.

    The occasion of that visit was to see if they had any fall bulbs they wanted to clear out. This was before Halloween. They had already gutted the whole garden section and filled it with Christmas trash waiting to go up.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 13, 2010 6:24 am

      Still never been in one, at least not deliberately. Remember going to some big box store with an old girlfriend years ago but not sure if it was a Wal Mart. Things from that time period are a little hazy…

      Did go to the local mall this weekend though and managed not to buy one damn thing. Took the squidlette to see a big toy train display they had set up there. One of the engines was Thomas the Train and she was pretty tickled to see that one as she’s become a big fan.

  4. sisdevore permalink
    December 12, 2010 11:52 am

    My comment did not post……

    • cometman permalink*
      December 13, 2010 6:15 am

      Not sure what happened Miss D. Checked the admin section and there are no unposted comments and nothing in the spam folder.

      Wish I could give a better explanation. I’m still trying to figure out why youtubes stopped working for several days and then were fine again.

  5. cometman permalink*
    December 13, 2010 6:28 am

    Crocodile 1 Kayaker 0.

    Since the Cancun talks aren’t going to do shit about climate change, the wild kingdom is going to pick up the pace of the anthropophagy if they want to reduce the human population enough to stop the damage being done. One person every few weeks just isn’t going to cut it.

  6. cometman permalink*
    December 13, 2010 8:52 am

    Haven’t checked the news much over the last few days.

    Saw that Bernie pulled an old fashioned filibuster on Friday – here’s the complete transcript. Maybe I missed something but I don’t see that much has come of it yet. Thanks for trying though Bernie.

    Also saw that Assange and his lawyer felt he would be indicted by the US soon. Democracy Now! reports today that according to the lawyer, the “Justice” Dept is currently trying to trump up some charges

    An attorney for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he has heard that U.S. authorities have secretly empaneled a grand jury in Virginia in an attempt to indict Assange. Attorney Mark Stephens made the claim in an interview with Al Jazeera.

  7. artemis54 permalink
    December 13, 2010 2:11 pm

    Flying squid photos!

    • cometman permalink*
      December 14, 2010 7:43 am

      Huh. Never heard of those before. Neat-o!

      Judging by this article not too many other people had heard of them either until fairly recently.

  8. artemis54 permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:27 pm

    Ha!

    They really really like me!

    Somehow, I haven’t managed to run into these particular psychotic personality types since high school. Sad to think of the wives – if that is even possible – and neighbors.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 14, 2010 7:47 am

      Heh.

      Don’t know if I’ve ever run across these types before. I will admit to being curious as to what exactly motivates a person like this. Supposedly it’s all an act or something, but when you repeat the same stupid shit over and over again when it’s patently obvious nobody gives a rat’s ass, well it’s hard to claim at that point it’s just an act…

  9. triv33 permalink
    December 14, 2010 7:22 am

    Strange, the things you find posted in the dead of night over at the big orange…http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/12/14/928726/-Freddy-The-Frenchman,-Koella,-On-Guitar

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 14, 2010 8:30 am

      How odd.

      Thanks for pointing that one out. To this day I am not sure what happened in the case he describes. One day everything just exploded. There were stories and backchannel campaigns and everything just went to hell.

      Kind of like real life. Then it’s a new day.

      • triv33 permalink
        December 14, 2010 8:41 am

        I will never understand him. How did it come down to him spending so much of his time building the sort of comments that he now specializes in? From the time he built that false frame of c-man after he was banned and could not answer- to the elaborate, out of context, link filled wonders that now makes that comment look like a piker’s feeble foible…huh. He does need a break. He was a good writer.

        • artemis54 permalink
          December 14, 2010 9:29 am

          So many odd things at dk, from an anthropological pov. Looking at it from some distance now, I think a lot of the problems then – I wouldn’t know anything about now – had to do with clashes of culture in a micro sense. I’m thinking about a thread where one is amped up on coffee and full of righteous prosecutorial zeal. Another is dog tired from a day of physical labor, another is having a glass of wine on the balcony, amused by the passersby or the birds and letting his mind wander wherever it does. Something strikes him as amusing. Another has had a few too many and reached the misanthropic stage.

          They’re just not in the same room or the same weather.

          I learned early on never to attempt humor at dk. Once I did and markos – a person with no sense of humor whatsoever – came rampaging in with his tits in a knot, about the only time he ever responded to me. Clearly he didn’t get the joke, but it made me realize you’re not talking to old friends.

          I remember too the vicious attacks on a poster who was fourteen years old and for whom english was a difficult second language. It seemed to occur to no one to take that into consideration, they went after her like it was some fucking supreme court case and she had mis-cited the Dred Scott decision.

        • cometman permalink*
          December 14, 2010 9:44 am

          Yeah! Where’s my apology for calling me a serial uprater of jew hatred or whatever the fuck it was he called me?!?!?!?! Heh. Trust me, if I’d wanted to respond, I would have even though banned :) Never really crossed paths with the guy while at Klub Kumquat (which is why I was surprised at him taking a shot at me) and I can’t figure him out either. Some sort of cognitive dissonance going on although he seems to be trying to work that out. Good luck with that.

  10. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2010 10:00 am

    To continue the last thread with a little more room, I think you’re right melvin about humor and a lot of other things getting lost in translation. It’s hard enough to communicate what we really think to people we know well speaking face to face using just language. I think about that a lot the older I get, how two people can say pretty much the exact same thing but mean something completely different by it. I realize I’m often very bad at communication. Sometimes I speak tersely and expect people to fill in the blanks, ie my unspoken thoughts, and get a blank look in return. Other times I get very wordy and still get the blank looks. Or find that I’m insulting someone’s intelligence. Takes a while to realize that people just don’t look at the world in the same way and there are very few people who really “get” each other to the point where a few words or a raised eyebrow can communicate all that needs to be said. All part of the human condition that philosophers have been debating for centuries. Kind of why I’d like my neural shunt one of these days, so I can communicate directly without words ;)

    Then again, as we’ve all found out in blogland, sometimes people really are just fucking crazy assholes.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 14, 2010 11:46 am

      Ha! I didn’t quite take triv’s meaning until I went and looked at few of those recent comments. They really are like the Top Chef version or as we say around here of the overly decorated, a mexican wedding cake. No offense to Hispanic matrimony.

  11. artemis54 permalink
    December 14, 2010 11:25 am

    ESA listing for wolverine “warranted but precluded.”

    After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that the North American wolverine occurring in the contiguous United States is a distinct population segment (DPS) and that addition of this DPS to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is warranted. Currently, however, listing the contiguous U.S. DPS of the North American wolverine is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

    This is their favorite song; a slightly different version is currently quite a hit in the Senate as well.

    Believe it or not, it is at least a step in the right direction, away from the Bush admin’s flat refusal on the grounds that they’d heard there were some up in Canada or somewhere. That whole line of baloney, also used on the marbled murrelet and the jaguar, was in defiance of long established rules governing these decisions, as promulgated for instance in the Federal Register, Vol. 61, No. 26, Wednesday, February 7, 1996:

    The last paragraph is the money shot:

    Three elements are considered in a decision regarding the status of a
    possible DPS as endangered or threatened under the Act. These are
    applied similarly for addition to the lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants, reclassification, and removal from the lists:

    1. Discreteness of the population segment in relation to the remainder of the species to which it belongs;

    2. The significance of the population segment to the species to which it belongs; and

    3. The population segment’s conservation status in relation to the
    Act’s standards for listing (i.e., is the population segment, when treated as if it were a species, endangered or threatened?).

    Discreteness: A population segment of a vertebrate species may be considered discrete if it satisfies either one of the following conditions:

    1. It is markedly separated from other populations of the same taxon as a consequence of physical, physiological, ecological, or behavioral factors. Quantitative measures of genetic or morphological discontinuity may provide evidence of this separation.

    2. It is delimited by international governmental boundaries within which differences in control of exploitation, management of habitat, conservation status, or regulatory mechanisms exist that are significant in light of section 4(a)(1)(D) of the Act.

    Besides, just as a logical consideration, the 300 – or maybe it is 200, they don’t know – individual wolverines in the lower 48 are greatly scattered in numerous island ranges.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 14, 2010 1:08 pm

      Suppose it is a step in the right direction. Wonder how many steps backward they’ll take before the next one forward though.

  12. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2010 1:39 pm

    Can’t say I’m particularly sad to see Richard Holbrooke shove off. I’m sure there are lots of other hagiographies of his career making the rounds but I don’t see where he was really all that much of a peacemaker with his diplomacy. More like the good cop at State who’d sic the bad Pentagon cop on you if you didn’t toe the line.

    He even had some dramatic deathbed words –

    As Mr. Holbrooke was sedated for surgery, family members said, his final words were to his Pakistani surgeon: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”

    Probably shouldn’t try to read to much into that, but as others likely will to bolster his image I’m going to as well. Interesting that he should address this to the Pakistani doctor as if the war were somehow not caused by the US invading without having a fucking clue what they were doing in a slaughter that’s gone on nearly a decade now. Perhaps his final words should have been addressed to a US citizen.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 14, 2010 2:24 pm

      Ray McGovern has a less than glowing obit on Holbrooke

      There will be many more dead and wounded in Afghanistan and Pakistan by the time you read this. Sadly, Holbrooke is one of the Establishment “giants” responsible.

  13. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2010 2:19 pm

    This will get your blood boiling – Sea lice ‘not to blame for Pacific salmon decline’.

    Here’s why they claim there is no real correlation –

    “Farm salmon enter the marine environment free of sea lice, but sea lice in the environment start to infest the fish within a few months of stocking,” they observed.

    The data also showed that Lepeophtheitus salmonis numbers were relatively low in late summer before steadily increasing during the autumn, when adult salmon (infested with lice) returned to the area to spawn, and winter (when increased salinity favoured louse reproduction).

    Sounds like they are trying to claim that it’s the wild salmon bringing back the lice to the poor farmed fish, which probably is the case.

    But that doesn’t mean there is no connection ferchrissakes. If there weren’t huge numbers of farmed salmon in a pen, the lice from returning wild salmon would die off as the wild salmon spawn and die themselves. But now they have a huge population of farmed salmon to latch onto and increase their numbers, then wait around for the juvenile wild salmon to swim by on their way back out to sea. No farmed fish in a pen, way fewer sea lice around to attach themselves to wild fish. Maybe I’m wrong, but that just seems like common sense.

    No word in the main article on who exactly funded the study. Here’s a link to the study itself. One of the researchers is from the Univ of Cali system (Barry’s biggest campaign donor in case anyone forgot).

    Care to do some digging to find out where the funding for this study came from?

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 14, 2010 11:56 pm

      Hmmmm. I accept the mission and am officially on the case.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 15, 2010 9:17 am

        I’ll take a look myself if I get a little time later.

  14. cometman permalink*
    December 14, 2010 2:28 pm

    More wikileaks news –

    Michael Moore donates 20 large towrds bail for Assange.

    Assange set to appear in court tomorrow to win his release from prison.

    Iceland considers taking away VISA and Mastercard’s operating licenses.

  15. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 1:16 pm

    Senate passes the Barry/Bush tax cut extension.

    Barry meets with business leaders to see how he might be able to give them even more money.

  16. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 1:21 pm

    More wikileaks news –

    Assange granted bail but remains in jail pending appeal.

    Greenwald with an excellent article on the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention.

    Air Force blocks media websites who posted leaks.

  17. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 1:36 pm

    Several unrelated links –

    This ought to put the pom pom girls in a tizzy. Spencer Bachus will be the new chair of the House Financial Services Committee and he immediately takes the role of industry lapdog –

    “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks,” he said.

    He later clarified his comment to say that regulators should set the parameters in which banks operate but not micromanage them.

    Personally I fail to see how that’s any different from what went on with Barney Frank in charge.

    Facing bribery charges for Dick Cheney, Halliburton offers Nigeria a quarter billion $$ bribe to drop the charges. Or maybe it’s extortion on the part of Nigeria. Hard to tell with all the corrupt douchebags involved. Whatever happens, I’m betting it won’t help the Nigerian people.

    Missed this one the other day. One of Bernie Madoff’s kids hung himself. Even in the face of a criminal investigation, hard to believe he would have done so if he really didn’t know what his daddy had been up to, but who knows.

    Missed this one about the ongoing Georgia prisoner strike but since Democracy Now! covered it yesterday it appears to be getting more play. More from Black Agenda Report.

    As the oligarchs blather on about climate change without doing anything substantive about it, the rest of us might as well get used to eating GM peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches.

    And some encouraging news – a species of japanese salmon thought to be extinct is rediscovered.

    The black kokanee, or “kunimasu” in Japanese, was thought to have died out in 1940, when a hydroelectric project made its native lake in northern Akita Prefecture more acidic.

    Before then, 100,000 eggs were reportedly transported to Lake Saiko but the species was still thought to have died off.

    But Tetsuji Nakabo, a professor at Kyoto University, said his team of researchers found the species in Lake Saiko, about 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of the native lake.

  18. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 1:43 pm

    Bwaaaaahahahaha!

    Look who Benny and the Hets brought in for some recent entertainment!

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 15, 2010 3:21 pm

      Oh lordie. Kathy Griffin needs to do a pope show.

  19. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 2:12 pm

    Neat-o! Phil Plait’s Top 14 astronomy photos of 2010.

  20. cometman permalink*
    December 15, 2010 2:34 pm

    Fuck ’em up Θεόδωρος!!

    • cometman permalink*
      December 16, 2010 9:51 am

      And when in Rome

      Against an alarming background of violence inside and outside parliament, Silvio Berlusconi today scraped through confidence votes in both houses of the Italian parliament.

      The survival of his rightwing government was greeted by widespread disturbances in Rome where hooded and helmeted protesters set up flaming barricades, attacked police with sticks and bars, smashed the windows of shops and banks, and set alight cars, police vans and local authority vehicles. Police responded with baton charges, teargas and, in some cases reported by witnesses, indiscriminate beatings.

      Ninety people, including 50 police, were reported injured. According to police, there were 41 arrests.

  21. artemis54 permalink
    December 15, 2010 3:23 pm

    One of those days. Fucked up so far today: car, computer, toilet. Just got the news that one is fixed, ennabling me to start on the others. Although I am a little afraid to move at this point.

    No matter what I do, December always turns into a nightmare.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 15, 2010 3:26 pm

      Meant to add, searching for comic relief while waiting for a phone call. Found this: it looks like Laura might be getting tired of cleaning the cages: Don’t you people have anything else to do? Your poor wives, or in socrates’ case, nurse.

      • cometman permalink*
        December 16, 2010 8:49 am

        Heh.

        She comes up with some pretty good zingers!

    • cometman permalink*
      December 16, 2010 8:48 am

      Knock on wood, but so far so good for Dec for me. Got most of the festivus shopping done relatively painlessly. Biggest problem lately is the squidlette crapping her pants when we’re trying to get out the door in the mornings. Hasn’t quite mastered potty training yet :)

      • artemis54 permalink
        December 16, 2010 2:06 pm

        That takes me back. I will never forget one particular bath, six months or so after the potty training was behind us. He lost it in the warm water and shit his bath. You never heard such a blood curdling scream – I thought he had somehow chopped an arm off in there.

        • cometman permalink*
          December 16, 2010 2:24 pm

          She hasn’t pulled that one yet. She did do some “finger painting” the other day after an accident when my wife set her on the potty and left the room to look for some fresh clothes for her.

          I do remember jumping out of the tub in a hurry myself as a toddler when taking a bath with the little sister and she sent a couple floaters my way.

          Good times, good times :P

  22. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2010 1:49 pm

    Signs of the times –

    This one about a Florida amusement park real estate debacle sounds a lot like what I’ve witnessed locally on a smaller scale. Worth reading just for the sense of how these bad actors operate everywhereSkullduggery in Ghost Town.

    And Reuters has a lengthy article describing the US ongoing race to the bottom – Is America the sick man of the globe? Interesting that the article notes one area that is doing well these days is N. Dakota. What they don’t note is that N. Dakota has its own state bank.

  23. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2010 2:03 pm

    Some links –

    Assange granted bail and will be released for the time being. Interesting that despite earlier claims it wasn’t Sweden appealing his bail, but the UK. Probably at the behest of Uncle Sugar. Good poodle!

    Bill McKibben on the utter venality of the latest round of useless climate talks – Everything Is Negotiable, Except with Nature.

    Couple of things the courts actually do right for a change.

    Federal appeals court tells Barry to get a fucking warrant if he wants cell phone info. Article mentions that another appeals court upheld that a warrant was needed to get email data from ISPs earlier in the week. No word on what will happen when the spooks simply ignore the law as they are wont to do. Probably give them a fucking medal if the recent past is any guide.

    And the Justice Dept. sues BP and others for damages in the Gulf disaster. No word on what happens when they are found guilty and never bother to pony up like happened with Exxon Valdez.

  24. artemis54 permalink
    December 16, 2010 2:10 pm

    Purchasing the PNAS sea lice article for perusal this evening. It is quite remarkable though how many headlines are screaming that this one paper turns over Krkošek, Morton, and dozens of others – literally hundreds of papers – whose names have never been headlined. Very very curious. The principal author also works for the BC govt, and the data is suspect due to provenance.

    But more later.

  25. cometman permalink*
    December 16, 2010 2:14 pm

    Dean baker on the continuing Congressional/corporate revolving door and why we should never believe a fucking word these asshats say – Peter Orzag Goes to Citigroup.

    Most of it is about potential changes to the tax code and how Orzag’s pants were aflame when he still worked for Barry. Been thinking about this part a lot lately and I tend to agree with Baker –

    The mortgage interest deduction in its current form is an utter absurdity. Most low- and middle-income people get little or nothing from this deduction. By contrast, millionaires often pocket tens of thousands a year in tax savings.

    It really doesn’t make much sense when you think about it and even though it would mean less money in my pocket I’d be more than willing to give it up if it meant we’d spend less on bombs or enact a single payer health care system to name just a couple examples. Doesn’t seem fair that some get a big tax break for ownership while those who rent and pay the same if not more for housing costs get nothing. My family gets back maybe a grand per year in the early years of the mortgage. Since we’re paying a significant amount in extra principle, the tax deductions will get less and less over time anyway. I’d gladly give up the grand if it meant we wouldn’t have to pay several grand for health insurance every damn year.

    And after that, get rid of the tax exemption for any more than 3 children. No more big breaks for people bent on overpopulating the world.

  26. artemis54 permalink
    December 17, 2010 5:37 am

    Aaaaaagh! The December curse continues. A big chunk of the cat’s hair fell out, revealing an unpleasant skin rash below.

    $$$$$ More steroids? Or the approved alternative of putting the goddamned cat on Zoloft? Just something too pathetic about putting my cat on antidepressants.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 17, 2010 8:33 am

      Damn your monkey’s paw or whatever bad luck talisman you are wielding!

      Evidently I didn’t knock loud enough yesterday. Got home last night and the damn satellite receiver was busted for no apparent reason so no TV for the rest of the week at least.

      Does shaving do anything for cat rashes? If not, at least it’s funny ;) Acquaintance of mine had a cat that was 20+ pounds and so huge it couldn’t turn around to clean it’s lower half so he had to give it a shearing when it got too dirty. Most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen, but healthier.

  27. cometman permalink*
    December 17, 2010 1:32 pm

    Pathetic. Barry resorts to whining about a failed presidency to get the Obama/Bush tax cuts extended.

    Here’s another take from the Boston Globe . This part is extremely fucking annoying –

    The House passed an $858 billion package of extended tax cuts and stimulus spending late last night, saving at least hundreds of dollars for nearly all Americans and heralding the first broad bipartisan compromise of the Obama presidency.

    Caving in to Republicans demands to continue policies that have been shown not to work while fucking over the vast majority of people is now the “first broad bipartisan compromise”. But if you read their own fucking article it’s clear that politicians on both sides didn’t like this crap.

    The Nation has a much better read of what happened IMO – Obama Gets His Tax Deal, Reanimating Reaganomics .

    And is there anyone still naive enough to think that now that Barry has done exactly as the Republicans ordered, they’re suddenly going to start cooperating after stating flat out that their goal was to derail everything the Dems bring up?

    Unfortunately I’m sure the answer is yes.

  28. cometman permalink*
    December 17, 2010 1:39 pm

    People still have not gotten clued in that peacefully protesting in next to useless these days. With all that’s going on across the pond you’d think somebody would get the hint, but instead it’s the same old same old that gets you arrested and cleared off the street tout de suite.

    People in LA protesting unfair foreclosures arrested.

    People in DC protesting the ongoing illegal wars arrested on Barry’s front lawn.

    Protest the unconscionable denial of medical coverage for 9/11 first responders and the retarded slattern from Maine will sic the cops on you.

  29. cometman permalink*
    December 17, 2010 2:19 pm

    Couple articles of interest.

    George Monbiot discovers “astroturfers”. Don’t know how pervasive this is but it appears to be getting more so. Check the comments from time to time at mainstream newspapers and the wingers come out of the woodwork. Seems like there are more nutters posting at liberal sites like The Nation sometimes than anybody else. This part was interesting –

    The Bivings site also quoted a senior executive from the biotech corporation Monsanto, thanking the PR firm for its “outstanding work”. When a Bivings executive was challenged by Newsnight, he admitted that the “Mary Murphy” email was sent by someone “working for Bivings” or “clients using our services”. Rowell and Matthews then discovered that the IP address on Andura Smetacek’s messages was assigned to Monsanto’s headquarters in St Louis, Missouri. There’s a nice twist to this story. AstroTurf TM – real fake grass – was developed and patented by Monsanto.

    Haven’t read this one in full yet but it purports to show that our combined cultural memory is getting shorter and shorter. For later digestion – The cultural genome: Google Books reveals traces of fame, censorship and changing languages. A snippet with the gist –

    When the team looked at the frequency of individual years, they found a consistent pattern. In their own words: “’1951’ was rarely discussed until the years immediately preceding 1951. Its frequency soared in 1951, remained high for three years, and then underwent a rapid decay, dropping by half over the next fifteen years.” But the shape of these graphs is changing. The peak gets higher with every year and we are forgetting our past with greater speed. The half-life of ‘1880’ was 32 years, but that of ‘1973’ was a mere 10 years.

  30. artemis54 permalink
    December 18, 2010 8:10 am

    How can this be? Eloquence in the WaPo? Oh, it’s a letter:

    By Nathan Cox
    Thursday, December 16, 2010; 8:00 PM

    I am an active-duty U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer. I have deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan and have commanded infantry Marines in combat.

    On Tuesday, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, said he believes repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” and allowing gay and lesbian Marines to serve openly could “cost Marines’ lives” because of the “mistakes and inattention or distractions” that might ensue. I am not homosexual. And in this instance, I must respectfully disagree with my commandant.

    The commandant cites the importance of cohesion within small combat units and warns against its disruption by allowing homosexuals to stop concealing their identities. In my experience, the things that separate Marines in civilian life fade into obscurity on the battlefield. There, only one thing matters: Can you do your job? People care much more about whom you voted for or what city you’re from while on the huge airbase with five Burger Kings, or back in the States, than they do when they’re walking down a dusty road full of improvised explosive devices in Haditha or Sangin.

    In the end, Marines in combat will treat sexual orientation the same way they treat race, religion and one’s stance on the likelihood of the Patriots winning another Super Bowl. I do not believe the intense desire we all feel as Marines to accomplish the mission and protect each other will be affected in the slightest by knowing the sexual orientation of the man or woman next to us.

    In the recent Defense Department survey, 58 percent of combat arms Marines said they felt allowing homosexuals to serve openly would negatively affect their unit, but 84 percent of combat arms Marines who had served with a homosexual said that there would be no effect or that the effect would be positive. It seems obvious that if allowing homosexuals to serve openly degraded performance, rather than improved it, a majority of Marines who had served with homosexuals would oppose repeal. Yet this is not the case, and homosexuals serve openly in the militaries of Britain, Canada, Australia, Israel and others with no ill effect. This suggests that much of the opposition toward repeal within the Marine Corps is based on the politics of individual Marines and not any measurable military effect.

    Repeal would undoubtedly produce some disruption, but if other nations’ experiences are any guide, it will be so minimal as to be essentially nonexistent. Consider what is likely to happen if and when “don’t ask” is repealed: Lance Cpl. Smith will be having a typical Marine conversation with Lance Cpl. Jones, and the topic will turn to women. Smith will remark on how much he enjoys their company. Jones will reply: “Actually, man, I like dudes.”

    Smith: “Really?”

    Jones: “Yeah, man, really.”

    Smith: “Wow. I didn’t know that.”

    Both will then go back to cleaning their rifles.

    Is it really likely that lance corporals who know each other better than brothers, and may have saved each other’s lives in split-second reactions during deployments, are suddenly going to refuse to serve in the same unit or quit the Corps because they have to share a shower?

    Repeal will of course have many effects. Gay and lesbian Marines who are now barred from discussing their identities honestly with their superiors, peers and subordinates would be able to do their jobs free from the nagging knowledge that they are being less than honest with their brothers and sisters in arms. It is difficult to see how this could do anything but improve their job performance. Gay and lesbian Marines have long fought and died for a country that refuses to acknowledge their existence. Some are certainly among the Marines who have passed through Bethesda Naval Hospital and rest in Arlington.

    I believe the reluctance many Marines feel about repeal is based on the false stereotype, borne out of ignorance, that homosexuals don’t do things like pull other Marines from burning vehicles. The truth is, they do it all the time. We simply don’t know it because they can’t tell us.

    It is time for “don’t ask, don’t tell” to join our other mistakes in the dog-eared chapters of history textbooks. We all bleed red, we all love our country, we are all Marines. In the end, that’s all that matters.

    The writer is an infantry captain in the Marine Corps.

    At this moment Foghorn Leghorn, Miss Graham and the usual suspects are throwing their last glorious hissy fits on this subject on the senate floor.

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 18, 2010 8:40 am

      McCain: bitch, bitch, bitch, I really should be the president, bitch, bitch, bitch.

      He actually said that congress shouldn’t do anything in a lame duck session. Hello? That is not what the law or the constitution says.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 19, 2010 11:17 am

      Well it finally passed at least. No thanks to anyone in Congress IMO. When the SecDef and head of the Joint Chiefs are telling them it’s time, I think the political reality becomes clear. The idiot politicians who like wrapping themselves in the flag don’t want to be seen opposing the military leaders. No love for the military leaders as I do think they need to be opposed more by civilian leadership, but in this case at least it got the job done.

  31. artemis54 permalink
    December 19, 2010 3:08 am

    Okay, I’m taking a long break from the whole thing before I fall through the event horizon. Your moment of WTF:

    It’s like you are a conspiracy of one.

    I don’t know if you can see my deleted cri de coeur at witr or not.

    • cometman permalink*
      December 19, 2010 11:13 am

      Don’t let them get to you too much. Got in late last night after a long bout of drinking and poker and I did see your post before you took it down. Since I was pretty loaded I decided to keep my mouth shut. Really didn’t want to be an editor there, but seeing as they nutters have returned for more my trigger finger is getting pretty itchy and I’m pretty sick of this stupidity. I really don’t think outright banning is the answer since that’s what they live for. What they really can’t seem to stand is their pearls of wisdom not being seen. Good on you for whacking a couple comments. Didn’t see them but I’m sure it was deserved. I may do some editing myself if this nonsense keeps up.

  32. cometman permalink*
    December 20, 2010 1:37 pm

    Thanks again for the Jim Quinn alert triv. Just saw his name atop a fairly lengthy article whose title sounded interesting and saved myself the trouble of reading it.

  33. cometman permalink*
    December 20, 2010 2:11 pm

    Wkileaks stuff-

    Larry Flynt kicks down $50 large to a kindred spirit.

    And evidently Karl Rove is the BFF of the Swedish prime Minister and is quite likely playing a role in trying to get Assange prosecuted. Unnamed sources, so take with salt.

  34. artemis54 permalink
    December 20, 2010 3:35 pm

    It’s all so clear now: melvin is Hitler!

    • cometman permalink*
      December 20, 2010 3:49 pm

      Wow. Just when you think they can’t outdo themselves in the stupid dept…..

  35. cometman permalink*
    December 20, 2010 3:55 pm

    Couple links-

    US pleads with China not to use rare earth metals as a trade weapon. Silly Chinese, that’s what CDOs and credit default swaps are for!!

    And regarding an earlier comment about what happens when the Powers That Be simply ignore orders to get warrants before spying on people, here’s one making the rounds today about domestic spying –Monitoring America.

    Haven’t read it all yet but I suspect it will be like Priest and Arkin’s other articles along the same vein, ie nothing tremendously new to those who’ve been paying attention, but since it’s getting a wide amount of play today it may wake up some of those who weren’t.

  36. sisdevore permalink
    December 21, 2010 9:16 am

    Early this morning there was a link on Raw Story that said British Petroleum had Greg Palast arrested in Azerbaijan. I just glanced through the article, cuz I had to walk the dog. But then when I got back the article had been replaced by this entry on Palast’s site:

    #
    Palast Arrested

    by Greg Palast
    “For the safety of the people with whom we operate, we are taking this post ‘private.’ And by the way, Palast and those with him are safe and away. Happy holidays – The Palast Investigative Team.”
    ***

    • artemis54 permalink
      December 21, 2010 9:37 am

      A bit more here.

      • artemis54 permalink
        December 21, 2010 9:38 am

        http://mwcnews.net/focus/politics/7436-busted-by-bp-in-azerbaijan.html

        • cometman permalink*
          December 21, 2010 12:59 pm

          Very interesting. Saw the mention of Azerbaijan early in the article and was wondering if it had anything to do with the recent articles on a big BP spill there. Guess it does.

          Before reading the article, I thought maybe it had something to do with a general rounding up non-US based journalists who don’t toe the empire’s line. Brad Friedman came to mind as he often publishes in the Guardian. Wonder if there are any plans to send him a message too…

  37. artemis54 permalink
    December 21, 2010 11:37 am

    Victory at Sea!

    Color me gobsmacked: the House just passed a version of the Shark Conservation Act identical to the one passed yesterday in the Senate.

    Caveat

    • cometman permalink*
      December 21, 2010 1:05 pm

      That’s a fairly big loophole. Any idea how widespread this practice actually is in US waters? Shark fins aren’t really eaten here all that much from what I know.

      Guess if the idea is to pressure other countries who do eat shark fins in large quantities to ban the practice as well then it’s a step forward. Just not sure how much effect this will have in and of itself.

  38. cometman permalink*
    December 21, 2010 1:28 pm

    Very disappointing Copps-out on new FCC regulation that supposedly protects net neutrality.

    By a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed so-called “Net Neutrality” rules aimed at prohibiting internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating between Internet traffic.

    Supporters of “Net Neutrality” have been disappointed by the proposed rules, saying they heavily favor the industry they are supposed to regulate.

    Democratic Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps both voted with Chairman Julius Genachowski in favor of the new rules, despite saying they believed the Open Internet Order to be too weak.

    Copps was a champion of real net neutrality during the Bush years. Gotta wonder why he gave a yes vote despite claiming not to agree with the measures. Maybe he felt Barry wouldn’t like the opposition and caved under some arm twisting?

    Statements from media advocacy group Free press and the ACLU here.

    Al Franken’s take here.

    The gist of it seems to be that wired net traffic will be free but the new rules for wireless traffic favor the telecom industries and will allow them the restrict traffic. And as the datasphere develops further, I suspect in another ten years or so very few people will be using wired connections just like very few today use dial-up connections.

    Perhaps the FCC will decide to regulate typewriters or telegraphs next.

  39. cometman permalink*
    December 21, 2010 1:33 pm

    More wikileaks news . It just keeps getting weirder.

    In this BBC interview, Assange claims that people associated with wikileaks have already been assassinated, although he gives no evidence and the interviewer does not follow up on the statement.

    And a couple from the leaks themselves-

    This ought to go over really well in Palestine, just in time for Jeebus’ birthday- Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas: WikiLeaks.

    And more signs that The Windup Girl world is already here – US threatened ‘retaliation’ to bully EU into accepting biotech crops, cable shows.

  40. artemis54 permalink
    December 21, 2010 1:37 pm

    UH OH

    Sens Crapo, Risch, etc are yapping about gutting the ESA via congressional action. Cardin won’t have it.

    I am very nervous about the new loony tunes House getting hold of this.

  41. cometman permalink*
    December 21, 2010 1:57 pm

    Some unrelated links –

    Pam Martens reviews some of the recent Fed audit disclosures – The Tax-Payers’ Tab: a Cool $9 Trillion and Then Some. In short, a lot of bankers were doing a lot of lying. Surprise surprise.

    In the ‘don’t out too much faith in human beings’ department, it looks like the left in Bolivia is having similar problems to the left in the US as Evo Morales looks to build a huge new highway through indigenous lands. Very disappointing.

    Adolfo Moye, an indigenous leader from the affected area, explains the importance of the park: “This place is our Eden, because here we have everything and precisely through the heart of our sacred land the government now wants to construct a highway. It’s the zone of refuge from the constant flooding of the [river] Beni. It’s the high ground where all of us, animals and people, find refuge.”

    If the highway is built, it won’t only destroy the land immediately in its path. It will also divide animal habitats in half and cut across the migration routes of many species that move from the lowlands to the highlands during the rainy season; it will facilitate the illegal logging of protected trees that survive now only because there is no infrastructure to support logging; it will pollute the rivers; and encourage slash-and-burn agriculturalists to move in and cut down the forest for export-driven coca production (Andean communities grow coca as an important ritual and medicinal plant, whereas large scale cultivation for export goes to cocaine production).

    ~snip~

    The most novel thing about this project, in fact, has been the relative lack of opposition. So far, the only people moving against the highway are the inhabitants of the park and a few small indigenous and anarchist groups in other parts of the country. Before 2006, a project like this might have sparked road blockades and street battles up and down Bolivia.

    And in the end, that is Evo’s real triumph: he has made Bolivia’s impoverished people identify with their government, so that it can go on doing what governments have always done. The highway is by no means the only development project of its kind. When there was a growing opposition to a lithium mine that will dessicate an already arid region of the country, Evo quelled the protests by promising the farmers’ organization leading them a share of the profits. By co-opting social movements rather than repress them, Bolivia’s progressive government has accomplished what the earlier military dictatorships never could—it has pacified the country’s rebellious tendencies.

    And this is really interesting although I can’t claim to understand all the implications – Strange New Twist: Researchers Discover Möbius Symmetry in Metamaterials.

    For years, scientists have been searching for an example of Möbius symmetry in natural materials without any success.

    Now a team of scientists has discovered Möbius symmetry in metamaterials — materials engineered from artificial “atoms” and “molecules” with electromagnetic properties that arise from their structure rather than their chemical composition.

    ~snip~

    “We have experimentally observed a new topological symmetry in electromagnetic metamaterial systems that is equivalent to the structural symmetry of a Möbius strip, with the number of twists controlled by sign changes in the electromagnetic coupling between the meta-atoms,” Zhang says. “We have further demonstrated that metamaterials with different coupling signs exhibit resonance frequencies that depend on the number but not the locations of the twists. This confirms the topological nature of the symmetry.”

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