Friday, December 27, 2013

(Need Pest/Parasite Control?) We Are Two Nations Surely When One Half Is Glad To Let the Other Starve (They Don't Care) Are We Already France? (Sex, Drugs, Uh-huh!) Or Just the CIA In Its Usual Attack Mode? (Progressive Dems Only Pols Made by Own To Pay for Sexual Indiscretions) Don't Suspect the Bilderbergs, Please!

Edward Snowden announces breathlessly (in a brief Christmas greeting on the BBC's Channel 4) what we in netopia have been screaming about for years.

Edward Snowden’s Christmas Message: NSA Surveillance Exceeds Orwell’s Imagination

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And that once esteemed Chamber strikes the gong for itself:

Chamber of Commerce Sets GOP Goal for 2014: ‘No Fools On Our Ticket’

The nation isn't (διχοτομέω) cut into two exactly equal pieces, of course. The ones with all the stolen wealth have the much larger piece.

Charlie Pierce captures the American Christmas spirit perfectly, doesn't he?

I'm so glad he's still reporting from his blog and Esquire.

"Forgive me if I am wrong. It has been done in your name, or at least in that of your family," said Scrooge."There are some upon this earth of yours,' returned the Spirit, 'who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all out kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us."

-- A Christmas Carol, Stave II.
he Congress of the United States left town this week very proud of itself. It had reached an accommodation by which the Republicans agreed that they would allow the government to function in a minimal capacity over the next two years and the Democrats agreed that they would be grateful to the Republicans for doing that. And then they all wished themselves well and went home, many of them, the ones proclaiming themselves most loudly to be the followers of the Jesus Christ of the Gospels, looking forward to being able to say "Merry Christmas" freely again, free from the liberals who have placed imaginary shackles upon their fictional freedom to keep the day in their own way.

There was a moment on Meet The Press yesterday that was noted by several people in the comments today. At the end of his segment, which he shared with Senator Charles Schumer and host David Gregory, both of whom are Jewish, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma made it a point to say "Merry Christmas" with essentially the same tone with which a person facing a firing squad would refuse a blindfold and a last cigarette. It was a point of pride for Coburn. You could see it in his entire demeanor. He had vanquished the gargoyles he had hung in the chambers of his own mind.

"At the ominous word liberality, Scrooge frowned, and shook his head, and handed the credentials back. 'At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, 'it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."

-- A Christmas Carol, Stave I.

The Congress of the United States left town this week very proud of itself, and it left town with one serious matter left undone. They refused to vote to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans whose benefits will expire at the end of this week. There were some promises about getting something done in January, but these were idly tossed out the windows of the town cars making tracks for the airport.

But January is not the season. This is the season. All across America, Christmas dinners will be threadbare, if they happen at all.

Hundreds of thousands of children will watch the commercials, the shiny and happy people at the shiny and happy malls, the horse-drawn homecomings from the beer companies, and wonder what place it is in which these things happen, and how it could be that they one day could get there, while their parents watch from the stairway and wonder how their lives had drifted so far from that same place.

"I've been forced into these benefits and now they're going to cancel the benefits," Ham said. "I just think it's wrong." Ham was laid off in April after working for a private contractor at Fort Bliss for four and half years.

"I've been unemployed for eight months now and I haven't had one interview," Ham said. "I had heard stories about people being unemployed for a long time. I thought that's what I was headed towards. It's been a lot harder than I thought though." Ham said he needs those benefits to get by.
"I need them to pay for groceries, food, my bills, power and rent," Ham said. But Ham said more than anything he just wants to get back to work. "I'm leaning on my dad, but I'm 34 years old," said Ham. "I just keep applying and don't give up."

We Are Two Nations: A Christmas Serial

By Charles Pierce, Esquire

25 December 13

. . . This decision was consciously taken by a Congress soaked in electorally convenient religiosity. This decision was consciously taken by a Congress so soaked in electorally convenient religiosity that its members believe that people -- other people, naturally, and their children -- will be strengthened in their moral character by completely avoidable deprivation.

That the mothers and fathers out there, avoiding the gazes of their children because of the simple expectations there that they cannot meet, will be better, stronger, and moral people for the pain that causes them to look away as the lights on the tree begin to blur with their tears.

That, in 2014, these people will thank the Congress of the United States for forging this completely unnecessary crucible in which their souls can be forged into sterner stuff. This is what this Congress believes, as it goes home proud of itself and its members dress themselves to sing the midnight carols with no conscience sounding in counterpoint, and this is Christmas in America, and it is the year of our Lord, 2013.

All right then we are two nations.
-- John Dos Passos

The French are infamous for not caring about the private lives of their politicians.

If you think about it for a moment or so it might occur to you that most people in the U.S. don't care either. That number does not include anyone whose position of wealth or authority depends on false premises (advertising).

If you go down the following list, you might become a little bit more confused about which country you are living in. And, if like Jethro Gibbs and I, you don't believe in coincidences . . . .

And why John Edwards has become everybody's favorite candidate to be put away for a very long time. . . .

(But not Representative Dan Burton, the main antagonist of President Clinton):

Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana), 1998: Burton, who set himself up as an arbiter of morality in Congress, called President Clinton a “scumbug” during his sex scandal. He said no elected official “should be allowed to get away with these alleged sexual improprieties.” That became a difficult position for him in 1998 when he learned that Vanity Fair planned an expose (written by WhoWhatWhy’s Russ Baker) on Burton’s own behavior.

Faced with impending publication of that article, Burton held a press conference to admit that he had fathered a child out of wedlock. But he added, “As far as peccadilloes and all that stuff, man, they could go from dawn till dusk digging around trying to find out stuff about that . . . There’s nothing else to learn.”

Yet when Baker’s article finally appeared (in Salon), it revealed a staggering array of improprieties by the representative — ranging from shoving his hand up the dress of a Planned Parenthood lobbyist with whom he disagreed to putting his multiple mistresses (and one of his multiple love children) on his congressional and campaign payrolls. The Christian Coalition champion’s constituency seemed not to care. He held his seat for 30 years, finally retiring in 2013.

Have I mentioned lately what a superb job Russ Baker and the staff at Who What Why? are doing?

Well, if you haven't indulged before, please allow me to introduce you to their excellent reporting today:

Sex, Drugs and Political Heads That Rolled

Let me preface my take on the Edwards trial with one general observation: Not all politicians are created equal. And not all are treated equally. Therein lies an issue deserving a much, much closer look: whether vulnerable Democrats, chiefly of the liberal persuasion, are targeted for destruction. Or at least helped along to their doom by a double standard.
But first, the specifics of the Edwards case. He faces a potential $1.5 million fine, but, far more seriously, up to thirty years imprisonment. Thirty years. His crime? Not murder, not torture, not armed robbery, not stealing money from clients. No, his crime was his failure to report campaign contributions.

While preparing for his second presidential bid, in 2006, he got caught up in an extramarital affair that produced a child. And, not exactly able to announce that fact or ask his sick wife to sign off, the wealthy Edwards turned to some wealthy backers to take care of the woman and the baby and hide the whole thing from Elizabeth Edwards and presumably everyone else. Two people gave him a total of $900,000.

When someone running for office receives money, or the benefit of money or services, that’s a contribution, and it must both be reported and be subject to restrictions on amount. Unless of course it has nothing to do with the campaign itself. Certainly, candidates receive ordinary income (such as fees for lawyering) that is not subject to those limits. And if someone gives a candidate a gift that is not used for the campaign, it is similarly not subject to campaign finance laws.

So, what’s the ill intent here — and the consequence for the public interest? If this were a bribe by someone seeking to influence Edwards as an office-holder, that would be one thing. If the money were intended to help sway voters to support Edwards, that might be valid cause for pursuing the case aggressively. But nothing about the two donors, both elderly (one has since died), suggests an attempt to gain illegal influence. In reality, both donors – the billionaires Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and Fred Baron — apparently liked and believed in Edwards and, when asked, were quick to aid him in a tough spot.

If it sounds like Edwards still needed to apply FEC rules and limits, consider this: Scott Thomas, a former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission testified that he did not consider that the payments would have come under his agency’s auspices — in part because they were not used directly for the campaign and did not free up any of Edwards’ own money to be spent on the campaign. And Thomas noted that the gifts from one of the donors continued after Edwards dropped out of the race, indicating they were not for campaign purposes.

Unfortunately for Edwards, the ex-commissioner, a 37-year FEC veteran with great credibility on these matters, was only permitted to testify without the jury present — and the jury may never get to hear from him.

In any case, one doesn’t need to in any way defend Edwards’ conduct to see that the matter is a bit complex, and the prosecution for a federal crime, and the prospective punishment, extraordinarily harsh.

The “Liberal” Media Loves to Sink Liberals

What’s this really about? The equal application of election law? Equal pursuit of actual corruption? An equal standard of sexual misbehavior and how it should be handled? It’s hard to see any of these legitimate concerns front and center here.

What did strike me about this matter is that it seems to confirm a feeling that I have long had:  Progressive Democrats who get caught with their pants down appear to pay a steeper price in terms of impact on their career prospects — if not criminal prosecution — when compared to similarly compromised corporate-friendly Republicans.

Let’s consider the long list of Democrats before John Edwards who were wounded by accusations of sexual misbehavior: Gary Hart. Gary Condit (who was tied to the disappearance and murder of a young woman; although in the end it turned out he had nothing to do with it, he was ruined anyway because of an alleged dalliance with the young woman). Bill Clinton. Eliot Spitzer. Anthony Weiner. (I’m sure I am forgetting some.)

Republican politicians seem no less prone than Democrats to adultery and other common if frowned-upon behavior. But compared to the infamy visited upon those named above, how many of us recall all the GOP/Conservative Scandals? How often were these the topic of constant chatter on the major talk radio programs?

Try David Vitter, Newt Gingrich, Jon Ensign, Dan Burton, Helen Chenoweth, Henry Hyde, Robert Livingston, Mark Foley, to name but a few. Several quickly resigned but the only one who, pardon the expression, went down after extensive coverage (and his own resistance) that I can recall was Larry Craig — whose public washroom behavior (and tone-deaf defense thereof) was pretty hard to ignore.

In fact, given the standard GOP claim to represent “family values” and morality in general, it would seem that shenanigans from that side of the aisle would warrant more attention — and graver consequences — if for nothing more than the inherent hypocrisy and cynicism.

We cannot ignore the decision-makers who decide whom to prosecute, partially in response to unstated political and other pressures. Nor should we ignore the role of the media (and supposed friends of the
Democrats) in sealing their doom

The New York Times, purported linchpin of the liberal media, hammered Bill Clinton and broke the Eliot Spitzer call-girl story.  Gary Hart was investigated by the purportedly moderate-liberal Miami Herald and Washington Post. Clinton was taken to the woodshed by Joe Lieberman and some feminists.

Spitzer was quietly mugged, off-record, by his Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who was only too glad to capture the governorship himself two years later. In the case of Rep. Weiner, the saturation coverage made it difficult to recall that he had not actually had sexual contact with the women he was sending messages to. Nevertheless, he was assailed by prominent liberal blogs and cut off by Nancy Pelosi; his seat, a sure Democratic bet, went GOP in a special election.

The same cannot be said, in general, of conservative politicians or conservative media. Their tendency has been to largely ignore, or to understate, or to deflect attention from the Republican shenanigans and abuses.

So much for the notion of a “liberal” media showing favoritism to its own. My experience is that the “liberal” label when applied to journalists is a red herring which distracts us from the fundamentally accom(m)odationist nature of the corporate-owned media. But the liberal label is effective in pressuring journalists to prove they do not coddle liberals — by doing the exact opposite.

The media is, by nature, cowardly. It too seldom goes after powerful people over the actual business of governing because it is too hard to make the audience care. And it only goes after people for misusing their peckers when it senses that a mob is forming, that there’s blood in the water. Then it is all about going to the head of the pack.

If we examine the case of Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the contrast to Edwards’s treatment is startling. Sen. Vitter, a slavish advocate of oil industry and other corporate interests, broke the law prior to 2004 by patronizing prostitutes while a member of the House. The scandal broke after he had been elected to the Senate; he is still in the Senate. When it became public that his name was in the records of a Capitol Hill escort agency, Vitter put out a written statement of contrition, went into a week of seclusion, emerged and, with his wife (who happens to be a prosecutor), made a brief public apology, then refused to answer questions. He was never prosecuted due to the statute of limitations. The woman who ran the call girl ring he frequented, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, aka the “DC Madam,” was found hanged in what was labeled a suicide, after publicly saying that if anything happened to her, she most certainly did not intend to do harm to herself.

Had Vitter stepped down, the Democratic governor of Louisiana at the time would presumably have appointed a Democrat to temporarily fill his seat — an important factor in a closely divided Senate.

The hypocrisy of a “family values” politician like Vitter knows no bounds. When Vitter was in the House of Representatives he actually took calls from the DC Madam during roll call votes; later, Sen. Vitter expressed outrage over purported actions of the poverty group ACORN, where several staffers showed tolerance toward conservative operatives with a hidden camera who were pretending to be involved in prostitution.

So Vitter is still in the Senate, defending the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, while Anthony Weiner, who was never accused of any crime, was forced to resign by howls of protests from all quarters, including the Democratic leadership who abandoned him in the face of the “inevitable.”

. . . Could politicians with the “wrong public values” be targeted for a fall?

I find it instructive to look at the specifics of Edwards’ predicament, and the curious decision to prosecute in a federal court what was, while morally inexcusable, private behavior involving chiefly the wronging of a spouse.

-Edwards became enamored of a woman who approached him — and who was well aware that he was married, and how exposure of the affair could impact his future if it became public.

-The story came to the public in part with the help of the National Enquirer, the same paper that played a prominent role in Hart’s downfall in the run-up to the 1988 Presidential election.

-Edwards was, like Hart, a handsome, charismatic—and populist—candidate, a rare liberal hope in a party traditionally prone to nominating “system” moderates. His issues were poverty and income inequality, climate change, universal health care, and withdrawing troops from Iraq. When Rielle Hunter approached him in 2006 he was on a cross-country tour to help labor unions.  

-Hunter in some ways is reminiscent of other women who came forward to ruin or nearly ruin Democratic politicians with accusations of sexual improprieties—while personally profiting from their actions–including Donna Rice (Hart), Gennifer Flowers (Clinton) and Ashley Dupre (Spitzer). Meanwhile, some of those who turned on Edwards, notably his former aide Andrew Young and his wife, have by their own admission done well financially for doing Edwards in.

-Though Hunter was their entire case, prosecutors were sufficiently wary of her (or perhaps of drawing additional attention to her precise role in the matter) that they did not call her to the witness stand.

This investigative reporter smells a rat in Edwards’s downfall. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m not sure exactly who decided what, when, but consider that Hunter was down on her luck when she happened to bump into Edwards while he was in a hotel bar. The following excerpt is instructive. It comes from a book by Edwards’ former aide Andrew Young, now a prosecution witness against Edwards (The Politician):

The senator first met Rielle in early 2006 when he was in New York during a cross-country speaking tour with actor Danny Glover on behalf of hotel workers who wanted his help at union rallies. As she eventually told me herself, she saw Edwards in the lounge of the Regency, a five-star hotel on Park Avenue…..

By the time she saw John Edwards, she had lived much of her life on the edge of glamour, wealth, and enlightenment but was, at forty-one, divorced, unemployed, and living rent-free with a friend in New Jersey named Margaret “Mimi” Hockman.

When she made eye contact with the senator . . . she asked him if he was the candidate she had seen on television. After he identified himself, she said, “You’re so hot, but on television that doesn’t come through. You seem distant. I can help you with that.” . . .

Rielle decided immediately that she would devote herself to helping him reach this potential. This assistance would begin later, after she arranged to bump into him on the sidewalk, where she would flirt some more.

What’s even more interesting is that Hunter wasn’t really in a position to do what she promised. Partnering with her roommate, the two had to recruit still others to execute rudimentary video and editing work. Soon she and her crew were traveling with the politician, filming him in cinema verite style for online “webisodes.”

Now, how about Hart? The Hart scandal had the flavor of an operation designed to remove an enormously popular, populist candidate from the race. (Hart was at the time the leading Democratic candidate, and well ahead of his likely Republican opponent, vice president George H.W. Bush, in match-ups.)

Hart was invited onto a boat with a ridiculously newsworthy name (“Monkey Business”), an attractive blond plopped in his lap, and a waiting photographer got the money shot. A private investigator provided journalists with a report saying that Hart and the blond, Donna Rice, appeared to have spent the night together.  Other reporters were given an anonymous inside tip. The story reads right like a thriller — or an intelligence op.  A bit like how Watergate became a sensation. (See our series on the downing of Nixon here.)

It is now common knowledge that Clinton was targeted by a well-oiled Right-Wing operation (not too far off from Hillary Clinton’s statement, seemingly wild at the time, that her husband was the victim of a “vast, right-wing conspiracy”). We never did learn quite enough about how someone with Monica Lewinsky’s modest credentials and unique charms (just the sort Bill Clinton was known to appreciate) ended up interning for him. On the surface, it all looks innocent enough, but I’ve seen enough hints, and, over the years, enough comparable scenarios, to wonder.

Message: If You Mess With the Establishment, Don’t Mess With the Ladies

The Spitzer story featured a cast of corporate kingpins angry at his actions as attorney general, and the GOP “dirty tricks” specialist Roger Stone. Exactly how Spitzer’s financial transactions drew federal attention has been inadequately explored, as has why so big a deal was made of his extracurricular activities (the central federal legal “issue” was that he arranged for a prostitute to cross state lines). As for Anthony Weiner, he was targeted by the late provocateur Andrew Breitbart  and fellow Right-wing activists who used fake email addresses and pretended to be underage girls.

Probably the most interesting thing is how many of these guys who went down — or in Clinton’s case nearly did—were messing with powerful interests. Excepting perhaps Clinton, they all had a streak of populism — going after bankers, and the one percent, and, in at least one case, the CIA. Hart and Edwards both had stirred class-conscious politics prominently into their broader messaging. Hart was on the investigative Senate committee that looked into CIA abuses in the 1970s, and became an outspoken critic of the excesses of the spy establishment—just as Richard Nixon was secretly battling the CIA, the Pentagon, and corporate interests at the time that the Watergate scandal began to undo his presidency. Weiner was a liberal and a close ally of the Clintons with an eye on the New York mayor’s office. Spitzer was a leading figure in targeting Wall Street, insurance industry and other corporate abuses. He was one big problem for some tough customers, and had his eye on the White House next.

Is all this worth another look? This reporter thinks so.



You missed one. According to Hunter S. Thompson's last book - completed just before his "suicide" - Dennis Hastert ran a child prostitution ring in DC using orphan boys from Boystown who also ran cocaine across country for them. Hastert left Congress very quietly and the media never mentioned it. gee, wonder why.


He should have solicited boy pages, played footsie in the stalls of public bathrooms, or destroyed the global economy. If he had, he'd be home free.

Chris R.

Everyone remembers Donna Rice, but it was the Washington Post that forced Hart out in May of 1987. The WaPo ignored the well known rumors about Bush the elder having a mistress, which combined with his other baggage would have cost him the election, while threatening to "out" a woman whom Hart apparently had had a long term relationship when separated from his wife. Considering Hart's sterling public record, the WaPo's blackmail, and that is what it was, was extremely partisan. No doubt team Bush rewarded the WaPo with exclusive stories for their hatchet job of Hart.

If you actually look into the details of the Monkey Business caper, you will find that Hart's media consultant, Ray Strothers, was originally scheduled to be on that trip to help Hart write a speech. At the last minute he was called away for a fundraiser for the mayor of Dallas, who was the wife of DNC chair Robert Strauss, who later was named the last US ambassador to the USSR. Considering that Hart and Gorbachev had planned reductions in nuclear weapons, etc., this reward for someone who helped Bush win the election is glaring.

You will also find a British connection since Brit Christine Keeler, who brought down a British government with a sex scandal involving the UK John Profumo, the British Secretary of State for War, and a Russian military officer, sold the pictures to the National Enquirer of Donna Rice sitting on Hart's lap AND Rupert Murdoch was granted special favors from Bush to get his US citizenship and ownership of several U.S. television stations. At one point during the media frenzy in 1987, Hart made statements indicating that he felt his phone had been tapped. In light of Murdoch's habit of doing this in the U.K., there is reason to believe that he did that here as well to aid the election of Bush in 1988.

Major Martin to Chris R.

And let's not forget that Gene Pope Jr., publisher of the National Enquirer, worked for the CIA's psychological-warfare division before emerging, with cash of mysterious origin, to purchase and rebuild the Hearst paper that became the Enquirer.

Bill Wilt to Chris R.

On the subject of Spitzer's financial transactions being the "fruit of the poisonous tree"--that is, gained by illegal wiretaps, check Jim Bamford's WIRED mag article from April 2012, a folo on his "The Shadow Factory," asserting that the National Surveillance Agency (NSA)* had installed "splitter" computer systems (some made in Israel, I believe--as NARUS-brand) on ALL the US telecommunications carriers, effective Jan/Feb, 2002. (I think Bamford quoted Russ in one of his books, no?)

That is, ALL of our US telecommunications have been duplicated/copied and shipped down to the Total Information Awareness system at Lackland AFB, which has now run out of room, so an even bigger facility is being built at Bluffdale, Utah. I like to call these facilities "spyClouds," after Apple's "iCloud" and the general "cloud computing" lingo characterizing humongous computer storage "disk farms" or "data-centers."

. . . The NSA's Big Brother system may not yet have the all the capabilities theatricalized in the BBC's "The Last Enemy" (which see, if you haven't already) and other techno-spy entertainments, but remember that Blair/Orwell's original Big Brother (1948) had two-way TV--video cameras and microphones in every TV set. We've reached that technical plateau at least with the video-conferencing capabilities built into iPhones, iPads, laptops, used with such applications as Google+, Skype and FaceTime, etc.

But the NSA's goal, I'm sure, is to build all the technology needed to surveil every citizen in the nation in real-time. Which suggests that every citizen should develop personal skills in using very high-order digital encryption technology for all their communications tasks, unless you want to exist off the grid, using smoke signals, jungle drums, wig-wag and perhaps tin-can telephones. Snail-mail or messengers have been compromised ever since the "technology" of paper and ink, royal seals and sealing wax, and the horse (or pony) and rider were invented. Ditto "micro-dots" and "invisible ink" and the mini-Minolta.

I don't think, given current computing power, that it is an insurmountable problem to have real-time, total citizen surveillance. Way back in the Dark Ages (1980-81), using a DEC PDP 11/34, I had to find a way to translate the entire Encyclopædia Britannica (13 volumes and a yearbook, but not the ProPædia) from IBM's EBCDIC to the ASCII which the Atex system used. It had a nice capability to "work-list" a queue (folder) to a task, which would then direct the output to the next step, or to an error queue . . .

If memory serves, I think it took about 8 hours to run all the EB articles through the cascade.

Now, with "parallel computing" and "array processors" and high-powered micro-computers, such a task might take, what, three minutes? Or more like in Google-Time, with times like 0.18 seconds to search EBCDIC-to-ASCII (with 96,000 hits), but faster. To have, say, 10,000 spy agents each at a multiple-screen, multi-media workstation, tracking 10,000 citizens in real-time might require a workstation for each person being spied on.

Perhaps the "workstation" would be as large as the "shipping containers" being used by the CIA and JSOC, etc., in which they run their Assassination-By-Joystick operations, with expensive, unmanned model airplanes (but bigger) and Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, via satellite telecommunication links. But whatever they come up with (and the NSA's in-house (and out-house, or contractor-run) for computer hardware, about every 18 months (Moore's "Law") the "power" of these devices will double . . .

I'd also think it's safe to say that every one of these surveillance operations is illegal, violates the so-called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance act, and is totally beyond the bounds of any government activity supposedly reigned in by the Fourth Amendment. What's the current slang about such things? "Fourth Amendment...FAIL!"

The saddest thing about this concerted and deliberate destruction of the Constitution, by those who have and/or had sworn to "preserve, protect and defend" it (the prexy) or "support and defend" it (everyone else), is that it's being justified because, supposedly, "we were attacked" on 9/11/2001. And of course, we were not — it was all an inside job, with, perhaps, some bits and pieces sub-contracted out, as was the task of destroying the crime scenes where some 3,000 souls, give-or-take, were snuffed.**
- - - - - - -

** That total is probably subject to revision, given that people have observed that the former Solicitor General's new wife looks a good deal like the wife who supposedly died in a 9/11 crash.

If the price of DNA sequencers drops, as a current issue of Science magazine suggests, perhaps a large number of us could afford to have iPhones or iPads with built-in DNA sequencers. Heck, the fuzz are now doing iPhone retinal scans, without warrant, from a couple yards away. Which suggests that we all get polarizing coatings on our eye-glasses, along with some kind of Gimp Gaiters- that would use electrical impulses to alter our "gait," the way we walk (Monty Python's "Ministry of Silly Walks" was more prescient than it knew - or had a source close to M in MI6).

John Lovejoy

If you will recall, Boris Yeltsin, in his memoirs, said Monica Lewinsky was hired by powerful Republicans to bring down Clinton. Yeltsin said he knew about this beforehand and warned Clinton, who ignored Yeltsin.

Kevin Schmidt

The real reason why Edwards is being hit with this bogus charge is because he dared to defy the Bilderbergs, who used to be such good friends of his, that they invited him to their exclusive conferences.

Edwards job was to help John Kerry throw the Presidential Election, and then he was supposed to fade from the political scene. But instead, he ran for President again, which shone the spotlight again on his prior thrown election.

The Bilderbergs don't like to be disobeyed, so they threw the law at him.


I greatly appreciate your work. I don't disagree with your premise; I would add the worse trend of the same ilk, assassinations (JFK, RFK, MLK, Wellstone, etc), which is even more obviously one-sided.

What I have wondered all along is this: In the Spitzer case, the genesis of the case was access to his banking records. Is this access itself a product of post-9/11 surveillance-state laws and power? I'm suspicious that that kind of surveillance, in his case specifically, was made possible by laws like the Patriot [sic] Act that enable these fishing expeditions into citizens' private records. Is this info known, or is it an area that deserves consideration/investigation?

Russ Baker to notthere56

That's an intriguing question


It was not a sex scandal but Rod Blagojevich was blatantly taken out quick. He threatened that the state of Illinois would stop all business with Bank of America if they did not restore credit to an Illinois business so the workers could get paid and he was arrested that night.

Elliott Negin

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld started a war under false pretenses and have not been indicted for high crimes and misdemeanors. Cheney has cheerfully admitted that he condoned waterboarding, a violation of the Geneva convention. Bush Senior pardoned all the Iran-contra criminals. Edwards, meanwhile, is facing 30 years.

Still watching 60 Minutes thinking that you're getting the "insider's information?" For some reason I stopped watching what seemed purposely fraudulent years ago. It probably had to do with so many of its exposés not really exposing what was actually happening to our country's freedoms, and too much goggle-eyed uneducated/misinformed commentary on truly incredible stories. And that after 9/11, it started to seem like just another government apologist organ.

When '60 Minutes' Checks Its Journalistic Skepticism at the Door

Last week, a study commissioned by the president concluded that the National Security Agency had reached too far into the private lives of Americans. The study, which came after a series of journalistic revelations exposing the agency’s surveillance practices, recommended numerous reforms that would curb the N.S.A.’s prerogatives. President Obama said he was “open to many” of the suggestions.

It was exactly the kind of news-making moment that “60 Minutes” — America’s leading purveyor of serious television news — has often been responsible for creating. For more than four decades, the program has exposed C.I.A. abuses, rogue military contractors and hundreds of corporate villains.

But where was “60 Minutes” on the N.S.A. story? The Sunday before the damning study, the program produced a segment that scanned as a friendly infomercial for the agency. Reported by John Miller, a CBS News reporter, the piece included extensive interviews with Gen. Keith Alexander, the director of the N.S.A.

And don't we remember that John Miller had been employed by the NSA/CIA previously?


TONY said...

Nobody writes a post title like you, Cirze. All the best for the holiday. Stay sober. I won't.

Cirze said...

I know you're teasing me, Tony.

But I liiike it!

Yes, I do.

And sober will not be quite the perfect descriptor for me . . . but it will do for my demeanor.


As usual.

Hope your holiday is wondrously happy.

Love you, and thanks for all the commentary.


Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Thanks for your tireless efforts to promote the Truth

"(Congress) refused to vote to extend unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans whose benefits will expire at the end of this week."

It always angers me how all this wingnut Republican politicians ramble on and on about how the government should never spend a dime on helping anyone out. And yet these wingnut hypocrites themselves have no problem happily collecting their nice, fat, taxpayer-funded paychecks, week after week. And they all have a nice, fat, taxpayer-funded pension to look forward to as well.

Cirze said...

But that's what makes the sociopaths' psychobabble so ludricrously ridiculous.

It seems like every time I see one of these liars on TV I can't help reflect on exactly who is listening to this nonsense and still voting for them.

It defies my imagination (and logic) too, Marc.

Some day (and probably not soon enough to save me) we will read in history books about how a small group of enormously well-fed-at-the-government-trough right-wing screamers for NO MORE GOV'T AID TO POOR CITIZENS pulled off the hat trick of driving the US Gov't into last place among the developed world's countries (while enriching themselves from those same actions).

And it won't be long now as we are already viewed in about 50th place in most categories already.

Hope you can enjoy New Year's celebrations.

My guess is that most of this country will not (although they will be drinking - if they can afford the cheap alcohol).

The hat trick is that because of the right-wing-owned media, they have no idea whom to blame for their plight.

Love you,