Category Archives: Barack Obama

NSA: “EVERYONE !!”

Seems the NSA can, without a warrant, snoop on anyone within three degrees of someone that they may have some suspicion about.

…the rather startling news that came out of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee on the NSA spying programs: NSA Director John Inglis revealed that the FISA Court permits the government to do three jumps from an initial number tied to a phone number reasonably believed to be tied to terrorism (or relevant to Iran, though that search criteria didn’t get mentioned at all in the parts of the hearing I watched).

Three degrees of separation!

Remember, some years ago, every single person in the US could be connected via six degrees — the old Kevin Bacon game. There’s some evidence that that number has become smaller — perhaps as small as 3 (I’ve seen more scientific numbers that say it is 4.5 or thereabouts).

In any case, if the US is using the excuse of terror to get three jumps deep into US person associations, then this program is even more intrusive then they’ve let on.

I imagine that would include everyone in our government, the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority, every head of state, every law enforcement officer, everyone who has ever been abroad, everyone who has ever interviewed a foreign person, everyone who knows anyone who knows anyone in:

Greenpeace,

the Quakers,

any demonstration of any kind,

anyone who has written a letter to an editor,

any person of color,

anyone who signed a petition, and

so on.

It’s basically EVERYONE. and what will they do with it? Wait til Karl Rove or one of the Cheneys gets back in power and you’ll see in short order. Or just some NSA guy who’s curious about who his ex girlfriend in dating. Or some NSA girl with a grudge against oh, well, ANYONE!

We have a constitution; that used to mean something.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

When basically the entire population is legally suspect, doesn’t that mean we’re doing something wrong?

 

video: Gary Oldman, in “The Professional.”

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As the Congress prepares to cut Social Security from poor old widows, while cutting taxes on millionaires, and we support the apartheid and starvation of innocents in the Middle East, it may be time to think about where this “great experiment in democracy” is going as “the greatest country in the world”:

SPIEGEL: Notes on the Decline of a Great Nation: The United States is frittering away its role as a model for the rest of the world. The political system is plagued by an absurd level of hatred, the economy is stagnating and the infrastructure is falling into a miserable state of disrepair.

As an American expat living in the European Union, I’ve started to see America from a different perspective through the prism of the European media.

The European Union has a larger economy and more people than America does. Though it spends less — right around 9 percent of GNP on medical, whereas we in the U.S. spend close to between 15 to 16 percent of GNP on medical — the EU pretty much insures 100 percent of its population.

The U.S. has 59 million people medically uninsured; 132 million without dental insurance; 60 million without paid sick leave; 45 million on food stamps. Everybody in the European Union has cradle-to-grave access to universal medical and a dental plan by law. The law also requires paid sick leave; paid annual leave; paid maternity leave. When you realize all of that, it becomes easy to understand why many Europeans think America has gone insane, particularly as 2 million long-term unemployed Americans are getting ready to lose their jobless benefits as America approaches the year end fiscal cliff.
The sobering assessment of America’s unemployment rate isn’t really 7.9 percent, but close to 20 percent when we factor in the number of people who have stopped looking for work.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Congress, Dianne Feinstein betrays the voters trust, economics, global warming/environment, Harry Reid:part of the problem, healthcare, Middle East, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, public corruption, Steny Hoyer: isn't he really a Republican?

Yes, gasoline costs more, because easily-obtainable oil is depleted.

Get yourself a Chevy Volt; this isn’t going away.

The simple truth of the matter is this: most of the world’s easy reserves have already been depleted — except for those in war-torn countries like Iraq. Virtually all of the oil that’s left is contained in harder-to-reach, tougher reserves. These include deep-offshore oil, Arctic oil, and shale oil, along with Canadian “oil sands” — which are not composed of oil at all, but of mud, sand, and tar-like bitumen. So-called unconventional reserves of these types can be exploited, but often at a staggering price, not just in dollars but also in damage to the environment.

In the oil business, this reality was first acknowledged by the chairman and CEO of Chevron, David O’Reilly, in a 2005 letter published in many American newspapers. “One thing is clear,” he wrote, “the era of easy oil is over.” Not only were many existing oil fields in decline, he noted, but “new energy discoveries are mainly occurring in places where resources are difficult to extract, physically, economically, and even politically.”

Further evidence for this shift was provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in a 2010 review of world oil prospects. In preparation for its report, the agency examined historic yields at the world’s largest producing fields — the “easy oil” on which the world still relies for the overwhelming bulk of its energy. The results were astonishing: those fields were expected to lose three-quarters of their productive capacity over the next 25 years, eliminating 52 million barrels per day from the world’s oil supplies, or about 75% of current world crude oil output. The implications were staggering: either find new oil to replace those 52 million barrels or the Age of Petroleum will soon draw to a close and the world economy would collapse.

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Filed under Barack Obama, economics, Iraq, Middle East, Politics, public corruption, Texas

Montana judge sent dirty joke about Obama’s mother because he disagrees with Obama’s policies

guess he didn't have the guts to include the joke?

Hmmm.

The guy Richard Cebull is a Republican, I take the racism as a given.

But the fact that he hates Obama’s policies so much that he was willing to jeopardize his job, tells me that he shouldn’t be hearing cases that involve Obama’s policies. Obama is the president, and his policies and his law enforcement policies are important factors in many federal cases, if not all of them, particularly when such hostility is present. 

Oh wait, this guy is a federal judge.

Are we clear?

is he going to recuse himself from all federal cases? how would that work? all his cases are federal.

In the letter, he says he doesn’t know what more he could do, aside from referring the matter to his Republican pals who will obviously giggle and do nothing…Here’s what more he can do:
Step the fuck down, assclown. Get yourself a real job, like a good Republican who deigns to suck off the federal teat.

 

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Romney claims memory of Michigan event that happened before he was born

Does Mitt have a flux capacitor?


Shakin my head. The man is sick. Nobody normal lies like this guy.

DETROIT—When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.

And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.

Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

“My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore. The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford.

And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

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Filed under Barack Obama, clown shoes, Is Mitt Romney a sociopath?, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal

Mitt, Mitt…. C’mon. ya lie like a rug about contraception. Good thing the bishops don’t seem to notice.

a reader at Andrew Sullivan observes:

Here’s an interesting question re: exposing the partisanship of the Bishops. So, at the most recent debate, Romney stated that it was completely voluntary as to whether Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts had to provide emergency contraceptives to rape victims. Yet, it appears that it isn’t voluntary, that there is no conscience exemption. So, this raises two important questions that speak directly to the partisanship of the Bishops, and in this case, specifically of Cardinal O’Malley in Boston:

Why would O’Malley not express the same outrage toward Romney’s policy in Massachusetts as he has toward Obama’s policy at the national level? And why wouldn’t O’Malley feel required to correct the public record re: Romney’s statement, since that statement leaves the impression with voters that it is Cardinal O’Malley who is choosing to provide emergency contraceptives?
It appears that he has done neither to date. It seems that there’s no answer to these two questions except the political partisanship of the Cardinal.

then there’s this:

Mitt Romney misled a voter in Shelby Township, Michigan about President Obama’s rule requiring insurers and employers to provide contraception coverage to employees during a town hall Tuesday afternoon. Romney grossly misrepresented the measure, claiming that under the new requirement, “the Catholic Church had to provide for insurance that provided contraceptives, sterilization, morning after pills to the employees of the Church.” But as Romney himself has previously admitted, both the original provision and the modified language specifically excludes houses of worship and nonprofit organizations that primarily employ people of the same faith from providing birth control coverage.

Commander in chief material? I don’t think so.

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Keystone XL Pipeline opens the eyes of conservative midwesterners

“Republicans could give a rats ass about the people out here.”


The proposed XL pipeline is a giant toxic Love Canal across America’s heartland. The Canadian corporation that wants to build it is bullying landowners in its path, threatening the use of condemnation proceedings, and the sheeple aren’t taking it lying down:

The effect of it today is to place people like Randy Thompson on an unfamiliar side of the divide between conservatives and environmentalists; and business and liberal political activists. He even testified this month against TransCanada as a witness for Henry Waxman’s minority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I’m a little ashamed to say that maybe if it hadn’t come across our land, I wouldn’t have gotten involved,” he told me. “I’ve gained a great deal of respect for people who do care about our environment I’ve become much more aware of environmental issues. I have to admire them for being concerned about our environment.”

“Republicans,” he said, by contrast, “could give a rats ass about the people out here.”

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Filed under Barack Obama, global warming/environment, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Steny Hoyer: isn't he really a Republican?, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

Clarence Thomas for president!!

The Man with the Can

Adam Winkler is perhaps the first person to come up with this solution to the dismal field of GOP candidates for the presidential nomination. For the life of me, I don’t see why this was so long in coming. In contradistinction to his days as a sexual harasser, Thomas is famous for never saying anything while on the Supreme Court, so he can’t be accused of flipflopping on every single issue, like Mitt Romney. And, unlike Rick Santorum, his name is not synonymous with a gross concoction of bodily fluids (although, of course, he will always be associated with the image of the Coke can with pubic hair). Plus, being African American, he would undoubtedly appeal to the liberal section of the pubic, oops I mean public.

Importantly, Thomas seems willing. According to Winkler,

The idea of Thomas running for president was floated two years ago by two legal bloggers, David Lat and Kashmir Hill. They noted that when Thomas was first nominated to the bench, he expressed hesitation about the solitary, sedate environment that comes with the black robe. “I can’t see myself spending the rest of my life as a judge,” Thomas said.

I think a lot of Americans would agree with that sentiment.

Most importantly, Thomas comes cheap:

ThinkProgress uncovered three briefs that AEI filed in Thomas’ Court after Thomas received their $15,000 gift. Thomas recused from none of these three cases, and he either voted in favor of the result AEI favored or took a stance that was even further to the right in each case:

Riley v. Kennedy: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision preventing a change in Alabama’s voting law from going into effect. Justice Thomas did not recuse, and he joined the Supreme Court’s decision reversing the lower court.

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision upholding a local school district’s desegregation plan. Thomas joined the majority opinion reversing the lower court’s decision, and he filed a lengthy concurrence defending that result.

Whitman v. American Trucking Association: AEI joined a brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the EPA to consider the costs of implementing new air quality standards before it issued them. Thomas’ concurring opinion went much further than AEI asked him to go, suggesting that the law authorizing EPA to issue these standards is unconstitutional.

Turns out that was the tip of the cashberg:

Thomas appears to have “knowingly and willfully” filed falsified Financial Disclosure Forms which withheld disclosure of nearly $700,000 his wife received from the rightwing Heritage Foundation for the better part of the last 20 years. Only once it was pointed out publicly this year did Thomas bother to file “self-initiated amendments” to the forms he had signed just above the legal warning in bold and all caps which reads: “NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app. § 104)”

In short, Clarence Thomas is the perfect GOP candidate for President of the United States.

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Romney, Santorum, Gingrich lie about Iran, would start another Bushoid war

Who's going to die or become disabled in your war, Mitt? None of these.


Juan Cole:

All [of the GOP candidates] but Paul virtually promised the US public that they would go to war with Iran if elected. As Paul pointed out, the US has no money for such a war and it would be illegal and unconstitutional for the President just to launch it.

Newt Gingrich was the first to take the Iran question. He criticized Gen. Martin Dempsey for saying that the Iranian regime is “rational actors.”

Gingrich said, “The fact is, this is a dictator, Ahmadinejad….

One problem is that Ahmadinejad is not a dictator. The presidency in the Iranian system is like the vice presidency in the United States. Ahmadinejad has lost fights with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and even with parliament over appointments. The Wikileaks cables say that a Revolutionary Guard officer even slapped him.


Gingrich continues, calling Ahmadinejad a dictator yet again, and accuses him of saying that he wants to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.
…. he makes a false assertion. Ahmadinejad once quoted an old speech of Ayatollah Khomeini’s from the 1980s, in which Khomeini said, “this occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.” “mahv shavad” or vanish is intransitive, so transitive verb like “eliminate” is incorrect as a translation. It was not a threat to destroy Israel through military action, but a prediction that the occupation regime would collapse rather as the Soviet Union had. The occupation regime over Gaza, after all, has in fact collapsed.

Gingrich says that Ahmadinejad wants to “drive the United States” out of the Middle East. While Ahmadinejad is an anti-imperialist, he has not threatened to attack the United States, as Gingrich implied. Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei has repeatedly said that Iran has a “no first strike policy” and will not be the first to initiate hostilities.

….

In fact, Gingrich cannot refute Gen. Dempsey’s assertion that Iran is a rational actor by reference to Ahmadinejad, who does not make military policy.

Gingrich also errs in not taking account of Iran’s military weakness and inability to attack or destroy Israel. Iran has no air force to speak of, whereas Israel has the best air force in the region. Iran does not have a big tank army. It is far from Israel and could not send tank columns through Turkey or Iraq or Jordan. Besides, the Israelis would just destroy the tanks. And Israel has 400 nuclear bombs, which would deter Iran from attacking it even if Iran had that capacity, which it does not.
….
Romney said, “Ahmadinejad having fissile material that he can give to Hezbollah and Hamas and that they can bring into Latin America and potentially bring across the border into the United States to let off dirty bombs here. I mean — or — or more sophisticated bombs here, this — we simply cannot allow Iran to have nuclear weaponry.”

This is Propaganda with a capital ‘p’. Romney is appealing to an argument that stacks the cards. No nuclear country has ever given bombs to terrorist groups and there is no reason to think Iran would either. Iran does not, of course, even have such a bomb. Hizbullah and Hamas could not in fact carry a nuclear bomb (they are heavy, complicated and dangerous) around Latin America and up through Mexico to the US because Mexican authorities would detain them. Assuming there were Hamas in “Latin America,” which there mostly are not. Romney is just making sh*t up with which to scare us.

He has to do this because Iran is far away from the US, is militarily weak, and poses no threat to the American mainland. By inventing radical Muslim fundamentalist Mexicans with a nuclear bomb miraculously supplied by an Iran that doesn’t have one, Romney brings a sense of danger to an American audience.

Santorum brings up the rear arguing that US funding for anti-regime elements in Iran would have allowed the overthrow of the Khamenei government. But a few tens of millions of dollars cannot bring down a government, and open association with the United States is the kiss of death in Iranian politics.

This squalid performance by three of the leading lights of the GOP is a very troubling development. All seem reckless and willing to risk war with Iran. None seems terribly interested in the outcome. It is almost as though they were working for big munitions corporations.

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The lengths to which Republicans will go to try to defeat Obama

Here's a guy you can trust with your reproduction

h/t The Rude Pundit.

That is Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Despite the unfortunate photo, which looks like the last thing an altar boy sees before being taken into a booth for some private confessin’, Lori actually co-wrote the zero tolerance policy for child-f****** priests or, as it’s known everywhere else, “Wait, You Mean There Wasn’t a Zero Tolerance Policy for Child-******* in the Catholic Church Already?”. He’s also a warrior for all things churchy in this vile, depraved secular nation.

… yesterday Bishop Lori testified, as part of an all-male panel, before the House Oversight Committee during its hearing on the Obama administration’s continuation of a Bush-era policy, already passed in 28 states, including being signed into law by Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee when they were governors, that employers who provide health insurance for their employees, including businesses and institutions run by religious groups, with the exception of houses of worship, must include female contraceptive coverage.

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