Category Archives: Dianne Feinstein betrays the voters trust

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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All foreign calls are being tapped. Period. All. Totally.

Attorney General Mukasey is spreading the fear, in order to scare Congress into legalizing Bush’s/telecom’s lawless surveillance. It’s clear why the Bush administration won’t bother with warrants, and it always has been. They just won’t admit it.

All phone calls coming to and from the US are being monitored en masse. It’s a total, mass, automated, all-encompassing system.

They work at the level of the massive trunk lines as they enter and leave the country, not at the level of some individual phone.  So they get ALL CALLS.

Every call. All calls. each call. your call, my call. his call, her call; Russ Feingold’s call…. tous les calls. All the time. All day, all night, weekends. 24/7/365.

That’s why they can’t bother with warrants and probable cause and suspicion and evidence and judges and rights. They have no evidence. They are just sifting through everything. Looking for particular words. Grabbing the words, guessing what thoughts might be behind the words. Policing the minds.

It’s an automated machine. Think of a huge net thrown over the entire ocean: no individual fish has any rights..the net can’t respect any rights. They are wiretapping the calls of every person in the United States, if they talk to anyone overseas. It demolishes the entire idea of freedom from unreasonable search.
And it’s not just a search issue.

In effect, every call is being censored. Think of it. Every call from every journalist in Iraq is being monitored, and so is every elected official in the US who might get any information from overseas. How can anyone talk about the Middle East without using words that would make the alarms go off? He who controls the flow of information controls the public mind.

And it operates in total secrecy. No one knows what words and phrases will trigger the alarms, or what happens next, in terms of lists and investigations, and how you are ever cleared of suspicion. We can be pretty confident that Bush’s Pioneer donor lists are a get out of jail free card, and that Democratic governors are a free fire zone, but that’s about all we can guess.

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British will release minutes of 2003 Iraq war discussions

link

“There is a widespread view that the justification for the decision on military action in Iraq is either not fully understood or that the public were not given the full or genuine reasons for that decision,” Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said in his ruling on a request made under the British version of the Freedom of Information Act.

The Cabinet Office had argued to him that public disclosure of minutes would inhibit free and candid debate about sensitive issues in future cabinet sessions.

Thomas, who was allowed to inspect the minutes as part of his deliberations, said that while he respected the government’s position, “arguments for the withholding of the information are outweighed by the public interest in its disclosure.”

Wow, So that’s how they do it in a democracy. Simply amazing. Just think, there actually was a day when we had the democracy on this side of the pond and Britain had the king. (or, was that a dream?)

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US government prepares for martial law, recruits civilian force

link

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, http://www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative.

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If choosing a campaign strategist is a measure of Hillary Clinton’s judgement, she’s wouldn’t be much of a president

Mark Penn, the Clinton strategy guru, has singlehandedly blown up the best laid plans of Hill and Bill. He touted “same”, while the country was just so fed up with Washington it couldn’t even bring itself to impeach Bush. And the senator isn’t getting any younger, people…and neither are her clothes or her hairstyles. So Hillary became “same-old…”.

Now of course, she’s yelling “change, change….” more often then Rudy Giuliani rants “9/11,” but I think she’s a little behind the curve. America has “moved on.” You remember Move-on, don’t you, Hill?

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US surveillance of citizens similar to Russia, China

via Glenn Greenwald:

…the annual survey of worldwide privacy rights conducted by Privacy International and EPIC has been released for 2007, and the U.S. has been downgraded from “Extensive Surveillance Society” to “Endemic Surveillance Society,” the worst possible category there is for privacy protections, the category also occupied by countries such as China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia. The survey uses a variety of objective factors to determine the extent of privacy protections citizens enjoy from their government, and the U.S. now finishes at the bottom for obvious reasons.
Evidence that we are becoming a lawless surveillance state is abundant. But let’s forget all of that and figure out how we can best micro-manage the internal affairs of Pakistan and Iraq and Russia and Iran so that we can preserve Freedom and Democracy for the world.

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Harry Reid has to go. period.

The senate majority leader is becoming the minority leader. Though he supposedly hates Bush, he tolerates the truly record-breaking numbers of filibusters and “holds” by the Republicans, who have actually begun to brag about their obstructionism; see today’s Wall Street Journal front page:

Stopping stuff is Sen. Coburn’s specialty. In a Congress that has had trouble passing even the simplest legislation, Sen. Coburn, who proudly wears the nickname “Dr. No,” is a one-man gridlock machine. This year, the senator, who indeed is a medical doctor, single-handedly blocked or slowed more than 90 bills, driving lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to distraction.

It is one thing to have one’s hands tied by the numbers; it is another to let the obstructionists succeed, without making them pay a price in the media. Reid has been a complete failure in this regard.

And now, at the same time he rolls over for Republicans, Reid not only fights the leading senators of his own party, he disses them in the press:

Via Glenn Greenwald:

Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, was speaking the truth as Harry Reid viewed things. Reid could have pushed the FISA bill through if he wanted to, over Dodd’s objections, but it would have taken time, several days. Reid decided to wait till mid-January.

A little noticed statement Reid made to reporters on Tuesday: he said that by mid-to-late January, when the Senate takes up FISA again, it’s likely the presidential campaign will be finished. That was a not-so-subtle dig, I think, at Dodd, who some Democrats believe was grand-standing to try to gain attention for his floundering ’08 campaign. Don’t yell at me for saying this, this is what some Democrats here on the Hill believe.

Eventually, in a month or two, it’s extremely likely the Senate will pass a FISA reauthorization with telecom immunity, so Manley’s comment in that regard was accurate. So those of you in the blogosphere attacking Jim should understand, he’s channeling Reid when he says that.

Reid continues to allow Bush to act as a virtual dictator, and therefore has failed in his position, has failed our country, and is a liability for the Democratic Party.

He needs to step down.

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