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The AP phone records scandal is seven years old

Apparently, there is a lot of outrage right now over the trampling of press freedoms occasioned by the FBI’s secret perusal of AP’s phone records.

The president of the Associated Press called it a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into newsgathering activities, while Dana Milbank at the Washington Post reported today that the press . . . → Read More: The AP phone records scandal is seven years old

Petitioning for a National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change

Go here to sign the petition requesting a National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change.

National Intelligence Estimates provide the consensus view on a particular intelligence/security issue among all the US intelligence agencies. The most notable recent ones were the 2002 NIE on Iraq, in which analysts and agencies were most assuredly not pressured by . . . → Read More: Petitioning for a National Intelligence Estimate on Climate Change

The IMF wants me, plus, Iraq Who?

The latest scam spam in my inbox is a letter from a high-ranking official of the International Monetary Fund telling me to deal only with him in recovering my money from Nigeria. What is it with Nigeria?

Okay, so the war in Iraq is over, according to Obama. This is because the Iraqis rejected his energetic pleas to let him keep some troops in the country—”Okay, not 30,000. How about 10,000? 5? 3500? Okay, fine, we’re leaving, but don’t blame me if we have to come back in with guns a-blazing …”—rather than observing the exit plan humorously agreed upon by the Bush administration.

But even with that we’re not leaving, not if you count the 16,000-strong crowd manning the murder holes in the State Department’s gigantic downtown Baghdad bunker. By way of comparison, that’s almost as many people as staff every other US embassy in the world combined, minus Afghanistan.
Continue reading The IMF wants me, plus, Iraq Who?

“… we’re accountable only to the people, not special interests.”

This is what Barack Obama tells me in his new email trying to part me from my $3. “Our campaign rejects all contributions from Washington lobbyists, and we refuse all money from corporate PACs. That means we’re accountable only to the people, not special interests.”

That’s nonsense, of course. That’s a lie. What are special interests if not people? People with money. People with lots and lots and lots of money, and particular interests that they share with other people who have lots and lots and lots of money.
Continue reading “… we’re accountable only to the people, not special interests.”

The fabulous new BTC News forum

We’ve added a bulletin board-like thing to the site which at some point will be integrated with the blog but for now is separate. You will find it here. It’s very basic and wholly undecorated at the moment, but presumably the decoration pixies will stop in sometime and remedy that.

Meanwhile, I’ll appreciate . . . → Read More: The fabulous new BTC News forum

Moving closer to one-party right-wing rule

A few days ago I wrote about a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece by former Microsoft COO Bob Herbold, who had recently returned from a visit to China. Herbold was enthused by the strides that country is making toward building a modern infrastructure and investing in technology development and scientific research. The lesson he took away from China’s progress is that the US needs to deal with “the burden of entitlements”—no surprise, coming from the Journal’s editorial pages—and elect a unified government capable of emulating China’s five-year plans. He expressed admiration for China’s own government, saying that “[t]he autocratic Chinese leadership gets things done fast (currently the autocrats seem to be highly effective).”

Herbold is far from the only person who dreams of a unity government and has access to opinion pages. New York Times doofus Tom Friedman reliably calls for a gridlock-shattering third party representing the massive Tom Friedman segment of the electorate, although he stops short of recommending dictatorial powers for Michael Bloomberg or whichever “centrist” plutocrat/daddy figure he thinks can crack the whip over a fractious Congress and impose the grownup agenda favored by wealthy columnists across the land. (Particularly entertaining was his insistence that Bloomberg couldn’t be influenced by money because he already has most of it.)
Continue reading Moving closer to one-party right-wing rule

Millionaires gather to steal from the old, the sick and the poor

That the rich relentlessly thieve from the poor is hardly fresh news, but a more attentive institutional press might see fit to mention, at least once in a while, how well off the negotiators wrangling over how deeply to cut social welfare programs are. Nobody in Congress will ever have to rely on Social Security to stay solvent, or on Medicare or Medicaid to stay alive.

The press might also see fit to mention that even the most impoverished inhabitants of Congress, even if they never work another day in their lives, have no other income and never get a dime from Social Security, will almost certainly take home more in retirement pay—they get generous pensions and taxpayer-assisted 401-K plans—than the median income in this country.
Continue reading Millionaires gather to steal from the old, the sick and the poor

Gone Fishin’

Or out to lunch or whatever. In any event, could be a while. Meanwhile, click on the “continue reading” link for expressive visuals.
Continue reading Gone Fishin’

A picture is worth 1,000 words, so I don’t have to write anything

I took this at about 3PM by the Santa Monica pier at low tide on an overcast day. At the risk of sounding immodest, please don’t use it without asking me for permission.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pier, these two gulls were into some kind of weird social transaction . . . → Read More: A picture is worth 1,000 words, so I don’t have to write anything

From the annals of really bad decisions …

“Public Pension Funds Are Adding Risk to Raise Returns”

States and companies have started investing very differently when it comes to the billions of dollars they are safeguarding for workers’ retirement.

Companies are quietly and gradually moving their pension funds out of stocks. They want to reduce their investment risk and are buying more . . . → Read More: From the annals of really bad decisions …