Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 11,137
Number of posts: 11,137
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.
Sleep safe and sound tonight, Edward Snowden. You're a patriot in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 09:27 PM (0 replies)
I was asked by J.D.Priestly to post my reply in another thread as an OP. So this one's for you, JDP. JDP had bemoaned the fact that some posters apparently were unfamiliar with Germany's reaction to the NSA spying revelations. So of course, he/she was ridiculed for expecting DUers to familiarize themselves with same, as in "speak German." My post pointed out that English translations of German news sources,such as Der Spiegel, are availalble on line, and provided a link. Specifically, I noted,
I was in Berlin in the fall of 2008, after Obama's triumphant visit there, and before the election. They adored him. A cabdriver asked me if I was Canadian or American. When I replied, "American", he slowed down, turned and said "I hope you be voting Obama." I flipped my backpack around and showed him my honking big Obama button. He smiled, turned off his meter, and gave me a free ride to Tegel airport.
I keep close track of news from Germany, and can tell you there is massive disappointment with Obama's performance - opinions now rate him no better than Bush, and are more bitter, because he raised their hopes. Which is pretty much how I feel about Obama. Anyone who doesn't understand that or is surprised by that is really clueless about German history and current attitudes. Research East Germany and STASI, and educate yourselves. Many Germans still recall blanket surveillance under the communist Stasi secret police, and when news of Washington's covert spying program PRISM broke, the German newspaper headline of choice was "Yes we scan".
Start reading international news sources, instead of White House press releases. That is not directed at you, JD Priestley, but at the true believers still posting uncited, undocumented claims that Obama's popularity is still high in the EU.
Der Spiegel available online in English - here's the link
Letter from Berlin: Spying Scandal Shakes Up German Campaign
German Social Democrats are demanding that Berlin investigate top managers at the American intelligence agency NSA for alleged espionage. It's just the latest example of how the vast spying scandal is making waves in the German election campaign. . . .
Merkel, in other words, suddenly has an Achilles heel. Public opinion in Germany would seem to be one of overwhelming concern about the reach of US surveillance operations and most seem to have a great deal of sympathy for Edward Snowden. An unscientific online survey undertaken by SPIEGEL ONLINE this week found that almost 85 percent of those who responded are in favor of granting Snowden permission to stay in Germany. Other online surveys have arrived at similar numbers.
The SPD and other opposition parties have taken note and have not been shy this week about trying to take advantage. Gabriel said in his interview, for example, that his party continues to believe that intelligence services do not have the right to monitor everybody's communications.
"If that no longer applies in the Internet age, then we are destroying the values-based foundation of our society," he said. "And also the values that have bound the US together with Europe for decades. In this community of values, individual freedom and personal privacy are paramount. It is exactly this which differentiated us from the Communist Bloc."
The following are just some of the negative quotes published elsewhere in Der Spiegel and demonstrating that Germany's disenchantment with Obama is EU wide.
Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, in an interview with broadcaster France 2.
"We need more precise information. But if it is true, it is a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information."
"I was always sure that dictatorships, some authoritarian systems, tried to listen ... but that measures like that are now practiced by an ally, by a friend, that is shocking, in the case that it is true."
German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, in a June 30 statement to the media.
"If media reports are correct, then it is reminiscent of methods used by enemies during the Cold War. It defies belief that our friends in the US see the Europeans as their enemies. There has to finally be an immediate and comprehensive explanation from the US as to whether media reports about completely unacceptable surveillance measures of the US in the EU are true or not. Comprehensive spying on Europeans by Americans cannot be allowed."
Peer Steinbrück, the center-left Social Democratic Party's candidate for Chancellor, in an interview with SPIEGEL ONLINE on June 30.
"The government must clear up the facts as quickly as possible. If the accusations are confirmed, it would go far beyond legitimate security concerns. That would mean that friends and partners were spied on. That would be completely unacceptable."
Luxembourgian Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn on June 30.
"If these reports are true, then it is abhorrent. It would seem that the secret services have gotten out of control. The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies."
"The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism. But the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists. We need a guarantee from the very highest level that it stops immediately."
European Commissioner for Justice Viviane Reding, during a citizens' dialogue in Luxembourg on June 30.
"Partners do not spy on each other. We cannot negotiate over a big trans-Atlantic market if there is the slightest doubt that our partners are carrying out spying activities on the offices of our negotiators. The American authorities should eliminate such doubt swiftly."
Posted by Divernan | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 04:03 PM (24 replies)
Hoover remained as Director of the FBI for 48 years because he had secret files on presidents and members of congress - nobody dared fire him or attack him. He had Martin Luther King, Jr.'s bedroom bugged. He documented Bobby Kennedy's meetings with Marilyn Monroe. He documented illegal abortions, adulterous affairs, homsexuality, drug usage and Mafia ties of members of congress and their families. Lyndon Johnson said of Hoover, "I'd rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in."
If Hoover, with the primitive technology available to him, was able to intimidate Presidents and members of Congress, one can only imagine the near total control the NSA has over those same office holders today.
"Hoover is the inventor of the modern American national security state. Every fingerprint file, every DNA record, every iris recorded through biometrics, every government dossier on every citizen and alien in this country owes its life to him. We live in his shadow, though he's been gone for 40 years. As they always told the agents at the FBI academy when they were training, 'An institution is the length and shadow of a man.' "
The article I cite from below is an interview with author, Ronald Kessler about his book Secrets of the FBI. Here are Kessler's creds:
Ronald Kessler is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen nonfiction books, including In the President’s Secret Service, The Terrorist Watch, Inside the White House, and The CIA at War. A former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, Kessler has won seventeen journalism awards including the George Polk Award for national reporting and for community service.
“The moment Hoover would get something on a senator,” said William Sullivan, who became the number three official in the bureau under Hoover, “he’d send one of the errand boys up and advise the senator that ‘we’re in the course of an investigation, and we by chance happened to come up with this data on your daughter. But we wanted you to know this. We realize you’d want to know it.’ Well, Jesus, what does that tell the senator? From that time on, the senator’s right in his pocket.”
Lawrence J. Heim, who was in the Crime Records Division, confirmed to me that the bureau sent agents to tell members of Congress that Hoover had picked up derogatory information on them.
“He would send someone over on a very confidential basis,” Heim said. As an example, if the Metropolitan Police in Washington had picked up evidence of homosexuality, “he would have him say, ‘This activity is known by the Metropolitan Police Department and some of our informants, and it is in your best interests to know this.’ But nobody has ever claimed to have been blackmailed. You can deduce what you want from that.”Of course, the reason no one publicly claimed to have been blackmailed is that blackmail, by definition, entails collecting embarrassing information that people do not want public. But not everyone was intimidated.
Reading the Official and Confidential files that survived makes it clear they could have been gathered for no other purpose than blackmail. For example, on June 13, 1958, the head of the Washington field office informed Hoover that, prior to marrying a member of Congress, the member’s wife had been “having an affair with a Negro also at one time carried on an affair with a House Post Office employee.” More recently, the report said, the congressman’s wife “endeavored to have an affair with Indonesian, who declined.”
In response to this tidbit, Hoover wrote back on June 25 that it was “certainly thoughtful of you to advise me of matters of current interest, and I am glad to have the benefit of this information.”
“This was a way of putting congressmen on notice that we had something on them and therefore they would be more disposed to meeting the bureau’s needs and keeping Hoover in power,” says John J. McDermott, who headed the Washington field office and eventually became deputy associate FBI director.
Hoover let presidents know that he had dirt on them as well. For example, on March 22, 1962, Hoover had lunch with President Kennedy. Hoover told him that through bugs and wiretaps, the FBI had learned that Jack was having an affair with Judith Campbell Exner, a twenty five-year-old divorcée. Hoover informed the president that Exner was also having an affair with Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana. Because Hoover knew such tidbits, no president would fire him.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 07:44 AM (1 replies)
The final outcome depends upon how the govt. spends the income - as in relocating, educating, providing medical care for impoverished indigenous peoples.
"In an interview, Ecuador's secretary of hydrocarbons, Andrés Donoso Fabara, accused indigenous leaders of misrepresenting their communities to achieve political goals. "These guys with a political agenda, they are not thinking about development or about fighting against poverty," he said.
Fabara said the government had decided not to open certain blocks of land to bidding because it lacked support from local communities. "We are entitled by law, if we wanted, to go in by force and do some activities even if they are against them," he said. "But that's not our policy."
Now let us consider how the US Big Oil companies raped Ecuador's environment and the indigenous populations for decades! Texaco was the primary international oil company exporting oil from the coast of Ecuador. This company managed the oil operation from 1971 to 1992, when it was nationalized by Ecuador.
Texaco's contract for oil production in Ecuador expired in 1992. PetroEcuador then took over 100% of the oil production management. 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil was reported to have been extracted while under the management of Texaco. There were also reports of 19 billion gallons of waste that had been dumped into the natural environment with the absence of any monitoring or overseeing to prevent damages to the surrounding areas. In addition there was a report of 16.8 million gallons of crude that was dispersed into the environment in relation to spillage out of the Trans-Ecuadorian pipeline.
In the early 1990s a lawsuit led by Ecuadorian government officials of 1.5 billion dollars was presented against the Texaco company with claims that there was an immense pollution epidemic that led to the demise of many natural environments as well as an increase in human illnesses.
Posted by Divernan | Thu Jun 27, 2013, 12:00 PM (1 replies)
Special bonuses for cramming more than 3 of their scripted talking points into a single post? And an extra BIG, try-to-cut-'em-off-at-the-knees bonus for being the first one to respond to any latest breaking news post documenting negative actions, motivations or behaviors by their hero or hero's agents/minions/appointees.
My dog, how the money rolls in! Do they have a Hall of Infamy for those lemmings who post more than a certain number of times per thread? Award the Medal of Dishonor to anyone posting more than 200 times per 24 hour period? Is there a super-secret annual awards dinner? A faux gold sheep? "The 2013 Sheeple Award for the greatest number of anti Snowden/pro NSA posts goes to _ _ _ _ _!
Einstein had it right:"Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
Posted by Divernan | Mon Jun 17, 2013, 02:16 PM (0 replies)
You just love the Citizens United decision, right? Because you conflate prosecuting Big Banking with giving only lip service to civil liberties. Some might find your position amazing - but then they are not familiar with your long-standing, knee-jerk defense of any scintilla of criticism of Obama or his administration. Here's the deal and it's a very big deal, so try to keep up:
THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND LAWS GRANT CIVIL LIBERTIES TO INDIVIDUALS, NOT CORPORATIONS.
Liberties of the United States are certain inalienable rights retained by (as opposed to privileges granted to) citizens of the United States under the Constitution of the United States, as interpreted and clarified by the Supreme Court of the United States and lower federal courts.
Civil liberties are simply defined as individual legal and constitutional protections from entities more powerful than an individual, for example, parts of the government, other individuals, or corporations. The liberties explicitly defined, make up the Bill of Rights, including freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and the right to privacy. There are also many liberties of people not defined in the Constitution, as stated in the Ninth Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
And give an example where prosecution by the "U.S. government", i.e, Obama's Justice Department has or has not been a "slam dunk". I can think of problems the Justice Dept. has had with prosecuting medical marijuana growers, distributors and purchasers. Those pesky juries, state legislators and judges just won't get with Holder/Obama's program, will they? But let's talk about "too big to fail" interests - ya know - the ones with the lobbyists regularly bribing politicians with the big fat campaign contributions. What Holder was really thinking when he said "too big to fail" was "too big a contributor to the guy who appointed me to be prosecuted".
Of course, neither Holder nor Obama nor you can quote any section of any state or federal l law which excludes perpetrators on the grounds that they are "too big to fail" or recognizes a defense of "too big to fail".
Given the evidence detailed in the OP, and speaking as a retired government attorney and law professor, I say yes, prosecuting the Bank of America is a slam dunk.
Posted by Divernan | Sun Jun 16, 2013, 12:18 AM (1 replies)
How appalling and disgusting to see Bill Clinton devote his considerable mental abilities & political skills to glorify and exploit the demise of the US working class. He sounds like goddamn Romney speaking at a fundraiser to his one percent donors. "Hey, fellas! This is great! We've ripped off the US working class/middle class down to the point they're at a third world level! Or as I, Bill Clinton, like to describe it: America's wages are now on parity globally!" No wonder Clinton, Obama & the 2 Bushes distanced themselves physically from Jimmy Carter in that Oval Office photo of the 5 presidents. Carter is to that bunch of uber capitalists as garlic is to vampires or holy water sprinkled on evil spirits.
China's per capita income is three and a half times less than that of the U.S., and even less than Brazil. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2013/03/23/within-three-years-u-s-no-longer-no-1/
For god's sake, all you Clinton supporters. Look at the numbers he gleefully relies upon to claim the US has global parity re wages. The US race to the bottom re the difference in income distribution between the 1 percent and the rest of us, the huge increase in payoffs to corporate board members, the obscenely high ratio of CEO pay to worker bee pay as compared to other civilized countries like Germany, etc., - of course America's wages have dropped to the point of being on parity with third world countries.
New estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau put China in the lead with 1.34 billion residents, followed by India with 1.19 billion. The United States is a distant third with 311.1 million people.
Rounding out the top five are Indonesia (245.6 million) and Brazil (203.4 million)
RATIO OF PAY - CEO: Average worker
Americans are falling out of the middle class at an alarming rate. It has been observed that the only way kids of middle class families will be able to remain in the middle class is if they each inherit considerable funds.
Posted by Divernan | Sat Jun 15, 2013, 07:37 AM (1 replies)
Source: Yahoo linking to op-ed published today in Guardian
Daniel Ellsberg, whose leak of the so-called Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971 exposed the secret history of the war in Vietnam, thinks Edward Snowden's leak of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs was more important than his.
"In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material, and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago," Ellsberg wrote in an op-ed published by the Guardian on Monday. "Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an 'executive coup' against the U.S. constitution."
Ellsberg added on CNN Sunday night that “it can’t be overestimated to this democracy. It gives us a chance, I think, from drawing back from the total surveillance state that we could say we’re in process of becoming, I’m afraid we have become. That’s what he’s revealed.
In 2011, Ellsberg was among a group of noted whistle-blowers that penned an open letter asking that a "transparency award" given to Obama earlier that year be rescinded. They called the Obama administration's record on secrecy and surveillance "a disgrace."
Read more: http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/ellsberg-snowden-nsa-leak-pentagon-papers-142811185.html
In the Guardian, Ellsberg scoffed at Obama's response, and effectively schooled the Obama administration and all the loyalists trying to spin this matter on DU:
For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense—as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time—as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads—they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor. They are also black holes for information that the public needs to know.
The fact that congressional leaders were "briefed" on this and went along with it, without any open debate, hearings, staff analysis, or any real chance for effective dissent, only shows how broken the system of checks and balances is in this country.
Posted by Divernan | Mon Jun 10, 2013, 02:37 PM (46 replies)
Really? Here's an example of being easily manipulated. That would be a guy who believes prostitutes when they tell him they're prostitutes because they like sex and the money is just a side benefit. Get real, fella! What good businesswoman is going to tell her clients: you're homely, you've got bad breath, your huge pot belly repulses me, when was the last time you bathed, or, no wonder your wife doesn't want you to touch her? Sex Ed 101: A prostitute will say the things that will (1) help the client to "finish" ASAP and (2) come back for return visits. And amazingly each and every one of the 4 prostitutes of your acquaintance all felt compelled to tell you they do it because they like sex. Were they all marketing the Brooklyn Bridge as well? Talk about pathetically gullible and manipulated!
"I know prostitutes"
One I met at a strip club and we're good friends. A couple of others I met through her, another I met the old fashioned way.
All of them are in it because they like sex. The money is a side benefit.
Posted by Divernan | Sat Jun 8, 2013, 03:57 PM (1 replies)
I thought anyone who claimed interest in a topic such as Kristallnacht would have a broader knowledge of Hitler's well-known hatred of Berlin.
Hitler hated Berlin. He hated its cosmopolitanism, its freewheeling bohemianism, its messy vitality, its insolence. It was the only major city that the Nazis failed to win in the 1932 elections. It was long a center of left-wing support. That's why all the big party rallies were in Nuremberg, and not in Berlin.
"Munich was the birthplace of the Nazis. Hitler was popular there, while Berlin had always been a leftist city. In fact, Hitler hated Berlin - it was Goebbels’ idea that the new government should set up in Berlin. As a result, the city was damaged by air raids, and especially by the Battle of Berlin. After the war, Berlin suffered once again when she was split among the allies and consequently the divided by The Wall. While Berlin paid for Munich’s mistakes over decades, Munich prospered – and still prospers now, while Berlin, the great building site, is in ruins. (posted in 2010)
As to Kristallnacht, if you would visit Hitler's first concentration camp, Sachsenhausen, located near Oranienburg, just north of Berlin, you would learn that for the first two years after it was opened in 1936 (prior to Kristallnacht, in November of 1938), there were no Jews there, but rather Berliners who were journalists, priests and ministers, academics, artists, homosexuals, trade unionists and communists - the cream of the city's intellectuals and political activists.
So I make no apologies for Berlin.
Posted by Divernan | Fri May 17, 2013, 07:54 PM (0 replies)