Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 42,943
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 42,943
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From the It's a Living Department:
Blackwater Lobbyist Will Manage the House Intelligence Committee
Jeff Shockey, a lobbyist for defense contractors and Academi. He will soon lead the day to day operations of the House Intelligence Committee.
BY LEE FANG
Republic Report, Dec. 18, 2014
After lobbyist-run SuperPACs and big money efforts dominated the last election, legislators are now appointing lobbyists to literally manage the day-to-day affairs of Congress. For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.
Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the House reconvenes in January, announced that Jeff Shockey will be the new Staff Director of the committee. As a paid representative of Academi, Shockey and his firm have earned $80,000 this year peddling influence on behalf of Academi.
In previous years, the House Intelligence Committee has investigated Blackwater over secret contracts with the Central Intelligence Agency. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. As Staff Director, the highest position on a committee for a staff member, Shockey will oversee the agencies that do business with his former employer.
Shockey also represents a number of other companies with business before defense agencies: General Dynamics, Koch Industries, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance, Innovative Defense Technologies and Boeing.
Other committees are also hiring lobbyists. Congessman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) replacement as chair of the Oversight Committee, just hired Podesta Group lobbyist Sean McLaughlin as his new Staff Director. McLaughlin’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a trade association for corporate CEOs of large firms. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) also hired a new chief of staff, Mark Isakowitz, who represents BP.
"Money trumps peace." -- pretzeldent George Walker Bush, Feb. 14, 2007 really means the family continues its reign as the World's Merchants of Death.
Posted by Octafish | Tue Dec 23, 2014, 11:53 AM (13 replies)
NAZI cops may be more common than commonly believed.
Posted by Octafish | Sun Dec 21, 2014, 10:17 PM (0 replies)
Posted by Octafish | Thu Dec 18, 2014, 01:41 PM (0 replies)
by Jerry Meldon & Robert Parry
ConsortiumNews, April 25, 2005
While the Bush administration holds dozens of suspected Muslim terrorists on secret or flimsy evidence, one of the world’s most notorious terrorists slipped into the United States via Mexico and traveled to Florida without setting off any law enforcement alarms.
Though the terrorist’s presence has been an open secret in Miami, neither President George W. Bush nor Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has ordered a manhunt. The U.S. press corps has been largely silent as well.
The reason is that this terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, was a CIA-trained Cuban whose long personal war against Fidel Castro’s government is viewed sympathetically by the two Bush brothers and their father. When it comes to the Bush family, Posada is the epitome of the old saying that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
The Bush administration – which has imprisoned Jose Padilla and other alleged Muslim “enemy combatants” without trial – has taken a far more lenient approach toward the 77-year-old Posada, who is still wanted in Venezuela for the bombing of a Cubana Airlines plane in 1976 that killed 73 people. Posada also has admitted involvement in a deadly hotel bombing campaign in Cuba in 1997.
Maybe this friend of the BFEE will finally face Justice -- here and in Cuba.
Posted by Octafish | Wed Dec 17, 2014, 01:47 PM (6 replies)
NEWS from the Who Watches the Watchers Department:
James Randi: debunking the king of the debunkers
James Randi, star sceptic and subject of the documentary An Honest Liar, is dedicated to exposing magicians and spoonbenders. Is he guilty of a little sleight of hand himself?
By Will Storr
The Telegraph (London), 7:19AM GMT 09 Dec 2014
There are few public figures who’ve had decades of an almost perfectly positive press, as James Randi has. The 87-year-old debunker of the paranormal was Richard Dawkins before God invented Richard Dawkins - angry, verbally aggressive, a hero to the kinds of people who don’t believe in Big Foot and are rational enough to become sleepless with fury at the brainlessness of the idiots who do.
One better known complainant was Dr Rupert Sheldrake, the Cambridge biologist whose controversial idea of morphic resonance allows for the theoretical existence of ESP. To test his notion, Sheldrake ran a number of studies on a dog that seemed to know when its owner was coming home.
Following a burst of publicity for Sheldrake, Randi told a journalist, “We at JREF have tested these claims. They fail.” But when I met Sheldrake, at his Hampstead home, he made a serious charge. “Randi’s a liar and a cheat,” he said. “When I asked him for the data, he had to admit he hadn’t done any tests.”
According to Sheldrake, his direct requests for data were twice ignored. After appealing to others at the JREF, Randi eventually wrote back, explaining that he couldn’t supply the data because it got washed away in a flood and that the dogs he tested are now in Mexico and their owner was “tragically killed last year in a dreadful accident.”
But, publicly, Randi then attacked Sheldrake. Of his own failure to provide the data he wrote, “A search of our site would have supplied (Sheldrake) with all the details he could possibly wish. Alternately, I could have supplied them, if only he had issued a request. That’s what we do at the JREF.”
Odd how a person can build a reputation by appearances, only to have it vanish the instant the truth is discovered.
Posted by Octafish | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 08:31 PM (307 replies)
Barry Eisler at 10:49 am Tue, Dec 16, 2014
If you don’t believe America has political prisoners, you’ve never heard of Barrett Brown. Which would be a shame on several fronts, because you’d be missing out on one of America’s most fearless and talented reporters, and on an object lesson regarding just how far the government is willing to go to suppress journalism and intimidate journalists.
I first came across Barrett in a 2009 issue of Vanity Fair, where he had written an article called “Thomas Friedman’s Five Worst Predictions.” The article perfectly showcased what I subsequently learned were the Barrett Brown trademarks: iconoclastic insight; hilarious wit, ranging from the dry to the outrageous; a broad and deep frame of reference; incisive argument; complete fearlessness about offending anyone deserving of offense; an abiding sense of citizenship and patriotism.
I was wowed by the article—both its substance, and, even rarer among political writers, its style. I sent Barrett an email telling him how much I had enjoyed it. A conversation ensued, during which Barrett asked if I’d be interested in reading the manuscript of his forthcoming book, Hot, Fat, and Clouded, with a chapter apiece on Friedman and other such bloviators. I told him it would be my pleasure. And it was—the book is a knockout, a hilarious, inarguable skewering of the self-indulgent empty-headedness and hypocrisy of Friedman and various other members of establishment punditry, the strength of whose brands somehow mysteriously manages to outpace the wreckage of all their mistaken judgments.
I told Barrett at length how much I enjoyed the book. He made a few changes, then sent me the revised manuscript and asked me to safeguard it in case anything untoward happened to him. I thought he was being melodramatic.
He was not.
In 2009, Barrett founded Project PM, “dedicated to investigating private government contractors working in the secretive fields of cybersecurity, intelligence, and surveillance.” He was particularly instrumental in using documents obtained by the hacktivist collective Anonymous to expose secret collaboration between the government and various contractors. The covert factions Barrett’s work threatened are powerful, and fought back. Two years ago, Barrett was arrested and threatened with 100 years in prison—yes, you read that correctly—allegedly for threatening an FBI agent, concealing evidence, and linking to a website that contained stolen credit card numbers. The allegations themselves are sufficiently preposterous, and the threatened sentence sufficiently draconian, to make it clear that Barrett, like William Binney, Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Jeremy Hammond, Jon Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Jesselyn Radack, Edward Snowden, Aaron Swartz, Thomas Tamm, and many others, is in fact being persecuted as an example to anyone else who would dare challenge America’s Deep State.
Eventually, Barrett signed a plea deal on three of the lesser charges against him, the other charges were dropped, and the threatened sentence reduced from over a hundred to eight and a half years. His sentencing hearing has been repeatedly scheduled and then delayed, and is currently set for December 16.
If you agree with Martin Luther King’s dictum that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and if you believe that threats to journalists like Barrett are a threat to the dignity and freedom of all citizens, there are a number of ways in which you can make a difference:
Follow FreeBarrettBrown on Twitter.
In doing what you can, you’re not just standing for Barrett. You’re standing for the First Amendment and for the values of freedom and Constitutional government that all Americans should hold dear.
SOURCE w/LINKS: http://boingboing.net/2014/12/16/opinion-why-you-should-care-a.html
Knowing how Gov. Don Siegelman was railroaded by Karl Rove's appointees at Justice, and what happened to John Kiriakou and -- long before him -- Abraham Bolden, I can see how the government could build case against Barrett Brown. That said, the First Amendment is why we are free, let alone have a chance against the War Party.
Posted by Octafish | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 06:45 PM (2 replies)
Guy gets it:
America on a War Footing: Three Members of Congress Just Reignited the Cold War While No One Was Looking
by Dennis Kucinich
Truth Dig, Dec. 15, 2014
Late Thursday night, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a far-reaching Russia sanctions bill, a hydra-headed incubator of poisonous conflict. The second provocative anti-Russian legislation in a week, it further polarizes our relations with Russia, helping to cement a Russia-China alliance against Western hegemony, and undermines long-term America’s financial and physical security by handing the national treasury over to war profiteers.
Here’s how the House’s touted “unanimity” was achieved: Under a parliamentary motion termed “unanimous consent,” legislative rules can be suspended and any bill can be called up. If any member of Congress objects, the motion is blocked and the bill dies.
At 10:23:54 p.m. on Thursday, a member rose to ask “unanimous consent” for four committees to be relieved of a Russia sanctions bill. At this point the motion, and the legislation, could have been blocked by a single member who would say “I object.” No one objected, because no one was watching for last-minute bills to be slipped through.
Most of the House and the media had emptied out of the chambers after passage of the $1.1 trillion government spending package.
The Congressional Record will show only three of 425 members were present on the floor to consider the sanctions bill. Two of the three feigned objection, creating the legislative equivalent of a ‘time out.’ They entered a few words of support, withdrew their “objections” and the clock resumed.
According to the clerk’s records, once the bill was considered under unanimous consent, it was passed, at 10:23:55 p.m., without objection, in one recorded, time-stamped second, unanimously.
Then the House adjourned.
I discovered, in my 16 years in Congress, that many members seldom read the legislation on which they vote. On Oct. 24, 2001, House committees spent long hours debating the Patriot Act. At the last minute, the old bill was swapped out for a version with draconian provisions. I voted against that version of the Patriot Act, because I read it. The legislative process requires attention.
Posted by Octafish | Tue Dec 16, 2014, 12:25 PM (0 replies)
Clue: Hypocrite First Class and worse, a Dominionist turd of the BFEE.
Posted by Octafish | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 08:22 PM (0 replies)
By William K. Black
Bloomington, MN: December 10, 2014
We know that insider trading is an activity in which cheaters prosper. We know that Wall Street and the City of London are dominated by a fraudulent culture and we know that firm culture is set by the officers that control the firm. We know that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has allowed that to occur by refusing to prosecute any of the thousands of senior bank officers who became wealthy by leading the three most destructive financial fraud epidemics (appraisals, “liar’s” loans, and fraudulent sales of these fraudulently originated mortgages to the secondary market) in history. No one is surprised that Wall Street’s elites have also engaged in widespread efforts to rig the stock markets so that they can shoot fish in the barrel through insider trading. Unlike the three fraud epidemics, one DOJ office, the Southern District of New York, has brought a series of criminal prosecutions against these officers.
Wall Street’s court of appeals (the Second Circuit) has just issued an opinion not simply overturning guilty verdicts but making it impossible to retry the elite Wall Street defendants that grew wealthy through trading on insider information. Indeed, the opinion reads like a roadmap (or a script) that every corrupt Wall Street elite can follow to create a cynical system of cutouts (ala SAC) that will allow the most senior elites to profit by trading on insider information as a matter of routine with total impunity. The Second Circuit decision makes any moderately sophisticated insider trading scheme that uses cutouts to protect the elite traders a perfect crime. It is a perfect crime because (1) it is guaranteed to make the elite traders who trades on the basis of what he knows is secret, insider information wealthy absent successful prosecutions and (2) using the Second Circuit’s decision as a fraud roadmap, an elite trader can arrange the scheme with total impunity from the criminal laws. The Second Circuit ruling appears to make the financial version of “don’t ask; don’t tell” a complete defense to insider trading prosecutions. The Second Circuit does not simply make it harder to prosecute – they make it impossible to prosecute sophisticated insider fraud schemes in which the elites use junior cutouts to create (totally implausible) deniability.
The New York Times article on the decision was entitled “Two Insider Trading Convictions Are Overturned in Blow to Prosecutors.” The title is partially correct. The real blows, however, were to investors, the already crippled integrity of Wall Street, and every honest trader on Wall Street who cannot possibly compete with his rivals who cheat through the “sure thing” of insider trading now that the Second Circuit has written an opinion explaining how to corrupt the entire system with impunity from the criminal laws.
Wall Street’s most recent effort to rig the markets through insider trading is far larger and more audacious than any prior effort, including those by Michael Milken and Boesky. Wall Street elites sought to institutionalize the corruption of officers of a wide range of publicly traded corporations. The goal was to gain a corrupt advantage over honest investors in trillions of dollars in securities trades.
The Second Circuit decision admits that the prosecutors presented evidence established a massive conspiracy designed to allow Wall Street elites to profit by engaging in insider trading, a conspiracy that greatly enriched the defendants that were convicted in the case under appeal.
“At trial, the Government presented evidence that a group of financial analysts exchanged information they obtained from company insiders, both directly and more often indirectly. Specifically, the Government alleged that these analysts received information from insiders at Dell and NVIDIA disclosing those companies’ earnings numbers before they were publicly released in Dell’s May 2008 and August 2008 earnings announcements and NVIDIA’s May 2008 earnings announcement. These analysts then passed the inside information to their portfolio managers, including Newman and Chiasson, who, in turn, executed trades in Dell and NVIDIA stock, earning approximately $4 million and $68 million, respectively, in profits for their respective funds.”
The Second Circuit was not distressed that senior Wall Street officials received information that was clearly insider information that they knew they should not have access to. The insider information they were provided was the crown jewels – two major corporations’ soon to be announced “numbers” – at least one of which was sure to be a major surprise to the markets. A senior trader that knows “the number” in advance, particularly when he knows that the number will be a surprise, can shoot fish in a small barrel with a large shotgun. The insider information allows the senior trader to reduce the risk of loss to trivial levels while increasing the probability of gain to near certainty. The trader makes a fortune by cheating, not through any unusual skill. The senior trader knows that no employee of any publicly traded corporation is permitted to release such secret and proprietary insider information to investors.
Do you know a lot of people this affects, really?
Posted by Octafish | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 08:12 PM (8 replies)
Poppy Bush and bin Laden brother were at the same Carlyle Group meeting on September 11.
Bin Ladens soon thereafter "liquidated" their holdings.
The late, senior bin Laden brother financially backed Smirko Bush.
BTW: Carlyle Group today also owns Booz Allen Hamilton, NSA's go-to contractor.
Posted by Octafish | Mon Dec 15, 2014, 09:48 AM (0 replies)