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Gender: Female
Hometown: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Sep 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
Number of posts: 71,955

Journal Archives

Why the Federal Reserve Needs an Overhaul by William Greider


This 100-year-old antique is undemocratic, too close to elite banking interests and often blind to the economic conditions that affect most Americans.


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts: If the Currency Collapses & You Try to Flee Into Gold,There Won't Be Any


Okay, let's think about this


And furthermore, why would any foreign national have anything to do with any American-origin bank, knowing that they are responsible for the economic whirlwind that threatens all people of all nations?

The ONLY SENSIBLE THING to do is to cut off the USA and its Banksters and Corporations...boycott, deface, steal and extort legally or not. Any other course of action is enabling one's own rape and pillage.

I expect all treaties to be broken, all deals called off, open economic warfare, and open arms for ALL political refugees, not just Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald. And there will be a lot of them.

If we are lucky, it won't get to a shooting war. If it does, expect to be droned.

The Golden Sacks Alumnae can expect to be hanging from the lampposts in whichever European nation they are sacking. And then, maybe we can have some hope of real change in the favor of people, not legal fictions like Corporations.

Weekend Economists Watch the Stars Fall February 14-16, 2014

There have been so many deaths in the Entertainment world lately, but the one I felt the most was America's Sweetheart, Shirley Temple. Shirley was the best friend for little girls for the past 80 years...4 generations and counting. She never grew old, and never will.


Shirley Temple, who has died aged 85, was that rare example of a Hollywood child star who, when the cameras stopped rolling, carved out a new career.

With her ringlets, dimples and precocious talent, America's "Little Princess", charmed audiences during the 1930s Depression. For four years, she was Hollywood's biggest box-office star, representing the kind of sweet, innocent girl everyone wanted as their daughter. And, after a period of domesticity, she re-emerged as a successful businesswoman and politician.

Shirley Temple was born in Santa Monica, California on 23 April 1928. Encouraged by her mother Gertrude, she learned to dance while she was still a toddler and was enrolled in a Los Angeles dance school at the age of three. This led to her being signed up by a talent spotter for Educational Pictures, which promptly featured her in a series of one-reelers entitled Baby Burlesques. Temple later described them as "a cynical exploitation of our childish innocence that occasionally were racist or sexist".

When Educational went bust in 1933, she signed up with Fox Film Corporation, appearing in a number of bit parts. In 1934, Stand Up and Cheer became her first feature film and she stole the show with her rendition of "Baby Take a Bow".

Her box-office potential was obvious and by the age of six she was earning $1,250 (£760) a week; more than $21,000 (£12,750) at today's values. The income from her films was doubled by sales of merchandise, including Shirley Temple dolls and a host of girls' clothes and accessories.

Temple's mother always accompanied her during filming. Years later, Temple recalled how her mother had been furious when a director sent her on an errand and then made Temple cry by frightening her.

"She never again left me alone on a set," Temple said.

Her mother was also said to have done her hair for each movie, with every hairstyle having exactly 56 curls.

Across the world, audiences flocked to see her in films such as Little Miss Marker and The Little Colonel and The The Littlest Rebel. The success of her films, such as Curly Top, was credited with helping save 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy. Everyone sang along to her songs, especially On the Good Ship Lollipop, which appeared in the film Bright Eyes. In 1935 she was awarded a special juvenile Oscar and her foot and handprints were added to those of stars such as Jean Harlow and Mary Pickford outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. On her ninth birthday, Temple received more than 135,000 presents from around the world, according to The Films of Shirley Temple, a 1978 book by Robert Windeler. The gifts included a baby kangaroo from Australia and a prize Jersey calf from schoolchildren in Oregon.

The late Roddy McDowall, a fellow child star and friend of Temple, once said: "She's indelible in the history of America because she appeared at a time of great social need, and people took her to their hearts."

By the age of 10, Temple was the country's top box-office draw. President Roosevelt even credited her with helping to raise American morale during the trials of the Great Depression. Her own assessment of this period is somewhat different. "I class myself with Rin Tin Tin," she once said, referring to the canine star. "They fell in love with a dog and a little girl." Goodness always triumphed over evil in her plots, which were often based on traditional fairy stories. As she got older her character was altered slightly as the fresh-faced little six-year-old turned into a pre-adolescent.

Shirley Temple and Sybil Jason in The Little Princess The Little Princess marked the peak of her career

The studio, aware that time was not on their side, began to invest more money in her films which, certainly in the early days, had been made on a tight budget. Directors of the stature of John Ford were hired and his collaboration with her, Wee Willie Winkie, remained Temple's favourite. The peak of her film career came in 1939 when The Little Princess, her first outing in Technicolor, became a critical and box-office success. It was loosely based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, about a girl who is left in a boarding school while her father goes off to fight in the Boer War.

The obit goes on for several more decades...I also heard snippets of a BBC radio interview in which Shirley talked about potting Eleanor Roosevelt with a slingshot at a White House barbecue...

Shine on, Bright Eyes!

Can You Guess the 10 Best Countries For Women? Hint: the U.S. Isn't One of Them


So which countries ranked above the United States? Not surprisingly, Scandinavia (known for their kick-ass policies on promoting gender equality) scored extremely high yet again with the top 10 as follows:

1. Iceland

2. Finland

3. Norway

4. Sweden

5. Philippines

6. Ireland

7. New Zealand

8. Denmark

9. Switzerland

10. Nicaragua

I always felt that the Life Is Not Fair meme should ONLY refer to:

genetic or communicable diseases and other natural disasters.

The whole purpose of a social organism like humanity is to compensate for those things beyond our control.

You can never have enough warm socks –Tom McNamara The Guardian


I'm just a regular guy. I've been a special education teacher most of my life. I've had great moments and crummy ones, including a very low period after a divorce. But as I neared retirement, I looked at life and everyone around me differently. One night as my friend Craig and I were walking to the entrance of the Chicago Blackhawks game, I had a revelation. My friend and I have been going to the games for a decade, and the same homeless man was always stands at the same corner holding his cup asking for change and is polite as he can be. If he receives nothing he still says "God Bless You, have a good night." I know there are many homeless like this in many cities...My friend and I had been putting something into his cup when we left games for many years, but this particular night my friend and I decided that rather than selling our extra ticket we would put it into his cup and see what he does. We just left it for him. At the end of the game, as everyone knows, people rush to get to their cars to get out of the parking lots. The crowds are huge, but our new friend was looking for us and when he saw us his grin was ear to ear. As we walked by he said, "I got $50 for that ticket God Bless You and thank you for your kindness."

I've mentored and encouraged many students over the years, including many on the autism spectrum that society too often casts aside, but something about night that stirred me. About that time, I also heard of The Joy of Sox, a husband and wife team in Philadelphia that give socks to the homeless. It's something so basic, yet necessary. As my friend at the Hawks game always says: you can never have enough warm socks. This was the start of how I became known as "The Sockman". I bought some socks on my own, and I asked friends and relatives to forgo gifts for birthdays and Christmas and just give me socks. The response has been incredible, including former students and athletes I coached collecting for me.

My first trip was in my home state of Illinois. I went down to Decatur and stopped at two homeless shelters and other places around the city. I delivered close to 200 pair of socks that day alone. I began not just to hand out socks, but to try to stop and talk to people and hear their stories. One building looked as if it were a jail, it had barbed wire around it, one way in and one way out. Two gentlemen approached me, and I wasn't sure if I had done the right thing, but I was there so what could I do. They both politely asked if they could help me. I said I was the Sockman, and I was here to deliver socks to people who are struggling at this time in their life. They both smiled at each other and invited me into the building. It was the first time I had ever been inside what I thought a prison might be like. I asked how many residents they had at the facility: 60. I counted out 60 and presented them to what they called was the "main man". He explained that this was a halfway facility, and when they earned the right, they would move up the block to a different facility. I then went to the place up the block. A similar scenario played out, and I started riding around Decatur looking for homeless individuals in the cold. The reaction was always the same "Thank You and God Bless".

I talked with many of my friends and asked their ideas about not only being the Sockman, but what they thought about me selling my house, buying an RV and traveling around the United States to help the homeless. Needless to say, most of them thought I had lost my mind. My son felt I was having a midlife crisis but as I explained my idea, they all started getting excited for me. I wasn't sure how I was going to get my socks, so I challenged my friends to see if they could raise 5,000 pairs of socks. On my first challenge I ended up with even more than that.


Snowden Used Low-Cost Tool to Best N.S.A.


Intelligence officials investigating how Edward J. Snowden gained access to a huge trove of the country’s most highly classified documents say they have determined that he used inexpensive and widely available software to “scrape” the National Security Agency’s networks, and kept at it even after he was briefly challenged by agency officials.

Using “web crawler” software designed to search, index and back up a website, Mr. Snowden “scraped data out of our systems” while he went about his day job, according to a senior intelligence official. “We do not believe this was an individual sitting at a machine and downloading this much material in sequence,” the official said. The process, he added, was “quite automated.”

The findings are striking because the N.S.A.’s mission includes protecting the nation’s most sensitive military and intelligence computer systems from cyberattacks, especially the sophisticated attacks that emanate from Russia and China. Mr. Snowden’s “insider attack,” by contrast, was hardly sophisticated and should have been easily detected, investigators found.

Moreover, Mr. Snowden succeeded nearly three years after the WikiLeaks disclosures, in which military and State Department files, of far less sensitivity, were taken using similar techniques...


The first congressman to battle the NSA is dead. No-one noticed, no-one cares.


“Pike will pay for this, you wait and see—we’ll destroy him for this.” —Mitchell Rogovin, CIA special counsel, 1976

Last month, former Congressman Otis Pike died, and no one seemed to notice or care. That’s scary, because Pike led the House’s most intensive and threatening hearings into US intelligence community abuses, far more radical and revealing than the better-known Church Committee’s Senate hearings that took place at the same time. That Pike could die today in total obscurity, during the peak of the Snowden NSA scandal, is, as they say, a “teachable moment” —one probably not lost on today’s already spineless political class.

In mid-1975, Rep. Pike was picked to take over the House select committee investigating the US intelligence community after the first committee chairman, a Michigan Democrat named Nedzi, was overthrown by more radical liberal Democrats fired up by Watergate after they learned that Nedzi had suppressed information about the CIA’s illegal domestic spying program, MH-CHAOS, exposed by Seymour Hersh in late 1974. It was Hersh’s exposés on the CIA domestic spying program targeting American dissidents and antiwar activists that led to the creation of the Church Committee and what became known as the Pike Committee, after Nedzi was tossed overboard. Pike was an odd choice to take Nedzi’s place—he was a conservative Cold War Democrat from a mostly-Republican Long Island district, who’d supported the Vietnam War long after most northern Democrats abandoned it, and who loathed do-gooder Kennedy liberals and Big Government waste. So no one expected Pike to challenge the National Security State and executive privilege so aggressively and righteously—and some argued, recklessly—as he wound up doing.

The reason is simple if you think in 1975 terms. Pike was an ambitious political animal—and in 1975, standing up to the secrecy-obsessed NatSec State like Warren Beatty and Robert Redford did on screen seemed like smart politics. Pike was looking to trade up to the Senate in 1976, just as Frank Church was looking to use the Church Committee hearings to springboard into the White House. Pike was less interested in sensational scandals like Church’s poison darts and foreign assassination plots than he was in getting to the guts of the intelligence apparatus, its power, its funding, its purpose. He asked questions never asked or answered since the start of the Cold War: What was America’s intelligence budget? What was the purpose of the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies and programs? Were they succeeding by their own standards? Were taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Were they making America safer?

Those were exactly the questions that the intel apparatus did not want asked. The Church Committee focused on excesses and abuses, implying that with the proper reforms and oversights, the intelligence structures could be set right. But as the Pike Committee started pulling up the floorboards, what they discovered quickly led Rep. Pike and others to declare that the entire intelligence apparatus was a dangerous boondoggle. Not only were taxpayers getting fleeced, but agencies like the NSA and CIA were a direct threat to America’s security and democracy, the proverbial monkey playing with a live grenade. The problem was that Pike asked the right questions—and that led him to some very wrong answers, as far as the powers that be were concerned. It was Pike’s committee that got the first ever admission—from CIA director William Colby—that the NSA was routinely tapping Americans’ phone calls. Days after that stunning confession, Pike succeeded in getting the head of the NSA, Lew Allen Jr., to testify in public before his committee—the first time in history that an NSA chief publicly testified. It was the first time that the NSA publicly maintained that it was legally entitled to wiretap Americans’ communications overseas, in spite of the 1934 Communications Act and other legal restrictions placed on other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. It was also the first time an NSA chief publicly lied to Congress, claiming it was not eavesdropping on domestic or overseas phone calls involving American citizens. (Technically, legalistically, the NSA argued that it hadn’t lied—the reason being that since Americans weren’t specifically “targeted” in the NSA’s vast data-vacuuming programs in the 1970s, recording and storing every phone call and telex cable in computers which were then data-mined for keywords, that therefore they weren’t technically eavesdropping on Americans who just happened to be swept up into the wiretapping vacuum.)

Pike quickly discovered the fundamental problem with the NSA: It was by far the largest intelligence agency, and yet it was birthed unlike any other, as a series of murky executive orders under Truman at the peak of Cold War hysteria. Digging into the NSA’s murky beginnings, it quickly became clear that the agency was explicitly chartered in such a way that placed it beyond legal accountability, out of reach of the other branches of government. Unlike the CIA, which came into being under an act of Congress, the NSA’s founding charter was a national secret. In early August, 1975, Pike ordered the NSA to produce its “charter” document, National Security Council Intelligence Directive No. 6. The Pentagon’s intelligence czar, Albert Hall, appeared before the Pike Committee that day—but without the classified NSA charter. Hall reminded Pike that the Ford White House had offered to show the NSA charter document to Pike’s committee just as it had done with Church’s Senate Committee members, who had agreed to merely view the charter at a government location outside of Congress, without entering the secret document into the Senate record. Officially, publicly, it still didn’t exist. Pike refused to accept that:

“You’re talking about the document that set up the entire N.S.A., it’s one which all members are entitled to see without shuttling back and forth downtown to look at.”

Assistant Defense Secretary Hall told an incredulous Pike that he hadn’t brought the NSA charter with him as he’d been told to, and that he couldn’t because “I need clearance” and the charter “has secret material in it.”

Pike exploded:

“It seems incredible to me, very frankly, that we are asked to appropriate large amounts of money for that agency which employs large numbers of people without being provided a copy of the piece of paper by which the agency is authorized.”

Pike’s investigations led him to believe that the combined intelligence agencies were massively understating their budgets, and that the true figure was in the area of $10 billion in 1975 dollars (about $43 billion today), with the NSA by far the largest intelligence agency of all. Broken down, he discovered that about one-fifth of the FBI’s budget went to counterintelligence, largely wasted except as it targeted and harassed leftist dissidents and political opponents. He estimated that the CIA spent about a third of its budget bribing or funding foreign political parties and foreign politicians, including in allied countries like Italy. And that the NSA was a powerful tool in some of the most nefarious—and illegal—domestic surveillance programs.


Sources include: "Puzzle Palace" by James Bamford; "Challenging The Secret Government" by Kathryn Olmsted; archived articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek]

Pardon my scoffing

Exactly what kind of verifiable, trustworthy, scientific data could possibly have been collected in 1891?

The Victorian scientists were unreliable at best, and certainly couldn't cover the globe or even a small fraction of it. Given the massive prejudices, faulty techniques, and erroneous background information they held so tightly, I would be amazed if they had anything at all to contribute of any value to any topic. The recent reports in many a field are full of studies debunking long-cherished Victorian "scientific conclusions".

This is the biggest flaw in the climate change discussion: you can't make long-term predictions on short-term information, and you can't make any predictions without good data for a long period of time, which is simply not available. A long period is very long, climatologically; in excess of a millenium or 10.

All you can do is guess.

And if your guesses are designed to terrorize people, and move policy in ways that overturn governments and hurt people, then you are not a scientist, but an agitator.

You want to take down the 1%, that's fine. that's evolutionary and ethically just and proper. Just don't further distort science while doing it. Don't rush to judgment.

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