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kpete

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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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35,000 Walrus Converge On Alaska Beach As Sea Ice Retreats


In this aerial photo taken on Sept. 27, 2014, and provided by NOAA, some 35,000 walrus gather on shore near Point Lay, Alaska. Pacific walrus looking for places to rest in the absence of sea ice are coming to shore in record numbers on Alaska’s northwest coast.

An estimated 35,000 walrus have come ashore in record numbers on a beach in northwest Alaska for lack of better ground. As climate change warms the atmosphere, summer sea ice in the Arctic is diminishing, likely stranding these walrus from their preferred sea ice outposts. Arctic sea ice reached its lowest point this year in mid-September, and NASA reported it to be the sixth-lowest recorded since 1978.

The mass gathering of walrus was spotted on Saturday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s arctic marine mammal aerial survey. Andrea Medeiros, spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said walrus were first spotted on September 13 and have been moving on and off shore. Last week, around 50 walrus carcasses were spotted on the beach, the cause of death may have been a stampede. Unlike seals, walrus need breaks from swimming and tend to gather in groups.

“It’s another remarkable sign of the dramatic environmental conditions changing as the result of sea ice loss,” said Margaret Williams, managing director of the WWF’s Arctic program. “The walruses are telling us what the polar bears have told us and what many indigenous people have told us in the high Arctic, and that is that the Arctic environment is changing extremely rapidly and it is time for the rest of the world to take notice and also to take action to address the root causes of climate change.”


In this aerial photo taken on Sept. 23, 2014 and released by NOAA, some 1500 walrus are gather on the northwest coast of Alaska


MORE:
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/10/01/3574255/walrus-converge-alaska-beach/

Chinese Security


http://www.balloon-juice.com/2014/10/01/chinese-security-best-in-world/

40 Years Ago---Kissinger Drew Up Plans to Attack Cuba, Records Show

Nearly 40 years ago, Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger mapped out secret contingency plans to launch airstrikes against Havana and “smash Cuba,” newly disclosed government documents show.

Mr. Kissinger was so irked by Cuba’s military incursion into Angola that in 1976 he convened a top-secret group of senior officials to work out possible retaliatory measures in case Cuba deployed forces to other African nations, according to documents declassified by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library at the request of the National Security Archive, a research group.

The officials outlined plans to strike ports and military installations in Cuba and to send Marine battalions to the United States Navy base at Guantánamo Bay to “clobber” the Cubans, as Mr. Kissinger put it, according to the records. Mr. Kissinger, the documents show, worried that the United States would look weak if it did not stand up to a country of just eight million people.


.......


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/world/americas/kissinger-drew-up-plans-to-attack-cuba-records-show.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSumSmallMediaHigh&module=second-column-region%C2%AEion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=1

ATM Fees Surge Again...

speaking of "No Boots On The Ground"

New Docs: ‘Primary Source’ Of NSA’s Spying Power Is A 33-Year-Old Executive Order By Ronald Reagan

Newly released documents prove the U.S. National Security Agency’s spying power overseas primarily comes from a 33-year-old executive order signed by then President Ronald Reagan:

The American Civil Liberties Union obtained a series of internal papers from intelligence agencies including the NSA and Defense Intelligence Agency detailing how integral Reagan’s 1981 order is to the NSA’s current surveillance program. The order broadly allows the government to collect data from any company that is believed to have ties to foreign organizations. It also complicates the path forward for intelligence reforms in Congress.

Previous reports acknowledge the order’s use as a foundation for some of the NSA’s surveillance programs such as gaining backdoor access to tech companies’ data centers. But the new documents, which were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the ACLU and other civil liberties advocates filed just before Edward Snowden’s leaks to the media, show Executive Order 12333 is the “primary source” authority when it comes to the NSA’s foreign spy programs.

“Because the executive branch issued and now implements the executive order all on its own, the programs operating under the order are subject to essentially no oversight from Congress or the courts,” Alex Abdo, a staff attorney for the ACLU wrote in a blog post.

Compared to section 215 of the Patriot Act, which would let intelligence agencies gather lists of incoming and outgoing calls from telecommunication companies, Reagan’s order has lax constraints on bulk data collection on U.S. citizens. As long as the communications data is stored internationally, the NSA can collect it. Federal law enforcement agencies can also get data stored overseas but first need a search warrant.



MORE:
https://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security/new-documents-shed-light-one-nsas-most-powerful-tools
http://thinkprogress.org/world/2014/09/30/3573647/reagan-nsa-order/

Romney: 'If I had to do this again-I'd insist that you literally had a camera on me at all times"

Bonus Quote of the Day



"I was talking to one of my political advisers and I said: 'If I had to do this again, I'd insist that you literally had a camera on me at all times. I want to be reminded that this is not off the cuff."

-- Mitt Romney, quoted by the New York Times, on running for president.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/magazine/mitt-isnt-ready-to-call-it-quits-just-yet.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=4&referrer=

Immigration reform isn't a "Latino issue" any more than access to birth control is a "women's issue.

First, I think there's another component of the return of terror politics which you didn't explicitly mention, which is the effect it has on Democratic Party base voters. Speaking for myself, when the whole "we're gonna bomb ISIS" thing happened, my own thoughts / feelings were, "Great, here we go again, only this time with Obama instead of Bush."

I found myself disheartened that we were once again going into an armed conflict in the Middle East which promised (literally!) to be long, which had relatively vague goals, and which left-of-center thought leaders were skeptical of (both the goals and the viability of achieving them with the plans the Obama administration laid out).

The second thing was the administration's decision to postpone (again) any sort of practical steps on immigration reform. At the time I remember savvy commentators noting, in their savvy way, that this was a good idea because after all the only battleground race in 2014 with a substantial Latino component was Colorado. Well, here we are a few weeks later, poised to lose Colorado. At another level, though, I think that the savvy commentators underestimated the impact this move would have across the entirety of the party's base. Immigration reform isn't a "Latino issue" any more than access to birth control is a "women's issue." It's an issue of social justice, which is important to the entirety of the Democratic Party base. As if that wasn't enough, this is an issue which the administration declared was a priority, something needed to be done, and then -- they backed down. For everyone who agreed that this was important, it played out as the administration throwing its base under the bus in pursuit of a transient and unattainable political advantage. Once again, there was the "here we go again" reaction.

Put these two things together -- walking away from a party priority and embracing a military conflict in the Middle East -- and it's like we're back to the bad old days of the 2002-2003 era. I can't blame the Democratic base for feeling discouraged and not particularly motivated to support these candidates, since that's the way I feel.


http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/more-on-the-return-of-terror-politics

When the Next Terrorist Attack Comes, Will We Be Capable of Keeping Our Heads?

When the Next Terrorist Attack Comes, Will We Be Capable of Keeping Our Heads?

PAUL WALDMAN SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

As we start a new war, it's worth considering the question now.


Imagine it’s six months from now. A 19-year-old man—whom we’ll later learn was in communication with members of ISIL in the Middle East—walks on to the Mall in Washington on a weekend afternoon. Groups of tourists are walking about from one monument to another. He takes his backpack off his shoulders, reaches in, and removes the semiautomatic rifle he bought a month before at a gun show in Virginia, where he didn’t have to submit to a background check (though it wouldn’t have mattered, because his record is clean). He opens fire on the crowd, and before U.S. Park Police are able to reach him and put him down, he has killed six people and wounded eleven others. In his pocket is a note announcing his devotion ISIL, and that he is striking at the United States in retaliation for its illegal war on the true Muslims building a caliphate in Syria and Iraq….

Most of us appreciate, at least intellectually, that our chance of dying in a terrorist attack is approximately zero, and even if it increases, that increase would mean it has gone from approximately zero all the way up to pretty much zero. But that’s not how we act and react. So let’s go back to that attack, and consider what would happen in response. It would be the biggest news story of the year, every report emphasizing that it happened “just steps from the White House and the Capitol building.” The news media would amp up the fear to levels we haven’t seen in the last decade, encouraging everyone to look for sleeper cells lurking down at the Piggly Wiggly. Republicans would of course unite behind President Obama in our time of mourning—kidding! They’d go on TV to denounce him for being so weak that the evildoers struck us in our very heart, and proclaim not only that the blood of the victims is on the hands of every Democrat, but that more attacks are coming and we’re more vulnerable than we’ve ever been. Dick Cheney would emerge snarling from his subterranean lair to warn us that this is only the beginning and we really need to start bombing at least five or six more countries. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has already said about ISIL that “this president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home,” might just tear off his shirt and scream, “We’re all gonna die! We’re all gonna die!” right on Fox News Sunday.

And the public would follow right along. In a recent CNN poll, 41 percent said they were very or somewhat worried that they or a member of their family would be a victim of terrorism—which, to repeat, is about as likely as they or a member of their family getting hit by a falling piano. This number hasn’t changed much in years (five years ago it was 36 percent), all accumulated evidence to the contrary. But one successful attack is all it would take to push that number comfortably past a majority. In the last year, the number of people telling the Pew Research Center that government anti-terror policies have not gone far enough to protect us has increased from 39 percent to 50 percent (among Republicans it’s gone from 41 percent to 64 percent), despite the fact that the only terrorist attacks in that time came from a crazed man who wanted to kill TSA agents and a couple of right-wing extremists in Nevada.

http://prospect.org/article/when-next-terrorist-attack-comes-will-we-be-capable-keeping-our-heads

Uncanny...Krgthulu - He has always been with us...

Joe Gagnon, traveling in Asia Minor, sends me a picture from a museum:



I know I’m an old-time Keynesian, but maybe even older-time than I knew …
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/29/mr-krugman-and-the-classics-trivial-and-self-indulgent/?_php=true&_type=blogs&module=BlogPost-Title&version=Blog%20Main&contentCollection=Opinion&action=Click&pgtype=Blogs®ion=Body&_r=0
http://www.eschatonblog.com/2014/09/krgthulu.html#disqus_thread
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