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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 02:59 PM
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"Having Putin get publicly chummy with you, spy-to-spy, is really not the way to make your case"

By Charles P. Pierce on April 17, 2014

This, dear boy, is a very bad move.

"I've seen little public discussion of Russia's policy of mass surveillance," Snowden said. "So I'd like to ask you: Does Russia intercept, store, or analyze the communication of millions? And do you believe that simply increasing the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies can justify placing societies, rather than individual subjects, under surveillance?" Putin welcomed Snowden's question, even recognizing him as a sort of colleague. "Mr. Snowden, you are a former spy. I used to work for an intelligence agency," Putin said. "We can talk one professional language." "First of all, our intelligence efforts are strictly regulated by our law," he added. "You have to get the court's permission to stalk a person. We don't have a mass system of interception. With our law, it cannot exist. Of course, we know criminals and terrorists use technology for their criminal acts and of course the special services have to use technical means to respond to their crimes. Of course, we do some efforts like that but we do not have mass scale effort. I hope we don't do that. We don't have the money or the kind of devices they have in the United States. Our special services are strictly controlled by the society and the law, and are regulated by the law."

As it happens, I actually believe the U.S. capacity for surveillance probably is greater than that of Russia. (USA! USA!). But this "Our special services are strictly controlled by law" yadda-yadda is such hilariously arrant bullshit that Snowden ought to be embarrassed for helping to catapult it into the dialogue. If you're trying to convince people that you are a disinterested seeker of truth who happens to be in Moscow because of a variety of very strange circumstances -- The new Vanity Fair has a long piece on how Snowden came to be in Russia in which Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks people do not come off well at all -- and that you are not operating too closely with the current Russian regime, having Vladimir Putin get publicly chummy with you, spy-to-spy, is really not the way to make your case.


Elizabeth Warren: Resistance, it appears, is not always futile. (By Charles P. Pierce)

I have a long profile of Senator Professor Warren coming in the next print edition of Esky -- Watch your newsstands, fellow-babies! -- and I suspect it will also get linked off the blog, but buy the magazine anyway, ya cheap bastids. Anyway, because of this, the launch of her book, Fighting Chance -- which does not mean she's running for president, dammit -- can hype itself for a few days. But there is one passage that is delicious simply for the tasty schadenfreude of it all.

Special guest star...Larry Summers!

"He teed it up this way:

I had a choice. I could be an insider, or I could be an outsider," Warren writes. Outsiders could say what they want, he told her, but people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders get more access to push their ideas to powerful people. "But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: They don't criticize other insiders," Summers told Warren, she writes. "I had been warned."

Resistance, it appears, is not always futile.


NOT OVER FOLKS: Karl Rove polls prove that GOP Senate victory NOT assured

THU APR 17, 2014 AT 09:38 AM PDT
Karl Rove polls prove that GOP Senate victory not assured

Not over.

I was just mentioning how hard the GOP's path to the Senate majority was, and Karl Rove's Crossroads decided to support my thesis by polling a bunch of the key Senate races. Politico's Morning Score email newsletter:

Arkansas: Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor 39, GOP Rep. Tom Cotton 39, not sure 22. Pryor approval rating: 38 percent approve, 44 percent disapprove; Cotton favorability: 31 percent favorable, 39 percent unfavorable. (Margin of error: ± 4.3 percentage points.)

Colorado: Democratic Sen. Mark Udall 45, GOP Rep. Cory Gardner 43, not sure 12. Udall approval rating: 38 percent approve, 46 percent disapprove; Gardner favorability: 30 percent favorable, 38 percent unfavorable. (Margin of error: ± 4.4 percentage points.)

Louisiana: In Nov. 4 primary: Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu 40, GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy 35, Republican Rob Maness 4, Republican Paul Hollis 3, not sure 18 percent. In hypothetical runoff: Landrieu 43, Cassidy 47, not sure 10. Landrieu approval rating: 39 percent approve, 51 percent disapprove. (Margin of error: ± 4.2 percentage points.)

Michigan: Republican former secretary of state Terri Lynn Land 43, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters 40, not sure 18. Land favorability: 32 percent favorable, 32 percent unfavorable; Peters favorability: 25 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable. (Margin of error: ± 4.2 percentage points.)

Montana: Democratic Sen. John Walsh 35, Republican Rep. Steve Daines 42, not sure 23. Democratic former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger 33, Daines 44, not sure 23. Walsh favorability: 33 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable; Daines favorability: 43 percent favorable, 31 percent unfavorable; Bohlinger favorability: 27 percent favorable, 23 percent unfavorable. (Margin of error: ± 4.3 percentage points.)

and then there is this:
Counterintuitive but true: In HuffPollster's averages, GOP not leading in a single Senate race:

So we have Republicans with two, probably three solid pickup chances. Then there are four neck-and-neck races, three of which the Republicans have to win for the majority, but only if Dems don't capitalize on their own chances in Georgia and Kentucky. And this is the GOP's supposed surefire November Senate pickup? The fat lady hasn't sang, and frankly, neither has the GOP's crazy crop of candidates. Who will be this cycle's Richard Murdock and Todd Akin?

No, this game ain't over.


Want A Good Laugh? Bill O'Reilly Passed On The Chance To Be The Marlboro Man In The 70s

"While I was covering the News in Denver, I was approached by a modeling agency to be the Marlboro guy dressed as a cowboy," he said on the "O'Reilly Factor" while lamenting the lack of a public health campaign warning about the dangers of weed.

He lauded the U.S. government's campaign against smoking tobacco, but said that the U.S. has taken the opposite approach to pot.

"Smoking marijuana is quite the opposite. That’s on the rise, as pot use is considered cool in many circles, and above all it is political correct," he said.

He then claimed that "smoking pot hurts the brain," referencing a new study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience. The study found that marijuana use can cause abnormalities in certain parts of the brain.

LOL, Video & More:

Paul Krugman: We live in the most unequal society ever, and it’s only getting worse

Americans may be living in the most unequal society that has ever existed, said economist Paul Krugman.


The Nobel Prize winner said this troubling trend began around 1980, when President Ronald Reagan was elected and began implementing supply-side economic policies that promised more wealth for everyone if tax burdens were lifted for the rich.

“The fact of the matter is, since inequality began soaring, around 1980, the bottom half of America has pretty much been left behind,” Krugman said. “There has not been a rising tide that raised all boats.”


“If we could have modern politicians speaking forthrightly about the danger of high concentration of wealth, as Teddy Roosevelt did in 1910, we would be a long toward a good solution for this,” Krugman said, “and I guess I believe that America has a tremendous redemptive capacity and ability to take a look and say, ‘OK, in the end, what are our ideals? What do we want our society to look like?’”


“It’s an era of not just inequality, but increasingly what looks like inherited inequality, and I think people understand that,” Krugman said. “They’ll say, ‘No, we don’t want that to happen,’ and we can do things that are not draconian, not socialist, but in the American tradition to limit that rising inequality.


Former & Current World Leaders Retaliate With Their Portraits Of George W. Bush


last one is my favorite
peace, kp

"He does not possess wealth; it possesses him."

"He does not possess wealth; it possesses him." Benjamin Franklin

"...But He Hates Paying Taxes"

When Will Big Business Figure Out That the Education-Industrial Complex is Eating its Lunch?

....... . . The point could be made that it’s surreally illogical that a nation whose free-enterprise system is based entirely upon its citizens being able to earn Dollars would so intentionally hinder and hamper their ability ever to do so. If the free-enterprise system were viewed as a business itself, and it had one of those “old time” CEOs—the ones who genuinely wanted to guide their business toward a path of sustainable profits instead of short-term, bonus-generating revenues—it would seem self-evident that the VERY FIRST thing that CEO would insist upon is that every citizen, as soon as they are issued a birth-certificate, is enrolled in a very focused, comprehensive and absolutely FREE educational process (beginning with pre-school, early-learning day care, and continuing all the way through college or trade-school) the goal of which (obviously) is to generate as many citizen-earners as possible. The business motto would be “Every lost citizen-earner is a lost free-enterprise customer!” And the very first act of the new FREE education process would be the immediate pay-off all existing student debt.


"No Harm, No Fowl" (Vegetarians will love this toon)

No animals were harmed in the making of this toon:
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