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Gender: Male
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 40,116

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The one from 1776 is just fine. I've no problems with amendments.

My problem is with NSA spying on Americans. The problem is that many don't understand that problem. People who make "GG" the issue also are part of the problem.

As for why it's a problem, the late Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho):

“That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

-- Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) FDR New Deal-to-JFK New Frontier, Liberal, Progressive, World War II combat veteran. A brave man, a man of integrity, the NSA was turned on him. Coincidentally, he narrowly lost re-election a few years later.


It's a hideous part of history: American kids used for government experiments.

Know Your BFEE: American Children Used in Radiation Experiments

Justice for Westhusing

James Risen wrote about a death threat made by Blackwater's main man in Iraq upon an official from the State Department sent to investigate contractor corruption. Upon hearing that news, and before I could think of what that really meant or anything else, I thought of Col. Theodore S. Westhusing, United States Army.

Col. Westhusing was in charge of training the new Iraqi army and overseeing civilian contractors. He is remembered as a good man, a brilliant man who followed the Cadet Code: "I will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” As an instructor at West Point, the PhD colonel served as the Army's chief ethicist. So, as an honest officer in Iraq, he came to suspect something was very wrong with the conduct of some of the private military contractors in the employ of USIS. Unfortunately, before he revealed those suspicions, and just a few weeks before he was scheduled to return home to his loving wife and family, he became a suicide.

The subject was discussed on DU. One thread from 2007:

Know your BFEE: They kill good soldiers like Col. Ted Westhusing for profit...

Another from 2012, when Petraeus ran into some conduct unbecoming problems at CIA:

Is David Petraeus Dirty? Ted Westhusing Said So, and Then He Shot Himself.

Which brings me back to hearing the report of Blackwater's top manager in Iraq. Imagine the gall of the son of a bitch! To threaten the life of a U.S. citizen sent on official government business -- the People's business -- to see how our money was being spent, or in the case of the Iraq War, stolen. It seems some groups, such as the private military contractors, join their employers in Washington in thinking that they really are above the law. They certainly behave that way.

Could there be any connection between Blackwater and USIS, the once-public then privatized public employee background check organization now turned military contractor in Iraq? Of course, there are. Both are BFEE-connected for-profit outfits that are making enormous fortunes from the Iraq War.

Blackwater was owned and operated largely by one Erik Prince, darling of America's hard right and Michigan's right to inherit wealth beyond imagination class. His sister is a GOP kingmaker, including his brother in law, the once unsuccessful GOP candidate for Michigan governor. Petraeus and CIA were so enamored of the talents and abilities of Mr. Prince, CIA outsourced drone targeting to his firm.

At the time of Col. Westhusing's death, USIS was owned and operated largely by Carlyle Group, a private investment bank known for finding, buying, and flipping defense-related companies at a nice profit. They literally and figuratively are good friends and actual employers of George W Bush, his father, George H.W. Bush, Sec. of State James Baker, Sec. of Defense Frank Carlucci, Prime Minister John Major of the UK and other government insiders and players connected to the grand ol' oily chess board.

In short, both USIS and Blackwater are controlled by the "money trumps peace" crowd, the cronies and family of George W Bush. What Bartcop termed the BFEE for Bush Family Evil Empire, or what I call the War Party for short, follow the philosophy that the United States can be defended at a handsome profit and, if you apply enough media spin, quite patriotically.

As for Col. Westhusing: He, according to one officer under his command, at first very much believed in his mission. Why? Because the same BFEE liars who lied America into war also lied the good men and women at West Point and at the Pentagon into war. Until he got to Iraq and saw with his own eyes and heard with his own ears, he never thought "money would trump peace."

An Army psychologist concluded that Westhusing struggled with the idea that “monetary values could outweigh moral ones in war.” This, she said, was a flaw. -- Westhusing's Flaw

Of course, the only "flaw" was in being a highly ethical person, one who would NOT "go along to get along." In short, Col. Westhusing was a man of integrity. He was the kind who stand in the way of the warmongers and war profiteers. Until the politicians who lied him and America into war are brought to justice, we just won't know how much he became their victim.

Gary Hart is a great Democrat.

Wish more were like him today. The guy blasted the living daylights out of the Secret Government when he was on the Church Committee, part of the subcommittee investigating the assassination of President Kennedy. They paid him back, Big Time, with the nice weekend voyage of Monkey Business.

Odd that many of that small group seem to forgive the crimes of the national security state.

Whether it's Dallas or Iran-Contra or Lies for War or Selection 2000 or Lies for More War etc. etc. etc.

For some reason, SidDithers swapped out this picture with the above:

Why would SidDithers do that?

TISA: Obama’s Latest Betrayal of America and Americans in Favor of the Big Banks (William K. Black)

William K. Black is a well-respected expert on white collar crime. As a forensic economist in the employ of the federal government, he helped jail hundreds of S&L crooks in the 1990s.

Obama’s Latest Betrayal of America and Americans in Favor of the Big Banks: TISA

By William K. Black
New Economic Perspectives, June 24, 2014



“Transparency” for Bankers: Maximum Opaqueness for the Public and Congress

The TISA draft (Article X.16) is very clear about the second great paradox: bankers must be told everything that regulators are thinking about adopting and have ample opportunity to influence the regulators’ drafting of the rule. But TISA is an international secret that will remain an international secret for five years after it is adopted. Like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the drafts are kept secret even from Congress. Indeed, TISA is “classified” so that those who might blow the whistle on the travesty may be prosecuted. The draft’s initial information contains this language:

“Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement….

It must be stored in a locked or secured building, room, or container.”

I note this obvious, indefensible hypocrisy because it is illustrative of the entire draft. When the indefensible appears in a document like this it is because the drafters know that there is no one representing the other side and they can afford to be outrageously one-sided. It was clearly drafted by and for lobbyists for the SDIs. Any government officials involved in the drafting are simply scribes who will be rewarded on the other side of the revolving door. There is no pretense that the draft is a reasoned response to differing views. Only one set of views – literally the wish list of the largest, most criminal banks – is presented and it is presented in exceptionally extreme language. There is literally nothing in the draft designed to increase the regulatory protections afforded the public from private banks. There is literally nothing in the draft that increases restrictions on private banks.

As a lawyer I recognize exactly what happened because the draft reads exactly like how we draft a wish list. Obama is a lawyer. Mr. President, read the draft and it will be obvious to you that no one is representing the public. The President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa (an economist), was outraged when he learned of what the bankers were trying to achieve through TISA. Sadly, the U.S. played a disgraceful role in pushing TISA forward over Ecuador’s objections. If Obama were to admit that Ecuador was right, bring the U.S. back to representing the public rather than the looters, and make public the entire disgraceful draft TISA would collapse.

TISA’s drafting consists of a meeting of banking thieves who are successfully demanding a return to what Gramlich correctly described as “no cops on the beat.” If the street robbers of the world demanded that we remove the cops on the beat we would be enraged. Bankers and their neoclassical economist allies, however, regularly lobby for just such a boon to elite white-collar criminals. We have millennia of experience with what happens when we give the elites the power to loot with impunity.

CONTINUED w/links...


The three “de’s” – deregulation, desupervision, and de facto decriminalization – first looted America's S&Ls and then America's banks. Now, TiSA wants to deregulate the world's banks. Anyone think the money will go to a good cause?

Hairpin Turns

Sarajevo, June 28, 1914

Prague, May 29, 1942

Dallas, November 22,1963

To change the course of humanity.

Billionaire: Free Market Essential for Happiness

This explains a lot...

...from enemies domestic and foreign to policies at home and abroad:

Kochs put a happy face on free enterprise

Consider the Source: Free market system leads to well-being

By Chris Young
Center for Public Integrity, June 25, 2014

Editor’s note: This story is one in a continuing series on Washington, D.C.’s information industry. The series seeks to illuminate the sometimes-misleading methods used by special interest groups to gain support for their agendas from government and average Americans.

When Arthur C. Brooks stepped on stage in December, the influential conservative’s mission was simple, yet ambitious: “If I do my job,” Brooks began his speech, “in the next few minutes I’m going to give you the secret to happiness.”

Standing before large block letters that spelled “H-A-P-P-I-N-E-S-S,” the charismatic president of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, explained how genetics, major life events and choices all contribute to one’s well-being.

Brooks mentioned the importance of forging close relationships with family, promoted charitable giving and emphasized that “money doesn’t buy happiness.”

Nearing the end of his nearly 20-minute speech, Brooks said happiness also depends on … free markets?

“The earned-success system that brings you happiness is the system of free enterprise that lifts people out of poverty,” Brooks said. “Don’t work for the stateism, the collectivism that suppresses this,” he added. “Work for the free enterprise that makes this possible.”



That all would be great if the game, playing field and referees weren't, ah, fixed in favor of the billionaire and War Inc.

Solipsist and Zombie

I don't believe in not being.

Hey, you know Borges' "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"?

Heh. Mirrors!

There's always more.

And, for a very, very, very, very, very, very few, they want it.
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