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guyton

Profile Information

Name: Jim Guyton
Gender: Male
Hometown: Ventura, CA
Home country: USA
Current location: Nederland, Colorado
Member since: Sun Oct 15, 2006, 03:45 PM
Number of posts: 778

About Me

Grumpy old fart.

Journal Archives

NSA's vacuum-cleaner collection methods did NOT start with the War on Terror!

Please note that Snowden's revelations, while useful, are not the first exposures of the NSA abuses.

Way back in 1983, James Bamford documented in his amazingly detailed book, The Puzzle Palace, that the NSA was collecting everything they could get their hands on, warrant or no warrant, and only began to consider privacy issues *after* it'd been filtered by a computer and forwarded to humans for review.

I.e. NSA computers and intercepts would collect *everything* (domestic, foreign, it didn't matter) and scan for interesting tidbits to review, and only upon human review was it considered even to have been read.

It's an astonishing perspective, obviously unconstitutional, and yes has been going on for decades. And Obama isn't about to stop it without a lot more pushback than he's been getting so far.

Turn the tide with a Discharge Petition!

So there's a way to go "around" the speaker of the house -- it's called a "discharge petition" and it's a way to bring a bill to the floor in spite of the speaker.

But ... history and common wisdom says that there's a steep price to be paid for undermining the authority of the speaker, e.g. you lose chances of getting chairmanships (http://blogs.rollcall.com/hawkings/gop-rebels-scour-the-back-pages-of-the-rule-book).

BUT ... things are a bit different now:

1) public opinion of Congress could hardly be lower
2) "moderate" republicans are sick of the tea-party and want an out of this mess
3) Boehner is being setup as a fall-guy for most Republicans in the house to later claim "I didn't really want to shut down the govt, but the speaker wouldn't bring us something that would pass."

Democrats need to push hard on a clean-bill and get it to the floor in a discharge petition and vilify any and all Republicans that don't sign the petition as putting the tantrums of the tea-party ahead of the needs of the country and abandoning "small-d" democracy to give power to those that would simply destroy the government.

I don't think Boehner has a chance of saving his speakership if Dems point out just how ineffective he's been on accomplishing any of their goals and how he's been one-step shy of treasonous in his behavior.

Syria and civil disobedience? What?

I have a mildly radical suggestion that I've not seen aired yet. Bear with me ... it's short.

First my assumptions:

- Under current international law, any nation that attacks another without being attacked first, is committing a war crime.

- Every politician/soldier/citizen that votes-for/implements/supports such actions are also guilty of war crimes (Nuremberg defense anyone?)

But!! What if a situation is intolerable and we feel compelled to "go it alone" because we can't drum up the international support we need to make it legal?

So here's my modest proposal:

Everyone violating international law should admit, up front and publicly, that:

- they are knowingly committing a war crime with full knowledge that they are breaking the law and could be held accountable

- the international law they are violating is wrong and should be repealed or updated to make their current actions legal

Seems pretty simple and obvious, yes? What you don't do is ignore the law and act like it's ok as long as you don't get caught and held responsible -- that way leads to chaos.

Is Obama (et al) prepared to say the international laws they propose violating should be discarded? How about after Putin sends us "a message" about our failure to bring admitted torturers to trial or our other many failings?

We need a new dialog on just when it's appropriate for nations to intervene. We need international agreement on when and how to act. We can't be cowboys anymore ... or we will be astonished when we wake up some day and are no longer the biggest, baddest, bully on the block and are held accountable for our, yes, war crimes.

Gov. Wendy Davis ... has a nice ring to it!

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/27/texas-state-sen-wendy-davis-i-would-by-lying-to-deny-aspiration-for-higher-office/

Speaking to MSNBC host Chris Hayes on Wednesday, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis (D) was directly confronted on whether or not she plans to run for governor. She replied: “You know, I would be lying if I told you I hadn’t had aspirations.”

The first inklings that Democrats may be ready to throw their weight behind a Davis bid for the state’s highest office came the night of her 11-hour filibuster, when Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa told Raw Story that if she runs, “she’d probably get elected governor, or whatever other office she wants to run for.”

NSA has always had a vacuum cleaner approach

Didn't anyone else read the "Puzzle Palace" by James Bamford, back in the 80's?

If memory serves, the policy that the NSA got past their watchers was that
(a) it was ok to record everything they could get their hands on (technically, not legally), and that
(b) it wasn't a really a wiretap until a human looked at it.

So the snooping wasn't a snoop until long after it'd been recorded and that analysis by computer
didn't even count as snooping.

Not that this current flame-up doesn't make me angry, but it's not new.

Thousands being tortured in US prisons

As a child I grew up thinking how awful it was that people used to torture back in the middle ages or in Nazi Germany.

Then I got older and a little wiser and thought smugly how superior the US was to all the "modern" foreign countries that still torture today.

Then I got older and immensely sad and angry when I found out that we torture in the US. And that we still torture. All the time.

I dare everyone to read this. All 14 pages. It's hard. I keep asking my self: we allow this?

Or rather:

WE ALLOW THIS?????

http://www.alternet.org/investigations/i-thought-solitary-confinement-iran-was-bad-then-i-went-inside-americas-prisons

See if you can read it through without getting sick to your stomach. If you think it's "ok" because these are convicted prisoners, then ask yourself, ask all of us, what have we become?

Texas Recovery Effort

not an accident

No, there's a difference between an accident and the results of carelessness.

It's an accident if I cut myself when shaving.
It's an accident if I spill my coffee in the morning.
It's an accident if our new kitten knocks over a stool.

It's not an accident if I fall while tightroping without a net.
It's not an accident if I kill someone when driving drunk.
It's not an accident if I give a gun to a psychopath and he uses it to kill someone.
It's not an accident when we let our government go to war where they don't belong.

I'm looking forward to finding out what our General means by "We take full responsibility".

I suspect he doesn't mean war-crimes trials for the helicopter gunners.
I suspect he doesn't mean war-crimes trials for the authors of our rules-of-engagement.
I suspect he doesn't mean war-crimes trials for the members of congress that voted for the war-powers act.
I suspect he doesn't mean war-crimes trials for Bush or Cheney or Rice or Wolfowitz or Powell
I suspect he doesn't mean war-crimes trials for the citizens of the US that allow these wars to continue in our name.

Really, just what does he mean?

I'll guess he means they're really very sorry. Honest.
I'll guess he means they'll try to avoid killing more little boys ... well, if it's not too inconvenient.
I'll guess he means they won't let the chopper crew put up a couple of donkey stickers on the outside of their craft.

Yeah, I suspect that's all he means.

not the buying-a-house analogy again!

Oh no no no no! There's a difference between borrowing to invest in the future and borrowing to pay operational expenses.

People don't buy a new house every week without selling their old one first. Comparing Federal spending to buying a house is just a lousy comparison.

It makes sense to borrow to invest in the future, or to recover from an unusual, unexpected situation. But it does *not* make sense to add long-term debt to cover routine, recurring expenses.

Two examples ... would it make sense to always put your monthly electric bill on a credit card account -- and then only pay the minimum charge on the bill when it comes? Or to go on a permanent vacation (borrowing for all your expenses) until your credit runs out?

Of course not, that's just living beyond your means and before long you'll be buried in debt and unable to make even minimum payments.

Acquiring new debt makes lots of sense when it's an investment in the future or for covering unexpected emergencies. But routinely increasing your debt, spending more than you have, is a path to destruction ... for individuals, businesses, or governments.

And no, I'm not a right-wing troll. I'm way left of Obama and most of the folks here on DU. But I believe in raising taxes to pay for what we spend unless it's a capital investment or an unusual expense that can't be deferred.

Please, no more buying-a-house comparisons.

Anyone have a spare $750M they could loan me?

I finally found a reason to accumulate a lot of wealth (only 1.5B for a party of two).

Boulder company to offer trips to the moon

http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_22139059/boulder-company-offer-trips-moon

A Boulder-based company led by a roster of former NASA executives on Thursday announced plans for a privately funded effort to send humans to the moon by 2020.

The Golden Spike Co. is attempting to create a turnkey model for a "reliable and affordable" lunar transport system. The company expects to serve nations or individuals with interests ranging from scientific research and resource mining to national or personal prestige.

...

The announcement coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 17 launch, the last human flight to the Moon — or any human destination outside of low-Earth orbit.



Oh nuts, later on it says:

As for supporters and investors, Golden Spike has an advisory board packed with credentials in space, technology, journalism, film and politics, including former speaker of the House and candidate for U.S. President, Newt Gingrich.


And here I thought they had some serious credibility going for them. Oh well.
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