Saturday, December 21, 2013

Only Surveillance?

The NSA network of global spying is creepy story of the year. Thanks to Mr. Edward Snowden, Mr. Glenn Greenwald & Ms. Laura Poitras !  But can we handle the truth?

The revelations thus far are not very surprising, although the 'unholy' alliances are worrisome: the systematic sharing of huge amounts of information between assorted sleazy governments and private contractors is indefensible.

But reports claim there is much more to come. Unfortunately, those revelations are likely to be terrible.

Surveillance is troubling. But active espionage, extortion, blackmail and state-sponsored corruption are far worse.

Since the Abu Ghraib revelations we've known at least something about our systems of torture, widespread abuse, and militaristic brutalization. Much continues today at Guantanamo We employ tens of thousands of "anti-terrorist" operatives throughout the USA & around the world. Our governments have deliberately weakened hardware & software security and monitor our personal lives. A hidden core of bureaucrats and "allies" spy worldwide on friendly governments and the private sector. Bluntly: foolish information policy analysts have constructed a hugely dangerous system -- infiltration & abuse are inescapable. 

How long can the American people continue funding & support for such costly secretive government operations?  Have opinions about big corporate government changed over the past year? What costs & benefits flow from our huge systems of lies & corruption? We've encouraged too much trespassing.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trust the Neighbors?

Here's (link) an interesting article on  distrust
"Japanese Don't Trust Korea, China"

The Chosun Ilbo article is based on a Yomiuri Shinbun report, citing a Gallup poll of Japanese and Americans.

So we've an inexactly-cited survey with unknown bias and sampling error, with results filtered through two news organizations (and now a blog). What can we learn?

We might at least ask these key questions:
  • What percentage of people distrust their own government? 
  • Who profits most from mistrust?  ( Answer: militarists & right-wing opportunists )
  • Do US military leaders prefer peace? (and dismantling their systems, downsizing manpower, reducing budgets)?
  • Might US military leaders prefer military alert?
If the citizenry is asked "Can media always be trusted?" - nobody should answer "Yes" -- But it's so much more provocative & explosive to hear of unknown neighbors distrusting us.

Gallup political surveys

Monday, December 16, 2013

Donkey: Medicare for All

I don't like the Affordable Care Act.

I don't like President Obama.

I don't like the nickname "Obamacare" -- it's a deceptive label.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act / Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act is a frankenstein from big healthcare. The giant American corporate healthcare industry, especially insurers and accountants, have hobbled the American people & medical professionals as surely as trapping a donkey hoof in a snare.

Medicare for All.

Obama didn't want this Affordable Care Act compromise, though he now acts its champion (it extends coverage to 32 million now-uninsured people). Sen. Max Baucus (D-Montana), tool of healthcare lobbyists, was the overpaid weasel largely responsible for the monstrosity. But the bastard Obamacare is an ugly collage - an artwork we can throw away -- an abomination easily adjusted. Humanists: Arise and demand Medicare for All while you still can! True Democrats: find your voice before you're silenced.

Medicare for All. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Killing Criminals

I don't agree that governments should execute criminals.

There are far too many criminal executions in the USA and around the world.

It becomes most perverse in cases of state security. Pyongyang recently executed General Chang Song-thaek (장성택) for trying to overthrow the State. But as much as the South Korean government, USA & allies highlight the case, it then appears more likely "Uncle Chang Song-thaek" was a foreign agent.

Was he "despicable human scum ... worse than a dog" (link)?
We'll never know for certain. Anyhow - he dead.

Why does this execution continue to reverberate in reporting by our many submissive media outlets? Because as the USA & NATO withdraw combat troops from Afghanistan, we need enemies; some militarists would welcome redeploying to Korea ...

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Word from the Dead

Making war in Vietnam was outrageous.

Growing up as a young man in America, I was personally threatened. There's been no apology.

The killed can't complain. The rest of us, American, Vietnamese & their neighbors, people around the world, were brutalized for... what?

Some lost a parent, others lost a limb, many sacrificed years of suffering, decades of sadness. Look around and find wasted lifetimes. Why was this allowed to happen?

Those killed can't complain. 

Change the subject? Pass the remote?  Let's eat dinner?
Must I love the goddamn militarists?

Our "leaders" -- proven corrupt -- deserve no trust.
They are the enemy.  Dick Cheney & Karl Rove are the rusty dirty faces to a pack of rabid animals, Republican & Democrat enemies of the citizenry who'd ensnare and enslave the lot of us. They're like the fucking moles who keep popping-up till the money runs out. We must build accountability and transparency into our social systems -- before rot, mold and treachery finish us off as a nation and as loving decent humans.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Banker's View

--  by Genki

Mr. Banker & Ms. Politician claim:

You're Entirely A LOAN

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

We Citizens ≠ (not) Enemy

Open letter from Peter Kofod & US - UK national security agents
-- from The Guardian 11 Dec. 2013  (quote):

At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.

What's really remarkable is that we've been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of "national security", which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren't held to account – that they can't be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.

By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what's going on.

It's one of the bitter ironies of our time that while John Kiriakou (ex-CIA) is in prison for blowing the whistle on US torture, the torturers and their enablers walk free.

Likewise WikiLeaks-source Chelsea (née Bradley) Manning was charged with – amongst other serious crimes – aiding the enemy (read: the public). Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison while the people who planned the illegal and disastrous war on Iraq in 2003 are still treated as dignitaries.

Numerous ex-NSA officials have come forward in the past decade, disclosing massive fraud, vast illegalities and abuse of power in said agency, including Thomas Drake, William Binney and Kirk Wiebe. The response was 100% persecution and 0% accountability by both the NSA and the rest of government. Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but despite the poor track record of western media, whistleblowing remains the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and upholding democracy – that fragile construct which Winston Churchill is quoted as calling "the worst form of government, except all the others".

Since the summer of 2013, the public has witnessed a shift in debate over these matters. The reason is that one courageous person: Edward Snowden. He not only blew the whistle on the litany of government abuses but made sure to supply an avalanche of supporting documents to a few trustworthy journalists. The echoes of his actions are still heard around the world – and there are still many revelations to come.

For every Daniel Ellsberg, Drake, Binney, Katharine Gun, Manning or Snowden, there are thousands of civil servants who go by their daily job of spying on everybody and feeding cooked or even made-up information to the public and parliament, destroying everything we as a society pretend to care about.

Some of them may feel favourable towards what they're doing, but many of them are able to hear their inner Jiminy Cricket over the voices of their leaders and crooked politicians – and of the people whose intimate communication they're tapping.

Hidden away in offices of various government departments, intelligence agencies, police forces and armed forces are dozens and dozens of people who are very much upset by what our societies are turning into: at the very least, turnkey tyrannies.

One of them is you.

You're thinking:
● Undermining democracy and eroding civil liberties isn't put explicitly in your job contract.
● You grew up in a democratic society and want to keep it that way
● You were taught to respect ordinary people's right to live a life in privacy
● You don't really want a system of institutionalized strategic surveillance that would make the dreaded Stasi green with envy – do you?

Still, why bother? What can one person do? Well, Edward Snowden just showed you what one person can do. He stands out as a whistleblower both because of the severity of the crimes and misconduct that he is divulging to the public – and the sheer amount of evidence he has presented us with so far – more is coming. But Snowden shouldn't have to stand alone, and his revelations shouldn't be the only ones.

You can be part of the solution; provide trustworthy journalists – either from old media (like The Guardian) or from new media (such as WikiLeaks) with documents that prove what illegal, immoral, wasteful activities are going on where you work. 

There IS strength in numbers. You won't be the first – nor the last – to follow your conscience and let us know what's being done in our names. Truth is coming – it can't be stopped. Crooked politicians will be held accountable. It's in your hands to be on the right side of history and accelerate the process.

Courage is contagious.

Signed by:
Peter Kofod  ex-Human Shield in Iraq (Denmark)
Thomas Drake  whistleblower, former NSA senior executive (US)
Daniel Ellsberg  whistleblower, former US military analyst (US)
Katharine Gun  whistleblower, former GCHQ (UK)
Jesselyn Radack  whistleblower, former Dept. of Justice (US)
Ray McGovern  former senior CIA analyst (US)
Coleen Rowley  whistleblower, former FBI agent (US)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Electronic Abuse in Korea

Governments around the world are being criticized for spying & espionage, against each other and against their own citizenry.

But the major espionage scandal brewing in South Korea is extreme. ---> At least we hope it's not common among democratic governments...

Reportedly, the Korean National Intelligence Service was enlisted by the right-wing government to manipulate public opinion & assure their candidate's election for President (and she subsequently "won").

A segment of the Intelligence Service's Psychological Operations Division was instructed to systematically post fraudulent political messages on bulletin boards and chat rooms, and to tweet positively about the favored candidate while trashing the opposition. All this was done secretly using online aliases and fake identities (which itself is illegal in Korea). A recent report (link) calculates more than 22 million Twitter messages may have been generated in this orchestrated spoof. (link in Korean & English) A New York Times article reports Korea's Cyberwarfare Command was part of the deception. (Cyberwarfare Command is part of Korea's Defense Ministry). What claimed to be public opinion was dishonest propaganda manufactured by the government to prolong the Saenuri Party term in power.

The gradual unfolding of information and evidence over many months has been further troubled by cover-up efforts, press censorship, job transfers & creepy Watergate-like dirty tricks. Korea's government has been more shaken by wider recent global notice of the scandal than by the fraud itself (link). Too many Koreans fear making any comment -- which itself is shameful for government.

Any election misconduct seriously subverts democracy.

Of course, the American NSA were likely watching... if not themselves involved...

Monday, December 09, 2013

Dirty Pilgrim

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is situated next to Pilgrim Nuclear Waste Dump in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It's just a short walk to the site of the first Thanksgiving.

But the Nuclear Station is felt by many to be highly dangerous, a Fukushima-like threat to the region. It's operated by Entergy, a US$25 billion outfit headquartered in Louisiana. The plant uses an old design, it's been repeatedly closed for safety violations, and its lifetime has only been extended over many objections.

Now the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission NRC has appointed a new resident inspector.

I don't know this new man, Brian Scrabeck, but he used to work for Entergy (he was Senior Reactor Operator in Oswego, NY). He's been with the "regulatory" NRC just eighteen months.

The job assignment was criticized by Cape Downwinders founder Diane Turco, who labeled appointment of Entergy-insider Scrabeck "a clear conflict" (link).

Scrabeck gained the posting when his NRC predecessor, Brian P. Smith, left to rejoin the corporate sector.

Reportedly, the NRC made the decision to replace Smith, but when asked if Pilgrim Nuclear's long string of unplanned forced shutdowns contributed to the move, Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Diane Screnci claimed (link) "Not at all." -- inspectors "routinely move."

(Smith, that last Pilgrim Nuclear resident inspector, vacated his job as an NRC regulator for an industry post with Exelon's Delta, Pennsylvania nuclear plant. Exelon Corp. is a US$42 billion utility services holding company headquartered in Chicago).

As regards new man Scrabeck being back at Entergy, Cape Cod Times reporter Christine Legere asked NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan if it was "somewhat incestuous to have a federal inspector supervise his former employer" -- the NRC said no.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Poor are People

          by Genki

Poor are people.
Our poor people.
Damn many we are..

All of us lazy?
Richy claims we're deadbeats.
'Course he says so.

Our communities
Highly polarized
Generate bad solutions

Barack's done squat for us.
Petty bourgeois mealymouth -
Looking out for hisself.

Nelson Mandela and
the African National Congress
Built reconciliation

Peace won't simply grow
From win & loss.
Perhaps it cannot...

ANC activist (now businessman)
Tokyo Sexwale explained:
"the liberation struggle of our people
was not about liberating blacks from bondage,
but more so about liberating
white people from fear."

Might Our terrorfied Richies
So scared of being mugged
Unclench creativity & compassion
To help poverty relief...?

Better we enlist the rich folk
Than besiege them in their castles

Supporting Education.
Teaching how to fish...
What a wonderful world.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Go Nelson !

As big corporate media tries to sanitize Nelson Mandela, some of his statements commanding activism are available at (link)

Nelson Mandela was self-admitted tip of the iceberg for the African National Congress -- declared "Terrorist" by Reagan, Thatcher, and corporate powers who'd love to tyrannize all the world for private profits and personal overconsumption.

Push back against enslavement.   ...that's Mandela's legacy.

Mandela's legacy is built on the bones of others cruelly murdered in South Africa and elsewhere: Stephen Biko, Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm Little, Maurice Bishop, George Jackson, Chris Hani, and so many people entangled by oppression: racist, colonialist, militarist.

Mandela refused to be a whipped animal - he stood up & struggled for a better world.

Beyond labels & rabid reactions, here was a man who managed to project goodwill and dignity while horrible systems of oppression raged all around. He made our world better.

R.I.P. Nelson Mandela  

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Obama Pretends to Awaken

Nearly six years into his horrible administration, US President Barack Obama gave a speech yesterday seeking remedies for economic collapse he engineered.

Obama and his minions consistently support big finance in raping the American middle class. They began with government-funded bailouts & the TARP program: undercutting all but the largest most-favored mega-businesses.

Obama  continues many militaristic policies of his failed predecessorwe're still mired in Afghanistan, and still maintain our Guantanamo torture center. We kill increasing numbers of innocent third-world civilians with our drone weapons.

Obama spies on the American people, and wastes much of the budget. He's antidemocratic.

Obama claims to be waking up - but he's five years too late. Someone rightly labeled anyone now supporting Obama as either evil or stupid....  !