Is anyone really surprised about this?

Interesting story at MSNBC covered at the blog Big Bear Observation post.  Apparently the NSA had been keeping a very long list of Americans considered to be dangerous.  About 60% of Americans must be on the list, as opposition to the War in Iraq seems to be a criteria. Gotta love the new label for those on the list: “socially dangerous”  I’d be very disappointed if I am not on that list.  

The really interesting story though will be if the Obama administration cancells this program (almost certainly they will) and if they release the list of those socially dangerous people.  The cover for not releasing the information will be that ‘they don’t want to violate the privacy’ of those wrongly accussed.  Next, will be for the list to find it’s way to wikileaks anyway.  That’s when the story will get interesting.  There could even be a fake list as part of a disinformation campaign. Next step: crowdsourcing the analysis of the different lists…all speculation for now, of course…

Continue reading “Is anyone really surprised about this?”

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Is anyone really surprised about this?

Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?

Another score for wikileaks, which provided a leaked document about the planning for the RNC, or I should say planning for the suppression and control of dissent during the RNC, which leads to this story from the ACLU of Minnesota.  Apparently both the Pentagon’s NORTHCOM and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)were part of this planning team. A fake cellphone station was even set up to track activists, without a warrent and on the taxpayers tab.  Good to see the FBI is protecting us from all those domestic terrorists, like nuns. As we’ve seen with the arrest and harassment of reporters at the convention, those in control were very focused on the suppression of dissent, at all costs.

Continue reading “Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?”

Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?

In order to maintain it…

“Strictly speaking, economic liberalism is the organizing principle of a society in which industry is based on the institution of the self-regulating market…For as long as such a system is not established economic liberals will call for the intervention of the state in order to establish it, and once established, in order to maintain it.”

–Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation

And here is the greatest intervention ever proposed in order to maintain this self-regulating market.  (It is also the largest and most brazen criminal act in history.)

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL FOR TREASURY AUTHORITY

TO PURCHASE MORTGAGE-RELATED ASSETS

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act may be cited as ____________________.

Sec. 2. Purchases of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Authority to Purchase.–The Secretary is authorized to purchase, and to make and fund commitments to purchase, on such terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, mortgage-related assets from any financial institution having its headquarters in the United States.

(b) Necessary Actions.–The Secretary is authorized to take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to carry out the authorities in this Act, including, without limitation:

(1) appointing such employees as may be required to carry out the authorities in this Act and defining their duties;

(2) entering into contracts, including contracts for services authorized by section 3109 of title 5, United States Code, without regard to any other provision of law regarding public contracts;

(3) designating financial institutions as financial agents of the Government, and they shall perform all such reasonable duties related to this Act as financial agents of the Government as may be required of them;

(4) establishing vehicles that are authorized, subject to supervision by the Secretary, to purchase mortgage-related assets and issue obligations; and

(5) issuing such regulations and other guidance as may be necessary or appropriate to define terms or carry out the authorities of this Act.

Sec. 3. Considerations.

In exercising the authorities granted in this Act, the Secretary shall take into consideration means for–

(1) providing stability or preventing disruption to the financial markets or banking system; and

(2) protecting the taxpayer.

Sec. 4. Reports to Congress.

Within three months of the first exercise of the authority granted in section 2(a), and semiannually thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committees on the Budget, Financial Services, and Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committees on the Budget, Finance, and Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate with respect to the authorities exercised under this Act and the considerations required by section 3.

Sec. 5. Rights; Management; Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.

(a) Exercise of Rights.–The Secretary may, at any time, exercise any rights received in connection with mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act.

(b) Management of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary shall have authority to manage mortgage-related assets purchased under this Act, including revenues and portfolio risks therefrom.

(c) Sale of Mortgage-Related Assets.–The Secretary may, at any time, upon terms and conditions and at prices determined by the Secretary, sell, or enter into securities loans, repurchase transactions or other financial transactions in regard to, any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act.

(d) Application of Sunset to Mortgage-Related Assets.–The authority of the Secretary to hold any mortgage-related asset purchased under this Act before the termination date in section 9, or to purchase or fund the purchase of a mortgage-related asset under a commitment entered into before the termination date in section 9, is not subject to the provisions of section 9.

Sec. 6. Maximum Amount of Authorized Purchases.

The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time

Sec. 7. Funding.

For the purpose of the authorities granted in this Act, and for the costs of administering those authorities, the Secretary may use the proceeds of the sale of any securities issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, and the purposes for which securities may be issued under chapter 31 of title 31, United States Code, are extended to include actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses. Any funds expended for actions authorized by this Act, including the payment of administrative expenses, shall be deemed appropriated at the time of such expenditure.

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Sec. 9. Termination of Authority.

The authorities under this Act, with the exception of authorities granted in sections 2(b)(5), 5 and 7, shall terminate two years from the date of enactment of this Act.

Sec. 10. Increase in Statutory Limit on the Public Debt.

Subsection (b) of section 3101 of title 31, United States Code, is amended by striking out the dollar limitation contained in such subsection and inserting in lieu thereof $11,315,000,000,000.

Sec. 11. Credit Reform.

The costs of purchases of mortgage-related assets made under section 2(a) of this Act shall be determined as provided under the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, as applicable.

Sec. 12. Definitions.

For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Mortgage-Related Assets.–The term “mortgage-related assets” means residential or commercial mortgages and any securities, obligations, or other instruments that are based on or related to such mortgages, that in each case was originated or issued on or before September 17, 2008.

(2) Secretary.–The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Treasury.

(3) United States.–The term “United States” means the States, territories, and possessions of the United States and the District of Columbia.

In order to maintain it…

Insanity, looting or just plain theft

It’s clear that the Bush administration has an agenda.  Clearly, their actions are motivated by a plan to bankrupt the US government, making any type of government program impossible.  The plan of a war in Iraq, that was senseless and enriched a few corporations such as Exxon, but killed 100,000 or so people wasn’t enough, so now they are asking for a blank check of only $700,000,000 to use to buy nearly worthless assets from rich people who don’t need government money anyway. The word for that is theft.

In any case, several of the blogs I link to feel the same way, so I’m collecting something each blog has to say about this issue. (Note that e_f spotted  that this was the beginning of something big in April of 2007.)

Many have commented on the proposed theft of $700 million dollars by the present administration, but the two best comments have been at Global Guerillas and Against Monopoly. The best graphic describing the magnitude of the current crises comes from Brad deLong’s blog:

Continue reading “Insanity, looting or just plain theft”

Insanity, looting or just plain theft

Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam

An interesting post over at wikileaks, which is the United States Counter Insurgency Manual, officially the US Special Forces doctrine for Foreign Internal Defense. There are perhaps some other titles for this book, which is basically a HOW-TO for the institution of a fascist police state. Some excerpts suggest that the present template for success in Iraq is based on the experience in El Salvador. Of course, although the U.S. did not lose El Salvador in a straight-forward military sense, in the civil war there from 1980 to about 1992 about 70,000 civilians were killed, including Archbishop Romero and several Jesuit Priests, which e_f has covered here. So, in a moral sense, the dirty war in El Salvador did great damage to the U.S.A., but here is the proof that those in power consider a War where many innocent civilans are needlessly slaughtered as a victory. The manual advocates accusing those who oppose the regime in any way with terrorism, and immediately charging them and any of their supporters with terrorism. Unbelievable, but brought to you courtesy of Web 2.0. It also tells the U.S. military how to do those all-important things like: concealing human rights abuses from journalists. Which just leaves me asking: Who are the real terrorists?

Of course, the other question is: If this manual has been leaked, and available since at least Monday, why hasn’t it been covered by the mainstream US media yet? What’s going on here?

More and links to the manual below…

Continue reading “Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam”

Iraq, as El Salvador, rather than Vietnam

It’s only censorship, so what’s the problem?

Jim Harper over at TLF displays once again the anti-freedom thread of so-called ‘libertarian’ thought. He seems to be saying that censorship is OK if it comes from a large corporation, but of course, if it comes from the government it is bad, bad, bad!

Somehow I Don’t Think Pearl Jam/AT&T is the Shot Heard ‘Round the World

If Eddie Vedder sat stone silent for 30 seconds, everyone would know that he hated George Bush. Eddie Vedder is hate for George Bush. He is the Jeremy to George Bush’s recess lady. Bleeping out Eddie Vedder’s criticisms of George Bush is censorship in the same way umbrellas censor the sun.

But maybe reheating the tempest in a teapot about some AT&T-owned site bleeping some political comments from a big rock star is a good way to while away the August doldrums.

I don’t think it was the shot heard round the world either, but I do think it is a straw, as in the last straw.

What all the folks at TLF are ignoring is that the instance with Pearl Jam was just one of many many times AT&T was censoring speech. So, now, finally this corporate censorship looks like it might get derailed, and the TLF is saying saying: “Get used to some censorship. It’s really OK as long as censorship comes from corporations, but it’s really bad if it comes from a government”

Well, if it quacks like a duck, it is one. And with big government and big corporations growing into a very symbiotic relationship, I don’t see how censorship by a large near-monopoly corporation is fundamentally any different than censorship by a government.  They both subtract from fundamental individual liberty.
Here’s some of the recent history of bands censored by AT&T.

Continue reading “It’s only censorship, so what’s the problem?”

It’s only censorship, so what’s the problem?

Words to live by…

Condi had some interesting things to say while criticizing Hugo Chavez, who has, we should be reminded, actually won each and every of the elections he has stood in. The BBC reports this rather straightly, not indicating if Condi was even aware of the irony here:

“Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government,” Ms Rice told OAS officials. “Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy,” she said.

Words to live by…