Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sunny Sunday


Somewhere in North Carolina



MORE EVIL DOING BEING DONE AT OUR EXPENSE.

"WASHINGTON — For months, the Bush administration has waged a high-profile campaign, including personal lobbying by President Bush and closed-door briefings by top officials, to persuade Congress to pass legislation protecting companies from lawsuits for aiding the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

But the battle is really about something much bigger. At stake is the federal government’s extensive but uneasy partnership with industry to conduct a wide range of secret surveillance operations in fighting terrorism and crime.

The N.S.A.’s reliance on telecommunications companies is broader and deeper than ever before, according to government and industry officials, yet that alliance is strained by legal worries and the fear of public exposure.

To detect narcotics trafficking, for example, the government has been collecting the phone records of thousands of Americans and others inside the United States who call people in Latin America, according to several government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the program remains classified. But in 2004, one major phone carrier balked at turning over its customers’ records. Worried about possible privacy violations or public relations problems, company executives declined to help the operation, which has not been previously disclosed.

In a separate N.S.A. project, executives at a Denver phone carrier, Qwest, refused in early 2001 to give the agency access to their most localized communications switches, which primarily carry domestic calls, according to people aware of the request, which has not been previously reported. They say the arrangement could have permitted neighborhood-by-neighborhood surveillance of phone traffic without a court order, which alarmed them."

@ NYT

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As well it should alarm everyone when the government takes the role of great overseer of all that is communicated.

The elimination of warrant requirements and subsequent 'trolling' for 'supposed crime' ought to scare the holy bejeezus right out of every American. The next step will be even more invasive, the entering of ones home to 'look around' for anything deemed suspicious. Far fetched? Nope, they are already doing that and it will not improve, rather with the Supreme Courts blessings it will happen. House to house searches for 'national security' are coming and just what are you going to do about it?

You personal privacy is going away fast, and legally.

.

52 comments:

micki said...

One of the scariest aspects of the snooping into citizens' phone records is that United States "intelligence" is usually wrong! The list of spying failures is long, just a few: U.S. spooks got it wrong when we were unprepared for the invasion of South Korea, didn't know the Soviets had stolen secrets about the atom bomb, got the surprise of our lives by Sputnik, had no clue that Russian rockets would show up in Cuba, didn't anticipate the Serbian invasion of Kosovo, and didn't prepare (or admit to the possibility) for the civil war in Iraq.

We aren't very good at spying and never have been -- so count on innocent citizens getting caught in a tangled web of incompetence. If the telcoms get immunity from prosecution, we ordinary citizens are in deep doo-doo.

Oh, and don't forget the plain, old-fashioned tactics perfected by the busheviks of framing the intel to fit their "goals."

micki said...

Hajji -- that hip fracture info is very interesting. I have a friend who broke her hip (fell off her Norwejian fjord horse) and healed nicely because she had some new-fangled surgery. It was probably the type you mentioned.

micki said...

Oh, I forget to mention to Den and Alan -- thnx for the tips on the cookies, etc.

micki said...

New Poll: Mitt Romney is the Candidate Most Voters Want to Get Into a Bar Fight With

Interesting new poll....

DEN said...

Speaking of Var-Mitt:

Mitt Romney's VC Firm to Buy Clear Channel
Posted by Chris Brunner at December 14, 2007 10:25 AM

What would it cost to buy the support of just about every nationally syndicated neocon talk show host in America? About $19.5 billion, which is what Mitt Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital, and Thomas H. Lee Partners have agreed to pay in a leveraged buyout agreement with Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio station owner in the country. This is part of a negotiation that has been pending for over a year.

Clear Channel owns more than 1,100 full-power AM, FM, and shortwave radio stations, twelve radio channels on XM Satellite Radio, and more than 30 television stations in the United States. Premiere Radio Networks, which is the largest syndication company in the United States, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Clear Channel and is home to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and many others. Sean Hannity recently signed a large multi-market contract with Clear Channel, as well.

From an anonymous email:

"I'll bet those hosts won't reveal that conflict of interest, but it's worth noting when you hear them begin hyping Romney, which has already begun. A lot of GOP supporters will support whomever they are told to support, so be prepared for a big push for Romney. On the bright side, Romney has more vulnerabilities than Rudy, based on his record. Look at this as the GOP establishment doing us a favor. Rich men can bankroll their own campaigns (a la John Kerry), but it takes a special breed to use investors' money to buy entire networks that can operate as passive wings of a presidential campaign."

It should be noted that Mitt Romney, while no longer the CEO, remains a silent partner of Bain Capital.
@ LRC

micki said...

Should Animals Be Doing More for the Animal Rights Movement>

Silly time on Sunday Talk Shows -- if you look at this, be sure to stick around for the "wrap-up" after the Ford Escape advert. I think this is hilarious.

micki said...

...after the 2nd Ford Escape advert...that's where the wrap-up is.

Gerald said...

It is confirmed. Nazis control our country.

Gerald said...

Blackwater in Baghdad

Gerald said...

Liquidation of Empire

Gerald said...

Scientists Are Alarmed

Gerald said...

Don't Buy Bush's War

Gerald said...

As Chris Hedges explained his reasons for tax refusal, “I have friends in Tehran, Gaza, Beirut, Baghdad, Jerusalem and Cairo. They will endure far greater suffering and deprivation. I want to be able, once the slaughter is over, to at least earn the right to ask for their forgiveness.” The world and history will judge us by how vigorously we resist the illegal and immoral war tactics of the Bush Administration. My husband, friends and I have decided we can’t pay for war anymore. What are you doing out there?

Gerald said...

The Disgraceful Treatment of Our Veterans

Gerald said...

The next smarmy politician who shouts, “God bless our troops” ought to be tarred and feathered and ridden out of Washington on a rail for sheer hypocrisy.

Gerald said...

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS BY SHOUTING TO EVERYONE YOU CAN, "BRING OUR TROOPS HOME"!!!!!!!!!!

carey said...

Here, here, Gerald. I jump out of my skin where I hear that bullshit.


Wow, that opening post and Micki's sure woke me up.

A little too down this morning to be scared shitless just yet. I'll get there. I always do.

Hajji,

Your last post last night was fascinating. Incredible what ER and hospital crews do. I've written about this alot when you mention your work in the ER.

Everyone in ER does yeoman's work. Every so often I remember everything, of all my trips to ER and watching the crew work. Down to the details these people are doing the work of God. Healing the sick.

Wow. Just utter wow. You know, it was therapists who got me to walk again against all odds and think clearly. That, you don't forget.

It is the entire community that saves lives. It is a tight-knit, incredible, spiritual community--healthcare workers are.

Not very verbal this morning. My kitty and I will cudde and watch football. Then decorate the tree with Brandon. I hate that sadness that's always lingering in the corner when someone travels back to the other side. They're the lucky ones, you know. We're the toiling workers.

Gerald said...

LET US RETURN TO GOD!!!!!

How Great Thou Art

Gerald said...

Carey, I went to confession on Saturday and I said to my spiritual advisor that I swear alot because of our country's direction. He said to me that I cannot use that as an excuse for swearing.

The Nazis, neocons, and fundamentalists are driving me crazy. The hypocrisy in this country is out of control.

carey said...

That is odd Gerald. I have found myself swearing much more too and I must stop. It's just a bad habit all the way 'round. Still....

Something that struck me over this current ordeal of mine with the cat, I'd like to share. The surviving kitty has known for sometime, it is now apparent, that her brother was dying, getting sicker by the day. I believe I knew internally too.

When Ken passed, the cat changed. He was always slow neurologically, the doctor calls it "dopey". He was born that way. I firmly believe two things. The cat's system was wired badly enough that he would survive only nine years. Two--his 'Daddy' dying really affected him.

This is amazing stuff, isn't it, to watch your closest friends (your pets) go through this whole range of emotions, just as us?

your weather prognostigator said...

Told you so.

Big Winter Storm Pummels Northeast

Michigan too...

David B. Benson said...

Gerald --- Thank you for the link to the paper about ocean acidification. I likely would have missed it otherwise.

david versus goliath said...

Bush team, humiliated by Papua New Guinea (!), blinks in Bali, sort of

Revenge of the small and weak, kinda...

micki said...

David B. Benson Says:
December 16th, 2007 at 5:53 pm

Never was a smack-down more deserved.

I'll second that!

Carey said...

The thing of it is guys, the U.S. has been plenty smacked down before. What made this different?

micki said...

What made this different?

One thing that made it different, IMO, is that the WORLD REALLY IS LOOKING AT US NOW! And they know we have a failed "leader" at the helm.

So, they are saying F-U to the USofA, knowing that they'll have lots of supporters agreeing with them.

Also, the international press reports it ACCURATELY, and makes the U.S. media look like stenographers, posing as journalists.

micki said...

...but with that said, the busheviks capitulated (a little) just to make the WORLD shut up for a couple of years because they don't intend to do a damned things about climate change.

Pathetic.

Well, the WORLD is NOT going to shut up!

bush and his boyfriends are not going to fool the world any more.

ah so said...

Chinese parents favor foriegn-brand toys

we're too fat said...

World bloat-o-gram

we can't keep doing this said...

Living Planet Report

Carey said...

I just found out from a news report, in time sorta for this family, that handling the Christmas lights cords is toxic. They have tons of lead in the paint coating them. Tons.

So.....

WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER HANDLING CHRISTMAS, PERIOD.

Mr. Greenjeans said...

Climate Crisis Solutions on a Small Scale -- even little things add up

Mr. Moose said...

Good advice there Mr Greenjeans, always appreciate a helpful word or two for the folks.

Mr Moose

pitiful, helpless giant said...

Who wants to be a world power anyway?

World power survey in Germany

All Creatures said...

Stop burning so much stuff!!

Signed: The Wildlife on Earth.

Scooter said...

Kick Cheney to the curb!!

Carey said...

The Newsweek sell line tomorrow?

John Edwards--The Sleeper

I believe I said something about that happening very early on.

Yes I did. I'm sticking to it too.

Carey said...

Another heartwarming holiday item:

Joe Lieberman endorsed McCain.

I heard that on the new thing I've got, XM's feed on Air America. So I don't know if it's a newsflash today or sometime last week cuz it's the weekend.

I almost called Lieberman a very bad name. I'm trying not to do that. It's Christmas.

fire next time said...

Hot air, hypocrisy and a revolution in Bali

Charles Clover in The Telegraph. I agree with only the first two parts of the title.

Many of the comments following his opinion piece are astounding for their ignorance.

Carey said...

Exceptional stuff from Charles Clover.

David B. Benson said...

Aha! Maybe I didn't understand right away what he meant by revolution.

There is a sense in which it was.

Even if all that was produced in Bali was an agreement to keep talking...

micki said...

I read some of those comments! Wow! And, to think, some of those "thinkers" freely sign their names to their monumentally ignorant posts!

micki said...

It's a-blowin' up here again.

And our new garage door doesn't arrive 'til the 21st -- I hope our damaged door doesn't totally cave in!

Gusts expected up to 50mph -- but, that's nothing compared to the last storm.

Fingers crossed.

micki said...

Carey, Holy Joe is a party of one. That he has endorsed McCain is one, great big yawn.

Joe's endorsement of McCain just means that he's still pissed with Obama, Clinton, and Chris Dodd for endorsing Ned Lamont. He's that small-minded -- he didn'[t have endorse anyone, but picked a Repug for spite.

Gerald said...

Carey, we had a dog for 14 years and 4 months. This dog was a family dog and a great companion to us. When we had to pur her to sleep, it was very difficult but she was too sick to carry on. We decided not to have another dog. They will live 10 to 15 years and you become attached to them and in 75 years let us you can have 5 to 7 pets that may have to be put away. Too much for a person's emotions!

DBB, you are a person who is very interested in the environment. I believe that you are well aware how precious water will be in the present and most definitely for the future. In my book, on page three, I write from the TVOntario program, "Corporation - The Pathology of Commerce" informs us that 67% of our planet will not have fresh drinking water by 2025. Personally, I believe that the Project for the Next American Century wants to eliminate 6 billion people on our planet. PNAC believes that our planet can only sustain 500 million people. A good way to eliminate 6 billion people is to destroy our environment.

Gerald said...

Deliver the Powerful from the Impotence of their Weapons

Gerald said...

New Human Beings

Gerald said...

The Supreme Act of Faith

Gerald said...

From Chris Hedges' article,Why We Resist!"

We face a crisis. Our democratic institutions are being dismantled. We are headed for a state of perpetual war. We are paralyzed by fear. We will be stripped, if we do not resist, of our few remaining rights. To resist, while there is still time, is not only the highest form of spirituality but the highest form of patriotism. It is, if you care about what is worth protecting in this country, a moral imperative. There are hundreds of thousands who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This number would be dwarfed by a war with Iran, which could ignite a regional inferno in the Middle East. Not a lot is being asked of us. Compare our potential sacrifices with what is being inflicted on and demanded of those trapped in the violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and soon, perhaps, Iran. Courage, as Aristotle wrote, is the highest of human virtues because without it we are unlikely to practice any other virtue. Once we find courage we find freedom.

COURAGE EQUALS FREEDOM!!!

CAN WE FIND THE COURAGE TO BE FREE???

Hajji said...

Ffolks,

this was to my 'ol "Cambridge Soundworks" crews today...


I just wanted to drop a note. I was (not so) fondly remembering our Retail Holidaze times together today...

Yesterday, I made a major appliance purchase. After a few months of taking apart, replacing hoses, repairing pumps and otherwise performing life-support on a 10yr old Whirlpool...I'd had enough...the Whirlpool family signed the release, we called the chaplain...and pulled the plug. Services will be held at Barley's Taproom, soon. Due to the incredible amount of dog-hair, red-clay dirt and chunks of goat- and donkey-inspired mess, I'd been fixing the $50 "jockey lot" vacuums Jill has been bringing home for the past few years, as well. Ordering parts and re-building from a schematic, in some cases, was what I did. It's my job. I'm a red-neck.

So I did a few days research on the 'Net. I looked at the local ads for a week. I finally settled on a holiday "Door-buster" sale on a 3.5 Cubic Foot GE that listed at Lowes for $450. I knew that H.H. Gregg was having a 20% off sale this Friday and Saturday.... and THEN they listed another machine for $261... When I showed up, they were, of course sold out of it, so I met this sales guy, beat the absolute fecal matter out of him..........and then he offered the the machine I really wanted for the incredible price of $271!

So I bit...$290...cash Amurkkun.

Ashley Magnum, a sales-pseudonym, if I've ever heard one, was more than happy to write up the order that he probably made nothing on because of my stories of Holiday Retail Hell, my characterizations of youse guys...and my enduring charm, of course. (probably, he was kinda bored)

Unfortunately, I was without a large enough donated SUV (Jill was in Durham with the Montero) that had a trailer hitch, so I told 'em I'd pick it up the next morning. (today)

This morning, against all common sense, I left Jill alone in H. H. Gregg, while I moved the truck and trailer around to the loading dock. It took about 5 minutes.

When I got back into the store, I was greeted by the sight of Jill handing her debit card to some weasel I'd never seen before, ringing up a $500 Dyson D-17 Animal Vacuum! "It's ""Just BettaH"", she said HE said!

Ashley, the COMMISSIONED salesman I'd beaten the fecal matter from the day before...was loading his .45 in the corner behind the "no payments, no interest 'til '08" sign..."GOTTA GO!" he seemed to be muttering...

So we brought the salespeople together...got the 20% off they were offering only 8 hours before...as well as a deal on turning a 5-year warranty into a 10...for ONLY $40 bucks.

They were happy...Jill was happy...I was happy that I'd (probably) never have to take this one apart...

The washer...much larger capacity than the one before...is creating TWO dryer-loads for every ONE washer loads... (I'm thinkin' a DRYER purchase is in my future!)

And I'm staring at "The Box"....

A DYSON!!!

A $500 vacuum cleaner...I'm afraid to open "The Box".

...and hoping beyond all hope...



That is really, REALLY SUCKS!... and that it IS "Just Bettah" than the $100 one.

Does anybody have Pierce, MR. "It's just BETTAH's" latest e-mail? I need his advice on how to get back into retail.

kisses,

-T

micki said...

Hajji --

If you decide on a career switch, forget retail! You could become a writer for The Onion. Enjoyable piece!

Looks like Jill picked a winner of a vacuum -- just for the heck of it (my student canceled this a.m. freeing up some time for my doing unnecessary things), I googled "best vacuum cleaner in the world" -- at the top of the list was a DYSON DC07 Upright Vacuum, "The Animal" described as a beastly device in glowing terms.

Are you taking your old appliances to a jockey lot? (I remember I learned what a "jockey lot" was because of you!)

micki said...

Oh, oh.

I decided to use dogpile.com as my search engine and the best vacuum in the world came up as:

Sebo Automatic X1