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VIDEO: Hug a Terrorist; Commentary From Jon Snow You’ll Never See In America

By: john in sacramento Monday July 28, 2014 3:27 pm

These are two, I presume, Palestinian girls who symbolize the actual victims of this massacre

And Jon Snow, from Channel 4 in Britain, with an editorial on what he’s witnessed:

People can say what they will about that Israeli government manufactured terrorist organization. And people can say what they want about the rockets fired from Gaza, but what the rockets actually are in the vast, vast, vast majority of cases are glorified backyard enthusiast type rockets. And not that they won’t harm anyone, it’s about proportion. And not that they don’t have a few larger ones, like the M-302′s. It’s still about proportion, and the true victims.

Stop the massacre!

PS And please, don’t anyone make a blanket determination and conflate the two separate entities; the Israeli Government and all of the people of the Jewish faith in this situation. Because there are many Jews who deplore the actions of the government of Israel.

 

#whatshisangle? Goldman Sachs CEO says Inequality Destabilizing Country

By: john in sacramento Wednesday June 11, 2014 4:05 am

So, Lloyd Blankfein was on CBS This Morning, on Tuesday, when he made that statement (video link).

I just can’t help but feel he’s got something up his sleeve. Is there some kind of new SEC investigation or something that he wants to get in front of, and this is some kind of PR spin to frame their voracious greed as something to “grow the pie?” Maybe he has some some Republican or DINO in his pocket and wants less, or no regulation at all, for some kind of new exotic CDO, or Interest Rate Swap, so he’s given them marching orders for a new bill making sure there’s no regulation of some new kind of Wall Street casino three card monte Special Purpose Entity.

Goldman Sachs is the most successful Boiler Room of Wall Street, and home of the “Shitty Deal” and derivatives.

I’d maybe like to believe him, but I think I missed the reform he was promoting. Did he say anything about outlawing High Frequency Trading, or advocating for a Tobin Tax

#idontbelievehim

Remember the webcam spying by the NSA and GCHQ? Watch this

By: john in sacramento Saturday May 31, 2014 12:56 am

Still think it’s no big deal?

This is just a simple, easy to understand example, of a few minutes of spying by one comedian and his techie buddy. How many people who say it’s not a problem, would feel that way after their entire home lives were open to surveillance? Raise your hand – how many people have ever said something to themselves, out loud, in the privacy of your own home, in front of your own computer that you’d feel embarrassed about if you said it in public?

Remember this?

Britain’s surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the US National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of internet users not suspected of wrongdoing, secret documents reveal.

GCHQ files dating between 2008 and 2010 explicitly state that a surveillance program codenamed Optic Nerve collected still images of Yahoo webcam chats in bulk and saved them to agency databases, regardless of whether individual users were an intelligence target or not.

In one six-month period in 2008 alone, the agency collected webcam imagery – including substantial quantities of sexually explicit communications – from more than 1.8 million Yahoo user accounts globally.

[..]

I don’t remember if they promised to “only spy on the evildoers” and that they’d discontinue the program, but my guess is, if they did say that, all they did was change the name of the program and that it’s still ongoing

VIDEO: Trophic Cascade, How Wolves Change Rivers

By: john in sacramento Thursday February 20, 2014 3:40 am

Just ran across this on Wednesday as I was reading Miss Cellania, and stopped cold when she had the above video posted. Because, WHAT?!? How could wolves change the course of a river. After all, they’re not beavers or anything. They have big fangs, and are the stuff of countless stories around campfires.

But as George Monbiot explains, their behavior, led to a reaction by the deer and elk to avoid areas in which they’d be easily trapped, which led to a regeneration of plants and trees, which led to an explosion in animal wildlife. This is called a Trophic Cascade.

That video is a shortened version of this TED talk where Monbiot later mentions whales, and how the Japanese argued that killing whales would increase the numbers of fish and krill —- it actually has had the opposite effect. And he also explains how when whales were at their historical high numbers (before whaling) they were indirectly responsible for disposing of tens of millions of tons of carbon absorbed from the atmosphere every year.

Another example is sea otters and seals. Sea otters and seals have been killed for their fur because the fashionistas demanded it. A reduction in sea otters and seals led to an explosion in the population of sea urchins, which the otters eat. So, the runaway population of sea urchins ravaged the kelp forests. And, a wildlife ecologist explained on a reddit thread better than I ever could

… so the kelp forests were reduced, decreasing habitat for a multitude of fishes, which decreased seal numbers, which forced orcas to switch from eating seals to eating more fish (and reducing their numbers even more). Reintroductions of sea otters has reversed this cascade in many areas. Ecology is so cool.

You wouldn’t think one bad decision would adversely effect things so much. But the Butterfly Effect of Trophic Cascading really does make a huge difference

Planner of Attack on Syria says Surgical Strikes will be Ineffective Against Assad

By: john in sacramento Wednesday August 28, 2013 6:52 pm

Jackson Brown, Lives in the Balance.

So, here we are, Obama and the war hawks are joined at the hip in their earnestness to show the world how “muscular” they are. Pffft! The author of the study on which they’re basing the size of their metaphorical manhood, throws cold water on their plans

In the last 48 hours, US officials leaked plans to several media outlets to fire cruise missiles at Syrian military installations as a warning to the Syrian government not to use its chemical weapons stockpiles again. On Sunday, Sen. Bob Corker, who was briefed by administration officials twice over the weekend, said a US “response is imminent” in Syria. “I think we will respond in a surgical way,” he said. On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to set the groundwork for a US military incursion.

Now, a former US Navy planner responsible for outlining an influential and highly-detailed proposal [PDF link] for surgical strikes tells The Cable he has serious misgivings about the plan. He says too much faith is being put into the effectiveness of surgical strikes on Assad’s forces with little discussion of what wider goals such attacks are supposed to achieve.

Didn’t we already go through this in Iraq? Didn’t they tell us it’d be over in days or weeks, and would only cost us $1.7b and we’d be greeted as liberators? Didn’t the Bush admin promote military and intelligence analysts who promoted the march to war theme

So, have our hawkish pols learned anything? Evidently not

The study immediately struck a chord with hawkish lawmakers on the Hill who were frustrated with the options outlined by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey that required a major commitment by U.S. military forces with a pricetag in the billions.

“For a serious accounting of a realistic limited military option in Syria, I would strongly recommend a new study that is being released today by the Institute for the Study of War,” Sen. John McCain said in July, referring to Harmer’s study. “This new study confirms what I and many others have long argued: That it is militarily feasible for the United States and our friends and allies to significantly degrade Assad’s air power at relatively low cost, low risk to our personnel, and in very short order.”

Harmer, the author of the plan disputes McCain and the rest of the “my manhood is bigger than yours because I can vote for other people to die” gang of fools

“Punitive action is the dumbest of all actions,” he said. “The Assad regime has shown an incredible capacity to endure pain and I don’t think we have the stomach to deploy enough punitive action that would serve as a deterrent.”

Dick Cheney’s Pulling the Syrian War Puppet Strings and his Genie in a Bottle

By: john in sacramento Tuesday August 27, 2013 2:47 pm

The above video is how he did it in the last war. And, it sure looks like he’s not finished, because he’s got a Genie under his control

Other members of Genie’s Strategic Advisory Board are:

[...]

Dick Cheney – 46th Vice President of the United States. Former President and CEO of Halliburton Company, and U.S. Secretary of Defense;

What does that have to do with Syria?

Israel Awards First License to Drill on Golan Heights to Genie
By Calev Ben-David – Feb 21, 2013

The investors in this scheme are interesting too

Business And Financial Leaders Lord Rothschild And Rupert Murdoch Invest In Genie Oil & Gas

Original source is Craig Murray

Anti-drone Blockade at Beale AFB Results in Five Arrests

By: john in sacramento Friday May 3, 2013 8:39 pm

The press release and video below are by Cres Velluci.

MARYSVILLE/BEALE AFB – Five people were eventually arrested around 8 a.m., April 30th, after dozens of anti-drone demonstrators blocked the entrance to Beale Air Force Base for hours, resulting in hundreds of vehicles being prevented from entering the base.

The CHP had to be called in to clear traffic which had lines of hundreds of cars in several directions after peace advocates from Sacramento, San Francisco, Nevada City and as far away as Fresno protested President Obama’s U.S. killer drone program.

Those arrested were briefly held on misdemeanor charges, which could result in six months in jail if convicted in federal court. In a similar action, 31 people were arrested at Hancock Air Base in Syracuse, NY Monday.

Last October, nine people were arrested at Beale during protests – and five are facing months in prison if convicted in a trial set for Sacramento Federal Court this summer (August 12).

Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an “accomplice” in drone killings. Activists arrested attempted to deliver a letter to the Beale AFB commander that demanded:

(1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.

There’s also this from The Appeal Democrat

“I’m here because something is wrong,” said Susan Osgood of Nevada County. “You can either sit at home and say something is wrong, or you can come out and do something.”

[...]

Osgood was protesting the use of drones, but they aren’t the only issue, she said. Surveillance planes aid in drone use, and are therefore a part of the problem, she said.

“We’re not just killing terrorists,” Osgood said. “We’re killing children.”

It’s Time to Think Outside the Box

By: john in sacramento Sunday April 28, 2013 8:27 pm

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results ~ Albert Einstein

Did you know the state of California spends $11.7 b, 11% of the annual budget on incarceration? Which is chimerical at best, because legislators, and many people think that the more money you spend on locking people up, the more you’re deterring crime, but evidence suggests that that’s not close to being true. To be honest, there are exceptions to the rule, but in the vast majority of cases all you’re doing is setting people up for a life of crime

The current California criminal justice system as it currently exists, is highly dysfunctional, and inefficient, as far as rehabilitation goes, and also from a budgetary standpoint.

For instance, did you know that California has among the harshest criminal laws in the country, and that there is no evidence that suggests longer sentences deter crime?

Did you know that there are more black people incarcerated right now, than were imprisoned in South Africa during apartheid? And that there are more black people incarcerated right now than were enslaved in 1850?

Leaving aside the fact that if we had a single payer healthcare system (an immediate minimum of 30% in savings per household), and amending Prop 13 and AB 80 to close corporate property tax loopholes — reforming the correctional system is the easiest, most efficient way to save money at a statewide level.

Thursday evening I attended a public forum on the state budget process, and how to make the Ca correctional system more efficient, sponsored by State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, the ACLU of Northern California, and the local chapter of the ACLU. I walked in late (parking was tough), so I just caught the last few moments of Assemblyman Dickinson’s opening comments. His comments are above

Then David Moss and Caitlyn O’Neil, of the ACLU-NC began their presentation. They played a short film bio of David Moss’ travails against drug addiction. Mr. Moss had been arrested 14 times for drug related offenses, which cost the state in excess of $10k per arrest. After the 14th time, a judge in Auburn Ca, asked him why he’d been arrested so many times, Mr. Moss replied that he was an addict. The judge then ordered him into a treatment program, which was a total cost of $7k. Now, I’m not a math wiz or anything, but 7k seems like a much more financially-conservative, prudent, and also a more efficient way of allocating taxpayer dollars than 140k +. And guess what? … He’s been out of trouble ever since.

Did you know that that it costs more money to house a prisoner than it is to educate someone at a UC? You could send two students to UCLA, and still have money left over, for what we spend per prisoner

Did you know that if low level prop offenses were changed from felony to a misdemeanor it would save $30m per year? Taxpayers would save $63m per year if the penalty for being in possession of a small amount of drugs was changed from a felony to a misdemeanor? That we would save $80m per year eliminate criminal penalties for marijuana use?

That’s $174m per year … what else could we spend that on? (not rhetorical)

Did you know that 70% of all people currently housed in cnty jails are in pre-trial and have not been convicted of a crime, and that it costs $100 per day to house them?

Did you know that California has the largest Death Row in the country? And it costs the state $184m per year, and each death row inmate costs $100k more per prisoner than if they were sentenced to life without parole?

Did you know that California at one time was the leader in educating its citizens from pre-school through college, and now ranks dead last in student to teacher ratio? (PDF – California Budget Project Report)

Did you know that just since 2008 California has cut $15 billion from health and social safety net programs

Don’t you think it’s time to do something about the schools to prison pipeline?

California once led the US, and for that matter, the world, in educating its citizens, and in its infrastructure. Not only of physical civil works projects, but in imagining, then creating new and better realities. It was at the forefront in new and exciting discoveries, and from that, industries. The California dream was really an intellectual dynamism born from creativity of what we wanted the greater good and future to be.

I think we can do that again