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Gender: Female
Hometown: Georgia
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 25,625

Journal Archives

Boeing OC-135B


The OC-135B Open Skies United States Air Force observation aircraft supports the Treaty on Open Skies.[1] The aircraft, a modified WC-135B, flies unarmed observation flights over participating parties of the treaty. Three OC-135B aircraft were modified by the Aeronautical Systems Center's 4950th Test Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The first operationally-capable OC-135B was assigned to the 24th Reconnaissance Squadron at Offutt AFB in October 1993. It is now fitted with a basic set of navigational and sensor equipment, and was placed in inviolate storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona in 1997. Two fully operational OC-135B aircraft were delivered in 1996 with the full complement of treaty-allowed sensors, which includes an infrared line scanner, synthetic aperture radar and video scanning sensors.

Keep American Skies Open to Russia: The Trump administration is poised to kill another useful treaty that contributes to trans-Atlantic peace (interesting op-ed about how the treaty came about and why we should keep it)

But the biggest value of the Open Skies Treaty to the U.S., and the world, is its boost to confidence-building and transparency. By rule, American personnel sit in on Russian Open Skies flights, and vice versa. Treaty opponents say the widespread availability of high-resolution satellite imagery moots the accord, but most Open Skies members don’t have their own constellation of bespoke satellites, like the one Trump outed a few weeks ago by tweeting a highly classified Iran surveillance photo it had taken. Even if the U.S. could rely fully on its advanced space-based imagery sensors, the other 32 non-Russia Open Skies members gain tremendously from the treaty’s sharing process.

The Open Skies Treaty is not without its warts or disputes. The Obama administration locked horns with Moscow over Russia’s compliance and bad-faith challenges to U.S. operations under the accord. But those disputes were largely resolved in open multilateral discussions, and the lingering challenges aren’t fixed by steamrolling an unprecedented military-transparency regime, Bolton-style. The fact is that the Open Skies concept, and its application in recent years, vindicates “the continued relevance of arms control for our national security,” as one State Department official put it in 2014.

The Importance of the Open Skies Treaty - Nov 2019

Foreign Affairs hearing re the allowed planes/equipment; includes the usual Congressional bellyaching about costs.

There is no excuse for allowing this much wealth to be concentrated into so few hands

It means there are those who have not been TAXED properly and are not putting their fair share back into the society that gave them the opportunity to accumulate wealth in the first place. It's just wrong.

Boom. Thank you, Judge Timothy Batten!

from OP tweet image:

Finally, in their complaint, the Plaintiffs essentially ask the Court for perhaps the most extraordinary relief ever sought in any Federal Court in connection with an election. They want this court to substitute its judgement for that of two-and-a-half- million Georgia voters who voted for Joe Biden, and this I am unwilling to do.


U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten dismissed the lawsuit brought by former Trump attorney Sidney Powell in an attempt to decertify Georgia’s election. He said overturning the election would have amounted to “judicial activism.”

“They want this court to substitute its judgment for the 2.5 million voters who voted for Biden,” Batten, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, said in court in Atlanta. “This I’m unwilling to do.”

The decision leaves Georgia’s results intact, supporting state elections officials’ statements that there was no evidence of widespread fraud. [snip]

Attorneys for the state said there’s no justification to award Georgia’s electoral votes to Trump. State law requires the state’s 16 votes in the Electoral College to go to the candidate who won the popular vote, and Biden held a nearly 12,000-vote lead over Trump.

“Their claims would be extraordinary if true, but they are not,” according to a court brief by the state’s attorneys. “Much like the mythological ‘kraken’ monster after which plaintiffs have named this lawsuit, their claims of election fraud and malfeasance belong more to the kraken’s realm of mythos than they do to reality.”


[w/ links to several articles, including the one below]

Actual NSC Ukraine expert shut out of meetings to make room for Devin Nunes' fake expert

When Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman went in to testify before the House impeachment inquiry on Tuesday, Donald Trump tweeted a complaint about testimony from people he “never heard of.” It may seem strange that Trump didn’t even recognize the National Security Council’s Ukraine expert, who had taken part in multiple White House meetings and listened in on Trump’s calls with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. However, it turns out there’s a good reason that Vindman didn’t seem all that familiar to Trump: One of Rep. Devin Nunes’ pals had been pretending to be the White House Ukraine expert. And officials kept Vindman away from Trump because the presence of the actual expert might “confuse him.” [snip]

Patel had previously been best known for deliberately leaking intelligence documents to help Nunes undermine the Russia investigation. At the White House he became another of what turned out to be a series of “unofficial channels” Trump opened up with Ukraine. Trump had Rudy Giuliani running around Europe with a pair of indicted “associates” provided by a fugitive oligarch. He had the “three amigos” of Rick Perry, Gordon Sondland, and Kurt Volker badgering Ukrainian officials for investigations. And Trump had Patel ferrying raw intelligence data to the Oval Office and providing his own, completely uninformed spin on what was happening on the ground.

This point is never made often enough.

we would not have to be making vaccines if Trump hadn't fired or dumped all the people,
protocols, and materials that President Obama had in place that would have stopped the pandemic.

The entire world suffered more than it needed to because of the destruction of the teams and resources that were removed, undercut, and ignored. The US and everyone on the planet would never have been so devastated by this virus if trump had just left the resources in place and let people do their jobs. There still might have been sporadic outbreaks worldwide and perhaps a need for vaccines, but not under pressure like this. Not even close.

What a waste.

This makes me so angry and sad.

*ding*ding*ding* Nailed it.

Two search keys will tell you all you need to know: Betsy DeVos, Bethany Christian Services. There are vile monsters involved in this, and all of them need to be tried and locked up.






Voice of America is yet another wonderful organization wrecked by donnie and his pals.

Time to set things right again: clean house and press charges. Good start by getting rid of Pack.

The Office of Special Counsel's order places Pack in the unusual position of initiating an investigation into allegations of actions that stem from his own directives. Additionally, the order gives him 60 days - past the inauguration date of President-elect Joe Biden, who has already signaled his intention to replace Pack. Nonetheless it requires a sweeping review of Pack's actions.

This does not sound good. WTH is wrong with people?


Both the IBM researchers and the department’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the attacks appear intended to steal the network credentials of corporate executives and officials at global organizations involved in the refrigeration process necessary to protect vaccine doses, or what the industry calls the cold chain. [snip]

The cyberattackers “were working to get access to how the vaccine is shipped, stored, kept cold and delivered,” said Nick Rossmann, who heads IBM’s global threat intelligence team. “We think whoever is behind this wanted to be able to understand the entire cold chain process.” [snip]

Researchers for IBM Security X-Force, the company’s cybersecurity arm, said they believed that the attacks were sophisticated enough that they pointed to a government-sponsored initiative, not a rogue criminal operation aimed purely at monetary gain. But they could not identify which country might be behind them. [snip]

If they are correct, the lead suspects would be hackers in Russia and North Korea, both of which have also been accused by the United States of conducting attacks to steal information about the process of manufacturing and distributing vaccines. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between official hacking operations for the Russian or North Korean governments and those run for private gain. [snip]

But some cybersecurity experts say they suspect something more nefarious: efforts to interfere with the distribution, or ransomware, in which the vaccines would be essentially held hostage by hackers who have gotten into the system that runs the distribution network and locked it up — and who demand a large payment to unlock it.

This was about as pared down as I could get it - lots more at the article if you can get to it.

How was Loeffler ever considered eligible to be appointed in the first place?

ICE = Intercontinental Exchange


Loeffler’s husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, is CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, which owns a variety of financial exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, and other financial businesses. The company is valued at close to $60 billion. Loeffler, who was appointed to to fill a vacant Senate seat in late 2019 and who now is in a run-off contest against Democrat Raphael Warnock, worked at Intercontinental Exchange for 16 years and left the firm at the end of 2018. She was a crucial part of its corporate team, according to a company press release that announced her departure: [snip]

While her husband was taking advantage of the pandemic’s effect on the housing market to advance ICE’s grand plan to gain control of the digital mortgage service sector, Loeffler has done little to address the housing and economic crises triggered by the coronavirus. In the spring, she unveiled a proposal “to restart our economy safely.” It was a hodgepodge of mostly conservative ideas, such as eliminating payroll taxes for the rest of 2020 and cutting regulations for new businesses, and reform measures related to the first wave of pandemic relief already passed. One section did note, “Families are having difficulty affording their mortgage or rent.” But Loeffler’s plan included no provisions regarding mortgage or rent relief or eviction moratoria. [snip]

In July, Loeffler noted her opposition to extending assistance to Americans hit hard by the coronavirus recession: “I am not seeing a big need to extend the federal unemployment insurance.”

More recently, Loeffler, like her fellow Senate Republicans, has not said much (or anything) about the looming eviction and foreclosure crises. In September, the Centers for Disease Control imposed a moratorium on residential evictions for people making less than $99,000 a year (or $198,000 for a couple). It ends on December 31. Other economic assistance benefits from the CARES Act that was passed in March also expire at the end of the month, including certain unemployment benefits that could affect millions of people and their ability to pay rent or mortgage bills. Also, mortgage forbearance provisions in the CARES Act are scheduled to end in March 2021. All this and more—including the accelerating spread of COVID-19—are likely to lead to a spike in mortgage foreclosures and evictions. But the new “wave of foreclosures,” Millionacres, a Motley Fool service, pointed out, will likely lead to a real estate buying spree. That could be good news for Sprecher and ICE, given the company’s acquisition of Ellie Mae. And ICE will continue to benefit, if the pandemic real estate market remains as strong as it has been.

Loeffler and Sprecher’s financial actions have generated controversy on another front. In January, after she attended a private Senate briefing on the coronavirus threat, she and her husband made a series of stock sales. This included buying stock in firms that develop teleworking software. They subsequently sold off $18.7 million shares in ICE and also dumped shares in retail outlets. Once news of these trades emerged, Loeffler denied exploiting confidential information she had obtained as a senator. The Senate Ethics Committee stated it found “no evidence” she had violated the law or Senate rules. By the way, Loeffler sits on the Senate Agriculture Committee, which oversees the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates ICE. (Sen. David Perdue, a Republican campaigning alongside Loeffler in Georgia’s other run-off election on January 5, was also snared in a stock-selling scandal. At least one case of his personal wheeling-and-dealing was investigated by the feds, but no charges were filed.)

Conflicts of interest everywhere, insider trading... Loeffler and her husband are unprincipled vultures. The entire article is well worth the read.
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