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Member since: Sun Jul 11, 2004, 07:58 PM
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If I lived in Iran, one word would keep me up at night: Libya

After decades on the US shit list, Libya suddenly got a break during the Bush years--a peaceful rapprochement, business and political connections--it looked like a happy ending.

Then all of the sudden, Libya was faced with a violent revolution backed by the US and NATO.

Today, Libya is the new Somalia.

If I lived in Iran, I would be worried that the US tack toward diplomacy was the same kind of trick--get a country to drop their guard, let our spooks in to size things up and recruit the usual suspects for a rent-a-mob revolution or coup to re-install a government that does exactly what the banksters and oil companies tell them, or, second best, to rape them with a knife like Khaddafi and leave their country the nation-state equivalent of a burned out crack house to serve as a warning to other countries who think they have a right to run their own affairs.

That would keep me up at night. And if I was a politician in Iran, I would wonder what I could do to avoid Libya and Khaddafi's fate.

Isn't using private contractors for intel gathering an inherent security threat?

Even more than privatizing other aspects of government, which at worst, will lead to corruption and shitty service, with intel contractors, if they are doing such a poor job or commit such a major screw up that their bought politicians can't cover for them, they could easily have an ace up their sleeve: dirt on the people trying to disconnect them from the government teat.

Certainly any company doing work for the NSA would have that capability.

And those most upset about the Snowden or Stratfor leaks should be reconsidering contracting with Booz Allen or Stratfor--but a little file on their calls to their mistress, rentboys, offshore accounts, or even the frequency of their calls with some of their less savory donors might stop them from taking the obvious action.

Haven't our politicians profoundly compromised our national security in terms of internal threats by outsourcing this function to companies whose sole loyalty is to their own profits?

WHITE HOUSE PETITION to release all JFK assassination documents

This would put to rest (or confirm) all the various conspiracy theories.

Release all of the JFK assassination files now and pardon ex-Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden.

It's been 50 years since JFK's assassination--but even though Congress unanimously passed the JFK Act in 1992, to release all the assassination files, the CIA, FBI, and other agencies continue to withhold important files. The National Archives refuses to say how many pages of files remain unreleased.

They should ALL be released. This includes godfather Carlos Marcello's JFK confession to the FBI; 1963 CIA files about Agency personnel who confessed their roles in JFK's murder; the George Joannides files; and files about attempts to assassinate JFK in Tampa (11-18-63) and Chicago (11-2-63).

Abraham Bolden, the first black presidential Secret Service agent, was framed by the Mafia when he tried to tell Warren Commission staff about the Chicago and Tampa attempts. He should be pardoned.


If Obama got a chance to replace a right wing Supreme Ct justice, will Senate Dems allow filibuster?

or will they keep twiddling their thumbs and keep pissing and moaning about the Republicans filibustering all the time?

Changing the filibuster at that late date would look opportunistic at best and piss off progressives who have long been tired of Senate Democrats who have hidden behind the skirts of their foaming at the mouth GOP colleagues to avoid passing more progressive legislation their constituents want.

My poll question though: would Democrats change the filibuster if Obama had a chance to change the balance of the Supreme Court?

If we could do ONE thing before the next election: change the political definition of "TOUGH"

It drives me nuts when politicians and the MSM say "tough" decisions have to be made, which invariably means screwing middle and working class people on the orders of and for the benefit of the very wealthy.

Every time a politician uses "tough" in that way, they should be called out and ridiculed until it stops.

On the other hand, every politicians should be asked, "Why haven't you made the 'tough' decision to punish Wall Street and banks for their criminal, globally destructive behavior?"

"Why haven't you made the 'tough' choice to stop tens of billions in subsidies to the most profitable corporations in human history?"

"Why didn't you vote for tougher regulation or even take over of sociopathic Wall Street firms?"

"Why are you SOFT on wealthy criminals who do more damage to America than "terrorists" we kill with drones? Are you a coward or just a crony of theirs?"

If the press won't do their job, any time we get a chance to face politicians at a town hall or campaign event, we must ask these questions, especially of Democrats who want to take our support and vote for granted so they can focus on taking care of their big donors.

If gays didn't have to pay taxes....

would all Republicans suddenly become gay?

Refrigerator Wars in Venezuela

The core decision is to limit the markup on certain products imported with subsidized dollars. Importers in Venezuela bring in goods with cheap dollars that they obtain through the state – dollars that come from the petroleum rent. They then mark up the goods 200% to 1000%. The government’s idea is to limit the markup to 30%. For this reason, state institutions such as INDEPABIS are now revising these importers’ books, while the army maintains order.

To some this might seem ridiculous. Whereas the Russians stormed the Winter Palace, the Venezuelans took over the refrigerators and televisions! Yet it should be remembered that the U.S. independence process began with similar skirmishes over consumer goods. Moreover, the nature of the Venezuelan economy makes commerce rather than industrial production the key area for the distribution of wealth.

Then there is the historical moment in Venezuela. Class struggle over the past twelve years of the Bolivarian process often has taken on a leap-frog character. Every time the bourgeoisie raised prices, Hugo Chávez would respond by raising salaries. Now the government does not have funds to respond with this bonapartist tactic which leaves all social classes with something. It has to transfer wealth in another way.


In the most positive scenario, resistance from the commercial sector will lead to a domino effect in which importers of other types of goods, such as food and clothing, will be also brought under supervision. Venezuela’s system of importation delivers billions of subsidized dollars every year to thousands of private importers. Then the government hopes vainly that they will actually import products and sell them at reasonable prices. This is deeply irrational and any step towards centralization, even if it simply limits the number of possibly corrupt importers, is a positive one.


BBC NEWS: Saudi nuclear weapons 'on order' from Pakistan

The US government will either ignore this altogether as it does Israel's nukes or the fact that this story is reported at all is a sign of how deep the current rift is between the US and Saudi.

The only stronger evidence of a falling out would be if someone "leaked" the Saudi pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, so official Washington could be shocked, SHOCKED! to find out our beloved ally played an active role in those attacks.

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."


Ted Cruz & GOP gov't shutdown prove Tea Party is step to post-democracy America

When the Tea Party first showed up, I could not figure out why they noticed at all since their ideology is pretty consistently conservative Republican.

The early explanation was Baby Bush had put so much stink on the GOP brand, that Republican politicians had to call themselves something else to get elected.

At the time, I suspected they had another purpose: some of the right's most conservative wealthy backers were disappointed that Republicans in Congress (and the White House) didn't pull the trigger on full fascism during the window of opportunity during the Bush years.

The very wealthy are not stupid and know demographics will eventually cripple the GOP because of the legacy (and largely on-going use) of the Southern Strategy.

Therefore, they have to either A) hitch their horse to corporate Democrats, which would entail giving in to just a little bit to taxes, regulation, and worker protections, OR B) get Republicans to seize power permanently while they could. After 9/11 they came pretty close, and Karl Rove even floated a trial balloon about "postponing" the 2004 election because of the War on Terror (and when would they declare that over?)

Republicans in Congress balked at that, probably not out of conscience or patriotism, but a reasonable analysis of the risks of failure and what it would cost them personally (everything).

Rather than resign themselves to plan A, the wealthy cranks decided they needed politicians who didn't do risk assessment because they were either too stupid, too over-confident or both.

If the right has another opportunity like controlling both chambers of congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court again, they will not hesitate or chicken out again.
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