Saturday, June 30, 2012

If US ever gets its hands on him, Assange is going down

It's kind of ludicrous to even pretend that the US government won't draw and quarter Julian Assange if it ever gets its hands on him. Ever since the right-wing Swedish government ran a setup on trumped-up sex charges, the wheels of injustice have been turning with grim inevitability against the Wikileaks founder.

So, one might wonder, what drives news agencies like AFP to broadcast such fanciful nonsense to the four winds?
AFP: Does the US have a case against Julian Assange?: "WASHINGTON — If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ever ends up in a US courtroom, prosecutors could face an uphill struggle trying to convict him, given America's legal safeguards for publishers, analysts say."
Assange might be foolish and a typically dick-obsessed moron, but his behavior with the ladies hardly qualifies as criminal -- especially in this day and age, and particularly in the wide-open Scandinavian nations. The authorities' interest in Assange is not based on his sexual peccadilloes.

Nor is the US circumscribed in the manner in which it will dispense with the pest that has brought it great international embarrassment, and brought the government's flagrant disregard for civilized norms of behavior to a wider audience. For the crime of divulging the tawdry and dirty dealings of the government in Washington, there is no hiding, and no escape.

Bradley Manning, the other half of the saga of the demise of the whistleblowers, is but a sample of the tender mercies Assange will be shown when the US has finally put a bag over his head, wrapped him in shackles and ensconced him in Guantanamo or some other CIA black site.

There will be no process due, nor struggles on the part of prosecutors to gain a conviction -- legal "safeguards" be damned. It has already been well established -- thought it remains "classified" -- that the US government can dispense with its opponents by any means that seems convenient and less likely to draw the attention of potential critics. Assange is right to try to frustrate the plans of the US and its surrogates in this malignant crusade to eliminate its critics, and deter anyone bold enough to contemplate joining their ranks.

He may have the law on his side, but unfortunately the current atmosphere is one of extreme prejudice against truth-tellers and other government opponents, and the law is no impediment to the ability of the state to crush its critics.

Friday, June 29, 2012

SC Gov: Not only dumb, but inarticulate

The GOP's reliable stooges are lining up to take potshots at "Obamacare," after the Supreme Court's decision that the insurance mandate's penalty provision is a tax, and within the congress' legislative powers.

On the front line of the assault are luminaries of the right such as South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, who blathered as follows:
SC Gov: Health care ruling means huge tax increase - CBS News: "This decision concludes one thing and one thing only for me, and that is we need to have new leadership in Washington. We cannot continue to go down this path. We cannot continue to be dictated to on what kind of health care we need," the Republican governor said outside her office. "We've got a president who continues to want to put tax hikes on the American people."
If there's one thing that's even more irritating than politicians who pander to their constituents' stupidity, it's them showing how intellectually deficient they themselves are. Haley's attack on Obama is not only nonsensical, it's barely coherent -- full of malapropisms and empty catchphrases written in consultation with pollsters and their focus groups.

Whatever one thinks of "Obamacare," it is a program that only a GOP stalwart could love -- which is why it has its roots in Mitt Romney's Massachusetts and the Heritage Foundation. Haley's rhetoric, stripped of its flourish, is nothing but an attack on Obama. The program is defective because Obama is a demonic and threatening caricature of a human being.

It has always been the GOP's knock against Obama -- that's he's foreign, the other. A black man with a Muslim middle name who threatens the established order -- and whatever privileges residually accrue to white people.

What they don't acknowledge is that the law was written by the insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and so is exactly the kind of legislative stew that the GOP is normally enchanted by, and works so hard to implement in public policy. There's nothing the GOP loves better than giving their big business patrons a fat handout via the federal government -- wealth transfer from the lowly taxpayers to the obscenely wealthy.

Take TARP as the standout example of this sort of political paddy-cake.

Perhaps most galling from a longer historical perspective is the appearance of South Carolina in the current controversy. One of the most economically distressed and culturally backwards states of the union, South Carolina has always been, it seems, on the forefront of opposition to the federal government. It's not accident that Fort Sumpter, where the civil war began, is located there. Decades before, these people were agitating over tariffs and the anti-federal sentiment has not diminished.

Over time, it's clearly shown how the reddest states on the political map are, in spite of the resentments, by far the greatest beneficiaries of federal largess. They love the handouts, but can't stand anyone telling them how to run their affairs. It would lend much credibility to their professed convictions if they were to return the money that comes their way from an institution they hate so profoundly.

But don't count on it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NBC/WSJ poll: Most Americans are stupid and uninformed

The latest flapdoodle on the so-called controversy over the so-called "Obamacare" boils down to this latest dispatch from the NBC/WSJ poll:
With the U.S. Supreme Court set to decide on President Obama's health-care law on Thursday, more Americans say they would be pleased if the law is ruled unconstitutional than constitutional, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
In the survey, 37 percent say they would be pleased if the Supreme Court finds the law unconstitutional, versus 22 percent who say they would be disappointed with that outcome.
While neither opponents nor proponents constitute an outright majority, a plurality opposes the law. This proves nothing so much as the effectiveness of the propaganda campaign against the law, and says nothing of principled opposition to its provisions.

Indeed, the public mostly doesn't know anything about anything any longer. They simply have impressions, based on media messages that they passively internalize after hearing them endlessly repeated on the paid-for corporate media.

Election time rolls around, and the same mechanism is in operation as we roll through the summer and into the post-labor-day blitz. Who applies the largest expenditures of cash to propagate a message, and does so using the best, most effective techniques, will in the end hold the levers of power.

It has nothing to do with any kind of reasoned analysis of issues, and a conscious decision based on facts. We're far, far beyond that now.

The health care law, which was originally propounded by the Heritage Foundation and enacted in Mitt Romney's term as Massachusetts governor, is now slated to be dismembered by a politicized supreme court dominated by Federalist Society neo-cons. It's all out warfare between wealthy political interests, and whoever is most subservient to the interests of corporate powers will prevail.

No one will weep if the individual mandate fails, except perhaps insurance companies who yearned for millions of new, coerced customers. Still, where there is a chance for massive profits, there's a will and a way will be found. This law, as the spawn of Obama, may have to be sacrificed, but in a Romney administration it will return, and when the corporate sponsors have the public where it wants them, their opinions will be molded into the exact opposite configuration, and they'll overwhelmingly support this obviously superior solution to the nation's healthcare woes.

Of course, the public be damned. It's a windfall for the corporations, and a more onerous burden for the mindless public.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eric Holder and the fast and furious fake-out

There's nothing more disgusting or inductive to vomiting that observing the jackasses in the congress throwing brickbats at the dipshits in the executive branch of the US government. Today's headlines thunder about the attorney general being held in contempt of congress for failing to provide embarrassing documents to his political enemies, as if anyone would happily acquiesce to being flayed alive in public:
Eric Holder found in contempt of Congress by House committee - "WASHINGTON -- The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted to find Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress for failing to provide subpoenaed documents in the flawed Fast and Furious gun-tracking case, just hours after President Obama asserted executive privilege and backed the attorney general’s refusal to release the material.
The vote for contempt and the White House insertion into the growing Southwest border “gun-walking” scandal set up a significant constitutional clash between the two branches of the federal government, one that ultimately may not be resolved until it reaches the courts.
The Republican-led committee, headed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), voted strictly along party lines in finding Holder in contempt"
Eric Holder may hold certain venerable institutions in contempt -- like the constitution and bill of rights -- but thumbing his nose at the hyper-partisans of the majority in the congress is simply the game as it's played in DC in these times. It isn't as though the administration of Dubya was any more compliant in the same circumstances.

This all will amount to a mountain full of nothing. If subjected to mountaintop removal, at the bottom of it all they'd come up with a jewel-encrusted turd that represents their collective exertions on behalf of their constituents.

What really rankles here, however, is the un-subpoenaed documents, investigations not conducted, and mostly the utterly contemptuous disregard for the rule of law that defines Obama term as president.

While it was cast as a noble gesture, a desire to look forward and not back, the complete abdication of responsibility on the part of messers Obama and Holder to pursue the crimes of the Bush administration in a court of law makes these silly persecutions by the House GOP look all the more pathetic. Holder may have been inept, but his behavior hardly reaches the threshold of crimes against the peace, and crimes against humanity -- both of which fairly describe the activities of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the assorted neo-con  hangers on who made the Bush years the lamentable, inexcusable travesty they were.

Of course, it must've been clear to Obama's handlers that when all was said and done, the new,  improved commander-in-chief would sully himself and his office in an identical manner, hence the aversion to look back seems to be a self-serving exercise in pro-active ass-covering. With acts of war on Obama's resume in violation of international law, as well as a very robust witch hunt against whistle blowers and truth-tellers, the new boss has proven himself to be sickeningly like the old boss.

Those of us who voted for this changeling sack of shit got fooled again -- but good!

Let the Republicans posture and rail against the fuck-ups of the current regime. It's a powerful distraction from their own lack of accountability for the equally depraved indifference to the law and constitution that they claim to venerate and honor in their petty persecutions.

We'll not be free of the quackery of these fake-ass, lying prostitutes until we purge the government of their ilk, and make it impossible for them and their patrons to ever obtain and wield power again. Theirs is not contempt for an institution, but for the public at large, on whose behalf they allegedly serve.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Clinton accuses Russia of doing what Washington does for Israel

Hillary Clinton can get up in front of any audience, and with a completely straight face accuse people of wrongdoing, when the government she plays a key role in is doing things equally, if not more, reprehensible. For US diplomats, it comes with the territory:
Clinton accuses Russia of delivering attack helicopters to Syrian regime | World news | "The US has accused Russia of risking a dramatic escalation of the conflict in Syria by shipping attack helicopters to the regime in Damascus.
Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, went on to allege that Moscow is lying about weapons deliveries to Syria by falsely claiming they are not being used to suppress the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad."
Now, no one denounces Washington for supplying the weaponry that Israel uses to suppress its native Arabs, or to ethnically cleanse the West Bank and Gaza. Not a peep is heard over the bunker-busting bombs given the Zionist fanatics with which to bomb the Iranians.

Indeed, the armaments trade is one of the few areas in which the US has a sizable trade surplus, and the weapons business is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise abysmal economy. Military keynesianism is what Chalmers Johnson called the effects of this global trade in death and destruction, which is tirelessly promoted by neocons like Hillary Clinton.

It's always interesting to contrast these folks' professions of religious belief with their more belligerent actions, as they tend to be observant Christians on Sunday and on the campaign stump, while at other times making war, not love.

The relevant biblical admonition would probably be that those who live by the sword shall thereby perish, but just like the myth behind Christian Zionism, that's simply window dressing behind which to hide one's innate misanthropy.

Or, put another way, first you must learn to smile as you kill.

Hillary and her cohorts will be smiling all the way to the bank, of course, while filling the airwaves with this kind of self-serving blather about how nefarious other countries are, should their game plan run contrary to that of the US-Zionist axis of weasels.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cyber-criminals, who's your daddy?

Being the naive and trusting sort, when stories about the exploits of Chinese-government-sponsored hacking attacks on US government and corporate computer installations, and how pervasive and sophisticated they were, we were given to feelings of both awe and insecurity.

Then, of course, the attribution of Stuxnet and Flame, along with the revelation about this "crypto breakthrough" and the world-class brains behind their creation, came into public view:
Crypto breakthrough shows Flame was designed by world-class scientists | Ars Technica: "Flame is the first known example of an MD5 collision attack being used maliciously in a real-world environment. It wielded the esoteric technique to digitally sign malicious code with a fraudulent certificate that appeared to originate with Microsoft. By deploying fake servers on networks that hosted machines already infected by Flame—and using the certificates to sign Flame modules—the malware was able to hijack the Windows Update mechanism Microsoft uses to distribute patches to hundreds of millions of customers."
What are we to make of this?

First, whatever technical prowess and government sponsorship the Chinese or other foreign powers might have at their disposal, it's clear from this that they're simply tyros in the world of cyber warfare. The real pros are in Tel Aviv and Washington, DC., where it so happens that most of the slimy doings of the world are centered.

No surprise there, right?

Well, consider for a moment: these so-called "zero day" exploits are known to the US and Israeli government-sponsored criminal organizations (they might consider themselves freedom fighters, or something, but that's a discussion for another time) before they are known by anyone else. Long before, in fact. And as we saw in the case of the phone companies in collusion with the government in the US, they were not only allowed, but coerced, to perform surveillance on US persons in contravention of the US Bill of Rights, and were granted retroactive immunity for so doing. We can be sure the spying continues.

Indeed, we can be sure that the government is not only involved in such matters as this, but others far more sinister and threatening to our freedoms and privacy. We're hardly able to fathom the extent to which the powers behind the all-powerful "war presidents" we're had since 9/11 have got our numbers -- and in effect have a lever over which they can shut down dissent and any person or state or institution that stands in its way.

It would not be hard to imagine that these exploits are not "discovered," but created to be exploited by the government and its stooges to enact the oligarchy's agenda. That would be quite within the realm of possibility for people without any moral boundaries, whose only purpose is to accumulate power and wealth.

The cyber war is but another front in the twilight struggle of evil against the rest of humanity.

And this time, we're on the losing side.

World's leaders in peace and freedom are is preeminent scumbags

If you needed proof that the US and Israel are both seriously challenged in the scruples department, you would need look no further than the latest findings from the computer lab that identified the "Flame" virus recently:
Researchers find direct link between Flame, Stuxnet malware - Computerworld: "Computerworld - Security researchers today said that they have found a direct link between the notorious Stuxnet worm and the more-recently-discovered Flame espionage malware, indicating that the two teams cooperated and collaborated.
The news ties Flame to the U.S. and Israeli governments, which reportedly designed and launched Stuxnet in an attempt to sabotage Iran's nuclear program.
"We're very confident that the Flame team shared some of their source code with the Stuxnet group," Roel Schouwenberg, a senior researcher with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, said in an online presentation early Monday about the company's findings. "It's conclusive proof that the two worked together, at least once.""
To posture as moral beacons for the rest of humanity, and be found out as impostors who flagrantly flout the very international norms they purport to uphold, is the very essence of hypocrisy. We have no clearer example of  the defective character of these actors upon the world stage than the lawless and aggressive behavior they unleash upon others -- all the while broadcasting platitudes about their love of law and justice and peace and love and understanding between people.

What an outrageous pile of elephant turds, from two pachyderms known to be destructive rogues rampaging through the world in pursuit of their very narrow imperial interests. At the same time, these two renegades waste no effort in issuing pronouncements and ultimatums on what constitute "civilized norms" of behavior -- while reserving the right to ignore these self-same edicts when it's convenient or profitable.

The US military, ever on the lookout for new frontiers to dominate, has long had its eye on "cyberspace" as a new "battle space," and their ever-solicitous Israeli allies are world leaders in the arts of electronic treachery. Together, they unite in common cause to deny other countries the benefits of technology that they themselves use to manipulate and subjugate.

Business and national security have morphed into one single, more nefarious entity that enslaves others so that the few may acquire the planets wealth.

The promise of computers and then the Internet has been so completely betrayed by these maniacal actors, that there is no place that's safe from their depredations, it seems. Where once the boundaries of human knowledge seemed to come unraveled, we're watching it become the playground of a new breed of bullies intent of sabotaging everything they can't control outright.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jamfest 2012!

I'm late as heck this year, and there's no excuse for it. Especially since the photos from last year's even have been by far the most popular post on this blog. Go figure!

So here they are. I have to say that this was my first go at shooting cheering with my D800 camera. I had no idea how it would do, given that everyone says it's not a "sports" or "action" camera. I found that the 4 frames per second speed was perfectly adequate. Could I have used the 8 fps of my D700? Sure, but on the other hand, the D800 handles this kind of lighting with ease, and the auto-focus was truly on point here.

Let's let the photos speak now...

Love the symmetry of the legs extended...

Friday, June 1, 2012

US-Israel are the rouge nations -- is anyone surprised?

The white knights on their high horses are always lecturing the rest of the world on the rules of etiquette and proper behavior. Never ones to let their objections to others go un-voiced, we are treated to a continuous cavalcade of condemnation from the awesome twosome of international rectitude.

Kidding aside, and knowing the track record of these two lawless bullies in their respective spheres of influence, is it any surprise that it's the chicken littles of diplomacy are in fact the actors whose lawless behavior is what most emphatically needs to be condemned?

It comes out today in the New York Times what nobody with half a brain ever doubted, and yet the brazenness of it deserves special recognition:
Stuxnet Reportedly Sourced to Israel and the U.S. -- "News emerged today that speculation about Stuxnet having been created by either the United States or Israel to attack Iran's nuclear capabilities might have been true. The worm, which reportedly hit at least five Iranian uranium enriching plants during a 10-month period last year, might have come from either or both of the countries.
In a book excerpt published today on The New York Times Web site, Times reporter David Sanger quoted several government officials in the Bush and Obama administrations on a not-for-attribution basis."
If one were to take the pronouncements of how certain nations pose a grave a threat to our peaceful and happy world, and aim them straight at Washington and Tel Aviv, one would be right on target in dispatching condemnation for unacceptable behavior. Instead, our erstwhile heroes routinely spew defamatory propaganda through their corporate megaphone media outlets, imputing their own reprehensible behavior to those they're condemning.

In short, this is the basest and more disgusting kind of hypocrisy imaginable. The US and Israel are constantly proclaiming how threatened they are by the diabolical plots of others, while they themselves are far and away practitioners of the most coldly calculating and morally defunct activities known to a world awash in perfidy.

There is no line they will not cross -- not a physical boundary like a border, nor the moral sort of inhibitions that most people aren't sociopathic enough to ignore -- to achieve their purely self-serving agendas of personal enrichment and territorial expansion. They commit acts of war against non-combatant nations, which they in turn brand as aggressors, not to be trusted.

We can see in the plainest terms here, how cyber-warfare is but another front in their constantly expanding theater of operations in a war against humanity, on behalf of the plutocracy that calls the shots in their banker-cartel-ized world order.

There is but one solution for this state of affairs, but it's not in anyone's power to effect the change that is required. For that to come about, we can only wait until the evil empire's own hubris brings it down, as the awful system that they've created to extract wealth and privilege collapses through their own insatiable lust and greed.

No one can beat them at their own game, because others aren't nearly as evil and calculating as they.