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Saturday, January 05, 2013

President Barack Obama’s attitude toward whistleblower protections in the National Defense Authorization Act have a dampening effect on those who might be inclined to expose misbehavior within agencies. Obama’s pursuit of Americans who expose US governmental wrongdoing:






Oversight
Obama objects to whistleblower protections in defense bill
By Matthew Weigelt  FCW
Jan 03, 2013

President Barack Obama objects to expanded contractor whistleblower protections in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, according to a statement he issued while signing the bill into law.
The provisions allowing contractors to expose government waste and gross mismanagement “could be interpreted in a manner that would interfere with my authority to manage and direct executive branch officials,” the president wrote in a statement accompanying his signature. “I am empowered either to sign the bill, or reject it, as a whole. In this case, though I continue to oppose certain sections of the act, the need to renew critical defense authorities and funding was too great to ignore.”
He points out several sections in the NDAA that enhance a private-sector employee’s ability to call out abuses in the Defense Department and NASA. Similarly, the bill launches a pilot program related to the enhanced protections.
Obama warned lawmakers that his administration will closely watch contractors’ interactions with Congress.
“I will interpret those sections consistent with my authority to direct the heads of executive departments to supervise, control, and correct employees’ communications with the Congress in cases where such communications would be unlawful or would reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential,” he wrote.
Congress’ provisions protect contractor employees who disclose information that they reasonably believe are evidence of gross mismanagement, abuse of authority, or violations of laws, including regulations regarding contract negotiations and awards. The bill permanently covers all employees of defense contractors and subcontractors who bring forth the evidence and the new rights cannot be waived under any agreement or policy. The bill also extends protections to whistleblowers who are harassed or fired by a contractor at the government’s direction.
It establishes a four-year pilot program enhancing whistleblower protections applicable to all civilian federal agency contractors. The protections then could become permanent.
Congress passed the authorization act Dec. 21.

129 comments:

  1. The US government has been in support and involved in a global killing spree in the name of “freedom lovers” in Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc.

    This video exposes Obama for his contempt and persecution of US citizens who try to expose governmental misdeeds.

    Once again, we have to rely on non-US sources and the blogosphere for any in depth details on this story.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Warrantless Spying Skyrockets Under Obama

    And the news is being met with the equivalent of crickets chirping.
    A. Barton Hinkle | October 3, 2012- REASON

    That was the snarky question glued to the bumper of every self-respecting progressive’s gas/electric hybrid back during the Bush-Cheney administration. It now must be asked again.

    Back then, liberals were raising the alarm about impending fascism because of post-9/11 policies such as warrantless wiretapping, wars of choice, military commissions, indefinite detention and so on.

    Warrantless surveillance, for instance, drew intense scrutiny and saturation media coverage from the time it was discovered until approximately 12:05 p.m. EST January 20, 2009. Interest then dropped off markedly. After all, Barack Obama had promised “no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens.” So, problem solved.

    Except it wasn’t. In fact, it got worse.

    First the Obama administration defended warrantless wiretapping on state-secrets grounds. Now the ACLU has released a trove of Justice Department records showing – in the ACLU’s words – a “huge increase in warrantless electronic surveillance” from 2009 to 2011. The documents show an explosion in the use of “pen register” and “trap and trace” surveillance. Those forms of spying record information such as who is calling (or emailing) whom and for how long, but not the content of the conversation.

    Since content isn’t recorded, the legal bar is set lower, and the surveillance might be technically legal. That shouldn’t get anyone off the hook: The Bush administration claimed waterboarding was technically legal, too. Now the ACLU says “more people were subjected to [warrantless] pen register and trap and trace surveillance in the past two years than in the entire previous decade.” Email surveillance, the civil-liberties group says, is “increasing exponentially.”

    {…}

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  3. {…}

    A few years ago these revelations would have been milked for days of banner headlines. Now they are being met with the equivalent of crickets chirping. The New York Times – which won a Pulitzer for breaking the warrantless-wiretapping story during the Bush years – has not seen fit to mention the ACLU’s findings. The election season has nothing to do with that, of course.

    But it’s not just the prestige press. The 2008 Democratic platform insisted on “constitutional protections and judicial oversight on any surveillance program involving Americans.” It declared, “We reject illegal wiretapping of American citizens.” It solemnly affirmed that “we will respect the time-honored principle of habeas corpus.” This year’s platform mentions none of that.

    Why the lack of interest? One possible explanation is that nobody is surprised any longer by Obama’s betrayal of his supporters’ erstwhile hopes.

    After all, this is the man who promised to close Guantanamo – and didn’t. The man who promised to end military-commission trials of detainees – then sustained them. The man who said, in 2007, that “the president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation” – then unilaterally authorized a military attack in Libya that involved zero imminent threat to the nation.

    And this is the man who said policies such as indefinitely detaining foreign enemy combatants without charge had created “a legal black hole” that had “destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world” – then signed a law that permits the indefinite detention without charge of American citizens.

    So maybe it’s just fatigue.

    But that seems doubtful. The Bush-Cheney administration’s critics managed to sustain a state of apoplexy for eight long years. No infringement on the Constitution was too minor to merit a fresh geyser of outrage.

    Yet now the wells have run dry. So the better explanation probably has more to do with Americans’ Red Team-Blue Team approach to politics. Bashing the other guys is far more satisfying on just about every level than insisting that your side live up to its own ideals.

    {…}

    ReplyDelete
  4. {…}

    We saw this during the Bush years among conservatives, who (mostly) ignored the administration’s profligate spending. Under Bush, domestic discretionary spending rose faster than at any time since LBJ’s. Most of those on the right were too busy rooting on the Iraq war and bashing peace activists to notice. Conservative concern about runaway federal spending did not pick up again until . . . well, until roughly 12:05 EST January 20, 2009. What a coincidence.

    This team-sports approach has led to a one-way ratchet of government expansion. Conservatives were so busy supporting Bush’s expansion of war powers that they let him betray their small-government principles in domestic affairs. Liberals have been so happy to see Obama expand government’s domestic scope that they have let him betray their values on civil liberties and war powers. In the process, each side has come off looking like a bunch of partisan cheerleaders who care about certain issues only when it’s politically convenient.

    That’s the thing about principles. If you don’t try to apply them consistently, then people are apt to conclude you don’t really have any.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That’s the thing about principles. If you don’t try to apply them consistently, then people are apt to conclude you don’t really have any.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great line. I will remember it when you apply one standard to Israel and no standards to anyone else.

      Delete
  6. I don't know us anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those who insist on looking for an introduction through the lens of ideology are apt to be disappointed.

      Delete
  7. We are still renditioning with the best of them, only now nobody cares cause it's Barky doing it.

    Has anyone noticed Rufus never criticizes any of this? He cannot bring himself to criticize Hero. ( I am trying to force it out of him, here)


    That’s the thing about principles. If you don’t try to apply them consistently, then people are apt to conclude you don’t really have any.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, I don't know; we look, to me, pretty much like the same set of assholes we've always been. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's just spreading the blame around. Focus!

      Delete
  9. It never bothered me if Dubya renditioned every raghead asshole in the middle east, and it won't bother me if Obama does.

    Look, every asshole would-be leader in history has railed against the "power of the gummint" until they "Became" the gummint. Then, every single one, without exception, did an exact one-eightie.

    I could care less what Obama does over there as long as he gets the troops home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have to admit this makes some intuitive sense.

      Delete
    2. .

      The sheeple don't give a damn.

      Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, passing through NY was arrested by the US and renditioned to Syria where he was held for a year without access to lawyers and tortured (interesting that the US used the Syrians to do their dirty work on torture given today’s events).

      Come to find out the guy was innocent of any crimes. He was released. The Canadians apologized for their part in the episode and paid damages. The US fought accepting any kind of responsibility and the appeals court ruled the matter 'was too sensitive a matter for Arar to bring it to trial’.

      The case of Khaled al-Masri shows the arrogance of US officials, the basis (in this case a hunch) they use in making these life and death decisions, and their typical MO, lies, denials, secrecy. Al-Masri went through six months of torture before finally being released.

      Extraordinary Rendition US style

      Then there is the extraordinary rendition of Amir Meshal out of Somalia. Every time a rights group questioned his detainment, he was moved to another African country. He too was innocent.

      The list goes on.

      Most countries in the world condemn the practice. There are seven CIA operatives convicted of the crime in absentia who will be arrested if they ever get caught in Italy again.

      And you dicks don’t see anything wrong (or at least don't give a shit) about the practice.

      This is especially funny coming from Rufus who is always talking about how he is looking out for the little guy or who ranted for 3 days when some blogger was threatened to be confined for mental observation because someone made a complaint about the political views he expressed.

      Situational ethics from the sheeple.

      Makes me want to puke.

      .

      Delete
    3. Too bad, quirko. One was a United States Marine. The other was some Canadian asshole. (I don't give a flying fuck about Canadian assholes.)

      Delete
    4. .

      As I said situational ethics. Pathetic.

      Charles Whitman was also a Marine, and an eagle scout. Last Labor Day several Marines were arrested in Long Beach for assaulting a gay guy. Based on your judgement, I'll take the 'Canadian asshole' remark with a grain of salt.

      This has nothing to do with memberships, party affiliations, or nationalities. It has to do with right and wrong. If you can't see that, all the other stuff you constantly shout about social issues is just bullshit, at least, when coming from you.

      .

      .

      Delete
    5. The only "social issues" I'm concerned with are the ones that, either directly affect, or have the potential to affect, my own family.

      I could care less if they waterboard every Wahhabi in Wazukistan (or Canada.)

      Delete
  10. JihadWatch Headline of the Day -

    Honour Acid: Turkish Man Contracts out for an Acid Attack on His Girl Friend

    Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2013/01/honour-acid-turkish-man-contracts-out-for-an-acid-attack-on-his-girl-friend.html

    ReplyDelete

  11. Green Room
    Re: Trillion dollar coin
    posted at 5:15 pm on January 4, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

    I wrote about that last year when I called it “the old grandpa coin trick.” The fallacy that fuels this is that people believe that a government can issue a few trillion of its baseline currency without affecting its value, merely because they assign that value to a couple of platinum coins. (((((((This is, of course, absurd.)))))) If we try to borrow money on that basis, bondholders will not fall under that same delusion — they will bail on the dollar as fast as possible. If we try to pay back debt on that basis, no one will buy any more American bonds, at least not until sanity has returned to Washington.

    http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2013/01/04/re-trillion-dollar-coin/



    “the old grandpa coin trick.”


    heh, aka, the crapper copper platinum


    (((((((This is, of course, absurd.))))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/ikea-monkey

      At that point, the American people must decide whose face will adorn the trillion dollar trinket. The process to determine the “specs” of the coin, U.S. Mint Public Affairs Specialist Genevieve Billia warns, must be “determined by legislation,” creating the potential for another congressional impasse.

      Also to note: The likeness sculpted into its side must belong to a dead person, ruling out early favorite Ikea Monkey, but boosting the candidacies of Ronald Reagan and John Maynard Keynes.


      Trillion Dollar Coins: The Ultimate Debt Ceiling End-Around?

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/01/trillion-dollar-coins-the-ultimate-debt-ceiling-end-around/

      Delete
    2. Someone suggested the Monopoly Guy, but that won't work, he isn't a dead human being.

      I thought of Robert Mugabe, but he isn't dead, is he?

      hmmm

      Suggestions?

      Delete
    3. Maybe the head of the Weimer Republic, whoever he was, would do?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-00193,_Inflation,_Ein-Millionen-Markschein.jpg

      Delete
    4. Words cannot express my excitement that this banana-republic idea is now being taken seriously enough to attract vocal support from a sitting Democratic congressman. If you’re looking for a way to convince the public that the left has no interest whatsoever in reducing spending before we face a fiscal meltdown, you can’t do better than having Obama and Geithner respond to the GOP’s demand for cuts by producing a de facto handful of magic beans.

      I nominate Rich Uncle Pennybags, the man in the top hat in Monopoly, to be struck on the platnium coin. Hell, its worth the same.

      itsspideyman on January 4, 2013 at 4:32 PM


      http://hotair.com/archives/2013/01/04/hey-lets-avoid-the-debt-ceiling-standoff-by-minting-a-trillion-dollar-platinum-coin-instead/comment-page-1/#comments


      That's the guy!

      Rich Unca Pennybags!!

      Delete
  12. I applaud your Reason writer for trying to expand the analysis beyond the confining boundaries of ideology, particularly the older political divides that extend back to post-Cold War, if not earlier. Analytical salvation by the on-line media is far from given when idiots like Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, (and 90% of the PM site) define every issue from hangnails to hemlines as a progressive/conservative plot "impoverish America." That's one of the consequences when the focus is half entertainment and half informational (and half self-aggrandizing egomania sans self discipline or value.) All of the appeal is wrapped up in the Conflict, a sports event.

    Another consequence is that people are forced to "choose sides" rather than cooperate, as I wrote earlier about the "average person" in the ME. You take your centrist, middle of the road, pragmatic attitude over the venues like Red State or BC, and you need to waltz in with body armor. The dialogue has devolved into "my way or the highway." (Thank you GWB - again.)

    It's also why I posted excerpts of a critique of progressive ideology. Like it or not, agree with it or not, my guess is that Washington will not change until the thinkers come up with something - a critique, or series of critiques, that provide an "action-ready" road map for reform." (That is happening albeit slowly.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Dems have at least articulated a need for ideological "upgrade" in a way that connects with many "pragmatic centrists" (notice I've said nothing about god or abortion) but the Republicans can't find a way out of their self-imposed "up by the bootstraps" hell, aside from noting that "we have to convince Them that we Care."

      Delete
    2. ideological "upgrade"

      ah jeez

      Yup- chuck the Constitution, what's left of it, for dialectical materialism, Marxism, moslem 'democracy' and the hell with Israel, not to mention to hell with the nuclear and extended family.

      Delete
    3. Why did the chicken cross the road?

      Answer: it's all GWB's fault and you're a racist.

      Delete
    4. .

      When the GOP 'articulates' that they are looking for bipartisan solutions they are merely trying to convince the people that they care.

      When the Dems 'articulate' that they are seeking an 'ideological upgrade' (?) it naturally appeals to the self-described 'pragmatic centrists'.

      While the poor smucks caught between the two simply says, "We don't need no more stinkin articulating, give us some actual doing."

      Words (or articulating) are wonderful things. A little articulating and $7 will get you a Starbucks.

      .

      Delete
  13. The Democrats need to keep the Republican Party viable and feeble so that they can continue their advances with their agenda. A responsible replacement of the Republican Party is necessary to check the Democrats. A nationalist, populist independent party is possible.

    ReplyDelete
  14. A platform based on heavy investment in domestic infrastructure, energy independence, non-intervention in foreign countries and domestic wealth creation would have a strong appeal.

    ReplyDelete
  15. QED

    Deuce "reworded" the guts of what I wrote above.

    What did the Dick-brigade of regulars do?

    One blew it out of the ballpark by equating platform reform with abolition of the founding documents.

    One dredged up a couple trite sound bites from the shallow reservoir of first order epitaphs that comprise the limited vocabulary of the on-line medium.

    One dove a little lower and went for the ankles, presumably because the big conflicts of the last century began, not with an idea, but with some form of uncontrolled temper tantrum or maybe too much caffeine.

    Yes, this country needs a two-party system (note I said nothing about god or abortion.) Right now we have a party and a hangover.

    And yes, that last platform, rightly or wrongly, would have very strong appeal (note it says nothing about god or abortion.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. .

      I agree we need a two party system. The fact is we now have a one party system. The fact that you can't see that is not my problem.

      If you would like I can go down the list of similarities between the Bush and Obama.

      You talk about the conflicts of the past century; hell, go back to the beginning. The words of the Founding Fathers would be merely some oft cited references in a political science handbook if they weren't acted upon. Today all we get is talk from both sides, with neither side willing to compromise to get anything done.

      Sorry if it upsets you but I am not really impressed with a lot of 'articulating'.

      And please don't come back with the 'we could get something done if only the GOP'... Lord, that has become tiresome. If a party can't figure out a way to govern, it isn't qualified to govern. Both designated parties fall into that identity. You might as well say we have one party rule.

      .

      Delete
    2. Nah, you're full of shit, Q. We, presently have a liberal party, and a batshit crazy party.

      Only occasionally do they "come together" to bugger the general populace.

      Delete
    3. .

      You are splitting hairs, Rufus.

      How on earth does one differentiate a 'liberal party' from a 'batshit crazy party'?

      :)

      .

      Delete
    4. Lighten up, Quirk.

      It's all part of The Great Game that drove one of your little buddies into literature, as the ultimate articulation of human existence.

      And no guiding idea/vision required is kind of a funny argument coming a master logician.

      Where's that monkey with his dartboard?

      :)

      Delete
    5. Easy if you're an "Obama Voter." :)

      Delete
    6. How on earth does one differentiate a 'liberal party' from a 'batshit crazy party'?

      The smile.

      Delete
    7. Mine was a cut and paste smile from Quirk's post.

      Delete
    8. I didn't get enough sleep; I'm going back to bed.

      Delete
    9. I trust that clears thing up somewhat for Jennie.

      Delete
    10. Magnify by an order of magnitude of a gadquadrillion and welcome to Washington Mr. Smith.

      Delete
    11. (But you knew that already didn't you?)

      Delete
    12. .

      I have no idea what you guys just said.

      I assume it must be lib-speak. I also assume there is a secret handshake that goes with it.

      Jennie, if that clears things up for you, please explain to me when you get a chance.

      .

      Delete
    13. .

      And no guiding idea/vision required is kind of a funny argument coming a master logician.

      A perfect example.

      If you actually read what I was saying, you would know that I was not arguing against a vision or even against 'articulating' a vision. My problem is with the empty words.

      Only a naif would accept the words of either of the current major parties, no matter how flowery or how it fits with his/her pragmatic centrist views, as anything but an appeal to the base. Words, no matter how pretty, are worthless. It is only actions that count.

      My position is that both parties are driven by the same underlying motivation, getting re-elected. They will 'say' anything to achieve that.

      One would have to be painfully naive to believe campaign promises or the idle words of politicians spouting sound bites.

      To try to differentiate between the current rogues gallery of elected officials is a fools errand.

      .

      Delete
    14. No, it ain't, Q. The people might be the same, but the "Parties" are different.

      There is a difference, to me, whose taxes go up, and whose benefits get cut.

      There is a deficit. It matters, to me, whether you and Warren Buffet pays for it, or "I" do.

      Delete
    15. .

      Please, Rufus, you embarrass yourself.

      Who's taxes go up? Who pays for the deficit?

      Lordy.

      Under the 'fiscal cliff' negotiations that everyone says Obama won, the rich are now paying an extra $60 billion a year and you think that is going to pay off a $ trillion dollar deficit? Hell, the payroll tax increase provides $115 billion in revenue a year, double the 'tax the rich' provisions. So much for helping the little guy.

      And I posted a link the other day that showed who it was who forced the big tax breaks for the rich into the 'fiscal cliff' deal including the one that allows them to continue to store their cash overseas.

      Get real.

      Just received my copy of Rolling Stone today, a publication I believe most would consider liberal.

      The following is an article that describe the bipartisan clusterfuck and give-a-way to the rich the TARP program actually was, with at least half the baksheesh being handed out on Obama's watch.

      Secrets and Lies of the Bailout

      And you are willing to sit there and accept the 'trinkets for the natives' they toss to you and gladly say, 'Thank you, sir, may I have another?"

      .

      Delete
  16. The Great Game that drove one of your little buddies into literature

    Little buddies?

    If you are referencing me, I thought I was adorable, seething and steamy.

    Women.

    But it couldn't be me, cause me an' Ruf don't hang with with left half brainers. A great lateralization rift yawns between us.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. .

      Having just got back from walking my dog, I can actually see the steamy part could apply to you.

      .

      Delete
  17. I don't do books anymore but for those who do, George Saunders just wrote the best book you will read this year:

    Aside from all the formal invention and satirical energy of Saunders’s fiction, the main thing about it, which tends not to get its due, is how much it makes you feel. I’ve loved Saunders’s work for years and spent a lot of hours with him over the past few months trying to understand how he’s able to do what he does, but it has been a real struggle to find an accurate way to express my emotional response to his stories. One thing is that you read them and you feel known, if that makes any sense. Or, possibly even woollier, you feel as if he understands humanity in a way that no one else quite does, and you’re comforted by it. Even if that comfort often comes in very strange packages, like say, a story in which a once-chaste aunt comes back from the dead to encourage her nephew, who works at a male-stripper restaurant (sort of like Hooters, except with guys, and sleazier), to start unzipping and showing his wares to the patrons, so he can make extra tips and help his family avert a tragic future that she has foretold.

    Junot Díaz described the Saunders’s effect to me this way: “There’s no one who has a better eye for the absurd and dehumanizing parameters of our current culture of capital. But then the other side is how the cool rigor of his fiction is counterbalanced by this enormous compassion. Just how capacious his moral vision is sometimes gets lost, because few people cut as hard or deep as Saunders does.”

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Even if that comfort often comes in very strange packages, like say, a story in which a once-chaste aunt comes back from the dead to encourage her nephew, who works at a male-stripper restaurant (sort of like Hooters, except with guys, and sleazier), to start unzipping and showing his wares to the patrons, so he can make extra tips and help his family avert a tragic future that she has foretold.

      This surely is the height of drama, and dehumanizing too, what more could one want in these latter days?

      Saints?

      Delete
  18. Eunuchs of the Universe:

    As Coates put it, the trader’s “metabolism speeds up, ready to break down energy stores of liver, muscle, and fat cells”… breathing accelerates… the heart starts drumming away… cells of the immune system take up positions at “vulnerable points …” his nervous system shunts blood from the stomach—“giving him butterflies”—and from the sexual organs—won’t need them until first thing afterward—and diverts it to the big muscles of the arms and thighs. His testosterone has been building rapidly, and now steroids start pumping from the testes into his bloodstream, along with adrenaline and cortisol, which in turn prompts the release of dopamine—“the most addictive drug known to the human brain.” The rush convinces traders “there is no other job in the world.” He becomes a different person, not merely confident but dominant… a Master. He is ready to take risks that would terrify a lesser man. “He leans into his screen, pupils dilated, breathing rhythmic, muscles coiled, body and brain fused for impending action.”

    I can't get that Benjamin Norman picture out of my mind.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. which in turn prompts the release of dopamine—“the most addictive drug known to the human brain.”

      And that is why the morning crap, being described here, is often thought to be "better than sex".

      Delete
    2. Do you see? Do you see?

      Money has been defined as dessicated cleaned up shit, by depth psychoanalists.

      Delete
    3. I think you'd be better off reading Mickey Spillane, but just one man's opinion.

      :)

      Delete
    4. .

      Money has been defined as dessicated cleaned up shit, by depth psychoanalists.

      Yea, cleaned up but still steamy.

      .

      Delete


    5. Money has been defined as dessicated cleaned up shit,

      According to Jenny, it's all about sex.

      At any rate, money and self-interest aren't the same, although they derive from a common incestuous origin.

      by depth psychoanalists.

      I had no idea. Sounds wordy, with intuitive tendencies. You get licensed in that? Right next door to Aroma Therapists? Grandiosity as a substitute explanation for weakness/failure sounds too Freudian to me, but I have already stated by unmitigated contempt for the profession so my opinion doesn't much count.

      Delete
  19. Replies
    1. "A woman's mind is cleaner than a man's, she changes it more often."

      Delete
  20. "It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it…"

    - Gore

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :)

      Always turn to Al 'Jazeera' Gore, the first name for information you can trust.

      Delete
  21. Photo of the Day -

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2013/01/04/168612594/a-very-very-very-delicate-balance?ft=1&f=1001

    Not up Melody's galaxies but not bad.

    ReplyDelete
  22. The Republicans don't have the votes, they don't have the mandate and don't have the political capital. Neither can one call the Republicans the party of life liberty or peace when they throw the elderly and disabled under the bus and it was they who put us into two wars.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, but I'll tell you what about two hundred, maybe plus, of those Republican Congressmen do have; they have incredibly safe seats (as long as they can avoid getting "Primaried" by someone even more batshit crazy, extreme right wing than they are.)

      Delete
    2. But, that brings up an interesting situation, doesn't it? Because, as batshit crazy as the Right-wing, big money donors want our Tea Baggers to be, they don't want the crazy fucks to completely destroy the credit rating of the United States of America - do they?

      Delete
    3. I'm thinking: Somebody needs "talking off the ledge."

      Delete
    4. Volunteering for the job Rufus?

      Delete
    5. Nah, this is way over my mensa score. Way over.


      I figure the pricks'll figger it out, though. They have a lot at stake, and a whole lotta money to work with.

      I'm just going to try to stay reasonably sober. :)

      Delete
    6. .

      Rufus, I responded to your post above claiming that there is any significant difference between the GOP and the Dems.

      Anon, who bravely strikes out against the GOP from the secure anonimity of the Anonymous tag, may want to look at the same post in order to gain some perspective, especially with regard to his comment on the GOP throwing the elderly under the bus (and I assume implying) that it is not a bipartisan effort.

      On that particular subject, I could go even further by explaining how the current FEDS actions negatively affect those groups while pointing out that seven of the 12 governors, the Chairman and the Vice Chairman are appointed to the FED Board by the president.

      .

      Delete
    7. Yeah, there's some heavy lifting ahead.

      Delete
  23. The 'war on terror' - by design - can never end

    The polices adopted by the Obama administration just over the last couple of years leave no doubt that they are accelerating, not winding down, the war apparatus that has been relentlessly strengthened over the last decade. In the name of the War on Terror, the current president has diluted decades-old Miranda warnings; codified a new scheme of indefinite detention on US soil; plotted to relocate Guantanamo to Illinois; increased secrecy, repression and release-restrictions at the camp; minted a new theory of presidential assassination powers even for US citizens; renewed the Bush/Cheney warrantless eavesdropping framework for another five years, as well as the Patriot Act, without a single reform; and just signed into law all new restrictions on the release of indefinitely held detainees.

    Does that sound to you like a government anticipating the end of the War on Terror any time soon? Or does it sound like one working feverishly to make their terrorism-justified powers of detention, surveillance, killing and secrecy permanent? About all of this, the ACLU's Executive Director, Anthony Romero, provided the answer on Thursday: "President Obama has utterly failed the first test of his second term, even before inauguration day. His signature means indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions, will be extended."

    There's a good reason US officials are assuming the "War on Terror" will persist indefinitely: namely, their actions ensure that this occurs.....

    ReplyDelete
  24. The End of Economists' Imperialism:

    "By almost any market test, economics is the premier social science," Stanford University economist Edward Lazear wrote just over a decade ago. "The field attracts the most students, enjoys the attention of policy-makers and journalists, and gains notice, both positive and negative, from other scientists."

    ....

    "The power of economics lies in its rigor," he wrote. "Economics is scientific; it follows the scientific method of stating a formal refutable theory, testing theory, and revising the theory based on the evidence. Economics succeeds where other social scientists fail because economists are willing to abstract."

    ....

    Are there any signs that the imperialist era of economics might finally be coming to an end?

    Lazear acknowledged one such indicator in his article — the invasion of economics by psychological teachings about cognitive bias.

    ....

    And then, well, things didn't go so well. The financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn — which Lazear somewhat infamously downplayed while in office — have put a big dent in the credibility of the macro side of the discipline. The issue isn't that economists have nothing interesting to say about the crisis. It's that they have so many different things to say about it. As MIT financial economist Andrew Lo found after reading 11 accounts of the crisis by academic economists (along with nine by journalists, plus former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's personal account), there is massive disagreement not just on why the crisis happened but on what actually happened. "Many of us like to think of financial economics as a science," Lo wrote, "but complex events like the financial crisis suggest that this conceit may be more wishful thinking than reality."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One can do as well throwing darts at the Wall Street Journal stock page as listening to the economists.

      This was scientifically proven by the Journal itself many years ago by lining up the dart throwers against the economists to make yearly predictions, and the dart throwers won.

      Delete
    2. That was active trading vs passive trading or index trading which began with "A Random Walk Down Wall St published in 1973 with ten subsequent revisions. Malkiel [author] argues that asset prices typically exhibit signs of random walk and that one cannot consistently outperform market averages. The book is frequently cited by those in favor of the efficient market hypothesis.

      It is the EMH that is being challenged by people like Lo.

      Delete

    3. A Run Down Memory Lane:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/23/business/worldbusiness/23iht-gspan.4.17206624.html

      Quote

      Greenspan 'shocked' that free markets are flawed
      By Brian Knowlton and Michael M. Grynbaum
      Published: Thursday, October 23, 2008

      WASHINGTON ? Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan - the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible "maestro" of the U.S. economy - admitted Thursday that he was wrong to trust free markets to regulate the financial system without stronger government oversight.

      A fervent proponent of deregulation during his 18-year tenure at the Fed's helm, Greenspan has faced mounting criticism this year for having adamantly resisted efforts to rein in credit derivatives, an unchecked market whose excesses partially led to the current financial crisis.

      "I have found a flaw" in free market theory, Greenspan said under intense questioning by Representative Henry Waxman, the Democratic chairman of the Government Oversight Committee of the House of Representatives. "I don't know how significant or permanent it is," Greenspan added. "But I have been very distressed by that fact."

      In his testimony, Greenspan rejected the notion that he was personally responsible for what he called a "once-in-a-century credit tsunami."

      He also defended the use of derivatives in general, but he admitted to Waxman that he had been "partially" wrong in not having tried to regulate the market for credit default swaps.

      Pressed by Waxman, Greenspan conceded a more serious flaw in his own philosophy that unfettered free markets sit at the root of a superior economy.

      "I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms," Greenspan said.

      Waxman pushed the former Fed chief, who left office in 2006, to clarify his explanation.

      "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working," Waxman said.

      "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

      Waxman challenged Greenspan's approach to regulating the mortgage industry while he was Fed chairman, saying that the Fed "had the authority to stop the irresponsible lending practices that fueled the subprime mortgage market." But Greenspan, Waxman said, "rejected pleas that he intervene."

      The committee is holding hearings to determine what gaps in the regulatory structure abetted the crisis that has roiled the world's financial markets.

      Greenspan appeared alongside Christopher Cox, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and John Snow, who served as secretary of the Treasury early in the administration of President George W. Bush.

      In his prepared remarks, Greenspan said he was in "a state of shocked disbelief" about the breakdown in the ability of banks to regulate themselves.

      He also warned about the economic consequences of the crisis, saying that he "cannot see how we will avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment." Consumer spending would decline, too, he said, adding that a stabilization of home prices would be necessary to bring the crisis to its end. [5 more years]

      Saying that his thinking "has evolved" in the past year, Greenspan also defended his record.

      "In 2005, I raised concerns that the protracted period of underpricing of risk, if history was any guide, would have dire consequences," he said. "This crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined."

      Delete
    4. Everytime I read this I laugh, and I cry; and often, at the same time. (as I'm doing right now.)

      Delete
  25. Might I be so bold as to proffer the word "Delusional?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You may though "drunken haze" does as well.

      To catch on to economics you got to be right brained intuitive, or a good dart thrower.

      Delete
    2. Q, as for your response - I'll give you "they're all dicks" argument. But you Can't extrapolate from that that "they're all the same." There is a difference between parties (a lot of the time, anyway.) YMMV (and, if it does, fine - that's why they have blogs, right?) :)

      Delete
  26. Look, they are not the same. But it is foolish to think they are going to be entirely different. They are, if you have not noticed, competing for the same American voters. They all drive cars, they all need to eat, they all need to sleep, they all need this that and the other. If we had one party called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and To Hell With The Humans, and another that was called People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans and The Hell With The Animals, then you would have a distinct difference. And probably a civil war.

    ReplyDelete
  27. "Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

    ...

    In his prepared remarks, Greenspan said he was in "a state of shocked disbelief" about the breakdown in the ability of banks to regulate themselves.

    Greenspan may have been delusiona,l but the Wall St investment houses knew exactly what they were doing when they repealed Glass-Steagall under the Gramm (R)("Quit yer Whining")-Leach(R)-Bliley(R) act of 1999.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And, you know, I'm quite sure I've never known anyone stupid enough to believe that nonsense. Not one.

      Delete
    2. And, to give Q his due, Doris, you know who signed the repeal.

      Delete
    3. I wish I could remember that old country bumpkin (Georgia, I think) congressman, who right in the middle of the universal lionization of AG, just sat there, meeting after meeting, and told him what a depraved idiot he was. We all laughed; and the guy turned out to be so right.

      Delete
    4. The debate has raged since Ed Lazear and publication of "Random Walk." At a minimum, I don't believe there was consensus - until 2008. But to this day, on right-wing sites you still see the phrase "efficient informational processing" and "efficient resource allocation" applied to market economies. Market "efficiencies come in many flavors. Pricing is just one.

      Delete
    5. And, to give Q his due, Doris, you know who signed the repeal.

      I don't have to give Q anything. The bill was sponsored and written by Republicans. Clinton, the master negotiator, had no idea what he was signing (not far above Reagan when he was wielding the pen) other than that a study was done showing "no consequences." Feh. Bob Rubin, his Treasury Secretary from Goldman, knew full well the opportunities opened by the legislation. At the level of Treasury "they.Are.All.The.Same."

      Delete
    6. Name a more important one.

      Delete
    7. Who Wrote This?

      "A major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public."

      Delete
    8. Resource allocation and information processing.

      They're all equally important when juxtaposed to the alleged inefficiencies of government.

      I am assuming you were in a coma during the health care debate.

      Delete
    9. No players? I'm disappointed. It was that Holiest of Seminal Economists, the Author of the "Bible."

      Adam (all seeing, all knowing) Smith.

      Delete
    10. I was curious. Found the answer via Steve Coll's book here with some good context.

      Delete
    11. Another things that differentiates "the dicks" is oil - their support, their policy, their views. Energy is a good sized "dick divide" almost on a par with religion.

      Delete
    12. From the link above:

      (The Worldwide Network). The Private World Empire of the 1% has a military at their disposal which has been financed by the taxes levied upon U.S. taxpayers.

      It would become unstable if limited to one nation, because any plutocracy that establishes a plutonomy becomes inherently unstable:

      ... the U.S. is becoming a Plutonomy – an economy dependent on the spending and investing of the wealthy. And Plutonomies are far less stable than economies built on more evenly distributed income and mass consumption.

      (The Homeland: Big Brother Plutonomy). That is why Halliburton moved its headquarters out of the U.S., and why ExxonMobil's CEO said "I am not an American company."

      Delete
    13. Carter put Solar Panels on the White House Roof.

      The first thing Reagan did was "take them off."

      I mean, really, they were already paid for, and everything.

      Delete
    14. Slightly (?) off topic, but it's been gnawing at me the last couple of days. Why is Geithner so determined to leave the White House BEFORE the Debt Ceiling Climax?

      Any ideas?

      Delete
    15. Well that was 30 years ago. Pretty far down the tech curve.

      Delete
    16. Has Obama decided to do something that would be very detrimental to Geithner's future career/reputation? What would that be?

      Delete
    17. I don't think the efficiency of the standard silicon solar panel has changed very much, Doris; and, like I said, "they were paid for."

      Delete
    18. Obama has repeatedly been very vociferous, and adamant, that he Will NOT negotiate the debt ceiling (even though the "sequester" has to be negotiated, concurrently.)

      Is our dear boy, the pres, considering doing sumpin rash?

      Delete
    19. I'm going to have to paraphrase the voluble Jenny: No.

      Doesn't mean I won't think of something.

      I can summon a creative conspiratorial mindset when I need to.

      Any clues where he going?

      I heard Laura Tyson's name as a replacement.

      I also heard speculation that more than a handful want to be asked, for the honor, but far fewer are willing to accept.

      Delete
    20. Like, "really not negotiating?"

      Like, standing by, and watching the Treasury Chief inform the world that the U.S. does not have the money to redeem a matured Bond?

      Delete
    21. Nope, not even the weakest of a guess. Like I said, this deal is WAAaaaay outside my IQ range.

      Delete
    22. BTW, Carter also had a detailed plan drawn up for the invasion of Saudi Arabia, and the confiscation of the oil fields.

      Delete
    23. Rufus,

      It is very hard to respect anything you say after today's performance. Your lack of moral perception is appalling as evidenced by your crap supporting torture. Your lack of knowledge regarding your pet topic; green technology is sad. 30 years ago solar panels were used to heat water.

      Delete
    24. Ash, you're a moron. I was in the Solar business 30 yrs. ago.

      Crystal Silicon solar cells have been available since the Sixties, at least (that's when we started putting them on satellites.)

      And, if you're devastated that some Jihadi Canadian got his face washed, and his nuts blasted, have at it. I could care less.

      Delete
    25. Nineteen-year-old Edmund Becquerel, a French experimental physicist, discovered the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with an electrolytic cell made up of two metal electrodes. 1873: Willoughby Smith discovered the photoconductivity of selenium.
      1876:
      Adams and Day observed the photovoltaic effect in solid selenium.
      1883:
      Charles Fritts, an American inventor, described the first solar cells made from selenium wafers.
      1887:
      Heinrich Hertz discovered that ultraviolet light altered the lowest voltage capable of causing a spark to jump between two metal electrodes.
      1904:
      Hallwachs discovered that a combination of copper and cuprous oxide was photosensitive. Einstein published his paper on the photoelectric effect.
      1914:
      The existence of a barrier layer in PV devices was reported.
      1916:
      Millikan provided experimental proof of the photoelectric effect.
      1918:
      Polish scientist Czochralski developed a way to grow single-crystal silicon.
      1923:
      Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize for his theories explaining the photoelectric effect.
      1951:
      A grown p-n junction enabled the production of a single-crystal cell of germanium.
      1954:
      The PV effect in Cd was reported; primary work was performed by Rappaport, Loferski and Jenny at RCA. Bell Labs researchers Pearson, Chapin, and Fuller reported their discovery of 4.5% efficient silicon solar cells; this was raised to 6% only a few months later (by a work team including Mort Prince). Chapin, Fuller, Pearson (AT&T) submitted their results to the Journal of Applied Physics. AT&T demonstrated solar cells in Murray Hill, New Jersey, then at the National Academy of Science Meeting in Washington, DC.
      1955:
      Western Electric began to sell commercial licenses for silicon PV technologies; early successful products included PV-powered dollar bill changers and devices that decoded computer punch cards and tape. Bell System's demonstration of the type P rural carrier system began in Americus, Georgia. Hoffman Electronics's Semiconductor Division announced a commercial PV product at 2% efficiency; priced at $25/cell and at 14 mW each, the cost of energy was $1500/W.
      1956:
      Bell System's demonstration of the type P rural carrier system was terminated after five months.
      1957:
      Hoffman Electronics achieved 8% efficient cells. "Solar Energy Converting Apparatus," patent #2,780,765, was issued to Chapin, Fuller, and Pearson, AT&T.
      1958:
      Hoffman Electronics achieved 9% efficient PV cells. Vanguard I, the first PV-powered satellite, was launched in cooperation with the U.S. Signal Corp. The satellite power system operated for 8 years.
      1959:
      Hoffman Electronics achieved 10% efficient, commercially available PV cells and demonstrated the use of a grid contact to significantly reduce series resistance. Explorer-6 was launched with a PV array of 9600 cells, each only 1 cm x 2 cm.
      1960:
      Hoffman Electronics achieved 14% efficient PV cells.

      Delete
    26. .

      Jihadi Canadian?

      Where did you get your info, Ruf?

      The Canadian authorities admitted their info was wrong, they apologized, and they threw some bucks the guys way in compensation. The Americans had no proof, they just grapped him off the streets of NY and sent him off to Syria. The guy was an engineer not a terrorist. I guess if he sold insurance you might have been more interested.

      One of the other guys I mentioned above got the extraordinary rendition treatment because he had the same name as some guy on the CIA's watch list.

      If you read the link I put up you would see that another guy got mistakenly renditioned based on some CIA chick's "hunch".

      Rufus-world is a strange and mysterious place.

      .

      Delete
    27. I guess if I was that guy I'd stay out of NY from now on.

      Ah hell, it was a wrong call; it happens sometimes.

      But, the fact is, I don't want any more 9-11's, so, sorry about the guy's bad luck, but . . . . .

      Delete
    28. A 90.4-kW PV system was dedicated at Lovington Square Shopping Center (New Mexico) using Solar Power Corp. modules. A 97.6-kW PV system was dedicated at Beverly High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, using Solar Power Corp. modules. An 8-kW PV-powered (Mobil Solar), reverse-osmosis desalination facility was dedicated in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
      1982:
      Worldwide PV production exceeded 9.3 MW. Solarex dedicated its 'PV Breeder' production facility in Frederick, Maryland, with its roof-integrated 200-kW array. ARCO Solar's Hisperia, California, 1-MW PV plant went on line with modules on 108 dual-axis trackers.

      Delete
  28. Cash for Clunkers Big Environmental Nightmare

    Shredding vehicles results in its own environmental nightmare. For each ton of metal produced by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of "shredding residue" is also produced, which includes polyurethane foams, metal oxides, glass and dirt. All totaled, about 4.5 million tons of that residue is already produced on average every year. Where does it go? Right into a landfill.

    We had to destroy the environment in order to save it, or something.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2013/01/cash_for_clunkers_actually_hurt_the_environment.html

    Every last thing Barky touches turns toxic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ranger+Joe

      Indeed...Cash for Clunkers helped dry up the affordable used car market that would benefit poor people. Perfectly good vehicles were disabled and crushed. It tried to nudge low income folks into buying $40,000 electric cars. Hallucinatory magical thinking at it's finest from the green weenie libchicks in charge. Coming next is Kash for Kulaks where we turn in our grandparents to the Obamacare euthanasia clinics for a bag of weed.

      Delete
    2. I hope they can get a "bag of weed" out of me.

      Delete
    3. You are more self sacrificing and loving than most, Rufus.

      Delete
    4. :) Doubtful.


      maybe more realistic. :)

      Delete
  29. By the way, some thoughtless said literature was an escape from the world. It is exactly the opposite, it is a going into the world, and finally maybe actually seeing something there not seen before, and getting something from it.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Chavez to continue to rule from unconsciousness and the ICU in a Cuban hospital -

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-05/chavez-will-stay-in-power-even-if-he-doesn-t-take-oath-vp-says.html

    I'd donate a baqgie to get his ass out of here. Though he will most likely be replaced by Thug #II, the taxi driver.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I never wished a man dead but I have seen an obituary or two that made me smile."
      Mark Twain


      Delete
  31. We’re already broker than anyone has ever been ever. But this is America, where we can always do better — or anyway bigger, and broker: Under the “deal,” the federal debt of the United States in 2022 is officially projected to be $23.9 trillion. That’s in today’s dollars, as opposed to whatever we’ll be loading up the wheelbarrow with in 2022. With “deals” like this, who needs total societal collapse? By 2050, the federal debt will be $58 trillion. But you won’t have to worry about a United States of America by then: It’ll just be one big abandoned Chevy Algaerado plant.


    Mark Steyn says we've already gone over the fiscal cliff, long ago, which is exactly what Sarah has been saying.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/336944/fiscal-cliff-mirage-mark-steyn?pg=1


    Jenny may be right, we may be doomed. But I continue to maintain it's not her fault, and she doesn't deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. RE Geithner, Karl Denninger's Take:

    Geithner Leaving = Treasury Is A Headless Chicken?

    Implication being Geithner got his marching orders from Wall St.

    As if I know.

    I didn't work through the comments.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Maybe Geithner hears the waterfall in the distance, feels the easy unstoppable tug on the scow.

    ReplyDelete