“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The real history of Iran, USA and Jolly Old England. Had we kept our hands off and not interfered with Iran, there would be one genuine democracy in The Middle East

Iran's Rouhani says Israel threats 'laughable'

DUBAI | Wed Jul 17, 2013 8:43am EDT
(Reuters) - Iranian President-elect Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday it was laughable for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say that Tehran was getting close to Israel's "red line" over its nuclear program and derided the Jewish state's ability to strike Iran.
The election of relative moderate Rouhani last month led to hopes amongst some in the West of progress towards resolving the decade-old nuclear dispute. But Netanyahu warned the world not to be distracted by crises in Syria and Egypt.
Israel, believed to be the only nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, has said it is keeping all options open to prevent Iran amassing enough uranium to fuel one nuclear bomb.
Iran was approaching that red line, Netanyahu said, and had to be stopped. Israel and Western powers believe Iran's program is a veiled attempt to achieve a nuclear arms capability.
Tehran says its aims are entirely peaceful and geared towards generating electricity and aiding medical research.
"There has been a lot of talk that this option is on the table," said Rouhani, referring to Israel's veiled threats.
"You laugh when you hear them," Rouhani told veterans of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war. "Who are the Zionists to threaten us?"
Rouhani, who takes office next month, has indicated he would like a less confrontational approach to nuclear talks with six world powers than current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also offended the West by calling for Israel to be wiped off the map.
But Rouhani is still very much an Islamic Republic insider who may offer more of a change of style rather than substance, especially as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the last word on the nuclear dispute and strategic policy issues.
Senior diplomats from the six powers negotiating with Tehran - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - met in Brussels on Tuesday to map out plans for diplomacy following Rouhani's June 14 presidential election win.
The European Union's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who oversees the talks on behalf of the six powers, said they were waiting for Tehran to nominate a new team of negotiators before making concrete plans.
"We very much hope that will be soon," she said on Tuesday.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi also said talks should resume.
"Mr. Rouhani should assume the responsibility and appoint the negotiating team," the IRNA state news agency quoted Salehi as saying on Wednesday.
Negotiations have been on hold since a failed round in April and the six nations are keen to get back to the table amid concerns a breakdown in diplomacy could prompt Israel to attack Iran and start a new war in the Middle East.
(Writing by Jon Hemming; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Why do they hate us?


  1. Forget the lies and propaganda about Iran’s existential threat to all the usual suspects. Listen to the ten minutes of this video and see if your interest is piqued about where the real threats to peace have come from in the ME.

    Isn’t empire great?

  2. Let’s hear from the always entertaining uber-neocon, a real certifiable existential mutherfucker if there ever was one, John Bolton:

    Israel is in "greater danger" of nuclear attack with every day that goes by and it doesn't attack Iran, said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

    "Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday. Every day that goes by puts Israel in greater danger, every day Iran makes more progress," Bolton told The Jerusalem Post.

    "I can understand why Israel wants us to take action, but the longer Israel waits for something that is not going to happen, the greater the danger Israel is in," said the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

    While the Obama administration indicated that the U.S. would not resupply weapons to Israel to attack Iran, Bolton said, he believes that the U.S. would take the measures necessary to argue that Israel was acting in self-defense.

    Bolton's interview came a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran was "approaching the red line," a warning that Israel could attack Iran as a last resort to prevent it from gaining nuclear-weapons capability, according to The Jerusalem Post.

    Bolton said he believes the election of Hassan Rouhani as Iranian president will only lull the U.S. into a false sense of security that the country can be negotiated with to stop its nuclear program.

    "The idea that Rouhani will negotiate seriously shows that this administration is on a different planet," Bolton said, according to The Jerusalem Post.

    Rouhani, Bolton said, repeatedly had boasted about how he "suckered" the European Union during negotiations. If Israel attacks Iran, Israel and the U.S. must be politically aligned and sharing intelligence, he said.

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    1. .

      I too considered Bolton the uberneocon. But then, I saw an article by him indicating that it was too late and the risks too high (due to Islamist factions there) for the US to supply arms to the rebels in Syria. I thought perhaps I had misjudged the man.

      However, the leopard has apparently not changed his spots.

      In the 90's, the same group of neocons that eventually urged the US to war in Iraq were previously urging Israel to attack Iraq with assurances that the US would have no choice but to support her. Now, it looks like after the clusterfuck caused by US interventions in the ME, the neocons (at least one of them) is back to the original plan.


  3. A senior Iranian commander says the US must compensate Iran for the numerous criminal acts it has committed against the country since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    In a Wednesday interview, Iran’s Armed Forces Deputy Chief of Staff Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri pointed to recent remarks by former US officials about holding direct negotiations with Iran and said, “The US owes a lot to Iran and it has no choice but to pay its debt (to Iran).”

    He pointed to Washington’s engineering of the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war against Iran under Saddam Hussein and the 1988 downing of an Iranian passenger plane, which left 290 people dead, as instances of American crimes committed against Iran.

    “During the entire period following the Islamic Revolution and after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, the Great Satan (US) has not missed a single moment to hurt our country, and our people will never forget the problems caused by the White House,” Jazayeri said.

    A group of former US policymakers and dozens of lawmakers have called on President Barack Obama to consider diplomacy with Tehran after Hassan Rohani is sworn in as Iran’s new president in early August.

    In the letter to Obama, the ex-policymakers said the election of Rohani “presents a major potential opportunity" for holding talks with Iran.

    The letter has been signed by 29 former officials including the former US ambassador to the United Nations, Thomas Pickering, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Larry Wilkerson, the Chief of Staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

    Touching on the Syrian crisis, Jazayeri expressed optimism that the resistance of the Syrian nation would yield result, noting, “The militants will have no choice but withdrawal.”

    Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the United Nations, more than 90,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.

    Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

  4. Why do they hate us?
    It is built into the religion of hate.
    The religion of behead.
    The religion of "Wipe Israel off the map"
    The religion of torture.
    The religion of honor killings.
    The religion of "We love death the way you love life"

    The average Iranian is probably sick of the mullahs and probably sick of religion altogether.

  5. Chomsky overlooks the influence of mohammad in the Arab world.
    My ears are not deaf to the hate that drives islam.

    1. Why then, dougman, does the US sell hundreds of milllion of dollars worth of weaponry to the Wahhabi?

      Your position on Islam, as a portion of US policy, is untenable.

      The US has denied, under the administrations of both Bush Jr and Obama, that Islam is the enemy.

    2. You, not Mr Chomsky, are the outlier in regards the US and Islam

    3. .

      Bush and Obama?

      Please try to keep your sources credible.


    4. That I and the US policy are at odds is no secret.
      Hell, I'm at odds with institutionalized religion too.

      Why then, dougman, does the US sell hundreds of millions of dollars worth of weaponry to the Wahhabi?

      My theory would be laughable, until it transpires right in front of your our eyes. :)

      Let's just say the US is keeping a candle lit.

      A better question to me would be why are the masses still letting religious voices and career politicians dictate reality?

    5. Both Bush Jr and Obama represent the United States, Q, in their own respective eras.

      In that regard they are credible, incredible as that may seem.

      As to Dougman's query regarding the masses ...

      While times they are a changin', there's not going to be a revolution.
      The masses cannot even feed themselves, here, there, anywhere.
      If the society were to break down, here in the US, if there were some new "reality" the folks in the urban centers would die. Famine and disease would sweep the Northeast, you know, the Amtrak corridor from Boston to DC.
      Phoenix would dry up.
      The LA Basin, would dry up.
      Vegas, they've at least got the lake.

      That reality is the reality today, created by religion and politicians, it's not all that bad.
      Compared to what it could be, if a different reality were to raise its head.

      No need for zombies, just kill the pumps and stop the trucks from rolling for a month.

    6. Compared to what it could be, if a different reality were to raise its head.

      Ah, the reality "on the ground", in my opinion, is the law of the land.
      The changes are so slight but profound.

      Like this truth; I'd follow a Truth loving atheist over the most pious, dogmatic cleric
      any day.

      The changes that are coming aren't shocking, only inevitable & logical.

    7. .

      Both Bush Jr and Obama represent the United States, Q, in their own respective eras.

      In that regard they are credible, incredible as that may seem.

      I use credible in the following sense,

      cred·i·ble (krd-bl)
      1. Capable of being believed; plausible. See Synonyms at plausible.

      2. Worthy of confidence; reliable.

      Given the lies we and the world have been fed (those admitted to and those not), only a fool would take the word of either of those dolts without a hefty does of salt if at all.


  6. Bibi, a long record of being wrong.
    Twentyone years worth of being wrong on Iran

    In 1992, as a Member of the Knesset, Netanyahu predicted that Iran was “three to five years” from a nuclear weapon. He was wrong in 1992, and he is wrong now. Take the case of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) recent reports on Iran. The Director General of the IAEA provided a report to the IAEA’s Board of Governors on August 30, 2012. If you are able to get through the bureaucratic and legalistic verbiage, you’ll get to the two important sentences: (1) that the IAEA is confident about “the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran”; and (2) that the IAEA can “conclude that all nuclear materials in Iran is in peaceful activities.” By the IAEA’s standards, Iran has not diverted its materials to nuclear weapons use. In other words, Iran remains on track with a program that President Eisenhower’s administration championed, Atoms for Peace (at his 1953 speech to the UN General Assembly).

    Indeed, it was under the Eisenhower program that the US leased Iran 13.2 pounds of low enriched uranium to get the program going. On March 5, 1957, the US and Iran signed an agreement “for cooperation in research in the peaceful use of atomic energy.” Eleven years later, on July 1, 1968, Iran signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), and by 1974 Iran completed the IAEA’s Safeguards Agreement.

    India’s successful nuclear weapons test in 1974 intrigued the Shah of Iran, who, it is said, considered, but did not develop, a covert nuclear program. India did not sign the NPT, tested nuclear weapons once more in 1998, and despite receiving nuclear materials through the 2006 US-India Civil Nuclear Agreement continues to be outside the NPT regime.
    The hypocrisy of this need not be explicated.

    The US should cut all aid and trade with those nations that do not commit and adhere to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
    Israel, India and Pakistan should all be cut off the US teat and left out in cold, until they join the civilized world.

    1. While our boobie from Idaho wants the US and Europe to join two of those rouge nations in a mutual military action treaty, NATO.

      What a fool, to want to ally the US and Europe with rouge regimes that are not part of the civilized world.

    2. Bibi, a long record of being wrong.
      Twentyone years worth of being wrong on Iran

      You make statements like you think you have knowledge.

      Your assertion is that nothing has HAPPENED in the last 21 years to set Iran BACK.

      Maybe you should go take college class on Iran and it's pursuit of the bomb.

    3. No need for college courses, anoni.
      All that a fella has to do, read the IAEA reports.

      You are telling the lies, there is no proof that the Iranians have passed the "Red Line" of introducing a weapon into the world. There have been no tests, and without a test, there is no bomb. That is the Israeli "Standard" set by Shimon Peres.

      Shimon Peres said ... in 1999, “Israel has not tested any nuclear weapons, and without the test, you cannot even introduce. ... Not only did we not do a nuclear test, but we are not going to have one. These are guarantees that Israel is not going to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.”

      Peres said that Israel would sign a test ban, back in 1999, which the Israeli have never done. The Iranian have signed and have not introduced a weapon into the world.

      The Iranians may be attempting the capabilities of Japan and South Korea, both of which are a screwdriver turn from the "Bomb", both are deemed compliant with the NPT and the IAEA.

      Why hold Iran to a different standard than Japan or South Korea?

      The Iranians have more veracity on the subject of nuclear weapons than the Israeli

    4. There were reports that the Israeli tested a nuclear bomb, in conjunction with the South African government, referred to as the "Vela Incident", back on September 22, 1979.

      But if Mr Peres said the Israel have never tested a nuclear weapon, we should trust but verify.

      Is there any report of the Iranians testing a nuclear weapon, anywhere?

    5. According to journalist Seymour Hersh, the detection was the third joint Israeli-South African nuclear test in the Indian Ocean, and the Israelis had sent two IDF ships and "a contingent of Israeli military men and nuclear experts" for the test.

      Author Richard Rhodes also concludes the incident was an Israeli nuclear test, conducted in cooperation with South Africa, and that the United States administration deliberately obscured this fact in order to avoid complicating relations with South Africa.

      Likewise, Leonard Weiss offers a number of arguments to support the test being Israeli, and claims that successive US administrations continue to cover up the test to divert unwanted attention that may portray its foreign policy in a bad light.

      In the 2008 book The Nuclear Express: A Political History of the Bomb and its Proliferation Thomas C. Reed and Danny B. Stillman stated their opinion that the "double flash" was the result of a joint South African-Israeli nuclear bomb test.

      David Albright stated in his article about the "double flash" event in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists that "If the 1979 flash was caused by a test, most experts agree it was probably an Israeli test".

  7. .

    Being a signee of the NPT is meaningless. Being a 'friend' (defined as you might be useful some day) of the US on the other hand is an entirely different matter. As we have seen with aid to Egypt, Immigration, Obamacare, and other matters including the NPT itself, rules are easily bent.


    1. .

      The three nations mentioned above are at least joined in their disdain for the hypocrisy of the treaty process itself.

      Civilized world?


      Stop it, you're killing me.


    2. The US, Q, could make the NPT relevant...
      ... and it should.

    3. It would be a indication that the US really had leadership that believed in its own historical rhetoric.

      Not likely to happen, but promoting the NPT as the cornerstone to peace and prosperity ...
      ... the right thing to do.

    4. .

      If you say so, rat.

      But to me the US is not the one to lead the charge. When we parade our pomposity before the world, our hypocrisy merely feeds the cynicism.


    5. .

      Do what I say not what I do.


    6. True enough, Q. Today.

      We can hope for a better tomorrow.
      One where the US has a role in the moral leadership of the world, not just the leadership provided by brute force and bribes.

      If the US were to cut off the offenders, it would not be pomposity the world would witness, but the realization that a new day has dawned. That the US was going to follow the foreign policy precepts of George Washington and not those prescribed by the cousins Roosevelt.

    7. That the US was going to follow the foreign policy precepts of George Washington and not those prescribed by the cousins Roosevelt.

      That would be nice.

  8. There are "different" standards for Israel and Iran, our old Quot was correct about that.

    correspondence between Israeli Ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin and US Deputy Secretary of State Paul Warnke, where it becomes clear how the US colluded with Israel to mask its nuclear weapons program and accepted its reasons for ignoring the NPT. Rabin asks Warnke, “What is your definition of nuclear
    weapons?” Warnke replies with two points, “the definition of what is and what is not a nuclear weapon, and what is and what is not introduction into the area.” The first part of the definition is fairly clear-cut: if Israel has the components of the bomb, regardless of its state of assembly it would count as a weapon. The second part allows Israel “ambiguity,” with Warnke elaborating on the idea of “introduction” with the remark “that is your term and you will have to define it.” They agreed that if Israel does not test its weapons publically, then they would not be considered to be a nuclear weapons state.

    The ambiguity around the term “introduce” is the reason why Shimon Peres told Khaled Dawoud in 1999, “Israel has not tested any nuclear weapons, and without the test, you cannot even introduce. It is a commitment that Israel gave to the world and the United States of America and we are very serious. Israel said that we are ready to sign the ban on nuclear tests. Not only did we not do a nuclear test, but we are not going to have one. These are guarantees that Israel is not going to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East.”

    Israel’s own red line is “introduce.”
    Iran is being given a much lower threshold.

    The hypocrisy of this need not be explicated.

    1. Iran is a signor of the NPT. They got benefits from being a part of the treaty.

      Israel is not. Nor did they get the goodies from the world that Iran did.

      No hypocrisy here. Just Iran signing on the dotted line and then lying and hiding it's illegal bomb program

    2. Not at all, anoni.

      Read the IAEA report, Iran is in compliance.

      The barbarians in Israel, India and Pakistan are all out of step with the civilized world.

    3. The only liar is Bibi, the leader of a secular Israeli government, who for twenty plus years has been demonizing the Iranians, with the same lie, told over and over again.

      Learned the lessons taught by Goebbels and has been applying them, for decades.

    4. Read the IAEA report, Iran is in compliance.

      You too funny....

      I bet you actually believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too?

      You are quite silly Senior Rat. I wonder does Mrs Rat. point and giggle at you too?

    5. desert ratThu Jul 18, 03:22:00 PM EDT
      The only liar is Bibi, the leader of a secular Israeli government, who for twenty plus years has been demonizing the Iranians, with the same lie, told over and over again.

      Actually Ratman, Bibi has been demonizing the Iranian GOVERNMENT not the "Iranians", your usage of English is quite sloppy. May I ask what is your native tongue?

    6. desert ratThu Jul 18, 03:22:00 PM EDT
      Learned the lessons taught by Goebbels and has been applying them, for decades.

      How is Israel warning of an Iranian bomb akin to "lessons taught by Goebbels" since the Iranians have been caught repeatedly lying about their nuclear programs (both plutonium and uranium). Sounds like your logic about Nazis and Israel is weak...

      Very weak.

      But that's what we come to expect from you Rat, no logic, no rational thought, just distortion, lies and misdirection.

      Such is the life and times of a self confessed criminal like you.

      Tell any more classified secrets from the AZ FBI? Did your illegal source get in trouble for your coming on this blog and talking about "national security interests" of people at the blog? or was it all just a lie?

      Just a blow hard, old shriveled prune of a man with nothing in his life by mucking our someone else's stall....

    7. Quot is back, how quaint.

      The Goebbels reference is to the "Big Lie" which, when told often enough, folks come to believe.

      What crime did I confess to, Quot?
      You're using the Goebbels method, yourself.

      It is entertaining to watch you do it, time and again.

      I offer the IAEA and their reports of Iranian compliance, I offer comparisons to rumored Iranian capabilities to those of South Korea and Japan, both of which are members in good standing of the US circle of allies.
      Though it is true both of those countries have US military troops stationed within their midst. Perhaps the Iranians real transgression is they do not allow the US military to camp out in their country in perpetuity.

      It is clear, though, that US hostility towards Iran has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or the capacity to construct them.

    8. What crime did I confess to, Quot?
      You're using the Goebbels method, yourself.

      You declared to the entire world at this blog that you had a "source" inside the AZ FBI that told you that I was a "national security interest"

      Either you are a blowhard liar or you are a criminal which is it?

      You went on to state that the person that disclosed this information was at risk as he was passing information to you.

      You then told all of us. Warning me, someone you SAID was was KNOWN to the AZ FBI as a "national security interest" that I was being watched.

      So are you a criminal or are you JUST a liar?

    9. No "big lie" here, just yours...

      either you are a liar or you are a criminal...

      which is it?

    10. Now it is true that I contacted the AZ FBI about rat..

      And you confirmed it...

      So the AZ FBI KNOWS that you are a troublemaker... To what extent?

      Who knows.

      You threatened bob and I...

      using this blog...

      You have been reported.

      Actually now that we see the NSA has been actually listening?

      I bet that's why you admit to not traveling thru airports. Most likely you are the one on the do not fly list...

    11. Go get that dirty Rat WiO, you get him! He is such a dirty bullying stinking rat. He scares me and I hate him!

    12. No,Quot, your failure to read has foiled your position, again.

      I said I had a friend in the FBI, that he had run a check on the blog and found no confessions of criminal activity, by me, rufus or any other of the :bartenders".

      I was told that they had found some activity that raised flags, but they were from foreign nationals and there were some statement that he thought could interest the ATF, with regards to gun trading.
      If you saw yourself in that description, that is on you, not me.

      Whether my friend accessed the complaint you filed, or open another file, based upon my information, not my concern. But I committed no crime in speaking to the FBI, or they speaking to me.

      Sorry fella, but your nose candy is affecting your perceptions.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. Perhaps you are projecting.

      As for the TSA, I don't get buses, neither on land or air.

      Did fly up to Vegas a couple of times, but that was on a Hawker 800.
      You ought to try it, no tedious lines to stand in, no fat folk in the seats around you.
      An open bar and real pretty girls.

      That is the only way I'll fly.

      You can load up and fly with the fatties, I know you're used to having them in your life.
      I've seen video of your wife.


    15. Mr. rat is working under a false assumption. And that assumption is that there is still someone out there who believes a word he says.

      As to wives, rat has told us that his first wife 'dropped a kid' and then got the hell out of Dodge, and who can blame her?

    16. Rat wiggles cause he's been exposed as a fraud and a liar.

    17. rat says:

      You can load up and fly with the fatties, I know you're used to having them in your life.
      I've seen video of your wife.


      Post it...

      Go ahead smart ass...

      Post it.

      bet you cant/

      bet your full of shit...

      nothing but a liar.

  9. .

    Say it ain't so, Joe!

    Not Howdy Doody.

    Now, on the hunt for cash, Detroit’s hard-nosed creditors are pointing at the DIA like bird dogs flushing quail. The toughest are clamoring for the city to sell art or manhole covers — whatever isn’t nailed down.

    Which brings me to Howdy Doody: Here’s a puppet worth $1 million or so, last displayed in 2009 in conjunction with the Howdy Doody postage stamp. Original Howdy is one of 60,000 art and artisanal objects stored in the DIA’s warehouse, out of view and largely out of mind. But Howdy and friends are deemed sacrosanct and untouchable because they, too, are owned by the museum...

    The DIA is one of the premier art museums in the US. It has been suffering for funding for the last decade or so. A couple of years ago, an outside association took over management of it. Just last year, the citizens of the three counties surrounding Detroit agreed to pick up the funding for it through a millage proposal. In truth, I would hate to see the DIA lose any of its artwork especially my favorite painting The Nut Gatherers by Bouguereau. The rollover image effect on the attached link doesn't really help a lot. You can't appreciate the detail and the subtlety until you are standing right next to it.

    While I hope they don't lose any of their works having 60,000 pieces stored in a warehouse raises some questions.

    It's tough times.


    1. As a child, I used to play around a warehouse in San Simeon, CA, which stored artworks not yet used for Hearst's Castle on the hill.

      Bernanke needs no storehouse, nor even a printing press:
      He can digitally create Trillions whenever he pleases for the Banks to "invest" to maintain the perpetual bubble on Wall Street

  10. Art collections are for the affluent, Q, not the bankrupt.

    The creditors are right, if that art is publicly owned, it should be sold to the highest bidder.

    Others that have the financial means should be allowed to appreciate The Nut Gathers, it and Howdy should not be held in storage while schools are under funded and the societal infrastructure crumbles around the museum.

    1. .

      Easy for a guy in Arizona to say.

      The DIA was inaugurated in 1885. I've been going to it all my life. It's collection makes it the second most important municipal owned museum in the US. That is its problem.

      It is owned by Detroit. Most other museums have long since been transferred over to independent trusts. However, the citizens of Detroit and their elected reps have always been jealous of what they consider their 'jewels'. The DIA, the water department which serves most of the communities in southeast Michigan, the Detroit Zoo, Belle Isle, the Historical Museum, all have had had financial problems in the past (or corruption problems in the case of the water department) and the suburbs or the state have come to their rescue. Detroit has refused to sell or put into trust any of them. Detroit stubbornly held onto their 'jewels' and now it could lose them all.

      But it's the citizens in the metro area and the rest of the state that suffer the most.


  11. .

    It just keeps getting better.

    The National Security Agency revealed to an angry congressional panel on Wednesday that its analysis of phone records and online behavior goes exponentially beyond what it had previously disclosed.

    John C Inglis, the deputy director of the surveillance agency, told a member of the House judiciary committee that NSA analysts can perform "a second or third hop query" through its collections of telephone data and internet records in order to find connections to terrorist organizations.

    "Hops" refers to a technical term indicating connections between people. A three-hop query means that the NSA can look at data not only from a suspected terrorist, but from everyone that suspect communicated with, and then from everyone those people communicated with, and then from everyone all of those people communicated with...


    1. Roughly 70 lawsuits have been filed since 2005 alleging that secret US surveillance programs violated someone's constitutional rights, but federal judges have dismissed most of the cases before the merits of the charges were ever heard, these experts say. In particular, plaintiffs have stumbled over the challenge of gaining legal standing to even bring suit against the government, primarily because they could not identify the secret surveillance program that they claimed had harmed them.

      But fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, who in June divulged to reporters top-secret documents about two US surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA), may have provided a way to get around that hurdle, constitutional lawyers say. Since the Snowden leak (and US officials' subsequent confirmation that the documents are real), at least five lawsuits have been filed, the latest on Tuesday, alleging that the NSA program to track all Americans' telephone records violates the US Constitution.

    2. In previous cases, government lawyers managed to prevent courts from considering the constitutional arguments at the center of the complaints, by successfully challenging the plaintiffs' legal standing and by citing the need for secrecy for government surveillance programs.

      “The government has used just about every legal tool in their tool kit to prevent the courts from deciding these cases on the merits,” says lawyer Mark Rumold of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights group based in San Francisco that has filed one of new lawsuits. “These procedural maneuvers have precluded courts from actually ruling on the constitutionality of the surveillance programs.”

      The acknowledgement of these surveillance programs by government officials could mean "a sea change for judges to now reject the government’s argument for the need for secrecy – as well as the lack-of-standing claim,” says Mary-Rose Papandrea, a constitutional law professor at Boston College Law School.

      The suit the EFF filed Tuesday represents 19 organizations, including Unitarian church groups, gun ownership advocates, and a broad coalition of political advocacy organizations. They argue that the NSA violated their First Amendment right of association by illegally collecting their call records.

      The NSA's mass, untargeted collection of Americans' phone records “violates that right by giving the government a dramatically detailed picture into our associational ties," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of EFF, in a statement Tuesday. "Who we call, how often we call them, and how long we speak shows the government what groups we belong to or associate with, which political issues concern us, and our religious affiliation.”

    3. Signs are growing in other quarters, as well, that the legal wall is being chipped away. Among them:

      • On Monday, the chief judge of the US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret federal court that oversees requests for surveillance warrants against individual targets inside and outside the US, ordered the release of the court's decision from a 2008 case that forced Yahoo! to turn over user data to the government as part of the NSA's PRISM surveillance program.

      • Some of the Internet giants that take part in the government surveillance programs are calling for more openness – and could back that up with legal action, some experts say. Google last month asked the FISC, also known as the FISA court, for permission to release the number of government requests it has received for user data. Microsoft this week requested permission to share data about NSA requests for customer information.

      • On Capitol Hill, some lawmakers, from both political parties, are agitated about the scope of the surveillance programs and may lobby for changes in how they operate. The House Judiciary Committee grilled federal officials Wednesday about the phone metadata and other surveillance programs. Deputy Attorney General James Cole replied that the NSA surveillance programs “achieve the right balance” between protecting Americans’ privacy and their safety.

      But Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D) of Michigan said collection of the metadata under Section 215 of the Patriot Act “can amount to a Fourth Amendment violation” before any use is made of it. “You’ve already violated the law,” he told the government witnesses. “I feel very uncomfortable about using aggregated metadata on hundreds of millions of Americans,” he added. “This is unsustainable, it’s outrageous and must be stopped immediately.”

      Such developments, legal experts say, improve plaintiffs' chances of getting their day in court on the core issues – whether or not they win.

      “It’s not a forgone conclusion that these programs are illegal,” Professor Vladeck says. “But it’s a lot easier to change the law once you know what the law is – and we haven’t really known what authorities the government claims” when it goes before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to get sign-off for certain surveillance programs.

      “Until Snowden came along, we had no idea how to interpret Section 215 of the Patriot Act,” Vladeck adds. “Now, even if these cases lose on the merits, at least we’ll find out.”

  12. .


    THE OBAMA administration dispatched Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns to Cairo this week in an attempt to clarify to Egyptians where the United States stands on this month’s coup against the elected government of Mohamed Morsi. At a news conference, Mr. Burns delivered a clear message: The United States will “support an open, inclusive, tolerant democratic process” to restore civilian government; Egyptian authorities should refrain from “politically motivated arrests”; and a dialogue must begin with “all sides and all political parties” — meaning the ousted Muslim Brotherhood.

    The problem, as it has been so often during the past two years, is that Egypt’s generals are ignoring the message from Washington. Mr. Morsi, at least nine other top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and hundreds of activists continue to be imprisoned incommunicado. There are reports that prosecutors will soon indict the former president on the far-fetched charge of espionage, a crime that carries the death penalty. The new, military-installed cabinet, which features coup leader Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi as deputy prime minister, includes no representatives of the Islamist parties that won 70 percent of the vote in parliamentary elections a year and a half ago. At least half a dozen members, including the foreign minister, previously served in the regime of Hosni Mubarak...


    The generals’ position is logical: Why heed advice from Washington if rejecting it will not stop the flow of U.S. arms? The contempt of civilian politicians for U.S. envoys is understandable as well: Why respect a government whose pro-democracy rhetoric has no connection to its actions?


  13. .

    They are reporting that Detroit is likely to file for Section 9 protection under bankruptcy law by as early as tomorrow. Seems inevitable. Since this would be the biggest bankruptcy of its kind in history it's hard to say exactly what that will mean but it can't be good for Detroit or Michigan.

    Will whatever happens set a blueprint for cities (or other large municipalities) in trouble in the future? Another questions it's hard to answer at the moment.


  14. The Middleeast is, always has been, and always will be about the oil.

    1. You leave out the three major religions Rufus.
      Oh, and the blood, all that blood.

      Those were before the oil.

    2. There was turmoil in that region, dougman, long before the two major religions fought for control of that area. Before there was value to the oil.

      Back when Egypt battled Assyria for control of the trade routes along the Mediterranean coast.
      Long before there was a Roman Empire or a Temple on the Mount.
      Long before there were Muslims or Christians or even Jews on that land.

      Abrahamic religion is not the prime mover as a cause to the conflict. Was not then, is not now.
      It was and is a land awash in a sea of blood.

    3. Egypt and Assyria may have battled for control of the trade routes along the Mediterranean coast, but it was our Afghan Land Pirates that controled the Routes to Persia and the Far East.
      As it was then, thus it is now.
      (Some of them precious jewels are now mere beads to keep track of the opium profits)

  15. According to Fortress Israel by New York Times foreign correspondent Patrick Tyler, page 410:

    “To add water to Netanyahu’s ship, the (Israeli) generals whispered to the news media examples of his recklessness… There were rumors that Netanyahu had made intemperate comments in private about employing Israel’s nuclear arsenal against Syria during a period of tensions.”

  16. >>>The real history of Iran, USA and Jolly Old England. Had we kept our hands off and not interfered with Iran, there would be one genuine democracy in The Middle East<<<

    What a totally speculative and misleading headline.

    And the writer seems to have forgotten Israel, which is a true democracy.

    1. No, Israel is no democracy.
      It does not allow those residents of Palestine that have been displaced to Lebanon and Jordan to vote.
      It does not allow the people of Gaza and the West Bank to vote in the general elections.

      Israel is an apartheid nation, in a portion of Palestine, that limits the ability to vote of those that do not support the continuation of the apartheid policies.

      Israel is no democracy, it is a collection of Europeon thugs ruling a city state, by force of arms.
      Just another in a long series of Europeon crusaders rampaging in the Holy Land in the name of their God.

    2. Israel is a Middle Eastern Country on a par with Rhodesia and South Africa having been European Countries in Africa. Israel is a European colony in the Middle East.

      Israel is as Middle Eastern as Honk Kong and Singapore were British in China, Goa was Portuguese in India and Indochina was French.

      The only way Israel survives as a national entity is if it accepts what it currently denies and that is a social integration with the indigenous people of Palestine. Without the bizarre political parasitic relationship with the US, it would already be game set match, Palestine.

    3. By the reasoning of you two, you might as well say the United States is a European colony.

      What the f are you two talking about?

      The Bonkers Brothers.

    4. Israel can always go the apartheid route. Wouldn't be popular, but I'm sure K Street can spread some shekels around and make it palatable.

    5. Arizona is a European colony.

      A few indigs left.

      Pennsylvania is a European colony.

      No indigs left.

    6. deuce has lost his mind.

      Hey deuce, remember facts are stubborn things.

      1/2 of Israel are Jews thrown out of the arab world.

      Dont those count?

    7. Israel is a Middle Eastern Country on a par with Rhodesia and South Africa having been European Countries in Africa. Israel is a European colony in the Middle East.

      Israel is as Middle Eastern as Honk Kong and Singapore were British in China, Goa was Portuguese in India and Indochina was French.

      The only way Israel survives as a national entity is if it accepts what it currently denies and that is a social integration with the indigenous people of Palestine. Without the bizarre political parasitic relationship with the US, it would already be game set match, Palestine.

      And yet you really have no clue since you never have been there and do not KNOW of what you speak of...

    8. Jews are JUST as indigenous as the Arabs IF NOT MORE.

      But dont let your Jew hatred stand in the way of your opinion.

      The good news?

      Your opinion aint worth the turd I just flushed, no one in Israel really gives a flying fig what some American squatting in dead injun lands has to say about "occupation"

    9. I don’t hate anyone, not even you.

    10. The European and Russian Israelis have been indigenous since 1948 or later.

    11. The indigenous from Brooklyn since the 1960’s.

    12. Nice erasing the continual Jewish presence in what is now Israel for 3000 years.

  17. Those looking for dreaded apartheid state need look no further than........Florida!

    >>>Jesse Jackson: Florida an 'Apartheid State'...
    Calls For Boycott...drudge<<<

    1. actually the "palestinian" territories are the classic definition of "apartied"

      but dont confuse FACTS of what "apartied" is...

      I guess it's too much fun bashing Israel..

      Wrong side of history deuce and you are too dense to see it..

      So you just support your butt buddies the palestinians and I'll support Israel...

      Bet I live longer and better...

    2. Love the self anointed critics of Israel

      Never been, have an opinion...

  18. And thus the libs of Detroit become the latest in a long line of socialists who failed to understand the fundamental truth of capital, that it is mobile.

    1. Where in the heck you been?

    2. Yeah, I have sum Cumputer Questions!

    3. Sex had a sex change operation.

      1st she was a lesbian catholic, then she went straight, then she became an sexual buddhist monk

  19. Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection on Thursday under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Here is an explanation of what that means.


    Q: How will the filing affect Detroit residents?

    A: The lights will stay on. But some services could be reduced, and the city could choose to raise taxes.

    Q: What will happen to union contracts or pensions?

    A: There could be big changes with union contracts, but it depends on how the bankruptcy judge responds to lawyer requests. Pensions for some retirees may not be altered, but those for current workers could be reduced.

    Q: Will anything be sold?

    A: Under the federal bankruptcy code, neither a judge nor creditors can force the city to liquidate its assets. This is a decision the city or the emergency manager would make.

    Chapter 9

  20. On this day in 64 A.D., a fire breaks out in the slums of Rome. Winds carried the flames across the city, and the fire burned out of control for three days, devastating huge swaths of the city. Despite lore, the emperor Nero did not play the fiddle while the city burned – the instrument had not yet been invented.

    1. He did, however, play the instrument of public opinion extremely well, and managed to hang blame for the fire on the Christians.

  21. My God, you're back to that truly creepy assed cracker Noam Chomsky?

  22. My Zimmerman-Martin Moment: On a vastly smaller media scale

    18 July 2013

    - Michael Yon

    I am hypersensitive to legal/media cases like this because I was involved in one.

    At 19, I was attacked, unprovoked, by a 23 year-old troublemaker who had three other run-ins that day. He also had been fired from his restaurant job after wrecking the kitchen.

    He said he would kill me. I did everything possible to avoid the fight. I even bought him a drink. (Mistake -- this rewarded his bullying.)

    There were many witnesses. He attacked me and I punched back and he died. I believe the entire fight lasted about two seconds. A witness said four. I did not kick or hit him after he crumpled. I left. I was charged with 2nd Degree Murder and Assault with Intent to Murder and went to jail. My attorney said the only reason I faced charges was media pressure because I was a "Green Beret."

    I read all the witness statements and there was not a word against me. All the statements -- even from his own brother -- were against him. Later his mother was in the news, defending him as mothers can be expected, saying I killed her son because he made fun of my haircut. False and defamatory, but I said nothing.

    From my book Danger Close:

  23. The Wages of Sin

    Up 'til now, Stockton, CA has been the nation's largest Municipal Bankruptcy.

    We ain't seen nuthin yet.

    When the Sunshine State goes belly-up, Obama's Debt Fueled Ship of State is going down.

    Rufie will deny the possibility of it ever happening until it does.

    After that, he'll claim he was warning us all along.

    1. States don't get to go bankrupt. I wish they could. In a real bankruptcy, the judge takes over your finance, and makes you stop pissing money away on stupid shit, like a high-speed rail from Bakersfield to Hooterville.

    2. Of course, that particular state is currently running a budget Surplus, so . . . . . . . . . .

    3. Democrat State Controller Sends Out Misleading Financial Report: “Forgets” to Report $127 Billion in Debt/Deficit

      After reading the press release from the Democrat State Controller you would think the State is in good shape. They are only stealing $2.4 billion from Trust funds to cover the deficit. No one in this financial summary, or of his monthly summary since he took office seven years ago, mentions the total deficit. He only mentions the “cash” deficit.

      The State Auditor says our total debt/deficit is $127 billion. That does not includes the hundreds of billions owed to the pension and health care systems because of unfunded liabilities. Since February CalPERS unfunded liability has gone UP 5%–though the Guv claims we are in recovery.

      Why is California in a Depression? Our elected officials refuse to tell us the complete truth. Why is the media not demanding it?

    4. State Auditor: State Deficit for Past Ten Years? $127 BILLION

      To cover his deficits, Guv Brown steals from Trust Funds (to be fair, Arnold did the same). We are spending more and we even raised sales taxes—that was a big bust—in March we collected 8% LESS, with the higher rate.

      How bad is it? The State Auditor claims the State has a $127 billion DEFICIT. Previously it was thought the deficit was “only” $90 billion

      “The California Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) identified that there was $7.5 billion allocated to Tier I and Tier II programs and $4.5 billion to Tier III. In other words, of the $35.65 billion of state general funding for K-12 public schools in 2009, $12 billion or 33.6 percent was allocated for earmark jobs programs. These programs have been so entrenched for so long that they are considered essential.

      Recently, the California Auditor’s Office also gave us a window for seeing into where a portion of California’s state budget has been spent over the past 10 years. According to the auditor, California is in the red by $127.2 billion.

      See the full story by clicking on the blue headline

    5. The media won't cover it, Doug, until there's a Republican guv in Sacramento. Not a RINO, Which is to say they'll never cover it.

    6. Teresita:
      What would be the easiest way to run DOS on modern hardware?

    7. Doug, install DOSBOX. I can run Windows 3.1 and my DOS-based Wordstar INSIDE Windows 98, XP, 7, or Linux.

  24. Salvation – or at least a shorter stay in Purgatory – might now be only a tweet away with news that Pope Francis is to offer “indulgences” – remissions for temporary punishment – to the faithful who follow him on the social media site.

    Around 1.5 million are expected to flock to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate World Youth Day with the Argentine pontiff later this month. But for those who can’t make it to Brazil, forgiveness may be available to contrite sinners who follow Francis’s progress via their TV screen or social networks.

    The Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican court that rules on the forgiveness of sins, has said that indulgences may be given to those who follow the “rites and pious exercises” of the event on television, radio and through social media.

    The Penitentiary said that Pope Francis' Twitter account, which has already gathered seven million followers, would be one such medium.

    1. This is what I love about Catholicism. Forgiveness and salvation are only a confession away.

      No hard work of actually reforming oneself at all.

    2. Another advantage of the Romish life -

      Devout Catholics Have Better Sex, Study Says
      Group presents data showing those who go to church weekly have most frequent, enjoyable sex

      July 17, 2013 RSS Feed Print
      Comment (56)

      Group says Catholics have more enjoyable sex, more often.

      Devout, married Catholics have the best sex of any demographic group, the Family Research Council said at an event Wednesday, pointing to a collection of studies from the last several decades.

      The socially conservative Christian group relied heavily on statistics from the University of Chicago's last National Health and Social Life Survey, conducted in 1992, which found the most enjoyable and most frequent sex occurring among married people, those who attended church weekly – any church, whether Catholic or not – and people who had the least sexual partners.

    3. No crap. There's a reason there's MORE Catholics.

  25. No salvation in Philadelphia

    Man found dead of gunshot wound in West Philadelphia house
    POSTED: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 4:48 PM

    An unidentified man was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head inside a West Philadelphia house Thursday afternoon. Police said the man's body was found in a house on 53rd Street just above Market around 3:30 p.m. Medics pronounced him dead at the scene at 3:36 p.m. The circumstances surrounding the shooting and the victim's identity were unknown around 4:30 p.m. Police reported no arrests in connection with the homicide.


    1. No offense, Deuce, but is there a personal connection? Because this sort of thing happens every day.

  26. Detroit: The result of electing democrats for decades


  27. The hacking group Anonymous has targeted the email accounts of thousands of congressional staffers, posting addresses and passwords on an online message board.

    The group, which claims to have scrambled the passwords from their owners, posted 2,102 email addresses, some of which belong to people who are no longer working for Congress. The e-mail addresses posting, which was first reported by The Atlantic, include both House and Senate staff, but the hackers say they intentionally disassociated some of their owners from their passwords.

  28. Buick's 50 MPH Tank Killer

    The M18 Hellcat tank destroyer helped Allied forces defeat the Axis powers in both Europe and the Pacific.

    According to a recent Buick release, the M18 was a product of Harley Earl’s design studio (Mr. Earl was General Motors’ legendary design chief). And while the Hellcat was no lightweight at 20 tons, it was faster and more nimble than comparable German tanks. Capable of going 60 miles an hour over battlefield terrain, it was powered by a 450-horsepower 9-cylinder Wright R-975 radial aircraft engine, backed by G.M.’s stout Hydramatic transmission. Its suspension system was a torsion bar design developed by Buick engineers.

    According to Bill Gross, a historian and M18 restorer, that suspension remains a common inspiration for today’s military vehicles. He said the Buick-built tank’s performance capabilities were laudable.

    “The Hellcat was considered the hot rod of World War II,” said Mr. Gross. “To give some perspective, most German tanks of the day were capable of just 20 m.p.h.”

    According to Wikipedia, the M18 Hellcat’s unit cost was $57,500 – a little over $900,000 in today’s dollars.

    It carried three fewer passengers than a modern-day eight-passenger Buick Enclave, and its interior lacked a modern Buick’s sophisticated climate-control system. The combination of the radial engine’s air-cooling system and the tank’s open-cockpit design ensured frigid cabin temperatures during Germany’s harsh winters.

    A total of 2,507 M18 Hellcats were built on the Buick production line in Flint, Mich.

  29. Putting aside all of the U.S. and Israel bashing on here by some people, the important point to be made is that Iran is clearly a nation with regional and global ambitions. Normally we don't begrudge countries the right to promote their self-interests. The pickle comes when those efforts involve propping up an Assad regime that gases its own people, actively encourage sectarian violence against Sunnis and Christians, and chooses to enrich its own nuclear fuel to maintain the capability to produce weapons grade fissile material. Top it off with a leadership that is theocratic and insular and you get the impression that Iran is a destabilizing force, not a stabilizing force throughout the world. Now, it would be great if all we had to deal with was the odds of the Iranian soccer team in the World Cup of volleyball team's chances in competition. Unfortunately those things we would like to engage and cheer about are overshadowed by all the machinations Iran is involved in. If there was a real chance Rouhani could cut deals without Khamenei's approval, I'd be jumping for joy, but previous experience with Khatami and Ahmadinejad tend to disprove that theory.