“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, August 08, 2013

Lois Lerner at Duke University in 2010 promising to have a look at IRS returns on political doners

2010 video surfaces; IRS’s Lerner admits to political pressure
August 7, 2013 by Joe Saunders 

She’s been publicly quiet since taking the Fifth in front of congressional investigators in May, but IRS official Lois Lerner openly acknowledged in a 2010 video the political pressure on the IRS to “fix the problem” of money going into conservative political action.
After the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to participate in the political process through campaign funding, the pressure was intense.
“Everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it,” Lerner told students at Duke University’s School of Public Policy in a video published on Tuesday. “(The) Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it; they want the IRS to fix the problem.”
According to Breitbart’s John Sexton, the video was shot on Oct. 19, 2010, two weeks before a general election that gave Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives  –  and came close to stopping Obamacare in its tracks before it passed in a lame-duck Congress in late fall.
“So everybody is screaming at us right now, ‘Fix it now before the election. Can’t you see how much these people are spending?’”
What’s interesting here is what Lerner apparently thought of as “everyone” and “everybody.”
Opposition to the Citizens United decision was overwhelmingly  Democrat – made infamous by President Obama’s disgraceful attack on the Supreme Court during his state-of-the-union speech on Jan. 27, 2010, a week after the decision was handed down.
By October, 2010, the IRS was under pressure to “fix the problem” caused by
Citizens United but couldn’t. In November, 2010, the president’s party lost control of the House.
So with the president having  made his feelings clear, and the election results showing a clear rebuke to the president’s party, is it any wonder that the IRS – led by Lerner, who was in charge of deciding what organizations got tax exemptions – started a crackdown aimed at starving conservative groups of the money they would need to fight the president’s re-election two years later?
As Sexton writes: “It is also noteworthy that Lois Lerner paraphrases President Obama’s framing of the issue when she says, ‘the Supreme Court dealt it a huge blow, overturning a 100-year-old precedent that said, basically, corporations can give directly in political campaigns.’”
Thanks mainly to U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the House is investigating how deeply the White House was involved in the IRS targeting of conservative groups to limit their fundraising activities.
But this video is enough, if there still were any doubts. The woman who now refuses to testify about deliberately using her powers as an IRS official to hinder conservative political organizing admits that “everybody is screaming at us” to fix Citizens United, and parrots Obama practically verbatim while she’s doing it.
Lerner took her orders. She couldn’t “fix it now, before the election” in 2010. But she could spend the next two years fixing the problem for 2012. And she did.
And now she won’t talk about it.


  1. Rufus ought to be ashamed of himself, voting for this shit.

    Remember folks, this is the same IRS that will be overseeing your health care soon.

  2. How Moderate Are Iran’s Missiles?
    Jonathan S. Tobin

    8.08.2013 - 12:45 PM

    Complacence about Iran’s nuclear program is based on three assumptions that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. All of them are, at best, questionable and are embraced by some in the foreign policy establishment and the left largely because to believe in them absolves one of any obligation to act to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear ambition. They are: that Iran is either not really building a nuke or that it can be talked or bargained out of it; that even if Iran gets nukes it would never use them; and lastly that even if Iran had nukes, they couldn’t effectively deliver one to a target, whether in Israel, a moderate Arab nation, or somewhere in the West.

    The growing stockpile of evidence of nuclear weapons-grade uranium and work on military uses of nuclear power such as triggers make the first assumption ridiculous, as does the more than a decade of failed negotiations that illustrated that Iran only views talks as a method to gain time and to deceive the West. The brutal nature of the regime, its willingness to fund terrorism, and the fanatical theocratic views of its leaders, at the very least, cast doubt on the second assumption.

    As for the third argument, that was actually the strongest argument in favor of complacence, but a report published by the Times of Israel now makes that assumption seem like a bad bet:

    Western intelligence analysts say a new missile launching facility in Iran will likely be used for testing ballistic missiles, not for launching satellites into space as claimed by the Iranians.

    The IHS Jane’s Military and Security Assessments Intelligence Centre published a photo taken last month of the newly discovered site, which is located 25 miles south east of the city of Shahrud in northern Iran.

    Analysts at the Centre said the unfinished site has no storage for the liquid rocket fuel used in Iran’s domestic satellite program, suggesting it is built for ballistic missiles using solid fuel.

    Shashank Joshi, a research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute who has written about the Iranian missile program, told The Telegraph: “We often talk about Iran’s nuclear program, but what really spooks countries in the region is the ballistic missiles that could act as a delivery system.

    Like the claims that their nuclear program’s purpose is for power production (in an oil rich country?) or medical research, the notion that Iran is building missiles for space was always laughable. But there is nothing funny about the prospect of a nation that is getting closer every day to nuclear weapons capability being able to build a ballistic missile that could, at least in theory, reach Europe or even the United States. While worries about Iranian missiles are not new, this latest report should put any decision to invest another year in fruitless diplomacy with Iran because of the election of a supposed moderate as president in perspective.


    1. The report about the missile notes that in the past the United States has worried that Iran could be able to test a ballistic missile by the end of 2015. That hasn’t been a priority for Western intelligence up until this point. But once Iran has weapons capability—and they may well have accumulated more than enough enriched uranium to that purpose long before that moment—the question of Iran’s delivery capacity will become paramount.

      Right now, the world is focused on new President Hassan Rouhani and the Obama administration seems determined to give him a chance to prove his alleged moderation by giving diplomacy another try. Rouhani’s personal role in using talks as a delaying tactic is a matter of record. But the latest news about Iran’s military research illustrates the fact that the costs of months or even years of delay before the United States decides that it must act could be considerable.

      A nuclear weapon would not make Iran a superpower or anything like it. But a nuclear Iran with missiles that can reach not just regional targets but those on other continents changes the equation of this problem. Though Israel is the understandable focus of much of the concerns about Iranian weapons, the development of sophisticated weapons should serve as reminder to Americans that their security is as much at stake in this standoff as that of the Jewish state. The idea of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei possessing both missiles and potential nuclear weapons ought to scare the daylights out of all Americans. It should also help dispel the illusions fostered by the false assumptions that buttress the complacence that so many in Washington exhibit on this issue.

    2. .

      And what is your 'solution'?

      The NORKS have had nuclear capability for some time now, as well as delivery systems; yet, Little Kim, the poster boy for crazy, still seems more interested in drinking his cognac and smoking his Cubans than he does in going up in puff of smoke.


  3. August 8, 2013
    Issa expands IRS probe to include possible FEC collusion targeting conservatives
    Rick Moran

    The emails back and forth between the Federal Election Commission and the IRS are suggestive of coordinated behavior that targeted conservative groups. House Oversight Committee chairman Darrel Issa is now investigating this link, asking for thousands of emails generated by the FEC going back 5 years.

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa demanded Wednesday that the Federal Election Commission turn over records of more than five years of communications with the Internal Revenue Service -- a move that significantly expands the California Republican's ongoing probe of alleged federal targeting of conservative groups.

    In a letter to FEC Chairman Ellen Weintraub -- a Democrat -- Issa cited CNN reporting on Monday that raises "the prospect of inappropriate coordination between the IRS and the FEC about tax-exempt entities."
    Among other things, Issa asked for records of all communications between the IRS and the FEC dating back to the start of 2008. He also requested records of any FEC discussions relating to tax-exempt applications or organizations since 2008.

    The letter was co-signed by Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, a prominent member of Issa's panel.

    Iss'a letter came after Don McGahn, the vice chairman of the FEC and a Republican, told CNN that he saw an e-mail from an FEC investigator to Lois Lerner, the former head of the IRS division responsible for reviewing applications from various groups for tax-exempt status.

    The investigator asked Lerner, herself a former FEC employee, to discuss the status of the American Future Fund, a conservative political advocacy group.

    McGahn noted that after Lerner was contacted, the IRS sent a questionnaire to the American Future Fund.
    Lerner, the figure at the center of the congressional investigation into alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when called to testify before Issa's panel in May.

    "Dealing with Lois Lerner is probably out of the ordinary," McGahn said, stressing that FEC commissioners had not given their staffers permission to reach out to the IRS on the matter, a step typically required for such inquiries.

    Last week, GOP congressional investigators disclosed several e-mails between Lerner and an FEC attorney inquiring about the status of both the American Future Fund and another conservative outfit, the American Issues Project.

    So it appears Lerner knew exactly what she was doing when she took the fifth in her testimony before congress. It wasn't necessarily because of her overseeing the targeting program at the IRS. It was to cover up the collusion she initiated with the FEC - her former haunt.

    Lerner wants immunity before she will testify. I say give it to her and let the dominoes start to fall.

    Read more:

  4. 'A new spirit' among Israeli Arab Christians
    Thursday, August 08, 2013 | Ryan Jones

    Israeli Vice Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz last month declared that a "new spirit" had taken hold in the Israeli Arab Christian community after meeting with a group of young Arabic-speaking Christians determined to be a part of and to serve the Jewish state.

    "Civil courage is a very important thing," Mofaz told Israel's Channel 2 News. For decades Israel's Christian community were too cowed by their Muslim neighbors to openly stand with Israel. "The Christian population is very special," and it is great to see them opening up like this, Mofaz continued.

    The minister and leader of the Kadima Party made his remarks following a personal visit to the home of Nazareth-area priest Gabriel Nadaf, who has been actively encouraging young local Christians to join the Israeli army and fully integrate with Israeli society.

    During the visit, Mofaz met Regda Jerisi, a young Christian woman who has become outspoken in her intention to voluntarily defend the Jewish state, and has even publicly taken to task hostile Arab Knesset members who dare to speak in her name.

    "I am proud of this position, because I feel that I am a part of the nation, I am Israeli, and with God's help, after I marry, my children will also join the IDF," Jerisi said in an interview with an Arabic newspaper.

    Taking aim at Israeli Arab Knesset members who constantly attack the Jewish state, Jerisi said, "I do not understand these extremists who receive everything from the state, but can still betray her."

    One Arab MK in particular, Hanan Zoabi, has been on a mission to silence Father Nadaf and put an end to his movement to bring Jews and Christians closer together.

    Jerisi responded to Zoabi in an open letter that made waves in the Israeli media:

    "Shalom MK Zoabi,

    "My name is Regda Jerisi. I am a Christian who speaks Arabic, but not an Arab. I request with all due respect that you not state in the name of the Christians that we are 'Palestinians.'

    "Listen well - we are not Palestinians. We are Israeli Christians, and our hearts and spirits are covered in blue and white [the national colors of Israel]."

    In his interview, Mofaz said he was "very impressed by the character of Father Gabriel and the young people with him," in particular young Regda.

    "Regda and the rest of these young people represent a new spirit in the Christian population," said Mofaz. "Regda and the young Christians are making themselves heard on this matter, and we bless them for it."

    That recognition and hope of support from Mofaz and other Israeli officials is exactly what Father Nadaf had been pressing for. The priest warned that if Israel itself did not support this "new spirit," antagonists like Zoabi would ultimately be successful in squashing the movement.

  5. Continuing providing a little balance:

    >>>Jews From Muslim Lands: The Forgotten Refugees of 1948
    Thursday, August 08, 2013 | Noah Beck

    June 20 was World Refugee Day, dedicated to nearly 60 million people worldwide who were forcibly displaced by conflict or persecution. One group of refugees rarely acknowledged is the Jews who were indigenous to Muslim lands but compelled to flee around the time when the State of Israel was established.

    A Google search for “1948 refugees” produces about 6 million results. All but a few (at least through page six) are about the Palestinian Arab refugees, as if they were the only refugees of 1948. But it is estimated that from the beginning of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War through the early 1970s, up to 1,000,000 Jews fled or were expelled from their ancestral homes in Muslim countries. 260,000 of those refugees reached Israel between 1948 and 1951 and comprised 56% of all immigration to the fledgling state. By 1972, their numbers had reached 600,000.

    In 1948, Middle East and North African countries had considerable Jewish populations: Morocco (250,000), Algeria (140,000), Iraq (140,000), Iran (120,000), Egypt (75,000), Tunisia (50,000), Yemen (50,000), Libya (35,000), and Syria (20,000). Today, the indigenous Jews of those countries are virtually extinct (although Morocco and Iran each still has under 10,000 Jews). In most cases, the Jewish population had lived there for millennia.

    Few know this history because the Jewish refugees of 1948 were granted citizenship by the countries to which they fled, including Israel. By contrast, many Muslim countries refused to integrate the Palestinian refugees, preferring to leave them as second-class citizens in order to maintain a domestic demographic balance and/or a political problem for Israel.

    Media bias also explains why so few people know about the 1948 Jewish refugees from Muslim lands. A search for “1948 refugees” on the BBC news site generates 41 articles (going back to 1999); 40 discuss the Palestinian Arab refugees of 1948. Only three of those 40 (dated 9/22/11, 9/2/10, and 4/15/04) even mention the Jewish refugees from Muslim lands, and two do so only in a single, superficial sentence that presents the issue as a claim rather than a historical fact.

    A search for “1948 refugees Jews from Arab lands” on the New York Times site produces 497 results (replacing “Arab” with “Muslim” halves the results), while “1948 Palestinian refugees” yields 1,050 results. Consider a comparison using Sri Lanka, another war-torn, multi-ethnic country that gained its independence from Britain in 1948. The nearly 26-year ethnic conflict there began in 1983 and claimed 80,000–100,000 lives, many multiples of the total casualties from the nearly 100-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sri Lanka’s conflict also produced hundreds of thousands of refugees, including at least 200,000 Tamil refugees in Western Europe alone. Yet a search for “Tamil refugees” generates only 531 articles – less than 5% of the 11,300 results for “Palestinian Arab refugees.”

    Institutionalized favoritism at the UN has also enabled the Palestinians to monopolize the refugee issue, which undoubtedly reinforces the media’s bias. All non-Palestinian refugees around the world (nearly 55 million) are cared for by the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, which works under the guidelines of the Convention on Refugees of 1951. But Palestinian refugees (whose original population was under one million) have a UN agency dedicated exclusively to them (UNRWA).

    1. UNRWA’s unique definition of “refugee” includes anyone “whose normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict.” So, in addition to families who lived in the area for generations, UNRWA’s definition includes any migrants who arrived as recently as 1946 but were then displaced. And because the definition includes “descendants of fathers fulfilling the definition,” UNRWA’s refugee population has grown from 750,000 in 1950 to 5,300,000 today (making resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue even harder). Despite these problems, the United States continues to support UNRWA (with over 4.1 billion dollars since 1950).

      The rest of the world’s refugees are assisted by the High Commission, which is mandated to help refugees rapidly rebuild their lives, usually outside the countries that they fled. Jewish refugees from Muslim lands did just that: they rebuilt their lives in Israel and elsewhere. But the fact that they quietly adapted and Israel granted them full citizenship doesn't lessen the wrongs committed by their countries of origin. These Jewish refugees from Muslim lands suffered legal and often violent persecution that resulted in immeasurable emotional and physical loss. They lost billions in property and endured huge socioeconomic disadvantages when forced to rebuild their lives from scratch. Israel was unfairly burdened with the colossal social and economic cost of suddenly absorbing so many refugees. So any suggestion that Jewish refugees from Muslim lands don't deserve compensation is resoundingly wrong.

      On the recent World Refugee Day, the Israeli Knesset member Shimon Ohayon, whose family fled Morocco in 1956, called on the Arab League to “accept their great responsibility for driving out almost a million Jews from lands [in] which they had lived for millennia.” He explained that “In 1947, the Political Committee of the Arab League drafted a law that...called for the freezing of bank accounts of Jews, their internment and [the confiscation of their assets]. Various other discriminatory measures were taken by Arab nations and subsequent meetings reportedly called for the expulsion of Jews from member states of the Arab League.” Ohayon challenged the League to accept responsibility for “the ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population from most of the Middle East and North Africa...[and] to provide redress to the Jewish refugees.”

      A just and comprehensive Mideast peace is possible only when Muslim states recognize their role in two historic wrongs: 1) displacing one million indigenous people only because they were Jews, and 2) perpetuating the plight of Palestinian refugees by denying them citizenship. The first wrong requires financial compensation to the families of Jewish refugees from Muslim lands, which reparation can be administered by the states that absorbed them. The second wrong should be remedied by granting full citizenship to Palestinian refugees (and their descendants) who have resettled in Muslim lands. Both wrongs have festered for too many decades.

      Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, an apocalyptic novel about Iranian nukes that also discusses the expulsion of Jews from Muslim lands.

  6. Total bullshit. Start by looking at a map.

    Pakistan, a nuclear power with missiles and tested warheads borders Iran.

    The US has fought two ten year wars against two of Iran’s neighbors.

    Armed nuclear US war ships surround Iran.

    The US and EU have been waging economic warfare against Iran.

    Israel has murdered Iranian civilian nuclear scientist. That same belligerent power had at least one hundred nuclear weapons with missile systems capable of hitting Iran.

    A US warship has shot down a fully loaded civilian airline killing over 200 people.

    A major nuclear power, Russia, is close enough to Iran, that if there were a threat, would be concerned.

    Iran was attacked by Iraq with as many as one million killed.

    The US Congress and President regularly threaten Iran.

    1. Israel has murdered Iranian civilian nuclear scientist. That same belligerent power had at least one hundred nuclear weapons with missile systems capable of hitting Iran.

      And Iran has murdered scores of Israelis and Jews by bombing civilians in Israel and around the world.

      What's your point?

      The so called 'civilian nuclear scientist was murdered" that's true. but by who? The exact same kind of magnetic bombs were found on ARRESTED Iranian agents 3 weeks later in an asian country.

      I guess Israel is guilty before proven innocent?

      DO you have any PROOF Israel did the crime you speak of?

    2. Deuce, I love your defense of the Palestinians and Iran.

      Really sets the tone of your values.

    3. Admit I don't see the Russian view of some things as anything other that crazy.

  7. An American company that specialized in private e-mail announced today that it is shutting down, effective immediately.

    Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal—after all, small tech companies fail all the time. But this company’s different. Lavabit, which had been in operation since 2004, was outed last month as Edward Snowden’s email provider. And today the company’s owner and operator, Ladar Levison, announced that he was “walking away from nearly ten years of hard work” rather than “become complicit in crimes against the American people.”

  8. By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem
    NBC News

    Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET -- Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

    The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

    The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

    U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

    The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI.

    “The relation is very intricate and close,” said Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior aide to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, speaking of the MEK and Israel. “They (Israelis) are paying … the Mujahedin. Some of their (MEK) agents … (are) providing Israel with information. And they recruit and also manage logistical support.”

    Moreover, he said, the Mossad, the Israeli secret service, is training MEK members in Israel on the use of motorcycles and small bombs. In one case, he said, Mossad agents built a replica of the home of an Iranian nuclear scientist so that the assassins could familiarize themselves with the layout prior to the attack.

    Much of what the Iranian government knows of the attacks and the links between Israel and MEK comes from interrogation of an assassin who failed to carry out an attack in late 2010 and the materials found on him, Larijani said. (Click here to see a video report of the interrogation shown on Iranian televsion.)

    The U.S.-educated Larijani, whose two younger brothers run the legislative and judicial branches of the Iranian government, said the Israelis’ rationale is simple. “Israel does not have direct access to our society. Mujahedin, being Iranian and being part of Iranian society, they have … a good number of … places to get into the touch with people. So I think they are working hand-to-hand very close. And we do have very concrete documents.”

    Two senior U.S. officials confirmed for NBC News the MEK’s role in the assassinations, with one senior official saying, “All your inclinations are correct.”

    1. So no proof. Just unnamed "sources"


      funny how Iranian agents were arrested with exact same type of magnetic bomb just weeks after words...

      I'm sure you will figure a way to blame the israelis...

    2. But let's say Israel did it..

      He aint no innocent angel, after all Iran is in a state of war with Israel.

      Iran has no problem murdering scores of Israel women and kids and Jews world wide.

      But that ok right?

    3. They did it. You know it. They own it.

    4. Good for the Israelis. To be really blunt about it.

  9. Civilian nuclear scientists that work on rocket programs. Now that is oxymoronic

    1. Only to someone that is 15% oxy and 85% moronic.

  10. Warren Buffett hasn't fired his "elephant gun" much recently, but he has put his managers on the hunt for smaller prey.


    With bigger, multibillion-dollar deals few and far between of late, Mr. Buffett increasingly favors such "bolt-on" acquisitions because they increase Berkshire's earnings...

  11. Our dumb shit president: Way to go asshole!

    When leaders of the G20 assemble in St Petersburg next month, all eyes will be on the body language between the host Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama, who this week snubbed the Russian leader by cancelling a separate summit in Moscow.

    But the cameras will also be keen to capture the chemistry between Mr Putin and Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader who has quietly encouraged the growing rapprochement between the two nations.

    Disenchanted by its recent dealings with Mr Putin, the Obama administration is publicly downgrading the sort of relationship it expects to have with Russia. Yet one unintended consequence of such an approach could be to push Russia and China closer together in ways that will not be helpful to US interests.

    “These days, Russian and Chinese leaders exchange more phone calls than either does with the US,” says Dimitri Simes, president of the Center for the National Interest, a Washington think-tank.

  12. Another consulate falls:

    The State Department has ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel from the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, and has warned Americans to defer all non-essential travel to Pakistan after a specific threat to that mission.

    In the travel warning issued Thursday night, the State Department advised Americans to defer all nonessential travel to Pakistan.

    “The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to U.S. citizens throughout Pakistan,” the statement read. “The Government of Pakistan maintains heightened security measures, particularly in the major cities. Threat reporting indicates terrorist groups continue to seek opportunities to attack locations where U.S. citizens and Westerners are known to congregate or visit.”

    The personnel drawdown at the Lahore consulate was a precautionary measure and wasn't related to the recent closures of numerous U.S. diplomatic missions in the Muslim world, two U.S. officials told the Associated Press.

  13. Venezuelan authorities ordered the arrest of a close aide to opposition leader Henrique Capriles and military agents searched the man's apartment, the opposition said, calling it proof of a new wave of political repression.


    The 12-party MUD opposition coalition did not elaborate on the government's stated reason for issuing the arrest warrant for Oscar Lopez, the chief of staff to Capriles in the Miranda state governor's office.

  14. NSA surveillance leaker Edward Snowden reportedly used an email provider called Lavabit, which boasted of strong security features. Today, Boing Boing took note that the company has shut down and posted a message by the owner explaining the company would not “become complicit in crimes against the American people.”

    Spencer Ackerman over at The Guardian reported further:

    Lavabit, an email service that boasted of its security features and claimed 350,000 customers, is no more, apparently after rejecting a court order for cooperation with the US government to participate in surveillance on its customers. It is the first such company known to have shuttered rather than comply with government surveillance.

    "I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit," founder Ladar Levison wrote on the company's website, reported by Xeni Jardin the popular news site Boing Boing.

    Levison said government-imposed restrictions prevented him from explaining what exactly led to his company's crisis point.

    Levinson is planning on a court fight over the orders, whatever they may be. Declan McCullagh, tech reporter for CNET, theorizes that Lavabit may have gotten an order to intercept user passwords or install surveillance software on their equipment, two government tactics he’s written about recently.

  15. US supplied al Qaeda allies in Syria. Not a peep from US media:

    On August 6, Itar Tass said “Al-Nusra Front (and/or Jabhat Al-Nusra) militants massacred 450 Kurds in northern Syria.” They “butchered” mainly “women and children.”

    Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported the same toll. So did Syria News. It blamed extremist foreign jihadists and Free Syrian Army (FSA) “criminals.”

    Mostly women and children were murdered. On August 6, Itar Tass headlined “Moscow urges Syrian government and opposition to exert efforts to oust terrorists from Syria.”

    Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said militants massacred 450 Kurdish civilians. Over 100 children were included.

    On August 7, Russia Today (RT) headlined “Disturbing report alleges killings of 450 Kurds in Syria,” saying:

    “According to Iranian TV channel Al-Alam, militants from the Jabhat al-Nusra Front attacked the town of Tal Abyad on Monday, killing 120 children and 330 women and elderly near the Turkish border.”

    Horrific uncensored footage’s too gruesome to air. Kurds interviewed said fighting continues. According to a relative of one victim:

    “The al-Nusra militants and other rebel forces surrounded the village. They started going door to door, entering every house. If there were any men, they killed them and took the women and children hostage.”

    Kurdish journalist Barzan Iso said:

    “Al-Qaeda started attacking Kurdish villages on the 19th of July. After these attacks they kidnapped many Kurds. We don’t have a specific statistic.”

    “Since the beginning of the events in Syria, the Kurds tried not to be a part of the civil conflict.”

    “(T)here are non-Muslim Kurds, as well as Alawite Kurds – that’s why they tried to be away from (it).”

    “But now, some of the opposition groups are using al-Qaeda and al-Nusra to attack Kurds.”

    “The main cause is that they have the mentality of radical nationalists. That’s why they are using al-Qaeda as an umbrella to attack the Kurdish people.”

    Al-Alam’s report headlined “120 children slaughtered in Syria’s Tal Abyad,” saying:

    “According to our reporter, terrorists attacked villages in Tal Abyad, near al-Hasakah governorate on Monday, killing (hundreds of) civilians including women and children.”

    “Videos posted online by the militant groups showed hundreds of women and children in Tall ‘Aran, lying dead on the ground after their homes and plant fields were bombed.”

    “Residents said the brutal attack on their homes reminded them of the Kurdish genocide, called al-Anfal Campaign, committed by slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the late 1980s.”

    “Mass killings at the hands of terrorists have been increasing in Syria during the past month.”

    “As the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria continues without an end in sight, the US government has boosted its political and military support to Takfiri extremists.”

    “Washington has remained indifferent about warnings by Russia and other world powers about the consequences of arming militant groups.”

    1. Don't you see it? Obama the Genius, Obama the Field Commander, is doing it just right. Arming the opposition to Assad to the point where no one can win. This is pure genius, ending up with a stalemate, and Syria finally carved up into parts, like a holiday turkey. Hamdoon recommended this, and well as Q, Umatilla Jack, I, and Hugh Fitzgerald, all the other 'big thinkers' on the geo-political scene these days.

      Sliced and diced and properly carved up like this, and turning inward, internecine, lethal, barbaric, passionate, they will not be a problem for anyone in the neighborhood for the next two hundred years.

    2. .

      You nitwit. Don't associate me with any of your hair-brained schemes for slicing and dicing up the ME.

      This sounds like something the rat would dream up. The ridiculous assumption that US foreign policy in the ME could do anything to advance American interests except in the rare instance by pure chance.


  16. This summer, Rep. James Sensenbrenner, an author and longtime champion of the Patriot Act, emerged as one of the most concerned voices arguing that the law is being used to violate the rights of Americans. A letter the Wisconsin Republican sent to Attorney General Eric Holder singles out Section 215, the law's "business records" provision. "As the author of the Patriot Act," he wrote, "I am extremely disturbed by what appears to be an overbroad interpretation." He was referring to Edward Snowden’s revelation that Team Obama collects data on the phone calls of almost all Americans.

    Sensenbrenner began to question whether our constitutional rights are secure. "I do not believe the released FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act," he wrote. "How could the phone records of so many Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation?" His newfound skepticism came as a pleasant surprise to critics of the surveillance state. Two years ago, when key provisions of the Patriot Act were scheduled to sunset, Sensenbrenner proudly and unapologetically lobbied for the re-authorization of the law he helped write. Congress ought to make provisions including Section 215 permanent, he argued back then. "Section 215 of the Act allows the FISA Court to issue orders granting the government access to business records in foreign intelligence, international terrorism, and clandestine intelligence cases," he said. "The USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 expanded the safeguards against potential abuse of Section 215 authority, including additional Congressional oversight, procedural protections, application requirements, and judicial review."

    Edward Snowden's leaks dramatically altered his perspective. Now he says that if abuses of Section 215 persist, "it will be very difficult to reauthorize these provisions when they sunset in 2015." As yet, Sensenbrenner hasn't given a full account of what he knew and when. There is, however, a partial explanation in his letter to Holder, where he harkens back to 2011, the year he pressed for Patriot Act re-authorization. Explaining that he "relied on information from the Administration about how the act was interpreted to ensure that abuses had not occurred," he cited congressional testimony from Assistant Attorney General Todd Hinnen, saying it left the impression Obama was using Section 215 "sparingly and for specific materials."

    That wasn't so.

  17. Weiner droops to 10% of his former full blooded standing.....

    >>>>Poll: Weiner drops to 10% in NYC mayoral primary, now fourth among Dems...Hot Air<<<<

    And I promised myself I wouldn't get into this kind of comment.

    Forgive me......

    1. 10%, now there's a weiner one can keep in one's pants.