“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."

Friday, August 16, 2013

“We're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line," - senior NSA official

Try that line of defense with the IRS.

NSA reportedly broke privacy rules thousands of times
Published August 15, 2013

The National Security Agency has overstepped its authority and broken privacy rules thousands of times every year since being given new surveillance powers by Congress in 2008, The Washington Post reported citing an internal audit and other secret documents.

The documents, which the Post claims it received earlier this summer from NSA leaker Edward Snowden, detail how the controversial agency has crossed the line many times over in its collection of massive amounts of data from around the world.

Despite repeated claims by officials that the NSA does not spy on Americans, the Post reports that the bulk of the infractions involved improper surveillance of Americans or foreign targets in the U.S. Some of the infractions were inadvertent, caused by typographical errors resulting in U.S. calls or emails being intercepted. Others were more serious.

The Post reported that the most significant violations included the unauthorized use of information on more than 3,000 Americans and green-card holders. In another incident, the Post reported that a “large number” of calls from Washington were intercepted in 2008 after the Washington area code 202 was confused with the code 20, which is the code for dialing to Egypt.

In total, an NSA audit from May 2012 reportedly found 2,776 incidents in the prior 12 months of improper collection and handling of communications.

In another case, the special court that oversees the NSA did not learn about a new collection method until it had been underway for months. The court ruled the method unconstitutional, according to the Post.

In a statement to the Post, the NSA said it tries to identify problems "at the earliest possible moment, implement mitigation measures wherever possible and drive the numbers down."

"We're a human-run agency operating in a complex environment with a number of different regulatory regimes, so at times we find ourselves on the wrong side of the line," a senior NSA official told the newspaper.

The details shed light on the errors and violations in the NSA collection efforts that administration officials so far have addressed only in broad terms.

When the intelligence community made key documents public in late July about the nature of the NSA collection effort, one document said that "there have been a number of technical compliance problems and human implementation errors" in programs that collect both bulk phone and email records. 

The document did not reveal much more, other than to state that no "intentional or bad-faith violations" were found. The document said only that the missteps resulted in the "automated tools operating in a manner that was not completely consistent with the specific terms of the court's order."

The Post story showed infractions were widespread. The report said despite the sharp growth in oversight staff, infractions increased through 2011 and early 2012. It was not clear whether the trend continued after that.

"NSA’s foreign intelligence collection activities are continually audited and overseen internally and externally,” an NSA official told Fox News late Thursday. “When NSA makes a mistake in carrying out its foreign intelligence mission, the agency reports the issue internally and to federal overseers -- and aggressively gets to the bottom of it."
President Obama recently vowed to provide more transparency and oversight in the process, but has not bowed to calls to fundamentally change the surveillance programs. Some in Congress, like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and leaders of the congressional intelligence committees, have described the collection efforts as critical to national security. Others say they have gone too far and run the risk of infringing on Americans’ right to privacy.

A separate Washington Post report on Thursday also said the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court acknowledged that its ability to provide oversight of the spying programs is limited.

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds


  1. All morons. They are all morons.

    >>>The Waking

    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
    I learn by going where I have to go.
    We think by feeling. What is there to know?
    I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Of those so close beside me, which are you?
    God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
    And learn by going where I have to go.

    Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
    The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

    Great Nature has another thing to do
    To you and me, so take the lively air,
    And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

    This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
    What falls away is always. And is near.
    I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
    I learn by going where I have to go.<<<

    T. Roethke

  2. National security: the last refuge of a lying son of a bitch.

  3. Is the US media going to finally take off their knee pads?

  4. Snowden and Manning should be freed by the people. Show these muthrfukrs who is boss.

  5. Go to the 3:30 lying part of the lying.

  6. Obama is the bitch that should be thrown in jail.

  7. .

    I like Cenk Uygur but there were a couple points he didn't make about the speech, points that really piss me off.

    1. Obama's statement that there is a process in place that Snowden could have gone through to have his concerns made known and handled internally. Pure bull. We have seen what happens to whistleblowers who have followed the rules as well as those that haven't. In the first case, they end up not only losing their jobs but also the opportunity to get any future job that requires a security clearance. The latter are prosecuted to the full extend (and beyond) of the law.

    If anyone needs further proof, all they need look at is what I call the 'Involuntary Snitch Mandate,' the departmental protocols which were posted here within the last month that demand that the employees of the various intelligence agencies report anything 'suspicious' they know about their fellow workers or face penalties. It was pointed out in the implementation instructions that 'suspicious' could include such things as someone being under water on their mortgage or thinking about getting a divorce.

    2. Obama's claim that while there are concerns about the potential for abuse from some of these programs that none has every been reported. Well, duh. Everything about these programs is classified secret. Even our Congressmen, the ones that happen to know something about them, cannot say anything. Ask Wyden. Any lawsuits have been snuffed out by courts that go along the 'national security' charade. And the MSM are willing tools and enablers in this cover up.


    1. .

      While the Post indicated that Clapper would be leading the new task force, the subsequent furor has forced administration spokesmen to say that Clapper won't lead the task force or select its members, that in fact, his will merely be an advisory role.


      Minion: "Mr. Clapper do you think we should have some independent and adversarial voices on the task force, maybe like the ACLU or a reporter like Glenn Greenwald?"

      Clapper: "Are you fucking nutz?"

      Minion: "Well, should we make public or available to Congress the documents describing the legal basis for our abuse of Section 215?"

      Clapper: "Are you fucking nutz?"

      Minion: "Well, thank you for the advice Mr. Clapper."

      Clapper: "Not at all. Now, see the two gentlemen out in the hall at the lie detector station and be prepared to surrender your security badges."


    2. .

      The apparent involvement of Clapper, who has admitted lying to Congress over NSA surveillance of US citizens, provoked a backlash, with critics accusing the president of putting a fox in charge of the hen house.

      But the White House national security council insisted on Tuesday that Clapper's role would be more limited.

      "The panel members are being selected by the White House, in consultation with the intelligence community," national security council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

      The DNI had to be involved for administrative reasons, because the panel would need security clearance and access to classified material, she added.


    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Did you have to bring Clapper into this?

  8. The Government Now Admits There's an 'Area 51'

    >>>Newly declassified documents, obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive, appear to for the first time acknowledge the existence of Area 51. Hundreds of pages describe the genesis of the Nevada site that was home to the government's spy plane program for decades. The documents do not, however, mention aliens.<<<

    Of course the documents don't mention aliens. That's a secret. All of us Art Bell types have know all about Area-51 for decades. I even remember when Quirk penetrated in there riding a ground hugging ultra-light. When Hamdoon and I saw the jets coming his way, we thought he was finished. By God, he showed up at the Hotel Nevada in Ely -

    several weeks later, looking totally exhausted. I'll never forget it. Hamdoon and I gave him sustenance and drink, and soon he was at the tables, having a great time, drinking his guts out, eating caviar sandwiches, with pickles, and back to being his ageless True Higher Self.

    We all had a gas at the Hotel Nevada.

  9. .

    Good on.

    The leadership of the House intelligence committee is under growing pressure to explain whether it withheld surveillance information from members of Congress before a key vote to renew the Patriot Act.

    A Republican congressman and government ethics watchdogs are demanding that the powerful panel's chairman, Mike Rogers of Michigan, responds to charges that the panel's leadership failed to share a document prepared by the justice department and intelligence community.

    The document was explicitly created to inform non-committee members about bulk collection of Americans' phone records ahead of the vote in 2011. Michigan Republican Justin Amash alleged that the committee kept it from non-committee members – the majority of the House.

    Now Morgan Griffith, a Republican who represents Virginia's ninth district, is calling for answers. "I certainly think leadership needs to figure out what's going on. We're trying to get information so we can do our jobs as congressmen," he told the Guardian. "If we're not able to get that information, it's inappropriate."


  10. Pat Nixon was born in Ely, Nevada, and has a Star in the Walk of Fame there in front of the Hotel Nevada.

    Quirk, hooker on his arm, gin bottle in his coat pocket, got temporarily kicked out of the Hotel Nevada, after making a really big stink, demanding he deserved a Star there too, since he, as he said, after all was the only man to have penetrated and then escaped from Area 51.

    1. .

      In his highly intoxicated state, it was difficult to be 1000% sure that Quirk's claim of penetration and escape was actually from Area 51 or from the hooker.


    2. Hmmm, I do recall the happy Quirker once in a while pointing gleefully down between the hookers legs and saying, A - Ar -Area fifffty oone.

  11. .

    Homeland Security

    (A mini scandal or just the ordinary corruption and/or incompetence?)

    PHOENIX -- Members of Arizona's congressional delegation are seeking answers from the Department of Homeland Security on why Customs and Border Protection spent about $15 million for housing in the former mining town of Ajo, Ariz.

    At a town hall meeting Tuesday in Tucson, in response to questions about the housing, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said, "It's disgraceful." Asked by a constituent how it could be justified, he replied, "It can't. It can't be; and people should be fired."

    As The Arizona Republic reported Monday, CBP paid more than $600,000 each to build 21 modest homes for its personnel in Ajo, a small southern Arizona town where similar-size homes typically cost less than $100,000. CBP also paid more than $2 million to buy 20 park-model trailer homes and lease land on which to park them. The housing project opened in February...


  12. .

    In the following article Krauthammer bemoans executive actions nullifying existing law. Normally, I would post representative example but in Obama's case their are just too many, affecting everything from Obamacare, to the Dream Act, to drug case prosecution.

    Can Obama write his own laws?


    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Krauthammer:

      "The point is not what you think about the merits of the DREAM Act. Or of mandatory drug sentences. Or of subsidizing health care premiums for $175,000-a-year members of Congress. Or even whether you think governors should be allowed to weaken the work requirements for welfare recipients — an authority the administration granted last year in clear violation of section 407 of the landmark Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform of 1996."


      Clinton-Gingrich welfare reform of 1996 is the only legislation passed in my adult lifetime I am aware of that actually improved the outcome, both for taxpayers and recipients.

      The Community Organiser has other plans.

    3. He reversed every Obamacare Mandate the Law Required Congress to adhere to.

      Now they're asking to leave Obamacare completely when they retire, and go back to their super duper deals for life!

    4. First affirmative action President.

  13. The son of a bitch needs to be impeached.

    1. Obama is the greatest president in the history of the United States.


      Rufie II

    2. We are the P.T. Barnum generation --

      >>>August 16, 2013
      What Reggie Love Had to Say about the Obama Birth Certificate
      Nick Chase

      Former Obama "body man" Reggie Love spoke with interviewer Jim Newton during a lunch at UCLA's Luskin School of Public Affairs on July 18, 2013. Highlights of this interview were briefly posted on YouTube Wednesday (August 13) before being removed because the audio embarrassingly noted that Love and Obama played 15 hands of spades during the bulk of the raid on the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

      Love also commented on the release of Obama's long-form "birth certificate," as follows:

      Love: I -- I remember when he found -- he finally found his birth certificate.

      Newton: Mm-hm. (Laughter.)

      Love: And --

      Newton: It took a little too long, by the way. (More laughter.)

      Love: Uh, hey, you know, you come from -- uh, your parents don't live together, they travel all over the world, documents get lost, there -- and -- and uh -- and so he wanted to -- he wanted to just like have, like, an impromptu press conference, just walk into the press briefing room in the White House and just like put it -- the birth certificate -- out on the podium, and everyone was like, that's a really bad idea! (Laughter.)

      But he was like very gung-ho about doing it, because he was so irritated about it.
      Clearly Love wasn't clued in on the forged LFBC scam. Obama did not "find" his LFBC; he ordered two copies from Hawaii, which were delivered to the White House by his lawyer Judith Corley, with his full knowledge. What Obama "found" was that the forgery that was cooked up looked so good to his untrained, inexpert (in document authentication) eyes that he was willing to show it to the entire White House press pool.

      Cooler heads prevailed; this was a "really bad idea" because if all of the reporters had been able to inspect the LFBC forgery, the odds are good that one or more of them might have noted discrepancies -- like some of the "typed" characters being out of pitch, or the image of the date stamp or Alvin T. Onaka stamp having the sheen typical of a laser printout rather than the dullness and penetration into the paper of a genuine inked rubber stamp.

      Instead, the release of the LFBC had to be carefully orchestrated -- presented to the press pool in the context of political talking points, and with only carefully manufactured black-and-white copies handed out. Only one reporter, Savannah Guthrie, was allowed to view, touch, and photograph -- but not thoroughly inspect -- the paper forgery.

      This is exactly the behavior you would expect when perpetrating a cover-up. If Obama had actually shown up displaying the paper forgery, that is the kind of transparency you would expect if the LFBC were genuine -- but such an action would indeed have been very foolish to take while scamming the public.

      Nick Chase is a retired but still very active technical writer, technical editor, computer programmer and stock market newsletter writer. During his career he has produced documentation on computers, typewriters, typesetters, headline-makers and other pieces of equipment most people never heard of, and he has programmed typesetting equipment. You can read more of his work on the American Thinker website and at<<<

    3. Yes, he does. And the sooner the better.

      Obama is a Marxist, but his maneuvers are more representative of the NAZI infection of German institutions. (Please, don't turn this into an Israeli/Jewish/Zionist rant - You know who you are). From day "one", the NAZI began the corruption of all administrative agencies. At first, the flaunting of law was on small matters, but the growth was carefully choreographed to have the abuses grow incrementally on a daily basis. Within a year, the German courts were routinely handing down pro-regime decisions that would have been inconceivable the year before.

      Obama is one man. He has, however, inherited a bureaucracy that has been hopelessly corrupted by fascism. When I use "fascism", among other things it speaks to lawless cronyism on a large scale within the machinery of administration.

    4. Yes, he does. And the sooner the better.

      Obama is a Marxist, but his maneuvers are more representative of the NAZI infection of German institutions. (Please, don't turn this into an Israeli/Jewish/Zionist rant - You know who you are). From day "one", the NAZI began the corruption of all administrative agencies. At first, the flaunting of law was on small matters, but the growth was carefully choreographed to have the abuses grow incrementally on a daily basis. Within a year, the German courts were routinely handing down pro-regime decisions that would have been inconceivable the year before.

      Obama is one man. He has, however, inherited a bureaucracy that has been hopelessly corrupted by fascism. When I use "fascism", among other things it speaks to lawless cronyism on a large scale within the machinery of administration.

    5. The difference is that Obama is an affirmative action President, the first Peter Principle President since Carter. He doesn't have the intellect nor the courage to carry off something like a Beer Hall Putsch.

    6. I agree, Obama has the same messianic vision common to most fascist leaders. He holds his head like Mussolini.

    7. (Please, don't turn this into an Israeli/Jewish/Zionist rant - You know who you are)

      ...I wasn't going to, until you doubled down.

    8. Authoritative governments act in similar fashion.

      Whether they be in Germany, the portion of Palestine known as the secular state of Israel or in the Americas.

      It is not the religion of the authorities that drive their policies.
      It is the disrespect they have for the rest of humanity, the "Others", that they use to justify their behavior.

  14. Neil Armstrong, Muslim:

    "Since the early 1980s, Armstrong has been the subject of a hoax saying that he converted to Islam after hearing the adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, while walking on the moon. The Indonesian singer Suhaemi wrote a song called "Gema Suara Adzan di Bulan" ("The Resonant Sound of the Call to Prayer on the Moon") which described Armstrong's conversion; the song was discussed widely in various Jakarta news outlets in 1983.[131]

    Other similar hoax stories were seen in Egypt and Malaysia. In March 1983, the U.S. State Department responded by issuing a global message to Muslims saying that Armstrong "has not converted to Islam".[132] However, the hoax was not completely quieted; it surfaced occasionally for the next three decades.

    A part of the confusion stems from the similarity between Armstrong's American residence in Lebanon, Ohio, and the country Lebanon which has a majority population of Muslims."

    1. I heard Neil left a scimitar up there on the moon, along with a prayer cloth, and a hash pipe.

    2. They're trying to compensate for US boots walking all over their moon god.

  15. Seems to be Persecution of Christians Day at Jihad Watch -- put up one entry about trying to burn down the Alexandria Library too -

    "There has been more persecution of Christians in Egypt the last year under Morsi than there has been in the last 30 years"
    Aug 15, 2013 07:51 pm | Robert
    "Any car bearing a Cross or any Christian symbol is burned in Upper Egypt by Muslim Brothers" Jihad Watch reader Larry sends in this message he received about some friends in Egypt: I have been in contact with both Xxxxx and Xxxxxx. The situation in Egypt, as you know, is...

    Ancient Egyptian Christian Monastery Set Aflame
    Aug 15, 2013 05:44 pm | Raymond
    As Muslim Brotherhood supporters continue their jihadi rampage on Egypt’s Christian churches—several dozens have now been attacked—it’s important to remember that their hostility is not simply directed to churches, but any and every expression of Christianity, including crosses, Bible stores, and even remote monasteries. Most recently, for instance, early Thursday...

    Raymond Ibrahim: In Egypt, Media Sympathizes with Muslim Brotherhood, Persecution of Christians Ignored
    Aug 15, 2013 05:43 pm | Raymond
    Over at NRO (via, I discuss the Western mainstream media's bias, by always siding and portraying as "innocent victims" the Muslim Brotherhood while ignoring the sufferings of the truly innocent victims of the Brotherhood, in this case, the Christians:...[T]he abuse of Egypt’s Christians has reached unprecedented levels in the...

    In addition to destroying numerous churches, Muslim Brotherhood attempts to destroy Library of Alexandria
    Aug 15, 2013 05:07 pm | Robert
    They are following in the illustrious footsteps of the caliph Umar, who is supposed to have said when ordering the ancient, fabled library of Alexandria to be burned: "If the books agree with the Qur'an, they are superfluous. If they disagree with it, they are heretical." Another list is here....

    Video: Brutal Muslim Brotherhood attack on St. George church in Sohag, Egypt
    Aug 15, 2013 11:34 am | Robert
    Video thanks to Monda....

    Egypt: Muslims seize church, convert it into a mosque
    Aug 15, 2013 11:30 am | Robert
    Just as their coreligionists did to the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, its counterpart of the same name in Trebizond, the Church of St. John the Baptist in Damascus, and so very many others. "Islamists seize Evangelical church in Minya," from MidEast Christian News, August 15: Minya (Egypt), 15 August ...

    from Jihad Watch

    1. There's going to be a Million Muslim March on DC on 911, pushing for, get this, better treatment of Muslims.

  16. Excellent article about -

    The Siege of Byzantium

    August 16, 2013 By Raymond Ibrahim -

    and how important it was to our way of life.

    >>>Indeed, this victory is far more significant than its more famous Western counterpart, the Frankish victory over the Muslims at the Battle of Tours, led by Charles Martel (the “Hammer”) in 732. Unlike the latter, which, from a Muslim point of view, was first and foremost a campaign dedicated to rapine and plunder, not conquest — evinced by the fact that, after the initial battle, the Muslims fled — the siege of Constantinople was devoted to a longtime goal, had the full backing of the caliphate, and consisted of far greater manpower. Had the Muslims won, and since Constantinople was the bulwark of Europe’s eastern flank, there would have been nothing to prevent them from turning the whole of Europe into the northwestern appendage of Dar al-Islam.

    Nor should the architect of this great victory be forgotten. The Byzantine historian Vasiliev concludes that “by his successful resistance Leo saved not only the Byzantine Empire and the Eastern Christian world, but also all of Western civilization.”

    Yet, true to the vicissitudes and ironies of Byzantine history — the word has not come to mean “convoluted” for nothing — by the time Leo died, “in the Orthodox histories he was represented as little better than a Saracen” (hence the famous appellation, “Leo the Heretic”) owing to the Iconoclastic controversy. If Charles Martel would be memorialized as the heroic grandfather of the first Holy Roman Emperor, Charlemagne, it would be Leo’s lot to be all but anathematized — an unfortunate fact contributing to the historical neglect of this brilliant victory.<<<

  17. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts’ cocktail party for President Barack Obama and wife Michelle in Martha’s Vineyard last night was attended by a host of notables close to the administration.

    Guests included newly nominated ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, Attorney General Eric Holder, former “car czar” Steve Rattner, 32 Advisors’ and member of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board Robert Wolf, lawyer and leading civil rights activist Vernon Jordan.

    Also there were movie mogul and Obama booster Harvey Weinstein and his wife, Marchesa co-founder Georgina Chapman, Larry David, Carly Simon, Peter Chernin and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

    Despite the power-packed list of guests, a source told us the reception was “very relaxed, with no speeches. People were sitting out on the terrace.” Roberts has reportedly been close to the president for years and endorsed the Affordable Care Act.

    1. If your down he'll pick you up Dr. Roberts,
      Take a drink from his special cup Dr. Roberts...

  18. Obama goes around Congress, breaking the law, to raise taxes on his own<

    President Barack Obama is looking to unilaterally impose a $5-per-year tax on all cellphone users to avoid asking a recalcitrant Congress for funding.

    The Washington Post first reported the story Tuesday.

    The Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency headed by three Obama appointees, would collect the tax, tacking on an additional charge to devices already subject to local, state and federal fees, along with sales taxes.

    Obama hopes to rake in enough funds for a project called ConnectED that will cost taxpayers billions: expanding high-speed Internet access in classrooms across the country so that 99 percent of public school students can freely access the Internet.

    Obama administration officials promise that the tax would end in three years after the FCC filled its coffers with $6 billion, but gave no details on how the government would prevent potential cost overruns or measure the program’s progress.

    Deputy White House press secretary John Earnest denied that the move was an “end run” around Congress in a press briefing Wednesday, but added that Congress’s “dysfunctional” state could justify an executive override.

    “Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a lot of action in Congress, so the president has advocated an administrative, unilateral action to get this done,” Ernest said.

    Read more:

    1. Never mind that pesky Constitution. Besides, impeachment would be racist.

  19. Conservative talker Mark Levin blasted Republican House leaders on his Tuesday radio show, warning that by attacking more conservative members of the GOP, Speaker John Boehner and prominent Reps. Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are throwing away the 2014 midterm elections.

    Levin, author of “The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic,” said the GOP establishment’s disparagement of conservative colleagues, could be a disaster in a midterm “turn out the base” election.

    “This is my great fear,” Levin said. “My great fear is that guys like Boehner, and quite frankly Paul Ryan, and Eric Cantor and his goofball [Kevin] McCarthy — they don’t get it at all. Midterm elections in particular are base elections, they are turnout elections. And they’re doing everything they can to turn us off, to turn us off. Where are they standing ground and keeping ground and fighting? Instead it’s, ‘No, no we’re not going to shut down the government.’ Even if that’s your ultimate view, why do you reveal that to the leftists and the media? It’s like playing poker and the idiot shows his cards — and that’s what he does. ‘He look at this.’”

    “And also, amnesty?” he continued. “Pathway to citizenship? This is their number one issue. No. And then we have Obamacare. The president of the United States, rubbing the Republican’s nose in it,acting like he’s king, and as I’ve been saying and now others, an imperial president. ‘No. we’ll follow this part of the law. No, I’m suspending this part of the law. No, I’m deferring this part of the law.’ What the hell is that? And what are the Republicans doing about it? Now the typical Republican response would be ‘well what do you want us to do about it?’”

    The conservative talker encouraged Republicans in the House and Senate to use any means necessary to draw attention to President Barack Obama’s attempts to thwart the law and/or the Constitution, including obstruction tactics.

    “Here’s what I want you to do,” Levin said. “You fools should have been, time and time again, every time he has violated the Constitution, you should have made an issue about it,” Levin said. “You should have punished him in some way — denied him some appointee, obstructed some piece of legislation. Draw attention to this lawlessness so the American people after a year, or two, or three of you consistently explaining it and hammering away at it would in fact be aware of what you’re trying to do and say! But instead, what do we get? What do we get? We get John McCain attacking Ted Cruz. What do we get? Chris Christie attacking Rand Paul. What do we get? Karl Rove attacking Mike Lee. The same dug-in entrenched losers who may well cost us the House of Representatives in the next election.”

    Read more:

  20. Chris "Huggles" Christie attacking Rand Paul is not Red on Red. John "Bomb-bomb-Iran" McCain attacking Ted Cruz is not Red on Red.

  21. Oh, come on Ms T ...

    Johnny Mac is the Republican Party.
    He is their last Standard Bearer standing.

    If you do not stand with Big John and claim to be Republican ...
    You would just be another in the long list of RINOs

    1. Gosh. I was fooled by far-left Senate bills titled "McCain-Feingold" and "McCain-Kennedy".

    2. Those were not "Far Left", Ms T.
      Those were "Mainstream".

      Otherwise Big John would have never garnered the nomination of the Republican Party to be their candidate for the office of President.

      You, obviously, are not a Republican if you think those Senate bills titled "McCain-Feingold" and "McCain-Kennedy" were not representative of the Republican Party.

      Or that Big John is not representative of the Republican Party.

      Anyone that would not support Big John is the outlier, John is representative of the Republicans, he got the nomination, and is the only past candidate still operating in the political sphere of the society.

      GW Bush and Mitt Romney have run a way and are in hiding.
      But those two, evenwhile no longer in the public eye did echo Mr McCain's positions on most everything when they were. Mitt, a tad further to the "Left" than Big John, in so far as socializing health care was concerned. RomneyCare is the law in Massachusetts and was the model for the Federal's Affordable Care Act.

      GW had his thousand points of subsidized light and Medicare Part D.
      Plus the debt incurred to depose Saddam and install a new "Purple" government of Iraq.

    3. I'm not a Republican, I'm a Libertarian. I voted for legal weed and marriage equality here in Washington. I oppose all forms of foreign aid and having a Department of Offense. Palin was so stupid she was bamboozled by Katie Couric and McCain was stupid to nominate her. The GOP is lost in the woods because they have party platforms with planks like criminalizing witchcraft.

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. QuirkThu Aug 15, 07:36:00 PM EDT


    Thanks, Allen, but the following post illustrates the problem Ash has had for the past couple of days.

    No, I am not obsessed with Blue Unicorns. I am interested in them in the context of:

    Do you believe that God exists?
    Do you believe that Blue Unicorns exist?
    Do you believe that Superman exists?

    "I don't know" is a nonsensical answer to those questions. Either you believe they do or do not exist. Knowing is something different.`

    A couple days ago Ash attacked me for saying I was agnostic on the question of the existence of God. In addition, he said 'I don't know' was an unsatisfactory answer. Today, he repeats his, or rather his cribbed, charge.

    I forget where I first came across the notion of agnosticism being nonsense and I couldn't find any decent reference to it on the net but the concept is interesting, to me anyway.

    My mistake was assuming that if he was attacking the term 'agnostic' he knew what the term meant. This likely led to confusion over the past few days. Once again, we are reminded to never assume. Also, while Ash points out that 'believing' and 'knowing' are different one has to question his ability to apply them in his attack on agnosticism.

    From The Free Dictionary,


    a. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. b. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

    Ash, wasn't arguing my agnosticism. In his confusion, he didn't know what that word means. What he was pissed about is that I wouldn't come out and say whether I believe in God or not.

    But in fact, I gave him the answer to his question a couple days ago.

    While I tend towards your view more than I do towards those of the religious, it's not because I share your simplistic reasoning but rather because of perceived flaws I see in the arguments they offer. However, since neither side has in my opinion 'proved' their case, I feel very comfortable in saying I am agnostic on a subject debated for millennia by men on both sides of the argument who possessed much more wisdom than you or I combined.

    Perhaps, Ash missed that comment since he was busy googling to find his lost reference.


    1. First off, Quirk, I am not "pissed" at all. I think you are projecting for you are the one who constantly shrieks "Moron" "Nonsense" "They are all Dicks" or, just above "...points that really piss me off." Listen to your wife when she tells you 'it is just a blog dear'. You are a smart guy and I enjoy the dialectic. You don't piss me off but I find you can be exasperating.

      I am indeed aware of what the term "agnostic" means. The thought that it is "impossible to know", as stated in your definition, has a long history in philosophy that applies to more than just God but to everything. From the ancient Greek Sceptics through Plato's "shadows on a cave wall" to "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there does it make a sound?" to sciences use of confirming evidence never amounting to proof, to quantum mechanics use of probability, the notion that it is "impossible to know" is accepted. So, in that realm, sure "I don't know" is always true, thus trivial, or nonsense, to assert as an answer as it is a given.

      Just because the sun has risen in the east everyday for all of your life does not mean that you "know" it will rise in the east tomorrow.

      30 years ago two main camps 'instrumentalists' and 'realists' argued Epistemology. To paraphrase, using my crude memory and understanding: Instrumentalists argued we could only talk about the instruments we used to interpret reality (much like Plato's shadows on a the cave wall) while the Realists argued that it was absurd to talk as if reality existed on the 'other side' of the instrument but rather it made more sense to talk about it as reality. I started off in the instrumentalists camp pondering how we were necessarily bound by our perceptions and ended in the realist camp where you basically accept that and proceed to talk (as if it was) reality. This discussion is similar - to fall back on "I don't know" begs the question - grow some stones and pick a side, cut the PC crap and grow some stones - believe or not! ;)

      The definition, as provided by quirk, that it is "impossible to know whether there is a God" is true as it is in the sense that it is impossible to know anything at all which was why I tried to delineate between belief and knowledge. The second part of the definition injects "true atheism" which is a concept that I'd like to see fleshed out so I could better understand how it applies to agnostics. I would imagine a "true atheist" in this context would be someone who argues God cannot exist, which hasn't been my position. My position has been that without reason to believe in existence it is nonsensical to assert 'maybe'. Either you believe something exists or you don't.

    2. Send a gorgeous chick my way and maybe I'll give it a try.

    3. Something can exist, ash, but what that "something" is ...
      well, that may be unknowable.

      It could well be said that the "End of Time" occurs on the day you die.

      That if you are not here, here does not exist.

      Reality may just be SimCity version 1000.1

    4. Sure thing rat - remember what it was like before you were born? Welp, that's what it is like when you are dead.

      As to knowledge and existence - no sense wallowing in 'I don't know' but rather plunge forward and grasp reality.

    5. it is, after all, necessarily, just opinion here.

    6. No, ash, I do not remember what it was like before I was born.
      I do remember being a navigator for Ferdinand Magellan.


    7. In the Philippines the only think kids learn about Magellan is who killed him (Lapo-Lapo).

  24. It's not impossible to know there's a God, all He has to do is set up shop in geosynchronous orbit. Maybe get a website going.

    1. What drivel. If I started I'd be at it three days just beginning to show how truly stupid is that comment. That comment doesn't even rate a chuckle.

      Dawkins is an embarrassment to 'intellectual life'.

      For starters it confuses existence with Being, but, o well, what's the use.....

      There is one move I know of through which God might be said to ex-ist, and that is the move of self-alienating Being or God from itself to existence.

      Everlasting life, as in everlasting time, is a misconception.

      It is the eternal that is longed for, above time, beyond time, and it's past time we got it.

      There is never matter without mind, nor mind without matter. Consciousness with the big C is separate from both.

      The divine patience is infinite, the divine compassion without limit.

      To exist is to stand out from something, as a background, ex-ist. 'God' is generally not thought of in these terms. God cannot exist.

      Becoming yields to Being, and we come to something without knowing why.

      But you must save yourself, and will, eventually.

  25. I'm marketing

    "Milkum X"

    Chocolate Milk for Black Kids...

    Opportunities to invest will be available for a limited time.

    Contact Doug

    1. QUIRK QUIRK QUIRK QUIRK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Read the above, get hold of Doug ASAP.

    2. Doug, don't accept a check from Quirk.

      Money order, and you best check this closely, or cash.

    3. I'll accept an Electronic Transfer to My Account here in Paradise.

      ...just wire "Doug"

  26. DougmanThu Aug 15, 07:43:00 PM EDT

    I am familiar with the notion of religious experience as a source for faith.

    Ash, I'd like to hear how you were familiarized with notion of religious experience. Have you personally had a "religious experience"?

    (A definition of this would serve us both well at this point of what such an experience would entail.)


    I took a course in Religious Studies one year in University (College in America speak). The course was taught by a really nice older gentleman who used to be an Anglican Priest (I think). Much of the first term revolved around reading and discussion of religious experience (Whitehead was one author the I think we read), "primordial noumenal experience" if memory serves was a term used though the spell check in google doesn't recognize the term "noumenal" (ironically google underlines in red google - maybe it is the small g...).

    Anyway one description of the religious experience that I remember is that you have a profound feeling of being one with the world - fully interconnected. Also, ironically, LSD was also cited as sometimes invoking a similar experience.

    In any case, a "religious experience" in my understanding is a moment in time where an individual becomes convinced, undeniably, that there is a god. No rationalizations, no thought, no doubt, just pure experience which informs one of God.

    1. I ran into a Unitarian Priest in Summer Camp.
      Even as he pumped those pedals on the Organ in the forests of Lake Redwood,
      I knew the guy was a Commie Bastard.

      Maybe even a Faggot.

    2. take your Course in Religious Studies and shove it up your Ash.

    3. Opps, how the Hell did I mistake DougMan for Ash?

      A Religious Experience?

      ...or just drunk.

    4. you are obviously confused and drunk.

    5. Drunk, yes.

      Confused, not so much.

    6. Opps, I was confused, it WAS Ash, impotently responding to DougMan. mistake.

      I was in a Dither.

  27. (ripped off from The Nerdist's Third Podcast)

    1. We can all fall back and read the boobie and dougshit show.

  28. I drink "Milkum X" myself, even tho I'm not young, or black.

  29. "The definition, as provided by quirk, that it is "impossible to know whether there is a God" is true as it is in the sense that it is impossible to know anything at all which was why I tried to delineate between belief and knowledge."

    'It is impossible to know anything at all' but this 'fact' doesn't keep our dear Ash from running his mouth and 'delineating' 'twixt belief and knowledge.

    Ash, I truly love ya, man, you're a gas.

    And quirk should be capitalized, like this - Quirk.

    Respect you elders, not to mention your betters, young fool.

    1. heh heh, the boobie squawks yet again.

    2. The Boobie Squeaks Tonight.

    3. Music to My Ears.

      ...from Idehoe to Paradise.

    4. boobie still has not mustered the cognitive capacity required to sign in on blogger.

      He is definitely no one's better, not until he can fulfill that simple task.
      As for being an elder, that may be the root cause of his current symptoms.

      It is said that as people become elderly their cognitive capabilities diminish.
      boobie does claim to be elderly, his cognitive abilities are not what they used to be.

      Does that exemplify what "They" say is true?

    5. Tee hee hee. Ash is an idiot.

      But -

      "I took a course in Religious Studies one year in University"

      Notice how our young fool uses the phrase 'in University'.

      This is to give a little English tinge to his persona.

      But he can't remember for certain who taught it, whether they read Whitehead or not, nor whether 'memory serves' concerning the term 'noumenal experience', nor how for sure to spell it.

      Only thing he remembers is religious experience seems to be something about being 'one' with the world, kinda like being on LSD, maybe.


      If you don't love love love dear Ash of the golf bags and the sailing ship, you have no sense of humor at all.

    6. A tail mounted mini machine gun is needed for 'some real flyin' fun'.

    7. Those Babies Ain't Endangered, either.'d be legal.

      Some kinda Midwest Mongrel.

      I forget the name.

    8. "Harris Hawks"

      "add a hamster as a tailgunner."

  30. ..."“You're scaring me,”

    she squeaked".

    Domestic Abuse is a Crime.

  31. "This is to give a little English tinge to his persona." Kelly Osmand.

    Two Peas in a Pod.

    In Hospital, or without.

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. I"t is said that as people become elderly their cognitive capabilities diminish.
    boobie does claim to be elderly, his cognitive abilities are not what they used to be."

    Does that exemplify what "They" say is true


    Speaking of age-related mental degeneration:


    Go there, search for Buzz. his Eighties and still ten times smarter than NASA.

    "Buzz" has been sober for 33 years.

    Thank God his "Name" has not changed.

    ...I Can Still Dream

    1. Elder does not mean old. Elder means someone with more years, experience and knowledge, often learned the hard way, than a young upstart punk like Ash.

      You must respect your elders, your 'betters', in this sense, if they are worth respecting of course.

      'Whitey' Bulger knew his stuff, as he got away with it for nearly a lifetime, failing only at the end, but deserves no respect.

      I am hoping -

      >>>Young 'Just because the sun has risen in the east everyday for all of your life does not mean that you "know" it will rise in the east tomorrow' Ash<<<

      - will be able to understand and 'delineate' all this.

    2. Ash, golfer, sailor, delineator, humorist, bon vivant, Ladies Man and a unique gift from The Ruler of the Universe to all mankind, sent, O thus come, for our recreation....

  34. Egyptian military promises to rebuild Christian churches...drudge

    1. >>>>Video: Egypt’s Islamists continue attacks on Christians, churches

      Kudos to ABC News for keeping on top of a disturbing aspect of the unrest in Egypt — the targeting of Christians by Islamists furious over the ouster of Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood and the military are locked in mortal battle in Cairo, Alexandria, Giza, and other centers of Egypt, but Christians across the country have come under attack from the Brotherhood and its political allies ever since the coup — and their situation is growing worse:

      The Islamic supporters of Egypt’s ousted president who have been battling the military have turned their rage on members of the country’s Coptic Christian minority, attacking churches, monasteries, schools, Christian owned shops as well as individuals.

      Churches across the country sustained attacks for a second straight day today, according to rights groups, state media and Egyptian security forces. Individual Copts say they fear reprisal attacks, with one video purportedly showing supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi beating a Coptic taxi driver to death in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city. …

      Forty churches were burned across Egypt Wednesday, according to local nongovernmental organizations and the Coptic Church’s youth group. The Egyptian military pledged to reconstruct and restore all the burned churches, state media reported.

      The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, a human rights group based in Cairo, documented additional attacks against Coptic monasteries, schools and shops, according to the group’s representative Ishaq Ibrahim, The Associated Press reported.
      CNN is also covering the attacks on churches and Christians in this paroxysm of rage and hatred:

      Bishop Angaelos, the Cairo-born head of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, said he was told by colleagues in Egypt that 52 churches were attacked in a 24-hour span that started Wednesday, as well as numerous Christians’ homes and businesses.

      Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher with the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, told CNN he had confirmed attacks on at least 30 churches so far, in addition to the targeting of church-related facilities, including schools and cultural centers.

      Those churches reportedly set ablaze Wednesday included St. George Church in Sohag, a city south of Cairo on the Nile River.

      And the new day brought new attacks. Prince Tadros Church in Fayoum, which is southwest of Cairo, was stormed and burned Thursday night, according to the official Middle East News Agency.
      Meanwhile, the rage continues in Cairo. At least 17 people have been killed since protesters hit the streets today, a number that will certainly rise:

      Security and health officials say at least 17 people have been killed across Egypt after tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters took to the streets in defiance of a military-imposed state of emergency following bloodshed earlier this week.

      Security officials say eight people were killed in the Nile Delta province of Dumyat north of Cairo and four people were killed in the Suez Canal city of Ismailiya. The cause of their deaths was not immediately clear.

      Just as in other conflicts in the region, ((((it’s almost impossible to choose a sympathetic side)))) — except for the Christians and other minorities taking the brunt of the anger.<<<<

      ((((it’s almost impossible to choose a sympathetic side))))

      Not for this observer, who unambiguously and sympathetically chooses the side of the Egyptian military.

    2. videos included

    3. So much for Mo's guidance on treating People of the Book, eh?

    4. Just another indicator that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a "Real" Islamic organization but a political one. A political organization that uses the trappings of religion as part of their guise.

      Proving, once again, that the "Enemy" is not Islam, but people that disrespect the rights of others.

      Those that do not adhere to the precepts ...
      that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

      The leadership Egyptian military does hold to those basic tenets, in addition they came to a point in time when ...
      ... Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

      The Egyptian military has acted twice, in the past year to attempt to lay a foundation that seemed likely to effect the safety and happiness of a majority of their people.

      The lessons learned by Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at the Army War College, in Carisle Pennsylvania were well received.

      The General even expanded upon those basic truths, with a variation of how the precepts of democracy could be achieved in Egypt and across the Middle East.

      at the War College, al-Sisi wrote an 11-page academic paper titled “Democracy in the Middle East.” Whereas Americans believe in “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Islamic cultures cling to principles of “fairness, justice, equality, unity, and charity,” he argued. Americans look to their republic’s Founding Fathers for guidance; Muslims cherish the memory of the ancient caliphate. However, “this does not mean a theocracy will be established,” wrote al-Sisi, “rather it means a democracy will be established based on Islamic beliefs.” In his paper, he pointed out the influence of Christianity and its culture on American government, especially in its early days, drawing a parallel with the role of Islam now in the establishment of nascent Middle Eastern democracies.

      Yes, the General is a man that knows that the safety and happiness of his people will be found through the application of “fairness, justice, equality, unity, and charity,” by their government.


  35. .

    Oh, my.

    I see Ash is back.

    The arguments have grown redundant and still he continues.

    Three days ago you attacked my statement that I was an agnostic. While I didn’t spell it out initially, given the context and subject we were discussing I assumed everyone would recognize that what I was saying was I was an agnostic with regard to the existence of god. In subsequent posts, I literally and specifically make that point. I only repeat this because of what you say you know about agnosticism and this silly statement, ” So, in that realm, sure "I don't know" is always true, thus trivial, or nonsense, to assert as an answer as it is a given.

    First, you appear to assume that I am agnostic on all things which certainly isn’t true, either that or you seem to forget we are talking about a specific question here, 'the existence of god'. Second, when applied to the specific question, “Does god exist” you agree that we can’t know or, as you stated it, “I don’t know” is always true but then turn around and state that particular answer is “nonsense’. Good lord, man your sentence is absurd.

    Over the last few days you have been talking about faith not knowledge. While within the community of agnostics there is likely a range of faith or conversely skepticism as to the question “Does god exist”, faith is not central to the definition of an agnostic. Knowledge is. Yet, every one of your arguments center around faith whether you recognize them as such or not.

    Your total argument seems to center around this statement, it is ”more reasonable to say "no they do not exist because there is no reason to believe they exist", which I have pointed out on numerous occasions is illogical. It would be more logical to say, “I do not believe they exist because I have not seen any evidence they exist” which might be logical and classify you a skeptic although not an especially deep thinker. Faith and believe are the two crutches your arguments are based on not science and knowledge.

    You try to trivialize the statement “I don’t know” by introducing Blue Unicorns and Superman and yet fail to fully define your terms thus weakening any argument you are trying to make. Are you saying these creatures exist outside of our concepts of time and space thus being analogous to general descriptions of god? A rose by any other name? Or, are you speaking of these creatures as we generally understand them, both of them captured within the space-time continuum we understand?

    If the prior, why bring them in at all except as straw men or to trivialize the discussion or as a diversionary tactic. If the latter, then I have to say it is a very weak argument. You deny their existence, yet, we only have to look around our single world to see the diversity of life ranging from microscopic bacteria to giant blue whales. We also see white, horned rhinos. We have seen antelopes with two horns instead of one. We have seen the extraordinary picture out of the Zoology Department at Cambridge showing an ant holding a weight 100 times its own body weight. It’s been estimated that if a flea were the size of a human it could jump over 100 feet. Given the diversity we have seen on our own small planet as well as probability and given that it has been estimated the universe contains 1 septillion suns (1 with 24 zeros behind it) at minimum with assumed planetary systems around them, I would contend that it is illogical to argue that a Blue Unicorn or a Superman-like creature absolutely 'does not exist' somewhere in the universe (unless you throw in the anal proviso that the Superman figure also has to come to earth from an exploding home planet named Krypton). Some would even call the claim nonsense. It is much more sensible to assume the position that given our current technology there is no way of knowing whether they exist or not.

    You believe that there is no Blue Unicorn or a Superman based on your limited knowledge. You have faith your belief is true but little else.


    1. .


      The same applies to your arguments about the existence of god. You state that those who believe in god, base their belief in god on faith and you are perfectly comfortable with that. Yet, you fail to recognize that your opinion which you try to dress up in some faux science mumbo jumbo is exactly the same thing, faith. You haven’t a clue what existed that moment prior to the Big Bang. Even taking your ‘hypothesis’ that the so-called Big Bang was not unique but just one raindrop in a pond of full of raindrops, or that the universe we know has existed forever, you offer no evidence, the very thing you demand of those who believe in god.

      Given that you admit that there is no way of knowing whether god exists or not, your statement that 'it is reasonable to say god ‘does not’ exist because there is no reason to believe he exists' is simplistic and illogical. Yours is merely a statement of faith, of a belief that god does not exist. You offer no evidence. In fact you offer us nothing. Zip.

      You state this is not about 'knowledge' but it is about 'belief' (translated in the absence of evidence to faith). If you wanted to know if I ‘believe’ in god, why didn’t you ask that question from the start rather than starting this silly little charade about agnosticism?


    2. OK. Quirk, do you believe in God?

    3. Aaaaash! P a leeese adopt one of the divine attributes for a moment and HAVE MERCY ON US and SHUT THE FUCK UP!

    4. My voice is loud compared to yours boobie? You are messed up!

    5. .

      I gave you that answer a few days ago, Ash. Likewise, I repeated it within the last day or so.

      Look it up.


    6. which was:

      "While I tend towards your view more than I do towards those of the religious, it's not because I share your simplistic reasoning but rather because of perceived flaws I see in the arguments they offer. However, since neither side has in my opinion 'proved' their case, I feel very comfortable in saying I am agnostic on a subject debated for millennia by men on both sides of the argument who possessed much more wisdom than you or I combined."

      or, in other words, "I don't know but I lean towards no".

      Have I got it right?

    7. Your voice is loud, Ash, and braying.....

      Buddhism is often thought to be an atheistical system, or at lest agnostic, as the Buddha is thought not to have spoken of such things, his teaching being of a more practical type, teaching a way of liberation, and such speculation not being conducive to liberation, remained silent on such topics.

      Hinduism has gobs of gods but is really a monism at its summit. Christianity thinks the divine became incarnated in a human being, Hinduism thinks this happens often.

      Judaism is a theistic system, with lots of fruits for life, which holds, (if I have it right) that the divine and the human are too far apart for such mixing.

      As is Islam, without the fruits for life, which believes in a trans-rational God, mysterious, which demands 'submission' whatever the hell that may be.

      And one can think there is always something more and life 'after' death without thinking of a 'God' at all, it just being that's the way things are.

      And you simplistically demand to know of Q if he 'believes' in God.

    8. Ash, have a drink or two, and go to bed. Put an ice pack on your forehead too.

      out on this 'topic'

    9. Here, have that drink or two, ice pack on forehead, kick back, listen up, and think of some beautiful divine Lady somewhere -


    10. .

      The pretty much says it, Ash.

      Now wasn't that simpler?


    11. Yeah, "I don' know" is pretty darn simple ;)

      been a gas Quirk!

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. .

      Only to simple minds that lack the nuance and subtlety to navigate the gradations between a simple 'yes' or 'no'.


    14. oh, shades of grey, like your buddy:

      "Becoming yields to Being, and we come to something without knowing why."

      riiiiight, carry on!


  36. .

    By the way, Bob. I finally got around to reading that Roethke poem you posted above.

    Pretty good stuff.

    I have never paid much attention to the guy and never read any of his stuff.


  37. .

    Every time I see a story about Hannah Anderson, it gets curioser and curioser.

    Today she appeared at a fundraiser for the family,

    Its been reported that she exchanged thirteen cell phone calls with her abductor the day of the killings and that she and him both turned their cell phone off at 4:00 pm that day.

    Its been report that she and her abductor had exchanged letters though the content of the letters wasn't released.

    An acquaintance told police that Hannah and the perp had taken multi-day trips together in the past.

    The police chief says they are absolutely certain Hannah was kidnapped.


    1. As a minor child, Q, she was definitely kidnapped.

      Whether or not she was complicit or a willing victim to the kidnapping ...

      Only the perp and she would know.
      He is dead.
      She is a minor.

      Children under the age of 18, in California, have not reached the age of consent.
      The girl is only 16. Not an adult and not able, legally, to even buy cigarettes.

      That the predator fucked with her head, an easy assumption to make.
      Children can be easily manipulated.

      We can assume that she was manipulated and probably raped.
      At least statutorily.

    2. .

      I know your probably right, rat. And I'm not accusing her of anything. And I'm not saying she was raped or that she was cooperating with the guy in any way. It just seems, to me, the more info that comes out about this case, the more things seem off somehow, some kind of parallax effect.


    3. .

      Lordy, now I'm starting to sound like the first person narrator in some dime noir mystery story.

      Back to baseball.


  38. Mark Levin is explaining to Hannity why his proposed Liberty Amendments and the convention to propose them would not lead to a run-a-way constitutional convention. Upon reflection, it does seem he has his points. It would still be necessary for 3/4ths of the states to adopt each amendment.

    The states gave birth and power to the Federal Government and now the Federal Government rules the nest, time to restore self-government.

  39. Armed neighbors, armed ordinary citizens, armed 'vigilantes' are joining with the Egyptian military to put the MB on the run. For those who support the Egyptian military this seems a hopeful and good development.

  40. Been spending some alone time with the wife.
    Went fishing without getting a bite.

    I'd like to relate my experience to you Ash, but I need to get back to the wife.

    1. The reason you got no bites fishing is cause you were foolish enough to take the wife with you.

      Have you ever seen Putin fishing with his wife? No, of course not, and that's why he always catches the big fish.

      All us seasoned fishermen know this.


    2. A mistress, girl friend, or a niece is OK, but not a wife. Then you just be fishin' the jinx lure.

      If you need advice, just ask.

  41. “I know I cannot learn anything about MacDonald’s guilt or innocence from this material. It is like looking for proof or disproof of the existence of God in a flower – it all depends on how you read the evidence. If you start out with a presumption of his guilt, you read the documents one way, and another way if you presume his innocence. The material does not ‘speak for itself’.”
    ___Janet Malcolm

  42. “I know I cannot learn anything about MacDonald’s guilt or innocence from this material. It is like looking for proof or disproof of the existence of God in a flower – it all depends on how you read the evidence. If you start out with a presumption of his guilt, you read the documents one way, and another way if you presume his innocence. The material does not ‘speak for itself’.”
    ___Janet Malcolm


    >>>“There are a lot of bad people out there. . . . . . This will help us remove some of those pests from society,” he added.<<<

    WASHINGTON — Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers.

    The criminal inquiry, which hasn’t been acknowledged publicly, is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic.

    So far, authorities have targeted at least two instructors, one of whom has pleaded guilty to federal charges, several people familiar with the investigation told McClatchy. Investigators confiscated business records from the two men, which included the names of as many as 5,000 people who’d sought polygraph-beating advice. U.S. agencies have determined that at least 20 of them applied for government and federal contracting jobs, and at least half of that group was hired, including by the National Security Agency.

    By attempting to prosecute the instructors, federal officials are adopting a controversial legal stance that sharing such information should be treated as a crime and isn’t protected under the First Amendment in some circumstances.

    “Nothing like this has been done before,” John Schwartz, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, said of the legal approach in a June speech to a professional polygraphers’ conference in Charlotte, N.C., that a McClatchy reporter attended. “Most certainly our nation’s security will be enhanced.”

    “There are a lot of bad people out there. . . . This will help us remove some of those pests from society,” he added.

    Read more here:

    1. .

      Luckily, I was able to pass the lie detector test.


  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

  45. What We Lose if We Give Up Privacy

    Privacy is connected to personhood. It has to do with intimate things—the innards of your head and heart, the workings of your mind—and the boundary between those things and the world outside.

    A loss of the expectation of privacy in communications is a loss of something personal and intimate, and it will have broader implications. That is the view of Nat Hentoff, the great journalist and civil libertarian. He is 88 now and on fire on the issue of privacy. "The media has awakened," he told me. "Congress has awakened, to some extent." Both are beginning to realize "that there are particular constitutional liberty rights that [Americans] have that distinguish them from all other people, and one of them is privacy."

    Mr. Hentoff sees excessive government surveillance as violative of the Fourth Amendment, which protects "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" and requires that warrants be issued only "upon probable cause . . . particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    But Mr. Hentoff sees the surveillance state as a threat to free speech, too. About a year ago he went up to Harvard to speak to a class. He asked, he recalled: "How many of you realize the connection between what's happening with the Fourth Amendment with the First Amendment?" He told the students that if citizens don't have basic privacies—firm protections against the search and seizure of your private communications, for instance—they will be left feeling "threatened." This will make citizens increasingly concerned "about what they say, and they do, and they think." It will have the effect of constricting freedom of expression. Americans will become careful about what they say that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, and then too careful about what they say that can be understood. The inevitable end of surveillance is self-censorship.

  46. But a 2012 report from the Department of Energy underscored why overlooking hydropower’s potential was a mistake. 80,000 dams are in service across the US, but only 3% have installed generators. DOE’s report found America could create more than 12 GW of new generation capacity by installing turbines on 54,000 sites where they don’t currently exist and upgrading older generation technology with more efficient turbines.

    Opening The Floodgates

    Part of the reason American hasn’t added much new hydropower generation is because of red tape, with even the smallest proposals taking years to receive approval. But that’s just the problem these two bills will help solve.

    “These bills are an excellent step to unlocking the tens of thousands of megawatts of untapped hydropower capacity that can provide millions of Americans greater access to affordable, reliable electricity,” said Linda Church Ciocci of the National Hydropower Association.

    The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency bill modifies existing laws to streamline small hydro projects and add generation to existing dams and closed-loop energy storage through several steps:
    •Increasing the small hydro exemption to . . . .


    New Hydropower Laws

  47. Kum & Go selling E85 for $2.39/gal all over Iowa

    Iowa Prices

    1. My wife thought that was the most disgusting name for a service station she had run into yet. She is not going to Kum any longer.

    2. Even if the price is good.

    3. I have a good friend whose first name is Kum; she is Korean.

    4. I don't dare ask for the last name.


    5. O well -- Yew?

    6. E85 vs. Gasoline Comparison Test

      Gas/E85 difference: The fuel economy of our Tahoe on E85, under these conditions, was 26.5 percent worse than it was when running on gas.

      A motorist, filling up and comparing the prices of regular gas and E85, might see the price advantage of E85 (in our case 33 cents or 9.7 percent less) as a bargain. However, since fuel economy is significantly reduced, the net effect is that a person choosing to run their flex-fuel vehicle on E85 on a trip like ours will spend 22.8 percent more to drive the same distance. For us, the E85 trip was about $30 more expensive — about 22.9 cents per mile on E85 versus 18.7 cents per mile with gasoline.

    7. As far as the energy required to produce corn ethanol, studies are all over the map, but none show that it is insignificant.

      Growing and distilling it ain't free, by a long shot.

    8. The Tahoe, with that low-compression, big V-8 is the worst possible example.

      Read much?

    9. No one said it was "free." I stated that it could be produced, and sold profitably, for $2.25/gal. W/O Subsidies.

  48. al-Zawahri’s brother reportedly arrested in Egypt


    I suppose this is a fitting follow-up to our discussion this morning about Egypt looking at simply dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood as an NGO in their country. NBC News is reporting, with others offering confirmation, that the younger brother of Al Qaeda honcho Ayman al-Zawahri, Mohammed, a leader of the MB in that country, has been arrested by the Egyptian police.

    The brother of al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has been arrested by police in Egypt, security sources said Saturday.

    Mohammed al-Zawahri, the younger brother of the terror network leader, was detained at a checkpoint in the Cairo suburb of Giza, the sources said.

    He has been a vocal supporter of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement and the more extreme group to which he belongs, Al Gama’a Al Islamiya.

    The arrest of the younger al-Zawahri came as more than 1,000 Brotherhood supporters and others opposed to the military’s overthrow of Islamist Morsi were detained Friday as mass protests turned violent.

    I’ll say one thing for the Egyptian army and the current administration; they don’t seem to demonstrate any fear of the MB. Of course, the hornet’s nest had already been fairly well stirred up, particularly after al-Zawahri’s MB partner, Mohammed Badie, recently saw his son killed during a confrontation with authorities. The army has been essentially turning on the water hoses – if not the flame throwers – on MB protesters and looking for all the world like they plan to crush this revolt. Given their history, it’s probably not a bad bet. The military is recognized as a much more trusted entity of authority than the police or even the government by Egypt’s citizens.

    One possible explanation for that might be that the Army hasn’t tried to turn any of these upheavals into a permanent military state under some sort of Generalissimo for Life. In a rather ironic twist, by largely staying out of the business of government and all the messy things that entails, the military has gained the trust of the people to run the government, at least on a limited term basis. This situation can’t remain in flux forever, though, or the most stable, powerful nation in the region will turn into a failed state. But I’ll still be hoping they can manage it without dragging the US into it.

    1. Egypt considers outlawing Muslim Brotherhood

      Aug 17, 9:36 AM (ET)


      (AP) Egyptians security forces escort an Islamist supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood out of the...
      Full Image

      CAIRO (AP) - Egyptian authorities are considering disbanding the Muslim Brotherhood group, a government spokesman said Saturday, once again outlawing a group that held the pinnacle of government power just more than a month earlier.

      The announcement comes after security forces broke up two sit-in protests this week by those calling for the reinstatement of President Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader deposed in a July 3 coup. The clashes killed more than 600 people that day and sparked protests and violence that killed 173 people Friday alone.

      Cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawki said that Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi, who leads the military-backed government, assigned the Ministry of Social Solidarity to study the legal possibilities of dissolving the group. He didn't elaborate.

      The Muslim Brotherhood group, founded in 1928, came to power a year ago when its Morsi was elected in the country's first free presidential elections. The election came after the overthrow of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising in 2011.

      The fundamentalist group has been banned for most of its 80-year history and repeatedly subjected to crackdowns under Mubarak's rule. While sometimes tolerated and its leaders part of the political process, members regularly faced long bouts of imprisonment and arbitrary detentions.
      Since Morsi was deposed in the popularly backed military coup, the Brotherhood stepped up its confrontation with the new leadership, holding sit-ins in two encampments for weeks, rallying thousands and vowing not to leave until Morsi is reinstated.

      On Wednesday, security authorities swept through the two protest camps, leaving hundreds killed and thousands others injured. The violent crackdown sparked days of street violence across the country where Islamist supporters stormed and torched churches and police stations.
      In the most recent standoff, Egyptian security forces exchanged heavy gunfire Saturday with armed men at top of a minaret of a Cairo mosque. The security forces fired tear gas, stormed the mosque and rounded up hundreds of Islamists supporters of Morsi who had been barricaded inside overnight

      The confrontations Friday - around a Brotherhood call for a "Day of Rage" - killed at least 173 people, said Shawki, the Cabinet spokesman. He said 1,330 people were wounded in the protests.
      Egypt's Interior Ministry said in a statement that a total of 1,004 Brotherhood members were detained in raids across the country and that weapons, bombs and ammunition were confiscated with the detainees.

      Among the dead Friday was Ammar Badie, a son of Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohammed Badie, the group's political arm said in a statement.

      Also Saturday, authorities arrested the brother of al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri, a security official said Saturday. Mohammed al-Zawahri, leader of the ultraconservative Jihadi Salafist group, was detained at a checkpoint in Giza, the city across the Nile from Cairo, the official said.

      The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn't authorized to brief journalists about the arrest.

    2. The news from Egypt does seem to be encouraging.


    3. Amb. John Bolton, an intelligent well spoken man who actually knows something, just said on Fox that Israel really hasn't had anything to do with any of this, and their interest is best served by staying out of it all. Since this seems sensible enough, it will be disputed by all the usual suspects here.

  49. AUGUST 16, 2013 5:30 PM
    Idiot Big Brother
    The prospect of NSA abuse is now a reality.
    By Mark Steyn

    >>>>>>The Egypt/Washington industrial-scale wrong number is almost too perfectly poignant a vignette at the end of a week in which hundreds are dead on the streets of Cairo. On the global scene, America has imploded: Its leaders have no grasp of its national interests, never mind any sense of how to achieve them. The assumption that we are in the early stages of “the post-American world” is now shared by everyone from General Sisi to Vladimir Putin. General Sisi, I should add, is Egypt’s new strongman, not Putin’s characterization of Obama. Meanwhile, in contrast to its accelerating irrelevance overseas, at home Washington’s big bloated blundering bureaucratic security state expands daily. It’s easier to crack down on 47 Elm Street than Benghazi.

    Perhaps this is unavoidable. A couple of months back, I quoted Tocqueville’s prescient words from almost two centuries ago: Although absolute monarchy theoretically “clothed kings with a power almost without limits,” in practice “the details of social life and of individual existence ordinarily escaped his control.” In other words, the king couldn’t do it even if he wanted to. What would happen, Tocqueville wondered, if administrative capability were to evolve to bring “the details of social life and of individual existence” within His Majesty’s oversight? That world is now upon us. Today, the king concedes he most certainly can do it, but assures us not to worry, he doesn’t really want to. “If you look at the reports,” said President Obama earlier this month, “even the disclosures that Mr. Snowden’s put forward, all the stories that have been written, what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programs and, you know, listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s e-mails. What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused.”

    But that was a week ago. And the “prospect” is now a reality: “actual abuse” — including “listening in on people’s phone calls” and “inappropriately reading people’s e-mails” — occurs daily. In early 2012, “actual abuse” was occurring at the rate of ten “incidents” a day — and “incident” is a term of art that can cover hundreds of violations of thousands or even millions of citizens.<<<<<<

    Believe it or not, we actually have people who support this terrible non sense, some of them right here, too.

    They mask their support by endlessly talking about another subject, but, o yes, they support the National Surveillance State, and their slogan is "If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear."