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News and Opinion


This DailyBeast article is hilarious propaganda for Obama's Cheney.  Go read it.

John Brennan, Obama's CIA Chief Nominee, Could Restrain the Agency
by Daniel Klaidman Feb 5, 2013 12:00 AM EST
John Brennan, the most misunderstood man in Washington.
I declare this song the John Brennan theme song.
I'm just a soul whose intentions are good.
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

Bureau of Investigative Journalism was out there when almost nobody else was re: the drone programs.   They were investigating and keeping a count on drone attacks and people killed by drones when our government was saying "what drone program?"  They were tracking the accounts of civilian deaths when John Brennan was saying that not a single civilian had been killed by our drone programs.  Now they are attempting to name all of the dead, civilian or declared militant.
Naming the Dead: Bureau announces new drones project
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The Bureau is launching an ambitious new investigation, which will seek to identify as many as possible of those killed in US covert drone strikes in Pakistan, whether civilian or militant.

The Bureau is raising some of the money for this project through a crowd-funding appeal.

As part of our ongoing monitoring and reporting of CIA and Pentagon drone strikes, the Bureau has already recorded the names of hundreds of people killed in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

At the end of January 2013, the Bureau was able to identify by name 213 people killed by drones in Pakistan who were reported to be middle- or senior-ranking militants.

A further 331 civilians have also now been named, 87 of them children.
But this is a small proportion of the minimum 2,629 people who appear to have so far died in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan. The Bureau’s work suggests 475 of them were likely to have been civilians.

‘At the moment we know the names of fewer than 20% of those killed in Pakistan’s tribal areas. At least 2,000 deaths still remain publicly anonymous,’ said Chris Woods, who leads the Bureau’s covert drone war team.
[...]
The project has already secured substantial funding from a UK foundation – but it still needs more funds.

Group Launched to Support WikiLeaks, Transparency Journalism Reports Incredible Success

The Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) raised nearly $200,000 for four different organizations, including WikiLeaks, which it collected donations to support because the media organization faces a banking blockade that makes it difficult for it to directly accept funds from supporters.

According to Trevor Timm, a co-founder of FPF, $82,000 was donated to WikiLeaks. Three other organizations—The Uptake, a media group that encourages democracy and transparency; MuckRock News, an organization that makes it easy for individuals and organizations to submit FOIA requests, the National Security Archive, an investigative journalism center that maintains a library of declassified government documents. Each received approximately $15,500, $16,000 and $18,000 in donations respectively.
[...]
The next “bundle” of organizations are all launching projects around United States government secrecy. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has become notable for its work counting US drone strikes, is starting a project to name those killed by drones. It will track who is a civilian and who is a militant in order to make it harder for propaganda to spread. The organization intends to setup a website for documenting people who are attacked.

Intel Firm Paid CIA Nominee Well As He Left for White House

Brennan has spent most of his working life in government intelligence jobs, but he spent three years in the private sector just before joining Obama’s White House as counterterrorism adviser on Jan. 20, 2009. For that brief but profitable period, Brennan was the CEO of a little-known intelligence contractor called The Analysis Corporation, which does counterterrorism analysis for the U.S. government. (Since Brennan’s departure, TAC has been absorbed, through a merger, into a new firm called Sotera.)

A review of Brennan’s financial disclosure reports indicates that in 2009, TAC paid him a total of $169,923 in salary and bonus, which has not been previously reported. The financial disclosure reports, submitted as required of all White House employees, don’t say why he’d receive a bonus if he was leaving the company to join the government, or why he’d received such a large salary if he worked for the company for only 20 days that year.
[...]
In 2008, according to a separate financial disclosure report, Brennan received $763,000 from TAC for the year.

Good news, but more civil cases.  Come on, you can do it DoJ.  Move closer to the Wall Street execs.  Frontline, please keep pumping out the documentaries.
U.S., States Plan to File Civil Charges Against S&P

The Justice Department and state prosecutors intend to file civil charges alleging wrongdoing by Standard & Poor's Ratings Services in its rating of mortgage bonds before the financial crisis erupted in 2008, according to people familiar with the matter.

The allegations likely would be made in lawsuits by federal and state officials that are expected to be filed as soon as this week, the people said. The alleged wrongdoing by S&P, a unit of McGraw-Hill Cos., MHP -5.43% centers on allegations related to the model used by S&P to rate mortgage bonds.

The likely move by U.S. officials would be the first federal enforcement action against a credit-rating firm for alleged illegal behavior related to the crisis. Several state attorneys general are expected to join the case, making it one of the highest-profile and widest-ranging enforcement crisis-era crackdowns.

Rebooting Computer Crime Law Part 1: No Prison Time For Violating Terms of Service

In the wake of social justice activist Aaron Swartz’s tragic death, Internet users around the country are taking a hard look at the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the federal anti-hacking law.  As we’ve noted, the CFAA has lots of problems. In this three-part series, we'll explain these problems in detail and why they need to be fixed.
[...]
Internet users shouldn’t live in fear that they could face criminal liability for mere terms of service violations—especially given that website terms are often vague, lopsided and subject to change without notice. Security testing, code building, and free speech—even if unabashedly impolite—are fundamental parts of the Internet’s character. Supporting these types of innovation helps keep the Internet dynamic and interactive.  Regardless of whether you think that people ought to send sexy messages on eHarmony or post impolite comments on NYTimes.com, one thing is certain: violating a private agreement or duty should not carry the grim shadow of criminal liability. No one should face criminal charges, go to jail, or face fines as a result of a contractual violation like using a pseudonym on Facebook.

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has started the conversation and advocacy groups like Demand Progress have joined us in working to fix the vague, dangerous and overly punitive sections of CFAA that were misused to persecute Aaron Swartz.  Please join EFF in calling on Congress to fix the glaring problems with CFAA by sending an email to Congress now.

“House of Cards” and the Decline of Cable

“House of Cards” may not be the best show on television, but it is in the same league as the best shows, and that makes all the difference. The series, about a scheming Congressman, is basically “The West Wing” meets “Breaking Bad,” with a healthy dose of Shakespeare—particularly, as Ian Crouch wrote, “Richard III.” It’s a typical product of our current golden age of television—dark, expertly directed and acted, and about five times better than the average Hollywood film. “House of Cards” was produced by Netflix, and the New York Times, Wired, and others have written about the company’s panache, especially its decision to release thirteen episodes in one day, all of which could be downloaded and watched by anyone with a computer or an Internet-connected TV. But that misses what makes “House of Cards” a significant moment in media history.

An Internet firm like Netflix producing first-rate content takes us across a psychological line. If Netflix succeeds as a producer, other companies will follow and start taking market share. Maybe Amazon will go beyond its tentative investments and throw a hundred million at a different A-list series, or maybe Hulu will expand its ambitions for original content, or maybe the next great show will come from someone with a YouTube channel. When that happens, the baton passes, and empire falls—and we will see the first fundamental change in the home-entertainment paradigm in decades.

Benghazi Spin

The NYT is trying to sell some administration spin:
[...]
The facts do not concur with this.
[...]
When on the same the CIA station in Benghazi was attacked and later evacuated there were 25 CIA or CIA related persons there. This wasn't a small station for observation of this or that but a huge operation.

It is quite obvious that the CIA and the State Department were involved in organizing weapons for the Syrian insurgency. [...]

From Jan. 14. h/t to MoonofAlabama.org where it was recommended.  It's hard to excerpt and you really have to read the initial text, the correspondence, etc.  I thought the last part about the Democratic base was pretty interesting. This perception of the Left seems to be gaining more and more momentum, finally, but that's not good for the Left, imho.  As for the "zero option" it looks like anyone who predicted that it would happen was wrong since one of Leon Panetta's last jobs seems to be breaking it to the country that we're not leaving Afghanistan after all.
The Afghan Endgame…and Where It Will Lead

Rhodes said the White House was considering the so-called “zero option”  in addition to the more widely reported options for maintaining a limited troop presence 3,000 and 9,000 troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014. In contrast, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, is lobbying for an enduring presence 6,000 to 15,000. There are currently about 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. With one year to go, it is therefore clear that big changes are coming.
[...]
Rhodes’s words, predictably (perhaps deliberately), created a firestorm of reaction among the neocons and advocates of empire in the U.S., as well as among those in Afghanistan who have benefitted from the U.S. presence. Members of the Afghan government, in harmony with the despairing cries of the neocon armchair warriors in the U.S., predicted that the zero option would be equivalent to a U.S. admission of defeat; that it would precipitate another a civil war, like that of the 1990s; and that it would leave the 350,000 man ill-trained Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) unable to provide internal security. While the Taliban had no comment, a spokesman reiterated its 5 January call for the immediate removal of all foreign forces from Afghanistan.
[...]
American politics continues to repeat the practice of buying domestic power by inflicting misery and destruction on third world nations. In my view, Obama’s own contribution to statecraft in this regard has been his ability to lobotomize almost the entire Democratic base. The same people who were screaming about Bush’s illegal wars, unconstitutional surveillance, lack of due process, etc., are now silent or singing Obama’s greatness.
Even when Democrats can see how Mr. Obama has disappointed them, the insanity of Republican politicians provides the Democrats a ready rationale to excuse Obama. (By the way, does anyone notice that if Hagel is confirmed it means two of Obama’s three SecDefs will have been Republicans?)
The Republican party, with a few exceptions, is so visibly crazy that they have become an indispensable foil that permits Obama to govern as he does. The conventional wisdom of liberals is that Obama’s heart is in the right place, but he is conflict averse and therefore must govern as a centrist (really a center-rightist), because the GOP is crazy and intransigent. But in reality, Obama actually is a center-rightist who uses his image as a diffident compromiser as a cloak to hide his pro-corporatocracy given aways.  And because most people prefer center-right governance to out-and-out fascism, the GOP plays an essential role as a “bad cop” to the center-right “good cop,” which is why Democrats went along with  Obama’s plan to enshrine the Bush tax cuts for the bottom 99.3%, and a huge giveaway on the estate tax, in perpetuity. My fear is that, in the same way, Democrats will go along with Obama’s inflated defense budgets and his permanent conflict foreign policy.
Anyway, that is the view of one clapped out retiree from the cheap seats in Versailles on the Potomac.
Chuck

It's hard work walking back that loud pronouncement from the Vice President during the election debates about how we are leaving Afghanistan in 2014, Period.  I told my son at the time that it was most likely a lie, since I had read about the plans for post 2014.  A panicked Obama/Biden 2012 lie.  It's a shame that parents have to do that and that kids can't believe a word that their president and vice president say.
Defense Secretary Panetta, Gen. Dempsey: 'We're Not Leaving Afghanistan in 2014'
Dismissing zero troops option, the pair says US can expect to see "enduring presense"

As outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and General Martin Dempsey made media rounds on Sunday, they brought a joint message: the U.S. is not leaving Afghanistan in 2014.

Speaking to CNN's Candy Crowley on Sunday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Dempsey dismissed the idea of a total withdrawal, saying, "no one has suggested zero [troops] to me."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Forward on Climate.
Robert Redford blog: You Can Move Washington, D.C. Forward on Climate Change

On February 17, tens of thousands are coming together in Washington, D.C. to ask the president to stand up for climate. The Forward on Climate Rally is expected to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history.

How fitting that this will happen on President’s Day weekend after the inspiring inaugural address from President Obama about the moral necessity to tackle climate change for ourselves and for our children.

This is the beginning. The beginning of a real battle, for America’s future.





Action



Rebooting Computer Crime Law Part 1: No Prison Time For Violating Terms of Service

Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has started the conversation and advocacy groups like Demand Progress have joined us in working to fix the vague, dangerous and overly punitive sections of CFAA that were misused to persecute Aaron Swartz.  Please join EFF in calling on Congress to fix the glaring problems with CFAA by sending an email to Congress now.





Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest


Evening Blues

ROFL!








Lionel Richie - All Night Long Live 1984 Can't Slown Down Tour
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