Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mitt Romney: "Corporations Are People, My Friend"

Well, he's toast!

While Ayn Rand rants on...

I wonder if she realized that it wasn't those little poor people, organizing and pooling their bucks, in an "irresistible" effort to force congress to "redistribute" wealth from the rich to themselves?

I have to wonder what she, or her followers, would have said, if someone were to point out that it was the concerned rich themselves, who organized and pushed the government to create and even enhance those entitlement programs? What does that do to her arguments? She seems have been thinking that the young, the poor the infirm and the elderly, were all engaged in some devilishly fiendish scheme to force the gov't to rape the rich, then shower themselves with "diamonds and Cadillacs" at the expense of the wealthy. When, in fact, these programs were the efforts of those very same wealthy people!

People who knew that a wealthy and prosperous society depended upon social and national unity. Thus did they give us programs that actually created more jobs, taking care of our own, while raising our standard of living to a level that became the envy of the world.

Friday, August 12, 2011

FOCUS: Clarke Alleges CIA Cover-Up Prior to 9/11

Philip Shenon, The Daily Beast
Shenon writes: "Clarke's theory addresses a central, enduring mystery about the 9/11 attacks - why the CIA failed for so long to tell the White House and senior officials at the FBI that the agency was aware that two Al Qaeda terrorists had arrived in the United States in January 2000, just days after attending a terrorist summit meeting in Malaysia that the CIA had secretly monitored."

Soldier Comes Home to Find Real Enemy Is Bank Taking His Home

Soldier Comes Home to Find Real Enemy Is Bank Taking His Home

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

11 August 11

On the same day Tim Collette welcomes his soldier son back for leave from Iraq, he loses his Oregon house to foreclosure. But unlike many homeowners, Collette is fighting back.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein tesifies before the Senate in April 2010
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Matt Taibbi: A Senate committee has laid out the evidence. Now the Justice Department should bring criminal charges
by: Matt Taibbi

They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial.

This article appears in the May 26, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive May 13.

Maddow and Ehrenreich on Unions, Verizon Strike: Unions Equal a Middle Class

The organized labor fight in our country is taking place both in the public sector--as Wisconsin's epic protests and recall effort demonstrates--and the private, as indicated by the massive Verizon strike.

Watch Rachel Maddow and Barbara Ehrenreich talk about how vital a strong labor movement is for maintaining a middle class in this country--and how hurting labor will end up hurting that middle class, below. And send it along to your union-skeptical friends. This is good stuff.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Kentucky Gives Creationist Theme Park 75 Percent Tax Discount For The Next 30 Years

In May, ThinkProgress reported that Kentucky approved a $43 million tax break for Ark Encounter, a Bible-themed amusement park that religious organizations are building outside Williamstown. Now the state is giving the creationist project another kickback in the form of a 75 percent property tax discount over the next 30 years:

Mayor Rick Skinner said the offer is laid out in a memorandum of agreement that will be followed by a formal tax-increment financing deal with Petersburg-based Ark Encounters LLC in coming months. Read more

Bachmann Doesn't Practice the Austerity She Preaches, Asked for Federal Funds 16 Times

Michele Bachmann doesn't exactly practice what she preaches when it comes to an alleged loathing of what she termed an "orgy" of federal spending.

HuffPo looked into her congressional recordand found that unsurprisingly, when it came to her district, Bachmann was quite happy to enjoy the benefits of President Obama's stimulus plan.

A Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post with three separate federal agencies reveals that on at least 16 separate occasions, Bachmann petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid. A large chunk of those requests were for funds set aside through President Obama's stimulus program, which Bachmann once labeled "fantasy economics." Bachmann made two more of those requests to the Environmental Protection Agency, an institution that she has suggested she would eliminate if she were in the White House.

Taken as a whole, the letters underscore what Bachmann's critics describe as a glaring distance between her campaign oratory and her actual conduct as a lawmaker. Combined with previous revelations that Bachmann personally relied on a federally subsidized home loan while her husband's business benefited from Medicaid payments,it appears that one of the Tea Party's most cherished members has demonstrated that the government does, in fact, play a constructive role -- at least in her life and district.

Of course this is hardly anomalous for a GOP politician: "austerity for your district, bounty for mine," might as well be a motto.

Still, it underscores the point that Jon Stewart made last night when he argued that instead of showing Michele Bachmann with wild, glazed-over eyes on their cover, Newsweek should have just undermined the politician by using her own words against her.

Meet The GOP's Not-So-Super Committee: 6 Members Of Congress Shaping Your Economic Future

One of the caveats of the debt ceiling deal was a 12-member bipartisan committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. Here are the six Republicans.
August 10, 2011

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)announced today their picks for the fiscal super committee created by the debt ceiling deal, naming Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI), and Fred Upton (MI) to the body. The committee is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November, and one of the key issues will be whether revenue increases are included. Basic economics and the American people call for increasing revenues,with a new CNN poll showing 63 percent of Americans want the committee to raise taxes on the wealthy,

but several of the GOP picks are hard-right conservatives who likely oppose such a “balanced approach.” Other critical issue will be entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and whether the committee makes cuts to military spending.

Here’s what you need to know about each of the GOP super committee members:

20 Years In Prison For a Rape and Murder Committed By Someone Else -- Courts Ignore Exonerating DNA Evidence

Nine young black men were convicted of two heinous crimes. DNA evidence points to their innocence, but many of the men are still in jail.
August 10, 2011

In the movies or on TV, the crucial piece of DNA or physical evidence that points to another culprit makes the wrongfully accused and their counsel sigh in relief, high five, leave the courtroom free of shackles. They wouldn't have to wait 20 years to see justice served.

In real life, even after so much time, that kind of exonerating DNA evidence may not make things so simple--particularly in a justice system that can be so often unjust toward the disenfranchised.

In each of two older cases currently being revisited in Cook County, Illinois, five teenagers were arrested for murder-rapes and confessions were extracted after interrogations.

But in each, those confessions were recanted and later DNA evidence pointed directly to other men, known criminals who didn't appear to be connected to the convicted young men.

Here's one case, as described in a story from the Chicago Tribune.
Five teenagers were arrested, four convicted:

[In the 1990s] the four were convicted of the murder and rape of Nina Glover, 30, largely on the basis of confessions they made to police and prosecutors, even though primitive DNA testing at the time excluded them as the source of semen evidence. But new testing links Johnny Douglas to Glover's rape and murder, according to court papers filed this week in Cook County Circuit Court.

And here's the other, eerily parallel story, also from the Tribune's reporter Steve Mills, about five other teenagers, three of whom are still in prison:
(Anyone remember "The Central Park Five"?)

Rich Executives Spend Millions For Bodyguards To Guard Them From Populist Anger

Meet World Protection Group Inc.'s private bodyguards, the latest trend in corporate spending.
August 10, 2011

The following article first appeared in Mother Jones.

The Primary, tall and flinty with a graying goatee, has decided he's in the mood for shopping, a development that's got David Perez all worked up. I'm sitting with Perez in a Chevy Silverado in downtown Santa Monica. A fit ex-Marine, Perez is in charge of the Primary's six-man protection detail. For 20 minutes, we've been waiting around in a grocery store parking lot, but now the Primary has parked his Porsche 911 Carrera at a shopping strip nearly a mile away. Though Perez already has three "countersurveillance" experts on the scene, he's antsy to join them. His client has a stalker, whom one of the team members had spotted earlier. The Silverado crawls through glacial traffic. "You're driving like an old lady!" Perez barks. "Catch the green!"

Perez and his partner Mike Gomez, a bodyguard resembling The Sopranos' Silvio, finally track down their client at a Barnes & Noble. Two of the countersurveillance guys go back to scouting for menaces, while Perez and Gomez, both of whom are trained sharpshooters and martial-arts experts, step in as the Primary's "close protection" team. Shoppers stare at the entourage, straining to recognize someone famous.

The men form a barrier around their client as he stops to watch a street-magic act, browses racks at Armani Exchange, wanders in and out of a Hooters and past a Gap. And that's when everything goes haywire.

Note that this is far cry from the days of "The Robber Barons" when the
likes of J. P. Morgan and Carnagie could walk into any working mans bar
and enjoy a drink without security of any kind. The new America is so

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Republicans Behaving Badly

"Blacks had it better under slavery than under Obama"?!? Who dreams this
stuff up?

Jon Stewart Explains S&P Downgrade: "Are You F***ing Serious?"

As Geithner furiously handwrings over the S&P downgrade and the GOP stumbles over itself trying to blame the debt ceiling hike for the lower rating (uhm, Bachmann, how does that even make sense?), Jon Stewart focuses on the important stuff. Like the fact that going from "AAA" to "AA+" sounds like the most ridiculous downgrade ever. But wait! As he points out, S&P are the "guys that gave the clean bill of health to the mortgage securities that were toxic." And some mysterious investor just got a 10 to 1 return betting on the downgrade on the stock market. So... think there's a problem? Watch Stewart get irate and hilarious, via Mediaite:

National Director of Koch's Americans for Prosperity Created Mysterious WI Gun Group, Coordinated on Misleading Absentee Ballot Mailings

Creator of 'United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, Inc.', John Connors, is a long-time AFP affiliate, has history of deceptive campaigns...

On Saturday we posted an article detailing the similarities, and apparent coordination, in misleading "Absentee Ballot Application" mailers sent out to Democratic voters by both the David Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity - Wisconsin and a mysterious group calling themselves United Sportsmen of Wisconsin.

The Americans for Prosperity mailer, sent out in Wisconsin last week in advance of tomorrow's state Senate recall election of six Republican state Senators, included instructions that absentee ballots must be submitted by August 11th --- even though the election in question is actually tomorrow, August 9th. Read more

How Bad Is News Corp.? Michael Wolff on the state of the Murdoch empire and its Mob-like structure

n my biography of Rupert Murdoch, I referred to News Corporation as Mafia-like, provoking the annoyance of my publisher’s libel lawyers. I explained to them that I did not mean to suggest this was an organized crime family, but instead was using “mafia” as a metaphor to imply that News Corp. saw itself as a state within a state, and that the company was built on a basic notion of extended family bonds and loyalty.

But just because it’s a metaphor doesn’t mean it isn’t the real thing, too.

Well-sourced information coming out of the Department of Justice and the FBI suggests a debate is going on that could result in the recently launched investigations of News Corp. falling under the RICO statutes.

RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, establishes a way to prosecute the leaders of organizations—and strike at the organizations themselves—for crimes company leaders may not have directly committed, but which were otherwise countenanced by the organization. Any two of a series of crimes that can be proven to have occurred within a 10-year period by members of the organization can establish a pattern of racketeering and result in draconian remedies. In 1990, following the indictment of Michael Milken for insider trading, Drexel Burnham Lambert, the firm that employed him, collapsed in the face of a RICO investigation.
Among the areas that the FBI is said to be looking at in its investigation of News Corp. are charges that one of its subsidiaries, News America Marketing, illegally hacked the computer system of a competitor, Floorgraphics, and then, using the information it had gleaned, tried to extort it into selling out to News Corp.; allegations that relationships the New York Post has maintained with New York City police officers may have involved exchanges of favors and possibly money for information; and accusations that Fox chief Roger Ailes sought to have an executive in the company, the book publisher Judith Regan, lie to investigators about details of her relationship with New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik in order to protect the political interests of Rudy Giuliani, then a presidential prospect.


Chomsky: Public Education Under Massive Corporate Assault — What's Next?

Converting schools and universities into facilities that produce commodities for the job market, privatizing them, slashing their budgets — do we really want this future?

August 5, 2011

The following is a partial transcript of a recent speech delivered by Noam Chomsky at the University of Toronto at Scarborough on the rapid privatization process of public higher education in the United States.

A couple of months ago, I went to Mexico to give talks at the National University in Mexico, UNAM. It's quite an impressive university — hundreds of thousands of students, high-quality and engaged students, excellent faculty. It's free. And the city — Mexico City — actually, the government ten years ago did try to add a little tuition, but there was a national student strike, and the government backed off. And, in fact, there's still an administrative building on campus that is still occupied by students and used as a center for activism throughout the city. There's also, in the city itself, another university, which is not only free but has open admissions. It has compensatory options for those who need them. I was there, too; it's also quite an impressive level, students, faculty, and so on. That's Mexico, a poor country.

Gee, and here you are a citizen of the richest nation on earth!
Have you been to college and earned your degree? Have you repaid
your student loan debt? Perhaps, instead of staying here and
struggling, ranting about immigrants etc., you should have
traveled to Mexico or elsewhere, and gotten your education for FREE!
Imagine how you'd feel now, without all that debt? Even if your
education wasn't quite so "spiffy" as in "Ivy League", you could still
polish it up a wee bit by going back to school. But this time as
a matter of choice, eh? What was it that Bohnner was saying about
debt? How do these "backwards", "third rank" countries, manage
to give their citizens free education, while American students must
struggle, and we have far fewer of them, at a time when productive
prowess is spreading off shore?

Oh yesh, we're going to pay off those trillions of dollars in debt,
washing dishes and mopping floors! Give the teapotties a high five
for me will ya? (NOT)

The Market Has Spoken: Austerity Is Bad for Business

Ellen Brown, Truthout: "On Thursday, August 4, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 512 points, the biggest stock market drop since the collapse of September 2008. Why? Weren't the markets supposed to rebound after the debt ceiling agreement was reached on Monday, avoiding US default and a downgrade of US debt? So we were told, but the market apparently understands what politicians don't: the debt deal is a death deal for the economy. Reducing government spending by $2.2 trillion over a decade, as Congress just agreed to do, will kill any hopes of economic recovery. We're looking at a double-dip recession. The figure is actually more than $2.2 trillion."
Read the Article

Greg Palast | Piers Morgan and Me: Hacked and Attacked

Greg Palast, Truthout: "I am not surprised that Piers Morgan has been outed for allegedly hacking phones (listening, in one case, to personal messages between Heather Mills and Paul McCartney.) I learned about the creepy antics of this one-man TV-host crime spree the hard way: as a victim of his crime-and-slime form of 'journalism.' On September 29, 1998, Piers Morgan's Mirror ran a screaming full-page headline: SEX SCANDAL ROCKS LABOUR CONFERENCE. His paper had caught a rival paper's reporter who'd broken into the hotel room of a comely, young, rising star of the Labour Party. The reporter was caught there half undressed. I was that reporter."
Read the Article

Behind Boehner’s Lies

The U.S. government is not a household that must live within its means.
By David Moberg

Republicans relied heavily in this summer’s debt limit debate on a not-so-secret weapon—disinformation, often less politely called lies. Take, as an example, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)’s five-minute response to President Obama’s prime-time speech on July 25, as the deadline for lifting the debt ceiling loomed.

Boehner started by asserting that “the spending binge going on in Washington is a big part of the reason why” millions are unemployed. In fact, a giant housing bubble burst, its effects were multiplied by a deregulated (and fraudulent) financial sector, and a deep recession followed. Several studies demonstrate that government spending—whether increases in programs like unemployment compensation or the stimulus package and the bailouts of the banking and auto industries—saved or created jobs. For example, two Dartmouth economists found more job growth in states that received more stimulus money.

There has been no spending binge: READ MORE

The Race is On

The Race is On

On the campaign trail, he will have 15 month to expound on the broken system in Washington––and people will listen. His approval rating may have dropped to 42 percent in recent weeks, but Congress is bobbing along the bottom of the chart at 14. (And the Tea Party, once supported by 40 percent of the public, is down to 20.)

The Republicans have yet to cast the first vote for their 2012 standard-bearer, but whoever it is will have Congressional Republicans hanging around his neck like an albatross. Harry Truman’s comeback win after a fight with Congress comes to mind as a model for Obama’s next campaign. And he doesn’t need to compromise with them any more, or even try. They emptied the chamber in their last round of Russian roulette.

That angry look is Obama summoning up his inner Harry Truman. So let it be said the 2012 presidential race started here, in a room full of adults, after Congressional Republicans needlessly drove the economic recovery into a ditch.

“Give ‘em hell, Barack!”

Noam Chomsky: Is America Taking Its Final Breaths?

Many philosophers, pundits and historians have ascribed the Fall of Rome to the (some believe) pending failure of America. Indeed, the fall of an empire so vast as ours seems inevitable when pitted against the facts of history. Noam Chomsky addresses this idea in a new op-ed, and shows how the country's decline seems ever more masochistic (see: the debt debate, which at times felt like cutting), while corporations see increasing power and tax breaks foisted upon their behemoth laps. A few important paragraphs:

Not even discussed is that the deficit would be eliminated if, as economist Dean Baker has shown, the dysfunctional privatized health care system in the U.S. were replaced by one similar to other industrial societies’, which have half the per capita costs and health outcomes that are comparable or better.

The financial institutions and Big Pharma are far too powerful for such options even to be considered, though the thought seems hardly Utopian. Off the agenda for similar reasons are other economically sensible options, such as a small financial transactions tax.

Meanwhile new gifts are regularly lavished on Wall Street. The House Appropriations Committee cut the budget request for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the prime barrier against financial fraud. The Consumer Protection Agency is unlikely to survive intact.

Chomsky then details the long road leading to this point, taking it back to (of course) the 1970s' capitalist "golden age" and the rise of the CEO:

So... are we totally doomed? Read the full piece here.

Defense Cuts: More Portents of Bad Deals to Come

In case you were wondering about those defense cuts:

In a letter on Friday, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) asked President Obama to repudiate Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s insistence that in order to deal with the nation’s debt and deficit, additional revenue should come from tax increases and cuts to entitlement programs, such as Medicare, instead of the reducing military spending. TPM notes that Obama gave his answer in an speech today in which he backed Panetta. Obama said there isn’t much more to cut beyond the defense and domestic spending reductions that were part of the debt ceiling deal last week. “What we need to do now,” Obama said, “is combine those spending cuts with two additional steps: tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.”


School Vouchers: How the GOP is Using Free Market Philosophy To Wipe Out Public Education

School Vouchers: How the GOP is Using Free Market Philosophy To Wipe Out Public Education

Legislators in at least 30 states introduced ridiculous "voucher" bills that allow (some) kids to take the money for their public education and put it into private schooling. READ MORE

Double-Dip Recession? How Our Dysfunctional Political Class Has Made Another Grueling Collapse Far Likelier

Just a few short months ago, few analysts would say publicly that the American economy was likely to slide into another grueling period of recession. That's changed.

August 9, 2011

The single bright spot in this anemic “recovery” had been steadily rising stock prices. Although the market staged a modest rally on Tuesday, news of the debt ceiling deal was followed by a massive sell-off in stocks – the S&P 500 saw its biggest one-day drop in more than a year the day the deal was announced. After losing $14 trillion in household wealth in the crash, Americans' nest eggs had rebounded to some degree, but whether their 401(K)s and investment accounts hold their value in the coming months remains to be seen.

The outlook for the economy is extraordinarily bleak. But we've pulled ourselves out of deep recessions before. What's different now is the profound, Tea-Party stained dysfunction plaguing our political class. As I wrote recently, if the economy does end up contracting in the near future, it will be a recession driven by the “age of austerity” embraced by Washington – and the contractionary policies it has ushered in.


Michele Bachmann Was Inspired By My Dad and His Christian Reconstructionist Friends -- Here's Why That's Terrifying

Photo Credit: AFP

Bachmann's radical right-wing influences include the most extremist figures in the history of the religious right. READ MORE

BillO: Only Far Left Zealots Will Blame Tea Party For Economic Chaos

Bill O'Reilly is smoking some strong stuff today. His whole Talking Points Memo segment was full of magic. Black, ugly magic. Here are the highlights of his seven minute economic acid trip with some reality checkpoints along the way:

Posted: 09 Aug 2011 07:30 PM PDT

* Standard & Poor's downgrade basically says there is no confidence in the federal government's management of the economy. While that's true, they were a little more specific than that. This morning's pre-dawn (west coast time) conference call with them had a few more details. I was listening. Evidently BillO wasn't. Key (and major) point: S&P does not believe Bush Tax Cuts will expire. Clearly that is not the fault of the "federal government." It is the fault of the Republicans.

# The Democratic Party will not admit that its big spending agenda has driven the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Again, see point number one. This is not a spending problem. It's a revenue problem. Period.
# Only far-left zealots are going to buy that the tea party is the cause of the economic chaos. Wow. That's some strong stuff there. Let's first correct the record. The tea party IS the Republican Party. There is no difference. They are one and the same. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to point number two. Polls and people. As our own Jon Perr clearly demonstrates, it is entirely the Republican Party aka the tea party's doing. Entirely.

# The Democratic Party will not admit that its big spending agenda has driven the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Again, see point number one. This is not a spending problem. It's a revenue problem. Period.

# Only far-left zealots are going to buy that the tea party is the cause of the economic chaos. Wow. That's some strong stuff there. Let's first correct the record. The tea party IS the Republican Party. There is no difference. They are one and the same. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to point number two. Polls and people. As our own Jon Perr clearly demonstrates, it is entirely the Republican Party aka the tea party's doing. Entirely.

But just in case there is still doubt, let's have a look at Michele Bachmann, presidential candidate and chairwoman of the Congressional "tea party" caucus, saying that she would not, under any circumstances raise the debt ceiling and would welcome a default, a talking point echoed by every Fox talker on the planet, including Neil Cavuto.

Of course, now that we have not defaulted but Republican intransigence has caused a credit downgrade, it's all President Obama's fault.

But you know, numbers don't lie. And unless Republicans have suddenly morphed into a bunch of far-left zealots, BillO is just wrong, because a majority of Republicans also believe revenues must be part of deficit reduction, and without those revenues, there's chaos.


So there you go. There's TeaPublicans and left-wing zealots with nothing in between.
* We don't have any money for massive government spending projects. I once again refer readers to the first bullet point. There isn't money because there isn't revenues. Raising revenues fixes that.
* Americans are largely furious, because we have no control over our own economic futures due to Washington failing us. I will speak for me and those around me on this one. I am largely furious, because Republicans do not care if I live, die, have a roof over my head, have a job, or if my children get an education. So yeah. I'm pretty furious but it has nothing to do with "Washington failing us." It has everything to do with a group of oligarchs deciding they do not care to share their wealth and their chosen handmaidens carrying out those wishes.
* Talking Points did not believe that U.S. credit would be downgraded and two big institutions have held the AAA rating. And this matters, why? Who gives a rip what BillO thinks? Well, other than Fox viewers, of course. What does that blowhard's opinion have to do with anything?

What I find most disturbing about Bill O'Reilly's magical acid trip is not that he lies. He always lies. No, what's most disturbing is that he is simply summarizing Fox News' meme o' the day, which is that Republicans are not the problem. Washington is.

As if there is some weird gradient of separation between the whackjobs who say things on their network and the ones in Congress casting votes.

Murdoch accused of operating illegal US air force

By Lester Haines • Get more from this author

Posted in SPB, 5th August 2011 10:09 GMT

Rupert Murdoch may soon have his front door kicked in by the US's Federal Aviation Administration, amid accusations that News Corporation has been operating an illegal air force.

According to this report down at Forbes,

the media magnate's fondleslab-friendly e-rag The Daily is flying a md4-1000 microdrone (pictured),
which back in May captured some aerial footage of storm-wracked Alabama.
Nice vid, but The Daily may be in breach of FAA regs regarding "operations of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System"

As Forbes notes, the FAA requires wannabe drone pilots to have an airworthiness certificate for their "Unmanned Aircraft System" (UAS) and an "experimental certificate" which limits them to "research and development, marketing surveys, or crew training".

The FAA notes: "UAS issued experimental certificates may not be used for compensation or hire."

The FAA's Les Dorr told Forbes: "Currently, 18 of those experimental certificates are active. An experimental certificate allows the holder to do tests, training and demos but not for-hire operations. Ops also must be conducted away from populated areas."

He later added: "We are examining The Daily's use of a small unmanned aircraft to see if it was in accordance with FAA policies."

The md4-1000 has a ceiling of 1,000 metres, and can operate within a radius of 1,000 metres (3,280 feet) via radio control for up to 70 minutes. Its maximum payload is 1,200g (2.64lb), meaning it can easily lift a camera and an electronics package such as that carried by the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform aircraft, aka WASP

The WASP's compact computer may of particular interest to News Corporation since it is capable of sniffing Wi-Fi networks and intercepting mobile phone calls

Read more:

# Rupert Murdoch

# News Corporation

# Faa

# The Daily


Austerity: The Wrong Prescription

Carl Gibson writes: "Our economy is on life support, barely holding on while jobs continue their flight overseas. Foreclosures and fuel prices are rising almost as fast as the profit margins of big banks and big oil. Despite all of this, there is still no real economic prescription offered by Republicans and corporate Democrats to heal our economy and get people working again. Instead of 'compromising' with the doctors who want to pull the plug on us, America must demand new doctors who are actually interested in curing the disease."

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

About the economy and more...

As much as politicians and leadership want -- that the people should be able to
continuously swallow bs and remain unified and peaceful -- there are as many
reasons why that cannot happen, as their are people on the planet.
I know!~~The market pundits can't tell the truth, because that risks creating
"self fulfilling prophecy"~~But the corollary of which is: "The people must be
led like sheep to the slaughter, because there just isn't another way to
govern on their behalf!" In fact that's been your republican/conservative
pro-offer, resoundingly seconded by Elisa Rosenbaum, the fictional name
of the person who wrote the books that the teaparty want to govern by.
Since when has a scholarly paper or tomb been written under a pseudonym?
Sold as a fiction, but picked up as a guiding light for a nation? Doesn't
the question then become; "Has America lost it's mind?" The answer to which
is: "Of course we have!" We are no longer concerned that the people who
raided the national treasury, have packed up the money and left to live out
their days on the beaches! Instead we look into our pockets to see what we
can contribute to replace the stolen money! How courageously nice of us all, eh?

Followed any history of the world lately? Well, paleontologist have been
discovering that, societies that took care of their young, infirm and aged,
did a better job of surviving and prospering, than societies that did not!~~And they were talking about Dinosaurs! Difficult then, to imagine why,
a race of people able to determine that E-MC² is unable to figure out that
the youth, the infirm and the elderly, all make a very huge contribution
to the ability of the race to survive. As in "How much would you pay for
that?" --Randian discipline anyone? But I jest (if bitterly so)!

Up from the primordial ooze, species have sought the advantages of organization.
But with the advantages of organization -- remember: "every action has an
equal and opposite reaction?" -- there come disadvantages as well. For one,
individualism must be curtailed and two, organizations require leadership.
The task with forming more modernized governments, has been one of balancing,
how much individualism has to be surrendered, to obtain the benefits of
organization. As well as how much power should leadership have, to manage
the affairs of our organizational efforts~~To little and we have anarchy,
to much and we have dictatorship.

We have had dictatorships over time, most especially when, we note, that the
needs of the people for governance were few. However, as the economic facilities
that support larger populations grew, the needs of the people for governance,
instead of mere "rule", also grew. "Governance" was needed to set the mark
of inter-organizational operations and preserve consumer confidence in the
market place, making larger scaled operations and efforts possible. Societies
needed governance to keep the peace, that made the "loftier" pursuits of
exotic and arcane learning possible. Clearly today's governing is failing us
at that!

Here's a read of interest: Welfare

Next up will be the "maintenance of the force of law", so stay tuned!

Bachmann: Tea Party Queen

Why Michele Bachmann is riding high going into Iowa.
Michelle Bachmann on the Campaign trail, Chris Buck for Newsweek

Barreling past Iowa’s iconic cornfields aboard a blue campaign bus, Michele Bachmann tries to explain the uncanny political force that has catapulted her from a backbencher in Washington to a leading contender on the presidential trail. She has just finished electrifying a crowd in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, with a folksy assault on a bloated federal government that she and her Tea Party compatriots routinely vow to dismantle. “Obamacare” will be repealed in a Bachmann administration, the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota vows. G-men won’t tell you what lightbulbs you can use, either. And more of your hard-earned money will end up in your pocketbooks, not on the ledgers of mindless bureaucrats.

Now there's the rub, after ten long years, she sat there and said nothing
while Americas wealth was squandered away. Tax cuts and stimulus packages
did nothing to bring back jobs, but did tend to quiet the opposition with
talking points: "let's give the tax cuts time to work", "Let's give the
stimulus checks time to work", ad nauseum. All the while, in the background,
deregulation was doing it's dirty work. Allowing unregulated lending
to create paper profits and commissions and fees, for anyone unscrupulous
enough to engage in bad practices, yada, yada, yada. Now that the
damage is done and people have no money, she steps forward with the
promise to let you keep, the money you no longer have, in your pocket!

Okay, let me stop here for coffee, then I'll be back with another post!