Friday, November 21, 2014

A Bill to Watch

A Utah state legislative committee will consider a bill that could eventually cut off millions of gallons of water for a major National Security Agency facility south of Salt Lake City as a protest against the mass collection of Americans’ data.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Marc Roberts (R), would prohibit any municipality from providing “material support or assistance in any form to any federal data collection and surveillance agency.”

That’s a barely veiled reference to the Utah Data Center, a massive collection facility operated by the NSA in Bluffdale, a small suburb of Salt Lake City. The facility, completed last year at a cost of about $1.7 billion, houses super computers that require 65 megawatts of power, enough to power about 33,000 homes, according to the Associated Press.

Do your patriotic duty, Utah leg. Pass this bill. Make a stand.
All those computers require a lot of water, which keeps them cool. Bluffdale issued $3.5 million in bonds to pay for water lines that will eventually pump a million gallons a day into the facility. Bluffdale signed an agreement with the NSA that allows the agency to pay less for water than city ordinances would otherwise require.

The bill grandfathers in Bluffdale’s initial agreement with the NSA, but it would prohibit any further cooperation between Bluffdale or any other municipality and the NSA.

Roberts on Wednesday said the NSA came to Utah pledging to act according to the Constitution. “We all know and are aware that has been violated,” he told the committee, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Obama Won't Deport

Was there ever a chance that he really could have gone that far? I don't know.
The immigration speech President Obama gave a week before Thanksgiving was the one he was supposed to give before Labor Day.

But Obama punted until after the election. "I want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row for the executive action, I also want to make sure that the public understands why we're doing this," he said on Meet the Press in September.


"Mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. What I'm describing is accountability — a commonsense, middle-ground approach: If you meet the criteria, you can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. If you're a criminal, you'll be deported."


While [GW] Bush issued a number of small-bore executive orders — to expedite citizenship for immigrants in the military, or to defer deportation for students affected by Hurricane Katrina — his speech called on Congress to act.

Obama announced much more sweeping orders, delaying deportation for millions of immigrants. He dared Congress to act.


Some in Congress are talking about using a spending bill to limit his executive action. Efforts to get an attorney general confirmed — much less a Supreme Court nominee — just got more difficult.


Bush left office with the work undone. Obama has all but ensured it will remain so for his successor.

  USA Today
Analysis by economist and Twitterer Billmon:
Still think putting off immigration to try to save handful of doomed red state Dems was a bad trade, but there is an upside to doing it now.

  Billmon Twitter
Immigration reform is now a GOP's "third rail" (One of a growing list of GOP third rails). Because it's not even about immigration any more for GOP base - it's about white political & social power.

  Billmon Twitter
Dems have more leeway (or feel they do) from base to push it or not, depending on circumstances. But for GOP, it's an invitation to intra-party thermonuclear civil war. There is zero wiggle room. They managed to keep the ultras more or less under control through GOP primary season this time. Which is something. But they know lunatic asylum can erupt at any time as long as Obama's around. Really, as long as any Dem is in WH. Base went batshit over Bill & will over Hillary if she wins.

  Billmon Twitter
So, depending upon whether Dems want to keep the ultra right stirred up or not, perhaps they should be pushing Jim Webb, instead of Hillary Clinton.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Deepwater Horizon II?

An explosion off the US coast in the Gulf of Mexico on an oil and gas platform has killed one worker and injured three others.

The blast occurred on the Echo Platform just before 3pm about 12 miles (19km) off the coast of Louisiana, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), as quoted by AP. The platform is owned by Texas-based company Fieldwood Energy, which has not yet released a statement on the reported incident.


[Shannon Savoy, a spokeswoman for Fieldwood Energy] described the explosion as an "isolated incident that has been fully contained. The facility was not damaged and there was no pollution that resulted from the incident."

Of course not.

Ratchet Up

The message claims the names of several Anonymous members have already been obtained, including that of “Commander X,” described as ”The Grand Wizard Of Anonymous,” and another member operating under the handle @TrezSec.

“You pathetic n***** lovers are going down, we’re NOT HIDING. WE’RE NOT ASHAMED OF WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE REPRESENT. THE INVISIBLE EMPIRE CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE OVERTHROWN, [sic]” the message signed with Anacona’s name read. “We will hunt you down and tear those masks from your face. You’ll be strung up next to the chimps. On display for the whole world to see. The Klan is to be feared, not threatened.”


On Thursday, Anonymous released a video claiming they had information from a whistleblower which they say would link the KKK to the Ferguson Police Department. The group will not release the information, however, saying its specificity would ultimately reveal the source. Instead, they vow to “hold this information until we can connect the dots ourselves.”

Really, though, such a link would not be unusual, I wouldn’t think. Surely there are KKK members on numerous Missouri police departments.

This Anonymous video should keep the ball rolling.  Someone "directly" connected to Darren Wilson's police girlfriend has given them the KKK link connection and is fearful for his/her life.  Anonymous, therefore, does not reveal that source's name or the specific information provided, saying they will find another way to make the connection on their own before revealing it.  I'm guessing that statement alone will put their source under suspicion at the police department.   It can't have given the source any less to fear.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Closer

That's funny, but this is scarier.

Cue Vader's theme.  (Imperial March)


Character explanation from Nina Paley. (" Because you can’t tell the players without a pogrom!")

What's in YOUR Wallet?

Less and less, if I haven't missed the point.
Wall Street spent upwards of $300M to influence the [midterm] election results. And a key part of its agenda has been a plan to move more and more of the $3 trillion dollars in unguarded government pension funds into privately managed, high-fee investments — a shift that may well constitute the biggest financial story of our generation that you’ve never heard of.


It has been fighting to turn public pensions into private profits for quite some time, steering retirement nest eggs into investments that are complex, charge hefty fees, and that generate big profits for management firms. And it has been succeeding. Of the $3 trillion in public assets currently in pension funds throughout the country, almost a quarter of that has already found its way into so-called “alternative investments” like hedge funds, private equity and real estate. That translates to roughly $660 billion of public money now under private management, invested in assets that are often arcane and opaque but that offer high management and placement fees to Wall Street financiers.

  The Intercept
Read the whole article if you want. High finance is beyond my ken. I just know that where there’s money to be bilked from public funds, a way will be carved to bilk it. And besides, $660 billion of public money now under private management? I thought ultimately all money was under private management, considering that the Fed is not public.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Ferguson Last Night

So I thought the police weren't going to be in riot gear.


He Lied Again? What a Surprise.

Remember this?
"I called for a thorough review of our surveillance operations before Mr. Snowden made these leaks," Obama said. "My preference, and I think the American people's preference, would have been for a lawful, orderly examination of these laws; a thoughtful fact-based debate that would then lead us to a better place."

  CNN, August 2013
Really, that was his preference? Then why this, which has just been learned by the AP?
[A] now-retired NSA official, a longtime code-breaker who rose to top management, [...] says he argued to then-NSA Director Keith Alexander that storing the calling records of nearly every American fundamentally changed the character of the agency, which is supposed to eavesdrop on foreigners, not Americans.

Alexander politely disagreed, the former official told The Associated Press.


He said he also warned of a scandal if it should be disclosed that the NSA was storing records of private calls by Americans - to psychiatrists, lovers and suicide hotlines, among other contacts. Alexander, who led the NSA from 2005 until he retired last year, did not dispute the former official's account, though he said he disagreed that the program was improper.


The dissent prompted NSA leaders to examine whether the agency could stop gathering and storing domestic landline calling records and instead access the records as needed from the telephone companies, Alexander said. The NSA consulted with the Justice Department, Congress and the White House, newly occupied by President Barack Obama.


But the government ultimately decided against changing what most officials still view as a necessary bulwark against domestic terror plots, Alexander and other former officials said.

  AP Nov 19, 2014
So much for your “thoughtful, fact-based debate”. Assuming he was talking about a public debate, and not just him and a couple of NSA officers.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Post-Citizenfour Interview

Anyone who is still on the fence about whether they think Snowden is wrong about what he did needs to sit down and watch this video interview.  And even if you think he's done right, you will get more information than you have now.


 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.