Sunday, December 14, 2014

I ran out of quarter hour stations so I thought I'd add one this evening. 

The USA needs to rid itself of corruption. The $1.1 trillion US is just the beginning of two years of nothing but corruption. That is a requirement to be a Republican. They deal in ideology and not reality. It is easy for voters to curl up with unreality and prejudice created for their benefit such as women's rights, privacy for women, fair pay and minimum wage and don't leave out the climate crisis. 

The next two years will be full of surprises and side steps by the Republicans in the House and Senate as they create distractions such as the presidential executive order that will lead to impeachment proceedings.

It will be quite a show as the Republicans display their inability to put forward the extremist agenda without a sympathetic president in the White House.

I liked Reagan as a president. That has changed over the years because he really wasn't about the average American and certainly cared little about the future of Earth and it's children. Reagan did this country a great deal of harm and began the slow retreat of the Middle Class into poverty. Bush simply decorated the GOP Cake in 2008 after it was fully baked.

The messages by the Democrats is always counter intuitive to the so called common sense statement by the Republicans. It isn't as though the Democrats are arrogant, they are after all interested in governance to benefit those that do not have the focus of government. 

The counter intuitive position of Democrats is developed over time and through research. If one looks to the beginning of the health care law there is a lot of research that went into it before it was passed into law. That is only one example.

I might point out, the Republicans that justify the Bush Administration and torture have NO valid research that proves the extreme torture techniques actually bring about results. Most of the information Republicans call up as proof of the success of torture was already known by other countries long before the USA employed torture. The information was not gotten through torture in other countries either, doing so makes any information skeptical at best.

I want to congratulate both MSU and Michael Moore. He dearly deserves the degree confired on him.

Perhaps someday he might even teach at MSU. He already has a film school during the Traverse City Film Festival. 

December 13, 2014
By Kyle Feldscher

Filmmaker Michael Moore (click here) promised to forgive all student loan debt and recounted some of his memories of Michigan State University during a speech to about 250 graduates Saturday afternoon.
Moore - who started off his speech saying "It will be long, but at the end I promise to forgive all student loan debt" - spoke to graduates of the Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Natural Science and Nursing and the Lyman Briggs College. He called himself the “non-controversial commencement” speaker, referring to Washington Post columnist George Will who spoke to graduates in the morning.
“I’m pleased to be the mainstream speaker here today,” he said....

I was delighted when I realized how deeply a writer believes in their creation.

December 13, 2014
By Alice Vincent

Although JK Rowling's Harry Potter (click here) series is adored by children worldwide, the novels are not without their unjust and tragic plot lines as characters die from the effects of dark magic.
However, in a new short essay uploaded onto Pottermore, Rowling has revealed that she only feels guilty about writing in the death of one character: the little-known Florean Fortescue.
The character ran an ice cream parlour and meets Harry in the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when he gives the Boy Wizard free ice creams.
He is then mentioned in the sixth book, The Order of the Phoenix, when Bill Weasley, the brother of Harry's best friend Ron, explains that Florean was "dragged off" after upsetting the dangerous and draconian Death Eaters, servants of Voldemort.
On the Harry Potter publishing site, Rowling writes: "I seemed to have him kidnapped and killed for no good reason. He is not the first wizard whom Voldemort murdered because he knew too much (or too little), but he is the only one I feel guilty about, because it was all my fault."...
It is not at all unusual for a following to exist regarding a popular figure of the times. Harry Potter has that type of following. The Star Wars series is another and don't forget Star Trek. In Japan the Anima cartoons are followed by many in Japan, but, also around the world. 
These characters are more than simply fantasy, they represent human values at some level in development. The Harry Potter books and movies carry significant moral content and it serves as a reference point where affection for a fictional character reflects social values. Their creation is abstract, but, their values are real. It is good to know a fiction creator such as Ms. Rowling has an abiding understanding of the importance of what she writes.


During the summer of 1993, (click here) when Harry Potter stayed at the Leaky Cauldron for a couple of weeks, Florean gave Harry free ice cream sundaes every half hour and helped him complete his History of Magic homework on the medieval witch-burnings which may mean that he did well in his History of Magic classes....

The movement that will carry the USA to change began on 12.13.14.

There were more documents released on Saturday. I don't know why they were withheld in the first place, but, it creates a lack of confidence in any of the proceedings with the grand jury. 

We won't stop until the killing does.

Dorian Johnson was Michael Brown, Jr.'s friend that was with him when he was killed. There is an additional transcript. (click here) The document is dated August 13, 2014. This was 4 days after Michael Brown, Jr. was killed.

I don't know if there are inconsistencies. I am sure there probably is, but, the Grand Jury is a methodology used by prosecutors across the country to end any idea a police officer can be held for killing innocent people. I have little faith in the process at this point and consider it a method to avoid the truth rather than to seek it. Inconsistencies can exist as time progresses. Mr. Johnson stated he and Michael ran when there was a gun shot and blood on Michael's shirt. That is all needed to know.

$1.1 trillion US is no laughing matter.

But, once the objections are over and the money is to be spent, most Americans have no clue about where it goes and who wins in the end. I thought this was a good article in the Ames (Iowa) Tribune. It will at least get a person thinking about how the federal dollars are spent and possibly encourage some to take it to the next level and see that it is spent where it is suppose to and for good reasons.

December 11, 2014
By Jake Grovum

WASHINGTON — Benefits for Americans, (click here) chiefly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, dominate the federal spending that gets transferred to states through grants, contracts and other programs.

But among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, there are stark differences in how the billions spent on these and other initiatives are distributed, according to new data compiled by the Pew Charitable Trusts (which also funds Stateline).

A Stateline analysis of the data shows that some states that receive a relatively small share of federal spending in a given category rely on it heavily.

Vermont, for example, is just 45th among the states and the District of Columbia in grant spending received, at $1.88 billion. But that sum represents a fourth of the federal spending it receives overall. Kansas, meanwhile, gets roughly the same dollar amount in grants as Vermont. But that sum is just 8 percent of the state’s federal spending, because of the state’s heavy reliance on retirement benefits, which comprise more than 40 percent of its share of federal spending....

When examining spending and before I raise a fuss I realize the number of people in a state, the size of the state, it's needs as opposed to it's state or local income to it's treasury.


(CNN) -- The 2013 fertilizer plant blast (click here) that killed 15 people and wounded another 226 in West, Texas, "should never have occurred," the chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said Tuesday.

Though the board's report says that at least 14 people were killed, the death toll was updated to 15 people in the days after the blast....

Did West Texas have enough of a local treasury to help everyone effected by this disaster? What were the people employed by the company and still alive going to do for an income in the immediate future?


Does the State of Texas need to pick up the slack and find funds to assist these people?

And if the Texas decides they don't do such things for towns and cities and it is just too bad about the come to the factory explosion, will the federal government take up the disaster and provide funding to improve lives and/or find a better industry for the city of West Texas? The federal dollar usually comes from the US House Representative and/or US Senator (s).

People should know who they are dealing with.

The Tea Party, emboldened by the recent elections, held a rally near the White House. They were uttering some of the same words they used before in racist chants. 
The Congress coming in 2015 will be pandering to these bigots. At least half the Senate and a fair amount of the House Republicans will continue their focus of extreme right wing views. 
February 11. 2013
By Brendan DeMelle
A new academic study (click here) confirms that front groups with longstanding ties to the tobacco industry and the billionaire Koch brothers planned the formation of the Tea Party movement more than a decade before it exploded onto the U.S. political scene.
Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry's role in driving climate disruption.
The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party's anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke....

Is there an EPA Superfund site in your backyard?

December 12, 2014
By Susan Cosier

...About 11 million (click here) people live within one mile of a Superfund site, which is a hazardous waste area slated for cleanup by the federal government. Congress started the Superfund program in 1980, promising to use taxpayer dollars to clean up places where industries like mines, asbestos plants, and chemical companies (Love Canal, anyone?) dumped pollution and then skedaddled or went bankrupt....

This is the original article from National Geographic. They did considerable homework in putting together a quick look at the toxic dumps that continue to remain in the USA.

A Nationwide Cleanup (click here)

By Anna Scalamogna, Jason Treat, and Xaquín G.V., NGM Staff; Meg Roosevelt. Sources: EPA; GAO
Since Congress passed the Superfund law, many of the worst hazardous waste sites in the U.S. have either been cleaned up or brought under control. But hundreds more are works in progress—and 95 of them, says the EPA, may be exposing humans to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals. A depleted Superfund and shrinking appropriations from Congress have delayed cleanup at some sites.
Related story: Wasteland »...
An almost more intriguing clean up fund is called Brownfields. What are Brownfield sites?
Wiki does a pretty good job of defining it: In urban planning, a brownfield site (or simply a brownfield) is land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses. The land may be contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste orpollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up.
What is the difference? The Superfund is about dumping sites and is more hazardous intensive. A Brownfield is more about industrial sites that have been abandoned and have hazards within the building and/or land because of the industry.
The Association for Redevelopment Initiatives (click here) can explain some of the projects sponsored by federal dollars for reclaiming land and building a new use for it that might entail new businesses and jobs.
Both the Superfund and Brownfields are good opportunities for towns and cities to reclaim their land and where possible reuse it rather than changing the landscape in a significant way. The brownfield sites especially offer incredible places to build new parts of a city because the land is already cleared and have functioned as places that have employed people before.
I think this is an excellent focus for local economies to check the area to be sure there are not toxic dumps to clean up or brownfield sites to be repurposed. Local building contractors and toxic handling companies will bring jobs to the town. 
And if there are huge problems in the town or city, brownfield sites can be something as simple as an unused gas station to turn the corner on redevelopment. These brownfield sites can be defined entirely by the desire to repurpose the land and to reclaim it by cleaning up any old pollution or contamination that makes it unsafe for people.

A brownfield site (click here) is property that was once used for commercial or industrial purposes and is now targeted for redevelopment. Brownfields sites can be abandoned factories, gas stations, oil storage facilities, and other businesses that used polluting substances. Such sites must be cleaned up and determined to be safe from any contamination before they can be reused. State and federal brownfields programs assist developers in safely using former industrial sites for new uses such as shopping areas, parks, and schools.

The global community needs to take over the investigation while the USA decides the best way to handle the US Senate report.

Most certainly with a new majority in the US Senate the political tone will shift and once again there will be investigation after investigation swept under the table. These techniques are a violation of our laws and that of treaties of the USA. The note by Bush to the CIA to capture the bad guys with the smoking gun never changed the law. 

As we have witnessed with this current Congress, President Obama cannot legislate from his office regarding immigration. Well, guess what? Bush couldn't legislate torture from his office either. The most revealing truth actually is the September 17, 2001 letter to CIA from Bush. He literally allowed the CIA to do what they had to do.

September 17, 2001: President Bush Authorizes CIA 'Black Sites," Assassinatino of Terrorists (click here)

President Bush signs a directive giving the CIA the authority to kill or capture suspected al-Qaeda members and to set up a global network of secret detention facilities—“black sites”—for imprisoning and interrogating them.

TRUTHOUT (click here) is another website that keeps up with this mess. This needs investigation not only to clear the USA from it's past in a way that will end this practice altogether, but, to answer the questions of so many other countries. There will never be a concise accounting of the USA's practices while the Bush White House is still alive. 

Oh, the goat? 

It is simply the cutest darn thing I've ever seen and I am not alone. This little video has attracted an enormous number of views.

This is from the same blog, "emptywheel." They never stopped examining these issue.

April 2, 2014
By emptywheel
...The lies CIA told Congress (click here) in its first several years of the torture program include that it,
  • Refused, at first, to reveal that the CIA relied on the September 17, 2001 Finding and therefore hid that the President had personally authorized the torture.
  • Briefed on torture techniques that had happened months in the past, but claimed they had never yet been used.
  • Falsely claimed CIA had not tortured before the August 1 memos purportedly authorizing it.
  • Claimed Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah were not yet compliant as late as February 2003, even though they had been found compliant, after which CIA continued to use torture anyway.
  • Claimed the torture tapes were a perfect match with what had been recorded in the torture log when a CIA OGC lawyer reviewed them in December 2002.
  • Did not disclose the tapes had already been altered by the time CIA OGC reviewed them.
  • Claimed the torture tapes had shown the torturers followed DOJ’s guidance when in fact they showed the torturers exceeded DOJ guidance.
  • Misled regarding whether the detainees who had been killed had been tortured.
  • Oversold the value of information provided by Abu Zubaydah.
  • Lied about importance of torture in getting Abu Zubaydah to talk.
There are a number of claims CIA made that are almost certainly also false — most notably with regards to what intelligence came from torture — but most of that didn’t get recorded in the CIA’s records. I fully expect we’ll find details of those in the Senate Intelligence Committee report.
September 17, 2001: Bush signs “Gloves Come Off” Memorandum of Notification that authorizes capture and detention of top al Qaeda leaders, but leaves CIA to decide the details of that detention
Before I focus on the briefings, some background is in order...

The confusion surrounding the topic of torture was picked up when the Democrats took the majority US House, not before.

December 9, 2007
By Kevin Drum

HARSH INTERROGATION....(click here) The sources for this story are so obviously intent on discrediting congressional Democrats that it's hard to know whether to take it at face value, but theWashington Post reports today that Democratic leaders in the House and Senate were fully briefed about the CIA's "harsh" interrogation methods beginning shortly after 9/11 and — with the exception of Jane Harman — issued no protests:

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

....Long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

...."In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic," said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. "But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, 'We don't care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.' "...

A lot of the information regarding all this was being digested by Americans through blogs that had no dog in the fight basically. There was a lot of political tone to the country because of the nationalism following the events of September 11th. Consequently, while the blogs were attempting to make sense out of all of this political mess they were deriving their information from Journalist Stenographer Judith Miller. So, the bloggers were doing their best, but, the information was tainted from the power players in the White House.

I have to laugh when I read the statement, "...issued no protests."

Legislators are going to issue protests in briefings. They are after all legislators. They attend briefings so they can meet in committee and formulate changes to the laws of the land. When US House Representative Pelosi was briefed on the subject of torture there were laws already established to prevent it. Thirty briefings doesn't mean US Rep. Pelosi or anyone else was at all thirty briefings.

Creating the Illusion of Congressional Oversight

Jose Rodriguez destroyed the torture tapes. I am sure he destroyed much more. He destroyed torture tapes as if that is standard practice for the USA and instead of sending him packing from the CIA and charging him with destroying government intelligence property, he is still appearing on FOX News to continue the lie. 
...As you might recall, (click here) Judicial Watch pursued this FOIA because they thought they were going to catch Nancy Pelosi in a lie. (politics are used in the USA by the political right wing to confuse and distract from the truth)
After the torture memos were released, the torture apologists tried to claim that Congress had been briefed on–and had approved–of torture. But Pelosi pointed out that when CIA briefed her in September 2002, they did not tell her and Goss that CIA had already gotten into the torture business. In spite of the fact that that was completely consistent with Porter Goss’ tales of Congressional briefing, the press took Pelosi’s story as an accusation that the CIA had lied. So the right wing transparency group Judicial Watch FOIAed the records of Congressional briefings, with a focus on proving that Pelosi had lied about having been briefed about the torture that had already happened.
Perhaps in response to this hullabaloo, the CIA’s Inspector General started a review of Congressional–particularly Pelosi–briefings on June 2, 2009. After about six weeks of reviewing their documentation, they came to the following conclusion (starting on PDF 27):
  • Pelosi was briefed on April 2002, before CIA started torturing Abu Zubaydah, and in September 2002, in the briefing under discussion.
  • CIA’s own records regarding the September 4, 2002 briefing are so erroneous they show Jane Harman, not Pelosi, received the briefing.
  • The only CIA record on the content of the September 4, 2002 briefing is the set of cables between Jose Rodriguez, (probably) Jonathan Fredman, and one other CTC person; this is the cable altered after the fact.
  • People from the Directorate of Operations, and James Pavitt personally, repeatedly made claims about the content of the Pelosi briefing over the years, yet none of that sourced any first-hand knowledge or documentation.
That is, as is the case with CIA’s other briefings on torture, they have no fucking clue what they briefed to Pelosi.
Which leaves Pelosi and Goss’ consistent claim that CIA didn’t even tell them they had already waterboarded Abu Zubaydah 83 times by the time they briefed them.
Many of these forms of torture were outlawed by the USA for several reasons. They were outlawed EVEN THOUGH they had been used against our soldiers in capture by others.

The memo described ten techniques which the interrogators wanted to use: 
"(1) attention grasp, 
(2) walling, 
(3) facial hold, 
(4) facial slap (insult slap), 
(5) cramped confinement, 
(6) wall standing, 
(7) stress positions, 
(8) sleep deprivation, 
(9) insects placed in a confinement box, and 
(10) the waterboard.” Many of the techniques were, until then, generally considered illegal

This is the same dehumanizing used by soldiers in the field. The "Gook" Complex. This also confirms there was a lot of fear in the White House surrounding the events of September 11th and it reoccurring. There was no reflection about the fact the CIA has prepared a PDB foretelling the dangers that lay in wait for the USA sometime in the next three months.

Imagine a minute if the Bush Administration had come forward with the PDB and stated it was overlooked. What would happened instead of this.

Now, either the decisions in the Bush Administration were in reflection or not of that PDB or the events that followed were to accomplish an agenda or not. No one ever states to Bush or Cheney, "Look this is a copy of the redacted PDB you received that was redacted. What were you thinking when this was presented and why didn't you act on it?" It never happens. No one ever approaches the former administration and states, you guys dropped the ball and all the events afterward was continued incompetency.

July 13, 2009

...A former CIA agent (click here) has told the BBC that Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded by the CIA in May or June 2002.
The date was provided by former CIA agent John Kiriakou. The practice was sanctioned in written memos by Bush administration lawyers in August 2002.
The CIA says waterboarding did not take place before August 2002.
Officials have refused to tell the BBC when it did occur....

This is all an elaborate form of distraction and retaliation to prevent the country from focusing on the truth. Senator Feinstein had come out on September 12, 2001 to state on the Senate floor the events of the day before were foretold by the CIA and nothing was done about it and in fact, Mr. Cheney stated they would not get to it until about six months from now.
The Bush White House allowed the events of September 11th to unfold without ever attempting to prevent it.
It is obvious the Bush White House didn't trust the CIA and railroaded them into taking measures that were illegal according to the laws of this country. The only reason this even an issue today is because of the old excuse these measures were necessary to protect the country. That is a lie. Bush and Cheney didn't trust the CIA or any other intelligence agency. These harsh techniques or torture techniques or Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, however the verbiage is preferred, were implemented by the Executive Offices of the USA because they were already paranoid about the fact the PDB existed and they ignored it.'
There was no leadership in the Bush White House, there was always political posturing and propaganda to divert attention from the truth.

This was from 2007 after the Democrats took the House majority.

There was an ad out featuring Mr. Kleinman and other stating there is no need for torture. Mr. Kleinman makes his views known in this testimony. 

It's Sunday Night

A leader to come and put a cross right upon his land
He said the travesty is the future has been laid
In your hands too long
Will the journey come to an end, will it end?
Sympathy can't disguise all the evil that is
Locked in your head
We're tumbling through two stories that
Should never be read
Can't you see I believe in a place called Hell
Yes, I do

Under the sky I cry for you
Under the sky I crawl
Under the sky I'd die for you
You are the reason why I fall away

People have died and I have cried waiting for
Salvation to come
It takes a lot of my faith believin' everyday we are
One in the same
Is it plain that the damage is done, is it done?
Knock me out cold clear my hair take me back
To the start
Tell me everything is over and I don't have the heartache too late
All my dreams are passing me by
There they go

Under the sky I cry for you
Under the sky I crawl
Under the sky I'd die for you
You are the reason why I fall away, I fall away, I fall-all-all away, yes

Taking a stand one hand closing over all of
Your doors
I play a different tune 'cause I don't wanna
Fight in your war,
Torn apart gotta stitch myself together again
Carry me on your back, Jack, you're never gonna
Reach to the top
Above the millions of people scrapin' by
You see what they've got
Shot down everytime they try to get back up
Up, they get

Under the sky I cry for you
Under the sky I crawl
Under the sky I'd die for you
You are the reason why I fall away
I fall away