August 16, 2013 archive

Psycho Ward Attitude Correction Comes to America

NYPD Threw Truth-Telling Cop in Psycho Ward for 6 Days, and Tried to Coerce Crime Victims to Produce Better Stats…

The old Soviet Union used to make liberal use of insane asylums to squelch dissent under the rational assumption that anyone protesting in such a dictatorship had to be crazy.

There is no intention here of claiming that America is quite so brutal nor as systematic.  The headline betrays a somewhat less than – umm, unbiased report but the lengthy detailing of matters does clearly demonstrate the farce of claiming that reporting inside an abusive bureaucracy is likely to lead to correction.

An investigating officer appointed in Vietnam when I was there was tasked to look into matters when a sgt was charged with misconduct.  “Hanging Sam” Williams (the appellation came from the general being a Nuremburg judge) had decided the troops needed some discipline and, much like Obama’s recent word to civil servants to look for troublemakers among fellow workers, word went out that the general needed some examples.

The investigating officer actually did an investigation of the reported “incident.”  He reported the sergeant had done nothing at all wrong.  Not very smart.  While the sergeant was accepting a cut in pay and loss of rank rather than being court martialed, the investigating officer got a letter of reprimand sent to him and his commanding officer ordering that the lieutenant be instructed on how to do an impartial and thorough investigation.

Well that’s just routine in the military as Bradley Manning could tell you now were he allowed but now we are going civilian.

Best,  Terry  


On This Day In History August 16

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

August 16 is the 228th day of the year (229th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 137 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1896, Gold discovered in the Yukon.

While salmon fishing near the Klondike River in Canada’s Yukon Territory on this day in 1896, George Carmack reportedly spots nuggets of gold in a creek bed. His lucky discovery sparks the last great gold rush in the American West.

Hoping to cash in on reported gold strikes in Alaska, Carmack had traveled there from California in 1881. After running into a dead end, he headed north into the isolated Yukon Territory, just across the Canadian border. In 1896, another prospector, Robert Henderson, told Carmack of finding gold in a tributary of the Klondike River. Carmack headed to the region with two Native American companions, known as Skookum Jim and Tagish Charlie. On August 16, while camping near Rabbit Creek, Carmack reportedly spotted a nugget of gold jutting out from the creek bank. His two companions later agreed that Skookum Jim–Carmack’s brother-in-law–actually made the discovery.

Late Night Karaoke

Around the Blogosphere

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

 photo Winter_solstice.gifThe main purpose our blogging is to communicate our ideas, opinions, and stories both fact and fiction. The best part about the the blogs is information that we might not find in our local news, even if we read it online. Sharing that information is important, especially if it educates, sparks conversation and new ideas. We have all found places that are our favorites that we read everyday, not everyone’s are the same. The Internet is a vast place. Unlike Punting the Pundits which focuses on opinion pieces mostly from the mainstream media and the larger news web sites, “Around the Blogosphere” will focus more on the medium to smaller blogs and articles written by some of the anonymous and not so anonymous writers and links to some of the smaller pieces that don’t make it to “Pundits” by Krugman, Baker, etc.

We encourage you to share your finds with us. It is important that we all stay as well informed as we can.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

This is an Open Thread.

It has been a busy week, with not enough time to cover the other important news, events and just some “stuff”.

First some the election news.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker won the Democratic nomination to fill the Senate vacancy in New Jersey that was left with the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. He beat Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone.  But, hey, what’s another corporate “bright shiny object” in the Senate. He will face Republican Steve Lonegan in a special election on October 16.

In the New York City mayoral primaries, the focus has been on the Democrats. Anthony Weiner’s lack of self control and awareness has him sinking in the polls giving liberal Bill De Blasio, the current Public Advocate, a chance to shine and shine he did. De Balsio has taken the lead from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. according to Tuesday’s Quinnapiac poll:

Among likely Democratic voters, de Blasio took 30 percent of the vote, followed by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at 24 percent, former comptroller Bill Thompson at 22 percent, former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) at 10 percent, comptroller John Liu at 6 percent and former council member Sal Albanese at 1 percent. Another 7 percent was undecided.

De Blasio also held the lead in three potential runoff scenarios, beating Quinn by 54 percent to 38 percent, Thompson by 50 percent to 40 percent, and Weiner by a whopping 72 percent to 22 percent.

De Blasio’s opposition to Stop n’ Frisk and message that appeals to the middle and working classes have started to resonate.

In the race for NYC’s Comptroller, former governor Eliot Spitzer has a 19 point lead over his opponent Manhattan Borough President Scott Springer. Wall Steet is not happy. Good. They should be afraid. Eliot with subpoena power may be an awesome sight.

The three Republican candidates, John Catsimatidis, George McDonald and Joseph Lhota, met for a debate last night. Essentially their message was: “Good job, Bloomie” and promised more of the same. Not exactly a winning message, guys.

Any way, the NYC primary day is September 10, then the real fun begins.

On to the blogs.

From Firedoglake:

TBogg says his “farewell” to his blog at FDL, at last.

Over at Corrente:

Lambert‘s Obamacare Cluster F**k continues:

This from lambert will either make you sick or raise your blood pressure to stroke levels:

Then he asks this question:

From transcriber:

At naked capitalism:

From Marcy Wheeler at emptywheel:

From our friends at Voices on the Square:

Electronic Frontier Foundation:

I knew there was another reason I admired Bette Midler other than her singing:

h/t Atrios at Eschaton

The woman rocks in more ways than you’d expect.

Encrypted E-Mail , FISA and Our Privacy Rights

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Last week, Lavabit, the privacy-conscious email service, suspended operations by its owner Ladar Levison while he fights the US government over Constitutional rights in the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals. In his letter to his customers, Mr. Levison wrote

My Fellow Users,

I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.


Ladar Levison

Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC

(emphasis mine)

Lavabit allows its customers send highly encrypted emails that even if intercepted by a third party could not be opened without a password. Based in the US, it is the e-mail service that was allegedly used by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In an exclusive interview with Amy Goodman on Tuesday’s Democracy Now!, Lavabit owner Ladar Levison and his lawyer, Jesse Binnall discuss why the decision was made to shut down rather than comply with a government order

Transcript can be read here

“I think if the American public knew what our government was doing, they wouldn’t be allowed to do it anymore.

“I mean, there’s information that I can’t even share with my lawyer, let alone with the American public. So if we’re talking about secrecy, you know, it’s really been taken to the extreme.

“And I think it’s really being used by the current administration to cover up tactics that they may be ashamed of.”

~Ladar Levison~

Another encrypted service, Silent Circle has also announced it has shut down. Although it had not yet received any government requests for data, Silent Circle told Tech Crunch that it knew the government would come after them because of the high-profile nature of its users.

Lions Set To Roar

There is not so much good news around today but here is some great news:

There has been much made of the idea of African ‘lion’ countries, mimicking Asia’s famous ‘tigers’. There is no reason Africa shouldn’t start behaving like Asia – hordes of international businessmen should travel to air-conditioned offices and lavishly appointed bars in cities like Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam well within my lifetime. There are many thorns that need to be removed from the paws of these lions. But I do propose that renewable energy, in particular geothermal energy with its formidable baseload potential, can help provide both the energy and cultural electrification that sub-Saharan Africa needs, bringing international partnerships and healthy and competitive economies with it.


While Nigeria to Libya struggle with the corruption and warfare involved in fossil fuels – and truth be told in the infernal solar and wind sometime power – a real revolution is occurring in some of the poorest and most blighted lands of the planet with earth power.

Kenya is established in the geothermal sector, and the next hot markets are likely Djibouti, Ethiopia, and especially Tanzania.

In fact Kenya is only beginning to exploit its geothermal resources while even Rwanda is getting into the act.

Unlike extractive industries, there are only rarely any manner of terrorist attacks on geothermal power plants though initial resistance to exploiting the abundance of power offered by Mother Earth is often ferocious.  Hard to top the wild celebration in Hawaii when a geothermal power development was stopped cold over such reasons as the insult to Pele, the Goddess of Fire.  The revered Sen. Inouye was there to brag on getting a federal grant to aid in ending the project.  An also-ran was an environmentalist parade and celebration in San Jose when the reputed most promising project area of the time was halted after a couple decades of struggle.

May the Lions roar.

Obama, a boy ought to keep in contact with his grandmother.  Your Kenyan grandmother could probably explain to you what your advisers can’t.

Best,  Terry


I don’t generally work without the buttress of other people’s research and observations because, as a pseudonymous author on the Internet, you have no more reason to trust my opinion than your own.

Less in fact.

As I look out on the developments of this summer I have a few observations and predictions that I’ll just share, naked, my bias should already be apparent in the things I’ve chosen to bring to your attention.

That’s called Editorial decision making.

The National Security State is just as pervasive as the worst imaginations of the most tin foil wearing conspiracy theorist.  My only surprise is that after 7 years of personal advocacy and stony indifference it has suddenly captured the public’s attention.  I believe Glenn Greenwald when he says this is the tip of the iceberg and I hope Ed Snowden stole enough secrets to keep him safe.

Nobody likes to be spied on.  We all have a private movie of the shameful things we have done, or did not do, that we wish to keep from the world.  “If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”, is a crock and the hypocrites who parrot it deserve full exposure.  This will only happen if we maintain the pressure, if they didn’t know it was wrong they wouldn’t be scrambling like roaches to avoid the light.

Barack Obama is not as popular among African Americans as you think.  The erosion of his polling has as much to do with the decline of his favorables in that demographic from 98% to 70% as anything else.  The only group where his ratings have increased?  White college+ males making more than $70,000 annually.

Guess they know which side of the bread substitute the icky wax is on.  Obama has performed shamefully for the economic interests of the 99%.  Expect big battles over the budget and debt ceiling with Obama pushing his “Grand Bargain” of chained CPI earned benefit cuts at every opportunity.  Pray for the Tea Party to refuse to provide him a scant fig leaf of revenue.

I’d like to be optimistic about the environment.  It’s a good thing we’ve been able to keep the Alberta Tar Sands bottled up so far, but the sad fact of the matter is we have 50x the amount of carbon we need to produce a global extinction, Epoch changing, methane hydrate explosion in already proven reserves.

If we pump what we already got, we’re all dead.

There is absolutely no indication that any of the Very Serious People are taking that seriously at all, even though Solar and Wind technology are economically competitive with carbon fuels (one of the reasons Alberta might go bust economically and why they are so frantic), much less Nuclear which is just about the most expensive power there is.

I could go on, but I’ll save it.  I’m actually a cheerful guy and I’d hate for you to think I don’t have a plan to improve things when actually, I do.

Rebel.  Rebel in the small things.  Don’t watch the Idiots on TV, say mean things about them (they are notoriously thin skinned, vanity driven, narcissists).  Don’t give Politicians your time or money, you need them more than they do (unless they are worthy), bad mouth them vocally when they deserve it which is most of the time.  They are not your friend, they are your servant.  Punish bad corporations by refusing to patronize them, again they care about your money, not you.

These are but a few ephemeral examples, I’m sure you can think of more and better.  Above all stay informed and active.  No one can take your freedom away, you have to let them.