Unlike many presidential candidates who fade away when they don't win (Kerry, McCain, Dole, Dukakis etc. etc), Ron Paul carries on.
Maybe that's because he actually has a message and a commitment.
You don't have to agree with everything he says to realize this is one of the rarest of people: a US politician who actually cares about the nation's future.
We can't afford the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama program of endless war - and it doesn't do anything to make the country safer. Quite the contrary.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Unlike many presidential candidates who fade away when they don't win (Kerry, McCain, Dole, Dukakis etc. etc), Ron Paul carries on.
Friday, May 29, 2009
May 29, 2009
During a speech today on “cybersecurity,” ">Obama told a whopper. He said the government’s effort to protect us from cyber bad guys “will not include monitoring private sector networks or Internet traffic. We will preserve and protect the personal privacy and civil liberties that we cherish as Americans.”
Is it possible Obama has never heard of Mark Klein, the retired AT&T communications technician who said years ago that the company shunted all Internet traffic — including traffic from peering links connecting to other Internet backbone providers — to semantic traffic analyzers, installed in a secret room inside the AT&T central office on Folsom Street in San Francisco? There are similar rooms in Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego, all sucking up internet data.
Klein explained that the multinational corporation is doing this at the behest of the NSA. It is “vacuum-cleaner surveillance” approach that grabs everything. “Despite what we are hearing, and considering the public track record of [the Bush] administration, I simply do not believe their claims that the NSA’s spying program is really limited to foreign communications or is otherwise consistent with the NSA’s charter or with FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act],” said Klein in 2006.
After the NSA showed up in 2002 at AT&T’s Folsom Street facility, Klein began connecting the dots. “You might recall there was a big blowup in the news about the Total Information Awareness [TIA] program, led by Adm. [John] Poindexter, which caused the big upsetness in Congress, because what Poindexter was proposing to do was draw in databases from everywhere — and this was in The New York Times — draw in Internet data, bank records, travel records, everything into one big conglomeration which could be searchable by the government so they could find out everything about what anybody’s doing at any time of day,” Klein told PBS. “And all this would be done without any warrants. This is how it was presented by Poindexter himself in The New York Times, and that caused a great upset, brouhaha, in Congress.”
On January 16, 2003, Senator Russ Feingold introduced legislation to suspend the activity of the Total Information Awareness program pending a Congressional review of privacy issues involved. In February 2003, Congress passed legislation suspending activities of the IAO (Information Awareness Office) pending a Congressional report of the office’s activities.
Congress acted after William Safire published an article in the New York Times claiming “[TIA] has been given a $200 million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans” (see You Are a Suspect, November 14, 2002).
Of course, the program didn’t go away. Legislators included a classified annex to the Defense Appropriations Act that preserved funding for TIA’s component technologies, if they were transferred to other government agencies. TIA projects continued to be funded under classified annexes to Defense and Intelligence appropriation bills.
“Total Information Awareness — the all-seeing terrorist spotting algorithm-meets-the-mother-of-all-databases that was ostensibly de-funded by Congress in 2003, never actually died, and was largely rebuilt in secret by the NSA, according to the Wall Street Journal’s Siobhan Gorman,” Ryan Singel wrote for Wired on March 10, 2008. “There’s been no real debate in Congress or in the press about whether the government should be allowed to track every Americans phone calls, emails and web browsing.”
Jon Stokes, writing for Ars Technica, notes that TIA technology is nothing new. “TIA-like efforts are still going on” Stokes wrote in 2005, and “the government has been trying to use new technology, like database tech and voice recognition, for domestic surveillance for a long time. And when I say a long time, I mean well before the current administration came into office.” It really got a boost under Clinton in 1995 when the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed. “CALEA mandated that the telcos aid wiretapping by installing remote wiretap ports onto their digital switches so that the switch traffic would be available for snooping by law enforcement.” In other words, Mark Klein had but scratched the surface.
Truman created the NSA in 1952, supposedly to serve as “America’s ears” abroad, but the agency has long served as a secret Stasi-like organization dedicated to snooping on Americans. The NSA, writes Siobhan Gorman for the Wall Street Journal, “and other intelligence agencies were found to be using their spy tools to monitor Americans for political purposes.”
The NSA’s predecessor, the Armed Forces Security Agency, launched Project SHAMROCK in 1945. It obtained copies of all telegraphic information exiting or entering the United States with the full cooperation of RCA, ITT and Western Union. A sister project known as Project MINARET involved the creation of “watch lists,” by each of the intelligence agencies and the FBI, of those accused of “subversive” domestic activities. The watch lists included such notables as Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Jane Fonda, Joan Baez and Dr. Benjamin Spock, according to Patrick S. Poole, writing for Nexus Magazine in 1999. The FBI, the NSA, and other intelligence agencies were actively involved in creating the watch lists.NSA has attempted to keep up on technology as the secretive agency continues to snoop on “subversives” and others the government considers miscreants. In February, trade publications reported the agency is offering “billions” to any firm able to offer reliable eavesdropping on Skype IM and voice traffic. Skype is particularity troublesome because it utilizes P2P networks, that is to say peer-top-peer (no central server owned and operated by a telecom required). The government and the corporate media may tell you they want to crack down on P2P — for instance, the vastly popular BitTorrent — because of copyright infringement, but a more practical reason is because the government has yet to figure out how to crack the file sharing protocol. Skype and BitTorrent account for a large amount of traffic on the internet.
If you think Obama will roll back the government’s massive and unconstitutional snoop program, think again. On April 3, the Obama Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss one of the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s landmark lawsuits against illegal spying by the NSA. The DOJ demanded that the entire lawsuit be dismissed based on both the Bush administration’s claim that a “state secrets” privilege bars any lawsuits against the executive branch for illegal spying, as well as a novel “sovereign immunity” claim that the Patriot Act bars lawsuits of any kind for illegal government surveillance (see the EFF press release, Obama Administration Embraces Bush Position on Warrantless Wiretapping and Secrecy).
In March, Obama’s coordinator for cybersecurity programs, Rod Beckstrom, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, quit because he opposed the role of the NSA in the so-called cybersecurity initiative. Beckstrom said “the threats to our democratic processes are significant if all top level government network security and monitoring are handled by” the NSA.
“Obama’s moves drew praise from key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who vowed to work with the president to implement new security measures as needed,” CQPolitics reported shortly after his “cybersecurity” speech. “Obama said his cybersecurity adviser — who will be a member of both the National Security Staff and the National Economic Council staff — will head a new office within the White House.”
“We applaud President Obama for highlighting the extraordinarily serious issue of cybersecurity,” Sens. Johns D. Rockefeller IV, D-W.V., and Olympia J. Snowe , R-Maine, said in a joint statement. “No other president in American history has elevated this issue to that level and we think him for his leadership.”
No other president so far has had the power to shut down the internet. The Rockefeller-Snowe bill, S 778, would grant Obama dictatorial power declare a so-called “cyber emergency” and pull the plug, or at least cripple networks deemed a threat. The U.S. government is not seriously worried about Chinese hackers or mischievous kids in Latvia (as Rockefeller cited as a danger) but rather fear free and unfettered speech and activism on the part of its own citizens.
Obama’s promise is merely an effort to string you along with a big fat lie. He has absolutely no respect for you or the Bill of Rights.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
| Watching the history of Socialist USA evolve in front of us|
Letter Written by: Roy Wheeler
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
More like a two and a half day vacation. I had to go up to the Cheat Mountain club Saturday to work on bikes. So Mandi and I decided to load up the truck and make a weekend of it. So after tuning up some 20 year old clunkers we headed over to the mountain camp on Dry Fork road.
Saturday evening we did a short little ride up through Grouse Management area just to work up a sweat and loosen up the legs. Sunday we headed up to Spruce K-nob to ride one of the best trails in the state, Huckleberry trail. We rode up from camp and past Seneca Creek trail head. I was astounded by the number of cars parked at the trail head, I have never seen it so packed. Huckleberry is in excellent shape and looks like it is getting lots of use. We only encountered two groups of hikers on Huckleberry which was relief, I thought for sure we would be dodging yuppies form DC all day. Now Seneca Creek was a different story. Judy Springs was packed. Why you would want to carry a back pack full of gear 5 miles out into the woods and then camp just feet from 20 other people is beyond me. At least there out in the woods. After a good a meal and a long nap Mandi andI head out on a good long hike up the knob behind the camper. What a view! The Oceola/Gandy Creek area is by far my favorite place in WV and man is it beautiful.
Monday we packed up camp and headed over to Davis for a planned group ride with that sandbagging clydesdale racer, JR Pestko. We headed out as a group of five, JR, Pete the Wolf, Jason "I can only ride for 5 minutes" Cyr, Mandi and I. On top of Canaan we picked up Paul from Baltimore and headed out on some of that knarly singletrack that Davis is famous for. At 1:30 into the ride JR snapped one of his seat rails, 200+ lbs, hollow ti rail is not a good combination. So he and Pete headed back to Davis. The rest of us continued our ride taking in a few more trails before tucking tail and racing back into town just in time to beat the rain.
What a great weekend! Lots of rest, recreating and food consumption.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
May 21, 2009
A despairing country elected a president who promised change. Americans arrived from every state to witness in bitter cold Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. The mall was packed in a way that it has never been for any other president.
The people’s good will toward Obama and the expectations they had for him were sufficient for Obama to end the gratuitous wars and enact major reforms. But Obama has deserted the people for the interests. He is relying on his non-threatening demeanor and rhetoric to convince the people that change is underway.
The change that we are witnessing is in Obama, not in policies. Obama is morphing into Dick Cheney.
Obama has not been in office four months and already a book could be written about his broken promises.
Obama said he would close the torture prison, Guantanamo, and abolish the kangaroo courts known as military tribunals. But now he says he is going to reform the tribunals and continue the process, but without confessions obtained with torture. Getting behind Obama’s validation of the Bush/Cheney policy, House Democrats pulled the budget funding that was to be used for closing Guantanamo.
The policy of kidnapping people (usually on the basis of disinformation supplied by their enemies) and whisking them off to Third World prisons to be interrogated is to be continued. Again, Obama has substituted a “reform” for his promise to abolish an illegal policy. Rendition, Obama says, has also been reformed and will no longer involve torture. How would anyone know? Is Obama going to assign a U.S. government agent to watch over the treatment given to disappeared people by Third World thugs? Given the proclivity of American police to brutalize U.S. citizens, nothing can save the victims of rendition from torture.Obama has defended the Bush/Cheney warrantless wiretapping program run by the National Security Agency and broadened the government’s legal argument that “sovereign immunity” protects government officials from prosecution and civil suits when they violate U.S. law and constitutional protections of citizens. Obama’s Justice Department has taken up the defense of Donald Rumsfeld against a case brought by detainees whose rights Rumsfeld violated.
In a signing statement this month, Obama abandoned his promise to protect whistleblowers who give information of executive branch illegality to Congress.
Obama is making even more expansive claims of executive power than Bush. As Bruce Fein puts it: “In principle, President Obama is maintaining that victims of constitutional wrongdoing by the U.S. government should be denied a remedy in order to prevent the American people and the world at large from learning of the lawlessness perpetrated in the name of national security and exacting political and legal accountability.”
Obama, in other words, is committed to covering up the Bush regime’s crimes and to ensuring that his own regime can continue to operate in the same illegal and unconstitutional ways.
Obama is fighting the release of the latest batch of horrific torture photos that have come to light. Obama claims that release of the photos would anger insurgents and cause them to kill our troops. That, of course, is nonsense. Those resisting occupation of their land by U.S. troops and NATO mercenaries are already dedicated to killing our troops, and they know that Americans torture whomever they capture. Obama is fighting the release of the photos because he knows the barbaric image that the photos present of the U.S. military will undermine the public’s support for the wars that enrich the military/security complex, appease the Israel Lobby, and repay the campaign contributions that elect the U.S. government.
As for bringing the troops home from Iraq, this promise, too, has been reformed. To the consternation of his supporters, Obama is leaving 50,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The others are being sent to Afghanistan and to Pakistan, where on Obama’s watch war has broken out big time with already one million refugees from the indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
Meanwhile, war with Iran remains a possibility, and at Washington’s insistence, NATO is conducting war games on former Soviet territory, thus laying the groundwork for future enrichment of the U.S. military/security complex. The steeply rising U.S. unemployment rate will provide the needed troops for Obama’s expanding wars.
Obama can give a great speech without mangling the language. He can smile and make people believe his rhetoric. The world, or much of it, seems to be content with the soft words that now drape Dick Cheney’s policies in pursuit of executive supremacy and U.S. hegemony.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Look closely Mandi has her leg warmers/nettle guards on. Speaking of nettles there delicious! Really. Next time your out in the woods getting stung by those evil little plants pluck a few off, tops only, take them home and prepare them like spinach. They are really good and really good for you.
Monday, May 18, 2009
So this is how it went down. We parked at the trail head to North Fork Mt trail on Smoke Hole road. We headed out the road in search of North Fork Mt and some sweet chunky single track. After loads of ups and downs, including the final 3.5 mile grunt, we arrived at are desired destination. Everything was going smooth. At about 4 miles in John Weber and I decided to stop and regroup and wait for Carothers and Mandi to catch up. Mandi came rolling along shortly after we stopped. She was enjoying North Fork a lot more than in years past thanks to her new dual suspension ride, but she also made a commit about how sketchy the trail is and how it would be a horrible place to get hurt. So we waited and we waited no sign of Carothers. So John decided he better head back and look for are long lost com padre. After a few minutes I got a little anxious and decided I should head back also. I rode back about five minutes to find John and Carothers walking back out the trail and Carothers bike was no were in sight. Carothers had crashed and tore his bicep muscle on his left arm! Once he accessed the situation he abandoned his bike and started walking our direction.
After a little pow-wow we decided the best thing to do would be for John and Carothers to hike out to Redman trail and down off the mountain back to the road. John tossed me his keys. Mandi and I were to rail out the trail to the end and arrive back at the car before they did and drive to meet them. Well that is not exactly what happened. We railed all right, but you can only rail so fast on North Fork trail. We rode steady, conservatively but definitely not tentatively, the last thing you want to do is ride tentatively on North Fork trail. The name of the game is commitment. There are some big moves up there and you do not want to go at them half way. We bombed the last exquisite downhill off the ridge and arrived back at the car about two minutes after the boys got there. Perfect timing. After John and Carothers got back to the pavement Carothers was able to suck it up and ride.
What an event full ride. It was a gorgeous day with some nice cool temps and wonderful cloud formations. Hopefully Carothers bicep tear is not as bad as he thought and his wife does not bitch at him to much.
Friday, May 15, 2009
May 14, 2009
What do you suppose it is like to be elected president of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?
A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract. If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.
Fighting the special interests doesn’t pay and doesn’t succeed. On April 30 the primacy of special over public interests was demonstrated yet again. The Democrats’ bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45.
These are the same financial gangsters whose unbridled greed and utter irresponsibility have wiped out half of Americans’ retirement savings, sent the economy into a deep hole, and threatened the US dollar’s reserve currency role. It is difficult to imagine an interest group with a more damaged reputation. Yet, a majority of “the people’s representatives” voted as the discredited banksters instructed.
Hundreds of billions of public dollars have gone to bail out the banksters, but when some Democrats tried to get the Senate to do a mite for homeowners, the US Senate stuck with the banks. The Senate’s motto is: “Hundreds of billions for the banksters, not a dime for homeowners.”
If Obama was naive about well-intentioned change before the vote, he no longer has this political handicap.
Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin acknowledged the voters’ defeat by the discredited banksters. The banks, Durbin said, “frankly own the place.”
It is not difficult to understand why. Among those who defeated the homeowners bill are senators Jon Tester (Mont), Max Baucus (Mont), Blanche Lincoln (Ark), Ben Nelson (Neb), Many Landrieu (La), Tim Johnson (SD), and Arlan Specter (Pa). According to reports, the banksters have poured a half million dollars into Tester’s campaign funds. Baucus has received $3.5 million; Lincoln $1.3 million; Nelson $1.4 million; Landrieu $2 million; Johnson $2.5 million; Specter $4.5 million.The same Congress that can’t find a dime for homeowners or health care appropriates hundreds of billions of dollars for the military/security complex. The week after the Senate foreclosed on American homeowners, the Obama “change” administration asked Congress for an additional $61 billion dollars for the neoconservatives’ war in Iraq and $65 billion more for the neoconservatives’ war in Afghanistan. Congress greeted this request with a rousing “Yes we can!”
The additional $126 billion comes on top of the $533.7 billion “defense” budget for this year. The $660 billion–probably a low-ball number–is ten times the military spending of China, the second most powerful country in the world.
How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” is threatened by the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan? How can the US be a superpower if it is threatened by countries that have no military capability other than a guerilla capability to resist invaders?
These “wars” are a hoax designed to enrich the US armaments industry and to infuse the “security forces” with police powers over American citizenry.
Not a dime to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes, but hundreds of billions of dollars to murder Muslim women and children and to create millions of refugees, many of whom will either sign up with insurgents or end up as the next wave of immigrants into America.
This is the way the American government works. And it thinks it is a “city on the hill, a light unto the world.”
Americans elected Obama because he said he would end the gratuitous criminal wars of the Bush brownshirts, wars that have destroyed America’s reputation and financial solvency and serve no public interest. But once in office Obama found that he was ruled by the military/security complex. War is not being ended, merely transferred from the unpopular war in Iraq to the more popular war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Obama, in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, continues to attack “targets” in Pakistan. In place of a war in Iraq, the military/security complex now has two wars going in much more difficult circumstances.
Viewing the promotion gravy train that results from decades of warfare, the US officer corps has responded to the “challenge to American security” from the Taliban. “We have to kill them over there before they come over here.” No member of the US government or its numerous well-paid agents has ever explained how the Taliban, which is focused on Afghanistan, could ever get to America. Yet this hyped fear is sufficient for the public to support the continuing enrichment of the military/security complex, while American homes are foreclosed by the banksters who have destroyed the retirement prospects of the US population..
According to Pentagon budget documents, by next year the cost of the war against Afghanistan will exceed the cost of the war against Iraq. According to a Nobel prize-winning economist and a budget expert at Harvard University, the war against Iraq has cost the American taxpayers $3 trillion, that is, $3,000 billion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs, such as caring for veterans.
If the Pentagon is correct, then by next year the US government will have squandered $6 trillion dollars on two wars, the only purpose of which is to enrich the munitions manufacturers and the “security” bureaucracy.
The human and social costs are dramatic as well and not only for the Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani populations ravaged by American bombs. Dahr Jamail reports that US Army psychiatrists have concluded that by their third deployment, 30 percent of American troops are mental wrecks. Among the costs that reverberate across generations of Americans are elevated rates of suicide, unemployment, divorce, child and spousal abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and incarceration. http://www.truthout.org/051209J?n
In the Afghan “desert of death” the Obama administration is constructing a giant military base. Why? What does the internal politics of Afghanistan have to do with the US?
What is this enormous waste of resources that America does not have accomplishing besides enriching the American munitions industry?
China and to some extent India are the rising powers in the world. Russia, the largest country on earth, is armed with a nuclear arsenal as terrifying as the American one. The US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the most important source of American power, is undermined by the budget deficits that result from the munition corporations’ wars and the bankster bailouts.
Why is the US making itself impotent fighting wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with is security, wars that are, in fact, threatening its security?
The answer is that the military/security lobby, the financial gangsters, and AIPAC rule. The American people be damned.