No one should read the Economist Open Thread.

mmghosh's picture

It is not good to encounter insanity.  (My emphases).

The growing risk of a nuclear Iran is one reason why the West should intervene decisively in Syria not just by arming the rebels, but also by establishing a no-fly zone. That would deprive Mr Assad of his most effective weapon—bombs dropped from planes—and allow the rebels to establish military bases inside Syria. This newspaper has argued many times for doing so on humanitarian grounds; but Iran’s growing clout is another reason to intervene, for it is not in the West’s interest that a state that sponsors terrorism and rejects Israel’s right to exist should become the regional hegemon.

The West still has the economic and military clout to influence events in the region, and an interest in doing so. When Persian power is on the rise, it is not the time to back away from the Middle East.

A few paragraphs previously, OTOH,

Inflation is running at over 30%, and the economy shrinking. Inequality is growing, with 40% of Iranians thought to be living below the poverty line. Sanctions restricted May’s oil exports to just 700,000 barrels a day, a third of what they used to be; as a result there are shortages of basic goods and growing unemployment caused by factory closures.

I really hope no one is listening.


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Rouhani seems to be (for now) on the side of the angels.

mmghosh's picture



He should be engaged with ASAP.

In his interview, Rouhani said he opposed segregation of men and women, including at universities, and criticised the politicians who are against allowing women to enter stadiums to watch football matches along with men.


Iran's state television, IRIB, the mouthpiece of the country's ruling system, also came under attack from Rouhani.

"A large population of our youth are ignoring the [state] television because in it they haven't seen the honesty, morality, justice that it merits," he said.

Yes, But Has Obama Lost So Much Moral Authority...


...that he is just not seen as the Anti-Christ, but in fact is the Anti-Christ made manifest here on earth in his flesh?


If Obama called this week, I'm not sure I would respond, or, at least I'd make him cool his heels and wait till Monday before I returned his call.


But maybe Rouhani is not as disillusioned as I am and so, yes, Obama should engage him immediately. But I would advise Rouhani  to check and make sure his watch is still on his wrist after shaking hands with our (gasp!) President.


Traveller (we on the left want to bring the articles of impeachment for utter incompetence)

Well, My 4th of July is Shot to Hell...And Yet, How Better....

(#306049) celebrate our freedom than be at a rally protesting in favor of our vanishing 4th Amendment Rights?


I'll be at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles. I'm not in contact, but I presume that Zelig will be at the one in Santa Monica.


Back to my fine (!) cooking before it burns.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Makes no difference


Let me briefly give the reasons:


1. First of all, the entire election may have been a fraud.

2. Even if the election was not a fraud, the president has no real power (unless he says something unpleasant about Israel or the US,  in which case he has all the power).

3. Even if he has some real power, and he says reasonable things, he is lying.

4. Even if he is not lying,  he has not agreed to give up nuclear power plants as a precondition for talks.

5. Even if he agreed to give up nuclear power plants, he has not agreed to surrender as a precondition for talks.

6. Even if he agrees to surrender, that merely proves that sanctions worked, and thus need to be made even more severe.

7. Even if he surrenders, gives up nuclear power plants, and cheerfully accepts increased sanctions  in return, that would only prove that they are weakened and it is the ideal time to start the bombing.




I don't get this unrestrained hostility towards

mmghosh's picture

both Iran and Cuba by bipartisan US administrations.


After all, deals were made with China, Pol Pot's Cambodia (IIRC the US and China even voted together to keep the Khmer Rouge regime's representation in the UN) etc - all regimes that have been real foes to their own people and to the USA.  China's body count in the 1950s and 60s is unarguably the highest of any known nation's.  So why?  Both countries are pretty puny (compared to the USA).

Memo To The Idiot Has-Been Refugee From Boston

M Scott Eiland's picture

It's pronounced "National League Player Of The Month For June 2013," dumb@$$--and I'm looking forward to watching him torch you during the very limited time you remain in The Show.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

A tough week for poor Cardinal Dolan


This latest bombshell arrives after a tough week for Dolan: On Wednesday, he issued a joint press release calling the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling a "tragic day for marriage and our nation" that went against "the common good of all, especially our children."



Yeah, a tough week, won't someone think of the children?

Archbishop Listecki released a letter last week warning Catholics in his archdiocese that the documents could shake their faith, and trying to explain the actions of church leaders while offering apologies to victims.
“Prepare to be shocked,” he wrote. “There are some graphic descriptions about the behavior of some of these priest offenders.”

"Prepare to be shocked"

Jay C's picture

I wonder if what will really be shocking Archbishop Listecki's parishioners will be the revelations of the  behavior of the abusive priests, or the actions of their hierarchy in "dealing" with them?


After all, after reading this comment from Cardinal Dolan (also from the NYT link):


When he was later accused of trying to shield church funds, Cardinal Dolan said on his blog in New York that it was “malarkey” and “groundless gossip.”

you just have to know something's hinky.....

Even the NYT agrees its OK to spy on foreigners

mmghosh's picture


whatever the reason.

Most European governments presumably have long been aware of the N.S.A.’s capabilities. Ordinary Europeans, however, were unaware, until Der Spiegel published the numbers this week, of just how many private phone calls, e-mails and text messages the N.S.A. now monitors in Europe each month. The magazine reported 500 million in Germany alone in a single month. That large number raises suspicions that a lot of N.S.A. snooping has no connection to America’s national security or thwarting terrorists.


N.S.A. listening in on ordinary Europeans is perfectly legal under United States law; the agency is prohibited only from snooping on Americans without court authorization.

To 19 Firefighters I Have Never Met And Now Sadly Never Will

M Scott Eiland's picture

Thank you.

 photo iaff4_zps94372e8e.jpg

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yeah, It's Gotta Be a Bad Way to Die...I See Those Swirling....


....flames on the news, the absolute inferno, to be trapped in it seems...Bad-Bad (to me).


I almost drowned off the Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii...and giving up, floating down into oxygen depravation...


It surprised me, but drowning seemed like a pretty nice way to die.


Firefighting not so much. But maybe the fire sucks up all of the surrounding air and you suffocate before the flames close in?


I'm not being morbid, just curious.



I'm considering temporarily


stopping my consumption of meat just so I can later get on this list.

And There Go The Rest Of The Ratings

M Scott Eiland's picture

Serena Williams falls to Sabine Lisicki at Wimbledon: 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Seriously, With This Technology, How Can the US Lose ANY War?!?




....I am amazed by this video out of Afghanistan; the heat signature technology, the clarity of the figures, the facts that you can distinctly see the individuals with Weapons, first to kill them, but also to be able to come back and kill the wounded...because the dead don't give off such a bright heat signature.


This bears no resemblance at all to the war I fought, usually at night, against shadows and furtive figures scrambling against parachute flares throwing off a red or silver burning ghostly light in an inky darkness.


And that's when things were


I've written a lot on the Koregal Valley in Afghanistan, posted some videos of heavy fighting...but with this technology seen in this video, how did we ever lose the valley? How were we unable to defend it?


That is the mystery.


I'm going to have to ask around...starting here, any ideas? Also, I am not sure that the general public has the vaguest clue as to our so many areas...(raised eyebrows...but here also)


Good stuff...if you are above:




Best Wishes, Traveller

The Soviets Had Infrared Too


It's not that new, though it has surely improved.


Why did "we" lose the valley? Do the math. How big is the valley? How many Americans to hold it? How many Afghans favor Americans to the point of assisting (as opposed to using for their own ends) American forces?


Afghanistan was done on the cheap. Billions were spent on weapons and so on, but very little, comparatively speaking, on reconstruction. Billions more were skimmed by Karzai, his friends, and those who's favor he needed to pay for in order to remain in power.


To all intents and purposes the whole country is hostile terrain. A force that small cannot be everywhere at once. Deadly when present, but innocuous when absent. And absence is inevitable for a force that has a declared intention to leave, lacks the numbers for a country so large, and is unwilling or unable to go native in any meaningful way.


Another difference with Vietnam is that today's forces go to these places as if they were going to the Moon. They are sealed off from the local culture, food, drink, language, media, population, and so on. It's like an army from Alpha Centauri.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Very Cogent Analysis, Thanks, Really...nt



More on the billions skimmed in Afghanistan

mmghosh's picture

here in GatsbyTown.

Once a sleepy mountain town of low-rise homes, Kabul's smartest areas are now a grid of multicoloured, multi-storey family palaces studded with mirrors and stucco, one even boasting a rooftop lion enclosure.

The rich gather to celebrate their children's unions at opulent wedding halls, one guarded by golden elephants, another by a looming model of the Eiffel tower. There are bowling alleys, supermarkets crammed with imported clothes and food, and leisure centres with pools and saunas.


"The phrase '2014' is a form of psychological warfare," said builder Hasan Ali Sakhizada, who has invested around $1m in a block of apartments for rent and sale, and a luxurious home. "It's not going to have an effect on the property market, because people still need somewhere to live. Everyone says the Americans are leaving but they are not. They have invested too much in Afghanistan. The current problems are just politics by the US to help them negotiate their strategic pact [for a long-term military presence]."

The new buildings are a dramatic contrast to the muted colours and elaborate handicrafts that adorned the homes of Afghanistan's traditional elite, hidden behind high, plain walls.

Pix here


One almost wishes for the Taliban to return and see what has happened in their 14 year absence.

Impressive video. I especially liked the "bad guy" in red

mmghosh's picture

and "good guy" in green. 


My suggestion for future improvement would be colour coding the children - IIRC blue for boys and pink for girls - so that less ammunition could be targeted their way, saving money in the process.

Since We've Had Such Knock Down & Drag Out Fights over War Crime


...was circling back and killing the wounded man...a War Crime? I felt  badly for him, you could see him wounded, agonizing on the ground, a live human being and then the guns went off again, he raised his arms in a futile gesture to protect himself...and then he was hamburger, (really, not much different than you see in the supermarket beef section)


War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
War, huh, yeah
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again, y'all




War, it ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War, it's got one friend
That's the undertaker
Ooooh, war, has shattered
Many a young mans dreams
Made him disabled, bitter and mean
Life is much to short and precious
To spend fighting wars these days
War can't give life
It can only take it away

Ooooh, war, huh
Good God y'all
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War, whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me

War, it ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War, friend only to the undertaker
Peace, love and understanding
Tell me, is there no place for them today
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there's got to be a better way

Ooooooh, war, huh
Good God y'all
What is it good for
You tell me
Say it, say it, say it, say it

War, huh
Good God y'all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it




Us old guys, say what you want, but we got it....can you see this song being written and popular today? Not a chance.




Yes, shooting the wounded when he is down, and in the back

mmghosh's picture

or from a hideout has a long history.


Over here, it is generally held to be dishonourable, although gods have sanctioned it.  I believe the Red Cross and Medecines sans Frontieres try not to encourage it.  The US Army probably has its own code of ethics to guide actions.

Memo To Hank

M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks like the current six month troika term is coming to a close--and I'm sure the inmates would like to start planning their escape. ]:-)

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

USA bugging European allies

mmghosh's picture

what is somewhat surprising is why is the Guardian almost the only newspaper running with this story?  


And if it really is such a big deal, why are none of the EU countries offering Snowden asylum?  Is the US Administration just leaning heavily, or does everyone know and accept bugging as a part of doing business with the USA?

One of the bugging methods mentioned is codenamed Dropmire, which, according to a 2007 document, is "implanted on the Cryptofax at the EU embassy, DC" – an apparent reference to a bug placed in a commercially available encrypted fax machine used at the mission. The NSA documents note the machine is used to send cables back to foreign affairs ministries in European capitals.


The documents suggest the aim of the bugging exercise against the EU embassy in central Washington is to gather inside knowledge of policy disagreements on global issues and other rifts between member states.

Everybody Knows


Everybody bugs everybody all the time. They also use informants, escorts, hotel staff, waiters, taxi and limo drivers, bugging obviously, a million things.


At least the major nations do it for sure. It is simply not plausible that the Germans or the French are surprised at this. They've been doing intrigue since the middle ages.


It's just that they need to come up with a way of dealing with this in public. How much do they want to beat up on the US? When? And to what advantage or potential cost? These things can backfire. But use it, they will, one way or the other.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Europe Seems Seriously Pissed/If Not Impt, Then Why Pollard

(#305984) Israeli spy is still sitting in an American prison 26 years later after passing information to a friendly country and ally (Israel)?


I'm listing to European news at this moment and they are mad...cooperation on terrorism, Yes, wholesale spying is....offensive.


And wrong.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Kabuki Theater


Of course they are expressing sound and fury, what else can they do? Public perceptions must be appeased. Shocked, shocked I tell you!


It's bogus. I mean, it will have some consequences such as loss of business for American telecom and Internet companies. But it's bogus in the sense that they know this. You would need to be an illiterate idiot not to know this if you are an intelligence official of one of these countries. Are the Germans idiots? I don't find that plausible.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Pollard Was a Bad Example, I Retract and Apologize...nt



Maybe the Germans will provide the lead.

mmghosh's picture

Ironic in a state where much of the populace lived under the Stasi.



BERLIN — IN May 2010, I received a brown envelope. In it was a CD with an encrypted file containing six months of my life. Six months of metadata, stored by my cellphone provider, T-Mobile. This list of metadata contained 35,830 records. That’s 35,830 times my phone company knew if, where and when I was surfing the Web, calling or texting.


The truth is that phone companies have this data on every customer. I got mine because, in 2009, I filed a suit against T-Mobile for the release of all the data on me that had been gathered and stored. The reason this information had been preserved for six months was because of Germany’s implementation of a 2006 European Union directive.

All of this data had to be kept so that law enforcement agencies could gain access to it. That meant that the metadata of 80 million Germans was being stored, without any concrete suspicions and without cause.


This “preventive measure” was met with huge opposition in Germany. Lawyers, journalists, doctors, unions and civil liberties activists started to protest. In 2008, almost 35,000 people signed on to a constitutional challenge to the law. In Berlin, tens of thousands of people took to the streets to protest data retention. In the end, the Constitutional Court ruled that the implementation of the European Union directive was, in fact, unconstitutional.

Closing With A Crescendo

M Scott Eiland's picture

Yasiel Puig's first month in MLB closes with a 4 for 4 game with a double and a triple (and two steals and one caught stealing, but that's basically a wash as far as value goes). His numbers for June:

.440 BA, .472 OBP, .720 SLG, 1.192 OPS, 7 HR, 19 RUNS, 16 RBI, 4 SB, 1 CS

I suspect MLB will come up with a plausible excuse for getting him into the All Star Game, ignoring the complaints of the purists.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


M Scott Eiland's picture

I was a little hasty in closing the book on June--the Dodgers sent eight men to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, and Puig ended up striking out on an excellent inside 3-2 rising fastball with runners on second and third to end the inning. Revised rate stats: .436 BA/.467 OBP/.713 SLG/1.180 OPS.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

He's huge

brutusettu's picture

A Peyton Hillis size dude is rumbling through Dodger Stadium

Reminds Me Of Bob Hayes Most Impressive Nickname

M Scott Eiland's picture

"The Wrath Of God In Cleats." Of course, Bob Hayes was only 5' 11", 185 lbs (tall for a sprinter, at least until Usain Bolt came along). Puig is 6'3", 245 lbs and if anything looks even bigger.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Ecuador feels the heat. It would have been better in Cuba.

mmghosh's picture


The Guardian is getting more and more interesting.


It now appears some US defence personnel may have their Guardian viewing blocked at work.  Why? Presumably they can do that at home.



I think I remember some guy commenting on not trusting Correa.


I hope the Moscow airport is nice, because Snowden is going to be spending some serious time there.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

The Problem is Allowing Snowden to Live Happily Ever After



Correa relates his conversation with Biden:


He said he had told the US vice-president: "Mr vice-president, thanks for calling. We hold the United States in high regard. We did not seek to be in this situation. Do not get the idea that we are anti-American, as some ill-spirited media outlets are doing."

If Mr Snowden ever came to "Ecuadoran soil" with his request, he added, "the first people whose opinion we will seek is that of the United States"




Not Cuba, not Iceland,  I think that Snowden is down to Venezuela. Unless Putin will give him shelter. On the other hand he could spend years in the Transit portion of the Moscow Airport, (see the Iranian defector that spent 18 years in Charles De Gaul Airport!!)


Mehran Karimi Nasseri (مهران کریمی ناصری pronounced [mehˈrɒn kʲæriˈmi nɒseˈri]; born 1942), also known as Sir, Alfred Mehran,[1] is an Iranian refugee who lived in the departure lounge of Terminal One in Charles de Gaulle Airport from 26 August 1988 until July 2006, when he was hospitalized for an unspecified ailment. His autobiography has been published as a book (The Terminal Man) and was the basis for the movie The Terminal.


The question might be asked, How can he, Snowden, be paying for his Hotel stay?


My hope is that he has already left Moscow and is just laying low. Also where is his entourage, the people that were very publicly traveling with Snowden? They also seem to have vanished....just seriously gone.


I can see Snowden as one person successfully hiding out...but where is Ms. Hastings? I have traced the Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzon to Haiti, where he is at the moment, so there is apparently only two.


The irony is that the largest spy network ever created can't fix and find a single individual. And of course, there is no concern for what Snowden released to the public. I think that Snowden's principal naivate was thinking that the American people would care.






It is an interesting situation...


He's stuck at an airport, or elsewhere but under Russian custody if so.


This means he can't really try to go off the grid, even if he has skills and funds for that, which we don't know. In 20/20 hindsight it was probably a mistake to go to Hong Kong. He should have fled to Latin America, where borders are porous and western faces are common.


Unless Ron Paul or maybe Howard Dean becomes president, the US will be after him for a very long time.


The takeaway here isn't that the American people don't care. It's that no government on Earth cares about freedom from government snooping.


The American people have conceded defeat on this issue, for the most part. If you do care, what can you do about it? To maintain this perception, Snowden cannot be treated with dignity. His happiness can only lead to more Snowdens coming forward. His life must therefore be miserable, and if short, so much the better.


This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

And He's Stuck In A Place. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .where the big cheese is legendary for being ruthless enough to poison his enemies into painful, lingering deaths. If I was Snowden, I'd be terrified that the intelligence agencies in the US (and anywhere else where his activities have annoyed people) are even now quietly whispering in Putin's ear to give him a reason to not give a rip if Snowden suddenly keels over, or even for him to take an active hand in his demise. It amounts to Purgatory for Snowden, with no escape in sight.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Doesn't the Guardian or Greenwald have some responsibility

mmghosh's picture


M Scott Eiland's picture

For the same reason that they're not looking at prison time regardless of what laws he broke to funnel information to them. He's an adult who's made stupid, arguably criminal decisions, and he gets to dig out of them on his own (with assistance from whoever he can scrape up for the task).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Snowden stupid? I don't think so.

mmghosh's picture

He has defenders everywhere, now.

he was compared to the dissident Andrei Sakharov, to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and to Max Otto von Stirlitz, a dashing fictional double agent from Soviet television. He was described as “the man who declared war on Big Brother and got stuck in the transit zone”

Not Richard Sorge territory, perhaps.  But those were different days.

What Does That Have To Do With Whether He's Stupid?

M Scott Eiland's picture

And being compared to a couple of notorious (and eventually electrocuted) US traitors by *Russian* TV ain't really helping his cause.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Um, maybe Snowden could have handled it better

mmghosh's picture

(although its hard to be sure still), but he is famous.  


And he's soon to be rich.  There's the book, lecture tours, movie, endorsements, consultancy position etc.  Perhaps even a University lecturer sinecure?  He's likely to be richer than you or me - and the rich aren't stupid.


As for traitors, for a neutral, one man's traitor is another man's freedom fighter.  It seems unlikely that Snowden will be executed.  We will miss out on his potentially fascinating famous last words.

Book Sure


But lecture circuit? He doesn't even have a passport.


He's in trouble. He may yet come through victorious, but a good outcome for him right now is survival outside of a jail cell.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Think if He Had Gone to Egypt, Lybia or Even Iran...!

(#305952) even more hated man.


However, if you have no choices, I don't see where anyone can blame Snowden wherever he ends up.


Personally, I think Iran would be interesting for the next 20 years.


And remember, Snowden needs to pick a place with enough muscle to not cave to the powers of the United States.


There aren't many places that fit this category.


But MA is correct, for Snowden now, any life outside of a Jail Cell is a huge success and victory for him.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Iran: not such a great choice


The new president there wants to start up negotiations, but isn't allowed to make any pre-negotiation concessions at all on the nuclear stuff.   What would be an ideal little good will gesture that wouldn't really cost him anything?  Give back Snowden along with one or two other Americans they've got locked up.

Russia Won't Let Snowden Leave?



Ecuadorean officials believe Russian authorities stymied the country's efforts to approve a political asylum application from the former NSA systems analyst, according to government officials with direct knowledge of the case.

Those officials said Ecuador had been making detailed plans to receive and host Snowden. One of the officials said Russia's refusal to let Snowden leave or be picked up by Ecuadorean officials had thwarted the plans. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the case by name.

One of the officials said Snowden had intended to travel from Moscow to the Ecuadorean capital of Quito. The official said Ecuador had also asked Russia to let Snowden take a commercial flight to meet Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino in Vietnam or Singapore, where Patino was on an official trip.

The Russians rejected all of Ecuador's requests to let Snowden leave Moscow, or to let an Ecuadorean government plane pick him up there, the official said.




Hummm...Edward Snowden my have greater problems than the US now and, interestingly, the US may have been vastly better off with Snowden actually in Ecuador.


Mistakes by everybody abound.



Doors shutting for Snowden

mmghosh's picture

shamingly for us, we have summarily refused asylum.  What a comedown from the days of Nehru and regard for freedom of conscience.

Wow, America Will Go to Any Lengths to Get Snowden!


Bolivian President Evo Morales's plane has been diverted to Austria amid suspicion that US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden is on board, the Bolivian foreign minister has said.

David Choquehuanca denied that Mr Snowden was on the plane.

France and Portugal reportedly refused to allow the Bolivia-bound flight to cross their airspace.


I find this to be quite extraordinary!


If they will divert a foreign President's plane, they would have no problem forcing a civilian plane to land.


So, in fact, Snowden was smart to stay in Moscow....and Obama was lying, he would scramble the jets to force a plane with Snowden in it to land.


All very surprising.



Extraordinary is right. What does he know

mmghosh's picture

that makes him such a threat?  He was just a sysadmin.


Edit:  But his fellow-citizens don't seem to like him much.  From the NYT comments section

Mr. Snowden may believe he is a "hero" but he is afraid to come back to the US and face his fellow citizens, whose safety he has irreversibly compromised with his delusional, megalomaniacal, sociopathic, self-important, unilateral and unauthorized action of disclosing US security technology to our adversaries.

There Are Thousands of Sysadmins


What do you think the NSA wants them to see? A peaceful Snowden sipping margaritas on an upscale beach in Ecuador, with a new latina version of his pole-dancing girlfriend?


I don't think so.


They want to put the fear of God into these kids. Snowden will be dragged though hot coals if needed.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

I don't think that's representative...


Don't believe every comment you read.


These tools they've built, they are for pushing information as well as pulling.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

And That's The Problem....Planted Comments...Trust?


....I was over reading Kevin Drumm, and some of the comments seemed so off base that I thought that they may be written by a Plant.


Over on the Movie Boards, this seems to be a problem that really concerns and comments posted by the Studios, over on Yelp there is concern over planted restaurant review....


Who knows what is true anymore?


At least here on The Forvm, we have some idea of who is posting and sock puppets here.


But this is all getting weirder and weirder. (personally I would have taken Putin's offer and tucked myself away in the vastness of Mother Russia. But Snowden seems bound and determined to keep talking....hummmm?)


Best Wishes, Traveller

I Agree


Some of us might suck, but I'm pretty sure everybody here is a real person.


Our community is too small to be worth targeting, and it lacks people who are easily swayed. I'd be surprised if we were being played on a regular basis.


The misinformation ops are run against large media or very popular sites. They know that a large subgroup of people cannot think on their own and tend to go with what they think is the majority view. That's the principle of it, anyway.


It's pretty spooky though, isn't it? A world with zombie commenters. What times we live in...

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

These times are backwards


when the traitor and coward Snowden is misidentified by some as a hero.

Let Snowden the criminal come back to the country he says he loves and trust the people and our fair court system, real Americans want him to face justice.

But if he's killed that's fine too, actually too good for an arrogant, traitorous, thieving coward.  

Ha MA, you're on to something here.

mmghosh's picture


I'm looking at the Guardian comments page.  All the negative comments seems to have registered at or about the same time.

03 July 2013 11:46am

Recommend 2

This particular Traitor we want back the pay for being such a fool, he was a punk who will never see the light of day, we will see him soon.

You do not understand being American - we despise Traitors.


And other people are noticing this.  They all have reasonable sounding handles, but the spambottish language jars.


mmghosh's picture

This comment cannot be replied to.

These times are backwards
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/03/2013 - 11:20pm.
when the traitor and coward Snowden is misidentified by some as a hero.
Let Snowden the criminal come back to the country he says he loves and trust the people and our fair court system, real Americans want him to face justice.
But if he's killed that's fine too, actually too good for an arrogant, traitorous, thieving coward. 
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This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

That was me trolling the site


I thought I'd try my hand at being an intelligence agency zombie commenter and hope I did OK.

It's not easy to tell if this is your true 1st trolling here

brutusettu's picture

After all, Peter King indirectly says he thinks it's ironic that the US spying on citizens is so similar to that of China and Russia, which he feels are oppressive, but not the US of A.



It has that flavor of being translated from the Chinese.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Oh. Come. On!!!


Here I thought 'Oh, a new guy, and a true patriot at that.  This ought to be interesting.'  Now that it's turned out to be you I'm pretty disappointed.  You probably get that a lot :)

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I Knew It


I knew it was a regular having some fun...


I did get a laugh out of it, though. You did get me for a second or two. Nicely done.


This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Note the language to define


Note the language to define what being American means. The comment is designed to target not Snowden, but the reader. If the reader does not despise Snowden, his Americanness is automatically suspect.


Friggin' psyops. We really are on a fast track to 1984.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Conspiracy theory time.

mmghosh's picture

BBC World and CNN International are only making passing mentions to the story.  al-Jazeera was focusing on it when the transmission blacked out.  It just came back when the story ended. 


M Scott Eiland's picture

A few years back, our brother Jordan posted this diary expressing his displeasure with Wikileaks having, in his view, crossed a line:

In theory their stated mission sounds great: expose illegitimate government & corporate secrets whose sole purpose is providing CYA, trading the public good for the private interests of officials.

In practice, the release of 93,000 documents from the Afghanistan war has turned out to be grossly irresponsible. While early reporting had it that Assange and his team had made some effort to vet the document dump in order to remove the names & identifying information of people Taliban operatives might view as collaborators, and to otherwise scrub personal info, it now becomes clear that they did not do this.

Indeed, WikiLeaks has been criticised for releasing material that includes the names and in some cases the telephone numbers of informers. But the Australian founder of the website, Julian Assange, is unapologetic. ''We contacted the White House as a group before we released this material and asked them to help assist in going through it to make sure that no innocent names came out, and the White House did not accept that request,'' he told the ABC this week.

As with Obama's comments, this too is the positive spin. Assange admits WikiLeaks chose to release the documents before going through them entirely.

Emphasis mine. They asked the White House to scrub the documents for them? That's one of the stupidest non-Republican ideas I've heard in months. Guess what, folks, the White House already did scrub these documents and decided they should be classified. Plus, even if they wanted to protect the innocent at all costs to OpSec, doing Wikileaks' vet work for them would be tantamount to authorizing the release. Absurd, snotty, stupid, disrespectful & irresponsible.

There is simply no way to look at this that absolves Wikileaks of gross irresponsibility with legitimate secrets. The life of even one Afghan lost to this disclosure is too great a price to pay, and the fact that dozens of individuals who cooperated with coalition forces in the expectation that their identity would be protected may have been betrayed is shameful and stupid.

One's mileage may vary, but I've been getting vibes from Snowden from the beginning that put me in mind of this description of Wikileaks abusing its role as a self-appointed guardian of our alleged right to know secrets, and the "snotty, stupid, disrespectful & irresponsible" part of the label certainly fits. And I'm not particularly sympathetic that his quixotic dash to apparent self-immolation hasn't attracted him a coherent crowd of fanboys/fangirls of the sort that Asshat has enjoyed.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Heh. "life of even one Afghan lost to this disclosure"

mmghosh's picture

- that much concern for the life of One Afghan in the US?


You do know that Col Tunnell has not been charged for anything, in spite of such concern for Afghans?  I nearly forgot to mention that these same people were honourable allies with Space Shuttle flights being dedicated to them in the past.   

It is unlikely that Afghan security forces will be able to conduct independent operations with any degree of reliability because of a lack of technical skills. For example they do not have the ability to maintain vehicle fleets very well– most Afghans simply cannot drive.


Afghan military units– particularly small outposts, are bastions of filth. Rudimentary latrine facilities such as slit trenches are absent, even “cat holes” are unheard of. Afghans will select a room, if they are in a compound and use it for a latrine. If they are in an outdoor outpost, they defecate without measures to burn or discard the excrement.


Aberrant sexual behavior is acceptable… There is an acceptance of pedophilia that is widespread and boys are sometimes kidnapped. Leaders have been known to sexually assault male subordinates– even if sexual activity between males is consensual, it has implications for good order and discipline, which is why in many armies fraternization is not allowed.


NCOs cannot perform basic leadership and supply accountability functions well because they are largely illiterate. NCOs cannot manage clothing records for their illiterate soldiers, they cannot maintain weapons and equipment accountability if they cannot read a serial number, they cannot read an operations order for a tactical mission.


It is likely that even illiterate Afghans are aware of such views in the Coalition.  And the Afghans collaborating with the US would have a greater awareness of their situation after the Americans leave.  Most US collaborators can expect little mercy from the Taliban after they return in 2014.  Most will have already left by then, naturally.  




Regarding Tunnell, I'm not sure what he would or could


be charged with.  You got to have one of the four "C's", commit, condone, collaborate or cover-up in order to charge with a crime.  He sounds like a poor leader but there's nothing to suggest he's a criminal.  'Inattentiveness to administrative matters...' doesn't cut it and the lack of specificity sounds like it's a dud accusation.


In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

His letter is as perfect an example of psychopathy

mmghosh's picture

as far as I can see.


No doubt he has his admirers and supporters.  I can see similar psychopathy among the Taliban.  I guess the two deserve each other.

His letter had some fair points and was an accurate


description of the Afghan security forces when it was penned.  I think his critique of COIN as doctrine is overly broad but if read as a critique of COIN as implemented he's generally spot on.  I can't speak to his personal or professional experience with commonwealth forces.  The experience was obviously bad from his perspective and he's critical of the UK in particular.  He's got an opinion backed by experience even if it's biased, nothing psychopathic there.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Ok, psychopath was maybe too strong. But sociopath, certainly.

mmghosh's picture

This, I will remind you, is the CO of the Stryker Brigade writing - that was "forced" to follow Coalition ROE - that ended with soldiers under his command murdering civilians and collecting their fingers and ears as trophies.  


One can only guess at what the result would have been if he had been able to follow his own ROE.


His brief was - what again? ensure that civilians had freedom of movement comparable to the Taliban era - not in the immediate aftermath of hostilities, but 8 years later (he is writing in 2010)!  And that, he concludes, is not a reasonable criterion!  As for his tirade against the British, perhaps we can be thankful that there was some kind of restraint exerted on this sociopath (perhaps his co-Army men foisted him on the British?)


As for assessing the Afghan security services, the degree of lack of understanding of this sociopath is so remarkable that it does not even enter his analysis that Afghan Security Services are there to provide security for Afghans, not Americans, and against the Taliban.  What completely escapes his analysis is that the Afghan Security Services have the same level of skill, education, (and lack of Western toilet sensibilities) as the Taliban, and the Afghans that they are to protect.  For someone who is supposedly a military historian he omits to mention these very same toilet-challenged Afghan mujahideen stood up against a Soviet invasion force infinitely more brutal than the American one (remember they rolled tanks onto Afghan civilians) - an invasion force whose ROEs he would presumably have approved of.

During Gorbachev's first year in power—1985—more than half the country's peasants had their villages bombed. More than a quarter had their irrigation systems destroyed and their livestock killed by Communist soldiers.

His view that NCOs will not be able to perform basic leadership and accountability functions well because they are largely illterate borders on the ridiculous.  How on earth does he think the Taliban learn their "basic leadership and accountability functions?"  In fact the Coalition has, as we now know, failed to create a solid anti-Taliban Pushtun militia, paid, trained and accustomed to traditional techniques of order, command and control, yet trained to a level of discipline that would take them above the Taliban - and by encouraging (and paying) a class of opportunistic and corrupt Afghan politicians, failed to provide this army with a leadership that would inspire.  The British did a very different and lasting job with Gurkhas - as fractious and undisciplined (and toilet challenged) bunch as the Afghans. 

I think sociopath is wrong as well.


The coalition and Afghan govt has long determined that security in Afghanistan would require some sort of a professional Afghan police and military.  NATO is busting it's ass trying to develop that, I mean the institutional capacity specifically.  Tunnell is saying 'Ain't gonna happen, not with this lot.'  That's his opinion, he's entitled to it, he in a position to know and he has the agreement of a lot of others who are also in a position to know.  Though I think it's fair to state that the 2010 letter refers to 2009 conditions and may be dated.  You counter with the Gurkhas, not realizing that's a point in Tunnell's favor made obvious by the simple question 'Where are the Afghan Gurkhas?'

He's critical of the ROE?  He specifically was critical of the implementation and interpretation of the ROE but lacks specifics.  For all either of us know we could agree or disagree completely.  I'll say from personal experience that I've seen ROE that I totally agreed with but the policy that implements that ROE was a true work of idiocy. 

He had soldiers under his command commit war crimes.  For that matter, so did the UK General.  They are both responsible as commanders but when the general officer is responsible for RC-S and the Brigade commander has forces spread out over three provinces their respective abilities to influence squads and platoons is minimal.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

darth, you're right


Tunnell is saying 'Ain't gonna happen, not with this lot.'  



They are both responsible as commanders but when the general officer is responsible for RC-S and the Brigade commander has forces spread out over three provinces their respective abilities to influence squads and platoons is minimal.

darth, you're right. if the US command with their perfect toilet habits are so ill suited to command that they can't keep their forces from committing war crimes, what chances to afghans have?

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Nilsey, no command can commit thousands of troops


to active combat for over a decade and not expect war crimes.  It's not acceptable but has to be expected.

If you were to conclude that Tunnell's unit lacked discipline, was a reflection of his leadership and that he's unworthy of command of a brigade combat team I'd say there are plenty of facts to support the conclusion.  But if you're saying that his observations are somehow wrong or baseless I'd say the facts are against you.

You guys are both making light of toilet habits as though it's some flippant question of squirt vs wipe.  Tunnell is correct to point out that Afghan small unit leadership is so inept that it can't practice simple force protection measures like field hygiene.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

American officers contempt for Afghans filters through

mmghosh's picture

the ranks, and I would say even the most illiterate Afghan understands that Americans are contemptuous of them.


I finally understand today why Mr Reagan was called the Great Communicator. He knew it was important to make friends with Afghans by dedicating Columbia Space Shuttle flights to them.  He may never have been a soldier, but he knew very well that if you want to have men stand up to Russians with helicopter gunships and face real bullets and make infantry charges, the toilet habits of those men are irrelevant.  He made the even more illiterate and insanitary Afghans of 30 years ago fight for American interests, even though conservative Americans of his day have been as contemptuous of Afghans as those today.  


But I don't think the your Army understands these things any more.

It is Also Just a Practical Matter that The Afghan Troops Are...


....NOT, in most instances, equipped to handle the modern machineries of war or the necessities of their up keep.


The Colonel has paid highly for his insight which was largely correct.


There is no reason to leave any of these weapons of war behind to just rust...even if the Afghans bitch. Truth being truth.



The Taliban seem to be coping pretty well.

mmghosh's picture

I, too, suggest leaving modern machineries of war in Afghanistan is not a good idea.  But not for your reason.  


I think they would handle them rather well, but would rather turn them on us.  As you know, their handlers live in Pakistan.



their respective abilities to influence squads and platoons is minimal.

i dunno, i think war crimes oughtta be worth a little more than a "shrug, oh well...."

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Not sure where you get 'shrug, oh well...' from


I want to see war criminals punished but Tunnell isn't guilty of a crime.  His career was ended, making him infinitely more accountable than most employed in a comparable capacity in our government

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Assange is Not Snowden


Some key differences are that Assange did not discriminate at all, for one, and that Snowden was an NSA contractor who gave up his job and his home to do what he did.


Snowden has released nothing that could be creditably construed as "irresponsible". Nobody's been killed. Some people have been embarrassed, such as the Euro politicians who are busy being shocked, shocked that spying is going on here.


Snowden is also giving us yet another chance to see the sharp crocodile teeth behind Obama's change we can believe in.


It's good to be reminded of these things, and I thank Snowden for that. But, honestly, I think his cost-benefit result will turn out to be all cost and no benefit. Months and years from now he will be a footnote to us, and for that, his life is almost certainly ruined.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Go, Latin America!

mmghosh's picture

Although I did not expect Cristina Kirchner to take the lead on this issue.


Portugal one can understand, but France caved? 


Edit:  And now Spain and Italy, too.

I'm Curious About One Point


Did the Austrian authorities actually board the plane to look for Snowden? Would they be allowed under international law to do that without violating Bolivian sovereignty?


I am not surprised at the verbal reaction from Kirchner and other Latin Americans. I would, however, be quite surprised if ay of them actually put some backbone into those words by granting asylum to Snowden.


I expect, as in Europe, much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

This was clear enough to Larkin, whose patriotism rested on the notion that England was the worst place on earth with the possible exception of everywhere else.

Yes, Austrian Authorties did, Could They, Should They?


Austria searched #Morales plane at #Vienna airport, no stowaway found - Austrian Deputy Chancellor said. (Reuters) #Snowden


Now that the danger has been averted, Spain and France are Denying that they refused to allow Evo to use their national airspace...probably because they know how bad they look...shameful.


There should be logs of this shouldn't there be?


Best Wishes, Traveller

The statement I heard from the Austrians


was that everybody on board had a Bolivian passport. Which does open the possibility. But I doubt it. The Austrians are lapdogs.

And the Swiss?



The Swiss, as my mother would always say,


fly close to the ground.


A practical lot and under attack from both the US and Europe right now, I doubt they would offer asylum. I do note though, that of the nations on the flight path, they're the only ones not reported as having blocked the presidents plane. We also have no reports of Swiss airports being used in the rendition programs. 


So who knows, they're small and educated enough to understand their position but also exposed to a real direct democracy.



I noticed Switzerland wasn't on the list, but didn't realize they were the only country on the flight path that didn't block Morales's plane.


Of course Switzerland is superfluous if you have France, Italy, and Austria on board, but still. By that measure so was Spain and they still played ball with the US.

I read most of the comments. Where is the support for Snowden

mmghosh's picture

in the US international media from well known figures?


Kudos to Jurgen Trittin of the German Green Party.

Snowden blew the whistle on activities that threaten the very freedom our democracies are built on. If ever a case demonstrated why we need the protection of whistleblowers, this is it. Snowden should not have to rely on a cynical human rights violator such as Vladimir Putin. He should be given shelter in an EU country. Germany, as one of the countries targeted most by the NSA's programmes, should be among the first to offer him refuge.


Despite the fact that Angela Merkel today denied him asylum, in German law, section 22 of the residence act allows the federal government to grant a residence permit on urgent humanitarian grounds. The government can do so in order to uphold the political interests of the country. According to the law, a request for extradition – which the US might then seek – can be denied because of the political character of the criminal offence the person in question is accused of. Our laws enable us to do so, and Chancellor Merkel should act accordingly.

Ahh, An Escape Hatch?



Belkovsky suggested that Snowden might be waiting for the planned visit to Moscow of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has said his country is considering granting asylum to Snowden. Venezuela would also be a convenient transit point for Snowden if he were trying to reach Ecuador.

“To fly to Venezuela as part of the presidential entourage is the safest mode for Snowden to attempt an intercontinental trip,” Belkovsky said.

Maduro is expected in Moscow for his first official visit July 1-2.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Hamilton Burger Just Called A Certain Courtroom In Florida

M Scott Eiland's picture

"Man, you guys are bad at trying murder cases--and you don't even have Perry Mason on the other side as an excuse."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I'll just follow people around I have a totally great reason

brutusettu's picture

to believe they are committing a crime, then use some last ditch self defense efforts to defend myself with the lethal force I made possible to use by making sure the other person thought they were going to be the victim of a felony.



It would be a weird quirk in the law if:



  • lethal force is allowed if it's used to protect from lethal force.


  • But a person can reasonably appear to put someone else in a situation to legally use non-lethal self defense against the 1st person, and by the fact of that 1st person being armed, put that someone else in position to use lethal force, but that's all negated because that first person just thinks any black male using no hands cell phone on public sidewalk is suspicious because a person always calls the cops on them negated because two people can invoke non-lethal, then lethal self defense even when the 1st person put that someone else in a dangerous situation?



Don't track people in the night for using a no hands cell phone at night on public sidewalks while being black *fitting the description*.  The *suspect* might try to stop what they think is a forcible felony.

Naw I'm a gangsta...(Contents of Mr. Matin's Cell Phone)



Naw but he ain't breed (sic Bleed) nuf 4 me, only his nose...




This seems to demonstrate to me a young man with violent proclivities. He didn't deserve to die, but some bad-bad decisions on his part...that now seem inevitable considering the text messages in his cell phone.



Yeah, the gangsta part gets quickly forgotten


But the reality is that this whole thing about race has become a joke.  Edited tapes, 'WHITE hispanic', the whole thing was portrayed as a lynching by the media.  Zimmerman may very well be guilty of murder or manslaughter but I'm pretty disgusted at the assumption of his guilt because Martin was black.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

And The Willingness Of The MSM To Falsify Evidence. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .to push that agenda. If riots happen, there are journalists who will have blood on their hands from them and who need to be called out for it, even though they won't spend the time in prison they will deserve for it.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Call it dumb luck by the MSM then

brutusettu's picture

It's not like there were one armed 6'10" 400 people suspected of burglary and GZ was extremely suspicious of people close to that height and weight that were missing one arm.  Being a black male isn't much of a description in most towns.  GZ had a habit of calling the cops when he saw a black male.  It got to the point that he'd stake out in his truck when he saw a black male on a sidewalk (with no-hands cell phone in tow), and not in the bushes or taking *shortcuts*  near entry points, TM was on a sidewalk. boiling it down to Zimmerman thought TM was suspicious because he was black doesn't strike me as unforgivable sin.   *"If riots happen"* don't completely ignore the bale of hay and just focus on the final straw.


-If talking gang-sta stuff on the interweb, flipping off the camera, smoking dope while a teenager, and getting in a fight somewhere is huge thug stuff, then I had a number of thugs in the small few AP classes I took.  


-It depends if or when the jury thinks Trayvon doubled back after he Trayvon stopped fleeing as he was the whole time before. and made what is a reasonably assumption that GZ was going to commit a forcible felony upon Trayvon.

I've Been Meaning to Say this Also Re The Fatal Appointment....


....between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin...Oddly, to me at least, CNN and other news outlets cut away from showing what is being projected in the Courtroom...Trayvon's dead body.


Interestingly, dead, with ghastly all akimbo loss of motor control the body gone weirdly slack...Trayvon looks like a little boy. His innocence regained. Magic.


Whoever initiated the contact, GZ or TM, it is indisputable that TM at the end was wailing away on Mr. Zimmerman...and, and......


The bullet hole in Trayvon's body was so small, very little tissue damage at could this little pin-prick have killed him?!?


The trajectory was right though the heart, almost magically the bullet went right there and nowhere else.




brutusettu's picture

After it was difficult for Zimmerman to forgot he was armed to shop at Target, during one of the interrogations,  when trying to show the cops what he did when he says Trayvon approached him, Zimmerman reached for his hip where he had his gun, that was during his move to try and reenact what he said he did when trying to grab his phone.



The 14 Republican Senators who voted for immigration reform


Lamar Alexander (TN)

Kelly Ayotte (NH)

Jeff Chiesa (NJ)

Susan Collins (ME)

Bob Corker (TN)

Jeff Flake (AZ)

Lindsey Graham (SC)

Orrin Hatch (UT)

Dean Heller (NV)

John Hoeven (ND)

Mark Kirk (IL)

John McCain (AZ)

Lisa Murkowski (AK)

Marco Rubio (FL)


Most notably absent: Rand Paul.


Also notably absent: both senators from TX, whose state is slated to receive 10s of thousands of jobs and 10s of billions of new spending from the bill.

I Don't Like the Bill Anyhow...People in the Field Disagree with

(#305931) pretty strongly, and I have some legal time on the front lines of this debate. But I think it is just a money making opportunity for Immigration Law firms....and this is not a bad thing, but I tend to focus on the humans involved in this tangled system.


I don't like the me a bad law is worse than no law regarding immigration.


But people disagree with me on this.


Best Wishes, Traveller

"Rachel Jeantel was a train wreck as a witness."

M Scott Eiland's picture

Jeralyn Merritt is not impressed with star witness for the prosecution in the Zimmerman case:


Rachel Jeantel was a train wreck as a witness. She did not help the state's case. She exposed the manipulations of Team Crump. She was impeached on a few significant matters (see below the fold.) And she admitted multiple lies. It was cringe-worthy but you couldn't take your eyes off it.


Most strikingly, she made Trayvon Martin out to be the profiler of Zimmerman. She said (on direct exam no less by the prosecutor) that shortly after first spotting Zimmerman, Martin described Zimmerman to her as a "Crazy-a*s Cracker" and later, described Zimmerman a few times as "this ni*ga" (as in this ni*ga following him.) The two minute clip above is of Rachel and the prosecutor repeating creepy a*s cracker over and over as the court reporter struggles to make out what she's saying, Rachel explaining that creepy as* cracker means a white person, then and expressing concern the creepy guy might be a rapist.


Memo to Rick Scott: might be a good time to plan for deployment of the National Guard *before* the verdict comes down. Don't f**k up like Pete Wilson and wait until afterward.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Incorrect link above

brutusettu's picture

correct link



If I'm recalling correctly, Jeralyn is a defense attorney with a myopic defense attorney lens that that Jeralyn see's through.



Waiting for Jeralyn's take on Peter Pan if he takes the stand.



Also very important to whether OJ murdered 2 people is if Kato was a train wreck, very important.

Thanks For Fixing The Link

M Scott Eiland's picture

And when "train wreck" is polite shorthand for "the witness is a moron who was caught changing her story repeatedly and was surly about being called on it" then yes, it is signficant. Kato Kaelin was not the brightest human being in the world, but he was polite on the stand and consistent in his testimony--he aided the prosecution in the OJ criminal trial.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No Foolin`! The Worst Witness Evar!...


...I watched in horror much of her testimony yesterday. My one regret is that I was in Court this morning and so missed the finishing of Don West's Cross Examination.


I might also note that Mr. West has made a bunch of missteps himself and, unlike O`Mara, I don't like his style much either.


Here she is today.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Finally! The IRS scandal comes to light.


Lying under oath. Conspiracy. Politicization. Trouble is, it's all between the Republican appointed IG, and Republican Darrell Issa's office, who are now pointing fingers at each other. D'oh!

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Worst. Opposition. Ever.


WOE is an excellent acronym for today's GOP.


But count your blessings - at least our youth hate them.

Aquaducts and roads are among the things that

brutusettu's picture

spontaneously sprout up when the Confidence Fairy comes around.

Fun profile


Gradually, though, the symbolism that drew him to the giant corporate firm ran dry.

“If I had to do that one more day I was going to jump out the window,” Greenwald said. “I knew that I didn’t want to be representing rich people. I wanted to be suing them.”

Scalia made a monumental, incredible a$$ of himself today


It's not entirely his fault that the Court calendar juxtaposed his opinions w/in a single 24-hr. period, but he did write a hysterical denunciation of the majority who struck down the Defense Of Marriage Act while signing onto an opinion that lead with its chin in striking down the Voting Rights Act.



This image of the Court would have been unrecognizable to those who wrote and ratified our national charter.



Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.



The “judicial Power” is not, as the majority believes, the power “to say what the law is" ... giving the Supreme Court the “primary role in determining the constitutionality of laws.”



As we put it a short time ago, “the Act imposes current burdens and must be justified by current needs.”



I think that this Court has, and the Court of Appeals had, no power to decide this suit. ...
declaring the compatibility of state or federal laws with the Constitution is not only not the “primary role” of this Court, it is not a separate, free-standing role at all.



[Congress's] failure to act leaves us today with no choice but to declare §4(b) unconstitutional. 

It's not like Scalia is alone in writing blatantly inconsistent rhetoric in his briefs (Roberts joined him today, for instance), but (i) he had a clue about the general calendar of the Court and (ii) he nevertheless took the opportunity to read his DOMA dissent from the bench the day after the Voting's Right Act ruling was announced.  


Scalia made a real a$$ of himself today, exposing himself as unconcerned or unaware that his Federalism and deference to legislative bodies are not, despite his fevered tone, particularly consistent or predominant.

I rather like this quote


the inescapable reality, one that Scalia appreciates as well as anyone, [is] that what the Supreme Court does has always been and must remain a delicate blend of principle and politics.


Laurence Tribe

When Erick Erickson and Paul Krugman collide


This doesn't happen very often, but high amounts of energy are released when it does. 

The country is broke, Washington has a spending problem


which is why the GOP insisted on:


About $46 billion in border security ... added on Wednesday to a comprehensive immigration bill ...

$46 billion over 10 years, it's to keep 'em out,

brutusettu's picture

which is close to equal to the surely sound accounting medical cost for roughly the same period.  And that latter cost is just tooooo high.




Adding about 20,000 more federal border agents stood out.


20k more federal agents that need firearms training/testing.    Any Congressman that were totally concerned about the federal government buying munition in bulk, that would also support the 20k extra border agents?

Huckabee misspeaks on behalf of God


Huckabee tweets:


5 people in robes said they are bigger than the voters of CA and Congress combined. And bigger than God. May He forgive us all.


Mike! We know you aren't uniquely and personally channeling God, b/c God is omnipotent. 


If He'd really wanted DOMA upheld he could've just hardened Kennedy's heart.


Don't speak on behalf of God when you don't even understand the concept.

"Hardening His Heart"

M Scott Eiland's picture

I have to admit, when I read Exodus for the first time and read that wording regarding Pharoah's decision to go back on his word repeatedly regarding the Israelites, I quietly came to the conclusion that Jehovah was a bit of a p***k. Later on, I concluded that--assuming for this purpose that the events in Exodus happened as portrayed if not necessarily with all the stated attitudes and motivations of the players--either Jehovah and/or His biographer *really* wanted to portray Himself as a mean so and so, even if it meant taking blame/credit for Pharaoh being suicidally stubborn in the face of overwhelmingly superior opposition.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

All pre-Christian religions had discipline IMO

mmghosh's picture

- a bad act had consequences which needed to be paid for, whether one was righteous afterwards for evermore afterwards.  Which is why bad things continued to happen as payback, even unto the seventh generation.


This Christian get-out-of-jail-free card of "I am the Resurrection and the Life" etc is only superficially attractive (Islam's simplification of this by merely uttering la ilaha il-Allah, without even having to go through a baptism/confirmation process is an even less attractive process).

I co-taught a course on the philosophy of religion


with a Jewish professor last semester, which was a uniquely interesting experience. 


One thing that surprised me was how readily he was willing to give up the idea that God was omnibenevolent, saying that this just didn't seem particularly central to his notion of God or the Old Testament.

Anyone Who Read The Old Testament. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .and came up with "omnibenevolent" as a term for describing Him probably needs a vocabulary boost. I suspect that if one was in a position to ask Him, even He would readily admit to having some personality traits that would not be considered positive if manifested by an ordinary mortal. Of course, *most* traditional religions featured deities who were often far more unpleasant than even Jehovah in a "wipe that tribe out to the last man" or "bears, tear those kids to pieces for mocking my prophet" mood.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I'm no historian


God (and AndrewSshi) knows.


But being perfectly good has been assumed to be a property of God for many centuries amongst Christians, and "all loving" is fairly canonical even among ordinary believers (at least as far as I know).


This property does create issues when considering the Problem of Evil or Mike Hukabee's tweets.

I Like, "Omnibenevolent." Im Going to Steal it...


...that's what you get for leaving such a shiny pretty thing laying around like this unattended.


"It's my Precious."


What the heck, a gift back...(though don't expect this every time I steal something!)


My Moon is Oblong (as is my heart)


Best Wishes, Traveller





I dunno, Catchy. Omnibenevolent? I don't think


I'd have used that term.  The more important question I'd like to know is after telling Adam and Eve to refrain from doing only one thing, then they go do it, is it possible that God's initial reaction started out with an 'I damnit!!!!'

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Question on the DOMA vs. VRA cases


I'm just reading superficial news reports, but the DOMA and VRA cases seem in tension.


5 Conservative justices embrace federalism and strike down part of a congressional law in the ruling on the VRA.


Meanwhile 4 conservative justices disavow federalism and complain about striking down a congressional law when attempting to uphold DOMA.


Is there actually an inconsistency here or is it just on the surface?

If There Is. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .it applies to the liberals for their mirrored takes (and Justice Kennedy, who as always is quite the "special" case).

If I understand the state of the law as it stands after this decision, a gay married couple could file their federal incom taxes as married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, but couldn't in a state that doesn't (because that part of DOMA has not (yet) been invalidated). I'm sure that won't lead to any problems.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Kennedy especially


And I could've flipped the question to be about the liberals.


but actually I'm less sure about them, since federalism was only one component for striking down DOMA in Kennedy's opinion, and might've been his reasoning alone.


Perhaps the liberals based their decision essentially on e.g. denial of due process in striking down DOMA but didn't think that warranted striking down the VRA. In which case that wouldn't be an inconsistency.

Barnett's summary of the DOMA ruling


I found this helpful:


Here is the logic of [Kennedy's] opinion:



1. The definition and regulation of the right to marry is traditionally the province of states (and is not among the enumerated powers of Congress.  (“The recognition of civil marriages is central to state domestic relations law applicable to its residents and citizens.” [17])

2. When it enacted DOMA Congress was demonstrably intending to and did interfere with this traditional function of states to define and regulate the right to marry by raising the cost to same-sex couples of being married under state law.  (“DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect” [20]).

3. Therefore, the Court will use heightened scrutiny to evaluate the rationality of DOMA’s imposed definition of marriage (“ In determining whether a law is motived by an improper animus or purpose, ‘[d]iscriminations of an unusual character’ especially require careful consideration.”).

4. This unusual deviation from the past practice of respecting state law definitions of marriage was improperly motivated by animus.  (“The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.” [21)

The Sobbing You Hear. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is from the network executives who are contemplating the ratings hit now that both Nadal and now Sharapova have exited Wimbledon before the third round.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

And It Gets Worse

M Scott Eiland's picture

Roger Federer upset in second round match--his earliest exit in a Grand Slam tournament in *ten* years.

Yikes. If Serena decides to have a bad match early on, the ratings for this edition of Wimbledon will be MSNBCesque.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

While I normally find


the high decibel grunts emitted by elite women's tennis players annoying, for some reason the ones coming from Maria don't seem to bother me as much.

Interesting Phenomenon

M Scott Eiland's picture

Let's test it:

Yep, much less annoying.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

For your guilty listening pleasure


White House Has Not Responded Despite Pardon Petition Gaining



...more than 112,000 signatures  for Mr. Snowden.


The petition requests "a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he [Snowden] has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs," and refers to him as a "national hero."


Brave I might be, But I have not signed the Petition...which incidentally requires a formal WH response after 100,000 signatures.


I wait with open curiosity for a formal White House Response.


Best Wishes, Traveller

Greenwald on David Gregory's question


of whether Greenwald should be charged with a felony for "aiding and abetting" Snowden:



Greenwald said that his being outside the “D.C.-New York media axis,” and having criticized a number of top journalists over the years, contributes to why some high-profile journalists are questioning his NSA coverage.


“[I] just don’t accept or abide by the conventions and pieties that govern how they think journalists should behave,” Greenwald said. “I don’t pretend that I have no opinions. I don’t pretend that I want to be a part of what it is they’re doing or have respect for it. I don’t. I think that actually establishment media circles have been pretty corrupted. It isn’t just that I’m expressing opinions, but it's specifically the kind of opinions I’m expressing have placed me outside their incestuous circle.”



Pretty satisfying response. Glenn Greenwald is a mensch.


Gregory Kind Of Walked Into That One

M Scott Eiland's picture

Exactly what response was he expecting to get to that question? Funny how Greenwald's pointing out the douchey behavior of the MSM is treated with so much more reverence than similar observations from conservatives, though--GG isn't saying anything new to those who have been paying attention.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

So let's see the conservative journalists


doing the kind of investigative reporting that Greenwald is doing, and during a Democratic administration no less.


The conservative critique of the MSM is that it's too liberal, not that it's in general corrupted by political power by both parties.


Was there any high profile dissident conservative journalism similar to Greenwald's during the Bush administration? Not that I recall.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Because an economically distressed nation is per se not at all a military threat, regardless of their past or present behavior or rhetoric.

The last sentence of the first quoted paragraph is correct--Iran's behavior (including active exporting and sponsorship of regional terrorism) has been a valid reason for seeking regime change in Iran almost since the nutcases took over in 1979.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

One cannot be strong and weak simultaneously.

mmghosh's picture

I take it you mean that the Iranian regime appears to be weak, but has some kind of inner strength?  This is both myth-making and mystical.

Not at all.

Bernard Guerrero's picture

See below, Scott is at least potentially (pun intended) correct.

Evidence helps. And no, manufacturing a combined threat

mmghosh's picture

of Iran, Taliban and al-Qaeda acting in concert isn't actually evidence of anything.

Straw Man

M Scott Eiland's picture

One only has to glance in the direction of the Korean peninsula to note the existence of a nation that is simultaneously an economic basket case (far worse than Iran) and yet capable of killing millions of innocent people should it choose to lash out.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The USSR in the 1980s


looked like it was on the rise as well. Red Army on the march in Afghanistan, Nicaragua falling under Moscow's influence, and some powerful communist insurgencies throughout Latin America, to say nothing of the continued presence of the Red Army in Eastern Europe.


And it turned out that the USSR's economy was in free-fall and that the Communist Party had almost zero legitimacy among the people of the USSR and eastern Europe.


The point being that an economically dysfunctional basket case with a declining sense of legitimacy might still be able to project power by devoting a disproportional amount of its resources to the military and to exercising foreign influence, but that hardly counts as rising power.

This still conflates....

Bernard Guerrero's picture

....wealth & economic growth (or lack thereof) with immediate influence and power-projection. 


1) States that are poor on a per capita basis (i.e. North Korea & Pakistan) can still collect and deploy enough surplus to create impressive stuff like nukes. You can think of a small, low HP motor that can be geared to produce impressive torque but low speed; the gearing allows you to accomplish a trade-off.  It may be a poor trade-off in terms of stuff you care about as opposed to what Kim Jong-un cares about, but it it is obviously possible. In particular, you may be trading longer-run growth for short-run military capabilities, which is typically what everybody in a big shooting war is doing by mobilizing for tank production, etc.


2) As you note in the last sentence, the fact that you can project power in the near term doesn't mean that you'll have greater influence in the long term.  This does not, however, either lessen your immediate ability to project power or even guarantee that your long run trajectory will be negative.  You could even, ala states going to full mobilization during a hot conflict, gamble on drastically under-investing in the short-run in the expectation of winning a conflict that will let you dictate a much more favorable outcome later.


3) There's a bit of a chicken-and-egg issue.  Iran is suffering economically at least in part based on external sanctions, but that does not logically lend itself to an argument that Iran can't be a threat because it is suffering economically.  The sanctions are a method of applying pain in order to dissuade specific activities on the part of the governing regime, but that doesn't mean that the regime is unwilling to bear said pain (particularly when it falls outside of the elite) in order to accomplish its goals anyway, nor does it speak at all to the situation that would obtain if and when the sanctions no longer exist.


4) Speaking to the last, the specific danger in Iran's case (and this held true for Iraq but does not hold for NK) is that it sits on a huge supply of a highly demanded and largely fungible commodity, which is a source of large potential power.  Again falling back on a physical analogy, a suspended object several thousand feet up in the air may have vast PE (potential energy) despite at the moment having no KE (kinetic energy) worth mentioning.  The trick is that the one can be converted to the other fairly rapidly.

The US is intervening in the Saudi-Iran conflict on the Saudi

mmghosh's picture

side, probably because the Saudis have better access to the various lobby groups that need to be paid.  


Iran has not invaded any of its neighbours in the past 60, or even 100 years - unlike US allies or antagonists Israel, Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Pakistan, the USA itself and so forth.  


The point of empiricism is evaluation of actual data.  The concept of Iran as a major regional existential "threat" is, to my mind, suspiciously like the fake "opinion" created by our old friends Trevino, Domenech et al.  Paid opinions are probably more likely than freeform myth-making or mysticism.

side note:

brutusettu's picture

 It's nice to see that Howard Dean et al *no longer* support a terrorist group in Iran.


M Scott Eiland's picture

They're just a bunch of fluffy little bunnies, with fluffy little bunny friends in Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I suppose all empires


get there at some point.

Not remotely similar. The situation in Korea is unresolved

mmghosh's picture

primarily because China is behind NK - maybe not so solidly now as before.  Iran has no comparable backer.


It might have been better to take the example of our neighbour as a weak, but nuclearised state.  Why is the IAEA (or the USA) not taking out those actual nuclear weapons, which might much more credibly land in the hands of extremists linked to attacks on the continental USA?  Maybe because nuclear weaponisation is not relevant?

Iran's power is on the rise!!

brutusettu's picture

But their employment and living standards are suffering terribly due to sanctions? 



More sanctions, it's the only prudent thing to do.