War’s Critics Abetting Terrorists, Cheney Says

article on the Washington Post:

“They can’t beat us in a stand-up fight — they never have — but they’re absolutely convinced they can break our will, [that] the American people don’t have the stomach for the fight,” Cheney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The vice president said U.S. allies in Afghanistan and Iraq “have doubts” the United States will finish the job there. “And those doubts are encouraged, obviously, when they see the kind of debate that we’ve had in the United States,” he said. “Suggestions, for example, that we should withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq simply feed into that whole notion, validates the strategy of the terrorists.”

The person validating the strategy of the terrorists is you, Mr. Cheney, by inducing panic and fearmongering while eroding the foundations of freedom and the civil rights of U.S. citizens, none of which makes us safer from terrorists, but all of which plays into your personal political agenda (and coincidentally lines your pockets at the same time.)

Continue ReadingWar’s Critics Abetting Terrorists, Cheney Says

Chemist on the implausibility of the chemical bomb

I knew an analysis like this one would come along sooner or later — a chemist examines the implausibility of taking a chemical bomb on board an airplane and actually having a “successful” event with it. He believes it’s pretty implausible — for a liquid substance especially, because of the instabilities of the liquids. But he does throw out some examples of other types of “bombs” that could be constructed, including clothing bombs, to illustrated why restricting these things are examples of security, but rather “security theater” — acting like there’s a security procedure to either calm fears, or more likely, to keep people in a state of panic.
My point from the very first message I posted about the current terrorist “plot” was that the first things they should be providing us is real detail about what the incident is, so that we can decide on our own how to react to it. Tell us who the target was, what they plot was, and what weapons they were using, rather than having government officials say things like “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.” (Yes, that came from the government, not the media. Although the media was irresponsible enough to repeat as a headline in 30 or 40 outlets.)
Some local folks cited the recent examples of “chemical bombs” found in Fishers as examples of why this is a legitimate threat — but I discounted that early on. The teenagers who built them had a lab of some sort to do it in; they weren’t mixing the bomb on location where it would be unstable. And the power of the bombs wasn’t large enough. They could hurt someone, but they couldn’t even blow apart a mailbox, so they’d hardly take down a plane.
While I don’t think the teenagers should be encouraged to do that sort of thing, I don’t think calling the Department of Homeland Security on them is appropriate either. I can imagine some of our antics as teenagers in the current day — we had some backyard ballistics back then that would have caused a SWAT Team to show up nowadays, and we had nothing but benign intentions for them.

Continue ReadingChemist on the implausibility of the chemical bomb

Terrorists Plotting

And this funny is from today’s Wondermark comic:

Liquids on a Plane comic

See all the panels on his site.

Because keeping grandma from Illinois from carrying her water bottle on the plane is really gonna stop some terrorist activity. Also banning executives from carrying laptops and books on the plane, too, which are part of the air restrictions in Europe. How about just keeping the terrorists from carrying gatorade bottles on the plane, and leaving grandma alone? The level of this is absurd, and the level at which people are willing to accept this absurdity is really scary.

Yeah, if books continue to be banned on planes, (I guess all of us terrorists like to read?) I’m going to be taking a boat to Europe next year, for sure. If there’s one thing you don’t want when you’re trying to keep the peace, it’s me without something to read.

And speaking of boats and terrorist plots — am I the only one with any imagination at all, or is the plane thing totally played out? There are so many easier ways to cause mass destruction than dealing with all the restrictions at airports. Why are they bothering with that?

And here’s a big funny: Gary Welsh says “But our friends on the left are not in the least bit grateful” regarding the intelligence work the UK (sorry, no real US involvement there) did in “thwarting the plot.” What exactly am I supposed to be grateful for? No one’s trying to blow me up. I can see where people in London who might get on the target planes would be grateful, but what does that have to do with me? As far as I can see, the only person keeping me safe these days is me. On the other hand, the government is doing a fine job of inconveniencing me, which I’m not inclined to be grateful for, unlike Gary.

Continue ReadingTerrorists Plotting

“mass murder on an unimaginable scale”

WTF does that mean? Seriously. I’m reading this article on the latest “terror plot” from the BBC News, and UK Officials are providing absolutely no details whatsoever about what the plot actually was, how close it came to being implemented, what kinds of weapons were involved — nothing, but hyperbole and jacked up security regulations. Details, people, please.
After the last “terror plot” to blow up the Sears Tower, which turned out to be nothing more than some guys sitting around shooting the shit and the White House using a bull session as a excuse to wag the dog, there should be some more damned information released than this if they want to claim a plot would cause “mass murder on an unimaginable scale.”
The only unimaginable scale I can think of for mass murder is the holocaust. Somehow I doubt this terror plot was going to blow up six million people. They say the targets were “as many as 10” aircraft. While that’s very serious, I can still imagine it happening. I don’t think it actually would happen, (I don’t think that many terror organizations really have those kinds of resources) and if it did, I’d be more inclined to vote out the current government than keep it. They fact that they claim this plot came within days of being implemented — that means our government and the UK’s aren’t doing their job. Time to get them out of there and put in some people who will actually implement all the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations.
Seriously, I’m predicting this is all bullshit whipped up by the U.K. on behalf of their buddy Bush because Leiberman lost the primary. (Let me clarify that — I don’t think they’re constructing a terrorist plot out of whole cloth to scare us. I think they’re making a mountain out of a molehill, and that we’re not really in any danger.)
Come on, news media. Prove me wrong. I hope you do.
UPDATE: Sure enough, there’s the Tail Wagging the Dog. And people are reporting that Bob Orr mentioned on The Early Show this morning that the Bush knew about this plot for days. If so, why wait until now to change the security regulations? Why not secure the airlines several days ago to protect passengers? Because Lieberman didn’t lose several days ago.
And in case you were thinking of commenting some stupid shit, before you do: What she said.

Continue Reading“mass murder on an unimaginable scale”

What the NSA Data Mining really means

Graphpaper.com has an interesting series of articles on what the real implications of the NSA datamining program really are for average Americans and their privacy and freedom from government abuse. The polls are showing that people seem unconcerned about data mining — until they actually have data mining explained to them, and they start to realize exactly how vulnerable to abuse they are as a result.

NSA Data Mining 1: If you aren’t against it, then you don’t really understand it.

NSA Data Mining 2: So you think you have nothing to hide?

NSA Data Mining 3: Wiretaps? Maybe not. Stakeouts? Definitely.

NSA Data Mining 4: Total Information Awareness, Resurrected

One of the major points he illustrates is that even if you’re innocent, you can get caught up in a government investigation if anyone arround you is suspicious — and he’s got some social networking charts to show you exactly what that could mean.

Continue ReadingWhat the NSA Data Mining really means

The Handmaid’s Tale springs to life?

According to the Washington Post:

Forever Pregnant
Guidelines: Treat Nearly All Women as Pre-Pregnant
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves — and to be treated by the health care system — as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.
Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

Combine that with this information from the New York Times:

Wider Use of DNA Lists Is Urged in Fighting Crime
The F.B.I.’s DNA database can now be searched only for exact matches to DNA found at crime scenes. But with slight modifications, it could be searched for close relatives of whoever left the DNA.
“Genetic surveillance would thus shift from the individual to the family,” the scientists, Frederick R. Bieber and David Lazer, say in an article in today’s issue of Science.

And then there’s this interesting information about the company providing data-mining to the Federal Goverment:

The leader in the field of what is called “data mining,” is a company, formed in 1997, called, “ChoicePoint, Inc,” which has sucked up over a billion dollars in national security contracts.
You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration. Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans — and I know they’ve expanded their ops at an explosive rate.

The company publicly denied they gave DNA to the Feds — but then told our investigator, pretending to seek work, that ChoicePoint was “the number one” provider of DNA info to the FBI.

All I can say is, you’re on some dangerous ground, Federal Government.

Continue ReadingThe Handmaid’s Tale springs to life?

The NSA has your phone records

I’m sure you’ve heard the news, but in case you haven’t — as USA Today and hundreds of other media outlets are reporting, several major phone companies, including AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, turned over all of their customer phone records to the NSA — affecting tens of millions of Americans.
They turned over ALL their records — not just records of people who had contact with terrorists. They turned over your records. They turned over mine. The government has a massive database of all of your phone calls.
And the bullshit response they’re coming out with about why this is all okay is that they’re not actually tapping anyone’s phones (that we know of) but just looking at who you made calls to and who you received calls from. So, yeah, that’s supposed to be alright.
Um, no. Who I call and who calls me is NONE OF THE GOVERMENT’S F$%#ING BUSINESS.
If this is not a clear message to you that our government is out of control, and we need to clean house in both congress and the White House, then you’re either not paying attention, or you just to sad for words.

Continue ReadingThe NSA has your phone records

Bush illegal spying finds nothing of value

According to the Washington Post:

Intelligence officers who eavesdropped on thousands of Americans in overseas calls under authority from President Bush have dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat, according to accounts from current and former government officials and private-sector sources with knowledge of the technologies in use.
Bush has recently described the warrantless operation as “terrorist surveillance” and summed it up by declaring that “if you’re talking to a member of al Qaeda, we want to know why.” But officials conversant with the program said a far more common question for eavesdroppers is whether, not why, a terrorist plotter is on either end of the call. The answer, they said, is usually no.
Fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or residents a year, according to an authoritative account, have aroused enough suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls, as well. That step still requires a warrant from a federal judge, for which the government must supply evidence of probable cause.

The point people seem to be overlooking — who is actually looking at this data? There are thousands of people in the NSA and Bush White House who have been looking at this data gathered — data about you! Make no mistake, even if you’re not on the list of suspects, your data has been gathered up and looked at in the course of this investigation. How do you know they people looking at your data are honest? How do you know they’re not selling your credit card number? Who’s watching the watchers?
UPDATE: Don’t believe your data is caught up in the NSA dragnet?

Continue ReadingBush illegal spying finds nothing of value

Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure

Defective Yeti writes a hilarious text adventure game similar to the classic Zork, only you’re George Bush. Naturally, you’re pretty stupid.

Iraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure
Revision 88 / Serial number 54892
Oval Office
You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.
There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.
What do you want to do now?
You are not able to do that, yet.
Self-reflection is not your strong suit.
It’s not that kind of seal.
They are two several chairs arranged around the center of the room, along with two couches. Under one couch you find Clinton’s shoes.
You are unable to fill Clinton’s shoes.

Continue ReadingIraqi Invasion: A Text Misadventure

Bush Asks for Google Users Personal Search Information

And if the last story wasn’t enough to make want to laugh and cry at the same time, try this one: not content with fumbling the ball in Iraq and listening in on you while you talk to your family members in England, the Bush Administration is demanding Google’s search records, according to numerous news sources, including the Mercury News.

The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases.
The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches.
In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Jose, Justice Department lawyers revealed that Google has refused to comply with a subpoena issued last year for the records, which include a request for 1 million random Web addresses and records of all Google searches from any one-week period.
The Mountain View-based search and advertising giant opposes releasing the information on a variety of grounds, saying it would violate the privacy rights of its users and reveal company trade secrets, according to court documents.
Nicole Wong, an associate general counsel for Google, said the company will fight the government’s effort “vigorously.”‘
“Google is not a party to this lawsuit, and the demand for the information is overreaching,” Wong said.

Continue ReadingBush Asks for Google Users Personal Search Information