Failcascade

Endgame ahead

USA: Raisin confiscation

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WTF of the day, courtesy of the USDA…


hat-tip to reason.com

Written by mo

July 18th, 2013 at 6:30 pm

Posted in United States

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Big brother, French Edition

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Since nowadays everybody is doing it, why not go with the flow and spy on your citizen? That’s probably what the French external intelligence agency was thinking when they started monitoring the French public’s phone calls, emails and social media activities in France and abroad. And it only costs a measly 600-something million Euros as well, what a bargain!

France’s external intelligence agency spies on the French public’s phone calls, emails and social media activity in France and abroad, the daily Le Monde said on Thursday.

[…]

“All of our communications are spied on,” wrote Le Monde, which based its report on unnamed intelligence sources as well as remarks made publicly by intelligence officials.

“Emails, text messages, telephone records, access to Facebook and Twitter are then stored for years,” it said.

Source: Reuters / Le Monde

So where do we stand now? United States, check. Britain, check. France, check. Soon to come: Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada, … And of course pretty much self explanatory: China, Russia and all the smaller dictatorships sprinkled around the globe.

Turns out George Orwell was just off by a couple years.

Written by mo

July 4th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Europe

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UN secretary Ban Ki-moon condems Snowden

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Just in case anyone is in dire need for another reason to dislike the UN…

The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden misused his right to digital access and has created problems that outweigh the benefits of public disclosure, the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has said.
Source: The Guardian

Created problems that outweigh the benefits? What the… ?
Problems for whom exactly? A government that violates their own constitution by spying on each and everyone of their people, violating basic human rights by indiscriminately spying on millions of “foreigners” around the world and basically not giving a shit about any other nation on the planet if they please?

Ban said that in his personal opinion “the Snowden case is something I consider to be misuse.” The UN chief added that the opening up of digital communications should not be “misused in such a way as Snowden did”.

No shit he misused his access privileges to inform the public about what currently looks like the biggest violation of people’s rights in the US for at least some decades. How else would you get that information out? Ask nicely and hope you don’t get shot or sent to some secret prison, never to be seen again?

Oh well, I guess as a former South Korean minister of foreign affairs he either has his head so far up the United States ass, that he stopped thinking for himself or they quite a bit of dirt on him so he doesn’t dare to speak up. Either way, what a disgrace… One would expect the secretary general of the United Nations to at least have a backbone and convictions.

Written by mo

July 3rd, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Posted in United States

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US government lost contract signed by Bradley Manning, rests its case

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In a giant snafu that’s typical of goverments and big corporations alike, the US government apparently managed to “mislay” the standard contract signed by Bardley Manning. And it only took until the fifth week of the trial, three years since his arrest to figure this out… during the cross-examination of a prosecution witness no less!

The most embarrassing admission was that the Army had mislaid the standard contract Manning signed that laid out the terms of his access to classified information upon deployment to Iraq.

In defence cross-examination of a prosecution witness, it was revealed that the government had lost one copy of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that Manning had signed and had routinely burned a second copy filled out by the soldier and all other members of his unit. The document is important as it clarifies whether or not the soldier exceeded the terms of the authorised access to secret documents through his work computer that he directly agreed to.

Source: The Guardian

At the same time Nobel Peace Price winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire is nominating Manning for his work to help end the Iraq War and other conflicts.

Around the world, Manning is hailed as a peacemaker and a hero. His nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is a reflection of this. Yet at his home in America, Manning stands trial for charges of espionage and “aiding the enemy”. This should not be considered a refutation of his candidacy – rather, he is in good company.

If the Nobel Committee had any decency (and balls) left they’d strip the EU and Barack Obama of their respective prices and award them to Manning, Snowden and Assange. And while we wait for that to happen, let’s see if maybe hell will freeze over…

Written by mo

July 3rd, 2013 at 11:02 pm

Posted in United States

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Egypt: Military coup

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Morsi ArmyWell, it was / wasn’t fun while is lasted but it looks like Mursi is no longer in power and the military has (once again) taken over in Egypt.

Egypt state-run Al-Ahram quotes presidency source saying the army told Mursi at 7 p.m. (1700 gmt) that he was no longer president

In a speech on state TV defense minister Abdelfatah Al-Seesi announced the suspension of the constitution and said that a government of technocrats will be formed.

Written by mo

July 3rd, 2013 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Middle East

Tagged with ,

Egypt: Reverse Arab Spring

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In a turn of events that no one could have predicted (hint: sarcasm) it looks like it took just about two years for the new regime to fail as well and Mohamed Mursi will most likely soon go the same way as his predecessor Hosni Mubarak.

According to Reuters:

CAIRO (Reuters) – President Mohamed Mursi clung to office on Tuesday after rebuffing an army ultimatum to force a resolution to Egypt’s political crisis, and the ruling Muslim Brotherhood sought to mass its supporters to defend him.

But the Islamist leader looked increasingly isolated, with ministers resigning, the liberal opposition refusing to talk to him and the armed forces, backed by millions of protesters in the street, giving him until Wednesday to agree to share power.

In a defiant 2 a.m. statement, Mursi’s office said the president had not been consulted before the armed forces chief-of-staff set a 48-hour deadline for a power-sharing deal and would pursue his own plan for national reconciliation.

Newspapers across the political spectrum saw the military ultimatum as a turning point. “Last 48 hours of Muslim Brotherhood rule,” the opposition daily El Watan declared. “Egypt awaits the army,” said the state-owned El Akhbar.

Overall the whole “Arab Spring” of 2011 seems to be one giant clusterfuck with no end in sight. At least no peaceful, orderly end establishing democratic legitimized forms of government for Egypt, Libya, Syria or any other of the affected countries in the region. Quite to the contrary, the uprisings and demonstrations are spreading to neighboring countries like Turkey and Europe’s bottomless money-pit called Greece.

Written by mo

July 2nd, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Posted in Middle East,Uprisings

Tagged with ,

What does it take to get tortured for testimony?

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Just a quick reminder how far down the slippery slope of becoming a totalitarian banana-republic the United States has gone… Courtesy of ReasonTV

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2GUeE-JRMI]

In September 2012, KteeO and her colleague, Matthew Duran, were imprisoned and sent to solitary confinement at Seattle Federal Detention Center for refusing to testify in front of a grand jury. They weren’t being tried for any crime, but refused to testify because of their political ideals.

[…]

What heinous crime could justify the use of solitary confinement to get KteeO and Matt to cooperate?
In this case, it was a few acts of vandalism during a May Day protest last year.

[…]

“If you’re not willing to cooperate with a grand jury’s investigation, no matter how illegitimate it seems, you can go to jail for a very long time,” says Kaplan, “and not just to jail, but it seems that the Bureau of Prisons can put you in solitary confinement for extended periods without having to justify its decision to anyone. And this could happen to any US citizen.”

Written by mo

July 2nd, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Posted in United States

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Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

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Via Wikileaks, the first statement of by now world-famous NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden – currently in exile in Moscow Airport. Dishing out another giant fuck-you to the Obama administration and US politics in general by soberly stating nothing but simple facts…

Statement from Edward Snowden in Moscow

Monday July 1, 21:40 UTC

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic “wheeling and dealing” over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America has been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised — and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

Monday 1st July 2013

Written by mo

July 1st, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Posted in United States

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Gold, Korea and bombs in Boston

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That’s quite a day today. First the price of gold continued to tumble, falling from around $1600 an ounce a couple days ago to 1360 as of now – the fastest, most violent and mostly unexplained drop in precious metals since about 30 years or so.

Later today, another threat of (nuclear) war from still-crazy North Korea, proclaiming:

N. KOREA SAYS RETALIATORY ACTION TO START WITHOUT NOTICE
N. KOREA TO START MILITARY ACTIONS IMMEDIATELY

Of course, today is also former “president” Kim Il-sung birthday and at least according to The Guardian there are for some reason no parades and other festivities. Since NK is kinda famous for their stupidly pompous parades and show of military force, there might actually be something to it… So let’s wait and see.

And a few moments later, reports come in from multiple explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line. Multiple dead, dozens wounded, chaos everywhere and half the US is once again shitting their pants they might be under some kind of terrorist attack. Than again, I guess 2-3 bombs set off during a public event like this make it a terrorist attack.

Now… is it homegrown terrorism by some lone wolf, a group of American nutjobs, the usual suspects from the middle east doing it for religious reasons or maybe it was actually a state-sponsored attack? An asymmetric kick-off by North Korea? Let’s wait and see – I just hope it isn’t the last one.

Written by mo

April 15th, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Federal Reserve leaks minutes early to “special” groups

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The farce formerly known as market stooped to a new low today… Apparently the (usually highly anticipated) minutes of the latest Federal Reserve meeting were sent early to various groups of people in need for preferable treatment. Among them: members of congress, employees (and therefor trading desks) at Goldman Sachs, JPM, Citi, UBS and all the other big-time banks and private equity firms, law firms and possibly even the ECB. In total more than 150 recipients, not one of them disclosing the receipt of such highly confidential information.

Read the rest of the story and more details over at your usual financial news gossip blogs and of course Zero Hedge, always at the forefront of reporting things like this, hours or days before any mainstream media will pick it up. If ever…

Another proof that what was formerly known as the stock market, the epitome of the free market, has become nothing more than a farce, trying to front-run political jawboning and central planing.

Written by mo

April 10th, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Posted in North America

Tagged with ,

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