23 Aug 2013

Should Hitler Have Been Punished?

0:08 - How do I know I don't have confirmation bias? How do I tell the difference between Socrates and the sophists?

US NSA admits that analysts are guilty of multiple ‘willful violations’ of their authority in spying on Americans

By Madison Ruppert: In an official statement, the National Security Agency (NSA) has finally admitted that their analysts deliberately breached restrictions on their surveillance of Americans on multiple occasions over the past ten years.
The NSA previously claimed that the violations were not willful, clearly contradicting their latest statement about the thousands of privacy violations discovered in agency audits. This blatantly contradicts claims made by the Obama administration and others in Washington that the violations were not, in fact, willful.
This statement is about the same privacy violations which some in Washington have maintained they were kept unaware of until they learned about them through media reports.
“Over the past decade, very rare instances of willful violations of NSA’s authorities have been found,” the NSA said in a statement issued to Bloomberg News.
This comes just days after it was revealed that the NSA illegally gathered the emails of Americans with no connections to terrorists or terrorism for multiple years.

A Very Profitable Part Of Banking Goes Totally To Heck

We’ve had to recalibrate our business” 

By Wolf Richter: Refinancing mortgages is a phenomenally profitable and nearly risk-free business for banks, and one of the few growth sectors that were actually spawned by the Fed’s herculean efforts to force down long-term interest rates through waves of quantitative easing. Banks went on a hiring binge to shuffle all this paper around and extract fees along the way before they’d dump most of these mortgages into the lap of government-owned and bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And then they’d run.
Refis accounted for up to 70% of all mortgage lending in the first half of this year. But they’ve been plunging since early May, consistently, unrelentingly, week after week. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s Refinance Index, after being down another 4.6% for the week ending August 16, reported yesterday, has swooned 62.1% from its recent peak in early May.
Mortgage rates have jumped over a full percentage point from 3.59% in early May to 4.68%, as of the week ending August 16, according to the MBA. By now, given how much Treasuries have jumped since August 16, mortgage rates have risen even further. Thus, much of the incentive to refinance a home has evaporated, especially when fees and points are taken into account.

The Grand US Experiment Part 2: Unlimited State Creation of Credit and Cash

By Charles Hugh Smith: An unprecedented tsunami of state-borrowed and Fed-printed money has failed to fix the systemic crisis.
What happens when all systemic risk ends up concentrated in the central state? Let's start by noting that the central state (Federal government) backstops every category of risk: major flooding, crop failure, bank failure, student loans, old-age pensions, healthcare for the elderly and low-income, disability, and so on.

The Federal government pays for all these programs by collecting taxes and borrowing the difference between tax receipts and expenditures by selling Treasury bonds.

The foundational faith of this concentration of risk in the state is that crises that require massive deficit spending--borrowing vast sums to "get us through a rough patch"-- will be intermittent and brief.

The Great Depression upended that faith: certain types of systemic financial crises were neither intermittent nor brief but chronic and resistant to conventional fixes.

Egypt on Brink of Civil War + US in bed with Al-Qaeda - George Galloway

UK BANNED Press TV: Violence continues to flare up across Egypt after a violent crackdown by security forces removed encampments of the supporters of ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, in Cairo.

British MP: Israel provides terrorists in Syria with chemical weapons + Materials implicating Syrian govt in chemical attack prepared before incident – Russia + Who is inspiring the Syrian militants

UK BANNED Press TV: A British lawmaker says he believes the Israeli regime was the main culprit behind killing hundreds of civilians in Syria, because it provided terrorist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda with chemical weapons they used against civilians.
“If there’s been any use of nerve gas, it’s the rebels that used it...If there has been use of chemical weapons, it was Al Qaeda who used the chemical weapons”,

Snowden leaks: UK operates secret Middle East web surveillance base

RT: The UK has been working on a secret Middle East web surveillance base which is a part of a $1.5 billion project, a new report suggests. It intercepts and gathers emails, telephone calls, and web traffic for Western intelligence.
The secret internet-monitoring project is still a work in progress and is being organized by the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), according to Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, as studied by The Independent.
The intelligence station can intercept data both by satellite and underwater fiber-optic cables that pass through the Middle East. The data will then be copied into large computer storage “buffers.” After that, it can be analyzed and passed on to CGHQ, where it later can be shared with the National Security Agency (NSA).
The UK argues that the base is central for the West’s war on of terror

On the Dangers of the NSA…From March 27, 1983

By Michael Krieger: The warning signs were all there. Long, long ago they were all right there. Reading this article from the New York Times, published when I was just five years old, brings forth emotions of frustration, disappointment and even a sense of resentment. Resentment that many of those that came before us knew about all of this and basically did nothing. While those were my initial reactions, those negative emotions have turned into a strong sense of resolve and purpose. Many of us that are faced with the challenge of changing this messed up world we live in had very little to do with its creation, but that’s ok. This is our destiny and it is our duty.

There are several key takeaways from this article. First, and most importantly, sophisticated spy technologies with little oversight will ALWAYS be abused. This is not just the case today, but it was the case in the 1950′s, 60′s and 70′s as well. As the article points out, “the N.S.A. between 1952 and 1974 developed files on approximately 75,000 Americans” and “the agency also developed files on civil-rights and antiwar activists, Congressmen and other citizens who lawfully questioned Government policies.”

Second, no institution should ever be trusted to come clean on what they are up to. The N.S.A. has a long history of lying to everyone and anyone who questions it. It is only when leaks of their unconstitutional practices are made public that they cease any surreptitious activities (or at least pretend to).

Why UK drug policy is 'persecuting' drug users and increasing alienation among Blacks and Asians

"...Despite the increased investment in treatment, the majority of government spending on responding to illegal drugs is still devoted to enforcing drug laws. It is however difficult to estimate government expenditure on drug policy, as it is not transparently reported. From the available data, we calculate that in the UK, as in other nations, enforcement expenditure (including police, courts and prisons) accounts for most of the total expenditure on drug policy..."

A report launched by LSE and Release today (22nd August 2013), shows that drug policing is dominating stop and search, that much of this activity is focused on low level drug possession offences, and that black and Asian people are being disproportionately targeted.

Prediction Time: What Will Suzie McGuire's Punishment Be?

6oodfella: I hold women to the same standards as men, even when it doesn't suit them. I would just really like it if the law done the same. That's why I made this video, to highlight the pussy pass in action.

Mother of Threat Narrative: Rise and Fall of Empires

Typhon Blue: Topics covered: How feminist theory resembles the threat narratives directed at jewish and black men combined into one threat narrative towards all men.


The Amazing Atheist: 82% of people say we're losing the drug war. What's wrong with the other 18%?