Archive for the 'the underneath' Category

07
Sep
13

syria

via washingtons blog: new information, particularly the following from 12 former U.S. intel officials

There is a growing body of evidence from numerous sources in the Middle East — mostly affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters — providing a strong circumstantial case that the August 21 chemical incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters. The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war.

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08
Aug
13

lavabit shuts down in face of govt strongarming

kudos to ladar levison for refusing to bow to the giant eye

While Levinson did not say much about the shuttering of his company – he notably did not refer to the NSA, for instance – he did say he intended to mount a legal challenge.

“We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals,” Levinson wrote. “A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.”

He continued: “This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would strongly recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.”

[original Guardian article]

04
Aug
13

obama: down the slippery snowden slope

. . . [N]ow Obama’s refusals to deal honestly with Congress and stonewalling by impeding access to Greenwald (which Congresscritters are convinced of even though Obama can play faux innocent) are on the verge of backfiring. Recall that what brought Nixon down in Watergate and damaged Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair were not the events but the cover-up.

Here, the NSA and Administration seem unable to grok that Greenwald has the goods and he is going to proceed methodically with his releases of information. If the NSA knows what Snowden downloaded (as they assert they do) they should be well aware of what he can publish. Yet they persist in telling bald-faced lies that Greenwald is able to swat back with the NSA’s own materials.

naked capitalism via undernews

04
Jul
13

state of the security state

from andrew o’hehir’s review of the Dirty Wars documentary

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that everything the government has implied about Awlaki is true: He was essentially a general or leading strategist for al-Qaida, and he got what he deserved. But his momentous passage from suburban Virginia to a Shi’ite militant stronghold in northern Yemen, from American to enemy combatant, illustrates what has gone wrong in the entire misguided “war on terror,” which is pretty much everything. Nearly everything we have done in the name of fighting terrorism since 2001 has blown back in our faces like piss on a windy beach, turning those who should be allies into enemies and making the whole problem immeasurably worse. We can certainly point fingers at two presidents, a spineless and dysfunctional legislature, and a secretive national-security apparatus free from any significant oversight. But Obama is basically right: We decided to give the government unlimited power – or, at least, didn’t decide not to – so we don’t get to act shocked when they decide to use it. You pays your money and you takes your chance.

slao see two recent items from russ baker’s (Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, which I’m half way through and am enjoying immensely) blog:

threats from without or within the fbi against occupy “leaders” (!)

peter dale scott on tamerlan tsarnaev as a patsy/double agent for the fbi

08
May
13

those potato chips have . . .

a lot of science behind them

and a vested interest in your bad health.

The importance of “crunch” was confirmed in a study funded by Unilever where the scientists tested whether people’s perception of a chip was altered by the sound it made when they bit into it. The researchers concluded that “the potato chips were perceived as being both crisper and fresher when … the overall sound level was increased,” indicating another possible way to control the perception of the product, although, the authors wrote, “consumers are often unaware of the influence of such auditory cues.”

It also helps if the food dissolves quickly in the mouth, tricking the brain into believing that no calories have been ingested. It’s called “vanishing caloric density.”

“What happens is that your brain gets fooled into thinking the calories have vanished and you’re much more apt to keep eating before the brain sends you a signal …you’ve had enough,” author Michael Moss said.

as someone with food addictions, this was a pretty bracing read.

14
Apr
13

PSA: Radiation OK

US gov’t says it’s OK, radiation isn’t so bad — particularly the waves of it washing our way from Japan

06
Apr
13

rushkoff on his new book, “present shock”

always intriguing, this one looks even better

But “present shock” is also as simple as the botox addicts on Real Housewives of Orange County, desperate to lock in the moment when they were 29 years old. All succeed in doing is paralyzing their faces in a poor imitation of that moment, and making themselves unavailable to the social moment in which they are living. They can’t register emotions on their faces, which is why they never believe one another. They are “overwinding” the present moment.

I’m reading more and watching less in general lately, partly due to buying a nook for my birthday, and partly due to how little what I want to see is easily available to watch at home.

and I’m going through some pretty big shifts, so I’m posting even less.