The folks at The Register won our award last week for “Best Subhead,” and dang if they didn’t do so this week as well!
You may remember Heroic Ed’s revelation in June that the NSA’s spooks are so barbaric they spy on their own families and friends. A few days ago, this foible stole headlines again when the NSA’s Inspector General confirmed such cases in a letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA). “But,” as The Register puts it, “it’s OK, they resigned before we gave them a slap on the wrist.”
Sang Mun is a graphic designer and former NSA contractor who altered four type-fonts to help protect our privacy: “‘The challenge[,' he says, '] was to make the OCR legible typeface illegible to computer vision, while keeping it readable to the human eye. Each font uses a different optical trick to make them difficult to scan: ‘Camo’ adds camouflage-like patterns over letters, ‘Noise’ overlays the letters with dots, ‘Xed’ puts a neat X across each character, and ‘False’ uses a small letter beneath a larger ‘false’ one.”
Opinion is divided on whether these will actually foil the NSA. But better than his invention are Sang Mun’s thoughts on his former employer: “Intercepting and storing world citizens’ words and thoughts is simply a vulgar intrusion on our daily lives…”
…or so you might assume from the captions they supplied for the horror-pic of Jean Luc and Di Frankenstein plotting:
From Dr. Vincent Cifello: “Please, Di. I know we agreed on the bridge from a Romulan Warbird, but they’re the bad guys.”
Bryan Fox says Jean-Luc is warning, “Senator, I’m afraid Snowden has leaked that we are Klingons.”
Jasper Sneed: ”Senator, I swear to you, all I told the President was I knew what you ‘would say to us’… I did NOT tell him I thought you ‘looked like Dr Zaius’.”
Mark Porter supplied a thought he often has when contemplating any aspect of Amerikan government: “If Freddy Kruger Married the Three Stooges…”
Charlie fears Di is offering to show Jean-Luc her wares. Yikes! Or perhaps that’s all to the good: ole Jean surely wouldn’t survive such trauma.
Edgar Thomas Westmoreland III’s caption reads, “Count Dooku is always afraid around Darth Sidious.”
Nor has this exhausted your wit: the replies continue flooding my in-box. I’ll post another crop later.
The “obesity rate among adults [in New York City] has skyrocketed 25 percent since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002,” and that’s “despite Nanny Bloomberg’s war on sugary drinks and fast foods.” Indeed, “the percentage of adults who drink one or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day dropped to 28 percent last year from 36 percent in 2007,” while “data also show more people are physically active and eating vegetables. Both improvements come after Hizzoner pushed for the expansion of bike lanes and healthier school meals.The city also banned unhealthy trans fats from eatery menus starting in 2007.
Hmm. Could it be Nanny and his army of bureaucrats, do-gooders,academics and assorted other annoying busybodies aren’t as omniscient as they pretend? Have their manipulation and bossing of supposedly free people backfired? Will that failure prompt them to whittle their egos a bit and quit telling the rest of us what to do? Is the Pope Muslim?
What a bizarre — but delicious! — age we inhabit, when rebellion comes in the form of pizza, sweet tea, and apple pie! (Thanks to Travis Holte for the link.)
Regarding the sham of a federal shut-down, “…Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a video message to employees[:] “I want you to know, and I know the American people know, that the work we do is very, very important.”
Um. Sal? Wrong-o. First, you don’t do any work, and second, the word you’re hunting to describe that non-work is “expensive.” As in, “The non-work we do is very, very expensive.”
A Georgia teenager was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted of killing a 13-month-old baby in a stroller while trying to rob the child’s mother. The baby was shot between the eyes after his mother refused to give up her purse to the teenager. If only the teenager was a doctor and this had happened thirteen months earlier. Then it would have been called an abortion instead of a murder. I post this not to get people all upset about the abortion issue, which I have written about here, but to expose the Republicans again.
For years we have been told that we must elect Republicans, not matter what their shortcomings and failings, because at least they are pro-life and will do something to reduce the abortion rate. We must elect Republican presidents, we are continually told, so that they can appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. How has this strategy worked out? It is utterly failed. Don’t let Republicans play the pro-life card against you anymore. Stop being persuaded by their emotional appeals about the horrors of abortion. If you are going to vote Republican (God forbid), then at least don’t do it because you think that them claiming to be pro-life will make a difference. If you really want to end abortion, then you must persuade women to not get abortions. This is not China. No woman has to get an abortion. There are organizations that will care for pregnant women who want to give up their baby for adoption. Find them and recommend them. You can do more to reduce abortions than any Republican politician, pro-life organization, Supreme Court justice, congressional legislation, constitutional amendment, etc.
George H.W. Bush recently served as a witness at a Maine same-sex wedding. The real issue here is, of course, not same-sex marriage at all, but Republicans who talk about family values, family values, family values, Republicans are the party of family values, and then do things that contradict what they say. I am merely using this incident as an example. Another would be talking about how pro-life you are while at the same time applauding the bombing of some foreign country that kills women and children. My point is simply this: stop believing anything the Republicans say about anything. They will say anything to get your vote.
According to the Census Bureau, “revenues from state and local individual income taxes, general sales and gross receipt taxes, motor fuel taxes, motor vehicle taxes and taxes on alcoholic beverages each hit all-time highs in the second quarter of this year.”
Yet, as I pointed out about this time last year, we have had more Republicans elected to office on the state and local levels in the last twenty years than at any time in recent memory and probably not since Reconstruction. Republicans even control both the House and Senate and governorship in several states.
I thought Republicans on the state and local levels were more “conservative” than those on the national level? I thought Republicans were “fiscal conservatives”? I thought Republicans were for lower taxes? Republicans are not only evil, they are more evil than the Democrats because while taxes go up and liberty goes down they say they are for low taxes and smaller government. As evil as Democrats are, they at least don’t think we are stupid enough to believe such things out of their mouths.
There are two groups of people that won’t be affected by the bogus government shutdown. Members of the military and members of Congress will still receive their paychecks no matter what. It costs something like $1 million per man per year to keep soldiers in Afghanistan. Bring them all home now and the government will save a bundle. And if you want to save even more, close all the foreign bases and bring the rest of the boys home. And as for members of Congress, is there any job less essential and more dangerous to Americans’ life, liberty, and property than that of a member of Congress?
Here is an extremely candid interview with Madonna discussing her rudimentary notions of freedom, non-conformity or individuality, artistic creativity and expression, and outrage towards human suffering, oppression and repression. She describes how she is putting her legendary career as a pop icon in a secondary position to totally focus upon her efforts to launch a “revolution” to put her ideas before the world. She explicitly uses a variation of the Ron Paul Revolution logo for her “Revolution.”
Madonna describes how after her last world tour she reached an epiphany moment and underwent a dramatic personal transformation. She wants to help people around the world discover and act upon that similar visceral longing or deep desire for freedom within themselves. To some it will take amassing extraordinary courage to fight the brutal tyranny they face every day; to others overcoming the deadening complacency and conformity which has given them empty lives of desperation and lack of empathy.
Some people will be unduly hasty and judgmental of all this and find it very easy to dismiss her, especially after hearing some of her rather naïve remarks about the Obama regime and war-mongering. But I believe she should be openly welcomed as a sincere but highly insulated potential compatriot that is still in an embryonic stage in her quest. We all have much to learn in life and Madonna may prove, like Ron Paul, an instrument of courage, conviction, and integrity guiding millions towards fulfillment of the “revolution” within ourselves and the world around us.
The caption on this photo from the Associated Press reads, “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, and Gen. Keith Alexander, NSA director, talk on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday before the committee hearing.”
“Talk.” Yeah, right. I bet LRC’s readers can come up with way more colorful and truthful explanations of this conversation — and it wouldn’t include Jean-Luc’s recommendation of a plastic surgeon for Di’s dewlap. Send ‘em to me: I’ll post the ones that make me laugh out loud here on LRC’s blog.
“’[Ed Snowden] was an IT administrator responsible for moving data to a common Web site,‘ [Gen. Keith] Alexander[, chief spook at the NSA who built himself an office modeled on the Starship Enterprise] said, explaining how [Snowden] gained access to thousands of sensitive documents. ‘We trusted him and he betrayed that trust. That won’t happen again.’”
Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? What, will the Feds snuff any future Snowdens before they can publish documents? Yo, Jean-Luc: maybe your buddies in the Navy SEALs can stand by should you need an analyst iced; I understand they can find dead men on dialysis, resurrect them, and kill them again before dumping their bodies at sea.
In any event, it behooves us to heed and cherish every secret tumbling from the trove Heroic Ed liberated since, if Jean-Luc has his way, this is the last bit of “transparency” we’ll see from the NSA.
to watch and listen to the brain-dead twist their undies over the possibility of the “shutdown” of the federal government lest a budget be approved immediately. Is there any soul out there, with a 50+ IQ, who anticipates that all government offices will be locked, and all government employees told to stay home, should the budget approval not meet its deadline? Should this new budget not be approved, and you wish to find out whether the government has been shut down, drive by your local FBI offices and give them the finger: you will likely get an immediate answer!
Here is an intriguing BBC audio interview with William Dalrymple concerning his highly-acclaimed book, From the Holy Mountain: A Journey Among the Christians of the Middle East. Dalrymple provides a historical travelogue around the Levant from Greece to Alexandria following the footsteps of a 6th century A.D. Byzantine Orthodox monk who wrote a travelogue through the region. He provides a contrast between the Christian domination of the region then and the marginalization of Eastern Christianity in its indigenous homeland today. Interestingly Dalrymple’s sympathies are quite “libertarian” in many ways. He points out how religious extremism and nationalism in the region have been poisonous for Levant Christians. This interview was recorded before the current disaster in Syria. Dalrymple comments on how Syria under Assad had provided the Levant Christians what was perhaps their last significant stronghold. The current round of hostilities might bring the end of Levantine Christianity.
In the interview he goes into some of the history and points out that previously dominant forms of Islam which emphasized local peasant beliefs (often shared with local Christians) are being displaced by more puritanical and intolerant and (US underwritten) Saudi subsidized Wahabism. Dalrymple says that the new Islamic fundamentalism is a reaction to modern Western imperialism. Ultra-conservative Islamophobes need to learn that. He points out that the gross parochialism and willful ignorance of many Christians in the West of their religious roots and inherited traditions from the Near East has exasperated these misunderstandings, particularly on the great gulf between Eastern and Western Christianity – especially Western evangelical Protestantism, etc.
More specifically libertarian he points out that under the Ottomans the millet system gave the various religious minorities of the region a remarkable degree of self-government and tolerance. The breakup of the Ottoman Empire and replacement by centralized nation states modeled on western pattern made the position of the minorities more precarious.