Category Archives: Hypocrisy

Bill O’Reilly: The Anti-Zelig with a very big mouth


Remember Zelig? If not, it’s a delightful and must-see 1983 Woody Allen film about the fictional Leonard, an otherwise nobody who funds himself in the center of many of the seminal events of the 20th Century by virtue of being the human equivalent of a chameleon:

BLOG Zelig

Leonard Zelig, Allen’s nebbish-protagonist, was actually there with Babe Ruth, Herbert Hoover, and even Adolf Hitler:

BLOG Zelg Hitler

Unlike Zelig, Bill O’Reilly, the anti-nebbish, lies when he places himself at the center of global events. And now that he’s been outed as a serial sociopathic liar, the hits just keep on coming.

Not content to interject himself in various scenes of international peril, he’s also interjected himself in that most seminal of 20th Century American events, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

And as with his accounts of the Falklands War in 1982 and of witnessing the murders of nuns in El Salvador a year earlier, O’Reilly’s claims about the Kennedy assassination have been exposed as sheer, ego-aggrandizing fabrications.

Now comes another instance.

Take it away Cenk Uiygur of The Young Turks:

O’Reilly’s Lee Harvey Oswald Lie Proves His Lying Goes Back Decades

Program notes:

“Conservative TV host Bill O’Reilly has been caught repeatedly lying about being present at the suicide of a key JFK assassination investigation witness, a week after he was accused of exaggerating the dangers he faced reporting from the Falklands War.

“Bill O’Reilly’s a phony, there’s no other way to put it,” Tracy Rowlett, who worked with O’Reilly at a local Dallas WFAA station during the alleged incident, told Media Matters, an online news website.

The suicide victim is George de Mohrenschildt, a picaresque Russian émigré, who was on friendly terms with both the family of Jackie Kennedy and the assassin of John F. Kennedy, Lee Harvey Oswald. He reportedly cooperated for decades with the CIA.

The proof of O’Reilly’s fabrication was first revealed two years ago by JFK Facts, a website devoted to the study of the Kennedy assassination, which posted the actual recordings of O’Reilly’s calls to assassination investigator Gaeton Fonzi on 30 January 2013:

A recording of three phone conversations between Fonzi and O’Reilly on March 29, 1977, confirms Fonzi’s account. Fonzi’s widow, Marie Fonzi, shared the tape with JFK Facts.

“Gaet liked O’Reilly and did lots to help him,” Marie Fonzi said in an email. “He hired him in the early ‘70s when editor of Miami Magazine at $25 a month to write movie reviews. He wrote letters of reference for him and was instrumental in getting him his first TV shot.”

But she adds, “I know O’Reilly was in Dallas” on March 29, 1977. “There is no question about it.”

O’Reilly is right about one thing. He was indeed pursuing George de Mohrenschildt in March 1977, but he did not reach his doorstep in Palm Beach on March 29, 1977, and he certainly did not hear de Mohrenschildt’s demise with his own ears. When the fatal shot rang out, O’Reilly was in his office at the WFAA studios in Dallas, Texas, more than 1,200 miles away.

So why do people still hang on the pompous blowhard’s pustulent posturing?

Let us quote someone who was a master of of propaganda:

[I]n the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying. These people know only too well how to use falsehood for the basest purposes.

You may have guessed the author, a guy named Hitler, writing in a book called Mein Kampf.

MexicoWatch: Protests, artists, and politicians


We begin with the protests, first from teleSUR English:

Mexicans call for another global action day in support of Ayotzinapa

Program notes:

Social organizations, relatives of the missing students and general supporters are using social media to call for a massive protest to continue demanding answers from the government about the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa. The march will take place this Thursday, five months to-the-day since the disappearance of the teaching students.

Here’s a poster for one of the events, from the Asamblea Popular de Houston:

BLOG Ayotz

Next, from teleSUR, a dubious presidential legacy in the making:

Violence on the Rise in Mexico Under Peña Nieto

  • Over 130,000 kidnapping cases took place in Mexico in 2013, while 173 have been executed in two weeks.

Violent crimes, including kidnappings and executions, have increased exponentially under President Enrique Peña Nieto according to Mexican newspaper Reforma Tuesday.

The new statistics show one kidnapping was reported every five hours in January 2015 alone. The recent spike has seen kidnappings increase 7.2 percent compared to December 2014, while over 170 executions took place in the last two weeks.

“In the first month of 2015, 163 kidnappings have been reported, which is 7.2 percent more than December 2014,” said the anti-kidnapping coordinator, Renato Sales Heredia.

From Mexico News Daily, a reasonable move:

PRD rejects candidate: her husband’s in jail

  • The ex-mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas was arrested on suspicion of criminal links

The national council of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) has the edge on its state-level officials in Michoacán when it comes to recognizing bad optics.

On Friday, the party’s state council approved the list of proportional representation candidates for the federal Chamber of Deputies. No. 2 on the list was Nalleli Pedraza Huerta, whose husband, Arquímedes Oseguera, is a former mayor of Lázaro Cárdenas.

He became a former mayor after he was jailed last April on suspicion of kidnapping and extortion and for having links to organized crime. One piece of evidence is a video showing Oseguera at the side of Servando Gómez, “La Tuta,” leader of the Caballeros Templarios cartel.

And from the Washington Post, politics by other means:

Mexican party turns to lottery to pick candidates

Mexican political parties are desperate to convince voters their candidates aren’t tied to drug gangs, violence or corruption. But one party has gone to extreme lengths to pick candidates in an open, transparent way: It held a lottery.

The National Regeneration Movement, known as Morena, had some 3,000 vetted hopefuls put their names in a drum on Sunday, and the names of more than 100 candidates for the June 7 congressional races were pulled out at random. Many have little previous experience in political office.

“We have decided to break the mold, and break with the corrupt way politics has always been done in our country,” said Morena leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. “The candidacies going to be decided by a lottery.”

Reuters covers a complaint:

Mexico complains about remarks attributed to pope over drug image

Mexico said on Monday it would send a letter to the Vatican to complain about remarks attributed to Pope Francis about the risk of Argentina suffering a criminal “Mexicanization” due to the spread of drug gangs there.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said his government had expressed concern that the country was being “stigmatized” as a land of drug traffickers in an email attributed to Francis published in Argentina over the weekend.

“We had a meeting with the (papal) nuncio and we will indeed send a note, and what worries us is that the drug trafficking challenge is a shared challenge. It’s a challenge that Mexico is undertaking massive efforts on,” Meade said in Mexico City.

While Mexico News Daily looks at the other side of the rhetorical coin:

Poppy cultivation grows with demand

  • It’s a lucrative crop for rural farmers in Guerrero and other states

The only publicly available statistic that gives some indication of opium poppy production in Mexico is that which reveals how many hectares of poppies were discovered and destroyed.

And in 2014 that figure was up 46% over the previous year for a total of 21,425 hectares. In terms of worldwide cultivation, that’s 7% of the total, well behind No. 1 producer Afghanistan with 70%, but still in third place behind Myanmar with 57,800 hectares.

Colombia was at one time the biggest producer in Latin America (although it never came close to Afghanistan’s output) but that changed in 2005 when its production began to drop. A year later, the area under cultivation in Mexico began to climb, rising from 3,300 to 5,000 hectares between 2005 and 2006.

Via Borderland Beat, another awards ceremony, another opportunity to call out for justice:

BLOG Ayotz 2

And from teleSUR, the response:

Mexico Ruling Party on Defensive over Inarritu’s Oscar Comments

  • The Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI responded sharply to the critical comments made by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu at Sunday’s Oscar awards ceremony.

In response to critical comments made on Sunday night at the Oscar awards ceremony by Mexican director, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Mexico’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party or PRI published a sharp congratulations on Monday morning on its Twitter feed. Later, the country’s PRI president Enrique Pena Nieto responded to the acclaimed director’s message.

When accepting the Oscar trophy for best film for the highly acclaimed Birdman, Inarritu told the crowd, “I want to dedicate this award to my fellow Mexicans, the ones who live in Mexico … I pray that we can find and build the government that we deserve.”

The response given by the PRI party, which returned to power in 2012 with Pena Nieto after a 12 year hiatus from a 71 year long stint, was, “Rather than just deserving it, it’s a fact that we’re building a better government, Congratulations #GonzalezInarritu.”

And one more image to close, via Camilo José Villa:

BLOG Ayotz 3

Lee Judge: Oh bloody really, Mr. Bilious O’Reilly?


The Fox News host is at the center of yet another controversy, this time for radically distorting his short-lived career at CBS News, with the center of the controversy a David Corn/Daniel Schulman Mother Jones expose of his over-hyped claims of reporting on the similarly short-lived Falklands War.

O’Reilly is really flummoxed, and went so far as to threaten New York Times reporter Emily Steel when she called him for a report on the controversy:

Mr. O’Reilly’s efforts to refute the claims by Mother Jones and some former CBS News colleagues occurred both on the air and off on Monday. During a phone conversation, he told a reporter for The New York Times that there would be repercussions if he felt any of the reporter’s coverage was inappropriate. “I am coming after you with everything I have,” Mr. O’Reilly said. “You can take it as a threat.”

O’Reilly is a serial liar, with some of his most egregious examples cataloged here by Occidental College political scientist Peter Dreier.

From a journalistic standpoint, his most notorious lies centered on his claims to have won a pair of Peabody Awards while presiding as the haircut-in-chief at the syndicated tabloid show Inside Edition. O’Reilly and the show did not, in fact, win Peabodys. The show later won two Pol Awards, but only after O’Reilly left.

But then, like most smart sociopaths, O’Reilly never let facts get in the way of a good story in which he played the lead role. And when he gets exposed, he responds with smear and smarm, all flavored with an uptick in volume and rage.

All of which brings us to the cartoon, from the editorial cartoonist of the Kansas City Star:

BLOG Bill

O’Reilly is a braggart, a bully, and a bloviator.

Brian Williams is, like O’Reilly, more celebrity than journalist, and both men fell prey to the cult of celebrity, in which millions hang on their words not because of who they are but for what they are, men with that combination of luck and telegenicity so beloved of that coolest of media.

But the danger of celebrity is that Q factor is all too often equated with virtue.

I knew Brian William had jumped the shark almost a decade ago when I saw him doing Friday night standup at a Manhattan comedy show, where he was telling a story about taking prednisone for a back injury. “My nipples got as big as saucers,” he declared, touching the aforementioned bodily parts through his shirt. Having taken prednisone multiple times for our rheumatoid arthritis, we never experienced that peculiar side effect. But even if we had, we’d probably not delight in telling it to a crowd of strangers simply for laughs.

Years ago, a magazine editor handed us back a story with the comment, “You’re more interested in getting it right than in telling a good story.” We took it as a compliment. Both O’Reilly and Williams are more interested in story telling.

MexicoWatch: Revelations, dissent, & protests


And more.

We begin with a revelation ordered, via teleSUR:

Mexico Transparency Body Orders Release of Ayotzinapa Details

  • Families of the missing students said they would continue their campaign given the extreme lack of clarity around the case.

The Mexican Federal Institute for Access to Information and Data Protection has ordered the Attorney General’s office to make public the details of the investigation into the 43 Ayotzinapa students who went missing in Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, last Sept. 26.

The transparency body made the demand during a special meeting Wednesday – only two weeks after it instructed the Ministry of Defense to release its evidence, including photographs and recordings taken of the students by the Mexican army the night they went missing.

The requests are indicative of the growing anger and frustration by families of the missing students and human rights bodies, who are increasingly critical of the government’s lack of progress and handling of the case.

More in this video report from teleSUR English:

Initial investigation of missing students to be released

Program notes:

Preliminary reports of the investigation into the forced disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students will be made public. The Federal Institute of Access to Public Information has ordered the Attorney General’s Office to turn over the information to the Mexican society. There has been widespread public distrust of the Attorney General’s assertions in the case and suspicion that the Mexican Army and Federal Police were involved in the attack against the students in Iguala, Guerrero.

Fox News Latino covers an angry protest:

Mexican army base attacked in protest over missing students

Some 200 students took part Thursday in an attack on the headquarters of a Mexican army unit here in the capital of the southern state of Guerrero to protest the disappearance of 43 of their classmates late September.

Nobody was hurt in the assault with Molotov cocktails on the 35th Infantry Battalion in Chilpancingo, which coincided with the 102nd anniversary of the army’s founding.

“We are missing 43,” students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college wrote on the base’s main gate.

The students, some wielding sticks and machetes, kept up the assault for only a few minutes before boarding four buses for the trip back to the college in Tixtla, Guerrero.

From the Guardian, another protest:

Coca-Cola offices in Mexico attacked by protesters with gasoline bombs

  • Four police officers, two reporters and four protesters injured
  • Two employees taken hostage as part of protests over students’ disappearance

Ten people were injured in southern Mexico after an attempt to attack the Coca-Cola company’s offices in the southern state of Guerrero. The violence occurred in the state capital of Chilpancingo late on Wednesday.

The Guerrero state government said protesters tried to attack the Coke offices “to damage the facilities”. It said the demonstrators, including teachers’ college students and unionized teachers, threw gasoline bombs, and a state police officer was burned.

Three other policemen were injured, along with two reporters and four protesters.

More from United Press International:

Protesters storm Mexico Coca-Cola plant, take hostages

The trainees from the United Front of Public Guerrero State Teacher Training Schools (FUNPEG) and the CETEF teachers have been protesting the students’ Sept. 26 disappearance after clashes with police. The students were declared dead in January.

Mexico’s El Milenio, reported that Wednesday’s protesters took Coke merchandise from several hijacked delivery trucks.

The Guerrero state government said the group was trying to damage the plant, throwing gasoline bombs. Four police officers, two reporters and four protesters were injured.

Protesters and Coke officials negotiated the release of the three employees, after Coca-Cola agreed to drop all charges made against three particular protesters.

InSight Crime notes contradictory findings:

Forensics Reveal Mexico’s Credibility Gap in Missing Students Case

Mexico’s conspicuous effort to incorporate foreign forensic teams into its investigation of the Iguala mass kidnapping seems aimed at giving the inquiry a dose of credibility. But it may have acomplished precisely the opposite.

In the four months that have passed since 43 student protesters disappeared from Iguala, Guerrero, the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto and the victims’ families have brought teams of investigators from Argentina and Austria, and relied on laboratories in the US and Austria, to assist in the search for the students’ remains These teams were part of a broader attempt by Mexican authorities to tout their investigation as serious, open, and honest. The government also, for instance, celebrated the number of interviews, raids, and arrests it carried out as it pursued the culprits.

Ideally, these forensic teams would have supported the findings that Mexico’s government announced last month: the students were abducted by members of the Guerreros Unidos and their police allies in Iguala; they were taken to a trash dump in nearby Cocula, they were executed and their bodies incinerated, and their remains were finally thrown into a nearby river.

Instead, foreign forensic teams have been some of the leading voices casting doubt on the official narrative.

From Borderland Beat, a cloth banner hung in public with a declaration:

Los Rojos manta about the 43 disappeared students

Santiago Mazari Hernandez alias “El Carrete” marked for participation in the disappearance of the 43 Students of the normal rural of Ayotzinapa, blames the son of singer-songwriter from Guerrero Joan Sebastian.

Mantas were placed in several locations, all public places of the municipalities of Acatepec, Jojutla, Amacuzac, Tetecala, and Chautia, in Morelos, Mazari said these do not belong to Los Rojos, he also blames Federico Figueroa of having bought everything so that nothing goes out to the light.

The mantas were taken down by State Police, they also had a message for the parents of the disappeared students, where they exhort the parents not to believe what the Government says, and remove their blindfolds.

The Latin American Herald Tribune covers the latest high-profile killing:

Congressional Hopeful Slain in Southern Mexico

A prospective congressional candidate for Mexico’s center-left PRD and two other members of the party were murdered in the southern state of Oaxaca, authorities said Wednesday.

Carlos Martinez Villavicencio was seeking the PRD nomination for a federal congressional district in Oaxaca.

Martinez Villavicencio, PRD official Fidel Lopez and their driver, Bernardo Bautista, were ambushed Tuesday night while traveling in a vehicle with Mexico City plates near the town of Santiago Juxtlahuaca, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The bodies of Martinez Villavicencio and Lopez were found inside the vehicle, while Bautista was discovered among some weeds about dead about 50 meters (164 feet) away.

And from Fox News Latino, following a Mexican death north of the border:

Protest over shooting death of Mexican farmworker in Washington state hits Seattle

More than a week after the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Hispanic man in Washington state, dozens of demonstrators hit the streets of Seattle Wednesday night in protest of policing tactics.

Antonio Zambrano-Montes was killed on Feb. 10th when police officers gunned him down — and it was all caught on video. The 35-year-old was killed in Pasco, a largely Hispanic community, about 200 miles away from Seattle. In Pasco, rallies have drawn hundreds of people in the past days.

“The murder of Antonio is completely outrageous,” said Emma Kaplan, 29, a Seattle resident who helped organize the protest, to Bloomberg Business. “It’s unjust. And it’s a pattern that’s going on in this country.”

People held signs reading “We Can’t Breathe,” a reference to the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York, and chanted “No Racist Police.”

To close, via Guerrilla Comunicacional México an image of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto incorporating the Ash Wednesday display of the ashes in the form of numbers 43 beneath the banner declaring that the missing students are not ashes, and declaring beneath that “It was the state” responsible for what happened to them:

BLOG Pena

GOP Racism: They just can’t help themselves


No sooner did former Reagan policy adviser Dinesh D’Souza label Barack Obama a ghetto “boy” who just couldn’t help himself than the New York Republican Party treated members to a graphic laden with all manner of intolerant bile, with the target being New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, a white liberal Democrat married to an African American woman.

Parodying those ubiquitous ads for an S&M flick now scoring big at the box office, the mayor is transformed into a cross-dresser dominated by a black man, the Rev. Al Sharpton.

At once the mayor is denigrated for treating an African American as his superior [a thought chilling to the hearts of racists], but he’s also implicitly labeled as either homosexual or transgender, both wholly unnatural in the eyes of most folks in the Grand Old Party:

BLOG Racism

Gothamist reports the GOP defensive line:

The state GOP defended its decision to mockingly compare the slap-and-tickle romance in “50 Shades” to the close working relationship between de Blasio and Sharpton.

“The parallels between the heroine of America’s hottest movie and New York’s mayor are striking: both have completely ceded control over their situation to outside forces, and the results are difficult to watch,” said spokesman David Laska.

Another New York Republican crosses the same line

Then there’s another prominent GOPer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who, Politico reports, told fellow Republicans:

“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”

In other words, as D’Souza spouted, “You can take the boy out of the ghetto. . .”

Giuliani went way over the top in his denunciation, going from the hyperbolic to the outright absurd:

“What country has left so many young men and women dead abroad to save other countries without taking land? This is not the colonial empire that somehow he has in his hand. I’ve never felt that from him. I felt that from [George] W. [Bush]. I felt that from [Bill] Clinton. I felt that from every American president, including ones I disagreed with, including [Jimmy] Carter. I don’t feel that from President Obama.”

That argument would ring rather false in the Philippines, a country the U.S. effectively annexed for most of the first half of the 20th Century, and it would probably ring false in Iraq, too, as well as other nations where the U.S. has helped overthrow elected democratic governments [think Chile] and installed puppet regimes to ensure the continued flow of natural resources to the U.S.

And while the U.S. sometimes didn’t leave boots on the ground [though often they did, renamed “military advisers,” Washington did fund and armed their military forces and secret police, trained their officers, and provided endless intelligence of their potential opponents.

May Rudy and his fellow GOP mossbacks oughta put a LifeLock on their lips and keyboards.

Racism ain’t pretty, not matter how hard your try to obscure it.

InSecurityWatch: Fox fustian, crime, fear, war


And so very much more. . .

First up, from Al Jazeera’s AJ+, it’s official:

Fox News Says…The Holy War Is Here!

Program notes:

A Holy War has begun and you should be very afraid! That’s according to Fox News, the news network famous for fear mongering and “fair and balanced” reporting.

From the Washington Post, a domestic security problem:

Threatening ‘white power’ letters appear at police department with a history of racial tensions

Dozens of copies of a threatening and racially charged letter were circulated within a Connecticut police department with a long history of racial tensions, black officers said.

The note, typed on official City of Bridgeport Department of Police letterhead, began and ended with the words “WHITE POWER.” “These Black Officers Belong in the toilet,” the letter reads in part.

Bridgeport Police Lt. Lonnie Blackwell said the unsigned letter comes as no surprise to officers of color in the department, which has long struggled to remedy discrimination claims dating to at least the 1970s.

“This is not the first race-based letter that has circulated recently throughout the Bridgeport Police Department, but this is the most severe and damaging letter,” Blackwell, an African American department veteran, told The Washington Post in an interview. “We’re very concerned for our safety and our well-being as black police officers.”

From the Washington Post, we are not surprised:

Lying in the military is common, Army War College study says

A new study by Army War College professors found that not only is lying common in the military, the armed forces themselves may be inadvertently encouraging it.

The study, released Tuesday, was conducted by retired Army officers and current War College professors Leonard Wong and Stephen J. Gerras. They found that untruthfulness is “surprisingly common in the U.S. military even though members of the profession are loath to admit it.”

The paper’s release follows a series of high-profile incidents involving bad behavior across the services, including a still-widening corruption case involving senior Navy officers and at least two incidents in which Army generals were accused of sexual assault.

From The Hill, similarly unsurprising:

White House: Israel ‘cherry-picking’ intel that distorts Iran talks

The White House is accusing Israel of “cherry-picking” information that distorts the U.S. position in nuclear talks with Iran.

“There’s no question that some of the things that the Israelis have said in characterizing our negotiating position have not been accurate. There’s no question about that,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“We’ve also been very clear about the fact that the United States is not going to be in a position of negotiating this agreement in public, particularly when we see that there is a continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States.”

The White House spokesman said those involved in the talks are obligated to act in “good faith.”

From the New York Times, reasonable suspicions:

Fear of Israeli Leaks Fuels Distrust Over U.S. Talks With Iran

With the Obama administration racing to negotiate the outlines of a nuclear deal with Iran by the end of March, aides to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel have charged in recent days that they are being deliberately left in the dark about the details of the talks. The Americans have said that is untrue, but even one of Washington’s closest negotiating partners reports being warned about being too open with the Israelis, “because whatever we say may be used in a selective way.”

The tensions between the United States and Israel over negotiating with Tehran have a long and twisted history, and they plunged to a new low when Mr. Netanyahu engineered an invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress, in less than two weeks, to warn against a “bad deal.”

Now, with Mr. Netanyahu maneuvering to survive a March 17 election, and Mr. Obama pressing for a breakthrough agreement that could end three decades of enmity with Iran and reduce the chances of a military confrontation, it seems that Washington and Jerusalem are engaging in the diplomatic equivalent of posting notes to each other on the refrigerator door.

From the Guardian, Jeb endorses the panopticon:

Jeb Bush backs brother’s NSA surveillance program ‘to keep us safe’

  • Presidential contender says of NSA dragnet ‘this is a hugely important program’, in sharp contrast to Republican rivals for the White House

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

Dragnet metadata collection by the National Security Agency and similar programs were necessary to keeping US citizens safe from foreign terror threats, Bush said – unprompted – during remarks laying out his foreign policy vision as a prospective 2016 presidential candidate.

“For the life of me, I don’t understand – the debate has gotten off track, where we’re not understanding and protecting,” Bush said in a major speech at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

From the Associated Press, an accessory pays up:

Poland to pay $262,000 to inmates held at secret CIA prison

Poland will pay 230,000 euros ($262,000) in compensation to two terror suspects who say they were tortured at a CIA secret prison that Poland hosted from 2002-2003, a government minister said Wednesday.

Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the European Court of Human Rights in France rejected Poland’s appeal of its earlier ruling.

“We will abide by this ruling because we are a law-abiding country,” Schetyna told Polish Radio 3. “It is a question of the coming weeks, a month.”

But he questioned how the money would be used and whether it needed to be paid directly to the suspects, who are imprisoned in Guantanamo.

From the Guardian, NSAnywhere:

Google warns of US government ‘hacking any facility’ in the world

  • Google says increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise ‘monumental’ legal concerns that should be decided by Congress

Google is boldly opposing an attempt by the US Justice Department to expand federal powers to search and seize digital data, warning that the changes would open the door to US “government hacking of any facility” in the world.

In a strongly worded submission to the Washington committee that is considering the proposed changes, Google says that increasing the FBI’s powers set out in search warrants would raise “monumental and highly complex constitutional, legal and geopolitical concerns that should be left to Congress to decide”.

The search giant warns that under updated proposals, FBI agents would be able to carry out covert raids on servers no matter where they were situated, giving the US government unfettered global access to vast amounts of private information.

From the Guardian, the penultimate contempt:

UK admits unlawfully monitoring legally privileged communications

  • Intelligence agencies have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for past five years, government admits

The regime under which UK intelligence agencies, including MI5 and MI6, have been monitoring conversations between lawyers and their clients for the past five years is unlawful, the British government has admitted.

The admission that the activities of the security services have failed to comply fully with human rights laws in a second major area – this time highly sensitive legally privileged communications – is a severe embarrassment for the government.

It follows hard on the heels of the British court ruling on 6 February declaring that the regime surrounding the sharing of mass personal intelligence data between America’s national security agency and Britain’s GCHQ was unlawful for seven years.

The Independent covers InSecurity in British high places:

Downing Street accused of being ‘systemically negligent’ with national security secrets after name of ex-SAS officer finds its way into the public domain

Downing Street has been accused of “systemic” negligence in its approach to the handling of sensitive information – by the body charged with keeping threats to national security out of the media.

No 10 is at the centre of an extraordinary row with the secretive DA Notice Committee after the name of a senior former SAS officer found its way into the public domain, The Independent can reveal.

The officer was named when he took up his post as military adviser to No 10 last year. The DA Notice Committee alleges that the name of the ex-SAS man was deliberately given to The Sun newspaper in direct contravention of rules governing the identification of present or former members of Britain’s Special Forces.

After the jump, French surveillance gaps, Aussie metadata storage scheme costs still secret, another claim Pyongyang hacked Sony, whipping up malware with a British cooking site, fake Windows 10 update sites serve up malware too, a unique twist to an Israeli malware attack, a biased Pakistani web crackdown, while Obama disses North Korea’s hacker team, on to the Isis front and a fragmenting Iraq, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria changes course on arming “moderates,” whilst Washington admits having vetted at least 1,200, Isis threatens to flood an increasingly xenophobic Europe with refugees and Italy’s already alarmed, and a reminder of an American bad example, civilians killed in an anti-Boko Haram air strike in Nigeria while Nigeria claims beaucoup Bokos slain, another Tanzanian albino infant butchered for black magic, Pakistan orders a mass expulsion of Afghans, allegations Indian weaponized rape, India greenlights six nuclear subs, seven stealth frigates, mass flight from Myanmar civil war, China tells neighbors to order Uighur returns, Seoul censors a “Comfort Women” book, and a Japanese paper sued over “Comfort Women”a articles, Shinzo Abe’s government readies an overseas deployment law, Abe targets legalized foreign weaponry sales, and new Tokyo/Beijing security talks slated, And two reminders of some nasty old habits resurfacing, first in a racist rank by Brits in Paris, and then in dramatic evidence of prejudice against would-be Latino-named voters in the U.S. . . . Continue reading

A Reagan policy advisor flies the racist flag


As in calling an African American adult male a ghetto “boy.”

Dinesh D’Souza, for policy adviser to President Reagan and a convicted campaign funding fraudster, remains a darling of the Republican party.

He’s also an exemplar of the rotten racism embodied in the policies and practices of the party’s rotten neoliberal core, as witnessed in an infamous Tweet he vomited out today:

BLOG Dinesh

Really classy, Dinesh. One would hope the more reasonable Republicans [if any still exist] would be the ones cowering in embarrassment.

But thanks are due, for rarely is the racism implicit in neoliberalism made so delightfully explicit.