Law

FCC Moves To End Net Neutrality

In a vote this afternoon the Federal Communications Commission voted
open debate on a proposal that would essentially end net neutrality. In a
3 - 2 vote, Chairman Thomas Wheeler and the two other Democratic
members voted to allow Internet service providers charge content companies for faster and more reliable delivery of their traffic to users.

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Go Ahead, Celebrate — You're Celebrating Failure

Not you at Voices on the Square. You know who.

Well it seems this continuing debacle every 3 months has ceased, for now. However, I really can't get over this pathetic celebration over the really low bar involved with regard to avoiding what I call a political default on the public debt. This is the same embarrassing type of celebration that ensued in 2011. We need to get real. Despite the government being opened up again, there's nothing to celebrate. We've already lost. After all, the debt ceiling was a precious gift Obama bestowed onto John Boehner in the 2010 tax deal as he put his full faith in Speaker John Boehner hands, as he took the full faith and credit of the United States hostage.

Of course, it was a deal struck between both of them to put who they called the "extremists" of both their parties in check, for a grand bargain like in 1983 when Tip O'Neil and Ronald Reagan cut social security. President Obama and Speaker Boehner weren't fooling everyone, though. Just those involved in their hyper deluded, hyper partisan, claptrap. To some of us, this was entirely predictable and preventable. Now people are suffering because some people, blinded by their hyper-loyal partisan illusions, couldn't or didn't want to see what was there. Maybe their lack of sight reveals they don't really care? It doesn't matter though. This will continue to be what we go through when some of this crap continues again in 4 months in February, regardless.

This austerity government will reopen at sequester levels of funding; a sequester I predicted would be born out by the stupid Super Committee from the super austerity Budget Control Act of 2011, which I saw was inevitable since the 2010 tax deal led to the first, now ongoing, debt ceiling debacle; a miniature crisis to crisis government with no plans to invest in its citizens' future. Anything else is possible though, from government shutdowns over the false prospect of defunding Obamacare, to any austerian Senator or Congressman using the threat of default for whatever demands they want.

We, the so called professional left as the White House derisively called us, warned about this. Anyone who denied this can either apologize now or forever restrain from speaking about matters regarding politics, civics, political deals, and the debt ceiling. We told all of you back in 2011 around this same time when that debacle was coming to its end — until this one and the next one 4 months down the line — that this was no victory.

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Where is Edward Waldo Snowden? w/ BONUS Forced Landing of Bolivia President's Jet by US Allies.

*** Reprinted with permission from Pluto. Thank you.

At some point in time, Edward Snowden presumably passed into the Transit Zone of Sheremetyevo Airport, which serves connecting passengers traveling via Moscow to onward destinations. It also serves passengers departing from Moscow who have already passed through security checks.

Just like any other international airport terminal.

The Sheremetyevo Transit and Departure Zone is essentially a long corridor. On one side are the boarding gates. The other side is lined with duty free shops, boutiques, souvenir stores, lounges, and restaurants.

Exiting the Transit Zone would either require boarding a plane or passing through border control. Both exits require a valid passport or other documentation.

The Transit Zone also has dozens of plain doors, most labeled “authorized personnel only.” A person could be whisked through these doors and removed from the area through back doors or corridors.

Just like any other international airport terminal.

Could Edward Snowden still be in the Transit Zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport?

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US & NSA Accused of Criminal Privacy Violations in Dozens of Nations - Snowden Blowback

*** Reprinted with permission from Pluto. Thank you.

Do you remember this story from last September?

It wasn't a big story in the US, but the rest of the world took a keen and somewhat alarmed interest in it. It's the beginning point -- the first clue -- that something was very much amiss in America:

WASHINGTON, Sept 4, (AFP): A hacker group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching an FBI computer, raising concerns about government tracking.

The group called AntiSec, linked to the hacking collective known as Anonymous, posted one million Apple user identifiers on Monday purported to be part of a larger group of 12 million obtained from an FBI laptop.

Contacted by AFP, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer said: “We’re not commenting.”

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

{...}

It seems AntiSec had stumbled upon a tiny piece of the vast NSA "global" spying dragnet that was collecting private data profiles on ordinary citizens-- not only in the US, but throughout the world.

Ten months later, halfway around the world, Edward Snowden was monitoring the systems that were collecting this illegally accessed very private citizen data. And the data was not just from ordinary Americans and Chinese, but from all our friends and allies -- Germany, Australia, Canada, Scandinavia, Latin and South America, and many others.

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NSA Whistleblower Comes Out of the Shadows

Originally posted at The Stars Hollow Gazette

Despite the risks to his personal safety, the whistleblower who leaked the FISA court order and NSA surveillance programs to The Guardian has revealed himself. Prior to giving the tapes to columnist Glenn Greenwald, the 29 year old Edward Snowden chose to leave the US for Hong Kong because of it long history of respect for freedom of speech. Like six other whistleblowers, he expects that he will be charged by the Obama administration under the 1917 Espionage Act. In the 12 minute video that was produced and copyrighted* by American documentary film director and producer, Laura Poitras, he explains his decision to give the secret warrant and programs to Greenwald and leave the United States.

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

by Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill and Laura Poitras, The Guardian

The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA's history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

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John T. Harvey: Austerity Leads To... Austerity!

In the real world and the reality based community, there is talk about austerity from people who understand the nuances of it and macroeconomic accounting identities. They point out the undeniable fact that there is austerity in the UK, the Eurozone, and yes, the United States. This interactive chart will show this, though I can't embed it here. So instead, I will add a small snapshot of some of the data.

Net spending in the United States has steadily declined since it rose from 2008 to 2009 when the inadequate stimulus(only $500 billion of direct spending at about 1.5 percent of GDP) was passed. Stimulus packages don't exist in a vacuum, and you have to count all government spending, which basically shows how exactly the numbers, including the stimulus as this does, didn't close the output gap. And since the numbers didn't, that is actually austerity. After all, spending went up in the UK and Eurozone from 2008 to 2009 as well, and since then, their spending has declined. Even though it is on a higher level, it is being cut at an even more alarming rate with its fate set to go below our miserable level by 2017.

I have pointed this out before. Sometimes I get frustrated, and point this out harshly, because some pride themselves on denying this established data to support whatever a politician in their party says or does. I don't know why. Denying reality is not going to give resources to people who need them. There is a reason my last diary has been cited by the reality based Post Keynesian MMT community, in which I am truly grateful for and humbled by; it is the truth.

The real economy of jobs and wages continues to go nowhere thanks to the lack of deficit spending and an illogical debate in DC about how much austerity we need to appease the invisible bond vigilantes and confidence fairies. It is neoliberal deficit terrorist economic insanity based on lies. And on that note, it is my pleasure to republish a piece by someone in the reality based economic community whom I can now proudly say is a friend of mine, Post Keynesian MMT economist John T. Harvey. He, once again, brings clarity to these matters in a way that only he can.

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AP-Gate Just Got Worse

Regardless of the left's opinion of Fox News, the Obama administration has gone way over the constitutional line and this is adds to the serious threat to freedom of the press. The idea that the government. on its unconstrained wild hunt for whistle blowers, can issue secret subpoenas for telephone records just got worse this morning. The case is being made against Fox News reporter James Rosen for his reporting on the possibility that North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests back in 2009. The Department of Justice is prosecuting State Department adviser and arms expert Stephen Jin-Woo Kim for "leaking" the information to James Rosen of Fox News. To makes the case against Rosen this is what the DOJ did:

They used security badge access records to track the reporter's comings and goings from the State Department, according to a newly obtained court affidavit. They traced the timing of his calls with a State Department security adviser suspected of sharing the classified report. They obtained a search warrant for the reporter's personal e-mails. [..]

Court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist - and raise the question of how often journalists have been investigated as closely as Rosen was in 2010. The case also raises new concerns among critics of government secrecy about the possible stifling effect of these investigations on a critical element of press freedom: the exchange of information between reporters and their sources.

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Are We Really the Reality Based Community? We Don't Act Like It.

This is not directed at the reality based VOTS community.

And by "we" I don't mean me or I, because I make a good effort to at least try. I'm talking about blogs like Daily Kos. I had always assumed, because of the many insightful writers on the site and on the front page that was the case. However, we are starting to see some of what we see with corporate control of all airwaves in how site moderation is run.

For instance, whether on Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC there is always a fake debate when it comes to climate change which is undeniably happening since we have hit 400 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere for the first time in 3 million years. When this spectacle that pretends to be a live debate on TV happens, there are always two guys picked by the network to come on TV to debate the issue; one a NASA scientist like say James Hansen and one fringe dwelling Koch funded climate changed denier to debate as if there is something to debate as if both sides have an equal argument to make. WRONG. The science is in.

I always thought we in the progressive blogosphere prided ourselves on not accepting that dynamic, but now I am starting to wonder. On the issues I go to great lengths to cover when it comes to the economy, there are certain undeniable facts that have to be acknowledged whether you are a Post Keynesian MMT proponent like me or not. I mean, if we are any different than debates on red state or the corporate owned media, that is. I have to wonder about that now, because it now appears from what went on in my last diary in the comment section that a moderator here stepped in and made an effort to portray the troll like behavior and continual denial of established facts in every diary of mine as "just an honest disagreement."

It was inferred that I was "out of line" for accurately describing a commentator while using a term that accurately describes his brand of troll like behavior. That's not out of line. When people act like trolls in every diary of mine I can only ignore it for so long before calling it out directly. We can't just ignore this kind of behavior forever in this community. I mean, not if we still consider ourselves part the reality based community. Do we?

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Protecting Social Security from Inaccurate Accounting with an Agenda

I was asked to contribute to the Daily Kos Social Security blogathon today to draw attention to the neoliberal attack on it. I hope you visit and like my contribution.

I have referenced this before, but there hasn't really been enough of a movement on the this issue, and it's an important one. It's specifically important right now when Washington DC is completely stuck on stupid in a self created crisis. This crisis started in 2010 when the debt ceiling was not secured in the Bush tax cut deal with Republicans by President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Many of us predicted it would lead to the debt ceiling debacle in 2011 which in turn led to the fiscal cliff negotiations and the sequester that is now a reality.

However, it could end anytime with House Democratic Representative John Conyer's bill to just repeal the sequester; that is, if he got proper support. I think that needs to be a goal along with forever protecting Social Security from neoliberal economics and the politicians that support it. After all, this sequester was a conscious bipartisan decision on their part to put Social Security in danger now that a 130 billion net cut within the chained(superlative) CPI is now on the White House's website in its proposal to stand in place of the sequester.

What we are hearing to justify it are not only exaggerations and lies about Social Security being unsustainable, those lies are based on inaccurate accounting standards that have pervaded our entire government; the CBO, and yes, even the Social Security Trustees Board itself at times over the years. Let's face it; the Social Security Trustees Board has a broad history of being overly pessimistic.

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Don't Pretend You Care About These Issues When Defending the President

This is an older piece of mine that appeared on Daily Kos on Thursday December 29, 2011.
 

It's an important one because it destroys the argument you hear from some Obama supporters hoping to deflect the inhumane treatment of whistle blower Bradley Manning. They say that since African Americans in our prison system suffer torture and injustice in our prison industrial complex, then that means what is happening to Bradley Manning is not really an issue. Of course what they don't mention is that yes, African Americans have been and are indeed suffering atrocities in our prison industrial complex, yet they don't want to talk about President Obama continuing this trend and even making it worse even hiring a for profit private prison lobbyists in his Justice Department where some of the worst offenses happen making him involved in the state issue and federal issue.
 

You can see the failed deflections in the comments of that diary and how the truth about this really hit a nerve with some people, whether they claim to be a fake Marxist in a past life making their support of the PIC and neoliberalism OK now under Obama or not. The facts show that they don't really care about these issues when hoping to shield Obama from them in the case of Bradley Manning.

Part of the reason the Occupy movement exists and are out in the streets is because of the massive failures of this Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress. This can't be denied. However, because it can't be denied there are certain implications going around in their defense by those who are in denial about this. They imply that what’s going on with Bradley Manning’s confinement and his sham of a trial doesn't truly matter.

They imply Occupy protesters getting beaten, sprayed, and handcuffed until they get nerve damage doesn't matter because of the fact that African Americans and Latinos have been feeling the brunt of police brutality and a corrupt racist justice system for years. It is very true that African Americans and Latinos have felt the brunt of a corrupt racist justice system for years.

However, these injustices still matter regardless, because as MLK said, "A threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" and that still holds true today. The issues the Occupy movement are fighting for affect all races, especially on income inequality and economic justice. That is an acknowledged fact that can't be denied.

The people of Occupy Wall Street are protesting our country's growing inequality--and nowhere is this inequality more acutely felt than the makeup of our prison population.

Recently at a city council meeting in my home of Jersey City, a 46-year-old formerly incarcerated man told the council, as reported in the Jersey City Independent: "I've served 16 years in prison. I came home three years ago and tried everything possible you can do. I got my high school diploma and a driver's license...The job system failed me."
 

When I went to Occupy Wall Street, my friend carried a sign that read: "Troy Davis would still be alive if he had been rich and white." We had attended a protest earlier that month, when Davis was still alive, where signs and demonstrators proclaimed, "We are Troy Davis."
 

We are Troy Davis. We are the 99 percent.

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