Wednesday, January 31, 2018

More Hard Evidence The Trump Administration Is Batshit Crazy: They're Planning A Strike On North Korea

Image result for Trump vs. Kim Jong Un images
Michelle Goldberg's column in the New York Times concerning the reasons that Victor Cha backed out of serving as U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, ought to scare the Bejeezus out of any sentient person. See e.g.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/30/opinion/trump-boring-warmongering-sotu.html

Ms. Goldberg picked up the account of Cha's backing out from a piece in The Financial Times.  As reported therein, Mr. Cha backed out after being asked if he could "manage the evacuation of Americans" from Seoul and surroundings after an American preemptive attack to "give Kim Jong un a bloody nose".  The account adding:

"The move comes as the Pentagon prepares for a possible order from Mr. Trump to launch military action at North Korea aimed at convincing Pyongyang dictator Kim Jong Un  to abandon his nuclear weapon program."

Yes, you read that correctly. These deranged imbeciles are actually contemplating a preemptive strike on the North that would literally unleash hell, not just on South Koreans but the entire surrounding region - and possibly expand to a global thermonuclear war.  That is the measure of fucktard  in this misbegotten administration we are now saddled with.  According to the FT the two hard liners itching for the strike are H.R. McMaster (national security adviser ) and Chuck Pompeo, CIA Director.

Even Gen. Jim Mattis, generally known as the cautionary adult was quoted by the FT as saying:

"There is little reason for optimism."

According to Ms. Goldberg in her own piece:

"According to The Washington Post, the nomination of Victor D. Cha, a hawkish veteran of the George W. Bush administration, was very close to being sent to the Senate, but was derailed when Cha privately expressed reservations about a preventive American strike on North Korea.  The Financial Times reported that Cha was asked if he was “prepared to help manage the evacuation of American citizens from South Korea,” which would be necessary in the event of an American bombing. This is terrifying, because it suggests that Trump is serious about starting a war."

Adding:

"Cha himself seems frightened; just before the State of the Union started, he published an op-ed in The Washington Post arguing against a preventive attack. Apparently assuming that some readers would be indifferent to millions of potential Korean deaths, Cha emphasized that many Americans would also die in a military confrontation."

Let's be clear no actual "warhead" ready North Korean ICBM could reach the U.S. presently.  The primary impediment to  N. K. ICBM deployment is the design of a re-entry vehicle capable of withstanding the fall through the atmosphere as the warhead zeroes in on the target.  This is a formidable challenge, make no mistake.  It defines the difference between lobbing a giant missile with no 'boom' across continents, and lobbing one with a nuclear punch. 

By comparison  - and for reference - the warhead of the 1960s' era Atlas D was originally paired to a  re-entry vehicle (RV) with a W49 thermonuclear weapon, for a combined weight 3,700 lb (1,680 kg) and yield of 1.44 megatons (Mt). The W-49 was later placed in a higher ablative RV, for a combined weight 2,420 lb (1,100 kg) The maximum explosive yield delivered with these later designs was 3.75 megatons. The North's capabilities are nowhere near this. 

According to  Physics Today (April issue last year) the North's existing weapons would deliver a yield of roughly 0.08 kt/ kilogram. That is the yield per actual bomb mass.  This means they’d need to be able to launch or carry (via plane) at least 100 kg of bomb mass to get an 8 kiloton A -blast, or 200 kg to get a 16 kt yield.   These magnitudes are roughly on the scale of the Hiroshima blast.

Despite its nuclear limitations - and make no mistake they are not giving them up, after seeing "regime change" with Iraq in 2003 -  the North could wreak havoc on Seoul, South Korea. Even one or two bombers lifting an 8 kt bomb has the potential to obliterate over 20 million people as well as all U.S. troops stationed in S. Korea.   And we aren't even yet considering the 10,000 odd artillery pieces facing the Demilitarized zone. Each of these loaded with chemical and biological weapons.

Interviewed last April,  and asked if Trump would actually attack North Korea, former CIA North Korean analyst Sue Mi Terry responded:

 “I can’t see him following through on this and that is the problem with the brinksmanship policy. Because you’re putting yourself in a bind. You will either have to back down and lose credibility or you are stuck on a ledge with a military option which is very, very risky.

 North Korea is not Syria. It’s not Afghanistan. It’s going to have very devastating consequences.  North Korea will retaliate to any kind of military option. They will retaliate against South Korea given seventy percent of its ground forces are deployed within 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the DMZ.  And there’s twenty thousand U.S. military in South Korea and twenty million people in Seoul”


Clearly, despite that, the military know nothings in the Trump White House believe they can get away with a decapitation strike. Which again, proved they are all stark raving mad.  Just like Gen. Curtis LeMay  in the Kennedy era, e.g. with the Cuban Missile crisis,  who really believed a "pre-emptive strike" could be managed with no further risk of conflagration. 

Then we had JFK with the brains and balls to face down these knuckle dragger hawks. Now we have only an overgrown 71 year- old toddler with anger issues and an ego the size of the planet.    If there is a preemptive strike, my bet is that Dotard will launch it when the first charges from special prosecutor Robert Mueller come down.

If he is going to go down he will want to take the whole country, hell - the whole world - with him.

The Cruel And Unusual Punishment Of Making The Sick Work For Their Health Care


The GOP and Trump recently reached a new low when a number of Trumpie-dominated states began to pass laws in Medicaid expansion states to make recipients work for their health care. Never mind that 95% of the 70 million Medicaid recipients are either children or adults so severely physically or mentally ill that no one would hire them even if they wanted to work.

Take the case of Thomas J. Penister of Milwaukee, recently examined in The Denver Post (January 14, p. 14A, 'Debate Over Work Requirements Begins').  Penister suffers from such severe social anxiety disorder that he's been unemployed the past five years, unable to even stuff a letter in an envelope in the presence of coworkers without flying into a panic. Fortunately, with Medicaid, he's received help and has been able to see a behavioral health specialist to deal with his anxiety.

Penister also acknowledges that while he's made progress it simply hasn't been enough to enable him to satisfactorily return to the workforce. At the same time, he's "unnerved by the prospect of losing his Medicaid".  He doesn't believe, as millions like him, that one beset by physical or mental issues should have to go out and work for his health care. (His state, Wisconsin, is one of ten and counting, that applied for a waiver seeking to implement work requirements for single adults.)

But this is what our nation has come to, as evidenced by the farce of a state of the union address tens of millions were duped into watching - and believing the swine in chief could be a uniter not a divider.  In more specific terms, the GOP are quite okay with giving away enough huge tax cuts for the CEOs and corporate parasites to be able to afford luxuries like that shown below:



















But are averse to enabling a guy like Penister to receive Medicaid to take care of his mental health. Let us note here that - as reported in a Washington Post column  - the Republican tax bill  nominally delivers $3.7 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade.  However, nearly $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts are needed to support those tax breaks in case they don't deliver any growth or revenue. In other words, the GOOPs are hoping enough  sick Medicaid people put to work will croak and so cut down the rolls.
The claim made by the Repukes is that their plan isn't draconian or Scrooge like at all, but merely an attempt to "return Medicaid to its original intent".  That is, to act as a temporary stopgap until people can find work. The GOOPs appear to be oblivious to the fact that too many cheapo companies - like Walmart - instead of providing health care for workers, steer them into Medicaid!

But what the Reeps are most incensed about, and why they are driven to take cruel action, is that they were outsmarted by Obama - who implemented a significant expansion of the ACA by expanding Medicaid. SO that 70 million are now covered under the ACA- Medicaid umbrella, where things like preexisting conditions have no warrant. 

The clueless Reeps also miss the boat regarding the fact many people on Medicaid are working, but their health care and its ancillary costs can't be met by their incomes. Take the case of  Matthew Fischer and his wife highlighted in the Denver Post's extended look at Medicaid recipients in Colorado  back in July. As the Post noted, "both have health insurance and work full time".  It "covers major medical issues picks up substantial costs for their child's medical care" - though they inevitably hit their maximums in January each year.   But there is much it doesn't provide and that's where Medicaid comes in. That includes: the wheelchair ($25,000), the formula their 11 -year old (Cecilia) which needs to be ingested through a feeding tube. ($500 a month), and the nurse who accompanies their daughter to school and attends to her needs.  As the Post explains:

"All of that is covered through a Medicaid waiver, making Cecilia among the 45 percent of the state's Medicaid recipients who are age 20 or younger."

But that's the key characteristic of these Philistines on the Right:  they don't care that people are already working.  If they're not earning enough money it's all on them,  not the inequitable system,  which is geared more to Wall Street than Main Street.

I'll go one further: This GOP plan to make those on Medicaid work for their care is merely a cruel effort to punish the poor and infirm.  This attitude can mostly be traced to the Repukes' fondness for Social Darwinism. While they reject scientific Darwinism and evolution, they have a boner for Herbert Spencer's specious form.  Indeed, Richard Hofstadter, in his Social Darwinism in American Thought, (American Historical Association, 1955) observes that Spencer rejected all services for the poor and disabled as encouraging a fundamental weakness in society which induces corruption, sloth and all the other vices. It was also Spencer, not Darwin, who coined the phrase "the survival of the fittest". 

Oh, another choice saying of Spencer's was the following:

"If they are sufficiently complete to live, they do live, and it is well that they should live. If they are not sufficiently complete to live, they die, and it is best that they should die."

Hmmmm.... they "should die".   The basic GOP health care plan exposed, the death solution plan!
But this degeneracy of making sick people work is only the beginning of erosion of the general welfare as embodied in the Preamble of the Constitution. The Pukes ultimately want to cut Medicaid to the bone so even if the  chronically infirm want to work they can't get health care.  This is the goal of these barbarians:  to savagely slice all social services in line with Spencerian Social Darwinism so the poor and sick mostly die off. Then the country will be made safe for the rich parasites to do whatever they're doing now - including  screwing the poor fools still tying their wealth to phantom assets in the bubbling stock market. But then when it crashes and all those who couldn't afford to lose their saving are penniless,, no amount of caterwauling or imploring- say by their new employer Wal-Mart (to its low paid workers) will get them the gov't help they need. They will truly be on their own, to starve or at least be malnourished (for lack of food stamps) or perish in a nasty H5 N1 Bird flu pandemic because Medicaid lacked the federal matching funds to survive in their state.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

State of the Union? WHAT "Union"? Pardon Me While I Ignore This Farce

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Dotard before his minders dose him up with resperidol before he goes on the air tonight  to ensure he doesn't randomly erupt.

The biggest farce going on tonight is the totally specious, cognitively dissonant "state of the union" message  ostensibly from Russian -elected Donnie Dotard.  What we know is that the smart lawmakers will not be attending nor will the smart citizens be wasting their time watching the performance of this traitorous, lying maggot  clown  shoehorned into office thanks to a foreign adversary.

Indeed, a media specialist appearing on 'AM Joy' Sunday noted that the SOTU - as now designated - is almost entirely a partisan affair. Those who watch it on their home TV sets are 99% supporters of "that president and party". Those who ignore it are not. In the case of Trump, you can be sure no one of the Dem persuasion who calls him or herself liberal or progressive will be wasting time watching the travesty  this evening.

I refer to it as a travesty because no matter what drugs, e.g. resperidol, they put in Trump's water to keep him sane and "on script" tonight  the man is pure "vermin",  to use Janice's parlance.  Not only that, but at the same time he'll be trying to placate the viewing audience and especially the media - (who will be weighing in after),  he's launching an all out attack on the rule of law. I already discussed a lot of this in the previous post to do with his Waterboy traitor Devin Nunes - ordered by Trump to discredit and undercut the FBI and DOJ.  And we know when Dotard yelps 'Jump!', Waterboy Nunes asks "How high?"

Trump, as Joe Scarborough put it this morning, revealed himself  every bit the "common thug" we know him to be, e.g. in his vile treatment of the wife of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. (Asking what it feels like to be married to a "loser" - after she lost a VA race in 2015).  But the worst aspect, the most despicable - as Scarborough noted - will be the optics of this manipulative asshole trying to bring the nation together even as he's engaged in using toadies to "conduct a witch hunt against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Attorney General while giving the Russians a free pass."

As Scarborough added:

"This is an investigation into the interference of Vladimir Putin into our election system. Then we have Devin Nunes with the help of Paul Ryan turning it instead into an examination of the very law enforcement agencies."

And let's bear in mind this is all at the behest of the swine in the White House, along with his traitor accomplice John Kelly - also pushing for Nunes and the Reptiles to attack the FBI and DOJ.   THAT is why nothing that transpires tonight can be respected. There can be no comity, no civility, and certainly NO unity when a traitor takes center stage and pretends to be the unifier of a nation while he attempts to destroy the rule of law as completely as Hitler and the Nazis did with the Enabling Act.

Why would any sentient and honorable citizen,  given all we now know,  commit to watching two hours of fulsome lies as Trump strives for a "measured" speech? Especially as we  know he will be reading his hog swill from  a teleprompter. Something any intelligent 8 -year old ought to be able to do..  The mainstream media itself is no guide to speech quality or sincerity. Most of them are now so exhausted from battling Trump they're prepared to declare he "at last appears presidential". That is if  he merely  refrains from going off script, foaming at the mouth and babbling about Obama wiretaps. That is how low the standard  is to proclaim the SOTU a success.

Even popular historian Doris Kearns Goodwin babbled breathlessly this morning on Scarborough's show that pomp and circumstance "always prevail"  when the lawmakers enter the hall, blah, blah, blah. As if she is disconnected from actual unfolding events regarding what this piece of filth taking the dais this evening is all about. A classless con man and thug  who merits no more respect or "pomp" than a rabid rat.

But for whom is this 2 hour farce  being played? Well, a peanut gallery of political poltroons.  This is why I applaud Rep. Maxine Waters and Rep. John Lewis for tapping into their conscience and opting to boycott the misleading event.  Why attend, as Rep. Waters put it last week, just to hear this evil moron babble out his lies and insults?

"Oh Oh but you are giving vent to a divisive politics and nation!"

Sorry, Roscoe and Rosie, that's the way it's ever been  for at least the past two decades, if not more.

Here's the funniest part: There is NO "union".  It's all a mirage.  This is no longer the United States of America but rather the Divided States of America. You cannot have a United States when nearly 33 % believe the opposite of what the other 67% accept as facts. Those 33 percent  are convinced there is actually a Kremlin- Hillary- FBI collusion - also involving the Steele Dossier and a "wrongly issued" FISA warrant - which is the basis of the memo Nunes and his fellow rats want to release..  This bullshit has now mutated into a whole cloth conspiracy -- according to the FAUX News zombies - to "overthrow the Trump government" .  According to hacks like Sean Hannity et al by using former MI6 spy Christopher Steele and his dossier as well as special prosecutor Bob Mueller. The latter presumed to be running a witch hunt along with the FBI - both are seeking to "undo the 2016 election by overthrowing Trump in a bloodless coup."

This bifurcation of news- information sources has been going on for some time. Nor does it take a Ph.D. in media or communications and linguistics to grasp that it has created two distinct national perspectives. Hence, created two populations accepting widely divergent realities. I have also singled out FOX News as the biggest culprit in gutting the febrile and already gullible brains of a segment of the populace,  dividing our nation more with each passing month.

Women with bright pink hats and signs begin to gather early and are set to make their voices heard on the first full day of Donald Trump's presidency, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington.You need imagery to make this more concrete? Then check out the 2 photos below from two distinct demonstrations over the past 8 months. See if you can figure out which march photo correlates with which population:


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The two images also hold within them - not only the symbolism of their participants' causes  - but from which axis of the information universe they obtain their news. Want to also make a guess on which will have eyes glued to Trump's SOTU tonight? Come on, give it your best shot! Hint: One set displays what true democracy is all about, vibrant, raucous and energized  by opposition. The other displays the toxic cast of authoritarianism especially as wielded in the Nazi state and old Confederacy.

One side, akin to the nature of Trump and the Republicans, will be invested in LIES. What do we know about the undermining of truth especially as it pertains to a nation's integrity? One of the best answers was quoted by Peggy Noonan in her WSJ column 'Declarations' (Jan. 27-28, p. A13). This was from a book by Jordan Peterson, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. I quote from Noonan's column:

"Lying leads to Hell. It was the great and small lies of the Nazi and Communist states that produced the deaths of millions of people'.

Peterson is referring here to the lies of Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, arguably  the two most sadistic tyrants in history, both of whom began as common thugs (like Trump). Hitler himself is known for his quote: "If you tell a lie often enough people will believe it."

Which Donald Drumpf (his original family surname)  has clearly adopted. We now know that he's rattled off more than 2,000 lies the past year based on tabulations carried out by The Washington Post.

So we have roughly one third of the nation invested and committed to the lies of Trump and Trump TV (FOX News), the other two thirds struggling to keep its sanity and investment in truth and fact- imploring the free press (not coopted ) to continue doing its best job in the face of "fake news" attacks.

Some comments of late (unpublished) have accused me of being overly worked up and obsessed about Trump, and the state of political regression in  the U.S.. If so, they haven't seen my wife - almost on the verge of tears each time she watches Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.  Every Trumpian or Repuke move is taken by her as a personal attack  whether the consummate rat Devin Nunes about to release his cherry picked memo to attack the FBI and Rod Rosenstein (see my previous post) or the wretched Reeptard campaign  and Trump TV lying about everything to protect Trump and denigrate Bob Mueller's investigation. In the process providing cover for the Russians to do another hit job on our mid term elections.

As I noted before, 50 years ago if a foreign adversary had attempted to subvert our elections and was exposed as cooperating with a particular party or presidential campaign all hell would have broken loose. At the very least both sides would have found common cause in seeking out the culprits and exacted punishment. Now, one party seeks to protect and find specious cover for the perpetrators!

How can one not be outraged? If one isn't, with the specter of national elections this fall again at risk,  then what can one say other than the nonchalant person's citizenship ought to be revoked. No apologies, no 'do overs', no excuses.

So fuck no, I will not subject myself or my wife to the tissue of patent lies or pretense of temporary civility that will be on offer tonight. Let whatever network talking heads watch and make of it what they will. What I will likely do is watch the extended Democratic response which I believe will be as vigorous and trenchant as I expect it to be.

See also:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/robert-borosage/77531/menace-and-mush-trump-s-state-of-the-union

And:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/p-m-carpenter/77490/of-trump-nunes-and-the-bigliememo

Monday, January 29, 2018

Devin Nunes Ought To Be Hung As A Traitor If He Releases Classified Memo


The slimy, traitorous rat Devin Nunes who's tried previously to sabotage investigations. Now he wants to release a classified memo against the warnings of the Dept. Of Justice. The reckless POS ought to be hung as a traitor if he does release his material - especially without the context of the Democrats' counter memo.

Former Watergate prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks appearing on 'All In'  made no bones about the fear she felt earlier this evening at the actions of consummate rat and traitor Devin Nunes. He had ostensibly recused himself from the House Intelligence Committee- but has now threatened to release a classified memo which he'd already been warned was "reckless". This warning was from the Department of Justice and its reasoning is sound: the purported memo contains critical information - all classified - on the mode of operations employed in serving FISA warrants. It applies with special force to the unmasking of a known Russian agent, Carter Page, whose several meetings with known FSB agents had been brought to the attention of Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. This was largely thanks to separate intel intercepts dispatched from a number of European nations (e.g. the UK,  Netherlands, Germany).

While the blowhard Right opinionists,  e.g. Daniel Hoffman, WSJ today ('The Steele Dossier Fits the Russian Playbook',  p. A17)  insist it's all a Kremlin -hatched plan to overthrow Trump, we know better. We know instead this is all part of the Right's  (and Trump's)objective to discredit the ongoing Mueller investigation into the real collusion (more accurately the conspiracy) with the Russians, to insert Trump into office. But the useful idiot Hoffman - contrary to all we know from the CIA, DIA, FBI etc. - claims former M16 spy Christopher Steele was basically a Kremlin stooge .

Meanwhile,  Devin Nunes' reckless memo - to be released in the next twenty or so hours -   without any context and with names of sources - is part of this nefarious network. In this case to debase the FBI and the DOJ, or as former DOJ special agent Matt Miller it put it,  "to attack the rule of law".

Hoffman focuses his venting on the Steele Dossier per se, which I have already read and concluded is totally what an informed MI6 operative would write. He ignores the original independent information regarding the meeting between the Russkies and Trumpies - as brought to the attention of then CIA chief John Brennan.  For example, Hoffman notes that Carter Page insisted while he was in Moscow he never attended any secret meetings.  Hoffman then blabs:

"This is exactly what you'd expect if the Kremlin followed its usual playbook, accurate basic facts provided as bait to convince Americans that the fake info is real."

In other words, Page was in Moscow - that is the genuine info - but that he attended secret meetings as asserted in the Steele Dossier, was "fake".  Disinfo crafted by the renegades in the Kremlin who actually used it to dupe an experienced British spy!  The point Hoffman misses is that the secret Carter Page meetings were actually out there long before the Steele Dossier contents were known. His meetings indeed had been intercepted by different intel agencies across Europe including by the Swiss Spezialdienst  of which my Swiss friend Rolf had once been a member.  As Rolf put it soon after John Brennan had noted the foreign intel origins of Page's antics:

"They'd have known everything, even each time he had to leave the room to go to a restroom"

So, in other words, Hoffman's op ed is simply another in a long line of hit pieces on the Steele Dossier and its author.

As for Nunes, his traitorous ways in releasing classified material precede him, and we last saw that performance in March, e.g.

http://brane-space.blogspot.com/2017/03/devin-nunes-leaks-classified-info.html

As I noted therein:

"Nunes by his feckless and reckless actions confirmed once and for all what many of us already believed: he is merely a Trump toady doing his master's work. After all, this turkey  served on Trump’s national security transition team, so why would he not seek to do all possible to cover for his Fuhrer?"

Why indeed? Because when all is said and done it is actually Trump attacking all the ancillary investigators on either side of Robert Mueller. We've already lost (two months' early) Andrew McCabe  - who resigned today - and now Rod Rosenstein is being subjected to pressure. Or soon will be.  The take of both Matt Miller and Jill Wine -Banks is that the memo the traitor Nunes is about to release will single out Rosenstein for getting a FISA warrant on Carter Page  -after his shenanigans in Moscow became known via foreign intel agency intercepts .

Included in the release will be the underlying workings of exactly how FISA warrants are obtained, the detailed methods used and names of sources (and  the name of the judge who issued the FISA warrant). In other words, it amounts to exposing the trade craft of our intelligence agencies and likely that of the Europeans too. Even one hundred years ago such transgression would be met by a fusillade of bullets from a firing squad.  Three hundred years ago in England, the rat would have been hung, drawn and quartered. Meaning he is first hung by the neck - but released before expiring - then lain prone as his belly is gutted and intestines dragged out, and then each of 4 limbs chopped off in turn as the culprit remains semi-conscious - but screaming.

Personally, I think the bastard should just be hung - no waste of any bullets.  No waste of extra energy in chopping off limbs or removing guts.

Janice, wifey, just came into the room in tears after watching Rachel Maddow and echoed Jill Wine -Banks that she "never felt more afraid at what's happening in the country." Especially as Nunes and His Rat Reepos are prepared to release this totally cherry picked memo (but with classified content where it serves his purpose) without even permitting the House Intel Democrats to release a counter memo providing the context.   As Matt Miller put it: "This would be like a prosecution making a case at a trial, and not allowing the defense to be heard."

So, in other words, Nunes and cohort are doubly  traitorous!

I've told Janice to leave the sequence of political shows she usually watches (All In, Maddow, Last Word) and try to catch her breath and change perspective. Maybe watch one of the Xmas movies she still has on the DVR list. Well, this she decided to do, which is just as well as she's been experiencing chest pains and arrhythmia since last night - again - all part of this political upheaval.

We both sometimes wonder how nice, how grand it would be,   to be ensconced in a little burg somewhere in a sane nation like Canada.  Smug and snug in a beautiful little bubble beyond the toxic Trump world.

Alas, that is not our fate.

See also:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/p-m-carpenter/77490/of-trump-nunes-and-the-bigliememo

Update (1/31):  As usual the WSJ in its editorial ('The House Memo, The FBI and FISA') skews and distorts the facts as when it writes at the very end:  "The same progressives who demanded accountability for FISA courts after Edward Snowden exposed federal snooping now want President Trump to shut down the House's limited attempt at transparency".  Which is mixing chalk and cheese. In fact, as per my post of 4/2/14 the bone of contention with the FISA- Snowden issue was NSA head James Clapper's admission to a Senate Intel committee that NSA "performed warrantless searches on Americans' emails and phone calls."  This was revealed by Snowden's exposure of the Muscular, Xkeyscore etc. programs.  Hence, it was not that progressives "demanded" anything out of the blue for a bogus "transparency"-  as Nunes is doing - but rather merely going by James Clapper's own acknowledgement that 4th amendment protections were violated.  Also, in the process, Snowden never disclosed any sources, methods in his releases. These were carefully redacted. Nunes' memo does no such thing which is why FBI head Christopher Wray made the unusual public statement about having "grave concern" over its release. The traitor Nunes, then, unlike Snowden,  has not only revealed our trade craft methods to the Russian FSB and GRU, but also will be giving the names associated with the FISA warrant process. 

Update 2/3:  The memo release turned out to be anticlimactic in terms of being a document Dotard can use to fire Rod Rosenstein. Why?  Because the last page in reference to George Papadopoulos makes it clear HIS disclosures of the Russia associations to an Australian diplomat preceded any Steele Dossier revelations. In addition, former Bush Jr. security advisor Fran Townsend confirmed yesterday on CBS Early Show that foreign intercepts had also been used, again long before the Steele Dossier became known.  The biggest travesty of this whole political PR stunt remains Nunes' release of classified information - making him a "treasonous rat" as Bill Maher put it on Real Time.

Are Mensa's Libertarians Really As Dumb As They Write?

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Even wifey was appalled to read one of the letters published in the latest Mensa Bulletin,  (January, 'Brainwaves' p. 10) written by a Mensan named Dennis Ward. It read thus:

"Taxes! Taxes! Taxes! People are always complaining about taxes, so the  'smart' members of Mensa have the right solution: It is neither ethical nor moral to force anyone to do anything against their will unless in self-defense. Many people will ask: 'How will we run the government without taxes?'  My answer is that it is neither ethical nor moral to force anyone to do anything against their will unless in self-defense."

Wow! This character repeats a mantra and he makes it appear as if he's delivering some unique wisdom from atop Mt. Olympus,  channeling a Mensan version of Zeus. Give me a break! At best this is regurgitated  from Libby idol Ayn Rand, who blabbered in her book, The Virtue of Selfishness (p. 116):

"Since the imposition of taxes does represent an initiation of force...in a fully free society, taxation, or payment for government services, would be voluntary. Since the proper services of government - the police, the army, the law courts - are demonstrably needed by individual citizens, and affect the individual's interests directly, they should be willing to pay for such services as they pay for insurance.....Men would voluntarily pay for insurance protecting their contracts."

One method of such voluntary government financing would be a government lottery"


and (ibid.)

"A fully free society is one that has been constitutionally reduced to only its most proper, basic functions"


This is also undoubtedly where the pet libertarian canard that “taxes = theft’ comes from. But let's look at it objectively:  the reductio ad absurdum conclusion is that every human resides in a kind of bubble or vacuum wherein he or she presumably controls all.  Face invasion by a foreign army? Develop your own counterforce, or....round up enough soldiers to try to protect you.  Your town flattened by an F5 tornado and all electric power and water gone? Well, try to get neighbors together and dig your own wells for H2O while you cut lumber to put up new telephone poles and look around for electric power lines.  H3N2 flu killing one person after another in your town, and there's no flu vaccine - or Tamiflu - because, well you didn't want to pay  taxes to support the CDC or government health services? Hey, no problemo! Go mix up some camphor balls and listerine and see if that works!

 This elicits two questions, not entirely unrelated: 1) Is it practical to expect an individual in any society to shoulder all responsibility for all possible adverse events - that may not only affect him, but also others in his proximity or region?, and 2) Is it possible to have a "fully free society"?

Let's take the last first and note the libertarian creed has a primary fetish for "full freedom" especially on the individual level.   But this arises from fantasies that bear no relation to the real world we inhabit. This includes such natural threats and affronts to individual freedom as: floods, fire storms, mudslides - such as recently swallowed dozens of California homes, monster hurricanes, tornadoes,
and disease pandemics - say from Influenza,  Zika or dengue fever.

I believe we can agree that each of these, if occurring in a populated place, impinges adversely on the inhabitants' freedom, say to live or even prosper. In nearly every case resources are suddenly limited, including electric power, water and even food. The frequency of these natural enemies of total freedom also appears to be increasing as climate change goes on.

The conclusion then is that a fully free, autonomous and independent society is an impossible concept. This is because no one living on this planet - in any society, country or continent- - can be free of the vicissitudes and vagaries of the multiple possible natural disasters, events that can afflict any given community. Once your domain  is devastated by any natural disaster of any form your "freedom" becomes circumscribed.  Ask the Puerto Ricans still without electric power after Hurricane Maria.  These hapless folk cannot cook their rice, access potable water, refrigerate their medications or watch television news. Or even have lights by which their offspring can do homework - hence why many thousands have abandoned the island to live in the U.S.

By extension then, we can generalize and assert once your domain is subject to any kind of natural disaster (including a pandemic flu) your basic freedom to live and prosper is limited.  This axiom applies to all humans across the planet, no exceptions.

As a corollary let me add that ALL individuals exist as part of communities, they do not exist unto themselves as one hundred percent self sufficient entities. Even if  an individual might conduct his  own home school to teach his own offspring, he'd be hard pressed to  build his own roads, bridges, sewer and water lines, hospitals, airports etc.  So it is daft to believe any individual can live on his own detached from the resources of a greater collective, unless he is maybe another Ted Kaczynski. So seriously, are Ward, Ayn Rand and fellow Libbies asking us to generate 300 million Ted Kaczynskis?  Give me a break!

So moving on to inquiry (1), what then is the Libby solution for a community or even a state, if it is suddenly struck by monster storms, floods or wildfires? Well,  if I am a Puerto Rican and my power and water was knocked out after Hurricane Maria,  I suppose Ward's "solution" is that I retrieve my own telephone poles, power lines, and also machinery to excavate my own water wells.  I suppose also he expects all other Puerto Ricans  to do the same. No dependence on outside (tax-funded) government agencies like FEMA or the U.S. Army to help or lift a mitt.

What a freaking system- of idiocy!

If an H5 N1 Avian flu pandemic arrives, as many (e.g. Dr. Sanjay Gupta)  predict sometime in the future, would Mr. Ward also demand cutting all tax-support for the CDC - which tracks pandemics? Would he prefer we all just fend for ourselves, without even a flu vaccine to help?  I mean, in his deformed stunted world it would be "force" to have any upstanding citizen pay taxes to support the preparation of vaccines or the CDC in its keeping Americans apprised.

But again, this is the problem when one relies on mantras instead of reason and critical thinking, even if a "smart" Mensan.

This bids us also look again at Ayn Rand's solutions to our dilemma of what to do in case we  need police, army, fire fighters, health care or any other ostensible service of government that ordinarily woould be provided via tax dollars. But since taxation is "theft" to her and Ward, then we are to EACH purchase our own services "like insurance"".  Must I really spell out how stupid this is, and that if one is really going to individualize costs - as opposed to share them via a tax commons-  they are going to be astronomical.

Must I also spell out to the libbies that taxation is totally justified by social contract theory. On this basis we in the public sphere democratically allow people (like Warren Buffet and George Soros)  to accumulate wealth only with the understanding that a portion of that wealth would be allocated for public use.  Go ahead and establish whatever business empire you wish, but be aware that your use of our railroads, state highways, airports, etc. makes it incumbent on you to pay into the collective, the  tax commons. And no, this is assuredly not a "voluntary" matter as Rand suggests.

This brings us to one of the most apt criticisms of libertarianism:

"I don't need force to commit theft or fraud. This is a bit of rhetorical sleight of hand that libbies like to play so that they can pretend they are different from government”.

To fix ideas, Bernard Madhoff put a gun to no one's head to part with their money. He merely plied clients with fantastic visions of unearned extra wealth via his investment offerings. They weren't forced to purchase these instruments. This in itself shows the libbie's version of force as theft is poppycock.. Conversely,  taxation is not force if person X opts to live in a state or city whereby that habitation gives tacit agreement to be subject to the state's tax.  If I dislike the terms of that agreement I am at liberty to do what  one hedge fund billionaire once did and live on my own ship outside international waters.

Enter now  Prof. Ernest Partridge take on libertarianism in his 2012 article, ‘Liberals and Libertarians’:

Now consider the implications of this denial of the "independent existence" of "the public" and "society." If there is no "public," then there are no "public goods" and there is no "public interest." If there is no "society," then there is no "social harm," or "social injustice" or "social (and public) responsibility." It then follows that government has no role in mitigating "social injustice" or promoting "the public interest," since these terms are fundamentally meaningless. Poverty and racial discrimination, for example, are individual problems requiring individual solutions”.


The same critic cited earlier puts thus:

Libertarians make exceptions for defense of property and prosecution of fraud, and call them ‘retaliatory force’ But retaliation can be the initiation of force."

Libertarianism clearly posits initiation of force for what it identifies as its cosseted minions' interests and calls it righteous retaliation, then uses the big lie technique to define everything else as “evil initiation of force". They support the initial force that has already taken place in the formation of the system of property (e.g. the seizure of Native American lands and violation of umpteen treaties), and wish to continue to use force to perpetuate it and make it more rigid. It is this inchoate ethics that translates into the system’s weakness and exposes libertarians as true hypocrites.

Thankfully, it appears fewer in the higher Q societies have been buying into this codswallop over the last few years. Maybe it's because Ayn Rand's rubbish of "objectiviem" - disguised as philosophy - has also been exposed on a number of fronts.

See also:

http://smirkingchimp.com/thread/richard-eskow/53353/what-america-would-look-like-if-libertarians-got-their-way