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Comment Re:The truth is, I do not know where to put DHS (Score 3, Insightful) 539

"But what DHS deals with ? "

Anything and everything? It should be a source of concern that they have a massive budget and you don't actually now what their overarching mission is.

You should be worried about them at least as much as the NSA and DOJ. If there is another big excuse (i.e. Katrina, Occupy or 9/11) there is a fair chance their VIPR teams are going to be the ones frisking you if you try to travel.

One of the things you should be most concerned with is they are pumping large quantites of money in to local police departments all over the country in order to miltarize them (i.e SWAT teams, military grade weapons, armored vehicles, surveillance)

Comment Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 1) 539

I hope you are being sarcastic. Its laughable to blame the mess this country is on voters when neither party ever fields candidates that are worth voting for.

When someone does comes along who has principals and might be worth voting for the parties and the media quickly dispose of them one way or another before they ever reach a point they can do any damage to the status quo.

More typically great people who would actually make a positive difference have enough sense to realize its a total waste of time, really dangerous and they will probably be destroyed by the system before they manage to make a difference.

I'm kind of hoping Elizabeth Warren might prove me wrong but the jury is still out. A senator can do more damage than just about anyone other than the President but still 1 Senator can't do much beyond slowing stuff down.

Comment Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 4, Insightful) 539

"It's why communism spread like wildfire in Europe but couldn't get so much as a toehold in the United States"

The U.S. was pretty left leaning during the progressive era and the Depression.

World War II and the permenent ascendence of the miltary industrial intelligence complex aided and abetted by J. Edgar Hoover, McCarthy, Reagan and friends who engaged in no holds barred witch hunt to kill communism, socialism, progressivism and unions. Back in those days "communists" played the scape goat role Muslim "terrorists" play today. In the World War I era it was "anarchists".

The problems with liberals and leftists in the U.S. were they were pretty much all pussies and they couldn't counterpunch with a master like Hoover. Hoover also had the power that comes from knowledge, and he had more knowledge than anyone thanks to all the files he had the FBI build on all of his enemies. If you think the NSA surveillence state isn't dangerous just look back at what Hoover did with a tiny fraction of the information the NSA has.

Comment Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 4, Interesting) 539

Joe Nacchio was sent to Federal prison because he had the balls to tell the NSA he wasn't going to let them spy on Qwest's customers, while ATT, Verizon et al just rolled over and let them do, and back then it was completely illegal, it was years later when Congress retroactively made it legal.

Nacchio is an unsung hero for having the balls to stand up to the survellience state when it first started and he paid dearly for it.

Comment Re:Put a fork in it, it's done. (Score 5, Insightful) 539

How exactly do you explain the Republican passing Medicare D? That was there Obamacare, though it was more a scheme to throw money to their backers in big pharma than anything. Obamacare is a market solution to Health care.

The mammoth TARP bailout of big banks was a one one of the most massive interventions in the economy ever and it was Republican lead. Your thesis simply doesn't hold.

Democrats are throwing just as much money to defense and intelligence since 9/11 as the Republicans. Feinstein, a Democrat, and Leibermen a former Democrat were point men in giving away our civil liberties to the NSA and DHS. In case you haven't noticed most of the big wars in the 20th century were started/fought by Democrats, Vietnam being the worst of the lot.

There are a bunch of wedge issues the two parties differ on but they are mostly designed to herd people in to the two parties and make them think they have a choice wben really they don't. The wedge issues are unions, abortions, guns, gays. They are emotional hotbutton issues designed to divide people but yhey have very little to do with the stuff that really matters, who controls the power and the money (with the possible exception of unions). Reagan mostly broke the backs of unions and they matter less and less every day outside of government employee unions.

Republicans are traditionally friendlier to plutocrats but I seriously doubt there is much difference between the two in pandering to rich people. Dems tend to pander to Hollywood celebs and trial lawyers, Republicans to Texas oil men, but they are just pandering to which ever group of rich people will fill their campaign war chests.

Comment Re:Eventually people will look up... (Score 1) 894

Scahill is a well known and respected journalist. His book has pictures of McRaven visiting the surviving family members and slaughtering a sheep to beg forgivness of the family. NATO and JSOC have fully admitted that it was a mistake, and that there was an attempt to cover it up. The fundemental problem they had covering it up was the targets were so amazingly, obviously wrong, a police chief and a prosecutor, there were so many witnesses who survived, journalist were on scene fairly quickly and the attempted cover up was so obvious it fell apart immediately.

It would lead you to beleive that there are probably a significant number of "accidents" where the victims are not well known, there are no surviving witnesses, journalists can't reach the scene, or the victims are all pulverized by explosives and unidentifiable so they JSOC can get away with one coverup after another.

Comment Re:Germany (Score 4, Interesting) 250

The father of the Chinese space program was one of the founders of JPL, Jet Propulsion == rockets. The U.S. government hounded him so much for being Chinese, and possibly a spy, he eventually returned home to China and built a space program there.

The rest of your thesis is deeply flawed and NOT insightful. The U.S. space program is alive and well at JPL, SpaceX, Blue Origin, Orbital Sciences and a number of other private companies.

The only thing that went wrong was letting a series of U.S. Presidents, Congress and NASA completely screw it up for a few decades. Space programs need to be run by visionaries with a plan, laser focus, sufficient resources and the capacity to stick with it even when its hard, so they acheive their goals. Von Braun was the visionary who made Apollo happen. Musk is the most likely visionary to get the U.S. to Mars first.

The space program as run by the U.S. government and NASA is doomed, if for no other reason than they completely change the strategy every 4 to 8 years, and their strategic decisions are based on how many jobs will be created in the districts of powerful Congressmen, not sound or rational engineering or whether a project is worth doing. As a result NASA seldom ever finishes anything (outside of JPL and observatories).

NASA is also never held accountable for failure to finish anything, partially because politcians always cancel the programs half way through right before they actually have to build and do something. NASA's staff need to propose projects that are well engineered and worth doing, tell Congress to fund them at a sufficient and sustained level to finish them, and if Congress and President wont they need to threaten to mass resign. If NASA can't do programs like that they should all mass resign, shutter the failed parts of the organization and put the money directly in to places like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences.

Comment Re:Eventually people will look up... (Score 1) 894

So you are saying that if a friend of yours is a terrorist, unbeknownst to you, you are OK with the U.S. government executing you without a trial.

You may not know this but Bin Laden's father is an affluent, respected owner of a multi billion dollar Saudi construction company. As far we anyone knows he disowned his son and had no ties to terrorism. By your reasoning the U.S. should still execute him and all of his relatives?

You either have rule of law or you don't. Rule of law says you are accountable for your actions not the actions of people you happen to know or share a blood line with. Rule of law says you produce evidence of someone's wrong doing to a judge and jury and they decided if the evidence warrants punishment.

Comment Re:Eventually people will look up... (Score 1) 894

The key point is I'm NOT the one who took this thread off topic, you were doing it before I did so don't pin it on me.

I think I made it pretty clear that in at least one case the U.S. has someone disappear from the U.S. I've also made the probably even more disturbing point that he U.S. has managed to bestow on itself the power to not only make people disappear in the U.S. but anywhere on the planet, which is far more disturbing and surpasses the powers of any previous police state.

JSOC is operating in at least 100 countries and they are accountable to no one other than maybe the White House and the SecDef occasionally. They are operating as judge, jury, torturer and executioner. There are no checks or balances and they are FREQUENTLY either making serious mistakes or serious errors in judgement.

There is a big difference between collateral damage on a declared battlefield and indiscriminate killing of civilians where the whole world is a battlefield and innocent civilians have no where to hide.

Comment Re:Eventually people will look up... (Score 1) 894

I'll say again you should read Scahill's book. Awliki's story is far more complex than it appears or U.S. propaganda painted it. Awkliki was actually very moderate before 9/11. He supported George W in 2000 because he was socially conservative and liked the hard line Republican stance on gays and other social issues. He was also the goto Muslim for U.S. media after 9/11 because of his moderation and appeals for calm.

His story then gets very murky after 9/11. There is at least some evidence the U.S. tried to coerce in to being an informant. In particular they may have snared him in two staged prostitution stings to pressure and discredit him. They hounded him relentless post 9/11 and he was dismayed at the brutal treatement Muslim's were getting in the U.S. He tried to return to the U.S. and was held at the border and then was suddenly released by the FBI to enter the U.S. He apparently went directly to someone the FBI wanted him to help implicate and he didn't even know. He was probably be coerced in to being an informant. He then fled the U.S. to never return because he didn't want to be an informant. When he returned to his ancestral home in Yemen the hounding continued under U.S. direction, he was imprisoned by Yemen for a time, and his radicationlization accellerated.

He was most definitely very radical when he was finally executed, but there is at least a 50/50 chance he was radicalized only because of 10 years of hounding and pressure applied by the U.S.

Still the fact that you think its OK to execute children based on the actions of their parents show just how morally challenged you and the U.S. government have become.

If U.S. citizens are guilty of something, try them in absentia in a court of law, put your evidence on the table and if you can convince a judge and jury then you have justification to act.

If you let the executive branch act as judge, jury and executioner you are opening a Pandora's box that all Americans will live to regret.

Comment Re:Eventually people will look up... (Score 4, Insightful) 894

You seem to miss the point. U.S. indiscriminant killing of civilians is insuring this will be a perpetual war, which I suspect is what a lot of malevolent people in and around Washington D.C. want. This forever war spanning the entire globe gives them a blank check to do just about anything, anywhere, anytime and justify it by saying its necessary to keep American's safe. If the screw up and kill the wrong people they just lie, cover it up, and move on to the next set of executions. They can also spend unlimited quantities of money. After the Soviet Union fell DOD and Intelligence needed a new enemy to justify their enormous budgets. Now that they have one they will milk it forever.

You can't win a guerrilla war by working off an org chart of your enemy commanders and killing large numbers of civilians as collateral damage as you go after them. The French tried exactly this strategy in Algeria for years. They did take out a lot of boxes on their org charts but the brutality that went with it insured there was always a fresh supply of people who hated the French with a passion and constantly replenished the boxes on the org chart.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with targetting Al Qaeda and Taliban but you need to A) make sure the intelligence and targetting are rock solid and B) do everything possible to limit collateral damage. For example you kill them in vehicles on an open road instead of leveling an entire village full of innocent people.

Or you send in special operators to snatch and identify them. Unfortunately after 10 years they've realized that secret prisons are really messy from a human rights perspective so they've decided to use summary executions instead which is why they killed an unarmed Bin Laden at point blank range.

For long periods in Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen JSOC opted for high mission rate based on bad intelligence over low mission rate and high quality results. They created whole new generations of Jihadi's as a result of that poor decision.

The "hiding behind women and children" is a silly propaganda line. You expect them to stand out in the middle of a field and put a bullseye on their chest so the drones can target them cleanly. They are facing an opponent with vast military superiority. They are going to blend in to villages and hide in mountains. Anything else would be shear stupidity and they aren't stupid.

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