Welcome to Sott.net
Fri, 24 Mar 2023
The World for People who Think

Puppet Masters

Bad Guys

NSA chief: Journalists must be stopped


NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander
Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the embattled National Security Agency, is calling on governments to stop journalists from public disclosure of his agency's secret documents.

"I think it's wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000-whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these-you know it just doesn't make sense," Alexander said in an interview with the Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.

"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don't know how to do that. That's more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it's wrong to allow this to go on," the NSA director added.

Gen. Alexander accused journalists of "selling" classified documents on the NSA's surveillance activities worldwide, insisting that media reports on his agency were a "dramatic, convenient lie."


U.S. government afraid of American people: Lindauer

Press TV has conducted an interview with Susan Lindauer, a former CIA asset from Washington, about the United States spying on its people as well as its European allies.

Below is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: How vast and extensive is this NSA spying program?

Lindauer: It has been revealed that the NSA spied on 124 billion phone conversations throughout the world in a one-month period. Thus it is enormous; it is beyond the scope of comprehension for ordinary citizens but the implications are vast because it is a Stasi program whereby it applies to the industrial espionage.

But it also allows the United States to impose our laws on other countries on an extraterritorial basis and we are hunting down citizens of foreign countries whose activities might very well be legal within their own country, but which violate our own US policies.

And then we are sabotaging them or even arresting them and extraditing them to the United States for prosecution and this goes well beyond terrorism cases. So, it is something that ordinary citizens should be afraid of; it is not just the government elite that should be. This is affecting the whole society.

Arrow Down

U.S. already third world economy: American economist


The US dollar has seen value decline, an American economist says.
A prominent American economist says the United States has already become a Third World economy as the world superpower continues to offshore its gross domestic product (GDP).

"If jobs offshoring continued, the US would be a Third World economy in 20 years," Paul Craig Roberts wrote in a column for the Press TV website on Thursday.
"America is in the toilet, and the rest of the world knows it," he wrote, noting, "More small businesses close, as memberships decline in golf clubs, as more university graduates return home to live with their parents, who are drawing down their savings to live."
"With the world moving away from using the dollar to settle international accounts, as the Federal Reserve prints more dollars, the rate at which foreign holders of dollar assets sell off their holdings will rise," wrote Roberts.

Eye 2

Each drone strike creates at least 40 new militants - ex-State Dept. official

© Reuters
People gather at the site of a drone strike on the road between Yafe and Radfan districts of the southern Yemeni province of Lahj August 11, 2013
A former high-ranking official from the Department of State claims that the mass loss of civilian life caused by American-launched drone strikes in Yemen are creating dozens of new militants with each attack.

Nabeel Khoury, the deputy chief of mission in Yemen for the State Department from 2004 to 2007, writes in the Cairo Review this week that the use of unmanned aerial vehicles against alleged Al-Qaeda operatives is breeding anti-American sentiment overseas.

The editorial, published Wednesday, comes as the United States' use of drones is dominating discussions in Washington and around the world. Two leading human rights organizations condemned drones in a pair of reports released earlier this week, and on Wednesday the prime minister of Pakistan urged US President Barack Obama to cease drone strikes in his country and essentially halt an operation that has involved hundreds of attacks since 2004.

According to Khoury, similar attacks conducted in Yemen during the last few years have spawned a hatred that could immensely hurt America's efforts.

"Drone strikes take out a few bad guys to be sure, but they also kill a large number of innocent civilians. Given Yemen's tribal structure, the US generates roughly forty to sixty new enemies for every AQAP operative killed by drones," Khoury wrote, referring to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Monkey Wrench

How badly will ObamaCare screw you? Answers here!

Well well lookie what the cat dragged in.

That's a link to the unsubsidized data dump -- all 78,437 records -- for each county and State under the Obamacare exchange program. I can verify that for at least my state and county the table is correct, since you can now look it up on Healthcare.gov without creating an account first (which I am not about to do.)

There are several very interesting statistical facts that come from this.

First, if you're "27", the average premium is $266.20/month or $3,194.40 per year. How many 27 year olds have an extra $3,200 to spend on this? Remember, this is the price that virtually every uninsured 27 year old must be willing -- and able -- to cough up in order to prevent the model this system is predicated on from collapsing.

If those 27 year olds don't show up, and they won't, then the system collapses instantly. If they do show up because the government threatens them with fines the economy collapses as $3,200 a year exceeds the average 27 year old's disposable personal income after mandatory expenses (e.g. food, shelter, etc.) Remember, there are always exceptions but these premiums are averages and over large pools of people the statistical averages are what matters -- not the ends of the barbell.

It gets better. The "average" 50 year old premium, again, for single coverage, is $452.87, or $5,434.44/year. How many 50 year olds will find that attractive compared against what they're paying now? Probably more of them, especially if they're already sick. But how about the healthy ones?

Note two things as well on this account -- these premiums are for non-smokers (smoker premiums are grossly surcharged with reports being 1.5x the above) and they do not account for anyone other than one person. If you are a single parent with kids (rather common) the premium on average is $610.23/month or about $7,300, and if you're a couple it's $647.86 (again, $7,774 annually.)

Now let's look at the government's own claims. First, the CPI index claims that health insurance is 0.656% of the family budget. What percentage of couples make $1.185 million a year? Why do I ask? Because that's the alleged median income for a couple if you believe the government's CPI numbers.

Brick Wall

Judicial Watch sues IRS for stonewalling on tea party FOIA

© Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times
The Internal Revenue Service Building
The government watchdog Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, insisting the agency release previously demanded documents made under a Freedom of Information Act request that would clarify how conservative groups were screened for nonprofit status.

Judicial Watch filed the suit on Oct. 9 but announced it Tuesday. President Tom Fitton said in a written statement that the suit was "designed to cut through the Obama administration cover-up of its IRS scandal."

Specifically, the watchdog said it wanted the IRS to release copies of "all communications relating to the review process for organizations seeking 501(c)(4) nonprofit status since January 1, 2012." The group also asked the court "to order the IRS to provide records of communications by former IRS official Lois Lerner concerning the controversial review and approval process."

Top Secret

Report: Obama appointees using secret email accounts

© AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on President Barack Obama's budget proposal for fiscal year 2014, and the HHS
Some of President Barack Obama's political appointees are using secret government email accounts to conduct official business, The Associated Press found, a practice that complicates agencies' legal responsibilities to find and turn over emails under public records requests and congressional inquiries.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday acknowledged the practice and said it made eminent sense for Cabinet secretaries and other high-profile officials to have what he called alternative email accounts that wouldn't fill with unwanted messages. Carney said all their email accounts, public and otherwise, were subject to congressional oversight and requests by citizens under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

"There's nothing secret," Carney said.

The AP reviewed hundreds of pages of government emails released under the federal open records law and couldn't independently find instances when material from any of the secret accounts it identified was turned over. Congressional oversight committees told the AP they were unfamiliar with the few nonpublic government addresses that AP identified so far, including one for Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Health and Human Services Department.

Red Flag

Sebelius failed at government website projects prior to serving in Obama administration

Obama administration Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' failure at designing websites to provide government services began during her term as governor of Kansas, long before the Obamacare website debacle, Kansas political insiders told The Daily Caller.

Sebelius oversaw numerous costly and disastrous government website projects during her six-year governorship (2003-2009), including a failed update of the Department of Labor's program to provide unemployment pay and other services and similar updates pertaining to the Department of Administration and the state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) services.

The Department of Labor's overhaul of its computer programs was a notable boondoggle, according to 14-year former Kansas state senator and former state Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee.

"In the Kansas Senate, I chaired the Commerce committee. We had oversight over the Department of Labor. For years, we watched as the Department of Labor under Sebelius worked on that computer program. After seven years and $50 million, something should work," Brownlee told TheDC.

Eye 1

Legislation curtailing NSA domestic spying to be introduced

© Reuters
Breitbart News has learned that Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will introduce major legislation to rein in NSA surveillance activities of American citizens on Tuesday.

The United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act, or USA FREEDOM Act, is somewhat of a step beyond the controversial "Amash Amendment" that narrowly failed to pass the House in July that would have stripped funding for NSA programs collecting the telephone records of those in the United States.

Sensenbrenner is the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and current Chairman of the subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. He was also the original sponsor of the PATRIOT Act. The Wisconsin lawmaker has previously stated that the PATRIOT Act was "deliberately drafted to prevent [the] data mining" yet the NSA interpreted his legislation to justify their dragnet style surveillance of American citizens. His support, as the drafter of the PATRIOT Act, could be influential with a few of his national security oriented Republican colleagues.


Report: U.S. to consider no-spy deal with allies upset over surveillance


The US government was monitoring the communications of 35 world leaders in 2006.
The White House might be open to no-spy agreements with the governments of close allies outraged over surveillance of their leaders' phone and digital communications, NBC News reported Friday.

The Obama Administration spent much of the week looking to quell concerns voiced by European leaders over alleged widespread spying by the National Security Agency that has sparked outrage across the globe.

On Thursday, The Guardian reported that the U.S. government was monitoring the communications of 35 world leaders in 2006.

That report came on the heels of a story in Le Monde indicating the NSA has secretly monitored millions of French emails earlier this year. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she had reason to believe that American intelligence was surveilling her personal cell phone, accusing the U.S. of shattering trust between the nations. And Der Spiegel reported that the U.S. had hacked former Mexican president Felipe Calderon's email account.