Friday, October 5, 2012

Another Phony Employment Report--2.5 million unemployed Americans were not counted as unemployed by the U3 Household Survey

 It's not a conspiracy theory, it's math. I think I've established that I am even more to the left than most mainstream Democrats, and I don't believe the job numbers, either. Based on the math alone, they don't work out the way the BLS is claiming.--jef

October 5, 2012 | Paul Craig Roberts

October 5. Today’s employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows 114,000 new jobs in September and a drop in the U3 rate of unemployment from 8.1% to 7.8%. As 114,000 new jobs are not sufficient to stay even with population growth (150,000 per month--so a net job loss of -36,000 jobs), the drop in the unemployment rate is the result of not counting discouraged workers who are defined away as “not in the labor force.”

According to the BLS, “In September, 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force.” These individuals “wanted and were available for work,” but “they were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

In other words, 2.5 million unemployed Americans were not counted as unemployed.

The blue line is the true measure of unemployment.

The stock market rose on the phony good news. Bloomberg’s headline: “U.S. Stocks Rise as Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Drops.”  .

A truer picture of the dire employment situation is provided by the 600,000 rise over the previous month in involuntary part-time workers. According to the BLS, “These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”

Turning to the 114,000 new jobs, once again the jobs are concentrated in lowly paid domestic service jobs that cannot be offshored. Manufacturing jobs declined by 16,000.

As has been the case for a decade, two categories–health care and social assistance (primarily ambulatory health care services) and waitresses and bartenders account for 53% of the new jobs. The BLS never ceases to find ever growing employment of people in restaurants and bars despite the rising dependence of the US population on food stamps. The elderly are rising as a percentage of the American population, but I sometimes wonder if employment in ambulatory health care services is rising faster than the elderly population. Whether these reported jobs are real, I do not know.

The rest of the new jobs were accounted for by retail trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities (primarily credit intermediation), professional and business services (primarily administrative and waste services), and state government education, where the 13,600 reported new jobs seem odd in light of the teacher layoffs and rise in classroom size.

The high-tech jobs that economists promised would be our reward for offshoring American manufacturing jobs and tradeable professional services, such as software engineering and IT, have never materialized. “The New Economy” was just another hoax, like “Iraqi weapons of mass destruction” and “Iranian nukes.”

While employment falters, the consumer price index (CPI-U) in August increased 0.6 percent, the largest since June 2009. If the August rate is annualized, it means bad news on the inflation front. Instead of bringing us high tech jobs, is “the New Economy” bringing back the stagflation of the late 1970s? Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Israel's Govt is a Sorry Ally and Attacking ANY other Nation with them is Pure Folly

Whenever anyone starts talking about what a great ally Israel is, hit them with the story of the USS Liberty...ask ANY of these sailors if the attack was an accident. They'll say maybe the first time. But the second and then third times? It was a deliberate attack on a US intelligence ship by Israeli forces. When I say Israel, I mean the government, not her people. Like the people in the US, the Israeli people  have to put up with a corrupt government, too. Watch the video below.--jef

'The USS Liberty': A Shameful Secret
by Eric S. Margolis

NEW YORK – On the fourth day of the 1967 Arab Israeli War, the intelligence ship 'USS Liberty' was steaming slowly in international waters, 14 miles off the Sinai Peninsula. Israeli armored forces were racing deep into Sinai in hot pursuit of the retreating Egyptian army.

'Liberty,' a World War II freighter, had been converted into an intelligence vessel by the top-secret US National Security Agency, and packed with the latest signals and electronic interception equipment. The ship bristled with antennas and electronic 'ears' including TRSSCOMM, a system that delivered real-time intercepts to Washington by bouncing a stream of microwaves off the moon.

'Liberty' had been rushed to Sinai to monitor communications of the belligerents in the Third Arab Israeli War: Israel and her foes, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.

At 0800 hrs, 8 June, 1967, eight Israeli recon flights flew over 'Liberty,' which was flying a large American flag. At 1400 hrs,(1) waves of low-flying Israeli Mystere and Mirage-III fighter-bombers repeatedly attacked the American vessel with rockets, napalm, and cannon. The air attacks lasted 20 minutes, concentrating on the ship's electronic antennas and dishes. The 'Liberty' was left afire, listing sharply. Eight of her crew lay dead, a hundred seriously wounded, including the captain, Commander William McGonagle.

At 1424 hrs, (2) three Israeli torpedo boats attacked, raking the burning 'Liberty' with 20mm and 40mm shells. At 1431hrs an Israeli torpedo hit the 'Liberty' midship, precisely where the signals intelligence systems were located. Twenty-five more Americans died.

Israeli gunboats circled the wounded 'Liberty,' firing at crewmen trying to fight the fires. At 1515, the crew were ordered to abandon ship. The Israeli warships closed and (3) poured machine gun fire into the crowded life rafts, sinking two. As American sailors were being massacred in cold blood, a rescue mission by US Sixth Fleet carrier aircraft was mysteriously aborted on orders from the White House.

An hour after the attack, Israeli warships and planes returned. Commander McGonagle gave the order. 'prepare to repel borders.' But the Israelis, probably fearful of intervention by the US Sixth Fleet, departed. 'Liberty' was left shattered but still defiant, her flag flying.

The Israeli attacks killed 34 US seamen and wounded 171 out of a crew of 297, the worst loss of American naval personnel from hostile action since World War II.

Less than an hour after the attack, Israel told Washington its forces had committed a 'tragic error.' Later, Israel claimed it had mistaken 'Liberty' for an ancient Egyptian horse transport. US Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, and Joint Chiefs of Staff head, Admiral Thomas Moorer, insisted the Israeli attack was deliberate and designed to sink 'Liberty.' So did three CIA reports; one asserted Israel's Defense Minister, Gen. Moshe Dayan, had personally ordered the attack.

In contrast to American outrage over North Korea's assault on the intelligence ship 'Pueblo,' Iraq's mistaken missile strike on the USS 'Stark,' last fall's bombing of the USS 'Cole' in Aden, and the recent US-China air incident, the savaging of 'Liberty' was quickly hushed up by President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

The White House and Congress immediately accepted Israel's explanation and let the matter drop. Israel later paid a token reparation of US $6 million. There were reports two Israeli pilots who had refused to attack 'Liberty' were jailed for 18 years.

Surviving 'Liberty' crew members would not be silenced. They kept demanding an open inquiry and tried to tell their story of deliberate attack to the media. Israel's government worked behind the scenes to thwart these efforts, going so far as having American pro-Israel groups accuse 'Liberty's' survivors of being 'anti-Semites' and 'Israel-haters.' Major TV networks cancelled interviews with the crew. A book about the 'Liberty' by crewman James Ennes' was dropped from distribution. The Israel lobby branded him 'an Arab propagandist.'

The attack on 'Liberty' was fading into obscurity until last week, when intelligence expert James Bamford came out with Body of Secrets, his latest book about the National Security Agency. In a stunning revelation, Bamford writes that unknown to Israel, a US Navy EC-121 intelligence aircraft was flying high overhead the 'Liberty,' electronically recorded the attack. The US aircraft crew provides evidence that the Israeli pilots knew full well that they were attacking a US Navy ship flying the American flag.

Why did Israel try to sink a naval vessel of its benefactor and ally? Most likely because 'Liberty's' intercepts flatly contradicted Israel's claim, made at the war's beginning on 5 June, that Egypt had attacked Israel, and that Israel's massive air assault on three Arab nations was in retaliation. In fact, Israel began the war by a devastating, Pearl-Harbor style surprise attack that caught the Arabs in bed and destroyed their entire air forces.

Israel was also preparing to attack Syria to seize its strategic Golan Heights. Washington warned Israel not to invade Syria, which had remained inactive while Israel fought Egypt. Bamford says Israel's offensive against Syria was abruptly postponed when 'Liberty' appeared off Sinai, then launched once it was knocked out of action. Israel's claim that Syria had attacked it could have been disproved by 'Liberty.'

Most significant, 'Liberty's' intercepts may have shown that Israel seized upon sharply rising Arab-Israeli tensions in May-June 1967 to launch a long-planned war to invade and annex the West Bank, Jerusalem, Golan and Sinai.

Far more shocking was Washington's response. Writes Bamford: 'Despite the overwhelming evidence that Israel attacked the ship and killed American servicemen deliberately, the Johnson Administration and Congress covered up the entire incident.' Why?

Domestic politics. Johnson, a man never noted for high moral values, preferred to cover up the attack rather than anger a key constituency and major financial backer of the Democratic Party. Congress was even less eager to touch this 'third rail' issue.

Commander McGonagle was quietly awarded the Medal of Honor for his and his men's heroism – not in the White House, as is usual, but in an obscure ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard. Crew member's graves were inscribed, 'died in the Eastern Mediterranean..' as if they had be killed by disease, rather than hostile action.

A member of President Johnson's staff believed there was a more complex reason for the cover-up: Johnson offered Jewish liberals unconditional backing of Israel, and a cover-up of the 'Liberty' attack, in exchange for the liberal toning down their strident criticism of his policies in the then raging Vietnam War.

Israel, which claims it fought a war of self defense in 1967 and had no prior territorial ambitions, will be much displeased by Bamford's revelations. Those who believe Israel illegally occupies the West Bank and Golan will be emboldened.

Much more important, the US government's long, disgraceful cover-up of the premeditated attack on 'Liberty' has now burst into the open and demands full-scale investigation. After 34 years, the voices of 'Liberty's' dead and wounded seamen must finally be heard.



Attack survivors contacted in 2007, by John M. Crewdson for a Chicago Tribune article about the attack, "to a man" rejected Israel's mistaken identity explanation.[6] Lt. Gen. Marshall Carter, the director of the NSA, told Congress that the attack "couldn't be anything else but deliberate."[6] The deputy director of the NSA, Louis Tordella, stated that the attack "might have been ordered by some senior [Israeli] commander on the Sinai Peninsula who wrongly suspected that the Liberty was monitoring his activities."[6] In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 (US$21 million in 2012) as full payment to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, under threat of a congressional investigation,[7] it finally agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the final U.S. bill of $17,132,709 for material damage to the Liberty itself plus 13 years' interest.[8]

  1. [6]a b c d e f g h John Crewdson (2007-10-02). "New revelations in attack on American spy ship". Chicago Tribune.
  2. [7]^ James Scott, The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel's Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship, Simon & Schuster, 2009 p.278
  3. [8]^ NSA History Report William D. Gerhard and Henry W. Millington, National Security Agency, "Attack on a SIGINT Collector, the USS Liberty", 1981 (p. 64).


Dead In The Water - The Sinking of the USS Liberty

During the Six-Day War, Israel attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats. Israel claimed that the whole affair had been a tragic accident based on mistaken identification of the ship. The American government accepted the explanation. For more than 30 years many people have disbelieved the official explanation but have been unable to rebut it convincingly. Now, Dead in the Water uses startling new evidence to reveal the truth behind the seemingly inexplicable attack. The film combines dramatic reconstruction of the events, with new access to former officers in the US and Israeli armed forces and intelligence services who have decided to give their own version of events. Interviews include President Lyndon Johnson's Secretary of  Defence Robert McNamara, former head of the Israeli navy Admiral Shlomo Errell and members of the USS Liberty crew.


Some ally! And they want us to fight against Iran for them? After we took out Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan for them? 

Unsurvivable - The Newest Thermonuclear War Threat taking place NOW

Obama's deployment of a major portion of the U.S. thermonuclear capabilities in multiple theaters threatening both Russia and China is basically daring them to respond in kind. If they do, that's it, game over. We are as close to nuclear annihilation as we've ever been, and we cheer for our demise so loud, we drown out any cries of dissent.

Monday, October 1, 2012

the Funnies

The Real Referendum

by Paul Krugman
Republicans came into this campaign believing that it would be a referendum on President Obama, and that still-high unemployment would hand them victory on a silver platter. But given the usual caveats — a month can be a long time in politics, it’s not over until the votes are actually counted, and so on — it doesn’t seem to be turning out that way.

Yet there is a sense in which the election is indeed a referendum, but of a different kind. Voters are, in effect, being asked to deliver a verdict on the legacy of the New Deal and the Great Society, on Social Security, Medicare and, yes, Obamacare, which represents an extension of that legacy. Will they vote for politicians who want to replace Medicare with Vouchercare, who denounce Social Security as “collectivist” (as Paul Ryan once did), who dismiss those who turn to social insurance programs as people unwilling to take responsibility for their lives?

If the polls are any indication, the result of that referendum will be a clear reassertion of support for the safety net, and a clear rejection of politicians who want to return us to the Gilded Age. But here’s the question: Will that election result be honored?

I ask that question because we already know what Mr. Obama will face if re-elected: a clamor from Beltway insiders demanding that he immediately return to his failed political strategy of 2011, in which he made a Grand Bargain over the budget deficit his overriding priority. 

Now is the time, he’ll be told, to fix America’s entitlement problem once and for all. There will be calls — as there were at the time of the Democratic National Convention — for him to officially endorse Simpson-Bowles, the budget proposal issued by the co-chairmen of his deficit commission (although never accepted by the commission as a whole).

And Mr. Obama should just say no, for three reasons.

  1. First, despite years of dire warnings from people like, well, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, we are not facing any kind of fiscal crisis. Indeed, U.S. borrowing costs are at historic lows, with investors actually willing to pay the government for the privilege of owning inflation-protected bonds. So reducing the budget deficit just isn’t the top priority for America at the moment; creating jobs is. For now, the administration’s political capital should be devoted to passing something like last year’s American Jobs Act and providing effective mortgage debt relief. 
  2. Second, contrary to Beltway conventional wisdom, America does not have an “entitlements problem.” Mainly, it has a health cost problem, private as well as public, which must be addressed (and which the Affordable Care Act at least starts to address). It’s true that there’s also, even aside from health care, a gap between the services we’re promising and the taxes we’re collecting — but to call that gap an “entitlements” issue is already to accept the very right-wing frame that voters appear to be in the process of rejecting.
  3. Finally, despite the bizarre reverence it inspires in Beltway insiders — the same people, by the way, who assured us that Paul Ryan was a brave truth-teller — the fact is that Simpson-Bowles is a really bad plan, one that would undermine some key pieces of our safety net. And if a re-elected president were to endorse it, he would be betraying the trust of the voters who returned him to office.

Consider, in particular, the proposal to raise the Social Security retirement age, supposedly to reflect rising life expectancy. This is an idea Washington loves — but it’s also totally at odds with the reality of an America in which rising inequality is reflected not just in the quality of life but in its duration. For while average life expectancy has indeed risen, that increase is confined to the relatively well-off and well-educated — the very people who need Social Security least. Meanwhile, life expectancy is actually falling for a substantial part of the nation.

Now, there’s no mystery about why Simpson-Bowles looks the way it does. It was put together in a political environment in which progressives, and even supporters of the safety net as we know it, were very much on the defensive — an environment in which conservatives were presumed to be in the ascendant, and in which bipartisanship was effectively defined as the effort to broker deals between the center-right and the hard right.

Barring an upset, however, that environment will come to an end on Nov. 6. This election is, as I said, shaping up as a referendum on our social insurance system, and it looks as if Mr. Obama will emerge with a clear mandate for preserving and extending that system. It would be a terrible mistake, both politically and for the nation’s future, for him to let himself be talked into snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

50 Months to Save the World

by Andrew Simms
"One or other of us will have to go," Oscar Wilde is supposed to have said on his deathbed to the hated wallpaper in his room. The perilous acceleration of Arctic ice loss, and the imminent threat of irreversible climate change poses a similar ultimatum to the economic system that is pushing us over the brink. For society's sake I hope this time we redecorate. 

Fortunately, many people are queuing up to propose better designs, rather than just cursing the interiors, as you can read about here.

Monday 1 October marks the halfway point in a 100-month countdown to a game of climate roulette.

On a very conservative estimate, 50 months from now, the dice become loaded against us in terms of keeping under a 2C temperature rise. This level matters because beyond it an environmental "domino effect" is likely to operate. In a volatile and unpredictable dynamic, things like melting ice, and the release of carbon from the planet's surface are set to feed off each other, accelerating and reinforcing the warming effect.

The time frame follows an estimate of risk of rising greenhouse gas concentrations from the world's leading authority on climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that passed a certain point, it will no longer be "likely" that we stay the right side of the line. Some consider even a 2C rise too much, but it is the limit that the EU and others have signed up to.

Extraordinarily, however, in spite of the stakes, the issue has receded from the political frontline like a wave shrinking down a beach. This could, though, merely be a prelude to it returning with a vengeance. Politicians may have turned their backs, others have not.

Here's what a broad selection of groups and individuals who range from the Women's Institute to Oxfam and Margaret Thatcher's former environmental adviser, say in an open letter published in the Guardian today to the coalition government and opposition:
"This year has seen the record loss of sea ice, and greenhouse gas concentrations above the Arctic at their highest point for possibly 800,000 years. Crop-wrecking droughts and record temperatures have scorched the American Mid-West."
But, to our dismay, climate change and the weather volatility it fuels have fallen far down the political agenda when it needs to be at the top. It remains, however, one of the greatest threats to human progress, and tackling it is a huge economic opportunity
They call on both the coalition and Labour to spell out what they will do differently in the next 50 months to prevent a climate catastrophe.

Individually some go further. James Gustave Speth, the former head of the United Nations Development Programme appeals for mass, non-violent protest.

The climate scientist Prof Kevin Anderson says it is too late for rich countries to "grow" their way out of the problem and must find a new way to run their economies. He says everyone, including climate scientists, must reduce their emissions and he commits to lowering his own.
Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam also says it's time for lifestyle change in the wealthy world, especially if we are to tackle global poverty.

Sir Crispin Tickell, former UK permanent representative to the UN and the man credited with persuading Margaret Thatcher as prime inister to acknowledge and act on global warming, calls for a World Environment Organisation to simplify and make effective the wide range of international treaties and agreements.

Many more people describe the huge opportunities for economic recovery and better lives that could come from a great transition to a low-carbon, high well-being economy, but which are currently going begging.

Change is in the air, in spite of the current official blind spot and attempt to return to business as usual, or even go "backwards" as today's joint letter of concern warns. Why, for example, do we encourage the oil industry with tax breaks, when we know that to avoid runaway climate change we can only afford to burn around a fifth of the fossil fuels left in the ground, making it unburnable?

The ideas from our 50 contributors are just a taste of the creativity and innovation available. The failure to act "appears both reckless and short sighted" they write. Yet in the government, the situation appears to be like the old joke about the shopkeeper. When a customer asks for a new product, the shopkeeper replies, "No, sorry mate, people keep asking me for that and I keep telling them, there's just no call for it."

Whether it was rebuilding Europe after the second world war, or action to protect the ozone layer, we know it is possible to put aside narrow self-interest. Leadership like that goes down in history.

What we do in the next 50 months is not a choice between what we have done in the past and what we are doing today. It is an invitation to embark on the most extraordinary, exhilarating and challenging adventure our society has yet faced, learning how to thrive without disastrously destabilising the climate on which we depend. Every step matters, and it matters most that we start walking.

The Precautionary Principle in Action

Netanyahu: "Do I seem crazy to you?"

What is the Difference Between Benjamin Netanyahu & Colin Powell?
Who is the more sophisticated bullshitter when it comes to convincing the world of the pressing need to bomb a Muslim country before it attacks anyone — Colin Powell or Benjamin Netanyahu?  The attached visual aid combined with the entymology of the word “sophisticated” and an analysis of the word before should enable you to answer to the question to your own satisfaction.

The charts speak for themselves.  Now consider please the following elaboration of the preceding italicized words:

Sophisticated is a double edged modifier when viewed in the context of its  etymology: the word  sophistication (use or employment of sophistry) comes from the Latin sophisticare (adulterate, cheat, quibble) and from the Latin sophisticus (of sophists), and is a transliteration of the Greek sophistikos (of or pertaining to a sophist), which refers to the Greek sophistis (a wise man, master, teacher).  Judge for yourself how to apply any or all of these roots to the context of the question.

Bombing a country before it attacks anyone (AKA pre-emptive bombing) is justified morally as a application of the precautionary principle.  The quasi-legal formulation of this principle, ironically, came out of the environmental movement.  It is especially popular among those espousing the urgent need to combat future catastrophic global warming, whatever that action may cost today.  However, its rhetorical origins are as old as the principle of exhortation in war.  This can be readily seen when one parses its logic.  While the principle has many specific definitions, they all embody two unquestioned assumptions:
  • First, decision makers must anticipate harm and take action to prevent it before it occurs. Beneath the soothing comfort of these words, however, lies an unstated logical time bomb: These words reverse the onus proof  to place it on the accused by forcing him to prove a negative — that he is not guilty as charged. That is to say, it becomes the obligation of the activity’s proponent (in this case Iran’s claim that it is pursing nuclear technology for peaceful means within the established legal constraints of the IAEA) to prove that its activity will not result in egregious harm to others.  The Iranians must prove they are not building a bomb (a proposition the US and Israeli intelligence assessments tend to agree with), which it can not do politically, because proving a negative opens the door to the fallacious but politically potent counter-argument used to dismiss the intelligence findings : ‘the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.’ Neocon warmongers are particularly prone to invoke this kind of rubbish.
  • Second, the precautionary principle places decision makers under an obligation, particularly if the level of possible harm is high, to take early pre-emptive action to minimize or prevent that harm from occurring, even when the absence of scientific certainty or statistical confidence makes it difficult or impossible to predict the likelihood of that harm occurring.  Beneath this premise lies yet another logical time bomb: the need for pre-emptive action increases as one perceives the possible harm and/or the degree of uncertainty to increase.
These two time bombs reinforce each other to make the precautionary principle a formula tailor made for exaggeration and boundless hype.  They create the kind of mentality that seduced Japanese decision makers into concluding they had no choice but to launch a pre-emptive surprise attack on Pearl Harbor.

It became incumbent on Iraq in 2003 (as it on Iran today) to prove it was not doing something we now know with certainty that Iraq was not doing in 2003.  We now know that the result of this principle’s invocation in 2003 unleashed a tidal wave of human misery, including hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of refugees and a moral stain on the West, especially the United States.

The persuasiveness of Powell’s presentation to the UN in 2003 showed how easy it was to use precautionary principle to lay on a legal veneer while hyping the uncertainties with fabricated ‘evidence.’  In slide above, for example, he used a computer generated slide above to illustrate why Iraq’s mobile anthrax factories helped to create the need for pre-emptive action.  This authoritative looking depiction was based on bogus information provided by an informant, appropriately named Curve Ball, the CIA and its German equivalent knew to be unreliable.  In the case of Iran, Netanyahu simply used a red line in a buffoonish cartoon to slyly introduce the absence-of-evidence argument to hype the uncertainties  and menace surrounding a future possibility (really an unsubstantiated hypothesis) to justify pre-emptive action.

Moreover, as noted above, the larger the uncertainty surrounding both the existence and greater the severity of the speculative menace, the more pressing the case for early decisive action, including a preventive (or precautionary) war to truncate the imagined threat before it could materialize — which is what Netanyahu seemed to do with his silly red line, which incidentally, is equivalent logically (in terms of its ominous unstated uncertainties) to what catastrophic global warming alarmist like to call a tipping point.

It should be clear that if one accepts the quasi-legal logic of the precautionary principle in the governing of foreign policy, one also demolishes the legal bar against aggressive war.

It becomes easy and natural to justify perpetual aggressive war — based, for example, on the need to prevent a looming genocide in Kosovo, to prevent terrorist havens in Somalia from spreading, to prevent Iraq from acquiring nucs or chem/bio weapons, to prevent looming massacres in Libya, to prevent Iran from acquiring nucs, to prevent government sponsored massacres in Syria, to use drones and special forces through Islamic Africa to prevent the spread of Al Qaeda or its wannabees, or in terms of its most vague generalities, to prevent future abuses of human rights, however we choose to define them.  So, when viewed in the context of the precautionary principle applied to foreign policy, Iran is merely the target du jour in a perpetual preventative war.

Thus, the precautionary principle is really a marketing device for exploiting fear and uncertainty about the future by putting a legal veneer on warmongering bullshit, which bring us back to the question of who is the better bullshitter in the real world--Powell or Netanyahu?  The proof is in the results: that is, who succeeds more in paving the road to an unjustified preventative war?

My prediction: the urbane Powell will win hands down, because I agree with Ray McGovern’s argument that BiBi blinked and backed down.  Like all bullying thugs, he increased the decibels  to cover a prudent retreat.  Think of it as an exercise in assigning a higher priority to his own personal precautionary principle.  Perhaps BiBi realized his crude meddling the U.S. presidential election was turning off large numbers of Americans, including a majority of American Jews, or that his favorite, the hapless Mitt Romney, has a terminal case of foot-in-mouth disease.

So, like McGovern, I think BiBi’s retreat has reduced the likelihood of bombing Iran, at least in the near term. This back down may be why the U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro told the Times of Israel that in an interview given immediately after Netanyahu’s speech, effectively patted BiBi on the head by saying the Obama administration is now completely “in sync” with Netanyahu [here].

GOP forced to cease voter registration efforts in five of the swingiest swing states (2 stories)

And this is the party so concerned with voter fraud? And they're the ones committing voter fraud? Again, it would be funny if it weren't so hypocritical and wrong...--jef

By Eric W. Dolan - RAW Story
Monday, October 1, 2012

On her show Monday night, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained why the Republican Party had halted its voter registration efforts in five major swing states.

Republicans had hired Strategic Allied Consulting to run voter registration drives in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Nevada. But RNC severed ties with Strategic Allied Consulting last week after Florida officials traced possibly fake registration forms back to the company. The firm has also been accused of tearing up Democratic registration forms.

“The actually worrying thing in voter registration fraud is if you do get real people to fill out real voter registration forms and they therefore believe they are registered and then because you don’t like their party affiliation, you tear it up and then that real person thinks they have registered,” Maddow explained. “They show up on election day only to find out they are not on the rolls and not allowed to vote.”

Strategic Allied Consulting was the only firm hired to run voter registration drives in those states. With many voter registration deadlines quickly approaching, Republicans have little chance to restart the registration drives.

“And the collapse of the Republicans’ voter registration scheme has resulted in the Republican Party ceasing all voter registration efforts in five of the swingiest swing states in the country with another week and a half left to register voters,” Maddow said.

Maddow’s guest, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, noted that conservatives were furious after the organization ACORN was accused of registering fake voters.

“ACORN itself, by the way, had called the attention of voter registrars to the fraud themselves, they disciplined themselves. And yet this was a big scandal and ACORN lost a lot of money and had to go out of business. Why isn’t this the same thing for conservatives?” he wondered.


Florida Congressman Demands Bipartisan Investigation Of GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal

By Josh Israel on Oct 1, 2012

In the wake of revelations that Strategic Allied Consulting, a controversial voter registration firm that has worked for the Republican National Committee, the Florida Republican Party, and the Romney campaign, is under investigation for turning in fraudulent voter registration forms in Florida, a Florida Congressman is calling for a bipartisan probe.

Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) wrote Monday in a letter to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R):

In light of the large and apparently growing voter fraud scandal engulfing the Republican Party of Florida, I urge you to immediately appoint a bipartisan task force to investigate the accusations and ensure that the integrity of our voting rolls will not be compromised by Strategic Allied Consulting’s deliberately fraudulent voter registration operations. I also urge you to ensure that that false registrations submitted by Strategic Allied Consulting do not remain on our rolls, and that you immediately investigative whether any employees involved in this scandal are still working for the Republican Party to register voters in Florida.

Deutch observes that Scott’s silence and inaction on the scandal, to date, are “shocking and hypocritical” in light of Scott’s Ahab-like attempts to purge suspected non-citizen voters from the state’s voting rolls.

Scott has expressed a great deal of concern about potential voter fraud in Florida elections — even though state records indicate show Floridians are more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit voter fraud. But voter registration fraud apparently does exist in Florida.

Scott signed an unconstitutional 2011 suppression law which put major new restrictions on groups who work to register new voters, requiring third-party voter registration groups like Strategic Allied Consulting to turn in completed registration forms 48 hours — to the minute — after completion, or face fines.

Scott’s communications office did not immediately have any comment on the letter or the scandal.

Dallas Suburb Rattled by 3.4-Magnitude Quake

Another fracking quake hits the Dallas area...

Irving September 30, 2012 (AP)

Damage from a small earthquake and a subsequent aftershock in a suburb west of Dallas was mostly limited to cracked walls and knocked-down pictures, authorities said.

The unscathed Dallas-Fort Worth airport, near the epicenter of Saturday's late-night temblor, kept up with normal flight operations. And emergency officials said there were no indications of any injuries.

The initial earthquake, measured at a preliminary magnitude of 3.4, struck at 11:05 p.m. CDT Saturday and was centered about 2 miles north of the Dallas suburb of Irving, the US Geological Survey's national earthquake monitoring center in Golden, Colo., reported.

USGS geophysicist Randy Baldwin told The Associated Press from Colorado that the initial quake lasted several seconds and appeared strong enough to be felt up to 15 or 20 miles away. He said the smaller aftershock with an estimated 3.1 magnitude occurred four minutes later and just a few miles away in another area west of Dallas.

Irving's emergency operators were flooded with more than 400 calls after the initial quake, with people reporting minor damage, such as cracks in some walls and a ceiling, pictures that had been knocked down and a report of a possible gas leak, according to emergency official Pat McMacken.

"We have had no infrastructure impact at all," McMacken said Sunday morning.

The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport continued routine operations even though the shaking was felt at the airport, which is partly located in Irving's city limits, airport public affairs officer David Magana said. He told AP that the airport, which has 1,800 daily departures and arrivals, had little air traffic late Saturday night.

He said the quake caught the attention of those at the airport, but didn't prompt wider alarm.

"I wouldn't call it panic. I would call it surprise," Magana said by phone.

He said members of the airport operations team went out afterward and inspected landing strips, buildings and other airport installations and found no damage.

"There were no impacts or outages and no disruptions to flights," Magana said. "I felt it at my house. It shook it a little bit but it wasn't enough of a jolt to shake anything loose like you have in California. I've been in California and this was nothing like that."

Baldwin said more aftershocks are possible Sunday, noting the region has been periodically rattled by small quakes, including a cluster of minor ones in 2008.

"There are parts of Texas that certainly have more quakes than others," USGS geophysicist Don Blakeman said Sunday, specifically mentioning West Texas. But, he said, naturally occurring quakes can happen anywhere.

About 1,200 reports by people who felt the quake were recorded with the Colorado earthquake monitoring center soon after it hit.