You’re Richer Than Your Stink

If you like to know how banks screw everyone, you’ll want to read Alison’s latest.

Between September 2008 and August 2010, Scotiabank received a $25 billion bailout amounting to 100% of the bank’s value – or as Steve and Jim preferred to call it at the time: “liquidity support” ***.

Last year Scotiabank made a record $6.7 billion in net profit and CEO and president Brian Porter netted a total compensation package of $6,902,242 for the same year.

Nonetheless, Scotiabank has announced it will cut 1,500 jobs, including about 1,000 in Canada.

Check out Alison’s blog.

Wrong Side Of History

I found it ironic today that there are people viewing staying out of Iraq as being on the “wrong side of history”. I couldn’t think of a more perfect example of a battle fought in folly, than Canadian troops going to fight ISIS in Iraq with bombers.

Eleven years ago I was in an evening classroom learning about computer graphics when Bush and Cheney started the second Iraq War with “shock and awe” bombings. The ensuing destruction of that country left the Americans floundering for money at home, and Iraq awash in political instability and weapons. With the Americans weary of a decade long war, they pulled out of Iraq, leaving a power vacuum that was entirely predictable, but didn’t have a more workable solution.

Now Canada is graced with a war-hungry neo-con Prime Minister who’s not about to pass up a chance to bomb a Muslim country. I grew up when there were still WWI veterans at Remembrance Day ceremonies, and kids drew posters proclaiming, “Never Again”. Now, those veterans are all dead, and with them the idea of avoiding war to solve geopolitical struggles.

Powerful Canadian politicians instead sound like texting-teenagers looking for a cyber-fight.

Despite credible, and entirely reasonable warnings that air strikes are not a terror-suppression tactic, Canada will paint itself as some sort of bold defender of the Kurds, and charge into Iraq behind the Americans.

A 3rd Iraq War, with Canada more involved than the last time, is a mistake. Yes, ISIS is a terrible despotic government, but Canada doesn’t go around bombing every despotic government. There are specific reasons the Americans are focused on Iraq, and Canada doesn’t have to get wrapped up in them because a lunatic Prime Minister wants his legacy to be a war conducted in folly.

PRISM: Obama Didn’t End Illegal Spying, He Extended It

“There are no checks and balances here, and we’ve got to restore them.” Sensenbrenner, Republican who drafted the Patriot Act II.

Sensenbrenner pointed out the government administration can monitor who journalists are in contact with, in order to avoid criticism. They’ve done the same with protesters, such as those participating in Occupy Wall Street.

Obama could have ended the Patriot Act in 2011, or at the very least exposed the illegal spying on all Americans’ electronic communications, but he signed the bill with an autopen instead. There were not 2/3rds of the House and Senate voting in favour of the Act, so he could have vetoed it. He didn’t, and he’ll wear that mistake, because he re-authorized an out-of-control NSA.

“The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.”

He’s been lying about it:
“Obama said that a second program collecting global internet traffic only applies to foreigners. “This does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people in the United States,” he said.”

If you need to read a Republican’s take on the Patriot Act, here’s McConnell. It’s very hard to stomach, with all the gloating and scaremongering.

It’s difficult to believe this story is a month old, and no one in the US Government has been charged with a crime. Assange is correct in saying the Rule of Law has collapsed in America. Continue reading

Being Insulted By Cheney Is An Honour

It bothers me that American media doesn’t preface interviews with Dick Cheney by pointing out he’s evaded charges for war crimes (re: Iraq War). It does please me that Snowden has had a chance to respond to Cheney’s hypocritical rebuke of Snowden’s epic NSA PRISM leak.

Cheney and Bush started spying on Americans prior to 9/11, according to court documents. It didn’t prevent 9/11. 2007’s PRISM didn’t prevent the overblown [no pun intended] Boston Bombing.

In 2007 the Denver Post reported:
“”Nacchio suggested that the NSA sought phone, Internet and other customer records from Qwest in early 2001. When he refused to hand over the information, the agency retaliated by not granting lucrative contracts to the Denver-based company, he claimed.””
Other sources corroborate the former CEO’s allegations, which were made in the course of his legal defense against insider trading charges.

The lying, and hiding NSA came out to spread more lies.

Addressing the most basic questions that have emerged, Rogers asked Alexander if intelligence workers have the ability to simply “flip a switch” in order to listen to phone calls or read the emails of Americans.

When Alexander replied “no,” Rogers asked again to reinforce the message for anyone listening.

“So the technology does not exist for any individual or group of individuals at the NSA to flip a switch to listen to Americans’ phone calls or read their e-mails?” he repeated.

“That is correct,” Alexander answered.

He and others also asserted that the leaks were egregious and carry huge consequences for national security.

“I think it was irreversible and significant damage to this nation,” Alexander said when questioned by Rep. Michele Bachmann.

“Has this helped America’s enemies?” the conservative Minnesota Republican asked.

“I believe it has and I believe it will hurt us and our allies,” Alexander said.

Challenge someone to explain how revealing details of what is commonly available in news stories for years, compromises signals intelligence (SIGINT).

President Barack Obama has defended the programs as necessary in an era of terror.

An era of terror? CNN, did Obama actually say that? That’s ridiculous! People are terrorized and killed by cancer and drunk drivers, not ‘terrorists’. What people need to be worried about is an American government that has brazenly abandoned the Rule of Law, and any pretense of respect for the Constitution.

Dark Orwellian Future: Top Secret America

Julian Assange isn’t the only person concerned that Facebook is the greatest spy machine ever created. There are lesser known surveillance nets and data mining underway. Did you know that most text messages sent on 9/11 were captured by a secret system, and later leaked to WikiLeaks?

NSA employee: “A vicious campaign against whistle blowers started under Bush, and has come to full fruition under Obama”.

He sees America turning into East Germany, which he used to observe at the end of the Cold War. The sort of free Republic thought of by most Americans, and the pervasive spy-state, are not compatible ideas.

History is Written by the Terrorists?

The victors are often said to be writing history. Then why have terrorists defined the last decade of history as the “Post 9/11” decade, if they aren’t the victors? Or are terrorists simply the excuse given by radical reformers in government who have now overtaken the previously cherished civil liberties that were rights for Americans and Canadians alike?

Why has the War on Terror failed?
Instead of plucking the rotten tomato of terrorism from the world’s produce box, the 2001 answer was to quarantine the box while each of the obviously fine tomatoes are closely inspected for signs of rot.