Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Time to bust out the tinfoil hats!

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006

Wired news has an interesting article by the former AT&T technician who blew the whistle on them for installing secret rooms in their Internet service networking facilities and splitting the light signals so that the NSA could monitor your Internet traffic.

I know what you’re thinking–you’re thinking that AT&T isn’t your service provider, so what do you give a shit? Well, the interesting thing is that most Internet traffic runs over AT&Ts network at some point, and, according to the documents in the story, those “peering points” are split as well.

Sure, this may not be a big deal for you. I mean, probably nobody in the government cares about your inane little activities, but it makes me nervous to think that the NSA knows exactly when and where I’m uploading a picture of myself in high heels and a pink tutu to pigboinkers.com. That could end ugly.

Still, it’s good this information is coming out, and only a couple years after it went down. I mean, Project Shamrock was around for decades before we heard about it. Or, you know, somebody did. I was three.

Colbert roasts Dubya

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006

Oh my fucking god! Colbert spent half an hour ripping the president a new asshole, on national television*, while the president was sitting eight feet away. You should see what he did to Scalia. He had a nice swipe at McCain, jacked both of Bush’s press secretaries upside the head. Man. Holy shit. How did this happen? Rove must be very, very busy to let something like this slip through the cracks. Holy shit! You must, must, must watch this. Colbert just showed that he’s got bigger balls than John Stewart. I can see him getting shot any day now. Somebody’ll figure they can get away with it because so many people want him dead. Or not. Anyway, truly fucking hilarious.

You can catch it on YouTube here. It’s in three ultra-yummy parts.

Well, surprise, surprise, surprise

Monday, February 27th, 2006

The latest issue of Foreign Affars contains a story by the former CIA National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, Paul Pillar. Not exactly a bleeding heart liberal pansy anti-war protestor, he has a few choice words about the Bush administration’s use of intelligence leading up to the Iraq war:

…it has become clear that official intelligence analysis was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community’s own work was politicized.

[The Administration's] perception of Saddam’s weapons capacities was shared by the Clinton administration, congressional Democrats, and most other Western governments and intelligence services. But in making this defense, the White House also inadvertently pointed out the real problem: intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs did not drive its decision to go to war. A view broadly held in the United States and even more so overseas was … that the best way to deal with the weapons problem was through an aggressive inspections program to supplement the sanctions already in place. That the administration arrived at so different a policy solution indicates that its decision to topple Saddam was driven by other factors.

The Bush administration’s use of intelligence on Iraq did not just blur this distinction [between intelligence gathering and policymaking]; it turned the entire model upside down. The administration used intelligence not to inform decision-making, but to justify a decision already made. It went to war without requesting — and evidently without being influenced by — any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq. … As the national intelligence officer for the Middle East, I was in charge of coordinating all of the intelligence community’s assessments regarding Iraq; the first request I received from any administration policymaker for any such assessment was not until a year into the war.

The intelligence community never offered any analysis that supported the notion of an alliance between Saddam and al Qaeda. Yet it was drawn into a public effort to support that notion.

…the Bush administration repeatedly called on the intelligence community to uncover more material that would contribute to the case for war. The Bush team approached the community again and again and pushed it to look harder at the supposed Saddam-al Qaeda relationship — calling on analysts not only to turn over additional Iraqi rocks, but also to turn over ones already examined and to scratch the dirt to see if there might be something there after all. The result was an intelligence output that — because the question being investigated was never put in context — obscured rather than enhanced understanding of al Qaeda’s actual sources of strength and support. … The process did not involve intelligence work designed to find dangers not yet discovered or to inform decisions not yet made. Instead, it involved research to find evidence in support of a specific line of argument — that Saddam was cooperating with al Qaeda — which in turn was being used to justify a specific policy decision.

Pretty heady stuff. Mr. Pillar also makes some very sensible suggestions as to how we might go about preventing this sort of thing in the future, but I won’t bother quoting from any of that, because you’ll never see any of them put into place.

Hunter S. Thompson shot himself.

Monday, February 21st, 2005

So, Hunter S. Thompson is gone. I’m gonna miss that sad seeker after a lost American dream, that solo traveler on the road to depravity via intoxication. He didn’t always make a lot of sense, but he always had a lot of sense, and he was generally pretty spot on about who’s really out to screw us over. He’ll be missed, at least by me.

I haven’t been writing a lot because I haven’t been doing a lot. I’m getting over the chicken pox, slowly, but I still don’t have all my energy back. I slept most of this weekend. I did finish reading AppleGeeks and Mac Hall, and if you’ve got a few spare hours, you should definitely check them out. They’re hella bad ass.

I saw Ray a few days ago, and I really liked it a lot. I didn’t have a lot of faith in Jamie Foxx, but he turned in a convincing, engrossing performance, and in retrospect I feel bad for doubting him. The overall plot was a little too straightforwardly VH1-Behind-The-Music, but the dialog was good and the pacing kept it from getting boring. It also had some really compelling imagery, and some flashback-style story hooks that added an element of suspense. Overall, it was beautifully shot and altogether well-made. \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

Paul Krugman is my hero.

Monday, January 31st, 2005

So a while back I stumbled across this unofficial Paul Krugman archive.

If you don’t know who Paul Krugman is, he’s an economist from MIT, who currently teaches at Princeton and writes a column twice a week for the New York Times, where he spends a lot of time debunking the cubic feet of bullshit regularly exported by the Bush administration. If you’ve got a little spare time, you should definitely check it out. Read everything in reverse chronological order.