Sunday, April 23, 2017

PNN - Missing the Mark





PNN - Miss'n the MARK
PNN features a very very special show. Its about getting it right, exactly there.
    We see so much misdirection today, we see so much SPIN, and faux news - even our White House spokes model Mr. Spicer is spinning
    so fast he'll change direction three or four times during one press conference he can't even get his words out.

PNN focuses on some TRUTH.

LISTEN

    We have the Queen of Florida Political Media our Senior Political Commentator Ms. Brook Hines who shines not only at PNN
    but also hangs her lantern of truth at the highly respected Florida Squeeze
    We also are proud to present Senator Bernie Sanders recent speech given at the JL Knight Center in Miami in full.
    Recorded by our News Director RW Spisak.

    This week's special guest is Professor Wendy Lynne Lee, Human Rights Activist and Anti-Fracking Activist who addresses some of todays news.

    A must hear show - Live Sunday 7pm Eastern / 4pm Pacific.
    or anytime - (HINT: Its a Webcast - Always available.














http://www.blogtalkradio.com/newmercurymedia/2017/04/23/pnn--missin-the-mark

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

While it's true that there are a variety of subsidiary issues that fall under the rubric of net neutrality, I have selected a small selection to illustrate its power and impact with just a few crucial threads.

Paramount to me is a concern that arose back when the internet was very young.

The path that this very fresh very exotic communications medium would take as this network, that had started as a research and university tool funded and expanded by ARPANET to serve military needs as well was not initially home to commerce. When the question arose, as to whether commerce should provide a third leg adding to academia and military a commercial thread many of us could see a long way down that road and while we knew there would be benefits.
We knew with the launching of corporate media on the web with narrow commercial interests, (at that point the text only internet) might add a richer experience the capacity to convey their messages adding graphics... then sound... then animation... and eventually ultimately video.

Since many of us were media enthusiasts these "out there on the horizon" ((from a mid-eighties)) text only, vantage point, seemed a near impossible dream.

However some of us recognized the thirst and power that commercial investment would bring and we realized with the revolutionary zeal of new converts that the egalitarian nature of the web that we loved, its facility to allow anyone conversant with a simple easy to understand language, could for the first time publish to the entire world on an equal footing with any other mortal, constrained only by our imagination and vision. No mediating publisher to limit our voice.

However, while we loved, how our beloved medium would be enhanced with these investments, we knew unless carefully nurtured and with business interests constrained, it would be a devil's bargain.

What if along with corporate investment gatekeepers came not only graphics, sound, and video but ads, and promotions, billboards and the screech of salesmen. What if speeds were not universal, and along with these data highways came tollways which would invariably evolve to divide the users into the digital haves and have-nots.

How would the troubadour of tomorrow compete with the Disney's, and the 20th Century Foxes, or the Time/Life or Universals. Maybe in some future hybridization, could even determine whose content was delivered in a timely manner, and whose information would be delivered over a digital "cobblestone" byway.

I voted to include ".Com" as part of the upper tier of domains. Hoping that the harvest of rich media would convince people of its criticality its importance, so that part of that egalitarian vision of the "web" could be preserved.

We have held on with fingertips while the threat of a "two-tier" internet still looms or more accurately an "N-Tier" Internet where multiple speeds and delivery systems will ultimately evolve into one level of service for the poor cyber-citizens (dial up or worse) and high-speed cable or even fiber delivered GIGABITS PER SECOND for the economically empowered upper class and the "corporate" citizens.

Even more critical is some subtle thorns in the NON- NEUTRAL SCHEMA - where content delivery monoliths like (Time/Life or Warner or Paramount-NBC-UNIVERSAL - can hyperspeed deliver their proprietary content... and drag their "digital feet" when delivering less commercially significant (to them) content like "Netflix, or Hulu" or especially on the political side "Green Party" (slow) content and "REPUBLICAN CONTENT" (( FAST)) no roadblocks for corporate content.

One last point, another even subtle threat grows along with the loss of net neutrality- you may have already noticed. When a search for "lawn mowers" produces ads on the next website you visit. The more sinister aspect of this tracking is revealed when Facebook released results of their internal "testing" when they provided "upbeat" news items to one group, and "sad" news items to emotionally "color" the emotions to others of their users (experimental-subjects) - I leave the potential of this kind of unregulated social engineering to your "private" conjecture.

One last point, since we have recently been made aware of the omnipresence of domestic and foreign surveillance of our complete cyber experience- the capability of NON- NEUTRAL AGENTS to mediate not only your personal cyber experience but your commercial and even social experience of not just your life online - but your unmediated offline life as well.


RW Spisak

4/21/17

Sunday, March 26, 2017

PNN - The Unwealth of Nations


1. Grahams Crumbled Crackers
“Judge Gorsuch was one of the finest people, I think, President Trump could’ve chosen," he said. "I am going to enthusiastically support him, and if the Democrats try to filibuster him, they will be making a huge mistake.”
As the crowd began to boo, Graham tried to list off his reasons for supporting Gorsuch. But as they continued to boo, Graham said that the crowd was not persuading him and that if they don't believe Gorsuch is qualified then they're "not listening."
“To everybody that boos Judge Gorsuch, you’re not persuading me at all,” he said. “As a matter of fact, if you can’t understand that he is a qualified nominee, then you’re not listening. If you don’t understand that elections matter, then you don’t understand America.”
"If you think only liberals only can get their nominees and conservatives can't, then you don't understand American," he said. "I don't think that the Constitution was written so that you get everything you want and I get nothing."
Graham has been a vocal supporter of Gorsuch, even threatening to use the "nuclear option" if Democrats choose to filibuster him. But at the town hall, he said a filibuster would "turn the country upside down."
2. GORSUCH BUCKS
Yet as he ducked senators' questions, a multi-million dollar campaign backing Gorsuch's nomination was underway. It includes TV ads, over a million postcards and organizing events at mega-churches, among other outreach efforts. The campaign is targeting Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 in states that Trump carried, since they're more likely to vote for Gorsuch's nomination.
While Republicans hold a 52-48 advantage in the Senate, Gorsuch's nomination will need 60 votes to overcome a pledged Democratic filibuster. That is, unless Republicans change the rules and allow a simple majority to cut off debate on Supreme Court nominations (known as the "nuclear option").
Judicial Crisis Network
Helping lead this effort is a little-known group, the Judicial Crisis Network, which pledged to spend at least $10 million to back Gorsuch's nomination. This 'dark money' group doesn't list its donors, but appears to be tied into the network led by oil barons Charles and David Koch.
Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island, asked Gorsuch if he knew who was behind the effort.
"Senator," he replied, "I could speculate based on what I've read and what I've heard, but I don't know individuals who are contributing. I don't know that."
"He probably knows who he owes the favor to," The New Yorker's Jane Mayer told Democracy Now.
"The thing about dark money is, often the person who it's benefiting knows; it's just the public that's not allowed to know," said Mayer, who wrote the must-read book Dark Money.
Once on the divided Supreme Court, Gorsuch could be the deciding vote in decisions effecting the wealthy interests who supported his nomination. But with his backers' identity hidden, the public will be in the dark about his potential conflicts of interest.
Merrick Garland
Prior to backing Gorsuch, the Judicial Crisis Network spent $7 million in 2016 to (successfully) thwart President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from even getting a confirmation hearing. Now Trump has tapped Gorsuch for the seat Garland was nominated to fill, which has been vacant since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year. Curious what the Judicial Crisis Network saw in Gorsuch that it didn't see in Garland, Whitehouse put the question to Gorsuch.
3. EPA CANNOT SAY - GLYCOPHOSPHATE SILENT POISON-airy
Whether glyphosate, the active ingredient of a popular herbicide, causes cancer has been the subject of heated debate. About a year ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) briefly published information on its website indicating that glyphosate was not carcinogenic, but deleted it after less than a week.
That left enough time for Monsanto, which uses glyphosate in its popular weed-killing product Roundup, to tout the findings of the study on its website. It also prompted U.S. Right to Know, a food safety advocacy group, to use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to find out how the EPA arrived at this conclusion.
But the agency, which is obligated to respond to such a FOIA request in a timely manner, has been dragging its feet. This has caused U.S. Right to Know, together with the Public Citizen Litigation Group, to sue for access to the documents. The delay in responding has led to speculation that the agency is intentionally dragging their feet on this particular issue.
“I file a lot of FOIAs [with the] EPA; I consider them, typically, to be pretty good,” Carey Gillam, research director of U.S. Right to Know, told WhoWhatWhy. “Better than the other federal agencies in terms of timeliness and responsiveness. They don’t redact things nearly as heavily as the FDA generally. But on this response, trying to get these documents [about glyphosate], they have been very reticent to respond.”
Gillam said that the EPA’s standards for responding to FOIA’s in general have been eroding over the last couple of years. Overall, the Obama administration had a checkered record on complying with such requests.
In this case, however, the subject matter itself could be at the root of the delay.
“I think there have been so many red flags raised over the years, even from the 1980’s,” she said, “and when we try to get information out of the EPA about it, it’s very difficult to do so. And it’s become more difficult over the last year or two since [this issue] became really controversial [and the court cases began].”
Gilliam is referring to an archived report from 1985 where the EPA classified glyphosate as a class C carcinogen, indicating a lack of studies in humans and animals to confirm the links with cancer. This finding was reversed in 1991. Herbicides are routinely investigated by the EPA in 15-year rotations. The latest reregistration investigation into glyphosate resulted in the 2015 report that prompted the FOIA.
Because Monsanto’s Roundup is so widely used, the carcinogenicity of glyphosate is of crucial importance. The debate has heated up since the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2015 labeled the chemical a probable human carcinogen.
It appears, however, that EPA’s experts reached a different conclusion.
An internal memorandum titled “GLYPHOSATE: Report of the Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC)” was posted on the agency’s website on April 29, 2016, along with a separate report on atrazine, another investigated herbicide. That report concluded that glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” but it vanished from the EPA website days later.
Last week, the European Chemicals Agency also concluded that glyphosate should not be classified as a carcinogen.
While the EPA report was available online, Monsanto had copied the document and referenced it in a lawsuit filed by workers in the agricultural sector who claim that Roundup gave them cancer.
Coincidentally or not, Jess Rowland, the chair of CARC and an EPA deputy division director, resigned shortly after.
On May 12, 2016, less than two weeks after the document was withdrawn, U.S. Right to Know submitted a FOIA request to access the EPA’s records “referring or relating to the CARC report on glyphosate” from January 1, 2015. It also requested access to its records of communication between Monsanto and the EPA “that discuss or relate to glyphosate.”
Under FOIA, the agency had 20 days to comply with the request. According to the lawsuit, the EPA stated in a May 26, 2016, letter “that it had initiated a search for responsive records that ‘could take up to 2-3 weeks to complete.’” However, when the lawsuit was submitted earlier this month, it had been over 205 days since the request and the EPA had neither submitted any documents nor made a determination on the request.
Gillam noted that the delay could simply be part of a troubling trend.
“Freedom of Information has been a real problem in the United States of late,” she told WhoWhatWhy. “This certainly isn’t an isolated incident by any means — the US federal agencies have been failing to comply with FOIA, repeatedly, for several years. In the last few years, particularly.”
The EPA received over 10,000 FOIA requests in the last fiscal year. Granted requests took on average 163 days and up to 2011 days to process. By comparison, the average processing time for granting requests in 2012 was 44 days, with the maximum of 851 days.
The agency has not responded to a request for comment.
Because of the ongoing litigation, which was triggered by the 2015 IARC report, it would appear that the delay is helping Monsanto.
Earlier this month, presiding Judge Vince Chhabria of the San Francisco federal court unsealed files from both Monsanto and the EPA.
One email from Monsanto executive William F. Heydens, as detailed by The New York Times, suggested that the company did some ghostwriting for the agency. Another email from Monsanto executive Dan Jenkins claims that Jess Rowland, the EPA official who left last year, had told him, in reference to the agency’s review: “If I can kill this, I deserve a medal.”
Monsanto refutes the New York Times story on this new information, claiming that the article had “cherry picked data,” made “misleading claims,” and “overlooked the benefits of GMOs for farmers in the developing world.”
“The allegation that glyphosate can cause cancer in humans is inconsistent with decades of comprehensive safety review by the leading regulatory authorities around the world,” Daphne Dorsey, a Monsanto spokesperson, told WhoWhatWhy.
For now, the activists are still willing to give the EPA the benefit of the doubt.
“Maybe they’re just overwhelmed but maybe there’s something else there,” Gillam said. “But legally, they are required to make this information public and to be responsive to the Freedom of Information Act and they haven’t been so we’re trying to hold them responsible.”

Sunday, March 12, 2017

PNN - Stands with FIST



STANDS WITH FIST

LISTEN:

PNN brings you a powerful show featuring our Senior Political Commentator Brook Hines, whose work has empowered progressives across America.
We also welcome Mindi Slavin Fettermen founder and director of INNER TRUTH PROJECT

INNER TRUTH PROJECT:
The Inner Truth Project believes every woman and man should have the opportunity to feel safe and free from shame while speaking their truth. We exist because there is no shame in living through any type of sexual abuse, violence or rape or in bravely sharing the truth about those experiences to build strength, hope and health. This project will offer opportunities to speak out, gather and unite... the community in creative ways. ( http://innertruthproject.org ) + ( Innertruthproject@gmail.com )
We also are very happy to present Denis Campbell former WhiteHouse correspondent, Producer and Co-Host of the 3Muckrakers podcast on iTunes and Publisher of the U.K. Progressive - ( http://www.ukprogressive.co.uk/ )
Solidarity & Peace
TUNE IN 7pm Eastern / 4pm Pacific

LISTEN:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/newmercurymedia/2017/03/12/pnn--stands-with-fist

The Deep State, Donald Trump and Us
By John Kiriakou, Reader Supported News
12 March 17

One of the things that most observers don’t understand is that the CIA will do anything – anything – to survive. All CIA officers are taught to lie. They lie all the time, about everything, to everybody. And they justify it by trying to convince themselves that they are doing it in the national interest, for national security. From my very first day in the CIA, it was drilled into me, as it is into every other employee, that “the primary mission is to protect the Agency.” That was the mantra. Couple that with the CIA’s ability to intercept and take over virtually any communications device, and you have a Frankenstein monster. Is it really hard to believe that such an organization would resist a president who challenged it? Is it hard to believe that it would do so surreptitiously? I don’t think so.

We can say pretty much the same things about the NSA. Thanks to Ed Snowden, and despite NSA protestations to the contrary, that agency has been spying on American citizens at least since the September 11 attacks. Again, is it so hard to believe that if NSA officials didn’t like a new president or his politics that they would spy on that new president, whom they may believe was a threat to their continued work?
And then there’s the FBI, an organization that has the power to utterly ruin anybody it wants just by initiating an investigation or leaking that somebody is a “person of interest,” whatever that means. The FBI is or can be the deep state’s secret police. After the Hoover years, COINTELPRO, spying on American peace and civil rights activists, are we just supposed to let them go about their business without wondering if, perhaps, they are part of a movement to undermine our democracy?

Even that bastion of conservatism, The Wall Street Journal, said on Friday that James Comey, the FBI’s director, has to go. The Journal editorial board said, “Mr. Comey seems to regard himself as the last independent man in Washington, whose duty is to stand his ground amid undeserved slings from the Democrats and arrows from the Republicans. And especially so now amid the controversy over allegations of Russian intervention in the 2016 election. Something larger is at stake here than Mr. Comey completing his tenure. The decisions he made as director during the election damaged the credibility of the FBI in the eyes of the American public. The bureau’s institutional integrity needs to be repaired. He should step down now so that the nation does not have to wait 6-1/2 years to begin the process of getting unstuck from the Comey years.”

This is not a traditional conservative/liberal, Republican/Democrat issue. Again, it’s possible to believe one side while not necessarily liking him or it and vice versa. James Carafano of the conservative Heritage Foundation probably encapsulated it best. He told the Times, “Just because you see things like leaks and interference and obstruction doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a deep state. That’s something we’ve seen before, historically, and it’s nothing new. What would be different is if there were folks from the previous administration that were consciously orchestrating, in a serious way, inside opposition to the president. It’s hard to know: is this Trump using some strong political rhetoric or an actual thing?”
Notes for PNN

FROM NYT
BANNON = Cromwell in the court of the Tudors
“Darkness is good,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Dick Cheney, Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power.”
Steven K. Bannon, quotes from the Hollywood Reporter.
“What we need to do is bitch-slap the Republican Party.”
But before he gets gluttonous with power, Bannon should remember what happened to his historical doppelgänger. Henry turned on him. Thomas Cromwell was executed in 1540, without trial, and his severed head was displayed on a spike on London Bridge.

FROM OPED NEWS
That veil of secrecy has quickly emerged as the hallmark for this shadowy administration.
It's important to note that while President Trump's ongoing war on the press has received most of the attention this year as he threatens journalists and restricts their access, there are plenty of indications that the rampant secrecy and disdain for transparency is widespread. "The retreat from the press has taken place administration-wide," Politico noted.

Monday 3/6
    Tillerson, along with Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, held an event with journalists to announce the administration's latest attempt to restrict travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. But none of the men responded to press questions about the controversial initiative.

Tuesday
The next day, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell was escorted from a photo-op with Tillerson and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin after trying to ask several questions. The questions were "met with silence."

This, of course, comes after the White House's radical move to banish several major news outlets from a press "gaggle," likely because the administration was unhappy with what the organizations were reporting. What followed was a highly unusual, weeklong blackout in terms of televised press briefings from White House press secretary Sean Spicer.



On Tuesday, bureau chiefs for major news organizations held a conference call
to discuss the fact that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not going to allow the press to travel with him on his plane during an upcoming trip to Asia. According to Poynter.org, which reported on the call, not allowing reporters on Tillerson's government plane would be would be "very unusual, if not unprecedented, certainly in recent annals, with substantial access given by recent Secretaries of State, including John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice."

Their letter, which was printed in full by Poynter, is below:

Dear Mr. Hammond and Ms. Peterlin,

We are the Washington bureau chiefs and editors of major print, wire, television and radio news organizations. We are writing to request a meeting with both of you as soon as possible to discuss press access to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and coverage of American foreign policy going forward.
We were deeply concerned to hear that Secretary Tillerson plans to travel to Beijing, Seoul and Tokyo to hold key meetings about some of the most important foreign policy issues for the United States without any traveling press.

Not only does this situation leave the public narrative of the meetings up to the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Korea's and Japan's, but it gives the American people no window whatsoever into the views and actions of the nation's leaders. And the offer to help those reporters who want to travel unilaterally is wholly unrealistic, given the commercial flight schedules, visa issues and no guarantee of access once they are there.

But the issues go beyond just the March 14-19 trip and affect the day-to-day coverage of the nation's top diplomat and U.S. relations with the rest of the world.
Please let us know when a small group of us could come by to see if we can work out an arrangement that suits all of us.


Thank you,

Wendy Benjaminson
Acting Washington Bureau Chief
The Associated Press
Bryan Boughton
Fox News Channel
Washington Bureau Chief
Elisabeth Bumiller
Washington Bureau Chief
New York Times
Edith Chapin
Executive Editor
NPR
Paul Danahar
BBC Americas Bureaux Chief
Sam Feist
CNN Washington Bureau Chief
Peter Finn
National Security Editor
The Washington Post
Keith Johnson
Acting Managing Editor, News
Foreign Policy
Weston Kosova
Washington Bureau Chief
Bloomberg
David Lauter
Washington Bureau Chief
Los Angeles Times/Chicago Tribune
Yolanda Lopez
Central News Director
VOA
David Millikin
North America bureau chief
AFP



Sunday, February 12, 2017

PNN - Spirited Poets / Passionate Poets


PNN News Brief

1. WONDERFUL NEWS - ROGG has been canceled
Collier County unanimously votes to rescind ROGG and remove from their maps!!!!

1a. Protests erupt across the country - in the streets of thousands of American Cities
1b. It seems not only do Americans disagree with TRUMPIAN EDICTS on Women's Rights
Americans are getting Impatient to discover how the republican control of GOVERNMENT will help the CITIES, JOBS, The Environment, and Health Care for Americans


LISTEN: 

2. AFTER 9 Years of OBSTRUCTIONISM, the REPUBLICANS
are called upon to PRODUCE THE BODY.
Exactly WHAT IS THEIR better Health Plan? ..... That's not crickets -
IT'S the Sound of FEET DRAGGING

3. At republican town halls across AMERICA - Voters are asking REPUBLICANS what's the PLAN?
And a young girl dared to ask her CONGRESSMAN - Did he believe in SCIENCE????????
of course NOT ONLY did her refuse to ANSWER - He asserted that SHE WAS A MIDGET ACTOR on a PAYROLL - Paid to ask him Intimidating  QUESTIONS - that would embarrass him. Imagine asking him:
Did he believe in SCIENCE???????? 
HOW WOULD HE KNOW - No one gave him the answer to that one - It wasn't on his talking points

4. A NEW SALES CAMPAIGN to SELL TRUMPIAN PRODUCTS from the WHITE HOUSE LAWN was rolled out this week to mixed results!


LISTEN: 

5. Mitch McConnell - got his wish,
When he ordered the Senate's lil' woman (Senator Warren) , to SIT DOWN AND TAKE HER SEAT - there is a TIME & PLACE for Everything, even reading that letter from Coretta Scott King - So his constituents came to his house last night to READ IT him, as he got ready for bed in his Superman Pajamas


6. In our special report - FROM: OUT of the Closets and Under the Rocks - WHERE EACH WEEK, Republicans REVEAL THEMSELVES for the REPREHENSIBLE CREATURES THEY REALLY ARE - In this week's Episode.

A Republican County Official weighed in with this THOUGHTFUL REMARK -
"With all these damn protestors its about time for ANOTHER KENT STATE FIRING SQUAD  - AMMY RIGHT?" 
He was forced to resign,  He hadn't used the  PRODUCT PLACEMENT COUPON   He'd been Given

LISTEN: 

7.  A Leaked copy of a draft executive order titled “Establishing a Government-Wide Initiative to Respect Religious Freedom,” obtained by The Investigative Fund and The Nation, reveals sweeping plans by the Trump administration to legalize discrimination. - JUST IN TIME for the Crusades 2.0
TRUMPEAN OFFICIALS REMIND Americans almost daily :
Its not a MUSLIN BAND - Its too stretchy


8. AS a PUBLIC SERVICE WE OFFER THIS MESSAGE ON BEHALF of the Trumpestian White House
WHENEVER ADVERTISEMENTS are produced by SPOKESMODELS on the GROUNDS of the WHITEHOUSE, or in the ROSE GARDEN  at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, or High Atop the Lincoln Bedroom -

Its IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER - Even when they announce that this AD is to Promote a TRUMP PRODUCT or SERVICE  - it is to be UNDERSTOOD, that this is specifically NOT PROFITING from their GOVERNMENT POSITION - Not a Conflict of Interest,  AND by definition does not CONFLICT with the EMOLUMENT CLAUSE.
And finally, the Ad that is Announced is EXACTLY and precisely not an AD.


LISTEN: 

9. Former CIA Analyst Sues Defense Department to Vindicate NSA Whistleblowers
IN 2010, THOMAS DRAKE, a former senior employee at the National Security Agency, was charged with espionage for speaking to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun about a bloated, dysfunctional intelligence program he believed would violate Americans’ privacy. The case against him eventually fell apart, and he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor, but his career in the NSA was over.

Though Drake was largely vindicated, the central question he raised about technology and privacy has never been resolved. Almost seven years have passed now, but Pat Eddington, a former CIA analyst, is still trying to prove that Drake was right.

While working for Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., Eddington had the unique opportunity to comb through still-classified documents that outline the history of two competing NSA programs known as ThinThread and Trailblazer. He’s seen an unredacted version of the Pentagon inspector general’s 2004 audit of the NSA’s failures during that time, and has filed Freedom of Information Act requests.

In January, Eddington decided to take those efforts a step further by suing the Department of Defense to obtain the material, he tells The Intercept. “Those documents completely vindicate” those who advocated for ThinThread at personal risk, says Eddington.

The controversy dates back to 1996, when Ed Loomis, then a computer systems designer for the NSA, along with his team worked to move the NSA’s collection capabilities from the analog to the digital world. The shift would allow the NSA to scoop up internet packets, stringing them together into legible communications, and automating a process to instantly decide which communications were most interesting, while masking anything from Americans. The prototype, called GrandMaster, would need to ingest vast amounts of data, but only spit out what was most valuable, deleting or encrypting everything else.
Then in the fall of 2001, four passenger airliners were hijacked by terrorists as part of a suicide plot against Washington, D.C., and New York City. The U.S. intelligence community faced a disturbing wakeup call: its vast collection systems had failed to prevent the attacks.
Yet, in response, the NSA simply started collecting more data.

The NSA sent out a bid to multiple defense contractors, seeking a program that could collect and analyze communications from phones and the internet. Science Applications Internal Corporation, or SAIC, won the contract, known as Trailblazer. Meanwhile, internally, NSA employees were developing a similar, less costly alternative called ThinThread, a follow-on to GrandMaster. ThinThread would collect online communications, sort them, and mask data belonging to Americans.
Those involved in ThinThread argue that their approach was better than a collect-it-all approach taken by NSA.
“Bulk collection kills people,” says Bill Binney, a former NSA analyst, who rose to be a senior technical official with a dream of automating the agency’s espionage. “You collect everything, dump it on the analyst, and they can’t see the threat coming, can’t stop it,” he says.
Binney built a back-end system — a processor that would draw on data collected by ThinThread, analyze it, look at whether or not the traffic was involves American citizens, and pass on what was valuable for foreign intelligence.
“Bulk acquisition doesn’t work,” agrees Kirk Wiebe, a former NSA senior analyst, who was trying to help convince NSA of ThinThread’s value at the time.
The analysts are drowning in data, and Binney and Wiebe believe ThinThread would have solved the problem by helping the NSA sort through the deluge automatically while protecting privacy using encryption.
But Binney and Wiebe say advocates of ThinThread hit every possible bureaucratic roadblock on the way, sitting in dozens of meetings with lawyers and lawmakers. In the meantime, Gen. Michael Hayden, the director of the NSA at the time, said he decided to fund an outside contract for a larger effort, focused on gathering all communications, not just those over the internet, as ThinThread was designed to do.

Additionally, while ThinThread masked American communications, Hayden’s legal and technical advisors were concerned the collection itself would be a problem. Some of Hayden’s senior officials at the NSA came from SAIC, the company that won contract to design a proof of concept for Trailblazer.

“A tiny group of people at NSA had developed a capability for next to no money at all to give the government an unprecedented level of access to any number of foreign terrorists,” Eddington says. “Instead that system was shut down in favor of an SAIC boondoggle that cost taxpayers, by my last count, close to a billion dollars.”

He argues the contract, and the “incestuous” relationship between the NSA chief and the contractor never received the scrutiny it deserved. “It was clearly an ethical problem,” Loomis said.

Ultimately, however, the NSA went with Trailblazer. Hayden rejected the ThinThread proposal because the intelligence community’s lawyers were concerned it wouldn’t work on a global scale, and that it would vacuum up too much American data. Hayden has continued dismissing concerns years later as the grumblings of disgruntled employees. Hayden told PBS Frontline ThinThread “was not the answer to the problems we were facing, with regard to the volume, variety and velocity of modern communications.”

In 2002, Wiebe, Binney, Loomis, Drake, and Diane Roark, a Republican staffer on the House Intelligence Committee who had been advocating for ThinThread, united to complain to the Defense Department’s inspector general, arguing that ThinThread, while still a prototype, would be the best surveillance system. The oversight body completed its report in 2004, which included major concerns about Trailblazer.

“We talked about going for the nuclear option,” Wiebe said, referring to discussions at the time about contacting the press.

But Drake went it alone, however, never telling his colleagues what he planned to do. Stories about the disagreements started showing up in news headlines based on leaks. The Bush administration in 2007 sent the FBI after the whistleblowers, raiding each of the whistleblowers’ homes who raised complaints to the Pentagon inspector general. Drake faced espionage charges after speaking to a reporter from the Baltimore Sun about the alleged mismanagement and waste in the NSA.

Though Drake wasn’t sent to prison, he lost his career in government, and now works at an Apple store. The question of whether ThinThread would have provided a better capability than Trailblazer was never resolved.

While ThinThread never made it to production, some of the analytic elements, minus the privacy protections, made it into Fort Meade as part of a massive surveillance program now known as Stellar Wind.

But there may be a way to settle the debate. The watchdog agency tasked with oversight of the Department of Defense completed a full investigation into the battle between ThinThread and the Trailblazer. The Pentagon inspector general published a heavily redacted version of that investigation in 2011; that report is now the only public record available, aside from the account of the whistleblowers who exposed it.

Despite everything that’s come out about its surveillance programs, the NSA still won’t release the full ThinThread investigation. “I don’t really know what they’re trying to hide,” said Loomis.

Loomis says he thinks those redactions were more for the sake of Hayden’s reputation than protecting real classified information. He eventually documented the saga in a self-published book called “NSA’s Transformation: An Executive Branch Black Eye.”

Drake told The Intercept in an email that efforts to uncover the Pentagon inspector general’s ThinThread investigation were a large part of his defense. Since then, the Office of Special Counsel concluded last March that the Department of Justice may have destroyed evidence that might have helped exonerate him.

In the meantime, however, hope is fading that the entire story of ThinThread will emerge from behind the government door of secrecy. “We’ve been trying for 15 or 16 years now to bring the U.S. government the technical solution to save lives, but they fight us left and right,” said Wiebe.

Eddington says the ThinThread controversy demonstrates the lack of oversight of the intelligence community. “The mentality that gave us this system is still in place,” he says. “We could see this become de facto permanent,” he said.

10. Last fall, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rubberstamped Monsanto’s newest formulation of the herbicide dicamba for use on the corporation’s genetically engineered (GE), dicamba-resistant soybean and cotton seeds. Expecting that this approval will lead to a dramatic increase in use of the herbicide dicamba, PAN and partners just filed a federal lawsuit challenging the agency's decision to risk farmer livelihoods, community health and the environment.

The original version of dicamba, which is still on the market, has been around for over 45 years and is responsible for the third highest number of drift-related crop damage incidents in the U.S. Monsanto claims that its new formulation, ”XtendiMax," is less likely to drift from the fields where it's applied — although there is no guarantee that this newer, more expensive formulation will be used in place of the older, cheaper option.

Drift damage
Last season, the first planting of Monsanto's new GE seeds resulted in unprecedented drift damage from dicamba across the country. Even before EPA had approved the new formulation of dicamba, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) allowed Monsanto’s corresponding “Xtend” dicamba-resistant soybean seeds onto the market in 2015. It was technically illegal to apply the old formulation of the herbicide on the new GE seeds, but growers did it anyway — looking for the increased yields Monsanto promised with the Xtend seed line.

Across 10 states, farmers reported that the increased dicamba spray caused widespread damage to thousands of acres of neighboring non-GE crops. And last fall, a dispute between an Arkansas farmer and a Missouri farmer even resulted in a fatal shooting.
In addition to crop damage and impacts on rural communities, conservationists are deeply concerned about dicamba drift damaging biodiversity, as the herbicide threatens plants that provide nectar for pollinators and habitat for animals. Additionally, it is frequently detected in surface water.
A short-sighted tool
Monsanto’s new, supposedly less drift-prone version of dicamba is not likely to be an effective tool in the long run. We know from watching the use of glyphosate  —  the main ingredient in Monsanto’s RoundUp  —  that the strategy of stacking seeds with herbicide resistance is deeply flawed and hard to control. Thanks to widespread planting of RoundUp Ready seeds, an epidemic of glyphosate-resistant "superweeds" now plagues farmers. Weeds develop herbicide resistance quickly.

Jason Norsworthy, a weed expert at the University of Arkansas, recently conducted a study to test how quickly pigweed — the main weed of concern in soybean fields — develops resistance to dicamba. He found that after just three generations of heavy dicamba exposure, pigweeds were no longer susceptible to the herbicide. With increased use of dicamba on Monsanto’s GE crops, a new generation of superweeds is just around the corner.




LISTEN: 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

PNN- Guarding the Hen House


PNN - For 1/15/17
Morality of Boycotts  - (The Inaugural / Israel?)

Boycotts and strikes part of a limited toolset to confront and confound the economically powerful:
Every boycott has some collateral damage, like every strike, which is why it is a powerful tool used selectively. 

Example: 
BP's egregious behavior in the Gulf of Mexico. Was it the callous behavior of a clerk? Of a secretary? of each poor gas station sales staff - 

Certainly the unsafe conditions that killed platform workers ordered by higher ups to cut corners, which endangered their own lives. They were not to blame for BP's misdeeds. They were victimized, and forced by decisions by a higher ups that cost them their very lives.

But the tools at the disposal of the consumer, of the green advocate are few. 

Another example:  a miner who dares go on strike for safer conditions. 
Does his family suffer? YES! 

Would he feel terrible if a fellow miner, whose family cannot afford to strike, dies in an unsafe condition which (might have benefited from his striking brothers presence?) 
Yes unlike the mine owner, he feels that danger to his fellows as an additional burden. 

But the striking worker, the boycotting consumer has a limited set of tools to confront the robber baron, the arrogant petroleum executive. 

Or in the case the LL BEAN exec who uses their economic strength against the interests of the majority of Americans who are deeply wounded by REPUBLICAN ECONOMICS. 

You mentioned that I used words, that much you got right. When you pretend that my point about life and death is unrelated that is simply inaccurate.  
When you again mention that workers pay a price, it leads me to suggest you might read my earlier response a little closer, because you not have grasped its complexity. 
As to irrelevant comments, I articulated quite carefully the purpose of both boycotts and strikes. You might want to read some history to better understand the purposes and impacts of boycotts and strikes. 

And yes, I did ask you about the massive Empathy deficit on display in republican discourse but far more important in REPUBLICAN POLICY!  


  1. Bernie's Drug Price Amendment 
The democrats must have no leadership they couldn't hold together DEMs 13 defected to protect Americans from soaring drug prices. 

Everyone was talking about the 6 FIGURE Bribes - I mean "support" from Big Pharma for these Betrayers. I propose - Lets start a NEW PROGRESSIVE  bidding war to RE-Purchase the affections of the so called PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS?

Just call it what it is, sold votes, bribes paid, plain and simple. 
They said they were protecting us, from the drug companies that sell the same drugs in Canada!  Let's see hands who thinks that's the real answer?

3 Thank goodness the Florida Democratic Party has safely passed to the highest bidder. Next time the republican promises to brings the real checkbook and bid for the sky - Senior Democratic Party Officials  were heard, licking their lips

4 To lead the transition of the Environmental Protection Agency, President-elect Donald Trump settled on notorious climate change denier Myron Ebell. The decision rattled climate activists—see Julia Lurie's interview with Bill McKibben and David Roberts and Brad Plumer on Vox. But it isn't just greenhouse gas emissions that are likely to get a free ride under an Ebell-influenced EPA. Farm chemicals, too, would likely flow unabated if Ebell's agenda comes to dominate Trump's EPA.

Ebell directs the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The group runs a  website, SafeChemicalPolicy.org, that exists to downplay the health and ecological impacts of chemicals.
If the incoming EPA takes its cues from Ebell's group, the agency's coming decisions on some widely used farm chemicals won't be hard to predict. - Hey "everything's a chemical man, and if humans made it- it's got an organic source ?"

5 AT-LAST AT-LAST - The Humble Bunble Bee - gets its day in the setting sun
  bumble bee's placed on the FEDERAL endangered species list - 
  republicants VOW to redouble efforts!

6 potential CIA director Mike Pompeo wants to track your Facebook
The Senate intelligence committee asked potential CIA director Mike Pompeo what limits he'd have for mass surveillance.

If your Facebook profile is public, it'll be an open invitation for the CIA.
The Central Intelligence Agency is obligated to follow up on information that's on a public website, including on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, Mike Pompeo, Trump's pick for the next CIA boss, said during his confirmation hearing Thursday.

"If someone is out there on their Facebook, talking about an attack or plotting an attack against America, I think you would find the director of the CIA grossly negligent if they didn't pursue that information," Pompeo said.

During the hearing, lawmakers hit the Republican congressman from Kansas on privacy issues. In 2015, Pompeo pushed to give mass surveillance tools back to the National Security Agency through the "Liberty Through Strength Act II." The NSA's mass data surveillance program had been defanged after whistleblower Edward Snowden's revelations.

Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat from Oregon, was concerned with Pompeo's drive to make mass surveillance more powerful through that bill, which went so far as to propose collecting financial and "lifestyle" information in a "comprehensive, searchable database." Wyden wanted to know what limits Pompeo's rejected bill would have had.

"You would be in favor of a new law collecting all of this data about the personal lives of our people," Wyden asked at the hearing.

Pompeo, who has called for Snowden's death, said the US needed to collect publicly available information to "keep Americans safe." (RIGHT AFTER A KIND OF A TRIAL)

The Orlando nightclub gunman posted a cryptic warning on his Facebook page before committing his murders last June. A student at Ohio State in November reportedly did the sameon Facebook before carrying out a knife attack on campus.

Pompeo said public social media profiles such as those on Facebook could be useful in the CIA's counterterrorism efforts. He promised the Senate intelligence committee that the CIA wouldn't unlawfully spy on US citizens, reminding the lawmakers that he's voted for legislation protecting privacy.

He stressed that he was specifically talking about information available to the public, including Facebook posts. Facebook declined comment. The social network already scans people's posts and chats for any criminal activity, according to a 2012 interview.
The committee also challenged Pompeo on his social media history. After Pompeo said he's "never believed that WikiLeaks is a credible source of information," Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, asked, "Well, how do you explain your Twitter?"
The senator brought up a tweet from July 24, 2016, in which Pompeo posted a WikiLeaks story as "proof that the fix was in from" President Barack Obama.