SkeptiSys

October 24, 2008

The best of George Bush: poll

Filed under: humor, politics — Tags: , , , — skeptisys @ 7:49 am
not an easy choice....

not an easy choice....

Let us know what you think is the crowning accomplishment of the Bush administration’s 8 years of work. (click on the link below to vote)

pic via Qazse.

May 20, 2008

McCain, brought to you by…

Filed under: News, politics — Tags: , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 1:54 pm

Bush McCain hug

Which companies will benefit most from a John McCain presidency?

In America, we have a Presidential election system that currently allows only  for large corporate sponsored candidates to be eligible for office.  This system is a disaster for the 95% plus of people and businesses that make up the ‘rest’ of America. When you vote for one of these candidates, you are voting for the companies he/she sponsors.

To challenge such a system, and allow a candidate of the people’s rights and freedoms, takes time, effort, and patience.  If more people supported Ralph Nader, instead of Gore in 2000 or Kerry in 2004 – we would be much further along today.  Instead, people (understandably) chose the attempted quick fix (and downgraded those with more of a vision), and we still had 8 years of Bush.

Here in 2008, we are faced with similar issues to prior elections.  Both Democratic and Republican parties have, or will, nominate a corporate sponsored candidate, while Nader runs with no fanfare.  Of course, there is a slight difference among corporate support and policies among candidates.   Nobody should have been surprised when Exxon and Haliburton received record profits after Bush was appointed President.

Like Bush, McCain is heavily corporate supported.  That point is obvious, even though he is hiding the sources of perhaps most of the money supporting his campaign (filtered through his wife).  But how well can we predict which companies will do best by a McCain presidency?  Pretty well, I think – considering we now know which companies support McCain lobbyists.  McCain Source published a list of 118 lobbyists running McCain’s campaign and raising money for his presidency.  This invaluable list includes sources, positions, and companies supported.  McCain is deep into these companies’ pockets – he basically works for them.

Based on the list of corporate sponsors, it appears McCain will continue Bush’s tradition of sacrificing small and mid-size business and social programs for a handful of large corporations.  Below is a list of the types of companies that McCain has specific close relationships with.

So many of the top American industry leaders are supported/represented by McCain lobbyists:

Gas/oil industry: Exxon, Shell, Chevron Texaco are all well represented.  Expect the gross profits to continue for these companies, should McCain become next president.

Military/pentagon: no surprise, this industry is very well represented.  Lockheed Martin and many others.  Expect more war throughout the next term, with McCain.

Insurance companies are heavily represented, of course.  Do not expect better or cheaper health care under McCain.

Telecommunications companies are all over this list.  If McCain is President, expect massive spying into American’s lives and complete control of the internet turned over to these companies.

Energy: PSE&G and others.  Right now, energy prices – like food and gas prices, are extremely high in America, becoming a horrible burden on people.  This is part of the new tax, money that has to be paid to the governing class to survive.

Mainstream media: CBS, NBC, etc.  No surprise.

Tobacco companies.  Yep, they are still here, and have McCain as a spokesman.

Many large Pharmaceutical Companies are here.

Guns, weapons, and NRA is also here.

Large bank entities are here, as well.  JP Morgan, CitiGroup, Fannie Mae, Charles Schwab,

Yes, expect more of the same from McCain, as we saw under Bush.  Higher taxes by way of food, gas, medical, insurance, and other soaring costs.  Lots of war and prisoners.  And more support for Mainstream Media and Telecom companies.  Bad news for the economy, health, science, internet users, and non-filthy rich people.

Yes, I want Ralph Nader to be president, but I can understand the feeling of urgency to avoid the continuation of horrible Bush policies under McCain.

mccain-and-bush eat cake New Orleans Katrina hurricaine FEMA ignore

Photos: top, McCain hugs Bush.  Bottom, Bush and McCain enjoy birthday cake together while New Orleans recovers from Hurricaine Katrina with no government support.

Both photos have numerous sources and I cannot determine original.

April 10, 2008

Bush administration/government initiated illegal surveillance of innocent Americans long before 9/11 attacks

Filed under: law, News, politics — Tags: , , , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 7:19 am

bush quote lies

Article updated to fix links.

The Bush administration/government initiated illegal surveillance of innocent Americans long before 9/11 attacks of the World Trade Center.   The Bush administration and members of the mainstream media have made strong claims that spying on American citizens is necessary to protect from another terrorist attack.   However, the initiation of the illegal warrantless spying of American citizens began at least 6 months prior to the 9/11 attacks, and months before the email warning received by U.S. government officials that Osama Bin Laden was to attack the United States.

The former CEO of Qwest communications, Joseph P. Nacchio, testified under oath that the NSA approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records.  The Washington Post report on the belated unsealed court records is here.  (late edit: Washington Post link is no longer working, so this is a link to Harper magazine’s article citing the Washington Post story) Nacchio also stated that Qwest refused the government’s request due to its “lack of legal standing”, contradicting the claims that telecommunications companies were beholden to act as the NSA and Bush Administration requested.

The Bush administration and large telecommunications companies have bypassed the United States Constitution 4th amendment to spy illegally on innocent Americans in order to gain political and financial control and power, and not as a reaction to a terrorist act – as falsely and repeatedly claimed.

head in the wall can\'t see

March 3, 2008

Verizon attacks civil liberties and makes illegal spying part of their policy

Filed under: law, News — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 3:01 pm

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Verizon released a new “Acceptable use policy” to take effect March 4, 2008. One of the main purposes of the new policy is to squash all freedom of speech by their users and to make public their policy of spying on their customers for government and industry behalf. Recent internet postings from American citizens have pressured government to reject senate bills granting Verizon and other large telecommunications companies immunity from any possible civil and criminal liability for laws broken with illegal wiretapping. Verizon has admitted to breaking these laws, but has, with the Bush administration, kept most of their activities secret from congressional and public oversight. The public fought against immunity for telecommunications companies, some of the type of political speech that Verizon is attempting to silence with this new document.

The new policy, released Feb 29, is multiple pages long and deals with vague restrictive policies that provides the ISP censorship control over all internet content by its providers, in strict violation of constitutional law. For civil libertarians and those who feel that the ruling class in America has become far too restrictive of all civil liberties, this latest policy will be most disturbing. Verizon is part of the upper % of America that has tremendous control over public laws and policies. This new policy is unilaterally being pushed on their users, with no recourse. Part of this overreaching new policy is a clause claiming Verizon has the ability to view, store, and share all internet activity and to share all this information with the government and all other entities. This shared information includes personal information.

Most of the new policy appears to be a reaction to the only viable outlet for American citizens to be involved with public policy and exercise their Constitutional rights, such as freedom of press and speech. The internet is the main channel that American citizens can use to achieve their Constitutional duty as overseer of those governing bodies, such as Verizon. The public is starting to assert those rights and duties, actively asking for no immunity to telecommunications companies that broke the law, no removal of our web pages (Baer and Wikileaks), and no government secrecy and torture. Those public debates have threatened the governing bodies’ belief that they alone should make decisions without oversight or debate. This document is one of Verizon’s attempts to destroy those rights, for their continued obscene (and yes, improper) profits.

The new policy by Verizon is quite long, so the sections here will take up some space, even in summary form (quoting directly from the source document).

The policy claims the right (by which I think they mean ‘power’) to remove internet service from any user “if your use of the Service or your use of an alias or the aliases of additional users on your account, whether explicitly or implicitly, and in the sole discretion of Verizon: (a) is obscene, indecent, pornographic, sadistic, cruel or racist in nature, or of a sexually explicit or graphic nature; (b) espouses, promotes or incites bigotry, hatred or racism; (c) might be legally actionable for any reason, (d) is objectionable for any reason, or (e) in any manner violates the terms of this Acceptable Use Policy. ”

Verizon feels they alone can determine the nature of all internet use, not you nor any 3rd party like a court or public opinion. Verizon’s own actions are indecent and might be legally actionable, but they have to power to restrict our speech and grant themselves immunity. The terms are very vague, including the meaning of ‘indecent’ and ‘objectionable’. Freedom of speech, by definition and court decisions, protect all of these types of speech. The courts have decided that hate and racist speech, like that of the KKK, is protected. This policy restricts much more than people like the KKK, it restricts all speech – with this vague language. Verizon wants to silence everybody.

Luckily the United States Constitution protects all citizens from this behavior. Unfortunately, Verizon appears to have the power to override the constitution – at least at this point.

The policy continues, “You may NOT use the Service as follows: (a) for any unlawful, improper or illegal purpose or activity”. To which code of etiquette ‘improper’ refers is unclear. Do they allow you to write about keeping the soup spoon on the left side? I always write with my pinky finger raised, thankfully.

It continues, “…to post or transmit information or communications that, whether explicitly stated, implied, or suggested through use of symbols, are obscene, indecent, pornographic, sadistic, cruel, or racist in content, or of a sexually explicit or graphic nature; or which espouses, promotes or incites bigotry, hatred or racism; or which might be legally actionable for any reason”

Throughout this document, terms like ‘implied’ are used, which could mean every speech. This document is so vague and restrictive, that it is almost impossible to find an internet post that does not fall under these restrictions. If someone posts that they are Christian and follow the bible, it can imply that they follow every aspect of that text, including the parts that deal with harming non believers. According to this document, that would be restricted. It is just intolerable in a society, even partially free, to allow such a restrictive powerful entity like Verizon to unilaterally force such a system, as seen in this document.

At this point, I would like to explain what I would find acceptable, in this document. Verizon, I feel, has the right to distance themselves from any legal or liable responsibility for any illegal or liable action resulting from someone using their system to connect to the internet. If a user breaks the law or is sued for liable behavior committed by an individual or company using Verizon internet connection, I do not believe Verizon should be liable (unless they took an active part) and their user agreement should spell this out. In fact, prior versions of this policy contain exactly that, (from memory I do not have a copy available to review).

Moving on, because so much of this very long document is intolerable to society. The document restricts posts that are: “flaming’ and “off-topic”, “deceptive” (like when Verizon was fined for deceptive activity?), “to use any name or mark of Verizon, its parent, affiliates or subsidiaries” (to use their name online? How do we as citizens or journalists refer to them, as the ‘BIG V’?), “or to cause the screen to “scroll” faster than other subscribers or users are able to type to it”.

Here is an interesting attempt by Verizon to circumvent court rulings. Courts have ruled that people can retain anonymity and free speech over the internet (see ruling summary here). That isn’t surprising, considering the basis of American law. However; Verizon here wishes to circumvent those ruling by removing all who, “…use a false name while using the Service or implying an association with Verizon.” Taken as worded, this apparently applies to people who post without their real name (like SkeptiSys) and imply they have used Verizon’s services in the past (association). That the name is false or hidden and the association can all be true and legal, is only an obstacle for Verizon.

Another item : “to make false or unverified complaints against any Verizon subscriber.” This clause is ridiculous. Many statements will be unverified or unverifiable. “I bet that there is a Verizon customer who drives an SUV while eating Cheetos”, is a statement both false and unverified.

A different twist in this one: “…to generate excessive amounts (as determined by Verizon in its sole discretion) of Internet traffic”. Verizon has already been fined for falsely deceiving their customers over internet connection, but this is truly fraudulent. People signed up for a rate of data transfer, and then they are later told that the rate is limited. How limited? We are not saying yet, just that we plan to cap the amount and charge you lots more for the same or less service. What a scummy way to do business.

I need to cut this article short (I believe it is Verizon’s intent to make the document unreviewable based on time and effort) .

There is a section on copyright infringement, which looks like it was written by a representative of the RIAA. This last section that follows the RIAA section I will include here, because I feel needs to be known by the public. “Verizon reserves the right to cooperate with legal authorities and/or injured third parties in the investigation of any suspected crime or civil wrong. Such cooperation may include, but not be limited to, provision of account or user information or email as well as monitoring of the Verizon network.” and “Verizon may, but is not required to monitor your compliance, or the compliance of other subscribers, with the terms, conditions or policies of this Agreement.”

This last part says they can at their discretion look at everything you do online, and will not keep that information private. They can, at their discretion, share that info with any person company or government they see fit, at a minimum on a suspicion. Of course, there is no recourse or criteria for such a suspicion. This clause actually states that they feel they have the right to spy on all users activity for the government and anyone else. Amazing.

People, the frog is beginning to boil.

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September 5, 2007

Jack & Yoo, Off the record

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — skeptisys @ 2:40 pm

photo-george-bush-finger.jpg

The Bush administration has pushed the envelope of right-wing extremism in this country. Up to now, we have only seen small parts of this deranged asylum, due to the unprecedented secrecy in which this dangerously wacko administration has run. We do, however, get samples of how far out their actions are, when former members of this right-wing cult themselves feel that enough is enough. I mean, I thought John Ashcroft was as nutsy as any member of a kooky religious cult. (As a small example, one of his first actions after taking office was to cover up semi-nude statues in government buildings that signified justice. How metaphorical.) But even Ashcroft, while lying weak on a hospital bed, was willing to resign his position rather than support decisions by the administration, because they were too extreme.

Another member of this right-wing psychiatric sect is Jack Goldsmith, who was an attorney in the Department of Justice and good friend of John Yoo (who wrote many legal opinions for the president, including those providing legal exception to the administration’s torture and wiretapping activities), until he resigned because he could not support the Administration’s extreme actions concerning torture.

Jack Goldsmith has written a book that partially describes the criminal inner-workings of the Bush gang. A preview of that book is provided in an interview Goldsmith conducted with the New York Times, released in the Sept 9 New York Times Magazine. I recommend reading the full article here.

As a taste, here is how the DOJ is described in the article:

“… the office has two important powers: the power to put a brake on aggressive presidential action by saying no and, conversely, the power to dispense what Goldsmith calls “free get-out-of jail cards” by saying yes. Its opinions, he writes in his book, are the equivalent of “an advance pardon” for actions taken at the fuzzy edges of criminal laws. “

When the DOJ did not go far enough in supporting illegal activities, they were threatened and pushed until they had no choice but resign or go further than their already corrupt brain would take them It really is a fascinating tale.

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