Wednesday, July 31, 2013

(Republicans have a Sad) Report: Marine commander says no stand-down order in Benghazi attack

WASHINGTON, July 31 (UPI) -- A Marine operations commander told lawmakers Wednesday he gave troops in Libya permission to respond to a September 2012 attack on a U.S. mission in Tripoli.
Testifying in closed session before the House Armed Services Committee, Col. George Bristol contradicted claims by some congressional Republicans he had issued a stand-down order following the attack, in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stephens and three other Americans were killed, The Hill reported.
Bristol, who commanded Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara at the time of the attack, said he gave the Tripoli security team leader, Lt. Col. S.E. Gibson, permission to act freely in response to the attack, The Hill said, citing a description it had received of the committee's members-only briefing.
Gibson told Congress last month he was ordered not to send his team to Benghazi because they were needed in Tripoli in the event of an attack on the U.S. Embassy.
Republicans argue the United States wasn't prepared to respond adequately to the Benghazi attack.
They accuse the Obama administration of downplaying or covering up the administration's handling of the attack, its lead-up and aftermath during the heat of the 2012 presidential campaign.
"Colonel Bristol has experience that could be valuable in deepening our understanding of the events of that day," a committee source told The Hill.
"Of particular interest to the committee is what our posture was in the weeks and months that preceded the attack," the source said.
Bristol, a seasoned combat commander, stepped down from his task force commander post in March.
When House Subcommittee on National Security Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Senate Armed Services Committee member Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. -- two vocal critics of the administration's Benghazi response -- requested Bristol appear, they were told 3 1/2 weeks ago he retired July 1 and could not be ordered to testify.
But Marine Corps Times reported July 17 Bristol had not yet retired and was still on active duty until the end of July.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Maj. Shawn Haney confirmed Bristol would in fact retire Aug. 1.
A Pentagon spokesman said the "initial confusion" over Bristol's status was due to a "personnel administrative error."
"The Department of Defense has fully cooperated with congressional requests to understand the attacks on the Benghazi compound," Pentagon spokesman Maj. Robert Firman said, adding Bristol would "be available to meet with House and Senate members and their staffs."
CBS News reported Tuesday Bristol already met with Graham.
Congress plans more Benghazi-related hearings after its August recess.

Christie slams Rand Paul by accusing Kentucky of being a leech on the federal government


Republican Governor Chris Christie slammed Senator Rand Paul on Tuesday, after the Kentucky senator accused him of begging the federal government for money.
During a press conference, Christie noted that his state paid more in federal taxes than they got back, which was not true to of the state that Paul represented. According to the Tax Foundation, for every $1.00 Kentucky’s taxpayers send to Washington, they get back $1.51. In contrast, for every $1.00 New Jersey’s taxpayers sent to Washington, they get only 61 cents back.
“I find it interesting that Senator Paul is accusing us of having a gimme, gimme, gimme attitude toward federal spending when in fact New Jersey is a donor state, we get 61 cents back on every dollar we send to Washington,” Christie said. “And interestingly Kentucky gets $1.51 on every dollar they sent to Washington.”
“So if Senator Paul wants to start looking at where he is going to cut spending to afford defense, maybe he should start looking at cutting the pork barrel spending he brings home to Kentucky at a $1.51 on every dollar and not look at New Jersey where we get 61 cents for every dollar,” he continued. “Maybe Senator Paul could deal with that when he is trying to deal with the reduction of spending on the federal side, but I doubt he would because most Washington politicians only care about bringing home the bacon so they can get reelected.”
Monday night of Fox News’ Hannity, Paul criticized Christie for asking the federal government for disaster relief aid after Hurricane Sandy.
“If he cared about protecting this country maybe he wouldn’t be in this gimme, gimme, gimme all the money you have in Washington or don’t have, and he’d be a little more fiscally responsive,” Paul said.
Paul was responding to a comment Christie made last week, in which the New Jersey governor said libertarians supported dangerous policies.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Growing Number Of States Are Reporting Lower Than Expected Health Care Premiums


Health premiums in Maryland’s exchanges will be “among the lowest of the 12 states that have available proposed or approved rates for comparison,” the state’s exchange — Maryland Health Connection — announced Friday. The news comes just as New York,Oregon, Montana, California, and Louisiana are also reporting lower than expected premiums.
In Maryland, a 25-year-old will be able to purchase a plan that is more comprehensive than policies currently available on the individual market for $114 per month, while a middle aged adult will have to pay approximately $260 per month for insurance. A 21-year-old non-smoker can start as low as $93 a month. Officials say they used their authority to deny rate increases to reduce the proposed premiums by “more than 50 percent.” Thirty other states have have similar authority.
The prices Marylanders will pay are lower than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) anticipated, but do cost more than the bare-bones plans that are available today. Residents will have a choice of nine insurance carriers and three out of four people purchasing coverage through the exchange will qualify for tax credits, further reducing the cost of coverage. Nationally, 6 million out of the 7 million people who are expected to enroll in 2014 will receive subsidies.
“Historically, insurance carriers have been allowed to turn down people with pre-existing conditions and allow only the healthiest individuals into their plans,” said Rebecca Pearce, Executive Director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. “In 2014, that will change, and 740,000 Marylanders will have new access to health coverage with more robust benefits.
Earlier this week, the Connecticut exchange announced that since a new insurer lowered its projected premiums, “the average cost for an individual-market HealthyCT plan dropped by 36 percent, from $427 per month to $271.” In Nevada, preliminary costs find that strong competition between insurers in some areas of the state will lower individuals’ premiums.
The news is on track with a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, which found that “the lowest cost silver plan in the individual market in 2014 is, on average, 18 percent less expensive” than past projections.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Norm Ornstein Excoriates GOP Leaders For Attemping To ‘Sabotage’ Obamacare


Norm Ornstein, a congressional expert and scholar at the conserative American Enterprise Institute, criticized GOP leaders' efforts to "sabotage" Obamacare as "sharply beneath any reasonable standards of elected officials."
In a National Journal colum titled, "The Unprecedented—and Contemptible—Attempts to Sabotage Obamacare," Ornstein said the GOP anti-Obamacare effort is "spinning out of control" and "simply unprecedented."
He noted that after President Bush enacted the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, Democrats worked with Republicans to improve it and help seniors rather than attempting to tarnish it for political gain.
Even when Democrats opposed the Iraq war, he said, "they did not try to sabotage the surge" because "[t]o do so would have been close to treasonous."
Ornstein concludes:
But to do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation—which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil—is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. One might expect this kind of behavior from a few grenade-throwing firebrands. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate—even if Speaker John Boehner is motivated by fear of his caucus, and McConnell and Cornyn by fear of Kentucky and Texas Republican activists—takes one's breath away.

Report: Senate Dems Write To Obama, Saying They Want Yellen Over Summers For Fed Chair


Senate Democrats have signed onto a letter urging President Barack Obama to appoint Janet Yellen to be Ben Bernanke's successor as chairman of the Federal Reserve, according to The Wall Street Journal. 
Yellen currently serves as the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.
The Journal reported it could not confirm the full list of senators who signed on, but the list appears to represent the more liberal wing of the Democratic caucus -- a third of the 54 seats they currently hold in the upper chamber.
"There's a lot of concern among a lot of Democrats about an appointment of Larry Summers to that long-term position as Fed chairman," Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), who signed the letter, told the Journal. "He was one of the architects of getting rid of Glass-Steagall, of getting rid of other regulations. There's real concern about his economic views not really being in line with Obama's views."
Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Angus King (I-ME) are also confirmed to have signed the letter.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Cult - She Sells Sanctuary

These Millionaire Republican Congressmen Who Took Farm Aid Probably Really Needed The Money

Well, Wonkeroos, we have a new, strong contender for the coveted Legislative Badass of the Year award. This nominee enters the competition by calling out hypocrisy from his House GOP colleagues in an awesome new report titled “Pork Barrel Politics.” Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Rep. George Miller (D-CA):
A new analysis by the Office of Congresssman George Miller finds that 14 members of Congress voted to continue farm subsidies from which they personally benefit while failing to continue nutrition aid for 47 million Americans.
Yep. His office released a report detailing how these 14 GOP Congresscritters have raked in more than $7.2 MILLION in farm subsidies (aka welfare, also aka YOUR tax dollars) while they voted to completely gut food stamps for hungry kids. Hahahahaha, sucks to be poor and not a Member of Congress.
Not only did Rep. Miller (D-Honey Badgerville) release this report, and not only did he call his colleagues out by name, but he straight up put photos of each of the offending members on his website, in case anyone was interested, because George Miller DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK.
Come after the jump and learn more about these foul, soulless human beings.  READ MORE »

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Stop Making Stupid People Famous

Sex News 07-23-13

Tumblr users revolt over anti-porn policies
More than 19,000 Tumblr users have signed a petition asking the blogging network to reinstate searches for blogs containing porn and other adult content.

Firefighters free man from sex toy
A man had to be freed by firefighters when he got stuck in a sex toy  

How bad porn can actually improve your sex life
Can watching porn actually build confidence and give you some fresh new ideas?

Recognizing your ex-girlfriend in porn
According to Cosmopolitan magazine, watching porn together can be a great way to spice up your sex life, and watching it with girls to be a mixed experience, at best  

6 Rules for outdoor sex
Now that the weather's turning warmer, many people are overcome by two urges: to get outside and to get it on

Stars who dare to bare
Bikini tops aren't for everyone, as these carefree celebs show [More naked celebs]  

Fat dudes are hot
Arianne Kirby likes lots of kinds of bodies, and fat dudes are on that list.

 A masturbating app for women
App designer Tina Gong has created such an app, aimed at dissipating the cultural stigma associated with masturbation, and with female masturbation in particular. [more]

 20 things no one ever told you about sex
You've taken sex ed, have hands-on experience and have seen every episode of Sex and the City - twice. So, you think you know a lot about sex?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Texas Deathtrap Roller Coaster Company Will Investigate Itself, For Freedom

“With No Safety Oversight, Six Flags Will Investigate Roller Coaster Death Itself,” says a U.S. News headline that we totally could have written. Does it surprise you to learn that this death trap of an unregulated roller coaster is in Texas? No, of course it doesn’t. Does it surprise you that there are absolutely zero elected or appointed officials charged with coordinating the legislative, bureaucratic, or legal ramifications of such a death? No, it is Texas, so this too is unsurprising.
Rosy Esparza of Dallas died Friday night when she fell from the Texas Giant, which is billed as the world’s steepest wooden roller coaster.
Six Flags initially said in a statement that it was “working with authorities” to figure out what happened. But it later had to admit that it was running the investigation itself because there are no authorities to work with.

House GOP Already Failing According To New Standard John Boehner Just Made Up

“How is John Boehner helping House Republicans ruin the government today, along with my access to health care and possibly my ability to put food on my family?” you might be wondering.
The answer is, of course, “Same as yesterday, mostly, only now he is speaking openly about it on Sunday yap shows”:
 House Speaker John Boehner says Congress “ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal” [because] the U.S. has “more laws than the administration could ever enforce.”
An excellent idea from a man who could not pass his ass with both hands!..Or IS it? Would Boehner benefit from such a bizarre metric?
The answer is no, he would not.
For the purposes of critical analysis, we evaluated how the House is doing so far this year based on how many bills they repealed, and were not terribly shocked to learn that they are not doing too well! Behold, the tally of laws they have tried and failed to repeal:

Pic Of The Moment: Speaker Boehner: Congress Should Be Judged On "How Many Laws We Repeal"

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Presidential Exploding Fist Bump

Lewis Black Anti-Texas Ad (Full Version)

With the Gang Problems we have now Time to go Back to this - The FBI and the American Gangster, 1924-1938

About Us History A Centennial History The FBI and the American Gangster, 1924-1938

The “war to end all wars” was over, but a new one was just beginning—on the streets of America.
It wasn’t much of a fight, really—at least at the start.
On the one side was a rising tide of professional criminals, made richer and bolder by Prohibition, which had turned the nation “dry” in 1920. In one big city alone— Chicago—an estimated 1,300 gangs had spread like a deadly virus by the mid-1920s.
Al “Scarface” Capone in a 1929 mug shot
Al “Scarface” Capone in a 1929 mug shot
There was no easy cure. With wallets bursting from bootlegging profits, gangs outfitted themselves with “Tommy” guns and operated with impunity by paying off politicians and police alike. Rival gangs led by the powerful Al “Scarface” Capone and the hot-headed George “Bugs” Moran turned the city streets into a virtual war zone with their gangland clashes. By 1926, more than 12,000 murders were taking place every year across America.
On the other side was law enforcement, which was outgunned (literally) and ill-prepared at this point in history to take on the surging national crime wave. Dealing with the bootlegging and speakeasies was challenging enough, but the “Roaring Twenties” also saw bank robbery, kidnapping, auto theft, gambling, and drug trafficking become increasingly common crimes. More often than not, local police forces were hobbled by the lack of modern tools and training. And their jurisdictions stopped abruptly at their borders.

Attorney General
Attorney General
Harlan Fiske Stone
In the young Bureau of Investigation, things were not much better. In the early twenties, the agency was no model of efficiency. It had a growing reputation for politicized investigations. In 1923, in the midst of the Teapot Dome scandal that rocked the Harding Administration, the nation learned that Department of Justice officials had sent Bureau agents to spy on members of Congress who had opposed its policies. Not long after the news of these secret activities broke, President Calvin Coolidge fired Harding’s Attorney General Harry Daugherty, naming Harlan Fiske Stone as his successor in 1924.
A good housecleaning was in order for the Bureau, and it came at the hands of a young lawyer by the name of J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover had joined the Department of Justice in 1917 and had quickly risen through its ranks. In 1921, he was named Assistant Director of the Bureau. Three years later, Stone named him Director. Hoover would go on to serve for nearly another half century.
The first graduates of the Bureau’s training program for national police exectives, the forerunner of today’s National Academy, in 1935. Since then, the National Academy has graduated more than 41,000 officers from 166 countries.

A young J. Edgar Hoover
A young J. Edgar Hoover
At the outset, the 29-year-old Hoover was determined to reform the Bureau, quickly and thoroughly, to make it a model of professionalism. He did so by weeding out the “political hacks” and incompetents, laying down a strict code of conduct for agents, and instituting regular inspections of Headquarters and field operations. He insisted on rigorous hiring criteria, including background checks, interviews, and physical tests for all special agent applicants, and in January 1928, he launched the first formal training for incoming agents, a two-month course of instruction and practical exercises in Washington, D.C. Under Hoover’s direction, new agents were also required to be 25 to 35 years old, preferably with experience in law or accounting.
When Hoover took over in 1924, the Bureau had about 650 employees, including 441 special agents. In five years, with the rash of firings it had just 339 special agents and less than 600 total employees. But it was beginning to become the organized, professional, and effective force that Hoover envisioned.
One important step in that direction came during Hoover’s first year at the helm, when the Bureau was given the responsibility of consolidating the nation’s two major collections of fingerprint files. In the summer of 1924, Hoover quickly created an Identification Division (informally called “Ident” in the organization for many years to come) to gather prints from police agencies nationwide and to search them upon request for matches to criminals and crime evidence.
New agents train on the rooftop of the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., where FBI Headquarters was located from 1933 to 1972
New agents train on the rooftop of the Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C., where FBI Headquarters was located from 1933 to 1972

It was a vital new tool for all of law enforcement—the first major building block in Hoover’s growing quest to bring the discipline of science to Bureau investigations and scientific services to law enforcement nationwide. Combined with its identification orders, or IOs—early wanted posters that included fingerprints and all manner of details about criminal suspects on the run—the Bureau was fast becoming a national hub for crime records. In the late 1920s, the Bureau began exchanging fingerprints with Canada and added more friendly foreign governments in 1932; the following year, it created a corresponding civil fingerprint file for non-criminal cases. By 1936, the agency had a total reservoir of 100,000 fingerprint cards; by 1946, that number had swelled to 100 million.
Welcome to the World of Fingerprints
We take it for granted now, but at the turn of the twentieth century the use of fingerprints to identify criminals was still in its infancy.
More popular was the Bertillon system, which measured dozens of features of a criminal’s face and body and recorded the series of precise numbers on a large card along with a photograph. After all, the thinking went, what were the chances that two different people would look the same and have identical measurements in all the minute particulars logged by the Bertillon method?
Will West
Will West
William West
William West
Not great, of course. But inevitably a case came along to beat the odds.
It happened this way. In 1903, a convicted criminal named Will West was taken to Leavenworth federal prison in Kansas. The clerk at the admissions desk, thinking he recognized West, asked if he’d ever been to Leavenworth. The new prisoner denied it. The clerk took his Bertillon measurements and went to the files, only to return with a card for a “William” West. Turns out, Will and William bore an uncanny resemblance (they may have been identical twins). And their Bertillon measurements were a near match.
The clerk asked Will again if he’d ever been to the prison. “Never,” he protested. When the clerk flipped the card over, he discovered Will was telling the truth. “William” was already in Leavenworth, serving a life sentence for murder! Soon after, the fingerprints of both men were taken, and they were clearly different.
It was this incident that caused the Bertillon system to fall “flat on its face,” as reporter
Bureau fingerprint experts at work in 1932
Don Whitehead aptly put it. The next year, Leavenworth abandoned the method and start fingerprinting its inmates. Thus began the first federal fingerprint collection.
In New York, the state prison had begun fingerprinting its inmates as early as 1903. Following the event at Leavenworth, other police and prison officials followed suit. Leavenworth itself eventually began swapping prints with other agencies, and its collection swelled to more than 800,000 individual records.
By 1920, though, the International Association of Chiefs of Police had become concerned about the erratic quality and disorganization of criminal identification records in America. It urged the Department of Justice to merge the country’s two major fingerprint collections—the federal one at Leavenworth and its own set of state and local ones held in Chicago.
Four years later, a bill was passed providing the funds and giving the task to the young Bureau of Investigation. On July 1, 1924, J. Edgar Hoover, who had been appointed Acting Director less than two months earlier, quickly formed a Division of Identification. He announced that the Bureau would welcome submissions from other jurisdictions and provide identification services to all law enforcement partners. The FBI has done so ever since.

Using fingerprints to catch the guilty and free the innocent was just the beginning. The lawlessness of the 1920s got the nation’s attention, and a number of independent studies—including the Wickersham Commission set up by President Herbert Hoover in May 1929—confirmed what everyone seemed to already know: that law enforcement at every level needed to modernize.
One glaring need was to get a handle on the national scope of crime by collecting statistics that would enable authorities to understand trends and better focus resources. Taking the lead as it did in many police reforms in the early twentieth century, the International Association of Chiefs of Police created a committee to advance the issue, with Hoover and the Bureau participating. In 1929, the Chiefs adopted a system to classify and report crimes and began to collect crime statistics. The association recommended that the Bureau—with its experience in centralizing criminal records—take the lead. Congress agreed, and the Bureau assumed responsibility for the program in 1930. It has been taking this national pulse on crime ever since.

Charles “Lucky” Luciano
Charles “Lucky” Luciano
The third major development was a scientific crime lab, long a keen interest of Hoover’s. After becoming Director, he had encouraged his agents to keep an eye on advances in science. By 1930, the Bureau was hiring outside experts on a case-by-case basis. Over the next few years, the Bureau’s first technical laboratory took root, thanks in large part to a visionary special agent named Charles Appel. By 1932, the lab was fully operational and soon providing scientific examinations and analysis for the Bureau and its partners around the country.
This trio of advances came just in time, as the crime wave that began in the 1920s was about to reach its peak. By the early 1930s, cities like St. Paul, Minnesota, had become virtual training grounds for young crooks, while Hot Springs, Arkansas, had turned into a safe haven and even a vacation spot for the criminal underworld. Al Capone was locked away for good in 1931 (thanks in part to the Bureau), but his Chicago Outfit carried on fine without him and would actually experience a resurgence in the coming decades. The “Five Families” of the New York Mafia were also emerging during this period, with “Lucky” Luciano setting up the “Commission” to unite the mob and “Murder, Inc.” to carry out its hits. Prohibition was ultimately repealed in 1933, but by then, the Great Depression was in full force, and with honest jobs harder to come by than ever, the dishonest ones sometimes seemed more attractive than standing in soup lines.
Employees of the “Ident” division in 1929. The Bureau began managing the nation’s fingerprint collections five years earlier
Employees of the “Ident” division in 1929. The Bureau began managing the nation’s fingerprint collections five years earlier.

By 1933, an assortment of dangerous and criminally prolific gangsters was wreaking havoc across America, especially in the Midwest. Their names would soon be known far and wide.
There was John Dillinger, with his crooked smile, who managed to charm the press and much of America into believing he was nothing more than a harmless, modern-day Robin Hood. In reality, Dillinger and his revolving crew of gunslingers—violent thugs like Homer Van Meter, Harry “Pete” Pierpont, and John “Red” Hamilton—were shooting up banks across America’s heartland, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars and murdering at least one policeman along the way.
The Birth of the FBI Lab
In the pages of FBI history, November 24, 1932, is considered the official birthday of the FBI Laboratory. But it is really a “declared” anniversary for what was an evolving concept.
From the 1920s on, Director Hoover had been actively interested in scientific analysis, and by 1930 he had authorized the use of outside experts on a case-by-case basis in identification and evidence examination matters. Then, over a two-year period, the first true “technical” laboratory functions began to take shape. When all these functions moved into Room 802 of the Old Southern Railway Building in Washington, D.C., it seemed appropriate to recognize that a true lab had been born.
Special Agent
Special Agent
Charles Appel

It was Special Agent Charles Appel who was its midwife. He had served as an aviator in World War I before joining the Bureau in 1924—and right from the start he focused on meticulous investigations based on scientific detection.
Appel was an extraordinary man with extraordinary vision, fully backed by Director Hoover with the necessary resources. He took courses to further his knowledge of state-of-the-art techniques, and by 1931, he began seeking expert opinion on starting a crime lab. In July 1932, when he proposed “a separate division for the handling of so-called crime prevention work” under which “the criminological research laboratory could be placed,” he got an immediate endorsement. By September, Room 802 in the Old Southern Railway building was fully equipped. By November 24, it was in business.
The FBI Laboratory’s first home: Room 802 of the Old Southern Railway Building in Washington, D.C.
The new lab was pretty sophisticated by 1932 standards. It included a brand new ultra-violet light machine; a microscope, on loan from Bausch and Lomb until the requisition for its purchase could be finalized; moulage kits (for taking impressions); photographic supplies; and chemical sets. A machine to examine the interior of gun barrels was on order.
For about a year, Appel was the Bureau’s one-man lab. His handwriting and typewriter font analysis solved a poisoning case in 1933. His analysis of handwriting on the Lindbergh kidnapping ransom notes ultimately helped convict Bruno Richard Hauptmann.
Agents across the Bureau soon started receiving training on what this new lab could do for them and their cases, and they spread the word about the value of scientific work to their law enforcement partners.
By January 1940, the lab had a total of 46 employees. As America headed into a second world war, its growing skills and capabilities would be needed more than ever.

There was Clyde Barrow and his girlfriend Bonnie Parker, an inseparable, love-struck couple who—partnered at times with the Barrow brothers and others—were robbing and murdering their way across a half dozen or so states.
There was the ruthless, almost psychopathic “Baby Face” Nelson, who worked with everyone from Roger “The Terrible” Touhy to Al Capone and Dillinger over the course of his crime career and teamed up with John Paul Chase and Fatso Negri in his latter days. Nelson was a callous killer who thought nothing of murdering lawmen; he gunned down three Bureau agents, for instance, in the span of seven months. And there was the cunning Alvin Karpis and his Barker brother sidekicks, who not only robbed banks and trains but engineered two major kidnappings of rich Minnesota business executives in 1933.
The rising popularity of the FBI’s “G-men” spawned hundreds of toys and games.
The rising popularity of the FBI’s “G-men” spawned hundreds of toys and games.

“Machine Gun” Kelly and the Legend of the G-Men
Before 1934, “G-Man” was underworld slang for any and all government agents. In fact, the detectives in J. Edgar Hoover’s Bureau of Investigation were so little known that they were often confused with Secret Service or Prohibition Bureau agents. By 1935, though, only one kind of government employee was known by that name, the special agents of the Bureau.
George “Machine Gun” Kelly
George “Machine Gun” Kelly
How this change came about is not entirely clear, but September 26, 1933, played a central role in the apocryphal origins of this change.
On that day, Bureau of Investigation agents and Tennessee police officers arrested gangster George “Machine Gun” Kelly. He was a “wanted fugitive” for good reason. Two months earlier Kelly had kidnapped oil magnate Charles Urschel and held him for $200,000 in ransom. After Urschel was released, the Bureau coordinated a multi-state investigation, drawing investigative information from its own field offices as well as from other police sources, as it identified and then tracked the notorious gangster across the country.
On September 26, “Machine Gun” Kelly was found hiding in a decrepit Memphis residence. Some early press reports said that a tired, perhaps hung-over Kelly stumbled out of his bed mumbling something like “I was expecting you.” Another version of the event held that Kelly emerged from his room, hands-up, crying “Don’t shoot G-Men, don’t shoot.” Either way, Kelly was arrested without violence.
The rest is history. The more colorful version sparked the popular imagination and “G-Men” became synonymous with the special agents of the FBI.

All of these criminals would become “public enemies,” actively hunted by law enforcement nationwide. At first, the Bureau was playing only a bit part in pursuing these gangsters, since few of their crimes violated federal laws. But that began to change with the 1932 Lindbergh kidnapping, which gave the Bureau jurisdiction in these cases for the first time; with the “Kansas City Massacre” in June 1933, a bloody slaughter at a train station that claimed the lives of four lawmen, including a Bureau agent; and with the rise to national prominence of John Dillinger.

“Doc” Barker
“Doc” Barker
Kate “Ma” Barker
Kate “Ma” Barker
Alvin Karpis
Alvin Karpis
Using whatever federal laws it could hang its hat on, the Bureau turned its full attention to catching these gangsters. And despite some stumbles along the way, the successes began to add up. By the end of 1934, most of these public enemies had been killed or captured.
Bonnie and Clyde were the first to fall, in May 1934, at the hands of Texas lawmen (with the Bureau playing a small supporting role in tracking them down). In July, Melvin Purvis and a team of agents caught up with Dillinger, who was shot dead leaving a Chicago theater. “Pretty Boy” Floyd, one of the hired hands of the Kansas City Massacre, was killed in a shootout with Bureau agents and local law enforcement on an Ohio farm in October 1934. And Nelson died the following month after a bloody firefight with two special agents, who were also killed.
The Bureau caught up with the rest soon enough. Agents arrested “Doc” Barker in January 1935, and the infamous “Ma” Barker and her son Fred were killed by Bureau agents in Florida eight days later. Alvin Karpis, the brains of the gang, was captured in May 1936 and ended up in Alcatraz.
In just a few transformative years, thanks to the successful battle against gangsters, the once unknown Bureau and its “G-Men” became household names and icons of popular culture. Along the way, Congress had given it newfound powers, too, including the ability to carry guns and make arrests. In July 1935, as the capstone of its newfound identity, the organization was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation—the FBI.
As the decade came to a close, the FBI would find itself shifting gears once again. War was brewing in Europe, and pro-Nazi groups were becoming more and more vocal in the U.S., claiming fascism was the answer to American woes. The gangsters, it turned out, were just a prelude to the dark days to come.
Above: The Florida home (right) where “Doc” and “Ma” Barker were killed in a shootout with Bureau agents. Top Right: The cache of Barker weapons recovered by agents after the firefight
Above: The Florida home (right) where “Doc” and “Ma” Barker were killed in a shootout with Bureau agents. Top Right: The cache of Barker weapons recovered by agents after the firefight

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Top Pennsylvania Republican Admits Voter ID Helped Suppress Obama Voters


Last year, Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai (R-PA) admitted that voter identification efforts were designed to suppress Democratic votes, telling a Republican Steering Committee meeting that Voter ID “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.” Romney ended up losing the state, but Republicans still believe that they successfully kept Democrats from supporting President Obama. As Pennsylvania’s GOP Chairman Rob Gleason told Pennsylvania Cable Network earlier this week, the party “cut Obama by 5 percent” in 2012 and “probably Voter ID had helped a bit in that.”

The constitutionality of law is now being challenged before the state Supreme Court, where statistician Bernard Siskin testified on Monday that the measure would disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of registered voters, disproportionately affecting “Democrats and members of minority groups.” “By his calculations, Democrats are three times as likely as Republicans and minorities are about twice as likely as whites to lack a valid ID,” the Huffington Post’s Saki Knafo reported.
In December, Republican strategist Scott Tranter acknowledged that “a lot of us are campaign professionals and we want to do everything we can to help our sides. Sometimes we think that’s voter ID, sometimes we think that’s longer lines, whatever it may be.” The Romney campaign’s Wisconsin co-chair, state Sen. Alberta Darling (R), also suggested that the Massachusetts governor would have won Wisconsin but for the fact that the state’s voter ID law was declared unconstitutional by a state court.
Although the laws’ supporters claim that they are necessary to combat in-person voter fraud, a voter is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit fraud. One study found that 0.0002 percent of votes are the product of such fraud.

Cover Of The Rolling Stone-Dr.Hook

War Dogs - Juno Reactor

Juno Reactor - God Is God

Juno Reactor - God Is God - Parajanov - Sayat Nova - HD from Tao Nano on Vimeo.

The Call of Ktulu - Metallica & San Francisco Symphonic Orchestra

One -Metallica with The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Metallica - Enter Sandman ( W/ San Francisco Symphony )

Friday, July 12, 2013

Poll: Most Blame GOP Obstruction For Gridlock, Not Obama’s Lack Of Persuasion


A little more than half of American voters attribute gridlock in Washington to Republican obstructionism and not President Barack Obama's inability to persuade, a poll released Friday found.
According to the latest survey from Quinnipiac University, 51 percent of voters believe gridlock is mainly a result of the congressional GOP's determination to block any of Obama's initiatives. A mere 35 percent blamed gridlock on Obama's lack of "personal skills to convince leaders of Congress to work together." 
Obama has drawn blame from both Republicans and the press for purportedly being too isolated and unwilling to perform the type of cajoling necessary to making a deal in Washington. Chief among those critics has been New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, who blamed Obama for the failure of gun legislation in the Senate because he "doesn’t know how to work the system."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Federal Judge Authorizes Chevron’s Sweeping Subpoena Of Activists’ Internet Data


It’s not just the NSA that’s collecting massive amounts of personal data with judicial approval. In a ruling publicized by EarthRights International, a federal judge in New York approved a subpoena by Chevron to obtain any documents Microsoft has related to the identity of 30 anonymous individuals allegedly of interest in the litigation, including every IP address over a period of nine years.
The case involves an $18.2 billion judgment against Chevron in an Ecuador court, for massive environmental contamination from oil drilling. The Ecuadorian court found that Chevron had dumped toxic waste into Amazon waterways used by indigenous groups for drinking water and caused massive harm to the rainforest. Chevron responded by filing a lawsuit in U.S. court alleging that the plaintiffs engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the company.
As part of this lawsuit, Chevron has subpoenaed Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo to request all information related to the email addresses of more than 100 advocates, journalists, lawyers, and others. These individuals are not parties to the suit, but Chevron alleges that they are involved directly or indirectly in the litigation, and may have been outspoken critics of Chevron’s conduct. U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan explains the scope of what Chevron was seeking from Microsoft:
To summarize, if Microsoft still has and were to produce the requested information, Chevron would learn the IP address associated with every login for every account over a nine-year period. Chevron could identify the countries, states, or even cities where the users logged into accounts, and perhaps, in some instances, could determine the actual building addresses.
Chevron would not learn who logged into the accounts. That is to say that Chevron would know who created (or purported to create) the email accounts but would not know if there was a single user or multiple users for each account. Nevertheless, the subpoenaed information might allow Chevron to infer the movements of the users over the relevant period (at a high level of generality) and might permit Chevron to make inferences about some of the users’ professional and personal relationships.
Late last month, the court granted the first of these subpoenas in full, holding that the anonymous individuals were not entitled to First Amendment protection because they may not be U.S. citizens. As human rights lawyer Marissa Vahlsing explains:
The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders’ residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not U.S. citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?
Given similar suggestions that NSA data collection is limited at least in some ways to non-U.S. citizens, this decision – much more public and available than the secret but reportedly expansive rulings of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court – should give serious pause to those who think that limiting data collection to non-U.S. citizens protects the rest of us. It is worth noting that this case involves only the First Amendment, and not the Fourth, because parties in civil suits have a whole lot of leeway to access data via administrative subpoenas, which are typically not considered “searches” (and/or seizures) under the Fourth Amendment. Nonetheless, their speech, associations, and political activities, remain protected under the First.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Steps Up Stealing Game, May Surpass Palin As Griftiest Governor Ever

Hey college kids, or people that have college-aged kids, or people that once were in college, or people generally! Perhaps once upon a time you went away to college, and when you did, your mom or dad or random stranger that took care of you gave you things like food and coffee and paper towels (ok the last one seems like a weird thing to send) to take to college, right? Seems totally reasonable. However, your moms or dads or whoevers probably did not take the food and coffee and paper towels (are those hard to come by? are we missing something?) from their employer and give them to you, a la Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. READ MORE »

Monday, July 01, 2013

Dark Money Group Spent On House Race, Then Told IRS It Didn’t


Shortly before Election Day last year, mailers went out to Texas voters featuring pictures of a Democratic congressional candidate and a rare species of spider, whose discovery had forced stoppage of an important highway construction project.
“The same left-wing extremists who support Pete Gallego want more burdensome regulations that put the interests of spiders above our need to create more jobs,” the flier declared, referring to discovery of the endangered Braken Bat Cave meshweaver. “The best way to stop left-wing extremists from killing jobs is to vote against their hand-picked candidate Pete Gallego.”
The group that put out the mailer, A Better America Now, reported to the Federal Election Commission it had spent about $65,000 for the mailer and TV advertising in the hard-fought race to represent Texas’ 23rd district.
But in a tax return recently filed with the IRS, the group claimed it did not spend any money at all on “direct or indirect political campaign activities.”
The tax return is signed under the penalty of perjury by the group’s president, Bob Portrie, and the accounting firm LBA Group. Neither responded to requests for comment.
We first reported on A Better America Now earlier this year, showing it had told the IRS in a 2011 application for nonprofit status that it did not plan to spend any money on elections. (That document was sent to ProPublica last year by the IRS, even though the application was still pending and thus not supposed to be released.)
“This type of inaccurate reporting by electioneering nonprofit groups has a long history,” says Public Citizen’s Craig Holman, when asked about the group’s most recent filing. “It is rooted in the fact that the IRS almost never holds these groups accountable for such false declarations.”
A Better America Now was a bit player in the elections. But it’s also an example of the kind of increasingly common outside groups that inject anonymous money into political campaigns.
Such social welfare nonprofits are not supposed to have political campaign activity as their primary purpose — but the ambiguities around how the IRS measures such activity and how it screens the groups are at the center of the recent investigations of the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups.
ProPublica has documented how nonprofits that spent millions of dollars on ads in the 2010 elections failed to report or underreported that political spending to the IRS. The tax form that the groups are required to file with the IRS specifically asks for details on any campaign spending.
One of the curious things about A Better America Now is that, though the group spent money in a congressional and a state legislative race in southwest Texas, it is based a few miles off the beach near Jacksonville, Florida
The president of A Better America Now, Portrie, is also the head of a consulting firm, the Fenwick Group. The two groups are listed at the same address. Fenwick’s website says it works with “organizations across the healthcare, financial services, insurance, retail and investment sectors.”
Portrie and Fenwick were also linked to ads run by another Florida-based social welfare nonprofit, America is Not Stupid, in last year’s U.S. Senate race in Montana. Ads by America is Not Stupid featured a talking baby complaining about alleged cuts to Medicare by President Obama, and referring to the baby’s stinking diaper.
In 2010, the New York Times reported on links between the Fenwick Group and yet another politically active nonprofit, the Coalition to Protect Seniors. Ads by that group featured the same talking baby ad.
In last year’s race in Texas, which attracted a lot of outside spending on both sides, the Democrat, Gallego, prevailed over Republican incumbent Quico Canseco.