Monday, March 7, 2011

$12.8 Trillion: The True Cost Of The Bank Bailout



The Art of Kissing a Cop


Russian performance artists 'Voina' (or War) are focusing their efforts on reforming Russian women police officers. Armed with little more than hugs and kisses, the artists claim they want the 'girls in blue to be more relaxed. For the past few months, they've thrown their arms around lady law enforcers - and claim they've already worked their charms on several hundred officers and not all seem happy to be lunged at for a bit of free love. For the artists, one of the key police reforms is getting the force's females to feel liberated and more light-hearted. The art group's no stranger to controversy, having previously painted a giant phallus on one of St. Petersburg's rising bridges.

Dianne Watts urged to un-invite George W. Bush to Surrey

Ted Colley reports for Surrey Now:


Gail Davidson says George W. Bush is a war criminal and shouldn’t be allowed to speak at this year’s Surrey Regional Economic Summit in October.

Bush and fellow former U.S. president Bill Clinton will be the keynote speakers at the event.

Davidson speaks for Lawyers Against the War, a Canadian organization that wants bush charged with war crimes for authorizing the use of torture in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Canada is a signatory to an international treaty banning torture, Davidson said, and that means the federal government is obliged to deny the former U.S. President entry into Canada.

“If he does enter Canada, then the government has the obligation to prosecute him when he’s on our soil.”

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Ken Wilber - Spirituality and the 3 Strands of Deep Science


The three strands of deep science—injunction, apprehension, confirmation—give us a reliable methodology for learning about both the world without and the world within.

Investigation: US ATF Secretly Arming Mexican Drug Cartels (Mar 3, 2011 - CBS)

Where were the calls for a no-fly zone when Israel attacked Gaza, asks George Galloway

Internet Lovers! Know Your Enemy: Cass Sunstein

By C. J. Maloney. LewRockwell.com


Democracy is under assault! To the bulwarks! Quick, load the catapult with our freedom of speech and shoot it over at the enemy; it’s our only hope! So says Harvard professor Cass Sunstein in his On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done. More an 88-page gab session than a structured book, On Rumors makes me wonder if this is how Professor Sunstein sounds at the chalkboard…placid, scattershot and above all, repetitive. The villain of his piece is the Internet – a fertile breeding ground for "false" rumors – and his knight in shining armor the government censor.

The book starts off with, ends, and endlessly repeats a trumpet blast sure to grab the modern American ear – democracy is in peril. (Sunstein, 3, 10, 65, 85, etc.) The culprit? Free speech – a protective shield for the "false" rumors so hated by the author, all running amok and unfettered via the Internet highway, a regulatory void with no political infringements whatsoever. The Internet is, to the author, a dagger pointed at the very heart of democracy.

Sunstein puts forth two goals of his effort. First, to study how and why rumors spread, where he attempts to usesocial cascades and group polarization to paint the obvious with an intellectual varnish, a collegiate effort to erect something as earthy as "telegraph, telephone, tell a friend" into a three-month long lecture that costs $17,000 to hear at Harvard.

Sunstein insists this is necessary as "False rumors…can threaten careers, policies, public officials, and sometimes even democracy itself." (Sunstein, 3) Of course, no warning would be complete for post-9-11 America without pointing out how the Internet is "crucial in the process of radicalization." (Sunstein, 41) He plays to the reader’s self-interest, as "rumors can harm the economy" (Sunstein, 3) and "fuel speculative bubbles, greatly inflating prices" (Sunstein, 8) as well as his self-conceit, since "all of us are potential victims of rumors, including false and vicious ones." (Sunstein, 3)His second goal is the book’s main course – and the part of most interest to those in power itching for any excuse to regulate the Internet – where he grants some helpful suggestions as to "what we can do to protect ourselves against the harmful effects of false rumors." (Sunstein, 4-5) His answer? Not censorship (heavens, no!) but the imposition of a "chilling effect" on such rumors; just the "false" ones, mind you.

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The quantum singularity

Larry Hardesty, MIT News


At the Association for Computing Machinery’s 43rd Symposium on Theory of Computing in June, associate professor of computer science Scott Aaronson and his graduate student Alex Arkhipov will present a paper describing an experiment that, if it worked, would offer strong evidence that quantum computers can do things that classical computers can’t. Although building the experimental apparatus would be difficult, it shouldn’t be as difficult as building a fully functional quantum computer.

If the experiment works, “it has the potential to take us past what I would like to call the 'quantum singularity,' where we do the first thing quantumly that we can’t do on a classical computer,” says Terry Rudolph, an advanced research fellow with Imperial College London’s Quantum Optics and Laser Science, who was not involved in the research.

Aaronson and Arkhipov's proposal is a variation on an experiment conducted by physicists at the University of Rochester in 1987, which relied on a device called a beam splitter, which takes an incoming beam of light and splits it into two beams traveling in different directions. The Rochester researchers demonstrated that if two identical light particles — photons — reach the beam splitter at exactly the same time, they will both go either right or left; they won’t take different paths. It’s another of the weird quantum behaviors of fundamental particles that defy our physical intuitions.


Musical Innerlube: Puscifer


The CIA, Narcotics & Underworld: Doug Valentine Interview

By Suzan Mazur, Scoop

Several years ago, when I was trying to make the distinction between Lewis Lapham, the Editor of Harper's Magazine -- whose roots are in an old San Francisco banking family -- and Lewis Lapham, the Central Intelligence Agency's man, I was directed to author Doug Valentine by Lou Wolf of Covert Action Quarterly, who described Valentine as one of the most knowledgeable people on the CIA.

Valentine told me the two Laphams were not the same man. I was relieved. But in the next breath he said that Tony Lapham, Harper's Editor Lewis Lapham's brother, had been both a covert CIA agent and General Counsel to the CIA, appointed in 1976 by then Director of Central Intelligence, George H.W. Bush. I was again concerned.

[ ... ]

Suzan Mazur: What do you suppose the New York Times is up to with the Weiner book? Why is a reporter from one of the most important commercial newspapers, sticking it to the CIA by exposing the CIA’s 60 years of horrific failure, with monarchs and dictators on the payroll (King Hussein of Jordan for 20 years, Mobutu, etc.), when as you note in your richly informative book on the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, “Establishment privateers run the secret government”?

Doug Valentine: Most of what Weiner writes about the CIA is already known. It’s a history book with a bias, not an expose, at least not for the Vietnam generation. He doesn’t even really get into the current Bush administration. He gives us a predictable treatment of William Casey and the Contras, when there was an incredible revival of the CIA under Casey.

Suzan Mazur: Weiner plays up the fact that long-time CIA counterintelligence chief, James Angleton, was constantly spilling the beans to Kim Philby during their frequent liquid lunches – Philby, a British agent who turned out to be a spy for the Soviet Union.

Doug Valentine: Angleton was key to understanding the CIA. Weiner hasn’t detailed Angleton’s relationship with the underworld through the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He hasn’t gotten past CIA 101.

Angleton had his own mysterious agenda, counterintelligence, seeking out enemy agents inside the CIA. He had liaison to the Mafia through Charles Siragusa, a Federal Bureau of Narcotics agent – and Mario Brod, a labor lawyer from Connecticut and New York, who as an Army counterintelligence officer had worked with Angleton at OSS – Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the CIA.

As I say in the book, James Angleton alone possessed the coveted Israeli account. His loyalty was to the Director of Central Intelligence, Allen Dulles – then Richard Helms, who was chief of Clandestine Services and later DCI. Director William Colby was his enemy.

Through Angleton’s relationships with Italian royalty, Tibor Rosenbaum [Mossad agent], Charlie Siragusa [FBN agent], Hank Manfredi [FBN], and Mario Brod, he was certainly aware of Meyer Lansky’s central role as the Mafia’s banker in the Caribbean - where Lansky’s mob associate from Las Vegas, Moe Dalitz, opened an account at Castle Bank - as well as in Mexico, where Angleton’s friend, Winston M. Scott, was station chief, and certainly kept tabs on Lansky’s associate, former Mexican president Miguel Aleman. As ever, Angleton and Lansky were the dark stars of the intelligence and financial aspects of international drug smuggling. Alan Block devotes some pages to this in his book, Masters of Paradise.

Angleton thought William Colby might be a mole. Angleton exposed the divisions within the CIA after 1966, the Colby vs. Helms factions. He also represented the literary sensibility the CIA once had, where finding secrets was like teasing the meaning out of a poem. Now we have sledgehammer spies.

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The Invisible Wall

Living the myth in Greece

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