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McCaffrey the MilleniaLab’s Trash Talk

[This week’s Trash is by an esteemed guest poster, McCaffrey]

WOOOFFF!!

Hi there fine humans that inhabit and visit this here blog! My name is McCaffrey, and I allow Mr. and Mrs. Wheel to live with me in my house. Now, much like the grand Norma Desmond, I have always been “ready for my closeup”. And, baybee it came today! Like butter, I am on a roll.

Yes, you probably have seen by now the feature story on meeeee that Newsweek Magazine came out with today. Yes yes, there was also mention of my mom, Emptywheel, but I was the star of the show. All teh bitchezz are gonna want to date meeeee! Also, I LOVE jerky and pizza.

Well, enough about me, I hear we are supposed to talk trash here. I love talking trash. Even more, I love rummaging through trash. Oh, wait, I am getting word that is a different kind of trash. Jeez, all these rulz. Alright, let’s see what is up then.

One of my favorite people in the world is my lawyer, bmaz (he gives me jerky! WOOF!), has his Sun Devils down in Texass at the Jerry Dome to play the Blighted Irish. But, no, that is not the biggest game. The biggest student athlete game is the Fighting Journalists of Northwestern, versus those pernicious Sweatervests from THE Ohio State University. This is the biggest game in Evanston in a very long time and I think even the ESPN Game Day crew is there. OSU is a favorite by 7 points on the current line. I am pulling for the Journalists, but wouldn’t bet real money on them.

The other tilt of note is the aforementioned ASU Sun Devils and Notre Dame. Number 22 ranked ASU is 4-1, with their only loss to Stanford on the road. The Devils had an abysmal first half, but outplayed the Tree in the second half. Still got whacked. Hard to tell if ASU is for real or just lucky (and man were they lucky against Wisconsin). The Irish have two losses and fell out of the top 25. Still, their losses were to Michigan and Oklahoma, both nationally ranked teams. I have no idea what will happen in this game, but it should be a great one to watch. Also interesting is the late night Saturday Pac-12 conference matchup of Washington and Stanford. The Huskies have a nice team this year under Steve Sarkisian (who may well bolt next season for his old haunts at USC), but they don’t have enough to overcome the Tree.

In the Pros, we have already seen the Browns move to 3-2 with a win over the Bills on Thursday night. But they lost their sparkplug Brian Hoyer for the year to an ACL injury. Brandon Weeden, who had lost the starting job to Hoyer will have to lead them now. He did well against the Bills though. Game of the weekend has to be the Lions at Lambeau to meet the Cheese. Good luck with that, the Kittehs are 0 for their last 22 visits to Titletown. Don’t think the breakthrough is coming this year either. Lot of noise about Denver in Dallas, but, man, Peyton is on fire. Dallas has always been a thorn for Peyton, but hard to see it this year.

McCaffrey rawhide receiptSeattle at the Colts should be a great game. Lot of folks had the Colts dropping off this year, but they are really good once again. Luck versus Russell Wilson. Game on. Both teams have great QBs and both have punishing running backs. Indy is good on D, but I think Seattle is enough better to carry the day. Pats at Bengals could also be a good game. Bill Bel and Brady are getting their groove back though, so I will ride with them (also, they are Mom’s team, so WOOFF!!) Iggles at Giants….Hahahahahaha, jeez who cares anymore? Chefs at Titans also could be decent game. I’m going to take Alex Smith and Andy Reid here, they are just too steady.

This weekend is also the Korean Grand Prix. Yeongam is not a bad circuit, especially considering the boys just escaped the ugly Marina Bay in Singapore. Vettel and Red Bull already pretty much have the crowns locked up, the jousting behind them is all there really is of interest left. And Alonso looks pretty firm in second place for that matter. By the way, Sebastian Vettel is turning into a bit of a consistent dick. Weather outlook is improving from possible typhoon status, but still could be dicey.

And, finally, baseball. Divisional playoffs are in full swing, and all the series are looking interesting. Hard not to root for the Pirates.

Well humans, that is it for my guest star role here. Remember, I LOVE cute girl dogs, pizza and jerky! Oh yeah, the music, ahem, what else did you think a black dog would play??

Mr. “Newsweek” Jane Harman’s Role in the Intelligence Industrial Complex

You all know I’m a big fan of the work Tim Shorrock has done to track the dangers of the privatization of the intelligence industrial complex. Today, he kicks off an ongoing relationship with the Daily Beast–so now we can read at the Daily Beast what the WaPo will cover in two years in warmed-over form. Today’s article traces the role that Jane Harman’s husband and the guy who just bought Newsweek for $1, Sidney, has in an intelligence advisory group called “Business Executives for National Security.”

But few in Washington are aware that the real intelligence insider of the Harman family may be Sidney himself, through his connections to an obscure but highly influential organization known as Business Executives for National Security.

[snip]

Founded by [Stanley] Weiss, a mining and chemical executive who for years served as a director of Harman’s audio-equipment company, BENS today represents about 350 of the country’s largest manufacturing, transportation, information technology, communications, and national-security firms.Harman himself chaired the organization’s executive committee from 1982 to 2009 and “contributed over $1 million over the years” to the organization, Weiss told The Daily Beast in an email from Indonesia. Although its CEO, retired Army General Montgomery C. Meigs, manages the organization, its corporate members, led by Harman, have set the pace. “Dr. Harman played an important role [in BENS] for a quarter century,” Weiss told me. “He was deeply involved in all aspects of BENS’ work.” Harman could not be reached for comment.

Shorrock goes on to describe how BENS has been pushing privatization since the Clinton Administration, and just last month recommended further opportunities for profiteering to the Obama Administration.

Just last month it was asked by Obama’s Defense Department to review its recommendations for reducing the cost of military business operations. It came up with a dense, three-page list of suggested changes, among them: outsourcing more “non-core functions” and a recommendation that the Pentagon eliminate “the practice of treating ‘excessive profits’ as improper.”

And yeah, Shorrock points out that her husband’s role in outsourcing intelligence was a conflict of interest when Jane Harman chaired the House Intelligence Committee (and she still chairs the Intelligence Subcommittee at the Committee on Homeland Security). But seeing as how we’ve got DiFi, another spouse of a big MIC contractor, currently running the Senate Intelligence Committee, I guess we should just write that off as par for the course, huh?

The Flaming Hypocrisy Of US Terrorist Designation

[Note Update Below]

On the fateful September 11, 15 men from Saudi Arabia, along with four others, perpetrated the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. Since that time, the United States has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq in response with hundreds of thousands dead in the process. Saudi Arabia was not only never considered as an enemy, its citizens were spirited out of the country while US citizens were grounded.

Also since then a list longer than you can measure of countries and/or entities have been designated as global terrorists by the United States government. One of those so designated is al-Haramain of Oregon, who happens to be the root plaintiff in the critical litigation – pretty much the sole remaining substantial hope of challenging the incredible, illegal and unconstitutional executive power grabs by the Bush/Cheney Administration now hypocritically supported and adopted by the Obama Administration.

In spite of the fact there has never been any substantive link to terrorism, much less September 11, on the part of al-Haramain Oregon, the US government has steadfastly maintained it on the designated list. Now maybe al-Harmain was, and maybe it was not, even remotely involved in terrorism in any provable way; however the one irreducible fact is the US has never, despite repeated challenges, anted up any convincing factual support on the record for the allegation.

In fact, while al-Haramain Oregon is defunct and no longer exists in any form, the US has stood mute and even gone so far as to allow an US Federal Court to declare their wiretapping of al-Haramain’s attorneys, nearly a decade ago, patently illegal. All the while still maintaining the long defunct and non-existent charity on the specially designated terrorist list and so cocksure and adamant about it that the government has stated they cannot allow any judgment to be entered, much less settle, the al-Harmain litigation because they could not possibly think of a designated terrorist organization receiving one red cent from the US government.

Such is the seriousness of actions that could lead an entity to be designated a terrorist by the United States government. Well, except for the Saudis of course. And now, apparently, the Pakistani Taliban. From Mike Isikoff at Newsweek Declassified:

In light of evidence that the group known as the Pakistani Taliban was behind the attempted May 1 Times Square bombing, the Obama administration is “actively considering” designating it as a ”foreign terrorist organization” in the next few weeks —a move that would allow the U.S. government to freeze any assets belonging to the group and make it a federal crime Read more

Mark Sanford Goes Galt

Clearly Jon Meacham and his deputy editors at Newsweek could use a refresher course in compelling journalism from their sister ship test proctors at the Stanley Kaplan Corporation. Newsweek, you see, has just seen fit to publish a lengthy interpretation of Ayn Rand by none other that Appalachian Trail aficionado Mark Sanford.

The Fountainhead is a stunning evocation of the individual and what he can achieve when unhindered by government or society. Howard Roark is an architect who cares nothing about the world’s approval; his only concerns are his integrity and the perfection of his designs. What strikes me as still relevant is its central insight—that it isn’t “collective action” that makes this nation prosperous and secure; it’s the initiative and creativity of the individual. The novel’s “second-handers,” as Rand called them—the opportunistic Peter Keating, who appropriates Roark’s architectural talent for his own purposes, and Ellsworth Toohey, the journalist who doesn’t know what to write until he knows what people want to hear—symbolize a mindset that’s sadly familiar today.

Yeah, because the guy using state money to fly himself around the globe to meet his Latin lover, while his wife and children are back in the government paid for Governor’s mansion, ought to be talking about second hand leeches.

When the economy took a nosedive a year ago—a series of events that arguably began when the government-sponsored corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went broke—many Americans, myself included, watched in disbelief as members of Congress placed blame on everyone and everything but government. This wasn’t new in 2008. It’s an act we’ve seen over and over since the beginning of the New Deal in 1933. For that reason, I think, those passages in Atlas Shrugged foreshadow what might happen to our country if there is no change in direction. As Rand shows in her book, when the government is deprived of the free market’s best minds, it staggers toward collapse.

Uh huh, how convenient. Sanford pegs Fannie and Freddie as the ultimate culprits without noting that, while government sponsored, they are privately run enterprises. Nor noting that the reason the GSEs failed is from the complete hash of the financial markets made by the anti-regulatory, free wheeling, Randian geniuses populating Wall Street and the “financial products” markets that Sanford so adores.

Then there is this: Read more