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   PastimesClown-Free Zone... sorry, no clowns allowed

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From: Broken_Clock7/11/2021 12:38:19 PM
1 Recommendation   of 435968
Assange To Be ‘Moved Around’ Sine Die by Ray McGovern Posted on July 08, 2021 Very bad news for those who still care about freedom of the press and what the fate of Julian Assange means for the artifact-First Amendment added to the U.S. Constitution 240 years ago. The UK High Court just announced it will hear the US appeal of a lower court decision against extraditing Julian Assange.

Godot is likely to arrive before the US/UK finish the legal pantomime denying Assange his freedom.

The High Court decision solidifies Britain’s status as a US vassal state – the 800-year legacy of the Magna Carta be damned. Giving obsequious hypocrisy a bad name, the High Court’s announcement comes a week and half after the prime witness for the latest indictment of Assange recanted his testimony.

It should come as no surprise that British "Justice" officials are following the detailed "Washington Playbook" approach that was exposed by WikiLeaks itself in Feb. 2012.

Some readers may recall that WikiLeaks-revealed confidential emails from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor mentioned that the US already had a secret indictment against the WikiLeaks founder. Bad enough.

Inspector Javert

What also showed up in the Stratfor emails was the unrelenting, Inspector-Javert-type approach taken by one Fred Burton, Stratfor’s Vice-President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security. (Burton had been Deputy Chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service.)

Here’s Javert – I mean Burton:

"Move him [Assange] from country to country to face charges for the next 25 years. But seize everything he and his family own, to include every person linked to Wiki." [my comment: "country to country", or – equally effective – court to court]

"Pursue conspiracy and political terrorism charges and declassify the death of a source, someone which could link to Wiki."

"Assange is a peacenik. He needs his head dunked in a full toilet bowl at Gitmo."

“Take down the money. Go after his infrastructure. The tools we are using to nail and de-construct Wiki are the same tools used to dismantle and track al-Qaeda."

"Bankrupt the arsehole first; ruin his life. Give him 7-12 years for conspiracy."

"Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever … extradition to the US is more and more likely."

Nice people – once sworn under oath "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic". Since comparisons are invidious, apologies to "Javert" and Victor Hugo.

Meanwhile Back at Belmarsh

It is not clear whether the likes of Fred Burton have been able to dictate the menu for Julian Assange (but who would be surprised?). What is clear is that, unless a major grassroots campaign can gather more steam, and soon, Julian is likely to be moved from court to court, prison to prison – all under color of law – until they destroy what is left of him. It is a sad pantomime, a mockery of justice. Talk about Les Miserables!

As UN Rapporteur for Torture Nils Melzer has pointed out, Julian Assange is being subjected to psychological torture – in full view of the rest of the world. And, as reprehensible as this crime is – still more is at stake for democracies, which cannot exist without a free media.

Last Saturday Julian Assange "celebrated" his 50th birthday in London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison. I was asked to record a message to be loud-speakered at the demonstration in support of Julian before the prison that day. Here is the recording. For those lacking appreciation for my singing, the 8-minute talk is transcribed here.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. His 27-year career as a CIA analyst includes serving as Chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch and preparer/briefer of the President’s Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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From: Broken_Clock7/15/2021 2:12:27 PM
   of 435968
On the Difference Between Smearing and ArguingIn response to "Spying and Smearing are Un-American, Not Tucker Carlson"

In response to the predictably voluminous criticisms of yesterday’s article, “ Spying and Smearing is ‘Un-American,’ not Tucker Carlson”:

I disagree with Tucker Carlson on a variety of issues. I’m not saying this to “distance myself,” but rather to make a point that imagine he’d agree with, also the point of the article: there’s a difference between disagreeing, and what we’ve begun to do in media since Trump’s arrival.

Take one of Carlson’s most-criticized recent statements:

Tucker Carlson @TuckerCarlson
#Tucker: Why does America benefit from having tons of people from failing countries come here? @FoxNews
June 30th 2017

2,127 Retweets6,450 Likes

I disagree with the assumption that people who come to America from countries more dysfunctional than ours will bring the problems of their home countries with them. It’s an oft-cited statistic, but Nigerian immigrants are the most educated people in America, with 61% holding at least a Bachelor’s degree, nearly twice the rate of both native-born Americans and immigrants overall. There are similar numbers involving immigrants from South Asia, Korea, China, and other parts of the world.

Were this a debate with Carlson, I’d argue that conservatives are the ones who should be howling for more immigration, as three out of four naturalized immigrants say they are “very proud” of being Americans. This is a much higher number than native-born Americans, 69% of whom say they are “ashamed” of some parts of our culture (just 39% of immigrants agree). Immigrants work at a higher rate than native-born Americans, their children are educated at higher rates, and maybe the most patriotic.

He’d counter, and I can imagine what some of those arguments would be. But he’d be happy to have the debate. He might change my mind about some things, perhaps I’d change his about others. The other day, he described looking on Twitter after the Cuba situation blew up. “Three separate prominent conservative figures were against American intervention,” he said. “That’s change.”

The perception that conservatives don’t change their minds is as stupid as my belief that liberals would never cozy up to the CIA and NSA turned out to be. Conservative attitudes toward war, gay rights, surveillance and a host of other issues have shifted radically in recent years. Also, people don’t act and think solely as groups, as there’s enormous variance within every demographic. Pretending otherwise is a pernicious media myth. But I’m getting off track.

Here’s what we do now, instead of arguing: we fling terms like “white supremacist,” “transphobe,” “conspiracy theorist,” and “fascist” around, knowing that if the words stick, they lead to outcomes: boycotts, firings, removal from Internet platforms, etc. When Brian Stelter and Oliver Darcy compare Carlson to Alex Jones, they do this knowing Jones was booted off the Internet, so it’s a not-so-subtle way of voting for that same outcome.

Fine, many of you will say; I want Tucker Carlson booted off the air, and the Internet. I’d argue there are a lot of problems with thinking that way (this is exactly what censorship proponents said they wouldn’t do three years ago when the Jones situation happened, i.e. start arguing for removal of more mainstream conservatives), but beyond that, the technique isn’t limited just to Carlson.

When Ezra Klein proposed an open borders policy to Bernie Sanders years ago, Sanders balked, saying it was a Koch Brothers idea designed to provide big companies with cheap labor. Pundits were apoplectic. “Bernie Sanders's fear of immigrant labor is ugly — and wrongheaded,” decried Vox. The Guardian said he’d fueled “domestic, nativist sentiments,” while Jacobin said he’d “played into a right-wing nativist trap.” Buzzfeed later compared his stance to that of Trump advisor Stephen Miller, “known for his anti-immigrant, white nationalist rhetoric.”

Sanders spent much of his five years as a presidential contender fending off such not-so-subtle accusations of racism, nativism, misogyny, “toxicity,” being “alt-right” and “alt-left,” being a “white savior figure,” being a useful idiot for Russia, even anti-Semitism. When he criticized the press, or talked about “elites,” he was accused of being Trump. There was very little direct engagement with him on his policy beliefs, and a lot more rhetoric aimed at him as a person, most of which was unanswerable.

Sanders, who was popular in the same media spaces I worked in, where being labeled a bigot is the worst thing imaginable, never quite figured out how to deal with these criticisms. He tried to change his message downplaying “identity politics,” proposed a near-total moratorium on deportations, and repeatedly made the mistake of validating bogus or bad-faith criticisms of him, for instance agreeing that online “Bernie Bros” were “ disgusting” and pledging to do something about “that crap.

None of it worked, and criticisms only intensified. He should have called out the tactic. Regarding Bernie Bros: all candidate bases have vicious online communities, and some are filled with clearly paid instigators, who even win praise in other outlets writing about other candidates. The Los Angeles Times saluted Kamala Harris for nurturing an effective “modern political army” in the “K-Hive,” which had trolls writing all sorts of racist and lurid things, like “ Gotta kill, very violently.” As Matt Orfalea in Grayzone pointed out, the hypocrisy in the treatments of the two movements was transparent, as seen in this pair of Daily Beast headlines:

This has become our whole style of political argument: hit someone with an unanswerable accusation and then, as Lyndon Johnson would say, make the sonofabitch deny it.

It’s why so much effort was spent denouncing “economic anxiety” as code for racism, why Hillary Clinton accused both Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard of being foreign assets, why the New Yorker ran a story arguing Glenn Greenwald’s criticism of Russiagate was rooted in his disdain for “the ascendance of women and people of color in the [Democratic] Party,” why Cenk Uygur is accusing “alt left” enemies of being “ paid by the Russians,” why Current Affairs went after impossibly congenial podcast host Krystal Ball by accusing cohort Saagar Enjeti of being a human gateway drug to Hitler, why critics went after Substack by claiming it was racist and transphobic (or, most amusingly lately, “ bad for democracy”), why former New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet was ousted for putting the lives of black staff “ in danger” by running a Tom Cotton editorial, and, yes, why Andrew Weissman went after Carlson by saying sowing distrust in the NSA is “un-American.”

These are all debate-pre-emptive strategies. When Clinton went after Gabbard, we stopped talking about whether or not military intervention in Syria was a good idea, and moved to debating whether Gabbard was an accomplice to genocide. Critics of Russiagate from the start had to calculate their appetites for being accused of supporting Putin or Trump. Anyone even considering going on Fox now can expect to spend years answering questions about abetting fascism and white supremacy. Argument goes out the door: the discourse becomes entirely about courage and career risk. How much flak are you willing to take? How much can you afford to take?

This is why people who probably have very different or even opposite politics on the policy level, like Greenwald and Carlson, are suddenly in a broadcast partnership. They’re part of a dwindling club left in major media who are defying these tactics. In a hypothetical universe where this moral panic era subsides, one could envision them going back to violently arguing with one another over immigration, spending, policing, etc. But for now they’re on the same side, not on issues, but against a tactic.

It’s become fashionable especially in Democratic Party politics (but more lately on the Republican side, too) to embrace this maximalist form of debate on the grounds that it works. De-platforming works, boycotts work, shaming works, they say; shaming is how we effect change. These people like to point to the fact that Alex Jones is effectively a non-factor in public life now, and Milo Yiannopoulos has vanished, even Donald Trump is a sideshow, and so on.

Two things about this. One, just because you can’t see someone anymore, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Donald Trump’s 74 million supporters haven’t disappeared just because Trump’s off Twitter. They’re now listening in the tens of millions to shows like Steve Bannon’s War Room. True, advertisers are mass-boycotting Carlson, but if they succeed in getting his show pulled, that audience won’t go to CNN, they’ll find some other haven. Maybe their next broadcast guru will be someone who doesn’t ask Sidney Powell for evidence of election fraud, doesn’t warn about Covid-19 early, doesn’t argue against war in Iran or Syria. If you’re going to try to eliminate this or that voice, be aware there’s a downstream calculation involved that may not turn out the way you think.

Point two is related: rhetorical coercion tends to backfire. For all the relentless messaging about how Trump’s racism left nonwhite voters with only one choice last fall — an idea symbolized by Joe Biden’s off-the-cuff “ You ain’t black” comment — Trump gained with every nonwhite demographic last fall. This was an eyebrow-raising political story, but an absolutely extraordinary media story, one that spoke to the fact that even mass quantities of certain types of messaging can be counterproductive.

Remember how Republicans in the Bush era talked about blue-state enemies? Their conventional wisdom was that liberals equated with terrorists, liberalism was a “ mental disorder,” liberalism was “ treason.” Their rhetoric did not include a vision for the other half of America outside of conversion or expulsion. Plenty of this is still going on, but the updated version is prevalent now among Democrats, who are trying to make a strategy of absolute non-engagement stick with additional tools like platform censorship and domestic surveillance.

As any married person knows, there are certain words you never say in a fight, because you’ll still be living together when it’s over. Americans, like it or not, are married to one another. That’s not accommodationist talk, it’s just fact. The people we disagree with aren’t going anywhere, and it makes more sense to talk to them than not.

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From: Broken_Clock7/17/2021 2:10:16 PM
2 Recommendations   of 435968
It only took 7 months for the fascists to fully remove their masks.

White House Admits To Flagging Posts To Be Censored By Facebook

by Tyler Durden

Friday, Jul 16, 2021 - 11:00 PM
Authored by Jonathan Turley,

We have previously discussed the extensive censorship programs maintained by Big Tech, including companies like Twitter and Facebook taking sides in major controversies from gender identification to election fraud to Covid-19. The rise of corporate censors has combined with a heavily pro-Biden media to create the fear of a de facto state media that controls information due to a shared ideology rather than state coercion. That concern has been magnified by demands from Democratic leaders for increased censorship, including censoring political speech, and now word that the Biden Administration has routinely been flagging material to be censored by Facebook.


White House press secretary Jen Psaki admitted that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on COVID-19. She explained that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies.

The concern is obvious that this allows for a direct role of the government in a massive censorship program run by private companies. There have been repeated examples of the censoring of stories that were embarrassing or problematic for the Biden Administration. Even when Twitter expressed regret for the censoring of the Hunter Biden laptop story before the election, there was an immediate push back for greater censorship from Democrats.

The concern is that these companies are taking to heart calls from Democratic members for increased censorship on the platform. CEO Jack Dorsey previously apologized for censoring the Hunter Biden story before the election. However, rather than addressing the dangers of such censoring of news accounts, Senator Chris Coons pressed Dorsey to expand the categories of censored material to prevent people from sharing any views that he considers “climate denialism.” Likewise, Senator Richard Blumenthal seemed to take the opposite meaning from Twitter, admitting that it was wrong to censor the Biden story. Blumenthal said that he was “concerned that both of your companies are, in fact, backsliding or retrenching, that you are failing to take action against dangerous disinformation.” Accordingly, he demanded an answer to this question:

“Will you commit to the same kind of robust content modification playbook in this coming election, including fact checking, labeling, reducing the spread of misinformation, and other steps, even for politicians in the runoff elections ahead?”

“Robust content modification” seems the new Orwellian rallying cry in our society.

The same problems have arisen on Covid stories. For a year, Big Tech has been censoring those who wanted to discuss the origins of pandemic. It was not until Biden admitted that the virus may have originated in the Wuhan lab that social media suddenly changed its position. Facebook only recently announced that people on its platform will be able to discuss the origins of Covid-19 after censoring any such discussion.

The back channel coordination with Facebook further supports the view that this is a de facto state-supporting censorship program. That is the basis for the recent lawsuit by former President Donald Trump. As I have previously noted, there is ample basis for objection to this arrangement but the legal avenue for challenges is far from clear. The lawsuit will face difficult if not insurmountable problems under existing law and precedent. There is no question companies like Twitter are engaging in raw censorship. It is also true that these companies have censored material with a blatantly biased agenda, taking sides on scientific and social controversies. A strong case can be made for stripping these companies of legal protections since they are no longer neutral platforms. However, private businesses are allowed to regulate speech as a general matter. It will take considerable heavy lifting for a court to order this injunctive relief.

That is why we need legislative action. That includes removal immunity protections. However, the government should also consider the creation of an alternative to these companies which are now a threat to our political system. A few companies now control a huge amount of the political discourse in this country and have shown a clear bias in taking sides (even on issues later found to be wrong). Since litigation is likely to fail, legislation would seem an imperative. Congress has been spending hundreds of billions with utter abandon. Yet, there is little discussion over a government subsidized platform for social media or other measures to break up this unprecedented level of corporate control over our political discourse. I am no fan of government programs, particularly as it relates to media. However, Apple, Google, and these other companies are now operating like monopolies, including crushing competitors like Parlor. That is a direct and growing threat to our political process.

We need to consider a short-term investment in a social media platform that will focus any censorship on direct threats or criminal conduct. There is currently a lack of not only competition but any real opportunity for competition to challenge these companies. Either we have to redefine what we treat as monopolies or we need to invest in the establishment of competing platforms that are content neutral like telephone companies.

This is why I have described myself as an Internet Originalist:

The alternative is “internet originalism” — no censorship. If social media companies returned to their original roles, there would be no slippery slope of political bias or opportunism; they would assume the same status as telephone companies. We do not need companies to protect us from harmful or “misleading” thoughts. The solution to bad speech is more speech, not approved speech.

If Pelosi demanded that Verizon or Sprint interrupt calls to stop people saying false or misleading things, the public would be outraged. Twitter serves the same communicative function between consenting parties; it simply allows thousands of people to participate in such digital exchanges. Those people do not sign up to exchange thoughts only to have Dorsey or some other internet overlord monitor their conversations and “protect” them from errant or harmful thoughts.

The actions by Twitter and Facebook on Election Day were reprehensible and wrong. That should have been sufficient cause for action by Congress. It is now growing more precarious and chilling by the day.

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (430468)7/22/2021 10:27:26 PM
From: Thomas M.
2 Recommendations   of 435968
Yet another reason Cheney should burn in hell ...
I agree, but here you are "recommending" a post which fawns over Liz Cheney:
true to her principles and has maintained her dignity. Gotta respect that.

Message 33407446
Liz Cheney and Dick Cheney have identical policy views and priorities. You can't rationally love one and hate the other.
  • the Neocons lay out a plan to overthrow every Middle Eastern government
  • Dick Cheney follows the plan, you hate him
  • Obama follows the plan, you like him
  • Trump trashes the plan, you hate him
  • Liz Cheney wants to restart the plan, you love her
I can't decide if you're an unprincipled partisan airhead or just an emotional basket case who's been rattled by Trump.


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To: Thomas M. who wrote (435901)7/23/2021 9:12:44 AM
From: Terry Maloney
   of 435968
>> I can't decide if you're an unprincipled partisan airhead or just an emotional basket case who's been rattled by Trump. <<

Take your pick, I couldn't care less.

As for the rest, you're no better at context than the clown who rec'd your post.

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435902)7/23/2021 12:52:07 PM
From: Broken_Clock
   of 435968
( - Since the start of the pandemic 18 months ago, in January 2020, a total of 335 children ages 17 and under have died of COVID-19, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In that same 18-month time period, a total of 49,725 children ages 0-17 have died from all causes. So COVID deaths account for 0.673 percent of all deaths among children under 17, based on death certificates submitted so far to the National Center for Health Statistics.

--- yet Dems want to experiment with unproven "vaccines" on kids

who is the clown Terry?

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To: Broken_Clock who wrote (435903)7/23/2021 2:03:38 PM
From: Terry Maloney
   of 435968
That would be you.

Message 33408620

Message 33408787

Message 33408798

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435904)7/23/2021 8:35:43 PM
From: Broken_Clock
   of 435968

because nancy isn't a sold out manipulating thieving bitch"

are you claiming she isn't?

You left out:
"Only Trump haters will be allowed on the commission." - Nancy

It's true. The only R on the commission when that was posted is the Neo-con Cheney.

"Nancy's just jealous Trump wouldn't give her his Nathan's Best and went for the hot young stuff....which is likely what her hubby is out doing as we write."

would you sleep with nancy?

Now, are you or are you not supportive of giving unproven "vaccines" to children under 18?

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From: Broken_Clock7/24/2021 12:58:27 PM
   of 435968
whether it's poor young Muslims or ignorant "white trash", the FBI is there to orchestrate the next "Plot" against the "Homeland" aka Motherland, Fatherland etc.

Indeed, the FBI has previously acknowledged that its own powers and budget depend on keeping Americans in fear of such attacks. Former FBI Assistant Director Thomas Fuentes, in a documentary called “The Newberg Sting” about a 2009 FBI arrest of four men on terrorism charges, uttered this extremely candid admission:

If you’re submitting budget proposals for a law enforcement agency, for an intelligence agency, you’re not going to submit the proposal that “We won the war on terror and everything’s great,” cuz the first thing that’s gonna happen is your budget’s gonna be cut in half. You know, it’s my opposite of Jesse Jackson’s ‘Keep Hope Alive’—it’s ‘Keep Fear Alive.’ Keep it alive.

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To: Terry Maloney who wrote (435904)7/26/2021 12:53:26 PM
From: Broken_Clock
1 Recommendation   of 435968
I have lots of "clown" friends

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