Saturday, June 7, 2014

SAR #14157

Reforming the VA is not the same as privatizing it.

Ubiquity: British-based international telecommunications giant says that most of the 29 countries it operates in require direct access to the telephone network so they can monitor every conversation “using secret cables to network equipment”. You know, like the infamous Room 641a in San Francisco where the government installed a direct tap which gave them "the capability to enable surveillance and analysis of internet content on a massive scale, including both overseas and purely domestic traffic." Egypt, India, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey make it illegal to disclose any information about how interception is carried out, or how often. The Irish government now seemingly caught in the act of tapping thousands of phones and Deutsche Telekom has said it will release documents on “state surveillance.' Nice to know we're not alone.

Another One: A Federal District Court has struck down Wisconsin’s ban on same-sex marriages because it violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Leaf Us Alone: "Bill C-24 promises to shred the passports of Canadians who the Minister of Immigration deems terrorists—and deport them to countries they may have never seen before." Ah, it couldn't happen here. Right?

Because Freedm... The Arkansas Senate has passed a bill banning “certain tattoos, piercings and body modifications.” Because you can't be trusted with your body.

Best Practices: The US CMMS has found that 'advantage' in Capital BlueCross' Medicare Advantage program was the advantage they were taking of enrollees, like denying them emergency treatment and prescription medicines – and overcharging them for the lack of services. See, there are limits to how badly an insurance company can rip you off.

Home On The Range: Nevada scofflaw and anti-government hero Cliven Bundy owes the federal government more than all other ranchers grazing cattle on federal lands combined. Of the 16,000 ranchers using BLM lands, only 458 are delinquent, for a total of $237,000. Our hero owes over $1 million.
Money Problems: The Pope has replaced the entire board that oversees the Vatican's finances. Nothing new here; Rome has far more problems keeping its financial house in order than it does hiding pedophile priests. 
No News Is No News: An article in the Journal of the AMA suggests that annual physical exams can do more harm than good. Yes, occasionally a routine examination might detect some silent, potentially serious condition, but more common are “the false-positive findings that lead to invasive and potentially life-threatening tests.” 
Asked and Answered: Is our economists learning? Yeah, slowly. Take disinflation for instance - it is finally dawning on a few of them that low and falling inflation is second cousin to deflation.

Porn O'Graph: Who's been working on the railroad?

The Parting Shot:

1 comment:

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

re the Total Surveillance Society:
yesterday i was at the military retirement community in dc where my father the late colonel charley resided, and where his widow still resides

in a public area i was speaking to a resident i've known for years when she brought up the recent snowden kerfuffle, and i said that, when offered the choice of pardoning him or giving him a trial, i preferred the third option - he should receive a medal

at this point a stranger nearby, overhearing me, spoke up to denounce snowden - the fellow was a white male, seventy-something years old and almost certainly a retired officer

in the course of our conversation he had occasion to invite me to leave the country if i didn't like it here - now that i think of it this very retro rhetorical device is kind of comical

i gave no ground - maybe he's used to bullying people, but i persisted in proclaiming the truth as i see it - i summed up the entire discussion in a very fair and objective way - "i'm right and you're wrong" -

and as i left - i had run into my acquaintance on the way out (who assured me she agreed with me, by the way - there's a few of the old ladies there who know what's going down) - i told the desk clerk, who had heard the whole thing, that i hated the militarization of our society, and that the last justified war the u.s. had fought was world war ii