Humint Events Online: August 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Going Back to the Moon?

A lot of talk recently about the US going "back" to the moon again.

We've been saying this for a while, actually. I found this piece from 2005 saying we'd be on the moon in 2018. Hmmm... what happened?

Anyway, there seems to be a new space race, with China in particular going to the moon, and it seems the US wants to beat them back there.

I wonder if we have to quickly mock up some old lunar landing spots...

Or no one will ever go there, and we just keep threatening to go there for some weird reason.
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Close Down the Fucking Catholic Church

A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was visiting her in the hospital after she’d had her tonsils removed. Another priest forced a 9-year-old boy into having oral sex, then rinsed out the boy’s mouth with holy water. One boy was forced to say confession to the priest who sexually abused him. Those children are among the victims of roughly 300 Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania who molested more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, according to a sweeping state grand jury report released Tuesday that accused senior church officials, including a clergyman who is now the archbishop of Washington, DC, of systematically covering up complaints. Top church officials have mostly been protected and many, including some named in the report, have been promoted, the grand jury said, concluding that “it is too early to close the book on the Catholic Church sex scandal.”
One of the more insidious aspects of the Church is the manner in which it has boll-weeviled its way into areas involving the most vulnerable among us (besides children). San Francisco in the mid-1990s wanted to give LGBTQ city workers equal benefits, but the Church said no, and threatened to stop performing hospice work for the city’s AIDS patients if the city went through with the plan. Because the Church performed the vast majority of the city’s AIDS hospice work at the time, the city was forced to back down.
The same goes for Catholic Charities, which is hugely into adoptions. In other words, mess with the Church and you risk blowing up the chance for kids to find a good home. I am just cynical enough today to see all this as deliberate. Make yourself indispensable and no one can touch you … which is why what I am proposing will hurt a lot of good people in the short term.
This entire nightmare is the end result of an existence without genuine consequences. The Catholic church has enjoyed that existence long enough.
My proposal: Padlock every Catholic church in the country. Strip them of any tax-exempt status they enjoy and any tax breaks they may get from state and local governments, shut the whole damned thing down, until this unfathomable crime spree is fully and completely adjudicated. A criminal organization running an illegal operation of such length and breadth would face RICO charges the likes of which no Mafiosi has ever seen. Instead, we get another Pope making another apology.

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Scenes of Horror from the Saudi-American War on Yemen

and some commentary on our lousy news media:
These searing images document a masterwork of unbounded cruelty for which American tax dollars supplied the medium, and which American apathy has enabled.
For the last three years, the United States has been providing military and logistical support to a Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Muslim countries trying to restore Yemen’s internationally recognized Hadi government which was deposed by Shia Houthi rebels in 2015. Claiming to be fighting against Iranian influence in the region (a connection the rebels deny), the coalition has been targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure.
The Saada attack killed over 50 people, 44 of whom were children between the ages of six and 11.
Despite their propensity to offend viewer sensibilities, these scenes are necessary for American audiences. Images have a unique power to humanize brutality—to connect terms like “civilian casualties” and “collateral” to faces across the globe belonging to people who, as it turns out, look an awful lot like us. Footage can sway public opinion and catalyze policy change by delivering us from our detachment and laying bare our egocentrism.
The editors of Jet Magazine understood this power when they published photographs of Emmett Till’s battered, decaying body in 1955. So too did the editors of The Cleveland Plain Dealer when they printed Ron Haeberle’s pictures of the My Lai Massacre 13 years later.
But today, the sense of responsibility to the public discourse that once motivated these bold editorial decisions has been largely eclipsed by a focus on advertising dollars. The news cycle is increasingly driven by ratings, clicks, shares, and likes—something MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes candidly acknowledged in a Twitter interaction on July 24 when he called climate change segments “a palpable ratings killer.” As Washington Post media reporter Paul Farhi put it in an exchange with this writer, “[j]ournalists like ‘stories.’ And readers like them even more.”
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Monday, August 20, 2018

Saudi Arabia Official State Media Threatens Canada with a 9/11-Style Attack on Twitter

Over a human rights dispute.

Fuck Saudi Arabia.
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17 years After 9/11, the War on terror Still a Massive Lie and Scam

ATAQ, Yemen (AP) — Again and again over the past two years, a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the United States has claimed it won decisive victories that drove al-Qaida militants from their strongholds across Yemen and shattered their ability to attack the West.
Here’s what the victors did not disclose: many of their conquests came without firing a shot.
That’s because the coalition cut secret deals with al-Qaida fighters, paying some to leave key cities and towns and letting others retreat with weapons, equipment and wads of looted cash, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. Hundreds more were recruited to join the coalition itself.
These compromises and alliances have allowed al-Qaida militants to survive to fight another day — and risk strengthening the most dangerous branch of the terror network that carried out the 9/11 attacks. Key participants in the pacts said the U.S. was aware of the arrangements and held off on any drone strikes.
The article is long and has many details and some caveats, but it seems clear that the US and Saudi Arabia is aligning with al Qaida for now, supposedly because of the threat of Iran in Yemen. Wha's odd is how Trump completely left out of the piece, but it seems he really is hands-off of the military and lets them do what they want.
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

What's the GOP All About, Then?

Krugman lays it out:
The real news of the past few weeks isn’t that Trump is a wannabe Mussolini who can’t even make the trains run on time.
It’s the absence of any meaningful push-back from Congressional Republicans. Indeed, not only are they acquiescing in Trump’s corruption, his incitements to violence, and his abuse of power, up to and including using the power of office to punish critics, they’re increasingly vocal in cheering him on.
Make no mistake: if Republicans hold both houses of Congress this November, Trump will go full authoritarian, abusing institutions like the I.R.S., trying to jail opponents and journalists on, er, trumped-up charges, and more — and he’ll do it with full support from his party.
But why? Is Trumpocracy what Republicans always wanted?
Well, it’s probably what some of them always wanted. And some of them are making a coldblooded calculation that the demise of democracy is worth it if it means lower taxes on the rich and freedom to pollute.
But my guess is that most Republican politicians are spineless rather than sinister — or, more accurately, sinister in their spinelessness. They’re not really ideologues so much as careerists, whose instinct is always to go along with the party line. And this instinct has drawn them ever deeper into complicity.
The point is that once you’ve made excuses for and come to the aid of a bad leader, it gets ever harder to say no to the next outrage. Republicans who defended Trump over the Muslim ban, his early attacks on the press, the initial evidence of collusion with Russia, have in effect burned their bridges.
It would be deeply embarrassing to admit that the elitist liberals they mocked were right when they were wrong; also, nobody who doesn’t support Trump will ever trust their judgment or patriotism again. So the path of least resistance is always to sign on for the next stage of degradation.
“No evidence of collusion” becomes “collusion is no big deal” becomes “collusion is awesome — and let’s send John Brennan to jail.” To some extent this is just human weakness in action.
But there are some special aspects of the modern GOP that make it especially vulnerable to this kind of slide into leader-worship. The party has long been in the habit of rejecting awkward facts and attributing them to conspiracies: it’s not a big jump from claiming that climate change is a giant hoax perpetrated by the entire scientific community to asserting that Trump is the blameless target of a vast deep state conspiracy.
And modern Republican politicians are, with few exceptions, apparatchiks: they are creatures of a monolithic movement that doesn’t allow dissent but protects the loyal from risk. Even if they should happen to lose a race in their gerrymandered districts, as long as they toed the line they can count on “wing nut welfare” — commentator slots on Fox News, appointments at think tanks, and so on.
Even now, I don’t think most political commentators have grasped how deep the rot goes. I don’t think they understand, or at any rate admit to themselves, that democracy really could die just a few months from now.

The other aspect of Republican support is they are racists like Trump, and they want to really keep American white --like Trump-- and know they can't get away with blatant racism like Trump does. So they glom onto him because he can put these racist policies in place. They have put race over country, truly.
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Even Experienced Military Commanders Are Raging Libtards in the Age of Trump

Dear Mr. President:
Former CIA director John Brennan, whose security clearance you revoked on Wednesday, is one of the finest public servants I have ever known. Few Americans have done more to protect this country than John. He is a man of unparalleled integrity, whose honesty and character have never been in question, except by those who don’t know him.
Therefore, I would consider it an honor if you would revoke my security clearance as well, so I can add my name to the list of men and women who have spoken up against your presidency.
Like most Americans, I had hoped that when you became president, you would rise to the occasion and become the leader this great nation needs. A good leader tries to embody the best qualities of his or her organization. A good leader sets the example for others to follow. A good leader always puts the welfare of others before himself or herself. Your leadership, however, has shown little of these qualities.
Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.
If you think for a moment that your McCarthy-era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. The criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be.

William H. McRaven, a retired Navy admiral, was commander of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command from 2011 to 2014. He oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
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Friday, August 10, 2018

The Stupid, It Burns

The guy who started the massive Southern California "Holy" fire, Forrest Clark, is apparently a sovereign citizen who believes in just about every dumb conspiracy theory out there, including QAnon, Pizzagate, Jade Helm 15, flat earth theories, NESARA, Jesuit conservancies, shape-shifting lizard overlords, herbal cancer cures. You name it, he believes it, based on his social media pages.

Literally, the stupid, it burns!

Interesting twitter thread on this guy and the RuSa movement he's part of here:
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Monday, August 06, 2018

Poor Alex Jones

YouTube on Monday said it had banned Alex Jones’s Infowars channel, following similar actions taken against the controversial right-wing conspiracy theorist by other major U.S. technology companies.

After the channel violated YouTube's policies against child endangerment and hate speech, Jones was banned for trying to circumvent the site's enforcement measures, according to a source familiar with the company’s decision. The source said Jones received a 90-day moratorium on livestreaming for violating its policies and that he then tried to promote his flagship radio show on other YouTube pages, prompting a permanent ban.

“When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts,” a YouTube spokesperson said when asked for comment.

Jones said on Saturday that he expected the platform to delete his page. Spotify, Apple and Facebook have also taken action against him.

Facebook had faced criticism and scrutiny for allowing Jones to remain on the site, despite his promotion of conspiracy theories such as that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was staged and that survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting were “crisis actors.”

Spotify booted Jones’s podcast from its platform last week, and Apple did the same on Sunday. Facebook followed suit on Monday, kicking Jones off despite remarks by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg that appeared to defend Jones and other conspiracy theorists who are active on the social media platform.

He's taking it well--

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