Be the change

My Tumblr is a reflection of my thoughts and interests. This includes Star Wars, Batman, good television, video games, movies, and even politics. Fight for your rights peacefully.

This is why you don’t hire brilliant people for jobs like this. You hire smart people. Brilliant people get you in trouble.

-

A former U.S. official talking about Edward Snowdens brilliance that enabled him to download top secret NSA documents. (x)
_____

What strikes me about this quote is that it shows we need sheep to work in the government and not brilliant free thinkers who may show more moral fiber than the government they work for. This is how you know your government is going beyond its limits. It took mindless sheep to throw things down the memory hole in 1984. In 2013 we need smart people, not brilliant people.

❝ Out of the 150,000 murders in the U.S. between 9/11 and the end of 2010, Islamic extremism accounted for fewer than three dozen. In fact, extremist Islamic terrorism resulted in just 200 to 400 annual deaths worldwide, outside the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq—the same number, notes Mueller, that occur in bathtubs in the U.S. each year.

Yet the TSA still commands a budget of nearly $8 billion. ❞

- Charles Kenny, “Airport Security Is Making Americans Less Safe” (via hipsterlibertarian)

❝ There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed. ❞

- Bertrand Russell (via freemarketliberal)

❝ I wish we had a peace movement in this country. I wish there were somebody voicing publicly and aggressively that we should be killing many, many, many, fewer people. ❞

- Penn Jillette (via letterstomycountry)

People Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils

and then forget they just voted for evil.

Dianne Feinstein—the ninth wealthiest member of congress—has been beset by monumental ethical conflicts of interest. As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee (MILCON) from 2001 to the end of 2005, Senator Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions of dollars to her husband’s firms.

From 1997 through the end of 2005, Feinstein’s husband Richard C. Blum was a majority shareholder in both URS Corp. and Perini Corp. She lobbied Pentagon officials in public hearings to support defense projects that she favored, some of which already were, or subsequently became, URS or Perini contracts. From 2001 to 2005, URS earned $792 million from military construction and environmental cleanup projects approved by MILCON; Perini earned $759 million from such projects.

In 2000, Perini earned a mere $7 million from federal contracts. After 9/11, Perini was transformed into a major defense contractor. In 2004, the company earned $444 million for military construction work in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for improving airfields for the US Air Force in Europe and building base infrastructures for the US Navy around the globe. In a remarkable financial recovery, Perini shot from near penury in 1997 to logging gross revenues of $1.7 billion in 2005.

It is estimated that Perini now holds at least $2.5 billion worth of contracts tied to the worldwide expansion of the US military. Its largest Department of Defense contracts are “indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity” or “bundled” contracts carrying guaranteed profit margins. As of May 2006, Perini held a series of bundled contracts awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers for work in the Middle East worth $1.725 billion. Perini has also been awarded an open-ended contract by the US Air Force for military construction and cleaning the environment at closed military bases.

In 2003 hearings, MILCON approved various construction projects at sites where Perini and/or URS are contracted to perform engineering and military construction work. URS’s military construction work in 2000 earned it a mere $24 million. The next year, when Feinstein took over as MILCON chair, military construction earned URS $185 million. On top of that, the company’s architectural and engineering revenue from military construction projects grew from $108,726 in 2000 to $142 million in 2001, more than a thousand-fold increase in a single year.

Beginning in 1997, Michael R. Klein, a top legal adviser to Feinstein and a long-time business partner of Blum’s, routinely informed Feinstein about specific federal projects coming before her in which Perini had a stake. The insider information, Klein said, “was intended to help the senator avoid conflicts of interest.” Although Klein’s admission was intended to defuse the issue, it had the effect of exacerbating it, because in theory, Feinstein would not know the identity of any of the companies that stood to contractually benefit from her approval of specific items in the military construction budget—until Klein told her.

Feinstein’s husband has profited in other ways by his powerful political connections. In March 2002, then-Governor Gray Davis appointed Blum to a twelve-year term as a regent of the University of California, where he used his position as Regent to award millions of dollars in construction contracts to URS and Perini. At the time, he was the principal owner of URS and had substantial interests in Perini. In 2005, Blum divested himself of Perini stock for a considerable profit. He then resigned from the URS board of directors and divested his investment firm of about $220 million in URS stock. [original src][other src]

Mitt Romney you believe Jesus came to America after he was resurrected that is just so unbelievable.

He was obviouosly too busy visiting his family and hell to make it to America.

Mitt Romney you don’t drink soda you are so crazy!

At least that’s what I tell me friends at church after we consume the blood and body of that one guy.

Mitt Romney you believe we get planets after we die? 

That’s so absurd my dead grandfather living on the floating cloud in space with the dude who came back from the dead can’t believe it.

comedycentral:

Last night, Key & Peele transported us back to Barack Obama’s college days to witness the future Commander in Chief planning the most inspirational party ever. 

Click the gif to watch.

An all-new Key & Peele airs Wednesday at 10:30/9:30c.

US academics' report says drones kill large numbers of civilians and increase recruitment by militant groups »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/25/drone-attacks-pakistan-counterproductive-report

mohandasgandhi:

The CIA’s programme of “targeted” drone killings in Pakistan’s tribal heartlands is politically counterproductive, kills large numbers of civilians and undermines respect for international law, according to a report by US academics.

The study by Stanford and New York universities’ law schools, based on interviews with victims, witnesses and experts, blames the US president, Barack Obama, for the escalation of “signature strikes” in which groups are selected merely through remote “pattern of life” analysis.

Families are afraid to attend weddings or funerals, it says, in case US ground operators guiding drones misinterpret them as gatherings of Taliban or al-Qaida militants.

“The dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling ‘targeted killings’ of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts. This narrative is false,” the report, entitled Living Under Drones, states.

The authors admit it is difficult to obtain accurate data on casualties “because of US efforts to shield the drone programme from democratic accountability, compounded by obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan”.

The “best available information”, they say, is that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in Pakistan between June 2004 and mid-September this year – of whom between 474 and 881 were civilians, including 176 children. The figures have been assembled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which estimated that a further 1,300 individuals were injured in drone strikes over that period.

The report was commissioned by and written with the help of the London-based Reprieve organisation, which is supporting action in the British courts by Noor Khan, a Pakistani whose father was killed by a US drone strike in March 2011. His legal challenge alleges the UK is complicit in US drone strikes because GCHQ, the eavesdropping agency, shares intelligence with the CIA on targets for drone strikes.

“US drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in north-west Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning,” the American law schools report says.

Their presence terrorises men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities. Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

“These fears have affected behaviour. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.”

The study goes on to say: “Publicly available evidence that the strikes have made the US safer overall is ambiguous at best … The number of ‘high-level’ militants killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low – estimated at just 2% [of deaths]. Evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks … One major study shows that 74% of Pakistanis now consider the US an enemy.”

(Continue reading…)
I would like to place further emphasis on this statement:
The number of ‘high-level’ militants killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low – estimated at just 2% [of deaths].
Is it worth it? Strategically and ethically, the answer is a resounding “no.”
viwan themes