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the pics to come

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An extraordinary Law School professor taught us that if a photo is considered as 1,000 words, our first take of it would see perhaps 100 of those words. “Close study” as it is usually meant will see perhaps 400. A jury shown that picture will have members who see various of the other 600 words, and not the 100 we first expected at all.

Experience has proven him right.

Pictures are a treasure trove of information we have difficulty seeing the half of. What this man does by close study is wonderful. It is very difficult.  (link)

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June 30th, 2013 at 9:56 am

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Tarbell and Rockefeller

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Ida Tarbell performed a tremendous service by writing The History of Standard Oil.  Her detailed effort over many years was the catalyst for bringing down John D. Rockefeller and disbanding the Standard Oil Trust.

Tarbell’s muckraking work exposing the  Standard Oil trust stemmed from her personal experience:  Her father was basically driven out of the oil business by Rockefeller.  She channeled her personal feelings of rectitude, together with her perseverance and research and journalism skills, to change the United States and the world.

One of the best ways to grasp the far-too-extensive reach of Standard Oil is to view it in terms of the huge, multinational companies of today that are a result of its forced breakup in 1911.  These include ExxonMobil, Chevron, Amoco, Sohio, Penzoil, and numerous pipe, transportation, and mining companies.  Rockefeller–the major shareholder of “the Standard”–also had vast personal holdings that added to the horizontal and vertical integration.

This reach and control is even more pronounced and harmful when combined with the extraordinary importance of oil.  Usage of oil began primarily as a lubricant, then as kerosene for lighting, and finally as gasoline (and other products).  Its worldwide dependence and geopolitical influence is obvious.

Tarbell’s individual efforts influenced current antitrust law.  But in 1870, at the time of the beginnings of Standard Oil of Ohio, such laws did not exist and these business practices were not specifically viewed as crimes.  Hers was a massive consciousness-raising effort of an incredibly complex subject; to this day there is controversy over Rockefeller’s methods–he did stabilize an industry and create economies, but at the same time individuals and other companies were clearly harmed.  Through talent and perseverance  she was able to convince millions of people that monopolies are bad and competition is good; she had to show that all in business and capitalism is not good or fair nor is it ultimately best for society as a whole.  She was not a lawyer, historian, elected official, or high-ranking business executive.  Writing and research can be solitary and daunting.  Hers was a remarkable achievement.

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Ida Tarbell was managing editor of McClure’s Magazine and her expose of Standard Oil first appeared in nineteen installments in the magazine


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June 28th, 2013 at 3:08 pm

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On Hernandez and Others

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From here:

Dude is a thug, plain and simple. This is what thugs do when “disrespected”, if they’ve been cheated, or if they smell the proverbial “rat”. Many of these guys have lots of illegal money; thus, how much money they make has nothing to do with it, and consequences aren’t considered. It’s all about the code by which they abide.

I’ve said it before, but I work with violent felons daily. I hear their stories and rationale behind why they did what they did (felonious assault, murder, etc). It usually amounts to nothing more than things related to what I stated above – money, possessions (including women), perceived disrespect, and snitches.

Think of yourself and what you’d consider your breaking point(s). Now, think of how you were raised or what life experience you’ve had that has made this/these your breaking point(s). Also, think of how you’d react to “solve” or “avenge” whatever the problem was. For most of us, it’d be something like “if anyone laid a hand on my wife/kid, I’d physically defend them however I could”. Now, for violent convicts and thugs like Hernandez, it’s pretty cut and dried. They have many more “breaking points”, and their solutions are often excessive violence including murder. This is what they’ve been taught and are simply products of their environments.

Sorry if tl;dr!

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June 26th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

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Snowden Update

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It is possible that the massive reach of the U.S. government will prevail.  He could be trapped at the Moscow airport.

This is unconfirmed (about Snowden’s apparent change of heart).


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June 26th, 2013 at 2:17 pm

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Edward Snowden is a Hero

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He is going to be shellacked by the U.S. government if they ever catch him.  He disclosed classified information illegally.  Snowden knows it and he did it intentionally.

Google “Snowden hero or traitor” and you’ll find all kinds of hits.  Various polls suggest the majority of Americans consider him a hero.  Doubtless such opinions are even more pronounced in the rest of the world (e.g., U. K.).

Spying on Americans who haven’t done anything wrong is one thing and it is absolutely bad enough.  Without our freedoms what and who are we?  Absolutely nothing is more precious.  There is something else going on here:  data that Snowden supposedly has indicating “U.S. cyber-penetration efforts.”  This after government officials and others so vehemently blasted the Chinese for their hacking efforts.

Yes terrorists are an egregious enemy and are difficult to fight.  But it has to be done on our own, respectable terms, that is, terms we can all live with.  If certain individuals are not up to the task they should bow out and be replaced.  Lying about their inadequacies and failures is unacceptable as is ‘we have to do it’ (i.e., spy on everyone).  This is tantamount to admitting our enemies have won.

What has happened here is Edward Snowden has exposed our highest and supposedly most trusted government servants.  Criminal or not someone had to do it.  These people are lying to the American people–if what is happening is so worthy, acceptable, or even right, why does it have to be covered up?

Intercepting my telephone and internet communications–even if they are anonymous and for some potential future analysis–is not a war-time effort requiring secrecy.  If you are going to do it you better damn well tell me and give me all kinds of avenues to object.

So yeah, throw him in jail and hope the problem goes away.  Spend another billion dollars chasing him and covering it up.

Each day Edward Snowden is on the run our leaders and our country look worse.  Blame the Russians.  Accuse the Chinese.  Threaten the entire county of Ecuador with crippling economic sanctions.  All because they have the audacity to say ‘don’t tell us what to do.’  It makes us look pathetic.

Why, over one person?  Because the revelations contained on Edward Snowden’s laptops are damning as hell.  They are also, of course, true.

That it took just one person is stunning—one person extremely skilled in cyber security.  It took a HUGE person.


(P.S.  There is no evidence Edward Snowden’s intention has ever been to “aid” our enemies.  The U.S. has used its clout to control or influence much of the world.  Where else can he go?)

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June 25th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

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Political philosopher Montesquieu said: “There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.”


Ecuador’s foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, criticized the United States on Monday for its pursuit of Mr. Snowden “The one who is denounced pursues the denouncer,” Mr. Patiño said at a news conference in Hanoi, Vietnam, a stop on a previously scheduled diplomatic visit to Asia. “The man who tries to provide light and transparency to issues that affect everyone is pursued by those who should be giving explanations about the denunciations that have been presented.”

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June 24th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

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On Law

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From NY Times; kinda the same.

He may be in Moscow, or perhaps he slipped away already to Cuba, Ecuador or Venezuela. Wherever Edward Snowden winds up on his increasingly desperate flight from American law enforcement, one thing is clear: he will not wind up in a country that cares about civil liberties in the United States.

Any country that takes him in will do so simply to embarrass the United States. China enjoyed the proof that the Obama administration was just as energetic as the Red Army in hacking overseas computer networks and communications. Russia would like some payback for Western spying on its leaders, and the detention of some of its citizens on international criminal charges. Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela love any opportunity to heave a few stones northward.

By taking his flash drives and laptops full of stolen classified material to any of these countries, Mr. Snowden will severely damage his credibility as someone who wants to bring about change back home. His presence in the airports of Moscow or Havana, or in government housing in Caracas, will give American lawmakers the excuse they need to refuse any changes in the laws that have allowed domestic surveillance to go off the rails.

His dash to South American freedom will also wind up focusing attention only on the drama of his flight, rather than the civil liberties issues that he says are his cause. For weeks, the cameras will be trained on diplomatic wrangling and cries of protest from Washington, and the public will pay far less attention to the abuses that he revealed.

Mr. Snowden was courageous in admitting what he did and not hiding behind anonymity, but he is diminishing himself by seeking asylum in countries that have their own agendas. Asylum should be reserved for those fleeing unjust political persecution; Mr. Snowden has acknowledged committing a federal crime.

If he flew home and surrendered, submitting himself to a trial on espionage and theft charges, there is a good chance he would be found guilty and would have to spend much of the rest of his life in prison rather than the tropics. But accepting punishment for breaking a law one considers unjust has over time been a successful strategy for changing that law. Those who were serious about practicing civil disobedience — people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Thoreau — always taught that it was vital not to deny the crime or flee from its punishment, but to use that punishment as a demonstration of one’s purpose.

As Dr. King wrote in his 1963 letter, while locked up in a Birmingham jail: “I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.”

There is nothing inherently wrong with having a law on the books like the Espionage Act, which prohibits the disclosure of classified information, just as there was nothing wrong with the requirement, violated by Dr. King, to have a permit in order to parade. What is wrong is when a reasonable law is used for an improper purpose, like maintaining segregation or keeping secret a mass collection of American telephone records that appears to violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches.

The government has clearly classified far too much information that should have been revealed to the public, including the legal opinions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that allowed these domestic spying programs in the first place. (There has still been no evidence showing that the disclosure of the phone-data program has harmed national security.)

By stealing and then leaking this information to journalists, Mr. Snowden created a valuable debate on privacy versus government power that has led even conservative lawmakers to consider changes. (President Obama says he welcomes this debate, but he would never have started it without the leaks.)

If Mr. Snowden pleads not guilty and has a full public trial, he may have the chance to testify about other ways in which the government has chosen to classify programs that infringe on the activities of ordinary Americans. And if he were to choose that course would likely arouse far more sympathy than by leaking documents from the relative comfort of “asylum” in Ecuador.

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June 24th, 2013 at 12:32 pm

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Snowden on the Run

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NYTimes Updates

To repeat what many others have said Edward Snowden is neither a hero or traitor.  It is unclear what his motives and character are.  It is pretty clear he has committed crimes–disagreeing with laws is no excuse for breaking them–and that he is in a heap of trouble.  Being pursued for life by the U.S. government is a very scary thought.

But blogging from Ecuador?  Maybe the world is changing.

This is unfolding like the Grisham novel The Firm.  It is one hell of a chase scene.

What seems to be happening is the U.S. government is being pelted with eggs.    There is questionable surveillance and shoddy management and an absolute inability to tell truth from lies.  Every politician and official who opens their mouth deepens the exposure.  It is a chasm:  Too big, too complicated, too untrustworthy.  It has been building, and it is not a simple problem.

It is getting harder and harder to call the U.S. a global good samaritan.  (EDIT:  Still better than the rest but in need of improvement.)

Even China and Russia have gotten their licks in.  Each, briefly so as not to get in too deep, has stoked the flames.

Safety, and hopefully obscurity, in Ecuador has to be the best immediate outcome for this individual.

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June 23rd, 2013 at 10:55 pm

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Ida Tarbell and the Nineteen Installments

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This is going to be moved to Jeffco Reform.

  1. Where to Start?
  2. Knowingly Poisoned
  3. Tarbell and Rockefeller
  4. The Basics in Colorado
  5. Ted Mink I
  6. Ted Mink II
  7. EPRD
  8. Local Journalism
  9. The County
  10. Stats
  11. Planning and Zoning
  12. Ed Renals
  13. Extreme Secrecy
  14. Pics
  15. Politics and Elections
  16. Don’ts; Lessons Learned
  17. Selective Enforcement
  18. Civil Rights

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June 22nd, 2013 at 9:01 am

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Right to Petition

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a third post…

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June 18th, 2013 at 2:27 am

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