Ex-presidents normally keep security clearances. Trump shouldn’t be trusted!


Brendan Smialowski/AFP

When David Priess was a CIA officer, he traveled to Houston, he recalls, to brief former President George H.W. Bush on classified developments in the Middle East.

It was part of a long tradition of former presidents being consulted about, and granted access to, some of the nation’s secrets.

Priess and other former intelligence officials say Joe Biden would be wise not to let that tradition continue in the case of Donald Trump…

They argue soon-to-be-former President Trump already poses a danger because of the secrets he currently possesses, and they say it would be foolish to trust him with more sensitive information. With Trump’s real estate empire under financial pressure and his brand suffering, they worry he will see American secrets as a profit center.

Not that I have beaucoup confidence in any of the standards guiding our “national security” boffins. But, I wouldn’t trust Trump any farther than I could throw him uphill into a heavy wind.

NM Republicans match the rest of Trumpland in hypocrisy


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President Trump continues to rail against voting by mail but the NM GOP is putting a selective spin on the bashing to justify its own mailer to Bernalillo County voters that includes an absentee ballot application. The party quotes Trump as saying on July 30 that “I will be an absentee voter. We have a lot of absentee voters. It works. So we are in favor of absentee.”…

President Trump continues to draw false distinctions between mail-in and absentee ballots, claiming the former are rife with voter fraud while the latter — which he has used as president — require a voter to go through “a very strict process. The equivalent of going to a voting machine, or maybe even sometimes better.” Voting experts told us the verification process is the same for absentee and mail-in ballots, and many states consider them to be the same thing.

Conservatives are stuck with this self-image of being the only true hard-working Americans – therefore the only folks who deserve to vote. So, making it easier only applies to their votes.

Yup. Hogwash!

500 International Monitors to check integrity of US election


Larry Marano/Rex/Shutterstock

The democracy and human rights arm of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has issued an assessment of election conditions in the run-up to presidential and congressional elections on 3 November…

A week-long needs assessment mission by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) beginning on 29 May found there was widespread concern that “election officials will face serious challenges prior to and on election day, due to new measures in response to Covid-19 pandemic, and expressed concerns over their ability to overcome them.”…

Most of the officials and experts the mission talked to said they would welcome the presence of foreign election observers

In many US states there is no guarantee that international observers will be allowed in polling stations.

The tone of the 2020 ODIHR report reflects far more alarm than in 2016, and notes that only some of its recommendations for improvements in the US electoral system have been acted on.

Americans love to believe “we’re #1” at anything we do. Please don’t forget that includes serious fraud, organized crime – including the flavor with names of political parties on the stationery.

FCC underestimates number of folks with no access to broadband by 50%

The FCC’s Broadband Deployment Report states that 21.3 million Americans, or 6.5 percent of the population, lack access to broadband internet, including wired and fixed wireless connections. This figure relies upon semi-annual self-reporting by internet service providers using the FCC-mandated “Form 477.”

However, there is a widely acknowledged flaw with Form 477 reporting: if an ISP offers service to at least one household in a census block, then the FCC counts the entire census block as covered by that provider. BroadbandNow Research examined the magnitude of this flaw by manually checking internet availability using FCC data as the source of truth for randomly selected addresses.

Based on our research, we estimate that 42 million Americans do not have access to wired or fixed wireless broadband.

RTFA to understand the details. Based on my reading, the FCC is incompetent or simply doesn’t care about truthful reporting.

Or both.

ATT & Verizon rip-off DSL customers


Aurich Lawson/Thinkstock

❝ Tens of millions of people in the AT&T and Verizon service territories can only buy slow DSL Internet from the companies, yet they often have to pay the same price as fiber customers who get some of the fastest broadband speeds in the US.

That’s the conclusion of a new white paper written by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), a broadband advocacy group.

❝ “[I]n recent years, the nation’s two largest telco ISPs, AT&T and Verizon, have eliminated their cheaper rate tiers for low and mid-speed Internet access, except at the very slowest levels,” the NDIA wrote. “Each company now charges essentially identical monthly prices—$63-$65 a month after first-year discounts have ended—for home wireline broadband connections at almost any speed up to 100/100 Mbps fiber service.”

RTFA. Consider hollering at your elected representatives in Congress to support you and your peers fight for better treatment, affordable access to the Web. It’s overdue and criminally corrupt.

GOOGLE lets outside developers read your email

❝ Just over a year after promising to no longer scan user emails in Gmail for personalized ads, Google is allowing outside developers to do just that

❝ According to a Wall Street Journal report published Monday, Google continues to allow outside software developers to “scan the inboxes of millions of Gmail users who signed up for email-based services offering shopping price comparisons, automated travel-itinerary planners or other tools.”

Vetted app developers that are part of Google’s Gmail program are allowed to read these emails to create new services or app features. Normally, the bulk of emails are scanned electronically by computer software, but in some cases human employees are doing the reading.

Same as it ever was.

Trump and his Obedient Republicans have ordered an end to Net Neutrality in June

❝ Landmark U.S. “net neutrality” rules will expire on June 11, and new regulations handing providers broad new power over how consumers can access the internet will take effect…

The FCC in December repealed the Obama-era open-internet rules set in 2015, which bars providers from blocking or slowing down access to content or charging consumers more for certain content.

❝ The prior rules were intended to ensure a free and open internet, give consumers equal access to web content and bar broadband service providers from favoring their own material or others.

Trump’s chumps don’t care about transparency or equal access. They’re perfectly willing to obey daddy’s new rules as long as he promises to continue crackdowns on furriners and folks who ain’t white enough.

Meanwhile, like most of Trump’s crimes, this is essentially an economic piece of crap designed to keep life free and easy for folks with lots of spare money – and screw the rest of us. Corporate access being the highest priority.

Water War A’Coming – Who Wins, Who Loses?


Education Images/UIG

❝ Lake Mead is the country’s biggest reservoir of water. Think of it as the savings account for the entire Southwest. Right now, that savings account is nearly overdrawn.

For generations, we’ve been using too much of the Colorado River, the 300-foot-wide ribbon of water that carved the Grand Canyon, supplies Lake Mead, and serves as the main water source for much of the American West.

The river sustains one in eight Americans — about 40 million people — and millions of acres of farmland…snowpack in the Rockies has been dwindling, and there’s no physical way for them to store the water they depend on. There are no big reservoirs in the Rockies…

❝ And then there’s always climate change. On the world’s current emissions trajectory, sharply warming temperatures boost the odds of a megadrought in the Southwest sometime later this century to more than 99 percent. Such a drought would last a generation. Nearly all trees in the Southwest could die. The scale of the disaster would have the power to reshape the course of U.S. history.

❝ For now, the spat over the Colorado River offers a glimpse into water politics in an era of permanent scarcity.

Our little community in La Cieneguilla is well situated to survive a water war. Geology is on our side. So what? We have neighbors in the county, in the state, who will move to logical and kindly, illegal and greedy, solutions depending upon timely local politics.

Gird your loins wherever you may be in [or near] the Southwest. Hopefully, common sense and decency prevail.