Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) • Speaking after an off-record briefing, attended by roughly half of the Senate’s members, about the NSA’s surveillance programs. Despite McCain’s skeptical take on the matter, momentum seems to be growing in favor of more limitations on information-sharing, with one key defender of the NSA programs, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), claiming that legislation was on its way. “We will certainly have legislation which will limit or prevent contractors from handling highly classified and technical data, and we will do some other things,” she said. (via shortformblog)
It should be noted that the Marathon bombings happened despite all the data that the NSA was collecting and analyzing. In other words, they’re invading everyone’s privacy, but it’s not clear that the data mining is making us safer. We’re not trading liberty for security; we’re trading liberty for non-liberty.
Republicans have a problem. They just can’t seem to get Latinos to vote for them! With the Hispanic population rising in the United States, the GOP has said they realize they need to reach out to the Latino community.
Enter Republican Congressman from Iowa, Steve King!
“20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office.”
No, Steve King’s office was not invaded my Martian invaders from outer space. It’s just that good ol’ GOP reach out! With that tweet, Steve King is just extending his hand out to the Latino community!
But Steve King was not done! Steve King continued!
Rep. Steve King, as you can tell, is not too keen on immigration. He calls out the “Gang of 8,” the bipartisan group working on immigration reform, to come “guard his door.” lmao.
Anyway, why were this scary Latinos doing at poor Steve King’s DC office? King introduced an amendment that would end the Department of Homeland Security policies that allow it to delay deporting young, undocumented immigrants…and these muchachos y muchachas had the nerve to think they could meet with an elected official to discuss his position!
And speaking of those invaders, what did these evil, dastardly, no good, marauding band of “illegal alien” thugs look like that struck such fear into the nonexistent heart of Steve King?
MY GOD. YOUNG LATINO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES. RUN FOR YOUR LIVES.
“Ten years ago, the United States dramatically ramped up AIDS funding, but the funding came with this dangerous string attached: in order to qualify, non-governmental organizations must adopt an explicit policy opposing prostitution.” — Melissa Gira Grant (read more)
Add to this Booker’s privatization of the Newark sanitation department, and his repeated attempts to do the same to the water supply, and the picture becomes clearer. In the world Booker and his cohort inhabit, there are no systemic problems and no class interests. There are only pesky inefficiencies, to be fixed with better data and more money from smart, happy, rich people who can spend their cash far more sensibly than the public sector.
Poor Frank Lautenberg. The so-called “swamp dog” was one of the great remaining liberals in the Senate, a quiet but committed defender of unions and the working class, and a constant advocate for progressive taxation. And New Jerseyans have a chance to vote for a successor in his mold. Two quite progressive House members, the long-serving Frank Pallone and the physicist-turned-politician Rush Holt, have both declared their candidacies.
But it seems far more likely that the next senator from New Jersey will be the anti-Lautenberg: a neoliberal egomaniac who sees government as nothing more than a charity for billionaires and corporations to support as they please. There may be no stopping the rise and rise of Cory Booker. But let’s at least recognize his impending triumph for what it is: another victory for the men in the glass towers, enabled by a nonstop publicity campaign waged 140 characters at a time.
I think the upside for Booker looks something like Chuck Schumer: overly cozy with Wall Street but decent on other issues with a big media profile. The worst case scenario would look more like Robert Torricelli, where those cozy ties turn into a scandal.
Members of Congress are living off food stamps for a week to protest Republican cuts. It’s a challenge for them, but GOP cuts would hurt millions of everyday Americans.
People will rightfully point out that this is a stunt, and it is. But it is a stunt with a purpose - most people who condemn food stamp recipients as “lazy” or “living off the dole” have absolutely no concept of what food assistance can get you. This is one of the rare chances to have people in a position to change the system for the better get a very small inkling of what that’s like. [Small, because unlike most people receiving assistance, they have their other needs (shelter, health care, transportation) taken care of.]
As always, statements like these make me wonder what the real story is. The rest of the Post story is useless in this regard. (Echo…echo…echo).
- The late white supremacist Byron De La Beckwith, before he was convicted in 1994 of the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers on June 12, 1963. Jerry Mitchell, investigative reporter for The Clarion-Ledger, recalled his words at a Newseum forum in Washington. [Religion News Service]
Byron De La Beckwith spent seven years behind bars for the assassination of Medgar Evers before he died in 2001. For the Evers family, simply making sure that Beckwith would never see the light of day outside of jail was satisfaction enough.
In the twelve years since Beckwith’s death and the fifty years since Evers’ death by Beckwith’s rifle, race relations in America haven’t changed as much as they should have. Republicans continue to influence public opinion and flood the airwaves with racism, ethnocentrism, and white privilege. African-Americans continue to be charged and convicted at a larger rate than whites. Two people in the State of Florida were charged with a crime that involved a gun, a black female and a white male. The white male was on trial for killing his wife and another man after finding them in bed together. The black female simply shot at a wall. The white male, even though he had killed two people, was able to use the ridiculous Stand Your Ground defense in his trial, and he ended up getting acquitted. The black female? She is having to serve twenty years in jail for shooting at a wall.
Today’s quote by Myrlie Evers-Williams is very poignant, in that she stated that “Jim Crow” is in a “Brooks Brothers” suit. How true her statement is. Gone (mostly) are the days of Klan paraphernalia, and in their place are suits of racist white males that decide the fate of everyone.
Medgar Evers, along with so many others in the Civil Rights Movement, fought for equality, for dignity, and honor. If Evers had lived to the times of today, he would probably be as disappointed today as he was in the 50s and 60s at American society.
Racism still exists in America: it’s just inside a different costume.
US Supreme Court limits gene patents in mixed ruling
Bloomberg News: U.S. Supreme Court justices issued unanimously issued a mixed ruling on Myriad Genetics Inc.’s patents on genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer.
The court holds that natural isolated DNA not patentable, but synthetic DNA can be patented.
The ruling marks an important moment for patent law, with implications for the growing field of personalized medicine and efforts to map the human brain and discover new uses for embryonic stem cells.
The decision is a partial victory for doctors’ groups and patient advocates that accused Myriad of using its patents to block clinical testing and research. Biotechnology, agriculture and drug industries backed Myriad in the case, telling the court that gene patents have led to valuable treatments.
Photo: DNA samples from New York terrorism victims lie in a locked cold storage cabinet at Myriad Genetics in Salt Lake City. (Douglas C. Pizac / AP via Bloomberg News)
Among some 61,000 reported targets of the National Security Agency, Snowden said, are thousands of computers in China — which U.S. officials have increasingly criticized as the source of thousands of attacks on U.S. military and commercial networks. China has denied such attacks.
NSA hacks China, leaker Snowden claims - CNN.com
Snowden just jumped the shark. It’s commendable to let Americans know that they’ve been lied to by their leaders with respect to domestic surveillance. It’s something closer to treason to let a foreign power know our government has breaking into their computer systems. I suspect Snowden thinks that these revelations will help him avoid extradition—that the Chinese government will protect him in gratitude for these disclosures. But if his goal was to change American domestic policy, he’s just made that change far less likely. A good portion of the American public was with him; now they won’t be. I find this incredibly sad. And I feel bad for Snowden, because he’s made a huge miscalculation that’s going to haunt him for the rest of his life. (via jeffmiller)
I think Jeff has the right of it. I can respect the whistleblower who releases specific information in a targeted manner. As that looks less and less targeted, he looks less and less like the whistleblower and more and more like the guy who should never have been given a security clearance. (via squashed)
I have to reluctantly agree that Snowden has jumped the shark. By stating publicly that the NSA is spying on foreign countries, Snowden isn’t necessarily revealing anything we couldn’t reasonably infer was already happening. Nonetheless, Snowden is revealing precisely the type of information that his critics can now credibly claim will endanger American lives. And this time, they won’t be entirely wrong. Allegations like this could cause an international incident that will disrupt the relative diplomatic detenté that has existed between the U.S. and China for the past two decades. That is something that actually could put lives at risk. Furthermore, and more regrettably, all critics of the PRISM program will now be vicariously discredited, despite the genuinely horrifying and outrageous implications of its existence. Snowden has crossed over from the realm of courageous truth-teller to actions that constitute actual, legitimate treason, and all of his supporters and peers who are opposed to government secrecy are the worse off for it. (via letterstomycountry)
Well, hacking into China’s computers isn’t a good thing either. Should whistleblowers restrict their whistleblowing to things that only hurt American citizens? I don’t think so. (If) America is doing wrong things to other countries, why shouldn’t those things be pointed out? Also, I doubt revealing this info will result in war or any violent encounter with China. More than likely, China knew it was hacking the US and knew the US was hacking it back. This only reveals said information to the public. Revealing things about America’s foreign policy will make people who oppose America’s domestic spying program be ‘vicariously discredited’? How so? How are people who opposed to government secrecy harmed by Snowden removing a layer of government secrecy? (via anticapitalist)
This actually isn’t a revelation to the public unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 20 years….at least. But the first rule of hacking other countries is we don’t talk about hacking other countries. We maybe moving more toward a global society, but for now at least countries remain self interested. For better or for worse.
The reveal about China was not only unnecessary, it undermined his whistle-blower claim. Whistle-blowing isn’t about the world. It’s about exposing wrongs against the American public.
I still don’t think Congress should be gunning for this guy based on what he revealed about tge NSA spying on American citizens, but he has now lost what makes whistle-blowers most defensible: the moral high ground. That’s especially important in the face of the two-faced legion that is Congress.
I agree with anticapitalist: China probably knew that the US was hacking its computers. This is also something that the US population should know. Claims that China or Russia or Iran are hacking US computers or engaging in industrial espionage or whatnot look a lot different if you know that the US government is conducting an ongoing, secret cyberwar against those countries.
Also, Snowden can only be discredited if his allegations are false. If his allegations are true and documented, then they are credible. Ad hominem arguments don’t speak to the truth of his claims.
The claims that whistleblowers can only expose wrongs against Americans are bizarre. I really don’t get this idea that there should be one standard for Americans and another for everyone else. Morals and ethics don’t end at American borders. Is it not whistleblowing to expose a massacre of civilians or torture in American-run prison camps? Is it not whistleblowing to reveal when American companies exploit labor overseas? Is it not whistleblowing to acknowledge the existence of a secret, undeclared war (and one that could have serious blowback for American citizens and businesses). We deserve to know what our government is doing in our name, whether its to us or to people in other countries.
Pretty compelling counterpoint to this New York Times piece, we suppose.
“In the aftermath of Akin’s statement, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on a 1972 essay by an obstetrician named Fred Mecklenburg, who cited a Nazi experiment in which women were told they were on their way to die in the gas chambers—and then were allowed to live, so that doctors could check whether they would still ovulate. Since few did, Mecklenburg claimed that women exposed to the emotional trauma of rape wouldn’t be able to become pregnant, either. (He also argued that rapists are infertile because they masturbate a lot.) The essay was published in a book financed by A.U.L.”
First of all, that was a fear even more primal than of rape. I know. I’ve fought off a rapist. The fear of immediate or soon to be so death is deep soul shattering fear that might empower you for a second, while wrenching a car back on the road (hopefully) but leaves you shaking for hours. Fighting off the rapist only 30 minutes. Oh yeah, I’ve almost gone off a mountain road too. The fear that cannot be countered by any action, like that of a prisoner who can take no action to save one’s life such as those under the care of the Nazis must be even deeper. (BTW, the prisoners of the Nazis weren’t fed very well either as testified by the skeletal figures of those who the Allies released as I’ve seen in pictures, read about in books, and heard my father talk about from his WW2 experiences. He says they were like skeletons with flesh on them.)
Starvation is another factor that causes the cessation of ovulation. That has been proven by testing as well.
Not to mention the fact that the right wing haters decide that if a woman becomes pregnant from rape or even incest that she enjoyed it, implying that she wanted it.
Yeah, your little fantasy that a women or a child wanted a fuck from your is a great reason to force a 12 year old to bear daddy’s baby! Not at all! (I think in Mexico there was a case of a 9 year old bearing her stepfather’s child reported in the last 12 months.)
Picture above of a 1938 Nazi coin used via Creative Commons License Attribution (CC by 2.0) thanks to Kevin Dooley at flickr.com who has no connection to this blog or blogger.
That whole idea that rape or incest is acceptable and may actually be what she wanted demeans women as well as enslaves them.
Why any woman goes into the private booth and selects a GOP candidate is beyond me—or any father, brother, or man with a soul, either.
Between this and blocking filibuster reform, Carl Levin is performing really badly this year.