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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,413

Journal Archives

Russia Forces Its Popular Bloggers to Register -- Or Else

Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking names. Potentially thousands.

The former KGB colonel, concerned with how social media can be used to undermine his authority, this month expanded his regulation of media to the blogosphere, requiring those with at least 3,000 daily readers to register their real names and contact information. So far, about 580 bloggers in Russia have applied to register with the country's communications regulator Roskomnadzor.

The government says this is needed so it can remove inaccurate or defamatory information on the Internet. But some bloggers fear it will limit free speech, allow Putin to close down blogs he doesn't like and give him an excuse to block sites such as Twitter in the future.

The total number of bloggers who are required to register may be several thousand. Roskomnadzor may shut down the accounts of those who don't follow the new rule. Roskomnadzor sent Eduard Limonov and Boris Akunin, who are known for their opposition to the government, requests to register their blogs, according to the daily newspaper Izvestia.

Some bloggers won't rush to register, deeming the new legislation excessive. The constitution allows free expression of opinion without any need for registration, argues Anton Nosik, a well-known Russian blogger and Internet entrepreneur.



As usual, Snowden+Greenwald were unavailable for comment...

Germans Learn Why Friends Spy on Friends

'It is hard not to write satire," the Roman poet Juvenal famously quipped, adding: "I get an itch to run off beyond the Sarmatians and the frozen sea every time those men, who pretend to be paragons of virtue and live an orgy, dare to spout about morals."

Fast forward to the land the Romans called Germania. Recall the furor unleashed by National Security Agency tattletale Edward Snowden. U.S. intelligence, he let it be known, had burrowed into Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. Dubbed "Handygate" (Germans call mobile phones "handys"), the affair united the country in an uproar over American arrogance.

How can you spy on friends? bellowed the chorus of indignation. We don't do it to you, how dare you do it to us? Parliament formed an NSA committee. The CIA station chief in Berlin was sent packing.

Now, however, the chorus has fallen silent. It turns out that German intelligence services eavesdropped on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, and thereafter at least once on John Kerry. As they say, pride goeth before the fall. Meanwhile, the Turks have declared diplomatic war on Berlin after learning that they have been, and surely will continue to be, the target of Germany's systematic, NSA-style digital snooping.

The startling twist: Contrary to what they had to say about Handygate, German politicos and commentators are reacting like . . . a great power. German spying on NATO ally Turkey wasn't verboten, the argument goes, but rather legitimate and salutary. Turkey is at war with the terror brigades of the Kurdish PKK inside that country, and it abuts Syria and Iraq. The country provides a land bridge for jihadists to join Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria—and for those coming in to plot attacks on European targets.


Greenwald, Snowden and the rest of their circle are a bunch of fucking hypocrites...

We Now Know A Lot More About Edward Snowden's Epic Heist — And It's Troubling

Edward Snowden's in-depth interview with James Bamford of Wired offers details about his last job as a contractor for the NSA in Honolulu, which raise disconcerting questions about the motives of the former systems administrator.

While working at two consecutive jobs in Hawaii from March 2012 to May 2013, the 31-year-old allegedly stole about 200,000 "tier 1 and 2" documents, which mostly detailed the NSA's global surveillance apparatus and were given to American journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in June 2013. The government believes Snowden also took up to 1.5 million "tier 3" documents potentially detailing U.S. capabilities and NSA offensive cyber operations, the whereabouts of which are unknown.

We now know more about the larger and more sensitive cache of classified documents. Furthermore, a close reading of relevant reporting and of statements made by Snowden suggests that much of what the rogue NSA employee intentionally took involved operational information unrelated to civil liberties.

While the tier 3 material appears to have not been shared with American journalists, some of it was shown to a Chinese newspaper. And 14 months later, given the uncertain fate of the documents, it is not unreasonable to ask whether they could have fallen into the hands of an adversarial foreign intelligence service.



It's so frequent I can't even keep up these days:

Sheriff's probe in-custody death

VICTORVILLE — Contrasting pictures emerged Wednesday of a Daily Press employee who died Tuesday night in the custody of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies after being stunned with a taser multiple times.

Family and co-workers of Dante Parker, 36, said the Victorville resident was a hard-working, well-liked pressman with a good sense of humor who loved to sing on the job. They said he took good care of his family and had been riding his bicycle for years to lose weight.

Parker’s cousin, Ge’shun Harris, told the Daily Press in an email that Parker leaves behind a wife and five children: Four girls ranging in age from 8 to 19 and a 5-year-old boy.

“My cousin was a good man, and that’s hard to do when you’re born into the streets of L.A. County,” Harris said. “(He) worked hard and took care of his kids and his wife. He would have been 37 (on Thursday). He would always tell me to keep working hard so we can ... get our family out of L.A. My cousin was a good (man) who was born into a terrible place but didn’t let that stop him.”

But the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said in a detailed Wednesday press release that Parker was considered a suspect in the attempted burglary of a house in the 13000 block of Bucknell Court. A deputy from the Victorville Station stopped Parker while he was riding his bicycle on Luna Road in Victorville around 5 p.m. after the reported breaking-and-entering attempt. The resident who called deputies had told them the suspect fled on a bicycle.

Parker’s co-workers said he had stopped drinking earlier this year and had been trying to lose weight for years after his doctor told him he was at risk for a heart attack or stroke. Tuesday was one of his regular days off.

“He had been trying to lose weight,” Daily Press pressman Ronald Bantug said. “He asked me how to do it and I told him to get on a bike. He had been riding his bike for years with his wife or one of his kids; he lived (around Luna Road) and would always ride in that area. He’d do jumping jacks on breaks out by the freeway or run laps around the building.”

The Sheriff’s Department said after stopping Parker, the deputy was involved in a struggle to detain him. The sheriff’s news release said Parker appeared to the deputy “to possibly be under the influence of an unknown substance.” As the deputy attempted to take Parker into custody, he became uncooperative and combative, sheriff’s officials said. - See more at: http://www.vvdailypress.com/article/20140813/NEWS/140819920#sthash.Pt5SaRGs.dpuf

Buying Main Street: Billionaires swamp local races

It was a gut-punch moment for the local lawman: Already sweating a tough reelection race, he’d just received word that one of the country’s most powerful billionaires was trying to oust him from the Milwaukee County sheriff’s seat.

David Clarke’s provocative rhetoric on guns had made him a political enemy of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — as he learned last week from reading the newspaper.
Continue Reading

“I was like, ‘Wow, this is big-time now,’” Clarke recalled.

With Bloomberg’s effort to defeat him, Clarke joined a growing throng of municipal officeholders whose political careers have been rocked or extinguished by lavish spending from the nation’s ultrarich. A rare black Democrat fiercely allied with the National Rifle Association, Clarke barely squeaked through a Democratic primary vote this week in the face of powerful outside spending, including nearly $200,000 from Bloomberg.

Other officials and candidates haven’t been so lucky.

Frustrated by paralysis at the federal level, the nation’s wealthiest activists have set their sights with increasing frequency on state and local elections as a new route for effecting policy change. The influx of cash from outside billionaires — namely Bloomberg, the industrialist Koch brothers and environmentalist financier Tom Steyer — has upended what would otherwise be bite-size campaigns for obscure municipal and state offices.


I know there are still some holdouts, but I have to ask: Are there *ANY* DUers who still want to tell me the Citizens United decision was a GOOD thing??

The Coming Race War Won’t Be About Race

Will the recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, be a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice, or will it be a minor footnote in some future grad student’s thesis on Civil Unrest in the Early Twenty-First Century?

The answer can be found in May of 1970.

You probably have heard of the Kent State shootings: on May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on student protesters at Kent State University. During those 13 seconds of gunfire, four students were killed and nine were wounded, one of whom was permanently paralyzed. The shock and outcry resulted in a nationwide strike of 4 million students that closed more than 450 campuses. Five days after the shooting, 100,000 protestors gathered in Washington, D.C. And the nation’s youth was energetically mobilized to end the Vietnam War, racism, sexism, and mindless faith in the political establishment.

You probably haven’t heard of the Jackson State shootings.

On May 14th, 10 days after Kent State ignited the nation, at the predominantly black Jackson State University in Mississippi, police killed two black students (one a high school senior, the other the father of an 18-month-old baby) with shotguns and wounded twelve others.

There was no national outcry. The nation was not mobilized to do anything. That heartless leviathan we call History swallowed that event whole, erasing it from the national memory.


Orangeburg is another incident which isn't mentioned or discussed very often in our national memory:

Wired Conveniently Forgot to Ask Edward Snowden a Single Tough Question

Defenders of Edward Snowden routinely accuse the American media of being too cozy with the government. Major newspapers have grown complacent, these critics insist, and mainstream journalists no longer ask the tough questions or play the adversarial role that has long made a vibrant free press the protector of American democracy. This failure of the media is what ultimately justified Snowden’s cosmic leak of National Security Agency documents to a handful of private journalists and anti-government crusaders.

Perhaps that critique is right. But it’s precisely because of that critique that anyone remotely committed to intellectual integrity ought to be flabbergasted by the recent James Bamford profile of Edward Snowden that appeared Wednesday on Wired's website. The profile reads like a release from a Snowden PR press office, replete with fawning asides and subject-serving mischaracterizations. Unwittingly, Bamford demonstrates one of the central problems with the new push for relentless advocacy journalism: In seeking to combat a media that they claim resembles a government press office, these critics have become a far more slanted public relations operation for their own antigovernment heroes.

Bamford must be congratulated on even getting this interview. Edward Snowden is a very difficult man to find; he suspects that he is the target of unceasing capture and eavesdropping attempts by American intelligence agencies, and he relies on a small circle of associates to screen attempts to contact him. Even Bamford, a longtime NSA critic who Snowden must have known would be an immensely sympathetic interviewer, needed nine months of back-and-forth with Snowden’s lawyers and associates before he was able to set up a meeting. Nevertheless, a responsible journalist wouldn’t allow the difficulty of access to permit a controversial subject to completely hijack the narrative. Unfortunately, this is precisely what Bamford does.

Early in his profile, Bamford explains that he has come to Moscow to identify Snowden’s motivations, to uncover “what drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents.” But Bamford spends very little time actually engaging this question. He doesn’t probe Snowden’s politics, general ideological outlook, or psychological profile. Instead he unhesitatingly accepts Snowden’s claim that his transformation from aspiring marine to anti-government mole was purely a product of encountering surveillance programs that he found disturbing. Of course, he hardly needed to travel to Moscow for that; he could have simply read anything by Glenn Greenwald. The reader is thus left wondering: Is Bamford really trying to understand “what drove Snowden,” or did he make up his mind before he ever sat down?


Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases

The Internet may be losing the war against trolls. At the very least, it isn’t winning. And unless social networks, media sites and governments come up with some innovative way of defeating online troublemakers, the digital world will never be free of the trolls’ collective sway.

That’s the dismal judgment of the handful of scholars who study the broad category of online incivility known as trolling, a problem whose scope is not clear, but whose victims keep mounting.

“As long as the Internet keeps operating according to a click-based economy, trolls will maybe not win, but they will always be present,” said Whitney Phillips, a lecturer at Humboldt State University and the author of “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things,” a forthcoming book about her years of studying bad behavior online. “The faster that the whole media system goes, the more trolls have a foothold to stand on. They are perfectly calibrated to exploit the way media is disseminated these days.”

“Troll” is the fuzzy term for agitators who pop up, often anonymously, sometimes in mobs, in comment threads and on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, apparently intent on wreaking havoc. The term is vague precisely because trolls lurk in darkness; their aims are unclear, their intentions unknown, their affiliations mysterious.


German security recorded Clinton conversation: media

(Reuters) - German security agents recorded a conversation involving Hillary Clinton while she was U.S. Secretary of State, media reported on Friday, a potential embarrassment for Berlin which has lambasted Washington for its widespread surveillance.

Clinton's words were intercepted while she was on a U.S. government plane, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper and German regional public broadcasters NDR and WDR said, without giving details of where she was or when the recording was made.

The respected broadsheet quoted German government sources saying the conversation had been picked up "by accident" and was not part of any plan to spy on Washington's top diplomat. The fact the recording had not been destroyed immediately was "idiocy", said one of the sources.

Both Germany's government and a spokeswoman for the National Security Council at the White House declined to comment on the reports on Friday.


Did Germany just get outed for spying on a senior official from an ally nation? Why, I'm appalled...I'm outraged at such a flagrant breach of trust...Don't they know you can't spy on your allies?

Can I expect an apology from Chancellor Merkel? Or is electronic surveillance still only evil when the U.S. does it? Isn't Germany the country that Snowden is continually pimping his "expertise" to in an effort to strike an asylum deal??

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