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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,849

Journal Archives

Public Spats Over Ukraine Reflect Lack of Unity in Russian Opposition

A public clash between a dissident politician and veteran rock musician this week over Russia's role in the Ukraine conflict reflects the broader lack of consensus among the opposition, pundits said.

"Whenever the opposition has to tackle fundamental problems such as what Russia is, who its friends and enemies are in the world and what we all stand for, the opposition disintegrates into little splinters," Anatoly Gorbunov, director of the Institute of Systemic Political Studies think tank told The Moscow Times.

"It is much easier to unite against President Vladimir Putin than to formulate an alternative vision and identity for Russia," he said in a telephone interview from Yekaterinburg.

In a startling but little-reported post this week, a member of longtime Kremlin critic Eduard Limonov's unregistered opposition party The Other Russia wrote on his blog that the "Russia Without Putin" slogan that over the last decade has become one of the symbols of Russia's opposition movement has turned into an "empty mantra" and lost its value.

"The president has started to make steps in the last years that deserve respect. It is difficult to deny Putin's accomplishments, such as preventing a war in Syria, victorious Olympic Games in Sochi and the reunification of Crimea with Russia," Alexei Pesotsky, a member of the St. Petersburg executive committee of the party wrote in his LiveJournal blog...


...According to Gobunov, the squabbling between government critics reflects the broader problem that the opposition in Russia can only unite against the government but not in support of an alternative path for the country's development.

"The main problem is that whenever someone suggests a positive policy, all the rivals begin to criticize it so as not to let any one of the opposition leaders become dominant," he said.

"While the Ukraine conflict is ongoing, the opposition discourse has become based on emotions, so I don't expect anything positive to happen in this respect until the Ukraine situation is settled," he added.


The Ferguson Challenge to the Libertarians

Many people are pointing to the police violence unfolding in Ferguson, Missouri as part of a “libertarian moment.” Dave Weigel of Slate writes “Liberals are up in arms about police militarization. Libertarians are saying: What took you so long?” Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner notes that the events in Ferguson bolster the claim that we are experiencing a libertarian moment because “libertarianism’s warnings today ring truer than ever.”

It will be a great thing if the horror of what is going on builds a broader coalition for putting the excess of the carceral state in check. But I also think that Ferguson presents a problem for libertarian theory about this situation in particular and the state in general. Their argument is a public choice-like story in which the federal government is the main villain. But this will only tell a partial story, and probably not even the most important one. And, as the deeper story of the town is told, the disturbing economics of the city look similar to what the right thinks is the ideal state. Let’s take these in turn.

Bottom-Up Militarization

People on the right are telling a story where the problems of the police are primarily driven by the federal government. As Rand Paul said: “Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem.” Big government here is strictly a federal phenomenon though, one where “Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts.” Paul Ryan’s comment on Ferguson is telling: "But in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead." (h/t Digby) The culprits in these criticisms are usually programs, accelerated after the start of the War on Terror, that give military surplus to local police.

But rather than just a top-down phenomenon of centralized, federal bureaucrats, the police violence we see is just as much a bottom-up, locally-driven affair. “Militarized” police equipment didn’t shoot Michael Brown, or kill Eric Garner in a chokehold. And aggressive police reactions to protests haven’t required extensive military equipment over the past 40 years.


I'm scratching my head as well on how libertarians are trying to make this "their" movement, as if they ever gave a shit about the black community before...But then I remember how they tried to take over OWS and claim it as their own, as well...

I refuse to believe people actually ate this shit in the 60s


If anyone is thinking about admitting they ate this, ask Skinner to ban your account and please proceed to throw your desktop/laptop/tablet/smartphone into the nearest river or lake...

The White House Gives Up on Making Coders Dress Like Adults

The U.S. Government wants to hire more people like Mikey Dickerson. He’s the former Google engineer the White House recently tapped to lead the new U.S. Digital Service.

Dickerson has impeccable credentials. He comes from one of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies. He flew into Washington a year ago to salvage the disastrous Healthcare.gov website. And by all accounts, he did an amazing job. Now, his White House on-boarding has become a kind of recruiting tool for Uncle Sam. And just for good measure, the feds want all the techies out there to know Dickerson wasn’t forced to do that amazing job in a suit and tie.

In a White House video, Dickerson says he is asked one question again and again by people curious about his new job. They “want to know if I’m wearing a suit to work every day,” Dickerson explains in the video. “Because that’s just the quickest shorthand way of asking: ‘Is this just the same old business as usual or are they actually going to listen?’”

When it comes to computers, the federal government has a nasty reputation for prizing ISO standards and regulatory checkboxes above working code. The video is the White House’s best effort at saying it’s going to get real and hire people based on what they can do, not how they dress for work. Ben Balter, who spent some time as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow a few years back, tells us he had to code in suit and tie.

According to the Dickerson, that’s changed. He isn’t showing up in a T-shirt, but he’s free to wear a wrinkled button-down and comfortable pants.


I should have been an IT guy...Tech has to be the only major industry where even at the highest levels they have the power to permanently ditch the garden-variety "business wear"

"I will not be returning to Ferguson"

I had been on the ground helping Al Jazeera America cover the protests and unrest in Ferguson, Mo., since this all started last week. After what I saw last night, I will not be returning. The behavior and number of journalists there is so appalling, that I cannot in good conscience continue to be a part of the spectacle.

Things I’ve seen:

-Cameramen yelling at residents in public meetings for standing in way of their cameras

-Cameramen yelling at community leaders for stepping away from podium microphones to better talk to residents

-TV crews making small talk and laughing at the spot where Mike Brown was killed, as residents prayed, mourned

-A TV crew of a to-be-left-unnamed major cable network taking pieces out of a Ferguson business retaining wall to weigh down their tent

-Another major TV network renting out a gated parking lot for their one camera, not letting people in. Safely reporting the news on the other side of a tall fence.

-Journalists making the story about them

-National news correspondents glossing over the context and depth of this story, focusing instead on the sexy images of tear gas, rubber bullets, etc.

-One reporter who, last night, said he came to Ferguson as a “networking opportunity.” He later asked me to take a picture of him with Anderson Cooper.

One anecdote that stands out: as the TV cameras were doing their live shots in front of the one burnt-out building in the three-block stretch of “Ground Zero,” around the corner was a community food/goods drive. I heard one resident say: “Where are the cameras? I’m going to go see if I can find some people to film this.”

Last night a frustrated resident confronted me when he saw my camera: “Y'all are down here photographing US, but who gets paid?!”

There are now hundreds of journalists from all over the world coming to Ferguson to film what has become a spectacle. I get the sense that many feel this is their career-maker. In the early days of all this, I was warmly greeted and approached by Ferguson residents. They were glad that journalists were there. The past two days, they do not even look at me and blatantly ignore me. I recognize that I am now just another journalist to them, and their frustration with us is clear. In the beginning there was a recognizable need for media presence, but this is the other extreme. They need time to work through this as a community, without the cameras.

We should all be ashamed, and I cannot do it anymore. I am thankful for my gracious editors who understand that.


For a Honduran mom, deportation means a child vanishes

EL PROGRESO, Honduras — Late at night, folding clothes on the couch when she couldn’t sleep, Maby Caceres would replay the moment she lost Cindy.

The family had awoken before dawn in a small room outside the southern Mexican city of Palenque. They had hailed a van for the short ride to the bus station, another milestone on their secret journey to the United States. Because the vehicle was crowded, Caceres decided that her eldest daughter should board with their neighbors, who also were fleeing Honduras. She, her husband and their three younger children would follow in a second van.

On the shoulder of the road, she handed the girl her birth certificate. Cindy Noemi Rodriguez Caceres. Date of Birth: July 28, 2003. Republic of Honduras. She pulled the slender 10-year-old into her arms.

“We’ll see you in the terminal,” she remembered saying.

“Okay, Mama.”

The police stopped Caceres’s van minutes later. Cindy kept heading north. Each year, hundreds of thousands of migrants risk robbery, kidnapping and death in pursuit of a different future in the United States. Some fall off trains or perish in the desert. In recent weeks, migrants have encountered new obstacles from the U.S., Mexican and Central American governments. More patrols, more checkpoints and more deportation, to discourage a surge of people, thousands of them children, from arriving at the U.S. border.

Losing her first-born was one risk Caceres hadn’t foreseen.

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
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