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friendly_iconoclast

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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 13,733

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Baltimore terminates contract with attorney accused of neo-Nazi ties

Source: Baltimore Sun

The city has terminated its one-year contract with an attorney accused of neo-Nazi ties effective immediately, the Office of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Thursday in a statement.

Glen Keith Allen, 65, was a contract employee who worked on complex litigation as needed, officials said

The city began investigating Allen's background after the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that he had a history of supporting the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

"Allen's history with organized racism and anti-Semitism is deep," Heidi Beirich, the center's intelligence project director, wrote this week on the center's website. "Records obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) show he was a dues-paying member of the National Alliance for years.

Read more: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-allen-attorney-20160818-story.html
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Aug 18, 2016, 02:35 PM (2 replies)

Watch these Trump supporters agree that putting shock collars on Mexicans is a great idea

One can only hope that this is a put-on- but given the demonstrated nature of
Don the Con and his Trumpkins, there's a good chance it isn't...

https://boingboing.net/2016/08/16/watch-these-trump-supporters-a.html

"We wanted to see how far we could push Trump's loyal supporters," says Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. So his team invited a group of Trumpkins to attend a focus group meeting where they were shown some fake Trump campaign ads, voiced by a convincing Trump impersonator.

The attendees were not told that the commercials were fake, even though the ads had proposals that were crazy, even by Trump standards: outlawing abortion everywhere except in depressed areas like Atlantic City, trapping Mexican day laborers in porta-potties and shipping them back to Mexico, locking shock collars on the neck of every Mexican citizen in Mexico so they'd get zapped if they tried to go past an invisible electric fence on the US-Mexico border.

The focus group members seemed a little surprised at first, but quickly came around to the seeing the logic of these proposals, and expressed their support. One woman was concerned about the dog collar proposal, though. She said the Mexicans were likely to cut off the dog collars and sell them.

This video is like a scary Milgram experiment.


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 16, 2016, 04:39 PM (17 replies)

White House sets new fuel-efficiency standards for heavy-duty trucks, vans and buses

Thanks to DUer DonViejo for posting this originally in Latest Breaking News:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141551746

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/08/16/white-house-sets-new-fuel-efficiency-standards-for-heavy-duty-trucks-vans-and-buses/?utm_term=.6e8ede449e19

Source: The Washington Post

The Obama administration on Tuesday finalized new fuel-economy standards for large trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles, the latest in a series of efforts aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions and weaning the nation from its dependence on fossil fuels.

The new requirements affect a class of vehicles that includes school buses, large pickup trucks, delivery and passenger vans, garbage trucks and long-haul tractor-trailers. These heavy- and medium-duty vehicles represent only about 5 percent of total highway traffic but account for 20 percent of transportation-related fuel consumption and carbon emissions. Administration officials said they expect that when the new standards are fully implemented in coming years, they will cut more than 1 billion tons of carbon pollution from the atmosphere, save nearly $170 billion in fuel costs and reduce oil consumption by an estimated 84 billion gallons.

“The standards promote a new generation of cleaner, more fuel-efficient trucks by encouraging the development and employment of new and advanced cost-effective technologies through model year 2027,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, which developed the new rules in conjunction with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. “These standards are ambitious and achievable, and they will help ensure the American trucking industry continues to drive our economy — and at the same time protect our planet.”

The White House previously has undertaken efforts to curb pollution from cars and light trucks, aircraft, power plants and air conditioning and refrigeration units, in an effort to meet pledges to reduce overall emissions in the United States by at least 26 percent by the year 2030, compared with 2005 levels. During his first term, President Obama also put in place the first national policy to increase the fuel economy of medium- and heavy-duty trucks with model years between 2014 and 2018. Tuesday’s regulations build on those early measures.


We will see medium- and heavy-duty hybrid trucks in the near future,
as most of them are used in stop-and-go service, where hybrids excel.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 16, 2016, 01:33 PM (0 replies)

Life in Nauru detention: a dark, wretched Truman Show without the cameras

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/13/life-in-nauru-detention-a-dark-wretched-truman-show-without-the-cameras

There is horror in the Nauru files and then there is banality: countless records documenting squabbles between children, lost possessions, late buses and toilet blocks running out of soap. In the engineered society of an offshore immigration detention centre, there is drama, tedium and the unrelenting surveillance of Big Brother or The Truman Show – but without the cameras rolling.

The Nauru files catalogue an inordinate amount of suffering, abuse and anguish among the detained asylum seekers, but these are not the only stories. Because of the requirement that staff file reports on every classifiable incident, the thousands of entries document what everyday life is like in the dystopian world created by the Australian-backed companies running the camp.

How notable incidents were defined and graded was vague and changed over time. Strict reporting timeframes meant a worker sometimes had to choose between responding to a major incident and rushing to file a report within 30 minutes, to avoid a financial penalty to their organisation. As a result many incident reports designated “minor” make for horrifying reading

The files are littered with reports about children – in particular a core group of troubled kids under the age of 10 – fighting, throwing rocks and acting dangerously by leaning out of bus windows and running across the road. Much of it is mundane.




Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Aug 13, 2016, 02:00 AM (1 replies)

Another example of moral harm caused by a gun, this time in in Colorado:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10028093339
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 12, 2016, 02:44 PM (23 replies)

The Nauru Files: 2,000 Leaked Reports Reveal Scale of Abuse of Children

This is disgusting:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/aug/10/the-nauru-files-2000-leaked-reports-reveal-scale-of-abuse-of-children-in-australian-offshore-detention


More than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s detention camp for asylum seekers on the remote Pacific island of Nauru – totalling more than 8,000 pages – are published by the Guardian today. The Nauru files set out as never before the assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions endured by asylum seekers held by the Australian government, painting a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty...

..."The reports range from a guard allegedly grabbing a boy and threatening to kill him once he is living in the community to guards allegedly slapping children in the face. In September 2014 a teacher reported that a young classroom helper had requested a four-minute shower instead of a two-minute shower. “Her request has been accepted on condition of sexual favours. It is a male security person. She did not state if this has or hasn’t occurred. The security officer wants to view a boy or girl having a shower.”

Some reports contain distressing examples of behaviour by traumatised children. According to a report from September 2014, a girl had sewn her lips together. A guard saw her and began laughing at her. In July that year a child under the age of 10 undressed and invited a group of adults to insert their fingers into her vagina; in February 2015 a young girl gestured to her vagina and said a male asylum seeker “cut her from under”.

In the files there are seven reports of sexual assault of children, 59 reports of assault on children, 30 of self-harm involving children and 159 of threatened self-harm involving children.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Aug 12, 2016, 01:24 PM (1 replies)

Some inconvienent statistics for MA rifle ban supporters:

Per the FBI's Uniform Crime Report "Crime In The United States"

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s

Murder
by State, Type of Weapon

All figures are for Massachusetts

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_20.html

Rifles 1

Handguns 65

Knives or cutting instruments 31

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 14

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2008/data/table_20.html

Rifles 2

Handguns 59

Knives or cutting instruments 49

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 3

https://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_20.html

Rifles 2

Handgun 47

Knives or cutting instruments 40

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 7


https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10tbl20.xls

Rifles 0

Handguns 52

Knives or cutting instruments 50

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 10

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20

Rifles 0

Handguns 52

Knives or cutting instruments 30

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 9

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/20tabledatadecpdf

Rifles 0

Handguns 32

Knives or cutting instruments 33

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 6

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/table-20/table_20_murder_by_state_types_of_weapons_2013.xls

Rifles 2

Handguns 35

Knives or cutting instruments 41

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 7

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-20

Rifles 0

Handguns 33

Knives or cutting instruments 34

Hands, fists, feet, etc. 3

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 7, 2016, 01:39 AM (23 replies)

"NRA talking point(s)" is a thought-terminating cliché:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clich%C3%A9#Thought-terminating_clich.C3.A9

Thought-terminating cliché

In his 1961 book Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of "Brainwashing" in China psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton introduced the term "thought-terminating cliché". This refers to a cliché that is a commonly used phrase, or folk wisdom, sometimes used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the clichéd phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.

Lifton wrote:

"The language of the totalist environment is characterized by the thought-terminating cliché. The most far-reaching and complex of human problems are compressed into brief, highly reductive, definitive-sounding phrases, easily memorized and easily expressed. These become the start and finish of any ideological analysis."

In George Orwell's 1949 novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the fictional constructed language Newspeak is designed to eliminate the ability to express unorthodox thoughts. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World society uses thought-terminating clichés in a more conventional manner, most notably in regard to the drug soma as well as modified versions of real-life platitudes, such as "A doctor a day keeps the jim-jams away".

In her 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt described Adolf Eichmann as an intelligent man who used clichés and platitudes to justify his actions and the role he played in the Jewish genocide of World War II. For her, these phrases are symptomatic of an absence of thought. Arendt wrote, "When confronted with situations for which such routine procedures did not exist, he was helpless, and his cliché-ridden language produced on the stand, as it had evidently done in his official life, a kind of macabre comedy. Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence."
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Jul 26, 2016, 12:41 PM (12 replies)

US Senator Wyden: Why I had to halt FBI's latest internet spying push

Crossposted from Good Reads:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/28/wyden_blocks_intelligence_authorization_bill_to_stop_fbi_internet_surveillance/

US Senator Wyden: Why I had to halt FBI's latest internet spying push
28 Jun 2016 at 23:59,

US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has placed a hold on the 2017 Intelligence Authorization Bill – because it would allow the FBI to snoop on people's browser histories without a court order, and weakens oversight of the intelligence community.

The bill as it stands would allow the Feds to use National Security Letters (NSLs) – which don't require a court order – to monitor a suspect's internet activity, including which websites they visit and how long they stay on them...

..."When the Intelligence Committee considered this bill last month, I voted against it," he said on the Senate floor.

"While I respect the effort that the distinguished Chair and Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee have put into drafting this year's bill, it would dramatically and unnecessarily expand government surveillance authorities, and it would undermine independent oversight of America's intelligence agencies. So I have objected to this unanimous consent request."


Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jun 29, 2016, 12:39 AM (1 replies)
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