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ADDED ON EDIT: DUer bemildred came up with the idea first, and I'm just
running with it
I had called him "a better-armed, European version of Robert Mugabe"
in the following thread...
...whereupon the OP reminded me that Putin "...was elected in a free and fair vote".
The OP (among others) have repeatedly remarked upon Putin's public favorability
ratings. These reminded me of somebody- but who?
Then DUer bemildred gave the answer, here in the thread
Someone needs to explain the right’s adoration for Vladimir Putin because it’s creeping me out.
Do you remember when we all went bananas here over Raygun?
"The shining city on the hill" and all that right-wing jingo nationalist crap? Well, that's Putin in Russia. And right-wingers everywhere lap that stuff up.
The parallels are there:
*Enthusiastic Cold Warriors
*High levels of public approval, while those in opposition loathe them
*A predilection for unilateraism and armed intervention in nearby countries
*Nostalgia for "the good old days"
*Blatant, showy appeals to patriotism
*Most of the rest of the world despise them, while certain authoritarians
just luurve them. (Reagan had his non-USAian fans, most notably
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 31, 2014, 04:25 PM (24 replies)
Kudos to the Detroit Free Press:
...Nationally, more than $4.3 billion worth of property has been transferred to law enforcement since the program’s inception in fiscal year 1997, according to Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which oversees the Law Enforcement Support Office (or 1033) program out of its office in Battle Creek. More than 8,000 agencies participate nationwide.
Use this database to see where the military equipment is going by state and county and the type of items being received, The listed value of the items is what it would cost to buy them if they had not been donated.
Massachusetts counties got two of these:
..and one of these:
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 07:19 PM (11 replies)
How Boston Police Used Facial Recognition Technology to Spy on Thousands of Music Festival Attendees
...One of the reasons for a less physically imposing police presence may have been that the city was in the process of testing a pilot program for a massive facial recognition surveillance system on everyone at the concerts in both May and September. Using software provided by IBM that utilized existing security cameras throughout the area, the city tracked the thousands of attendees at the concert and in the vicinity, and filtered their appearance into data points which could then be cross-checked against certain identifying characteristics. And then... Well, what happens next is what makes this sort of thing so potentially troubling.
Slides provided to me by the Dig's Chris Faraone show how the system was meant to work, with the software capable of distinguishing people by such characteristics as baldness, eyeglasses, skin tone, torso texture, and beards which, considering this was an indie rock concert may have overloaded their servers. The data would then be transmitted to a hub, where city representatives, Boston Police, and IBM support staff could watch in real time, all while simultaneously monitoring social media key words related to the event. The purpose, ostensibly, was being able to pick up on suspicious activity as it was happening, for example “alerting when a person loiters near a doorway as they would if trying to gain entrance,” the slides explain, or alerting of “attempts to climb perimeter barricade,” or an “abandoned object near barricade.”
These seem like worthwhile things to be on the lookout for, but among the capabilities was one that seems particularly egregious and questionably necessary: “Face Capture of every person who approaches the door.”
The Boston Police Department denied having had anything to do with the initiative, but images provided to me by Kenneth Lipp, the journalist who uncovered the files, show Boston police within the monitoring station being instructed on its use by IBM staff.
The original Dig Boston article:
BOSTON TROLLING (PART I): YOU PARTIED HARD AT BOSTON CALLING AND THERE’S FACIAL RECOGNITION DATA TO PROVE IT
Dig Boston's follow-up:
BOSTON TROLLING (PART II): SMARTER CITY OR CITY UNDER SURVEILLANCE?
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Aug 23, 2014, 12:57 AM (2 replies)
BOSTON TROLLING (PART I): YOU PARTIED HARD AT BOSTON CALLING AND THERE’S FACIAL RECOGNITION DATA TO PROVE IT
Posted on August 7, 2014 by DIG STAFF
BY CHRIS FARAONE, KENNETH LIPP & JONATHAN RILEY
Nobody at either day of last year’s debut Boston Calling partied with much expectation of privacy. With an army of media photographers, selfie takers, and videographers recording every angle of the massive concert on Government Center, it was inherently clear that music fans were in the middle of a massive photo opp.
What Boston Calling attendees (and promoters, for that matter) didn’t know, however, was that they were all unwitting test subjects for a sophisticated new event monitoring platform. Namely, the city’s software and equipment gave authorities a live and detailed birdseye view of concertgoers, pedestrians, and vehicles in the vicinity of City Hall on May 25 and 26 of 2013 (as well as during the two days of a subsequent Boston Calling in September). We’re not talking about old school black and white surveillance cameras. More like technology that analyzes every passerby for height, clothing, and skin color.
Along with a dashboard that displays real-time alert data from social media and other nodes of input, city agencies captured thousands of faces using more than 10 cameras capable of intelligent video analysis. Their objective? To detect traffic congestion and suspicious objects, screen people for possible forensic identification purposes, and conduct real-time video analytics. Nevertheless, more than 50 hours of recordings — samples of which are highlighted herein as examples — remain intact today.
Dig reporters picked up on a scent leading to correspondence detailing the Boston Calling campaign while searching the deep web for keywords related to surveillance in Boston. Shockingly, these sensitive documents have been left exposed online for more than a year. Among them are memos written by employees of IBM, the outside contractor involved, presenting plans to use “Face Capture” on “every person” at the 2013 concert. Another defines a party of interest “as anyone who walks through the door”....
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Sat Aug 23, 2014, 12:27 AM (6 replies)
And what's left of the Left doesn't trust her any further than they can throw her
It takes a truly Olympian level of hubris to think that the same people who have nurtured
a visceral hatred of you for two decades will somehow come to love you because you
trashed Obama. I'm puzzled- perhaps she wants to be some sort of kingmaker for
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 12, 2014, 12:30 AM (57 replies)
A ruling that will piss off *two* sets of statist, authoritarian culture warriors for the price of one- Yay Judge Myron Thompson!
Alabama Abortion Clinic Law Ruled Unconstitutional
Posted: 08/04/2014 11:10 am EDT | Updated: 08/04/2014 11:59 am EDT
...Thompson said the state's argument that the admitting privilege requirement protects women's health is "exceedingly weak."
"In light of the safety of abortions, the rarity of serious complications, and the robust regulation and oversight of clinics in Alabama, the court is firmly convinced that the Birmingham, Mobile, and Montgomery clinics currently have strong complication-care policies in place and, when complications have arisen, they provided quality care to their patients," he wrote.
The judge concluded his 172-page decision by comparing abortion rights to gun rights in Alabama.
"Suppose, for the public weal, the federal or state government were to implement a new restriction on who may sell firearms and ammunition and on the procedure they must employ in selling such goods and that, further, only two vendors in the State of Alabama were capable of complying with the restriction: one in Huntsville and one in Tuscaloosa," Thompson wrote, referring to the locations of the two abortion clinics that would have been able to stay open. "The defenders of this law would be called upon to do a heck of a lot of explaining -- and rightly so in the face of an effect so severe."
It's worth reading the rather lengthy conclusion of the ruling for the reasoning behind this:
The constitutional rights recognized by the Supreme Court are often viewed as more, or less, important in our minds based on our subjective beliefs, which may be the
result of religion, personal philosophy, traditions, or experiences. This is simply an aspect of human nature, but it is an aspect this court must resist.
In deciding this case, the court was struck by a parallel in some respects between the right of women to decide to terminate a pregnancy and the right of the
individual to keep and bear firearms, including handguns, in her home for the purposes of self-defense. See McDonald v. City of Chicago, 561 U.S. 742 (2010)
(incorporating this right in the liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment due-process clause); District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570
(2008) (first recognizing this right as protected by the Second Amendment).
At its core, each protected right is held by the individual: the right to decide to have an
abortion and the right to have and use firearms for self-defense. However, neither right can be fully exercised without the assistance of someone else. The right to abortion cannot be exercised without a medical professional, and the right to keep and bear arms means
little if there is no one from whom to acquire the handgun or ammunition.
In the context of both rights, the Supreme Court recognizes that some regulation of the
protected activity is appropriate, but that other regulation may tread too heavily on the right. Compare Heller, 554 U.S. at 626 (“Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”) with Casey, 505 U.S. at 876 (“Not all burdens on the right to
decide whether to terminate a pregnancy will be undue.”).
Finally, as to each right, there are many who believe, as a matter of law, that the Supreme Court’s reasoning in articulating the right was incorrect and who also
believe, as a matter of strong moral or ethical convictions, that the activity deserves no constitutional protection.
With this parallelism in mind, the court poses the hypothetical that suppose, for the public weal, the federal or state government were to implement a new restriction on who may sell firearms and ammunition and on the procedure they must employ in selling such goods
and that, further, only two vendors in the State of Alabama were capable of complying with the restriction: one in Huntsville and one in Tuscaloosa. The defenders
of this law would be called upon to do a heck of a lot of explaining--and rightly so in the face of an effect so severe.
Similarly, in this case, so long as the Supreme Court continues to recognize a constitutional right to choose to terminate a pregnancy, any regulation that would, in effect, restrict the exercise of that right to only Huntsville and Tuscaloosa should be subject to the
same skepticism. See Strange, --- F. Supp. 2d at ----, 2014 WL 1320158 at *13 (“the more severe an obstacle a regulation creates, the more robust the government’s
justification must be”).
This court, as a trial court, should not be in the business of picking and choosing which Supreme Court-recognized right to enforce or in deciding whether
to enforce a right strongly or only somewhat, based on this court’s independent assessment of the legal or moral wisdom behind the acknowledgment of that right. While
this trial court may have the license, if not the obligation, to contribute its proverbial “two cents” to the discussion of whether the law ought to be different,
that voicing should in no way detract from this court’s obligation to assure 100 % enforcement of that law as it is. See Nelson v. Campbell, 286 F. Supp. 2d 1321 (M.D.
Ala. 2003) (Thompson, J.) (after discussing why it believed Eleventh Circuit law was incorrect, trial court still followed and applied that law), aff'd, Nelson v.
Campbell, 347 F.3d 910 (11th Cir. 2003), rev'd, Nelson v. Campbell, 541 U.S. 637 (2004).
Rather, like all trial courts, this court must be guided by one overarching principle: the rule of law. Just as the Supreme Court gave to the courts in the trenches their marching orders in Hellerand McDonald, it gave us our marching orders in Casey as well.
As the one Justice who signed onto both sets of marching orders has
stated: “The power of a court, the prestige of a court, the primacy of a court stand or fall by one measure and one measure alone: the respect accorded its judgments.”
Anthony M. Kennedy, Judicial Ethics and the Rule of Law,
40 St. Louis U. L.J. 1067 (1996). With this opinion today, this court, as it forges along as a soldier in the trenches carrying out orders from on high, puts its faith
in this statement and hopes that, in resolving the constitutional question before it, it has been faithful to the lofty command of the rule of law...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 5, 2014, 03:30 PM (6 replies)
EXCLUSIVE: Daily News analysis finds racial disparities in summons for minor violations in 'broken windows' policing
Summons for petty infractions are an element of 'broken windows' policing — and roughly 81% of the 7.3 million people hit with violations between 2001 and 2013 were black and Hispanic. Charges that the NYPD's execution of the policy is racially biased have intensified again since Eric Garner was killed July 17 during an attempted arrest for selling loose cigarettes.
BY Sarah Ryley , Laura Bult , Dareh Gregorian
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Monday, August 4, 2014, 2:00 AM
Every morning, hundreds of people line up at the city’s dingy summons courts, clutching pink tickets for such petty infractions as walking through the park after dark, bicycling on the sidewalk, drinking on the street and even spitting.
They are the human faces of the most prevalent but underscrutinized element of “broken windows” policing, a controversial crime-fighting strategy implemented in the 1990s that focuses on aggressively enforcing quality-of-life offenses to deter more serious ones. And these faces are overwhelmingly black and Hispanic men, a Daily News analysis of first-ever released summons statistics has found.
The number of summonses issued each year has soared since “broken windows” was implemented in the early 1990s — from 160,000 in 1993 to a peak of 648,638 in 2005. Although that number has fallen in recent years — to 431,217 last year and down an additional 17% so far this year — writing out violations still remains the most frequent activity of the New York City Police Department, far surpassing felony and misdemeanor arrests combined...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 5, 2014, 01:12 PM (1 replies)
Compromise Massachusetts gun bill heads to Legislature with tentative agreement on both sides
Shira Schoenberg | email@example.com By Shira Schoenberg | firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow on Twitter
on July 31, 2014 at 12:58 PM, updated July 31, 2014 at 2:18 PM
Update, 1:50 p.m.: The Gun Owners' Action League officially came out in support of the bill on Thursday afternoon.
BOSTON — House and Senate negotiators may have done the near-impossible on a bill reforming Massachusetts' gun laws: reached a compromise that pleases both advocates of gun rights and of gun control.
The main sticking point as the committee of conference was negotiating the bill, H. 4376 (read the full text of the bill at the end of this article), was whether to give local police chiefs discretion on whether to issue firearms identification cards, which are required to buy a shotgun or rifle....
...House Speaker Robert DeLeo, a Winthrop Democrat, in the gun bill he proposed, would have given police chiefs the same discretion for a shotgun license as for a handgun license. Pro-gun advocates objected, saying the provision gave too much power to local police chiefs to deny a gun license for no reason. The Senate stripped that provision from their bill, angering gun control advocates.
Late Wednesday night, a committee of conference released its final bill. The bill says that if a person meets the qualifications for a firearms identification card, but a police chief thinks the person is unsuitable for a license, the police chief has 90 days to petition the District Court, and a judge must sign off on the designation. The compromise essentially gives the police chiefs discretion, but shifts the burden of proof by requiring the police chiefs to prove a person is unsuitable.
And that will disappear once the first lawsuit is lost. As one commenter put it:
"The bill says that if a person meets the qualifications for a firearms identification card, but a police chief thinks the person is unsuitable for a license..."
USSC + Heller and Mcdonald = Whats the point? That will come crashing down as soon as the first lawsuit flies. Just a waste of taxpayers money trying to defend it. Do these people even take a millisecond to think about the bigger picture?
Why do you think the Gun Owners' Action League endorsed it? They know the denial
process won't withstand a challenge in Federal court.
Anyway, this bill has a lot of good points, including opening up the background check
system to private sellers and strengthening reporting requirements, and needs to become law.
Thankfully the Democratic Senate leadership told the prohibitionists/authority lovers
to sit down and STFU:
Attempt to broaden "may-issue" gets it in the slats in Massachusetts
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 31, 2014, 08:21 PM (4 replies)
...and Immigration Discussion thread
There now, I've put as many hot topics in one OP as I could think of...
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Jul 28, 2014, 02:54 PM (14 replies)
Also posted in the Civil Liberties group:
Published on Wednesday, July 23, 2014
by Common Dreams
Source Leaks Secret Guidelines for US Government "Watchlist"
Reporting by The Intercept reveals that individuals placed on government "watchlist" based on "reasonable suspicion"
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer
“A source within the intelligence community” has leaked the government’s secret guidebook to how it adds names to and manages its controversial terrorist “watchlist” and was published in full by The Intercept on Wednesday.
Reported by Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux, the 166-page document (pdf) issued by the National Counterterrorism Center—and titled “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance”—details the most up-to-date government rules for placing individuals on their main terrorism database, as well as the no-fly list and selectee list. It was developed by representatives from the nation's top military and intelligence bodies including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI.
According to the report, in 2013 the Obama administration “quietly approved a substantial expansion” of the watchlist system, “authorizing a secret process that requires neither ‘concrete facts’ nor ‘irrefutable evidence’ to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist.” It was developed behind closed doors by representatives of the nation’s intelligence, military, and law-enforcement establishment, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI.
Scahill and Devereaux report that the guidelines permit “the elastic concept of 'reasonable suspicion' as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat.”
The .pdf file is available at:
The Feds seem to think Orwell was writing a manual for governance. Wonder what
DU's own cult of personality will have say about this?
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 24, 2014, 05:38 PM (6 replies)