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East Coast Pirate

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Member since: Tue May 15, 2012, 02:33 PM
Number of posts: 775

Journal Archives

US to start arming Syrian rebels, but will it make much difference?

Now that the White House says it has determined with “high certainty” that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its people, the United States is planning to send small arms and ammunition to rebel groups there.

Analysts and high-ranking military officials within the Pentagon, however, are warning that this plan may have dangerous and unintended consequences, including drawing the United States into another war in the Middle East.

Arming rebels may also be of questionable strategic value, some senior US military officials argue, although they add that other military options – notably a no-fly zone –would come with serious concerns as well.

Chemical weapons 101: Six facts about sarin and Syria’s stockpile

Syria “is awash in weapons,” says one senior Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The main thing is, will it make a difference?”

More: http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2013/0615/US-to-start-arming-Syrian-rebels-but-will-it-make-much-difference
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Sat Jun 15, 2013, 09:35 AM (3 replies)

Elizabeth Warren Free Trade Letter Calls For Trans-Pacific Partnership Transparency

WASHINGTON-- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama's nominee to head U.S. trade negotiations, expressing concerns about the administration's lack of transparency in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade deal being negotiated largely in secret.

Labor unions, public health advocates and environmental groups have long decried so-called free trade policies for undermining important regulationsin the pursuit of corporate profits. The letter signals that Warren's tough stance on bank regulation extends to other major consumer and public interest matters.

What the public does know about the TPP has been learned through leaked documents. According to those documents, the Obama administration is seeking to grant corporations the ability to directly challenge regulations in countries involved in the talks -- a political power that was typically reserved for sovereign nations until the 1990s. Obama opposed such policies as a presidential candidate in 2008. The leaked intellectual property chapter of the deal includes provisions that would increase the costs of life-saving medicines in poor countries.

Warren's letter does not take issue with specific terms of the negotiations, but rather the secrecy surrounding the process. Members of Congress have been allowed to see TPP negotiation texts. Some have said they were insulted by the complex administrative procedures the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, or USTR, imposed to actually access the texts--barriers not imposed on unelected corporate advisers.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/elizabeth-warren-free-trade-letter_n_3431118.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Fri Jun 14, 2013, 06:38 AM (0 replies)

To Avoid Gun Control Loss, NJ Dems Halt Vote in Progress - Video @ 1 min.

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Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu Jun 13, 2013, 03:29 PM (1 replies)

Vladimir Putin defends the U.S. on spying programs, drones and Occupy Wall Street

Russian President Vladimir Putin called the massive U.S. surveillance programs, revealed last week by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, “generally practicable” and “the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism.” His comments, made in a far-ranging interview to the state-backed news network RT, seemed to defend programs that have been deeply controversial in the United States and much of Europe,offering an endorsement that the Obama administration is probably not thrilled to receive.

He said of the New York city police response to Occupy Wall Street, in a comment that seemed consistent with much of his sympathy toward controversial U.S. programs, “That's the way it's done in the U.S., and that's the way it's done in Russia.” That’s not really true, of course - the United States doesn’t sentence people who sing anti-Obama songs to labor camps - but it is unlikely to convince many U.S. critics of NSA or drone programs.

“He told us nothing we didn't know before,” Putin said of Snowden, apparently declining the opportunity to criticize the United States, a surprising move given his government’s sometimes stringent attacks on U.S. policy, for example during the recent controversy over American adoptions of Russian children.

Putin explained that government “surveillance of individuals and organizations,” like that revealed by Snowden, “is becoming a global phenomenon in the context of combating international terrorism, and such methods are generally practicable.” He allowed that “security agencies” must be “controlled by the public” and that tapping phones should require court approval (the NSA is required to ask a court’s permission for each case, although that court has never actually said no). With such oversight, Putin said, “That's more or less the way a civilized society should go about fighting terrorism with modern-day technology. As long as it is exercised within the boundaries of the law that regulates intelligence activities, it's alright.”

More: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/06/13/vladimir-putin-defends-the-u-s-on-spying-programs-drones-and-occupy-wall-street/
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu Jun 13, 2013, 02:59 PM (27 replies)

Was Daniel Ellsberg a traitor?

Daniel Ellsberg On NSA Spying: 'We're A Turnkey Away From A Police State'

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Famed Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg had harsh words for the Obama Administration during an event here Tuesday evening, charging that the rapid expansion of government surveillance since 9/11 has left the country "a turnkey away from a police state."

"We're not a police state yet, but the foundation has been set," he continued. "It could happen overnight."

Ellsberg, 82, is a former military analyst who became one of the most famous men in America when he leaked a top-secret government report on the Vietnam War to The New York Times in 1971. He has since been a patron saint to the civil liberties movement and is viewed by many as a predecessor of modern-day leakers like Bradley Manning and now Edward Snowden, the man who recently released evidence of the National Security Agency's covert phone records collection and Internet data mining.

Speaking at a panel discussion on "our vanishing civil liberties" organized by the Berkeley chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the anti-war activist group Code Pink, Ellsberg argued that recent revelations of the large-scale collection of Internet and cell phone data should be of grave concern to all Americans.

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/12/daniel-ellsberg-nsa-spying_n_3429694.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Thu Jun 13, 2013, 06:38 AM (21 replies)

More Americans see man who leaked NSA secrets as 'patriot' than traitor: Poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Roughly one in three Americans say the former security contractor who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance activity is a patriot and should not be prosecuted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Some 23 percent of those surveyed said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor while 31 percent said he is a patriot. Another 46 percent said they did not know.

Snowden, 29, revealed last week that the NSA is monitoring a wide swath of telephone and Internet activity as part of its counterterrorism efforts.

"I'm neither traitor nor hero. I'm an American," Snowden told the South China Post, an English-language newspaper in Hong Kong, in an interview published on Wednesday.

More: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/12/us-usa-security-poll-idUSBRE95B1AF20130612
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jun 12, 2013, 07:39 PM (7 replies)

It's time to adopt Paycheck Fairness Act

By Elizabeth Warren

Last weekend, I was looking for a picture I wanted to show my daughter, and pulled out a box of old photographs from a shelf in the basement. The pictures of my mother and my aunts were wonderful—old hairstyles, dresses with big petticoats and hats-and-gloves for going out. As we sifted through the pictures, I thought about how life had changed for women over the last fifty years. Women doctors and scientists, women union leaders and small business owners. I also thought about how life had not changed. Across the board, women still earn less than men.

When President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law in 1963, women earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man. While the wage gap has narrowed somewhat since then, women today still earn only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. Over their careers, that means they take home hundreds of thousands of dollars less than men. For middle class families, it takes two incomes to get by these days, and many families depend as much, if not more, on Mom’s salary as they do on Dad’s. And for single-parent households, lower salaries make it that much harder to stay afloat.

The wage gap also compounds the nation’s student debt problem. Although women and men borrow roughly the same amount of money to pay for college, women only make 82 cents on the dollar compared to men one year after graduating. This means that as a percentage of income, many young women bear a greater student loan debt burden than young men. In an already difficult job market, with student loan debt at an all-time high, unequal pay compounds the challenges young women face.

It’s clear that making sure women receive equal pay for equal work is a key part of our work to rebuild our economy and strengthen America’s middle class. We need to focus on creating a level playing field to help working women earn what they’re worth.

More: http://www.masslive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/06/viewpoint_its_time_to_adopt_pa.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jun 12, 2013, 07:17 PM (1 replies)

Storms Capable of Producing Derecho Possible in Midwest Today

Source: bloomberg

Storms capable of producing high wind, hail and possibly a derecho may sweep across the Midwest and Ohio Valley today, an area including Chicago and Indianapolis, the U.S. Storm Prediction Center said.

-snip-

There’s a chance of a derecho, a widespread, damaging wind storm, from Iowa to western Ohio and northern Kentucky, the center said.

“Models indicate the main corridor for widespread damage will be from northern Illinois into northern and central Indiana and into Ohio,” Ryan Jewell, a forecaster at the center, said in an analysis. “However, if the system grows larger than expected, other areas could be under greater threat, such as northern Kentucky, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.”

A derecho swept through the Midwest into the mid-Atlantic a year ago, knocking out power to 1.9 million people in 10 states and the District of Columbia. It killed at least 18 people, according the Associated Press.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/storms-capable-of-producing-derecho-possible-in-midwest-today.html
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jun 12, 2013, 09:26 AM (28 replies)

Storms Capable of Producing Derecho Possible in Midwest Today

Storms capable of producing high wind, hail and possibly a derecho may sweep across the Midwest and Ohio Valley today, an area including Chicago and Indianapolis, the U.S. Storm Prediction Center said.

Almost 20 million people live in the region where severe thunderstorms may occur as the weather system grows, according to the storm center in Norman, Oklahoma.

There’s a chance of a derecho, a widespread, damaging wind storm, from Iowa to western Ohio and northern Kentucky, the center said.

“Models indicate the main corridor for widespread damage will be from northern Illinois into northern and central Indiana and into Ohio,” Ryan Jewell, a forecaster at the center, said in an analysis. “However, if the system grows larger than expected, other areas could be under greater threat, such as northern Kentucky, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania.”

A derecho swept through the Midwest into the mid-Atlantic a year ago, knocking out power to 1.9 million people in 10 states and the District of Columbia. It killed at least 18 people, according the Associated Press.

More
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jun 12, 2013, 08:39 AM (2 replies)

TEDGlobal welcomes robot cockroaches



The insects, intended as a neuroscience learning tool, are controlled via a mobile phone.

The Technology, Entertainment and Design conference specialises in showcasing new technologies.

The theme of this year's conference is "think again", and the line-up of speakers is diverse, including a monk and a self-styled gentleman thief.

Among the technology on offer this year will be RoboRoach, the brainchild of neuroscientist Greg Gage.

More
Posted by East Coast Pirate | Wed Jun 12, 2013, 07:16 AM (2 replies)
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