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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 38,702

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Fired US Nuclear Forces Commander Allegedly Made Counterfeit Poker Chips

Source: Business Insider

WASHINGTON (AP) — The admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips with paint and stickers to feed a gambling habit that eventually saw him banned from an entire network of casinos, according to a criminal investigative report obtained by The Associated Press.

Although Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina's removal as deputy head of U.S. Strategic Command was announced earlier this year, evidence of his possible role in manufacturing the counterfeit chips has not previously been revealed. Investigators said they found his DNA on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter genuine $1 poker chips to make them look like $500 chips. Nor had the Navy disclosed how extensively he gambled.

The records obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act show Giardina was a habitual poker player, spending a total of 1,096 hours — or an average of 15 hours per week — at the tables at the Horseshoe casino in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in the 18 months before being caught using three phony chips in June 2013.

He was such a familiar figure at the casino, across the Missouri River from his office near Omaha, Nebraska, that some there knew him as "Navy Tim." But they may not have known he was a three-star admiral and second-in-charge at Strategic Command, the military's nuclear war-fighting headquarters. Strategic Command also plays key roles in missile defense, cyberdefense, space operations and other functions.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/fired-us-nuclear-forces-commander-allegedly-broke-the-law-to-feed-his-gambling-addiction-2014-11


I've heard of degenerate gamblers, and I know there isn't a hell of a lot to do in Omaha with your free time, but seriously...This guy needed to get a new hobby...

Statistical breakdown of Snowden's leaks:

Note: These graphs account for the lowest and highest possible estimates of the number of files Snowden stole...Neither Greenwald nor Snowden have ever disclosed the exact number, only that it's supposedly way more than the Guardian, and way less than the DoD top estimate...

So What’s This About a Private NSA Document Reading Room?

I know, I know you’re tired of hearing about Snowden and Greenwald and Omidyar and First Look and I feel your pain, I really do. I want an end to this as much as you do, I do, but see we’re in the final, definitive stages of a historic event, the country’s first neoliberal whistleblowing. Yes, that’s right! I mean, look, here we have a public resource in the form of government documents affecting everyone on earth and paid for by the good people of the United States, the only complete cache of which has been effectively privatized, by a bunch of rich white people, mostly dudes, who are also touting the private sector as the vessel of our deliverance from state surveillance evil. Yay Apple! Yay Google! Yay Whisper Systems! All of it wrapped in a tightly controlled, corporate mediated, relentlessly commodified narrative that is as much, if not more, about the self-actualization of the whistleblower and members of his inner circle as the global violation of human rights by the United States government. If that’s not neoliberal, I’m Augusto Pinochet! To make matters even more disquieting, this is being presented as a grand act of disobedience, a leftist act of disobedience. Can you believe it?

Yes, apparently many of you can!

But sorry, I can’t. You know me! Purist. I expect words to mean things. Words like “left”, for instance. In my world, left presupposes a politics that are at least a little communal. This ain’t that. This is the opposite of that. To be honest, I don’t think I have seen anything defended as ardently by the anglophonic internet Left this year as Mr. Glenn Greenwald’s right to squeeze every last dime and every last ounce of social capital out of these leaks, unimpeded by questions or criticism. Nevertheless, as grimly interesting as I find this ingenius neoliberal colonizing of left imaginations, I would happily acquit myself of blogging about it if something remotely like journalism were happening on the left in regard to it.

Bu of course, that is the great paradox of this renaissance in transparency and investigatish journaling we are so lucky to be witnessing: its own near-complete immunity from investigative journalism!!! Even Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting can’t be bothered to raise any questions, let alone hard ones. Hell, FAIR’s Peter Hart even applauded Ryan Devereaux’s awful hit piece on Gary Webb. So as long as Team Omidyar keeps inadvertently trolling me with newsworthy bullshit, and people like Peter Hart still aren’t taking it up, I will struggle somewhat unsuccessfully to ignore it.


It's theoretically open for the general public, but Greenwald will still be the bouncer at the door...If anyone wants to see it, I hope they know the secret boys club handshake...

The Senate Kills Surveillance Reform and Glenn Greenwald Shrugs

The Senate yesterday buried—at least for now—surveillance reform, when Republican senators refused to allow the current draft of the measure to proceed to a vote. Glenn Greenwald has an interesting reaction to the legislative death of the grandiosely-named USA Freedom Act: It doesn’t matter. He writes, “it has been clear from the start that U.S. legislation is not going to impose meaningful limitations on the NSA’s powers of mass surveillance, at least not fundamentally.” Change, rather, is going to come from elsewhere: from the posture of the technology companies, from individual use of encryption, from policy decisions of countries other than the United States, and from court proceedings:

I find this argument a little perplexing coming from the man who considered the NSA’s bulk metadata program to be so important and so alarming that it was the very first program he broke in all of the documents Edward Snowden gave him.

Metadata can’t really be encrypted; it’s the information used to deliver content and thus has to be readable, after all. And the law as currently interpreted permits NSA to collect it in bulk. If one thinks this activity is offensive and important, one should not be too dismissive of legislative action to curtail it. Yet Greenwald suddenly does not sound quite so alarmed by the possibility that NSA would retain the authority to bulk collect metadata:

There is a real question about whether the defeat of this bill is good, bad, or irrelevant. To begin with, it sought to change only one small sliver of NSA mass surveillance (domestic bulk collection of phone records under section 215 of the Patriot Act) while leaving completely unchanged the primary means of NSA mass surveillance, which takes place under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, based on the lovely and quintessentially American theory that all that matters are the privacy rights of Americans (and not the 95% of the planet called “non-Americans”).

Huh. There’s a lot in this short passage to unpack, but focus for now just on Greenwald’s contemplation of the possibility that killing the USA Freedom Act might be a “good” thing and his dismissal of the metadata program as merely a “small sliver” of NSA mass surveillance. He even goes so far as to dismiss the end of bulk collection of phone records under Section 215 as no more than “mildly positive.” I don’t recall his reaction to the underlying program, at the time he revealed it, as only that bulk telephony metadata collection was mildly negative. I recall a slightly more breathless, outraged response. So what then are we to make of his now-casual dismissal of a bill to curtail the program—much less the entire reform mechanism, which is to say legislation, that would enable that curtailing? How can bulk metadata collection be an intolerable outrage and ending the 215 program be merely “mildly positive” or even a net negative?

One possibility is that Greenwald doesn’t know how to take yes for an answer. He is outraged by bulk metadata collection. Congress contemplates ending bulk metadata collection. So it suddenly fades in his mind in importance relative to outrages Congress is not addressing.


If you people don't want to believe me, or want to say I'm just too blinded by my Greenwald hatred, Wittes makes my case for me...

Or will you try to say now that Wittes of all people is some paid Pentagon authoritarian shill??

Erdogan vows to teach Turkish children Muslim discovery of Americas

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has instructed Turkey’s educational institutions to adopt a policy of highlighting the contribution of Islam to global science and arts, including the discovery of the American continent by Muslim sailors some 300 years before Columbus.

“I have to be clear that there is an important responsibility falling on the shoulders of our Education Ministry and YÖK . An objective writing of history will show the contribution of the East, the Middle East and Islam to the science and arts. As the president of my country, I cannot accept that our civilization is inferior to other civilizations,” Erdoğan said in his address to students at the opening of a religious school in Ankara on Nov. 18.

He also slammed criticisms from columnists and cartoonists mocking his claims that Muslim sailors discovered the Americas and constructed a mosque in Cuba centuries before Columbus.

“Why ? Because they have never believed that a Muslim can do such a thing. They have never believed that their ancestors could manage to launch ships in the Golden Horn after transporting them across land,” Erdoğan said, referring to Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II’s conquest of Istanbul in 1453.

“They have never believed that their ancestors ended the Dark Age and opened the New Age. That’s a lack of self-confidence,” he added.


It's evident that people are trying to send us a very clear message on Ferguson

The KKK, LEO message boards, gun nutter message boards, the media, the FBI, the governor, the list goes on...All have been in the national media this past week predicting in no uncertain terms a Nat Turneresque uprising, if not an armed rebellion in place of the mere "riot" (so it's only natural that they need to arm themselves to the teeth and "monitor" our situation lest things get too much out of hand)...You know who rarely gets interviewed anymore? The black folks who actually live in Ferguson...

Is there any doubt that fear of black folks and what we may or may not do has completely overridden any sane discussion of the case? Because right now the cops and patriotic white gunners are so primed, I can easily see them opening fire on a crowd of us the second somebody drops their car keys or reaches for their cellphone...

Are all these messages in the media supposed to discourage black folks to protest lest we get caught up in a massacre??

The Senate rejected a bill to limit NSA spying. Here's what you need to know.

The original version of the USA Freedom Act, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) in October 2013, had a number of provisions on the wish lists of civil liberties groups. But by the time the legislation was approved by the House of Representatives in May 2014, it had been watered down so much that leading civil liberties groups opposed it.

So, in July, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced his own version of the USA Freedom Act in the Senate. It is less radical than the original USA Freedom Act, but places more limits on the NSA than the legislation approved by the House.

Debate over the USA Freedom Act has focused on the best way to rein in bulk collection of Americans' phone records. The Senate version of the legislation requires any collection of phone records to focus on a suitably narrow "selector" — a search term that identifies an individual, phone line, or other specific entity.

The Senate bill would also take some other steps to make the NSA's activities more transparent and accountable. Right now, when the government asks the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to approve surveillance activities, there is no one around to present opposing arguments. The Senate bill would change that by creating several new positions for public advocates who could participate in FISC proceedings.


(LOL at Rand Paul and his nutbar fanboys...)

NSA spying bill stalls in Senate vote

Source: USA Today

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance a bill that would stop the National Security Agency from collecting the phone records of millions of Americans who are not suspected of any crime.

Senators voted 58-42 in favor of a motion to allow the USA Freedom Act to come to an up or down vote in the Senate. The motion required 60 votes to pass. The bill is effectively dead for this year and is unlikely to be revived when the new Congress convenes in January. However, the controversial NSA program will most likely be debated again next year as Congress decides whether to renew sections of the Patriot Act anti-terrorism law that are set to expire in June.

The Freedom Act would have brought an end to the NSA's mass collection of phone data more than a year after the program was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden's revelations outraged both liberal and conservative lawmakers, who decried the NSA's "big brother" snooping on innocent Americans. But some analysts said that anger has lessened as terrorist threats against the USA by the Islamic State and other extremist groups have gained attention.

"In the past five or six months, we have witnessed heightened U.S. national security concerns with terrorist threats, geopolitical problems, and cybersecurity challenges from Russia and China," said David Fidler, professor of law at Indiana University's Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research. "Addressing these concerns requires strong American intelligence and surveillance capabilities — creating the potential for stronger opposition to the Snowden-inspired reforms today than existed only a few months ago."

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2014/11/18/leahy-usa-freedom-act-nsa-spying/19222895/

So how's that "Stand with Rand" thing working out for y'all? Funny how for all the big talk, spotlight whoring and bluster, Sen. Paul is the usual gutless wonder when the moment of truth arrives...

Ben Ray Luján named new head of DCCC

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi announced Monday that she had tapped Rep. Ben Ray Lujan to head the campaign committee and try to get the party back on track after a drubbing in midterm elections.

The 42-year-old Lujan, who would be the first Hispanic to hold the post, will succeed New York Rep. Steve Israel as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The midterms of President Barack Obama's second term were widely expected to be tough for Democrats, but the party had an even tougher going as Republicans claimed a commanding majority and captured seats in typically favorable states such as New York, Illinois and Maine.

Democrats lost at least a dozen seats and Republicans should hold 246 in the next Congress, the most in nearly 70 years.

Lujan told reporters at a news conference that the 2016 presidential election year should be more favorable.

"We will be on the offensive to put the majority in play," he said.


Virginia woman accused of attempting to aid Islamic State

Federal authorities have arrested and charged a Henrico County, Va., woman who they say wrote Facebook posts supportive of the Islamic State and offered to help someone connect with the terrorist group in Syria, court documents show.

Heather Elizabeth Coffman, 29, is charged with making a false statement regarding an offense involving international or domestic terrorism. Coffman, it seems, was caught in a sting and unknowingly offered to help an undercover FBI agent connect someone with the Islamic State in Syria, according to a federal affidavit. Authorities say she lied to investigators who were looking into her support of the extremist group.

The case seems to be another example of the Islamic State’s robust presence on social media and the influence it is having on Americans. Two months ago, a 19-year-old from suburban Denver pleaded guilty to trying to help the terrorist organization after she tried to board a flight to reach Turkey. She reportedly was trying to connect with a man she met online. And last month, three teenage girls from the Denver area were detained at an airport in Germany and questioned about possibly trying to join the Islamic State. A school official said the girls were victims of an “online predator.”

It is unclear what cultivated Coffman’s interest in the Islamic State or whether she possessed the means to connect anyone with the group.

Mark Henry Schmidt, Coffman’s defense attorney, said the young woman was born and raised in the United States, lived with her parents and cared for her 7-year-old child. He said that he was unaware of any tangible foreign connection, and initially the case seemed to him one of “Facebook going badly.”

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