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News & Opinion
NAACP Seeks DOJ Intervention in Martin Case, Targets 'Stand Your Ground' Laws
As part of the NAACP campaign to get the Justice Department to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman. Jealous urged Americans to sign a petition to Attorney General Eric Holder that reads:The Department of Justice has closely monitored the State of Florida’s prosecution of the case against George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin murder since it began. Today, with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, it is time for the Department of Justice to act.
The most fundamental of civil rights—the right to life—was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation.
Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.
Marissa Alexander Gets 20 Years For Firing Warning Shot (VIDEO)
TAMPA, Fla. -- Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but this month a northeast Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison.
Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of a toddler and 11-year-old twins, knew it was coming. She had claimed self-defense, tried to invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law and rejected plea deals that could have gotten her a much shorter sentence. A jury found her guilty as charged: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because she fired a gun while committing a felony, Florida's mandatory-minimum gun law dictated the 20-year sentence.
Elizabeth Warren's Long Game Against Wall StreetAnother surprising piece from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones.
But there's a third theory. It's the one that acknowledges that Senator Warren is, pound-for-pound, one of the smartest and savviest legislators in Congress, and imputes to her a far more complicated motive than simple attention-seeking or "gesture politics."
It's the long-game theory.
This theory says that Senator Warren isn't trying to change individual laws, so much as move the entire political discussion of the financial sector to a different rhetorical arena and force other legislators to join her there. In this theory, Warren's anti-bank bills and activism aren't meant mainly for her constituents in Massachusetts, for the Internet audience, or even for Wall Street. They're directed to her fellow legislators. And their message is simple: On issues involving Wall Street, the center isn't where you think it is.
The Doubters Are Wrong: Edward Snowden Is a Game-ChangerGreenwald.
[...]It's one thing to know about this stuff in broad strokes. It's quite another to have specific, documented details. That's what Snowden has given us, and it makes a big difference in public debate.
This is how change happens. The public gets hit over the head with something, lawmakers are forced to take notice, and maybe, just maybe, Congress holds oversight hearings and decides to change the law. There's no guarantee that will happen this time, but it might. And regardless of how "new" Edward Snowden's revelations have been, we have him to thank for this.
Latest Effort to Distract Attention From the NSA Revelations Is More Absurd Than Most
I made three points in this La Nacion interview, all of which are true and none of which has anything remotely to do with threats:
1) The oft-repeated claim that Snowden's intent is to harm the US is completely negated by the reality that he has all sorts of documents that could quickly and seriously harm the US if disclosed, yet he has published none of those.
2) The US government has acted with wild irrationality. The current criticism of Snowden is that he's in Russia. But the reason he's in Russia isn't that he chose to be there. It's because the US blocked him from leaving: first by revoking his passport (with no due process or trial), then by pressuring its allies to deny airspace rights to any plane they thought might be carrying him to asylum (even one carrying the democratically elected president of a sovereign state), then by bullying small countries out of letting him land for re-fueling.
Given the extraordinary amount of documents he has and their sensitivity, I pointed out in the interview that it is incredibly foolish for the US government to force him to remain in Russia. From the perspective of the US government and the purported concerns about him being in Russia, that makes zero sense given the documents he has.
3) I was asked whether I thought the US government would take physical action against him if he tried to go to Latin America or even force his plane down. That's when I said that doing so would be completely counter-productive given that—as has been reported before—such an attack could easily result in far more disclosures than allowing us as journalists to vet and responsibly report them, as we've doing. As a result of the documents he has, I said in the interview, the US government should be praying for his safety, not threatening or harming it.
Welcome Home From the Wars, Drones!Bill Moyers.
I mean, come on. You knew it had to happen, didn’t you? In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, wrested from the bowels of the secrecy/surveillance state (thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation), the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their small fleet of surveillance drones. The purpose: to “immobilize TOIs,” or targets of interest, along the U.S.-Mexican border. Those arms would, of course, be “non-lethal” in nature. It’s all so civilized. Kinda like the Star Trek folks putting their phasers on “stun,” not kill. And count on it, sooner or later it will happen. And then, of course, the lethal weapons will follow. Otherwise, how in the world could we track and eliminate terrorists in “the homeland” efficiently?
All of this comes under the heading of self-fulfilling prophecy. You create and take to your battle zones a wonder weapon that, according to the promotional materials, will make the targeting of human beings so surgically precise it might even end the war on terror as we know it. (Forget the fact that, in the field, drones turn out, according to the latest military study of Afghanistan, to be far less precise than manned aircraft if you’re measuring by how many civilians are knocked off, how much “collateral damage” is done.) Anyway, you use that weapon ever more profligately on distant battlefields in distant wars. You come to rely on it, even if it doesn’t exactly work as advertised. And then, like the soldiers you sent into the same war zones (who didn’t exactly work as advertised either), the weaponry begins to come home.
Marty Kaplan on the Weapons of Mass Distraction
Media scholar Marty Kaplan points to a number of forces keeping these issues and affected citizens in the dark — especially our well-fed appetite for media distraction.
“We have unemployment and hunger and crumbling infrastructure and a tax system out of whack and a corrupt political system — why are we not taking to the streets?” Kaplan asks Bill. “I suspect among your viewers, there are people who are outraged and want to be at the barricades. The problem is that we have been taught to be helpless and jaded rather than to feel that we are empowered and can make a difference.”
When A Teen's 'Sarcastic' Facebook Message Goes Terribly Wrong
A woman in Canada was alarmed by Carter's questionable comment and notified authorities. Carter's home was then searched (although no weapons were found) and his computer was taken. The teen spent his 19th birthday in jail; this is the first time he's been incarcerated.
A jury in Texas' Comal County charged the teenager with making a terroristic threat in April, which is considered a third-degree felony. That means Carter could spend ten years in jail for the Facebook comment. The judge also gave him an unusually high bond, $500,000, which his family can't afford to pay.
Carter's trial is beginning this month but in the meantime, the teen's father says his son has fallen into a deep depression.
Melissa Harris-Perry Scolds Edward Snowden, And Glenn Greenwald Isn't Pleased (VIDEO)
In an open letter posted to her website, and on her TV show Saturday, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry chastised NSA leaker Edward Snowden for making "a spectacle of himself."
Harris-Perry argued that by hopping from country to country in his attempt to gain asylum, Snowden is making himself into a bigger news story than the NSA surveillance practices his leaks revealed. The only way to remedy the situation, she wrote, is by coming home and facing the consequences of his actions:
Launching Soon: FearlessMedia.org, the website of the Center for Accountability Journalism
Journalists are supposed to fight misinformation and hold the powerful accountable. When we fail, like we've been doing a lot lately, the consequences are grave: How can a democracy self-correct when it doesn't get the real story about what the people in charge are doing? How do we solve problems like climate change and income inequality if the press lets itself be distracted and spun by the powerful and the self-interested?
The nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Accountability Journalism -- operating as a project of the Investigative News Network -- will serve as an aggregator and amplifier of great accountability journalism. That means we'll champion gutsy reporting from mainstream and independent sources, explain its significance, put it in context, follow it up, build on it, and keep important questions from falling off the radar. But we'll also point out areas where the media has been too inattentive, too credulous, or too easily confused. We'll connect dots that have been left unconnected. And we'll establish best practices for writing about contentious issues with authority, rather than simply presenting conflicting he-said/she-said arguments and leaving readers baffled and under-informed.
I'm really sorry, @mharrisperry, that I forced you to talk about Snowden & barred you from discussing our multiple NSA revelations— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 13, 2013
@ggreenwald Talk show hosts can talk about whatever they want. I do it every day -- and haven't felt compelled to discuss distractions.— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) July 14, 2013
I'm really worried about this, and where it's going.
In Bid to Placate Legacy Media, DOJ Moves Closer to Instituting Official Press
The First Amendment was written, in part, to eliminate the kind of official press that parrots only the King’s sanctioned views. But with its revised “News Media Policies,” DOJ gets us closer to having just that, an official press.
That’s because all the changes laid out in the new policy (some of which are good, some of which are obviously flawed) apply only to “members of the news media.” They repeat over and over and over and over, “news media.” I’m not sure they once utter the word “journalist” or “reporter.” And according to DOJ’s Domestic Investigation and Operations Guide, a whole slew of journalists are not included in their definition of “news media.”
@lawscribe As you can imagine, I (not a lawyer, btw) have had MANY interesting convos on credential, post-Libby. They WANT an editor.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) July 13, 2013
NYT is a month or so behind on this story, but it's good that they pick up on it. Hackers used to find security problems with software and report it to the software company. Now they sell that information and the U.S. is the bigger buyer and our "cybersecurity" army uses them to exploit the holes and attack computers using that hole. Now that nations have decided that the internet is their virtual battlefield, and citizens like us are on that battlefield where they plan to wage war against each other, what will happen to the internet? Will they wreck it? It's not enough that our military wages covert war in any country they choose, now they are rushing to the latest, coolest, most profitable form of war. Generals like Keith Alexander dress up in jeans and t-shirts and show up at Defcon hackers conventions. All in the name of national security and another war on terrorism. Are we safer now because of their protection? Hell no. It's just another territory to conquer and we've seen the documents about how our govt. wants to own the internet. We've seen another document leaked by Snowden with a list of targets to attack, not a list of things that need to be defended.
Nations Buying as Hackers Sell Flaws in Computer CodePat Lang. What a freaking mess in Syria. The Gulf states and the US created an organization that was supposed to be a transitional govt. in Syria. The general of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) is part of that organization, though the jihadists have said from the start that they don't know who he is and don't follow his direction. Now it looks like they've completely turned on him and whatever the actual FSA is. A situation out of control.
On the tiny Mediterranean island of Malta, two Italian hackers have been searching for bugs — not the island’s many beetle varieties, but secret flaws in computer code that governments pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn about and exploit.
The hackers, Luigi Auriemma, 32, and Donato Ferrante, 28, sell technical details of such vulnerabilities to countries that want to break into the computer systems of foreign adversaries. The two will not reveal the clients of their company, ReVuln, but big buyers of services like theirs include the National Security Agency — which seeks the flaws for America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons — and American adversaries like the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.
All over the world, from South Africa to South Korea, business is booming in what hackers call “zero days,” the coding flaws in software like Microsoft Windows that can give a buyer unfettered access to a computer and any business, agency or individual dependent on one.
"A Salafi shindig" The EconomistMoon of Alabama is expert on the propaganda that has driven this war (has nailed it from the start) and has a slightly different take.
The jihadis in Syria have now declared that the FSA are as much the enemy as the Syrian government. They have backed that up by killing one of the senior leaders of the FSA and declaring in telephone calls that they intend to kill all the lleaders of the FSA in order to insure the creation of an Islamic emirate in Syria. The Afghan Taliban have set up a base in Syria. Jihadis are pouring int othe country.
At the same time Russia has now formally accused the US, Britain and France of obstructing the work of a UN mission sent to Syria to discover the truth about the use of Sarin gas. Syria has invited the UN in and the UN has accepted the offer.
Does Obama really want to go down the road of arming our jihadi enemies? Does Congress wish to allow him to do so? pl
Syria: The "Moderate" Insurgents
Congress has so far blocked any official U.S. supplies. To change the opinion of some Congress leaders the war on Syria must now be redefined. From the left of the stage now appears the "moderate rebel". Instead of asking for weapons to fight the "bloody dictator" the "moderate rebel" will now request weapons to fight the "dangerous terrorists" with whom they have partnered all along.
We therefor now read about Pakistani Taliban setting up shop in Syria and can see some insurgents raise a monster size white "Taliban flag" at the Turkish-Syrian border. Suddenly there are many, many, many reports about strife between the "moderate" insurgents and the "terrorists" [...]
At least some of these stories are false. But they will be used for a new push to arm the "moderate" insurgents.
PETITION WRITTEN BY DANIEL ELLSBERG, THE WHISTLEBLOWER BEHIND THE PENTAGON PAPERS
Stop Watching Us.
Massive Spying Program Exposed
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
DOD says Gitmo hunger strike downward trend has continued after peaking at 106: 96 participants Sat, down from 102 Fri, 104 Thur, 106 Wed— Charlie Savage (@charlie_savage) July 13, 2013
Nader, 1970: "Data banks" might prevent people from "speaking out and blowing the whistle against the system." http://t.co/...— Micah Zenko (@MicahZenko) July 13, 2013
2007: 40% said president should focus on foreign policy, 39% domestic policy; 2013: 6% FP, 83% domestic policy. http://t.co/...— Micah Zenko (@MicahZenko) July 13, 2013
New + important Air Force report: "[Drones] will increase significantly in the coming decade." http://t.co/...— Micah Zenko (@MicahZenko) July 13, 2013
Among a grab bag of horrible candidates the White House is vetting for DHS job are Joe Lieberman & Mike Rogers (R-MI) http://t.co/...— Howie Klein (@downwithtyranny) July 14, 2013
My first thoughts on the Zimmerman verdict. http://t.co/... More to come.— jelani cobb (@jelani9) July 14, 2013
In Germany, NSA spying becoming key political issue; opposition parties demanding firmer action from Merkel admin: http://t.co/...— Ryan Gallagher (@rj_gallagher) July 14, 2013
For those who haven't seen it: Reuters wildly distorted out of context my comments to La Nacion about Snowden's docs http://t.co/...— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) July 14, 2013
Watch this clip! America's propaganda machine is upset Snowden is able to tell his side of the story. http://t.co/...— Kevin Mitnick (@kevinmitnick) July 14, 2013
Must Follow -> RT @JasonLeopold Taking FOIA terrorism to another level— Daniel Wright (@DanSWright) July 14, 2013
We live in a post-justice society not a post-race one.— Angelique (@Zinc323) July 14, 2013
JK Rowling secretly wrote a book under a different name. How very Half-Blood Prince of her. http://t.co/...— The Dark Lord (@Lord_Voldemort7) July 14, 2013
Some Egyptian press reports suggest US Navy ships are near Arabian Peninsula/Suez Canal to invade Egypt. Those reports are absolutely wrong.— George Little (@PentagonPresSec) July 13, 2013
Can't be too careful after US-backed military coup in Egypt: Turkish Lawmakers Move to Curb Army’s Political Power http://t.co/...— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) July 14, 2013
The Godfather - Connie's Wedding