Well as we all know last night was a disaster for Democrats and most of the blame can be placed on the feet of the party that choose to run as Republican light, rather than as Progressive Liberals. However, there are a few rays of sunlight. For example:
DENTON (AP) — Voters in the oil-rich North Texas city of Denton voted Tuesday to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing, upsetting a campaign backed by big oil and gas companies opposing the measure.
The vote made Denton, which sits atop a large natural gas reserve, the first city in Texas to pass such a ban.
With early returns indicating the ban passed with nearly 60 percent of the vote
Not too much information at the moment but it looks like DOJ is continuing its war on whistleblowers, despite apparently 'not having the appetite' for it:
FBI Raids 'Second Snowden':
FBI agents have reportedly raided the home of the 'second leaker' the individual thought to be a government contractor continuing the work of Edward Snowden by leaking classified documents to the press.
Investigators executed a search warrant at a property in Northern Virginia with federal prosecutors opening a criminal investigation, according to journalists at the heart of the Snowden affair who cite law enforcement and intelligence sources.
It follows the leaking of NSA documents listing over one million names collected on the government's secret terrorist watchlist called the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE).
Many of you may remember the (not too uncommon story) of SWAT serving a no-knock warrant over a supposed 50 dollars worth of meth, and ended up flash-banging a babies nose off.
See this diary by jpmassar for the story and the disturbing injuries caused by SWAT.
Over the weekend the news broke that a hacker had obtained the nude images of over 100 female celebrities, and had released many onto the internet with the promise of much more to come. Current speculation is that the hack was made possible by a flaw in the Apple ICloud
After the massive photo leak that exposed nude pictures of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and dozens more, Apple is looking into a vulnerability in its iCloud service that could have allowed hackers to obtain the images.
The Telegraph in London reported that hackers gained access to the photos by breaking into the women's iCloud accounts. Apple has apparently already fixed a bug in its "Find My iPhone" app that may have caused vulnerability.
The iCloud service allows users to store their information in a virtual database. Information that can be saved in the iCloud includes contacts, personal messages and photos
ArsTechnica has a new story up on the NSA documents released in this Intercept article. I will quote from both throughout.
According to newly published documents, the National Security Agency has built a “Google-like” search interface for its vast database of metadata, and the agency shares it with dozens of other American intelligence agencies. The new documents are part of the Snowden leaks and were first published on Monday by The Intercept.
The new search tool, called ICREACH, is described in an internal NSA presentation as a “large scale expansion of communications metadata shared with [intelligence community] partners.” That same presentation shows that ICREACH has been operational since the pilot launched in May 2007. Not only is data being shared to more agencies, but there are more types of such data being shared—ICREACH searches over 850 billion records.
Some of you may remember this
On Tuesday at around 2:45 p.m. EST, Web monitors noticed something strange: Internet traffic in and out of Syria had dropped down to zero. It was as if the entire country had simultaneously unplugged its modems and switched off its smart phones, all at the same moment. And it's still down. How does an entire country go dark?
We can't know what happened for sure, but it's almost certain that this was not an accident and that the Syrian government pulled the plug.
File this one under the NY Times many entries under the tag Better late than never
Over the past few months, reporters and editors of The Times have debated a subject that has come up regularly ever since the world learned of the C.I.A.’s brutal questioning of terrorism suspects: whether to call the practices torture.
When the first revelations emerged a decade ago, the situation was murky. The details about what the Central Intelligence Agency did in its interrogation rooms were vague. The word “torture” had a specialized legal meaning as well as a plain-English one. While the methods set off a national debate, the Justice Department insisted that the techniques did not rise to the legal definition of “torture.” The Times described what we knew of the program but avoided a label that was still in dispute, instead using terms like harsh or brutal interrogation methods.
In an excellent example of what goes around comes around Israel has been caught wiretapping John Kerry during Middle East peace talks.
While this may not exactly be shocking to most, it does come out at a time when certain people in DC might feel a little upset about Israel's attitude towards them:
SPIEGEL has learned from reliable sources that Israeli intelligence eavesdropped on US Secretary of State John Kerry during Middle East peace negotiations. In addition to the Israelis, at least one other intelligence service also listened in as Kerry mediated last year between Israel, the Palestinians and the Arab states, several intelligence service sources told SPIEGEL. Revelations of the eavesdropping could further damage already tense relations between the US government and Israel.
Yesterday the news broke that the CIA finally admitted that it had spied on senate staff:
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, conceding that the agency employees spied on committee staff and reversing months of furious and public denials.
Brennan acknowledged that an internal investigation had found agency security personnel transgressed a firewall set up on a CIA network which allowed Senate committee investigators to review agency documents for their landmark inquiry into CIA torture.
Among other things, it was revealed that agency officials conducted keyword searches and email searches on committee staff while they used the network.
Israel's operation widens, but its objectives are getting murkier
Three weeks ago, Israel's goal in Gaza was “Quiet for quiet.”
Last week: The war will continue until the tunnels are destroyed, a task which should largely be completed within “two or three days.”
Monday: Yuval Steinitz, the intelligence minister, told reporters that the bombing would continue until the international community agrees to “disarm” Hamas and other groups:
“If we want a real comprehensive solution, that will bring not just an end to the current round of violence, but real relief for people on both sides of the fence … you have to demilitarize Gaza, as it was supposed to be.”
The three-week-old Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has killed nearly 1,100 Palestinians and wounded more than 6,500, is a war in search of an objective.
Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.
These are the words
of UNRWA Commissioner-General, Pierre Krähenbühl after the shelling
of another UN School being used to house refugees.
At least 19 Palestinians were killed and about 90 injured early on Wednesday when a UN school sheltering displaced people was hit by shells during a second night of relentless bombardment that followed an Israeli warning of a protracted military campaign.
Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, condemned “in in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces”.