Reporters should be prevented from “selling” National Security Agency documents, Gen. Keith Alexander says in a videotaped interview with Department of Defense blog Armed With Science. In a discussion designed to reassure the American public that its government is not spying on them, the NSA chief calls for an end to the publication of documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden. “I think it’s wrong that that newspaper reporters have all these documents, the 50,000-whatever they have and are selling them and giving them out as if these — you know it just doesn’t make sense,” Alexander said. “We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I don’t know how to do that. That’s more of the courts and the policymakers but, from my perspective, it’s wrong to allow this to go on.”
Previously in the interview, Alexander compares the public’s negative reaction to the necessity of intelligence collection to a child’s refusal to take a bath. “It’s like when you were younger — well, this is for boys,” he said. “You know, when you’re younger, you say, ‘I don’t want to take a bath.’ You say, ‘No, I’d never take a bath. Why would we want to take a bath?’ Well, you’ve got to take a bath, cleanliness, (et cetera). I said, ‘But isn’t there a better way?’ Well we don’t, so we had to take baths, right, or showers. What about here, what’s a better way to stop terrorists?”
This week, according to the Treasury Department, it will exhaust its “extraordinary” measures to avoid hitting a hard debt ceiling. It is not known precisely the date at which it will lack the cash to pay interest on the national debt, but on the day that happens, the United States will be in default.
The Obama administration and those on Wall Street have long thought that such a prospect was so horrifying that it would necessarily lead to resolution of the current budget impasse. What I don’t think they understand is that there has been a movement under way for some years among right-wing economists and activists not merely to default on the debt, but even to repudiate it.
Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert said Sen. John McCain “supported al Qaeda and rebels” in Syria while speaking at the Values Voter Summit on Friday. Gohmert accused the Vietnam veteran of supporting the enemy to explain why Republicans shouldn’t listen when McCain says the GOP can’t win the government shutdown.
I say we’d better see McCain’s birth certificate to prove he wasn’t born in Kenya.
The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a “capital levy”— a one-off tax on private wealth—as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability. The appeal is that such a tax, if it is implemented before avoidance is possible and there is a belief that it will never be repeated, does not distort behavior (and may be seen by some as fair). There have been illustrious supporters, including Pigou, Ricardo, Schumpeter, and—until he changed his mind—Keynes. The conditions for success are strong, but also need to be weighed against the risks of the alternatives, which include repudiating public debt or inflating it away (these, in turn, are a particular form of wealth tax—on bondholders—that also falls on nonresidents).
There is a surprisingly large amount of experience to draw on, as such levies were widely adopted in Europe after World War I and in Germany and Japan after World War II. Reviewed in Eichengreen (1990), this experience suggests that more notable than any loss of credibility was a simple failure to achieve debt reduc- tion, largely because the delay in introduction gave space for extensive avoidance and capital flight—in turn spurring inflation.
The tax rates needed to bring down public debt to precrisis levels, moreover, are sizable: reducing debt ratios to end-2007 levels would require (for a sample of 15 euro area countries) a tax rate of about 10 percent on households with positive net wealth.
So, yeah, the IMF proposes to take 10% of what you own, and points to history to claim you won’t mind. Because it will happen only once, they say while pointing to previous instances in history.
THE top cleric in Poland’s Roman Catholic church has said parents share the blame for certain cases of paedophilia, including those involving Catholic priests.
The comment comes amid mounting allegations of pedophilia involving priests in Poland, one of Europe’s most heavily Catholic countries where loyalty to the church is beginning to wane.
“Many of these cases of (sexual) molestation could be avoided given a healthy relationship between parents,” Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of Poland’s Episcopate told the Polish PAP news agency in Warsaw.
“We often hear that this inappropriate attitude (pedophilia), or abuse, manifests itself when a child is looking for love,” Archbishop Michalik said.
Fox News has just unveiled a breathtakingly ridiculous newsroom, complete with novelty-sized Windows-based touchscreens, a Twitter wall, and a wannabe Minority Report-style display, which it hopes will connect it with generations of viewers who use smartphones and apps.
In a video that could be mistaken for a College Humor or Saturday Night Live parody, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith walks viewers through the network’s new setup, which includes workstations with 55-inch touchscreen monitors. In the video, journalists swipe through pages and apps, presumably collecting information for live reporting. “We call these BATs,” Smith notes. “Big area touchscreens.”
As the second day of the federal shutdown comes to an end, hardline elements within the Republican Party have made it clear that they will not budge until their demands are met. But what exactly are their demands? Republican House member Marlin Stutzman, for one, has no idea.
“We’re not going to be disrespected,” said Congressman Stutzman during an interview with the Washington Examiner on Tuesday. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
Saudi women seeking to challenge a de facto ban on driving should realize that this could affect their ovaries and pelvises, Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan, a judicial and psychological consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, told Saudi news website sabq.org.
Driving “could have a reverse physiological impact. Physiological science and functional medicine studied this side [and found] that it automatically affects ovaries and rolls up the pelvis. This is why we find for women who continuously drive cars their children are born with clinical disorders of varying degrees,” Sheikh al-Luhaydan said.
There’s widespread consensus that the best cosplayers at this year’s Dragoncon were the people who dressed up in bodysuits patterned after the notoriously bizarre institutional carpet at the Atlanta Marriott hotel, one of the event’s venues. But when one of the cosplayers offered to supply carpet-camo to other attendees, Couristan Inc (the company that designed the carpet) sent them a legal threat.
The FBI is instructing local police departments and “communities against terrorism” to consider anyone who harbors “conspiracy theories” about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist, in a circular released to local police departments.
The circular thus adds 9/11 official story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement to be security threats, such as those who express “libertarian philosophies,” “Second Amendment-oriented views,” interest in “self-sufficiency,” “fears of Big Brother or big government,” and “Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties.”
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly declared war on Afroduck, the driver who claims to have done a very illegal 24:07 record lap of Manhattan. Now we’re hearing from a source that the NYPD arrested him moments ago.
For the past five years, the widowed mother of two had used medical marijuana for relief from the pain of fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis and rotator cuff disease. Traditional medications had produced adverse reactions or failed to provide significant relief.
She was arrested Sept. 13, 2012. And on March 5 — just five months before Gov. Pat Quinn signed the state’s medical marijuana bill into law — DiGiacomo pleaded guilty to Class 4 felony possession.
Under the Illinois Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act, a felony disqualifies a potential patient from accessing medical marijuana.
Advocates who used her story in the battle to get the bill passed say she’s an example of the new law’s deficiencies.
Are these fucking idiots also denying tylenol and hydrocodone to felons too?
“So I’m going to tell you what the facts are, and the facts are the facts, but then we know the truth. That always overcomes facts,” she has said.
The Obama administration’s war on whistleblowers was already fairly crazy, what with its official designation of “leakers” as “aiding the enemy,” but now apparently it’s extending even further. Federal agents have now launched criminal investigations into some instructors who claim they can teach you to beat a lie detector test, all done under the mandate of the war against whistleblowers.
Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers.
The criminal inquiry, which hasn’t been acknowledged publicly, is aimed at discouraging criminals and spies from infiltrating the U.S. government by using the polygraph-beating techniques, which are said to include controlled breathing, muscle tensing, tongue biting and mental arithmetic.
Methods for how to beat lie detector tests have been around for ages, and they are unreliable to begin with — so much so that many experts and groups have expressed doubt about polygraphs or disavowed them entirely. The National Research Council, the National Academy of Sciences, the Congress Office of Technology Assessment, the American Psychological Association, the Supreme Court — the list of doubters goes on and on, and any discussion of the question inevitably covers the ways people intentionally trick the test, to the point that these methods are practically common knowledge. Even Mythbusters has tested whether or not you can beat the polygraph, as has Penn & Teller: Bullshit! in an episode where they taught volunteers how to beat a test on camera. I wonder if these shows should now be investigated as well?
A significant chunk of Louisiana Republicans evidently believe that President Barack Obama is to blame for the poor response to the hurricane that ravaged their state more than three years before he took office.
The latest survey from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling, provided exclusively to TPM, showed an eye-popping divide among Republicans in the Bayou State when it comes to accountability for the government’s post-Katrina blunders.
Twenty-eight percent said they think former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time, was more responsible for the poor federal response while 29 percent said Obama, who was still a freshman U.S. Senator when the storm battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more responsible. Nearly half of Louisiana Republicans — 44 percent — said they aren’t sure who to blame.
The saga of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is getting even more ridiculous, as he explains that the government has threatened him with criminal charges for his decision to shut down the business, rather than agree to some mysterious court order. The feds are apparently arguing that the act of shutting down the business, itself, was a violation of the order:
… a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that James Trump, a senior litigation counsel in the U.S. attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va., sent an email to Levison’s lawyer last Thursday – the day Lavabit was shuttered — stating that Levison may have “violated the court order,” a statement that was interpreted as a possible threat to charge Levison with contempt of court.
That same article suggests that the decision to shut down Lavabit was over something much bigger than just looking at one individual’s information — since it appears that Lavabit has cooperated in the past on such cases. Instead, the suggestion now is that the government was seeking a tap on all accounts:
Levison stressed that he has complied with “upwards of two dozen court orders” for information in the past that were targeted at “specific users” and that “I never had a problem with that.” But without disclosing details, he suggested that the order he received more recently was markedly different, requiring him to cooperate in broadly based surveillance that would scoop up information about all the users of his service. He likened the demands to a requirement to install a tap on his telephone.
It sounds like the feds were asking for a full on backdoor on the system, not unlike some previous reports of ISPs who have received surprise visits from the NSA.
It’s something you would probably least expect after calling 9-1-1 during an emergency — a lawsuit. If a deputy was hurt, would you be financially responsible?
A deputy is now suing a woman who called for help during an emergency. It all stems from a deputy-involved shooting that happened in Katy last year.
The deputy says he was injured when she made that call from her subdivision. In this lawsuit, he claims the homeowner failed to adequately warn 9-1-1 of the dangerous situation he was walking into.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) and Attorney General John Swallow (R) have responded to a suit challenging the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage by denying that it even discriminates against the gay community.
Utah law prevents neither homosexuals nor lesbians from marrying. Homosexuals and lesbians may marry in Utah, but they face the same restriction heterosexuals do – they may not marry a person of the same sex. This restriction is not gender based – it applies equally to both males and females.
“In its majestic equality, the law forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets and steal loaves of bread.”
~ Anatole France
In the winter of 2003, when George Bush and Tony Blair were frantically gathering support for their planned invasion, Professor Thomas Römer, an Old Testament expert at the university of Lausanne, was rung up by the Protestant Federation of France. They asked him to supply them with a summary of the legends surrounding Gog and Magog and as the conversation progressed, he realised that this had originally come, from the highest reaches of the French government.
President Jacques Chirac wanted to know what the hell President Bush had been on about in their last conversation. Bush had then said that when he looked at the Middle East, he saw “Gog and Magog at work” and the biblical prophecies unfolding. But who the hell were Gog and Magog? Neither Chirac nor his office had any idea. But they knew Bush was an evangelical Christian, so they asked the French Federation of Protestants, who in turn asked Professor Römer.
He explained that Gog and Magog were, to use theological jargon, crazy talk. They appear twice in the Old Testament, once as a name, and once in a truly strange prophecy in the book of Ezekiel:
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:
Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:
Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
Who are all these people? The best opinion is that like all Bible prophecy, it is a mixture of wish-fulfilment and contemporary (iron age) politics. Some of it at least seems to refer to the turmoil brought about by Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC (unlike Bush, Alexander actually conquered Afghanistan). But they have been for the last two hundred years the subject of increasingly excited evangelical fanfic, especially in America; in the 70s and 80s, Gog was meant to be Russia. Ronald Reagan seems to have believed that.
But with Reagan, the prophecy appreciation part of his brain functioned quite independently of the part that started wars (there’s nothing in the Old Testament about Nicaragua or even Grenada). Bush seems to have taken the threat of Gog and Magog to Israel quite literally, and, if this story can be believed, to have launched a war to stop them.
Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), a senior member of the House Science Committee, used a portion of his time at a town hall this week to launch into a rant about global warming, which he described as a plot by liberals to “create global government to control our lives.”
Another case involves a monthly social event that had been hosted by the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit. In the midst of festivities one evening in late May, 2008, forty-odd officers in black commando gear stormed the gallery and its rear patio, ordering the guests to the ground. Some in attendance thought that they were the victims of an armed robbery. One young woman who had fallen only to her knees told me that a masked figure screamed at her, “Bitch, you think you’re too pretty to get in the mud?” A boot from behind kicked her to the ground. The officers, including members of the Detroit Police Department’s vice squad and mobile tactical unit, placed the guests under arrest. According to police records, the gallery lacked proper city permits for after-hours dancing and drinking, and an old ordinance aimed at “blind pigs” (speakeasies) and other places of “illegal occupation” made it a crime to patronize such a place, knowingly or not.
After lining the guests on their knees before a “prisoner processing table” and searching them, the officers asked for everyone’s car keys. Then the raid team seized every vehicle it could find, even venturing to the driveway of a young man’s friend nearly a mile away to retrieve his car. Forty-four cars were taken to government-contracted lots.
Most of those detained had to pay more than a thousand dollars for the return of their cars; if payment wasn’t made promptly, the car would become city property. The proceeds were divided among the offices of the prosecutors, police, and towing companies. After the A.C.L.U. filed a suit against the city, a district court ruled that the raid was unconstitutional, and noted that it reflected “a widespread practice” by the police in the area. (The city is appealing the ruling.) Vice statutes have lent themselves to such forfeiture efforts; in previous years, an initiative targeted gay men for forfeiture, under Detroit’s “annoying persons” ordinance. Before local lawyers challenged such practices, known informally as “Bag a Fag,” undercover officers would arrest gay men who simply returned their glances or gestures, if the signals were deemed to have sexual connotations, and then, citing “nuisance abatement,” seize their vehicles.
Seconds before the Spanish train he was aboard lifted off the tracks “like a roller coaster,” Mormon missionary Stephen Ward said he glanced up from the journal he was writing and noticed a backpack tumble from a rack. Moments later, he blacked out as the train smashed into a concrete wall at high speed.
He awoke to a scene that seemed like a nightmare.
“From a religious standpoint, I’d like to say that God has something in store for me and that there’s a reason I’m still here,” Stephen Ward said in a phone interview with The Associated Press from La Coruna, Spain.
And those other 80 people? His god is a major asshole.
Leontine G. sent in a troubling example of the framing of children’s deviance, and their own complicity in this framing. She included two links: one to a “Today” show story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police, and one to a CNN story about a 7-year-old boy who took his family’s car on a joyride and got caught by police. Different 7-year-olds. One white, one black.
Billionaire Wissam Al Mana, husband of famous popstar Janet Jackson, signed the letter of resignation for Marte Dalelv (24) after she reported being raped in Dubai.
The 6th of March this year Dalelv reported a colleague for rape while on a business trip in Dubai. Earlier this week, Dalelv was sentenced to 16 months in prison after being convicted for having extramarital sex, drinking alcohol without permission and giving false statement to the police.
«Unacceptable and improper behavior»
Ms. Dalelv received a letter from her employer Al Mana Interiors three weeks after she reported the rape, informing her that she was suspended from her position, effective immediately.
The ninth of april she got a new shocking letter: Her contract was terminated due to «unacceptable and improper behavior». This time it was the company’s managing director, Mr. Wissam Al Mana, who himself signed the letter.
On the July 15 edition of Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto, Stuart Varney hosted former Center for Immigration Studies fellow Michael Cutler to discuss immigration reform. Cutler argued against what he called “amnesty,” saying that after naturalization and employment, immigrants “will no longer be willing to be exploited” and “legally cannot be discriminated against.” Cutler went on to warn that, if immigration reform is passed, immigrants “will have the right to expect that they will be treated equally as Americans”:
In December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security notified both the EDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that there was a possible malware infection within the two agencies’ systems.
The NOAA isolated and cleaned up the problem within a few weeks.
The EDA, however, responded by cutting its systems off from the rest of the world—disabling its enterprise e-mail system and leaving its regional offices no way of accessing centrally held databases.
It then recruited an outside security contractor to look for malware and provide assurances that not only were EDA’s systems clean, but also that they were impregnable against malware. The contractor, after some initial false positives, declared the systems largely clean but was unable to provide this guarantee. Malware was found on six systems, but it was easily repaired by reimaging the affected machines.
EDA’s CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware.
The total cost to the taxpayer of this incident was $2.7 million: $823,000 went to the security contractor for its investigation and advice, $1,061,000 for the acquisition of temporary infrastructure (requisitioned from the Census Bureau), $4,300 to destroy $170,500 in IT equipment, and $688,000 paid to contractors to assist in development of a long-term response. Full recovery took close to a year.
Last month, when hedge fund titan and activist investor Carl Icahn joined Twitter, he caused a stir with his first tweet — a jab at Dell.
The tweet was more than just a harmless social media shot, however, since Icahn is currently attempting to take over Dell. It also qualified under section 14A of the Securities and Exchange Commission rules as disseminating information that should be included in a proxy filing. And that, in turn, meant that Icahn’s attorneys had to make a regulatory filing with the SEC.
According to hedge fund attorneys specializing in proxy battles, such filings cost an average of $2,000 each in legal and filing agent fees. That’s $2,000 per tweet, not including the labor costs exerted by the firm’s own compliance department. While $2,000 may seem like pocket change for a billionaire hedge fund manager, that number could add up fast in the stream-of-consciousness world of live tweeting.