Daily Archive: 09/04/2014

Sep 04 2014

Why Iraqi’s Don’t Trust Us

Jurors will begin deliberating this week in the murder and manslaughter trial of four former Blackwater operatives involved in the 2007 massacre at Baghdad’s Nisoor Square. The suspects are charged for the deaths of 14 of the 17 Iraqi civilians who died when their Blackwater unit opened fire. The trial featured testimony from witnesses who survived the attack and saw loved ones gunned down. In closing arguments last week, prosecutors said Blackwater guards had shot fleeing civilians and boasted of taking their lives. Nisoor Square is the highest-profile deadly incident involving Blackwater – or any private war contractor – and many Iraqis are watching the upcoming verdict to see how seriously the United States intends to hold its private security companies accountable for their alleged crimes

Transcript

C’mon.  We’re so much more exceptional than the Islamic State Caliphate.  We would never torture people or murder innocent civilians and journalists.

Well, I mean not barbarically.

It would be a good, clean death administered remotely by rockets and bombs all the way from Langley.

Can’t you see how much more civilized that is?

Sep 04 2014

Meet the Challengers to NY’s Democratic Establishment

The Democratic Primary for state offices is September 9. Three of the candidates appeared on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan González to discuss the issues and their differences.

New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo is being challenged in his own party’s upcoming primary. We host a discussion with two candidates facing off on the party’s ballot. We are joined by Fordham Law professor Zephyr Teachout and her running mate for lieutenant governor, Tim Wu, who coined the concept of net neutrality. We are also joined political activist Randy Credico, also running for governor. While most of the Democratic establishment has backed the Cuomo ticket, the Teachout-Wu campaign has received some notable endorsements, including the Public Employees Federation, the state’s second-largest union of government workers, as well as the state chapters of the National Organization of Women and the Sierra Club. Credico, who has previously run for New York City mayor and U.S. Senate, is running on a platform calling for economic justice and the reform of the state’s drug laws.

Incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo and his running mate for lieutenant governor, Kathy Hocul declined the invitation and have both declined any debates.



The Transcript can be read here

Sep 04 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Trevor Timm: Homeland Security was built to fend off terrorists. Why’s it so busy arming cops to fight average Americans?

From Ferguson’s military police to loaning drones and tracking your every move, the agency’s expensive, violent sinkhole of bureaucracy needs reform – now

For three weeks and counting, America has raged against the appalling behavior of the local police in Ferguson, Missouri, and for good reason: automatic rifles pointed at protesters, tank-like armored trucks blocking marches, the teargassing and arresting of reporters, tactics unfit even for war zones – it was all enough to make you wonder whether this was America at all. But as Congress returns to Washington this week, the ire of a nation should also be focused on the federal government agency that has enabled the rise of military police, and so much more: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The 240,000-employee, Bush-invented bureaucratic behemoth that didn’t even exist 15 years ago has been the primary arms dealer for out-of-control local cops in Ferguson and beyond, handing out tens of billions of dollars in grants for military equipment in the last decade with little to no oversight and even less training on how use it. “From an oversight perspective, DHS grant programs are pretty much a mess,”

Amy Goodman: Get Ready for the ‘Internet Slowdown’

Next Wednesday, Sept. 10, if your favorite website seems to load slowly, take a closer look: You might be experiencing the Battle for the Net’s “Internet Slowdown,” a global day of grass-roots action. Protesters won’t actually slow the Internet down, but will place on their websites animated “Loading” graphics (which organizers call “the proverbial ‘spinning wheel of death'”) to symbolize what the Internet might soon look like. As that wheel spins, the rules about how the internet works are being redrawn. Large Internet service providers, or ISPs, like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon are trying to change the rules that govern your online life.

The fight over these rules is being waged now. These corporate ISPs want to create a two-tiered Internet, where some websites or content providers pay to get preferred access to the public. Large content providers like Netflix, the online streaming movie giant, would pay extra to ensure that their content traveled on the fast lane. But let’s say a startup tried to compete with Netflix. If it couldn’t afford to pay the large ISPs their fees for the fast lane, their service would suffer, and people wouldn’t subscribe.

David Cay Johnston: Three ways that politicians are storing up disaster for pensioners

Starving, spiking and smoothing are short-term fixes that guarantee long-term problems

From coast to coast, Democrats and Republicans appear united in devastating what remains of traditional pensions in America.

Through three basic strategies – smoothing, spiking and starving – politicians can burnish their images as public benefactors today, but only by inflating future costs and risks that will slam society after their careers are over.

Voters, workers and taxpayers whose time horizon is more than the next election cycle need to police their politicians now, or they and their progeny will bear a terrible burden later.

Juan Cole: What Hackers Did to Celebs? The NSA’s Been Doing That to All of the U.S. Instead of Predicting ISIL

There has been a lot of justifiable outrage about the invasion of privacy of celebrities and the posting of their private, nude photos at 4Chan by hackers who apparently got into their cloud accounts.

It seems odd to me that the discussion of this issue has been completely unconnected to the Snowden revelations that the U.S. government has been assiduously spying on everyone’s cloud.  It has been massively recording who we call, when we called them, and where we were when we called them on on our smart phones.  You can tell a lot from that information (it could be used for insider trading where it came from financiers like Warren Buffett). The NSA has been sweeping up terabytes of data and storing them (some of this in conjunction with British intelligence).  Barack Obama’s glib assurances that they haven’t been recording our emails notwithstanding, they’ve been recording our emails (they can actually read them in real time), as well as sweeping up the content of phone calls as data files. NSA personnel routinely passed around nude photos of people captured from the internet, Snowden has revealed, calling it a perk of the job.  Some NSA personnel misused their position to spy on ex-girlfriends.  There has been a lot of justifiable outrage about the invasion of privacy of celebrities and the posting of their private, nude photos at 4Chan by hackers who apparently got into their cloud accounts.

It seems odd to me that the discussion of this issue has been completely unconnected to the Snowden revelations that the U.S. government has been assiduously spying on everyone’s cloud.  It has been massively recording who we call, when we called them, and where we were when we called them on on our smart phones.  You can tell a lot from that information (it could be used for insider trading where it came from financiers like Warren Buffett). The NSA has been sweeping up terabytes of data and storing them (some of this in conjunction with British intelligence).  Barack Obama’s glib assurances that they haven’t been recording our emails notwithstanding, they’ve been recording our emails (they can actually read them in real time), as well as sweeping up the content of phone calls as data files. NSA personnel routinely passed around nude photos of people captured from the internet, Snowden has revealed, calling it a perk of the job.  Some NSA personnel misused their position to spy on ex-girlfriends.  

Oliver Burkeman: To recline your seat or not? Stop arguing. Capitalism already won this stupid war

Airlines, Apple and more corporations are pitting us against each other. It’s time to start changing the terms of debate

The Great Airplane Seat Recliner Wars of 2014 have now caused at least three flights to be diverted, following passenger altercations, while providing much-needed ammunition for professional opinion-havers on the internet. Is it acceptable to use a Knee Defender to prevent the person in front of you from reclining, or monstrous? Should you pay me if you don’t want me to recline, or is it “simple decency towards your fellow humans” to refrain to spread out? Is reclining a right or a privilege?

To this professional opinion-haver, though, the debate has become immensely frustrating, because the answer is that we shouldn’t need to be having the debate at all. There is no right answer because there simply isn’t enough space on airplanes; it’s perfectly reasonable to want to claim a bit more room by reclining, and perfectly reasonable to object to someone else reducing yours. What’s not reasonable is the number of seats crammed into the plane.

Sep 04 2014

The Breakfast Club (Dancing in September)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Crisis unfolds in Little Rock, Ark. over racial integration in schools; Ford rolls out its ill-fated Edsel; Attorney William Kunstler dies; Mark Spitz sets Olympic gold record; Singer Beyonce born.

Breakfast Tunes

Sep 04 2014

On This Day In History September 4

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 4 is the 247th day of the year (248th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 118 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1886, Apache chief Geronimo surrenders to U.S. government troops. For 30 years, the mighty Native American warrior had battled to protect his tribe’s homeland; however, by 1886 the Apaches were exhausted and hopelessly outnumbered. General Nelson Miles accepted Geronimo’s surrender, making him the last Indian warrior to formally give in to U.S. forces and signaling the end of the Indian Wars in the Southwest.

While Geronimo (Chiricahua: Goyaale, “one who yawns”; often spelled Goyathlay or Goyahkla in English) said he was never a chief, he was a military leader. As a Chiricahua Apache, this meant he was one of many people with special spiritual insights and abilities known to Apache people as “Power”. Among these were the ability to walk without leaving tracks; the abilities now known as telekinesis and telepathy; and the ability to survive gunshot (rifle/musket, pistol, and shotgun). Geronimo was wounded numerous times by both bullets and buckshot, but survived. Apache men chose to follow him of their own free will, and offered first-hand eye-witness testimony regarding his many “powers”. They declared that this was the main reason why so many chose to follow him (he was favored by/protected by “Usen”, the Apache high-god). Geronimo’s “powers” were considered to be so great that he personally painted the faces of the warriors who followed him to reflect their protective effect. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.

snip

In 1886, General Nelson A. Miles selected Captain Henry Lawton, in command of B Troop, 4th Cavalry, at Ft. Huachuca and First Lieutenant Charles B. Gatewood to lead the expedition that captured Geronimo. Numerous stories abound as to who actually captured Geronimo, or to whom he surrendered, although most contemporary accounts, and Geronimo’s own later statements, give most of the credit for negotiating the surrender to Lt. Gatewood. For Lawton’s part, he was given orders to head up actions south of the U.S.-Mexico boundary where it was thought Geronimo and a small band of his followers would take refuge from U.S. authorities. Lawton was to pursue, subdue, and return Geronimo to the U.S., dead or alive.

Lawton’s official report dated September 9, 1886 sums up the actions of his unit and gives credit to a number of his troopers for their efforts. Geronimo gave Gatewood credit for his decision to surrender as Gatewood was well known to Geronimo, spoke some Apache, and was familiar with and honored their traditions and values. He acknowledged Lawton’s tenacity for wearing the Apaches down with constant pursuit. Geronimo and his followers had little or no time to rest or stay in one place. Completely worn out, the little band of Apaches returned to the U.S. with Lawton and officially surrendered to General Miles on September 4, 1886 at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.

The debate still remains whether Geronimo surrendered unconditionally. Geronimo pleaded in his memoirs that his people who surrendered had been misled: his surrender as a war prisoner was conditioned in front of uncontested witnesses (especially General Stanley). General Howard, chief of Pacific US army division, said on his part that his surrender was accepted as a dangerous outlaw without condition, which has been contested in front of the Senate.

In February, 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night before a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia on February 17, 1909 as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. On his deathbed, he confessed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender. He was buried at Fort Sill in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery

Sep 04 2014

TDS/TCR (A Mile Wide)

TDS TCR

Job Hunt

Then, in the dream, I’d take a nap.

The real news, as well as this week’s guests below.