http://www.alternet.org/ / By Thom Hartmann
September 11, 2014 |
Just when you thought Republicans couldn’t sink any lower, they ask Dick Cheney, the guy who screwed up Iraq, for advice on how to fix Iraq.
Seriously, I’m not kidding.
On Tuesday afternoon, the former Vice President spoke to House Republicans at a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill, where he urged them to take a hard line in the fight against ISIS.
The meeting was basically the GOP’s version of a pep rally, and Cheney spent most of the time bashing “isolationists” and talking about how the Bush administration put the U.S. in a position to “win” in Iraq. (more…)
by Jon Fingas | | http://www.engadget.com
The US government’s threat that it would fine Yahoo $250,000 per day back in 2008 was bad enough by itself, but declassified documents show that the penalties could easily have been much, much worse. Marc Zwillinger and Jacob Sommer (who were on Yahoo’s side in the case) note that $250,000 was merely the baseline, and that the requested fines would double for every week that Yahoo refused to hand over user data. There wasn’t a ceiling, either. At that rate, holding out for any significant amount of time would have been impossible — Yahoo would have lost all of its assets, or $13.8 billion, in just over a year. As such, the fine wasn’t so much a punishment as a weapon that forced the internet firm to comply with a surveillance order it was planning to contest in court. (more…)
by Maria Popova http://www.brainpickings.org
“Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
“In disputes upon moral or scientific points,”Arthur Martine counseled in his magnificent1866 guide to the art of conversation, “let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery.” Of course, this isn’t what happens most of the time when we argue, both online and off, but especially when we deploy the artillery of our righteousness from behind the comfortable shield of the keyboard. That form of “criticism” — which is really a menace of reacting rather than responding — is worthy of Mark Twain’s memorable remark that “the critic’s symbol should be the tumble-bug: he deposits his egg in somebody else’s dung, otherwise he could not hatch it.” But it needn’t be this way — there are ways to be critical while remaining charitable, of aiming not to “conquer” but to “come at truth,” not to be right at all costs but to understand and advance the collective understanding. (more…)
By MIKE VILENSKY http://blogs.wsj.com
Sen. Liz Krueger, D-New York, right, and Sen. John DeFranciso, R-Syracuse, debate a budget bill in the Senate Chamber at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., in 2011.
New York Senator Liz Krueger will introduce a bill seeking to legalize marijuana for general use in New York state, she said on Sunday, hoping the recent passage of medical marijuana laws will help give the bill momentum.
Ms. Krueger, a Democrat representing Manhattan for more than a decade, said that in the legislative session beginning in January, she will fight for a bill modeled partly on cannabis legalization laws that recently went into effect in Washington and Colorado. (more…)
Instead of being scared of the deep web, we should recognize how we can use it for good.
Buddha seems to bring tranquility to Oakland neighborhood
Vina Vo (left) and Kieu Do pray at sunrise near a Buddhist shrine at 11th Avenue and East 19th Street in Oakland. Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion.
The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street.
He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquillity to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries. (more…)
Author of the best selling book The Medical Mafia shares her unconventional ideas with Alec Cope of We Are Change.
Transparently Bad: U.S. Whistleblowers Feel Blowback
President Obama talks on the phone in the motorcade. (Photo: White House/Pete Souza)
Federal employees who expose government waste, fraud and abuse are having a tough time in the “most transparent administration in history.”
Robert MacLean, a former air marshal, told a House subcommittee Tuesday that managers at the Transportation Security Administration “thumb their nose” at whistleblower protection laws.
MacLean, who complained that air marshals were improperly grounded by the TSA, is taking his termination to the U.S. Supreme Court after losing a series of lopsided proceedings at the agency. He said the TSA branded him “an organizational terrorist.”
Children’s book author Kari Anne Roy was recently visited by the Austin police and Child Protective Services for allowing her son Isaac, age 6, to do the unthinkable: Play outside, up her street, unsupervised.
He’d been out there for about 10 minutes when Roy’s doorbell rang. She opened it to find her son —and a woman she didn’t know. As Roy wrote on her blog HaikuMama last week, the mystery woman asked: “Is this your son?” (more…)
by Jon Fingas | |http://www.engadget.com
WikiLeaks’ all-or-nothing approach to revealing shady government activity just took a new (if decidedly risky) turn. Julian Assange and crew have posted FinFisher and FinSpy PC, the intrusion software that Australia, Italy, Pakistan and other countries use to break into and spy on people’s devices, no matter what platform they’re running. The leak site hopes that privacy-minded developers will use the code to improve security and prevent governments from easily cracking down on dissidents; it also puts pressure on Germany to clamp down on FinFisher and live up to its anti-surveillance principles. The strategy may pay off, although there is a worry that unscrupulous downloaders may use the code for more sinister purposes, such as keylogging or webcam monitoring. Let’s hope the tools don’t fall into the wrong hands.
A federal court renewed an order allowing the NSA to collect phone records for virtually all calls made within the United States by http://ultraculture.org
Last Friday, a United States federal court renewed an order that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect phone records on nearly all calls made within the country.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) approved the Justice Department’s request for another 90-day extension of the NSA’s mass surveillance program, pushing the expiration date back to December 5. The NSA’s controversial program was first exposed last summer by Edward Snowden and is authorized under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. (more…)
Hawks Push for Massive Increases in Military Spending
The Israeli military has a lot of foreign aid behind it, but its ambitions often far exceed what they can actually afford, which means Israel is often deficit spending on the military, as they did during the recent Gaza war.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, whose job it is to balance the books, warned they can’t afford such spending and need to dial back of their deficit spending and agree to only a smaller increase It fueled a quick backlash from hawks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted military spending needs to be increased by “many billions” annually, and claimed that deficit spending on wars was saving the Israeli economyby keeping foreign capital from leaving. (more…)
(Reuters) – Massachusetts’ highest court on Monday threw out a lawsuit seeking to block Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O) from selling its luxury electric cars directly to consumers in the state, enabling it to bypass traditional dealerships. (more…)
Americans trust their government less and less, according to new polling from Gallup.
Overall, “trust in the three branches of the federal government is collectively lower than at any point in the last two decades,” with those who place a fair amount or great deal of trust in Congress down to 28 percent. At 43 percent, trust in the executive branch has dropped to its lowest point since Watergate. Only the court system fares relatively well, with 61 percent saying they trust the judicial branch.
Overall, trust has been dropping for years. Yes, there have been a handful of spikes—around September 11th, the war in Iraq, and the election of Barack Obama. But each of those hopeful moments was followed by a rapid slide. Here’s Gallup’s graph: (more…)
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). (Cliff Owen/Associated Press)
In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was noncommittal about almost everything. He might run for president, he might not. He might run as a Democrat, he might not. But if he were to run for president, his opponent would be clear: America’s wealthy, whether they’re spending that money on themselves or on political campaigns. (more…)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Some users of the anonymous web browser Tor have reported that Comcast has threatened to cut off their internet service unless they stop using the legal software.
Comcast completely denies their claims. In a blog post, the company said “We have no policy against Tor, or any other browser or software. Customers are free to use their Xfinity Internet service to visit any website, use any app, and so forth.” (more…)
Around 3am one night in May 2011, 22-year-old Alan Gomez was outside his brother Eric’s house in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Nervous because she believed Gomez was acting erratically, Eric’s girlfriend called the police. After about an hour, Albuquerque police officer Sean Wallace arrived.
Wallace saw Alan Gomez leave the house and then turn to go back inside. According to a subsequent Department of Justice report, Gomez was unarmed and did not pose an immediate threat to the officers or anyone inside the house. Sean Wallace, however, fired a shot, striking Gomez in the back. Gomez died on the scene, while Wallace was never punished.
“He was never indicted, never suspended, nothing,” Mike Gomez, Alan’s father, said. “It was like it never happened.” The officer was given three days of paid leave and $500 from the police union to decompress after “stressful events.” (more…)
I love making prank videos but every once in a while I really enjoy making a feel good video. What better way to give back than giving to people who give? I really think the whole concept is genius and completely original. Everyone on Youtube has been making videos about giving to the homeless (Including myself) so I thought i’d step outside the box and give to the people who are doing the giving. I thank all my subscribers for this opportunity and I hope you enjoy the video. #DawsKingdom Let’s all give the video a like a the very least, share on social media if you’re a true solider. Let’s make a difference. I encourage you all to go make a difference in someone’s day. Peace & love – Big Daws
From aid for Israel to abortion to Medicare, Sen. Rand Paul (R- Ky.) has been shading, changing or dropping some of the positions he espoused as a tea-party-backed candidate and as a new senator.
Sen. Rand Paul wanted to eliminate aid to Israel. Now he doesn’t. He wanted to scrap the Medicare system. Now he’s not sure.
He didn’t like the idea of a border fence — it was expensive, and it reminded him of the Berlin Wall. Now he wants two fences, one behind the other.
And what about same-sex marriage? Paul’s position — such marriages are morally wrong, but Republicans should stop obsessing about them — seems so muddled that an Iowa pastor recently confronted him in frustration. (more…)