HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » WillyT » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 ... 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,631

Journal Archives

Alms And Gimmicks For The Poor - TheNewYorker

AUGUST 19, 2013


As a young child, I was frightened of New York City because of its homeless population, frightened to see suffering and poverty as if from out of nowhere. My eyes were on the same level as the eyes-in-recline of homeless people, and I teetered, unsure of how to conduct myself. Growing up has meant becoming acclimated; acting beyond the phenomenon, or even blind to it. When a panhandler makes him or herself known on my morning commute, I no longer so much as scowl as go on scanning the paper on my iPhone. Which makes me a true New Yorker, I tell myself in smugger moments.

Louis CK has a bit in a similar vein to this, in which he describes the cousin of a friend who visits New York, from her farm in New Hampshire, for the first time: “She had never been to any city before,” he begins,

and we’re picking her up at the Port Authority, that smelly hole of a place. We pick her up there, and she’s just freaking out at New York, she’s never seen anything like it. And we pass this homeless guy, and she sees him. I mean, we all passed him—but she saw him. She’s the only one who actually saw him. We didn’t—me and her cousin were just, like, So, he’s supposed to be there, there’s a perfectly good reason why that’s not me and it’s him, the right people always win, I’m sure of it.

In the Port Authority, he says, his friend’s cousin immediately takes a knee beside the man, described as smelly and unwashed. “She goes, ‘Oh, my God, sir, are you O.K.? What happened?’ ” A beat. “What happened?” Louis CK scoffs. “America happened.”

The woman tries to help the homeless man, and Louis and his friend “start correcting her behavior, like she’s doing something wrong.”

“Why, is he O.K.?” she asks.

“No, no, he needs you desperately,” he tells her. “We just don’t do that here… Silly country girl!”

In 2013, the number of homeless people sleeping in New York City shelters each night surpassed fifty thousand for the first time in three decades. Twenty thousand children in the city have no home. The Coalition for the Homeless reports that Bloomberg’s tenure has been especially bad for the community. “The homeless shelter population under Mayor Bloomberg has risen by a staggering 61 percent and the number of homeless families has increased 73 percent,” it reports, a sharper increase “both in absolute numbers and at a higher rate than under Mayors Koch, Dinkins, or Giuliani.” Bloomberg touts his creation of entry-level jobs and admires the improvements he’s made to the city’s education system, yet, as Ken Auletta reports this week in The New Yorker, the Mayor keeps his distance from the full fifth of New Yorkers living below the poverty line. In his spring presentation of the annual budget, Bloomberg did not mention poverty once. On a national scale, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, each night in 2012, there were ninety-nine thousand, eight hundred and ninety-four adults experiencing chronic homelessness in America.


More: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2013/08/alms-and-gimmicks-for-the-poor.html?mbid=gnep&google_editors_picks=true

Why That's Just... Fascinating...

Obama Promises Disappear from Web
by John Wonderlich - SunlightFoundation
July 25, 2013, 11:31 a.m.

Change.gov, the website created by the Obama transition team in 2008, has effectively disappeared sometime over the last month.

While the front splash page for Change.gov has linked to the main White House website for years, until recently, you could still continue on to see the materials and agenda laid out by the administration. This was a particularly helpful resource for those looking to compare Obama's performance in office against his vision for reform, laid out in detail on Change.gov.

According to the Internet Archive, the last time that content (beyond the splash page) was available was June 8th -- last month.

Why the change?

Here's one possibility, from the administration's ethics agenda:

Protect Whistleblowers: Often the best source of information about waste, fraud, and abuse in government is an existing government employee committed to public integrity and willing to speak out. Such acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled. We need to empower federal employees as watchdogs of wrongdoing and partners in performance. Barack Obama will strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government. Obama will ensure that federal agencies expedite the process for reviewing whistleblower claims and whistleblowers have full access to courts and due process.

It may be that Obama's description of the importance of whistleblowers went from being an artifact of his campaign to a political liability. It wouldn't be the first time administration positions disappear from the internet when they become inconvenient descriptions of their assurances.

Link: http://sunlightfoundation.com/blog/2013/07/25/obama-promises-disappear-from-web/

Especially when you consider this timeline: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jun/23/edward-snowden-nsa-files-timeline

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower, Sees Bradley Manning's Conviction As The Beginning..

Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers Whistleblower, Sees Bradley Manning's Conviction As The Beginning Of Police State
Posted: 08/22/2013 12:24 am EDT | Updated: 08/22/2013 8:15 am EDT


The NSA surveillance of millions of emails and phone calls. The dogged pursuit of whistleblower Edward Snowden across the globe, regardless of the diplomatic fallout. And the sentencing of Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for giving a cache of government files to the website WikiLeaks. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg sees these events as signs that the United States is becoming a police state.

"We have not only the capability of a police state, but certain beginnings of it right now," Ellsberg said. "And I absolutely agree with Edward Snowden. It's worth a person's life, prospect of assassination, or life in prison or life in exile -- it's worth that to try to restore our liberties and make this a democratic country."

Ellsberg was a military analyst with the RAND Corporation in 1969 when he secretly copied thousands of classified documents about U.S. decision-making during the Vietnam War. In 1971, he leaked the files (known as the Pentagon Papers) to The New York Times and 18 other newspapers.

Although the Nixon administration tried to prevent the publication of the files, the Supreme Court ruled in New York Times Co. v. United States that the newspaper could continue publishing the files.

Ellsberg was later tried on 12 felony counts under the Espionage Act of 1917, and faced a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. His case was dismissed in 1973 on the grounds of gross governmental misconduct.

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama praised instances of whistle-blowing as "acts of courage and patriotism." Since becoming president, however, his administration has charged more people under the Espionage Act than all other presidents combined.


Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/22/daniel-ellsberg-bradley-manning_n_3793199.html

I Dare Ya...

If I'm Allowed... I Like To Raise A Toast To Bradley Manning... To Edward Snowden... To...

Glenn Greenwald... To Julian Assange... To Anonymous... To Greg Palast... To Micheal Hastings... To Bill Moyers... To BradBlog... To Even... Bernstein And Woodward (Although I Probably wouldn't clink Woodward's glass at this point)... And to all those folks brave enough to take on The Powers That Be.

You may not agree with everybody on this list, or... you may just point out those I've missed...

BUT... I for one am grateful to them all for giving me the information that I need, that MY government was hiding from me (AND DOING IMMORAL SHIT IN MY NAME, AND IN THE NAMES OFF ALL OF US) to make more INFORMED decisions.


Thank you all.


Bradley Manning's sentence: 35 years for exposing us to the truth
This was never a fair trial – Obama declared Manning's guilt in advance. But Manning's punishment is an affront to democracy

Birgitta Jónsdóttir - theguardian.com
Wednesday 21 August 2013 10.29 EDT


As of today, Wednesday 21 August 2013, Bradley Manning has served 1,182 days in prison. He should be released with a sentence of time served. Instead, the judge in his court martial at Fort Meade, Maryland has handed down a sentence of 35 years.

Of course, a humane, reasonable sentence of time served was never going to happen. This trial has, since day one, been held in a kangaroo court. That is not angry rhetoric; the reason I am forced to frame it in that way is because President Obama made the following statements on record, before the trial even started:

President Obama: We're a nation of laws. We don't individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.

Logan Price: Well, you can make the law harder to break, but what he did was tell us the truth.

President Obama: Well, what he did was he dumped …

Logan Price: But Nixon tried to prosecute Daniel Ellsberg for the same thing and he is a … [hero]

President Obama: No, it isn't the same thing … What Ellsberg released wasn't classified in the same way.

When the president says that the Ellsberg's material was classified in a different way, he seems to be unaware that there was a higher classification on the documents Ellsberg leaked.

A fair trial, then, has never been part of the picture. Despite being a professor in constitutional law, the president as commander-in-chief of the US military – and Manning has been tried in a court martial – declared Manning's guilt pre-emptively. Here is what the Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg had to say about this, in an interview with Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow! in 2011:

Well, nearly everything the president has said represents a confusion about the state of the law and his own responsibilities. Everyone is focused, I think, on the fact that his commander-in-chief has virtually given a directed verdict to his subsequent jurors, who will all be his subordinates in deciding the guilt in the trial of Bradley Manning. He's told them already that their commander, on whom their whole career depends, regards him [Manning] as guilty and that they can disagree with that only at their peril. In career terms, it's clearly enough grounds for a dismissal of the charges, just as my trial was dismissed eventually for governmental misconduct.

But what people haven't really focused on, I think, is another problematic aspect of what he said. He not only was identifying Bradley Manning as the source of the crime, but he was assuming, without any question, that a crime has been committed.

This alone should have been cause for the judge in the case to rethink prosecutors' demand for 60 years in prison. Manning himself has shown throughout the trial both that he is a humanitarian and that he is willing to serve time for his actions. We have to look at his acts in light of his moral compass, not any political agenda...


More: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/21/bradley-manning-sentence-birgitta-jonsdottir

I Know This Is Obvious To Many Here, But...

This NSA (add your own alphabet soup) "monitoring"... has been a Right-wing/Conservative wet-dream as long as I've been paying attention to politics (1963).

And THAT my friends... is why I'm more wary of my government that I am of the terrorists.

P.S. Since we are now giving away swaths of our Bill of Rights... have the terrorists won ???

Well... Here's The Secret FISA Court Ruling (2011)... At Least, What They'll Let Us See Of It...

FISA court ruling on illegal NSA e-mail collection program
Read the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinion striking down a National Security Agency program that unlawfully gathered as many as tens of thousands of e-mails and other electronic communications between Americans before it was shut down in 2011.

Story Here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/nsa-gathered-thousands-of-americans-e-mails-before-court-struck-down-program/2013/08/21/146ba4b6-0a90-11e3-b87c-476db8ac34cd_story.html

Redacted Ruling Here: http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/fisa-court-documents-on-illegal-nsa-e-mail-collection-program/409/

An 'Overwhelmed' NSA Still Doesn't Know What Snowden Took - AtlanticWire

An 'Overwhelmed' NSA Still Doesn't Know What Snowden Took
Abby Ohlheiser 2,784 Views Aug 20, 2013


Despite the NSA's statements to the contrary, it looks like the intelligence agency doesn't know everything that whistleblower Edward Snowden took from them after all. Intelligence officials told NBC News that the NSA was still “overwhelmed” with the work of finding out what else Snowden has. The news comes just two days after British authorities detained journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda for nearly 9 hours.

Here's why the agency hasn't yet caught up to Snowden's leaks, according to NBC:

The NSA had poor data compartmentalization, said the sources, allowing Snowden, who was a system administrator, to roam freely across wide areas. By using a “thin client” computer he remotely accessed the NSA data from his base in Hawaii. One U.S. intelligence official said government officials “are overwhelmed" trying to account for what Snowden took. Another said that the NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment.

NBC's report fits right into a PR war over what the government knows about Snowden's secret stash. Here's the recap: in early June, investigators figured out that Snowden probably took information from the NSA's servers using a thumb drive, leading one official to say that they "know how many documents he downloaded and what server he took them from," implying that the government was well on its way to getting a handle on the damage. But later that month, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told reporters that the White House still didn't know what Snowden took. Then, an anonymously-sourced story at CNN confidently claimed that Snowden didn't have the "instruction manual" to the NSA's surveillance programs, in response to a comment from Greenwald indicating that Snowden had something like a "blueprint" to the agency in his hands. But the most overtly omniscient statement on the NSA's capacity to figure out what Snowden has comes from the agency's director Keith Alexander:

We have tremendous oversight over these programs. We can audit the actions of our people 100 percent, and we do that.

The Atlantic previously raised some doubts over that claim. For one thing, Alexander said in June that the agency was "now putting in place actions that would give us the ability to track our system administrators." Alexander has since said that he was going to just replace almost all of the system administrators working for the NSA with machines.

NSA followers won't be terribly surprised at the discrepancy between public and private statements from the agency. Just last week, an internal audit obtained by Snowden and leaked to the Washington Post revealed that the agency has very little oversight from the secret court designed to keep it legal. That report was, if not the last, one of the final nails in the coffin for the agency's "oversight" rebuttal to criticism of their secret data collection programs.


More: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2013/08/nsa-overwhelmed-their-snowden-damage-assessment/68554/

With New Leaks, More NSA Deception Is Exposed - TheAtlantic

With New Leaks, More NSA Deception Is Exposed
NBC's latest scoop flatly contradicts Keith Alexander's claim that "we can audit the actions of our people 100 percent."

Conor Friedersdorf
Aug 21 2013, 7:37 AM ET


Days ago, when the Washington Post reported on an internal NSA audit showing thousands of rules violations every year, civil libertarians got the hard proof of rights violations they've long sought. Yet defenders of the NSA insisted that the audit reflected well on the surveillance agency, arguing that a comparison of database queries to violations shows an extremely low error rate. As I explain at length here, that's an almost useless metric for exonerating the NSA. How easy to manipulate that ratio at an agency capable of carrying out automated queries by the millions!

The latest NSA defenses also elide the fact that the abuses documented in the May 2012 audit are the minimum number of violations committed by the NSA, not a comprehensive accounting. This is partly because, per the Post story, the audit "counts only incidents at the NSA's Fort Meade headquarters and other ­facilities in the Washington area. Three government officials, speak­ing on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified matters, said the number would be substantially higher if it included other NSA operating units and regional collection centers."

For those reasons alone, Rep. Peter King is misleading Americans when he goes on Fox News and declares the 2012 audit as evidence that the NSA has achieved "99 percent compliance."

But there is an even larger problem with the audit. There is now a new reason to be skeptical that it captured all of the violations at the limited facilities under examination. Why? Give me three paragraphs.

NBC News revealed Tuesday that "more than two months after documents leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden first began appearing in the news media, the National Security Agency still doesn't know the full extent of what he took, according to intelligence community sources." Two separate sources told the network that the NSA doesn't know how many documents were taken or what they are. "One U.S. intelligence official said government officials 'are overwhelmed' trying to account for what Snowden took," the write-up states. "Another said that the NSA has a poor audit capability, which is frustrating efforts to complete a damage assessment."

This flatly contradicts what General Keith Alexander, the NSA's director, has told the public. NBC News gives an example:


More: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/08/with-new-leaks-more-nsa-deception-is-exposed/278885/

Go to Page: « Prev 1 ... 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 Next »