Sunday, October 12, 2014

naomster:

just-for-grins:

Instant Karma Gifs

I CNAT BREATHE

Saturday, June 8, 2013
quickhits:

Terrorism is Not the Greatest Threat to Liberty.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. -James Madison, fourth US president, known as “Father of the Constitution” for drafting the that document and authoring the Bill of Rights.

When the Bush administration declared a “Global War on Terror,” Madison’s words should’ve echoed from every corner of Washington and from every voice in the media. If there was ever a case of Madison’s “continual warfare,” the GWoT was it. Other Presidents had declared wars on concepts — a war on crime, war on poverty, war on drugs, etc. — and those wars did not go (or have not gone) well. When the goal is the complete eradication of a problem, failure becomes extremely easy. The goal should always be to mitigate the problem to as close to nonexistence as reality will allow. This is not the definition of war.  Of course, these other “wars” launched by other presidents were mostly metaphorical. They weren’t actually launching a war, but announcing an increased focus on a problem and an increased effort to eliminate it. Bush’s War on Terror was quite different. He meant it as a literal war. “Americans are asking, how will we fight and win this war?” Bush explained to a joint session of congress. “We will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war, to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.” This wasn’t “war” as a rhetorical device, this was actual, people-are-going-to-die war. And Madison’s warning has proven true through every stage of this thing. The forces of liberty don’t torture, they don’t build concentration camps. The debt and deficits created by this War on Terror have been tremendous and bog us down to this day. To make things worse, Bush decided to cut taxes during a time of increased wartime spending — an unprecedented and tremendously irresponsible act of fiscal malpractice. And, of course, there were the attacks on liberty at home. Warrantless wiretaps, intercepted emails, data mining. Our personal freedom, our autonomy and privacy, have been eroded in our quick decline into a surveillance state. As much as the war hawks liked to talk about freedom and liberty, they were their biggest enemies, doing far more damage to the American way of life with police state tactics and fear-mongering than any terrorist ever did. And, of course, we now know that this surveillance society mindset continues on to this day.

The Guardian: The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian. The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says. The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” one NSA insider told the Washington Post. When it comes to overreach in the name of security, Democrats tend to be no better than Republicans — sometimes worse. Somewhere along the line, Democrats have developed a political insecurity about security, probably driven by Republicans unending drumbeat for war. Democrats feel the need to prove that they can be every bit as bloodthirsty and oppressive as Republicans and this is the result. For the same reason, President Clinton averaged on cruise missile launch a day during a largely peacetime presidency — often with tragic consequences. The obvious present-day parallel is Pres. Obama’s drone program. When it comes to choices between freedom and safety, you can’t trust Democrats either. Freedom is messy. And this is because freedom is toward the chaotic scale of the spectrum. Strict law-and-order societies are totalitarian and a state with absolute complete freedom would be anarchy in it’s most literal form. As a result, you can’t have freedom and complete safety. Want total safety from all terrorism and crime? Lock everyone in America into a separate prison cell. You need to find a balance between the two — as the saying goes, your freedom to throw a punch ends at the tip of my nose. And the idea that America needs to be kept safe at any cost is detrimental to freedom. Free people don’t torture. free people don’t imprison without trial, free people don’t have their phones tapped and their online activities monitored. Freedom requires a measure of courage, because it entials a measure of risk. The War on Terror has cost us a lot of liberty and the pay off has been dubious. After the revelation of the PRISM program, we have two choices as I see them: we can continue on trading liberty for security, knowing this is an erosion of freedom that’s growing steadily worse over time. Or we can decide that the price is too great. That James Madison was right and that the greatest threat to liberty isn’t isn’t foreign aggressors, but constant war.-Wisco [photo via Wikimedia Commons]

quickhits:

Terrorism is Not the Greatest Threat to Liberty.

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.
-James Madison, fourth US president, known as “Father of the Constitution” for drafting the that document and authoring the Bill of Rights.

When the Bush administration declared a “Global War on Terror,” Madison’s words should’ve echoed from every corner of Washington and from every voice in the media. If there was ever a case of Madison’s “continual warfare,” the GWoT was it. Other Presidents had declared wars on concepts — a war on crime, war on poverty, war on drugs, etc. — and those wars did not go (or have not gone) well. When the goal is the complete eradication of a problem, failure becomes extremely easy. The goal should always be to mitigate the problem to as close to nonexistence as reality will allow. This is not the definition of war.

Of course, these other “wars” launched by other presidents were mostly metaphorical. They weren’t actually launching a war, but announcing an increased focus on a problem and an increased effort to eliminate it. Bush’s War on Terror was quite different. He meant it as a literal war. “Americans are asking, how will we fight and win this war?” Bush explained to a joint session of congress. “We will direct every resource at our command, every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war, to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.”

This wasn’t “war” as a rhetorical device, this was actual, people-are-going-to-die war.

And Madison’s warning has proven true through every stage of this thing. The forces of liberty don’t torture, they don’t build concentration camps. The debt and deficits created by this War on Terror have been tremendous and bog us down to this day. To make things worse, Bush decided to cut taxes during a time of increased wartime spending — an unprecedented and tremendously irresponsible act of fiscal malpractice.

And, of course, there were the attacks on liberty at home. Warrantless wiretaps, intercepted emails, data mining. Our personal freedom, our autonomy and privacy, have been eroded in our quick decline into a surveillance state. As much as the war hawks liked to talk about freedom and liberty, they were their biggest enemies, doing far more damage to the American way of life with police state tactics and fear-mongering than any terrorist ever did.

And, of course, we now know that this surveillance society mindset continues on to this day.

The Guardian: The National Security Agency has obtained direct access to the systems of Google, Facebook, Apple and other US internet giants, according to a top secret document obtained by the Guardian.

The NSA access is part of a previously undisclosed program called PRISM, which allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats, the document says.

The Guardian has verified the authenticity of the document, a 41-slide PowerPoint presentation – classified as top secret with no distribution to foreign allies – which was apparently used to train intelligence operatives on the capabilities of the program. The document claims “collection directly from the servers” of major US service providers.

“They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” one NSA insider told the Washington Post.

When it comes to overreach in the name of security, Democrats tend to be no better than Republicans — sometimes worse. Somewhere along the line, Democrats have developed a political insecurity about security, probably driven by Republicans unending drumbeat for war. Democrats feel the need to prove that they can be every bit as bloodthirsty and oppressive as Republicans and this is the result. For the same reason, President Clinton averaged on cruise missile launch a day during a largely peacetime presidency — often with tragic consequences. The obvious present-day parallel is Pres. Obama’s drone program. When it comes to choices between freedom and safety, you can’t trust Democrats either.

Freedom is messy. And this is because freedom is toward the chaotic scale of the spectrum. Strict law-and-order societies are totalitarian and a state with absolute complete freedom would be anarchy in it’s most literal form. As a result, you can’t have freedom and complete safety. Want total safety from all terrorism and crime? Lock everyone in America into a separate prison cell. You need to find a balance between the two — as the saying goes, your freedom to throw a punch ends at the tip of my nose. And the idea that America needs to be kept safe at any cost is detrimental to freedom. Free people don’t torture. free people don’t imprison without trial, free people don’t have their phones tapped and their online activities monitored. Freedom requires a measure of courage, because it entials a measure of risk. The War on Terror has cost us a lot of liberty and the pay off has been dubious.

After the revelation of the PRISM program, we have two choices as I see them: we can continue on trading liberty for security, knowing this is an erosion of freedom that’s growing steadily worse over time. Or we can decide that the price is too great. That James Madison was right and that the greatest threat to liberty isn’t isn’t foreign aggressors, but constant war.

-Wisco

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

Friday, May 17, 2013
odinsblog:


Earlier today, CBS News reported that at least two of the Benghazi e-mails that were leaked by Republicans last Friday were altered. The GOP leak of the altered Benghazi e-mails came five days before the White House released 100 pages of e-mail correspondence regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
One of the altered e-mails was from Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. The other altered e-mail was from U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Here’s the Republican version of the Rhodes e-mail:

We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.

Here’s the White House version of the Rhodes e-mail:
We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

Here’s the Republican version of the Nuland e-mail:
The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.

Here’s the White House version of the Nuland e-mail:
The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.

BUSTED!!!
Republicans have been caught red-handed altering official e-mails sent in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack. I’m not surprised that Republicans would pull such a stunt, after all, it was the Republicans who misled this country into the Iraq War!
Now, can we talk about the REAL Benghazi scandal…you know, the one about Republicans altering e-mails?
Read More and more

odinsblog:

Earlier today, CBS News reported that at least two of the Benghazi e-mails that were leaked by Republicans last Friday were altered. The GOP leak of the altered Benghazi e-mails came five days before the White House released 100 pages of e-mail correspondence regarding the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

One of the altered e-mails was from Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes. The other altered e-mail was from U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

Here’s the Republican version of the Rhodes e-mail:

We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation.
Here’s the White House version of the Rhodes e-mail:
We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.
Here’s the Republican version of the Nuland e-mail:
The penultimate point is a paragraph talking about all the previous warnings provided by the Agency (CIA) about al-Qaeda’s presence and activities of al-Qaeda.
Here’s the White House version of the Nuland e-mail:
The penultimate point could be abused by members to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings.
BUSTED!!!

Republicans have been caught red-handed altering official e-mails sent in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack. I’m not surprised that Republicans would pull such a stunt, after all, it was the Republicans who misled this country into the Iraq War!

Now, can we talk about the REAL Benghazi scandal…you know, the one about Republicans altering e-mails?

Read More and more

Thursday, April 25, 2013 Saturday, April 20, 2013
quickhits:

Perspective: fertilizer plant explosion far more deadly than Boston bombings.

CNN: Twelve bodies have been recovered in West, Texas, Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday, two days after a fiery explosion ripped through the heart of the close-knit central Texas town.
Sixty people are unaccounted for, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Friday. He said authorities are checking to see whether any of them are in hospitals.
Reyes said 200 people have been injured and 50 homes have been destroyed.
“This is still being treated as a crime scene,” Reyes said.

At the very least, twelve are dead — I want to impress on you that that number is the best case scenario. If we’re lucky and that number holds, then the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. was four times as deadly as two bombs deliberately set by suspected terrorists in Boston. And I think we’re all sure that we aren’t going to be that lucky. That number is not going to hold.
It’s becoming clearer every day that West Fertilizer was ridiculously under-inspected and under-regulated, despite the incredibly dangerous chemicals being used there. Last year, it paid a fine of just $5,250 for violating Hazardous Materials Regulations — a paltry sum, knocked down from the already paltry original judgment of $10,100.
So once the smoke clears on these incidents, which event do you think is going to going to get the spotlight in Washington, lax regulation of industries using dangerous chemicals or terrorism?
The answer’s so obvious the question might as well be rhetorical.
[photo by The Bay Area’s News Station]

quickhits:

Perspective: fertilizer plant explosion far more deadly than Boston bombings.

CNN: Twelve bodies have been recovered in West, Texas, Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday, two days after a fiery explosion ripped through the heart of the close-knit central Texas town.

Sixty people are unaccounted for, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Friday. He said authorities are checking to see whether any of them are in hospitals.

Reyes said 200 people have been injured and 50 homes have been destroyed.

“This is still being treated as a crime scene,” Reyes said.

At the very least, twelve are dead — I want to impress on you that that number is the best case scenario. If we’re lucky and that number holds, then the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. was four times as deadly as two bombs deliberately set by suspected terrorists in Boston. And I think we’re all sure that we aren’t going to be that lucky. That number is not going to hold.

It’s becoming clearer every day that West Fertilizer was ridiculously under-inspected and under-regulated, despite the incredibly dangerous chemicals being used there. Last year, it paid a fine of just $5,250 for violating Hazardous Materials Regulations — a paltry sum, knocked down from the already paltry original judgment of $10,100.

So once the smoke clears on these incidents, which event do you think is going to going to get the spotlight in Washington, lax regulation of industries using dangerous chemicals or terrorism?

The answer’s so obvious the question might as well be rhetorical.

[photo by The Bay Area’s News Station]

Wednesday, April 3, 2013
social-darwin-awards:

class-snuggle:

zeroambit:

anarcho-queer:

Police ‘Fend Off’ Hundreds of Hungry People Gathering Free Food, Remainders Tossed Into Garbage
Richmond County sheriff’s officers were called Tuesday to fend off crowds outside an Augusta grocery store hoping to make off with merchandise that had been set out during an eviction.
Officials estimated 200-300 people filled the parking lot at Laney Supermarket after word spread that the Richmond County Marshal’s Office was enforcing an eviction at the business.
Officials said onlookers became angry when they learned they would not be allowed to take away food and other sundries that were piled outside the grocery as “abandoned property.”
The crowd dissipated after a swarm of deputies arrived, along with Sheriff Richard Roundtree, to assist the three marshals who had been initailly assigned to the eviction.
“There is the potential to have people fighting and causing problems,” said Lt. Calvin Chew. “That’s not something we want.”
There were no arrests in the resulting confusion, but groups of people remained to watch the proceedings, many clutching empty bags and grumbling about the situation.
Tiffany Serles said she heard about the eviction from her aunt who lives nearby.
“She said they evicting Gurley’s,” Serles said, referring to the former name of the neighborhood market. “So, I came down here to get some of the stuff.”
Serles was watching with several friends while workers scooped up the food and other merchandise in trash cans which were in turn, dumped into two waiting garbage bins that officials said were destined for the Richmond County Landfill.
“It’s a shame that they are just throwing all this stuff away and not even donating it to a shelter or anything,” she said.
Johanne Vargas, an agent for property manager FirstService Residential Realty based in Sandy Springs, Ga., said she was unable to discuss the matter when asked why the groceries were not donated.
Joseph Young, who helps run a youth mentoring program in the same shopping center as the supermarket, watched marshal’s stand guard as food was tossed into the trash.
“We could have gotten some of this stuff and done something special for the kids this weekend,” Young said.

things are bad here in georgia guys, real bad.

Hungry people held at bay while uneaten food is thrown away. The absurdity of private property in one image.

This is actually a scene in Grapes of Wrath. Like, exactly this idea.

"Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people come for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges… A million people hungry, needing the fruit – and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.
And the smell of rot fills the country.
Burn coffee for fuel in the ships… Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out [with nets]. Slaughter the pigs and bury them…
And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates – died of malnutrition – because the food must be forced to rot.”

social-darwin-awards:

class-snuggle:

zeroambit:

anarcho-queer:

Police ‘Fend Off’ Hundreds of Hungry People Gathering Free Food, Remainders Tossed Into Garbage

Richmond County sheriff’s officers were called Tuesday to fend off crowds outside an Augusta grocery store hoping to make off with merchandise that had been set out during an eviction.

Officials estimated 200-300 people filled the parking lot at Laney Supermarket after word spread that the Richmond County Marshal’s Office was enforcing an eviction at the business.

Officials said onlookers became angry when they learned they would not be allowed to take away food and other sundries that were piled outside the grocery as “abandoned property.”

The crowd dissipated after a swarm of deputies arrived, along with Sheriff Richard Roundtree, to assist the three marshals who had been initailly assigned to the eviction.

“There is the potential to have people fighting and causing problems,” said Lt. Calvin Chew. “That’s not something we want.”

There were no arrests in the resulting confusion, but groups of people remained to watch the proceedings, many clutching empty bags and grumbling about the situation.

Tiffany Serles said she heard about the eviction from her aunt who lives nearby.

“She said they evicting Gurley’s,” Serles said, referring to the former name of the neighborhood market. “So, I came down here to get some of the stuff.”

Serles was watching with several friends while workers scooped up the food and other merchandise in trash cans which were in turn, dumped into two waiting garbage bins that officials said were destined for the Richmond County Landfill.

It’s a shame that they are just throwing all this stuff away and not even donating it to a shelter or anything,” she said.

Johanne Vargas, an agent for property manager FirstService Residential Realty based in Sandy Springs, Ga., said she was unable to discuss the matter when asked why the groceries were not donated.

Joseph Young, who helps run a youth mentoring program in the same shopping center as the supermarket, watched marshal’s stand guard as food was tossed into the trash.

We could have gotten some of this stuff and done something special for the kids this weekend,” Young said.

things are bad here in georgia guys, real bad.

Hungry people held at bay while uneaten food is thrown away. The absurdity of private property in one image.

This is actually a scene in Grapes of Wrath. Like, exactly this idea.

"Carloads of oranges dumped on the ground. The people come for miles to take the fruit, but this could not be. How would they buy oranges if they could drive out and pick them up? And men with hoses squirt kerosene on the oranges… A million people hungry, needing the fruit – and kerosene sprayed over the golden mountains.

And the smell of rot fills the country.

Burn coffee for fuel in the ships… Dump potatoes in the rivers and place guards along the banks to keep the hungry people from fishing them out [with nets]. Slaughter the pigs and bury them…

And children dying of pellagra must die because a profit cannot be taken from an orange. And coroners must fill in the certificates – died of malnutrition – because the food must be forced to rot.”

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Google Doodle Honoring Cesar Chavez is Not a Big Shift for Google

Today, Google chose to honor legendary labor leader Cesar Chavez with one of their Google Doodles – the temporary homepage logos used to commemorate certain days — because it’s his birthday.

On most days, the move wouldn’t stir up much controversy. But this time, some conservative sites are questioning the tech giant’s decision to recognize the labor leader and not the Easter holiday, which falls on the same day.

Twitchy, a site owned by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, curated a number of tweets from people who felt insulted by the doodle.

"Better a dead lefty, them a risen Lord," wrote one man sarcastically.

"Yep. While two billion Christians around the world celebrate Easter Sunday on this 31st day of March, Google is using its famous "Doodle" search logo art to mark the birth of left-wing labor leader Cesar Chavez," reads a post on the site.

But First Things, a conservative-leaning Catholic journal, argued that it is fitting to remember Chavez on Easter Sunday. So many of his actions, the site said, were driven by his religious convictions.

"For Chavez, social reform was never merely external," reads a post on the site. "Without peace of spirit and purity of heart, there was little point in pursuing justice. Collective bargaining, just wages, shorter workdays: for Chavez none of these made sense outside the fact of his risen Lord."

While Google Doodles have recognized other religious holidays before Google hasn’t produced an Easter doodle since 2000. In other words, today’s move is not exactly a departure.

And, as Google’s site points out, the Doodles often honor well-known and not-so-well-known historical figures, from Dr. Seuss to Frank Zamboni, creator of the ice rink resurfacing machine.

Still, that hasn’t kept people on Twitter from threatening to leave Google for Bing, which has Easter Eggs on its homepage.

What do you think? Was Google right for recognizing Chavez with a Doodle on his birthday, or would you have preferred an Easter egg?

Saturday, March 9, 2013 Wednesday, March 6, 2013