anarchei: Don’t Vote
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), sci-fi blog io9, and a coalition of fan communities are launching “Project Secret Identity,” a cosplay photo campaign to raise awareness of the importance of anonymity and privacy during the annual pop culture convention Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia, Aug. 29-Sept. 1. The campaign, online at ProjectSecretIdentity.org, is supported by a cross-fandom coalition of organizations, including: Southeastern Browncoats, a Firefly-inspired non-profit; the Harry Potter Alliance, an activism organization; the Baker Street Babes, a Sherlock Holmes fan group and podcast; Wattpad, a community of readers and writers; and the Organization for Transformative Works, a fan-culture advocacy organization. "Whether it’s the ‘Eye of Sauron’ in The Lord of the Rings or ‘The Machine’ in Person of Interest, genre culture has long explored and criticized mass surveillance,” said EFF Investigative Researcher Dave Maass. “The last year’s worth of stories about the NSA have read too much like dystopian fiction. In response, we need to focus the imaginations of fans to advocate for a future where free expression is protected through privacy and anonymity.“ During the campaign, cosplayers around the world can use ProjectSecretIdentity.org to post photos of themselves in costume bearing pro-anonymity slogans, such as “I Have the Right to a Secret Identity” and “Privacy is Not a Fantasy.” Dragon Con attendees can also stop by the Project Secret Identity photo stations at EFF’s table (second floor at the Hilton Atlanta) and the Southeastern Browncoats’ booth (#1000 at AmericasMart). ”In J.K. Rowling’s novels, Voldemort came to power not only through coercion, but by monitoring, controlling, and censoring the Wizarding World’s lines of communication,” Harry Potter Alliance Executive Director Paul DeGeorge said. "In the real world, there is no charm-protected room where we can meet and organize in secret. What we have is the Internet and we need to fight to keep it free and secure." "Freedom from oppressive governments is central to the ethos of the Firefly fandom,” said Serenity Richards, captain of the Southeastern Browncoats. “By standing up for anonymity today, we can prevent ‘The Alliance’ from becoming a reality in the future.” The activism campaign coincides with Dragon Con’s Electronic Frontiers Forum, a track of panels on the intersection of technology with free speech and privacy. EFF Deputy General Counsel Kurt Opsahl will present an update to his acclaimed presentation, “Through a PRISM, Darkly: Everything we know about NSA spying,” which debuted at the Chaos Communication Congress in Hamburg, Germany in December 2013. Opsahl and Maass will also speak on a number of discussion panels, covering issues ranging from police searches of cell phones to the Freedom of Information Act.
thelandofmaps: Syria - Refugee situation and internal displacement 27 august 2014.
Government officials and community groups say hundreds of rural San Joaquin Valley residents no longer can get drinking water from their home faucets because California’s extreme drought has dried up their individual wells. The situation has become so dire that the Tulare County Office of Emergency Services had 12-gallon-per person rations of bottled water delivered on Friday in the community of East Porterville, where at least 182 of the 1,400 households reported having no or not enough water. The office’s manager, Andrew Lockman, says the supplies cost the county $30,000 and were designed to last about three weeks, but are only a temporary fix. To get future deliveries, officials are asking low-income residents to apply for aid and for bottled water donations like the one a local casino made a few weeks ago.
Review: I’m more bothered by the “thanks" Arthas gives Ner’Zhul for making him his greatest death knight throughout the entire Scourge, then I am by Golden’s writing capability. It was a fun read, and brought together a strong narrative that held together the life of Arthas - keeping close to the storyline of Reign of Chaos and The Frozen Throne, which made it worthwhile from start to finish.
laliberty: Because nothing says “freedom” like getting a 1/2000000th of a say in choosing who gets to tell you how to live your life. And if voting is truly the reason people (fellow Cubans, in this case) are dying to come here (as opposed to fleeing oppression, searching for greater economic and personal freedoms, greater opportunities for their careers, and brighter futures for their families), then that’s sad, since their votes count just as much here as they do over there..
“Maybe if we bully enough people into voting, we’ll get the turnout we want!”..Well there’s your problem, Juan.
Maybe if you stopped coercing people against their will, they’d come around as voters eventually to join you. And even if they don’t, you’ve no reason to verbally or physically abuse them until they join you and other local voters.
Voters shouldn’t terrorize non-voters into voting - it’s unethical.
itsdleon: A mother lost her child. A father lost his son. A young man lost his life. #JusticeForMikeBrown
“Terrorism" and the perpetual emotion war machine by Norman Solomon
April 24, 2013 - As a perpetual emotion machine - producing and guzzling its own political fuel - the “war on terror” continues to normalize itself as a thoroughly American way of life and death. Ongoing warfare has become a matter of default routine, pushed along by mainline media and the leadership of both parties in Washington. Without a clear and effective upsurge of opposition from the grassroots, Americans can expect to remain citizens of a war-driven country for the rest of their lives. Across the United States, many thousands of peeling bumper stickers on the road say: “End this Endless War.” They got mass distribution from MoveOn.org back in 2007, when a Republican was in the White House. Now, a thorough search of the MoveOn website might leave the impression that endless war ended with the end of the George W. Bush presidency. MoveOn is very big as online groups go, but it is symptomatic of a widespread problem among an array of left-leaning organizations that have made their peace with the warfare state. Such silence assists the Obama administration as it makes the“war on terror”even more resolutely bipartisan and further embedded in the nation’s political structures - while doing immense damage to our economy, siphoning off resources that should go to meet human needs, further militarizing society and undermining civil liberties.
Now, on Capitol Hill, the most overt attempt to call a halt to the “war on terror” is coming from Rep. Barbara Lee, whose bill H.R. 198 would revoke the Authorization for Use of Military Force that Congress approved three days after 9/11. Several months since it was introduced, H.R. 198 only has a dozen co-sponsors. Evidently, in Congress, there is sparse support for repealing the September 2001 blanket authorization for war. Instead, there are growing calls for a larger blanket. Bipartisan Washington is warming to the idea that a new congressional resolution may be needed to give War on Terror 2.0 an expansive framework. Even for the law benders and breakers who manage the executive branch’s war machinery, the language of the September 2001 resolution doesn’t seem stretchable enough to cover the U.S. warfare of impunity that’s underway across the globe..with more on the drawing boards. On Tuesday afternoon, when a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on “targeted killing,” the proceedings underscored the great extent of bipartisan overlap for common killing ground. Republican super-hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham lauded President Obama for “targeting people in a very commander-in-chief-like way.” And what passed for senatorial criticism took as a given the need for continuing drone strikes. In the words of the subcommittee’s chairman, Sen. Dick Durbin, “More transparency is needed to maintain the support of the American people and the international community” for those attacks.
This is classic tinkering with war machinery. During the first several years of the Vietnam War, very few senators went beyond mild kibitzing about how the war could be better waged. In recent years, during President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan that tripled the U.S. troop levels in that country, senators like John Kerry (now secretary of state) kept offering their helpful hints for how to fine tune the war effort. The “war on terror” is now engaged in various forms of military intervention in an estimated two-dozen countries, killing and maiming uncounted civilians while creating new enemies. It infuses foreign policy with unhinged messages hidden in plain sight, like a purloined letter proclaiming “What goes around won’t come around” and telling the world “Do as we say, not as we do.” Political ripple effects from the Boston Marathon bombings have only begun. While public opinion hasn’t gotten carried away with fear, much of the news media - television in particular - is stoking the fires of fear but scarcely raising a single question that might challenge the basic assumptions of a forever “war on terror.”
After a city has been traumatized and a country has empathized, a constructive takeaway would be that it’s terribly wrong to set off bombs that kill and maim. But that outlook is a nonstarter the moment it might be applied to victims of U.S. drones and cruise missiles in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere. The message seems to be that Americans should never be bombed but must keep bombing. The death of Richie Havens days ago is a loss and reminder. Each of us has only so many days ahead. We may as well live them with deeper meaning, for peace and social justice.
To hear Havens performing the song “Lives in the Balance” written by another great musician, Jackson Browne, is to be awakened anew:
“I want to know who the men in the shadows are
I want to hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they’re never the ones to fight or to die
And there are lives in the balance
There are people under fire
There are children at the cannons
And there is blood on the wire”
When President Obama bragged earlier that “The United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world..” adding that “no other nation can do what we do,” we should have guessed some more war-mongering was coming..and sure enough. As AP reports, it appears Syrian airstrikes are on their way..but there’s a mind-blowing twist in U.S. foreign policy: "In an effort to avoid unintentionally strengthening the Syrian government, the White House could seek to balance strikes against the Islamic State with attacks on Assad regime targets.” In the words of the Guinness commercial, Brilliant.
As AP reports, ”The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a “terrorist army.” “Air power needs to be applied like a thunderstorm, not a drizzle,” Deptula said, entailing “24-7 overwatch with force application on every move of ISIL personnel.”
Further complicating the plans, any military action against Islamic State militants in Syria would also have the effect of putting the U.S. on the same side as Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose ouster the Obama administration has sought for years.
So first Iran and now Syria are best buddies with America?
Well we can’t have that..
“The U.S. is not cooperating or sharing intelligence with the Assad government, Pentagon and State Department spokesmen said. But the U.S. flights are occurring in eastern Syria, away from most of Syria’s air defenses. And experts expressed doubt that Syria would attempt to shoot down American aircraft that are paving the way for a possible bombing campaign against Assad’s enemies. In an effort to avoid unintentionally strengthening the Syrian government, the White House could seek to balance strikes against the Islamic State with attacks on Assad regime targets. However, that option is largely unappealing to the president given that it could open the U.S. to the kind of long-term commitment to Syria’s stability that Obama has sought to avoid.”
So to summarize: ”..the limited airstrikes in Iraq (which the Iraqi government did not ask for) now appear to be expanding into ‘24/7 carpet-bombing’ of ISIS targets in Syria (which the U.S. are not asking permission or forgiveness for) and in the interests of “fairness doctrine” America will bomb al-Assad’s military installations to maintain some ‘balance’ between the moderate terrorists, extreme terrorists (and national armies), and scary-as-shit terrorists..”
Is there something we missed?
“White House spokesman Josh Earnest on Monday tried to tamp down the notion that action against the Islamic State group could bolster Assad, saying, “We’re not interested in trying to help the Assad regime.” However, he acknowledged that “there are a lot of cross pressures here.”
“Cross-pressures" indeed. And all humanitarian.
So essentially just indiscriminate bombing of the entire country, then?
..and here I was thinking the whole point of the “war on terror" was to "stop terrorism”, NOT profilerate it via state terror.
Yep, this isn’t Orwellian at all.
carlboygenius: In West Virginia, archaeologists have recovered evidence of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, which pitted more than 10,000 union coal miners against thousands of law enforcement officers and coal company guards and remains the United States’ largest civil conflict besides the Civil War.
Source: Archaeology Magazine
traumatrae: I don’t find myself unattractive, but I also don’t find myself attractive.
I feel like I’m just sort of here, not something that really grabs anyone’s attention.
Sort of like a chair.
Or maybe a lamp.
— Ta-Nehisi Coates, being amazing. (via politicalprof)
The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.
These events don’t happen in a vacuum. None of these people are just waking up one day thinking, “you know, I am going to turn to a life of terror. It’s more lucrative and they cover dental.” Children who were young, only 7 or 8 in 2003, are now young adults. Many of them have spent almost their entire lives living in countries ravaged by war and foreign meddlers with self-serving interests. I am neither advocating nor justifying the violent behavior of the few soldiers who feel compelled to lay down their lives in service to a cause. That’s what our own soldiers do, is it not?
I don’t care if our airstrikes wipe Islamic State forces off the face of the earth, we WILL be back at it again a decade from now when uncontrollable, unforeseeable elements of today come back to haunt us. Just as they did when we attempted to topple Assad, just as they did when we toppled Gaddafi, just as they did when we brought regime change to Iraq and Afghanistan.
The War on Terror, like the War on Drugs, is neither a real war nor can it actually be won. If you listened to bin Laden’s speech in 2004, you would realize that al-Qaeda, for all intents and purposes, won on September 11th. Look around you: the economy is teetering on the brink, the U.S. is nearly 20 trillion dollars in debt (half of that from the last decade ALONE, fighting needless wars), our civil liberties are threatened at every corner.
“All that we have to do is to send two mujahidin to the furthest point east to raise a piece of cloth on which is written al-Qaida, in order to make the generals race there to cause America to suffer human, economic, and political losses without their achieving for it anything of note other than some benefits for their private companies.”
bin Laden’s point was that the United States would forever chase ghosts until its meddlesome and brutal foreign policy became its very downfall. Afghanistan is called “Russia’s Vietnam” by many because it serves as yet another clearcut example of how a foreign occupier cannot ever hope to subdue an awakened and disillusioned populace. Guerilla tactics and asymmetrical warfare are the new black - the USSR went bankrupt fighting the Mujaheddin which led to its collapse, forever tokenized in American hearts & minds as the fall of the Berlin Wall.
This mental “triumph” has deluded millions of Americans, including our rulers, into believing we won’t fail like the ‘Reds’ and that is our biggest mistake. You cannot supply a madman with chemical weapons and then turn around and cry wolf a decade later when he breaks his leash. You cannot facilitate the deaths of thousands of children through embargoes and then feign indignation when the survivors grow up to despise you. You cannot materially supply chaotic, rebellious elements and expect them to stay on their side of an arbitrary line in a massive sandbox.
You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.