Category Archives: Idiocy

Class war quote of the day: One dollar, one vote


Yep, good ol’ Tony Perkins, the plutocratic investment bankster who brought Al Gore on to his team at Kleiner Perkins of who infamously compared folks who criticize the arrogance of the wealthy elite to Nazi persecution of German Jews on Kristallnacht, has done it again.

From the Irish Times:

Billionaire suggests rich should get more votes than the poor

  • Venture capitalist claims if you pay $1m in tax you should get 1m votes

This time, Tom Perkins knew he was courting controversy. The 82-year-old venture capitalist, who caused a stir last month when he said in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal that protesters criticising the wealthy were similar to Nazis, has fully embraced a new role as a spokesman for the beleaguered “one percent.”

In a conversation with a Fortune magazine editor at a San Francisco event on Thursday, Mr Perkins spent an hour riffing on his position that the wealthiest Americans are being unfairly treated.

One major theme was taxation. Many wealthy businessmen argue that the rich pay too much in taxes. Mr Perkins goes several steps further. “The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” he said at the very end of the interview, explaining that he had spent some time formulating this theory. He cited Thomas Jefferson and Margaret Thatcher to provide ideological precedent.

“But what I really think is it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you should get a million votes,” he said. “How’s that?” The remark drew laughter from some in the audience, who apparently thought the investor was joking. In a summary of the event, a Fortune reporter wrote: “Perkins later said offstage that what he meant was that, with 50 per cent of registered US voters not paying taxes, ‘we got ourselves into a mess.’”

UPDATE: From blogger Bud Meyer, a fascinating clip that opens with Sam “the Gravedancer” Zell, landlord to thousands of UC Berkeley students and the man who almost destroyed the Los Angeles Times, then contrasts Zell’s ghoulish rapacity with that of another member of the elite who characterizes the views of Zell, Perkins, and their ilk as sociopathic:

Nick Hanauer on MSNBC Discussing Inequality

Program notes:

Nick Hanauer was a guest on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes” discussing inequality and the attitudes of the wealthiest people in America.

It was fascinating bit of insight he gave us about those at the very tippy-top of the income ladder. Here are some excerpts…

“Ultimately, this is not about money—it’s about status, privileges and power. For a subset of these people, the most important thing in the world is status, privilege and power. They have sacrificed everything for it. A lot of these folks, they are border-line sociopathic people, and they don’t care about other people.”

Mister Hanauer goes on to explain that if someone in the top 0.01% believes they are a job creator, and if they accept the efficient market hypothesis—the idea that markets are perfectly efficient—then the rich deserve to be rich, and the poor deserve to be poor. So they deny that the working class are the true wealth creators, because to believe otherwise—to challenge them—would threaten their core belief in that they deserve all their status, privileges and power.

Don’t confuse Samuel L. Jackson, Mr. Journalist


Especially don’t confuse whim with another African American action, as a Los Angeles television anchor discovered.

First the context, via the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Samuel L. Jackson taught a Los Angeles TV reporter a valuable — and, for the rest of us, very entertaining — lesson Monday: Don’t mess with Samuel L. Jackson.

Sam Rubin, a veteran L.A. TV entertainment news reporter, was doing a remote interview with Jackson Monday on KTLA-TV when he asked the actor and TV pitchman about his commercial during the Super Bowl. Looking stunned momentarily, Jackson quickly realized that Rubin was asking about a spot featuring another African-American actor.

“You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter. I’m not Laurence Fishburne!” Jackson told him. “…We don’t all look alike!”

When Rubin tried to steer the conversation back to Jackson’s new movie, “Robocop,” the actor refused to let him off the hook: “Hell no!…I’m the other guy. I’m the other guy….the ‘what’s in your wallet?’ black guy.”

On to the main event, via vlogger BossOfYheNawl214:

Program note:

KTLA News Reporter Sam Rubin mistakens Samuel L. Jackson for another Black actor, Laurence Fishburne. Sam Jackson sets the record straight to an embarrased reporter.

So, dude, what’s in your wallet?

Li Min: Whale Killing


A China Daily editorial cartoonist weighs in on Japan’s obstinate refusal to stop slaughtering some of the most majestic creatures on the planet:

BLOG Japan whaler

Headlines of the day I: Spies, lies, zones, & pols


We begin today’s collection of events in the realms of espionage, militarism, and deep politics with an ominous warning via the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

Internments can happen again, Scalia warns

  • The longest-serving member of the U.S. Supreme Court talks at two isle schools

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told law students at the University of Hawaii law school Monday that the nation’s highest court was wrong to uphold the internment of Japa-nese-Americans during World War II but that he wouldn’t be surprised if the court issued a similar ruling during a future conflict.

Scalia was responding to a question about the court’s 1944 decision in Kore-ma-tsu v. United States, which upheld the convictions of Gordon Hira-ba-ya-shi and Fred Kore-ma-tsu for violating an order to report to an internment camp.

“Well, of course, Kore-ma-tsu was wrong. And I think we have repudiated in a later case. But you are kidding yourself if you think the same thing will not happen again,” Scalia told students and faculty during a lunchtime question-and-answer session.

Scalia cited a Latin expression meaning “In times of war, the laws fall silent.”

And that Latin phrase in question? Inter arma enim silent leges.

Techdirt calls out the posse:

Mike Rogers Tries To Make The Case That Glenn Greenwald Should Be Prosecuted For ‘Selling Stolen Material’

  • from the is-he-insane? dept

Rep. Mike Rogers apparently just can’t help but spin wild and ridiculous conspiracy theories. Fresh off his latest attempt to argue that Ed Snowden is a Russian spy — an argument debunked by just about everyone, including his Senatorial counterpart Dianne Feinstein — it appears he’s now decided to pick up the ridiculously insane thread kicked off (purposefully) last week by Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, hinting that journalists who reported on Ed Snowden are somehow “accomplices” who can be prosecuted.

During a House Intelligence Committee in which many members (from both parties) angrily criticized the intelligence community, Rogers continued to do everything possible to defend them, including pushing the bogus argument that Glenn Greenwald “sold stolen goods” in questions to FBI director James Comey.

From the Dept of D’oh! via Nextgov:

Feds: NSA ‘Probably’ Spies on Members of Congress

The National Security Agency “probably” collects phone records of members of Congress and their staffs, a senior Justice Department official conceded Tuesday.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole buckled under questioning from multiple lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing reviewing proposals to reform the NSA’s surveillance activity.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat, began by asking Peter Swire, a member of the president’s handpicked surveillance review board, whether lawmakers’ numbers are included in the agency’s phone-records sweeps. Swire protested that he was not a government official and couldn’t best answer the question, but said he was unaware of any mechanism that “scrubbed out” member phone numbers from the agency’s data haul.

TheLocal.de listens in:

NSA ‘tapped phone of ex-Chancellor Schröder’

The US National Security Agency (NSA) reportedly tapped the phone of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder over his opposition to the Iraq War, according to reports on Tuesday.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung and broadcaster Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel was not the first German leader to be targeted by the NSA.

Schröder’s phone was allegedly tapped from 2002, while he was Chancellor, to find out his position on the Iraq War.

Schröder, who led Germany from 1998 to 2005, greeted the news with resignation rather than shock or anger. “At the time I wouldn’t have thought American security services were listening in on me, but it doesn’t surprise me now,” he said.

The Copenhagen Post makes an ornamental denial:

Intelligence officials deny NSA spying against Denmark

Intelligence agency FE rejects allegations that NSA spied on Denmark during COP15, but won’t rule out the option that other nations were bugged

The US intelligence agency NSA did not spy on Danish diplomats and politicians during the 2009 COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen, according to the Danish external intelligence agency Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste (FE).

A NSA document revealing the agency obtained information from key countries ahead of the conference was leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and published in Information newspaper last week.

The disclosure also revealed that the agency obtained a secret discussion paper from a Danish official, but the government has continually shot down NSA spying allegations against Denmark.

The Guardian encourages:

House committee urges US government to get behind NSA reform bill

  • Judiciary committee warns Obama administration to back USA Freedom Act or risk losing its counter-terrorism powers

Members of Congress who want to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ phone data sharply warned the Obama administration on Tuesday to get behind a bill to end the controversial practice, or risk losing the counter-terrorism powers provided by the post-9/11 Patriot Act.

Deriding the paucity of legislative alternatives after President Obama’s announcement last month that he wants to transfer the responsibility for bulk collection out of the NSA, congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, the co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act, told deputy attorney general James Cole at a House judiciary committee hearing that “you will get nothing” if the administration does not endorse the bill.

Asked why the Justice Department had not taken a position on the bill, Cole said: “The Department of Justice is a big place.”

A-maize-ing intel from the New York Times:

Chinese Implicated in Agricultural Espionage Efforts

The case of the missing corn seeds first broke in May 2011 when a manager at a DuPont research farm in east-central Iowa noticed a man on his knees, digging up the field. When confronted, the man, Mo Hailong, who was with his colleague Wang Lei, appeared flushed. Mr. Mo told the manager that he worked for the University of Iowa and was traveling to a conference nearby. When the manager paused to answered his cellphone, the two men sped off in a car, racing through a ditch to get away, federal authorities said.

What ensued was about a year of F.B.I. surveillance of Mr. Mo and his associates, all but one of whom worked for the Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group or its subsidiary Kings Nower Seed. The result was the arrest of Mr. Mo last December and the indictment of five other Chinese citizens on charges of stealing trade secrets in what the authorities and agriculture experts have called an unusual and brazen scheme to undercut expensive, time-consuming research.

China has long been implicated in economic espionage efforts involving aviation technology, paint formulas and financial data. Chinese knockoffs of fashion accessories have long held a place in the mainstream. But the case of Mr. Mo, and a separate one in Kansas last year suggest that the agriculture sector is becoming a greater target, something that industry analysts fear could hurt the competitive advantage of farmers and big agriculture alike.

From USA TODAY, another cause for insecurity:

Navy nukes come under scrutiny in cheating probe

The Navy is investigating allegations of cheating among about 30 enlisted sailors who work on nuclear power systems on ships and submarines, top Navy officials said Tuesday.

The naval investigation follows weeks of bad news from the Air Force about rampant, “systemic” cheating on proficiency tests among airmen who handle nuclear weapons.

An enlisted sailor alerted superiors Monday about an offer to exchange answers to one of several tests needed to qualify to operate nuclear propulsion systems, said Adm. John Richardson, leader of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion program.

Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, and Richardson spelled out details of the investigation. “To say I’m disappointed would be an understatement,” Greenert said.

And another cause for insecurity, via Nextgov:

Despite Spending $65 Billion on Cybersecurity, Agencies Neglect Basic Protections

After spending at least $65 billion since 2006 to protect federal computers and networks from hackers, government agencies remain vulnerable, often because officials have neglected to perform basic security steps such as updating software, according to a report released Tuesday by a key Republican senator.

The study cites lapses at the very agencies responsible for protecting U.S. networks and sensitive data, including the Homeland Security Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Although it has steadily improved its overall cybersecurity performance, DHS is by no means a standard-setter,” states the assessment by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., ranking Republican on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

SecurityWeek secures:

Snowden Leaks Spark Defense Firms to Change Security Practices: Survey

  • Survey: 75% of Defense Contractors Say Leaks by Edward Snowden Have Made Them Change Their Security Practices

According to the results of a survey conducted by ThreatTrack Security, the leaking of classified NSA documents by Edward Snowden has resulted in defense contractors changing their companies’ cybersecurity practices.

ThreatTrack Security published the study looking to shed light on the attitudes of IT and security managers working at U.S. defense contractors in the wake of the Edward Snowden’s leaking of classified documents related to some the NSA’s spying tactics.

From Colombia, yet another case of spookery run amok from the Miami Herald:

President Santos calls for investigation into alleged army spying on peace negotiators

President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday called for an investigation to see “what dark forces” might be behind an alleged army-run spy ring that targeted negotiators in Havana who are trying to broker a peace deal with the country’s largest guerrilla group.

Santos’ announcement comes after Semana.com, one of the country’s most respected media outlets, reported late Monday that the army recruited civilian hackers to break into the email and text-message accounts of government peace negotiators, including chief negotiator Humberto de la Calle.

If the allegations are true, Santos said they would be “totally unacceptable.”

And from International Business Times, another leak icon and another leak:

Text Messages from Victim of Alleged Rape, Molestation Prove Assange Innocent: Wikileak Affidavit

Even as members of Sweden’s parliament have been stepping up pressure on prosecutors to question Julian Assange on the sexual allegations he faces in the country, Assange in a Wikileaks affidavit has claimed that text messages between the two alleged victims prove his innocence.

In the affidavit, which has been published on the WikiLeaks website, Assange tries to prove his innocence, citing the text message sent by the alleged victims.

Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has been living at Ecuador’s embassy in London since the Latin American country granted him political asylum in the summer of 2012. He was arrested in the UK in December 2010 on a European Union-wide warrant requested by Sweden, over the rape and molestation allegations.

The allegation is that Assange raped one woman and molested another, during a visit to Stockholm in 2010. However, the affidavit has one alleged victim saying in a text message that “it was the police who made up the charges”. The text message further adds that she “did not want to put any charges on JA but that the police were keen on getting a grip on him”.

After the jump, the latest rounds of rhetorical and legislative escalations and zonal boundary provocations from Asia, major Israeli and German arms sales, British Big Brother busted by British Big Brother, the New York Times does undercover edits, DEA courtroom duplicity, and more. . . Continue reading

Headlines of the day I: Spies, zones, drones, pols


We begin today’s compendium of tales form the world of spooks and security with a video from RT America:

California to require warrants for drone surveillance

Program notes:

California lawmakers are considering legislation that would keep police agencies and other government entities from using drones to conduct warrantless surveillance in the Golden State. The bill would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant to use drone surveillance, except in some emergency cases, and that those agencies notify the public when they intend to use drones. The data those drones collect would have to be destroyed within six months. RT’s Ameera David takes a look at the bill that would create some of the nation’s strictest standards on the use of drones in law enforcement.

And now, on with the latest blowback from those Edward Snowden NSA revelations, via The Guardian:

Obama admits intelligence chief fault over false Senate testimony

  • President continues to defend James Clapper in the face of calls for his resignation after ‘untruthful’ statement about bulk collection

President Barack Obama has said his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, ought to have been “more careful” in Senate testimony about surveillance that Clapper later acknowledged was untruthful following disclosures by Edward Snowden.

But Obama signaled continued confidence in Clapper in the face of calls for the director to resign from members of Congress who warn of the dangerous precedent set by allowing an intelligence chief to lie to legislative bodies tasked with overseeing the powerful spy agencies.

“Jim Clapper himself would acknowledge, and has acknowledged, that he should have been more careful about how he responded,” Obama told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview that aired on Friday.

From the Secretary of State via TheLocal.de, a plea to “trust us”:

Kerry in Berlin: ‘US is committed to privacy’

US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged on Friday that relations with Germany had gone through a “rough period” of late over NSA snooping but he said the US was “committed to privacy”.

After talks in Berlin with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Kerry told reporters that the United States took Germany’s anger seriously, which was sparked by revelations that US intelligence monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

“I want to say to the German people that it’s no secret that we’ve been through a rough period,” Kerry said.

Asked whether the US administration would sign a no-spying agreement that Germany has demanded in the wake of the scandal, Kerry said only that Merkel and US President Barack Obama were in “consultations” on the issue.

Similar words and a response from China Daily:

Obama speech on NSA welcome, but effects remain to be seen: EU official

European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmstroem on Friday welcomed a speech made by US President Barack Obama on curbing the activities of the National Security Agency (NSA), saying what that meant in practice was yet to be seen.

Malmstroem told participants at the 50th Munich Security Conference that there was a need to see the limits of the NSA and safeguards put in place.

Obama announced in a recent speech a reform of the NSA and its surveillance operations, mentioning the possibility of abuse while insisting operatives should consistently follow protocols.

Malmstroem made the remarks in a panel discussion about cyber security, which was joined by the German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizieere, the US chairman of the house permanent select committee on intelligence Michael Rogers and others.

The ol’ “They’re just jealous ploy” from Deutsche Welle:

Hayden: Every agency wants to do what the NSA does

Michael Hayden, a former director of the NSA, CIA and US national intelligence, tells DW he sees German anger at US spying as genuine and says the NSA shouldn’t have got caught tapping Chancellor Merkel’s phone.

“Have you been surprised how many Germans take this as a very personal issue? Do they take it very personally because they like the United States but they’ve been really taken aback by the surveillance?

“They have – and as I said before, that’s genuine. Also genuine is my belief that all nations conduct espionage and occasionally espionage gets conducted with people you truly do consider friends. So it’s a bit difficult having that discussion.

“Chairman Mike Rogers from our Intelligence Committee was here yesterday and I think he put a good program on the table. He said, “Let’s stick with the facts. Let’s actually have an adult conversation about what it is our security services do and don’t do.” And, frankly, in order for that to be a good conversation, I think German citizens are going to have to have a better idea about what their security organizations do and don’t do. I would be willing to bet that now, based on all these press accounts, most Germans know more about the NSA than about the BND [Germany’s federal intelligence service].”

Techdirt covers another ploy:

Canadian Gov’t Responds To Spying Revelations By Saying It’s All A Lie And Calling Glenn Greenwald A ‘Porn Spy’

  • from the wtf? dept

We’ve seen various government officials act in all sorts of bizarre ways after revelations of illegal spying on their own people (and foreigners), but none may be quite as bizarre as the response from the Canadian government, following the release late last night from the CBC (with help from Glenn Greenwald) that they’re spying on public WiFi connections. That report had plenty of detail, including an internal presentation from the Canadian electronic spying agency, CSEC. In the Canadian Parliament today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, decided to respond to all of this by by insisting it’s all a lie and then flat out insulting both the CBC and Glenn Greenwald.

Here’s the video via Maclean’s Magazine. Techdirt has the transcript. . .and more:

Paul Calandra calls Glenn Greenwald a porn spy

Program notes:

The Prime Minister’s parliamentary secretary, Paul Calandra, rose in the House before Question Period to bemoan the CBC’s journalistic integrity. Last night, the public broadcaster revealed top-secret documents that alleged a Canadian spy agency used airport WiFi to track Canadian travellers’ wireless activity. Communications Security Establishment Canada isn’t supposed to monitor innocent Canadians.

Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist who lives in Brazil, collaborated with the CBC on its report. Greenwald retains copies of a trove of U.S. intelligence docs leaked by infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, and the journalist is working with the CBC—as a freelancer—to report stories relevant to a Canadian audience.

None of this impresses Calandra, who condemned the news report, questioned the CBC’s judgment, and mocked Greenwald’s past association with a porn company. He reacted in much the same way the first time the CBC published Greenwald’s work.

Calandra’s money line: “Why is furthering porn spy Glenn Greenwald’s agenda and lining his Brazilian bank account more important than maintaining the public broadcaster’s journalistic integrity?”

Hey, look at the bright side, CBC. He could have called you the state broadcaster.

SecurityWeek has saner umbrage:

Canada’s Eavesdropping Agency Blasts Tradecraft Leak

Canada’s ultra-secret eavesdropping agency on Friday blasted the disclosure of its tradecraft, after it was reported the agency had tracked airline passengers connected to Wi-Fi services at airports.

Communications Security Establishment Canada said: “The unauthorized disclosure of tradecraft puts our techniques at risk of being less effective when addressing threats to Canada and Canadians.”

On Thursday, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said documents leaked by fugitive NSA contractor Edward Snowden showed that the CSEC could follow the movements of people who passed through airports and connected to Wi-Fi systems with mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

The documents showed the agency could track the travellers for a week or more as they and their wireless devices showed up in other Wi-Fi “hot spots” in cities across Canada and beyond.

While Deutsche Welle spurns:

Brazil continues to ignore Snowden asylum appeal

  • Over a million people have signed an online petition to grant asylum to former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in Brazil. However, experts doubt that the country will give in to this demand.

An online petition started in November on the websites of the civic activism Avaaz has attracted over 1 million signatures. The petition was initiated by David Miranda, partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, who conducted the first media interviews with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Miranda plans to present the petition to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff once it has attracted 1,250,000 supporters.

But it is not only the campaign’s signatories who believe Snowden would be in good hands if he received asylum in Brazil: Snowden himself has appealed for it. The request, however, has so far remained unanswered, according to Snowden’s official support website. In July 2013, Brazil’s foreign minister stated that Snowden would not be grated asylum in the country. Meanwhile, the Brazilian president has claimed that no official application has been submitted on Snowden’s behalf.

Rubbing the Belgians the wrong way, via De Standaard:

Belgian professor in cryptography hacked

A new Belgian episode in the NSA scandal: Belgian professor Jean-Jacques Quisquater, internationally renowned expert in data security was the victim of hacking. And, as was the case in the Belgacom hacking affair, there are indications the American secret service NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ might be involved.

There isn’t a card with an electronic chip available, or it has some sort of security technology that UCL professor Jean-Jacques Quisquater (67) was involved in developing. If you are able to withdraw money from a cashpoint safely, for example, that is to some extent due to Quisquater’s work on complicated mathematical algorithms. He was also involved in the development of the Proton payment system in Belgium. That very same Jean-Jacques Quisquater has now been the victim of a hacking attack, that has all the signs – as was the case in the Belgacom affair – of ‘state-sponsored espionage, De Standaard has discovered.

The authorities investigating the Belgacom hacking case confirm they have opened a case. Quisquater himself has lodged a formal complaint.

Earlier this week, whistle blower Edward Snowden gave an interview to German television channel ARD in which he claimed the NSA’s espionage activities are not only aimed at protecting US national security – in the so-called ‘war on terror’ – but also at companies and private individuals. The Quisquater case seems to indicate the Belgian justice department might be able to demonstrate Snowden’s claims are more than a mere figment of his imagination. As far as we are able to tell, this is the first instance in which a private person is seen as a victim in the NSA case.

And dis-Dane from Dagbladet Information:

For the NSA, espionage was a means to strengthen the US position in climate negotiations

At the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009, the world’s nations were supposed to reach an agreement that would protect future generations against catastrophic climate change. But not everyone was playing by the rules. A leaked document now reveals that the US employed the NSA, its signals intelligence agency, to intercept information about other countries’ views on the climate negotiations before and during the summit. According to observers, the spying may have contributed to the Americans getting their way in the negotiations.

From BBC News, a story about a proposal with a peculiar motivation [see last line]:

David Cameron wants fresh push on communications data

David Cameron wants a fresh push after the next election to “modernise” laws to allow monitoring of people’s online activity, after admitting there was little chance of progress before then.

The prime minister told a parliamentary committee that gathering communications data was “politically contentious” but vital to keep citizens safe.

He said TV crime dramas illustrated the value of monitoring mobile data.

After the jump, the latest Asian zone, drone, historical revisionism. Militarism, and secrecy crises. Plus Gitmo secrecy and a Canadian IP lawsuit, Fourth Estate under siege in UK and Russia, an Athenian terror scare, nuclear cheaters, drone warnings, email hacks, and more. . . Continue reading

Signs of class war in Babylon by the Bay


UPDATED: at the end.

That what passes for recovery is, in fact, a redfinition of class lines, is becoming clearer to more Americans.

What is emerging is a landscape of an underclass increasingly deprived of pensions and other protections established in the first half of the 20th Century serving as indentured servants to an upperclass increasingly liberated from the constants of law, borders, and morality.

We offer two examples from close to home.

First, this clip from Abby Martin’s RT show, Breaking the Set:

Why Google is Pissing Off San Francisco | Think Tank

Program notes:

Abby Martin with journalist and Salon writer, Natasha Lennard, discussing the activist movement against Google employees in San Francisco and where the growing frustration from city residents is rooted.

And then there’s this, about the hyperbolic whining of a Bay Area venture capitalist and it’s furtherance by Rupert Murdoch’s media.

From Philip Bump for The Wire:

The Paranoid Rich Are Circling the Bentleys

Rich Americans control the nation’s wealth and its power. They’re hoarders with bigger houses, a collection of Howard Hugheses who see poorer people as threatening germs. They hear the non-rich banging at the gates so the rich are calling for help. And The Wall Street Journal is there to provide it.

Remember when the venture capitalist Tom Perkins wrote a letter to the Journal last week worrying that the Google bus protests were a step down a path toward the German night of anti-Jewish violence known as Kristallnacht? In its effort to step up to the plate for Perkins, the Journal’s editorial board first had to get the Nazi analogy out of the way, which is generally a sign your argument an uphill one. “[A] useful rule of thumb is not to liken anything to Nazi Germany,” the editorial board writes on Thursday, eager to get to its broader defense of Perkins’ real argument: that the rich are put-upon and at risk.

The Journal’s concern about the Nazi analogies is short-lived. That sentence then continues, “unless it happens to be the Stalinist Soviet Union.” Or, in other words: “you may not make Nazi allusions unless you are comparing Stalinists to Nazis, and by the way Stalinists were anti-capitalist.” You may also use Nazi allusions in headlines. The essay is called “Perkinsnacht,” implying that Perkins has fallen victim to Kristallnacht-like violence, thereby making precisely the same Nazi comparison that Perkins first made.

Read the rest.

UPDATE: Another reason for rational umbrage is the vast wealth the tech companies have been extracting from us whilst peddling us endless streams of rapidly obsolescent/unfashionable high tech. Rather than lower prices or hired domestic workers to make their goods, they simply siphon off the wealth.

From Quartz:

BLOG Cash hoardes

UPDATE II:

Also consider the following segment from RT’s The Big Picture:

Oakland Raiderette Lacy on wage theft violations

Program notes:

Lacy T., Oakland Raiders’ Raiderette & Leslie Levy, Levy Vinick Burrell Hyams both join Thom Hartmann. A group of Oakland Raiders cheerleader is suing the team over wage theft violations. They claim that the organization owes them thousands of dollars worth of back pay for practices and workouts. Could this be a turning point for labor in sports?

Robin Abcarian includes the RT video with a column she writes about their contract at the Los Angeles Times, headlined “Secret Oakland Raider cheerleaders’ handbook patronizes, demeans.”

An excerpt:

A section called “Rehearsal Absentee and Missed Games Policy” lists fines incurred for missed rehearsals. Oddly–or perhaps illegally, as Lacy T.’s lawsuit claims–cheerleaders are not compensated at all for their thrice weekly rehearsals. That means any fines for missed practices are deducted from the paltry $125 they earn for each home game.

See if you can follow along:

“If you miss a Saturday rehearsal or weekday rehearsal (as in the final rehearsal prior to a game day performance), you will not be allowed to cheer that game. This means you will be fined 1 1/2 absences for the missed rehearsal and $125 will be deducted from your end of season pay for not performing on that game day. You will be notified if you are required to perform the pre-game and/or halftime routine and then remain in the dressing room for the duration of the game…Since three lates equal one absence and missing any rehearsal before a game is 1 1/2 absences, you can find yourself with no salary at all at the end of the season.”

Honestly, I’m starting to think cheerleaders are why God made labor unions.

Endorectocraniality embodied: Clueless plutocrat


That lovely neologism is our own, referencing the condition of having one’s head [cranium] up [endo] one’s. . .well, you’ve got it by now.

The victim of the aforesaid condition is Canada’s Kevin O’Leary, a bankster/entrepreneur most famous for hosting ABC’s Shark Tank, a reality show about competing for venture capital.

He also costars [with journalist Amanda Lang] in a network business show north of the border, CBC’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, in which he made a remarkable statement, one that RT’s Abby Martin skewers in this segment from Breaking the Set:

What this Millionaire Thinks of Poverty Will Make Your Blood Boil | Heroes & Villains

Program note:

Abby Martin calls out TV show host Kevin O’Leary, for his callous celebration of the latest Oxfam statistics on the widening gap between the world’s rich and poor.

O’Leary also caught the attention of Time‘s Christopher Matthews:

Kevin O’Leary, a Canadian businessman and star of the entrepreneur-focused reality show Shark Tank, is in hot water.

On a recent episode of the Canadian business show The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, O’Leary applauded the recently released statistic that the combined wealth of the world’s 85 richest people is equal to the wealth of the 3.5 billion poorest. “Of course I applaud it,” O’Leary said. “What could be wrong with this?”

He goes on to explain that the conditions the 3.5 billion poorest individuals find themselves in are simply a great motivator for those folks to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of their lives. Nevermind the fact that these are people living on less than $2.50 per day often without access to basic necessities like water, food, and education.

He also earned himself a reprimand from CBC three years ago after he called Chris Hedges “a nutbar” during an on-air interview.

From the Toronto Globe & Mail:

“There is room at the inn for a range of views, but there is no room for name-calling a guest,” CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe writes in a decision dated Oct. 13.

“O’Leary might have been genuinely curious about Hedges’s views, but his opening salvo only fed contempt, which breached policy.”

Classy guy. He’d be more at home at Fox.

Jen Sorensen: Know Your Potheads


From the Alternet editorial cartoonist:

BLOG Pot

Give Jon Stewart another Emmy!

We enjoyed a paroxysm of laughter or two thanks to last night’s absolutely brilliant Jon Stewart takedown of the Talking Heads furor over the recent legalization by two states of recreational pot use.

The show had one notable flaw, which we address at the end.

Via Mediaite:

Jon Stewart Goes Off On Cable News Old Timey Americana Fear-Mongering over Marijuana

Program notes:

Jon Stewart devoted two segments on Tuesday night’s Daily Show to Colorado legalizing marijuana, and to the cable news (mostly Fox) freakout over said legalization. Stewart took on the new rules and regulations surrounding the marijuana laws, and in particular set his sights on Bill O’Reilly and his “old timey Americana restoration hour.”

In particular, Stewart took on O’Reilly’s assertion that pot-smoking is “literally Russian roulette,” which is true, except for the fact that guns “must never be criminalized and restricted in any way ever.” Stewart also took on O’Reilly’s bizarre connection between pot-smoking and texting and why both are just so horrible for young people.

Jon Stewart Takes Down Cable News’ ‘Old Timey Americana’ Fear-Mongering over Marijuana pt2

Program notes:

And in the second segment, Stewart made the point that pot is far less harmful than alcohol, yet far from condemning it like they do pot, cable news personalities celebrate alcohol and openly talk about getting drunk!

The one notable omission from Stewart’s tale was that most prominent of all former heavy duty dopers:

The Infamous Bogartin' Barry O

The Infamous Bogartin’ Barry O

From a 25 May 2012 ABC News story, quoting Barack Obama: The Story, a then-just-published tome by Washington Post Associate Editor David Maraniss:

“As a member of the Choom Gang, Barry Obama was known for starting a few pot-smoking  trends. The first was called ‘TA,’ short for ‘total absorption.’ To place this in the physical and political context of another young man who would grow up to be president, TA was the antithesis of Bill Clinton’s claim that as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford he smoked dope but never inhaled,” writes Maraniss, author of a biography of the 42 nd president.

“When you were with Barry and his pals, if you exhaled precious pakalolo (Hawaiian slang from marijuana, meaning “numbing tobacco”) instead of absorbing it fully into your lungs, you were assessed a penalty and your turn was skipped the next time the joint came around. “‘Wasting good bud smoke was not tolerated,’ explained one member of the Choom Gang, Tom Topolinski, the Chinese-looking kid with a Polish name who answered to Topo.”

Obama also made popular a pot-smoking practice that the future president and his pals called “roof hits.” When they smoked in the car, they rolled up the windows, and “when the pot was gone, they tilted their heads back and sucked in the last bit of smoke from the ceiling,” Maraniss writes.

Fox’s deepest fear?: ‘Wussification’ of America


From Media Matters for America:

From Media Matters:

In 2013, Fox News worked to stoke outrage over the supposed decline of traditional American values, identifying the purported “wussification” of America in everything from the “disturbing trend” of yoga in schools to the availability of human resources in the workplace. Here is Media Matters‘ top ten countdown of Fox News’ ‘wussification’ fears:

Kansas abolishes tenure, academic freedom


From The Real News Network a conversation with William K. Black, who rteachs both law and economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and the dangerous and unprecedented decision by the Kansas Board of Regents giving universities power to fire tenured faculty for social media postings [which include journal articles by their definition] that “impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers,” amongst other things.

The new rules were sparked by a Tweet from Kansas University Associate Professor of Journalism David Guth following the Washington Navy Yard shootings, in which he declared The blood is on the hands of the #NRA. Next time, let it be YOUR sons and daughters. Shame on you. May God damn you.”

The NRA launched the inevitable campaign for his dismissal, and the university responded with a suspension, while state legislators eager for his scalp demanded action, only to discover tenure protected him.

The Kansas City Star reported on the outcome last week:

The Kansas Board of Regents just adopted a new social media policy, which allows Kansas state universities to fire (tenured and untenured) employees for “improper use” of social media. “Improper use” includes inciting violence (perhaps justifiable though potentially open to contentious interpretations), posting confidential information about students (fine) or posting things that are “contrary to the best interests of the university” (not fine at all!)

Read the rest.

The university’s rationale, as reported in a second piece in the Star:

“When the incident with David Guth occurred at the University of Kansas, it made the nine-member board realize no policy existed regarding the use of social media,” said Breeze Richardson, a board of regents spokeswoman.

The board said in a statement that the policy was needed because of social media’s “particular susceptibility to misuse and damage to our universities.”

“The goal was to craft a constitutionally sound policy, utilizing Supreme Court language, that does not violate the free speech or due process rights of university employees while also establishing guidelines for employees and employers,” Richardson said.

Read the rest.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education cites some of the Orwellian reasons the university can use to fire faculty:

The chief executive officer of a state university has the authority to suspend, dismiss or terminate from employment any faculty or staff member who makes improper use of social media. … “Improper use of social media” means making a communication through social media that:

[...]

ii.  when made pursuant to (i.e. in furtherance of) the employee’s official duties, is contrary to the best interest of the university;

[...]

iv.  subject to the balancing analysis required by the following paragraph, impairs discipline by superiors or harmony among co-workers, has a detrimental impact on close working relationships for which personal loyalty and confidence are necessary, impedes the performance of the speaker’s official duties, interferes with the regular operation of the university, or otherwise adversely affects the university’s ability to efficiently provide services.

Read the rest.

In this report from The Real News Network, Jaisal Noor discusses the real and profoundly disturbing implications of the new policy:

Kansas Board of Regents Undermine Academic Freedom at State Universities

Program notes:

Bill Black: Draconian measure enacted by Kansas Board of Regents that effectively ends tenure and limits academic freedom could be replicated at colleges nationwide

Contrasting videos: Compassion vs sociopathy


First up, a video from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on the lethal nature of poverty in America:

Dying Young

Program note:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on aging, held a hearing to discuss the extraordinary disparities in life expectancy that exist between regions of the United States and even neighborhoods within cities.

From his website:

Sanders said that a recurring theme from witnesses was that “poverty in America is in fact very expensive.”  He added, “If people don’t have access to health care, if they don’t have access to education, if they don’t have access to jobs and affordable housing then we end up paying not only in terms of human suffering and the shortening of life expectancy but in actual dollars.”

He cited a report by the Institute of Medicine that found Americans have shorter life expectancies than people in 16 other high-income countries. Another study ranked life expectancy in the U.S. 40th for males and 39th for females across 187 countries in 2010. The disparity between the U.S. and other nations occurs despite the fact that Americans spend more on health care than any other country in the world, Sanders noted.

While overall U.S. life expectancy is inching up, the gains are less than in other countries and vary widely depending on income, gender, race and education. Those without a high school degree in the U.S. live shorter lives and experience poorer health than those with higher levels of education.

For women in the United States there is a 12-year gap in life expectancy between wealthy Marin County, Calif., where the average person lives to be 85 years old, and Perry County, Ky., with an average life expectancy of 73 years.

American men live the longest in Fairfax County, Va. Life expectancy for men in the wealthy Washington, D.C. suburbs is 82 years compared to 64 for men in McDowell County, W. Va., just 350 miles away.

Nationwide, the poor have higher rates of many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, depression, and disability, according to Dr. Steven Woolf, director of the Center on Society and Health at Virginia Commonwealth University. “The lower people’s income, the earlier they die and the sicker they live,” he said.  “Neighborhoods in Boston and Baltimore have a lower life expectancy than Ethiopia and Sudan. Azerbajian has a higher life expectancy than areas of Chicago.”

By way of contrast, consider this gem from Fox & Friends, and that 70′s porn star clone and Ayn Rand groupie John Stossel, via Think Progress:

Fox News warns against giving money to the poor

From Think Progress:

Donning a fake beard, Stossel sat on a New York City sidewalk with a cardboard sign asking people for help. “I just begged for an hour but I did well,” he said. “If I did this for an eight-hour day I would’ve made 90 bucks. Twenty-three thou for a year. Tax-free.”

Elizabeth Hasselbeck, who recently purchased a $4 million home in Greenwich, gasped in horror at the prospect of poor people earning $23,000 a year. Some people asking for money “are actually scammers,” Hasselbeck warned, seemingly unaware of the irony that the only panhandling “scammer” Fox News identified was Stossel.

Because he was able to successfully convince good-hearted pedestrians that he was poor, Stossel went on to chastise people who gave the homeless money because, in his view, “most are not…for real.”

He implored viewers to stop giving money to poor people because if you do, “you’re an enabler.”

Read the rest.

Headlines of the day: Spooks, hypocrites, liars


The murky pall hanging over the world on international politics grows darker still, with revelations, accusations, and threats profiliferating across the espio/industrial/political complex

We begin with a thoroughly chilling headline from Reuters:

UK: Greenwald’s partner involved in ‘espionage’ and ‘terrorism’

British authorities claimed the domestic partner of reporter Glenn Greenwald was involved in “terrorism” when he tried to carry documents from former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden through a London airport in August, according to police and intelligence documents.

Deutsche Welle provides a partial motive for British bullying:

Germany and Brazil circulate UN draft resolution on condemning surveillance

Germany and Brazil have circulated a draft resolution to a UN General Assembly committee that calls for an end to excessive electronic spying. The resolution comes after leaks revealed mass surveillance by the US.

And a graphic offering from John Darkow of the Columbia, Missouri, Daily Tribune:

BLOG Nsa

And now the NSA ought to be really afraid, because another very powerful and acronymically similar outfit is on their ass. From The Hill:

Gun rights groups go after NSA

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is among a number of groups that have signed on to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit against the secretive government agency.

From Channel NewsAsia Singapore, more high dugeon:

Malaysia summons US, Australia missions over spy row

Malaysia summoned the heads of the US and Australian missions in protest at spying allegations, its foreign minister said Saturday, as a row over a vast US-led surveillance network deepened in Asia.

From The Guardian, corporate partners, profiting richly:

Snowden document reveals key role of companies in NSA data collection

NSA leverages relationships with commercial partners to collect vast quantities of data from fibre-optic cables, file shows

The New York Times reports eclectic habits:

No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A.

From thousands of classified documents, the National Security Agency emerges as an electronic omnivore of staggering capabilities, eavesdropping and hacking its way around the world to strip governments and other targets of their secrets, all the while enforcing the utmost secrecy about its own operations

Ditto from The Guardian:

Portrait of the NSA: no detail too small in quest for total surveillance

The NSA gathers intelligence to keep America safe. But leaked documents reveal the NSA’s dark side – and show an agency intent on exploiting the digital revolution to the full

From Spiegel, the headline to the Bertelsman Foundation story featured in our previous post:

Spy Games: Trans-Atlantic Relations Should Not Be Jeopardized

The ongoing NSA spying scandal has put major strain on the relationship between Germany and the US. But both sides should stop reacting emotionally and look at the political realities. With trans-Atlantic trade on the line, there’s simply too much at stake.

And from Deutsche Welle, a contrary indication:

Germany’s attitude to Snowden shifts

Hans-Christian Ströbele’s trip to Moscow to see Edward Snowden may have been a typically maverick move from the Greens parliamentarian. But it could signal a major change in Germany’s approach to the whistleblower.

From the Government Accountability Project’s Jesselyn Radack via ABC News, pour encourager les autres:

More NSA Leakers Followed Snowden’s Footsteps, Whistleblower Lawyer Says

Several more current and former National Security Agency insiders, inspired by American fugitive Edward Snowden, have come forward as whistleblowers with details of the shadowy agency’s operations, according to an attorney at a whistleblower protection organization.

Bloomberg Businessweek delivers the snide, not bothering to look in the mirror on the way to the keyboard:

The Unbearable Narcissism of Edward Snowden

From New Kerala, a go-ahead from Vlad:

Snowden ‘may meet whoever he wants’ over Merkel phone hack – Kremlin

The Kremlin, which granted the Edward Snowden asylum in Russia, does not see the whistleblower’s contacts with the German parliamentary probe into the alleged NSA surveillance of Chancellor Merkel as a violation of the pledge not to hurt America.

And from the McClatchy Foreign Staff, a sentiment in which we concur:

Snowden tells Germans he’s proud of his role in revealing NSA spying

PRI’s The World offers a compendium of semantic sins:

Ten talking points the NSA uses to justify its spying

The US government often taps into our collective fear when it defends, supports, or justifies its spying — even if what it’s doing includes torture, hacking into our email, or more recently, tapping the phones of foreign leaders.

From Ars Technica, a wake-up call for the encypption-standards-setting National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST]:

To restore credibility, NIST will audit its standards development process

The US crypto authority’s name was tarnished by NSA leaks. But it wants to fix that.

From MercoPress, realizing the dreams of Orwell and Huxley:

Britain sleepwalking into becoming a surveillance state, wars MP Hubert

  • “How would we react if the Chinese admitted they had been tapping the Prime Minister’s phone?
  • Britain is sleepwalking into becoming a surveillance state, the like of which has never been seen before in peacetime Britain, MPs have been told. Opening a packed Westminster Hall debate on intelligence and the security services, Liberal Democrat MP Julian Huppert (Cambridge) said there were serious questions to be asked about the extent and scale of intelligence agencies’ activities.

Jiji Press proves imitation really is the sincerest form of. . .well, you know:

Yachi Asked to Take Up Key Post for Japanese NSC

The government has asked Shotaro Yachi, special adviser to the cabinet, to become the first head of the secretariat for a planned Japanese version of the U.S. National Security Council, it was learned Saturday.

From Whistleblower Protection Blog, a reminder:

Illegal Swiss Banking Collapses

Whistleblower Disclosures Lead To Switzerland Joining The OECD Convention Permitting The Exchange Of Tax Information Between Countries

While South China Morning Post covers an effort to silence another voice in the interest of national security:

China will stamp out Dalai Lama’s voice in Tibet: official

The Communist Party chief in Tibet, Chen Quanguo, tells members to ensure only the official voice is heard in the region

From the China Post, droning on, lethally:

Pakistani Taliban confirm leader killed by drone

The Pakistani Taliban confirmed the death of their leader in a U.S. drone strike Saturday, a day after he was killed, as the group’s leadership council met to begin the process of choosing a successor.

The Times of India covers the blowback:

Miffed over drones, Pakistan to ‘review’ ties with US

Pakistan on Saturday accused the US of deliberately trying to sabotage its peace process with militants by carrying out the drone attack that killed Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, saying it would review the entire gamut of bilateral ties and cooperation.

As does Karachi’s Express Tribune:

Peace talks: Nisar terms Friday’s drone strike ‘murder of peace’

  • With the government’s planned peace delegation to initiate talks with the Taliban in jeopardy after Friday’s drone strike reportedly killed

  • Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Hakimullah Mehsud, Interior minister Chaudhry Nisar said on Saturday that the government of Pakistan the strike not on an individual, but on the peace process.

Whilst on the topic of drones, there’s this bit of Schadenfreude from China Daily:

US Air Force drone crashes in New Mexico

The US Air Force confirmed Thursday that one of its Predator drones crashed near a military base in New Mexico a day earlier during a training exercise.

And from Aviation Week & Space Technology, spies, soon to be flying very high indeed — and at Mach 6, carrying missiles:

Exclusive: Skunk Works Reveals SR-71 Successor Plan

After years of silence on the subject, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has revealed exclusively to AW&ST details of long-running plans for what it describes as an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform that could enter development in demonstrator form as soon as 2018.

From The Independent, spying for Murdoch at the News of the World:

Phone-hacking trial: Andy Coulson told editor to ‘do’ a phone to verify celebrity tip-off, court told

Emails between ex-NOTW editor and executive are ‘significant’ in context of hacking trial, Old Bailey hears

Finally, from Boing Boing, proof that seemingly harmful leaks don’t always work out that way:

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s polls go up after he’s caught lying about crack-smoking video

Quote of the day II: Dick Cheney, spinning away


The Washington Post‘s Erik Wemple caught a delightful exchange from Monday Night’s Fox News sitdown between Blusterin’ Bill O’Reilly and Dick “The Man with the Unhackable Heart” Cheney.

What caught Wemple’s interest and ours was Cheney’s response when O’Reilly asked him if the American press is corrupt:

CHENEY: Seriously misguided. There are some elements out there like Fox, like your show that I think are seriously objective and reflective of what I think a lot of Americans believe. I do find that the mainstream media oftentimes is what I would consider off base or has a bias.

O’REILLY: Is there a reason?

CHENEY: I don’t know that there is a reason or some kind of conspiracy. I don’t believe that necessarily. I think there are though large parts of our society, including to some extent our educational system, our colleges and universities, the mainstream media, Hollywood, that do in fact have a significant bias towards the left.

Clearly, neither Cheney nor O’Reilly read Columbia Journalism Review. . .

Headlines of the day I: Spies, lies, idiots, dupes


Just when you thought things had finally settled down, another leak drops.

After the initial leak about the National Security Agency’s omnium gatherum scooping up of Angela Merkel’s phone calls, Barack Obama offered his assurance that it just wasn’t happening.

Then Spiegel comes out with a report that their reporters had seen documents showing Merkel had been tapped for more than a decade, and that Obama had been informed about three years ago.

Sheesh!

So the president has been nakedly exposed as a liar and lost whatever pale vestige of credibility he might have salvaged.

But one of America’s most powerful legislators, chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has taken the Alfred E. Newman approach, expressing his views in a way certain to raise more hackles. From CNN:

Rep. Mike Rogers: Accusations of US spying ‘disingenuous’

Rep. Mike Rogers says foreign nations should be grateful – not angry – because America’s spying keeps them safe.

Yesterday up to 2,000 people gathered in Washington for the Stop Watching Us! Rally, a fact you wouldn’t have known from ready, say, the Washington Post. Nor could we find it in the New York Times and most other U.S. papers we perused this morning [The Christian Science Monitor being a notable exception]. But it did appear prominently on the home pages of almost every non-domestic MSM website we perused.

What does that have to say about U.S. media? We’ll leave the answer to you.

From Al Jazeera America:

US protesters call for end to spying

Thousands march on Capitol Hill in Washington to protest US government’s mass online surveillance programs

Here’s the Christian Science Monitor headline:

NSA Washington: March against surveillance and a call from Edward Snowden

NSA Washington march: Anti-secrecy activists marched in front of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., Saturday, protesting NSA spying. US citizens and world leaders are rattled at reports of vast surveillance of phone and Internet communications.

And from the Daily Dot:

Stop Watching Us rally in D.C. was the biggest anti-NSA event yet

Thousands of privacy advocates showed up in Washington, D.C. Saturday to protest the National Security Agency and its perceived unconstitutional and unchecked surveillance of Americans and the world.

ReasonTV features this report:

What We Saw At The Anti-NSA “Stop Watching Us” Rally

Program notes

On October 26, 2013, protesters from across the political spectrum gathered in Washington, D.C. to take part in the Stop Watching Us rally, a demonstration against the National Security Agency’s domestic and international surveillance programs.

Reason TV spoke with protesters – including 2012 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich – to discuss the rally, why people should worry about the erosion of privacy, and President Barack Obama’s role in the growth of the surveillance state.

Meanwhile, Spiegel carried another exclusive today:

Embassy Espionage: The NSA’s Secret Spy Hub in Berlin

According to SPIEGEL research, United States intelligence agencies have not only targeted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, but they have also used the American Embassy in Berlin as a listening station. The revelations now pose a serious threat to German-American relations.

BBC News with more:

NSA: New reports in German media deepen US-Merkel spy row

Fresh reports in German media based on leaked US intelligence documents are prompting damaging new questions about the extent of US surveillance.

And the bombshell, via Yahoo! News:

Obama ‘aware of Merkel spying since 2010′

US President Barack Obama was personally informed of phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel which may have begun as early as 2002, according to media reports stoking anger over a spiralling espionage scandal.

The McClatchy Washington Bureau gives it a contextual approach:

NSA knew all about Merkel before rest of world met her

Germany’s Angela Merkel became Chancellor in 2005. But the American National Security Agency started spying on her three years earlier.

Boing Boing adds an acerbic spin:

Spooks throw Obama under the bus: He knew about Merkel spying since 2010

And the London Daily Mail hauls out the good ol’ omnium gatherum:

Obama ‘personally informed the U.S. was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002′

  • Obama was personally informed the U.S. was monitoring German Chancellor Angela Merkel, German media reports

  • He was allegedly briefed by National Security Agency chief in 2010

  • Obama let the operation continue

  • Earlier this week, Obama said he didn’t know about phone tapping

  • German intelligence officials will visit Washington, Foreign Ministry spokesman says

  • Merkel says allegations have shattered trust in Obama administration

  • Top German government official to hold crunch talks with U.S. counterparts

Blowback from Deutsche Welle:

Germany demands US ‘answers’ on phone tapping

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has demanded answers from the US on its alleged tapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and other privacy violations. German media say targeting began in 2002.

And The Guardian detects a new note in Washington:

White House under pressure on NSA monitoring of German chancellor

Administration reported to be distancing itself from agency as press in Germany questions how much Barack Obama knew

While Deutsche Welle raises an interesting question: Did a 1955 treaty provision allowing surveillance of the West German postal and telecommunications services make the NSA snooping legal:

Was US eavesdropping possibly legal?

There has been great indignation at the news that Chancellor Merkel’s phone was tapped by American intelligence services. But according to experts, the spying could actually have been legal under current laws.

China’s Global Times covers another European country:

US spy scandal puts France in tight spot

By targeting civilian communications, the US has directly challenged France’s responsibility to protect its own citizens.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers adds fuel to le Feu, via EUbusiness:

France should be ‘popping champagne’ over NSA spying: US lawmaker

US intelligence is better than in Europe, and snooping at the heart of a widening scandal helps keeps the world safe, a top US lawmaker declared Sunday amid a widening spying row.

BBC News Magazine comes to a realization:

US spies on ‘the entire globe’, experts say

People and nations spy, even on friends. But in the realm of international electronic espionage, the US wields a nuclear arsenal while the rest of the globe fights with guns.

Deutsche Welle assesses:

NSA spying: From minor to major scandal

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s tapped mobile phone has brought about quite the change in the German government. Formerly appeased politicians, who earlier had accepted US excuses for NSA spying, are suddenly outraged.

More from BBC News:

German papers lay into Obama over US spying claims

German papers are increasingly turning their fire on US President Barack Obama over claims that the National Security Agency has monitored Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone.

And the Swiss — that most private and secretive of European countries — weigh in, via Channel NewsAsia Singapore:

Spying on allies harms US: Swiss president

Swiss President Ueli Maurer said in comments broadcast on Saturday that he was outraged at revelations of sweeping US surveillance on allies, insisting the snooping would weaken rather than strengthen Washington.

Kyodo News reports a request:

U.S. sought Japan aid in tapping fiber-optic cables in 2011

The U.S. National Security Agency sounded out the Japanese government around 2011 for cooperation in wiretapping fiber-optic cables carrying phone and Internet data across the Asia-Pacific region, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.

And The Hill reports a a classic example of that old legal maxim, “Justice delayed is justice denied”:

DOD considers delay in 9/11 tribunal

The military trial of the accused 9/11 co-conspirators likely will not begin until early 2015, nearly a year after the highly anticipated terrorism trial was slated to begin.

Meanwhile, a legislation pending in Japan raises doubts. From the Japan Times:

Half of public opposes secrecy protection bill: poll

A government bill aimed at toughening penalties for leaking state secrets is opposed by 50.6 percent of the public, according to the latest Kyodo News survey.

RIA Novosti reports relaxation:

Websites Critical of Uzbekistan’s Government Unblocked

A number of news websites carrying coverage critical of Uzbekistan’s government became available for viewing Sunday after years of being blocked in the authoritarian Central Asian nation.

While the China Post covers opposition:

Net giant companies opposed to Brazil datebase creation

Web giant Google and other Internet companies say they oppose creating Brazil-based databases of local customer information, proposed by a Brazilian government determined to crack down on espionage.

The Independent reports an action:

Police buy eBay data to target criminals

New snooping software is helping forces all over the country to unmask gangs selling stolen property on the internet

And The Guardian reports corporate subterfuge:

Filesharing site revealed to be anti-piracy ‘honeypot’

  • Operator of UploaderTalk boasts of ‘biggest swerve ever’ as he sells user data to anti-piracy company

  • The revelation, which had users of the forum up in arms, accompanied the purchase of the UploaderTalk (UT) site by US-based anti-piracy company Nuke Piracy.

RT notes intimidation:

‘Scary you could be jailed for running computer service’ – CryptoSeal co-founder

VPN service CryptoSeal followed Lavabit in pulling the plug, fearing running afoul of US authorities. Ryan Lackey, co-founder of the computer firm, told RT about the current climate where people can be put behind bars just for running their businesses.

The Daily Dot covers a call:

Expect them: Anonymous to descend on D.C. for ‘Million Mask March’

  • Evoking 1995′s Million Man March, the hacker collective Anonymous has announced the Million Mask March, which it hopes will prove to be the “largest mass protest in human history.”

  • The event is set to happen on November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, on the National Mall in Washington, DC, but with satellite gatherings around the world.

The Independent, with more intimidation:

Tory Minister warns BBC to change or prepare for licence fee ‘cut’

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps says recent scandals have opened up a ‘question of credibility’ around the public service broadcaster

And for our final headline, a question we frequently ponder, posed by The Atlantic:

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That’s all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails?

Headlines of the day I: Econo/crazy/Fuku/chaos


Lots to cover, given our slow post of late, including political madness at home, more grim numbers, the Greek debacle, and a stunning rise in radiation leaked from Fukushima.

We begin with the suggestion of a homeopathic cure from The Atlantic Wire:

Big Business Wants to Defeat the Tea Party by Being More Like the Tea Party

Frustrated business groups think they may have a way to counteract the tea party’s influence: Act more like it.

Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, reports on a downgrade:

Dagong downgrades U.S. credit rating to A-

Dagong Global Credit Rating Co. Ltd., a Chinese credit rating agency, on Thursday downgraded the local and foreign currency credit ratings of the United States to A- from A, maintaining a negative outlook.

Xinhua also offers up another rater’s dim view of American governance:

Interview: Fitch move warns U.S. of “lousy governance,” fiscal challenge

Fitch Ratings’ decision to place the AAA credit rating of the United States on a negative watch list is a timely reminder for some Republicans and the world ‘s largest economy needs to improve its long-term fiscal sustainability, said Arvind Subramanian, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics, Wednesday.

Quartz reports on another slice in the death by a thousand cuts of the American service worker:

An army of robot baristas could mean the end of Starbucks as we know it

Salon covers the unChristian side of the GOP’s Fundie backers:

Family Research Council: Christians should not want the government to care for the poor

“The government has a responsibility to care for the poor? That’s not what Scripture says”

From MarketWatch, revealing that Ted Cruz is a classical Republican, perhaps:

Ted Cruz reportedly failed to disclose ties to Caribbean private equity firm

Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and leader of the conservative effort to tie a curtailment of Obamacare to funding the government, is coming under scrutiny for failing to disclose ties to a Caribbean-based private equity fund.

So Cruz is a money-grubbin’ sleaze. Business as usual, right? Well, maybe there’s something a whole lot scarier goin’ on, reports Talk to Action, which has a video of the speech in question:

Cruz’ Father Suggests Ted Cruz “Anointed” to “Bring The Spoils Of War To The Priests”

In a sermon last year at an Irving, Texas, megachurch that helped elect Ted Cruz to the United States Senate, Cruz’ father Rafael Cruz indicated that his son was among the evangelical Christians who are anointed as “kings” to take control of all sectors of society, an agenda commonly referred to as the “Seven Mountains” mandate, and “bring the spoils of war to the priests”, thus helping to bring about a prophesied “great transfer of wealth”, from the “wicked” to righteous gentile believers.

The Atlantic Wire brings us a heart-warmer [or not]:

Dick Cheney Very Nearly Died in 2010

Dick Cheney very nearly succumbed to longtime heart disease in 2010, but it was okay, because he was “at peace” and enjoying sweet dreams of an Italian villa.

From Mother Jones, something to strike terror in the hearts and stomachs of the poor:

GOP Picks Anti-Food Stamp Crusader to Determine Future of Food Stamps

OpenSecrets Blog reports on true fandom:

Fundraising Down for GOP Dissidents, but Koch and Citizens United Stayed True

And the World Socialist Web Site covers the latest despicable move of Barry O’s BFF and former chief of staff:

Chicago mayor announces elimination of retiree health care subsidies

Chicago’s Democratic Party mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on October 9 that the city would go forward with a plan to entirely eliminate health insurance subsidies for retired city workers at the end of 2016. An estimated 21,100 workers, along with 9,100 of their spouses and dependents, will see their health costs rise dramatically.

From the Washington Post, grim reality:

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West

A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.

More grim reality, this time from the London Daily Mail:

Racism still exists when cutting a deal: Black people have to offer MORE money to seal the same contract

  • People from other races, however, didn’t suffer the same discrimination

  • Research was inspired by the 2011 U.S. Government’s debt ceiling debates

  • Scientists observed how at this time, political parties were prepared to reject a deal even if it appeared to damage their own supporters

From International Business Times, a tearjerker:

Government Shutdown Over: Fox News Is Angry, Will Miss The Ratings

And for our first transcontinental item, a warning from European Union Financial Services Commissioner Michel Barnier via Reuters:

EU’s Barnier warns U.S. of tit-for-tat action over banks

The European Union’s financial services chief warned of tit-for-tat action if the United States pushes ahead with plans to impose extra capital requirements on foreign banks.

Quartz covers yet another instance of Banksters Behaving Badly:

How traders might have made money manipulating massive currency markets

Regulators in Europe, the US, and as of yesterday, Hong Kong are looking into whether the $4.7 trillion market for currency is being manipulated by a handful of traders in order to gouge their clients and pocket big profits.

And the CBC covers the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement [CETA]:

Canada-EU free trade deal signed

Canada and the European Union have signed a tentative deal to open up markets and drop nearly all import taxes on everything from food to cars.

And Independent.ie offers a key detail:

EU finally strikes trade deal with Canada

The European Union and Canada agreed a multi-billion-dollar trade pact today that will integrate two of the world’s largest economies and paves the way for Europe to do an even bigger deal with the United States.

EurActiv debunks euromyth:

‘Benefits tourism’ in the EU is a myth, report says

There is little evidence of “benefits tourism” in Europe, according to a new European Commission study, which contradicts claims by the UK, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands that EU social security systems are under strain from Romanian and Bulgarian migrants.

From EurActiv again, hints of changes, likely too little and too late:

Minimum wage issue resurfaces in Paris election debate

Proposals for a continental minimum wage and jobs-creation dominated the first of a series of European Parliament panel debates in Paris on Tuesday (15 October), as EU-wide elections approach. EurActiv.fr reports.

From Europe Online, a most interesting pre-crash tale:

Ex-EU chief says he was “brutally” sidelined by Germany and France

Former European Commission president Romano Prodi recalled on Friday how he was “brutally” sidelined by France and Germany when he objected to them breaching the bloc’s strict deficit rules a decade ago.

And Bloomberg Businessweek covers another grim reality:

As Utility Bills Go up, European Consumers Go Ballistic

With temperatures dropping across Europe, a new controversy is heating up fast as households across the region face soaring utility bills.

Next up, Old Blighty’s austerian darkside comes into focus, declares the head of the British government’s Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission, on the issuance of its first annual report via BBC News:

Alan Milburn says child poverty ‘no longer problem of the workless and work-shy’

Working parents in Britain “simply do not earn enough to escape poverty”, the government’s social mobility tsar Alan Milburn has warned.

And the London Telegraph covers austerian hypocrisy from Britain’s money minister:

Osborne: Britain must up its game to compete in global economy

Britain has lost its sense of ambition and optimism and has allowed “the bits that were great” to wither, George Osborne has said as he called on the country to “up our game”

But some folks got game, via the London Daily Mail:

The James Bond of prams! Aston Martin release £2,000 buggy in time for Christmas – modelled on their £1.2m coupe

  • Only 800 Silver Cross Surf Aston Martin Edition on sale in Harrods

  • Features an Alcantara ultra-soft Italian suede interior and winged logo

  • Leather push bar and alloy wheels based on £1.2m One-77 coupe

Ireland next, with another austerian hit via Independent.ie:

Families hit by €360 hikes for health insurance

FAMILIES will be hit with hikes of up to €360 in the annual cost of health insurance after a move in the Budget to change the tax treatment of premiums.

Next up, France, first with some blowback to racism from on high via BBC News:

French schoolchildren march in anger over expulsions

Thousands of schoolchildren in Paris and other parts of France have been demonstrating in anger over the expulsion of two foreign teenagers.

The students were especially angry over the deportation of a 15-year-old Roma girl, reports RFI:

Paris school students protest after Kosovo Roma girl’s deportation

Police fired teargas in Paris Thursday after clashes at a school students’ protest against the deportation of a 15-year-old Roma from Kosovo and a 19-year-old Armenian.

And France 24 brings us up to date with coverage of more demonstrations Friday:

Paris students intensify protests over deportations

Thousands of high school students in Paris took to the streets for a second consecutive day on Friday to protest against the deportation of foreign pupils following the controversial expulsion of 15-year-old Leonarda Dibrani earlier this month.

The Christian Science Monitor reports on xenophobia translated into political action:

Xenophobes of the world, unite? French, Dutch far-right weigh alliance

France’s National Front and the Netherlands’ Freedom Party are set to meet next month to discuss a joint anti-EU platform. Can an international alliance of nationalists work?

Deutsche Welle adds another dimension:

French recession, insecurity ‘good for Marine Le Pen’

France’s far-right National Front (FN) won a victory in a local by-election. Nonna Mayer, Research Director at the National Research Centre in Paris, spoke to DW about the ramifications.

And RFI tracks the latest racist outrage, smearing an African-born French official:

Front National suspends candidate for comparing justice minister to ape

France’s far-right Front National (FN) has sacked one of its candidates in next year’s local council elections after she posted an image of Justice Minister Christiane Taubira as an ape on Facebook.

From EurActiv, another controversial French gambit:

French bid to boost aid by taxing finance stirs hornets nest

The French National Assembly’s finance committee has green-lighted an amendment to the country’s draft 2014 budget law, significantly increasing the amount of aid funds that can be generated from the upcoming financial transactions tax (FTT), EurActiv.fr reports.

Germany gets some sobering news, via Xinhua:

German economic institutes cut 2013 growth forecast

Germany’s leading economic thinktanks on Thursday cut their 2013 growth forecast by half to 0.4 percent, but said domestic demand and better global climate will help Europe’s biggest economy to rebound in 2014.

But Europe Online offers some Germanic reassurance:

Advisers to German government forecast robust growth in 2014

The German government’s panel of economic advisers on Thursday forecast robust growth for the country’s economy next year, after a lacklustre start this year, as well as surging tax revenues.

And the Christian Science Monitor notes that things could be looking up for those at the bottom of the German pyramid in a nation currently without any minimum wage laws or regulations:

Federal minimum wage a step closer to reality… in Germany

Germany’s SPD and CDU announced today they would begin talks to form a coalition government – talks that the SPD had predicated on a federal minimum wage law.

Switzerland next, where the banksters at Frey & Co have voted to close up operations and return 2 billion Swiss francs {$2.2 billion] to depositors, reports the Economic Times:

Second Swiss bank closes over US tax pressure

A second Swiss bank has decided to close its doors as the United States cranks up pressure on financial institutions for abetting tax evasion.

On to Spain, first with some bankster boomerism from El País:

Brussels sees Spain making a clean exit from bailout program

  • In political success story scenario, ECB also feels there will be no need to extend rescue loan’s maturity

  • EU will wait to rule on bailout extension for Spain

From thinkSPAIN, another pump-priming effort:

Plan PIVE relaunched: Great deals for car-buyers as Spanish motor industry flourishes

A FOURTH version of a ‘scrap-for-cash’ part-exchange scheme allowing drivers to get new cars at heavily-discounted prices is due to be launched in the next few days thanks to a government investment of 70 million euros.

While El País covers the latest move to head off foreclosures in a country where the mortgage-holder remains indebted even after the property has been seized:

Strasbourg intervenes to stop eviction of 16 families from Girona apartments

Protestors rejoice in Salt as squatters given reprieve at least until end of the month

thinkSPAIN covers an anti-austerian reaction:

Three regional governments take legal action over hospital drug payment rules

THE Basque Country’s regional government intends to take legal action over new pressure on patients to pay for drugs dispensed in hospital.

Europe Online spots a dark cloud looming:

Amount of bad loans hits record levels in Spain

The share of bad loans on the balance sheets of Spanish banks, cooperatives and credit establishments rose in August to the record level of more than 180 billion euros (245 billion dollars), the Bank of Spain said Friday.

And El País reports on the new austerian budget:

Government unveils four-billion-euro fiscal adjustment plan for 2015

Rajoy administration has not confirmed whether personal income tax hike will remain in place

Italy next, with a lone headline from the European Union Times:

Italians go on strike to protest austerity measures

Thousands of Italian civil servants and transport workers have gone on strike in the capital Rome and other cities to protest against austerity measures enforced by the government.

After the jump, the latest grim Greek tidings, developments in Latin America, conflicting signals from Moscow, Delhi, and Beijing, and the latest catastrophic news from Fukushimapocalypse Now!. . . Continue reading

Chart of the day II: Republicans sink to a new low


Literally, as well as metaphorically. From a new Gallup report, “Republican Party Favorability Sinks to Record Low“:

BLOG GOPlo

Quote of the day: Greed and the classroom


From Cory Doctorow, writing at Boing Boing:

The University of Toronto’s School of Business has advised its faculty to avoid assigning articles from the Harvard Business Review to their students. Though the U of T library has a digital subscription to the Review, Harvard has put it — and other schools — on notice that they will be billed separately if they are caught assigning, suggesting, or referring to HBR articles in classrooms. That’s because the license agreement for academic HBR subscriptions forbids using HBR in coursework, and Harvard is now enforcing those terms, and hoping to extract rent from universities where the profs assume, foolishly, that just because a scholarly journal is in their library on a paid-up subscription, they can tell the students to go and read it.

BBC plays Fox, foiled in attack on Greenwald


BBC presenter Kirsty Wark plays government tool using the best of Roger Ailes “have you stopped beating your spouse” interview technique and fails to land a hit on the lawyer-turned-journalist who has played the pivotal role in publishing the NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The clearly adversarial tone is breathtaking, marking yet another new nadir for the once-globally respected government mouthpiece.

From BBC Newsnight:

NEWSNIGHT: Glenn Greenwald full interview on Snowden, NSA, GCHQ and spying

The program note:

BBC Newsnight exclusive interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald on Edward Snowden, the PRISM revelations and mass surveillance.

Quote of the day: All Koched up and angry, too


Ruth Conniff of The Progressive tells a very instructive story about just what happens when you try to peer behind the carefully and expensively drawn veil the Koch brothers have drawn around their American Legislative Exchange Council [ALEC], the secretive cabal of necons doing so much to destroy the American commons.

Her story focuses on what happened when a process server tried to file a subpoena on Wisconsin GOP state senator Leah Vukmir, ordering him to turn over documents relating to an ALEC conference in May.

Coniff describes what happened when process server Bruce Lowrey attenpred to serve the notice on Vukmir aide Jason Rostan:

“I handed him the paperwork and asked him to make sure that he gets them to the senator,” Lowery stated in his affadavit [sic]. “He, at that time, started to call me a low life jerk and a f-..ing a..hole. I left her office and Jason Rostan chased me on a full run. When I got outside, Jason was running after me and he pushed me and knocked me down and threw the paperwork at me and continued to call me all kinds of vulgar names and kept trying to put the papers in my pockets.

According to an account in the Wisconsin State Journal, Lowrey told his wife and business partner about his bad experience, and she went back the next day to Senator Vukmir’s office.

“One of the guys got rude and snotty and I told him to stop right there,” Chris Lowery told the State Journal.

“I told them, ‘You guys are the ones who make the law, and you have to follow it. Be professional.’”

She then reached around behind the staffer and touched the legal documents to his hands, explaining that made the service legal, and left the papers on a desk.

Read the rest.

Rostan denies shoving the process server but acknowledges he might’ve handled the situation better.

We’ll leave the choice of who to believe up to you, gentle reader.

Headlines of the day I: Spooks, pols, and a video


While it’s a headlines column, we’ll start today with a cartoon from Tom Toles of the Washington Post that says much:

BLOG Toles

SWIFT, outed by the Edward Snowden leaks, is the National Security agency’s financial transaction super-tracker, and Spiegel reports it’s drawing lots of heat:

SWIFT Suspension? EU Parliament Furious about NSA Bank Spying

Revelations the US is spying on international bank transfers have angered European parliamentarians. Some are calling for the suspension of the SWIFT deal between the EU and US. “Washington must make clear where it stands,” says one.

“Can you hear me now?” via The Guardian:

Fisa court: no telecoms company has ever challenged phone records orders

Judge says requests for mass customer data have not been challenged ‘despite the mechanism for doing so’

From Al Jazeera America reporting a court ruling posted online here [PDF]:

FISA court: Phone tapping doesn’t violate Constitution

From Techdirt, “Can you hear me now?” II:

Same Day It’s Revealed Verizon Has Never Challenged NSA, It Mocks Internet Companies For Doing So

from the poor-timing dept

From Ars Technica, the NSA, restin’ easy:

NSA Buddy System

NSA aims to plug holes that sprang Snowden leaks

NSA official: “Could someone today do what [Snowden] did? No.”

From the Daily Dot, more assurances:

The NSA knows which documents Edward Snowden swiped

And the headline from actor John Cusack’s timely essay in The Guardian:

Will Eric Holder guarantee NSA reporters’ first amendment rights?

The US attorney general vows not to prosecute journalists, but his criminalisation of whistleblowers undermines that assurance

Call ‘em Freedom Hacks, via Techdirt:

NSA Apparently Purchasing Software Exploits From French Security Firm

from the and-everyone’s-a-little-less-safe-now dept

And from MercoPress, call it black “oops”:

Brazilean hackers miss their target and attacks NASA instead of NSA

  • “At no point were any of NASA primary websites, missions or classified systems compromised” said spokesman Allard Beutel

  • Hackers have hit back in retaliation for US cyber-spying on Brazil but mistook the US space agency NASA for the National Security Agency (NSA), a news website reported here Tuesday.

A question from the Christian Science Monitor:

Did Brazil’s president just knock down US influence a notch or two?

The postponement of President Dilma Rousseff’s US state visit is a blow. But her domestic political standing may be as much a factor as anger over NSA spying.

From the Brazil Sun, continued Latin blowback:

Brazil may opt out of US-centric Internet following NSA spying claims

More from the BBC:

Brazil data plan aims to keep US spies at bay

Brazil is considering ways to make local use of the internet less dependent on US-based services, following leaks about Washington’s cyberspy operations.

And from the BBC, a map of the NSA-free cable system under development by Brazil and the other BRICS nations:

BLPOG Brics cable

From The Guardian, a little civil rights role reversal:

Americans need more protection from NSA surveillance: committee chairman

Republican chairman Bob Goodlatte calls for ‘robust oversight’ of NSA programs and that ‘further protections are necessary’

From Deutsche Welle, more German blowback:

German privacy primus chides secret services

Germany’s federal commissioner for data privacy and freedom of information Peter Schaar has told an international conference in Berlin that intelligence services must disclose more of their workings to civil society.

Meanwhile, the penal censors strike again, via the Journalism in the Americas Blog:

New law in Grenada to punish offensive online content with up to one year in prison

From Business Insider, more Black Oops:

Tasteless Joke About Bomb Attack In The Philippines Gets Pentagon-Run Twitter Account Shut Down

And from SINA English, not a surprise:

UK intelligence still active in HK: reports

And a “Gee, ya really think so?” headline from the South China Morning Post:

China crackdown on online rumours seen as tactic to silence critics

And changes in Japan, via the Mainichi:

Gov’t decides to clearly state ‘public’s right to know’ in state secrets protection bill

Fishin’ chips, from Ars Technica:

Researchers can slip an undetectable trojan into Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs

New technique bakes super stealthy hardware trojans into chip silicon.

From We Are Change and JoyCamp:

Satirical video treat: The iPhone 5nSa

The program notes:

Introducing the new iPhone nSa, the best surveillance device to date. It aims to put your freedom… in the crosshairs

And to close, an item from the “Look in the mirror and see who’s wearin’ the clown nose, Bozo” Department via [who else] Techdirt:

Former NSA Boss Hayden Says Snowden Likely To Become An Alcoholic Because He’s ‘Troubled’ And ‘Morally Arrogant’

from the funny-you-should-say-that dept