Tag Archives | America

US Government Confirms It Has Been Conducting Warantless Searches of Americans’ Communications

PIC; NSA (PD)

PIC; NSA (PD)

It has always been assumed that these kinds of searches were taking place, but this is the first time that the government has confirmed so. Don’t worry though: Obama says he’ll review some of these programs to determine whether the government should be conducting this kind of surveillance.

Via USA Today:

The Obama administration has conducted warrantless searches of Americans’ communications as part of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations that target foreigners located outside of the U.S., the administration’s top intelligence official confirmed in a letter to Congress disclosed Tuesday.

These searches were authorized by a secret surveillance court in 2011, but it was unclear until Tuesday whether any such searches on Americans had been conducted.

The recent acknowledgement of warrantless searches on Americans offers more insight into U.S. government surveillance operations put in place after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The government has broadly interpreted these laws to allow for the collection of communications of innocent Americans, practices the Obama administration maintains are legal.

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Americans Are the Weirdest People in the World: Here’s Why

WeirdTalesv36n1pg127_False_Teeth_ModelAnthropologist Joe Henrich and colleagues have studied the American mind, and comparing it to the rest of the world, their findings suggest that the nation’s citizens are the “weirdest” in the world. Must explain why journalists like Louis Theroux and Jon Ronson spend so much of their time here.

Via PSmag:

I had to wonder whether describing the Western mind, and the American mind in particular, as weird suggested that our cognition is not just different but somehow malformed or twisted. In their paper the trio pointed out cross-cultural studies that suggest that the “weird” Western mind is the most self-aggrandizing and egotistical on the planet: we are more likely to promote ourselves as individuals versus advancing as a group. WEIRD minds are also more analytic, possessing the tendency to telescope in on an object of interest rather than understanding that object in the context of what is around it.

The WEIRD mind also appears to be unique in terms of how it comes to understand and interact with the natural world.

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What Americans Have For Breakfast (Bacon, Egg and Gun)

Hey American disinfonauts, do you bring your gun to breakfast? From Marketwatch:

breakfast

“As a European, this is how I imagine Americans have breakfast”

That caption accompanied the Imgur image above, and it set off an entertaining firestorm across the Internet this week.

Patriots gathered on Reddit, not so much to rail against stereotypes or to flip the script on Europeans, but rather to tackle some of the photo’s inaccuracies.

Crewchief535 said “the eggs should be scrambled. Otherwise, spot on.” Dartpoolpointed out that “the coffee looks way too strong; it would be lighter.”

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New Poll Shows Vast Majority of Americans Have Little To No Faith In Government

Pollaiuolo_battle_AN00034232_001_lFindings from a recent poll shows that 70 percent of Americans lack confidence in their government to make progress on important issues.

The AP reports:

Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation’s biggest problems, a new poll finds.

Half say America’s system of democracy needs either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes.

Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington.

The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn’t topped 50 in about a decade. In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

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America: Afraid of Shadows in the Dark While Ignoring the Elephants in the Room

via chycho
usa-fear_thumb

What baffles the mind about the United States of America is that many of its citizens have been conditioned to fear shadows in the dark while ignoring the elephants in the room.

I. Homelessness and Bankruptcies

For example, in the last few years anti-homelessness laws have been passed across the United States, some going as far as making it illegal to feed the homeless. As if that wasn’t enough, to deal with America’s homelessness problem (2), some government representatives have turned to violence:

“Remarkably, this vigilante isn’t just some random Hawaiian, but five-term State Rep. Tom Brower (D).

“Noting that he’s ‘disgusted’ with homeless people, Brower told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser about his own personal brand of ‘justice’: ‘If I see shopping carts that I can’t identify, I will destroy them so they can’t be pushed on the streets.’ Brower has waged this campaign for two weeks, estimating that he’s smashed about 30 shopping carts in the process.

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We Are Legion

LeviathanAny experienced manager will tell you that the single most challenging part of his or her job is not to be found within the mass of technical details that run through a given project’s design, but keeping their workers productively occupied during the inevitable yet unpredictable lulls and logjams that force their way through at inopportune moments.  Power outages, equipment failures, traffic jams, sudden, urgent changes in customer specs, etc., etc., will all, at one point or another, intrude upon the orderly execution of any significant project, totally f*ckin’ up your sh*t unless you can convincingly improvise on short notice.

Time is money, and labor is only borrowed, not owned, so you sitting there on your hands is usually not an option.  Unless you do something about it now now NOW you’re gonna be up sh*t creek, mon frere.  The consequences don’t bear thinking about.

And to add insult to injury, your team, just as inevitably as these interruptions will occur, will view them as opportunity to prove the old adage “idle hands are the Devil’s workshop”.  Sure, the odd individual here or there may prove to have some initiative of their own, seizing some previously unidentified flexibility within their own assignments.  But that flexibility will always be limited.  And frankly, despite the pseudo-folksy drivel of communistic America-haters like Garrison Keillor, it is simply mathematically impossible for ALL the children to be “above average”.… Read the rest

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Living in America Will Drive You Insane

tilt-shift-van-gogh-prisoners-exercising-detailI know you’re never going to believe this, but apparently life in 21st century America will make you a little nutty. Okay, that’s no surprise, but I’m confused by the difference between a “real” mental illness caused by social pressures and a “fake” mental illness that people use to rebel against the society that is driving them crazy.

Via Salon:

In “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.

A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment.

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Laws Are for Little People

lego-extraordinary-renditionDr. Paul Craig Roberts writes at Global Research:

In various articles and in my latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism And Economic Dissolution Of The West, I have pointed out that the European sovereign debt crisis is being used to terminate the sovereignty of the countries that are members of the EU.

There is no doubt that this is true, but the sovereignty of the EU member states is only nominal. Although the individual countries still retain some sovereignty from the EU government, they are all under Washington’s thumb, as demonstrated by the recent illegal and hostile action taken on Washington’s orders by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Austria against the airliner carrying Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.

Flying back to Bolivia from Moscow, Morales’ plane was denied overflight and refueling permission by Washington’s French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese puppets and had to land in Austria, where the presidential plane was searched for Edward Snowden.

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