Tag Archives | Politics

NSA’s Big Defenders Cash Big NSA Checks

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

via Lee Fang at The Intercept:

The debate over the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records has reached a critical point after a federal appeals court last week ruled the practice illegal, dramatically raising the stakes for pending Congressional legislation that would fully or partially reinstate the program. An army of pundits promptly took to television screens, with many of them brushing off concerns about the surveillance.

The talking heads have been backstopping the NSA’s mass surveillance more or less continuously since it was revealed. They spoke out to support the agency when NSA contractor Edward Snowden released details of its programs in 2013, and they’ve kept up their advocacy ever since — on television news shows, newspaper op-ed pages, online and at Congressional hearings. But it’s often unclear just how financially cozy these pundits are with the surveillance state they defend, since they’re typically identified with titles that give no clues about their conflicts of interest.

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This Boy Wonder Is Building the Conservative MoveOn.org in an Illinois Garage

turning pointKnow thy enemy, disinfonauts. Assist from Bloomberg:

Charlie Kirk was just about to leave the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa when he spotted the multimillionaire investor Foster Friess in a stairwell. Kirk, who was 18 and fresh out of high school, had spent weeks memorizing the names and faces of the top 25 Republican political donors in case he found himself in just such a situation. He grabbed Friess into a handshake, took a nervous breath, and began his elevator pitch. Instead of going to college, he wanted to start a grass-roots organization to rival liberal groups such as MoveOn.org, which offer Democratic candidates a standing army of volunteer activists. All he needed, Kirk told Friess, was cash. Friess, who’d just blown $2.1 million on a failed quest to help Rick Santorum win the GOP presidential nomination, handed over his business card. Three weeks later, Kirk had a five-figure check.

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Why The New World Order Will Fail

Why-The-New-World-Order-Will-Fail- 600
Why The New World Order Will Fail!

When someone mentions “The New World Order,” it conjures up thoughts of conspiracy involving the Illuminati, the Freemasons, Skull and Bones, old privileged family wealth and royal lineage. Beneath that you think of the already bought and paid for world leaders and the secret agenda. And you might be right.

When I think of the New World Order, I’m thinking of an idea. It’s an idea that’s as old as war itself. How many times must we keep hearing this same ideology? Every single empire from the beginning of man had this same dream. You know the one, the dream of controlling everything beneath the sky from horizon to horizon.

Nothing has changed in thousands of years except the horizons and the dreamers. When all you could see was the Aztec Empire, then controlling that was good enough. When all anyone could see was the Roman Empire, then that was good enough.… Read the rest

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Nam’s Mission

137

Monday

4:15am:
I awake groggy from the weekend. And I want to call in sick. (ZzZzzzzzZZzzz.)

4:20am:
Ugh! I should work! (ZzzZZZzzz.)

4:25am:
Besides, the road might be a good distraction from my mental state. (ZZzzZZzzz.)

4:30am:
Okay! Okay! I’ll get up!

5:05am:
It’s a (now) rare foggy day in ‘ol San Francisco. I’m slogging up through the Citizen’s Cab lot and headed towards the office.

As I near, Sammy – the new office guy who’s taken over Kojak’s morning shift, passes me. He’s leaving the office with some new West African driver. They’re heading out to the lot … with a jump starter.

Note: Kojak has been moved to the afternoon office shift for some unknown reason. (Unknown to me, anyway.) This is how the cab biz works. Drivers, office workers; one day ya see ‘em. And the next, they’re gone.

Anyway, hmm.

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Ann Lewis GILF activist artist’s SHATTERING catharsis

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Ann Lewis (gilf) “They don’t realize we are seeds”, Mixed Media

Joseph Gross Gallery is pleased to present SHATTERING, a solo exhibition of new work by Ann Lewis, also known as gilf!,

Opening Reception:
Thursday, May 7th | 6-9 PM
in Chelsea at 548 W 28th Street, suite 232.

Exhibition Dates: May 7-May 30, 2015 April 16, 2015 (New York, NY)

Based in Brooklyn, Ann Lewis (gilf!) is one of NYC’s most recognized and provocative female street and activist artists. She creates bold public work and gallery work that inspire thoughtfulness, while simultaneously motivating progressive change within communities. Earlier this year, the artist garnered national media attention when she installed a colossal banner resembling police caution tape that read ‘GENTRIFICATION IN PROGRESS’  at the former graffiti mecca 5 Pointz in Queens, New York. Since receiving her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from the University of Wisconsin Madison, her work has been reviewed in Blouin Art Info, New York Magazine, New York Daily News, Brooklyn Street Art, Gothamist, and Wooster Collective.

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Koch Industries drops criminal-history question from job applications

koch_bros

Ulterior motives?

via USA Today:

WICHITA — Koch Industries, one of the nation’s largest private companies, has removed questions about prior criminal convictions from its job applications, becoming the latest corporation to join a burgeoning movement trying to make it easier for ex-offenders to find work.

Koch Industries, which employs 60,000 workers in the United States, dropped the questions last month, company officials said. More than half its U.S. jobs are in manufacturing.

The company’s CEO, Charles Koch, a billionaire known for his support of Republican candidates and libertarian causes, has made overhauling the criminal-justice system a priority. Mark Holden, Koch’s general counsel and senior vice president, said it made common sense for the company to take this step.

“Do we want to be judged for the rest of our life for something that happened on our worst day?” Holden said during an interview with USA TODAY at the company’s headquarters.

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The Armenian Genocide, and the Supreme Evil of Human Stubbornness

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

The Armenian quarter of Adana left pillaged and destroyed after the massacres in Adana in 1909.

Last Friday was the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, an event which, if you’re a Turkish government official, you’re much more likely to refer to with some nauseating euphemism like “the 1915 hostilities with Armenia” or “the period of mutual Turkish-Armenian suffering.” But no matter what name you put on it, it was an event where 1 million or more people died, nearly all of them Armenian, as a direct result of deliberate planning by the government ruling Turkey at the time.

I’m not Armenian, nor have I even been to Armenia. But in my life so far, I’ve come across my fair share of Armenians. My freshman year roommate in college was a native-born Armenian. His family had left the country and set up camp, as many others before them had, in Glendale.… Read the rest

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We Stand to Lose Everything

Aaron Dames writes for Divided Core.

 

We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.
— Carl Sagan

As the 100th anniversary of World War I rolls around, dignitaries and diplomats are commemorating the costly victories and tragic losses of that brutal and gaseous four-year melee which resulted in the deaths of somewhere between ten to sixteen million people. World War I set the stage for its horrific sequel, World War II, which showcased another four years of agonizing mayhem, replicated genocides, and the creation of a Hell on Earth. Millions of people died on battlefields, in death camps, and of disease, starvation, and lack of sanitation in galactic pits of unfathomable misery and suffering. World War II then set the stage for the Cold War, in which the United States, the Soviet Union, and eventually other jingoistic nuclear powers, held humanity hostage through aggressive threats of apocalyptic war.… Read the rest

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The White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Establishment-Friendly Edginess

Washington D.C. is, as the old saying goes, “like Hollywood for ugly people.” Lawmakers, policy wonks, and (lest we forget) lobbyists didn’t work their way inside the beltway just to sit around all day being prestigious, they like a bit of spectacle just like the rest of us. And if that spectacle ultimately serves to inflate their already bloated egos, all the better.

And thus, the rationale for the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (or “WHCD”, if you’re one of those pretentious assholes who also insists on calling the president the “POTUS” and the supreme court the “SCOTUS”). It’s a night for the DC establishment to show us common folks that they don’t take themselves too seriously — which, incidentally, is something they’re very serious about.

Perhaps the most memorable Correspondents’ Dinner came in 2006, with Stephen Colbert’s epic roast of George W. Bush. It was a cathartic moment for everyone fed up with Bush’s disastrous presidency, and it had such a profound effect on Bush that he continued to be a disaster all the way up to the end of his term, at which point he decamped to Dallas to draw pictures of dogs and Vladimir Putin.… Read the rest

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Al-Namrood album artwork

Way More Metal Than You Are.

Do you know what’s totally metal? Being in a Black Metal band, but being unable to perform. Because if you do play a gig, you could wind up with your head chopped off.

That’s what the metal lifestyle is like in Saudia Arabia, as this Vice interview with ‘Mephisto’  from Black Metal band Al-Namrood attests. Read on, headbangers:

Black metal bands have never been keen on religion. However, in parts of the world where religion can actually be oppressive, bands inspired by Bathory and Mayhem and Burzum are few and far between.

That’s presumably because it’s a lot easier to be in an anti-Christian metal band in the US, than in an anti-Islamic metal band in Saudi Arabia. In America, your obstacles extend to overhearing your mom tell a friend you’re just “going through a phase.” In Saudi Arabia, you face social ostracism and the possibility of imprisonment or death.

With that in mind, you’ve got to give it to Saudi Arabia’s only black metal band, Al-Namrood, whose lyrics include all sorts of things that could get them executed.

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