Tag Archives | United States

Why Fox News is Less to Blame for Polarized Politics than You Think

via Media Channel Fox News

American pundits spend a good deal of their time pondering partisan intensity, and how it has sharply increased over the years. At some point in such discussions, it is traditional to note that the sorting of America into ever-more flinty conservatives and ever-more liberal progressives has coincided with the rise of cable television and the internet. The problem, it is asserted, is that too many Americans consume their news from inside an echo chamber that reflects their existing prejudices. Oh, for the time when the nation settled down around the TV to watch the network news from Walter Cronkite and his peers, who delivered a broadly centrist diet of news from home and abroad in a tone of take-your-medicine seriousness.

Some of that hand-wringing is to the point. Attend Republican or Democratic campaign rallies, and you certainly hear the same talking points from many activists there, and many of those soundbites and factoids come from cable, talk radio and the same handful of partisan blogs.

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How to Make Money Selling Drugs: The War America Keeps on Losing

How to Make Money Selling Drugs?

via Salon How to make money selling drugsAndrew O’Hehir

A slick documentary with a jokey premise argues that the “war on drugs” has been a soul-destroying disaster

Despite its slick packaging and overtly facetious premise, director Matthew Cooke and producer Adrian Grenier’s faux-educational documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” packs a wallop. While imparting lessons about the economic realities of the drug trade – a thriving, booming and ever-diversifying realm of entrepreneurial capitalism, in spite of the massively expensive attempt to shut it down – Cooke’s film reminds us that America’s destructive global misadventures of the last 20 years have a corollary that’s every bit as bad right here at home.

If anything, the “war on drugs” has been even worse and even stupider than the “war on terror,” although they’ve become so intimately interconnected in moral, technological and philosophical terms that it’s not like we get to choose.

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MI5 Feared GCHQ Went ‘Too Far’ Over Phone and Internet Monitoring

via The Guardian GCHQ

Amid leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, senior intelligence source reveals worries were voiced in 2008

Senior figures inside British intelligence have been alarmed by GCHQ‘s (Government Communications Headquarters) secret decision to tap into transatlantic cables in order to engage in the bulk interception of phone calls and internet traffic.

According to one source who has been directly involved in GCHQ operations, concerns were expressed when the project was being discussed internally in 2008: “We felt we were starting to overstep the mark with some of it. People from MI5 were complaining that they were going too far from a civil liberties perspective … We all had reservations about it, because we all thought: ‘If this was used against us, we wouldn’t stand a chance’.”

The Guardian revealed on Friday that GCHQ has placed more than 200 probes on transatlantic cables and is processing 600m “telephone events” a day as well as up to 39m gigabytes of internet traffic.

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The Hegelian Principle Helps Explain How the Powerful Got That Way

via Natural News hegel

How did the powerful gain power over the rest of us? In a time when the power and freedom of the average American is being eroded at terrific speed, many of us wonder how this could be happening. What we may not realize it that the powerful have specific tools or principles to use to con the rest of us into surrendering our power to them. One of the most effective principles used in the last several years with great success is the Hegelian Principle.

The principle is simple, consisting of only three steps toward a preconceived goal. Once you are able to see how it works, you may want to analyze many of the events unfolding around you in terms of this principle. As the principle is often used today, it can be explained as:

Step One: Create a problem or conflict – Perceive a problem that exists and build it up out of proportion to its actual importance, or create a problem or conflict where none existed before.

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Spying Far Worse in South Africa than the US

Via Mail & Guardian tumblr_m4jhzjBIcq1roy6jeo1_500

Americans are shocked and ­outraged at ­revelations that their government is vacuuming up information about their phone conversations and internet browsing habits, but compared to South Africans, they have little to worry about.

According to ­exposés by the Guardian and Washington Post over the past week, the US government’s intelligence apparatus has “direct access” – or a close equivalent – to the systems of major internet service providers.

The National Security Agency (NSA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters, stand accused of using that access in ways well beyond what is contemplated by the laws under which they operate.

As more details about the Prism programme have emerged, the seriousness of those concerns has been much disputed. But that has done little to stem the wave of outrage and political condemnation that has seriously shaken confidence in the entire administration of Barack Obama.

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‘Ugly’ Finding: Unattractive Workers Suffer More

via Michigan State University Ugly group

People who are considered unattractive are more likely to be belittled and bullied in the workplace, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University business scholar.

“Frankly, it’s an ugly finding,” said Brent Scott, associate professor of management and lead investigator on the study. “Although we like to think we’re professional and mature in the workplace, it can be just like high school in many ways.”

While plenty of research has found that attractive students tend to be more popular in school, the study is the first to link attractiveness to cruelty in the workplace. The results appear in the research journal Human Performance.

The researchers surveyed 114 workers at a health care facility in the southeastern United States. The workers were asked how often their co-workers engaged in cruel behavior toward them (which included saying hurtful things, acting rudely and making fun of them).

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Suspected Commander of Nazi SS-led Unit Found Living in Minnesota

michael karkoc

Michael Karkoc, photographed in 1990, is suspected of leading a unit blamed for torching villages filled with women and children. Photo: Chris Polydoroff/AP

via The Guardian

AP investigation alleges Michael Karkoc lied about his role in the second world war when emigrating to the US in 1949

A commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of torching villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the US and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after the second world war, according to evidence uncovered by Associated Press.

Michael Karkoc, 94, told US authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during the war, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defence Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by AP through a Freedom of Information Act request.

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When the Canadian Government Used “Gay Detectors” to Try to Get Rid of Homosexual Government Employees

via Today I found Out youre_cherry_sweet

We are all familiar with the colloquialism “gaydar” which refers to a person’s intuitive, and often wildly inaccurate, ability to assess the sexual orientation of another person. In the 1960s, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) attempted to use a slightly more scientific, though equally flawed, approach- a machine to detect if a person was gay or not.  This was in an attempt to eliminate homosexuals from the Canadian military, police and civil service. The specific machine, dubbed the “Fruit Machine”, was invented by Dr. Robert Wake, a Carelton University Psychology professor.

Taking the lead from the United States’ McCarthyism, the Canadian government considered all homosexual public servants to be a threat to national security for various absurd reasons. In order to deal with the “security threats” posed by gay people, a special team in the RCMP was formed. Section A-3′s sole mission was to identify and dismiss from service every homosexual working for the Canadian government.

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How the Cold War Spawned the Environmental Movement

The_Population_BombVia New Scientist

In Arming Mother Nature, Jacob Darwin Hamblin argues that environmentalism is rooted in cold war plans to abuse nature for military ends

I have often wondered why NATO holds environment conferences. Now I know the answer. Back in the 1960s, the Western military alliance coined the term “environmental warfare” and for years actively considered how to wage such wars. More than that, argues Jacob Darwin Hamblin in this startling account, much of modern environmental thinking originated with the scientists and military strategists during the dark days of the cold war.

And you thought the first environmentalists were muesli-eating, sandal-wearing hippies? Far from it, Hamblin says. Before them was a generation of scary Dr Strangelove types, “scientists, military leaders and politicians who believed they would have to manipulate and exploit nature” in a war against the Soviet Union. The original doom-mongers were not sounding the alarm; they were riding into battle.

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U.S. Government: Reports About PRISM Contain “Numerous Inaccuracies”

via Tech Crunch8-cell

After the flurry of reports about the NSA’s alleged PRISM surveillance program earlier today, the U.S.’s Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper just released an official statement. According to Clapper, “The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer tocollection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They contain numerous inaccuracies.”

Clapper argues that Section 702 is meant to ” facilitate the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S. persons located outside the United States.” It is not meant to be used to “intentionally” target any U.S. citizens (though the statement leaves a door open for an admittance of “unintentional” spying).

Given the outright denials of all the tech firms accused of participating in this program, including Google, Facebook and Apple, it remains unclear if the accusation that these companies knew about the program is one of the “inaccuracies.”

Here is the full statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence:

DNI Statement on Activities Authorized Under Section 702 of FISA

The Guardian and The Washington Post articles refer to collection of communications pursuant to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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