“The enmity between the American government and the peoples of the world is an old case. Why is the United States always trying to use force to implement its agendas?”
— Libyan militia leader Abu Khattala says on the anti-Western sentiment, specifically directed to the United States, across the world
9:07 pm • 3 January 2014 • 17 notes
“It’s a major metropolitan area run by armed teenagers with no access to jobs or healthy food, and not long ago, while the rest of America was ranting about debt ceilings and Obamacares, Camden quietly got pushed off the map. That was three years ago, when new governor and presumptive future presidential candidate Chris Christie abruptly cut back on the state subsidies that kept Camden on life support. The move left the city almost completely ungoverned – a graphic preview of what might lie ahead for communities that don’t generate enough of their own tax revenue to keep their lights on. Over three years, fires raged, violent crime spiked and the murder rate soared so high that on a per-capita basis, it ‘put us somewhere between Honduras and Somalia,’ says Police Chief J. Scott Thomson”
— Rolling Stone publishes a piece on Camden, New Jersey, a town they call “America’s most desperate town.”
8:30 am • 16 December 2013 • 243 notes
Public universities should be free
A better way to compare public and private would be to consider the difference between public roads and toll roads. Some toll roads are owned and operated by state governments, and some by the private sector. But does the driver care who owns the road? I doubt it; the important thing is whether the road is free and open to all, or whether it can be used only by those who can afford to drive on it. The same is true of public and private universities: a university is “public” only if those who need to use it can do so.
In this sense, it seems to me that the malaise that afflicts our public universities is not really about about dollars and cents. If this country can build the world’s largest military and fight open-ended wars in multiple theaters across the globe, it can find a way to pay for public education, as it once did, in living memory. But doing so has ceased being a real priority. Affordable “public education” is no longer something we expect, demand or take for granted; to argue that public education should be free makes you sound like an absurd and unrealistic utopian. Meanwhile, we take it for granted that roads should be free to drive on, a toll-road here or there not withstanding. You provide the car and the gas; the state provides the road.
This used to be how we thought about our public universities, before they became exorbitant toll roads: if you had the grades and the ambition, there was a classroom open to you. But if every road was a toll road, no one would expect to drive for free. If every road was a toll road, the very idea that the government would build and maintain a massive system of roads and highways — and then let anyone use it (for free!) — would seem fantastical, ridiculous, even perverse. Anyone expecting the right to drive anywhere they pleased, for free, would be branded a utopian, a socialist, a deluded and soft-hearted liberal demanding a free lunch. That’s the world we live in when it comes to highways: when the roads that drive our economy and make modern life possible get too crowded or too congested, we expect the state to build new roads. When the old roads wear out, they are re-paved; when a tree or a landslide obstructs a thoroughfare, the state clears the way. When there are not enough classrooms, on the other hand, the state no longer builds new universities; it simply charges more.
2:24 pm • 13 December 2013 • 3 notes
“My personal opinion is that they executed Bin Laden. If you strip it down, what you had is an unarmed elderly man, in his bedroom, shot in the face by the most elite force in the world. Almost everything that the White House officials told us that happened in the compound that night turned out to be a total fabrication. I would have loved to have seen Bin Laden put on trial for his crimes. He had been indicted, in the 1990s, and was a reprehensible criminal, but I don’t believe for one second they were given orders to capture him, I think the whole point was to kill him. I wasn’t like, boo hoo, Bin Laden’s dead, but I wasn’t jumping. America’s a very nationalistic country, and in episodes like that of his death, it becomes jingoism. People are drinking, dancing in the street, chanting USA like they’re at the World Cup, like they won it… It’s sick that we turned it into a sporting event.”
— Jeremy Scahill
8:48 pm • 12 December 2013 • 2 notes
“I cast another absentee ballot for Obama. And this time, when he won, I felt my hope a little more absent as well.”
— I’m a Millennial and I’m disappointed in Obama
8:48 pm • 11 December 2013 • 1 note
Xbox Live among game services targeted by US and UK spy agencies
NSA and GCHQ collect gamers’ chats and deploy real-life agents into World of Warcraft and Second Life
The agencies, the documents show, have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network, which boasts more than 48 million players. Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the games’ tech-friendly users.
Online gaming is big business, attracting tens of millions of users world wide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players. What the intelligence agencies feared, however, was that among these clans of innocent elves and goblins, terrorists were lurking.
The NSA document, written in 2008 and titled Exploiting Terrorist Use of Games & Virtual Environments, stressed the risk of leaving games communities under-monitored, describing them as a “target-rich communications network” where intelligence targets could “hide in plain sight.”
Games, the analyst wrote “are an opportunity!”
Spying on video games. Spying on virtual worlds.
2:24 pm • 10 December 2013 • 1 note
Intel chair warns of 'huge malevolence'
Americans are in more danger of terrorist attacks than ever before, the leaders of congressional intelligence panels said on Sunday.
“The threat level has never been more diverse than it is today,” Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union.”
“The more efforts [extremists] try, the more perfect you have to be in trying to stop something, and that’s a challenge,” he said.
“There are more groups than ever and there is huge malevolence out there,” Feinstein said. “The fatalities are way up, the numbers [of attacks] are way up.”
New updates in the intelligence field say America is under grave danger of different kinds of terrorist attacks, the U.S. intelligence committee shares. Feinstein also adds, “There is a real displaced aggression within this fundamentalist, jihadist Islamic community. And that is, the West is responsible for all the things that are going wrong.”
And I don’t know about the whole blaming the Islamic community; aren’t there jihads that aren’t Islamist? Rather bad on her part.
5:36 pm • 3 December 2013 • 37 notes
Spies are freaking out about Edward Snowden's 'doomsday' cache of secrets
British and U.S. intelligence officials say they are worried about a “doomsday” cache of highly classified, heavily encrypted material they believe former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has stored on a data cloud.
The cache contains documents generated by the NSA and other agencies and includes names of U.S. and allied intelligence personnel, seven current and former U.S. officials and other sources briefed on the matter said.
A former United States official states, “the worst is yet to come.” Oh boy.
11:12 am • 3 December 2013 • 223 notes
“Plus, there are so many people in L.A. who don’t seem to work. They have time to stand and socialize.”
2:24 pm • 25 November 2013
America, the nation’s future depends on its cities, not on Washington
To avoid Detroit’s fate, cities need to turn back the clock. City-states will be the future of the global economy.
"I’m a regional mayor, and I’m also a global mayor," Bell explained in an interview. Funkhouser says officials such as Bell have it right. "When I was mayor, I told my officials that the Kansas City region competes against the Denver region—but also the Shanghai region. That’s really the way the economy works now."
Interestingly, the new metro age once again puts the U.S. at a competitive advantage with the world, Katz says. “In part, our success is that we are the quintessential metropolitan nation—more metropolitan than Europe or rising countries like China or Brazil. Even in Europe, it’s a smaller portion of the population that lives in cities, though they are urbanizing now.”
5:36 pm • 24 November 2013
The spies doing the NSA’s dirty work - it’s the FBI
When the media and members of Congress say the NSA spies on Americans, what they really mean is that the FBI helps the NSA do it, providing a technical and legal infrastructure that permits the NSA, which by law collects foreign intelligence, to operate on U.S. soil. It’s the FBI, a domestic U.S. law enforcement agency, that collects digital information from at least nine American technology companies as part of the NSA’s Prism system. It was the FBI that petitioned the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to order Verizon Business Network Services, one of the United States’ biggest telecom carriers for corporations, to hand over the call records of millions of its customers to the NSA.
But the FBI is no mere errand boy for the United States’ biggest intelligence agency. It carries out its own signals intelligence operations and is trying to collect huge amounts of email and Internet data from U.S. companies — an operation that the NSA once conducted, was reprimanded for, and says it abandoned.
Essentially doing the work the NSA can’t do and working together to ultimately put together the massive surveillance programs we’ve learned about over the last few months.
There’s also this: The United States government says Americans have no right to challenge the NSA (er, FBI) surveillance. As a huge fighter for freedoms myself, this is all outrageous.
I’m still reading the piece - mind you, I have a long Sunday reading list! But here’s what you should know with the latest on the NSA revelations and from the Foreign Policy article.
4:46 pm • 24 November 2013 • 74 notes