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policymic:

Tracking US drone strikes? Now there’s an app for that

Last week, New York-based web developer Josh Begley answered that question with the launch of “MetaData+,” an iPhone app that sends an alert to your phone every time the United States conducts a drone strike.

He created the app in 2012 under the original name Drones+, but Apple rejected the app five times, taking nearly two years for the app to be available to the public.

The App Review Board claimed that Begley’s app was “not useful or entertaining enough” and something that “many audiences would find objectionable.”

Begley even spoke with a representative from Apple on the phone, who said that if the app was about drones, it just wasn’t going to be approved. Finally, after he removed the word “drone” from both the name and the description, the app was accepted.

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(Source: micdotcom)

lostdollsclub:

cartoonpolitics:

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum - even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.” .. (Noam Chomsky)

NZ MSM already has made up most people’s minds.  I’ve never before really believed that they were biased, assuming that everyone thinks they’re biased anytime they say something that doesn’t confirm our own bias.  But OMF the last few months have made it so clear how the lead political writers for the NZ Herald at least, will be voting come September 20…

nprfreshair:

 "As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you’re making fun of also are because you’ll realize, at the end of the day, they’re just people. You can’t risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it’s to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes. … A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He’s supposed to be outside looking in. I don’t want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn’t be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there’s a big problem. That’s what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that’s a red flag. There should be a kind of awkward tension whenever a journalist walks into a room that politicians are in, because you should’ve done things that annoyed them in the past. It’s the same as a comedian. You’re no one’s friend.”

- John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The full interview with John Oliver is here, so check it out!
Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times
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Canon EOS 5D Mark III
ISO
160
Aperture
f/11
Exposure
1/100th
Focal Length
45mm

nprfreshair:

 
"As a comedian you should not be in rooms where the people you’re making fun of also are because you’ll realize, at the end of the day, they’re just people. You can’t risk having that kind of compassion infect your mission to attack. My solution to that is not to curve my jokes — it’s to not put myself in the same room as the consequences of those jokes. …
 
A comedian is supposed to be an outsider. He’s supposed to be outside looking in. I don’t want to be at parties in D.C. with politicians. Comedians shouldn’t be there. If you feel comfortable in a room like that, there’s a big problem. That’s what is so concerning when you see journalists so comfortable around politicians — that’s a red flag. There should be a kind of awkward tension whenever a journalist walks into a room that politicians are in, because you should’ve done things that annoyed them in the past. It’s the same as a comedian. You’re no one’s friend.”

- John Oliver, host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight and former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The full interview with John Oliver is here, so check it out!

Photo by Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times

My notes from reading “The Snowden Saga” in Vanity Fair

Most of my reading time this week was spent on “The Snowden Saga: A Shadowland of Secrets and Light”, an article in Vanity Fair (May 2014).

  • I was surprised to learn that Glenn Greenwald spent months being uninterested in Edward Snowden’s emails at first. I have seen on Twitter that he will take the time to respond to some trolls, after all.
  • On page 154, “Next, in late January 2013, the sender e-mailed documentary-film maker Laura Poitras. After appearing on a U.S. “watch list,” Poitras, 50, had been detained and searched dozens of times at international borders and had fought back against invasive government surveillance…” It is lamentable that today’s “democracies” now place us on watch lists not for terrorism or even any wrongdoing, but rather for being effective at watching and reporting on their activities.
  • On page 154, “After the source described to Poitras secret government surveillance programs, she arranged to meet with her colleague Glenn Greenwald at a New York City-area hotel, where he was attending a conference. Poitras insisted he not bring a cell phone; the N.S.A., she knew, had the ability to turn any mobile phone, even one that had been turned off, into a microphone…” The First Amendment ensures my right as a citizen “peaceably to assemble”. If, however, my government knows with whom, where, and when I assemble, then this surveillance will have an inhibitory effect on my assembly. The argument that I have nothing to fear from government surveillance if I’m not plotting to do anything wrong has already been shown to be false. Journalists are already placed on watch lists and detained merely for being effective at watching and reporting on government activity.
  • On page 159, “… Now, when [Snowden’s] opinions were challenged, he would respond by calling the challengers ‘fucking retards.’ He termed Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, a ‘cockbag.’ He railed against Obama’s support for an assault-weapons ban. Social Security outraged him. ‘Cut this social security bullshit,’ he wrote at one point. On the subject of a safety net for the elderly, he wrote, ‘They wouldn’t be fucking helpless if you weren’t sending them fucking checks to sit on their ass and lay in hospitals all day.’” I appreciate this article for making Snowden more three dimensional and unlikeable for me.
  • On page 159, “In part, says Bruce Schneier, a leading security technologist and cryptographer who acted as a technical consultant to The Guardian on some of its Snowden stories, the N.S.A.’s ‘collect it all’ mentality stemmed from unrealistic expectations in the wake of 9/11. ‘If you give the intel community the impossible mission of “never again,”’ Schneier says, ‘the only way you can be sure you know that that thing won’t happen is to know everything that does happen.’” And so, are we individually citizens who trust government to know everything and yet not deconstruct freedom?
  • On page 161, “Thomas Drake was another top N.S.A. official who had turned on the agency. Drake, after complaining formally to the N.S.A. and other government agencies, had leaked information about waste, fraud, and abuse at the N.S.A. to the Baltimore Sun, and this resulted in his being charged with violating the Espionage Act of 1917. The government’s case collapsed, but in the process Drake’s life was devastated: he lost his job, his security clearance, and his career. Today, he works at an Apple Store in Maryland.” I wonder if many Americans are comfortable with our government invading our privacy because our government would NEVER break into our homes using armed agents, or NEVER destroy our careers because we expose government waste and fraud. What is our role in this democracy: to supervise government and ensure it is worthy of our consent, or is our role to consume retail products?
  • On page 162 we are told of Edward Snowden’s job as a sysadmin at Kunia Regional Security Operations Center in Hawaii, where analysts focus on the electronic monitoring of China and North Korea. In our electronic world, I am wondering why a station monitoring China and North Korea needs to be geographically next to China and North Korea?
  • On page 198, “… a person who knows Snowden well says, ‘Part of him is very naïve. I think he thought the world would see how fucked up what the N.S.A. was doing is and give him a part in a parade. I think he knew people would get mad, and charge him, but that the more that came out, the more people would say, “Hey, no.”’” I wonder how does a still young man who spends his youth largely on computers form any opinion of who the public is? Does he not even acknowledge the contrast between his own online self and RL self?
  • On page 201, General Keith Alexander is quoted: “And it’s somebody who had one of these badges,” he says, fingering his own top-security-clearance badge, “who betrayed the organization.… You like to think that you have shared values, and you have shared reasons for being here, because it’s not the pay. So to realize the organization is harboring this person, who didn’t share those views, and betrayed us that way …” His voice trails off. I notice that General Alexander does not enumerate what these values are. The First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment could not be on the list.
  • On page 202 we read about the intimidation the British government subjected The Guardian to. A democracy’s journalists must be able to trust that their own offices and sources are inviolable, otherwise a truly free press will have no choice but to relocate their offices to foreign soil, which may be neutral at best and hostile at worst.
  • Would N.S.A. personnel happily herald the utter defeat of “terrorism”? Then they could close down because their jobs were done, and now they could go on to other careers. Or do our protectors and our terrorizers need one another as intimately as obverse and reverse?

—DakotaPuma (May 18, 2014)

Chris Hedges: The Post-Constitutional Era | Truthdig

The government, by ignoring the rights and needs of ordinary citizens, is jeopardizing its legitimacy. This is dangerous. When a citizenry no longer feels that it can find justice within the organs of power, when it feels that the organs of power are the enemies of freedom and economic advancement, it makes war on those organs. Those of us who are condemned as radicals, idealists and dreamers call for basic reforms that, if enacted, will make peaceful reform possible. But corporate capitalists, now unchecked by state power and dismissive of the popular will, do not see the fires they are igniting. The Supreme Court ruling on our challenge is one more signpost on the road to dystopia. 

It is capitalism, not government, that is the problem. The fusion of corporate and state power means that government is broken. It is little more than a protection racket for Wall Street. And it is our job to wrest government back. This will come only through the building of mass movements.

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