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Haiti: Leaked Cables Expose U.S. Suppression of Min. Wage, Election Doubts and Elite’s Private Army

Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 22:59 by John Sinteur in category: News


Drawing on almost 2,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables on Haiti released by WikiLeaks, a partnership between The Nation magazine and the Haitian weekly, Haïti Liberté, exposes new details on how Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked with the United States to block an increase in the minimum wage in the hemisphere’s poorest nation, how business owners and members of the country’s elite used Haiti’s police force as their own private army after the 2004 U.S.-backed coup that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and how the United States, the European Union and the United Nations supported Haiti’s recent presidential and parliamentary elections, despite concerns over the exclusion of Haiti’s largest opposition party, Lavalas, the party of Aristide.

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Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 22:11 by Paul Jay in category: Great Picture

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Policing the Internet

Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 21:28 by Paul Jay in category: News

[LA Times]:

A Senate bill aims to cut off support for any site found by the courts to be ‘dedicated’ to copyright or trademark infringement. Its goals are laudable, but its details are problematic.

Hollywood studios, record labels and other U.S. copyright and trademark owners are pushing Congress to give them more protection against parasitical foreign websites that are profiting from counterfeit or bootlegged goods. The Senate Judiciary Committee has responded with a bill (S 968) that would force online advertising networks, credit card companies and search engines to cut off support for any site found by the courts to be “dedicated” to copyright or trademark infringement. Its goals are laudable, but its details are problematic.

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  1. I thought this bit farther down was key:

    The main problem with the bill is in its effort to render sites invisible as well as unprofitable. Once a court determines that a site is dedicated to infringing, the measure would require the companies that operate domain-name servers to steer Internet users away from it. This misdirection, however, wouldn’t stop people from going to the site, because it would still be accessible via its underlying numerical address or through overseas domain-name servers.

TSA asked 95-year-old woman to remove adult diaper

Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 21:18 by Paul Jay in category: News


A woman has filed a complaint with federal authorities over how her elderly mother was treated at Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.

Jean Weber of Destin filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security after her 95-year-old mother was detained and extensively searched last Saturday while trying to board a plane to fly to Michigan to be with family members during the final stages of her battle with leukemia.

Her mother, who was in a wheelchair, was asked to remove an adult diaper in order to complete a pat-down search.

“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said Friday. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”

Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, said she could not comment on specific cases to protect the privacy of those involved.

“The TSA works with passengers to resolve any security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner,” she said.

Feel saver?

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  1. “…to protect the privacy of those involved.” “…respectful and sensitive manner.” Good grief. PR flacks are shockingly ironic, sometimes.

  2. They’re in an impossible no win situation. Just when you think people in wheelchairs are not much of a threat.


  3. @Rob – I do not get the connection between removing an adult diaper and the new article cited. You can search the chair without removing her diapers. Further, it is all theater. At most airports there is no security at large public gathering spots like baggage claim or check-in lines. Why wait until on a plane to blow yourself up? Doing it in a check-in line would have much more collateral damage. I think only that Israel gets this fact. See this: Isreali Airport Security “The real difference between the Israeli and American approach is the target. Israel tries to identify and stop the terrorist while the U.S. targets the bomb or other weapon.” And they [TSA] does that only after their security posts leaving nice ripe unprotected targets. Feel Safer? No.

  4. What if they feel they need to check the diaper, Mykolas? People have been know to put bombs in their underwear and their shoes. I guess what should be protected depends on what you think suicide bombers are thinking? “Let’s blow up the lobby and kill as many people as possible” or “Let’s put something in grandma’s diaper. They’ll never look there”? I think both are plausible to the average brain dead suicide bomber but they’re not looking for military victories, they’re looking for symbolic ones. At least, that’s what I think.

    You are right, though. It is mostly theater and, in this case, the more theater, the better. The American economy would grind to a halt if daily flyers subjected themselves to Israeli Airport Security. Never going to happen. Theater is better. Does anyone really want a more security-minded, militaristic, mobilized America? Americans are not nearly as patient or forgiving as Israelis. You can see the American military footprint after one big attack. If they were happening daily, it would be the end of the world.

  5. Known, not know. Sorry. 🙂

  6. @Rob – I really do not think it would grind to a halt. In fact I submit that the U.S. is already a police state at a great financial and social cost. (And it is not just 911, it is also the fruitless drug wars.) But staying on topic, the Israeli approach utilizes extensive profiling techniques that results in allowing most travelers to pass through airport security with relative ease. TSA needs to focus on people, not the inefficient focus on things. So much less theatre, better intelligence and profiling is in order. Regarding the American military footprint, well not much to worry about there. The US is broke. History is replete with examples of nations going under because of the cost of their military adventures were too much to bear. That is the road the country is on.

  7. The US is not even remotely a police state. The average American goes about his/her daily life paying no deference to the police or the government other than stopping at the stop signs and paying a sales tax on his lunch. We have laws against the type of profiling Israel does and we also have about 10,000 times the number of air travelers. Besides being unlawful, it wouldn’t be practical. If we’re going into the history books, the US was coming out of The Great Depression in 1941. We were broke. When motivated, we can turn things around rather quickly.

  8. On police state, kindly consider this article or this one as two examples, Regarding 1941: True and I appreciate your optimism and I wish I could share it. But it is a different world now than in 1941. The super-rich and large corporations control the political and legislative process. And while in 1941 we had a manufacturing base, the hollowing out of the middle class continues unabated. Do you think the likes of GE cares whether jobs are in America? No, they go where labor is the cheapest and the regulations are the laxest.

  9. One of your example links doesn’t work and I’m not swayed by the other one. The kind of rhetoric that writer uses is good rabble-rousing worthy of the Tea Party but it only has grains of reality in it.

    “They have already submitted to the bureaucratic requirements of permits (permits to gather, permits to use a bullhorn,) and the ridiculous spectacle of caged protests where activists are literally penned behind gates and cannot move from their designated locations as they “exercise” their “freedom of speech.””

    This is not unreasonable. You know where abortion protesters would congregate if they were allowed? That’s who he’s talking about. The “hollowing out of the middle class” has been waxing and waning in America forever. That will continue.

Sony’s Insane Fear Of ‘Piracy’ Means Many Movies Now Suck In Digital Theaters

Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 21:13 by Paul Jay in category: News


Nina Paley alerted us to an article from the Boston Globe that’s been getting some attention about how many theaters are showing digital projections of regular “2D” movies that look really bad because projectionists don’t remove 3D lenses. Basically, lots of theaters are using digital projectors, which were supposed to be a huge boon for the theater industry. It’s easier than shipping and loading film. It can often present a crisper picture. In general it provides plenty of benefits. Those same projects can show 3D movies, but if you try to show a 2D movie via the 3D lenses, you can lose a ton of light. In some cases, the films are being projected 85% darker due to this. In other words, it’s making the theater experience dreadful.

You might just think the issue is lazy projectionists who don’t want to change lenses. While that might play a part… the bigger issue appears to be Sony’s insane fear of digital infringement:

So why aren’t theater personnel simply removing the 3-D lenses? The answer is that it takes time, it costs money, and it requires technical know-how above the level of the average multiplex employee. James Bond, a Chicago-based projection guru who serves as technical expert for Roger Ebert’s Ebertfest, said issues with the Sonys are more than mechanical. Opening the projector alone involves security clearances and Internet passwords, “and if you don’t do it right, the machine will shut down on you.'” The result, in his view, is that often the lens change isn’t made and “audiences are getting shortchanged.'”

Yes, the projector requires you to get security clearances and internet passwords just to change a lens… or it shuts down on you. Why? Because of the fear of the dreaded “piracy.” Of course, all this really does, in the long run, is drive more such “piracy” by making people question why they should go to the theater for a crappy movie-going experience.

* Oh, and yes, it’s pretty freaking cool that Roger Ebert’s projectionist is named James Bond.

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  1. My wife went to see a movie in a local movietheater not long ago, with a friend. This particulat movietheater isn’t very big, and relies on intermission sales of beverages and snacks to operate, so they have to pauze the film halfway through. In the old days, this meant changing reels during the break. But this time the break had a peculiar side-effect: they couldn’t get the film going again after the intermission. Apparantly, the digital projector refused to resume the film, it no longer accepted the earlier obtained security codes. After fiddling for half an hour, they gave up. She did get her money back, but would rather have seen the entire film instead…

  2. The Boston Globe didn’t mention any fear of piracy. Mike Masnick inserted that old conspiracy theory.


    ALL movie theaters rely on concessions. They only get a tiny portion of the admission receipts. The only good reason to have intermissions is if the movie runs more than 3 hours.

  3. @ Rob: True, though this particular theater has an intermission in every movie. I hate that, and will happily drive for an hour to the next large movietheater, pay for gas and parking, more for the tickets, way way more for the snacks for one important upside: no intermission, ever, even if the movie runs over 3 hours. It can be done.

  4. I’m even more particular then that, Jim. I would never knowingly go to a theater that has intermissions at every showing. As it is, I only go to modern theaters with all of the amenities like stadium seating, cupholders, ticket kiosks, and concession stands that accept my debit card.

  5. Than that, not then that. Sorry. 🙂

  6. Than that, not then that. Geesh. 🙂


Posted on June 26th, 2011 at 15:23 by Paul Jay in category: News

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