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“What Is That Box?” — When The NSA Shows Up At Your Internet Company

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 22:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


When people say the feds are monitoring what people are doing online, what does that mean? How does that work? When, and where, does it start?

Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, an internet service provider in Utah, knows. He received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 mandating he let the feds monitor one of his customers, through his facility. He also received a broad gag order. In his own words:

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Dancing baby stingray

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 21:14 by Paul Jay in category: News

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  1. Useful info. Fortunate me I found your site by chance, and I am
    stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.

Rise of the Warrior Cop

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 18:29 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


Assault-style raids have even been used in recent years to enforce regulatory law. Armed federal agents from the Fish & Wildlife Service raided the floor of the Gibson Guitar factory in Nashville in 2009, on suspicion of using hardwoods that had been illegally harvested in Madagascar. Gibson settled in 2012, paying a $300,000 fine and admitting to violating the Lacey Act. In 2010, the police department in New Haven, Conn., sent its SWAT team to raid a bar where police believed there was underage drinking. For sheer absurdity, it is hard to beat the 2006 story about the Tibetan monks who had overstayed their visas while visiting America on a peace mission. In Iowa, the hapless holy men were apprehended by a SWAT team in full gear.

Unfortunately, the activities of aggressive, heavily armed SWAT units often result in needless bloodshed: Innocent bystanders have lost their lives and so, too, have police officers who were thought to be assailants and were fired on, as (allegedly) in the case of Matthew David Stewart.

In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn’t a suspect in the investigation.

What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures? The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement.

Consider today’s police recruitment videos (widely available on YouTube), which often feature cops rappelling from helicopters, shooting big guns, kicking down doors and tackling suspects. Such campaigns embody an American policing culture that has become too isolated, confrontational and militaristic, and they tend to attract recruits for the wrong reasons.

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Look at that, you son of a bitch

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 18:28 by Paul Jay in category: Cartoon


“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’”

― Edgar D. Mitchell

View the entire cartoon by Zen Pencils

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One of the last of its kind dies in captivity

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 17:44 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


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  1. They may rise again. More privacy than mobiles.

  2. No they won’t, Mykolas. They were dying out long before mobile phones took over the universe. The phone companies couldn’t secure them and neither could private owners. Thieves would destroy them trying to get the $50 or so worth of coins they held. The only ones you see now are in the most conspicuously public places. Not much privacy to be had.

This Is What It Would Look Like If You Dropped Manhattan Into the Grand Canyon

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 14:30 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



When Swiss photographer Gus Petro took a trip to the United States last year, he was struck by the juxtaposition of “emptiness and density.”

Petro is used to seeing plains and mountains (staples of Switzerland’s landscape), but massive skyscrapers in the same country? “One is so full and the other so empty,” he says. “One goes up, the other down.”

Petro came up with a clever way to highlight this phenomenon during his visit to the Grand Canyon, one week after seeing New York City. The “contrast between the two was so strong and overwhelming that I had to express it somehow,” he says. So he created a photo project he calls Merge.

(more pictures at the link)

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Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 14:03 by John Sinteur in category: Funny!


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Jimmy Carter: Unchecked Political Contributions Are ‘Legal Bribery’

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 14:01 by John Sinteur in category: News


Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that unchecked political contributions are “legal bribery of candidates” and denounced a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made possible unlimited spending by outside groups, including corporations and labor unions.


Carter more generally criticized the amount of private contributions flowing into political campaigns.

“I would say that it’s almost impossible for a candidate, like I was back in those early days or others even, to be considered seriously as a candidate to represent the Democratic or Republican parties as nominee if you can’t raise $100 million or $200 million from contributors, many of whom know that they are making an investment in how they are going to be treated by the winner after the election is over,” Carter said.

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44 years ago

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 13:45 by John Sinteur in category: News


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  1. Ah, the classic!

A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 13:35 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.

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  1. Break em up, Re-impose Glass Steagall, off with the robber barons heads, and while I am dreaming, organize mass protests against the supreme court until the Citizens United is repealed. After that, enact strict anti lobbying laws.

  2. Crikey, Mykolas! What would we have left to complain about after that? 🙂

Lyons: Police raid felt like home invasion

Posted on July 21st, 2013 at 11:05 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


He was claiming to be a police officer, but the man she had seen looked to her more like an armed thug. Her boyfriend, Dorris, was calmer, and yelled back that he wanted to see some ID.

But the man just demanded they open the door. The actual words, the couple say, were, “We’re the f—— police; open the f—— door.”

Dorris said he moved away from the door, afraid bullets were about to rip through.

Goldsberry was terrified but thinking it just might really be the police. Except, she says she wondered, would police talk that way? She had never been arrested or even come close. She couldn’t imagine why police would be there or want to come in. But even if they did, why would they act like that at her apartment? It didn’t seem right.

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  1. The ACLU should take this up. The more people that react against the F_ing police state of the U.S., the better.