ProPublica: Who Are We at War With? That’s Classified.
“In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with ‘Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.’ So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret.”
In These Times: Why the Relentless Assault on Abortion in the U.S.?
Um … because abstinence education and attacks on basic science education have left wide swaths of people with no clue about how pregnancy happens.
NY Times: Abandoned in Indian Country.
“In signing treaties with Indian nations in return for land, the federal government promised a wide array of life-sustaining services. One of the most important is the Indian Health Service, which serves about two million people on reservations and is grossly underfinanced even in good times. It routinely runs out of money halfway through the year. Though Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ health were exempted from sequestration cuts, the Indian Health Service was not.” For Indians, more broken promises.
Guardian.UK: Big pharma mobilising patients in battle over drugs trials data.
“The pharmaceutical industry has “mobilised” an army of patient groups to lobby against plans to force companies to publish secret documents on drugs trials. Drugs companies publish only a fraction of their results and keep much of the information to themselves, but regulators want to ban the practice. If companies published all of their clinical trials data, independent scientists could reanalyse their results and check companies’ claims about the safety and efficacy of drugs.” Vioxx wouldn’t have killed so many.
BBC: Polynesian navigators revive a skill that was nearly lost.
“In the face of all that, it’s been a huge morale boost for the indigenous people of the Pacific to be once again building their ocean-going canoes and sailing them on long voyages, using ancestral navigation skills.”
Guardian.UK: Food stamps helped me serve my country. Don’t cut them now.
“The safety net is part of what makes us strong and secure as a country. This is the wrong time to destroy it. No child in America should go to bed hungry.”
Atlantic Wire: Texas Women Are Already Getting ‘Flea Market Abortions’.
NPR: Depp’s Interest In Wounded Knee Causes A Stir.
“If it’s from the heart, we accept it. If it’s not from the heart, we’ll accept it anyways because it’s such a meaningful undertaking when you look at the significance of what the sacred ground next to it is.”
Uphill All the Way: The Fortunes of Progressivism, 1919-1929.
MyVerizon: UN assesses damage to Timbuktu manuscripts.
“Islamic radicals destroyed 4,000 ancient manuscripts during their occupation of Timbuktu, according to the findings of a United Nations expert mission. The damage amounts to about one-tenth of the manuscripts that were being stored in the fabled northern city. The majority of the documents dating back to the 13th century were saved by the devotion of the library’s Malian custodians, who spirited them out of the occupied city in rice sacks, on donkey carts, by motorcycle, by boat and by 4-by-4.” [As to the sourcing - I often have to grab ‘em where I find ‘em these days.]
SF New Mexican: Artist featured on Folk Art Market promotions denied visa to attend.
“A smiling woman wearing a red kerchief is pictured embroidering a piece of indigo cloth with yellow thread on the front of an informational brochure for the International Folk Art Market. But the woman, who’s an artist from the mountainous northeastern region of Vietnam, will not be at this weekend’s market. Her visa application, and those of two other artists from a village called Ta Phin, were denied by the U.S. Consulate in Hanoi.” Oh, come on. I thought weaving webs of deceit was for the NSA … ?
CNet: Kremlin finds way to avoid leaks: Typewriters.
Oh, man. Don’t cause a rise in prices! I still want to get a couple of old Royals and Remingtons.
Some of Patrice Ayme’s Thoughts: No Public, No Republic, Crash.
LRB: Stephen Holmes reviews ‘The CIA, a Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth’.
“But why exactly did Obama make remote-controlled killing the centrepiece of his counterterrorism policy? This isn’t idle curiosity. Clarity about the administration’s motives is a necessary preliminary to evaluating the justifications it has offered to the public. ” Assassination has always been more economical than war. I can’t help but wonder what it is like, signing all those ‘target and kill’ orders. Who exactly plays God in deciding life and death, and what proof is offered as to a person’s mortal guilt.
Guardian.UK: France ‘runs vast electronic spying operation using NSA-style methods.’
“Le Monde said data from emails, text messages, phone records, accessing of Facebook and Twitter, and internet activity going through sites such as Google, Microsoft or Yahoo! was stocked for years on vast servers on three different floors in the basement of the DGSE headquarters. The paper described the vast spying programme as secret, ‘outside any serious control’ and illegal.”
NY Times: U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement.
“At the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered. (Actually opening the mail requires a warrant.) The information is sent to whatever law enforcement agency asked for it. Tens of thousands of pieces of mail each year undergo this scrutiny.” I sort of expect this has been done for decades.
MobyLives: Amazon warehouses—literally worse than coal mines.
A quoted excerpt: “The jobs in the Rugeley fulfillment center are almost always temporary positions handed out by agencies on zero-hour contracts. Nothing is guaranteed, and a fulfillment associate’s job can completely disappear between one day and the next. As such, the local economy is not recovering as locals hoped. Amazon is not investing in the town’s people; instead, it’s mechanizing them.” Not surprising from the folks who invented mturk.
CNN/Fortune: Media is ruining the NSA debate.
“Sadly, though, the “national conversation” has for the most part been shallow, often bordering on stupid. That’s because nearly everybody has retreated to their respective camps, refusing to recognize the validity of opposed arguments or the fact that this there is no easy solution to the problem of how we should go about strengthening our security while also, to the extent possible, protecting liberty and privacy. It’s also because so much of the ‘conversation’ has taken place on Twitter, where conversations, and certainly debates, should never take place, because they are engineered to be superficial.” The biggest effect noticed so far, besides blowing hot air: People of my acquaintance are just now waking up to the fact that their email is, for the most part, unencrypted.
Guardian.UK: Texas abortion bill defeated by Wendy Davis filbuster and public protest.
“Initially, Republicans insisted they had started voting before midnight, but official computer records and printouts showed the vote took place on Wednesday, but had been changed to read Tuesday.” Strict construction, guys? Congrats, Ms. Davis.
The Atlantic: The Crazy Republican War on Food Stamps.
Oppose foodstamps? This has been going on since the ‘80’s, at least. Did you know orphan newborns receive foodstamps? Taking food from the mouths of babes. That’s the modern Republican way. Ensure babies are born through draconian laws on women, and then leave single mothers and orphans to fend for themselves. Oh, the Republicans will mention church support, as if everyone should belong to a church and every church gives enough free handouts and support to replace a government program. As if.
Newsweek/Daily Beast: Sorry, We’re Not Living in Orwell’s ‘1984’.
“The rule here is simple: If you are invoking 1984 in a country in which 1984 is available for purchase and can be freely deployed as a rhetorical device, you likely don’t understand the point of 1984.”
HackerNews/Show HN: Responding to NSA spying with a simple consumer VPN service.
Figured something like this would surface eventually.
Mashable: The FBI Admits to Using Drones for Domestic Surveillance.
This will, in some quarters, provide impetus for portable ground-to-air missile launchers to be included under the ‘right to bear arms’. I’ve told the old saw from NJ about the Pineys shooting at the Hindenberg, causing the crash, because they thought they were “revenoors.”
SCOTUS Blog: Opinion recap—If you want to claim the Fifth.
“Because merely keeping quiet when police ask damaging questions is not claiming a right to silence, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, prosecutors may use that silence against the suspect at the trial.” You must specifically say you request the Fifth, or exercise your right to remain silent. Otherwise your silence(s) may be used against you.
Guardian.UK: US government identifies men on Guantánamo ‘indefinite detainee’ list.
End this moral stain. Habeas corpus.