FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance

Agency requests rule change but civil liberties groups say ‘extremely invasive’ technique amounts to unconstitutional power grab.

The Guardian, By Ed Pilkington, October 29

New York – The FBI is attempting to persuade an obscure regulatory body in Washington to change its rules of engagement in order to seize significant new powers to hack into [...]

Pondering Putin

I have no idea of the veracity of the following. It is almost as long a read as War and Peace. If legitimate, a fascinating look at Russia’s’ world view.

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Matt Taibbi Leaving First Look

Naked Capitalism, By Yves Smith, October 29

Matt Taibbi has been missed. He went into a writing black hole when he decamped from Rolling Stone to Pierre Omidyar’s wannabe media empire, First Look in February. But when the billionaire’s news venture was launched, the press was sloppy in reporting on Omidyar’s financial commitment. It was [...]

Jeb Bush ‘moving forward’ on 2016 presidential run, says son

AP, October 26

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush is “moving forward” on a potential 2016 White House run and it appears more likely he will enter the Republican field, according to his son, who is himself running for office in Texas.

George P Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner, told ABC on Sunday [...]

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through “Duck Dynasty” Is About to Be Texas’ Second-in-Command

Meet Dan Patrick, the next lieutenant governor of Texas.

Mother Jones, By Tim Murphy, October 21

As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state [...]

‘Bomb trains': A crude awakening for Richmond, Calif.

Local activists try to halt the shipment of explosive Bakken crude oil through their neighborhoods.

Al Jazeera, By Audrea Lim, October 24

Richmond, CA — The streets are quiet in Lipo Chanthanasak’s neighborhood on the outer edge of this city’s downtown core. Each of the small houses is painted a variation of beige and separated [...]

Four Blackwater guards found guilty in 2007 Iraq shootings of 31 unarmed civilians

Washington Post, By Spencer S. Hsu, Victoria St. Martin & Keith L. Alexander, October 22

A federal jury in Washington convicted four Blackwater Worldwide guards Wednesday in the fatal shooting of 14 unarmed Iraqis, seven years after the American security contractors fired machine guns and grenades into a Baghdad traffic circle in one of the [...]

A Peek Inside the Conservative Mind

WARNING: Below, you will be exposed to toxic thinking and noxious conclusions from right-wing partisans. A Level Four HazMat suit is recommended. The CDC will NOT be available for protection. You have been warned. Proceed with caution. Should you experience nausea, vomiting, tearing eyes, a rise in blood pressure SHUT DOWN YOUR BROWSER [...]

Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

The Voice of America, By Carolyn Presutti, October 18

Miami – Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion.

According to the organization whyIslam.org, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino.

And according to Latino American Dawah Organization (LADO), a group that promotes Latino conversions, a little more than [...]

Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The Voice of America, By Scott Bobb, October 19

Suruc, Turkey -The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed.

Morning in Suruc, southeastern Turkey. Rojava [...]

U.S. airstrikes in Syria are now dwarfing those in Iraq, thanks to the fight for one town

Washington Post, By Dan Lamothe, October 19

The Syrian border town of Kobane is still in danger of falling to the Islamic State, more than a week after the U.S. military began launching airstrikes on militants there regularly. Hundreds of fighters have been killed, the Pentagon’s press secretary said Wednesday, but even more are swarming [...]

Arizona and Wyoming gay marriage bans struck down

Los Angeles Times, By Julie Westfall & James Queally, October 17

Same-sex couples in Arizona, Wyoming and Alaska will all be free to obtain marriage licenses by next week after federal judges struck down bans in two of those states Friday and the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for a further stay in Alaska.

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Senior NSA official moonlighting for private cybersecurity firm

Patrick Dowd recruited by former NSA director Keith Alexander – Unusual for US official to work for private, for-profit company

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, October 17

The former director of the National Security Agency has enlisted the US surveillance giant’s current chief technology officer for his lucrative cybersecurity business venture, an unusual arrangement undercutting [...]

Senate’s inquiry into CIA torture sidesteps blaming Bush, aides

McClatchy, By Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor, October 16

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the [...]

It’s official: U.S. will build new Syrian rebel force to battle Islamic State

McClatchy, By Hannah Allam, October 15

Washington — John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground [...]

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