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The Senate Wants to Make Internet Companies and Providers Spies

The most draconian information-gathering law yet!

How much noise does the other shoe make when it drops? If the shoe is a law that would complete the development of a police surveillance state in the United States, it's almost silent.

Last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee quietly sent a bill to the Senate that would require Internet companies (like Twitter and Facebook) and on-line Internet content and service providers (from giants like Comcast to more specialized providers like May First/People Link) to literally become part of the country's intelligence network by turning over to the government -- without any government request -- any posts on their systems related to "terrorist activities" and the identities of the posters.

News about the bill only became public when Reuters noticed and reported on it.

Turning the Magnifying Glass on UsTurning the Magnifying Glass on Us - original http://www.davidicke.com
 

The provision, Section 603 of Senate Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, is terse, simple and frightening. If passed, it could force Internet companies and providers to turn over information on organizations, activists, journalists, researchers and even interested commenters whose posts touch on "terrorist activity": the over-used under-defined term that drives so much of our contemporary legislation. It would also encourage these services to monitor their systems for any material that could possibly be considered relevant to "terrorism".

Not only does the provision chill communications but it turns the Internet into a law enforcement agency and that would fundamentally change its character and the society it serves.

The full Senate will now debate the law and it will probably sail through in the Fall. The House hasn't announced a similar measure but, given who runs the House, such a companion bill is very likely.

A moment of silence for Cecil

 

Cecil the lionCecil the lion

Let’s have a moment’s
Silence for Cecil (Ses’-al),
But not yet.
During that silence
Let us think about why
Cecil’s life matters.
Was it because his trust was betrayed
And we felt a little responsible?
Or are we just so upset with what is happening
To the whole planet
In our name
That when something so patently disgusting
And immoral happens to an icon
Like Cecil,
We gladly wrap our minds around it,
Sign petitions, and inwardly set up a howling?
Getting mad when you know you are right
Is very cleansing.
So, in our moment’s silence
We can thank Cecil
For stirring our conscience.
It feels good to feel!
And before we get back to business as usual,
And during our moment of silence,
Let us think some more about
Why we’re so pissed
That such a perfectly handsome animal
Was murdered and decapitated.
What was the button
That Cecil’s murder pushed
That set off the alarm?

US Lost in Afghanistan, But Did Manage to Make Afghanistan the World's Top Heroin Exporter

We’re #1...in the heroin business!

 

Afghan Brigadier General Abdul Sama was accused recently of smuggling over 40 pounds of heroin.

It should come as no surprise that an Afghan general was caught smuggling heroin, the surprise is that any high official in that country should be charged with a crime for profiting from the trade in illegal drugs while under the watchful eye of American forces.

Under American occupation, Afghanistan quickly became the world's leader in opium production, producing over 90% of the world's supply. The Taliban had almost shut down opium production prior to the US invasion in 2001 to the chagrin of international drug runners, and no doubt the international banking industry, which earns big profits laundering billions of dollars in illegal drug money annually. Illegal drugs account for about 8% of all international trade.

Few Americans are aware of the long history of the CIA's running illegal drugs internationally, thanks to the untiring efforts of the mainstream press. Were citizens aware, few would be surprised that heroin production has skyrocketed under US occupation of Afghanistan.

The tragic case of journalist Gary Webb of the San Jose Mercury News is a case in point, and represents perhaps the widest-known attempt at suppressing the story of CIA drug-running endeavors, with the mainstream US press shamelessly and dutifullly attacking Webb for attempting to expose the inconvenient truth.
Afghan harvests opium as US Troops ignore him (or protect him?)Afghan harvests opium as US Troops ignore him (or protect him?)

Storm Smashes Chris Christie's Presidential Candidacy

A pariah in his home state

 

If New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has any chance of gaining traction in his bid to become the 2016 Republican candidate for president he has to maintain support in suburban communities like East Greenwich Township, a small, predominately white, upper middle income area located about fifty miles south of Trenton, NJ’s capital city.

Republican Christie received 71.5 percent of the votes in East Greenwich Township when he won a landslide reelection in 2013, up nearly twenty points from his 2009 victory margin in that community where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans.

Today however, the most likely thing Christie would get from East Greenwich Township is a chorus of boos and a mass wave of middle fingers because he was notably MIA (Missing In Action) during the aftermath of a recent storm that tore through large sections of southern New Jersey. The 85 mph winds in that storm sent trees crashing into houses and cut electric service to tens of thousands of homes and small businesses for days.

Residents of East Greenwich Township and other Gloucester County communities pummeled by that storm are fuming because Christie, a self-proclaimed Hands-On Manager, ignored their pleas for help. Residents across sections of four South Jersey counties hit hard by that powerful storm are bitter that their state’s governor campaigned heavily during past weeks in Iowa and New Hampshire but couldn’t find time to at least tour their storm ravaged communities.

Dale Archer, the Republican mayor of East Greenwich Township, told reporters that, “I have lost all respect for our governor. Most importantly…he’s lost my vote.”
Chris Christie's running for president, but would be hard-pressed to win dog-catcher these days in his home state of New JerseyChris Christie's running for president, but would be hard-pressed to win dog-catcher these days in his home state of New Jersey
 

Manure Cannon

New poem

 
 
BAM!
Echo, like thunder off the shell of the sky-dome.
We, all on the terrace, glance at each other,
Jump to action.
Everyone knows what to do.
Grab something quick,
Whatever we don’t want to have to wash
Or hose off tomorrow:
Mugs of ice-tea,
Trays of cucumber slices, carrot sticks,
Bowls of chips, cheese, cold-cuts,
Pitcher of wine. . .
We all know how long we have too.
About three and a half minutes
And the shit will be raining down.
Pig shit, horse shit, chicken shit, human shit, bullshit,
A fine mist of shit, covering everything.
That’s how they get rid of it now,
They fire it into the sky
As high as they can
And let it rain down on our party.
BAM!
BAM!
Echo thunders again and again.
The kids are already inside,
Watching from behind the curtains.
Dog is barking angrily at the sky.
He’s the only one who is angry.
He hasn’t learned
It’s useless to rail at fate,
I mean, the gods.
 
--Gary Lindorff

No hurry

New poem:

 
 
It was after a sweat lodge,
early spring this was,
(l’ll never forget it)
when we raised the flap
the forest was covered in four inches of snow
that had fallen during the last two rounds,
and so it caught us all by surprise.
It was late and dark.
It had stopped falling and was just there
where it wasn’t before,
all luminous
as we emerged from the lodge.
 
That’s how nature is sometimes,
it’s like she’s saying,
 
Oh, you think you’ve figured me out?
We’ll see about that!

 
So we drove down to that lodge in spring
and we drove back home in winter.
And on the way home a mother moose
and her young one
got out in front of our car,
using our headlights
as their beacon to find their way to Tinmouth
where they finally veered off before the school.
I guess the mother didn’t want to deal
with all that snow in the woods
and she was on a mission;
for two miles we illuminated her way.
Not sure if her own shadow was a hole in the road,
she wove back and forth the whole time.
This slowed us down considerably,
down to maybe 4, 5 miles an hour.
But we were in no hurry.
Having just sweated with a bunch of friends
we were all prayed out,
feeling pretty good,
pretty human.
And we just weren’t in any hurry,
no hurry at all.
 
 
--Gary Lindorff

Killer Cops like North Charleston’s Officer Slager Must Be Called to Account

Real-time photo evidence of a cop trying to plant evidence on his victim

 

The really damning evidence about the North Charleston police murder of a fleeing black man, Walter Scott, is not the image of him shooting Scott in the back, outrageous and murderous as that is (see screen grab image #1 from the phone video). It’s what happens in the video next, from about 1:02 minutes into the recording until 1.37 minutes.

Officer Slater shooting the fleeing, unarmed Scott in the back multiple times (screen grab #1)Officer Slater shooting the fleeing, unarmed Scott in the back multiple times (screen grab #1)
 

That’s when we see Officer Michael Thomas Slager, who had just handcuffed the clearly dead or dying Scott, suddenly stand up and start running (see screen grab image two) back to the place where he had fired the eight shots from.

Officer Slater races back to where he had stood when shooting, to retrieve evidence to plant on Scott's body (screen grab #2)Officer Slater races back to where he had stood when shooting, to retrieve evidence to plant on Scott's body (screen grab #2)
 

This is the planet

 

A bear saves a crow from drowning.
A baboon and a dog and a deer frolic in a field.
A little girl feeds the crows
And receives gifts from them in exchange.

This is the planet we are living on,
Not that other one that we are beating up.

An Orca lifts up a kayak on its back.
A parrot feeds a puppy its kibble snack.
A raven slides down a snowy roof on a dog dish.

This is the planet we are living on.
Not that other one that we are selling off piecemeal.

A man on death row manages to prove his innocence
Days before his execution.
He leaves his own freedom party,
Walks to the end of the backyard,
Throws his arms around an apple tree
And weeps.

This is the planet we are living on.
Not the one that knows no love.

A deer raises her head to watch me skirting the field.
And as I climb the fence into the orchard
She lowers her head to graze.

This is the planet we live on.
Not the one that we have forgotten.
 
 
  --Gary Lindorff

Barbie the Spy!

The ubiquitous doll is now an information-gathering device!

 

For many people reading this, there are at least two concepts that will offend.

One is surveillance, about which we've written often on this site. The other is the Barbie doll: the ubiquitous toy that has for decades molded girls' (and boys’) concept of "the perfect female" as having an impossible-to-achieve figure derived from sexist fantasy and has taught them that their lives should be about dressing up and attracting the attention of a boring male named "Ken."

There are, of course, many other offensive things going on in the world but these two catch the writer's attention because, in a new version of this product toy-maker Mattel Inc. is introducing to the market this Fall they are combined. Barbie, the girl you can never be (and shouldn't ever want to be), is now a spy.

 Reporting for DutyHello Barbie: Reporting for Duty
 

The company introduced its new doll, called "Hello Barbie," at a February trade fair in New York and...well, you can't make this stuff up.

This doll can converse with you (or with your child unless you play with dolls) and record the answers. It then transmits these answers to a data-bank at the company's headquarters and stores them under the child's name and other personal information, then analyzes this data and responds to it...immediately or months later. Given a little time, it will have profiled your child and turned her into an information gathering source.

Cape Cod 1966

New poem:

 

We used to have picnics on a bayside beach.
My grandmother was too frail to walk on the sand,
So we used to carry her from the car
Which made her grumble,
Which was just grandma.
We never knew how much she hated being carried
Because we were so busy feeling manly,
My brother and I.
And once we got her settled out of the breeze
She would say
“There, this is nice. . .” or something like that
And smile.
And when you are young you never question a smile.
So that was our permission to run off
Leaving our half-eaten sandwiches
While she sat there under her hat
Facing outward to the bay.
 

  --Gary Lindorff

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Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

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