Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today's Internets - It wasn't me.

"Hundreds of anti-government protesters -- many wearing white masks -- converged on Bangkok's shopping district, Thai police said Sunday, in a reminder of the kingdom's political divisions."
"The demonstration by the 'V for Thailand' movement -- an enigmatic protest group spawned over social media whose supporters wear the masks of comic book hero 'V' -- was the fourth this month outside the CentralWorld complex in the heart of the city. "There were about 1,500 white mask protesters attended a protest," Deputy Metropolitan police chief Parinya Jansuriya said, adding the protest -- which lasted several hours -- was "peaceful.""

Government spooked by V-for-Thailand masked movement | Bangkok Post: news: "Government concerns are rising that the fast-growing white-mask movement, known as the V For Thailand group, could threaten the administration."
"Even though Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung insisted he was not worried about the white-mask protesters, dismissing them as only a handful of "familiar faces", he still admitted the number of protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks has grown rapidly. Mr Chalerm claimed the white masks have received support from "owners of liquor and poultry businesses, as well as major bankers"."

"(954): I've started day drinking because fuck everyone else"

"Today, it was the second anniversary of the day I met my girlfriend. I had to go to work, but I set an engagement ring and a letter on my pillow for when she woke up, and left breakfast for her on the counter. When I got home, she and all of her things were gone. FML"

"Putting on an excellent performance as a shill for the United States government's security apparatus, MSNBC's David Gregory suggested in an interview with Glenn Greenwald on Meet the Press that FISA court oversight of the NSA's surveillance schemes should satisfy constitutional concerns about snooping.
Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
David Gregory: "To the extent that you have aided and abetted Edward Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?
Glenn Greenwald: "I think it's pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies. The assumption in your question, David, is completely without evidence — the idea that I've aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the emails and phone records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory that you just embraced: being a co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources. If you want to embrace that theory, it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information is a criminal. And it's precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States..."

"One of the things I find most fascinating about whistleblower Edward Snowden's NSA revelations is the way so many Americans reflexively defend the very government that has been caught illegally, unconstitutionally spying on them.  Doubtless, some of the defensiveness is produced more by partisan identification with Obama than by identification with the government generally (can you imagine how much differently the Democratic leadership and rank and file would be reacting had Snowden blown the whistle under a Republican president?).  But I also sense that a good deal of the defensiveness comes from a reflexive identification with the government generally.  As Digby has repeatedly observed, many Americans would rather be subjects than citizens.
...Look, so far as I know, no one is claiming Snowden didn't violate a contractual and legal obligation to preserve secrecy (though the rhetoric about his violating some secrecy "oath" is propagandistic bullshit suggestive of a weirdly authoritarian mentality).  But what kind of person -- what kind of citizen -- thinks Snowden's NDA violation is more important, more consequential, more deserving of discussion and debate than the fact that the government has constructed a massive, unaccountable, domestic spying operation totally in secret?  Or that the head of America's intelligence apparatus was just caught lying to Congress about the existence of this program?  Which is the greater potential threat to democracy -- one guy leaking secrets to the press (given the self-glorifying ongoing flood of such leaks coming from the Obama administration, you better hope that's the wrong answer)?  Or a massive intelligence organization spying on the American people, and the head of that organization lying to Congress about it?"

The government only cares about privacy when it's at their convenience.
"The former National Security Agency contractor who disclosed a highly classified surveillance program has had his U.S. passport revoked, an official said Sunday. Edward Snowden’s passport was annulled before he left Hong Kong for Russia and while that could complicate his travel plans, the lack of a passport alone could not thwart his plans, the U.S. official said. If a senior official in another country or with an airline orders it, a country could overlook the withdrawn passport, the official said. The U.S. official would only discuss the passport on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the matter."

"Well, Matt Slick, the apologist at the center of the interview, appeared on Christian radio host Janet Mefferd‘s program yesterday to talk about the segment. He’s shocked — shocked! — that the show’s producers edited his segment! And that they didn’t show him talking about Jesus. And that they didn’t promote his website. And that they quoted him verbatim, thus making him look like a bigot."

"With more swearing than some work places will allow, Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis has something to tell you about why he loves Superman.
"I think it’s pretty obvious how Landis writes such exciting screenplays. He’s got a distinctive voice and enough passion to melt the keys off a Smith Corona. Now, if that wasn’t not enough Landis-on-Superman for you, here’s a modern classic of the genre."
A somewhat-mostly-accurate educational parody film by Max Landis, Produced by Bryan Basham @bryan_basham Starring Elden Henson, Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Morgan Krantz and many more. I'm not drunk in the video, I only get about three cups in. The original rant was 45 minutes long, so of course we had to cut a bunch of stuff out for time, and because it was just too stupid. Like for instance the part where Pa Kent dies of a heart attack and literally GOES TO HEAVEN. AND SEES SUPERMAN. If I saw this video, I might nerd rage out so hard. But luckily I made it, so I'm pretty happy. Really I'd hope people just are with me, and happy that Guy Gardner and Bloodwynd get to be in a movie. 

"Here's a great video pondering the objective reality of mathematics, and running down all the different schools of thought on where mathematical truth comes from -- does it exist outside of systems of codification by intelligent beings, as an eternal part of the universe; or is it something that we invent through codification?"

"Tabatha Leggett signs up to Christianity’s most successful recruitment programme.
...Discussion time isn’t fruitful. Natalie asks me how I’m able to distinguish between moral and immoral behaviour if I don’t base my actions on Jesus’ example. I explain that I work out what makes my peers happy and try to do those things. Everyone laughs, which I find confusing because I’m not joking. I agree that having a role model can be helpful, but ask how they know Jesus is the best one. Anna and Will, who are married, tell me that it’s because the Bible said so. But how do they know the Bible is right? “No offence, Tabatha,” replies Louise, “but the Bible is quite far-fetched. I don’t get why someone would have made that stuff up if it weren’t true.” It sounds like I’m lying, but I’m not...
Then we talk about which bits of the Bible we should take literally. Louise tells me I’ll work it out if I read the Bible. I tell her I’ve read it. She says I will never develop a full understanding because I’m not God so I can’t understand everything. This is becoming a recurring theme. These people have answers to some problems, but as soon as they hit a brick wall they settle for not understanding God and refuse to think through alternatives. They can explain why God is forgiving (it’s because Jesus took our sins), but they can’t explain what taking our sins entailed, or why a perfect creator put sin in the world in the first place...
Adam tells a story about his wedding ring. It’s a more elaborate version of this: Adam went to Costa. He left his wedding ring behind. He realised what he’d done. He said a quick prayer. He went back to Costa. He found his ring. He reckons God answered his prayer. No one asks why God was so busy looking for Adam’s ring instead of sorting out problems like poverty...
In discussion time, we’re asked to talk about prayers that have been answered. I’m the only person who has never prayed. Louise claims that God once answered her prayer to get her to the airport on time. Alasdair thinks God stopped a wave breaking on him when he went surfing as a teenager. Robin tells us that God warned him to wear a helmet when he snowboards. But the weirdest and most upsetting claim comes from Maya, who asked God to let her leave her job. A week later, she fell pregnant and saw that as a sign that she should leave. She miscarried her child. Three days later, the company she worked for closed. “I thought God gave me a child, but He actually closed down my company,” she said. “He answered my prayer, but not how I expected.” “Anyone feel unconvinced by the power of prayer?” Natalie asks. “YES,” I feel like shouting. “YOU’RE IDIOTS. ALL OF THOSE THINGS WERE PROBABLY COINCIDENCES THAT YOU’RE READING TOO MUCH INTO.” But I can’t say anything because how can you say those things to a group of people who have shared intimate facts about miscarriages and are now crying?"

That's just funny.

"Normally we would shrug off Willow Creek as just another found footage horror flick. But then we found out that Bobcat Goldthwait directed this film, and we love World's Greatest Dad. So color us curious. Heads up: Trailer is NSFW, due to brief male nudity and language. Thanks to Badass Digest for debuting the trailer, while explaining that the movie is actually a lot funnier than it appears in this video, and yes those Big Foot experts are all the real deal. Badass also teases that "the film's central set piece is a bravura piece of tension that is so protracted you could never fit it in a trailer." We don't know what that could be, but after the shocker that was WGD, we know it could be anything. Here's the official synopsis: Jim and his girlfriend Kelly are in Willow Creek, California, to retrace the steps of Bigfoot researchers Patterson and Gimlin, who, in 1967, recorded the most famous film of the legendary monster. Kelly is a skeptic, along for the ride to spend time with her boyfriend between acting gigs. Jim, a believer, hopes to capture footage of his own, so his camera is constantly rolling."
"(479): He sent me a pic of her engagement ring and then STILL asked for nudes."
"In the aftermath of Edward Snowden's leaks about surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency, its defenders have made two basic assertions. The first is that these programs were vital in stopping terrorists. The second is that by revealing their mere existence, Snowden did grave damage to national security.
Now, it's hard to believe it would come as a great surprise to Al Qaeda that American spies might be examining their phone records. Nor is it likely that hardened militants were slapping their foreheads to learn that someone in Washington may have been reading their email or listening in on their Skype chats. But those in power insist that unveiling the information put lives at risk. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, decried these "dangerous national security leaks," insisting that the "effectiveness of these programs depends on them being kept secret from the foreign terrorists they target."
But how? My curiosity whetted, I contacted Rogers' office for information on what the terrorists gained. A spokesman emailed to say the chairman could not be bothered to offer support for his allegation: "He does not have space available in his schedule this week to re-address issues that have very clearly been addressed in the open hearing." No transcript of the hearing was available, but I was assured I would get the answers if I watched the video. Filled with hope, I watched all three hours -- but was disappointed. Only three times did the subject come up at all, and then briefly. No one offered anything to substantiate the claim."

Welcome to the Future.
"John sez, "Pirate3D have a Kickstarter project for The Buccaneer. It's a 3D printer, designed to be used as an appliance. Print from an open library of objects on Pirate3D's servers, submit your own designs, or print .stl files from your computer. There is a smartphone app for manipulating and printing the objects from the cloud librabry. The Kickstarter closes in 4 days.""

How the world works.

"Two weeks into the hullabaloo surrounding whistle-blower Edward Snowden and Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, one thing is clear: They did not just reveal potentially serious crimes perpetrated by the government — including possible perjury, unlawful spying and unconstitutional surveillance. They also laid bare in historic fashion the powerful double standards that now define most U.S. media coverage of the American government — the kind that portray those who challenge power as criminals, and those who worship it as heroes deserving legal immunity. Indeed, after “Meet the Press” host David Gregory’s instantly notorious performance yesterday, it is clear Snowden’s revelations so brazenly exposed these double standards that it will be difficult for the Washington press corps to ever successfully hide them again.

The best way to see these double standards is to ponder 10 simple questions. 

1. During that “Meet the Press” discussion yesterday of Greenwald publishing stories about Snowden’s disclosures, Gregory asked Greenwald, “Why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” Beyond the odiousness of a supposed journalist like Gregory seeming to endorse criminal charges against journalists for the alleged crime of committing journalism, there’s an even more poignant question suggested by Mother Jones’ David Corn: Why hasn’t David Gregory asked reporters at the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News the same question, considering their publication of similar leaks? Is it because Greenwald is seen as representing a form of journalism too adversarial toward the government, while those establishment outlets are still held in Good Standing by Washington?

2. Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation asks a question that probably won’t be asked of Gregory: Should Gregory himself be prosecuted? After all, as Trimm notes, “when interviewing Greenwald, he repeated what government officials told him about classified FISA opinions.” So will anyone of Gregory’s stature in Washington go on national television and ask if Gregory should now be charged with a crime?


4. A year ago, the New York Times’ Jo Becker and Scott Shane published a hagiographic article about President Obama’s so-called kill list. This article was based on selective — and potentially illegal — leaks of classified information by White House officials. Likewise, a recent draft inspector general report documented then-CIA Director Leon Panetta’s possibly illegal release of top secret information to filmmaker Mark Boal for his Obama-worshiping film, “Zero Dark Thirty.” Why haven’t Gregory or the Washington press asked whether the Becker, Shane and Boal “should be charged with a crime” for doing what Greenwald did by publishing that secret information?


7. The Obama administration’s Department of Justice prosecuted major league pitcher Roger Clemens of perjury before Congress. It was precisely the same kind of perjury that Snowden’s disclosures showed that National Intelligence head James Clapper and NSA chief Keith Alexander engaged in during their sworn testimony before Congress. Why haven’t Washington reporters bothered to ask the administration if it will prosecute Clapper and Alexander on the same charges that the administration aimed at Clemens?

8. On top of exposing Clapper and Alexander’s possible perjury, we also know that according to the New York Times, the NSA “intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress.” Additionally, we now know that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has ruled that at least some of the NSA’s surveillance programs are illegal. In light of that, why do many media outlets still somehow portray the NSA surveillance programs as perfectly legal?


10. And finally, perhaps the most damning question of all: Why are so many media outlets far more interested in the minute details of Edward Snowden’s life and location than in the potential crimes against millions of Americans that he exposed?"

"Today, my girlfriend announced to everyone at dinner that she was no longer a virgin. This was news to everyone: her parents, siblings, best friend, and me. FML"

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