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Total number of comments: 15 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:39)

Chris M

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  • Supreme Court enshrines Plutocracy, but Dissent says Conservatives Substituted Opinion for Fact
    • So, bribery has essentially been, or could be, legalized as a form of free speech?

  • Four Reasons Syria Refugees are a Bigger Story than Malaysian Air MH 370
    • NBC has had some coverage of Syrian refugees this past week with their medical correspondent being one covering children's health issues, etc. I believe Good Morning America continued some coverage plus there was a note to visit their website for info on how people could help, as many were apparently asking. That said, it came a little later in the newscast after the airliner story. One night it bugged me that after a report, they immediately had a commercial for a drug to help people with bad skin problems. It seemed somewhat in poor taste, as it made it seem that the refugee story was sad and all, but Americans are suffering from psoriasis!

      The over analyzing of the airliner is beyond ridiculous. Please networks, just state the current facts and move on. I don't need or care about you jumping on every little thing to speculate what it may or may not mean or be.

  • Let's See: Major Droughts in Drying West; Fracking a Water Hog and Causes Drought...
  • The Middle East warmly welcomes Iran Deal, sees it as Step toward Denuclearizing Israel
    • Forgive any ignorance on my part, but I would appreciate clarification:

      Iran did not want a nuclear bomb, correct?

      Iran was not, in fact, building a nuclear bomb, correct? There has been little to no concrete evidence of this - at least publicly disclosed?

      However, Iran may have felt the potential need for a nuclear bomb, correct? Were they on a path, or setting themselves up, to possibly produce one should that supposed need arise?

      I ask because it is a little confusing. All of the news on this may reinforce the notion for people, Americans in particular, that Iran did want and was building a bomb when, in fact, they were never doing so to begin with. It is understandable, in light of recent actions in the Middle East by us, and of course Israel, that they may have felt the need for one, but it is not the same as wanting one.

      I had a thought that it seems like trying to take the keys away from someone you think is an alcoholic when there has been no evidence he ever too a drink despite having access to liquor and maybe, only, once expressed / hinted he would like one or felt he needed one after a rough day.

      In other words, all this could be an ignorant, paranoid, overreaction? Or is it justified? Or is it to make us and the world feel better and Iran is giving in regardless, letting us believe what we want, and going along to basically shut us up and get their lives, political and otherwise, back to some normalcy?

  • American Writers are Self-Censoring to Avoid NSA Scrutiny (McCauley)
    • Or can not do the research required for fear of visiting websites deemed suspicious and talking to contacts / sources who may be suspect for whatever reason the government thinks them to be, warranted or not, particularly if foreign / Middle-East / military, etc.

  • Ms. Marvel and the Rise of the Muslim Superhero in America
    • An interview with the writer, if interested, can be found here:

      link to

    • Let's not forget there was a black female incarnation of Captain Marvel for a time as well named Monica Rambeau. She was around for a brief time, led the Avengers, then basically faded into the background under different names. She reappears on occasion, but is no longer a significant character.

      I do not think this new character will last. Marvel trying to sell female characters alone has been met with rare success, but even then for a limited time before they feel the need to cancel the title. Adding an unknown Muslim like this will be a bigger hurdle. Some feel she should have been introduced as a member of teams like Young Avengers or New Warriors before giving her a solo title. It does not help that there seems to be a Saturday morning cartoon aspect to this, so not sure what audience Marvel is aiming for, adults or kids, as I've not read all articles yet. In promo photos there appears to be a porcupine character having Hulk hands - ??? Go figure. I think it will be interesting at first with curiosity driving initial sales, but then she'll fade away like Rambeau in the end. I appreciate Marvel's attempt here, but this seems like it needs to have been thought through more. Hopefully, Professor Cole's mention will give her more of a chance, but Marvel has to ultimately make it pay off creatively, financially, for women, for Muslims, and comic/graphic novel fans to succeed. Good luck!

  • Why Israel's Plan to Bomb Iran is more Dangerous to Israel than Obama-Rouhani Diplomacy
    • NBC News with Brian Williams started his Iran report the other night by stating, "Suddenly, Iran claims they no longer want a nuclear bomb".

      "Suddenly"? Really? Please correct me, if I am wrong, but if it is true Iran has never claimed they wanted a bomb, or at least in recent years, and have issued fatwas against them, isn't this statement by Williams remarkably stupid and irresponsible? He said it in such a way as to make us all believe Iran was being beyond incredulous. I wanted to jump through the TV screen and demand he/NBC specify to viewers when has Iran ever publicly claimed they wanted, or prove were actively working, to achieve a bomb or bomb program.

      How the news media perpetuates ignorance like this by buying into the "he said, she said" reporting they do now instead of actually uncovering and presenting established facts, sadly, astonishes me.

  • Venezuela's Maduro: Unlike US Asylees, Snowden didn't Blow anything Up, just said 'This is not Right'
    • Sorry. Let me see if I can clarify a few points.

      I guess my post was mainly out of frustration with what I have seen of the media's focus on Snowden and in Snowden's actions that resulted in that focus. As stated, he should have handled it all better unless he was pressured by time, worries, and/or fear to act as he did. I still think he should have had the courage to remain here to stand up against the NSA's program and accept the consequences of doing so rather than run as he did, which made things worse for him, and probably us, in my opinion. It might have brought more focus back on the program rather than him and I do not believe it would have been an O.J. Simpson type affair, but more like the coverage of Bradley Manning, or somewhere between the two. Would a trial have helped expose more details and revelations resulting in damaging, if not ending/changing for the better, the program or would it be all behind a "classified" wall of secrecy? That might have been, or could yet be, interesting to see.

      Did Snowden reveal any specific details that the program has been abused and how? Doing so would have greatly helped his case, but if he did not and has none, he's kind of lost on that point, and to some degree, those who support him.

      No, I do not agree with the NSA's program and expressed my concerns about abuse in another post let alone hinted at it above. If it truly is focused on terrorism, I think it's a bloated, likely too expensive, paranoid, over-reaction to that. If terrorism is only a small part of its purpose, then we have a much bigger problem depending on who, what, why, and how. The John Stray post "25 things you wanted to know about NSA surveillance..." was the best encapsulation of this information I have seen and I just wished the network and PBS news I and many Americans have watched had done this and would repeatedly hammer Obama, associated officials, and congressman on this matter for specific purposes other than terrorism, legalities, and assurances of non-abuse, if not details of operation, in the same seemingly obsessed way they are tracking Snowden. It should also be done with facts and not the "he said, she said" type of reporting you see now. I probably should have phrased being bothered by his coverage more than the NSA program better by stating I was bothered by the lack of in-depth NSA coverage in comparison from what I've seen. No, I do not read or watch everything, so may have missed other good reporting.

      I would not mind an alarm system, and I am sure most Americans wouldn't either, but I do not want to be trapped in my own house by it or be mistaken for the burglar.

    • I think Snowden, on the one hand, is an idiot and should have better thought things through. Why not somehow release what he had anonymously? Or send to all major newspapers / internet sites at the same time? Should he not have been smart enough to do so?

      On the other hand he is a coward. I think that had he not suspiciously gone to Hong Kong and Russia and stayed here to face the likely consequences, he might have received more respect even if you still hated what he did plus the media would likely be less focused on playing "Where's Waldo?" with the guy and (hopefully) be more focused on what he revealed.

      Also, if you think about it, what he basically did was reveal that we have an alarm system. It could be like putting a sticker on the American window that we are protected and terrorists may be less inclined to break in to the country and do harm. Even if they still wanted to try, it makes things a bit more difficult for them to get around despite the fact they seem to use low-level, even primitive, tactics to begin with. That is, if the NSA program is truly being used properly for that purpose without abuse and such. On top of that, terrorists have to already know we have been on high alert ever since 9/11, so basically, how is this really news to them?

      Finally, if Snowden gave no specific information directly pertaining to any individuals or groups deemed "the enemy" that we know about them personally or how the system is precisely implemented and can be circumvented, how is he a traitor, as some are calling him? How can he be a traitor by revealing we are spying on our own allies and friends? How is he a traitor giving the American public a heads up that this over-blown system exists where the NSA is essentially watching us just in case one of us goes rogue or a terrorist slipped into the country?

      Is it odd that I find the whole circus treatment of Snowden is more bothersome than the NSA program itself? Yes, so long as we the people get legal assurances we are not having our privacy invaded without just cause and that the system will not be abused in any way by anyone with access to it now and in the future. If abused, give us assurances those responsible will be held accountable to the full extent of the law without hiding behind "classifications", that those who are accused unjustly can get full redress, and that a true whistleblower will be able to alert us to any abuse without punishment, let alone disdain.

  • Everything you wanted to Know About NSA Surveillance *but were afraid to ask (Stray)
    • Off the top of my head, I think the main concerns would be:

      If a US citizen and you are outside the US, why does that make you eligible, if so, to surveillance? Would not simply being a US citizen automatically safeguard you legally no matter where in the world you are? Or is it that you are using foreign communications equipment, if not your own phone, that may set off alarm bells since you can not tell it's a US citizen doing the calling or internet use? Is this where if they find you to be a US citizen, anything they have gets discarded? The same could be said for drone targets, I suppose.

      Are we going after terrorists only or is this for all crime related activities - Gangs, organized crime, fringe militia type groups, human trafficking, child pornography, foreign governments spying on us, etc.? What if the NSA somehow came across information about two or more kids planning a school shooting, do they automatically pass that on to the FBI or locally known authorities? Would they be allowed to? It would seem really odd to have this system in place to go after just one target at the expense of dealing with all the rest. If we are just going after terrorists, and, in my opinion, Al Quaeda being a small, scattered, international gang of thugs with no state, military, and little, if any, intelligence infrastructure, etc., isn't this overkill? Didn't we have relevant info before 9/11 that was not believed, processed, and/or acted upon that enabled the hijackers to get lucky, so the response to dealing with that failure is to create this 800 pound meta-gorilla? Why did we not find out about the Boston marathon bombings? Does that not reveal an Achilles heel to the whole body of this program particularly in light of Russian inquiries about the brothers involved? We seem to be focused on what is not there and blind to what obviously is.

      And my biggest worry - If you are a professor, student, journalist, writer, or just someone curious and wanting to honestly learn more and you want to study and understand terrorism and/or Al Quaeda, and you visit sites with such information, will that get you a knock on the door by the FBI? What about other suspected concerns? Suppose you are a novelist writing about a terrorist group or a spy story and you do internet research in intelligence and/or weapons like bomb making, etc.? What about calling experts in these certain fields to learn more? Did we not have librarians asked to disclose what books people checked out and being made to stay silent about the request?

      What are the actual assurances this system will not be abused now or in the future? With so many involved, who is to say someone in power will not be tempted to go after political rivals, unions, activists, journalists, and so on? What about one disgruntled or untrustworthy analyst with access to a chunk, if not all, of this using information he/she may come by to leak or blackmail someone? Or be bribed/forced to find something out? How would we find out about such abuse? How would the person or persons be tried and punished, if held accountable, if the program is supposed to be so secret?

  • Why Cheney is the Traitor, and Why we Can't Believe Obama on Safeguards (The Ultimate Clip of Gov't Lies)
    • US officials like Representative John Boehner, as well as V.P. Dick Cheney (Hello - the subject of Cole's post?), and others have called him a traitor. How is that not being "openly" declared a traitor? He has justification for what he says. He did not say it was official or legally declared by an act of Congress, executive order, or specific Justice department charges, which may be pending anyway.

      Is he fantasizing being jailed?

      When you send drones to kill American citizens deemed terrorists without a trial to defend themselves, or the government to prove its claims against them, he has reason to be worried he would be targeted in some murderous way. He's not so much fantasizing here as having an over-active paranoia, but it is based on established precedents or policy.

      Had NSA and/or FBI officials known he left, why he left, and that he may have sensitive, if not classified, information on him, they could easily have put an "APB" out on him to interdict him before he got away. How is that not an unreasonable possibility or concern?

  • Who you Call is Far more Revealing than what you Say: Landau on Gov't Spying (Democracy Now!)
    • Isn't the collection of metadata like building your own haystack in the hope of finding a needle? By the time they do, someone has been pricked by that needle they were hoping to find, as in the Boston bombings? And wouldn't you need to know about the needle in the first place in order to find it? If you already know about the needle, particularly where it is, whats the point of the haystack? Isn't this all sort of ass-backwards?

      By the way, someone needs to remind Obama, congress, and the the various intelligence agencies that Al Qaeda didn't shoot the children of Newtown. Or the people in the movie theater. Or the girl that attended Obama's inauguration. Or...

  • Bad Camel
    • I don't think that camel licked the girl's head. Looked more like he tried to eat it like a large treat. Not exactly cute. Racing the car was though.

  • What we Did to Iraq
    • Whatever happened to Riverbend? Her last Baghdad Burning blog entry in 2007 had her in Syria. Poor girl... Can't catch a peaceful break.

      Does anyone know? Did she ever return to blogging elsewhere or something else? Is she even still alive?

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