The White House is far from alone. Why Putin Turned Against the U.S. - David A. Graham. Former ambassador Michael McFaul on what really motivated Russia to invade Ukraine Reuters ASPEN, Colo. —One major divide in international relations, as well as in other social sciences, is between those who believe in structure and those who believe in agency. Members of the first group say leaders are just representations of cultures and nations, subject to long-running political dynamics; their counterparts insist, no, individual leaders make decisions that can change the course of history.
Discussing whether Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine herald a new or resurrected Cold War between Washington and Moscow, former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul placed himself firmly in the agency camp: He thinks the current crisis is a direct result of Putin's actions and personality. "Is this a new Cold War? There several ways of thinking about the recent crisis. "I don’t think [Putin] was sitting as a kid dreaming about putting back the Russian empire," McFaul said.
US Homeland Security must disclose ‘internet kill switch’, court rules. A US court has given the government 30 days to come up with a decent reason not to disclose its plan for a so-called internet kill switch. Standard Operating Procedure 303 describes a shutdown and restoration process for wireless networks in the event of a national crisis that would prevent, among other things, the remote triggering of radio-activated explosives. First, DHS said it couldn't find any records on the kill switch. EPIC appealed.
Next, the agency managed to locate the protocol, but it redacted nearly all of it. DHS argued that the protocol is exempt from public disclosure because it discloses "techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions" or could "reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual. " In the case of disclosing SOP 303, the government argued that "any individual" means anybody anywhere near an unexploded bomb. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the agency’s arguments. Why America Has a Mass Incarceration Problem, and Why Germany and the Netherlands Don't - Mike Riggs - The Atlantic Cities. To understand America's epidemic of over-incarceration, it helps to look to countries that don't having our problem.
In Germany and the Netherlands, for example, incarceration rates per capita are nearly 90 percent lower than in the U.S.: 79 per 100,000 residents in Germany and 82 per 100,000 residents in the Netherlands, compared to 716 per 100,000 residents in the United States. As those numbers suggest, Germany and the Netherlands do things a bit differently. A recent report [PDF] from the Vera Institute of Justice explains that the differences are both philosophical and practical.
"Resocialization" and rehabilitation are central to the Dutch and German models, whereas the American model focuses on retribution and isolation from society. In Germany and the Netherlands, this means prison conditions are more humane, fines are preferred over incarceration, solitary confinement is rarely used, and sentences are far shorter than in the U.S. The U.S. has a lot of catching up to do.
Paranoia Has Undermined United States Claim to Liberal Democracy. Agent Carrie Mathison is a topical figure. The main character in the American TV series "Homeland," played by the wonderful Claire Danes, shows her true relevance in the first few episodes, in which Mathison is nervously sitting at home, observing and listening in on the life of a terror suspect on a large screen. His apartment is bugged and Mathison is determined to find out as much as she can about him. She is hysterical, bipolar, paranoid and sick -- all advantageous traits for her job.
The real-life intelligence services of the United States take things much further than agent Carrie Mathison. They spy on just about anyone, even German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who, so far, has not been suspected of maintaining ties to Islamist terrorism, and yet whose cellphone was tapped. It is often assumed that intelligence agencies are worlds of their own, and that they sometimes act on their own authority.
Paradise of Freedom? Politics Shaped by Fear Israel is the promised land of the Jews.
White House. Outgoing US Official Warns of 'Major Cyber Event' WASHINGTON - Outgoing US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Tuesday warned of a "major cyber event" in the future that would have a "serious" impact on American society. In what she described as "a kind of open letter to my successor," Napolitano warned of terrorist threats, major weather events and the need to reinforce US border security. "Our country will, for example, at some point, face a major cyber event that will have a serious effect on our lives, our economy, and the everyday functioning of our society," she said.
The administration has yet to name a successor for Napolitano, who resigned in July and will leave office next month after more than four years as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. Created after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the department plays a key role, not only in guarding borders and preventing terror attacks, but also in the response to natural disasters.
<div class="disqus-noscript"><a href=" US states banned from exporting their trash to China are drowning in plastic. Being green is getting a lot harder for eco-friendly states in the US, thanks to the country’s dependency on overrun Chinese recycling facilities. Recycling centers in Oregon recently stopped accepting clear plastic “clamshell” containers used for berries, plastic hospital gowns and plastic bags, as the Ashland Daily Tidings reports. Yogurt and butter tubs are probably next. In Olympia, Washington, recycling centers are no longer accepting plastic bags. California’s farmers are grappling with what to do with the 50,000 to 75,000 tons of plastic they use each year. “The problem is we don’t have a market for it,” Jeff Hardwood, an Olympia-area recycling center manager, tells Washington state’s KIRO-TV. “China is saying we are only going to accept the high-value material we have a demand for now.” Hardwood is referring to China’s “Green Fence” campaign banning “foreign garbage” (link in Chinese).
As we’ve discussed before, Americans generally don’t recycle their plastic; they export it.
Microsoft Is Working On a Cloud Operating System For the US Government. US Gov't To Issue Secure Online IDs. Pity the Poor Congressman: 'I'm Stuck Here Making $172,000 a Year' - Alex Seitz-Wald. How Anthony Weiner Exposed the Insecurities of the 1960s Generation - Richard Goldstein. A half-century after the sexual revolution, the make-your-own-rules folks are no longer quite so sold on free love. I sext. I share scenarios, and sometimes images of body parts that used to be called “privates,” with partners whom I’ve never met. I have depended on the kindness of strangers, and, unlike Blanche DuBois, I have been amply rewarded. Fortunately I am not running for office. The Democratic primary in the New York mayoral race is over—barring a possible runoff between Bill de Blasio and William Thompson—and the world can only hope Anthony Weiner has learned his lesson.
A throng of pundits rushed to declare Weiner’s candidacy void not because he appeared to have an impulse control problem, but simply because he engaged in sexting as a married man. In order to fully grasp the repercussions of this scandal it’s necessary to recall the climate in which sexual freedom arose. What has happened to this ethos? These decisions may change as the relationship ages.