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marmar

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Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 71,317

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Plastic sea (cartoon)





http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/plastic_sea_20150218


Robert Scheer: How the Government Outsourced Intelligence to Silicon Valley


from truthdig:


How the Government Outsourced Intelligence to Silicon Valley

Posted on Feb 18, 2015
By Robert Scheer


Excerpt from “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy” (Nation Books, February 2015).

For years, the outsourcing of defense and intelligence work was, with good reason, controversial in political circles. But in the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration, the president authorized the CIA’s creation of the first US government–sponsored venture capital firm, In-Q-Tel, designed to invest in cutting-edge Silicon Valley companies. The firm, named after Ian Fleming’s fictional character “Q,” who masterminds James Bond’s spy gadgets, was founded on September 29, 1999, when the intelligence agencies came to realize they couldn’t produce the technology required to make sense of the vast amount of data they had acquired.

The firm’s mission is to “identify, adapt, and deliver innovative technology solutions to support the missions of the Central Intelligence Agency and broader US community.” This process provided a way of tapping the resources and creativity of Silicon Valley—which undoubtedly had gained a technological edge over government in the post–Cold War period—without the burden of trying to directly recruit the free spirits of Palo Alto into government bureaucracy.

Under the guise of In-Q-Tel, the CIA has invested in hundreds of start-ups, including a company called Keyhole, whose satellite mapping software became Google Earth. In-Q-Tel proved immensely successful in its first five years, bringing revenue into the agency and, more significantly, allowing it to discreetly co-opt technologies and companies that would exponentially enhance its spying capabilities without causing the public to ever raise an eyebrow.

The practice of tapping tech companies for government work, then, began to shed its taboo and appear increasingly attractive to other governmental entities. For example, NASA and the US Army, inspired by the success of In-Q-Tel, are currently planning to develop their own venture capital firms in its image. Thanks in part to In-Q-Tel, the already substantial for-profit investment in the intelligence area was expanded significantly under President George W. Bush, such that it constituted about 70 percent of the intelligence budget by 2007. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/how_the_government_outsourced_intelligence_to_silicon_valley_20150218



Supreme Court Nakedly Partisan (cartoon)




http://www.truthdig.com/cartoon/item/nakedly_partisan_20150215


Boston-area public transit won't be back to normal for 'at least' another 30 days




Boston Herald, via Mass Transit Mag:



Feb. 17--The blizzard-battered commuter rail and subway will not be back to normal for "at least" another 30 days, the transit authority's embattled general manager admitted yesterday, forecasting a bleak month of long, expensive slogs for hundreds of thousands of commuters -- as another storm looms.

"The 8 feet of snow that has been dumped on our transit system over the past three weeks has very honestly crippled our infrastructure and our vehicle fleet -- not to mention the real toll that it has take on our workforce and that of our contractors," MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said yesterday. "These unprecedented storms have caused us both operational challenges -- which quite candidly everyone is feeling -- and in some instances some pretty severe damage that is going to take us some time to drag ourselves out of."

Despite vowing to implement what she called an "operating and service restoration and recovery Marshall plan" aimed at "strategically and methodically taking the system back line by line, vehicle by vehicle, station by station," Scott said riders can expect service cancellations and lengthy delays to continue for the foreseeable future.

"In order to be able to say we're back to normalcy, that's going to take probably at least about a good 30 days for us," Scott said, adding that "this is not something that we an just throw magic dust on and make it be all OK tomorrow." .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11843442/scott-says-at-least-30-days-needed-to-get-t-on-track



Boston: Scott Says 'at Least' 30 Days Needed to Get T on Track


Boston Herald, via Mass Transit Mag:



Feb. 17--The blizzard-battered commuter rail and subway will not be back to normal for "at least" another 30 days, the transit authority's embattled general manager admitted yesterday, forecasting a bleak month of long, expensive slogs for hundreds of thousands of commuters -- as another storm looms.

"The 8 feet of snow that has been dumped on our transit system over the past three weeks has very honestly crippled our infrastructure and our vehicle fleet -- not to mention the real toll that it has take on our workforce and that of our contractors," MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said yesterday. "These unprecedented storms have caused us both operational challenges -- which quite candidly everyone is feeling -- and in some instances some pretty severe damage that is going to take us some time to drag ourselves out of."

Despite vowing to implement what she called an "operating and service restoration and recovery Marshall plan" aimed at "strategically and methodically taking the system back line by line, vehicle by vehicle, station by station," Scott said riders can expect service cancellations and lengthy delays to continue for the foreseeable future.

"In order to be able to say we're back to normalcy, that's going to take probably at least about a good 30 days for us," Scott said, adding that "this is not something that we an just throw magic dust on and make it be all OK tomorrow." .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11843442/scott-says-at-least-30-days-needed-to-get-t-on-track



From Warrior Cop to Community Police: A Fmr Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization


from YES! Magazine:


From Warrior Cops to Community Police: A Former Chief on How We Can Turn Back the Tide of Militarization
Police in America belong to the people—not the other way around. Former Seattle police Chief Norm Stamper on how we can turn war zone occupiers back into friendly neighborhood officers.

Norm Stamper posted Feb 09, 2015


You’re in the kitchen. It’s a Saturday morning, still dark outside. Your partner, three-year-old son, and the family dog are all sound asleep at the back of the house. You’ve put the coffee pot on, are making sandwiches—a trip to the lake is planned, your son’s first fishing trip.

Without warning, the pre-dawn quiet is shattered as your front door flies off its hinges, followed by back-to-back explosions and blinding light. Your local police department calling, decked out in cammies, ballistic helmets, and full-body armor, brandishing M4 and M16 rifles.

“Knife!” shouts a cop. “Drop the knife! Drop the knife!” roar his nine fellow officers, each pointing a rifle or a pistol at your chest. The knife in question? A standard, dullbladed utensil you’d been using to slather mustard and mayo on the sandwiches.

........(snip)........

Finally comes Boomer, the family’s gentle seven-year-old Golden Retriever, bounding down the hall, voicing his own concern about the invasion. With a Glock semiautomatic, one of the cops silences Boomer: a .40 caliber shot to the head, another to the chest.

........(snip)........

But it is the routinization of police militarism that ought to concern us all. America’s police departments—aided and abetted by the federal government’s “1033” program, which allocates to local law enforcement military surplus, including armored vehicles, weapons, even aircraft—have gradually morphed from images of “Officer Friendly,” neighborhood-oriented cops to those of war zone occupiers. ....................(more)

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/together-with-earth/from-warrior-cops-to-community-police




Professor Richard Wolff: "The Game is Rigged"





ACLU SoCal, L.A. Progressive and Occidental College hosted Prof. Wolff for a discussion on economic rights and reform, on February 10, 2015 at Occidental College.


Robert Reich: How Trade Deals Boost the Top 1% and Bust the Rest


How Trade Deals Boost the Top 1% and Bust the Rest
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2015


Suppose that by enacting a particular law we’d increase the U.S.Gross Domestic Product. But almost all that growth would go to the richest 1percent. 


The rest of us could buy some products cheaper than before. But those gains would be offset by losses of jobs and wages.

This is pretty much what “free trade” has brought us over the last two decades.

I used to believe in trade agreements. That was before the wages of most Americans stagnated and a relative few at the top captured just about all the economic gains.

Recent trade agreements have been wins for big corporations and Wall Street, along with their executives and major shareholders. They get better access to foreign markets and billions of consumers. ...............(more)

http://robertreich.org/post/111210323485



Brew Detroit: New Tap Room is a Huge Boost For Detroit Beer

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/brew-detroit-new-taproom-is-a-small-part-a-massive-investment-in-detroits-beer-scene.php


from Curbed Detroit:



Yesterday's debut of the new tap room at Brew Detroit has received coverage from nearly every Detroit-area media outlet. That's what happens when you open a photogenic bar inside a former ball bearing factory in Corktown.
The tap room, however, is just a tiny piece of Brew Detroit's 61,000-square-foot automated brewing facility. Opened in 2013, the facility is capable of churning out a volume of beer unseen since the days of Stroh's, the fallen Detroit beer giant. Thankfully, the similarities between Brew Detroit and Stroh's stop there.

It's not worth diving deep into Stroh's history, but there's a reason that Detroit produced so little beer after they imploded. Stroh's was ruthless. During its long history, the company aggressively bought out a huge portion of Detroit's beer industry, often demolishing rival breweries simply to insure they'd never compete again.



Brew Detroit's facility will have the opposite effect. Think of it like a co-working space for brewers, where smaller companies (Like Atwater or Motor City Brewing Works) can access world-class equipment and scale up production without breaking the bank. Brew Detroit produces its own beer in small batches for the taproom, but the focus is on being a "collaborative brewery."

Point being, Brew Detroit is more than another trendy bar or a "Detroit"-branded boutique. It's a major piece of beer-producing infrastructure that will give Detroit's craft beer industry a leg up. Knowing all of that makes a visit to the tap room all the more satisfying.












Detroit: Construction Fires Up at M1 Rail's North End Headquarters

http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2015/02/construction-fires-up-at-m1-rails-north-end-headquarters.php


from Curbed Detroit:



Behold! The Penske Tech Center, future headquarters to the M1 Rail streetcar system. The $6.9M facility—which includes a garage and an outdoor rail yard—recently began construction at a vacant lot at Woodward and Bethune, a couple blocks beyond M1's northernmost stop in New Center. The mid-century municipal architecture won't be winning any awards, but there are reasons to love this glorified garage.

The Setback: Before construction began, the big question was whether the rail yard or the building itself should face Woodward. Thankfully, M1 went with the latter. However bland the architecture might be, placing it snugly against Woodward is good urban design.

Goodbye, Grass: The new construction eats up one of the unsightly, litter-strewn fields lining Woodward as it passes through North End. Swapping a field for the tech center should be a positive for nearby residents, whose input went into the final design. At the same time, it would've been a much bigger win if North Enders could actually board there. Construction should be complete by the end of 2015.









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