December 16th, 2010

  • mswyrr

profile on Bradley Manning

Private Manning and the Making of Wikileaks

By Denver Nicks
September 23, 2010

Midnight, May 22nd, 2010. Army intelligence analyst Private First Class Bradley E. Manning is sitting at a computer at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, east of Baghdad. He is online, chatting with Adrian Lamo, an ex-hacker and sometimes-journalist based in San Francisco.

“Hypothetical question,” he asks Lamo. “If you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time… say, 8-9 months… and you saw incredible things, awful things… things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC… what would you do?”

Manning, 22, is probing Lamo for guidance–and approval.

“I can’t believe what I’m confessing to you,” he types.

Outside of the chats, little is known about Bradley Manning. We know that he grew up in Crescent, Oklahoma, a town made famous by one of the biggest whistleblowing events in American history a decade before Bradley was born. Currently, he’s in solitary confinement at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, awaiting trial, and unable to speak to the press. His family and many of his close friends have been advised not to talk to the media. If the allegations against Private Manning are true, the 22-year-old from Oklahoma is responsible for the biggest leak of military secrets in American history.

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In the comments of the previous post on Manning, haruhiko and I got to talking about the way the spotlight (and the financial aid, supporting protests, and public scrutiny that comes with it) of the WikiLeaks situation has been largely placed on Assange, while Manning's situation has been comparatively ignored. After that exchange, I went out and saw what I could find about him. This article appears to be the best one out there about his origins, his personality, and how they informed the decision he allegedly made to leak information. I'm posting it because I figure readers here might be interested to know more.

I've chosen not to bold in this instance. It's a well written article that's worth reading in its entirety.

Study Shows Fox News Viewers Misinformed (aka In Which ONTD_P Puts on its Surprised Face)

Study Confirms That Fox News Makes You Stupid
A new survey of American voters shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources.

Yet another study has been released proving that watching Fox News is detrimental to your intelligence. World Public Opinion, a project managed by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, conducted a survey of American voters that shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. What’s more, the study shows that greater exposure to Fox News increases misinformation.

So the more you watch, the less you know. Or to be precise, the more you think you know that is actually false. This study corroborates a previous PIPA study that focused on the Iraq war with similar results. And there was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that demonstrated the break with reality on the part of Fox viewers with regard to health care. The body of evidence that Fox News is nothing but a propaganda machine dedicated to lies is growing by the day.

In eight of the nine questions below, Fox News placed first in the percentage of those who were misinformed (they placed second in the question on TARP). That’s a pretty high batting average for journalistic fraud. Here is a list of what Fox News viewers believe that just aint so:

  • 91 percent believe the stimulus legislation lost jobs

  • 72 percent believe the health reform law will increase the deficit

  • 72 percent believe the economy is getting worse

  • 60 percent believe climate change is not occurring

  • 49 percent believe income taxes have gone up

  • 63 percent believe the stimulus legislation did not include any tax cuts

  • 56 percent believe Obama initiated the GM/Chrysler bailout

  • 38 percent believe that most Republicans opposed TARP

  • 63 percent believe Obama was not born in the U.S. (or that it is unclear)

The conclusion is inescapable. Fox News is deliberately misinforming its viewers and it is doing so for a reason. Every issue above is one in which the Republican Party had a vested interest. The GOP benefited from the ignorance that Fox News helped to proliferate. The results were apparent in the election last month as voters based their decisions on demonstrably false information fed to them by Fox News.

Source clearly has a liberal bias.

#MooreandMe: On Progressives, Rape Apologism, and the Little Guy

So, here are some cheerful statistics for you: According to RAINN, about 60% of rapes aren’t reported. In those cases, there’s about a 51% chance that the 40% of reported rapes will have an arrest made. There’s an 80% chance of prosecution. And, given various factors including conviction and sentencing, there’s only about a 16.3% chance that someone who commits rape will serve time for that rape. Meaning: If we factor in the rapes that go unreported, only 6% of rapists ever serve time. EVER.

Gee, it sounds like making sure that rape accusations are taken seriously, and pursued to the full extent of the law, in all cases, is a pretty important issue, for progressives!

Meanwhile, here are some facts: A man has been accused of rape by two separate women. He fled the country in which he was accused. He is fighting extradition, so that he won’t have to go back to that country and face charges — even though there are spectacularly low rates of conviction for accused rapists, he just doesn’t think that he should have to go through the system, for whatever reason. And you know who’s posting bail for him?

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  • xerox78

Family: "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich violates Christianity and civil rights

NH parents object to book that calls Jesus vagrant

BEDFORD, N.H. - A New Hampshire couple told a school board Monday that their son’s civil rights were violated when he was assigned a book that refers Jesus Christ as a "wine-guzzling vagrant and precocious socialist."

The 2001 book, "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America," documents author Barbara Ehrenreich’s attempts to live on minimum wage as she critiques the nation’s economic system.

Aimee and Dennis Taylor complained about the book’s foul language, descriptions of drug use and characterization of Christianity when it was assigned to their son’s personal finance class at Bedford High School in the fall and later pulled him out of school at his request. On Monday, they asked the school board to remove the book from the curriculum and create a committee of parents to review and rate all other books used in the school, but the board held off on making a decision until it hears from its curriculum committee next month.

Dennis Taylor said school officials were either utterly careless in choosing the book or were "intentionally agreeing with Ehrenreich and taking the position that Jesus was a drunken bum."

"The administration and the people with the master’s degrees taking care of our children clearly in this case seemed to lack common sense, common decency and with regard to civil rights, an understanding of common law," he said.

He noted that had the book been turned into a movie, his son would be too young to see it given the obscenities. And both he and his wife said the passages about Jesus were an attack on their son’s faith.

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Anti-gay organization wants to reclaim the rainbow symbol from the ‘gay lobby’

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the San Diego based Ruth Institute, says that the rainbow symbol needs to be reclaimed from “the gay lobby” because “the rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with man.”

In an interview with the ultra conservative American Family News Network’s OneNewsNow, Morse said the rainbow should be the symbol of Prop 8 supporters and religious right activists, and that the rainbow has been wrongly appropriated by the LGBT community.

“Proposition 8 was passed by a great grassroots coalition that included people from all across the religious traditions, and also people of every race and color,” said Morse. “We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow.”

A staff writer from Right Wing Watch noted that Morse appeared to be channeling the National Organization for Marriage’s famous 2009 television ad, “The Gathering Storm,” which said “a rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color” are uniting to stop the “gathering storm” of gay-rights advocates.

Morse, who describes her group as “a project of the National Organization for Marriage,” was a speaker on NOM’s “Summer for Marriage” bus tour.

She told OneNewsNow that she wore a rainbow-colored scarf to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hearing on Proposition 8 as a statement to signify that supporters of traditional marriage still own the symbol.

“We can’t simply let that go by,” she said. “Families put rainbows in their children’s nurseries. Little Christian preschools will have rainbows … Noah’s Ark and all the animals … those are great Christian symbols, great Jewish symbols.”

The rainbow flag was popularized as a symbol of LGBT pride and diversity by San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker in 1978.


(maybe it's the lack of coffee but I swear to god we had a 'rainbows all up in here tag?

Got Milk? Should the HRC turn Castro Camera location into a ‘souvenir shop’?

I’ll start this blog by asking one simple question. How do you think many of the Jewish people would feel if a Jewish rights organization (whom most of them don’t belong too) purchased Anne Frank’s home and turned it into a souvenir shop?

Most would be disgusted, many would be angry.

I think it’s a fair albeit hypothetical analogy of what is occurring in the Castro right now. I do doubt it would ever happen in the Jewish community.

The Human Rights Campaign’s decision to rent Harvey Milk’s former camera store and assimilate it into their vast fund raising network as an “action center” certainly has Harvey turning over in his grave.

The only action performed in an HRC Action Center is that of taking out your wallet and parting with some of your hard earned money. The Human Rights Campaign has taken Harvey Milk’s legacy hostage and will milk every dollar from that legacy that they possibly can.

The Human Rights Campaign has the unprecedented opportunity to take a piece of homosexual history, at the epicenter of our rights movement and turn it into a power tool in this war -– one akin to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. A memorial and museum to Harvey Milk’s legacy and vision that everyone could enjoy would be much more effective and powerful.

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UNL News Blog: What following others’ eye movements says about your politics

It goes without saying that conservatives and liberals don’t see the world in the same way. Now, UNL research suggests that is exactly, and quite literally, the case.

In a new study, researchers measured both liberals’ and conservatives’ reaction to “gaze cues” – a person’s tendency to shift attention in a direction consistent with another person’s eye movements, even if it’s irrelevant to their current task – and found big differences between the two groups.

Liberals responded strongly to the prompts, consistently moving their attention in the direction suggested to them by a face on a computer screen. Conservatives, on the other hand, did not.

Why? Researchers suggested that conservatives’ value on personal autonomy might make them less likely to be influenced by others, and therefore less responsive to the visual prompts.

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I know this isn't exactly 100% political, but it was a bit of an interesting read

WikiLeaks Founder Assange Is Granted Bail

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be freed while he awaits an extradition hearing, a British judge ruled Thursday, rejecting an appeal from prosecutors seeking to overturn his bail. The former hacker is wanted in Sweden for questioning in a sex-crimes investigation.

The hearing marked Assange's third court appearance since he surrendered to Scotland Yard on Dec. 7 and was locked up in London's Wandsworth prison. Scores of reporters filled the wood-paneled courtroom and public gallery of the British High Court, along with teams of lawyers, Assange's supporters and his mother, Christine Assange.

The 39-year-old Australian, wearing a dark gray suit, stood in the courtroom dock as Judge Duncan Ouseley heard the appeal to rescind his conditional release on $316,000 bail. Prosecutors had sought to keep Assange behind bars until a scheduled hearing in January over his possible extradition to Sweden, which he has vowed to fight.


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MSNBC. Time.

The media myth that is Winterval

If there's one media myth that is particularly prevalent around this time of year, it's the myth of Winterval. It's wheeled out by the media every year and has even managed to grasp the attention of the odd politician too.

The myth is that, in 1997, Birmingham City Council "rebranded" Christmas as Winterval. This is held up by much of the media as yet another example of the ongoing secularisation of Britain and of "taking the Christ out of Christmas".

However, the truth is that Winterval was no such thing.
It was merely the name that was chosen to market a whole series of different winter festivals, including Christmas. Winterval was never intended as a replacement for Christmas; but this hasn't stopped the assumption that it was from spreading and assaulting us every year.

In a massive and admirable undertaking, the genius behind Angry Mob has produced a 47-page essay charting the rise and, well, rise of one of the most ubiquitous media myths.

As Kevin from Angry Mob says so himself:
It is a tale of bad journalism that will take you from those early days in 1998 when the media saw it as an humorous example of PC gone mad, to the recent years when Winterval became a much darker tale of how Christianity was being systematically destroyed to appease threatening Muslims. You will see how many famous names – from David Cameron to the Pope – sustained the myth for 12 years and how it might yet make it 13.
Head over to Kevin's new blog, The Disinformed, to download a copy of the essay and learn how, at Christmas, a myth was born.

Source: Minority Thought

Just in case any Americans thought they were the only ones dealing with this "OMG War on Christmas!!" shit.
  • omer

Legal precedent in Israel: Child to be adopted by father's male partner

Family court determined biological father's partner will officially adopt child born to surrogate mother. Attorney: Breakthrough in legitimization of same-sex families in Israel

n an unprecedented ruling, the Jerusalem Family Court determined Thursday that a baby born to a surrogate mother will be adopted by the biological father's partner.

"This is a breakthrough in the legitimization of same-sex families in Israel, which have grown in numbers over the past year," said Attorney Irit Rosenblum of the New Family Organization.

The adoption request, filed by Rosenblum on behalf of the gay couple, stated that the biological father and his partner live together. Following a number of visits by Welfare Ministry representatives to the couple's home it was determined that the adoption would benefit the infant, who is now two years old. The court accepted the recommendation and approved the adoption.

The child's biological father Yonatan Gher told Ynet, "This is an emotional moment. We are very happy. Now I don’t have to be afraid of what will happen in case something happens to me – this was legally unclear until now.

"We're glad it is all behind us now and that we have paved a legal path for other couples," he said.

Gher said he and his partner decided to bring a child to the world after being together for eight years. They are not in touch with the surrogate mother or the egg donor.

"We are both his fathers," said Gher. "This process is clearly cumbersome and unnecessary."

The couple found a surrogate mother in India because Israeli law restricts surrogacy.

Gher, who is director general of the Jerusalem Open House for Pride and Tolerance, said changing the surrogacy law to allow same-sex couples to become parents in Israel "would render the need to find a surrogate mother abroad unnecessary."

yesterday I actually gave a lecture to the glbt student group at my school about lgbt families' rights in Israel, so this is cool.
I wonder why this is getting so much press, 6 years ago the court allowed a lesbian couple to adopt each other's children, I'd assume letting two men do it would pass smoothly.