Tech insurgents sock it to Boris…

❝ ‘Your new prime minister is a LIAR,’ was projected on the Queen of England’s London home -Buckingham Palace on the same morning Boris Johnson visited her and was officially appointed the Prime Minister of the U.K.

The image and a short video which also played on the palace walls were created by a group called, ‘Led by Donkeys’.

Thanks, CGTN

Ignoranus Fake President Thinks War of 1812 was with Canada…which became a nation in 1867!


When’s the last time you washed that hand?

❝ CNN reports that during a “testy” conversation about the recent steel and aluminum tariffs the United States imposed on Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau interrogated Donald Trump about how he could possibly consider his country, one of America’s most stalwart allies, a national security threat. Trump jokingly responded by asking, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House?” This was supposed to be a reference to the War of 1812, and would have been a pretty good retort—except that it was actually the British who torched Washington. Oh well.

❝ This story is funny, in the way that the pratfalls of a wildly ignorant chief executive who is slowly claiming ever broader executive powers have become a constant source of grim humor. But it also points to one of the more common misunderstandings about this whole tariff controversy, and some of the ways Trump has actually twisted Washington’s conventional understanding of how trade and national security relate.

RTFA for a little detail on the contortions the prat in the Oval Office goes through to rationalize crap policies he dare not try to get through Congress. Even a Congress controlled by an obedient Republican Party.

Brits’ new Surveillance Law will be a global model – for repression

Civil rights advocates are up in arms over a sweeping new digital surveillance law in the United Kingdom, and not just because they say it intrudes on the privacy of people in the U.K. Some worry that the law sets an example other democratic nations will be tempted to follow.

The legislation…is called the Investigatory Powers Act (or, by its critics, the “Snooper’s Charter”). It enshrines broad new authority for U.K. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct online surveillance, hack into devices deemed relevant to investigations, and make technology companies provide access to data about their users — even by forcing them to change the design of products. It also gives investigators the authority to use these powers in “bulk,” meaning they can access large data sets that may include information about people not relevant to investigations. They can even hack into devices owned by people who are not suspects in a crime.

…The most high-profile fight is over a new authority for the government to compel Internet service providers to retain “Internet connection records”—including websites visited or mobile apps used, the times they were accessed, and the duration of use — for up to 12 months for all their customers. Investigators won’t need a warrant from a judge to access this data. “There is no state in the Western democratic world that has anything similar,” says Eric King…former deputy director of Don’t Spy on Us, a coalition of nongovernmental organizations that advocates for surveillance reform…

Brazil and Australia have also recently instituted data retention laws. The U.S. has not, but the U.S. Department of Justice has advocated for mandatory data retention before, as have members of Congress. After the Snowden revelations, President Obama issued a policy directive limiting bulk data collection by the federal government itself. But Donald Trump could rescind that or work with Congress to require Internet service providers to retain data so investigators could access it later—a step that would be modeled on the U.K. legislation. “If the Trump administration wants to expand its surveillance powers, or seek sanction for more aggressive use of its existing powers, it could unfortunately point to the U.K.’s new law as precedent,” says Camilla Graham Wood, Privacy International’s legal officer.

RTFA for a peek at the brave new world brought to us in part by fools who vote for phonies like Donald Trump. That doesn’t exempt the chickenshit Establishment of Democrats and Republicans who roll over and stick all four feet into the air every time some surveillance pimp prattles about fear.

Brits FAIL at claim that Americans are dumber


Click to enlarge

Across the United Kingdom on Friday, Britons mourned their long-cherished right to claim that Americans were significantly dumber than they are.

Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over Americans’ has long been a favorite pastime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts, and snooker.

But, according to Alistair Dorrinson, a pub owner in North London, British voters have done irreparable damage to the “most enjoyable sport this nation has ever known: namely, treating Americans like idiots.”…

In the face of this startling display of national idiocy, Dorrinson still mustered some of the resilience for which the British people are known. “This is a dark day,” he said. “But I hold out hope that, come November, Americans could become dumber than us once more.”

Between TV Talking Heads too lazy to try their own hand at journalism and white Americans who claim that behaving like racists doesn’t make them racist – I agree. You’ll rarely go broke betting against American ignorance.

Pic of the day — Brexit

THE IRISH coast guard has today issued a nationwide warning for the East Coast as hundreds of thousands of British refugees risk their lives to cross the Irish sea in an attempt to flee the impoverished and unstable nation…

We have rescued hundreds of people from crafts due to overcrowding,” winchman Derek Ryan of Rescue 117 told WWN today. “It’s a terrible situation as many of these people are only hoping for a better quality of life in the EU”.

Har.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

US fired depleted uranium weapons at civilians and soldiers in Iraq war


Indict these men for war crimes!

US forces fired depleted uranium (DU) weapons at civilian areas and troops in Iraq in breach of official advice meant to prevent unnecessary suffering in conflicts…

Coordinates revealing where US jets and tanks fired nearly 10,000 DU rounds in Iraq during the war in 2003 have been obtained by the Dutch peace group Pax. This is the first time that any US DU firing coordinates have been released, despite previous requests by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Iraqi government.

According to PAX’s report, which is due to be published this week, the data shows that many of the DU rounds were fired in or near populated areas of Iraq, including As Samawah, Nasiriyah and Basrah. At least 1,500 rounds were also aimed at troops, the group says.

This conflicts with legal advice from the US Air Force in 1975 suggesting that DU weapons should only be used against hard targets like tanks and armoured vehicles, the report says. This advice, designed to comply with international law by minimising deaths and injuries to urban populations and troops, was largely ignored by US forces…

A six-page memo…from USAF’s Office of the Judge Advocate General concluded in March 1975 that DU weapons were legal. But it recommended imposing restrictions on how they were used.

“Use of this munition solely against personnel is prohibited if alternative weapons are available,” the memo stated. This was for legal reasons “related to the prohibitions against unnecessary suffering and poison“.

The memo also pointed out that DU weapons were “incendiary” and could have indiscriminate impacts in urban areas. “They may cause fires which spread thereby causing potential risks of disproportionate injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects,” it said. “Precautions to avoid or minimise such risks shall be taken in the use of this weapon or alternate available weapons should be used…”

The Democratic congressman, Jim McDermott, is now urging the US Department of Defence to publish all its DU firing coordinates. “These weapons have had terrible health ramifications for Iraqi civilians,” he said. “The least the US could do is provide the specific targeting data so the Iraqi government can begin the complex clean-up process.”

The US Department of Defence did not respond to a request to comment. One military source was “amazed” that the Dutch government had released sensitive targeting data.

Uranium is a pyrophoric metal – meaning that once ignited it burns to radioactive dust and ash. Like the lies the world was told about United States use of napalm, carpet-bombing and Agent Orange in VietNam – our governments since the invasion have lied and tried to hide our use of radioactive weapons on the soldiers and civilians of Iraq.

Uranium burns until it is consumed. The Pentagon and their political pimps deserve the same fate.

The public health crisis added to our food

IF you have high blood pressure, you’re in good company. Hypertension afflicts 67 million Americans, including nearly two-thirds of people over age 60. But it isn’t an inevitable part of the aging process. It’s better to think of it as chronic sodium intoxication. And, as an important new study from Britain shows, there’s a way to prevent the problem — and to save many, many lives.

A lifetime of consuming too much sodium (mostly in the form of sodium chloride, or table salt) raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure kills and disables people by triggering strokes and heart attacks. In the United States, according to best estimates, excess sodium is killing between 40,000 and 90,000 people and running up to $20 billion in medical costs a year…

The reason that nearly everyone eats way too much sodium is that our food is loaded with it, and often where we don’t taste or expect it…A blueberry muffin can have more than double the salt of a serving of potato chips. Even healthy-sounding food can pack heavy sodium loads. Two slices of whole wheat bread can have nearly 400 milligrams of sodium, as can two tablespoons of fat-free salad dressing…

We all like the taste of salt, but there is much that food companies can do without driving away customers. Often they add sodium for leavening or food texture rather than taste, when replacement ingredients are available. And sodium levels in similar popular foods made by different manufacturers often vary two- or threefold (for example, a slice of pizza can pack anywhere from between 370 and 730 milligrams), which suggests that many manufacturers can cut sodium levels in their foods sharply without hurting taste. When salt levels in food drop, people’s preference for salt also shifts down, so no one would notice a gradual reduction in sodium across all foods.

That’s exactly what Britain’s Food Standards Agency has done. It divided processed food into different categories, set salt-reduction targets in each category and then asked companies to meet those targets over time. And as they did that, from 2001 to 2011, sodium consumption by the British fell 15 percent.

The new study shows that this drop in salt intake has been accompanied by a substantial reduction in average blood pressure, a 40 percent drop in deaths from heart attacks and a 42 percent decline in deaths from stroke…

There is absolutely no reason we can’t do an initiative similar to Britain’s on this side of the Atlantic now…A proposal as important to human life as this needs the stature and resources of the federal government to bring…the food industry along. The F.D.A. has been developing a new plan for a voluntary, coordinated, national initiative. Unfortunately, even though it is voluntary, the food industry is fighting it, and the plan is stalled.

Per usual, bought-and-paid-for politicians are as much part of the problem as bureaucrats and behemoth corporate budgets. As a side issue, one more reason to adopt an election model that allows NO private or PAC donations and probably includes a short regulated electioneering season. Take the money out of elections and you take most of the money out of political graft.

That still leaves us with libertarian silliness over the government stepping in on the side of medicine and science. But, fools can still add as much salt as they wish to their beer and onion dip.

The United States promised we’d never spy on the Brits — we lied!

The National Security Agency is authorized to spy on the citizens of America’s closest allies, including Britain, even though those English-speaking countries have long had an official non-spying pact, according to a newly disclosed memorandum.

The classified N.S.A. document, which appears to be a draft and is dated January 2005, states that under specific circumstances, the American intelligence agency may spy on citizens of Britain without that country’s consent or knowledge. The memo, provided by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, is labeled secret and “NOFORN,” indicating that it may not be shared with any foreign country…

The memo was provided by Mr. Snowden to The Guardian, which shared it with The New York Times. The N.S.A. also declined to say whether the memorandum merely codified longstanding American practice or was breaking new ground…blah, blah, blah, the agency said in a written reply to questions…

One paragraph, marked secret, appears to suggest that the preferred option is to gain permission from the country whose citizens are to be spied upon. But the very next paragraph, marked secret and NOFORN, indicates that the N.S.A. can go it alone if permission is not forthcoming — or if United States chooses not to ask.

Sounds like the country we’ve all come to know and revere for its respect for constitutional democracy and citizens’ right to privacy. Just not in the last five or six decades.