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The Hidden Threat to Free Speech in the State of the Union Address by Douglas Lucas
President Obama introduced plans for new cybersecurity laws in his State of the Union address that may make it much easier for the government to prosecute journalists like Barrett Brown.
Obama’s State Of The Union Speech, In 4 Minutes
Miss the speech? Couldn’t make it to the final ovation? The folks at Vox condensed Obama’s SOTU down to a manageable length. As expected, he floated a bevy of DOA economic proposals, called for a predictable push on free trade agreements and recited a couple of legacy-burnishing laundry lists off the teleprompter. Perhaps most importantly, the President declared the end of the war in Afghanistan (despite evidence to the contrary) and asked for a new authorization to wage a wider war on the Islamic State. However, Foreign Policy noted that “…by emphasizing the steady decline of U.S. troops in the region, Obama also concealed the fact that in Iraq, the number of U.S. troops has steadily increased over the last year.”
Our South Korean Allies Also Hack the U.S.—And We Don’t Seem to Care
The Daily Beast reports on the other Korean hacking scandal—the one that somehow isn’t a scandal, despite evidence that America’s long-standing ally has its sights trained on the de facto guarantor of its national security. The report cites an internal National Security Agency document that says “South Korea has an active online espionage program that is primarily aimed at the North but also has been ‘targeting us.’” It dates back to a 1996 espionage case, but the pace has picked up. Between 2007 and 2012, the Justice Department has brought at least five major cases involving South Korean espionage against U.S. companies. A former official said: “There’s a saying in intelligence that ‘Countries don’t have friends, they have interests.’”
Can Wall Street Take Down Big Pharma?
Veteran journalist William Greider examines the latest stock play by Kyle Bass, an infamous hedge-fund manager who made his name and a lot of money by attacking overpriced stocks. Bass’ firm made a killing by short-selling mortgage securities on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis. Now he plans attacking Big Pharma to puncture “the inflated stock prices of fifteen large drug companies” worth a combined market value of $450 billion. Bass thinks he can reduce that total by half “as stock market investors begin to grasp that company profits are derived from fallacious patents.”
The Golden Age of Black Ops: Special Ops Missions Already in 105 Countries in 2015
Leading national security journalist Nick Turse details the heady pace of Special Ops missions in recent years. In the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014, “U.S. Special Operations forces deployed to 133 countries—roughly 70% of the nations on the planet.” And “just 66 days into fiscal 2015—America’s most elite troops have already set foot in 105 nations.” That’s about 80 percent of the activity carried out in all of 2014. It’s an operational tempo that puts U.S. Special Operations Command at “its absolute zenith,” according to its new commander Gen. Joseph Votel III.
Why the Muslim ‘No-Go-Zone’ Myth Won’t Die
FOX News and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal have gotten into hot water by claiming that Europe is in the midst of a Muslim takeover driven by so-called “No-Go Zones” in cities like Birmingham and Paris. FOX has backtracked and apologized. Although the City of Birmingham declined to sue the news organization, the Mayor of Paris says she will sue to protect the city’s honor. Jindal, however, hasn’t backtracked. Rather, he’s doubled down on the claim Europe is home to places where non-Muslims fear to tread and Sharia reigns supreme. The Atlantic unpacks this exaggeration and traces it to Neo-Con theorist Daniel Pipes, who coined the phrase back in 2006. The idea has spread since then in “the fever swamps of the Internet.”
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