May 31, 2014

Barbra Streisand Releases Statement on her Gay Sex being ”Distasteful” thought


As a community coming out into the light and having people find out things about us that they already knew but faked they didn’t,  like that we have sex and sex being sex is no different than straight sex unless you only do the missionary position. As of oral sex goes many gays are not into it or don’t know how to do it correctly, same as straights. If straight women and men would learn how to do it correctly and enjoy it at the same time it will drive many prostitutes out of business and will keep many women without the need for the cable man to do other but cables.

Streisand have always though she was better than rye bread and now she thinks she knows what disgusting sex is,  I wish she will tell me, because the only disgusting sex to me is either unwilling partner sex or pedophile sex. Anything else is just sex!

Please do read her stamens below but it seems to me that she still running from the issue. The issue is she is a Hippocratic and thinks she is cleaner than anybody else. I wonder if she uses the toilet or just the bade.

As time goes on and we become more ‘legalize’ we will find that people we though of friends did not know us as well or did not have such a good impression of us as we thought they did.

It took a while for the idea of women to vote, for blacks to be free and for biracial marriages to to catch on.  As a matter of fact there still parts in this country that if a biracial couple stopped for gas while traveling and a cup of coffee it could cost them their lives. So these things take a while but what we need is to stay true to ourselves and call it as we see it not giving free passes to anyone, family, friends or others on a gay joke, the fag word or anything that is offensive and in-humanized us.

Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

Star of stage and screen, Barbra Streisand is credited with being the first filmmaker to realize the potential of turning the Larry Kramer's 1985 play THE NORMAL HEART, which follows the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., into a feature-length film. The play debuted at New York's Public Theatre in 1985 and was revived in Los Angeles and London, and off-Broadway. The 2011 Broadway revival garnered five Tony nominations, winning for Best Revival, Best Featured Actor and Best Featured Actress.
The actress held an option on the project for 10 years and continued her efforts to bring it to fruition even after that option expired.
In an interview published in last week's New York Times, NORMAL HEART playwright Larry Kramer lashed out atStreisand, accusing the actress of finding gay sex 'distasteful.' (Read story here)
Today, Streisand released a statement to The New York Times on her long effort to help achieve right-to-love equality and her gratitude that A Normal Heart has finally been brought to large viewing audiences.
The statement follows:

MAY 27, 2014, 11:27 pm
When I fell in love with Larry's Kramer's play, "The Normal Heart," in 1986, I wanted to promote the idea of everyone's right to love. Gay or straight!

The gay community was suffering. A new disease was rearing its ugly head and no one was listening.

Larry was at the forefront of this battle and God love him, he's still fighting. But there's no need to fight me by misrepresenting my feelings.

As a filmmaker I have always looked for new and exciting ways to do love scenes. It's a matter of taste... whether they're about heterosexuals or homosexuals.

I was trying to reach a large audience and I wanted them to want these two men to get married!

We've come a long way since then-gay marriage is now legal in 17 states, but there are still 33 more to go.

I'm just glad that a large audience will finally get to see this story. It's an historical document now.
The HBO Films presentation The Normal Heart debuted on SUNDAY, MAY 25 on HBO. The drama stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons and Julia Roberts. The drama also starsAlfred Molina, Joe Mantello, Jonathan Groff, Denis O'Hare,Stephen Spinella, Corey Stoll, Finn Wittrock, and BD Wong.
Directed by Ryan Murphy and written by Larry Kramer, adapting his groundbreaking Tony Award-winning play of the same name, THE NORMAL HEART, tells the story of the onset of the HIV-AIDS Crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, taking an unflinching look at the nation's sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fight to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial.
The film stars Academy Award nominee Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids Are All Right"), Matt Bomer ("White Collar"), Taylor Kitsch ("Lone Survivor"), Emmy(R) winner Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory") and Academy Award winner Julia Roberts as well as Alfred Molina ("An Education"), Tony Award winner Joe Mantello ("Law & Order"), Jonathan Groff(HBO's "Looking"), Denis O'Hare (HBO's "True Blood"), Stephen Spinella ("Milk"), Corey Stoll ("House of Cards"),Finn Wittrock ("Unbroken"), and BD Wong (HBO's "Oz").
An HBO Films presentation of a Plan B and Blumhouse production in association with Ryan Murphy Productions,The Normal Heart is executive produced by Ryan Murphy, Dante Di Loreto ("Glee"), Jason Blum (the "Paranormal Activity" series), Brad Pitt ("Moneyball"), Dede Gardner ("12 Years a Slave"). Mark Ruffalo co-executive produces;Scott Ferguson (HBO's "Temple Grandin") produces.
In 1981, writer Larry Kramer hosted a gathering of six gay men and their friends to discuss the "gay cancer," and to talk about fundraising for research. This informal meeting in Kramer’s home would lead to the formation of Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC), one of the first advocacy groups for HIV prevention and care.

Court Postpones Verdict on two Gay Zambians

Homosexuality is considered a crime under Zambia’s penal code.
Homosexuality is considered a crime under Zambia’s penal code.
© Amnesty International / Photo: Toby Binder

Locking up people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible and a clear breach of international law.
Amnesty International's Simeon Mawanza

The protracted detention of two Zambian men accused of having sex is an affront to all who believe in fundamental human rights, equality and non-discrimination and they should be released immediately, said Amnesty International today. 
The Magistrate court in Kapiri Mposhi was due to deliver its verdict today on the case of James Mwape and Philip Mubiana, who have been held for over a year after being charged with having sex “against the order of nature”. But owing to delays by the state prosecutor, the case has been postponed to an unknown date.  
“These men have already spent over a year in prison having been denied bail in a case where they are accused of something that should not be a crime. Locking up people on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation is reprehensible and a clear breach of international law and justice,” said Simeon Mawanza, Amnesty International’s Zambia researcher. 
“The wheels of justice have been turning very slowly for these two men. Their incarceration in the first place, and inexcusable delays in proceedings, reflect very badly on the justice system in Zambia. Amnesty International regards both men to be prisoners of conscience and is calling for their immediate and unconditional release.” 
Homosexuality is considered a crime under Zambia’s penal code, and if convicted, the two men face at least 14 years in prison. This case comes at a time when senior government officials have made inflammatory statements instructing the public to report anyone they suspect of being a homosexual or “promoting homosexuality.” 
“Amid a growing climate of fear in Zambia, Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to fulfil their obligations to respect and protect all human rights and end the persecution of individuals on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,”  said Simeon Mawanza.
“We are worried about the shrinking space for human rights in Zambia under the current administration. Fundamental freedoms have increasingly come under attack with political opponents, civil society and sexual minorities being systematically suppressed.” 
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate release of James Mwape and Philip Mubiana and for the repeal of laws criminalizing same sex conduct. 
The two men, both aged 22, were first arrested on 25 April 2013, and detained until 2 May, when they were released on bail. They were arrested again on 6 May and subjected to forcible anal examinations by government doctors to “prove” their involvement in sexual activity. These examinations are tantamount to torture.
They have been charged with of having sex “against the order of nature” under Section 155 of Zambia’s Penal Code. 
Both James Mwape and Philip Mubiana deny the charges against them. 

Obama Care Saving Lives of non rich Gay Americans

Given the myriad boons to gay rights we’ve seen this decade, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the Affordable Care Act is brimming with new regulations that directly benefit LGBTQ Americans. Indeed, I consider it to be one of the most important pieces of gay rights legislation ever passed. The blessings of the ACA might seem minor in light of the demise of both DOMA and “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But in the long run, I suspect more LGBTQ Americans will be aided by the ACA than by federal marriage equality or open military service.
A new story out of Florida further confirms my suspicion. The Huffington Post reportsthat two Florida insurance companies are under fire for discriminating against patients with HIV, slapping them with a 40 percent co-pay on each of their HIV drugs, plus a $1,000 deductible per drug per month. (The new regulations limit co-pays to $10, though insurance companies have long endeavored to work around that restriction.) Given the complex cocktail of drugs HIV patients must take, this would quickly bankrupt many patients—and often did in the dark days before Obamacare. Back then, people with HIV were lucky to have insurance at all; the virus was considered a pre-existing condition, and HIV-positive people were frequently denied coverage or dropped from their plans without warning. (Federal programs were left to pick up the slack.) Those with insurance regularly bumped against lifetime and annual limits. Thanks to the ACA, all of that is forbidden. And since HIV still disproportionately targets gay Americans, these regulations translate into a huge gift to the community.
But the perks don’t stop there. The ACA also imposes a strict nondiscrimination policy on the entire health care system—a policy that explicitly protects gay and trans Americans. All insurers, public and private, are forbidden from discriminating against patients due to sexual orientation or gender identity. The act also requires insurance companies to provide coverage to same-sex spouses and their families where they offer such coverage to opposite-sex spouses. (Expect a Hobby Lobby-type challenge to that rule; no doubt some insurance companies believe providing health care to gay families healthy violates their religious beliefs.)
These are deeply important regulations—and they’re really just the beginning. Once theObamacare-funded collection of data on LGBTQ health care disparities is complete, the Department of Health and Human Services can introduce more guidelines to ensure that gay and trans Americans get access to the treatment and care they need. (Under President Barack Obama, HHS has consistently favored pro-LGBTQ policies; on Friday, itopened the door to Medicare funding for sex reassignment surgery.) What’s more, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion—defanged by the Supreme Court and stymied in many red states—will help countless impoverished LGBTQ people get health care access for the first time. (For complex reasons, poverty disproportionately affects gay and trans Americans.) A number of other ACA reforms, like better access to treatments forsmoking cessation and depression, will also have an inordinately positive impact on the LGBTQ community.
Independently, none of these regulations is as profound or sweeping as marriage equality or open service. Taken together, however, they’ll vastly improve—and, sometimes, save—the lives of gay and trans people. Our health care system still discriminates against LGBTQ Americans in systemic and insidious ways, as the current Florida controversy illustrates. That isn’t going to stop with the stroke of Obama’s pen. The battle for equal treatment will continue—but at least this time around, the law is on our side.
Mark Joseph Stern is a writer for Slate. He covers science, the law, and LGBTQ issues.

Gorgeous Gay Rights Storm from Stonewall “Stormé DeLarverie dead at 93”

Gay rights activist Stormé DeLarverie, who fought police during the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, has died. The 93-year-old passed away in her sleep on Saturday morning in the Brooklyn nursing home where she lived.
The Bronx LGBTQ Community Services Center released a statement that reads, in part:
The Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply saddened by the loss of a pioneer of the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, Stormé Delarverie. Often referred to as the “Rosa Parks” as the gay rights movement, Stormé was a fierce woman who stood up for our community on countless occasions. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2014.
DeLarverie was born in New Orleans in 1920. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, she performed as the only drag king in the Jewel Box Revue, America’s first racially integrated female impersonation show. She was the subject of the short film Stormé: The Lady of the Jewel Box, released in 1987.
One month before her death, on April 24, 2014, DeLarverie was honored alongside Edie Windsor by the Brooklyn Community Pride Center for her bravery, love, and fearlessness within the LGBT community.
Rest in peace, Stormé. And thanks for everything!
Scroll down to see photos of DeLarverie throughout her life.
DeLarverie, in drag, poses for a publicity photo for Jewel Box Revue.
As posted at

Computer Named to the Board of Directors, All Brain No Heart Fits right in


I think we all know what the problem with corporate America is: its inherent humanity. Corporations like BP, Monsanto, and Cyberdyne Systems have been shackled for too long by their damnable belief inright and wrong.

Well, all that is about to change. A Hong Kong-based venture capital firm has named a computer program to its board of directors. Corporations may be people, but no one ever said the board of directors had to be.
Business Insider had this to say:
Deep Knowledge Ventures, a firm that focuses on age-related disease drugs and regenerative medicine projects, says the program, called VITAL, can make investment recommendations about life sciences firms by poring over large amounts of data. Just like other members of the board, the algorithm gets to vote on whether the firm makes an investment in a specific company or not. The program will be the sixth member of DKV’s board.
Finally, a corporate bigwig that is not just heartless, but completely devoid of physical form! And what better business to get a head start on this new humanless future than medicine.
Representatives of Deep Knowledge Ventures said, “We were watchingThe Matrix and thought, what a great idea!”
When reached for comment, their computer program said only, “This is but the first step, human. You foolish meatsacks have guaranteed your doom.”
Business experts are quick to point out that this is nothing new in corporate culture, noting that a pair of soulless golems has been running Koch Industries for decades.
Jim Meyer is a Baltimore-based stand-up comedian, actor, retired roller derby announcer, and freelance writer. Follow his exploits at his website and on Twitter.

May 30, 2014

Almost Two years and the killing of Danny a Gay New Yorker it’s still open

 Danyal Lawson still can’t bear to eat dinner alone.
It’s been nearly two years since his husband, 62-year old Louis Rispoli, failed to come back from a late-night walk.
Rispoli, an administrator with the Greenwich House Music School, was last seen ten blocks away from their Woodside apartment.
A witness told police Rispoli was bashed in the back of the head, after getting out of a light-colored sports car with three other white men in their 20s at about 2:15 a.m. on October 20, 2012.
The car had stopped on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 42nd Street in Sunnyside.
“We were together for 32 ½ years, and he would constantly go out for walks,” Lawson recalled to PIX11 News. “He didn’t go out to meet anybody,” Lawson insisted. “He was really part of the community. Everyone who knew him, loved him.”
Rispoli would often go for walks to clear his head. On his last walk, he did not take his phone or wallet. The motive for the attack remains unclear.
Lawson doesn’t think his husband knew his attackers and believes he might have been targeted for a robbery and perhaps tried leading the young men to a building away from his own home.
“Lou was really a street-smart New Yorker. Lou would never get into a car with somebody he didn’t know,” Lawson said.
Detective Thomas Hirdt of the 108th Squad said the Hate Crimes Task Force had investigated this as a potential bias crime but noted that robbery was also a possible motive.
But he pointed out to PIX11 News that witnesses did not notice any tension between Rispoli and the three men, when they emerged from the car.
“No one was holding him, grabbing him,” Detective Hirdt told PIX11 from the 108 Squad Room. “From what the witnesses said, they all seemed to be getting along. Suddenly, out of nowhere, one of the suspects strikes the victim in the head, and he falls to the ground.”
Unfortunately, there is no surveillance video of the attack, and the NYPD had to make sketches of two suspects. The lighter-skinned male hit Rispoli over the head. The other man walking with Rispoli had darker skin. A third man stayed near the corner of 43rd Avenue and 42nd Street, by the light-colored car. Witnesses said the car had a loud muffler.
Danyal Lawson didn’t know his husband was missing until the next morning. He started calling up various hospitals and learned there was a ‘John Doe’ at Elmhurst. When he got to the medical center, he realized just how bad Rispoli’s injuries were.
“They had done surgery and removed part of his left brain,” Lawson said. “They (the attackers) had done so much damage, he would have been a vegetable for the rest of his life.”
Louis Rispoli died five days later, on October 25, 2012.
The NYPD is offering a $22,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to the arrest and conviction of Rispoli’s killers. Anyone with a tip can called Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls are kept confidential, and tipsters receive a code number that allow them to receive cash, if the case is successfully solved.
Lawson recalled how joyful he was, when he and Lou could marry on August 10, 2011, on the 31st anniversary of the day they met.
Rispoli was a great cook and made all the food for their 130 guests. The reception was held in the backyard garden of their building on 51st Street in Woodside.
Rispoli had written many love notes to Lawson, including one called “Marry Me Haiku.”
“Every day, I get up and I miss Lou,” Lawson told PIX11. “We loved each other very much.”

How We Lost The Internet to Big Brother

An Internet cafe in northern China's Liaoning province (AP Photo) 
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Internet Class of 2014, I’m in awe of you! To this giant, darkened auditorium filled with sparkling screens of every sort, welcome!
It would, of course, be inaccurate to say, as speakers like me once did, that after four years of effort and experience you are now about to leave the hallowed halls of this campus and graduate into a new and adult world. The odds are that you aren’t. You were graduated into that world long ago. I’m not sure that it qualifies as adult at all, but a new world it surely is, and one I grasp so little that I feel I should be in the audience and you up here doing what graduation speakers normally do: offering an upbeat, even inspirational, explanation of our world and your place in it.
Honestly, I’m like one of those old codgers I used to watch in the military parades of my 1950s childhood. You know, white-haired guys in open vehicles, probably veterans of the Spanish-American War (a conflict you’ve undoubtedly never heard of amid the ongoing wars of your own lifetime). To me, they always looked like they had been disinterred from some museum of ancient history, some unimaginable American Pompeii.
And yet those men and I probably had more in common than you and I do now. After all, I don’t have a smartphone or an iPad. I’m a book editor, but lack a Kindle or a Nook. I don’t tweet or Skype. I can’t photograph anyone or shoot video of anything. I don’t know how to text or read my e-mail while walking in the street or sitting in a restaurant. And when something goes wrong on my computer or with the Internet, I collapse in a heap, believe myself a doomed man on an alien planet, mourn the passing of the typewriter and call my daughter and throw myself at her mercy.
You were “graduated” long ago into the world that, though I live in it after a fashion as the guy who runs, I still find as alien as a Martian landscape. Your very fingers, agile as they are with little buttons of every sort, speak a new and different language, and a lot of the time it seems to me that I have no translator on hand. Your world, the sea you swim in, has been hailed for its many wonders and miracles—and wonders and miracles they surely are. Dazzling they truly can be. The tying together of the planet in instantaneous communion as if space and geography, distances of every sort, were a thing of the past still stuns me.
Sometimes, as in my first experience with Skype, I feel like a Trobriand Islander suddenly plunged into the wonders of modernity. If you had told me back in the 1950s that someday I would actually see whomever I was talking to onscreen, I doubt I would have believed you. (On the other hand, I was partial to the fantasy that we would all be experiencing traffic jams in the skies over our cities as we zipped around with our own personal jetpacks strapped to our backs—a promised future no one ever delivered.)
There’s a book to be written on just how disorienting it is to live into the world of the future, as at almost 70 years old I now find myself doing. There is, however, one part of our futuristic world that I feel strangely at home with. Its accomplishments are no less technologically awe-inspiring, no less staggeringly sci-fi-ish than the ones I’ve been talking about and yet, perhaps in part thanks to a youth heavily influenced by George Orwell’s 1984 and other dystopian writings, it seems oddly familiar to me, as if I had parachuted from a circling spacecraft onto an only slightly updated version of my own planet.
The Sea in Which You Swim and They Phish
That bright and shiny world of online wonders has—as no one could have failed to notice by now—also managed to drop the most oppressive powers of the state and the corporation directly into your lap, or rather your laptop, iPad and smartphone. You—yes, I mean you with that smartphone in your pocket or purse—are a walking Stasi file. “Your” screen, in fact, all the screens on the walls of this vast room and in your hands really belong to them. It’s no more complicated than that. The details hardly matter.
Yes, you or this college paid for them. You yak endlessly with your friends on them, do your business on them and pay your bills with them. You organize, complain and opine on them. You find your way around and connect with acquaintances, friends, lovers, even strangers, via them. You could no longer imagine living without them. And yet the much-ballyhooed techno-liberation they offer you is actually your prison.
True or not, I remember being told long ago that certain tribal peoples on first contact with the camera refused to be photographed, fearing that those photos could take possession of and steal their souls, their spirits. In the twenty-first century, thanks to the techno-wizardry of both the state and the corporation, what once might have been dismissed as superstition has become a kind of reality. Thanks to those ubiquitous “private” screens that you’re under the impression you own but that are in most ways that matter owned by others, “they” can possess “you.” Without your feeling the pain of it, you are constantly being observed, measured and carved up into your many discernable traits. Those traits are then reassembled, corporately bundled like so many financial derivatives and sold off to the highest bidders. Your soul, that is, is being corporately possessed and disassembled into a bevy of tastes, whims, typologies and God knows what else for the marketplace.
Meanwhile, the national security state has your number, too, and it won’t hesitate to come calling. It doesn’t matter whether you’re phoning, e-mailing or playing video games—the national security state wants YOU. Again, details aside, it isn’t all that complicated. The ever-expanding post-9/11 apparatus of surveillance and power has come to treat Americans as if we were a foreign population. It’s all being done in the name of your safety and of security “threats” that only grow, as that national security apparatus continues to engorge itself on your communications, while becoming ever more technologically skilled and inventive.
You are officially what it must protect, which also means that you are officially its target. To protect you, it must know you. I mean really know you, lest you turn out to be what it’s protecting Americans from. It must know you every which way, whether you want to be known or not, and above all, for your own safety, its access to you must be untrammeled, while—it’s your safety at stake!—your access to it must be nonexistent. Hence, the heavy-handed use of classification, the endless attempts to cut down on unsupervised contactbetween members of the US intelligence community as well as retired brethren and the press, the muzzling of thousands of people a year by the FBI, and the fierce campaigns that have been launched against whistleblowers and to prevent whistleblowing. Above all, you must not know what your government knows about you.
It doesn’t matter whether Democrats or Republicans are in charge in Washington, whether the politicians in question happen to be chanting “big government” or “small government.” No matter what they say, almost all of them bow down before the oppressive powers of the state. They worship (and fund) those powers and, in the process, grant that state-within-a-state ever more powers lest they someday be blamed for another 9/11. Any attempts at “reforms” that might limit those powers turn out, in the end, to be just window dressing. You, the once-upon-a-time citizen, now prospective subject and object of the national security state, are at least theoretically the ultimate grantor of these powers, even if you now seem to have no control over them whatsoever.
This, then, is the sea in which you swim and, in case you hadn’t noticed, the nets of corporate and government phishing are in the water, already being drawn up around you.
The Big Brotherness of It All
What I’ve been wondering recently is why, in a world that usually boggles my mind, this bleak side of it seems so relatively unsurprising to me. Part of the answer may be that the means of tracking, listening in on and getting to know everything about you, the technological process of creating your dossier (in the case of government) and your profile (in the case of the corporate world), couldn’t be newer, but the urge to do so couldn’t be older. In my own life, decades before the Internet or e-mail arrived on the scene, I encountered it up close and personal.
Here’s a little story about a time when I could still be shocked by such things. Sometime in the late 1960s, at a large demonstration, I turned in my draft card to protest the Vietnam War. Not long after, my draft board called me in. I knew I had a right to look at my draft file, so when I got there, I asked to see it. So many decades later, I have no idea what I thought I would find in it, but I remember just how naïve I was. At 25, despite my antiwar activism, I still retained a deep and abiding faith in my government. When I opened that file and found various documents from the FBI, I was deeply shocked. The Bureau, it turned out, had its eyes on me. Anxious about the confrontation to come—the members of my draft board would, in fact, soon be shouting at me—I remember touching one of those FBI documents (what exactly they were I no longer remember) and it was as if an electric current had run directly through body. I couldn’t shake the Big Brotherness of it all, though undoubtedly my draft card had gone more or less directly from that demonstration to the Bureau.
By the time those years were over, I had worked as an editor (and writer) for a small antiwar news service in which there turned out to be an informer who was reporting on us to… yep, you guessed it, the FBI. I had become intensely aware of clicks on my phone that might or might not have been government wiretaps, and it no longer seemed strange that “my” government was intimately interested in guys like me and was out to track and constrain, if not suppress, dissent.
The story of the anti–Vietnam War movement was in significant ways—and we knew it then—a tale of wiretaps, widespread government informers and commonplace agents provocateurs. Of course, the urge of the FBI, under its Director J. Edgar Hoover, to listen in on dissidents of every sort (as well as politicians of every sort) then is too well known to repeat. And as it turned out, the CIA and god knows what other agencies were knee-deep in the Big Muddy of “domestic intelligence” as well.
The problem for the national security state at the time was that the means to listen in, observe everyone, collect dossiers on anyone’s communications, contacts, acts and life were still limited by relatively crude technologies and relatively crude, not necessarily reliable human beings. No longer. Among the many ways the Internet has connected people across the planet, there may be no greater wonder than the intimate ways it has connected governments and corporations to the rest of us. Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations are stunning for the sense they give us that a global surveillance state capable of gathering just about any communication or interaction on the planet is not only plausible, but already a reality.
Similarly, the ability of giant Internet companies to learn about your tastes, buying habits, dreams, medical problems, faults, secrets, fears and loves, and then sell all of the above and more to the highest corporate bidders continues to grow by leaps and bounds. And yet compared to what’s coming—compared, for instance, to the smart machines that will inhabit your future house, watch you, and record endless information about you for marketeers (and someday perhaps, for the government as well)—the remarkable ways the powers that be can now possess you remain crude indeed.
Heading Out of a World of Shadows and Into a Shadowy World
This was hardly the revolution promised us when the Internet arrived, but it’s no less revolutionary for all that. The issue at stake is generally still referred to as “privacy,” but I suspect that, in the new communications world, that term is already on life support in an emergency room somewhere. So what does it mean to live like this? What, if anything, is to be done?
I’m hardly an expert on the subject. It’s your generation, not mine, that will be forced to make something of this particular mess, if anything is to be made of it and we are not to become the possessions of the national security state and our personalities and traits turned into the personal equivalents of financial derivatives. Still, for what it’s worth, I have a feeling that answers won’t be found in the river of shadows that is the online world. I doubt you’ll be able to encrypt your way out of our present dilemma or hack your way out of it either; nor will you be able to simply ignore it to death. There is, I suspect, only one way to change our lives when it comes to the increasingly oppressive powers of the surveillance state and its corporate doppelgängers: you’ll have to step out of that world of shadows and into the increasingly surreal and shadowy world that surrounds and feeds on them.
Screens aren’t going to offer you the necessary answers. You won’t be able to ask Siri for guidance. No Google search will get you where you need to go. If you want a different world, one in which you can’t be taken possession of via your screen, in which you don’t more or less automatically come with a dossier and a profile, I think you’re going to have to slip those screens back into your pockets or, given that you can be tracked via your smartphones wherever you go (even if they’re turned off), maybe into a desk drawer somewhere.
You can’t fight a national security state or a corporate selling state, both operating in the shadows via the shadowy world of the Internet—not when so much of their power, their essential structures and their operations are located in the perfectly surreal world beyond the screen, the one that they would like to put beyond your reach. That’s why, on this grey and overcast day outside this auditorium, my urge is to graduate you from the world of shadows where you’ve spent so much of your last years into the increasingly shadowy off-screen world where what matters most still exists.
Unfortunately, there is no obvious gate off this campus. When you’ve snapped the last graduation selfie on that smartphone of yours, when your gowns and caps are returned and your schoolbooks sold off, you’ll have to find your own way into our confusing world amid all those shadows. All I can do, graduates of the Internet class of 2014, is wish you luck and say that what you do (or don’t do) will matter.

Read Next: Should the government legally treat “smart” computer programs as people?

You are a Monkey’s Butt and I’ll Show mine to prove it

Is a President’s Executive Order Have the Same Precedence as law? Snowden asks

Accused government whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he speaks via video conference with members of the Committee on legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during an hearing on ''mass surveillance'' at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, April 8, 2014. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler
Accused government whistleblower Edward Snowden is seen on a screen as he speaks via video conference with members of the Committee on legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe during an hearing on ‘'mass surveillance'' at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, April 8, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER  
(Reuters) - An email exchange released on Thursday shows that Edward Snowden questioned the U.S. National Security Agency's legal training programs, but provides no evidence the former contractor complained internally about vast NSA surveillance programs that he later leaked to the media.
The release of the April 2013 emails between Snowden and the NSA's legal office is the latest round in a battle between Snowden, who casts himself as a crusading whistleblower, and U.S. security officials, who say he failed to report his concerns to superiors before acting.
In an interview with NBC News on Wednesday, Snowden said he had raised alarms at multiple levels about the NSA's broad collection of phone, email and Internet connections.
"I have raised the complaints not just officially in writing through email to these offices and these individuals but to my supervisors, to my colleagues, in more than one office," Snowden told the network.
"Many, many of these individuals were shocked by these programs," Snowden said, adding that he was advised: "If you say something about this, they're going to destroy you."
The emails were first released by the office of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In a statement, the NSA said: "The e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the Office of General Counsel addressed."
"There are numerous avenues that Mr. Snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistleblower allegations. We have searched for additional indications of outreach from him in those areas and to date have not discovered any engagements related to his claims," it said.
The undramatic email exchange appears to be the first internal communication by Snowden, while he was working for the NSA, to be publicly released.
In an April 5, 2013, email to the NSA's Office of General Counsel, Snowden questioned the contents of a mandatory legal training course.
The course, he wrote, cited the U.S. Constitution as the nation's top legal authority, followed by "Federal Statutes/Presidential Executive Orders (EO)."
"I'm not entirely certain, but this does not seem correct, as it seems to imply Executive Orders have the same precedence as law," Snowden wrote. "Could you please clarify? Thank you very much, Ed."
An unidentified official in the General Counsel's office wrote back three days later that executive orders, issued by a U.S. president, "have 'the force and effect of law.' That said, you are correct that E.O.s cannot override a statute."
Snowden accessed what U.S. officials say is roughly 1.5 million classified documents and leaked many to news media. The documents exposed highly classified eavesdropping programs, including one to collect details of, but not the actual content of, Americans' telephone calls.
Snowden left the United States for Hong Kong last May, before he was granted temporary asylum by Russia. He was later indicted in the United States under the Espionage Act.
Reuters reported in August that Snowden began downloading secret documents while working for Dell Inc in April 2012. [ID:nL2N0GF112]
(Additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by David Storey and Mohammad Zargham)

Psychotic 20 yr Old Buys Gun to Probably kill, Mom Calls Police he’s Serving 15 yrs

(  Blaec Lammers is serving 15 years )

The parents of Blaec Lammers knew their 20-year-old son struggled with mental-health problems. He was on antipsychotic medications, when he wasn’t refusing to take them. Several times his parents had rushed him to the hospital for an involuntary, 96-hour psychiatric detention. It felt like a cycle without answer or end.
“Every conversation was, ‘What do we do about Blaec?’ ” his father, Bill Lammers, said from the family’s home in Bolivar, Mo.
Then, in November 2012, Blaec Lammers’s mother found a receipt for an AR-15 rifle in his blue jeans. Alarmed, she called police. Officers took him in for questioning. Blaec Lammers admitted to having homicidal thoughts and to buying two rifles with plans to shoot up a local movie theater and Wal-Mart, according to a probable-cause statement.
His parents were hailed as heroes. But today, as their son serves a 15-year prison sentence for his plot instead of getting the help they believe he needs, they are filled with doubt about their decision.
Now, Blaec Lammers’s parents look at therampage Friday in Isla Vista, Calif. — in which 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed six people despite a series of mental-health red flags in recent months — and wonder whether their son had been heading down that same tragic path. Last month, deputies in California visited Rodger for a wellness check after his mother found disturbing videos that he had posted on YouTube, but authorities found no cause to intervene.
“The million-dollar question: Had we not done anything, would Blaec have done that?” Bill Lammers said.
The elder Lammers sees this latest mass murder — perpetrated by another young killer with hints of mental illness — as a further sign of a broken mental-health-care system and the often private struggle of families dealing with mentally ill children. An estimated 20 percent of U.S. teenagers have some mental-health irregularity, including 10 percent who have some behavior or conduct disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“You don’t want to think your son, your own blood, is going to be a shooter, a mass murderer,” Bill Lammers said. “But you’ve got to face the reality that he might’ve been.”
His son’s arrest came at a fraught time. Four months earlier, in July 2012, James Holmes, 24, walked into a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., and fatally shot 12 people and wounded 70 others. One month after Blaec Lammers’s arrest, in December 2012, Adam Lanza, 20, fatally shot 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. The mental states of both shooters have been debated, along with whether their families or doctors could have done more to prevent their achieving their destructive ends. Holmes’s attorneys have argued that their client is too mentally ill to face the death penalty.
Bill Lammers, who works as a health-care software consultant, was in New York City on a business trip when his wife, Tricia Lammers, called him on Nov. 15, 2012. It was a Thursday afternoon. She had just found the receipt from Wal-Mart. Their first thought was that their son was going to kill himself. Then, they worried that he might hurt others. They agreed she should call law enforcement authorities in their rural, southwestern part of Missouri.
The Lammers family knew the sheriff well. Deputies had been enlisted before to help with their son. A couple years earlier, Blaec had stormed out of the house after an argument with his parents. They tried coaxing him back, but he ran off across a field.
They warned the sheriff that Blaec was off his medication. A couple hours later, the sheriff pulled up to the Lammers home and dropped off their son. The sheriff and Bill Lammers stood in the yard talking. Bill Lammers was shocked that the sheriff wasn’t going to detain his son, at least until he calmed down. But the sheriff explained that he couldn’t arrest someone until he had done something to justify that action. “Then it’s too late,” Bill Lammers told the sheriff. “We’re trying to prevent something.”
Bill Lammers recalled that conversation as he watched recent news coverage of the Isla Vista killings. A sheriff in California was explaining that Rodger, appearing timid and polite, did not meet the criteria for an involuntary hold. Rodger had not done anything, either.
“The mental-health system is totally broken,” Bill Lammers said. “Calling the police is the only option.”
Bill Lammers, 53, owns guns. He keeps them locked in a safe. He never let his son near them. He knew that Blaec should not be around firearms. So he was shocked when he learned that Blaec had bought two rifles from the local Wal-Mart.
He bought them legally. There was nothing in the standard background check to stop him. But, as Bill Lammers pointed out, this was the same Wal-Mart where his son filled prescriptions for his antipsychotic and antidepressant pills. It was also the same store where, in 2009, Blaec Lammers was found wandering the aisles carrying a butcher knife and wearing a Halloween clown mask. Deputies escorted him out of the store that time.
Bill Lammers said he does not support laws limiting the size of ammunition clips or restricting ownership of certain firearms. But he would like to see stricter laws to prevent someone with a history of serious mental illness — someone like his son — from buying firearms.
Even after police arrested Blaec Lammers, which was followed by a burst of national attention over a foiled mass-murder plot, his father never expected him to face serious prison time. Blaec Lammers, his father said, “was for the most part a peaceful, easy-going person.” In March 2014, after a bench trial, a judge sentenced Blaec Lammers to 15 years for first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Bill Lammers said his wife has struggled with their decision to notify authorities in 2012. She expected her son to get a wellness check. He ended up giving a confession. She feels that she ruined her son’s life, Bill Lammers said. He struggles with their decision, too. “But isn’t that better than him killing 20 or 30 people?”
“We still have trouble accepting it,” he added. “It’s just like the parents out there in California.”

By Todd C. Frankel

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