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‘RAIN OF TERROR’: The real threat to free speech
Jan 10th, 2015 by Warren Swil

Self-censorship 

on the rise in wake of

France’s nightmare

Charlie Hebdo doesn’t skewer only Muslims. “Sony kissing the big fat ass of Pyongyang’s big moron and killer” is a rough translation of this cover. Click image to enlarge.

The horrific three-day terrorism spree in France this week has evoked a spirited and widespread debate over limits to offensive speech.
Did the target of the initial attacks – satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – go too far? Was coverage of its provocative work – especially in legacy US media ­– too timid?
Purists argue the antidote for offensive speech is more speech, not censorship. But the specter of self-censorship arose when many media – even The New York Times ­– found the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo too offensive to republish. Gratuitous provocation was just too hot for some to handle.
It’s a delicate balancing act. Anyone who claims to have a simple answer is simply misguided.


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2014: The year of the hack

BRAZEN ATTACKS SHRED FAITH IN DATA SECURITY
The major hacks of data at Target and Sony bookend a year in which data privacy and security have been a dominant theme in the news.
Never before has it seemed we are such risk from unseen, unknown threats. You are not alone if you have little faith that government and businesses cannot be trusted with your data.
Technical fixes are good, but there can be no substitute for exercising caution when using electronic communications of all types. Awareness is the most important starting point for all of us.


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Putin panic: ‘From hero to zero’

ECONOMY IN FREE FALL AS RUSSIAN LEADER’S POPULARITY PEAKS

As the Russian economy was slammed on global financial markets, Russians voted their President Vladimir Putin the ‘politician of the year’ for the 15th consecutive time.
But, as the financial crisis spreads to the real economy, it will become impossible to conceal from Russians confronted with spiraling prices, government cutbacks and a worthless currency.
Putin’s popularity will plummet, along with the price of a barrel of oil and the implosion of the Russian economy.


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Torture report ‘shame and disgrace’

US MORAL AUTHORITY SINKS TO A NEW LOW
There is only one good thing to say about the U.S. Senate’s report on torture: that it was made public.
The entire world is now lumping the US together with those like China, Iran and North Korea who are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to respect for human rights.
The only difference remains the candor of America when it comes to recognizing its mistakes. The very release of the report is the one bright spot in an otherwise dark and dismal chapter of our history.


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Privacy lost: A pact with the devil?

Hidden cost of technology slowly becomes apparent
As we rush headlong into the era of constant connectivity through mobile devices, the price we are paying in surrendering our privacy is coming into sharper focus.
We are marching blindly into a future where even the most personal and private information is collected and stored on a server somewhere. We should do so with a heightened awareness of the hidden cost of the perceived convenience of hyper connectivity.


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Time to end ‘war on drugs,’ starting with marijuana

NYT’S CALL FOR LEGAL POT DOES NOT GO FAR ENOUGH
While The New York Times’ prominent series of editorials calling for legalizing marijuana is laudable, it misses the real target.
The conversation should not start and end with pot. We need to mobilize in support of the proposition that substance abuse in general is not a matter for the criminal justice system at all.
Instead, it is a public health issue. Civilized countries have long moved in this direction. The US needs to evolve from incarcerating substance abusers to treating them.


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REALPOLITIK: Jetliner attack unlikely to spark World War III

RUSSIA’S PUTIN HAS GLOBAL ECONOMY OVER A BARREL – FOR NOW
The muted reaction to the downing of a passenger jet by those in a position to do something about it reflects the new realities of an interconnected, mutually-dependent global economy.
The chief villain in western eyes, the Russian Federation has become a strategically significant player in the global economy.
If this acts to restrain the hotheads who would immediately bomb Moscow in retaliation, the entire world can breathe a sigh of relief.


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CULTURE SHOCK: Would US elect two women to run the country?

CLINTON-WARREN TICKET WOULD COVER ALL THE BASES
It is not too early to speculate that a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren presidential ticket in 2016 would cover all the Democratic bases.
Inviting Warren onto the ticket would cover many political gaps in Clinton’s support.
It would energize the base and give the progressive wing of the party a reason to get out and vote.
And it could have a salutary effect on a Hillary Clinton presidency.


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Villain of Iraq invasion makes astounding comeback

CHALABI SEEN AS POSSIBLE CONTENDER FOR PRIME MINISTER SLOT
One of the most villainous players in the disastrous 2003 US invasion of Iraq has made an astounding comeback.
The resurrection of Ahmad Chalabi was, ironically, capped with a front-page story and photo in The New York Times today.
It reminds us of one the main reasons Iraq finds itself in such an impossible quandary today and the role US media played in getting it there.


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Outrageous: Cheney dares to critique Iraq policy

A REMINDER THAT HE WAS MOST WRONG ABOUT MOST THINGS
The utterly outrageous op-ed by the one most wrong about most things to do with Iraq at the most enormous cost in blood and treasure dares to call President Obama “blithely unaware.”
Dick Cheney is wrong again.
Chutzpah is not nearly strong enough to describe Cheney’s latest foray into the debacle he foisted on the world. He should shut up, already, for all time.


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