Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Morning Twitter Messages -- July 24

Haven't done one of these for a while. Since there is no one spectacular big story, here's today's mixture....

The Price of Hypocrisy
24.07.2013 · Even the best laws will not lead to a safer internet. We need a sharper picture of the information apocalypse that awaits us in a world where personal data is traded to avert the catastrophy.

The problem with the sick, obsessive superpower revealed to us by Edward Snowden is that it cannot bring itself to utter the one line it absolutely must utter before it can move on: “My name is America and I’m a dataholic.” For American spies, Big Data is like crack cocaine: just a few doses – and you can forget about mending your way and kicking the habit. Yes, there’s an initial illusion of grandeur and narcissistic omnipotence – just look at us, we could prevent another 9/11! – but a clearer, unmediated brain would surely notice that one’s judgment has been severely impaired. Prevent another 9/11? When two kids with extensive presence on social media can blow up a marathon in Boston? Really? All this data, all this sacrifice– and for what? 
So let us not pass over America’s surveillance addiction in silence. It is real; it has consequences; and the world would do itself a service by sending America to a Big Data rehab. But there’s more to learn from the Snowden affair. It has also busted a number of myths that are only peripherally related to surveillance: myths about the supposed benefits of decentralized and commercially-operated digital infrastructure, about the current state of technologically-mediated geopolitics, about the existence of a separate realm known as “cyberspace.” We must take stock of where we are and reflect on where we soon will be, especially if we fail to confront – legally but, even more importantly, intellectually – the many temptations of information consumerism.
Long read here, folks. 
Bookmark it and be sure to come back later.

==►I was wondering this morning when I heard a curious story about Liberals and Tea Party types in Congress holding hands in unity to reign in the excesses of the National Security Agency. (Read stop the appropriations.) how many will also be wanting Edward Snowden's head on a platter cuz he spilled the beans they didn't know were there. 

Obviously, I am biased. Not only did I receive an invitation, but I also was the Editor of and so these debates about whether Obama is anti-Muslim and whether he deserves any support from the Muslim community are not new. What is new, however, is the unseemly and hostile tone of these attacks on the President and fellow Muslims, especially during Ramadan.

Is this the kind of language and behavior that characterizes our community? Is this type of rhetoric appropriate in Ramadan? I think not.

I believe that as a political community, we can and should have a debate on these issues. But the way to effect change is not to burn a bridge with the Administration, which is what the angry activists would have us do. Look at their arguments on the hashtag – they accuse the President of being a murderer and make sickening jokes about force-feeding the attendees at the iftar. This is a childish tantrum that delegitimizes the efforts by the community to gain influence and persuade the Administration of our perspectives. It undermines everything that the actual leaders of the Muslim community – not these self-styled moral scolds on Twitter – have been working for towards the actual betterment of our community for decades.

The reason that Presidents Bush and Obama hold these events is to meet ordinary Muslims face to face, hear our stories, and understand how we are a part of the fabric of America. It is why President Bush was the first to call Islam “a religion of Peace” after 9-11. It is why President Obama has included Muslim Americans in his Administration, including Farah Pandith and Rashad Hussain. Events like these Iftars are the reason why Obama spoke out against Terry Jones’ plan to burn the Qur’an, supported the Park 51 project, and defended the role of Muslim Americans during the State of the Union even as the Republicans were holding “witch-hunt” hearings about us on Capitol Hill. When it comes to the Muslim American community, President Obama has consistently emphasized our importance, rejected offensive terminology and Islamophobia, and made it clear that Islam rejects violent extremism.

Remember, Muslim Americans are Americans. Yes, we should be concerned and have a debate about drone strikes in Yemen and in Pakistan, but those are decisions that Obama made in the context of national security, which includes and benefits our community too. We cannot expect all of Obama’s governance to be made through the filter of our concerns. Obama is not just the President for Muslim Americans, but all Americans, and sometimes we are going to have to agree to disagree. That does not make us any less a part of America and it does not invalidate the very real efforts Obama has made to address our community and include us in the conversation about our life here.

We should be thankful this Ramadan that President Obama continues his outreach to our community. And we should disavow any self-styled leader of the Muslim community who acts in such a manner and publicly shames and embarasses us all.

The poll was conducted four days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement last Friday that negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would resume. Following that announcement, Netanyahu, under pressure from his right-wing coalition partners, pledged that he would bring any peace deal to a referendum.

I sincerely wish Americans were less ignorant regarding the Kurds. Here is a helpful recent link for anyone wanting to catch up...

Turkey Kurds: PKK chief Ocalan calls for ceasefire
The jailed leader of Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey, Abdullah Ocalan, has called for a truce after years of war. 
Ocalan also urged the fighters of his PKK organisation to withdraw from Turkey, in a message read out to cheers during Kurdish New Year celebrations in the city of Diyarbakir. 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan cautiously welcomed the call.
More than 40,000 people have died in the 30-year fight for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in Turkey's south-east. 
Mr Erdogan said the move was "positive" but stressed the importance of the implementation of any ceasefire. He said Turkish security forces would not undertake fresh operations against the rebels if Ocalan's call was implemented. The military leader of the PKK, Murat Karayilan, said that he "very strongly" supported Ocalan's move.
"All of Turkey, Kurdistan and the world must know this: as the PKK movement, we are ready for war and for peace," he told the Kurdish Firat news agency.
Hundreds of thousands of people were present in Diyarbarkir to hear Ocalan's message, which follows months of talks between the PKK and Turkey.

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