Showing posts from July 2, 2014

Why Google Is Yanking Negative Coverage Of Powerful People From Its Search Results

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[The new European Union "right to be forgotten" policy seems to have little to do with the passage of time, inaccuracies or the public interest, and a great deal to do with inconveniencing shady rich guys. *RON*]
By Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post, 2 July 2014

The implementation of the European Union's so-called "right to be forgotten" policy is already having a worrying impact on the media, with at least two outlets revealing on Wednesday that links to articles of theirs have been scrubbed from Google.

A European court ruled in May that Google must remove links to articles from its search engine if the subjects of the post asked it to. The court specified that links could be scrubbed if they were "inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive in relation to the purposes for which they were processed and in the light of the time that has elapsed."

When the ruling came down, some worried that it would pl…

Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, America's Real Foreign Policy

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[On America's (and Canada's) real foreign policy - a corporate protection racket. *RON*]
Posted by Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch, July 1, 2014.

[Note for TomDispatch Readers: The next new TomDispatch piece will be posted on Tuesday, July 8th. There will be a “best of TomDispatch” (with some new comments of mine) at the site this weekend. Tom]

It goes without saying that the honchos of the national security state weren’t exactly happy with Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations. Still, over the last year, the comments of such figures, politicians associated with them, and retirees from their world clearly channeling their feelings have had a striking quality: over-the-top vituperation. About the nicest thing anyone in that crew has had to say about Snowden is that he’s a “traitor” or -- shades of the Cold War era (and of absurdity, since the State Department trapped him in the transit lounge of a Moscow airport by taking his passport away) -- a “Ru…

Why AP uses ‘ISIL’ instead of ‘ISIS’

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[In case you were wondering about this distinction that some make... *RON*]

by Andrew Beaujon,, June 17, 2014

Associated Press

The Qaida splinter group rampaging through Iraq is sometimes referred to as ISIS, for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. That translation isn’t quite good enough, AP standards editor Tom Kent writes:

In Arabic, the group is known as Al-Dawla Al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham, or the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. The term “al-Sham” refers to Iraq and a region stretching from southern Turkey through Syria to Egypt (also including Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan). The group’s stated goal is to restore an Islamic state, or caliphate, in this entire area.

The standard English term for this broad territory is “the Levant.” Therefore, AP’s translation of the group’s name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

“We believe this is the most accurate translation of the group’s…

'Buzzword List' Reveals What State Officials Can't Say About Fracking

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[Former state employees told to ignore drilling-related health issues:   *RON*]
Nadia Prupis, Common Dreams, 2 July 2014
Former employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Health were ordered by supervisors to ignore complaints about fracking-related health issues and follow a host of other rules to keep the dangers of drilling under wraps — even at the expense of people's health.
NPR State Impact spoke with two retirees from the department who said they were instructed never to return phone calls from residents with health problems stemming from natural gas development, like skin rashes, nausea, and nosebleeds. Employees were also given a laundry list of "buzzwords" and phrases to refrain from using when talking with the public — particularly those that explicitly related to the issue, like "fracking," "gas," and "soil contamination."

Other terms covered health and environmental issues, such as "ha…

Canada's Anti-Spam Law Punishes Charities

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[Small underfunded nonprofit civil society groups including - quelle surprise - virtually all environmental protest groups in Canada, will fall under the complex, onerous, Draconian fine system of the new Canadian anti-spam law. *RON*]

Derek James, Huffington Post, 2 July 2014

Canada's anti-spam law came into force on July 1, 2014. Everyone calls it "CASL" since its real name is an unwieldy 52 words long.

Proponents have touted CASL as a giant leap for economic efficiency in e-commerce by making spam illegal. And CASL does list the promotion of "efficiency" as its purpose. But contrary to the good results this efficiency may bring, CASL could have a decimating effect on charities. Here's how.

Of all the prohibitions in CASL, the one most significant for charities is the prohibition on sending a so-called "commercial electronic message" (CEM) without the prior consent of the recipient. This includes all messag…