January 19, 2017

Simple RSS reader This is the RSS reader I’m using now! I absolutely love it! Not only that, but the developer actually listens to feedback, and works on it.

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January 18, 2017 Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia extended for three years

Edward Snowden�s leave to remain in Russia has been extended for three years, his lawyer has said, as a Russian official said the whistleblower would not be extradited to the US even if relations improved under the incoming president, Donald Trump. Snowden�s Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told RIA Novosti news agency that the permit had been extended until 2020. He also said that as of next year, Snowden would have the right to apply for Russian citizenship.

Earlier on Wednesday, Maria Zakharova, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook that Snowden�s right to stay had recently been extended �by a couple of years�. Her post came in response to a suggestion from the former acting CIA director Michael Morell that Vladimir Putin might hand over Snowden to the US, despite there being no extradition treaty between the countries.

Morell wrote a column for the website The Cipher Brief in which he said handing over Snowden could be �the perfect inauguration gift� from the Russian president to Trump.

Zakharova mocked Morell for not knowing, despite his intelligence background, that Snowden�s leave to remain had been extended. She added that it would be unthinkable for Russia to hand over Snowden.

�The essence of what this CIA man is suggesting is the ideology of betrayal. You�ve let it slip, Mr Morell, that for your agency it�s quite normal to offer up people as gifts, and to give up those who are seeking protection.�

The announcement came hours after the outgoing US president, Barack Obama, commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning. The whistleblower, who was serving a 35-year prison term, will go free in May.

Snowden has not commented on the extension of his right to stay in Russia, but did react to Obama�s decision to free Manning on Tuesday evening, writing on Twitter: In five more months, you will be free. Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!” Snowden later added: �Let it be said here in earnest, with good heart: Thanks, Obama.� In November, Snowden said he believed there was a chance Putin might hand him over to Trump as part of a deal. �It�s possible. It would be crazy to dismiss the idea of this guy who presents himself as a big deal maker [Trump] as trying to make a deal,� he said.

Snowden arrived in Moscow from Hong Kong in June 2013, and spent five weeks at the airport before he was eventually given the right to remain in Russia temporarily. He was granted a three-year residence permit in August 2014.

During his early period in Moscow, Snowden did not criticise Putin or the Russian system, but he has recently become more outspoken about his adopted country. He has been strongly critical of Russian laws to police the internet and has also allowed for the possibility that Russian government hackers broke into Democratic party servers, as US intelligence believes but Russia has repeatedly denied.
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January 18, 2017

Why I will never trust Lavabit This is a Reddit thread that I just had to get involved in earlier! I think I scared the defamer, because he never came back, lol! That’s me, annoying pharisees since 2014!

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January 17, 2017 Obama Commutes Bulk of Chelsea Manning�s Sentence<

largely commuted the remaining prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the army intelligence analyst convicted of an enormous 2010 leak that revealed American military and diplomatic activities across the world, disrupted the administration, and made WikiLeaks, the recipient of those disclosures, famous.

The decision by Mr. Obama rescued Ms. Manning, who twice tried to commit suicide last year, from an uncertain future as a transgender woman incarcerated at the male military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. She has been jailed for nearly seven years, and her 35-year sentence was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the United States for a leak conviction.

Now, under the terms of Mr. Obama�s commutation announced by the White House on Tuesday, Ms. Manning is set to be freed on May 17 of this year, rather than in 2045.

The commutation also relieved the Department of Defense of the difficult responsibility of her incarceration as she pushes for treatment for her gender dysphoria � including sex reassignment surgery � that the military has no experience providing. In recent days, the White House had signaled that Mr. Obama was seriously considering granting Ms. Manning�s commutation application, in contrast to a pardon application submitted on behalf of the other large-scale leaker of the era, Edward J. Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who disclosed archives of top secret surveillance files and is living as a fugitive in Russia.

Asked about the two clemency applications on Friday, the White House spokesman, Joshua Earnest, discussed the �pretty stark difference� between Ms. Manning�s case for mercy with Mr. Snowden�s. While their offenses were similar, he said, there were �some important differences.�

�Chelsea Manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for her crimes, and she acknowledged wrongdoing,� he said. �Mr. Snowden fled into the arms of an adversary, and has sought refuge in a country that most recently made a concerted effort to undermine confidence in our democracy.�

He also noted that while the documents Ms. Manning provided to WikiLeaks were �damaging to national security,� the ones Mr. Snowden disclosed were �far more serious and far more dangerous.� (None of the documents Ms. Manning disclosed were classified above the merely �secret� level.)

Ms. Manning was still known as Bradley Manning when she deployed with her unit to Iraq in late 2009. There, she worked as a low-level intelligence analyst helping her unit assess insurgent activity in the area it was patrolling, a role that gave her access to a classified computer network.

She copied hundreds of thousands of military incident logs from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, which, among other things, exposed abuses of detainees by Iraqi military officers working with American forces and showed that civilian deaths in the Iraq war were likely much higher than official estimates.

The files she copied also included about 250,000 diplomatic cables from American embassies around the world showing sensitive deals and conversations, dossiers detailing intelligence assessments of Guant�namo detainees held without trial, and a video of an American helicopter attack in Baghdad in two Reuters journalists were killed, among others.

She decided to make all these files public, as she wrote at the time, in the hope that they would incite �worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.� WikiLeaks� disclosed them � working with traditional news organizations including The New York Times � bringing notoriety to the group and its founder, Julian Assange.

The disclosures set off a frantic scramble as Obama administration officials sought to minimize any potential harm, including getting to safety some foreigners in dangerous countries who were identified as having helped American troops or diplomats. Prosecutors, however, presented no evidence that anyone was killed because of the leaks.

At her court-martial, Ms. Manning confessed in detail to her actions and apologized, saying she did not intend to put anyone at risk and noting that she was �dealing with a lot of issues� at the time she made her decision.

Testimony at the trial showed that she had been in a mental and emotional crisis as she came to grips, amid the stress of a war zone, with the fact that she was not merely gay but had gender dysphoria. She had been behaving erratically, including angry outbursts and lapsing into catatonia midsentence. At one point she had emailed a photograph of herself in a woman�s wig to her supervisor.

Prosecutors said that by making secret material available for publication on the internet, anyone � including Al Qaeda � could read it. And they accused Ms. Manning of treason, charging her with multiple counts of the Espionage Act as well as with �aiding the enemy,� a potential capital offense, although they said they would not seek her execution. Ms. Manning confessed and pleaded guilty to a lesser version of those charges without any deal to cap her sentence. But prosecutors pressed forward with a trial and won convictions on the more serious versions of those charges; a military judge acquitted her of �aiding the enemy.�

In her commutation application, Ms. Manning said she had not imagined that she would be sentenced to the �extreme� term of 35 years, a term for which there was �no historical precedent.� (There have only been a handful of leak cases, and most sentence are in the range of one to three years.)

�I take full and complete responsibility for my decision to disclose these materials to the public,� she wrote. �I have never made any excuses for what I did. I pleaded guilty without the protection of a plea agreement because I believed the military justice system would understand my motivation for the disclosure and sentence me fairly. I was wrong.�

After her sentencing, Ms. Manning announced that she was transgender and changed her name to Chelsea.

The military, under pressure from a lawsuit filed on her behalf by Chase Strangio of the American Civil Liberties Union, has permitted her to partly transition to life as a woman, including giving her cross-sex hormones and letting her wear female undergarments and light cosmetics.

But it has not let her grow her hair longer than male military standards, citing security risks, and Ms. Manning said she had yet to be permitted to see a surgeon about the possibility of sex reassignment surgery.

Until recently the military discharged transgender soldiers. In June, Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter changed that policy and said it would instead provide treatment for them, eventually including such surgery if doctors said it was necessary.

I thought that 35 years was way, way too much! I believe the commutation is well-deserved. You can’t believe in what Wikileaks does without believing in and/or supporting it’s sources, known and unknown.

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January 16, 2017 THE POWER OF FIVE

Sometimes I feel like I�m engulfed in red flames.�I don�t want to be afraid or anxious any more.

There are two banks to the river: on one bank are all the regrets, guilt�past.

On the other bank are all the worries, anxieties�future.

I lived most of my life on the bottom of the river, clinging to my fears of being swept up by all the currents. It�s hard to let go. I was afraid to crash into the banks. Everyone else around me was scared also.

But the only way to get to the ocean is by letting go of the fears and anxieties. By not clinging to what was stolen so you can enjoy the energy that is yours forever.

I know it�s easier said than done, but this helps me. I hope it helps you too�

Everyone knows the first one:

  1. You are the average of the five people around you.

This isn�t quite true but you get the idea. Be around people who love and inspire and respect you and who you respect. Every moment otherwise is a waste.

That�s the first. But there are other �five things� that are important.

  1. You are the average of the five things that inspire you the most.

It may sound corny but surrounding me in this room� � The original sketches Joe Harris put together when he was pitching his 60s cartoon �Underdog�. I always feel like the Underdog. I WANT to be the Underdog. � An animation cel from the opening sequence of �I Dream of Jeannie�. I like to believe in magic. I like to believe everything I don�t know or understand is magic. And Barbara Eden is sexy. She�s 80 year old sexy now. � An animation cel from �Alice in Wonderland�. I went down the rabbit hole in 2010 and never looked back. I don�t even know what I mean by that but I�m in wonderland. � A photo from the 1957 World Go championship with Sakata Eio staring at the board with such intensity. I wish I could be that intense even once in my life. And in the photo, there�s one tooth that juts out and you know it�s enough to just kill you. I write about it in my post, � The Tooth.”

  1. My thoughts are the average of the five things I think about.�

I try for it to be gratitude, abundance, health, value, and WOW! In reverse order.

  1. My body and mind are the average of the five things I �eat�.

I put �eat� in quotes because I include mental food. For instance, I don�t put junk news, junk articles, junk tv in my head. And I (try) not to put junk food in.

  1. I am the average of the five things I do to help people each day.

If you can�t think of five things, then build up. This is not only how you avoid the banks of the river but how you move down the river.

So that�s five things of 5 things.

This is a post from 3 years ago, but it’s one of those things that’s evergreen.

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January 16, 2017 �Never Trump� national-security Republicans fear they have been blacklisted

They are some of the biggest names in the Republican national security firmament, veterans of past GOP administrations who say, if called upon by President-elect Donald Trump, they stand ready to serve their country again.

But their phones aren�t ringing. Their entreaties to Trump Tower in New York have mostly gone unanswered. In Trump world, these establishment all-stars say they are �PNG� � personae non gratae.

Their transgression was signing one or both of two public �Never Trump� letters during the campaign, declaring they would not vote for Trump and calling his candidacy a danger to the nation.

One letter, with 122 names, was published by War on the Rocks, a website devoted to national security commentary, during the primary season in March. The other, with 50 names, including some repeat signatories, was

published by the New York Times during the general-election campaign in August.

Now, just days before Trump is sworn in as the nation�s 45th president, the letter signers fear they have been added to another document, this one private � a purported blacklist compiled by Trump�s political advisers.

Former Pennsylvania Gov. and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. (Cheryl Senter/AP)

�Before he won, the conversation was, �We really would love for you to change your mind and join us,�?� Peter Feaver, a National Security Council special adviser under President George W. Bush, said of informal talks with Trump aides. Feaver, who signed both letters, added that, �Since he won .?.?. the conversation is, �There likely will be a blacklist of people who signed the letters who won�t themselves be eligible for a post.���

Trump transition aides did not respond to a request for comment for this article.

[From March: Trump �fundamentally dishonest,� say national security leaders]

The president-elect has virtually no experience in national security and foreign policy, and his transition team could presumably benefit from the broadest pool of applicants for the influential appointive positions in the State Department, Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security.

But the purportedly blacklisted figures report to their jobs at Washington law firms and think tanks in a state of indefinite limbo as their colleagues, some working in the same offices, are flirting with potential administration jobs.

Last week, the Trump transition held a private briefing for secretary-of-state nominee Rex Tillerson to prepare him for his Senate confirmation hearing. One former Bush national security official who works at a Washington think tank said that some of his younger staff assistants were invited to participate but that he was not. He assumes it was because he signed the letter.

�It�s hostile,� said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of further retribution. �It�s not just that we�re frozen out. .?.?. I was told they said there was an enemies list.� Among those who signed at least one of the letters are Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, the first two secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security; two former U.S. trade ambassadors, Carla Hills and Robert Zoellick; two former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, John Negroponte and retired Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden; a former ambassador to NATO; and several former deputy secretaries of various U.S. government agencies.

Not everyone who signed the letters wants a job, and some remain vocal critics of Trump. But many stand ready to serve or offer guidance if asked.

The letters were explicit in their denunciations of Trump�s professed support for torture of terrorism suspects, his pledge to build a wall along the border with Mexico, his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his admiration for Russian President Vladi�mir Putin.

The letters also attacked Trump�s character and temperament, asserting that he �lacks self-control and acts impetuously,� has demonstrated �erratic behavior� and is �fundamentally dishonest.�

Former Bush administration lawyer John Bellinger�III, who organized the letter published in the Times, said that many have not given up and are trying to help from the outside.

�They�re seeing how it goes and trying to provide advice, counsel, support to our friends who go into the administration,� said Bellinger, who has served as legal counsel at the State Department and the National Security Council.

The scenario was set up by Trump�s un�or�tho�dox candidacy and then his upset victory. The threat the New York business mogul�s populist campaign posed to the establishment of his party caused some of the Republicans� leading lights to oppose him, even after he had clinched the nomination.

The question after Election Day was how quickly Trump loyalists and the onetime GOP resistance would reconcile.

In some cases, the process has gone fairly smoothly. Congressional leaders who had been lukewarm toward Trump�s campaign have made nice with the president-elect, and they have vowed to work together on a conservative policy agenda.

In other cases, it has been painfully awkward, as with Trump�s flirtation with Mitt Romney for secretary of state. Romney had called Trump a �phony� and a �fraud� last March, but the 2012 GOP presidential nominee called to congratulate Trump on his election victory. After a courtship that included a dinner of frog legs and lamb chops in New York, Romney was passed over for Tillerson, the head of ExxonMobil.

During a national security forum last week at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, K.T. McFarland, who was named Trump�s deputy national security adviser, opened her remarks by referring to the �elephant in the room.�

�Most of the people in this room didn�t support Donald Trump � maybe not at first or maybe ever,� she said. �And I suspect most of the people in this room didn�t think he�d win. But he has.�

Some of the �Never Trump� letters signers fear they are at the bottom of the pecking order, below those who expressed verbal opposition to Trump�s campaign but did not sign either of the letters.

The conflict was exacerbated shortly after the election when Eliot Cohen, a State Department counselor during the Bush administration who had helped organize the War on the Rocks letter, aired new criticism of the Trump transition. In an opinion column for The Washington Post in November, Cohen said that a friend on the transition team had asked him to provide names of potential job candidates � with the stipulation that he include no one who signed either of the letters.

Cohen wrote that he became convinced there were �pent-up resentments� among members of the Trump team, and he warned young policy experts against working for the administration. Cohen has had no further communications with the transition team.

�Believe me � my phone is not ringing,� he said in a recent interview.

Other letter signers said Cohen had misinterpreted emails from the transition official and overreacted, and some of them expressed a sense of regret.

Mary Beth Long, who served as assistant secretary of defense in the Bush administration, signed the War on the Rocks letter. But, she said, her opinion of Trump improved as he began to moderate his rhetoric and selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.

Long attended a Pence rally in Charlotte in October, during which, she said, a local GOP official announced that a �Never Trump� letter signer in the audience had changed her mind and was now supporting Trump. The crowd cheered.

But her about-face hasn�t thawed the ice. Long said her inquiries to the Trump transition team to get clarity on some of his foreign policy positions have gone unanswered. She said that she has spoken with retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump�s designee for national security adviser, whom she knows from the Pentagon, but that she isn�t expecting a job.

�If I were asked to sign a letter like that again, I would be much more careful about the verbiage that related to the candidate himself,� she said.

Some letter signers said the Trump transition might be overwhelmed and could reach out more broadly in the coming weeks. Some hoped that Cabinet nominees, such as retired Marine Gen. James N. Mattis, Trump�s pick to head the Pentagon, could potentially have the freedom to hire them. Many jobs below the Cabinet level remain unfilled.

But others are resigned to waiting until some of Trump�s initial appointees begin leaving his administration.

Frances Townsend, a former Bush homeland security adviser who signed the War on the Rocks letter, is friendly with Flynn. A few weeks after the election, she received an email from the transition team inviting her to meet with the president-elect.

Ahead of the meeting, she thought over how to explain her past actions if Trump raised the letter � but he did not, she said.

�I took that as a sign of maturity and graciousness,� said Townsend, who has not taken a job with the administration and declined to say whether she was offered one.

�As I was leaving, I said I was privileged and humbled to come in and speak to him,� she said. �It was a veiled reference [to the letter]. Given the circumstances, I didn�t expect to be there.�
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