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  • Why I am infatuated with Comrade Putin.

    From Khelair@VERT/TINFOIL to All on Thu Apr 17 10:21:26 2014
    See, now this is precisely why I think Putin is so much better
    than Obama. Or, frankly, pretty much any politician that we've had
    since Kennedy. Although, of course, Clinton could lie with STYLE.
    Integrity is something that he values. When is the last time
    you've seen integrity in a politician in the USA? He may be a homophobe
    and/or racist, but he's completely up front and honest about it. No,
    I'm not saying that I'm okay with homophobes or racists; this is just
    about the integrity and honor to stand up, drop your drawers, and show
    everyone exactly how much sack you've got. Are you going to tell it
    like it is, working for the people? Or are you going to sell the fuck
    out, lie between your teeth, and scuttle away with a few billion in
    fringe benefits when the pooch gets screwed?
    Anyway, I digress. Here's the article:

    Snowden Asks Putin on Live TV If Russia Spies Like U.S.

    By Ilya Arkhipov and Torrey Clark
    April 17, 2014 10:59 AM EDT [wMBRaPZz0NULCKJd4uApd87Jfd5wXC6faFl0jFzooYk.png] 9 Comments

    Edward Snowden, the former U.S. security contractor under asylum in Russia, made a rare
    appearance today, asking President Vladimir Putin if the nation spies on its citizens like the

    "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze in any way the communications of millions of
    individuals?" Snowden asked the former KGB colonel through a video link from an unidentified
    location during Putin's annual live call-in show, broadcast nationwide from central Moscow.

    Snowden's disclosures about U.S. surveillance last year set off a global debate over the
    trade-offs between privacy and security. The London-based Guardian and Washington Post shared a
    Pulitzer prize this week for reporting on his revelations about the top-secret U.S. programs,
    which have led President Barack Obama to propose limits to surveillance.

    "We do it of course, but we don't allow ourselves such a massive, out-of-control scale," Putin
    said about gathering communications in the fight against terrorism and financial crime, after a
    hasty translation by one of the television channel's presenters.

    `Strict Control'

    "I hope we will not get there," said Putin, who addressed the fugitive formally as "Dear Mr.
    Snowden." "We don't have the necessary technical means and funds as the U.S. does. Our special
    services are under strict control by the government and society."

    Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said the White House
    had no comment on Snowden's appearance.

    The U.S. has charged Snowden with espionage and the administration has repeatedly demanded that
    he be returned to the U.S., where he faces espionage charges.

    Courts have split on whether the National Security Agency's collection of bulk phone records is
    legal, while both a White House review group and the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
    have said the program isn't effective and should be stopped. A majority of the five-member
    privacy board said the program is illegal.

    Snowden has said he worked alone in taking thousands of classified documents, denying claims made
    by American lawmakers that he was an agent for a foreign government. He was granted one year of
    asylum in Russia in August, after arriving in June from Hong Kong. It's too early to say if he'll
    apply for an extension, his lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said in January.

    Putin, who said last year that he'd never met the fugitive, has denied that Russian agents have
    worked with Snowden or invited him to fly through Moscow.

    Ukrainian Crisis

    The appearance is a slap at Obama, who is threatening to ratchet up sanctions against Russia for
    its annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

    Putin has accused U.S. and European leaders of closing their eyes to threats from extremists and
    nationalists in the neighboring country, a key transit route for Russian gas to Europe.

    Today Putin took a jab at the U.S., blaming its surveillance programs for complicating talks with

    "Sometimes it is very difficult to negotiate with them on geopolitical issues," Putin said. "It
    is hard to negotiate with people who even at home whisper among themselves because they're afraid
    the Americans are listening in."

    Stirring Unrest

    While Putin has asserted his right to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine, the government in Kiev
    has accused Russia of fomenting unrest in its southern and eastern regions.

    Snowden cited independent White House investigations and a federal report that mass surveillance
    programs are "ineffective" in stopping terrorism and they "unreasonably intrude into the private
    lives of ordinary citizens."

    Obama has defended electronic spying as a bulwark against terrorism while promising U.S. citizens
    and allies that he'll put restraints on the government's sweeping surveillance programs. U.S.
    data collection programs were expanded during President George W. Bush's administration which, in
    response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., won passage by Congress of the
    Patriot Act.

    Last month, the U.S. leader released proposals based on recommendations from intelligence
    proposals for reworking data collection. Under the plan, which parallels legislation proposed in
    the House of Representatives, the government would no longer keep and hold mass phone records
    from U.S. companies including AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. Carriers would be
    instructed to search their records for information based on requests from the government, which
    would be subject to judicial review.

    The fixes proposed by Obama and top lawmakers still would let the government access phone and
    Internet records even though the NSA would no longer store the data. Technology and Internet
    company executives, including Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg, have pressed
    the administration to take more steps to limit surveillance.

    To contact the reporters on this story: Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at;
    Torrey Clark in Moscow at

    To contact the editors responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at

    -- guh up the effbomb down wif yr bad self

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