Trending In Our News Feeds – Hearing provides look into inner workings of government surveillance. Senior intelligence officials gave fascinating insight into the NSA’s surveillance programs at a hearing yesterday before the House Intelligence Committee. NSA Director General Keith Alexander said the NSA’s programs have foiled more than 50 terrorist plots, and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce explained four of these plots in detail. When pressed by committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Alexander said the NSA cannot read Americans’ emails and doesn’t have direct access to the servers of private companies. Deputy Attorney General James Cole gave some previously-unknown details on the legal backing for the surveillance programs. NPR boils down the hearing to the three clips you have to hear.
In other surveillance news, Google asked the FISA court yesterday to remove its gag order on PRISM data requests. Facebook, Microsoft, and Yahoo have won permission to include PRISM requests in the total number of government requests they make public, but Google wants to report the PRISM requests separately. The Washington Post says Google is looking to please its users by coming off as aggressively anti-surveillance.
Statements show disappointing progress at G8 summit. This year’s G8 summit wrapped up yesterday in Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, the statements summarizing the conference show the world’s leaders agreed on almost nothing. Russian President Vladimir Putin torpedoed attempts to call for Bashar Al-Assad’s removal from power. The summit’s statement on Syria calls for the same peace talks leaders have wanted for months. Obama and European leaders couldn’t agree on the path forwards for boosting the economy, either. “Promoting growth and jobs is our top priority,” the summit statement blandly summarizes.
Peace talks jeopardized by Taliban attack. The White House announced yesterday the U.S. would participate in peace talks next week aimed at ending the violence between the Taliban and the Afghan government. The announcement came as the Taliban opened a political office in Doha, Qatar. However, the actions of the Taliban and Afghan government have already jeopardized the talks. The Taliban attacked the Bagram air base yesterday, killing four Americans, and the Afghan government says it will boycott the peace talks until the “process is Afghan-led.” Afghan President Hamid Karzai also cut off negotiations with the U.S. about the future role of American troops in Afghanistan.
Brazil protests gaining force. Over 250,000 Brazilian protesters have taken to the streets this week as demonstrations across the country continue to escalate. The protests began as opposition to a ten cent hike in bus fare, but have quickly turned into massive demonstrations against poverty, political corruption, and outsized government spending on global sporting events such as the 2016 Olympics and the World Cup. The Washington Post has an incredible post telling the story of the demonstrations in tweets and photos.
Must Reads From PolicyMic – 4 Predictions From Orwell’s ‘1984’ That Are Coming True (Alasdair Denvil) – How much of George Orwell’s classic novel has leapt off of the page and into real life? You might be surprised.
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Dear Obama: Stop Acting Like Dick Cheney (Matthew Rozsa) – In an interview with PBS’ Charlie Rose, Obama tried to distance himself from George W. Bush. Unfortunately for him, actions speak louder than words.
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Guess What? The Lincoln Memorial Could Have Been a Pyramid (Uchechi Kalu, @chechkalu) – It’s hard to imagine our nation’s capital without the iconic profile of the Lincoln Memorial, but these seven designs show we almost got something very different.
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Why 26 Congressmen Are Living On Food Stamps (James Kirtland) – Democratic representatives from across the country are living on $4.50 a day in order to demonstrate the plight of everyday Americans.
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Kanye West is the Nucleus Of All That is Good and Bad in Pop Culture (Andy Boyd) – Kanye recently called himself “the nucleus” of contemporary culture. And he’s right, in a way.
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What We’re Sharing – In the digital age, “If we want the rewards of being loved we have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known” (NY Times).
– Video games are going mainstream, and they just might change the world (New Inquiry).
– How Darwin helped invent the idea of aliens (io9).
– Well, this sucks: How caffeine cramps creativity (New Yorker).
– The rights of gay couples across the country, mapped (WNYC).
– Everything you need to know about immigration, in 5 charts (Business Insider).
– 5 funny, touching, fascinating comics for Summer (NPR).
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