Author Archive | DeepCough

Ways The Government Tracks You

EyeSpyJust because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you… Bill Quigley writes on Counterpunch:

Privacy is eroding fast as technology offers government increasing ways to track and spy on citizens. The Washington Post reported there are 3,984 federal, state and local organizations working on domestic counterterrorism. Most collect information on people in the US. Here are thirteen examples of how some of the biggest government agencies and programs track people.

One. The National Security Agency (NSA) collects hundreds of millions of emails, texts and phone calls every day and has the ability to collect and sift through billions more. Wired just reported NSA is building an immense new data center which will intercept, analyze and store even more electronic communications from satellites and cables across the nation and the world. Though NSA is not supposed to focus on US citizens, it does.

Two. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Security Branch Analysis Center (NSAC) has more than 1.5 billion government and private sector records about US citizens collected from commercial databases, government information, and criminal probes.

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Netflix Super PAC Supports SOPA

NetflixSo you thought that $8 a month was a sweet deal? Well, guess what else comes with it. Stephen C. Webster reports on RAW Story:

Video streaming giant Netflix has recognized the compelling financial logic behind Washington’s anti-piracy efforts.

In a recent filing with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), Netflix revealed that it has created its own political action committee called FLIXPAC, designed to support anti-piracy measures in Washington and the candidates that favor them.

The FEC filing, made April 5, was first spotted by Politico. The company has seen its spending on federal lobbying ramp up in recent years, going from approximately $20,000 in 2009 to half a million in 2011, amid heated debates in Washington over restrictions on Americans’ Internet use.

Those restrictions, represented most clearly in the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), were initially supported by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, who reportedly sent a letter to the Chamber of Commerce expressing solidarity with that bill’s ultimate goals.

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FBI: “We’re Not Winning” Against Hackers

FBIDevlin Barrett reports in the Wall Street Journal:
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's top cyber cop offered a grim appraisal of the nation's efforts to keep computer hackers from plundering corporate data networks: "We're not winning," he said. Shawn Henry, who is preparing to leave the FBI after more than two decades with the bureau, said in an interview that the current public and private approach to fending off hackers is "unsustainable.'' Computer criminals are simply too talented and defensive measures too weak to stop them, he said. His comments weren't directed at specific legislation but came as Congress considers two competing measures designed to buttress the networks for critical U.S. infrastructure, such as electrical-power plants and nuclear reactors. Though few cybersecurity experts disagree on the need for security improvements, business advocates have argued that the new regulations called for in one of the bills aren't likely to better protect computer networks ...
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Why the Supreme Court Should Kill ‘Obamacare’

ObamacareToday, the anti-Obamacare protest is happening in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is hearing arguments as to why the Affordable Healthcare Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) should be thrown out. Dave Lindorff writes on Counterpunch on why “Obamacare” should be repealed to instead force Americans to decide that Medicare should be available to everyone as it would reduce our costs substantially:

The US Supreme Court has a chance to do the people of America a big favor, perhaps atoning at last for its shameful betrayal of the electoral system in 2000 when a conservative majority stole the Florida, and national election, for George W. Bush, and for the liberal-led and equally shameful betrayal of fundamental property rights in the Kelo v New London case that, in 2005, upheld the public theft of private homes in Connecticut on behalf of a government-backed resort development. The court can atone for these betrayals by declaring the ramshackle, corrupt, hugely expensive and cynically misnamed Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional.

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40 Years Ago, A Congressional Commission Told The Truth About Marijuana

Marijuana PlantSo you think the government has been lying to you about the effects of cannabis (marijuana)?

Well, are you aware that the United States Congress concluded with the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, a.k.a., the Shafer Commission:

“…that the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense.”

Paul Armentano writes a brief synopsis on NORML’s blog on how the U.S. federal government has ignored its own fact-finding in favor of doing the opposite and counter-intuitive for the past forty years.

Also, for those of you that would like to read the Shafer Commission report, “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” you can check it out here at the Shafer Library of Drug Policy.

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Bill Maher: Please Stop Apologizing

In this editorial from the New York Times, Bill Maher decides to “Be More Cynical” and gives a stoic position:

This week, Robert De Niro made a joke about first ladies, and Newt Gingrich said it was “inexcusable and the president should apologize for him.” Of course, if something is “inexcusable,” an apology doesn’t make any difference, but then again, neither does Newt Gingrich.

Mr. De Niro was speaking at a fund-raiser with the first lady, Michelle Obama. Here’s the joke: “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?”

The first lady’s press secretary declared the joke “inappropriate,” and Mr. De Niro said his remarks were “not meant to offend.” So, as these things go, even if the terrible damage can never be undone, at least the healing can begin. And we can move on to the next time we choose sides and pretend to be outraged about nothing.

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Virginia Senate Passed NDAA Nullification Bill

Seal of VirginiaOne of those rare, rare moments when you see federalism actually work. Joe Wolverton writes in the New American:

On January 16, Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall (left) introduced HB 1160, a bill designed to “prevent any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

After being passed on Valentine’s Day by an overwhelming majority (96–4) in the House, the bill was sent to the Senate for deliberation by that chamber. In a telephone conversation with this reporter, Delegate Marshall broke the latest news of the procedural progress of his very important legislation …

… Marshall’s bill is the first measure in the nation that is based on the Liberty Preservation Act. This model legislation (a copy of which is available from the Tenth Amendment Center) is designed to block the enforcement of the provisions of the NDAA authorizing the apprehension and indefinite detention of citizens of the United States …

… Most of what is contained in the over-500-page NDAA is in fact “inimical to liberty.” For example, under the provisions of Section 1021 of the NDAA, the President is afforded the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges, and without a scintilla of the due process safeguards protected by the Constitution of the United States …

Read More: New American

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Bill Maher On The ‘Joke Candidate’

Y'know, it's not wrong to think that Obama is the only logical choice in 2012, and not because he is the right choice, but because the GOP has no real mainstream contenders who can speak a lick of sense on any issue. But Bill Maher gives a rather ominous perspective on just how much the "joke candidate" can become the "underdog-elect" in November.
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