Tag Archives | U.S.

Stop CISA: Join EFF in a Week of Action Opposing Broad “Cybersecurity” Surveillance Legislation

How do you kill a zombie bill like CISA? Grassroots action. That’s why EFF and over a dozen other groups are asking you to join us in a Week of Action to Stop CISA.  The Senate is likely to vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in the coming weeks, and only you can help us stop it.

We keep hearing that CISA and the other “cybersecurity” bills moving through Congress are “must-pass” legislation. But just like the original version of CISA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), we think grassroots activism can stop this legislation in its tracks.

CISA is fundamentally flawed because of its broad immunity clauses for companies, vague definitions, and aggressive spying powers. Combined, they make the bill a surveillance bill in disguise. The bill may even make things worse for Internet users in several ways.

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Healthcare ‘Oligopoly Wave’ Continues As Anthem Gobbles Cigna

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

The health insurance giant Anthem announced Friday that it is buying its behemoth rival Cigna for $54.2 billion, launching the largest such merger the country has ever seen and reducing the number of major U.S. insurers to a paltry three.

Analysts and human rights campaigners warn that the move is poised to further slash access to healthcare and hike prices across the country, illustrating the problems with the for-profit model in terms of delivering vital services.

The mega deal comes less than a month after insurance giant Aetna acquired Humana for $37 billion, part of a nationwide push to consolidate in what the Wall Street Journal referred to earlier this year as an “oligopoly wave.”

The Anthem and Cigna merger is expected to be finalized in 2016, after which the joint company will provide coverage for at least 53 million people.… Read the rest

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‘Holy Grail’ of Leaks Claims TISA is a Detailed Plot for Corporate Takeover

At a protest in Geneva last year. (Photo: Annette Dubois/flickr/cc)

At a protest in Geneva last year. (Photo: Annette Dubois/flickr/cc)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Deirdre’s posts here.

Days ahead of another round of secret international negotiations, WikiLeaks on Wednesday released what it described as “a modern journalistic holy grail: the secret Core Text for the largest ‘trade deal’ in history.”

That deal is the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA, currently being negotiated by 52 nations that together account for two-thirds of global GDP. Those nations are the United States, the 28 members of the European Union, and 23 other countries, including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Israel. According to WikiLeaks, TISA “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic neoliberal ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).

“Together, the three treaties form not only a new legal order shaped for transnational corporations, but a new economic ‘grand enclosure,’ which excludes China and all other BRICS countries,” declared WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assangein a press statement.… Read the rest

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WHO Says Widely-Used Dow Herbicide ‘Possibly Carcinogenic’ to Humans

"We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops," said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

“We have known for decades that 2,4-D is harmful to the environment and human health, especially for the farmers and farm workers applying these chemicals to crops,” said Mary Ellen Kustin, Environmental Working Group. (Photo: Chafer Machinery/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. Read more of Sarah Lazare’s posts here.

The World Health Organization revealed on Tuesday that 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic, a key ingredient of a widely-used herbicide produced by Dow, is “possibly carcinogenic” to humans—a classification that public health and environmental advocates say is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the overall dangers the chemical poses.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer—a Lyon, France-based wing of the WHO—published the findings Tuesday in The Lancet Oncology and also disclosed them in apublic statement (pdf).

The agency said there is “strong evidence that 2,4-D induces oxidative stress that can operate in humans and moderate evidence that 2,4-D causes immunosuppression, based on in-vivo and in-vitro studies.”

The classification of “possibly carcinogenic” puts 2,4-D two levels above “probably not carcinogenic” but one below “probably carcinogenic.”

This development did not come as a shock to public health and environmental advocates.

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The Monsanto Protection Act is Back, and Worse Than Ever

Press Release via The Center for Food Safety:

Latest changes to the Pompeo “DARK” Act create an anti-democracy, anti-consumer, anti-environment mega-bill

WASHINGTON – Center for Food Safety (CFS) today expressed strong opposition to Representative Pompeo’s newly revised genetically engineered (GE) food labeling preemption bill (H.R. 1599), which now has been greatly expanded to not only prohibit all labeling of GE foods, but also to make it unlawful for states or local governments to restrict GE crops in any way. These new provisions would not only prohibit any future state and local laws, but also undemocratically nullify GE crop regulations that have existed in numerous counties across the country for over a decade. The bill would also further weaken already weak federal regulation of GE crops, while at the same time forbidding local communities from opting to protect their citizens, their farmers, and their environments.

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Cleveland Judge Recommends Charges for Police Who Killed Tamir Rice

"Tamir Rice family photo" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Shooting of Tamir Rice">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Tamir Rice family photo” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. Read more of Deirdre Fulton’s posts here.

A judge in Cleveland on Thursday found probable cause that police officer Timothy Loehmann should face murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty charges in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice last November. The judge also ruled that probable cause exists to charge Loehmann’s partner, officer Frank Garmback, with negligent homicide and dereliction of duty.

However, Judge Ronald B. Adrine, presiding judge of the Municipal Court, said he did not have the power to order the officers’ arrests without complaints being filed by a prosecutor.

The ruling came after a group of activists and community leaders—the ‘Cleveland 8’—on Tuesday asked the court to have the officers arrested under a rarely used Ohio law that allows “a private citizen having knowledge of the facts” to start the process by filing an affidavit with a court.… Read the rest

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‘I Wished They Had Killed Me': Victim of CIA Says Torture Worse Than You Know

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Majid Khan is pictured in this 2009 handout photograph taken at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, released on June 1, 2015. (Photo: Center for Constitutional Rights)

Nadia Prupis writes at Common Dreams:

A Guantanamo Bay detainee turned government witness has accused the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of using even more disturbing forms of torture and abuse during secret interrogations than were included in the U.S. Senate’s redacted report last year.

In a newly declassified account published Tuesday by Reuters, Majid Khan said that agents subjected him to waterboarding, poured ice water on his genitals, sexually assaulted him, and threatened to beat him with a hammer, baseball bats, sticks, and leather belts, among other abuses that were not detailed in the Senate report.

“Khan said his feet and lower legs were placed in tall boot-like metal cuffs that dug into his flesh and immobilized his legs. He said he felt that his legs would break if he fell forward while restrained by the cuffs,” writes Reuters investigative journalist David Rohde.

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The Arc of the Moral Universe… Is Twisted

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

President George W. Bush looks over a brief with Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in the Outer Oval Office of the White House on September 12, 2001. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

David Michael Green writes at Common Dreams:

Barack Obama is in the habit of borrowing from Martin Luther King to remind us that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

Funny, I was just wondering about that last week myself.

Not because Obama has restated the premise, of course.  From Arctic drilling, to persecuting – and prosecuting – whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, to viciously slandering rightful critics of his trade deal abominations, Obama has shown that he may be well acquainted with many things, but moral justice is not much one of them.

No, what got me thinking about this was the resurfacing these last weeks of the national discussion about the justification for America’s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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Learning from Limbaugh

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

(Photo: Brett Tatman/cc/flickr)

Christopher Brauchli writes at Common Dreams:

“At length I recollected the thoughtless saying of a great princess, who, on being informed that the country people had no bread, replied, ‘Let them eat cake.’’” Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

In 2008 Rush Limbaugh was paid $38 million. In 2014 Rush Limbaugh earned $66 million. For terrestrial navigation he drives, among other things, a Mayback 57S that costs $450,000 fully loaded. For celestial travel he flies in a Gulfstream G550 that cost $54 million.

April 2015 was noteworthy for reasons having nothing to do with the income tax. On April 19, 2015, Dan Price, the CEO of a company called Gravity Payments, a credit card processing company located in Seattle, Washington, announced that he was cutting his own salary and raising the minimum annual salaries for everyone in his company to $50,000 immediately and over the next three years, years, to $70,000.

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‘The Bees Can’t Wait': White House Plan to Save Pollinators Falls Short, Say Experts

Experts say that in order for bees and pollinators to survive and thrive, President Obama must order an immediate ban on neonicotinoids. (Photo: CrashSunRay2013/cc/flickr)

Experts say that in order for bees and pollinators to survive and thrive, President Obama must order an immediate ban on neonicotinoids. (Photo: CrashSunRay2013/cc/flickr)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. You can read more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Faced with the growing crisis of declining bee populations, the White House on Tuesday released its strategy for improving pollinator health. Almost immediately, experts decried the plan, saying it “misses the mark” by refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming role that pesticides play in driving bee deaths.

Under the strategy (pdf) put forth by the Pollinator Health Task Force, which falls under the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal government aims to:

  • Reduce honey bee colony losses to no more than 15% within 10 years, deemed “economically sustainable levels.”
  • Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies and protect its annual North American migration.
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