In 10 or 15 years from now, when gay marriage is legal in every state, historians will look back on days like today. They will be amazed that people actually thought it was really controversial that the President of the United States would say he was in support of it. I think it will be like now looking back on African American and woman rights. All the people on the wrong side of history today need to remember this day because I imagine there will be a lot of apologizing in your future.
Total surveillance of the people is what Congress ultimately wants, so it is no surprise that this is apparently a top legislative priority for them — even at a time when 1 out of every 2 recent college graduates face unemployment. Even at a time when our total public debt is above $15 trillion.
How bad is CISPA in its current form? Here’s some analysis from Techdirt: “Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part. [...] Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for ‘cybersecurity’ or ‘national security’ purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.”
Let me put this into perspective for you:
- If the government suspects you are a genuine “bad guy,” like a cyberterrorist, human trafficker, drug kingpin, etc… they can already seize all of this online activity information about you. It’s called obtaining a warrant. CISPA does away with that. It supercedes ALL existing federal privacy laws. As Techdirt’s Leigh Beadon put it, “Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power.”
President Barack Obama has announced fresh sanctions against Iran, Syria and those who help them use technology to perpetrate human rights abuses.
The executive order creates sanctions against the government of Syria and Iran “and those who abet them, for using technologies to monitor, target and track its citizens for violence”.
“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” said Mr Obama.
And yet we have CISPA.
What about the citizens of the US? Will we be taking sanctions against the companies and organizations that track and monitor us? Against those that provide the tools and technologies to do so?
More to the point: Will the US government sanction itself?
The open internet group EFF has warned that CISPA’s broad wording could class many routine internet activities, such as using encryption on emails or enabling anonymity using a service called TOR, as potential threats.
“Any existing legal protections of user privacy will be usurped by CISPA,” the EFF claims. “The bill clearly states that the information may be shared ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law.’”
Just because SOPA and PIPA, the infamous internet “kill switch” bills, are largely dead does not mean the threat to internet free speech has become any less serious. TheCyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act(CISPA), also known as H.R. 3523, is the latest mutation of these internet censorship and spying bills to hit the U.S. Congress — and unless the American people speak up now to stop it, CISPA could lead to far worse repercussions for online free speech than SOPA or PIPA ever would have.
CNET, the popular technology news website that was among many others who spoke up against SOPA and PIPA earlier in the year, including Occupy Wall Street, is also one of many now sounding the alarm about CISPA, which was authored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). Though the bill’s promoters are marketing it as being nothing like SOPA or PIPA, CISPA is exactly like those bills, except worse.
What CISPA will do, if passed, is remove all the legal barriers that currently stop internet service providers, government agencies, and others from arbitrarily spying on internet users. In the name of “cybersecurity,” a term that is undefined in the bill, CISPA will essentially allow internet users to be surveilled by the government without probable cause or a search warrant, which is a clear violation of users’ constitutional civil liberties.
Additionally, it will allow websites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to intercept emails, text messages, and other private information that might be considered a threat to “cybersecurity.” The government can then demand access to this information, even if it has nothing to do with copyright infringement, which is one of the excuses being used for why such a bill is needed in the first place.
Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rightsexperts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.
There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.
However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:
1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.
2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.
3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.
4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”
5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”
Occupy Wall Street says it’s time to end the drug war. It’s a losing battle that can never be won. It does A LOT more bad than good. It’s time to get with reality.
Here’s their next move: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, would obliterate any semblance of online privacy in the United States. It’s up for a vote later this month.
CISPA demolishes existing barriers between the government and the private sector — and between government agencies — that restrict data sharing without cause, effectively allowing information about Americans’ use of the Internet to slosh back and forth uninhibited.
The Center for Democracy and Technology says, “CISPA has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws.
Occupy Wall Street says we must do all we can to protect the internet. Stop CISPA now while you still can.
State lawmakers are calling for greater oversight of campus police departments after investigators blasted administrators and officers at the University of California, Davis, for pepper-spraying demonstrators—a police action that drew widespread criticism after a video went viral.
In a report released Wednesday, a UC Davis task force said the decision to douse seated Occupy protesters with the eye-stinging chemical was “objectively unreasonable” and not authorized by campus policy.
“The pepper-spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented,” concluded the task force created to investigate the confrontation.
The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, said in a statement that the report “shows the systemic and administrative problems that led up to an outrageous and excessive use of force against peaceful student demonstrators.”
Of all this President’s many progressive achievements—the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Student Loan Reform, Health Care Reform, pulling out of Iraq—the one that isn’t mentioned enough in the feeds I follow is the the ending of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’
The DADT compromise enacted during the Clinton Administration made the closeting of gays and lesbians policy for the US military. It sent a message that homosexuals needed to lie or risk losing everything.
In one of the last acts of the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, this ridiculous policy was ended – and Occupy Wall Street is happy. And the President signed the bill into law. It was a long overdue yet historic achievement for decency and equality.
Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and effectively handing the nomination to Mitt Romney.
“We made a decision over the weekend that, while this presidential race for us is over — for me — and we will suspend our campaign effective today, we are not done fighting,” Santorum said at a campaign event in Gettysburg, Pa., the site of the historic and pivotal Civil War battle.
The former Pennsylvania senator had been Romney’s top opponent, but he suffered a trio of defeats last week in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and over the weekend his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized for the second time this campaign due to complications from a rare genetic disorder.
Occupy Wall Street could not be happier with this.
The family of Trayvon Martin joined thousands of demonstrators, who teamed up with Occupy Wall Street, to march across New York City last night to protest the shooting death of the Florida teenager. The “Million Hoodie March,” as it was dubbed, was organized to show support for the Martin family and call for the arrest of the George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin last month, but has not been charged after claiming self-defense. Martin’s parents spoke to crowd to thank them for their support and continue to push for chages to be filed against Zimmerman. Martin’s mother Sabrina Fulton told the gathered protesters that “My son is your son.”
While Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum duke it out for delegates in high-profile primaries like Illinois and Pennsylvania, Ron Paul’s quiet pursuit of delegates appears to be paying off.
Early results from Missouri’s caucuses this weekend show that the long-shot presidential candidate is significantly outperforming his rivals in the race for delegates. Senior campaign advisers tell Business Insider that Paul appears to have picked up the majority of Missouri’s delegates, despite having lost the state’s nonbinding primary to Rick Santorum.
“We did do real well in Missouri,” Benton said. “Some county conventions are still going on, but we’ve got good turnout. Anecdotal evidence shows we won multiple caucuses, and it looks like we’re going to pick up the majority of delegates.”
Although the final delegate tally won’t be determined until the state party convention this spring, Occupy Wall Street says, Paul’s success in Missouri is a validation of his low-key caucus strategy. The Paul campaign has recently shifted its focus to winning unbound delegates in caucus states, where delegates are elected at state conventions rather than by the popular vote.
One of my favorite documentaries. People and members of Occupy Wall Street need to fear neo-conservatism more than terrorism. There is nothing worse than an ideology that uses deception and misdirection as its core principles.