• DamianTV

    by Published on 03-19-2014 08:49 AM

    Former US lawmaker Ron Paul (R-Texas) has criticized members of Congress for their hypocrisy over the issue of Washington’s spying, saying they are exempt from laws they pass.

    “There is an attitude in Washington that the laws Congress passes do not apply to Members,” Paul wrote in his weekly column on Sunday. “They can trample our civil liberties, they believe, but it should never affect their own freedom.”

    Paul also singled out Sen. Dianne Feinstein and criticized her for supporting the US government’s spying activities but speaking out against them when such activities target US senators.

    Feinstein, a California Democrat and the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has always been an avid supporter of the National Security Agency’s surveillance operations on US citizens, but has now become concerned about illegal government snooping ever since it was revealed that the Central Intelligence Agency had penetrated staff computers belonging to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
    Full story: http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/03...about-privacy/
    by Published on 03-18-2014 10:48 PM

    The percentage of workers who feel confident about their retirement security rebounded last year as Wall Street rallied, but the outlook remains bleak for workers without retirement benefits.

    Thirty-six percent of workers have less than $1,000 in savings and investments for retirement, according to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey from Employee Benefit Research Institute. This is an increase from 28% in 2013.

    Jack VanDerhei, the institute’s research director and co-author of the study, says that more than 70% of workers without a retirement plan like a 401(k) or IRA have less than $1,000 to fund their golden years. “If workers don’t have something provided by their employer, this means that they are saving virtually nothing on their own.”
    Continued: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-...or-retirement/
    by Published on 03-13-2014 08:26 PM

    http://rt.com/usa/nsa-greenwald-malware-infect-382/

    Yet more previously secret surveillance operations waged by the United States National Security Agency were made public Wednesday morning thanks to leaked documents supplied by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    The files — published first by The Intercept this week and dissected over the course of a 3,000-word article attributed to journalists Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher — bring to light a number of previously unreported programs undertaken by the secretive US spy agency, including operations that have given the NSA the potential to infect millions of computers around the world by relying on malicious software that’s sent to targets through surreptitious means.

    In recent years, however, the NSA has reportedly made adjustments to these operations that enable them to by carried out automatically without the direct aid of human spies — a decision that experts say is undermining the internet as it is known today,

    “Top-secret documents reveal that the National Security Agency is dramatically expanding its ability to covertly hack into computers on a mass scale by using automated systems that reduce the level of human oversight in the process,” the journalists wrote.
    Continued: http://rt.com/usa/nsa-greenwald-malware-infect-382/
    by Published on 03-13-2014 01:36 PM

    Spanish Media, so an interpreter does a voice over for the interviewer.



    Now lets get to Obamas statement. We dont want to be required to pay for Health Insurance and receive no Health Care. We want Health Care that we can afford when we need it.
    by Published on 03-11-2014 07:06 PM

    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/14/03/...to-individuals

    "Buried deep in a section of President Obama's budget, released this week, is an eye-opening fact: This year, 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high. In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP. What's more, the cost of these direct payments is exploding. Even after adjusting for inflation, they've shot up 29% under Obama."

    It's very hard to lay blame on only one part of the U.S. government, though; as the two largest parties are often fond of pointing out when it suits them, all spending bills originate in the House.
    (embedded links underlined)

    Aah nothing says Freedom like the Redistribution of your Wealth, or lack thereof.
    by Published on 03-06-2014 10:00 AM

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...staffers.shtml

    from the biting-the-hand-that-oversees-you dept

    While at times, it's appeared that the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein, serves more to prop up the intelligence community than to handle oversight, it has actually clashed quite a bit with the CIA. We've discussed a few times how the Committee has been pushing to release a supposedly devastating 6,000 page report about the CIA's torture program, which cost taxpayers an equally astounding $40 million to produce. However, the CIA has been fighting hard to block the release of the report, arguing that it misrepresents the CIA's actions.

    However, things are getting even more bizarre, as the NY Times is reporting that the CIA is now accused of spying on the Intelligence Committee and its staffers in its attempt to keep that report from being released.

    The details are still a little cloudy, but in December, Senator Mark Udall revealed that the Senate Intelligence Committee had come across an internal CIA study that apparently corroborated the information that is in the big Senate report -- and which directly contradicted claims by the CIA to the Committee about how the report was inaccurate -- suggesting that, on top of everything else, the CIA lied to the Intelligence Committee. Udall quizzed CIA boss John Brennan about that internal report. And according to the NY Times, it appears that CIA folks freaked out that the Intelligence Committee somehow got access to that internal study, and responded the way the CIA knows best: by starting to spy on Intelligence Committee staffers:

    The agency’s inspector general began the inquiry partly as a response to complaints from members of Congress that C.I.A. employees were improperly monitoring the work of staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to government officials with knowledge of the investigation.

    The committee has spent several years working on a voluminous report about the detention and interrogation program, and according to one official interviewed in recent days, C.I.A. officers went as far as gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to carry out its investigation.


    (continues on link)
    by Published on 03-04-2014 06:05 PM

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...,4359853.story

    The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved sweeping new regulations that would treat e-cigarettes like conventional cigarettes, after one of the most personal debates to be heard on the council floor in years.

    On a 14-0 vote, lawmakers outlawed "vaping" -- the practice of inhaling the vapors produced by e-cigarettes -- in most work sites and many public places, including parks and certain beaches.

    Lawmakers voted to continue allowing e-cigarette use in so-called vaping lounges, where patrons can try the various e-juices that are loaded into the battery-powered devices. And they narrowly defeated a push by the e-cigarette industry to let the practice continue in 21-and-over establishments, such as bars and nightclubs.

    (more on link)
    by Published on 02-26-2014 11:58 PM

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...A1P0S620140226

    (Reuters) - A California city is to consult its citizens on whether to impose a soda tax on sugary drinks, following failed bids by other local governments to pass similar measures.

    The Berkeley City Council will gauge local voter support for a penny-per-ounce tax - opposed by most of the soft drinks industry but which its backers say could help to curb obesity and diabetes - in an opinion poll next week.

    Depending on the outcome, it might include a referendum on introducing the tax in a city-wide ballot in November.

    Other U.S. cities have tried without success to enact such a tax amid a growing national movement to curb the consumption of high-calorie beverages. Proposals are under consideration in San Francisco and the state of Illinois.

    Attempts to tax sugary drinks in two other California cities, Richmond and El Monte, failed in the face of strong opposition from the beverage industry.

    (more on link)
    If they start putting a tax on anything with Sugar in it, they'll end up with a tax everything in the entire food industry.
    by Published on 02-21-2014 09:41 AM

    http://rt.com/usa/seattle-surveillance-dhs-grant-943/

    Privacy advocates in the Pacific Northwest are squaring off with local police over plans to install a system that would link surveillance camera video with databases containing photographs of hundreds of thousands of area residents.

    In Seattle, Washington, the City Council will soon decide on whether or not they should approve an ordinance that green-lights a $1.6 million federal grant, a large chunk of which will be used to purchase sophisticated facial recognition software that supporters of the measure say would help stop crime.

    Those Department of Homeland Security dollars would let the Seattle police pay for software that digitally scans surveillance camera footage and then tries to match images of the individuals caught on tape with any one of the 350,000-or-so people who have been photographed previously by King County, Washington law enforcement.

    “An officer has to reasonably believe that a person has been involved in a crime or committed a crime” before they begin to use the program, Assistant Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best told KIRO-TV this week

    Once the facial recognition software is initiated, though, it scours a collection containing close to a half-a-million area residents — including many who may never have been convicted of a crime.

    (more on link)
    by Published on 02-21-2014 08:39 AM

    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/...pon-us/283922/

    The government wants a national database noting where license plates were spotted. Congress should regulate the runaway data-collection industry instead.

    The automobile has afforded greater freedom to so many different kinds of Americans: the mad dreamers portrayed in On the Road; the post-World War II families who suddenly had the means to pack their kids in the backseat and vacation a thousand miles from home; the Jim Crow-era blacks for whom cars were an alternative to racist public-transportation systems; the generations of American teenagers who cruised the local strip in their own versions of American Graffiti. This heritage is dear to many, and helps explain popular opposition to policies as diverse as toll roads, speed cameras, and permitting the Transportation Security Administration to expand its operations on the nation's highways. All challenge a romantic preference for an America where anyone can climb into a car, fill up, and drive wherever they damn well please unimpeded.

    Sympathetic as I am to that broad vision, its adherents sometimes resist sound reforms. The nation would be better off with better public-transportation infrastructure, more bike lanes, and lower carbon emissions. All of this can be accomplished without coercing anyone out of their cars. Meanwhile, a far more profound threat to the significant freedoms automobiles afford has garnered very little attention, and hardly any backlash, in part because it's been implemented so quietly: The U.S. government is pushing for infrastructure that could track every car trip we take.

    Is the relative anonymity the open road has long afforded something we're ready to give up? In an up or down vote, I'm confident the American people would say, "Hell no." But automatic license-plate readers threaten much of the privacy we've always enjoyed, on the road and at our destinations of choice, as never before.

    These devices garnered a bit of attention last summer, when the ACLU reported on how many states and localities have installed them on patrol cars, bridges, and highway overpasses, where they capture images of every passing vehicle. The intention is often to find stolen cars or to catch drivers evading warrants for their arrest. Yet in most cases, "these systems are configured to store the photograph, the license plate number, and the date, time, and location where all vehicles are seen—not just the data of vehicles that generate hits," the ACLU explained. "All of this information is being placed into databases, and is sometimes pooled into regional sharing systems .... All too frequently, these data are retained permanently and shared widely with few or no restrictions on how they can be used."

    (continues on link)
    And if this doesnt work, another more sinister version will follow up right behind it until it gets shoved down our throats. Remember SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA?
    by Published on 02-16-2014 05:07 PM

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/...A1E11D20140216

    (Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed legislation on Saturday that raises the U.S. debt limit through March 2015, taking the politically volatile issue off the table with congressional elections coming up this November.

    Without an increase in the statutory debt limit, the U.S. government would have soon defaulted on some of its obligations and would have had to shut down some programs, an historic event that would have caused severe market turmoil.

    On a long holiday weekend in a desert resort area in southern California, Obama put his signature on the legislation without fanfare, while behind closed doors at the Sunnylands retreat.

    It was a quiet end to the latest chapter in what has been one of the more challenging aspects of his presidency, as he and his fellow Democrats have repeatedly sparred with Republicans over increasing the country's borrowing authority.

    Extending the debt ceiling to March 2015 means the issue may not get caught up in election-year politics.
    Dog and Pony Show.
    by Published on 02-15-2014 02:13 AM

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rand-pau...n-my-lifetime/

    Just days after warning his party that it will lose its electoral grip on Texas if it doesn’t broaden its appeal, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., offered an even more dire prediction on Thursday: Forget losing Texas – the GOP might never win a presidential election again if it doesn’t change its tune.

    “I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime…unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party,” Paul said during an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck that aired Thursday. “And it has to be a transformation. Not a little tweaking at the edges.”

    The Kentucky Republican said the GOP needs to do a better job of tailoring specific messages to specific groups.
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