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As former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed to the world in 2013, the U.S. government routinely spies on its own citizens.
"I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president," Snowden told the journalists crowded into his hotel room before the publication of his leaked documents.
The leaks exposed lies from government officials about the mass surveillance of American citizens, with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testifying before Congress that the NSA didn't "wittingly" collect any data on millions of Americans.
Four years after the Snowden leaks, the government is still collecting Americans' private information. Though the NSA claims it ended bulk collection of domestic phone calls, the agency is still operating several other far-reaching domestic spying programs.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is urging Congress to "promptly" reauthorize a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats also signed the letter, addressed to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. In the letter, addressed Sept. 7 but made public on Monday, Sessions and Coats say Congress must "promptly reauthorize, in clean and permanent form" Section 702 of FISA.
Washington (AFP) - The US Justice and Intelligence chiefs on Monday formally asked Congress to renew a crucial surveillance law, setting up a battle with civil libertarians over collection of Americans' personal data.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are seeking a reauthorization of Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), whose key Section 702 allows the National Security Agency to tap the communications of foreigners located abroad for intelligence purposes.
Team to ‘monitor’ individuals to ensure ‘positive behavior change’
As colleges across the country struggle with questions related to free speech on campuses, some schools have implemented policies that appear to give administrators significant latitude to discipline students for speaking in unpopular ways.
Most recently, the dean’s office of Utah Valley University, a public institution located in the north-central part of Utah, distributed a guidance letter to all faculty encouraging them to report to the school’s Behavior Assessment Team any students who use “inappropriate language,” are “argumentative,” or who speak “loudly.”
The letter, titled “Recognizing and Responding to Students of Concern,” was provided to The College Fix by a professor at Utah Valley. The document instructs faculty on the various types of behaviors that merit concern, including stalking, angry outbursts and bullying, as well as the signs that a student may harm himself or others.
Voters have a right to keep their political beliefs private. But according to some researchers, it won’t be long before a computer program can accurately guess whether people are liberal or conservative in an instant. All that will be needed are photos of their faces.
Michal Kosinski – the Stanford University professor who went viral last week for research suggesting that artificial intelligence (AI) can detect whether people are gay or straight based on photos – said sexual orientation was just one of many characteristics that algorithms would be able to predict through facial recognition.
Using photos, AI will be able to identify people’s political views, whether they have high IQs, whether they are predisposed to criminal behavior, whether they have specific personality traits and many other private, personal details that could carry huge social consequences, he said.
I'm not a crazy ACLU-type. I've had no problem with body-scanners or previous TSA pat-downs. In 2009, a terrorist famously smuggled a bomb in his underwear aboard a U.S. flight. But an agent of the state should probably only touch a citizen's genitals seven or eight times if the agent has reasonable suspicion, and not because a machine is malfunctioning or calibrated, intentionally or unintentionally, to detect explosives on everyone who is tested.
“Climate change denial should be a crime,” declared the Sept. 1 headline in the Outline. Mark Hertsgaard argued in a Sept. 7 article in the Nation, titled “Climate Denialism Is Literally Killing Us,” that “murder is murder” and “we should punish it as such.”
The suggestion that those who run afoul of the climate change consensus, in particular government officials, should face charges comes with temperatures flaring over the link between hurricanes and greenhouse gas emissions.
“In the wake of Harvey, it’s time to treat science denial as gross negligence — and hold those who do the denying accountable,” said the subhead in the Outline article, written by Brian Merchant.
A new research paper from Leo Goldstein claims to have quantified Google's bias against leading conservative sites—including PJ Media—in search ranking, especially (but not exclusively) in the area of climate change.
"Google Search is found to be biased in favor of left/liberal domains and against conservative domains with a confidence of 95%," Goldstein found. "Further, certain hard-Left domains have such a high [percentage of domain traffic, referred by Google Search, net of brand searches] that their standing raises suspicions that they have been hand-picked for prominent placement," he says, adding that "certain respected conservative domains are blacklisted."
A puzzling study of U.S. pregnancies found that women who had miscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have had back-to-back annual flu shots that included protection against swine flu.
Vaccine experts think the results may reflect the older age and other miscarriage risks for the women, and not the flu shots. Health officials say there is no reason to change the government recommendation that all pregnant women be vaccinated against the flu. They say the flu itself is a much greater danger to women and their fetuses.
Missouri has reportedly doubled its abortion capacity this year “thanks to the Satanic Temple and Planned Parenthood,” who have worked in tandem to fight the state’s restrictions on abortion.
With some of the most clearly defined regulations on abortion in the nation, Missouri had managed to lower the number of abortion facilities to a single clinic, but a second Missouri clinic opened its doors recently and two others plan on following soon.
Planned Parenthood has battled against state regulations requiring abortion clinics to meet the same surgical center standards as full hospitals and for their doctors to have hospital privileges, and in April a federal court sided with the abortion giant.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - The College Park City Council has voted in favor of a measure that would allow city residents who are not U.S. citizens to vote in local elections.
College Park joins six other towns in allowing legal permanent residents and undocumented immigrants to vote in municipal elections.
A Senate panel may be stealthily trying to give federal law enforcement a new tool to go after the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and its U.S. collaborators.
A one-sentence “Sense of Congress” clause was tacked onto the end of a massive 11,700-word bill that was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee and is likely to come before the full Senate later this month.
The clause says that WikiLeaks “resembles a non-state hostile intelligence service” and that the U.S. government “should treat it as such.”
A BLACK rapper has sparked outrage after his latest video showed him lynching a white child.
Hip hop artist XXXTentacion released the video for his latest track "Look At Me!" yesterday and has already been blasted on social media for the "outrageous" video
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has engaged in an unconstitutional practice of searching without a warrant the phones and laptops of Americans who are stopped at the border, a lawsuit filed on Wednesday alleged.
Ten U.S. citizens and one lawful permanent resident sued the Department of Homeland Security in federal court, saying the searches and prolonged confiscation of their electronic devices violate privacy and free speech protections of the U.S. Constitution.
Madrid (AFP) - Spain's public prosecutor on Wednesday ordered a criminal probe of over 700 Catalan mayors who are cooperating with an October 1 independence referendum deemed illegal by Madrid.
The move increases the pressure on Catalan officials just one day before the pro-separatist camp officially kicks off its referendum campaign in the Mediterranean port of Tarragona.
The prosecutors' office ordered the mayors who have agreed to help stage the vote be summoned to court as official suspects and if they do not appear to "order their arrest", according to a copy of the ruling obtained by AFP.
Catalonia's pro-separatist government has asked the wealthy northeastern region's 948 mayors to provide facilities for polling stations for the plebiscite.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned on Wednesday after a fifth man publicly accused the Democrat of molesting him as a child.
But Murray isn’t alone. At least 11 then-current and former mayors have been accused of child sex abuse-related crimes since 2016. The allegations range from child porn to physical abuse. The alleged victims were as young as four years old.
WASHINGTON (CBS4) – The federal government is worried some refrigerators and coffee pots could pose a national security risk, and it’s taking action.
Colorado’s U.S. Senator Cory Gardner among a bi-partisan group of senators who are sponsoring legislation to secure the so-called Internet of Things – everyday devices that are embedded with computer chips and sensors.
Gardner says those devices can be used as weapons of mass disruption.
“The federal government orders billions of dollars worth of Internet of Things devices each and every year,” says Gardner. “These are things that can be hacked into. You can try to control systems, instruments with them. You can certainly read what people are doing and maybe even eavesdrop on a conversation people are having.”
A McDonald’s cashier is facing an attempted murder charge after giving birth to a boy while at work and then trying to flush the newborn down a toilet inside the Redwood City restaurant, prosecutors said.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate on Wednesday rejected a bipartisan push for a new war authorization against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, electing to let the White House rely on a 16-year-old law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks as the legal basis to send U.S. troops into combat.
Senators voted 61-36 scuttle an amendment to the annual defense policy bill by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have allowed war authorizations, created in the wake of al-Qaida's 9/11 strikes, to lapse after six months. Paul, a leader of the GOP's noninterventionist wing, said Congress would use the time to debate an updated war authority for operations in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere before the old ones expired.
Anti-fascist activists, or “antifa,” increasingly mobilized in the wake of President Trump’s election, are unapologetic about what they describe as the necessary use of violence to combat authoritarianism.
While both experts on the movement and activists within it emphasize that not everyone who participates in anti-fascist activism engages in violence, they say the use of force is intrinsic to their political philosophy.
“The justification [of the use of violence] is that Nazi ideology at its very core is founded on violence and on wielding power by any means,” said Mike Isaacson, who is one of the founders of Smash Racism D.C., an antifa organization in Washington.
The men attacked two fellow customs officers on top of what they referred to as a "rape table" in an office inside Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport, authorities said.
In one instance, authorities allege Papagni, Catota, and others held one victim down on the table, while Perez was grinding his genitals up and down the victim's body. In another, authorities said the three men held a second victim down on the table while rubbing up and down against his leg.
Duke University is now seeking applicants for its "Men's Project," a nine-week program that helps men examine how their masculinity exists "often in toxic ways."
The program, now in its second year, meets weekly at the university's Women's Center, an on-campus office for students interested in learning how to "resist patriarchal oppression."
Burning Man cyclists are taking flak after an Instagram photo showing a sea of dusty bicycles abandoned on the playa was widely shared on social media.
The haunting photo by Logan Mirto shows some of the estimated 5,000 bicycles left by Burners who couldn't be bothered to take their sand cruisers home. One commenter said that the image looked like "Amsterdam Central in a dust storm." Some speculated that a number of the bikes might have been stolen or borrowed before they were discarded.
The mass littering of two-wheelers was condemned by other, more conscientious Burners, who admonished their brethren and reminded them of the Burning Man credo "leave no trace."
WASHINGTON — The federal government moved on Wednesday to wipe from its computer systems any software made by a prominent Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, that is being investigated by the F.B.I. for possible links to Russian security services.
The concerns surrounding Kaspersky, whose software is sold throughout the United States, are longstanding. The F.B.I., aided by American spies, has for years been trying to determine whether Kaspersky’s senior executives are working with Russian military and intelligence, according to current and former American officials. The F.B.I. has also been investigating whether Kaspersky software, including its well-regarded antivirus programs, contain back doors that could allow Russian intelligence access into computers on which it is running. The company denies the allegations.
Another prominent employee who also requested anonymity stated, “If I’d said Obama got elected because he was black is there any way I’d still be employed here? No chance. But Jemele can say Trump got elected because of white racists and no one does anything? They protect the people they agree with politically. They give them better jobs, more money, everyone can see it.”
Another employee recently contacted Outkick and said, “I pretend I’m a Democrat so I can keep my job here. And there are others just like me. We’re like a secret society inside ESPN.”
(CNSNews.com) - The federal government collected record total tax revenues through the first eleven months of fiscal 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016 through the end of August), according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.
Through August, the federal government collected approximately $2,966,172,000,000 in total tax revenues.
That was $8,450,680,000 more (in constant 2017 dollars) than the previous record of $2,957,721,320,000 in total tax revenues (in 2017 dollars) that the federal government collected in the first eleven months of fiscal 2016.
At the same time that the federal government was collecting a record $2,966,172,000,000 in tax revenues, it was spending $3,639,882,000,000—and, thus, running a deficit of $673,711,000,000.
ALBANY — Calling schools “the breeding ground” for dangerous gangs like MS-13, Gov. Cuomo on Wednesday announced state police will be going into schools to combat the problem.
Cuomo during a Long Island appearance said “gang prevention officers” from the State Police will be posted in the 10 Suffolk County schools believed to have the highest incidents of gang-related activity.
Suffolk County has been ravaged murders and violence committed by the Central American-based gang. The situation even resulted in a visit recently by President Trump, who vowed to “destroy the vile cartel MS-13.”
Motel 6 Locations in Phoenix Were Sharing Guest Lists With ICE
A report yesterday noted that two Phoenix, Arizona Motel 6 locations had a habit of providing the names of their guests to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
The controversial guest-reporting method apparently led to at least 20 immigration-related arrests at the motels in question over the course of the past seven months. Quoted in the article is an unnamed front-desk clerk, who said:
No employees were willing to speak on the record, however, and Motel 6’s corporate office–as well as their media department–ignored phone calls about the issue for “several weeks” before the story broke.We send a report every morning to ICE — all the names of everybody that comes in. Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.
A local ICE spokesperson similarly demurred. Yasmeen Pitts O’Keefe, the agency’s Phoenix-area Public Affairs Officer, said, “I wouldn’t be able to confirm how we are getting our information. Those are investigative techniques that we wouldn’t be able to talk about.” O’Keefe then seemed to tip her hand, saying:
And, apparently the hints and suspicions were more or less right on the money. A report issued today confirms the guest-reporting activities of at least one Motel 6 location.If hypothetically we were somewhere — if we did administratively arrest some folks — that happens all the time. We conduct targeted enforcement operations every day.
After the Phoenix New Times published the initial report yesterday, it ignited a massive backlash and firestorm online. Editorial cartoons were fierce and unforgiving. The ACLU got involved. Motel 6’s social media accounts drew unprecedented amounts of unchecked scorn. Pro-Trump commentators and conservatives celebrated giddily at the news that people’s names were being turned in to the feds.
After all that, Motel 6’s corporate office was prompted to respond–by confirming the report and disavowing the practice of turning guest information over to federal authorities. Via Twitter they wrote:
Hi all, it’s Eric. Big tech is falling out of political favor. This week, BuzzFeed's Ben Smith convincingly argued that the tides are turning against Google, Facebook and Amazon. The article, “There's Blood in the Water in Silicon Valley,” is worth a read. As Ben points out, Steve Bannon is leading the charge from the right, calling for Google and Facebook to be regulated like public utilities. Bernie Sanders is helping to push the anti-tech charge from the left. Populists on both wings want to kneecap big tech.
It’s like something out of George Orwell’s 1984.
Canada’s Competition Bureau, an arm’s length agency funded by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to the tune of almost $50 million annually, investigated three organizations accused of denying mainstream climate science for over a year, following a complaint from an environmental group.
* * *
It accused three groups, Friends of Science, the International Climate Science Coalition, and the Heartland Institute of making false and misleading claims about climate change, including that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
When it launched its complaint in December, 2015, Ecojustice told the National Observer it would press the Commissioner of Competition to refer the matter to the Attorney-General of Canada for “criminal charges against the denier groups”.
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