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Cannabidiol Protects Liver From Binge Alcohol-Induced Steatosis – ScienceDirect 1/20/14

Source: ScienceDirect   Abstract Acute alcohol drinking induces steatosis, and effective prevention of steatosis can protect liver from progressive damage caused by alcohol. Increased oxidative stress has been reported as one mechanism underlying alcohol-induced steatosis. We evaluated whether cannabidiol, which has been reported to function as an antioxidant, can protect the liver from alcohol-generated oxidative stress-induced steatosis. Cannabidiol can prevent acute alcohol-induced liver steatosis in mice, possibly by preventing the increase in oxidative stress and the activation Read more [...]

Mimosa Plants Have Long Term Memory, Can Learn, Biologists Say – SciNews 1/16/14

Source:   By using the same experimental framework normally applied to test learnt behavioral responses in animals, biologists from Australia and Italy have successfully demonstrated that Mimosa pudica – an exotic herb native to South America and Central America – can learn and remember just as well as it would be expected of animals. Mimosa pudica is known as the Sensitive plant or a touch-me-not. Dr Monica Gagliano from the University of Western Australia and her colleagues designed their experiments as if Mimosa was indeed an animal. They trained Mimosa‘s Read more [...]

First UK Legal Challenge To CIA Drones Blocked By Court Of Appeal – TBIJ 1/20/14

Source: TBIJ   An unprecedented attempt to discover if UK officials are complicit in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan has been stopped by the Court of Appeal. The court ruled that a case being brought by a Pakistani whose father was killed in a CIA drone strike on March 17 2011, could not go ahead as it could require an English court to pass judgements on the United States. The case was brought by Noor Khan whose father was a tribal elder from Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region. Khan’s father died as he led a tribal council. At least 18 other civilians were reported Read more [...]

Eurostat To Revise EU’s Annual GDP Figures Higher – Reuters 1/16/14

Source: Reuters   Jan 16 (Reuters) - The European Union's statistics office will revise upwards the EU's annual gross domestic product figures by 2.4 percentage points when it switches to a new accounting standard in September, the European Commission said on Thursday. The change will affect all past GDP figures and future data series, the EU's statistics agency Eurostat said. The switch to the European System of Accounts 2010, replacing the old ESA 1995, is part of a worldwide move to a new accounting system called System of National Accounts 2008, already implemented in the Read more [...]

When Net Neutrality Becomes Programmed Censorship – Washington’sBlog 1/20/14

Source: Washington'sBlog   The worst fears of all free speech proponents are upon us. The Verizon suit against the Federal Communications Commission, appellate decision sets the stage for a Supreme Court review. The Wall Street Journal portrays the ruling in financial terms: “A federal court has tossed out the FCC’s “open internet” rules, and now internet service providers are free to charge companies like Google and Netflix higher fees to deliver content faster.” In essence, this is the corporate spin that the decision is about the future cost for being connected. “The Read more [...]

Doctor Angry Ohio Executed Inmate Despite ‘Horror’ Warning – TheGuardian 1/20/14

Source: TheGuardian   Anaesthesiologist David Waisel warned Ohio court Dennis McGuire would experience 'agony and horror' during execution. The anaesthesiologist who told a court that a new two-drug protocol used in an execution in Ohio would cause the inmate “agony and horror”, has expressed anger the state pressed ahead with the experiment despite his warnings. David Waisel, associate professor of anaesthesia at Harvard medical school, who acted as expert witness for Dennis McGuire's defence attorneys, said he was angry when he learned Ohio had gone ahead with the execution Read more [...]

Obama Lectures Those Outraged By NSA Surveillance Programs In Speech Announcing Reforms – Firedoglake 1/17/14

Source: Firedoglake   The president delivered a speech on changes his administration would support to National Security Agency programs and policies, but what most stood out was not the announced reforms. It was how the speech focused on him and what he had done and how it seemed like he was lecturing Americans who have been outraged by what they have learned about massive government surveillance in the past six months. President Barack Obama seemed deeply offended that anyone would think he had done an inadequate job or had enabled surveillance state policies. …I was Read more [...]

Canada’s Spy Agencies Lied To The Courts – WSWS 1/18/14

Source: WSWS   The Canadian state’s principal spy agencies—the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)—have been found by a senior federal judge to have “systematically” lied to the courts, omitting and concealing information in numerous warrant applications. In late November a handful of reports appeared in the press referring to a secret Nov. 22 ruling by Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley. Identified in these reports as “Canada’s foremost jurist on national security,” Justice Mosley was said Read more [...]

Obama To Dems: I’ll Act With Or Without Congress – AP 1/15/14

Source: AP   WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has told Senate Democrats he plans to use his executive authority to act in 2014 when Congress stands in his way. Obama met with senators from his own party Wednesday at the White House. The White House says Obama and Democrats discussed proposals to raise the minimum wage and efforts to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul. Education initiatives and jobs measures were also on the agenda. The White House says Obama wants to work with Congress to make progress, but will also act on his own to get things done. The meeting Read more [...]

Obama Fans Aren’t Even Pretending That Was A Good Speech – Firedoglake 1/17/14

Source: Firedoglake   President Barack Obama gave a eulogy for the Fourth Amendment on Friday, and not even his fans are proclaiming victory. In this moment when Obama is actually doing one thing I agree with (talking to Iran), more and more people seem to be slowly, agonizingly slowly, finally, finally, finally, recognizing what a complete huckster he is when it comes to pretty speeches about his crimes. Obama’s speech and new “policy directive” eliminate the Fourth Amendment. Massive bulk collection of everybody’s data will continue unconstitutionally, but Obama has Read more [...]

Obama’s Speech, Annotated Version – EmptyWheel 1/17/14

Source: EmptyWheel   Obama’s speech as written is below, with my comments (no indent) included. At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the “The Sons of Liberty” was established in Boston. The group’s members included Paul Revere, and at night they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots. As I noted, raising Paul Revere is a really problematic analogy, because had the Brits done metadata analysis on Revere the way the government does on people who Read more [...]

Whoops: Tragic Photo Of Orphaned ‘Syrian’ Boy Is Fake – ForeignPolicy 1/17/14

Source: ForeignPolicy Syrian opposition leader Ahmed Jarba tweeted a disturbing photo Friday morning that purportedly depicts an orphaned Syrian boy sleeping between the graves of parents. Lest anyone get the wrong idea, he made sure to finger Assad as the culprit behind the pictured boy's sad fate, tweeting: The photo has been making the rounds on Twitter, where it has stirred up fresh outrage about the human toll of the conflict in Syria. Too bad it's totally fake. Far from being a chronicle of war, the photo was actually part of an art project by Saudi Arabian photographer, Read more [...]

Transcript: Another NSA Whistleblower, Russell Tice – WhoWhatWhy 1/16/14

Source: WhoWhatWhy   Edward Snowden and his revelations are a very big deal. But he isn’t the only NSA whistleblower. One who has not gotten anywhere as much attention as he deserves is Russell Tice. Wait ‘til you hear what he has to say. We transcribed the following July 10, 2013 interview with Russell Tice, NSA Whistleblower, by Abby Martin on RT’s Breaking the Set: Abby: As the ongoing NSA revelations [bring out] more information on the government’s secret spying program, the man who leaked the story, Edward Snowden is in [the] spotlight. However it’s important Read more [...]

The Corruption Of Power: President Obama Trusts Himself Not To Abuse NSA Info – TechDirt 1/16/14

Source: TechDirt   We've pointed out in the past that President Obama's views on the surveillance state shifted completely from when he was Senator to when he was President. As Senator, he supported a bunch of reforms that are very much like the ones his panel have suggested -- and which he's about to ignore. The NY Times has a long article talking about President Obama's path from an NSA critic to a supporter, and this is the key line, delivered by a nameless "former aide:" ...he trusts himself to use these powers more than he did the Bush administration. This is not the first Read more [...]

Today I Briefed Congress On The NSA – Schneier 1/16/14

Source: Schneier   This morning I spent an hour in a closed room with six Members of Congress: Rep. Logfren, Rep. Sensenbrenner, Rep. Scott, Rep. Goodlate, Rep Thompson, and Rep. Amash. No staffers, no public: just them. Lofgren asked me to brief her and a few Representatives on the NSA. She said that the NSA wasn't forthcoming about their activities, and they wanted me -- as someone with access to the Snowden documents -- to explain to them what the NSA was doing. Of course I'm not going to give details on the meeting, except to say that it was candid and interesting. And that it's Read more [...]

Grayson Introduces ‘Big Brother Is Not Watching You Act’ To Rein In NSA – House 1/15/14

Source:   Bill Directs President to Implement NSA Review Group’s Recommendations to Curb Surveillance Grayson Introduces ‘Big Brother Is Not Watching You Act’ to Rein in NSA Bill Directs President to Implement NSA Review Group’s Recommendations to Curb Surveillance (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-09) introduced legislation today that directs the President to implement the recommendations proposed by his own Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. Grayson’s one-page bill is titled the ‘Big Brother Is Read more [...]

Executed Killer Dennis McGuire Gasped And Snorted For 15 Minutes Under New Lethal Drug Combo – HuffingtonPost 1/16/14

Source: HuffingtonPost   LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A condemned Ohio inmate appeared to gasp several times and took more than 15 minutes to die Thursday as he was executed with a combination of drugs never before tried in the U.S. Death row inmate Dennis McGuire made several loud snorting or snoring sounds during one of the longest executions since Ohio resumed capital punishment in 1999. In attempting to halt his execution with the new method, McGuire's attorneys had argued last week he was at substantial risk of "agony and terror" while straining to catch his breath as he Read more [...]

What You Were Never Told About Obamacare – Mises 1/14/14

Source:   While the costs of providing health care insurance are beginning to skyrocket because of Obamacare, insurance company executives are sleeping very soundly. A respected consultant to health insurance companies, Robert Laszewski, reveals that there are two obscure provisions in Obamacare that guarantee that insurance companies will be subsidized and bailed out by Amercian taxpayers. Indeed the Congressional Budget Office estimates that $1.071 trillion will be coercively transferred from taxpayers to big insurance companies over the next decade. This massive Read more [...]

Forex: Confidence In The Dollar Wavering – 1/14/14

Source: Forbes     Today’s U.S. retail sales report is this week’s headliner – it is the definitive measure of consumer spending during the holiday shopping season on this side of the Atlantic. Investors require a relatively strong distraction from last Friday’s disappointing job numbers. So far, they have been kept awake by a parade of Federal Reserve speakers, and today is no different with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President, Charles Plosser (2014 voter, hawk), and Richard Fisher, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (voter, hawk), due Read more [...]

NSA Collects Millions Of Text Messages Daily In ‘Untargeted’ Global Sweep – TheGuardian 1/16/13

Source: TheGuardian   • NSA extracts location, contacts and financial transactions  • 'Dishfire' program sweeps up 'pretty much everything it can' • GCHQ using database to search metadata from UK numbers The National Security Agency has collected almost 200 million text messages a day from across the globe, using them to extract data including location, contact networks and credit card details, according to top-secret documents. The untargeted collection and storage of SMS messages – including their contacts – is revealed in a joint investigation between the Guardian Read more [...]

Court Rules That Woman Wrongfully Placed On No Fly List Should Be Taken Off The List… We Think – TechDirt 1/14/14

Source: TechDirt   We've written a few times about the troubling case of Rahinah Ibrahim, a PhD. student at Stanford who was wrongfully placed on the "no fly" list because (it appears) some clueless law enforcement officials mixed up the names of a networking group of professional Muslims in Malaysia who had returned from work or study in the US and Europe (which she was a part of) and a very, very different terrorist organization. While she had received something of an apology for initially not being allowed to fly to Malaysia (and then allowed to fly), it appeared that her name Read more [...]

Police Not Guilty In Kelly Thomas Death; DA Won’t Try 3rd Officer – LATimes 113/14

Source: LATimes   An Orange County jury Monday found two former Fullerton police officers accused of killing a schizophrenic homeless man, Kelly Thomas, not guilty. Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli were charged with striking Kelly Thomas with a baton and a stun gun in a beating that left him comatose. He died five days later. Ron Thomas, Kelly Thomas' father, said he was stunned by the verdict, saying he'd never seen such a miscarriage of justice. Thomas also suggested that federal authorities should look into the case. Ramos' attorney, John Barnett, told Read more [...]

Police Send Bomb Squad To Teen’s House After He Doodles A Superhero With Flaming Glove – Alternet 1/13/14

Source: AlterNet   Parents sue educators, police, and prosecutors for reaction to harmless drawing days after the Newtown, CT massacre. NEWARK (CN) - New Jersey high school officials and police sent a bomb squad to a disabled student's home and arrested him after seeing his doodles of a superhero glove with a flame coming out of it, the boy's parents claim in court. The parents, K.J. and T.J., sued the Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District Board of Education, the school superintendent, principal, other administrators and teacher, that Atlantic County Prosecutor's Read more [...]

The FDA Wants To Dig Through Everyone’s Stuff In Order To ‘Monitor Online Sentiment’ – TechDirt 1/13/14

Source: TechDirt   The FDA would like to know what you're thinking. It doesn't want to read minds and it couldn't care less about your lesser, non-FDA-related thoughts. That stuff's for other agencies with even creepier intentions and more nefarious toolsets. No, the FDA wants to know what you, the public, think about the FDA. And by "think," it means post stuff on the internet. And by "stuff," it means damn near everything. Regulatory Focus (via the Pharma Marketing Blog) reports that the FDA is seeking bids from contractors in order to provide the agency with assistance Read more [...]

Welcome To The Blackstone Recovery: Over 11 Million Americans Spent More Than Half Their Income On Rent – ZeroHedge 1/13/14

Source: ZeroHedge   As we wrote most recently in November, the median asking rent in the US just rose to an all time high... ... explained by the lowest US homeownership rate in nearly 20 years. And while the charts above mean another year of record bonuses for America's largest landlord, Wall Street-based Blackstone, they also mean something else for millions of ordinary Americans: a choice, which as Bloomberg summarizes, “We either eat, or we pay rent.” Indeed, in the new normal, the recovery means an ordinary American worker either has a roof above their Read more [...]

Google To Acquire Nest – Google 1/13/14

Source: Google   MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA – JANUARY 13, 2014 — Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash. Nest’s mission is to reinvent unloved but important devices in the home such as thermostats and smoke alarms. Since its launch in 2011, the Nest Learning Thermostat has been a consistent best seller--and the recently launched Protect (Smoke + CO Alarm) has had rave reviews. Larry Page, CEO of Google, said: “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team Read more [...]

Google Links Its Email Service To Social Network, Raises Privacy Concerns – RT 1′/10/13

Source: RT   Gmail users could soon start receiving letters from people who don’t have their e-mail address, as Google has launched a new feature linking its e-mail service with its social networking. Privacy experts have voiced concern. Gmail and Google+ users were alerted of an update to these services on Friday. “Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven't yet exchanged email addresses?” the Google information letter on the update asks. It then describes the new feature which makes it possible to send a letter to anyone on Google+, even if the person is Read more [...]

Latest Twist On DRM Of Physical Products: Machines Locked Down By Geolocation – TechDirt 1/10/14

Source: TechDirt   Despite overwhelming evidence that the public hates DRM, companies persist in coming up with new ways to impose it in an effort to control how their products are used. Here's the latest twist, pointed out to us by @dozykraut: On Practical Machinist, there's a fascinating thread about the manufacturer's lockdown on a high-priced, high-end Mori Seiki NV5000 A/40 CNC [computer numerical control] mill. The person who started the thread owns the machine outright, but has discovered that if he moves it at all, a GPS and gyro sensor package in the machine automatically Read more [...]

Pharmacy Group Lies To Registrars: If We Complain About A Site, It Must Be Taken Down No Questions Asked – TechDirt 1/10/14

Source: TechDirt   This is incredible. Just yesterday we wrote about how EasyDNS won its arbitration case, saying that a registrar cannot takedown and block the transfer of a domain name just on the say so of law enforcement or anyone else not carrying a court order. And, the very next day, EasyDNS is reporting on an absurd letter it has received from the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which argues exactly the opposite of what the arbitration panel told EasyDNS. Incredibly, it says that if it complains about a domain, the registrar must take it down: "Upon receipt Read more [...]

Ford VP: ‘We Have GPS In Your Car, So We Know What You’re Doing’ – RT 1/9/14

Source: RT   Modern automobiles are logging tremendous amounts of information every single second they’re being put to use, and a senior executive at the Ford Motor Company says car manufacturers have access to every last piece of it. At the CES electronic trade show in Las Vegas this week, the global vice president for Ford’s marketing and sales division opened up about just exactly how much data is being collected by his company’s latest line of smart cars. “We know everyone who breaks the law, we know when you're doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what Read more [...]

More Elections In 2014? More Statist Dogs Chasing Their Tails? – LewRockwell 1/9/14

Source: LewRockwell   As I wrote in 2010, each election has been a progressively worse rearranging of deck chairs. This coming year’s elections will be no different. ”Reforming” an inherently flawed system is impossible, and to me each election reminds me of a helpless dog chasing after its own tail. America was supposed to be a society of freedom, which goes with the ideas of self-ownership and private property. Instead, we have democracy, which is majority rule at freedom’s expense. A society in which 51% of the people can vote to impose their will on the other Read more [...]

Under Obama, Youth Misery Index Hits All-Time High – TheCollegeFix 1/9/13

Source: TheCollegeFix   A Youth Misery Index that measures young Americans’ woes has skyrocketed under President Barack Obama and hit an all-time high. The index, released Wednesday, was calculated by adding youth unemployment and average college loan debt figures with each person’s share of the national debt. While it has steadily grown over the decades, under Obama the figure has shot up dramatically, from 83.5 in 2009 to 98.6 in 2013. The index has increased by 18.1 percent since Obama took office, the highest increase under any president, making Obama the worst president Read more [...]

Arianna Huffington Announces Launch Of World Post News Website – TheGuardian 1/8/13

Source: TheGuardian   • Tony Blair and Bill Gates among new site's contributors • Backers include 'homeless billionaire' Nicolas Berggruen The 1% are about to get their own publication. The digital media titan Arianna Huffington and the billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen on Wednesday announced the launch of World Post, a comment and news website that looks set to become a platform for some of the most powerful people on the planet. Inevitably, the World Post will be launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this month. Many of its contributors including Read more [...]

JPMorgan To Exit Foodstamp, Other Prepaid Cards Business – ZeroHedge 1/9/13

Source: ZeroHedge   Mess with us, we'll mess with you. That is the message one can derive from JPMorgan's surprise announcement that it plans to "sell or wind down its business of issuing prepaid cards for corporate payrolls and government tax refunds and benefits." Which also includes the infamous Electronic Benefits Transfer, or foodstamps, card. According to Reuters, the product, which has been offered with cash and treasury services to companies and governments, "had become a headache of risks in operations and regulations, according to a person familiar with the matter who Read more [...]

America’s Black-Ops Blackout: Unraveling The Secrets Of The Military’s Secret Military – TomDispatch 1/7/14

Source: TomDispatch   “Dude, I don’t need to play these stupid games. I know what you’re trying to do.”  With that, Major Matthew Robert Bockholt hung up on me. More than a month before, I had called U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) with a series of basic questions: In how many countries were U.S. Special Operations Forces deployed in 2013? Are manpower levels set to expand to 72,000 in 2014?  Is SOCOM still aiming for growth rates of 3%-5% per year?  How many training exercises did the command carry out in 2013?  Basic stuff. And for more than a month, I waited Read more [...]

Shepherds & Farmers—Not Militants—Were Killed In US Drone Strike On Wedding Convoy In Yemen – Firedoglake 1/8/13

Source: Firedoglake   A human rights organization, Reprieve, has shared a report on a United States drone strike that killed twelve men and wounded dozens more in a wedding convoy near Radda in December. The report is based off interviews with local villagers and features eyewitness accounts of the one of the worst drone attacks in the history of Yemen. According to NBC News, Baraa Shiban of Reprieve, a human rights organization based in the United Kingdom, investigated the drone attack and found that a “convoy of 11 cars and trucks carrying about 60 people traveling from Read more [...]

“Electronic Surveillance Of Private Citizens … Subversive Of Constitutional Government” Was One Of The Articles Of Impeachment Against President Richard Nixon Approved By A Bipartisan 28 To 10 Vote Of The House Judiciary Committee On July 27, 1974 – Washington’sBlog 1/8/14

Source: Washington'sBlog   Why Isn’t Obama Impeached for Mass Surveillance? One of the crimes against the Constitution for which the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon was: The electronic surveillance of private citizens … subversive of constitutional government …. 2 former presidents, a vice president and a judge all warn that the NSA’s current mass surveillance is tyranny.   Top American constitutional experts say that spying by the Obama  administration is worse than the spying done by Nixon. Why isn’t Obama impeached for such tyranny? In fact, Read more [...]

Radiation On California Beaches – SafeCast 1/6/14

Source:   In December this rather shocking video titled “Fukushima radiation hits San Francisco! (Dec 2013)” was posted to YouTube to date it’s been viewed almost half a million times, and countless articles have been written referencing it as evidence, source, etc. However the claims made in the video are inaccurate. Not that the beaches aren’t radioactive – they are – however this is a natural phenomenon that has been documented for over 50 years, a fact which is easily googleable to anyone interested. Unfortunately it seems that the creators of Read more [...]

Dead Zone – Monbiot 1/6/14

Source: Monbiot   A shocking new bill threatens to make this country feel like a giant shopping mall. By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 7th January 2014 Until the late 19th Century, much of our city space was owned by private landlords. Squares were gated, streets were controlled by turnpikes(1). The great unwashed, many of whom had been expelled from the countryside by acts of enclosure, were also excluded from desirable parts of town. Social reformers and democratic movements tore down the barriers, and public space became a right, not a privilege. But social Read more [...]

Chicago’s “Out Of Step And Outrageous” Gun Sales Ban Ruled Unconstitutional – ZeroHedge 1/7/14

Source: ZeroHedge   After ruling as unconstitutional Chicago ordinances that aim to reduce gun violence by banning their sale within the city’s limits, U.S. District Judge Edmond E. Chang said Monday that while the government has a duty to protect its citizens, it’s also obligated to protect constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. As AP reports, the decision is just the latest to attack what were some of the toughest gun-control laws in the nation; with the NRA noting it "shows how out of step and outrageous Chicago’s ordinances Read more [...]

Cop Shoots Dead A Tased, Restrained, 100lb Teen: “We Don’t Have Time For This” – BoingBoing 1/6/14

Source: BoingBoing   The central fact concerning the death of Keith Vidal, 18, does not seem to be in dispute: after the schizophrenic youngster was tased and restrained by two officers, a third stepped up, said "we don't have time for this", fired into the scrum, then tried to do so again before being restrained. Vidal, who celebrated his birthday last month, was killed by the gunshot. The family were not invited to a press conference held today by Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David, but turned up anyway, reports WECT. David said that three officers involved in the Read more [...]

Latest Reported US Strikes: Pakistan December 25, And Yemen January 6 – TBIJ 1/7/14

Source: TBIJ   ♦ 3-4 reported killed ♦ 1 reported injured At least three people were killed in the first Christmas day drone strike on Pakistan recorded by the Bureau since the strikes began in 2004. Although the dead reportedly could not be identified, they were allegedly Afghan militants. At least two missiles were reportedly fired on a house near Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan Agency. The attack hit at around midnight. Local tribesmen reported drones remained flying over the area after the strike. It was the first attack in 26 days and hit the same day the Read more [...]

The Creep Of Counterterrorism: FBI’s Professed ‘Primary Function’ No Longer ‘Law Enforcement’ Firedoglake 1/6/14

Source: Firedoglake   An FBI fact sheet accompanying every Freedom of Information Act response from the agency has changed, according to a Washington-based national security lawyer named Kel McClanahan. Noticed last month by McClanahan, reports that the fact sheet used to list the “primary function” of the FBI as being “law enforcement.” The new fact sheet indicates that it is “national security.” McClanahan believes this is part of an effort to “rebrand” the FBI. “So many good things happen to your agency when you tie it to national security.” FP’s Read more [...]

Court Says LA Police Warrantless Access Of Hotel Records Is ‘Unconstitutional’ – TechDirt 1/6/14

Source: TechDirt   There hasn't exactly been a plethora of good news Fourth Amendment-wise lately. Every positive decision that restores a little protection seems to be followed by another decision that sets the bar back to where it was. An appeals court decided back in October that attaching a GPS device to a car should require a warrant. This followed a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that declared warrantless cellphone location tracking to be perfectly legal and not a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Two different court decisions on the NSA's Section 215 bulk phone Read more [...]

Number Of Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty Drops To 50-Year Low While Number Of Citizens Killed By Cops Remains Unchanged – TechDirt 1/6/14

Source: TechDirt   The go-to phrase deployed by police officers, district attorneys and other law enforcement-related entities to justify the use of excessive force or firing dozens of bullets into a single suspect is "the officer(s) feared for his/her safety." There is no doubt being a police officer can be dangerous. But is it as dangerous as this oft-deployed justification makes it appear? The annual report from the nonprofit National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund also found that deaths in the line of duty generally fell by 8 percent and were the fewest since 1959. According Read more [...]

Peter King: NSA Should Monitor Congress In Case They’re ‘Talking To An Al Qaeda Leader’ – Mediaite 1/5/14

Source: Mediaite   Appearing on Fox News Channel on Sunday, Rep.Peter King (R-NY) dismissed members of Congress calling for the National Security Agency to reform its information gathering practices. He insisted that even members of Congress should be monitored by the NSA, just like every other American, in case they are “talking to an Al Qaeda leader in Iraq or Afghanistan.” King objected to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who objected to the NSA monitoring the communications of elected representatives. “I think members of Congress should be treated the same as everyone Read more [...]

NSA Admits To Spying On Congress – Washington’sBlog 1/4/14

Source: Washington'sBlog   The NSA Is Spying On Our Elected Representatives After Senator Bernie Sanders asked the NSA whether it spied on members of congress, the NSA responded: NSA’s authorities to collect signals intelligence data include procedures that protect the privacy of US persons. Such protections are built into and cut across the entire process.Members of Congress have the same privacy protections as all US persons. NSA is fully committed to transparency with Congress. Our interaction with Congress has been extensive both before and since the media disclosures began Read more [...]

Violence Has Been On The Rise In The Film Industry – RandalOlsen 12/31/13

Source: RandalOlsen   When I shared my earlier visualizations showing the deadliest films and actors of all time, several people commented that there appears to be a trend of increasing on-screen deaths over time. To follow up on that observation, I analyzed the film death count data to see if that trend actually holds. In the visualization below, I grouped all of the films by year and summed all of the on-screen death counts for each year. I also plotted the Pearson’s correlation coefficient to give a sense of how total on-screen body count and year are correlated. Rising Read more [...]

TSA Agents Reportedly Destroyed Canadian Man’s 11 Homemade Instruments – RT 12/31/13

Source: RT   United States Customs and Border Patrol is under fire after a new report revealed that officials there confiscated nearly a dozen homemade instruments from a Canadian man and proceeded to destroy them. Canadian-born flute player Boujemaa Razgui was flying from Marrakech, Morocco back home to New York when Customs officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport asked to see the instruments he had on hand. Razgui was carrying 11 instruments with him at the time, each of which was built himself and corresponded to varying sets of musical pieces. According to the Slipped Read more [...]

Inconsistencies And Unanswered Questions: The Risks Of Trusting The Snowden Story – GlobalResearch 1/1/14

Source: GlobalResearch   Last June, Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian revealed that Edward Snowden was the NSA insider behind “one of the most significant leaks in US political history.” Snowden explained his motivations through Greenwald by saying, “There are more important things than money…. harming people isn’t my goal. Transparency is.” Such altruistic motivations were welcome news at the time but have come into question recently given that only a tiny fraction of the documents have been released nearly a year after Snowden started working with Greenwald. Perhaps Read more [...]