Category Archives: Civil Rights

4th Amendment Civil Rights Current Events DHS Surveillance Uncategorized

DHS Seeking to Buy Access to Cameras

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Drone

Drone

Despite the ongoing debate to roll back the Department of Homeland Security’s current civil liberties overreaches, the DHS is soliciting bids from corporations for access to license plate data collected by private surveillance systems. In a public statement, the Department said it’s “not seeking to build a national database or contribute data to an existing system,” rather, the DHS claims to be tapping into existing networks

According to the Washington Post, the DHS “is seeking bids from companies that already gather the data to say how much they would charge to grant access to law enforcement officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a DHS agency.”

However, public statements vary greatly from the actual implementation of these policies; abuses are almost certain. More personal forms of data such as addresses, telephone numbers, and other information associated with registering a license plate could be “inadvertently” recorded and stored through private surveillance cameras.

Gregory T. Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy & Technology said, “If this goes forward, DHS will have warrantless access to location information going back at least five years about virtually every adult driver in the U.S., and sometimes to their image as well,”

If they take it so far as to collect facial images, the DHS, and its partnered government agencies, will have the capability of establishing a biometric database. These databases could yield some of the most invasive law enforcement technologies the world has ever seen.

However, this new surveillance tool would only add to the DHS’ already incredible biometric law enforcement abilities. In fact, they have access to the FBI’s enormous multi-biometric database and are trying to extend biometric capabilities to US Border Patrol. According to NextGov, “The [border patrol] test is part of a coming overhaul of the department’s (DHS) biometric system, “IDENT,” which currently contains more than 170 million foreign fingerprints and facial images, as well as 600,000 iris templates.”

This license plate news is more like the cherry on top of the existing surveillance sundae.

Big Pharma Civil Rights Current Events Uncategorized

Big Pharma Kills More People

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imagesA new study has shown that Big Pharma drugs cause more overdoses and more deaths than all of the illegal drugs on the market combined. According to the government’s own statistics, listed on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, deaths relating to pharmaceutical drugs rose to roughly 23,000 last year, which accounts for over half of the total overdose deaths in the country for that time period.

Additionally, a recent study conducted by researchers with the University of Virginia, University of Arkansas, the Partnership for Drug Free Kids, and the American Institutes for Research reconfirmed the known dangers of pharmaceutical drug abuse.

The study concluded that, “Teens need help before they reach these tipping points for prescription drug abuse. Adults spotting teens with very high levels of anxiety and at least moderate use of other restricted substances should realize that these are students with a high likelihood of prescription abuse. Male teens with a high need to be popular andteens in general appear to be at exceptional risk. Campaigns must target parents as well, since they clearly underestimate both the physical risks of prescription drugs and the likelihood that their children will abuse these drugs.”

Sadly, the authors of the study described any average teenager, however, it does give us some insight into the root causes of teenage drug abuse.

As the study noted, teens are being pushed towards drug use by the high-stress environment that is created by modern culture and government schools. Many times, these students are even prescribed a wide variety of these medications to help them cope with the stresses of teenage life, which means that doctors are essentially putting their stamp of approval on daily teenage use of amphetamines like Adderall or tranquilizers like Xanax.

A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) highlighted this phenomena, pointing out that “Prescription drugs are seen as blessed by a trusted institution, the FDA, while increasingly aggressive advertising by drug companies simultaneously floods parents and children with messages that these substances are safe, popular, and beneficial.”

 

 


 

Bills Civil Rights Current Events Nullification Obamacare Uncategorized

Obamacare Can Still Be Stopped.

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Obamacare can still be stopped!!

And no, it’s not going to be stopped by McConnell and Boehner – or Roberts and Scalia.  It’s going to be stopped by people like you – pressing your state to resist.  In fact, Obamacare’s ability to become reality in the long term is like a house of cards.  The act is not viable economically and unstable politically.  The only way it can gain a foothold at this point is through compliance in the states.  Resistance will kill it.

States were “given an option” – run the exchange, partner with the feds on running it, or leave it to DC to figure out.  It doesn’t matter what “cards we were dealt” – as some governors are saying.  Running an unconstitutional program for the feds is just plain wrong.  And the first – and easiest – thing for states to do is to just say no.

Shifting the burden for health insurance exchanges to the feds effectively sabotages the implementation of Obamacare.

The federal government needs states to be complicit to pull this off.  Otherwise, these decisions on who was creating exchange wouldn’t even have been included in the first place.  The fact of the matter is that DC doesn’t have the resources or the manpower to run these exchanges in every state.  Some analysts are saying that they only have the capacity to do so in 30-40 states, and any more than that will lead towards a collapse of the system.

So far, 36 states have rejected the creation of an Obamacare exchange.  But, most of these actions were done by an action of a Governor, and not legislatively.  While this is a strong first step and will have significant effect in the long run, these Gubernatorial actions are highly susceptible to a quick change.  An opinion, an election – can bring in a new attitude or a new governor willing to take the opposite.

Right now? Contact your state representative to introduce a bill banning it, even if your governor has already approved or denied the exchange.  Make a state exchange illegal with a veto-proof majority and you’ve just made your DC-loving governor – or a future one- irrelevant.  You can find model legislation here (.pdf)

Obama

Obama