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Monday, December 31

01/01/2013 - Your New Year Special Issue: Unemployment, Economy, Privacy, New Laws, Climate, Atheism, Whistleblowers, Palestine, and more!

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Made in the USA - By prisoner labor
Re-inventing the slave trade

Activists Dismayed at Renewal of Surveillance Bill
Sen. Ron Wyden attempted to place oversight on the Governments warrantless wiretapping program. (photo: Getty Images)ivil rights campaigners voiced dismay on Friday over the US Senate's re-authorization of the government's warrantless surveillance program, and the defeat of two amendments that would have provided for basic oversight of the eavesdropping.

Bernie Sanders Slams Boehner and Right Wing House Extremists for Fiscal Cliff

US Senate reauthorizes FISA surveillance law 
Photo source or descriptionThe US Senate [official website] passed the Reauthorization Act of 2012 [text, pdf] on Friday in a 73-23 vote to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008 (FISA) [text, pdf] for five years. FISA grants the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] the authority to conduct surveillance of Americans’ phone calls and emails in attempts to protect against terrorism and other foreign threats.

There Is Nothing Heroic About Torture
Jessica Chastain plays a member of the elite team of spies and military operatives who secretly devoted themselves to finding Osama Bin Laden in 'Zero Dark Thirty.' (photo: Jonathan Olley/Columbia Pictures)he critical acclaim for the new Kathryn Bigelow movie "Zero Dark Thirty" has renewed the debate on the efficacy of torture.

The Foreclosure Cliff
e can thank Ben Bernanke for the phrase "fiscal cliff" -- a phrase many observers have tried to soften by pointing out they think it's more like falling down a slope, sliding down a curve, or even tripping over a curb. I can understand trying to find other metaphors to replace the nearly always fatal results of going off a cliff. But maybe those observers missed one effect that Bernanke knows drives the economy more than any else: housing.

The Financial Elite's War Against the US Economy

Today’s economic warfare is not the kind waged a century ago between labor and its industrial employers. Finance has moved to capture the economy at large, industry and mining, public infrastructure (via privatization) and now even the educational system. (At over $1 trillion, U.S. student loan debt came to exceed credit-card debt in 2012.) The weapon in this financial warfare is no larger military force. The tactic is to load economies (governments, companies and families) with debt, siphon off their income as debt service and then foreclose when debtors lack the means to pay. Indebting government gives creditors a lever to pry away land, public infrastructure and other property in the public domain. Indebting companies enables creditors to seize employee pension savings. And indebting labor means that it no longer is necessary to hire strikebreakers to attack union organizers and strikers.

US War Machine Leaves Ugly Imprint in Afghanistan

If only in a microcosm, a dispatch from a remote outpost in Afghanistan reveals the damage and dysfunction created by years of US occupation and how little regard western military forces have for local communities when a final determination is made that an outpost should be abandoned.

2012 In Review: A Year of Extreme Weather, Mass Shootings, Drone Wars and Dark Money in Politics

Amid "Cliff-Hanger" Antics, Senator Bernie Sanders Defends Middle Class

The Top 12 Political Fallacies of 2012

Our nation was gripped by so many fallacies and delusions in 2012 that the whole Mayan calendar end-of-the-world thing didn’t even make the list.

A Wee Comparison of Civil Liberties in the United States of America
Compare and contrast. Here is how seriously we take civil liberties when the subject can be plausibly labeled terrorism
8 Striking Parallels Between the U.S. and the Roman Empire
Lawrence Lessig’s Republic Lost documents the corrosive effect of money on our political process. Lessig persuasively makes the case that we are witnessing the loss of our republican form of government, as politicians increasingly represent those who fund their campaigns, rather than our citizens.

The GOP Has Taken America Hostage -- Is There a Downside for Them?

Republicans are taking a beating in the polls. But it does not seem to weaken their position.

Will the Economy Slow With or Without the Fiscal Deal?

Companies Do Not Have The Right To Impose Owners’ Religion Onto Employees, Says Americans United
Church-State Watchdog Group Says Firms Don’t Have A Religious Liberty Right To Deny Workers Access To Contraceptives

US Whistleblowers on Being Targeted by the Secret Security State

Privacy by the Numbers: A New Approach to Safeguarding Data

A mathematical technique called “differential privacy” gives researchers access to vast repositories of personal data while meeting a high standard for privacy protection

Evolution and Atheism

I have been reading more about evolution and I am beginning to think that the radical clerics are right in a sense. A deep understanding of evolution may lead people away from god and religion, but not for the reasons that are commonly stated.

Obama administration considering expansion of mortgage refinancing program

Obama Administration Proposes Mass Refinance PlanThe US government is eyeing mortgage refinancing program expansion that will include borrowers whose mortgages aren’t backed by the government and who are liable to pay more than the worth of their homes.

Israel To Displace 1000 Palestinians Next Wednesday

Head of the Wadi Al-Maleh area, in the northern plains of the occupied West Bank, Aref Daraghma, stated that the Israeli army intends to displace around 10000 Palestinian Bedouins in the area in order to conduct military training.

Marc Morano: Climate Change Misinformer Of The Year

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