Archive for August, 2012

EXCERPTS: Biden to attack Ryan’s GM plant charge

EXCERPTS: Biden to attack Ryan's GM plant charge.

2 hours ago
EXCERPTS: Biden to attack Ryan’s GM plant charge
Posted by
CNN Political Unit

(CNN) – Vice President Joe Biden will respond to GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s recent comments about a shuttered General Motors plant at a Friday campaign rally, according to excerpts released ahead of time.

Ryan has taken heat for linking Obama to the closure of the plant during his convention speech Wednesday night. Meanwhile fact-checkers, including CNN, have labeled the comments not fully accurate.

See the excerpts after the jump.

“You heard Congressman Ryan on Wednesday night, blame the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville on the President.

“Folks, let’s look at the facts.

“Congressman Ryan was right about one thing. It was devastating for the community and those people.

“But what he didn’t tell you was that plant in Janesville actually closed while President Bush was still in office.

“And what they didn’t say is, but for the sacrifices you made, and the courage of the President, all those GM plants would have closed.

“The 200,000 auto workers who’ve been added to the employment rolls would not be working. And a million jobs would have been lost.

“GM wouldn’t have been reorganized. It would have been liquidated. Along with Chrysler.
“And as the Chairman of the Board of Ford told me, without a reorganization, they would have been devastated too – because the supply chain would have evaporated.

“What they didn’t say is because of the auto rescue, there are 4,500 of you working here today. And GM is adding 2 shifts.

“And GM just announced they’re investing another $200 million in Lordstown.

“And combined, the auto companies have committed to invest billions in expansion,

not the Bain way,

not in Mexico, not in China,

not in Vietnam,

but in Lordstown, in Detroit,

in Toledo,

in Cleveland.

In America.

“And what they didn’t acknowledge is Governor Romney’s position was Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.

“He said if we stepped in to help, GM would be ‘the living dead.’

“You know, he is absolutely against the federal government or any government using funds to save jobs, to save industries.

“It’s bad business, he says.

“Except when it comes to his business.

“Let me quote from recent reporting. ‘Romney was willing to go to extremes to secure a federal bailout’ when Bain Consulting was on the verge of collapse.

“The way they reorganized cost the government $10 million.

“Imagine that-

“It was one thing when a million middle class jobs were on the line.

“It was another when his own financial interests were on the line.

“And-now-they say they care about the middle class?”

Filed under: 2012 • General Motors • Joe Biden • Paul Ryan

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact –

Court Blocks Texas Voter ID Law, Citing Racial Impact –

WASHINGTON — A federal court on Thursday struck down a Texas law that would have required voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting their ballots in November, ruling that the law would hurt turnout among minority voters and impose “strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor” by charging those voters who lack proper documentation fees to obtain election ID cards.
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Greg Abbott, the Texas attorney general, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in March.

Federal Court Finds Texas Voting Maps Discriminatory (August 29, 2012)
Justice Dept. Blocks Texas on Photo ID for Voting (March 13, 2012)

Related in Opinion

Editorial: ‘Discriminatory Purpose’ in Texas (August 30, 2012)

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The three-judge panel in United States District Court for the District of Columbia called Texas’ voter-identification law the most stringent of its kind in the country. Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s attorney general, Greg Abbott, vowed to appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

The judges’ ruling came two days after another three-judge panel in the same court found that the Texas Legislature had intentionally discriminated against minority voters in drawing up electoral district maps, citing the same section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Known as Senate Bill 14, the state’s voter-identification law requires voters who show up at the polls to identify themselves with one of five forms of ID, including a driver’s license or a United States passport. Those lacking one of the five types of identification must obtain an election identification certificate, a government-issued card similar to a driver’s license. Prospective voters would need to travel to a state Department of Public Safety office to get an election ID card, and, although it is free, they would have to verify their identity to obtain one, in some cases paying $22 for a certified copy of their birth certificate.

In its unanimous 56-page ruling, the federal judges found that the fees and the cost of traveling for those voters lacking one of the five forms of ID disproportionately affected the poor and minorities. “Moreover, while a 200- to 250-mile trip to and from a D.P.S. office would be a heavy burden for any prospective voter, such a journey would be especially daunting for the working poor,” the decision read, referring to the dozens of counties in Texas that do not have a D.P.S. office.

Mr. Perry and other Texas Republicans had argued that voter identification laws were constitutional methods of preventing voter fraud, and they believed the courts could not legally consider factors like poverty when determining whether a law complies with the Voting Rights Act.

Mr. Perry criticized the judges and the Obama administration. “Chalk up another victory for fraud,” he said in a statement. “Today, federal judges subverted the will of the people of Texas and undermined our effort to ensure fair and accurate elections.”

The United States attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr., who had told the N.A.A.C.P. in July that the Texas law’s requirements amounted to a poll tax, praised the ruling. “The court’s decision today and the decision earlier this week on the Texas redistricting plans not only reaffirm — but help protect — the vital role the Voting Rights Act plays in our society to ensure that every American has the right to vote and to have that vote counted,” he said in a statement.

The wave of voter ID laws enacted by Republican-led state governments in recent years has created a polarizing debate.

Supporters, mostly conservatives, argue that such restrictions are needed to prevent fraud. While there is no evidence of significant levels of voter impersonation — the sort of fraud that would be addressed by ID requirements — they argue that it is just going undetected. But critics, mostly liberals, say voter impersonation fraud is rare and contend that the restrictions are a veiled effort to suppress turnout by legitimate voters who are less likely to have a photo ID card and who tend to support Democrats, like students, the indigent and minorities.

Mr. Perry signed the voter identification bill in May, but it had not taken effect because Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination cannot make changes to their voting procedures without first receiving so-called preclearance, a requirement under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.

The case could add to pressure on the question of whether Section 5 of the act is still constitutional. The Supreme Court, which is already hearing an affirmative action case in its coming term, is deciding whether to review an appeals court decision upholding the Voting Rights Act in the face of a constitutional challenge by Alabama. Texas is also challenging the constitutionality of the law in the voter ID case, one of a handful of states to do so recently, including Florida and Alaska.

6 Worst Lies In Paul Ryan’s Speech

6 Worst Lies In Paul Ryan’s Speech.

en on Aug 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

Vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is taking flack on the morning news shows for his keynote address at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night. His speech was riddled with false claims, so much so that even Fox News wrote, “To anyone paying the slightest bit of attention to facts, Ryan’s speech was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

Here are the most glaring lies from his speech:

1. “A downgraded America.” Ryan blamed the president for the nation’s credit downgrade in August 2011 after Republicans threatened to allow the government to default on its debt for the first time in history. But the ratings agency explicitly blamed “Republicans saying that they refuse to accept any tax increases as part of a larger deal.”

2. “More debt than any other president before him, and more than all the troubled governments of Europe combined.” Romney has made the almost identical claim, that Obama has amassed more debt “as almost all of the other presidents combined.” But their math doesn’t add up: when Obama took office, the national debt was $10.626 trillion. It has increased to slightly above $15 trillion.

Can Government Create Jobs or Not? | NationofChange

Can Government Create Jobs or Not? | NationofChange.

I’m confused by Republicans in Washington, and here’s why: For most of President Obama’s term, they have ignored the millions of jobs the Congressional Budget Office says the 2009 stimulus legislation created and instead argued that the government is incapable of boosting employment. Summing up the larger sentiment, Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ) in 2011 said “government spending doesn’t create jobs,” and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) insisted in 2010 that “it’s not the government that’s going to create jobs in this country.”

Fast-forward to the present debate over impending budget cuts. Incredibly, the same Republican Party that once insisted the government can’t create jobs is now barnstorming the country telling us the government can, in fact, create jobs — lots of them.

This isn’t an exaggeration. As The Hill newspaper reports, Republican senators — many of whom suggested government can’t create jobs — are hosting town hall meetings to sound the alarm about how proposed defense spending reductions “would cause significant job losses” and therefore hurt the economy.

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Ayotte’s rhetorical paroxysms are especially illustrative — and perplexing. In a CNN interview to promote the events, the New Hampshire senator — the same lawmaker who said, “it’s not the government that’s going to create jobs” — implored Americans to “think about (the Pentagon cuts) in terms of jobs, 136,000 defense jobs in Virginia. They have to issue layoff notices before the election, so members of Congress need to come together on this.”

Article image
So, as I said, I’m confused. Do Republicans believe government cannot create jobs? Or do Republicans believe the government is so good at creating jobs that we can’t even minimally reduce the largest military budget in the world for fear of layoffs?

Because of the rhetorical backflips, there is no discernible answer to these questions — but there is an explanation for the contradictions.

Since at least the 1980s, Americans have been inculcated to think of the military as separate from “government” — even though the military is part of the government. In fact, it’s not just any old part of the government — in terms of budget and manpower; it is one of the leading entities that put the “big” in the concept of “Big Government.” Yet, in discussions about national priorities and spending, many still reflexively see the Pentagon as wholly separate from everything else.

This is not just the view of Republican senators — it is a pervasive misconception in the larger population. As an example of that fact, behold an emblematic locale like Colorado Springs.

According to the Colorado Springs Business Journal, “One of every three residents of the (region) depends directly or indirectly upon the military” — that is, upon the government. That makes the area as close to a ward of the state as it gets in this country. And yet, because residents there (like many Americans) psychologically separate the military from “government,” the city’s Republican-leaning voters typically send anti-government conservatives to Congress. No surprise, these lawmakers often embrace the same contradictions as their Republican Party brethren in Washington — when it comes to non-military spending, they imply the government can’t create jobs, but when it comes to military spending, suddenly they tout the government as a crucial force for job creation.

Of course, economic data suggest that in comparison to other government agencies, the Pentagon is a relatively inefficient job creator. But just like so many other public institutions, it does indeed create and sustain jobs. In doing so, then, the Pentagon is a stark reminder that Republicans’ contradictory rhetoric on job creation isn’t rooted in economic facts — it’s driven by an ideology that circumnavigates inconvenient truths.
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Civil Rights Under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party | New Progressive Alliance

Civil Rights Under the Democratic/Republican Uni-Party | New Progressive Alliance.

Submitted by ed2291 on November 9, 2011 – 11:47am

In our history there have been times when civil rights have been suspended, such as the Civil War and World War II, but they have always been during the War only and some sort of due process remained. What we have now is a situation worse by both the length – over ten years – and extent of deprivation of constitutional rights. We should examine just some of the specifics.

Wikipedia says, “Extraordinary rendition and irregular rendition describe the abduction and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one nation to another. “Torture by proxy” is used by some critics to describe situations in which the United States has transferred suspected terrorists to countries known to practice torture.” This goes to our very soul as a country. Of course it has been shown that torture does not work, but it should be obvious to everybody that this is wrong. Bush started this and Obama openly continues it.
Obama can give everyone in Gitmo their day in court. Restoring habeas corpus is totally at his discretion, and he has chosen not to.
For over half of his first term in office Obama had defended the DOM in court.
Guantanamo remains open.
The Patriot Act was renewed for another four years with no significant objection from either republicans or democrats. This means 13 straight years of restricted Civil Rights through the suspension of the constitution. Both Bush and Obama have authorized spying and in some cases killing American citizens. Both republicans and democrats in Congress voted overwhelmingly for it. Congress then by an overwhelming majority passed the National Defense Authorization Bill further suspending the US Constitution and Obama signed it.

Obama has been far more active than Bush in using the DOJ to imprison whistleblowers such as DeChristopher for exposing an illegal fossil fuel land grab, Manning for wikileaks exposing the lies of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, and Thomas Drake for exposing the dishonesty and corruption of the NSA.

The recent agreement shoved down the throats of 49 State Attorney Generals immunized banks from being charged with manufacturing evidence, and using both forgery and perjury to illegally foreclose on homes. This brings into question whether the rule of law can still be enforced in this country.

If it was wrong under Bush, it is still wrong under Obama. If it is wrong for republicans, it is still wrong for democrats. The solution is simple. Go back to the constitutional guarantees we had prior to 2001. Obama with the enthusiastic support of the democrats has maintained or expanded all civil rights violations Bush started. We should not ignore this and support him just because he is a democrat. Real change will come only when we abandon the two party system.

1-Criminalizing free speech
2-“Obama bans war criminals, except our own”
3-Did Obama Order Tar Sands Protesters Jailed?
4-Obama’s FBI Targets Ant
5-Bush 2.0: 100 Ways Barack Obama Is Just Like George W. Bush
6-President Obama Has All The Legal Authority He Needs To Make Recess Appointments Right Now
7-Dept. of Interior Recommended Federal Charges vs. DADT Protesters – 3 Hours Before They Demonstrated
8-Torture Decriminalized: How the State Department Provides Space for the Culpables’ Book Tours
9-Department of Justice Files Writ of Mandamus Against Judge in Dan Choi Case
10-Department of “Justice”?
11-The ACLU on Obama and Core Liberties
12-BART Police Arrest Journalists, Cite KGO, KTVU at BART Protest. Homeland Security Present
13- Targeted Killing Program: America’s Shameful Response to 9/11
14-DoD Persecutes Guantanamo Guard Who Talked About the Torture
15-Choi Legal Team Responds to DoJ Petition for Writ of Mandamus
16-Freedom Is Not Free at the State Department
17-Obama: A disaster for civil liberties
18-Free Speech and Civil Liberties in the PR Age of Obama
19-Obama DoJ Trying to Codify Lying to Judges Over FOIA-Requested Docs Now: WTF?
20-Obama Witch Hunt Against Polar Bear Scientists Takes New Twist – 2nd Scientist Asked to Take Lie Detector Test
21-GOP and Tea Party on Obama’s Foreign Policy “Successes”
22-Bookburning USA: Obama’s Traitor Troops Trash OWS Library as his EPA Awards Book-Burners for Outstanding Recycling
23-Feds Raid Washington State Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
24-Homeland Security Coordinated 18-City Police Crackdown on Occupy Protest
25-The Sound of Democrat’s Silence on Civil Liberties
26-You Can Crush the Flowers, But You Can’t Stop the Spring
27-Thought Crime in Washington
28-Passing Defense Senate Bill: Dianne Feinstein’s Tortured Explanation
29-The Obamanable President: UPDATED
30-Obama and the Rule of Law
31-Obama Crowned Himself on New Year’s Eve
32-ACLU trashes Obama over indefinite detention and torture act
33-2012′s Civil Liberties Apocalypse Has Already Happened
34-ACLU Sues Obama Administration over Assassination Secrecy
35-Repulsive Progressive Hypocrisy
36-The White House’s Dangerous Dance With the Birth Control Mandate
37-George Will Stands Up for Justice in the Don Siegelman Case
38-URGENT Immediate Action Needed! Help Prevent Obama’s Goons from Further Torturing US Rights Observers in Bahrain
39-Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Dismiss ACLU Challenge to Warrantless Wiretapping Law
40-Those Weak Losers Who Care about “Law”
41-Pity the Poor Judges
42-Foreclosure Settlement a Failure of Law, a Triumph for Bank Attorneys
43-WikiLeaks: Disgraced Judge Said He Was Targeted for Investigation After Ruling Against Halliburton
44-Murder Is Legal, Says Eric Holder
45-HR 347: The Anti-Occupy Law
46-Weaponizing the Body Politic
47-Obama’s Vile Assassination Doctrine
48-Obama Justice Department Suffers a Monumental Failure
49-Legal Experts Destroy Rationale for Obama’s Assassination Policy … And Slam Democrats for Supporting It
50-Obama Signs Anti-protest Trespass Bill
51-The Terrorists are Winning: The Erosion of Civil Liberties in America
52-Sending Americans Into Exile — the Obama Way
53-Obama’s Personal Role in a Journalist’s Imprisonment
54-Anti-Occupy Bill (H.R. 347) Unanimously Passed and Signed By POTUS
55-New Obama Executive Order Seizes U.S. Infrastructure and Citizens for Military Preparedness
56-A New Age of Enemies
57-Where is Obama as Police Brutalize Citizens?
58-What About Misconduct in the Don Siegelman Prosecution?
59-Native Americans Protest Keystone XL From A Cage –
Activists compelled to stay in enclosure miles from President’s pro-oil event
60-Tim DeChristopher Transferred Out of “The Hole”, But Questions Remain
61-New Counterorrism Guidelines Gives Authorities Vast Access to Private Info of Innocent Americans
62-US Government Keeping Data on Americans with No Connection to Terrorism
63-The Obama DOJ and Strip Searches
64-75% of Americans Support Workplace Protections for GLBT Folks. Obama is not one of them.
65-Legal Atrocities
66-Creating a Prison-Corporate Complex
67-Investors Want Disclosure of Corporate Political Contributions and Lobbying Expenditures
68-Supreme Court: Law Says Organizations Cannot be Sued for Torture
69-Torture on Trial
70-More Federal Judge Abdication
71-Jailed for $280: The Return of Debtors’ Prisons
72-Labor Dept. Cancels Child-labor Proposal
73-Income Inequality: Physical Health and Life Expectancy
74-On Memorial Day Weekend, America Reckons with Torture
75-Obama’s War: Criminalize the Left
76-FOIA Revelations Show Administration Role In Occupy Crackdown
77-Obama Defies Federal Court Ban On NDAA Indefinite Detention
78-How Pensions Violate Free Speech
79-The Great Charter, Its Fate, and Ours
80-Feds Wait Until Late Friday To Admit That, Yeah, They Ignored The 4th Amendment
81-Obama Administration Stonewalling UN Questions about Abuse of Occupy Protesters
82-Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: How Two Administrations and Both Parties Made Illegality the American Way of Life
83-John Cusack & Jonathan Turley on Obama’s Constitution

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Republicans want Akin to bow out of Senate race |

Republicans want Akin to bow out of Senate race |

Akin to bow out of Senate race

Posted on August 21, 2012 at 12:24pm by Meredith Jessup Meredith Jessup
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‘You’re On Your Own’: Obama Readies Education Offensive Attacking Ryan Budget | TPM2012

‘You’re On Your Own’: Obama Readies Education Offensive Attacking Ryan Budget | TPM2012.

Pema Levy & Evan McMorris-Santoro August 21, 2012, 11:44 AM 511

Paul Ryan’s addition to the Republican presidential ticket unleashed a new back-and-forth over the future of Medicare. But Democrats believe Ryan also gives them an opening to talk about another seminal issue tied to the congressman’s controversial budget: education.

On Tuesday, President Obama will go on offense over education, an issue where the Romney-Ryan ticket is vulnerable because of the cuts to popular programs like Pell grants for college students under the Ryan budget.

Ryan’s education cuts will be central to Obama’s attacks Tuesday. Beginning with a speech at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, the president will hammer the massive cuts contained in Paul’s budget plan, including $115 billion cut from the Department of Education, and 2 million fewer children enrolled in Head Start, according to the Associated Press.

The president will also target the top of the ticket, highlighting Romney’s comments about shopping around for a cheap college and borrowing money from your parents.

“A few months ago, just up the road in Westerville, Gov. Romney said if you want to be successful, if you want to go to college or start a business, you can just ‘borrow money if you have to from your parents,’” Obama will say in Columbus, according to prepared remarks. “That’s it — that’s his plan. That’s his answer for a young person hoping to go to college — shop around, borrow money from your parents if you have to — but if they don’t have it, you’re on your own.”

Obama and Ryan’s visions for the education system “couldn’t be more distinct,” Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, which endorsed Obama in July, told TPM last week. “On the other side, we have the Ryan budget that came out of the House. … In order to pay for those tax cuts to the very wealthiest people, we have to cut Medicaid, we have to cut education, we have to throw kids out of Head Start, we have to eliminate Pell grants for thousands of kids.”

Van Roekel said the campaigns differ in fundamental ways: One considers education a right; the other, a privilege.

“[Obama] believes that every student ought to have all the education they can afford,” Van Roekel said, alluding to a Romney speech from June in which the candidate said America was great because students “get as much education as they can afford.”

“I just disagree with that, and so does President Obama. We believe that every student should have all the education they deserve,” Van Roekel said.

The president addressed education in his weekly YouTube address over the weekend. Previewing Obama’s remarks Friday, senior administration officials pointed to the education spending Obama included in his last jobs bill, which stalled in the GOP-controlled House. It was another veiled jab at Ryan, who Obama has made the face of the Republican House on the trail.

As Democrats begin their full-court education press, Obama’s attacks in Ohio — which he’ll follow up on Tuesday and Wednesday in Nevada — are echoed in a media push attacking Romney’s comments on paying for college. A new ad called “Get Real, Mitt,” touts the work Obama has done on the education front and pillories Romney’s suggestion that young Americans “borrow money if you have to from your parents” to finance their education.

The DNC, meanwhile, released a brutal video featuring Romney’s suggestion to a college student in Ohio during the primary that he just “shop around” in order to afford college. An online calculator from the campaign compares Obama and Romney’s education plans. “Higher education cannot be a luxury reserved just for a privileged few,” it says, above a list of reforms put in place under President Obama. Above a list of Romney’s education policies, the website reads, “Shop around, get a good price.”
Barack Obama, Education, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan

US Supreme Court Becoming More Powerful – Business Insider

US Supreme Court Becoming More Powerful – Business Insider.

Congress technically has the power to undo Supreme Court decisions it doesn’t like.

But these days, partisan divisions have interfered with Congress’ functioning so much that the nations’ justices often have the last word, The New York Times’ Adam Liptak reports.

The Times cited this recent study by University of California, Riverside professor Richard Hasan, which found the number of so-called Congressional overrides of Supreme Court decisions have diminished significantly in the past decade.

“[P]artisanship seems to have strongly diminished the opportunities for bipartisan overridings of Supreme Court cases, in which Democrats and Republicans come together to reverse the Supreme Court,” the study found.

Justice Antonin Scalia made a reference to the high court’s new power during the game-changing arguments over the president’s signature health care overhaul, Liptak reported.

While discussing whether the high court should strike down the insurance mandate and let Congress decide on the balance of the law, Scalia said “you’re not going to get 60 votes in the Senate to repeal the rest.”
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Drone on the Range

Drone on the Range.

Those very same pilotless, remote-controlled, undetectable planes that the CIA has been secretly using to spy on and bomb people in Pakistan and elsewhere are headed to our local police departments.

Get ready, America. Here comes “the next latest and greatest thing in aviation.” Wow, what could it be? Maybe the airlines are going to drop all of their ridiculous rip-off fees. That’d be great!

No, no, not that kind of aviation. You probably won’t find this breakthrough so great. It’s the arrival and proliferation of “unmanned vehicle systems,” soon to be buzzing around the airspace of your own town.

Yes, drones, right here at home. Those very same pilotless, remote-controlled, undetectable planes that the CIA has been secretly using to spy on and bomb people in Pakistan and elsewhere are headed to our local police departments, FBI offices, and…well, who knows who else will have these toys?

All we know is that Congress — under pressure from Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and other big drone peddlers — directed the Federal Aviation Agency earlier this year to open up civilian air space to thousands of them by 2015. And, in their wisdom, our loosey-goosey lawmakers provided no regulation of who can have drones, how many, or for what purposes.

So prepare to be pestered and monitored, for police agencies and corporate interests are said to be abuzz about getting their own. The first ones are expected to be used for high-altitude surveillance, which is worrisome enough. But consider this: A Texas sheriff’s office that has already bought a “ShadowHawk” drone says it might outfit the little buzzer to fire tear gas and rubber bullets.

No worries, though. The drone industry’s lobbying group has drafted a two-page code of conduct urging purchasers to “respect the privacy of individuals.”

How nice. Only, it’s a voluntary code — and totally unenforceable. For more information about this invasive swarm, contact the Electronic Privacy Information Center:
This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.
Jim Hightower

NYC, Microsoft Team On Huge Surveillance System – Government – State & Local – Informationweek

NYC, Microsoft Team On Huge Surveillance System – Government – State & Local – Informationweek.

«««With an eye to fighting crime and terrorism, Domain Awareness System will cull data from closed-circuit TV cameras, radiation detectors, and license plate readers around the city.

By Dan Taylor
August 09, 2012 09:29 AM

Mission Intelligence: NRO’s Newest Spy Satellites
Mission Intelligence: NRO’s Newest Spy Satellites
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled Wednesday a new surveillance system, developed in partnership with Microsoft, that incorporates information from license plate readers, street cameras, and other sensors distributed around the city.

The new Domain Awareness System will pull in data from some 3,000 closed-circuit television cameras in lower and midtown Manhattan, 2,600 radiation detectors distributed to New York Police Department (NYPD) officers on patrol, and 100 license plate readers on bridges, tunnels, streets, and city police cars.

The system, which will support crime prevention and counterterrorism, will relay information “so it can be analyzed and acted upon” by the NYPD, Bloomberg said. The technology has a role “in fighting everyday crime,” he said.

According to a joint statement by city officials and Microsoft, the system was developed “by police officers for police officers.” Its capabilities include real-time alerts and the ability to display data on maps of the city. Cameras can be programmed to sound an alarm if they spot suspicious activity, such as an unattended package or vehicle parked in front of a building.

New York police commissioner Ray Kelly said the system “allows us to connect the dots” by providing access to crime records, 911 calls, license-plate registration, video, and other data sources.

[ Learn about proposed legislation to bring privacy laws up to speed with law enforcement requests in the age of mobile and cloud. Cloud Privacy Update Tackled By Lawmakers. ]

Microsoft worked with the NYPD’s Intelligence Division and Counter-Terrorism Bureau over several years to develop the Domain Awareness System. Depending on how it performs, the system may be offered to other municipalities.

In a unique business relationship, Microsoft will pay New York 30% of revenue on sales of the system to other cities. That could potentially let New York recoup its expenses and “maybe even make a few bucks,” Bloomberg said.

Contributing writer Dan Taylor is managing editor of Inside the Navy.

The Office of Management and Budget demands that federal agencies tap into a more efficient IT delivery model. The new Shared Services Mandate issue of InformationWeek Government explains how they’re doing it. Also in this issue: Uncle Sam should develop an IT savings dashboard that shows the returns on its multibillion-dollar IT investment. (Free registration required.)

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BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING! George Orwell’s novel “1984” has finally come to pass albeit a few years late. Why don’t we have massive demonstrations or at the least some expression of concern? Do we no longer live in America?

Every day our privacy is eroded as companies and well-meaning politicians take our private information and our daily commute and use it for their own purposes, generally “for OUR protection!’ And we allow it! All of us!

We have become a nation of zombies, unless something directly affects something we have undertaken we ACCEPT whatever we are told that we MUST do to access some website or travel to some place we have gone for generations without our presence being detected and tracked.

Children can be forgiven such oversights due to their lack of knowledge and experience on what this means but for the rest of the adult population has it become the norm to turn a blind, foolish eye to these things? What kind of a country are we allowing to exist for future generations?
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4 days ago

Too true. Next generation of car diagnostics will track you. Drones will track you. So many more examples.

And as far as future generations go, keep in mind most of them go to schools where they have to pass through metal detectors every day, have no expectation of privacy, can be searched anytime for no reason, and are around armed guards in the halls at all times.

A whole generation is being trained and conditioned to accept these conditions as normal, and, indeed, ‘safe.’ When large numbers of this generation start to vote I worry deeply about what they will see as ‘not a problem,’ and what type of society we’ll have then. We might long for the days we have now, which is pretty depressing.
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4 days ago

I don’t know what Bloomberg is thinking. I would assume that this will end up costing New Yorkers millions in legal fees. This is just another of his wild ideas. I am so glad I do not live in NY. Mistaken identities can destroy your life.
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3 days ago
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Andrew Hornback

Have to wonder how long it’ll be before NYPD enters into a deal with Simon Cowell to produce a TV series based on the crazy stuff that happens in this city on a daily basis. I can see it now… coming soon on (insert basc cable channel here) “New York’s Got Crazy”

Joking aside – I’ve seen systems like this before, getting installed to protect businesses (casinos) or government institutions. I know that London has a system with a similar theory in place. However, I’d have to wonder if there is any kind of disclaimer or waiver that people would have to sign in order to show that they’re under surveillence when they come into Manhattan?

And speaking of signs… how long before you see “Welcome to Manhattan – Smile, you’re being watched” or “Welcome to Brooklyn – Cameras? We don’t need no stinkin’ cameras!”

Andrew Hornback
InformationWeek Contributor
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