Posts tagged ‘Democracy’

Thousands in Spain protest to defend pensions

Thousands in Spain protest to defend pensions (via AFP)

Whistles blowing and horns honking, thousands of people demonstrated Monday in Madrid to defend their pensions from the austerity policies of the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy. Spain's government broke a key election commitment in November by saying it would fail to raise pensions in line…

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TV Host Jim Cramer Says Father Will Not Be Allowed To Vote Because Of Pennsylvania Voter ID Law

TV Host Jim Cramer Says Father Will Not Be Allowed To Vote Because Of Pennsylvania Voter ID Law.

Jim Cramer, the host of CNBC’s finance program Mad Money, is seeing the effects of voter suppression laws firsthand.

This morning, Cramer tweeted about his father, a Pennsylvania resident who stands to lose his right to vote because of the state’s new restrictive voter ID law. Like thousands of Pennsylvania who could be disenfranchised in November, Cramer’s father lacks a voter ID because he’s a senior citizen and does not drive. Cramer also noted that he doesn’t have access to his citizenship documents.

Key Element of Arizona Immigration Law Survives Ruling –

Key Element of Arizona Immigration Law Survives Ruling –

TUCSON — A decision by a federal judge on Wednesday paved the way for the most controversial section of Arizona’s sweeping immigration legislation, requiring the authorities to verify the status of people who they suspect are in the country illegally, to finally take effect.
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Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona at the United States Supreme Court in April during judicial debate over Arizona’s immigration law. A federal judge Wednesday let stand a key provision of the law.

Arizona: Judge Upholds Immigration Law (September 6, 2012)
Times Topic: Arizona Immigration Law (SB 1070)

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In denying a request by a coalition of civil rights groups to bar the provision, commonly referred to as “show me your papers,” Judge Susan Bolton of United States District Court in Phoenix adopted the same wait-and-see approach suggested by the Supreme Court in June, saying that the measure could be challenged “as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect.”

The decision, though, does not end the legal battles that have enmeshed the measure and other portions of the law for more than two years, challenging their validity and constitutionality all the way to the Supreme Court.

For law enforcement agencies that had taken a more benign approach to immigration enforcement, it poses a quandary, forcing them to balance conflicting obligations of going after illegal immigrants while keeping them on their side.

“All this does is amplify a problem that already existed,” which is establishing trust among people already reluctant to cooperate with the authorities, Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik of Pima County said in an interview from his office here.

Hoping to validate concerns raised by the Supreme Court in its ruling, the civil rights groups presented several examples to bolster the argument that traffic stops and detentions would inevitably grow longer as a result of efforts by law enforcement officers to verify a person’s immigration status. The groups also used statements made by some state legislators — who spoke of illegal immigrants and Mexicans or, more generally, Hispanics, as one and the same — to prove that the immigration bill they passed was inherently discriminatory, a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause.

Judge Bolton dismissed the first contention and seemed to have ignored their other claim. She made no mention of it in her order, which ran 12 pages and quoted extensively from the Supreme Court’s ruling, as well as lower courts’ rulings on similar immigration laws challenged in other states.

She did, however, give the plaintiffs one measure of victory by ordering the state to stop enforcing an aspect of its immigration law that makes it a crime to harbor or transport illegal immigrants. She employed the same rationale used by the courts in Alabama and Georgia to block similar provisions, arguing that states cannot impose rules in areas already regulated by federal immigration laws.

Gov. Jan Brewer’s staff was still weighing Thursday whether to appeal the order, but the governor still hailed Judge Bolton’s ruling, saying that it put the state “one step closer to implementing the core provision” of its immigration law.

Cecillia Wang, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, which is part of the civil rights coalition, said the judge “really missed an opportunity” to prevent the types of abuses she and others have claimed are already happening in places like Maricopa County, where Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his deputies have been vigorously using other state laws to go after illegal immigrants.

Judge Bolton’s order, Ms. Wang added, “puts the burden of defending constitutional rights on the victims of abuse by police and sheriff’s offices in Arizona.” Carlos Garcia, executive director of Puente, an advocacy group in Phoenix, said the ruling “will only expand the human rights crisis in Arizona” and the police will no longer be able to “protect and serve” Latinos, “only racially profile them.”

Sheriff Dupnik said his deputies were trained to “use common sense and good judgment” before they stop, detain or question a suspect. “This law,” he went on, “makes it no different.”

Lawsuits by the Justice Department and a similar roster of civil rights organizations that appeared before Judge Bolton were already challenging Sheriff Arpaio’s methods and intentions, saying they were intended to single out Latinos for enforcement actions.

In 2010, Judge Bolton issued a preliminary injunction against the show-me-your-papers provision. The injunction is still in place, though on Wednesday she gave the department and the State of Arizona 10 days to formally request its dismissal.

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
1 Like
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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3 days ago

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