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Shackled And Pregnant: Wis. Case Challenges ‘Fetal Protection’ Law - MSNBC

Shackled and pregnant: Wis. case challenges ‘fetal protection’ law
By Daniella Silva, NBC News


When Alicia Beltran was 12 weeks pregnant, she took herself to a health clinic about a mile from her home in Jackson, Wis., for a prenatal checkup. But what started as a routine visit ended with Beltran eventually handcuffed and shackled in government custody – and at the center of a first-of-its-kind federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state’s fetal protection law.

On July 2, Beltran, 28, met with a physician’s assistant at West Bend Clinic at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in West Bend, Wis., for her prenatal visit. When asked to detail her medical history, Beltran admitted a past struggle with the painkiller Percocet. But that was all behind her, Beltran said: She had been taking Suboxone, a drug used to treat Percocet dependency. Lacking health insurance and unable to afford the medication, Beltran had used an acquaintance’s prescription and self-administered the drug in decreasing doses. She had taken her last dose a few days before her prenatal visit.

According to Beltran, the physician’s assistant recommended she renew her use of Suboxone under a doctor’s supervision. After Beltran declined, she said she was asked to take a drug test, which was negative for all substances except Suboxone. Two weeks later, a social worker visited Beltran at home and told her that she needed to continue Suboxone treatment under the care of a physician, and again Beltran declined. Two days later, Beltran found police officers at her home, who arrested and handcuffed her.

According to the police report, the officers took Beltran to a hospital, where she underwent a doctor’s exam. Her pregnancy was found to be healthy and normal, her lawyers say. Police then took her to Washington County Jail to await a hearing – hours later, she was led into a courtroom, handcuffed and shackled at the ankles, where a county judge ordered her to spend 90 days in a drug treatment center.

“Alicia had no idea she was giving information to the physician’s assistant that would ultimately be used against her in a court of law,” said Linda Vanden Heuvel of Germantown, Wis., one of Beltran’s attorneys. “She should not have to fear losing her liberty because she was pregnant and she was honest with her doctor.”

At the hearing, her lawyers say, the judge told Beltran that an attorney would not be provided for her at that time but...


More: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/24/21117142-shackled-and-pregnant-wis-case-challenges-fetal-protection-law?lite

I've Been Told By So Many... That This Is A Better Version...


Support For US Health Care Law Edges Up Despite Website Woes - Reuters/MSNBC

Support for US health care law edges up despite website woes
Published: Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 | 11:01 AM ET


Americans appear to be somewhat warmer to President Barack Obama's signature health care law, despite the troubled roll out of the government website that is essential for its success, a poll released on Wednesday found. The Gallup survey showed people "are slightly more positive now" that they were shortly before the launch of healthcare.gov, which aims to allow consumers to enroll and shop on their own for a health insurance plan.

Still, 45 percent of those polled in mid-October said they generally approve of the law compared to 50 percent who said they disapprove, Gallup said. In August, 41 percent backed the health reform plan while 49 percent did not. The health care plan continues to polarize Republicans and Democrats.

The nationwide polling firm surveyed more than 1,500 adults between Oct. 18 to Oct. 20, amid the technical problems that have plagued the Affordable Care Act's insurance marketplace website, which launched Oct 1.

"This suggests that the poor performance of the health exchange sites may not at this point be negatively affecting Americans' views of the ACA overall," Gallup researchers said of the survey, which questioned people just days after the partial government shutdown ended.

Gallup's poll also showed a gap in support between younger Americans, whose enrollment is seen as critical to the law's success, and those who are older and qualify for health insurance through the federal government's Medicare program. More than half of 18- to 29-year olds—or 51 percent—backed the health reforms compared to 38 percent of those 65 and older, according to the poll, which has a margin-of-error rate of plus-or minus 3 percentage points.

The findings come as...


More (w/Poll): http://www.cnbc.com/id/101136754

Brass Tacks 2.0... Would YOU Support ANY Democrat That Proposes Cutting SS & Medicare Benefits ???

Plain and simple.

Let's Get Down To Brass Tacks... WHY... Would Barack Obama, And Fellow Dems Support The...

Grand Bargain... and its attendet "Entitlement Cuts"?

Thoughts ???

After General Alexander, Obama Should Split The NSA To Make Us All Safer - GuardianUK

After General Alexander, Obama should split the NSA to make us all safer
The NSA's aggressive pursuit of Big Data has not only invaded our privacy, but also left us more vulnerable to cyber attack.

Marcy Wheeler - GuardianUK
Monday 21 October 2013 11.33 EDT


The NSA is one of its own biggest adversaries in its fight to keep America safe from cyber attacks. To fight this considerable adversary, the president should use the replacement of NSA Director Keith Alexander and his deputy, John Inglis, as an opportunity to split off NSA's defensive function and rebuild necessary trust. Commentators have long recognized the NSA had two conflicting missions: one to defend key American networks, and one to collect intelligence on our adversaries. As Wired explained three years ago:

NSA headquarters … in Fort Meade, Maryland, is actually home to two different agencies under one roof. There's the signals intelligence directorate, the Big Brothers who, it is said, can tap into any electronic communication. And there's the information assurance directorate, the cyber security nerds who make sure our government's computers and telecommunications systems are hacker- and eavesdropper-free.

The addition of US Cybercommand to this mix made things still worse: General Alexander has warned of attacks on the US's electrical grid that might rely on vulnerabilities similar to the ones the US exploited to attack Iran's nuclear program.

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden have exposed more details about how the NSA's dual missions undermine each other. The agency uses court orders to oblige Google to turn over its users' data under the Prism program, while finding ways around Google's encryption when compiling contact lists of unsuspecting Google users in collection supervised by no court.

While the NSA points to vulnerabilities of American business networks and communications, it works with companies to "insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems" and "influence policies, standards and specification for commercial public key technology". Even as NSA and other national security leaders warn that cyberattacks (pdf) present the biggest threat to the country, NSA is leaving open or even creating vulnerabilities that our adversaries can exploit.

As security expert Bruce Schneier described:

Finding a vulnerability – or creating one – and keeping it secret to attack the bad guys necessarily leaves the good guys more vulnerable.


More: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/21/general-alexander-obama-split-nsa

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Discusses Meeting Snowden and the Most Critical Revelations From Him

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake Discusses Meeting Snowden and the Most Critical Revelations From Him (So Far)
By: Kevin Gosztola - FDL
Monday October 21, 2013 6:22 pm


Over the weekend, a conference on surveillance was held by the Chicago chapter of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC).

The conference examined surveillance, traditional and high-tech, how it intersected amongst federal, state and local levels of government and what had been exposed by former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. Restore the Fourth had a representative there to talk about what groups are doing to respond to the surveillance that has been exposed by Snowden. Domestic drones and surveillance cameras in Chicago were addressed as well.

Kade Crockford of ACLU Massachusetts, Amie Stepanovich of EPIC, Mike German of the ACLU, Adam Schwartz of the ACLU Illinois and others gave presentations. And I delivered a presentation on threats to press freedom posed by surveillance and also produced a video interview with NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake for the conference.

Drake recently visited Russia with Justice Department whistleblower Jesselyn Radack, FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley and former CIA officer Ray McGovern, who has been outspoken against the US intelligence community and served under seven US presidents.

We discussed what it was like to meet Snowden, what he considered to be the most glaring dangerous revelations on the surveillance state so far and whether...


More (w/Transcript): http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/10/21/nsa-whistleblower-thomas-drake-discusses-meeting-snowden-most-critical-revelations-from-him-so-far/

Anybody Care To Predict The Political Landscape Of The 2014 Mid-Term Elections... Which Will...

Be A Year And Two Weeks From Tomorrow ???


Map of the 2014 Senate races
Light red: Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Gray: no election

Map of the 2014 gubernatorial races
Light red: Term-limited or Retiring Republican
Dark red: Incumbent Republican
Light blue: Term-limited or Retiring Democrat
Dark blue: Incumbent Democrat
Green: Incumbent Independent
Gray: no election

House elections
Seats contested - All 435 seats to the 114th Congress

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_elections,_2014

The Real Story With Obamacare IT Woes Is Out-Of-Control Private Contractors - Guardian/RawStory

The real story with Obamacare IT woes is out-of-control private contractors
By Moira Herbst, The Guardian
Monday, October 21, 2013 12:24 EDT


Whatever the ultimate benefits of Obamacare, it’s clear that the rollout of its $400m registration system and website has been a disaster. Healthcare.gov was unusable for millions who visited the site on launch day earlier this month, and the glitches reportedly continue. What went wrong?

Of course, the Obama administration is to blame for the botched rollout, but there are other culprits getting less attention – namely, global tech conglomerate CGI, which was responsible for the bulk of the execution, and in general the ability of big corporations to get massive taxpayer-funded contracts without enough accountability.

Government outsourcing to private contractors has exploded in the past few decades. Taxpayers funnel hundreds of billions of dollars a year into the chosen companies’ pockets, about $80bn of which goes to tech companies. We’ve reached a stage of knee-jerk outsourcing of everything from intelligence and military work to burger flipping in federal building cafeterias, and it’s damaging in multiple levels.

For one thing, farming work out often rips off taxpayers. While the stereotype is that government workers are incompetent, time-wasters drooling over their Texas Instruments keyboards as they amass outsized pensions, studies show that keeping government services in house saves money. In fact, contractor billing rates average an astonishing 83% more than what it would cost to do the work in-house. Hiring workers directly also keeps jobs here in the US, while contractors, especially in the IT space, can ship taxpayer-funded work overseas.

Fortunately, then, there are alternatives to outsourcing public functions to big corporations padding their profits at taxpayers’ collective expense, and it is time we used them.

To this end the Healthcare.gov experience should serve as a wake-up call to President Obama, who, after all, said early in his first term he wanted to rein in the contractor-industrial complex, and to the state governments doling out multi-million dollar contracts. The revelation here is that an overdependence on outsourcing isn’t just risky in terms of national security, extortionate at wartime, or harmful because it expands the ranks of low-wage workers; it’s also messing with our ability to carry out basic government functions at a reasonable cost.

Like many contractors, CGI got an open-ended deal from the government, and costs have ballooned even as performance has been abysmal...


More: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/10/21/the-real-story-with-obamacare-it-woes-is-out-of-control-private-contractors/

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll

Democrats Have A Shot At Taking Back The House As Republican Popularity Continues To Drop: Poll
The Huffington Post | By Ashley Alman
Posted: 10/20/2013 10:41 pm EDT | Updated: 10/20/2013 10:46 pm EDT


A new survey of 25 GOP-held districts shows dwindling favorability for Republican members of the House in the wake of the recent government shutdown: http://tinyurl.com/m9hrrcz

The survey, conducted by liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling and funded by MoveOn.org, is the third in a series of polls that indicate Democrats have a shot at taking back the House of Representatives in the 2014 election cycle.

The results of the latest survey show that incumbent Republicans in 15 of the 25 districts polled trail generic Democratic candidates. When combined with the results of the previous surveys, the polls show that generic Democratic candidates lead in 37 of 61 GOP-held districts.

When voters were informed their Republican candidate supported the government shutdown, 11 more districts flipped and one race became a tie.

Democrats in the House only need to see a net increase of 17 seats in order to take back the majority. This poll indicates that Democrats could see an increase of as many as 49 seats.


More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/20/democrats-take-back-house_n_4133836.html

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