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Name: Dolores
Gender: Female
Hometown: California
Home country: USA
Current location: California
Member since: Thu Nov 30, 2017, 02:58 PM
Number of posts: 4,325

Journal Archives

If you don't mind having your cell phone tracked, don't read this.


The New York Times' on Thursday sparked calls for congressional action by publishing the first article in its "One Nation, Tracked" series, an investigation into smartphone tracking based on a data set with over 50 billion location pings from the devices of more than 12 million people in the United States.


The new report—the first of seven pieces set to be published this week by the Times Opinion Section's "Privacy Project"—features visualizations of the data from Central Park, Grand Central Terminal, and the New York Stock Exchange in New York City; Beverly Hills; downtown San Francisco; Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's resort in Florida; the White House; and the Pentagon.

"The data reviewed by Times Opinion didn't come from a telecom or giant tech company, nor did it come from a governmental surveillance operation. It originated from a location data company, one of dozens quietly collecting precise movements using software slipped onto mobile phone apps," explained Thompson and Warzel.

The reporters added that "you've probably never heard of most of the companies—and yet to anyone who has access to this data, your life is an open book. They can see the places you go every moment of the day, whom you meet with or spend the night with, where you pray, whether you visit a methadone clinic, a psychiatrist's office or a massage parlor."

But Thompson and Warzel weren't just "shaken" by what they found when delving into what data location companies can see—they also highlighted that this behavior is only governed by the companies' internal policies and the moral compasses of employees. As the article detailed: "Today, it's perfectly legal to collect and sell all this information. In the United States, as in most of the world, no federal law limits what has become a vast and lucrative trade in human tracking."



This is confirmation of what most of us have suspected.
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Fri Dec 20, 2019, 05:30 PM (10 replies)

Lindsey Graham just gave Trump what he wanted all along: An investigation into Biden


Just as the House of Representatives is gathering a mountain of evidence implicating President Donald Trump in a scheme to bribe a foreign country into smearing former Vice President Joe Biden with a criminal investigation, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina announced Thursday that he’ll do what Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky didn’t.

He has launched an inquiry as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Bidens, Ukraine, and the oil company Burisma.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Graham requested records his department has related to Biden, his son Hunter, contacts with Ukrainian officials, and Burisma, whose board Hunter Biden served on. It’s not clear what jurisdiction the Judiciary Committee has to look into these matters, and Graham cites no legislative purpose for the request. It will be interesting to see how compliant the Trump administration is with these demands, given that it has repeatedly obstructed Democrat-led probes and questioned the motivations behind similar asks.

But there’s no mystery about what’s going on here. Republicans are furious that Democrats are trying to hold Trump accountable for his Ukraine scheme, and they’ve been trying to use allegations that Biden was improperly involved in Ukraine as vice president to benefit his son, even though the evidence suggests the opposite and even though Republicans seemed uninterested in Biden’s conduct at the time.



I would love to know what Leningrad Lindsay is being blackmailed with.
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Thu Nov 21, 2019, 11:06 PM (21 replies)

Revenge of the billionaires: How an oligarchy of the morbidly rich can take down democracy


Great read by Thom Hartmann


If we are, indeed, on the brink of a second Civil War, it’s already being waged as a “cold war,” with the occasional armed skirmish being provoked by the so-called alt-right movement. And, as in the past, this will be a war by the very, very rich against the rest of America.

This is not the first time we’ve faced such a crisis as a nation.

Each time, forces of massive accumulated or inherited wealth have nearly succeeded in taking full control of our nation, replacing a democracy, where the will of the people is accomplished through their elected representatives, with a form of government where most government functions reinforce the power, wealth and control of the morbidly rich.


For oligarchy to totally take down democracy, only three things are initially needed:

- Control of (or substantial influence over) a critical portion of the media
- Legalization of bribery of public officials, so oligarchs can achieve majority control of the legislative process
- Control of the most critical parts of the court system so they can control legal processes

A fourth element, once the oligarchy is well established, is the formation of a police state, principally using selective prosecution against those agitating for a return to democracy.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Thu Nov 21, 2019, 10:13 PM (8 replies)

I believe that the Sondlund bombshell means that pardons won't be available for co-conspirators.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but if there were to be a scenario where 45 wants to resign and have Pence pardon him, then given that Sondlund implicated him (Pence) in this conspiracy, Pence wouldn't be able to grant said pardon.

Am I out in left field???
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Wed Nov 20, 2019, 04:04 PM (5 replies)

AG Barr is the real threat.



It turns out, of course, that Barr is more radical than anyone could have imagined. I've written about his adherence to the "unitary executive" theory quite a bit. But last Friday night he gave a speech to the Federalist Society that makes clear his pet constitutional theory is only a part of the problem. This is not just about presidential power. It is about a deep loathing for his political opposition on such a visceral level that it's frightening to think about such a man having so much power and being answerable only to the inept bully in the White House. It was frankly authoritarian.


Barr seeks to make the conservative movement see Trump's alleged victimization as a reflection of their own. They must see themselves as easy prey, hunted by the ruthless leftist "resistance," which seems to include all members of the legislative branch, "disloyal" federal employees and any member of the judiciary who may have ruled against Trump's policies.

The speech was frightening both in its arrogance and its lack of self-awareness. Right now, Barr is in the midst of an investigation into the "origins" of the Russia investigation during the 2016 campaign. He has strongly suggested he believes it was improper to investigate a Republican presidential campaign, and the fact that the DOJ and the intelligence community, which undertook that investigation, are themselves part of the executive branch he now venerates as a repository of unlimited power doesn't seem to have occurred to him.

Barr's speech has come under a lot of public criticism. But the members of the Federalist Society in attendance on Friday night gave his rousing call to arms a standing ovation. The supposedly brilliant legal minds of the conservative movement ecstatically applauded a demagogic, partisan speech by the most powerful law enforcement officer in the nation, setting forth the idea that America should be ruled by a succession of dictators who will keep the nation's true enemies — the political terrorists of the left — in line.

If we're lucky, Donald Trump will not be president much longer. But this is the Republican Party he will be leaving behind. Rather than being chagrined by this experience, they seem to be evolving into a new level of authoritarianism.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Mon Nov 18, 2019, 06:01 PM (42 replies)

After 4 days of power outage here in CA, I can come out of the dark and catch up on the news.

We are south of the Kincade fire in Sonoma County and are slowly starting to resume normal operations. We weren't under mandatory evacuation but it was stressful waiting to hear if there was any change for the worse. It has been quite an experience and if nothing else, I realize how many conveniences I take for granted.
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Wed Oct 30, 2019, 04:09 PM (11 replies)

Self-Dealing in Ukraine: The Core of the Impeachment Inquiry

Article from Lawfare that is in-depth and clarifies a lot of the issues and ramifications.


As the Ukraine story develops, the public focus has remained largely on wrongdoing by the president outside the realm of criminal law, focusing instead on President Trump’s apparent use of his office for personal gain. On one level, this makes sense: Impeachment is only about removal of the president from office, not about criminal prosecution and imprisonment. So the standards and processes for impeachment are different.

But it would be a mistake to ignore the criminal law entirely. Evidence of criminal misconduct, specifically, the federal bribery statute, should influence political judgments about impeachment. After all, “Bribery” is one of the grounds for impeachment specifically enumerated in the Constitution.


The bribery law—18 U.S.C. § 201(b)—is easy to understand. The elements, as they pertain here, are as follows:

Whoever, being a public official …
directly or indirectly demands or seeks …
anything of value
for himself or some other person
in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act …

has committed the felony. I believe the federal bribery crime, a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, also gets at the heart of the self-dealing issue more effectively than some alternative theories of criminal behavior, such as “honest services fraud” (which has some complex legal issues associated with it) or foreign campaign finance violations (which tend to involve monetary help apparently lacking here).

Anyone joining knowingly in the commission of the above could be liable as well, probably under the conspiracy statute (18 U.S.C. § 371). That might include Giuliani, who is not a public official.


Posted by alwaysinasnit | Thu Oct 24, 2019, 03:39 PM (0 replies)

Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All

Researchers Detail How Slashing Pentagon Budget Could Pay for Medicare for All While Creating Progressive Foreign Policy Americans Want



Koshgarian outlined a multitude of areas in which the U.S. government could shift more than $300 billion per year, currently used for military spending, to pay for a government-run healthcare program. Closing just half of U.S. military bases, for example, would immediately free up $90 billion.

"What are we doing with that base in Aruba, anyway?" Koshgarian asked.

Other areas where IPS identified savings include:

cancellation of current plans to develop more nuclear weapons, saving $20 billion
a total nuclear weapons ban, saving $43 billion
ending military partnerships with private contractors, saving $364 billion
production cuts for the F-35—a military plane with 900 performance deficiencies, according to the Government Accountability Office—saving $17.7 billion
a shift of $33 billion per year, currently used to provide medical care to veterans, servicemembers, and their families, to Medicare for All's annual budget.

"This item takes us well past our goal of saving $300 billion," Koshgarian wrote of the last item.

As Koshgarian published her op-ed in the Times, progressive think tank Data for Progress released its own report showing that a majority of Americans support a "progressive foreign policy" far less focused on decades-long on-the-ground wars, establishing military bases around the world, drone strikes, and arms sales.


The Defense budget is an ever-increasing black hole.

Posted by alwaysinasnit | Sun Oct 20, 2019, 01:35 AM (10 replies)

Mississippi City claims that undocumented immigrants have no constitutional rights...WTF?


A court filing publicized late last week drew outrage on Monday over the case of Ismael Lopez, a 41-year-old man who was killed by police two years ago in Southaven, Mississippi.

To avoid responsibility for the man's death, attorneys for the city are arguing that Lopez had no constitutional rights due to his status as an undocumented immigrant—blatantly contradicting U.S. law and numerous rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Kristen Clarke, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, was among the immigrant rights defenders who drew attention to the case on social media.

Cops in Southhaven Mississippi knocked on the door of the wrong house and killed an innocent man, Ismael Lopez - shooting him in the head

His family sued the city

The city is now moving to dismiss the case, arguing that undocumented people have no rightshttps://t.co/x1ePIfYJCE

— Kristen Clarke (@KristenClarkeJD) September 29, 2019

Lopez was shot in the back of the head when the police came to his home, where he'd lived for 16 years, in July 2017. His widow, Claudia Linares, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Southaven this past summer, a year after a grand jury declined to indict the two officers involved in his death.


I can't even wrap my head around this type of thinking.
Posted by alwaysinasnit | Mon Sep 30, 2019, 06:26 PM (7 replies)

Privacy threat flying mostly under the radar...



A casual announcement made Wednesday by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that his company is writing facial recognition regulations for legislators to enact is exactly what "digital rights activists have been warning" would emerge from Silicon Valley unless lawmakers pass a full ban on facial recognition surveillance.

Bezos told reporters at a product launch event that the company's "public policy team is actually working on facial recognition regulations."

"It makes a lot of sense to regulate that," Bezos said. "It's a perfect example of something that has really positive uses so you don't want to put the breaks on it. At the same time there's lots of potential for abuses with that kind of technology and so you do want regulations."

Amazon earlier this year released facial recognition guidelines that it hoped lawmakers would consider when creating regulation.

Now, Amazon is writing draft legislation to pitch to lawmakers, Jeff Bezos said in a surprise media appearance yesterday https://t.co/MdWwkWZxgj pic.twitter.com/YMOnKjBL9r

— Jason Del Rey (@DelRey) September 26, 2019

For a form of technology that digital rights advocates call "uniquely dangerous," regulations—especially those that Amazon lobbyists have a hand in developing—are not sufficient to keep Americans safe from the privacy violations facial recognition can cause, said Fight for the Future.


Posted by alwaysinasnit | Thu Sep 26, 2019, 03:15 PM (0 replies)
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