December 10th, 2013
The End of Private Property in the Era of the American Police State – informationliberation:
“How ‘secure’ do our homes remain if police, armed with no warrant, can pound on doors at will and … forcibly enter?”—Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the lone dissenter in Kentucky v. King
If the government can tell you what you can and cannot do within the privacy of your home, whether it relates to what you eat, what you smoke or whom you love, you no longer have any rights whatsoever within your home.
If government officials can fine and arrest you for growing vegetables in your front yard, praying with friends in your living room, installing solar panels on your roof, and raising chickens in your backyard, you’re no longer the owner of your property. If school officials can punish your children for what they do or say while at home or in your care, your children are not your own—they are the property of the state.
If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Likewise, if police can forcefully draw your blood, strip search you, and probe you intimately, your body is no longer your own, either.
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December 8th, 2013
The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?:
Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state’s governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.
After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 – ending court supervision and decisions – caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering “rent-a-cell” services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.
Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country’s 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.
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November 25th, 2013
Government books $41.3 billion in student loan profits:
The federal government made enough money on student loans over the last year that, if it wanted, it could provide maximum-level Pell Grants of $5,645 to 7.3 million college students.
The $41.3 billion profit for the 2013 fiscal year is down $3.6 billion from the previous year but it’s a higher profit level than all but two companies in the world: Exxon Mobil cleared $44.9 billion in 2012, and Apple cleared $41.7 billion.
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November 22nd, 2013
Federal contractors set up roadblocks in 30 U.S. cities to harvest DNA samples – BlackListedNews.com:
Federal contractors have been setting up roadblocks in cities across the country with the purpose of collecting DNA samples from passing motorists. The multi-million dollar federal program has been disturbing drivers and alarming civil libertarians.
The checkpoints consist of uniformed agents blocking a public road and flagging drivers into a testing area or a parking lot. There, the drivers are requested to submit a saliva or blood sample to the federal government.
The roadblocks were part of a study orchestrated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency contracted the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, based in Calverton, MD, to perform the roadblocks. The program costs taxpayers $7.9 million over 3 years, according to NBC News Dallas-Fort Worth.
The agency confirmed that the operation is currently being launched in 30 different U.S. cities.
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November 22nd, 2013
Jailed for Life for Stealing a $159 Jacket? 3,200 Serving Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Crimes:
A shocking new study by the American Civil Liberties Union has found that more than 3,200 people nationwide are serving life terms without parole for nonviolent offenses. Of those prisoners, 80 percent are behind bars for drug-related convictions. Sixty-five percent are African-American, 18 percent are white, and 16 percent are Latino — evidence of what the ACLU calls “extreme racial disparities.” The crimes that led to life sentences include stealing gas from a truck, shoplifting, possessing a crack pipe, facilitating a $10 sale of marijuana, and attempting to cash a stolen check. We speak with Jennifer Turner, human rights researcher and author of the new ACLU report, “A Living Death: Life Without Parole for Nonviolent Offenses.”
Whose justice is this?
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November 13th, 2013
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November 12th, 2013
Company Admits New ‘Smart’ Street Lights Can Analyze Voices, Track People – informationliberation:
However, Illuminating Concepts, the company behind Intellistreets, seems to be more comfortable in acknowledging the “security” aspects of its devices now that it has secured numerous lucrative government contracts to supply street lighting in several major cities.
A page on the Intellistreets website which highlights “benefits and applications” features a section on security wherein it is admitted that the hi-tech system includes “voice stress analyzers,” amongst several other sophisticated sensors that “assist DHS in protecting its citizens and natural resources.”
The ability to record street conversations is merely one special feature of the Intellistreets lighting system, which is linked back to a central data hub via a ubiquitous wi-fi connection. The ‘smart’ street lights can also act as surveillance cameras, make loudspeaker security announcements (See Something, Say Something), as well as track “RFID equipped staff,” which could be any of us given the increasing amount of clothing and products which are RFID tagged.
The company’s website highlights how the system is now being installed in areas of Las Vegas, Chicago, Detroit, Auburn Hills, Asbury Park, and at stadiums like the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
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