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Member since: Fri Sep 8, 2006, 11:47 AM
Number of posts: 15,333

Journal Archives

EFF: "Internet Publication of 3D Printing Files About Guns: Facts and What's at Stake"

Orignally posted at the Civil Liberties group:



Our government has a history of characterizing information (like encryption technology) and ideas (like socialism or Islam) as dangerous and likely to lead to violence. A free society cannot give the government unbridled discretion to make those choices, because of the systematic oppression that such a government can engage in...

...It’s dangerous for the Executive Branch to have so much control over the public’s right to share information online. Without meaningful restrictions on how and when the State Department can exercise its power, the risk of politically motivated censorship is extremely high.

In absence of laws dictating when the government can and can’t use this power, politically motivated censorship is unavoidable. As EFF argued in our amicus brief, echoing concerns raised by the Supreme Court, “Human nature creates an unacceptably high risk that excessive discretion will be used unconstitutionally, and such violations would be very difficult to prove on a case-by-case basis.” Under the same law, the government could try to bar activists from sharing instructions for treating the effects of tear gas and other chemical weapons, or researchers from spreading information about the government’s use of mass surveillance tools.

Or it could bar technologists from publishing the encryption technologies that we all use to protect ourselves from criminals online. In the 1990s, EFF successfully argued that it was unconstitutional for the government to use these export regulations to ban the online distribution of computer code used for effective encryption. Two decades later, the government has again used this unconstitutional export control regime in a way that gives it broad control over who can share information about a wide range of technologies online, with no safeguards ensuring that it doesn’t ban certain speakers for political reasons...

Or ban 'information on how to obtain abortions', or 'how to make misoprostol without a prescription',
or 'how to protect ones' self and loved ones from ICE'...

Don't get me wrong, Cody Wilson is a sociopathic, vile human being- but as someone once said, "Free speech is for assholes"

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Tue Aug 7, 2018, 03:14 PM (17 replies)

Steve Daines (R) tweets photos purportedly showing him in DC while he's actually in Moscow:

Merely the latest from the party of quislings, would-be Gileadites, racists, and grifters:




Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 5, 2018, 03:48 PM (11 replies)

Too fucking true: "Hey Democrats, Fighting Fair Is for Suckers"


If Democrats are wise, they will embrace President Donald Trump’s demonstration that there no longer are any unwritten rules in American politics. (I’ve come to think that the key text for understanding our era is the 1997 movie Air Bud: “There’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball.”) Democrats should be preparing to exercise power, beginning as early as 2020, with that lesson in mind.

As we all know, Trump and the Republican Party that enables him eat norms for breakfast. A norm is a tacit and mutual agreement that certain exercises of power, while lawful, also are unthinkable. As a result, a willingness to think the unthinkable is itself a source of power. With that willingness, you can deny a president a hearing on a Supreme Court nominee. You can threaten to jail your political opponents and call an election rigged if you don’t win. You can demand investigations of your enemies, you can fire the FBI director investigating you, and you can quite possibly pardon yourself for federal crimes.

Trump and Republicans are not interested in self-restraint. We ought to be past surprise, for example, that the “let the people decide” standard invented by Mitch McConnell to block Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination no longer applies now that Trump can choose a successor for Anthony Kennedy. Those who care about the future of liberal democracy in this country ought to be beyond outrage and ready for something altogether colder and more disciplined.

Democrats should plan to treat political norms, when and if they’re in charge of a unified government, the way Trump and the Republicans do. They should be readying a program of systematic norm-breaking for partisan advantage—but only if they are willing and able to follow it through to its conclusion.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jul 5, 2018, 03:18 PM (11 replies)

Tacoma hit with $300,000 fine for improperly withholding records about surveillance device


A Pierce County judge has ordered the City of Tacoma to pay nearly $300,000 in penalties and fees for violating the state's Public Records Act regarding documents dealing with a police surveillance tool called a cell site simulator.

Superior Court Judge G. Helen Whitener ruled earlier this year that the city improperly withheld 11 documents from the American Civil Liberties Union. On Monday, Whitener issued a ruling tallying the cost

▪ $182,340 for violations of the Public Records Act.

▪ $115,530 for attorney fees and other costs.

Whitener said in her ruling that the city deliberately withheld several documents that should have been provided, including spreadsheet with entries that included cell site simulator uses, records provided to 37 prior requestors and emails between the city and the FBI...

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Jul 2, 2018, 09:56 PM (2 replies)

Police worked with violent pro-Trump activist to prosecute leftwing group

Source: The Guardian

A pro-Trump demonstrator who admitted hitting protesters at a far-right rally received help and support from California police, who worked with him to prosecute leftwing activists, records show.

Documents and testimony in a trial surrounding a rightwing demonstration in Berkeley reveal that police and prosecutors pursued charges on behalf of Daniel Quillinan, a conservative activist who has posted fascist memes and came to the event with Kyle Chapman, now a celebrated figure amongst the “alt-right”. The authorities consistently treated Quillinan as a victim even though he was visibly armed with a knife, a wooden “shield” and a “flagpole” – and had told law enforcement that he “hit someone in the head”, according to court files.

The resulting criminal trial against five anti-fascist protesters – who are accused of assaulting Quillinan during a roughly 15-second altercation – is, according to activists, the latest example of US law enforcement aggressively targeting leftwing demonstrators and favoring members of the far-right after violent clashes. In another California case, police have worked directly with neo-Nazis to go after counter-protesters, including a black activist stabbed at a white supremacist rally.

“This makes a pretty clear statement of choosing sides,” Dustin Sawtelle, one of the anti-fascist defendants, said in an interview this week before the trial began. “We figured maybe they were trying to use charges as a scare tactic ... It feels like they have to prosecute somebody.”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/15/police-pro-trump-berkeley-leftwing-activists-court-case
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri Jun 15, 2018, 01:16 PM (10 replies)

Sounds like a "well-regulated militia" to me...


Polk County school 'Guardians' learn to engage active shooters

Polk County first in Florida to train armed school guardians

..."The guardian is better trained," Judd said. "The guardian receives 25% more firearms training than a certified police officer in the state of Florida and has to qualify five points higher than a certified police officer."...

...Around 150 civilians - some young, some old, some new to law enforcement, some former military - are undergoing 144 hours of intensive tactical training, including gun safety, gun handling, shoot/no-shoot scenario training, simulation training, live-fire training and classroom training...

..."These individuals will be responsible for working with the district’s Safe Schools division to provide security to our campuses, conduct necessary drills, oversee crime prevention initiatives and programs with students, conduct surveillance and other security-related tasks," a Polk County Sheriff's Office spokesman said...

...Judd said more than 500 people applied to the school district to become school guardians, but only 150 passed background checks, psychological screenings and drugs tests and were selected to begin training.

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Jun 14, 2018, 01:48 AM (8 replies)

Repost from LGBT Group: Gay Americans are arming themselves to stay alive


“I don’t want to get beaten to death, stabbed and burnt alive,” a slight woman with long blond hair and a checked shirt says. “I want a gun to feel equal.”

She is a member of one of the United States’ fastest-growing gun clubs, the jauntily named Pink Pistols.

Two years after the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, gay, lesbian and transgender Americans are nervous. According to the Human Rights Center (HRC), a US LGBTI advocacy group, 52 gay people were murdered in the US last year because of their sexuality, and 28 transgender people met the same fate.

In increasing numbers, they are fighting back by taking up arms.


Trailer here:

Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Wed Jun 13, 2018, 08:26 PM (13 replies)

NYT: Service Meant to Monitor Inmates' Calls Could Track You, Too


By Jennifer Valentino-DeVries
May 10, 2018

Thousands of jails and prisons across the United States use a company called Securus Technologies to provide and monitor calls to inmates. But the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track people’s cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders, according to charges filed against him in state and federal court.

The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, documents show.

Between 2014 and 2017, the sheriff, Cory Hutcheson, used the service at least 11 times, prosecutors said. His alleged targets included a judge and members of the State Highway Patrol. Mr. Hutcheson, who was dismissed last year in an unrelated matter, has pleaded not guilty in the surveillance cases.

As location tracking has become more accurate, and as more people carry their phones at every waking moment, the ability of law enforcement officers and companies like Securus to get that data has become an ever greater privacy concern.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Fri May 11, 2018, 03:33 PM (0 replies)

Cass Sunstein is telling us not to 'overreact' to Cambridge Analytica...

... and that intrusive surveillance can be good for us.

Those not familiar with his ...work.... might first wish to check out the following:


Obama taps "cognitive infiltrator" Cass Sunstein for Committee to create "trust" in NSA


Cass Sunstein helped get Bush and Cheney off the hook...

Government Nanny Censoring "Conspiracy Theories" Is Also Responsible for Letting Bush Era Torture and Spying Conspiracies Go Unpunished

Washingtons Blog, Oct. 7, 2010


Prosecuting government officials risks a “cycle” of criminalizing public service, (Sunstein) argued, and Democrats should avoid replicating retributive efforts like the impeachment of President Clinton — or even the “slight appearance” of it.

SOURCE w links n details:


Cambridge Analytica Behaved Appallingly. Don't Overreact.

Authorized use of data still has the power to do tremendous good.
by Cass R. Sunstein

March 19, 2018, 1:21 PM EDT

The horrendous actions by Cambridge Analytica, a voter profiling company, and Aleksander Kogan, a Russian-American researcher, raise serious questions about privacy, social media, democracy and fraud.

Amidst the justified furor, one temptation should be firmly resisted: for public and private institutions to lock their data down, blocking researchers and developers from providing the many benefits that it promises – for health, safety, and democracy itself...

...The U.S. government has faced, and solved, similar problems: Data.gov discloses a great deal of information, with more than 230,000 data sets involving health, safety, travel, energy, and the environment. Available apps, made possible by that information, are helping people to save money and to avoid health risks.

For social media providers, including Facebook, the Cambridge Analytica fiasco underlines the need for more careful vetting of all developers who seek access to their data. But it would be a mistake to take the fiasco as a reason to keep treasure troves of information out of the hands of people who can provide immensely valuable services with it.

My question for Mr. Sunstein: 'Authorized' by who, exactly?
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Mon Mar 19, 2018, 03:50 PM (2 replies)

ACLU:The Trump Administration Is Using the Parkland Massacre as an Excuse to Roll Back Civil Rights

Repost from GD:


On Monday, the White House announced the creation of a Federal Commission on School Safety, chaired by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, to recommend proposals for school violence prevention. Included in the mandate of DeVos’ commission is a starkly worded objective: “Repeal of the Obama Administration’s ‘Rethink School Discipline’ policies.”

It’s fair to wonder what this plan is doing on a list of items supposedly responding to school shootings. Prior school discipline history does not indicate that a youth will commit a school shooting. In Parkland, discipline policies did not thwart the district from taking action, and the attacker had been expelled from school. In fact, while most perpetrators of school shootings are white, children of color and students with disabilities are the ones disproportionately subject to school discipline...

...The plain truth is that this has nothing to do with preventing school shootings — the administration has had its eye on repealing the Obama-era discipline guidance for some time already as part of its deregulation agenda. And while the guidance is still characterized as under review by the administration, Secretary DeVos tipped her hand on Sunday.

In an appearance on 60 Minutes, she stated that racial disparities in school discipline come “down to individual kids.” To be clear about the implications of this statement, Ms. DeVos is saying that when Black students are disciplined more harshly than their white peers, the fault lies with Black youth. Secretary DeVos isn’t grappling with the right approach to disparate school discipline; she’s denying the problem exists.
Posted by friendly_iconoclast | Thu Mar 15, 2018, 04:09 PM (2 replies)
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