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Archives for February, 2017


Law and Disorder February 27, 2017


My Friend Cayla And Other Toys That Spy

Several consumer advocates are urging retailers including Amazon.com and Walmart to stop selling a doll that can eavesdrop on children and families.

The groups are calling on the retailers to discontinue sales of the doll called My Friend Cayla after filing a complaint in late 2016 with the Federal Trade Commission. The complaint alleges that Cayla and another toy, the I-Que Robot, which isn’t sold in the U.S., can transmit recordings to Nuance Communications, a speech-to-text software company that contracts with military and law enforcement agencies, among others.

The doll, made by interactive toy maker Genesis, are wireless-enabled devices that advocates say can open the door to hackers, and other privacy violations.

In a letter to Amazon’s CEO, Josh Golin, of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, wrote “My Friend Cayla poses significant security risks that could place children in physical danger…A stranger or potential predator within a 50-foot range can easily establish a Bluetooth connection with the doll, eavesdrop on the child, and even converse with the child through the doll.”

A similar letter, also signed by the Center for Digital Democracy and the Electronic Privacy Information Center was sent to Walmart, Target, and Toys ‘R’ Us. Toys R Us said the doll is no longer for sale at its stores or through its website.

Guest – Josh Golin, Josh started at CCFC as an intern in 2003 and has been with the organization in a variety of capacities ever since. Most recently, he served as CCFC’s Associate Director organizing CCFC’s advocacy campaigns and developing its communications strategy. His writings about the commercialization of childhood have appeared in a wide range of outlets. He and his wife Jennifer are doing their best to raise their daughter, Clara, commercial-free.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Dispatch #10

In early February, under orders from President Donald Trump, the Army Corp of Engineers approved and easement allowing Energy Transfer Partners to drill under the Missouri River near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Standing Rock and neighboring tribes are trying to halt the project in court and pipeline opponents have embarked on a so called last stand, holding protests and actions across the nation. Authorities had set a deadline of February 22, 2017 for the protesters to clean up and return home. At the main encampment, trucks are hauling away garbage and abandoned goods. Some protesters are relocating to higher ground nearby on the reservation. In preparation for the evacuation dozens of North Dakota police and National Park Service rangers had surrounded the camp.

Water Protectors Legal Collective – NLG

Guest – National Lawyers Guild Attorney Jeff Haas, recently returned from living at the North Dakota encampment with thousands of Native Americans and climate change activists who gathered in solidarity with the Standing Rock Indian tribe in North Dakota to protest the pipeline construction. Jeff Haas was a founding partner of the Peoples Law Office in Chicago. He victoriously represented the family of Fred Hampton, the chairman of the Chicago Black Panther Party and proved that Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago Police Department. He’s also author of the book The Assassination of Fred Hampton.

Sacred Stone Camp Legal Defense – Lawyers wanting to support the Sacred Stone Camp, contact Attorney Robin Martinez –  robin.martinez@martinezlaw.net

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Law and Disorder February 20, 2017


 

The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government

A century ago, Ferdinand Lundberg wrote the classic book “America’s 60 Families” describing them, their interconnections and the powerful role they played in American governance.  This was in 1965 when the great sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote “The Power Elite” and then William Domhoff wrote “Who Rules America?” Now, Mike Lofgren has made a significant contribution in describing the workings of the American ruling elite with his book The Deep State: The Fall Of The Constitution And The Rise Of The Shadow Government.

Guest – Mike Lofgren worked in Congress for 28 years, 16 of them as a senior analyst at the House and Senate Budget Committees.  He held a top security clearance. He now represents no political party, no business interest, and no ideology. His previous book The Party Is Over was a New York Times bestseller.

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41s1YjDN5-L Sen. John F. Kennedy, (left), and Allen W. Dulles, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director, walks towards newsmen on the lawn of the Democratic presidential candidates in Hyannis Port, MA., home on July 23, 1960. The two men held a news conference after Senator Kennedy was briefed by Dulles on international affairs. (AP Photo/WCC)

The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government

As director of the CIA, from 1952 until Kennedy fired him, Allen Dulles has been said to exemplify unbridled authority at the height of the Cold War. Under his leadership the CIA became a lawless force domestically and internationally that engaged, with impunity, in covert acts such as the assassination of foreign leaders including Patrice Lumubo in the Congo and overthrowing the government led by Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

As an attorney for the law firm Sullivan and Cromwell in the 1930s, Dulles protected and promoted Nazi-controlled cartels. He wielded his influence in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and then in the CIA to shield former Nazis from prosecution for war crimes in the ’40s and ’50s. David Talbot writes in book The Devil’s Chessboard, ” over the final months of the JFK presidency, a clear consensus took shape within the American “deep state” Kennedy was a national security threat. For the good of the country he must be removed and Dulles was the only man with the stature, connections and decisive will to make something of this enormity happen. so he could enlist them to fight communists. In addition to assisting with the assassination of Congo leader Patrice Lumumba, he organized the Bay of Pigs invasion and tried repeatedly to murder Fidel Castro.

Guest – David Talbot, the author of the New York Times bestseller Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years and the acclaimed national bestseller Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love. He is the founder and former editor in chief of Salon, and was a senior editor at Mother Jones and the features editor at the San Francisco Examiner. He has written for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, The Guardian, and other major publications. Talbot lives in San Francisco, California.

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Law and Disorder February 13, 2017


  • Updates: Oppressive Regimes Mask Misdeeds Under The Color Of Law

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Protection From Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry

Public backlash to Donald Trump’s executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry” has been fast and furious. The order’s stated policy is to protect the country from foreign nationals who intend to commit terrorist attacks in the United States. It directs the Secretary of State and the Director of National Intelligence to determine what information is needed from any country to decide if one of its nationals seeking admission is who he claims to be and does not pose a security or public-safety threat. It gives them 30 days to report the results of that determination with a list of countries that do not hand over adequate information.

The Executive Order imposes a 90-day suspension of immigrant and non-immigrant admission of aliens from countries designated in section 217 (1) (12) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which excludes aliens who have been present in a specified country from participating in the Visa Waiver program.

Guest – Trina Realmuto, Litigation Director at the National Immigration Project. Trina’s work focuses on litigation before the federal courts on issues related to removal defense and government accountability. Previously, she wrote amicus briefs and practice advisories for the American Immigration Council. She also has worked abroad representing non-citizens applying for visas at U.S. embassies and consulates.

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By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52390444

Study : Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election

The 2016 presidential race was riddled with controversies, perhaps none more relentless than that of so-called “fake news.” A recent study reveals that fabricated news stories were viewed by only a small percentage of Americans and were likely not as influential in the election outcome as has been suggested.

This comes as Facebook and other social media sites have been criticized for permitting made-up stories to be shared on their platforms. Economists Hunt Allcott of New York University and Matthew Gentzkow of Stanford have released their findings in the report,”Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election.”

Guest – Hunt Allcott, Associate Professor of Economics at NYU and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a Scientific Director of ideas42, a think tank that applies insights from psychology and economics to business and policy design problems, an Affiliate of Poverty Action Lab, a network of researchers who use randomized evaluations to answer critical policy questions in the fight against poverty, and a Faculty Affiliate of E2e, a group of economists, engineers, and behavioral scientists focused on evaluating and improving energy efficiency policy.

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Law and Disorder February 6, 2017


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National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense In Action

As confusion quickly spread last week over President Trump’s executive order to temporarily block refugees and deny entry to citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries, protesters converged on airports across the nation. Leaders from tech industries in Silicon Valley came out in opposition to the ban as did recipients at the Screen Actors Guild awards ceremony. Politicians and others called it a dark path for our country, unjust and Anti-American. Defense attorneys set up shop in airport waiting areas, as Customs and Border Protection officials detailed legal permanent residents and visa holders, while denying them access to counsel. Attorneys general from 16 states condemned the order. And National Lawyers Guild Legal Observers and defense attorneys were on full alert, rushing to monitor police activity at airports in cities across the United States.

Guest – King Downing, National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Attorney. Previously, King directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, where he worked on mass incarceration, including solitary confinement, prisoner advocacy and conflict resolution. He is also the former national coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling, which worked to identify and end “stop and frisk,” including the school-to-prison pipeline and other police abuse.

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Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine

Last week President Trump barred entrance to citizens from the predominantly Muslim countries of Iraq, Iran,Syria,Somalia, Yemen, and Libya,  inspiring outrage and acts of solidarity. The conservative Cato Institute showed in a recent study that there were exactly 0 terrorist acts committed by people from these countries from the years 1975 to 2015. Last year alone, some 700 people died falling out of bed. Open immigration to United States was cut off in 1920 by de facto religious quotas excluding people from eastern and southern Europe, that is, Jews and Catholics. At that time Half of the world’s Jews, some 3 million persons, lived in Poland and millions more in the surrounding areas.  Those who did not escape were soon to perish n facist death camps. Rae Kushner, Jared Kushner’s grandmother, lost half her family when most of the 30,000 Jews in her town in Belarus were killed.  She escaped, hiding for a year in the woods, then she was kept in a displaced persons camp, finally in 1948 being allowed into the USA.

Guest – Lizzy Ratner, senior editor at the Nation Magazine. Her family escaped from Bialystok, Poland and came to Cleveland in 1920 before the quotas could exclude them. She recently wrote an article for the Nation Magazine titled Nobody Wanted to Take Us In: The Story of Jared Kushner’s Family, and Mine examingin  the fate of her family and that of the Kushner’s.  Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and an advisor.  Lizzy Ratner is Michael Ratner’s niece.

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