Archive for August 3rd, 2011

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Website

| August 3, 2011 | Reply
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Website

The CFPB website is now up. It contains information for consumers, and includes a link for submitting complaints about credit cards.

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The Fourth Amendment continues to whither

| August 3, 2011 | 1 Reply
The Fourth Amendment continues to whither

Have you ever heard of the “Internet Pornographers Act of 2011″? Until today, I hadn’t either. Here’s what this proposed law provides, according to Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic:

[U]nder language approved 19 to 10 by a House committee, the firm that sells you Internet access would be required to track all of your Internet activity and save it for 18 months, along with your name, the address where you live, your bank account numbers, your credit card numbers, and IP addresses you’ve been assigned . . . As written, The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 doesn’t require that someone be under investigation on child pornography charges in order for police to access their Internet history — being suspected of any crime is enough.

No probable cause is even required. It’s Big Brothers’ dream come true. Now we’ll watch to see whether any Congressional representative who has the willingness to oppose this bill because it violates civil liberties will be accused of approving of child pornography. That is the kind of argument that one might expect in the modern-day Congress.

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License to commit contempt granted to the CIA

| August 3, 2011 | Reply
License to commit contempt granted to the CIA

The CIA destroyed 92 videotapes depicting torture of two prisoners, Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri during the course of litigation brought by the ACLU. Here’s how the ACLU reports the CIA conduct:

We argued that the CIA showed complete disdain for the court and the rule of law itself when it flouted several court orders to produce the videotapes and instead destroyed them. To provide some background, in September 2004, the court first ordered the CIA to produce or identify all records pertaining to the treatment of detainees in its custody, which would have included at least 92 videotapes documenting the harsh interrogation of the two prisoners. Despite the orders, the CIA never produced the tapes or even acknowledged their existence. Unbeknownst to the public, the tapes were destroyed in November 2005, a year after the court’s first order, although the destruction was not publicly revealed until 2007.

Are you ready to hear about the severe ruling by the judge. There was no contempt of court. The ruling was an invitation for the CIA to do whatever the hell it wants next time. Inconvenient evidence? No problem! Check out this part of the ruling: “The bottom line is we are in a dangerous world. We need our spies, we need surveillance, but we also need accountability.”

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Barack Obama continues to deceive– but will you still vote for him?

| August 3, 2011 | 6 Replies
Barack Obama continues to deceive– but will you still vote for him?

If you supported candidate Barack Obama for President back in 2008, you probably got an email like the one journalist Glenn Greenwald received. Provided one was willing to kick in a mere $5 to Obama’s re-election campaign, one could potentially win one of four spots to sit down and have an intimate dinner with the president. Greenwald excerpted the email:

Most campaigns fill their dinner guest lists primarily with Washington lobbyists and special interests.

We didn’t get here doing that, and we’re not going to start now. We’re running a different kind of campaign. We don’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs — we never have, and we never will.

We rely on everyday Americans giving whatever they can afford — and I want to spend time with a few of you.

So, those words sound good, don’t they? Promises about no lobbyists or special interest having a seat at the table are cheap. Three days before Greenwald published his post, the New York Times published an article titled “Obama seeks to win back Wall Street Cash“. The article notes that Obama had more than two dozen Wall Street fat-cats over to the White House for a couple of hours to discuss whatever hot-button issues they wanted to discuss. Those who couldn’t make the meeting received a personal follow-up call from the President. All part of the President’s plan to get re-elected by pandering to Wall Street executives.

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Credit limits: A Simile

| August 3, 2011 | Reply

Consider having finally bought the sports car of your dreams, getting your bills paid, and being able to afford the interest on your credit cards, even paying them down. You drive down the interstate smoothly, and see signs of construction ahead. That would mean a slow-down, but nothing insurmountable.

But then you are told to hand the keys over to another guy, a good old boy with whom you’ve never agreed. But now he has the roadster, and is seeing what it can do. But shortly, through no fault of his own, a rock is kicked up, and cracks the windshield.

“Duck this,” he yells, and steers that roadster off the pavement and heads out at right angles from the obvious way forward to bounce through the desert. Rocks, gulleys, and sand are not really where a roadster belongs. So this fellow runs up the credit cards to the limit seeing to the incessant need for repairs. And he increases the limit regularly, as he cannot pay the bills. Seeing that this keeps the car running, he wants to see how far he can make it jump.

Finally, the car is damaged almost beyond repair. He spends and raises the limit several times, in a last ditch effort to get the car almost running. But then he is told to hand the keys over to another guy: A tall, dark, erudite type with training specifically in aspects of handling a roadster.

The new guy tries to steer the car back toward smooth roads, but the car barely runs when he gets it. He spends up to the limit just to keep it running. Then he begs to extend the credit limit enough to make it fully road worthy. But the friends of his predecessor are determined to prevent any extra spending.

“Too much!” they cry. They don’t feel that the car really needs work. Perhaps it should heal itself.

Now, that makes sense!

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