What you’re not being told about the USA Freedom Act

The current “gutted” version of the U.S.A. Freedom Act (S. 2685) will only serve to legalize government’s currently illegal surveillance of innocent civilians. A coalition of whistleblowers & civil liberties organizations published a letter calling on members of Congress to reject the empty reform.
Please click here & add your name to the letter & please contact your local representative to voice your opposition to its passage.
“Governmental security agencies’ zeal for collecting Americans’ personal information without regard for cost, efficacy, legality, or public support necessitates that Congress act to protect the rights of residents across the United States and around the globe,” writes the group under the banner of the OffNow campaign. The letter is signed by a number of intelligence community whistleblowers, including Thomas Drake and Daniel Ellsburg, as well as over 15 publications and organizations, such as RootsAction.orgCREDO ActionFight for the FutureRestore the Fourth and the Sunlight Foundation.
The U.S.A. Freedom Act, they charge, “is not the substantive reform originally envisioned and supported by the public” after it was introduced to both houses by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) in October 2013. In late May, H.R 3361 passed the House of Representatives—after being heavily marked up by the House Judiciary subcommittee—and moved on to the Senate where it has languished in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee.
In its current form, the group says that the legislation now threatens to embolden the same violations it alleges to deter and has numerous ambiguities which make it “ripe for abuse.”
The Act, they write, “legalizes currently illegal surveillance activities, grants immunity to corporations that collaborate to violate privacy rights, reauthorizes the PATRIOT Act for an additional 2.5 years, and fails to reform EO 12333 or Section 702, other authorities used to collect large amounts of information on Americans.” …

Continuity of Agenda: 20 Years of War in Iraq

On September 10, 2014, Barack Obama became the fourth consecutive US President to announce the bombing of the country of Iraq.

Whether it’s a conservative former head of the CIA; a freewheeling, smoothing talking womanizer from Arkansas; a bumbling Bonesman with a fake Texas accent, who was actually raised in Connecticut; or the nation’s first black President who inspired legions of gullible young Americans with the promise of hope and change … Despite their varied personal backgrounds and their purported ideological differences, both Democrats and Republicans in power have demonstrated a remarkable continuity of agenda.

When it comes to the issues that really matter: foreign policy, the national security state, perpetual warfare, the curbing of civil liberties along with the expansion of the police and surveillance state; it has not mattered which figurehead fills the oval office in the last 20 years.



Occupy abolishes $4 million in other people’s student loan debt

After forgiving millions of dollars in medical debt, Occupy Wall Street is tackling a new beast: student loans.

Marking the third anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, the group’s Strike Debt initiative announced Wednesday it has abolished $3.8 million worth of private student loan debt since January. It said it has been buying the debts for pennies on the dollar from debt collectors, and then simply forgiving that money rather than trying to collect it.

In total, the group spent a little more than $100,000 to purchase the $3.8 million in debt.

While the group is unable to purchase the majority of the country’s $1.2 trillion in outstanding student loan debt because it is backed by the federal government,private student debt is fair game. …



Industrial Gagriculture: Farming Cancer in Argentina

A huge increase in cancer incidence is being reported in Argentina linked directly to areas of heavy GMO crop engineering and high biotech herbicide use.

The Ministry of Health in Córdoba, Argentina, reveals in a report that deaths from cancerous tumors are double the national average in areas where genetically engineered crops are grown and agro-chemicals are used.

As reported, the report has documented five successive years of information on cancer increases in the provinces that are experiencing increased elevated rates. The substantial evidence points to GMO-driven agricultural practices as the main culprit, turning our farm lands into a public health hell.

Areas where the most agro-chemicals are used and the most GMO crops are grown – such as the ‘pampa gringa’ area – experience the highest death rates. This area comprises the entire Eastern region of the Córdoba province and is considered a premier agricultural region.

The average rate of cancer deaths is 158 per 100,000 in most provinces, but in four of the ‘pampa gringa,’ areas, death rates range from 216-230 per 100,000 – about 1.5x greater than the normal range.

Other intensively planted GMO regions in Córdoba have cancer deaths well above the provincial and national average as well – ranging from 180-201 per 100,000 inhabitants.

Cancer Multiplying ‘as Never Before’ Through Big Ag Pesticides.

The ‘Report on Cancer in Córdoba 2004-2009‘ is the culmination of an official investigation that was prepared by the Provincial Tumour Registry and the Department of Statistics and Census; it is only its recent publication that has garnered worldwide attention and criticism from doctors and researchers toward the government who has delayed letting the public know its findings until now.

Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez of the University Network for Environment and Health (Reduas) said:

“What we have complained about for years was confirmed and especially what doctors say about the sprayed towns and areas affected by industrial agriculture. Cancer cases are multiplying as never before in areas with massive use of pesticides.”

He is not the only person who feels the cancer-herbicide link is strong. Dr. Fernando Manas of the Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Group at the National University of Rio Cuarto, is investigating the effect of agrochemicals on cancer rates as well.

Researchers at Río Cuarto have studied the people of Córdoba for 8 years and have confirmed, in fifteen scientific publications, that people exposed to pesticides suffer genetic damage and are more prone to cancer.

Despite these overwhelming findings, the government and the makers of these agrichemicals refuse to do anything about it.

Damian Verzeñassi, a doctor and professor of social and environmental health at the Faculty of Medical Sciences in Rosario, remarks angrily:

“The study of Córdoba matches the surveys we conducted in eighteen industrial agriculture areas.Cancer has skyrocketed in the last fifteen years. . .They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem.”