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Hometown: Southern California
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Member since: Tue Jun 7, 2011, 03:02 PM
Number of posts: 4,299

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(Germany) Spying on Allies Fits Obama's Standoffish Profile and More Stories

All from Spiegel email 10/24/2013

Spying on Allies Fits Obama's Standoffish Profile

Diplomats are not surprised that the security agencies under US President Barack Obama have reportedly been monitoring close allies like German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He has failed to foster close relationships with other heads of state, causing much frustration around the world.

Out of Hand
Europe Furious Over US Spying Allegations

The newest allegations of US spying have unleashed a torrent of criticism and concern in Europe. If suspicions unearthed by SPIEGEL that the US tapped Chancellor Merkel's cell phone turn out to be true, the ramifications for trans-Atlantic ties could be immense.

Merkel's Phone
Spying Suspicions Put Obama in a Tight Spot

Berlin has reacted strongly to suspicions that US intelligence spied on Chancellor Merkel's mobile phone. If the accusations turn out to be true, it will put President Obama in a rather awkward position.

Hot Water
German Foreign Minister Summons US Ambassador

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has summoned the new American ambassador to Berlin over allegations the US has been tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone.

That's Just Not Done
Merkel Comments on Spying Allegations

German Chancellor Angela Merkel broke her silence Thursday over German allegations that US intelligence agencies tapped her cell phone. Upon arriving at an EU summit in Brussels, Merkel told reporters that the trust between Germany and the US "now has to be built anew."


NSA Scandal
Parliamentary Spying Inquiry Poses Challenges

New details continue to emerge over alleged US spying in Germany. A parliamentary investigation could provide clarity - but it also has limitations. The issue constitutes the first stress test for a future coalition government.

Spying Fallout
Conservative Calls for End of Data Pact

With members of his party calling for consequences in the NSA spying affair, a leading member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's sister party says he wants the EU to cancel its Safe Harbor data agreement with the US.

Edit to add new items 10/29

This is a link to a Spiegel page with links to a lot more of their NSA stories.

Edit to add link to links 11/26

Governor Brown signs bill, ends 710 Freeway street plan

A big victory for Southern California communities that have been fighting to block the extension of the 710 Freeway: South Pasadena is celebrating after Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill sealing the fate of the freeway surface extension plan.

Nearly 600 homes owned by Caltrans along the proposed 710 Corridor Project will soon be up for sale, expedited by a bill the governor signed. The bill also ensures the original surface-street project is dead. It's a win-win for those who oppose the freeway extension.

"This 710 has been a problem since the first time I was governor. So hopefully before I have to run again we'll get it solved," said Brown Tuesday of the ongoing 60-year battle.

South Pasadena neighbors say they are glad the homes in question will be returned to private ownership and the state will be getting some much-needed revenue.


Miami-Dade officer buys food for mom caught shoplifting

A police officer in south Florida was so moved by the plight of a struggling single mother who was caught shoplifting that she helped her out.

Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas purchased $100 in groceries for Jessica Robles, who admitted she made a decision to shoplift groceries out of desperation.

"I asked her, 'Why would you do that? What would make you do that?' " said Thomas, the officer who stopped Robles. "And she said, 'My children are hungry."

Instead of taking Robles into custody, Thomas ran her criminal history and found nothing major. The officer saw Robles was not a habitual shoplifter, so she charged her with a misdemeanor and a notice to appear in court.

Thomas also took an extra step to help Robles and her children. "I made the decision to buy her some groceries because arresting her wasn't going to solve the problem with her children being hungry," she said.


Daily reading of the news can lead one to think all the good drained out of Florida, not so!

It's been legal?

I invite you to follow the links in the above linked story, for more information like this:

In a statement to the AP, the EPA defended its oversight of offshore fracking, saying its system ensures the practice does not pollute the environment in a way that would endanger human health. Oil companies must obtain permits for wastewater and storm water discharges from production platforms that "ensure all fluids used in the drilling and production process will not adversely impact water quality," the statement said.

Oil companies also maintain that much of the fracking fluid is treated before being discharged into the sea. Tupper Hull, spokesman for the Western States Petroleum Association, said fracking in general is safe and has "never been associated with any risk or harm to the environment" in over six decades in California.

California coastal regulators said they were unaware until recently that offshore fracking was even occurring, and are now asking oil companies proposing new offshore drilling projects if they will be fracking.

Because the area of concern is located more than three miles off the state's shoreline, federal regulators have jurisdiction over these offshore exploration efforts. However, the state can reject a permit in federal waters if the work endangers water quality.

Fracking Unfolds

Surfrider, along with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Environmental Defense Center (EDC), recently broke the news that fracking has be used off California’s coast for decades. EDC obtained internal documents from the federal government clearly showing fracking was conducted more than a dozen times in the Santa Barbara channel and some frack-fluids were directly discharged into the ocean. As we struggled to understand how fracking could occur without regulators knowing, we decided to write a letter to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) asking for an investigation. As we were putting the final touches on that letter, our friends at CBD discovered fracking was also happening in states waters.

via email


Meanwhile...Amid NSA Outrage, Big Tech Companies Plan to Track You Even More Aggressively

“Users did not have much control in the cookie era,” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington. “But the problem is about to get much worse — tracking techniques will become more deeply embedded and a much smaller number of companies will control advertising data.”

Rotenberg says potential NSA use of the next-generation tracking data is all the more reason to move away from behavioral tracking. And he points out that there’s already evidence that ad data could have been used by government spies. NSA documents published by the Guardian earlier this month appear to postulate that cookies set by the pervasive Google-owned ad network DoubleClick could be used to spot internet users who also use the Tor anonymity system.

The NSA Tor attack could only work on people who made mistakes using what is otherwise a strong system. But yesterday, Ad Age reported that Microsoft is developing a system that has intimate tracking at its core, following people as they hop from the web to apps and from PCs to tablets to phones to videogame consoles. By shoving aside cookies for an unspecified new identification technology built into devices at a lower level, Microsoft and its authorized partners would gain detailed tracking ability — though the report also says that the system could lock out non-authorized parties, who are harder to exclude from the data flow in cookie-based tracking.

That may sound like a good thing, but keep in mind that Snowden’s documents indicate that the NSA has previously helped itself to big company data, with authorization or without.


Here come the extremes

Paul Song, executive chairman of the Courage Campaign, an advocacy organization that supported the gun bills, said in a telephone interview that Brown appeared to be trying to defuse a possible campaign issue as he runs for re-election next year. The organization later released a much stronger statement accusing the governor of "cowardly behavior" and saying he "will have blood on his hands."

Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California, said gun owners' rights groups will consider mounting recall campaigns or election-year challenges against Democratic lawmakers who voted for the gun bills. Final votes on the legislation occurred last month, just as two Colorado state lawmakers were recalled for supporting tougher gun laws in that state.

Paredes predicted lawsuits challenging bills that require safe storage of handguns, Skinner's high-capacity magazine bill, and legislation requiring that buyers of rifles and shotguns pass a safety test.

Still, he said, "We were only shot in the heart six times instead of 12 times, and I guess we should be happy with that."
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