Thursday, December 29, 2016

Common Dreams:
"The U.S. government has quietly started to ask foreign travelers to hand over their social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a program that aims to spot potential terrorist threats but which civil liberties advocates have long opposed as a threat to privacy. ...

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security first proposed the idea in June, when it was met with opposition and criticism from rights groups, consumer advocates, and other entities, including the Internet Association, which represents Facebook, Google, and Twitter. ... But it appears the Obama administration ignored their warnings about the threat to privacy and free expression and finalized the program anyway.

'There are very few rules about how that information is being collected, maintained [and] disseminated to other agencies, and there are no guidelines about limiting the government’s use of that information,' Michael W. Macleod-Ball, chief of staff for the ACLU's Washington office, told Politico's Tony Romm." 

-- >Government now snooping into social media? The story never happened in the NYT which rarely covers assaults on civil liberties.


Common Dreams:
"Sen. Bernie Sanders has made it known that Donald Trump should not go unchallenged by his congressional colleagues as troubling comments by the President-elect about nuclear weapons this week sparked alarm across the United States and the world.

Following an initial out-of-the-blue tweet Thursday saying the U.S. should 'expand' its nuclear arsenal followed by 'clarifying' remarks Friday to MSNBC in which Trump said, 'Let it be an arms race,' Sanders responded: 'It's a miracle a nuclear weapon hasn't been used in war since 1945. Congress can't allow the Tweeter in Chief to start a nuclear arms race.' " 

-- >Although the NYT also criticized Trump's threats about nuclear weapons, our newspaper of record omitted the one voice that has the most credibility in the Democratic Party, that of Bernie Sanders. The NYT can't acknowledge the Sanders revolution simply because it would go against the wishes of the billionaires.


Common Dreams:
"In the final hours before the Christmas holiday weekend, U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday quietly signed the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law—and buried within the $619 billion military budget (pdf) is a controversial provision that establishes a national anti-propaganda center that critics warn could be dangerous for press freedoms.

The Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, introduced by Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, establishes the Global Engagement Center under the State Department which coordinates efforts to 'recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United Sates national security interests.'

Further, the law authorizes grants to non-governmental agencies to help 'collect and store examples in print, online, and social media, disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda' directed at the U.S. and its allies, as well as 'counter efforts by foreign entities to use disinformation, misinformation, and propaganda to influence the policies and social and political stability" of the U.S. and allied nations.' " 

-- >This bad news about a new government propaganda center never made it into the NYT. Alternative views are rarely encouraged by our newspaper of record, so why alarm its readers?

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