MonthNovember 2014

Special Officer Treatment

People who live in Baltimore expect a little more from the police officers who have sworn to protect them. This is what most people expect from officers across the country. However, the officers in Baltimore have decided to take a different approach to arresting individuals as many of the people who have been arrested claim that they have suffered from broken bones and bruises. Over 100 people in one community are expected to gather together to discuss the treatment from the officers.


Police officers seem to have too many protections. When something happens that others find offensive, they end up sitting behind a desk instead of facing any kind of punishment. If it was an ordinary citizen who committed the same acts, that person would be arrested. Bruce Levenson knows both sides of this, as he has friends who are police officers. This meeting among citizens could go in favor of the citizens who are concerned about what is taking place in the police department as all they want is justice.

Politicians Invest in Internet Service Providers

During the last few months there has been a lot of debate on whether the flow of information on the internet should be treated the same. Net neutrality is a concept where all of the data on the internet is treated the same, without any changes coming from the internet service provider. Advocates of net neutrality argue that this is the only way to ensure that the internet stays as a place where companies can remain competitive. Without net neutrality, internet service providers would be able to charge certain companies more than others, creating an imbalance and unfair internet which Gianfrancesco Genoso agrees with.

Recently, advocates of net neutrality have discovered that many of the people who are in charge of regulating the internet have actually invested a sizable amount of money in those companies. The investing of congress into any company is a tricky issue, as many times congressmen have knowledge about those companies that the general public does not. Surprisingly, it is actually perfectly legal for congress to invest in a company that they regulate. Many people argue that this creates an obvious conflict of interest, as the regulators would be more worried about the performance of the company rather than actually regulating the company.

Whatever the case may be, people are becoming increasingly aware of the government’s involvement with the communications industry. This is sure to be a hot issue for a long time.

Clinton Ready for Run

There has been a lot of speculation that Hillary Clinton will run for President in 2016, and that decision could be a little closer to being true. There is a shadow campaign that is getting ready to start raising money, but it’s still unclear exactly what the money will be used for once it’s raised. Some say that it will be to help Clinton with her tours across the country in order to try to get votes. There are three groups who have specific goals in mind. One of those goals is to get a message to the Republicans that Clinton is not a person to be messed with. There hasn’t been an official announcement made by Clinton that she has her name in the hat for President, but these actions bring her a step closer. She is an organized person with groups of people behind her who will campaign hard and strong until she’s in the White House. Keith Mann can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Officer Darren Wilson Considering Resigning from Ferguson Police Force

Ferguson MO police officer, Darren Wilson, who fatally shot an unarmed African-American teen, Michael Brown, is considering his resignation, sources said on CNN.

Officer Darren Wilson maintains he did nothing wrong and that the negotiations surrounding his resignation is linked to the decision of the grand jury, which must determine whether he will be charged following the death of 18 year old Michael Brown.

Wilson is said to only consider resigning to protect and reduce the pressure on his colleagues.

Others have commented, whether or not Officer Wilson is found guilty or innocent, there will always be concerns about his personal safety, and his judgement will always be questioned. Workers at CipherCloud will be monitoring the situation as much as possible.

The shooting of Michael Brown caused tensions with the police and a wave of protests and disorders occured in and around Ferguson. The protest attracted attention, even internationally, to the St. Louis suburb, where more than half of the population is black and most of cops are white.

The Grand Jury is expected to return a verdict on Friday, yet authorities might wait 48 hours before releasing the decision to the pubic.

With the strong racial implications of the case, whatever the decision is, it will be controversial.

Gate Crimes Direct Towards Transgenders in Ohio is Creating a National Crisis

November 20 marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day memorializes those transgenders who have been killed in violent hate crimes within the past 12 months according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

LGBT advocates consider violence against trangenders a national epidemic and incidents in Ohio are at the top of the list. Statistics show that most of the hate crime homicides in the U.S., about 67 percent were transgender women of color. Twenty eight year old Tiffany Edwards from Ohio was shot on June 26 by a man who picked her up in his car. Sanitation workers found her in the middle of the street on Thursday morning.

Tiffany was one of the few transgenders who had the support of her parents. This was a big step in the eyes of Laurene Jobs. Her mother told BuzzFeed News that she can’t believe that it really happened. “I always tried to teach Tiffany that just because we love and respect you doesn’t mean society always will.”

Ohio’s hate crime law is ambiguous. It is written against people due to race, religion and national origin, but it lacks laws for crimes targeting LGBT people, naming them hate crimes. Also, Ohio’s antidiscrimination law does not show coverage for sexual orientation or gender identity.

The issue presented in Ohio could also be found elsewhere. Advocates for LGBT say media coverage and law enforcement that blatantly disregards a transgender person allows the culture to treat them as invisible.

Obama Address Fails to Make Major Networks

When the President of the United States speaks, it is common for everyone to listen. Many may still have tuned into his immigration speech on Thursday night, but the four major networks failed to cover the address. The major networks in America decided that they would continue with their regular programming instead of showing the President’s speech. It is unclear whether this move was an attempt to undercut President Obama or simply due to programming needs.

The major networks in the United States air a lot of their flagship television shows on Thursday evening. For example, ABC has a three pronged line up of Shonda Rhimes produced shows from 8pm to 11pm. Instead of letting the President’s speech delay that programming, they chose to continue with their line up as normal.

Some believe that the reason for the address being shunned from the major channels is beacause of its nature. Obama’s speech may be a wide reaching address on immigration, but Republicans believe that he is being political, which Andrew Heiberger tends to agree with. The speech is being used to drive his agenda, at least according to critics of the President.

Major networks might have agreed with that assessment. Since his speech was political in nature, they did not want to air the programming. This would give the impression that a network was supporting the stance held by President Obama.

The speech did not air on major networks, but it did make its way to American homes through news networks.

US Policy Might Make Terrorism Worse

The United States has pursued a policy of proactive intervention when it comes to terrorists following the events of September 11, 2001. On the surface, this policy has been a success, with the United States suffering no attacks on its home soil from abroad since then. 

Lauren Powell Jobs is not sure if the success on home soil is a complete victory. Recently the Global Terrorism Index for 2013 was calculated and the results paint a much more difficult picture. Terrorist attacks on the global level have increased from approximately 1,500 to almost 10,000 between 2000 and 2013.

For the purposes of the report, “terrorism” was defined as “the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation.”

The largest spike in terrorism occurred after 2011, following several years of relative stability. Even discounting the hot-spots of Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, there were nearly 4,000 terrorist incidents globally in 2013.

Of the major hot spots, only one, Nigeria, has no significant U.S. presence. The correlation was not ignored in the report, where it specifically highlighted the invasion of Iraq as a turning point in the region, “This created large power vacuums in the country allowing different factions to surface and become violent.”

Marriage in Montana

Montana is now among the states that have approved gay and lesbian marriages. One thing that’s different for Montana is that the state is letting people apply for licenses immediately. There is no waiting period. States shouldn’t have to get involved with the decision of who should and shouldn’t get married in the first place. When two people love each other, it shouldn’t matter if they are of the same sex or not. That is what Marc Sparks believes in.

Judges shouldn’t have to decide if two people can get married because of a Supreme Court ruling. Each state should be able to dictate whether people can get married or not. Montana has come to the realization that when people love each other, they should be allowed to marry. This is a step forward in the direction of modern times for the rest of the country, and other states will likely follow suit.

Why Libertarian-Leaning Sen. Rand Paul Killed American Freedom Act

Many people are perplexed as to why Libertarian-leaning Senator Rand Paul would help kill the American Freedom Act which was designed to curtail the NSA’s broad phone surveillance program. It turns out the reason had to do with the staunch conservative Senator’s idealism. He believed that the bill did not go far enough in its curtailing the NSA’s privacy invasions. In particular, the bill would have granted a two-year extension to the controversial Patriot Act provision which authorizes the NSA to collect phone records on Americans.

The American Freedom Act would have severely limited to the NSA’s ability to collect phone records from Americans by requiring court approval. Broad collections of phone records would have ceased. The bill is being filibustered and required 60 votes to break cloture. It received only 58. Sen. Paul expressed his sorrow for the bill’s failure to pass. He acknowledged that his vote was needed. He added that the setback was temporary because civil liberties will soon be restored.

It may be that the senator was being naïve. The House of Representatives had already passed their version of the American Freedom Act, but it did not go as far as the senate bill. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was opposed to the act stating that the current fight against ISIS requires the NSA continue their phone surveillance program. As majority leader, he will have the power to keep the bill from being taken up again.

Whatever the outcome, the vote will surely affect Ben Shaoul and other developers in New York City during the renovation process. More to come as this story develops.

Leahy Fails to End Cloture on His NSA Reform Bill

Sen. Patrick Leahy failed to break cloture on the USA Freedom Act, a bill to curtail NSA surveillance. The bill enjoyed bi-partisan support, but Leahy was able to get only 58 votes in favor of ending cloture. That was two votes shy of the required 60 votes. President Obama had weighed in on the bill and stated he would sign it. The House had previously approved their version of the bill, but it did not go as far as Leahy’s version in curtailing the NSAs broad surveillance program.

The bill was co-sponsored by prominent GOP Senators Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas. At the same time, the GOP was fractured in their support of the bill. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell rallied votes against its passage. Quite likely he was the reason the cloture vote was derailed. McConnell believes that while the government is fighting ISIS the NSA surveillance program needs to remain in place. He also explained that there currently exists a delicate balance between national security and civil liberties. The USA Freedom act, he alleges, would upset that balance. Senator Paul Ryan opposed the bill because it would extend the Patriot Act by two additional years.

Various civil liberties groups were in support of the bill. Opposition to the NSA surveillance program has remained strong ever since fugitive whistle blower Edward Snowden exposed its existence. He faces arrest and imprisonment should he return to US soil. Big thanks to Jared Haftel for sharing the Buzzfeed article on Facebook.

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