Why Is It So Hard for Inmates to Sue Prisons?
by Jaeah Lee
Posted February 24, 2018
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1996, prisoners who seek to file federal civil rights cases must first jump through several hoops, like exhausting all internal grievance procedures and paying $350 to file a case.
The law’s backers claimed it would protect inmates with legitimate complaints. Instead, it established a labyrinth of red tape. Between 1995 and 2012, as prison populations swelled 40 percent, the number of federal civil rights cases filed by prisoners dropped by more than 70 percent. About one-tenth of those cases resulted in an outcome favoring inmates, a slight decrease from the 1990s. If the PLRA was meant to filter out flimsy lawsuits, we should see more prisoners winning their cases, notes University of Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger. But now, she says, “each success is harder fought.” More…
Why your car company may know more about you than your spouse
By Peter Holley
Posted February 23, 2018
Daniel Dunn was about to sign a lease for a Honda Fit last year when a detail buried in the lengthy agreement caught his eye.
Honda wanted to track the location of his vehicle, the contract stated, according to Dunn — a stipulation that struck the 69-year-old Temecula, Calif., retiree as a bit odd. But Dunn was eager to drive away in his new car and, despite initial hesitation, he signed the document, a decision with which he has since made peace.
Though drivers may not realize it, tens of millions of American cars are being monitored like Dunn’s, experts say, and the number increases with nearly every new vehicle that is leased or sold. More…
Big banks rack up $6.4 billion in ATM and overdraft fees
by Heather Long
Posted February 22, 2018
If you’ve ever had to pay $3 (or more) to get your own money out of an ATM machine, you aren’t alone.
Nobody likes those fees. Except banks.
America’s three biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC) and Wells Fargo (WFC) — earned more than $6.4 billion last year from ATM and overdraft fees, according to an analysis by CNNMoney that was verified by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
That works out to over $25 in fees annually for every adult American.
Despite public outcry, banks show no sign of scaling back on fees. The big three banks collected nearly $300 million more in ATM and overdraft fees in 2016 than they did in 2015. More…
Gerrymandering: Two Bullies vs. The Voters
by Harry Kresky
Posted February 22, 2018
It’s all about which party comes out on top. What about what’s best for the voters, what’s best for our democracy? What about an approach to redistricting that takes it from the parties and gives it to a nonpartisan commission?
California has such a system, and an effort is underway in Michigan to achieve such a reform through a ballot initiative.
Forty percent of Americans self-identify as independents. Aren’t we entitled to be treated fairly as well? At present, the system (including the drawing of districts) is so rigged that hardly any independents are elected to state legislatures or to the U.S. House of Representatives. Indeed, in many states, independents are barred from participating in primary elections altogether. More…
Monsanto Hiring Internet Trolls?
by Heather Peirce
Posted February 21, 2018
In the last several months, it has come to light that one of Monsanto’s strategies for dealing with its online reputation involves paying people to say positive things about Monsanto, and attacking anyone who criticizes Monsanto. These paid Internet trolls pounce on doctors or anyone who speaks out against Monsanto.
Reportedly, Monsanto (and companies like Monsanto) have dedicated “entire departments” to trolling scientists, doctors and “discrediting” those who oppose them. These Internet warriors argue on behalf of multi-billion dollar corporations for 8 hours a day.
Surprisingly, it was actually a Monsanto employee that unintentionally let the truth behind their “discrediting operation” slip in a conference with students that he may have forgotten was open to the public. More…
Ohio Gov. Candidate Dennis Kucinich Calls Out The Deep State, MSM Can’t Handle It
by Brandon Turbeville
Posted February 20, 2018
Dennis Kucinich, who recently launched his campaign for Governor of Ohio, has never been afraid to go against the grain and speak out with an unpopular opinion and an unpopular time. This was the case when he was mayor of Cleveland and throughout his tenure as a Congressman. It was also the case when, after the election of Donald Trump, Kucinich spoke out against an obvious attempt by the Deep State to control and steer the new Trump administration in a direction of their own using internal leaks, scandals, and other forms of pressure against the President.
Unfortunately for Kucinich, in Democratic party circles as well as in the mainstream media, it’s become a law that, before you can speak a word, you must first condemn Donald Trump. Anything short of disagreement on every aspect of Trump’s administration and raving attacks on his every move is considered treason. More…
Extending Domestic Surveillance: Tricks, Lies and Spies
By Diane Roark
Posted February 20, 2018
Using Section 702 authority and operating without warrants, the National Security Agency (NSA) has since at least 2008 scanned fiber optic lines entering the United States, copying, storing and searching them using a list of targets and other key words. Stored “hits” from these electronic transmissions may contain mere passing mention of such items. No warrants are obtained to scan and collect these electronic communications to or from US persons. Nor do analysts from NSA, FBI and elsewhere get a warrant to pull US persons’ messages from the databases and search them for any reason, even criminal investigations, not just counterterrorism. During House debate, supporters of Section 702 advocated excepting 702 operations from Fourth Amendment requirements.
Declassified opinions from the FISA Court (FISC) document longstanding and serious NSA violation of FISC’s guidelines, plus the Court’s inability to trust the Agency’s word. The Court found no way to enforce even the very lenient conditions it imposed. In 2008, then-Speaker Pelosi had ridiculed any suggestion that Section 702 would enable warrantless surveillance. But if any law should be rejected because of widespread abuses, this is it. More…
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