Category Archives: surveillance

Comcast is lying to you (E32)

Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s new communications director? We talk about his history in finance, the long con we think he’s playing, and how much money you needed to go to his SALT conference.

ALSO: In April, the Trump administration and GOP congress killed one of Obama’s most important achievements: Federal Communications Commission regulations that would have barred internet service providers like Charter and Comcast from selling your sensitive information without your consent. State lawmakers from both parties in nearly thirty states leapt into action, introducing bills to fill the gap. We’ll talk about how Comcast is lying in order to stop these bills, debunking the dishonest arguments they and other ISPs are making as they try to kill these bills, and how we can fight back against this particular part of the corporate takeover of the US government.

Betsy DeVos has continues to be up to no good, giving garbage speeches and pursuing bad policy. But many people are fighting back, including one of our awesome listeners!

And finally, since it’s the summer and maybe you’re fortunate enough to get to travel, we’re going to talk about airport security.

Suing Betsy DeVos (E31)

Betsy DeVos just keeps getting sued!  We talk to Eileen Connor from the Project on Predatory Student Lending at Harvard Law about just ONE of their lawsuits against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. We will also talk about the very strange and Kafkaesque story of how Boston law enforcement officials used a warrantless surveillance order to try to unmask a government critic, and then pressed to keep that order COMPLETELY SECRET for more than five years. The ACLU of Massachusetts recently sued to crack the secrecy around the case.

And we also have some special BONUS content for Patreon-ers! Kade discusses learning to love Crossfit (again). If you want access to this bonus audio, you can nab it on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. You’ll help us keep the show going!

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW

 (Image via Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0))

Marcy Wheeler on NSA Surveillance, and the GOP coming for Dodd-Frank (E25)

If you want to support the show, you can do so on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. You’ll get access to bonus content each month and help us keep the show going! 

We talk to national security and surveillance policy expert Marcy Wheeler (@EmptyWheel) about reports that the NSA will be stopping ONE of its methods of spying on Americans — is it true?

The kill-us-all death care bill isn’t the only piece of legislation moving ahead in Congress. The GOP also advanced a bill that shreds the protections passed in the wake of the last financial crisis, also know as Dodd-Frank. Alexis catches us up on where we are, and what to do next.

Finally, we also talk about the License to Discriminate Executive Order that Trump signed in early May, an EO that turned out to be so pointless, the ACLU doesn’t even need to sue over it.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW:

BOOKS MENTIONED ON THE SHOW:

Trump Fires Comey – What Now? (E24)

If you want to support the show, you can do so on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. You’ll get access to bonus content each month and help us keep the show going! 

On news that Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, we record an emergency episode about what a new FBI Director will mean, given the broad powers the FBI has inherited. We discuss how we can push back against FBI abuses by encouraging our local elected officials to follow the lead of San Francisco, who left the FBI’s Joint ­Terrorism Task Force following concern over the Trump ­administration’s Muslim Ban and concerns that participation in the task force might violate local laws protecting immigrants and ­religious minorities.

MENTIONED ON THE SHOW:
San Francisco Police Department pulls out of FBI anti-terrorism task force (Washington Post)

Ivanka Trump is Fake, Betsy DeVos’s Mess, and James Comey gets pwned (E22)

If you want to support the show, you can do so on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. You’ll get access to bonus content each month and help us keep the show going! 

We debrief on the House of Representatives vote to let Internet Service Providers (ISPs) sell our personal data. We talk about two troubling actions by Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education that has the potential to seriously screw Americans with student loans — and those about trying to get them. Finally, we’ll laugh at James Comey, and Alexis will discuss the Queer Dance Party she attended outside of Ivanka Trump’s house, and ask WTF has Ivanka Trump actually done for LGBTQ rights.

TAKE ACTION:

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and ask for your Senators, and tell them: I am concerned that Betsy DeVos will not obey the law and grant Public Service Loan Forgiveness to borrowers who’ve dutifully paid their loans and worked in public service for ten years. I want to know what you are doing to protect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program? Has the Senator signed a letter or otherwise spoken out? This is a priority for me. 

Image credit: @lpritchard8 on Twitter

Warrantless Wiretapping; Chase Strangio on Title IX and Gavin Grimm’s lawsuit (E20)

If you want to support the show, you can support us on Patreon for as little as $1 a month. You’ll get access to bonus content each month and help us keep the show going! 

Donald Trump said that President Obama wiretapped him. Like most things that Trump says, that’s a lie. But the law that authorizes the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is up for reauthorization this year. We talk about why that matters, and what we can do about it. We also discuss how the Trump Administration wants to delay (and kill) a rule that helps prevent Wall Street from stealing your money through conflicted retirement advice.

Finally, we have a discussion with ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio (@ChaseStrangio) about the legal details of Gavin Grimm’s case, the underlying law that protects him and other trans students (Title IX), and also get an update on the ongoing legal battle against the anti-LGBT bill HB2 in North Carolina. We also reminisce about how isolating it was to be young queer kids, and hope things are at least a little better for the young queers today.

TAKE ACTION:

  • Send a comment letter to the Department of Labor, telling them not to delay the rule that protects retirement savers from conflicts of interest.
  • Call the Capitol Switchboard, (202) 224-3121, and ask for your Senators (or your Representative), and tell them: I am very concerned about the reauthorization of Section 702 of the FISA amendments act. My understanding is that this law put Congress’s stamp of approval on Bush Admin’s warrantless wiretapping program, and I do not believe that warrantless spying makes us any safer. In fact, it threatens the core liberties that this country should be the most proud of. So you should vote against it!

SUGGESTED READING:

Image credit: jeffschuler on flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Reflections on Orlando and the Questions Congress SHOULD be asking (E13)

Kade and Alexis discuss the tragedy in Orlando, the response from politicians, the failures of the FBI, the questions politicians should be asking vs the reaction they are having, and how proud we’ve been of the LGBTQ community’s response to this tragedy, including rejecting responding to bigotry with more bigotry and Islamophobia.

Further Reading / Mentioned on the Show:

So this is what it feels like to be terrorized

How to Help Orlando or LGBTQ Organizations:

Credit Where Due:

The theme for this show is the song “Missing You” by Jahzzar, also know as Javier Suarez. You can find his work at betterwithmusic.com. And the font for our logo is by the graphic designer Marisa Passos.

Header image credit: photo by Alexis Goldstein of signs by Code Pink at the DC Vigil in DuPont for Orlando

Islamophobia in America, FBI vs Apple Update (E10)

Kade gives a quick update on the FBI vs Apple case, and explains the government’s curious backing down from their attempt to force Apple to hack into its own device (as discussed last episode). And we interview writer, activist, and Executive Director of CAIR-AZ Imraan Siddiqi (@imraansiddiqi) about dangerous election rhetoric, Ted Cruz’s fear-mongering advisers, and Islamaphobia in America.

Mentioned on the show:

Image Credit: hatehurts.net

Marcy Wheeler Explains CISA – How Congress sold us out on Cybersecurity

For episode 8 we speak with none other than the fabulous Marcy Wheeler, a national security and surveillance policy expert with a most refined bullshit detector. Marcy helps us understand exactly WTF congress has just done by tacking on dangerous warrantless surveillance authorization onto the omnibus budget, under the guise of protecting US “cyber security.” If you’ve been confused about what CISA is or why you should care, don’t miss our interview with Marcy.

Also featured on this episode is a breakdown of what else was hidden away in the 2016 spending package, including financial and drug war related items, as well as some surprises, for example a nifty little clause that says cops can look at porn on their government computers.

That, plus a special edition of Quit Your Job, in which we beg NYT public editor Margaret Sullivan to NOT quit her job.