Thom's Blog

Is the CIA bribing AT&T to spy on foreign citizens?

The Central Intelligence Agency has been bribing AT&T to help them spy on international communications. According to a new report in the New York Times, the CIA has been paying that company $10 million dollars a year for access to their overseas metadata. By accessing that data, the CIA is spying on private communications, including the date and length of calls, and the phone numbers involved, all without a warrant.

Yesterday's wins... and losses...

For democrats, the big victories from yesterday's elections were that Terry McAuliffe and Bill DeBlasio defeated their Republican opponents in Virginia and New York. However, there were many other wins, and losses, for progressives around our nation.

Today is a preview of 2014 and beyond.

Today is election day in several states around our nation, and the danger of many new voting laws is apparent. This week in Texas, former democratic representative Jim Wright was almost denied the right to vote under the new voter ID law.

So, about those cancellation letters...

Surprise, surprise... Insurance companies are trying to cheat customers out of more money. Since the start of Obamacare, we've heard various reports of companies canceling insurance policies, and charging customers hundreds of dollars more each month to continue coverage.

This is un-American.

Starting today, 47 million hungry Americans will see cuts to their SNAP benefits. Five billion dollars is being slashed from the program, leaving the poor to survive on even less. Families who are already struggling to make ends meet will see their food stamp benefits drop by an average of $36 dollars per household.

Why should we believe the NSA now?

For the third time in two weeks, we learned about yet another NSA spying program. First we heard about the agency tapping the phones of world leaders. Then we learned about them collecting data on Europeans. And now, we find out that the NSA has broken into the main communication links of Yahoo and Google.

Yesterday's other hearing...

While Fox so-called News kept the focus on yesterday's congressional hearing on Healthcare.gov, there was another round of question-and-answer that is a much bigger cause for concern. NSA director, General Keith Alexander, and James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence were called before the House Intelligence Committee to answer questions about government spying.

The cost of doing nothing about gun control.

It hasn't even been a year since the tragic mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. You wouldn't know it by listening to Congress, but since then almost 10,000 more people have been killed by guns in our nation – and that's only what the media has reported. Since Newtown, Slate Magazine has partnered with a twitter group called @GunDeaths to track gun-related fatalities.

The huge protest you didn't hear about this weekend.

When 50 Tea Party members show up in Washington, the national media falls all over themselves to cover the so-called rally. But, when thousands gather to protest NSA spying, there's not a peep in the corporate news. That's exactly what happened over the weekend, when thousands converged on our nation's capital to be part of a “Stop Watching Us” protest.

Spying on friends is not acceptable...

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was outraged to learn that the U.S. was spying on her cell phone. But, she's not the only one who should be alarmed. The NSA has been snooping into the private phone conversations of at least 35 world leaders.

Stop the TPP!

A coalition of public interest groups wants Congress to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership. The groups sent a letter to several ranking members of Congress, asking them to deny President Obama's request to fast-track the T.P.P., and hold on to their Constitutional authority to oversee trade deals.

TSA now stands for The Snooping Agency!

In many states around our nation, you don't need a background check to buy a gun. But, if you have travel plans, be prepared for the authorities to do a little digging. The TSA has expanding passenger screenings, and they're checking a wide array of government databases before you even arrive at the airport.

Don't frack with DC!

The oil and gas industry is already cozy with Washington, but soon they might be neighbors. Fracking companies want to move in to the George Washington National Forest. That forest is one of the largest undeveloped areas east of the Mississippi, and it also supplies water to the DC metro area. In the coming weeks, the U.S.

The essence of Obamacare is working fine.

As of today, more than half a million people have signed up for Obamacare. However, many more people may have enrolled, but they were unable to because of glitches on the healthcare website.

For some, the pain of the shutdown isn't over...

The government shutdown may be over, but that doesn't mean that life has returned to normal for many people around our nation. Federal workers, who were furloughed during the shutdown, will receive backpay for the time they weren't able to work, but many others won't be so lucky. And, many businesses, research projects, and government contractors are now struggling to make up for the lost time and income.

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The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

Most of us know how taxpayers subsidize Walmart's low wages with billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, and other financial assistance for workers. But, did you know that we're also subsidizing the retail giant by paying the cost of their environmental destruction.

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