U.S. Lawmakers Consider China-Like Internet Rules

Bills in both the House and the Senate designed to protect intellectual property online may actually represent a move toward Chinese-style internet censorship in the United States.

The Protect IP Act, in the Senate, and its House counterpart, the Stop Online Piracy Act, are both being backed by well-financed lobbies for the United States Chamber of Commerce, the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Federation of Musicians, the Directors Guild of America, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and the Screen Actors Guild. These organizations all argue that legislation is needed to curtail Internet piracy of copyrighted creative works including major motion pictures and music. 

Rebecca MacKinnon, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and a founder of Global Voices Online, sees the legislation differently, as she explains in a recent editorial in The New York Times: “ The potential for abuse of power through digital networks — upon which we as citizens now depend for nearly everything, including our politics — is one of the most insidious threats to democracy in the Internet age. We live in a time of tremendous political polarization. Public trust in both government and corporations is low, and deservedly so. This is no time for politicians and industry lobbyists in Washington to be devising new Internet censorship mechanisms, adding new opportunities for abuse of corporate and government power over online speech.”

Some features of the legislation would ultimately make companies liable for user copyright infringements taking place on their websites thereby creating a system that, much like Chinese corporate “self-discipline,” gives website operators incentive to be very strict about the information they allow to be published on their venues.

Suspect Named In White House Shooting

Secret Service officials, investigating an incident of gunshots at the White House, say they have located two bullets and have a suspect in the case.

Last Friday, a round believed to be fired from an AK-47 struck a window at the White House, but authorities say it was stopped by bullet-proof glass.

Police say that a suspect, 21-year-old Oscar Ramiro Ortega, has been identified by a car and the rifle that he abandoned near the Presidential home. ABC News  reported that Ortega has a criminal record that includes domestic violence and drug charges. Authorities believe that Ortega may have been associated with the Occupy DC protest camp, and have since searched the area several times.

The United States Park Police have issued a warrant for Ortega’s arrest and have published a wanted person report on their website that displays photos of the suspect, including one that shows a tattoo on his neck that reads “Israel.” Law enforcement entities throughout the country are searching for the suspect, and there is some speculation that he may intend to try to harm the President.

Justice Department Wants To Prosecute Internet Fibbers

The Justice Department wants to solidify Internet regulations on citizens in the United States that criminalize such things as lying on Internet dating websites and uploading videos to YouTube that violate the company’s “terms of service” agreement.

In a statement that was obtained by CNET, the Justice Department outlines the importance of its being able to prosecute violations to a website’s “terms of service” agreement through the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). The Department reportedly wants to treat “terms of service” agreements much like contracts that are made between businesses, employees and individuals outside the Web world.

Opponents of the law like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have called the regulations draconian and say that making people felons for failing to adhere to website rules is ridiculous.

In a letter sent to the Senate by the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks, opponents argue against the law: “If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime. Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”

Proponents say that keeping and strengthening CFAA is vital to the Justice Department’s ability to prosecute identity theft, misuse of government databases and privacy invasions.

According to CNET, thousands of people violate “terms of service” agreements daily.

A Pint A Day — But No More — Keeps The Doctor Away

Researchers in Italy have discovered that the heart-health benefits associated with the moderate consumption of wine may also apply to beer.

In previous studies, researchers were able to recognize a relationship between wine and cardiovascular benefits, but beer and other spirits showed no evidence of heart-health benefits. New research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology indicates that beer and wine both have very similar health benefits, but only when consumption is moderate and regular.

The researchers observed a maximum increase in protection against cardiovascular disease when a little more than one traditional English pint of beer containing about 5 percent alcohol was consumed daily. The findings are similar to what was already known about wine: Drinking about two glasses per day for men or one for women reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 31 percent.

“I think we will never stress enough this concept. Wine or beer are part of a lifestyle. One glass can pair with healthy foods, eaten at proper time, maybe together with family or friends. There is no place for binge drinking or any other form of heavy consumption,” said Augusto Di Castelnuovo, head of the Statistic Unit of Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura “Giovanni Paolo II.”

The researchers say that while there is a benefit to moderate, regular consumption of beer and wine, drinking in excess quickly negates it and becomes detrimental to cardiovascular and overall health. They also say that the benefits do not apply to everyone; for example, young women increase their risk for some cancers with alcohol consumption.

Researchers are still unclear as to whether the cardiovascular health benefits of beer and wine are associated with the alcohol in the beverages or with other ingredients.

Cain Appears Confused About Libya

If his recent interview with the editorial board at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is any indicator, Herman Cain just isn’t sure if he agrees or disagrees with President Barack Obama’s handling of the rebel uprising in Libya. Some pundits have speculated that the candidate really hasn’t been paying attention to world events.

When asked about the recent events in Libya that led to the rebel overthrow of that country’s longtime dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, Cain took a long pause before asking the reporter to clarify exactly what was being discussed. He said that he was having a hard time focusing on the question because he had too many things “twirling around” in his head.

After a pause, Cain offered his thoughts: “I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I’m sure that our intelligence people had some of that information. Based upon who made up that opposition . . . might have caused me to make some different decisions about how we participated. Secondly, no I did not agree with (Moammar) Gadhafi killing his citizens. Absolutely not. . . . I would have supported many of the things that they did to help stop that.”

The Libya question is not the first time Cain has left pundits scratching their heads with an answer. He has also been criticized over the past few months for what The Washington Post calls a “flip-flop-flip” on the issue of abortion because of his failure to say anything concrete about the issue.

A recent Post fact check said of the candidate: “…Cain shows an increasing tendency to simply recast what he said and then claim he was quoted out of context or he misunderstood the question.”

Occupy Camps Torn Down Across Nation

Occupy Wall Street protesters are calling for a “day of mass action” to occur on Thursday after police raided camps in a number of cities including Oakland, Calif., and New York early this week.

Police in riot gear in New York cleared Zuccotti Park in a pre-dawn raid on Tuesday, arresting about 200 protesters and tearing down tents and structures throughout the area, according to MSNBC.

“Protesters have had two months to occupy the park with tents and sleeping bags,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “Now they will have to occupy the space with the power of their arguments.”

City officials say that the protesters will be allowed back in the park, which has been cleaned by sanitation workers, but will not be able to set up a tent city like the one the movement has inhabited for the past two months.  A New York court is currently working to determine whether the no-tent rule is valid, because it was declared by city officials after the protest began.

Article continued below…

Uncle Sam Has Been Lying to You

President Obama says the economy is improving—but take a look around. Unemployment is still at record highs… real estate is still at record lows… and banks are still failing across the country. What’s really going on?

Don’t expect Uncle Sam to give you any answers. The government has been distorting—and in many cases deliberately covering up—the seriousness of the situation to protect its own interests.

To get the truth about the financial crisis—and discover the simple steps you need to take in order to survive it—click here now.

In Oakland, 32 protesters were arrested in a similar raid, the second on that encampment in the past month. Officials there said that, unlike the violent riots that resulted from the police crackdown earlier this month, the destruction of the encampment resulted in no major incidents or injuries. Police say that there will be a 24/7 law enforcement presence to ensure that no more tents are set up.

According to Alternet, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said that 18 cities were consulting with one another prior to the Occupy crackdowns.

Supreme Court Sets Schedule For Obamacare Hearings

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to take on three separate cases challenging the Constitutionality of President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul.

The Court set aside five and a half hours for oral argument that is set to begin in March regarding the Federal health law, according to SCOTUSblog. The discussion is to be segmented to address challenges to the legislation separately: two hours of discussion will focus on individual mandates for health insurance, 90 minutes will focus on whether the law can even function barring individual mandates, one hour will be spent discussing whether the Anti-Injunction Act bars some or all of the challenges to individual mandates, and one hour will be dedicated to the Constitutionality of Obama’s planned expansion of Medicaid under his healthcare law.

The Court reportedly examined appeals from 26 States regarding the healthcare overhaul to create the schedule and issues of discussion. It did not review petitions by consumer-advocacy group Thomas More Law Center and three of its members, or by two Liberty University employees.

According to The Associated Press, Supreme Court experts already are trying to speculate on the outcome of the hearings, which will fall sometime around the final few months of the Presidential election season. Many experts believe that the law will be upheld by a lopsided vote, with Republican and Democratic appointees ruling in its favor.

Norway Killer Claims Massacre Act Of War

The anti-Muslim extremist accused of killing 77 people in a bombing and shooting rampage in Norway on July 22 had his first public hearing on Monday. Reporters and spectators, including survivors of the rampage, packed the courtroom to hear Anders Behring Breivik’s first public confession.

Investigators say Breivik set off a fertilizer bomb outside government headquarters on July 22, killing eight people. He then headed to an island retreat, where youth sections of Norway’s governing Labor Party were holding their annual summer camp. On the island, the man carried out a bloody shooting massacre, killing 69 unarmed people.

According to The Associated Press, Breivik claimed to be a commander in the Norwegian resistance movement and said he carried out the attacks as an act of war against Muslim immigrants to the country. As he did previously in closed hearings, Breivik confessed to the crimes but pleaded not guilty to terror charges.

According to the article, an online manifesto attributed to Breivik sheds light on his choice of targets. He lays out a blueprint in it for a multiphase revolution, targeting left-leaning political elites he accuses of destroying their own societies by admitting large numbers of immigrants, especially from Muslim countries.

Investigators have found no evidence linking Breivek to any anti-Islamic groups or resistance organizations, but have not ruled out his claims.

Paul Allowed Only 89 Seconds In Foreign Policy Debate

Saturday’s CBS/National Journal Republican Presidential primary debate in South Carolina has caused uproar among many Ron Paul supporters. They say the trending mainstream media ignorance of the candidate has become more obvious than ever.

The debate, which was televised for about an hour on most CBS affiliate stations and was broadcast full-length online, was largely focused on the United States’ foreign affairs. During the televised hour, the media-favored candidates spent much of their speaking time offering their support to military action in Iran, torture for intelligence information and other hawkish foreign relations ideas.

When he was allowed to speak, Paul continued to assert his familiar disagreement with the neoconservative foreign relations policies of the other candidates. But the Congressman from Texas, who serves on the House Foreign Relations Committee, had one small problem in the debate: He was given only about 89 seconds of the entire hour to speak.

Paul campaign manager John Tate said in a press release after the debate: “It literally made me sick watching the mainstream media once again silence the one sane voice in this election. The one dissenter to a decade of unchecked war. The one candidate who stands for true defense and actual constitutional government.”

Jesse Benton, Paul’s campaign chairman, said the debate proved CBS and other members of the mainstream media are arrogant and believe that they will pick the next President.

The Paul campaign contends that the mainstream candidates and mainstream media are doing everything in their power to avoid an “authentic national conversation” about security and defense.

Massive Sunspots Aimed At Earth

The largest active region on the sun since 2005 is reportedly currently aimed directly at Earth; any solar eruptions caused by its processes may affect the planet.

According to National Geographic, an area on the sun called Active Region 1139, a cluster of magnetic activity first spotted by satellites, came into view of telescopes on Earth last week. The sunspots are reportedly so large that they can now even be viewed by the naked eye.

The recent increased solar activity is said to have been what caused the Aurora Borealis to be witnessed as far south as Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas in late October.

Sunspots are where solar flares usually occur, since the magnetic fields in the active regions can build up enough energy to break and release bursts of intense radiation into the solar system. If the sunspots are aimed toward Earth, excess energy can be poured into the atmosphere causing magnetic storms that create aurorae like the Northern lights. The storms could also have a devastating impact on power grids and disrupt worldwide communication devices.

AR 1339 is expected to pass quietly, but there are more active regions coming. The sun is currently approaching what is known as solar maximum, the peak of our star’s roughly 11-year cycle of magnetic activity, according to the article.

Rand Paul: Environmental Extremists Run Government

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said that President Barack Obama’s Administration has allowed environmental extremists to take over political decisions and kill jobs.

The Senator’s statements were made in regard to legislation he has proposed to roll back an Environmental Protection Agency regulation that penalizes States for allowing air pollution to drift into bordering States, according to The Hill.

Paul also questioned the American Lung Association’s suggestion that pollution is behind a rise in asthma and said the $5 million in funding it takes from the EPA each year might be influencing the results of its studies.

The Senator also said that the push for electric cars did not make much sense from an environmental standpoint because 50 percent of electricity in the U.S. is coal-produced.

“[I] am afraid what has happened is we have opened up the White House and this administration to environmental extremists, the kind of people who say, ‘Well the polar bears are drowning,’” he said.

Paul said that this is not the kind of extremism that he wants to see driving policy in the United States.

Deaths Occur In Two Occupied Cities

Law enforcement officials dealt with two fatal shootings at Occupy camps in separate cities last week.

On Thursday, at shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time in Burlington, Vt., authorities transported to the hospital a military veteran who was in critical condition as a result of gunshot wounds. He later died. According to Burlington Free Press, the 35-year-old man’s wounds appeared to be self-inflicted, though an investigation of the incident is under way.

The camp has been closed down by police, and reports indicate that protesters there remain tense.

Police are also investigating a fatal shooting outside the Occupy Oakland encampment in Northern California, according to The Associated Press.

An investigation into the gunfire Thursday that left a man dead suggests it resulted from a fight between two groups of men at or near the camp on a plaza in front of Oakland’s City Hall. The man, whom several Occupy campers said they did not recognize, was shot in the head.

Protest organizers contend that the shooting was completely unrelated to the Oakland Occupation.

Senate Upholds Internet Regulation Rules

On Thursday, the Senate rejected a bill that would repeal the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules.

According to The Hill, the measure passed the House in April, but failed in the Senate on a vote of 52-46. It needed 51 votes to pass and was not subject to a filibuster.

The FCC’s net-neutrality regulations are aimed at preventing Internet service providers from slowing down or speeding up access to websites, and they ban wireless carriers from blocking lawful websites or applications that compete with their services.

Supporters of the rules believe they preserve competition on the Internet, while those against them say they represent government attempts to regulate the Internet. President Barack Obama said he would have vetoed legislation that struck down the neutrality laws.

Though there are several lawsuits challenging the FCC’s ability to intervene in Internet communication (including one lawsuit filed by Verizon), the rules are scheduled to take effect on Nov. 20.

 

Candidates Attempt To Be Paul; Media Try To Make Him Disappear

If there was any question that candidates in the 2012 GOP Presidential primary field are attempting to co-opt the message of Ron Paul — the man who has been largely ignored by mainstream media despite growing support — Rick Perry answered it during  the Wednesday CNBC “Your Money, Your Vote” debate.

Perry’s notion that he wanted to cut three Federal agencies sounded like it was cut from the pages of Paul’s “Plan To Restore America” in which the Congressman from Texas calls for the elimination of not three, but five Federal bureaucracies. There was only one problem with Perry’s attempt: he couldn’t remember which three agencies he disliked.

“And I will tell you, it is three agencies of government when I get there that are gone,” Perry said. “Commerce, education and the — what’s the third one there? Let’s see. OK. Commerce, education and the…”

The baffled candidate looked toward Paul, the man whose ideas he was trying to emulate, for help.

“The EPA,” Mitt Romney chimed in.

But it wasn’t the Environmental Protection Agency, as Perry revealed nearly 15 minutes later after searching his notes, “By the way, it was the Department of Energy I was talking about.”

Another novel attempt to be Paul came from former Federal Reserve board member Herman Cain, who called for sound currency.

“A dollar must be a dollar when we wake up in the morning, just like 60 minutes is in an hour, a dollar must be a dollar,” he said.

Unfortunately, Cain offered viewers little information about how he, as President, would ensure that the dollar was sound beyond his repetitive mentions of the 9-9-9 tax plan.

The CNBC moderators attempted to bait Paul into appearing to be anti-education by playing a series of video clips showing college students decrying the massive increase in college expense and student loan debt in recent years. They then asked him how eliminating government involvement in education could possibly help the situation.

“I think you proved [with the video] that the policy of student loans is a total failure, I mean a trillion dollars of debt, and it’s going to be dumped on the taxpayer,” he said.

When asked how students could possibly pay for college if student loans were eliminated, Paul gave an answer that received heavy applause.

“The way you pay for cell phones and computers,” he said. “You have the marketplace there, there’s competition — quality goes up, price goes down. Can you imagine what it’d been like if the Department of Homeland Security were in charge of finding one person, or one company to make cell phones? It’d been a total disaster. So, when the government gets involved in the delivery of any service, whether it’s education, medical care or housing, they cause higher prices, lower quality, create bubbles and they give us this mess that we’re in.”

Paul led by a heavy margin in the post-debate poll on CNBC.com, but the poll was removed. The news organization said it removed the poll because it didn’t reflect the views of its audience, according to HuntingtonNews.net. This is the second time that CNBC has removed a poll from its website because Paul was leading. The first time occurred in October, when the candidate took a 75 percent lead in a post-debate poll.

Cars, Mobile Phones Fair Game For Fed Spies

Warrantless tracking of Americans by law enforcement officials has been a widely discussed topic this week.

On Tuesday, a Federal government lawyer pled the case of warrantless GPS tracking of Americans’ vehicles to the Supreme Court in the case of Antoine Jones, whose movements were electronically tracked for a month after police attached a GPS device to his vehicle. A drug conviction against the Washington, D.C., nightclub owner was later overturned by an appeal because the appeals court deemed a warrant necessary for such intrusive tracking.

According to SCOTUSblog, most of the Supreme Court justices appeared to view the idea as a considerable threat to Americans’ Constitutional right to privacy.

While the Supreme Court was discussing the issue, WIRED broke a story about a man in San Jose, Calif., who discovered a GPS tracking device tucked under his wheel well by police.

A Wall Street Journal report published on Wednesday also detailed instances of warrantless GPS tracking of cellular phones. The article said that State and Federal authorities use the technology to track thousands of unwitting Americans each year.

 

FBI Too Big For Current Facilities

According to the FBI, its exponential growth since 2001 has rendered its headquarters too small for the agency. The agency is housed in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, which occupies an entire city block on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) said Tuesday that the FBI will have to soon begin considering plans to grow its space through relocation or renovation of the current building. Both options will take years and probably reach into the billions of dollars, according to The Washington Post.

FBI Assistant Deputy Director T.J. Harrington said that a new consolidated FBI headquarters facility is urgently needed and viewed as one of FBI officials’ highest priorities for the foreseeable future.

Besides the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the FBI’s staff of about 17,300 employees and contractors work at 40 other sites throughout the country. Twenty-two of the sites are in the Washington, D.C., area, according to the report.

A recent GAO report indicated that in addition to the FBI running out of space, security of FBI facilities is lacking. Many FBI offices are in busy areas or share space with other lessees in multi-tenant buildings.

According to the article, the cheapest option the FBI has to complete a renovation of facilities will cost more than $850 million.

IAEA: Iran Arming Up

An International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released on Tuesday said that Iran has begun activities focused solely on the creation of nuclear weapons.

According to The Telegraph, the 25-page report evidences extensive research done by the Iranian government into the use of enriched uranium in the creation of an explosive core for ballistic-tipped missiles.

The report also indicates that the country has researched the process involved in creating a sophisticated detonation device that would likely be used in a bomb similar to the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs used by the United States against the Japanese in 1945.

The report also detailed the existence of a nuclear research facility near Tehran.

Prior to the release of the report, atomic inspectors had voiced concerns publicly only about the “possible existence” of weapons work in Iran. The new analysis will most likely heighten international pressure on the country.

Reports from the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) indicate that Iran is denying any allegations of nuclear malfeasance, saying that its nuclear program is focused on energy development.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the IAEA report is simply another effort by the Western world to inhibit growth and development in Iran. He said that it is hard to justify the report coming from “certain countries” that like to “wage wars, occupy territories, massacre people, commit crimes and plunder resources of nations for the sake of the Zionist criminals.”

No Doubt, Teamsters Love 99 Percent

Many people have suspected heavy involvement from the beginning, but recent reports indicate no doubt that organized labor unions have fully embraced the Occupy movement.

According to The New York Times, the union embrace of Occupy represents the beginning of a change in the approach that teamsters will use in collective bargaining in the future. A memo from the AFL-CIO last week suggests that unions will usurp the message of the 99 percent in future communications with members, employers and voters to further grow the Occupy movement, according to the article.

“We think the Occupy movement has given voice to something very basic about what’s going on in our country right now,” Damon Silvers, the AFL-CIO’s policy director told The New York Times. “The fact that they’ve figured out certain concepts and language for doing that, we think is really important and positive.”

The article says that union leaders have donated massive amounts of food and winter weather supplies to camping protesters throughout the nation.

Further evidence of the labor organization’s desire to be aligned with the movement is found on its website, which proudly states “We are the 99 percent” and displays pictures of individuals holding up 99 percent messages, which have now become synonymous with the protesters.

The website also displays several articles that disavow conservatives in government as job killers and call for more government intervention in the market.

Gallup Examines Democrats

A report by Gallup published on Tuesday notes two changes that have occurred in the Democratic Party since it nominated Barack Obama as its 2008 Presidential candidate: It is more liberal and less white now.

The study examined a segment of the population who identified themselves as Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents and found that since 2008 this segment of the population has fallen from 50 to 43 percent. The number of Republicans grew by 3 percent — to 40 percent — as did independents who preferred neither party — to 15 percent — during the same time frame.

Among Democrats, the number of those who described themselves as liberal grew from 35 to 37 percent, a fact researchers attribute to moderates and conservatives who once identified with some Democratic values feeling largely disenfranchised in recent years.

Over the past three years, the Democratic Party also noticed a small ethnic shift, according to the findings, with the number of party members who identified themselves as black growing from 16 to 19 percent and non-Hispanic white Democrats decreasing from 66 to 63 percent.

Other Gallup findings indicate no significant shift in the fact that Democrats are less likely than the U.S. population as a whole to marry or attend regular church services and more likely to be college educated.

The age of the Party has decreased slightly as more 18- to 29-year-olds identify themselves as Democrats. It also has become more female; women represent 55 percent of the Party’s base.

Fed To Take Over National TV, Radio Today

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is set today for the first nationwide test of its mass media-takeover emergency alert system.

For years, State and local governments have used the Emergency Alert System [EAS] to notify the public of weather and other emergencies on a local scale, but today’s test will represent for the first time the Federal government’s ability to jam all State, local and national airwaves.

In previous tests, broadcasters were able to manually opt out of broadcasting the government message. But with regulations in recent years that require FEMA airwave takeover equipment, the Federal government is able to seize control.

Liberty-minded radio hosts Alex Jones and Glenn Beck have both spoken out against the totalitarian media takeover.

“[T]he EAS [Emergency Alert System] is something new and exciting and something brought to you by Homeland Security, under the George Bush Administration,” Beck said in a recent broadcast on GBTV. “[I] have a problem with the EAS system, one of the reasons I have a problem with it is it seizes control of the broadcast frequency. If I don’t trip the EAS system, the station is tripped for me, it’s automatic. In the middle of my sentence, if the State wants to take control, they just take it.”

Jones has been speaking out against Executive Order 10995 which allows for total government takeover of all major media for over a decade.

“There are going to be more and more government break-ins over radio and TV… This is authoritarian censorship by way of government break-ins with announcements, no country has ever done this, this is beyond 1984, and it’s really happening.” Jones said last February speaking about a government plan to use the EAS system as a State media device.

The test will begin at 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time today, and is expected to black out television and radio nationally for 30 seconds.

Clinton Praises Obama, Perry In USA Today

Even with a Rasmussen Presidential Approval Index rating of negative 18; President Barack Obama appears to have at least one high-profile cheerleader.

Former President Bill Clinton, back in the news after the release of his book Back to Work, has more than once in recent weeks come to Obama’s defense.

Clinton offers some criticisms of Obama’s work, mostly focusing on the summer debt ceiling crises which he says made the United States look “weak and confused” to foreigners. But a large part of the Clinton message appears to be that when the economy is lagging, government action is better than no action at all; and he says Obama has done a better job in that respect than people have given him credit for.

Clinton told USA Today, in an interview published Monday, that he believes Republicans are banking on history as the 2012 elections draw near: putting a large part of their electoral focus on the fact that no modern President has been elected to a second term with jobless rates as high as they are now.

“But the American people have a funny way of figuring. If they decide that the unemployment rate is that high because the Congress refused to work with the President and their numbers remain markedly lower than his, he might win anyway. I still think he’s in pretty good shape.” Clinton said in the interview.

Obama is not the only person receiving Clinton’s praise. The former President also came to the defense of GOP Presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry regarding in-State tuition assistance for illegal aliens.

“It makes my skin crawl when they attack Rick Perry for one of the best things he did,” Clinton said, before suggesting that without the program the illegals would become dope-peddlers.

Police May Be Taping You

A growing trend in law enforcement has police officers wearing on-uniform video cameras to capture encounters with the public from the officer’s point of view.

The cameras have already been fully implemented in departments in Cincinnati and Oakland, Calif., as well as Bainbridge Island, Wash., where they were initially tested, according to NPR. The idea is catching on with most law enforcement agencies, according to reports.

Police have for the most part warmly accepted the new addition to their uniforms — especially those in areas where controversies have arisen due to allegations of misconduct. Some officers, however, have expressed concerns about policies that require the cameras be on at all times, even if the citizen being spoken to does not wish to be on camera.

Other questions of privacy have also arisen concerning the cameras, including some about the kinds of calls to which officers often respond. Sgt. Rich O’Neill, president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, told NPR that citizens may want to consider what it may mean to have a police officer show up at the door while filming.

“Maybe I’m there for something as small as a noise complaint,” O’Neill said. “Maybe I’m at your home for something much more serious, maybe it’s a terribly traumatic event, domestic violence victim, child abuse victim, and I’m going to be walking into that home, videotaping.”

Some critics also wonder if the tapes will be easily accessible to the public, since past incidents have demonstrated that departments are often unwilling to release dash cam recordings.

Court Upholds Obamacare, Supreme Court To Begin Discussion

A District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals upheld President Barack Obama’s healthcare law on Tuesday as Constitutional, setting the stage for a probable Supreme Court fight regarding the law.

The court, according to The Associated Press, agreed to dismiss a Christian legal group’s lawsuit that said the healthcare law was unConstitutional and in violation of religious freedom.

The lawsuit was one of many challenging Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and appellate courts throughout the Nation have ruled both in favor of and against the act, further ensuring that the issue will eventually reach the Supreme Court.

On Oct. 26, SCOTUSblog reported that the Supreme Court will most likely take its first look at Obamacare challenges at its conference this Thursday.

The court is scheduled to discuss six petitions against Obamacare, including:

The initial conversations will give Supreme Court Justices a chance to decide which cases and whose arguments they will hear before ruling on healthcare reform. An actual ruling on the law, most experts say, will not take place until next year. Because of the numerous contradictory rulings from lower courts regarding the individual insurance mandate, the Court is expected to focus heavily on that particular issue in discussions about the law in its entirety.