David Rosen

It Looks Like the Right Wing Has Finally Given Up on the Idea of Gay Conversion Therapy

It may finally be over.  Nevada is the latest of eight states that officially ended the practice of sexual “conversion therapy” of minors.  Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill making it illegal for a physician or other health professional to perform therapy intended to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of someone under 18 years of age.  However, in a telling compromise, the bill exempts religious organizations and allows counseling by members of the clergy.

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Immigrants Are Sitting Ducks: Prepaid International Calling-Card Scam

Have you ever used a prepaid international calling card?  If so, you’ve likely been ripped off.

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Trump's Sick Predecessors: 6 Racist Bullies Who Stirred Up Americans' Basest Instincts

With the help of the mainstream media, Donald Trump is fueling a deep-seated nativist paranoia that has a long history in this country.  Loud-mouthed political bullies have been part of the American political system since its earliest days. America’s past is littered with the legacies of political demagogues like Trump and some of his Republican cronies.  

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4 Very Good Reasons Prostitution Shouldn't Be a Crime

On July 16, 2015, Pres. Obama visited the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, OK, the first sitting president to visit a federal penitentiary. Reflecting on his visit, the president acknowledged, “When they describe their youth, these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different from the mistakes I made, and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made.” He added, “The difference is that they did not have the kind of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.”

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To See the Bleak Future of U.S. Workers, Look What Happened to an NBC Contractor Covering the Ebola Outbreak

The fate of Ashoka Mukpo, NBC News’ 33-year-old freelance cameraman and reporter suffering from the Ebola virus, remains tenuous. He worked in Liberia for the last three years before being infected and was recently flown to the Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. Amidst all the coverage about Mukpo and the Ebola crisis, one question that seems to have gone unanswered is whether NBC will pay his medical bills?

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5 Scams and Rackets That Can Turn You Into a 21st-Century Indentured Servant

America is a debtor nation in crisis. According to one estimate, total consumer debt stands at $11.7 trillion, including $8.2 trillion in home mortgages, $1.1 trillion in student loans and $854.2 billion in credit card debt. While the banks were made whole from the Great Recession, ordinary people, especially homeowners who lost their houses, got screwed. And the faltering recovery has only left ordinary Americans worse off. Wages are flat and consumer spending is sluggish; home foreclosures are declining but there were still 1,361,795 foreclosures in 2013; consumers are shifting to a cash-and-carry system, adopting bank debit payments, and cutting back on the use of credit cards. More and more Americans are fighting to stay out of the debt hole, though the average U.S. household is already carrying $203,000 in debt. 

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The Other Police State -- The Private Intel Industry Grows

On November 20th, the Center for Corporate Policy, a Washington, DC, good-government group, issued a revealing study, “Spooky Business: A New Report on Corporate Espionage Against Non-profits.”  Written by Gary Ruskin, it confirms one’s worst suspicions about the ever-expanding two-headed U.S. security state.

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The Flesh Trade: Sex Work in America

Three centuries before Las Vegas was founded, New York was known as sin city. It was home to drinking, gambling, and most especially, illicit sexual pleasures. One of New Amsterdam’s first sex workers was Grietje “Little Pearl” Reynies, a lively bawd or "doxie." Taunted by seamen on a departing sloop with the cry, “Whore! Whore! Two pound butter’s whore!” she allegedly lifted her petticoat and pointed to her naked backside, replying, "Blaes my daer achterin."

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Does Anthony Weiner's Comeback Mean that the Laws of Scandal Politics Have Changed?

Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner is back.  Having given up his House seat following being exposed in a 2011 sexting scandal, Weiner bowed out of politics for the last two years.

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Arresting a Teen Girl for Dozing Off in Class? Why Normal Kid Behavior Is Treated As a Crime or Psychiatric Disorder

Brianna Pena, a 5-year-old, was told she could not return to her kindergarten classroom at her Bronx, NY, charter school until she was “psychiatrically cleared” to return by a medical professional.  It was her first day at a new school.  She didn’t know anyone and repeatedly cried, “Nobody cares about me!” School officials insist that Brianna kept “yelling and throwing chairs” during the incident.  Administrators placed her on a list of so-called “psychiatric suspensions.”

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Customer Beware: You Are Being Tracked

Are you planning to visit Disneyland anytime soon? If so, watch out when you are offered its latest marketing innovation, the MagicBand. When it's introduced later this year, this oh-so-cuddly wristband will be embedded with a radio frequency identification (RFID) microchip and be part of a system dubbed MyMagic+.  It will enable the company to monitor, track and analyze your every activity. 

A recent New York Times exposé reveals how the giant entertainment conglomerate plans to employ some of the latest spy technologies to “customize” its operations. According to the Times, “Did you buy a balloon? What attractions did you ride and when? Did you shake Goofy’s hand, but snub Snow White? If you fully use MyMagic+, databases will be watching, allowing Disney to refine its offerings and customize its marketing messages." Sound innocent?

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The Spy State Tightens its Grip

Ever hear of Presidential Policy Directive (PPD) 20? Bet not. The more you’ve never heard of something, the more worried you should be.

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Police Have the Scary Capability to Track Wherever You're Driving

A building at 55 Broadway, in lower Manhattan, is home to the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, the locus of the New York Police Department's massive, intelligence-gathering activities. According to a 2011 estimate, the facility integrates not only some 1,000 NYPD cameras located in lower Manhattan and some 700 cameras in midtown, but an additional 2,000 private surveillance cameras owned by Wall Street firms. These cameras are principally focused on capturing license plate data. The center cost an estimated $150 million to set up.

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How Telecoms Sell Your Private Info to the Highest Bidder

Have you ever lost your mobile phone and been able to find it through your wireless company’s GPS tracking service? Or have you signed up for a family locator program to check on where your kids are through their phones? If so, you’ve voluntarily entered the world of telco tracking. Unfortunately, these are but the most innocent tracking programs that wireless companies like AT&T and Verizon are engaged in.

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Kids Tagged With RFID Chips? The Creepy New Technology Schools Use to Track Everything Kids Do -- And the Profit Motive Behind It

The digital tracking and surveillance of school-aged kids has been growing. 

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Is Privacy Dead? 4 Government and Private Entities Conspiring to Track Everything You Do Online and Off

Americans' personal privacy is being crushed by the rise of a four-headed corporate-state surveillance system.  The four “heads” are: federal government agencies; state and local law enforcement entities; telecoms, web sites & Internet “apps” companies; and private data aggregators (sometimes referred to as commercial data warehouses).

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How Privacy in America Went Virtually Extinct in Just a Decade

We’ve come a long way since the 1880s when Sir Francis Galton, a British anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin, first undertook the scientific study of fingerprints as a means of identification. Now, two centuries later, all information is digital, created, distributed and displayed as a series of 1s and Os. 

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Why Our Phones and Internet Are Being Threatened by a Big Telecom Privatization Scheme

Regulatory capture is when private corporate interests take over an agency and instead of serving the “public” good, it serves the interests of private corporations. Such capture is playing out at both the state and federal levels throughout America, eroding the basic ethical standards in government. 

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What Secrets Is Your Cell Phone Company Telling the Government About You?

Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has had enough of the nation’s law enforcement establishment and its utter disregard for privacy protections. On Monday, July 9, he released the first set of findings from the House’s Bipartisan Congressional Privacy Caucus and a summary of it was published in the New York Times. "Law enforcement agencies are looking for a needle, but what are they doing with the haystack?" he asked. 

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Mass Arrests Likely at Political Conventions: 6 Historical Precedents

The Republican and Democratic Party conventions later this summer will probably witness the mass arrest of many American citizens assembling to exercise their First Amendment rights. Mass arrests accompanied the Republican conventions held in New York in 2004, when 900 people were busted, and in St. Paul in 2008 when 300 were detained, including 30 journalists.

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6 Government Surveillance Programs Designed to Watch What You Do Online

President Eisenhower was right on point about the military-industrial complex, but he could not have predicted the emergence of the massive surveillance state -- combining the government and private sector -- that bolsters it.

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America's Spy State: How the Telecoms Sell Out Your Privacy

You need to know one simple truth: you have no privacy with regard to your electronic communications.

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The Terrifying Ways Google Is Destroying Your Privacy

In 1999, Scott McNealy, the former head of Sun MicroSystems, reportedly declared, "You have zero privacy anyway....Get over it." He unintentionally let the proverbial cat out of the bag of the digital age. 

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The Telecom Scammers' Latest Ploy to Screw You for More Cash

Do you watch movies via a wireless connection on your laptop, tablet, smartphone or even TV set? If so, have you received a love letter from your service provider informing you to either go on a digital data diet or plan to pay more to suck down more streaming 1s and 0s? If not, it will arrive shortly.  

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You Are Being Tracked Online: Here Are 5 Ways to Protect Your Privacy

If you listen carefully when you turn on your smartphone or tablet computer or go online using your computer, you’ll hear a deep sucking sound. That's the sound of all your personal data being gobbled up by a growing array of digital service providers.

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Telecom Rip-Off: The Hidden Fees in Your Wireless and Phone Bills

As a New Year’s present to its subscribers, Verizon Wireless announced a plan to start charging a $2 “convenience fee” for payments subscribers make over the phone or online with their credit or debit cards. 

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Are You Being Tracked? 8 Ways Your Privacy Is Being Eroded Online and Off

In a recent hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Al Franken reminded his fellow Americans, “People have a fundamental right to control their private information.” At the hearing, Franken raised an alarm about Carrier IQ’s software, CIQ.

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OccupyTelecom, Occupy the FCC: How the Communications Trust is Harming America’s Future

In light of Major Mike Bloomberg’s displacement of Liberty Plaza/Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) campaign is spreading throughout the nation and the world. Most important, its critique of inequality is getting sharper and more systematic. Its core target has been the banking and financial-services industry, but activists are turning the spotlight on other, equally pernicious sectors of the economy, including the extraction, healthcare military and prison industries. Analyses of these industries reveal a common story: the fix is in.

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The Telecom Scam: 5 Behemoths That Strangle Innovation and Ensure You Pay Too Much for Bad Service

America’s communications system is in crisis and the longterm consequences will be profound. Most distressing, this issue is not on the political agenda for the 2012 electoral campaign. 

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Remembering the Bonus Army: Where Are Today's Mass Nonviolent Protests?

Seventy-nine years ago today, the U.S. Army attacked American World War I veterans, their families and thousands of other citizens gathered in peaceful assembly in Washington, D.C.  In March, and as the Depression mounted, an estimated 15,000 people flooded the nation’s capital demanding payment of their veterans’ service bonus.  By June, 20,000 had amassed.

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The Smart Phone Con Job: Your So-Called 4G Phone Isn't What It's Cracked Up To Be

The FCC and other federal agencies are reviewing AT&T’s application to acquire T-Mobile wireless business for $39 billion. Given the deference they show toward America’s largest corporations, this deal will in all likelihood go through.

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