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Category Archives: Civil Liberties

Project 2025, Election 2024, and America’s Future

TIME: “…Project 2025 led by the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation, Project 2025 is a presidential transition operation—basically a government-in-waiting if former President Donald Trump returns to office on Jan. 20, 2025. The $22 million effort does not say it is specifically intended for Trump, but that it wants a conservative as the next commander-in-chief. The project, published in 2023, includes a nearly 1,000-page handbook that detailed a conservative agenda for the next president. Project 2025 said on its website that the handbook is “the next conservative President’s last opportunity to save our republic.” “It is not enough for conservatives to win elections,” Project 2025 said on its website. “If we are going to rescue the country from the grip of the radical Left, we need both a governing agenda and the right people in place, ready to carry this agenda out on day one of the next conservative administration. That is the goal of the 2025 Presidential Transition Project.” “With the right conservative policy recommendations and properly vetted and trained personnel to implement them, we will take back our government,” the project continued…”

Wikipedia: “Project 2025, also known as the Presidential Transition Project, is a collection of conservative policy proposals from The Heritage Foundation to reshape the United States federal government in the event of a Republican Party victory in the 2024 presidential election.[2][3] Established in 2022, the project aims to reclassify tens of thousands of merit-based federal civil servant jobs as political appointees in order to replace them with loyal conservatives to further the objectives of the next Republican president.[4] It adopts a maximalist version of the unitary executive theory, a disputed interpretation of Article II of the Constitution of the United States,[5][6] which asserts that the president has absolute power over the executive branch upon inauguration.[3][7] Project 2025 envisions widespread changes across the government, particularly economic and social policies and the role of the federal government and its agencies. The plan proposes slashing funding for the Department of Justice (DOJ), dismantling the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), sharply reducing environmental and climate change regulations to favor fossil fuel production, eliminating the Department of Commerce, and ending the independence of federal agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC).[8][9] The blueprint seeks to institute tax cuts,[10] though its writers disagree on the wisdom of protectionism.[11] Project 2025 recommends abolishing the Department of Education, whose programs would be either transferred to other agencies, or terminated.[12][13] Funding for climate research would be cut while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) would be reformed along conservative principles.[14][15] The Project urges government to explicitly reject abortion as health care[16][17] and eliminate the Affordable Care Act‘s coverage of emergency contraception.[18] The Project seeks to infuse the government with elements of Christianity.[19] It proposes criminalizing pornography,[20] removing legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,[20][21] and terminating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs,[4][21] as well as affirmative action.[22]

South Carolina poised to impose draconian censorship regime on school libraries

Popular Information: “On Tuesday, the South Carolina State Board of Education will impose a centralized and expansive censorship regime on every K-12 school library in the state. The new regulations could result in the banning of most classic works of literature from South Carolina schools — from The Canterbury Tales to Romeo and Juliet to… Continue Reading

How Black Librarians Helped Create Generations of Black Literature

The New York Times [unpaywalled] – “Recent scholarship is uncovering the role of the women who ran libraries during the Harlem Renaissance where they built collections and, just as important, communities of writers and readers…“Mr. Schomburg’s collection is really the seed,” said Joy Bivins, the current director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture,… Continue Reading

Clarence Thomas, the Gordon Gekko of the Supreme Court

Prevail: “There’s a scene in Wall Street where Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko is explaining to Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox the difference between being rich and being rich. “I’m talking about liquid,” he says in the back of his limousine. “Rich enough to have your own jet. Rich enough not to waste time. Fifty, a hundred… Continue Reading

Your employer might be spying on your tech. Here’s how to check.

Washington Post: “Your employer may be able to see everything you’re doing on your phone or computer. They might know you’re reading this article right now. (Hi!) But how can you be sure? Companies have a growing number of ways to keep tabs on workers. They can gather details from common workplace apps and use… Continue Reading

So What Is Going On With the Supreme Court in 2024?

Slate [read 5 articles free before paywalled] – “If you’re interested in understanding more about what the high court is, how it functions, and why it seems to have recently lurched to the right, start here…The 5 Circuit Court of Appeals covers Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Trump appointed six judges to this bench, some of… Continue Reading

Book bans in political context: Evidence from US schools

Book bans in political context: Evidence from US schools. PNAS Nexus, Volume 3, Issue 6, June 2024, pgae197, https://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgae197 “In the 2021–2022 school year, more books were banned in US school districts than in any previous year. Book banning and other forms of information censorship have serious implications for democratic processes, and censorship has become… Continue Reading

What Animal Studies Are Revealing About Their Minds and Ours

TIME – “…The last few months alone have been something of a boom time for research into the intelligence and behavior of animals. German researchers discovered a sort of pre-verbal stage in finches—similar to the babbling stage in humans—that leads to their becoming fluent in song. Studies in Sweden and Vienna explored the role of… Continue Reading

States are already collecting more abortion data. And HIPAA won’t always keep it private.

Nebraska Examiner: “Years before the Dobbs decision, providers like Dr. Kylie Cooper were already uncomfortable with some of the reporting requirements for abortion procedures in states where they practiced. Cooper was a maternal-fetal medicine specialist for several years in Idaho before she reluctantly left the state in 2023 because of the near-total abortion ban that… Continue Reading

For the Women Who Accused the Trump Campaign of Harassment, It’s Been More Harassment

ProPublica:”…As the media has chronicled, Trump is a well-known bully. He has belittled and sought to dominate political rivals like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former allies like Bill Barr, who was his attorney general. Trump and his surrogates have appeared to relish hounding or humiliating women who have verbally crossed him, including media and… Continue Reading

OECD – Defining AI incidents and related terms

New AI report: OECD (2024), OECD Artificial Intelligence Papers, No. 16, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/d1a8d965-en.”Defining AI incidents and related terms,” it’s a must-read for everyone in AI. Important information: An AI incident is defined as: “an event, circumstance or series of events where the development, use or malfunction of one or more AI systems directly… Continue Reading

It is dangerously easy to hack the world’s phones

The Economist – A system at the heart of global telecommunications is woefully insecure [no paywall] “For year security experts have warned that a technology at the heart of global communications is dangerously insecure. Now there is proof that it has been used to snoop on people in America. Kevin Briggs, an official at America’s… Continue Reading