Tag Archives: Utah

Surveillance is pervasive: Yes, you are being watched, even if no one is looking for you

Video cameras on city streets are only the most visible way your movements can be tracked.
AP Photo/Mel Evans

Peter Krapp, University of California, Irvine

The U.S. has the largest number of surveillance cameras per person in the world. Cameras are omnipresent on city streets and in hotels, restaurants, malls and offices. They’re also used to screen passengers for the Transportation Security Administration. And then there are smart doorbells and other home security cameras.

Most Americans are aware of video surveillance of public spaces. Likewise, most people know about online tracking – and want Congress to do something about it. But as a researcher who studies digital culture and secret communications, I believe that to understand how pervasive surveillance is, it’s important to recognize how physical and digital tracking work together. Continue reading

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Biden Accused of Lighting Fuse for ‘One of the Nation’s Biggest Carbon Bombs’

“This is pouring another 5 billion gallons of oil on the fire every year and bulldozing a national forest in the process,” said one critic. “It’s a horrifying step in the wrong direction.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-7-2022 by Common Dreams

An oil trai outside Essex, Montana. Photo: Roy Luck/flickr/CC

The Biden administration came under fire this week after paving the way for an oil railway that its own projections suggest would increase planet-heating pollution in the United States by almost 1%.

President Joe Biden “should be doing everything in his power to respond to the climate emergency, but he’s about to light one of the nation’s biggest carbon bombs,” Deeda Seed, a campaigner with the Center for Biological Diversity, said Wednesday in a statement. Continue reading

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Crackdown in the statehouse: Lawmakers edge out press access

The Iowa Senate Chamber. Photo: Miles530 /Public Domain

By Parker Higgins   Published 2-4-2022 by Freedom of the Press Foundation

In a growing number of state legislatures across the country, journalists are facing new rules and proposed legislation that breaks with traditions of public access to legislators. These moves are a troubling development in the increasingly rocky relationship between government officials and the press that covers them, and should be rolled back and opposed wherever possible.

Two recent shifts were highlighted in this month’s U.S. Press Freedom Tracker newsletter. In the Iowa and Kansas senates — both controlled by Republicans — legislators announced that journalists would no longer be allowed on the floor, and instead moved to a public gallery. In each case, lawmakers cited practical concerns and downplayed the First Amendment implications, but the effect has been to diminish the ability for journalists to effectively cover legislative action. Continue reading

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Indigenous Leaders Hail Biden’s Proposed Chaco Canyon Drilling Ban as ‘Important First Step’

“We are most hopeful that this action is a turning point where the United States natural resource management planning philosophy focuses on the protection of all living beings.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 11-15-2021 by Common Dreams

Deb Haaland—then a Democratic congresswoman representing New Mexico’s First District but now U.S. interior secretary—visits Chaco Canyon in 2019. (Photo: Monica Sanchez/Natural Resources Democrats/Flickr/cc)

A coalition of Southwestern Indigenous leaders on Monday applauded President Joe Biden and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland following the announcement of a proposed 20-year fossil fuel drilling ban around the sacred Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico—even as the administration prepares to auction off tens of millions of acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas extraction later this week.

“Chaco Canyon is a sacred place that holds deep meaning for the Indigenous peoples whose ancestors lived, worked, and thrived in that high desert community,” Haaland—the first Native American Cabinet secretary in U.S. history—said in a statement Monday. Continue reading

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Oregon’s Growing Bootleg Fire is One of 70 Now Raging in US West, Where Another Heatwave Looms

“We are living through a climate catastrophe,” said Rep. Jamaal Bowman. “We have to redesign our economy to respond to the current crisis and to ensure it doesn’t get much, much worse.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-17-2021

The Bootleg Fire – July 10,2021. Photo: Zach Urness/Twitter

Bolstering the case for meaningful action to address the climate emergency, the out-of-control Bootleg Fire that began on July 6 in southern Oregon has scorched more than 280,000 acres and is only 22% contained. It is the nation’s largest wildfire so far this year, and one of 70 large blazes currently torching the U.S. West, which is bracing for yet another heatwave.

To put Bootleg’s destructiveness into perspective, the fire—one of 10 burning in Oregon alone—has spread over 25,000 acres per day on average, or more than 1,000 acres every hour. According to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, “That’s an area larger than the area of Central Park each hour, or a rate of a football field burned every five seconds” for 11 days. Continue reading

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‘Surreal’ and ‘Distressing’: Climate Experts’ Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

“The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-18-2021

As what the National Weather Service described as “dangerous and record-breaking heat” affects 50 million people across the Western United States even before the first day of summer, climate experts and activists are using the hot conditions to reiterate warnings and calls for policy change as scientists are seeing their dire predictions come true.

“The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis,” activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer tweeted Friday. “Action is urgently needed.” Continue reading

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Utah Lawmakers Accused of Seeking to Legalize Drivers Running Over Street Protesters

“Legislators are considering a bill that would let drivers off the hook for mowing down protesters.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-19-2020

Critics of the Utah bill fear that it might lead to an increase in deadly car attacks on protesters, as happened in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. Photo: Billy Baldwin/Twitter

Utah lawmakers are being condemned this week for advancing a bill with provisions penalizing demonstrators who obstruct traffic during a “riot” while absolving any driver who injures or kills a protester, as long as the motorist was fleeing in fear of their life, which critics denounced as an attempt to legalize running people over.

John Hawkins, the Republican lawmaker who introduced the bill that the state legislature will consider during its upcoming general session, claimed that he doesn’t “think that purposefully using your vehicle to cause bodily injury is a normal situation that falls into this bill.” Continue reading

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‘Reckless, Violent, Massacre’ of 570 Wolves and Wolf Pups in Idaho Bolsters Alarm Over Trump Attack on Species Protections

Wildlife advocates warn that if a Trump administration effort to lift nationwide protections proceeds, “this cruelty could extend to all wolves within our country’s borders.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-11-2020

A gray wolf pup emerges from a den. Conservation groups warn that the mass killing of wolves in Idaho over a one-year period that ended this summer “represented nearly 60% of the 2019 year-end estimated Idaho wolf population.” (Photo: Hilary Cooley/USFWS)

Conservation groups on Friday raised alarm about the Trump administration’s push to lift protections for gray wolves across the country after an analysis revealed how a record-breaking 570 wolves, including dozens of pups, were brutally killed in Idaho over a recent one-year period.

“It’s sickening to see how wolves have been slaughtered in Idaho once federal Endangered Species Act protections were lifted,” Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in statement. “If wolves are delisted nationwide, this cruelty could extend to all wolves within our country’s borders. This treatment of our nation’s wildlife is unacceptable.” Continue reading

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‘That’s Not What Happened at All,’ Say Prosecutors After Barr Falsely Claims Man Cast 1,700 Fake Ballots in Texas

“Barr is a shameless liar and most importantly has been one for his entire career,” tweeted New York Times columist Jamelle Bouie.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-4-2020

Screenshot: CNN

As Attorney General William Barr faced renewed calls for his impeachment after claiming not to know whether it’s illegal for a U.S. voter to cast two ballots in a federal election, prosecutors and journalists have caught the nation’s top law enforcement officer in a “massive falsehood” about a mail-in ballot fraud case in Texas.

In his interview with CNN earlier this week, Barr told Wolf Blitzer that prosecutors had indicted a man who collected 1,700 blank ballots and used them to cast a specific vote. Continue reading

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Trump’s Final Plan to Open Treasured Public Lands in Utah Called ‘Sellout’ to Big Oil

The administration’s new managment plans “are the latest in a series of insults… that began when Trump illegally dismantled Bears Ears and Grand Staircase at the behest of corporate interests two years ago.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2020

The Trump administration on Thursday released its final management plans for a lands previously protected as national monuments. (Photo: Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Tribal and conservation groups on Thursday condemned the Trump administration’s “unconscionable” final management plans for Utah lands previously protected as national monuments, which critics warn will open up the region to ranchers who want to graze livestock and companies looking to cash in on the area’s oil, gas, and coal.

In a joint statement Thursday, critics charged that the U.S. Interior Department should not have finalized the plans while President Donald Trump’s December 2017 decision to severely shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments is still being challenged in federal court. Continue reading

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