New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Still AWOL

Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Daniel Akaka (D-HI) last week urged President Obama to revive the dormant Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board by nominating members to fill the board's vacancies.

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Maryland Lawmakers Limit Covert Police Surveillance

Responding to the outcry over covert police surveillance of peaceful activists' meetings, Maryland lawmakers voted on March 24, 2009 in favor of a bill to protect residents from having authorities violate their First Amendment rights. The House of Delegates and Senate approved similar bills and Governor Martin O'Malley has expressed his commitment to signing the legislation into law.

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Telecom Surveillance to Receive Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is seeking retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that cooperated with the National Security Agency's (NSA) warrantless surveillance program, utilizing power granted in the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

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Critics Ask DOJ to Drop Proposed Expansion of Domestic Surveillance Powers

Recently, several organizations submitted public comments critical of a Department of Justice (DOJ) proposed rule to expand the power of state and local law enforcement agencies to investigate potential criminal activities and report the information to federal agencies. Many noted the proposal is unnecessary for public safety and a threat to free speech and association. DOJ claims the changes are necessary because the existing regulation on criminal investigation does not specifically mention terrorism or "material support thereof."

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Maryland State Police Surveillance of Advocacy Groups Exposed

On July 17, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Maryland disclosed documents revealing that state police engaged in covert surveillance of local peace and anti-death penalty groups for over a year during the administration of former Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich (R). In response, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said he might support a Justice Department investigation into why this surveillance occurred. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff requesting a full account of the surveillance actions and further information regarding the funds used.

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New York Police Watched Nonprofits before 2004 GOP Convention

A March 25 story in the New York Times revealed that the New York City Police Department (NYPD) conducted a covert surveillance program in 14 states, Canada and Europe that collected information on groups planning lawful protests or events at the 2004 Republican National Convention. The information became public as a result of two lawsuits brought against the city by seven of the 1,806 people arrested during the convention. However, the city has asked a federal court to keep detailed records of this surveillance secret, fearing they will be "misinterpreted." The vast scope of the surveillance has become public knowledge at the same time that Congress is investigating Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) abuse of Patriot Act powers to collect information.

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FBI Used Anti-Terrorism Powers to Target Peace Group

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) released documents on March 14, 2006 that document FBI surveillance and investigation of the Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Justice in Pittsburgh, PA, carried out because the group "has been determined to be an organization which is opposed to the United States' war with Iraq." This appears to be the first evidence that the FBI is using the viewpoint and activism of a U.S. nonprofit as a basis for investigation by the local Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).

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More Government Spying on Nonprofits Revealed

New documents released to the press in December 2005 show federal agencies have been infiltrating and conducting surveillance on a wide range of nonprofits, in what appears to be a policy of treating lawful dissent as an act of terrorism. An NBC story revealed that the Pentagon has used a program meant to protect U.S. military installations, in order to spy on peace and other groups. In addition, FBI files released as part of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in December 2005 show investigations of groups concerned with everything from poverty relief to the environment.

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FBI Documents Reveal Further Spying on Peace, Civil Rights Groups

Joint Terrorism Task Forces conducted surveillance of peace, civil rights and animal rights groups in Michigan and Colorado, according to documents released as part of a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accusing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of misuse of anti-terrorism funds. The ACLU is seeking documents for 16 organizations and ten individuals nationwide relating to the case, in which the ACLU alleges the FBI used state task forces to spy on domestic advocacy groups that oppose Bush administration policies.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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