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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

  • As Judge Rules NSA Surveillance "Almost Orwellian," Obama Prepares to Leave Spying Program Intact

    Nsa

    A federal judge ruled Monday the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records "almost certainly" violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon described the NSA’s activities as "almost Orwellian." He wrote, "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen." Judge Leon was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush in 2002. Leon suspended enforcement of his injunction against the program pending an expected appeal by the government. The lawsuit was brought by conservative attorney Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch, and based on information leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In a statement Monday, Snowden said, "I acted on my belief that the NSA’s mass surveillance programs would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that the American public deserved a chance to see these issues determined by open courts. Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans’ rights. It is the first of many." We are joined by Sascha Meinrath, director of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute. He served as an expert witnesses on the Review Group on Intelligence and Communications, which was tasked by President Obama to review NSA’s activities.

  • The Selling of ADHD: Diagnoses, Prescriptions Soar After 20-Year Marketing Effort by Big Pharma

    Adderall

    Taken at face value, the latest figures on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) suggest a growing epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15 percent of high school children are diagnosed with ADHD. The number of those on stimulant medication is at 3.5 million, up from 600,000 two decades ago. ADHD is now the second most common long-term diagnosis in children, narrowly trailing asthma. But a new report in The New York Times questions whether these staggering figures reflect a medical reality or an over-medicated craze that has earned billions in profits for the pharmaceutical companies involved. Sales for ADHD drugs like Adderall and Concerta topped $9 billion in the United States last year, a more than 500 percent jump from a decade before. The radical spike in diagnoses has coincided with a 20-year marketing effort to promote stimulant prescriptions for children struggling in school, as well as for adults seeking to take control of their lives. The marketing effort has relied on studies and testimonials from a select group of doctors who have received massive speaking fees and funding grants from major pharmaceutical companies. We are joined by four guests: Alan Schwarz, an award-winning reporter who wrote the New York Times piece, "The Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder"; Jamison Monroe, a former teenage Adderall addict who now runs Newport Academy, a treatment center for teens suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues; Dr. Gabor Maté, a physician and best-selling author of four books, including "Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates and What You Can Do About It"; and John Edwards, the father of a college student who committed suicide after he was prescribed Adderall and antidepressant medications at the Harvard University Health Services clinic. (Click to watch part 2 of this interview.)

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