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9/28/2013  N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens
N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens - Since 2010, the National Security Agency has been exploiting its huge collections of data to create sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information, according to newly disclosed documents and interviews with officials. The spy agency began allowing the analysis of phone call and e-mail logs in November 2010 to examine Americans’ networks of associations for foreign intelligence purposes after N.S.A. officials lifted restrictions on the practice, according to documents provided by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor. The policy shift was intended to help the agency “discover and track” connections between intelligence targets overseas and people in the United States, according to an N.S.A. memorandum from January 2011. The agency was authorized to conduct “large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of communications metadata without having to check foreignness” of every e-mail address, phone number or other identifier, the document said. Because of concerns about infringing on the privacy of American citizens, the computer analysis of such data had previously been permitted only for foreigners. The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information, as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents. They do not indicate any restrictions on the use of such “enrichment” data, and several former senior Obama administration officials said the agency drew on it for both Americans and foreigners. N.S.A. officials declined to say how many Americans have been caught up in the effort, including people involved in no wrongdoing. The documents do not describe what has resulted from the scrutiny, which links phone numbers and e-mails in a “contact chain” tied directly or indirectly to a person or organization overseas that is of foreign intelligence interest.
(New York Times)
posted: 10/5/13                   0       10
#1 



9/23/2013  Sandy Hook Shootings -- Call to Release Lanza's psychiatric drug history
Despite a formal request from AbleChild, a Parent's Rights organization, citing numerous state and federal laws supporting the release of Adam Lanza's toxicology results and medical records, Connecticut Medical Examiner, H. Wayne Carver, M.D., arbitrarily denied the request. The request is not without merit—31 school related acts of violence including school shootings have been committed by individuals under the influence of, or in withdrawal from psychiatric drugs documented by 22 international drug regulatory agency warnings to cause violent reactions. The M.E.'s decision to withhold the information is at odds with Connecticut law, the State's Constitution, federal law and the United States Constitution. In response, AbleChild has filed an appeal with the State's Freedom of Information Commission (FOIC) for the release of the records and, if necessary, is prepared to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. While state and federal legislators are pouring hundreds-of-millions of dollars into increased mental health treatment for school-age children, the question that has yet to be answered is what drove the alleged shooter, Adam Lanza, to become a killer. And, more to the point, one which can only be answered by the M.E., is whether Lanza, yet another in a long line of school shooters, was under the influence of psychiatric drugs. This is not an unimportant question given the history of the numerous adverse effects associated with prescription psychiatric drugs and which, is well-documented by international drug regulatory agencies reporting that prescription psychiatric drugs can cause violent, aggressive, psychotic, suicidal and even homicidal behavior.
(Able Child)
posted: 10/7/13      
            
0       7
#2 



8/22/2013  The Program (video)
It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.” Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004. “The decision must have been made in September 2001,” Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. “That’s when the equipment started coming in.” In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying.
(New York Times)
posted: 9/12/13                   0       12
#3 



8/20/2013  Exclusive: NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech?
Can a government agency block criticism by claiming copyright infringement? Sounds a bit ridiculous but it is happening. The NSA is effectively stopping one small business owner from criticism, claiming that by using its name he has infringed on their copyright. Can they do that? This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else. This is a story I had a hard time believing until I looked into it for myself. Here is the backstory. Dan McCall is the owner of a company that makes snarky t-shirts. The company is called Liberty Maniacs. Liberty Maniacs carry a number of t-shirts dealing with lack of privacy and the growing police state. They sell on a site called www.Zazzle.com None of it has been a problem—until Liberty Maniacs released a shirt called “The NSA.” The image looks like the NSA logo but has a motto that is clearly a pun—“Peeping while you are sleeping”—followed by the phrase “The NSA, the only part of government that actually listens.”
(Ben Swann)
posted: 9/12/13                   0       13
#4 
keywords: Adam Hart Davis, American Bar Association, BBC, Ben Swann, Cell Phones, Dan Mccall, Electronic Freedom Foundation, Intellectual Property, Internet, Juli Wilson Marshall, Latham & Watkins Llp, Liberty Maniacs, National Security Agency, Nicholas Siciliano, Police, Prism, Privacy, Skype, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, United Kingdom, United States, Zazzle.com Add New Keyword To Link



8/12/2013  Taken -- Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?
On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson’s father. This year, they’d decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car’s center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!” They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond “Texas redneck from Lubbock,” by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over. He asked if Henderson knew that he’d been driving in the left lane for more than half a mile without passing. No, Henderson replied. He said he’d moved into the left lane so that the police car could make its way onto the highway. Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car. The officers found the couple’s cash and a marbled-glass pipe that Boatright said was a gift for her sister-in-law, and escorted them across town to the police station. In a corner there, two tables were heaped with jewelry, DVD players, cell phones, and the like. According to the police report, Boatright and Henderson fit the profile of drug couriers: they were driving from Houston, “a known point for distribution of illegal narcotics,” to Linden, “a known place to receive illegal narcotics.” The report describes their children as possible decoys, meant to distract police as the couple breezed down the road, smoking marijuana. (None was found in the car, although Washington claimed to have smelled it.) The county’s district attorney, a fifty-seven-year-old woman with feathered Charlie’s Angels hair named Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later. Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services.
(The New Yorker)
posted: 9/5/13                   0       14
#5 



7/15/2013  Snowden's surveillance leaks open way for challenges to programs' constitutionality
The recent disclosure of U.S. surveillance methods is providing opponents of classified programs with new openings to challenge their constitutionality, according to civil libertarians and some legal experts. At least five cases have been filed in federal courts since the government’s widespread collection of telephone and Internet records was revealed last month. The lawsuits primarily target a program that scoops up the telephone records of millions of Americans from U.S. telecommunications companies. Such cases face formidable obstacles. The government tends to fiercely resist them on national security grounds, and the surveillance is so secret that it’s hard to prove who was targeted. Nearly all of the roughly 70 suits filed after the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping was disclosed in 2005 have been dismissed. But the legal landscape may be shifting, lawyers say, because the revelations by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor and the principal source of the leaks, forced the government to acknowledge the programs and discuss them. That, they say, could help plaintiffs overcome government arguments that they lack the legal standing to sue or that cases should be thrown out because the programs are state secrets. A federal judge in California last week rejected the government’s argument that an earlier lawsuit over NSA surveillance should be dismissed on secrecy grounds.
(Washington Post)
posted: 7/16/13                   0       10
#6 



7/10/2013  7 Ways The Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization
There were signs that President Barack Obama might rein in the mass militarization of America's police forces after he won the White House. Policing is primarily a local issue, overseen by local authorities. But beginning in the late 1960s with President Richard Nixon, the federal government began instituting policies that gave federal authorities more power to fight the drug trade, and to lure state and local policymakers into the anti-crime agenda of the administration in charge. These policies got a boost during Ronald Reagan's presidency, and then another during President Bill Clinton's years. Under President George W. Bush, all of those anti-drug policies continued, but were supplemented by new war on terrorism endeavors -- yet more efforts to make America's cops look, act and fight like soldiers. But Obama might have been different. This, after all, was the man who, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, declared the war on drugs an utter failure. As Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum wrote in a 2011 critique of Obama's drug policy: Obama stood apart from hard-line prohibitionists even when he began running for president. In 2007 and 2008, he bemoaned America’s high incarceration rate, warned that the racially disproportionate impact of drug prohibition undermines legal equality, advocated a “public health” approach to drugs emphasizing treatment and training instead of prison, repeatedly indicated that he would take a more tolerant position regarding medical marijuana than George W. Bush, and criticized the Bush administration for twisting science to support policy -- a tendency that is nowhere more blatant than in the government’s arbitrary distinctions among psychoactive substances. Indeed, in his first interview after taking office, Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said that the administration would be toning down the martial rhetoric that had dominated federal drug policy since the Nixon years. "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," Kerlikowske told The Wall Street Journal. "We're not at war with people in this country." This was an notable break from previous administrations. Rhetoric does matter, and for a generation in the U.S., cops had incessantly been told that they were in a war with drug offenders -- this, in a country where about half the adult population admits to having smoked marijuana. Unfortunately, while not insignificant, the change in rhetoric has largely been only that. The Obama administration may no longer call it a "war," but there's no question that the White House is continuing to fight one. Here's a quick rundown of where and how Obama's policies have perpetuated the garrison state:
(Huffington Post)
posted: 7/14/13                   0       13
#7 



6/13/2013  Sanity prevails: US Supreme Court rules that human genes are not eligible for patent protection
In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. The ruling invalidates the thousands of patents that have already been granted on human genes, including the patent by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA breast cancer genes which the company says no one else can research or even detect without paying it a royalty. Click here to read the complete ruling. "Myriad did not create anything," said Justice Clarence Thomas. "To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention." Well, exactly. This point should have been obvious to the lower courts, too, but in today's world of corporate domination over seemingly everything, gene industry lawyers were able to argue that patent protection would somehow inspire more innovation and research. "The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment," wrote Reuters. But exactly the opposite is true. Gene patents restricted research and created medical monopolies that raised prices for consumers. Even USA Today seemingly gets this point, saying, "The decision represents a victory for cancer patients, researchers and geneticists who claimed that a single company's patent raised costs, restricted research and sometimes forced women to have breasts or ovaries removed without sufficient facts or second opinions."
(Natural News)
posted: 7/1/13                   0       12
#8 



5/7/2013  Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware -- Pace of Decline Slows in Past Decade
National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000. Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades. Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011. Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower.
(Pew Research Center)
posted: 9/25/13                   0       11
#9 



4/23/2013  Police State on Display
The Boston Marathon bombing has already demonstrated the best and the worst of America for all the world to see. First, let’s talk about the best. When the bombs detonated, despite the shock and the horror of the blown-off legs and arms, and the blood on street and sidewalk, and without knowing what else might be coming, ordinary citizens jumped into action to try and help the gravely wounded and the dying. Average people with no experience in this kind of mayhem stepped up without hesitation to care for strangers, applying tourniquets, carrying people who couldn’t walk to hospital tents, or just holding a hand and calling for help. People pored over their cellphone photo records and camera files, looking for photos that could help identify the killers. Without their volunteer actions, the police and federal agencies would have had no clue who they were looking for. With them, it was quick work pinpointing and identifying the two men who appear to have placed the two bombs. Later, while police failed to catch one of the brothers suspected of having been a bomber, despite placing all of metropolitan Boston under a kind of martial law, it was a citizen who, after the so-called “lock-down” of the city had been lifted, spotted the suspect and alerted police. Now for the worst. Let’s start with the martial law. Okay, it wasn’t a declaration, but with police and the Mayor ordering everyone in Boston and its suburbs to stay inside and lock their doors, “answering only to police,” it was virtually the same thing.
(Nation of Change)
posted: 2/12/13                   0       16
#10 



4/17/2013  CNN SOURCE: Everyone Went Silent For 15 Minutes After We Screwed Up The Boston Marathon Report
CNN suffered a public shaming after erroneously reporting Wednesday that an arrest had been made in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings. According to a source at CNN, the network was the first to report that a suspect had been identified. Anchor John King sent in a report around 1 p.m. that a source "briefed" on the investigation had told King a positive identification had been made. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist approved that report, according to the source. According to the source, who was reviewing internal email logs, Fran Townsend was the first at the network to say that an arrest had been made. "As I think everyone knows, we really f—ed up. No way around it," the source said. The source said that the network's email network went quiet for a 15-minute period shortly after the retraction — "so people [were] either being more cautious or getting yelled at."
(Business Insider)
posted: 4/26/13                   0       12
#11 



1/29/2013  Op-ed: A Chuck Hagel for Our Time -- The nation’s first openly gay ambassador, James Hormel, explains why he now supports the Senate confirmation of a man who helped block his own confirmation.
In 1997, when Chuck Hagel took his seat as a newly elected member of the United States Senate, our country was a less friendly place. The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick, which held that private, consensual homosexual acts violated sodomy laws, was still in effect. The malevolent "don't ask, don't tell" military regulations had been in force for three years. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a 20th-century variation on the Dred Scott case, had just been enacted by Congress and signed by President Clinton. Many states still applied criminal laws to homosexual acts. What a difference 16 years can make! In 2003, Lawrence v. Texas overturned the Hardwick ruling and invalidated all state sodomy statutes. That same year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court acknowledged the right of same-sex couples to marry. In 2011, "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed.
(Advocate.com)
posted: 1/29/13                   0       10
#12 



1/22/2013  Marijuana Class I Appeal Rejected By Federal Court, Still Dangerous With No Accepted Medical Use
A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a petition to reclassify marijuana from its current federal status as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use. The appeals court panel denied the bid from three medical marijuana groups, including Americans for Safe Access, and several individuals. In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration had rejected a petition by medical marijuana advocates to change the classification. In his majority opinion Tuesday, Judge Harry T. Edwards wrote that the question wasn't whether marijuana could have some medical benefits, but rather whether the DEA's decision was "arbitrary and capricious." The court concluded that the DEA action survived a review under that standard.
(Associated Press)
posted: 1/23/13                   0       14
#13 



1/20/2013  End The Fed, Or Celebrate Its Existence? Reflections On Our Central Bank's 100th Anniversary (Op/Ed)
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Federal Reserve System. There will be many events commemorating the signing of the Federal Reserve Act in December 1913. Many of those events will be occasions for celebrations by Fed officials and staff, but should the public celebrate a century of central banking? At the annual meeting of the American Economic Association in San Diego earlier this month, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff told a large audience that the Fed has been a "remarkably successful institution." During Q & A, Mark Skousen, author of The Making of Modern Economics, asked why the Fed failed to predict the financial crisis and the Great Recession—but Rogoff failed to answer. Later in that session, Donald Kohn, former vice chairman of the Fed, acknowledged that the Fed had made mistakes and should exercise humility. Yet, he is a firm believer in discretion rather than rules. In another session, Allan H. Meltzer, the world's leading authority on the Federal Reserve, and a long-time proponent of a rules-based approach to monetary policy, was highly critical of the Fed's expansion of its power since 2007 under Ben Bernanke. "No group," said Meltzer, "should have unrestrained power that the Fed has taken for itself."
(Forbes)
posted: 1/20/13                   0       17
#14 
keywords: Allan Meltzer, American Economic Association, Anna J Schwartz, Ben Bernanke, Cambridge University, Cato Institute, Council Of Economic Advisers, Dollar, Donald Kohn, F A Hayek, Federal Reserve, Financial Crisis, George Selgin, Gold, Great Depression, Harvard University, James Buchanan, James Dorn, Kenneth Rogoff, Lawrence H White, Mark Skousen, Martin Feldstein, Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize, Richard Nixon, Richard Timberlake, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, San Diego, Thomas Sargent, US Congress, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, United States, Wall Street, Wall Street Journal, William Lastrapes, World War I Add New Keyword To Link



12/19/2012  Bill Would Study Impact of Violent Video Games on Children -- Rockefeller introduces proposal as a response to Sandy Hook tragedy
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has triggered calls for more than just gun regulation, putting violent video games and programming again in the spotlight. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) introduced a bill today that calls for the National Academy of Sciences to study the impact of violent video games and violent video programming on children. As chairman of the powerful Senate Commerce Committee, Rockefeller has some pull in getting his bill before it. This bill could see immediate action because he is "hot lining" it, meaning that if no one objects it goes up for a vote on the floor.
(Ad Week)
posted: 12/25/12                   0       23
#15 



12/17/2012  There's Little We Can Do to Prevent Another Massacre -- The things that would work are impractical and unconstitutional. The things we can do won't work.
There just aren't good words to talk about Newtown. It is a crime that literally defies imagination--hell, it flings imagination down and dances upon its head. No one reading this can imagine strolling into an elementary school and opening fire on a bunch of small children. You can't imagine even wanting to. Most crimes are motivated by unlovely impulses that are at least comprehensible: the desire for money, sex, respect, revenge. We don't do these things because we have been taught that "good people don't do that!"--and we want to think of ourselves as good people, or at least have the neighbors and our parents think of us as good people. Or perhaps we're merely afraid of getting caught and punished. But we can understand why people want to--we know what someone is after when they hold up a liquor store, or even kills their spouse for the insurance money. Understanding is not sanction: these crimes still have the power to anger and horrify. But they're comprehensible, and that comprehensibility is surprisingly comforting. The alternative is Newtown. When one tries to picture the mind that plans it, one quickly comes to a dead end. Even if I had been raised with no moral laws at all, even if there were no cops and no prisons, I'm pretty sure that I still wouldn't want to spend a crisp Friday morning shooting cowering children. Trying to climb this mountain of wickedness is like trying to climb a glass wall with your bare hands. What happened there is pure evil, and evil, unlike common badness, gives an ordinary mind no foothold.
(The Daily Beast)
posted: 12/19/12                   0       24
#16 



12/7/2012  Obama's Pot Problem: Now that states have started legalizing recreational marijuana, will the president continue the government’s war on weed?
When voters in Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana in November, they thought they were declaring a cease-fire in the War on Drugs. Thanks to ballot initiatives that passed by wide margins on Election Day, adults 21 or older in both states can now legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana. The new laws also compel Colorado and Washington to license private businesses to cultivate and sell pot, and to levy taxes on the proceeds. Together, the two states expect to reap some $600 million annually in marijuana revenues for schools, roads and other projects. The only losers, in fact, will be the Mexican drug lords, who currently supply as much as two-thirds of America's pot. Drug reformers can scarcely believe their landslide victories at the polls. "People expected this day would come, but most didn't expect it to come this soon," says Norm Stamper, a former Seattle police chief who campaigned for legalization. "This is the beginning of the end of prohibition." But the war over pot may be far from over. Legalization has set Colorado and Washington on a collision course with the Obama administration, which has shown no sign of backing down on its full-scale assault on pot growers and distributors. Although the president pledged to go easy on medical marijuana – now legal in 18 states – he has actually launched more raids on state-sanctioned pot dispensaries than George W. Bush, and has threatened to prosecute state officials who oversee medical marijuana as if they were drug lords. And while the administration has yet to issue a definitive response to the two new laws, the Justice Department was quick to signal that it has no plans to heed the will of voters. "Enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act," the department announced in November, "remains unchanged."
(Rolling Stone)
posted: 12/8/12                   0       24
#17 



11/20/2012  Senate bill rewrite lets feds read your e-mail without warrants
Proposed law scheduled for a vote next week originally increased Americans' e-mail privacy. Then law enforcement complained. Now it increases government access to e-mail and other digital files. - A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law, CNET has learned. Patrick Leahy, the influential Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has dramatically reshaped his legislation in response to law enforcement concerns, according to three individuals who have been negotiating with Leahy's staff over the changes. A vote on his bill, which now authorizes warrantless access to Americans' e-mail, is scheduled for next week.
(CNet News)
posted: 12/27/12                   0       12
#18 



11/16/2012  Colorado & Washington Legalize Marijuana ... Dear Attorney General Holder and Administrator Leonhart:
We are writing to urge federal law enforcement to consider carefully the recent decisions by the people of Colorado and Washington to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use by adults. Under the new laws, each state will establish a comprehensive regulatory scheme governing the production, sale and personal use of marijuana. We believe that it would be a mistake for the federal government to focus enforcement action on individuals whose actions are in compliance with state law. We are concerned that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continue to threaten individuals and businesses acting within the scope of their states’ laws on the medicinal use of marijuana despite formal guidance on exercising prosecutorial discretion. These actions contradict assurances made by DOJ in 2009 that the Department would not prioritize criminal charges against those who act in compliance with state law. It is also a poor use of limited federal resources. We hope your agencies will not take a similar approach with regard to individuals and businesses who comply with Colorado’s and Washington’s new laws, each of which were approved with overwhelming public support.
(US Congress)
posted: 11/19/12                   0       28
#19 



11/7/2012  What Tuesday's Marijuana Victories Mean For The War On Drugs -- Voters in three states helped overturn marijuana prohibition this past Tuesday, but the War on Drugs is far from over.
Election day was a big win for the president, Democrats in the Senate and Republicans in the House, and for advocates of gay marriage in Maine and Maryland. It was also a big win for an issue that’s been gaining support at a surprising clip over the past decade or so: the end to marijuana prohibition. In three states—Washington, Colorado, and Massachusetts—efforts to liberalize marijuana laws succeeded last night. In Washington and Colorado, the new laws enacted go even further than past efforts. In these two states, fully regulated recreational pot use has now been approved by voters.
(Forbes)
posted: 11/7/12                   0       27
#20 



10/31/2012  Can Drug-Sniffing Dog Prompt Home Search?
You can already hear all the likely jokes at the Supreme Court, about the justices going to the dogs. But the issue being argued Wednesday is deadly serious: whether police can take a trained drug-detection dog up to a house to smell for drugs inside, and if the dog alerts, use that to justify a search of the home. In the case before the court, the four-legged cop was named Franky, and as a result of his nose, his human police partner charged Joelis Jardines with trafficking in more than 25 pounds of marijuana. In the fall of 2006, police in Florida got an anonymous crime-stoppers tip that there was illegal drug activity at the Jardines home. A month later, police officers took Franky to the house and walked him up to the front porch. When the dog alerted for drugs, the police got a warrant, found marijuana growing inside and arrested Jardines. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the dog sniff was an illegal search and thus could not justify a warrant. Now the state has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the case poses tricky issues for both law enforcement and privacy advocates.
(National Public Radio)
posted: 11/7/12                   0       29
#21 
keywords: Antonin Scalia, Dogs, Florida, GPS, Gregory Garre, Howard Blumberg, Joelis Jardines, Marijuana, Police, Privacy, US Constitution, US Supreme Court, United States, War On Drugs, X-ray Add New Keyword To Link



8/1/2012  "Anti-Occupy" law ends American's right to protest
I was stunned upon hearing a news report about a protest going on in China. Teachers, parents with their young, school-age children and pro-democracy activitists (one estimate was 90,000 people) marched in Hong Kong to government headquarters last Sunday to publicly protest a new required “Patriotism” class, to be taught in the school system starting in 2015. The protestors think that the effort of the Chinese government here is to brainwash their kids in favor of communism. What stunned me was that this protest, in China, against the government’s upcoming policy, at the government headquarters, would not now be tolerated here in the United States of America. Thanks to almost zero media coverage, few of us know about a law passed this past March, severely limiting our right to protest. The silence may have been due to the lack of controversy in bringing the bill to law: Only three of our federal elected officials voted against the bill’s passage. Yes, Republicans and Democrats agreed on something almost 100%. We have lived through a number of protests, large and small, and if we are like most, we shrug because the protestors or their message is either irrelevant or objectionable to us, and does not affect us. This non-interest is the case even when some of the protestors and some of their messages are highly objectionable.
(Washington Times)
posted: 8/16/12                   0       26
#22 



3/22/2012  Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong
The threat of climate change is an increasingly important environmental issue for the globe. Because the economic questions involved have received relatively little attention, I have been writing a nontechnical book for people who would like to see how market-based approaches could be used to formulate policy on climate change. When I showed an early draft to colleagues, their response was that I had left out the arguments of skeptics about climate change, and I accordingly addressed this at length. But one of the difficulties I found in examining the views of climate skeptics is that they are scattered widely in blogs, talks, and pamphlets. Then, I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences. My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are: • Is the planet in fact warming? • Are human influences an important contributor to warming? • Is carbon dioxide a pollutant? • Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists? • Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain? • Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial? As I will indicate below, on each of these questions, the sixteen scientists provide incorrect or misleading answers. At a time when we need to clarify public confusions about the science and economics of climate change, they have muddied the waters. I will describe their mistakes and explain the findings of current climate science and economics.
(The New York Review of Books)
posted: 7/9/12                   0       21
#23 



2/22/2012  Davis votes to support repeal of Citizens United ruling
Yesterday, the city of Davis voted unanimously to support Assembly Joint Resolution 22. The text of the resolution passed by the Davis city council can be found here. AJR 22 is working its way through California's state legislature; the bill would urge Congress to begin the process of a Constitutional Amendment in order to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision is what allows Corporations and "Super PACS" to spend unlimited funds on any individual candidate or party they choose. Davis joins New York City and Portland in calling on Congress to begin the process of a Constitutional Amendment for campaign finance reform. The effort in Davis, like in these other cities, was spearheaded by the Occupy Davis group. Occupy is developed growing momentum for repealing the Citizens United ruling that many see as swinging the door of corruption completely open.
(Examiner)
posted: 2/28/12                   0       24
#24 



2/19/2012  Justices Signal High Court May Rethink Citizens United: Ginsburg, Breyer say real-world results rebut original ruling
The Supreme Court on Friday blocked a Montana Supreme Court ruling against corporate campaign funding, appearing once again to support the unlimited corporate spending it allowed with the Citizens United case of 2010. But maybe not? Comments in Friday's order by justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer hint that they're unhappy with the results of that infamous case, reports the Washington Post.
(Newser)
posted: 2/20/12                   0       26
#25 



1/19/2012  2012 GOP caucus count unresolved
THE RESULTS: Santorum finished ahead by 34 votes MISSING DATA: 8 precincts’ numbers will never be certified PARTY VERDICT: GOP official says, ‘It’s a split decision’ Rick Santorum – Final total: 29,839 Change: -168 Mitt Romney – Final total: 29,805 Change: -210 It’s a tie for the ages. There are too many holes in the certified totals from the Iowa caucuses to know for certain who won, but Rick Santorum wound up with a 34-vote advantage. Results from eight precincts are missing — any of which could hold an advantage for Mitt Romney — and will never be recovered and certified, Republican Party of Iowa officials told The Des Moines Register on Wednesday. GOP officials discovered inaccuracies in 131 precincts, although not all the changes affected the two leaders. Changes in one precinct alone shifted the vote by 50 — a margin greater than the certified tally.
(Desmoines Register)
posted: 2/20/12                   0       21
#26 



11/27/2011  Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion
Banks worldwide earned an estimated $13 billion by taking advantage of below-market rates on emergency U.S. Federal Reserve loans from August 2007 through April 2010. Roll over the bars below to explore details for each. To compare results with banks' net income or losses for the same timeframes, click the corresponding button. Worldwide total is the sum for 190 firms with available data; those banks lost a combined $21.6 billion. The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing. The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
(Bloomberg)
posted: 11/29/11                   0       17
#27 
keywords: American Bankers Association, Ancel Martinez, Andrea Priest, Anil Kashyap, Anthony Coley, Bailouts, Bank Of America, Barack Obama, Barney Frank, Basel, Bear Stearns, Ben Bernanke, Berkeley, Bloomberg Lp, Brad Miller, Byron Dorgan, California, Center For Economic And Policy Research, Center For Responsive Politics, Charlotte, Citigroup, Clearing House Association, Countrywide Financial, Dallas, David Jones, Dean Baker, Dodd-frank Wall Street Reform Act, Dow Jones, Federal Reserve, Financial Crisis, Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Financial Services Forum, Financial Stability Oversight Council, Freedom Of Information Act, Gary Stern, George Mason University, George W Bush, Gerald Hanweck, Glass-steagall Act, Goldman Sachs, Government Transparency, Graham Fisher & CO, Henry Paulson, Howard Opinsky, Jamie Dimon, Jerry Dubrowski, John Dearie, Jon Diat, Joshua Rosner, Jpmorgan Chase, Judd Gregg, Kenneth Lewis, Lehman Brothers, Mark Lake, Merrill Lynch, Minneapolis, Morgan Stanley, Neil Barofsky, New York, New York City, New York University, Nobel Prize, North Carolina, Occupy Boston, Occupy California, Occupy Oakland, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Wall Street, Oliver Williamson, Phillip Swagel, Police, Realtytrac, Richard Fisher, Richard Shelby, Scott Alvarez, Sherrill Shaffer, Sherrod Brown, Switzerland, Tea Party, Ted Kaufman, Timothy Geithner, US Bureau Of Labor Statistics, US Congress, US Department Of The Treasury, US Supreme Court, United States, University Of California, University Of Chicago, University Of Maryland, University Of Wyoming, Vikram Pandit, Viral Acharya, Wachovia, Wall Street, Washington DC, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo, William English Add New Keyword To Link



11/25/2011  The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy: The violent police assaults across the US are no coincidence. Occupy has touched the third rail of our political class's venality
US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a coordinated crackdown against peaceful OWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park. But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that "New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers" covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that "It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk."
(London Guardian)
posted: 12/14/11                   0       13
#28 



11/16/2011  More Money Can Beat Big Money
Nine senators introduced a resolution early this month that would amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s decisions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) and Buckley v. Valeo (1976). These two cases had restricted Congress’s power to limit contributions to political campaigns and independent political expenditures, by both individuals and corporations. Under the amendment, Congress and the states would have the power to limit both contributions and independent expenditures. “By limiting the influence of big money in politics,” said one of the senators, Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat, “elections can be more about the voters and their voices, not big money donors and their deep pockets. We need to have a campaign finance structure that limits the influence of the special interests and restores confidence in our democracy.” This proposal is just the latest verse in a very tired song. Once again, the answer to the problem of campaign finance is to “just say no.” Limit contributions. Limit independent expenditures. Limit soft money donations. No, no, no.
(New York Times)
posted: 11/27/11                   0       15
#29 



11/1/2011  Citizens United Going Down? Democrats Introduce Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Ruling
The Supreme Court may treat corporations like people who can spend whatever they want on elections, but the American people don't have to accept it, said Democratic senators who proposed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to retake control of campaign spending. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), doesn't directly address the justices' legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was curtailed by election law. Instead, it would add to the Constitution language that says Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. The amendment would effectively reverse two landmark Supreme Court decisions -- the 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech, and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent to influence elections by corporations and unions.
(Huffington Post)
posted: 11/8/11                   0       15
#30 



7/30/2011  Why Voters Tune Out Democrats
BARACK OBAMA can’t catch a break from the American public on the economy, even though he prevented a depression and saved global capitalism. Perhaps the president finds solace in knowing he’s not alone. During this period of economic crisis and uncertainty, voters are generally turning to conservative and right-wing political parties, most notably in Europe and in Canada. It’s perplexing. When unemployment is high, and the rich are getting richer, you would think that voters of average means would flock to progressives, who are supposed to have their interests in mind — and who historically have delivered for them. During the last half-century or so, when a Democratic president has led the country, people have tended to experience lower unemployment, less inequality and rising income compared with periods of Republican governance. There is a reason, however, that many voters in the developed world are turning away from Democrats, Socialists, liberals and progressives. My vantage point on voter behavior comes through my company, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and its work for center-left parties globally, starting with Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992. For the last decade, I have worked in partnership with James Carville conducting monthly polls digging into America’s mood and studying how progressives can develop successful electoral strategies. (I am also married to a Democratic congresswoman from Connecticut, Rosa L. DeLauro.)
(New York Times)
posted: 9/14/11                   0       11
#31 



6/24/2011  Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
On June 23, 2011, U.S. Representatives Barney Frank (D-MA), Ron Paul (R-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers (D-MICH.), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced H.R. 2306, a bill to end the federal prohibition on the possession, cultivation, distribution, importation and exportation of marijuana. This is a remarkable bill for several reasons. First, the bill would truly and completely decriminalize marijuana under federal law. Unlike state laws that reduce the penalty for possession of marijuana from a criminal offense to a summary offense or violation like a traffic offense, there would be no federal violation for possessing or growing marijuana. For example, it is not a federal offense to drive too fast on a federally-funded highway -- it is only a violation of state law. Under this bill, it becomes solely a matter of state law whether one can possess or grow or sell marijuana. Second, by removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, one of the major impediments to state medical marijuana laws would be removed! If enacted, there could no longer be any argument that the state medical marijuana law is in "conflict" with federal law. The bill does not address any issues of regulation of marijuana as a "drug" under the Federal Food, Drug, Cosmetic and Device Act.
(Sterling on Justice & Drugs)
posted: 7/29/11                   0       12
#32 



6/22/2011  Free to Search and Seize
THIS spring was a rough season for the Fourth Amendment. The Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to allow GPS tracking of vehicles without judicial permission. The Supreme Court ruled that the police could break into a house without a search warrant if, after knocking and announcing themselves, they heard what sounded like evidence being destroyed. Then it refused to see a Fourth Amendment violation where a citizen was jailed for 16 days on the false pretext that he was being held as a material witness to a crime. In addition, Congress renewed Patriot Act provisions on enhanced surveillance powers until 2015, and the F.B.I. expanded agents’ authority to comb databases, follow people and rummage through their trash even if they are not suspected of a crime. None of these are landmark decisions. But together they further erode the privilege of privacy that was championed by Congress and the courts in the mid-to-late-20th century, when the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement was applied to the states, unconstitutionally seized evidence was ruled inadmissible in state trials, and privacy laws were enacted following revelations in the 1970s of domestic spying on antiwar and civil rights groups. For over a decade now, the government has tried to make us more secure by chipping away at the one provision of the Bill of Rights that pivots on the word “secure” — the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
(New York Times)
posted: 6/25/11                   0       17
#33 



5/23/2011  Justices, 5-4, Tell California to Cut Prisoner Population
Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.” Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. filed vigorous dissents. Justice Scalia called the order affirmed by the majority “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.” Justice Alito said “the majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California.” The majority opinion included photographs of inmates crowded into open gymnasium-style rooms and what Justice Kennedy described as “telephone-booth-sized cages without toilets” used to house suicidal inmates. Suicide rates in the state’s prisons, Justice Kennedy wrote, have been 80 percent higher than the average for inmates nationwide. A lower court in the case said it was “an uncontested fact” that “an inmate in one of California’s prisons needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies.” Monday’s ruling in the case, Brown v. Plata, No. 09-1233, affirmed an order by a special three-judge federal court requiring state officials to reduce the prison population to 110,000, which is 137.5 percent of the system’s capacity. There have been more than 160,000 inmates in the system in recent years, and there are now more than 140,000. Prison release orders are rare and hard to obtain, and even advocates for prisoners’ rights said Monday’s decision was unlikely to have a significant impact around the nation. “California is an extreme case by any measure,” said David C. Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, which submitted a brief urging the justices to uphold the lower court’s order. “This case involves ongoing, undisputed and lethal constitutional violations. We’re not going to see a lot of copycat litigation.” State officials in California will have two years to comply with the order, and they may ask for more time. Justice Kennedy emphasized that the reduction in population need not be achieved solely by releasing prisoners early. Among the other possibilities, he said, are new construction, transfers out of state and using county facilities.
(New York Times)
posted: 5/27/11                   0       14
#34 



5/22/2011  Grameen yet to bring micro-loans to D.C., a year after Muhammad Yunus announcement
Since its founding in 1976 by Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank has made more than $9 billion worth of micro-loans to 8 million poor and unemployed borrowers, a track record impressive enough to earn the man and bank the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. Its U.S. offshoot, however, has been unable to raise $6 million to bring Yunus’s banking for the poor to Washington.
(Washington Post)
posted: 5/27/11                   0       14
#35 
keywords: Advantage Capital Partners, Bangladesh, Capital One, Grameen America, Grameen Bank, John G Finneran Jr, Microcredit, Muhammad Yunus, New York City, Nobel Prize, Stephen Vogel, Tatiana Stead, US Supreme Court, United States, Washington DC Add New Keyword To Link



5/17/2011  Smell Pot? SCOTUS Kills 4th Amendment
The Supreme Court says police can enter your home without a warrant, if they smell marijuana, and if when knocking on the door, they hear what sounds like the destruction of evidence. But apparently, by making sounds like destruction of evidence like flushing a toilet, police can come in. Students for Sensible Drug Policy's Aaron Houston discusses.
(Russia Today)
posted: 5/18/11      
            
0       14
#36 



5/17/2011  The Supreme Court's Stinky Ruling on Marijuana Odor: What Does it Really Mean?
This week's Supreme Court decision in Kentucky v. King has civil-libertarians and marijuana policy reformers in an uproar, and rightly so, but it's not exactly the death of the 4th Amendment. Here's a look at how this case could impact police practices and constitutional rights. It all started when police chased a drug suspect into a building and lost him. They smelled marijuana smoke coming from an apartment and decided to check it out, so they announced themselves and knocked loudly on the door. They heard movement inside, which the officers feared could indicate destruction of evidence, so they kicked in the door and entered the apartment. Hollis King was arrested for drugs and challenged the police entry as a violation of his 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches. In an 8-1 decision written by Justice Alito, the Court determined that an emergency search was justified to prevent destruction of evidence, even though police created the risk of such destruction by yelling "Police!" and banging on the door. The determining factor, in the Court's view, was that police had not violated the 4th Amendment simply by knocking on the door. Since the subsequent need to prevent destruction of evidence was the result of legal conduct by the officers, the events that followed do not constitute a violation of the suspect's constitutional rights. Naturally, any fan of the 4th Amendment can look at this scenario and wonder what's to stop police from "smelling" marijuana and "hearing" evidence being destroyed any time they have an urge to enter a particular dwelling. What does destruction of evidence sound like anyway, and what doesn't it sound like? Doesn't someone jumping up to destroy evidence sound the same as someone jumping up to answer the door before police kick it down? It's hard to argue with anyone who sees this result as a blueprint for facilitating not only widespread police actions that circumvent the warrant requirement, but also more innocent people being killed in their own homes in misunderstandings that could have been prevented by just a little patience from police.
(Flex Your Rights)
posted: 5/18/11                   0       15
#37 



4/11/2011  Obama's Off Base
Maddow: A Democratic President kicks his base in the teeth on something as fundamental as civil liberties—he puts the nail in the coffin of a civil liberties promise he made on his first full day in office—and he does it on the first day of his re-election effort. And Beltway reaction to that is... huh, good move. That's the difference between Republican politics and Democratic politics. The Republicans may not love their base, but they fear them and play to them. The Democratic Party institutional structures of D.C., and the Beltway press in particular, not only hate the Democratic base—they think it's good politics for Democratic politicians to kick that base publicly whenever possible. Only the base itself will ever change that. Greenwald: One thing is for certain: right now, the Democratic Party is absolutely correct in its assessment that kicking its base is good politics. Why is that? Because they know that they have inculcated their base with sufficient levels of fear and hatred of the GOP, so that no matter how often the Party kicks its base, no matter how often Party leaders break their promises and betray their ostensible values, the base will loyally and dutifully support the Party and its leaders (at least in presidential elections; there is a good case that the Democrats got crushed in 2010 in large part because their base was so unenthusiastic). In light of that fact, ask yourself this: if you were a Democratic Party official, wouldn't you also ignore—and, when desirable, step on—the people who you know will support you no matter what you do to them?
(The Stranger)
posted: 4/12/11                   0       7
#38 



4/7/2011  Bruce Fein: Articles of Impeachment for tyrant Obama
III. USURPATION OF THE WAR POWER OVER LIBYA 47. President Barack Obama’s military attacks against Libya constitute acts of war. 48. Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-4) had the following exchange with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a March 31, 2011 House Armed Services Committee Hearing on the legality of the present military operation in Libya: Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, if tomorrow a foreign nation intentionally, for whatever reason, launched a Tomahawk missile into New York City, would that be considered an act of war against the United States? Secretary Gates: Probably so. Congressman Forbes: Then I would assume the same laws would apply if we launched a Tomahawk missile at another nation—is that also true? Secretary Gates: You’re getting into constitutional law here and I am no expert on it. Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, you’re the Secretary of Defense. You ought to be an expert on what’s an act of war or not. If it’s an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile on New York City would it not also be an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile by us at another nation? Secretary Gates: Presumably. 49. Since the passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 on March 19, 2011, the United States has detonated over 200 tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and 455 precision-guided bombs on Libyan soil. 50. Libya posed no actual or imminent threat to the United States when President Obama unleashed Operation Odyssey Dawn. 51. On March 27, 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that Libya never posed an “actual or imminent threat to the United States.” He further stated that Libya has never constituted a “vital interest” to the United States. 52. United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 directs an indefinite United States military quagmire in Libya, authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, which clearly contemplates removal by force of the murderous regime of Col. Muammar Qadhafi. 53. In a Letter From the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate sent March 21, 2011, President Barack Obama informed Members of Congress that “U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.” 54. In his March 21, 2011 letter, President Barack Obama further informed Members of Congress that he opted to take unilateral military action “…in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.” 55. President Barack Obama has usurped congressional authority to decide on war or peace with Libya, and has declared he will persist in additional usurpations of the congressional power to commence war whenever he decrees it would advance his idea of the national interest. On March 28, 2011, he declared to Congress and the American people: “I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests” (emphasis added). 56. President Obama’s humanitarian justification for war in Libya establishes a threshold that would justify his initiation of warfare in scores of nations around the globe, including Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, China, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Russia. 57. In Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote on behalf of a majority of the United States Supreme Court: Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding. 58. President Barack Obama has signed an order, euphemistically named a “Presidential Finding,” authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, further entangling the United States in the Libyan conflict, despite earlier promises of restraint. Truth is invariably the first casualty of war. 59. In response to questions by Members of Congress during a classified briefing on March 30, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the President needs no Congressional authorization for his attack on the Libyan nation, and will ignore any Congressional attempt by resolution or otherwise to constrain or halt United States participation in the Libyan war. 60. On March 30, 2011, by persistent silence or otherwise, Secretary Clinton rebuffed congressional inquiries into President Obama’s view of the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. She failed to cite a single judicial decision in support of President Obama’s recent actions, relying instead on the undisclosed legal opinions of White House attorneys. 61. President Barack Obama, in flagrant violation of his constitutional oath to execute his office as President of the United States and preserve and protect the United States Constitution, has usurped the exclusive authority of Congress to authorize the initiation of war, in that on March 19, 2011 President Obama initiated an offensive military attack against the Republic of Libya without congressional authorization. In so doing, President Obama has arrested the rule of law, and saluted a vandalizing of the Constitution that will occasion ruination of the Republic, the crippling of individual liberty, and a Leviathan government unless the President is impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate. In all of this, President Barack Obama has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
(Prison Planet)
posted: 4/10/11                   0       8
#39 



4/5/2011  How The 'Pox' Epidemic Changed Vaccination Rules
Historian Michael Willrich was planning to write a book about civil liberties in the aftermath of Sept. 11 when he stumbled across an article from The New York Times archives. It was about a 1901 smallpox vaccination raid in New York — when 250 men arrived at a Little Italy tenement house in the middle of the night and set about vaccinating everyone they could find. "There were scenes of policemen holding down men in their night robes while vaccinators began their work on their arms," Willrich tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Inspectors were going room to room looking for children with smallpox. And when they found them, they were literally tearing babes from their mothers' arms to take them to the city pesthouse [which housed smallpox victims.]" The vaccination raid was not an isolated incident. As the smallpox epidemic swept across the country, New York and Boston policemen conducted several raids and health officials across the country ordered mandatory vaccinations in schools, factories and on railroads. In Pox: An American History, Willrich details how the smallpox epidemic of 1898-1904 had far-reaching implications for public health officials — as well as Americans concerned about their own civil liberties.
(National Public Radio)
posted: 4/19/11                   0       8
#40 



2/21/2011  Monsanto Shifts ALL Liability to Farmers
Farmers like genetically modified (GM) crops because they can plant them, spray them with herbicide and then there is very little maintenance until harvest. Farmers who plant Monsanto's GM crops probably don't realize what they bargain for when they sign the Monsanto Technology Stewardship Agreement contract. One farmer reportedly 'went crazy' when he discovered the scope of the contract because it transfers ALL liability to the farmer or grower. Here is the paragraph that defines Monsanto's limit of liability that shifts it to the farmer: "GROWER'S EXCLUSIVE LIMITED REMEDY: THE EXCLUSIVE REMEDY OF THE GROWER AND THE LIMIT OF THE LIABILITY OF MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER FOR ANY AND ALL LOSSES, INJURY OR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM THE USE OR HANDLING OF SEED (INCLUDING CLAIMS BASED IN CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, PRODUCT LIABILITY, STRICT LIABILITY, TORT, OR OTHERWISE) SHALL BE THE PRICE PAID BY THE GROWER FOR THE QUANTITY OF THE SEED INVOLVED OR, AT THE ELECTION OF MONSANTO OR THE SEED SELLER, THE REPLACEMENT OF THE SEED. IN NO EVENT SHALL MONSANTO OR ANY SELLER BE LIABLE FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, OR PUNITIVE DAMAGES."
(MorphCity)
posted: 3/13/11                   0       11
#41 



2/8/2011  What is a 'Presidential Alert'?
"This is a test of the Emergency Alert System. This is only a test..." You've heard that warning before, but it may soon come directly from the White House. The Federal Communications Commission has approved plans to hold the first test of a "Presidential Alert," or a broadcast warning that might be issued in the event of a serious natural disaster or terrorism threat. It may seem like a scene out of George Orwell's "1984" or some other apocalyptic Hollywood blockbuster, but government officials have wanted for years to establish a way for the White House to quickly, directly alert Americans of impending danger. Commissioners voted last week to require television and radio stations, cable systems and satellite TV providers to participate in a test that would have them receive and transmit a live code that includes an alert message issued by the president. No date has been set for the test.
(Washington Post)
posted: 2/23/11                   0       8
#42 



1/26/2011  House votes for repeal of public-paid campaigns: Lawmakers say system is broken
Saying it has become an obsolete waste of money, the House on Wednesday voted to end the taxpayer-funded presidential campaign finance system that has fallen out of favor over the past decade as candidates have chosen to ignore it. The bill steps back from the 1970s-era dream of publicly financed campaigns. More than $600 million could be saved over the next decade by ending the system that channels taxpayer dollars to presidential candidates who agree to abide by fundraising and spending limits. Republicans said the 239-160 vote was just a recognition of how broken the system has become, particularly after Barack Obama reversed a campaign pledge and opted out of the primary and general election matching funds in 2008. “It was President Obama who killed it and made a mockery of public financing of campaigns,” said Rep. Aaron Schock, Illinois Republican. Despite his decision to opt out in 2008, Mr. Obama on Tuesday announced that he opposed the Republicans’ bill. He said the system should be fixed rather than ended, and predicted that corruption would grow with the end of publicly financed presidential campaigns.
(Washington Times)
posted: 8/1/11                   0       7
#43 



1/24/2011  Left, right gear up for campaign-finance clash before 2012 elections
Liberals and conservatives alike are gearing up for battles over campaign financing rules in anticipation of the 2012 election, which will decide control of the White House and Congress. Liberal groups want to impose disclosure rules on shadowy political advocacy groups that raised and spent tens of millions of dollars in corporate contributions on the 2010 midterm elections.
(The Hill)
posted: 8/1/11                   0       7
#44 



1/21/2011  Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 08-205 (2010), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited—because of the First Amendment. The 5–4 decision, in favor of Citizens United, resulted from a dispute over whether the non-profit corporation Citizens United could air a film critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group could advertise the film in broadcast ads featuring Clinton's image, in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act.[2] The decision reached the Supreme Court on appeal from a January 2008 decision by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lower court decision upheld provisions of the McCain–Feingold Act which prevented the film Hillary: The Movie from being shown on television within 30 days of 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][3] The Court struck down a provision of the McCain–Feingold Act that prohibited all corporations, both for-profit and not-for-profit, and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications.”[2] An "electioneering communication" was defined in McCain–Feingold as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or thirty days of a primary. The decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[4] McCain–Feingold had previously been weakened, without overruling McConnell, in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2007). The Court did uphold requirements for disclaimer and disclosure by sponsors of advertisements. The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties.
(Wikipedia)
posted: 8/1/11                   0       8
#45 



1/21/2011  SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES Syllabus CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA No. 08–205. Argued March 24, 2009—Reargued September 9, 2009–– Decided January 21, 2010
Justice Stevens' dissent: "...The Court's ruling threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution...."
(US Supreme Court)
posted: 8/1/11                   0       7
#46 



1/18/2011  Reversing 'Citizens United'
It will be a year this week since Chief Justice John Roberts and his conservative activist colleagues on the Supreme Court joined together in a dramatic assault on American democracy. Their decision in the Citizens United case overturned more than a century's worth of precedent by awarding corporations the rights of citizens with regard to electioneering. The court did away with limits on when corporations can spend on elections, how much they can spend and how they can spend their money, allowing unlimited contributions from corporate treasuries to flood the electoral landscape. As The Nation noted in the days after the case was decided, "This decision tips the balance against active citizenship and the rule of law by making it possible for the nation's most powerful economic interests to manipulate not just individual politicians and electoral contests but political discourse itself." According to Bill de Blasio, New York City's public advocate, Citizens United spending - that is, spending that was only made possible by the court's ruling - accounted for 15 percent of the roughly $4 billion spent on the 2010 midterm elections. Eighty-five million dollars of Citizens United money was spent on U.S. Senate races alone. Worse, 30 percent of all spending by outside groups was funded by anonymous donations, an illegal action prior to the ruling. Forty million of the dollars spent on Senate races came from sources that might never be revealed.
(Washington Post)
posted: 8/1/11                   0       7
#47 



1/18/2011  U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Decision: Constitution is Void
The U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision that serves to allow judges to void the Constitution in their courtrooms. The decision was issued on January 18, 2011, and the Court did not even explain the decision (Docket No. 10-632, 10-633, and 10-690). One word decisions: DENIED. Presented with this information and massive proof that was not contested in any manner by the accused judges, at least six of the justices voted to deny the petitions: "There is no legal or factual basis whatsoever for the decisions of the lower courts in this matter. These rulings were issued for corrupt reasons. Many of the judges in the Northern District of Georgia and the Eleventh Circuit are corrupt and violate laws and rules, as they have done in this case. The Supreme Court must recognize this Petition as one of the most serious matters ever presented to this Court."
(PR Newswire)
posted: 3/12/11                   0       8
#48 
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1/11/2011  Murdered Judge Defended Sheriff Mack
Judge John M. Roll, murdered in Saturday’s shooting rampage in Tucson, was the leading judicial voice supporting former Graham County, Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack in his 1997 lawsuit against the federal government. Mack is a speaker, states’ rights advocate and author of The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope. Sheriff Mack observed in an interview on Alex Jones’ Jan. 10 radio broadcast that John Roll changed his life. He has quoted Roll in his books. In 1997, when Mack was sheriff of Graham County, he joined with Sheriff Jay Printz of Montana in filing a suit against the federal government regarding the Brady Act. The resulting Supreme Court decision found the Act unconstitutional. The Brady Act not only would have required state and local officials to carry out and fund a federal mandate regarding gun regulations, but it also called for the arrest of any law enforcement officer who refused to enforce it. On the basis of these provisions, Mack and Printz filed suit, and were eventually joined by five other sheriffs around the nation. Mack recalled of the judge: He was really worried about the sanctions against me (or any other sheriff) — he protected me. Judge Roll stood up for me in particular because I was the only one filing the lawsuit at the time.
(The New American)
posted: 3/12/11                   0       7
#49 



1/3/2011  A Clear Danger to Free Speech
THE so-called Shield bill, which was recently introduced in both houses of Congress in response to the WikiLeaks disclosures, would amend the Espionage Act of 1917 to make it a crime for any person knowingly and willfully to disseminate, “in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of the United States,” any classified information “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States.” Although this proposed law may be constitutional as applied to government employees who unlawfully leak such material to people who are unauthorized to receive it, it would plainly violate the First Amendment to punish anyone who might publish or otherwise circulate the information after it has been leaked. At the very least, the act must be expressly limited to situations in which the spread of the classified information poses a clear and imminent danger of grave harm to the nation. The clear and present danger standard has been a central element of our First Amendment jurisprudence ever since Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s 1919 opinion in Schenk v. United States. In the 90 years since, the precise meaning of “clear and present danger” has evolved, but the animating principle was stated brilliantly by Justice Louis D. Brandeis in his 1927 concurring opinion in Whitney v. California. The founders “did not exalt order at the cost of liberty,” wrote Brandeis; on the contrary, they understood that “only an emergency can justify repression. Such must be the rule if authority is to be reconciled with freedom. Such ... is the command of the Constitution. It is, therefore, always open to Americans to challenge a law abridging free speech and assembly by showing that there was no emergency justifying it.”
(New York Times)
posted: 1/4/11                   0       10
#50 




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