Category Archives: Supreme Court

NSA: “EVERYONE !!”

Seems the NSA can, without a warrant, snoop on anyone within three degrees of someone that they may have some suspicion about.

…the rather startling news that came out of yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee on the NSA spying programs: NSA Director John Inglis revealed that the FISA Court permits the government to do three jumps from an initial number tied to a phone number reasonably believed to be tied to terrorism (or relevant to Iran, though that search criteria didn’t get mentioned at all in the parts of the hearing I watched).

Three degrees of separation!

Remember, some years ago, every single person in the US could be connected via six degrees — the old Kevin Bacon game. There’s some evidence that that number has become smaller — perhaps as small as 3 (I’ve seen more scientific numbers that say it is 4.5 or thereabouts).

In any case, if the US is using the excuse of terror to get three jumps deep into US person associations, then this program is even more intrusive then they’ve let on.

I imagine that would include everyone in our government, the Israeli government, the Palestinian authority, every head of state, every law enforcement officer, everyone who has ever been abroad, everyone who has ever interviewed a foreign person, everyone who knows anyone who knows anyone in:

Greenpeace,

the Quakers,

any demonstration of any kind,

anyone who has written a letter to an editor,

any person of color,

anyone who signed a petition, and

so on.

It’s basically EVERYONE. and what will they do with it? Wait til Karl Rove or one of the Cheneys gets back in power and you’ll see in short order. Or just some NSA guy who’s curious about who his ex girlfriend in dating. Or some NSA girl with a grudge against oh, well, ANYONE!

We have a constitution; that used to mean something.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

When basically the entire population is legally suspect, doesn’t that mean we’re doing something wrong?

 

video: Gary Oldman, in “The Professional.”

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Bush blunders worldwide, Congress, Countdown to attack on Iran, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, domestic terrorism, FEMA/Homeland Security, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, honest people, immigration, Iran, Iraq, James Comey, jerk, Karl Rove:Bush's brain or Bush's as'hole?, Middle East, Pakistan, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, Politics, public corruption, Racism, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Ron Paul: couldn't be worse than Rudy., Rudy Giuliani: NYC doesn't even like him, Smokey award finalist, Supreme Court, Torture: you're next, Uncategorized, US Attorneys, video, Wordpress Political Blogs

Keystone XL Pipeline opens the eyes of conservative midwesterners

“Republicans could give a rats ass about the people out here.”


The proposed XL pipeline is a giant toxic Love Canal across America’s heartland. The Canadian corporation that wants to build it is bullying landowners in its path, threatening the use of condemnation proceedings, and the sheeple aren’t taking it lying down:

The effect of it today is to place people like Randy Thompson on an unfamiliar side of the divide between conservatives and environmentalists; and business and liberal political activists. He even testified this month against TransCanada as a witness for Henry Waxman’s minority on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“I’m a little ashamed to say that maybe if it hadn’t come across our land, I wouldn’t have gotten involved,” he told me. “I’ve gained a great deal of respect for people who do care about our environment I’ve become much more aware of environmental issues. I have to admire them for being concerned about our environment.”

“Republicans,” he said, by contrast, “could give a rats ass about the people out here.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, global warming/environment, Politics, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Steny Hoyer: isn't he really a Republican?, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

Clarence Thomas for president!!

The Man with the Can

Adam Winkler is perhaps the first person to come up with this solution to the dismal field of GOP candidates for the presidential nomination. For the life of me, I don’t see why this was so long in coming. In contradistinction to his days as a sexual harasser, Thomas is famous for never saying anything while on the Supreme Court, so he can’t be accused of flipflopping on every single issue, like Mitt Romney. And, unlike Rick Santorum, his name is not synonymous with a gross concoction of bodily fluids (although, of course, he will always be associated with the image of the Coke can with pubic hair). Plus, being African American, he would undoubtedly appeal to the liberal section of the pubic, oops I mean public.

Importantly, Thomas seems willing. According to Winkler,

The idea of Thomas running for president was floated two years ago by two legal bloggers, David Lat and Kashmir Hill. They noted that when Thomas was first nominated to the bench, he expressed hesitation about the solitary, sedate environment that comes with the black robe. “I can’t see myself spending the rest of my life as a judge,” Thomas said.

I think a lot of Americans would agree with that sentiment.

Most importantly, Thomas comes cheap:

ThinkProgress uncovered three briefs that AEI filed in Thomas’ Court after Thomas received their $15,000 gift. Thomas recused from none of these three cases, and he either voted in favor of the result AEI favored or took a stance that was even further to the right in each case:

Riley v. Kennedy: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision preventing a change in Alabama’s voting law from going into effect. Justice Thomas did not recuse, and he joined the Supreme Court’s decision reversing the lower court.

Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: AEI filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court decision upholding a local school district’s desegregation plan. Thomas joined the majority opinion reversing the lower court’s decision, and he filed a lengthy concurrence defending that result.

Whitman v. American Trucking Association: AEI joined a brief asking the Supreme Court to allow the EPA to consider the costs of implementing new air quality standards before it issued them. Thomas’ concurring opinion went much further than AEI asked him to go, suggesting that the law authorizing EPA to issue these standards is unconstitutional.

Turns out that was the tip of the cashberg:

Thomas appears to have “knowingly and willfully” filed falsified Financial Disclosure Forms which withheld disclosure of nearly $700,000 his wife received from the rightwing Heritage Foundation for the better part of the last 20 years. Only once it was pointed out publicly this year did Thomas bother to file “self-initiated amendments” to the forms he had signed just above the legal warning in bold and all caps which reads: “NOTE: ANY INDIVIDUAL WHO KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY FALSIFIES OR FAILS TO FILE THIS REPORT MAY BE SUBJECT TO CIVIL AND CRIMINAL SANCTIONS (5 U.S.C. app. § 104)”

In short, Clarence Thomas is the perfect GOP candidate for President of the United States.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, Politics, public corruption, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Smokey award finalist, Supreme Court, Uncategorized

Tiny band of crazies choosing the GOP nominee for the Leader of the Free World.

Choosing a president, GOP-style

Timothy Egan points out the miniscule Republican primary turnout. This explains the “massive” surges, as one candidate after another rises up to challenge Mitt Romney: the numbers are so small that only a few thousand emotional extremists make or break a candidates momentum. Not to mention the power of the most expensive television propaganda campaigns in primary history, fueled by the Supreme Republican Court’s edict that corporations are people.

the small fraction of Americans who are trying to pick the Republican nominee are old, white, uniformly Christian and unrepresentative of the nation at large.

None of that is a surprise. But when you look at the numbers, it’s stunning how little this Republican primary electorate resembles the rest of the United States. They are much closer to the population of 1890 than of 2012.

Given the level of media attention, we know an election of great significance is happening on the Republican side. But it’s occurring in a different place, guided by talk-radio extremists and religious zealots, with only a vague resemblance to the states where it has taken place. From this small world have emerged a host of nutty, retrograde positions, unpopular with the vast American majority.

So far, three million voters have participated in the Republican races, less than the population of Connecticut. This means that 89 percent of all registered voters in those states have not participated in what is, from a horse-race perspective, a very tight contest.

Yes, we know Republicans don’t like their choices; it’s a meh primary. But still, in some states, this election could be happening in a ghost town. Less than 1 percent of registered voters turned out for Maine’s caucus. In Nevada, where Republican turnout was down 25 percent from 2008, only 3 percent of total registered voters participated.

This is not majority rule by any measure; it barely qualifies as participatory democracy.

Leave a comment

Filed under Barack Obama, clown shoes, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, people with plastic hair, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, Politics, public corruption, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Ron Paul: couldn't be worse than Rudy., science: not a very Republican thing to do, Supreme Court, Uncategorized

U.S. manufacturers seeking total protection from lawsuits

NY Times today has the story of how US drug manufacturers are pushing for a Supreme Court decision that would protect all manufacturers of products certified by the government.

So, we want to be WORSE than the Chinese.

The current case is a drug which was approved by the FDA, but in practice was stronger than it was supposed to be, resulting in complications. The Bush administration, as always, is trying to protect corporate interests from the public instead of vice versa, and so is taking the side of the company. The doctrine is called pre-emption, and it could be employed in a variety of cases, not just drugs, and regardless of carelessness or dishonesty.

Leave a comment

Filed under Congress, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, healthcare, pet food, Politics, public corruption, Supreme Court, Wordpress Political Blogs

US government prepares for martial law, recruits civilian force

link

Today, more than 23,000 representatives of private industry are working quietly with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The members of this rapidly growing group, called InfraGard, receive secret warnings of terrorist threats before the public does—and, at least on one occasion, before elected officials. In return, they provide information to the government, which alarms the ACLU. But there may be more to it than that. One business executive, who showed me his InfraGard card, told me they have permission to “shoot to kill” in the event of martial law.
InfraGard is “a child of the FBI,” says Michael Hershman, the chairman of the advisory board of the InfraGard National Members Alliance and CEO of the Fairfax Group, an international consulting firm.

InfraGard started in Cleveland back in 1996, when the private sector there cooperated with the FBI to investigate cyber threats.

“Then the FBI cloned it,” says Phyllis Schneck, chairman of the board of directors of the InfraGard National Members Alliance, and the prime mover behind the growth of InfraGard over the last several years.

InfraGard itself is still an FBI operation, with FBI agents in each state overseeing the local InfraGard chapters. (There are now eighty-six of them.) The alliance is a nonprofit organization of private sector InfraGard members.

“We are the owners, operators, and experts of our critical infrastructure, from the CEO of a large company in agriculture or high finance to the guy who turns the valve at the water utility,” says Schneck, who by day is the vice president of research integration at Secure Computing.

“At its most basic level, InfraGard is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the private sector,” the InfraGard website states. “InfraGard chapters are geographically linked with FBI Field Office territories.”

In November 2001, InfraGard had around 1,700 members. As of late January, InfraGard had 23,682 members, according to its website, http://www.infragard.net, which adds that “350 of our nation’s Fortune 500 have a representative.

2 Comments

Filed under Bush blunders worldwide, Congress, Dianne Feinstein betrays the voters trust, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, FEMA/Homeland Security, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, Politics, public corruption, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Supreme Court, Torture: you're next, White House emails, Wordpress Political Blogs

US surveillance of citizens similar to Russia, China

via Glenn Greenwald:

…the annual survey of worldwide privacy rights conducted by Privacy International and EPIC has been released for 2007, and the U.S. has been downgraded from “Extensive Surveillance Society” to “Endemic Surveillance Society,” the worst possible category there is for privacy protections, the category also occupied by countries such as China, Russia, Singapore and Malaysia. The survey uses a variety of objective factors to determine the extent of privacy protections citizens enjoy from their government, and the U.S. now finishes at the bottom for obvious reasons.
Evidence that we are becoming a lawless surveillance state is abundant. But let’s forget all of that and figure out how we can best micro-manage the internal affairs of Pakistan and Iraq and Russia and Iran so that we can preserve Freedom and Democracy for the world.

1 Comment

Filed under Alberto Gonzales:boob or simpleton-you decide, Bush blunders worldwide, Congress, Dianne Feinstein betrays the voters trust, Dick Cheney: Hannibal Lector in disguise?, FEMA/Homeland Security, George W. Bush: is he really THAT bad?, Harry Reid:part of the problem, Mitt Romney: double guantanamo, over the line, perpetual war: fascism in disguise, Politics, Racism, Republican politicians: are any of them normal, Supreme Court, Torture: you're next, Wordpress Political Blogs