I’d love to see this kind of spending stopped immediately

Where have all the protesters gone?
http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/02/politics/rnc-protest-vermin-supreme/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

“This RNC has been so over-militarized, even attendees were complaining about the level of security,” said sociology professor Sarah Sobieraj. “They were ready with everything — unscalable fences, bomb-sniffing dogs, even long-range acoustic devices, which are nasty.”

The unmistakable message to the protesters: Don’t mess with Tampa.

“It is clear that these extreme measures were not intended to prevent a terrorist attack, they were for protesters,” Sobieraj added. “There has been a shift toward a criminalization of dissent that is a real problem.”

Looks like they spent about $50,000,000 between the city and the Feds.  Up to and including those freaky-ass acoustic deterrents.  I guess it really is the 21st century.  Hrmmm..

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SCOTOS Realizes GPS Bugs Violate 4th Amendment

Associate Justice Antonin Scalia said that the government’s installation of a GPS device, and its use to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search, meaning that a warrant is required.

“By attaching the device to the Jeep” that Jones was using, “officers encroached on a protected area,” Scalia wrote.

CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen said today’s decision was a victory for civil libertarians and a defeat for law enforcement officials who had argued that putting a GPS device on a car wasn’t exactly a search under the Fourth Amendment.

via High court: Warrant needed for GPS tracking – CBS News.

Glad to see this one went unanimous and in the freedom direction.  Had this failed, there would be no reason why cops couldn’t tag *anyone* for *any reason* with a GPS-tracker.   That’s not a good society in which to live, and it looks like we’ve avoided becoming that society.  For the time being.

This Week in the Police State…

First up…the Comitatas Posse is back in town, militarizing the homeland.

WASHINGTON — The Senate voted Tuesday to keep a controversial provision to let the military detain terrorism suspects on U.S. soil and hold them indefinitely without trial — prompting White House officials to reissue a veto threat.

The measure, part of the massive National Defense Authorization Act, was also opposed by civil libertarians on the left and right. But 16 Democrats and an independent joined with Republicans to defeat an amendment by Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would have killed the provision, voting it down with 61 against, and 37 for it.

“Congress is essentially authorizing the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who offered another amendment — which has not yet gotten a vote — that she said would correct the problem. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”

Backers of military detention of Americans — a measure crafted by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) — came out swinging against Udall’s amendment on the Senate floor earlier Tuesday.

“The enemy is all over the world. Here at home. And when people take up arms against the United States and [are] captured within the United States, why should we not be able to use our military and intelligence community to question that person as to what they know about enemy activity?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.

“They should not be read their Miranda Rights. They should not be given a lawyer,” Graham said. “They should be held humanely in military custody and interrogated about why they joined al Qaeda and what they were going to do to all of us.”

[full story]

The White House has promised a veto, so we’ll see if that happens or not.

When it comes to partisan divide…this is a pretty bright line in the sand.

“It’s one of those things where … it’s bipartisan on both sides. Levin’s not on the same page as the White House. We’ve got our own internal differences; Paul and Kirk don’t agree with Graham,” said a senior GOP aide just before the vote. “Everybody’s trying to do the right thing. There’s just a difference of opinion.”

Even though Paul was joined only by Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) on his side of the aisle, the issue was contentious at the Republicans’ weekly caucus lunch.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) emerged from the meeting — where former Vice President Dick Cheney was in attendance — saying his colleagues had “a spirited discussion” about Udall’s amendment, and predicted nearly all Republicans would oppose the amendment, as they did.

Nothing like having a war criminal tip the balance of debate.

On the corporate side of things, there is another strong push to give Corporate America control of the Internet (via DNS-blacklisting, a la China).   Sadly, some judges already think they have this authority.

As a whole bunch of folks have sent in a District Court judge in Nevada issued some rather stunning orders lately concerning websites that luxury brands company Chanel has argued “advertise, promote, offer for sale or sell” possibly counterfeit Chanel goods. The order is basically a more expansive private version of SOPA, in which the judge has let Chanel directly “seize” about 600 domains, as well as issued restraining orders and injunctions, including orders to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to “de-index and/or remove [the domain names] from any search results pages.”

[full story]

There has been a steady and consistent drumbeat from copyright holders to expand their protections in a more competitive environment.   Their history of hyperbole is legion, and all statements coming from their trade groups should be taken with several tons of salt.

 

Arizona Passes Strict Illegal Immigration Bill

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/13/arizona-passes-strict-illegal-immigration/

And so we turn to the next big legislative chapter, as Republicans pass legislation to turn us further into a police state and alienate another growing demographic for another generation.

UPDATE: This is just the preamble for the federal fight.  I’m not sure how hard the (D)’s are going to push, but the immigrant community has been able to turn out marches 10x as big as the Tea Parties.  They also get about 10x less media coverage, because no Hispanics watch Fox, and every single tea party member does (avg age of Fox viewer: 64.  Avg Tea Partier: 63.  Avg Immigration Protester…guessing…25 (all ages, 0-90, mostly young).

Yes, a “party” that encompasses a whole 1% of a the population has a news channel everyone hears about, and a movement that is 15% of the population lives in the shadows, as far as the media is concerned.  As far as the cops are concerned, in Arizona, brown skin is now reasonable suspicion.   Papers please.  Documentos, por favor.

Rick Noriega on FISA

I was just watching some videos for this previous post and I ran into the one below.

That video was posted in June.

This is the story [posted here], from this week.

WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations from two U.S. military linguists that the government routinely listened in on phone calls of American military and humanitarian aid workers serving overseas.

“These are extremely disturbing allegations,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in a statement issued Thursday. “We have requested all relevant information from the Bush administration. Any time there is an allegation regarding abuse of the privacy and civil liberties of Americans it is a very serious matter.”

ABC News first reported the charges Thursday, citing one current and one former military linguist by name. They are contained in the book “The Shadow Factory,” to be published next week.

Rick Noriega was one of the guys they listened to.  His was some of the pillow-talk they recorded and passed around.  He didn’t like it.  Now he’s running for Senate.  Works for me.  Heckuva lot better’n Cornyn who spent 2004 talking about how great the war on Terror (in Iraq) was going, not fighting it in Afghanistan.

BTW, here is Cornyn on voting with Bush to approve warrantless wireless of the communications of American citizens.

Earlier this week,Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex
mentioned an article written on Texas Insider in which Senator Cornyn made clear his stand on FISA.

[John Cornyn:]

America’s elected leaders have a duty to keep the American people safe. We know that the ability to obtain the right information at the right time is critically important in our struggle against radical Islamic terrorists….”

Yeah right.

With all due respect, Mr. Cornyn, it is also the duty of our elected leaders to serve the people whom they represent and to protect our Constitutional rights. The warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is not only unconstitutional, it is also a mechanism only a police state would use. We elect Presidents in this great nation thank you. We do not install dictators or crown kings.

[full post]

To be clear, Obama also voted for that dang FISA bill.  Hopefully he’ll flip-flop on that now that we know what it has been used for.  I can understand why he’d vote for it to avoid the “weak vs his Mulin terrist brothers” nutters, but that’s about it.   It needs to be fixed.

Soon.

Fears of NSA Wire-Tapping Justified

WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations from two U.S. military linguists that the government routinely listened in on phone calls of American military and humanitarian aid workers serving overseas.

“These are extremely disturbing allegations,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in a statement issued Thursday. “We have requested all relevant information from the Bush administration. Any time there is an allegation regarding abuse of the privacy and civil liberties of Americans it is a very serious matter.”

ABC News first reported the charges Thursday, citing one current and one former military linguist by name. They are contained in the book “The Shadow Factory,” to be published next week.

via Report: NSA spied on soldiers’ personal calls – Security- msnbc.com

When it became clear that Bush was lying about the warrantless wire-tapping program, and was, in fact, intercepting all sorts of communications, they claimed National Security and shouting down any and all critics as terrorist-sympathizers.

Now it turns out that those “terrorist-sympathizers” were actually “freedom fighters”.  They weren’t only tapping suspected terrorist calls and emails, but also suspected journalist and suspected aid-worker calls.  Basically anyone who was suspected to be human, and therefore shared a species in common will all known terrorists, was considered to be a worthy target.

Drug War Continues to Smash Good, Happy People

Community in shock over Harford man’s drug charges — baltimoresun.com

For many, Bob Chance has been the face of ecology in Harford County.

He taught earth science during a three-decade run in the public schools – and was named to the school system’s Hall of Fame. He promoted recycling long before the government got involved. He wrote a nature column for the local paper, won election to public office, and showed countless youngsters the wonders of the great outdoors as Ranger Bob.

And now he is, at 62, a defendant in a drug case.

Authorities say he has been growing marijuana at the farm where he raises and sells Christmas trees. And they say they found enough of the drug, either in plant form or packaged in freezers, to roll thousands of joints – so they are taking steps to seize his farm.

There’s so many stories like this it’s almost a cliche now.  End the drug war.

Anecdotal Idiocy and Your Government

Calling all fliers: Hang up your cell – The Denver Post

WASHINTON — Cellphone calls on airplanes in flight are unsafe and obnoxious and should be banned permanently, according to some members of Congress.

House members, most of whom board airplanes almost every week, traded horror stories July 31 about their worst experiences with annoying fellow passengers who talk loudly on cellphones before takeoff and after landing. One lawmaker said his wife sat next to a woman who loudly discussed her sex life on the phone.

Another House member topped that with the passenger sitting him behind on one flight who got a “dear John” phone call from either his wife or sweetheart just before takeoff. The begging and pleading was just terrible to listen to, he said. Finally, with the plane ready to take off, a flight attendant had to threaten to have U.S. marshals drag the man off the plane before he finally put his phone away.

Wait a second…a flight attendant threatened a passenger with an arrest by a federal officer…and this is an argument for more phone laws?

Continue reading

The Police State Retreateth (A Bit)

cbs5.com – TSA To Change Procedures After Nipple Ring Flap

LOS ANGELES (AP) ― The Transportation Security Administration said Friday it will change they way its officers search passengers with body piercings after a Texas woman complained she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane.Mandi Hamlin, 37, had demanded an apology and her Los Angeles-based attorney sent a letter to the TSA this week requesting a civil rights investigation.

Hamlin said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a TSA agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.

The female TSA agent used a handheld detector that beeped when it passed in front of Hamlin’s chest, the Dallas-area resident said.

Hamlin said she told the woman she was wearing nipple piercings. The agent then called over her male colleagues, one of whom said she would have to remove the jewelry, Hamlin said.

Hamlin said she could not remove them and asked whether she could instead display her pierced breasts in private to the female agent. But several other male officers told her she could not board her flight until the jewelry was out, she said.

This is why robots don’t have nipples.

In A Real World With a Free Press…

U.S. Armor Forces Join Offensive In Baghdad Against Sadr Militia – washingtonpost.com

BAGHDAD, March 28 — U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in the vast Shiite stronghold of Sadr City and U.S. aircraft bombed militant positions in the southern city of Basra, as the American role in a campaign against party-backed militias appeared to expand. Iraqi army and police units appeared to be largely holding to the outskirts of the Sadr City fighting, as American troops took the lead.

…this would be the lead story for weeks. Back on my planet, when we engaged in such bloody (oily) fighting, the hov-cams would be on location for weeks. They’d even be all over the salvage wars.

Funny how none of this violence makes it to the screens of a violence-obsess culture. Really funny. I laugh myself to sleep about it twice a week.

As President Bush told an Ohio audience that Iraq was returning to “normalcy,” administration officials in Washington held meetings to assess what appeared to be a rapidly deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.

American forces were involved in approximately a dozen firefights on Thursday in Baghdad alone, with fighting spread across six neighborhoods, according to information released by the U.S. military Friday morning. U.S. ground patrols in areas like Kadhamiyah and New Baghdad repeatedly came under attack from small arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades, responding with their own weapons and in one case calling in helicopter support. In that incident, the helicopter fired a hellfire missile into a group of militants that had attacked U.S. troops manning a checkpoint in Kadhamiyah, killing three of them. When the militants renewed their attack, the helicopter returned and killed 10 more using a 30mm gun, according to a U.S. military release.

Bush was right about one thing this week, Iraq is returning to normalcy.  The normalcy of war and occupation.  The normalcy of chaos.

Google Is One Of Us

Slashdot | Google Patents Detecting, Tracking, Targeting Kids

“A newly-issued Google patent for Rendering Advertisements With Documents Having One or More Topics Using User Topic Interest describes how to detect the presence of children by ‘using evidence of sophistication determined using user actions’ and tracking their behavior using the Google Toolbar and other methods to deliver targeted ads. Which is interesting, since the Google Terms of Service supposedly prohibit the use of Services by anyone ‘not of legal age.’ The inventor is Google Principal Scientist Krishna Bharat, who is a co-inventor of another pending Google patent for inferring searchers’ ethnicity, reading level, age, sex and income (and storing it all).”

The question becomes, Who Are We?