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Name: William Rivers Pitt
Gender: Male
Hometown: Boston
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,142

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Did you know John Roberts is also chief justice of the NSAís surveillance state? (seriously)

Did you know John Roberts is also chief justice of the NSAís surveillance state?
By Ezra Klein
The Washington Post

July 5, 2013

Chief justice of the United States is a pretty big job. You lead the Supreme Court conferences where cases are discussed and voted on. You preside over oral arguments. When in the majority, you decide who writes the opinion. You get a cool robe that you can decorate with awesome gold stripes.

Oh, and one more thing: You have exclusive, unaccountable, lifetime power to shape the surveillance state.

To use its surveillance powers ó tapping phones or reading e-mails ó the federal government must ask permission of the court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. A FISA judge can deny the request or force the government to limit the scope of its investigation. Itís the only plausible check in the system. Whether it actually checks government surveillance power or acts as a rubber stamp is up to whichever FISA judge presides that day.

The 11 FISA judges, chosen from throughout the federal bench for seven-year terms, are all appointed by the chief justice. In fact, every FISA judge currently serving was appointed by Roberts, who will continue making such appointments until he retires or dies. FISA judges donít need confirmation ó by Congress or anyone else.

The rest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/05/did-you-know-john-roberts-is-also-chief-justice-of-the-nsas-surveillance-state/

The article goes on to state that one such appointee was Federal District Judge Roger Vinson of Florida, "who not only struck down the Affordable Care Actís individual mandate but the rest of the law, too." Furthermore, "Only one of the 11 members is a Democrat."

Apologies if this has already been posted, or if this was common knowledge. It was news to me.

I've read here a dozen times today that DU is an echo chamber, has no wider impact, etc.

Once upon a time, DU considered itself a think tank of sorts. People came here to inform, inspire, to become informed and inspired, and to carry that information and inspiration out into the wider world.

In the spring of 2002, as the country still sat in a fearful crouch after 9/11 and the motherfuckers in the Bush administration were running wild, a few of us on DU who live around here decided to do something. We crafted a detailed pamphlet on the hard realities of the day, photocopied it a thousand times, and stood in a busy Boston square to hand them out. We talked to anyone willing to talk, argued with those who wanted to argue, and spent a day together in an act of simple education.

...which seems quaint and maybe even a little silly after twelve years. We were genuinely worried at the time about being assaulted or targeted in some way - if you think things are more paranoid now, I would argue you've blocked out the darkness that was late-'01 and all of '02-'03 - but we did it, and came back here to DU, and shared our story and our pamphlet...and in the weeks and months that followed, piles and piles of DUers followed suit where they lived, and came back to share their experiences here.

And if you think that didn't make a difference - even a little one - then you are cynical past the point of redemption. DU-as-think-tank and DU-as-activism facilitated that...and it still is those things. It takes a truly cynical person to look at what happens here and see only an echo chamber.

People are informed here, inspired here, enraged here, engaged here, and that carries into the wider world...where real people have real conversations, cast real votes, donate real money, and volunteer real time for or against what they may.

That is "feet to the fire," and it matters.

Toss even a small stone into a still pool, and the ripples spread in all directions in an ever-widening circle.

It matters.

"What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek?"

What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war, not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace -- the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living -- and the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women -- not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.

Our problems are man-made. Therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable -- and we believe they can do it again.

For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.

We all breathe the same air.

We all cherish our children's futures.

And we are all mortal.

- President John F. Kennedy, American University, 10 June 1963

Maybe the greatest speech delivered in the 20th century. Certainly my favorite.

Happy Independence Day, all.

From the Egyptian People:

...this is mine, and this is mine...zzzzzzzzzzz...

Here - RIGHT HERE - is the distilled, condensed essence of right-wing anti-woman hypocrisy.

You've seen images of male politicians signing anti-woman legislation surrounded only by other male politicians.

Well here, right here, is a photograph that carries with it the distilled, condensed essence of that rank and fetid hypocrisy.

Says it all.

"3 Things That Confuse Texas Republicans..."

"If life ends when heart stops, then please explain Dick Cheney."

- Texas state Rep. Gene Wu (D), in a tweet he later deleted as a "mistake."

Man facing 13 years for anti-bank chalk protest found NOT GUILTY by a jury of his peers.

Local man found not guilty in chalk vandalism case
Jeffrey Olson not guilty of all 13 charges

SAN DIEGO - A 40-year-old man was acquitted Monday of 13 misdemeanor vandalism charges that stemmed from protest messages written in chalk in front of three Bank of America branches in San Diego.

Jeffrey David Olson's attorney argued during the trial -- which garnered national attention -- that his client was engaging in a legal protest and was not maliciously defacing of property.

Olson could have faced up to 13 years behind bars if convicted of all counts. Jurors began deliberating Friday.

The rest: http://www.10news.com/news/verdict-in-san-diego-chalk-vandalism-case-070113

I know an incredible amount of very terrible things have been happening...but I swear to God, if this guy had wound up in jail for chalking up a sidewalk, I might have started firebombing.

So shines a good deed in a weary world.

On Edit: P.S. "I might have started firebombing" was pretty straight-up hyperbole. Some of you people really need to get outside more often.

Chicago class on full display: Blackhawks post wonderful thank-you letter in Boston Globe


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