HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » JDPriestly » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »


Profile Information

Member since: Sat Dec 6, 2003, 04:15 AM
Number of posts: 49,108

Journal Archives

Thank you for posting this.

Have you started a new thread with this?

Sixth Amendment

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.


There aren't any ifs ands and buts about a public trial.

Also, the defendant is supposed to have "compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor."

Whether or not the NSA requests that Nacchio denied were legal we will never know because it is all "secret." But we do not that the Constitution makes no exception for secret trials or denial of the right to compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in the defendant's favor based on national security. And here and in similar cases in which a defendant needs information sheltered by national security agencies, that compulsory process is denied. Over and over. And that violates the Constitution.

May I remind DUers that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Not the NSA. Not presidential decrees. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

(Sorry if this sounds condescending, but a lot of DUers seem either not to have read the Constitution or not to understand that is the supreme law along with treaties in the land.)

Looks to me like the NSA and our courts violated it in several serious ways in the Nacchio case.

A lot of DUers have ignored or even ridiculed my warnings that what the NSA has done and is doing endangers many, many of the constitutional rights we have. Among them is the right to a fair trial.

I hope I will see some posts from some of those people admitting that they have been wrong.

I have been accused of having my hair on fire. Actually, my hair is on my very calm head. The NSA is violating our Constitution in very serious ways.

As Nacchio said. This stuff started before 9/11. The terrorism threat is real. Always has been. But the Constitution is what makes our country great. And we have to respond to the terrorism threat WITHOUT VIOLATING OUR CONSTITUTION.

(Before terrorism there was the threat of Communism. There are always excuses for taking shortcuts and violating our rights.)

The NSA reform needs to be done properly. I seriously doubt that it will be. Lose a right. You lose it forever.

For my notes:



How to have a more competitive economy. Austria shows the way.

This is an excerpt from an interview made in Davos, Switzerland with Philip Jennings, General Secretary of a major Austrian union.

Jennings: Die Länder, die die Krise gut gemeistert haben, hatten gute soziale Institutionen. Dazu gehören Österreich, Deutschland und die Schweiz. Das wird zu einem Wettbewerbsvorteil für Österreich: Stabilität. Österreichs Tradition des sozialen Dialogs macht das Land zum Weltführer. Viele sagen sicher auch, das ist kein Wettbewerbsvorteil. Die Rechten haben keine Agenda und machen nur Migranten für die Arbeitslosigkeit verantwortlich. Es gibt jedoch keine Diamanten oder Ölvorkommen, aber soziale Verantwortung. Gewerkschaften und Unternehmer sind daran gewöhnt, miteinander zu sprechen. Das ist ein Vorteil im Vergleich zu anderen Ländern.

Jennings: The countries that mastered the economic crisis had good social institutions. Austria, Germany and Switzerland are among them. Stability has become an advantage to Austria in terms of competition. Austria's tradition of social dialogue makes the country a world leader. Granted, many say that is not a competitive advantage. The right-wingers have no agenda and blame immigrants for the unemployment. No diamonds or oil revenue are available, however, only social responsibility. Unions and employers are used to speaking with each other. That is an advantage compared to other countries.


Also posted in General Discussion.

Sabrina, did you get a chance to watch the news conference by the other whistleblowers including

Binney and Tice?

Here is the link.


If you haven't watched it, it is long but worth listening to.

The Germans know first-hand how dangerous the kind of spying we are doing not only on foreign

leaders but on ourselves is. Some spying may be needed but we have gone far, far, far too far, and while some of Obama's changes in the system sound good, they are far, far, far too cautious.

We need a complete overhaul of all the domestic and foreign spying programs not only of the NSA but of all the agencies that conduct spying.

the big shock for me was when MSNBC presented a video of Hayden vehemently denying that "probable cause" is the standard the Constitution sets for the kind of search and seizure that the NSA conducts on us all the time. Here is the clip.


A person that ignorant of the text of the 4th Amendment certainly should not be in charge of a program that is capable of violating the 4th Amendment. He was not well enough versed on the constitution for his job.

Just in case there is any question about the 4th Amendment, here it is.

Amendment IV

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.


In general, customs writs of assistance served as general search warrants that did not expire, allowing customs officials to search anywhere for smuggled goods without having to obtain a specific warrant. These writs became controversial when they were issued by courts in British America in the 1760s, especially the Province of Massachusetts Bay. Controversy over these general writs of assistance inspired the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which forbids general search warrants in the United States.

. . . .

General writs of assistance played an important role in the increasing tensions that led to the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America. In 1760, Great Britain began to enforce some of the provisions of the Navigation Acts by granting customs officers these writs. In New England, smuggling had become common. However, officers could not search a person's property without giving a reason. Colonists protested that the writs violated their rights as British subjects. The colonists had several problems with these writs. They were permanent and even transferable: the holder of a writ could assign it to another. Any place could be searched at the whim of the holder, and searchers were not responsible for any damage they caused. This put anyone who had such a writ above the law.

. . . .

In response to the much-hated general writs, several of the colonies included a particularity requirement for search warrants in their constitutions when they established independent governments in 1776; the phrase "particularity requirement" is the legal term of art used in contemporary cases to refer to an express requirement that the target of a search warrant must be "particularly" described in detail. Several years later, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution also contained a particularity requirement that outlawed the use of writs of assistance (and all general search warrants) by the federal government. Later, the Bill of Rights was incorporated against the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, and writs of assistance were generally proscribed.


The British may be comfortable with the broad surveillance, but we Americans should not be. After all, we fought one revolution to narrow police investigations to warrants based on probable cause.

We should not allow our precious U.S. Constitution that was so hard-won in that revolution to be denied, reworded or simply ignored even by our must honored and trusted elected officials and military leaders. They should be better informed.

I have often thought of something similar.

Imagine yourself outside our universe looking down through the universe, across the suns and planets and moons, focusing on earth, seeing the mountains and oceans as tiny specks, coming closer and closer in, focusing closer in until you see the larger animals, elephants and whales and then closer and closer until you see us, humans and then all of the cells and bacteria in us then in smaller animals, ants, then plants.

That is what I think about when I want to get a perspective on my problems and my relationship with God. We are about as big in terms of the perspective of the universe as that tiny speck of bacteria is in the video in the OP. We are nothing. And yet we are our whole world because the world is contained in our perception of it. There is, for each of us, no world, no real world, beyond the world we can perceive, touch, feel or at least imagine and think about. And our perception of ourselves in that immensity, our tiny selves in that greatness, only our souls, the spiritual aspect of ourselves can travel across the great vastness of the universe. And we only travel the distance when we are spiritually whole.

That is perspective for me.


Back in the late '80s, interest on a home mortgage was 9.5% or 10%. That's what we got in the late 80s.

In the late 90s, interest rates on private student loans were 7.5-8.5%.

Those of us who paid the increases in payroll taxes that were enacted to save in the Social Security Trust Fund for the retirement of the baby boomers (starting during the Reagan administration between 1983-1985) PAID those interest rates.

The interest rates now are artificially low thanks to Fed maneuvers and the crash of the housing boom. Please note that the first of the baby boomers who were born in 1946 first became eligible for Social Security at the reduced distributions for 63-year-olds in 2009. The housing crash and bank failures were timed perfectly to harm baby boomers.

As is the proposed default on the Social Security benefits.

And please note that the Republicans were in office when the housing boom and subsequent crash were allowed to happen.

We are due a lot of interest on the money that we put into the Social Security system.

Most of us started putting in money when we were still kids back in the 1960s. Our generations (war babies and baby boomers) often started working as early teenagers.

The money we put in when we were in our teens and 20s so long ago has accrued an enormous amount of interest. That is why we probably are not really even getting back the value that we put in with the current benefits.

Average benefits paid out to retirees as of August 2013:

Old-Age and Survivors Insurance . . . . 1,203.72
Retirement benefits . . . 1,224.69
Retired workers . . . 1,270.38
Spouses of retired workers . . . 634.20
Children of retired workers . . . 619.95


The minimum benefit is $1.


The maximum benefit depends on the age at which you retire and your income (how much you put in).

The maximum benefit depends on the age you retire. For example, if you retire at your full retirement age in 2013, your maximum benefit would be $2,533. But if you retire at age 62 in 2013, your maximum benefit would be $1,923. If you retire at age 70 in 2013, your maximum benefit would be $3,350.


The recent job deficit has forced more people to retire earlier. That means that the monthly benefits they receive are and will continue to be lower than those who can still work until they are 70.

People retire because employers really don't want to hire older workers.

If workers were in big demand, if we had very, very low unemployment, fewer people would retire before they were 70.

So, the real problem is not Social Security but our bad economy. We have outsourced and exported too many jobs. That is our problem. Our free trade policies are really hurting Americans. Social Security is a red herring. It's not the problem. The lack of jobs is the problem.

Le Monde began working on the Snowden documents in August apparently

and was, following instructions from Greenwald and Snowden, careful not to publish any details that might harm US security interests.

Here is a very brief excerpt from what Le Monde said in its editorial on the Snowden revelations regarding France.

The freedom to communicate and to benefit from secrecy in one's correspondence is a cornerstone of functioning democracies. The systematic intrusion in private lives is the mark of totalitarian systems, as the film, "The Lives of Others" which described the Stasi's operations in East Germany reminds us. . . . .

La liberté de communiquer et de bénéficier du secret de la correspondance est une pierre angulaire du fonctionnement des démocraties. L'intrusion systématique dans la vie privée est le propre des systèmes totalitaires, comme a pu le rappeler le film La vie des autres décrivant l'appareil de la Stasi en Allemagne de l'Est. . . . .


Beecause the US does not respect our human rights enough to treat Snowden with respect for the

service he rendered to our democracy.

The people who defend the NSA have not thought through what the surveillance means for our country. In the late 1970s when the Supreme Court ruled that police may collect metadata, they were deciding a specific case concerning the collection of evidence in the narrow facts of a legitimate investigation of a crime that had occurred. That is not what the NSA surveillance is about. Not at all.

You have a First Amendment right to freedom of association. That means that Congress can pass no law that permits anyone in government to interfere with your free association with anyone in the world. The First Amendment arguably does not apply to foreign nationals outside the US. But it most definitely applies to all communications of Americans. It is not a freedom that is limited geographically to "within the United States," not in my reading of the plain text. It prohibits the government from limiting the association of Americans, period. That is my opinion. If the Congress has enabled the NSA to collect all the metadata on your communications, how can you or anyone else associate with others or ultimately organize freely?

You have a First Amendment right of freedom of religion. That means that the government cannot pass a law that authorizes any employee to limit your right to freedom of religion at all. But if the NSA can collect your metadata without any cause at all, much less probable cause, how can you really be free in your religious search, expression and association?

You have a First Amendment right of freedom of the press. That means that the government cannot pass or impose any law that abridges (limits) your right to read any news or obtain any information from the media that the media can provide. How can you enjoy the freedom of the press if the NSA is spying on reporters to discover their sources?

And in that context, think of Thomas Paine. He published the documents that stirred the hearts of the patriots in our American Revolution. The NSA and our government would surely have threatened him as they threaten Edward Snowden. We are supposed to be a country that encourages freedom of information and free dissent. A criminal, including terrorists, is defined as one who has committed a crime. How can a journalist be a criminal under the First Amendment? So why should journalists be under investigation.

Our government is far too dependent on its secrecy laws for keeping the peace and establishing what it considers to be "security" in the country. Think about what happened with the Occupy movement. Were they a threat to the security of the country? I don't think so. A messy inconvenience at most in all places in which they were nonviolent. (And that was most everywhere.)

The NSA and our military are a small elite in the country. They are not elected. They barely even answer to our elected officials. They have willingly and conspicuously lied to our Congress. We should be finding out much more about what is going on in their hidden, undemocratic, possibly very corrupt halls. The existence of such a "special" protected cabal within our otherwise democratically elected government is a huge threat. Snowden and his revelations are no threat at all compared to the threat of this very powerful, very secretive clique in our government. Which, by the way, has taken access to all kind of information that could be used to intimidate or blackmail at the NSA's whim.

The NSA spying is incompatible with even a shadow of a democracy. It makes a mockery of everything that previous generations of Americans fought and died for. It is in my opinion unconstitutional.

There was a time when slavery was considered to be lawful, to comply with the Constitution. The NSA spying enslaves our communications, and will destroy what we have left of democracy. I know this sounds extreme, hair-on-fire they say. But think about it. If you do, you will agree with me.

Of course those under 65 probably did not take a good government course and probably never really learned much about the US Constitution. The Nixon administration and the right wing of the US got so scared after the Viet Nam demonstrations that the serious study of government was all but removed from high school curricula.

To whom did the files that Edward Snowden allegedly "stole" really belong? To that elite clique in the NSA who were never elected and who live and "serve" through series of weak administrations and snub their noses at money-grubbing members of Congress, waiting until they get the right court in order to expand NSA power?

No. The files that Edward Snowden "stole" belong to you and me and every other American.

So, no. I don't see Edward Snowden as the person who violated an enforceable law here. He was acting in the greatest American tradition which places limits on unrestrained, out-of-control authority in a nonviolent way.

I don't think of Edward Snowden as a hero. I think of him as having done the job that others in the NSA should have been doing on behalf of his employers, the American people.

This is information that we do not want the government to have.

Private companies are going to use that information if they get it at all to try to make a profit from their products. They aren't going to use it to control our political speech. They will try to convince us to buy their products, but they won't try to convince us to start an illegal war or hate the people of another country or agree to waste money on more surveillance.

Private companies are somewhat controlled by their obligation to make money for their owners or shareholders. It isn't much solace when compared to the amount of information they have about us, but it is some.

When the government has this information, it can use it for purposes that destroy meaningful democratic government or even any illusion of meaningful democratic elections or government or decision-making.

And above all, when we say that the government has this information, what we really mean is that a tiny clique in the government, a clique that is part of and controls our domestic and foreign military power and legal power over people's lives here and around the world. They have that information. That information that I hypothetically took from your mailbox, and unlike private companies, they can easily access all your information, not just your phone bill but your electric bill, your charges at Walmart, everything that you have entrusted to electronic transmissions.

And that tiny clique has your information, all the details of your life in their possession. Maybe they won't use it. Maybe they will.

But what is unacceptable is having that much information on so many Americans in the hands, in the databases of so few. It is like the Middle Ages where you had to check in and out at a gate as you came in and went out of town. Your movements, that vacation in Maine, that call to your old high school boyfriend in Florida, the phone return you made to Verizon, the big bills you ran up talking to your son in Ireland? All of it is within the files of a small clique of people. Do they access all of it all the time? No. But it is within their discretion to access any or all of it at any time.

East Germany did not have the capacity to place their nation under surveillance that our NSA has, and yet they wreaked havoc in the lives of East Germans.

Giving the NSA the authority to acquire all this information is too great a temptation, too great a power for government. I'm no libertarian, but I do know a bit about history.

This is the most dangerous program I have ever heard of.

Is calling Snowden a coward just another psy-ops technique?

What does Snowden stand to gain from his revelations in your view?

From what I have read so far, he appears to have asked nothing other than asylum for the truths he brought to light.

I don't think he spoke up or published these documents for personal benefit.

Rather I think he is paying and will pay a tremendous price for his courage and honesty.

It will be a long time, maybe never, before he gets to bask in the glory of having opened the eyes of millions in the world to the surveillance to which we are subjected.

In fact, just to live, just to survive, he has to fade from the stage, leave everything he has ever known and retire to a very, very quiet life far from anyone who has ever known him.

He is at sea. He can know no one. He can trust no one. And that for a long time, maybe the rest of his life.

Meanwhile, you and I sit here in our comfortable chairs posting on the internet, living the good life until we die of natural causes. And quite possibly, we will eventually enjoy just maybe a tiny bit more privacy in our communications thanks to his revelations. We may gain, but Snowden will lose. He will be on the run, never to feel secure probably for the rest of his life.

And there may not be much left of that.

Snowden a coward? Really?

A "coward" who will never sleep a night without wondering who may have seen him during the day, who is coming for him, whether today he will be hunted down by our powerful state and our mighty, ubiquitous military.

Snowden will wonder perpetually to what sadistic police force in what remote country he will be secretly renditioned, to what kind of torture he will be subjected, what violent end he will meet.

Meanwhile you and I chat away, our every word, our every keystroke watched, collected, sorted and categorized by the voracious computers at Booz, Allen.

Now, who is the coward(s)?

For my part, I'm really grateful to Snowden for making the sacrifices he has made to let us know that our own government is Big Brother and is watching us, slicing and dicing our every communication, classifying our every call, ready to claim every word we write or speak any time it wishes.
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Next »