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kpete

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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
Number of posts: 65,600

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Senate Majority Whip: FISA Court Is 'Fixed' & 'Loaded' (Durbin wants to limit NSAs Data Collection)

Source: The Atlantic

Senate Majority Whip: FISA Court Is 'Fixed' and 'Loaded'
Dick Durbin wants to add a civil-liberties advocate to the court's proceedings and to limit the NSA's data collection.


The Obama Administration says the FISA court adequately safeguards Americans' civil liberties. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who holds the second-highest Democratic leadership position in the Senate, disagrees.

"These FISA courts -- there should be a real court proceeding," he said on Sunday. "In this case, it's fixed in a way. It's loaded. There's only one case coming before the FISA court: the government's case. Let's have an advocate, or someone, standing up for civil liberties, to speak up for the privacy of Americans when they make each of these decisions, and let's release some of the transcripts, redacted, carefully redacted, so that people understand the debate that's going on in these FISA courts." When you've got a senior lawmaker calling a secret court "fixed in a way," implying that it doesn't conduct "real" proceedings, and affirming that its judges aren't hearing information that would be relevant to their decisions, that's alarming.

Unless, of course, what you want is a rubber stamp for the surveillance state.

Durbin said in the same interview that Congress should rein in the NSA's data hoovering. "I really believe that we should limit this metadata collection," he said. "The notion that we're going to collect all the phone records of everyone living in an area code on the off chance that someone in that area code may be a suspect at a later time goes way too far." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has been much more deferential to the executive branch on this issue.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/senate-majority-whip-fisa-court-is-fixed-and-loaded/278163/

Fed Court: Just changed interpretation of Espionage Act to cover leaks that are NOT Harmful To USA

Court Eases Prosecutors’ Burden of Proof in Leak Cases
Espionage: Now, with No Damage Envisioned
By: emptywheel Monday July 29, 2013 10:21 am

A recently unsealed decision from Colleen Kollar-Kotelly just changed the interpretation of the Espionage Act for Washington DC to cover leaks that wouldn’t even harm the US.
http://blogs.fas.org/secrecy/2013/07/prosecutors-burden/

Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the prosecution in the pending case of former State Department contractor Stephen Kim need not show that the information he allegedly leaked could damage U.S. national security or benefit a foreign power, even potentially. Her opinion was a departure from a 30 year old ruling in the case of U.S. v. Morison, which held that the government must show that the leak was potentially damaging to the U.S. or beneficial to an adversary. (In that case, Samuel L. Morison was convicted of unauthorized disclosure of classified intelligence satellite photographs, which he provided to Jane’s Defence Weekly. He was later pardoned by President Clinton.)

“The Court declines to adopt the Morison court’s construction of information relating to the ‘national defense’ insofar as it requires the Government to show that disclosure of the information would be potentially damaging to the United States or useful to an enemy of the United States,” Judge Kollar-Kotelly wrote in a May 30 opinion. The opinion was redacted and unsealed (in partially illegible form) last week.

The prosecution must still show that the defendant “reasonably believed” that the information “could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation” and that the defendant “willfully” communicated it to an unauthorized person. But it would no longer be necessary for prosecutors to demonstrate that the information itself could potentially damage national security or benefit an adversary.


Imagine how this ruling could empower prosecutors in the AP UndieBomb 2.0 investigation, in which the AP’s story reported only that the US had thwarted an UndieBomb plot. They didn’t report it until after the White House said they had cleared up a sensitive issue relating to the plot (which in practice ended up being the drone death of Fahd al-Quso).

This would make it easier for the government to prosecute AP’s sources for leaking information that even the government had suggested, to the AP, wouldn’t harm US interests.

- See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/#sthash.uiSVTkkO.dpuf

Mitt Romney's Incredible 47-Percent Denial: "Actually, I Didn't Say That"

Mitt Romney's Incredible 47-Percent Denial: "Actually, I Didn't Say That"

Gee, Mitt, where could that perception possibly have come from? Perhaps the simple fact that it's exactly what you said?

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax. ....My job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.




http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/07/mitt-romney-47-percent-denial
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/29/1227381/-Mitt-Romney-on-his-47-percent-comment-Actually-I-didn-t-say-that#comments

The Mike Wallace Interview: Aldous Huxley (1958-05-18)

Intelligent TV. What a concept. Thank you, Mr.Wallace.



HUXLEY: Well, I don't think you can say who in the United States, I don't think there are any sinister persons deliberately trying to rob people of their freedom, but I do think, first of all, that there are a number of impersonal forces which are pushing in the direction of less and less freedom, and I also think that there are a number of technological devices which anybody who wishes to use can use to accelerate this process of going away from freedom, of imposing control.



....................



HUXLEY: But, if you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled, and this they will do partly by drugs as I foresaw in "Brave New World," partly by these new techniques of propaganda.

They will do it by bypassing the sort of rational side of man and appealing to his subconscious and his deeper emotions, and his physiology even, and so, making him actually love his slavery.

I mean, I think, this is the danger that actually people may be, in some ways, happy under the new regime, but that they will be happy in situations where they oughtn't to be happy.


......................

......after all, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.



FULL Transcript:
http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/huxley_aldous_t.html

weiner

LA Times: EPA Censored Key Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Study

A must-read Los Angeles Times story by Neela Banerjee demonstrates that - once again - the Obama administration put the kibosh on a key Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking" groundwater contamination, this time in Dimock, Pennsylvania.

Though EPA said Dimock's water wasn't contaminated by fracking in a 2012 election year desk statement, internal documents obtained by LA Times reporter Neela Banerjee show regional EPA staff members saying the exact opposite among friends.

"In an internal EPA PowerPoint presentation...staff members warned their superiors that several wells had been contaminated with methane and substances such as manganese and arsenic, most likely because of local natural gas production," writes Banerjee.

"The presentation, based on data collected over 4 1/2 years at 11 wells around Dimock, concluded that 'methane and other gases released during drilling (including air from the drilling) apparently cause significant damage to the water quality.' The presentation also concluded that 'methane is at significantly higher concentrations in the aquifers after gas drilling and perhaps as a result of fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and other gas well work," Banerjee further explained.


http://desmogblog.com/2013/07/29/obama-epa-censored-fracking-water-contamination-study-dimock-pennsylvania
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-epa-dimock-20130728,0,4847442.story

"Stop Obama" (tea hee hee)

Virginia is for lovers (terms and conditions may apply) --- by Tom Tomorrow



"say, what's this odd device in your nightstand?"

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/07/29/1226563/-Virginia-is-for-lovers-terms-and-conditions-may-apply

I just followed God on facebook, and she’s pretty funny:





via: http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/07/28/omg-i-am-stepping-on-another-front-pagers-post/

A Larry Summers joke

A Larry Summers joke

by digby

A friend in Washington told me this last week:

The president, Larry Summers, a dirty hippie and the pope were all on Air Force One when it started to have engine trouble. The pilot opened the door of the cockpit and said with terror in his voice, “The plane is going down, so put on a parachute and jump! I’ll show you how.” The pilot grabbed a parachute from the pile, strapped it on, opened the plane’s door, and took the leap.

After his departure, the four people left were startled to notice there were only three parachutes left in the pile. The president humbly suggested that the other three take the parachutes but the others protest saying, "no, Mr President, the world needs you, you must take one of the parachutes." After a few minutes of haggling, the president agrees and straps on his chute and jumped.

The remaining three look at each other for a moment at which point Larry Summers says,“there are other smart people, but no one in the world is as smart as I am. The world needs me as much as the President, so I must take one of these parachutes and save myself.” So he jumped, too.

The dirty hippie and the pope sit quietly for a moment and the pope says, "you must take the last parachute, my son, it is God's will."

The hippie smiles and replies, "oh don't worry Your Eminence, we each have a parachute. The smartest man in the world just strapped on my backpack and jumped out of the airplane."

http://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/a-larry-summers-joke.html
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