Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Court Rejects Government's Executive Power Claims and Rules That Warrantless Wiretapping Violated Law

Electronic Frontier Foundation

News Update by Kevin Bankston

Today, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the federal district court in San Francisco found that the government illegally wiretapped an Islamic charity's phone calls in 2004, granting summary judgment for the plaintiffs in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama. The court held the government liable for violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Today's order is the first decision since ACLU v. NSA to hold that warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency was illegal. The decision in ACLU v. NSA was overturned on other grounds in 2007, and the focus of the government's litigation strategy since then has been to avoid having any court rule on the merits of the issue.

The court's thorough decision is a strong rebuke to the government's argument that only the Executive Branch may determine if a case against the government can proceed in the courts, by invoking state secrets. The Obama Administration adopted this "state secrets privilege" theory from the Bush Administration's legal positions in this and other warrantless wiretapping cases.

The government's overreaching claim of unbridled executive power finally backfired today in the Al-Haramain case. As the court wrote in its order, "Under defendants' theory, executive branch officials may treat FISA as optional and freely employ the SSP [state secrets privilege] to evade FISA, a statute enacted specifically to rein in and create a judicial check for executive branch abuses of surveillance authority."

The court, although noting the government's "impressive display of argumentative acrobatics," flatly rejected this theory. "Defendants could readily have availed themselves of the court's processes to present a single, case-dispositive item of evidence at one of a number of stages of this multi-year ligitation: a FISA warrant. They never did so." Therefore, "for purposes of this litigation, there was no such warrant for the electronic surveillance of any of plaintiffs," and the surveillance therefore violated FISA.

In his opinion, Judge Walker found that the plaintiffs had succeeded in making out a case based solely on non-classified public evidence that the government had eavesdropped on their phone calls. Because the government refused to confirm or deny that it had ever gotten a court order authorizing that wiretapping, Walker concluded that the government had failed to dispute the plaintiffs' claims. Walker then held that the government violated FISA when it spied on the charity without first obtaining an order from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to authorize the spying.

The plaintiffs also brought several other claims against the government based on the illegal wiretapping, including claims for violation of the First and Fourth Amendments to the Constitution. However, today's order only granted summary judgment on the FISA claims. The next step is up to the plaintiffs, according to Judge Walker. Al Haramain can either voluntarily dismiss their non-FISA claims and obtain a final judgment, including damages, on their FISA claim, or they can continue to press their additional claims, in which case the court and the parties will have a case management conference to determine how to proceed. Regardless of which path the plaintiffs choose, the government is ultimately likely to appeal Judge Walker's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will also be considering appeals in EFF's NSA wiretapping lawsuits

Hepting v. AT&T and Jewel v. NSA.

To the NSA folks:

Screw these guys if they gave money to terrorists but,ya couldn't get a Warrant ? Come on..

And,Wiretapping American Citizens Without a Warrant is Wrong & Illegal..

"Hello to our friends and fans in domestic surveillance."

Thx ToniD.. :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Just One Question: Where were all these “freedom-loving” right wingers during the Bush years ?



Where were all these “freedom-loving” right wingers during the Bush years ?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course. But one that should be asked of the morons now breaking windows and cutting gas lines, all in the name of “freedom from big government.”

Well an old gentleman from Chico, California is asking it. From what I’m told the fellow worked as a volunteer teaching retirees about Medicare and COBRA. Here’s his open letter to Republicans. Sorry, don’t know his name, but if you do, let me know. Pass it on to your favorite Republican/Tea Party member:

We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but now you get mad?

•You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.

•You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.

•You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.

•You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed..

•You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.

•You didn't get mad when we spent $1 trillion on said illegal war.

•You didn't get mad when over $10 billion dollars (in hard cash) just “disappeared" in Iraq .

•You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

•You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

•You didn't get mad when they didn't catch Bin Laden.

•You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed hospital.

•You didn't get mad when they let a major US city drown.

•You didn't get mad when they gave a $1.6 trillion in tax breaks to the rich.

•You didn’t get mad when, using reconciliation; a trillion dollars of our tax dollars were redirected to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage -- which cost more than 20% more for the same services that Medicare provides.

•You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark.

No, but you did get mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans... oh hell no!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


March 27, 2010.

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts has been writing about the state of the American nation until he was blanked out by the American mainstream media. Writing one last time on the internet, the noted columnist says, “The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.”

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them.

Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money. Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and short memories finish the job.



"Hello to our friends and fans in domestic surveillance."

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thursday, March 25, 2010

As always, Rachel is dead-on correct:



The CBO is projecting that this bill will cut the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years - subtracted from the deficit.

When Republicans passed the Bush tax cuts, the CBO said that would raise the deficit by $349 billion.

And Republicans,including Phil Gingrey, had no problem voting yes.

When Republicans passed the first Bush tax cuts in 2001, the CBO said
it would raise the deficit by $1.3 trillion — trillion with a “T.”

And Republicans, including John Boehner, went along for that ride, too.

Angry Liberal

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Obvious !

Sooo...Just When
Will They Be Required
to Register ?


HaHa ! Tough Titty !


Thanks to Gloryoski for the Tough Titty remark.. :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

For cryin out loud ! And,I was born there..Crazy Dumb Assed TX Legislator's !


Thanks -

Consumers Union: Dodd’s Bill Moves Ball Forward,

But More Needs to Be Done to Protect Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In response to a proposed package of financial industry reforms announced by Senator Chris Dodd today, Consumers Union, the non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, said the legislation contains some important reforms, but said more needs to done to better protect consumers.

Gail Hillebrand, Director of Consumers Union’s Defend Your Dollars campaign (, said “It is encouraging that Senator Dodd’s financial reform package includes a new government watchdog to protect consumers from unfair financial practices that can undermine family wallets and our economy. But we are concerned that this bill gives veto power over new consumer protections to another group of banking regulators and relies too heavily on these same regulators to enforce new safeguards. We need a government watchdog with real authority to protect consumers. Lawmakers should strengthen the Dodd proposal by making sure that the banking regulators who failed to prevent our current financial crisis can’t stand in the way of needed consumer protection.”


"Hello to our friends and fans in domestic surveillance."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Patriotism for Dummies..



"The Beltway media has been doing its darndest to liken the ethical problems facing the
Democrats today and those faced by the Republicans in recent years, but the differences
could not be more stark. In the case of Eric Massa, for instance, within about a week of
allegations of his misconduct coming forward into the public sphere, he resigned.

Yet when
you look at the scandals affecting the Republican Party, the response is very different.
David Vitter, Mark Sanford and John Ensign are all still in office years and months after
it became clear that they were worthless scumbags."

-- Jonathan Singer, Link


Thanks to..



Thursday, March 11, 2010

John Yoo's Email Fail

Government investigators can't find the Bush lawyer's emails. His explanation makes about as much sense as his legal rationale for torture.

— By Nick Baumann - Mother Jones

The Justice Department report released last month on the crafting of the so-called torture memos contained a number of eyebrow-raising revelations—but none perhaps as intriguing as the disclosure that many of John Yoo's emails had been irretrievably destroyed. Given that the former Justice Department political appointee played a key role in composing the legal rationale for the Bush administration's use of brutal interrogation tactics, this seemed suspicious, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and others have pressed the agency to investigate. But Yoo has brushed aside concerns about his emails, and he has criticized those raising questions about the lost messages—including Leahy and Justice Department investigators—for their weak grasp on the "basics of intelligence." Yoo's own explanation for the missing emails, though, doesn't add up, and experts on government archiving and recordkeeping practices say his comments are misleading, if not "nonsensical."


John Ensign Soldiers On - WTF ?

— By Kevin Drum - Mother Jones

Democrats have suffered through their share of bad behavior lately, but honestly, none of it compares to the travails of Republican Sen. John Ensign. I mean,( the guy had an affair with his top aide's wife, paid out hush money in a way plainly intended to skirt IRS reporting rules, and then worked illegally to get his ex-aide some consulting income doing congressional lobbying.) “Senator Ensign has stated clearly, he has not violated any law or Senate ethics rule,” says Ensign's flack, but Ensign can say it as clearly as he wants. The evidence says otherwise.

Today, the New York Times got hold of some emails suggesting pretty clearly that Ensign, who was "a bit rattled" according to one of the messages, intervened with a guy named Bob Andrews, who was trying to get help with some energy projects in Nevada:

According to the documents, Mr. Ensign forwarded the note about the company’s business plans to Mr. Hampton with a message of his own saying: “I think you have played golf with him. This is who I met with.”

That led to a series of meetings between Mr. Hampton and Mr. Andrews about consulting work. “It was my understanding he was in the lobbying business,” Mr. Andrews said of Mr. Hampton. “Being able to lobby our Congressional and senatorial lawmakers was certainly something we were exploring.”

A typical excerpt from one of Hampton's emails to Ensign is below. How this guy manages to stay in office mystifies me. I guess he must have taken lessons from David Vitter and Mark Sanford.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saturday, March 6, 2010

If only the Democrats would list the facts !

If only the Democrats would list the facts.

The teabagging handjobs are insane with rage over that blue ink
but they have NO PROBLEM with Bush's ocean of red ink.

Bush borrowed $1.8 trillion dollars from China
and the Saudis to give the super-rich more money
and that ended up crashing the economy.

Obama's trying to create jobs and they f-ing
hate him for being "loose" with their money.

Thanks to One Citizen for the graphic.

Subject: Republicans counting on voter's short memory

The Republicans seem to be counting on the voters having a short memory this election year.

They don't want you to remember that Republicans were the ones who crashed the economy.

They don't want you to remember that Republicans started two wars that we are still paying for.

They don't want you to remember that bank bailouts (TARP) happened on their watch.

Republicans are now going to start using fear to distract voters from the fact the the Democrats
are succeeding in turning America around and reversing the damage of the Bush administration. (*Somewhat)

The question for the voters this year is, "Do you really want to bring back the same party that
caused the recession in the first place?" It doesn't make sense to return power to the party of Bush.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Video: Tangled Up in Yoo..




Protesting John Yoo in Charlottesville, Va., on March 19, 2010