mistersandman: How would you feel if you had to put on a really stupid hat? (RAGE)
[personal profile] mistersandman
The U.S. Congress yesterday approved, and President Barack Obama signed into law, a four-year extension of provisions in the USA Patriot Act that allow law enforcement to track suspected terrorists with roving wiretaps.

The legislation was first passed by the Senate, 72-23, followed by the House, 250-153. Because Obama was in France for meetings of the Group of Eight nations, he directed that an autopen machine, which holds a pen and replicates his signature, be used to sign the bill, the White House said.

The bill was signed yesterday before a previous extension, approved by Congress in February, expired at midnight, the White House said. The new law continues the surveillance powers until June 1, 2015.

The measure "will safeguard us from future attacks," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said before his chamber's vote. "By extending this invaluable terror- fighting tool, we're staying ahead" of terrorists who want to attack the U.S., he said.

The bill's roving-wiretap section allows federal agents to obtain a single warrant to monitor telephone calls of suspects using a series of mobile phones.

Other provisions allow authorities to obtain business and library records, and to target so-called "lone wolf" suspects who aren't affiliated with any terrorist group.

Senator Rand Paul, a bill opponent, tried to delay the Senate vote, pressing for the bill to be amended. The Kentucky Republican said the legislation goes too far in violating privacy rights to keep the U.S. secure.

"Do we want a government that looks at our Visa bill?" he said in a May 24 floor speech. "Do we want a government that looks at all of our records and is finding out what our reading habits are?"

The Patriot Act was passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, and many of its provisions are permanent law. Some of its surveillance powers have been opposed by some lawmakers and outside groups, including civil liberties activists.



I tried writing a letter to Obama describing my feelings on his decision but it came off as too venomous so I decided to post here instead. What the fuck, Obama? What was the point of all that talk about change and hope if you keep or strengthen the worst of your predecessor's policies?

The President doesn't want to appear weak on terror for the sake of the same howling ninnies who insist that he's a Nazi terrorist Islamic Christian socialist. There's no satisfying those people. It seems like Obama spends more time courting the people who hate him than satisfying the people who put him into office.

I took an environmental history class once and the professor (the spitting image of Clint Eastwood) growled, "I don't like Obama. He's too conservative for me." He got a few good laughs with that one, but I'm not laughing anymore.  The worst part is, there's no viable alternative.  I could vote for Jon Huntsman in 2012 to punish Obama, but as much as I like Huntsman, there's no way he'd ever repeal the Patriot Act.  I thought the recent hit on bin Laden would make America feel safer and more confident, but it seems like it's only convinced Congress that the War on Terror is a really great idea that must be pursued vigorously.
treesahquiche: (Default)
[personal profile] treesahquiche

Click here for the video transcript. )

Fareed Zakaria: Build the Ground Zero Mosque (Newsweek) -- A more detailed and in-depth argument by Dr. Zakaria in favor of the Muslim community center.

Thoughts on Abe Foxman's Speechlessness Over Fareed Zakaria's Return of the ADL's Humphrey Award

The dispute between Fareed Zakaria and Abe Foxman is not over. Foxman's faux "shock" over Zakaria's reaction to Foxman's efforts to stop the building of an Islamic community center a few blocks from "Ground Zero" may be masking efforts by Foxman to have Zakaria exit by the same route as Helen Thomas and Octavia Nasr.

Click for the full story )


I love Fareed Zakaria, and how he stands up against bigotry, entitlement, and the worrying trend of Islamophobia in the West. He is truly an intellectual treasure and a bastion of rationality and compassion here in the United States.
mistersandman: (Justice)
[personal profile] mistersandman

On Sunday, Sen. John Kyl (R-Ariz.) became the highest-ranking Republican to suggest support for the repeal of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Appearing on CBS' Face the Nation, Kyl said that he opposes allowing children of undocumented immigrants to be granted U.S. citizenship and wants Congress to hold hearings on the matter.

In doing so, the Senate's no. 2 Republican didn't place himself on the extreme wing of his party's stance on immigration policy. Rather, he joined what is a growing movement that could very well shape the official policy planks of the GOP.

(A Kyl spokesperson told CBS News on Monday that he supports hearings into the issue, "he did not call for the 'repeal' of the 14th Amendment.")

There are already a number of Republican officials who have preceded Kyl in calling for a reworking of the country's citizenship laws. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has proposed the piece of legislation that would repeal the 14th Amendment.

An aide to Graham said that there had been no formal dates set for hearings or the bill's introduction. "Senator Graham threw this out there on Fox News and it is something that he has been talking about in South Carolina as well," the aide said. But there was growing talk and legislative activity around the concept.

In the House, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) has introduced the Birthright Citizenship Act of 2009, which would attempt to deny children of illegal immigrants U.S. citizenship through statute rather than a constitutional amendment (thereby lowering the vote threshold). He has 93 co-sponsors for that effort including Rep. Nathan Deal, the Georgia Republican who is in a runoff to be the party's candidate for governor.

Senate candidate Rand Paul (R-Ky.) caused a stir shortly after winning his primary by saying he supported stripping citizenship from children of the undocumented. Former congressman and potential Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo -- one of the staunchest anti-illegal immigration voices in national politics -- has made repeal of the 14th Amendment a major cause.



This is so terrible.  If this passes, then I guess we have to wait for the repeal of the repeal.  If not, I'd love to sit in on a high school social studies class years from now:


"And then, in 2012, Congress passed the 30th Amendment, which repealed the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act and reinstated Chester A. Arthur's Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882..."

When a student timidly asks about the civil rights movement they learned about the day before, I imagine the teacher giving a slight chuckle, and maybe gives the student a wistful pat on the shoulder.

mistersandman: (Default)
[personal profile] mistersandman
They call it the Miami Model.
But it could be called the Genoa model, the Pittsburgh model and, after this weekend, the Toronto model.
It refers to police tactics used in Miami seven years ago, during the Free Trade Area of the Americas summit, and, more importantly, the protests erupting on the streets outside.
Manny Diaz, Miami’s then-mayor, called the police methods exemplary — a model to be followed by homeland security when confronting protesters.
Human rights groups including Amnesty International called it a model of police brutality and intimidation.
Protesters were beaten with tear gas, sticks, rubber bullets . . . You can watch police stun cowering protesters with Tasers on YouTube. Last year, the city agreed it had trampled citizens’ right to free speech by forcing marchers back from planned protests and settled out of court with Amnesty International.

What is the Miami Model? )

So far, the media has done a good job publicizing the protests in Toronto. Unlike Pittsburgh, protest groups are labeled "protesters" instead of "rioters" or "anarchists." Still, I don't think accountability will win the day in Toronto.


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