From this week’s New Yorker, the amazing Roz Chwast.
USC/Annenberg School has put a new version of my America 3.0:Rebooting After the Crash up on their You Tube Site. Watch it in the High Quality Setting. It will be up on I Tunes U next week as a free download.
The U.S. Government has long maintained a policy that they have the right to stop and search anyone at the border. The Department of Homeland Security is now taking the position that “the border” is the 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States. The ACLU took all the recent census maps and came to a rather surprising conclusion.
What we found is that fully TWO-THIRDS of the United States’ population lives within this Constitution-free or Constitution-lite Zone. That’s 197.4 million people who live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.
That means the Fourth Amendment of the constitution, barring random and arbitrary stops and searches, does not apply to two-thirds of U.S. Citizens.
Shouldn’t Senator Leahy and the Judiciary Committee be looking into this?
As Roger MacNamee points out, the deployment of the 3rd Infantry inside the U.S. on active duty seems to violate one of the founding laws of the Republic–Posse Comititus Act.
“The PCA generally prohibits U.S. military personnel from interdicting vehicles, vessels and aircraft; conducting surveillance, searches, pursuit and seizures; or making arrests on behalf of civilian law enforcement authorities. Prohibiting direct military involvement in law enforcement is in keeping with long-standing U.S. law and policy limiting the military’s role in domestic affairs.
This law which is one of our oldest laws, stemming from the boot of English enforcement of their colonial powers before the revolution. But in the panic of post 9/11, Congress passed laws that overrode the PCA.
Recently, Congress passed a controversial bill which grants the President the right to commandeer Federal or even state National Guard Troops and use them inside the United States. This bill, entitled the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (H.R. 5122.ENR), contains a provision, (Section 1076) which allows the President to:
“…employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to…
- restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States…, where the President determines that,…domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order;
- suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy..
Would some MSM journalist have the balls to ask the Pentagon if they are deploying the 3rd Infantry under H.R. 5122.ENR?
You will be happy to hear that Homeland Security’s terrorist watch list will hit 1 Million names tomorrow.
Barry Steinhardt, director of the ACLU’s Technology and Liberty Program, spoke today along with two victims of the watch list: Jim Robinson, former assistant attorney general for the Civil Division who flies frequently and is often delayed for hours despite possessing a governmental security clearance and Akif Rahman, an American citizen who has been detained and interrogated extensively at the U.S.-Canada border when traveling for business.
I feel safer already.
James Bamford is our smartest writer on the NSA. The Puzzle Palace was the first important book on the Agency. His piece in The Atlantic on NSA’s real collection capacity is scary.
NSA personnel, the customs inspectors of the information superhighway, have the ultimate goal of intercepting and reviewing every syllable and murmur zapping into, out of, or through the United States. They are close to achieving it. More than a dozen years ago, an NSA director gave an indication of the agency’s capability. “Just one intelligence-collection system,” said Admiral William O. Studeman, referring to a listening post such as Sugar Grove, “can generate a million inputs per half hour.” Today, with the secret cooperation of much of the telecommunications industry, massive dishes vacuuming the airwaves, and electronic “packet sniffers,” software that monitors network traffic, diverting e-mail and other data from fiber-optic cables, the NSA’s hourly take is in the tens of millions of communications.
I’m ready for the national debate on privacy.
Readers of this blog know that I have been a supporter of Barack Obama since I first met him at a party David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Speilberg threw in February of 2007 to intoduce Barack and Michelle to Hollywood. At the time it was assumed that Hillary had Hollywood tied up in her campaign and so this party was a real shock to the Clinonistas in town. So in the last week friends, daughters and sons have asked me “what’s up with Barack” on this move to the center? So I start by saying that every indicator, including the The Poll of Tracking Polls on the left tell me that they are running a superb campaign. Of course it is in the self interest of the Chris Matthews of this world to pretend like the race is much closer than it is. But all indications say that the last ten days of Barack getting attacked from the left has helped his numbers.
So let me take the three issues in order.First FISA. The good thing about the rewritten FISA bill is that it establishes the power of the FISA court over NSA spying on Americans, whether in the U.S. or abroad. The warrants have to be obtained within seven days. So no phone company will allow one of these “passthrough-wiretaps” without the FISA warrant.
As to the immunity for the telecoms, from Barack’s point of view starting in January 2009, I can’t imagine he wants to start his term in the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” business, investigating AT&T, Verizon, et al. through whose switches flow 90% of the country’s internet traffic. I know there are lots of people on the left who want revenge on the big telecoms, but it’s a fools errand. First off to think you have any privacy is pretty naive. That super market club card that gets you all those discounts is used to sell your profile to thousands of companies. Finally, because the Republicans since Reagan and with the help of Clinton in the Telecom Act of 1996, we have a Duopoly/Oligopoly structure to the media/telecom sector. Therefore, any attempt to do any sort of 21st Century detective work, will require having access to the networks of the duopolists (AT&T & Verizon; Comcast and Time Warner). What the law now says is that a warrant from FISA has to be provided.
In 1969, a 14-year-old Beatle fanatic named Jerry Levitan, armed with a reel-to-reel tape deck, snuck into John Lennon’s hotel room in Toronto and convinced John to do an interview about peace. John was being denied a U.S. Visa at the time, because J. Edgar Hoover (John Lennon:The FBI Files) considered him a danger to American Youth.
Carly Fiorina has replaced embarrassed UBS bag man Phil Gramm, as the public face of McCain’s Economic team. Not only does she flat out lie in this clip about Obama’s tax plan, her own past history is getting ignored by the MSM.
Fiorina was fired by the HP board, after running the company in a reign of terror. Jeff Sonnenfeld, at the Yale School of Management called her a “street bully.”
“What a blind spot this is in the McCain campaign to have elevated her stature and centrality in this way,” said Mr. Sonnenfeld, the senior associate dean for executive programs at the management school and one of Ms. Fiorina’s sharpest critics. “You couldn’t pick a worse, non-imprisoned C.E.O. to be your standard-bearer.”
What is less well known as Fortune Magazine reported, was that the culture of secrecy and spying at HP which led to the “pretexting scandal”, was initiated under Fiorina to spy not on board members but on rival Dell Computers.
Given that McCain has been one of Bush’s great defenders on domestic spying by the NSA, Carly Fiorina will be a perfect fit for McCain’s inner circle.
I think it is hard to overstate how important the Supreme Court decision was to force George Bush to restore Habeas Corpus to our system of justice. Since September 12, 2001, the phrase “9/11 changes everything” has been the mantra flowing out of Dick Cheney’s mouth into George Bush’s ears and thus into our national policy. In the great dystopian novels like 1984 and Brave New World, there is always an unnamed war going on overseas that justifies the government to spy on its people and curtail their basic freedoms. The citizens have lost track of just where this war is, because it has lasted their lifetime.
The Global War On Terror was becoming just such an excuse for an unending suspension of the constitution. But in Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion, he spoke truth to power: “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
Now of course the matter gets much dicier. It is very clear from the Pew Global Survey that Guantanamo Bay is one of the major impediments to improving our image in the world.
Reports about U.S. prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have attracted broad attention in Western Europe and Japan – more attention, in fact, than in the United States. Roughly three-quarters of Americans (76%) say they have heard of the prison abuses, compared with about 90% or more in the four Western European countries and Japan.
Clearly, closing Gitmo would help in our effort to restore Brand America. But we cannot have any illusions of what a disaster this policy has laid at the feet of the next President. Both Obama and McCain have said they will close Guantanamo, though McCain seemed to support Bush against the court yesterday. Many of the prisoners are very dangerous. But as they get access to the courts, much more concrete evidence of their torture will inevitably emerge. Some, for whom we have no evidence will be shipped back to their home countries. But do we do with the Saudi crazies that are in Gitmo? Will the Saudis take them back and try them? Very complicated.