For once, good news
MSNBC/Reuters: Group could halt South Dakota abortion ban
Andy in H-burg
As Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Sensenbrenner can seek to compel administration officials to testify on these gross violations of privacy and fundamental freedoms. The recent search of one congressional office by federal law enforcement officials has made some members of Congress keenly aware of the White House's extraordinary claims of executive power. We hope that this outrage and concern, which hits home for lawmakers, extends to the millions of Americans whose call information and conversations have been monitored by the National Security Agency without a court order. Congress must put an end to the administration's stonewalling and investigate these gross abuses of power.
"As a librarian, I believe it is my duty and responsibility to speak out about any infringement to the intellectual freedom of library patrons," said Peter Chase, Director of the Plainville Public Library and Vice-President of Library Connection in Connecticut. "But until today, my own government prevented me from fulfilling that duty."
"Even though our identity was public due to the government's own mistakes, they still insisted we could not speak," said Barbara Bailey, Director of Welles-Turner Memorial Library in Glastonbury, Connecticut, another of the librarians involved in the ACLU lawsuit. "It was difficult to sit among colleagues and listen to them discuss 'John Doe.' I had to work hard to keep my mouth shut, or I would risk jail time."
NEW YORK (AP) -- Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers.
Bloomberg compared his proposed federal identification database to the Social Security card, insisting that such a system would not violate citizens' privacy and was not a civil liberties issue.
"You don't have to work -- but if you want to work for a company you have to have a Social Security card," he said. "The difference is, in the day and age when everybody's got a PC on their desk with Photoshop that can replicate anything, it's become a joke."
The mayor said DNA and fingerprint technology could be used to create a worker ID database that will "uniquely identify the person" applying for a job, ensuring that cards are not illegally transferred or forged.
"I don't need to be lectured by you. You are no more a protector of the Constitution than am I," Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., shouted after Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record) declared his opposition to the amendment, his affinity for the Constitution and his intention to leave the meeting.
A prominent Republican on Capitol Hill has prepared legislation that would rewrite Internet privacy rules by requiring that logs of Americans' online activities be stored, CNET News.com has learned.Rest of article
The proposal comes just weeks after Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Internet service providers should retain records of user activities for a "reasonable amount of time," a move that represented a dramatic shift in the Bush administration's views on privacy.
Wisconsin Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is proposing that ISPs be required to record information about Americans' online activities so that police can more easily "conduct criminal investigations."
Judge Timothy McGinty forcibly incarcerated Carol Fisher in the psych unit of the Cuyahoga County Jail in downtown Cleveland, where she now sits for an indefinite period of time.
In a hastily called hearing yesterday, Judge McGinty made a highly unusual and outrageous decision to force Carol to undergo a state psychological exam as part of her pre-sentencing investigation. From the very start of Carol's case, the judge has openly said that she must have mental problems for resisting an unlawful and brutal encounter with Cleveland Heights police. He went even further in yesterday's hearing, saying that her opposition to the Bush regime makes her "delusional."
He [Judge McGinty] also kept saying Carol "wants" to go to jail, and that she has a "martyr complex." When Carol tried to explain why she wouldn't take this [psychiatric] test, the judge's only response was, "I do not negotiate with felons."
...if she refuses the psych exam, she will be forcibly sent to North Coast Mental Institute for a 20 day evaluation.
Big Brother is alive and well and going by the name of Un cle Sam. What isn't the government monitoring in our lives in these times?
Congress must agree to put an end to this large-scale governmental invasion of privacy, total disregard for the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures," and administration failure to seek and obtain legislative or judicial approval for its questionable activities.
Hanging in the balance may be the preservation of the Constitution itself as the stalwart protector of our rights and liberties.
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans — most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.
Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.
The NSA's explanation did little to satisfy Qwest's lawyers. "They told (Qwest) they didn't want to do that because FISA might not agree with them," one person recalled. For similar reasons, this person said, NSA rejected Qwest's suggestion of getting a letter of authorization from the U.S. attorney general's office. A second person confirmed this version of events.
In an interview with German television, Bush said: "I very much would like to end Guantanamo; I very much would like to get people to a court. And we're waiting for our Supreme Court to give us a decision as to whether the people need to have a fair trial in a civilian court or in a military court."
From his seemingly respectful reference to the court, one wouldn't guess that the Bush administration resisted any review by the Supreme Court of its handling of Guantanamo detainees, arguing unsuccessfully in 2004 that federal courts lacked jurisdiction.
Conversely, as ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro pointed out Monday, the president does not need Supreme Court approval to shut down Guantanamo or to give its inmates a fair trial. To use a term familiar to the president, he, not the court, is the "decider" when it comes to prolonging the detention of all those at Guantanamo.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, "whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to "execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional. Rest of article