Tag Archives | Constitution

FBI Gives Itself Power To Follow You, Go Through Your Trash, Test If You’re Lying and More

We Are Watching You

Illustration: RadioKirk (CC)

Very startling observations from Sam Biddle on Gizmodo:

The easiest way to change the rules that apply to you is to just rewrite them yourself. So the FBI’s done exactly that, the NYT reports, self-releasing a new edition of its rulebook. Let’s dig through some garbage, Fed bros!

The “Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide” is the FBI’s big fat guide to investigative dos and don’ts. Formerly under the don’t category: administer lie detector tests, go through private residential garbage, and send out “surveillance squads” without any firm evidence that the person in question might possibly be a criminal. Not anymore! This is a new, chill, laid back FBI. Who needs evidence?

Now the Feds can do all of the above as an “assessment”—basically an entirely informal version of an official investigation, allowable without any proof that anyone’s up to anything illegal. So, if the FBI cares to, it can now “assess” you.

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President Obama Claims War Powers Act Does Not Apply to Libya

US Great SealWTF, Obama … Charlie Savage and Mark Landler report in the NY Times:

The White House, pushing hard against criticism in Congress over the deepening air war in Libya, asserted Wednesday that President Obama had the authority to continue the military campaign without Congressional approval because American involvement fell short of full-blown hostilities.

In a 38-page report sent to lawmakers describing and defending the NATO-led operation, the White House said the mission was prying loose Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s grip on power.

In contending that the limited American role did not oblige the administration to ask for authorization under the War Powers Resolution, the report asserted that “U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve U.S. ground troops.” Still, the White House acknowledged, the operation has cost the Pentagon $716 million in its first two months and will have cost $1.1 billion by September at the current scale of operations.

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Indiana Supreme Court: You Have No Right to Resist Unlawful Police Entry

Police RaidCrazy. Reports the AP via the News and Tribune:
INDIANAPOLIS — People have no right to resist if police officers illegally enter their home, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a decision that overturns centuries of common law. The court issued its 3-2 ruling on Thursday, contending that allowing residents to resist officers who enter their homes without any right would increase the risk of violent confrontation. If police enter a home illegally, the courts are the proper place to protest it, Justice Steven David said. “We believe ... a right to resist an unlawful police entry into a home is against public policy and is incompatible with modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence,” David said. “We also find that allowing resistance unnecessarily escalates the level of violence and therefore the risk of injuries to all parties involved without preventing the arrest.”
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Media Roots Radio: Two Active Duty Soldiers Speak Out

Via Media Roots: This is a special Media Roots Radio interview conducted by Abby and Robbie Martin with two active duty soldiers in the army: Malcolm and Yossarian. Malcolm is a soldier enlisted in the US Army and serves as an aviation mechanic. Yossarian is an Apache helicopter pilot and military aviator in the US Army. They are both stationed abroad right now but were gracious enough to take some time out of their schedule to sit down on Skype for an interview with Media Roots. They talk about why they enlisted, how they woke up and give their perspectives on Bradley Manning, US foreign policy and 9/11 while expressing grave concerns for the future of this country. They are also both contributing writers for Media Roots. Check out their op-ed writings in the Soldier's Corner of the site. If you would like to directly download the podcast click the down arrow icon on the right of the soundcloud display. To hide the comments to enable easier rewind and fast forward, click on the icon on the very bottom right.
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Obama and Biden on Impeaching People Like Themselves

From the Daily Paul: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." — Senator Barack Obama, December 20, 2007 Also, here's Ron Paul on "Freedom Watch" (I don't see how Napolitano can remain on Fox News, I think by this time next year, I'll be he'll have been kicked out):
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Kucinich Wants to Impeach Obama For Libyan Strike

Impeach ObamaJohn Bresnahan & Jonathan Allen write in the Politico:

A hard-core group of liberal House Democrats is questioning the constitutionality of U.S. missile strikes against Libya, with one lawmaker raising the prospect of impeachment during a Democratic Caucus conference call on Saturday.

Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Donna Edwards (Md.), Mike Capuano (Mass.), Dennis Kucinich (Ohio), Maxine Waters (Calif.), Rob Andrews (N.J.), Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) “all strongly raised objections to the constitutionality of the president’s actions” during that call, said two Democratic lawmakers who took part.

Kucinich, who wanted to bring impeachment articles against both former President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney over Iraq — only to be blocked by his own leadership — asked why the U.S. missile strikes aren’t impeachable offenses.

Kucinich also questioned why Democratic leaders didn’t object when President Barack Obama told them of his plan for American participation in enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone during a White House Situation Room meeting on Friday, sources told POLITICO.

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Cops vs. Cameras: How Two Men Are Taking on the Miami Police Department

Robert Hammonds Arrest

Hammonds and his friend face the wrath of Miami Beach police.

Tim Elfrink writes in the Miami New Times:

When Robert Hammonds and a friend, Brent Bredwell, finished filming a DJ show at Jazid in South Beach, it was around 3 a.m. on a Sunday in September. A few minutes later, after they jumped into a car and headed down Washington Avenue, a drunk-looking driver swerved across traffic and cut them off.

Hammonds leaned out the window and yelled “What the hell are you doing?” at the guy.

Next thing Hammonds and Bredwell knew, a beefy cop was pulling them over. Holding his Sig Sauer .40 caliber gun at his side, the officer angrily thrust his hand into the car through the driver-side window and waved his walkie-talkie.

“Are you a fucking idiot?” the cop screamed. “Doing that in front of me? Asshole!”

Hammonds, in the passenger seat, was discreetly filming the outburst.

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Should America Expand the Size of Congress?

Dalton Conley and Jacqueline Stevens make a pretty compelling argument in a recent NY Times op-ed:

With the Senate preparing to debate filibuster reform, now is a good time to consider a similarly daunting challenge to democratic representation in the House: its size. It’s been far too long since the House expanded to keep up with population growth and, as a result, it has lost touch with the public and been overtaken by special interests.

Indeed, the lower chamber of Congress has had the same number of members for so long that many Americans assume that its 435 seats are constitutionally mandated.

But that’s wrong: while the founders wanted to limit the size of the Senate, they intended the House to expand based on population growth. Instead of setting an absolute number, the Constitution merely limits the ratio of members to population. “The number of representatives shall not exceed one for every 30,000,” the founders wrote.

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Vermont Proposes Resolution To Ban ‘Corporate Personhood’

0Talk about a victory for common sense, in the face of one of the most harmful and breathtakingly idiotic judicial precedents in U.S. history. AlterNet reports:

A year ago today, the Supreme Court issued its bizarre Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections as a form of “free speech” for the corporate “person.” Justice John Paul Stevens, writing for the dissent, had the task of recalling the majority to planet earth and basic common sense.

“Corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires,” wrote Stevens. “Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their ‘personhood’ often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.”

Fortunately, movements are afoot to reverse a century of accumulated powers and protections granted to corporations by wacky judicial decisions.

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