The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State The U.S. Supreme Court Is Marching in Lockstep with the Police State By John W. Whitehead June 23, 2014 “[I]f the individual is no longer to be sovereign, if the police can pick him up whenever they do not like the cut of his jib, if they can ‘seize’ and ‘search’ him in their discretion, we enter a new regime. The decision to enter it should be made only after a full debate by the people of this country.” NSA files decoded: Edward Snowden's surveillance revelations explained Two factors opened the way for the rapid expansion of surveillance over the past decade: the fear of terrorism created by the 9/11 attacks and the digital revolution that led to an explosion in cell phone and internet use. But along with these technologies came an extension in the NSA’s reach few in the early 1990s could have imagined. Details that in the past might have remained private were suddenly there for the taking.
Oath Upheld: Nashville Cops Refused Secret Service Request for Illegal Search... Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson recently sent a letter to Congress alleging that Secret Service agents asked Nashville police to falsify a warrant so that the agents could search the home of a Nashville resident who had posted about President Obama on Facebook. Following Secret Service Director Julia Pierson’s recent resignation over a major security breach at the White House, new allegations are facing the president’s embattled security detail. According to Phil Williams at News Channel 5, Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson sent a scathing letter last week to the House Committee on Oversight complaining that Secret Service agents asked Nashville police officers to falsify a warrant during an investigation into a local resident who allegedly posted “threatening” comments about President Obama on Facebook. Chief Anderson believes that the Nashville incident is evidence that corruption in the Secret Service runs deeper than just its director.
Elderly Women Serving Life Without Parole Form a Heartbreaking Chorus This performance of the Lady Lifers Chorus is a rare window into the world of women serving a life sentence at Muncy State Prison, a women's prison near Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The singers, who have already served 27-40 years confined, sing poignantly about their life in prison for an independent TEDx event held at the prison. Lead vocalist Brenda Watkins, who candidly admits "I am a prisoner for the wrong that I have done," wants you to know that she is more than an offender. She sings, "I'm a woman. I'm a grandmother. Guardian Story on Israel and N.S.A. Is Not 'Surprising' Enough to Cover Many Times readers have been writing to me for several days about a story The Guardian broke last week, describing how the United States routinely shares with Israel intelligence information that the National Security Agency gathers on American citizens. The story was published five days ago, and by late last week I was already hearing from dozens of readers. One of them was Phyllida Paterson, of Silver Spring, Md., who wrote:
Dear Police: If you don’t want people to call you a fascist, don’t be a fascist. We now live in a world where it is legal for police officers to murder not only animals, but innocent people, use the threat of force to coerce peaceful people into submission, and not only avoid punishment, but are ENCOURAGED to act this way. We live in a police state, and before we figure out how to fix it, we have to understand how this situation came to be. Submitted by guest contributor Josie Wales It’s easy to focus our anger only on the ones actually committing the violence, but cops didn’t just wake up one day and decide to start violently oppressing people.
Hacktivist Journo Barrett Brown And Lawyers Gagged On September 4 in a Dallas courtroom, the prosecution and the defense in the Barrett Brown case agreed to a gag order. It prevents Brown, attorneys for both sides, as well as anyone representing them, from talking to the media about his prosecution. Brown faces over a century in prison for allegedly sharing a hyperlink, concealing laptops, and threatening an FBI agent. The same Special Agent, Robert Smith, testified in court that Brown controlled a share of the publicity surrounding his case. Cops Are 21 Times More Likely To Kill Black Teens Than White Teens A ProPublica analysis of killings by police shows outsize risk for young black males. Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings. The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police. One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica's analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.
Sequestration's Biggest Victim: The Public Defender System It's roughly 164 miles from Lubbock, Texas, to Abilene; not the furthest drive you can do in the Lone Star State but still a bit of a haul. On a good day, you can make the trip in about three hours, which is what Helen Liggett discovered in April when she had to visit a client in the Taylor County Jail. Liggett is an assistant federal public defender for the Northern District of Texas, based in Lubbock. Her client Leroy Gream had been caught on camera loading an ATM onto a cart and attempting to steal it from Hendrick Memorial Hospital in Abilene on Christmas Day of last year. Gream, 55, pleaded guilty to bank theft, a charge that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
John Oliver, Jeff Goldblum Explain How Police Can Take Your Stuff Without Cha... John Oliver enlisted the help of Jeff Goldblum to hilariously explain one of the least-funny law enforcement practices you’ve never heard of in Sunday night’s episode of “Last Week Tonight.” The segment explains a disturbing and escalating trend in law enforcement known as “civil forfeiture” — a process by which police can seize items including cash, cars and even houses from civilians who haven’t been charged with a crime. Police departments are frequently allowed to keep the items and often-large quantities of cash to purchase things for the department at their discretion and leisure.
Obama Is Laying The Foundations Of A Dystopian Future by Oliver Stone On the campaign trail, Barack Obama lambasted the policies of George W Bush that had made the US an international pariah – war and contempt for human rights. For us, part of the senator’s attraction as a candidate was that he promised transparency, opposed the Iraq war and repudiated militarism. So it is hard not to feel disappointed. Mr Obama now embraces – and has extended – some of the ideas he attacked. This is not just the way that critics on the left, like us, see things. Ari Fleischer, Mr Bush’s former press secretary, said: “It’s like George Bush is having his fourth term … [Mr Obama] is a hypocrite.”