This should be a no-brainer: nobody has shown any violation of civil liberties from use of this act; the Patriot Act should simply be made permanent, all of it. Yet evidently, simplicity is not a virtue to these complex and nuanced senators. And shame on the three Republicans for aping the Left's habit of attacking the president instead of arguing their case before the Ameican people.One of the major provisions of the Patriot Act is lack of notification. Those who are investigated under its provisions are not notified while the investigation continues, and those who are served with subpeonas as part of the investigation aren't allowed to talk about it. These provisions make it very, very difficult to show abuses of civil liberties, and impossible to claim that none have occurred simply because none have been reported.
Capitol Hill sources have told GOA there is a provision in this bill (Section 215) which would allow the FBI to get a secret court order to seize ANY business records it believes would be relevant to an anti-terrorism investigation... without having to make the case that the gun records they're confiscating have any connection to a suspected terrorist.Section 215 is the same provision that allows for seizure of library records (what you're reading about) and similar privacy threats. While passing the Patriot Act in the wake of 9-11 could possibly be excused as an emergency situation, it has now been over 4 years since that event. How many terrorists -- real terrorists, not prostitutes or drug users -- have been captured and convicted because of evidence obtained through section 215?
It's not news that security is hard. But asking us to believe that terrorists won't be able to get their hands on any small arm they want, regardless of a ban within the United States? That's insane.
A terrorist armed with a .50-caliber sniper rifle and a scope could plunk away at a nuclear power plant without security personnel knowing what hit them or where the attack was coming from. By the time security officials could adequately respond to the sniper attack, it could be too late.
The only way to prevent this nightmare and other ".50-caliber terror" scenarios is for lawmakers to take action now and restrict these deadly weapons for use by the military and law enforcement officials only.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has told the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) that it will not appeal a New York decision that forcefully rejected its request to track a cell phone user without first showing probable cause of a crime. It also appears that DOJ will not appeal a similar opinion recently issued in Texas.Recently, the government lost a case where it had requested the ability to monitor a cell phone, including location data, without a warrant. Normally, that would be cause for cheering; after all, the decision would stand and be counted as a victory. Not here, though. Without guidance from appellate courts, the government can simply choose judges inclined to grant such requests, in secret, and never face significant opposition to the practice: the government doesn't have to tell anyone and the person being monitored isn't told either.
Pointing to the rising number of shootings in Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino is calling for a "handgun summit" in New England and raised the possibility of random police searches of cars crossing into the state to intercept illegal weapons.This is absolutely bizarre. Do these politicians just not realize the restrictions that the Constitution places on their actions?
It appearing that this case presents potential problems of duplicative briefing, it is ORDERED, on the court's own motion, that amici curiae show cause, within 30 days of the date of this order, why they should not be limited to one joint brief, not toThis is not a final decision, the various parties intending to file amicus briefs are being asked to limit both the length of their argument and to combine their responses. That should make the arguments more managable; remember that Seegars saw multiple filings exceeding 50 pages from people not even parties to the case.
exceed 7,000 words, on the side of the party they support. See D.C. Cir. Rules 29(d), 32(a)(4).
The amici may suggest an alternative briefing format to reduce the number of pages submitted to the court. In so doing, amici should keep in mind that the court looks with extreme disfavor on repetitious submissions and will, where appropriate, require a joint brief of aligned entities with total words not to exceed the standard allotment for a single brief. The amici are directed to provide detailed justifications for any request to file separate briefs or to exceed in the aggregate the standard word allotment. Requests to exceed the standard word allotment must specify the word allotment necessary for each issue.
Hat tip to SaysUncle.
?I wasn?t going to just write a check, and I didn?t want to go to New Orleans where all the celebrities were going (to grandstand). I wanted to go where no one was, and that?s why we went to Pascagoula.
?We took six million dollars of equipment and most of the guys from my company (Malone Properties). But when we got there, they (federal officials) told us that because we wanted to work for free, we had to go home. That we needed a government ID number or a contract to haul out debris.
?I said to them, ?bullsh??, we took 30 pieces of equipment and traveled nine hours and we?re going to clean up some lots before we leave. So I told them ?I?m getting on my truck, now try to get me off.? I had my security guys there and they tried to stop us but they couldn?t - and we cleared 115 houses.
We are being led to believe that a 24 cent per gallon increase in 24 hours was a good thing. That somehow magically that prevented the country from running out of gas. Say what? Did the extra 24 cents per gallon prevent anyone from doing anything other than pay more at the pump?Sure. It prevented gas stations and their suppliers from going out of business. There are sources of gasoline that they can get to the marketplace so long as people are willing to buy; but those sources cost more than the usual sources, so those additional costs have to be covered. The oil companies could have chosen to keep prices at the same level, and simply not supplied oil to the market at all while the price was higher than some arbitrary point. Would that have helped the situation at all?
This is not a Republican or Democrat thing. This is a consumer thing. As comsumers we need to get mad enough to care about what is going on. We need to start to hit back a little. We need to let the big oil companies we won't put up with this anymore. No one is saying don't make a profit. No one wants to say how much you can make. But not at the cost of gouging it's customers. That's why we have anti-price gouging laws. Try raising the price of plywood by 1000% during a hurricane and see what happens. Why is this being allowed with gas?Because this is a free market. Sellers set their prices and buyers choose to buy -- or not. It's not something we want the government involved in "allowing". As for raising the price of plywood during a hurricane -- no problem! There's a limited supply of plywood. Suppose you raise the cost by a factor of 10; that means you can then pay your suppliers that same additional factor to get more plywood. If the roads are shut down or blocked by debris, it's going to cost more to deliver that plywood. Maybe even ten times more, especially if you intend to pay someone to drive into a hurricane.
The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass,
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"
The soldier squared his shoulders and
said, "No, Lord, I guess I ain't,
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.
I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough,
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.
But, I never took a penny
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime
When the bills got just too steep,
And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear,
And sometimes, God forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.
I know I don't deserve a place
Among the people here,
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.
If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand,
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."
There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod,
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.
"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well,
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell."
"Hmmm...so, Dad, what you're saying is, the inline muzzle-loading boom is an example of how government regulations distorted markets, produced unintended consequences, and codified an inferior, un-competitive technology that would have vanished long ago without the regulations that sustain it?"Ain't that just the thing about government?
The Washington Post has the scoop on the scope of the government's expanding use of "National Security Letters", a warrantless demand for business records (up to, and including, library records):
Hat tip to Reason for the story. There is no question that we are facing a substantial threat from the decentralized counterpart of a foreign intelligence agency. However, without oversight, abuses are inevitable.
The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.
Issued by FBI field supervisors, national security letters do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge. They receive no review after the fact by the Justice Department or Congress. The executive branch maintains only statistics, which are incomplete and confined to classified reports. The Bush administration defeated legislation and a lawsuit to require a public accounting, and has offered no example in which the use of a national security letter helped disrupt a terrorist plot.
The burgeoning use of national security letters coincides with an unannounced decision to deposit all the information they yield into government data banks -- and to share those private records widely, in the federal government and beyond. In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.