Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday 05-31-12

Despite ‘Castle Doctrine,’ defendant is convicted in slaying


A PHILADELPHIA JUDGE said Wednesday he was convinced that a disabled, retired Marine was being attacked in the moments before he fatally stabbed a man last October, but he concluded that the stabbing was still a criminal act rather than self-defense.


Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner then convicted Jonathan Lowe, 57, of voluntary manslaughter and possession of an instrument of crime. The judge found him not guilty of the more-serious charges of first- and third-degree murder.


Lowe, who wears a pacemaker and has survived two strokes and two heart surgeries, could face up to 12 1/2 to 25 years in prison when Lerner sentences him Aug. 16.


The case underscores how uncertain the claim of self-defense can be, even in a state that revised its "Castle Doctrine" last year to give an individual the right to use deadly force in self-defense anywhere in which a person has a legal right to be. The revised law also eliminated the duty to retreat before using that force. Lowe’s case was featured in March in a Daily News article about the revision of that doctrine.

The voluntary-manslaughter conviction means that Lowe committed the stabbing under provocation but that his actions were unreasonable, or imperfect self-defense, Lerner said.

"There are some unanswered questions in my mind about what happened here," Lerner said. "We will never know exactly how this incident began, and I don’t think we will ever know, 100 percent, when the stabbing began."

During the two-day nonjury trial, Lowe and his attorney, Samuel C. Stretton, argued that he acted in self-defense on the evening of Oct. 1, 2011, when he was jumped by Loren Manning Jr., 51, and at least two other men on Cecil B. Moore Avenue near Bouvier Street.


"When he had his hands around my neck, I pulled out my knife and started stabbing him," Lowe testified Wednesday.

Stretton noted that Lowe stayed at the scene and cooperated with police, believing himself to be the victim.


Stretton said case law barred him from introducing Manning’s 18 criminal convictions at trial because Lowe wasn’t aware of them and most of them were too old, the most recent from 2002. According to court records, Manning was awaiting trial for allegedly knocking out a woman’s teeth while robbing her two years ago Thursday.

Assistant D.A. Carolyn Naylor argued this week that Lowe had been the aggressor.

Lowe testified that he used a small, quick-open knife to stab Manning after being knocked to the ground and choked during a robbery attempt.


Two Temple University students said Manning was chasing Lowe and trying to hit him with a metal pole before he caught him. Manning then pinned Lowe to the ground, they said.

But both students said they did not see Lowe stab Manning while the two men were on the ground, nor after Manning got up and quickly collapsed from four stab wounds in his neck, thigh and back.

Naylor seized on inconsistencies between the testimonies of Lowe and the students, including where the stabbing took place. She argued that before the students came upon the struggle, Lowe stabbed Manning from behind before both men ended up on the ground.

She noted that two stab wounds were in Manning’s back. She also said Lowe showed intent to kill with malice because after Manning fell mortally wounded, Lowe taunted him and even tried to stab him some more.

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20120531_Despite__lsquo_Castle_Doctrine__rsquo__defendant_is_convicted_in_slaying.html?c=r

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday 05-30-12

This is from the Vice-Presidential nominee for the Republican party

Gov.: Drones over Va. 'great'; cites battlefield success

WASHINGTON - Police drones flying over Virginia would be "great" and "the right thing to do" for the same reasons they are so effective in a battlefield environment, the state's chief executive said Tuesday.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel, says he is open to any technology that makes law enforcement more productive. The use of drones, which was recently endorsed by the police chiefs of Fairfax County and D.C., would make better use of valuable police resources.
Increased safety and reduced manpower are among the reasons the U.S. military and intelligence community use drones on the battlefield, which is why it should be considered in Virginia, he says.
"It's great," he said while speaking on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program. "If you're keeping police officers safe, making it more productive and saving money...it's absolutely the right thing to do."
A proposal to purchase drones hasn't yet reached his desk, he says, but state law enforcement agencies are looking for the the most current ways to fight crime.
That sentiment was echoed last month by David Rohrer, chief of police for Fairfax County, one of the state's most affluent areas.
"Drones will certainly have a purpose and a reason to be in this region in the next, coming years," he told WTOP. "Just as a standpoint as an alternative for spotting traffic and sending information back to our VDOT Smart Traffic centers, and being able to observe backups."
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier, a national security expert, told WTOP in early May that the use of drones is ideal for "a sprawling county" such as Fairfax.
Unmanned aerial aircrafts were first proven in combat environments over Afghanistan and Iraq as a part of the military and CIA presence there. Police forces in Arizona first employed them domestically to help monitor illegal immigration and trade over the U.S.-Mexican border.
McDonnell added Tuesday it will prove important to ensure the state maintains Americans' civil liberties, such as privacy, if it adds drones to its law enforcement arsenal.
The Federal Aviation Administration released a list in April of agencies and organizations currently cleared to use drones, which includes Virginia Tech. Virginia Commonwealth University had been cleared, but its permit has expired.

Drones over U.S. soil has turned some heads in Congress.
"The potential for invasive surveillance of daily activities with drone technology is high," wrote Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., in an April 19 letter to FAA. "We must ensure that as drones take flight in domestic airspace, they don't take off without privacy protections for those along their flight path."
Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said in the same letter he "proudly supported" the FAA Modernization and Reform Act that allowed for the domestic use of drones. There are many institutions in his home state that FAA has cleared for drone use, including Texas A&M University, and the police forces in the city of Arlington outside Dallas-Fort Worth and in Montgomery County near Houston.

http://wtop.com/120/2882193/Drones-absolutely-the-right-thing-for-Va

Why would the Attorney General need to do this?  IT is all aboutu politics

Holder to brief black pastors on campaign 2012

Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election -- which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama's campaign.
"We will have representatives from nine denominations who actually pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people, and we're going to first of all equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501c3 status with the IRS," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told MSNBC today.
"In fact, we're going to have the IRS administrator there, we're going to have the Attorney General Eric Holder there, we're going to have the lawyers' organization from around the country, the ACLU -- all giving ministers guidance about what they can and cannot do," he noted.
Cleaver said they would not tell pastors which candidate to support. They will let them know who to regard as the bad guys, though (hint: not Democrats). "We're going to talk about some of the draconian laws that have cropped up around the country as a result of the 17 percent increase in African American votes," Cleaver said, describing voter ID laws as a form of Jim Crow-style "poll tax" on seniors and black voters.
The CBC chairman is confident that "President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote," and wants to keep that turnout high. "We want to let them know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition," he said.

http://campaign2012.washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/beltway-confidential/holder-brief-black-pastors-campaign-2012/567501

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday 05-29-12


Got this email, thought it might be funny of it were not so true

I WANT TO GET RE-ELECTEDAn old West Virginia Hillbilly saying:You cannot get the water to clear up until you get the pigs out of the creek.




*SOME OF YOU MAY APPRECIATE THIS AND SOME OF YOU MAY NOT.*

*I DO NOT APOLOGIZE FOR SENDING THIS BECAUSE OF IT'S TRUTH.*



*If any other of our presidents had doubled the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?*

*If any other of our presidents had then proposed to double the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had criticized a state law that he admitted he never even read, would you think that he is just an ignorant hot head? *

*If any other of our presidents joined the country of Mexico and sued a state in the United States to force that state to continue to allow illegal immigration, would you question his patriotism and wonder who's side he was on? *

*If any other of our presidents had pronounced the Marine Corps like Marine Corpse, would you think him an idiot? *

*If any other of our presidents had put 87,000 workers out of work by arbitrarily placing a moratorium on offshore oil drilling on companies that have one of the best safety records of any industry because one foreign company had an accident, would you have agreed? *

*If any other of our presidents had used a forged document as the basis of the moratorium that would render 87000 American workers unemployed would you support him? *

*If any other of our presidents had been the first President to need a Teleprompter installed to be able to get through a press conference, would you have laughed and said this is more proof of how inept he is on his own and is really controlled by smarter men behind the scenes? *

*If any other of our presidents had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to take his First Lady to a play in NYC, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had reduced your retirement plan holdings of GM stock by 90% and given the unions a majority stake in GM, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had given Gordon Brown a set of inexpensive and incorrectly formatted DVDs, when Gordon Brown had given him a thoughtful and historically significant gift, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have thought it a proud moment for America ? *

*If any other of our presidents had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had visited Austria and made reference to the nonexistent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip? *

*If any other of our presidents had filled his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cannot seem to keep current in their income taxes, would you have approved? *

*If any other of our presidents had stated that there were 57 states in the United States , wouldn't you have had second thoughts about his capabilities? *

*If any other of our presidents would have flown all the way to Denmark to make a five minute speech about how the Olympics would benefit him walking out his front door in his home town, would you not have thought he was a self-important, conceited, egotistical jerk. *

*If any other of our presidents had been so Spanish illiterate as to refer to "Cinco de Cuatro" in front of the Mexican ambassador when it was the 5th of May (Cinco de Mayo), and continued to flub it when he tried again, wouldn't you have winced in embarrassment? *

*If any other of our presidents had burned 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to go plant a single tree on Earth Day, would you have concluded he's a hypocrite?*

*If any other of our presidents' administrations had okayed Air Force One flying low over millions of people followed by a jet fighter in downtown Manhattan causing widespread panic, would you have wondered whether they actually get what happened on 9-11? *

*If any other of our presidents had failed to send relief aid to flood victims throughout the Midwest with more people killed or made homeless than in New Orleans , would you want it made into a major ongoing political issue with claims of racism and incompetence? *

*If any other of our presidents had created the position of 32 Czars who report directly to him, bypassing the House and Senate on much of what is happening in America , would you have ever approved. *

*If any other of our presidents had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved? *

*So, tell me again, what is it about Obama that makes him so brilliant and impressive? *

*Can't think of anything?Don't worry. He's done all this in 34 months � so you don�t have that much time to come up with an answer.*

*Every statement and action in this email is factual and directly attributable to Barrack Hussein Obama. Every bumble is a matter of record and completely verifiable. *

AND NOW-- HE ACTUALLY WANTS US TO RE-ELECT HIM. WAKE UP AMERICA - 2012 IS UPON US.*I WONDER HOW MANY OF YOU WILL FORWARD THIS ? *I AM BECAUSE I CANNOT AFFORD TO TAKE A CHANCE ON THIS GUY FOR ANOTHER FOUR YEARS . . .*"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."*

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday 05-27-12



Protests planned after minister calls for gays to be fenced in




Pastor Charles Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina told his congregation during a May 13 sermon that the Bible and God opposed homosexuality and that gay and lesbian people should be put in concentration camps.


"Build a great big large fence 50 or 100 miles long," Worley said according to the video posted on YouTube. "Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can't get out. You know what, in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."


The Anti-Defamation League, which fights hatred, prejudice and bigotry, condemned Worley's statements.


"Pastor Worley's videotaped remarks are deplorable, inexcusable and incompatible with the tenets of his faith," said David Freidman, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League in Washington, D.C. "Pastor Worley owes the LGBT community and the people of Maiden, North Carolina a swift and unequivocal apology."

Phone calls to the church for comment from Worley were not returned.

Christopher Brook, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, said the church had posted the entire sermon on its website for a few days, and the Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate had grabbed the clip and posted it on YouTube. The clip had been viewed 689,000 times by Thursday.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a religious liberty watchdog group, has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service, asking that it investigate the tax exempt status of Providence Road Baptist Church.


"Pastor Worley's vicious and mean-spirited assault on gays and lesbians is bad enough," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "His pulpit command that people not vote for President Obama is a violation of federal tax law. I urge the IRS to act swiftly to investigate the matter."


In the sermon, Worley denounces gay marriage and President Barack Obama's support for it. Obama announced his support for gay marriage on May 9. Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney opposes same sex marriage.


During the sermon, Worley referred to "our president getting up and saying that it was all right for two women to marry or two men to marry," and added, "I was disappointed bad. The Bible is against it, God is against and I'm against it."

Later in the sermon, Worley says, "Somebody said, ‘Who are you going to vote for?' I ain't going to vote for a baby killer and a homosexual lover. You said, ‘Did you mean to say that?' You better believe I did."

Lynn said that Worley's statements are a clear violation of federal law, which prohibits all non-profit groups from intervening in elections by endorsing or opposing candidates.

The demonstration against Worley's comments is scheduled for Sunday morning at the Catawba County Justice Center in Newton, North Carolina, according to an invitation posed on the Catawba Valley Citizens Against Hate Facebook page.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/us-usa-northcarolina-gay-idUSBRE84N1L520120524

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday 05-25-12

So the TSA have hired professional preverts

I-Team: Priest Removed From Ministry Due To Sex Abuse Allegations Now Works At PHL

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.


The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.


Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.


“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried.


“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.


“The public should not be worried with you in a position like this despite your past?” reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.


“I have nothing to say,” Harkins repeated.

He then used his TSA badge to walk into a restricted area where our cameras could not follow.

“They should know who they’re hiring,” said Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She believes Harkins’ TSA job is inappropriate.


“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.”


A TSA official tells the I-Team Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” meaning he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers.


“Sure, that’s his title,” Polesir said. “That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

The TSA says all its employees go through a criminal background check before they’re hired, but because these cases are so old, criminal charges were not filed. A spokesman says the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits with Harkins’ accusers–it has not seen this suit just yet.


http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2012/05/24/i-team-priest-removed-from-ministry-due-to-sex-abuse-allegations-works-at-phl/

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday 05-24-12

Congrats to Jerry D. Young on his interview.  All the best




So the perverts need more money, how about cut a few of their jobs, politicains think the only solution is to spend more and more.

Senate Dems back increase in air travel fee to close funding shortfall at TSA

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday moved forward with legislation to increase airline passenger security fees, beating back a GOP attempt to keep them at current levels.


The 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill would increase one-way fees for passengers from $2.50 to $5 in order to close a budget shortfall at the Transportation Security Administration.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said the $315 million in funding would otherwise come from taxpayers and argued it is better to stick passengers who rely on TSA with the bill.


Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) sponsored an amendment to strip out the fee increase and offset the loss of revenue with cuts to state and local grants, emergency food and shelter funding, and dropping $89 million in funding for a new highway interchange leading to the Homeland Security’s new headquarters in southeast Washington, D.C. Hutchison noted that the Senate had decided not to increase the fees in the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.


That amendment was defeated on a 15-15 vote. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined Republicans in supporting the measure to strip out the fee increase.

Hutchinson joined Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in voting against the DHS bill as a whole. Johnson and Moran have been voting against non-defense 2013 appropriations bills. Johnson has said his votes are protesting the lack of a Senate budget resolution. The other Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee have all voted to support the August debt ceiling deal levels.

The committee on Tuesday also approved the 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, traditionally the least controversial of all 12 annual spending bills. The vote was 30-0.

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/appropriations/228835-senate-moves-forward-with-increased-airline-passenger-fees

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday 05-23-12


How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing 'Terrorists' - and Letting Bad Guys Off the hook
By Rick Perlstein

Mark McGowan, Patricia Faella, Marcus Faella, Kent McLellan, Jennifer McGowan, Dustin Perry, Richard Stockdale and Christopher Brooks of the American Front arrested in Florida.


REUTERS/Osceola County Jail /LANDOVThis past October, at an Occupy encampment in Cleveland, Ohio, "suspicious males with walkie-talkies around their necks" and "scarves or towels around their heads" were heard grumbling at the protesters' unwillingness to act violently. At meetings a few months later, one of them, a 26-year-old with a black Mohawk known as "Cyco," explained to his anarchist colleagues how "you can make plastic explosives with bleach," and the group of five men fantasized about what they might blow up. Cyco suggested a small bridge. One of the others thought they’d have a better chance of not hurting people if they blew up a cargo ship. A third, however, argued for a big bridge – "Gotta slow the traffic that's going to make them money" – and won. He then led them to a connection who sold them C-4 explosives for $450. Then, the night before the May Day Occupy protests, they allegedly put the plan into motion – and just as the would-be terrorists fiddled with the detonator they hoped would blow to smithereens a scenic bridge in Ohio’s Cuyahoga Valley National Park traversed by 13,610 vehicles every day, the FBI swooped in to arrest them.


Right in the nick of time, just like in the movies. The authorities couldn’t have more effectively made the Occupy movement look like a danger to the republic if they had scripted it. Maybe that's because, more or less, they did.


The guy who convinced the plotters to blow up a big bridge, led them to the arms merchant, and drove the team to the bomb site was an FBI informant. The merchant was an FBI agent. The bomb, of course, was a dud. And the arrest was part of a pattern of entrapment by federal law enforcement since September 11, 2001, not of terrorist suspects, but of young men federal agents have had to talk into embracing violence in the first place. One of the Cleveland arrestees, Connor Stevens, complained to his sister of feeling "very pressured" by the guy who turned out to be an informant and was recorded in 2011 rejecting property destruction: "We're in it for the long haul and those kind of tactics just don't cut it," he said. "And it's actually harder to be non-violent than it is to do stuff like that." Though when Cleveland's NEWS Channel 5 broadcast that footage, they headlined it "Accused Bomb Plot Suspect Caught on Camera Talking Violence."

In all these law enforcement schemes the alleged terrorists masterminds end up seeming, when the full story comes out, unable to terrorize their way out of a paper bag without law enforcement tutelage. ("They teach you how to make all this stuff out of simple household items," one of the kids says on a recording quoted in the FBI affidavit about a book he has just discovered, The Anarchist Cookbook. Someone asks him how much it says explosives cost. "I'm not sure," he responds, "I just downloaded it last night.") It’s a perfect example of how post-9/11 fear made law enforcement tactics seem acceptable that were previously beyond the pale. Previously, however, the targets have been Muslims; now they’re white kids from Ohio. And maybe you could argue that this is acceptable, if the feds were actually acting out of a good-faith assessment of what threats are imminent and which are not. But that's not what they're doing at all. Instead, they are arrogating to themselves a downright Orwellian power – the power to deploy the might of the State to shape a fundamental narrative about which ideas Americans must be most scared of, and which ones they should not fear much at all, independent of the relative objective dangerousness of the people who hold those ideas.

To see how, travel with me to rural Florida, and another arrest that occurred at almost exactly the same time. On April 28, members of American Front, a white-supremacist group labeled "a known terrorist organization" in the affidavit justifying the arrest, took a break from training with machine guns for a race war in order to fashion weapons out of fake "Occupy" signs which they planned to use to assault May Day protesters in Melbourne, Florida. No script, no choreography for maximal impact on sensation-hungry news broadcasts, no melodramatic press conference with a U.S. attorney and FBI Special Agent in Charge; this arrest only went down after an informant working with state law enforcement fled in fear for his or her life after being threatened by the group's leader Marcus Faella with a 9mm pistol. And though the media reported the involvement of a "joint terrorism task force of FBI and local law enforcement" the arresting affidavit does not even mention federal law enforcement; the charges filed were state, not federal. A circuit court judge scrawled a bail amount of $51,250; that was accidentally knocked down to $500. The Cleveland anarchists were held without bond.


The contrasts are extraordinarily instructive. When federal law enforcement agencies take an affirmative role in staging the crimes, the U.S. Justice Department then prosecutes, leaving more clear-and-present dangers relatively unbothered, the State is singling out ideological enemies. Violent white supremacists are not one of these enemies, apparently – because, as David Neiwert, probably the nation’s top journalist on the subject, told me, the federal government has much less often sought to entrap them, even though they are actually the biggest home-grown terrorism threat. That is unconstitutional, because law enforcement’s criterion for attention has been revealed as the ideas the alleged plotters hold – not their observed violent potential.


Who else are we supposed to be afraid of? Certainly animal-rights and environmental radicals. In 2006, when FBI Director Robert Mueller announced the indictments of Animal Liberal Front activists who burned down a horse-rendering plant in 1997, harming no humans, he called such property destruction one of the agency's "highest domestic terrorism priorities." We're supposed to be afraid of Muslims, of course – though not even necessarily Muslim militants. In a sting stunningly anatomized on a Pulitzer-worthy This American Life episode from 2005 the target, British citizen Hemant Lakhami, known as "Habib," was an Indian-born Willy Loman, so dumb he referred to night-vision goggles, which he’d never heard of, as "sunglasses" and so broken down and desperate for attention he told the federal informant he had full-sized submarines to sell. He was egged by the informant into selling him Stinger missiles (Lakhami had approached him hoping to sell him mangoes). Upon Lakhami's terrorism conviction then-U.S. Attorney Chris Christie stepped up to the press conference microphones to announce, "Today is a triumph for the Justice Department in the war against terror. I don't know that anyone can say that the state of New Jersey, and this country, is not a safer place without Hemant Lakhani trotting around the globe attempting to broker arms deals."

But don't worry your pretty little heads over the epidemic of far-right insurrectionism that followed the election of Barack Obama: all told, according to a forthcoming data analysis by Neiwert, there have been 55 cases of right-wing extremists being arrested for plotting or committing alleged terrorists acts compared to 26 by Islamic militants during the same period. The right-wing plots include the bombing of a 2011 Martin Luther King Day parade in Spokane and the assassination of abortion doctor George Tiller in 2009. Neither of their perpetrators, it goes without saying, had been arrested before they attempted their vile acts; neither required law enforcement entrapment to conceive and carry them out. It's just too bad for their victims they did not fit the story federal law enforcement seeks to tell.


I use the word "story" advisedly. Entrapment is the most literary of abuses of power: Investigators and prosecutors become as unto little Stephen Kings, feeding into, and feeding, the fear centers of our lizard brains in order to manipulate their audience. Unsurprisingly, the tactic crops up whenever the powers that be are themselves most frightened for their power, such as during the 1960s, when instigation of criminal acts by agents provacateurs infiltrating the anti-war movement became extremely prevalent. When one of the accused Chicago 7 left the courtroom just as a witness for the prosecution left the stand, the other six became horrified when it became clear that the guy who had just got up (actually to go to the bathroom) was a plant about to testify against them.


The antiwar movement soon learned whom to be afraid of: people who don’t quite fit in, who always seemed ready to volunteer for anything (if you’re on the FBI payroll, you don’t need a job), people pressing violence when everyone else in the room preferred peace. In the 1972 "Camden 28" trial of Catholic left conspirators who tried to steal and destroy registration records from a local draft board, the star witness got his breaking-and-entering training from the FBI and swore in court that the accused never would have raided the building absent his leadership. Although the people the FBI preferred to recruit were the sort who had trouble keeping jobs anyway. They were frequently mentally unstable: the agent provocateur whose recordings got twenty-three members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War indicted for supposedly conspiring to attack the 1972 Republican National Convention with "lead weights, 'fried' marbles, ball bearings, cherry bombs ... wrist rockets, slingshots, and cross bows" had received a psychological discharge from the Army. And they were usually criminals. In the Harrisburg 7 trial of in 1972 (in which the feds fantastically claimed that a pacifist priest, some nuns, and their confreres intended to blow up the steam tunnels beneath Washington, D.C.) the prosecution's star witness had offered himself to the FBI as an undercover New Lefty from the jail cell where he was serving time for so many crimes the U.S. Attorney had classified him as a "menace to society."


The entrapment game still works the same. In the case documented on This American Life, informant "Habib" was such a notorious liar, thief, and con man that the feds deactivated him – until after September 11, when suddenly "different FBI bureaus were fighting" for his services. The key informant in the Animal Liberation Front arrests was a truck thief and heroin addict. The dude in the Cleveland anarchist case, identified by thesmokinggun.com as a Donald Trump fan named Shaqil Azir, had convictions for cocaine possession, robbery, and passing bad checks – and was also under a current check-fraud indictment the FBI covered up in its affidavit. They also neglected to mention his frequent appearances in bankruptcy court.


Such choices are a feature, not a bug: Criminals with cases pending are able to act more convincingly as, well, criminals, and will do anything the government asks to reduce their sentences; sociopaths are better able to manipulate the emotions of macho young men. The play's the thing. Although sometimes the play becomes too convincing: In the Watergate hearings in 1973, some of the witnesses testified that hearing about VVAW's violent plans to disrupt the Republican convention were what convinced them it was OK to break laws on behalf of their president.

Not everything is the same since the 1970s, of course. The media has changed: Newsday editorialized in 1972 of the Camden case, "We have come to expect such tactics from totalitarian nations that have no respect for individual rights permitting dissent. They have no place in American and those who advocate them have no place in this government." You don’t see that sort of language much any more. Indeed, Newsday appears not to have covered the arrest and trial of Hemant Lakhami at all. "Such tactics" are just not a very big deal any more.
You know what else has changed? You and I – to our shame. Entraptment is illegal – but the question of whether law enforcement set up a legal sting or illegal entrapment is for a jury to decide. Entrapment was why juries acquitted the defendants in the Camden, VVAW, and Harrisburg cases. "How stupid did those people in Washington think we were?" a Harrisburg juror told a reporter. The feds don’t have to worry about folks like that any more. Not a single "terrorism" indictment has been thrown out for entrapment since 9/11 – not the Liberty City goofballs supposedly planning to blow up the Sears Tower who had no weapons and refused them with offered; not the Newburgh, New York outfit whose numbers included a schizophrenic who saved his own urine in bottles. (Even the judge who sentenced them said "the government made them terrorists.")
The civil liberties of the Florida white supremacist Marcus Faella, at least, have been honored. He was out on bail the day he was arrested. There’s no police informant to monitor his activities any more, but not to fear. His experiments in attempting to produce the deadly toxin ricin, according to the Florida affidavit, have not so far been successful. And Connor Stevens, heard on the menacing video shown on Cleveland news saying that his favorite part of Occupy protests " is meeting people walking down the street, average people, talking to them, hearing about how they're affected by the economy, by the justice system, things like that"? He is safely behind bars. So, for the rest of his life, is Hemant Lakhami, the hapless Stinger missile salesman. The man who put him there, Chris Christie, is now the celebrated governor of New Jersey, and was all but begged by his fellow to run for president. Republicans think he tells a good story,

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/how-fbi-entrapment-is-inventing-terrorists-and-letting-bad-guys-off-the-hook-20120515#ixzz1vj02l4NL

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday 05-21-12

Car-sized Turtle Found in Colombian Coal Mine

Remains of an enormous turtle, which was the size of a Smart Car, have been unearthed in a Colombian coal mine.



The shell alone of the 60-million-year-old turtle, Carbonemys cofrinii, aka "coal turtle," is large enough to be a small swimming pool. Its skull is roughly the size of a regulation NFL football.


The coal mine where it was found is part of northern Colombia's Cerrejon formation.

"We had recovered smaller turtle specimens from the site," Edwin Cadena, a North Carolina State doctoral student who discovered the turtle, said in a press release. "But after spending about four days working on uncovering the shell, I realized that this particular turtle was the biggest anyone had found in this area for this time period -- and it gave us the first evidence of giant-ism in freshwater turtles."


Relatives of Carbonemys existed alongside dinosaurs, but these turtles were much smaller. This gigantic version appeared 5 million years after dinos went extinct, during a period when giant varieties of many different reptiles -- including Titanoboa cerrejonensis, the largest snake ever discovered -- lived in this part of South America.

Why were the animals so big?


Cadena and other experts believe that a combination of changes in the ecosystem, including fewer predators, a larger habitat area, plentiful food supply and climate changes, worked together to allow these giant species to survive. Carbonemys' habitat would have resembled a much warmer modern-day Orinoco or Amazon River delta.


Turtles today are usually seen slowly chewing plants, but this prehistoric species had massive, powerful jaws that would have enabled it to eat anything nearby, from mollusks to smaller turtles or even crocodiles.

Dan Ksepka, N.C. State paleontologist and research associate at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, thinks only one specimen of the turtle was found because a turtle of this size would need a large territory in order to obtain enough food to survive.


"It's like having one big snapping turtle living in the middle of a lake," said co-author Ksepka. "That turtle survives because it has eaten all of the major competitors for resources. We found many bite-marked shells at this site that show crocodilians preyed on side-necked turtles. None would have bothered an adult Carbonemys, though -- in fact smaller crocs would have been easy prey for this behemoth."

http://news.discovery.com/animals/car-sized-turtle-found-in-colombian-coal-mine.html

New FBI Surveillance Backdoors? 6 Key Points



Will Congress require social networks, VoIP, and Webmail providers build in backdoors that FBI could tap for electronic surveillance purposes? Explore the main issues at stake.


Will Congress require social networks, online voice over IP (VoIP) services, and Webmail providers to build in backdoors that could be used for electronic surveillance purposes by the FBI?


According to one news report, FBI officials have been meeting with Facebook, Google, Microsoft (which owns Skype and Hotmail), and Yahoo, among other companies. The goal apparently isn't to promote the bureau's push for expanded wiretapping capabilities, but rather to ask how that be implemented while causing minimal disruption for the companies with networks that would be directly accessed.


Reached by phone, an FBI spokesman declined to confirm or deny the news report. But it wouldn't be the first time in recent history in which the FBI has detailed the difficulties it faces when attempting to "wiretap" newer types of communication--from Facebook and Twitter to Skype and X-Box VoIP--and argued for greater capabilities.



Here are 6 points to consider about expanding the FBI's surveillance powers:


1. Bureau Warns About Going Dark. The bureau has already been asking Congress for broader surveillance powers to help it keep up with new technologies. Notably, FBI director Robert S. Mueller III told Congress in December 2011 that "a growing gap exists between the statutory authority of law enforcement to intercept electronic communications pursuant to court order and our practical ability to intercept those communications." The consequences, he warned, could be dire. "Should this gap continue to grow, there is a very real risk of the government 'going dark,' resulting in an increased risk to national security and public safety."


2. Proposed CALEA Revisions Would Update 1994 Law. Accordingly, the FBI wants Congress to expand the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). First passed in 1994, the purpose of the law--according to its text--is "to make clear a telecommunications carrier's duty to cooperate in the interception of communications for Law Enforcement purposes, and for other purposes." Specifically, the law is designed to allow law enforcement agencies, with a warrant, to conduct wiretaps of digital telephone networks. The law also made telephone carriers responsible for CALEA development and implementation costs. Congress then expanded the law in 2004 to cover broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) as well as telecommunications carriers that handle voice communications via VoIP.

But the latest proposed expansion could see the Federal Communications Commission review whether CALEA should be used to require services such as Skype, the PlayStation Network, Gmail, and similar services to make their systems easier to wiretap. CALEA requires that any encryption added by the wiretapped service be removed for law enforcement access.


3. Questions Remain Over Wiretapping Scope. Just how often does the FBI need to use wiretapping during an investigation? That's not clear. According to an FBI website about CALEA, wiretapping "is used infrequently and then only to combat the most serious crimes and terrorism." It also says that law enforcement officers must "establish probable cause that the wiretaps may provide evidence of a felony violation of federal law," after which it's up to a judge to approve or disprove the wiretap, and then monitor any wiretapping.


4. Civil Liberties Groups See Slippery Slope. Civil rights groups have warned that granting law enforcement agencies new surveillance powers could lead to a decrease in the privacy protections that people currently enjoy. "The heart of the issue is a growing attitude among law enforcement that there ought to be a presumption that citizens' communications be susceptible to eavesdropping. There is no reason for such a presumption," Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst for the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, wrote in a blog post.

5. Will Technology Companies Back CALEA Expansion? FBI overtures to technology giants aside, it's far from clear whether Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and their ilk would back the proposed CALEA changes and grant the FBI direct access their networks. In fact, they could try to torpedo such proposals, not least to distance themselves from anything involving surreptitious access to user data.


In fact, Twitter last month filed a motion in a New York state court to quash a New York City prosecutor's request for information pertaining to Twitter user Malcolm Harris, who participated in Occupy Wall Street protests on the Brooklyn Bridge last year. Harris had already failed to quash the subpoena after a court ruled that his posts belonged not to him but to Twitter, meaning he had no legal standing to challenge the subpoena.

Interestingly, Twitter's motion to quash instead argues that the subpoena imposes an overwhelming burden because it doesn't give the Twitter user the ability to argue against the subpoena. Furthermore, Twitter said that its terms of service explicitly tell users that they "retain [their] rights to any Content [they] submit, post or display on or through" the service, and notes that relevant legislation allows users to challenge any demands for their account records. "To hold otherwise imposes a new and overwhelming burden on Twitter to fight for its users' rights, since the [court order] deprives its users of the ability to fight for their own rights when faced with a subpoena from New York State," read Twitter's legal filing.


6. Backdoors May Facilitate Unauthorized Access. Wiretapping backdoors could also make online services more vulnerable to attackers. In particular, adding hard-coded backdoors or access credentials for any website, application, or service is a cause for concern since this access could be abused in unintended--and potentially untraceable--ways. "Companies are also afraid of the potential security threat to trade secrets and confidential exchanges," wrote attorney Aaron Kelly, who specializes in online privacy laws, in a blog post. "Some of them argue that a sufficiently skilled hacker could break in through a backdoor and steal personal information from a business."

http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/management/240000653


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday 05-18-12

Obama’s VA Attacking Second Amendment Rights of Veterans

A bit of propaganda from the Veterans Administration, encouraging family members to take guns away from veterans who have served our country. It’s worth noting that the Brady Campaign is fully on board with disarming our country’s veterans of their firearms, some of which would be bring backs that were paid for in their blood, and the blood of their fellow soldiers.



To me this is much like the issue of pediatricians and guns with children in the house. I don’t, as a matter of absolute principle, think it’s wrong to have the discussion. It’s the way the discussion is framed that is problematic. Certainly a family who has a loved one suffering from severe Dementia, or that has mental difficulties that make him a danger to themselves or others, would be doing the responsible thing by removing firearms (and other dangerous objects) from the home. I also don’t have an issue with the VA advising families of this, along with a discussion of other dangers someone with Dementia can face. But here’s what your tax dollars are paying for:


The presence of firearms in households has been linked to increased risk of injury or death for everyone in or around the home, usually as an impulsive act during some disagreement. This danger is increased when one of the persons in the household has dementia.


Let me translate this:


Propaganda put forward by the gun ban lobby suggests that your veteran family member, who served his country with distinction and to whom we owe our continued freedom, is likely to murder you in an argument if there’s a gun in the home. Just, if he has Dementia, he is much more likely to murder you with a gun in the home.


It continues:

Family members do not always take appropriate action to unload, secure, or remove firearms in the home. These actions should be taken regardless of the severity of dementia or whether your loved one is suffering from a behavioral problem or depression.


Translation:

You family member, who served his country and was trusted with automatic weapons, grenades, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, can’t be trusted with firearms, regardless of whether your loved one is having issues or not.


The Obama anti-gun propaganda continues to suggest that love ones may be reluctant, believing in this quaint notion of Second Amendment rights, and the perceived independence that goes along with gun ownership. But don’t let that dissuade you: the veteran loved one needs to be disarmed for his own good. It’s the right thing.


If folks were wondering what Obama meant by “under the radar” this is it. This is why he has to go in November. Your tax dollars paid for this offensive nonsense, which encourages families to infantilize and disarm our nation’s veterans, regardless of the troubles they are having. This is grossly offensive to the service they rendered our country, and the Obama Administration ought to be ashamed of themselves for ever allowing anyone to put this to print.

http://www.pagunblog.com/2012/05/16/obamas-va-attacking-second-amendment-rights-of-veterans/
 
Verizon Wireless to end unlimited data plan
 
Verizon Wireless plans to begin eliminating the unlimited data plan it has provided customers who had it before the carrier introduced tiered pricing and dropped the unlimited plan for new buyers last year.
 
Fran Shammo, CFO of Verizon Communications, which owns a controlling share of Verizon Wireless, first revealed the change Wednesday at an industry conference and it was first reported by Fierce Wireless, an online publication.


Verizon is expanding the latest generation of its wireless network, called 4G LTE. Customers wanting to upgrade phones from their current 3G data plan to use 4G LTE will be required to sign on to Verizon's new data-share plan to be introduced this summer, Shammo said.

The data-share plan, whose pricing hasn't been announced, will provide a limited bucket of data that can be shared among family members or devices.


"As you upgrade in the future, you will have to go onto the data-share plan," Shammo said. "A lot of our 3G base is unlimited. As they start to migrate into 4G, they will have to … go into the data-share plan. And that is beneficial for us."



Verizon dropped its $30-a-month unlimited data plan last July for new customers. But it let existing subscribers keep their unlimited data plans, even after their contracts expired or they upgraded to 4G LTE devices.


For a limited time, they still will be able to do that, at least through the new contract. Verizon wouldn't specify when the change for current customers will kick in. Until then, spokeswoman Brenda Raney said, nothing changes. "Unless Verizon releases more details about this, there could be some customers who might go ahead and try to lock in their current unlimited plan while upgrading to a new phone," says Roger Entner, analyst at Recon Analytics.


Still, the move is sure to draw the ire of "grandfathered" customers who remained loyal to Verizon to keep their unlimited data plans, says Ross Rubin, an analyst at tech research firm NPD Connected Intelligence.

Because the new LTE network is faster, it likely will drive subscribers to consume more data. Verizon's plan to herd all users into pay-as-you-go plans reflects its efforts to generate more revenue to pay for its new network, Rubin says. "They used the 3G network to prime the pump for data consumption."


Sprint and T-Mobile offer unlimited data plans. T-Mobile slows data

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-05-16/verizon-wireless-unlimited-data/55028254/1

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday 05-16-12

Michigan: Police Search Cell Phones During Traffic Stops



ACLU seeks information on Michigan program that allows cops to download information from smart phones belonging to stopped motorists.

The Michigan State Police have a high-tech mobile forensics device that can be used to extract information from cell phones belonging to motorists stopped for minor traffic violations. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan last Wednesday demanded that state officials stop stonewalling freedom of information requests for information on the program.

ACLU learned that the police had acquired the cell phone scanning devices and in August 2008 filed an official request for records on the program, including logs of how the devices were used. The state police responded by saying they would provide the information only in return for a payment of $544,680. The ACLU found the charge outrageous.

"Law enforcement officers are known, on occasion, to encourage citizens to cooperate if they have nothing to hide," ACLU staff attorney Mark P. Fancher wrote. "No less should be expected of law enforcement, and the Michigan State Police should be willing to assuage concerns that these powerful extraction devices are being used illegally by honoring our requests for cooperation and disclosure."

A US Department of Justice test of the CelleBrite UFED used by Michigan police found the device could grab all of the photos and video off of an iPhone within one-and-a-half minutes. The device works with 3000 different phone models and can even defeat password protections.

"Complete extraction of existing, hidden, and deleted phone data, including call history, text messages, contacts, images, and geotags," a CelleBrite brochure explains regarding the device's capabilities. "The Physical Analyzer allows visualization of both existing and deleted locations on Google Earth. In addition, location information from GPS devices and image geotags can be mapped on Google Maps."


The ACLU is concerned that these powerful capabilities are being quietly used to bypass Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches.


"With certain exceptions that do not apply here, a search cannot occur without a warrant in which a judicial officer determines that there is probable cause to believe that the search will yield evidence of criminal activity," Fancher wrote. "A device that allows immediate, surreptitious intrusion into private data creates enormous risks that troopers will ignore these requirements to the detriment of the constitutional rights of persons whose cell phones are searched."

The national ACLU is currently suing the Department of Homeland Security for its policy of warrantless electronic searches of laptops and cell phones belonging to people entering the country who are not suspected of committing any crime.

http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/34/3458.asp

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday 05-14-12

Researchers discover cell phone hackers can track your location without your knowledge


University of Minnesota computer science Ph.D. student Denis Foo Kune, working with associate professors Nick Hopper and Yongdae Kim, and undergraduate student John Koelndorfer, described their work in a recently released paper "Location Leaks on the GSM Air Interface" which was presented at the 19th Annual Network & Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego, California.
"Cell phone towers have to track cell phone subscribers to provide service efficiently," Foo Kune explained. "For example, an incoming voice call requires the network to locate that device so it can allocate the appropriate resources to handle the call. Your cell phone network has to at least loosely track your phone within large regions in order to make it easy to find it."
The result is that the tower will broadcast a page to your phone, waiting for your phone to respond when you get a call, Foo Kune said. This communication is not unlike a CB radio. Further, it is possible for a hacker to force those messages to go out and hang up before the victim is able to hear their phone ring.
Cellular service providers need to access location information to provide service. In addition, law enforcement agencies have the ability to subpoena location information from service providers. The University of Minnesota group has demonstrated that access to a cell phone user's location information is easily accessible to another group—possible hackers.
"It has a low entry barrier," Foo Kune said. "Being attainable through open source projects running on commodity software."
Using an inexpensive phone and open source software, the researchers were able to track the location of cell phone users without their knowledge on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network, the predominant worldwide network.


In a field test, the research group was able to track the location of a test subject within a 10-block area as the subject traveled across an area of Minneapolis at a walking pace. The researchers used readily available equipment and no direct help from the service provider.
The implications of this research highlight possible personal safety issues.
"Agents from an oppressive regime may no longer require cooperation from reluctant service providers to determine if dissidents are at a protest location," the researchers wrote in the paper. "Another example could be thieves testing if a user's cell phone is absent from a specific area and therefore deduce the risk level associated with a physical break-in of the victim's residence.


Foo Kune and his group have contacted AT&T and Nokia with low-cost techniques that could be implemented without changing the hardware, and are in the process of drafting responsible disclosure statements for cellular service providers.
More information: Visit http://z.umn.edu/f … kuneresearch to read the full research paper.

http://phys.org/news/2012-02-cell-hackers-track-knowledge.html

The FBI took -- and mysteriously returned -- their server. Here's their story

Ever wonder what it's like to have FBI agents knock on your door? Or to have them walk into your business unannounced and walk away with your computer? Jamie McClelland and Alfredo Lopez can tell you.



Their recent run-in with the men in black – the result of a spate of email bomb threats to the University of Pittsburgh -- offers a rare glimpse into the collision between free speech rights and the benefits of anonymity on one side with the needs of law enforcement to act quickly in the face of real threats on the other.


Their tale ends with an odd twist: FBI agents, caught on video, returning the server only four days after it was seized from a co-location facility in New York City. At the moment, no one knows why the FBI would take that unusual step. FBI Special Agent Bill Crowley said the agency wouldn't comment on either the seizure or the return of the server.

Tou can read the rest at

http://redtape.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/11/11647813-the-fbi-took-and-mysteriously-returned-their-server-heres-their-story?chromedomain=usnews

Strassel: Trolling for Dirt on the President's List

Here's what happens when the president of the United States publicly targets a private citizen for the crime of supporting his opponent.



Frank VanderSloot is the CEO of Melaleuca Inc. The 63-year-old has run that wellness-products company for 26 years out of tiny Idaho Falls, Idaho. Last August, Mr. VanderSloot gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, the Super PAC that supports Mitt Romney.


Three weeks ago, an Obama campaign website, "Keeping GOP Honest," took the extraordinary step of publicly naming and assailing eight private citizens backing Mr. Romney. Titled "Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney's donors," the post accused the eight of being "wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records." Mr. VanderSloot was one of the eight, smeared particularly as being "litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement."


.About a week after that post, a man named Michael Wolf contacted the Bonneville County Courthouse in Idaho Falls in search of court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot. Specifically, Mr. Wolf wanted all the documents dealing with Mr. VanderSloot's divorces, as well as a case involving a dispute with a former Melaleuca employee.


Mr. Wolf sent a fax to the clerk's office—which I have obtained—listing four cases he was after. He would later send a second fax, asking for three further court cases dealing with either Melaleuca or Mr. VanderSloot. Mr. Wolf listed only his name and a private cellphone number.


Some digging revealed that Mr. Wolf was, until a few months ago, a law clerk on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. He's found new work. The ID written out at the top of his faxes identified them as coming from "Glenn Simpson." That's the name of a former Wall Street Journal reporter who in 2009 founded a D.C. company that performs private investigative work.


The website for that company, Fusion GPS, describes itself as providing "strategic intelligence," with expertise in areas like "politics." That's a polite way of saying "opposition research."


When I called Fusion's main number and asked to speak to Michael Wolf, a man said Mr. Wolf wasn't in the office that day but he'd be in this coming Monday. When I reached Mr. Wolf on his private cell, he confirmed he had until recently worked at the Senate.


When I asked what his interest was in Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records, he hesitated, then said he didn't want to talk about that. When I asked what his relationship was with Fusion, he hesitated again and said he had "no comment." "It's a legal thing," he added.


Fusion dodged my calls, so I couldn't ask who was paying it to troll through Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. Mr. Simpson finally sent an email stating: "Frank VanderSloot is a figure of interest in the debate over civil rights for gay Americans. As his own record on gay issues amply demonstrates, he is a legitimate subject of public records research into his lengthy history of legal disputes."


.A look through Federal Election Commission records did not show any payments to Fusion or Mr. Wolf from political players, such as the Democratic National Committee, the Obama campaign, or liberal Super PACs. Then again, when political groups want to hire researchers, it is not uncommon to hire a less controversial third party, which then hires the researchers.


This is not the first attack on Mr. VanderSloot. While the executive has been a force in Idaho politics and has helped Mr. Romney raise money, he's not what most would consider a national political power player. Through 2011, nearly every mention of Mr. VanderSloot appeared in Idaho or Washington state newspapers, often in reference to his business.


That changed in January, with the first Super PAC disclosures. Liberal bloggers and media have since dug into his past, dredging up long-ago Idaho controversies that touched on gay issues. His detractors have spiraled these into accusations that Mr. VanderSloot is a "gay bashing thug." He's become a national political focus of attention, aided by the likes of partisan Salon blogger Glenn Greenwald and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. Bloggers have harassed his children, visiting their social media accounts and asking for interviews and information.

Mr. VanderSloot has said his attackers have misconstrued facts and made false allegations. In February he wrote a long reply, publicly stating that he has "many gay friends whom I love and respect" who should "have the same freedoms and rights as any other individual." The Obama campaign's response, in April, was to single out Mr. VanderSloot and repeat the slurs.


Political donations don't come with a right to privacy, and Mr. VanderSloot might have expected a spotlight. Then again, President Obama, in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting, gave a national address calling for "civility" in politics. Yet rather than condemn those demeaning his opponent's donors, Mr. Obama—the nation's most powerful man—instead publicly named individuals, egging on the attacks. What has followed is the slimy trolling into a citizen's private life.


Mr. VanderSloot acknowledges that "when I first learned that President Obama's campaign had singled me out on his 'enemies list,' I knew it was like taping a target on my back." But the more he's thought it through, "the public beatings and false accusations that followed are no deterrent. These tactics will not work in America." He's even "contemplating a second donation."


Still. If details about Mr. VanderSloot's life become public, and if this hurts his business or those who work for him, Mr. Obama will bear responsibility. This is what happens when the president makes a list.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304070304577396412560038208.html

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday 05-12-12

You have to remember they believe the American people are the enemy.  They will not profile the bad people, they want to watch all people, because we are bad. 

Air Force Document: Drones Can Be Used To Spy On Americans

A newly discovered Air Force intelligence brief states that should fleets of unmanned drones accidentally capture surveillance footage of Americans, the data can be stored and analyzed by the Pentagon for up to 90 days.


The instruction, dated April 23, admits that the Air Force cannot legally conduct “nonconsensual surveillance” on Americans, but also states that should the drones”incidentally” capture data while conducting other missions, military intelligence has the right to study it to determine whether the subjects are legitimate targets of domestic surveillance.


“Collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent,” the instruction states.


The Air Force can take advantage of “a period not to exceed 90 days” to use the data to assess “whether that information may be collected under the provisions of Procedure 2, DoD 5240.1-R and permanently retained under the provisions of Procedure 3, DoD 5240.1-R.” it continues.


The Pentagon directives cited authorize limited domestic spying in certain scenarios such as natural disasters, environmental cases, and monitoring activity around military bases.


Should the drones capture data on Americans, the Air Force says that it should determine whether they are, among other things, “persons or organizations reasonably believed to be engaged or about to engage, in international terrorist or international narcotics activities.”



The instruction also states that the Pentagon can disseminate the data to other intelligence and government agencies, should it see fit.http://www.infowars.com/air-force-document-drones-can-be-used-to-spy-on-americans/


“Even though information may not be collectible, it may be retained for the length of time necessary to transfer it to another DoD entity or government agency to whose function it pertains.” the document reads.


The document was discovered by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.

As we reported in February, Over 30 prominent watchdog groups have banded together to petition the FAA on the proposed increase in the use of drones in US airspace.


The groups, including The American Civil Liberties Union, The Electronic Privacy Information Center and The Bill of Rights Defense Committee, are demanding that the FAA hold a rulemaking session to consider the privacy and safety threats.


Congress recently passed legislation paving the way for what the FAA predicts will be somewhere in the region of 30,000 drones in operation in US skies by 2020.


The ACLU noted that the FAA’s legislation “would push the nation willy-nilly toward an era of aerial surveillance without any steps to protect the traditional privacy that Americans have always enjoyed and expected.”

In addition to privacy concerns, the groups warned that the ability to link facial recognition technology to surveillance drones and patch the information through to active government databases would “increase the First Amendment risks for would be political dissidents.”




US spy agency can keep mum on Google ties: court

The top-secret US National Security Agency is not required to reveal any deal it may have with Google to help protect against cyber attacks, an appeals court ruled Friday.


The US Court of Appeals in Washington upheld a lower court decision that said the NSA need not confirm or deny any relationship with Google, because its governing statutes allow it keep such information secret.

The ruling came in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from a public interest group, which said the public has a right to know about any spying on citizens.


The appeals court agreed that the NSA can reject the request, and does not even have to confirm whether it has any arrangement with the Internet giant.

"Any information pertaining to the relationship between Google and NSA would reveal protected information about NSA's implementation of its information assurance mission," Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote in the appeals opinion.


The non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a formal request to make public documents related to the dealings, and said much of the information had already been in news media.

The request stemmed from a January 2010 cyber attack on Google that primarily targeted the Gmail email accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

According to the Google blog, the Internet group's chief legal officer David Drummond stated that the firm was notifying other companies that may have been targeted and was also working with the relevant US authorities.


The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post reported that Google had contacted the NSA immediately following the attack.

According to news reports, the NSA agreed to help Google analyze the attacks in a bid to better protect the California-based search company and its users from future intrusions.


The reported alliance would seek to allow the spy agency to evaluate Google's hardware and software vulnerabilities, as well as estimate the sophistication of its adversary in order to help the firm understand whether it has the right defenses in place.

Privacy advocates already critical of Google policies regarding saving user data and targeting ads to match online behavior patterns fear that an alliance with the spy network could put private information at risk.


http://ca.news.yahoo.com/us-spy-agency-keep-mum-google-ties-court-195145311.html

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday 05-11-12

Where are they getting works, prisons or a short bus

Baby, 18 months old, ordered off plane at Fort Lauderdale airport



Little Riyanna's father: 'We were humiliated'
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Eighteen-month-old Riyanna has been called a lot of things: cute, adorable and now ... a suspected terrorist.




She was called that on Tuesday night at the Ft Lauderdale Airport. She and her parents had just boarded a JetBlue flight when an airline employee approached them and asked them to get off the plane, saying representatives from the Transportation Security Administration wanted to speak to them.

"And I said, 'For what?'" Riyanna's mother told only WPBF 25 News on Wednesday. "And he said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?'"



Riyanna's father was flabbergasted.

"It's absurd," he said. "It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"

Riyanna's parents, who asked not to be identified, said they think they know the answer to that question. They believe they were profiled because they are both of Middle Eastern descent. Riyanna's mother wears a hijab, a traditional head scarf. That's why they have asked to remain anonymous. They said they're concerned about repurcussions. That said, they are both Americans, born and raised in New Jersey, just like their daughter.



Riyanna's parents said once they were taken off the plane, they were met by TSA agents and made to stand in the terminal for about 30 minutes.


http://www.wpbf.com/news/south-florida/Baby-18-months-old-ordered-off-plane-at-Fort-Lauderdale-airport/-/8788880/13038550/-/fhxhp7/-/index.html

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday 05-08-12

FBI: We need wiretap-ready Web sites - now

CNET learns the FBI is quietly pushing its plan to force surveillance backdoors on social networks, VoIP, and Web e-mail providers, and that the bureau is asking Internet companies not to oppose a law making those backdoors mandatory.

The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance. In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned.

 The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. "If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding," an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI's draft legislation told CNET. The requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded, according to a second industry representative briefed on it.

The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks. The FBI is asking Internet companies not to oppose a controversial proposal that would require firms, including Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, and Google, to build in backdoors for government surveillance.

In meetings with industry representatives, the White House, and U.S. senators, senior FBI officials argue the dramatic shift in communication from the telephone system to the Internet has made it far more difficult for agents to wiretap Americans suspected of illegal activities, CNET has learned. The FBI general counsel's office has drafted a proposed law that the bureau claims is the best solution: requiring that social-networking Web sites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly. "If you create a service, product, or app that allows a user to communicate, you get the privilege of adding that extra coding," an industry representative who has reviewed the FBI's draft legislation told CNET. The requirements apply only if a threshold of a certain number of users is exceeded, according to a second industry representative briefed on it.

The FBI's proposal would amend a 1994 law, called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, that currently applies only to telecommunications providers, not Web companies. The Federal Communications Commission extended CALEA in 2004 to apply to broadband networks. FBI Director Robert Mueller is not asking companies to support the bureau's CALEA expansion, but instead is "asking what can go in it to minimize impacts," one participant in the discussions says. That included a scheduled trip this month to the West Coast -- which was subsequently postponed -- to meet with Internet companies' CEOs and top lawyers.

A further expansion of CALEA is unlikely to be applauded by tech companies, their customers, or privacy groups. Apple (which distributes iChat and FaceTime) is currently lobbying on the topic, according to disclosure documents filed with Congress two weeks ago. Microsoft (which owns Skype and Hotmail) says its lobbyists are following the topic because it's "an area of ongoing interest to us." Google, Yahoo, and Facebook declined to comment. In February 2011, CNET was the first to report that then-FBI general counsel Valerie Caproni was planning to warn Congress of what the bureau calls its "Going Dark" problem, meaning that its surveillance capabilities may diminish as technology advances. Caproni singled out "Web-based e-mail, social-networking sites, and peer-to-peer communications" as problems that have left the FBI "increasingly unable" to conduct the same kind of wiretapping it could in the past.

In addition to the FBI's legislative proposal, there are indications that the Federal Communications Commission is considering reinterpreting CALEA to demand that products that allow video or voice chat over the Internet -- from Skype to Google Hangouts to Xbox Live -- include surveillance backdoors to help the FBI with its "Going Dark" program. CALEA applies to technologies that are a "substantial replacement" for the telephone system.

Read the rest at

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-57428067-83/fbi-we-need-wiretap-ready-web-sites-now/


I recieved this email, important to pass along

Subject: Report warns of weather satellites' 'rapid decline' -


Predicting the weather is tricky enough. Now a new government-sponsored report warns that the USA's ability to track tornadoes, forecast hurricanes and study climate change is about to diminish. The number and capability of weather satellites circling the planet "is beginning a rapid decline" and tight budgets have significantly delayed or eliminated missions to replace them, says a National Research Council analysis out Wednesday. The number of in-orbit and planned Earth observation missions by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projected to drop "precipitously" from 23 this year to only six by 2020, the report found.

http://www.usatoday.com/weather/news/story/2012-05-02/weather-satellites-for ecast-storms/54708804/1