July 7, 2007
Praise to the Bush Administration for defeating the Enemy of the Free World! (In case you wonder — that's the ACLU).
Seriously, and sadly, yesterday the 6th District Court of Appeals voted to dismiss the organization's case against the NSA's illegal wiretapping program in a 2–1 ruling (Ruling in PDF format: http://www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/07a0253p-06.pdf). Even more striking is the actual argument to dismiss the case: According to the court, the plaintiffs don't have a case, since none of them could actually prove that they had been spied on. Given the fact that the program is "secret" and no information about it had been released, with the exception of admitting that the NSA had tapped phones without a court warrant, this is one of the most pathetic judgemental decisions made in court, as of late. The case is not about a particular person, but rather about the right of the administration to violate existing law.
It appears to me that the constitution as well as existing laws are strangers to the 6th District Appeals Court — or that maybe with the proper amount of financial support every decision can be bought.
March 8, 2007
It seems like Mr. Newt Gingrich, former Republican speaker of the House, had an affair with a White House aide 20 years younger than himself, while investigating Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
Also, in an unrelated news report arriving today, the FBI acknowledges abusing the Patriot Act. Why? Because they can. Welcome to 1984.
September 5, 2006
Surprisingly, the UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT gave Bush and his henchmen the opportunity to continue their illegal activities for the time being. What strikes me as odd, however, is the argument given to grant the appeal: NONE.
I see absolutely no indication what arguments this court based their decision on. I find this ruling most troublesome, considering the fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 has been violated since 2001.
BEFORE: BATCHELDER, GILMAN, and GIBBONS, Circuit Judges
The government moves for a stay pending appeal of the district court's order holding the Terrorist Surveillance Program unconstitutional and permanently enjoining the Government from utilizing the Program "in any way, including, but not limited to, conducting warrantless wiretaps of telephone and internet communications, in contravention of [FISA and Title III]."
In considering whether a stay pending appeal should issue, we balance the traditional factors governing injunctive relief: (1) whether the applicant has demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) whether the applicant will be irreparably injured absent a stay; (3) whether issuance of the stay will substantially injure the other interested parties; and (4) where the public interest lies. Baker v. Adams County/Ohio Valley Sch. Bd., 310 F.3d 927, 928 (6th Cir. 2002); Michigan Coal. of Radioactive Material Users, Inc. v. Griepentrog, 945 F.2d 150, 153 (6th Cir. 1991). This court, in Grutter v. Bollinger, 247 F.3d 631, 633 (6th Cir. 2001), noted that Michigan Coalition said that the success on the merits which must be demonstrated is inversely proportional to the harm. More than a possibility of success must be shown, and "even if a movant demonstrates irreparable harm that decidedly outweighs any potential harm to the nonmoving party if a stay is granted, he is still required to show, at a minimum, 'serious questions going to the merits.'" (edits and citations omitted).
After careful review, we conclude that this standard has been met in this case. Accordingly, the motion for a stay pending appeal is GRANTED.
It's somehow ironic that the following statement is found in Washington, D.C.:
September 4, 2006
What does a Georgia soccer mom and Albert Einstein have in common? Not brains, that's for sure. It seems like ultra conservative people are crawling out from under every stone on the ground, trying to defend themselves from the evil influences of democrats, leftists and liberals. The newest example in this theater play happened today in Atlanta, Georgia. Quoted from Yahoo News, of course.
Source: Yahoo News September 4, 2006
ATLANTA — A suburban county that sparked a public outcry when its libraries temporarily eliminated funding for Spanish–language fiction is now being asked to ban Harry Potter books from its schools.
Laura Mallory, a mother of four, told a hearing officer for the Gwinnett County Board of Education on Tuesday that the popular fiction books are an "evil" attempt to indoctrinate children in the Wicca religion.
Board of Education attorney Victoria Sweeny said that if schools were to remove all books containing reference to witches, they would have to ban "Macbeth" and "Cinderella."
"There's a mountain of evidence for keeping Harry Potter," she said, adding that the books don't support any particular religion but present instead universal themes of friendship and overcoming adversity.
It probably would be too much to expect from her to explain her kids the difference between a work of fiction and real life. I wonder if it's an requirement for ultra conservatives to be stupid or if it just makes their lifes much easier? At any rate, common sense is a tread still to be discovered amongst them.
September 3, 2006
I would really like to know what is going on in the mind of president George W. Bush... After all the lies, which by now have cost an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 civilians their lives, he is still not man enough to admit his wrongdoing:
Source: Yahoo News September 3, 2006
STOCKTON, Calif. –
President Bush, on a campaign swing in the West, is arguing the Democratic Party is weak–kneed on national security and shouldn't be trusted to hold the reins of Congress.
"If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it sounds like — it sounds like — they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again," Bush said Monday at a $360,000 fundraiser in Reno, Nev., for state Secretary of State Dean Heller's congressional campaign.
Bush delivered the administration's oft–repeated claims about the Democrats as it struggles with persistent questions about a recent intelligence report that suggests the Iraq war has helped recruit more terrorists, and a new book, "State of Denial," by journalist Bob Woodward that contends Bush misled the country about the war.
Living in a dream world must be a marvelous thing — sometimes I wonder which drugs he uses to be able to forget the real world around him...
August 20, 2006
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit declared the warrantless wiretapping program of the U.S. Government, lead by George W. Bush, as illegal, saying that it violates the costitution of the United States of America. Here an section from that ruling:
The Government appears to argue here that, pursuant to the penumbra of Constitutional language in Article II, and particularly because the President is designated Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, he has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself.
We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all "inherent powers" must derive from that Constitution.
Reading through the comment sections of several web sites, I find quite a few people supporting the president and his actions. Always, the ghost of international terrorism is quoted, together with the necessity to fight it. Yet, there are also those who oppose, valuing freedom higher than anything else. Quite frequently, I find references to a book by George Orwell, "1984", which paints very vividly the dangers of an almighty government. Yet, people supporting George W. Bush in his desire for absolute power never fail to point out that this book is a work of fiction — or isn't it?
All I have to do is to travel back in time for about 70 years to go to Germany, shortly before Adolf Hitler gained power. After the first World War had ended, a democratic leadership had been established. Yet, in 1933, an dictator was elected by the people, through democratic votes.
On February 27, 1933 the Reichstag was set on fire and as a result, the Reichstag Fire Decree was established, destroying many civil liberties of German citiziens (quoting from the text from Wikipedia):
Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State
On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state–endangering acts of violence:
Paragraph 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Empire are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [ habeas corpus ], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications, and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.
So, my problem with the wiretapping is not the fact that is has been done — personally, I feel that in todays electronicly controlled world almost every bit of information about myself is available. Yet, I can't help but wonder what is going to happen if acts that violate the constitution of a country are declared legal and appropriate. Where is the line which is not to be crossed? Today, it's the wiretapping without FISA warrant, tomorrow searches in homes without a search warrant? How far is too far?
Already, the Bush administration has shown how it is willing to abuse any kind of information. The fact that it deliberatly ignored information (so far, falsification of information could not be proofed) about the Iraq and it's ability to create weapons of mass destruction, therefore creating the support of people in the U.S. to start that despicable war. The use of declassifying information and leaking it to the public in order to silence the administrations critics. With a little bit of research, more samples of presidential abuse can be found, especially on the treatment of information about his WMD case as well as about prison (torture) camps outside U.S. borders, in order to avoid abiding to the rights that even criminals are usually entitled to. An administration which so evidently abuses it's position scares me more than the dangers coming from another country.