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"I don't think the report is true, but these crises work for those who want to make fights between people." Kulam Dastagir, 28, a bird seller in Afghanistan

Supreme Court Declines Challenge to NSA on Verizon Records, for Now - ABC News
Topic: Miscellaneous 3:25 pm EST, Nov 18, 2013

“Although a denial may appear to sanction the government’s conduct, such a respite will be temporary at best, given the challenges to metadata collection pending in the lower courts, including the ACLU’s lawsuit in federal district court in Manhattan.”

Supreme Court Declines Challenge to NSA on Verizon Records, for Now - ABC News


YOU, mere citizen, have no right to challenge government spying.
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:53 pm EST, Nov 18, 2013

The Supreme Court has denied a petition by a civil liberties group called EPIC challenging the mass domestic meta-data surveillance program that Edward Snowden revealed. In the post I'm linking here, a lawyer predicted this outcome...

...based on the conclusion that either Congress intended to preclude customers from bringing statutory challenges to Section 215 orders altogether or Congress intended to permit such challenges (such as the ACLU’s) in district court under the Administrative Procedure Act.  It would not be necessary for the Court to choose between these two options, because either way mandamus would not be appropriate.

In other words, it is possible that the reason the Supreme Court denied EPIC's petition is because lawmakers have set things up so that YOU, mere citizen, have absolutely no right whatsoever to challenge the legality of the mass surveillance in a court of law. The phone company has the right to raise legal questions about this mass meta-data surveillance, but they haven't. As long as they choose not to, it can continue to go on whether you like it or not and regardless of whether or not it is either constitutional or legal.

YOU, mere citizen, have no right to challenge government spying.


Supreme Court Rejects NSA Case Without Explanation | TechCrunch
Topic: Miscellaneous 2:26 pm EST, Nov 18, 2013

Without explanation, the high court refused to entertain a suit from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, seeking to stop the intelligence organization’s bulk data collection program. Now that hope is lost that the courts could strike down the controversial spy programs, all eyes turn to the most unproductive Congress in history.

Supreme Court Rejects NSA Case Without Explanation | TechCrunch


EFF Files 22 Firsthand Accounts of How NSA Surveillance Chilled the Right to Association | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Topic: Miscellaneous 10:07 am EST, Nov  7, 2013

THIS is why the NSA meta-data program is unconstitutional:

California NORML experienced an abrupt drop in the number of hotline calls we received after revelation of NSA's phone surveillance program in late June. Prior to then, we received an average of about 15-20 calls daily on our hotline; afterwards, calls dropped to 5 -10 per day.

Freedom of Association

EFF Files 22 Firsthand Accounts of How NSA Surveillance Chilled the Right to Association | Electronic Frontier Foundation


Tufts Magazine / fall 2013 - Up in arms
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:56 am EST, Nov  7, 2013

Please forgive the ALL CAPS:

THE BATTLE LINES OF TODAY’S DEBATES OVER GUN CONTROL, STAND-YOUR-GROUND LAWS, AND OTHER VIOLENCE-RELATED ISSUES WERE DRAWN CENTURIES AGO BY AMERICA’S EARLY SETTLERS

Tufts Magazine / fall 2013 - Up in arms


Fixing the System - NYTimes.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:11 am EST, Nov  5, 2013

I’ve got five reforms in mind that could both invigorate the electorate and encourage more responsive, and less extreme, political candidates. Here they are, in no particular order:

Fixing the System - NYTimes.com


Petition | Environmental Protection Agency: Bring Back My Primatene® Mist | Change.org
Topic: Miscellaneous 12:33 am EST, Nov  5, 2013

Primatene® Mist is an over-the-counter (OTC) inhaler for asthma patients that has been used safely by millions of people for more than 46 years to help them cope with asthma related symptoms including shortness of breath. It is manufactured by Armstrong Pharmaceuticals, Inc. which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc. There is currently no OTC inhaler for asthma patients available.

If someone without a prescription for an inhaler is suffering from asthma symptoms, they either need to go to the emergency room -- which can cost thousands of dollars -- or simply endure the pain and shortness of breath. 

Petition | Environmental Protection Agency: Bring Back My Primatene® Mist | Change.org


Patrick Leahy: NSA ‘can’t keep our secrets’ - Tal Kopan - POLITICO.com
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:30 pm EST, Nov  4, 2013

“I got the response when we criticized them, ‘Well we’re going to be careful. We’re going to protect these records.’ Baloney. This is the same NSA that couldn’t protect their greatest secret from a 29-year-old subcontractor who stole them all, marched them off to Russia and has been letting them out about every other day,” Leahy said on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports” on Monday. “They can’t keep our secrets and shouldn’t all have them.”

Patrick Leahy: NSA ‘can’t keep our secrets’ - Tal Kopan - POLITICO.com


Lawfare › The Shameful Revisionism of Rep. James Sensenbrenner
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:52 pm EST, Nov  3, 2013

Sensenbrenner, rather, is almost surely something else: A politician who learned this year that the public now knows what he has long known or should have known about how the government was using a law he helped to write. He has been dishonorably protecting himself ever since by feigning ignorance and by sloughing off responsibility for his own policy choices onto others.

DAMN!

Lawfare › The Shameful Revisionism of Rep. James Sensenbrenner


Lawfare › The Legislative Dynamics of FISA Reform
Topic: Miscellaneous 9:50 pm EST, Nov  3, 2013

This combination of broad agreement over lots of important little stuff, deep disagreement over the big stuff, and default rules that favor different sides at different times sets up a fascinating and complicated legislative dynamic in which both sides have many cards to play but also big potential downside risk to not reaching some kind of deal. They thus may favor structurally some sort of compromise, though the ultimate choice between having a 215 program and not having a 215 program is—as I said—pretty binary. 

Lawfare › The Legislative Dynamics of FISA Reform


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