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You’ve Heard that the Government and Big Corporations Are Spying. But Do You Have ANY IDEA How Widespread the Spying Really Is?

via http://www.washingtonsblog.com/

(by WashingtonsBlog) Preface: Americans now know that the government is spying. But they still have no idea how many of their communications and activities are being surveilled … or what might be done with that information.

Yes, the Government Is Spying On You

You know that the government has been caught spying on the Verizon phone calls of tens of millions of Americans. The spying effort specifically targeted Americans living on U.S. soil.

And as NBC News reports:

NBC News has learned that under the post-9/11 Patriot Act, the government has been collecting records on every phone call made in the U.S.

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Are People Being Thrown Into Psychiatric Wards For Their Political Views?

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Mental Health Diagnoses Are Sometimes Politically-Motivated

Many psychologists and psychiatrists are good people, who are only trying to help their patients.

But the Nazi government substantially supported psychologists … many of whom, in turn, espoused extermination of the people they considered to be “racially and cognitively compromised”.

Soviet psychiatrists famously aided Stalin in applying fake insanity diagnoses to political dissenters.  The official explanation was that no sane person would declaim the Soviet government and Communism.

American psychologists created the American program of torture which was specially-crafted to produce false confessions to justify U.S. military policy. And see this.

And authoritarian American psychologists are eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a trip to the insane asylum. (Those traits may also get one labeled as a potential terrorist.)

As prominent forensic psychiatrist James Knoll – psychiatry professor at SUNY-Syracuse and director of a forensic fellowship program – writes in the Psychiatric Times:

When psychiatric science becomes co-opted by a political agenda, an unhealthy alliance may be created. It is science that will always be the host organism, to be taken over by political viruses…. [P]sychiatry may come to resemble a new organism entirely — one that serves the ends of the criminal justice system.

Even psychologists with good intentions can erroneously label people delusional simply because they themselves make bad assumptions.

There is even a label for this – the “Martha Mitchell Effect” – defined as:

The process by which a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health clinician mistakes the patient’s perception of real events as delusional and misdiagnoses accordingly.

The authors of a paper on this phenomenon (Bell, V., Halligan, P.W., Ellis, H.D. (2003) Beliefs About Delusions. The Psychologist, 6 (8), 418-422) conclude:

Sometimes, improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness [due to a] failure or inability to verify whether the events have actually taken place, no matter how improbable intuitively they might appear to the busy clinician.

In other words, psychologists who haven’t taken the time to examine for themselves the claims of their patients will tend to label as delusional anything which they “intuitively” feel is improbable.  As such, psychologists and psychiatrists are just as prone to acting out their irrational prejudices as anyone else … unless they take the time to investigate and educate themselves.

Governments Indefinitely Detaining Citizens In Psychiatric Wards Without Due Process of Law

As such, detention in psych wards on mere “suspicion” of posing a danger – without due process of law – is troubling.

For example, former marine Brandon Raub was just carted off and locked in a psychiatric ward for his allegedly “anti-government” Facebook posts.

AP reports today:

Police – acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional – took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.

***

Col. Thierry Dupuis, the county police chief, said Raub was taken into custody upon the recommendation of mental health crisis intervention workers. He said the action was taken under the state’s emergency custody statute, which allows a magistrate to order the civil detention and psychiatric evaluation of a person who is considered potentially dangerous.

New York Police officer Adrian Schoolcraft was  involuntarily hospitalizated in a psychiatric ward after he recorded videotapes of his fellow police officers engaging in corruption.

Claire Swinney of New Zealand was also held in a psychiatric ward and called “delusional” for criticizing the government.    Susan Lindauer was held under the Patriot Act for a year at Carswell Air Force Base – where psychiatric drugs were pushed on her – after she alleged government corruption.

The Daily Mail notes:

The [British] Government has established a shadowy new national anti-terrorist unit to protect VIPs, with the power to detain suspects indefinitely using mental health laws.

***

The team’s psychiatrists and psychologists then have the power to order treatment – including forcibly detaining suspects in secure psychiatric units.

Using these powers, the unit can legally detain people for an indefinite period without trial, criminal charges or even evidence of a crime being committed and with very limited rights of appeal.

Until now it has been the exclusive decision of doctors and mental health professionals to determine if someone should be forcibly detained.

But the new unit uses the police to identify suspects – increasing fears the line is being blurred between criminal investigation and doctors’ clinical decisions.

***

Scotland Yard, which runs the shadowy unit, refuses to discuss how many suspects have been forcibly hospitalised by the team because of “patient confidentiality”.

***

The purpose of the centre is “to evaluate and manage the risk posed to prominent people by…those who engage in inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours in the context of abnormally intense preoccupations, many [Many? That means that some are not] of which arise from psychotic illness.”

Who gets to decide what “inappropriate” or “threatening” means?  What if a whistleblower has information that a member of parliament has engaged in bribes?  Would trying to reveal such information constitute “inappropriate or threatening communications or behaviours” in the context of “abnormally intense preoccupations” with that MP’s illegal actions?

Indeed, a study published in the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry found a high rate of false positives in the British identification of dangerous persons.

The Mail continues:

So-called ‘sectioning’ allows a patient to be held for up to six months before a further psychological assessment. Patients are then reviewed every year to determine if they can be released.

***

Human rights activists fear the team, whose existence has never been publicised, may be being used as a way to detain suspected terrorists without having to put evidence before the courts.

***

Last night human rights group Liberty said the secret unit represented a new threat to civil liberties.

Policy director Gareth Crossman said: “There is a grave danger of this being used to deal with people where there is insufficient evidence for a criminal prosecution.

“This blurs the line between medical decisions and police actions. If you are going to allow doctors to take people’s liberty away, they have to be independent. That credibility is undermined when the doctors are part of the same team as the police.

“This raises serious concerns. First that you have a unit that allows police investigation to lead directly to people being sectioned without any kind of criminal proceedings.

“Secondly, it is being done under the umbrella of anti-terrorism at a time when the Government is looking at ways to detain terrorists without putting them on trial.”

***

The team examined thousands of cases and liaised with the FBI, the US Secret Service, the Capitol Hill Police, which protects Congressmen and Senators, and the Swedish and Norwegian secret services.

***

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “The Government is trying to bring in a wider definition of mental disorder and is resisting exclusions which ensure that people cannot be treated as mentally disordered on the grounds of their cultural, political or religious beliefs.

“When you hear they are also setting up something like this police unit, it raises questions about quite what their intentions are.

“The use of mental health powers of detention should be confined to the purposes of treatment. But the Government wants to be able to detain someone who is mentally disordered even when the treatment would have no benefit.

“Combined with the idea that someone could be classed as mentally ill on the grounds of their religious beliefs, it is a very worrying scenario.”

Indeed, the whole “indefinite detention” process (which Americans living on American soil are subject to) can be based on circular reasoning:

The government’s indefinite detention policy – stripped of it’s spin – is literally insane, and based on circular reasoning. Stripped of p.r., this is the actual policy:

  • If you are an enemy combatant or a threat to national security, we will detain you indefinitely until the war is over
  • But trust us, we know you are an enemy combatant and a threat to national security

See how that works?

This is an analogy.  We are not accusing psych wards of using torture.  However, they do often use powerful psychiatric drugs on patients … which can elicit false confessions.

Are we going to slide into Soviet levels of psychiatric detention of political dissidents?   Unless the spread of psychiatric detention without due process of law is checked, the mere belief that the government is interfering with your liberty may become grounds for locking you away.

Update: The stories of psychiatric commitment of political activists in China are horrendous .

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Scorecard: How Many Rights Have Americans REALLY Lost?

Posted on February 21, 2013 by WashingtonsBlog

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How Many Constitutional Freedoms Do We Still Have?

Preface: While a lot of people talk about the loss of our Constitutional liberties, people usually speak in a vague, generalized manner … or focus on only one issue and ignore the rest.

This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.

First Amendment

The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

However, the government is arresting those speaking out … and violently crushing peaceful assemblies which attempt to petition the government for redress.

A federal judge found that the law allowing indefinite detention of Americans without due process has a “chilling effect” on free speech. And see this and this.

The threat of being labeled a terrorist for exercising our First Amendment rights certainly violates the First Amendment.   The government is using laws to crush dissent, and it’s gotten so bad that even U.S. Supreme Court justices are saying that we are descending into tyranny.

For example, the following actions may get an American citizen living on U.S. soil labeled as a “suspected terrorist” today:

And holding the following beliefs may also be considered grounds for suspected terrorism:

Of course, Muslims are more or less subject to a separate system of justice in America.

And 1st Amendment rights are especially chilled when power has become so concentrated that the same agency which spies on all Americans also decides who should be assassinated.

Second Amendment

The 2nd Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Gun control and gun rights advocates obviously have very different views about whether guns are a force for violence or for good.

But even a top liberal Constitutional law expert reluctantly admits  that the right to own a gun is as important a Constitutional right as freedom of speech or religion:

Like many academics, I was happy to blissfully ignore the Second Amendment. It did not fit neatly into my socially liberal agenda.

***

It is hard to read the Second Amendment and not honestly conclude that the Framers intended gun ownership to be an individual right. It is true that the amendment begins with a reference to militias: “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Accordingly, it is argued, this amendment protects the right of the militia to bear arms, not the individual.

Yet, if true, the Second Amendment would be effectively declared a defunct provision. The National Guard is not a true militia in the sense of the Second Amendment and, since the District and others believe governments can ban guns entirely, the Second Amendment would be read out of existence.

***

More important, the mere reference to a purpose of the Second Amendment does not alter the fact that an individual right is created. The right of the people to keep and bear arms is stated in the same way as the right to free speech or free press. The statement of a purpose was intended to reaffirm the power of the states and the people against the central government. At the time, many feared the federal government and its national army. Gun ownership was viewed as a deterrent against abuse by the government, which would be less likely to mess with a well-armed populace.

Considering the Framers and their own traditions of hunting and self-defense, it is clear that they would have viewed such ownership as an individual right — consistent with the plain meaning of the amendment.

None of this is easy for someone raised to believe that the Second Amendment was the dividing line between the enlightenment and the dark ages of American culture. Yet, it is time to honestly reconsider this amendment and admit that … here’s the really hard part … the NRA may have been right. This does not mean that Charlton Heston is the new Rosa Parks or that no restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. But it does appear that gun ownership was made a protected right by the Framers and, while we might not celebrate it, it is time that we recognize it.

The gun control debate – including which weapons and magazines are banned – is still in flux …

Third Amendment

The 3rd Amendment prohibits the government forcing people to house soldiers:

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Hey … we’re still honoring one of the Amendments! Score one for We the People!

Fourth Amendment

The 4th Amendment prevents unlawful search and seizure:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

But the government is flying drones over the American homeland to spy on us.

Senator Rand Paul correctly notes:

The domestic use of drones to spy on Americans clearly violates the Fourth Amendment and limits our rights to personal privacy.

Paul introduced a bill to “protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles commonly called drones.”

Emptywheel notes in a post entitled “The OTHER Assault on the Fourth Amendment in the NDAA? Drones at Your Airport?”:

***

As the map above makes clear–taken from this 2010 report–DOD [the Department of Defense] plans to have drones all over the country by 2015.

Many police departments are also using drones to spy on us. As the Hill reported:

At least 13 state and local police agencies around the country have used drones in the field or in training, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, an industry trade group. The Federal Aviation Administration has predicted that by the end of the decade, 30,000 commercial and government drones could be flying over U.S. skies.

***

“Drones should only be used if subject to a powerful framework that regulates their use in order to avoid abuse and invasions of privacy,” Chris Calabrese, a legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said during a congressional forum in Texas last month.

He argued police should only fly drones over private property if they have a warrant, information collected with drones should be promptly destroyed when it’s no longer needed and domestic drones should not carry any weapons.

He argued that drones pose a more serious threat to privacy than helicopters because they are cheaper to use and can hover in the sky for longer periods of time.

A congressional report earlier this year predicted that drones could soon be equipped with technologies to identify faces or track people based on their height, age, gender and skin color.

Even without drones, Americans are the most spied on people in world history:

The American government is collecting and storing virtually every phone call, purchases, email,  text message, internet searches, social media communications, health information,  employment history, travel and student records, and virtually all other information of every American.

Some also claim that the government is also using facial recognition software and surveillance cameras to track where everyone is going.  Moreover, cell towers track where your phone is at any moment, and the major cell carriers, including Verizon and AT&T, responded to at least 1.3 million law enforcement requests for cell phone locations and other data in 2011. (And – given that your smartphone routinely sends your location information back to Apple or Google – it would be child’s play for the government to track your location that way.)    Your iPhone, or other brand of smartphone is spying on virtually everything you do  (ProPublica notes: “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker“).

As the top spy chief at the U.S. National Security Agency explained this week, the American government is collecting some 100 billion 1,000-character emails per day, and 20 trillion communications of all types per year.

He says that the government has collected all of the communications of congressional leaders, generals and everyone else in the U.S. for the last 10 years.

He further explains that he set up the NSA’s system so that all of the information would automatically be encrypted, so that the government had to obtain a search warrant based upon probably cause before a particular suspect’s communications could be decrypted.  [He specifically did this to comply with the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure.] But the NSA now collects all data in an unencrypted form, so that no probable cause is needed to view any citizen’s information.  He says that it is actually cheaper and easier to store the data in an encrypted format: so the government’s current system is being done for political – not practical – purposes.

He says that if anyone gets on the government’s “enemies list”, then the stored information will be used to target them. Specifically, he notes that if the government decides it doesn’t like someone, it analyzes all of the data it has collected on that person and his or her associates over the last 10 years to build a case against him.

Of course, widespread spying on Americans began before 9/11 (confirmed here and here. And see this). So the whole “post-9/11 reality” argument falls flat.

And the spying isn’t being done to keep us safe … but to crush dissent and to smear people who uncover unflattering this about the government … and to help the too big to fail businesses compete against smaller businesses (and here).

In addition, the ACLU published a map in 2006 showing that nearly two-thirds of the American public – 197.4 million people – live within a “constitution-free zone” within 100 miles of land and coastal borders:

The ACLU explained:

  • Normally under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the American people are not generally subject to random and arbitrary stops and searches.
  • The border, however, has always been an exception.  There, the longstanding view is that the normal rules do not apply.  For example the authorities do not need a warrant or probable cause to conduct a “routine search.”
  • But what is “the border”?  According to the government, it  is a 100-mile wide strip that wraps around the “external boundary” of the United States.
  • As a result of this claimed authority, individuals who are far away from the border, American citizens traveling from one place in America to another, are being stopped and harassed in ways that our Constitution does not permit.<
  • Border Patrol has been setting up checkpoints inland — on highways in states such as California, Texas and Arizona, and at ferry terminals in Washington State. Typically, the agents ask drivers and passengers about their citizenship.  Unfortunately, our courts so far have permitted these kinds of checkpoints – legally speaking, they are “administrative” stops that are permitted only for the specific purpose of protecting the nation’s borders.  They cannot become general drug-search or other law enforcement efforts.
  • However, these stops by Border Patrol agents are not remaining confined to that border security purpose.  On the roads of California and elsewhere in the nation – places far removed from the actual border – agents are stopping, interrogating, and searching Americans on an everyday basis with absolutely no suspicion of wrongdoing.
  • The bottom line is that the extraordinary authorities that the government possesses at the border are spilling into regular American streets.

Computer World reports today:

Border agents don’t need probable cause and they don’t need a stinking warrant since they don’t need to prove any reasonable suspicion first. Nor, sadly, do two out of three people have First Amendment protection; it is as if DHS has voided those Constitutional amendments and protections they provide to nearly 200 million Americans.

***

Don’t be silly by thinking this means only if you are physically trying to cross the international border. As we saw when discussing the DEA using license plate readers and data-mining to track Americans movements, the U.S. “border” stretches out 100 miles beyond the true border. Godfather Politics added:

But wait, it gets even better!  If you live anywhere in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey or Rhode Island, DHS says the search zones encompass the entire state.

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have a “longstanding constitutional and statutory authority permitting suspicionless and warrantless searches of merchandise at the border and its functional equivalent.” This applies to electronic devices, according to the recent CLCR “Border Searches of Electronic Devices” executive summary [PDF]:

Fourth Amendment

The overall authority to conduct border searches without suspicion or warrant is clear and longstanding, and courts have not treated searches of electronic devices any differently than searches of other objects.  We conclude that CBP’s and ICE’s current border search policies comply with the Fourth Amendment.  We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.  However, we do think that recording more information about why searches are performed would help managers and leadership supervise the use of border search authority, and this is what we recommended; CBP has agreed and has implemented this change beginning in FY2012.

First Amendment

Some critics argue that a heightened level of suspicion should be required before officers search laptop computers in order to avoid chilling First Amendment rights.  However, we conclude that the laptop border searches allowed under the ICE and CBP Directives do not violate travelers’ First Amendment rights.

The ACLU said, Wait one darn minute! Hello, what happened to the Constitution? Where is the rest of CLCR report on the “policy of combing through and sometimes confiscating travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices—even when there is no suspicion of wrongdoing?” DHS maintains it is not violating our constitutional rights, so the ACLU said:

If it’s true that our rights are safe and that DHS is doing all the things it needs to do to safeguard them, then why won’t it show us the results of its assessment? And why would it be legitimate to keep a report about the impact of a policy on the public’s rights hidden from the very public being affected?

***

As ChristianPost wrote, “Your constitutional rights have been repealed in ten states. No, this isn’t a joke. It is not exaggeration or hyperbole. If you are in ten states in the United States, your some of your rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights have been made null and void.”

The ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the entire DHS report about suspicionless and warrantless “border” searches of electronic devices. ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said “We hope to establish that the Department of Homeland Security can’t simply assert that its practices are legitimate without showing us the evidence, and to make it clear that the government’s own analyses of how our fundamental rights apply to new technologies should be openly accessible to the public for review and debate.”

Meanwhile, the EFF has tips to protect yourself and your devices against border searches. If you think you know all about it, then you might try testing your knowledge with a defending privacy at the U.S. border quiz.

Wired pointed out in 2008 that the courts have routinely upheld such constitution-free zones:

Federal agents at the border do not need any reason to search through travelers’ laptops, cell phones or digital cameras for evidence of crimes, a federal appeals court ruled Monday, extending the government’s power to look through belongings like suitcases at the border to electronics.

***

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the government, finding that the so-called border exception to the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches applied not just to suitcases and papers, but also to electronics.

***

Travelers should be aware that anything on their mobile devices can be searched by government agents, who may also seize the devices and keep them for weeks or months. When in doubt, think about whether online storage or encryption might be tools you should use to prevent the feds from rummaging through your journal, your company’s confidential business plans or naked pictures of you and your-of-age partner in adult fun.

Fifth Amendment

The 5th Amendment addresses due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy and grand jury:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

But the American government has shredded the 5th Amendment by subjecting us to indefinite detention and taking away our due process rights.

The government claims the right to assassinate or indefinitely detain any American citizen on U.S. citizen without any due process. And see this.

As such, the government is certainly depriving people of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

There are also bizarre corruptions other 5th Amendment rights – such as loss of property only for public purpose.   Protection against being tried twice for the same crime after being found innocent (“double jeopardy”) seems to be intact.

The right to a grand jury is difficult to gauge, as their is so much secrecy surrounding many terrorism trials.

Sixth Amendment

The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to hear the criminal charges levied against us and to be able to confront the witnesses who have testified against us, as well as speedy criminal trials, and a public defender for those who cannot hire an attorney:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Subjecting people to indefinite detention or assassination obviously violates the 6th Amendment right to a jury trial.  In both cases, the defendants is “disposed of” without ever receiving a trial … and often without ever hearing the charges against them.

The government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.

The government uses “secret evidence” to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U.S. soldiers) and even assassinate people.  And see this and this.

Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are not even allowed to read their own briefs.

Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret.  And this is about to get a lot worse.

True – when defendants are afforded a jury trial – they are provided with assistance of counsel. However, the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts and the public defenders’ offices nationwide.

Moreover, there are two systems of justice in America … one for the big banks and other fatcats, and one for everyone else.   The government made it official policy not to prosecute fraud, even though main business model adopted by the biggest financial crime in world history, the largest insider trading scandal of all time, illegal raiding of customer accounts and blatant financing of drug cartels and terrorists have all gotten away scot-free without any jail time.

On the other hand, government prosecutors are using the legal system to  crush dissent and to silence whistleblowers.

And some of the nation’s most powerful judges have lost their independence  … and are in bed with the powers-that-be.

Seventh Amendment

The 7th Amendment guarantees trial by jury in federal court for civil cases:

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

As far as we know, this right is still being respected.  However – as noted above – the austerity caused by redistribution of wealth to the super-elite is causing severe budget cuts to the courts, resulting in the wheels of justice slowing down considerably.

Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

Eighth Amendment

The 8th Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment:

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Indefinite detention and assassination are obviously cruel and unusual punishment.

The widespread system of torture carried out in the last 10 years – with the help of other countriesviolates the 8th Amendment.  Many want to bring it back … or at least justify its past use.

While Justice Scalia disingenuously argues that torture does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment because it is meant to produce information – not punish – he’s wrong.  It’s not only cruel and unusual … it is a form of terrorism.

And government whistleblowers are being cruelly and unusually punished with harsh sentences which are meant to intimidate anyone else from speaking out.

Ninth Amendment

The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren’t specifically listed in the Constitution:

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

The government has trampled our basic rights as human beings, including our economic freedom, safe food and water (instead of arsenic-laden, genetically engineered junk and fluoride), our right not to be subject to undue health hazards such as irradiation due to government support of archaic nuclear power systems, and a crony capitalist system in which the little guy has no shot due to redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the super-elite and government support of white collar criminals.

Tenth Amendment

The 10th Amendment provides that powers not specifically given to the Federal government are reserved to the states or individual:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Two of the central principles of America’s Founding Fathers are:

(1) The government is created and empowered with the consent of the people

and

(2) Separation of powers

Today, most Americans believe that the government is threatening – rather than protect – freedom, and that it is no longer acting with the “consent of the governed”.

And the federal government is trampling the separation of powers by stepping on the toes of the states and the people.  For example, former head S&L prosecutor Bill Black – now a professor of law and economics – notes:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the resident examiners and regional staff of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency [both]  competed to weaken federal regulation and aggressively used the preemption doctrine to try to prevent state investigations of and actions against fraudulent mortgage lenders.

Indeed, the federal government is doing everything it can be stick its nose into every aspect of our lives … and act like Big Brother.

Conclusion: While a few of the liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights still exist, the overall scorecard of the government’s respect for our basic freedom is a failing grade.

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‘Americans don’t share global domination policies of their leaders’

The US corporate superstructure conglomerate – including financial interests, the defense industry, oil companies and the media – brazenly manipulate American society, shares Peter Dale Scott, former diplomat, poet and prominent anti-war advocate.

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Good Will Hunting: Memorable Quote

Will: Why shouldn’t I work for the N.S.A.? That’s a tough one, but I’ll take a shot. Say I’m working at N.S.A. Somebody puts a code on my desk, something nobody else can break. Maybe I take a shot at it and maybe I break it. And I’m real happy with myself, ’cause I did my job well. But maybe that code was the location of some rebel army in North Africa or the Middle East. Once they have that location, they bomb the village where the rebels were hiding and fifteen hundred people I never met, never had no problem with, get killed. Now the politicians are sayin’, “Oh, send in the Marines to secure the area” ’cause they don’t give a shit. It won’t be their kid over there, gettin’ shot. Just like it wasn’t them when their number got called, ’cause they were pullin’ a tour in the National Guard. It’ll be some kid from Southie takin’ shrapnel in the ass. And he comes back to find that the plant he used to work at got exported to the country he just got back from. And the guy who put the shrapnel in his ass got his old job, ’cause he’ll work for fifteen cents a day and no bathroom breaks. Meanwhile, he realizes the only reason he was over there in the first place was so we could install a government that would sell us oil at a good price. And, of course, the oil companies used the skirmish over there to scare up domestic oil prices. A cute little ancillary benefit for them, but it ain’t helping my buddy at two-fifty a gallon. And they’re takin’ their sweet time bringin’ the oil back, of course, and maybe even took the liberty of hiring an alcoholic skipper who likes to drink martinis and fuckin’ play slalom with the icebergs, and it ain’t too long ’til he hits one, spills the oil and kills all the sea life in the North Atlantic. So now my buddy’s out of work and he can’t afford to drive, so he’s got to walk to the fuckin’ job interviews, which sucks ’cause the shrapnel in his ass is givin’ him chronic hemorrhoids. And meanwhile he’s starvin’, ’cause every time he tries to get a bite to eat, the only blue plate special they’re servin’ is North Atlantic scrod with Quaker State. So what did I think? I’m holdin’ out for somethin’ better. I figure fuck it, while I’m at it why not just shoot my buddy, take his job, give it to his sworn enemy, hike up gas prices, bomb a village, club a baby seal, hit the hash pipe and join the National Guard? I could be elected president.

NAILED IT~!

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ALARMS OVER OBAMA COUP AGAINST CONSTITUTION SURGING

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ALARMS OVER OBAMA COUP AGAINST CONSTITUTION SURGING

There always have been those few who have launched diatribes over the dictatorial actions of any given U.S. presidential administration, over civil rights, foreign affairs, the economy, the draft or a dozen other topics – even though the Constitution was written specifically to prevent the collection of too much power by one branch of government.

Now, again, there are words like “egocentric megalomaniac” being ascribed to the White House, and warnings about detention camps and government surveillance of its citizens.

But where previous generations of warnings emanated from lone wolves with their fax machines in dusty spare rooms, the current alarms are being issued by the likes of Investors Business Daily, First Amendment authority Nat Hentoff, New York Times best-selling author Robert Ringer and their equals….

WND also reported when Obama signed into law the “GIVE Act,” H.R. 1388, which massively expands the National Service Corporation and allocates to it billions of dollars.

Officials said at that time the law would allow for the “managing” of up to 8 or 9 million people.

That bill included a “National Service Reserve Corps” whose members have completed a “term of national service,” “training” and “not less than 10 hours of volunteering each year.”

Joseph Farah, founder and editor of WND, used his daily column when the issue originally arose to alert Americans of the plans. He then elevated the issue with a call to all reporters to start asking questions.

“If we’re going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn’t this rather a big deal?” Farah wrote. “I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate [at the time] is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?

“Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that? If not, why did he say it? What did he mean?” Farah wrote.

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Framing Perspectives

Perspective is everything.
For Educational Purposes, as posted on http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ndu/strat-ldr-dm/pt1ch5.html, 05/16/2012
Framing Perspectives, Strategic Leadership and Decision Making

“You’re wrong to say that you see nothing else. You see everything, although you may not be able to interpret it.” Munoz didn’t budge from where he was; he merely indicated the painting with a movement of his chin. “I think it comes down to points of view. What we have here are different levels, which are contained within each other: the painting contains a floor that is a chessboard which, in turn, contains people. Those people are sitting at a chessboard that contains chess pieces. The whole thing is contained in that round mirror to the left. And to complicate things further, another level can be added: ours, where we stand to contemplate the scene or the successive scenes. And beyond that there’s the level on which the painter imagined us, the spectators of his work (Perez-Reverte 1994).

The notion of framing something is to focus on a moment in time, a scene, or a set of ideas. It can involve deliberate use of psychological, and intellectual skills, on the one hand, or less conscious skills within a sense of perception. Framing is a set of skills employed to one degree or another by the politician, photographer, chef, advertising executive, historian, teacher, coach, artist, academic, author, and by ordinary people. For example, the skill and depth used in appraising an event aid in helping to understand what might be taking place well beyond the limited knowledge of those who are involved in only part of the event itself. “The essential tool of the information manager is the ability to frame. To determine the entire meaning of a subject is to make sense of it, to judge its character and significance. To hold the frame of a subject is to choose one particular meaning (or set of meanings) over another. We manage meaning when we assert that our interpretations should be taken as real over other possible interpretations” (Fairhurst 1996).

FRAME OF REFERENCE

Frames originate as a result of both our nature, and the experiences we have that nurture us; some are natural (genetic), others are learned, and many revolve around the nature/nurture influence on how we see the world and its events. In addition, there are some frames that can be contrived, deliberately learned and used as a way of more consciously trying to interpret events.

The most common frame of reference is each person’s way of observing, interpreting, and acting in the world. “One’s frame of reference includes all that one believes or knows to be true of the worlds; the sorts of things that are in it, both animate and inanimate, and how they behave; what has happened in the past; and what is likely to happen in the future” (Moore, et al. 1985).

One’s frame of reference carries with it limitations that can impair the individual in recognizing and dealing successfully with the environment. There are gaps in our perception, knowledge, experience, ability to process information, and to report accurately on what we have seen or heard as, for example, a witness to an accident, or to a tale told by a colleague. What did we really see, or hear, and how may it have been affected by prejudice, or a momentary distraction, or by some previous encounter with what looks much like the current situation, but in fact is different? The fact that we use a frame of reference, with all its limitations, as the basis for decisions and actions which may turn out to be false, is important at all levels of management and leadership.

Alexander George, in Presidential Decisionmaking, discusses a particular kind of limitation in a frame of reference which he calls attribution errors, the difference between a dispositional and situational frame of reference. In looking at a situation, George suggests that we are inclined to view our own attitudes favorably, those of an antagonist in a less favorable way; this is his notion of disposition. The situations in which we find ourselves also affect what we do. A simple example: we most often believe that our “home” athletic team plays fairly and competitively, while our opponent’s players are disposed to play “dirty.”

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