2nd Circuit Court Of Appeals: NSA Spying Program Illegal

Secular Talk

Sources state that on Thursday, a panel of three federal judges from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the NSA’s bulk-phone records spying program was illegal.

Reuters states:  “Ruling on a program revealed by former government security contractor Edward Snowden, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans’ calling records in bulk.

“Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote for a three-judge panel that Section 215, which addresses the FBI’s ability to gather business records, could not be interpreted to have permitted the NSA to collect a “staggering” amount of phone records, contrary to claims by the Bush and Obama administrations.”

Also, According to the National Journal, more court decisions are on the way:

“Two other appeals courts have in recent months heard arguments considering the legality of the NSA bulk telephone program, but neither has issued a ruling yet. Any split among the courts likely will prompt a Supreme Court review.

Boing Boing and The Electronic Frontier Foundation state:

1. When Congress gave the NSA the power to gather “relevant” information and do so for an “investigation,” they didn’t mean “gather everything and store it forever in case it becomes relevant later.”

2. Having your data collected by the NSA gives you the right to sue them — even if the NSA never looked at that data.

3. Metadata is sensitive information, and the NSA can’t argue that its mass-spying is harmless because it’s collecting metadata instead of data (the fact that you called a suicide hotline is every bit as compromising as what you said while you were talking to them).

4. The judges have “concerns” about the constitutionality of mass spying (though the didn’t go so far as to say that it is unconstitutional, partly because the ACLU had already won on the statutory language alone).

5. One judge added: The government shouldn’t have secret laws. The government argued that its interpretation of surveillance laws was a secret, and the court spanked them for it, saying that a law that’s “shrouded in secrecy” lacked legitimacy.





Are Ads For Pharmaceuticals On TV A Good Or Bad Idea?

Advertisements on prescription drugs can be seen on American TV, but are not allowable in many other countries.

David Pakman answers an email on advertising medication on television.

Corruption: Keystone YES Votes Received 6X More Money Than NO Votes

According to OpenSecrets.org, those who voted in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline received six times more money from donors than those who voted against it.

The 59 senators who voted for the pipeline have received, on average, significantly more money from the oil and gas industry than those who voted against construction.

Over the course of their careers, those 59 took in over $33 million in campaign donations from the industry, compared to the approximately $4.2 million received by the 41 who successfully blocked the bill’s approval. On average, those voting for Keystone have received $572,000 from oil and gas interests, compared with just $103,900 for those voting against it.

Among Democrats, the 39 “nay” votes received $4.2 million from oil and gas, while the 14 who voted with the Republicans received just under $4 million. On average, those voting no received about $108,000, while the Democratic supporters — who disproportionately represent states with strong oil and gas industry presence – received more than twice as much, about $284,000.




David Pakman video.

Are Firing Squads Making A Return In Utah?

Last Wednesday, the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee in Utah voted 9-2 to approve legislation that would bring back firing squads for executions.

The bill, which will likely head to the full legislature early next year, would mandate a court hearing prior to an execution, in which a judge would determine whether the state had sufficient drugs to carry out a lethal injection. If the judge ruled that there were insufficient drugs, a firing squad would be mandated.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, State Rep. Paul Ray says the state currently doesn’t use them.

TYT video.

Arizona’s SB 1070 Is A ‘Family-Buster’


A woman with a pending immigration visa spent five days in jail away from her children for a traffic violation.  She and the ACLU are filing a lawsuit.

It is the first lawsuit over an arrest stemming from Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070.  The ACLU’s description of Maria Cortes’ arrest by Pinal County sheriff’s deputies in 2012 sounds like what 1070 opponents feared would take place under Arizona’s immigrant-hunting law: A “cracked windshield” led to Cortes’ getting separated from her children and detained by immigration authorities for five days.

“That arrest is not based on any probable cause of having committed any crime . . . it was based on what [the deputy] perceived or believed her immigration status to be,” ACLU attorney Victoria López tells New Times.

According to the ACLU lawsuit, Cortes, an Eloy resident, had applied for a visa that’s granted to certain survivors of crimes. Cortes’ husband is described as abusive, and she had helped authorities in his prosecution.

Cortes’ visa application was pending when she was pulled over by a PCSO deputy in September 2012, and she told the deputy she didn’t have a driver’s license.  Cortes was handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car as the deputy investigated her immigration status, and eventually was transported to a Customs and Border Patrol office in Casa Grande.

She was cited for three civil traffic violations before being turned over to officials at the CBP office, where she was detained for five days — although the PCSO deputy’s report indicated that Cortes had been cited and released, according to the lawsuit.

“When the officer who stopped me asked if I had a visa, I offered to show him a copy of my pending U-visa application that I keep in the glove compartment of the car but he said he wasn’t interested in that,” Cortes says in a statement issued by the ACLU.

“They put me in the police car, never told me why they were taking me or where I was going, which really worried me because I didn’t know what would happen to my children–the five days I spent detained were a nightmare for me.”

López says two parts of SB 1070 were in play during this arrest, including section 2(b), which allows local police to investigate a person’s immigration status, and section 2(d), which allows police to hand over unauthorized immigrants to federal authorities.

“It is not a crime for a removable alien to remain present in the United States,” the lawsuit says. “Therefore, Defendants’ belief or suspicion that Plaintiff was unlawfully present in the United States, or desire to investigate her immigration status, did not provide constitutional justification for detaining Plaintiff.”

Uncomfortable Exchange With The NSA At Job Fair

A student and his friend press the NSA on spying and legalities at a job fair. The NSA man must have felt he was between a rock and a hard place…

The above video was taken at the University of New Mexico.