Court Of Impeachment And War Crimes: Impeach Bush and Cheney: Current Clips News and Views
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Stop the Spying!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Impeach Bush and Cheney: Current Clips News and Views


Impeach Bush and Cheney: Current Clips News and Views
This Can’t Be Happening
http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/

Fighting the Democrats’ Complicity with Bush

Source: Dissident Voice

By Francis A. Boyle / August 10th, 2007

Despite the massive, overwhelming repudiation of the Iraq war and the Bush Jr. administration by the American people in the November 2006 national elections conjoined with their consequent installation of a Congress controlled by the Democratic Party with a mandate to terminate the Iraq war, since its ascent to power in January 2007 the Democrats in Congress have taken no effective steps to stop, impede, or thwart the Bush Jr. administration’s wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, or anywhere else, including their long-standing threatened war against Iran.

To the contrary, the new Democrat-controlled Congress decisively facilitated these serial Nuremberg crimes against peace on May 24, 2007 by enacting a $95 billion supplemental appropriation to fund war operations through September 30, 2007.

In the spring of 2007 all the Congressional Democrats had to do was nothing. They could have sat upon the supplemental appropriation request for war operations by the Bush Jr. administration and thus failed to enact it into law. At that point, the money for war operations would have gradually run out, and the Bush Jr. administration would have been forced to have gradually withdrawn U.S. armed forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of so doing, the Congressional Democrats knowingly prolonged these wars of aggression and thus in the process became aiders and abettors to these Nuremberg crimes against peace.

Under the terms of the United States Constitution, the President cannot spend a dime unless the money has somehow been appropriated by the United States Congress. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the United States Constitution expressly provides: “No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law…” Furthermore, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12 of the Constitution also provides that “Congress shall have power . . . To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years . . . ”

America’s Founders and Framers deliberately strove to keep America’s prospective military establishment on a financial short-leash tightly held by the hands of Congress precisely because of their well-founded fear that a standing army would constitute a dire threat to the continued existence of the Republic based upon their recent experience confronting and defeating King George III’s standing army. As the American July 4, 1776 Declaration of Independence stated their objections in part: “[H]e has kept among us, in Times of Peace, Standing Armies, without the consent of our Legislatures. He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power . . . For quartering large Bodies of Armed Troops among us…”

Congress must use its constitutional power of the purse to terminate the Bush Jr. administration’s wars of aggression immediately. Those Congressional incumbents of either political party who refuse to do so must be replaced by men and women of good faith and good will of any or no political party who will do their constitutional duty to terminate ongoing Nuremberg crimes against peace. To the contrary, the current leadership of the Democratic Party (though, to be sure, not all Democrats), let alone most of the Republicans, have been complicit with all the atrocities that the Bush Jr. administration has inflicted upon international law, international organizations, human rights, the United States Constitution, civil rights, civil liberties, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and elsewhere since September 11, 2001.

Further confirmation of this proposition can be found in the fact that when the self-described Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan went on July 23, 2007 with 200 protesters to speak with Democratic Congressman John Conyers — Chair of the House Judiciary Committee that has supervisory jurisdiction over bills of impeachment — about starting impeachment proceedings against President Bush Jr., at the end of an hour Congressman Conyers ordered her and 45 others arrested for disorderly conduct when they refused to leave his office.

In other words, one of the leaders of the Democratic Party arrested one of the leaders of the American Peace Movement for insisting that he and his congressional colleagues perform their constitutionally-mandated duties. Nothing could be more symptomatic of the constitutional, moral, and political bankruptcy of the so-called two-party system of politics in the United States of America: Republicans versus Democrats, Tweedle Dum versus Tweedle Dee.

Since the Democrats’ Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi had already ruled arbitrarily that President Bush’s impeachment was “off the table,” Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan announced her intention to run against Pelosi in the 2008 national elections. Once again Mrs. Sheehan’s instincts, principles, judgment, and strategy are directly on target. The American people must oppose, defeat, and replace all members of the United States Congress of any political party who will not impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney in order to terminate their needlessly — inflicted death and destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia as soon as possible. The so-called leaderships of both political parties have left the American people with no alternative.

Even more urgently, the Neo-Conservative cabal known as the Bush Jr. administration are still threatening, planning, preparing, and conspiring to attack Iran, which could very well set-off World War III. Just recently they added nuclear-armed Pakistan to their publicly proclaimed list of targets.

Meanwhile, the Bush Jr. administration’s “surge” of 30,000 troops into Iraq announced in January of 2007 has marched on to its inexorable bloodbath for the Iraqi people and U.S. armed forces. There is more than enough circumstantial evidence to conclude that the underlying strategy of the Bush Jr. administration is nothing more than to postpone their inevitable defeat in Iraq until after their departure from office in January 2009 no matter what the cost in lives to Iraqis and Americans. But the world cannot wait until January of 2009 for America to start to end these wars and their related war crimes, as well as to prevent more threatened wars, especially against Iran or Pakistan, which could prove catastrophic for humankind.

The United States Congress must immediately and simultaneously proceed to exercise both its constitutional power of the purse and its constitutional power of impeachment toward that end. That is the bilateral strategy which the U.S. Congress pursued a generation ago in order to terminate the Nixon administration’s criminal wars of aggression against Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. That must be the bilateral strategy by which the U.S. Congress today terminates the Bush Jr. administration’s criminal wars of aggression against Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and otherwise perhaps soon Iran or Pakistan.

Despite Pelosi’s disingenuous protestations to the contrary, the Nixon/Vietnam precedent proves that Congressional impeachment and cutting-off funds for wars are mutually reinforcing strategies. They might even win the 2008 U.S. Presidential and Congressional elections for those who embrace them.

Francis A. Boyle, Professor of Law, University of Illinois, is author of Foundations of World Order, Duke University Press, The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence, and Palestine, Palestinians and International Law, by Clarity Press. He can be reached at: FBOYLE@LAW.UIUC.EDU Read other articles by Francis A..

Rifts emerge between Musharraf and allies as rumors of emergency swirl
Opposition leaders say such a move would only deepen the country's political crisis.

By Dan Murphy
from the August 10, 2007 edition

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/07/31/murtha-ohanlon

http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0809/p99s01-duts.html

Ramsey Clark on September 15
http://www.pephost.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=8571&JServSessionIdr004=huropsz3u1.app7b

http://www.washingtonspectator.com/articles/20061115impeachment_1.cfm
http://blog.cleveland.com/openers/2007/08/kucinich_office_vandalized_aft.html Kucinich office vandalized after gay rights debate

Posted by Sabrina Eaton August 10, 2007 17:09PM

Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign office on Lorain Avenue in Cleveland was vandalized early this morning after the congressman appeared with other Democratic candidates on a nationally televised forum on gay rights.

Kucinich spokesman Andy Juniewicz said an unknown object was thrown through a plate glass window sometime after 12:30 a.m., when campaign staffers closed down the office. Juniewicz did not have a dollar estimate of the damage, and said he didn't know whether it was connected with Kucinich's appearance at the forum sponsored by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign.

"We will leave it to the Cleveland Police Department to investigate and see what they come up with," Juniewicz said.

Kucinich used the word "love" more than a dozen times in answers to questions from moderator Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg News, Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart, and lesbian rock star Melissa Etheridge. He touted his support for gay marriage, legalization of medical marijuana, and universal health care coverage.

"The greatest commandment is love, and I think that if someone embodies that and lives it, then things change in a country," Kucinich said. "Love has that transformative power, and that's what I have always tried to bring to public forums, and that's what I'll bring to the White House as well."

"You're so evolved for a member of Congress," Carlson replied.

Although Kucinich opposed gay marriage when he first ran for Congress in 1996 and publicly changed his views during his first presidential run, he dodged Carlson's question on how long he'd been supportive of gay rights, telling her: "When I was mayor of Cleveland, I was attacked for hiring a police chief who was said to be sympathetic to gay rights ... and I had members of my cabinet who were gay. And to me, it -- who cares? I mean it really doesn't matter."

"I hope you run for president until you are elected," Etheridge told him.

"I was elected to Congress on my fifth try," Kucinich told her. "It took me five times. So I'm working on the second time here."

State congressmen wary of backing Gonzales impeachmentSeattle Times - United StatesJay Inslee's call for possible impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been hailed by liberals as a long-overdue move against the ...See all stories on this topic

Waxman Tells Impeachment Advocates He'll 'Keep an Open Mind'Brad Blog - USAThe conversation regarding Impeachment, the Congressman's views on same, and the arguments made by the activists in favor of it are interesting and offer ...See all stories on this topic

Lewes activist Dorothy Greet chose to go to jailCape Gazette - Lewes,DE,USA"It was meant to be a statement and a pressuring of Conyers to move forward with impeachment hearings," Greet said. Conyers has said that Bush's ordering of ...See all stories on this topic

Letter: Impeachment of Bush makes senseJournal Gazette and Times-Courier - Charleston,IL,USAI think impeachment makes a great deal of sense. In one way it is saying we have to hold our noses when hearing the ignorant claims of certain government ...See all stories on this topic

Congress needs to pursue impeachmentHampton Union - Exeter,NH,USABy Burt Cohen In a letter to constituents, Congressman Barney Frank argues against impeachment. As a fellow pragmatic progressive, it might appear to be the ...See all stories on this topic

Waxman Says He Will Keep an Open Mind on ImpeachmentBy HomerJS49 Congressman Waxman, Chair of the House Oversight Committee, told an impeachment delegation meeting with him in his Los Angeles office, Tues., Aug. 7, 2007, that he would mull over his constituents' articulate arguments, watch the Bill ...Netscape.com Hot Stories - http://www.netscape.com
Ron Paul on 9/11 & Impeachment (video; over 18 only)By dandelionsalad Dandelion Salad. Warning. This video contains images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience. August 10, 2007 Tommytime8. Ron Paul does not believe 9/11 was an inside job. ...Dandelion Salad - http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com

Impeachment Advances in WisconsinTonight the Dane County Executive Committee met and voted to recommend to the full board the passage of the impeachment resolution below. They modified the resolution and this is the resolution which will be before the full board at the ...AfterDowningStreet.org - Impeach... - http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

Conyers fails to answer journo's questions on impeachmentThe reporter said in a recent blog post that he has yet to receive answers to the queries, several of which concern impeachment. "Back in May, I requested an interview with Congressman John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary ...RawStory.com Headlines - http://rawstory.com/

Sanders - Impeachment is just NOISE!By Voice of Americans 2008(Voice of Americans 2008) If the Dems go the route of impeachment that would give Rove alot of ammunition and sympathy. He feels that maybe Rove would welcome an impeachment action. Rove would be able to say "you may not like what the President is doing - but he ...Voice of Americans 2008 - http://voa2008.blogspot.com/


June 25, 2007
Dangerous Ruling Forces Search Engine to Log Users

Public Interest Groups Urge Court to Block Radical Expansion of Discovery Rules

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) urged a California court Friday to overturn a dangerous ruling that would require an Internet search engine to create and store logs of its users' activities as part of electronic discovery obligations in a civil lawsuit.

The ruling came in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by motion picture studios against TorrentSpy, a popular search engine that indexes materials made publicly available via the Bit Torrent file sharing protocol. TorrentSpy has never logged its visitors' Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. Notwithstanding this explicit privacy policy, a federal magistrate judge has now ordered TorrentSpy to activate logging and turn the logged data over to the studios.

"This unprecedented ruling has implications well beyond the file sharing context," said EFF Staff Attorney Corynne McSherry. "Giving litigants the power to rewrite their opponent's privacy policies poses a risk to all Internet users."

The magistrate judge incorrectly reasoned that, because the IP addresses exist in the Random Access Memory (RAM) of TorrentSpy's webservers, they are "electronically stored information" that must be collected and turned over to the studios under the rules of federal discovery.

This decision could reach every function carried out by a digital device. Every keystroke at a computer keyboard, for example, is temporarily held in RAM, even if it is immediately deleted and never saved. Similarly, digital telephone systems make recordings of every conversation, moment by moment, in RAM.

"In the analog world, a court would never think to force a company to record telephone calls, transcribe employee conversations, or log other ephemeral information," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "There is no reason why the rules should be different simply because a company uses digital technologies."

The decision also threatens to radically increase the burdens that companies face in federal lawsuits, potentially forcing them to create and store an avalanche of data, including computer server logs, digital telephone conversations, and drafts of documents never saved or sent.

The magistrate judge in the case has stayed her order while TorrentSpy appeals the ruling. The case is Columbia Pictures Industries v. Bunnell, No. 06-01093 FMC, pending in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California before Judge Florence-Marie Cooper.

For the full amicus brief:http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/torrentspy/EFF_CDT_amicus.pdf

Contacts:
Corynne McSherryStaff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationcorynne@eff.org

Fred von LohmannSenior Intellectual Property AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationfred@eff.org
Posted at 12:01 AM

June 21, 2007

Congress Set to Uncover Truth About NSA Spying Program

Vote to Authorize Subpoenas Sets Stage for Showdown Over Illegal Surveillance

San Francisco - The Senate Judiciary Committee voted today to authorize subpoenas related to the National Security Agency (NSA)'s domestic spying program, setting the stage for a Congressional showdown over the surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans. The subpoenas demand certain legal documents that the Administration has withheld despite Congress' repeated requests.

"This subpoena authorization is a critical first step toward uncovering the full extent of the NSA's illegal spying and the role that telecommunications companies like AT&T played in it," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "Considering that it's been almost six years since the NSA started spying on Americans without warrants and over a year since that spying was revealed publicly, these subpoenas are long overdue. It's high time for Congress to get to the bottom of this mess."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is suing AT&T for illegally assisting in the NSA spying. The government has asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss EFF's case, claiming that the lawsuit could expose state secrets.

"Our case against AT&T includes evidence from a former employee that points to a massive spying program impacting millions of people -- a program far broader than the government has admitted to," said Bankston. "Americans deserve to know the truth about the NSA program."

For more on the class-action lawsuit against AT&T:http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att

Contacts:
Derek SlaterActing Media CoordinatorElectronic Frontier Foundationderek@eff.org
Posted at 11:56 AM

June 19, 2007
Travelers Deserve Protection from Baseless Laptop Searches

EFF Urges Court to Protect Privacy at Border Crossings

San Francisco - The government should not search travelers' computers at border crossings without suspicion, said the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in an amicus brief filed today in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Over the past several years, U.S. customs agents have been searching and even seizing travelers' laptops when they are entering or leaving the country if the traveler fits a profile, appears to be on a government watch list, or is chosen for a random inspection. The Supreme Court has ruled that customs and border agents may perform "routine" searches at the border without a warrant or even reasonable suspicion, but EFF and ACTE argue that inspections of computers are far more invasive than flipping through a briefcase.

"Our laptop computers contain vast amounts of personal information about our lives. You may do your banking on your computer, for example, or send email to your doctor about health concerns," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. "Travelers should not be subjected to unconstitutionally invasive searches of their laptops and other electronic devices just because they are crossing the border."

The case in front of the 9th Circuit, United States v. Arnold, arose out of a suspicionless "profile" search of Michael Timothy Arnold's computer at Los Angeles International Airport. The search uncovered evidence of alleged child pornography, and Mr. Arnold moved to suppress the evidence as the product of an unconstitutional search. The district court ruled that the agents lacked a reasonable basis to suspect Mr. Arnold of having committed a crime, and the government appealed the ruling. Mr. Arnold is represented by the Pasadena law firm of Kaye, McLane & Bednarski, LLP. The EFF-ACTE amicus brief was prepared by Arent Fox LLP.

For the full amicus brief:http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/US_v_arnold/arnold_amicus.pdf

Contact:
Lee TienSenior Staff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationtien@eff.org
Posted at 03:36 PM

June 18, 2007

Court Protects Email from Secret Government Searches

Landmark Ruling Gives Email Same Constitutional Protections as Phone Calls

San Francisco - The government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers, according to a landmark ruling Monday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their telephone calls -- the first circuit court ever to make that finding.

Over the last 20 years, the government has routinely used the federal Stored Communications Act (SCA) to secretly obtain stored email from email service providers without a warrant. But today's ruling -- closely following the reasoning in an amicus brief filed the by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and other civil liberties groups -- found that the SCA violates the Fourth Amendment.

"Email users expect that their Hotmail and Gmail inboxes are just as private as their postal mail and their telephone calls," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "The government tried to get around this common-sense conclusion, but the Constitution applies online as well as offline, as the court correctly found. That means that the government can't secretly seize your emails without a warrant."

Warshak v. United States was brought in the Southern District of Ohio federal court by Steven Warshak to stop the government's repeated secret searches and seizures of his stored email using the SCA. The district court ruled that the government cannot use the SCA to obtain stored email without a warrant or prior notice to the email account holder, but the government appealed that ruling to the 6th Circuit. EFF served as an amicus in the case, joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy & Technology. Law professors Susan Freiwald and Patricia Bellia also submitted an amicus brief, and the case was successfully argued at the 6th Circuit by Warshak's counsel Martin Weinberg.

For the full ruling in Warshak v. United States:http://eff.org/legal/cases/warshak_v_usa/6th_circuit_decision_upholding_injunction.pdf

For EFF's resources on the case, including its amicus brief:http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/warshak_v_usa

Contacts:
Kevin BankstonStaff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationbankston@eff.org
Posted at 01:42 PM

June 15, 2007
Judge Orders FBI to Release NSL Abuse Records

New Evidence of Misuse Prompts Immediate Response in EFF FOIA Lawsuit

Washington, D.C. - A judge ordered the FBI today to finally release agency records about its abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs) to collect Americans' personal information. The ruling came just a day after the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the judge to immediately respond in its lawsuit over agency delays.

EFF sued the FBI in April for failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the misuse of NSLs as revealed in a Justice Department report. This week, more evidence of abuse was uncovered by the Washington Post, and EFF urged the judge Thursday to force the FBI to stop stalling the release of its records on the deeply flawed program.

"The reports we've seen so far about NSL abuse are just the tip of the iceberg," said EFF Staff Attorney Marcia Hofmann. "FBI officials told the Washington Post that there have likely been several thousand total instances of misuse. Americans deserve answers about this scandal and how the FBI has abused its power to spy on ordinary citizens."

Under the PATRIOT Act, the FBI can use NSLs to get private records about anyone's domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions without any court approval -- as long as it claims the information could be relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation. Without a judge's oversight, the law is ripe for the abuse that has been uncovered in these recent reports.

"The law itself is the source of the problem. It's time for Congress to repeal these expanded NSL powers and protect Americans from this abuse of authority," said Hofmann.

The judge's order requires the FBI to process 2500 pages of NSL-related records by July 5, and then 2500 pages every 30 days thereafter.

For the judge's order:http://www.eff.org/flag/nsl/bates_order.pdf

For EFF's supplemental memo:http://eff.org/flag/nsl/supplemental_memo.pdf

For the Washington Post article on NSLs:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/13/AR2007061302453_pf.html

Contacts:
Marcia HofmannStaff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationmarcia@eff.org
Rebecca JeschkeMedia CoordinatorElectronic Frontier Foundationpress@eff.org
Posted at 11:51 AM

June 14, 2007

EFF Urges Judge to Require the FBI to Release Surveillance Abuse Records

More Questions About Misuse of Authority at the Justice Department

Washington, D.C. - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a judge Thursday to force the FBI to finally release records about its now documented abuse of National Security Letters (NSLs) to collect Americans' personal information. EFF's filing comes as an internal FBI audit revealed that the bureau's misuse of surveillance authority has been more widespread then previously thought.

EFF sued the FBI in April after the agency failed to respond to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request about the misuse of NSLs. EFF's FOIA request came after an initial Justice Department report indicated extensive abuse of the powerful NSL tools. Now, the Washington Post has reported that a new audit identified more than 1000 potential violations made while agents collected data about domestic phone calls, emails and financial transactions of thousands of Americans.

FBI officials told Post that there have likely been several thousand instances of abuse in total. This week, the FBI also released new guidelines for the use of NSLs, but that won't fix the core problem -- a law that's ripe for abuse.

"Under the PATRIOT Act, the Bureau can use NSLs to get private records about anybody without any court approval, as long as it claims the information could be relevant to a terrorism or espionage investigation," said Marcia Hofmann, EFF Staff Attorney. "We have heard again and again about how the FBI has misused this new power to overreach into the lives of ordinary Americans.

It's time for someone other than the Justice Department to assess the documented problems, and long past time for Congress to fix the mistake it made in the PATRIOT Act, including repealing the expanded NSL powers it gave the FBI."

EFF's supplemental memo to the court, filed Thursday, asked the judge to rule on a request for a preliminary injunction that would force the FBI to begin releasing information about NSL abuse to the public immediately.

For EFF's supplemental memo:http://eff.org/flag/nsl/supplemental_memo.pdf

For the Washington Post article on NSLs:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/13/AR2007061302453_pf.html
Contacts:
Marcia HofmannStaff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationmarcia@eff.org

Rebecca JeschkeMedia CoordinatorElectronic Frontier Foundationpress@eff.org
Posted at 07:17 PM

June 12, 2007
Secret Surveillance Evidence Unsealed in AT&T Spying Case

Whistleblower Declaration and Other Key Documents Released to Public

San Francisco - More documents detailing secret government surveillance of AT&T's Internet traffic have been released to the public as part of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against the telecom giant.

Some of the unsealed information was previously made public in redacted form. But after negotiations with AT&T, EFF has filed newly unredacted documents describing a secret, secure room in AT&T's facilities that gave the National Security Agency (NSA) direct access to customers' emails and other Internet communications. These include several internal AT&T documents that have long been available on media websites, EFF's legal arguments to the 9th Circuit, and the full declarations of whistleblower Mark Klein and of J. Scott Marcus, the former Senior Advisor for Internet Technology to the Federal Communications Commission, who bolsters and explains EFF's evidence.

"This is critical evidence supporting our claim that AT&T is cooperating with the NSA in the illegal dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "This surveillance is under debate in Congress and across the nation, as well as in the courts. The public has a right to see these important documents, the declarations from our witnesses, and our legal arguments, and we are very pleased to release them."

EFF filed the class-action suit against AT&T last year, accusing the telecom giant of illegally assisting in the NSA's spying on millions of ordinary Americans. The lower court allowed the case to proceed and the government has now asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss the case, claiming that the lawsuit could expose state secrets. EFF's newly released brief in response outlines how the case should go forward respecting both liberty and security.

"The District Court rejected the government's attempt to sweep this case under the rug," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "This country has a long tradition of open court proceedings, and we're pleased that as we present our case to the Court of Appeals, the millions of affected AT&T customers will be able to see our arguments and evidence and judge for themselves."

Oral arguments in the 9th Circuit appeal are set for the week of August 13.

For the unredacted Klein declaration:http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_klein_decl.pdf

For the internal documents:http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_klein_exhibits.pdf

For the unredacted Marcus declaration:http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/SER_marcus_decl.pdf

For EFF's 9th Circuit brief:http://eff.org/legal/cases/att/9thanswerbrief.pdf

For more on the class-action lawsuit against AT&T: http://www.eff.org/legal/cases/att/

Contacts:
Cindy CohnLegal DirectorElectronic Frontier Foundationcindy@eff.org
Kurt OpsahlSenior Staff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationkurt@eff.org

Posted at 10:25 AM

Spoon-Bending 'Paranormalist' Ramps Up Illegal Attacks on Online Critic

More Bogus Copyright Claims in Uri Geller's Frivolous Lawsuit

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged a judge Monday to dismiss a frivolous lawsuit filed by Uri Geller -- the "paranormalist" famous for seemingly bending spoons with his mind -- because of its blatant attempt to silence critic Brian Sapient with bogus copyright claims.

Geller's quest to shut down Sapient's criticism started when Sapient uploaded video to YouTube challenging Geller's assertions about his mental powers. The 14-minute segment came from a NOVA television program, but Geller and his corporation Explorologist Ltd. claimed the video infringed its own copyrights and had the video removed from YouTube. Sapient filed a counter-notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), had the video restored to YouTube, and sued Geller for misrepresentation.

As Sapient was challenging Geller's meritless claims, Explorologist filed a separate lawsuit against Sapient. The suit includes more bogus charges, with many of them based on the assertion that Explorologist has the copyright to eight seconds of the introductory footage in the NOVA video. EFF's motion to dismiss the case points out the numerous holes in this claim, arguing that even if it were true, eight seconds is a classic fair use -- especially given the critical purposes of the use.

The brief also argues that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects Sapient from infringement claims and other charges in Explorologist's complaint, immunizing Sapient as the publisher of third-party content.

"Copyright law is meant to protect creative artists, not hypersensitive public figures who don't like criticism," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jason Schultz. "The First Amendment does not allow Geller or his corporation to silence legitimate discussion of his abilities."

Meanwhile, Sapient's lawsuit against Geller is still pending before the Northern District of California. The suit asks for damages due to Geller's DMCA violation, a declaratory judgment that the NOVA video does not infringe Geller's copyrights, and Geller to be restrained from bringing any further legal action against Sapient in connection to the clip.

For the full motion to dismiss Geller's suit:http://eff.org/legal/cases/sapient_v_geller/sapient_motiontodismiss.pdf

For more on Sapient v. Geller:http://eff.org/legal/cases/sapient_v_geller

Contacts:
Corynne McSherryStaff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationcorynne@eff.org
Jason SchultzSenior Staff AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationjason@eff.org
Posted at 07:54 AM

June 11, 2007

Hollywood Continues Legal Battle Against Remote DVRs

EFF Weighs in On Behalf of Innovators in Remote Computing

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a coalition of public interest groups, trade associations, and businesses urged a federal appeals court Friday to overturn a damaging lower court ruling that puts companies that provide remote computing technologies at risk of copyright infringement liability.

The case involves a remote "digital video recorder" (DVR) developed by Cablevision -- the fifth largest cable television provider in the U.S. -- that allows customers to record programs provided through their Cablevision subscription for later viewing, much like many other DVR offerings. However, instead of storing the recorded programs using a DVR at home, Cablevision's remote DVR stores the recorded programs on equipment located on Cablevision's premises. Twentieth Century Fox, the Cartoon Network, and other television networks filed suit, and a district court in New York ruled against Cablevision, reasoning that Cablevision, not its customers, was making the copies. That ruling has now been appealed by Cablevision.

"The Supreme Court has already ruled that consumers have a fair use right to time-shift TV shows," said Fred von Lohmann, EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney. "It should not make a difference whether the copies are stored inside their set-top boxes or back at Cablevision headquarters."

In an amicus brief filed the with 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Friday, EFF and the coalition argued not only that the lower court ruling is at odds with copyright law, but also that it poses a threat to innovation in remote computing services more generally. Consumers often have remote access to digital services that provide better performance more conveniently than devices they could buy for their home, but this decision opens the door to more lawsuits that could shut these services down.

"Both consumers and the enterprise are increasingly enjoying the benefits of remote computing capabilities, relying on services like Amazon's EC2, Google Apps, and Apple's .Mac, for processing power, applications, and data hosting," said von Lohmann. "It can't be the case that these companies are automatically liable for every copyright infringement committed by every user, whether they know about it or not."

For the full amicus brief filed in the case:http://eff.org/legal/cases/studios_v_cablevision/CDF_et_al_amicus.pdf
For more on protecting technology innovations:http://www.eff.org/innovate

Contact:
Fred von LohmannSenior Intellectual Property AttorneyElectronic Frontier Foundationfred@eff.org

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Carl Bernstein: Bush More "Disastrous" Than NixonYahoo! News – USA
But 33 years after Nixon resigned in order to avoid an inevitable impeachment -- on August 9, 1974 -- Bernstein is more concerned about a president named ...See all stories on this topic

A tribute and the way forwardPeople's Weekly World - USAThe 300-page report, "The Constitution in Crisis: The High Crimes of the Bush Administration and a Blueprint for Impeachment," was issued in 2006. ...See all stories on this topic

Bush/Cheney 'Impeach' Ordinance RatifiedTelluride Watch - Telluride,CO,USAIn voting 5-2 during its regular session Tuesday at Rebekah Hall to approve the second reading of an ordinance calling for impeachment proceedings in ...See all stories on this topic

Iraq, Impeachment and the MediaFOX News - USAI have to ask you about your latest documentary about impeachment. The PBS ombudsman said it was -- there is a "complete absence of balance. ...See all stories on this topic

An Alternative to Impeachment: Transitional Justice for the Bush-itesTPMCafe - New York,NY,USABy Mark Schmitt bio The case for beginning impeachment proceedings against President Bush and/or Vice President Cheney is as simple and unarguable as the ...See all stories on this topic

Impeachment Possible for Cheney and Gonzales333, articles of impeachment against Cheney. And an additional bill, H. Res. 589 has been introduced proposing the impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. That bill already has 28 cosponsors, and Congressman Steve Cohen, ...AfterDowningStreet.org - Impeach... - http://www.afterdowningstreet.org

Ski Resort's Impeachment Vote BackfiresThey never voted to impeach Clinton for the Davidian Massacre, did they. http://www.wizardsofaz.com/waco/waco2.html. And they are not now demanding troops get out of Bosnia, are they.digg / dig - http://digg.com/

Impeachment LiesBy bmaz(--Blue Girl) One audience member wanted to know if Specter might vote to impeach Gonzales.... Specter described himself as on a "one-man crusade" against Gonzales, but an impeachment, he said, would tie up both houses of Congress and be "a big ...Watching Those We Chose - http://proctoringcongress.blogspot.com/

State Dems pass on Inslee's move to impeach AGJay Inslee's resolution calling for possible impeachment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has been hailed by liberals as a long-overdue move against the administration. (The PI gave him "big ups" for the move. The resolution has ...Postman on Politics - http://blog.seattletimes.nwsource.com/davidpostman/

How To Lobby For ImpeachmentBy David Swanson They want to know, in order of importance, how supporting impeachment will help them win in November of 2008, help their party win in November 2008, keep them in good standing with their party's leadership, make the corporate media like ...The Smirking Chimp - News And... - http://www.smirkingchimp.com

James Ewinger
Plain Dealer Reporter

Kent - A soft-spoken teacher posted the words "Impeach Bush" in a public garden, and Kent police cast him as an outlaw.

Today Kevin Egler is fighting that in Kent Municipal Court, and the case is emerging as a free-speech issue of interest well beyond the boundaries of placid Portage County.

Police ticketed Egler for unlawfully advertising in a public place because he put up a free-standing sign near the intersection of Haymarket Parkway and Willow and Main streets.
Egler said the officer who cited him July 25 asked: "Why don't you put the signs in your own yard?" Egler said his response was that he's a taxpayer and views the public space very much as his yard.

At 45, Egler is too young to have experienced the heyday of anti-war activity in Kent. He was only 8 when Ohio National Guardsmen shot and killed four Kent State University students during a campus protest on May 4, 1970. He went to the university a decade later, putting out an underground newspaper and acquiring an accounting degree.

Egler and about a dozen friends and associates have placed hundreds of anti-war messages around Ohio and neighboring states over the past 10 months. He said the effort is fueled by the notion that President Bush's military response after the 9/11 terrorist attacks was both illegal and immoral.

The ticket in Kent represents the first serious legal challenge to the campaign, Egler said. (He said he was ticketed for littering in Columbus after a sign he placed on a bridge blew over.)

Egler said that when he was stopped in Kent, he asked the police officer how his sign differed from Realtors posting signs on public property saying "This way to the house for sale." He said the officer asked, "You don't know the difference?" but never explained what it might be.

Columbus attorney Bob Fitrakis, Egler's lawyer, said there is a difference: The real estate sign is commercial speech, and Egler's sign is political. Commercial messages do not have anywhere near the legal protections that political speech does, he said.

Fitrakis does extensive legal work on First Amendment issues and is the publisher of the nationally recognized online publication freepress.org. He said this is the first Ohio case of its kind that he has heard of, because most prosecutions for political signs occur when someone defaces a building with paint or graffiti, but not a free-standing, easily removable sign. Until now.

But Ohio politicians - including judges running for re-election - get a great deal of latitude when it comes to posting their campaign signs, and Fitrakis said he is not aware of any instance in which a mainstream politician has been hunted down and prosecuted for the act.

Kent Safety Director William Lillich said similar tickets have been issued there, but he is not sure whether they involved commercial or political messages. He said candidates have been contacted and told to move inappropriately placed campaign signs.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter:
jewinger@plaind.com, 216-999-3905
http://www.cleveland.com/news/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/portage/118664980199160.xml&coll=2


M E M O R A N D U MTo: Ed. DickauFrom: Celinda Lake and Daniel Gotoff, Lake Research PartnersSubject: New Polling Shows Democrats Can Win Debate on Terrorism

Date: August 1, 2007A recent national survey reveals that the time is ripe for Democrats to engage the GOP in an aggressive debate on terrorism and national security.

1 Although Democrats have a message that can increase their advantageon national security going into 2008, the current window ofopportunity is narrowing.Perceptions of the President are indeed deteriorating, including onnational security, but public attitudes on Iraq and its relationship to the war on terrorism have grown more polarized in recent weeks.

Americans' ratings of the President on matters of national security have grown quite critical in the wake of the recent NationalIntelligence Estimate that al Qaeda is resurgent - in Afghanistan andPakistan, not Iraq - and more threatening to the U.S. than at any timesince the summer of 2001.After hearing that U.S. intelligence agencies report that al Qaeda has regenerated its ability to attack America and is intensifying its efforts to put operatives inside the country, a 53 percent majority of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is handling terrorism.

Just 38 percent approve and 9 percent don't know.

The recent George Washington University-Battleground Poll underscoresthe President's declining advantage over Democrats on the issue ofterrorism, from 15 points in January to 10 points now.

2 In fact, the majorities of Americans are looking for a more vigorous approach in the war on terrorism. Fully 6 in 10 Americans (60 percent) say that the Bush administrationhas not been aggressive enough in pursuing al Qaeda terrorists.

Just 16 percent think the administration has been too aggressive, 15 percent think it has the right approach, and 8 percent are unsure.

In the current atmosphere, Democrats benefit from engaging Republicans- not just in a domestic argument about homeland security, but in a broader discussion that involves Iraq, Afghanistan, terrorism, andsecuring America's place in the world.

Despite the GOP's generic advantage on terrorism, in an engaged debateon the matter, the Democratic position defeats the Republican positionby a solid 10-point margin.

The Republican message that al Qaeda inIraq is America's top threat and that Democrats' strategy for Iraqwould encourage the terrorists to follow us home draws just 36 percentof Americans to its side.

The Democratic message, on the other hand,that the threat of attack has increased as a result of Republicans'fundamentally flawed strategies on Iraq and terrorism, resonates with a 46 percent plurality of Americans.

ENGAGED DEBATE ON TERRORISM

I am going to read you two statements. After hearing both statements please tell me which one comes closer to your own personal point of view.

[ROTATE]Republicans say al Qaeda in Iraq is a growing threat. They say alQaeda in Iraq have sworn their allegiance to Osama bin Laden and arepart of the same group that attacked us on 9-11.

But instead of taking the fight to the enemy, Democrats are doing everything in their power to hand al Qaeda a victory in Iraq. Democrats' pre-9-11 mindset would encourage the terrorists to follow us home - making our families, andour nation, less safe. = 36%

Democrats say Republicans are wrong on Iraq and wrong on terrorism.Republicans are against bringing our troops home from Iraq and even according to Bush and Cheney, Al Qaeda is now more dangerous than ever.

Three thousand soldiers dead, ten thousand disfigured, and a warthat is costing $10 billion a month. Now Iraq politicians are takingthe summer off, but terrorism and Iraq are worse than ever. We need to protect America first, instead of Iraqi politicians. = 46%

(both) = 1%

(neither) = 8%

(Unsure/don't know) = 9%

Only 22 percent of Americans believe that U.S. involvement in Iraq is eliminating terrorists who were planning to attack the U.S.

A 40 percent plurality of Americans believe it is creating more terrorists who are planning to attack the U.S., and another 28 percent say it is not affecting the number of terrorists planning to attack the U.S.

In the absence of engagement on the part of Democrats, however, the administration's renewed push to define Iraq as the central front inthe country's fight against international terrorism has affected attitudes on Iraq and its relationship to the war on terrorism.Overall, the number of Americans who believe the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq has increased from May to July of this year, from 35 percent to 42 percent.

And the number who believe the U.S. should have stayed out has dropped from 61percent in May to 51 percent now

3 In addition, Americans are now split on whether Iraq is making theU.S. safer from terrorism.
Forty-two percent believe it is making the country less safe and 41percent believe it is making us safer.

Another 8 percent say it is not making any difference and 9 percentare unsure.
Compared to the fall of 2006, these attitudes have grown morepolarized.

In November of last year, fully 56 percent said the war was making us less safe, compared to just 35 percent who said it was making us safer.

4 The intensity of current attitudes still spells trouble for theRepublicans (23 percent much less safe versus 17 percent much moresafe), but the trend is nevertheless evident.

1 Lake Research Partners Poll. June 22-24, 2007. N=1000 adultsnationwide. MoE ± 3.1.2 GW-Battleground Poll/

The Tarrance Group and Lake Research Partners.July 15-18, 2007. N=1,000 registered likely voters nationwide. MoE ±3.1.3

CBS News/New York Times Poll. July 20-22, 2007. N=889 adultsnationwide. MoE ± 3.1.

Six Questions (Without Answers) for Congressman John Conyers on ...Harper's Magazine - New York,NY,USAPolls show that impeachment of President Bush is supported by a notable section of the public. Why isn't impeachment on the table? ...See all stories on this topic

Impeachment petition goes missing in Garrett ParkBusiness Gazette - Gaithersburg,MD,USAby Audrey Dutton Staff Writer It may not be the next Watergate, but the mysterious disappearance of a pro-impeachment petition in a Garrett Park building ...See all stories on this topic

Keep Your Politics Out of My ImpeachmentHarper's Magazine - New York,NY,USAI came late to the piece by Michael Tomasky in last Sunday's Washington Post that argues against the impeachment of President Bush or Vice President ...See all stories on this topic

Differing views on impeachmentSan Francisco Chronicle - CA, USA6 Chronicle's letters to the editor opened with four - count 'em - four straight calls for impeachment of what the final letter described as "all these ...See all stories on this topic

Barbara Wright: Make Gonzales the first to face impeachmentThe Capital Times - Madison,WI,USAImpeachment is the only way to stop this administration from continuing to further corrupt the rule of law and the checks and balances within the ...See all stories on this topic

Google Blogs Alert for: impeachment
Rednecks, Blue Dogs and ImpeachmentBy Margaret Bassett Two octogenarians, one from Montgomery and the other a naturalized Brit who fought in WW II, don't want to talk to each other. All I want is to keep our word workers from acting like the MSM. I'm putting IMPEACHMENT on the kitchen table ...culturekitchen - fresh dissent... - http://culturekitchen.com

AND 43 Swanson on Failure to Stop Bush Is Not a Victimless CrimeBy info@anationdeceived.org (Craig S. Barnes) Enjoy this show for a brief, current, and important perspective from one of the courageous leaders of the Bush, Cheney impeachment movement. The transcript for the entire show is available on our Blog. IMMEDIATE ACTION: Please voice ...Impeachment Podcast - http://www.anationdeceived.org

Impeachment - by: mattNo, not the criminals in the White House, Yosemite Sam Leahy:. In a letter to White House Counsel Fred Fielding today, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) set a new return date of August 20 for subpoenas served to the ...1115.org - http://www.1115.org

Bush/Cheney Impeachment: Count Me InBy Shane-O There has been a vigorous debate and able advocacy in the Mighty Corrente Building regarding the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. I had been somewhat resistant to the idea until I had the chance to read Federalist Paper Number 65 by ...Corrente - http://www.correntewire.com

Impeachment Politics Getting TrickyTodd Gitlin's TPM Cafe post "Impeachment Pit" adds some common sense to the debate about the wisdom of impeaching Bush and Cheney. Gitlin concedes the strong legal case for impeachment based on the puppet's and his master's reckless ...Strategist - http://www.thedemocraticstrategist.org/strategist/


Speech Given At Ft. Worth City Council Meeting: A Resolution For Impeachmenthttp://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/25659

Submitted by Mike McNiel on Sat, 2007-08-11 00:04. Media Team
My name is Mike McNiel

Good Evening, Mayor, members of the City Council.
I support the impeachment of President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney.

I am a United States Marine Corps Gulf War Veteran. I joined the elite fighting force because I felt an obligation and a duty to serve and preserve a nation that so many of my fellow veterans sacrificed their lives for.

When my country knocked on my door to preserve 231 years toward the ideal of democracy, I answered that call. I didn't go AWOL in the Air National Guard and I didn't seek 5 deferments in a conflict I didn't believe in.

My allegiance is to the United States Constitution and the freedom this country was founded upon, not a specific individual holding the highest seat in office. It goes far deeper than him.

When our conservative counter-parts refer to our military with the cliché blanket statement of an 'all volunteer army', we enlist thinking that our leaders hold our best interest at heart. Not to be deceived exploiting our naiveté due to our youth sending us to a senseless slaughter. And it quickly becomes a non 'all volunteer army' when troops are stop lossed for up to 16 months at a time.

Today, we are still facing the repercussions of Vietnam. This country hasn't healed from that conflict, 58,000 names inscribed on the Vietnam Wall, twice that amount that came back and committed suicide and the invisible scars of the mind and the heart for the one's who did survive.

The generation of people who beat the continuous drums of war and never fought or served their country, have taken the exact blueprint from the Vietnam era and applied it to Iraq. Those dominoes never fell even after North Vietnam took over South Vietnam two years after we left. But this administration is fueling al-Qaeda by using our illegal occupation as a major recruiting tool.

They have jeopardized our national security, we have lost global credibility, they manipulate rhetoric to conceal the truth, they purposely launched a propaganda assault in the futile attempt to silence their critics attempting to discredit and marginalize them, calling their critics names that one would hear in an elementary school yard as their sole defense.

The Patriot Act has often been compared to Hitler's Reichstag Fire Decree and Enabling Act. It is the curtailing of civil liberties under the cloak of National Security. Bush continues to sign Executive Orders granting this admin. sweeping, broad and vaguely stated powers. This too runs closely parallel with Article 48 which was passed by Germany's parliament (the Reichstag in '33).

Executive Orders and Article 48 are examples of how giving up civil liberties in times of crisis can be used to overthrow a governments constitution from within. Under Article 48, the President could rule by decree in times of emergency. Under Executive Orders, the United States Constitution would be indefinitely suspended "… In the Event of a National Emergency…"

In the past weeks we've been forewarned of another terrorist attack by Homeland Security director Michael Chertoff's 'gut feeling.'

Gentleman, the tables have been set. Everything is pointing in one direction. If there is another terrorist attack, Executive Orders will take the place of our Constitution and Martial Law will be ushered in.

Overview > By David L. Hudson Jr.
First Amendment Center research attorney

Many people like to express their support for a political candidate with a yard sign. Sometimes this form of freedom of expression conflicts with a city law banning or limiting the time in which political signs may be displayed. The question becomes whether such city laws infringe upon citizens’ and perhaps the candidates’ First Amendment rights.

Some city officials claim that putting limits on yard signs furthers a variety of state interests, including aesthetics and traffic safety. However, opponents of such regulations counter that yard signs, unlike perhaps large billboards too close to public streets, do not in any way reduce traffic safety. They also contend that aesthetic interests pale in comparison to the importance of political speech expressed in campaign signs.

In 1994, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Missouri city law prohibiting signs at private residences. Margaret Gilleo ran afoul of the law when she placed a 24-by-36-inch sign in her front lawn with the words, “Say No to War in the Persian Gulf, Call Congress Now” and an 8 ½-by-11-inch sign in the second-story window of her home that read, “For Peace in the Gulf.”

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rejected the ordinance in City of Ladue v. Gilleo, writing that residential yard signs were “a venerable means of communication that is both unique and important.” The Court explained:

“Displaying a sign from one’s own residence often carries a message quite distinct from placing the sign someplace else, or conveying the same text or picture by other means. … Residential signs are an unusually cheap and convenient form of communication. Especially for persons of modest means or limited mobility, a yard or window sign may have no practical substitute. … Even for the affluent, the added costs in money or time of taking out a newspaper advertisement, handing out leaflets on the street, or standing in front of one’s house with a handheld sign may make the difference between participating and not participating in some public debate.”

Lower courts have cited the Gilleo precedent with great success in challenging city bans on political yard signs. In Curry v. Prince George’s County (1999), a federal district court in Maryland invalidated a sign ordinance that limited the posting of political campaign signs in private residences to 45 days before and up to 10 days after an election. “There is no distinction to be made between the political campaign signs in the present case and the ‘cause’ sign in City of Ladue,” the court wrote. “When political campaign signs are posted on private residences, they merit the same special solicitude and protection established for cause signs in City of Ladue.”

In Arlington County Republican Committee v. Arlington County (1993), a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated a county law that imposed a two-sign limit on temporary signs for each residence. The court noted that “the two-sign limit infringes on this speech by preventing homeowners from expressing support for more than two candidates when there are numerous contested elections.”

Taking another example, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled in City of Painesville Building Department v. Dworken & Bernstein Co. (2000) that a city law requiring the removal of political signs within 48 hours after an election is unconstitutional as applied to the posting of such signs on private property. “Although the Supreme Court has not considered the issue, the overwhelming majority of courts that have reviewed sign ordinances imposing durational limits for temporary political signs tied to a specific election date have found them to be unconstitutional,” the court wrote.

This does not mean that cities can never legislate in the area of political signs. A city may regulate the size, shape and location of yard signs. Such regulations may very well qualify as content-neutral and reasonable “time, place and manner” restrictions on speech. Similarly, a city may be able to establish a 10-sign limit per residence on yard signs. At some point, the sheer number of signs might realistically impair the aesthetics of a neighborhood.

Homeowner, condo associations: different situationAlthough cities and other government entities are constrained by the First Amendment in regulating political yard signs, there is no similar restraint imposed on private homeowner and condominium associations.

Cities are considered state actors subject to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. Homeowner associations are private parties that do not qualify as state actors. The First Amendment generally protects people only from government interference with speech.

For example, a Pennsylvania state court ruled in Midlake on Big Boulder Lake, Condominium Association v. Cappuccio (1996) that a condominium association did not violate the First Amendment by removing political yard signs in accordance with a section of the association’s declaration of rules prohibiting the posting of signs at individual units. The court reasoned that there was no state action, because the association was a private party. The court wrote:

“The courts of this Commonwealth have vigorously defended the rights which are guaranteed to our citizens by both the federal and our Commonwealth’s constitutions. One of the fundamental precepts which we recognize, however, is the individual’s freedom to contractually restrict, or even give up, those rights. The Cappuccios contractually agreed to abide by the provisions in the Declaration at the time of purchase, thereby relinquishing their freedom of speech concerns regarding placing signs on this property.”

Some litigants have sought to satisfy the state-action doctrine by invoking the plight of homeowners in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kraemer (1948). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court found state action in the enforcement of racially discriminatory restrictive covenants that limited the sale of residential property to a specific race. The Court found that such odious provisions smacked of flagrant racial discrimination, and that judicial enforcement of such restrictive covenants violated the 14th Amendment and its principle of equal protection. The 11th Circuit wrote in a case involving an association’s prohibition on “for sale” signs that “Shelley has not been extended beyond race discrimination” (see Loren v. Sasser (2002)).

This means that government restrictions on political campaign signs are problematical under the First Amendment. However, homeowner/condo-association restrictions on yard or window signs may very well not raise a valid constitutional-law issue unless there is a very close nexus, or connection, to a government entity.

A caveat to this general First Amendment principle is that state courts are free to interpret the free-expression provisions in their state constitutions more broadly than the federal courts interpret the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Some states have done this by finding that large shopping malls are the functional equivalent of the city square for purposes of free-speech issues. (See Assembly on private property section.)

In Committee for a Better Twin Rivers v. Twin Rivers Homeowners’ Association, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, ruled that a homeowners association was subject to the free-speech provisions of the New Jersey Constitution.
“The manner and extent to which functions undertaken by community associations have supplanted the role that only towns or villages once played in our polity mirrors the manner and extent to which regional shopping centers have become the functional equivalents of downtown business districts,” the court wrote. “In the exercise of fundamental rights, we discern no principled basis for distinguishing between the general public at large and the members of a community association.”

It remains to be seen whether this ruling could begin a trend toward applying state constitutional free-speech protections to privately-owned homeowner associations. It certainly bears close inspection.

Meanwhile, some state legislatures have passed provisions that protect the display of flags and signs on condominium-association property.

 Arizona. In 2004, the Arizona State Legislature amended existing legislation to protect homeowners’ and condominium residents’ right to fly flags. The revised statues (33-1261 and 33-1808) allow for residents to fly flags that are consistent in size with dimensions noted in the federal flag code (P.L. 94-344; 90 Stat. 810; 4 U.S. Code sections 4-10). Arizona homeowners’ associations may not prohibit the installation of a flagpole, but may dictate its height and placement. The revised statute 33-1808, which concerns homeowners in planned communities, also secured the right to post political signs. Signs may be displayed unless regulated by the association. All sign prohibitions must be consistent with and not exceed restrictions in local sign ordinances. Political signs may never be prohibited 45 days before or 7 days after an election.

 California. On Sept. 12, 2003, now-former California Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill, AB 1525, permitting residents of common-interest developments (neighborhoods, planned communities, apartments, et al.) to display signs and flags. The bill prohibits associations from forbidding such displays and their placement unless they are found to be hazardous to community health and safety, or in violation of local, state, or federal codes. An association may stipulate the size or material with which a display is made, but such regulations must be consistent with local ordinances.

Ohio. The state Legislature passed a law in 2005 that allows all residents to display the U.S. flag if the display is within the bounds of local, state, or federal ordinances. House Bill 539 additionally forbids any regulation of flagpoles — as to placement or size — if the poles are used to fly the American flag and don't exceed the height allowed by local, state or federal codes.

Updated February 2006.

Related
Welcome to the neighborhood: Now clam up Homeowners associations flourish, but some residents bristle over restrictive policies on everything from political signs to U.S. flags to paint colors. 07.14.03

Arizona bill aims to make homeowners groups more open Measure would require association boards to give members broader access to meetings, financial records. 01.17.04

Apartment dweller, managers clash over flag display Retirement community board says father-in-law of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas can't fly flag on holidays. 06.06.04

Federal judge halts Michigan city's time limit on yard signs Meanwhile, conflicts are springing up across the country over statutes that restrict campaign signs. 09.20.04

Yard-sign rules contested in another Detroit suburb ACLU says Troy violated free speech by ticketing man for Bush sign. 09.28.04

Town’s political yard sign restriction struck down Ordinance allowing lawn signs to be posted only for 30 days before elections ruled unconstitutional. 07.22.05

Kan. man fined for anti-war signs in his yard Prairie Village resident appeals ticket, arguing that ordinance restricts political speech. 12.28.05

Idaho man files $1 million legal claim over libel arrest L.D. Bryson was arrested after he put up yard signs intended to make neighbors aware of sex offenders. 01.04.06

N.J. homeowners groups must recognize residents' free speech State appeals panel overturns lower court ruling, says residents' 'rights to engage in expressive exercises … must take precedence over the [association’s] private property interests.' 02.08.06

W. Va. town's political-sign law held unconstitutional Ordinance restricts time during which temporary signs may be posted within city limits. 03.24.06 President signs bill freeing homeowners to fly U.S. flag New law prohibits condo, homeowners groups from preventing residents from displaying Stars and Stripes on their property. 07.25.06

Kansas City suburb may go back to drawing board on sign rules Federal judge blocks enforcement of Prairie Village, Kan., ordinance used by city to cite resident for anti-war yard signs. 09.05.06

N.J. high court hears dispute over homeowner rules Plaintiffs object to restrictions on political yard signs, high fees for use of association's community room, and lack of voice in community newspaper. 01.05.07

N.J. high court: Homeowners must abide by association rules Residents forfeit certain freedoms of speech — such as the right to post political yard signs — when they live in developments that bar such expression. 07.27.07

Print

Warrantless wiretaps expanded

A surveillance law pushed through Congress and signed by Bush on Sunday will allow the government to monitor phone calls and e-mails without a warrant.

By Tom A. Peter
from the August 7, 2007 edition

The US government now has greater authority to eavesdrop without warrants on American citizens' telephone calls and e-mails after President Bush signed new surveillance legislation into law on Sunday. Authored largely by the White House, the new law, officials say, provides a legal framework for warrantless monitoring that was already being conducted by the National Security Agency outside of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Many Democrats and civil rights activists argue that this new law erodes fundamental American liberties and privacy rights. Supporters contend that it's vital to fend off potential terrorist attacks.

Under FISA, which has been amended at least eight times since 2001, a secret national security court issued the necessary warrants for various government offices to conduct wiretaps and other surveillance in the US, reports The Baltimore Sun. Under the new law, provided that the government is targeting a foreigner talking to a US citizen, no warrant is needed.

The change in the law was, in part, a response to the 2005 revelation of a program monitoring conversations without a warrant between foreigners and the United States that were believed to have a connection to al-Qaida. President Bush reluctantly agreed earlier this year to obtain a warrant from the secret court for what Bush now calls the Terrorist Surveillance Program. But the administration had since sought to reduce the role of the court in the process.

The new law expands the eavesdropping powers Bush claimed he had the right to exercise with his Terrorist Surveillance Program in two major ways, reports The Boston Globe.

First, the law requires telecommunications companies to make their facilities available for government wiretaps, and it grants them immunity from lawsuits for complying. Under the old program, such companies participated only voluntarily – and some were sued for allegedly violating their customers' privacy.

Second, Bush has said his original surveillance program was restricted to calls and e-mails involving a suspected terrorist, but the new law has no such limit. Instead, it allows executive-branch agencies to conduct oversight-free surveillance of all international calls and e-mails, including those with Americans on the line, with the sole requirement that the intelligence-gathering is "directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside the United States." There is no requirement that either caller be a suspected terrorist, spy, or criminal.

Although the new law potentially allows the government to listen in on conversations of Americans calling from overseas (e.g., an American in Paris calling an American in Chicago), White House officials emphasized that the program is directed at foreign suspects, not Americans, reports The New York Times. "It's foreign, that's the point," Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman said. "What you want to make sure is that you are getting the foreign target." The law will expire in six months and changes the oversight and regulation process for government monitoring.

The new law gives the attorney general and the director of national intelligence the power to approve the international surveillance, rather than the special intelligence court. The court's only role will be to review and approve the procedures used by the government in the surveillance after it has been conducted. It will not scrutinize the cases of the individuals being monitored.

Although a number of Democrats in the House of Representatives had doubts about the new law, they caved under threats from the president to force congressmen to stay in session until they created a version of the law to which he could agree. Still, the British Broadcasting Corp. reports that many Democrats spoke out strongly against the law.

"This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances," said Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren during the debate preceding the vote.

"I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the 4th Amendment" of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Just an hour after the House voted on the Legislation last Saturday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the Judiciary and Intelligence committees asking them to respond to the new legislation by addressing its "many deficiencies," reports The Congressional Quarterly.

"Many provisions of this legislation are unacceptable, and although the bill has a six month sunset clause, I do not believe the American people will want to wait that long before corrective action is taken," Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote to Judiciary Chairman John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., and Intelligence Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas.

Government officials are apparently unhappy that details of the wiretapping program were leaked to the public. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an investigation to discover who leaked details to the media, reports Newsweek. Agents searched Thomas M. Tamm's house and confiscated three computers. Mr. Tamm formerly worked in the secret Justice Department office that oversees surveillance of terrorists and espionage targets.

A veteran federal prosecutor who left DOJ last year, Tamm worked at OIPR [Office of Intelligence Policy and Review] during a critical period in 2004 when senior Justice officials first strongly objected to the surveillance program. Those protests led to a crisis that March when, according to recent Senate testimony, then A.G. John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and others threatened to resign, prompting Bush to scale the program back. Tamm, said one of the legal sources, had shared concerns about he program's legality, but it was unclear whether he actively participated in the internal DOJ protest.

The FBI raid on Tamm's home comes when Gonzales himself is facing criticism for allegedly misleading Congress by denying there had been "serious disagreement" within Justice about the surveillance program. The A.G. last week apologized for "creating confusion," but Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy said he is weighing asking Justice's inspector general to review Gonzales's testimony.

Bush administration defends spy law

The White House rejects claims that the new measure allows electronic 'drift nets' to snare U.S. citizens.
By Greg Miller, Times Staff WriterAugust 7, 2007

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration rushed to defend new espionage legislation Monday amid growing concern that the changes could lead to increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens.

In a public relations push to counter criticism of the new law, senior administration officials cited a combination of legal barriers and resource restrictions that they said would keep the government from sifting through e-mails and phone calls of Americans without obtaining court warrants first.

But officials declined to provide details about how the new capabilities might be used by the National Security Agency and other spy services. And in many cases, they could point only to internal monitoring mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new rules that appear to give the government greater authority to tap into the traffic flowing across U.S. telecommunications networks.

Officials rejected assertions that the new capabilities would enable the government to cast electronic "drift nets" that might ensnare U.S. citizens, even if by accident.

"We're really talking about targeting people, directed targeting at people overseas," said a senior administration official who was among three authorized to discuss the legislation — on the condition they not be identified — in a conference call with reporters on Monday. "If the target is overseas, you don't need a warrant. If the target is in the United States, you do."

The White House also took specific aim at concerns that the new legislation would amount to the expansion of a controversial — and critics contend unconstitutional — warrantless wiretapping program that President Bush authorized after the 9/11 attacks.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Tony Fratto called such assertions "unfounded" and "highly misleading."

But intelligence experts said there were an array of provisions in the new legislation that appeared to make it possible for the government to engage in intelligence-collection activities that the Bush administration officials were discounting.

"They are trying to shift the terms of the debate to their intentions and away from the meaning of the new law," said Steven Aftergood, an intelligence policy analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.
"The new law gives them authority to do far more than simply surveil foreign communications abroad," he said. "It expands the surveillance program beyond terrorism to encompass foreign intelligence. It permits the monitoring of communications of a U.S. person as long as he or she is not the primary target. And it effectively removes judicial supervision of the surveillance process."

The White House effort to tamp down criticism underscores the stakes for the administration, which has lobbied for more than a year for sweeping changes to the nation's electronic espionage laws. Even though passage of the bill over the weekend was seen as a victory for the White House, the legislation is set to expire in six months so that Congress can revisit the issue.
Under the new law, U.S. spy agencies are free to intercept the e-mails and phone calls of any person "reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States," even if the target is a U.S. citizen or is communicating with someone within U.S. borders. The U.S. attorney general and the director of national intelligence would make that determination, although the procedures they used to do so would be subject to review by a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The law also compels American telecommunications companies to cooperate with the government and provide access to their networks, which account for a disproportionate share of global communications traffic — including calls and e-mails that begin and end in other countries.

Administration officials said the changes were designed to fix flaws in a 1978 intelligence law passed before the advent of the Internet, cellphones and other modern technologies. Despite the revisions, Fratto said, protections for U.S. citizens were kept intact.

"Court approval is required for the government to target an individual located in the United States," he said, "and nothing in the new law changes that."

But the administration officials who were granted permission to discuss the law did not go into detail on how foreign targets might be defined or identified.

It remains unclear, for example, whether U.S. spy agencies can sort through phone and e-mail records furnished by U.S. telecommunications companies, searching for suspicious calling patterns. The officials declined to discuss such "data mining" operations or to address whether the NSA could capture all of the calls and e-mails in or out of a particular region, such as Pakistan's western province.

"Any type of program really aimed at just sweeping up Americans' communications" would have to be consistent with constitutional protections, one administration official said. The official added that information inadvertently collected from or about U.S. residents would be removed from intelligence reports through minimization procedures.

The White House pressed for the new law after the FISA court ruled earlier this year against part of the administration's eavesdropping program. The officials declined to elaborate about the nature of that ruling, which other sources have said required the government to obtain warrants before intercepting foreign-to-foreign calls or e-mails that traveled through the United States.
But the administration officials offered some new details on the FISA warrant system, saying that the process for obtaining court orders often required submitting lengthy applications that must be assembled with the help of intelligence analysts pulled away from other counter-terrorism tasks.

"We have to submit a packet many pages long, maybe 50 pages," one official said. "We're taking some of our most critical resources off-task to put these things together."
greg.miller@latimes.com

Partisanship serves parties' interests

The GOP sees more advantage in disrupting congressional business, and Democrats see no incentive to accommodate the minority.

By Noam N. Levey, Times Staff WriterAugust 6, 2007
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WASHINGTON — As the House of Representatives lurched through its last rancorous hours over the weekend, there was much talk of shame and disappointment about the bitter partisanship that seemed to consume Congress ahead of its summer break.

But there were few real tears in the Capitol for the current state of affairs.

Seven months into Democrats' control of the House and Senate, the angry sparring has largely served the political interests of both parties, whose leaders often believe they have more to gain by warring with their rivals than by working with them.

Newly empowered Democrats, confident that the public backs their agenda and eager to expand their House and Senate majorities next year, have little incentive to accommodate the GOP minority.

They left town touting their successful efforts to raise the federal minimum wage, revamp ethics and lobbying rules, and implement the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations, though many other major goals, such as ending the war in Iraq, were unrealized.

For their part, Republicans, who still lag in public opinion polls after losing the majority last year, see more advantage in disrupting congressional business in their quest to cast the Democratic Congress as ineffective.

They went home complaining of a "do-nothing" Congress, even after they used one procedural tactic after another to stall legislative business.

"This is an era of partisan gridlock," said Julian E. Zelizer, a congressional historian at Princeton University, who pointed to the polarizing influences of the Iraq war and the fast-approaching 2008 election season.

In one of the session's last debates, the two parties clashed bitterly over a Bush administration demand to modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to expand the authority of U.S. spy agencies to monitor overseas phone calls and e-mails. The measure ultimately passed over the objections of many House and Senate Democrats, and President Bush signed it into law Sunday.

Few expected a flowering of comity when control of the Capitol shifted in January after 12 years of nearly total GOP rule.

The parties were coming off a fiercely contested election. Democrats, who won narrow majorities in both chambers, were smarting from years of iron-fisted tactics by the Republican majority. They were determined to challenge the White House and enact their priorities after years in the wilderness.

Republicans, stunned and bitter over losing their majorities, were in little mood to compromise. And Bush set a confrontational tone by announcing Jan. 10, six days after the Congress was sworn in, that he would boost troop levels in Iraq.

Partisan tensions intensified as Democrats pushed their legislative campaign to force the president to begin pulling troops out of Iraq. Senate Republicans repeatedly filibustered Democratic legislation, using parliamentary maneuvers to stop war-related measures that commanded the support of a majority of senators.

In the last month, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) struck back, calling an all-night session to debate the war and then pulling a defense spending bill to prevent GOP senators from voting on their alternatives.

In the House, Democrats used that chamber's rules to limit debate on major legislation and prevent Republicans from offering amendments, mirroring tactics that GOP leaders had employed when they were in control.

House Republicans retaliated with an insurgent campaign to stop debate altogether. Between Wednesday and Saturday, they forced six votes to adjourn.

Last week, shouts and hisses erupted amid disputes over votes, with Republicans storming from the House chamber at one point Thursday night.

The partisan battling has helped drive down public approval of Congress, which had risen after the Democratic wins last year. That has delighted GOP leaders, who are trumpeting the public's frustration with the slow pace of legislation under Democratic stewardship."The new direction Washington Democrats promised the American people has become a maze of their own making," Rep. Adam H. Putnam of Florida, chairman of the House Republican Conference, said in the conference's weekly radio address.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found public disapproval with the Democratic leadership at 54%, its highest level this year.

The survey also found that the percentage of people reporting they were happy that Democrats had taken control of Congress dropped 10 points since November, from 60% to 50%.

The partisanship has also complicated the Democrats' attempts to promote their accomplishments.

Besides their success on increasing the federal minimum wage, ethics and lobbying, and the Sept. 11 commission's recommendations, Democrats have moved forward with initiatives to expand health insurance for children through the State Children's Health Insurance Program and to shift U.S. energy policy away from reliance on fossil fuels.

And even though they have not succeeded in forcing a troop withdrawal from Iraq, they have helped focus the war debate on the question of when, not if, U.S. forces will begin pulling out.It has been the recent partisan squabbling that has been grabbing headlines, however.

Republicans "would rather you talk about that," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said dryly last week.But Democrats often have seemed just as happy to cast their GOP rivals as obstacles to changing the U.S. policy in Iraq, battling global warming or passing other popular initiatives.Rather than offer compromises on the war that could garner Republican support, congressional Democrats have worked with liberal grass-roots groups like MoveOn.org to hammer GOP lawmakers in their home states for backing the unpopular conflict.

By reinforcing the differences between the parties, Democrats are playing to a public that continues to favor them over the Republicans, a fact repeatedly cited by Democratic leaders.In a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, respondents deemed Republicans better equipped to deal with only one of 20 issues. Out of a list that included the war, the economy and domestic security, Republicans were seen as more capable of "promoting strong moral values.""If you look at the environment and you look at where things are, I'd clearly rather be us than them," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, a top Democratic strategist who led the effort to win the House majority last year.

But these confrontational tactics create risks for both parties.

Another year of open warfare may deprive Democrats of the real legislative accomplishments they will want at election time. And it will do little to rebuild the trust that Republicans lost on the way to their drubbing last fall.But few lawmakers see much chance that relations will be any more cordial when Congress reconvenes in September.

Debates on federal spending and the war promise to bring the White House into the fight, as well."The confrontation is going to be historic," predicted Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a leading war critic who chairs the powerful defense appropriations subcommittee. "September is when it really counts."

noam.levey@latimes.com

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