laliberty
So long as partisans are only willing to speak out against aggressive, militarized police tactics when they’re used against their own and are dismissive or even supportive of such tactics when used against those whose politics they dislike, it seems unlikely that the country will achieve enough of a political consensus to begin to slow down the trend.
ilyagerner
However, on the whole, our criminal-justice system is so frightfully racist because it’s TOO EASY for prosecutors, not because it’s too hard. Of course, in a racist society, rules that help defendants are going to help the most privileged defendants the most, and that’s maddening. But that shouldn’t stop us from recognising that the least privileged, the most oppressed, the most discriminated against, are far and away most likely to stand accused. That’s why I suspect that a legal system making it harder for the likes of Mr Zimmerman to get away with it would be a system of even more outrageous racial inequity.
Will Wilkinson, Getting away with it, on why we should hesitate to make it easier for prosecutors to put away the Zimmermans of the world.

(via ilyagerner)

I broke the law yesterday and again today and I will probably break the law tomorrow. Don’t mistake me, I have done nothing wrong. I don’t even know what laws I have broken. Nevertheless, I am reasonably confident that I have broken some laws, rules, or regulations recently because its hard for anyone to live today without breaking the law. Doubt me? Have you ever thrown out some junk mail that came to your house but was addressed to someone else? That’s a violation of federal law punishable by up to 5 years in prison.
connorratliff

connorratliff:

Paul McCartney: “Another Day”

The first single of McCartney’s solo career. Truthfully, I tend to think of all the music The Beatles made after they broke up to be just one big continuation of the White Album sessions. 

The bad stuff is just outtakes— I basically disregard it, as if it was never released— and the good stuff just makes up one gigantic Volume Two of The White Album that is never finished.  

This song (which was written and previewed during the Let It Be sessions) is as good as anything Paul ever did with The Beatles.

I went to school at Sir Paul’s Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts (LIPA) from 1995-98 and when I graduated he was the one who handed me my pin commemorating being part of that school’s first graduating class.

One other time, he came into the canteen when I was eating beans and chips and everybody else went nuts and screamed and jumped up on the table but I decided I would rather react to him like he was an ordinary human being and not be a maniac about it, but I probably looked like I was the craziest person in the room as I just kept on eating my chips and beans while everyone else jumped and screamed at the sight of Paul McCartney.

Paul McCartney is amazing—not only as a musician, but as a human being.  Popular success at his level ruins people.  It makes them shoot their televisions, or mutilate their bodies, or shave their heads, or adopt weird accents.  Paul survived being the biggest thing in the world and still all of his flaws are all human ones—things you see in your friends and neighbors, and excuse as slight quirks.   The worst thing you can say about Paul is that he cares too much about the way he is perceived in comparison to John.  But things like Paul’s need to prove that he was really the avant garde one, for example, are really just humanizing and endearing.  Psychologists should study him, and then design a course based on the results for ascending superstars.

moorewr
The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants | Politics and Law - CNET News

If this is true, then it was—help me out here, is there any way to characterize it more charitably than calling it a “lie”—okay, a lie, when President Obama said, “No one is listening to your telephone conversations.”  So let’s hope Nadler got it wrong, because I don’t want to believe that what he’s saying is accurate, and I don’t want to believe that the President would so directly lie to the public about an issue of this significance.

(via jeffmiller)

Talking Points Memo has this follow-up:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2013/06/think_thats_all_she_wrote.php

We now have a statement from Rep. Nadler which seems to debunk the CNET piece which Idiscussed in the earlier post.

“I am pleased that the administration has reiterated that, as I have always believed, the NSA cannot listen to the content of Americans’ phone calls without a specific warrant.”

This is needless to say still a somewhat cryptic quote, leaving unclear who misunderstood who. But it seems to say definitively that the central claim in the CNET article is incorrect.

(via moorewr)

There is a similar statement from the DNI that ““The statement that a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization is incorrect and was not briefed to Congress … .”  This is a weird way to try to deny something.  Does it mean that two analysts working together could eavesdrop without proper legal authorization?  Does it mean an analyst could eavesdrop without proper authorization if his boss approves it?  Why should anyone be able to eavedrop without proper authorization?  I hope that the DNI’s statement was just poorly drafted, and not intentionally vague and misleading.  But we don’t know, because the administration won’t have an actual debate about the facts, despite the President’s inistence that he welcomes such a debate.

The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, disclosed this week that during a secret briefing to members of Congress, he was told that the contents of a phone call could be accessed “simply based on an analyst deciding that.”
If the NSA wants “to listen to the phone,” an analyst’s decision is sufficient, without any other legal authorization required, Nadler said he learned. “I was rather startled,” said Nadler, an attorney who serves on the House Judiciary committee.

NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants | Politics and Law - CNET News

If this is true, then it was—help me out here, is there any way to characterize it more charitably than calling it a “lie”—okay, a lie, when President Obama said, “No one is listening to your telephone conversations.”  So let’s hope Nadler got it wrong, because I don’t want to believe that what he’s saying is accurate, and I don’t want to believe that the President would so directly lie to the public about an issue of this significance.

Scenarios

chaptertwelve asked:

So. Given what we’ve learned in the past few days, and bearing in mind what we may learn in the days ahead, what do you imagine as our best and worst case scenarios in terms of a path forward? How do you see all of this playing out in the near and distant future?

1.  Best case scenario, public outcry grows, and politicians feel pressured to put protections into the law that require probable cause for individualized warrants, and prohibit the blanket kind of surveillance that’s been used by the administration.  The FISA court is changed in some way that makes it an actual check on potential abuse.  Perhaps the Supreme Court is permitted to review all FISA judgments in camera in some kind of audit for abuse.

2.  Worst case scenario, most of the public never cares about the surveillance.  Other stories push the issue from the news, and the government continues to amass large amounts of private information concerning all citizens.  The FBI starts to access this information for non-terrorist cases.  Other government agencies do the same.  The IRS checks your online purchases.  The EPA monitors purchases of materials that might pollute.  Those who express controversial opinions or visit controversial websites are watched.  Rogue government employees access private data for their own person gain—selling it to interested parties, blackmailing people engaged in extramarital affairs, stealing identities.  You’ll come home from work to find that your home has been ransacked by a SWAT team pursuant to a warrant issued by a secret court for unspecified reasons.  

I fear that that the most likely outcome is closer to 2 than 1.  Consider how crazy the drug war has become—the massive amounts of money spent to fight it, the increasingly militarized local police forces that enforce prohibition, the asset forfeiture laws that take private property from innocent citizens without any due process, and the massive incarceration of millions of people for extraordinarily long periods of time.  At the beginning of the drug war, you’d be laughed at for suggesting that this would happen.  But it did, because people just didn’t care, and drugs were scary.  Terrorism is scarier than drugs, so you can imagine how that’s going to play out.

(reposted for reblogging)

[For two years, President Obama has resisted being drawn deeper into the civil war in Syria. It was a miserable problem, he told aides, and not one he thought he could solve… . So when Mr. Obama agreed this week for the first time to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebel forces, he had to be almost dragged into the decision at a time when critics, some advisers and even Bill Clinton were pressing for more action. Coming so late into the conflict, Mr. Obama expressed no confidence it would change the outcome, but privately expressed hope it might buy time to bring about a negotiated settlement.

Heavy Pressure Led to Decision by Obama on Syrian Arms - NYTimes.com

The President didn’t want to intervene, and believes it won’t change the outcome … so we’re going to intervene.  Change, Hope, Forward, and such.