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Posts Tagged ‘Civil Rights’

Hie Hitler!

Jim and Ginny Maziarka of West Bend, Wisconsion have taken on the local library, demanding that books that they have deemed to be inappropriate for children ages 12-18 be moved to the adult section.

The Maziarka’s have identified up to 82 titles as “pornographic” in nature in the  youth section of the library and petitioned that the city library board move these books to an appropriately labeled adult section.

The battle has led to a very public heated debate in the area: threats of “tar and feathering” the library director; a call to burn library books; silly, juvenile 4th of July parade floats; and the city council voting against renewing library board member terms due to confusion and misunderstanding.

Obviously, the Maziarka’s need to be reminded that the First Amendment of the Constitution states:

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

Perhaps the Maziarka’s fail to understand that by pushing their personal preferences (i.e. likes/dislikes) into the mainstream and trying to force a library to censor its books, they are violating an American freedom enjoyed by 304,059,722 Americans – namely, choice and the freedom of speech and press.

Bottom line, if one dislikes some thing you have CHOICE, and CHOICE translates to mean PERSONAL CENSOR, NOT PUBLIC CENSOR.

Further, the Maziarka’s, through overzealous ignorance, are supporting the ideology of a police state and I, for one, am vehemently opposed to such ideology.

I do NOT support the idea of living in a country where my lifestyle is censored, though many may readily agree we are fast moving in that direction here in the U.S. already. Regardless, I do not want nor need the Maziarka’s helping the situation along any quicker.

Frankly and furthermore, the Maziarka’s should seriously reconsider their position in this book vs. the library issue as they could be easily viewed as domestic terrorists.

As they continue to pursue pushing this idea of censorship through terrorism, through their misguidance and ignorance, they are unwittingly opening the door for other misguided individuals to demand censorship (by terrorism) of other American institutions and businesses (based on various self-proclaimed ideologies) and this is too scary and Orwellian to consider for too long at the moment…

I applaud the West Bend library for standing by its ALA standards and not crumpling to this outrageous request. Books, regardless of their content, should not be censored at the library level, but by the individual themselves.

Related Links:

Ginny Maziarka’s Blog:  WISSUP=Wisconsin Speaks Up

Sleepless in West Bend

West Bend Parents for Free Speech

West Bend News-Topix


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I say more power to Judge Hanen and the landowners for standing up to the imperialists!

From Yahoo News/AP

Texas landowners delay border fence

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

1 hour, 46 minutes ago

McALLEN, Texas – Some resistant South Texas landowners and a deliberate federal judge have come between the government and its goal of nearly 700 miles of Mexican-border fencing by the end of the year.

U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen has ordered the government to negotiate with owners over the price of access to the land, an extra step that has slowed the project.

Most landowners in Arizona, California and Texas have allowed the government on their property, but some have refused, prompting the Department of Justice to sue.

Communities along the Rio Grande in South Texas have fought hardest. They fear being cut off from the river and agricultural lands and bristle at the imposition of a plan hatched in Washington, D.C.

Officials want to determine which properties they need and whether they have to buy the land or seize it through eminent domain. They also want to determine whether alternatives, such as lighting, more Border Patrol agents or technology would work better in some areas.

Most of the nearly 500 property owners in the fence’s path gave voluntary access to their land and more than 30 miles of fencing has already been built.

Barry Morrissey, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman in Washington, D.C., said last week: “We remain optimistic that we can stay on schedule.”

Not with the help of Hanen. He has repeatedly denied government motions for immediate access in Texas, and instead held hearings for property owners to voice their concerns before ultimately siding with the government.

One landowner has held up dozens of other cases for more than a month. The outcome could mean further delays for 38 more cases scheduled for hearings this week.

On March 7, Hanen gave the government two weeks to prove it had made a bona fide effort to negotiate a price for temporary access to Cameron County landowner Eloisa Tamez’s property.

“I don’t consider … that they’ve negotiated with me when all they’ve done is contact me to sign a waiver,” said Tamez.

On Tuesday, the government offered $100 for six months of access to Tamez’s one acre, a remaining piece of a Spanish land grant to her family in El Calaboz, according to her attorney, Peter Schey.

But Schey said they will not agree upon a price until the government defines access. Will it be intrusive surveying, or will a house on the property have to be torn down or moved?

Schey, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, wants the government to negotiate with property owners who voluntarily signed waivers because they did not know they could negotiate.

Schey filed a countersuit on behalf of Tamez and is seeking class-action status for all affected property owners.

“In order for this wall not to be built on a foundation of illegality and lawlessness,” property owners must have a chance to take back their waivers, Schey said. “They’ve been hoodwinked.”

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From Washington Technology

Law enforcement welds together intell networks

By Alice Lipowicz

03/14/08 — 01:38 PM

statueoflibertyspying01.jpgState and local law enforcement agencies are moving to strengthen their links with the National Counter Terrorism Center’s classified online information repository, government officials said yesterday.

The center’s secure national Online Secret Web site is now state, local and tribal partners’ primary access point for counterterrorism information, Michael Leiter, acting director of the center, testified to the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism.

“We have been told repeatedly by senior state, local and tribal officials that the information already contained on (Online Secret) meets the vast majority of their counterterrorism needs,” Leiter said.

To increase the usefulness of the Online Secret Web site, the Interagency Threat Assessment Coordination Group is helping to make the information easier to access and more relevant to state and local participants, he said. Also, federal partners including the FBI are posting more products on Online Secret, including daily, situational awareness and comprehensive reports.

The coordination group is preparing an outreach effort explaining to the state, local and tribal users what intelligence they can find on Online Secret and how to access it, Leiter said.

In addition, Leiter said, state and local partners are deploying additional information technology networks, which they refer to as pipes, to connect to the Online Secret network.

Online Secret “is only accessible if one has the right pipes,” Leiter said. “It is my understanding that such systems are being rapidly deployed.”

Two of those networks are the Homeland Security Secure Data Network (HSDN) and the FBI’s FBInet, said Charles Allen, undersecretary for intelligence at the Homeland Security Department.

DHS is helping intelligence fusion centers connect to Online Secret through the secure data network, Allen said.

“DHS is on track to deploy HSDN to 41 state and local fusion centers by the end of fiscal year 2008,” Allen said.

Strengthening information-sharing networks often offers opportunities for IT contractors. DHS, for example outsourced portions of the development, operation and security of its Homeland Security Information Network for sharing unclassified information with state, local and tribal partners.

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From ABC News/The Blotter

ACLU: 900,000 Names on U.S. Terror Watch Lists

February 27, 2008 12:40 PM

Justin Rood Reports:

The FBI now keeps a list of over 900,000 names belonging to known or suspected terrorists, the American Civil Liberties Union said today.

If that number is accurate, it would be an all-time high, exponentially more than the 100,000 names on the list several years ago.  But the number needs to be taken with a grain of salt: after all, the ACLU doesn’t keep the list, the FBI does, and the bureau doesn’t generally like to talk about it.  (Indeed, the FBI has not yet responded to a request for comment for this post.)

But if the ACLU’s figure isn’t accurate, it’s also unlikely to be off by that much.  Last September, the ACLU notes, the Department of Justice’s Inspector General reported the FBI watch list was at 700,000 names, and growing at 20,000 names per month.

The ACLU says they “extrapolated” from those figures to determine the list’s current size. ACLU’s Barry Steinhardt added that the group had spoken privately with people familiar with the watch list, who told them the 900,000 figure was not outlandish.

In the past, The FBI has told ABC News that the size of its watch list is classified. Despite that, both the bureau and the DoJ Inspector General have published the total figure in unclassified reports.

There’s no doubt the FBI’s list is growing: just last June, ABC News reported it was at 509,000 names, based on information in an unclassified FBI budget document.

But strangely, the list may be growing not because of swelling legions of foreign terrorists. Instead, it appears the FBI may be adding tens of thousands of names belonging to U.S. persons it suspects of being domestic terrorists — people who have no known ties to international terrorist organizations.

A separate entity, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), keeps a list of all names believed to belong to terrorists linked to international terror groups.  That list, which was at 100,000 names in 2003, grew to 465,000 names by last June – but since then has grown only modestly, according to NCTC spokesman Carl Kropf.  Today, Kropf said that list stands at roughly 500,000 names. (Unlike the FBI, the NCTC does not maintain that the size of its watch list is classified information.)

The FBI takes that list and adds to it a new collection of names which belong to U.S. persons believed to be domestic terrorists: people who have links to terrorism but not to any international group.

Last June, the NCTC was responsible for putting 465,000 names on the watch list, and the FBI appeared to add an additional 44,000.  By September, extrapolating from the DoJ Inspector General’s report, the FBI’s contribution appears to have grown to somewhere north of 200,000 names.

Today – if the ACLU is to be believed – the FBI’s contribution may be as high as 417,000 names.  Which would raise a new question: Where are so many domestic terrorists coming from?  Or do they simply use more aliases than foreign terrorists?

Update: The FBI responded late Wednesday afternoon. Spokesman Chad Kolton did not dispute the ACLU’s figure, but noted that the watch list contains names, aliases and name variations for individuals. The number of people on the watch list, he said, was around 300,000, and only 5 percent are U.S. persons.  Kolton noted that the list is “regularly reviewed for accuracy.” Last year the bureau removed 100,000 records “related to people cleared of any nexus with terrorism,” Kolton said.

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As the list of potential terrorists increases, and now includes gamers and bloggers, the US Government is hot on the trail of phone tapping at any cost.

As we have been learning, one never knows what 15 year old Tommy, a gamer, may tell his 16 year old blogging buddy Sean on the phone that could help the CIA and FBI in diverting a potential terrorist plot.

Today the National Intelligence group is in a tizzy since the Protect America Act expired. Oh my! US spies don’t know how to conduct their jobs within legal bounds and are concerned that they may be losing valuable information gained by illegal means if the Protect America Act, with additional protection clauses, isn’t set back in place again soon.

Concerned over the lapse of the Protect America Act, Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence J. Michael McConnell, throwing a temper tantrum in a letter to Congress, stated that the United States “is now more vulnerable to terrorist attack and other foreign threats.”

Mukasey further indicated that because the Protect America Act had lapsed valuable information was being lost.

Once again government officials were raising and throwing down the “war on terror” flag to strike fear into the hearts and minds of US citizens.

However, all is not lost!

According to National Intelligence, telecommunications companies agreed to continue to illegally wiretap and spy on US citizens without the Protect America Act.

Whew! Bet you were worried about that one!

One upstanding telecommunications company is refusing to cooperate (name not released) with the illegal action and they are denounced as potential hold-ups to providing information on new suspected terrorists.

Civil rights and privacy advocates are outraged at the continued abuses of wiretapping. “In an attempt to get sweeping powers to wiretap without warrants, Republicans are playing politics with domestic surveillance legislation,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the Washington legislative office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Check out article at Los Angeles Times.

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Say NO to H.R. 1955/S. 1959 

There’s a petition available to sign up and tell your Senator that you don’t want him/her to pass this lousy bill titled the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act. You should click on the link and be part of the change in this country. Don’t allow the government to take away your 1st amendment rights.

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