This morning I was walking past, just as workmen were prying off the sign over a neighbourhood boulangerie.
The sign fell suddenly, landing upright against the old hitching posts on the sidewalk. Whether or not the boulangerie is closed forever or just for remodeling under the government's tax scheme remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. we thought capitulation on FISA, while battering the Fourth Amendment was bad...Seems there is more mischief in the making from our feckless leaders. Apparently, it's not enough for them to undermine our civil liberties; now their sights are trained on eroding the environment!
While ignoring Senate votes on important issues like FISA and Medicare legislation, John McCain seems to be living in some sort of alternate universe. Sen. Edward Kennedy left treatment from cancer Wednesday to cast his vote on Democratic legislation to avert cuts to Medicare doctors. Last month House Republicans defied their leadership to support the measure. On Wednesday the measure passed the Senate 69 to 23, with many Republicans crossing the aisle to vote with the Democrats. Yet again, John McCain couldn't be bothered to show up and vote.
Joking about killing Iranians isn't very diplomatic, much less presidential (And with its stupid headline, the Associated Press continued its run of shoddy reporting). Could this man be any more woefully ill-equipped and unprepared to lead a nation?
ACLU files lawsuit challenging FISA
As expected, this afternoon George W. Bush signed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) into law. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) wasted no time in filing a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, challenging the law and suing John (Mike) McConnell, director of National Intelligence; Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency and chief of the Central Security Service and Michael Mukasey, attorney general.
Plaintiffs include The Nation magazine, journalists Naomi Wolf and Chris Hedges; attorneys David Nevin, Scott McKay, Dan Arshack and Sylvia Royce and several organisations, including Amnesty International and the Global Fund for Women. See the full list of plaintiffs here.
The lawsuit claims that the FAA violates the Fourth Amendment, allowing the government to eavesdrop on the constitutionally-protected communications of American citizens and residents without securing individualized warrants and without specifying the time, place or length of the surveillance, or how the information gathered will be disseminated or how long records will be maintained. Further, the bill violates the First Amendment by authorizing the government to intercept constitutionally-protected communications without judicial oversight.
The FAA also violates the principle of separation of powers, allowing the government to continue surveillance activities, even if the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has deemed those activities illegal. After all, even the government is supposed to obey the law.
The ACLU noted that not only has Congress legalized the Bush administration’s secret NSA spying program, it has given the government even more power to listen to phone calls and read email than the Bush administration illegally claimed for itself under its secret program!