Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for December 2nd, 2008

[E]x-post facto laws…are contrary to the first principles of the social compact

Posted by Charles II on December 2, 2008

Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. … The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community.” James Madison, Federalist Number 44, 1788 (Quoted in TechLaw Journal)

The idea is pretty simple. There’s a law. Someone breaks it. Then, at the moment that they are called to account either in criminal court or a civil suit, Congress steps in and changes the rules. It’s a situation with an obvious potential for abuse. Congress could, in effect, pardon cronies– or witnesses against them. And it has the potential for endless meddling in civil disputes. Among the long train of abuses listed by the colonists in the Declaration of Independence was that the King had “…has affected to render the Military
independent of and superior to the Civil Power.” This is at issue in the NSA wiretapping case.

David Kravets, Wired:

The Bush administration on Tuesday will try to convince a federal judge to let stand a law granting retroactive legal immunity to the nation’s telecoms, which are accused of transmitting Americans’ private communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.

At issue in the high-stakes showdown – set to begin at 10:00 a.m. PST – are the nearly four dozen lawsuits filed by civil liberties groups and class action attorneys against AT&T, Verizon, MCI, Sprint and other carriers who allegedly cooperated with the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance program in the years following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The lawsuits claim the cooperation violated federal wiretapping laws and the Constitution.

In July, as part of a wider domestic spying bill, Congress voted to kill the lawsuits and grant retroactive amnesty to any phone companies that helped with the surveillance; President-elect Barack Obama was among those who voted for the law in the Senate. On Tuesday, lawyers with the Electronic Frontier Foundation are set to urge the federal judge overseeing those lawsuits to reject immunity as unconstitutional. At stake, they say, is the very principle of the rule of law in America.

Posted in abuse of power, NSA eavesdropping, wiretapping | 4 Comments »

Conservative Thought At Its Finest

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 2, 2008

Just because he has no idea how ridiculous he sounds, I present to you a collection of the bons mots of “Mule Rider”, a prolific right-wing commenter who trolls Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com site. (He’s one of the breed of righties who claims to be an “independent” yet has all of the right-wing talking points down cold and is never seen to be attacking anyone to the right of Joe Lieberman.)

Follow me past the jump to imbibe his style of (un)reasoned argybargy (erm, argument). Just don’t go there expecting to find any facts in context, backed up with hard data.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in 2008, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples, WTF? | 15 Comments »

IOKIYAR: William Kristol Edition

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 2, 2008

Another day, another published atrocity by Billy Kristol.

But don’t bother troubling the NYT with your complaints. They won’t run any corrections — they never did for Safliar (that is, Safire) after his Atta-in-Prague fantasies were debunked, because his piece was an opinion piece:

[NYT Public Editor Daniel] Okrent noted that it was hard to devise a “clear, public stated corrections policy” for columnists who are hired to express opinion. After all, Okrent noted, “opinion is inherently unfair.” Still, he recognized the need for some sort of corrections policy. And, with the help of Safire, he ended up defending a policy that–whaddayaknow!–protects Safire.

Funnily enough, this only works for righty columnists and others who serve the right-wing agenda. When Paul Krugman made a good-faith cite of a portion of a Jason Leopold article in Salon, there was no opinion-piece blanket immunity for him: The Cons immediately pushed the NYT to go after him, and they pushed on Salon, and Salon fired Leopold and Krugman was made to apologize.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, hypocrites, IOKIYAR, Republicans acting badly, rightwing moral cripples | 6 Comments »

 
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