Friday, April 28, 2017

SCOTUS Not Amused by DoJ Hard Line on Deportations for Lying

SCOTUS Not Amused by DoJ Hard Line on Deportations for Lying

SCOTUS Not Amused by DoJ Hard Line on Deportations for Lying -

The Chief Justice and several other SCOTUS members were taken aback by the Trump administration's very hard line making naturalized citizens vulnerable to deportation. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

It hasn't gotten as much attention as the agitation over the border wall, "sanctuary cities," deportation policy, and other administration measures aimed at dealing with undocumented immigrants. But the Trump administration is quietly supporting efforts to reduce legal immigration as well, which is one hallmark of the true nativist, who is worried not just about lawbreaking but about the changing demographics of the country.

The Supreme Court may have gotten a glimpse of this new attitude just yesterday in oral arguments for a case involving a naturalized citizen from Serbia who was deported after it became clear she had failed to disclose her husband's involvement in Bosnian Serb militias committing atrocities back in the 1990s.

As Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog explained, the petitioner in Maslenjak v. United States was not a particularly sympathetic figure, but the very hard line taken by the Justice Department in the case seemed to be inclining even some conservative justices to give her a second chance, if only to establish a reasonable standard for deportations based on mendacity in citizenship applications.

Although they may not have been fans of Maslenjak personally … the justices were even less enthusiastic about the prospect of ruling for the government, expressing concern that such a ruling would give U.S. officials boundless discretion to take away citizenship based on even very minor lies.

Indeed, some of the Justices expressed, as the New York Times' Adam Liptak put it, "indignation and incredulity" at Justice Department attorney Robert Parker's unflinching contention that any evidence of a failure to disclose not only crimes but lies in citizenship applications could be grounds for revoking citizenship. And this reaction was by no means confined to SCOTUS "liberals."

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. tried to test the limits of the government's position at a Supreme Court argument on Wednesday by confessing to a criminal offense.

"If I answer that question no, 20 years after I was naturalized as a citizen, you can knock on my door and say, 'Guess what, you're not an American citizen after all'?" Chief Justice Roberts asked.

Parker agreed that could happen, and the Chief Justice said: "Oh, come on."

Other Justices found some grim humor in the government's position:

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked about the failure to disclose an embarrassing childhood nickname. Justice Elena Kagan said she was a "little bit horrified to know that every time I lie about my weight it has those kinds of consequences."

Mr. Parker said the law applied to all false statements, even trivial ones.

But Justice Kennedy was not amused:

"Your argument is demeaning the priceless value of citizenship," he told Mr. Parker.

It doesn't look like the administration is going to win this one.

But more important, it's another illustration that whenever it can get away with it, the Trump administration is taking a position on immigration that only Steve King could love.

SCOTUS Not Amused by DoJ Hard Line on Deportations for Lying


N.S.A. Halts Collection of Americans’ Emails About Foreign Targets

N.S.A. Halts Collection of Americans' Emails About Foreign Targets -

N.S.A. Halts Collection of Americans' Emails About Foreign Targets

The National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md.

Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is stopping one of the most disputed forms of its warrantless surveillance program, one in which it collects Americans' emails and texts to and from people overseas and that mention a foreigner under surveillance, according to officials familiar with the matter.

National security officials have argued that such surveillance is lawful and helpful in identifying people who might have links to terrorism, espionage or otherwise are targeted for intelligence-gathering. The fact that the sender of such a message would know an email address or phone number associated with a surveillance target is grounds for suspicion, these officials argued.

But privacy advocates argue that such broad collection of information means the agency, with help from telecommunications companies, is intercepting communications based on what they say, rather than who has sent or received it.

The existence of this so-called "about the target" collection was first reported by The New York Times in 2013.

The N.S.A. made the change to resolve problems it was having complying with special rules imposed by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 2011 to protect Americans' privacy. For technical reasons, the agency ended up collecting messages sent and received domestically as a byproduct of such surveillance, the officials said.

The problem stemmed from certain bundled messages that internet companies sometimes packaged together and transmitted as a unit. If even one of them had a foreign target's email address somewhere in it, all were sucked in.

After the N.S.A. brought that issue to the court's attention in 2011, a judge ruled that it violated the Fourth Amendment, which bars unreasonable searches. The agency then proposed putting the bundled messages in a special repository to which analysts, searching through intercepts to write intelligence reports, would generally not have access. The court permitted that type of collection to continue with that restriction.

But last year, officials said, the N.S.A. discovered that analysts were querying the bundled messages in a way that did not comply with those rules. The agency brought the matter to the court's attention, resulting in a delay in reauthorizing the broader warrantless surveillance program until the agency proposed ceasing this collection practice.


If You Want To Change The World… Resisting Hate

If You Want To Change The World… – Resisting Hate

If You Want To Change The World…


We live in a society made up of individuals who are taught how to think, how to feel, how to conform, and how to hide. It forces us to place the world into simple categories so that we may understand the complexities around us.

We are taught that a spirit is our savior and the law is our sanctuary. We learn to recognize both good and evil; black and white; blessed and damned. We are forced to identify good or evil; black or white; blessed or damned. A society that allows us to believe in fate and destiny, and allows us to blame failure and injustice on circumstance and gods. It teaches hatred and intolerance, and breeds complexity and anger. It is a society I neither respect, nor believe; and a society that needs careful evaluation and gentle handling. There is no order; there is no justice, there is no comfort. It is the society of a people in need of a soul.

There is a theory about Psychologists that claims many people choose to study the field of psychology in an effort to understand their own mind. I have spent so many hours contemplating the source of my insecurities and fears. Eventually I came to the field of sociology and education, since I feel it was the combination of the two which facilitated my belief that a degree from Harvard, Princeton or Yale would make my problems disappear. The day I was accepted at Columbia was one of the most difficult days of my life because it was something I was told I would never accomplish. I chose to go to Vanderbilt after receiving an advanced Masters from the Ivy League for my PhD since it represented freedom. Freedom from the confused ideals of my parents and marked a clear boundary between their world and my own.

This year, my mother told me I did not deserve to get into Comell. My father told me that he was "not willing to gamble $50,000 on my future." I thought if I could just make it through graduation, everything would be O.K. I would be able to pick up student insurance, and my pain, stress, and anxiety would all disappear. I would no longer be subject to my fathers conventions of checks and balances, and the stress and dependency would all disappear. I would be free from the ghosts and voices that were echoing through my head (in case there is any doubt, that was a figurative not a literal statement.) I will end this here because I wrote this before I made peace with my family and now have a better understanding of why they felt my most significant accomplishments should be mine and mine alone. I am proud to say that I did accomplish these achievements on my own and received a full academic scholarship to the top ranked university in the nation and graduated with a 3.93/4.0. No one can take that away from me. No one. Ever.

When I see people who put others down for their race, religion or special needs, all I can think is that the haters have nothing else to be proud of because they haven't achieved anything of significance in their life. The only thing they have to feel superior about is the color of their skin and that tells me everything I need to know about a person. They are generally underachieving, ignorant, working class bullies who are grasping at straws to feel better about their own miserable lives and their failure to achieve anything of significance on their own.

If the only thing you have to be proud of is your skin color, you have already failed at life. Work harder, and stop blaming others for your shortcomings. No one is coming for your jobs or your guns. The immigration (travel ban) is among the most ridiculous things I've ever heard considering we are a nation of immigrants who came to America seeking freedom of persecution for religion. The only thing more ridiculous is building a wall.

Trust me. No one is coming for your jobs. The fact is that immigrants (many of whom have advanced degrees in engineering or medicine) come here desperate for a better life and often take jobs they are overqualified for. I can't help but laugh when I hear these lower class white Supremacists claim that Blacks or Mexicans are stealing their jobs and opportunities. You think a wall is gonna keep people out? Then why bother with a travel ban for the airlines. I didn't think Trump would be able to change much but with Pence breaking these ties over things like finding for Planned Parenthood and women's health I fear for the future of our country. We are only 70 some days in and America is already so much worse than it was a few months ago.

If you want to change the world, start with yourself. If you are blaming Jews, Blacks, Mexicans or Muslims for your problems you need a reality check. The only thing holding you back from achieving the American Dream is yourself. People who are secure in their identity and lot in life don't feel the need to put others down. When one is truly at piece with their soul, they lift people up. Try it sometime. That's all for now.

@ElyssaD aka Chilly P Elyssa D. Durant, Ed.M., ABD Research and Policy Analyst



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Submit a Report - Watchdog

Submit a Report - Watchdog
C''mon people!! Tell Comcast how you feel!!!

File a bit Report with TRUSTEe

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    Saturday, April 15, 2017

    BREAKING: Palm Beach Passes Tax to Make Trump Pay for His OWN Vacations. Support?

    BREAKING: Palm Beach Passes Tax to Make Trump Pay for His OWN Vacations. Support?
    I didn't vote for him and I most definitely do not want to pay more taxes for Trump's excessive travel and spending. 

    BREAKING: Palm Beach Passes Tax to Make Trump Pay for His OWN Vacations. Support?

    Palm Beach officials proposed a tax on Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort to cover the cost of his frequent visits. Trump will finally have to pay for his own frequent golf trips.

    According to CNN, Trump's many travels cost taxpayers over $20 million in the first eighty days of his presidency. This cost represents 21 days at Mar-a-Lago.

    That amounts to one-quarter of his time as president spent golfing in Palm Beach, Florida. Well, his travels not only costs the American taxpayer, but also Palm Beach County, and residents are NOT happy.

    Trump's trips cost the county $60,000 PER DAY for law enforcement overtime. That brings the total to over $2 million for the president's first 80 days in office, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

    The county is still looking for the federal reimbursement. So, to combat the country expenses for Trump, County Commissioner Dave Kerner to proposed a tax on Trump's resort to cover the costs.

    "We're very honored to have the president here, but at the same time, his travel here is such high frequency he's not visiting Palm Beach County — he's governing from it," Kerner told Money Magazine.

    Kerner went on to make it clear that Palm Beach taxpayers did not sign up for this ludicrous expense. "Whatever our priorities are, the taxpayers didn't pay this money to us to protect the president," Kerner said.

    The tax on Mar-a-Lago would help with some of the county's expenses, but it needs more. That's why Rep. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) who represents Palm Beach, called on the government to provide reimbursements for the local governments' security costs or for Trump to cut back on his visits.

    It is ridiculous for counties and cities to pay for Trump's many escapades. If Trump is so rich, he should have no problem footing his own bill.

    Don't you think Trump should be paying for his own frequent vacations?

    POLL: Should Trump pay for his Mar-a-Lago trips?

    Trump has already spent an absurd amount of money on his golfing trips to Mar-a-Lago. It has put an extreme financial burden on the citizens of Palm Beach.

    Trump claims to be filthy rich. Shouldn't he pay for his own vacations instead of relying on hardworking Americans to foot the bill? Tell Trump what you really think in the poll below.

    At the rate Trump is going, he will bypass the total costs of President Obama's vacations over an eight-year period IN ONLY ONE YEAR. This from the president who tweeted that Obama took too many vacations and needed to stay in the White House.

    His travels are so frequent that Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly requested additional funding for the Secret Service. Apparently, Secret Service agents work so much overtime to protect Trump that they had to call in other agents around the country.

    This is an atrocious use of taxpayer money. The citizens of Palm Beach deserve better. We hope that the new tax on Mar-a-Lago provides much-needed relief soon.

    If you agree that Trump takes too many vacations and that local governments receive reimbursement for them, please take our poll and share this article on Facebook.


    Friday, April 14, 2017

    Email Usage Policy | Columbia University Administrative Policy Library

    Email Usage Policy | Columbia University Administrative Policy Library

    Email Usage Policy

    Published:  October 2013

    Latest Revision:  April 2016

    Revised: November 2014

    I. Introduction 

    Email is an expedient communication vehicle to send messages to the Columbia University community.  The University recognizes and has established the use of email as an official means of communication.  However, use of an email system at the University requires adequate security measures to protect the Data (as such term is defined in the Columbia University Information Security Charter (the "Charter") that is transmitted.

    Capitalized terms used herein without definition are defined in the Charter. 

    II. Policy History

    The effective date of this Policy is November 1, 2013.  This Policy and other Information Security Policies replace (A) the following University Policies:

    •   Electronic Information Resources Security Policy, dated March 1, 2007

    •    Email Usage and Retention Policy, dated April 1, 2008

    and (B) the following CUMC Policy:

    • Communicating Protected Health Information via Electronic Mail (Email) at Columbia University Medical Center, dated January 21, 2004, and amended as of September 21, 2012

    III. Policy Text

    To see the full text of this policy, please use the link on the right.


    Law Enforcement Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees

    Law Enforcement Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees | Alternet

    Law Enforcement Using Facebook and Apple to Data-Mine Accounts of Trump Protest Arrestees

    Photo Credit: Casey McKeel

    Law enforcement is compelling Apple and Facebook to hand over the personal information of users who were mass arrested at protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., AlterNet has confirmed. The tech giants appear to be complying with the data-mining requests, amid mounting concerns over the heavy-handed crackdown against the more than 200 people detained on January 20, among them journalists, legal observers and medics.

    "This is part of an increasing trend of law enforcement attempting to turn the internet, instead of technology for freedom, into technology for control," Evan Greer, the campaign director for Fight for the Future, told AlterNet. "This trend started long before Trump and seems to be escalating and growing in scale now."

    More than 200 of those picked up in the sweep at the anti-fascist, anti-capitalist bloc have been hit with felony riot charges, which carry penalties of up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Because the arrests took place in Washington, D.C., the cases are being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, which is directly accountable to the Department of Justice, now overseen by the notorious white supremacist Jeff Sessions.

    Mark Goldstone, a National Lawyers Guild-affiliated attorney who is representing numerous defendants in the case, told AlterNet that "several" of his clients have been contacted by Facebook and Apple and informed that their personal information has been requested by law enforcement.

    AlterNet viewed a "customer notice" email sent on February 14 by Apple to one of the defendants, who requested anonymity due to the ongoing charges. "On 2017-01-27, Apple Inc. ('Apple') received a legal request from United States Attorney's Office requesting information regarding your Apple account," the message states.

    The communication states that "Apple will be producing the requested data in a timely manner as required by the legal process."

    The individual who received the notice told AlterNet, "My phone wasn't present at the time of arrest and wasn't taken." That individual does not know whether the data has been handed over to prosecutors.

    "I wasn't surprised by it, but it was also very unsettling and made me feel very vulnerable and exposed," the individual said. "That some federal grunt could be looking through old texts, personal stuff and selfies. This is exposing and gross and creepy."

    Goldstone emphasized, "It's an outrageous overreach by the government to try to data-mine personal property that wasn't even seized at the demonstration. This will be fought vigorously."

    AlterNet also viewed a statement sent from Facebook on February 3 to an anonymous defendant. "We have received legal process from law enforcement seeking information about your Facebook account," states the email, sent from the company's records office.

    "If we do not receive a copy of documentation that you have filed in court challenging this legal process within ten (10) days, we will respond to the requesting agency with information about the requested Facebook account," the letter continues. "We may need to respond to this legal request within less than ten (10) days if we have a reasonable belief that we are legally required to do so."

    Stephanie Lacambra, a criminal defense staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told AlterNet that, in addition to Facebook and Apple, Google has also been sent requests for information by law enforcement. None of the companies responded to a request for an interview.

    'What is the government doing with the data?'

    It is not immediately clear what information law enforcement has requested and under what legal justification.

    "The most invasive form of surveillance is a warrant. A judge could authorize police to look through every byte of data on someone's Facebook account," Michael Price, counsel for the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, told AlterNet. "A 2703(d) court order allows police to get metadata about communications, and that could possibly include location information about when communications took place and when a phone was connected to cell tower. A national security letter allows police to get that information but does not require a court order."

    According to Lacambra, law enforcement could be accessing "surface information like user names, the registration information that was collected and the metadata on the last time of login and duration of service." Or, they could be searching "information stored in Apple iCloud, contacts, the content of emails, any number of photos that are stored there."

    "I don't know the scope of information," she said, "because I don't know what legal instrument was used."

    Goldstone, the defense attorney, said he was not informed of what legal justification law enforcement invoked to seize the information. "No one has said or sent anything to me," he explained.

    The Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia both refused to comment, citing the pending investigation.

    According to Price, "As a general matter, it is not uncommon for law enforcement to seek information from a third-party service provider like Apple or Facebook. It happens all the time."

    "One of my biggest concerns," he said, "is that police will attempt to use electronic surveillance to get information about the people who were at the protest, in order to compile a list of the people who were present. Is that information going to be mined and used for other purposes? What is the government doing with the data? Are they going to store it? Are they going to send it to an intelligence analyst?"

    Lacambra said the investigation raises disturbing questions. "Why is the Department of Justice trying to intrude into the digital lives of people exercising their rights to protest?" she asked. "Is this to intimidate, silence or threaten people for exercising their constitutional rights? When you arrest 230 people, some of whom are medics and legal observers, and try to systematically get to the content of their digital life, that is troubling."

    The anti-capitalist, anti-fascist bloc was part of a day of disruptive protests across Washington, D.C., and the world, to interrupt business as usual and register opposition to the rise of Donald Trump, whose cabinet has aggressively delivered on his white supremacist campaign pledges. Since Trump took the White House, millions have taken to the streets, flocked to airports and mobilized to defend their neighborhoods and communities against a multi-pronged assault.

    'People should be paying close attention'

    Some of the arrestees were already suspicious that police had searched their phones, which were seized by police. Those phones are still being held as evidence, according to legal support volunteers.

    AlterNet spoke with a journalist who was arrested on January 20 and requested anonymity. He sent AlterNet a screenshot of his Google account, which shows that while he was detained and his phone was in police custody, there was activity on his account. AlterNet confirmed that the login occurred while the phone was in police custody by viewing a property receipt issued to the journalist by the MPD. The journalist says his phone is password protected.

    This mysterious account activity is similar to activity on the account of an unidentified medic, reported by George Joseph of CityLab. As in the case of the journalist, the medic spotted activity on his account while the phone was in police custody. Joseph notes that a screenshot of the activity "suggests that police began mining information from the captured cellphones almost immediately after the arrests."

    Goldstone, who has defended protesters in Washington, D.C., for more than 30 years, underscored that he has "never seen phones seized at protests, let alone phones that were not part of a protest."

    He also said that he has "never seen a felony riot charge in Washington, D.C., let alone more than 200 of them." According to news reports, 214 people have been indicted for these charges so far, indicating that the prosecution plans to move forward with the bulk of the charges.

    "We're in a dangerous new world," he declared.

    Those arrested in the sweep already reported heavy violence at the hands of the MPD, which is overseen by Chief Peter Newsham, who has a troubling history of kettling and mass arresting people in the proximity of protests.

    On January 20, Washington, D.C.-based lawyer Jeffrey Light filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of those detained charging that "Without warning and without any dispersal order, the police officers kettled all of the plaintiffs." The lawsuit states, "Defendants John Doe MPD Officers and/or John Doe Park Police Officers deployed a large amount of chemical irritants against the plaintiffs, as well as struck multiple plaintiffs with their batons, and deployed flash-bang grenades."

    The anonymous journalist told AlterNet that, while covering the protests, he was sprayed in the face with what he believes was OC gas. "Two flash-bang grenades fell within three or four feet of me. I had tinnitus in my ears for a couple of minutes. I yelled out for a medic, and by the time I could see, we were completely kettled. I was incapacitated. I had a press badge and tried to tell them I was press."

    AlterNet spoke with one anonymous arrestee who said that, at the police academy where arrestees were taken for processing, he received a "two-knuckle-deep cavity search." He noted, "I didn't see any reason for it."

    According to Greer, the police crackdown is "unquestionably an attempt to silence dissent, frighten people and keep them off of the streets. But I wouldn't call it new. Anyone who has been involved in activist movements for more than a few years has seen this before."

    In recent weeks, Republican lawmakers across the country have introduced state-level bills aimed at criminalizing protests. One piece of proposed legislation in Washington state calls for certain acts of civil disobedience to be classified as "economic terrorism." North Dakota lawmakers introduced a bill that would make it lawful for motorists to hit and kill protesters staging acts of civil disobedience obstructing highways, as long as the cause is "negligence." The legislation, which failed earlier this month, is clearly aimed at Indigenous resistance at Standing Rock, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, which has staged acts of civil disobedience across the country.

    Meanwhile, police departments have long been building up their capacity for surveillance. A 10-month investigation by, a project of The Atlantic, revealed earlier this month that "major police departments around the country are spending millions on cellphone spy tools that can be used to build up massive surveillance databases—with few rules about what happens to the data they capture." According to the investigation, most of the major police departments in the United States have either cell phone interception devices and/or "cell phone extraction devices, used to crack open locked phones that are in police possession and scoop out all sorts of private communications and content."

    In light of this climate, the fact that tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook store large amounts of personal data is sparking concerns.

    "Tech companies are building business models based on collecting large amounts of personal information and then failing to protect that information from the government and others who attempt to access it," said Greer, who attended the January 20 protests in Washington, D.C. "People should be paying close attention and be concerned."

    Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.