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Illuminati News: Secret Societies

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Illuminati News: Secret Societies
Oct 062015

Find on this web site.

Donations [Make a donation and collect the BONUSES!] – I have noticed that I have had to neglect some things in life that are very important to me and others, while working hour after hour on my website. Therefore I ask you, kind visitor, for a donation, so I can spend the same amount of time, and more, on research, and less time trying to manage my finances. – – by Wes Penre, Jan 01, 2006 –

“All secret, oath bound, political parties are dangerous to any nation.” President Ulysses S. Grant

An Overall Briefing

Secret Societies And the New World Order – by William Cooper –

Overview of Secret Societies – Beneath the broad tides of human history there flow the stealthy undercurrents of the secret societies, which frequently determine in the depth the changes that take place upon the surface. — Author Arthur Edward Waite The Real History of the Rosicrucian Steiner Books, 1977[1] – – by Gianna DeVincent Hayes, Ph.D (Keeping America Free), Dec 28, 2005 – (Posted here: Dec 29, 2005)

Signs of a Secret Society – by Jon Rappoport, April 14, 2004 -When I wrote THE SECRET BEHIND SECRET SOCIETIES, I kept a list of some of the characteristics of any secret society, to use as a guideline … (Posted here: April 16, 2004)

Secret Societies – The pulsing, squeezing beat of the living organism called the Elitethose in influential positions who are making unwanted decisions for ushave succeeded in bringing forth a global government or New World Order (NWO). They pulled out their entire armory, and over dozens of years, generations of generations, they have pushed the NWO agenda down our throats, and weve meekly accepted it. – – American Chronicle, Feb 27, 2006 – (Posted here: March 01, 2006)

Brotherhoods [EXCELLENT] – Secret Societies and their rituals revealed! – – Brotherhoods and Secret Societies Website – (Posted here: August 22, 2006)

John F. Kennedy’s Warning About Secret Societies Taking Over the World [Audio] – Listen to this incredible audio recording of a speech made by JFK before the American Newspaper Publishers Association where he warns the press about the secret societies that are the real power in global affairs. – – – (Posted here: Thursday, July 06, 2006)

Secret Societies and Subversive Movements – “There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in this House . . . I mean the secret societies. . . .” – – by Nesta Webster – (Posted here: June 8, 2004)

Blue Blood – New Great Website on the Elite and Their Genealogy! – – – (Posted here: July 23, 2004)

Freemasonry, P2, Nazi Occult, Gladio, Thule, Fascism, CIA, Luciferianism, and Far Right Reactionary Politics – One of the more twisted myths being propagated by ‘Regular’ Anglo-American Freemasonry of late is that the Nazi’s persecuted ‘regular’ Freemasonry in Germany during it’s reign – – Freemasonry Watch – (Posted here: November 1, 2004)

Project for Exposure of Hidden Institutions – The purpose of the Project for the Exposure of Hidden Institutions (PEHI) is to put together the entire spectrum of hidden organizations and secret societies. Most of you who visit this site have probably heard of the more well-known ‘secret societies’ like the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bohemian Grove, and the Skull & Bones student society. – – Project for the Exposure of Hidden Institutions – (Posted here: Aug 8, 2005)

Your Eyes Wide Shut – Graphic Website on Freemasonry and the Illuminati, inspired by the movie “Eyes Wide Shut” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman – – – (Posted here: Nov 05, 2005)

Secret Societies: They Are Not Just at Yale – They Are Running a University Near You – The world over has heard of Skull and Bones of Yale University. This elite secret society holds within its membership at least four U.S. Presidents. George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry are both members of Skull and Bones. This made the 2004 presidential election the first known election where two secret society members ran against each other. However, names like the Order of the Bull’s Blood, Mystical Seven Society, The Order of Gimghoul , Burning Spear, and Machine are less familiar. Make no mistake these too are powerful societies. – – by Altevia Wilborn – (Posted here: Friday, December 22, 2006)

Freemasonry: Free-Masons Create Un-Free People

“You must conceal all the crimes of your brother Masons… and should you be summoned as a witness against a brother Mason be always sure to shield him.. It may be perjury to do this, it is true, but your keeping your obligations.” [ Ronayne, “Handbook of Masonry” p. 183 ]

This means, for example, that if a criminal, who happens to be a Freemason, goes to court, and the judge is a Freemason as well, the judge’s duty is to protect the criminal instead of obeying the law. Now, expand on this even further and you will draw a pretty horrifying picture. Wes Penre

* * *

An Overview of the Ancient Egyptian Cult – In order to conduct the cult of the gods, the Egyptians constructed religious facilities that remain some of the most elaborate structures ever built. These temples were called by the ancient Egyptians, hwt-ntr, meaning “the house of the god”. These temples actually usually served several gods, and in order to sustain these cult activities, considerable resources, such as extensive networks of land, livestock and personnel were required. These necessary resources that were required to support the activities of a temple were referred to as r-pr, meaning “temple estate”. – – by Jefferson Monet – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008)

Lucifer – Albert Pike – Eliphas Levi and the Masonic Lodge – This study begins with a bold statement: The God of the Masonic Lodge is Lucifer! This is not a conclusion reached overnight, but one which was drawn from many hours of long study and a thorough examination of the facts. This statement has been made with no qualms or hesitation because the facts will convince one to make such a statement. There have been others that have made this declaration. – – (Posted here: Tuesday, May 13, 2008)

Albert Pike on Masonry: The True Nature of the Society – Many masonic apologists at various websites have offered “defenses” in response to anti-masons, attempting to dismiss the popular quotations drawn from Masonic master-philosopher Albert Pike, which show freemasonry to be syncretistic and anti-Christian. So here are the actual quotes from Pike’s “Morals and Dogma.”- – NICENE TRUTH – (Posted here: Thursday, October 09, 2008)

SECOND FAMILY UK – Survivors of Freemasonry Speak Out! – “We are all victims of Freemasonry” SF (UK) are a not just a support group for victims of the criminal organization that calls itself “Freemasonry”, we also campaign for fairer and democratic society. SF are not a hate or revenge group, just to peacefully campaign for change and make the world a better place. We have contacted UGLE (United Grand Lodge of England), GLOS (Grand Lodge of Scotland), the top Masons at Rosslyn Chapel and their other spokesman? at the Masonicinfo (Masonic-misinformation) website. – – – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008) The Origin of Freemasonry: The Crusaders & Templars – The common perception of the majority of historians of Freemasonry is that the origin of the organization goes back to the Crusades. In fact, though Masonry was only officially established and recognized in England in the early eighteenth century, the roots of the organization do reach back to the Crusades in the twelfth century. At the center of this familiar tale is an order of crusaders called the Knights Templar or the Templars. – – by Harun Yahya – (Posted here: April 20, 2005)

Tom Paine on Freemasonry [Part I | Part II ] – The Entered Apprentice knows but little more of Masonry than the use of signs and tokens, and certain steps and words by which Masons can recognize each other without being discovered by a person who is not a Mason. The Fellow Craft is not much better instructed in Masonry, than the Entered Apprentice. It is only in the Master Mason’s Lodge, that whatever knowledge remains of the origin of Masonry is preserved and concealed. – – by Thomas Paine – (Posted here: Sunday, Sep 03, 2006)

Masons and Mystery at the 33rd Parallel – American Freemasonry and related power elites are responsible for a number of murders and provocations to war which happened along or close to the northern 33rd degree of latitude, also known as the33rd Parallel. Most of the world’s wealth is stored north of the north 33rd Parallel. Major financial centers north of the 33rd Parallel include London, New York, Chicago, and Switzerland. Most of this planet’s six billion people live south of the 33rd Parallel.- – by Day Williams – (Posted here: Monday, October 08, 2007)

Freemasonry – by Terry Melanson –

Albert Pike and Three World Wars – Very few outsiders know about the intimate plans of Albert Pike and the architects of the New World Order. In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. It is this blueprint which we believe unseen leaders are following today, knowingly or not, to engineer the planned Third and Final World War. – – – (Posted here: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008)

The Jesuit, Illuminati, Knights of Columbus and Masonic Oaths -hen a Jesuit of the minor rank is to be elevated to command, he is conducted into the Chapel of the Convent of the Order, where there are only three others present, the principal or Superior standing in front of the altar. On either side stands a monk, one of whom holds a banner of yellow and white, which are the Papal colors, and the other a black banner with a dagger and red cross above a skull and crossbones, with the word INRI, and below them the words IUSTUM, NECAR, REGES, IMPIOUS… – – – (Posted here: Saturday, August 18, 2007)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 1) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 2) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 3) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 4) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 5) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

History of the Hebrew Manuscript on the Origin of Freemasonry (Part 6) – It was generally believed that modern Freemasonry was created in 1717 when its Grand Lodge of England was established. It was also generally believed that it was Dr. James Anderson who wrote its “New Constitutions…” – – – (Posted here: November 22, 2004)

Files About Freemasonry – The Structure of Freemasonry – American Freemasonry remembles two sets of stairs that begin and end together, as this chart of Masonic structure shows. A Mason’s first step is to become an Entered Apprentice. He climbs to the third step where most Masons stay. – – – (Posted here: December 12, 2004)

Ritual for the 32 of Freemasonry, Scottish Rite – Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret – Commander-in-Chief, knocks once: If there be any present, with the exception of candidates, who are not Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret, let them depart in peace, that our Consistory may be secure. – – presented by Leo Zagami, Jan 20, 2007 – (Posted here: Saturday, January 20, 2007)

Ritual for the 33 of Freemasonry, Scottish Rite – Sovereign Grand Inspector General – The lodge is hung with purple curtains, on which are painted skeletons, death heads, cross, bones etc. There are nine officers in this degree. The Master of the lodge is called the “Most Puissant Sovereign Grand Commander.” – – presented by Leo Zagami, Jan 20, 2007 – (Posted here: Saturday, January 20, 2007)

Freemasonry, Jesus, and Constantine the Pagan Worshipper – Many of the Christian preachers and leaders of today have been initiated into the so called secrets of Freemasonry. And they know that the story of Jesus Christ, as it is understood by the masses of the people, has it’s origin in mythology and paganism; yet they will not educate their following to this truth. – -by Leo Zagami, Jan 10, 2007 – (Posted here: Thursday, January 11, 2007)

The First Degree of Freemasonry – Only 5% of 32nd and higher degree freemasons are invited into the Illuminati. Many “Christians freemasons” would contend that freemasonry is not a religion. The plan of freemasonry is that the majority of freemasons do not even know it is a religion. The plan of freemasonry is to deceive the majority of freemasons from the truth that Lucifer, or Satan, is the god of freemasonry. – – The Federal Observer – (Posted here: Sep 12, 2005)

The Freemason’s 33 Initiation – Easter was approaching and one quiet morning I was at home recuperating from the second operation when the doorbell rang. It was a special delivery letter from the Supreme Council in Washington, notifying me that I had been selected for the 33rd Degree. I could hardly believe it was true! – – by Jim Shaw – (Posted here: Saturday, May 13, 2006)

The Masonic Seal of America – This is the Great Seal of the United States of America. It was designed by the Freemasons and contains a mass of symbolism that the profane (non masons) are not to understand. This article will once and for all prove that the Seal is a Masonic design. Have you ever asked the question ‘Why is there a Pyramid on our $1 note”? The religion of Freemasonry and some of it’s mysteries have descended from ancient Egypt whose mysteries descended from ancient Babylon. The Pyramid has of old been a fascination of Freemasons. It is a pagan temple of Satan worship. – – Endtimedeception – (Posted here: July 17, 2005)

Freemasons – Its Roots & Links to the Occult – The Royal Arch Degree shows that Masons are really Baal worshipers. Most Masons do it without realizing it by participating in rituals that they really don’t understand. However, a few top-level Masons (those in highest authority) know exactly what they are doing. – – – (Posted here: March 28, 2006)

P2 – Formed in the 19th century by the Grande Orient of Italy for the elites, the organization evolved out of the violent organization known as the Carbonari. Pagan elements suffused the rituals of the organization to which all Grand Masters of Regular Italian Freemasonry belonged. The head was known as Naj Hannah (King Cobra). – – by Leo Zagami, June 27 2007 – (Posted here: Sunday, July 01, 2007)

The Real Secret Word of the Freemasons – The Freemasons have often been called satanic, which is something that they are very capable of fending off. While its rank and file members are ignorant of the purpose of the organization, some know. Freemasons deflect accusations of being a satanic society largely by employing the cover of being a philanthropic organization. But what is at the core of the Freemasons beliefs? – – by D.M., May 1, 2004 – (Posted here: January 6, 2005)

33 Degrees – Number of the Master – Why is 33 degrees associated with Mastery? This was the question I asked myself when I delved into Masonic symbolism while researching my novel Eclipse of the Soul. Being an astrologer, I was convinced it was a celestial reference, for we measure positions of the planets and stars in degrees, minutes and seconds. – – by Olga Morales (Astrologer) – (Posted here: January 10, 2005)

33rd Parallel Masonic Line of Death Row Human Sacrifice Ritual – THE 33RD PARALLEL: MASONIC LINE OF DEATH FOR PSYCHIC ENERGY – GEO-SPATIAL ALIGNMENT OF SOUTHERN DEATH ROWS & ABU GHRAIB AS EVIDENCE OF HUMAN SACRIFICE. RITUAL TO SUPERHUMAN ENTITIES FOR TEMPORAL POWER. The 33rd degree has long been associated with Freemasonry. – –, Dec 28, 2005 – (Posted here: Jan 01, 2006)

Freemasons: The Silent Destroyers? – from (December 23, 2003)

Lucifer/Satan is the God of Freemasonry – from Freemasonic Teachings (December 23, 2003)

Click on Baphomet for enlargement and further explanation

The Bavarian Illuminati Today (Their Own Website) [Still alive and well. From Their Website (Liber Zion, Third Part): “22. Forever, I, Baphomet, will be your unique God, the only and legitimate God”. Wes Penre] – Gabriel Lpez de Rojas was born in Barcelona (Spain), in 1966, June 10th . When he was young, he stood out as an athlete and musician. In 1992, he was initiated in Freemasonry. And, in 1995, he founded Illuminati Order in Barcelona (Spain). [So Freemasonry is a Christian Religion, right??? Wes Penre] – The Illuminati Order – (August 8, 2004)

[And here is the obvious lie coming from the Freemasons themselves] The Infamous Baphomet – But how would such a respected religious order come to worship a head idol or engage in such evil? Likely, they didn’t! – – (Posted here: Oct 4, 2005)

Baphomet – Baphomet and the Worship of him in a Masonic Temple during the George Washington Era (Washington was himself a Freemason). Note the Knights Templar cross on the robes and what appears to be the Rosicrucian cross on Baphomet himself. And on their own website, in an attempt to defend themselves, the Freemasons bluntly lie and claim the Templars never worshipped Baphomet. As a fact, Freemasonry still does and so does the Illuminati. – – by Wes Penre, Illuminati News, Oct 4, 2005 – (Posted here: Oct 4, 2005)

Treasonous Masonic Corruption & Constitutional Resistance – La Cosa Nostra mafia was founded by freemason Mazzini, & IS masonic. Freemasons vow to protect each other. NSA coverups via unelected PD chiefs supplied by NSA list is how it works, (& special agents). – – by James Diebeck – (Posted here: Saturday, July 01, 2006)

The Billy Graham Deception – B’nai B’rith is an anti-christian jewish masonic lodge. They have a high rank in the Illuminati structure and they operate under several fronts. Not all the work they do is bad. They hunt nazis and usually fight again racism but being a form of Freemasonry, it operates as a secret society within a secret society, a circle within a circle etc, so that only the elite of this organization knows the real agenda and the normal jewish person working for them is doing the best they can. I will present as much documentation later on in this article to show the Masonic structure within this group, but first I will mention their link to Billy Graham. – – – (Posted here: Tuesday, June 26, 2007)

Freemasonry Watch

Grand Lodge Seals – The Freemasonic flags & Seals of each State in America – – – (Posted here: Nov 12, 2005)

The Story of Hiram Abiff – THE outstanding figure in modern Freemasonry is undoubtedly the widow’s son who is known to members of the Fraternity under the somewhat obscure name of Hiram Abiff. He dominates Craft Masonry… – – – (Posted here: June 28, 2004)

Who Was Albert Pike? – Very few outsiders know about the intimate plans of Albert Pike and the architects of the New World Order. In the 19th Century Albert Pike established a framework for bringing about the One World Order. Based on a vision revealed to him, Albert Pike wrote a blueprint of events that would play themselves out in the 20th century, with even more of these events yet to come. – – – (Posted here: Aug 30, 2005)

Albert Pike and Three World Wars – Albert Pike received a vision, which he described in a letter that he wrote to Mazzini, dated August 15, 1871. This letter graphically outlined plans for three world wars that were seen as necessary to bring about the One World Order, and we can marvel at how accurately it has predicted events that have already taken place. – – – (Posted here: Aug 30, 2005)

Freemasonry, Albert Pike, and the Ku Klux Klan – from (January 23, 2004)

Jim Shaw – 33 Freemason – Speaks Out About the Deception of Freemasonry In His Book: “The Deadly Deception” – from Illuminati Conspiracy Website – (February 21, 2004)

List of Famous Freemasons – by Wes Penre – (January 3, 2004)

Famous Masons – Long list of famous Freemasons – – – (Posted here: July 11, 2004)

Famous Masons Around the World – Space History that few people know: Buzz Aldrin unofficially established the Masonic Tranquility Lodge on the Moon. Aldrin is one of the few to attain the level of a 33rd Degree Mason. He shares this honor with President George Washington and many other U.S. Presidents (see list at bottom of page) and other famous Masons listed on this page. – – Masons in Space – (Posted here: May 6, 2005)

Famous and Infamous Demolays [Freemasons] – You will now see the power Freemasonry holds over much of America. Do not think that these men are not committed to Freemasonry because they were Demolays. Indeed, they are 100% committed to the phallic cult of the Lodge. – – – (Posted here: August 25, 2004)

Founding Father’s Footsteps Followed – The exhibit explores Washington’s involvement in Freemasonry. It includes artifacts and documents that reveal Washington’s commitment to the fraternity and its principles and values [my emphasis]. Held by Masonic Lodges and Grand Lodges around the country, many of the objects, letters and minute books have rarely been available for public showing. – – MetroWest Daily News, March 20, 2005 – (Posted here: March 21, 2005)

Masonic Symbolism – Masonry is, according to its own philosophers, a system of pure religion expressed in symbols, one which cannot be understood without a knowledge of the true meaning of them. – – – (Posted here: July 11, 2004)

Secret Masonic Handshakes, Passwords,Grips And Signs Of Blue Lodge Masonry – from Ephesians 5:11 Website – (Posted here: March 17, 2004)

An Example of How The Freemasons Control the Court (And Thus the Legal System) – by Wes Penre for Illuminati News, March 30, 2004 – (Posted here: March 30, 2004)

Psychopaths, Secret Societies And the New World Order – by Jerry Russell and Richard Stanley – (Posted here: April 19, 2004)

US Presidents and Freemasonry – …the Illuminati would gradually position members into key power positions over time and ultimately attempt to dominate every industry including the banking industry and finally the world. To set the record straight, here are some very important facts which need to be known: – – David Icke’s “Research Material” – (Posted here: October 9, 2004)

United States Presidents and The Masonic Power Structure – This article is not intended to defame this country’s forefathers. See Secret Societies All I am doing here is listing the facts. I will list other authors articles for you to refer to as corroboration. These names were compiled from the Masons own list of famous names posted on there websites. (See Links Below) The names used in this document have been used from that list along with a brief summary of who they were,(*Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition.) and the role they played in our history. Keep in mind, you can not be a Christian and a practicing Mason, its an oxymoron. – – by Robert Howard – (Posted here: December 10, 2004)

Movie Puts Spotlight on Freemasons [How Hollywood, in “National Treasure”, promotes Freemasonry and makes people interested in joining. The Masons are currently running a campaign to recruit new members, Wes Penre] – “There’s just tremendous symbolism in that movie,” said Roush, Marion, who has been a Freemason for almost 40 years. I know a lot of it is legend, but it’s just fascinating.” – – – (Posted here: December 13, 2004)

The Turkish Experiment with Westernization – “What is more troubling with modern Turkey (since 1909) is that its secularist fundamentalist leadership has had been directly linked with Freemasonry. The leaders of the Turkish Masonic lodges are subordinate to those of Tel Aviv and France and Italy, taking directive from them. There lies the explanation for Turkeys roles vis–vis the Palestine-Israel conflict and the Arab/Muslim world.” – – Media Monitors Network – (Posted here: January 8, 2005)

Benjamin Franklin, the Occult and The Elite – In 1998, workmen restoring Franklin’s London home dug up the remains of six children and four adults hidden below the home. The London Times reported on February 11, 1998: – – – (Posted here: January 12, 2005)

Mankind’s Death Wish – Architects of Deception, a 600-page history of Freemasonry by Estonian writer Juri Lina offers profound insight into the true character of modern history. – – by Henry Makow, Ph.D., Jan 15, 2005 – (Posted here: January 15, 2005)

‘Are You Masons?’ Challenge to Judges – Three judges yesterday refused to reveal whether they were Freemasons after being challenged by a veteran human rights campaigner. – – News.Telegraph, Febr 19, 2003 – (Posted here: February 2, 2005)

Lifting Lid on Judges’ Secret Society – An unprecedented legal hearing into a secret society which boasts some of Scotland’s top judges among its members opened in Edinburgh yesterday amid claims the judges’ membership breaches human rights law. – Guardian Limited, Feb 19, 2003 – (Posted here: February 2, 2005)

Exhibit Reveals Masons’ Influence – WASHINGTON — Some of the most famous buildings in Washington, including the White House, are deeply marked by Freemasonry, the brotherhood that goes back to the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages, says a new exhibit. The show is called “The Initiated Eye: Secrets, Symbols, Freemasonry and the Architecture of Washington, D.C.” It opened to the public Wednesday. – – Associated Press, May 22, 2005 – (Posted here: May 26, 2005)

Henry Kissinger

Excerpt from:
Illuminati News: Secret Societies

Clinton at private fundraiser: SCOTUS is wrong about the …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Clinton at private fundraiser: SCOTUS is wrong about the …
Oct 032015

posted at 6:41 pm on October 2, 2015 by Matt Vespa

At a small private fundraiser in New York, Hillary Clinton slammed the Supreme Court and the National Rifle Association on Second Amendment issues, even going so far as to say that the Court is wrong regarding this provision in our bill of rights. Stephen Gutowski and Alanna Goodman at the Washington Free Beacon obtainedthe audio of this event:

I was proud when my husband took [the National Rifle Association] on, and we were able to ban assault weapons, but he had to put a sunset on so 10 years later. Of course [President George W.] Bush wouldnt agree to reinstate them, said Clinton.

Weve got to go after this, Clinton continued. And here again, the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment. And I am going to make that case every chance I get.


Im going to speak out, Im going to do everything I can to rally people against this pernicious, corrupting influence of the NRA and were going to do whatever we can, she said.

Clinton argued that the NRA has so intimidated elected members of Congress and other legislative bodies that these people are passing the most absurd laws.

The idea that you can have an open carry permit with an AK-47 over your shoulder walking up and down the aisles of a supermarket is just despicable, she said.

Yet, when one says the Supreme Court is wrong on the Second Amendment, is the former first lady referring to the Heller case? The 2008 D.C. v Heller was a landmark case that said Americans have a constitutional right to own a handgun unrelated to service in a standing militia, but it only applied to federal enclaves. In 2010, McDonald v. Chicago expanded that right to the states.

I have no doubt that Clinton agrees with these views. Im not so sure if she has the guts to pull it off. Yes, her husband did take on the NRA and it partially contributed to the 1994 Democratic wipeout. Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-OR) became the first sitting speaker since Galusha Grow to lose his re-election bid. Grow was booted in 1862.

Six years later, Democrats still didnt get the picture. The story goes that Vice President Al Gore could have easily become President Gore if he hadnt tried to out-gun control his Democratic rival, Sen. Bill Bradley (D-NJ), in the primaries; a completely unnecessary move since Bradley never polled within striking distance of Gore. The consequence of this was Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia going for Bush. If these three states had been etched into the Gore column, Florida wouldnt have been an issue. Bush could have still won Florida, but Gore would have locked down more than enough electoral votes to win the presidency. Since then, the gun control movement has gone into the bunker.

All Clinton is doing is courting the most progressive elements of the Democratic base, which yearns for a candidate that will challenge the NRA and enact new gun control laws. In reality, Clinton rhetoric on SCOTUS being wrong on the Second Amendment, and her pledge to make that case every chance I get, is the definition of pie-in-the-sky. You need a functioning state-based Democratic political apparatus to place pressure on localities and state legislatures to change the guns laws, file lawsuits, and hope that the Supreme Court will hear arguments again on the Second Amendment. As its been reported before, state-based Democratic parties are all but finished in some states.

This underreported aspect of the Obama era includes the slow, bleeding death of these political operations, which have entered such a state of decrepitude in some areas that Clinton has vowed to rebuild those structures if shes elected president. With no strong Democratic leaders at the local level, no anti-gun voices in the state legislatures, which have become more Republican since 2008, Hillarys crusade to reverse landmark gun rights cases on the Supreme Court seems to be nothing more than slogans for fundraising. Moreover, on the legal front, those who are for Second Amendment freedom appear to be on a winning streak, winning cases in California and Illinois that either expand gun rights, or prevent governing bodies from curtailing them.

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Clinton at private fundraiser: SCOTUS is wrong about the …

History of Gun Rights – a Timeline of the 2nd Amendment

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on History of Gun Rights – a Timeline of the 2nd Amendment
Sep 262015

After going virtually unchallenged for more than one hundred years, Americans right to own guns was one of the hottest political topics of the second half of the 20th Century. The issue has calmed somewhat in the early days of the 21st Century, but if history is our guide, the debate is going nowhere until an inevitable and definitive ruling is handed down by the nations courts: does the Second Amendment apply to individual citizens?

1791: The Second Amendment is Ratified

The ink had hardly dried on the ratification papers of the Constitution before a political movement was undertaken to amend the framing document to declare gun ownership as a right.

A select committee assembled to review amendments proposed by James Madison authored the language that would become the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights: A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

1871: NRA Founded

The National Rifle Association was founded by a pair of Union soldiers in 1871, not as a political lobby but as an effort to promote the shooting of rifles. However, the organization would grow to become the face of America’s pro-gun lobby in the 20th Century.

1822: Bliss v. Commonwealth Brings Individual Right Into Question

The Second Amendments intent for individual Americans first came into question in 1822, in Bliss v. Commonwealth. The court case arose in Kentucky after a man was indicted for carrying a sword concealed in a cane.

He was convicted and fined $100.

Bliss appealed the conviction, citing a provision in the Commonwealths constitution that states: The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state, shall not be questioned.

In a majority vote with just one judge dissenting, the court overturned the conviction against Bliss and ruled the law unconstitutional and void.

1856: Dred Scott v. Sandford Upholds Individual Right

The Second Amendment as an individual right was affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in its decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford in 1856. With the rights of slaves in question, the nations highest court opined on the intent of the Second Amendment for the first time, writing that affording slaves full rights of American citizenship would include the right to keep and carry arms wherever they went.

1934: National Firearms Act Brings About First Major Gun Control

The first major effort to eliminate private ownership of firearms came with the National Firearms Act of 1934. A direct response of the rise of gangster violence in general, and the Saint Valentines Day massacre in particular, the National Firearms Act sought to circumvent the Second Amendment by controlling firearms through a tax excise ($200 for each gun sale).

The National Firearms Act targeted fully-automatic weapons, short-barreled shotguns and rifles, pen and cane guns, and other firearms defined as gangster weapons.

1938: Federal Firearms Act Requires License for Dealers

The Federal Firearms Act of 1938 required anyone selling or shipping firearms to be licensed through the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Federal Firearms License (FFL) stipulated that guns could not be sold to persons convicted of certain crimes and required sellers to log the names and addresses of anyone they sold guns to.

1968: Gun Control Act Ushers In New Regulations

Thirty years after Americas first sweeping reform of gun laws, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy helped to usher in new federal legislation with wide-ranging implications. The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibited mail order sales of rifles and shotguns, increased license requirements for sellers and broadened the list of persons prohibited from owning a firearm to include convicted felons, drug users and the mentally incompetent.

1994: Brady Act and Assault Weapons Ban

Two new federal laws passed by a Democrat-controlled Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994 became the hallmark of gun control efforts of the latter 20th Century.

The first, the Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, required a five-day waiting period and background check for the sale of handguns, while also requiring a National Instant Criminal Background Check System to be created. The second, the Assault Weapons Ban (officially entitled the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act) banned a number of rifles defined as assault weapons, including many semi-automatic, military-style rifles such as the AK-47 and SKS.

2004: Assault Weapons Ban Sunsets

A Republican-controlled Congress refused to pass a reauthorization of the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004, allowing the ban to expire. President George W. Bush was criticized by gun control supporters for not actively pressuring Congress to renew the ban, while gun rights supporters criticized him for indicating that he would sign a reauthorization if Congress passed it.

2008: D.C. v. Heller is a Major Setback for Gun Control

Gun rights proponents were thrilled in 2008 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment extends gun ownership rights to individuals. The decision affirmed an earlier decision by a lower appeals court and struck down handgun bans in Washington D.C. as unconstitutional.

The case was lauded as the first Supreme Court case to affirm the right of an individual to keep and bear arms in accordance with the Second Amendment. However, the ruling applied only to federal enclaves, such as the District of Columbia. Justices did not opine on the Second Amendments application to the states.

2010: Gun Owners Score Another Victory in McDonald v. Chicago

Gun rights supporters scored their second major Supreme Court victory in 2010, when the high court affirmed the individual right to own guns in McDonald v. Chicago.

The ruling, which was an inevitable follow-up to D.C. v. Heller, marked the first time that the Supreme Court ruled the provisions of the Second Amendment extend to the states. The ruling overturned an earlier decision by a lower court in a legal challenge to Chicagos ordinance banning the possession of handguns by its citizens.

See the original post:
History of Gun Rights – a Timeline of the 2nd Amendment

Fourth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Fourth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …
Sep 242015



The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The ultimate goal of this provision is to protect peoples right toprivacy and freedom from arbitrary governmentalintrusions. Private intrusions not acting in the color of governmental authority areexempted from theFourth Amendment.

To havestanding to claim protection under the Fourth Amendment, one mustfirst demonstrate an expectation of privacy, which is not merely a subjective expectation in mindbut an expectationthat society is prepared to recognized as reasonable under the circumstances. For instance, warrantless searches ofprivate premises are mostly prohibited unless there are justifiable exceptions; on the other hand,a warrantless seizure of abandoned property usually does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Moreover, the Fourth Amendment protection does not expand to governmental intrusion and information collection conducted upon open fields. AnExpectation of privacy in an open field is not considered reasonable. However, there are some exceptions where state authorities granted protection to open fields.

A bivens action can be filed against federal law enforcement officials for damages resulting from an unlawful search and seizure. States can always establish higher standards for searches and seizures than theFourth Amendmentrequires, but states cannot allow conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment.

The protection under the Fourth Amendment can be waived if one voluntarily consents to or does not object to evidence collected during a warrantless search or seizure.


The courts must determine what constitutes asearchorseizureunder theFourth Amendment. If the conduct challenged does not fall within theFourth Amendment, the individualwill not enjoy protection under Fourth Amendment.

A. Search

A search under Fourth Amendment occurs when a governmental employee or agent of the government violates an individual’s reasonableexpectation of privacy.

Strip searches and visual body cavity searches, including anal or genital inspections, constitute reasonable searches under theFourth Amendment when supported by probable cause and conducted in a reasonable manner.

Adog-sniff inspectionis invalid under theFourth Amendmentif the the inspection violates areasonable expectation of privacy. Electronic surveillance is also considered a search under theFourth Amendment.

B. Seizure of a Person

A seizure of a person, within the meaning of theFourth Amendment, occurs when the police’s conduct would communicate to a reasonable person, taking into account the circumstances surrounding the encounter, that the person is notfree to ignore the police presence and leave at hiswill.

Two elements must be present to constitute a seizure of a person. First, there must be a show of authority by the police officer. Presence of handcuffs or weapons,the use of forceful language, andphysical contact are each strong indicators of authority. Second, the person being seized must submit to the authority. An individualwho ignores the officers request and walks away has not been seized for Fourth Amendment purposes.

An arrest warrant is preferred but not required to make alawful arrest under theFourth Amendment. A warrantless arrest may be justified whereprobable cause and urgent need are presentprior to the arrest. Probable cause is present when the police officer has a reasonable beliefin the guilt of the suspect based on the facts and information prior to the arrest. For instance, a warrantless arrest may be legitimate in situations where a police officer has a probable belief that a suspect has either committed a crime or is a threat to the public security. Also, apolice officer might arrest a suspect to prevent the suspects escape or to preserve evidence. A warrantless arrest may be invalidatedif the police officer failsto demonstrate exigent circumstances.

The ability to makewarrantless arrests are commonly limited by statutes subject to the due process guaranty of theU.S. Constitution. A suspect arrested without a warrant is entitled toprompt judicial determination, usually within 48 hours.

There are investigatory stops that fall shortof arrests, but nonetheless, theyfall within Fourth Amendmentprotection.For instance, police officers can perform aterry stop or a traffic stop. Usually, these stops provide officers with less dominion and controlling power and impose less of an infringement of personal liberty for individual stopped. Investigatory stops must be temporary questioning for limited purposes and conducted in a manner necessary to fulfill the purpose.

Anofficers reasonable suspicion is sufficient to justify brief stops and detentions. To determine if the officer has met the standard to justify the seizure, the court takes into account the totality of the circumstances and examines whether the officer has a particularized and reasonable belief for suspecting the wrongdoing. Probable cause gained during stops or detentions might effectuate a subsequent warrantless arrest.

C. Seizure of Property

A seizure of property, within the meaning of theFourth Amendment, occurs when there is some meaningful interference with anindividuals possessory interests in the property.

In some circumstances, warrantless seizures of objects in plain view do notconstitute seizures within the meaning of Fourth Amendment. When executing a search warrant, an officer might be able to seize an item observed in plain view even if it is not specified in the warrant.


A search or seizure is generally unreasonable and illegal without a warrant, subject to only a few exceptions.

To obtain a search warrant or arrest warrant, the law enforcement officer must demonstrate probable causethata search or seizure is justified. Anauthority, usually a magistrate, will consider the totality of circumstances and determine whether to issue the warrant.

The warrant requirement may be excused in exigent circumstances if an officer has probable cause and obtaining a warrant is impractical. For instance, in State v. Helmbright 990 N.E.2d 154, Ohiocourt held that awarrantless search of probationer’s person or place of residence complies with the Fourth Amendment if the officer who conducts the search possesses reasonable grounds to believe that the probationer has failed to comply with the terms of hisprobation.

Other well-established exceptions to the warrant requirement include consensual searches, certain brief investigatory stops, searches incident to a valid arrest, and seizures of items in plain view.

There is no general exception to theFourth Amendment warrant requirement in national security cases. Warrantless searches are generally not permitted in exclusively domestic security cases. In foreign security cases, court opinions might differ on whether to accept the foreign security exception to warrant requirement generallyand, if accepted, whether the exception should include bothphysical searches and electronic surveillance.


All searches and seizures under Fourth Amendment must be reasonable. No excessive force shall be used. Reasonableness is the ultimate measure of the constitutionality of a search or seizure.

Searches and seizures with a warrant satisfy the reasonableness requirement. Warrantless searches and seizures are presumed to be unreasonable unless they fall within a few exceptions.

In cases of warrantless searches and seizures, the court will try to balance the degree of intrusion on the individuals right toprivacy and the need to promote government interests and special needs. The court will examine the totality of the circumstances to determine if the search or seizure was justified. When analyzingthe reasonableness standard, the court uses an objective assessment and considers factors including the degree of intrusion by the search or seizure andthe manner in which the search or seizure is conducted.


Under the exclusionary rule, any evidence obtained inviolation of theFourth Amendmentwill be excluded from criminal proceedings. There are a few exceptions to this rule.


In recent years, the Fourth Amendment’s applicability inelectronic searches and seizures has received much attention from the courts. With the advent of the internet and increased popularity of computers, there has been anincreasing amount of crime occurring electronically. Consequently, evidence of such crime can often be found on computers, hard drives, or other electronic devices. TheFourth Amendment applies to the search and seizure ofelectronic devices.

Many electronic search cases involvewhether law enforcement can search a company-owned computer that an employee uses to conduct business. Although the case law is split, the majority holds that employees do not have a legitimate expectationof privacy with regard to information stored on a company-owned computer. In the 2010 case ofCity of Ontario v. Quon (08-1332), the Supreme Court extended this lack of an expectation of privacy to text messages sent and received on an employer-owned pager.

Lately, electronic surveillance and wiretapping has also caused a significant amount of Fourth Amendment litigation.


Following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress and the President enacted legislation to strengthen the intelligence gathering communitys ability to combat domestic terrorism. Entitled the USA Patriot Act, the legislations provisions aimed to increase the ability of law enforcement to search email and telephonic communications in addition to medical, financial, and library records.

One provision permitslaw enforcement to obtain access to stored voicemails by obtaining a basic search warrant rather than a surveillance warrant. Obtaining a basic search warrantrequires a much lower evidentiary showing. A highlycontroversial provision of the Act includespermission for law enforcement to use sneak-and-peak warrants. A sneak-and-peak warrant is a warrant in which law enforcement can delay notifying the property owner about the warrants issuance. In an Oregon federal district court case that drew national attention, Judge Ann Aiken struck down the use of sneak-and-peak warrants as unconstitutional and inviolation of the Fourth Amendment. See 504 F.Supp.2d 1023 (D. Or. 2007).

The Patriot Act also expanded the practice of using National Security Letters (NSL). An NSL is an administrative subpoena that requires certain persons, groups, organizations, or companies to provide documents about certain persons. These documents typically involve telephone, email, and financial records. NSLs also carry a gag order, meaningthe person or persons responsible for complying cannot mention theexistence of the NSL. Under the Patriot Act provisions, law enforcement can use NSLs when investigating U.S. citizens, even when law enforcement does not think the individual under investigation has committed a crime. The Department of Homeland Security has used NSLs frequently since its inception. By using anNSL, an agency has no responsibility to first obtain a warrant or court order before conducting its search of records.

See constitutional amendment.

See the article here:
Fourth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …

Statue of Liberty – New Jersey

 Liberty  Comments Off on Statue of Liberty – New Jersey
Sep 222015

A Symbol of Friendship

Located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, the statue commemorates the friendship between the United States and France that began during the American Revolution. Her official name is “Liberty Enlightening the World.”

The statue – also known as “Lady Liberty” – has many symbolic features. Her torch represents liberty. In Roman numbers, her tablet reads “July 4, 1776,” America’s independence day.

Her crown has 25 windows, recognizing the gemstones found on the earth and the heaven’s rays shining over the world. The rays of her crown symbolize the seven continents and seven seas. At her feet are chains, representing the tyranny of colonial rule from which America escaped.

Building the Statue

In 1876 French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi began designing the statue. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower, worked with him. While Bartholdi developed the look of the statue, Eiffel worked on the framework. Bartholdi made the statue out of copper sheets, and Eiffel made the framework of steel. In July 1884, the statue was completed in France.

Richard Morris Hunt, designer of New York City’s first apartment building, designed the pedestal. The construction of the pedestal was completed in April 1886.

In addition to the architectural challenges of building the statue and pedestal, both countries faced challenges in getting money for the project. The French charged public fees, held fundraising events, and used money from a lottery to finance the statue.

In America, boxing matches, plays, art exhibitions, and auctions were used to raise money with limited success. Joseph Pulitzer, founder of the Pulitzer Prize, was able to more successfully motivate Americans with critical editorials in his newspaper, The World, and financing was completed in 1885.

On June 19, 1885, the French ship Isere arrived in New York Harbor with the Statue of Liberty. The statue was divided into 350 pieces held in 214 crates during the shipment. Over the next four months, a group of workers re-assembled Lady Liberty on the pedestal at Fort Wood on Bedloe Island, as Liberty Island was then known.

Thousands of people came to Fort Wood on October 28, 1886, as President Grover Cleveland officially accepted the statue.

Events in Statue History

In 1924, the statue became a national monument. Bedloe’s Island, home to Fort Wood and the statue, was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. That same year Ellis Island was included with Liberty Island to make up the Statue of Liberty National Monument. As the Lady Liberty’s 100th birthday neared, the country began working to restore the monument.

Starting in 1982, $87 million was raised for the restoration. When statue’s restoration began in 1984, the United Nations named it a World Heritage Site. The statue was re-opened on July 5, 1986, for her centennial celebration.

Visitors have not been able to enter the Statue of Liberty since September 11, 2001, but the island remains open. A fundraising drive is currently underway to make the necessary security and safety upgrades to re-open the statue itself.

Statue Statistics

Statue of Liberty – New Jersey

NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …
Sep 192015

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (“warrantless wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of allegedly foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the touted war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the terrorist surveillance program,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. However, it has been discovered that all U.S. communications have been digitally cloned by government agencies, in apparent violation of unreasonable search and seizure. The excuse given to avoid litigation[citation needed] was that no data hoarded would be reviewed until searching it would be legal. But no excuse has been offered the initial seizure of the data which is also illegal,[citation needed] according to the U.S. Constitution.[citation needed]

Critics, however, claimed that the program was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and its handling of several controversial issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration allegedly ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court.[2] Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.[3] However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.[4]

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts were not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13]The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14]Bill Keller, the newspaper’s former executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election, and the story that was ultimately published was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. The delay drew criticism from some in the press, arguing that an earlier publication could have changed the election’s outcome.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[16] The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.[17]

Gonzales said the program authorized warrantless intercepts where the government had “a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda” and that one party to the conversation was “outside of the United States.”[18] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy has expanded to include the press’ role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of the US Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.[19]

In mid-August 2007, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in two lawsuits challenging the surveillance program. The appeals were the first to reach the court after dozens of civil suits against the government and telecommunications companies over NSA surveillance were consolidated last year before the chief judge of the Northern District of California, Vaughn R. Walker. One of the cases is a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, focusing on allegations that the company provided the NSA with its customers’ phone and Internet communications for a vast data-mining operation. Plaintiffs in the second case are the al-Haramain Foundation Islamic charity and two of its lawyers.[20][21]

On November 16, 2007, the three judgesM. Margaret McKeown, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Harry Pregersonissued a 27-page ruling that the charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, could not introduce a key piece of evidence in its case because it fell under the government’s claim of state secrets, although the judges said that “In light of extensive government disclosures, the government is hard-pressed to sustain its claim that the very subject matter of the litigation is a state secret.”[22][23]

In an August 14, 2007, question-and-answer session with the El Paso Times which was published on August 22, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector helped the warrantless surveillance program. McConnell argued that the companies deserved immunity for their help: “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies”.[24] Plaintiffs in the AT&T suit subsequently filed a motion with the court to have McConnell’s acknowledgement admitted as evidence in their case.[25]

The program may face an additional legal challenge in the appeal of two Albany, New York, men convicted of criminal charges in an FBI anti-terror sting operation. Their lawyers say they have evidence the men were the subjects of NSA electronic surveillance, which was used to obtain their convictions but not made public at trial or made available in response to discovery requests by defense counsel at that time.[26]

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sep 11, 2001, attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.[27] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[28]

On August 17, 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it would consider a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which asked the intelligence court to make public its recent, classified rulings on the scope of the government’s wiretapping powers. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding judge of the FISC, signed an order calling the ACLU’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”[29] The FISC ordered the government to respond on the issue by August 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.[30][31] On the August 31 deadline, the National Security Division of the Justice Department filed a response in opposition to the ACLU’s motion with the court.[32]

In previous developments, the case ACLU v. NSA was dismissed on July 6, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[33] The court did not rule on the spying program’s legality. Instead, its 65-page opinion declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case including academics, lawyers and journalists did not have the legal standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance.[34] Detroit District Court judge Anna Diggs Taylor had originally ruled on August 17, 2006 that the program is illegal under FISA as well as unconstitutional under the First and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution.[35][36][37]Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, discovered that at the time of the ruling Taylor “serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”[38] On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union, letting stand the earlier decision dismissing the case.[39]

On September 28, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825).[40] That bill now has been passed to the U.S. Senate, where three competing, mutually exclusive, billsthe Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the DeWine bill), the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the Specter bill), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S.3001) (the Specter-Feinstein bill) were themselves referred for debate to the full Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13, 2006.[41] Each of these bills would in some form broaden the statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, while still subjecting it to some restrictions. The Specter-Feinstein bill would extend the peacetime period for obtaining retroactive warrants to seven days and implement other changes to facilitate eavesdropping while maintaining FISA court oversight. The DeWine bill, the Specter bill, and the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (passed by the House) would all authorize some limited forms or periods of warrantless electronic surveillance subject to additional programmatic oversight by either the FISC (Specter bill) or Congress (DeWine and Wilson bills).

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders by letter that the program would not be reauthorized by the President.[2] “Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to his letter.[42]

On September 18, 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet-privacy advocacy group, filed a new lawsuit against the NSA, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other government agencies and individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless surveillance. They sued on behalf of AT&T customers to seek redress for what the EFF alleges to be an illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. An earlier, ongoing suit by the EFF may be bogged down by the recent changes to FISA provisions, but these are not expected to impact this new case.[43][44]

On January 23, 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor when it urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to set aside a ruling in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al.[45] The Obama administration also sided with the former administration in its legal defense of July 2008 legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicity in the eavesdropping program, according to testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.[46]

On March 31, 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance”, the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.[47]

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment against the United States and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Mueller.[48]

The Trailblazer Project, an NSA IT project that began in 2000, has also been linked to warrantless surveillance. It was chosen over ThinThread, which had included some privacy protections. Three ex-NSA staffers, William Binney, J. Kirke Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, all of whom had quit NSA over concerns about the legality of the agency’s activities, teamed with Diane Roark, a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, to ask the Inspector General to investigate. A major source for the IG report was Thomas Andrews Drake, an ex-Air Force senior NSA official with an expertise in computers. Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun published a series of articles about Trailblazer in 20062007.

The FBI agents investigating the 2005 The New York Times story eventually made their way to The Baltimore Sun story, and then to Binney, Wiebe, Loomis, Roark, and Drake. In 2007 armed FBI agents raided the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe. Binney claimed they pointed guns at his head. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None were charged with crimes except for Drake. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, as part of Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on leakers.[49][50] The charges against him were dropped in 2011 and he pled to a single misdemeanor.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates U.S. government agencies’ carrying out of physical searches, and electronic surveillance, wherein a significant purpose is the gathering of foreign intelligence information. “Foreign intelligence information” is defined in 50 U.S.C.1801 as information necessary to protect the U.S. or its allies against actual or potential attack from a foreign power, sabotage or international terrorism. FISA defines a “foreign power” as a foreign government or any faction(s) of a foreign government not substantially composed of US persons, or any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. FISA provides for both criminal and civil liability for intentional electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.

FISA provides two documents for the authorization of surveillance. First, FISA allows the Justice Department to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) before or up to 72 hours after the beginning of the surveillance. FISA authorizes a FISC judge to issue a warrant for the electronic cameras if “there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. 1805(a)(3). Second, FISA permits the President or his delegate to authorize warrantless surveillance for the collection of foreign intelligence if “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. 50 U.S.C. 1802(a)(1).[51]

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order that authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant from the FISC as stipulated by FISA (see 50 U.S.C.1802 50 U.S.C.1809 ). The complete details of the executive order are not known, but according to statements by the administration,[52] the authorization covers telephone calls originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda or its affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US. The legality of surveillance involving US persons and extent of this authorization is at the core of this controversy which has steadily grown to include:

About a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) which authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The administration has argued that the language used in the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to exercise those powers “incident to the waging of war”, including the collection of enemy intelligence, FISA provisions notwithstanding.[8]

On January 20, 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee along with lone co-sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. Res. 350, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.”[55][56] This non-binding resolution died in the Senate without being brought up for debate or being voted upon.[57]

Because of its highly classified status, little is publicly known about the actual implementation of the NSA domestic electronic surveillance program. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit including limited technical details known to him personally in support of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in federal district court in San Francisco in January 2006 on behalf of AT&T customers who alleged that they had been damaged by the telecommunications corporation’s cooperation with the NSA. The lawsuit is called Hepting v. AT&T.[60][61]

A January 16, 2004 statement by Mr. Klein includes additional technical details regarding the secret 2003 construction of an NSA-operated monitoring facility in Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.[62][63]

According to Klein’s affidavit, the NSA-equipped room uses equipment built by Narus Corporation to intercept and analyze communications traffic, as well as perform data-mining functions.[64]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry analyzed potential security risks posed by the NSA program, based on information contained in Klein’s affidavits as well as those of expert witness J. Scott Marcus, a designer of large-scale IP-based data networks, former CTO at GTE Internetworking and at Genuity, and former senior advisor for Internet Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission.[65] They concluded that the likely architecture of the system created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by government agents.[66]

Journalist Barton Gellman reported in the Washington Post that David Addington who was at that time legal counsel to former Vice President Dick Cheney was the author of the controlling legal and technical documents for the NSA surveillance program, typing the documents on a TEMPEST-shielded computer across from his desk in room 268 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and storing them in a vault in his office.[67][68][69]

The NSA surveillance controversy involves legal issues that fall into two broad disciplines: statutory interpretation and Constitutional law. Statutory interpretation is the process of interpreting and applying legislation to the facts of a given case. Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the interpretation of the United States Constitution and covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the United States.[70]

However, there are analogies between the NSA Spying Scandal (20012007) and Hewlett-Packard spying scandal (2006)[71] that may ease to predict the court outcomes. HP, in order to find the leak source of its board strategic minutes revealed to press, employed several contractors to investigate the leak issue but without engaging any external legal firm and supervisory stakeholder. Contractors, under supervision of the HP’s internal investigation team, confidentially used false pretense and social security numbers a spying technique namely Pretexting for obtaining phone records of suspicious board members and several journalists. Later on, the HP’s surveillance extended beyond the board of directors leaking issue and became a conspiracy for interest of the probe initiators; through which it was claimed that the informational privacy rights of even innocent employees and directors of the board, who had nothing to do with the board leaks, were violated.

In October 2006, HP’s chairwoman Patricia Dunn and HP’s former chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and several private investigators were charged for criminal cases under California Penal Code such as

All of these charges were dismissed.[72]

18 U.S.C.2511(2)(f) provides in relevant part that “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in 50 U.S.C.1801(f) … and the intercept of domestic [communications] may be conducted.” The interpretation of this clause is central to the controversy because both sides agree that the NSA program operates outside of the procedural framework provided by FISA. The interpretive conflict arises because other provisions of FISA, including the criminal sanctions subpart 50 U.S.C.1809 include an “unless authorized by statute” provision, raising the issue of statutory ambiguity. The administration’s position is that the AUMF is an authorizing statute which satisfies the FISA criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where the government claimed that the AUMF authorized the President to detain U.S. citizens designated as an enemy combatant despite its lack of specific language to that intent and notwithstanding the provisions of 18 U.S.C.4001(a) which requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress. In that case, the Court ruled:

[B]ecause we conclude that the Government’s second assertion [“that 4001(a) is satisfied, because Hamdi is being detained “pursuant to an Act of Congress” [the AUMF] is correct, we do not address the first. In other words, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the AUMF is explicit congressional authorization for the detention of individuals … and that the AUMF satisfied 4001(a)’s requirement that a detention be “pursuant to an Act of Congress”

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld however, the court rejected the government’s argument that the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to establish military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. The opinion of the Court held:

Neither of these congressional Acts, [AUMF or ATC] however, expands the President’s authority to convene military commissions. First, while we assume that the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)) (plurality opinion), and that those powers include the authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see id., at 518; Quirin, 317 U. S., at 2829; see also Yamashita, 327 U. S., at 11, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in Article 21 of the UCMJ. Cf. Yerger, 8 Wall., at 105 (“Repeals by implication are not favored”)

Determining when explicit congressional authorization is and is not required appears by this decision to require a court to first determine whether an implicit authorization would amount to a “repeal by implication” of the governing Act.

The exclusivity clause also raises a separation of powers issue. (See Constitutional law issues below)

The arguments against the legality of the NSA fall into two broad categories, those who argue that FISA raises no Constitutional issues and therefore the NSA program is illegal on its face

Common to both of these views is the argument that the participation of “US persons” as defined in FISA 50 U.S.C.1801 renders the objectional intercepts “domestic” in nature.[73] Those advocating the “no constitutional issue” position, argue that Congress has the authority it needs to legislate in this area under Article I and the Fourth Amendment[74] while those who see a constitutional conflict[75] acknowledge that the existing delineation between Congressional and Executive authority in this area is not clear[76] but that Congress, in including the exclusivity clause in FISA, meant to carve out a legitimate role for itself in this arena.

The administration holds that an exception to the normal warrant requirements exists when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent attack from a foreign threat. Such an exception has been upheld at the Circuit Court level when the target was a foreign agent residing abroad,[77][78] a foreign agent residing in the US,[79][80][81][82] and a US citizen abroad.[83] The warrantless exception was struck down when both the target and the threat was deemed domestic.[84] The legality of targeting US persons acting as agents of a foreign power and residing in this country has not been addressed by the US Supreme Court, but has occurred at least once, in the case of Aldrich Ames.[85]

The Administration’s position with regard to statutory interpretation, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is to avoid what it has termed the “difficult Constitutional questions” by

This argument, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is based on the language of the AUMF, specifically, the acknowledgment of the President’s Constitutional authority contained in the preamble; “Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”, and the language in the resolution itself;

[Be it resolved] [t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The administration also adds that the program is legal under Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act entitled Enhanced Surveillance Procedures,[citation needed] although it is not relying upon the domestic law enforcement provisions of the PATRIOT Act for authorization of any of the NSA program activities.[citation needed] The President had said prior to this, that Americans’ civil liberties were being protected and that purely domestic wiretapping was being conducted pursuant to warrants under applicable law, including the Patriot Act.[87]

These arguments must be compared to the language of the FISA itself, which states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.[88]

Because the law only authorizes the President to bypass the FISA court during the first 15 days of a war declared by Congress (see “Declaration of war”), the administration’s argument rests on the assumption that the AUMF gave the President more power than was understood as absolutely implicit in any Congressional “declaration of war” at the time of the statute’s enactment. However, as a “declaration of war by the Congress” encompasses all military actions so declared, no matter how small, brief or otherwise constrained by Congress, the above citation could be seen as setting not a default or typical level of Presidential wartime authority, but instead a presumptive minimum, which might more often than not be extended (explicitly or implicitly) by Congress’s war declaration.

According to Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan: “It is true, of course, that a president’s failure to report to Congress when he is required to do so by law is a serious matter, but in reality the reporting requirement was a technicality that a President could not be expected to know about.”[89] In regard to this program, a Gang of Eight (eight key members of Congress, thirteen in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional Sessions) have been kept informed to some degree:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, 501503, codified as 50 USC 413-413b,[90] the President is required to keep Congressional intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed of U.S. intelligence activities, “consistent with … protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” For covert actions, from which intelligence gathering activities are specifically excluded in 413b(e)(1), the President is specifically permitted to limit reporting to the so-called “Gang of Eight”.[91]

The administration contends that with regard to the NSA surveillance program, the administration fulfilled its notification obligations by briefing key members of Congress (thirteen individuals in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional sessions) have been briefed on the NSA program more than a dozen times[citation needed] but they were forbidden from sharing information about the program with other members or staff.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2006 the Congressional Research Service released a report, “Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions”.[92][93] That report found that “[b]ased upon publicly reported descriptions of the program, the NSA surveillance program would appear to fall more closely under the definition of an intelligence collection program, rather than qualify as a covert action program as defined by statute”, and, therefore, concluded there was no specific statutory basis for limiting briefings on the terrorist surveillance program to the Gang of Eight.[94] However, the report goes on to note in its concluding paragraph that limited disclosure is also permitted under the statute “in order to protect intelligence sources and methods”.[95]

Thus, although the specific statutory “Gang of Eight” notification procedure for covert action would not seem to apply to the NSA program, it is not clear if a limited notification procedure intended to protect sources and methods is expressly prohibited. Additionally, should the sources and methods exception apply it will require a factual determination as to whether it should apply to disclosure of the program itself or only to specific sensitive aspects.

The constitutional debate surrounding executive authorization of warrantless surveillance is principally about separation of powers (“checks and balances”). If, as discussed above, no “fair reading” of FISA can be found in satisfaction of the canon of avoidance, these issues will have to be decided at the appellate level, by United States courts of appeals. It should be noted that in such a separation of powers dispute, the burden of proof is placed upon the Congress to establish its supremacy in the matter: the Executive branch enjoys the presumption of authority until an Appellate Court rules against it.[citation needed]

Article I vests Congress with the sole authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” and “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The U.S. Supreme Court has used the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I to affirm broad Congressional authority to legislate as it sees fit in the domestic arena[citation needed] but has limited its application in the arena of foreign affairs. In the landmark Curtiss-Wright decision, Justice Sutherland writes in his opinion of the Court:

The [“powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs”] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.

Article II vests the President with power as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and requires that he “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically used Article II to justify wide deference to the President in the arena of foreign affairs.[citation needed] Two historical and recent Supreme Court cases define the secret wiretapping by the NSA. Quoting again from the Curtiss-Wright decision:

It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relationsa power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

The extent of the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief has never been fully defined, but two U.S. Supreme Court cases are considered seminal in this area:[96][97]Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Curtiss-Wright.

In addition, two relatively new cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, have clarified, and in the case of Hamdan limited, the scope of executive power to detain and try suspected terrorists as enemy combatants.

In Hamdan, the Court’s opinion in footnote 23, rejected the notion that Congress is impotent to regulate the exercise of executive war powers:

Whether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). The Government does not argue otherwise.

Whether “proper exercise” of Congressional war powers includes authority to regulate the gathering of foreign intelligence, which in other rulings[citation needed] has been recognized as “fundamentally incident to the waging of war”, is a historical point of contention between the Executive and Legislative branches.[8][98]

As noted in “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information”, published by The Congressional Research Service:

A review of the history of intelligence collection and its regulation by Congress suggests that the two political branches have never quite achieved a meeting of the minds regarding their respective powers. Presidents have long contended that the ability to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes is a purely executive function, and have tended to make broad assertions of authority while resisting efforts on the part of Congress or the courts to impose restrictions. Congress has asserted itself with respect to domestic surveillance, but has largely left matters involving overseas surveillance to executive self-regulation, subject to congressional oversight and willingness to provide funds.

The same report makes clear the Congressional view that intelligence gathered within the U.S. and where “one party is a U.S. person” qualifies as domestic in nature and as such completely within their purview to regulate, and further that Congress may “tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power”:

The passage of FISA and the inclusion of such exclusivity language reflects Congress’s view of its authority to cabin the President’s use of any inherent constitutional authority with respect to warrantless electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee articulated its view with respect to congressional power to tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and helps guard against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by agents of the government. It is solely a right of the people that neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can lawfully abrogate, not even if acting in concert: no statute can make an unreasonable search reasonable, nor a reasonable search unreasonable.

The term “unreasonable” is deliberately imprecise but connotes the sense that there is a rational basis for the search and that it is not an excessive imposition upon the individual given the motivation for and circumstances of the search, and is in accordance with customary societal norms. It is conceived that a judge will be sufficiently distanced from the authorities seeking a warrant that they can render an impartial decision unaffected by any prejudices or improper motivations they (or the legislators who enacted a law they are seeking to enforce) may harbor.

An individual who believes their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unreasonable search or seizure may file a civil suit for monetary compensation and seek a court-ordered end to a pattern or practice of such unlawful activities by government authorities, although the plaintiff will need to have evidence that such a wiretap is taking place in order to show standing (Amnesty International v. Clapper). Such civil rights violations are sometimes punishable by state or federal law. Evidence obtained in an unlawful search or seizure is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial.

The law countenances searches without warrant as “reasonable” in numerous circumstances, among them (see below): the persons, property, and papers of individuals crossing the border of the United States and those of paroled felons; in prisons, public schools and government offices; and of international mail. Although these are undertaken as a result of statute or Executive order, they should not be seen as deriving their legitimacy from these, rather, the Fourth Amendment explicitly allows reasonable searches, and the government has instituted some of these as public policy.

The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations within the United States constitutes a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must generally obtain a warrant before undertaking such domestic recordings.

The Supreme Court has also held in Smith v Maryland (1979) that citizens have no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in the business records (sometimes termed metadata) of their communications. This means that the court can subpoena data such as the numbers that an individual has phoned, when and, to a limited degree, where (subject to Jones v. United States) the phone conversation occurred, although a full judicial warrant would be required for the government to acquire or admit audio content from the telephone call. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT act, the FBI can subpoena some or all such records from a business record holder using a warrant applied for in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The protection of “private conversations” has been held to apply only to conversations where the participants have not only manifested a desire but also a reasonable expectation that their conversation is indeed private and that no other party is listening in. In the absence of such a reasonable expectation, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and surveillance without warrant does not violate it. Privacy is clearly not a reasonable expectation in communications to persons in the many countries whose governments openly intercept electronic communications, and is of dubious reasonability in countries against which the United States is waging war.

The law also recognizes a distinction between domestic surveillance taking place within U.S. borders and foreign surveillance of non-U.S. persons either in the U.S. or abroad.[99] In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the Constitution does not extend protection to non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, so no warrant would be required to engage in even physical searches of non-U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of warrantless searches targeting foreign powers or their agents within the US. There have been, however, a number of Circuit Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of such warrantless searches.[100] In United States v. Bin Laden, the Second Circuit noted that “no court, prior to FISA, that was faced with the choice, imposed a warrant requirement for foreign intelligence searches undertaken within the United States.”[101] Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in his written response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee explained that in the administration’s view, this unanimity of pre-FISA Circuit Court decisions vindicates their argument that warrantless foreign-intelligence surveillance authority existed prior to FISA and since, as these ruling indicate, that authority derives from the Executive’s inherent Article II powers, they may not be encroached by statute.[102] In 2002, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (Court of Review) met for the first time and issued an opinion (In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001) which seems to echo that view. They too noted all the Federal courts of appeal having looked at the issue had concluded that there was constitutional power for the president to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance. Furthermore, based on these rulings it “took for granted such power exits” and ruled that under this presumption, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” Professor Orin Kerr argues in rebuttal that the part of In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 that dealt with FISA (rather than the Fourth Amendment) was nonbinding obiter dicta and that the argument does not restrict Congress’s power to regulate the executive in general.[103]

Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, Suzanne Spaulding, former general counsel for the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate, and former Counsel to the President John Dean, contend that FISA clearly makes the wiretapping illegal and subject to the criminal penalties of FISA,[104] (in seeming disagreement with the FISA Court of Review finding above) and that the president’s own admissions already constitute sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment, without requiring further factual evidence. Professor John C. Eastman, in his analysis, prepared at the behest of the House Judiciary Committee, comparing the CRS and DOJ reports, concluded instead that under the Constitution and ratified by both historical and Supreme Court precedent, “the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies. Moreover, it should go without saying that such activities are a fundamental incident of war.”[105]

Orin S. Kerr, associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School[106] and a leading scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance,[107] points to an analogy between the NSA intercepts and searches allowed by the Fourth Amendment under the border search exception.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States “or its functional equivalent.” (United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign nation has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.)…At the same time, I don’t know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the “functional equivalent of the border,” much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel…the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, [held] that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched.

Evidence gathered without warrant may raise significant Fourth Amendment issues which could preclude its use in a criminal trial. As a general rule of law, evidence obtained improperly without lawful authority, may not be used in a criminal prosecution.[citation needed] The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of warrantless searches (which has been broadly defined by the court to include surveillance) targeting foreign powers or their agents, the admissibility of such evidence in a criminal trial nor whether it is permissible to obtain or use evidence gathered without warrant against US persons acting as agents of a foreign power.[citation needed]

The National Security Act of 1947[108] requires Presidential findings for covert acts. SEC. 503. [50 U.S.C. 413b] (a) (5) of that act states: “A finding may not authorize any action that would violate the Constitution or any statute of the United States.”

On August 17, 2006, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in ACLU v. NSA that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional under the Fourth and First Amendments and enjoined the NSA from using the program to conduct electronic surveillance “in contravention of [FISA or Title III]”.[36] In her ruling,[109] she wrote:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has indisputably violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

Even some legal experts who agreed with the outcome have criticized the reasoning set forth in the opinion.[110] Others have argued that the perceived flaws in the opinion in fact reflect the Department of Justice’s refusal to argue the legal merits of the program (they chose to focus solely on arguments about standing and state secrets grounds).[111]

On October 4, 2006, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled that the government can continue the program while it appeals the lower court decision.[112][113]

On July 6, 2007 the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing.

The Court found that:[114]

[T]he plaintiffs do not and because of the State Secrets Doctrine cannot produce any evidence that any of their own communications have ever been intercepted by the NSA, under the TSP, or without warrants. Instead, they assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a well founded belief,…

Implicit in each of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries is the underlying possibility which the plaintiffs label a “well founded belief” and seek to treat as a probability or even a certainty that the NSA is presently intercepting, or will eventually intercept, communications to or from one or more of these particular plaintiffs, and that such interception would be detrimental to the plaintiffs’ clients, sources, or overseas contacts. This is the premise upon which the plaintiffs’ entire theory is built.

But even though the plaintiffs’ beliefs based on their superior knowledge of their contacts’ activities may be reasonable, the alternative possibility remains that the NSA might not be intercepting, and might never actually intercept, any communication by any of the plaintiffs named in this lawsuit.

Corporate secrecy is also an issue. Wired reported: In a letter to the EFF, AT&T objected to the filing of the documents in any manner, saying that they contain sensitive trade secrets and could be “used to ‘hack’ into the AT&T network, compromising its integrity.”[115] However, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker stated, during the September 12, 2008 hearing in the class-action lawsuit filed by the EFF, that the Klein evidence could be presented in court, effectively ruling that AT&T’s trade secret and security claims were unfounded.

The majority of legal arguments supporting the NSA warrantless surveillance program have been based on the War Powers Resolution. There have not been any other noteworthy types of supporting legal arguments. The War Powers Resolution has been questioned as unconstitutional since its creation, and its adaptation to the NSA warrantless surveillance program has been questionable.

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Cryonics – Merkle

 Cryonics  Comments Off on Cryonics – Merkle
Sep 132015

Read the Alcor Membership page and follow the instructions. Most members use life insurance to pay for their cryopreservation. Rudi Hoffman has written most of the life insurance policies in the cryonics community.

If you’re interested, but not quite ready to sign up, become an Associate Member.

A common misconception is that cryonics freezes the dead. As the definition of “death” is “a permanent cessation of all vital functions” the future ability to revive a patient preserved with today’s technology implies the patient wasn’t dead. Cryonics is actually based on the more plausible idea that present medical practice has erred in declaring a patient “dead.” A second opinion from a future physician one with access to a fundamentally better medical technology based on a mature nanotechnology lets us avoid the unpleasant risk that we might bury someone alive.

The major reason that cryonics is not more favorably viewed in the medical community is relatively easy to explain. Medicine relies on clinical trials. Put more simply, if someone proposes a technique for saving lives, the response is “Try it and see if it works.” Methods that have not been verified by clinical trials are called “experimental,” while methods that have been tried and failed are rejected.

In keeping with this tradition, we would like to conduct clinical trials of the effectiveness of cryopreservation to determine whether it does (or does not) work. The appropriate trials can be easily described. Cryonics proposes to cryopreserve people with today’s technology in the expectation that medical technology of (say) the year 2115 will be able to cure them. Thus, the appropriate clinical trials would be to:

While this problem is not entirely unique to cryonics (the plight of a dying patient who wishes to know whether or not to take a new experimental treatment is well known), cryonics poses it in a qualitatively more severe fashion: we must wait longer to determine the outcome and we have no preliminary results to provide a clue about what that outcome might be. If a new treatment is being tested we normally have the results of animal trials and perhaps some preliminary results from human patients. Further, we expect to get reliable results within a small number of years. In the case of cryonics, we are quite literally awaiting the development of an entirely new medical technology. Preliminary results, even on experimental animals, are simply not available; and the final results won’t be available for several decades.

Thus, while we can begin the clinical trials required to evaluate cryonics today, clinical trials cannot provide a timely answer about the effectiveness of cryonics. It is not possible (utilizing the paradigm of clinical trials) to draw conclusions today about whether physicians tomorrow will (or will not) be able to revive someone who was cryopreserved using today’s technology.

The correct scientific answer to the question “Does cryonics work?” is: “The clinical trials are in progress. Come back in a century and we’ll give you a reliable answer.” The relevant question for those of us who don’t expect to live that long is: “Would I rather be in the control group, or the experimental group?” We are forced by circumstances to answer that question without the benefit of knowing the results of the clinical trials.

When we think about this question, it is important to understand that future medical technology will be no mere incremental or evolutionary advance over today’s medicine. Think of Hippocrates, the prehistoric Greek physician, watching a modern heart transplant. Advances in medical technology in future decades and centuries will be even more remarkable than the advances we have already seen in centuries past. At some point in the future almost any infirmity that could in principle be treated is likely to be treatable in practice as well. In principle, the coming ability to arrange and rearrange molecular and cellular structure in almost any way consistent with physical law will let us repair or replace almost any tissue in the human body. Whether it’s a new liver, a more vital heart, a restored circulatory system, removing some cancerous cells, or some other treatment — at some point, nanomedicine should let us revitalize the entire human body and even revive someone who was cryopreserved today.

How might we evaluate cryonics? Broadly speaking, there are two available courses of action: (1) sign up or (2) do nothing. And there are two possible outcomes: (1) it works or (2) it doesn’t. This leads to the payoff matrix to the right. In using such a payoff matrix to evaluate the possible outcomes, we must decide what value the different outcomes have. What value do we place on a long and healthy life?

When evaluating the possible outcomes, it’s important to understand that if you sign up and it works, that “Live” does not mean a long, wretched and miserable life. Many people fear they will wake up, but still suffer from the infirmities and morbidities that the elderly suffer from today. This is implausible for two very good reasons. First, the kinds of medical technologies that are required to restore today’s cryonics patients will be able to restore and maintain good health for an indefinite period. The infirmities of old age will go the way of smallpox, black death, consumption, and the other scourges that once plagued humanity. Second, as long as we are unable to restore cryopreserved patients to satisfactory good physical and mental health, we’ll keep them cryopreserved until we develop better medical technologies. To put these two points another way, when that future day arrives when we have a medical technology that can revive a patient who was dying of cancer today, and was cryopreserved with today’s technology, that same medical technology should be able to cure their senile dementia and restore their musculature; they’ll walk out into a future world healthy in mind and body. In the unlikely case it can’t, we’ll keep our patients in liquid nitrogen until we develop a medical technology that can.

It’s also important to understand that technology is moving rapidly, and accelerating. When you wake up, your children and your younger friends and acquaintances are likely to be alive and well, along with most of your awakened friends from the cryonics community. While several decades might have passed, your social network within the cryonics community will still be there and likely many of the younger members of the rest of your social network.

While different people will answer these questions in different ways, this provides a useful framework in which to consider the problem.

At some point in the future we will have direct experimental proof that today’s cryopreserved patients either can or cannot be revived by future medical technology. Unfortunately, most of us must decide today if we wish to pursue this option. If we wish to gain some insight today about the chance that cryonics will or will not work we must consider several factors, including most prominently (a) the kinds of damage that are likely to occur during cryopreservation and (b) the kinds of damage that future medical technologies might reasonably be able to repair. Those interested in pursuing this subject should read this web page which discusses the chances of success and The Molecular Repair of the Brain.

Recent coverage of cryonics is available from Google news.

There has been much discussion of cryonics in the blogosphere, notably including discussions at Overcoming Bias and Less Wrong. Ciphergoth has sought articles critical of cryonics.

California Magazine, Summer 2015, “Into the Deep Freeze: What Kind of Person Chooses to Get Cryonically Preserved?” “[Max] More [Alcor’s President] comes across as a reasonable man who is acutely aware that most people think his ideas are insane, or repugnant, or both. Like most of the cryonicists I spoke to, he frames his points as appeals to logic, not emotion. His confidence is infectious.”

Hopes & Fears, May 11, 2015, “I freeze people’s brains for a living” “For me, cryopreservation was an obvious mechanical problem. Youve got molecules; why not lock them in place so that somebody can fix them later?” “I was an ENT physician, but I havent practiced for about five years now. I still have my license. My participation in the cryonics field happened very gradually.”

ESPN, May 5, 2015, “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived On” “In her book, Claudia writes what her father told the doctor. … I’d like to have some more time with my two kids. ”

Specter Defied, April 25, 2015, “How to sign up for Alcor cryo” “This article is intended for those who already think cryopreservation is a good idea but are putting it off since they don’t know exactly what needs to be done.”

The Dr. Oz Show, March 10, 2015, “Why Larry King Wants to Freeze His Body” “I think when you die, that’s it. And I don’t want it to be it. I want to be around. So I figure the only chance I have is to be frozen. And then, if they cure whatever I died of, I come back.”

The List, March 12, 2015, “Live Forever by Freezing Your Body” “First and foremost I look forward to the future, I think it’s going to be a great place. I want to live as long as possible.” “Many pay for their cryonic treatment by naming the company itself, Alcor, as their life insurance beneficiary.”

The Journal of Medical Ethics, February 25, 2015, “The case for cryonics” ” insofar as the alternatives to cryonics are burial or cremation, and thus certain, irreversible death, even small chances for success can be sufficient to make opting for cryonics a rational choice.”

The Onion, October 15, 2014, “Facebook Offers To Freeze Female EmployeesNewborn Children” “We recognize the many challenges women face starting a family and balancing a career, which is why our company will provide extensive support to female employees who want to preserve their infant in a frozen state of suspended animation until theyre ready for child-rearing, said Facebook spokesperson Mary Copperman, …”

The Atlantic, August 26, 2014, “For $200,000, This Lab Will Swap Your Body’s Blood for Antifreeze” “Cryopreservation is a darling of the futurist community. The general premise is simple: Medicine is continually getting better. Those who die today could be cured tomorrow. Cryonics is a way to bridge the gap between todays medicine and tomorrows.”

The Huffington Post, June 23, 2014, “Should Cryonics, Cryothanasia, and Transhumanism Be Part of the Euthanasia Debate?” “Approximately 40 million people around the world have some form of dementia, according to a World Health Organization report. About 70 percent of those suffer from Alzheimer’s. With average lifespans increasing due to rapidly improving longevity science, what are people with these maladies to do? Do those with severe cases want to be kept alive for years or even decades in a debilitated mental state just because modern medicine can do it?” “In the 21st Century–the age of transhumanism and brilliant scientific achievement–the question should be asked: Are there other ways to approach this sensitive issue?” “Recently, some transhumanists have advocated for cryothanasia, where a patient undergoes physician or self-administered euthanasia with the intent of being cryonically suspended during the death process or immediately afterward. This creates the optimum environment since all persons involved are on hand and ready to do their part so that an ideal freeze can occur.”

Alcor, December 19, 2013, “Dr. Michio Kaku and Cryonics: Why Michio Kaku’s Critique of Cryonics is Bogus” “You’d expect that a man of that learning, and knowledge, and experience … would have done his research and get things right. Unfortunately, just about every single point in that video was incorrect.”

BBC, October 31, 2013, “Will we ever bring the dead back to life?” “The woods cool temperature, it turned out, had prevented the womans cells from breaking down as quickly as they would have in a warmer environment, allowing her to lay dead in the forest for around four hours, plus survive an additional six hours between the time the passerby called the ambulance and the time her heart began beating again. Three weeks later, she left the hospital, and today she is happily married and recently delivered a baby.”

The Guardian, September 20, 2013, “Cryonics: the people hoping to give death a cold shoulder” “Scores of Brits have also signed up for what the movement has dubbed “a second chance at life””

Singularity Weblog, September 12, 2013, “My Video Tour of Alcor and Interview with CEO Max More” “During our visit CEO Dr. More walked us through the Alcor facilities as well as the process starting after clinical death is proclaimed, through the cooling of the body and its vitrification, and ending in long term storage.”

Science Omega, July 1, 2013, “Exploring cryonics: Could science offer new life after death?” “Medical advances have made it possible given favourable circumstances for physicians to bring patients, who are clinically dead, back to life.” … ” cryonics has been viewed as somewhat of a fringe science since its inception. However, advances within fields such as regenerative medicine and nanomedicine have caused some experts to acknowledge the fields growing potential. Last month, for example, three academics from the University of Oxford revealed that, once dead, they will be cryogenically preserved until it becomes possible to bring them back to life.”

The Independent, June 9, 2013: “Academics at Oxford University pay to be cryogenically preserved and brought back to life in the future”

“Nick Bostrom, professor of philosophy at the Future of Humanity Institute [FHI] and his co researcher Anders Sandberg have agreed to pay an American company to detach and deep freeze their heads in the advent of their deaths.

Colleague Stuart Armstrong is instead opting to have his whole body frozen. Preserving the full body is technically more difficult to achieve and can cost up to 130,000.

Bostrom, Armstrong, Sandberg are lead researchers at the FHI, a part of the prestigious Oxford Martin School where academics complete research into problems affecting the globe, such as a climate change.”

“It costs me 25 a month in premiums to cover the cost of getting cryo-preserved, and that seems a good bet, he [Armstrong] said. Its a lot cheaper than joining a gym, which is most peoples way of trying to prolong life.”

BuzzFeed, June 6, 2013, “The Immortality Business” “The richest vein of professed cryonicists is, not surprisingly, in the world of technology.” Alcors “public-facing members include prolific inventor and Singularity cleric Ray Kurzweil; nanotechnology pioneer Ralph Merkle; and Marvin Minsky, co-founder of MITs artificial intelligence laboratory.”

The Observer, April 6th, 2013: “Sam Parnia the man who could bring you back from the dead” ‘”The longest I know of is a Japanese girl I mention in the book,” Parnia says. “She had been dead for more than three hours. … Afterwards, she returned to life perfectly fine and has, I have been told, recently had a baby.”‘ “One of the stranger things you realise in reading Parnia’s book is the idea that we might be in thrall to historical perceptions of life and death and that these ultimate constants have lately become vaguer than most of us would allow.”

Discovery Channel, April 16th, 2013: “Maria Entraigues Discovery Channel interview” In Spanish. “Alcor is the place where I will take a little nap so that I can wake up in the future…”

Cryonics, January 2013: “Alcor-40 Conference Review” “From the science of cryopreservation to the implications of neural network research on cryonics to strategies for preserving your assets as well as yourself, no stone was left unturned and no question unasked.”

Phoenix New Times, September 17th, 2012: “Best Second Chance – 2012: ALCOR Life Extension Foundation” “ALCOR … specializes in cryonics, the science of preserving bodies at sub-zero temperatures for eventual reanimation, possibly centuries from now.”

CNBC, September 20th, 2012: “William Maris: Google Ventures Managing Partner” “What’s the most exciting areas right now?” … “There are two areas. One, I’m interested in macro trends that are 5 or 10 years out, things like radical life extension, cryogenics, nanotechnology, and then there are trends that are occuring sooner.” … “So go back to cryogenics, how realistic is that idea at this point?”… ” we’re looking for entrepreneurs that have a healthy disregard for the impossible. If I start from a place by saying that’s not realistic, or not possible, we won’t make any investments. So I think it’s very realistic.” … “I want to know if this is a reality that we could see sometime in my lifetime?” “It’s a reality now, there are companies that specialize in cryogenics.”

OraTVnetwork, July 17th, 2012: “Seth MacFarlane & Larry King on Cryonics” (41 seconds) Larry King: “How about we get frozen together?” Seth MacFarlane: “Let’s do it!”

PBS Newshour, July 10th, 2012: “As Humans and Computers Merge … Immortality?” Ray Kurzweil, co-founder, Singularity University: “People say, oh, I don’t want to live past 100. And I say, OK, I would like to hear you say that when you’re 100.”

Newsmax Health, December 7th, 2011: “Larry King’s Vow to Freeze His Dead Body Is Not Crazy, Experts Say” “the 78-year-old King stated, I wanna be frozen, on the hope that theyll find whatever I died of and theyll bring me back.”

SENS5 Conference, September 3rd, 2011: “Cryonic Life Extension” “Cryonics enables the transport of critically ill people through time in an unchanging state to a time when more advanced medical and repair technologies are available” said Max More, President and CEO of Alcor Life Extension Foundation.

Science Channel’s Through the Wormhole (Season 2), July 15th 2011: “Cryogenic Preservation” “Cryogenic freezing is a process that could successfully preserve a human body over an extended period of time.”

Time, February 10th 2011: “2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal” “Old age is an illness like any other, and what do you do with illnesses? You cure them.”

Rolling Stone, December 2010: “Life on the Rocks: can you bring people back from the dead?” (slow site) “Isn’t it a leap of faith to believe in something that hasn’t happened yet? ‘The comparison’s more like talking to someone 150 years ago and saying, “In a little while, humans are going to have flying machines.”‘”

Lightspeed, October 2010: “Considering Cryonics” Author and Physics Professor Gregory Benford looks at cryonics, and says “…its a rational gamble, especially when you consider that cryonicists buy life insurance policies which pay their organization upon their death…”

Singularity Summit 2010, August 15th, 2010: “Modifying the Boundary between Life and Death” Lance Becker, MD, Director, Center for Resuscitation Science, Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania: “Our initial results are very encouraging. We have taken 6 dead people … plugged those patients into cardiopulmonary bypass and we have a 50% survival rate out of those 6 patients”. On cryonics: “I look forward to seeing that field [cryonics] be synergistic with some of what we’re doing.”

New York Times, July 5th, 2010: “Until Cryonics Do Us Part” Cryonics can produce hostility from spouses who are not cryonicists.

Colorado Court Order, March 1, 2010: “IN THE MATTER OF THE ESTATE OF: MARY ROBBINS” “The Court finds that the evidence clearly shows Mary’s decision in 2006 for Alcor to preserve her last remains by cryonic suspension was an informed and resolute one.” “Alcor shall have custody of Mary’s last remains…”

Organogenesis, Vol 5 Issue 3, 2009: “Physical and biological aspects of renal vitrification” “We report here the detailed case history of a rabbit kidney that survived vitrification and subsequent transplantation”

The Institution of Engineering and Technology, November 5, 2008: “A Science Without a Deadline” “If sceptics dont want to pursue this area, thats fine, but I ask them not to interfere with my own efforts to save the lives of myself and the people I love”

BBC News,October 20, 2008: “Doctors get death diagnosis tips” “…there is enough ambiguity in diagnosing death that doctors need guidance” “…like low body temperature when it is inappropriate to confirm death.” (audio)

Cryonics, 4th Quarter 2008: “A Cryopreservation Revival Scenario using MNT” Molecular nanotechnology is the most compelling approach ever put forward for comprehensive repair of cryopreservation injury with maximum retention of original biological information.

Newsweek, July 23, 2007: “Back From the Dead” “The other is to scan the entire three-dimensional molecular array of the brain into a computer which could hypothetically reconstitute the mind, either as a physical entity or a disembodied intelligence in cyberspace.”

Newsweek, May 7, 2007: “To Treat the Dead” “”After one hour,” he says, “we couldn’t see evidence the cells had died. We thought we’d done something wrong.” In fact, cells cut off from their blood supply died only hours later.”

Channel 5 (UK), 2006 : “Cryonics Freeze Me” (A.K.A. “Death in the Deep Freeze”) “Almost every major advance has met with its critics, who have said that it’s impossible, unworkable, uneconomical; and then, of course, when it’s demonstrated, they announce that it’s obvious and they knew it all along.” (If you have a link to the video, please email it to me).

The Wall Street Journal, January 21st 2006: “A Cold Calculus Leads Cryonauts To Put Assets on Ice” “At least a dozen wealthy American and foreign businessmen are testing unfamiliar legal territory by creating so-called personal revival trusts designed to allow them to reclaim their riches hundreds, or even thousands, of years into the future.”

This Is London, May 25th 2004: “Sperm ‘can be kept for thousands of years'” “…sperm could survive 5,000 or 6,000 years stored in liquid nitrogen.”

The Arizona State Legislature is not regulating cryonics.

Reasononline, February 25th 2004: “Regulating the Biggest Chill” “Arizona’s state legislature is about to consider one of the silliest pieces of “consumer protection” legislation ever devised.”

Guardian Unlimited, January 23rd 2004, “House of the temporarily dead” “Officially, the building is “the world’s first comprehensive facility devoted to life extension research and cryopreservation”, a six-acre structure that will house research laboratories, animal and plant DNA, and up to 10,000 temporarily dead people.”

Science News, December 21st 2002: “Cold Comfort: A futuristic play of cryogenic proportions” an amusing story in which Ted Williams, Carl Sagan and Richard Feynman awake in 2102 and find they are wards of the Martha Stewart Living Foundation. Says Ted: “…the Red Sox should have won a World Series by now.”

The Fifth Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension resulted in several articles:

Wired News, November 18th 2002: “Ray Kurzweil’s Plan: Never Die” “Ray Kurzweil, celebrated author, inventor and geek hero, plans to live forever.”

Wired News, November 20th 2002: A Few Ways to Win Mortality War “Discussions among leading researchers in nanotechnology, cloning and artificial intelligence focused on much more than cryonics, the process of freezing the body in liquid nitrogen after death to be later reanimated. Cryonics is basically a backup plan if technology doesn’t obliterate mortality first.”

Wired News, November 20th 2002: Who Wants to Live Forever? “Gregory Benford, of the University of California at Irvine, believes the public should know that ‘cryonicists aren’t crazy, they’re just really great, sexy optimists.'”, November 22nd 2002: The Alcor Conference on Extreme Life Extension “Bringing together longevity experts, biotechnology pioneers, and futurists, the conference explored how the emerging technologies of biotechnology, nanotechnology, and cryonics will enable humans to halt and ultimately reverse aging and disease and live indefinitely.”

Coverage of cryonics related to the Ted Williams case was voluminous. Wikipedia describes the events succinctly. Here are links to a few contemporaneous articles:

Sports Illustrated, August 2nd 2003: “Splendid Splinter chilling in Scottsdale” Sports Illustrated, June 30th 2003: “Chillin’ with the Splinter” The New York Times, September 26th 2002: “Fight Over Williams May End” CNN Sports Illustrated, August 13th 2002: “Williams’ eldest daughter asks judge to keep jurisdiction” USA Today, July 28th 2002: “Vitrification could keep tissue safe during the big chill” The New York Times, July 16th 2002: “They’ve Seen the Future and Intend to Live It” The New York Times, July 9th 2002: “Even for the Last .400 Hitter, Cryonics Is the Longest Shot” (Note that the Boston Globe links and others that have gone dead have been deleted).

Christopher Hitchens quote, February 15, 2011: “If someone is reported dead on Tuesday, and you see them on Friday, the overwhelming, the obvious conclusion is that the initial report was mistaken.”

Howard Lovy’s blog August 27th 2003: “Unfrozen Cave Men”

Reason Online, August 2002: “Forever Young: The new scientific search for immortality”

New Scientist, September 2nd 2002: “New Scientist offers prize to die for.” “When the winner of the New Scientist promotion is pronounced legally dead, he or she will be … suspended in liquid nitrogen at 196, in a state known as cryonic preservation[sic].”

KRON 4 News, Nightbeat, May 3rd 2001: “Frozen for Life” [medical] advances are giving new credibility to cryonics.

Wired News, July 20th 2001: “Cryonics Over Dead Geeks’ Bodies”

Scientific American, September 2001: “Nano nonsense and cryonics”

Search PubMed for published articles on cryonics.

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Cryonics – Merkle

Eugenics – Conservapedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics – Conservapedia
Sep 022015

Eugenics was a movement which tried to eliminate “dangerous human pests” and “the rising tide of imbeciles” through what has been euphemistically called “selective breeding”. What this meant, in actual practice, was forced sterilization of American immigrants and minorities (particularly in California).[1]

The theory of evolution suggests that humans are merely evolving animals. The claimed biological struggle for survival that brought humans here is continuing. Man’s long-term survival is, according to evolution, a biological survival of the fittest. Evolution theory teaches that there must be a biological struggle for survival among various human races and groups.

Charles Darwin declared in The Descent of Man:[2]

Darwin was not the first to claim racial superiority. But he was the first to teach that some races of man “will almost certainly exterminate, and replace” other races of man. His followers developed a new intellectual field called “eugenics” for this mythical biological struggle.

In fact, the term “eugenics” was coined by Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton.[3]

Defenders of Darwin, and Darwinism, often try to argue that Darwin, and Darwinism, have no logical connection to eugenics at all. However, in a 1914 speech, Charles Darwin’s son, Francis Darwin, wrote: “In the first edition of The Descent of Man, 1874, [my father] distinctly gives his adherence to the eugenic idea by his assertion that many might by selection do something for the moral and physical qualities of the race.”[4] He based his ideas on his cousin’s work.

Francis Darwin’s clear statement that his father endorsed Galton’s conception of eugenics is important, because many people try to distance Darwin from the taint of eugenics by pointing out that Darwin himself never advocated for it by name. But Galton coined the word after Darwin’s death, so naturally he wouldn’t have used the word ‘eugenics.’ Darwin’s son can be expected to have understood his father’s theory well enough to know whether or not his father’s book, “The Descent of Man”, ‘gave adherence to the eugenic idea.’

The word “eugenics” is based on Greek roots meaning “well born.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary provides 1883 as the date of origin for the term. Later, Darwin’s son, Leonard, served as the president of the First Congress of Eugenics in 1912 in London.

The encyclopedia describes eugenics as now being “in disrepute,”[5] although Professor Peter Singer of Princeton University has sought to remove the stigma from it. Evolutionist and atheist Richard Dawkins has stated in one letter his wish that it no longer be banned from polite discussion.[6]

The Spartans in ancient Greece practiced a primitive form of eugenics, wherein babies which were judged to be too “weak” or “sickly” would be left to die.

In the early 1900s, many influential officials advocated Darwinism and eugenics. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes became a strong proponent. So did many others in prominent government and academic positions. Members of the British Eugenics Society, including the International Planned Parenthood Federation, are listed.[7]

Between 1907 and 1937, 32 American states passed eugenics laws requiring sterilization of citizens deemed to be misfits, such as the mentally infirm. Oliver Wendell Holmes and all but one conservative Democratic Justice upheld such laws in a Supreme Court decision that included Holmes’ offensive statement that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200, 207 (1927).[8] In fact, the third generation “imbecile” was very bright, but was declared by a eugenics “expert” as “supposed to be a mental defective,” apparently without an examination.

Eugenics was taught as part of the evolution curriculum of many science classes in America in the early 1900s. For example, it was featured in the textbook used in the famous Scopes trial in 1925.

“By 1928, the American Genetics Association boasted that there were 376 college courses devoted exclusively to eugenics. High-school biology textbooks followed suit by the mid-1930s, with most containing material favorable to the idea of eugenical control of reproduction. It would thus have been difficult to be an even moderately educated reader in the 1920s or 1930s and not have known, at least in general terms, about the claims of eugenics.”[9]

Important remnants of the evolution-eugenics approach exist today, in part because many of Justice Holmes’ opinions are still controlling law. The very first quote in the infamous Roe v. Wade abortion decision is an unprincipled statement of Justice Holmes in a 1905 opinion. Indeed, Holmes once wrote favorably in a letter to a future Supreme Court Justice about “restricting propagation by the undesirables and putting to death infants that didn’t pass the examination.[10]

Existing laws requiring students to receive controversial vaccines are based on a eugenics-era decision granting the State the power to forcibly vaccinate residents. [11] That decision, in fact, was the cited precedent for Justice Holmes’ offensive “imbeciles” holding quoted above.

For the same reason that evolution teaching led to eugenics, evolution teaching today encourages acceptance of abortion and euthanasia. Under evolution theory, after all, we are merely animals fighting for biological survival.

German Darwinist Ernst Haeckel promoted evolution by drawing fraudulent pictures of humans embryos, to pretend that their developmental stages imitate an historical evolution of humans from other species.[12]

In 1904, Haeckel reiterated the view of Darwin quoted above: “These lower races are psychologically nearer to the mammals (apes or dogs) than to civilized Europeans; we must, therefore, assign a totally different value to their lives.” [13]

It wasn’t long before intellectuals viewed war as an essential evolutionary process. Vom Heutigen Kriege, a popular book by Geberal Bernhardi, “expounded the thesis that war was a biological necessity and a convenient means of ridding the world of the unfit. These views were not confined to a lunatic fringe, but won wide acceptance especially among journalists, academics and politicians.”[14] In America, Justice Holmes similarly wrote that “I always say that society is founded on the death of men – if you don’t kill the weakest one way you kill them another.”[15]

World War I entailed a brutality unknown in the history of mankind. Gregg Easterbrook, a senior editor of the liberal New Republic magazine, observed that “prior to the Scopes trial [in 1925, William Jennings] Bryan had been on a revival tour of Germany and had been horrified by the signs of incipient Nazism. Before this point, Bryan had been a moderate in the evolution debate; for instance, he had lobbied the Florida legislature not to ban the teaching of Darwin, only to specify that evolution must be taught as a theory rather than a fact. But after hearing the National Socialists talk about the elimination of genetic inferiority, [historian Gary] Wills wrote, Bryan came to feel that evolutionary ideas had become dangerous; he began both to oppose and to lampoon them.”

The march of evolution/eugenics continued unabated in Germany. By the 1920s, German textbooks were teaching evolution concepts of heredity and racial hygiene. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics was founded in 1927.

In 1933, Germany passed the Law for the Protection of Heredity Health. Next was the Nazi sterilization law entitled “Eugenics in the service of public welfare.” It required compulsory sterilization for the prevention of progeny with hereditary defects in cases including congenital mental defects, schizophrenia, manic-depressive psychosis and hereditary epilepsy.

The German schools indoctrinated their students. In 1935, a German high-school math textbook included the following problem:[9] ” how much does it cost the state if:

One German student was Josef Mengele, who studied anthropology and paleontology and received his Ph.D. for his thesis entitled “Racial Morphological Research on the Lower Jaw Section of Four Racial Groups.” In 1937, Mengele was recommended for and received a position as a research assistant with the Third Reich Institute for Hereditary, Biology and Racial Purity at the University of Frankfort. He became the “Angel of Death” for directing the operation of gas chambers of the Holocaust and for conducting horrific medical experiments on inmates in pursuit of eugenics.

The liberal American Medical Society provided this summary:[16]

Many genocides have been commited in the name of Eugenics, most notably the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler was a strong believer in eugenics and evolution and believed that Jewish people were closest to apes, followed by Africans, Asians, non-Aryan Europeans, and finally Aryans, who he believed were most evolved.

Pat Milmoe McCarrick and Mary Carrington Coutts, reference librarians for the National Reference Center for Bioethics Literature at Georgetown University, were more succinct: “The Nazi racial hygiene program began with involuntary sterilizations and ended with genocide.” [17]

From The Nazi Connection[18]:

In The Nazi Connection, Stefan Kuhl uncovers the ties between the American eugenics movement and the Nazi program of racial hygiene, showing that many American scientists actively supported Hitler’s policies. After introducing us to the recently resurgent problem of scientific racism, Kuhl carefully recounts the history of the eugenics movement, both in the United States and internationally, demonstrating how widely the idea of sterilization as a genetic control had become accepted by the early twentieth century. From the first, the American eugenicists led the way with radical ideas. Their influence led to sterilization laws in dozens of stateslaws which were studied, and praised, by the German racial hygienists. With the rise of Hitler, the Germans enacted compulsory sterilization laws partly based on the U.S. experience, and American eugenists took pride in their influence on Nazi policies. Kuhl recreates astonishing scenes of American eugenicists travelling to Germany to study the new laws, publishing scholarly articles lionizing the Nazi eugenics program, and proudly comparing personal notes from Hitler thanking them for their books. Even after the outbreak of war, he writes, the American eugenicists frowned upon Hitler’s totalitarian government, but not his sterilization laws. So deep was the failure to recognize the connection between eugenics and Hitler’s genocidal policies, that a prominent liberal Jewish eugenicist who had been forced to flee Germany found it fit to grumble that the Nazis “took over our entire plan of eugenic measures.”

By 1945, when the murderous nature of the Nazi government was made perfectly clear, the American eugenicists sought to downplay the close connections between themselves and the German program. Some of them, in fact, had sought to distance themselves from Hitler even before the war. But Stefan Kuhl’s deeply documented book provides a devastating indictment of the influenceand aidprovided by American scientists for the most comprehensive attempt to enforce racial purity in world history.

Some argue that parents who abort infants with genetic mutation or other disabilities are practicing a form of eugenics.[19] Some doctors and scientists have defended this practice and named it “liberal eugenics” in order to differentiate it from traditional forms of eugenics such as Nazi eugenics.[20] Eugenicists in the United States and elsewhere have been known to employ or advocate abortion as a method of eugenics.

In the 2006 satirical comedy Idiocracy, the entire movie is premised on the idea that the out-breeding of the stupid over the intelligent will lead to a uniformly stupid world run by advertisers, marketers, and anti-intellectualism.

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Eugenics – Conservapedia

NSA – New Jersey 101.5

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA – New Jersey 101.5
Aug 292015

President Barack Obama speaks to the media on Friday, Aug 7, 2015, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled in favor of the Obama administration in a dispute over the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone data on hundreds of millions of Americans.

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Eliminating the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records will make the U.S. less safe, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Wednesday.

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The White House wants the National Security Agency to get out of the business of sweeping up and storing vast amounts of data on Americans’ phone calls.

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A sharply divided government task force that reviewed the National Security Agency’s surveillance program for four months has urged President Barack Obama to shut down the agency’s bulk collection of phone data and purge its massive inventory of millions of Americans’ calling records.

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Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, President Barack Obama on Friday called for ending the government’s control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court’s permission before accessing such records.

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President Barack Obama is expected to endorse changes to the way the government collects millions of Americans’ phone records for possible future surveillance, but he’ll leave many of the specific adjustments for Congress to sort out, according to three U.S. offi

National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden says his “mission’s already accomplished” after leaking NSA secrets that have caused a reassessment of U.S. surveillance policies.

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President Barack Obama is meeting with members of an intelligence task force to discuss their recommendations on how to modify the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

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President Barack Obama is meeting today with executives from leading technology companies, including Google, Twitter and Apple.

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A federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records violates the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches, but put his decision on hold pending a near-certain government appeal.

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NSA – New Jersey 101.5

Turkey calls for rare NATO talks –

 NATO  Comments Off on Turkey calls for rare NATO talks –
Jul 282015

Story highlights Turkey requested meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty It was fifth time in NATO history that members held special talks under Article 4 NATO’s council: “We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey”

“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruc and other attacks against police and military officers,” the council said in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, referring to an attack last week in a border town across from Kobani, Syria.

The council, which is NATO’s governing body, said terrorism in any form could never be tolerated.

“Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity,” the statement said. “It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion — a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”

Turkey requested the meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which allows countries to ask for consultations when they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security are threatened.

It was the fifth time in NATO history that members had met under Article 4, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told CNN before the meeting began. The North Atlantic Council is made up of the NATO ambassadors of the 28 member countries.

“In the wake of increased security threats following the attacks against our security and law enforcement forces in the provinces of Diyarbakr, Sanlurfa and Kilis, in particular the terrorist attack that took the lives of 32 innocent Turkish citizens in Suruc on 20 July, 2015, all necessary measures are being taken and in this context, operations are also being carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Upon these recent attacks and threats directed against our national security, the North Atlantic Council has been called to a meeting by Turkey this week under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty with a view to informing our Allies about the measures we are taking and the operations we are conducting against terrorism, as well as to holding consultations with them.”

The talks came as Turkey grappled with a wave of violence near its southern border with Syria, and as Turkey has made an abrupt about-face in deciding to confront the terrorist group ISIS.

Before the meeting began, Turkey’s President called on NATO to “do its part” in helping address the country’s concerns over security on its borders.

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Turkey calls for rare NATO talks –

Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 212015

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes “well-born” from eu, “good, well” and genos, “race, stock, kin”)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4][5] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.[6] Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advancements in gene editing (e.g. CRISPR).[7] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a “social philosophy”that is, a philosophy with implications for social orderis not meant to be definitive, and is taken from Frederick Osborn’s journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”.[8]

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as Ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in Britain[9] and spread to many countries, including the United States and most European countries. In this period eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaustthe murder by the German state of approximately 11 million peoplewhen many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them Sweden and the US, continued to carry out forced sterilizations for several decades.

A major critique of eugenics policies is that regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction.

The idea of eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12] The idea of eugenics to decrease the birth of inferior human beings has existed at least since William Goodell (1829-1894) advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[13][14]

However, the term “eugenics” to describe the modern concept of improving the quality of human beings born into the world was originally developed by Francis Galton. Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Galton believed that desirable traits were hereditary based on biographical studies.[15] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained a controversial concept.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources.[18] Organisations formed to win public support, and modify opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, included the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907, and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen, and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[19] Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[20] It has roots in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[21] Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries, including Belgium,[22]Brazil,[23] Canada,[24]Japan, and Sweden.[25]

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, in Sweden the eugenics program continued until 1975.[25] In addition to being practised in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Its political aspects involved advocating laws allowing the pursuit of eugenic objectives, such as sterilization laws. Its moral aspects included rejection of the doctrine that all human beings are born equal, and redefining morality purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “less fit” races.

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. At this point in time, eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments and influential individuals and institutions. Many countries enacted[34] various eugenics policies and programmes, including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, and genocide. Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive or restrictive, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labelled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance. The methods of implementing eugenics varied by country; however, some early 20th century methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, the segregation or institutionalization of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and their mass murder. The practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many of the discriminatory eugenics laws were largely abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[36] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a population] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[37] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[38] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, government practices of compulsive sterilization continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly 2,000 persons were involuntarily sterilized.[39] China maintains its forcible one-child policy as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation in order to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[40][41][42] In 2007 the United Nations reported forcible sterilisations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[43] During the years 200506 to 201213, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[44]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[45] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[46] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[47]

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution …

 First Amendment  Comments Off on First Amendment to the United States Constitution …
Jul 022015

Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists (a religious minority concerned about the dominant position of the Congregationalist church in Connecticut):

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.[9]

In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Supreme Court used these words to declare that “it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach [only those religious] actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” Quoting from Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom the court stated further in Reynolds:

In the preamble of this act […] religious freedom is defined; and after a recital ‘that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty,’ it is declared ‘that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere [only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.’ In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to the federal government, and some states continued official state religions after ratification. Massachusetts, for example, was officially Congregationalist until the 1830s.[10] In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Establishment Clause (i.e., made it apply against the states). In the majority decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.[11]

In Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits states and the federal government from requiring any kind of religious test for public office. In the Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994),[12] Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.”[13] In a series of cases in the first decade of the 2000sVan Orden v. Perry (2005), McCreary County v. ACLU (2005), and Salazar v. Buono (2010)the Court considered the issue of religious monuments on federal lands without reaching a majority reasoning on the subject.[14]

Everson used the metaphor of a wall of separation between church and state, derived from the correspondence of President Thomas Jefferson. It had been long established in the decisions of the Supreme Court, beginning with Reynolds v. United States in 1879, when the Court reviewed the history of the early Republic in deciding the extent of the liberties of Mormons. Chief Justice Morrison Waite, who consulted the historian George Bancroft, also discussed at some length the Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by James Madison, who drafted the First Amendment; Madison used the metaphor of a “great barrier.”[15]

Justice Hugo Black adopted Jefferson’s words in the voice of the Court.[16] The Court has affirmed it often, with majority, but not unanimous, support. Warren Nord, in Does God Make a Difference?, characterized the general tendency of the dissents as a weaker reading of the First Amendment; the dissents tend to be “less concerned about the dangers of establishment and less concerned to protect free exercise rights, particularly of religious minorities.”[17]

Beginning with Everson, which permitted New Jersey school boards to pay for transportation to parochial schools, the Court has used various tests to determine when the wall of separation has been breached. Everson laid down the test that establishment existed when aid was given to religion, but that the transportation was justifiable because the benefit to the children was more important. In the school prayer cases of the early 1960s, (Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp), aid seemed irrelevant; the Court ruled on the basis that a legitimate action both served a secular purpose and did not primarily assist religion. In Walz v. Tax Commission (1970), the Court ruled that a legitimate action could not entangle government with religion; in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), these points were combined into the Lemon test, declaring that an action was an establishment if:[18]

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution …

More than 70,000 people attended event

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on More than 70,000 people attended event
Apr 132015


A pack of 2016 Republicans made their pitch for president Friday before the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville, blasting the Obama administration for what they described as an erosion of freedom while punctuating their remarks with sharp enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights.

The contenders also used the principles behind gun rights to fire off criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of national security, further signaling the influential role that foreign policy is expected to have in the presidential election.

More than 70,000 people descended upon Music City to attend the convention, but tickets to see the candidates speak in a five-hour long forum was limited to about 5,000 people.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the only declared candidate on stage Friday. Other potential contenders included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

1. Candidates show off gun credentials

As tradition at the annual NRA gathering, the speakers tried to establish their own longstanding history with guns in different ways. Santorum held up his concealed carry card before the audience and boasted that his wife requested ammunition for an upcoming birthday.

Walker talked about bow-hunting, while Huckabee perused the firearm vendor hall and later listed on stage the guns he grew up with, including his first BB gun at the age of five. “I still have the same gun in mint condition,” he said.

Perry screened a video showing off his shooting skills (the same video was also shown at the 2013 NRA convention). The former governor also crowed about the gun manufacturers he recruited to Texas from other states.

For Bush, the NRA meeting was a chance to tout his record, including his A+ rating from the NRA, before a conservative crowd that’s largely skeptical of him due to his more moderate positions on immigration and Common Core.

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More than 70,000 people attended event

PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

 NSA  Comments Off on PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance
Apr 112015

Most Americans have a fuzzy understanding of what the National Security Agency can and cannot see with its surveillance programs, much less what a former NSA contractor named Edward Snowden tried to do about it.

That’s the finding, anyway, of informal street interviews by John Oliver’s crew at Last Week Tonight on HBO.

Oliver devoted his April 5 show to the NSA spying story. It included an exclusive interview with Snowden, who is living in Russia after the State Department canceled his passport. And it included the topic of this fact-check: Can emails sent between two people living in the United States unwittingly end up on the computer screen of some NSA analyst?

Oliver, who blends comedy with journalism, framed the discussion around the NSA peeping on nude pictures.

Oliver asked Snowden to describe the capability of various NSA surveillance programs in relation to nude pictures sent by Americans, starting with “702 surveillance.” This refers to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This section was added in 2008 and was renewed under President Barack Obama in 2012.

Could the NSA see a picture of, say, Oliver’s privates under this provision, he asked?

“Yes,” Snowden said, “the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which Section 702 falls under, allows the bulk collection of Internet communications that are one-end foreign.”

After an Oliver joke about “bulk collection,” Snowden continued, “So if you have your email somewhere like Gmail, hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or any time crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”

Oliver jumped in and asked Snowden to clarify that the racy picture if you’ve seen the interview, you know we’re paraphrasing wouldn’t necessarily have to be sent to Germany in order to end up in NSA storage.

“No,” Snowden said. “Even if you sent it to someone within the United States, your wholly domestic communication between you and your wife can go to New York to London and back and get caught up in the database.”

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PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video

 Regenerative Medicine  Comments Off on Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video
Apr 112015

Asterias Biotherapeutics
Pedro Lichtinger, President CEO (NYSEMKT: AST) Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA Asterias develops products based on its core technology platforms of pluripotent stem cells and allogeneic dendritic.

By: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

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Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video

AGTC – Video

 Regenerative Medicine  Comments Off on AGTC – Video
Apr 112015

Susan Washer, President CEO (NASDAQ: AGTC) Headquarters: Gainesville, FL AGTC is developing cures for rare eye diseases, offering hope to patients with unmet medical needs. With a highly…

By: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

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AGTC – Video

Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds
Apr 112015

April 10, 2015|4:46 pm

Protesters against U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court is set to deliver on Thursday its ruling on President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul, his signature domestic policy achievement, in a historic case that could hand him a huge triumph or a stinging rebuke just over four months before he seeks re-election.

When Evangelicals are exposed to arguments defending their own free speech and religious freedom, they become more accepting of extending similar rights to their political foes, a new study found.

“Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” by political scientists Paul Djupe, Denison University; Andrew Lewis, University of Cincinnati; and Ted Jelen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will be presented this month at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The researchers sought to understand if the recent culture war battles between sexual freedom and religious freedom (see, for example, here, hereand here) would lead to greater or lesser division and intolerance among the combatants. (This paper focuses on the conservative side but they suggest they will also be studying the liberal side.)

In an article for the political science blog The Monkey Cage, the authors explain that their research “has identified a fascinating silver lining [to those culture war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, presenting “The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations,” at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2014.

The study used a survey experiment. A sample of 2,141 respondents, including 274 Evangelicals and 1,867 non-Evangelicals, were divided into groups exposed to different messages from hypothetical political candidates and clergy. These messages were about pro-life protestors, the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, teaching creationism, and a photographer declining to work at a same-sex wedding. Each group had messages based upon either morality, free speech, religious liberty, and a less specific message that was used as the control group. The study also used a number of control measures that are common in studies of tolerance education, ideology, political interest, gender, age, and democratic norms.

The respondents were also asked to identify which groups they either “like the least” or “disagree with the most” from among these options: immigrants, Tea Party members, Muslims, homosexuals, Christian fundamentalists, or atheists. For the full sample, the non-Evangelicals chose Christian fundamentalists as their least liked group, followed by the Tea Party. Evangelicals chose atheists as their least liked group, followed by Muslims and the Tea Party.

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Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video
Apr 082015

Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers
Senator Rand Paul officially announced this morning that he would be running for president in 2016. Can the young libertarian from Kentucky stand out in what is likely to be a crowded Republican…

By: AJ+

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Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video

Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism
Apr 082015

How should a university president balance the Constitutional right to free speech against the responsibility to ensure students feel safe on campus after finding something as shocking as a noose, for example, hung by an undergraduate at Duke University?

Many students have demanded a strong response to show the university will not tolerate bigotry, while others caution that the First Amendment protects even the most hateful of speech. In every recent case, university leaders have unequivocally condemned the speech in question. But their other actions have varied.

Riley Brands, the editor-in-chief ofThe Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, has this take:

Just this semester, several racially-charged incidents have shaken universities. These incidents have tested university leaders resolve to promote an inclusive learning environment on their campuses.

In at least one case, a university president has been bold and stated unequivocally his intolerance for intolerance.

In others, however, fear or weakness has held university presidents back.

Last week, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh announced that a vile e-mail sent by a fraternity member violated no university rules and was protected by the First Amendment. The e-mail contained racial slurs and dismissed the idea of sexual consent.

Read more about the e-mail here.

In early February, my paper,The Daily Texan, broke the story of a racially insensitive party at the Phi Gamma Delta, or Fiji, fraternity house just off campus. The theme party, which the president of the fraternity told us was western, saw attendees in hard hats with the names Jefe and Pablo Sanchez written on them as well as reflective vests and work gloves. Some at the party said the theme was border control.

The uproar online was swift and vigorous. Many called for severe action against the fraternity.

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Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism