In a dangerously flawed decision unsealed today, a federal district court in Virginia ruled that a criminal defendant has no “reasonable expectation of privacy” in his personal computer, located inside his home. According to the court, the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual’s computer.
This decision is the latest in, and perhaps the culmination of, a series of troubling decisions in prosecutions stemming from the FBI’s investigation of Playpen—a Tor hidden services site hosting child pornography. The FBI seized the server hosting the site in 2014, but continued to operate the site and serve malware to thousands of visitors that logged into the site. The malware located certain identifying information (e.g., MAC address, operating system, the computer’s “Host name”; etc) on the attacked computer and sent that information back to the FBI. There are hundreds of prosecutions, pending across the country, stemming from this investigation. Continue reading »
Cannabis prohibitionists have long cautioned that legalizing the plant will inevitably lead to increased use among teens, couching their restrictive beliefs in concern for the youth. While some of these concerns may be genuine, a recent survey from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment demonstrates — for the second year in a row — that youth in Colorado do not use cannabis any more than teens in other parts of the country. In fact, by at least one measure, they use less. Continue reading »
So you’re a global warming skeptic, author, philosopher and think tank creator who champions the use of fossil fuels.
Then you get subpoenaed by the Massachusetts attorney general over your think-tank’s supposed ties to ExxonMobil — the claim being that the oil giant allegedly attempted to cover up global warming science.
And how did Alex Epstein, author of “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels,” respond to Maura Healey’s subpoena on Wednesday?
“F*** off, fascist,” he wrote. Continue reading »
My response to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. pic.twitter.com/lFFhIPFMls
— Alex Epstein (@AlexEpstein) June 15, 2016
A lawsuit by families of Sandy Hook victims is proceeding against Remington, manufacturer of the AR-15, in the new push to hold gun manufacturers responsible for what is done by people who purchase their products and use them illegally.
The New York Times is pretty excited about it:
The legal challenge faces long odds, and a key hearing next week will determine its future. But the lawsuit has already progressed further than many had expected — a Connecticut judge has set a trial date and has ordered the defendants to turn over documents — and no matter the outcome, it represents a muscular campaign against the powerful gun industry. [emphasis added]
That last part is key: they are setting a precedent here. Continue reading »
While not quite as draconian as the soda ban which former NYC billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg tried (and failed) to pass in New York in 2014, moments ago the the Philadelphia City Council approved a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, the first such tax imposed in a major U.S. city. The reason? The Council is looking to raise about $91 million for an expansion of early childhood education. Instead, the money will most likely be siphoned off into various underground ventures (and bank accounts) or outright embezzled.
— PHLCouncil (@PHLCouncil) June 16, 2016
As a reminder, three years ago Michael Bloomberg pushed to ban oversize sodas in New York, a campaign which was ultimately rejected by the New York Court of appeals. The Philadelphia approach was less terminal, and ultimately promised revenues to the city, which is why it passed in a 13-4 vote this afternoon. The vote put to bed months of speculation and at-times tense negotiations, but also ensured the national spotlight will stay turned to Philadelphia for months, if not years, to come. Continue reading »
Inquiry decides it will not make “any judgments” on Blair’s crimes against humanity
People wonder why Hillary Clinton has yet to face an indictment for breaking the law. Looking at the email scandal, it is obvious she violated at least two laws, and yet the FBI investigation against her is going nowhere and the Justice Department is not even remotely considering an indictment.
The reason for this is simple. Continue reading »
Lee County, FL — A hacker in Florida exposed security vulnerabilities in one county’s elections web domains so officials could fix the problem — but, instead, he ended up behind bars.
Hacker David Michael Levin, owner of Vanguard Cybersecurity, was arrested on Wednesday after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement received a referral from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after his apparently misguided attempt to help prevent election fraud by pointing out online vulnerabilities. Continue reading »
Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com
This post explains the liberties guaranteed in the Bill of Rights – the first 10 amendments to the United States Constitution – and provides a scorecard on the extent of the loss of each right.
The 1st Amendment protects speech, religion, assembly and the press:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Supreme Court has also interpreted the First Amendment as protecting freedom of association. Continue reading »
H/t reader squodgy:
“Well we can safely say at least one U.S. Judge is an absolute idiot.”
Let’s hope he is the only one.
Chemtrails? What chemtrails?
Editor’s Note: Whether you believe in the chemtrail conspiracy to poison our skies or not, Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars highlights the dangerous precedent being set in courtrooms across America. If you go against established lines of thinking or question the official narratives, you are now a danger to those around you, including your children.
A judge in Colorado ordered a mother’s child to be removed from her custody because the mother’s interest in “chemtrails” was a “fringe subculture” and represented a threat to her daughter.
Boulder Judge Dolores Mallard told Becca Vandb that her interest in the chemtrail conspiracy – which holds that some contrails emitted by commercial and military aircraft are in fact part of clandestine geoengineering programs – was a radical view because “99% of people would know those are just contrails.” Continue reading »
More and more people keep asking what in the hell is wrong with this country… everything gets more backwards and twisted and wrong by the day.
Here’s another great example of how screwed up everything has become. A higher court in Oklahoma just ruled that forcing an unconscious person to perform oral sex somehow magically isn’t sexual assault.
The case centers around a 17-year-old boy accused of taking advantage of a drunk 16-year-old girl who was later found to have a blood alcohol level of .341 — a dangerously high level that could easily land an adult in the hospital with alcohol poisoning, let alone a teenage girl. It’s the quintessential Lifetime Network movie-of-the-week. The last thing she remembers is passing out in the park. The boy’s DNA was found around her mouth and leg, so something obviously occurred and it isn’t the mystery crime of the century what.
Although he was charged with with rape and forcible oral sodomy, because the law in Oklahoma does not specifically state “an unconscious or intoxicated person cannot give consent” and Oklahoma rape statutes do not apply to a person’s mouth, the charges were thrown out. Continue reading »
After a review of options by a panel of activists, a petition has been launched on Whitehouse.gov seeking to create a mandatory minimum sentence to be imposed on officers who kill unarmed citizens. The activists hope to create an incentive for officers to think before they act. Under this legislation, officers will not be able to use the excuse they were in fear for their lives when encountering a unarmed citizen. When officers carelessly destroy the lives of the unarmed, their life will also be destroyed.
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Lee Carroll Brooker, a 75-year-old disabled veteran, is sentenced to die in prison thanks to a mandatory sentence involving marijuana.
Brooker was growing about three dozen marijuana plants behind his son’s house in Alabama, reportedly for his own medical use. But when Alabama officials found out, they prosecuted Brooker, putting him in prison for life without the possibility of parole.
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Obama told CBS News today that we can’t allow bipartisan legislation subjecting the Saudis to potential liability for terrorism … or else other countries could retaliate against the US (starting at 0:40):
Similarly, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said today:
“The whole notion of sovereign immunity is at stake,” Earnest told reporters Monday. “It could put the United States, and our taxpayers, and our service members and our diplomats at significant risk, if other countries were to adopt a similar law.”
As Cal Thomas points out at the Washington Times:
Millions of undocumented immigrant families fear that America’s highest court will overrule President Obama’s executive order and call for mass deportations.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, a challenge by the state of Texas and 26 other US states, against President Obama’s executive orders granting deferred action to up to 5 million undocumented immigrants. Continue reading »
In a somewhat stunning decision, SkyNews reports that a US judge has ruled that the families of victims in the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School can sue the maker of the weapon used in the attack, arguing the Bushmaster rifle is a military weapon that should not have been sold to civilians.
Gun companies had sought to reject the negligence and wrongful death lawsuit filed two years after the attack by nine victims’ relatives and a survivor.
But Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis said a 2005 federal law protecting gun-makers from lawsuits does not shield the companies from legal action in this case.
She ruled that lawyers for the victims’ families can still argue the semi-automatic rifle is a military weapon and should not have been sold to civilians.
Seattle man gets $1,000 fine, isn’t banned from home across from Ballard school
A Seattle child pornography collector with ties to the FBI won’t go to prison and may be able to return to his home across from a Ballard-area elementary school.
Cybersecurity consultant Brian Haller was spared prison Friday after he was caught with 600 photos and videos picturing the sexual exploitation of children as young as 9. Haller, 40, asked that he be allowed to return to his home across the street from West Woodland Elementary School in the Ballard area of Seattle. Continue reading »
British programmer Joshua Browder is helping people save a lot of money on legal fees with his latest project – the world’s first robot lawyer. The 19-year-old developed a free service that allows users to ask any kind of legal question and receive relevant answers autogenerated by bots.
Browder first started the project last summer as a free website to help people appeal unfair parking tickets. He came up with the idea after getting a series of tickets himself for “trivial reasons”. Having wasted several hours on writing appeals to these tickets, he realised that many people do not have the time, legal knowledge or even the energy to appeal. So he decided to create an automatic appeal generator, using previously successful letters as a template. He aptly named the service DoNotPay, given that the legal fees involved in challenging tickets could mount up to sizable amounts between $400 to $900. Continue reading »
Three jailed Kaupthing bankers will be freed today due to a change in legislation.
Former Kaupthing Chairperson of the Board Sigurður Einarsson, former Kaupthing Luxembourg CEO Magnús Guðmundsson and former 10% owner of Kaupthing Ólafur Ólafsson will all be released from Kvíabryggja prison today, Stundin reports, on account of a change to the law. They will instead move to a halfway house, Vernd, where they will have to return every night but will otherwise be free. A member of parliament has criticised the legislation is being “handcrafted” for these bankers. Continue reading »
Eminent domain is a tough pill to swallow for Americans who take their property rights very seriously, and the aggressive moves by Sabal Trail to seize property for a natural gas pipeline running through three southern states is turning into a drama of immense proportions.
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United Kingdom — Billions of photos are shared on popular mobile app, Snapchat, every day. The messaging network, used mainly by teens and young adults, allows users to add a lens graphic or doodle over their personal images and instantly share them to hundreds of followers. Once the company server detects the material has been viewed or has expired, the image evaporates after 10 seconds. Due to the self-destructing nature of the images, the quick and easy-to-use app is rumoured to be popular for sexting and the exchange of explicit images. Continue reading »
Earlier this month, conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch released a series of documents obtained via an FOIA request which appear to prove that Hillary Clinton knew her BlackBerry wasn’t secure when she and her staff moved into Mahogany Row (the nickname given to the set of offices reserved for senior officials in the Department of State).
E-mail exchanges between Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure Donald Reid and the NSA show Clinton was intent on obtaining a secure BlackBerry that she could use in restricted areas. Continue reading »
Over the weekend, I published a post titled Al Jazeeza Presenter to Saudi Ambassador – “Why Support Democracy in Syria but Not Saudi Arabia?” in which the Saudi Ambassador claimed subjects of Saudi Arabia don’t want or need elections because they are so enamored with the absolute monarchy’s management of society. Yes, and I just had lunch with the Easter Bunny.
Here’s the clip if you missed it:
(MIDDLEEASTEYE) Saudi Arabia has sentenced a journalist to five years in prison and a fine of 50,000 riyals (around $13,300) after being charged for “insulting the rulers (and) inciting public opinion”, said Amnesty International on Friday.
Alaa Brinji was also found guilty on 24 March of “accusing security officers of killing protesters in Awamiyya” – a Shia town in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Continue reading »
Hawai`i — Following Portugal’s model, Hawai`i could become the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize all drugs — including cocaine and even heroin.
“[D]espite a longstanding policy that enforces illicit drug prohibition and imposes some of the world’s harshest penalties for drug possession and sales, illicit drug use in the United States has been increasing,” states a resolution that passed, amended by the Hawai`i House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Continue reading »
All government, in its essence, is a conspiracy against the superior man: its one permanent object is to oppress him and cripple him…The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable, and so, if he is romantic, he tries to change it. And even if he is not romantic personally he is very apt to spread discontent among those who are.
– H.L. Mencken Continue reading »
Israel gives sentences of 1 to 3 years to Palestinian boys accused of throwing stones at Israeli cars
World Bulletin / News Desk
An Israeli court sentenced seven Palestinian children to lengthy jail sentences on Thursday, for throwing stones.
The boys, aged between 14 and 17, were given sentences ranging from one to three years for throwing stones at Israeli cars, said Palestinian prisoner rights group Addameer in a statement posted on Facebook.
Jason Gross was the latest former banker to make a mockery of the US judicial system when he was spared prison on Wednesday, for stealing NY Fed secrets on behalf of Goldman Sachs. Instead Gross, 37, was fined $2,000 by U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in Manhattan and sentenced to a year of probation with 200 hours of community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of theft of government property.
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Police Scotland to submit report in weeks after probe into ‘perverting course of justice’
Scotland’s chief law officer faces growing pressure about who will decide on any prosecution for allegedly perverting the course of justice over the Lockerbie case.
Police are expected to submit a report within weeks to the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, Scotland’s prosecuting authority, on allegations of interference with the original investigation that led to the jailing of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for the bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Police Scotland is investigation the allegations under ‘Operation Sandwood’. Continue reading »
Sam Girod is a Kentucky farmer who runs a small business selling natural skin salves made from herbs such as chickweed, which seem to help relieve a host of skin conditions, including allergic rashes, psoriasis, poison oak and even skin cancers.
If you look up chickweed on Amazon, you will find pages of chickweed products, dozens and dozens of products, in some cases followed by glowing testimonials from users about how this or that chickweed provided relief from terrible itching, and even cured their skin cancers. Continue reading »