Can the Cops Collect Your DNA? The Supreme Court is About to Decide…

There have been many interesting cases before the Supreme Court as of late, and the most recent one relates to whether or not police have the right to collect someone’s DNA upon arrest.  Justice Samuel Alito has called the case “perhaps the most important criminal procedure case that this court has heard in decades.”  Given the Obama Administration’s complete contempt for civil liberties and The Constitution, they are siding with the state of Maryland in the case.  I am strongly opposed to the collection of DNA upon arrest for various reasons, but the primary one being that when you are arrested you are still presumed innocent.  I do not think an arrest (which could be wrongful) should allow the state to collect your genetic information.  From Bloomberg:

The U.S. Supreme Court, hearing what one justice said might be the biggest criminal procedure case in decades, considered overturning as many as 29 state and federal laws that allow the collection of DNA samples when a person is arrested.

In an hour-long argument full of rapid-fire questions, the justices debated whether the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches requires officials to wait until a person is convicted.

The ruling in the Maryland case will be the court’s first on the privacy of genetic information and may have implications for other cutting-edge police techniques in the future.

Several justices, including Stephen Breyer and Antonin Scalia, suggested they may cross the ideological lines that often divide the court. Scalia signaled his skepticism toward Maryland’s collection program immediately, scoffing when the state’s lawyer opened her argument by touting the 225 matches and 42 convictions the state had secured.

“I’ll bet you if you conducted a lot of unreasonable searches and seizures, you’d get more convictions, too,” Scalia said. “That proves absolutely nothing.”

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Rand Paul’s Third Letter to the CIA: Can You Kill with Drones in the USA?

This letter is a few days old, but is very important for every American to be aware of. Essentially, Rand Paul is threatening to filibuster Barack Obama’s nominee for the CIA, John Brennan, due to his refusal to answer a simple question:

Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

This should not be a complicated question to answer, yet it seems Obama, Brennan and pretty much every other little power consumed bureaucrat is incapable of doing so.  Below is Rand Paul’s letter reprinted in full (my emphasis added).

February 20, 2013

John O. Brennan

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. Brennan,

In consideration of your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are U.S. citizens. Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA. If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.

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Gallup Poll: Americans Most Negative on the Nation and Economy in 30 Years

I guess Americans just haven’t heard of a little something called the stock market.  Isn’t that right Bernanke?  Wasn’t the stock market rally you engineered supposed to make everyone feel all nice and confident?  Well the great middle class squeeze continues, as the stock market is for the 1% what food stamps are for the poor.  They are just strategies to keep these groups apathetic and obedient.  The middle class isn’t buying it though, as is evidenced by this recent Gallup Poll conducted January 7-10, 2013.  From Gallup:

PRINCETON, NJ — U.S. President Barack Obama begins his second term at a time when Americans are as negative about the state of the country and its prospects going forward as they have been in more than three decades. Fewer than four in 10 Americans (39%) rate the current status of the U.S. at the positive end of a zero to 10 scale. This is about the same as in 2010, but it is fewer than have said so at any point since 1979. As they usually are, Americans are more upbeat in their predictions of where the U.S. will be in five years (48% positive), but this is also lower than at any time since 1979.

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Rapper Lupe Fiasco Escorted Off Stage for Anti-Obama Message: My Thoughts

What can I say; we simply need more people in America like Lupe Fiasco.  While the mass awakening of the global population has continued at a breakneck pace for the past several years, one of the things that has disappointed me most about the United States has been the lack of courage demonstrated by high profile celebrities, as well as wealthy and successful people generally, to place their own best interests on the line in order to do what is right for the country.  Most of them simply choose to pick a pet issue overseas and criticize foreign governments rather that look introspectively at the decaying carcass at home.  That is the easy way out and is simply cowardice.  Not Lupe Fiasco.  From the Washington Post:

Rapper Lupe Fiasco was escorted off stage by security during a performance at StartUp RockOn’s inauguration celebration Sunday night.

Even at an event celebrating President Obama’s second term, Lupe didn’t hesitate to criticize the president, announcing that he did not vote for him. Thirty minutes into the anti-war song, Lupe was approached by guards and taken off stage. 

It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. In 2011, Lupe called Obama “the biggest terrorist.” On his latest album, he explained that claim, referring to drone strikes in Afghanistan. Last year he described the president as “someone who is a great speaker, but kills little children.”

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White House Raises Petition Threshold to 100,000 Signatures

I don’t have a problem with them doing this.  In fact, I think it is a good thing because it will only make successful petitions more powerful.  Let’s remember that the “Petition to Deport Piers Morgan,” which undoubtedly annoyed the White House, easily reached over 100,000 signatures within the 30 day period, proving that issues that people care about and that strike a nerve will be able to break this new threshold.  The White House ultimately responded to that petition after it hit 109,334 signatures, at which point the signing stops.  From the Daily Caller:

President Barack Obama’s deputies have quadrupled the number of signatures that petitioners on the administration’s “We the People” website must collect to get an official response from the White House, following a series of popular, provocative and disrespectful signature drives by his critics.

Some of the petitions sought approval for states to secede after Obama’s re-election, while others called on the White House to disavow executive orders that restrict gun rights, or to deport CNN’s British-born, progressive host Piers Morgan.

“Starting today, as we move into a second term, petitions must receive 100,000 signatures in 30 days in order to receive an official response from the Obama Administration,” said an early evening Jan. 15 statement from Macon Phillips, the White House’s digital strategy director.

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Another Bait and Switch: Congress Defeats E-Mail Privacy Legislation…Again

This is how the corporate state rolls.  They remove all the important stuff at the last minute, you know, like provisions that might actually protect constitutional rights.  This is exactly what they just did with the NDAA, which I outlined in my post The Section Preventing Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial Removed from Final NDAA Bill.  Now we find out from Wired that:

The Senate late Thursday forwarded legislation to President Barack Obama granting the public the right to automatically display on their Facebook feeds what they’re watching on Netflix. While lawmakers were caving to special interests, however, they cut from the legislative package language requiring the authorities to get a warrant to read your e-mail or other data stored in the cloud.

But another part of the same Senate package — sweeping digital privacy protections requiring the government, for the first time, to get a probable-cause warrant to obtain e-mail and other content stored in the cloud — was removed at the last minute.

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FCC Rule Change Would Favor Big Media

Here we go; more centralization, consolidation, and corruption as America barrels its way toward serfdom.  The best part of this saga is that Obama was one of the most vocal Senators against such rule changes when George W. Bush was in office, but not a peep from him now.  Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator) and Michael Copps (FCC commissioner from 2001 to 2011) wrote an excellent Op Ed in Politico.  Here are excerpts:

A cornerstone of American democracy is a free and open press providing diverse viewpoints. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1823, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted to be freely expressed.” In America today, however, a trend toward corporate media consolidation is drowning diverse opinions and eliminating local control.  In 1983, 90 percent of the American media was owned by 50 companies. Today, 90 percent is controlled by just six corporations: General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.

The Federal Communications Commission may be on the verge of making a bad situation worse. It is considering a rule change that would clear the way for even more media consolidation. All Americans should be deeply concerned.

The failed 2007 bid to change the rules came after a similar 2003 effort to weaken the limits on cross-ownership that prevented a handful of media conglomerates from completely dominating ownership of the news outlets in our communities. Those proposals met with 3 million public comments, 99 percent of which opposed the FCC’s proposal.

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Is Obama Close to Waging War on Legalized Pot?

I believe that election day 2012 will go down in U.S. history as an extremely important event.  No, not because in its national apathy the citizens re-elected a crony capitalist puppet as President.  Rather, because it was the day when two states overwhelmingly rejected the Federal Prohibition on marijuana.  Of course, I am referring to Amendment 64 in Colorado and Initiative 502 in Washington State, which legalize pot for recreational use.

Upon its passage, I wrote a piece titled: Colorado Legalizes Marijuana: Your Move Eric Holder.  I knew right away that the Federales would not be pleased by this law.  I also knew that, contrary to popular myth, Obama isn’t “liberal” in any sense of the word and in fact he has demonstrated highly authoritarian characteristics throughout his Presidency and an uncanny willingness to lie repeatedly.  So I assumed his reaction would be aggressive, because for him this issue isn’t about marijuana, but rather Federal (his own) power versus the power of his “subjects.”

We learn from the New York Times that the administration is indeed looking to get tough:

WASHINGTON — Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.  

Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

So what are the Federales considering?

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state.

A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated.

Another potential avenue would be to cut off federal grants to the states unless their legislatures restored anti-marijuana laws, said Gregory Katsas, who led the civil division of the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

This is going to be an incredible drama to watch unfold, and in many ways I wouldn’t mind seeing Obama get aggressive on this issue because it will be such a huge political blunder.  Not only was the vote overwhelming in favor of legalization in my state of Colorado (55% voted yes and it received more votes that Obama did in the state), but a very high percentage of Democrats support legalization and does he really want to start off his second term by marginalizing the remaining supporters he hasn’t already as a result of his horrible track record on civil liberties, banker bailouts and aggressive foreign policy?  It’s not just Democrats though.  A Rasmussen poll in May showed that 56% of those surveyed nationwide were in favor of legalization.  Obama would just be fighting the inevitably culturally, protecting Mexican drug cartel profits and in the end just look like a fool.

Even more than a States rights versus Federal power issue, this is about democracy versus authoritarianism.  Obama pushing back hard on the will of the people will only further expose the sham that is his Presidency for more to see.

I also discussed this issue on my recent appearance of Capital Account, which you can watch here.

Full New York Times article is here.

In Liberty,
Mike