Posts tagged “Election 2008”

EFF still fighting Bush’s unconstitutional wiretaps and the U.S. Congress’ unconstitutional telecom immunity

Believe it or not, I am still interested in things outside the presidential election. I am a big fan and supporter of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). I think their work is some of the most important civil action going on in the United States these days. That’s why I’m so proud they are still fighting for an American public that is largely asleep at the wheel. I’m talking about the unconstitutional wiretapping that has been going on for years (and continues today) with the explicit support of the major telecommunications companies in this country. I’m also talking about the unconstitutional, retroactive immunity that was given to those same companies this past summer by the U.S. Congress (Note: Obama voted in favor of it, McCain didn’t vote on the issue).

Well, the EFF filed suit on Thursday in Federal Court, challenging the constitutionality of both the legislative and executive branches of our government in the above actions. As the EFF filing puts it,

The immunity law puts the fox in charge of the hen house, letting the Attorney General decide whether or not telecoms like AT&T can be sued for participating in the government’s illegal warrantless surveillance,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “In our constitutional system, it is the judiciary’s role as a co-equal branch of government to determine the scope of the surveillance and rule on whether it is legal, not the executive’s. The Attorney General should not be allowed to unconstitutionally play judge and jury in these cases, which affect the privacy of millions of Americans.Opposition Brief
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Here, here! I’m thankful to have the EFF fighting on my behalf. You should be, too. You can donate to them here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quotable: Michael Mukasey

Our Attorney General, driving us further into the Orwellian nightmare that is telecom immunity and the internet “dragnet”:

Specific information demonstrating that the alleged dragnet has not occurred cannot be disclosed on the public record without causing exceptional harm to national security. However, because there was no such alleged content-dragnet, no provider participated in that alleged activity.Michael Mukasey
U.S. Attorney General

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

McCain would criminalize stem cell research.

I know the Obama camp is fond of claiming that McCain-Palin would be more of the same, but that isn’t quite accurate. America would find itself in a much worse position should McCain-Palin win in November. As reported over at Wired today, John McCain would make the simple act of researching somatic cell nuclear transfer (aka “therapeutic cloning”) illegal, going well-beyond the current Bush administration policy of simply not funding such research.

I spent far too much of my life researching stem cell research as a research assitant in graduate school, so it is a topic that is (thankfully no longer) near and dear to my heart (Edit: I need to find a way to use the word “research” a fourth time in this sentence). The current Bush policy makes us look like morons to the rest of the world, who have been glibly blowing past the United States in this essential technical front. Bush himself is not opposed to stem cell research (or abortion, the issue at the heart of this debate), but uses the issue as a tool to pander to the anti-choice lobby. This cynical attack on academic pursuit and therapeutic science is bad enough.

Evidently, if you elect McCain-Palin, they will put us further away from this technological vanguard by criminalizing even the privately-funded research that is going on in this country. It is worth pointing out that McCain is not anti-choice himself, so this little gem must surely be 1) a signing bonus for Mrs. Palin and 2) a major ploy to sate the anti-choice movement to which she belongs.

The last eight years have cast the United States as the land of unintelligent dolts in the eyes of the world. This McCain-Palin policy not only will continue to hogtie our scientists, it will actually incarcerate them. We are supposed to be the nation where anything is possible. Instead, we are starting to resemble the Holy Roman Empire, down to the incarceration of scientists. Galileo, anyone? This is simply unacceptable.

As I’ve pointed out in this space before, I’m no fan of Obama, either. I am voting for whichever third party candidate is highest in the polls come election day, in the hope that they will garner enough votes to get federal funding in the next election. You see, only when you have choices can you really hope to be free.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,