Trump and DOJ goes after our civil rights and The Resistance

One of the targeted websites is, http://www.disruptj20.org, that helped coordinate protests of Trump’s inauguration. Tracie Van Auken/EPA

The US government is seeking to unmask every person who visited an anti-Trump website in what privacy advocates say is an unconstitutional “fishing expedition” for political dissidents.

The warrant appears to be an escalation of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) campaign against anti-Trump activities, including the harsh prosecution of inauguration day protesters.

On 17 July, the DoJ served a website-hosting company, DreamHost, with a search warrant for every piece of information it possessed that was related to a website that was used to coordinate protests during Donald Trump’s inauguration. The warrant covers the people who own and operate the site, but also seeks to get the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited it, as well as the date and time of their visit and information about what browser or operating system they used.

The website, http://www.disruptj20.org, was used to coordinate protests and civil disobedience on 20 January, when Trump was inaugurated.

“This specific case and this specific warrant are pure prosecutorial overreach by a highly politicized department of justice under [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions,” said Chris Ghazarian, general counsel for DreamHost. “You should be concerned that anyone should be targeted simply for visiting a website.”

The warrant was made public Monday, when DreamHost announced its plans to challenge the government in court. The DoJ declined to comment. A hearing is scheduled for Friday.

The government has aggressively prosecuted activists arrested during the 20 January protests in Washington DC. In April, the US attorney’s office in Washington DC filed a single indictment charging more than 217 people with identical crimes, including felony rioting.

Ghazarian said that DreamHost provided the government with “limited customer information about the owner of the website” when it first received a grand jury subpoena a week after the protests occurred. But the government came back in July with the much broader search warrant.

“We’re a gatekeeper between the government and tens of thousands of people who visited the website,” said Ghazarian. “We want to keep them protected.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has been advising DreamHost, characterized the warrant as “unconstitutional” and “a fishing expedition”.

“I can’t conceive of a legitimate justification other than casting your net as broadly as possible to justify millions of user logs,” senior staff attorney Mark Rumold told the Guardian.

Logs of IP addresses don’t uniquely identify users, but they link back to specific physical addresses if no digital tools are used to mask it.

“What they would be getting is a list of everyone who has ever been interested in attending these protests or seeing what was going on at the protests and that’s the troubling aspect. It’s a short step after you have the list to connect the IP address to someone’s identity,” he said.

Wide-reaching warrants for user data are sometimes issued when the content of a site is illegal such as pirated movies or child sexual abuse imagery, but speech is rarely prohibited.

“This [the website] is pure first amendment advocacy – the type of advocacy the first amendment was designed to protect and promote,” Rumold added. “Frankly I’m glad DreamHost is pushing back on it.”

It’s not the first time that the US government has sought to unmask people protesting against Trump or his policies.

In March this year, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a division of the homeland security department, ordered Twitter to hand over the phone number, mailing addresses and IP addresses associated with @ALT_USCIS, an account that purported to convey the views of dissenters within the government.

The account, whose username is a reference to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, is one of dozens of alternative Twitter accounts established after Trump was inaugurated. The unverified accounts claimed to provide an uncensored view of civil servants who disagreed with Trump’s policies.

To protect the identity of the person running the account, Twitter launched a lawsuit against the Trump administration, arguing that it would have “a grave chilling effect on the speech of that account in particular and the many other ‘alternative agency’ accounts that have been created to voice dissent to government policies”.

After public outcry over the administration’s overreach, Customs and Border Protection dropped the request.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/14/donald-trump-inauguration-protest-website-search-warrant-dreamhost#img-1

Billionaire loses bid to shut off access to public beach and surprise! It’s not Bullyboy Arkley

This guy sounds just like our own local bully Robin P. Arkley  

Silicon Valley billionaire loses bid to prevent access to public beach

Court decision is blow to Vinod Khosla and other wealthy landowners seeking to buy renowned beaches, making public land private

 Martins Beach must be opened to the public, according to a California court order.

A California court has ordered a Silicon Valley billionaire to restore access to a beloved beach that he closed off for his private use, a major victory for public lands advocates who have been fighting the venture capitalist for years.

An appeals court ruled on Thursday that Vinod Khosla, who runs the venture capital firm Khosla Ventures and co-founded the tech company Sun Microsystems, must unlock the gates to Martins Beach in northern California by his property.

The decision is a major blow to Khosla and other wealthy landowners who have increasingly tried to buy up the internationally celebrated beaches along the California coast and turn public lands into private property.

The beach was a popular destination for fishing, surfing and other recreational activities for nearly a century, and the previous owners provided a general store and public restroom. But Khosla eventually bought the property and in 2010 closed public access, putting up signs warning against trespassing.

Khosla, who has a net worth of $1.55bn and does not live on the property, has faced multiple lawsuits and legislative efforts to get him to open up the gate to the beach near Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles south of San Francisco. The law in California states that all beaches should be open to the public up to the “mean high tide line”.

The decision this week, affirming a lower court ruling, stems from a lawsuit filed by the Surfrider Foundation, a not-for-profit group that says the case could have broader implications for beach access across the US.

“Vinod Khosla, with his billions of dollars, bought this piece of property and said, ‘No, no, the public isn’t going to use this anymore. End of story,’” the Surfrider attorney Joe Cotchett said by phone on Thursday. “He got away with it for many years … This is probably one of the most important public right-of-access cases in the country.”

Khosla’s refusal to restore access has made him something of a symbol of the immense wealth in the tech industry and rising income inequality in the region.

Last year, his attorneys claimed that he would open the gate to the beach only if the government paid him $30m, an amount that state officials said was unreasonably high. In October, Khosla also sued two state agencies, accusing the government of using “coercion and harassment” to infringe on his private property rights.

The California coastal commission, established by voters in 1972 to protect public use of the coast, has reported that beachgoers have increasingly complained about private security guards telling them they are trespassing on private property and forcing them to leave the public beaches.

“The issue here is, can wealthy private individuals buy up our beautiful beaches for their own use?” said Cotchett, adding that he expects Khosla to appeal the decision and attempt to bring the case to the US supreme court.

Khosla’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Khosla recently made headlines when he downplayed the problem of sexual harassment in the venture capital industry, which has recently been exposed as a major concern among female founders. “I did not know that there was any discrimination,” Khosla said at a recent event, adding that it was “rarer than in most other businesses”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/10/martins-beach-california-public-vinod-khosla

 

More dark violent rhetoric from “Dear Leader” Trump has he incites Long Island cops

Note in the video at least not all of the cops applaud 

On Friday, President Trump traveled to Long Island to address a group of law enforcement n Brentwood, N.Y. (Suffolk County, on Long Island):

Trump’s speech was noteworthy, though, for its embrace of aggressive tactics by police officers. He insisted that his team was “rough” and encouraged police officers not to be concerned about preventing physical harm to people being taken into custody. The laws, he said, were “stacked against” the police.

“Please don’t be too nice,” Trump told the officers, to applause

“Failure to enforce our immigration laws had predictable results: drugs, gangs and violence. But that’s all changing now.” “Under the Trump administration, America is once more a nation of laws and once again a nation that stands up for our law enforcement officers.” (Applause.)

“I saw some photos where Tom’s guys [Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting director Tom Homan] — rough guys. They’re rough. I don’t want to … say it because they’ll say that’s not politically correct. You’re not allowed to have rough people doing this kind of work. …

“[J]ust like they don’t want to have rich people at the head of Treasury, OK? (Laughter.) Like, I want a rich guy at the head of Treasury, right? Right? (Applause.) I want a rich guy at the head of Commerce. Because we’ve been screwed so badly on trade deals, I want people that made a lot of money now to make a lot of money for our country. …

“[W]hen you see these towns and when you see these [gang] thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said: ‘Please don’t be too nice.’ (Laughter.)

“Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody — don’t hit their head! I said: ‘You can take the hand away, OK?’ (Laughter and applause.)”

 

 

 

With dictatorship looming, now we have a Bi-partisan attack on free speech

The right to boycott has a long history in the United States, from the American Revolution to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign for divestment from businesses serving apartheid South Africa. Nowadays we celebrate those efforts. But precisely because boycotts are such a powerful form of expression, governments have long sought to interfere with them — from King George III to the police in Alabama, and now to the U.S. Congress.

In NAACP v. Claiborne Hardware Co., the Supreme Court in 1982 upheld the right of NAACP activists to hold a mass economic boycott of segregated businesses in Mississippi. The court stated that the boycotters’ exercise of their rights to “speech, assembly, and petition . . . to change a social order that had consistently treated them as second-class citizens” rested “on the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values.”

Legislation introduced in the Senate by Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) and in the House by Peter J. Roskam (R-Ill.), would make it a crime to support or even furnish information about a boycott directed at Israel or its businesses called by the United Nations, the European Union or any other “international governmental organization.” The Israel Anti-Boycott Act says Violations would be punishable by civil and criminal penalties of up to $1 million and 20 years in prison. The American Civil Liberties Union, where we both work, takes no position for or against campaigns to boycott Israel or any other foreign country. But since our organization’s founding in 1920, the ACLU has defended the right to collective action. This bill threatens that right.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act is designed to stifle efforts to protest Israel’s settlement policies by boycotting businesses in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. The bill’s particular target is the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, a global campaign that seeks to apply economic and political pressure on Israel to comply with international law.

Whether one approves or disapproves of the BDS movement itself, people should have a right to make up their own minds about it. Americans engage in boycotts every day when they decide not to buy from companies whose practices they oppose. Students have boycotted companies that sold clothing manufactured in sweatshops abroad. Environmentalists have boycotted Nestlé for its deforestation practices. By using their power in the marketplace, consumers can act collectively to express their political points of view. There is nothing illegal about such collective action; indeed, it is constitutionally protected.

This is not to say that all boycotters are automatically free speech heroes; indeed, BDS advocates have themselves at times shut down Israeli academics or speakers to the detriment of academic freedom. Thus, it’s understandable that free speech advocates might not immediately identify BDS supporters as victims of censorship. But when government takes sides on a particular boycott and criminalizes those who engage in a boycott, it crosses a constitutional line.

Cardin and other supporters argue that the Israel Anti-Boycott Act targets only commercial activity. In fact, the bill threatens severe penalties against any business or individual who does not purchase goods from Israeli companies operating in the occupied Palestinian territories and who makes it clear — say by posting on Twitter or Facebook — that their reason for doing so is to support a U.N.- or E.U.-called boycott. That kind of penalty does not target commercial trade; it targets free speech and political beliefs. Indeed, the bill would prohibit even the act of giving information to a U.N. body about boycott activity directed at Israel.

The bill’s chilling effect would be dramatic — and that is no doubt its very purpose. But individuals, not the government, should have the right to decide whether to support boycotts against practices they oppose. Neither individuals nor businesses should have to fear million-dollar penalties, years in prison and felony convictions for expressing their opinions through collective action. As an organization, we take no sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But regardless of the politics, we have and always will take a strong stand when government threatens our freedoms of speech and association. The First Amendment demands no less.

Orginal story: This piece of pro-Israel legislation is a serious threat to free speech
@ https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Civil Rights activist Linda Sarsour is driving the right crazy by not normalizing

Linda Sarsour, a lead organizer of the Women’s March on Washington and one of the most high-profile Muslim activists in the country, gave an impassioned speech last weekend that at first gained little attention.

Speaking to a predominately Muslim crowd at the annual Islamic Society of North America convention in suburban Chicago, Sarsour urged her fellow Muslims to speak out against oppression.

In her speech, Sarsour told a story from Islamic scripture about a man who once asked Muhammad, the founder of Islam, “What is the best form of jihad, or struggle?

“And our beloved prophet … said to him, ‘A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad,’” Sarsour said.

“I hope that … when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or on the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”

Linda Sarsour has been a prominent face among left-wing activists, in particular since the election of US President Donald Trump. She was one of the organizers of the January “Women’s March on Washington” held the day after Trump’s inauguration.

In her speech to ISNA, Sarsour said that since Islamophobes do not stop to ask Muslims in the street about their political or religious persuasions before attacking, since Islamophobes do not distinguish between different types of Muslims, so the American Muslim community must band together united. She also said that since the Muslim community is heavily outnumbered in the US, they must ally themselves with other minorities if they hope to have any agency on a national scale.

“Why are we so afraid of this administration and the potential chaos that they will ensue upon our community?” she asked. “And we already saw their potential when they come out every few weeks – Muslim ban 1, Muslim ban 2, Muslim ban 3… they are relentless, they are persistent, and consistent, and want to see how much we as a community can endure, and want to see who our friends are, and how hard we’re going to fight back against this administration.”

She called on the Muslim community to organize around building itself up from every angle, but scolded them against wandering outside of their comfort zones. “We gotta stay in our lanes. If you are not a communications specialist, then you are not to be advising our community on how to communicate with the rest of the public.”

“We have to stay outraged,” she insisted to applause. “Do not criticize me when I say that we as a Muslim community in these United States of America have to be perpetually outraged every single… when I wake up in the morning, and I remember who’s sitting in the White House, I am outraged. This is not normal, Sisters and Brothers. Those people sitting in the most powerful seats in this country is not normal. So, do not ever be those citizens that normalize this administration, because when they day comes that something horrific happens to us or to another community, you will be responsible for normalizing this administration.”

Ricky John Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Micah Fletcher are American Heros

(CNN)As tears streamed down her cheeks, Destinee Mangum, 16, thanked the three strangers who intervened on a Portland light-rail train after a man hurled anti-Muslim slurs at her and her friend who was wearing a hijab.

Two of the men were killed. One is in the hospital after the suspect, identified as Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, stabbed the three victims, according to police.

“I just want to say thank you to the people who put their life on the line for me,” Mangum told CNN affiliate KPTV, her voice cracking. “Because they didn’t even know me and they lost their lives because of me and my friend and the way we look.”

The incident on Friday struck a nerve across the United States. Outrage over the deadly assault, messages of support for the victims and expressions of antipathy for the attacker have dominated social media and news coverage.

Online funding pages have emerged for the families of the two slain men, the injured man and the girls who survived the attack.

On Monday, Trump finally weighed in, lauding the victims and deploring the act of violence.
“The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them,” the President tweeted from his @POTUS account.

The attack

Mangum and her friend were riding the MAX light rail Friday afternoon when the suspect allegedly targeted them. He yelled at Mangum, who is not Muslim, and her friend, using what police described as “hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions.”

“He told us to go back to Saudi Arabia and he told us we shouldn’t be here, to get out of his country,” Mangum told KPTV. “He was just telling us that we basically weren’t anything and that we should just kill ourselves.”

Frightened by his outburst, the pair moved away to the back of the train.

Then a stranger intervened, telling the man that he “can’t disrespect these young ladies like that.”

“Then they just all started arguing,” Mangum said.

By the time the light rail pulled into the next station, Mangum and her friends were ready to leave.

“Me and my friend were going to get off the MAX and then we turned around while they were fighting and he just started stabbing people,” she said.

“It was just blood everywhere and we just started running for our lives.”

Several passengers chased after the suspect and called 911, directing officers to his whereabouts, according to local media.

Mangum, wearing pigtails, held tightly to her mother’s hand as she spoke to a KPTV reporter.

“It’s haunting me,” she said.

Good Samaritans

The men who had intervened were viciously attacked, police said.

These three men stood up to hate in Portland

These three men stood up to hate in Portland

Ricky John Best, 53, of Happy Valley, died at the scene. The military veteran worked as a technician for the city of Portland and had gravitated towards public service.

Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, of Portland, died at the hospital. He had graduated from Portland’s Reed College with a degree in economics last year and had just begun his career working at an environmental consulting agency.

The third victim, Micah Fletcher, 21, is being treated at a hospital with serious injuries. A GoFundMe account to pay for his medical bills showed a picture of him on a hospital bed with a visible neck wound.

Mangum’s mother, Dyjuana Hudson, said she owes everything to the three men and their grieving families.

“I want to say thank you so much,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine what you’re going through right now as far as losing someone.”

‘Their actions were brave; they were selfless’

Portland mayor Ted Wheeler praised the men for standing up to hatred and bigotry.

“It’s very obvious that their actions were brave; they were selfless, and it should serve as an example and inspiration to all of us,” he said in an interview Monday with CNN.

“There’s no question in my mind that these men were heroes,” he added.

Wheeler encouraged people to “stand alongside the memories” of the men and to denounce xenophobia and hate.

“They laid it on all on the line and they paid the ultimate price for standing up to those values which are bedrock to this country,” Wheeler said.

The suspect

Christian was charged with two counts of aggravated murder and one count of attempted murder, all felonies. The aggravated murder charge has the death penalty as a possible sentence.

He also was charged with misdemeanors: two counts of second-degree intimidation and a count of being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, police said.

Jeremy Joseph Christian was charged with aggravated murder and attempted murder.

Christian was being held at the county jail without bail, he will be arraigned on Tuesday in Multnomah County Court.

Police said detectives are looking at Christian’s background, “including the information publicly available about the suspect’s extremist ideology.”

Videos have surfaced showing Christian at various events shouting at people, at one point saying the N-word, as police officers separated him from others.

 

The FBI has joined the Portland police-led investigation to gather evidence.

Authorities are trying to determine whether Christian will be charged with federal hate crimes.

Teen’s family asks for privacy

After granting interviews to a few local media outlets, Hudson and her daughter posted a video on Facebook saying they were thankful to the victims and the community support. They also asked for privacy.

“The best thing you guys can help us out with is just giving me and my family time to process everything and for me to cope with what happened and to actually heal from this and get over this somehow,” Mangum said.

“When the time comes, we will come forward,” her mother said. “But right now it’s all just too much to keep rehashing it over and over again.”

The other woman on the train hasn’t spoken out publicly.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/29/us/portland-train-teenager-stabbing/

Republicans ready to take your internet away?

In their scenario Republicans would have you pay to use the Library

As Republican lawmakers continue to defend their decision to vote to roll back a set of broadband privacy rules that would have required internet service providers to ask for permission before collecting user data, the Federal Communications Commission is readying more drastic changes to the regulatory oversight of the internet.

In a town hall appearance held on Thursday, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. defended his decision to vote to repeal the Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules passed by the FCC last October by arguing that “nobody’s got to use the internet.”

When a constituent attending the event in Wisconsin’s fifth district raised the issue that she has only one ISP available in her neighborhood and now has little recourse to protect her personal information from her internet provider, Sensenbrenner responded:

“You know, nobody’s got to use the internet….I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising through your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it and then you take it upon yourself to make the choice.”

The congressman’s press office doubled down on this, responding to a tweet claiming Sensenbrenner said “not to use the internet” by stating, “Actually, he said that nobody has to use the internet. They have a choice.”

Sensenbrenner’s view contrasts with that of the United Nations, which has labeled internet access a basic human right, and with most trends that see more and more reliance on internet access to partake in other basic tasks, from completing school work to searching for employment.

While Sensenbrenner’s belief that “nobody’s got to use the internet” may be incorrect, new plans set to be voted on by the FCC might ensure that more people find themselves in the same situation as the congressman’s constituent who only has one choice for internet service providers.

A proposal set to be voted on by the commission on April 20 that would redefine “sufficient competition” in the business broadband market. Under the new rule, a county would be considered “competitive” if just 50 percent of businesses in the area are within half a mile of a location served by a broadband provider or if 75 percent of Census blocks in the county have access to a cable provider.

The proposal came under fire from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, which published a filing with the FCC Thursday that the new rules would not be suitable proof of competition and may leave some businesses without access to sufficient internet service.

Assuming the vote passes, it will mark the latest in a concerted effort to roll back Obama-era mandates designed to expand internet access. The FCC also undid a rule that required Charter to compete with other broadband providers and blocked ISPs from offering subsidized internet services to low-income Americans.