Daily Archive: 06/25/2014

Jun 25 2014

Cops Need a Warrant to Search Your Cell Phone

The US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the police need a warrant to search the contents of cellphones seized from people they have arrested.

The opinion of the court, delivered by chief justice John Roberts, recognised that many owners of modern cellphones “keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives”, which may disclose a uniquely large volume of personal information if searched.

“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” Roberts wrote. “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.

Reading his ruling from the bench, Roberts went on: “The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant.”

As with the court’s ruling earlier this year limiting the use of GPS tracking by police, this is quite a victory for privacy in the modern age an the Fourth Amendment.

Jun 25 2014

About that World Cup

Fixed Soccer Matches Cast Shadow Over World Cup

By DECLAN HILL and JERÉ LONGMAN, The New York Times

MAY 31, 2014

A soccer referee named Ibrahim Chaibou walked into a bank in a small South African city carrying a bag filled with as much as $100,000 in $100 bills, according to another referee traveling with him. The deposit was so large that a bank employee gave Mr. Chaibou a gift of commemorative coins bearing the likeness of Nelson Mandela



The report found that the match-rigging syndicate and its referees infiltrated the upper reaches of global soccer in order to fix exhibition matches and exploit them for betting purposes. It provides extensive details of the clever and brazen ways that fixers apparently manipulated “at least five matches and possibly more” in South Africa ahead of the last World Cup. As many as 15 matches were targets, including a game between the United States and Australia, according to interviews and emails printed in the FIFA report.

Although corruption has vexed soccer for years, the South Africa case gives an unusually detailed look at the ease with which professional gamblers can fix matches, as well as the governing body’s severe problems in policing itself and its member federations. The report, at 44 pages, includes an account of Mr. Chaibou’s trip to the bank, as well as many other scenes describing how matches were apparently rigged.

After one match, the syndicate even made a death threat against the official who tried to stop the fix, investigators found.

“Were the listed matches fixed?” the report said. “On the balance of probabilities, yes!”

Inside the Fixing: How a Gang Battered Soccer’s Frail Integrity

By DECLAN HILL, The New York Times

JUNE 1, 2014

The detectives soon discovered that Wilson Raj Perumal, a match fixer from Singapore, was toiling away in Rovaniemi, working with several players, unbeknown to the coach. Mr. Perumal was considered a risk by his associates in a Singaporean match-rigging syndicate, so the group had sent a representative to Finland to tip off the police, Mr. Granat said.



The match-fixing syndicate Mr. Perumal worked for very effectively exploited soccer’s vulnerabilities. According to European police investigators, the syndicate has manipulated hundreds of professional soccer matches around the world by identifying players and referees ripe for bribery – particularly in countries that pay low wages.



Mr. Perumal learned his trade in an informal school for match fixers in Singapore, along with Tan Seet Eng, a Singaporean man known widely as Dan Tan. In the early 1990s, they would gather in the stadiums where illegal bookmakers would take bets on the Malaysian-Singaporean soccer league.

The fixers were so successful that a Malaysian Cabinet minister estimated that they succeeded in fixing more than 70 percent of the league’s matches. The corruption was so bad that the Malaysian-Singaporean league collapsed.



Uncle Frankie taught Mr. Tan and Mr. Perumal the dirty secret of international soccer: Many teams and their personnel are poor, so they often have players, coaches and referees open to bribes.



With its talented players with little money, Ghana is one of the countries that fixers frequently target at international tournaments, Mr. Nyantakyi said. So he was not surprised when, in 2007, it was discovered that there had been an attempt to fix an international match involving Ghana’s celebrated goalkeeping coach, Abukari Damba, who was working with the Singaporean fixers.



In February 2013, Europol, the European Union’s police intelligence agency, said the results of 680 matches worldwide from 2008 to 2011, including World Cup qualifying matches and European Champions League matches, were considered suspicious. Mr. Tan’s group did most of this work, investigators said.



The European investigators determined that Mr. Tan’s syndicate also managed to fix matches played in the United States. In 2010, it persuaded a majority of El Salvador’s national team to throw a game against D.C. United of Major League Soccer as well as an international match against the United States in Miami. Many of the Salvadoran players were subsequently barred for life.

Jun 25 2014

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Wednesday is Ladies’ Day.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Heidi Moore: Wall Street and Washington want you to believe the stock market isn’t rigged. Guess what? It still is

Michael Lewis woke up Average Joe investors, but the fat cats are still trying to lull you into financial submission with their intellectual dishonesty

Most Americans don’t think much about the stock market, and that’s just fine with Wall Street. Because once you wake up to how screwed up the stock market really is, the financial industry knows you’re likely to get very nervous and take your money out. [..]

Let’s get one thing straight: Investor confidence is not the problem. The screwed-up stock market is the problem. It’s time to break down the polite fiction that investing in the stock market is something that sane, rational, sensible people do. It is a high-risk contact sport for your money.

If you know that, you’re ahead of the game.

And the more you read about the new game in town, the more nervous you should get about high-frequency trading (HFT).

Lauren Wilson: Net Neutrality’s Impact on Free Speech

Safeguarding free speech rights cannot be left to the whims and bottom lines of self-interested corporations. And if corporate interests are allowed to pick winners and losers online, it does not require much guesswork to predict who the winners and losers will be. The winners will be those who can afford to pay to play and those speakers who do not wish to threaten the system that has allowed corporate interests to amass such disproportionate control of our government and of our daily lives. Translation: The winners will be deep-pocketed content companies and those who look like the men in charge at ISPs.

The losers will be the young up-and-comers, the black and brown creators who lack access to capital and the connections to get their ideas off the ground, and anyone who dares to speak truth to power. Closing the Web is a step backwards not only for freedom of speech, but also for diversity of thought. Gutting Net Neutrality means regressing toward a shameful era in our history when the ideas and beliefs of the majority were unabashedly valued over those of minorities. Gutting Net Neutrality means that revolutionary Internet ideas, which have historically come from cash-poor outsiders, will die in their infancy.

Without an open Internet, investors might not have backed Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight or Ezra Klein’s Vox. Without an open Internet, and without the prospect of investment in his visionary reporting, we may never see what else Ta-Nehisi Coates could do. We should not have to live with this fear.

Jessica Valenti: There is no internet ‘outrage machine’ – just these outrageous rape apologists

Hey, conservative columnists: don’t court controversy by whining about ‘privileged’ victims and then feign surprise at the backlash. Your time’s up

Feminists are used to being called hysterical over-reactors. So I wasn’t surprised to read The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf argue on Monday that the controversy over George Will’s recent Washington Post column on “privileged” rape victims was part of the Internet “outrage machine”.

There’s no doubt that online arguments can be head-bangingly awful. (I’m on Twitter, I know!) But what Friedersdorf’s column ignores is that writers like Will – out-of-touch conservative white men fearful of the shifting culture – court and revel in such controversy, perhaps knowing it’s likely their last gasp of relevance.

Let’s call it the “backlash machine”: the old guard pumping out deliberately regressive ideas about women while they still can.

Katrina vnaden Heuvel: Why Obama Needs to Ignore ‘Armchair Warriors’ and Focus on the Global Economy

As Iraq blows up (again) and tensions rise in the Ukraine and in the South China Sea, the United States’debate is focused on military intervention. Neoconservatives, having learned nothing from the debacle they caused in Iraq, indict the president for not intervening in Syria and for leaving Iraq. Liberal interventionists, having learned nothing from the calamities now visited on Libya, call for modulated bombing in both. The beleaguered administration sends planes to the Baltic states and Poland, ships to Asia, token troops to Baghdad, sustains hundreds of bases around the globe and is accused of withdrawing from the world. Commentators fret over whether the war-weariness of the American people will keep the “indispensable nation” from doing what must be done.

When you have a hammer, as the adage goes, everything looks like a nail. The United States’ hammer is the most sophisticated military in the world-and nails appear in infinite variety across the globe.

Virtually absent from the debate is any awareness of how much the United States’ commitment to police the world detracts from dealing with the real security needs of its people and the globe. Last week, Richard Trumka, president of the AFLCIO, delivered a short address that reminded us of what is being lost in the muscle flexing.

Clara Long and Alice Farmer: Obama pledged to limit the practice of detaining minors. What happened?

Being ‘thoughtful and humane’ is a political liability, apparently, as the US continues to hold migrant kids on the border – despite plenty of options

There’s no reliable evidence that putting families who enter the US illegally into detention centers actually deters unauthorized immigration. But there’s plenty of evidence that it can cause children in those families severe harm – from anxiety and depression, to long-term cognitive damage. That’s one big reason that family detention for immigration violations is banned under international law.

So it was disturbing to hear late last week that the Obama administration plans to open more family detention centers, starting with a 700-bed center in New Mexico, to tackle a surge in unauthorized migration across southeastern US border.It appears that the White House has come to view being “thoughtful and humane” as a political liability. The new move to ramp up family detention comes in response to criticism that the administration’s lax immigration enforcement “created a powerful incentive for children to cross into the United States illegally”, as Senator John Cornyn of Texas put it last week.

Bryce Covert: For Women’s Office Wear, Who’s Making the Rules?

Today, clothing companies seem to have figured out how to design suits and work clothes for women’s bodies. But women’s choices still come fraught with tripwires they might not even know are there. Is your clothing too brightly colored? Do you leave the collar of your shirt out of the suit jacket or tucked in? Skirt or pants? You should wear heels, but not stilettos. You shouldn’t look frumpy, but don’t dare show cleavage. Don’t “dress like a mortician,” but also avoid your “party outfit.” Wear a nice suit, but not always an Armani one.

Not to mention the invisible line separating dowdy and slutty. Hillary Clinton, whose fashion choices never cease to fascinate us, is a living example of how difficult it is to chart these waters: for so long chastised for dressing in sexless turtlenecks, she got an entire article written up the one day she showed a very small amount of cleavage.

The fact that women are faced with an unclear dress code while men know what they should wear-a suit if it’s a formal workplace, dress shirt and pants if it’s business casual-is one more sign that the workplace has still not totally dealt with the fact that women will be half of the inhabitants. That we endlessly discuss female politicians’ fashion choices and single out female employees for their clothing faux pas marks them as aliens entering someone else’s territory-they are an other, an outlier, and their clothing is one more reminder of that fact.

Jun 25 2014

The Breakfast Club: 6-25-2014

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Everyone’s welcome here, no special handshake required. Just check your meta at the door.

Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpg

This Day in History

Jun 25 2014

On This Day In History June 25

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 25 is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 189 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1876, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River.

Background

In 1875, Sitting Bull created the Sun Dance alliance between the Lakota and the Cheyenne, a religious ceremony which celebrates the spiritual rebirth of participants. One had taken place around June 5, 1876, on the Rosebud River in Montana, involving Agency Native Americans who had slipped away from their reservations to join the hostiles. During the event, Sitting Bull reportedly had a vision of “soldiers falling into his camp like grasshoppers from the sky.” At the same time, military officials had a summer campaign underway to force the Lakota and Cheyenne back to their reservations, using infantry and cavalry in a three-pronged approach.

Col. John Gibbon’s column of six companies of the 7th Infantry and four companies of the 2nd Cavalry marched east from Fort Ellis in western Montana on March 30, to patrol the Yellowstone River. Brig. Gen. George Crook’s column of ten companies of the 3rd Cavalry, five of the 2nd Cavalry, two companies of the 4th Infantry, and three companies of the 9th Infantry, moved north from Fort Fetterman in the Wyoming Territory on May 29, marching toward the Powder River area. Brig. Gen. Alfred Terry’s column, including twelve companies of the 7th Cavalry under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer’s immediate command, Companies C and G of the 17th U.S. Infantry, and the Gatling gun detachment of the 20th Infantry departed westward from Fort Abraham Lincoln in the Dakota Territory on May 17. They were accompanied by teamsters and packers with 150 wagons and a large contingent of pack mules that reinforced Custer. Companies C, D, and I of the 6th U.S. Infantry, moved along the Yellowstone River from Fort Buford on the Missouri River to set up a supply depot, and joined Terry on May 29 at the mouth of the Powder River.

The coordination and planning began to go awry on June 17, 1876, when Crook’s column was delayed after the Battle of the Rosebud. Surprised and, according to some accounts, astonished by the unusually large numbers of Native Americans in the battle, a defeated Crook was compelled to pull back, halt and regroup. Unaware of Crook’s battle, Gibbon and Terry proceeded, joining forces in early June near the mouth of the Rosebud River. They reviewed Terry’s plan calling for Custer’s regiment to proceed south along the Rosebud, while Terry and Gibbon’s united forces would move in a westerly direction toward the Bighorn and Little Bighorn rivers. As this was the likely location of Indian encampments, all Army elements were to converge around June 26 or 27, attempting to engulf the Native Americans. On June 22, Terry ordered the 7th Cavalry, composed of 31 officers and 566 enlisted men under Custer, to begin a reconnaissance and pursuit along the Rosebud, with the prerogative to “depart” from orders upon seeing “sufficient reason.” Custer had been offered the use of Gatling guns but declined, believing they would slow his command.

While the Terry/Gibbon column was marching toward the mouth of the Little Bighorn, on the evening of June 24, Custer’s scouts arrived at an overlook known as the Crow’s Nest, 14 miles (23 km) east of the Little Bighorn River. At sunrise on June 25, Custer’s scouts reported they could see a massive pony herd and signs of the Native American village roughly 15 miles (24 km) in the distance. After a night’s march, the tired officer sent with the scouts could see neither, and when Custer joined them, he was also unable to make the sighting. Custer’s scouts also spotted the regimental cooking fires that could be seen from 10 miles away, disclosing the regiment’s position.

Custer contemplated a surprise attack against the encampment the following morning of June 26, but he then received a report informing him several hostile Indians had discovered the trail left by his troops. Assuming his presence had been exposed, Custer decided to attack the village without further delay. On the morning of June 25, Custer divided his 12 companies into three battalions in anticipation of the forthcoming engagement. Three companies were placed under the command of Major Marcus Reno (A, G, and M); and three were placed under the command of Capt. Frederick Benteen. Five companies remained under Custer’s immediate command. The 12th, Company B, under Capt. Thomas McDougald, had been assigned to escort the slower pack train carrying provisions and additional ammunition.

Unbeknownst to Custer, the group of Native Americans seen on his trail were actually leaving the encampment on the Big Horn and did not alert the village. Custer’s scouts warned him about the size of the village, with scout Mitch Bouyer reportedly saying, “General, I have been with these Indians for 30 years, and this is the largest village I have ever heard of.” Custer’s overriding concern was that the Native American group would break up and scatter in different directions. The command began its approach to the Native American village at 12 noon and prepared to attack in full daylight.

Jun 25 2014

Obama, Barack Obama 007: License to Kill

Three years ago the Unites States on the orders of President Barack Obama assassinated a native born American citizen, Anwar al Awlaki, in Yemen, using the rational that he was an “immanent threat” and, well, because they could. To this day, other than al-Awlaki’s videos and writing, that are covered under the First Amendment, there has been no evidence that this man was an immanent threat to the security of United States. No evidence, no indictment, no trial. Just a clear violation of al-Awlaki’s rights as an American.

One of the memos that was used to justify this murder was released this week after the Obama administration’s loss of a FOIA request by the ACLU and the New York Times. Needless to say, the memo written by Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel, and now United States Circuit Judge, David Barron, is heavily redacted. The memo is, as the New York Times Editorial Board so blithely put it, “a slapdash pastiche of legal theories – some based on obscure interpretations of British and Israeli law – that was clearly tailored to the desired result”.

Citing the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF), that started the nebulous “global war on terror,” is hardly a defense for taking a man’s life without due process under our laws and wouldn’t hold water in any legitimate court like the Hague.

From Spencer Ackerman at The Guardian

The redacted version of the memo released Monday does not reveal much of the factual basis for the government’s claims that Awlaki represented an imminent threat to the United States.

In the disclosed portions, Barron’s memo does not explicitly vouch for the government’s case against Awlaki, referring instead to “the facts represented to us”. It refers instead to Awlaki as a “leader” who was “continuously planning attacks” against the US, without providing an evidentiary basis for claims central to the extraordinary circumvention of normal due process procedures. Nor do the public sections explain why capturing Awlaki was not feasible, nor why the Justice Department believes it need not have provided Awlaki with judicial process. [..]

The Justice Department memo “confirms that the government’s drone killing program is built on gross distortions of law”, said Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights who challenged the Awlaki killing, who added that the “forced transparency comes years late”.

Rejecting a government argument that the release of the memorandum would chill attorney-client communications, the court wrote on Monday: “If this contention were upheld, waiver of privileges protecting legal advice would never occur. … We need not fear that OLC will lack for clients.”

The real in depth analysis of the memo comes from Marcy Wheeler, who dissects the memo paragraph by paragraph, here and here.

As Tim cushing at Techdirt writes, the “AUMF trumps all and rights are subject to revocation in times of war.”

The justifications listed below constantly cite 18 USC 1119(b), a law that simply states that it’s illegal for a US citizen to kill another US citizen residing outside US borders, making them subject to the United States’ laws on murder and manslaughter. But what looks simple and solid on the law books is apparently filled with loopholes and things Congress meant to make clear but apparently didn’t. [..]

On page 73, the DOJ notes that there’s actually no federal statute that grants the government the same “rights” (in terms of justified use of deadly force) local law enforcement agencies enjoy, but that doesn’t slow down the rationalizing. The DOJ looks back through legislative to find something that might apply to its drone attacks. But what it quotes here has nothing to do with executions. [..]

Technically, we’re not “at war” anywhere in the world. There’s no declared war, other than the one on terrorism, which the DOJ terms (using the AUMF wording) a “non-international armed conflict.” If this is the justification, terming anything a “war on…” would justify extrajudicial killing, because no one expects murder charges to be brought against them during normal acts of war (i.e., combatants killing other combatants).

Because the AUMF says we can detain a US citizen who is assisting our enemies, it also means we can kill a US citizen who does the same.

The question of what makes it legal to kill an American overseas is still unanswered.  

Jun 25 2014

TDS/TCR (You Got No Fancy Shoes)

TDS TCR

300 Oily Naked Guys with Spears

Goooooooooooooooal!

The real news including the Bill Maher web exclusive extended interview, below.