President Barack Obama signed a law on New Year's Eve granting himself absolute power to indefinitely detain American citizens suspected (by him) of being "belligerents." He promises he won't use it, however.
The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, Rear Admiral David Woods, has suggested a fundamental rule change regarding the military’s right to access and review written communication exchanged between Gitmo prisoners suspected of being co-conspirators in the attacks of September 11, 2001 and the attorneys representing them.
In a decision a plaintiffs' lawyer called an effort “to put lipstick on a pig,” a panel of the in San Francisco upheld Thursday a congressional grant of immunity from law suits to telecommunications companies that had surrendered records of their customers phone calls and electronic communications to warrantless government searches. The three-judge panel unanimously affirmed a lower court ruling holding the congressional action constitutional. The case consolidated 33 lawsuits filed against various telecom companies, including AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp, on behalf of the companies' customers.
“A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” Those prescient words of Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) are taken from his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom.
A mother in North Carolina complained to her local school district after her son came home with a New Testament, telling her that he got it for free at his school. According to the Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times newspaper, Ginger Strivelli, whom the paper identified as a “pagan,” was upset when she learned that her son’s school, North Windy Ridge in Weaverville (left), appeared to be distributing New Testaments. What made her even more upset was that school officials “were not apologetic” about the apparent New Testament handout, the paper reported. “It’s totally inappropriate they think they can get away with this,” Strivelli told the Citizen-Times. “It’s absolutely unbelievable and their attitude is ridiculous.”