Alliance Defending Freedom: ‘Controversial Speech’ Restricted At University Of South Alabama

This post was reprinted from the Alliance Defending Freedom website.

MOBILE, Ala. — Alliance Defending Freedom filed an amended complaint Friday in a pro-life student organization’s lawsuit against the University of South Alabama.

The university relegated the group’s pro-life display to a small speech zone on campus because it deemed the nature of the event “controversial.” Under the university’s policies, students must also obtain a permit 72 hours in advance in order to use the speech zone.

“Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker. “Free speech should not be censored or limited to a ridiculously small area on campus, nor should students need permission to exercise their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. The First Amendment protects speech for all students in the outdoor areas of campus, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.”

Last October, Students for Life USA requested permission to a hold a “Cemetery of the Innocents” event, which consists of students placing small crosses in the ground to represent the innocent lives lost to abortion. University officials denied the request and said it would need to be held in the campus’s speech zone, even though other groups have exercised free speech on other portions of the campus. At the time, the speech zone was restricted to the Student Center, which was less than one percent of the college’s main campus. Although the university has since expanded its speech zone, it still restricts speech throughout the campus.

The lawsuit, Students for Life USA v. Waldrop, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, explains that the university’s speech policy violates the First Amendment and gives university officials “unbridled discretionary power to limit student speech in advance of such expression on campus and to do so based on the content and viewpoint of the speech.”

“Free, spontaneous discourse on college campuses is supposed to be a hallmark of higher education rather than the exception to the rule,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope that the University of South Alabama will revise its policy so that its students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”

Neoconservatives Wary Of Real Conservative Becoming President

This story, written by Nick Sorrentino, was published by AgainstCronyCapitalism.org on May 16. 

chart of neoconservatives
THE WASHINGTON POST

The term “neoconservative” or “neocon” is often thrown around, but few people have a real grasp of the school of thought.

Basically, it is a big-government “conservative” position. Neoconservatism does not fear government and government expansion the way traditional or “paleoconservatives” do. Neocons believe, like progressives, that the state should be used to craft a better society (at home and abroad). It can be argued well that neoconservatives are a branch of the progressive tradition in this country.

In fact, Irving Kristol in his book Neoconservatism even wrote:

It describes the erosion of liberals among a small group toward a conservative point of view, conservative but different in certain respects from the conservatism of the Republican Party [1930's]. We accepted the New Deal in principle, and had little affection for the kind of isolationism that then permeated American conservatism.

The neocons rose out of the City College of New York, led by Irving Kristol, the father of Bill Kristol, the current editor of the Weekly Standard. In its early days, it has been said that the school was influenced by the ideas of Soviet thinker and leader Leon Trotsky. Originally, the neocons were allied with the Democratic Party but then switched to the GOP in the late 1960s and early 1970s as the Democrats became too socially liberal for the neocons. Soon the neocon school was lodged firmly within the GOP.

Abroad neocons are advocates of an activist foreign policy. It is this activist policy that most defines them. Iraq and, in many ways, Afghanistan were neoconservative endeavors. As you may recall, President George W. Bush referred to Iraq as the first of many battles in an ongoing war. Indeed, the plan was to turn the Mideast into a garden in which democracy could blossom.

I remember listening to the Diane Rheame show in 2002 or 2003 while some neocon wonk made the case that we needed to systematically depose all the despots in the region one by one, that Iraq was only the beginning and that a bright shining future lay just around the corner. In addition to increasing our safety in the U.S., the wonk argued, such a crusade would greatly enhance the security of Israel.

It must be noted that a large number of neoconservatives are Jewish, but certainly not all are. And it is true that for neocons Israel occupies a special place. It is for these reasons that opposition to the neoconservatives has often been characterized by some within the school as anti-Semitic. To oppose the neocons is to oppose Israel’s existence, which is to oppose the Jewish people.

It has been an effective charge. But it is one that has worn with time. As more and more Americans have seen their sons and daughters come home in body bags or with crippling injuries, both visible and not, more and more Americans have grown sour to the idea that we must make the world “safe for democracy” — especially while the democracy at home is a shadow of what it should be or even what it once was.

The neocons, who still control many of the purse strings of the GOP and many of the important foreign policy positions in the GOP, are very concerned that this more traditional American approach to foreign policy might really take hold (again) within the halls of power. They particularly fear a leader who can articulate the traditional GOP position on foreign policy effectively to the voting public — a position which holds that the U.S. is to be very sparing in engagement and slow to meddle in the affairs of other countries. The neocons fear that Rand Paul might be such a leader, and that is why they are lining up to throw money at the other Republicans running for President.

The neocons think Paul can’t be trusted. That is, Paul can’t be trusted to expand the government at home the way the neocons like (think the Bush big-government years) or to employ our military overseas in the way the neocons would like.

Of particular concern is the idea that Paul might not bomb Iran the way the neocons want the next President to. Another concern is that Paul has questioned the effectiveness of foreign aid. Israel gets more than $3 billion in foreign aid each year. Israel is not a big country. That’s a lot of bread spread across the Israeli political class. The neocons and their allies in Israel do not want that money to dry up. It’s conceivable that a President Paul would move to reduce this pool of money.

That is why the neocons are gunning for the first real conservative to have a shot at the GOP nomination in a very long time. They simply don’t want a truly conservative President. And yet the neocons still dominate the GOP. What does this say about “the party of small government?”

From POLITICO:

The foreign policy hawks within the establishment GOP — among them pro-Israel donors, national security types and neoconservatives — are impressed by Paul’s attempts to broaden the Republican base and find him willing to listen to their concerns. But ultimately, according to people plugged into the Republican donor class, they worry that a President Paul would dangerously scale back America’s activities abroad — a deepening concern in some corners as his star has risen within the broader party.

Editor’s note: Noninterventionism is not isolationism. Noninterventionism is the traditional American position. It’s also known as minding one’s own business.

Hillbilly High School Under Fed Fire; Jet Setter In Chief Costs Taxpayers Millions; College Students Okay With Infanticide; FBI Ignored Boston Bomber Warnings; Government Demands Internet User Passwords—TGIF Morning News Roundup 7-26-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories making the Internet rounds this morning. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Political correctness: The U.S. Department of Education has officially opened an investigation into allegations that an Arizona high school’s campus-wide “Redneck Day” amounted to a Federal civil rights violation. Source: The Daily Caller
  • President Obama’s speeches are already costing taxpayers well over $1 million – and probably closer to $2 million – as the president jets around the country campaign-style to drum up support for his agenda. Source: White House Dossier 
  • What’s going on here?: Several students at George Mason University (GMU) signed a petition on Wednesday demanding lawmakers legalize “fourth trimester” abortions. Source: Campus Reform 
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation officials ignored warnings about the radical origins and nature of the mosque frequented by the Tsarnaev brothers for years before this April’s deadly Boston Marathon bombings. Source: The Daily Caller 
  • The U.S. government has demanded that major Internet companies divulge users’ stored passwords, according to two industry sources familiar with these orders, which represent an escalation in surveillance techniques that has not previously been disclosed. Source: CNET 

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

Feds Raid ‘Legal’ Pot In Washington; Obama’s Reporter Buds Love His Thoughts; Majority Agrees With Affirmative Action; Tea Party Students Spurned At Speech; How Congress Can Leash The NSA— Personal Liberty Digest ™ P.M. Edition 7-25-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

ProPublica: Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping

Although the House defeated a measure that would have defunded the bulk phone metadata collection program, the narrow 205-217 vote showed that there is significant support in Congress to reform NSA surveillance programs. Here are six other legislative proposals on the table. Read More… 

Obama: Reporters Say My Ideas Are ‘Great’

Who needs state media when you have the MSM?  President Barack Obama told an Illinois audience Wednesday that reporters are sympathetic toward his policies, but that they advise him Congressional Republicans will never let those good ideas take root and blossom. Read More… 

College Republicans Banned From Obama’s Campus Speech

A group of College Republicans who held tickets to an on-campus economy speech by President Barack Obama was denied admittance after civilly protesting the President’s fiscal policies in the hours leading up to the event. Read More… 

Feds Raid Legal Medical Marijuana Dispensaries In Washington

Despite State legalization and promises from President Barack Obama that raiding medical marijuana facilities was not a priority of the Federal government, medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Gig Harbor, Washington were raided by Drug Enforcement Agency agents on Wednesday. Read More… 

Poll: Most Americans Support Affirmative Action

Two-thirds of Americans think college applicants should be admitted based solely on merit, yet most approve of affirmative action, according to the results of a recent poll. Read More… 

ProPublica: Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping

This article, written by Kara Brandeisky, was originally published by ProPublica,  July 25, 2013, 4:39 p.m.

Although the House defeated a measure that would have defunded the bulk phone metadata collection program, the narrow 205-217 vote showed that there is significant support in Congress to reform NSA surveillance programs. Here are six other legislative proposals on the table.

1) Raise the standard for what records are considered “relevant”

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has reportedly adopted a broad interpretation of the Patriot Act, ruling that all the records in a company’s database could be considered “relevant to an authorized investigation.” The leaked court order compelling a Verizon subsidiary to turn over all its phone records is just one example of how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has interpreted the statute.

Both Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., have introduced bills requiring the government to show “specific and articulable facts” demonstrating how records are relevant.  Similarly, legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., would require any applications to include an explanation of how any records sought are relevant to an authorized investigation.

2) Require NSA analysts to obtain court approval before searching metadata

Once the NSA has phone records in its possession, Sen. Dianne Feinstein has explained that NSA analysts may query the data without individualized court approvals, as long as they have a “reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts” that the data is related to a foreign terrorist organization.

A bill from Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., would require the government to petition the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every time an analyst wants to search telephone metadata. From there, a surveillance court judge would need to find “reasonable, articulable suspicion” that the search is “specifically relevant to an authorized investigation” before approving the application. The legislation would also require the FBI to report monthly to congressional intelligence committees all the searches the analysts made.

3) Declassify Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court opinions

Right now, court opinions authorizing the NSA surveillance programs remain secret. Advocacy groups have brought several Freedom of Information Act suits seeking the release of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court documents, but the Justice Department continues to fight them.

Several bills would compel the secret court to release some opinions. The Ending Secret Law Act 2014 both the House and Senate versions 2014 would require the court to declassify all its opinions that include “significant construction or interpretation” of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under current law, the court already submits these “significant” opinions to congressional intelligence committees, so the bill would just require the court to share those documents with the public.

The bills do include an exception if the attorney general decides that declassifying an opinion would threaten national security. In that case, the court would release an unclassified summary of the opinion, or 2014 if even offering a summary of the opinion would pose a national security threat 2014 at least give a report on the declassification process with an “estimate” of how many opinions must remain classified.

Keep in mind, before Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the Justice Department argued that all “significant legal interpretations” needed to remain classified for national security reasons. Since the leaks, the government has said it’s now reviewing what, if any, documents can be declassified, but they said they need more time.

4) Change the way Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are appointed

Current law does not give Congress any power to confirm Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges. Instead, the chief justice of the United States appoints the judges, who all already serve on the federal bench. The judges serve seven-year terms. Chief Justice John Roberts appointed all 11 judges currently serving on the court 2013 ten of whom were nominated to federal courts by Republican presidents.

A bill introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., would give the president the power to appoint surveillance court judges and give the Senate power to confirm. The president would also choose the presiding judge of the surveillance court, with Senate approval.

Alternatively, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., has offered a bill that would let the chief justice appoint three judges and let the House Speaker, the House minority leader, the Senate majority leader, and the Senate minority leader each appoint two judges.

5) Appoint a public advocate to argue before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Currently, the government officials petitioning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court do not face an adversarial process. Surveillance targets do not have representation before the court, and they are not notified if a court order is issued for their data.

In 33 years, the surveillance court only rejected 11 of an estimated 33,900 government requests, though it the government has also modified 40 of the 1,856 applications in 2012. 

Two former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges 2013 Judge James Robertson and Judge James Carr 2013 have argued that Congress should appoint a public advocate to counter the government’s arguments. Carr wrote in the New York Times, “During my six years on the court, there were several occasions when I and other judges faced issues none of us had encountered before. [2026]Having lawyers challenge novel legal assertions in these secret proceedings would result in better judicial outcomes.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has promised to introduce a bill that would provide a “special advocate” to argue on behalf of privacy rights and give “civil society organizations” a chance to respond before the surveillance court issues significant rulings.

The surveillance court can actually invite advocates to argue before the court, as the Supreme Court did when the Obama administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act.  

“There’s nothing in law that would prevent the FISA court from hiring an advocate as an additional advisor to the court, except the need to obtain security clearances for that advocate, which would have to be granted by the executive branch,” explained Steven Bradbury, who served as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice from 2005 to 2009.

Bradbury has argued that the surveillance court may not need a permanent public advocate because its legal advisers already fulfill that role.

6) End phone metadata collection on constitutional grounds

The Justice Department has maintained that mass phone metadata collection is “fully consistent with the Fourth Amendment.” That reasoning is based on the 1979 Supreme Court decision Smith v. Maryland, where the Court found that the government does not need a warrant based on probable cause to collect phone records. The Court reasoned that whenever you dial a phone number, you voluntarily share that phone number with a telecom, and you can’t reasonably expect a right to privacy for information shared with third parties. As a result, the Court ruled that the collection of phone records is not a “search” and does not merit protection under the Fourth Amendment.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill declaring that the Fourth Amendment “shall not be construed to allow any agency of the United States Government to search the phone records of Americans without a warrant based on probable cause” 2014 effectively shutting down the NSA’s phone metadata collection program.

Bachman Needs The NSA; Detroit Council Fixated On Zimmerman; Cop Fired For Questioning Bully Tactics; Welfare Growth Outpaces Job Gains 2 To 1; Poll: Majority Want Snowden Charged— Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 7-24-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Bachmann: We Need NSA Spying To Win War On Terror

Outgoing Representative and failed Presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.) said that she supports National Security Agency spying and that she would vote “no” on efforts to curtail it at the Heritage Foundation’s monthly “Conversation with Conservatives” event. Read More… 

Detroit Files For Bankruptcy; Council Votes To Ask Feds To Investigate George Zimmerman

In the throes of the largest municipal economic crisis in American history, the Detroit city council found an opportunity at its Tuesday meeting to ask the Federal government to investigate a guy acquitted for a self-defense killing that took place more than a year ago in Florida. Read More… 

Watch: Cop Speaks Out Against Ticket Quota, Urges Officers To Serve And Protect, Gets Fired

Former Auburn, Ala., police officer Justin Hanners became disturbed when a new chief at his department ordered officers to hassle, ticket and arrest specific numbers of residents per shift if they valued their jobs. He spoke out— and got fired. Watch… 

Obama’s Dismal Economic Record: Two Welfare Cases Per Job

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama delivered a speech in Galesburg, Ill., decrying political conflicts that aren’t focused on improving the economy, heralding his Administration’s economic efforts and promising to do more work on the economy. Read More… 

Poll Finds Majority Want NSA Leaker Snowden Charged With A Crime

More than half of U.S. adults think NSA leaker Edward Snowden, hiding out in a Moscow airport, should be charged with a crime, a poll indicates. Read More… 

Watch: Cop Speaks Out Against Ticket Quota, Urges Officers To Serve And Protect, Gets Fired


 

Former Auburn, Ala., police officer Justin Hanners became disturbed when a new chief at his department ordered officers to hassle, ticket and arrest specific numbers of residents per shift if they valued their jobs.

“When I first heard about the quotas I was appalled,” he said. “I got into law enforcement to serve and protect, not be a bully.”

Hanners filed formal complaints to his chain of command and, getting nowhere, eventually began to speak out publically about the abuses. His superiors order him to shut-up about the abuses—and when he didn’t, Hanners was fired.

He is currently looking for a lawyer to help him sue the department.

H/T: Reason 

Obama’s Dismal Economic Record: Two Welfare Cases Per Job

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama delivered a speech in Galesburg, Ill., decrying political conflicts that aren’t focused on improving the economy, heralding his Administration’s economic efforts and promising to do more work on the economy.

Obama said that over the past 40 months, American businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs.

But, as pointed out by CNS News, the President left out a few key numbers in his economy speech.

CNS’s Gregory Gwyn-Williams writes:

Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama’s presidency, 9.5 million Americans have dropped out of the labor force.  Nearly 90 million Americans are not working today!

That means that 1.3 Americans have dropped out of the labor force for every one job the administration claims to have created.

There are 15 million more Americans on food stamps today than when Obama assumed office.

At the end of January 2009, 32,204,859 Americans received aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. As of April 2013, there were 47,548,694 Americans on food stamps.

That means that more than two Americans have been added to the food stamp rolls for every one job the administration says it has created.

Under Obama, 1.6 million more Americans are collecting disability insurance. In February 2009, 9,334,369 Americans received disability payments.  Today, that number is 10,953,733.

It seems, as usual, it’s what the President doesn’t say that is truly revealing.

Defund NSA; Lawsuit Alleges Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Too Powerful; Taiwanese Cartoon Makes Fun Of Crumbling Detroit; NSA Can’t Search Its Own Emails; Mayors Bailing On Anti-Gun Bloomberg—Personal Liberty Digest™ P.M. Edition 7-23-2013

Brush up on the day’s headlines with Personal Liberty’s P.M. Edition news links.

Defund The NSA

On Wednesday, House lawmakers are scheduled to vote on the Defense Appropriations Bill that will include an amendment presented by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to defund portions of the National Security Agency’s data-collection efforts. Read More… 

Lawsuit: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Too Powerful; Unrestrained; UnConstitutional

A legal support services company has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), alleging the emerging Federal agency is too unrestricted in its powers and threatens to aggrandize powers that are already properly delegated to established government agencies. Read More…

Watch This Cartoon From Taiwan: The World Is Laughing At Detroit

A video created by a Taiwanese animation company illustrates how nations abroad view the current Detroit bankruptcy fiasco. Watch… 

NSA Says It Can’t Search Its Own Emails

The NSA is a “supercomputing powerhouse” with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture. But it can’t search its own email database. Read More…

Mayors Abandoning Bloomberg’s ‘Mayors Against Illegal Guns’ Group

Mayors who signed on to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pet gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), are beginning to ditch the organization after learning they attached themselves to a group with an ambitious gun control agenda that far overreaches its innocent-sounding name. Read More…

NSA Says It Can’t Search Its Own Emails

This article, written by Justin Elliott, was originally published on  ProPublica,  July 23, 2013, 12:39 p.m.

The NSA is a “supercomputing powerhouse” with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture.

But ask the NSA, as part of a freedom of information request, to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees’ email? The agency says it doesn’t have the technology.

“There’s no central method to search an email at this time with the way our records are set up, unfortunately,” NSA Freedom of Information Act officer Cindy Blacker told me last week.

The system is “a little antiquated and archaic,” she added.

I filed a request last week for emails between NSA employees and employees of the National Geographic Channel over a specific time period. The TV station had aired a friendly documentary on the NSA and I want to better understand the agency’s public-relations efforts.

A few days after filing the request, Blacker called, asking me to narrow my request since the FOIA office can search emails only “person by person,” rather than in bulk. The NSA has more than 30,000 employees.

I reached out to the NSA press office seeking more information but got no response.

It’s actually common for large corporations to do bulk searches of their employees email as part of internal investigations or legal discovery.

“It’s just baffling,” says Mark Caramanica of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “This is an agency that’s charged with monitoring millions of communications globally and they can’t even track their own internal communications in response to a FOIA request.”

Federal agencies’ public records offices are often underfunded, according to Lucy Dalglish, dean of the journalism school at University of Maryland and a longtime observer of FOIA issues.

But, Daglish says, “If anybody is going to have the money to engage in evaluation of digital information, it’s the NSA for heaven’s sake.”