Archive for April, 2014

When Judges Drink the Big Brother Kool Aid

If one needs to wonder why the United States — once the land of the free — has slowly morphed into a surveillance state, all they need do is listen to what a Supreme Court justice recently said.

“At an interview the National Press Club on Thursday,” reports BreitbartTV. “Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg talked about their views of the First Amendment.”

Marvin Kalb, the event’s moderator, questioned Scalia on the constitutionality of the NSA’s domestic spying of American citizens. Is it possible that the NSA’s grab of metadata, which the agency combines with algorithms to paint of portrait of individuals, is unconstitutional, Kalb asked?

“No, because it’s not absolute,” said Scalia.  “As Ruth has said there are very few freedoms that are absolute. I mean your person is protected by the Fourth Amendment but as I pointed out when you board a plane someone can pass his hands all over your body that’s a terrible intrusion, but given the danger that it’s guarding against it’s not an unreasonable intrusion. And it can be the same thing with acquiring this data that is regarded as effects. That’s why I say it’s foolish to have us make the decision because I don’t know how serious the danger is in this NSA stuff, I really don’t.”

What is scary is this statement was made by a man who took an oath to uphold the Constitution — a document that supposedly protects its citizens from government abuses.

First, Justice Scalia might want to checkout the NSA’s charter, which limits that agency to collecting foreign intelligence and prohibits it from spying on American citizens within the United States.  That job belongs to the FBI.

Second, if Justice Scalia is so inclined, could he explain the constitutionality of a foreign intelligence surveillance court approving a warrant for 150 million non-specific targets for the purposes of gathering the telephone records of American citizens.  A warrant or a subpoena, based on such a wide-swath of targets and absent probable cause of individual wrong doing, does not jibe with the Fourth Amendment.

This statist rationale — cut from the same cloth that Supreme Court once used to uphold the 1917 Espionage Act, which permitted censorship of newspapers — is proof that, when it comes to individual liberty, our courts have become government rubber stamps.

“Where did our nation’s judges get their law degrees from?” asked Devin Sharif, who brought Scalia’s statements to the attention of SF,  “China or Russia?”

Hummmm

—————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014


Blind Squirrels get it Right: Mike Koval Named Madison’s New Police Chief

As a criminal justice instructor, it is important to identify trends that might prove problematic for future law enforcement officers.  In 2009, the Spingola Files began spotlighting the issue of government surveillance.  Due to the influence of lobbyists on Capitol Hill and at various state houses throughout the country, domestic spying has grown persistently worse.  In an effort to conceal the impact of America’s ever growing electronic iron curtain, at least one government official — James Clapper — has lied to congress.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CV7ecTqvkOc

President Obama has also told a whopper as well.  During an August 2013 appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the President declared, “We don’t have a domestic spying program.”

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/08/06/209692380/obama-to-leno-there-is-no-spying-on-americans

Holed-up in the White House, one has to wonder if the President is simply out of touch or has lifted a page out of the NSA’s playbook by attempting to sweep the truth under the carpet.  Just take a short drive along most major thoroughfares in southeastern Wisconsin.  Then, spend a few minutes counting all the cameras mounted at large intersections, the square white box cameras posted along the interstate, and the automatic license plate readers attached to squad cars — all paid for, in large part, with federal government grant money.

Yesterday, however, something out of the ordinary occurred.  The City of Madison appointed a new police chief.  Sgt. Mike Koval has worked for the Madison PD — save a two-year stint with the FBI — since 1983 .  A well-liked, gregarious police trainer with a law degree, Koval is uniquely qualified to have his finger on the pulse of liberty and security.  After his appointment was announced yesterday afternoon, Koval promised “to change the talking points” now circulating within the nation’s law enforcement community.

“Koval said he wants to reform an image of officers so that they’re seen as guardians of the public rather than militarized warriors,” wrote the Wisconsin State Journal’s Nico Savidge.

“We have to strike that balance,” said Koval, “between individual rights, personal liberties (and) police limitations on those powers that have been granted to us.”

http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/mike-koval-picked-for-madison-police-chief/article_467b4026-cf9b-54a7-8458-8404cfd1ed8b.html

President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Even a blind squirrel can find a nut sometimes.”  SF is pleasantly surprised that a usual “blind squirrel,” the Madison Police and Fire Commission, ‘got it right’ by selecting Koval.  Hopefully, during one of the state’s junkets for police chiefs, Koval and Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn, who hasn’t seen a Big Brother surveillance system that he hasn’t liked, will have a heart-to-heart chat about America’s post-911 version of COINTELPRO, and the state’s two, 21st century versions of the old Special Assignment Squad, now dubbed intelligence fusion centers.

—————————————————————————————————————————–

Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His latest book, Best of the Spingola Files, Volumes I & II, is now available at Amazon.com.

If your organization is on the lookout for an outstanding guest speaker, please consider the Spingola Files’ Psychology of Homicide presentation.

For more information, visit www.badgerwordsmith.com and click the “seminars & presentations” icon.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2014