OAKLAND, California—Lawsuits challenging government secrecy have fared pretty terribly in the post-9/11 era, with the most recent example being the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that a group of journalists and activists have no right to sue over the FISA spying law.
Only a few cases of this sort are left, including two Bay Area lawsuits being pushed forward by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. One is the San Francisco case over NSA wiretapping, which the government is trying to shut down using the “state secrets” privilege. The other is EFF’s case demanding to see documents about how the government is interpreting Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.
It isn’t just activists that are concerned, either. In 2009, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) said the government’s use of “Section 215 is unfortunately cloaked in secrecy. Some day that cloak will be lifted, and future generations will ask whether our actions today meet the test of a democratic society.” In 2011, two US Senators, Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO), publicly voiced their concerns, too, suggesting the government had a pretty wild interpretation of what it was allowed to do under the PATRIOT Act. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry,” Wyden told The New York Times.
A Vancouver Island man who won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Super Bowl in New Orleans has been refused entry into the U.S. because of a marijuana possession conviction dating back to 1981.
Victoria resident Myles Wilkinson won the trip in a fantasy football league contest, competing against nearly four million other players for the chance to attend the National Football League championship, featuring the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers.
But when he got to Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Thursday, U.S. customs agents learned of a marijuana possession conviction in Vancouver in 1981 and told him he was not allowed to enter the country.
“I had two grams of cannabis. I paid a $50 fine,” Wilkinson told CBC news.
Wilkinson said he was 19 when he was busted.
“I can’t believe that this is happening, for something that happened 32 years ago.”
Wilkinson’s denial of entry into the U.S. is a common story, according to Dana Larsen, director of the Sensible B.C. campaign, a group advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana.
“There’s hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have these criminal records for small amounts of cannabis and that results in a lifetime ban for accessing the U.S.”
North Korea now has an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of delivering a nuclear weapon to the United States, as demonstrated by their successful launch and orbiting of a satellite on Dec. 12. Certain poorly informed pundits among the chattering classes reassure us that North Korea is still years away from being able to miniaturize warheads for missile delivery, and from developing sufficiently accurate missiles to pose a serious nuclear threat to the United States. Philip Yun, director of San Francisco’s Ploughshares Fund, a nuclear disarmament group, reportedly said, “The real threat from the launch was an overreaction that would lead to more defense spending on unnecessary systems. The sky is not falling. We shouldn’t be panicked.”
In fact, North Korea is a mortal nuclear threat to the United States— right now.
North Korea has already successfully tested and developed nuclear weapons. It has also already miniaturized nuclear weapons for ballistic missile delivery and has armed missiles with nuclear warheads. In 2011, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. General Ronald Burgess, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea has weaponized its nuclear devices into warheads for ballistic missiles.
Tax (Extortion) Day Special: Shovel Ready in San Fran: $205,075 to ‘Translocate’ One Shrub from Path of Stimulus Project
(CNSNews.com) — The government spent at least $205,075 in 2010 to “translocate” a single bush in San Francisco that stood in the path of a $1.045-billion highway-renovation project that was partially funded by the economic stimulus legislation President Barack Obama signed in 2009.
“In October 2009, an ecologist identified a plant growing in a concrete-bound median strip along Doyle Drive in the Presidio as Arctostaphylos franciscana,” the U.S. Department of Interior reported in the Aug. 10, 2010 edition of the Federal Register. “The plant’s location was directly in the footprint of a roadway improvement project designed to upgrade the seismic and structural integrity of the south access to the Golden Gate Bridge.
“The translocation of the Arctostaphylos franciscana plant to an active native plant management area of the Presidio was accomplished, apparently successfully and according to plan, on January 23, 2010,” the Interior Department reported.
The bush—a Franciscan manzanita—was a specimen of a commercially cultivated species of shrub that can be purchased from nurseries for as little as $15.98 per plant. The particular plant in question, however, was discovered in the midst of the City of San Francisco, in the median strip of a highway, and was deemed to be the last example of the species in the “wild.”
Prior to the discovery of this “wild” Franciscan manzanita, the plant had been considered extinct for as long as 62 years–extinct, that is, outside of people’s yards and botanical gardens.
Before that, the bush had grown in the “wild” in two cemeteries in San Francisco’s Richmond District as well as on Mount Davidson, a peak in the middle of San Francisco. The Department of Interior said that there had also been “unconfirmed sightings” of the shrub in the city’s Haight-Ashbury District—an area that became famous in the late 1960s as the epicenter of the psychedelic hippie movement.
The Haight-Ashbury population of the plant, the Interior Department said in the Federal Register, was believed to have been “lost to urbanization.”
On Oct. 16, 2009, Dr. Daniel Gluesenkamp, a botanist who was then the director of Habitat Protection and Restoration for Audubon Canyon Ranch, noticed the manzanita when he was driving along Doyle Drive (the highway leading to the Golden Gate Bride that is now under renovation). The manzanita had been previously hidden by other vegetation but was uncovered as the area was being cleared in preparation for road construction.
With help from a biologist from the Presidio Trust (which oversees the Presidio) and an ecologist from the National Park Service, Gluesenkamp’s discovery was determined to be a Franciscan manzanita.
Shortly thereafter, the Presidio Trust, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game developed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for saving this one bush from the highway project, for which ground had been broken in December 2009.
The agreement of Dec. 21, 2009 – Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Planning, Development, and Implementation of the Conservation Plan for Franciscan Manzanita – explains how, why, and when the bush would be moved and which agencies would be responsible for which aspects of the move. (MOA – Fran Man – 2009.pdf)
While the MOA did not detail all the costs for moving the bush, it did state that in addition to funding removal and transportation of the Franciscan manzanita, Caltrans agreed to transfer $79,470 to the Presidio Trust “to fund the establishment, nurturing, and monitoring of the Mother Plant in its new location for a period not to exceed ten (10) years following relocation and two (2) years for salvaged rooted layers and cuttings according to the activities outlined in the Conservation Plan.”
Furthermore, Presidio Parkway Project spokesperson Molly Graham told CNSNews.com that the “hard removal”—n.b. actually digging up the plant, putting it on a truck, driving it somewhere else and replanting it–cost $100,000.
The MOA also stated that Caltrans agreed to “Transfer $25,605.00 to the Trust to fund the costs of reporting requirements of the initial 10-year period as outlined in the Conservation Plan.”
The $100,000 to pay for the “hard removal,” the $79,470 to pay for the “establishment, nurturing and monitoring” of the plant for a decade after its “hard removal,” and the $25,605 to cover the “reporting requirements” for the decade after the “hard removal,” equaled a total cost of $205,075 for “translocating” this manzanita bush.
But those were not the only costs incurred by taxpayers on behalf of the bush. According to the MOA, other costs included:
–“Contract for and provide funding not to exceed $7,025.00 for initial genetic or chromosomal testing of the Mother Plant by a qualified expert to be selected at Caltrans’ sole discretion.” (MOA – Fran Man – 2009.pdf)
–“Contract for and fund the input, guidance, and advice of a qualified Manzanita expert on an as-needed basis to support the tending of the Mother Plant for a period not to exceed five (5) years, provided that said expert selection, retention and replacement at any point after hiring rests in the sole discretion of Caltrans.”
“Provide funding not to exceed $5,000.00 to each of 3 botanical gardens (Strybing, UC, and Tilden) to nurture salvaged rooted layers and to monitor and report findings as outlined in the Conservation Plan.”
–“Provide funding not to exceed $1,500.00 for the long-term seed storage of 300 seeds collected around the Mother Plant in November 2009 as outlined in the Conservation Plan.”
The plant is now protected by a fence and its location is kept secret, in part because the Presidio Trust and the National Park Service fear that nature-lovers seeking to see the rare wild Manzanita might trample it to death.
“[A] single trampling event could result in damage or the death of the wild plant,” the Interior Department noted in the Federal Register for Sept. 8, 2011. “As noted …, the Presidio Trust and NPS have made continuous efforts not to reveal the location of Arctostaphylos franciscana. They are concerned that public knowledge of the A. franciscana location would attract large numbers of plant enthusiasts who may damage the A. franciscana and compact the soil.”
The project to replace the Doyle Drive approach to the Golden Gate Bridge with a new road called the Presidio Parkway has an estimated total cost of $1.045 billion. The project has received a number of federal grants, including two under President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These included $83.28 million in stimulus funds awarded to the project on Dec. 24, 2009 (about a month before the manzanita bush was “translocated”) and $46 million awarded on Dec. 30, 2010.
In a Feb. 17, 2010 statement about stimulus money going to the project, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described herself as “a long-time supporter of the Presidio Parkway project.”
“This badly deteriorated structure is designated a Post Disaster Recovery Route and is the only route between the San Francisco peninsula and northern California counties,” Pelosi’s statement said of project. “Unfortunately, the current roadway is reaching the end of its useful life. The Federal Highway Administration ranks Doyle Drive as the fifth worst bridge in the nation and the worst in California for structural sufficiency.
Construction on the new Presidio Parkway began in late 2009 and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.”
In September 2011, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed naming the Franciscan manzanita an endangered species.
Had the plant been moved to a botanical garden it would have remained “extinct in the wild.” According to the MOA “Such translocation would essentially render the plant extinct in the wild (once again); it would be unlikely that the plant could be moved a second time once reintroduced populations are established; the seed from the mother plant would not be usable due to likely genetic contamination from other garden species of manzanitas.”
The plant is still considered wild according to the 2011 Federal Register entry because it has been moved to an undeveloped area of the Presidio and “is not receiving the level of protection, water, and nutrients that plants in a botanical garden may receive.”
More like this
- San Franciscans Must Now Separate Their Trash into 3 Bins or Face Fines
- Record-Breaking Snowfall Brings ‘Snow-Shovel-Ready’ Projects to East Coast
- Bad Bridges Are Not Getting Stimulus Money; Good Bridges Are More ‘Shovel Ready’
- Flashback: ‘Shovel-Ready’ From Lauded To Laughter
- Tens of Millions from Economic Stimulus Spent on Trivial Projects, GOP Report Claims
Insanity – U.S. Navy and DHS Monitoring (Hacking) Videogame Consoles to Find ‘Terrorists’ and ‘Pedophiles’
Gamers may want to be careful about what they say when jumping onto their consoles for an innocent bout of slaying dragons or killing zombies — the government will be watching.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Navy have launched a new research initiative that will explore ways of allowing the government to hack into gaming consoles like the Xbox 360, Wii, or PlayStation 3 to obtain information on gamers.
In 2008, a project called “Gaming Systems Monitoring and Analysis Project” was executed when law enforcement became worried about pedophiles using game consoles to talk to children. Later, law enforcement authorities went to DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate in search of help on an instrument that could observe game console data. DHS then went to the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to find Simson Garfinkel, a NPS computer science professor, to offer a contract to a company that could conduct the research and offer a product.
The U.S. Navy ended up recently awarding the $177,237 contract to Obscure Technologies, which is a computer forensics company based in San Francisco, California. Obscure Technologies will be expected to create new hardware and software capable of extracting data from video game consoles. DHS wants to be able to extract data from both new and used games systems bought on the secondary market as well.
According to DHS, the reason for tapping into game consoles is to find pedophiles, who are using communication resources on game systems to seek out victims, and even terrorists, which DHS believes are using consoles to communicate.
A federal appeals court rejected a judge’s 22-year prison term Monday for a man who admitted plotting with al Qaeda to explode bombs at the Los Angeles airport at the dawn of the new millennium, saying the sentence was too light for a terrorist who had planned a mass murder.
The 7-4 ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco did not specify a new sentence for Ahmed Ressam, the so-called Millennium Bomber. But the majority made it clear that his term should be substantially longer, and three judges said it should be at least 65 years.
Ressam’s “clear intent was to intimidate this nation and the world” with the bombing, said Judge Richard Clifton in the majority opinion. With the 22-year term imposed by the trial judge, Clifton said, Ressam would be released in July 2019, at age 51, and would still “pose a significant danger.”
Note: MIKE MALLOY fill in and Major Breitbart nemesis BRAD FRIEDMAN will join us on “THE JACK BLOOD SHOW” this Monday AM. He will most certainly provide several motives, if indeed Mr Breitbart was murdered by leftist / globalist agents.
Brad was very respectful in his Obit, and is a good friend of ours… and though we share some of his critiques of Breitbart, we are certainly skeptical of his reported death by “natural Causes” – THIS SHOW WILL BE EXPLOSIVE!
VIA “Godfather Politics”
I got a call Thursday morning from my business partner asking me what I thought about the death of Andrew Breitbart. He wanted to know if I thought it might have been a hit job. First, I was shocked that Breitbart had died. I had not heard the news.
Second, the 1950 film D.O.A. came to mind. It starred Edmond O’Brien. O’Brien was a top-notch Oscar-winning actor (for the The Barefoot Contessa in 1954). Other films include The Killers, White Heat, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Wild Bunch.
Here’s the storyline. Frank Bigelow (O’Brien) is an accountant who goes to San Francisco for a last week of bachelor freedom before settling down with his fiancée Paula. After a night on the town, he wakes up with an odd hangover. He checks in with a doctor who tells him he’s been poisoned with a “luminous toxin” that does not have an antidote. Frank is told that he has, at most, a week to live. A second opinion nets the same result.
He spends what’s left of his life tracking down the person or persons who wanted him dead. He walks into the police station and says to the desk officer in charge, “I want to report a murder . . . mine.”
You can watch the bar scene here, just the first two minutes:
Of course, so far, there is no indication that Andrew Breitbart’s drink was laced with poison at the bar at The Brentwood, but the reaction by a number of people on the left reveals how they loathed him and wished him harm. Here are some comments that Mike Malloy made on his show in February of 2011:
Remember, these right wing scum — these are neo-Nazis! If I ever come across Andrew Breitbart, uh, there will be um, nastiness occur! Let me just put it that way — I hate these people!
[T]he right-wing needs to be stomped into the ground, they really do! The right wing needs to be crushed in the United States like a cockroach. The right-wing needs to be ground into the dirt! I’m telling you, they are destroying the country!
Here’s a place to go if you want to read some of the oozing hate of the tolerant liberal class in America. The article is called “Liberals Celebrate Death of Andrew Breitbart.” Read it and weep and understand what we are up against. Here’s one of them:
Andrew Breitbart destroyed lives based on LIES, I will not be some phony liberal and pretend condolences. ROT IN HELL ANDREW U BASTARD!
Of course, Breitbart would have had a good laugh and then sent the tweet to all his friends. He understood that such vitriol is the gasping breath of a dying worldview.
He Works Hard for the Money (no pun intended…) Obama gets groped by Fans on Fundraising Tour of Cali
San Francisco Women Get Cheeky With Barack Obama:
Two women have photos snapped where they appear to be getting a little extra piece of the President.
Sometimes it costs more than a lot of money to get elected as the President of the United States of America.
President Barack Obama knows this all too well. While the President did raise tens of thousands of dollars on his Bay Area whirlwind tour, he worked for his money.
During his 24 hours in San Francisco, Mr. Obama shook hands, kissed babies and told strangers that he loved them, too.
But that wasn’t the strangest thing.
While Mr. Obama made an unannounced pit stop at a Chinatown restaurant to buy lunch for his entourage, two women took the opportunity to get up close and personal with the President.
The two women posed for separate pictures with Mr. Obama and just before the camera clicked, the women got cheeky with the President and grabbed his behind.
Now the still photos that caught the moment may make the acts look more sinister than they really were but the British tabloids are running with the images and having a good laugh with them.
Apparently Mr. Obama took the cheeky experience in stride as well. He smiled for both shots and even gave one woman a hug back.
But there was no word on whether he got their votes or not.
Special Delivery Mr President… Oh.
SAN FRANCISCO (ABC News) — As Air Force One sat on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport this morning, the North American Aerospace Defense Command scrambled two F-16 fighter jets to intercept a small private plane that had invaded the airspace.
The disturbance occurred just minutes before President Obama was scheduled to depart for San Francisco. His plane ultimately took off at 11:40 a.m. PT without incident.
The jets intercepted the general aviation plane – a Cessna 182 – just before 11:30 a.m. PT, according to a statement from NORAD. It was soon forced to land at Long Beach Airport in California and met by local law enforcement officials and the U.S. Secret Service, agency spokesman Brian Leary told ABC News.
Agents interviewed the pilots before they were turned over to the Long Beach Police Department and arrested, an official said.
“We determined the incursion of restricted airspace was of no protective interest,” said Leary.
In other words, there was no intended threat to the president.
But the pilot was in possession of narcotics, the Secret Service said.
One law enforcement source told ABC News the plane was carrying 40 pounds of marijuana. Officials with the Long Beach Police Department did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request to confirm the type or quantity of the drugs.
President Obama landed in San Francisco after an uneventful one-hour flight at 12:40 p.m. PT. He is attending three fundraisers in the city before heading to Seattle on Friday.