Friday, August 18, 2006


Wiretap Project Ruled Illegal

Warrantless domestic eavesdropping violates the Constitution, a judge rules, sharply rebuffing claims that Bush has unwritten powers.
By Henry Weinstein
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

August 18, 2006

A federal judge in Detroit ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless domestic wiretapping program is unconstitutional and must be halted.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor held that the wiretapping program violates the 1st and 4th Amendments to the Constitution, which respectively protect free speech and prohibit unlawful searches. She also held that the program, formally known as the Terrorist Surveillance Program and run by the National Security Agency, violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act and the separation-of-powers doctrine.

It is the first time a federal judge has ruled that the controversial surveillance program violates constitutional rights. Similar challenges to the program are pending in New York, Oregon and Texas.

The Bush administration announced that it would appeal and asked that the decision be stayed. Taylor is expected to hold a hearing on that request Sept. 7. The plaintiffs have agreed to a temporary stay until then.

Congress is considering legislation on the wiretapping issue. Democrats hailed the ruling and Republicans criticized it.

Taylor, an appointee of President Carter, specifically rejected the contention that the president had inherent authority to create such a wiretapping program. "There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," she said in her 44-page decision.

Taylor said that if the program were allowed to continue, it would irreparably harm the rights of the plaintiffs, which included the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greenpeace, and individuals, including scholars and attorneys. "The public interest is clear in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution," Taylor wrote.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales responded Thursday, "We respectfully disagree with the decision of the judge." He said he was confident that the wiretapping program was legal and added, "We will continue to utilize the program to ensure that America is safer." The challenge to the ruling will be heard by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in Cincinnati and covers Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

Taylor did award the Bush administration one victory Thursday: She dismissed the plaintiffs' challenge to the legality of federal mining for data in telephone and electronic communications. She agreed with the government that litigating that claim would violate its state-secrets privilege.

The bulk of her decision, though, went against the government. In response to the assertion that the warrantless wiretapping program was necessary to the defense of the nation, Taylor quoted a 1967 decision of then-Chief Justice Earl Warren: "It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of … those liberties … which makes the defense of the nation worthwhile."

The spying program has ignited broad controversy. Some assert it violates fundamental American rights; others contend it is legal and necessary to protect national security in an age of terrorism.

"I believe very strongly that the president does have the authority to authorize this kind of conduct, particularly at a time of war," Gonzales said at his news conference following the judge's ruling.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


Wise words there...We live in perilous times.

JC - California


I concur with this very astute observation of yours...I think we need to jail these suckers up in the most desolate place in Alaska or some distant place, so that can't carry out their conspiracies against us. 1,000 phones for re-sale, yeah, right!

Mike, I love your website, it is not full of the hate filled rhetoric that is. It is well balanced as compared to that one, it offers support of the good cops, while it aims a pointed focus on the bad one, the ones who make law enforcement look reallllllllly bad.

Jan B. - California


wow...this is going to spread like wildfire.

P. D. - New York City


Thanks for this!!

I sent this to an FBI contact of mine and it will help "open" another case that I previously reported.

John - California


Don't worry about spreading virus's with money, there are much better methods. As for cellphones, this looks like paranoia on the part of law enforcement. Nobody would get that number for bomb making. The explanation - buying loss leaders to sell at the market sounds more likely.

Good capitalism at work. Buy cheap sell expensive and shift volume, that and immigration has made many countries rich and propsperous :)

Allah Achbar !

I shall pray for you that the Dollar strengthens...

J. W. - Gibraltar


According to press reports, 8 of the missing students have taken into custody for violating their visa requirements and not attending school. While the feds were looking for these students, two legal residents of Dearborn, Michigan with Islamic names were stopped by a highway patrol officer. They had 1000 untraceable cell phones, construction specs for a local bridge and directions to 5 area WalMart stores. These are the type of phones which can be used to detonate bombs.

Way back in the 1970's, I lived in Morocco and shared many dinners with Saudi pilots who were on their way to the Miramar Air Base in San Diego for flight training by the US military. Back then terrorism was in it's infancy, but one conversation still gives me nightmares. A couple of the pilots started talking about what would do the most damage to the American economy. They said cutting off oil would only make Americans drive smaller cars like the rest of the world, but infecting US currency with a toxic virus would bring the US economy to a standstill.

So for the last 30 years I've had visions of faceless Islamic suicide warriors roaming the retail stores, casinos and public transportation system of the US spending deadly dollars. An operation like that would take a lot of communication; about 1000 untraceable cell phones might work.

Electronic money may not be immune - a computer virus can have the same impact.

Those two guys in Michigan were located because a sales clerk in a retail store became suspicious when they bought so many phones and paid in cash. We need as many eyes and ears as possible if we are going to preserve our way of life.

Neighborhood Watch is not enough - it's time for Nation Watch.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Oh, but at least we did not profile them as terrorists at the airport! I've heard that there are terrorist enclaves in Montana, too. But someone on the radio said that August 22nd figured as a special day to Islamic fundamentalists, the day that Mohammed supposedly flew to heaven on a winged horse (with the head of a man).. right! Their likely target might be Sears Tower, in line between Montana and NYC.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now wait Mike ... we all know we are not allowed to profile
people. Is there any way we can describe these people as maybe
Swedes with terrorist surnames?

I guess you see the dilemma of this world of political



Friday, July 28, 2006

One by One, They Have Fallen


July 26, 2006 - They left their positions in the Department of the Interior. It started with those who provided advice to her bosses – advice on how to mistreat Chief Chambers and put her life in jeopardy when they sent her home on December 5, 2003, in uniform and unarmed with no vehicle, no cellular telephone, and no police radio. It soon extended to those who handled the press on this matter from the office of then Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton. Then, the officials themselves started leaving or being transferred to positions with no operational authority or oversight responsibility for the United States Park Police.

Finally, there was just one standing – National Park Service Director Frances P. Mainella. Fran Mainella failed to heed the warnings from Chief Teresa Chambers about critical resource and staffing shortages in late November 2003. Instead, Fran stood by silently, refusing to meet with Chief Chambers and refusing to intercede when steps were taken to remove her from office. Then, starting in May of this year, when crime began to rise on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. – an area for which she, as the National Park Service Director, was ultimately responsible through the United States Park Police to protect – Fran stayed silent again.

Now, the last has fallen. Today, Fran Mainella submitted her letter of resignation to the President of the United States. Her resignation was accepted by the current Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne.

Today no one who was in Chief Chambers’ chain of command when she was illegally removed from office remains in place in the Department of the Interior. Nothing is standing in the way of Secretary Kempthorne’s returning Chief Chambers to office.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


O.C. Board Fails to Fund Sheriff's Survey

Supervisors, who deadlocked on the $400,000 request, will revisit the issue next week. Critics see politics behind the poll.
By Christian Berthelsen la Times Staff Writer

July 26, 2006

Orange County supervisors on Tuesday failed to approve nearly $400,000 in funding for a Sheriff's Department survey of attitudes about the agency, which critics of Sheriff Michael S. Carona called a thinly disguised political poll that he wanted to conduct with public funds.

Among more than a dozen questions about policing priorities and safety concerns, the survey asks whether respondents' impressions of the sheriff are favorable or unfavorable, according to the version Supervisor Chris Norby read aloud during the board meeting.

Supervisors took several votes on the matter but were unable to break a deadlock, with Norby and Lou Correa opposed and Tom Wilson and Jim Silva in support. Board Chairman Bill Campbell was in Washington, D.C. The matter will come before the board again next week after he returns.

Money for the survey was supposed to come out of a fund set aside for public safety services under Proposition 172, an initiative that increased the state sales tax half a cent on the dollar. The sheriff's critics said such an expenditure would be an abuse of the fund's intent.

Tim Whitacre, a critic of Carona's who campaigned for challenger Bill Hunt in last month's election, urged supervisors to have the "intestinal fortitude" to reject the contract. "There is no excuse for you guys to be rolling over every time [the sheriff] comes before you," he said. "Let him pay for his own polling from his own campaign funds."

Carona narrowly won reelection despite criticism of his management of the department in recent years, including accusations that he issued badges and concealed-weapons permits to campaign contributors without conducting background checks on them.

The department wants to award the contract to Scott P. Bryant & Associates without putting it out to bid. The county would pay the firm $396,000 to conduct an annual survey for three years. Bryant has done a range of consulting work for the county and the Sheriff's Department since 1999. The survey would seek responses in 12 cities where the department provides police services under contract. It would also include an employee survey and a management review.

Assistant Sheriff Jo Ann Galisky disputed the notion that the survey was a political poll and said the question about attitudes toward the sheriff was really about the department as a whole. She told board members the survey was a valuable tool to set policing priorities and "get feedback on how we're doing our job."

But Norby, the board's biggest critic of the contract, said the questions posed would produce little useful guidance on how to manage the department better. "The questions don't have any value to us as a county, or as a police agency," he said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006



Will Continue to Serve as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff

After more than five years of service, Jon Fleischman will be stepping down from his position as Deputy Director for Public Affairs at the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Jon has been serving in this position since March of 2001 when he was appointed by Sheriff Mike Carona. Fleischman is leaving to start his own governmental, political affairs and communications consulting practice. He will continue to stay engaged with the Sheriff’s Department as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.

“Jon Fleischman has played an important and high-profile role with this department for over five years. Of course I was sad when he shared that he would be leaving our agency. But as I told him, I am very excited for him as he embarks on his new endeavor of starting his own business. We also look forward to Jon’s continued involvement with the department as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff.”

Jon’s areas of responsibility have been varied in his position in the Department’s Media Relations and Public Affairs. His primary responsibility is in the area of public affairs and community relations, working towards pro-active positive exposure for the department and its efforts throughout the Orange County community. Jon also has had substantial responsibilities as a spokesperson for the Department, having conducted over two thousand television, radio and newspaper interviews. During his tenure with the department, Jon successfully completed the Level III Reserve Academy, and has donated over 900 hours in addition to his normal duties. Sheriff Carona announced that upon his departure as a civilian employee, Fleischman would be transferred from his current assignment in the Reserves (he has been working in the Harbor Patrol for the past two years) to a new assignment heading up Reserve efforts for the Media Relations and Public Affairs Office.

“Working for Sheriff Carona, and for this department has been a highlight of my professional career,” said Fleischman. I hold all of the men and women of the OCSD in high esteem for the professionalism and enthusiasm with which they conduct themselves. In my ongoing position as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, I will look forward to continuing to work with many of the friends and colleagues that I have made.”

The Sheriff’s Department will immediately begin a recruiting effort to find a new addition to the Media Relations and Public Affairs Office, filling the position from which Fleischman is departing. For more information on how to apply, you can contact Donna Muleady in the OCSD Media Office at (714) 647-7042 or via email at

Sunday, July 16, 2006


LAPD 'Warrior Cops' Test City's Will

By Jim Newton - LA Times Staff Writer

July 16, 2006

IF Los Angeles can be defined by a psychological trait, it would be willfulness. The force of will, sprinkled with greed, brought water to the city in the early 20th century and allowed it to grow. Willful civic leaders gave Los Angeles its port in 1907, cleaned out its corrupt leadership in favor of Progressive reforms and even supplied it with some of its cultural gems, including the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and, more recently, Disney Hall.

But, as the newly released report by the Blue Ribbon Rampart Review Panel argues, no such exercise of will has been able to dislodge a powerful subculture within the Los Angeles Police Department, one that has done much to harm the city in recent generations. Colorfully dubbed "warrior cops," an evolving clique of aggressive LAPD officers who rely on force and intimidation has resisted 40 years of attempts to manage crime in the city differently.

The warrior cop — known more blandly within the LAPD as the "proactive police officer" — was the invention of Police Chief William H. Parker, who headed the LAPD from 1950 to 1966. That style of policing and the officers who embrace it have done much to protect Los Angeles in the years since. In many ways, they are symbolic of the city's police — think "Dragnet," "The New Centurions."

But officers who take it too far, who cross the line from command presence to unlawful force, have also been responsible for devastation. Their racial callousness and penchant for brutality fueled the Watts riots of 1965 as well as the riots that erupted after the Rodney G. King verdicts in 1992. They were responsible for the Rampart scandal, and they have supplied much of the tension between police and minority communities that was a defining feature of late-20th century Los Angeles.

No commission, no mayor and no chief has ever succeeded in bringing that culture to heel; indeed, it remains iconic in the city's police force. "Most LAPD officers are not warrior cops," this latest report concludes. "But most LAPD heroes are."

Warren M. Christopher, the former secretary of state who chaired the Christopher Commission in 1991, agreed that the persistence of that police culture is troubling. "This is something that has worried me for a long time," he said. "It's much too glib to talk about bad apples. It's much broader than that."