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Republicans Hyperventilate Over Obama's Modest Immigration Reform

Republicans are hyperventilating about President Obama's modest immigration reforms. If they had a clue what real immigration reform entails, they'd probably have a collective heart attack. Here are a few reform proposals that go much further than what Obama called for last night: [More...]

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From Stingrays to Dirt Boxes: Evolving Surveillance Techniques

Last week I wrote about deceptive law enforcement techniques, focusing on new details about law enforcement's use of stingray devices. The devices are small enough to fit in an undercover vehicle. The device creates a very strong but fake cell tower signal which causes phones nearby (perhaps in the whole neighborhood) to connect to it. When the phones connect, the device then captures a lot of personal information. This is particularly helpful to police when they suspect a certain person of say dealing drugs, and know where he is, but don't know his phone number, because he gets a new throw-away phone every few weeks. But it's problematic because the device is capturing the same personal information from all phones in the area. It's a dragnet.

Move over, stingrays. The Wall St Journal reports similar devices called "dirtboxes" are being used by agents on airplanes, allowing them to capture the data on thousands of cell phones during the course of a single flight. [More...]

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Details of Obama's Planned Immigration Changes

The New York Times has details of Obama's planned executive action on immigration. It will:

....protect up to five million undocumented immigrants from the threat of deportation and provide many of them with work permits...

...One key piece of the order, officials said, will allow many parents of children who are American citizens or legal residents to obtain legal work documents and no longer worry about being discovered, separated from their families and sent away.

It's the right thing to do. More details below: [More...]

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Fl Supreme Court Says Warrant Needed for Cell Tower Data

Courts continue to be divided on whether a search warrant is needed for cops to obtain cell site locator data. This week the Florida Supreme Court ruled a warrant is necessary. It is the first state to decide the issue based on the 4th Amendment.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written, it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms.

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Ferguson Updates

Ferguson was fairly calm Tuesday night, with most people peacefully protesting.

AG Eric Holder arrives in Ferguson today. Here is his letter to the people of Ferguson.

Gov. Nixon said the county prosecutor will stay on the case for now, rejecting calls for a special prosecutor. (the St. Louis County Circuit Court grand jury is scheduled to commence hearing testimony today.)

I won't be online much today, so you can use this thread for all Michael Brown/Ferguson related topics.

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Grand Jury to Begin Investigation of Michael Brown Killing

After a night of more unrest in Ferguson, a few shootings (reportedly not by police) and at least 30 arrests, officials are calling for calm.

A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown tomorrow.

President Obama has dispatched AG Eric Holder to Ferguson. DOJ is conducting its own civil rights investigation. [More....]

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Ferguson: Gov. Nixon Calls in National Guard

Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming... The curfew is over but the National Guard is on its way.

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Michael Brown Autopsy by Dr. Baden Released

Dr. Michael Baden, hired by Michael Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump, has released his autopsy findings. Baden waived his fee and Crump paid his travel expenses.

AG Eric Holder has said the Brown family asked the Justice Department to conduct another autopsy. That's a lot of autopsy requests.

Baden says Brown was shot at least six times, although only 3 bullets were recovered from the body. He said he was shot in the head, the eye, and the arm. [More...]

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Another Night of Curfew in Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri is under a second night of curfew.

Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a third autopsy for Michael Brown, at the request of his family. The Washington Post says:

Holder’s announcement, coming one day after revelations that additional FBI agents had been dispatched to Ferguson, was the latest signal that the federal civil rights investigation of Brown’s death is escalating. The federal probe is running parallel to the state investigation, and federal officials had said they were deferring to state officials.

MO Gov. Jay Nixon took the airwaves today and among other things, criticized the release of the alleged robbery video, saying he hadn't known about it.

Highway Patrol officer Ron Johnson spoke at a rally today and addressing Brown's parents, said "I am sorry. I wear this uniform and I should say that I am sorry.”

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Missouri Gov. Declares State Emergency in Ferguson

The Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. A curfew is in effect until further notice.

The police brought this on themselves. They have bungled every opportunity to resolve public frustration. They are a walking public relations disaster, choosing the wrong path at every turn.

Today, the Justice Department said they asked the police not to release the security camera video from the alleged theft at Ferguson's Wine and Market. [More...]

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Restrain Police, Restrain Their Acquisition of War Weaponry

This version is set to a compelling series of images from the protests and response of the National Guard at Kent State in 1969.

Things haven't changed. They've gotten worse. Radley Balko, author of “Overkill: The Rise of the Warrior Cop:The Militarization of America's Police Forces" testified before Congress in 2007 that swat team raids were up 1500% in the past two decades. [More...]

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Violence in Ferguson, Police Throw Smoke Bombs in Street

Police fired tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

The situation became more tense after nightfall, with police ordering people to go home and then using smoke bombs and later tear gas after some people threw Molotov cocktails and other things at them.

Here's an AP photo. Here's a live-streamed video of the lead up to the police actions and the aftermath. From the video, it was the police who advanced first, on a crowd that seems peaceful, and had their hands in the air while they chanted "Hands up, don't shoot."

Not on the video, there is a photo of some protesters trying to light a molotov cocktail (unsuccessfully, according to the caption) and another of a protester throwing a burning tear gas canister back at police (In other words, the police threw first.)Here's a photo of an empty tear gas canister picked up at the scene. [More....]

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House Passes Bill to Speed Deportations, End Obama Relief to Dreamers

The House of Representatives Friday passed a new version of the Republican's border bill that will unconscionably speed up deportations of child migrants. The House also passed a separate bill, intended to appease TX Sen. Ted Cruz and the radical right arm of the party, that reverses much of President Obama's executive order granting temporary relief to Dreamers, children who arrived the United States years ago with undocumented parents. Obama's order created a two year deferral on deportation for many of these children. [More...]

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CIA Director John Brennan Admits CIA Spied on Senate Staffers

With the declassified version of the Inspector General's report outlining the CIA's unauthorized intrusion into U.S. Senate staffers' computers on the horizon, CIA director John Brennan admitted today the agency spied on Senate members. He also apologized. [More...]

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U.S. Judge Approves Search Warrant for Entire Gmail Account

U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in the Southern District of New York has approved a search warrant request for the entire contents of an unnamed person's Gmail account, with no restrictions. Federal prosecutors requested the warrant in a money laundering investigation.

The decision is contrary to earlier rulings by Magistrate Judges in Kansas and Washington, DC. I have uploaded the opinion here. [More...]

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