Archive for the ‘Civil Liberties’ Category

Kim Davis who refused to give gays marriage licenses is no Rosa Parks.

Posted By Levi

September 10th, 2015 8:34pm

I’m sure many you are familiar with the case of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was sent to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on religious grounds. She said that because she is a Christian she cannot issue these licenses because gay marriage is against “God’s laws.” For me the case against Davis is pretty simple. She is the county clerk. It is her job to issue marriage licenses to anyone who needs it. As an elected official she has an obligation to follow the law. She took an oath to uphold the law. The law now says gay people have a right to marry and such a right is protected by the Constitution. She says that she cannot carry out the law because of her religious beliefs. I have no problem with that and she has a right to her beliefs. But she cannot allow her personal religious beliefs to override her public duty. The right thing for her to do is to step aside and give the job to someone else. Freedom of religion means that you have a right Read More

Can You be against Same-sex Marriage yet attend a Gay Wedding?

Posted By Levi

April 27th, 2015 8:52pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in a same-sex marriage case. Many people expect that the Court will use the case to declare same-sex marriage legal across the country. Republican presidential candidates find themselves in a bind. “Rick Santorum said he would never attend a same-sex wedding. Marco Rubio said he might attend one. Scott Walker actually went to a same-sex wedding reception, not to be confused with an actual same-sex wedding ceremony. Ted Cruz said he is firmly opposed to gay marriage, but would be comfortable if his daughter were gay.” Their staunch opposition to gay marriage has left Republicans in a dilemma. For one, the majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage. Worse, Republicans could always count on religious conservatives for support against gay marriage. But even that support is now crumbling.  A new poll shows that most major religious groups are now abandoning their long held rejection of same sex rela Read More

Do You Have the Right to Videotape the Police?

Posted By Levi

August 14th, 2014 7:05pm

Category: Civil Liberties

https://twitter.com/kharyp/status/499679142766735362 By now you may be aware of the tense situation between police and citizens protesting the shooting of a young unarmed black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The circumstances of the shooting is still unclear but during one of the protests, police demanded that citizens in the crowd turn off their cameras and stop taking pictures of the police. Police generally do not like when we take pictures of them in the public. But with the proliferation of camera phones, many of us find it irresistible not to take pictures or turn on the video recorder when we see the police engaged in some kind of activity. Time and time again we have read stories of police demanding citizens who try to videotape them to turn off their cameras and even threatening to seize their phones. Is it legal to take pictures of the police while they are carrying out their official duties? Yes, you have a constitutional right to do so even if the poli Read More

Today, the US Supreme Court Gave A Huge Victory to Cell-Phone Privacy.

Posted By Levi

June 25th, 2014 7:15pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Police can no longer seized your cell phone or other digital devices and search them without a warrant. Today, the United States Supreme Court, in a  9-0 ruling, handed down a rare victory for privacy. The Court said with one voice that if the cops seized your cellphone and want to search through its contents, they must first get a warrant from a judge. In other words, they can’t search it simply because they seized it. Normally, if you are arrested, the police can search you and examine all contents that they find in your possession. For example, if you are carrying a container in your pocket the police can search it for drugs without a warrant. The Obama administration wanted the Court to rule that cell phone searches are no different from other searches. However, the Court quite rightly rejected this view. When it comes to cell phones, it’s a different matter. Why? “Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may Read More

The Countries That Are Blocking Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube

Posted By Levi

April 2nd, 2014 7:15pm

Category: Civil Liberties

“Last  Thursday, the Turkish government blocked the country’s access to YouTube, after banning Twitter earlier this month, in an effort to quell anti-government sentiment prior to local elections on March 30. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that social networks are facilitating the spread of wiretapped recordings that have been politically damaging. The YouTube block reportedly came about after a video surfaced of government officials discussing the possibility of going to war with Syria. The government officially banned Twitter after the network refused to take down an account accusing a former minister of corruption. Twitter is challenging the ban and a Turkish court overturned it on Wednesday, but it’s not yet clear how an appeal might play out. Turkey is hardly the first country to crack down on social unrest by going after social networks. There are at least six other countries currently blocking Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter in some capac Read More

Why Should We Care About Our Privacy? Watch This.

Posted By Levi

November 26th, 2013 8:07pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Here is a short video from the New York Times explaining why it is important to protect our privacy from the prying eyes of the government. And here, the Guardian explains how it is done by both the British and American governments. FollowShare Share this:EmailTweetShare on TumblrPrintMoreLike this:Like Loading... Read More

So You Think They Can’t Listen To Your Phone Calls and Read Your Text Messages – Watch This

Posted By Levi

July 15th, 2013 11:48am

Category: Civil Liberties

From CNN Money:   FollowShare Share this:EmailTweetShare on TumblrPrintMoreLike this:Like Loading... Read More

Supreme Court Advances Gay Rights Today

Posted By Levi

June 26th, 2013 8:39pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Today, the United States Supreme Court issued two important decisions relating to gay rights. But first, let’s make this clear. The decisions did not legalize same-sex marriage in the United States. That was not the question in either of the two cases that the Court was asked to deal with. The Court was not asked to deal with whether or not the Constitution allows gay marriages. However, some commentators believe that the decisions today lay the framework for the eventual legalization of same-sex marriages throughout the country. As of June 2013, thirteen states recognized gay marriages. It remains illegal in the other states. The first Supreme Court decision today dealt with DOMA – the Defense of Marriage Act signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The law defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It did not ban same-sex marriage but was seen by gays and lesbians as discriminatory and unconstitutional. What the law did was to ban same-sex couples from enjoy Read More

What Our History Teaches Us About Government Spying On Its Citizens!

Posted By Levi

June 13th, 2013 7:07pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Allowing any government to spy on its citizens without meaningful restraints or oversight can be very dangerous. It’s more than just a question of having nothing to hide. The real power and danger of surveillance is not just to discover if you are doing something wrong. Rather, it’s in the ability of the government to blackmail and intimidate political enemies. We should learn from our own history. The FBI, in particular, has a sordid history of spying on Americans. See here. Under its powerful director, J. Edgar Hoover, the agency became one of the most feared institutions in the country for a very little time. Hover maintained secret files on many Americans, including powerful ones, ready to intimidate and blackmail whenever necessary. According to Ronald Kessler, the New York Times bestselling author, Hoover was so feared that President Lyndon B. Johnson once said of him, “I would rather have him [Hoover] inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in.” Hoover Read More

The real threat behind the NSA surveillance programs

Posted By Levi

June 11th, 2013 7:44pm

Category: Civil Liberties

Harvard University Professor, Stephen Walt, has an excellent article on the real threat behind the the National Security Agency surveillance programs.  He thinks you should be worried even though you may not have anything to hide. “In fact, you should be worried, but not because most of you are likely to have your privacy violated and be publicly exposed. If you’re an ordinary citizen who never does anything to attract any particular attention, you probably don’t need to be concerned. Even if your Internet and phone records contain information you’d rather not be made public (an online flirtation, the time you emailed a friend to bring over some pot, or maybe some peculiar porn habits), there’s safety in numbers, and you’ll probably never be exposed.” He explains the real risks: “The real risk to our democracy is what this situation does to potential dissenters, whistle-blowers, investigative journalists, and anyone else who thinks Read More