American Police State: Secret Service Controlling Journalist Access to Conventions by Arbitrary, Secretive, No Appeal Screening Process

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Freedom of the press has been on its way out for some time. The rise of the Internet destroyed classified advertising, which had provided half of the income of most newspapers. As circulations shrank, so did press rooms, with the result that journalists had less time to report stories, and “reporting” increasingly became indistinguishable from “access journalism” where only lapdogs could get special angles or early information that would give them a competitive edge.

But even for those hardy reporters who are still fighting the tide and doing real gumshoe work, government officials are regularly rewriting the rules. Journalists who cover protests are often incarcerated despite presenting press credentials. Publicizing protest via covering it is de facto a crime. For instance, from Yasha Levine in 2011:

I finally got home Thursday afternoon after spending two nights in jail, and have had a hard time getting my bearings….

First off, don’t believe the PR bullshit. There was nothing peaceful or professional about the LAPD’s attack on Occupy LA–not unless you think that people peacefully protesting against the power of the financial oligarchy deserve to be treated the way I saw Russian cops treating the protesters in Moscow and St. Petersburg who were demonstrating against the oligarchy under Putin and Yeltsin, before we at The eXiled all got tossed out in 2008. Back then, everyone in the West protested and criticized the way the Russian cops brutally snuffed out dissent, myself included. Now I’m in America, at a demonstration, watching exactly the same brutal crackdown…

* The bus that I was shoved into didn’t move for at least an hour. The whole time we listened to the screams and crying from a young woman whom the cops locked into a tiny cage at the front of the bus. She was in agony, begging and pleading for one of the policemen to loosen her plastic handcuffs. A police officer sat a couple of feet away the entire time that she screamed–but wouldn’t lift a finger.

* Everyone on my bus felt her pain–literally felt it. That’s because the zip-tie handcuffs they use—like the ones you see on Iraq prisoners in Abu Ghraib—cut off your circulation and wedge deep through your skin, where they can do some serious nerve damage, if that’s the point. And it did seem to be the point. A couple of guys around me were writhing in agony in their hard plastic seats, hands handcuffed behind their back.

* The 100 protesters in my detainee group were kept handcuffed with their hands behind their backs for 7 hours, denied food and water and forced to sit/sleep on a concrete floor. Some were so tired they passed out face down on the cold and dirty concrete, hands tied behind their back. As a result of the tight cuffs, I wound up losing sensation in my left palm/thumb and still haven’t recovered it now, a day and a half after they finally took them off.

The latest restriction on press oversight is the first-time requirement that only journalists who pass a Secret Service screening process will be allowed to attend the Democratic and Republican conventions. Mind you, delegates and guests are free to attend. Bear in mind that these restrictions were implemented by the Obama Administration. From the Daily Beast:

The United States Secret Service…whose once-pristine reputation has been tarnished in recent years by scandal, congressional investigations and, more to the point, aggressive investigative reporting—is for the first time ever running background checks on thousands of journalists who want to attend this summer’s Republican and Democratic Party nominating conventions.

Journalists who don’t pass muster—in what several complain is an inscrutable security screening process for which there are no plainly established criteria, and from which there is no appeal—will be denied credentials…

“I personally think it’s the government deciding who can and can’t be a journalist, and I don’t think the First Amendment allows that,” said Newark Star-Ledger Washington correspondent Jonathan D. Salant, a member and former chairman of the Standing Committee of Correspondents..

In addition, the Secret Service says it isn’t singling out journalists for special scrutiny—never mind that these background checks apparently won’t be conducted on thousands of delegates and guests…

The convention participants who are subject to vetting are those who go to a “National Special Security Event,” such as operating in secure areas like near the podium or backstage.

Even better, the Secret Service is outsourcing the job! Again from Daily Beast:

The Secret Service eventually agreed to sit down with the gallery directors in February, and in the second session at the Capitol brought along a top official of the Ardian Group—the Pennsylvania-based private contractor to whom the government agency is outsourcing the job of vetting an estimated 15,000 journalists..

In that meeting, Ardian executive Heidi Talalay expressed confidence in the company’s ability to handle the labor-intensive assignment, and pointed out that a previous Ardian job—vetting journalists for credentials to cover Pope Francis’s September 2015 visit to the United States—went smoothly, an assertion that contradicted numerous complaints at the time about a process that struck many journalists as confusing and frustrating.

And yes, this is an Obama-created star chamber:

Salant, for his part, told The Daily Beast that three months of constructive engagement and quiet diplomacy with the agency have yielded zero accommodations from the Secret Service, which is premising its unprecedented credentialing authority on a 2013 Obama administration national security directive—Presidential Policy Directive 22—whose language is classified and thus not publicly available.

Needless to say, it is extremely unusual, at least in the American context, for a government agency to formulate a policy regarding the news media, based on the possibly tendentious interpretation of a secret directive that, because the content and purpose of the directive are a mystery, is not open for discussion. An official listing of President Obama’s directives mentions the existence of PPD 22 but otherwise offers no explanation, leaving the line blank. (An anonymous law enforcement official told Politico that the directive gives the Secret Service to power of enforcing “access control.”)

So if the revolution is not televised, does it not exist? This seems to be the premise of a lot of the absence, selective coverage, and minimization of important political stories.

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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    This is why I don’t understand it when Donald Trump is called a fascist. In reality, the Secret Service is fascist, and by extension Obama is a fascist, and the whole US government is fascist and has been for some time. The German Nazis were groundbreakers in completely controlling the message.

    1. Carla

      Why would you think that the Secret Service, Obama and U.S. government being fascist means that Donald Trump is not/will not be?

      1. YankeeFrank

        I think the point is that they are ALL fascists so why single out Trump. They single out Trump because his rhetoric exposes them for what they are. After all, his policies are their policies. They just choose to hide the ugliest of their own policies with the help of a corrupt media whereas he trumpets them out loud. They are crypto-fascists but the crypto falls away more each year.

        Trump is the Martin Shkreli of politics.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Fascists tend to use words they consider to be “bad” and use them against their opponents. The U.S. is a fascist country without a Soviet menace to break ourselves on, but the U.S. has fought fascism in the past. Since fascists appropriate the glories of the past (Obama’s entry to Washington was modeled on Lincoln’s funeral), the label their enemies as fascists. “Freedom fries,” “flag pins,” a line from de Toqueville, and even Hillary’s approved “feminism” are used to justify fascism.

          Trump is a clown. He might be a fine diversion, but he isn’t part of the gang. Although I’m astonished the Team Blue elites think running an ad of arch GOP villains criticizing Trump will make Trump less appealing. Those Clinton-Graham anti-Trump rallies will rival the victory parties for school board elections.

          1. sharonsj

            He may not be part of the gang but his advisors are arch conservatives who will continue the war on terror (and maybe get us into another war) and the war on drugs, not raise taxes on the rich, privatize Social Security and Medicare and everything else they possibly can.

            1. YankeeFrank

              And this is different from Hillary exactly how? She’s promising to carry on from Obama plus more war. That means cutting social security and medicare like Obama tried to do and did, protecting and bailing out banks, and she certainly won’t do anything silly like raise taxes on the rich or seriously fight for working people in any way.

              With Trump there’s at least a chance we won’t have any more trade deals and might even repeal some of the old ones. We might even get fiscal stimulus according to Trump’s finance advisor. With Trump war is no more likely, and possibly less likely, than with neocon Hillary. And with Trump we get to blame the continuing malaise/collapse on Republicans. I just don’t see anything positive about putting the incredibly corrupt Hillary Clinton in the White House.

              1. Elizabeth Burton

                Also like her husband was all ready to do right before the Lewinsky scandal broke. He and Gingrich had apparently worked out all the details for beginning privatization of Social Security, but they were fortunately interrupted by fate.

              2. Susan Chidester

                There isn’t anything positive about putting Hilary OR Trump in the White House. They both have to send stuff through the Republican Congress and you know what that is like. Re elections for Senators is coming up and several seats are up for grabs hopefully by Dems. With Bernie in the White House and a congress made up of less Republicans there is a possibility for change. It is going to take work to get those Democrats in there and hopefully they wont be conservative Dems. (like Hilary or what I call Democrats in Republican clothing).

              3. billybam

                I too believe that Hillary wants to pick up the mantle of “entitlement reform” from Obama, who recently said he regretted not getting that done. She has refused to say that she supports raising the salary cap on SS contributions. I’ve heard her call for means testing SS benefits, which will indeed turn it into an entitlement which can later be eliminated. And from her website “Hillary will cut taxes for hard-working families to increase their take-home pay…” When I’ve heard Republicans talk about “increasing take home pay” that generally entails cutting SS and Medicare contributions. She will continue to support the banks. One snippet I read from an ex Goldman-Sachs employee said that she would be amenable to opening up Dodd-Frank (weak, unenforced legislation) to see “what does and doesn’t work.” Of course that begs the question; works for who?

            2. nycTerrierist

              Wondering if you read the replies (above) to your comment?

              Please take them into consideration.

              1. aet

                Speaking as somebody with neither a vote nor any horses in these races IMHO the best possible outcome would be Mr. Trump as President, facing off against Democrat-majority Houses of Congress.
                Unlikely, I know.

    2. different clue

      You have the chain of responsibility backwards. The Obama Administration is Fascist and therefor gives fascist orders to the Secret Service. If the Obama Administration didn’t order it, the Secret Service would not have thought it up by themselves.

      If journalists were a solid block of solidarity in support of the First Ammendment, all 15,000 of them would unanimously boycott the conventions . . . refuse to report a word about them, refuse to televise or radiofy or visual digi-stream a single bit or byte of the proceedings. C-SPAN would also participate in the total media blackout against the conventions. No blogger, tweeter or facebooker would say a word or post a picture about the conventions. And every one of these people would announce their maintainance of their total media and social media blackout of every convention-related thing and announce that the blackout stands until Obama orders the Secret Service and its private vetting contractor to stand down.

      Since zero media people , including social media people and amateur digital observers have any such sense of solidarity, no such total Overt and Belligerent blackout will ever be organized, nor will it arise spontaneously.

      What could a movement of citizens for freedom of reporting do to pressure the CFP MSM into pressuring the Obama Administration into cancelling its order? A movement of such citizens could organize beginning now to monitor and boycott every commercial advertiser . . . national , regional or local . . . who buys any trace of time on any media outlet which carries a single word or image about the conventions. If enough millions of people committed far enough ahead of time to boycott totally any entity who sponsored any trace of convention coverage under “vetted reporter” conditions, thousands of potential advertisers would all cancel all of their advertising on all venues until those venues tortured the Administration into reversing the policy. And if the Administration stood firm, the movement would follow through on its plans to boycott all convention-coverage advertisers and sponsors until they skirted extinction or went all the way extinct. . . . as a message to the surviving purchasers of advertising that they too would be extermicotted if they ever sponsored a “vetted-journalist” convention or any other event. Perhaps that kind of pressure would convince advertisers to boycott advertising on any “vetted journalist” event, which might in turn pressure media outlets to boycott such events themselves rather than spend unrecoverable money covering something to which they could only sell zero advertising.

      Citizen-movements will have to give up on convincing their governments or institutions of the right or wrong of anything. Citizen-movements will have to think in terms of non-violent torture of institutions to terrorise and torture them into compliance with the wishes of citizen-movements. Citizen-movements will then have to think to the next step in terms of besiegement and blockade or outright extermination of those institutions which can not be non-violently/ non-illegaly tortured or terrorised into compliance with citizen-movement wishes.

      ” With a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen.”

      1. aet

        These are reasonable steps that seek to prevent bad actors from attempting to violently interrupt, interfere with or influence the American people in their choosing of their Leadership.
        I don’t see a problem with these rules of and actions by the Secret Service – the political parties are private entities, and therefore, being in control of whom may be admitted generally, may refuse such precautionary measures, could they not? But if I were them, I certainly wouldn’t refuse these precautions, for my friend Prudence would pinch me so hard if I did !

        As to torture, I think that the US Government ought to torture wealthy people until they agree to become philanthropists.

  2. Joe Formerly of BKLYN

    @EndoW — I’m not sure you understand the politically correct uses of Language. The purpose of calling someone else a Fascist (whether he/she/it/they ARE or are not) is to accomplish the equivalent of dumping a load of sewage sludge on the target. It’s got nothing to do with anything else.

    Trump is X, Hillary is Y, Cruz is ZZZ — and Bernie is, well, old and disheveled, and comes pre-labeled (he says he’s a socialist, how you gonna argue?).

    This may be why many people like Bernie.

    1. EndOfTheWorld

      Right, Joe ex-Brooklynite. Fascism at one time had an actual definition. It referred to the system of gov’t started by Mussolini in Italy, Franco in Spain, and Hitler in Germany. It had strong cooperation between the gov’t and corporations, was nationalistic, and usually believed in a strong military. (Although Franco remained ostensibly neutral during WW2.) Now people don’t know the meaning of the word; it’s just a universal insult. (eg calling moslem rebels islamo-fascists—they not only don’t have any corporations to be in cahoots with, they don’t even have a government.) Actually the dictionaries have now changed the definition of the word to accommodate the new trend in its usage, or so I’ve heard.

      1. apber

        And the Progressive movement in the US can trace its origins to Karl Marx. It is ironic that Woodrow Wilson, a staunch promoter of Progressive views, allowed the Red Shield to establish the fascist Federal Reserve.

  3. Steve H.

    February 15 2003 was televised, massive marches against war, people in the street looking for a brighter day. Change seemed to go bizarro, to the point where Petraeus and his ilk can explicitly support al Qaeda without being hung as traitors.

    But this is America in the 21st century, and as far as I can tell NC was the first to name the model that may work. The hostile takeover of the Republican half of Janus has already occurred, and the face is falling off the other half, despite the inch-thick lead-based cosmetic piled up over the corrosion.

    1. SpringTexan

      It was televised and I saw it on C-Span, but the NY Times at that time said on a back page (if it’s the demo I was thinking of) there were “a few dozen” protesters, when I lost faith in them.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        I even remember at the time that there were so many protestors in NYC that they had barricades all along Second Avenue (the protest was planned for UN Plaza), along with mounted police, and diverted them all into Harlem. This on a bitterly cold day. The estimates at the time were well over 100,000, which means at least 50,000..

        So the Times was giving the PR about how few got to the protest site v. how many came out to protest.

    2. Russell

      I enjoyed that.
      When I was working movie and Tv I had to be vetted a few times. Puffs you up to “pass”. And it gets harder over time. You have to be able to account for what you did and when. I have a list of jobs somewhere 3 pages long I carried with me to the airport for the last vetting. I have been vetted for work on three airports. Last time in the Airport Police interview I told them I kept a revolver in the grip truck. I think my side ought be as armed as the other, depending.
      One journalist told me that they hadn’t ever needed a press pass, wouldn’t think of it. Thought the reason of justification is the journalist would come face to face with the candidate, or be very close, like the cameraman blew the Kurd war leader most loved by the Northern Alliance up, or that Japan guy in the picture being run through by the sword guy.
      The Transcendia Passport is one to give away or use in the West. The other one, the Transcendian one is for use in Africa. They are aimed directly to be used by freighter pilots. I want to exist off taxes on pot on the airfields where all the trade of it will be legal on those airport territories. Was the old original plan. Now I do all the vetting.
      The journalism of David Cay Johnston and Michael Hudson has blown me away. PiKKety had the answers. Congress won’t do but I offer the insurodollar currency to give labor leverage.
      I thought it was important enough and I might get something done and took a Democratic Party seat. I did some work they seemed to sneer at and then put action so out of order, regarding work I did, that I resigned.
      Last chance. All Transcendian, all the time. Russell

      1. different clue

        The smallest little quibble . . . the Northern Alliance warleader Shah Massoud who was blown up by an al Qaeda suicide-bomber in camera-man disguise was not Kurdish. I believe he was Tadjik..

  4. equote

    “A fanatical neo-fascist political cult in the GOP, driven by a strange mixture of corrosive hatred and sickening fear, who are recklessly determined to either control our party, or destroy it.”
    Thomas Kuchel in 1966


    1. different clue

      It goes to show what a determined political cult can achieve within/against a political party, if they are patient and persistent.

      If a non-cult movement could develop a cultish level of patience and persistence and strategic vision combined with tactical effectiveness . . . . and yet remain a movement, not a cult . . . perhaps it could target and take over another political party. Perhaps the Sandermovement can be such a movement. Perhaps it can target and take over the Democratic Party, and purge and burn every Metastatic Clintonoma cell from the party, and then purge and burn every Yersinia obamapestis bacteria cell from the Democratic Party too.

  5. Ulysses

    Frank Zappa foresaw this:

    “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”

    The candidacy of Bernie Sanders has changed the equation for the kleptocrats– they must now seriously consider ramping up the police state to prevent any further dangerous calls for restoration of the New Deal.

    The MSM (a wholly owned subsidiary of the kleptocracy) took the occasion of Sen. Sanders’ victory in Indiana to badger him to leave the race.

    The “official” reaction to vote suppression here in New York was a big tell that the veneer of representative government is rice-paper thin.

    “I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

    Schneiderman joins NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who on Tuesday announced that he will audit the agency’s operations and management.

    More than 125,000 Brooklyn residents were left off the voter’s registration list, according to Stringer, who cited reports of closed polling sites, faulty ballot scanners, misleading voting site notifications and other voting irregularities.”

    Who do Schneiderman and Stringer think they are fooling? They are desperately hoping that the short attention span, of the people in the U.S., will allow them to run out the clock on the establishment’s obvious abuse of power. This won’t work. Too many people have awoken, and the Soma isn’t good enough to put them back to sleep.

    1. YankeeFrank

      I fully expect, if Hillary wins, there will be a crackdown on net neutrality, voting will become even more difficult and fraud-prone, and more serious journalists will be labeled terrorists/terrorist enablers. The NSA will further ensnare us in the police surveillance state and our democracy, already in tatters, will completely end. They will not permit another Sanders or Trump.

      They were too arrogant, thinking they already had everything locked up. Now that they see the weaknesses in their designs, they will tie up all the lose ends and make sure democracy never breaks out again. Of course never is a long time, but we can expect many years of deepening impoverishment and misery for the bottom 80-90%.

      1. RWood

        How ’bout,
        The next one will…
        Plenty of room for protest and lots of interest in fines.

      2. different clue

        80-90 percent is a lot of people. Some of those people may indeed be helplessly plungeable into deepening impoverishment and misery. But others of those people may decide to calmly “panic now and beat the rush”. That is, may decide to invest in personal and community Survivalism while they still have time/money/knowledge/physical resources to invest in such Survivalism. Those who can Survivalise now may well be able to pre-mitigate or even preVENT some of the deepening impoverishment and misery being planned for them.

        For example, commenter jgordon is already somewhat immunised from passive efforts to further impoverish “his class of people”. Armed goverstate agents would have to violently invade his premises in person and burn down his food forest and spray roundup on his garden to stop him from having enough food.

        If ten million suburbanites were to “permaculture-up” to a jgordon level of personal yardscape food production, would the armed forces of the goverstate be able to shut them all down with personal hands-on violence?

    2. Nathanael

      Schneiderman’s actually one of the good guys. I’m not sure you remember, but he was an insurgent candidate running against a set of Cuomo-approved machine candidates.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Dead wrong. You’ve bought propaganda by The Nation.

        He was the person who was responsible for the second bank bailout, the National Mortgage Settlement in 2012, by getting the bribe from the Administration of appointment to be a co-chair, with people like Lanny Breuer, of a mortgage fraud task force that had been in existence since 2009, did nothing, and continued to do pretty much nothing. He’s filed few and generally unimportant cases as AG.

  6. Dean

    Controlling the press’s access is controlling the free flow of information. We all know the major networks will have their talking heads there, regurgitating the party line and scripted narrative. Those reporters from smaller shops and those with different perspectives? Good luck running the background check gauntlet! Otherwise you can report from the protestor pits with all the other supposed crackpots.

  7. flora

    I think there’s gonna be a *lot* of sausage making at both conventions. Can’t let we the people know what is really going on. If the RNC/DNC were sure of their absolute control of the process they’d be happy to let all the press in. Trump wasn’t supposed to get the nom. The Bush boys are boycotting the GOP convention they say. Bernie is still in it and has won the under-40 vote in a landslide. The RNC/DNC must be in a near panic. It’s the RNC/DNC vs their voters. Hillary is claiming that Rubio and Cruz agree with her, that Kissinger is her BFF. Good gawd! Can’t let the objective press *anywhere near* either convention. They might actually report. and… Gotta keep the objective reporters out as a warning to their tame reporters not go off the leash.

    1. tegnost

      Cali turnout should favor bernie since the legalization issue is on the ballot, so the so the “don’t bother to vote because hillary has already won” crowd can salt their caramel macchiato with their tears.

      1. jrs

        interesting about legalization. Otherwise I would say the state favors Hillary, I may not like it but … politics in this state are what they are, and they are kind of screwy but less than some states. But legalization could tip it.

        Those favoring legalization who are registered independents need to be informed they have to request a Democratic ballot if they want to vote for Sanders.

        1. different clue

          I predict, every Nancy Pelosi voter in Nancy Pelosi’s district will vote for Hillary and against Bernie. Bernie will get closer to zero votes in Pelosi’s district than in any other Democratic district in California.

          You all can laugh at me if my prediction is proven wrong.

      2. Carla

        I think pot legalization is going to be on the Nov. ballot in CA, not the June 7 ballot.

  8. Jim Haygood

    ‘Presidential Policy Directive 22—whose language is classified and thus not publicly available.’

    Catch-22 … ha ha ha!

    Still time to impeach Obama, just to give him a proper sendoff.

    They gave him a copy of the constitution, but he just used it to light a cigar.

    1. different clue

      What is that famous Mohandas Gandhi qhote?

      Oh yes . . . ” You have to become the Hunter S. Thompson you wish to see in the world.”

  9. Jess

    This is indeed scary stuff, esp. that secret Presidential directive. Yves, thanks for bringing it to readers’ attention.

    Sorta wonder if Jeremy Scahill or Glenzilla or Amy Goodman will be denied credentials?

    1. neo-realist

      That would be interesting as far as who on the “left” would be given credentials. Maybe they provide a few to give the appearance of fairness, or they provide a few to those who appear to be left but are really “assets.”.

  10. Chuck Turdburger

    Good grief, America is truly a terrifying place. I encourage anyone with the ability to emigrate to do so with haste. Then again, where does one emigrate to? Not Canada, too close geographically, and besides, on the same trajectory, just a decade or two behind. One of the Scandinavia nations perhaps, but language will be a challenge. Maybe New Zealand or South Africa?

    1. downunderer

      Sorry, Chuck, New Zealand has long since been led onto the American Path, perhaps with a certain amount of direct ‘guidance’ by some US TLAs. With a different accent, of course, due to its different history and lack of a written Constitution. But complete with ex-post-facto legislation and other abuses that ensure that money and corporatism rule.

      Vide this recent posting, which details a local adventure that I have followed for years now, as it happened:

      The largely controlled press has all but ignored it through those years, and the linked document (a pdf at the site) is a letter sent just last Wednesday by a leader of the victimised to the Chief Justice of the NZ Supreme Court and then sent out as a press release and posted online, to avoid the silencing that could legally follow a court order or a (terminally expensive) defamation suit by any of those who feel maligned.

      And South Africans come to New Zealand, because despite all this, it is an improvement.

      1. downunderer

        Sorry, I see that I should have included a skeleton outline of the long chain of events leading to the letter I linked:

        1) A District Council (think ‘County Commissioners’) in a rural region with just 14,000 property tax payers (“ratepayers”, some very rural, some in very small towns or beachside) expanded a small town’s local sewage treatment scheme, increasing its cost from the original publicly agreed-on cost of $17 million to more like $80 million.

        2) Far from consulting with those affected, as specifically required by the Local Government Act of 2002, they kept this cost escalation secret.

        3) Secrecy was maintained year after year, and the District’s books were given the okay by the Auditor General (as also required by law), despite local suspicions and repeated complaints about Council stonewalling of queries.

        4) When a local ratepayers’ organisation finally ran out of other avenues to follow, they brought the matter to the High Court.

        5) But after they filed the action, their local MP introduced a “retrospective” bill to Parliament to “validate” the Council’s actions. The bill passed. Suddenly acts that were illegal at the time were declared “legal, and have always been legal”, which turned a winning case into a losing one according to the High Court Justice who heard the case, who at least awarded the ratepayers costs even though he couldn’t any longer find them legally in the right.

        6) A string of appeals that pointed to specific illegalities that had not been named in the retrospective “validation” act (which did include a specific list of the intended targets of the ex-post-facto legalization) all failed, including the most recent appeal to the Supreme Court, which refused to even hear the appeal.

        7) All this appears to have served no other purpose than to defend the interests of those who acted together in secret (and illegally) to transfer money from ratepayers to contractors, consultants, banks, and perhaps also to their enablers in public office. But the various official delays stretched the time frame past the statute of limitations in any case.

        There’s more, but this give you the idea. Rule of law? Sure, for those who own the law, so they can rule the others.

    2. Nathanael

      Canada’s actually improving; it’s not on the same trajectory at all.

      New Zealand is a mess and I wouldn’t be surprised if they had a revolution soon. The lawlessness of the elites is getting ridiculous at this point (as downunderer points out).

  11. Gaylord

    The term “Ruling Class” rings a bell (an alarm bell). In the future, we can expect martial law to be enforced as deprivation takes a greater toll and social unrest increases… all part of the downward spiral of civilization.

  12. Eureka Springs

    Sanders should just declare all journalists to be guests of the Sanders campaign and the first amendment which he will gladly take an oath to defend.

  13. George Phillies

    Journalists who wish to visit the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando over the Memorial Day weekend may be confident of a welcoming and warm reception.

    George Phillies
    State Chair, Massachusetts

    1. different clue

      Unless Obama orders the Secret Service to surround the Libertarian National Convention and cordon it off and only allow vetted journalists through the Secret Obamaservice cordon.

  14. Edward

    People who vote for Hillary Clinton will be voting for this as far as I am concerned. This isn’t the first time the constitution has been AWOL at our conventions. Our democracy-loving politicians have been setting up free speech zones to neutralize protests at the conventions and elsewhere.

    In addition to the free speech zones, there was some decree from the Obama administration a few years ago suspending free speech in special zones. I have forgotten the details. I think this was for some event in Chicago.

    1. Ulysses

      The event you’re thinking of was a demonstration on the occasion of a NATO-related meeting.

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