American Authoritarianism and Restoring Constitutional Order | Shahid Buttar | TEDxHarkerSchool
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American Authoritarianism and Restoring Constitutional Order | Shahid Buttar | TEDxHarkerSchool

Translator: Ivana Krivokuća
Reviewer: Mile Živković I’m going to talk to you
a little bit today about a particular speech
by a president 65 years ago that has some very crucial
implications for the present. That’s me, you can find me on Twitter. That’s my handle, I’m the director
of Grassroots Advocacy at EFF. We’re going to be talking about
surveillance versus democracy in America and the particular warning that was issued
to us 65 years ago, this January. Just a show of hands – “Ike,”
does the word mean anything to anybody? A few can place it? Okay.
Dwight D. Eisenhower. He was the Supreme
Allied Commander in World War II, as responsible as any other single person,
quite frankly, for defeating Nazi Germany. He was a two-term president. He, in that capacity in particular, continued some of the work
he’d done as a military chief in establishing something
that he would warn us about. Ha was voted Gallup’s
most admired man 12 times, he built the national interstate
highway system, he established NASA, and he had a particular speech
on January 17th, 1961, from which I’ll read you an excerpt soon, in which he issued a warning the likes of which we’ve not
really seen in America since, with the possible exception
of a particular speech by senator Dianne Feinstein last year, in the context of a situation
we’ll talk about in just a little bit. The Snowden revelations. Let’s go to 2013. Before we get there,
I want to just read you a little bit of Ike’s last address
as the American president. There’s a particular line in here,
I want you to hear it. He speaks about the combination
of a large military industry, which he felt compelled
to help support and create in order to defeat Nazi Germany, and he talks about the combination of it with the profit motive
that underlies industry. And he speaks
of a military industrial complex that he forecasts will come to threaten
democracy in America. He says, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition
of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought,
by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise
of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let
the weight of this combination endanger our liberties
or our democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted.” So, what we’re going to talk about
over the next few minutes are some ways in which his predictions,
unfortunately, came true. In 2013, Edward Snowden revealed,
among other things, that the sworn testimony
of multiple senior officials before Congress was not true, and these were questions, for instance,
as straightforward as: “Does the NSA monitor
millions of Americans?” Congress had been assured, under oath,
by the Director of National Intelligence just three months before
the Snowden leaks that it does not. I want to talk a bit about a couple
different sets of institutions that have buried their heads
in the sand since. Courts exist, of course,
to enforce constitutional rights. In the federalist papers,
the independence of the judiciary is described as the crux
on which liberty rests. If you think about the courts in the context of judicial
supremacy and the system, the constitutional separation of powers
and checks and balances between them, the courts are our constitutional
guardians, and when, for instance, hiding behind either
the constitutional standing doctrine – which I’m welcome
to take questions about later – or the state’s secrets privilege –
also we could talk about that later – these are judicial doctrines
that have essentially enabled judicial abdication. Similarly, Congress, despite having been
informed from the press about what the NSA and the FBI as well,
and the DEA for that matter, or your local police department
are doing around the country with respect to surveillance, has never actually actively
investigated to find the facts. Still, even after having discovered that executive officials
have lied under oath, Congress has deferred to those officials. Not once has ever invited
any of the whistle-blowers to testify. Just to share a quick timeline here, it was three years ago
that Snowden revealed mass surveillance. Just last year, Congress adopted
in the USA Freedom Act, an initial set of reforms
to marginally increase transparency, particularly at the secret federal court
responsible for surveillance. Part of the hook for my talk,
what I want to focus you on, is the end of next year,
there is a key statute in the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act that underlies the NSA’s dragnet spying. It is already set to expire. So in the next year,
Congress will examine mass surveillance. The question is:
will it do anything about it? We’re going to move now to another area,
a little bit of history here. Another show of hands for who – Does COINTELPRO mean anything
for folks in the audience? Not a single one of you? Fascinating! I’m so glad I’m here. COINTELPRO stands
for the Counterintelligence Programs, and this is a set of programs,
particularly one out of the FBI, that the Congress investigated
very actively in the 1970s. This was a two year investigation that compiled tens of thousands
of pages of documents, and the US Senate, in 1976,
described COINTELPRO as a sophisticated vigilante operation
aimed squarely at suppressing the legitimate use of First Amendment
rights of speech and association. I want just to make sure you understand who some of the targets
of COINTELPRO included. This was a 40 year campaign to,
in the FBI’s word, “neutralize domestic social movements.” They included the main line
civil rights movement, as well as the militant
black power movement. They included the Puerto Rican
independence movement. They included the movements
for equal rights for women and the movement
to end the war in Vietnam. This multi-pronged assault on not just particular social movements, but through them democracy in America
is what I want you to focus on. I want you to place that
in the context of Eisenhower’s warning. Any guesses as to COINTELPRO’s
most famous target? Yes, you got it. There he is. The letter from Birmingham Jail remains a piece of very crucial
modern American literature I’d invite you to read
if you haven’t before. Its implications
are especially vital to consider in a time when state violence
has emerged not only fully fanged as it has been for 400 years, but for the first time
perhaps in the American history with transparency to the public. The letter from Birmingham Jail
particularly relates to what solidarity looks like and what does
to come to win the justice mean at a time when justice
somewhere is threatened. I want to talk briefly
about the civil rights movement in the context of Dr. King and the assault
on his character and his life by the FBI. The civil rights movement is typically
depicted as victorious, right? A shining moment in our nation’s history. I just visited DC last week
and had a chance to attend a new African American history museum,
where of course, appropriately, Dr. King and his colleagues were lauded. There was one plaque
acknowledging COINTELPRO and the FBI’s vicious witch hunt
against that movement, but while the assassinations
of civil rights leaders, of course, loom large in our history and the continuing legacy
of state violence, we still occasionally think
of the civil rights movement as victorious. I want to basically examine here
its policy experiences, the extent to which it actually did win
what it was looking for. We won voting rights,
the right to pass the ballot, for what that counts. Essentially you could –
if you were to be critical of that, say it’s a right to choose
between the opportunities or the choices constructed for us by the two percent
of the American public that actually donates
to political campaigns. There was another policy victory. We’ll get to that in a minute,
but notice some of the losses here. Among the things
that the civil rights movement won in addition to voting rights
was desegregation. Right? Think about the ground
of the Brown v. Board decision. It recognized the distinction
between de jure, which was to say, enforced housing discrimination
and educational discrimination, and de facto, which was to say,
market driven discrimination. The awareness of de jure
versus de facto discrimination has eroded and faded
from the federal judiciary entirely. In fact, the 14th amendment, if you compare it
to the Brown vs. Board era, has basically been flipped on its head. Which is to say, the policy victories
of the civil rights movement not only failed to crest
over the movement’s aims, which included a right to eat,
a right to housing, a right to education,
a right to healthcare, but even the core victories
of the civil rights movement, in particular voting rights – There is a key section
of The Voting Rights Act, section five, which, until it was overturned
by the Supreme Court, having been extended by Congress, forced Southern states
with a history of discrimination to preclear changes in their voting laws
with the Justice Department. Overturning of section five
of The Voting Rights Act essentially returns us to,
in some respects, even a pre-civil rights movement era, even with respect to voting
while all of the movement’s aims, of course, its deeper,
underlying aims remain unsecured. I want to talk about some
of the contemporary social movements that have continued
to be targeted by surveillance. We talked before about mass surveillance, now we’re talking
about targeted surveillance. One example is the environmental movement. If you go to the federal prisons
around the country, the communications management
units they’re called, where people convicted
of terror offences are held, you might be surprised to find
substantial minority on the order of 30 to 40 percent were young, and are now
middle-aged white men, particularly from Oregon
and Washington state, whose worst crimes could be characterized
as environmentally motivated vandalism, or in the very worst case, as arson. They are serving terror sentences, decades and in some cases
35-year sentences for terror offences, having taken great pains to avoid
any threat to life. The peace movement. I mentioned before that the movement
to stop the war in Iraq was particularly infiltrated and impacted,
neutralized, you might say, by the FBI. Its contemporary equivalent, working to stop the conflicts
in which our country is currently engaged, has also been very thoroughly targeted
for not just surveillance in the sense of monitoring,
but suppression as well. The Occupy movement – its experience at the hands
of militarized police is very well documented. I’m going to read you a quick quote,
where you can see it for yourself. Geoffrey Stone from the University
of Chicago, my undergrad alma mater, describes “a national perception of peril
and a concerted campaign by government to promote a sense
of national hysteria by exaggeration, manipulation and distortion.” You might say that fearmongering
is inducing us to accept constraints on the liberties and democratic processes. The president Eisenhower
warned us would be at risk by the combination of a profit motive
and an impulse toward public safety, especially in the context
of this national hysteria prompted by exaggeration,
manipulation and distortion. We’ve talked about mass surveillance, we talked a little bit about politically
motivated targeted surveillance. I now want to shift the lens
to what we might describe as “street level surveillance.” These are programs and tools,
technologies often developed from military application originally, that are deployed increasingly
around the country by local police departments. The most conspicuous example – you’ll see them
in some US cities increasingly – armored vehicles. There was one very controversially
stopped in Berkley after local activists discovered it,
the plans, that is, to procure it. They are unfortunately becoming
increasingly common in US cities. There’s a fascinating story here
to be told about. I believe it was the Marines in particular who were receptive
to a push from military families in the middle of the Iraq war, to buy more mine resistant
armor plated vehicles. These, I guess, were Humvees
that had a particular design in the undercarriage
to deflect explosive blasts, and in some respects –
there was a whistle-blower, for instance, who revealed the need
to buy more of these, and essentially the military’s abdication of its responsibility
to protect our troops – and while in some respects
you might describe it as a victory that then, I believe, thousands,
if not hundreds of these MRAPs were bought, built, deployed. They now need somewhere to go, and the weapons manufacturers
and the military agencies that develop and deploy these weapons
want to send them somewhere; local police departments become them. Machine guns are another
that are deployed around the country, and I want to focus particularly
on surveillance equipment, on a few different kinds. Drones you hear about
particularly in the context of CIA assassinations and strikes abroad. Let’s just pause here
for a very brief digression. People sometimes forget that victims
of US, particularly CIA, drone strikes include US citizens
targeted for their speech. A particular one who was
never accused of raising a gun but, as a propagandist essentially, was declared persona non grata
and an enemy of the state, even while his family sought to vindicate
his right to due process in federal court. Another victim of drone strikes
included that person’s 16-year-old son who was never accused of anything,
including even mere propaganda. But the point that I want to, zooming back from those
particular individuals and the constitutional rights at stake, focus on – well, maybe two. Let’s look first at the empirical data
with respect to our drone strikes before we get back
to surveillance by local police. Defensible. The director of the CIA, John Brennan,
has claimed before Congress that the civilian collateral casualties
owned to drone strikes are infinitesimal, that essentially every
dead body is a militant. The only independent study today, conducted by human rights clinics
at NYU and Stanford, established that over 90 percent
of the deaths from drone strikes are collateral civilian deaths. Essentially, the same way
that we talked about Snowden, showing that executive officials
testifying under oath about the limits
of mass surveillance were lying, so has the CIA about the collateral deaths
related to drone strikes. There is a further piece
I could share here. There’s a symposium article
from a symposium at Loyola Law School, I’m happy to share with people
to the extent it interests you, that I gave a speech
the week after the Attorney General, at the time Eric Holder,
had announced to the symposium criteria limiting drone strikes. You could describe them
as remote, robotic assassinations. The particular point I want to draw here
is while the Obama administration has very thoughtfully attempted
to articulate limiting principles, there is no transparent or neutral form
in which those principles are contested, and among them are,
for instance, imminence. There has to be an imminent threat. There is no form
in which to contest imminence, and when imminence includes
killing US citizen propagandists, it starts to stretch
the definition of the word in ways that render
the principles themselves suspect. We talked about CIA drone strikes,
I want to just draw the parallel. Drones were developed for military
and quasi‐military application abroad. They’re now being deployed
by police departments across the United States to monitor
essentially law abiding civilian populations en masse. Police body cameras
are sometimes presented as a police accountability tool. I want to just invite you
to think about a few other ways in which body cameras not only might fail
to achieve their intended purpose, but also expand on and exacerbate the threat of surveillance
that we’ve been talking about. A couple of points to consider here. The first is, of course,
police body cameras don’t face police; they face you. They don’t actually capture
what a police officer might do, and in cases where a police officer might, as they’re often documented
of having done, planning weapons
or contraband on a suspect. A body camera
won’t necessarily capture that. There is also the frequent phenomenon
of body cameras being turned off in opportune or for police
opportune times. The biggest hole in the bucket is a public right of access
to the footage, the raw footage captured
by police body cameras. A police body camera – a program,
the deployment across the police force – without a robust public right of access
to the raw, unedited footage, is worse then useless, particularly because it becomes
another factor for mass surveillance. They’re only useful
as police accountability tools if the public can get the footage, and if police don’t have a right
to edit it first. There is a further problem here,
which is to say, even with video of police murdering someone
in broad daylight – I’m talking about the Eric Garner case
in New York – are people familiar with it? “I can’t breathe,” right? Eric Garner was murdered
by police officers on tape viewed by tens, if not hundreds
of millions of people, and the only person who went to jail
associated with that incident was the person who captured
the incident on video. Say what you will about it,
but the point is: transparency doesn’t equal accountability;
there is a hole in the law. I’ll name very specifically what it is. It’s the qualified immunity doctrine,
and it basically says that as long as police act in what the courts
will construe as good faith and acknowledging well-established rights, they can get away with violating rights
in particular instances if a reasonable person
in the same situation might have done the same thing. When you couple this with the erosion
of the 14th amendment, equal protection doctrine,
what it basically means is that if you want to establish a claim
of racial profiling by a police officer, you basically need
video of them beating someone while screaming racial obscenities. Anything short of that is insufficient
to establish a claim. That is, of course,
not what the founders envisioned when they wrote the constitution, and wrote poems about
how we would be a land of the free and the home of the brave. Is anybody familiar
with the secure communities initiative? It’s very well known
in immigrant communities because it was a program launched at the very end
of the Bush administration enabling and setting up, essentially,
the Obama administration to become the one under which our nation would deport
historic numbers of undocumented workers. The secure communities initiative
was presented as a way to streamline the removal
of criminal aliens from the United States. What the FBI built on its back,
out of public view, was the next generation initiative. This is a biometric
data collection scheme, applicable not just to immigrants,
but to all Americans, and it demonstrates a continuation
of a long established pattern, which is to say the justification
of novel powers or programs or equipment for particular ends, and then their expansion
well beyond the mission creep. The mission creep behind biometrics. When I talk about biometrics,
we’re talking about fingerprints, your iris patterns, even the sound
of your voice, the way you walk. Gate detection algorithms are increasingly
being applied to video feeds, facial algorithms
or just the shape of your face and the contours of the shadows on it. All of these are biometrics
that are increasingly being tracked in government databases, and I want to talk briefly
about a particular tool that you might have heard
described as a “stingray,” that is used to monitor
cell phone networks. These are also increasingly
deployed by local police. There are a couple of things
I want to say about it. The first generation of stingrays were capable of monitoring
cell phone traffic and network traffic, but they weren’t capable,
for instance, of hacking a phone, or planting malware, or denying service, all of which the later versions
of the device are able to do, and we’ve had many reports
of these devices being used in the context of suppressing –
not just monitoring, but suppressing – peaceful demonstrations. For instance, demonstrations
by the Movement for black lives. There is certainly a strong sense
that they were being used against the Occupy movement,
though no one knew at the time, because stingrays weren’t public yet. The first known deployment of a stingray
happened on a protest in which I participated in 2003 in Miami, resisting the free-trade area
of the Americas. It was the precursor to the TPP,
the Trans-Pacific Partnership, that you might have heard about since. After that, in Baltimore alone –
Baltimore, Maryland – the police department used stingrays
thousands of times without any judicial warrants
over the course of the mid 2000s. The only was we even know they exist
is because a jailhouse defendant, someone representing themselves
against a fraud charge, who admitted his guilt, as far as I know, was curious how he got caught, and in exploring his court documents
caught an accidental government refference to a stingray – it was the trade name
of the first generation of the devices, which were sold and licensed
to police departments around the country under FBI mandated contracts which required the devices
to remain secret. Not just from you and me,
and not just from The New York Times, or the papers of record of the cities
in which they were deployed, but also kept secret from policy makers,
and particularly judges. When the FBI contracts
with a weapons manufacturer to then sell surveillance equipment
to local police departments on the condition that judges not find out, there is something wrong. Since then – it’s interesting, I think we’ll get to this
actually at a different point – but I’m going to talk a little bit about
what’s happening to curtail stingrays, because it suggests one vector
that the movements to resist mass surveillance might take. We just talk a little bit about this. Stingrays were used before any
policy makers or judges knew about them, thousands of times without warrants,
also in Baltimore, and the only reason
we know so much about Baltimore is because it’s a city very close to D.C.
which is not a federal district, so it happens to be a place that reporters
and investigative journalists have explored and dug into, particularly. There is no reason to think
that any of the things we’re talking about in Baltimore had not happened in other cities
around the country. The most recent revelation
from Baltimore – this came from Bloomberg,
if I remember correctly – was persistent aerial surveillance
of the sort that we thought only drones could enable,
only they use manned flights to do it. Legally it’s indistinguishable
from persistent drone surveillance. Incidentally I should know
in the midst of all this, in the later 2000s the Supreme Court
ruled in US v. Jones that persistent location tracking
using GPS devices is constitutionally offensive, so there is some interesting crosscurrents
here to think about. This is the part I want to
focus here for you all, as young people stepping into the society
that’s already made these decisions. What might you do to recover your rights? States are individually legislating
to impose checks and balances, to impose transparency that Congress
and the courts have abdicated. There are some great examples of this
here in California, the California Electronic Communications
Privacy Act, CalECPA, is an example. It essentially requires
police in California who might want to examine your,
for instance, emails stored in a cloud, like your Gmail or your Yahoo,
if you still use it, email, to get a warrant first. It’s worth just briefly digressing
about warrants. A warrant stands for the principle
that some neutral arbitrator has to say it’s okay for police
to do what they’re doing. It’s not a functional constraint
on police activity. It’s a functional constraint
on police abuses, because it’s the first and the only point
in most investigative chains where the police have to answer to someone
who is not within the department. When you have these sorts of searches
absent of judicial warrants – warrants exist and they’re required
in the constitution under the 4th amendment for a reason, and it’s because the state
doesn’t always get it right. In fact, the state often gets it wrong. But without a warrant
requirement, we never know. The state of Illinois just a few
weeks ago, maybe two months ago, adopted a new law. As far as I know, it’s the strongest
around the country with respect to the stingrays,
the IMSI-catchers, the cell phone spying devices
that we talked about just a minute ago. Not only does the Illinois law
require a warrant to use them, but unlike the half dozen other states
that have similar requirements, Illinois uniquely allows
criminal defendants who are accused of crimes based
on evidence collected from stingrays, to exclude that evidence
from criminal trial. It also, particularly the Illinois law,
prohibits even with the judicial order, the use of the later versions
of the devices to hack a phone or plant malware or deny service, and that’s a big deal
because if you’re in a demonstration, or even if you’re not in a demonstration, let’s say you’re just walking
down the street and you see police beating someone or perhaps, God forbid,
shooting someone, right? You know how important cell phone video
and transmission in social media has been to enabling a public discourse. When police have tools
to deny service to phones, or hack them to prevent that kind of video
from being captured in the first place, it’s a hole in the bucket
of what little transparency we do have into these kinds of abuses,
and that leads me right here, to Silicon Valley –
we’re in Santa Clara County. This summer, perhaps fall,
I guess it was August, I think, when the ordinance took effect, Supervisor Joe Simitian
on the Board of Supervisors sponsored and the Board of Supervisors
ultimately adopted an ordinance, the first of its kind in the country – which the ACLU has now launched
a campaign to replicate in two dozen other cities
around the country – a requirement that when police
want to buy surveillance gear, they have to ask your local
elected policy makers first. That should not be rocket science,
that shouldn’t be revolutionary, that’s exactly what you would expect
in a free society, but it takes active local intervention
to make it happen. I want to just sketch
a quick historical narrative for you. 1945: Eisenhower wins
the Second World War. The crucial legal result of it
you might describe as the Nuremberg principles, right?
The trial, strict liability for torture. If you commit torture, doesn’t matter
who told you to do it, doesn’t matter if there was
a national security emergency, it is a crime, full stop, period. That’s what World War II
supposedly stood for. In the 50s through 70s, the CIA staged
a series of coups across the Global South, particularly in Latin America. I think the number of countries
ultimately impacted bordered on a dozen. In the 1990s, here in San Jose –
do people know the name Gary Webb? Fascinating! Okay,
I’m even doubly glad I’m here. If there is any one thing
I would invite you to do after my talk, it’s google Gary Webb. He has a book called “Dark conspiracy,”
I think it’s the name of the book; it’s a tome. He was an investigative reporter
from the San Jose Mercury News who revealed a story that would have been
the biggest story of the 1990s, had not the corporate media silenced it, with the complicity
of the national security agencies. This is not a conspiracy theory, this was admitted by the CIA
in the late 90s, five years after Gary Webb’s
career was ruined. He was vilified, lost his job, ultimately died of a suicide
entailing two gunshots to the head. That’s Gary Webb. Fast forward – What he established
was that the CIA was running drugs into Los Angeles and Miami, that the narco-traffickers
who were killing cops on the streets of Miami and Los Angeles were trained, funded
and equipped by the CIA. This is all part
of the Iran-contra scandal and the effort
of the Reagan Administration to basically run a rogue foreign policy
in Latin America. But the point of that is that when cops were dying
in Miami and LA, what happened as a result? Police militarized. That’s when used military equipment
started finding its way into the streets of otherwise peaceful US cities. Fast forward the tape another 10 years, the CIA gets caught torturing people,
they destroy the evidence, particularly in the forms of video tapes. Fast forward a few more years, the CIA develops a whole new form
of human rights abuse while lying to the public again. 2013, to hide its criminal trail,
the CIA conducts an espionage operation, targeting the US Senate. This triggered the speech
by Dianne Feinstein that I described as maybe
the only other one like Ike’s in our nation’s history,
where she describes – this was only three years ago – a constitutional crisis
in a speech on the Senate floor, which has not been resolved. We go from police militarization,
responding to the drug war, to Ferguson in 2014
and the continuing movement to establish that black lives
in fact matter. I want to ask you: do you actually live
in a land that you might describe as free? Slavery remains legal
under the terms of the 13th amendment as long as it’s in prison, and there are more black men
in prison today than there were enslaved
at the height of the institution. Do you think that slavery ended
or did it shift? CIA torture in the face of the gains
of the Second World War. We not only committed
violations of the principles that we fought a world war to establish,
but we have since said it’s okay to do it. Host: Okay, with that thought,
I am so sorry, but I have to cut you off, because we’re running short on time…


  • J Rhoads

    No comments? Wow. Please check out the Jim Nichols film on Nixon and JFK. It ties Ike into your story very accurately. The CIA was complicit in city police killings via the drug trade. Hence, the beginning of the militarization of local police. This should make the two sworn enemies. Where's the rest of this presentation?

  • Regenerate THIS

    Thank you for your work! We're excited to see you take our the corporate medusa at the head of the party…

  • che zus

    if you live in the bay area and support "the green dream or whatever" like your current congressperson refers to it, shahid is your guy. please get rid of the controlled opposition leader.


    Feinstein objects when CIA targets the senate but where was her voice before it became personal for her? She is a smug, corrupt traitor.

  • loxe2

    I love this comment section of great people who know a true progressive when they see one. And, yes, please win that seat from Pelosi. We all deserve a fighter not an enabler ….

  • Hugh Mann

    He’s a communist!! A SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT DOESN’T FOLLOW A CONSTITUTION!! He claims he’s bringing back “constitutionality”. He claims to be a “constitutional lawyer” but is trying to push a communist government on us people of our democracy.. he’s a communist! There is no: leftist, extremists, democrat, republican, socialist communism! There are only Americans. Democrat and republican only exists as representatives of our democracy.. for them to suggest a communist socialism is treason! This crooked dude is campaigning and keeping it on the “down low” about his communist agenda.

  • Hugh Mann

    If we had a socialist government.. TRUMP WOULD BE PERMANENT DICTATOR.. NO ELECTIONS. North Korea is a socialist government. My fellow Americans, this is a setup. Read into the vague comments with no substance below. “I’d vote for him just because of his hair.” Basically: “he’s running against pelosi, that’s good.”
    We have the very political parties that are supposed to represent us in our democracy, trying to push us into communism! This dude is supposed to be a constitutional lawyer but wants to void our constitution.. cmon fellow Americans..!
    HE KNOWS that a direct democracy would allow lus the people” to be active participants in our government. WE would be able to change laws, add amendments and yes… WE COULD IMPEACH!!
    If he’s for Americans, he would be pushing for a direct democracy instead of separation from constitution..

  • bpalpha

    Gary Webb isn't the only journalist who exposed too much. Check out Danny Casalaro and The Last Circle to find out who really runs the drug trade. Or Daniel Hopsicker before he shoots himself twice in the head.

  • Augusta Vaughan

    He only intends to implement more of the same failed policies that have made San Francisco the laughing stock of the world.

  • Myriet Lewis

    The constitution was born out of a need to be free and to live and let live. Enforce the laws and stop the loose interpretations being forced on the American people by the greedy. Thank you SIR! Your wisdom is healing.

  • neuralobserver

    Oh yeah! Gary Webb! When Shadid mentioned the name of the paper, a light went off in my head. There was a movie made about his story starring Jeremy Renner–good movie, enlightening and devastating to power!

  • Advisory Briefs

    Dude got cut off on his own Ted Talk. Pity, I would've liked to hear the rest. Hopefully he becomes a senator and he can get a platform where he can speak truth to power all he wants.

  • MyessYallyah Americus

    I hate being online, it makes me so miserable, until they give me my money ill be living in the worst life I could of ever been cursed with, I hate it . no offense its just not for me, I hate it hate it hate it.

  • Robert Cece

    We need to start surveiling the police, FBI & DEA. Better track their corruption & court cases. Set up a wikileaks like branch within that takes all the leaks. Aggregate this all in a national database into an interactive map for people to see which areas are the most corrupt. And you could sell this data to large corporations since noone likes investing in towns with corrupt cops.

  • Brandon Miles

    When you talk about these officials lying under oath, ie James Clapper, you should definitely make sure to include their names, so that when people see them on CNN or advising current officials, they'll know who they're hearing from. By the way, good luck on your Congressional campaign, Shahid.

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