Daily Adams

Federal Government

L.A. schools give up their Federally-funded military weapons

The weapon collection included grenade launchers, a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle and rifles.

On Feb. 5, the department returned the last of the weapons it had obtained through a Defense Department program that stocked local police departments with surplus weapons and equipment. The district sent the letter to the Labor/Community Strategy Center, a civil rights group, and provided it to The Times.

But on Tuesday, a handful of activists commandeered an L.A. Unified school board committee meeting to demand proof. 

Via L.A. schools have given up the last of their Defense Department-issued rifles @ LA Times.

All Writs Act

While the All Writs Act is not used every day, the act has been successfully invoked by the government to compel telephone companies to install wiretaps, for phone companies to hand over call records, and to obtain CCTV footage, handwriting exemplars, and DNA samples. It has even been cited to force a defendant to cough up his computer password.

What’s more, it has played a part in copyright piracy cases. In a forthcoming law journal article,Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho, writes that “some courts granting broad preliminary orders against non-parties in ‘pirate site’ cases have cited the All Writs Act as a source of authority.”

The All Writs Act was originally part of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which established the Supreme Court, the lower courts, and spelled out the basic powers of the judicial branch of government. In 1990, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor described the Judiciary Act as “probably the most important and most satisfactory Act ever passed by Congress.”

Via How Apple will fight the DOJ in iPhone backdoor crypto case @ Ars Technica.

Are They Actually Hypocrites?

Apple CEO Tim Cook declared on Wednesday that his company wouldn’t comply with a government search warrant to unlock an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardinokillers, a significant escalation in a long-running debate between technology companies and the government over access to people’s electronically-stored private information.

But in a similar case in New York last year, Apple acknowledged that it could extract such data if it wanted to. And according to prosecutors in that case, Apple has unlocked phones for authorities at least 70 times since 2008. (Apple doesn’t dispute this figure.)

Via Apple Unlocked iPhones for the Feds 70 Times Before @ The Daily Beast

Incentive to Tyrants Abroad

“This move by the FBI could snowball around the world. Why in the world would our government want to give repressive regimes in Russia and China a blueprint for forcing American companies to create a backdoor?” Wyden told the Guardian.

“Companies should comply with warrants to the extent they are able to do so, but no company should be forced to deliberately weaken its products. In the long run, the real losers will be Americans’ online safety and security.”

Via Apple encryption case risks influencing Russia and China, privacy experts say @ The Guardian.

Apple Stands with Liberty

“February 16, 2016 A Message to Our Customers The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around…

Civil rights issue

On Tuesday, the United States District Court of California issued an order requiring Apple to assist the FBI in accessing a locked iPhone (PDF)—and not just any iPhone, but the iPhone 5c used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. The order is very clear: Build new firmware to enable the FBI to perform an unlimited, high speed brute force attack, and place that firmware on the device.

Apple is not only fighting the request, but posted a public letter signed by Tim Cook and linked on Apple’s front page.

Via Why the FBI’s request to Apple will affect civil rights for a generation @ Macworld.

Incredible

We are concerned to see the Sanders campaign citing extreme claims by Gerald Friedman about the effect of Senator Sanders’s economic plan—claims that cannot be supported by the economic evidence. Friedman asserts that your plan will have huge beneficial impacts on growth rates, income and employment that exceed even the most grandiose predictions by Republicans about the impact of their tax cut proposals.

As much as we wish it were so, no credible economic research supports economic impacts of these magnitudes. Making such promises runs against our party’s best traditions of evidence-based policy making and undermines our reputation as the party of responsible arithmetic. These claims undermine the credibility of the progressive economic agenda and make it that much more difficult to challenge the unrealistic claims made by Republican candidates.

Via Former Dem CEAs Write Open Letter to Sanders @ Marginal REVOLUTION.

Is there anything the federal government doesn’t mandate?

As soon as next year, a driver’s license may no longer be enough for airline passengers to clear security in some states, if the Department of Homeland Security has its way.Federal officials said they would soon determine whether Transportation Security Administration agents would start enforcing a 10-year-old law that requires states to comply with a set of federal standards when issuing driver’s licenses.

Via T.S.A. Moves Closer to Rejecting Some State Driver’s Licenses for Travel @ The New York Times

Little work, big bonus

A new hire at the Environmental Protection Agency hit the jackpot when the employee’s new bosses awarded her $9,000 in performance bonuses for less than three months of work.

The EPA’s inspector general said the newly hired director of the environmental agency’s RTP Finance Center in Raleigh was paid two separate performance bonuses of $4,500 shortly after beginning work.

“The total award amount of $9,000 represents approximately 25 percent of the Director’s salary for that 3-month time period. Based on discussions with OCFO management, this was an unprecedented amount for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer for such a short period of time after being hired,” the EPA IG said in a report made public Monday.

Via EPA Gives $9000 Bonus For Less Than Three Months Work @ The Libertarian Republic.

Border Patrol Abuses

Today, the ACLU’s Border Litigation Project released a damning report on the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection “interior operations” that should serve as a wake up call for Washington policy makers.

Titled “Record of Abuse: Lawlessness and Impunity in Border Patrol’s Interior Enforcement Operations”, the 31 page report is supplemented by hundreds of pages of documents obtained through an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit….

Via Border Patrol Out Of Control | Cato@Liberty.

See, also, ACLU Report.

Regulatory Expansion

As Epstein made clear, Hayek was a passionate defender of the rule of law. Hayek understood that for a constitutional system to succeed in protecting those whom it governs, there must be both fair and neutral judges and laws that are coherent and understandable by normal citizens–not just lawyers and accountants. The movement away from these principles is where Hayek’s relevance is most-clearly seen today.

While most people are familiar with the congressional gridlock that has gripped America since the 2010 midterm elections, this gridlock has not extended to executive agencies. The gradual, but accelerating, growth in executive agencies’ powers has led to wide-ranging authority for the so-called “administrative state.”

Via America Should Heed Hayek’s Lessons For Faster Growth @ economics21.org.