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September 25, 2010

Obama is really trying to have the worst record on civil liberties ever now

So when the government is presented with a court case and screams "State Secret!" they get basically a get-out-of-court free card. This is despite the fact that the original state secrets court case contained no real state secrets, and instead was just trying to avoid embarrassment over a stupid military failure. ANYWAYS. Now the father of a US citizen whose son been slated for being murdered despite having no trial or due process has raised a court case to get the government to, y'know, NOT MURDER HIS SON WITHOUT CAUSE and the government has screamed State Secrets! again and so, yeah, this guy's kid--an innocent American--is totally going to be murdered by our troops. Thanks, Obama. Obama argues his assassination program is a "state secret" - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
At this point, I didn't believe it was possible, but the Obama administration has just reached an all-new low in its abysmal civil liberties record. In response to the lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki's father asking a court to enjoin the President from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without any due process, the administration last late night, according to The Washington Post, filed a brief asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit without hearing the merits of the claims. That's not surprising: both the Bush and Obama administrations have repeatedly insisted that their secret conduct is legal but nonetheless urge courts not to even rule on its legality. But what's most notable here is that one of the arguments the Obama DOJ raises to demand dismissal of this lawsuit is "state secrets": in other words, not only does the President have the right to sentence Americans to death with no due process or charges of any kind, but his decisions as to who will be killed and why he wants them dead are "state secrets," and thus no court may adjudicate its legality. . . .

September 16, 2010

PG&E raised $5 Million to fix San Bruno pipe, spent it on executive bonuses

Think Progress -- PG&E Never Used $5 Million Rate Hike It Touted For Repairs To Fix Pipeline It Admitted Was ‘High Risk’
Now, a consumer advocacy group has discovered that the company that operated the faulty pipeline, Pacific Gas & Energy (PG&E), had classified it as “high risk” and failed to utilize the funds it had collected from a rate hike to repair it. The Utility Reform Network (TURN) has obtained documents detailing the energy giant’s request to the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a rate hike in 2007. PG&E asked the PUC for permission for a $5 million rate hike to “replace a section of the same pipeline that blew up in San Bruno.” The PUC approved PG&E’s request, allowing it to hike its rates so that it could repair the line in 2009. Yet the energy giant failed to go through with its scheduled repairs. And in 2009, it once again requested a rate hike from the PUC, again for $5 million. In its request, PG&E warned that if “the replacement of this pipe does not occur, risks associated with this segment will not be reduced. Coupled with the consequences of failure of this section of pipeline, the likelihood of a failure makes the risk of a failure at this location unacceptably high.” Despite these admitted risks, the company could only promise to make its repairs by 2013. Local news station KTVU asked PG&E President Chris Johns why his company failed to make the repairs on schedule, despite recognizing that the pipeline was a considerable risk and using a rate hike on consumer to do it. “Some things happen when we’re going down, and a year later maybe some other item becomes more emergent that we need to fix,” replied Johns. “And so that’s why we will redirect funds to take care of the things that are urgent today, and then go back and say what are the things that are urgent tomorrow.” While the company failed to spend the $5 million it took from customers in 2009 to repair the faulty pipeline, it did spend that exact same amount in the same year on bonuses for its executives, according to TURN.