liberty { Polish your tinfoil hats

Saw this on Norweiganity, then checked around to confirm the Raw Story article because I couldn't believe it. But the New Yorker is reporting it. I don't know why I'm surprised, they're just escalating the further erosion of privacy.

P.S. Representative Walz, this is exactly the kind of thing you're supposed to keep an eye out for and curb as a function of the checks and balances of our form of government.

Each branch is able to place specified restraints on the powers exerted by the other branches.[8] The federal government refers to the branches as "branches of government", while some systems use "government" to describe the executive.

[edit] Checks and balances

To prevent one branch from becoming supreme, and to induce the branches to cooperate, governance systems employing a separation of powers typically are created with a system of "checks and balances", a term which, like separation of powers itself, is specifically credited to Montesquieu. Checks and balances refers to the various procedural rules that allow one branch to limit another, such as the authority of the president to veto legislation passed by Congress, or the power of Congress to alter the composition and jurisdiction of the federal courts.

* Writes and enacts laws
* Enacts taxes, authorizes borrowing, and sets the budget
* Has sole power to declare war
* May start investigations, especially against the executive branch

* Often appoints the heads of the executive branch
* Sometimes appoints judges
* Ratifies treaties

Executive [soon to become the imperial -geistx]:
* May veto laws
* May refuse to spend money allocated for certain purposes
* Wages war (has operational command of the military)
* Makes decrees or declarations (for example, declaring a state of emergency) and promulgates lawful regulations and executive orders
* Often appoints judges
* Has power to grant pardons to convicted criminals

* Determines which laws apply to any given case
* Determines whether a law is unconstitutional
* Has sole power to interpret the law and to apply it to particular disputes
* May nullify laws that conflict with a more important law or constitution
* Determines the disposition of prisoners
* Has power to compel testimony and the production of evidence
* Enforces uniform policies in a top-down fashion via the appeals process, but gives discretion in individual cases to low-level judges. (The amount of discretion depends upon the standard of review, determined by the type of case in question.)
* Polices its own members
* Is frequently immune to arbitrary dismissal by other branches

But Representative Walz, you are not alone, the Media (aka Fourth Branch aka Media-ocrity) is also falling down on the job.

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