Administrative Subpoenas Hearing

Utah State’s own version of NSA warrantless monitoring, Administrative Subpoenas, will be under committee discussion June 19th at the Capitol. Here is an agenda:

REVISED AGENDA
JUDICIARY INTERIM COMMITTEE
UTAH LEGISLATURE
Wednesday, June 19, 2013 • 2:30 p.m. • Room 450 State Capitol
1. Committee Business

Call to order
Approval of the minutes of the May 15, 2013, meeting

2. Administrative Subpoenas

A. Utah Office of the Attorney General

  • Mr. Craig Barlow, Chief, Children’s Justice Division
  • Ms. Kris Knowlton, Section Chief, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • Ms. Jessica Farnsworth, Commander, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

B. Weber County Attorney’s Office

  • Mr. Dee Smith, Weber County Attorney
  • Ms. Letitia Toombs, Deputy County Attorney, Criminal Division

C. Law Enforcement

  • Chief Rick Gregory, Provo City Police Department

D. Peace Officer Standards and Training

  • Ms. Lana Taylor, Assistant Attorney General, Agency Counsel for the Utah Department of Public Safety, Division of Peace Officers Standards and Training

E. Utah Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers

  • Mr. Kent Hart, Executive Director
  • Mr. Steve Burton, Legislative Committee Chair

F. American Civil Liberties Union of Utah

  • Ms. Marina Lowe, Legislative and Policy Counsel
  • Mr. John Mejia, Legal Director

G. Public Comment

H. Committee Discussion

3. Other Items/Adjourn

NSA/PRISM Protest Speech

This is the speech I delivered at the NSA/Prism Protest at the Capitol on June 12th:

Last November, I was invited to tour the NSA Bluffdale Data Center. When you have a billion dollars to build anything, it will end up being impressive. What struck me during the tour is what our guide explained as the reasons for Utah being selected as the build site. He said first, our power is inexpensive, amongst the lowest priced in the nation. Second, he said that Utah’s residents were patriotic.

Now patriotism is open to interpretation. To me, patriotism means I love my country and I wish for it to continue. I seek to protect it from harm, coming from the outside or the inside. When the NSA executes broad surveillance on American citizens, they are harming my idea of this country. The idea that the NSA, the CIA, law-enforcement, or any government entity should have unfettered access to our private communications may have not occurred to the framers of the constitution over 200 years ago, but that doesn’t mean we as Americans need to accept it today. In a democracy, we define what our country is and we decide when the government has overreached. Today I stand with you and answer the question of warrantless government surveillance with a “No” and a “Hell no.”

Today we stand in front of our state capitol and express our objection to the NSA. NSA whistle blowers have been coming forward for the past decade warning us about their surveillance powers, and it is refreshing to see national attention on this. Yet the NSA is not the only government entity seeking to invade your privacy. This very body behind us approved a law that enables law enforcement to subpoena customer information from Internet Service Providers without a warrant. I fought that law, and after it was enacted, I received these unconstitutional subpoenas. In every case, I turned them back and asked them for a warrant. In every case, I never received a follow-up warrant. In every case, they did not challenge my refusal. In the past 20 years of running an Internet Service Provider, I have received many requests for subscriber information, but the number of proper warrants I have received can be counted on one hand.

Whether or not Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Microsoft allowed the NSA open access to their networks has yet to be determined. However, I’m here to tell you that the NSA data-center will be a pile of useless if companies simply start saying, “No.” The NSA simply cannot intercept Internet communications without access to do so. When companies grant network access to the government without a warrant, they are making a financial decision. They have decided it is cheaper to comply than it is to fight. You need to turn around that financial decision. You need to ask these companies what their policies are, and if they don’t answer or they give you an answer you don’t like, leave them for a company that cares.

How is it that our congressional representation signed off on a billion dollar facility in Utah with very little idea as to what it does? With crumbling infrastructure, underfunded schools, and a scientific establishment that is falling behind the rest of the world, why are we spending billions on a surveillance state without questions? Questions like, “Why do we have a kangaroo court approving secret requests for broad surveillance?” Questions like, “Why is law-enforcement violating the 1st amendment with gag orders on innocent citizens?” Questions like, “Why is there outrage from some elected officials over NSA spying, yet no oversight by elected officials of NSA spying?”

The proponents of NSA monitoring say that this is necessary to keep us safe. In spite of them not being able to catch the imbecile Boston bombers before their heinous act, we are lead to believe that without the NSA activities, the U.S. would be entirely at the mercy of terrorists. To Peter King, John Boehner, Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, and any other elected official who believes this, I have a simple solution. Allow us to install monitoring of you and your family’s communications and make them public. Then we can insure that we don’t have any terrorist moles infiltrating our government. If you believe that NSA monitoring is good for 300 million Americans, then demonstrate it by allowing 300 million Americans to monitor you. If they won’t allow it, then maybe we’re on to something.

City Council Meeting on Utah Performing Arts Center

The City Council invites public comment on the financing plan for the Utah Performing Arts Center on Main Street, Tuesday, May 7 at 7pm in the City County Building (Room 315).

The bonds on the Salt Palace are being retired and the Mayor believes we can simply buy another $100+ million facility without voter consent. This while The Leonardo, The Aviary, and The Zoo all had to go to the ballot for a fraction of this amount. So, although the city claims UPAC will not require raising taxes, it won’t allow taxes to be lowered with the Salt Palace bonds being retired.

Several historic and beautiful buildings on Main Street will be demolished to accommodate the UPAC, while a parking lot across the street remains. This site was selected behind closed doors without public input.

Local arts organizations, who are already struggling for audiences, will see a negative impact.

Please come and respectfully share your opinion with the city council and the mayor.

Tuesday, May 7 at 7pm
City Building – 451 State Street, Room 315

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Tracy Aviary seeks $19.6M bond for improvement. Goes to ballot.

The Leonardo seeks $10.2M bond for opening. Goes to ballot.

Salt Lake needs a new $125M Public Safety Building. Goes to ballot. Controversy erupts over Mayor Becker’s proposed location on Library Square, and it gets moved to a more appropriate location across the street.

A controversial Utah Performing Arts Center, that will demolish several historic contributing buildings on Main Street, costing over $100M, responds to no public concerns regarding location or impact to local groups, plows forward without vote. In conversations with an unnamed Salt Lake County councilperson, they admitted that the parking lot north of the Salt Palace would make a better location than Main Street. Tracy Aviary got pummeled for losing accreditation and had to work hard to convince the public $19.6M was worth it. The Leonardo got repeatedly raked over the coals for $10.2M by the City Council and the public. The Public Safety Building failed on the first ballot and had to regroup and try again before it was approved. Why is the UPAC not being treated with similar scrutiny? When I attended early meetings about the UPAC setup by the Mayor’s office, I asked why this project hadn’t been subjected to public approval, and I was given the response that it was moving forward so I better get on board.

Many arts groups who I have spoken to in private about this project are afraid to speak out against it in fear of city retribution. This kind of steamrolling and lack of public consent is disappointing for Mayor Becker who I endorsed and supported in his first election. I don’t know if UPAC is necessary or not, but the public should have a say when this kind of financial commitment is made, along with the amount of destruction required for its installation in the heart of downtown.

Post Politics

This is my third attempt at writing this. The prior two attempts were snarky, sarcastic and called plenty of people out for their incompetence, but after sitting on the second one for a while, I decided that nobody likes being told they’re stupid, even if they are.

My experience with the Utah Democratic party this year was humiliating, saddening, and sickening. I attempted to steer away from special-interest money and lost because of that. The Chair, Jim Debakis has not done a very good job, but now he’s done recruiting against willing Democrats and running against others, I look forward to seeing who steps up as the next chair. I held my tongue since the convention because I didn’t want to be accused of trying to hurt Democrats in their races. I sincerely hope the party goes looking for new ideas, rather than trying to appease Republican voters. Find me one Democrat who won because they wouldn’t say who they were voting for in the Presidential race, or waffled on government defining marriage.

Being fully concentrated on my business again, XMission, is challenging and exhilarating. I feel like I’ve done more this year than I’ve done since 1999. I will continue to fight against warrantless monitoring and corporate control of the Internet, as I always have. I’m working on archiving 2006/2012 as you can see from the links on the side. There are probably a lot of broken links inside, so forgive me for that. I’ll fix them as I find them.

Congratulations Move to Amend!

Move to Amend Salt Lake City has collected 11,251 signatures for a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment. The amendment would clearly state that corporations are not people and money is not speech. The Salt Lake City canvassers needed to collect 9,000 signatures and they collected 2,251 more than they needed. This is the first citizen resolution to collect enough signatures to make it on the ballot in Salt Lake City. Congratulations to all involved!

If you haven’t listened to This American Life’s recent episode, “Take the Money and Run for Office”, you should. Every American would be well served to take an hour and listen to what our elected spend most of their time doing in Washington. This is why I’m not taking PAC money. This is why I want public financing of federal campaigns.

Democratic Debate, April 11th

Wednesday, April 11, at 7:00 PM, The Women’s Democratic Club of Utah will host a debate between Democrats Pete Ashdown and Scott Howell, candidates for Utah’s U.S. Senate seat now occupied by 6-term Senator Orrin Hatch, who is seeking a 7th term. The public is welcome to attend.

Location:
Juan Diego Catholic High School
300 East 11800 South, Draper (accessible via 12300 South and 300 East)
Doors open at 6:00 PM
Debate begins promptly at 7:00 PM and concludes at or before 8:30 PM

Details regarding possible radio broadcast and Internet streaming to be announced.

County Conventions

All of the county Democratic conventions are on my calendar now. I am going to try and attend as many as possible. In spite of having a possible airplane ride to St. George, I think there is a distinct possibility that there isn’t enough time to do both Weber County and Washington County conventions, which start 30 minutes apart from each other. In this case, I am asking for any volunteers in Washington, Iron, and Grand counties to represent my campaign to their conventions. Please email my staff to let them know if you would be willing.

I could also use some driving help to get to some of these conventions. Also email staff if you are able. You only need a current license, I will provide the transportation and gas.

Please attend your county convention! I look forward to seeing you there!

To All Caucus Chairs and Attendees

I prepared this short video with the intention of having it played at caucus meetings throughout the state of Utah. Since I will be attending my precinct caucus meeting tonight at 7:00PM, I need to have others share information about my campaign for U.S. Senate at their caucus meetings. In this short video, I briefly outline the primary points of my campaign for U.S. Senate 2012. Please let me know if you can help me spread my message by showing this video at your caucus meeting or if you know of others who are able to.

You can either stream the video from Youtube, or download it in advance for a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Please do the latter if you are unsure of Internet access at your caucus location. It is possible that older versions of Windows will not be able to playback this video. In this case, I recommend downloading VLC and using that for playback.

Also, if you are in Salt Lake City today, please drop by the campaign office at 780 E. South Temple between the hours of 2pm and 6pm and pick up some stickers, signs, and buttons to take to your meeting. Thank you for your participation in the democratic process.

If you do not know your caucus location for your precinct, you can find it via the state’s website here.

25,000+ Miles in 9 Minutes

During my 2006 U.S. Senate campaign, I rigged a small wireless camera to an embedded PC to take pictures out the window of my car and motorhome while travelling throughout Utah. Although the system didn’t always work, and sometimes the sun melted the glue on the velcro holding the camera to the dash, and sometimes it went out of focus, the result is an interesting stream of travel and stops throughout a statewide political race. You’ll catch glimpses of of the 25+ parades we did, beautiful scenery throughout the state, and a short breakdown outside Green River where I had to climb underneath and fix the motorhome.




Music is One Perfect Sunrise by Orbital.