12/28/2013 - national priorities:
Congress found $625 billion (NDAA 2014) to fund another year's slaughtering and traumatizing foreigners while spying on everyone else, but failed to find $25 billion in unemployment benefits to help over a million long-term unemployed Americans—only 4% of what was provided to DoD. Now the rest of the world has additional insights into fine national priorities of the home of the brave.
12/27/2013 - NSA curtailment unlikely*:
Despite the written Constitution the US historically is governed relative to circumstance. Nevertheless the current administration's willingness to govern in accordance with what the "intelligence community feels is required to keep people safe" is ludicrously short-sighted and especially ill-advised. The contemporary militarized intelligence community unequivocally has proved it can not drive adequately its own policies absent effective oversight and most assuredly should not drive national policy. Blaming Edward Snowden for blowback over arguably illegal and unconstitutional overreach actions of NSA is denial-spawned sophistry. Need for intense secrecy is no asset in today's changing world.
Nonetheless proponents of freewheeling NSA surveillance will blame inevitable future terrorism incidents on any curtailed surveillance activities irrespective
of episode-specific facts. NSA programs are tools of power with exploitable arguments for eliciting continuous revenue streams therefore any official changes are
apt to be methodology cosmetics eliminating public outcry. Congress has no history of principled decision making and has neither desire nor capacity to withstand
media criticism of surveillance curtailment in the aftermath of future terrorism incidents. Historically the Supreme Court assures power it deems of consequence.
Taxpayers very likely will continue helplessly funding the mechanisms incrementally destroying their freedoms. It's the American way.
*also letter to the editor, Defuniak Springs Herald-Breeze, 01/02/2014
12/23/2013 - Pussy Riot:
Admirers of Pussy Riot activists Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova are thrilled with the pair's release from the Russian prison system today. Nadezhda's husband was quoted by BBC as saying the incarceration has strengthened his wife's desire to oppose Putin "because, well, this is the only thing that can change things in our country". Many know how he feels. Even Russia is seemingly evermore attractive to activist US residents concerned about America's burgeoning surveillance state.
12/19/2013 - Orwellian:
The American intelligence communities are engaged in activities that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon this week understated as "almost Orwellian" and directly violating the Constitution's fourth amendment. Some of this was first underscored as far back as 2011 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
Diane Feinstein, James Clapper, Keith Alexander, and purportedly Edward Snowden ALL swore oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Whistleblower Edward Snowden informed the American public of unconstitutional activities undertaken by officialdom. The other three are advocating activities adjudicated unconstitutional and/or are engaged in such activities or shielding perpetrators.
Who best supports and defends the Constitution? Why are activities adjudicated unconstitutional still underway? Why is the US more keen on killing the messenger? Why has Diane Feinstein not called for Intelligence resignations? Sweet land of liberty is not saved by shredding the Constitution.
12/18/2013 - Senator Rand Paul on Syria:
Senator Rand Paul ON SYRIA.
12/17/2013 - self-explanatory:
Here is how BBC quoted Edward
today: "There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying ... and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an
all-seeing eye and save copies forever...These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic
manipulation. They're about power." His words appear entirely accurate and need no additional explanation.
Nevertheless the US would be wise to fire, charge, and convict James Clapper and Keith Alexander and completely revamp the intelligence communities.
De-militarization has a nice ring to it.
***broken AP link removed 10/10/2014
12/16/2013 - unconstitutional:
White House spoksman Jay Carney today suggested that Snowden would "face full due process and protection under our system of justice" if he returned to the United States. It's the "our system of justice" part that should make Snowden leery. This administration's only concern appears to be maintaining the status quo and crucifying those who oppose it. If this were not true, James Clapper and Keith Alexander would have been fired months ago. Today the massive collection of "metadata" was ruled unconstitutional yet that ruling placed on "hold" pending appeal. It appears that government activities of questionable constitutionality are apt to continue throughout a foot-dragging appeals process. Some victory. No sir, if I were Edward Snowden I would steer well clear of the "land of the free" until Clapper and Alexander have been tried and convicted.
12/10/2013 - Revenues and games:
At the bottom of this page there is news of federal agents visiting porn sites in "fighting terror". Just yesterday BBC reported that, "US and British spies have reportedly infiltrated online games such as World of Warcraft in an effort to identify terrorist threats, according to media reports [NYT, Guardian, & more]." In addition to visiting porn sites and online games perhaps NSA reps also will realize that terrorists might communicate at upscale resorts worldwide, gambling casinos, red light districts, superbowls or various other planetary entertainment arenas. If they don't know now, they'll figure it out soon. Nevertheless some reasonable people are opposed to financially supporting agents who participatively investigate possible wrongdoings in places like that, especially on a hunch. FIRE the psychopaths and put someone like Edward Snowden in charge. In the meantime there is no revenue stream like an undisclosed, unfettered, ineffectively-monitored US revenue stream critical to "interests of national security".
12/09/2013 - Russia Today:
Non-State-owned RT.COM came on strong this year and many earthlings believed it to be the planet's most comprehensive, least biased, most informative source of newsworthy events, and certainly the most promising and refreshing. Unexpectedly today Russia's heretofore State-owned news agency has been abolished by decree and supplanted immediately by the Russia Today organization. But perhaps Mr. Putin has miscalculated. With government in complete control surely the quality of coverage will deteriorate rapidly along with objectivity. Let's hope for the best. The world is in dire need of an objective non-propagandized news organization. Mr. Putin obviously has an eye for quality nevertheless in this case probably should have left well-enough alone.
12/01/2013 - Cherish freedom? Thank a whistleblower.
This holiday season be thankful for all those revelations from high-profile whistleblowers whether you like 'em or not. Even US Representative Ted Poe of Texas admitted: "Snowden, I don't like him at all, but we would never have known what happened if he hadn't told us". And Representative Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a chief architect of the PATRIOT Act, was quoted this way by National Review Online in August "the administration has collected the details of every call made by every American, even though the overwhelming majority of these calls have nothing to do with terrorism...The suggestion that the administration can violate the law because Congress failed to object is outrageous. But let them be on notice: I am objecting right now."
NSA programs and similarly militarized programs are of highly questionable value in fighting terrorism yet unquestionably the final destruction of traditional American values. An August Reuters article written by John Schiffman and Kristina Cooke exposes how "intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records" are being misused across the nation for purposes far removed from anti-terrorism—something many of us have long surmised and everyone need fear. And perhaps this is only the tip of the iceberg. In any case an enlightened administration would curtail surveillance revenue streams while ensuring Edward Snowden will eventually receive his well-deserved Presidential Medal of Freedom.