02/27/2015 funding DHS:
Of course Senator Mitch McConnell did the right thing in rallying the Senate to fully fund DHS through this fiscal year. Nevertheless continuing congressional stigma is well-maintained and enhanced by Speaker Boehner's actions and lack thereof. "My" congressman admires Boehner nonetheless constituents encountered still seem to believe that Boehner is a poor choice for Speaker of the House. His proposed stopgap measure will keep congessional dysfunction in the forefront of the news for weeks to come.
Perhaps the GOP should reestablish priorities while focusing on issues benefiting the US citizenry more than foreign oil interests. It seems POTUS made the right call in vetoing Keystone. Nevertheless Republicans are considering other avenues for game playing with this issue—arguably evolving into demoralizing Keystone cops. Get over it and get on with the nation's business of lasting consequence—like reigning-in "intelligence" zealots and restoring America's constitutional protections and respect for constituional law.
Could the rule of law be failing the general public? Looks like the big cheese doesn't have time to deal with legitimate concerns of the public—he's got a mission to accomplish. And what might be wrong with this picture? Maybe militarism, militarism, militarism.
02/22/2015 unmitigated shame:
One of the more shameful chapters in American history reveals the GW-Bush-era ostensibly illegal invasions and international torture episodes. Planet-wide stigmas resulting from that administration's actions are likely to be long in redress. For example: "The full history of US torture has yet to be told. Much of it remains concealed by official secrecy, like the bulk of the landmark US Senate report on Bush-era CIA abuse, or the stories of the 122 Guantanamo detainees Barack Obama continues to hold at the wartime prison he has vowed without success to close." Nonetheless truth eventually finds its outlet despite any orchestrated adversity. If you haven't seen Alex Gibney's award winning 2007 documentary entitled Taxi to the Dark Side, buy yourself a copy today and host a neighborhood screening.
02/21/2015 SIM control:
The need for secrecy and the difficulties of maintaining secrecy mushroom exponentially. The predominace of deceit in officialdom's secret tunnel-visioned endeavors requires evermore secrecy to hide it all from public scrutiny. Self-styled authorities want unfettered access to all existing information about people, places, things, and events and seem obsessed with legislating a monopoly of secrecy for the hysterical US security State. Overstepping restraints like law, common decency, and Magna Charta principle is inconsequential to those trained to believe they serve some ill-perceived greater good. A wealthy nation devoid of humanitarian goals, dismissive of human rights, and primarily exporting war can hardly be trusted to give respect, by other than lip service, to the integrity of others. Sincerity might be demonstrated with corrective actions like "leadership" replacements, questionable methodology revamping, and prosecutions of offending officials.
02/20/2015 Congressman Miller on Israel:
Response to my comments about Netanyahu address to Congress and more.
02/19/2015 parlous leadership:
Of course President
Obama is absolutely correct that America's current propensity for sterotyping Muslims is foolish—also childish, ignorant, hateful,
and counterproductive—consequently a fairly easy sell to that biased and bigoted US contingent easily swayed by
perennial warmongers and their lamestream chattel. Hopefully POTUS can continue his parlous bully pulpit
leadership well enough and long enough to nullify much of the
anticipated balderdash in
Netanyahu's upcoming stateside propagandizing.
It appears that like the IS militants, both Netanyahu and many current members of the US congress disparage diplomacy
and irrationally think that obliteration of perceived enemies is a worthwhile contemporary policy pursuit.
GOP leaders are losing it everywhere* apparently in a ludicrous vendetta against POTUS.
* dead ABC News link replaced 6/6/2015
02/16/2015 wake up:
Here is one question posed by reason.com: "Are there great numbers of students somewhere eager to see Snowden hanged? Who support the NSA and the abridgment of privacy and liberty? Who are eager for more wars?". For now young studious Americans seem most focused on truth and least burdened by the momentum of political inertia. On the other hand the political sentiments of both major American political parties might best be paraphrased like this: "There are great numbers of politicians eager to see Snowden hanged. Who support the NSA and the abridgment of privacy and liberty. Who are eager for more wars". Fearful protection of the status quo is manifested in that kind of repression and belligerence.
02/13/2015 more Citizenfour:
Here is your chance to see NYT columnist David Carr's interview with Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald, and—via video link—Ed Snowden. It's a most worthwhile hour especially to those of us concerned about the plight of freedoms as worldwide surveillance States evolve. It has proved to be Mr. Carr's last interview.
Those hoping for meaningful change from Edward Snowden's whistle blowing are likely to be disappointed. The US Director of National Intelligence
still endorses US military participation in civil law enforcement and defends military spying on US citizens via DOD's NSA despite mass surveillance
(collection of citizens' metadata without individualized warrants) being generally known ineffective in thwarting terrorism. After roughly 19 months
of federal inaction eight US states are prudently considering NSA-curtailment legislation and [reportedly] two of the bills criminalize official cooperation
with NSA—possibly an uphill way to rejuvenate the rule of US constitutional law without the cooperation of Congress.
*letter to DFS Herald-Breeze editor Feb 12, 2015
02/09/2015 democracy now:
If you're not familiar with Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! today is good day to get acquainted. The interview with whistle blower John Kiriakou can be a real eye-opener about many things. Likely you remember John Kiriakou as the highly-decorated 14-year CIA analyst who first confirmed waterboarding to be a part of Bush-era torture programs. He has been released from prison and allowed to return home. The entire text of the interview is available beneath the video on the same page—it's extremely worthwhile.
02/06/2015 NSA & GCHQ:
Mass surveillance by secrecy-obsessed government is a global issue and an enormous quandary for freedom-loving earthlings everywhere. Surveillance programs are tools of power with exploitable arguments for eliciting continuous revenue streams therefore official changes are apt to be token methodology cosmetics eliminating public outcry. Certainly the US Congress is not likely to take meaningful action to restore lost constitutional protections to US citizens. Maybe the Liberty organization can fair better with the European Court of Human Rights.
The US Congress has no discernible 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. POTUS has the authority but lacks compelling motivation to immediately stop warrantless intelligence activities and the US Supreme Court historically assures power of consequence to the establishment. Hence US taxpayers most likely will continue helplessly funding the mechanisms which incrementally destroy their freedoms. It's become the American way.
02/05/2015 champion citizens:
This story champions
Russian and German citizens for their enlightened tastes.*
*broken link replaced Sept. 8, 2016.
02/05/2015 NSA token "reform":
"If you were hoping for sweeping changes in the wake of Ed Snowden's whistleblowing, you're in for disappointment" says The Register. Eight US states anticipating such federal complacency already are considering NSA-curtailment legislation says US News and World Report. Those eight US states certainly appear to be on the right track toward upholding the rule of Constitutional law in America.
Conversely the US Director of National Intelligence encourages the use of US military might for law enforcement purposes and defends DoD's spying on American citizens with its NSA. If you're over 40 US federal mindsets and rules have changed dramatically in your lifetime—thanks principally to ill-advised policies of the last Republican administration being continued by the current administration of Democrats. Don't expect relief from Congress no matter which party is in control.
By now most everyone knows that mass surveillance has failed to thwart terrorism despite officials' public claims to the contrary.
Recently "illicit finance" is touted as a targeted area of mass surveillance.
For several years at least one world class financier* has repeatedly warned that mass surveillance is largely about governments' "locating money"
everywhere on the planet. In any case we know that it's not a reasonably effective anti-terrorism tool yet government won't give it up. .
*Martin Armstrong, founder of Princeton Economics
02/04/2015 God bless The Atlantic:
Collecting personal information without probable cause certainly appears unconstitutional to interested observers outside "intelligence" circles. Allowing federal agents to issue "letters" in lieu of warrants most assuredly is unconstitutional. "The NSA constantly violates the particularity clause of the Fourth Amendment, even when it gets a warrant from its secretive, one-sided court".
James Clapper of course would disagree. He actually believes that the US military can warrantlessly get all the information it wants on US citizens when combatting crime: "the Director of National Intelligence noted that there were still six broad categories under which the NSA could justify such data acquisition. These included counter-terrorism and cybersecurity, and the combatting of any criminal or national security threats. The man does not seem to care that the military's traditional role is far removed from law enforcement and does not appear to have capacity for grasping separation of powers. NSA is a tunnel-visioned military organization, a DoD component, hence the US military nowadays is generously funded to spy on US citizens. All three branches of US government seem to approve and immense funding appears guaranteed by a now-Republican-controlled congress.
02/03/2015 metadata and more:
Interestingly the "intelligence" communities typically defend metadata collections as being non-personalized data arguably not germane to
citizens' concerns about privacy. Nonetheless reportedly "in 2014, former American
director of both the NSA and the CIA spy agencies Michael
Hayden admitted that the US 'kills people based on metadata'1—ostensibly used in establishing drone targets.
1link replaced 05/10/2016
Irrespective of UAV targeting, prestigious worldwide rights bodies seem to agree that "mass surveillance practices are a
fundamental threat to human rights"
and the US government's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has said that "Obama must finally
end NSA phone record collection"—presumably
including records grabbed from foreign sources, for example:
foreign intelligence agency1, the BND, gathers 220 million pieces of metadata from
foreign phone calls and text messages per day, relaying them to top US spy agencies the NSA and the CIA".
1noticed 12/30/2015 this link apparently removed from web: http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2015/01/31/395489/German-BND-relaying-intel-to-US
Unfortunately governments everywhere are slow to relinquish sources of information and are insatiable in secret endeavors. Militarized agenda-ladened "intelligence" agencies characteristically lack capacity for voluntary subordination to rules of non-militarized conduct, like constitutional law and Magna Charta principle, and can neither recognize nor dispense justice as known outside familiar inbred prejudicial environments. Nowadays, with civilian oversight dissipated and practical federal remedies not likely forthcoming, eight US states are wisely considering NSA-curtailment legislation as reported by US News and World Report—more power to them. NSA is a military organization, a DoD component, hence the US military nowadays is generously funded to spy on US citizens. All three branches of US government seem to approve and immense funding appears guaranteed by a now-Republican-controlled congress.
02/01/2015 restoring constitutional protections:
Think about it. In 2014 the top two US DoD spooks officially lied to the world in public with impunity in order to protect questionable methodologies and their associated revenue streams while using bogus claims of effectiveness. Aside from reporting on international CIA torture, no legislative, executive, or judicial actions have significantly curtailed or shed additional light on secret US government activities already adjudicated to be unconstitutional. Currently only whistleblowers advocate traditionally definitive American values.
Failing federal action, according to US News and World Report, eight states currently are considering NSA-curtailment legislation prohibiting "...state and local governments from offering material support to the agency, including use of public utilities that carry water and electricity. Two of the bills would criminalize official cooperation with the NSA...". These are marvelous steps in the right direction which eventually could help restore some lasting American pride and self-respect. Read the article.