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Danilow's sometimes daily blog October 2014

 

10/31/2014 funding "moderate" Syrian rebels:

Today's AP says that "In an ideal world from a Western perspective, an army of 'moderate' rebels headquartered in Istanbul would be an attractive choice to march into Syria and defeat both the Islamic State and the Syrian government". Perhaps this is why POTUS proposed using US revenue streams to fund "moderate" Syrian rebels against ISIS. However the world is far from ideal and "In reality, Free Syria Army fighters are often militant Islamists".* Nonetheless US taxpayers now provide megabuck-funding for another fuddling foreign policy, once again generating gory corporate profits at the expense of all things sacred.
*broken AP link replaced 11/18/2014, broken Yahoo News link replaced 02/11/2017

10/29/2014 USPS snoops too:

According to "Bloomberg Businessweek" USPS is collecting address information for surveillance purposes [this link was discovered to be dead 4/25/2016 and is underlined here FYI] apparently without warrants or proper oversight channels. Think back to Jimmy Carter's concerns over e-mail security and his penchant for using snail mail to avoid big brother's prying eyes—an effort perhaps revealed as futile in a nation where "intelligence" and law enforcement communities arguably operate above constitutional law with impunity. Lack of incisive leadership is rampant everywhere in this militarized nation now killing suspected worldwide terrorists while embracing confirmed liars into "intelligence" organizations that decide which suspects to snuff. Exponentially America becomes less deserving of any appellation remotely akin to leader of the free world. Hopefully US citizens are, and will continue, incrementally discerning prevalent corruption and self-interested abuses of power and finance*** including the ill-advised knee-jerk legislation destroying citizens' constitutional protections in favor of expanded societal militarization. Unfortunately the upcoming election is not likely to cure any real ills irrespective of outcome. Like Chalmers Johnson stated in the prologue to his 2007 title Nemesis: "Unfortunately, our political system may no longer be capable of saving the United States as we know it, since it is hard to imagine any president or Congress standing up to the powerful vested interests of the Pentagon, the secret intelligence agencies, and the military-industrial complex."
***broken link removed 01/03/2015

10/28/2014 James Comey revisited:

According to "officer.com" FBI Director James Comey spoke yesterday in Orlando defending contemporary law enforcement techniques and "police use-of-force and military surplus equipment". He argued in part: "The real issue for me is the way in which we use it and how we deploy advanced equipment and when and how our officers are trained to use that equipment. The way we do it matters enormously...Our paramount wish as leaders of law enforcement is that our people come home after each tour," What is extremely disturbing is that he fails to address the core issue of law enforcement accountability and he appears to believe public safety of lesser import than law enforcement safety in today's world.

For example roughly 20 years ago it was lack of law enforcement accountability which ultimately allowed highly-trained FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi to escape prosecution for needlessly killing a mother of 4 at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Today lack of law enforcement accountability typically grants immunity to law enforcement teams mistakenly committing indefensible atrocities1 like this year's grenade disfigurement of an infant in Georgia. Law enforcement has a tough job but that does not give them license to place self-interest ahead of public safety as they most certainly and consistently nowadays appear to do with impunity because they are not held accountable for poor judgement, overreaching, and grandstanding. Nowadays the counterfeit vigilante attitude of too many American enforcers rightfully is seen by average citizens as placing them in far greater danger than any form of terrorism.

Mr. Comey also reportedly said "that the notion of homegrown violent extremists was unknown to him back in 2004, but since has become a domestic threat that need to be taken seriously by law enforcement officials" which makes him appear ignorant of Tim Mcveigh's Oklahoma City bombing and the fact that government officials in advance of their Ruby Ridge siege passed the bogus word that Randy Weaver had rigged his property with trip-wires and explosives (despite having 4 young children) and was wanted in ten states for bank robbery. If Mr Comey is not ignorant of these things he is politically well-spoken and being disingenous. In any case there is no statute of limitations on murder. Allowing law enforcement to operate with impunity is an enormous danger to freedom and sadly has become prevalent in American society. This needs to change.

One final paragraph of Associate Justice Brandeis' dissenting opinion in the 1914 Roy Olmstead case is now well-known: "Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means—to declare that the Government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal—would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this Court should resolutely set its face."

1dead link 02/11/2017 (http://commondreams.org/further/2014/10/08/no-charges-baby-burning-butt-stupid-cops-because-hey-mistakes-happen)

10/27/2014 Atlanta executive responds to 10/25 entry:

On 10/27/2014 6:27 PM, Tom wrote: "...The article I sent you and the letters you received from your senators rang a consistent chord with me. The fundamental problem the US has, and I do not see any way to counteract it, is that a man with a hammer sees all the problems of the world as a nail. The US political leadership has an overwhelming military force and (like ancient Rome) truly believes that this is the answer to all of their geopolitical problems. This is a truly mid 20th century solution to the problem."

"The interesting (relatively new) twist to the opposition is to use social media and old fashioned retail slaughter in response. It should be interesting to see how this plays out. If it plays the way Vietnam did, the US public will quickly weary of the daily bloodshed and cry 'nay, enough'. If it plays out the way WWII did, we will sacrifice 10,000,000 men to make the problem go away. Either way I don't see anybody with enough historical or cross-cultural background in the current political landscape to be able to chart a different course. Sadly, as usual, it seems past is prologue."

10/25/2014 Florida's US Senators on ISIS and bombing:

Yesterday Florida's US Senators responded to my comments against bombing Syria and Iraq and my comments about what appears to be an expedient distortion of the ISIS threat. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson's response and Republican Senator Marco Rubio's response espouse traditional American military "solutions" to Middle East problems. Nonetheless the kick-ass US military machine has targeted the Middle East with gusto for roughly 14 years and another decade or two's effort is apt to produce analogous results. One colloquial definition of insanity is "doing the same thing repeatedly while expecting different results". In any case there appear to be viable non-military remedies* generally requiring massive changes to US foreign policy—and scholars worldwide seem to agree that US foreign policy since WWII is a root cause of international terrorism as it is known today. Incidentally Republican Congressman Jeff Miller representing Florida's 1st US congressional district wisely chose not to support the funding and arming of "moderate" Syrian rebels with US revenue streams, a commendable act. (Added 10/25 at 3:38PM CST: Here is my reply to Florida's US Senators.)
*link changed 02/11/2017

10/24/2014 Julian Assange and Google:

Julian Assange's insightful excerpt touted here is from his recent title When Google Met WikiLeaks and is a well-supported in-depth analytical caution concluding in part that Google's "influence on the choices and behavior of the totality of individual human beings translates to real power to influence the course of history", which inherently portends grave danger arguably compounded by Google's ongoing official and pseudo official ties. In any case it would be just swell if everyone could read and reflect on every single word of this excerpt. Unlike American "intelligence" leaders Julian Assange appears to be entirely credible and thus far has not been caught lying to Congress, the American people, and all the world's listeners—making this piece all the more valuable. .

10/16/2014 FBI Director and encryption:

For thinking Americans it is embarrassing that FBI Director James Comey continues his ill-advised effort against cell phone privacy. Listening to Mr. Comey, one might be swayed that law enforcement can no longer function without the ability to listen-in on anyone's communications at any time—something they've learned to do handily since AUMF and PATRIOT. Rather than welcome reasonable communications privacy solutions, Mr. Comey appears to want encryption to be illegal if law enforcement cannot readily break it. Nevertheless if law enforcement can break it so can hackers and others. It would also mean evermore legislation (requiring evermore administering bureaucracy) in order to make possession of such encrypted devices illegal whether or not made in another country and whether or not in vogue elsewhere worldwide. America once honored freedom and independence and constitutional law. Nowadays America's "leaders" seem to want to curtail any such mindsets.

10/13/2014 rule of law:

Sunday night on TV's 60 Minutes FBI Director James Comey talked extensively about the rule of law without addressing justice. Nonetheless rule of law and justice seldom are congruent and Mr Comey's official mandate most assuredly is to ensure rule of law irrespective of consequence. One horrendous twenty-year-old-example is that rule of law ultimately precluded the prosecution of highly-trained FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi for needlessly killing a mother of 4 at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. Today rule of law permits continued warrantless collection of Americans' personal data even after two federal judges have adjudicated germane intelligence actions to be unconstitutional and even after sponsoring legislators have declared those intelligence actions to be inconsistent with the intent of the law they sponsored. Rule of law also appears to grant immunity to law enforcement teams mistakenly committing indefensible atrocities1 like the recent grenade disfigurement of an infant in Georgia. Rule of law is a wonderful thing when coupled with justice however no one can expect highly-trained agenda-burdened government employees to either recognize or administer justice. In the words of Frederick Bastiat "generally, the law is made by one man or one class of men. And since law cannot operate without the sanction and support of a dominating force, this force must be entrusted to those who make the laws"—inherently attenuating impartial justice. Rule of law has a nice ring to it but unchecked is often tyrannical.

1dead link 02/11/2017 (http://commondreams.org/further/2014/10/08/no-charges-baby-burning-butt-stupid-cops-because-hey-mistakes-happen)

10/12/2014 new encryption:

Tonight on 60 Minutes FBI Director James Comey told Scott Pelley "The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law, troubles me a lot." His thoughts were referencing new data encryption techniques touted by the likes of Apple and Google. Those techniques are orders of magnitude more secure than previous technology making encryption extraordinarily difficult for law enforcement to break. Exactly how that places anyone beyond the law is unclear at best. In any case, listening to Mr. Comey, one might think that law enforcement can no longer function without the ability to listen-in on anyone's communications at any time—something they've learned to do handily since AUMF and PATRIOT. Rather than welcome reasonable privacy solutions, Mr. Comey presumably would make encryption illegal if law enforcement cannot readily break it. This of course means evermore legislation (requiring evermore administering bureaucracy) in order to make possession of such encrypted devices illegal whether or not made in another country and whether or not in vogue elsewhere worldwide. Ostensibly America still prefers highly-trained, mission-oriented leaders irrespective of educability.

10/09/2014 enforcer impunity:

Before stationing soldiers at bases in foreign lands the US typically arranges for troop immunity from prosecution under local law. Of course, if heads-of-state don't request the troop presence, the presence is invasion and local laws are meaningless to invaders. Nowadays US civilian law enforcement is culturally militarized and enjoys analogous lack of accountability despite theoretically not being "at war" with the diverse populations they pretend to "serve and protect". Gresham's law—culturally applied—shows how inferior enforcers, once circulating, eventually and invariably replace their betters. In any case here is a heart-wrenching story1 that is certain to make those who swear by police infallibility and impunity proud to be Americans. Sadly the United States has become a calloused, warmongering, unaccountable, militarized society with diminishing humanitarian values—now far more concerned with damage control than justice at virtually every level. Be forewarned: as American culture continues to evolve the average citizen is already of no more use to the powers-that-be than was the pesky indian in the early days of the republic.

1dead link 02/11/2017 (http://commondreams.org/further/2014/10/08/no-charges-baby-burning-butt-stupid-cops-because-hey-mistakes-happen)

10/08/2014 happy bombing:

In Syria the US appears to want President Assad, and several loosely-described factions opposing Assad, completely out of the way. Bombing both sides of the complex Syrian civil war seems reasonable to powerful warmongering DoD affilitates since it produces quick milk-able bucks despite givng aid, comfort, and credible narratives to recruiters for terrorism. According to the Washington Post "Army Lt. Gen. William C. Mayville Jr., director of operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, said the objectives set for the U.S.-led war in Iraq and now Syria could take years to complete." Looks like another decade or two of bottomless blood-stained money pit in the interest of freedom, democracy, spheres of influence, petro dollar supremacy, or paving the adversarial way into Iran, take your own prejudiced pick. Most of lame stream media continues to tout America's new bombing strategy as precursor to western victory over terrorism. If you are looking for alternative solutions, here is a good place to start*.
*link changed 02/11/2017

10/06/2014 Wisdom of Congressman Jeff Miller:

Recently when the US House of Representatives voted to back POTUS' Syria "plan", Congressman Jeff Miller, the Republican representative from Florida's 1st district, wisely chose not to support the funding and arming of "moderate" Syrian rebels with US revenue streams. Maybe he recognized the ISIS threat to the US to be more hype than substance for the foreseeable future. In any case already the world has learned that "in Syria it is Assad's government that is best placed to benefit from blows to the extremists"—just as AP reported***. Most of lame stream media continues to tout America's new bombing strategy as precursor to western victory over terrorism. If you are looking for alternative solutions, here is a good place to start*.
*broken commondreams link changed 02/11/2017
*** broken AP link removed10/13/2014

10/01/2014 madmen still in control:

It has been almost 16 months since Edward Snowden well-served his country by revealing intelligence gathering techniques twice-adjudicated and always-arguably unconstitutional, however no significant changes have been made to disgraceful government methodologies. Nowadays the "intelligence" communities are claiming overreach shelter under a top secret Reagan-era Executive Order 12333 which certainly must be added to any ill-advised-legislation nullification list. Corrective inaction makes POTUS appear to support the insanity and paranoia inside national security circles. To refresh your recall reread this excellent year-old op-ed by law professor Yochai Benkler entitled Time to tame the NSA behemoth trampling our rights.

10/01/2014 restoring constitutional protections:

The most important agenda before Congress is restoration of constitutional protections for US citizens. Repeal of AUMF, PATRIOT, and the detention provisions of NDAA 2012 are the single most important issues that Congress can address in order to preserve and ensure the longevity of traditional American values.

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