Monday, August 26, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Crooks Reforming Crooks

Don't be fooled by our supervisors pretending to investigate themselves:
The Obama administration on Wednesday declassified opinions from a secret court that oversees government surveillance showing the National Security Agency was broadly collecting domestic Internet communications of Americans and misrepresenting the scope of that effort to the court.
The three opinions include one from October 2011 by U.S. District Judge John Bates, who scolded government lawyers that the NSA had, for the third time in less than three years, belatedly acknowledged it was collecting more data than it was legally allowed to.
"NSA acquires valuable information through its upstream collection, but not without substantial intrusions on Fourth Amendment protected interests," Bates wrote.
 The FISA so-called "court" being misled by the NSA is an interesting concept, on the order of Tessio being misled by Clemenza.  Both are fully-integrated components of the same organized crime family.

The US regime is quite clear on who its enemies are.  Its enemies are anyone and anything other than itself, with a few minor exceptions: subordinate toadies like the UK regime.  Bradley Manning is the enemy.  Edward Snowden is the enemy.  Julian Assange is the enemy.  And, by the way, you're the enemy.  As am I.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

It's Very Simple, Really

Representative Morgan Griffith finds himself dealing with a real conundrum:
Rep. Griffith requested information about the NSA from the House Intelligence Committee six weeks ago, on June 25. He asked for "access to the classified FISA court order(s) referenced on Meet the Press this past weekend": a reference to my raising with host David Gregory the still-secret 2011 86-page ruling from the FISA court that found substantial parts of NSA domestic spying to be in violation of the Fourth Amendment as well as governing surveillance statutes.
In that same June 25 letter, Rep. Griffith also requested the semi-annual FISC "reviews and critiques" of the NSA. He stated the rationale for his request: "I took an oath to uphold the United States Constitution, and I intend to do so."
Almost three weeks later, on July 12, Rep. Griffith requested additional information from the Intelligence Committee based on press accounts he had read about Yahoo's unsuccessful efforts in court to resist joining the NSA's PRISM program. He specifically wanted to review the arguments made by Yahoo and the DOJ, as well as the FISC's ruling requiring Yahoo to participate in PRISM.
On July 22, he wrote another letter to the Committee seeking information. This time, it was prompted by press reports that that the FISA court had renewed its order compelling Verizon to turn over all phone records to the NSA. Rep. Griffith requested access to that court ruling.
The Congressman received no response to any of his requests. With a House vote looming on whether to defund the NSA's bulk collection program - it was scheduled for July 25 - he felt he needed the information more urgently than ever. He recounted his thinking to me: "How can I responsibly vote on a program I know very little about?"
Let me help him out.


Dear Representative Griffith,

You vote "no."  You vote to defund.  You vote "no" on any budget, or other form of appropriation, containing so much as a single penny for NSA.

You're very welcome,

   --- Jim Wetzel

Saturday, August 03, 2013

What's the Point?

I'm reading that The People's Deputies in the US Congress may soon be making some more well-intended efforts at putting some limits around our growing Stasi-style surveillance regime:
Members of Congress are considering 11 legislative measures to constrain the activities of the National Security Agency, in a major shift of political opinion in the eight weeks since the first revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The proposals range from repealing the legal foundations of key US surveillance powers to more moderate reforms of the secretive court proceedings for domestic spying. If enacted, the laws would represent the first rollback of the NSA's powers since 9/11.
The Guardian has spoken to six key lawmakers involved in the push to rein in the NSA, and those involved in the process argue there is now an emerging consensus that the bulk collection of millions of phone records needs to be overhauled or even ended.
Justin Amash, the Republican congressman whose measure to terminate the indiscriminate collection of phone data was narrowly defeated 10 days ago, said he was certain the next legislative push will succeed. "The people who voted no are, I think, hopeful to get another opportunity to vote yes on reforming this program and other programs," he said.
In the Senate, Democrat Ron Wyden said there was similarly "strong bipartisan support for fundamental reforms", a direct consequence of revelations about the nature and power of NSA surveillance. "Eight weeks ago, we wouldn't have had this debate in the Congress," he said. "Eight weeks ago there wouldn't have been this extraordinary vote."
All right, and I will go ahead and attribute good intentions to most or all of these legislators, Rep. Amash in particular. I have a question, though.  Amendment 4 of the US Constitution seems fairly clear and simple:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
If Amendment 4 is being ignored -- and it is -- by our commissariat, and if Amendment 4, like the rest of the Constitution, is effectively wastepaper as a result -- and it is -- then what makes these folks think anything they would pass, even if signed into "law," would fare any better?  If the triple-secret rubberstamp FISA court uses the Bill of Rights to wipe its highly-classified butt on, what higher use will they have for an Amash amendment, or its possible equivalent (even assuming the Peace Laureate signed it)?

Fellow subjects, the regime is lawless.  From the secret FISA court, to O'Bomber's kill lists, clear down to the local thug cops who beat, tase, and kill at will, basically for funsies and with no legal repercussions, they don't follow their own alleged rules.  I don't think they ever really have followed them, but they've lost any semblance of respect for, or fear of, the serfs.  We've reached a point at which they've ceased to make any real effort to cover up their lawlessness any more.  Something may stop this ... but it won't be laws, and it certainly won't be the fabled "ballot box."

Thursday, August 01, 2013

My Face: Unslapped

I'm not sure what it would mean to "trust" Vladimir Putin, the former chekist who was quoted, not so long ago, conditioning Edward Snowden's ability to stay in Russia on his refraining from "harming our American partners."  But I do note, both happily and cautiously, that Mr. Snowden seems to be at least temporarily fairly safe from extradition (or, more likely, rendition) back home to Mordor.

But oh, several Ringwraiths seem mightily unamused:

"Russia's action today is a disgrace and a deliberate effort to embarrass the United States. It is a slap in the face of all Americans," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. "Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin's Russia."
Any time this senile, psychotic blockhead opens his cavernous mouth, anyone else's attempts to "embarrass the United States" must recede into the noise.  This sawed-off little tyrant is a nuclear-powered mega-embarrassment to any thinking person, American or otherwise.  As for crying about slapped American faces: speak for yourself, bedwetter.

Then there's South Carolina's proudest contribution to the Potomac braintrust, Lindsey Graham:

“Americans in Washington should consider this a game changer in our relationship with Russia. Mr. Snowden has been charged with serious crimes and has put American lives at risk at home and abroad,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said.
“Today’s action by the Russian government could not be more provocative and is a sign of Vladimir Putin’s clear lack of respect for President Obama,” he continued. “It is now time for Congress, hopefully in conjunction with the Administration, to make it clear to the Russian government that this provocative step in granting Snowden asylum will be met with a firm response.”
 Yeah, watch out, Putin!  If you don't give Supreme Drone Commander O'Bomber his props, then Senator Lispy Lindsey's gonna give you a ... well ... uhhh ... a firm response, that's what!

And, speaking of the Peace Laureate, his minion Jay Carney is very, very disappointed.  Extremely so, in fact:

"We are extremely disappointed that the Russian government would take this step despite our very clear and lawful requests in public and private that Mr. Snowden be expelled and returned to the United States," said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
"Mr. Snowden is not a whistleblower" or a dissident, Carney said. "He is accused of leaking classified information. He should be returned to the United States as soon as possible."
 "Leaking classified information."  These days, all that means is that he said something -- almost anything.  Since everything's classified, that is.  Mr. Snowden confirmed, for those of us who may have doubted, that our supervisors view us Americans as their real enemy.  And they are so, so very disappointed.

Mr. Snowden, one measure of the quality of a man is the character of his enemies.  By that measure, you are greatly honored that this bunch of bloody-handed clowns are all lusting so severely for your chitlins.

Read more here:

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