Posts tagged ‘Big Brother’

Police State, Part 4 – Keystone Kops and Big Brother

Contemporary police are increasingly an armed gang enforcing the many rules of the omniscient regulatory state, i.e., Big Brother. Easy to do in the time of Three Felonies a Day.

The so-called war on drugs was the casus belli for the militarization of the local police forces in the U.S., although it took time to effect the evolution far and wide. Near the end of the campaign in Iraq, the favorite think tank of the left, the RAND Corporation, published a report in 2009 entitled Does The United States Need A New Police Force For Stability Operations?

Continue reading ‘Police State, Part 4 – Keystone Kops and Big Brother’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Teach Your Children Well (Teaching Instruction is an “Industry Of Mediocrity”)

Who Is Teaching Your Children? And What Is Being Taught?

Sure, professional athletes have a certain celebrity appeal, but can they really convince Americans to embrace a product that a growing number have already written off as a shit sandwich? But to really win hearts and minds … Hey! How about using the public schools to recruit their captive audience of students to the cause, and then set the kids loose to proselytize their families on the glories of Obamacare? That should work wonders.
. . .
So public school teachers get paid taxpayer dollars to preach Obamacare to their co-workers and the students, so the kids will then go home and sing the glories of the health scheme to the same taxpayers who are funding the whole process. Everybody wins!

If this experiment in using the public schools as a medium for spreading the good news works out as school officials and health insurance exchange managers hope, expect more in the future.

Los Angeles Public Schools Train Students as Obamacare Missionaries

Continue reading ‘Teach Your Children Well (Teaching Instruction is an “Industry Of Mediocrity”)’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Assume The Government Is Run By The DMV or the Post Office

You need not suspect the motives of those responsible for NSA surveillance to detest what they are doing. In fact, we may have more to fear from spies acting out of patriotic zeal than those acting out of power lust or economic interest: Zealots are more likely to eschew restraints that might compromise their righteous cause.

For the sake of argument, we may assume that from President Obama on down, government officials sincerely believe that gathering Americans’ telephone and Internet data is vital to the people’s security. Does that make government spying okay?

No, it doesn’t.

Motives Aside, the NSA Should Not Spy on Us

Continue reading ‘Assume The Government Is Run By The DMV or the Post Office’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Big Brother Really Is Watching Us

Here’s a question I asked myself yesterday: Would I rather have my phone records collected and readied for possible inspection by the National Security Agency, or have my genitalia scrutinized by the Transportation Security Administration?

One answer, of course, is, why choose? In today’s America you can have both. [Ed. Is this a great country or what?!?]

How TSA’s Groping Softened Us Up for NSA’s Snooping

The 4th Amendment is an ancient memory, clearly an affectation among us hicks.

How many records did the NSA seize from Verizon? Hundreds of millions. We are now learning about more potential mass data collections by the government from other communications and online companies. These are the “details,” and few Americans consider this approach “balanced,” though many rightly consider it Orwellian.

These activities violate the Fourth Amendment, which says warrants must be specific—”particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” And what is the government doing with these records? The president assures us that the government is simply monitoring the origin and length of phone calls, not eavesdropping on their contents. Is this administration seriously asking us to trust the same government that admittedly targets political dissidents through the Internal Revenue Service and journalists through the Justice Department?


The country is in the very best of hands. Ai yi yi yi yi!

No one objects to balancing security against liberty. No one objects to seeking warrants for targeted monitoring based on probable cause. We’ve always done this.

What is objectionable is a system in which government has unlimited and privileged access to the details of our private affairs, and citizens are simply supposed to trust that there won’t be any abuse of power. This is an absurd expectation. Americans should trust the National Security Agency as much as they do the IRS and Justice Department.

Big Brother Really Is Watching Us: Monitoring hundreds of millions of phone records is an extraordinary invasion of privacy.

When British soldiers were roaming the American countryside in the 1760s with lawful search warrants with which they had authorized themselves to enter the private homes of colonists in order to search for government-issued stamps, Thomas Paine wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” The soul-searching became a revolution in thinking about the relationship of government to individuals. That thinking led to casting off a king and writing a Constitution.

What offended the colonists when the soldiers came legally knocking was the violation of their natural right to privacy, their right to be left alone. We all have the need and right to be left alone. We all know that we function more fully as human beings when no authority figure monitors us or compels us to ask for a permission slip. This right comes from within us, not from the government.
. . .
And, of course, to prevent the recurrence of soldier-written search warrants and the government dragnets and fishing expeditions they wrought, the Constitution mandates that only judges may issue search warrants, and they may do so only on the basis of probable cause of crime, and the warrants must “particularly describ(e) the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Last week, we discovered that the government has persuaded judges to issue search warrants not on the constitutionally mandated basis, but because it would be easier for the feds to catch terrorists if they had a record of our phone calls and our emails and texts. How did that happen?
. . .
After 9/11, Congress enacted the Patriot Act. This permitted federal agents to write their own search warrants, as if to mimic the British soldiers in the 1760s. It was amended to permit the feds to go to the FISA court and get a search warrant for the electronic records of any American who might communicate with a foreign person.

In 30 years, from 1979 to 2009, the legal standard for searching and seizing private communications — the bar that the Constitution requires the government to meet — was lowered by Congress from probable cause of crime to probable cause of being an agent of a foreign power to probable cause of being a foreign person to probable cause of communicating with a foreign person. Congress made all these changes, notwithstanding the oath that each member of Congress took to uphold the Constitution. It is obvious that the present standard, probable cause of communicating with a foreign person, bears no rational or lawful resemblance to the constitutionally mandated standard: probable cause of crime.

The NSA Scandal Violates the Lessons of Our History and Our Constitution

Ozymandias.

Forward!

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The country is in the very best of hands…..

“Everybody in the mission” in Benghazi, Libya, thought the attack on a U.S. consulate there last Sept. 11 was an act of terror “from the get-go,” according to excerpts of an interview investigators conducted with the No. 2 official in Libya at the time, obtained by CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

“I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike, told investigators under authority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Hicks, the former U.S. Embassy Tripoli deputy chief of mission, was not in Benghazi at the time of the attack, which killed Chris Stevens – then the U.S. ambassador to Libya – and three other Americans.

When he appears this week before the committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Hicks is expected to offer testimony at odds with what some American officials were saying in public – and on “Face the Nation” – just five days after the attack. Benghazi whistleblowers have rallied attention to discrepancies among the administration’s reaction to the attack, which The Weekly Standard suggests was frayed by ever-evolving talking points that sought to remove references to al Qaeda.

On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice hit the media circuit, appearing on all five Sunday talk shows to dispel the notion that the strike was a premeditated terrorist act and to perpetuate the case that it began “spontaneously” out of protests in Egypt. Rice’s spot on “Face the Nation” that day was preceded by the new President of Libya Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had “no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”

Official: We knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack “from the get-go”

This week, CNN interviewed Tim Clemente, a former FBI counterterrorism agent, about whether the FBI would be able to discover the contents of past telephone calls between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his wife. Clemente stated that the FBI had ways of accessing those calls, and that all calls are recorded.
. . .
CLEMENTE: “No, welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak whether we know it or like it or not.”

Welcome to America. All of that stuff is being captured as we speak.

Big Brother is here.

On the night of Sept. 11, as the Obama administration scrambled to respond to the Benghazi terror attacks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key aide effectively tried to cut the department’s own counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making, according to a “whistle-blower” witness from that bureau who will soon testify to the charge before Congress, Fox News has learned.

That witness is Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s counterterrorism bureau. Sources tell Fox News Thompson will level the allegation against Clinton during testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Fox News has also learned that another official from the counterterrorism bureau — independently of Thompson — voiced the same complaint about Clinton and Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy to trusted national security colleagues back in October.

Clinton sought end-run around counterterrorism bureau on night of Benghazi attack, witness will say

No matter what happens with Darrell Issa’s congressional committee meetings this week, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the Obama administration, and the cause is Benghazi. It’s impossible to overestimate the blowback that has been gathering steam for the past seven months, now about to erupt with full force. Few reputations will emerge unscathed, Obama’s presidency will be crippled, Hillary Clinton‘s 2016 candidacy will be destroyed — and perhaps some new heroes will be born.

Benghazi Blues

The Air Force official in charge of its sexual-assault prevention program was arrested for groping, authorities said Monday.

Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, 41, was removed from his position as head of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office pending an investigation, the Air Force said.

The incident happened just after midnight Sunday when a drunken Krusinski allegedly approached the woman in a parking lot in Arlington, Va., and grabbed her breasts and buttocks, according to a police report.

Police said the woman fought off her assailant and scratches can be seen on Krusinski’s face in his mug shot. He was charged with sexual battery.

Air Force’s sex-abuse prevention honcho charged with sexual battery

Air Force Officer Accused of Sexual Battery

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Neo-Victorian Paternalism

Neo-Victorian Paternalism = modern puritanism = modern prohibitionists = nannies

Do it for the children.

This looks like startlingly neo-Victorian paternalism: mild suggestive remarks, not directed at an individual woman or at women in general, are presumed so offensive to women as to warrant swift retribution. Of course, no one who has worked in a mixed-sex environment seriously believes that women don’t make sexual jokes or comments in work settings. But that’s where the double standard comes in: unlike the Victorian lady, the modern feminist who demands such protections needn’t shun bawdy humor herself. Richards has made male anatomy jokes on her Twitter feed, which she uses professionally. When men make them, though, it’s apparently a female-excluding assertion of male privilege.
. . .
A hundred years ago, anarchist feminist Emma Goldman famously said that she did not want to be part of any revolution that would not allow dancing. Likewise, not only men but quite a few women women want no part of a feminist revolution if it bans innocent compliments and silly off-color jokes.

Obama’s Sexist Double Standard: What the Kamala Harris controversy reveals about about sexism and the left.

sexism, racism, stupidism

Offending, as the high priests of correctness have informed us, is the gravest and darkest of all sins.”
Dennis Byrne

Mayor Nanny is a Neo-Victorian Paternalist

Ozymandias

Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Surveillance State Run Amok

In one of his many overreactions to the events of 9/11, however, President George W. Bush changed all that with an ill-conceived executive order that unlawfully unleashed the CIA inside the U.S. and the FBI into foreign countries. Rather than facilitating a cooperative spirit in defense of individual freedom and national security, this reignited their rivalry. FBI agents, for example, publicly exposed CIA agents whom they caught torturing detainees at Gitmo, and Bush was forced to restrain the CIA.

Isn’t it odd that FBI agents would be reading the emails of the CIA director to his mistress and that the director of the FBI, who briefs the president weekly, did not make the president aware of this? The FBI could only lawfully spy on Petraeus by the use of a search warrant, and it could only get a search warrant if its agents persuaded a federal judge that Petraeus himself—not his mistress—was involved in criminal behavior under federal law.

The agents also could have bypassed the federal courts and written their own search warrant under the Patriot Act, but only if they could satisfy themselves (a curious and unconstitutional standard) that the general was involved in terror-related activity. Both preconditions for a search warrant are irrelevant and would be absurd in this case.

All this—the FBI spying on the CIA—constitutes the government attacking itself. Anyone who did this when neither federal criminal law nor national security has been implicated and kept the president in the dark has violated about four federal statutes and should be fired and indicted. The general may be a cad and a bad husband, but he has the same constitutional rights as the rest of us.

No keen observer could believe the government’s Pollyanna version of these events. When did the CIA become a paragon of honesty? When did the FBI become a paragon of transparency? When did the government become a paragon of telling the truth?

Silencing General Petraeus: No keen observer could believe the government’s Pollyanna version of these events. (emphasis added)

The affair between Petraeus and Broadwell was discovered by the FBI and revealed late last week when Petraeus resigned as director of the CIA. But while the salacious details have kept Washington’s press corps busy, the details about how the bureau ever got this information should concern us far more.

Every turn in the investigation that led to Petraeus’s resignation perfectly illustrates the incredible and dangerous reach of the massive United States surveillance apparatus, which, through hundreds of billions of dollars in post-9/11 programs — coupled with weakened privacy laws and lack of oversight — has affected the civil liberties of every American for years. The only difference here is the victim of the surveillance state’s reach was not a faceless American, but the head one of the agencies tasked to carry it out.
. . .
While these details may shock the average reader, these privacy-invasive tactics are used regularly by both federal and local law enforcement around the United States. In fact, as the New York Times reported, referring to Petraeus, “Law enforcement officials have said they used only ordinary methods in the case.” The only difference here is the target was the director of the CIA and one of the most decorated soldiers in modern military history.

The Petraeus scandal — or perhaps we should call it the FBI snooping scandal — dovetailed with Google releasing its semi-annual transparency report, which again showed that government requests for ordinary user data continues to skyrocket. The last six months showed the U.S. government requesting data from Google alone on more than 12,000 users, a marked increase over the six months prior. And this number doesn’t even include some Patriot Act demands, National Security Letters with gag orders, or secret FISA court orders for intelligence operations. As Google said in conjunction with the release of its report, “This is the sixth time we’ve released this data, and one trend has become clear: Government surveillance is on the rise.”

Congress is now demanding to know why it wasn’t informed by the Justice Department about the details of the Petraeus affair earlier. Lawmakers should instead be worried about why the public was informed of these details at all, given that no crime was committed. And instead of investigating one man’s personal life, they should investigate how to strengthen our privacy laws so this does not happen to anyone else.

The U.S. government has so far been unable to keep its colossal surveillance state in check. Now that it is so bloated it is eating itself, one hopes more people will finally pay attention.

Investigate the FBI: The real Petraeus scandal is why the bureau was rummaging around in his private communications in the first place.

This is a surveillance state run amok. It also highlights how any remnants of internet anonymity have been all but obliterated by the union between the state and technology companies.

But, as unwarranted and invasive as this all is, there is some sweet justice in having the stars of America’s national security state destroyed by the very surveillance system which they implemented and over which they preside. As Trevor Timm of the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it this morning: “Who knew the key to stopping the Surveillance State was to just wait until it got so big that it ate itself?”

It is usually the case that abuses of state power become a source for concern and opposition only when they begin to subsume the elites who are responsible for those abuses. Recall how former Democratic Rep. Jane Harman – one of the most outspoken defenders of the illegal Bush National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless eavesdropping program – suddenly began sounding like an irate, life-long ACLU privacy activist when it was revealed that the NSA had eavesdropped on her private communications with a suspected Israeli agent over alleged attempts to intervene on behalf of AIPAC officials accused of espionage. Overnight, one of the Surveillance State’s chief assets, the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, transformed into a vocal privacy proponent because now it was her activities, rather than those of powerless citizens, which were invaded.

With the private, intimate activities of America’s most revered military and intelligence officials being smeared all over newspapers and televisions for no good reason, perhaps similar conversions are possible. Put another way, having the career of the beloved CIA Director and the commanding general in Afghanistan instantly destroyed due to highly invasive and unwarranted electronic surveillance is almost enough to make one believe not only that there is a god, but that he is an ardent civil libertarian.

FBI’s abuse of the surveillance state is the real scandal needing investigation

How interesting that last night I was speaking to a former field-grade Marine infantry officer about l’affaire Petraeus wherein we marveled at other senior Army or Marine officers we had known in our careers who could not keep their pants zipped and ruined their otherwise-stellar careers. For my buddy it was a regimental commander, years ago. The one that I recollected first was an armor brigade commander who decided to poke his Spec 4 driver, and I don’t mean on the then-nonexistent Facebook.

I confess to having a more jaded view of the whole sordid mess than a lot of folks for two main reasons. One, my final assignment in the Army was as a principal staff officer of US Army Criminal Investigation Command – and you do that for awhile and you will never again be surprised at anything stupid or criminal that anyone does, no matter his/her reputation, accomplishments or station in life. Two, I’ve been in ecclesial ministry for 15 years, same lesson (including, sadly, fellow clergy).

Petraeus and Broadwell: The FBI circles the wagons

Google received more requests from the U.S. government to hand over user data during the first half of this year than from any other country, according to the search company’s biannual “Transparency Report” released on Tuesday.

From January to June, Google received nearly 8,000 requests for user data from the U.S. government. The search company said it “fully or partially” compiled with roughly 90 percent of them. That’s up from the 5,950 requests for user data that Google received from the U.S. government during the same period a year ago.

Google: Surveillance ‘is on the rise’

Tags: , , , ,