Archives for posts with tag: FISA

They cost rich people a load of cash with their illegal (and legal) spying activities. And rich people have the ultimate power in this plutocracy democratic government. So, it’s safe to say that the boys and girls at Fort Meade have well and truly stepped in the s***:

“There’s no question that we’ve reached the point where the tech companies are being threatened financially and commercially by what’s happened with the NSA,” Boorstin says.

U.S. tech companies, including Google, are doing more business overseas, and customers in some of those markets are saying the American firms’ associations with NSA surveillance activities will cost the companies some of that business.

Shred the Constitution, and nobody really objects. Hack the cell phones of our allies, and a few politicos might bluster a bit. But cost a big US corporation some serious coin, and s*** is gonna get real, and it’s gonna get that way really fast.

It’s a sad thing indeed, that we can’t count on truth, justice and the American way to reign in an abusive and out-of-control government entity. It’s even more depressing to have to rely on a load of Scrooges to restore some semblance of the rule of law in this regard. But hey, the enemy of our enemy is our friend.

At least, in this case. F*** those greedy bastards in most other areas, but let’s cheer them on as they battle the NSA, Patriot Act, and the rest of the Bushistas’ legacy of unconstitutional intrusiveness.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

One of the many things Wingnuts blame Obama for is the recently “revealed” Domestic Surveillance State. These fools forget that domestic spying goes back at least to the end of World War II, and has been doing nothing but grow ever since. So blaming any one President is ignorant at best. And blaming Obama is particularly idiotic.

If you’re going to complain about some of the more recent manifestations of our “one nation under surveillance” state (and really, you should be complaining, and that loudly), you have to go back to the reign of Bush the Dumber, the so-called “Patriot Act”, and all of its bastard children. These shameful bits of fear-based liberty destruction were rammed through after the Bushies let 9/11 happen, and have been the bane of  freedom ever since.

One surprising little part of that law can be found in this article from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/07/05/did-you-know-john-roberts-is-also-chief-justice-of-the-nsas-surveillance-state/  Briefly put: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court is made up of 11 jurists who have the power to approve or disapprove of wiretaps, email monitoring, and all the other spying activities many of us seem to just be finding out about.

And one man, with no oversight, guidelines, checks or balances, chooses each and every one of those judges: John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court. And he has picked “conservative” judges that pretty much follow the Bush/Cheney philosophy towards the Bill of Rights: that being, “f*** your so-called-rights, peons”. Small wonder that pretty much every request for surveillance gets approved. From the article:

“No other part of U.S. law works this way. The chief justice can’t choose the judges who rule on health law, or preside over labor cases, or decide software patents. But when it comes to surveillance, the composition of the bench is entirely in his hands, and, as a result, so is the extent to which the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation can spy on citizens.

“It really is up to these FISA judges to decide what the law means and what the NSA and FBI gets to do,” said Julian Sanchez, a privacy scholar at the Cato Institute. “So Roberts is single-handedly choosing the people who get to decide how much surveillance we’re subject to.”

Roberts was and is, of course, a Bush appointee, and Obama has no power over him. None. Zippo, Zilch. Nada. Ixnay. So, to blame Obama for the actions of the FISA court is far, far, FAR beyond stupid. There are many things we can blame him for, of course, but not this.

Memo to wingnuts of all sorts: Before blaming Obama, check to see if the facts support your case. If they don’t, then kindly STFU.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

P.S.: Another Supreme Court action, taken before Obama took office, helped make this current state of affairs possible: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323873904578571893758853344.html#articleTabs%3Dvideo . He’s not to blame for that, either.

There’s a first time for everything – two LSOS’s in a single week, but this warrants an award of its own: less than half of the Senate showed up for a briefing on the big bad surveillance scandal that they have been screeching about.

You see, the briefing, which the Senate has been loudly demanding, was held on Thursday afternoon, and we certainly can’t expect our Senators to work an entire 3-day week, now can we? Nope, most of them were at the airport or already on planes (that somehow escaped the budget cuts and cutbacks of Sequestration). So they STILL don’t know about the surveillance scandal that seemed to be so important a couple of days ago:

Only 47 of 100 senators attended the 2:30 briefing, leaving dozens of chairs in the secure meeting room empty as Clapper, Alexander and other senior officials told lawmakers about classified programs to monitor millions of telephone calls and broad swaths of Internet activity. The room on the lower level of the Capitol Visitor Center is large enough to fit the entire Senate membership, according to a Senate aide.

It’s one of two things: either the Senators who blew off the briefing don’t really give a monkey’s about the “scandal”, or they already knew about it. Either way, those who skipped the meeting are Lying Sacks of S***. It’ll take a truckload of Crowns O’ Polished Turds to decorate the domes of all these poltroons, but they have earned them.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Back in the early Aughts, the Bushies and Congress used America’s fear to ram through the “Patriot” Act, a mind-boggling assault on our Constitutional rights. This was, regrettably, done by Jackasses and Elephants alike.

But the government couldn’t violate enough of our rights, and couldn’t violate them enough. So in 2007, the Bushies and Congress rammed through the “Protect America” Act, so as to be able to quietly shred the last vestiges of our rights. Then they passed it again in 2008.

Then in 2012, the Obama administration and Congress quietly re-upped the PAA for another few years.

The point of this history lesson? Each and every Senator and Congresscritter (except for the total Noobs) knew all about the surveillance, the monitoring, the spying, the phone record keeping: all of it. They knew because they voted on the legislation to authorize it, and most of them did so more than once.

So now it suits them to climb upon the cruppers of their high horses and denounce this outrage, Dems and Repubs alike, and act as if they knew nothing of it. We had best remember that the majority of them are, in the finest bipartisan tradition, responsible for this outrage.

And we, in an equally bipartisan manner, should chuck anyone who voted for the government to spy on us right out of office. And that soon.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky