Archives for posts with tag: surveillance

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

Just ask Pussy Riot, gay tourists, businessmen and anyone who has irritated their KGB-boss leader (Putin).

Troublemakers are never free in Russia. Snowden is in for a shock.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Think  back to 9/11, when America got our collective nuts kicked so hard, we had lumps on our necks for years thereafter. According to the 9/11 Commission report ( http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf ), our intelligence agencies already knew the terrorists were here and in training for the attack – the problem was that the Bushies didn’t listen to the experts who were warning them about an impending al-Quaida attack. This means that the whole raft of domestic surveillance programs that have been developed since 9/11 would not have helped one bit.

One more time: We already knew about the terrorists among us. So we never needed more domestic surveillance. And we still don’t. What we actually needed (and still need) was for our leaders to pay attention to data and protect our nation from real threats, instead of ignoring facts and using their own mistakes as excuses to spy on us and rob us blind.

So, why was it put in place, back during the reign of Bush The Dumber? One may theorize as one wishes, because none of the responsible parties is going to admit that the Domestic Surveillance State was  a boondoggle coupled with a violation of our Constitutional rights. This writer submits that the whole program was nothing more or less than a  “Republican” transfer of tax dollars to their corporate cronies, with a bone thrown to the Fundagelicals and Birchers in their party.

Consider the enormous number of private companies that have made billions of dollars over the past decade  by providing “contractors” to replace NSA workers (at a higher cost, with lower quality and less security [e.g. Snowden]). Where did they come from? Like mushrooms on a manure pile, they sprang up when “watered” by the Bushistas’ off-the books torrential downpour of secret cash.

So here we are: our rights have been violated, our privacy have been infringed, and our pockets have been picked clean for over ten years by a load of  perverts and con artists, bent on snooping into our private lives and taking us for every cent we earn. And all in the name of solving a problem that never existed in the first place.

If you’re not foaming at the mouth right now, you’ve not been paying attention.

The solution, Cranky Nation, is obvious: dismantle the un-needed and illegal parts of the Surveillance State, kick the greedy f***s out of the process, and by so doing restore our rights while helping to balance the budget. And all of that as soon as possible.

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

Just one example of many: Sean Hannity during the Bush administration excoriating the Dems for opposing the creation of an Orwellian surveillance state, and the same boyo during the Obama administration excoriating the Dems for creating the aforementioned surveillance state. A nice little video of this flat-headed flannelmouth ranting on both sides of the issue. And did you see ABC or CBS “news” calling him out for his Janus impression? Neither did anyone else, because they never did.

In addition to out-and-out partisan hacks like Hannity, we have the merely lazy hacks who do nothing but pass along the lies of our “representatives”. No fact-checking, nonono, none of that old0fashioned stuff.

This is the only article your humble correspondent could locate that actually dared to ask questions( like, say, “why do Teapublicans oppose criminal background checks for gun buyers as ‘intrusive’ but support the Patriot Act and other domestic surveillance initiatives?”) and didn’t simply repeat the B.S. that got handed down by the two-faced crooks and liars in DC. An excerpt;

“This bill is a clear overreach that will predominantly punish and harass our neighbors, friends, and family,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who voted against proceeding to debate the issue of gun control.

But on Tuesday, the Kentucky Republican defended the controversial NSA surveillance programs that sweep up data on phone calls and Internet activities, essentially making the case that the efforts are justified and legal.

Seen that on Fox, CNN, or another such “news” outlet? Yeah, we haven’t either. Such is life in the infotainment age. And let’s not forget the hysterical, hype-ridden “coverage” at the outset of this “scandal” that was ever-so-quietly “corrected” as the days went on. It’s getting to the point where we can trust our “news” media even less than we do Congress.

And if you’re less trustworthy than those partisan motherf***ers, you can’t be trusted at all.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky

Let’s start by saying that the Patriot Act (along with all of its bastard children) needs repealed ASAP, and the infrastructure that supports its aims needs trundled off to the scrap heap immediately afterwards. The notion that we are guilty until proven innocent is so diametrically opposed to everything America stands for is what makes all of these post-911 laws so dangerous.

But beyond the fact that the government is treating each and every one of us as if we are criminals and/or terrorists that they haven’t caught yet is the bigger problem: the secrecy with which these operations are carried out. “Trust us”, say the NSA, Congress, President et.al. “This is for your own protection”, they say. “We’d never abuse our authority”, they say. “We can’t show you how it works, what we do, why we do it or to whom we are doing it”, they say. “It has to be secret”, they say.

The problem with secrecy is the same problem we have with most human inventions: a little might perhaps enhance our safety, but too much can hurt us, weaken our nation, and perhaps lead to its dissolution. This whole domestic surveillance mess is made even messier by the fact that the government hid even the broad brush strokes of what they were (and still are) doing. And such information that does leak out seems to indicate that our government is acting in ways that would make Hoover blush.

This makes it very hard indeed to trust them: not only do they suspect each and every one of us of being potential Bin Ladens, but they themselves aren’t acting like honest, upstanding citizens whom we would be inclined to trust. (Remember Nixon and his “trust me” schtick, and how that turned out?)

On top of that, the degree of secrecy being employed here makes it possible for glory-hound “journalists”, “experts”, and “representatives” to make outlandish claims (e.g. Snowden, Greenwald, Issa) because we cannot verify anything they are saying. By acting thus they sow even MORE distrust among our society. The secrecy is making it impossible to trust our government, our institutions, the businesses with whom we deal, or even each other.

Secrecy kills trust. And without trust, we cannot be united. So if we can’t trust the government, we might as well just pull the plug on our country, because it can’t be a truly “United States of America”: there is no unity without trust.

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