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The Daily Kos puts together a great list.  This was the first time I’d seen everything on one page, some of which I’d missed over the weekend, and it deserves wide spread viewer ship. Some excerpts:

1. The NSA lost a huge court battle, and was found to be acting unconstitutionally by the Secret FISA Court. The Obama administration is keeping this judgement secret, even though the secret court said, secretly, that it should be public and produced to all America. Even Congress has been denied the secret decision from the secret court, keeping this judgment secret about how the secretive NSA violated your and my rights…

2. The NSA not only gathers and keeps data on your web and emails, it also tracks every single phone call of every single American.

3.  The Obama mistreatment of whistleblowers far exceeds anything that the Cheney Bush administration ever did. Snowden’s fear of returning to this country doesn’t seem all that farfetched, given how Bradley Manning was tortured.

4.  The Obama administration continues to lie to the American public, insisting that congress is fully informed about FISA and the NSA, despite every congressman and senator who answers the question, denies that they are getting any information from them.

5.  Cloud computing providers report that their international business is crashing. Various bar associations must examine whether lawyers can even use cloud computing for their offices, because of the great probability that their data is being access and scrutinized by the feds – which causes every cloud computing attorney to be violating their oath to keep the attorney client privilege intact.

6. Those intimately involved with FISA, repeatedly allege that daily, constant, and comprehensive domestic spying on 320,000,000 Americans has resulted in absolutely no actionable data that could catch terrorists or prevent terrorism.

7. Remember the original Patriot Act Color Coded Threat Alert?  It took 8 months, but even conservative critics began to notice that any rise on color assessment board (which looked like it was designed by a TV game show producer) had nothing to do with actual, viable threats, but rather, it was raised anytime and every time that the Cheney Bush Administration faced a potential political nightmare.

And so today… Sunday August 4th, Embassy closings galore in every Muslim country.

Hmmmm. (I bet the absence of any attempt will be touted as being the result of secret phone tappings by the NSA that were disallowed by the FISA court but were done anyways… )  Let’s see how the spin comes out on Monday.

It is clearer now that the biggest benefactors for the NSA spying were commercial enterprises. The Obama administration went along with the Bush plan and accelerated it, primarily to give American companies a heads up, and keep jobs here.  It worked too.

One can’t argue with success. But one can find how American businesses were co-opted to assist the NSA.  From the Guardian, the following, allegedly from Snowden himself.

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

it is revealing that the beneficiaries of the Patriot Act and probably one of the reasons it has been intact long after terrorism faded offshore, are the exact same who are suing each other left and right, using the anti-piracy laws as their barrage.  It appears that laws are not for people anymore; they are for corporations.  It is corporations who want the US to fund listening posts for every American word and sentence.

The only way to fix that, is to divide the corporations Teddy-Roosevelt-style, thereby giving We, the People a little more clout.  …

America gets up in arms when it’s privacy issues are at stake. How dare you know that about me! However when someone slips through our net and blows up a building or car, they exclaim, how did you not catch him in time?

Soon to be announced if not already out there, is our nation’s now no longer classified Trap Wire System. In the reports of its inception this package was held up as the ultimate surveillance tool. Cameras across the country would capture data from cities, highways, tolls, parks, public arenas, and everywhere else there is a camera, encrypt the data, then send it to a central point where it gets incorporated with all other data already compiled on every citizen. That data including public on line events such as dating services, chat rooms, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, as well as corporate files, employee rosters, and the vast cesspool of corporate data gleaned each and every time you use your credit card.

On every adult citizen, a computer can spit out a file of facts that even that citizen doesn’t know… The computing power is unparalleled. You are sitting at the stoplight, and for no reason a camera goes off, you think weird, no one tripped it. and instantly your face has been identified, your file pulled, and a program knows you buy Colgate toothpaste 39% of the time. And it knows you are on Zoloft. Your credit score is 593. And you are cheating on your spouse of 27 years with a 19 year old who gets something from Victoria Secret every month…..

A song comes on the radio and your mind jumps to it and you go on never thinking of that random event again…….

Of course there is the other side of the story. You pull up to the light right beside the dufus mentioned above. The same thing happens. You wonder too. Your picture triggers an alarm because your image was last seen in the lower Philippines having been traced there from Manila before paying for the boarding of a private boat off Gov. Lim Ave, then going dark 18 months ago. The alarm is because you were once an acquaintance on the third level of a Detroit sheik who propagated militancy. The file shows you worked with explosives on construction sites, you were terminated at one time being blamed for some missing C4. You denied you had anything to do with it. The camera notes that your car is low in back, and alerts other cameras on the route your are traveling that you will soon be entering their view. Your facebook page shows you liked Iran and support Assad of Syria. Your high school psychological profile says you were quiet and brooding. Your license plate is registered to a car reportedly at the gas station on Rt.273 undergoing lengthy repairs. You are unmarried. You don’t date, and your credit card has a large cash balance, yet you spend very little and that is only on food, gas, and a furnished apartment in Christiana Meadows. As you drive by a transponder, your new phone signal gets captured, and all your calls are now being pulled up. You spoke with a person of high interest, 2 times this morning, for a length of one minute each. Your visage is updated to all local cameras and all transportation portals, and put at the top of each face recognition program. Someone is dispatched to scout your apartment.

You see. That is the dilemma. We enjoy our safety, and abhor our loss of privacy.

If you haven’t noticed already, on your emails sometimes you have these buried within the routing: Abraxas and the others you see will say, Stratfor…. Bloggers are very used to seeing these on a rather regular basis. They are everywhere across the net.

One thing noticeable during the Olympics was that the Brits live this way all the time. They are used to it and prefer the cameras and intrusive software over a coordinated attack on their trains. And no one can blame them. But what the Brits have, and we don’t, is a set of rules regarding this capturing of information. If someone violates this code as did Murdoch, then the ramifications are severe; perhaps bringing down an entire corporate empire. The CEO, Vice President, and quite a few others all charged with illegal actions.

And that is the lesson we need to take. Accept the surveillance but know that if anyone, anyone breaks the code of privacy… you are going to be filthy rich for the rest of your entire life at their or their employer’s expense…. For if that is truly the case, going back to the original story up top, if you got busted for your too hot to fail 19 year old lover, and lost your spouse, for $83 million, you really wouldn’t mind too much… My bet? You would see it as a blessing in disguise. And if you still loved your spouse, don’t worry. When you are worth $83 million, she won’t go far.

This has to become the future of surveillance. Here is why.

I’ll use Facebook as an example. I can always tell when one a friend has to hand over their password to their employer. Whereas they used to be so lively, responsive, and fun, they suddenly stop posting anything showing their personality. Their presence on line becomes reduced to “look at my kid”; “here is my dog”. Whereas you used to be able to talk to them about their spouse, their parents, how they were feeling, how they liked their job, how they were doing in the lover department, how their head was, what hopes and dreams they possessed, how drunk they got, suddenly their presence is as chilled as someone passing Checkpoint Charlie in the 60′s. There is a rigidity that they must conform to. There is a corporate mentality that they must express, and most deal with it by staying silent.

That is not what America is about. America is about freedom, about life…. about liberty….. and about the pursuit of happiness…… What once was open air on the internet is now poisoned with carbon particles, so much so that it is hard to breathe.

We can’t lose our nation’s fun-loving identity. And we can’t stop protecting ourselves by our newer and newer technology. So, what we can do (and we can easily do this), is not to constrain the surveillance, but penalize any misuse of the data that gets captured.

And make the punitive damages so huge, so grand, so big, that American citizens will actually enjoy having their privacy breached when it comes time for the judge to make the monetary judgment. Which means we need to rethink all things private, and that includes the intrusiveness of the press into private lives…

I’m always saddened when someone suffers because of something got out of control on their social media, and everyone gangs up on line, saying, “well, you shouldn’t have put it on the internet.”

Really? REALLY? A person should never have a light moment with an acquaintance, one of those few joyous moments we as people treasure forever, because someone they don’t know, someone they never met, might hack into their account, and spread it across the world?

That is ridiculous. The internet IS us. If we want a fun moment, we have the right to exercise it.. Back when I was growing up, laws were passed and on the books to control the positions that went on within the bedroom. That has fortunately faded away into being ridiculous. The same needs to happen on the internet. And the easiest way, the simplest way, is to have huge, gigantic fines, ones that are so big they will bankrupt anyone, and everyone who breaches another’s privacy.

So what if some entity knows you use Colgate 39% of the time. If no one else ever knows that they know it, as far as impacting anything in the real world, their knowledge of that minutia, doesn’t matter.

We need to start the process. We first announce the problem; we offer a solution; we educate the public; we elect responsible legislators, we pressure responsible legislators, we get legislation signed, and then, we relax and really enjoy the rest of our lives.

It is past time that our personal privacy be now given a price tag that is equal to what it is worth. Something in the range of tens of millions comes to mind….. Hell, you can get $90 million for spilling hot coffee in your lap…..

I’m trying to put all your ideas together into one package. So, let me get this right… All you are asking is for, is a country where:

1) There is no universal healthcare.
2) Few entitlement programs.
3) Low Flat Tax System.
4) Faith based Government.
5) A deep reverence for God.
6) Extremely strict rules against abortion.
7) Marriage has already been strictly defined as between man and woman.
8) Homosexuality is a sin, and illegal.
9) Dress Codes are strictly enforced.
10) Tattoos, piercings, baggy pants, are banned.
11) Has the Death Penalty which they aren’t shy about using.
12) Strong private school system with religious focus.
13) Widespread dependency on oil and natural gas drilling.
14) Growing nuclear program
15) Nonexistent environmental nuisances
16) Culture that promotes family and stereotyped roles for men and women.

I’ve endeavored to put all your values on one page. I share your frustration because today, ever since 2008, it seems like America is moving further and further away from these values.

But you don’t have to be frustrated anymore. I have looked far and wide and have discovered a place already in existence that has those values in place, and more. If you sorely long for those values above, it is sincerely a place where you and your family would be very happy.

It is Iran.

You don’t have to pay me. I don’t need any commission. Just glad to help a fellow Delawarean out…. No problem.

It is such a great time. The cold front has passed, warm moist air flowing in, misty rain, not enough to get you wet, but enough to wake you up as it dances across the face. In it one can feel the snow coming two days early… For a weekend night, outside it’s peaceful… Those with money, have finished shopping. Those without, are waiting for that last check before the holidays…

The annual tradition of trading favorite YouTube’d carols over the internet, has begun in earnest… Strains of Mozart, Celtic Women, Cat Stevens, Bon Jovi, Metallica, and tons of favorite carols by assorted artists, have caused all the stress, pain, heart attacks, symptoms of short breathing,……….. to melt away somewhere into the distant future, as we float back into all those happier times as we remember fond memories of our past……..

Happy Holidays.. Happy Holidays
Courtesy of All American Patriots

AFghanistan
Courtesy of Pat Dollard

Afghanistan: like walking on the moon
Courtesy of Theodore’s World

Things aren’t so nice for 100,000 plus Americans now fighting in Afghanistan. Things aren’t so nice for their families, friends, and lovers back home,… now that things have really heated up over there….

Take a second: Imagine you’re a Taliban fighting this foe invading from a very distant land. Imagine the hope, and shot in the arm a headline like this from the United States, would instill in you upon having it read to you. Imagine how quickly its words would resonate in your blood, and how less inclined you would be to throw in the towel against overwhelming odds? Imagine if you had rounds of waterproofed AK 47 ammo hidden in your well, how inclined you must now be to pull them up, and lay in wait for an American serviceman, any American serviceman, to come close enough to fire a killing shot.

That Headline….

Republicans Shoot Down $700 Military Appropriations Bill Funding War in Afghanistan. Bill Not Passed.

Republicans just aided and comforted our enemy…. Can you hear the Taliban cheering?

It’s the holiday season;  I’ll be honest.

David Anderson: you served. How can you stomach supporting the Republican Party when they refuse to fund American servicemen in combat?

Frank Knotts: How can someone with your passion for all that America has stood for, still call yourself a Republican when they play games with Americans living and dying for our shared values?

Hube:  What gives?  Where is the line across which the Republican Party stops supporting America, and the Tea Party begins to represent the Conservative’s cause?

Tyler Nixon: How can any ex service man, support the party that is so self centered, they have no clue of how their vote to, not fund the war, emboldens our enemies?

Kilroy of Delaware: What kind of political party would play with funding for troops in active combat? How can that be tolerated?

Oh, well, it’s not skin off my teeth. It’s your party… do what you want. I don’t care… But I’ll tell you this… This nation needs a little old one horse Tea Party for this one reason alone: so conservatives have somewhere else to go without crawling on their knees to suck up to the moral backruptiveness of the Republican Party, that’s why…

Oh, well, I’ve said too much already. It’s not my problem. I just think that:

Our servicemen deserve better.
Conservatives deserve better.
Our republic, the United States of America, deserves better.

Conservatives: isn’t it way past time to switch your parties affiliation?  It’s the holiday season!  What better gift to your kids and grand-kids  could you possibly give?

Courtesy of DelawareLiberal.net

Because that……. is what we do.

Amendment 4: United States Constitution

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.

WE, as guaranteed by our nation, have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Why the News Journal would take the other tack, that government has the right to violate the Constitution at will, boggles the mind. What on earth were they thinking?

Do they hate America? Or do they think that those who spend their money each day to keep the News Journal afloat, do not deserve the very protection they themselves have wrapped around them under Delaware’s Corporate Law?

Perhaps they are poorly informed. With a quick simple search they could certainly see that most of the early requests for wiretaps and spying were directed not at terrorists, but at former Clinton governmental employees still held over from the last administration.

With a quick and simple search, they could certainly see that this administration first broke the law days after entering office, long before 9/11 occurred, by instituting Gestapo style spying of Democrats and members of Congress, digging deep for black-mailable offenses no doubt.

With a quick and simple search, they could certainly see that these “Spying on America” bills were rushed through Congress, one along Republican party lines when they had the majority, the other with scare tactics just minutes before summer recess was to begin.

With a quick and simple search, they could certainly see that last summer, a secret FISA court stacked with appointees loyal to the administration, ordered Cheney/Bush to abandon their wiretapping. It was highly illegal. Which now explains why we had the unprecedented rush to pass the Protect America Act which mandates that any citizen can be wiretapped simply because the “administration says so” , and that no one would be allowed to monitor the Constitutional aspects of whether those listening devices were or were not illegal.

With a quick and simple search, they could certainly see that one company, Quest, refused to go along with the requests for spying before 9/11 and is now facing some type of harassment litigation by the Justice Department over some minor unrelated infraction………

With a quick and simple search, they could certainly see that scores of American citizens have been picked up, whisked overseas, tortured, and then been told, “sorry, we seem to have made a mistake.”

Currently there are forty some lawsuits around the country from victims of governmental mistakes. These citizens have had their lives ruined by a violation of the Fourth Amendment. If this legislation is allowed to continue, they are being forbidden their right to seed redress for their sufferings.

When you do something wrong, you should be held accountable.

But for some reason the News Journal thinks differently. They think anyone who gives information to Dick Cheney should be given a get out of jail card for free.

That argument is the equivalent of saying that any criminal who breaks into a families home, orders them on the ground, steals their belongs, and then murders them execution style, should be let go without charges because he was doing it on orders from someone else.

No! News Journal, what on earth were you thinking?

And next time could, get your facts right? It was not a Democrat leadership political ploy. They actually tried to get an extension passed to cover the recess. It was a combination of very conservative Republicans and very Liberal Democrats who were sick, tired, and disgusted with this Unconstitutional Administration violating the Constitution.

Like an OVERWHELMING number of Americans who hate this administration, they decided that the original FISA bill that we default to now that Bush legislation has expired, kept us fairly safe for twenty years of the cold war and beyond. It was only after we violated it secretly, January 20, 2001, that we got ourselves a 9/11.

Finally in an ironic twist of fate, let us use the president’s words themselves.

“He said either you are with us………or you are against us. “

After reading this:

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.

It is obvious that the News Journal is against us.

The real question is “why”? What are they hiding?

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. George W. Bush: January 20, 2001.

Meanwhile:

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper. [15] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[16] (Source)

Those of us who study history are often amazed how little things taking place miles away will ultimately cast a huge impact over all.

Imagine living in Georgia, waking up on April 19, 1775 working the farm, eating and going to bed without even remotely having a clue that over a thousand miles away, a shot fired would be heard around the world.

Honey, did you hear ‘dat noise?
“Yep, somebody must be out catchin’ ‘em some food.”

And now some two hundred and thirty-three years later, after fighting first for this country, then against this country, then against opponents of that country, then against a country of opponents, and finally Georgia is where it is today.

And it all originated on a Green in the center of Lexington, Massachusetts . There, blood was spilled in defense of the truly original American notion that: I’m fed up and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Tomorrow an event of much greater magnitude will take place and probably will go unnoticed by even WDEL. Before I go on, can anyone guess what it will be?

I refer to the revised FISA bill that goes up before a Senate vote tomorrow, February 12th, 2008. Those of you who do not follow Constitutional politics may be scratching your head, wondering why this would even be considered on the scale of the Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775.

First: some background.

FISA was originally passed after Nixon had confused the concept of National Security with that of “Nixon’s security”. Thereby assuming both were synonymous, it was morally perfectly acceptable to bug the Democratic headquarters thereby enabling Nixon to stay in power by knowing in advance where Democratic “punches” would land.

FISA didn’t change much. It just said that someone else needed to look over the Executive Branch’s shoulder, and approve and insure that American values were protected. After 9/11 Cheney used the hysteria to say that no one should be looking over their shoulder. Having someone do so would endanger our safety. Although it made little sense, many went along and allowed it to happen.

To everyones surprise but mine, these new powers were not focused on terrorists. They were used predominantly on government employees, to vet out those within the State, Energy, and Defense Departments who might latter oppose ridiculous policies when they came forth. Fortunately the legislators put an end date, thereby killing this policy on a certain date. December 31, 2005.

In a hasty move, an extension was rushed through before the Congressional August holiday, extending the powers until two Friday’s ago. ( If your computer and internet connection seems to responding better today, you now know why. )

Tomorrow a vote takes place on a replacement FISA bill. Included in this bill is a blanket protection of immunity of all telephonic companies who complied with illegal searches of citizens records: searches that had no bearing on National Security. The telephone companies answer is, as expected: “Cheney made us do it.”

In a usual courtroom case of first degree murder, twelve members of the jury usually do not acquit a murderer of a spouse and innocent children, simply because he was told by someone else to do it. However it is certainly possible, that the trigger person could deal with the D/A and get a much reduced sentence by explaining the truth as it REALLY happened. There is a benefit to society in doing so. Currently there are at least seven lawsuits against these telephony companies who broke several basic privacy laws that have stood for centuries. By granting immunity to these companies there will be no way of getting them to testify, thereby enabling the American public to determine once and for all, that no wrongdoing was evident.

Since the sweat beading on the brow of this administration and the foreheads of all the telephon execs is telling, their innocence appears doubtful.

Therefore this ploy of granting immunity can be seen as an attempt to protect the “evil doers”, those very same who wish to undermine all American values.

The House has voted “No” shutting out any immunity for the telecoms. The only hope left to Cheney is for the Senate to vote Yes and then in secret negotiations with the House, re-add these immunity parts to this bill.

In the Senate, a yes vote looks likely, partly in thanks to Tom Carper. Hence, those few Senators still not compromised by Cheney, nor bought out by the telephony corporations, will attempt a last stand by use of a filibuster on the Senate floor. Chris Dodd leads the charge beginning with the procedural statement, ( Mr. President, I refuse to yield.) He will be joined by Russ Feingold, Ted Kennedy, and now, Patrick Leahy, each who will jump in with a question to the Senator long enough to insure that no puddles stain the Congressional carpet. These precious few will attempt to hold the floor until enough heat is put on the administration and Harry Ried by you, the public, forcing them to fold their hand.

So why is this important?

Great question. Up until this point the United States has been a nation created for the people, of the people, and by the people. If this bill goes forward, we will have switched our interpretation of the Constitution and become a nation for the corporation, of the corporation, and by the corporation. In other words, the needs of the corporation will from this point hence, take precedence over the needs of the citizen.

Some of us think that is just wrong. Corporations can’t vote. But with enough money and creative advertising, they can steer us to vote for who they want. But didn’t our ancestors fight so that we could be free and independent, and not beholden to some corporation?

Of course in a sense we are beholden to corporations most of our lives. Does one own your house? Your car? Does one cover your automobile accidents, your heath cost overruns? Does one supply your power, your fuel, our your paycheck? Stop and think for a moment just how much of your personal income is turned over to our corporations. Most if not all?

Now I don’t mine being beholden to a corporation if I am getting something that I want: a house, a car, a flat screen TV, especially if I couldn’t have any of those things without their help. But to have no recourse, and be forced to vote their way on issues, only because they know secrets of my past known to no one else, sends our country down the path to more corporatedom, than is good for the people. Essentially this bill will change Bedford Falls into Pottersville.

This bill tomorrow will help determine whether we hasten down the dark path of corporate domination, or whether we have tools at our disposal to check them and balance things when they step out of line. Will we be in charge, or will they?

This bill decides.

Right now, those corporations who chose to spy for the Bush administration are desperately trying to escape criminal prosecution. But if this precedent is allowed, any future corporations whether seeking past due amounts, or fishing to break your lease or steal your property, will always refer back to this bill to justify their further encroachment of our rights.

Little know fact: In Delaware three years ago, one jury actually took a stand, declaring by their verdict that even in the most justifiable of circumstances, even when used against the most odious, sickening elements of humanity, privacy issues were sacred and could not be touched.

There is precedent here. A jury of twelve random people has forced upon a court the decision that neither private individuals, nor corporations have any right whatsoever to release another’s private history. Tomorrow it is time our government itself become subject to the same laws as its citizens.

So while you go about your daily duties, somewhere far away, a handful of very motivated and angry Senators, are fighting for your’s and your grand children’s right to privacy. Whether they succeed or fail, their ripple in time will be felt perhaps as long as the next two hundred and thirty three years….

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