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As background information, here is the link and below is the copy of the SEC report citing David Marvin currently of Delaware’s Cash Management Board, and fining his firm M & P, $976,000 dollars…

Here is Celia’s account of last years inside dealing, targeting Marvin as the prime whiner in the infamous Cash Management Board pushback… It just dawned on me that Marvin probably handles investments for Markell and Blevins. Which would if true, provide clarity to the mechanizations that took place this past year.

Since the 15 year expiration is about or has already hit, (it was difficult to find), I am posting the entire judgment here, so it will last, if the SEC eliminates it off-line…. Without Further Ado….

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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Before the
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

 

INVESTMENT ADVISERS ACT OF 1940
Release No. 1841 / September 30, 1999

 

ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDING
File No. 3-10072

 

In the Matter of

MARVIN & PALMER ASSOCIATES, INC.,
DAVID F. MARVIN,
MACTHOM ASSOCIATES, INC. and
THOMAS E. DUBIS

ORDER INSTITUTING PUBLIC PROCEEDDINGS, MAKING FINDINGS, IMPOSING REMEDIAL SANCTIONS, AND ISSUING CEASE-AND-DESIST ORDER

 

I.

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“Commission”) deems it appropriate and in the public interest to institute public administrative proceedings pursuant to Sections 203(e), (f) and (k) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 (“Advisers Act”), against Marvin & Palmer Associates, Inc. (“M&P”), David F. Marvin (“Marvin”), MacThom Associates, Inc. (“MacThom”) and Thomas E. Dubis (“Dubis”)(collectively “Respondents”).

 

In anticipation of the institution of these proceedings, each of the Respondents has submitted an Offer of Settlement (“Offer”) to the Commission, which the Commission has determined to accept. Solely for the purpose of these proceedings and any other proceedings brought by or on behalf of the Commission or in which the Commission is a party, and without admitting or denying the findings contained herein, except for the jurisdiction of the Commission over them and over the subject matter of this proceeding, which is admitted, Respondents consent to the issuance of this Order Instituting Public Proceedings, Making Findings, Imposing Remedial Sanctions, and Issuing Cease-and-Desist Order (“Order”) and to the entry of the findings, cease-and-desist order, and remedial sanctions set forth below.

 

Accordingly, IT IS ORDERED that proceedings pursuant to Sections 203(e), (f) and (k) of the Advisers Act be, and hereby are, instituted.

 

II.

 

On the basis of this Order and the Offers submitted by the Respondents, the Commission makes the following findings:

 

RESPONDENTS

 

A.Marvin & Palmer Associates, Inc., incorporated and located in Wilmington, Delaware, has been registered with the Commission as an investment adviser since August 1986. As of March 11, 1999, M&P had approximately 62 clients and $7.6 billion in assets under management. M&P’s clients are primarily large institutional investors.

 

B.David F. Marvin, age 58, resides in Delaware and is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and 50 percent owner of M&P. Marvin is the largest shareholder of M&P and is responsible for the overall management of the firm.

 

C.MacThom Associates, Inc., located in Kent, Ohio, was formed in 1996 and is wholly owned and operated by Thomas E. Dubis. The firm was ostensibly formed for the purpose of providing research services to M&P. At no time has MacThom been registered with the Commission as a broker-dealer or an investment adviser.

 

D.Thomas E. Dubis, age 58, resides in Kent, Ohio.

 

INTRODUCTION

 

E.This proceeding involves the failure of M&P, a registered investment adviser, to disclose to its clients its use of at least $920,000 in soft dollars derived from a directed brokerage arrangement with a registered broker-dealer (“Broker”) in violation of provisions of the Advisers Act. The term “soft dollars” generally describes an arrangement whereby an investment adviser uses commission credits generated by securities trades executed in advisory client accounts to pay for research, brokerage, or other products, services, or expenses.

 

THE SOFT DOLLAR ARRANGEMENT

 

F.Since 1991, M&P has maintained a soft dollar arrangement with the Broker. Pursuant to the arrangement, M&P receives $.50 in soft dollar credits for each $1.00 in brokerage commissions directed to the Broker.

 

G.In February 1996, at Marvin’s behest, M&P directed the Broker to begin paying invoices submitted by MacThom, ostensibly for research performed by MacThom for M&P. In fact, MacThom conducted only a small amount of research, with a total value of $63,000 during the relevant time period. Most of the soft dollar payments were used by MacThom to compensate Dubis, MacThom’s principal and a close friend of Marvin, as well as the family of a deceased business associate and friend of Marvin, for their efforts in making introductions and referrals to M&P in its early years. From February 1996 through August 1998, the Broker paid $920,000 to MacThom, and MacThom and Dubis paid $635,000 of this amount to this family. With the exception of the research valued at $63,000, the payments to MacThom provided no benefit to the clients of M&P whose commissions generated the soft dollars used to make the payments.

 

M&P’S FAILURE TO DISCLOSE THE SOFT DOLLAR ARRANGEMENT

 

H.Neither the existence nor the terms of the soft dollar arrangement were disclosed to M&P’s clients in their advisory contracts or otherwise. Furthermore, M&P failed to amend its Form ADV after directing the Broker to begin paying invoices from MacThom and the arrangement was never disclosed in M&P’s Form ADV in effect between February 1996 and July 1998, the period during which the arrangement was in effect.

 

I.M&P failed to disclose the types of products and services it received pursuant to its soft dollar arrangement in response to Item 12 of Part II of the Form ADV, which requires registered investment advisers to describe the factors considered in selecting brokers, including the products, research and services obtained, and any procedures used to direct client transactions to a particular broker in return for products or services.

 

J.From February 1996 to July 1998, M&P’s Form ADV reflected a “no” answer in response to Part II Item 13.A., which asked whether the adviser “receives some economic benefit (including commissions, equipment or non-research services) from a non-client in connection with giving advice to clients.” In view of its soft dollar arrangement with the Broker, and the uses to which the payments were put, this response was false.

 

K.During the period in which the arrangement was in effect, M&P amended its Form ADV on at least eight occasions. Marvin reviewed and signed all but one of M&P’s Forms ADV and amendments filed with the Commission.

 

III.

 

LEGAL ANALYSIS

 

A.An investment adviser has a duty to disclose to clients all material information which might incline an investment adviser consciously or unconsciously to render advice which is not disinterested. SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc., 375 U.S. 180, 191-92 (1963). A fact is material if there is a substantial likelihood that a reasonable investor would consider it important. Basic, Inc. v. Levinson, 485 U.S. 224, 231-32 (1988).

 

B.Soft dollar arrangements are material because of the potential conflict of interest arising from an adviser’s receipt of some benefit in exchange for directing brokerage on behalf of client accounts. See Kingsley, Jennison, McNulty & Morse, Inc., 55 SEC Docket 2434, 2441 (Dec. 23, 1993);Interpretive Release Concerning the Scope of Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, Exchange Act Release No. 23170, 35 SEC Docket 905, 909 (Apr. 23, 1986) (“1986 Soft Dollar Release“).

 

C.Moreover, disclosure of soft dollar arrangements is specifically required by Form ADV.1 See Oakwood Counselors, Inc., Advisers Act Release No. 1614, 63 SEC Docket 2485 (Feb. 10, 1997); S Squared Technology Corp., Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560 (August 7, 1996). Form ADV embodies mandatory disclosure requirements to ensure that material information regarding brokerage placement practices and policies are disclosed to investors. See Investment Adviser Requirements Concerning Disclosure, Recordkeeping, Applications for Registration and Annual Filings, Advisers Act Release No. 664 (Jan. 30, 1979); Disclosure of Brokerage Placement Practices By Certain Regulated Investment Companies and Certain Other Issuers, Advisers Act Release No. 665 (Jan. 30, 1979) (“1979 Soft Dollar Release“).

 

D.Items 12 and 13, and Schedule F, of Part II of Form ADV require registrants to disclose soft dollar arrangements with broker-dealers. For investment advisers who have discretionary authority to select the broker-dealers to be used to execute trades in client accounts, Item 12.B. requires a description of the factors considered in selecting brokers and determining the reasonableness of their commissions. Further, Item 12.B. requires advisers to describe the “products, research and services” given to the adviser or related persons, if the value of such “products, research and services” is a factor in selecting broker-dealers.2 Item 13 requires an investment adviser to disclose and describe any arrangement whereby it either receives an economic benefit from a non-client in connection with giving advice to clients or directly or indirectly compensates any person for client referrals.3 These disclosure requirements are designed to “assist clients in determining whether to hire an adviser or continue a contract with an adviser, and permit them to evaluate any conflicts of interest inherent in the adviser’s arrangements for allocating brokerage.” Kingsley, 55 SEC Docket at 2441-42; See S Squared, Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560.

 

VIOLATIONS OF SECTIONS 206(1) AND 206(2) OF THE ADVISERS ACT

 

E.Sections 206(1) and (2) prohibit an investment adviser from employing any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud clients or from engaging in any transaction, practice or course of business that operates as a fraud on clients. Sections 206(1) and (2) establish a fiduciary duty for investment advisers to act for the benefit of their clients. Transamerica Mortgage Advisers, Inc. v. Lewis, 444 U.S. 11, 17 (1979). An investment adviser’s failure to disclose its soft dollar practices violates Sections 206(1) and 206(2). Renaissance Capital Advisors, Inc., Advisers Act Release No. 1688, 1997 SEC LEXIS 2643 (Dec. 22, 1997) (Sections 206(1) and 206(2));Oakwood, Advisers Act Release No. 1614, 63 SEC Docket 2485 (Sections 206(1) and 206(2)); S Squared, Advisers Act Release No. 1575, 62 SEC Docket 1560 (Section 206(2)). Scienter is an element of a Section 206(1) violation. Steadman v. SEC, 603 F.2d 1126, 1134 (5th Cir. 1979). Proof of scienter is not required to establish a violation of Section 206(2). SEC v. Capital Gains Research Bureau, Inc., 375 U.S. at 195.

 

F.M&P willfully violated Sections 206(1) and (2) by making materially false statements and omissions in M&P’s Form ADV and by failing otherwise to disclose to its clients that M&P was using soft dollar credits to pay non-research expenses.

 

G.Marvin willfully aided and abetted and caused M&P’s violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) by knowingly or recklessly making materially false and omissive statements in M&P’s Form ADV and by failing otherwise to disclose to M&P’s clients that M&P was using soft dollar credits to pay non-research expenses.

 

H.MacThom and Dubis caused M&P’s violations of Sections 206(1) and (2) by knowingly participating in a course of conduct which they knew or should have known was a violation of M&P’s fiduciary duty to its clients.

 

I.As a result of the conduct of M&P, Marvin, MacThom and Dubis, M&P and MacThom were unjustly enriched by $857,000.

 

VIOLATIONS OF SECTION 207 OF THE ADVISERS ACT

 

J.Section 207 of the Advisers Act makes it unlawful for any person willfully to make any untrue statement of material fact in any registration application or report filed with the Commission or willfully to omit to state in any such application or report any material fact required to be stated therein.4 A person violates Section 207 by filing false amendments to Form ADV. Stanley Peter Kerry, Advisers Act Release No. 1550, 61 SEC Docket 431 (January 25, 1996).

 

K.M&P’s “no” answer to Item 13.A. in its Form ADV in effect from February 1996 forward was false. M&P was in fact receiving an economic benefit from Broker, a non-client, in the form of soft dollar credits and payments to MacThom for M&P’s benefit. M&P’s response to Item 12.B. in its Form ADV in effect from February 1996 was misleading in that the response failed to disclose that M&P was receiving non-research services from Broker in return for directing client brokerage.

 

L.M&P’s omissions and false and misleading disclosures regarding its soft dollar arrangement were material.

 

M.M&P and Marvin willfully violated Section 207 in that they made untrue statements of material fact in M&P’s Form ADV and failed to disclose in M&P’s Form ADV the existence of the soft dollar arrangement and the non-research services received from the Broker.

 

IV.

 

Based on the foregoing the Commission finds that:

 

A.M&P willfully violated Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act.

 

B.Marvin willfully violated Section 207 of the Advisers Act and willfully aided and abetted and caused M&P’s violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

 

C.MacThom and Dubis caused M&P’s violations of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

 

V.

 

In view of the foregoing, the Commission deems it appropriate to accept the Respondents’ Offers of Settlement.

 

Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

 

A.M&P shall be, and hereby is, censured;

 

B.M&P shall cease and desist from committing or causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act;

 

C.M&P and MacThom shall, jointly and severally, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay disgorgement and prejudgment interest in the total amount of $976,980 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier’s check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies M&P and MacThom as Respondents in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

 

D.M&P shall, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $50,000 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier’s check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies M&P as a Respondent in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

 

E.M&P shall comply with its undertakings as specified in its Offer of Settlement to perform and implement the following:

 

1.Within 60 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will revise its procedures manual to include a section setting forth policies and procedures regarding soft dollar arrangements with broker-dealers. Included in these procedures will be the requirement that all soft dollar arrangements be approved by in-house counsel employed at M&P. M&P will hold a mandatory meeting with its employees to review policies and procedures including those relating to soft dollar arrangements. Attendance at the meeting will be recorded and a copy maintained in the files of M&P.

 

2.Within 30 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will file with the Commission and provide each of its advisory clients an amended Form ADV disclosing all material terms of any soft dollar arrangement it has with any broker-dealer;

 

3.Within 30 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will provide a copy of this Order to all of its current clients;

 

4.Within 60 days of the entry of this Order, M&P will file an affidavit with the Commission’s staff, addressed to the attention of the District Administrator of the Commission’s Philadelphia District Office, 601 Walnut Street. Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106, setting forth the details of its compliance with the undertakings set forth in subparagraphs E.1., 2. and 3. above;

 

5.For a period of one year after the entry of this Order, M&P will provide a copy of this Order to all of its prospective clients;

 

6.One year from the entry of this Order, M&P will file an affidavit with the staff of the Commission certifying its compliance with subparagraph E.5. above.

 

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:

 

F. Marvin shall be, and hereby is, censured;

 

G.Marvin shall cease and desist from committing or causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1), 206(2) and 207 of the Advisers Act;

 

H.Marvin shall, within 30 days of the entry of this Order, pay a civil money penalty in the amount of $25,000 to the United States Treasury. Such payment shall be: (A) made by United States postal money order, certified check, bank cashier’s check or bank money order; (B) made payable to the Securities and Exchange Commission; (C) hand-delivered or mailed to the Comptroller, Securities and Exchange Commission, Operations Center, 6432 General Green Way, Alexandria, Stop 0-3, VA 22312; and (D) submitted under cover letter that identifies Marvin as a Respondent in these proceedings, and the file number of these proceedings, a copy of which cover letter and money order or check shall be sent to Ronald C. Long, District Administrator, Philadelphia District Office, Securities and Exchange Commission, 601 Walnut Street, Suite 1120E, Philadelphia, PA 19106;

 

I.MacThom and Dubis shall cease and desist from causing any violation and any future violation of Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Advisers Act.

 

By the Commission.

Jonathan G. Katz
Secretary

 


 

FOOTNOTES

 

1 The “safe harbor” provided by Section 28(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) does not excuse an investment adviser from these disclosure obligations. The safe harbor protects an investment adviser only from charges of breach of fiduciary duty for failing to obtain the lowest available commission rate where the amount of commission is reasonable in relation to the value of brokerage and research services provided. 1986 Soft Dollar Release, 35 SEC Docket at 907.
2 See 1986 Soft Dollar Release, 35 SEC Docket at 909. There is a presumption that receipt of non-research and non-brokerage products or services, except where nominally valued, is a factor in the selection of brokers. 1979 Soft Dollar Release at n.6.
3 The 1986 Soft Dollar Release noted the relevance of Form ADV, Part II, Item 13 to soft dollar disclosure. 35 SEC Docket at 909 n.32.
4 Section 204 of the Advisers Act and Rule 204-1 thereunder require periodic filing and amendment of Forms ADV by investment advisers. Pursuant to Rule 204-1(d), a Form ADV or an amendment thereto is a “report” within the meaning of Section 207.

 

http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/ia-1841.htm

 


 

Modified:10/01/1999

 

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Not Nancy’s blog; its awesome. But I am talking about the royalty that runs this state regardless of who gets elected,  If a candidate of the people gets in, they are quickly shoved out of viability inside the workings of government and the royalty continues to run things as it wishes.

Our locally elected officials for the most part, actually do try to represent us. And they actually do  well representing us on all issues that don’t affect those who think they run things… But go against those, and you get shoved into areas you can do no damage….

Money, influence, status are all the regular clients  The “Delaware Way” used to be held up as a good thing… I once believed it was a good thing, as probably did Nancy since it was how she named her blog.   The idea was that Democrats and Republicans all got along and got things done for the good of the state, and  compared to the breakdown we see daily in Washington DC, that alone does seem to be a benefit….

However, that now seems to have changed.   By taking a snapshot of today, their image show “The Delaware Way” is now a group that wants to put in a GIGANTIC power plant 200 yards from Newark’s back yards and doesn’t give a damn how many Newark children die in the process.  “The Delaware Way” is now a group that wants to get rid of the Coastal Zone Act, so new polluting industries which can’t get a foothold in any other civilized portion of the planet, can come here and pollute like they could in a third world nation… “The Delaware Way” is now a group that couldn’t care less about segregation, about teaching our children to read or right, about helping in-poverty children learn reading and math,  as long as they can get rich off of all their charter schools.  “The Delaware Way” wants unions busted; zoning laws gone,  conservative dogma taught, and no minimum wage increase until infinity.  Today’s “Delaware Way” wants to keep our prisons full, as long as the are privatized and someone gets paid for each incarceration. Today’s “Delaware Way” wants to keep the death penalty, and levy new death penalties on regular citizens by doing nothing to curb the buying or selling of contraband illegal guns. They want to actually make selling stolen guns completely legal… They want to benefit Highmark over Christina Care. They want to charge tolls on all our highways.  They don’t want taxes on the rich increased, but lowered.  They think today’s middle class earns far too much; they want them poorer…

Their names are familiar.  On the national scale they are Tom Carper, John Carney, and Chris Coons. On the state scale they are Gov. Markell, Dave Sokola, Brian Short, Dan Short, Pete Schwartzkoph, Valerie Longhurst… Add names below if you wish….

Instead of change, these people grind down the changes of other well meaning people into dust.  A simple rule requiring all schools to put their public board meetings on line, was, since it certainly if publicly voted would have passed, shoved into a drawer to never be seen again…  Charter school legislation that will bankrupt every single public school in the state, was drawn up in secret though deemed illegal by the Attorney General’s office of the state, was railroaded through both chambers and signed by the orchestrators above, before anyone knew it was happening…  Public schools are stripped of funding, and it was never brought up to the public for debate.

What brought all this up was Connie Merlet’s letter.. published in Nancy’s blog… appropriately titled:  The Delaware Way.  And it is one tiny piece I wish to draw out…  a little statement.  a few words strung together that says, so, so much….

“I believe changes were well-intended when the Stars program was envisioned, but it has morphed into a system that has enabled already high-quality day cares to enjoy most of the financial benefits… In conversations with our representatives at both levels, I have realized that they really have no understanding of how that money is actually being used. “

There appears to be a government within our government… One thing is promised and passed and then turned over to be executed.  At that point those in the Delaware Way take over, enabling  those of privilege get more money, and those in need to become shafted…  The legislators, those to whom you throw your vote, for the most part mean well;  it is when it gets into the actual bureaucracy that the Delaware Way comes into play. They are the “deciders” as one cowboy once called them.

So no matter what gets passed…. it certainly doesn’t come out the way it was intended… We have a government within our government that does not bode well for the Delaware people.  Look at New Castle County under Paul Clark where without brakes of any sort, the Delaware Way had its way…. The elite do what the elite want, despite the fact they only have one vote like everyone else.

John Carney has gotten completely loopy lately.  So has Chris Coons.  Carper has been pro-elite for a long time now.  But their statements in public from these three decrying it is better that they try to get along with our equivalent of Hannibal Lecter, don’t bode well for all of us who are to be his future victims. It appears that their statements still supportive of the Delaware Way, are only meant to have on single purpose….keeping the lambs quiet before their slaughter. ….

 

I am borrowing heavily from Hunter here, who through an amazing amount of work did what I would have liked to, but never would have found the time…  He slogged through each month in separate installments.  I wanted to have one single visual representation of the year as a whole.

America has cancer.  It is our conservatives.

January.

January 3, 2013: Election of Speaker. Incumbent Speaker John Boehner was re-elected with the largest number of defections in the vote for speaker since at least 1991…

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tells GOP: ‘Stop being the stupid party’. “It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults,”

Republican Stephan King introduces the Repeal of Birthright Citizenship.

Republicans closed party ranks against doing anything at all to prevent another Sandy Hook mass killing.

Republican state legislatures initiated laws to disregard any federal laws on gun legislation that do happen to pass.

The constitutional Sheriffs said putting armed civilian posse’s in schools would be the answer.  Some noted that Sheriff’s Arapao’s own posse was composed of criminal elements.

Republicans threatened to veto Obama’s appointment of conservative Republican Chuck Hagel because he was neither Republican or Conservative enough.

Sequester Legislation gets signed as part of budget deal, and Obama goes on a olive branch dining tour with Congressional Republicans.  He was received well ( they all brought their wives to meet him.)

The government did not shut down, Mitch and Joe made a deal that sailed passed the House, in which the leadership and moderate Republicans all thumbed their noses at the Tea Party contingent who voted it down.  The lesson was short lived.

GOP had a retreat to determine why nobody like them, and discovered it was because they were conservative.  While there they decided they could do nothing without their prime funders, who were all demented Conservatives, and so they chose to remain conservative anyway.

And Glenn Beck announced a Glenn Beck theme park was forthcoming.

February

John Boehner informs America that the Republican House is going to initiate a top secret Immigration Reform Club, that will blow both the Senate and America away with the scope and integrity of their quality legislation.

Disclosure is made that the NRA has a secret enemies list…  topped by Mary Lou Retton. (Not snark; seriously)

The NRA head Wayne “LaKook” LaPierre, felt compelled to give his own rebuttal to Obama’s State of the Union address.

Led by a former Vice President who shot his lawyer in the face, a group of likewise gifted riflemen led a movement stating that having any discussion about gun safety was bad for America.

Mississippi Republicans pondered to ban animal-human hybrids. Oklahoma Republicans debated whether students should get marked wrong for stating that climate change or evolution DID NOT EXIST. Missouri Republicans responded with a bill to make it a FELONY for anyone to propose gun legislation laws….

Senator Cruz questions whether Secretary Defense Chuck Hagel is secretly getting money from North Korea or other of America’s enemies.

The Republican’s gentleman’s agreement not to block nominees with a filibuster lasted 15 working days.  Chuck Hagel’s vote did not reach cloture.

March

The Daily Caller was punked by a hoax involving two Dominican Republican prostitutes who after being paid a year’s worth of tricks by a wealthy Republican benefactor, then went and made charges against Bob Menendez.  Although quick to be proven a hoax, the Daily Caller to this date, still insists it was a true story, and the entire world is lying and currently is out to get them…..

After cowing to public pressure to install Chuck Hagel afterall, Senate Republicans next vow to hold up confirmation on the CIA director until Lindsey Graham and John McCain get the answers they want on Benghazi.

Senator Paul Rand of Kentucky stages a filibuster against the CIA confirmation chief’s vote, to protest drone use by America.  After receiving much good press and lots of contributions, he quietly said he really didn’t have a problem with drones being used to kill people at all.

With the exception of Governor Christie who fortunately as a Republican, is completely removed from the antics inside the capitol dome, all the other 2016 Presidential contenders came out against any post-Sandy Hook common sense legislation…. Sens. Marco Rubio, Jim Inhofe, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee…..

The Republican Sequester begins to go into effect, causing Republicans to push legislation to fund all those parts of their sequester which make them look bad.  Long lines at the airports,  White House tours,  immigrants sneaking across the border were all erroneously blamed on Obama.  Like cutting $85 billion overnight wouldn’t affect anyone?…  Duh.

Remember the Acorn scandal of years ago?  It was settled and the full story came out after the trial.  The film was edited by Breitbart to make it look like a prostitution ring was being run out of ACORN, but in fact, the ACORN perpetrators had been suspicious and called the police on the film crew, thinking that they were the ones misusing women for financial gains.  Trusting anything said by a conservative is dangerous.  That organization which re-enfranchised many poor Americans was shut down over a lie.  Can we now have that class action lawsuit against Breitbart and the film’s producer?

Woot!  Woot!  Paul Ryan had a Medicare plan!  Awwww.  The Senate voted it down 96-3.

Sequester kicks cut deeply into Head Start, cancer research, and Meals on Wheels.  Republicans complain loudly about the quality of towels in the heated Congressional swimming pool.  Apparently they weren’t getting cleaned well or fast enough.

April

Republican nominee for Virginia’s governorship advocates for the re-installment of Virginia’s anti-sodomy laws.  (Yeah, seriously!  In 2013!)

Sen. James Inhofe, dismisses the Sandy Hook families who showed up in Congress to witness the vote, by saying the tragedy of Sandy Hook didn’t have anything to do about them. “I think it’s so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t.” –Inhofe

After gun control gets defeated, Inhofe in search of another publicity run, makes himself the head of investigating those rumors of whether the federal government is buying up all the ammo so gun owners can’t use any to shoot at rifle ranges.

The new conservative media darling Ben Carson disappears after stating that gay marriage leads to bestiality…

Multiple conservative groups took to the airwaves and blamed the Boston Marathon bombing on the Pill, sexual liberalism and abortion. Obviously they are ignorant of real world terms like backpacks and explosives.

Rep. Louie Gohmert made the claim that the Obama administration was “chock full of Muslim Brotherhood” members…  Because it is?  That was the full extent of evidence behind his outrageous claim.

House issues its report on Benghazi.  It apparently did not know, or listen to any of its witnesses subpoenaed to it’s hearings,  that [By tradition], every cable from an embassy bears the “signature” of the ambassador — and every cable from Washington bears the “signature” of the secretary of state.”   The entire premise of their report, was instantly and publicly deemed invalid.

May

House Republicans admit their own ineptitude at being able to pass any legislation.  Revealing Quote:  “we couldn’t even get agreement to call 911 if House Speaker John Boehner were on fire.” 

Heritage Foundation weighed in on Immigration stating that it would cost trillions of dollars.  When broken down that came to half a million per immigrant, something that laughed Heritage Foundation past the monsters and over the edge of even their square world of reality.  it didn’t help Heritage, that the author of that report, was a known white supremest in charge of his own collection of kooks.

The NRA elects a new president who in video, express his continued anger that the northern states ran off with all of his great-grandfather’s black help…. More alarming was his advocacy for ” “weapons to fight tyranny”  forever dooming the next poor government worker who chooses to knock on the wrong door….

Republicans foundering in a froth over that Obama had the Tea Party scrutinized by the IRS, had a hard time dealing with the fact that democratic leaning groups got the same treatment as well. Could it be policy, that political groups requesting tax exempt status actually get looked at to ensure they were deserving of such before granting it? Completely out-played, Rand Paul stands up to protest, well, that he should even be forced into the position of having to protest anything at all…..

Michelle Bachmann announced she would not run again  and that the cause for which she was bowing out, absolutely had nothing to do with the two separate probes over her criminal misdoings…

It’s now been three months since the Republican National Committee issued its 100-page autopsy report about what went wrong in 2012 and promised to reach out to more non-white voters.

June

Just hours after the Supreme Court nullified parts of the Voting Right’s Act,  Republican state legislatures rush through legislation to purge voter rolls of Blacks and Hispanics.

Remember the IRS scandal?  In June through testimony it was revealed that twice as many conservative groups were approved than were progressive groups…  Remember Darrell Issa’s  charges that Obama was using the IRS to stymie Conservative groups only?   I guess the Congressional Committee actually did what it was supposed to do and got down to the truth of the matter.  Way to go, Darrell….

Snowden erupts… The press goes through a public mitosis.   We get to watch which reporters and organizations are the “real” fourth estate, and which are the self-appointed protectors of the DC bureaucratic elite.

Ultra Conservative foundation Heritage, was originally “for” a bill that eliminated public financing of campaigns, until they discovered the money would go to fund research for sick children… Better to waste it on Republican candidates than sick children they said (in a roundabout way), and switched their support to one of not…

And we heard again that rape does not result in pregnancy, so keeping abortions facilities around to prevent raped impregnations is absolutely unnecessary, and… we need to ban abortion immediately because, heaven forbid, fetuses are masturbating in the uterus!  Apparently this trend seems to occur mostly with Republican ones.

Republican Senator Jeff Flake had to apologize for his 15-year-old son’s unsavory remarks on Twitter.

July

July 16, 2013: The Senate reached a deal to allow some presidential nominations to come to a vote, avoiding the “Nuclear option” for filibuster reform…

Republicans in Missouri wanted their state Supreme Court to hasten forward their convict’s execution days, since access to acquire the drug to be used, was running out.

Conservative plans to put guns in schools hit a major hurdle as private insurance companies say if so, they’ll pull their insurance coverage away.

Republican Governor Rick Scott wonders why his national guard is not prepared for a hurricane, and discovers the sequester was the culprit….  Their funds were cut by his own Tea Party in Congress.

People whom no one takes seriously, on a network no one takes seriously, wasted a lot of air time blaming Obama for making us into a bi-racial nation, after he gave a few remarks about Trayvon Martin.

Congress takes a recess having passed 15 bills by it’s half year mark. A record low.

August

Arizona Senators who had voted against giving FEMA aid to New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy, demand FEMA do more to help their state, beset by a few fires.

Liz Cheney gets busted for lying that she was a Wyoming resident.

The Republican National Committee demands that CNN and NBC not show their prime-time programs on Hillary Clinton, or else they will ban those networks from showing their convention in 2016….  Turns out it was only going to be those two network’s Spanish channels who would be banned….

Republicans who castigated Clinton and Obama for not having sufficiently protected embassies across the world, called the unprecedented closing of 22 embassies over a credible intelligence threat, an act of cowardice….  Darn. There went their plan for Congressional hearings all the way up to 2014 elections….

Republicans complained that the re-enactment of Martin Luther King’s Washington speech had no conservative speakers.  It was subsequently revealed that all those Conservatives who were invited, had declined.

September

Buildup to the Shutdown. Republicans do nothing to stop it.

Ted Cruz gives a pre-shutdown standing “non”–filibuster. Topic, Obamacare.  It was just (yawn) a speech, since it delays no vote…

The month of September was preluded by Republican entreaties that the government shutdown would NOT be the Republican’s fault, since neither Obama nor the Democratic Senate was not accepting their unreasonable demands to repeal Obamacare. The entreaties obviously didn’t work.

John McCain continues his push to arm Syrian’s rebels. Creates inter-party confusion, since, aren’t those rebels Al Qaeda? John says arm them nevertheless… (until Israel tells him otherwise).

Lindsey Graham says not bombing Syria immediately, will cause an all-out Israeli-Syrian War by March 2014….

Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, reschedules an execution since it fell on his Attorney General’s re-election campaign fundraiser date.

As more and more Republicans express hope that shutting down the government and defaulting on our debts are preferable to allowing poor people access to insurance coverage, a shut-down appears more and more likely.

October

The United States federal government was shut down as most routine operations were curtailed after Congress failed to enact legislation appropriating funds for fiscal year 2014, or a continuing resolution for the interim authorization of appropriations for fiscal year 2014…

When asked if Republicans gained anything by forcing the closure on many government functions, Republican Senator Ayotte replied “I think the answer is no.”

GOP Congressman Stutzman explains the very coherent clear objective for the stop-payment on 700,000 people’s paychecks by shutting down government.  “We have to get something out of this; and I don’t even know what that IS.”

Rep. Randy Neugebauer  berates a Park Ranger for closing a war monument that Rep. Randy Neugebauer himself voted to close. The best part of the exchange? Multiple bystanders coming to the ranger’s defense.

Republicans found they could get TV time on networks by falsely appearing  outraged over the closing of War Memorials for which they voted.  Unfortunately no TV time was allotted to children awaiting cancer treatments,  people eating unchecked contaminated food,  mothers whose work depended on Head Start classes teaching their children certain hours every day…. Even the Federal employees who had no income for 17 days, were barely mentioned.  Proving to all that there is nothing fair or balanced with any American news organization.

Republican Party head Reince Priebus states the RNC itself will provide funds to keep the war memorials open.  Two things not mentioned.  They would not be closed in the first place but only for Republican’s irrational enthusiasm for shutting down all government; and that more necessary programs  towards the well-being of this nation,  both economic and defense, would of course not be getting any assistance and would continue to do severe harm. Those two omissions making it clear to all observers  that Republicans are not only stupid, but dangerous to have anywhere near real power.

A rolling right wing extremist truckers brigade was planning on shutting down Washington for an entire weekend by choking the Capitol City’s roads and freeways.   5 trucks showed up.  But that didn’t stop Fox News from showing year’s old footage of trucks stranded on a Georgia Interstate due to a traffic mishap, in its selling of the live and current story…

In his ongoing  effort to prove who is the most irrational Republican Rep Gohmert tells an audience that John McCain, due to his criticism of the Republican shutdown, is secretly employed and on the payroll of Al Qaeda..  And to think, if not for Obama in 2008, he (Al Qaeda)  would have been president!  It has a nice ring to it though… John (Al Qaeda) McCain….

And in case you couldn’t tell… Michelle Bachmann held a press moment to declare, we are now in the ….. “End Times”…  (So that’s why the Eagles are champs of the NFC East.)

Even Norquist condemns the Republican Party…. “I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.”

Republican North Carolinian precinct captain,  essentially says the Republican’s party’s prime role, is to make non-whites second class citizens again…  He was pushed out after the interview aired, but not before criticizing his own party for not being KKK enough…

Republicans say defaulting on our debt, which means the government not paying at least some of our bills, is no big deal.   Meanwhile, the actual price the government paid to borrow money for a month rose to its highest level since 2008, more than doubling from just a day earlier.

The shutdown cost the Federal Government $4.8 billion. It lost the economy $24 billion. It shaved 0.6% growth off our GDP.

The Republicans caved just in time.  Newsweek revealed the S & P was minutes away from changing our already lowered AA+ to its lowest category, Selective Default.  the lowest of all 20 of S&P’s grades of non-trustworthiness.

‘Tea Party’ Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, insisted “this was worth having the fight,” even as they were conceding absolute defeat.

To a Republican Party which pretends to be concerned about fiscal conservatism — even as these numbers and many others show they clearly are not — any “victory” found amidst this shutstorm will have to do.

Republicans sum up the month by declaring there is a war on Christmas and only they are the last lines of defense in keeping it from being overcome.  Really.  Would that “war on Christmas” spending have anything to do with a self imposed  $24 billion hit to the economy?

Oh, and on the very day the government shut down to deny all funding for Obamacare,  the website for Obamacare opened… and received considerable amounts of traffic.  Perhaps a little too much traffic. But when one is concerned with focusing all September’s efforts on keeping the entire government from shutting down, are the problems of a tiny single untested website going to get that much pre-scrutiny?

November

November 21, 2013: Nuclear option for filibuster reform was enacted.  The new rule will allow just a simple majority vote for all nominees except for the Supreme Court.  Tipping point was the Republicans filibustering of 3 DC Circuit appointments for spite,  finally pissing off 3 cool-to-the-idea Senators and giving him the majority he needed to make it happen.

Rand Paul plagiarizes on a scale that makes Biden’s remarks 25 years ago just a slip of the tongue.  Biden was kicked out for that?  And Paul is still in?  Oh… I see…  two different parties; two different morales…

Boehner comes clean:  “Frankly, I’ll make clear, we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate (Immigration) bill,”  Note: There are enough favorable bipartisan votes to pass the Senate Immigration Bill in the House of Representatives if it ever came up for a vote.

In Colorado, five hard-right counties voted in November to secede from the state…

Former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Jim Wright, was almost denied his voting rights under Texas’ newly passed Voter ID law.  Being in a nursing home, he could not get his drivers license renewed in time to vote.  Not to mention, untold numbers of married women were turned away because their married names had not yet been updated on their ID’s.

December

Congress will close 2013 with 58 bills enacted into law. It’s the lowest one-year output since 1947. 6366 bills were introduced by lawmakers.

“You know, you look around the Congress and there are a lot more females in the Democratic caucus than in the Republican caucus, and some of our members just aren’t as sensitive as they ought to be.” John Boehner, Dec 5, 2013.

House Republicans decide we needed a budget after all…  The Paul Ryan deal with Patty Murray sails through with 60 Tea Partiers thinking it was too liberal, and 30 Progressives thinking it was too Conservative but still making it through with a 3-1 margin, showing the entire world, that the House of Representatives can function very well whenever the Republican Hastert rule is  ignored.

We find out from Fox News that Jesus is white, and so is Santa.   Both apparently look like this.

Realizing Obamacare will doom the Republican Party… California Republicans create a spoof site that mimics California’s healthcare website and mails every constituent a pamphlet directing them to that spoofed site, instead of to the actual one.  Much of California’s clamor over the website problems came from trusting people actually steered towards the wrong website by none other than their elected representatives.

Women must now get rape insurance in Michigan. Purchased separately in advanced.  Otherwise, they were asking for it when they got nailed.

Conservatives who praised Mandela were vilified.  How dare you praise anyone of color.  If you were already of color and shook hands with someone also of color, you were again vilified.  You can’t be “our” president they said, because you don’t hate people enough….

Duck Dynasty proved in Conservative America,  you do not have the right to fire someone for speaking hate and bile,  but you do have the right to fire someone who is in love with anyone you don’t approve.

Republicans piled on the US closing the Vatican’s embassy as a war on religion, even though it was reported it was being simply being upgraded to a new location because of logistics…   (They’ve since scrubbed their website.)  Apparently they’ve never heard of Google, which come to think of it, is probably why their embarrassingly overwhelming loss in 2012 was such a surprise….

Finally, now at the end of the year, the Wall Street journal reports that the  Chamber of Commerce is putting up $50 million in combination with Republican power brokers, to weed out the Tea Party crazies throughout the primaries…  Just as a reality check this is a lot of money;  an average Senator’s campaign war chest usually tops out at close to $1 million.

If you need them, all the sources are here…  You can look them up if you wish.  You should visit him and give him a rec for service well done.  Personally I just wanted a reminder for those times when I get tired, see how little has changed,  and wonder what’s the ‘effin’ point… why is it worth anything that I should keep pounding away at them anymore?….

At such points, I can then come back and  look at this post….

I really didn’t give this report much respect coming out of the gate for the word-leaked-out, was that it does nothing to stop the NSA’s abuse.   However, I have deep respect for Richard Clarke who was one of the five, so I felt compelled to read the whole thing

Since I’m sure few of you will venture to read the entire report, If something jumps out, I jotted it down below…

1. The United States Government must protect, at once, two different forms of security: national security and personal privacy.

In addition to reducing risks to national security, public officials must consider four other risks:

• Risks to privacy;
• Risks to freedom and civil liberties, on the Internet and elsewhere;
• Risks to our relationships with other nations; and
• Risks to trade and commerce, including international commerce.

We recommend that Congress should end such storage and transition to a system in which such metadata is held privately for the government to query when necessary for national security purposes.

In our view, the current storage by the government of bulk meta-data creates potential risks to public trust, personal privacy, and civil liberty.

We recognize that the government might need access to such meta-data, which should be held instead either by private providers or by a private third party. This approach would allow the government access to the relevant information when such access is justified, and thus protect national security without unnecessarily threatening privacy and liberty.

We endorse a broad principle for the future: as a general rule and without senior policy review, the government should not be permitted to collect and store mass, undigested, non-public personal information about US persons for the purpose of enabling future queries…

We also recommend that legislation should be enacted authorizing telephone, Internet, and other providers to disclose publicly general information about orders they receive directing them to provide information to the government. Such information might disclose the number of orders that providers have received, the broad categories of information produced, and the number of users whose information has been produced…

We recommend that, in the absence of a specific and compelling showing, the US Government should follow the model of the Department of Homeland Security and apply the Privacy Act of 1974 in the same way to both US persons and non-US persons.

We recommend a series of organizational changes.  We believe that the Director should be a Senate-confirmed position, with civilians eligible to hold that position; the President should give serious consideration to making the next Director of NSA a civilian. NSA should be clearly designated as a foreign intelligence organization….

The head of the military unit, US Cyber Command, and the Director of NSA should not be a single official.

We favor a newly chartered, strengthened, independent Civil Liberties and Privacy Protection Board (CLPP Board) to replace the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB)…

We recommend that Congress should create the position of Public Interest Advocate to represent the interests of privacy
and civil liberties before the FISC.

The US Government should take additional steps to promote security, by

(1) fully supporting and not undermining efforts to create encryption standards;

(2) making clear that it will not in any way subvert undermine, weaken, or make vulnerable generally available commercial
encryption; and

(3) supporting efforts to encourage the greater use of encryption technology for data in transit, at rest, in the cloud, and in
storage.

The use of “for-profit” corporations to conduct personnel investigations should be reduced or terminated.

There then follow forty-six recommendations, most of which were mentioned above… They start on page 26 and continue until page 44,  For the most part, these are where the complaints that the report is too soft, lie.  The report states things should be in a certain way, and like the Articles of Confederation, there is no teeth to back them up….  For instance it states we recommend that private third parties turn over data only if it is necessary to the security of the United States… Easily setting up this scenario… “Hi, can you give me info on Ms Murphy.  Appears we have some trousers in some soup…” ” Is it a national emergency?” “Yes, sure is”… “Ok here are all their calls…” Essentially unless teeth are added, this allows the same actions as go on today, to progress further.

Teeth such as:  any third party who gives, or any governmental employee who asks for private confidential information for purposes other than an immediate physical threat to national security, may be sued in court for any damages such misuse of information may cause…. etc…

It is our sincere hope, that one, this power is removed from the government.  Private corporations cannot arrest one in the middle of the night, and that with this data in the hands of private entities, that those private entities are at risk if any wrong information falls into anyone’s wrong hands…

Most of us would still trust our privacy in that scenario…  “What?  Someone just told my spouse I was sexting Miley Cyrus?  Oh well, (sigh) with the judgment of $68 million I’ll eventually receive, I’m much better off if I’m divorced before I receive it… ..”

Syrian Resistance FlagSyrian Flag We are a tired generation… We grew up with ‘Nam.  Which ever side we were on during the battle here in America over that police action, or war, looking back after it was done, …. we all knew it was wrong….

After that we thought all war was wrong, and unfortunately took some of that angst out on those who least deserved it:  those coming back from the steamy jungles of hell…..

Against our will a certain president soon sent Marines into Beirut;  what happened then reinforced our belief that an American war was unjustifiable and that all other means must be utilized to prevent American war from ever happening again….  Against our will, we propped up a Nicaragua dictator against some rebels.  Against our will, we sold arms to Iran to use for paying for our support for that Nicaragua dictator, since a Congress elected by the American people, flatly said no to supporting him in Nicaragua…  We found a way to do it anyway….

I remember Senator Rudman, (R-NH) saying at the hearing while addressing Oliver North,… “The American people have the RIGHT to be wrong.”

Oliver North had been insisting that even when Americans flatly say NO, one still must do what one deems is necessary, that whatever one deems necessary, is the highest moral truth.  “Sometimes one has to go above the law!”  was actually said by the defense at this hearing.  Only one good thing came out of those hearings:  we all were introduced to Fawn Hall.

But then…  The Brits quickly regained the Faulklands. Then came Grenada, which went off without a hitch.   Then Panama, which was successful and almost painless.  Then came General Schwartzkopf.  The 4th largest army in the world, was routed in hours, and in days, had been completely mopped up.  Then came the Balkans.  We were on a roll.  We’d finally nailed down the successful formula of how to win in battle.

Today we say Iraq is a failure.  But that was so not so just after the invasion.  Inside Baghdad, the pulling down of Saddam’s statue, the victory of capturing Saddam, the ability of us to hand out billions of American dollars, initially gave this campaign the luster of looking like another success story…

Until we tried to steal their oil.  The standard global rate of dividing oil revenues is that the US gets a 20% cut for the development, and Iraq would get to keep 80% because it is after all, their resource.  That is how we deal with Nigeria.

But Brenner announced that we’d flip that to pay for the war, and that Iraq would be allowed to keep 20% because we liked them so much, and we’d only, by our good graces, take 80% of the revenues. 24 hours after letting that cat out of the bag, the first IED went off under a US military vehicle…  Before week was out, the total was in the hundreds.

The luster was gone.  We were an invading army, something  we have not called ourselves since WWII.  We always saw ourselves as the policeman who leaves as soon as order is restored…

Afghanistan likewise, got worse.  Then Pakistan.  Then Yemen.  On the diplomatic front  instead of doing no harm, .. we could do no good.  Then Libya costs us an ambassador who was running guns through Turkey.  He shouldn’t have been there; it should have been a low level staffer with security clearance.

This baby boomer generation knows that war is wrong.  We know from experience. The only time it can be employed successfully, is a) when the whole world is united behind you, b)  you go in and get out, and c) you have a structure that stays in place long after you are gone.

The only time it goes badly… is every other scenario.

Which brings us to Syria.  Syria has no importance to anyone.  (They couldn’t even defend the militarily advantageous Golan Heights in ’67!)  Which is why we let the Russians have them.

People are going to die in Syria if a):  Assad wins, b):  the rebels win, or c):  no one wins. The only thing changing upon this wars outcome, is which side will be massacred at war’s end.  Hence the battle for survival over there now.

So by having the US intervene or not, we are choosing which side gets to kill the other after the hostilities die down.

The weakest argument for going in still left with standing, is that they used chemical weapons.  In WWI, the British, French, and Germans all used chemical weapons.   Are chemical weapons really worse than being burned alive?  Or asphyxiated as a bomb blast sucks all the oxygen out of your lungs and the room?  Or a milk jug sized piece of jagged metal shrapnel ripping and leaving a hole through your body?  Or a mine being stepped on?  I’m trying to think why chemical weapons are so much worse, except for the fact that we’ve been told” they are so much worse”?

A causality is a causality.

We understand “why” some say we should go into Syria.  Because if we do not respond to chemical weapons in a big way, someone else will become confident and use theirs.  There is only one way to keep the genie inside the bottle, and that is to never leave a opening for it to escape….

We also understand “why” one of our beloved School districts had a policy that suspended, and expelled those who brought weapons to school!  Not just guns, but knives too. After all, the argument for punishing Syria, applies to soon-to-become high school felons too.

But, there came a time when the response generated by a policy, actually became the crime,   You remember the little boy expelled who brought a cake to school, and his grandmother thoughtfully sent a knife knowing teachers usually don’t have utensils in their classrooms.  The teacher actually cut the cake, served it, thinking nothing of it.. it was someone higher up, reviewing the situation, who said, “wait, that can be interpreted as a breach of regulations.  Let’s make an example out of this little boy”.  He was suspended and could have been expelled, except it eventually became news and public outcry was solidly on his side.  The policy makers were laughed out of town.

Which is why, if you are making this decision, you need to stall.  Acting quickly and decisively is equivalent to acting on rumor and innuendo.   So what if Syria lied and shot the gas cannisters off?

Does a military strike create enough excellent good will to neutralize this bad act?

Ironically what is best for the US in this situation, is for Assad to stay in power, to have a zealous change in heart, to work closely with the USA to get his economy working, to becoming a partner in that region with the US, and to signing a treaty with Israel, as did the Egyptians many, many years ago…

What is worse for us, is if the jihadists win, push out the moderates and take over the reform movement (they always do), then go to war with Israel, Jordan and Turkey.  Making ourselves into the evil empire will only create more explosions everywhere, flare-ups which would not have occurred had we taken the Jedi way, and used the “Force” in our possession, to make events on the ground turn our way and happen in our favor….

Realistically such a rosy scenario probably can’t happen; but if it did, were this to come about, there would be no doubt: Obama would be lauded as the best president we’d ever see in our lifetimes.  The cost of failure is so low that it just might be worth the try.

The second point… which all us Viet-namers will well remember, is that you may win every engagement you participate in Syria, but you won’t win the war at home, and that… will suck all your energy away from all the good you plan to do before 2016.

It broke LBJ.  It broke Bush II.  Don’t let it break you….

If a Russian intelligence officer published reports explaining how the KGB was monitoring every Russian’s phone call and storing it for future reference,… then showed up in the United States, .. would we send them back to certain torture and death?

The Soviets would try every tactic we just did.  In the end, they would look like the repressors, and our government looks like it stands for truth and justice for real people.

So learn the lesson.  We can’t win.  Let’s simply say we’d like to try him, but it’s no big deal, and therefore the summit, will continue forward.

After all, even after much posturing and and diplomatic sanctions against us to appease their more rowdy internal factions, the Russians have always played ball.  I know the White House has a green advisory staff right now, but we should take a lesson here from the Russians.

Re-convene the summit.  Not doing so makes us look just like the Cheney Administration, carrying grudges.  In 2008, we said that was the totally wrong approach.  We voted instead for hope and change.

HindenbergOverNYCMomentsBeforeItExploded_zps3496e2cd
Photo Courtesy of The Atlantic
My guess is yes.   Remember how the election of 2000 forgot all about the national debt headed towards zero.  It forgot all about the greatest economic boom in America’s history.  It forgot about the prosperity that every quintile of the American Public experience growth from one year to the next.  It forgot about the peace that was in the Balkans.  It forgot about the curtailing of Welfare.  The election in 2000 was decided on morality.  More people in those good times were interested in “morality” than what was good for the economic future of this country.   Because of “morality” (translated as sexual immorality) even smart people could not bring themselves to vote for more of the same, and instead switched to something completely different.  It was close. Florida proved it, but had that immoral incident never been brought to light, … things would have been so much different today.   it affected that many voters, enough to throw an election in the middle of the biggest boom times ever, to the minority party.

That is a valuable lesson.  Now for a known Obama supporter and guide, to have severe misgivings over this use of secrecy and reading all data on all citizens, and keeping them for future reference, (one can only think for sinister reasons), is very telling.   This is a gut mover; one like having the president dally with an intern which sets a lot of people off.   Both are impossible to justify.  The simple fact that all this information is for sale to prospective employers, competitors for the next promotion, or spouses wishing to exit a relationship, has grave consequences to a lot of American’s private lives.  And it is not that they did something bad.  It is that accusations (unfounded) can be made on piecemeal information (as was done by Issa in the IRS hearings)  and the citizen of the United States cannot defend his actions.  In fact, he never knows of  what he was accused.  He gets turned down for this, or for that, and it is all from a mistake…

The Obama Administration is in grave danger of losing his place in history.  His legacy will be shadowed by his upholding of this secret spying.  He has only one out, and it must take place now; surprise everyone, and his legacy will be saved, as well as create a democratic administration which will not undo, as was promised by Romney, everything the current president has put in place.

Here is what he has to do.

1)  Fire and replace the current director with someone Constitutionals trust.

2)  Declare all NSA actions will now be open.  FOIA will apply to the NSA.

3) Remove all objections to lawsuits in court, which seek clarification over whether the Constitution was violated or not.

4) Since the NSA is in charge of domestic spying, (the CIA does International), the NSA rules need to change to that of the FBI.  Though not perfect, secrecy is still kept, but the super-secrecy is stopped.

5) Warrants will be required for all searches.  That is the minimum of what the Constitution requires.

6) Encourage all internet providers not to cooperate unless they have a court order requiring them to do so for each person.  Outlaw blanket searches.  Outlaw phishing.

7) Admit the NSA went overboard, and take the responsibility for it.   Say it was a mistake, which you plan and hope it will be fixed long before you hand over the White House keys to your successor.

Mark my words.  If a very moderate Republican (Christie) ran and said he would “shut down the NSA”,  he would get my vote as of now.  This is serious and you had better listen to those outside of Washington, before you listen to those within.   if you are skeptical, I don’t blame you.  But I have to tell you, we survived Bush; we can survive a moderate Republican who is far more clear headed and able to stand up to nut case conservatives, which was Bush’s biggest personal fault; he caved.   You need to understand that all that damage by Bush, affects my children far less than having them be slandered for something they know nothing of, or did not do because it is attached to their name. Our privacy is of utmost importance to us.   Just like America sent a signal that sex in the White House would not be tolerated, you are in the same boat now.   Clinton won the impeachment battle.  It cost Gore the next election.

The Republicans have something on you here; you are guilty;  this is scary stuff.  Any dodging, or keeping the status quo, hurts your legacy every day it exists in its current form.  You know what you have to do, and the sooner it gets done, the sooner all talk among our citizens goes back towards getting rid of Republicans completely, so we finally can fix the economy.

It would be one more thing.. you got right.

The document in question was an 86-page opinion the FISA court had issued on October 3, 2011.

In it the FISA court states that the action requested by the NSA was unconstitutional. The FISA court was of the opinion this information needed to be disseminated to the public.

The Justice Department was due to file a court motion in June in its effort to keep secret an 86-page court opinion that determined that the government had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying.

So in a nutshell, we have the NSA committing an unconstitutional action.  We have the secret Federal court which incidentally only hears the NSA’s side of the argument, decide such action was NOT under the scope of the law, and was actually unconstitutional.  The court felt the public should know about this Constitutional violation, apparently because even they were shocked at its danger for democracy.

The Justice Department then filed suit to block the dissemination of knowledge to the American people, that the secret FISA court had determined that the NSA was going over and beyond its powers invested by the Fourth Amendment, and that it is therefore acting unconstitutionally.

So when our government does something unconstitutional and covers it up… what do we do?

Ironically, in East Germany, we have more privacy rights today than in the United States of America.

Where did we go wrong?  It’s all Patrick Leahy’s fault.  He got soft after standing up to the Joker in The Dark Knight and so now he isn’t standing up for Americans. Guess he figured he’s done his share.

The NSA does not yet have your passwords.  We know this because today word broke they were asking internet providers for them.  Whether this was for one or two suspects, or passwords for all the data they collect, no one is yet saying.

All the internet providers said no, thank goodness.   This will have to go through Congress now if it ever is to take place.  Perhaps with this revelation, it is the proper time for another House defunding bill to be proposed against the NSA… After all, how many attempts have been made to defund Obamacare or Planned Parenthood?  Unlimited. 

If the government is able to determine a person’s password, which is typically stored in encrypted form, the credential could be used to log in to an account to peruse confidential correspondence or even impersonate the user!

Government orders demand not only a user’s password but also the encryption algorithm and the so-called salt,  A salt is a random string of letters or numbers used to make it more difficult to reverse the encryption process and determine the original password.

Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google all confirmed they would not divulge this information. Not responding were Apple, Facebook, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast so you may have already been compromised.  There is a good chance these little companies don’t have the clout to stand up to government requests.

The big companies resisted the government’s requests by arguing that “you don’t have the right to operate the account as a person,” 

 

it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.