March 27 update: The Washington Post is reporting today that President Obama and his cronies are looking for quick action by Congress to approve changes in the bulk data collection program that spies on you.
“We really hope that the Congress can act swiftly,” it quotes a “senior administration official, who spoke in a conference call with reporters, but on the condition of anonymity.” This is the way Obama does things. He doesn’t have the guts to come out publicly and say what he wants. But that doesn’t really come as a surprise I suppose.
In any event, this should tell you two things. First, the Administration is lying again. If it wanted to end the bulk data collection program, the President could do it today. He could just tell the NSA to stop collecting the data. But Obama didn’t do that. Instead, he authorized the program’s continuation for another ninety days and now he wants Congress to pass “reforms” the Administration refuses to spell out in detail so you can actually see what they amount to.
The other thing this should tell you is that neither Obama nor the Administration are looking for serious reform. They want to stampede Congress into enacting “reforms” that may not be reforms at all, but an effort to actually expand the program. See the original post below for more on that.
The point is the Administration understands that a serious, genuine, and prolonged debate of these matters would be embarrassing to it. That’s the reason it’s pressing for swift action.
We’ll have to see what Congress does in the days ahead, but don’t count on it to stand up to the President or to pass real reform. All of these clowns are part of the same cabal who continue to rape the Constitution every day. They don’t give a shit about your privacy or your security. They only care about stampeding Congress into ratifying something that will likely expand their spying authorities.
Like I’ve said below, if their lips are moving, they’re lying to you. And you need to tell your own Representatives and Senators to find some backbone and stand up to the Administration. The way to do that is through prolonged hearings that get all the facts out on the table. Anything short of that is a disservice to you and to the very idea of what America is all about.
March 25 original post
You may have seen a lot of stories in the press today about the latest set of alleged reforms designed to reign in the National Security Agency (NSA), one from President Obama and another from the chairman and ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. If you have any sense at all, you’ll take most of what you read with a grain of salt.
Obama’s proposals come from the NSA itself and Attorney General Eric Holder, one the worst Attorney Generals in memory. Obama assigned them to come up with a new set of reforms after he had rejected another set of reforms from an earlier group of hand-picked toadies. Do you really trust people who have repeatedly raped the Constitution and lied to Congress to come up with serious reforms?
The other set of proposals come from Congressmen Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Intelligence Committee. Rogers is an especially odious and loathsome creature. He’s been the NSA’s biggest defender in the House of Representatives and has a long history of lying about matters large and small.
Rather than overseeing the intelligence community, he prefers to spend his time slandering Edward Snowden, one of the genuine heroes in this whole debate. Nothing these two clowns propose will ever pass the laugh test.
By the way, it’s important to recognize that neither Obama nor Rogers & Ruppersberger have an actual legislative proposal we can look at. What we mostly have is their own self-description of their proposals leaked to a selective group of friendly reporters who are mainly cheerleaders for the intelligence community.
What’s beyond doubt is that the bulk data collection program will continue under both sets of proposals. The data itself will reportedly be held by the telephone companies and be made available on demand. Under the proposal from the two congressional clowns “the government could search data from those companies based on a reasonable articulable suspicion that someone is an agent of a foreign power, associated with an agent of a foreign power, or in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power.”
This actually seems to be an expansion of the NSA’s authority as its current phone records program is restricted to a reasonable articulable suspicion of terrorism.
Wondering what a “reasonable articulable suspicion” is? It’s not probable cause, that’s for sure. It’s just a phony, made up term that means someone in the NSA thinks you may be involved in terrorism and is willing to say that out loud, nothing more.
It’s basically a stupid attempt by the government to make you think there is some elaborate standard in place against which suspicion can be tested. But that’s just another lie from a government accustomed to lying to the American people all the time and anxious for something much looser than probable cause.
Equally important, “a judge would reportedly not have to approve the collection beforehand;” and “the language suggests the government could obtain the phone records on citizens at least two hops away from the suspect, meaning if you talked to someone who talked to a suspect, your records could be searched by the NSA” as well. All of that is from The Guardian, which apparently has seen a draft of the Rogers/Ruppersberger proposal.
The Guardian goes on to note that “the administration’s plan would supposedly end the collection of phone records by the NSA, without requiring a dangerous new data retention mandate for the phone companies, while restricting analysis to the current rules around terrorism and, importantly, still requiring a judge to sign off on each phone-record search made to the phone companies – under what the New York Times described as a new kind of court order.”
But, again, we can’t be sure of anything really because the actual legislative proposals are not available for review. Indeed, if the Los Angeles Times is correct, the bulk data collection program might actually expand exponentially under Obama’s proposal.
“The National Security Agency would lose its authority to collect and hold years’ worth of telephone calling records but gain access to cellphone information it currently lacks under an Obama administration proposal aimed at quieting controversy over the spy agency’s data archive,” the Times reported today.
It then went on to explain in more detail: “Most importantly, it [the Obama proposal] would expand the universe of calling records the agency can access. After months of suggesting that they were collecting all the calling metadata, U.S. officials disclosed last month that a large segment of mobile phone calls were not covered by the program, and that as a result the NSA may only collect 30% of all call data in the country.”
Under Obama’s new proposal, everything would be collected, stored and available for review. In Obama speak, that’s what’s known as change you can believe in. The fact that it’s also a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution apparently is no concern to the ex-law school professor.
I could go on, of course, but let’s be honest, people. When have any of these clowns showed any concern for your privacy or for the Constitution either? Rogers and Ruppersberger are the NSA’s congressional pet poodles, men who’ve repeatedly lied to us.
And Obama is hardly any better. But one thing all three share in common is a recognition that the Patriot Act, one of the pillars of the surveillance state, is due to expire in the next eighteen months. If it does, all of this nonsense would have to end, at least theoretically, until a new law could be debated and put in place.
They don’t want that to happen. They want to pass new legislation now under the guise of reform that will actually continue the spying and the rape of the Constitution; and now they’ve come to realize the only way to do that is to sell you on how concerned they are about your privacy rights.
If you believe these people, I have a bridge to sell. These are the people who have damaged America; the people who have made us less safe and who can’t be trusted to do the right thing. At least that’s my view.
The bottom line is I would urge you to be cautious, very cautious, as you read all these stories. A large part of the media is part of the very same Washington cabal that foisted all of this shit on us and they’re adept at the language of 1984:
WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
That’s what they’re counting on, especially that last slogan. I would encourage you not to fall for any of it. These people are liars. They can’t be trusted. And if you take what they say on faith, don’t be surprised to find yourself fooled again.
As the Guardian put it: “The White House and the House Intelligence Committee leaked dueling proposals last night that are supposedly aimed at ending the mass collection of all Americans’ phone records. But the devil is in the details, and when it comes to the National Security Agency’s unique ability to twist and distort the English language, the devil tends to wrap his horns around every word.”
Or, to put it more simply, if their lips move, they’re lying to you.