Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The surveillance scandal is a direct result of our national denial about jihad

From Jihad Watch / Posted by Robert Spencer

This surveillance scandal arises out of our national bipartisan unwillingness to face the reality of Islamic jihad. Because we all agree that Islam is a religion of peace, we can't possibly address where the threat is really coming from, and monitor mosques or subject Muslims with Islamic supremacist ties to greater surveillance. Instead, we have to pretend that anyone and everyone is a potential terrorist, and surveil everyone. Our freedoms and privacy are now at risk because of our refusal to admit the truth about Islam.

People who leak classified information need to be punished, but Snowden is more of a whistleblower, akin to a Soviet dissident working against an all-encompassing government. It is good that it came out that they're watching our every move, reading all our emails, etc. It needed to come out because it needs to stop if we are going to have any chance of surviving as a free people and not becoming a totalitarian state in which every slave of the authoritarian rulers is under constant surveillance.

"White House disputes comparisons to Bush amid leak scandal," by Dave Boyer for The Washington Times, June 10:
Embarrassed by national-security leaks of historic proportions, the White House rebutted accusations Monday by the disillusioned former government contractor who leaked the surveillance secrets that President Obama is no different than President George W. Bush in his anti-terrorism tactics.
Obviously Obama is far worse, but actually the two are on a continuum.
As a debate raged over whether the leaker, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, is a hero or a criminal, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there was no reason for Mr. Snowden to have been disappointed in Mr. Obama. 
“The president’s record on making the kinds of changes that he promised he would make to the ways that we pursue our fight against al Qaeda and our fight against terrorists and extremists, he has lived up to,” Mr. Carney said....
How? By pretending that everyone in the country is a member of al-Qaeda?

Allen West’s Blunt Response to Bill Cosby Over ‘We Should All Be More Like [Muslims]‘ Remark

Comedian Bill Cosby over the weekend penned an op-ed for the New York Post, in which he argues everyone should be more like Muslims.

Former Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.) took exception to this characterization, issuing a blunt rebuttal to Cosby via his official Twitter account.

“Bill Cosby said we should [be] more like Muslims,” West wrote. “[You] mean honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombings? Hope [you're] kidding sir.”

2day in NY Post, Bill Cosby said we should b more like Muslims. U mean honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombings? Hope ur kidding sir.
Allen Wests Blunt Response to Bill Cosby Over We Should All Be More Like Muslims Remark
Allen West

Here’s what Cosby wrote in the Post that has raised some eyebrows:
I’m a Christian. But Muslims are misunderstood. Intentionally misunderstood. We should all be more like them. They make sense, especially with their children. There is no other group like the Black Muslims, who put so much effort into teaching children the right things, they don’t smoke, they don’t drink or overindulge in alcohol, they protect their women, they command respect. And what do these other people do?
They complain about them, they criticize them. We’d be a better world if we emulated them. We don’t have to become black Muslims, but we can embrace the things that work.

Like a carefully memorized religious incantation, politicians and central bankers continually stress how their stimulus policies are designed to promote the interests and prosperity of the middle class.
Cynical observers may note that this brave political stance may have something to do with gaining the support of the vast majority of voters who identify themselves as "middle class." However, the cumulative effect of their economic programs has achieved the opposite. The middle class is being crushed under increased taxes, negative real interest rates, debased currencies and increasingly intrusive regulations.

A large and healthy middle class is the single most important bastion of democracy and freedom in the modern world. Individuals who identify with the middle class exhibit strong support of their nation and economic system. A small, weak middle class opens the political door to dictatorial control and tyranny. This was the case in the waning days of czarist Russia when, the small Bolshevik party was able to court the discontent of the underclass to seize control over more than one hundred million people.

Many government policy decisions lead Americans to take on debt, such as Clinton's home ownership push, Bush's post-911 spending prescription, or the tax code's mortgage interest deduction. 
As the largest debtor in the world, it is not a leap in logic to imagine the U.S. Government prefers policies that favor debtors rather than creditors. These efforts can be magnified if central bank monetary debasement destroys the value of any savings the middle class had managed to save. The explicit policy of the Federal Reserve is now to hold interest rates below the rate of inflation, which by definition discourages saving and encourages debt.In exchange for the loss of their savings, the middle class can't point to any significant gains. Wage rates in America and Europe have been largely flat for several years. In Japan, a similar recession caused a flat economy that has lasted for more than ten years while the broader economy has largely stagnated.

Meanwhile the middle classes are reeling from price increases in many of the areas that are most vital to their lives, such as food and energy. Statistics show that the share of income that Americans must devote to these basics has increased significantly in recent years. In addition, huge new stealth taxes, such as ObamaCare, threaten to dig the hole even deeper. The combination has been a serious reduction in the net disposable income of many consumers in the middle classes. However, even these reduced incomes disqualify many in the middle from government aid programs such as mortgage relief, Medicaid, and food stamps. In short, the middle class is being squeezed between lower net earnings and higher living costs. It's no wonder that many have turned to debt to get by.

Many of those members of the middle class, who have scraped and saved during their working lives, now face serious unemployment, often long-term in nature as old skills become redundant. In retirement, these people live often on fixed incomes. Many who are fearful of recession and the resulting market vulnerabilities of securities have hoarded cash in bank deposits. Today's interest rates manipulated downwards by central banks offer depositors less than half of one percent a year on most deposits. With even 'official' inflation running at just over one percent, bank deposits and short-term financial instruments offer only negative yields. If a more realistic rate of inflation were widely known, almost all fixed instruments, other than those of very high risk, would offer negative real yields.

Finally, the oppressive regulations and aggressive intrusion of today's government are reducing the incentive and raising the costs of starting and continuing in small businesses. In fact, a recent report detailed the increasing difficulties of starting a small business in America. Despite small but steady increases in the overall employment picture, more small businesses are cutting workers rather than bringing on new hires.

In short, the policies of central banks, combined with those of overbearing government, are crushing the middle class and with them the single most important bastion of democracy. Students of history recognize this trend as dangerous. People who believe that society offers no hope of improvement are often willing to enlist in open class warfare and subscribe to the views of dangerous demagogues. Perhaps this is the direction that Washington, Brussels, and Tokyo want to go? We should take great efforts in spreading the word that freedom is good for everyone, not just the rich.
It would be nice to write a column in praise of President Obama for his vigorous conduct of the war on terror -- to praise his willingness to look for "dots" to connect amid all the electronic noise of the communications web. It would be pleasantly nonpartisan to observe that some conservatives are being hypocritical -- denouncing Obama for surveillance of millions of Americans while they were content to permit President Bush to do similar things without protest, just as many liberals are doing the reverse.

Three glaring obstacles stand in the way: One is the memory of the casual smears candidate Obama directed at President Bush. The second is the rank abuse of power his administration has demonstrated, which undermines one's trust that the trove of information the government is sifting will be used only to disrupt possible terror attacks. The third is the administration's pattern of lying -- which undermines any reassurances the president proffers that "nobody is listening to your telephone calls."

Candidate Obama did more than dissent from President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. He asserted that the decision itself was dishonest -- based "not on principle but on politics." He said the war was a "cynical attempt by arm-chair warriors to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats."

What that agenda might have been (is removing terror-sponsoring aggressors an "ideology"?), candidate Obama didn't say.

Regarding the larger war on terror, Obama denounced Bush for advancing a "false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide." His administration, he pledged, would provide law enforcement the tools to deal with terrorists "without undermining our Constitution and our freedom." He denounced "illegal wiretapping of American citizens," "tracking citizens who do nothing more that protest a misguided war" and "ignoring the law when it is inconvenient."

"That is not who we are," he scolded.

Mrs. Obama too struck this theme, railing against the supposed reign of fear that Bush imposed. "I am tired of living in a country where every decision that we've made over the last 10 years wasn't for something, but it was because people told us we had to fear something."

In his first inaugural address, Obama intoned, "As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals."

In the wake of revelations that the Obama administration has been engaged in massive data mining of telephone calls, computer use (by foreigners) and other information, the president explains, "It's important to recognize that you can't have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience."

Why did the president only come to his realization after "his team" evaluated the intelligence? Most Americans were aware that the threats from terrorists were genuine without benefit of the "President's Daily Intelligence Brief." Terror attacks tend to make the news. But Barack Obama wasn't an average citizen before moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a senator. He was on the Foreign Relations Committee and had access to classified information -- all the more reason to believe that he knew that the terror threat was not cynical "fear mongering" by President Bush.

Never has Obama conceded that President Bush acted in good faith -- not even after his "team" assured him that data collection was necessary for thwarting terror plots. No, when Bush engaged in data mining, he was "undermining our constitution and our freedoms." When Obama does it, he is "striking the right balance" between security and freedom.

Obama asks us to trust that he's using power judiciously. Under President Bush, liberals were never given reason to fear that government power was being used to persecute them. Enough said.

The president assures us that "no one is listening to our phone calls," and that may be true. But this administration also assured us that no sweeping data collection on American citizens was going on, that the IRS was not unfairly singling out conservatives, that the Justice Department had not attempted to prosecute journalists, and that the Benghazi attack was the response to a video.

It would be nice to trust the president, but it wouldn't be wise.

Bohner and Finestein are full of it...Snowden is a hero

Boehner, Feinstein: Snowden’s a traitor

by Ed Morrissey / HOT AiR

I guess this makes it bipartisan, no?  The Democratic chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Republican Speaker of the House don’t agree on large number of issues, but they both have the same assessment of NSA leaker Edward Snowden — that he is a traitor.  Boehner offered his take on ABC’s Good Morning America in an interview with George Stephanopoulos:

See the interview here:
House Speaker John Boehner today called NSA leaker Edward Snowden a “traitor” who put Americans at risk by releasing classified information to the media.
“He’s a traitor,” the highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives said in an extensive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “The disclosure of this information puts Americans at risk.  It shows our adversaries what our capabilities are.  And it’s a giant violation of the law.” …
“The president outlined last week that these were important national security programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the terrorist threat that we face,” Boehner said. “The president also outlined that there are appropriate safeguards in place to make sure that there’s no snooping, if you will, on Americans here at home.” …
“There is heavy oversight of this program by the House Intelligence Committee on a bipartisan basis and the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Boehner said. “And that’s why I feel comfortable that we can operate this program and protect the privacy rights of our citizens.”
I’m actually on board with the idea that Snowden is a criminal, but that doesn’t mean that the NSA program is necessarily heroic, either.  Has Boehner confirmed that the NSA programs have those safeguards, or is he just taking Barack Obama’s word and those of the committee chairs for it?

Shouldn’t the leadership of Congress be able to speak from their own close oversight of such a powerful program about whether appropriate and effective safeguards are in place?  Because if Obama’s assurances on NSA are on the same level as those of IRS and State Department accountability, then we have a big problem.

Speaking of which, Boehner makes more or less the same point on credibility:
He said it was “inconceivable” that Obama could not have known about the targeting, despite the president’s claim that he did not know about the outcome of an inspector general audit until the report was released publicly.
“It would be inconceivable in my operation that my staff would know it and I wouldn’t,” Boehner said. “It just doesn’t pass the straight face test.  How could — how can your chief of staff — your general counsel know, and you not know?”
Now, let’s bring that back around to the NSA.  Do the two committees actually have effective oversight of the entire PRISM program, or are they just processing whatever the NSA and the administration tell them? Didn’t the House and Senate committees also hear from the IRS that no targeting was taking place at all, which later turned out to be a big, fat lie?

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, also called Snowden a traitor yesterday:
“I don’t look at this as being a whistle-blower,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calf.) said. “I think it’s an act of treason.” …
Democrats like Feinstein also said the source behind the leak of the NSA’s Internet and phone surveillance programs must be prosecuted.
“He took an oath — that oath is important,” she said. “He violated the oath, he violated the law. It’s an act of treason in my view.”
Treason?  Not really, but Snowden broke laws that would put him in prison for a very long time, if the US manages to catch him.  Right now, though, the rest of us would like a better idea of just how tight the leash is on the NSA, and whether the agency has returned to the days of Minaret.
Fourth Amendment violations and Big Brother all rolled into one
By: Diane Sori

A computer geek just might have put the key into the lock of Obama’s downfall.

Edward Snowden, the much heralded NSA (National Security Agency) leaker, was one of thousands of analysts hired by the Obama government to manage and go through huge amounts of personal data collected through monitoring our personal phone calls and internet usage.

Blowing the lid off what in reality is the Obama government’s spying on Americans through what’s known as PRISM…a covert government electronic surveillance program operated by the NSA and originally designed to identify terrorists, PRISM has now become a collaboration between the NSA, the FBI, and major tech companies that allow government access to your personal information...Obama and crew are unconstitutionally and without warrants spying on private citizens who have committed NO crime, who belong to NO terrorist groups, who are just going about their daily lives…in a direct and flagrant violation of rights afforded us under the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizures (phone and internet snooping meets this definition), yet the Obama government is listening in on…spying on…half the country which was NOT the intention of the policies (the Patriot Act most specifically) George W. Bush put in place immediately after 9/11.

But laws passed since then have given authorities the ability to request judicial approval through a special National Security court, to basically troll for all sorts of records under the premise that the searching and accumulation of citizen’s phone and internet records could be analyzed for patterns of suspicious behavior while not involving a specific focus on any specific individual or group.

And this is where the violation of our Fourth Amendment rights come into play.

The Fourth Amendment requires that searches meet a ‘reasonableness standard’. This means that ‘reasonableness’ can be judged on the circumstances surrounding the search, and then weighing the search’s overall intrusive nature against the legitimate interests of the government.

However, the government must show that there was ‘probable cause’ for the search, meaning some form of evidence must be brought forth showing that there’s good reason to suspect an individual of a particular transgression, and only then can said search be deemed Constitutional.

A search will be constitutionally ‘unreasonable’ when the government can’t prove the search was necessary.

And listening in on…intruding on…spying on…collecting data on…law-abiding American citizens engaged in NO activity harmful to this country or its citizens is indeed ‘unreasonable’. And just because our government has the technical ability to conduct such searches on such a large scale does NOT mean the government should conduct such searches…legally or otherwise.

So how did Obama and crew justify their spying when exposed…by using the totally ridiculous justification that since terrorists have cell phones and internet access that they use to plot and carry out acts of terrorism, and because millions of American citizens have cell phones and computers with internet access, government surveillance…NO…government spying…is necessary to weed out suspicious activity. This means that every citizen is under suspicion until they are cleared by an Obama sanctioned look-see at their records.

So now we are NO longer innocent until proven guilty but guilty until the Obama government deems us innocent.

And to make this worse the fact is that every American who uses a cell phone or logs onto the internet is being tracked to some degree on a daily basis.  And the Obama controlled NSA is building a massive cyber intelligence data center, dubbed The Dark Star, in Bluffdale, Utah (scheduled to be operational this fall) that can analyze, in real time, the actual voice content of phone calls and ‘see’ what people are doing on the internet. In fact, it’s the largest of a network of data farms which include sites in Colorado, Georgia, and Maryland.

And it’s Fourth Amendment violations and Big Brother all rolled into one.

So with Edward Snowden now fearing retaliation against him for blowing the whistle on this operation, he is out of the country and on the run…and who can blame him with Obama’s thugs after him…and with the Obama government’s very defense reaction to the lid being blown off their doing what they knew was unconstitutional to begin with, this gives much credibility to the supposition that the Obama government actually did spy on and continues to spy on 'We the People' NOT to weed out potential acts of terrorism as they claim, but to ‘tag’ those of us who oppose this miserable excuse of a president and his equally miserable administration.

And I can bet one of those ‘tags’ is most assuredly on me...and damn proud of it.