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Thursday, June 13, 2013


We have tons of NSA stories to talk about. Tons! Apparently, the polls are supportive of Snowden...
Roughly one in three Americans say the former security contractor who leaked details of top-secret U.S. surveillance activity is a patriot and should not be prosecuted, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.

Some 23 percent of those surveyed said former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a traitor while 31 percent said he is a patriot. Another 46 percent said they did not know.
Time has similar numbers, but...
But an almost identical number of Americans — 53 percent — still said he should be prosecuted for the leak, compared to 28% who said he should not. Americans aged 18 to 34 break from older generations in showing far more support for Snowden’s actions. Just 41 percent of that cohort say he should face charges, while 43 percent say he should not. Just 19 percent of that age group say the leak was a “bad thing.”
What fascinates me is the conservative/liberal breakdown of this story. You can tell that the rightwingers didn't see Snowden coming: Originally they embraced the Greenwald/WaPo revelations, because they fit into the larger "Obama scandals" meta-narrative. But now there has been a reversal, with liberals wanting investigations into NSA overreach and conservatives wanting Snowden in a noose. It took a while for the politics to shake out that way, we are.

And yet -- looky here! Kooky old Glenn Beck and the Ron Paulies like Snowden. (Beck has promised some grand, earth-shaking revelation within the next ten days. Forgive my cynicism, but I doubt his abilities as a prophet.) In other words, leaders of the ultra-Libertarian wing of the conservative movement are actually allowing their actions to be governed by conscience, not by Roger Ailes or the RNC's line of the day.

Who'da thunk?

We're learning that the NSA's apparatus -- which would be extraordinarily helpful to anyone hoping to put and keep a tyranny in place -- has been woefully inadequate to the task of combating terror, the ostensible rationale for all of these electronic intrusions. 

Marcy Wheeler is doing her usual great work -- see here and here and here. The last link goes to an important revelation: According to DiFi (speaking about the Patriot Act's notorious Section 215, which provides the legal justification for all of this stuff)...
The Section 215 Business Records provision was created in 2001 in the PATRIOT for tangible things: hotel records, credit card statements, etcetera. Things that are not phone or email communications. The FBI uses that authority as part of its terrorism investigations. The NSA only uses Section 215 for phone call records — not for Google searches or other things. Under Section 215, NSA collects phone records pursuant to a court record. It can only look at that data after a showing that there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a specific individual is involved in terrorism, actually related to al Qaeda or Iran. At that point, the database can be searched....
I didn't know that "articulable" is a word. (Is there a synonym for "articulable"? If there is, I can't articulate it.) More importantly...

What's all this shit about Iran?

I know that the neo-cons, with whom Feinstein is far too chummy, would like us to go to war with Iran, but the fact is that we are at peace with that country. Since the hostage crisis of 1980, the worst thing Iran has done to this country was buy arms from Ronald Reagan. True, Iran has tossed money at Hamas and Hezbollah, but I was under the impression that Israel's problems are not our problems.

So if you have any linkage to Iran, DiFi wants you to be electronically naked to the NSA.

Well, there's much more to say, but no time to say it. I'm off to Utrecht -- the art supply store, not the city. After all, a house is not a home without a tube of Prussian Blue oil paint lurking around somewhere. But I'll be back soon. Never Say Adieu!
So the NSA is spying on Cheney and North?
There is one problem with this data base: right now (argueably) its only used for searching so-called terrorist activity. How secure really is it? The Jeb Bush administration probably will sell access rights or even given to corporate interests.

And, how much do you really trust the Carlyle group?

Iran? You believe Israel's problems are not our own?

Why did "ultra-libertarian" Ron Paul say the Zionist Lobby was the worst of a bad bunch of lobbies?

There you go.

And why did Congressman Moran (though he later apologized, I believe) say the Zionist community was not the only reason we went to Iraq, but if it wanted to, it could have been decisive in preventing the war?

There you go.

Brace yourself for more blood and treasure down the drain.
I've been watching this phenom and it's astonishing, Joseph.

You can break Americans into two groups (as far as those who keep up with things like this).

1) Conservatives, libertarians and progressives who are highly suspicious of government, and at least some skepticism wrt the fairness of our legal system.

2) Conservatives, libertarians and progressives who find only traitorous motives for anyone who breaks the immutable LAW, as though it were a holy relic which cannot be violated.

It's a very strange dicholtomy.

Slightly OT: In the past six months, toddlers have killed more people than terrorists.
If "articulable" is not a word, then a whole lot of lawyers are in for a surprise, given that "reasonable articulable suspicion" is a standard term of art (conflating the "reasonable suspicion" based upon "articulable facts" language from the Supreme Court's Terry v. Ohio) in fourth amendment law governing when it is appropriate to detain and frisk someone suspected of committing a crime/carrying a weapon.
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