What sorts of things might happen given the super surveillance state revelations (FISA orders, Prism, Boundless Informant, et al)? Here’s a partial list:
- More cash transactions.
- Increased use of private encryption (which may already be futile).
- A massive fall-off in on-line porn.
- Unfocused pushback (with tightly focused disgust) against a government Americans clearly aren’t in control of.
- Tech companies become the new big oil/big tobacco/big retailer/big pharma, only less trustworthy.
- Legislative calls for on-line privacy.
- Realization that “on-line privacy” is an oxymoron.
- More politically targeted IRS audits.
- Government mandates cloud-only computing. “After considering all things, I’ve decided it’s worth it for you,” Mr. Obama says.
- The United States becomes a nation people seek refuge from.
The last item on the list (but not necessarily chronologically) is your forehead gets bar coded and you get an RFID implant. (Or in lieu of that, you have your cell phone on and with you at all times. There’s little basic difference.)
Let’s acknowledge the very uncomfortable truth: most of us are unwilling participants in a massive government-industrial surveillance experiment that would cause stalker-envy in the Stasi.
On the government side, the President falls back on legalisms (“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls”) while ignoring the fact that hardware, software, and/or people are tracking and recording information from your calls, your travels, your credit card purchases, your e-mails and files, your photographs, your bills, your voice over internet calls, and more. While Mr. Obama may not technically be lying, he’s intending to deceive. Similarly, he doesn’t want any discussion on how the government’s surveillance laws are interpreted and he prefers, once again, to throw down his well-used “trust me” card.
But the “trust me” card isn’t a viable play when the reservoir of trust has run dry.
On the industry side, the internet-based companies participating in Prism (there’s also the Boundless Informant program) offer a similar treatment: tightly worded denials that are intended to mislead. And they do so with the top cover of plausible deniability and secrecy provided by (and required by) the government. (The recurring use of the phrase no “direct access to our servers” suggests the government may have participated in drafting press releases.) And chances are, we’re just starting to find out about the depth and breadth of the government-industrial surveillance complex.
But in time, the government-industrial surveillance complex is likely to become less an issue of public outrage and more of a political ‘Who can we blame?’ issue. Even before this disgrace, the President knew his “Catastrophic Presidency Fail Light” had been illuminated steadily, so his position is simple: say Congress was all briefed (Congress disagrees), the judges all signed off, and therefor assert the program is all neatly legal.
Indeed, it may be so, but legal does not mean the surveillance state is just, proper, moral, ethical, beneficial, justified, or warranted. Those who were in the know in Congress are taking their cues from Mr. Obama and are falling back on the claim to legality, rubberstamped as it appears to be be.
So is there a solution to what appears to be a national intent-to-deceive on an unprecedented scale? A first step is to move from depression to acceptance. There are things that can be done and doing nothing would be a poor choice.
Like Soylent Green, our government (the IRS, the State Department, the Justice Department, the NSA, etc.) is made up of people. And all people are flawed, fallen creatures even as our federal government has long blown past the marginal benefits (arguable as they are) that we are said to receive. The conclusion now seems obvious: an ever bigger government creates ever bigger problems and ever bigger unintended consequences. This seems to be true whether government is promising to keep you safe (often, from yourself), employed, well-regulated, healthy, fed, educated, funded in retirement, or whatever else unkeepable promises may have been made, explicit or implicit.
If these things are true, it would seem the real solution to the government-industrial surveillance complex is to make the government smaller. (Industrial surveillance is another issue altogether.)
But how—exactly—do we make government smaller? It isn’t that hard; in fact, it’s simple.
When the government is overfunded (from both taxpayer contributions and debt), it is in a position to do too much, which as we’ve seen throughout history, isn’t a good thing. This happens even as government itself says, “Whatever we’re getting, it isn’t enough. Nor will it ever be so.”
Ergo, consider the words of the wise man who said, “If it ain’t funded, it ain’t.”
The President’s scandal explosions (that is, Scamalot) show one thing: for the left, ideology reigns supreme.
This is because the apologists and true believers are disinclined to contemplate the obvious, yet painful, truth that the Barack Obama’s presidency has been inferior to that of George W. Bush. Was the Bush presidency superior in literally (not Biden-speak) every way possible? No, but close.
That’s because the magnitude of the Bush blunders (that is, Iraq, the FEMA/Katrina debacle, Homeland Security, the return to deficits, bailouts, and the prescription drug benefit) can’t be waived away.
However, as far as government credibility, the economy, jobs, still bigger bailouts, labor force participation, crony capitalism, national security, foreign policy, world standing, the education system, the debt, the deficit, the always-on super-stalking surveillance state, health care, the IRS, press freedoms, entitlement programs, the regulatory state, extra-Constitutional activities of every sort, national infrastructure, etc., our nation is worse off than we were under George W. Bush.
The left asserts—in the absence of proof—that things have improved with Obama.
The evidence—reality—shows otherwise. While the left is still much enamored with Obama, it should now be clear why: he had the liberal, biracial bona fides they wanted in a candidate and on the ballot, possessed a parenthetical “D” by his name.
The Bush bad, Obama great mythology is demonstrably false. Sadly, a more accurate assessment is this: Bush not good, Obama far worse.
When a professional athlete goes from one team to another and says, “It isn’t about the money,” the rule of thumb is this: it’s about the money.
When James Clapper says he didn’t intend to mislead Congress, you can rest assured he intended to mislead Congress.
When Eric Holder says he favors protecting the press, it’s a given he’s into (selectively) prosecuting the press.
When Jay Carney says only a pair of miscreant IRS employees in Cincinnati were responsible for the failings of an entire organization, you can instead know this: the fish rots from the head.
Obama’s kingdom of Scamalot has been created and sustained by 1) the quest for power and control, 2) the self-deluding thought that the means don’t matter as long as the goal is achieved and challengers are punished, 3) having a team of world-class sycophants who are unwilling to substantively challenge Obama or to tell the emperor he has no clothes, 4) the idea that academically or governmentally credentialed “elites” know what people need more than the people themselves, 5) the paradoxical and absolute belief in the absence of absolute truth, absolute morality, and absolute rightness, 6) an unexamined do as I say and not as I do worldview, 7) convincing the media to watch what the Administration says and not what it does.
Scamalot (that is, Solyndra, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, press prosecutions, the all knowing surveillance state, etc.) is thus not an anomaly, but is rather the logical conclusion of the beliefs, words, and actions of President Obama.
Above-board and non-Scamalot failings (Barack Obamacare, the regulatory state, class warfare, the debt, the deficit, unemployment and underemployment, etc.) are also inevitable as they depend on the foundational precepts that created and sustained Scamalot.
How will this end? The same way it’s been trending: poorly.
The revelation of the Obama Administration’s massive e-gather known as Prism almost defies belief.
But it is sadly believable and it’s going to make the Administration’s Verizon gather look like a rounding error.
Especially when you add in rest of the things that are now likely to dribble out before too long, that is, stuff like the government credit card gather, passing people’s tax returns from one government agency to another, tying things together with your medical records, places you’ve driven fed to Uncle Sugar via your car’s black box, etc.. Use your imagination… if you dare.
Funny how none of this came out before the 2012 elections.
The government’s NSA/FBI-sponsored surveillance-of-Americans-only effort has a score and after seven years, Obama leads Bush 4 years to 3. From Politico:
“As far as I know, this is the exact three-month renewal of what has been in place for the past seven years,” Feinstein said. “This renewal is carried out by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] under the business records section of the Patriot Act. Therefore it is lawful. It has been briefed to Congress.”
Chambliss said the report in the Guardian Wednesday was “nothing new.”
“This has been going on for seven years,” he said. “…every member of the United States Senate has been advised of this. To my knowledge there has not been any citizen who has registered a complaint. It has proved meritorious because we have collected significant information on bad guys, but only on bad guys, over the years.”
So let’s see: 1) this has been going on seven years, 2) it’s a rubber-stamped renewal, 3) only “bad guys” are collected on, and 4) “therefore, it is lawful.” The last one sounds like Al Gore and his “no controlling legal authority” claim.
Of course, the millions of not bad guys the government is gathering on might disagree, that is, if they’d only been aware of what was happening.
What the left despised Bush for, Obama has managed to raise to high art.
Most transparent Administration ever.
It’s interesting the court which approved the domestic gathering of phone records—which targets Americans only—is a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. Another government oxymoron (like” Justice Department”), it would seem. I’m shocked, shocked.
And what revelations will likely dribble out in the near future regarding the vacuuming of your information?
1) This FISA order is a rubber-stamp process.
2) The FISA order is a rolling effort which is set up for a limited period of time, but is always renewed at its expiration.
3) That all the other phone service providers are also under court order to provide the same information and the effort isn’t just limited to Verizon.
4) There’s no there there regarding the justification for the effort.
5) Americans don’t know what we don’t know as it concerns surveillance by the U.S. government.
Yes, they can hear you now. (And watch you.)
Most transparent (and ethical) Administration ever.
Background: Long ago, the JFK years were turned into a family created myth called Camelot for the purpose of rewriting history and, ultimately, legacy building. Today, the Obama era is an ongoing American tragedy called Scamalot.
Discussion: Earlier this week,
a news worker an opinion worker in the MSNBC class offered that saying “IRS” as it regards the presidency of Barack Obama is really the same as using the “n” word on him.
As such, today’s new “n” word is NSA.
Tomorrow’s new “n” word will be Obamacare.
Saturday’s new “n” word will be drone assassinations.
Sunday’s new “n” word will be Benghazi.
Monday’s new “n” word will be jobs.
Leftist way ahead: Wash, rinse, and repeat until ideologically assimilated.
From the most transparent Administration ever, via Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian:
The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret court order issued in April.
The order, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian, requires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems, both within the US and between the US and other countries.
So here it is: if you have Verizon, all your calls made and all your calls received will be analyzed by the NSA and/or the FBI.
And the good news? The IRS is not said to be involved… yet.
The President is doing the second term shuffle with one “new” hire (Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations) and one existing Administration member (Susan Rice) being recycled from the UN gig into the national security advisor’s role.
Rice is replacing Tom Donilon, the suspected source of critical (and yet mysteriously non-persecuted) national security leaks to the media. For the President, Rice’s desk change is 1) an attempt to burnish her resume for future government/lobbying work while 2) rewarding her loyalty for propagating the Administration’s post-Benghazi disinformation campaign, and 3) an obvious attempt to again snub Republicans.
And yet the President couldn’t bear the burden of nominating Rice for a position which requires a confirmation hearing as Rice—and perhaps Obama—could have been toast.
Power, on the other hand, is most famous for calling Hillary Clinton a monster during the 2008 presidential campaign. Team of non-rivals and all that.
It’s unlikely either Rice or Power will carry much weight within the Administration as they are both “prominent advocates of liberal interventionism, a foreign-policy credo that calls for the United States to act aggressively to defend human rights – by military means, if necessary.”
Decoded, this means their ideas may be honored if they advocate for things like the Navy delivering bottled water after an Indonesian earthquake, but not so much the use of U.S. troops for the civil war in Syria. In the second example, the President’s lead from behind philosophy will rule the day.
Or in other words, meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
It looks like former CIA Director Leon Panetta will be causing Jay Carney to continue the Administration’s intense embrace of cognitive dissonance and doublespeak.
Former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed the name of the Navy SEAL unit that carried out the Osama Bin Laden raid and named the unit’s ground commander at a 2011 ceremony attended by Zero Dark Thirty filmmaker Mark Boal, according to a draft Pentagon inspector general’s report obtained by a watchdog group.
Panetta also disclosed classified information designated as “top secret” and “secret” during his presentation at the CIA awards ceremony, says the draft IG report published Wednesday by the Project on Government Oversight.
The problem (beyond Panetta’s unauthorized disclosures which by definition could cause grave or even exceptionally grave damage to the United States) is this:
The disclosure of the IG report could complicate the Obama administration’s claims that senior officials have not leaked classified information.
And yet some within the Administration knew of the leaks long ago, certainly long enough for the Justice Department to investigate and report on the issue before the 2012 elections, should they be politically inclined (or cleared) to do so. As it was, the Justice Department chose to selectively pursue the malfeasance of other, less significant, unauthorized disclosures.
In this example, as with the IRS disgrace and the Benghazi debacles, consider an important article of faith of the Obama Administration: the fish only rots from the tail.
How does our smartest-ever President continue to fail us? Let us count a few of the ways (yes, space limits the number of examples provided):
- Professional politico can’t grasp presidential politics.
- Brilliant policy wonk doesn’t understand fundamental economic principles any better than Paul Krugman: recovery is in name only; numbers of poor increase; record debt and deficits; massive unemployed and underemployed numbers; record numbers on food stamps, up 70% since 2008.
- Insightful assessor of people puts non-credible idiots into a variety of critical positions.
- Health care visionary doesn’t get health care.
- Constitutional scholar fails to understand the Constitution and/or the legislative and judicial branches.
- Master diplomat and statesman causes regression in America’s standing.
- Moralistic man of transparency hides truth in his secret bureaucratic fortresses.
Leadership-wise, the President has managed to make John Kerry look like John Wayne; economically, Obama makes the Carter years look like the Clinton-era; morally, his White House is now making the Nixon Administration look like Mother Theresa.
Bill Clinton was right: Barack Obama is an amateur. Although amateurs may experience random successes, persistent failure—like what we’ve seen—is the pattern of behavior.
From the Washington Examiner comes word of Barack Obamacare’s one person death panel:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rebuffed an appeal from Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., on behalf of a girl who needs a lung transplant but can’t get one because of a federal regulation that prevents her from qualifying for a transplant.
What’s the problem the death panel has with this case? It violates a rule.
She [Sarah Murnaghan, a 10-year-old who needs a lung transplant] can’t qualify for an adult lung transplant until the age of 12, according to federal regulations, but Sebelius has the authority to waive that rule on her behalf. The pediatric lungs for which she qualifies aren’t available.
Although the left mocked Sarah Palin for calling out the death panel provisions of Barack Obamacare, they mocked her because of who she was, not because she was wrong. Meanwhile, the other Sarah in this story has three to five weeks to live.
The newest attempt at waiving the media away from the IRS part of the scandal trifecta that plagues the Administration comes from Obama apologist David Axelrod:
“I think it [the IRS targeting of conservative groups and individual taxpayers] was an idiotic thing to do,” Axelrod said. “But I will point you to the Inspector General’s report that said it wasn’t done for a political reason. They were flooded with applications.”
There are at least four problems with Axelrod’s spin: 1) it is self-evident this was done for political purpose, hence the instructions to the field from Washington and the known 88 individuals involved; 2) the “flood” of applications didn’t happen until targeting had already begun; 3) as part and parcel to the Obama Administration, Axelrod is incapable of underestimating their idiocy; 4) IRS employees have said it was done for political purpose.
If the lack of idiocy was the test for this Administration we’d have no Eric Holder, full employment, no pending Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare would be solvent, and the federal government would be running a surplus.
We have not mere idiocy with the Obama Administration; we have idiots with initiative, a most dangerous situation.
Additionally it’s clear the Administration thinks its existing scandal mitigation efforts have been inadequate, hence the appearance of Axelrod and “former White House advisor” David Plouffe.
Despite their efforts, the red Obama Fail warning light remains illuminated steadily.
Plenty of folks in the professional left despise Christians and if all Christians were as loathsome as Al Sharpton, they’d have plenty of good reasons.
Consider Sharpton’s essential role in the massive race-based fraud called the Tawana Brawley case, the Crown Heights riots (resulting in one death), and the Freddy’s Fashion Mart debacle which left seven dead.
Unfortunately for the left, Rev. Sharpton is one of the inmates helping to run the MSNBC asylum. Does it bother the MSNBC leadership even a little? (Maybe so, but apparently not enough to say anything or to take action.)
While we’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God, some—like Sharpton—epitomize the magnitude and substance of our failures.
Lost among the dystopian dark shadows cast about in Barack Obama’s Scamalot empire is the fact the economy remains in the septic tank (which is worse than merely “in the toilet”). Restated, based on everything except the quasi-scary stock market and housing reflation, Obamanomics has been an epic failure.
Of course, it’s comforting to know Dear Reader still has your best interest at heart (assuming that policies of legalized and intergenerational theft work to your benefit).
The conclusion? Washington, you have a problem. Actually, you have several problems…
If the Obama Administration would consider the naked hypocrisy of their words and actions, they’d have a better understanding why so much of the country—and the world—feels free to ignore their moral directives.
A few examples of the Administration’s malfeasance:
- The IRS uses its vast powers to muzzle free speech, to discriminate, and to punish.
- The Justice Department ignores the law, the Constitution, and prudent restraint. When such things aren’t ignored, they’re practiced with discriminatory malice.
- The President feels free to issue executive orders on extra-legal topics of all sorts (consider the mightily misnamed DREAM Act as an important case in point) while he calls on Guantanamo to be closed by Congressional action.
- Bureaucrats within the federal Leviathan propose punishing those who practice the First Amendment in unapproved ways.
- The Administration claims transparency while practicing its opposite (at best) or more often, disinformation.
- Childish non sequesters like “We have to spend more so we don’t go broke” are offered as soothing explanations to inconvenient problems and facts.
Although the traditional media is less enamored with President Obama than at any point in the past, their willingness to treat him as they would with a man with a parenthetical “R” by his name—that is, with pliers and a blowtorch—remains unobserved.
Pliers and a blowtorch aren’t necessary but something other than a nearly complete diet hypocrisy (the Administration) and junk journalism (the media) would be appreciated.
The traditional media’s failure to question the Administration’s poseur routine has gotten Mr. Obama to where he’s at but only the President himself can lead the left out of Scamalot. Don’t expect it to happen: it’s far easier for everyone to keep on doing what they’ve been doing.
Why does Ted Cruz terrify the left? Because he’s a not-fat, wholly conservative version of Chris Christie.
What explains why the left—and the RINO community—are terrified of people like Cruz? Because they’re articulate and their ideas have explanatory power.
Today’s leftism has largely devolved to politically preemptive ad hominem attacks against its enemies and Cruz has the bona fides, the platform, and the intellect to not just grab the liberals’ beat-down sticks, but to turn those things against them.
The fact the liberal worldview and mindset have been shown incapable of improving the United States is less important to the left than their power preservation. Cruz threatens all that modern liberals hold dear: power, control, and ideology.
Machiavellian kudos to Eric Holder for continuing to grasp the gullibility of the traditional media as it regards the serial malfeasance of the Obama Administration.
From the Washington Post’s ‘no-specifics’ reporting of the off-the-record meeting between the embattled AG and the handful of media who showed up for Holder’s propaganda delivery device:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. pledged Thursday to take concrete steps to address concerns that the Justice Department has overreached in its leak investigations and said officials would seek procedural and possibly legislative changes to protect journalists’ First Amendment rights.
Some (for example, those under investigation) might ask why Holder chose to overreach to begin with or why he won’t drop the current overreach.
Instead, Obama-like, Holder is telling the media to watch what he says and to ignore what he’s done. This would seem to make him the doppelganger of John Mitchell who famously said, ”Watch what we do, not what we say.”
So is the corollary that Richard Nixon’s doppelganger is Barack Obama?
Gordon Gee is the President of Ohio State University. Gordon Gee wears a bow tie. Never trust a man who wears a bow tie (tuxedos excluded): it’s very much a cry for help.
And Gordon Gee has committed a thought crime, or perhaps better, a thought joke. (They say, after all, that all humor is sourced in hostility.)
The president of Ohio State University said Notre Dame was never invited to join the Big Ten conference because the university’s priests are not good partners, joking that “those damn Catholics” can’t be trusted, according to a recording of a meeting he attended late last year.
It’s Gee’s prerogative to make such a joke, strange as it is, but imagine if the circumstances were different. Yes, instead of Notre Dame, imagine a wholly Muslim university, with Gee asserting the school’s imams are not good partners and the punch line as “those wacky Muslims can’t be trusted.” (In reality, Gee would never goof on any of the politically favored/protected groups—homosexuals, illegals, etc.—nor would he ever consider goofing on the Muslims.)
He who lives by political correctness must die by political correctness; Gee who lives by political correctness must die by political correctness.