Thursday, September 19, 2013

This is Not the Free America We Grew Up In.

This is not the free America we grew up in.


Lots of administrations lied like this. Some were disgraced; others escaped blame, but rarely was it so successfully covered up. If this succeeds, it'll repeat. Both parties will model their behavior after it, like children when one follows after the other is allowed to get away with something.

When our representatives don't fear lying to us, spying on us, stealing from us, politically targeting us and generally doing what's in their own interests instead of what we authorize them to do, it transforms the way we live. We end up changing our behavior out of concern over what they may do. It causes us to develop a second public face, become fake, conceal opinions, avoid economic risks and generally live defensive lives. It's not good for a people socially or economically, but it has happened at different times everywhere. So why should we be immune? After all, even our administration believes we're no different.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

More Evidence that Syrian Rebels Gassed 1,429 Syrians, 426 Children

We know that Syria has chemical weapons, but we don't know why President Bashar Assad would use nerve gas on civilians in a civil war he is winning. On the other hand, there are two likely scenarios in which the al Qaeda dominated rebels are responsible for the attack, and both are supported by evidence.
    Syrian Rebels move arms through tunnelsSyrian Rebels prepare chemical artillery
  1. Rebels admit gas attack result of mishandling of chemical weapons
  2. Rebels attacked civilians in order to provoke a US attack on President Assad's forces:
    - Evidence Syrian rebels used chemical weapons (victims' testimony, Free Syrian Army (FSA) threats to launch chemical attacks,  FSA chemical weapons seized by Syrian Army, previous FAS use of sarin gas) 
    - Video shows rebels launching chemical weapons attacks
    - Turkish police apprehend Syrian fighters with 2 kg of sarin gas.
Either way, progressive Western media supports the rebels, even to the extent that CNN was caught s staging news segments on Syria with actors. Therefore it's probably unlikely that word of this will spread widely and quickly enough to stop US cruise missile attacks on Assad's forces. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Bloomberg News wakes up from an 18 month nap, discovers al-Qaeda now dominates Syrian rebels.

So "Radical Sunni Islamist" are just now dominating the Syrian rebels according to Bloomberg News. If only they had seen these headlines:

  • February 18, 2012 Syrian Rebels Release Video Showcasing al-Qaeda Connection… 
  • April 30, 2012 Bombings spread in Syria as Al Qaeda seizes control of rebel factions
  • July 15, 2002 Syrian rebels flying Al-Qaeda battle flags in parts of Aleppo and Idlib
  • July 31. 2012 Al-Qaeda Jihadists Are The Best Fighters Among The Syria Rebels
  • August 16, 2012 Syrian rebel commander warns the West: Give us more help or we will side with Al Qaeda – Rebel commander warns if Al Qaeda enters flash point city of Aleppo it will become their base ‘within three months’

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Illusion of NSA Restrictions

A little reported amendment by Rep. Pompeo to the Defense Appropriations Bill that claims to limit NSA surveillance of US citizens passed in the House 409-12 last Thursday. It is a scaled down alternative to the high profile amendment by Rep. Amash that failed 205-207 the day before. It appears to restrict the NSA, but closer examination reveals holes large enough to render it meaningless.

Here is the phrasing of Pompeo's amendment:

None of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency to–
(1) conduct an acquisition pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 for the purpose of targeting a United States person; or
(2) acquire, monitor, or store the contents (as such term is defined in section 2510(8) of title 18, United States Code) of any electronic communication of a United States person from a provider of electronic communication services to the public pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
Contrary to Part 1's appearance, it does not restrict the NSA from collecting and storing data on Americans or from targeting them. It only restricts one source of "funding" if it is both "for the purpose of targeting a US person" and being authorized under "section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978". The NSA may continue,
  1. using other funds to monitor and target Americans,
  2. using Defense funds to monitor and target Americans if other acts or secret executive orders authorize it,
  3. using Defense funds to target Americans with data collected by other agencies or by other nations (as is widely reported)
  4. using Defense funds to collect and store data on Americans for the purpose of targeting foreigners here then later targeting Americans with it,
  5. using Defense funds to target Americans with data that it has already collected and stored.
Similarly, Part 2 does not restrict the NSA from collecting and storing the content of Americans' electronic communications. It may continue,
  1. using other funds to collect American's electronic communications,
  2. using Defense funds to monitor Americans' communications if other acts or secret executive orders authorize it,
  3. using Defense funds to monitor Americans' communication "records", just not content,
  4. using Defense funds to monitor Americans' communications that are collected and stored by other agencies such as the FBI and IRS or by other nations.
Clearly this stop nothing. The Pompeo Amendment's only value is to sabotage momentum to reign in the NSA or to let Congress claim that they did.