Sunday, July 7, 2013

America's Creeping Surveilance...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Following 911, and the understandable fear it created in the hearts and minds of Americans, our federal government took steps to insure the security of the nation's citizenry and prevent possible future terrorist attacks. Beginning with the enactment of the Patriot Act the United States of America, in the pursuit of enhanced put into motion the legal mechanisms that can just as assuredly be used against the liberty of individuals as it can be used to provide national society ad thwarting terrorist attacks.

Certainly the argument for grossly expanded federal power in the name of protecting the American people is a powerful one, one few people took issue with following the Islamist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. From the initial enactment of the Patriot Act federal agencies like TSA, NSA, and the FISA court have grown ever more intrusive of the rights of innocent and law abiding citizens. This is, or should be considered a most frightening trend. As government becomes more intrusive and secretive the possibility, indeed the likelihood the government will use data in liberty sapping ways is increased significantly. The inevitable result will most certainly be an erosion of liberty and a more entrenched and powerful federal government.

GWB is synonymous with the Patriot Act and setting in motion greater expansion of government power. GHO has continued to oversee these expanded powers and the continued enlargement of them.

The New York Times (WASHINGTON) - WASHINGTON — In more than a dozen classified rulings, the nation’s surveillance court has created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans while pursuing not only terrorism suspects, but also people possibly involved in nuclear proliferation, espionage and cyberattacks, officials say.

The rulings, some nearly 100 pages long, reveal that the court has taken on a much more expansive role by regularly assessing broad constitutional questions and establishing important judicial precedents, with almost no public scrutiny, according to current and former officials familiar with the court’s classified decisions.

The 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, was once mostly focused on approving case-by-case wiretapping orders. But since major changes in legislation and greater judicial oversight of intelligence operations were instituted six years ago, it has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court, serving as the ultimate arbiter on surveillance issues and delivering opinions that will most likely shape intelligence practices for years to come, the officials said.

Last month, a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward J. Snowden, leaked a classified order from the FISA court, which authorized the collection of all phone-tracing data from Verizon business customers. But the court’s still-secret decisions go far beyond any single surveillance order, the officials said.

“We’ve seen a growing body of law from the court,” a former intelligence official said. “What you have is a common law that develops where the court is issuing orders involving particular types of surveillance, particular types of targets.”

In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said. {Full Article Here}

A very wise man once said, and it still holds true today... "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. And, there is most definitely unintended consequences. Even when the initial actions were intended for good.

Via: Memeorandum

23 comments:

  1. Well done claims. The only thing I might suggest improving on is the picture. In light of your "BHO has continued to oversee these expanded powers and the continued enlargement of them" comment in this post and the content of your own previous "More in Common", post, I suggest this gentleman as the face of Big Brother and the modern surveillance society:


    Click here to see his picture.

    He is quite a notable figure, indeed. He has led the US government for more than 12 years now, and he has increased the national debt by more than $10 trillion dollars. This man is quite disliked abroad, and is also known for his lack of leadership on issues ranging from jobs to North Korea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great Picture. Thanks for the link.

      Indeed the similarities are stark.

      Delete
  2. When it comes to the security state, we really have no options in national elections. They are all, all, for it. Yes, we have interesting figures on the left and right and in between, but no chance they make the big decisions such as these. Eisenhower's warning, I think, is more to the point, perhaps peripherally here, but the point's the same.

    On a side note, I'm also concerned with the nexus of commercial interests and governmental data sweeping, especially in light of such decisions as Citizens United and the unethical constructions of money as speech and corporations as citizens.

    JMJ

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  3. Jersey: you just don't get it in Citizens United, which simply protects the rights of individuals to speak out on political subjects. As for money as speech, do you think it would be OK for laws to prevent newspapers from paying for ink and paper? If so, why not? It's money, not speech after all. The only thing unethical are attempts to censor undesirable views by strategically cutting off money at certain points with the express goal of censorship.

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    Replies
    1. I think you're missing the point. If trillion dollar corporations are "individuals" then their power to "speak out" overwhelms everything and their interests will prevail over the will of the people and we're back to feudalism. Modern technology and the scientific approach to manipulating public opinion is one thing when used to sell fast food and slow cars but it's the biggest threat to personal liberty in our country today -- in my opinion, of course.

      As to your analogy with limiting how much papers can spend on ink. You really don't think that's a valid comparison, do you? I don't think it even rises to the level of sophistry.

      Delete
    2. Citizens United allows individuals anonymously speak on issues directly related to political elections without disclosing their interests or identity. It is unethical and immoral, subverting the accountability that comes with our First Amendment rights. Just as the notion of corporations as people flies in the face of accountability for all our individual rights. And money as speech? Why have bribery laws? Sometimes I have to question your moral compass, dmarks.

      JMJ

      Delete
    3. Jersey said: "Citizens United allows individuals anonymously speak on issues directly related to political elections without disclosing their interests or identity."

      Sorry, Jersey. The Bill of Rights already allows this. You are a couple of centuries too late. And there is absolutely no clause in the First Amendment to allow Congress to censor those who "anonymously" speak out on political issues.

      "It is unethical and immoral, subverting the accountability that comes with our First Amendment rights."

      You are the only one who is talking of eliminating First Amendment rights. And this is unethical, immoral, and just downright bad.

      "Just as the notion of corporations as people flies in the face of accountability for all our individual rights. "

      I agree with you there. However, all individuals are protected under the Bill of Rights. Even if they are members of corporations.

      "And money as speech? Why have bribery laws? Sometimes I have to question your moral compass, dmarks."

      My moral compass points toward human rights. Yours seems to point toward fascism.

      And it is clear you are phoning it in again... I am defending the rights of American citizens to speak out on political issues (including that most important issue: elections). I am not defending bribery.

      Delete
  4. Here you go, Jersey, for something very similar:

    "Argentina takes control of newsprint supplies
    Cristina Fernandez was sworn in for her second term on 10 December 2011 President Fernandez has long had a difficult relationship with the Clarin media group
    Continue reading the main story
    Related Stories

    Profile: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner
    Accusations fly in Argentina media war
    Country profile: Argentina

    The Argentine government has won control of the country's newsprint supplies, after a vote in the Senate.

    The legislation, which passed in the lower house last week, says the production, sale and distribution of newsprint is of national interest.

    Correspondents say it is a victory for President Cristina Fernandez, who has long been at odds with one of the main media groups, Clarin.

    However, critics have denounced the move as an attack on press freedom."

    from BBC - Latin America News.

    Rather similar to efforts by those who dislike the human rights protected in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, and want to censor free speech by disingenuously deceptively off money at certain points.

    Using the logic of the pro-censorship, anti Citizens United crowd, this move by the Argentina government does not infringe on the rights of the press to criticize those in power at all. Not in the least...

    ReplyDelete
  5. dmarks, the problem is corporations are legal entities that have "special" interests and CU allows for them to use money (influrnce) in the effort to effectively influence decisions in a way the corporation deems desirable to corporate interests. Sometimes in ways that are in conflict with the larger public. or people's interests.

    Personally I wish Congress would prohibit lobbyists and after reevaluating CU's potential effects I now believe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SCOTUS erred in it's decision. Money and Influence is Power, our interest should be in removing the power of money and special interest in politics and government to the greatest extent possible.

      I believe the Founders and Ayn Rand would agree. Eliminate the pull peddlers from politics and goverance.

      Delete
    2. OK, then, Les, you are a reasonable fellow. Do you agree with the center of the Citizens United decision that made criminals out of a few individuals for making a movie that criticized a sitting US senator?

      Would you favor something "removing the power of money and special interest in politics" while still allowing this basic freedom?



      Delete
    3. "Personally I wish Congress would prohibit lobbyists and after reevaluating CU's potential effects I now believe"

      I am fine with limiting lobbyists and campaign contributions. However, Les, do you favor restrictions on the ability of people to criticize those in power, outside of political campaigns, and outside the halls of Congress?

      Delete
    4. You misinterpret my statement.

      For clarity, I absolutely agree individuals or groups of individuals MUST retain the ability to criticize those in power. I refer you to Capt. Fogg's response to jmj. He stated my posistion with respect to CU and its dangers much better than I.

      Delete
    5. RN said: "For clarity, I absolutely agree individuals or groups of individuals MUST retain the ability to criticize those in power."

      Then, I take it, you support at least that part of CU which protected the right of artistic expression of filmmakers to speak truth to power?

      Delete
    6. Correct. Big corporate money and pull peddlers in politics I do not support.

      Delete
  6. It went without much notice not too long ago when Mayor "Wall St." Bloomberg stated, "I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world."

    And a good deal of the nation applauded when he used it to run rough shod over Occupy Wall Street.

    And, as long as he uses it only on the blacks and the Latinos, Stop and Frisk will be applauded by the likes of George Will.

    Coming to you real soon.

    Shout out to Fort George Meade. Hi y'all !!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. @dmarks --- OK, then, Les, you are a reasonable fellow. Do you agree with the center of the Citizens United decision that made criminals out of a few individuals for making a movie that criticized a sitting US senator?

    -----
    Stop the hyperbole, please.

    They were part of a civil suit to determine whether their "film" violated campaign finance laws. You make it sound like a capital case.

    Please also note that they are classified as a non-profit despite being an overt lobbying organization the next time you start whining about the IRS "scandal".

    But you fringe right wingers sure do love being bought and paid for for some reason. Must mean you get more "freedom" or something.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ducky, I'm pretty sure dmarks isn't one of " those fringe right winger."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. RN: I would venture to say that the idea that the government should ever, in any way, persecute individuals for making a film critical of those in power are "fringe". And those who think that the people have a right to speak out on these important issues, ESPECIALLY at election time, are mainstream.

      It's so clear that Ducky thinks that the idea that anyone would criticize authority in a film is repugnant. Hence the quotes around film.

      Delete
    2. Finally, for now, I've found nothing yet to show even one penny spent by the actual Citizens United organization on lobbying.

      Yet, Ducky said they are " overt lobbying organization "

      Do they show their movies on Capitol Hill or something? Or lurk in the halls and blind the eyes of reps as they scurry by with portable movie projectors: "Here, watch THIS!" ?

      I suppose if I were a fringe right winger (with fringe views similar to Ducky's but on the other side), I would want the Federal government to punish Michael Moore for making movies critical of George W. Bush. Since he says it OK for the powerful to crush dissent as long as it does not involve with the death penalty, that leaves a lot of leeway.

      But I won't do that. If someone makes a movie I don't like, I simply choose not to watch it. Problem solved.

      Delete
  9. ducky said: "Stop the hyperbole, please."

    It's not hyperbole.

    "They were part of a civil suit to determine whether their "film" violated campaign finance laws. You make it sound like a capital case."

    It was a real film. And yes they makers were the victims of censorship. Which you apparently think is OK due to the politics of the filmmakers and the member of the ruling class that they criticized. The message is very clear from you, Ducky... as long as there is no death penalty involved, it is OK for the federal government to persecute those who criticize it.

    "Please also note that they are classified as a non-profit despite being an overt lobbying organization the next time you start whining about the IRS "scandal"."

    The scandal of the IRS harassing groups that speak out is very real.

    "But you fringe right wingers..."

    There are none here, actually.

    "..sure do love being bought and paid for for some reason"

    No. I just believe in the First Amendment. This is all about free speech.

    "Must mean you get more freedom or something. "

    Well, that is true. No one should be silenced for speaking out like this.

    -------------------

    RN said: "Ducky, I'm pretty sure dmarks isn't one of " those fringe right winger."

    Welcome to Ducky's world. He calls views that are held by a huge proportion of the population, or even by the majority, "fringe". Fringe in his dictionary merely means "Ducky doesn't like it". He ignores actual meanings completely.

    ReplyDelete

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