Patriot Act

Robert Abele – Ending Government Rule of the Elites, by the Elites, for the Elites

August 25, 2015

One of the sad but important consequences for our system of government, in the face of such a process, is that not only do the economic elites now control the system, but more importantly, our elitist-backed politicians have no vision beyond the self-interestedness of catering to the money the elites use to support them. The people are out; the future is irrelevant; the leaders are now co-participants in servicing an institution that lives by a single infallible rule: the degree to which they seek to increase their power is in direct proportion to their size. The result is that the U.S. government has now become an authoritarian state. It is the structure of the authoritarian state that requires as its sole mandate its ever-increasing power over its citizens, the very people it was originally designed to serve, with no limit to its ends or means. Thus, those who run for office from within the system all are necessarily supporters of this authoritarian-corporate-military-state, even if they advocate tinkering with its internal mechanisms a bit. A politician with a vision, and thus a true leader, will by necessity have to alienate themselves from the system, even if they attempt to function within it. Such

Kate Knibbs – Jeb! Bush Thinks We Haven’t Given the NSA Enough Power to Spy on Us

August 19, 2015

He’s trailing an openly misogynistic troll doll in the polls, but Jeb Bush has outdone his opponents in the “slavish praise for the government’s surveillance apparatus” department. Bush thinks we need more NSA surveillance, not less. “There’s a place to find common ground between personal civil liberties and NSA doing its job,” Jeb! said at a national security conference in South Carolina today. “I think the balance has actually gone the wrong way.” Bush reaffirmed his belief that the NSA’s old policies didn’t do shit to our civil liberties, and were necessary to thwart “evildoers”: Read

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Totalitarian End-game of the Global Elite By Dr. Gary G. Kohls

July 6, 2015

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – a global corporate noose around U.S. local, state, and national sovereignty – narrowly passed a major procedural hurdle in the Congress by gaining “fast track” status. … “fast track” is a euphemism for your members of Congress … handcuffing themselves, so as to prevent any amendments or adequate debate before the final vote … TPP is another euphemism that is used to avoid the word “treaty”, which would require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate. The corporate-indentured politicians keep calling this gigantic treaty with thirty chapters, of which only five relate to traditional trade issues…. The other twenty-five chapters, if passed as they are, will have serious impacts on your livelihoods as workers and consumers, as well as your air, water, food, and medicines. Only corporations … are entitled to sue the U.S. government for any alleged harm to their profits from health, safety or other regulations in secret tribunals that operate as offshore kangaroo courts, not in open courts. –Ralph Nader Last week was a landmark week for President Obama and his administration. It was so important that last Friday’s PBS Washington Week program couldn’t find room for the slightest mention of what is arguably

Ten Ways Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush Are Basically the Same Presidential Candidate – Jake Anderson

June 22, 2015

Now that Jeb Bush has officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, the most corporate-funded presidential election in history is set to begin, headed by two prospective frontrunners with eerily familiar names. It’s Bush versus Clinton—again! With third party candidates certain to be relegated to back alleys, we see, yet again, two of the prized families of the great American oligarchy being trotted out as namesake party spokesmen and women. Their purpose: to create manufactured consent for a failed two-party system while furthering a pre-scripted, nationalist, and corporatist narrative. Are there some differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Absolutely. Women’s rights are up there on the list, as Jeb Bush has an appalling history in that realm. While we are sensitive to the reality of Supreme Court nominees and the politics of personal identity, there can be no delusion that the most toxic dangers to our country are large sweeping economic and geopolitical doctrines that consolidate wealth into the hands of the rich elite, who promulgate wars abroad. Even on issues like the environment, while Clinton has a better record than Jeb, her support of corporations and trade agreements that derail environmental progress completely cancels out her hollow

Edward Snowden: Did NSA Leaks Change Politics, Public Opinion About Government Spying, Whistleblowers? By David Sirota

June 12, 2015

Two years ago this month, a 29-year-old government contractor named Edward Snowden became the Daniel Ellsberg of his generation, delivering to journalists a tranche of secret documents shedding light on the government’s national security apparatus. But while Ellsberg released the Pentagon Papers detailing one specific military conflict in Southeast Asia, Snowden released details of the U.S. government’s sprawling surveillance machine that operates around the globe. In the years since Snowden’s historic act of civil disobedience, the politics of surveillance have evolved. For much of the early 2000s, politicians of both parties competed to show who could be a bigger booster of the National Security Agency’s operations, fearing that any focus on civil liberties might make them look soft on terrorism. Since Snowden, though, the political paradigm has shifted. The most persuasive proof of that came a few weeks ago, when the U.S. Senate failed to muster enough votes to reauthorize the law that would allow the NSA to engage in mass surveillance. Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s prominent role in that episode underscored the political shift: A decade after the GOP mastered the art of crafting 9/11-based arguments about terrorism to win elections, one of the party’s top presidential candidates

Obama lawyers asked secret court to ignore public court’s decision on spying – Spencer Ackerman

June 10, 2015

The Obama administration has asked a secret surveillance court to ignore a federal court that found bulk surveillance illegal and to once again grant the National Security Agency the power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans for six months. The legal request, filed nearly four hours after Barack Obama vowed to sign a new law banning precisely the bulk collection he asks the secret court to approve, also suggests that the administration may not necessarily comply with any potential court order demanding that the collection stop. Justice Department national security chief John A Carlin cited a six-month transition period provided in the USA Freedom Act – passed by the Senate last week to ban the bulk collection – as a reason to permit an “orderly transition” of the NSA’s domestic dragnet. Carlin did not address whether the transition clause of the Freedom Act still applies now that a congressional deadlock meant the program shut down on 31 May.US officials confirmed last week that they would ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court – better known as the Fisa court, a panel that meets in secret as a step in the surveillance process and thus far has only ever had the government argue before it – to turn the

Government Is Using Secrecy As a Weapon

June 9, 2015

Everyone knows Lord Acton’s famous quote: Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But few have heard this equally profound quote from Lord Acton: Every thing secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity. Likewise, US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said: Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman. But government secrecy is at an all-time high.  Government is more hostile to the press than ever before. The government prosecutes cases based upon “secret evidence” that they don’t show to the defendant … or sometimes even the judge hearing the case. Government is “laundering” information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will “recreate” the evidence in a “parallel construction” … so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge.   A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a“totalitarian process” which shows that we’re in a “police state”. Read

Ron Paul: CIA is a Secret Government Way Out of Control

June 2, 2015

While some may be cheering the expiration of the Patriot Act – however temporary it may be – former presidential candidate Ron Paul notes: before Americans applaud a minor step toward transparency, they should recognize the corrosive nature of the CIA, a secret government operating far above the law. “[The CIA] is sort of the President’s own Praetorian Guard,” Daniel McAdams, from the Institute of Peace and Prosperity, said on the Ron Paul Liberty Report.  “We know…that he sent assassination squads, he sent people to monitor Martin Luther King, and all sorts of things like this.” “This is like his own personal army which is accountable to no one,” McAdams adds. It’s a sobering reminder as key provisions of the Patriot Act, used to justify the NSA’s bulk metadata collection, expired Sunday night. As the Senate scrambles to pass the USA Freedom Act, reinstating the agency’s ability to spy on Americans, Ron Paul points out that US intelligence organizations have always – and will continue – to operate outside the law. And according to Paul, the CIA could be an even bigger threat to liberty than McAdams suggests. A covert army that doesn’t answer to Congress, the Supreme Court, or even the president. Read

Corporate Media Accused of Parroting Fear-Mongering over Patriot Act – Nadia Prupis

June 2, 2015

With key provisions of the USA Patriot Act nearing a long-awaited expiration date, there remains one last adversary to take down in the fight for privacy rights: the corporate media. The most recent case is the New York Times, which on Thursday quoted several anonymous White House officials who warned that allowing the Patriot Act to sunset is akin to “playing national security Russian roulette” and leaves intelligence agencies in “uncharted waters…fraught with unnecessary risk.” If Congress fails to strike a deal to renew the Patriot Act’s controversial Section 215 by its June 1 deadline, the officials warned that the result would “suspend crucial domestic surveillance authority at a time of mounting terrorism threats.” But as other national security experts note, the Patriot Act is far from a safeguard against terrorism. In an op-ed published last Sunday, ACLU legal deputy director Jameel Jaffer criticized the media’s choice of publishing such quotes wholesale without challenging their veracity. The “claim that the expiration of Section 215 would deprive the government of necessary investigative tools or compromise national security,” wrote Jaffer, “is entirely without support.” Jaffer continued: In a last-ditch effort to scare lawmakers into preserving unpopular and much-abused surveillance authorities, the Senate Republican leadership and some intelligence officials are
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