Patriot Act

‘Quite Disturbing’: Leaked Docs Reveal How Easily FBI Can Spy on Journalists

July 7, 2016

Newly leaked documents published by The Intercept expose just how easy it is for the FBI to spy on journalists using so-called National Security Letters (NSLs). The classified rules, which had previously been released only in heavily redacted form, “show that the FBI imposes few constraints on itself when it bypasses the requirement to go to court and obtain subpoenas or search warrants before accessing journalists’ information,” The Intercept‘s Cora Currier wrote on Thursday. According to the reporting, an attempt to access journalists’ call data with an NSL must be approved by the typical chain-of-command as well as the FBI’s general counsel and the executive assistant director of the agency’s National Security Branch. “Generally speaking, there are a variety of FBI officials, including the agents in charge of field offices, who can sign offthat an NSL is ‘relevant’ to a national security investigation,” Currier explained. Trevor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an advocacy group which had petitioned for the release of these documents, calls Thursday’s revelations “quite disturbing, since the Justice Department spent two years trying to convince the public that it updated its ‘Media Guidelines’ to create a very high and restrictive bar for when and how they could spy on journalists using regular

Anis Shivani – Our Awful Elites Gutted America. Now They Dare Ring Alarms About Trump, Sanders—And Cast Themselves as Saviors

May 9, 2016

This week, on the night of the Indiana primary, I read one of the most loathsome political screeds it has been my misfortune to encounter. It was an alarm bell raised by Andrew Sullivan, arguably the greatest hypocrite of the Bush era, on par with his partner in many crimes Christopher Hitchens (remember “Islamofascism?”). Sullivan proclaims that the election of Trump would be an “extinction-level” event. Well, perhaps it will be. But the extinction Sullivan is most worried about is clearly that of his own breed of callous elites, who could care less about normal human beings who do not have decent jobs and who live in crappy housing and who are so desperate to find a way out of the trap that even someone like Trump starts sounding rational to them. Now this panic alert, designed to get us in line behind Hillary, is raised by the man who ended The New Republic as we knew it (which then went on to end and then end again), promoting racist and imperialist dogma during his reign at the magazine in the 1990s, and then, with his finger in the wind (which to him and that other arch-hypocrite Hitchens meant being like George

JOHN STANTON – Is the Clinton Foundation the Dulles Brother’s Sullivan and Cromwell?

April 18, 2016

According to CounterPunch editors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair: “The desire for secrecy is one of Mrs. Clinton’s enduring and damaging traits…Befitting a Midwestern Methodist with a bullying father, repression has always been one of Mrs. Clinton’s most prominent characteristics. Hers has been the instinct to conceal, to deny, to refuse to admit any mistake. Mickey Kantor, the Los Angeles lawyer who worked on the 1992 [presidential] campaign, said that Hillary adamantly refused to admit to any mistakes. Since Vietnam, there’s never been a war that Mrs. Clinton didn’t like. She argued passionately in the White House for the NATO bombing of Belgrade. Five days after September 11, 2001, she was calling for a broad war on terror…“I’ll stand behind [George W.] Bush for a long time to come”, Senator Clinton promised, and she was as good as her word, voting for the Patriot Act and the wide-ranging authorization to use military force against Afghanistan…Of course she supported without reservation the attack on Afghanistan and, as the propaganda buildup toward the onslaught on Iraq got underway, she didn’t even bother to walk down the hall to read the national intelligence estimate on Iraq before the war.” Read

John Stanton – Hillary Clinton’s Penchant for War. The Legacy of Allen and John Foster Dulles

April 16, 2016

According to Counterpunch (2007) editors Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair: “The desire for secrecy is one of Mrs. Clinton’s enduring and damaging traits…Befitting a Midwestern Methodist with a bullying father, repression has always been one of Mrs. Clinton’s most prominent characteristics. Her’s has been the instinct to conceal, to deny, to refuse to admit any mistake.  … Since Vietnam, there’s never been a war that Mrs. Clinton didn’t like. She argued passionately in the White House for the NATO bombing of Belgrade. Five days after September 11, 2001, she was calling for a broad war on terror… “I’ll stand behind [George W.] Bush for a long time to come”, Senator Clinton promised, and she was as good as her word, voting for the Patriot Act and the wide-ranging authorization to use military force against Afghanistan… Of course she supported without reservation the attack on Afghanistan and, as the propaganda buildup toward the onslaught on Iraq got underway, she didn’t even bother to walk down the hall to read the national intelligence estimate on Iraq before the war.” Read

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
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