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Danilow's sometimes daily blog May 2015

 

05/29/2015 NSA arrongance:

If you believe the NSA is interested in other than self-aggrandizement and expansion, check THIS out. Militarized agencies lack reasonable capacity to grasp the fact that Magna Charta principle and constitutional protections are of far more lasting import to the nation and its citizens than fashionable methodologies of "intelligence" communities—especially those with unequivocally dubious results.

05/26/2015 extending PATRIOT:

It appears that the President of the United States, the Senate Majority Leader, and the Director of the FBI—representing legislative and executive branches of government—all want thrice-adjudicated-illegal activites extended despite recent appelate findings. In unison these powerful individuals seem to say "to hell with the constitution and the judiciary, we know what's best"—precisely why the Founding Fathers incorporated checks and balances into the American system.

If the U.S. Senate caves to expedient fear-mongering over the loss of illegal programs with enormously questionable effectiveness then they will have shunned reasonable responsibility. Truly responsible action lies in recognizing that Magna Charta principle and constitutional protections are of far more lasting import to the nation and its citizens than any fashionable militarized methodologies of "intelligence" communities. In 2013 the top two U.S. spooks lied to Congress and the nation about both the existence of illegal programs and eventually their effectiveness. Neither man has been so much as scolded. Truly responsible action lies in prosecuting these two individuals and depriving "intelligence" perpetrators of their toys and unaccountable revenue streams while letting PATRIOT expire.

As Ron Paul said on May 7th: "...mass surveillance threatens our liberty, violates the Constitution, and does nothing to protect us from terrorism, [unfortunately] many in Congress still cling to the fiction that the only way to ensure security is to give the government virtually unlimited spying powers...The USA FREEDOM Act has about as much to do with freedom as the PATRIOT Act had to do with patriotism".

05/25/2015 response to LA Times':

Danilow response to The LA Times' Memorial Day weekend "Special Report" entitled "U.S. Military and Civilians Are Increasingly Divided"

05/23/2015 PATRIOT Act extension responsible?:

It is difficult to understand why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell believes that extending thrice-adjudicated illegal "intelligence" activities would be a responsible act. He has scheduled another Senate vote on PATRIOT extensions for Sunday May 31st reportedly with this commentary: "We better be ready next Sunday afternoon. [It's an] opportunity to act responsibly and not allow this program to expire".

Truly responsible action lies in recognizing that Magna Charta principle and constitutional protections are of far more lasting import to the nation and its citizens than any fashionable militarized methodologies of "intelligence" communities. In 2013 the top two U.S. spooks lied to Congress and the nation about both the existence of illegal programs and eventually their effectiveness. Neither man has been so much as scolded. Truly responsible action lies in prosecuting these two individuals and depriving "intelligence" perpetrators of their toys and unaccountable revenue streams while letting PATRIOT expire.

As Ron Paul said on May 7th: "...mass surveillance threatens our liberty, violates the Constitution, and does nothing to protect us from terrorism, [unfortunately] many in Congress still cling to the fiction that the only way to ensure security is to give the government virtually unlimited spying powers...The USA FREEDOM Act has about as much to do with freedom as the PATRIOT Act had to do with patriotism".

05/21/2015 PATRIOT Act expiration:

According to The Daily Beast: "A new ACLU-commissioned poll released this week finds that voters want the Patriot Act to be modified to protect Americans' privacy—by nearly two-to-one margin". Those impressive numbers have no effect on the desires of the Republican-controlled Senate "leadership". Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wants a two-month extension of the Patriot Act in its current form which would preserve NSA powers unpopular with citizens and thrice-adjudicated illegal. Other senators want to finalize the USA FREEDOM Act already passed by the House. But as The Daily Beast has noted: "Both approaches are misguided. Unless the Senate can make substantial improvements to the USA Freedom Act, Congress should simply let the provisions of the Patriot Act expire".

05/18/2015 Congressman Miller on USA FREEDOM Act:

Click HERE for Congressman Jeff Miller's letter regarding the USA FREEDOM Act and related topics. It appears that despite Congressman Miller's beliefs, there is little if any effective civilian oversight of "intelligence" organizations. If there were effective oversight, U.S. "intelligence" agencies consistently would operate within accepted confines of domestic, international, and constitutional law. That certainly is not the case to date. Moreover there can be no oversight at all when overseers have no knowledge of activities they profess to oversee—which is precisely what legislators claimed post-whistleblowing [added 5/19/2015].

Irrespective of any other merits the USA FREEDOM Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives is no panacea for intelligence community overreach. The proposed legislation reportedly contains expanded permissive language historically abused by militarized "intelligence" groups..

Perhaps most important, are the points made by Ron Paul on May 7: "Even though mass surveillance threatens our liberty, violates the Constitution, and does nothing to protect us from terrorism, many in Congress still cling to the fiction that the only way to ensure security is to give the government virtually unlimited spying powers...The USA FREEDOM Act has about as much to do with freedom as the PATRIOT Act had to do with patriotism".

05/15/2015 war, war, war:

Despite Congress having not declared war since WWII over half the nation's discretionary funds have been allocated for DoD use post-1945. In other words, an enormous portion of U.S. citizens' tax revenue is used to kill, maim, and destroy foreigners unfortunate enough to wind-up in American cross-hairs irrespective of how far-fetched official accusations might be. U.S legislators seem to be well-indoctrinated with propagandized reasons for U.S. warfare. For example according to Huffington Post Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.) seems to believe that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA 2016)—which in part funds current wars—"is about the defense of the United States of America" although worldwide scholars seem to agree that post-WWII U.S. military is used extensively and exclusively as complimentary corporate muscle for global U.S. business interests—never for defense. USMC General Smedley Butler said the same thing about pre-WWII U.S. military when he expounded from a mid-1930's lecture circuit: "No country has ever declared war on us before we first obliged them with that gesture. Our whole history shows we have never fought a defensive war."

On the other hand Huffington Post goes on to say that some House Democrats would like to see some of the NDAA funding curtailed and wisely want to repeal the "sweeping 2001 AUMF [Authorization to Use Military Force]...on the grounds that it's too broad and wasn't intended to apply to a war 14 years in the future...[whereas] Republicans are loath to do anything that would rein in the president's war authority" [or disturb cash flow from primary GOP benefactors]. The point here, if there is one, is that a dysfunctional Congress continues to fund foreign warfare without knowing or caring exactly WHY. As disgruntled victims proliferate and righteous blowback gains means and momentum so does isolation of the tormentor. Nowadays it appears that America stands a reasonably good chance of becoming a common enemy uniting the rest of the world. .

05/14/2015 summing up:

There has been much rejoicing that the U.S. House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Act in the wake of recent appellate rulings. According to Forbes.com Senator Ron Wyden praised the House vote while offering this caution: "Supporters of dragnet surveillance are fighting to preserve the status quo, but the American public is rightfully demanding a change. It is time for mass surveillance to end, and I will filibuster any attempt to extend this illegal surveillance, which violates core American rights without making our country any safer".

Forbes has best summed-up the overall situation to date: "Whatever happens with the final USA Freedom Act and the imminent decision on the future of the Patriot Act, the pendulum appears to have swung in favour of the anti-surveillance crowd for now". Nonetheless keep in mind that despite most Americans wanting stronger privacy and civil liberties protections US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently introduced legislation to continue that mass surveillance repeatedly proved ineffective and thrice-adjudicated illegal.

If the Republican-controlled Congress is successful in preserving illegal government activities in the face of recent appellate rulings, something is terribly awry with the US system of "checks and balances". Although a small step in the right direction, the USA FREEDOM Act is more red herring than panacea and requires private industry to act as an information repository for rogue organizations without nailing down those ambiguous terms used by overreaching agencies to "justify" usurpation of authority.

05/12/2015 Thanks to Elizabeth Warren:

This web site noted in the 4/17/2015 blog entry that "...today's Republican-controlled Congress is ready to grant unilateral negotiation and bargaining powers to POTUS for sealing 'secret' global free-trade agreements..." and also noted that "...[Elizabeth Warren] is a frequent ray of hope for a hopelessly corrupt nation...". Certainly all that is true and you can thank US Senators Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown for blocking the "fast track" TPP authority for the very good reasons outlined in this 4/25/2015 letter to POTUS.

Careful readers of the letter will note that big business lobbyists, senior corporate executives, and other industry representatives are heavily involved in writing and negotiating the terms of the trade deal however its content is hidden from the American public and there are no public discussions of its terms—hardly a confidence builder that anyone's interests are being protected other than the interests of transnational corporations. Thank you Elizabeth Warren for trying to infuse transparency into the legislative process!!!

Note that Democrats, not Republicans, oppose the lack of transparency. Republicans seem to want to "fast track" the interests of big money irrespective of consequence.

05/10/2015 Mother's Day gift to a nation:

Slight hope reportedly is offered to the nation on Mother's Day by Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon. According to Huffington Post Senatory Wyden says he intends "...to filibuster a reauthorization of the Patriot Act if it fails to include major reforms, including ending a controversial National Security Agency program that collects data on nearly every American's phone calls". The Senator's words are quoted like this: "...Senate Republican leadership has been looking at a variety of ways to move forward to keep the bulk phone records collection program going...I'm tired of extending a bad law. If they come back with that effort to basically extend this for a short term without major reforms like ending the collection of phone records, I do intend to filibuster."

Nevetheless if the Republican-controlled congre$$ is successful in extending government activities now thrice-adjudicated illegal it will show the entire world exactly how well the US system of checks and balances is working these days. It will also show congre$$ional contempt for domestic adjudications on a par with congre$$' might-makes-right contempt for international law.

05/08/2015 legislative myths:

Now that a US appeals court has declared NSA mass surveillance to be illegal, largely NSA-supportive statements can be found throughout lamestream media. Official fear mongers like most presidential candidates seem to care less about legalities of federal programs than about encouraging supression of constitutional protections and providing enduring control of a purportedly free population. We already have that mindset in Congre$$ and in the White Hou$e—do you really want another eight years of it?

Some legislative mindsets are righteously calling for "immediate" passage of the "USA Freedom Act" which is touted to provide spying reforms by requiring private telecommunications companies to store all America's data—just in case the NSA might need it. Nonetheless Ron Paul has nailed it best so far: "Even though mass surveillance threatens our liberty, violates the Constitution, and does nothing to protect us from terrorism, many in Congre$$ still cling to the fiction that the only way to ensure security is to give the government virtually unlimited spying powers...The USA FREEDOM Act has about as much to do with freedom as the PATRIOT Act had to do with patriotism.".

The only viable approach for reform is repeal of all legislation cited in authorizing mass surveillance—and that's not very likely. With decades of future unrest widely predicted, governments worldwide are grabbing all the civil and human rights they can get away with. Traditionally definitive American values and constitutional protections appear to be irretrievably lost.

05/07/2015 ongoing illegalities:

As reported by Huffington Post today, "the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the Patriot Act did not authorize the National Security Agency to collect Americans' calling records in bulk", . and reportedly ACLU lawyer Alex Abdo succinctly welcomed Thursday's decision like this: "Mass surveillance does not make us any safer, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the privacy necessary in a free society".

The appeals court ruling is welcomed by rights advocates everywhere and overturned Judge William Pauley's strange 2013 ruling which countered adjudications of two other federal judges—most notably U.S. District Judge Richard Leon's 2013 finding that NSA programs were "almost Orwellian" and might violate Fourth Amendment limitations on warrantless searches.

Now that the preponderance of judicial opinion appears to call NSA surveillance programs ill-advised, illegal, unconstitutional, and overreaching, don't expect the US Congre$$ to protect and ensure citizens' privacy rights. Congre$$ has little respect for citizens' privacy concerns when national security can be effectively touted to grant additional powers to government, grant ludicrous immunities to big businesses and employees of government "intelligence" organizations, and dramatically increase revenue streams for military-industrial-surveillance use.

Congre$$ has never so much as chastised Keith Alexander for lying about NSA program effectiveness nor has Congre$$ officially chastised James Clapper for lying about the unwarranted existence of mass surveillance. The Republican-controlled Congre$$ is desirous of preventing expiration of Section 215 of the PATRIOT ACT and just a few days ago Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation  toward that end. The same party that sold unnecessary invasions of sovereignty, international kidnappings and torture, secret international prisons, and international drone assassinations is most apt to permanently grab your freedoms while the grabbing is good. CISA is a part of that effort too.

Still getting choked-up when you hear that "Proud To Be An American" song?

05/01/2015 Mayday:

Back in January 2015 according to US News and World Report, eight states were considering NSA-curtailment legislation prohibiting "...state and local governments from offering material support to the agency, including use of public utilities that carry water and electricity. Two of the bills would criminalize official cooperation with the NSA...". This week according to BBC the number has grown to 16 states.

The Republican congre$$ still doesn't "get it" and their "leadership" continues to propose extended and expanded surveillance state legislation apparently with no genuine interest in reforms.. One critic, Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, phrased it this way: "...what Congre$$ will be doing is weakening privacy law and increasing government surveillance at time when the public agrees that stronger privacy and civil liberties protections are needed".

Nonetheless the Republican-controlled Congre$$ is not apt to favor citizens' privacy concerns since national security can be effectively touted to grant additional powers to government, grant ludicrous immunities to big businesses and employees of government "intelligence" organizations, and dramatically increase revenue streams for military-industrial-surveillance use.

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