who can give up essential
liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety, deserve neither liberty
-- Benjamin Franklin
"All governments lie and nothing
say should be believed."
"Power tends to corrupt, and
absolute power corrupts
absolutely. Great men
almost always bad men."
1. NSA: House bill would lower
standards for collecting
2. Obama Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses
3. Spy Agencies, Not Politicians, Hold the Cards in
Dianne Feinstein is Michael Corleone in the CIA-Senate
War, Will She Shoot?
"I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They
WANT To Give Me.”
Record Cold Winter Wallops Already Struggling Bees
This is the Nederlog of March
25. It is another crisis
The first article has three dotted links, and is still not clear, but
that is not my fault; the second article explains - in effect, and
quite well - why Obama is a Republican Light; the fourth asks good
questions but doesn't expect real answers; the fifth article explains
that the NSA is hardly controlled; and the sixth is about bees, of
which this year again very many died (endangering pollination, and thus
Also the crisis index got uploaded until today.
NSA: House bill would lower standards for collecting
The first article today is by Spencer Ackerman of The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
The House intelligence
committee is circulating a draft bill that would permit the government
to acquire the phone or email records of an "individual or facility"
inside the US for up to a year.
The move by the House
intelligence committee's leadership – the Republican chairman Michael
Rogers of Michigan and Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland – would
significantly prohibit mass surveillance of all Americans' phone data,
a shift in position by two of the most stalwart congressional defenders
of the practice. It comes as the New York Times reports that Barack
Obama will propose ending bulk collection.
deadline on revamping the National Security Agency's collection of bulk
domestic phone data is set to expire on Friday.
I believe this "shift in position by two of the most stalwart
congressional defenders" is
most probably part of a program to Deny, Disrupt, Degrade and Deceive
the House (I quoted the GCHQ), and
the same goes for Obama's proposal.
Here is part of an
argument: all three were strong defenders of the NSA till now; all
three clearly lied to the public; and the NSA will give any government more
power to control its population than any government ever
had. This is not a deductive proof, but it is good evidence.
And there is this -
which just does away with the Fourth
But the bill would allow
the government to collect electronic communications records based on
"reasonable articulable suspicion", rather than probable cause or
relevance to a terrorism investigation, from someone deemed to be an
agent of a foreign power, associated with an agent of a foreign power,
or "in contact with, or known to, a suspected agent of a foreign power."
A draft of the bill
acquired by the Guardian proposes the acquisition of such phone or
email data for up to a year and would not necessarily require prior
approval by a judge. Authorisation of the collection would come jointly
from the US attorney general and director of national intelligence.
Incidentally, in case you
forgot, here is the Fourth Amendment:
right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and
effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be
violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause,
supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place
to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Amendment to the US Constitution
Indeed, James Sensenbrenner
is not happy at all with this plan:
Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and co-author of the USA Freedom
Act, preemptively rejected the House intelligence committee proposal,
calling it "a convoluted bill that accepts the administration's
deliberate misinterpretations of the law.
"It limits, but does not
end, bulk collection. Provisions included in the draft fall well short
of the safeguards in the USA Freedom Act and do not strike the proper
balance between privacy and security," Sensenbrenner said in a
statement late on Monday.
I agree with Sensenbrenner.
And there is this:
According to a
New York Times report late on Monday, Obama will propose ending
bulk phone data collection and replacing it with individualised orders
for telecom firms to provide phone records up to two "hops" – or
degrees of separation – from a phone number suspected of wrongdoing.
To me, this seems as if
Obama wants to continue the spying on everyone, except that he wants
the phone companies to store the records, rather than the NSA.
Since the situation is far
from clear, here is another article, by Peter Z. Scheer on Truth Dig:
This is a brief article,
and contains this passage:
companies will maintain data for roughly 18 months, and the government
will need to procure a new kind of court order to access the
information. This aspect is crucial. The bulk collection of data has
been called illegal, violating the Constitution’s prohibition against
search and seizure without specific warrant based on probable cause.
Instead of returning to the legal mechanisms that existed before the
Bush and Obama administrations decided to take section 215 of the
Patriot Act as carte blanche, the leaked proposal would invent a new
legal order the nature of which we will have to know before we can
Yes, indeed - and I
think the existing situation, from before Bush and Obama, is
quite clear: it is forbidden, by the Fourth Amendment. And that is how
it should be.
Finally, here is an article
by Eileen Sullivan in the Huffington Post:
But I list this only
and will not quote from it, for it doesn't answer the relevant
Ensnared in Bush’s Abuses
The next item is an
article by Corleen Rowley
- formerly of the FBI - on Consortium News that is quite good:
This starts as follows:
Yes, indeed. There is a
lot more under the last dotted link, and it all is good.
It’s ironic, to put it
lightly, that whistleblower Edward Snowden — whose message of the
need for CHANGE essentially repeats President Barack Obama’s own
original campaign promise — is now so threatened and persecuted by that
very same “Change” president that he must seek asylum in foreign
countries and cannot safely travel outside of Russia (which granted him
backed up by documents, served as a grave warnings that no good can
come from empowering a “Deep State, Top Secret America” to secretly and
illegally spy on its own citizens. Freedom of the press is now
threatened and ordinary citizens are not allowed to know about — or
democratically control — the Deep State’s “security” surveillance.
We have also reached the
point where the CIA secretly and illegally attempts to thwart the
Senate Intelligence Committee from investigating the CIA’s torture, an
assault on congressional oversight powers and responsibilities that has
created a real constitutional crisis. This level of dangerous
blowback is exactly the danger that Snowden blew the whistle on!
Spy Agencies, Not
Politicians, Hold the Cards in Washington
The next article is
by William Greider on Common Dreams, that originated in The Nation:
I wrote myself yesterday that
governors and Congress men and women no longer are the real
controllers: anonymous spies from the secret services are.
William Greider thinks the
same. This is from the beginning of his article:
In the real world
of Washington (...) politicians look more like impotent innocents
compared to their true masters. It is the spooks and the spies who
shuffle the deck and deal the cards. They hide their cut-throat
intrigues behind bland initials—the CIA and the NSA.
In recent weeks, a lurid
real-life melodrama has been playing out in the nation's capital that
has the flavor of old-fashioned conspiracy theories. The two
clandestine agencies are the true puppet masters.
It is elected politicians,
even the president, who are puppets dancing on a string.
And this is from the end:
Where is the president in
all this? Mostly limp and unpersuasive so far in very restrained
responses. He didn't fire the CIA director nor the NSA director though
both have lied to Congress and the public, and are obvious candidates
for blame. The president did not launch a seriously independent inquiry
nor does he seem to understand that, whether or not it's fair, the
blame falls at his feet. Why didn't he get angry?
Because he knows the
secrets, he is therefore vulnerable to reprisal.
The spies may not have
tapped the White House phones but they do know what he knows and can
always make use of it. This is the very core of the card game played by
the intelligence agencies and it didn't start with Barack Obama.
4. If Dianne Feinstein is Michael
Corleone in the CIA-Senate War, Will She Shoot?
Next, an article by Barry Eisler that I found on Common
Dreams but originated on The Guardian:
This starts as follows:
If you want to
understand the real nature of the current tussle between the Senate and
the CIA, with Dianne Feinstein
Harry Reid denouncing John Brennan and Langley for essentially spying
on the Senate's intelligence oversight committee, all you really
need to do is watch a few reruns of The Sopranos.
Really? I have no idea,
for I have no television. But the article asks some serious questions:
Then again, Eisler
suggests the politicians all will back down, eventually, and we will
not get realistic answers to the questions.
Why does Feinstein, whose
oversight committee has reviewed a reported six million documents and
produced a 6,300-page report on CIA practices Feinstein calls "brutal"
and "horrible" and "un-American", insist on referring merely to a CIA
"interrogation" program rather than calling
it a torture program, which is what
the program actually was? Why doesn't she declassify the report
simply by introducing it into Senate proceedings pursuant to the
Constitution's Speech or
And why would she
claim "the CIA's search may also have violated the Fourth
Amendment, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as Executive Order
12333, which prohibits the CIA from conducting domestic searches or
surveillance [and] may well have violated the separation of powers
principles embodied in the United States Constitution" … and then ask
for nothing more than "an apology and a recognition that this CIA
search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate"?
"I Only Get – and My Committee Only Gets – What They WANT To Give Me.”
Next, an article by Washington's Blog (with a title of four lines, that
This starts with quoting
a dialogue that took place in 2007 between a reporter Davis and the
then-chairman of the Senate Intelligence committee Jay Rockefeller. The
bolding is in the original:
That was 2007. The rest
of the article makes a strong case that it is worse now.
DAVIS: Reports quote
administration officials as saying this is going on and it’s being done
in a way to avoid oversight of the Intelligence Committee. Is there any
ROCKEFELLER: They’ll go
to any lengths to do that, as we’ve seen in the last two days [during
hearings on FISA].
DAVIS: Is there anything
you could do in your position as Chairman of the Intelligence Committee
to find answers about this, if it is in fact going on?
ROCKEFELLER: Don’t you
understand the way Intelligence works? Do you think that
because I’m Chairman of the Intelligence Committee that I just say I
want it, and they give it to me? They control it. All of it. ALL of it.
ALL THE TIME. I only get - and my committee only gets -
what they WANT to give me.
6. Record Cold Winter Wallops Already
article by Andrea Germanos on Commom Dreams, that may be part of the
crisis next year:
This starts as follows:
The record cold
that gripped much of the Midwest this winter added insult to injury to
already struggling bee populations.
Also, the bees died not only
because of the severe winter, but for various reasons.
While they expect to lose
a small proportion of their hives each year, Iowa beekeepers say this
year their losses are far beyond normal ranges.
"It's devastating," Mike
Swett of Squaw Creek Honey told
local Iowa station KCCI. "When I came out and saw my loss, I
mean you literally just cry."
Iowa Department of
Agriculture bee researcher Andrew Joseph says the losses could be as
high as 70 percent, compared to an average winter loss of up to 20
The reason the article is here is that without bees - suppose all or
nearly all died next year, e.g. because they can't cope with the latest
Monsanto poison - there is far less pollination, which means less crop,
which may mean the end for many poor people, since that would mean the
food prices get up a lot.
That situation did not yet arise, but it may: See Pollinator
decline on Wikipedia (and also Bee, at the end).
 Here it is necessary to insist, with
Aristotle, that the governors do not
rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the
if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my
More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn
It is more proper
that law should govern than any one of the
citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the
supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to
be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I
from is quite pertinent.)
(that I prefer
to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate search machines) which
is a disease I have since 1.1.1979: