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More Obama-NSA abuses

Yet another story that should be all over the media, but I haven’t seen it much. (If you have, let me know.)

Why wouldn’t it be covered? I find that it reflects great discredit on the Establishment (both political parties, Deep State and Controlled Media). As I started to say yesterday, they have ways to decide what you’re going to hear about. For as long as they can, they will bury stories that don’t fit their agenda.

To review some background:

  • Under the 4th Amendment, the government isn’t supposed to spy on U.S. people without a court-ordered warrant.
  • “The FISA Court” is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 “to oversee requests for surveillance warrants against foreign spies inside the United States by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.” (Wiki)
    Note, foreign.
  • But FISA Court hearings are secret and only the government and the court judge are present, like a kangaroo court. The adversarial system is abandoned.
  • As such, FISA tends to be very lenient to the government. Over time, they have created a secret body of law that gives the government sweeping powers to do domestic warrantless surveillance under an alleged “special needs exception” to the 4th Amendment.
    • One example – In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked a FISA order that requires phone companies to provide a daily, ongoing feed of everyone’s phone call data to the NSA. Super invasive!
  • Even so, FISA isn’t toothless and doesn’t approve everything – as you shall see. They need to preserve respectability, at least in their own eyes.
  • FISA judges are appointed solely by the Chief Justice of the United States. In this regard, Establishment Republicans control the FISA court.

That’s just background. Now for the news, as reported by John Solomon and Sara Carter at Circa.com.

Under President Obama, the NSA secretly conducted years of surveillance and searches on Americans that not even the secret, super-lenient FISA Court would approve.

The National Security Agency under former President Barack Obama routinely violated American privacy protections while scouring through overseas intercepts and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community…

The Obama administration self-disclosed the problems at a closed-door hearing Oct. 26 before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that set off alarm…

The normally supportive court censured administration officials, saying the failure to disclose the extent of the violations earlier amounted to an “institutional lack of candor” and that the improper searches constituted a “very serious Fourth Amendment issue,” according to a recently unsealed court document dated April 26, 2017.

The admitted violations undercut one of the primary defenses that the intelligence community and Obama officials have used in recent weeks to justify their snooping into incidental NSA intercepts about Americans.

Circa has reported that there was a three-fold increase in NSA data searches about Americans and a rise in the unmasking of U.S. person’s identities in intelligence reports after Obama loosened the privacy rules in 2011.

Officials like former National Security Adviser Susan Rice have argued their activities were legal under the so-called minimization rule changes Obama made, and that the intelligence agencies were strictly monitored to avoid abuses.

The intelligence court and the NSA’s own internal watchdog found that not to be true…

The American Civil Liberties Union said the newly disclosed violations are some of the most serious to ever be documented and strongly call into question the U.S. intelligence community’s ability to police itself…

RTWT. Naturally, the NSA is scrambling to reassure people that it has fixed the problem. Riiiiiiiight. And Susan Rice didn’t lie and none of the surveillance data was ever misused against Obama opponents or improperly unmasked. Riiiiiiiight.

To people who understand civil liberties and limited government, all this is a huge deal that shows how far out of control the U.S. “intelligence community” (Deep State) has gotten. Chris Farrell at Judicial Watch compares it to President Lincoln’s suspension of habeus corpus during the U.S. Civil War.

Where is the Special Counsel on this?

Or the media coverage? Bush’s NSA did some illegal surveillance in the 2000s – and in 2005, was duly slammed by The New York Times. A large kerfuffle. “But that was then.” It served the interests of someone powerful – someone in deep alliance with, or control of, The New York Times – to weaken Bush. Not so much with Obama, eh?

See the FISA Court’s declassified order spanking the Obama administration, here. By the way, note how large sections of the relevant law and dockets are blacked out, showing how the FISA system has created secret law that the citizens aren’t supposed to know about. That’s horrible.

Also from Circa: Comey’s FBI was neck deep in the abuses.

The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances…

The New Civil War

For the last 100 years – and, especially for the last 8 years under President Obama – more and more Americans have become feckless dependents of government.

They may be rich, middle class or poor. They may depend on government benefits, or on special favors written into our laws and regulations. Or they may be politicians and bureaucrats and government workers, deciding the fates of other people and taking paychecks a good deal larger than what most of them could get in the private sector. They may be journalists taking cash payments from the CIA, or billionaires with extensive government contracts.

And they are indeed feckless. They gladly believe and spread the most ridiculous things on zero evidence. For example, they choose a criminally dishonest politician (Hillary Clinton) to be president. When she doesn’t quite win the election, they gladly believe and spread rumors that the guy who did win is a Russian spy – on zero evidence, again – and chant “F*ck [him]!” at important political conventions.

On the other side are ordinary Americans who more-or-less believe in God, common sense, and supporting themselves through work. Again, they may be rich, middle class or poor. They choose 2 business people in a row to be president. The most recent one might not be a great role model in some ways, but at least he says sensible things in a forthright, unafraid manner. When he wins the election, he sets himself to the task of reviving America’s economy and manufacturing base – only to be undermined by the vast army and bureaucracy of the feckless government dependents, spreading their nonsense.

It’s a mortal conflict. And one side knows it: the feckless government dependents. Because America is fast reaching the point where it can’t afford to support them any longer. They, the cancer, are about to kill the host. They, the cancer, must be controlled and cut back – so that the rest of America can survive, and perhaps revive a little.

They, the feckless government dependents, know it deep-down. And, being out-of-control like any late-stage cancer, they are desperate to deny it and to continue a system – their own system – that promises to extract every last drop of life and treasure that can be extracted from normal Americans.

It’s Producers vs. Looters. Understand that the Producers are people of all classes and walks of life. Likewise, the Looters are people of all classes and walks of life.

And so we arrive at the political struggles of the last seven months. President Trump isn’t perfect. I did not support him. I still don’t support him, whenever and wherever I may disagree with him. But, somehow (and although I never wanted it), he became a leader for the Producers – or at least for the opponents of America’s looting, criminal Establishment. Imperfect Mr. Trump is the president we’ve got. And the vast army and bureaucracy of the feckless government dependents are determined to destroy him.

Thus the endless, utter nonsense they spew each day. I’m not sure what to do about it. I know that supporting Trump blindly will not help. But tolerating nonsense will also not help.

The only thing I know how to do, that might help in some tiny way, is to keep telling the truth as I see it unfolding around me.

Or posting links.

Schlichter sums it up well: “Someone came to Washington who wasn’t part of the club, and that’s intolerable. So they are desperate to expel him, and by extension, us. Every day will be a crisis, every action he takes will be the worst thing that has ever happened, and every step towards keeping his promises a crime.”

Each day, let us dedicate ourselves anew to rejecting the nonsense. And to offering truth, in its place.

Hillary: Held back by men?

How could Hillary of the House Clinton, First of her Name, Queen of the Little People and the Media, Protector of the Sixty States – have not been crowned?

Answer is below the fold. (more…)

Has Obama Really Failed?

This is a thing that’s going around. Screen-Shot-2015-11-05-at-4_37_03-PM-550x321 The implication is that Obama’s presidency has been bad for the Democratic Party. I guess you could make that case, kinda sorta. And since the Democratic Party threw themselves all-in to his Cult of Personality, it’s kind of Karmic that it would lead to their withering in state governments and Congress.

But I don’t think Obama or his Alinskyite backers care very much about states or legislatures. Obama has been spectacularly successful in centralizing autocratic power in the executive branch; aided and abetted by Republicans who are either too timid to oppose him or actively collaborating. Obama has unilaterally re-written welfare laws, immigration laws, environmental laws, and labor laws. His administration has imposed policies on the states ranging from dictating what school children may eat for lunch to how states may use natural resources. The Democrats may be losing power in the states and legislatures, but Obama has largely made them irrelevant.

SFO Media Get a Taste of Karma

Posted by V the K at 8:49 am - August 14, 2015.
Filed under: Media Bias,Rule of Law

The MFM have taken sides. Locked in a fifty-year-old paradigm, the media have happily promoted the narrative that all cops are racists who gun down innocent black schoolchildren at will, and minorities who break the law are only stealing bread to feed their starving families. You would have to have a heart of stone not to be amused when their embrace of this narrative comes round and bites them in the butt.

“At least a dozen robberies of television news crews and still photographers that has plagued the San Francisco Bay Area in recent years. Camera crews from major Bay Area television stations and photographers from two newspapers have been robbed of their pricey gear. Two have been pistol whipped. An Oakland Tribune photographer lost five cameras in two incidents.”

The police have made no arrests, but you really can’t blame them if they haven’t been trying too hard. BTW, this is interesting information about the Sheriff of San Francisco that I was previously unaware of.

The Sheriff of San Francisco, Ross Mirkarimi, [is] himself a violent criminal who cannot carry a gun because of his domestic-violence past.

It was certainly very progressive of the people of San Francisco to elect a criminal as their chief law enforcement officer.

On Eric Garner

Not to participate in the latest media frenzy after just criticizing such frenzies, but Garner’s story is tragically interesting. Because of that video. (Trigger warning: not for the faint of heart; shows a man dying.)

Here’s what I think:

  • I don’t know enough of the background to second-guess the NYPD officer who chose to take Garner down.
  • Having said that, apparently, the chokehold was a violation of the NYPD’s own procedure manual.
  • And the NYPD does appear negligent in just standing there while Garner was dying. (Rather than trying to revive him. Remember, Garner was cuffed by then.)

Your thoughts?

UPDATES:

On Kajieme Powell, and Injustice in America

We here at GayPatriot care deeply about justice. In contrast to the political Left, we happen to care about real justice; rather than posturing and claims of “social justice” that are usually unjust and illegitimate. We know that 90-95% of the time, when the political Left is shrieking about “social justice”, it’s exaggeration – or often baloney.

Accordingly, we tend to favor law and order. But the law-enforcement system must be subject to constitutional limits. And it’s made of human beings like anything else, beings who can make mistakes or go wrong. There are times when law enforcement should be criticized, if not condemned, for doing something horribly unjust.

Kajieme Powell’s death is one of those times. If you haven’t seen this video already, WARNING – it’s tragic and not for the faint of heart:

YouTube Preview Image
(Via Zero Hedge; edited video is also at HotAir.)

At the risk of being obvious, I’d like to state what was so unjust in the police killing of Powell. First and obviously, it was out of proportion to anything Powell did. He allegedly stole food items from a convenience store. And he reportedly waved a knife while resisting police arrest. And for those bad things, he should have been knocked to the ground (to get the knife away from him), or tased, or (at the very most) shot in the leg. Not riddled with a stream of bullets.

Second – and perhaps less obviously; some Democrats may need to have this spelled out for them – it was far out of proportion to what others have done. Others like, for example, DEMOCRAT Jon Corzine who, to this day, still has not been charged for stealing on a scale so vast that poor Kajieme Powell couldn’t begin to dream of it.

An America where Powell is riddled with bullets over a few food items while DEMOCRAT Jon Corzine never faces charges, is not a place of justice.

This is what our society has come to. And I don’t think it’s about race per se, as much as it is about political status & connections. Remember, Corzine’s key political connection was President Barack Obama. Powell probably had no connections.

P.S. I apologize for my tardiness in getting to the Powell matter. Without going into detailed excuses, let’s just say that (1) writing posts is time-consuming work, the way I go about it; (2) I had a busy summer; and so (3) I simply wasn’t writing in August when this happened, and I’m only now getting caught up.

Democrat Congressman Encourages Lawlessness

Posted by V the K at 8:18 pm - May 19, 2014.
Filed under: Illegal Immigration,Rule of Law

A Democrat Congressman says “every institution in America” should find ways to ignore or work around federal immigration laws.

Let’s see… Big Business, the Roman Catholic Church, the mainline protestant churches, most public universities, municipals governments, state governments, the Federal Government, the welfare bureaucracies, the public schools, law enforcement, banks, insurance companies.

I think every major institution in the country is already ignoring immigration laws.

Maybe conservatives should just ignore tax laws the ways liberals ignore immigration laws.

DOMA & Prop 8: Elections Have Consequences


One person, one vote

A democratic republic is not honest or fair unless it upholds the principle of “one person, one vote”. All Americans should want to uphold that principle, strictly.

But not all do. Both historically and today, some may benefit from the principle’s two enemies: discrimination and fraud. How do we best combat both discrimination and fraud, in our voting processes?

The Supreme Court has just struck down part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Superficially it sounds like some people could have just lost their voting rights or something, and Yahoo!’s coverage starts out in a mournful tone. But let’s consider the substance, on both sides.

Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, reauthorized by Congress for an additional 25 years in 2006, gives the federal government the ability to pre-emptively reject changes to election law in states and counties that have a history of discriminating against minority voters. The law covers nine states and portions of seven more, most of them in the South. The formula used to decide which states are subject to this special scrutiny (set out in Section 4 of the law) is based on decades-old voter turnout and registration data, the justices ruled, which is unfair…[because] many of these states now have near-equal voter turnout rates between minorities and whites.

“The coverage formula that Congress reauthorized in 2006 ignores these developments, keeping the focus on decades-old data relevant to decades-old problems,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the opinion. “Our country has changed, and while any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress must ensure that the legislation it passes to remedy that problem speaks to current conditions.”

The Justice Department used Section 5 of the law to block voter ID laws in Texas and South Carolina last year…

The court has effectively now put the ball back in Congress’ court, writing in its decision that it is up to Congress to write a new formula that is based on current data. States or counties that fit the new formula could still be subject to federal “preclearance” of changes to their elections procedures…

The story there seems to be: In the 60s, they were justly worried about discrimination and passed a law giving the federal government a great deal of power over some States. Today, fifty years later, much (if not most) of the discrimination problem has receded, the States are worried about fraud, and have begun to pass voter ID laws to combat fraud. The Obama administration has used the 1965 law aggressively to block those fraud-fighting efforts. And Chief Justice Roberts, writing for a SCOTUS majority, has just said to knock it off; do a fresh study of the real problem.

For completeness, let’s look at Justice Ginsburg’s objections. The Yahoo! article continues:

In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes the “sad irony” of Roberts’ decision is that it strikes down the key part of the Voting Rights Act because it has been so successful at preventing racial discrimination. “Throwing out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet,” she writes. Ginsburg also slams the court’s majority for relying on turnout and registration rates “as if that were the whole story” and ignoring so-called second-generation laws and regulations designed to make it harder for minorities to vote…

But Roberts didn’t throw out preclearance; he only said, re-validate its basis to make sure it’s fair, before you use it again. Ginsburg’s imagery, of throwing out your umbrella in a rainstorm, is vivid but possibly misplaced. She assumes that we live in a racial “rainstorm” whose intensity is virtually unchanged from the 1950s/60s. But if that were so, we would not have an African-American President.

On the above information, I’m with Roberts: while problems of discrimination may remain, and any racial discrimination in voting is too much, Congress should indeed take a fresh look at the real problem. Congress should not make a lazy assumption that this is still the 1950s or 60s, nor that efforts to fight the problem of voter fraud must automatically be illegitimate.

“Mr. Paul Goes to Washingon” – the ending

Rand Paul’s filibuster ended yesterday, after 13 hours. Neither Bruce nor I were clear on how to turn off GP’s post that was counting it, so…it’s gone. We executed it (so to speak). But where did America end up?

  • Before: A poll showed that fully 41% of Democrats think the president should be able to order pre-emptive drone strikes on American soil without review or oversight (that is, “on his own” in the poll’s wording).
  • After: The Democrat-led Senate has refused to pass this resolution, “Expressing the sense of the Senate against the use of drones to execute Americans on American soil”.

I think that means: according to the Senate, if Obama decides that you are a “suspected terrorist”, he could execute you and your family in a drone strike on your home. At least, the question is open. Obama’s America, Forward!

UPDATE (from the comments): heliotrope informs us that Senator Paul has just received a letter from Attorney General Holder, writing that the president does NOT “have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil.” That’s better.

UPDATE: Republican senators McCain and Graham are clueless as ever, while liberal comedian Jon Stewart praises Rand Paul, sort of.

Bringing Athena into conversation on Trayvon Martin & George Zimmerman

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:41 pm - March 27, 2012.
Filed under: Mythology and the real world,Rule of Law

Sometimes you find someone who summarizes a situation so well, the nest way to comment on the story is to quote him. And so it is with this excerpt from Thomas Sowell’s piece in the National Review:

The man who shot the black teenager in Florida may be as guilty as sin, for all I know — or he may be innocent. We pay taxes so that there can be judges and jurors who sort out the facts. We do not need Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton or the president of the United States spouting off before the trial has even begun. Have we forgotten the media’s rush to judgment in the Duke University “rape” case that blew up completely when the facts came out?

If the facts show that a teenager who was no threat to anyone was shot and killed, it will be time to call for the death penalty. But if the facts show that the shooter was innocent, then it will be time to call for people in the media and in politics to keep their big mouths shut until they know what they are talking about.

Playing with racial polarization is playing with fire. . . .Race hustlers who stir up paranoia and belligerence are doing no favor to minority youngsters. There is no way to know how many of these youngsters’ confrontations with the police or others in authority have been needlessly aggravated by the steady drumbeat of racial hype they have been bombarded with.

H/t: WSJ.com’s Political Diary (available by subscription)

Every time I check the blogs, I learn new information about the case, about the actual incident, about the young man and about the man who shot him.  The more I learn, the more complex the case becomes.  As more details emerge, I am reminded of one of the greatest plays of classical Greece, Aeschylus’s Eumenides which begins with the Furies seeking vengeance on Orestes for killing Clytmenestra his mother his mother.  Soon, the goddess Athene arrives and acknowledges that the Furies have a case.

Before the matter is to be resolved, she wants to hear both sides and wants to make sure the facts are weighed in a dispassionate manner — before a court of Athenian citizens.

So too should those who determine the fate of Mr. Zimmerman:  weigh the facts, all the facts, dispassionately. (more…)