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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 72,631

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In Case You Missed This Nugget From Snowden's Letter To Brazil...

Item number three is Edward Snowden wrote a letter to the people of Brazil about what was happening to them. It was an appeal for asylum as well. But to me the core of the letter was what he said to the people of Brazil is don't kid yourself. The mass spying that is taking place in Brazil is not about stopping terrorism; it's about the United States getting economic advantage, political advantage, and in the end it's about power.

And that's a very powerful statement. It's one that every person who hears about NSA spying ought to understand. This is not about terrorism. This is about the U.S. empire, U.S. power, U.S. hegemony, probably an increase in the spying as the U.S. empire is on the decline and it has a different world to compete in than it did after the Second World War or after the collapse of the Soviet Union. So that's the third point.

From: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=11227

From the letter...

American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not "surveillance," it's "data collection." They say it is done to keep you safe. They're wrong. There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement — where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion — and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever. These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power.

The letter in full: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/17/edward-snowden-letter-brazilian-people

Wanna Fix Politics ??? First Step: Take Away The Power Of Republicans...

Second step... fix the monied Democrats. (My addition.)

Washington Should Follow California's Lead on Political Reform
Steve Westly - Former CA State Controller; Managing Partner, The Westly Group HuffPo
Posted: 11/18/2013 7:11 pm


We have just witnessed a sad chapter in America's exceptional history. Both major parties became stuck in partisan gridlock trying to deal with the demands of a faction of one party. All of this occurring while foreign powers openly debated how much longer they want to depend on the U.S. as the center of the financial world. People in every foreign capital breathed a sigh of relief when a solution was reached, but it was not our finest moment.

While California is often chided for its progressive world view, the rest of the country should pay attention to two of the smarter things we have done to reform the electoral process, increase voter participation, and cut down on legislative stalemates. For much of the last 50 years you were more likely to lose an election as a member of the Supreme Soviet than you were as an incumbent member of Congress. This is bad for Congress and bad for America. That is why a bipartisan coalition came together to pass two important reforms -- independent redistricting and the top-two open primary system.

Why are these two reforms so important? For the last 50 years, state legislatures have quietly signed off on the "Legislative Full Employment Act." This was not the goal of our founding fathers.

Independent redistricting: Most state legislatures draw districts that are overwhelmingly dominated by one party to protect incumbents and the party in power. This results in elected officials who don't have to worry about campaigning in their district because, with a 30 to 35 percent voter registration edge, they already know they are going to win re-election. Elected officials then worry less about their constituents and more about keeping party leadership and special interests happy. This is a big part of why the nation saw the embarrassing brinksmanship over raising the debt limit. Too many representatives are worried about angering their leadership or special interests and not enough are focusing on governing responsibly.

Strikingly, the minority party is often all too willing to sign off on gerrymandered districts because even if it casts them as a minority party for the next ten years, the gerrymandered lines assure the minority members that they will have safe seats. In California we changed all of this with a simple ballot initiative in 2008 that created the nonpartisan California Citizens Redistricting Commission.

Open primary:...

More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-westly/washington-should-follow-california_b_4269611.html

Another Time When We Stopped "Unfettered" Capitalism... Trailer: 'California Forever'...

Watching it right now on my local PBS station.

the government acknowledged for the first time that the N.S.A. started systematically collecting...

White House Tries to Prevent Judge From Ruling on Surveillance Efforts

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration moved late Friday to prevent a federal judge in California from ruling on the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance programs authorized during the Bush administration, telling a court that recent disclosures about National Security Agency spying were not enough to undermine its claim that litigating the case would jeopardize state secrets.

In a set of filings in the two long-running cases in the Northern District of California, the government acknowledged for the first time that the N.S.A. started systematically collecting data about Americans’ emails and phone calls in 2001, alongside its program of wiretapping certain calls without warrants. The government had long argued that disclosure of these and other secrets would put the country at risk if they came out in court.

But the government said that despite recent leaks by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor, that made public a fuller scope of the surveillance and data collection programs put in place after the Sept. 11 attacks, sensitive secrets remained at risk in any courtroom discussion of their details — like whether the plaintiffs were targets of intelligence collection or whether particular telecommunications providers like AT&T and Verizon had helped the agency.

“Disclosure of this still-classified information regarding the scope and operational details of N.S.A. intelligence activities implicated by plaintiffs’ allegations could be expected to cause extremely grave damage to the national security of the United States,” wrote the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr.

So, he said, he was continuing to assert the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to seek to block information from being used in court even if that means the case must be dismissed. The Justice Department wants the judge to dismiss the matter without ruling on whether the programs violated the First or Fourth Amendment.

The filings also included similar declarations from earlier stages of the California litigation, which were classified at the time and shown only to the court but were declassified on Friday. The judge, Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California, had ordered the government to evaluate how the disclosures since Mr. Snowden’s leaks had affected its earlier invocations of the state secrets privilege.

The plaintiffs have until late January to file a response...

More: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/22/us/white-house-tries-to-prevent-judge-from-ruling-on-surveillance-efforts.html?_r=1&hp=&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=print&adxnnlx=1387674025-oxk6Hg8jDjNuxoKtjF/UaA

Despite Releasing New NSA Information, Government Still Tries to Block Groundbreaking EFF Case

Despite Releasing New NSA Information, Government Still Tries to Block Groundbreaking EFF Case


U.S. government intelligence officials late last night released some previously secret declarations submitted to the court in Jewel v. NSA — EFF's long-running case challenging the NSA's domestic surveillance program – plus a companion case, Shubert v. Obama. The documents were released pursuant to the court’s order.

Surprisingly, in these documents and in the brief filed with them, the government continues to claim that plaintiffs cannot prove they were surveilled without state secrets and that therefore, a court cannot rule on the legality or constitutionality of the surveillance. For example, despite the fact that these activities are discussed every day in news outlets around the world and even in the president’s recent press conference, the government states broadly that information that may relate to Plaintiffs' claims that the "NSA indiscriminately intercepts the content of communications, and their claims regarding the NSA's bulk collection of ... metadata" is still a state secret.

"The government seems to be trying to reset the clock to before June 2013 or even December 2005," said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "But the American people know that their communications are being swept up by the government under various NSA programs. The government’s attempt to block true judicial review of its mass, untargeted collection of content and metada by pretending that the basic facts about how the spying affects the American people are still secret is both outrageous and disappointing."

Earlier this year the federal judge overseeing EFF’s long running Jewel v. NSA case ordered the government to review all of its previously secret declarations in light of the many new revelations over the last few months, and to declassify and re-file the declarations publicly to the fullest extent possible by Dec. 20.

The newly released declarations are the first time the government has declassified a description of the origins and history of the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance programs. However, these declarations – and the reissued state secrets claims – represent only a very slight shift in the government’s tactics in this case. The government has tried to block a federal court from deciding the legality of the NSA’s surveillance programs at every step in this litigation, starting from when it was first filed in 2008. It used the same tactics with a predecessor case, Hepting v. AT&T, which EFF filed in 2006.

Earlier this week...


More: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/government-releases-new-nsa-info-still-tries-block-groundbreaking-eff-case

Bonus - NSA Crossword Puzzle: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/12/crossword-what-did-we-learn-about-nsa-year

Updated: Heads-Up: Severe Weather Alert !!!

Take care all.

Sorry... Christmas and All... Enjoy !!!

Ironic I Know... But Let's Have Some Holiday Fun !!! - Post Yours, Please...

And Mods... the first one is DEFIITELY political.

Happy Holidays to all.


My Response To Another Thread... Vanity Post... Yet Aren't They All ???

NOTHING could be more important than re-taking the House and keeping the Senate.

But in this chess-game of politics, there are many different pieces on the board; some of them well hidden.

They hide... because if they were exposed the public would not like it. Yet they have their agendas (and their millions), which may not be our agendas. They will say words we like to hear, and yet take actions we detest.

Right now BOTH parties are at crossroads within themselves...

Traditional Republicans are in a panic at the primary-ing of stalwart conservatives, to become even more conservative.

Democrats, in many ways have lost their way... and sometimes refuse to defend the semi-recent history of the party of the working man/woman, unions, minorities, LGBT, etc...

Yet the polls in this country side with the Democrats... the Progressives... And dare I Say It ???


We have the smarts, the argument, and THE PEOPLE on our side.

If we, as a party, cannot do this thing... then we are ether grossly incompetent...

Or complicit.

From: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024206779

NSA Program Stopped No Terror Attacks, Says White House Panel Member - NBCNews

NSA program stopped no terror attacks, says White House panel member
By Michael Isikoff - NBC News


A member of the White House review panel on NSA surveillance said he was “absolutely” surprised when he discovered the agency’s lack of evidence that the bulk collection of telephone call records had thwarted any terrorist attacks.

“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.”

While Stone said the mass collection of telephone call records was a “logical program” from the NSA’s perspective, one question the White House panel was seeking to answer was whether it had actually stopped “any <terror attacks> that might have been really big

“We found none,” said Stone.


More: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/20/21975158-nsa-program-stopped-no-terror-attacks-says-white-house-panel-member?lite

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