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hootinholler's Journal
hootinholler's Journal
October 27, 2013

Rally Report: Stop Watching Us. (Photodump Warning)

First, please do not hotlink these photos outside of this thread. If you do, I reserve the right to make you look silly.

I went to the Stop Watching Us rally yesterday and came home bummed about the turnout which was about 1000 people by my own estimation.

It looks larger in the video:

When I got home last night about 8 or so, I'm greeted on DU by this thread. It's hard not to respond in kind here, but more on that guy later.

Photos, captions and commentary:

I arrived at Union Station just as the march was leaving.

The cops were informing the driver of this van that they can't simply circle the pickup lanes indefinitely.

Having missed the main march, I walked a more direct route to the Capitol reflecting pool and got some photos of the arrival:

The 4th on a banner

A photo of some of the crowd with the Capitol in the background.

Then on to signs...

A prior President weighs in.

Many (including me) were showing support for Ed Snowden.

Blowback, indeed.

A rare sight on DU, the first posted photo of Hoot with a bonus you get to see his pal too.

This guy was pretty cool to talk to. I mentioned that I was a little disappointed with the turnout, and he said it's cool dude, you're here, I'm here, this is early in the fight.

I like the framing here with the dish and the shrouded Washington Monument. Good message too!

Succinct and to the point!

I didn't have the heart to correct his spelling.

He did ok on the flip side, and really had a pretty good elevator speech.

This guy has it about right!

This guy had a long history of being harassed.

There were a few variations on this theme.

Then there was this guy, who according to some here on DU, apparently invalidated everything that this rally was about and I suppose I'm supposed to retire in shame or something:

Note the wide berth people are giving this small group of LeRouchies whom I laughed at many times in Farragut Square for holding the same sign.

All in all I was disappointed with the turnout, but the apathy I saw here leading up to the event was reflected, I suppose. I am impressed that such a broad coalition came together and I encourage everyone to call congress right fucking now and ask your rep to cosponsor H.R.2818!

Maybe I should have dressed for the occasion:
October 13, 2013

The shutdown thing that really sticks in my craw

Is that all this havoc wreaked by the Koch fueled TeaBaggers apparently has been done legally.

Unless and until the DOJ, or the Senate conducts an investigation into the collusion of funding organizations threatening to support primary candidates and actually discovers something illegal, we are just screwed.

They worked the system into a position of incredible leverage. All I can think of is they are fomenting an environment conducive to rioting. They are literally taking food from the mouths of the people, which historically has never ended well, and now they are in congress crowing their achievements.

The House has the authority of removing members, but I don't see how that maneuver could work with the current alignment. Even if you could convince enough moderate R reps to go for it, could it even be brought to the floor? Is is a privileged issue?

The only thing I'm pretty certain of at this point is that this will not end well.

October 7, 2013

42, 18, 6, 217, 2

42: Number of votes conducted to Repeal Obamacare.

18: Number of requests for budget conference nominees refused by the House.

6: Number of votes in the house to micromanage funding via CR. Actually there are more, but Thomas is behind due to the shutdown.

217: Number of aye votes for a clean CR.

2: Number of people at the root of this mess, waiting for the orange harvest report before they make their move.

BTW, If anyone is guilty of Sedition, it would be those 2 guys. They gained their influence the old fashioned way: They bought it.

September 25, 2013

People are talking about DU activism? Oct. 26. Be there.

October 26th, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
A Rally Against Mass Surveillance

StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across the political spectrum. We came together in June 2013 to demand the U.S. Congress investigate the full extent of the NSA's spying programs. Go here to read our letter to U.S. Congress demanding accountability and reform.

Folks, this is the real deal. We need a million or more in DC to shut the surveillance state down. The names in the coalition are venerable: ACLU, EFF, ALA (Yes! Don't Fuck With Librarians!) and others. Including FreedomWorks which is a strange bedfellow indeed.
September 23, 2013

Rally: Stop Watching US! Oct 26 (Sat)

A rally against mass surveillance

The recent NSA revelations have laid it all out: The NSA is watching us online and on our phones. The NSA has corrupted security and cryptography, undermining the fabric of the Internet. Its overreaching surveillance is creating a climate of fear, chills free speech, and violates our basic human rights — and it operates without any meaningful oversight.

But a movement is building to change all this. And we're about to take the next step.

On Saturday, October 26 — the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act — thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to proclaim: Enough is enough. Stop watching us.

StopWatching.Us is a diverse coalition including more than 100 public advocacy organizations and companies from across ideological lines, including the ACLU, Access, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, Fight for the Future, Free Press, Mozilla, reddit, Restore the Fourth and Thoughtworks. This coalition is working to organize the biggest mass protest of the NSA’s surveillance programs to date. Will you join us?

Hundreds of thousands of people have spoken out since the major NSA leaks began this June. More than 560,000 people took action at StopWatching.Us by signing our petition to the U.S. Congress. Dozens of members of Congress have introduced bills aimed at reining in the NSA, and hundreds of organizations and companies are uniting to end the NSA's unconstitutional surveillance.

But we will only succeed if we take the next step and raise our voices.

At the StopWatching.Us rally on October 26, we’ll remind our elected officials that they work for us, not the NSA. We are demanding a full Congressional investigation of America’s surveillance programs, reform to federal surveillance law, and accountability from public officials responsible for hiding this surveillance from lawmakers and the public. And we will personally deliver the half million petition signatures to Congress.

This will be the biggest rally for privacy the U.S. has ever seen. Will you be there?

Plan now and please keep this kicked for awareness.
July 20, 2013

Can someone please explain how the NSA Slurp and Burp doesn't violate wiretap law?

Bear with me here a minute, I think it's important.

We know from Andrea Mitchell's interview of Clapper that it is not just metadata that is being slurped up by the NSA. How much is held remains to be proven, but at this point we know with certainty there is some call content being stored for future reference.

The relevant bits of the interview:


First-- as I said, I have great respect for Senator Wyden. I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked-- "When are you going to start-- stop beating your wife" kind of question, which is meaning not-- answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.

And again, to go back to my metaphor. What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers-- of those books in that metaphorical library-- to me, collection of U.S. persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it.


Taking the contents?


Exactly. That's what I meant. Now--


You did not mean archiving the telephone numbers?



I Still am astounded at the notion of collection he has. I don't think that word means what he thinks it means, he has confirmed that someone somewhere has call content collected(my definition) waiting to be "collected&quot his definition).

How on earth this scheme doesn't run afoul of wiretap laws is beyond me. Maybe the secret warrant covers it, but where is the probable cause to precollect everything?

Wiretapping Law Protects "Oral," "Wire," and "Electronic" Communications Against "Interception"

Before 1967, the Fourth Amendment didn't require police to get a warrant to tap conversations occurring over phone company lines. But that year, in two key decisions (including the Katz case), the Supreme Court made clear that eavesdropping — bugging private conversations or wiretapping phone lines — counted as a search that required a warrant. Congress and the states took the hint and passed updated laws reflecting the court's decision and providing procedures for getting a warrant for eavesdropping.

BTW, That's really odd that it wasn't against the law for cops to listen in. Do we need a privacy amendment? Sorry, It continues...

The Wiretap Act requires the police to get a wiretap order whenever they want to "intercept" an "oral communication," an "electronic communication," or a "wire communication." Interception of those communications is commonly called electronic surveillance.

An oral communication is your typical face-to-face, in-person talking. A communication qualifies as an oral communication that is protected by the statute (and the Fourth Amendment) if it is uttered when you have a reasonable expectation that your conversation won't be recorded. So, if the police want to install a microphone or a "bug" in your house or office (or stick one outside of a closed phone booth, like in the Katz case), they have to get a wiretap order. The government may also attempt to use your own microphones against you — for example, by obtaining your phone company's cooperation to turn on your cell phone's microphone and eavesdrop on nearby conversations.

A wire communication is any voice communication that is transmitted, whether over the phone company's wires, a cellular network, or the Internet. You don't need to have a reasonable expectation of privacy for the statute to protect you, although radio broadcasts and other communications that can be received by the public are not protected. If the government wants to tap any of your phone calls — landline, cellphone, or Internet-based — it has to get a wiretap order.

An electronic communication is any transmitted communication that isn't a voice communication. So, that includes all of your non-voice Internet and cellular phone activities like email, instant messaging, texting and websurfing. It also covers faxes and messages sent with digital pagers. Like with wire communications, you don't need to have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your electronic communications for them to be protected by the statute.

Can someone please explain to me how this NSA Slurp and Burp program is legal? Or is that reason a State Secret?

July 19, 2013

Dismantle the NSA Slurp and Burp!

You're probably thinking WTF is Slurp and Burp?

It's my pet name for the practice the NSA has fallen into where they grab everything and store it for future reference. That's the slurp part and the future reference is the burp part.

The Burp when as Clapper euphemised your book is opened. Oh, and he also confirmed that it's not just phone metadata, it is also the call content.

Even the dude who wrote the Patriot Act abomination said that's is not what he intended in the law.

Stop the Slurp and Burp. Tell that exact phrase to your friendly congressional staffer. Tell them to dismantle it now.

July 13, 2013

The root issue Snowden exposed: Clapper's Library

Something that was said in an interview of James Clapper which has really stuck in my craw. This has bothered me for a month now and I for one want to know exactly what he means with his library metaphor and who are the librarians?

As an aside, given my understanding of librarians' support of privacy, this is some high order irony in metaphor selection.

In any event, this is the metaphor:


I understand that. But first let me say that I and everyone in the intelligence community all-- who are also citizens, who also care very deeply about our-- our privacy and civil liberties, I certainly do. So let me say that at the outset. I think a lot of what people are-- are reading and seeing in the media is a lot of hyper-- hyperbole.

A metaphor I think might be helpful for people to understand this is to think of a huge library with literally millions of volumes of books in it, an electronic library. Seventy percent of those books are on bookcases in the United States, meaning that the bulk of the of the world's infrastructure, communications infrastructure is in the United States.

There are no limitations on the customers who can use this library. Many and millions of innocent people doing min-- millions of innocent things use this library, but there are also nefarious people who use it. Terrorists, drug cartels, human traffickers, criminals also take advantage of the same technology. So the task for us in the interest of preserving security and preserving civil liberties and privacy is to be as precise as we possibly can be when we go in that library and look for the books that we need to open up and actually read.

You think of the li-- and by the way, all these books are arranged randomly. They're not arranged by subject or topic matter. And they're constantly changing. And so when we go into this library, first we have to have a library card, the people that actually do this work.

Which connotes their training and certification and recertification. So when we pull out a book, based on its essentially is-- electronic Dewey Decimal System, which is zeroes and ones, we have to be very precise about which book we're picking out. And if it's one that belongs to the-- was put in there by an American citizen or a U.S. person.

We ha-- we are under strict court supervision and have to get stricter-- and have to get permission to actually-- actually look at that. So the notion that we're trolling through everyone's emails and voyeuristically reading them, or listening to everyone's phone calls is on its face absurd. We couldn't do it even if we wanted to. And I assure you, we don't want to.

First let's ignore he has a fundamental misunderstanding who a customer of a library is, and rather focus on the notion that the NSA or other agency has a library containing all of the communications that pass through US infrastructure.

In the final bolded sentence, he almost said it the right way around, and then amazingly states that we put these 'books' in his 'library' rather than his first instinct that the books are filled by taking our private correspondence and storing it.


Senator Wyden made quite a lot out of your exchange with him last March during the hearings. Can you explain what you meant when you said that there was not data collection on millions of Americans?


First-- as I said, I have great respect for Senator Wyden. I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked-- "When are you going to start-- stop beating your wife" kind of question, which is meaning not-- answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner by saying no.

And again, to go back to my metaphor. What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers-- of those books in that metaphorical library-- to me, collection of U.S. persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it.

Everyone got wrapped around the axle over the least untruthful comment when the real shocker to me at least is in bold.

The notion of "I didn't collect it if I didn't read it" is classic ministry of truth doublespeak.


Bring or gather together (things, typically when scattered or widespread).

verb. gather - assemble - accumulate - amass - muster - pick


The action or process of collecting someone or something.

gathering - assemblage - accumulation

This must be dismantled. The question is how do we accomplish that?
June 25, 2013

Holy. Fucking. Shit. The candle flickers... (NSA)

The odd bit of information about how the NSA is Storing all encrypted traffic that it encounters has been rattling around between what passes for synapses in my noggin.

Today, whilst working from my house, I log in to my corporate Virtual Private Network (using Cisco's VPN) and it hits me. This session is likely being logged. I will bet dollars to donuts that the NSA has a Cisco back door. That would mean that anyone with access to that NSA DB will have access to all the VPN traffic in the US.

ALL the VPN traffic. That's all the financials being sent back to the home offices, orders taken, emails, for virtually any corporation.

Are you groking this? ALL the VPN traffic for GE, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Monsanto, ... Name one that doesn't use VPN to protect their IT internals.

Merger proposals, buy lists, big orders, expansion plans, outsourcing plans, etc. Just the ticket if some venture capitalist wanted to know which way the market was blowing, eh? Good thing no one with access would ever notice that is at their fingertips. Good thing no one at a big firm would try to buy in to that DB.

Even if the NSA doesn't exploit it, I bet there are more than 1 or 2 one percenters trying to.

June 22, 2013

I'm beginning to think the NSA, CIA, et. al. are bad ideas. Talk me down.

I've been wondering, what if Intelligence were to be crowd sourced instead of opaque?

It seems to me the problem with these agencies is that whomever has the reins of these organizations has tremendous effective power to shape the world as they see fit. The authoritarian's wet dream.

The way classified material is organized yields an organizational structure that can be visualized as a man of war jellyfish. The tentacles each with their own targets and purpose, but unlike the jellyfish these tentacles are steerable from on high.

The situation we have now is very troubling to me. My suspicion is that the NSA is operating a "Slurp-N-Burp" (tm) where communications are slurped up and stored, and then once a target is identified the entire stream of their past communications is available in its full glory. We have confirmation that this is done for a segment of the US population. We don't have it fully divulged as far as I know.

That even this small (relatively, it's still quite impressive, I'm sure) corpus exists in secret, anyone smart enough to gain access to it has to realize the potential of the system. The information is there for any company's executive who deals overseas. Congressional Staffers? Most likely. Journalists? You betcha, complete with that infamous airhead wink. All of that and most likely more ready to be tapped in service to shape the world.

From behind a veil. It seems every time a Toto comes along, they are smacked hard. Journalists dieing, whistle blowers jailed and politicians mysteriously change positions or fail to ask the crucial follow up in hearings. Is that what is actually happening? Fuck if I know, but God Damn it smells to high heaven.

So now, I'm pondering the notion that we need to burn the curtain this time. I have several problems with that notion because the world is truly a dangerous place. I will concede the idea that these opaque agencies had made it more so. Yet, still it remains that we do need intelligence.

That brings me to the subject, which is the question: Could we satisfy the intelligence needs of a free society with croud sourcing?

What else might work?

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