Archive for the USA PATRIOT Act Category

The Federal Government, In Practice (September 15, 2014)

Posted in Banks and Banking System, CIA, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Congress, Courts, Federal Reserve, Judges, Judicial Arrogance, Judiciary, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, Presidency, USA PATRIOT Act on September 15, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

S          “So the Founding Fathers are blamed for and credited with many things.  Everyone agrees they were inspired by Montesquieu’s notion of the separation of powers providing for executive, legislative and judicial functions.  The division of labor and duties seems so clean and elegant in your civics class.  Yet, in practice, the process is so tainted and untidy.”

T          “In my class, I try to tidy up the mess.  I present this outline of the grand plan on the board to spark discussion:

Post 1787:          Theory:     Practice:

President            34%           30% (implement laws)
Congress             33%           60% (make laws)
Judiciary             33%           10% (interpret laws)
National Bank      0%             0% (inspire debate)

The judiciary was little more than an administrative agency with possibility until the Supreme Court developed the doctrine of judicial review in Marbury v. Madison in 1803.  The political plate tectonics shifted and now we have:

2014:

President                             44% (determines most major domestic and foreign policy initiatives)

Congress                              21% (drives economic activities via substantial ad hoc spending largely for defense, interest and entitlements)

Judiciary                              35% (makes laws)

Federal Reserve                 33% (the private bank with the misleading name establishes monetary policy and directs fiscal policy by default because of Congressional grid lock and thus effectively runs the economy, with little public participation)

National Security State    39% (shapes domestic and foreign affairs via a motley and myriad montage of agencies, contractors, sub-contractors and others with little oversight)

S          “So sixty-eight percent of government policy is imposed by federal judges and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors/Big Bankers who are not elected.”

T          “The Founding Fathers are said to have been anti-democratic.  I know they would be surprised at what has emerged in practice in America.”

S          “So thirty-nine percent of domestic and foreign surveillance and activities are determined by unknown and unaccountable agents and operatives.”

T          “Who knows.”

. . .

S          “So we need to track the federal Debt which is now over 17 Trillion dollars and also the Federal Reserve Debt which is now over 4 Trillion dollars.”

T          “While you are at it, try to fathom the 100s of Trillions of dollars in derivatives that were never on the Founding Fathers’ radar and are off the public radar today.”

S          “That fraud will doom the Republic some day.”

. . .

S          “So the Big Bankers favor war because it is so profitable, so the large number of Big Bankers in power results in an over-production of war.”

T          “Accord.”

. . .

T          “Republicans want a powerful ‘unitary’ President when a Republican is in the White House and an effete President when a Democrat is in the White House.”

S          “And everyone agrees that federal judges are politicians in black robes.”

T          “Accord, young scholar.  See why this is so much fun.”

. . .

[T:  Teacher; S:  Student]

Bumper stickers of the week:

The Declaration of Independence is America’s Original Organic Poem.  The Constitution is America’s Owners’ Manual.  Signed on September 17, 1787.

There is no law.  There is only ideology.

Joint Base Fort America (July 28, 2014)

Posted in Bush, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Freedom / Liberty, Military, Military Commissions Act, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, O'Bama, Security State, USA PATRIOT Act, War on July 28, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

5          “America is now one gigantic fortified military base.”

7          “Joint Base Bush O’Bama.  JBBO.”

5          “Or Joint Base O’Bama Bush.  JBOB.  What’s the difference.”

7          “We are in the fourth term of the Bush Administration.  Or during the first term of the O’Bama Administration, President Cheney and Vice President Bush invaded Iraq without provocation or plan based on lies and deception.”

. . .

5          “A locked compound on lock down.  And too many Americans are not locked on to this development.  The government is locked and loaded and ready to lock up dissidents or the downtrodden.”

7          “The authorities have us locked with stock and barrel.  The new USSA – the United Security State of America – is not much different than the old USSR.”

5          “The area along a nation’s border has always been a region where liberty is more constricted and civil liberties are constrained.  The band of land, however, was narrow and circumscribed the border.  The heart of the country was free. Today, the southern border of America is moving north while the northern border is moving south while the western border is moving east while the eastern border is moving east west.”

7          “The only free area may be the geographic center of the contiguous United States.  The town of Lebanon, Kansas or thereabouts, but that may only be the last place to be enveloped.  The plate tectonics of the security state are shifting ominously.  A big collision is in the works.”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway

 

America’s Frazzled First Amendment (January 13, 2014)

Posted in Abortion, Courts, First Amendment, Journalism, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, Newspapers, PATRIOT Act, Press/Media, Rating Agencies, Supreme Court, USA PATRIOT Act on January 13, 2014 by e-commentary.org

. . .

L1        “The right-wing majority on the Supreme Court has devolved a simple formula for First Amendment analysis:  Who is making the statement and what statement is he, she or it making?  A corporation is extended any and all protection that advances its interests and shields it from liability under the guise of the First Amendment.  An individual is extended First Amendment protection only to the extent that his or her speech is acceptable to the right-wing majority on the Supreme Court.”

L2        “With a few exceptions.”

L1        “A few, but very few exceptions.  The oral argument this week at the Supreme Court involving the reasonable and safe distance between protestors and citizens entering an abortion clinic is less about the First Amendment and more about efforts by the right-wing majority to restrict abortion.”

L2        “Restrict abortion by restricting access.”

. . .

L1        “Some bonehead judges shield the fraudulent statements and misrepresentations of rating agencies’ such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch with First Amendment protection.  A fraudulent statement advanced with the intent to deceive is not entitled to any constitutional protection even if it is advanced by a corporation rather than an individual.”

L2        “The next step by some judges is to insulate any statements however deceptive or fraudulent by other specific industries such as the oil and gas, pharmaceutical, and agricultural industries from liability by bestowing First Amendment protection on them.”

. . .

L2        “The O’Bama Administration has maintained the hostile attitude and increased aggressive actions against whistleblowers and those challenging often illegal government shenanigans.  The executive branch contributes to the problem not to the solution.”

L1        “Their dismissive treatment of the press is taken from Tricky Dick’s play book.  The White House is Fort O’Bama.”

. . .

L1        “Congress could address most of these problems with legislation that most courts would honor and enforce.  Legislation including the USA PATRIOT Act and the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 should be reviewed and amended.”

L2        “Seems that all three branches are a threat to the people today.”  

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” titled https://e-commentary.org/category/first-amendment/ in particular The Supreme Court On Drugs (June 25, 2007), Bill/Melinda and Warren, It Is Time To Get Into The Game (January 25, 2010), Corporations United (Feb. 15, 2010), In Sexy Opinion, Supreme Court Affirms First Amendment (March 7, 2011) and At War With The First Amendment (February 27, 2012); the “e-ssays” at https://e-commentary.org/category/national-defense-authorization-act-fy-2012/ and https://e-commentary.org/category/usa-patriot-act/; and commentary on rating agencies at https://e-commentary.org/category/rating-agencies-2/.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

My Political Ideas                                            Are Too Complex

To Fit On One                                                  Bumper Sticker

I Spy, You Spy, They Spy (October 28, 2013)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Cyberactivities, Due Process, FISA, Google, Government Regulation, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, Perjury, Perjury/Dishonesty, Privacy, USA PATRIOT Act on October 28, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

A          “Remember back in the halcyon days of 2002 when everyone proclaimed that surely the government was not spying on fellow Americans.”

B          “September 11, 2001 may have been the pivotal day.  Ineptitude and incompetence gave way to fear and folly.  Increased spying is no surprise.  And yet now everyone is surprised.”

A          “And I was deemed paranoid because I knew they were gathering data on us.”

B          “It is not paranoia if they are really after you.”

A          “They were after us.  Every instinct informed me that we were being monitored.”

B          “So many government officials in the know knowingly lied in various forums including some under oath and averred that there was no spying.  Many of those who testified agreed to tell ‘the whole truth’ and did not tell the whole truth.”

A          “I realize that we as a people have always been placing an ear up to a door to snatch a snippet of conversation, yet now there are no restraints.”

. . .

A/B       “Are we safer?”

. . .

Bumper sticker of the week:

“Snowden is a traitor.  Stop spying on me.”

Hero or Traitor? (June 10, 2013)

Posted in Internet, Pogo Plight, Privacy, Technology, USA PATRIOT Act on June 10, 2013 by e-commentary.org

. . .

X          “Julian Assange.  Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

. . .

Y          “Bradley Manning.  Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

. . .

X          “Edward Snowden.  Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

X          “Hero.”

Y          “Traitor.”

. . .

[Reflect on the ideas and experience of Daniel Ellsberg in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america.]

[See the “e-ssay” titled “Brave 1984 Farm: The Best Of All Possible Worlds (March 19, 2012).”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

In a dozen plus years and without a debate or a vote, technology has deprived us of privacy.  With little debate and many hasty votes, Congress has deprived us of privacy at every opportunity.  We as a society should create a rebuttable presumption in favor of privacy even if it appears to sacrifice security.  Our personal insecurities are actually creating greater national insecurity.  

Those who would give up Essential Liberty, to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  Benjamin Franklin

Did Bin Laden win?

Brave 1984 Farm: The Best Of All Possible Worlds (March 19, 2012)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Consumerism, Facebook, Google, Internet, Military Commissions Act, Move To Amend, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, Occupy Movement, Pogo Plight, Privacy, Society, Solstice, USA PATRIOT Act on March 19, 2012 by e-commentary.org

. . .

C1          “All I really needed to know I learned in junior high school.  Three junior high school standbys provide the road maps delineating our current collision course.  Brave New World chronicles a craven world sated and sotted with diversions and divertissements.”

C2          “Some say the phrase ‘bread and circuses’ captures the contemporary zeitgeist.  But bread will soon cost a lot more bread.  And a day at the circus may cost a month’s wages at the job lost by the breadwinner last May.”

C1          “And 1984 is the ‘how to’ manual for the emerging police state in America.  The USA PATRIOT ACT and the NDAA of 2012 provide the ‘legal’ cover.”

C2          “Some are concerned.  For over a century, the thinking set has struggled with the emerging notion of privacy.  An academic treatment in 1890, a judicial pronouncement in 1965 and a trenchant comment or two today raise real and troubling concerns.  However, without a real debate, discussion, plebiscite or referendum, we surrendered our privacy a few years ago.  It appears to be over.”

C1          “So now we good citizens can watch our favorite gladiators invade another town and vanquish fellow citizens on plasma tv while the government videos us on closed circuit video tv and Google and Facebook monitor us on our home monitors.  We should heed the warning in Animal Farm and the advice in the Old Farmer’s Almanac and make the sojourn back to the farm and the garden.”

C2          “The Occupy Movement and Move To Amend are the Black Swan taking slow flight and moving us off the couch and into the streets.  Six months ago, a few kids looked around and concluded that something is wrong and something must be done.”

. . .

[See the Fresh Air radio program on drones and the threats to privacy at http://www.npr.org/2012/03/12/148293470/drones-over-america-what-can-they-see]

[See the “e-ssay” titled “USA PATRIOT ACT (April 4, 2005)”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

T For Truth; J For Justice

Panem et Circenses

Il faut cultiver notre jardin.  We must cultivate our garden.  Candide, Voltaire

Do something different on the Equinox

The “Gun Show Loophole” (February 6, 2012)

Posted in Civil Rights/Civil Liberties, Guns, Iran, Law, Less Government Regulation Series, National Defense Authorization Act / FY 2012, USA PATRIOT Act on February 6, 2012 by e-commentary.org

. . .

GO1       “Since her shooting, the overtly violent language has abated, yet the underlying violence is still there.  In politics and in life.”

GO2       “Here’s a partial solution.  There is no centralized or computerized list of gun owners or gun ownership in America.”

GO1       “Except the list of gun owners maintained by the National Rifle Association.”

GO2       “I am talking about the government.  Look at the actual process.  Before selling a gun, a gun dealer conducts a background check of an individual.  If the individual passes the background check, the dealer makes the sale and keeps a record.  The record is not sent anywhere and is not accessible and just sits in a file cabinet in the back room of the store.  Only if a gun is used in a crime is an effort made to trace the purchase by using the serial number and contacting the manufacturer and then the dealer and then the purchaser.  That is the most decentralized and non-computerized tracking scheme in America.  The system only allows for the tracking of the ownership of an offending gun not of the names of owners of guns.”

GO1       “And the current system does not require us to surrender any fundamental rights.  Look at the rights that have been surrendered in America by Americans without any resistance since 9/11.  The USA PATRIOT Act, the detention provisions in the NDAA of 2012, and so on.”

GO2       “The problem is that a troubled soul can go to a gun show and buy a gun.  Why arm the goons?  Simply require the same background check for any sale at a gun show.”

GO1       “The mayors and the police chiefs know what needs to be done and support the closure of the gun show loophole.  Congress should simply implement their sound and experienced judgment.”

GO2       “Gun sales in a back alley are still a problem.  The most balanced policy may be to require all gun sales to be conducted by a gun dealer.  Gun dealers are all private sector businesses in an industry at the retail level that is among the least monopolized in America.  The gun dealers could compete to facilitate the sales and perhaps offer to handle the sale for free with a fifty dollar purchase of gear.  That should address some of the problem and satisfy the critics.”

GO1       “Except for the insane irrationality of the NRA.”

GO2       “They are coming around.  Institutions change, albeit slowly.  Someone at the NRA may realize that adoption of rational and focused legislation undermines the effort to impose irrational and sweeping confiscation.  We need to keep guns out of the hands of psychos to allow guns to be kept in the hands of law-abiding citizens.”     

. . .

[See the “e-ssays” titled “On Magazines (February 21, 2011),” “Incite, Sarah, Indict? (January 10, 2011),” “O’Bama Arming Industry (November 22, 2010) and “Gun Control, NRA Style (January 9, 2006).”  And “On The Vernal Equinox (March 21, 2011)”]

[February 4 – No War On Iran National Day of Action]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Citizens deserve guns; Psychos do not