Thursday, July 25, 2013

Two stories that add up to scaring the hell out of me.

One of my most intractable convictions is that people will use exactly the amount of power allotted them. And when they have too much power, they will use it badly. Always. So we should properly prepare to be screwed. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Because our government has too much power. Far too much power.

What that means is that thousands of citizens --- hundreds of thousands of citizens --- have far too much power over other citizens simply because they work for the government. Take the story of Crissy Brown. She didn't see to an expired license plate on her car. While something this minor might have left you thinking that she wouldn't even be in the drawing for a prize, this infraction afforded her a grand prize luxury, all expense paid trip through the police station, complete with a ride in the patrol car, a free strip search by a vulgar policewoman, and a fancy orange jumpsuit.
From there, I was processed, which included stripping down in front of a female officer. While I stood before her naked, I asked the cop why it was necessary for me to be strip searched; she responded by calling me an asshole and deciding I needed to take a shower to, I suppose, wash the filth out of my mouth. I didn’t even get a towel to dry off with. She handed me a large, burlap-like orange set of scrubs, bedding, and a mattress. I was escorted down to population, made to walk along gray tape on the ground (it really pissed them off if you deviated from the “inmate line”), and then put in a holding cell that had more women than beds, two metal picnic tables, and an old fuzzy TV set.

I was in jail for a little over eight hours. For the last three, my family sat waiting for them to release me, wondering why it takes so long to process a bond. When they finally freed me, I thought to myself, “thank god this is over.”
Not even close.
Of course it gets worse. 

While I was pondering the sensible expenditure of tax money so that thugs with badges could harass, demean, and virtually terrorize a woman over an expired license plate, I came across this story.

Senator: Weak oversight of NSA may lead to massive location tracking

"Most of us have a computer in our pocket that can be used to track us 24/7."

Just swell. Just freaking swell.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), who might just be in a position to know what he's talking about since he is on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence, assures us that our government is capable of monitoring our every move.
"Most of us here have a computer in our pocket that can potentially be used to track and monitor us 24/7," Wyden remarked early on, before vaguely warning of the prospect of "a surveillance state that cannot be reversed." Later he added: "Without additional protections in the law, every single one of us... may be and can be tracked and monitored anywhere we are at any time." And again: "Today, government officials openly tell the press that they have the authority to effectively turn America's cell phones and smartphones into location-enabled homing beacons."

And the FISA courts aren't even being "transparent" to Senators. So we've got zero chance at learning what is going on.
"I know of no other court in America that strays so far from the adversarial process," Wyden said. Of 1,789 electronic-surveillance requests submitted in 2012, the court denied none and modified 40, while the government withdrew one.

And no other court in America keeps its own opinions so secret. Wyden said the Obama administration had assured him in writing in 2009 "that a process would begin to be created to start redacting and declassifying FISA Court opinions."
But those assurances were like keeping your own doctor, or not seeing a dime in new taxes. Yeah, bullshit.
Wyden has been one of a few members of Congress with a long-lasting concern about overbroad surveillance. When he asked the administration about location tracking almost two years ago, he didn't get a satisfying answer. "I want to deliver a warning this afternoon," Wyden said during a 2011 debate. "When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry." (Emphasis mine.)

Wonder if I could perfect this method.
I don't know about you, but I might just start brushing up on my more esoteric methods of communication, like shouting, or maybe smoke signals. Maybe those whistles the Democrats told me to carry will come in handy.

My question: When are liberals going to realize that no matter WHAT George Bush did, Obama is 1,000 times worse?

I know. Never.

Obama is a privileged, black Democrat. He can do no wrong. And he has suffered. He heard doors click when he was a youth attending an expensive private high school in Honolulu. Doors clicked by "typical white people."

I'd say that gives him a pass on instituting a massive surveillance state in total violation of the protections of the Constitution.

And if you don't think so, you're a raaaaaaaacist.


  1. They are already tracking everybody's (or at least their cell phone's) movements 24/7. Probably anyway, depends on exactly what the metadata they get contains. They must get the IMEI number from the phone. GPS data would be ideal for location tracking, but information on what tower the phone's connected to and how strong the signal is would probably give a pretty good estimate of location. If they can find out where you live and work and maybe when/where you took your last vacation, I expect it'd be fairly trivial to match the metadata to an individual person based on publicly available information. Once you've got the metadata an actual warrant might be useful but it's probably not necessary.

    It's an almost worthless flood of data though. Almost worthless. I'm sure it generates lots of reports with pretty graphs and appendices and so forth so that bureaucrats and politicians feel like they're really on top of things. And what the hell, it could come in handy if you want to blackmail or ruin somebody.

    As for the FISA court, I don't even want to think about what kind of low-life third rate hack "lawyer" would agree to be a judge in that system.

    1. Jesus H. Christ my computer is doing weird shit and this is the FOURTH time I have tried to reply to your comment. Not that any of that matters and if I were a big girl not throwing a temper tantrum right now, I wouldn't even mention it! BUT GAAAAAAWD!

      Anywho, I don't get how they managed let two not-particularly-bright kids blow people up in downtown Boston if they have the ability to track everywhere we go, listen to everything say, and assemble a data base of everything we look at online, everything we buy, everything we do. Hmmmmmm?

      I kinda suspect they don't give a shit about Muslim terrorism. But they are scared shitless about Tea Party types who might just taking seriously the idea of saving our Constitution.

      Oh..and fuck you, NSA. (Just in case they are reading this.)

    2. SOOOOO many mistakes in that message. You can tell I was pissed! HAHA!

    3. Well, I'm no expert but I'd suspect several possibilities. First, they apparently didn't look at them closely even though they had intel from conventional sources. Mustn't be accused of profiling the poor Muslims youths. Second, it's too much information, there might have been a detectable pattern there but it's like looking for a needle in a hay mountain which is full of things that look very similar to needles. After the fact, when you know all the elements you should have been looking for, it's easy to find. Not so much beforehand. Third, if they actually knew about them from this program, what are they going to do about it? It was a secret program, get a real warrant from a real public court, arrest somebody and take them into court and it's not a secret anymore. Actually use the data from the program in the legal system and a lot of the value of the program disappears.

      Computer weirdness, eh?

  2. "My question: When are liberals going to realize that no matter WHAT George Bush did, Obama is 1,000 times worse?

    I know. Never."


    Another thing - as any organization (govts, whatever) becomes larger and more powerful, it also becomes more paranoid.