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Manafort-Trump Wiretaps: Worse than Watergate

(Liberty Headlines)

(Larry Klayman, WND) “This (Bush-Cheney) administration is the most secretive of our lifetime, even more secretive than the Nixon administration. They don’t believe the American people or Congress have any right to information.”

– Larry Klayman, chairman, Judicial Watch

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Now I tend to look askance as WND, as I do many ‘sources’ on the Internet, but when Judicial Watch pays attention, so do I. – Guffaw

‘Worse than Watergate?  A second rate burglary?  Seriously?’

A.M.A. (Against Medical Advice)

Or rather A.G.A. (Against Guffaw’s Advice)!

A while back, my friend Borepatch (who definitely has a right to such opinions in such matters) wrote regarding the acquiring and use of Siri, Google Now, Cortana or Alexa.

Or their fellow travelers.

I warned my roommate of such folly.

BUT, she is addicted to newfangled gadgets (as best she can afford them)!

(And, it IS her home, and she supplies the Wi-Fi…)

THIS arrived in the mail yesterday.  Apparently, there was a sale

It’s an Alexa (Echo) device (‘courtesy’ of Amazon)

(aka, “the electronic hockey puck of EVIL!” – spoken in Don Adams’ Maxwell Smart voice)

Sigh.

There’s a cartoon somewhere (unfortunately, I couldn’t find it) showing government agents discussing how citizens will place wiretaps/bugging devices in their own homes voluntarily, and will allow them to record conversations and Internet activity with ease!

They were gleeful!

I am not.  😦

Sigh.

 

This Is NONE Of Your Falcon Business!!

I was reminded of the book The Falcon and the Snowman, wherein a spy was caught (according to the official FBI story) by someone determining the suspect liked falconry (hence his clever nickname), so agents lay-in-wait for him in Coos Bay, Oregon (a big falconry place), and captured him!

Truth was (as is so often the case), is one of his friends gave him up!

(from TFB)

Brownells Expands into Tactical Falconry

First they started selling ammunition, then they opened a retail gun store, then they started selling guns online and now the logical conclusion: tactical falconry. They are also manufacturing the first ever Falcon Night Hunter Owl Conversion Kit …

Brownells, known for its incredible selection of firearms and firearm accessories, proudly announced today it has become the internet’s largest tactical falconry dealer. Brownells’ new Birds of Prey product line features hundreds of items dedicated to enabling private citizens, law enforcement officers and military personnel to engage in the ancient art of falconry for the purposes of self-defense, hunting and homeland protection.

The new line features well-trained tactical birds ranging in size from the sub-sub-compact Black-Legged Falconet up to the full-size Steller’s Sea Eagle – an offensive raptor designed for maritime operations.

For customers in arctic conditions, the Birds of Prey line offers Gyrfalcons in traditional Snowy Tundra camo as well as a special Ghostly White Limited Edition, exclusive to Brownells.

Also available are a full line of tactical bird accessories, gear and supplies.

Some of the notable, cutting edge tactical falconry products include:

  • Miniature Tactical Falcon Pants
  • Falcon Action Camera Mounts
  • PreyVision™ Falcon Spotting Scopes
  • Falcon Handler First Aid & Suture Kits
  • Tactical Falcon Treats
  • Widening Gyre® Tactical Falcon Signal Whistles
  • TalonHone® File & Pedicure Kit
  • Falcon Night Hunter Owl Conversion Kit

“Housing the falcons has been the biggest challenge for us,” said Chad Martin, Brownells COO. “Well trained as they may be, we’ve noticed they tend to get nervous around lift trucks.”

Some of the newest tactical falconry products in the line come from the innovative company Critical OperRaptor Dynamics. Miniature Adhesive Falcon OperRaptor Beards are available in several colors and sizes and are guaranteed to resist bloodstains and not jettison during flight.

Also from Critical OperRaptor Dynamicsis a large assortment of Picatinny-Compatible Falcon Perch Rails to let the tactical falconry practitioner park his bird on his favorite AR-15 handguard, scope rail or ballistic helmet interface

Yes, this an April Fools joke. No falcons were harmed in this ridiculous hijinks. Actually, we’ve never even seen a real falcon.

FALC!  Wouldn’t that have been cool?!

Sanctuary! Sanctuary!

I was recently asked (by a liberal friend) my thoughts on the Sanctuary Cities controversy.

To be honest, I’d not given it much thought.

Initially, my gut response was (as I suspect it is with most conservatives in the Republic) they (the cities and States creating Sanctuary Zones) are in violation of federal law.

Period.

But then the libertarian part of my brain became engaged.  Have these cities and States (or even those therein who are seeking Sanctuary) received due process for their actions?  Or is it just the power of the federal government that is forcing these political entities to bow to their will?  And, of course those individuals, too.

I remembered, the Republic antebellum, when the States held much more power.  But Lincoln killed that concept.

And the federal government has continued to grow ever since!  Have you ever seen a warrant, signed by a judge, used for the searches at the airport?  Or DUI checkpoints?  Or when ‘they’ spy on your computer?

If the illegal aliens avoiding the feds are in these places, they need due process to be extracted and deported.  If they are more than illegal aliens (like criminals) they too need due process.

That pesky Constitution so says.

As a conservative, I say go get ’em.  As a libertarian, I say wait for proper paperwork.  Just withholding gov’t funds to cities and States may be a great tactic (as ‘they’ ubiquitously do with highway funds!) but blackmail is not proper paperwork.

I am a conservative libertarian.

I am all about legal aliens to be here legally, get their ‘green’ cards, and move toward proper citizenship, if they desire.

Illegal aliens?  Should be deported.  Except is the most special circumstances.

But the paperwork needs to be in order, first.

Not just federal force.

 

 

National “Security” (In Air Quotes)

© Office of the Inspector General

© Office of the Inspector General

Senator Wyden Puts A Hold On Intelligence Authorization Bill To Block FBI Warrantless Surveillance

from the there-goes-that-wyden-guy-again dept

As we’ve discussed, some surveillance/law enforcement hawks have tried to rush through a law to expand the power of national security letters (NSLs) to paper over the long standing abuse of NSLs, by saying that they can use those documents (which have basically no oversight and don’t require a warrant) to collect a ton of private info, including email info and web browsing histories. The rushed vote on this — stupidly citing the Orlando attacks, despite the fact it would have done nothing to stop that — failed but just barely. Basically, if Senator Dianne Feinstein were able to attend the vote, it likely would have passed. The support for it was one vote shy, and then Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote for procedural reasons to be able to bring it back for a quick follow up vote.

Now, as Congress rushes towards that vote, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up today to use his power as a Senator to put a hold on the entire Intelligence Authorization bill. He gave a short floor speech explaining his reasons.

I certainly appreciate the FBI’s interest in obtaining records about potential suspects quickly. But Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are very capable of reviewing and approving requests for court orders in a timely fashion. And section 102 of the recently-passed USA FREEDOM Act gives the FBI new authority to obtain records immediately in emergency situations, and then seek court review after the fact. I strongly supported the passage of that provision, which I first proposed in 2013. By contrast, I do not believe it is appropriate to give the government broad new surveillance authorities just because FBI officials do not like doing paperwork. If the FBI’s own process for requesting court orders is too slow, then the appropriate solution is bureaucratic reforms, not a major expansion of government surveillance authorities.

The fact of the matter is that ‘electronic communication transaction records’ can reveal a great deal of personal information about individual Americans. If government officials know that an individual routinely emails a mental health professional, or sends texts to a substance abuse support group, or visits a particular dating website, or the website of a particular political group, then the government knows a lot about that individual. Our Founding Fathers rightly argued that such intrusive searches should be approved by independent judges.

It is worth noting that President George W. Bush’s administration reached the same conclusion. In November 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised the FBI that National Security Letters could only be used to obtain certain types of records, and this list did not include electronic communication transaction records. The FBI has unfortunately not adhered to this guidance, and has at times continued to issue National Security Letters for electronic communications records. A number of companies that have received these overly broad National Security Letters have rightly challenged them as improper. Broadening the National Security Letter law to include electronic communication transaction records would be a significant expansion of the FBI’s statutory authority.

And unfortunately, the FBI’s track record with its existing National Security Letter authorities includes a substantial amount of abuse and misuse. These problems have been extensively documented in reports by the Justice Department Inspector General from 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014. As one of these reports noted, “the FBI [has] used NSLs in violation of applicable statutes, Attorney General guidelines, and internal FBI policies.” No one in the Senate should be surprised by this pattern of abuse and misuse, because this is unfortunately what happens when federal agencies are given broad surveillance powers with no judicial oversight. In my judgment, it would be reckless to expand this particular surveillance authority when the FBI has so frequently failed to use its existing authorities responsibly.

Of course, to some extent, this is little more than show. It’s pretty clear that McConnell has the votes to get this passed, which is why Wyden has now taken the dramatic step of putting a hold on the bill. But the 60 votes here are usually what is necessary to break a hold (which remains a widely used, but informal, Senate rule). So in the end this won’t mean much, but we’ve been here before again and again and again. And by now it should be clear: When Ron Wyden says that the government is abusing laws to spy on Americans, he’s not lying. We shouldn’t then paper over that abuse and give the FBI or the NSA or anyone else greater powers to spy on Americans. Because they use that power and they don’t tend to use it wisely and judiciously.

Can anyone explain, seriously, why the emergency powers that allow the FBI to do the search in an emergency and then get the warrant after are somehow too problematic? Or why the FBI can’t go and get a warrant at all? It’s a petty quick process for them these days. This whole effort seems designed solely to wipe out what little oversight there is of the FBI and its use of national security letters.  (Techdirt.com)

AND, how much coverage of this was out there in the “press” (again, in air quotes)?
More importantly, why doesn’t the American Public care?

The Red Scare And The American Caliphate

(from Patrick J. Buchanan, as reported in Human Events)

Dalton Trumbo Had It Coming

“Dalton Trumbo was a socialist, but he loved being rich.”

So says Bryan Cranston, who stars in “Trumbo,” out this week, and plays the screenwriter who went to prison with the Hollywood Ten in the time of Harry Truman.

Actually, Trumbo was not a socialist. Bernie Sanders is a socialist. Trumbo was a Stalinist, a hard-core Communist when the Communist Party USA was run from Moscow by the Comintern, agents of the greatest mass murderer of the 20th century.

Trumbo was not what Lenin called a “useful idiot,” a liberal simpleton. He was the real deal, a Bolshevik who followed every twist and turn in the Moscow party line.

When Hitler signed his infamous pact with Stalin, and Germany and Russia crucified Poland and Hitler overran France, Trumbo justified the Nazi brutality, “To the vanquished all conquerors are inhuman.”

As Churchill led his country in defying Hitler, Trumbo, in his 1941 novel, “The Remarkable Andrew,” trashed Britain as no democracy, as it had a king, and charged FDR with “black treason” for seeking to aid the Brits in their desperate fight to stave off defeat by the Nazis.

A talented screenwriter who wrote “Roman Holiday,” “Spartacus” and “Exodus,” Trumbo was attracted to revolutionary violence.

Invited to do a screenplay of William Styron’s “Confessions of Nat Turner,” about the Virginia slave who led a rampage of rape and murder in 1831, Trumbo wrote back:

“[I]n carrying through his rebellion Turner did nothing more than accept a principle of white Christian violence which had enslaved all of Africa, and used it for the first time in American history as a weapon against white Christians.”

Biographer Larry Ceplair quotes Trumbo as describing America as “fundamentally” racist, with racism “the keystone of national policy both domestic and foreign…

“How many gooks have we killed in Korea? How many slopes in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia? Millions, and we’re still killing more of them. Our thirst for the blood of dark-skinned sub-humans is insatiable.”

Why is Hollywood making a movie about Trumbo?

To whitewash the traitor and his comrades who were blacklisted for refusing to testify to the House Un-American Activities Committee about their Communist Party membership and affiliations.

In promoting “Trumbo,” Hollywood’s flacks write of the late 1940s as the “darkest days” in American history.

They were dark all right. But probably less dark for Tinseltown Bolsheviks than the hundreds of millions who fell under the rule of the revolutions and regimes they supported in those years.

Between 1946 and 1950, Stalin murdered the Russian POWs we sent back in Operation Keelhaul, imposed his barbarous rule on 10 Christian nations of Eastern Europe, blockaded Berlin, built an atom bomb with the aid of American traitors Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, helped Mao Zedong conquer China and begin a slaughter of Chinese that would exceed the millions attributed to Stalin himself.

In 1950, Stalin backed Kim Il-Sung’s invasion of South Korea that left millions dead, including 33,000 Americans. The film script, “An American Story,” found in Trumbo’s papers, reveals deep sympathy for North Korea during that war.

As Allan Ryskind, son of Hollywood writer Morrie Ryskind, writes in “Hollywood Traitors,” his definitive new book published by Regnery, “There appeared to be no corkscrew twist in the Soviet line [Trumbo] wouldn’t embrace.”

With all its attendant favorable publicity, “Trumbo,” is designed to accomplish several goals. No only to heroize the Hollywood Ten, but to demean John Wayne and the other patriots who, along with Ronald Reagan of the Screen Actors Guild, helped clean the treasonous vermin out of their town and industry.

The villainess of “Trumbo,” played by Helen Mirren, is Hedda Hopper, the anti-Communist columnist who had considerable clout in Hollywood and backed Ronald Reagan, Ryskind Sr. and John Wayne, who eventually drove the Communists from their midst.

Larger issues are raised by this film.

If one has been a Communist, or a Nazi, and supported that evil ideology and its aims, what is one’s moral obligation to one’s country?

Is it not to step forward, and tell the truth?

What was the duty of Congress, if not to expose ideological treason in the most powerful cultural force in the America of that day?

What was the duty of the leaders of a great industry that found a nest of traitors in their midst, whose deepest allegiance was to our mortal enemy?

For remaining mute, refusing to testify before the Congress, the Hollywood Ten are portrayed as martyrs to the First Amendment.

Yet, as Communists, they were providing aid and comfort to the greatest enemies free speech and freedom of the press ever had.

Had the Hollywood Ten supported a subversive party in Stalin’s Moscow, what would have happened to them might have been slightly worse than not getting screen credits for the movies they wrote.

By joining a criminal conspiracy dedicated to the overthrow of the government established to protect our freedoms, and the imposition of Communist tyranny, the Hollywood Ten got what they deserved.

By their treason, they blacklisted themselves.

Funny how it keeps coming out that Senator McCarthy was right – there were Communists hiding in government, the military and Hollywood.  But he f***** himself over, being a Constitution-stomping media whore, and was then rightfully censured for having done so.

Of course, now we just elect anti-American bastards outright, and they bring unrepentant terrorists and foreign agents right into the Seat of Government.  No need to hide, now…

And while much of Europe is now acting to push the Trojan Horse of ‘refugees’ back out the gates, the United States is continuing to offer them sanctuary, paying little attention to the lessons of the Paris attacks.

I wonder if fifty years from now, screenwriters will be writing romantically about the treasonous acts of the terrorism pioneers of the American Caliphate.

In Arabic. 

We’re Not Accepting Enough Refugees!

muslim colonists

Yeah, right.

America Has Taken More Than Our Share Of Refugees

The United States is the most generous nation in the world, and we have taken many refugees from foreign lands. Europe has not offered to take refugees from Central America, so why are some politicians here insisting that we take many thousands of refugees from the Middle East?

While refugee crises are tragic, crimes committed by transplanted peoples against unwarned, unprotected victims in our own country are even more tragic. Politicians demanding that American neighborhoods accept thousands of refugees, without proper screening or any indication by the migrants that they genuinely want to assimilate into our culture, should be rejected.

Americans are horrified by images of tens of thousands of people, mostly unattached Muslim young men from the Middle East and Africa, crossing unguarded borders into Europe. The news media often describe these people sympathetically as refugees from the civil war in Syria, but many could be migrants seeking a more comfortable life in a rich society with a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

The scene is eerily reminiscent of the tens of thousands of people from Central America who crossed into the United States last summer. Often described sympathetically as unaccompanied minors fleeing gang violence, most of those Central American arrivals were able-bodied, tough young men who left their families in search of better economic opportunities.

Wealthy European nations did not offer to help out by accepting thousands of migrants from Central America. We did not expect that of them, and they should not expect it of us now.

The Muslim migrants follow a route through Turkey, Macedonia, and Serbia into Hungary, the European country closest to the Middle East, and from Hungary they can travel throughout 26 European nations. That route may soon close when Hungary completes the razor-wire fence it is building along its entire 108-mile border with Serbia.

The free movement of people across national boundaries, without passports, is required by the Schengen agreement, one of the central principles of the European Union. It makes those 26 member countries subject to the weakest link, the country with porous borders, in this case Hungary.

The idea of creating nations without borders, allowing the free movement of people inside a common perimeter, was pushed by President George W. Bush when he met with the Mexican president and the Canadian prime minister at Waco, Texas on March 23, 2005. Soon after that first summit of “the three amigos,” the Council on Foreign Relations published “Toward a North American Community” which called for a “seamless market” with “a more open border for the movement of goods and people.”

Fortunately, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wants to put some brakes on giving away the security of our neighborhoods to thousands of people having unknown intentions about the United States and our way of life. “Before agreeing to accept tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, the Obama administration must prove to the American people that it will take the necessary precautions to ensure that national security is a top priority, especially at a time when ruthless terrorist groups like ISIS are committed to finding ways to enter the United States and harm Americans.”

Our daily freedoms could be sharply limited if terrorists were to slip into our country along with migrants from areas hostile to the United States. Senator Jeff Sesions (R-AL) warns that “we’re really not able to vet Middle Eastern applicants now, and if we increase that number, we’ll be even less able to do so.”

Stark financial problems also stand against welcoming so many strangers into our country. More than 90% of recent refugees from the Middle East are on welfare, according to official statistics published by the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

Our welfare system is already strained by the Central American migrants who entered our country illegally and never went home. There are a potential 6 billion people in the world who would like to partake in the American welfare system if given the opportunity, but we cannot afford to foot the bill for everyone in the world who does not have a job.

We should learn from the experience of accepting about 55,000 Somali refugees between 1983 and 2004, which included the Clinton Administration and three different Republican Administrations, and taking another 27,000 Somalis between 2008 and 2013 under the Obama Administration. Many were settled in Minnesota, where Somali participation in a food assistance program increased to 17,300 adults and children, not even including Somalis subsequently born here.

An open-door policy towards Syrian refugees would be dangerous and costly for American communities. As Senator Sessions says, “Our policy should be to keep the refugees as close to home as possible. For the cost of one in the United States, we could probably provide maintenance to 10, maybe more, in or near their home country.”  (Phyllis Schlafly)

reproduced in it’s entirety from Constitutionally – Constitutional Rights PAC

We must ask ourselves how generous are we?  Or rather can we afford to be?  And is this huge migration teaming masses yearning to breathe free?

Or is it a tactic to populate and destabilize with mostly young men?

AND, is our fear warranted, or simply another crisis to be taken advantage of by those ‘in charge’?

Cognitive Dissonance

Here is Secretary of State John Kerry in Cuba, visiting Ernest Hemingway’s former home, whilst carrying John F. Kennedy’s cane!

kerry

Is it ironic, that JFK had tried to remove Castro, by failed invasion, blockade, and by assassination?  And now the United States Secretary of State carries his cane to Cuba?

 I’m thinking this was not just a serendipitous fashion statement.

How the Democratic Party has changed?!

Once-upon-a-time, the Democrats were for social programs, but were vehemently anti-communist.

Apparently, not any more…

us embassy havana

U.S. Embassy – Havana

At least Kerry knows which hand to use when saluting…

(To be fair, NIXON (a Republican) opened the way to China, to whom we now owe our economic life.)

The times, they are a changin’.

Person Of Interest, Part Dos

Regular readers may recall I love the TV show Person of Interest.  In it, a supercomputer is built, gleaning data about people from all exterior sources, including traffic and surveillance cameras, and calculates if the person so surveilled is either in danger or a danger.

Of course, there is a battle royal between various elements in the government (and, by extension private contractors), as to who is going to have access (in the government) to this data, and what they will do with it.

There is a second computer in the mix, and, of course the computer’s creator and his allies.

I am anxiously awaiting the next season.

Now comes real life (courtesy of Wirecutter)…

From Boston to Beijing, municipalities and governments across the world are pledging billions to create “smart cities”—urban areas covered with Internet-connected devices that control citywide systems, such as transit, and collect data. Although the details can vary, the basic goal is to create super-efficient infrastructure, aid urban planning and improve the well-being of the populace.  (yeah, right! – Guffaw)

A byproduct of a tech utopia will be a prodigious amount of data collected on the inhabitants. For instance, at the company I head, we recently undertook an experiment in which some staff volunteered to wear devices around the clock for 10 days. We monitored more than 170 metrics reflecting their daily habits and preferences—including how they slept, where they traveled and how they felt (a fast heart rate and no movement can indicate excitement or stress).
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DATA MINING EXTREME!

And you thought the NSA reading your email wherein you mentioned you purchased a pressure-cooker, or watching you do whatever you do while surfing porn was a problem!

Sheesh!

Cold Fury Takes The Internets!

Democracy theater

I really hope none of you thought that total surveillance of everyday Americans was going to stop, or bein any way curtailed.

Earlier this week, we noted that Senator Mitch McConnell, hot off of his huge flop in trying to preserve the NSA’s surveillance powers, had promised to insert the dangerous “cybersecurity” bill CISA directly into the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act). As we discussed, while many have long suspected that CISA (and CISPA before it) were surveillance bills draped in “cybersecurity” clothing, the recent Snowden revelations that the NSA is using Section 702 “upstream” collection for “cybersecurity” issues revealed how CISA would massively expandthe NSA’s ability to warrantlessly wiretap Americans’ communications.

Thankfully, like his PATRIOT Act games from a few weeks ago, this latest McConnell movehas fallen flat. The Senate rejected the attempt by a 40 to 56 vote. So, for now, it looks like the Senate isn’t going to be able to ram CISA through either which is good news.

Still, expect Congress to keep trying. But, each time, it’s important to ask some basic questions: what attacks would this bill actually stop (answer: none). And what laws are currently preventing the supposedly necessary “information sharing” from happening today?

(and here, my friends, is the line…)

Also none. At least as a practical matter, anyway. As with the rest of the permanent bureaucracy that really runs things, they’re going to do whatever they like, and there’s not one damned thing you, I, or anyone else can do about it.

(Via Bill)

AMEN!

(and how sad is THAT!?)

(Having said that, however, I’m gonna keep trying, however Sisyphean doing do may be!)

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…