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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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Every year that we're at war is probably a year in which our privacy is diminished.

War Erodes Privacy
by BooMan

.....we've been at war for 12 years and this is one of the consequences of that. Relatedly, we've made some rather dedicated enemies, and this is also a consequence of that. Privacy is a casualty of policies that make so many people want to harm us. It's not a coincidence that we enacted the FISA laws and reopened the assassination investigations and made all kinds of reforms of the intelligence community as soon as the Vietnam War ended. There was no possibility that we would make those reforms while the war was ongoing. Every year that we're at war is probably a year in which our privacy is diminished.


Senator Wyden repeatedly asked the NSA to estimate the number of Americans whose communications had been incidentally collected, and the agency's director, Lt. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, insisted there was no way to find out. Eventually Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III wrote Wyden a letter stating that it would violate the privacy of Americans in NSA data banks to try to estimate their number.



Bruce Schneier, The Atlantic:

The U.S. government is on a secrecy binge. It overclassifies more information than ever. And we learn, again and again, that our government regularly classifies things not because they need to be secret, but because their release would be embarrassing.

What We Don't Know About Spying on Citizens: Scarier Than What We Know
Schneier is a cybersecurity blogger, concerned about the US apparent interest in intrusion and lack of interest in cybersecurity. That is, he is concerned that the US seems more interested in offensive cyberwarfare capabilities and less interested in defensive cyberwarfare capabilities--which essentially make the most cyber-dependent country on earth a sitting duck for attacks on commercial infrastructure.


“We are always open to changes, but that doesn’t mean there will be any,” Intelligence Committee Chairman Diane Feinstein told reporters after a two-hour long meeting with staff from various intelligence agencies.

KRUGMAN: "The only way to understand the refusal to expand Medicaid is as an act of sheer spite."

The Spite Club


...the only way to understand the refusal to expand Medicaid is as an act of sheer spite. And the cost
of that spite won’t just come in the form of lost dollars; it will also come in the form of gratuitous hardship for some of our most vulnerable citizens.


Just think about this for a minute. It’s one thing when politicians refuse to spend money helping the poor and vulnerable; that’s just business as usual. But here we have a case in which politicians are, in effect, spending large sums, in the form of rejected aid, not to help the poor but to hurt them.

And as I said, it doesn’t even make sense as cynical politics. If Obamacare works (which it will), millions of middle-income voters — the kind of people who might support either party in future elections — will see major benefits, even in rejectionist states. So rejectionism won’t discredit health reform. What it might do, however, is drive home to lower-income voters — many of them nonwhite — just how little the G.O.P. cares about their well-being, and reinforce the already strong Democratic advantage among Latinos, in particular.

Rationally, in other words, Republicans should accept defeat on health care, at least for now, and move on. Instead, however, their spitefulness appears to override all other considerations. And millions of Americans will pay the price.



Romney Couldn't "Afford" To Compete With Obama

Talking about what went wrong, Romney said they didn't get the turnout from minority voters that they needed and he acknowledged his campaign was outmatched by his opponent's massive organization.

"I think he had as many as 10 times the number of ground workers, paid staff, that we had, because he could afford them and we couldn't," he said.


Walmart workers speak out at annual meeting: ‘I cannot survive like this’

Walmart workers speak out: 'I do not earn enough. I cannot survive like this'
Workers from the world's largest retailer are meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas – but an increasingly unhappy workforce at home and abroad are planning to make a splash


Dulce Garcia works at a gigantic warehouse in the Inland Empire region of southern California. It is an area of America rapidly becoming known as a hub for the supply chains of Walmart and other major retailers.


Garcia, 20, has worked in a warehouse since February 2012. Though she dreams of college, she struggles to get by on just $8 an hour, with no benefits. That means she has to take tough choices as she raises her two-year-old son, Christian. “Gas is so expensive. Sometimes I feel that I am only earning enough to pay for the gas that allows me to drive my car to my job,” she said. “I do not earn enough. I cannot survive like this.”

Garcia, whose warehouses packs goods for Walmart and other stores, has also been injured packing and unpacking goods. She was hit by two boxes – each containing three suitcases – and damaged her neck. “The pain was serious, but it was the end of the shift and no one offered to call an ambulance or to find out what had happened, so I drove myself to the hospital. I am supposed to go to therapy because there is still a lot of pain, but I can’t afford it and it’s not like the warehouse is going to pay for it,” she said.

Now she sometimes sees examples of the luggages that hit her on Walmart shelves. “I see the luggage that I move in the warehouse. They are selling it for a lot more than I get paid and treating me really bad,” she said.


Microsoft,Yahoo,Google,Facebk, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple-Order in which they joined PRISM

Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple. That is the order in which they joined PRISM

The N.S.A.-briefing slides mix corporate cheer and disturbing revelations. There are the logos of the nine companies involved: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple. That is the order in which they joined PRISM. The Post describes Apple as a holdout (it acquiesced, coincidentally or not, after Steve Jobs’s death). Each of these companies should explain what it did and what it thought its options were. The slides refer, too, to another metadata program, code-named BLARNEY, the summary for which was “set down alongside a cartoon insignia of a shamrock and a leprechaun hat.” PRISM’s logo looks like a teen-ager’s drawing of the “Dark Side of the Moon” album cover. The tackiness is a depressing touch.


Senator Feingold - the lone ‘no’ vote on Patriot Act

Feingold book details his lone ‘no’ vote on Patriot Act
Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, shocked and scarred the country. A mere 45 days after the attacks, President George W. Bush signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism — better known by its acronym, the U.S.A. Patriot Act.

On Oct. 25, 2001, the U.S. Senate had passed the measure by a whopping vote of 98-1. The lone voice of dissent was Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold. In his new book, While America Sleeps (Crown Publishers, 2012), Feingold gives his account of the Patriot Act passage and why he opposed it.

“This was legislation on the fly, unlike anything I had ever seen in a career of some eighteen years of legislation,” he writes, referring to the law as a “piece of legislative greased lighting.”


Feingold explains the amendments he offered that he thought were more measured responses to the terror threat — to no avail. He still maintains that the legislative approach that led to the Patriot Act did not include necessary “oversight.”


and they renewed it again AND again

Russ Feingold Calls NSA Report "Deeply Troubling"
By Emma Roller | Posted Thursday, June 6, 2013, at 3:02 PM

In 2001, I first voted against the PATRIOT Act because much of it was simply an FBI wish list that included provisions allowing our government to go on fishing expeditions that collect information on virtually anyone.

Today's report indicates that the government could be using FISA in an indiscriminate way that does not balance our legitimate concerns of national security with the necessity to preserve our fundamental civil rights. This is deeply troubling. I hope today's news will renew a serious conversation about how to protect the country while ensuring that the rights of law-abiding Americans are not violated.


I Cast PRISMatic Sphere On All The Things

I Cast PRISMatic Sphere On All The Things
Posted by Zandar at 7:36 pm

From the “Oh and by the way” Department:

The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time.

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed publicly before. Its establishment in 2007 and six years of exponential growth took place beneath the surface of a roiling debate over the boundaries of surveillance and privacy. Even late last year, when critics of the foreign intelligence statute argued for changes, the only members of Congress who knew about PRISM were bound by oaths of office to hold their tongues.


The Difference between Fox News and the other Cable News teams, in one simple Graphic


NSA caveat

One caveat is that The Guardian has the FISC order but was unable to get anyone to say anything about its context. I don’t think we yet know if this 3-page order is what it appears to be, or if there is some other document that may reveal limitations not clear from the 3-page order. Note that the order is titled “Secondary Order,” which presumably means that there is a primary one that it follows; we don’t know what that order said. So while this is potentially a huge story, we don’t yet have substantial certainty that the facts are what they have been reported to be.



from a friend:

Got an email today at my dot-mil email address informing everyone that stories about the NSA and phone records are based on leaked information and we must not read about it on government computers.
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