Saturday, December 28, 2013

Freedom's Just Another Word

Washington Monument (still feeling the effects of an earthquake)

Screw the NSA!


Walter Graff said...

As the justice said, there is no evidence that the government has used any” of the metadata it had collected for any reason “other than to investigate and disrupt terrorist attacks.”

And look at it this way, it could have helped the feds prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks and you wouldn't have to worry about Amherst flying the flag on 9/11. I would take that any day over the loss of innocent lives.

Larry Kelley said...

The Feds HAD plenty enough information to prevent the 9/11 attacks without this widespread tapping program.

Walter Graff said...

Having information and being able to use it to your advantage are clearly two different things.

9/11 was a common mistake for the government that involves improper communication, lack of cooperation and communication between divisions, ignoring those deemed less important, and outright stupidity.

Just imagine the petabytes of information the government now collects each day. Makes the IT folks pretty happy but finding a needle in a haystack is a completely different ball game. I wouldn't worry too much about the mounds of info they collect on you each day.

I could tell you a thousand stories of my firsthand experience with the government "security" in this country. For instance a simple story. I used to do work for USIA, the governments propaganda organization. I went to the Russian embassy for some interviews that were going to be turned around into anti Russian propaganda to be distributed to Cuba and South America.

A few days later I got a knock on my door. FBI wanted to know what I was doing in the Russian embassy. In the end I was warned that Russia might have fallen but they were still the same dangerous place. Eventually the FBI figured out I was working for the US government and had worked for a number of security departments for more than 20 years.

Don't believe that crap you see on TV. Life does not imitate art when it comes to the security divisions of this country.

Anonymous said...

People who post pictures of large erect monuments with captions that say "SCREW" this or that must feel powerless and impotent in their lives, and they want to project themselves as a "tough guy", like they're some sorta Billy Jack of the blogosphere.

Larry Kelley said...

Actually the caption is "Washington Monument (still feeling the effects of an earthquake." A picture I took yesterday.

The lead (middle and close) is "Screw the NSA."

Originally I had it "Fuck the NSA" to more closely invoke Cohen v. California, but I'm getting wimpy in my old age.

Anonymous said...

The NSA must justify its extensive monitoring as cost effective. One way it does this is by selling its information to other agencies. The most lucrative would be the agencies which collect taxes and monitor the financial markets. When those agencies develop a case, they can retroactively subpoena the same information (by fiat) and use that to collect what they believe is due (often wrongly), with the burden to prove otherwise resting on the individual accused.

This has been hinted at already in the major media, e.g. The New York Times has reported that the IRS and SEC acquired NSA (meta)data. But the full extent and purpose of these interagency information transfers has not been exposed, nor have the "guilty until proven innocent" implications for control of individuals or targeted groups by the state been explored....

Go for it, LK!

Dr. Ed said...

I really don't have a problem with the government recording everyone's telephone conversations because all they have is what you really said.

Not what you didn't say. Nor whom you didn't call.

Compared to the crap that UMass has been pulling for the past few years, this is nothing. It is a far lesser evil and actually preferable because it would enable you to demand to know "exactly what is that I've done wrong?"

Common sense things like how you really can't see through windows that aren't there would be relevant -- that it isn't the 4" of brick that obscures the vision as much as the 6" of stucco behind it.

And they can't use their prejudice and paranoid delusions against you. They have to actually accuse you of something that it would be possible for you to actually do.

Larry, when you've been defending yourself against lynch mobs, you really aren't all that concerned about technicalities like the 4th Amendment.

When you've been an innocent man trying to get people to actually look at the truth, you aren't really all that concerned about guilty people being able to obscure evidence of their guilt.

Walter Graff said...

Poppycock. First off not even Congress knows what the NSA spends nor do they know how it is spent. The NSA is a black program in the defense division of the US. They are accountable to no one. It doesn't sell it's information to other gov divisions, it doesn't have to. It can offer them free if it chooses and is not subject to anyone telling them how to spend their money nor do they have to justify anything they do.

Please stop spewing the ridiculous and often incorrect notions of the "Almighty" NY Times. Oh and you failed to mention (perhaps because the NY Times protects Israel's interest) that the NSA also regularly gives unfiltered data to Israel and others. Unfortunately op eds in the NY Times offer little fact and lots of conjecture.

One reason why Snowden's testimony was so damaging was that it revealed a bit of what the estimated $20 billion NSA budget goes towards, a budget that the members of the committee that oversees the defense department don't even know the cost of nor the appropriation of.

Walter Graff said...

"When you've been an innocent man trying to get people to actually look at the truth, you aren't really all that concerned about guilty people being able to obscure evidence of their guilt."

I see some breaking news developing as in "Mass shooting in Western Massachusetts town".

Dr. Ed said...

Walter, may I inquire as to exactly what basis you have for this statement, which very clearly is intended to reference me:

"I see some breaking news developing as in "Mass shooting in Western Massachusetts town"."

If you have such a basis, I really suggest you present it now. I'll hold you harmless if you were innocently misled as long as you cooperate starting with telling me who it was, and as long as a rational person, presented with what you show you were presented with and by the credentials of who did so, could (not necessarily would) have believed it to be accurate.

If that sounds legalistic, whatever -- and we'll leave it at that.

Dr. Ed said...

And to the rest of you, consider this: Sooner or later, this crap is going to get to the right person -- someone competent -- who is going to ask three questions:

1: How old is he again?

2: And he hasn't actually done anything yet?!?

He has no criminal record, and the absolute worst thing you can find -- going back at least a quarter century, is just one speeding ticket?

3: If he were the type of person who is going to go do something violent, don't you think it would have happened long before now?

And then there is going to be one other thing said: "you know, maybe we ought to take a look at the people he's upset with...."

Anonymous said...

He's got a point there...for example, wikipedia says Kaczynski didn't start his spree until age 36, and I assume Ed is a lot older than that.

And Ed's comments aren't really very much like Kaczynski's manifesto, having just read some of it online.

Also, apparently Kaczynski's typewriter couldn't do italics, so he had to use caps when he wanted to emphasize a point; Ed's got html that can do bold and italics, so that's another big difference.

Kaczynski did rail against "leftism", and he seemed to hold resentment toward folks in higher education.

The point is there are more differences than similarities between Ed and Ted Kaczynski, and Ed seems pretty harmless.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought his two questions meant that he's old and still hasn't done anything with his life. Except for a ton of posting on blogs.
Thanks for clearing that up.