Sunday, June 9, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for June 10, 2013

Old Jarhead's Political SitRep for June 10, 2013
Robert A. Hall

Your one-stop-shop for political news and opinion. Please forward to friends who need to be informed. This SitRep (Military for “Situation Report”) is created by many readers who send me items for inclusion, which I would have likely missed or skipped. And I can only spend at most three hours a night pulling stuff, plus the healthcare or economic stuff that crosses my desk at work. As always, I—and you—owe them thanks and appreciation. I post articles because I think they are of interest and will stimulate thought and discussion. Doing so doesn’t mean that I necessarily agree (or disagree) with every—or any—opinion in the posted article, or that I was able to verify the information presented, which is the responsibility of the author. I try not to post things that are false, or too far a stretch, regardless of the view point, but I don’t always succeed. As always on the Net, or in the legacy media, you must read critically and with skepticism.

I was off line for three days for health care and family stuff, returned to over 500 e-mails with three hours to deal with them. Had to delete a lot of stuff where I already had a piece on it, jokes, cute pictures, things I didn't have time to watch, and items not formatted or off topic. Apologies to those who sent. ~Bob

Excerpt: Obama’s Ethical Gymnastics: His morality is to be judged by his professed aims, not his means of achieving them. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Presidential ethics are now situational. Obama is calling for a shield law to protect reporters from the sort of harassment that his attorney general, Eric Holder, and the FBI practiced against Fox News and the Associated Press. Through such rhetoric, he remains a staunch champion of the First Amendment — even though he now has the ability to peek into the private phone records of millions of Americans.

That was then, this is now
Excerpt: Barack Obama believes that we must provide law enforcement the tools it needs to investigate, disrupt, and capture terrorists, but he also believes we need real oversight to avoid jeopardizing the rights and ideals of all Americans. There is no reason we cannot fight terrorism while maintaining our civil liberties. Unfortunately, the current administration has abused the powers given to it by the PATRIOT Act. A March 2007 Justice Department audit found the FBI improperly and, in some cases, illegally used the PATRIOT Act to secretly obtain personal information about American citizens. As president, Barack Obama would revisit the PATRIOT Act to ensure that there is real and robust oversight of tools like National Security Letters, sneak-and-peek searches, and the use of the material witness provision.

ObamaCare Is Raising Insurance Costs
Excerpt: California and Oregon recently announced the premiums for the health plans that will be offered through their ObamaCare insurance exchanges in 2014. Supporters of the law are ecstatic. KQED, northern California's largest public radio station, reported that "experts had warned of 'rate shock.' That has not happened." A closer examination of these health plans reveals a less rosy picture. The premiums for the policies that will be offered on the states' exchanges are much higher than analogous plans being sold today, says Daniel P. Kessler, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Excerpt: But if Democrats stuck by the administration’s side on Benghazi, peeled away just enough for public effect on the IRS, and were visibly irritated by threats to freedom of the press, it didn’t help Obama that his director of national intelligence told a Democratic senator under oath in March that the NSA wasn’t spying on Americans — “wittingly.” Today, that senator, Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who had previously joined Wyden in questioning the administration on how seriously it took privacy protections, said in a joint statement they “respectfully but firmly disagree with the way that this program has been described by senior administration officials.”

Excerpt: President Obama gave a rambling defense of NSA spying on Americans at what was supposed to be an ObamaCare event today, telling reporters “it’s important to recognize that you can’t have 100 percent security and also then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience.”…After a lengthy defense of ObamaCare, Obama opened the floor for “one question” — and was asked for his reaction on reports of broad surveillance of Americans’ phones and Internet. (I'm trying to figure out how monitoring some little girl in Idaho talking to her grandma in Florida, or some kid posting pictures of his new puppy on Facebook, is going to make us safer from Muslim terrorists. - LLW)

Excerpt: I just caught up with Charles Murray’s brave and perspicacious column at NRO about Jason Richwine. I know memories are short, but the outrageous story of how Mr. Richwine was hounded out of his job at the Heritage Foundation by a gaggle of PC witch-hunters last month is worth bearing in mind. His own account of his travails is very much worth reading. The bare outline:

Excerpt: President Obama arrived in the Bay Area on Thursday for his umpty-umpteenth round of fundraisers with big-money donors, this time to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. His first stop at the home of multi-millionaire tech entrepreneur Michael McCue in an upscale suburban corner of Palo Alto didn’t go quite as planned when protesters showed up and made a ruckus, despite the White House’s determined attempts to keep the location of the fundraiser secret.

Canaries in the Coal Mine
Excerpt: The reporters are our canaries in the coal mine -- but we didn't pay attention. And so it should be no surprise what happened next. Now it's not just the reporters who are being targeted; it is all of us.

Mounting concern over NSA in Congress
Excerpt: Concern in Congress is mounting over broad surveillance by the Obama administration as new revelations surfaced that the National Security Administration is monitoring Internet usage. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee is shopping bills that would address some portions of the government monitoring, an aide said, particularly the NSA collection of Verizon phone records. His legislation would likely be similar to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendments that he pushed last year with fellow senators like Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). (I'm comfortable with them gathering intel on terrorists. But after the IRS scandals, what assures us they are not gathering intel on citizens who oppose the administration's policies, as the Tea Party does? ~Bob.)

NSA memo pushed to 'rethink' 4th Amendment
Excerpt: The National Security Agency pushed for the government to “rethink” the Fourth Amendment when it argued in a classified memo that it needed new authorities and capabilities for the information age. The 2001 memo, later declassified and posted online by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, makes a case to the incoming George W. Bush administration that the NSA needs new authorities and technology to adapt to the Internet era. In one key paragraph, NSA wrote that its new phase meant the U.S. must reevaluate its approach toward signals intelligence, or “SIGINT,” and the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

Glenn Greenwald: U.S. wants to destroy privacy worldwide
Excerpt: The journalist who broke the news that the government is monitoring vast quantities of American phone records is claiming the U.S. is building a “massive” snooping apparatus committed to destroying privacy worldwide. “There is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal, and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity, not just in the United States but around the world,” charged Glenn Greenwald, a reporter for the British newspaper “The Guardian,” speaking on CNN. (Anyone feeling virtually raped but you don’t know by whom? --Barb)
Google and Facebook DID allow NSA access to data…in talks to set up ‘spying rooms’
Excerpt: Now, sources tell the New York Times that both Facebook and Google discussed plans to create secure portals for the government ‘like a digital version of the secure physical rooms that have long existed for classified information’ with U.S. officials. In his post, Zuckerberg said he had not even heard of PRISM until reports broke on Thursday and vowed to fight ‘aggressively to keep [users'] information safe and secure.’ Google CEO Larry Page did likewise.

Excerpt: Yesterday we crossed a line. What once seemed kooky is now happening. I figured this would be a fight for a future generation, but it is ours. The frightening future has arrived.. (Per an old Christmas song from more joyful times: He's making a list, Checking it twice; Gonna find out who's naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town. Who is Santa Claus? The guy giving out all the SNAPS benefits, the free phones, the checks to buy your crack and blunts…. And if you don’t have the mark for Santa, DHS has a whole bunch of presents for you with your name on it….and they know where you are, where your family is….where you work, where you sleep. Welcome to the USSRA 2013. --Barb)

Road blocks, police helicopters and blacked-out windows: But just who are the billionaires and politicians arriving for secretive Bilderberg conference at Watford hotel and what do they do there?
Excerpt: Delegates for a private conference of top politicians and businesspeople from around the world have started to arrive at a luxury country hotel. Several cars with blacked-out windows entered the gates of the Grove Hotel, near Watford, in Hertfordshire, this morning for the secretive meeting of the Bilderberg Group. It is thought billionaire executives from multinational companies such as Amazon and Google, high-ranking political figures including Chancellor George Osborne, and even members of royal families are among the 130 or so attendees.

Technology giants struggle to maintain credibility over NSA Prism surveillance
Excerpt: Technology giants battled to maintain their credibility on privacy issues over the weekend as further details emerged of their co-operation with US spy agencies. Apple, Facebook and Google issued strongly-worded denials that they had knowingly participated in Prism, a top-secret system at the National Security Agency that collects emails, documents, photos and other material for agents to review. All said that they did not allow the government direct access to their systems and had never heard of the Prism programme. Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, called press reports about Prism "outrageous". (But Zuckerberg gave keynote address at Bilderberg conference in 2011. --Barb)

Tens of Thousands Hit Turkey's Streets as Protests Continue
Excerpt: The protesters in Gezi Park, who say they have seen their civil rights and freedoms steadily erode under Erdogan, rejected the olive branch. “A week ago, I could never imagine myself sleeping out on the streets of Istanbul,” 22-year-old Aleyna, wrapped up under a blanket with a stray kitten and pointing to her dirty clothes, told AFP. “Now I don’t know how I can ever go back.” Erdogan has faced international condemnation for his handling of the unrest in Turkey, a NATO member and key strategic partner in the region for the United States and other Western allies.

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations
Excerpt: The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell. The Guardian, after several days of interviews, is revealing his identity at his request.

Texas high school silences Valedictorian's microphone during speech on Constitution, report says
Excerpt: A Texas high school silenced its Valedictorian’s microphone during his speech when he diverted from his pre-approved remarks and instead spoke about the Constitution. Joshua High School graduate Remington Reimer, who was accepted into the Naval Academy, had his microphone silenced during his speech right after he told fellow graduates that school officials apparently threatened him with the move the day before, reported…."Student speakers were told that if their speeches deviated from the prior-reviewed material, the microphone would be turned off, regardless of content," Joshua Independent School District said in a statement.

Soldier Told Not to Read Levin, Limbaugh or Hannity in Uniform
Excerpt: A veteran member of the U.S. Army Band said he is facing retribution and punishment from the military for having anti-Obama bumper stickers on his car, reading books written by conservative authors like Mark Levin and David Limbaugh, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party.

Excerpt: Dozens of Republican lawmakers have joined in accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of "apparent bias" against conservative groups following a claim that it routinely showed favoritism to liberal organizations. The allegations were first made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative WashingtonD.C., think tank. It claimed the EPA was not being fair as it weighed whether to charge fees to groups seeking information via Freedom of Information Act requests. Its research showed liberal groups have their fees for documents waived about 90 percent of the time, while conservative groups are denied fee waivers about 90 percent of the time. (Stinks like a 2-week old mullet from the top down “folks.” --Barb)

Boundless Informant: the NSA's secret tool to track global surveillance data
Excerpt: The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications. The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks. …The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. 

Obama orders US to draw up overseas target list for cyber-attacks

Excerpt: Barack Obama has ordered his senior national security and intelligence officials to draw up a list of potential overseas targets for US cyber-attacks, a top secret presidential directive obtained by the Guardian reveals. The 18-page Presidential Policy Directive 20, issued in October last year but never published, states that what it calls Offensive Cyber Effects Operations (OCEO) "can offer unique and unconventional capabilities to advance US national objectives around the world with little or no warning to the adversary or target and with potential effects ranging from subtle to severely damaging". ….The directive also contemplates the possible use of cyber actions inside the US, though it specifies that no such domestic operations can be conducted without the prior order of the president, except in cases of emergency. (Yeah, real Nobel Peace Prize winner. “No domestic operations without prior order of the president, except in cases of emergency.” Likes those enemies lists. Carte blanche, “folks.” Yeah, he’s got your back…just watch what is being put in it. Again, foreign paper breaks this story. --Barb. Bears watching so he doesn't target political opponents like the tea party, but we need to counter attack the people attacking us. ~Bob.)

Obama Cyber Memo Is Just The Latest Sign That The U.S. Is Preparing For Cyberwar
Excerpt: A top-secret presidential memo published Friday marked the latest sign that the Obama administration is ready to go on the offensive in a potential cyberwar. On Friday, the Guardian published a secret presidential directive calling on national security and intelligence officials to create a list of potential foreign targets for U.S. cyber attacks. The 18-page document, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20, aims "to put in place tools and a framework to enable government to make decisions" on cyber actions, a senior administration official told the Guardian. (Once again, the American public can be assured our secrets are secure from our enemies and adversaries. Unless they have a computer or read the news, I guess. Ron P.)

Rand Paul Wants Class-Action Lawsuit on Government Snooping
Excerpt: President Barack Obama called the computer searches of metadata a necessary compromise of privacy to ensure security. "That doesn't sound like a 'modest invasion of privacy,'" Paul said. "It sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy." The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that a specific warrant can be asked for to obtain such record, Paul said, but the mining of metadata of all phone calls and Internet activity is a general warrant. "This is what we objected to, and what our Founding Fathers partly fought the Revolution over," Paul said. 

Pope Francis Warns of ‘Culture Of Waste,’ Disposable Human Beings
Excerpt: The pontiff put forward the concept that our world’s “culture of waste” has led to a mentality of materialism and disposability that involves not only things, but people as well and, especially, the unborn child, the disabled, and the elderly. In an interesting take on “human ecology,” Pope Francis said: This culture of waste tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful- such as the unborn child- or no longer needed- such as the elderly. (Fetuses, full-term abortions at Planned Parenthood sites, discussions to set directives for anyone with dementia—protected in the past—as a NO CODE, DNI, DNR, (i.e., worthless, don’t waste money on interventional care), those with “elderly age”…tending to be over 60….join the wild horses. --Barb)

Barack Obama’s Long-Term Goals
Excerpt: The Obama administration has coordinated closely with OfA in its recent legislative efforts, notably gun control and immigration reform. While the political impact of OfA has been limited--it was remarkably inept at pushing for gun control--the primary aim of these campaigns seems not to have been achieving a particular result, but testing and improving the fledgling organization itself in preparation for future battles. Indeed, from an organizing point of view, it is the confrontation that counts more than the policy outcome.

Lawmakers Deny Knowing About Cell Phone, Internet Tracking
Excerpt: Congressional intelligence briefing sessions have not included details about President Barack Obama’s data-gathering programs, despite claims by the president that Congress approved the measures and “every member” knew about them, Republican Rep. Aaron Schock said…. Responding to the furor over the National Security Agency’s data monitoring programs, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced legislation Friday that requires a warrant be issued before any government agency can search phone records of Americans. Paul calls the revelation of the program to collect phone records of millions of Verizon customers “an astounding assault on the Constitution.”

 Jay Leno Eviscerates ‘Snoop Obama’ In Monologue
Excerpt: NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Friday night monologue. Jay hits the feds from all sides: the NSA surveillance scandal; the IRS targeting scandal and the agency's extravagant, million-dollar conferences; and the exploding national debt.

The Government’s Failed Program
Excerpt: In 1971, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency of the U.S. Department of Interior, was put in charge of implementing the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. When the Act was passed, the U.S. Senate stated: "An intensive management program of breeding, branding, and physical care would destroy the very concept that this legislation seeks to preserve […], leaving the animals alone to fend for themselves and placing primary emphasis on protecting the animals from continued slaughter and harassment by man." ….It has been estimated that up to three-fourths of our remaining wild horse and burro herds are below population levels that would guarantee their long-term survival. ….To further affect viability, BLM will stack herds with seventy percent of males, severely disrupting herd dynamics and behavioral patterns. (Yes, it is corrupt. Horses removed because “no forage” and sheep and cattle permitted in from private ranchers days later per article. Removed for “emergency” conditions and not allowed to return, per article, but private ranching permitted instead. Eventually sold for slaughter. Like the buffalo. We have not learned the history of the government mismanagement of the beautiful country in which we were born. The buffalo know. The Native Americans know. And given the scandals of the past weeks, the writing is on the wall. WE are the NEXT wild horse campaign, hence the ammo buys. They are going to continue claiming “global warming” and “cooling with geoengineering” causing droughts and floods, decreasing the food supplies and ruining the production capability of our country to create starvation to eliminate the portion of the population without the mark of approval. Read it in biblical terms if you wish. The wild horses, their beautiful society, are now meals on tables in Mexico, France, Canada and even the US. Obama signed the permission just before Thanksgiving, October 2011, so the US butchers could make money instead of those in Mexico and Canada. No large presser roll out. Wait till the IRS starts deciding who lives and dies, gets antibiotics, an ambulance…. If you have the mark of approved disability, you will get priority, as the Sandy survivors learned….Ethics get in the way, as does God and his creations. --Barb)

IRS, EPA compete for most bizarre scandal
Excerpt: No, it’s not the plot of a “Seinfeld” episode. It’s just the daily goings-on at the U.S. federal government. Fake employees who win awards. Workers building comfy warehouse hideaways. Big bucks shelled out for pricey “happiness experts.” And professionally produced office dance videos.

Excerpt: I have a word or two to say about America. It is a hymn to “what was” as well as a sad dirge of “farewell”. For, as surely as I believe anything, I believe the America our founding fathers envisioned, and the America our ancestors built, is rapidly fading into history. Imagine, if you will, an America not unlike, the ocean tides, constantly in roil, but washing up each day to sweep the refuge on and off the shores of humanity. The same tide that sweeps clean the ebb and flow of our leavings also swept to our golden shores the hopes and dreams of millions of immigrants who carried in their hearts the stories they had heard of a far off land that valued “people”.

Excerpt: The current federal income tax system is clearly broken -- unfair, overly complex, and almost impossible for most Americans to understand. But there is a reasonable (In my opinion, the FairTax is the only way to get rid of the IRS, lure companies and corporation to the US, which would instantly make the economy boom, ensure everyone (including illegal aliens, democrat politicians, pimps, hookers, drug dealers, thieves, etc.) is taxed fairly. And with the pre-bate, it would even be possible, depending on your spending habits, to effectively pay no tax at all. And never file a tax form again. - LLW)

America Is On The Threshold Of Orwell’s 1984. By Victor Davis Hanson
Excerpt: Shortly before the second-term inauguration of Barack Obama this January, I wrote the following of my worries over the Obama way of doing business: But the untruths and hypocrisy hover in the partisan atmosphere and incrementally and insidiously undermine each new assertion that we hear from the president - some of them perhaps necessary and logical.

US Waives Condition On $1.3b In Aid To Egypt
Excerpt: The Obama administration has waived the conditional human rights string attached to Egypt's $1.3 billion in U.S. military support for 2013

Excerpt: However on Monday evening she returned home and when he inquired about her whereabouts the whole night, her answers could not satisfy him. According to SHO Khan, Muneer got angry and asked her to lie flat on the ground with her face down. “Before attacking her, the accused asked her to loudly recite the Kalimas; once she did so, he committed the horrendous act.

Maxine Waters: ‘Obama Has Put In Place’ Secret Database With ‘Everything On Everyone’
Excerpt: The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life," Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. "That's going to be very, very powerful," Waters said. "That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it's never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that.

Obama Administration claiming that U.S. email spying foiled NY jihad plot, when it was foiled by monitoring of known al-Qaeda email address
Excerpt: "On Friday, CBS News correspondent John Miller, a former U.S. intelligence and FBI official, reported that U.S. authorities had discovered the Zazi plot after running across an email sent to a rarely used al Qaeda address that was associated with a notorious bomb-maker based in Pakistan." So in other words, the plot was foiled by the monitoring of a known al-Qaeda email address, not by the wholesale spying on Americans that this increasingly totalitarian Administration is now trying to justify.

Presumption of innocence shattered by gov't dragnet of the law-abiding (Editorial)
Excerpt: U.S. authorities are watching you on a daily basis. Not at this moment, perhaps, if you're reading this on actual paper, in a room that blocks electromagnetic energy and thermal images. But for people who aren't mad scientists, cellular calls, emails, photographs, audio, video, Internet searches and connection logs are actively being scanned by the federal government.
Excerpt: How good is your math? How about geography? How many of you know that many places in America are no longer "America?" There are pockets of this country that have become so deeply Socialist and so deeply rotten that they can no longer be considered to be populated by proud Americans like those who built this country. New York City, Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and the entire state of California are populated with people who bear no resemblance to the wonderful citizens who raised America to the forefront of human achievement.

Sanity Takes A Holiday - Translating Obamaspeak. By Burt Prelutsky
Excerpt: Another bit of liberal malarkey has it that blacks are always in need of federal assistance because of slavery. What they choose to ignore is that slavery ended 150 years ago, and that 50 years have elapsed since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act. How is it that Jews, Italians, the Irish and Chinese, all came to America, most speaking a foreign language, and faced discrimination when it came to housing, education and employment, but managed to overcome bigotry and succeed within a generation? And, more recently, how is it that Americans of Japanese ancestry were tossed into concentration camps during WWII, but quickly recovered from the insult and injury of losing not only their freedom, but their homes, farms and businesses?

Rape suspect buried alive in Bolivia
Excerpt: A reporter for a local radio station, who would only speak anonymously for fear of reprisals, told the media that Mr Ramos was tied up at the woman's funeral. He said mourners threw him into the open grave alongside the woman's coffin and filled the grave with earth.

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