Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Reducing The Bill Of Rights

In today's New York Times we learn the Obama administration is attempting to erode the Fourth Amendment

The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, has argued that the bureau’s ability to carry out court-approved eavesdropping on suspects is “going dark” as communications technology evolves, and since 2010 has pushed for a legal mandate requiring companies like Facebook and Google to build into their instant-messaging and other such systems a capacity to comply with wiretap orders. That proposal, however, bogged down amid concerns by other agencies, like the Commerce Department, about quashing Silicon Valley innovation.  

While the F.B.I.’s original proposal would have required Internet communications services to each build in a wiretapping capacity, the revised one, which must now be reviewed by the White House, focuses on fining companies that do not comply with wiretap orders. The difference, officials say, means that start-ups with a small number of users would have fewer worries about wiretapping issues unless the companies became popular enough to come to the Justice Department’s attention.  

How fortunate for startups not to have any worries until they become popular. If only we shared the same concern for the Fourth Amendment that we have for Silicon Valley innovation.  

Sounds like a pretty good reason to use Pretty Good Privacy...which, in today's world, could be a red flag in itself. Why are you encrypting your communications? What do you have to hide?


Anonymous said...

And meanwhile, the President keeps forcefeeding us the notion that he's a great guy, something other than a Fascist. He opposes indefinite detention (actually he signed it). He demands Gitmo closed (he has the power to close it). He supports thergoals of Occupy (he illegaly shut it down). He believes in free and fair elections (he had an opponent jailed). He believes in the Bill of Rights (no Miranda, drones, surveillance). He believes in open government (whistleblower prosecution, secrecy) . He stands firm on accountabilty for all (immunity for torture, telecoms, and Wall Street). Etc etc etc.

It's like he's rammed a tube in our noses pumping in happy gas. Pay no attention to what you actually see, just say "what a fine fellow, that Obama!"

Grey Poupon said...

Obama is too scattered and postmodern to be a Fascist. Walter Sobchack would dismiss him as a nihilist: "say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos."

Obama doesn't have an ethos. He's probably a nihilist, if a nihilist can have a big smile and wear brightly colored ties.

Obama is not about to sacrifice one of his toes, either. Just Constitution.

In local news, all the smokers have been driven out of downtown and replaced by heavily armed guys in uniforms, who answer to a corporation...

Like the classical music though.

Requiem for a Democracy.

Ticked at Toe said...

Obama promised to restructure the Constitutional shambles that Cheney left behind, but then used the disarray to increase his own power at the expense of citizen rights.

He still presents himself as defending those rights, but also signals that "defender of the Constitution" is a pose.

The words/action split is post-modern perhaps. Obama's performance pieces on Gitmo are certainly so. Rather than simply ordering Gitmo closed and sending a plane, he castigates some other (really himself) for not closing Gitmo. He gets out ahead of criticism by seizing the role of critic. As critic, he cannot act.

Changing role and narrative is definitely an organized ploy however, and it's the same pattern used repeatedly across issues. Obama owns both sides of every debate, and continues to deliver greater power and affluence to elites.

That's an ethos, though not a sustainable one. In that sense, nihilistic.

Toe-Jam Football said...

Paul Brandus has a nice analysis at the Week on today's new revelations of dishonesty:

Benghazi occurred seven weeks before election day. The administration's strategy was simple: Downplay the terror attack, change the narrative, and run out the clock. And that's what it did.

Brandus is right, but the strategy seems almost a nostalgic throwback to the more self-aware posing that got us into Libya in the first place.

Obama said he'd go to Congress before entering the US into war, and then committed the US to war in Libya without any public debate.

The resulting shape of our Libyan involvement (air war) hasn't really prepared us for the continuing unrest there post Gaddafi. We don't seem to acknowledge we were, and are, party to a civil war abroad. We the people never had a forum or pause to debate the consequences of involvement.

Maybe the Constitution is a PRACTICAL guide as well as an idealistic one. The post-modern alternative isn't looking so great, even if Obama always looks handsome delivering it.

Monkey Finger said...

Pile on: Secretary Clinton fell and threw a clot.

Flu or corn mash allergy?

Getting ready for the nightcap of her career, and then: Dead men on her watch. Dead friends. Gotta twist deep. Joojoo eyeballs.

What difference does it make? Hell, make it a double.

Inland Umpire said...

Good lord, I can't stop laughing. Obama uses the FBI thugs against OWS, and I kinda get the oldschool Hoover cointelpro flavor.

But, he uses the IRS to harass the Tea Party? Do Democrats have any recall that original Boston Tea Party was a protest against unfair TAXATION??

Oh good God. Democrats can't see the symbolism?

I think Obama actually just DID something. Two somethings.

He created a new party on the right.

AND, he created a new party of nonDemocrat Progressives on the left.

Anonymous said...

The IRS has the enforcement role in Obamacare, particularly given SCOTUS's claim that the mandate penalty is a tax. Now we learn that Obama's IRS was illegally harassing tea party groups which sprang up to legally protest the mandate in particular.

The IRS has lost its credibility as impartial collector just when it needs it most. Implementation of Obamacare is here with the exchanges and mandates soon to follow.

But there is a bigger problem: Obamacare is not fully funded. Sibelius is actually begging for corporate donations to implement it!

Yet, the IRS has not investigated the sometimes profligate ways states-corporations are spending their implementation money. Why isn't the IRS interested in the tax issues of the odd legal structures that are creating fuzzy private-public exchanges? The IRS could start right here in Olympia.

What is clear is that the IRS will fine individuals who can't afford insurance, and harass them if they dare protest.

This is how Obamacare unravels.

Simply Speechless said...

the IRS field office in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status decided to focus on groups making statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and those that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Bitter morning coffee said...

Democrats believe government agencies should surveil and penalize speech.

Republicans believe corporate cash is speech, and corporations should be able to shout down citizens.

Most Americans believe in neither party's position, and still believe in free speech.

2014 and 2016 may be an opportunity for independent reform candidates. Reforming the IRS would certainly be popular, particularly as the IRS takes over Obamacare penalties.

We may see a rebirth of the term limits movement.

The partisan commentary from both the major parties this morning is almost laughably oblivious and hypocritical. But mostly, nonproductive. People will want an alternative.