Caught In A Snow[den] Storm

It is stuff like this from the Telegraph that is the reason that I am pushing so hard for us to deal with facts:

None of this debunks outright Snowden’s claims that the NSA is gathering data, that it has extraordinary power or that it has lied to Congress about it. But it does smack of a lack of fact checking on the part of The Guardian and it risks giving credibility to those who think this is a lot of fuss about nothing (and I’m not one of them). As Joshua Foust of suggests, the problem probably rests with Snowden. He first approached the Washington Post via a freelancer and demanded that they publish everything without time for fact checking or government comment. The Post hesitated – so Snowden went to The Guardian instead. This forced the Post to speed up publication of its own story. Frost: “Both papers, in their rush, wound up printing misleading stories.” If so, they’re in trouble.

We are all reacting to information that is just too fluid right now.

Glen Greenwald at the Guardian, the reporter that Snowden went to,  is no friend to classic liberalism, he is a dyed in the wool “progressive”.

I choose to be as skeptical about information during a Democrat administration as I do during a Republican one. Let’s get this clear – I do believe it is legitimate to disobey a law that contradicts the Constitution but in an age of judicial review, new situations are commonly submitted to the courts where sworn testimony can be given to get the emotion out and the facts in.

I believed that Eric Lichtblau and James Risen of the New York Times should have been investigated and the leaker prosecuted over the disclosure of the NSA’s international SWIFT monitoring program back in 2005 but even these two noted Obama’s continual domestic overreach in 2009:

The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

If (and this is a big “if”) the tracking of phone numbers was done on the numbers only, without a tie to a particular person, and then a warrant was obtained to discover the identity of that person and to further explore the content of the calls, then I have a very difficult time seeing this as an invasion of privacy. If it wasn’t –  and they knew the identity of the holder of the number, then that changes it all for me. If they actually did just sweep up all this data so that they could peek in the window, it should be stopped and people prosecuted.

But if you look closely at what Snowden claimed, it is that people with access could compromise individual rights, not that they actually did. Seems like we are still dealing with a lot of supposition here rooted in the words of a dude that gets seemingly more squirrelly by the hour…

Do I trust any government not to mishandle data or abuse this power? No I don’t. I’ve said as much – but until we know what we know, we don’t know…and we won’t know how to deal with it. The NSA could well have followed the dictates of the law to the letter and this still be a bad program that needs to go but let’s operate with facts instead of screaming “revolution!” and “traitor!” because it fits our biases – that’s what liberals do.

Like Rumsfeld said, it is not the known knowns that are the problem, it is the unknown unknowns. All I am saying is this: let’s give it enough time to see if the unknown unknowns can be known. If they are known in the fullness of time and our worst fears are confirmed, hand me a Gadsden flag and I’ll lead the charge.

Again, based on what I know today, this seems to me to be no different than walking downtown in any major city or shopping district where you are being recorded by a camera. You can come to my house and stand on the sidewalk and watch me do what I do all day long – that is not illegal. I can drive down the streets and catalog everything that is in every driveway – that is not illegal. Neither are because there is no expectation of privacy. If I was a government lawyer defending this case, I would state that there is no expectation of privacy for anyone, including the government, that would prevent data mining of phone numbers (not names) since we freely give them out to FaceBook, Google, any individual on-line vendor and the are open to the public in every phone book.

As far as “signing away my natural rights”, I can’t – but you can sign away your legal rights.

58 thoughts on “Caught In A Snow[den] Storm

  1. Utah,

    My issue is NOT “defending Snowden,” but looking at what the most serious issue is here. In order to determine whether or not he is actually guilty of treason, we ned to determine whether or not his accusations are true. yet, rather than tear into what the govt. is doing, we are ALL going after the whistle blower. Net results:

    Govt. gets away with tyranny.

    Obama gets a break from being in the spot light over all his many scandals.

    ALL future whistle blowers are taught a lesson: this is what happens to YOU if you try to warn the American people of govt. tyranny.

    I wonder: where do you think John and Sam Adams would have stood on this issue? Patrick Henry? Thomas Jefferson? george Washington? James Madison? The only founder I am reasonably sure would side with govt. over Snowden would be Hamilton, and no one who understands why I say that should find any comfort in it.

    • Joe: These men sided with the Crown until it became clear that there was no other choice but to separate from England, That is why they gave us mechanisms in the Constitution to deal with situation of this nature.

      I believe that we still have choices.

      • Utah,

        Given everything we have seen happen in the past 10 years, you actually think we have a chance to correct this using the system?

        When was the last time a ruling elite ever willingly gave up the type of power those controlling our system have now…?

        • I don’t know how long it will take. I know that it was 5 years from the dissolution of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1769 by King George until the Intolerable Acts in 1774 and another two until the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The Colonies were under the sway of one king or another for 284 years before that.

          I also know that we have elections every 2, 4 and 6 years. Maybe this is why – so that we can self-correct.

          I feel as though I am the only one that thinks saving the Constitution requires using the Constitution. I’d like to think that we can but I don’t know since one poll said that 56% thought we should allow the NSA to track terrorist phones and 59% say that we shouldn’t collect phone data of “ordinary Americans”.

          I wonder, do terrorists have a specific area code or do they get a red iPhone?

            • Yes, under the laws of the time. Was it wrong? Yes – but it has been overridden but yet to be officially overturned.

              Korematsu v. United States, 323 U.S. 214 (1944),[1] was a landmark United States Supreme Court case concerning the constitutionality of Executive Order 9066, which ordered Japanese Americans into internment camps during World War II regardless of citizenship.

              If your goal is to see me admit that we can pass unconstitutional laws, then yes, I stipulate that. But even with Korematsu, balance was eventually restored. It took a lot of time but the system functioned.

              • Simply, it was not legal, but was eventually corrected.

                That is the beauty of “our Constitution” when it is restored.

              • No, my goal is to see if I can get you to see that you consider unconstitutional laws to be laws. Apparently, you do. Worse, you are willing to trust a court system that has proven it cares more about its own power and writing law from the bench than actually upholding the law. What I do not understand is how/why you cannot see you are — IN PRINCIPLE — doing the same thing the Left does when it continues to insist that it’s ideas will work…if we just keep trying them long enough, or get the right people to implement them. Both positions are in stark contrast with the historical record…

                BTW: you just said you would support Obama passing a law making himself king. Heck, you said you would support Obama signing an EO making himself king. After all, that is how our system works now, so, if he did it, you are telling me you would support and deal with it until Obama’s court said he couldn’t do it. Exactly how long do you suppose that would take? or do you think it is silly because it will never happen?

                • No, I didn’t. You asked me a question and then you assumed an answer. I said earlier that we have no obligation to obey an unconstitutional law. A law, Joe, passed by both Houses of Congress and signed by the president.

                  An executive order is not a law, it has the force of one but it isn’t. A legal challenge by any citizen to receive injunctive relief on such an order would be immediate.

                  Again, what you are proposing is individual interpretation of laws according to individual reading of the Constitution and picking and choosing what we obey and what we don’t. In essence, anarchy.

                  • And the govt. can simply refuse to allow that challenge, and the EO stays in place as law. They do the same thing with regulations.

                    Utah, you can call it by whatever name you wish, but if it carries the weight of law, it is a law. How many LAWS are now on the books but were written by a judge’s ruling? Are those not still law? It is what something is that defines it, not what we call it.

                    I have ever opposed anarchy. I think Don had this one nailed best: when you allow the Congress to make law, but also the president by EO, the govt. by regulation and the Court by ruling — and ALL of them are allowed to decide whether or not they will change their minds and say it isn’t law after all, then THAT is anarchy. If I look to what is happening in our nation today, I would have to agree with Don: we have anarchy already, which has opened the door to the rule of those who can amass the most power over the system, so they can most enforce THEIR will.

                    • Then we will never agree on this because you clearly do not believe that our current government is legitimate in any shape or form. You have no faith that there are still people in the government who care enough about liberty to stop it. You have no faith in the legal system.

                      I’ve only advocated reserving judgement until we know, you essentially are calling me a traitor because I’m not ready to grab my musket and run to the town square. If there is one thing that Jefferson counseled in the Declaration, it was patience and deliberate action:

                      Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

                      Patience. Deliberation. Facts. Action.

                      You used absurdity to illustrate a point but in the process went so far over the line into ridiculousness that there is no comparison to be made. Of course, I would disobey an executive order to make Obama king but I also know that there are things that are necessary for the intel community to do that are less clear.

                    • More straw man, Utah??? Well, if it’s all you have….

                      How many years did the founders appeal to govt. to stop oppressing them? How many years have we been doing it? Sine Wilson, at least? I guess Jefferson should have left the Declaration to our generation — he didn’t have enough proof that George was a tyrant.

                      Absurdity? Utah, I am using current events to illustrate and justify my points. Or do you think the President giving himself the right to assassinate anyone he decides is a terrorist threat is a world of difference away from declaring himself king? because, last I looked, a king could do away with his subjects however he pleased — just like this President has given himself the power to do.

                      Finally, as for the intel community: I REJECT YOUR ARGUMENT!!! If the politicians would SECURE THE BORDERS AND UNTIE THE HANDS OF THE CIA AND ALLOW HUMAN INTEL AGAIN, they could keep us safe without violating the Constitution. Like I told Karl, there are ALWAYS options — and, in this case, CONSTITUTIONAL options.

                    • We are done here…at least I am.

                      I concede nothing and I could care less that you reject my argument. Yours is simplistic, unnecessarily siloed and full of monomaniacal pronouncements.

                      There is no straw man. Your statement and your last post indicate that you think you are the last righteous man left. You gin up straw men like a 40 acre hay field – over an NSA program that you only know about through press reports but since that fits your view and I want to know just what the hell they were actually doing, I’m a vassal to King Obama.

                      There are reports that the NSA did get warrants when they dug and they did get warrants for the data companies.

                      Reject as you will but human intel is, was and always will be supported by data that is collected in a number of ways, now that happens to be electronic instead of breaking and entering.

                      Bless you, Thou Last True Patriot, O Thou The Single Arbiter of the Constitution…but watch it, your hysteria is showing.

                      You have lost it.

                    • ad hominem???

                      OK, I’ve lost it. I’ll stand over here with the others who saw things my way: George, Ben, Sam, John, James, Thomas, Patrick, Benjamin, the other Benjamin, another John, …..

              • When a group of people are financially ruined and others benefit from that ruin ……and multiple DECADES later it is ruled illegal.

                You are right …”By the Book” it was …”Made Right”…… but for all those who died in the interum…it was basically irrelevent. While It makes US feel good about our system………. those people whose lives were ruined effectively had NO bebefit from the Constitution……they could have been living somewhere else for how their lives turned out.

          • Yes the elections every 2,4 and 6 years WAS for self-correction and a chance for new ideas even when NOT self-correcting…. I agree 100%.

            But what do we do when even THAT system has been corrupted….
            -with illegal voting
            -with False “Prophets and proponents” like Rubio, Flake, Ayotte, etc…………………. ?????????

  2. People who seek understanding and truth are the exception.

    Unfortunately, many, if not most, lawyers care about winning the argument of the day. Winning, in the face of what is “just and right” allows the lawyer to charge more $ to the next client.

    Emphasis in law school is on “case law” = what a prior Judge says the law “is” or “should be” based upon a narrow set of facts. Rarely do lawyers and/or Judges get to say, that Judge was wrong.

    Emphasis is on zealously representing your “client” against “the adversary”.

    Unfortunately, “the People” are now “the adversary” of the “general government”.

    Thomas Jefferson explained the consequence of the ILLEGAL USE OF POWER BY THE GOVERNMENT:

    “that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force”

  3. So it is okay if the media crucifies the right, only to retract it a few days later on the last page where no one will see it? Quite frankly, I’m glad they’re getting a taste of their own medicine. Also, I’m glad that people are waking up. Watched an interesting video this morning:

    Do I believe it? Do I believe Snowden? I believe that I don’t believe this administration. I tell you, you are sounding very much like Amb.Woolsey on Piers Morgan:

    I’ll eat crow when they do.

    • All this vitriol because I want to see evidence before hanging the bastards.

      Since I’m clearly in the minority here, what is your answer?

      Riddle me this Batmen and Batgirls – what shall we do?

      Open revolution or trust in our Republic? Shall we storm the Bastille or will we elect people who believe in the Constitution?

      If you don’t think my way is right, what do you propose?

      • Start with Benghazi and the IRS and the NSA, etc.: Gather all the evidence, fire, impeach, prosecute every one of them, from IRS staffers who asked “suppression questions” of “patriots” and gave business owner’s confidential information to political opponents to “the top” who were/not “overseeing” the agencies…

        Richard Nixon was going to be impeached for the illegal wire tapping of one (1) office. What happens when the federal government “wiretaps” every US citizen,(300+ million individuals) ?

      • Utah,
        You ask a Good …. and indeed the Crucial question……..What do we Do ???

        I don’t have any ready answer for what “WE the people” do…..because our Calls and E-mails and Faxes are ignored….and Phoneys and Liars get past us through the Election process like.. Rubio….Christie….Paul Ryan…..Jeff Flake….K Ayotte ……ad nauseum.
        Elections are stolen and corrupt and fraudulent….Ohio, Pennsylvania , Al Franken’s election as but a few examples.

        But I can tell you this …….We the People aren’t getting out of this without some Pain.

        It is already started with the Profiling and illegal intimidation of the Tea party and Conservative and Christian Groups. It has already started with the Wiretapping of the AP and FOX and the intimidation of Berstein………. It is already starting with the ability of the President to Kill Americans because of the LABEL Terrorist ( defined by those in power )……it is already being set up further with Centralized Data Collection centers on American Citizens…..Whether “defined” as legal or not.

        The “Pain ” has already begun …….. will it progress to the point of evryday pain felt by those not in the Favor of the Gov’t as in all Totalitarian systems ???

        Perhaps ithe only thing going for us at this time is that Americans now have the CHOICE over which pain to endure……. the Pain of fighting for the Constitution and the Republic……….or the Pain of selecteive Tyranny. Either way The Pain is inevitable at this point. And people are afraid of Pain.

        • Agreed. 51.1% of them voted for the pain of tyranny offset by the ecstasy of handouts.

          Joe is running around in Panama City, flailing his arms and yelling “Dethrone King Obama! but that does absolutely no good… and won’t until local militias start forming at every county courthouse.

          This is an evil and destructive administration.

          • Since the actual vote count adds up to only about 24-25 % of the elegible voters……. I’m hoping that a significant portion of the other 74 % along with some defectors from the 26 % line up against this Insanity ( IRS, Ben Gahzi, DOJ, NSA/CIA EPA Etc).

            The County Courthouse image … :- ).

            Joe….. Put a Panama Hat on while you run around Panama City…… It’s cooler that way and….cooler heads revail…. ;- ).

    • Don’t forget what I wrote just the other day about trust:

      I don’t care if the data collection activities were legal under the Patriot Act or other justification, the people in power and in government have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted with the levers of power. We have this huge data mining operation ongoing for years and although it is alleged to have thwarted one terrorist attack, it didn’t thwart Major. Nidal Hassan or the Boston bombers.

      • Utah,
        I’m with you and William and Kells and Joe.

        We are all in the minority now. The problem is: “the general government” will hide behind “secrecy” and prosecute those who “whistleblow” on the Government’s illegal actions.

        “our representatives and senators and the executive and judges” are going to protect “the general government”, not uphold our Constitution and serve “the people”.

        “the People’s” answer is in our Constitution. Nearly everything the general Government now does is Un-Constitutional, aka illegal.

        • Somewhat unsurprisingly, I agree but how do you unwind a spring wound this tight? Do you cut it in the middle all at once and let it go wherever it goes or you you gradually release the pressure until the tension is gone.

          I so think it all has to come down. We need a president who is willing to say, “You know what my administration and the federal government are going to do for you?”, hand out copies of the Constitution and say “just that. Nothing more and nothing less. My job is to make the job of president the most insignificant job in the country, closely followed by the Congress and Federal Judiciary because I am transferring the right and proper powers to the several states.”

          • Utah, agreed.

            I believe the “tea parties” goal is that. And that is why all Federal employees and bosses are against The Constitution.

            Therein lies the salvation from ruin for our Republic.

            America has been on the path of “destroy the Constitution” since Andrew Jackson, so the Foundation of the Constitution is “hell-built for strong” and is still there for America to re-build upon.

          • I would re-word your statement:
            “… because I am transferring the right and proper powers to the several states.”

            “…because the Federal Government is going to STOP exercising all the unlawful powers, those NEVER granted to the Federal Government by the Constitution (The Constitution includes those Amendments adopted in accordance with Article 5).”

  4. “We have this huge data mining operation ongoing for years and although it is alleged to have thwarted one terrorist attack, it didn’t thwart Major. Nidal Hassan or the Boston bombers.”

    From what I understand of the operation. They look for trends. The trends for terrorist activity was/would be transmissions regularly back and forth to Muslim countries. Now at some point, I’m assuming that, if there wasn’t any or minimal calls/texts no flag is raised on that account and no court order is applied for or granted to look deeper into that account. If those guys didn’t do any of that, their accounts (if they had them) wouldn’t have raised any concern.

    Will govt overreach? You bet your ass they will. Are there laws in place to allow them to do so? You bet your ass there are. The Patriot Act pretty much has given govt blanket permission to conduct investigations on minimum or sometimes no probable cause. Are they bypassing judges on the way to doing so? Now that is the question that has to be answered not that they’re gathering data.

    • They look for trends?! Gimme a break! Why the hello are the Tea Partiers, the NRA, Christians, &c. On their terrorist list?! Sorry, boys, but don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.

      What is so mind-boggling to me is that M. just wrote this great post on the One.The One who won. How does he win? Maybe cause we’ve got a bunch of congressmen sitiing with their thumbs up their ass, or maybe they are awaiting documents to follow the rule of law. Who knows? How is it that everything about this presidency is so secret? He’s the flippin CIC!

      Snowden made a good salary, he lived in Hawaii, his wife is hawt, and he left it for what? What motivated him to go rogue? What motivated Deep Throat?

  5. Pingback: My Point Exactly | The Rio Norte Line

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