Friday, June 28, 2013

By The Numbers: Government and Political Class Incompetence, Part 3 - Unhappy Americans, Happy IRS Party Goers, Retirement Insolvency, and More

This is a third in a series of posts we are doing that look at the state of our country “by the numbers.” Using only the most recent and trustworthy statistics and numbers, we are examining how badly the American class has managed our country’s finances, spending, freedom, and future. Only by understanding the underlying statistics, numbers and realities of the issues facing Americans, can we have any hope of efficiently and effectively resolving those problems.

Unfortunately, as we review the latest numbers and statistics, you will see that our politicians have dug such a hole for this country that it will be very difficult to get out of it in order to save our economy, our democracy, and our future. That is why the overarching theme and proposed solution in all of these post is the need to impose term limits on all Federal politicians. The long term, career politicians in Washington have created this mess and the associated depressing numbers that go with it, they no longer deserve the right to fix what the monster they themselves created.

The first two “by the numbers” posts can be accessed at:

http://www.loathemygovernment.blogspot.com/2013/06/by-numbers-government-and-political_26.html

http://www.loathemygovernment.blogspot.com/2013/06/by-numbers-govenrment-and-political.html

The following continues the “by the numbers ”analysis of our plight:

1) The Harris polling organization recently completed their regular “Happiness Index” poll and it turns out that Americans are not too happy these days, as reported by a June 1, 2013 UPI article:
  • The survey of 2,345 U.S. adults surveyed April 10-15, 2013 by Harris Interactive found certain groups, such as minorities, recent graduates and the disabled, trended downward in the last couple of years in their happiness level.
  • "Our happiness index offers insight into what's on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our country," Regina Corso, senior vice president of the Harris Poll, said in a statement. "While the attitudes on the economy may be improving, we're seeing that this is not translating into an improvement in overall happiness."
  • Relative to the last happiness index poll that was taken in 2011, the latest happiness levels were especially low among the Hispanic-Americans.
  • Americans whose incomes were under $50,000 per year were less likely to qualify as very happy relative to 2011, dropping down from 33% to 29% among those earning less than $35,000, and from 35% to 32% among those earning between $35,000-$49,999.
  • Those 50 and older were more likely to be very happy than younger people.
  • Thirty-two percent of independents voters were less likely to be very happy than members of either the Democratic or Republican parties at 35% each.
Thus, we have both low happiness levels and happiness numbers that are trending downward, not a good sign.

2) Let’s face it, the IRS has been in the news a lot lately on how the organization illegally and immorally targeted political opponents of President Obama when it came to tax matters. But besides shredding the Constitution, the organization has also been very busy wasting taxpayer wealth in a gluttonous, straightforward, old fashioned manner, according to a June 3, 2013 online website article of the Wall Street Journal:
  • The IRS spent $50 million on conferences for employees just between 2010 and 2012.
  • A single conference in August, 2010 cost the agency a whopping $4 million.
  • The agency brought in $135,000 worth of speakers, including a “leadership through art” speaker for $17,000, and distributed baseball tickets and Presidential suites to employees which cost up to $3,500 per night per person.
Destruction of taxpayer wealth and citizens’ freedom, a double IRS whammy against America.

3) A recent report by the trustees that oversee the Social Security and Medicare programs had some very disturbing analyses of the future liabilities of the two organizations:
  • Under the current program parameters, the total long term financial liability of the Social Security program is about $23 TRILLION.
  • The long term financial liability of the Medicare program is about $43 TRILLION.
  • Thus, the total future financial liabilities of just these two government programs is about $66 TRILLION, the equivalent of about four years of the nation’s total GDP.
  • The per household share of the total liability is about $574,000 FOR EACH household.
Obviously, if you do a little bit of number crunching like we just did, you see that the future of these two programs is going to end badly. There is just not enough wealth to fund just these two government programs.

And by the way, as we have discussed many times before, taxing the wealthy in this country to cover this liability will not work. Even if you confiscated and liquidated the wealth of America’s wealthiest citizens, a true totalitarian move, it would not come anywhere close to paying off $66 TRILLION in liability.

And these government financial liabilities do not include the current liabilities of almost $17 TRILLION in our national debt today. And our politicians still have no solution or clue on how to resolve these dire numbers and trends.

4) Interesting number $1 billion, nice round number with lots of zeroes. $1 billion of taxpayer wealth could have been used to operate White House tours for over 1,000 years. $1 billion in taxpayer money could be used to give every American household about $9 dollars each, enough for a meal. $1 billion could have created a nice number of American jobs if invested domestically. Who knows how many more cancer research professionals or teachers, or social workers, etc. could be hired for $1 billion.

But we will never know since according to a Forbes article from April 4, 2013, the Obama administration is going to give a Russian helicopter manufacture, Rosoboronexport, $1 billion of American taxpayer money to provide helicopters to the Afghanistan armed forces once the U.S. pulls out most of its troops. The administration took this action on this number even though:
  • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 expressly prohibits the use of funds to enter into any contracts or agreements with Rosoboronexport.
  • During consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an amendment prohibiting further contracts with Rosoboronexport by a vote of 407-5.
  • A strongly worded letter to the administration from ten members of congress pointed the illegality od doing this deal.
  • There are perfectly good helicopter manufacturers within the U.S. that should have been given the opportunity to win this contract and should have had the inside track to do so.
  • However, this was a no bid contract so they never even got the chance.
$1 billion, a nice round number to flush down the toilet.

So let’s review. Americans are not happy because the numbers in their lives (high unemployment numbers, declining family wealth numbers, high national debt numbers that their family today and in the future will have to pay for, etc.) are not good.

IRS employees are happy because they get to spend millions of dollars on themselves on lavish conferences despite crushing the freedom of speech of Obama’s political opponents.

America’s retirees are not happy since the Federal government and political class have not planned to financially care for the retirement income and medical needs of older Americans.

At least one Russian helicopter manufacturer is happy, and $1 billion richer via the American taxpayer.

Seems like the wrong people are happy and the right people are unhappy. All the more reason to get term limits put in place for all Federal politicians and find people that can reverse the trend of unhappiness and negative numbers and statistics concerning ordinary American citizens that do not work for the IRS or a Russian helicopter company.

Our final “by the numbers” adventure will conclude tomorrow with a devastating look at 40 statistics that conclusively prove that the current members of the American political class have us on a statistical trend that is going to end badly for all of us unless we start doing things dramatically different within our political processes. And we start by dumping out all of the current incumbents in Washington that put us on this downward spiral.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

By The Numbers: Govenrment and Political Class Incompetence, Part 2 - High National Debt, High National Poverty, High Food Stamp Usage

This is a second in our new series where we take a numerical and statistical review of government and political class incompetence and do it “by the numbers.” As a statistician by education and training, I believe that if you understand the true, underlying numbers and realities of problems, you have a much better chance of resolving issues and crises.

However, as the numbers are reviewed in these posts, you will see that not only to our politicians not understand the underlying numbers and realities of our situation, they are the ones that have created such a horrid set of economic, financial, and other pessimistic statistics.

1) Consider the early 2013 Congressional Budget Office view of the Federal government budget if the current spending trend continues:
  • The projected cost of the Federal government during the 10-year budget period from 2014-2023 is $47.2 trillion.
  • Government spending will rise every year for every program (except for defense during the first few years), topping out at $5.94 trillion in annual spending in 2023.
  • This trend is a rate of growth of about 6.7% per year, trouncing the growth of the private sector of just about any time in the history of the country.
  • This $47.2 TRILLION in spending comes out to almost a whopping $400,000 per U.S. household or just under $40,000 a year.
How many families do you think can pay out $40,000 a year to support this obese Federal government’s spending, especially since the average household income today, before taxes, is just under $50,000? The math does not compute and something very bad will happen to our economy and each family’s financial situation long before these ten years occur, the numbers do not lie.

2) The Bankrupting America website had the following depressing numbers on June 1, 2013:
  • The economic GDP growth figures from the fourth-quarter of 2012 were revised down to 2.4% from 2.5%.
  • After trillions of dollars diverted away from taxpayers and the free-market, to be spent on stimulating the economy, the great “recovery” we were promised and hear about so often is no where to be found.
  • The number of Americans using food stamps is at an all time high of about 48 million Americans.
  • The number of food stamp users grown 70% in the last five years, or since about the time Obama took office.
  • As of April, over 16% of America’s youth were unemployed.
  • America has also gone from being among the wealthy countries with the highest percentage of youth employment to now being ranked at the bottom of the list.
  • The U-6 unemployment rate as of April was 13.9%, so nearly one in eight of America’s workforce is unemployed or underemployed.
To get to this pathetic state of economic growth and reality, the Federal government spent over $800 billion in its economic stimulus effort. Never has so much money in the history of the earth been spent for so little in return.

3) President Obama has recently nominated Penny Pritzer to be his new Secretary of Commerce. Given that she is one of the richest people in the country with a Hyatt hotel-based personal wealth estimated at $1.5 billion, it makes you wonder why he would want her to work in her administration when her personal wealth is six times higher than what Mitt Romney’s personal wealth is and Obama did everything possible to make Romney look unfit for being President because he was “too wealthy.”

Oh, I forgot, Pritzer ran Obama’s 2008 fund raising effort which makes the $1.5 billion all right and Romney’s $250 million pure evil.

4) Let’s talk about our nation’s poverty reality, using statistics compiled by the website, www.mrconservative.com (for readers that do not believe anything just because it came from a conservative-leaning website, either skip the follow 21 numbers or do a little research to confirm or refute the website’s numbers research):

1 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately one out of every six Americans is now living in poverty, a level not seen since the 1960s.

2 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.

3 – Approximately 20% of all children in the United States are living in poverty. A higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975, despite trillions of dollars spent since then to get rid of poverty.

4 – Approximately 57% of all children in the United States are currently living in homes that are either considered to be either “low income” or impoverished.

5 – At this point, 29.2% of all African-American households with children are dealing with food insecurity.

6 – 60% of all children in the city of Detroit are living in poverty.

7 – The number of children living on $2.00 a day or less in the United States has grown to 2.8 million. That number has increased by 130% since 1996.

8 – More than a million public school students in the United States are homeless. That number has risen by 57% since the 2006-2007 school year.

9 – Family homelessness in the Washington D.C. region (one of the wealthiest regions in the entire country) has risen 23% since the last recession began.

10 – A recent university study estimates that child poverty costs the U.S. economy $500 billion each year.

11 – Approximately one out of every three children in the U.S. lives in a home without a father.

12 – Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37%.

13 – Today, there are approximately 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing, a 46% increase from 2001.

14 – About 40% of all unemployed workers in America have been out of work for at least six months.

15 – One out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

16 – There has been an explosion in the number of “working poor” Americans in recent years. Today, about one out of every four workers in the United States brings home wages that are at or below the poverty level.

17 – More than 100 million Americans are enrolled in at least one welfare program run by the Federal government, programs that do not include Social Security or Medicare.

18 – An all-time record 47.8 million Americans are now on food stamps. When Barack Obama first took office, that number was only sitting at about 32 million.

19 – The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the entire population of Spain

20 – The number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

21 – Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, close to one out of every six Americans is on food stamps. More than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

Kind of makes the anemic 2.4% economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2012 ring a even little hollow when you get below this large number to see these pathetic and heart wrenching smaller numbers.

Poor Americans, a very rich American, and explosive growth in government spending, the numbers are devastating and depressing. And we are not close to get through all of them.

Do you think term limits are a good idea yet?

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com
http://www.cato.org/
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

By The Numbers: Government and Political Class Incompetence, Part 1: HIgh On IRS Parties, Low On Happiness and Other Depressing Numbers

This is a first in a series of posts we are doing that look at the state of our country “by the numbers.” Using only the most recent and trustworthy statistics and numbers, we are examining how badly the American class has managed our country’s finances, spending, freedom, and future. Only by understanding the underlying statistics, numbers and realities of the issues facing Americans, can we have any hope of efficiently and effectively resolving those problems.

Unfortunately, as we review the latest numbers and statistics, you will see that our politicians have dug such a hole for this country that it will be very difficult to get out of it in order to save our economy, our democracy, and our future. That is why the overarching theme and proposed solution in all of these post is the need to impose term limits on all Federal politicians. The long term, career politicians in Washington have created this mess and the associated depressing numbers that go with it, they no longer deserve the right to fix what the monster they themselves created.

The following starts the “by the numbers ”analysis of our plight:

1) The Harris polling organization recently completed their regular “Happiness Index” poll and it turns out that Americans are not too happy these days, as reported by a June 1, 2013 UPI article:
  • The survey of 2,345 U.S. adults surveyed April 10-15, 2013 by Harris Interactive found certain groups, such as minorities, recent graduates and the disabled, trended downward in the last couple of years in their happiness level.
  • "Our happiness index offers insight into what's on the minds of Americans today and is a reflection of the state of affairs in our country," Regina Corso, senior vice president of the Harris Poll, said in a statement. "While the attitudes on the economy may be improving, we're seeing that this is not translating into an improvement in overall happiness."
  • Relative to the last happiness index poll that was taken in 2011, the latest happiness levels were especially low among the Hispanic-Americans.
  • Americans whose incomes were under $50,000 per year were less likely to qualify as very happy relative to 2011, dropping down from 33% to 29% among those earning less than $35,000, and from 35% to 32% among those earning between $35,000-$49,999.
  • Those 50 and older were more likely to be very happy than younger people.
  • Thirty-two percent of independents voters were less likely to be very happy than members of either the Democratic or Republican parties at 35% each.
Thus, we have both low happiness levels and numbers that are trending downward, not a good sign.

2) Let’s face it, the IRS has been in the news a lot lately on how the organization illegally and immorally targeted political opponents of President Obama when it came to tax matters. But besides shredding the Constitution, the organization has also been very busy wasting taxpayer wealth in a gluttonous, straightforward, old fashioned manner, according to a June 3, 2013 online website article of the Wall Street Journal:
  • The IRS spent $50 million on conferences for employees just between 2010 and 2012.
  • A single conference in August, 2010 cost the agency a whopping $4 million.
  • The agency brought in $135,000 worth of speakers, including a “leadership through art” speaker for $17,000, and distributed baseball tickets and Presidential suites to employees which cost up to $3,500 per night per person.
Destruction of taxpayer wealth and citizens’ freedom, a double IRS whammy against America.

3) A recent report by the trustees that over see the Social Security and Medicare programs had some very disturbing analyses of the future liabilities of the two organizations:
  • Under the current program parameters, the total long term financial liability of the Social Security program is about $23 TRILLION.
  • The long term financial liability of the Medicare program is about $43 TRILLION.
  • Thus, the total future financial liabilities of just these two government programs is about $66 TRILLION, the equivalent of about four years of the nation’s total GDP.
  • The per household share of the total liability is about $574,000 FOR EACH household.
Obviously, if you do a little bit of number crunching like we just did, you see that the future of these two programs is going to end badly. There is just not enough wealth to fund just these two government programs.

And by the way, as we have discussed many times before, taxing the wealthy in this country to cover this liability will not work. Even if you confiscated and liquidated the wealth of America’s wealthiest citizens, a true totalitarian move, it would not come anywhere close to paying off $66 TRILLION in liability.

And these government financial liabilities do not include the current liabilities of almost $17 TRILLION in our national debt today. And our politicians still have no solution or clue on how to resolve these dire numbers and trends.

4) Interesting number $1 billion, nice round number with lots of zeroes. $1 billion of taxpayer wealth could have been used to operate White House tours for over 1,000 years. $1 billion in taxpayer money could be used to give every American household about $9 dollars each, enough for a meal. $1 billion could have created a nice number of American jobs if invested domestically. Who knows how many more cancer research professionals or teachers, or social workers, etc. could be hired for $1 billion.

But we will never know since according to a Forbes article from April 4, 2013, the Obama administration is going to give a Russian helicopter manufacture, Rosoboronexport, $1 billion of American taxpayer money to provide helicopters to the Afghanistan armed forces once the U.S. pulls out most of its troops. The administration took this action on this number even though:
  • The National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 expressly prohibits the use of funds to enter into any contracts or agreements with Rosoboronexport.
  • During consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved an amendment prohibiting further contracts with Rosoboronexport by a vote of 407-5.
  • A strongly worded letter to the administration from ten members of Congress pointed the illegality of doing this deal.
  • There are perfectly good helicopter manufacturers within the U.S. that should have been given the opportunity to win this contract and should have had the inside track to do so.
  • However, this was a no bid contract so they never even got the chance.
$1 billion, a nice round number to flush down the toilet.

So let’s review. Americans are not happy because the numbers in their lives (high unemployment numbers, declining family wealth numbers, high national debt numbers that their family today and in the future will have to pay for, etc.) are not good.

IRS employees are happy because they get to spend millions of dollars on themselves on lavish conferences despite crushing the freedom of speech of Obama’s political opponents.

America’s retirees are not happy since the Federal government and political class have not planned to financially care for the retirement income and medical needs of older Americans.

At least one Russian helicopter manufacturer is happy, and $1 billion richer via the American taxpayer.

Seems like the wrong people are happy and the right people are unhappy. All the more reason to get term limits put in place for all Federal politicians and find people that can reverse the trend of unhappiness and negative numbers and statistics concerning ordinary American citizens that do not work for the IRS or a Russian helicopter company.

Our depressing adventure of "by the numbers" will continue tomorrow and go on for a number of other posts since the numbers do not lie and there are a lot of bad talking numbers to review.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June, 2013, Politicians Say The Darndest Things, Part 2: Jay Leno, Snoop Dog, NSA Lies, and More

This is the second of a two part series where we review the latest idiotic, out-of-touch, and stupid quotes from members of the American political class. Yesterday, we saw how taxpayers continue to fund sheep issues, how left leaning political figures are turning on the left leaning President of the United States, how a California Congresswoman thought Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were doing a great job despite crashing the economy and other, equally inane quotes and thoughts.

Let's finish this line of discussion today with the second half of insgitful and pitiful quotes from our current politicians:


16) Jay Leno: “Hey, Snoop is back in the news. Not Snoop Dog, Snoop Obama. We wanted to have a President who listened to all Americans…and now we have one.” So, not only are some on the left of the political spectrum turning on this administration, some Hollywood types are also taking their best shots now on every thing from the President’s drone strategy to the shredding of the Fourth Amendment.

17) Magdi Ahmad Hussein, chairman of the Islamic Labor Party, was speaking at what he thought was a private political meeting in Egypt. However, it turns out there was a live microphone in the room that was broadcasting the meeting’s discussion live over the airwaves: “I’m very fond of battles. With the enemies, of course – with America and Israel, but this battle must be waged with maximum judiciousness and calm. Even though this is a secret meeting, we must all take an oath not to leak anything to the media.”

These are the same guys that the Obama administration has already given well over $1 billion worth of jet fighters, tanks, and other aid to, people who consider us their enemies. And down the rabbit hole we go.

18) The governor of Maine, Paul LePage describing one of his political opponents in the state legislature: "He is bad. He has no brains, and he has a black heart." I am sure that these two will shortly put away their differences to reach a common ground for the betterment of the citizens of Maine. Not.

19) President Obama in 2007: “This administration [the Bush administration] also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we provide. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens. No more National Security Letters to spy on citizens who aren’t suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. That is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists.” Hey, we originally believed him when he put forth this defense of the Fourth Amendment.

He followed up this rousing defense of privacy and our rights with the following reassertion a few years later: “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

But, by June, 2013 he had somehow lost this strong defense of our rights and privacy: “It is important to recognize that you can't have 100% security and also then have 100% privacy and zero inconvenience. We are going to have to make some choices as a society. What I can say is that, when evaluating the programs, they make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent terrorist activity." Oops, ignore what I said when I needed your votes. Screw the whole privacy and Fourth Amendment, we need to trample your rights in order to protect your rights

20) Consider the following recent discussion between Congressman Hank Johnson and NSA Director Keith Alexander in light of what we now know, i.e. the Federal government is probably confiscating every single electronics communications of every American every day without a court warrant:

Rep. Johnson: Does the NSA intercept Americans’ cell phone conversations?

Director Alexander: No.

Rep. Johnson: Google searches?

Director Alexander: No.

Rep. Johnson: Text messages?

Director Alexander: No.

Rep. Johnson: Amazon.com orders?

Director Alexander: No.

Rep. Johnson: Bank records?

Director Alexander: No.

Rep. Johnson: What judicial consent is required for NSA to intercept communications and information involving American citizens?

Director Alexander: Within the United States, that would be the FBI lead. If it were a foreign actor in the United States, the FBI would still have to lead. It could work that with NSA or other intelligence agencies as authorized. But to conduct that kind of collection in the United States it would have to go through a court order, and the court would have to authorize it. We’re not authorized to do it, nor do we do it.

As a Director of the NSA, he is either a boldface liar or an incredible out-of-touch leader of the NSA. And President Obama thinks American citizens have a trust issue? How could we not have a trust issue based on such lies as this exchange in front of Congress no less.

21) The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper may have lied to Congress when he told the Senate Congressional committee back in March that the NSA does not gather data on millions of Americans. Consider for yourselve the quotes from this exchange back in March, in front of Congress and under oath, between Senator Ron Wyden and James Clapper:

Wyden: "And this is for you, Director Clapper, again on the surveillance front. And I hope we can do this in just a yes or no answer, because I know Senator Feinstein wants to move on. Last summer the NSA director was at a conference and he was asked a question about the NSA surveillance of Americans. He replied, and I quote here, '... the story that we have millions or hundreds of millions of dossiers on people is completely false.' The reason I'm asking the question is, having served on the committee now for a dozen years, I don't really know what a dossier is in this context. So what I wanted to see is if you could give me a yes or no answer to the question: Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

Clapper: "No, sir."

Wyden: "It does not."

Clapper: "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly."

Wyden: "All right. Thank you. I'll have additional questions to give you in writing on that point, but I thank you for the answer."

How many different ways and different times can different people lie in this administration?

22) Senator Mary Landrieu, scolding a fellow Senator on his idea to build a fence along the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration: “We need to build a smart fence. And a fence is not just a physical structure which could be built out of a variety of different materials with or without barbed wire on the top. A smart fence which is what Sen. McCain and I want to build — since he’s from Arizona, I think he knows more about this than the senator from South Dakota who doesn’t have a border with Mexico, but only Canada and that is quite different."

I know that in my reality, South Dakota does not have a border with Canada. It has a border with North Dakota which has a border with Canada but since South Dakota is SOUTH of NORTH Dakota, the Senator, who somehow got elected to Congress with a minimal amount of knowledge of basic U.S. geography, must live in a different reality than most of us, at least relative to geography.

We certainly live in interesting times:
  • Politicians that continually lie to us and then say we have a trust issue.
  • Politicians that can change their views and positions on issues, depending on the political situation, without even blinking.
  • Left leaning political figures that think the current left leaning President is a terrorist.
  • Countries in the world whose leaders hate us but we still give them billions of taxpayer dollars to continue to hate us.
  • Politicians that have no grasp of simple geography.
  • Politicians that have no concept of reality, whether it is spending millions and millions of dollars on inane Federal programs like sheep improvement centers or who think that corrupt and scandal ridden organizations (e.g. Fannie and Freddie) are actually doing an outstanding job, etc.
Don’t take my word for it, just listen to what they say.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w

Monday, June 24, 2013

June, 2013 - Politicians Say The Darndest Things, Part 1: Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Sarah Palin, and Sheep

Let’s take a break from the depressing discussion we have been having over the past two weeks. This long discussion concerned the shredding of the Fourth Amendment and the destruction of our privacy by the all-encompassing snooping on every American’s electronic communications. It gets depressing just trying to wrap one’s brain around how bad and destructive to liberty our current set of politicians of devolved into.  

Today, let’s have a little fun and review some quotes from politicians and that they have uttered in the recent past. The good thing about politicians when they open their mouths is that you can never predict what nonsense, stupidity, lunacy, or danger they will come out with. It makes you wonder if they and us actually exist in the same world and same reality or if one of us has tripped down the rabbit hole to a whole new dimension where common sense and logic no longer exists.  

The first eleven quotes come from an article on the Independent Journal website that was posted on June 17, 2013. We added in the others from various other sources in the news. So, without further ado, take a look at the people that actually represent our political, liberty, and economic fates:  

1) Democratic Congressman John Larson: "Listen, this is simply not fair to these employees. They are federal employees.” The Congressman was referring to the torture of having Federal employees, including Congressional members and Congressional staffers, having to participate in the hideous Obama Care programs and law.   My goodness, these are Federal employees, they should be treated better and with more deference than the poor slob taxpayers that pay their salaries and HAVE to abide by Obama Care’s onerous rules and regulations.

Come on, Congressman. It was you and your party that voted for this disastrous legislation, be a man and step up and accept the responsibility that comes with that vote, even if it includes having Washington workers being forced into the hideous Obama Care disaster.

 2) Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings: “Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case [IRS harassment] is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on, to be frank with you.” He also claimed that a conservative Republican was behind the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. He has since retracted his statement, which is a good thing since it made absolutely no sense on two levels.  

First, this administration used the IRS as a political tool and weapon, a very serious breech of the law and any trust we still might have had in government integrity. You cannot shrug it off like this Congressman wants to do. It is this kind of behavior that contributed mightily to Nixon getting impeached, this is serious stuff Mr. Cummings. The case has not even been fully opened yet never mind been solved.  

Second, why would a conservative Republican want the IRS to sabotage conservative Republican supporting groups? That accusation is truly not of our reality.  

3) Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL’s New England Patriots on his visit to Russia and meeting the leader of that country: "I took out the [Super Bowl] ring and showed it to [Putin], and he put it on and he goes, 'I can kill someone with this ring, I put my hand out and he put it in his pocket, and three KGB guys got around him and walked out." Seems like Putin would fit right in with the Washington political class, always taking, never giving back to the country.  

4) White House national security spokesman Ben Rhodes on the Obamas' $100 million trip to Africa: “Frankly, there will be a great bang for our buck for being in Africa, because when you travel to regions like Africa that don’t get a lot of presidential attention, you can have very long-standing and long-running impact from the visit.” Africa does not get a lot of Presidential attention because it does not deserve a lot of Presidential attention.  

Mr. Rhodes, let me tell you what does deserve a lot of Presidential attention: a $17 TRILLION national debt, annual spending deficits of over $1 TRILLION, over 20 million Americans either unemployed or under employed, the shredding of the First Amendment and Fourth Amendment by the actions of your administration, a growing lack of trust towards your administration by plenty of Americans, escalating health care costs, the lack of a cohesive national energy program and strategy, unanswered questions about the murder of four brave Americans in Benghazi, the idiotic decision to stick our future, our wealth, our brave service people serving around the world, the mess that is Syria, ….   I do not believe Africa makes the top 25 of Americans’ top concerns at this point in time. And certainly the fact that this little boondoggle trip/family vacation is going to cost upwards of $100 million for little in return makes the trip even more insulting to the American taxpayer.  

5) Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey, lecturing opponent Gabriel Gomez, in their debate for the Massachusetts Senate seat: “It’s really not math. It’s just arithmetic. It’s very simple arithmetic. It’s not as complicated as math.” Well, I guess that clears that up, I think. Mr. Markey, where does statistics fit into this inane math is not arithmetic argument.  

6) Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “We’ve got to make sure that kids – by the time they hit kindergarten – aren’t so far behind that they don’t ever catch up, and by the third grade they may as well drop out because they’re never going to catch up.”

This from a Cabinet Secretary whose own Health and Human Services organization has done extensive studies showing that the pre-school programs currently and historically run by….. the Health And Human Services organizations are totally ineffective in making kids better prepared for kindergarten and upper grades.  

7) President Obama, in light of the fact that the Federal government was secretly doing some very significant snooping on all Americans’ lives: "If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here.” As we said before in this blog, “we” the people do not have any problems with trust, it is all on the side of the political class where the trust problem lies.  

Whether it is Benghazi, the IRS targeting of taxpayers for political purposes, the secret confiscation of reporters’ telephone logs along with the secret tracking of reporters’ activities, and the overwhelming and secret collection and tracking of every Americans’ electronic communications, the lies, cover ups, and feigning ignorance have created this aura of mistrust regarding any politician or their actions.  

“We” do not have a trust problem Mr. President, “you” have the problem and it is of your own making.  

9) Former Presidential candidate Ralph Nader on President Obama:  “Yeah, has there – has there been a bigger con man in the White House than Barack Obama?” Whoa, this is not some crazy Tea Party nut case making this accusation, this is one the most left leaning public figures of our time making this accusation.   It is one thing to have widely differing political positions on issues. It is another thing to think your President is a con artist.  

10) Sarah Palin, at a Freedom and Faith Coalition event on the volatile civil war in Syria, giving a good reason why the U.S. should not be involved: “Let Allah sort them out.” It looks like the current civil war and killing in Syria is boiling down to another vicious conflict between Sunnis and Shites. Apparently, this animosity and violence has been going on between these two religious factions for centuries and President Obama wants to get the U.S. heavily involved.  

And this conflict continues on without any resolution in sight. With these five words, Palin has put together a Middle East policy and strategy that is clearer, better, and far less expensive than anything the current and any previous Presidential administration has tried in the Middle East. All of their efforts cost the American taxpayer their wealth, American service men and service women their lives, and America’s standing its integrity and high reputation.  

11) Sarah Palin speaking about the NSA surveillance: “Our government spied on every single one of your phone calls but couldn’t find two pot-smoking deadbeat Bostonians with a hotline to terrorist central in Chechnya. Really?” Really, even though the Russians had already told our government to look into these guys’ potential for violence and their terrorist connections and the NSA was looking at everyone‘s communications.  

12) Congressman Trey Radel: “The National Sheep Industry Improvement Center gets $1 million in mandatory appropriations and $10 million in discretionary spending every year to promote best practices for an industry that's been perfected since Biblical times. Congress needs to stop counting sheep, wake up and cut bloated programs like this.” Could not agree more, Congressman. Also need to cut the thousands and thousands of other programs like this. This type of idiotic spending is a big driver of our $17 TRILLION national debt.  

13) An oldie but goodie I recently came across from California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, at a 2004 Congressional hearing: “We do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and particularly Fannie Mae, under the outstanding leadership of Frank Raines.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Walters really called this one wrong since 1) Fannie and Freddie and their bad accounting and bad business practices were the primary drivers of the Great Recession four years after this quote was made, 2) Fannie and Freddie have already cost the American taxpayer almost $200 billion to bail them out, and 3) Frank Raines was not an outstanding leader, he was the leader in charge responsible for all of this financial carnage.  

14) Bill Ayers, the former Weather Underground member, ultra left wing political activist, reputedly somewhat of a political mentor to President, and University of Illinois at Chicago professor: “Obama is ‘absolutely’ engaged in terrorist activity by using drones and ‘absolutely’ should be tried for war crimes.” Whoa again. This is also not a Tea Party nut case, this was one from the President’s side calling him a terrorist. Who would have thought we would see the day that Bill Ayers would turn on his own?  

15) MIT professor and author Noam Chomsky: “The Obama administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact, it’s doing it all over the world. Obama, first of all, is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists, maybe in history. The drone assassination campaigns, which are just part of it… All of these operations, they are terror operations.” Whoa again.  

That will do it for today. We will do the second half of quotes from politiciansd tomorrow. Why? Becuase whenever they open their mouths, the hilairty and lunacy never ceases to amaze those of us that live in this reality and not the reality of the political class.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w 
    

Friday, June 21, 2013

Government Gone Wild, Part 9: Three More NSA Whistleblowers Come Forward, Part 2 Of Their Tale Of Bravery

This is the second half of a story we started yesterday where we reviewed the revelations now coming out from three new NSA whistler blowers regarding the intrusive and unprecedented government snooping into all forms of electronic communications of all Americans. This is also the ninth in a series of posts regarding the overall Naitonal Security Agency spying and snooping on Americans, without just cause or due process, and the shredding of the Fourth Amednment of the Constitution.

This second half continues the review of the noteworthy quotes from the three whistleblowers and their USA Today interview:
Radack: “I consider this to be an unlawful order. While I am glad that we finally have something tangible to look at, this order came from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. They have no jurisdiction to authorize domestic-to-domestic surveillance.” Comment: As we have already asserted, secret warrants from secret judges sitting in secret courts with aoo facets breaking the law.

Drake: “For me, it was material evidence of an institutional crime that we now claim is criminal.”

Radack: ‘Congress has been a rubber stamp, basically, and the judicial branch has been basically shut down from hearing these lawsuits because every time they do they are told that the people who are challenging these programs either have no standing or (are covered by) the state secrets privilege, and the government says that they can't go forward. So the idea that we have robust checks and balances on this is a myth.” Comment: checks and balances is a myth, could not agree more regardless of what the President and his surrogates say.

Radack: “The proof is in the pudding. Last year alone, in 2012, they approved 1,856 applications and they denied none. And that is typical from everything that has happened in previous years. ... I know the government has been asserting that all of this is kosher and legitimate because the FISA court signed off on it. The FISA court is a secret court — operates in secret. There is only one side and has rarely disapproved anything.”

Radack: “Even for people in the know, I feel like Congress is being misled.”

Drake: “But see, I am Exhibit No. 1. ...You know, I was charged with 10 felony counts. I was facing 35 years in prison. This is how far the state will go to punish you out of retaliation and reprisal and retribution. ... My life has been changed. It's been turned inside, upside down. I lived on the blunt end of the surveillance bubble. ... When you are faced essentially with the rest of your life in prison, you really begin to understand and appreciate more so than I ever have — in terms of four times I took the oath to support the Constitution — what those rights and freedoms really mean. ... “

Drake: “Well, I feel extraordinary kinship with him [Snowden], given what I experienced at the hands of the government.”

Radack: “I would thank him for taking such a huge personal risk and giving up so much of his life and possibly facing the loss of his life or spending it in jail. Thank him for doing that to try to help our country save it from itself in terms of exposing dark, illegal, unethical, unconstitutional conduct that is being done against millions and millions of people.”

Binney: “Two basic principles you have to use. [to collect data on potential terrorists and protect the Fourth Amednment] ... One is what I call the two-degree principle. If you have a terrorist talking to somebody in the United States — that's the first degree away from the terrorist. And that could apply to any country in the world. And then the second degree would be who that person in the United States talked to. So that becomes your zone of suspicion. And the other one (principle) is you watch all the jihadi sites on the Web and who's visiting those jihadi sites, who has an interest in the philosophy being expressed there. And then you add those to your zone of suspicion. Everybody else is innocent — I mean, you know, of terrorism, anyway.” Comment: reasonable approach to keeping freedom intact and the citizens secure in this age of terrorism which we do not want to morph into the age of liberty destruction.

Drake: “It's been within our capabilities [to operate with these liberty safeguards] for well over 12 years.” Comment: which raises the obvious question: why were these safeguard capabilities not used?

Drake: ‘This (kind of surveillance) is all unnecessary. It is important to note that the very best of American ingenuity and inventiveness, creativity, had solved the major challenge problem the NSA faced: How do you make sense of vast amounts of data, provide the information you need to protect the nation, while also protecting the fundamental rights that are enshrined in the Constitution?” Comment: which gets us back to the old saying: just because you can does not mean you should. Just because you can collect and store EVERY piece of electronic communications from every American, the vast, vast amount are innocent of any wrongdoing does not mean you should, especially when more effective and targeted approaches are available.

Binney: “But when it comes to these data, the massive data information collecting on U.S. citizens and everything in the world they can, I guess the real problem comes with trust. That's really the issue. The government is asking for us to trust them.“

Binney: “It's not just the trust that you have to have in the government. It's the trust you have to have in the government employees, (that) they won't go in the database — they can see if their wife is cheating with the neighbor or something like that.” Comment: that this is the second major flaw in this strategy of secretly tracking everyone: not only is it unnecessary but the potential for abuse by government employees and government politicians is immense with very little positive benefit back to society.

Wow, scary and fascinating stuff. I applaud these newly identified whistle blowers and the others, Edward Snowden, Maxine Walters, and  Shia LaBeouf who also have done their part in exposing the massive attack on privacy and Fourth Amendment rights in this country. They have sacrificed personal and professional safety and careers to do the right thing.

There is a way to do this electronic surveillance without persecuting, tracking, and spying on every Americans’ communications like Big Brother would do in an Orwellian world. These experts have shown how to do it. Do we want to allow the non-experts in Congress and the White House to convince us that their creepy and all surveillance all the time approach is the only effective way to fight terrorism?

I for one would trust these brave whistleblower experts way before I would trust a Washington politician, given their recent and historical tendency to just plain out lie to our faces. That is why we continue to focus on the need for term limits for Washington politicians. They have gotten use into this liberty sapping situation for reasons that we now know from these data systems experts is totally unnecessary.


Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Government Gone Wild, Part 8: Three More NSA Whistleblowers Come Forward, Part One Of Their Tale Of Their Bravery

This is the ninth installment in a series on government snooping and the destruction of the Fourth Amendment as it pertains to the Federal government and the NSA’s confiscating just about every form of electronic communications of every American under the false guise of fighting terrorism. This Orwellian and creepy snooping has resulted in skyrocketing book sales of George Orwell’s dismal prediction of a future dictatorship in this country in the novel, “1984.”

In fact, you can still take the quiz that asks you to choose whether a certain aspect of government intrusion and spying is from Orwell or from the Obama administration at the following link:

http://www.loathemygovernment.blogspot.com/2013/06/government-gone-wild-part-4-orwell-or.html

The first installment in this seemingly never ending review of the Fourth Amendment destruction can be accessed at:

http://www.loathemygovernment.blogspot.com/2013/06/government-gone-wild-part-1-verizon.html

Today’s discussion focuses on three more NSA whistle blowers who have come forward to verify that the original whistle blower, Edward Snowden, who truly upended the apple cart of government snooping secrecy, was correct in his facts and in his actions to come forward as a concerned American who was scared about us losing our freedom and privacy to the Federal government.

This now brings the total number of outed whistle blowers on this administration’s secret surveillance of Americans to at least six. We have Snowden and the three new NSA whistle blowers. We have California Congresswoman Maxine Walters who publicly told the world in February that Obama had a giant database containing every American’s electronic communications. We also have Shia LaBeouf who told Jay Leno in a 2008 interview that an FBI movie consultant told him that the government was listening in on up to 20% of Americans’ phone calls, an assertion that is in complete conflict with President Obama’s claim that the government was NOT listening to our phone calls.

The claims and accusations made by the three new NSA whistleblowers are just as scary and dire as Snowden’s. They were interviewed together in a June 16, 2013 USA Today article and interview. The entire article can be accessed at:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/06/16/snowden-whistleblower-nsa-officials-roundtable/2428809/

Some of their more serious assertions and claims from the article are just as creepy and scary as Snowden’s:
  • Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Wiebe worked for the National Security Agency for many, many years and actually were deeply involved in developing the very systems that are now snooping on every American without due process or cause.
  • According to the article, for years the three whistle-blowers had told anyone who would listen that the NSA collects huge swaths of communications data from unwary U.S. citizens with their audiences ranging from their immediate supervisors to Congressional committees to Federal investigators, and now the news media.
  • Although they had spent decades in the upper management levels of the NSA designing and managing the current data-collection systems, they are speaking out now because they now believe their systems and work have been turned against Americans.
  • Like Snowden and the brave State Department employees who spoke out because of the unnecessary murders of four innocent Americans at the Benghazi consulate, these three brave Americans have also been investigated as criminals and forced to give up careers, reputations and friendships built over a lifetime of serving America.
  • Drake: “And we are seeing the initial outlines and contours of a very systemic, very broad, a Leviathan surveillance state and much of it is in violation of the fundamental basis for our own country — in fact, the very reason we even had our own American Revolution. And the Fourth Amendment for all intents and purposes was revoked after 9/11. …” Comment: Destruction of the Fourth Amendment, as witnessed by insiders who were close to the mechanism that did the destruction.
  • Radack: “He [Snowden] is someone who exposed broad waste, abuse and in his case illegality. ... And he also said he was making the disclosures for the public good and because he wanted to have a debate.”
  • Binney: “Ever since ... 1997-1998 ... those terrorists have known that we've been monitoring all of these communications all along. So they have already adjusted to the fact that we are doing that. So the fact that it is published in the U.S. news that we're doing that, has no effect on them whatsoever. They have already adjusted to that.” Comment: Which gets to our position yesterday, do we really think that the terrorists are that stupid to use basic, unencrypted communications modes?
  • Drake: “I mean, it's [the Verizon secret court order to give up telephone information] the first time we've publicly seen an actual, secret, surveillance-court order. I don't really want to call it "foreign intelligence" (court) anymore, because I think it's just become a surveillance court, OK? And we are all foreigners now. By virtue of that order, every single phone record that Verizon has is turned over each and every day to NSA. There is no probable cause. There is no indication of any kind of counterterrorism investigation or operation. It's simply: "Give us the data." ... “ Comment: Scary observation and actual fact that we are now all “foreigners” in our own country.
  • Drake and Binney: “One is that the FBI requesting the data. And two, the order directs Verizon to pass all that data to NSA, not the FBI. What it is really saying is the NSA becomes a processing service for the FBI to use to interrogate information directly. ... The implications are that everybody's privacy is violated, and it can retroactively analyze the activity of anybody in the country back almost 12 years.”
  • Binney: “Now, the other point that is important about that is the serial number of the order: 13-dash-80. That means it's the 80th order of the court in 2013. ... Those orders are issued every quarter, and this is the second quarter, so you have to divide 80 by two and you get 40. If you make the assumption that all those orders have to deal with companies and the turnover of material by those companies to the government, then there are at least 40 companies involved in that transfer of information. However, if Verizon, which is Order No. 80, and the first quarter got order No. 1 — then there can be as many as 79 companies involved.” Comment: So the assertion by this administration that only top line telephone call information and only Verizon information was confiscated is probably bogus.
That concludes the first half of the story that these three brave whistleblower/American heroes told USA Today. We will conclude their stories and insights tomorrow along with our conclusions of what needs to be done to fix this liberty sapping situation.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Government Gone Wild, Part 7 - Government Spying Success Stories That Are Not Success Stories

This is the seventh in a series of “government gone wild” posts regarding the unprecedented spying on Americans by the Federal government that has come to light over the past few weeks. This effort has resulted in gross violations of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights and intrusion into the privacy of every American citizen.

This scandal has drawn realistic comparisons to the Big Brother entity in George Orwell’s novel, “1984,” which is not a good thing. Big Brother was the symbol of an all-encompassing dictatorial regime that squashed every citizens’ freedom. With recent disclosure that the Obama administration was using the assets and information of the IRS to destroy, harass, and hinder the First Amendment rights of those political opponents who dared to have a difference of opinion with his polices, this Orwell analogy takes on even greater validity.

Which gets us today’s two questions of discussion:
  1. Given that this widespread snooping and invasion of privacy was immoral and unconstitutional, was it even effective?
  2. What could would-be terrorists do to avoid this massive data snatch?
1) The website, Liberty Update did an article on June 11, 2013 that listed several ways that an American could minimize the intrusion and snooping by the government into one’s electronic communications:
  • To keep one’s internet browsing history private, a person could go into private mode on their Web browsers, most of which have the ability to allow you to search privately, without cookies being used to track your movements; you could also use browser extensions like Ghostery, Abine’s Do Not Track and AVG’s Do Not Track that prevent “invisible” entities from tracking searches as well. You can hide your IP address at a higher level of security by hiding your computer’s IP address entirely using several commercially available services such as, Hot Spot Shield, which is a VPN (virtual private network) software, and the search engine StartPage. The website says you can go hard core with ‘Tor’ which is free software that enables not only browsing that is anonymous but it encrypts data transport and doesn’t reveal a user’s location or how long they were browsing.
  • To keep one’s files secure, the website suggests not using cloud computing resources.
  • To secure your mobile phone information from snooping you can use a technology such as TrustChip, which is placed into the micro SD slot of your mobile phone device for mobile phone activity encryption.
  • According to the article, the Washington Post recently pointed to online telephone service Silent Circle, a Skype-like service, which has been proven to have end-to-end encryption of information without any backdoors for wiretapping.
  • To avoid having you movements tracked by tracing your cell phone locations, simply leaving your cell phone home will disguise where you have physically been.
I am not going to execute any of these steps since I believe that as an American, I should not have to shield my electronic communications from the government. However, if this type of encryption and disguising information is so readily available online, do we really think that potential terrorists are not already taking these steps to hide their intentions from the NSA?

2) On June 14, 2013, the Associated Press ran a similar article that showed the various ways to hide your electronic activities from the government:
  • For emails, the article recommends using PGP, which is an abbreviation for “Pretty Good Privacy.” PGP is so good that the U.S. government tried to block its export in the mid-1990s, stating that the software was so powerful it should be classed as a weapon.
  • The article also recommends using TOR or leaving your cell phone behind to disguise activities.
  • Another suggestion is to not use credit cards, paying with cash instead, since the cards’ usage is easily tracked and various news stories have asserted that the Federal government has already been tracking credit card purchase patterns.
  • The AP writers suggest not storing your computer data within the United States since it might be subjected to U.S. laws and warrants, with Iceland being a suggested place to park you information.
Again, if the Associated Press knows about these methods to concealing one’s electronic activity, is the Federal government so na├»ve to think potential terrorists do not also know about these safeguards? And given that many of these terrorists are sponsored by rogue nations, e.g. Iran, these nations might have provided even more sophisticated methods to hiding one’s electronic tracks.

3) According to an extensive investigative article in the U.K. Guardian newspaper on June 12, 2013, the Obama administration’s assertion that the NSA snooping program called PRISM was a major reason why authorities were led to the arrest and convict would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks India.

Two Washington politicians, Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, and her equivalent in the House, Mike Rogers, have been the Washington political class cheerleaders of this premise. According to the article Rogers made his assertion of how vlauable he NSA PRISM data spying program was on an ABC news show this past weekend and that other administration officials have been planting the same seed behind closed doors.

However, the Guardian’s investigation uncovered the exact opposite, i.e. the PRISM contribution to the arrests and convictions were a minor part, if that, in the whole operation to prevent terrorism. Their extensive work can be accessed at:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/12/nsa-surveillance-data-terror-attack?guni=Network+front%3Anetwork-front+aux-1+top-stories-1%3ABento+box+8+col%3APosition1%3Asublinks


As usual, the mainstream press in the U.S. is not following up on this story and doing the good, solid journalism work that the Guardian and other british newspapers have been doing int his area. Rather than review their extensive work here. I will pull out a few conclusions and quotes from the Guardian and allow you peruse the entire article on your own:
  • “But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programs played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots.”
  • “Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations.“
  • “But the lawyer said he was skeptical that mass data sweeps could explain what led law enforcement to Zazi.”
  • "The government says that it does not monitor content of these communications in its data collection. So I find it hard to believe that this would have uncovered Zazi's contacts with a known terrorist in Pakistan," Dowling said.
  • ‘An intelligence expert and former CIA operative, who asked to remain anonymous because he had been directly involved in the Headley case, was derisive about the claim that data-mining sweeps by the NSA were key to the investigation. "That's nonsense. It played no role at all in the Headley case. That's not the way it happened at all," he said.'
  • “The intelligence expert said that it was a far more ordinary lead that ensnared Headley. British investigators spotted him when he contacted an informant.”
  • “Headley was also subject to a plethora of more conventionally obtained intelligence that questions the central role claimed for the NSA's data sweeps behind his arrest.”
You get the idea, and you can get the full details at the site listed above. If you believe the Guardian’s investigation, the NSA snooping had little to do with serving justice in these two cases, it was basically traditional, street level, intelligence gathering, informant creating work that broke these two cases, not massive anonymous NSA data sweeps. If these are the BEST examples that this administration can come up with to justify the destruction of the Fourth Amendment, then I would say they have a very weak case.

4) And finally ask yourself this: if this program is so good, how come it did not detect the two young Chechnyans that blew up the finish line at the Boston Marathon, even though foreign intelligence services had already told the U.S. intelligence community to be on the lookout for them?

If this program is so good, how come it did not identify the Fort Hood shooter ahead of time, before he killed about a dozen soldiers and citizens and wounded dozens of others, even though this terrorist was in electronic contact with a known terrorist leader in Yemen?

If this program is so good, how come it did not prevent David Headley and his cohorts from pulling off the massive terror attack in Mumbai? Why claim success with him, like the administration is doing, when success did not result in the loss of life and destruction of property in the Mumbai attacks?

I keep going back to the quote we showed in this series from a former head of the Israeli intelligence service. He said in the war on terror, you can win all the battles and still lose the war. If we allow these types of government electronic communications intrusions and the destruction of our privacy to continue, we will still lose the war since we ourselves would have destroyed our freedom and liberty from within, even if the supposed outcome of the Big Brother snooping was effective, which apparently it is not.

Our book, "Love My Country, Loathe My Government - Fifty First Steps To Restoring Our Freedom And Destroying The American Political Class" is now available at:

www.loathemygovernment.com

It is also available online at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Please pass our message of freedom onward. Let your friends and family know about our websites and blogs, ask your library to carry the book, and respect freedom for both yourselves and others everyday.

Please visit the following sites for freedom:

http://www.reason.com/
http://www.cato.org
http://www.robertringer.com/
http://realpolichick.blogspot.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08j0sYUOb5w