PRISM: Obama Didn’t End Illegal Spying, He Extended It

“There are no checks and balances here, and we’ve got to restore them.” Sensenbrenner, Republican who drafted the Patriot Act II.

Sensenbrenner pointed out the government administration can monitor who journalists are in contact with, in order to avoid criticism. They’ve done the same with protesters, such as those participating in Occupy Wall Street.

Obama could have ended the Patriot Act in 2011, or at the very least exposed the illegal spying on all Americans’ electronic communications, but he signed the bill with an autopen instead. There were not 2/3rds of the House and Senate voting in favour of the Act, so he could have vetoed it. He didn’t, and he’ll wear that mistake, because he re-authorized an out-of-control NSA.

“The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.”

He’s been lying about it:
“Obama said that a second program collecting global internet traffic only applies to foreigners. “This does not apply to US citizens and it does not apply to people in the United States,” he said.”

If you need to read a Republican’s take on the Patriot Act, here’s McConnell. It’s very hard to stomach, with all the gloating and scaremongering.

It’s difficult to believe this story is a month old, and no one in the US Government has been charged with a crime. Assange is correct in saying the Rule of Law has collapsed in America. Continue reading

PRISM: NSA Watching the Innocent

Technology and civil liberty experts knew PRISM was a very real possibility. I knew, and wrote about it last August. The National Security Agency (NSA) (star bad guy org. in the Will Smith movie Enemy of the State) has been collecting domestic Americans’ phone and Internet records since at least 2007. This activity is a clear violation of the American Constitution, and was overseen by Bush II, Obama, Al Franken, and other high level leaders who’ve betrayed the trust of Americans and broken the law.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who also serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Bloomberg that the “[the] idea that a 29-year-old individual with so little experience” had access to the material Snowden did is “absolutely shocking.”

What’s shocking is Senator Collins, who is ignorant as sin. Seven years younger, and a year from a computer science degree, I had similar security clearance to Snowden (in Canada). Of course, I never saw the sort of gross violations of law observed by Snowden, and Canada at that time had an effective Commissioner designed to protect Canadians from secretive surveillance programs that ended up collecting intel from out-of-bounds citizens.

So what can you and I do? Give up Facebook and Skype? Don’t use a Verizon phone at either end of a conversation? Vote Republican? Vote Democrat? Vote Liberal? None of those options will protect you or enhance your life, so what can we do? The party system in the US, and Canada, is not protecting citizens from overbearing governments. The US surveillance state convinced supposed good-guys like Obama and Franken that the illegal spy scheme they inherited wasn’t worth exposing or even shutting down.

We first of all have to defend the people who leak evidence of crimes to responsible media like Glenn Greenwald who helped break this story into the international press.

People like Bradley Manning, and Ed Snowden are people who’ve done heroic things to uphold the highest laws of their country, while people more powerful than them try to use lesser laws to punish their actions.
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ConCalls: Kinsella in 2011 guessed #RoboCon

I don’t normally link to Sun, or Kinsella, but it’s worth taking a look this time, I promise.

While researching the cut brake lines that Elections Canada never found a culprit for, I stumbled across Kinsella’s 2011 correct prediction that there was widespread and elaborate voter suppression in the May 2011 vote.

ConCalls: Whose Strategy was on Your Front Porch?

We can’t keep letting Pierre Poutine get the credit for masterminding a national vote suppression conspiracy. Poutine is a side dish, not a main course. There’s no evidence that Poutine’s idea was the first, or the best, in an apparent illegal effort last year to benefit the Conservatives electoral chances at a majority government. As Terry Milewski pointed out on The House last weekend, the idea of widespread voter suppression schemes appears to have spread like “a virus” through different campaigns. Some ridings were robocalled, and others live-called. Some of the calls pretended to be Liberals, Elections Canada, and others admitted their Conservative origin. How are those local riding campaigns connected so that an idea-virus could spread amongst more than 90 of the 308? What people are the common links between the impacted ridings with obvious electoral fraud efforts (for which we have recorded audio evidence, affidavits, and newspaper/TV interviews)? It was reported as widespread robocalls, by CTV and CBC on election day last year.

It could be as Milewski speculated, that each campaign shared information with others directly. Or there could have been a national campaign strategy, which the Conservative national campaign team denies. They didn’t yet deny that there wasn’t another national campaign team, one targeting specific ridings, but if they did confirm this, they’d certainly deny knowing about anything unseemly happening. Has the media or Elections Canada questioned these other national campaigners, through which an idea-virus may have been spread?

There seems to be further rumbling [from Conservatives] that any calls that went out from ridings were the work of riding workers and there was no central effort.

So why then, do you need this [TSMU]?

On a somewhat related topic:

Why didn’t Elections Canada notice or care that an Ohio company, Front Porch Strategies, was being billed for elections work? Canada’s Elections Act may need updating for the 21st Century, where it’s darn hard to avoid electronic involvement of the United States in our elections, but it could certainly have something still to say about Americans phone canvassing, and door knocking for Conservative MPs.

ADDED: What about a Spaniard doing an hour of work for an Edmonton CPC campaign, according to RackNine?

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RoboKhan And Other Images

I hope you can make use of some of these cheeky images that could help depict the RoboCon Robocalls scandal that is sweeping the nation. Hey, our democracy is a worldwide joke, so we may as well laugh a little. Beats crying.
RoboCon, The Robocalls scandal in Canada, March 2012
RoboKhaaaan!

*Saskboy takes a quick bow for the pun*

Conservative Hide by The Wingnutterer
Hide!
Made in the USA by Republican Party

And now for some very powerful articles, on the most serious Canadian crisis of democracy since The War Measures Act, or Meech Lake/Charlottetown Accord.

These articles fit together so well. I read Alison’s first, then Caplan’s in the Globe.
And holy poop, Caplan’s is a well written article. Read the first page too, it’s worth it. You’ll learn why there are many politically aware Canadians who distrust Harper, and what’s at stake.

RoboCon may come to be known as Robogate. Some of the criminals behind Watergate think that Robocon is worse than what they did.

Last word on this goes to Nixon Watergate dirty trickster Donald Segretti, yesterday.
His assessment? : “Worse than Watergate.”

“We never tried to do something that would, at the end of the day, take away the right of somebody to vote,” he said. “That goes beyond a prank. It’s just wrong, on many levels.”

Their dirty tricks campaign, Mr. Segretti claimed, was designed to disrupt the Democrats, not hoodwink voters.”

What does he know, eh?

Canada will contribute $5 million to the OAS’ Hemispheric Electoral Assistance Initiative, a program that seeks to help countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to improve the transparency and effectiveness of their elections, including organization, administration and spending. Support to the OAS will increase its ability to rapidly deploy election observers, leading to increased voter confidence in the democratic processes and institutions of their country.

(emphasis added)
$5 million that could have been put toward Elections Canada investigations last year! We spend millions to clean up other countries who have this sort of poop going on in their elections. Elections Canada told Canadians last year (and in 2008), that there was nothing they could do to catch or punish those responsible for fake Elections Canada robocalls.

We have Canadian Forces, and elections experts who assist other countries in conducting free and fair elections, where goons will not be allowed to intimidate or block people from voting. Meanwhile, we have shadowy forces in Canada blocking people, and harassing them under fraudulent identities, to prevent them from voting. Isn’t that a sign of contempt for our armed forces, our democracy, and our freedom, from whomever Pierre Poutine and their merry henchmen are? Send the army after Poutine. Pull out the stops. Our democracy is at stake! As Caplan noted, this is war.
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DenialGate – Climate Change Deniers Take a Major Blow – UPDATED

You may have heard about Climategate, the stolen emails that showed some scientists were so concerned about climate change that they were willing to distort their findings so they would be more sensational? Welcome to Denialgate, which reveals some of the secrets of one of the shadowy, billionaire funded, AstroTurf think-tanks who has driven scientists to desperate levels of PR to get the truth into people’s heads.

DeSmogBlog has documents you can go through that will help confirm that doubt around climate change is entirely contrived by the 1%, the billionaires who control public debate through mass media and media manipulation.

Forbes and other business press are favored outlets for Heartland’s dissemination of climate denial messages, and the group is worried about maintaining that exclusive space. They note in particular the work of Dr. Peter Gleick:

“Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”

(emphasis added)

Ha Ha!
Ha Ha!

-Confirmation that skeptic blogger Anthony Watts is part of Heartland’s funded network of misinformation communicators.

“We have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.”

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/15/some-notes-on-the-heartland-leak

An AstroTurf agency called Heartland accidentally leaked was tricked into giving its secrets to a third party (Peter) who leaked them to DeSmogBlog. A multi-millionaire (or billionaire), who is still anonymous, gives the agency more than $1M/year to operate, as do the Koch brothers who give hundreds of thousands.
Their purpose is to create doubt about science regarding climate change.
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Weathermen For Republicans

Most people don’t trust their weather forecaster celebrities to be correct more than 50% of the time. I just made up that statistic, the same way many weathermen have done with comments about climate change during their forecasts.

2011 broke nearly every storm record there was to be broken, and it was the first time in recorded history we’ve had two years in a row with more than 18 storms in the hurricane season. But if you were to listen to the TV weather reports of Justin Berk of WMAR-TV in Baltimore, or Bob Breck of WVUE-TV New Orleans, or Dave Dahl of KSTP-TV Minneapolis you would think this was nothing to be alarmed about.

These and dozens of other weatherman across the nation do not believe in climate change. Yes that’s right — weathermen (and yes they are all men as noted by ThinkProgress) the guys who are supposed to know the most about what causes weather — seem to be in denial about the overwhelming scientific concensus on climate change.

If you’ve caught any local weatherpeople distorting the facts on climate change, please leave a comment with a date and description of the incident, and perhaps email the CRTC too.

On Groundhog Day, it’s a perfect day to recognize that forecasters don’t always know what they are doing. ( Pointed out by @neiltyson )