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Echoes and Mirrors » neo government

Archive for the ‘neo government’ Category

The best news I’ve heard in some time

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

NSA eavesdropping was illegal, judge says

In the strongest legal repudiation yet of the George W. Bush administration’s program of warrantless wiretapping, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Wednesday that the National Security Agency acted illegally by eavesdropping on the phone conversations of two American lawyers and an Islamic charity.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker said that the lawyers and the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation — plaintiffs in a high-profile lawsuit challenging the now-abandoned Terrorist Surveillance Program — are entitled to damages because of the government’s actions.

Well, that’s a breath of fresh air. Legal precedents are nice and all, but it remains to be seen as to whether this will really be upheld or simply create a black-hole of wiretapping paperwork (i.e. they keep doing it, just without making the requests or reporting anything). Of course, that’s probably always been the case to some extent. Most likely, the way I see it (which means, well, squat), is they simply can’t continue or commence any insanely large operations anymore.

The whole idea of domestic surveillance really brings out the necessity for tin-foil hats in me.


Liberating Legislation?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

House Clears Path for Final Health Vote

“It’s liberating legislation,” Ms. Pelosi said. “It’s to free Americans to live their passion, reach their aspirations without being job-locked because they have to have health care, especially if they have someone in their family with a pre-existing condition.”

It’ll liberate money from my pocket, if nothing else. I don’t have health insurance and I don’t particularly want any at the moment. I’m young and healthy. I’m also unemployed (I do have income from the G.I. Bill, which is enough to pay for living expenses and a few beers every month) and not in a position to pay for it, cheaply provided by the government or not.

I’m just going to ignore it until somebody knocks on my door and says, “obey, citizen.” I’ll do it in lieu of fines or jail, I suppose (unless the fines cost less). Jail sucks more than being pestered by the government.

But what really bothers me is Pelosi’s gross misinterpretation of the word ‘liberty,’ because it obviously doesn’t mean the same thing to me as it does to her. I suspect her definition of ‘opportunity’ got mixed up in it somewhere, but I’m not sure. Without this ‘reform’ bill, I had the liberty to decide for myself how my health care was taken care of. With it, I don’t (well, I do, but ‘nothing’ is no longer an option). Plain and simple.

Obviously, having health coverage is better than not. But it’s the principle of not being told what to do as if I were a child. My position is certainly not representative of most Americans, socially or economically speaking. But each and every one of us is being treated like a child, and that should piss people off.

Also, the best solution is for everyone to embrace this and suck the teat of the government until it is dry, force the system to collapse and usher in an era of civil war, godless anarchy and utter failure. The fall of the Roman Empire will be a joke compared to this and mark my words: post-collapse America will be the biggest, most dangerous and most fun party you will ever attend. It will be awesome.


Is this a good thing? (Tyranny of the Majority is coming to town)

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

David Brooks in the NY Times: (via Reason)

The country is evenly divided about President Obama, but state governments are in disrepute and confidence in Congress is at withering lows. As Frank Newport of the Gallup organization noted in his year-end wrap-up, “Americans have less faith in their elected representatives than ever before.”

A tanking economy and rife injustice will do that.

The public is not only shifting from left to right. Every single idea associated with the educated class has grown more unpopular over the past year.
The educated class believes in global warming, so public skepticism about global warming is on the rise. The educated class supports abortion rights, so public opinion is shifting against them. The educated class supports gun control, so opposition to gun control is mounting.

Now that frightens me.

The tea party movement is a large, fractious confederation of Americans who are defined by what they are against. They are against the concentrated power of the educated class. They believe big government, big business, big media and the affluent professionals are merging to form self-serving oligarchy — with bloated government, unsustainable deficits, high taxes and intrusive regulation.

I think they simply want to vote for an underdog. The tea party thing might have started off with LP roots (which were quickly misattributed to the the GOP) but it quickly took a life of its own.

But the whole thing reeks of anti-intellectualism. Because intellectualism is a threat to Judeo-Christian morality. A common trope in America is that Colleges are liberal, and thus, the educated class tends to lean that direction. The University system is apparently pumping out tons of baby-killing, gun-banning, illegal immigrant hugging hippies. (Never mind that a lot of these folks have either attended college themselves or want their kids to so they can succeed in life, or whatever that entails.)

I’ve always pretty much believed that most people know what they like and don’t like by time they are adults. However, they have no idea how that scales up in politics and don’t vote accordingly. Or they simply vote based on the impression of what they like.

They don’t want taxes (neither do I) but they still want their social security, because they’ve been paying into it for 20 years (I don’t care either way and I don’t want it). They want the state to enforce noise ordinances, get rid of drugs, stop women from whoring, protect us from terrorists, but they don’t want a police state.

And the inclusion of anti-vaccine, 9/11 truthers, birthers, anti-abortion soccer moms, etc., it just seems to be a angry mob. There is no direction or ideology. And they don’t understand what they want because they reject intellectualism and the study of political philosophy. They want liberty, and even if they don’t know what that means they are going to rabble-rabble until they get it.

But it’s probably nothing new. Politicians have always gone for the “just one of the regular folks” angle. I’ve always asked, “why in the fuck would I want to vote for someone like that?” I wouldn’t trust most people with a class of high-school kids, let alone a government position that puts them in charge of much more costly and dangerous shit.

The mobilus vulgaris is coming and it seems like a good time for tin-foil hats.


DoD Training Manual Describes Protest As "Low-Level Terrorism"

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Pentagon training course says engaging in First Amendment is terrorist activity

Steve Watson

Current Department of Defense anti-terrorism training course material states that the exercise of First Amendment rights in the U.S. constitutes terrorist activity.

The ACLU has written to the DoD regarding its Antiterrorism and Force Protection Annual Refresher Training Course, which advises personnel that political protest amounts to “low-level terrorism”.

“It has come to our attention that the Department of Defense’s Annual Level I Antiterrorism (AT) Training for 2009 misinforms Department of Defense (DoD) personnel that certain First Amendment-protected activity may amount to “low level terrorism” The ACLU writes.

“We are writing to ask that you take immediate steps to remedy this situation.” the letter to acting Under-Secretary Gail McGinn states.

A PDF of the ACLU’s letter also contains print outs of the relevant sections of the course material.

The training introduction reads:

“Anti-terrorism (AT) and Force Protection (FP) are two facets of the Department of Defense (DoD) Mission Assurance Program. It is DoD policy, as found in DoD I 2000.16, that the DoD Components and the DoD elements and personnel shall be protected from terrorist acts through a high priority, comprehensive, AT program. The DoD’s AT program shall be all encompassing using an integrated systems approach.”

The first question of the Terrorism Threat Factors, “Knowledge Check 1” section reads:

Which of the following is an example of low-level terrorism activity?

Select the correct answer and then click Check Your Answer.

Attacking the Pentagon
Hate crimes against racial groups
In order to proceed, users must give the “correct” answer as “Protests”.

According to the document, all DoD personnel are required to complete the course on a yearly basis