Saturday, June 8, 2013

Silly Bits V

Since the Administration has had a couple of problems with spying on the US press (the Associated Press and Fox News to be specific).  It therefore seemed only fitting that the latest leak of information (ill-timed for the Administration) that the NSA is collecting data on many of the rest of us came from "The Guardian", an English paper.  Good show old boys and welcome to the party! Tea anyone?

Congratulations on not only scooping your American counterparts on yet another potential PR nightmare for the current Administration, but for creating a new level of national paranoia that we can only be hoped will be covered under the Affordable Care Act.  According to responses from the President and other Administration spokespeople, all of this has been done according to law and under the auspices of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court.  (Evidently FISA is like VISA, 'everywhere you want to be'.

*  According to information being touted on the Sunday talks shows, over 99.9% of FISA warrant requests have been approved by its judges.  Can you say 'rubber stamp'?

Now I'm a Verizon customer and a Google user, so I probably don't have anything left in the way of secrets where the government is concerned.  No wait, I forget that I was told that they weren't listening in on my calls or reading my emails by the same government who lied about a reporter being a 'co-conspirator' and went to three judges before they could get a warrant issued and also lied when they told me that they weren't having the IRS target conservative groups.  So naturally I believe them when they tell me that they aren't going to intrude on my privacy or keep any private data from my phone or Internet use at the same time that they're building a massive new data storage facility in Utah.

Jesse Jackson Jr may be getting four years in prison after pleading guilty to engaging in a scheme to misuse $750,000 of his campaign contributions on personal items.  Not only is the government looking for that same $750,000 in the way of restitution, but they're also looking for $168,000 in re-imbursement from his wife Sandra; who was receiving a $5,000 per month consulting fee on top of her six-figure salary as a Chicago alderman.  On the bright side, Jesse and his wife may not have to serve their prison sentences at the same time, which would keep their two children from being parent-less, even temporarily.  

With the example of 3 of the last 4 Illinois governors serving or having served time (including Rod Blagojevich,  in a case in which Rep Jackson was at least incidentally involved, though no charges were filed), Jesse Jr was apparently incapable of finding someone in this capital of malfeasance to create a workable paper trail to hide behind.  (What is Chicago coming to these  days?)  His dramatic attempt to drop off the radar and hint at a breakdown was a fair enough strategy, but it came far too late in the game and was poorly played.   

One can only imagine how disappointed that his father is.  After all, Jesse Jr was not only raised in one of the greatest schools of political corruption anywhere in the world ... Chicago, but apparently either didn't apply himself to his lessons or was simply incapable retaining successful strategies while being mentored by an expert on living with dubious expenses.  Jesse Sr has lived, after all, rather well for longer than Jr has been alive, in spite of a holding politically commendable, but financially questionable jobs which earned him a lavish lifestyle that would be the envy of many CEO's.  

Pakistan summoned US Ambassador Richard Hoagland to its Foreign Office today.  Evidently the new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif wasn't happy over the fact that the US decided to pop off a couple of missiles launched off a drone into his country, killing seven people, without letting bothering to let his government know about it. But what the heck can concepts like national sovereignty mean when you're fighting a war on terror that actually hasn't existed for some time according the same Administration pulling the trigger? 

Now normally I would be concerned over the contradiction of terms involved with such an act and terrified over the long term implications of any government's use of such technology.  Fortunately, MY government has told me that while it's the same government which has come to heavily rely on the concept of remote control 'rub-outs'; it's now going to review the use of such technology.  (Though perhaps the review has more to do with a NBC story revealing that of a review of CIA records concludes that our government couldn't confirm the identity of 25% of the people they killed in drone strikes.)  I know that I, the 25% we can't identify, and the 'incidental casualties' will certainly be comforted by the idea that someone in our government is gong to get to the bottom of this.

Hey!  Maybe they could get the same people in the Administration who are going recommend legislation to Congress to protect the press from the DOJ that has recently targeted them from the DOJ itself to help on this other project before somebody escalates the war on AP and Fox News into drone attacks.

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