Earlier today a quote from an aide to Sen. Marco Rubio snuck out and generated commentary all over.
‘There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,’ a Rubio aide told me. ‘There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.’
But you can and should therefore legislate the job market so that these Americans who can’t cut it and aren’t stars will never get a decent job in their lives…?
Matt Lewis: Gee, it’s true, not everyone American is a stah!
Erick Erickson: Eh, let’s still give Rubio the benefit of the doubt.
Way to miss the point by a mile, guys. The first comment is classing trolling of one’s own audience. The second is way too generous given Rubio’s recent antics.
The aide’s comment drips with contempt both for American workers and for the rule of law. It’s another in the long line of “we need to legalize illegal aliens because they do jobs Americans won’t do.” Only here, the Rubio aide has added “can’t” to “won’t.” That’s a huge leap to make, and it says a lot about what that aide thinks of many American workers. They’re unwilling to work, and stupid to boot.
Look, I have no doubt that there are lots of Americans out there who are both lazy and stupid. American citizenship =/= sainthood. Liberal commenters come here and throw down the race card for any and every reason, serving up proof that both laziness and stupidity are alive and well in the US of A. That’s no excuse for government to then go out and legislate in millions of non-American workers to compete with American workers, violating the rule of law and insulting legal immigrants along the way. At any rate, just as not every American is a stah!, not every illegal alien who comes to America is a plucky, hard-working dreamer who’s just trying to get by. The hole through which illegal aliens get here is the same hole through which illicit drugs get here, and could be the same hole through which terrorists get here. It’s fundamentally a national security issue.
Sen. Rubio may or may not believe that we need to legalize millions of illegal aliens so they’ll do jobs that Americans can’t do. His staffer certainly believes it, though, and has caused a train wreck for his boss’ bill.
Rubio and company did try pushing back. They even argued that the quote was taken out of context. That made things worse, when reporter Ryan Lizza released the entire context. The context doesn’t help their cause at all. It shows that the Rubio aide thinks nothing of the millions of Americans who are unemployed. Even in the Obama economy and the push to legalize millions of new foreign workers, the aide blames the unemployed for their plight. Oh, and by the way, none of the millions who entered the country illegally are either lazy or stupid. Not a one of them. The Frenchman who came here on a student visa, dropped out of college after a week and has been living off his girlfriend? Not lazy! Not stupid!
If you’re an aide on the Hill, the last thing you should become is a major hindrance for your boss because you said something contemptuous of millions of Americans during a charged debate (or any other time, really). This aide is bad at his job. He is not a star. He just can’t cut it. Unfortunately, no one is in a position to legislate him out of a job.
He sounds like a bigot, to be honest. Maybe Lindsey Graham should tell him to “shut up.”
Well, the manchild has a point. Dick Cheney’s IRS didn’t abuse Americans who just wanted to participate in politics. Dick Cheney’s NSA actually spied on terrorists and didn’t give mosques a free pass. Dick Cheney didn’t call an obvious terrorist attack on American soil “workplace violence.” Dick Cheney didn’t declare that the future will not belong to those who “slander” the “prophet” of Islam.
Dick Cheney didn’t leave four Americans to die in Benghazi and then blame their murders on a movie.
Obama also appeared to reject comparisons between himself and Vice President Dick Cheney, who strongly backed similar surveillance efforts in the George W. Bush administration and has defended Obama’s continuation of national security-related programs similar in many respects to those pursued by the previous administration.
“Some people say, ‘Well, you know, Obama was this raving liberal before. Now he’s, you know, Dick Cheney.’ Dick Cheney sometimes says, “Yeah, you know? He took it all lock, stock, and barrel,” the president told interviewer Charlie Rose in the exchange recorded Sunday. “My concern has always been not that we shouldn’t do intelligence gathering to prevent terrorism, but rather are we setting up a system of checks and balances?”
Barack Obama campaigned full throated against everything the Bush-Cheney administration did to fight terrorism. Then in office, Obama kept many of those things in place that he had railed against.
It’s the hypocrisy, stupid.
And the childishness.
CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has provided more details on the hacking of her work and home computers. Attkisson told CBS Philadelphia reporter Dom Giordano that the computers that were hacked were only used for her reporting work, and for a few personal financial purposes. As a national broadcast network reporter, Attkisson’s salary is likely well above that of most Americans, yet the hacker or hackers showed no interest in her financial life at all.
“The intruders did have access to personal information including passwords to my financial accounts and so on, but didn’t tamper with those, so they weren’t interested in stealing my identity or doing things to my finances. So people can decide on their own what they might have been trying to do in there,” Attkisson said.
Through forensics, investigators have ruled out malware or any phishing schemes. There was a person or group of people accessing Attkisson’s computers, and they had the ability to turn the machines on and off remotely.Attkisson first became suspicious when the machines were turning on or waking up from sleep state at odd times.
Attkisson says she was working on just two things when her machines were hacked: Fast and Furious, and Benghazi.
Al Norman calls his special interest group “Sprawl-Busters.” He ought to call them “Job Busters.”
The town square in Bentonville, Arkansas was filled with an estimated 2,000 people wearing yellow rain slickers that said “Wal-Mart — Not in My Neighborhood.” I was invited to speak at the anti-Wal-Mart rally sponsored by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. I flew from Western Massachusetts to St. Louis, and joined a caravan of silver buses that threaded their way south into the Ozarks.
The year was not 2013. It was December of 1998 — 15 years ago.
The anti-big box movement was barely five years old at that time. I had stopped my first Wal-Mart in Greenfield, Massachusetts in 1993. That well-publicized victory had sparked other communities to take on the Bully from Bentonville.
In 1998, people from as far away as Hawaii, Washington State and California converged on the tiny town where the Wal-Mart myth began. The “Walton 5 & 10″ store was closed to avoid any conflict with the event participants, who chanted: “Who’s a bad neighbor? Wal-Mart!”
AFL-CIO President John Sweeney addressed the rally, calling upon all AFL-CIO credit unions to discontinue distribution of Sam’s Club discount cards, and urged all union health care plans to stop using Wal-Mart pharmacies. “Here’s our message,” Sweeney said. “Keep out of our neighborhoods. We don’t want you ruining our lives with your income-destroying stores.”
Funny that a union guy would say that. Aren’t the unions trying to force Americans to join unions through card check? Aren’t the unions working with Big Government to force employers to accept unionization through so-called “micro unions?”
Why yes, they are. Al Norman is in the pocket of Big Labor, and he’s pleased as punch to stay there.
The whole piece is funny and sad. Bittersweet, I guess. Mr. Sprawl Busters brags about bugging Walmart for two decades without accomplishing much of anything. Walmarts have continued sprouting up anywhere more than a handful of shoppers can be found. Walmarts are actually physically bigger now than when Norman started crusading against them. They’re still non-union. They still tend to have the best prices around on most items. They still employ thousands and thousands of people. Whenever they open a new store anywhere, hundreds flock to the place to apply for jobs. It may shock Mr. Norman to hear this, but Walmarts are even cropping up overseas in places like Tokyo. Walmart is majority owner of Japan’s largest retailer, Seiyu, and has been for years.
At the end, Job Buster uses a poignant passage from the late Sam Walton’s autobiography against him.
Shortly before he died, Sam Walton wondered in his 1992 autobiography: “Am I really leaving behind something on this earth that I can be proud of having accomplished, or does it somehow lack meaning to me now that I’m facing the ultimate challenge?”
What Walton was getting at there was that in the end, it’s not what you’ve built or how much money and things you you have, it’s Who you know that matters. That invaluable life lesson is utterly lost on someone like Al Norman, who believes his legacy will be defined in what he has devoted his life to stop, and failed.
Intervening in Syria is not a popular idea at all, according to the latest Pew poll. The poll, released today, find that just 20% of Americans support US involvement in the civil war in which a brutal dictator squares off against al Qaeda-linked Islamists. Seventy percent oppose intervention, with 68% saying that they believe that the US military is currently overextended.
Obama has no base within his own party or anywhere else to support Syria intervention: 74% of independents, 71% of Republicans and 66% of Democrats oppose US involvement. Which is a no-brainer, really. US interests are not directly involved in the Syrian war, we have no nascent Thomas Jeffersons on the ground to rally around, but Russia’s and Iran’s involvement could turn it into a regional or even world war.
Just about the only strategic policy the US could pursue in Syria is to arm the rebels just enough so they can keep fighting Assad and his allies Hezbollah and Iran, weakening all of them and preventing any of them from achieving a decisive victory. But there is no reason to believe that the Obama administration is thinking deeply enough to do that. Among Obama’s top national security advisers are fiction writer Ben Rhodes and “erotic nights” reader Avril Haines. Obama apparently didn’t even think through his chemical weapons “red line” comments before uttering them, and those comments are forcing his hand to action now.
The timeline on Obama’s involvement in Syria looks like this: He made the ill-advised “game changer” comment back in March, then intelligence determined that Syria supposedly crossed the “red line,” and Obama did nothing until Bill Clinton challenged his manhood (Elvis deployed the phrase “total wuss” to describe Obama’s lack of a policy). After that, it’s game on. Because you just don’t mess with don of the Juicebox Mafia.
CNN says the Obama scandals are finally taking a toll on the Chicago Messiah.
A CNN/ORC survey released Monday shows Obama with a 45 percent approval rating, down from his 53 percent mark in mid-May. Fifty-four percent say they disapprove of how Obama is handling his job.
The poll also finds that 49 percent believe Obama is honest to 50 percent who do not — the first time a majority has not found the president to be trustworthy.
A majority, 53 percent, also expresses doubts he can “manage the government effectively,” with 47 percent showing confidence.
The president lost sizeable ground among independents, with 37 percent approval and 61 percent disapproval, down from his 47-49 percent disapproval last month.
That last number looks really bad for The One, until we recall that Obama lost independents in 2012 to Mitt Romney yet still managed to win. In fact, now that he’s re-elected, how much does he really care about his approval rating at all? Even amidst the scandals he is poised for a major victory on immigration, which will permanently change the electorate in his favor. He has likely calculated that not much matters outside that bill, and if he gets a win there, any weakness in the polls is temporary and will take care of itself. As long as Democrats hang onto the Senate in 2014, Obama is invulnerable to public opinion.
USA Today has a fascinating interview with three former NSA officials who all tried to call foul on the National Security Agency’s widespread collection of information on Americans. Thomas Drake, William Binney and J. Kirk Weibe are their names. They tried stopping NSA’s surveillance of Americans for years. The three now say that they see some vindication in Edward Snowden’s initial revelations. But they don’t all agree whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor. William Binney’s answer to that question gets closest to my own opinion.
Q: There’s a question being debated whether Snowden is a hero or a traitor.
Binney: Certainly he performed a really great public service to begin with by exposing these programs and making the government in a sense publicly accountable for what they’re doing. At least now they are going to have some kind of open discussion like that.
But now he is starting to talk about things like the government hacking into China and all this kind of thing. He is going a little bit too far. I don’t think he had access to that program. But somebody talked to him about it, and so he said, from what I have read, anyway, he said that somebody, a reliable source, told him that the U.S. government is hacking into all these countries. But that’s not a public service, and now he is going a little beyond public service.
So he is transitioning from whistle-blower to a traitor.
Indeed. Americans needed to know that our government is spying on us. But there is no good reason to leak about US hacking against China, a program Snowden probably didn’t even have legal access to. There is no good reason to out the UK’s spying during the 2009 G20 summit, which, again, Snowden probably didn’t have legal access to. Everyone assumes some spying goes on at these high-level meetings, but Snowden betrayed methods and means for no good purpose. Both of these leaks are one-sided and may be designed to earn Snowden favor with his hosts, the Communist Chinese. They both get into the realm of statecraft, areas where some secrecy is not only valid, it’s a necessity. Not all government secrets are equal to all other government secrets. For instance, the public has no right to know exactly how the B2 evades radar detection. If the public gets that information, so do our enemies, and the capability will soon be rendered moot. The evidence and his actions suggest that Snowden went into the job with Booz Allen looking to grab things he could leak.
For what it’s worth, though, the other two attempted whistle blowers still think Snowden is a hero. One of them, Thomas Drake, sees the Verizon warrant as hugely significant.
Q: What did you learn from the document — the Verizon warrant issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court — that Snowden leaked?
Drake: It’s an extraordinary order. I mean, it’s 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.” …
There’s really two other factors here in the order that you could get at. One is that the FBI requesting the data. And two, the order directs Verizon to pass all that data to NSA, not the FBI.
That point touches on the relevance of a story that re-broke last week, and puzzled me — that the FBI excludes mosques from its surveillance.
Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee.
Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret.
We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there.
Are mosques, then, a form of sanctuary from FBI-NSA snooping? Is that how we’re treating the terrorist threat upon which the Obama administration justifies sweeping up all our phone records?
There’s some question, at the edges, of how Snowden obtained the Verizon document.
Q: Even given the senior positions that you all were in, you had never actually seen one of these?
Drake: They’re incredibly secret. It’s a very close hold. … It’s a secret court with a secret appeals court. They are just not widely distributed, even in the government.
Also for what it’s worth, Drake tried whistle blowing on the NSA from within, using the government’s whistle blower process. He ended up facing numerous felony charges. Snowden may have been aware of that when he decided to run instead of going through the proper channels. Had he stopped with the revelations about NSA snooping on Americans, he may have gone down in history as a hero. But the leaks on foreign policy seem designed to hurt the US and our allies. He may intend those leaks to make the US government wary of capturing him. It seems to me that if that’s the case, it’s a major miscalculation. Such leaks will only make the US more determined to capture him more quickly before he leaks again, and once captured, more determined to find out everything he knows and how he knows it.
This is an interesting moment for Barack Obama to allow, admit, or put out there that he’s really running the Gang’s immigration bill behind the scenes. Lindsey Graham is triumphant! that it’ll pass with more than 70 votes. Republican elected resistance to it seems to be crumbling, even though the base is getting angrier and angrier about it. The Democrats have publicly kept Obama on the sidelines, because his public involvement would drive Republican support away.
Yet here he is, saying in effect, “Yeah I’ve been on the sidelines. As the head coach and general manager.” Think Jerry Jones, only worse.
The White House is playing a larger role in developing the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill than its supporters publicly admit, according to a forthcoming article in The New Yorker.
“‘No decisions are being made without talking to us about it,’ the official said of the Gang of Eight negotiations … ‘This does not fly if we’re not O.K. with it,’” a senior Obama official told author Ryan Lizza for the pending article.
White House officials also believe the emerging bill will be a huge success for President Barack Obama.
Of course it will. It will make the perfect bookend to ObamaCare as a policy that fundamentally changes the United States. But why is Obama coming out now to claim control of the bill?
Momentum seems to be building to pass it. The question at the moment is whether the Democrats have the GOP opposition in check or checkmate on this bill. Obama’s stepping in now to crow about controlling the bill forces Republicans to choose. They ought to kill this bill on principle, but asking the current crop of Republican leaders to do anything on principle asks too much of them. They narrowly lost last the presidential election last year and have had the vapors about it ever since. They’re internalizing Democrat attack talking points about Republicans rather than coolly analyzing what went wrong and how it might be turned right next time. They’re ready to jettison principle in order to hold onto power. That will earn them neither one in the end, if there is any justice left in this world.
Obama either wants no bill to pass, or he wants a bill to pass that will, in the words of Bill Maher, create more Democrats, as the current bill does. If no bill passes, Obama pins that on Republicans to demagogue his way into the 2014 mid-terms. If a bill passes, James Pethokoukis’ shoddy math notwithstanding, Democrats move toward a generational majority.
The U.S. Supreme Court threw out an Arizona law that required evidence of citizenship when people register to vote, in a victory for minority-rights advocates and the Obama administration.
The justices, voting 7-2, said Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law runs afoul of a federal statute that sets out registration requirements.
Alabama, Kansas and Georgia have similar laws, which require presentation of proof of citizenship when registering to vote under the Motor Voter law.
Update: Judicial Watch reacts to the court’s decision, in a statement just released.
(Washington, DC) – “The integrity of our nation’s elections suffered a blow today from the Supreme Court. This issue takes on increasing urgency with the prospect of 11 million illegal immigrants being given amnesty. It is essential that our elections be secured by ensuring that only citizens register to vote.”
Republicans who favor passing the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill ought to answer a simple question: If this bill is so good and necessary for Republicans, why are Democrats salivating to see it passed?
Sen. Lindsey Graham won’t answer that question. Instead, he’ll blame last year’s narrow presidential defeat on the GOP’s alleged “demographic death spiral.”
According to Sen. Graham, “If we don’t pass immigration reform, if we don’t get it off the table in a reasonable, practical way, it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016. We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the Hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. If you don’t do that, it really doesn’t matter who we run in my view.”
It matters a great deal who Republicans run in 2016. The facts are that the Obama campaign targeted and brought out its voters to a granular level not seen before in politics. He bought enough votes, he kept the cheating just viable enough in swing states by blocking voter ID laws, and he scared enough voters, and he retained his world historic candidacy just enough to beat a Republican whose record and rhetoric were far less than inspiring and whose organization never matched Obama’s. Obama had the “Cave,” which worked, while Romney had ORCA, which failed. A better, more inspiring candidate with a clear message, with a better and smarter, more aggressive ground game can win. Republicans should get behind a real leader in 2016, not yet another moderate who seems to be embarrassed to be a Republican. At one time, Sen. Marco Rubio appeared to be just such a leader. That seems a long time ago now.
Graham and Rubio could do their country, their party and themselves very well by insisting that security comes before legalization. But they’re choosing not to do that. Why?
So, logically speaking, we must legalize 11 million who broke the law…?
[Chuck Schumer aide Leon] Fresco and [Rubio aide Enrique] Gonzalez helped to unlock the deal with labor and the Chamber of Commerce. The two biggest sticking points were wages for foreign workers (the unions wanted them to be higher) and the objections of the Building and Construction Trades union, which argues that plenty of Americans are looking for this kind of work.
Rubio sided with the Chamber against the construction workers. ‘There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,’ a Rubio aide told me. ‘There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.’ In the end, the wage issue was settled to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s satisfaction, and the Building and Construction Trades union won a cap on the number of visas for foreign construction workers.
Whether the immigration bill ought to pass or not should not hinge on Mr. Gonzalez’s opinion of American workers. It should hinge on whether it helps bolster or diminish the rule of law in the country, and it should hinge on whether it is the right thing to do for Americans citizens and legal immigrants.
A Rubio spokesman, Alex Conant, emailed NRO to clarify his colleague’s statement.
We strongly objected to the magazine including that background quote in the piece because it’s not what Sen. Rubio believes or has ever argued. In truth, Sen. Rubio has always said the reason we need a robust temporary worker program is to create legal avenues for US businesses to meet labor needs when not enough Americans apply for jobs. This is a persistent issue in many industries, like agriculture, and has been a draw for illegal immigration in the past. The legislation that Sen. Rubio agreed to sponsor creates a robust temporary worker program to meet our economic needs while protecting American workers and wages.
Sen. Rubio believes that American workers can compete against anyone in the world.
It was a background quote given to Politico by name from inside the effort to pass one of the most consequential bills of the past century or so. If it truly does not reflect Sen. Rubio’s thinking, perhaps Mr. Gonzalez should be allowed the opportunity to compete in the job market with those non-stellar American workers out there.
The G8 summit kicks off today in Northern Ireland, UK. As the summit begins, the hosts have a headache by the name of Edward Snowden. Snowden, the NSA leaker, has leaked again — this time detailing the means and methods by which the British spied on G20 summit leaders at a 2009 meeting. The UK’s far-left Guardian is once again the leaker’s choice conduit for relaying the leak.
Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.
The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.
That the hosts spied on personnel from the other countries involved in the discussions is not, or should not be, news to anyone who knows the first thing about international relations. Nations spy on nations, friend and foe alike. Always have, always will. But the Guardian, thanks to Snowden, goes the extra mile and details the means and methods by which the British spied. They have dropped the story with exquisite timing to embarrass the British ahead of the current summit.
Specifically, Snowden leaks that the British were keen to obtain information on the Turkish and Russian delegations at the 2009 summit. Neither of these countries have the best human rights records on the planet; Turkey has been battling its own citizens lately over Erdogan’s authoritarian, Islamist rule. Putin is former KGB and under his watch a few dissidents have met bizarre and untimely deaths. This latest leak hurts the West, of which Snowden is stridently critical, while never touching on any of the tactics or methods used by any of the West’s adversaries. Snowden once again launched his leak attack from Hong Kong, which is territory belonging to the Communist Chinese regime. Snowden has yet to leak anything critical of his new hosts.
The IRS abuse of hundreds of conservative groups has gripped the nation since it broke on May 10. President Obama declared that he was outraged by it, and fake-fired the acting IRS commissioner to show his rage. Attorney General Eric Holder told Congress on May 15 “I can assure you and the American people that we will take a dispassionate view of this.”
He has evidently made good on the dispassionate part, if not the view. Because to date, there is no evidence that the Federal Bureau of Investigations is even investigating the abuse. At all.
Testifying before Congress Thursday, FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted under questioning that he knew nothing at all about the status of the investigation. He didn’t know who the lead investigator is. He didn’t know if anyone had been interviewed about it. He didn’t know anything, but he did assure Congress that it’s at least an active investigation.
But how active is it? Attorneys Jay Sekulow and Cleta Mitchell represent several of the victims. They tell the Daily Caller that the FBI has contacted none — zero — of their clients.
“We have not been contacted by any federal investigative agency and, to date, none of our clients have been contacted or interviewed by the FBI,” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice told The Daily Caller on Thursday. The ACLJ has filed suit against the IRS on behalf of 25 conservative groups, with additional groups being added in the next couple weeks, according to a spokesman.
“I have been very surprised that I have not heard from anybody and frankly, none of my clients have. I talk to other tea party leaders on a regular basis,” said Cleta Mitchell, the lawyer largely credited with pushing the IRS abuses to the forefront.
It’s obvious that the Obama administration isn’t interested, from the top down, in really investigating the abuse scandal.
That may be because they all already know the answer.
The FBI, which is tasked with the investigation, was itself involved in the flurry of government activity that came Catherine Engelbrecht’s way after she filed for tax-exempt status for True the Vote. The involvement of the IRS, FBI, OSHA and BATFE in harassing Engelbrecht and her family suggest that someone above all of those executive branch agencies had a hand in what those agencies were doing. Those agencies belong to different sections of the executive branch — IRS belongs to Treasury, FBI and BATFE belong to the Department of Justice, while OSHA belongs to the Department of Labor. No one cabinet officer atop any of the major departments could order any personnel in the other departments to launch investigations. If there was such an order, it had to come from the White House.
Glenn Greenwald is the Guardian journalist who broke the story of the NSA snooping. Greenwald came to prominence during the Bush years by denouncing that administration’s anti-terrorism policies. To his credit, Greenwald is one of the few on the left who has remained consistent and now criticizes Obama policies with almost as much zeal as he criticized Bush. Not to his credit, Greenwald developed a habit of using fake commenters to defend his written positions when others criticized him, and then denied that he engaged in any sockpuppetry. Greewald blamed the sockpuppetry on his boyfriend.
Also not to his credit, Greenwald’s criticism of US anti-terror policy may not be coming from a civil libertarian perspective at all. It may result from a very very far left, Marxist, world view. Adam Levick has posted video clips of Greenwald addressing the International Socialist Organization’s annual conference in 2011. Greenwald speaks about the drone program that has been used to target and kill terrorists including American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. Awlaki used the Internet to spread his Islamist doctrine, and among his acolytes was Nidal Hasan, the Ft. Hood mass killer in 2009. Speaking about Awlaki in 2011, Greenwald told the socialist gathering that Awlaki’s only crimes were “speak[ing] effectively to the Muslim world about violence that the U.S. commits [in Yemen] and the responsibility to stand up to that violence.”
The violence that the US commits in Yemen is aimed at taking out terrorists who target and kill US civilians and military personnel. The US violence, then, is aimed at defending people like Greenwald to go on criticizing his own country.
In another clip, Greenwald downplays the 9-11 terrorist attacks, in which Islamist terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans, as “minimal in scope.” Radosh has posted both clips here.
Greenwald casts himself as a civil libertarian. No real civil libertarian, though, associates with admitted socialists and aligns himself with the talking points of Islamist radicals. His work with Snowden, who has fled to Hong Kong after leaking the NSA’s data-mining programs and may be working with the Chinese government, casts strong doubt on Snowden’s motivations.
Ten years ago, NSA leaker/dropout/fabulist/fillintheblanks Edward Snowden promised to take action against government surveillance.
“I can’t hope to change the way things are going by overtly complaining, writing letters, or blowing things up,” Snowden wrote in 2003 in response to a discussion about corporate greed on the Ars Technica online forum.
“That’s not the way a good person does things. I will, however, do what I can with the tools that are available to me.”
In 2003, Snowden would have been 19 years old. Not yet the security guard turned NSA spy we know today. Back then, he was an online commentator with a mission.
According to sources briefed on the matter, Snowden was employed by an unidentified classified agency in Washington from 2005 to mid-2006, by the CIA from 2006 to 2009, when he primarily worked overseas, and by Dell Inc from 2009 to 2013, when he worked in the United States and Japan as an NSA contractor.
He was also a prolific commentator on technology forum Ars Technica, posting approximately 750 messages using the screen name “The True HOOHA” from late 2001 to 2012.
Chances are, Snowden was using the Urban Dictionary’s second definition of his chosen nickname, which is off-color and comes with a language warning. It fits the sexy geek chic beast image he cultivated online.
Most of the postings were not political in nature: he dispensed advice about government careers, polygraphs and the 2008 stock market crash. He claimed to own the same gun as James Bond and posted glamour photos of himself. He jokingly compared the video console Xbox Live to NSA surveillance.
Obvious question: Given the fact that the surveillance state missed Nidal Hasan’s contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, missed the Tsarneavs, can’t seem to defend congressional offices from illegal aliens, and missed The True HOOHA’s one-man campaign to rip the surveillance state down, just how effective is the surveillance state?
I mean, if we’re going to have an expensive, intrusive surveillance state that shreds the Fourth Amendment, shouldn’t its surveillance at least accomplish something worthwhile?
Mickey Kaus hears from a reliable source that Democrats are choosing a curious hill to die on to defend the current language in the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill.
I’m told, by a reliable and well-placed source, that a good deal of the Democratic opposition to John Cornyn’s proposed amendment to the Gang of 8 bill has nothing to do with border security. It has to do with DUIs. Specifically, Cornyn’s amendment would bar illegal immigrants with misdemeanor DUI convictions from ”probationary” legal status, which is the immediate legalization offered by Marco Rubio, et al, to most of the 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the U.S.. For the pro-amnesty side, the exclusion of DUI offenders is apparently a deal-killer. There must be a lot of them!
Well, the fact is, there are. That noted xenophobic right-wing rag National Public Radio reported on Hispanic drunk driving back in 2006 — coincidentally, the last time “comprehensive immigration reform” was slithering toward the limelight.
The influx of Hispanic immigrants to some parts of the U.S. has led to a problem on the highways. In many states, Hispanics account for a disproportionate number of drunk driving deaths. In North Carolina where the Latino population has grown by more than a third in this decade, alcohol-related crashes have become a leading killer of Latinos. And as NPR’s Adam Hochberg reports, community groups are trying to reverse that trend.
Mr. KEITH PATTERSON (Police Officer, Durham, North Carolina): If someone is walking around in a restaurant or walking in a bar, you definitely want to be observant and notice the way they walk, making sure they’re not swaying or swaggering, or stumbling and bumping into things.
Hey, that sounds like profiling!
Nationwide, Latinos rank second only to Native Americans and their alcohol death rate on the highway. The extent of the problem varies from state to state, but community leaders say it seems worse in places where Latinos have newly immigrated. At Al Pueblo, a Hispanic advocacy group in North Carolina, safety director Tony Ascion(ph) says Latino drunk drivers tend to be young men in the U.S. without their families, people who have a lot of free time and a lot of what Ascion calls, machismo.
More profiling! Shame on you, NPR!
Some Republicans, such as former Rep. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, have tried to pass laws to automatically deport illegal aliens who get caught driving drunk, for years. Myrick started in 2005 and was still at it in 2012. Somebody keeps stopping these bills from becoming law.
Cornyn’s proposed amendment to the Gang’s bill does include this provision:
Prohibits illegal aliens convicted of serious misdemeanors, such as domestic violence, aggravated assault, child abuse, violation of a protection order, and drunk driving, from receiving RPI status.
RPI is “registered provisional immigrant” — i.e. legalization. Out of the shadows. But not necessarily out of the local bar. Democrats are publicly wooing Cornyn, but in the background, they’re curiously wary of him, according to The Hill:
“If Cornyn was willing to vote for it, the bill would be so watered down that any Republican would vote for it. That’s not an outcome we’re interested in,” said a Democratic aide to a member of the gang.
Cornyn’s actual security language isn’t all that different from the Gang’s bill. Apart from the drunk driving provision, that is. There’s a watered-down drink joke in there somewhere.
Kaus writes that “Pro-Gang Democrats (and Republicans) understandably don’t want to publicize their DUI defense.”
I’m sure they don’t. But we’re happy to publicize it for them.
I can’t really improve on Jammie Wearing Fool’s headline:
Illegal Aliens Come Out of the Shadows, Occupy Rep. Steve King’s Office
Yesterday Rep. King tweeted that his office in DC — which, Sen. Landrieu, is not on the border — had been overrun.
20 brazen self professed illegal aliens have just invaded my DC office. Obama’s lawless order gives them de facto immunity from U.S. law.
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) June 13, 2013
This was a typical lefty’s response.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) June 13, 2013
Well, you really can’t argue with that. I mean, you can’t engage in a productive conversation with someone who thinks that way. The rule of law and our national sovereignty are irrelevant to them. You can’t shame them into seeing reason. You just have to defeat them.
To James Pethokoukis and Matt Vespa’s work here, I reply with two numbers: 2 million and 11 million.
Those of us who were around for the 1986 immigration reform remember two things about it distinctly. We remember the promise, and we remember what actually happened.
At the time, there were an estimated 2 million illegal aliens living “in the shadows” in the United States. Simpson-Mazzoli, aka the 1986 reform, was supposed to end illegal immigration. In exchange for amnestying the 2 million who were in the US at the time, the border would finally be secured. The issue would have been dealt with for all time.
The latter was always a dubious promise, but it was a promise nevertheless, and enough politicians and Americans believed it that the bill ultimately passed and President Ronald Reagan signed it.
Then, the promise to secure the border evaporated. Magic! Reagan’s attorney general, Ed Meese, later admitted that signing that bill was one of the biggest mistakes Reagan ever made.
The result of Simson-Mazzoli’s great effort to end illegal immigration for all time: Masses of illegal aliens crossed the border both before and after Simpson-Mazzoli passed and as it was being implemented. We went from 2 million illegal aliens living in the United States, to an estimated 11 million living here now. That 11 million is probably a low estimate, and the real number may be as high as 20 million.
20 million. That’s more than the population of most whole states. In fact, it’s more than the population of all but the two most populous states, California and Texas. Surely, 20 million or even 11 million will have a profound impact on many things including the electorate if they are granted legal status and citizenship. For one thing, legalizing them will turn the magnet on to attract even more. 20 million will become 30 million. Legalizing them and granting citizenship will undermine the legitimate immigration system, and insult those who really do dream of becoming Americans and are willing to work for it and respect our laws every step of the way.
So given this history, why should anyone trust the politicians now to get it right? Suffice it to say that Barack Obama is not Ronald Reagan. Reagan’s intentions with the 1986 reform were not primarily political, he wanted real security and was willing to trade to get it. Congress snookered him and the American people, who wanted security first then and want security first now. Obama doesn’t even want real security. He mocks people who want real security. This time around, Obama’s top homeland security chief uses bogus statistics to declare that “the border is as secure as it has ever been.” Both Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Chuck Schumer aren’t even promising to secure the border before granting legal status to millions who have broken the law. Last time around, at least we were given the courtesy of being treated like adults. This time around, Rubio tells one audience one thing, one another, and deploys platoons of straw men to march his arguments forward. At some point, Lindsey Graham will step up again and “tell the bigots to shut up.” The “bigots” in his mind are people who want security before legalization.
One reason that I oppose the Gang of Eight’s bill now is because I do not believe what the politicians are telling me about it when they tell me that it will be good for us. Another reason I oppose that bill is that I do believe some of what they’re saying when they think no one will connect the dots.
Listen to what the Democrats in my state, Texas, keep saying. They keep saying that they are sticking with the Obama Democrat far left agenda because they are waiting for the demographic changes already underway in Texas to just hand them power here. It’s an openly racist strategy, but it’s their strategy. Will the latest immigration reform, which won’t even secure the border, hurt or help their strategy of importing enough voters to change this border state and flip it to Democrat control? Legalization before a hollow promise of security means we will get more illegal immigration, not less. We will be guilt tripped into granting citizenship to more of Obama’s “dreamers,” not less. The Democrats’ refusal to secure our elections from voter fraud means we will have more illegal aliens illegally voting. It all adds up.
But let’s rise above petty electoral concerns. Our government’s most basic duty is to protect citizens and guard the nation’s sovereignty. It’s failing in both every time anyone crosses the border illegally, or overstays their visa, or gets into the US by other illegal means. Every coyote who charges illegal aliens exorbitant sums to sneak them into the US, and every drug cartel shipment that gets to Austin on its way to points east and north, is a violation of our sovereignty. Every aviation student who overstays their visa, obtains the documents necessary to board a plane, and hijacks that plane to kill thousands of Americans and trigger a world war, violates our sovereignty. This same government that fails to stop these things spends billions spying on all Americans for the sake of safety against terrorists. But it is leaving several back doors wide open, allowing the coyotes and the cartels and everyone else through. Shouldn’t we close those doors before we snoop on the owners who live in the house? Shouldn’t we close the doors before we decide what to do with people who have already snuck in?
Secure the border first. Demonstrate it. Commit to it. Then we can talk about legal status for those some of those who violated our sovereignty.
Some days it looks like Barack Obama is just trolling the whole world. The same man who opposed ousting Saddam Hussein now will arm Islamist rebels in Syria. The same man who railed against Bush for wiretapping terrorists wiretapped all of us.
That same man has now nominated Avril Haines to the number two post in the Central Intelligence Agency. It’s an important job, one you’d think would require some intelligence or military background of some kind.
Haines has none of that. What she does have is experience reading sexy sexy books out loud.
20 years ago, Haines opened and co-owned Adrian’s Book Café in the Baltimore waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point. She opened Adrian’s after dropping out of a graduate program in physics at Johns Hopkins University. The store featured regular “Erotica Nights.” including dinner and a series of readings by guests of published work or their own prose, according to a 1995 report in the Baltimore Sun; couples could attend for $30, while singles paid $17.
“Erotica has become more prevalent because people are trying to have sex without having sex. Others are trying to find new fantasies to make their monogamous relationships more satisfying,” Haines, then in her 20s, told the Sun. “What the erotic offers is spontaneity, twists and turns. And it affects everyone.” (She also told Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Corey that friends heckled “you just want a mass orgy in your bookstore, while she and her co-owner were initially worried only “dirty old men” would show up.)
I’m not here to slam “Erotica Nights.” It’s not really my thing to sit around with a bunch of people in a book store listening to someone read much of anything. Whatever floats your boat. It’s just…Barack Obama doesn’t seem to take some of the most serious parts of his job very seriously at all.
Two days after former President Bill Clinton challenged Barack Obama’s manhood over his handling of Syria, President Obama has decided that now is the time to begin aiding the rebellion in Syria. CBS News reports.
The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.
“The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the Supreme Military Council. That includes military support,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.
Rhodes is the 36-year-old fiction writer and campaign speechwriter Obama has promoted to the top level of his national security advisory group.
The Syrian rebellion is composed of numerous factions but its organizational spine is Islamist. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood have become central groups in the insurgency. According to the New York Times, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular force to speak of.”
So, the same government that has been caught spying on and abusing its own citizens at home will now be openly arming our mortal enemies.
Sen. Mary Landrieu doesn’t know much about geography. In a rant in the Senate today, she ripped Sen. John Thune of South Dakota for wanting to complete the border fence.
“We need to build a smart fence,” she continued. “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.
If South Dakota bordered Canada, that would be “quite different” — for North Dakota.
Note for Sen. Landrieu: Map is not exact to scale, and Alaska and Hawaii aren’t really located next to each other in space southwest of Texas.
Earlier today Sen. Marco Rubio noted two things that would cause him to walk away from the Gang of Eight’s immigration bill. In an interview with Andrea Tantaros, Rubio said that if the bill does not improve the “border situation” it will not pass. He added that “beyond that, if this bill has something in it that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill” and that he would no longer support it.
Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy has proposed just such an amendment to the bill. According to the Hill, Leahy filed the amendment earlier this week.
Two days earlier, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced an amendment that would provide the same protections to immigrants in same-sex married couples as heterosexual couples. The amendment would allow partners of immigrants living in the country illegally to get a green card under new provisions of the immigration bill. The text of the amendment reads, “any marriage entered into full compliance with the laws of the State or foreign country within which such marriage was performed.”
Both the amendment and Rubio’s comments follow the Senate’s approval of a motion to proceed on the bill.
In response to Rubio’s comments, a Leahy aide said that the senator “has filed the legislation and is committed to keep fighting for equality. He has not made a decision yet on whether to bring it up for a vote.”
If Sen. Rubio means what he says, that amendment could become an on-off switch for his support.
Prediction: The same Democrats who torpedoed the Grassley security amendment will not only vote for the gay rights amendment, they will cast any vote against it as “homophobic.” If it causes Rubio to walk away from the whole bill, the gay rights amendment becomes a cultural weapon against him in any future national campaign.
Exit question for Sen. Rubio: Do you trust Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer?
Politico reports that Congressmembers and aides are finding it hard to live under the law they passed (against the objections of the majority of the American people).
The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.
Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect — a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.
If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues — like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.
A “brain drain?” These are the people who either passed the law or were unable to mount enough opposition to stop it. We could do without their brains being anywhere near power of any kind. Take this genius, for example.
Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.
“If [it isn't fixed for our masters in Washington], I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”
Big. Fat. Hairy. Deal. Why should federal employees not live under the laws the rest of us have to live under? Are they better than us? Do they really deserve subsidies and benefits that the rest of us don’t get to access? What’s the “fairness” here?
It sounds like ObamaCare is so bad it may drive many in the political class out of the political class. That’s probably ObamaCare’s only redeeming quality, and it’s the only thing in that monstrosity that must stay if the rest of it stays.
Tantaros to Rubio: Do You Realize that You’re Destroying Your Political Future by Supporting the Immigration Bill?
Talk show host Andrea Tantaros had a very pointed and uncomfortable question for Sen. Marco Rubio today. She interviewed the Florida Republican about his support for the Gang of Eight’s “comprehensive” immigration reform bill, which puts legalization for millions of illegal aliens ahead of the border security that a majority of American voters want.
“People are saying, Senator, that [the immigration bill] is just like ObamaCare, just like McCain-Feingold. It will be an albatross around your neck and Democrats are pleading with Obama to stay on the sidelines,” Tantaros said. “What would you say to conservatives? What if I said, ‘Senator Rubio, we need you. You are our best hope. You are an unscathed Republican senator. We have to win back the White House. Isn’t the future of the Republican Party, isn’t the success of Marco Rubio, more important than immigration reform?’ Would you walk away?”
Rubio deflected, saying “It’s not the success of Marco Rubio, it’s the success of the United States of America,” adding that he didn’t come to Washington to “aggrandize myself.”
“Senator, we need you,” Tantaros fired back. ” Senator you know how I admire you, I am behind you, my father was an immigrant. But I’m telling you what conservatives are saying. I worry about your future, Senator, because, really, you are the future of the Republican Party. And I have to say, this party needs an undamaged Marco Rubio. What do you say to that concern?”
Rubio answered that he’s “trying to fix something that’s very bad for America.” He then resorted to a straw man argument, that “if nothing happens, we are left with de facto amnesty. We are left with 11 million people that are never going to be deported, aren’t paying taxes, are living among us now, we’re left with no border security, no e-Verify, no entry-exit tracking system, and a broken legal immigration system that doesn’t help us and in fact is hurting us. So standing by and saying let’s not do anything is simply not an option.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is threatening to hold a vote-a-thon this weekend to push the “comprehensive immigration reform bill” through by July 4. Today, the Senate rejected an amendment by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) that would have put the security of the border ahead of any legalization of illegal aliens. Democrats were joined by Republican members of the so-called Gang of Eight in scuttling the measure.
As the bill stands now, legalization would be granted in return for a hollow promise of security later. Democrat leader Sen. Chuck Schumer ranted that there is no good reason to hold up legalization for security.
“It says that the 11 million people living in the shadows cannot even get the provisional status to work and travel until the secretary of Homeland Security says the border is completely secure and we know that will take years,” Schumer said. “The problem is very simple, what do we do for five or six years until the border is fully secure?”
The majority of American citizens want security before legalization. How about our elected leaders listen to them instead of catering to people who have broken the law?
The Democrats’ interest in keeping the border unsecured while legalizing millions of illegals and putting them on a path to citizenship is obvious. They want the votes. Republicans’ interest is less obvious but no less real: Business interests that donate heavily to the party want the cheap labor.
Public opinion may finally be moving sharply against President Barack Obama, according to a new Fox News poll. According to the poll, 66% of Americans believe that the IRS “targeted conservative groups as part of a high-level operation to punish political opponents.” At the same time, just 23 percent believe the IRS and administration version of events, which is that the abuse was all driven by low-level employees who had gone “rogue.”
Even Democrats tend to believe that the IRS abuse was deliberate and political.
The new poll, released Wednesday, finds 24 percent think the administration had “absolutely nothing” to do with what the IRS did. The same number felt that way last month.
In May the IRS acknowledged it had targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups for special attention when the groups sought tax-exempt status.
Just 11 percent of those who identify with the Tea Party movement believe the White House had nothing to do with it.
More than three-quarters of voters (78 percent) want Congress to continue to investigate the IRS. That’s a bit higher than the number that thinks Congress should continue to investigate the Justice Department seizing journalists’ records (76 percent) and the Obama administration handling of the attacks in Benghazi (73 percent).
The “rogue employee” defense never made any sense. Unionized workers are not known for taking on work that has not come to them from higher authorities both within in their union as well as within their agencies. The additional questioning and paperwork that the IRS workers engaged in while targeting groups opposed to the Obama agenda constituted a great deal of additional workload. The union had to buy into that before it could ever have been launched. Someone had to draft and approve of the additional questioning. The questioning had to be worked into the IRS’ case system. “Rogue” employees lack the power do accomplish all this. Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, President Obama met with Colleen Kelly, head of the IRS workers union, one day before the targeting began. They met in the White House on March 31, 2010, and the targeting began on April 1. Neither the White House nor the union have ever come forward to explain what that meeting was about.
Some Democrats including Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD) have declared that there’s nothing more to see in the IRS scandal and that America should just move on. The majority of Americans, including the majority of Democrats, disagree.
Continuing the investigation into the IRS scandal has widespread support: Almost all Republicans (90 percent), as well as sizable majorities of independents (76 percent) and Democrats (69 percent) agree lawmakers should persist until they feel they know the truth.
German outrage over a U.S. Internet spying program has broken out ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, with ministers demanding the president provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week and one official likening the tactics to those of the East German Stasi.
When Germans start bringing up one of the darkest chapters in their history to tell you that you’re doing it wrong, you may want to listen.
The Stasi was among the most ruthlessly efficient secret police organizations in existence during the Cold War. Today’s Germans may not just be talking about the NSA spying here. Among the Stasi’s tactics was a method of dealing with opposition figures and groups called “decomposing.” The Stasi dealt opposition not just by disappearing them, though they did that. They would target opposition leaders for campaigns of psychological warfare and systematic intimidation.
The MfS established the decomposition as psychological repression and tracing instrument.  It used the findings of the “operational psychology” at the Law College of national security (century) targeted to undermine to the self-confidence and self-esteem of the victims. These are confused or scared, exposed to constant disappointments and socially uprooted by disruption of relations with other people. In this way, life crises should be caused which should unsettle political opponents and mental strain, so the time and energy for anti-State activities was taken the victims.
That’s auto-translated from German but you can get the gist.
Catherine Engelbrecht of election security advocacy group True the Vote may have been a victim of Obama administration “decomposing” techniques. After she founded TTV and sought tax-exempt status for it, the IRS not only dragged out the process for more than three years, she and her family business were subjected to a blizzard of visits, investigations and audits. They had never been in trouble with any federal agency before. Suddenly several of them had her and her family business on their radar. The policy she had become publicly identified with was one that the Obama government had stood strongly and publicly on the other side of — securing elections from fraud. The Obama government has sued states that have passed sensible voter ID requirement laws.
The purpose of all that activity against Engelbrecht’s family may have been to try dividing her and her husband over something that someone in the Obama administration did not like — her political activity.
As a tried and tested forms of decomposition, the directive lists 1/76, inter alia:
“systematic discrediting the public reputation, reputation and prestige based on interconnected real, verifiable and defamatory, untrue, credible, not widerlegbarer and thus also flow information; systematic organization of professional and social failures to undermine the confidence of individuals; […] Production of doubts as to the personal perspective; Generating mistrust and mutual suspicion within groups [...]; local and temporal prohibit or restrict the mutual relations of the members of a group [...] for example, by [...] Allocation of locally removed the jobs”
-Directive No. of 1/76 operational development and editing operations from January 1976 
It didn’t work, as her husband has stood by her and supported her throughout their travails. But that doesn’t mean the techniques weren’t tried, and wouldn’t work on someone else. Many Tea Party group leaders report giving up after the IRS harassed and abused them.
Back to the current crop of Germans and how they’re seeing the American regime.
In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were “deeply disconcerting” and potentially dangerous.
“The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is,” she said.
“The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the U.S. administration itself is paramount at this point. All facts must be put on the table.”
Markus Ferber, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party who sits in the European Parliament, went further, accusing Washington of using “American-style Stasi methods”.
“I thought this era had ended when the DDR fell,” he said, using the German initials for the failed German Democratic Republic.
So did we.
Elizabeth Hofacre worked in the Cincinnati IRS office that abused conservative groups. She doesn’t appreciate her agency superiors placing all the blame on the Cincy office:
Hofacre told House Oversight Committee investigators in an interview, the transcript of which has been reviewed by National Review Online, that her boss immediately called her to apologize on Lerner’s behalf, presumably because “she was flabbergasted that Lois had made such a statement” and “appalled that Lois Lerner said that.”
Responding to a planted question from a friend in the audience at the American Bar Association conference, Lerner revealed that the IRS had inappropriately discriminated against tea-party groups, and pointed the finger at “our line people in Cincinnati.” She also said that Cincinnati employees were responsible for the delays in the processing of tea-party applications and for asking intrusive questions of the groups “that weren’t really necessary for the type of application.”
Upon hearing this, “I was furious,” Hofacre told investigators.
Hofacre also charged that top brass in the IRS, including Lerner, misled the public by blaming the scandal on a few rogue employees. “Everybody that has been making those statements should know they are inaccurate,” Hofacre said. Asked whether “the public has been purposely misled,” Hofacre responded, “Exactly.”
Hofacre adds that the IRS uses a “really tight” case inventory system that precluded any “rogue employees” from going rogue. So, it all had to come from higher up in the IRS — Washington.
In response to my post earlier about how the Obama campaign took its database into the post-campaign, a reader writes:
Not to be picking a nit here, but most of what’s been described about OfA’s database and social media savvy isn’t all that new. As a matter of fact, some of it has been around for quite some time. Worst of all for the RNC is that many of the tools used can be had for a paltry $49 per month.
Check out Gnip.com, Hunch.com, Klout.com, optimize.ly, socialbro.com, and take a look at the developer APIs at Facebook and twitter. Hardcore data analysis is now in the hands of mere mortals thanks to Gnip. You can find out all kinds of things about people’s preferences from Hunch. Klout let’s you know which followers can best spread the message. Optimize.ly can help you optimize your website design to increase conversions (read: donations). Socialbro gives you an easy to read dashboard on how your social media campaigns are working. It also identifies power users and influencers who you might want to engage directly. You’d be shocked what the twitter and Facebook APIs give you access to, with the consent of the user, mind you.
Bottom line is that OfA wasn’t using anything that hasn’t been available for years. With the advent of NoSQL databases, Hadoop, and other tools for handling massive data sets it has become possible to provide actionable analysis in reasonable amounts of time.
The RNC really needs to get a lot more technologically savvy then they are. The tools and systems are only going to get better over the next four years.
The last thought is undoubtedly true, and I know some smart people who are making that happen.
It’s also true that there are many off-the-shelf tools available and many campaigns already use them.
That said, I’m not sure that the Obama campaign/OfA used tools that had all been around “for years.” I don’t think that we who were never inside the campaign know all of the tools that they used or who used them. They haven’t disclosed everything, never will, and would be fools if they do.
They have disclosed quite a bit, as I wrote about back in January in this post. The Obama campaign built the “Cave,” which was a massive data operation run by hires from Silicon Valley. Many of those hires had never been in politics, but are experts in their given fields. The Obama campaign exploited their tools and talents. See page 14 of this PDF of the Cave’s operations. They did use much off-the-shelf technology, such as R. They also built some of their own tech. According to page 53, they hired 40 software engineers for the 2012 campaign. Some of those hires came from Google, Facebook, Twitter and Quora.
Some of their success can be attributed to brute force. They put a lot of volunteers on phones to make a lot of calls and they A-B tested piles of emails until they figured out which messages would work most effectively for them. On page 37 of the PDF, they admit that they also used good old-fashioned fear. See page 44 to see how well fear and loathing worked for Obama.
But then, they didn’t just trust their own campaign and its marvelous machines. The 2008 Obama campaign tried to get the IRS to go after Clinton and Edwards and then conservative groups. Starting in April 2010, the IRS was busy doing deep opposition research, pestering hundreds of groups and thousands of Americans in the year or so leading up to the election. The IRS pushed its internal investigation’s findings on the abuse until after the election, misleading Congress and the American people in the process. Its tactics may or may not have been directly imported from the Obama 2008 campaign, but they certainly resembled them. Obama fixer Bob Bauer was on hand for the ’08 campaign where he tried to get groups opposed to Obama suppressed, then went to work in the Obama White House, then went right back to his 2012 campaign. The unanswered question remains, did the NSA’s data sweeping play any sort of role in all this? It’s too much at this point to assume that the people who populate the top echelons of this government have the scruples to resist turning government into a political instrument.
Up against Obama’s database Death Star, the Mitt Romney campaign was always playing catch-up and it was impossible for them to catch up. They didn’t have the IRS chasing Progress This and Obama for That on their behalf. Their own dashboard management tech, ORCA, was a spectacular failure that was never even game-day tested. They didn’t have droves of tech specialists begging to leave Google and Facebook to join their data-driven campaign.
One clue to why OfA morphed into OfA 2.0 and carried the database with it is on page 56 of the Cave PDF: “Lesson: Future campaigns may need LONGER than the 18 months Obama had to develop their technology stack.”
How much longer? Permanent will suffice, thankyouverymuch. There’s always a mid-term just a short ways away.
Edward Snowden has revealed that the United States hacks China. He must be trolling the NSA along with the media and the rest of the world, because while damaging to disclose, it is not news.
Edward Snowden, the self-confessed leaker of secret surveillance documents, claimed Wednesday that the United States has mounted massive hacking operations against hundreds of Chinese targets since 2009.
The former contractor, whose work at the National Security Agency gave him access to highly classified U.S. intelligence, made the assertions in an interview with the South China Morning Post. The newspaper said he showed it “unverified documents” describing an extensive U.S. campaign to obtain information from computers in Hong Kong and mainland China.
I’m sure the US hacks not only China, but probably Russia, Iran, North Korea and probably dozens of other governments, friendly and otherwise. And they hack us. Cyberspace has been battle space for decades now. Most Americans already suspected or know this, and are fine with it.
This is news to no one with a pulse and a functioning brain. Snowden once joined the military, he claims, to join the Special Forces, though he doesn’t appear to have completed basic training. Their tactics are rather more aggressive than hacking. Is he a naif? Does he not know that nation states engage in arguments and tactics just shy of war all the time?
The Post speculates on why he’s talking about the hacking now.
By speaking with Hong Kong’s oldest English-language newspaper, Snowden seemed to be directly addressing the city he has chosen as his safe harbor. And by disclosing that he possesses documents that he says describe U.S. hacking against China, he appeared to be trying to win support from the Chinese government.
If that’s what he’s really doing, then he’s not just a traitor or hero. Whatever else he is, he is also a geek chic fool for defying one somewhat repressive government and then running into the arms of a far more repressive government. There is no Miranda warning in China. There is no Bill of Rights. There is no right of dissent. There is only the Communist Party and its centralized power and its realpolitik interests.
I suspect that he isn’t actually trying to curry favor with the Chinese government, though. He may be signalling that he knows what they’ve been doing too, or he may be playing some other game.
Update: Lying about easily checked claims is no way to build credibility.
Can’t say I’m surprised by a bit of this. MSNBC swore off being a news channel. It has hired nothing but political operatives to run its shows. Its shows are produced by and cater to people who prefer one-sided noise, and who don’t know much about anything.
So, you get inconvenient George Wallace, Democrat, turned into a Republican. Ignorance or malice? Does it really matter?
Well, you learn something new every day, as they say. Today’s lesson? Governor George Wallace, the segregationist who served three nonconsecutive terms as Alabama’s chief executive, was a Republican.
At least, so says MSNBC. Noting the 50-year anniversary of Wallace’s infamous “Stand in the Schoolhouse Door,” in which the governor physically blocked two black students from entering the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes showed a photo of Wallace — identifiying him as “(R) Alabama.”
Hayes has apologized, calling the “mistake” “historically illiterate.” Which is probably why neither he nor his producers caught it.
His network engaged in serial smearing of Mitt Romney during the presidential campaign, and never made similar “mistakes” that hurt Democrats.
MSNBC will smear Republicans again. That’s one of the few things in this cray-crazy world we can count on.
State Department Whistleblower, a Career Foreign Service Officer, Seeks Congressional Protection After State Threatens Her Kids
The State Department whistleblower is Aurelia Fedenisn. She worked in the department’s inspector general’s office until her retirement in December 2012. According to USA Today, she has sought protection as an official whistleblower after the State Department directly threatened her, once at her home. It threatened her with criminal charges when she turned over documents to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) showing evidence that the department had watered down her report, in which she alleged that the department at the highest levels had scuttled eight investigations into a range of criminal wrongdoing.
Dallas lawyer Damon Mathias, who represents Fedenisn, said Fedenisn hired him after two diplomatic security agents spoke in a threatening manner to her teenage children at her home in a Virginia suburb of Washington. The agents arrived at the home to talk to Fedenisn about documents Fedenisn had given to Cruz and told the teens that they demanded to speak to their mom immediately, Mathias said.
Mathias says Fedenisn’s claim is that agents from State’s Diplomatic Security and other divisions engaged in very questionable and possibly criminal conduct; the Inspector General has been hampered in performing its oversight role; “and the findings they wanted to put in the report end up being left out,” Mathias said. “So you have a coverup of the coverup.”
When Fedenisn and her lawyers met with lawyers for the Office of the Inspector General, the government lawyers demanded she hand over the documents or they would refer the matter to the Department of Justice and Fedenisn would face criminal prosecution, Mathias said.
“They made it clear that they would go after her criminally,” he said.
“We refused to turn over the documents” and Fedenisn is now seeking whistle-blower protection, he said.
If this online bio is accurate, Aurelia Fedensin is a 23-year State Department officer who also served in the US military reserves as an intelligence officer. That’s not the typical profile of a crank or someone who just makes things up. The allegations Fedenisn’s IG investigation uncovered include the accusation that Obama bundler turned US ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman sought the services of prostitutes routinely, including underage girls. Gutman denies, and State denies any cover-up, neither of which are dispositive of the charges. State’s new spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, worked on the Obama campaign and has a history of saying things that are provably false. She comes to the job with no prior experience in the foreign service at all.
Fedensin’s investigations also include accusations that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail used prostitutes when they traveled with Clinton on her million mile march around the world. They also include allegations that State Department officials engaged in an underground drug ring in Baghdad, Iraq. The overarching accusation within all of this is that the State Department at the highest levels scuttled all eight investigations. Specifically, that career officer Patrick Kennedy and Clinton loyalist Cheryl Mills engineered the death of those investigations.
The State Department took Fedensin’s whistleblowing extremely seriously. CBS, which originally broke the story without naming Fedensin, reports that ”Two hours after CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about these charges, investigators from the State Department’s Inspector General showed up at [Fedenisn's] door.” That’s apparently when they threatened her kids.
With all of this swirling around, there’s a decent argument to be made that the State Department’s two scandals — this one plus Benghazi, which has a body count and includes the then Secretary of State blaming a terrorist attack on a movie — make it the top overall scandal going. It has four dead Americans and now at least three threatened Americans, and an inspector general who is now seeking what amounts to asylum in the care of Congress against the executive branch that allegedly threatened her.
It’s hard to say where all of this goes. The US State Department, Justice Department, Treasury Department, National Security Agency and military are all caught up in serious scandals, any of which would dominate headlines if not for the presence and interference from all the other scandals. It looks like our government is in the beginning stages of a collapse.
Why are groups like LULAC and the NAACP so concerned with congressional districting in a red state like Texas, but not at all concerned with the lines in blue states? That’s what the Texas-based Conservative Hispanic Society’s executive director Chris Salcedo wants to know. Salcedo, who has frequently written for PJM, recently testified on Texas redistricting. He witnessed the allegedly non-partisan LULAC and NAACP clearly going to bat to carve out racially biased, presumably Democrat-lock seats. Salcedo recounts his experience in a statement to the CHS.
I attended and testified at the Texas redistricting hearing in Dallas. For our members out of state, some extreme left-wing groups are not happy with the lines that were drawn in 2012 in response to the latest census. They alleged “racism” in the drawing of the districts, saying they want Hispanic districts and Black districts instead. A couple of these extreme left-wing groups are LULAC and NAACP. I derive no pleasure from reporting this. These groups come from noble beginnings, but have evolved into overtly political operations that only cater to those who share BOTH their ideology and race. I’m sure many of their members were present at this meeting. Many of the liberal politicians sucked up the public’s speaking time by bloviating their own positions. Once the public was allowed to speak, I watched conservatives both African American and Hispanic testify in favor of the 2012 lines. In turn, I saw the liberal members of the committee doing their best to discredit, malign and confuse those testifying. This happened when I spoke as well. I was astonished as the GOP members of the panel just sat there, like bumps on a log. That’s when it hit me. They were afraid of being seen as racists for opposing the extreme left-wing agenda of LULAC and the NAACP. I’M DONE! I’ll not allow these groups, that work to undermine our Constitution, go unchallenged anymore. They’ll not get a free pass from me. Even though these groups claim to represent ALL Hispanics and ALL blacks, I know LULAC won’t defend Ted Cruz, Bill Flores, Marco Rubio or me because we’re conservative Hispanics. I know the NAACP won’t defend Justice Thomas, Thomas Sowell, Herman Cain or Dr. Benjamin Carson, because they don’t share the NAACP’s liberal agenda. I’LL NOT ALLOW THESE EXTREME LIBERAL GROUPS TO HIDE THEIR IDEOLOGY BEHIND THEIR RACE ANY LONGER! I know, and you know, there’s nothing left-wing about being black. And there’s certainly nothing LIBERAL about being LATINO. The days of kowtowing to these groups, are over.
To its credit, LULAC did once sue the Texas Democratic Party over its biased method of handling its primary-caucus nominating regime. That system handed Barack Obama more delegates despite Hillary Clinton getting more actual votes in 2008. But more recently, LULAC sued Harris County (Houston area) for attempting to clean up its voter rolls. That lawsuit is pretty much a Texas Democratic Party operation, at least in spirit. They sued Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners in 2012:
“The actual allegations in the lawsuit, for the most part, cover the same accusations of the Texas Democratic Party suit of 2008,” Sumners said in a statement. “After months of discovery and the taking of multiple depositions, the lawsuit was resolved when the Democratic Party was unable to produce a single person who had been illegally denied the right to register and vote.”
Gun control advocates should go tell Jan Cooper of Anaheim, CA why she shouldn’t have a handgun. If they’re brave enough to.
Jan Cooper, of Anaheim, fired one shot from her .357-magnum Smith & Wesson revolver around 12:30 a.m. Sunday as a man attempted to break into her home. During a 911 call of the incident, Cooper can be heard begging with the dispatcher to send deputies and warns that she has a gun at the ready as her Rottweiler barks furiously in the background.
Minutes later, a breathless Cooper says the man has come to the back porch and is trying to get in the house through a sliding door. Through the vertical blinds, Cooper saw his silhouette just inches away through the glass as he began to slide open the door.
“I’m firing!” Cooper shouts to the dispatcher as a loud band goes off.
Cooper then curses at the suspect, shouting at him to “back up.”
She fired, narrowly missed, and the perp was picked up later. Firing the shot caused him to apologize, and stop trying to invade her home. If she hadn’t had the gun and known how to operate it, who knows what might have happened to her and her wheelchair-bound WW2 veteran husband?
Turns out that the perp is a repeat offender. Brandon Alexander Perez, 31, was on parole and staying at a halfway house on other burglary and narcotics charges when he made the mistake of taking on Jan Cooper. It’s evidently too much to ask to keep actual criminals in actual jails anymore.
NSA leaker/whistleblower/hero/traitor/dropout/overachiever Edward Snowden has resurfaced, briefly. He gave an interview to the South China Post’s Lana Lam, and in the interview he defends his reason for using Hong Kong as his base after leaving the United States.
“People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden said in an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post.
“I have had many opportunities to flee HK, but I would rather stay and fight the United States government in the courts, because I have faith in Hong Kong’s rule of law,” he added.
Snowden cited Hong Kong’s court system and its “long tradition of protesting in the streets,” a tradition that has been strained since the city-state’s reversion to mainland communist China’s control in 1997.
But that tradition hasn’t been broken entirely. Hong Kong has retained its capitalist spirit and remains a global and regional media hub. Groups have already risen up to defend Snowden and protest in Hong Kong on his behalf.
If Snowden intended to call out both governments for their online tactics and data mining, then Hong Kong may have been an ideal place to run to. He could also have chosen Taiwan, but it’s less a regional media hub and its hostility to Beijing make basing himself there much less of a statement against the mainland than Hong Kong, which is under loose but real Chinese control.
Any protest in Hong Kong on his behalf targets not just the US government, but the mainland Chinese government as well. They would be protesting against both governments’ interests in taking Snowden into custody. They would be protesting against both governments’ violations of free speech and Internet surveillance. Chinese citizens outside Hong Kong may see the pro-Snowden protests and wonder both why they can’t protest about things they care about, and why their own government is so appallingly heavy-handed on Internet surveillance and censorship.