Surveillance

It's 'The Day We Fight Back' Against Mass Surveillance

Tell the NSA to get a warrant

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Just Say No to the NSA
"The Day We Fight Back"

Well, some of us have been arguing against mass surveillance all along, but today is a particular day of online activism against the National Security Agency's propensity to collect everybody's phone and e-mail data for a fight against terrorism that, as far as anybody can tell, hasn't actually fought any terrorism.

The site for "The Day We Fight Back" is here with small list of events and protests taking place across the world. Sites such as Reddit, Upworth and others are participating in the protest.  

Sen. Rand Paul has posted a video in support of the protest, talking about the need for a strong Fourth Amendment. Watch below:

 

And for the folks in your life who simply don't understand why mass surveillance is such a big deal, direct them to my list of three reasons why they should worry.

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  1. You silly proles and your Fourth Amendment.

  2. I don’t know what the future holds for Paul. But I am very thankful he is around and does stuff like this and not just for the obvious reasons that it needs to be done and all of us need to speak the truth on these things.

    I am thankful most especially for how uncomfortable Paul’s efforts make Progs. Progs pride themselves on being for the little guy and being the thin line of tolerance and rationality that keeps the dark night of fascism from falling on America. If a Republican were in office, Progs would be fighting this every day with smug pleasure of knowing they stnad for what is right. But since it is a Democrat in office and worse still the first Black President in office, Progs can’t fight this or if they do it is always with a “yeah but we need to keep this in perspective and not let the racist Republicans use it against Obama”. And trust me that is killing them. Yeah, they love government and they love power. But for them it is emotional. Part of their identity if fighting the man and fighting for the little guy. And this whole issue takes that from them.

    1. +truth2power

  3. And from the you can never win because, government, file.

    Lawmakers are trying to strong-arm the Pentagon into saving favored programs and pet projects ahead of the release of its 2015 budget next month.

    Projects on the do-not-touch list include the Navy’s 11-carrier fleet ? defended by Rep. Randy Forbes (R) and others in Virginia where carriers are built ? and the Air Force’s A-10 “Warthog” aircraft, long a favorite of Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.).

    The pre-emptive strikes highlight the difficulty the Pentagon will face in cutting programs to tighten its belt, as well as the lengths lawmakers will go to protect programs and jobs on their home turf.

    1. They will fuck veterans, retirees and especially people who are disabled thanks to the war and sacrifice actual war fighting capability in order to save their defense contractor sugar daddies.

      1. I argued with Tony yesterday about whether negative campaigning could work.

        I just don’t see how a well-financed negative campaign asserting that Ron Barber hates disabled vets and cut their pensions rather than cut some plane contract wouldn’t work. I don’t get it.

        Why isn’t someone running negative ads on that topic alone 24/7?

        We should be BURIED in a nonstop avalanche of negative ads about our current crop of pols. Where are they?

        1. I agree. They are demanding DOD build shit DOD says it doesn’t need for readiness and meanwhile endorsing cuts to programs to disabled veterans because they have to cut somewhere.

          That is not negative campaigning. That is telling the truth.

        2. We should be BURIED in a nonstop avalanche of negative ads about our current crop of pols. Where are they?

          I think that someone with an advertising budget has to first decide that government isn’t working.

      2. Yeah, they’ve already started.

        Here’s the thing. I obviously have a financial interest as a retiree, and I’m absolutely fine with taking a hit, because I realize it cannot continue like this. And I’d have absolutely NO problem with it, IF the same (type) cuts were made to social security and other government pensions.

        The old saying…to determine someone’s actual positions, don’t listen to their words, but watch the money.

        I can’t tell you how many times, post 911, I’ve had strangers come up to me and uncomfortably tell me how much they support the troops. You hear the same bullshit from politicians CONSTANTLY. But when the axe falls, where is the first place cut? It’s all horseshit.

        Like I said, I have no problem taking a hit as long as everyone else is willing to get a haircut too.

        1. Exactly. And I have no problem taking a hit living fat dumb and happy with all of my faculties in order to take care of someone who wasn’t quite so lucky.

          The statistic that really shocked me is that we spend more money adjusted for inflation on defense today than we did in 1986, which was the height of the Reagan buildup. Yeah, I know we are still at war in Afghanistan. But we only have 30 or thousand troops there right now. And while our weapons are expensive, they have always been expensive and high tech. What the fuck is going on that we are getting so much less defense for our money?

          The answer is that we have let the rank structure of the military get completely out of control (we have more GOs today than we did in World War II look it up if you don’t believe me) and we are getting raped by defense contractors. DOD is in need of massive reform. They are getting to the point of being the public schools. Giving them more money overall is the last thing we need to do. But these people are such corrupt bastards, cutting their money will result in hurting all of the wrong things.

          1. The biggest problem is congress.

            WRT acquisition, you cannot possibly run an efficient acquisition program under the mountains of regulation required by lawmakers. They claim to be the watchdogs, but THEY are the problem.

            And, of course, as the article points out, military spending has little to do with military need and everything to do whose district shit is built/based in.

            Congress is truly the root of all evil.

            1. Acquisition is a really tough problem. You have to have a lot of oversight or the contractors will rob us blind. At the same time, the military can’t just buy a new weapons system. Buying a new system effects every aspect of military budgeting and structure. You have to buy parts for it. You have to have physical facilities than can handle it. The force structure has to altered to ensure you have people to use it and maintain it. The doctrine has to be changed to incorporate it into war fighting. And of course training has to be changed to ensure people know how to operate it and work on it. Making all of that happen in addition to developing and buying a system that you both need and works is monumentally difficult and expensive. I actually think aquisition is less broke than people think. It is just that hard.

              What is broke is how we are determining what gets bought and how we are structuring the force. We are paying contractors huge amounts of money to do functions that could be done much cheaper by soldiers. That of course goes back to Congress and its refusal to be honest with the public. It started under Clinton but was raised to an art form under Bush and Rumsfeld. You create a larger military without telling the public by contracting out all sorts of functions allowing military personnel to be shifted to other areas and creating a larger military while keeping the number of uniformed personnel constant. It was real dishonest bullshit and we are paying for it now.

        2. Here is what infuriates me even more. Those rat bastards use the public’s understandable respect for the average nug who leaves his family and goes off to be shot at or maybe killed or maimed as a fucking human shield against people calling bullshit to some general retiring and going to work for General Dynamics making six or seven figures helping them loot the treasury.

          As far as I am concerned anyone who retires as an 06 or better should be banned from working for the government or any business who who does more than say 10% of its work for the US government for life. And anyone who retires below 06 should be subject to the old cap on maximum earning from the government that Bush waived after 911. Put a fucking stop to the revolving door.

      3. They will fuck veterans, retirees and especially people who are disabled thanks to the war and sacrifice actual war fighting capability in order to save their defense contractor sugar daddies.

        ???

        Examples? Ayotte and the other War Pigs typically want it all (fat bennies and fat contracts). Ayotte in particular has been very vocal in her criticism of veterans benefits. She never saw a dime of Defense spending she didn’t approve of. Her War Boner puts all others to shame, even that liberal wanker McCain.

        1. But they will be forced by circumstances to cut something. And it won’t be anything that involves money going to defense contractors.

          And this is not about war. This is about graft and corruption. If they cared about fighting and winning wars, they would be listening to what the Pentagon tells them it needs instead of funding projects based on how much pork it produces.

          1. This is about graft and corruption.

            Man you’re cynical (with good reason). Anyhow, I think it’s more about bringing home the bacon and ensuring your electorate is sufficiently stuffed with pork. But I’m not sure that’s truly “graft/corruption”.

            Semantics aside, yes, it is very rare that these politicians ever spew any critical analysis. Everything is simply necessary and its obvious that any at all cuts will turn us into a backwater state.

            1. I am very cynical about DOD just from being around it so long. I would feel better if they were like you described and really just trying to build the best military money can buy. But they are either too stupid to understand how to do that or just don’t care and want graft. Whatever it is, the result is the same.

    2. Jesus Christ? 11 carriers? Are we going to refight all of our naval battles at once in the near future? I think we could halve that and re-enact the Midway-Philippines part of WWII with two different navies. Assuming there are that many non-US flag warships in the world.

      1. Jesus Christ? 11 carriers?

        Over the last 20 years there has been very little desire on the part of the POTUS and Congress to come up with a strategy based force. No thought given to what the military might reasonably be expected to accomplish based on national policy.

        It is simply “more is better”, we need to have enough shit to do whatever we want whenever we want.

        IMHO, if the US adopted a policy of non-interventionism, concentrated on the defense of our physical boundaries and had a small expeditionary force at the ready backed up by reserves, we could cut the military by at least 50%.

        The problem is, we intervene everywhere at the drop of a hat. Instead of being the option of absolute last resort, it has become the first option. It’s actually vile when you think about it. We’ve (politicians) gotten to the point that they don’t think twice about killing to achieve their political objectives.

        1. It is always more is better. Carriers are a great weapon. But it is unclear if their supremacy is going to survive the rise of cheap, accurate ballistic missiles.

          In a conflict with the Chinese or Iranians a single lucky shot against one of our carriers would kill as many people as the entire Iraq war. That is an awful lot of vulnerability. Technology may render such huge ships obsolete the way it did battleships in the 20th Century.

          I think maybe submarines and smaller surface ships with stealth capability are what is going to dominate the seas in the future. But that doesn’t bring the pork home to Norfolk so is obviously unthinkable.

          1. Why not sell to Norfolk the idea of more jobs through diversifying their production? If there is an inability to cut pork at all for political reasons, at least make the pork worth while.

    3. Fiddle-fucking around with the Pentagon budget is pointless unless and until we actually have (re-)defined the mission that the armed forces are supposed to achieve.

      Now, the Warthog itself is beloved of the ground troops, but the Air Force is run by fighter jocks who hate it. It probably should be saved. Hell, the AF boneyard here in Tucson has a ton of them rusting away. This shouldn’t be a big budget item, and a finer piece of flying ground-support artillery you will never find (outside of one of those AC-130 gunships, anyway).

      1. Goes back to what you think the mission is going to be. In a low intensity conflict with a bunch of tribesman setting off IEDs, the A10 is a killing machine. In a high intensity conflict against an enemy with competent air defense and an environment that involves anything short of compete US air supremacy, they are flying coffins.

        The air force understandably doesn’t want to risk being caught in the second mission for the same of increased effectiveness in the first.

      2. The A-10 can only do one thing that other aircraft can’t. It can get under a low overcast and put eyes on in support of ground troops. That’s required less than 1% of the time.

        By and large, CAS is done at altitude (even with A-10s) using PGMs. The need to get in the dirt to put eyes on target has largely been replaced by targeting pods and Hi-Res RADAR that can generate highly accurate coordinates for precision weapons. You don’t “hit smoke” anymore, the FAC reads/sends you coordinates he gets from GPS rangefinders and you send those coordinates to the weapons. A VERY large portion of the CAS done in the last two wars was actually done by bombers that can loiter for hours, carry a shit-ton of ordinance and can relocate to new positions very rapidly. CAS has changed with the advent of highly precise weapons.

        So as far as the AF is concerned, the A-10 is a one trick pony. They are right to get rid of it. The money is best spent on more capable systems.

        1. The problem with precision munitions Francisco is that you don’t always know where the enemy is. They are great for taking out fixed targets. But in ground combat you mostly don’t know the exact position of your enemy. For that reason area effect weapons like mortars and field artillery are the most effective killers. CAS is the same way. CAS with just precision munitions is very inefficient. You send million dollar JDAMs that have a one in five shot of destroying a low value target. Sometimes cheap munitions that can sweep an entire area like the gun on an A10 are more valuable than precision munitions.

          The thing that kills the A10 is the development of drones. Put that fabulous gun on a drone and let some Spec 4 fly it by remote and save the expense of the pilot.

          1. JDAM is dirt cheap. You are essentially strapping a tail kit to a dumb bomb. It’s about $25k each.

            As far as not knowing where the enemy is… you don’t do CAS without knowing where the enemy is. That’s the point. A FAC passes you the position of the enemy over the radio in the form of 9-line. In the old days, they would talk your eyes onto the target. Today, they either pass you the enemy’s coordinates directly, or they talk your targeting pod onto the target. All without getting into range of small arms or manpads.

            1. That is how the AF thinks it works. The reality is that you almost never have an exact position of your adversary in ground combat. That is why low and slow and rapid fire munitions are so effective in CAS. It is somewhere in front of me, kill everything in that area. That is what ground troops prefer.

  4. The “war on terrorism” shares much in common with the “war on drugs.” We’re told both are being done to protect us when in reality both are used to strip us of our rights while enabling those who desire absolute powers.

    1. The war on terrorism is worse. The drug warriors can at least point to the existence of drugs on the street and the need to work harder to stop them. The war on terror actually succeeded in many ways but continues on.

      It would be as if we actually stopped drugs getting into the country such that it is news whenever even one person is found with them but the drug warriors continued to demand more resources be put towards the effort.

      That is what the war on terrorism has become. They destroyed AQ and have reduced the threat of terrorism to the odd loser building a bomb out of a pressure cooker so he can be famous. Yet, for them it is forever 9-12-01.

      1. The problem with the War on Terror is it’s expanded into a War on Kids who Build a Pipe Bomb.

        1. That is because it is built on the idea that “victory” is only achieved when the risk of terror is eliminated, which of course will never happen.

      2. It could be 9-11 times 100.

  5. It’s ‘The Day We Fight Back’ The Day we Yell Ineffectually Against Mass Surveillance

    Mass surveillance is too useful a tool for the powerful for them ever to abandon it willingly. The reasons for its deployment and visibility in society may be adjusted from time to time, but whatever technological advance makes possible will be used to keep the outer party over the proles and the inner party over the outer party, for the children.

    1. You could always encrypt everything. For greater security, give no one the key.

    2. The issue of mass surveillance is done. The tools exist, the technology exists and no government will ever put that technology in a box and not use it.

      I think that what we can do make it illegal for them to have back doors and direct access to backbones. Oh, and stop the Nat’l security letter thing cold. Let them packet capture the way everyone else does, and try to decrypt.

      1. If it’s generally illegal, at least there can be occasional busts where government officials get removed/prosecuted. That’s some disincentive, versus the NO CONSEQUENCES model we have now.

      2. The tools to frustrate mass surveillance also exist.

        End-to-end encrypted tunnelling using open-source encryption algos. The major drawback is that you need both ends of the tunnel on the same page, so to speak. Its a classic network-critical-mass problem.

        1. But this is why the NSA is simply trying to do end-runs around encryption.

          Strong-arming companies into simply handing over their stuff and providing a peephole into the stream is one.

  6. I hope Rand has lived a squeaky-clean life. He has to be a target of investigations by the administration and multiple free-roaming intelligence agencies by now.

    1. At this point if it somehow came out that he was cheating on his wife or had some other embarrassing personal situation, would you not think it was the result of t he NSA or the IC being used as a political weapon?

      No one I have seen who does election law for a living has ever heard of the feds noticing much less prosecuting a case of campaign money laundering involving less than a million dollars. Hell, laundering money to get around the hard limits on contributions is pretty much what bundlers do. Yeah, they say they just get lots of people willing to give the limit to together, but anyone who thinks that doesn’t involve money changing hands to ensure everyone gives the maximum amount is kidding themselves.

      Yet, Dinesh DiSousa is charged with a felony for laundering $20,000 to a losing and frankly hopeless Senate campaign. It was discovered by a “routine audit”. It is just a coincidence that DiSousa has made films critical of the Chocolate Nixon.

      1. I fully expect the current administration to target prominent Republicans over the next three years.

        I also expect that the former Secretary of State is still being briefed on “matters important to the state” such as the ongoing support of terrorism by a sitting Senator.

        1. Yes they will. The ironic thing is that the one thing they will never target a Republican for is anything having to do with the war on terrorism. This despite Progs claiming for 8 straight years how Bush and company were war criminals. They would never want to set the precedent that they could be held responsible for continuing all of Bush’s policies and making some of them worse.

        2. The worst part about this administration is how they love to go after little people. It would be bad enough if they only went after high profile people like DiSousa. They can generally at least defend themselves. But this administration goes after very average people who happen to embarass them or speak up about anything.

          There are dozens of cases where average people got on a news show and said something critical or tried to start grass roots organizations and found themselves immediately audited by the IRS and in some cases were visited by the FBI. Hell, Sarah Palin’s father has been audited something like five times since 2008, despite never having been audited before he daughter ran for VP. They go after people’s families. It is real sinister sick shit.

          1. It is real sinister sick shit.

            Dirty Chicago Machine Politics writ large upon a national canvas.

        3. I fully expect the current administration to target prominent Republicans over the next three years.

          I worry more about the media targeting prominent “Republicans”. The problem with showing your hand too early is you give the media time to create a scandal.

    2. I hope Rand has lived a squeaky-clean life.

      Anyone who prays to the Aqua Buddha is unclean.

  7. 33 comments, half of them John’s.
    I say it’s time we end mass John.

    1. Half of the posts on this page are John’s because on this topic he raised a half-dozen points that provoked positive discussion with other posters.

      1. Whoa, that was Mary?

        Damn.

        1. That was my first guess. She luuuuvz John and Epi.

    1. Because flying the banner invites the NSA.

  8. I love me some Rand Paul, in fact “fanboy” may be too light a term, but he should know better than to cite Revere as saying the “British” were coming…. As Dan Hannan is fond of pointing out, it would have been the height of absurdity for any patriot to see himself as anything other than “British” in 1775. The whole point of the revolution was a restoration of their rights as freeborn Englishmen. It’s a small nit I suppose… but funny because had Revere actually said what popular American myth says he said, it would have been almost exactly like an American today saying “the Americans are coming.” So maybe it does hold after all, just not in the way Rand suggests.

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