• Hope and Change, NSA Edition

    February 28, 2014

    Tags: ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Post-Constitution America

    Hey lookit here, jiggling, shiny keys. Wait, I just forgot what I was going to write, but at least I’ve stopped kicking the seat in front of me.

    Distracting people from real issues with shiny objects is called “hope and change” nowadays. Here’s the latest (and this is not satire.)

    The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed administration “officials close to the matter,” tells us that four suggestions for “NSA reform” will be forwarded to the president for a decision.

    A Quick Recap

    Prior to June of last year and Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA, most people had only a limited idea at best of the depth and expanse of NSA spying on Americans here in Das Homeland. It was not widely known that nearly every/every bit of electronic effluence we produce was being monitored, stored and analyzed for our safety and security. We had no idea that our very lives were just one NSA-missed email away from ending.

    Now we know a little bit more, keeping firmly in mind that only a tiny portion of Snowden’s information has been published, and that Snowden is only one whistleblower from only one of the universe of U.S. and international intelligence agencies that actively spy on all of us. In addition, Snowden’s revelations are mostly about what information the NSA and others collect, and a bit about how they collect it. We know almost nothing about what is done with that information.

    The NSA Reform Recommendations

    Still, even this tiny peep-hole view of Big Brother set off enough noise among Americans that the president was moved to create the appearance of action and reform. Hence the four recommendations the Wall Street Journal tells us will be offered to the president so that he can make a decision. Let’s have a look at those recommendations (Reminder: this is not satire.)

    Recommendation One: The NSA would continue to vacuum up our lives. Only under this recommendation telecommunications companies like Verizon and AT&T would store the data, not the NSA. The NSA would “ask” for data as needed.

    Recommendation Two: The NSA would continue to vacuum up our lives. Only under this recommendation some other part of the government would store the data, not the NSA. The NSA would “ask” for data as needed.

    Recommendation Three: The NSA would continue to vacuum up our lives. Only under this recommendation some non-telecom, non-government entity would store the data, not the NSA. The NSA would “ask” for data as needed.

    Recommendation Four: The entire spying program would be ended.

    Those Jingling Keys

    Leaving aside the obvious proof that the government still has a sense of humor proposing Recommendation Four, it is equally obvious that One, Two and Three are no reform, change or hope whatsoever. They are merely the illusion of change, the jingling keys.

    Such false “reforms” are the new normal in our post-Constitutional America. Once implemented, these reforms will then be endlessly cited by the president, the press and both parties as proof that they are listening, evidence that Something Has Been Done and that it is time to move on. As a bonus, the reforms will be available to further disrespect Snowden, asserting that his stated goal– to provoke debate and reform– has been satisfied. His work done, Snowden thus should return to America immediately for imprisonment.

    Thank you for reading this but do not be further distracted by its content. Please disperse and go about your daily lives, Citizens.

    BONUS CONTENT: Only on February 26 did we learn that the Justice Department asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow it to hold the already-collected bulk telephone records beyond the currently-allowed five years.

    Why the sudden need? Because the ACLU and others are suing Justice over the collection program, and Justice says destroying the records would be inconsistent with legal obligations to retain evidence. Naughty ACLU, see what you did! Now you made it so the government has to hold our phone records longer!

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • Karen said...


      Very scary. Sadly, an accurate description of what’s going on right now.

      02/28/14 1:38 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Even if the NSA placed cameras in every room in every house in America and recorded our every movement, it would still fail to stop the next 9-11.

      The NSA: Failing to protect America since its inception.

      02/28/14 2:02 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Now that the world knows the NSA and the Brit-sickos are watching our webchats too, dress appropriately:


      02/28/14 2:22 PM | Comment Link

    • Helen Marshall said...


      It’s known as the shell game…three shells, and guess which one hides the Reform?

      You got it.

      02/28/14 6:19 PM | Comment Link

    • Bruce said...


      NSA Reform 4; OR FIGHT!
      (Meanwhile, stick’em note up your webcam ports)

      02/28/14 6:19 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      “We know almost nothing about what is done with that information.”

      Yes Peter, but what we do know, thanks to Edward Snowden et al, has already spread across the planet beyond the likes of which our government and others, would like. Expect more of the same kind of authoritarianism response to each revelation too. After all..the ruling class isn’t the ruling class for nothing.

      03/1/14 12:02 AM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      For anyone who advocates the NSA needs to continue these efforts, one of the other problems is the overwhelming volume of information.

      Clearly they and the other agencies are not able to process it until after something happens, even though it’s been 13 years since 9/11 and after billions of dollars have been spent on fancy yet still useless costly ‘analytics’ programs. The Boston Bombing went entirely unflagged. One cant blame the FBI alone — the NSA and other agencies also missed what was occurring and that is in conjunction with all these programs Clapper and company want to keep funded

      Another issue is – what’s the point of the high cost of these agencies are consuming if they are only going to be capturing English-language communications? It should be alot less costly than what is currently going into secret budgets.

      Peter, is there any additional information on a case the National Whistleblowers Center recently sent out a link on?

      There is an FBI Whistleblower, who filed a suit due to retaliation and blacklisting, stating there was intel prior to 9/11 of plans to attack the US but the agencies did not act.

      The NBC provided a link to the Washington Times on this:



      03/1/14 12:09 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Sooner or later, someone is going to find a list of every goddamned traitor working for the NSA and CIA…and POST IT ON THE INTERNET..just like Mike Vanderbough did two days ago. He just posted a list of every single Connecticut legislator AND their address’.

      Unless you are a gun-rights advocate, you probably don’t know what is happening in the 2nd Amendment arena lately. However, something just happened that is causing a firestorm within the Connecticut capitol.

      You see, last year, due to the Sandy Hook debacle, the Connecticut legislature passed new gun banning laws, that required owners of certain weapons and magazines to register them by Dec 31. It blew up in their faces as most of these gun owners outright REFUSED, much to the chagrin of the PTB. In response, the PTB regrouped, and sent out a letter to gun owners stating they had 8 months to comply or ELSE they would face confiscation and arrest by the State Police…

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Guess what? Mike has been sending every single one of these tyrants, including the State Police, laying out the foundations and realities of the Unintended Consequences should the State Police try to enforce this unconstitutional law..and THEN, proceeded to post a LIST of every single Connecticut legislator who voted for this law..AND their ADDRESS’s. HOLY SHIT! Heads are exploding in the Connecticut capitol…

      Here’s the letter…


      Other sites began picking up on it…


      Some even re-posting the list…


      Which now, has caused other people to start making lists of THIER state legislators AND addresses. Which brought to mind. Guess what would happen IF a list of NSA employees magically appeared on the net, hmmmmmm? It won’t be long.


      03/1/14 12:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Votes by elected officials are publicly-accessible, not secret matters.

      It’s not clear what’s wrong with expanded background checks. In contrast and ironically plenty of gun rights advocates are enthusiastic about unlimited NSA spying on English-speakers using Yahoo web cam. Why one exception on such expanded ‘surveillance’ and not the other? No on has been shot and injured with a Yahoo web cam to date, just ‘shot’ doing things they’d probably not want mom or dad to know about.

      Expanded background checks, limits on large-capacity ammo and assault riflry kinda make sense in urban communities. Don’t forget — even the mom of the Newtown killer was a bona fide registered carrier of assault weaponry and Mr Deedy also was licensed to carry.

      Having relatives in NYPD, a common complaint is that guns used in crimes are often obtained from states where regulations on gun ownership are, shall we say extremely liberal? Then transported to urban areas. It makes perfect sense having stricter laws in urban areas and protecting law enforcement from large capacity weaponry.

      Duck-hunting using semi automatics or assault weaponry is for those lazy about learning how to really hunt, which takes alot more skill if one is going to be serious about it. Where’s the skill and enjoyment in something so easy? If that is someone’s preferred game, fine, just do it like it’s supposed to be done, in a not-so-populated area. Does someone really need a Bushmaster AR-15 in Newtown or DC? If someone wants to shoot ducks with it, knock yourself out excercising the only Constitutional Amendment that seems to matter these days

      This stuff also gets sold overseas, not to mention marketed on Youtube featuring high school kids modeling such weaponry. It’s hard to complain about unrestricted international gun trafficking, because who then doesnt have a right to own a gun? It’s funny how some Constitutional rights are not applicable overseas, but 2nd Amendment is absolutely protected for selling to Syrian rebels who use it on Christian communities. Guess such weaponry can also be sold to the Christian communities too — now everyone’s 2nd Amendment right is being excercised.

      Who cares what happens to the weaponry AFTER that particular conflict has ended, or if it winds up being used on Americans as in recent conflicts. More distracting people from real issues with shiny objects as Peter noted above

      03/2/14 3:21 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      As for the NSA, it has no business spying on Americans using Yahoo web cam. It’s illegal and waste of expensive resources already being misused, not to mention, not it’s mandate

      03/2/14 3:26 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      “Distracting people from real issues with shiny objects is called “hope and change” nowadays.”

      The more things change…

      While the spies were distracted watching US, they didn’t notice Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine. Reportedly, the Russians suspect the Ukraine has WMDs and are merely following the US policy of preemptive war.

      03/2/14 7:11 PM | Comment Link

    • Kyzl Orda said...


      Apparently the spies were distracted watching us and giving off-the-record ‘anonymous’ interviews on Acela, denigrating the very President who sacrificed his campaign promises to pull their chestnuts from the fire:


      Not to mention the Benghazi attacks (more than one), the Nigerian mall attack, Boston, and other incidents the NSA and company should have caught and failed. How much deeper in debt does our country have to go? Is the NSA really getting paid to surf web porn?

      Meanwhile, Ms Nuland youtube-posted boasts are about to have new life breathed into them. Sorry Krispy Kreme, there’s always Bishkek. Maybe

      03/2/14 8:09 PM | Comment Link

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