Thursday, December 13, 2012

U.S. Terrorism Agency to Tap a Vast Database of Citizens

We are watching our freedoms disappear before our own eyes. And no one seems to be able to stop it. Aren't the Republicans the party of freedom? And what about the left? Aren't they always ranting on about civil liberties and the threat from law enforcement? This President has not only adopted the Bush playbook but has surpassed his predecessor in attacking fundamental freedoms:

Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. "This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public," Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests and interviews with officials at numerous agencies, The Wall Street Journal has reconstructed the clash over the counterterrorism program within the administration of President Barack Obama. The debate was a confrontation between some who viewed it as a matter of efficiency—how long to keep data, for instance, or where it should be stored—and others who saw it as granting authority for unprecedented government surveillance of U.S. citizens.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans "reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information" may be.

Poll: Both Parties to Blame if Fiscal Cliff Talks Fail

Obama Administration Essentially Admits That Some Banks Are Too Big To Jail

We are going to find out what we should have learned in Obama's first term, he is an tool of big business. The failure to criminally prosecute any banker for the massive fraud of that bank is...criminal. More and more we are learning that Occupy Wall Street was right. The government rescued the banks for their criminality rather than prosecute them. The truth can no longer be covered-up:

One of the great things about being too big to fail is that you're also too big to jail, apparently.

So saith the Obama administration, via the New York Times, in its front-page story on Tuesday about HSBC's settlement with the government over money-laundering charges. Though the British banking giant had to pay a wrist-stinging $1.9 billion, the settlement helped it avoid formal criminal charges. The NYT quotes anonymous government officials who say they were skittish about indicting HSBC because formal charges would amount to a "death penalty" for the bank, potentially roiling the financial system.

This is at least three very specific flavors of bullshit.

Right-to-Work Laws Harm the Middle Class


States should not pass so-called "right-to-work" laws because they are a body blow to the middle class and undermine a state's economy. Unions are essential for building a strong middle class, yet right-to-work laws weaken unions by making them provide services without being paid for them—forcing certain workers to pay the costs of union representation for all workers.

And by harming the middle class, these laws hurt the economy because a strong middle class leads to additional business investment, greater entrepreneurship, more growth-enhancing public policy, and higher levels of trust that facilitate business transactions.

The evidence that 'right-to-work' laws harm the middle class is crystal clear...