Saturday, 24 August 2013

In Passing

So, Senator Feinstein, which is it?

Political Hacks  Dept
Mike Masnick:
[quoting the Associated Press]
The Senate Intelligence Committee was briefed this week on the willful violations by the NSA’s inspector general’s office, as first reported by Bloomberg.

‘‘The committee has learned that in isolated cases over the past decade, a very small number of NSA personnel have violated NSA procedures — in roughly one case per year,’’ Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the committee, said in a statement Friday.
Of course, this is the same Dianne Feinstein who, exactly a week ago, said the following:
As I have said previously, the committee has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes.
Yeah.  Because apparently the NSA chose not to tell the committee until a few days later, despite it happening for years.
In the meantime, the NSA just made Senator Feinstein look like a complete fool...  At this point, it’s abundantly clear that Feinstein’s ‘‘oversight’’ of the NSA is a joke.  She’s either incompetent or lying.
The country’s in the very best of hands...

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Friday, 23 August 2013

In Passing



I could almost support giving the NSA wide latitude if one condition were present:

That accidental violations would be punished by serious discipline -- say, two months off with no salary -- and that multiple accidental violations would be punished by a firing, and that intentional violations would be punished by a prosecution.

That, in theory, could keep this very dangerous and worrisome ability in check.

But it's only a theory, because as John Kerry and Eric Holder and Barack Obama demonstrate on a daily basis, The government never fires or disciplines anyone, no matter how serious or deadly or constitutionally-foul their transgressions.
So we're left with a very unsatisfying choice between ‘‘Let the NSA run rampant’’ or ‘‘Let terrorists run rampant.’’
And at this point, I believe I’m almost ready to prefer the terrorists.

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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

In Passing

Meanwhile, over at the State Department...

...and four Americans are still dead.

(Via:  Ace.)

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In Passing

Not ‘‘incompetence,’’ intent

Liars All the Way Down  Dept
Glenn Reynolds:
COMPETENCE:  Report: NSA doesn’t know the extent of Snowden damage.  ‘‘The National Security Agency (NSA) doesn’t know how much information leaker Edward Snowden was able to obtain because of an underdeveloped capacity to audit its own data, according to a NBC News report released late Tuesday.’’

This is criminal.  Every single thing he did should have left an audit trail, both as a guard against misuse, and for damage assessment in a case just like this.

I didn’t say ‘‘criminal incompetence,’’ because if the need for an audit trail is obvious to such as me, it surely must have been obvious to higher-ups at NSA.  If the systems lack the capacity for this, it’s because somebody doesn’t want the records kept.  That suggests abuse at a systemic level.
No, it suggests a system that’s working as designed.


And read this:  They Know

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 18:02:37 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 16 August 2013

In Passing

Get ready for the DHHS SWAT Team!

Its called ‘‘evidence-based home visits...’’

According to an Obamacare provision millions of Americans will be targeted.

The Health and Human Services’ website states that your family will be targeted if you fall under the ‘‘high-risk” categories below:
  • Families where mom is not yet 21.
  • Families where someone is a tobacco user.
  • Families where children have low student achievement, developmental delays, or disabilities.[1]
  • Families with individuals who are serving or formerly served in the armed forces, including such families that have members of the armed forces who have had multiple deployments outside the United States.
‘‘...the new statute, by its own definition, has no... limitation.  Intervention may be with any family for any reason.  It may also result in the child or children being required to go to certain schools or tak[e] certain medications and vaccines and even having more limited – or no – interaction with [their] parents.’’
Well, at least we now know what all that for.

Via:  Gateway Pundit


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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

In Passing

Coulter wins the Peggy Noonan award

SUCKER!!!  Dept
Ann Coulter:  Yes we should revitalize the Republican Party.  I’ll tell you who to throw out – Any Republicans who support amnesty.  You have a clear list Tea Partiers...

Sean Hannity:   Oh, so is the love affair with Chris Christie over?

Ann Coulter:   Sadly, over amnesty.  And, by the way, that’s when the love affair ended with George Bush.

(Via:  Jim Hoft)


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Saturday, 10 August 2013

In Passing


Your (well, Somebody’s) Tax Dollars at Work  Dept
Over at Ace’s, Wednesday’s post (by Monty) on Detroit’s self-inflicted misery (and do RTWT) provoked this reminder about what’s important to a city (and what’s not):
...A city’s number [one] priority should be to keep the city a place people want to live.  At bottom this means decent public safety [police and fire, mostly...], decent transportation [roads, signals], and decent schools; at a ‘price point’ [total taxation] that the average... taxpaying citizen finds reasonable.  Anything else... is basically fluff.
Which reminded me of this story (from the Daily Mail):
People living in Seattle can no longer enjoy a brown bag lunch after city bureaucrats banned the term from official use for being racist

A memo sent out from the Office of Civil Rights also banned the word ‘citizen’, claiming it could lead to people feeling excluded...
I wonder what Seattle’s taxpayers feel about a government that spends their hard-earned taxes on officious claptrap.  (Shut up, Grouch... It gives employment to the otherwise-unemployable!)

(Seattle link:  Jeff Goldstein via Daily Pundit)

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Friday, 09 August 2013

In Passing

How about ‘‘each pays his own way?’’

Subsidies for Me, but Screw You  Dept
Over at Instapundit, we have:
‘‘THE END OF FREE CHECKING? Thank Dick Durbin.’’
...which links to:
... while eliminating debit cards would be a drastic move by the banks, you would more likely see the end of things like ‘‘free’’ checking.

The reason for this is ‘‘interchange fees’’.  Or, more precisely, price controls on interchange fees.  Interchange fees are the fees banks charge retailers for processing the use of debit cards.  The interchange fee used to be about 1.35% of the amount purchased at the retailer.  This enabled banks to cover the costs of debit cards and offer other perks such as ‘‘free’’ checking.

Because the price of the interchange fee may soon be set at .03-.06 cents per transaction, banks have to figure out another way to cover their costs.  Say welcome back to fees for checking.
So let me see:  A system under which all customers pay higher prices[1] so that some people[2] get free checking accounts is supposed to be a good thing?

Hey, I’ve got this revolutionary idea...

[1]   You don’t think that retailers eat the interchange costs, do you?
[2]   ...who don’t even have to be customers of those retailers...

Posted by: Old Grouch in In Passing at 17:32:15 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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