Nel's New Day

February 17, 2017

DDT: Week Four – Part 1

The judges overturning Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) Muslim ban was his most obvious disaster last week. This week it was, to swipe the words from Judith Viorst, DDT’s “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad” press conference. But I’ll avoid talking about that for this post because his entire purpose was to “detract, deflect, and deflect” attention from the Russian scandal that led to the resignation of DDT’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn. Not only did the Russians help DDT win the presidency, but Michael Flynn talked to them about President Obama’s sanctions immediately after they were placed in late December before DDT was inaugurated and then lied about it—at least to the public.

DDT claims that no laws were broken, not even the Logan Act banning U.S. citizens from trying to influence foreign policy, but Flynn resigned after 24 days in office because DDT asked him to step down, according to Press Secretary Sean Spicer. DDT also said his only problem was that people learned about the discussion regarding sanctions. Despite the possibility that Flynn was giving secrets to Russia, he sat in on national security briefings and deliberations until a few hours before his resignation.

DDT knew about the problem before he was inaugurated because Acting Attorney General Sally Yates told DDT about Flynn’s lies weeks before he was inaugurated, yet last week, DDT fired Yates because she would not defend his unconstitutional actions in the Muslim ban. White supremacist Steve Bannon is the winner in Flynn’s resignation because of his increase in power. Watch for the disintegration of Reince Priebus, most likely Bannon’s next target.

Other disasters during DDT’s past week:

security-key

Lack of Security: A photo from the Oval Office shows a key left in a packet with intelligence documents while DDT was hosting a number of people. The smart phone DDT uses for tweets is also unsecured, with the Internet connection making it vulnerable. It’s the same phone he used to tweet about his daughter Ivanka during his intelligence briefing. Some White House staffers are still using personal email addresses, and others have private email accounts with the RNC.  The biggest GOP hypocrisy—for the moment—is that Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is demanding a grand jury or charge against Bryan Pagliano, the computer specialist who helped establish Clinton’s server while she was secretary of state. The so-called chair of the House Oversight Committee has also refused to address any of DDT’s conflicts of interest or his involvement with Russia although he’s investigating Sid the Science Kid.

At Mar-a-Lago DDT was surrounded by waitpeople and other diners at the terrace dining room table while he took a call about North Korea launching an intermediate-range ballistic missile and then moved on to a strategy session.  Then he proceeded to have a sensitive intelligence meeting with the Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo while club members with no security clearance snapped photos and put them on social media. Aides used phone camera lights to illuminate the national-security documents that DDT and Abe were reading which allows others to see the objects. The morning after that event, DDT tweeted a complaint about all the “leaks.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) responded:

“I would suggest that the president get a briefing on the handling of classified information.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), leader of legislators with heads in the sand, tweeted last summer, “Individuals who are ‘extremely careless’ with classified information should be denied further access to such info.”  That belief is gone; he can’t cross DDT because he needs the president to sign his lovely bills.

White House Leaks to Russia: Earlier the U.S. intelligence community expressed concern that DDT would “tell all” to Russia. Now, according to the Pentagon, Russia has “ears” in the administration’s situation room. A senior Pentagon intelligence official said, “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point.” U.S. intelligence officials were so concerned about DDT’s leaks that they have withheld sensitive intelligence from the president.

Miller’s Declaration of DDT as Supreme Leader: Last Sunday, white supremacist White House aide Stephen Miller said on Face the Nation “that the powers of the president to protect our country will not be questioned.” On ABC he said, “The judiciary is not supreme.” To Fox’s Chris Wallace, Miller said, “The president’s powers here are beyond question.” He also declared that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was “always” 100 percent correct and repeated the lie that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to vote.

DDT praised Miller for his performance, but even DDT-supporter Joe Scarborough thought Miller was out of line. On Morning Joe, Scarborough said:

“Oh my God. It’s so much worse than I ever thought…. It’s called ‘judicial review.’ Alexander Hamilton and James Madison wrote about it in the Federalist Papers; it was enshrined in Madison’s Constitution.”

DDT’s Counselor Violation of Law: The director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Schaub, called on disciplinary action against White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, for her television hawking of Ivanka Trump’s product line.

Border Checks: No one knows if ICE has stopped detaining people from the seven magic countries, but border agents are still threatening people if they won’t give up the passwords for their cell phones. Natural-born U.S. citizen Sidd Bikkannavar has never visited any of the targeted countries, but he was forced to give up his PIN number and cell phone after he returned from Chile where he drove a solar-powered car in a race. Despite his being a member of the Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program that waves people through after scanning their passports and fingerprints, the NASA scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for over a decade was threatened with detention and seizure—even after he told border agents that the phone belonged to NASA and contained sensitive information. It is not known whether the border agents copied the information. The law: agents can detain people, but they cannot legally force them to unlock their phones. A U.S. judge has also ruled that people cannot be forced to use their fingerprints to open electronic devices.

Immigrants with green cards have also been threatened with deportation if they don’t sign a form that was actually a I-407 form that erases their lawful permanent residency in the U.S. Border agents falsely claimed that not signing these forms would bar them from entering the U.S. for five years; in reality it does just the reverse. Although the goal was to deport criminals and rapists, ICE is still detaining an immigrant vetted and protected under President Obama’s DACA program for over a week although DDT did not overturn that order.

Violation of Law Preserving White House Records: Members of the DDT administration are using an app called Confide that encrypts messages and destroys them after they are read. Using Confide violates the Presidential Records Act passed by Congress, mandating that all official business correspondence be carried out on White House email so that it can be preserved. A year ago, the GOP and DDT screamed about the “missing 30,000” Hillary Clinton emails after the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails on a private email server owned by the RNC while they used false claims to plan wars and fired U.S. attorneys for no clear reason. A major criticism of Clinton was that she “destroyed” emails.

The Great Negotiator: While president-elect, DDT raised hackles by congratulating Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen for his win, directly conflicting with the position of “One-China” policy:

“I don’t know why we have to be bound by a One-China policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things.”

Last week, DDT told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he will honor the so-called “One China” policy—at the request of President Xi. No negotiation, nothing from China, just acceptance of China’s “request.” DDT owns business ventures in China.  He was negotiating with one in Taiwan, but it may have fallen through.

Labor Department Nominee Resignation: On the home side, Andrew Puzder, well-known for his abuse of his own workers and employing an undocumented immigrant as housekeeper, withdrew his name after the surfacing of a video showing his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, describing her husband’s physical and emotional abuse. Although Fierstein later denied the abuse, the description of the abuse on the video may have been too close to the domestic violence that white supremacist Steve Bannon, the man running the White House, perpetrated on his wife. Wife abuse is something that the White House men want to sweep under the carpet. Puzder was the first nominee to withdraw.

DDT’s Refried News: The new Intel factory in Arizona, scheduled to employ 3,000 workers, was first announced by President Obama in 2011. As for the creation of jobs, Intel is still down 9,000 jobs in Oregon during the past year, making DDT a net loss of 8,000 jobs with Intel. DDT takes credit for jobs already considered, including the January job increase while he wasn’t president, and ignoring other job losses.

National Security Advisor Non-replacement: Retired Vice Adm. Robert Harward told a friend that chaos and dysfunction in the White House meant that DDT’s offer to make him national security adviser amounted to “a sh*t sandwich.” It’s another example of the new abnormal as a senior military officer rejects the commander-in-chief’s request and gives cover to other patriots who take the same path. Death by a thousand cuts.

trump-cover-finalDDT has always bragged about the number of times that he has been on the cover of Time. Once again, he has received this placement, but he may not be bragging about it this time. Brooklyn-based Tim O’Brien said that his intent was to show the chaos surrounding the White House. Time explained the cover: “In the first month of his presidency, the New York billionaire has witnessed the lesson of Samson: toppling the temple can be painful if you try it from the inside.” Nothing to See Here.

[Update: This post has been changed to reflect a ruling on February 23, 2017 that prevents law enforcement officials from demanding people open their electronic devices using their fingerprints without having a warrant for those specific people.]

“Indifference about the distinction between truth and lies is the precondition of fascism. When truth perishes so does freedom.”—Simon Shama, British historian

September 8, 2016

‘Special Treatment’ for Hillary Clinton

Last night’s precursor of the presidential debates shows the importance of a good moderator. Matt Lauer isn’t one. He started by grilling Hillary Clinton on her emails—taking up a full one-third of her time—that he could have used for issues such as military strategy, leadership goals, policy positions, etc. When he finally got around to the subject of the townhall—national security and veterans issues—he hurried her through her answers by interrupting her, something he didn’t do once to Trump. She was limited in discussing policy while Trump was permitted to lie without confrontation and then spend much of his time in generalities such as defining his qualifications to be commander-in-chief as having “good judgment” and “common sense.” MSNBC should be embarrassed about this debacle; it felt much like a performance on the Fox network.

Trump’s major position in protecting the country is that it has bad generals, “reduced to rubble” to be specific. Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS: he already has a plan. But then he said he’ll tell his top generals to create a plan. Which is it? And he’ll do it in 30 days. George W. Bush said “Mission Accomplished” 40 days after he invaded Iraq, and the U.S. is still in a quagmire there. Trump is also under the misguided impression that he can change all the generals to those who agree with him, but he doesn’t appoint them. He may nominate them, but the Senate has to approve his appointments.

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is better than Obama, Trump said, because Putin’s approval ratings are higher. Throughout the townhall Trump had nothing bad to say about Putin and nothing good to say about the U.S. president. Lauer also failed to point out that dictators typically have high approval ratings.

Trump claims that he’s studying policy but excuses himself from knowing anything by saying, “I’m campaigning, I’m running a business, I’ve got a lot of hats right now.” Trump doesn’t want to remove women from the military, but he blames the high number of sexual assaults in the military on the fact that men and women are serving again. Trump is unaware that 53 percent of these assaults in 2012 were of men and almost entirely by men. Over half the assaults in 2015 were still of men. Lauer appeared totally unaware of this information.

Lauer’s introductory question to Trump was what he had done to be commander-in-chief. He answered, “Well, I’ve built a great company. I’ve been all over the world.” Then he proceeded to lie about opposing the Iraq War from the beginning and the U.S. intervention in Libya that overturned late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Lauer failed to point out that Trump initially supported the Iraq War and called on the U.S. to intervene—leaving the audience with the idea that Trump was being truthful. By the finish, Lauer had failed to ask Trump about his dodging the draft, ridiculing POW Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), smearing a Gold Star family, comparing experience in prep school to serving in the military, calling on Russia to hack Clinton’s email server, and bragging about getting a Purple Heart because a soldier gave Trump his medal. Nor did Lauer ask about the affect that a Muslim ban would have on potential ISIS terrorism in the U.S. This in a discussion about national security and veterans affairs in front of an audience of veterans.

In the past, journalists believed that the truth had value. Now their position is that political candidates lie however they want with no questioning. Chris Wallace, moderator of the October 19 presidential debate, said, “I do not believe it is my job to be a truth squad.” Lauer also showed his inability to handle Trump. Although he told the candidates to not be negative, Trump spent over half his time attacking Clinton and President Obama—perhaps because he doesn’t know anything about being a commander-in-chief. Lauer also failed to gather any specifics from Trump.

Trump has spent several months saying that he can’t release his tax returns because he’s being audited, despite his statement that the years 2002-2008 are no longer being audited. (Of course, no one knows for sure that any of his tax returns are being audited.) Then he switched to saying that it would be “irresponsible” to do that. The most recent statement before last night was that “I think people don’t care. I don’t think anybody cares, except some members of the press.” Actually, the man who follows polls so closely should know that 74 percent of the people think he should release them—including 62 percent of the Republicans. Even his running mate, Mike Pence wants him to make the returns public.

Last night, Trump tried a different tack. He’ll release them “immediately” if Clinton makes public personal emails that were deleted years ago. He also said that no one in business would delete emails although that’s exactly what his business did several years ago when he brought a lawsuit ten years ago.

“If we would have taken the oil, you wouldn’t have ISIS,” Trump said last night. He suggested that the way to defeat ISIS is to “take the oil.” Asked how to do that, he said:

“Well, you—you just, you would leave a certain group behind. And you would take various sections where they have the oil. People don’t know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world.”

So Trump’s plan is to pillage a country of all resources after the U.S. idea has invaded it.

Trump has long valued Russia and Putin over the United States and President Obama, but he went over the edge in a townhall meeting on national security when he talked about his experiences at the his first classified briefing—after he talked about the dangers of Clinton’s emails. He said he was shocked by the way that the briefers disdained his political opponent and the current president and finished by saying, “Our leaders did not follow what they were recommending.” With this massive breach of ethics, concerns about giving Trump classified information were accurate. This is the first time that a presidential candidate has politicized these briefings.

Members of the Trump campaign staff also leaked information about the briefing. For example, it was reported that retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn interrupted the proceedings so much that Chris Christie, also invited by Trump, told him to shut up.

clinton-smileRNC Chair Reince Priebus couldn’t fault Clinton for her statements in last night’s townhall so he complained about—yes!—her not smiling. She answered, “Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like.” Priebus was also wrong: she did smile as this photo shows.

The male moderator at a townhall doesn’t allow the female candidate to address the issues and constantly interrupts her while telling her to hurry up. Then he gives the male candidate easy questions and fails to correct most of the candidate’s lies. The moderator also orders the female not to attack her opponent while asking the male candidate to “keep his attacks to a minimum.” The moderator didn’t limit the male candidate’s constant attacks in any way. And finally the leader of the Republican party complains because she won’t “smile” while talking about serious issues. Might this be called sexism?

Trump may have had a pitiful performance last night in the townhalls, but Gary Johnson, the Libertarian who disaffected Republicans consider as an alternative had a worse morning. When he was asked on Morning Joe about Aleppo, Johnson answered, “What is Aleppo”? The U.S. public may not need to know about Aleppo, but the President of the United States needs to know that Aleppo is the “epicenter” of the Syrian refugee crisis, as Mike Barnicle explained to Johnson. All of Hillary Clinton’s opponents are pathetic, and almost all the “journalists” focus on how she is perceived as not “likable.”

The bar is so low for Donald Trump that he’s admired if he doesn’t drool on his shoes—to quote Democrat Eugene Robinson and Republican Nicole Wallace. That means that Hillary Clinton definitely gets special treatment the way people claim—it’s just that she cannot achieve their high standards no matter the extent of her knowledge and preparation. Trump would have disappeared a year ago, if expectations for him were only one-fourth what they are for Hillary Clinton.

December 12, 2015

GOP Tries to Destroy Planet

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 29:  An artwork entitled 'One Heart One Tree' by artist Naziha Mestaoui is displayed on the Eiffel tower covered by a green visual forest, as part of the organisation of the Conference on Climate Change COP21 on November 29 in Paris, France. The climate change conference COP21 will gather 193 countries in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.  (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 29: An artwork entitled ‘One Heart One Tree’ by artist Naziha Mestaoui is displayed on the Eiffel tower covered by a green visual forest, as part of the organisation of the Conference on Climate Change COP21 on November 29 in Paris, France. The climate change conference COP21 will gather 193 countries in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015. (Photo by Chesnot/Getty Images)

On the same day that 24 Democrats in the House joined all the Republicans in passing a bill to block trade deals from cutting greenhouse emissions, 186 countries signed off on the Paris agreement to leave most of the world’s fossil fuels unburned to save the planet. The countries unanimously agreed to an ongoing effort of increasingly deeper emissions reductions aimed at keeping total warming “to well below 2°C [3.6°F] above preindustrial levels.” After two weeks of negotiations, parties to the agreement also promise “to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.” In addition, the agreement calls for developed countries to raise at least $100 billion annually in order to assist developing countries that suffer irreparable damage from climate change but have done little to cause it.

The treaty was adopted by “consensus” and won’t go into effect until 55 countries ratify or approve it. The agreement calls for a signature ceremony in April 2016 and asks that the U.N. Secretary-General keep the agreement open for signing until April 2017.Two important countries are China and the U.S. which respectively account for 24 percent and 14 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions. Two-thirds of the U.S. Senate must sign off on a treaty before it can be ratified.

This agreement follows grassroots’ movements to protest Keystone XL pipeline, persuade institutions and individuals to disinvest in dirty energy while moving capital to cleaner energy, and push for a warming target of below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). This change will require every country to have zero net fossil fuel emissions by the end of the 21st century. As the graph indicates, global CO2 emissions have started to plateau.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Why all countries need to cooperate in saving the planet:

Temperatures in the Arctic are rising at twice the rate as the rest of the world which may cause one-fourth of Alaska’s permafrost to melt. Until the recent climate warming, the frozen soil has locked in over a trillion tons of carbon, more than twice as much carbon as in the atmosphere itself. The melting permafrost will boost CO2 levels higher in a feedback loop, causing rising seas, greater and more prolonged heat waves and droughts, and distorted weather patterns to thaw more permafrost and release even more CO2.

A major Greenland glacier in Greenland holding enough water to raise global sea levels by 20 inches is crumbling into the North Atlantic Ocean. From 2002 to 2014 the area of the glacier’s floating shelf shrank by 95 percent; it’s now losing 4.5 billion tons of ice a year. Rising air temperatures drive melting at the top of the glacier, and warming ocean currents erode the underside.

The historic Tangier Island off the Virginia coast just 90 miles from Washington, DC is disappearing. Inhabited for thousands of years, the three-mile-long island has lost over 65 percent of its landmass since 1850; at this rate of sea level rising, the island has 50 years left.

Parts of Louisiana are also disappearing into the Gulf Coast. This video shows how a football field of land is lost to rising sea levels every hour.

People may not be upset to lose Wall Street to sea levels rising (below), but these maps show all the displaced places. You may not want these to be lost to the oceans.

 

Wall Street 2wallstreet_4C_C

 

 

 

 

 

 

Researchers from more than 20 countries found that half of 28 weather extremes on all seven continents were influenced by climate change: 

  • Record heat in Europe, the Korean peninsula, northern China, and Australia.
  • Droughts in Syria and East Africa.
  • Record rains in New Zealand and France.
  •  Nepal’s extreme Himalayan snowstorm.
  • Flooding in southeastern Canada.
  • Hurricanes in Hawaii.
  • Hotter Pacific and Atlantic sea-surface temperatures.

Even the fossil fuel giant Exxon-Mobil publicly admits that “with no government action…average temperatures are likely to rise by 5 degrees Celsius, with rises of 6, 7 or even more quite possible.” After trying to cover up its part in climate change for the past 30 years,  the company openly states that emissions can’t be controlled by “free-market-driven solutions.” Exxon also endorses a comprehensive carbon tax, similar to the one proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a Democratic presidential candidate.

Six years ago, a climate summit in Copenhagen failed to produce any results. Now, the United States GOP is “exceptional” in being the only major political party opposed to reversing the devastating climate warming despite that warning signs. Last year was the hottest year on record. Despite the panic and disdain shown by Republicans, the Paris agreement, unlike the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, will not be a fully legally binding treaty which would almost positively fail in the current GOP-controlled Congress. The United States never ratified the Kyoto Protocol.

Before the meetings in Paris, Republicans tried hard to scuttle the whole agreement by reaching out to foreign officials. Like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and his work to undermine the agreement with Iran, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) challenged the right of the president to agree to a global agreement without permission from the Senate. McConnell’s energy aide Neil Chatterjee led Senate staff in telling foreign embassy representatives that the GOP will do everything they can to battle the climate agenda and that any agreement would not hold up with a Republican president. More about the GOP treasonous actions here.

U.S. ratification is highly unlikely (a serious understatement) because conservatives’ allegiance to the coal and oil industry, especially billionaires such as the Koch brothers, commit the GOP to block any efforts to protect the world. In the past, the GOP refused to enact policies to reverse climate change with the claim that no other country will follow the U.S.; now the GOP, now the majority party of Congress, is making the United States one of the countries refusing to take steps to save the planet.

The Paris agreement will shift trillions of dollars in capital investment away from conservative sugar daddies into cleaner technologies such as solar, wind, LED lighting, advanced batteries, and electric cars that emit far less harmful carbon pollution. The reverse in policy, however, will not completely stop existing impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, extreme weather, and loss of agricultural lands similar to that of the 1930s Dust Bowl.

The deal is flawed—no timeline, voluntary controls on gas emission goals, and weak language on monitoring and verifying, for example. But it’s a beginning, a vital beginning. Unchecked climate change will adversely affect billions of people around the globe, threatening water and food supplies, development goals, public health and arable and habitable land.

Disasters are not confined to just the soon-to-be submerged island nation of Kiribati or the Maldive people losing 77 percent of their land by 2100. No one will be untouched by climate change: it has already caused the increasing conflicts in the Middle East that the GOP is using as collateral against the Democrats, the acceleration in ethnic violence, and the displacement of people creating havoc in the world.

A 2009 report called climate change the “biggest global-health threat of the 21st century,” causing foot shortages and deadly diseases. President Obama said, “Denying [climate change], or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.”  Presidential candidate Sanders calls climate change the greatest threat to national security. While the media concentrates on one of almost 400 mass shootings this year, the GOP is trying to kill the planet by denying science.

April 26, 2012

House Votes Yes on CISPA, Erases Rights

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:24 PM
Tags: , , , ,

Such a benign reason for passing a bill, protecting online companies from cyber attack. Everyone thinks that protection is good. But the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) allows these online companies to further erode everyone’s civil rights. And the House of Representatives passed CISPA today.

According to Anjali Dalal, a resident fellow with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, “CISPA seems to place constitutionally suspect behavior outside of judicial review. The bill immunizes all participating entities ‘acting in good faith.’ So what happens when an ISP hands over mountains of data under the encouragement and appreciation of the federal government? We can’t sue the government, because they didn’t do anything. And we can’t sue the ISP because the bill forbids it.”

If CISPA passes the Senate, the government will no longer need to go through courts to fight “enemies” on U.S. soil in the Internet arena, and we know that the government considers everyone in this country a potential “enemy.” The United States is in a perpetual war.

Currently the courts distinguish between public and private aspects of online activity. For example, e-mail addresses, subject lines, and traffic patterns are public in the same way as addresses on the outside of a paper envelope are. Just as the contents of a letter are private, however, so are the contents of electronic communication, requiring a search warrant for courts to examine these details. Yet private companies doing government work don’t have the same restrictions.

CISPA deputizes tech companies to share everything–online activities, history, searches, transactions, mail—with the government. In addition, Internet firms would not be required to tell clients when the companies give this information to the government. The result is no legal recourse for these companies’ actions and no limits on the government’s use and retention of any information gained from them. In CISPA Congress will free private firms from liability.

CISPA guarantees than any private action involved with the Internet will be potentially public. As the San Jose Mercury News, the daily newspaper of Silicon Valley, pointed out, “Personal privacy protection is all but nonexistent.” To the people who claim that they don’t have anything to hide, I say, that’s not the point. The point is that people in a free world should have the right to privacy.

“I think our First and Fourth Amendment rights aren’t being adequately considered,” said Yale Law School’s Dalal. “We have a right to be free from government intrusion into our private thoughts, actions, and effects without a warrant. We also have a right to speak freely without government interference. Authorizing private surveillance of everything we do on the Internet with the understanding that government can be a recipient of that surveillance information threatens our right to speak freely, and to be free from unlawful search and seizure.”

As they did with the immunity granted to the telecom industry three years ago for warrantless wiretapping of all our phones, Congress explains to the nation’s citizens that passing this law will make us safer, that we have to make compromises for our safety. They don’t explain that passing CISPA makes the Constitution smaller.

The House passed CISPA with a 248-168 vote, 42 Democrats supporting it and 28 Republicans opposing it. The bill had a stronger bipartisan support before President Obama promised to veto it. “Legislation should address core critical infrastructure vulnerabilities without sacrificing the fundamental values of privacy and civil liberties for our citizens, especially at a time our Nation is facing challenges to our economic well-being and national security,” the White House said.

Passing CISPA may be a moot point: National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower William Binney estimates the NSA has assembled 20 trillion “transactions”–phone calls, emails and other forms of data—from people in this country. The information likely includes copies of almost all of the emails sent and received from most people living in the United States although NSA Director Keith Alexander asserts that the NSA is not intercepting information about U.S. citizens.

Big Business strongly supports CISPA. Their letters of support praise the information sharing for “successful public-private cybersecurity collaboration.” The ACLU differs from their perspective, giving this example of how CISPA works.

“Imagine you are emailing your doctor from your Gmail account about a medical condition. Your doctor pulls up your medical records from his cloud storage server and sends them your way. Somewhere in that communication, a virus crops up. Under CISPA, Google could send your emails, including the electronic copy of your medical records, to the NSA, so they can gather information on the virus. But, Google would be under no obligation whatsoever to scrub out your private details–which have nothing to do with the virus. And now your medical records are in government hands indefinitely–and the government can use them for all sorts of unrelated purposes like the undefined ‘national security.’”

CISPA will destroy all privacy on the Internet, it will make all whistleblowers and journalists public, it will provide unaccountable spying freedom for the government. Even worse, CISPA will give the government the ability to close down free and open access to the Internet. Dictators delight in this control; that’s what they did in Iran during the recent revolution.

This bill is what happens when the people who make the laws don’t understand the way that technology works. Some of the people voting for this will want the total control, but the discussion about the Stop Online Piracy Act late last year showed lawmakers’ ignorance. They need to have a test before they are allowed to vote on any subject.

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