Skip to main content

Let me start this diary by saying, this is the kind shit that keeps me up at night. Contemplating the outcomes of the subject explored in this diary scares me. It causes me to lose hope for the future, it causes me to be fearful in the present. Because to me, this notion, this topic we are exploring runs counter to everything I have ever been taught to believe about my own country, either as a child in school, or as a veteran who served in the military. This sort of thing makes me feel like a naive fool for ever believing any of the hype about "Freedom" or "Bravery" or "Patriotism."

So many things in our country are simply, WRONG. So many things in our country that are supposed to be good, and helpful and just, are instead backasswards, and cruel. And when I take the long view, about something like this, all I see on the horizon is evil and cruelty, and it scares me for me, for my husband and my children and my friends.  It feels surreal to me. But that is what I said 12 years ago, and 8 years ago, and 4 years ago, and now? It seems to either be maintaining, this surreality, or worsening. When I allow myself to be totally aware of it, I am speechless, frightened, and depressed. It's the reason I haven't much felt like posting anything but a few comments here and there recently. Everyday I post something on the internet, I feel like I have been given 10 more feet of new rope to hang myself with. On days when this realization haunts me, I am not sharing the world wide web with a benign community of fellow thinkers, but instead making myself vulnerable to a creepy eye in the virtual sky.

I was working on this diary a month ago. It has sat in my hopper, I have been too chicken to post it. Then imagine my surprise when Snowden's work hit the fan. I would definitely read the following material with his work in mind.

And just so we are clear, all of the material quoted in this diary was found via regular internet searches. No leaked material was used. Simply sites that were up for public consumption and nothing more. For example--consider this story while reading my diary on this topic. Tennessee Official thinks complaints about water quality qualify as an act of terrorism.  

This diary will be long. My suggestion to those who have trouble with long pieces, print it out, and take a highlighter to it, and then write notes in the margin. Think of it as homework for grown ups. I would suggest printing some of these documents up too. Take a thumb drive and down load them, but print them out and take a highlighter to them. You know it's bad, and now is the time to rip the band-aid off and see just how bad it is, so you can act accordingly.

I have said it many times before, but it seems to get very little traction. The Patriot Act is the reason that corporations have so many new powers, that seem from the outside looking in, to be Police Powers.

First let's define Police Powers:

The inherent power of a government to exercise reasonable control over persons and property within it's jurisdiction in the interest of general security, health, safety, morals, and welfare except where legally prohibited. Merriam Webster
The Patriot Act gave large corporations Police Powers. There is no other explanation I have been able to come up with, to find a reasonable answer that reflects the reality we have been confronted with repeatedly.

This is why, in 2010, BP along with the Unified Command were able to create a no fly zone over the Gulf of Mexico, it's why local Gulf residents complained of being harassed, or threatened with arrest, without warrants for photographing the mess in the Gulf. Sometimes the people harassing the citizens were government, and sometimes they were hired mercenaries or private security guards. Those who watched this unfold, got the distinct impression that BP called the shots and not the government. It's why a reporter working with Frontline and ProPublica was harassed by BP Security for photographing a billboard on a public thoroughfare. And it's why there have been attempts to create a press blackout in Mayflower Arkansas with regards to the dilbit spill that has wrecked a neighborhood and polluted a local wetland.

We all knew [I say we--meaning me and mine] that the Patriot Act was bad news. Not because we didn't want to protect America from genuine terrorist threats, such as those that conducted the 9-11 attacks and the OKC Bombing. It was bad news because it was rammed through in a panic, it was poorly written, and it has turned out to be nothing but a sweetheart deal for corporations, giving them the means to use our security assets to maintain their bottom line at the expense of our civil rights, while simultaneously using our tax dollars to do so.

In my experience, most discussions about the Patriot Act revolve around the internet almost exclusively, such as "Roving Wiretaps" and the gag order on Librarians who serve patrons who are under investigation by DHS. Not much as been devoted to this other aspect of the law, regarding critical infrastructure, which is shocking to me, given it's apparent role in our environmental law, and our unfortunate financial sector.

Maybe I have read too much into this, but this has been something that has bothered me for a long time. When I started pondering why the Gulf Gusher played out like it did, this was the one answer that kept appearing at the bottom of each dig. A piece of several puzzles if you ask me, that explains so much, as to why American citizens have been and are disenfranchised on their own soil.

Here is an interesting excerpt from a background piece regarding the Patriot Act:

The President's National Strategy for Homeland Security, which proposed the creation of a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS), established as one of the Department's core missions the protection of America's infrastructure. Homeland Security Act of 2002:Critical Infrastructure
Sounds good so far right? Nothing to argue there. We don't want an act of terrorism to destroy our country's economic viability. This is why former President Bush urged people to go shopping after the attacks on our soil, at the World Trade Center and Pentagon. As shallow as it sounded, he wanted to keep the cash flowing, so that "capital circulation" wouldn't be constricted by a lack of normal, daily business transactions that help to drive this nation's economy. During that time, many people were fearful and stayed home from their normal activities. No one knew where the next attack might come from or be. We were all scared.

Our government then took steps to protect our economy. Sounds reasonable, right? Because if we don't have an economy, then everything else sort of falls apart. We cannot buy fuel or raw materials or gear for the military or anything. No economy or a severely diminished economy would push us back in time and make us even more vulnerable to our enemies or  natural disasters.

The proposal had the new Department responsible for comprehensively evaluating the vulnerabilities of America's critical infrastructure, including food and water systems, agriculture, health systems, and emergency services, information and telecommunications, banking and finance, energy (electrical, nuclear, gas, and oil, dams), transportation (air, road, rail, ports, waterways), the chemical, and defense industries, postal and shipping entities, and national monuments, and icons. Homeland Security Act 2002: Critical infrastructure
There are many, good reasons to tighten security around the items and industries listed above. However, I posit that while the justification for increased security was perfectly valid and expected, but that these new laws have become points of abuse by becoming entangled [by accident or design] with revolving door politics and cronyism, creating what is essentially a fascist state whenever these corporations-named as critical infrastructure are challenged by the average American citizen, especially if those Americans publicly protest the activities of any of the given industries listed for any reason at all. Some of these cases are ridiculous to the extreme, and yet boldly executed by the state as a proxy for private industries in what I can only describe as State Sanctioned SLAPP Suits.

For me, this also explains the unusually heavy handedness of law enforcement against OWs protesters. Banks and Financial institutions are listed as critical infrastructure. Legally, they are entitled to extra federal protection from any people deemed as "potential terrorists." I use the word "terrorist," because the way OWs protesters were treated, seemed it indicate that was the status assigned to them by law enforcement. Now the police aren't the feds [or are they?], but remember, now there is extra information sharing between agencies at every level of the government, as well as between police/government and corporate security. Little hints about this have been strewn about in various news stories like the Propublica piece, as well as the quote below. The word "gift" is in reference to the donations from big banks to the NYPD.

“This gift is especially disturbing to us because it creates the appearance that there is an entrenched dynamic of the police protecting corporate interests rather than protecting the First Amendment rights of the people,” says Heidi Boghosian of the National Lawyers Guild, which has had legal observers posted at the major Occupy Wall Street marches. “They’ve essentially turned the financial district into a militarized zone. Salon.com 2011
These financial entanglements wouldn't have to be exclusively in response to OWs, because the Patriot Act is already in place and had been for a decade. And given that the banks probably foresaw some kind of unrest about the part they played in the mortgage fraud, and the newly sprung tent cities, and the financial crash that left so many people jobless, it doesn't seem to me, too hard to predict that they might feel the need for a bit of extra protection from domestic anger. Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following:
“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” he said. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.qtd by Alternet 2013
Be sure and remember the elements of the quote directly above when you start reading the Patriot Act. It will make even more sense, beyond the "too big to fail" bs. Shining a light on this, creates a glare that outlines a series of fearsome iron triangles.  

What is truly interesting is that originally, the New York City Council passed resolutions that rejected the Patriot Act, which they found to be "un-Patriotic" in it's assault on Civil Liberties. There was grave concern over new powers given to local law enforcement:

The vote follows months of negotiations between resolution supporters and New York City Council leadership. A major sticking point in the original proposal of the resolution centered on language prohibiting the New York Police Department from enforcing immigration laws, collecting information on activist groups and businesses, and refraining from establishing an anti-terrorism reporting database. Washington Post 2004.

"246 Municipalities, counties and three states," all passed resolutions or legislation that opposed the Patriot Act due to their observation that this new federal legislation wasn't really about Patriotism. Reading this diary makes it very clear that the people of New York could see clearly, what many are only just now figuring out.

I think, I hope that many people here know, that our laws have been turned against us. That in an attempt to protect ourselves from future terror attacks, we have allowed our civil rights to be undermined by corporations seeking protection not only from alleged terrorists, but also from our own laws, that should ensure they pay taxes and are accountable to the very people, whose tax dollars have supplied big bonu--er I mean, bail outs, and other forms of corporate welfare.

This Critical Infrastructure clause not only affected how security assets were assigned, and when, but also affected our Sunshine Laws and our FOIA or Freedom of Information Act laws.

The definitions of Critical Infrastructure:

"systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health and safety, or any combination of these matters. Homeland Security Act 2002:Critical Infrastructure"
So when a group of citizens openly protest, and use civil disobedience as a means of shutting down a district or a bank or a pipeline--it seems to me, at least on the face value of these words, that their acts satisfy the definition above. The catch all clauses--"National Economic Security, and Any combination of these matters". But even when nonviolently breaking the law, does that qualify the protesters as "terrorists" or their acts, "terrorism". I would say no, in fact it seems to me, an abuse of the power structure to use these overly broad definitions as an excuse to manhandle citizens who offer no threat to life or limb, but simply seek to challenge corporations that are abusing a system that has been unlawfully stacked to perform in favor of said corporations, at the expense of the people.

This seems eminently true, when citizens are in the act of protecting themselves and their communities from toxic spills or predatory lending practices that ruin their property values, their business holdings, their long term economic viability, and in some cases such as the Gulf Gusher or the Pipeline ruptures, their long term health. In addition citizens may also be in the process of protecting themselves and their communities from the implied threat therein, posed by companies known for their negligence in these matters due to prior cases, rulings, and extensive documentation via the media.

Basically individual citizens and communities are up against a Iron Triangle(s) that uses the Patriot Act like a sledge hammer to destroy any legal opposition.

There are more definitions to be explored.

Critical infrastructure Information:

Information not customarily available in the public domain and related to the security of critical infrastructure or protected systems. Homeland Security Act 2002:Critical Infrastructure
FYI, everything quoted here, was available on the public domain.

This next definition/quote should really catch your attention.

Actual, potential, or threatened interference with, attack on, compromise of, or incapacitation of critical infrastructure or protected systems by either physical or computer based attack, or other similar conduct [including misuse or unauthorized access to all types of communications and data transmission systems] that violates federal, state or local law, harms interstate commerce of the United States, or threatens public health and safety.ibid
The weasel words that stand out to me--threatened interference with--- what else is a protest, if not "threatened interference." What else is a peaceful, human chain or a sit-in, if not the incapacitation of an entity via peaceful, nonviolent protest? This law is so vaguely worded that it seems obvious to me, how convenient it would be to declare any and all protesters alleged "terrorists" or "potential terror threats" by virtue of this definition alone. But I wonder, upon reading certain Patriot Act documents, if this--the Patriot Act is why the "Banks" are too big to fail?" Has the government painted itself into some sort of legal corner here?

On Bank Protest Day, there was "interference," in that people made a point of openly, verbally, visibly transferring their funds from institutions officially named in Mortgage Fraud Suits, and into community banks, and credit unions.  

Some bank-protesters were manhandled and arrested as a result. Why? They were causing interference, or in the words of a Democracy Now host, protesters arrested, were accused of being "disruptive" and these protesters self identified with a group of angry customers and citizens that threatened more interference through various acts of protest ranging from transferring accounts, to marches. Wow--sounds dangerous!

But is this type of interference, disruption, etc., Is this truly a type of "Terrorism" and is it conceivable that the banks and the government violated the rights of these citizens protesting these institutions in a nonviolent manner by treating them as if they were in fact, "terrorists"?

Why would people protest being robbed blind, forced out of their homes, jobless and destitute? Isn't that what America is all about? How could being placed on some ubiquitous government list be worse, than the reality of not being self sufficient, productive adults?

Interference is a surprising choice of words. I imagine that it was originally chosen to encompass the aspect of critical infrastructure involving virtual reality--telecommunications, internet transactions, and cracking, but instead has been broadened in scope to include activities that would normally fall under lawful protest or in the very least, nonviolent, civil disobedience. Mission Creep Anyone?

"The gradual broadening of the original objectives of a mission or organization."
Webster's Online. That is how it looks to me. Perhaps I am being generous in assuming that this wasn't intentional?

Getting back to the Infrastructure Clause:

...the ability of critical infrastructure or protected systems to resist such interference, compromise, or incapacitation, including planned or past assessments, projection, or estimate of the vulnerability of critical infrastructure or protected system, including security testing, risk evaluation, thereto, risk management planning, or risk audit, or any planned or past operational problem or solution regarding critical infrastructure...including repair, recovery, reconstruction, insurance, or continuity to the extent it related to such interference, compromise or incapacitation. ibid
Would that the government protect family planning clinics with such zeal.

What this clause tells me is that money is spent doing drills, and hiring people to make these assessments and identify vulnerabilities and potential threats,etc., It would be fine if these drills involved responding to genuine terror-threats, but what about protesters? Do we respond to protesters the same way one responds to a genuine terror threat? Or Should we? And what about Journalists? How are we supposed to deal with journalists? Do we shut them up by also putting them on lists, or arresting them?

And when we explore the information sharing aspect of this, it seems on the surface to be a good idea, if you assume that everyone knows where the line should be. But obviously everyone isn't informed especially when you consider stories like this: The BP/Government Police State-Salon.com

Reporters have been complaining for weeks about BP, the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard working to keep reporters away from wrenching images of oil-covered birds and oil-soaked beaches. Greenwald 2010
It's one thing to share information about an potential violent terror act, with other law enforcement organizations, because there is a vested interest in preventing intended violence. It's another thing entirely to basically put some random American on a list, for various agencies, as if they were a terrorist, for nothing more than non-violent protest or in this case, simply doing their job as a journalist--Whether a citizen or journalist, this act violates due process for starters, as well as fails to show a public interest in corralling the person in question, because there is no intent on committing violent  or destructive acts.  Unless of course one assumes, that providing in-depth coverage of a breaking story, caused by a big corporation, in a newspaper, or on television or on a blog is a violent act of terrorism?

If the person in question poses no serious, viable threat, other than to make corporate bosses uncomfortable with their personal politics, then I fail to see how any good is served, turning that person into a defacto criminal without a trial or indictment or even a charge that can be substantiated or challenged by the "accused". We all remember the No-Fly-Terror-Watch-List, well that can't be the only list, because remember this is all about sharing "critical information" between agencies and companies. I wonder if this affects job searches for certain Americans? And when or if they will ever find out, how and by whom their name was flagged, and why?

It amazes me still to this day, that I see no reference to the Patriot Act or Critical Infrastructure. Why? Compare the complaint above to the statements in this MotherJones piece from 2013, below. Reporters Say Exxon is Impeding Spill Coverage in Arkansas.  if you read these stories and the  documents, it becomes very clear that the line between corporation and government is extremely blurred, to the point that in some of these stories there appears to be no line of demarcation between one or the other.

Hibblen says county officials seem to be deferring to Exxon when it comes to reporters. "This gets back to who's really in charge, and it seems like ExxonMobil," he said. "When you throw the media out, that's when the media really get their tentacles up. MotherJones 2013"
Further reading of the Patriot Act document indicates that when information is voluntarily submitted to DHS, that if entity submitting this information requests non-disclosure, that the law allows our government to withold this information with impunity, from any FOIA request.

So lets look at this list again--
America's critical infrastructure:

...food and water systems, agriculture, health systems, and emergency services, information and telecommunications, banking and finance, energy (electrical, nuclear, gas, and oil, dams), transportation (air, road, rail, ports, waterways), the chemical, and defense industries, postal and shipping entities, and national monuments, and icons.
This is one of those things that just wears me out looking at it or even thinking about it. Because to me, a topic like this should have been first and foremost on the minds and lips of the people from the start. Anyone else seeing a list of corporate names at this point, remembering a question along the lines of, "Why does our government keep giving them a free pass! Why is our government allowing these companies to screw us [the people] over?"

This is the primary reason we cannot reform our nation's corrupt political system. This is why peaceful and lawful protesters are being brutalized, and it just blows my mind that no one discusses it. Any small victories we accomplish openly, are undermined by this. Beyond the fact that this document presupposes anyone who interferes with the listed entities above is a terrorist, it could be hiding "critical" information from us--the people, using our own tax dollars and security assets to do the hiding. And now we have been alerted to various surveillance programs. Remember if you have nothing to hide, you probably have nothing to fear snark

The government also provides advisories and alerts for companies/entitles listed as critical infrastructure, regarding potential "interference." Alerts about who? Oh yea, more lists. I mean what else would it be, other than more lists.

Corporations should NEVER EVER have police powers--EVER! They are businesses, not agencies. Corporations should NEVER EVER have military powers--EVER.

But when we combine these laws with the Citizen's United Ruling--what do we have? Corporations that are treated as people insomuch that they are given rights as a person, but can never tried for crimes and then sent to jail like a regular person/voter. Meanwhile what happens to people who openly protest the companies protected by these ridiculous and vaguely written laws? Companies that are given police powers, backed not only by law enforcement, and our regular courts, but by secret courts as well--let that sink in. Secret Courts.

Cornell has a version on their site and it provides equally disturbing langauge:

42 USC 519c Critical Infrastructure.

Private business, government, and the national security apparatus increasingly depend on an interdependent network of critical physical and information infrastructures, including telecommunications, energy, financial services, water, and transportation sectors. Cornell 42 USC 519c
Further more, *it is the policy of the United States:
(1) that any physical or virtual disruption of the operation of the critical infrastructures of the United States be rare, brief, geographically limited in effect, manageable, and minimally detrimental to the economy, human and government services, and national security of the United States; ibid
Thus far, no where in this document, are there caveats naming the civil rights of American Citizens, protecting their speech or right to assemble and/or protest. An interesting omission in my opinion. In the previous write up, there was extensive discussion about how information voluntarily shared with DHS could not be restricted if it violated laws that protected public health and safety, and environmental law. Which--okay, that sounds fair. But once again, nothing in there about private citizens legally protesting these institutions and how those acts might differentiate from violent terrorist attacks.

These big businesses are getting lots and lots of special treatment that gives them greater economic advantages over smaller businesses or those business in areas not deemed "critical." All the more reason to make a constitutional wall, separating corporation and state. Think of all the fear-mongering over socializing the banks, and here, its sort of already been accomplished. All the more reason to invoke anti-trust laws. These banks take our money, destroy our mortgage industry via fraud, assist in the destruction of the EU financial system, and then have protesters surveilled,  arrested and harassed under federal laws.

When a group of protesters decide to disrupt business-as-usual, they do not seem to be protected by the same civil rights laws we all imagine that we have, because their protest, even enshrined in our Bill of Rights is counter to the directives of the Patriot Act. We could say the same thing about Reporters, whose stories might be labeled as "disruptive" should the stories be printed. So while it appears we still have those rights, the patriot act shackles us by pitting us--individual citizens against corporate entities that already enjoy unlimited financial and therefore legal resources in comparison to the average citizen, but now also enjoin that advantage with unlimited federal security resources as well.

We can protest, as long as we don't disrupt anything. And the word disrupt can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. Just like adjectives like "potential" can be added on to words vague words like "interference" or "threat".

...(2) that actions necessary to achieve the policy stated in paragraph (1) be carried out in a public-private partnership involving corporate and non-governmental organizations; and...ibid.
But here is the best part:
...(3)to have in place a comprehensive and effective program to ensure the continuity of essential Federal Government functions under all circumstances.ibid.
So the government is saying, it cannot function without certain private services and as a result, there seems to be no delineation between federal government and businesses labeled as critical infrastructure. That the day to day operation of both are considered one and the same, with that last clause thrown in to the mix. According to the Cornell site, all the information gathered in sent to an agency for analysis, so that community leaders and policy makers can be instructed in how to deal with "disturbances."
There shall be established the National Infrastructure Simulation and Analysis Center (NISAC) to serve as a source of national competence to address critical infrastructure protection and continuity through support for activities related to counterterrorism, threat assessment, and risk mitigation.ibid.
Here we are not only dealing with terrorism and disasters, but what about protests? The wording is so vague that it seems obvious by recent events that "lawful Protests" are included as a potential cause of "incidents" or "threats" or "Interference."

Further digging uncovered the CSG, State's Official Guide to Critical Infrastructure.

Even if you don't care for this diary, I highly recommend you check out the State's Guide. It is a fascinating document.

As I read this document, it wasn't until we reached page 43 of the document (pp58 of the PDF file) that the discussion turned to legal ramifications outside this Federal-State-Industrial Complex sort of emerged:

The law as it applies to critical infrastructure protection involves statutes enacted by Congress and state legislators, and regulations promulgated by federal and state government agencies, many of which were put in place to address specific issues characteristic of each regulated area. Therefore, many parties have jurisdiction to make law concerning some part of the nation's critical infrastructure. The legal issues that states are currently dealing with when making critical infrastructure policy stem almost completely from issues regarding information sharing, including questions regarding information protection, privacy, right to know issues, anti-trust issues, and even liability issues. State Official's Guide to Critical Infrastructure pp43
Notice, no mention of "Civil Rights Issues," until the FOIA/FOIL paragraphs.
The federal government's Homeland Security Act created  new exemptions to the federal and state Freedom of Information laws. The Critical Infrastructure Information Act {CIIA}, part of the Homeland Security Law, states that when a business voluntarily submits, "critical infrastructure information" to the Department of Homeland Security, it is exempt from federal FOIA. Further, if the federal government gives that information to a state, then that information is exempt from state FOIL as well. The law also grants businesses immunity from civil liability for violations of securities law, civil rights law, environmental, labor, and consumer protections, and health and safety laws should violations be revealed in the information they provide the department. Ibid
Now I am thoroughly confused, because this flies in the face of information provided in the first documented quoted. And in addition to shining a light on issues of protestors of Big Energy, also makes me wonder about how much various security agencies knew about the impending housing collapse, and other financial sector issues, but are prohibited by law from sharing this with the American Public, who bailed those institutions out with Tax Dollars while simultaneously being screwed by predatory lending practices and outright mortgage fraud. The Treasury Department is listed as the DHS representative/lead for our Banks and Financial Institutions. So is anyone else really wondering how long they knew that this collapse was coming? DHS is bound by law not to reveal it though, even though, that institution is supposed to be working for US, the People, and even if DHS shared that info with the treasury or with the a state agency, they too would be bound by law to nondisclosure.  

Just reading the two quotes directly above, tells me that the Patriot Act needs to be thrown out.

I scrolled down to the glossary and thought this was interesting:

Incapacitation: An abnormal condition when the level of products and services a critical infrastructure provides its customers is reduced. While typically a temporary condition an infrastructure is considered incapacitated when the duration of reduced performance causes a debilitating impact. ibid pp71
I like the blatant use of the word, "Customer" in this quote.

Once again, no delineation is made between an incapacitation caused by a terror attack, as opposed to a lawful protest, journalists doing their jobs, or nonviolent civil disobedience. At what point does "Incapacitation" trump Civil Rights?  

With the outcomes potentially adding more damage to the protester or journalist, in addition to having their rights violated, and their voices silenced, and possibly, in some cases, their health ruined, they might also be added to a list that affects their security clearance, should they have or need one, their viability as a worker and perhaps even their freedom of movement. Some folks have said not to worry, that only "terrorists" are being targeted, but I offer, that belief has been knocked down. Two examples:

Guardian UK 2010: Mark Ruffalo 'added to terrorism watchlist' over Gasland.

"State Homeland Security Director James Powers says he's worried about vandalism." The Maddow Blog: Pennsylvania Tracks Fracking Protesters
Vandalism is terrorism now? Who knew.
“I want to deliver a warning this afternoon: When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry,” Mr. Wyden said. He invoked the public’s reaction to the illegal domestic spying that came to light in the mid-1970s, the Iran-contra affair, and the Bush administration’s program of surveillance without warrants. Senator Wyden (D) Oregon.
Senators Say Patriot Act is being Misinterpreted. NYT 2011
The Patriot Act, and the "secret rulings" associated with it, create a terrible transparency problem for our government at every level. As an individual citizen who does not have access to these "secret rulings" affected by a Federal Law that can override every one of my individual "unalienable" rights at the behest of a corporate entity, for me it is beyond the reconciliation with anything I would consider legitimate.

The enormous appearance of impropriety is first and foremost. This gigantic assumption that I will simply trust in other fallible mortal beings to always do what's right, even when huge amounts of cash and power are involved without public oversight is ridiculous in the extreme.

There is a clear, and irrefutable conflict of interest generated in every direction by these laws, once again, without the ability of Tax Payers to be able to identify clearly what their dollars are supporting. And given the acts associated with this law in the recent past, it's clear that good faith need not be brought up as a counterpoint.

Even for civilians, the notion of "Trust but Verify" is very important, and yet, there is no ability to verify in a timely manner, and so there can be no grounds for trust, just as there are no grounds for privacy, or habeas corpus, freedom of expression, peaceable assemblies, redress of grievances--all of it is gone. Even though some of us still naively act as if these rights still exist, its a facade. Individuals are allowed to do these things by the generous hands of people who have declined to let all of us know what they have on us, what they want on us, in terms of information. If you doubt me, consult with individuals on the No-Fly-List.

Without trust, or certain unalienable rights, we are all potential "threats" and that means then we aren't really citizens who contribute to a society. We are just inmates, and the powers that be, wait patiently for us to "screw up." What kind of mustache twirling villains would go for this sort of set up?

I know, somewhere out there, a Dudley Do-Right DHS worker will say, that they do it to protect us. But isn't it too bad that you have to protect us from our rights and freedoms? That you feel the need to protect us from the knowledge that big industries are poisoning us, and stealing our money? That kind of "protection" I could do without. Show me a genuine threat and I will back you 110 percent. But this? It's a shell and pea game. One genuine threat out of how many civil or labor rights abuses? How can I defend the indefensible especially if  I cannot even see what you have done or why.  

Whatever the intentions of individual offices, this pattern of secrecy and distrust cannot be allowed to go on. This pattern of abuse, and scamming by institutions that have every motive to take advantage of this sweetheart deal, need to be cut off the federal teat immediately, and made to answer for their actions in a meaningful and timely manner.
Further examples of what I believe is the Patriot Act at Work, or relevant works on the subject that might further interest readers:

DePaul Business Law Journal Vol.12 PP97 {1999/2000}Critical Infrastructure Protection: Threats to Privacy and other Civil Liberties and Concerns with Government Mandates on Industry. O'Neil and Dempsey

Truthout: Patriot Act Use Expands May 2003 The Patriot Act provisions are being used in non-terror-related cases.  

ACLU: Don't Blame the Wall for Pre-9-11 Failures 2004 A member of the ACLU warns us--foretells current conflicts with Patriot Act.

SFGATE: Defending Labor's Rights to Protest the War 2005--Patriot Act invoked directly against protesters.

In These Times: The GOP's Democracy Double Standards 2009

Roy Greenslade: Reporters Suffer Oil Spill Harassment Guardian UK

Federal Cops to Gulf Journalists: Don't Dig, It's Illegal {BTW the video is a classic} Don't dig up our buried oil, because it's of a National Security Issue!

Propublica Photographer: I was followed by BP Security and then Detained by Police. How else could BP security get away with this, if our government didn't allow it?

Science in the Gulf Aug 20 2010: Science Friday This story says that DHS officers harassed scientists, confiscated samples and notes without a warrant, and these officers invoked "National Security" as a reason for their behavior.

"Within the first few days of Occupy Wall Street, protesters began to notice the presence of the NYPD's Counter Terrorism Unit at Liberty Plaza. Joanne Stocker, who has become a fixture since day one at Wall Street, recalls within the first few days waking up to a Counter Terrorism Unit van, parked on the fringes of Liberty Plaza, which was taking video of her and her friends while they slept."Occupy and the Militarisation of Policing Protest. Guardian UK 2011
Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning about Patriot Act. NYT 2012
An internal DHS report entitled “SPECIAL COVERAGE: Occupy Wall Street," dated October of last year, opens with the observation that "mass gatherings associated with public protest movements can have disruptive effects on transportation, commercial, and government services, especially when staged in major metropolitan areas."Exclusive: Homeland Security Kept Tabs on Occupy Wallstreet.Rolling Stone 2012
Further down in the story a quote from the DHS reports, mentions directly, how OWs protests are potential threats to "critical infrastructure."

Homeland Security Tracked Occupy Wallstreet Peaceful Activists Demonstrations. Huffpo 2013 This is a really interesting story too, a nice counterpoint to the Rolling Stone piece above.

The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis I believe it is plausible that our financial meltdown was caused by these clauses in the Patriot Act. That our regulators weren't asleep, but in fact were painted into a corner by certain clauses that give immunity to companies deemed critical infrastructure and require the government to participate in NonDisclosure.

Sherwin Smith, Tennessee Official, Says Water Quality Complaints could be an "Act of Terrorism."  This is interesting. It's not about some unknown criminal poisoning water or depriving the town of potable water somehow, or vandalizing the water processing plant--merely the complaint filed could be an act of terrorism, and is defined by this inconvenienced official, as an act of violence and therefore terrorism. Are you awake yet?

I have said this many times, but it bears worth repeating: Our national security assets are devoted to corporate interests, at our expense. And that expense is in terms of our tax dollars, as well as our civil rights and freedoms.

Originally posted to The First and The Fourth on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:26 AM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

Poll

The following Describes my take on this story

5%6 votes
44%50 votes
16%19 votes
33%37 votes

| 112 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This is what activist drones are for. n/t (9+ / 0-)

    It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

    by Jaime Frontero on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:35:11 AM PDT

    •  Intriging comments should have links :) (5+ / 0-)

      Share and share alike. I want this discussion to be a lively and informative one.

      •  Sure. Start here: (17+ / 0-)

        http://www.diydrones.com/

        They're cheap enough that if they get shot down it's not a big deal.  Maybe a grand, completely tricked out.

        They can carry a decent payload if you're careful:  a GoPro camera, an extra battery pack and a radio transmitter so you don't lose the video if you lose the drone.

        They're using the goddamn things against us.

        'Bout time we returned the favor.

        It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

        by Jaime Frontero on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:06:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well I do appreciate your commentary, (7+ / 0-)

          I mistook your first comment to be about drones spying on activists, and not the other way around.

          BTW GoPros range in price from 250 to 400 dollars there abouts.

          If you cannot buy a RM Plane or Helicopter, then a good balloon on kite string will at least give you some height to get that coverage.

        •  Some states are already getting prepared for that (20+ / 0-)
          Senate Bill 71

          77th OREGON LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY--2013 Regular Session

           A BILL FOR AN ACT
          Relating to drones; and declaring an emergency.
          Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
            SECTION 1.  { + As used in sections 1 to 7 of this 2013 Act:
            (1) 'Airspace of Oregon' means the space above the ground that
          is not part of airspace governed by federal law.
            (2) 'Drone' means an unmanned flying machine that is capable
          of:
            (a) Capturing images of objects or people on the ground or in
          the air;
            (b) Intercepting communications on the ground or in the air; or
            (c) Firing a bullet or other projectile.
            (3) 'Public body' has the meaning given in ORS 174.109. + }
            SECTION 2.  { + (1) A person may not possess or control a drone
          unless permitted to do so by the federal government or by the
          Oregon Department of Aviation under section 7 of this 2013 Act.
            (2) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section commits a Class B misdemeanor.
            (3) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section and uses the drone to capture an
          image of a person or object on the ground or in the air commits a
          Class A misdemeanor.
            (4) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section and uses the drone to fire a
          bullet or other projectile commits a Class C felony.
            (5) A person who possesses or controls a drone for the purpose
          of hunting or stalking game commits a Class C felony.
            (6) A person who possesses or controls a drone and causes the
          drone to fire a bullet or other projectile at an aircraft while
          the aircraft is in the air, or intentionally causes or attempts
          to cause the drone to crash into an aircraft while the aircraft
          is in the air, commits a Class A felony.
            (7) A person who gains unauthorized control over a drone
          commits a Class A misdemeanor. A BILL FOR AN ACT
          Relating to drones; and declaring an emergency.
          Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oregon:
            SECTION 1.  { + As used in sections 1 to 7 of this 2013 Act:
            (1) 'Airspace of Oregon' means the space above the ground that
          is not part of airspace governed by federal law.
            (2) 'Drone' means an unmanned flying machine that is capable
          of:
            (a) Capturing images of objects or people on the ground or in
          the air;
            (b) Intercepting communications on the ground or in the air; or
            (c) Firing a bullet or other projectile.
            (3) 'Public body' has the meaning given in ORS 174.109. + }
            SECTION 2.  { + (1) A person may not possess or control a drone
          unless permitted to do so by the federal government or by the
          Oregon Department of Aviation under section 7 of this 2013 Act.
            (2) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section commits a Class B misdemeanor.
            (3) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section and uses the drone to capture an
          image of a person or object on the ground or in the air commits a
          Class A misdemeanor.
            (4) A person who possesses or controls a drone in violation of
          subsection (1) of this section and uses the drone to fire a
          bullet or other projectile commits a Class C felony.
            (5) A person who possesses or controls a drone for the purpose
          of hunting or stalking game commits a Class C felony.
            (6) A person who possesses or controls a drone and causes the
          drone to fire a bullet or other projectile at an aircraft while
          the aircraft is in the air, or intentionally causes or attempts
          to cause the drone to crash into an aircraft while the aircraft
          is in the air, commits a Class A felony.
            (7) A person who gains unauthorized control over a drone
          commits a Class A misdemeanor. + }

          •  These? (6+ / 0-)

            http://www.amazon.com/...

            I don't think they're going to have a lot of luck with that.

            And frankly, I would have no qualms at all about flying a drone over an illegal dumping site (or somesuch) to gain evidence which could immediately be put on youtube so as to avoid confiscation.

            No qualms at all...

            It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

            by Jaime Frontero on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:40:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Nah. This'll never pass. (6+ / 0-)
             (2) 'Drone' means an unmanned flying machine that is capable
            of:
              (a) Capturing images of objects or people on the ground or in
            the air;
              (b) Intercepting communications on the ground or in the air; or
              (c) Firing a bullet or other projectile.
            That's every toy that every nine-year-old kid lusts for.  It also means paper airplanes folded up out of a sheet of typewriter paper with little electric motors (they make those just for paper airplanes) and tiny cell-phone cameras.

            Without differentiating between toys, Remote Control grown-up toys, UAVs, and autonomous UAVs there will be too many businesses arrayed against passage.  It's a pretty decent-sized market segment, y'know - all taken together.

            It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

            by Jaime Frontero on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 09:14:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The proposed legislation is a double edged sword (14+ / 0-)

              How many times has legislation been passed to protect the people been turned around to control the people?

              The List of States Considering UAS (‘Drone’) Legisalation Grows

              Texas and Idaho join the growing list of a dozen states considering state laws aimed at legislating the use of unmanned aircraft systems (‘Drones’). The number of states either developing or actively pursuing UAS legislation includes…

              California, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Virginia
              ...
              In order to react as quickly as possible we need your help in making us aware and keeping us informed. The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) is asking its members to remain vigilant about any potential legislation you may become aware of in your state and local area, and report this to AMA’s Government Relations Team.

              Working together we can ensure that model aviation will remain safe from possibly well-intentioned but poorly written legislation. Any information that you believe would be helpful should be emailed to the AMA Government Relations Team at amagov@modelaircraft.org .

              One nutball (or even false flag operation) using a hobby type drone to carry a pound of explosives and successfully crash it into some "sensitive" target would change everything in a minute. Inexpensive, readily available hobby drones are going to make asymmetric warfare much more "interesting" in the future.
          •  There may be more model airplane enthusiasts (4+ / 0-)

            than there are people who still think we have to worry about terrorists in Oregon so any elected official needs to take the RC Model Airplane contingent into account before he votes for a law like that

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:33:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed. *I'm* an RC enthusiast. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother, kharma, StrayCat, fuzzyguy

              Since I retired (sort of) I realized that I needed some hobbies.  For exercise, if nothing else.

              So I fly kites, and I'm getting into RC.  Really - there's something special about putting something up into the air, and making it do your bidding.

              Politics aside, it's a pretty and rewarding pastime.

              It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

              by Jaime Frontero on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:42:06 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I used to be Robert Edgerton's glider caddy (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jaime Frontero, RWood

                In the kitchen of our compound at Green Valley we built a 10' wingspan RC glider and flight tested it in the thermals of the Persian Gulf near Dammam

                We launched it  from the top of a dune using about a mile of cable ending in surgical tubing (recycled from a blown up still constructed by petroleum engineers) attached as if it were a big slingshot to the back of an old survey truck The glider went straight up about 700 feet and picked up some warm air after which we were able to keep it airborne quite a while.

                Later I smuggled his methanol fuel for powered flights down to Hawtah on the Crystal Plateau hitchhiking in a Fokker 50 used by ARAMCO to land on dirt strips where they were putting in a new city to service the southern oilfields

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 05:52:07 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Doc's Definiton of Terrorism (28+ / 0-)
    The ability of a person, or persons, or group, or other collective entity to successfully thwart the will, intentions or plans of the United States Federal Government or the multinational corporations that own it.
    The Fed have a bit about applied violence, but no violence is needed.

    Ergo, OWS is a 'terrorist" organ as it openly sought to change the heinous shit Wall Street stands for.

    Sometimes I think that the "Consumer Fraud Protection Agency' is oddly titled.

    As in "we're here to protect consumer fraud". That would be the republican version of it and God knows they have fought tooth and nail to keep Americans defrauded.

    Any attempt to end this fraud would be terrorism.

    This is why baggers can go protest healthcare debates armed to the teeth while anti-war protesters can't even have signs on sticks.

    This is why suck-ass republicans in Texas called the supporters of Wendy Davis "terrorists".

  •  I know it's a long read, so here is the paragraph (24+ / 0-)

    that inspired this diary:

    The federal government's Homeland Security Act created  new exemptions to the federal and state Freedom of Information laws. The Critical Infrastructure Information Act {CIIA}, part of the Homeland Security Law, states that when a business voluntarily submits, "critical infrastructure information" to the Department of Homeland Security, it is exempt from federal FOIA. Further, if the federal government gives that information to a state, then that information is exempt from state FOIL as well. The law also grants businesses immunity from civil liability for violations of securities law, civil rights law, environmental, labor, and consumer protections, and health and safety laws should violations be revealed in the information they provide the department. Ibid http://www.csg.org/...
    This opened up a lot of questions for me. It changes the entire way that I view the financial meltdowns. Because according to this--our regulatory agencies would have known all along, but could have been gagged by this law of non-disclosure.

    note also Securities law, civil rights law, Environmental law, Labor laws, and Consumer Protections, and health and safety laws.....

    It totally changes how I view the crazy shit during the Gulf Gusher and the Mayflower spill and a whole lot more than that.

    To me, that paragraph is damning. But it could just be me.

  •  This would never happen if we had a (17+ / 0-)

    Democrat in the White House.

    The reason the 1% is so powerful is that 99% of the 99% has a sleeping sickness. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 08:40:00 AM PDT

  •  That definition of 'police power' needs changed. (8+ / 0-)

    'morals' should not be any part of 'police powers' in any non-theocratic country.  

  •  Fascism (9+ / 0-)

    "the line between corporation and government is extremely blurred"

    And that is the definition of Fascism.

    To any NSA contractor reading this; FU

    by Himself on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:28:28 PM PDT

  •  I need to start shopping for another country. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, corvo, LLPete, kharma, StrayCat

    Too much fascism for me.  

    Hell, it's worse now than when Cheney was running things.  

    "Love One Another" ~ George Harrison

    by Damnit Janet on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:37:21 PM PDT

  •  Chilling read, especially in light (5+ / 0-)

    of recent stories on the prying tentacles of the security leviathan.

    I note that "critical infrastructure" in the Patriot Act definitions you cite encompasses "public good" and "natural monopoly" industries. What you have laid out in this interesting diary is the consolidation of a signature, post-modern form of governance. Perhaps we should call it - with a nod to socialism - "privatism." Now that's an ideology worthy of the ash-can of history.

    Courage is contagious. - Daniel Ellsberg

    by semiot on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:47:57 PM PDT

  •  I'm glad you suggested people print this (6+ / 0-)

    I don't know how much digital information is going to survive the shitstom I see on the horizon. A hard copy of this diary would be invaluable to future historians trying to understand what the hell happened. Seriously, great diary.

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 01:49:59 PM PDT

  •  Mother Nature, terrorist (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, corvo
    Actual, potential, or threatened interference with, attack on, compromise of, or incapacitation of critical infrastructure by physical attack that harms interstate commerce of the United States, or threatens public health and safety.
    That nicely sums up what natural forces are doing to the bridges, water supplies, and power grid in the US. But you can't disperse a drought with pepper spray, or hire mercenaries with automatic rifles to guard bridges against rust.

    But the powers that be cannot or will not acknowledge this--it would require a change in consciousness, and I see no sign of that happening in the 1%.

    You have to hope that, before it's too late, they stop to ask themselves this question: Who took down Ozymandias?

    •  I am going to be dense here: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      The Watchmen Character or the statue referenced in poetry?

      I think you meant the latter in reference to the tale of Moses, but I am not entirely sure?

      •  The statue (6+ / 0-)

        For those who don't know the poem (by Percy Bysshe Shelley):

        I met a traveller from an antique land
        Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
        Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
        Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
        And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
        Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
        Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
        The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
        And on the pedestal these words appear:
        `My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
        Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
        Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
        Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
        The lone and level sands stretch far away".

  •  Not only should journalists try to get at and (5+ / 0-)

    publish the truth, they should try to connect the dots.

    That's what you have done here. Lots of work. Conclusions so hard to see, but are inevitable.

    Good work and thank you.

    What I wonder is what remedies remain for us all. I would like to hear what we can do to unwind this.

    Al Gore made some point in his first film about moving from denial to despair.  But we must resist the inclination to curl up in a ball and go to bed.

    What can and should we do.

    Oh, hai, NSA. ::waves::

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 03:50:51 PM PDT

  •  I'm posting less and less, as well, out of despair (7+ / 0-)

    or resignation, I suppose.

    Even here on DKos, which is supposed to be the land of progressives - whatever than means, these days - I find myself overwhelmed by people who support state surveillance of private citizens and the corporate control of our governance - particularly when it's "our" guy in that ovular-shaped office, hatching all kinds of human and civil rights offenses.

    What's the point of even talking about it any more? Not enough people care and we seem destined for a very grim future.

    Do people not realize how much of what our government is doing now is exactly what the Soviets did?

    I have a daughter and she is very much a person who needs things around her to stay the same. It would be traumatic for me to drag her off to another country. (And I'm not sure where I'd go. Need a place that doesn't have resources the US wants and has a fairly self-sustaining economy, with the ability grow food and provide power for itself and minimal to no financial relationship with power countries.)

    But, it seems almost inevitable now that at some point, when she is a bit older and can either see her way to coming with me or is ready to be on her own, I will emigrate. Or maybe I'll see if I can live with some Native Americans. I'm far too heartbroken about what this country is and feel far too betrayed by both our "leaders" and my fellow citizens, who don't seem to really care about the fundamental aspects of democracy. I'm even seeing people define the word 'democracy' with words which actually define capitalism. They really can't tell the difference.

    •  I understand completely (4+ / 0-)

      One day at a time UnaSpencer. That's all any of us can do.

    •  More people care than have in a long time. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, GreenMother, UnaSpenser

      What I see:
      I see the number of people who realize that the government is being run like Brezhnev-era Russia increasing every day.

      The dead-enders promoting authoritarianism are getting less and less popular.  Perhaps because our authoritarian rulers suck, being less competent than Brezhnev -- and that's saying something.

      Change is coming.

      I have a daughter and she is very much a person who needs things around her to stay the same.
      Unfortunately, change is coming whereever you are.  :-P
      •  yes. and she knows it too. she's actually not (0+ / 0-)

        against change. she just has an internal clock that she's very attuned to. She seems to know when she's ready and nobody can tell her she's ready before then.

        I just mean that she isn't ready for her immediate surroundings to change, just yet.

    •  Truer words never spoken (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMother, allenjo, Praxical, UnaSpenser
      betrayed by both our "leaders" and my fellow citizens, who don't seem to really care about the fundamental aspects of democracy. I'm even seeing people define the word 'democracy' with words which actually define capitalism. They really can't tell the difference.
      This was not an accident. The two have been purposefully conflated with each other by the state, corporate media and the educational system for decades.
  •  A couple of more comments: (7+ / 0-)

    The whole Gulf Spill handling did not feel or smell right. Your comments have finally offered an explanation that makes sense of the President's apparent disconnect from it. If it was a natural disaster he does whatever it takes; the photos of him down there made me feel that he is powerless in this type of situation. I now have a plausible explanation why that is so.

    The government is empowered and gutted at the same time. More militarization and hostility towards whistleblowers and protesters; little or no regulation of corporation and businesses.

    The book review of Rachel Maddow's book, 'Drift' is an appropriate adjunct to this piece.

    I hope this hard work is spread far and wide: it should be required reading for all members of Congress, students and citizens.

    If and when we can, we're moving to France. We feel like refugees.

    Science is hell bent on consensus. Dr. Michael Crichton said “Let’s be clear: The work of science has nothing to do with consensus... which is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right,”

    by Regina in a Sears Kit House on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 07:31:27 PM PDT

    •  Well if you want someone in Congress to read this (3+ / 0-)

      My suggestion is to hand write a letter and take the following quote:

      The federal government's Homeland Security Act created  new exemptions to the federal and state Freedom of Information laws. The Critical Infrastructure Information Act {CIIA}, part of the Homeland Security Law, states that when a business voluntarily submits, "critical infrastructure information" to the Department of Homeland Security, it is exempt from federal FOIA. Further, if the federal government gives that information to a state, then that information is exempt from state FOIL as well. The law also grants businesses immunity from civil liability for violations of securities law, civil rights law, environmental, labor, and consumer protections, and health and safety laws should violations be revealed in the information they provide the department. Ibid http://www.csg.org/....
      And work it in there. Given them hell!

      Is this why the government did not take action before the housing crash?
      Is this why lawful protesters are being surveilled and called terrorists and put on lists?
      Is this why our government will not prosecute for labor and environmental law violations?
      --I am sure you can think of other questions, feel free to post them in a reply, so others can write their letters if they want.

      What I don't get--Why hasn't this been a major point of discussion with some of the big name watchdog orgs? Did they miss it, or just decide that this was not important? Not to blame anyone, because shit happens, but it seems weird to me.

  •  Critical infrastructure was always that, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, Praxical

    critical infrastructure. It is no more so than before 911. Things used to be done correctly and thoroughly and maybe overly and redundantly so, but now every goddamn thing is maximized for somebody's profit or for some BS project that nobody will tax for. Take water systems for example, they should be tightly monitored and maintained like clockwork. Roads as well, sewer systems, and the biggie: electricity. If we aren't electrified we can't even pump gas. Yet our grid is an energy suck and wastes anywhere from a third to two thirds of generated power.

    I think by and large most people do the best they can with what they have and they are generous and ethical as they know how to be. But it only takes a very few bad actors to make life miserable in an instant now.

    •  I believe that this has gone beyond a few bad (0+ / 0-)

      actors. But I do understand what you are saying.

      •  I still think it is a very few (0+ / 0-)

        bad actors. The other people have jobs and they do what they are told without analyzing the overarching premise under which they operate.

        •  How is that okay with you? How is that not being (0+ / 0-)

          a bad actor?

          Negligence?

          How is this not Treason given the nature of the violations of our Constitutional Law?

          •  Before we descend into (0+ / 0-)

            HOF, we have to go back to the weasel words and the succinct mechanisms which allow [or mandate depending on how you look at it] the operations we do not like [because they are unconstitutional and tyrannical] and find out who put them in the Patriot Act and why. And from there we need to find out whether each and every member in Congress knew, bothered to find out, and/or asked what the Patriot Act actually entailed.

            The Patriot Act itself is problematic because it involves a lot of cut and paste into other Titles of the Federal Code, most notably Title 18, and it is also tangled up in various AUMFs. There is no straightforward document that itself, contains the full reading except by citation and referral. IANAL but I am aware of how the various mechanisms are obscure and hard to pin down and I have read Title 18 since it was bastardized by the Patriot Act. I would have to assume there are very few people that have though. It's a boring slog. That said, there's no way the average person is even going to read your diary and understand it, let alone do more digging unless it impacts them personally. Beyond that, there is only a small contingent that could grasp the whole issue anyway and it has a lot of avenues to run down including the FBI, CIA, NSA, JSOC, Pentagon, Congress, Administration, DOJ, DEA, ATF and on and on and on.

            Simply put, you are an outlier. You are way more intelligent than the average person. You get it. I get it. But even if you  explained it a thousand times, most people will not get it. The issue needs to be distilled into some sort of digestible form in order to have an impact.

  •  An interesting video on how we got to this point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kharma, NonnyO
    Psychopathy in Politics and Finance

    May 6, 2013

    As more and more studies demonstrating the corrosive effect of psychopathy on government, finance, and business emerge, researchers have begun to explore how our society itself has been molded in the psychopaths' image. Now, one of those researchers, Stefan Verstappen, shares his insights on psychopathy in modern culture.

    •  I think sometimes Claudius (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mary Mike

      that focusing on pop psychology really detracts from the stuff that needs to be done.

      Pyschopaths occupy every walk of life. They are everywhere with lots of other psychological types.

      What matters though, is all of us banding together and putting a stop to this unlawful gutting of our constitutional rights.

      We can dissect their psychological profiles later.

      •  The point needs to made that corporations and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, NonnyO, roonie

        government are composed of individuals who direct and set up the hierarchies of control within them. It is these people that set policy that affects the behaviors and mores of the corporation. Too many times these people are completely invisible. Unfortunately, limited liability allows them to operate with almost complete immunity to any wrongdoing.

        What was interesting about the video I posted is that the psychopathic behaviors of the corporations and government is not independent of our society but rather a reflection of it. I believe society has to change in fundamental ways before corporations and governments change.

        What matters though, is all of us banding together and putting a stop to this unlawful gutting of our constitutional rights.
        How do you propose to do this. I would venture to say that 80% of the population doesn't even care as long as they continue to have their McBread and circuses. Not one in ten people on the street could tell you the difference between the First and the Fourth Amendment.

        There were many Restore the Fourth rallies but not many DKos diaries covered them.

        Here's a video of one of the rallies where Thomas Drake,  a former NSA Senior Director at NSA, saying America needs a new revolution to make changes.

        Whistleblower: Obama's Secrecy Makes Bush Look Mild

        NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake says a new American revolution is needed to resist surveillance state - defends Snowden from pro-Obama left criticism

        This July 4, hundreds rallied across the country taking part in Restore the Fourth rallies demanding the government be held accountable for the massive revelations of spying revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and others. Here's a clip from that protest.

        ~~~

        CROWD: Restore the Fourth!

        THOMAS DRAKE, WHISTLEBLOWER AND FMR. NSA SENIOR EXEC.: On this day, 4 July 2013, I call for a new American Revolution declaring our independence from the surveillance state and government control of information.


        More at The Real News
        •  I propose, that most people out there are (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Praxical, Mary Mike

          overworked. They are working on and off the clock thanks to the benefits of technology. They are not paid for these extra hours. And now that corporations datamine the net for any personal information to use against people--they are just happy to have a job.

          They work to live. That's it.

          They are overwhelmed.

          I come from poverty, I know. I grew up with two parents that even back 30 years ago, felt helpless and hopeless, because when you are poor, that is all the excuse anyone needs to step on you, to deprive you of your dignity or to rip you off til there is nothing left.

          The middle class is experiencing now, what the very poor and minority communities have dealt with since Reconstruction. They are completely discombobulated by this. They are having to find their sea legs in an increasingly unstable society and country and do it in a hurry.

          Some people might be what you say, but I posit that many put that facade up to hide the fact that they are scared shitless and confused.

          The biggest thing right now is for Americans to learn how to get along again. The internet has made us lazy. We prefer to be in echo-chambers, and many have forgotten how to put differences aside and work together with people who hold vastly different views from our own.

          That is what it will take. Otherwise we will never come up with the numbers. And people like you and I cannot be condescending to those who are just waking up. That will alienate them and make them feel there is nowhere to turn.

          People who know, have to educate their acquaintances and lead by example.

  •  The wealthy want the taxes to be lower (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kharma, GreenMother, StrayCat

    So they can "gift" personally to gain power over whoever/whatever they "gift."

    If they pay taxes, it all goes into a big pot that everyone pays into, and they don't gain the power they want over particular functions of government as easily.

    That's where the whole bit about "it's theft, we should be able to decide for ourselves what we want the money to go" when it comes to the wealthy.

    The rest of us, on the other hand, don't get that kind of choice. Our money goes to taxes, which means the big pot, and it's divvied up by the wealthy in Congress.

    That's why we need to vote, at least that's something that could really matter. It's like how women have had to be better than the men to advance, we need to get more voters to gain any power in government.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 02:54:22 AM PDT

  •  Wonderful diary. Lots of excellent work. Thanks. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kharma, GreenMother, StrayCat, fuzzyguy, NonnyO

    Now having said that because I do appreciate all this, I still need to get this off my chest:

    "Democrats," you had a presidential candidate in the debates who said that he voted against the USA PATRIOT Act "Because I read it!"

    He was GENUINELY working towards Health "care" for all and Health "insurance" for none. Single-payer health care doesn't need an advertising budget.

    He had actual experience as a Mayor who was being gamed by the big utility businesses and banks and he stood them down, risking his political future but knowing that the Rule of Law must come first.

    I am so pissed about this because just maybe we wouldn't even be in this position if you had chosen this candidate.
    But instead you laughed him off the stage, let AARP and others keep him off the stage, and more than once threw me right off this site for bringing him up.

    The rules used to be tighter here- one diary a day, only one, maybe two diaries on a particular topic at the time, etc. I never insulted anybody, and yet I got tossed off this site several times for continuing to mention a persona non grata named Kucinich.

    Rhymes with spinach and he may not be to your taste but we all need some.

    So please, when you consider where the PATRIOT ACT came from- I consider that any Congressman who voted FOR it without READING it is guilty of dereliction of duty.

    Everybody knows you have to read the fine print- the devil is in the details.  And everybody should know NOT to sign anything if you haven't or it's a blank check. Why did they do it? That does not represent us. We send them there to do the paperwork for us.

    And don't tell me it was just too damn long to read. It WAS. That's why it should have been rejected out of hand. There should be both a limit to how long a bill can be and a legal requirement that your Representative should read it and not just accept what's been said about it, even by their staff members.

    So please remember, 'Democrats" that you had the ball. You guys dropped it. How the hell are people supposed to vote for Democrats when you won't acknowledge KUCINICH?

    We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

    by nuclear winter solstice on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 03:19:59 AM PDT

    •  I am sorry you got banned for backing another (3+ / 0-)

      candidate.

      That would suck.

      But I am also thankful that you spoke out when you could about the Patriot Act. Who knows how many people you got engaged with the discussion over time?

      Every little bit helps.

      •  thanks for letting me rant in your diary. and on (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        GreenMother, fuzzyguy, NonnyO, Praxical

        the other hand, there seems to be a new group of people here these days, as I am getting a lot more positive responses from people who hadn't seen things like that when it was in progress.

        But he's very important and should have been drafted as the anti-war candidate (again- how are we supposed to vote for a democrat when both sides put up a war candidate?) because I first discovered him when C-SPAN was showing this funky little man, waving a piece of paper in the empty Chamber of Congress (That was the day I learned that no, Congress did not have to show up and actually listen to what each other has to say) and he was saying this:

        'The CIA sent me and every other Congress person a letter. It said that Bin Laden is not a threat to us or to his neighbors as long as he is not backed into a corner.'

        Instead of listening to him and everyone asking their Congressman if he got one of those CIA letters, we simply made sure to back Bin Laden into a corner.

        I believed Scott Ritter and Dennis Kucinich in those days, the days when Hillary also was derelict in her duty by deliberately not taking time to read the 99 page NIE. Again, access to those things is why we send people to Congress to go see for us and make the informed vote. She seemed to think that by saying she was not entirely sure what it said that she could play both sides until she could ascertain which would win- Truth, or the war machine.

        ...of course how we could expect any truth when the President himself is allowed to lie to and mislead an actual Joint Session of Congress (see SOTU + 16 words) I still don't understand either...

        What do we do now? Well I haven't seen him for a while so I don't know if he's up to it any more (we're all a decade older now) but if possible I would say: Kucinich/Biden 2016.

        We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

        by nuclear winter solstice on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:52:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic diary... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreenMother, StrayCat, Mary Mike

    I'm printing it out, not to highlight, but I have a Dr's appt today and I'm leaving it in the waiting room.  If one person reads it it's worth it.  Thanks.

    If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. Albert Einstein

    by kharma on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 06:11:26 AM PDT

  •  If knowledge of the infrastructure is outlawed... (0+ / 0-)

    ...only outlaws will have knowledge of the infrastructure.

    Any determined villain can get all the information they need if they want to do harm. But if the public is prevented from overseeing corporate or government projects (or especially those that are both at once), then We, The People (you know, the good guys?) will always remain in the dark. And keeping the People ignorant is unAmerican.

    Cry, the beloved country, these things are not yet at an end.

    by rcbowman on Tue Jul 09, 2013 at 10:58:50 AM PDT

  •  This article made me violently angry. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mary Mike, GreenMother

    Thank you, GreenMother.

    It's given me my reason to stay in the fight.

  •  Excellent survey piece (0+ / 0-)

    Now if we can get even a few percent of American voters to actually learn a little of this, we'll have a movement that will be unstoppable.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site