Thursday, December 12, 2013
Latest from the Digital Stasi. New documents show how the NSA infers relationships based on mobile location data
Everyone who carries a cellphone generates a trail of electronic breadcrumbs that records everywhere they go. Those breadcrumbs reveal a wealth of information about who we are, where we live, who our friends are and much more. And as we reported last week, the National Security Agency is collecting location information in bulk — 5 billion records per day worldwide — and using sophisticated algorithms to assist with U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.
“Traditionally, Wall Street plays both sides of the fence on its political donations,” says Charles Geisst, a financial historian and professor at Manhattan College. “What's happening now is neither side is coming through with the things Wall Street feels it is entitled to, and so everybody just wants to give up. But they can’t, because they are going to continue to be in the limelight whether they like it or not.”
Even the Democrats get it. So where's the promised oversight hearings, Issa?
"Shall not be infringed evidently applies only to hermits." When it comes to guns, Dr. Ben Carson still doesn't get it.
If Carson does make a presidential run, and if he wants the gun rights advocate vote--and it's hard to imagine him getting far without it--he has a great deal to learn, and not much time in which to learn it.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Folks, I've been trying to accomplish a lot these past few days (organizational and fund-raising stuff for the next phase of the smuggling campaign, working three different investigative stories, struggling with computer issues, and the regular necessary stuff of housekeeping, honey-dos and Driving Miss Rosey, etc.) and it caught up with me yesterday -- big-time. It was one of those, get-home-and-crap-out nights. I swear I'll have the FBI story out today, come what may, after I get back from the wound doc and securing my referral from the oncologist to the new specialist at UAB. To those of you who responded to my cry for help on the Scribd problem, hold that thought. I have one more avenue that I will try late this morning. If that doesn't work, I'll be in touch. And as for the rest of you gentle readers, my apologies. I'm struggling but not straggling. Keep me in your prayers.
A tip of the boonie hat and deep genuflection to reader Matthew P., who forwarded this thread on the same subject from AKFiles.com.
I particularly liked this improvisation:
As the author reports:
"I'm not a big 550 braider-type, but whatever this knot is called it's easy on the hands when picking up a fully loaded ruck. It's way better than grabbing the shoulder/upper back pad. That is a stress point on these rucks and one can pop a few stiches pretty quick if you grab the ruck like this while it's fully loaded."
I hate to kick NYC gun owners when they're down, but this is the not-at-all unpredictable consequence of their compliance with the registration law in the first place. When bullies see that those whom they seek to dominate will submit to that dominance, they are emboldened to push the bullying still further. Now their choices are to comply, again, or resist--probably not in the cards for the sort who would comply with the registration edict in the first place. There was an alternative, you know.
John Brown's Reputation Lies A-Moulderin' in the Grave, But His Venality Goes Marchin' On (In service to his federal masters).
"Hey, this guy's gonna give the rest of us John Browns a bad name."
Long-time readers will recall the strange case of Ramsey A. Bear and the highly-placed ATF familiars in the machine gun collector's association -- the NFATCA -- John Brown and Dan Shea. Now comes David Codrea's latest column that demonstrates that John Brown's reputation may lie a-moulderin' in the grave, but his venality goes marchin' on: "Lawyers’ comments raise troubling questions about ATF and NFA collector’s group."
These are all serious and vital points, but there is another series of observations that begin on page 27 of the comment file that elaborate on concerns about the role of the NFATCA, and specifically the relationship of its president with ATF.
“Docket entry ATF-2013-0001-0437 [view] is a public comment submitted by John Brown, apparently the very same John Brown who, as President of National Firearms Act Traders and Collectors Association (‘NFATCA’), submitted the petition to initiate a rulemaking on which ATF purports to base this proceeding,” FICG relates. “Repeated efforts to ascertain from Mr. Brown the details of the incidents as to which he asserts he has knowledge met refusals as he disavowed direct, personal knowledge stating only that as a result of ‘working inside ATF for over 10 years’ he knew things he ‘should never know.’"“[I]t would thus appear that ATF is itself the source of this information,” FICG infers. “The planting of comments that merely repeat to ATF the very information ATF purports to have but refused to submit to public critique exacerbates the problem of ATF's refusal to provide underlying information.“Mr. Brown's connection to ATF extends beyond his acknowledgment that the information to which he alluded in his comment came from ATF itself,” FICG continues. “Indeed, as Richard Vasquez -- ATF's Chief of the Firearms Training Branch and previous Assistant and Acting Chief of the Firearms Technology Branch -- testified under oath only last year, Mr. Brown ‘interacted with ATF a lot,’ was a friend since at least 2006, had personally transferred two firearms to him, had transferred firearms to other ATF employees, visited ATF ‘to meet and become personal with a lot of the offices’ over a period of years, and provided him with information to pass along to ATF for ATF's use in a forfeiture proceeding.“Mr. Brown apparently went so far as to forward e-mails he had received from a FFL involved in litigation with ATF to ATF for ATF's use in the litigation against the FFL,” the FICG narrative continues. “Indeed, Mr. Brown was not surprised to be characterized as a ‘confidential source’ for Acting Chief Vasquez and ATF.“Despite having acquired three machineguns illegally manufactured by George D. Clark, Mr. Brown seems to be the only FFL in that situation that ATF never referred for prosecution,” FICG asserts. “In fact, ATF knowingly left Mr. Brown in possession of that contraband for six weeks and then promptly destroyed that evidence before the completion of prosecutions of other individuals in possession of Mr. Clark's machineguns.“In addition, during this same time period Mr. Brown, together with the attorney he reportedly hired to prepare the NFATCA petition upon which ATF now relies, hired two 30-year veterans of ATF who simultaneously worked together with ATF to draft the National Firearms Act Handbook.“ATF seeks to simultaneously prevent any investigation into the incidents to which it makes vague reference in the NPR while ‘planting’ comments in its own docket to give further credence to the incidents,” FICG observes. “The most benign characterization of the relationship between ATF and Mr. Brown (if not his other associates and NFATCA more broadly) would seem to be that ATF established an unauthorized "advisory committee" in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act … With respect to discussions relating to the proposal at issue here, either ATF is withholding records of consultations with Mr. Brown and NFATCA in violation of FOIA or ATF failed to create such records in violation of FACA.“ATF has made a mockery of this proceeding, engaging in numerous tactics designed to deny meaningful public participation,” FICG concludes. “As a result ATF cannot promulgate any final rule that hopes to survive judicial review without starting fresh. In doing so, ATF should consult with a broad cross-section of interests familiar with the laws governing trusts, estates, and business entities rather than a select few.”
Well, there's a big surprise. And, on a personal note, to my scurrilous, not-so-anonymous-as-he-thinks and frequently threatening missive sender from Harrisburg, PA who is apparently the self-appointed president of the John Brown-Dan Shea Anti-Defamation Butt-Buddy Society and who frequently clogs my PO Box with what he believes to be clever anonymous harassing "taunts" on the Clark case, I would say: "Explain that, asshole." Looking forward to your next letter. Try not to leave fingerprints and small hairs on it this time. It really is a shame to misuse the federal mails that way, you know. You could get in trouble if I didn't have such a broad sense of humor.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
"Illegal," "immoral" -- In any case it's your tax dollars at work. "How the ATF Manufactures Crime." And where are the ATF oversight hearings you promised Mr. Issa?
"Jeez, something stinks at the ATF. Maybe somebody should investigate. Oh, wait, that would be me, wouldn't it?"
At best the ATF’s new techniques constitute illegal entrapment. At worst, they are downright tyrannical. Entrapment is legally permitted if a suspect initiates a crime in the presence of an undercover agent or if he can reasonably be deemed to have been predisposed to commit the crime when offered an opportunity to do so. But it is difficult to see how either of these tests is being met in the Bruner case or in others. Indeed, cases using entrapment are often thrown out of court if the government is seen to have put too much pressure on a suspect or to have made breaking the law so easy or attractive as to render restraint impossible. Per the paper’s report, ATF tactics involved offering ridiculous prices for firearms to attract straw purchasers, requesting that suspects buy specific firearms that carry tougher sentences, or, as it did in one case, showing a known felon how to saw off a shotgun so that they could charge him with a more serious violation when he did it. Will anyone claim that these tactics are legal? That they are immoral, too, needs less spelling out.
Of course, the DOJ is starting its tried-and-true cover-up mode already: "Justice Department supports probe into ATF rogue tactics."
I continue to have trouble getting access to Scribd to post documents. It is maddening and it is holding up a number of stories. I have even tried it from a different email account and the damn thing won't let me in to post. Is there a volunteer out there who can do so for me? Contact me via email: GeorgeMason1776ATaol.com.
George, you need to settle down with a good ole Southern gal who knows which end of the twelve gauge is which.
Bob Owens reports: "I LOL’d: Gun charges against George Zimmerman dropped, media hardest hit."
You know, I sometimes introduce Rosey as my "second and LAST wife," explaining, "She's from Arkansas. They don't divorce, they commit homicide, so I'm with her until I die one way or the other." And I usually add, "It's important to know that going in, though."
CSGV wants to be seen as "protector of minorities," no matter how much revision of history that requires, and no matter how clearly their favored policies disproportionately disarm the very people they claim to "protect." Now, Native Americans have a brand new reason to ask CSGV some pointed questions about just whose side they are really on.
Men of good will habitually assume that other men are much like them. They, being animated and guided by what C. S. Lewis called the Law of General Benevolence, have difficulty conceiving of a body of motivation centered on malice, venality, or cruelty. They want nothing from others except what should come to them in consequence of a fulfilled agreement, and cannot imagine how anyone could be otherwise oriented. . . Thus, for a man of good will to deal with politicians and political bodies as if they were like him is a fatal error. The latter will view the former as a sheep to be shorn.