US Government Condemns Cyber-snooping — Except When They’re Doing it. To us.

❝ The American Civil Liberties Union, along with Privacy International, a similar organization based in the United Kingdom, have now sued 11 federal agencies, demanding records about how those agencies engage in what is often called “lawful hacking.”

The activist groups filed Freedom of Information Act requests to the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and nine others. None responded in a substantive way.

“Law enforcement use of hacking presents a unique threat to individual privacy,” the ACLU argues in its lawsuit, which was filed Friday in federal court in New York state…

❝ “…the public does not know when law enforcement agencies believe they can use hacking without obtaining a warrant or other judicial authorization. The public does not even know whether many of the defendant agencies have internal rules or protocols governing hacking. Without more information, the public is not able to exercise meaningful democratic oversight of this new and intrusive law enforcement capability.”

Once again, practices condemned by our papier-mâché politicians when practiced by foreign governments are perfectly legit when it’s Uncle Sugar pulling the trigger.

Push to Restore Net Neutrality Weakened by Democrats With Telecom Cash


AP/J. Scott Applewhite

Net neutrality proponents now have less than two weeks to convince 38 House lawmakers to support an effort to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality. Seventeen of those votes could come from Democrats who have yet to sign on—all of whom have received significant contributions from internet service providers such as Comcast.

And that says it all for me. Nice middle-of-the-road folks active in electoral politics get pissed-off at me when I say, “A plague on both their houses” – the Dems and Republican Party. Aside from the minority of progressive activists who survive the electoral shuffle, pretty much everyone else has their hand out to corporate and wealthy donors. That’s who owns their guts. That’s who calls the tune they dance to.

They often require as much arm-twisting to support positive progressive legislation as overt bigots and populist pimps.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

“STUPID” applied to the scriptwriters for the Democrat’s B-movie for decades.


Here’s how they did it with FDR in office

…In the interest of supporting a united front between liberals and socialists, let me start this off with a rather long quote from Matt Christman of Chapo Trap House, on why Obamacare failed to gain more popularity:

❝ There are parts to it that are unambiguously good — like, Medicaid expansion is good, and why? Because there’s no fucking strings attached. You don’t have to go to a goddamned website and become a fucking hacker to try to figure out how to pick the right plan, they just tell you “you’re covered now.” And that’s it! That’s all it ever should have been and that is why — [Jonathan Chait] is bemoaning why it’s a political failure? Because modern neoliberal, left-neoliberal policy is all about making this shit invisible to people so that they don’t know what they’re getting out of it.

❝ And as Rick Perlstein has talked about a lot, that’s one of the reasons that Democrats end up fucking themselves over. The reason they held Congress for 40 years after enacting Social Security is because Social Security was right in your fucking face. They could say to you, “you didn’t used to have money when you were old, now you do. Thank Democrats.” And they fucking did. Now it’s, “you didn’t used to be able to log on to a website and negotiate between 15 different providers to pick a platinum or gold or zinc plan and apply a fucking formula for a subsidy that’s gonna change depending on your income so you might end up having to retroactively owe money or have a higher premium.” Holy shit, thank you so much.

RTFA. It deals with a lot more than Obamacare because, guess what – the Dems shroud their timorous legislation in enough Cloud Nine fog to hide the Titanic.

Trump’s Tax Cut Con Rolls On

What will happen if the blue wave in the midterm elections falls short? Clearly, at this point it still might: Democrats will surely receive more votes than Republicans, but thanks to gerrymandering and population geography, the U.S. electoral system gives excess weight to rural, white voters who still have faith in President Trump. What if, thanks to that excess weight, the minority prevails?

❝ First of all, there is every reason to believe that a Republican Congress, freed from the immediate threat of elections, would do what it narrowly failed to do last year, and repeal the Affordable Care Act. This would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose health insurance and would in particular hit those with pre-existing conditions…

But the attack on the social safety net probably wouldn’t stop with a rollback of Obama-era expansion: Longstanding programs, very much including Social Security and Medicare, would also be on the chopping block. Who says so? Republicans themselves…the same Republicans now wringing their hands over budget deficits just blew up that same deficit by enacting a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.

RTFA, folks. Hope a modicum of sanity if not honesty creeps into the understanding of folks gullible enough to vote a second time for the unindicted co-conspirator-in-chief.

Fight against gerrymandering moves to states

❝ The movement to take politics out of setting legislative district boundaries seemed to suffer a grievous, and perhaps even mortal, blow this spring when the Supreme Court passed up three chances to declare partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional.

But it turns out that reports of its death are exaggerated. As federal courts dither over how to resolve the issue, activists have begun tackling it state by state at the grass roots.

❝ It is remarkable that five states are holding ballot measures on the issue in a single year; only five had taken them up over the entire preceding decade…

Just as unusual is how little opposition the measures are meeting, at least so far. Beyond Michigan, where the state Chamber of Commerce and the Republican attorney general are trying to block the anti-gerrymandering initiative, organized resistance to the proposals has been scant.

The usual drill in the past only involved upstarts, independents, progressives. Leaders of the two old parties figured they get to take turns screwing over one or another portion of the electorate – keeping themselves in power beyond the acceptance of few accomplishments actually useful to peoples’ needs. Instead of kissing corporate butt.

Useful article.

Percentage of Americans “extremely proud” of that fact becomes a minority

This Fourth of July marks a low point in U.S. patriotism. For the first time in Gallup’s 18-year history asking U.S. adults how proud they are to be Americans, fewer than a majority say they are “extremely proud.” Currently, 47% describe themselves this way, down from 51% in 2017 and well below the peak of 70% in 2003…

While the 47% who are extremely proud to be Americans is a new low, the vast majority of Americans do express some level of pride, including 25% who say they are “very proud” and 16% who are “moderately proud.” That leaves one in 10 who are “only a little” (7%) or “not at all” proud (3%).

The combined 72% who are extremely or very proud to be Americans is also the lowest in Gallup’s trend…

There’s a shallow attempt at analysis in the article – reflecting Gallup’s historic conservatism. They’re willing to accept Republican sophistry on questions provoked by such a survey. In truth, though, Democrats can be guiltless or gutless. As likely to join imperial war or accept “decades are still needed” to overrule bigotry of all kinds – instead of moving forward to new legal forms which inhibit social or economic injustice.