Obama said: “Let’s just put the whole elephant out there, and examine what’s working”

    in the news conference yesterday.

    So I'd like to see him personally see to it that these people are allowed to talk about at least some of what they went through with the elephant: 2 E-Mail Services Close and Destroy Data Rather Than Reveal Files. The extent and comprehensiveness of these kind of gag orders are unacceptable and very frightening. And people do not give up years of work and their way of making a living over minor threats.

    Edit to add: there are more choice Obama quotes in the Times' Caucus blog live coverage of the conference, stuff like proving to Michelle that he washed the dishes. I must say that I am not impressed. I started thinking about how other presidents might be handling this. I envision others handling it more forcefully, not so "no drama," and with a lot more command and clarity about the issues. Then I thought: I don't know that if he could do so, that would be good or bad for us ordinary people. Maybe it's better in this instance that he's not very good at sounding like a leader. But then I also thought: if he's got such mediocre skills in this instance, what are his skills like controlling the massive security complex? All in all, very discomforting, Mr. President.


    There's details on what kinds of nasty legal things might have happened to Lavabit, and the laws and courts than enable or don't enable them, @ The New Yorker: "How the Government Killed a Secure E-mail Company" by Michael Phillips, an associate from a Wall Street litigation firm. Phillips' article also has a wealth of embedded links.

    Lavabit was targeted because they were Snowden's email provider; the F.B.I. served them the day after Snowden revealed himself,





    Papers shed light on shutdown of 'Snowden' e-mail provider
    Newly unsealed court papers reveal the circumstances behind the sudden closure of the encrypted e-mail service said to have been used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

    By Edward Moyer, CNET, October 2, 2013

    When the encrypted e-mail service reportedly used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden suddenly closed its doors in August, its founder mysteriously said he'd "been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly 10 years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit."

    Ladar Levison couldn't provide further info, he said, because "Congress has passed laws that say otherwise." On Wednesday, however, the mystery was solved.

    Drawing from newly unsealed court records, Wired's Kevin Poulsen reports that the FBI had, in its desire to trace a single Lavabit user, and in the face of resistance from the company on that score, obtained a search warrant demanding that Levison turn over the keys to the encryption that protected data for all the service's users.

    "The privacy of...Lavabit's users are at stake," a Lavabit attorney told a judge during a closed-door hearing, Poulsen reports. "We're not simply speaking of the target of this investigation. We're talking about over 400,000 individuals and entities that are users of Lavabit who use this service because they believe their communications are secure. By handing over the keys, the encryption keys in this case, they necessarily become less secure." [....]

    Obama and his secret police don't need to worry none; the lemmings will forget about things in a month or two and the ones that don't forget and keep pressing for answers will just disappear. Socialism lost the war for the hearts and minds of the people; the corporate capitalist have made sure of  theirs pathways, to only make profits for THEMSELVES and not the rest of the working class.The only FDR's in our future are those making empty promises to get elected and stay in office: those who would agitate for reform, better look out;  The Secret police (NSA) are prowling around, and claiming it's for our own good. "Tear down this wall" ? Of privacy.      

    Yes, its all very discomforting. I don't know what more to say about it. I've posted so much here on this topic already. I don't understand why some here aren't discomforted by it.

    There's always mission creep. We see it already with the funneling of information from the NSA to the DEA. The drug war is the perfect place to begin since it already has been engaging in what I see as unconstitutional activities with forfeiture laws.


    But it won't stop there. Mission creep will continue to other groups. I've already posted a few times about the FBI targeting nonviolent antiwar and environmental groups with some members illegally being placed on the terrorist watch list.


    It may not be you and it may not be me that will be looked at. It will be the peace activists, the environmental activists, the civil rights activists. In the end it almost always was and likely will be the progressive activists that are targeted. There are decades of evidence to support the assumption that there will be abuse and it will target the progressive activist groups. Nothing much has changed.


    Every few decades we have to rein in these secret government programs because they will keep expanding. Its a constant battle. We pull them back and they begin anew to move forward expanding surveillance. Now is one of those times where we can pull them back a bit and perhaps regain a bit of our civil liberties we've lost since the last time we had one of these fights.

    It is not that people are not concerned, it's that they realize that Presidents rarely relinquish peer.Obama has suggested some increased oversight but the main thrust of the surveillance continues. Congress cannot agree that the sky is blue, and while a recent vote came close to fostering changes in surveillance, the measure did not pass. The courts are the only viable option

    Stop and Frisk got a little pushback today. The mayor and the NYPD were not budging in their stance on Stop and Frisk. The court had to intervene. Even with that, we can expect NYC to appeal the decision requiring oversight by a feral monitor.

    Battles for Civil Liberties are never easy.

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