300 million shades of george

June 6, 2013

orwell__s_revelation_by_eal555-d5fan1eHigh overcast again this early Thursday on California’s north coast and life continues impeded by all kinds of nefarious workings unseen for the most part — or heard.

This morning, the InterWebs are chunked-full of miniscule details of the cellphone party-line established by our government to keep tabs on terror. Another legacy from George Jr., which “…authorizes criminal activity,” despite the Bill of Rights and so forth.
And President Obama is appearing closer and closer to becoming an asshole every day with more secret orders — via the UK’s Guardian: The document shows for the first time that under the Obama administration the communication records of millions of US citizens are being collected indiscriminately and in bulk – regardless of whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing.

(Illustration found here).

Terror — “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Apparently, the FBI/NSA received the order April 25, (from the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa), which allowed ‘unlimited authority’ to gather the sheaves, but only for a 90-day period to end July 19.
More from the Guardian:

Under the Bush administration, officials in security agencies had disclosed to reporters the large-scale collection of call records data by the NSA, but this is the first time significant and top-secret documents have revealed the continuation of the practice on a massive scale under President Obama.
The unlimited nature of the records being handed over to the NSA is extremely unusual.
Fisa court orders typically direct the production of records pertaining to a specific named target who is suspected of being an agent of a terrorist group or foreign state, or a finite set of individually named targets.
The Guardian approached the National Security Agency, the White House and the Department of Justice for comment in advance of publication on Wednesday.
All declined.
The agencies were also offered the opportunity to raise specific security concerns regarding the publication of the court order.
The court order expressly bars Verizon from disclosing to the public either the existence of the FBI’s request for its customers’ records, or the court order itself.
“We decline comment,” said Ed McFadden, a Washington-based Verizon spokesman.

Jameel Jaffer, the deputy legal director of the ACLU, summed up the bullshit: “It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”
And this addendum from the Guardian piece: It is not known whether Verizon is the only cell-phone provider to be targeted with such an order, although previous reporting has suggested the NSA has collected cell records from all major mobile networks. It is also unclear from the leaked document whether the three-month order was a one-off, or the latest in a series of similar orders.
US Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall wrote AG Eric Holder one of those inquiring-minds want-to-know letters last year on this self-same subject, arguing, “…there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows.”
This tale is only half-told yet — today should bring more bullshit. And counter bullshit.

Meanwhile, in other mundane matters, today is the big day at the liquor store I manage — payday! Adding up the hours, culling through the payroll, fax the results to our accountant and then writing out checks to our humble clerks, creating our boys a reason for existence.
Wages are good here for the work genre, but overall it still sucks:

The economic “recovery” just keeps getting worse for the average worker: U.S. employers squeezed their employees even harder than usual in the first quarter, leading to the biggest drop in hourly pay on record.
Hourly pay for nonfarm workers fell at a 3.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday.
This was the biggest quarterly decline since the BLS started keeping track in 1947.
Some of the drop was payback for a 9.9 percent surge in hourly pay in the fourth quarter of 2012, as employers shoveled money out the door to avoid tax changes they expected to take place in 2013.
But there have been plenty of such quarterly pay increases in the past.
Many were even bigger.
Some went on for several quarters at a time.
And never has there been such a steep pay drop in response as there was in the first quarter of this year.

Hourly pay has grown by just 2 percent per year, on average, for the past four years, the weakest four-year stretch on record.
At the same time, corporate profits are at record highs, and until a recent swoon, the stock market was setting records, too. Workers haven’t been reaping the rewards, but their employers have been.

Our clerks will take the meager wages and live, but tomorrow is another day.
And for the kids, something to snack on during the trip of a lifetime — makes them youngsters want to work like dogs to live an existence to the fullest.
From Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:

It’s also yet another fault line between young and old that’s not likely to turn out well.
My generation got a cheap college education when we were young, and we’re getting good retirement benefits now that we’re old.
Pretty nice.
But now we’re turning around and telling today’s 20-somethings that they should pay through the nose for college, keep paying taxes for our retirements, and oh by the way, when it comes time for you to retire your benefits are going to have to be cut.
So sorry.
And all this despite the fact that the country is richer than it was 50 years ago, and will be richer still 50 years from now.
But at least today’s kids don’t have to worry about being drafted.
That’s something, I suppose.

Who’s to say, Kevin, between George Orwell and George W. Bush the legacy of shit will continue — now Obama is no longer under the sweet shade of change.

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