Today, of course, is the first day of summer — the Summer Solstice — and is supposedly the longest day of the year. In fact, according to the brainiacs, this day is so long it will take up two days.Â And more: This year’s summer solstice falls on Friday, June 21, at 1:04 a.m. ET, but it will start on Thursday night for places in North America west of the Central Time Zone.
And we’re in for a “supermoon” this Sunday, the time the moon is its fattest and closest to Earth all year.
(Illustration found here).
However, up here on California’s north coast, life is about the same year ’round — we have days in June/July just like days in December/January. Keeps the buds budding.
The only thing for me is we’re closer to the weekend — mine begins at 2 p.m. (PDT) today.
The news cycle the last couple of weeks hasn’t been good, but the overriding story with the longest overreach and the biggest kick in the balls to Americans is the NSA spying bullshit. And despite what all the asshole-heads of agencies proclaim, or even President Obama, that US citizens have no reason to fear the snooping, we need to be afraid of the dark.
All of the bullshit blathered about by honchos of the NSA, FBI and other assorted alphabet groups, is exactly that — bullshit.
From the UK’s Guardian:
Top secret documents submitted to the court that oversees surveillance by US intelligence agencies show the judges have signed off on broad orders which allow the NSA to make use of information “inadvertently” collected from domestic US communications without a warrant.
The Guardian is publishing in full two documents submitted to the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (known as the Fisa court), signed by Attorney General Eric Holder and stamped 29 July 2009.
They detail the procedures the NSA is required to follow to target “non-US persons” under its foreign intelligence powers and what the agency does to minimize data collected on US citizens and residents in the course of that surveillance.
The documents show that even under authorities governing the collection of foreign intelligence from foreign targets, US communications can still be collected, retained and used.
And one major factor: Retain and make use of “inadvertently acquired” domestic communications if they contain usable intelligence, information on criminal activity, threat of harm to people or property, are encrypted, or are believed to contain any information relevant to cybersecurity…
Other than that, fine.
New release of so-called ‘rules” the NSA must follow to keep Americans quiet about their privacy blows all that blathering bullshit into the toilet.
Via the Washington Post:
President Obama said after the disclosures that NSA domestic activities â€œdo not involve listening to peopleâ€™s phone calls, do not involve reading the e-mails of U.S. citizens or U.S. residents, absent further action by a federal court, that is entirely consistent with what we would do, for example, in a criminal investigation.â€
The new documents show that the NSA collects, processes, retains and disseminates the contents of Americansâ€™ phone calls and e-mails under a wide range of circumstances.
â€œWhatâ€™s most striking about the targeting procedures is the discretion they confer on the NSA,â€ said Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justiceâ€™s Liberty and National Security program.
And we know the government can be discreet.
And it’s only going to get better. What happens today isÂ enlarged for tomorrow andÂ more alphabet soup:
On May 22, 2013 the Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities, one of several Armed Services Committees, met to discuss the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014.
The main subject of the hearing was Sec. 1061, otherwise known as Enhancement of Capacity of the United States Government to Analyze Captured Records.
This enhancement provision of NDAA 2014 would effectively create a new intelligence agency, one with the authority to analyze information gained under the Patriot Act, FISA, and known spying programs such as PRISM.
The programs will mushroom in a short space of time. There’s really not much we can do about it as this endless, fright-zombie war on terror will continue into my grand-children’s grand-children’s time, if the world was to continue, of course. The big problem is at the top — President Obama is rooting out leakers and whistleblowers like they were suicide bombers trying to explode themselves inside an orphanage.
The Orwellian-sounding “Insider Threat Program,” one of Obama’s most-cherished operations, is aimed at us: “Hammer this fact home . . . leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States.”
So, what’s a guy to do?
The late, great George Carlin summed the shit: â€œI don’t like ass kissers, flag wavers or team players. I like people who buck the system. Individualists. I often warn people: “Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.'”
Summer of long ago, and far away — inadvertently-not starting today.