Privacy Means Bupkis These Days

• “Privacy is not an option, and it shouldn't be the price we accept for just getting on the Internet.” —Gary Kovacs, Former CEO, Mozilla

• “I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.” —Eric Schmidt

• “Anytime Facebook wants to change how it might use all that data about you, in any way, across any service it has within the Facebook ecosystem, all it has to do is change one privacy policy, tell you about it, and that's that.” —John Battelle, Tech journalist

• "Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds." —John Perry Barlow, Writer/Activist

• "Is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?" —Al Gore

• "It's become something of a ritual - every year, Google publishes its year-end summary of what the world wants, and every year I complain about how shallow it is, given what Google really knows about what the world is up to." —John Battelle

 “"Eric Schmidt likes to point out that if you recorded all human communication from the dawn of time to 2003, it takes up about five billion gigabytes of storage space. Now (2012) we're creating that much data every two days.” —Eli Pariser 

Bankers Too Big To Jail

• Below: Eric Holder testifies that some corporations may be too big to prosecute.

• As alluded to above, the so-called "Holder memo" written during his earlier tenure at DOJ allows wiggle room for corporate execs to dodge prosecution if that might cause "collateral consequences" to the national or world economy.

• Below: Eric Holder with NBC's Pete Williams (11.2013) in a Bill Moyers & Company video (10.4.14). White-collar criminologist Bill Black, author of "The Best Way To Rob A Bank Is To Own One," calls the DOJ's inaction "the greatest strategic failure in the history of the Department of Justice."

• Below: President Robert Weissman of watchdog group Public Citizen describes the poor track record of Eric Holder's DOJ regarding criminal prosecutions for corporate crimes.

• "(Eric Holder's) tenure has proven unhelpful to the five million victims of mortgage abuses in the US." —David Dayen, the guardian.com

• Below: Watch investigative journalist Matt Taibbi's reporting on the massive rip-off by white collar criminals "no longer appropriate for jail."

• “Friends and former colleagues ... say it would be no surprise if (Holder) returned to the law firm Covington & Burling, where he spent years representing corporate clients." —NPR

• "A large chunk of Covington & Burling’s corporate clients are mega-banks like JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Bank of AmericaLanny Breuer, who ran the criminal division for Holder’s Justice Department, already returned to work there." —NPR

• "The Wall Street Journal found that the Justice Department only collects around 25% of the fines they impose ... The DoJ’s Inspector General ... found that DoJ deprioritized mortgage fraud, making it the 'lowest-ranked criminal threat' from 2009-2011."—David Dayen, the guardian.com

• Amy Goodman (host of "Democracy Now"): "Who was tougher on corporate America, President Obama or President Bush?"

 Matt Taibbi: "Oh, Bush, hands down. And this is an important point to make, because if you go back to the early 2000s, think about all these high-profile cases: Adelphia, Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen. All of these companies were swept up by the Bush Justice Department. And what’s interesting about this is that you can see a progression. If you go back to the savings and loan crisis in the late '80s, which was an enormous fraud problem, but it paled in comparison to the subprime mortgage crisis, we put about 800 people in jail during ... that crisis. You fast-forward 10 or 15 years to the accounting scandals, like Enron and Adelphia and Tyco, we went after the heads of some of those companies. It wasn't as vigorous as the S&L prosecutions, but we at least did it. ... We’re now in a place where we don’t even recognize the importance of keeping up appearances when it comes to making things look equal."

Department of Whining:
"
One would be hard put to identify an Attorney General who so explicitly turned the Justice Department into a political weapon ... The financial settlements that Holder Justice squeezed out of major banks are Exhibit A. Massive fines were imposed on J.P. Morgan Chase and Bank of America explicitly as punishment for the 2008 financial crisis. No matter how unprovable the charges, the banks settled because they couldn't endure the continuing political risk of even more severe punishment. President Obama bragged about punishing financial institutions throughout his 2012 re-election campaign." —Wall Street Journal editorial, September 2014

• Latest news: JPMorgan whistleblower featured in new Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi. Watch them interviewed by Chris Hayes on 11.10.14 below:

High Price of Free Speech

Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

Caricatured above: Jack Weinberg holding log; Mario Savio as Cal Man; thx 4 quote David Jouris

• The Free Speech Movement (FSM) was a student protest at UC Berkeley in 1964-65 resisting the ban against on-campus political activities and other archaic restrictions of the repressed post-WW2 era. FSM leaders included Mario Savio, Michael Rossman, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg —Wikipedia

• The FSM, an outgrowth of civil rights and anti-war activism, marked a revolutionary national shift from paternalistic oversight by college administrators to the current era allowing on-campus political activities, free speech and academic freedom. —Wikipedia

 Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

 Source: Thx L.S. and Curtis Mekemson — wandering-through-time-and-place.me

• Below: Major tipping point 10.1.64: Jack Weinberg's arrest for on-campus political activism: manning a table to raise funds for the Congress of Racial Equality. 

“The car was held hostage for 32 hours. With Jack inside, the police car became the platform for a continual rally. Art Goldberg and his sister Jackie, both experienced student activists, were the leaders of the United Front (campus activist coalition), but from the top of the car new people emerged who captured the loyalty of the crowd. Mario Savio, a junior who had transferred from Queens, New York the year before, was soon recognized as the most charismatic speaker.” —Jo Freeman, JoFreeman.com

Jack Weinberg  under arrest. Photo:  Occident,  thx Curtis Mekemson

Jack Weinberg under arrest. Photo: Occident, thx Curtis Mekemson

• "We have a saying in the movement that we don’t trust anybody over 30." —Jack Weinberg (1965 interview with San Francisco Chronicle reporter; many others co-opted the phrase). 

• Below: Mario Savio (12.8.42 - 11.6.96), iconic leader of the FSM, most famous for his revolutionary speech (excerpted here, two months after his speech atop the police car) at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza 12.2.64.

A 1999 report revealed that Savio was followed and investigated by the FBI for more than a decade “because he had emerged as a prominent leader,” although there was not evidence he was a real threat. The FBI justified their pursuit “because they thought he could inspire students to rebel.” (SF Chronicle)

• Below: Overview of the FSM from the doc, "Berkeley in the Sixties"

• "The rights you enjoy on this (Berkeley) campus did not come easily. They had to be won by unrelenting agitation, by disturbing the peace, and much of the credit belongs to a generation of UC students often denigrated for their excesses." —Leon Litwick, activist, UCB professor emeritus of American history and Pulitzer Prize winner, who quit his campus library job in 1965 to protest the UC system's loyalty oath. 

The  five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment  to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

The five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, shown on wall of the Newseum in Washington, DC. Photo: Cirt/ikipedia

• "You (President Obama) recently expressed concern that frustration in the country is breeding cynicism about democratic government. You need look no further than your own administration for a major source of that frustration – politically driven suppression of news and information about federal agencies. We call on you to take a stand to stop the spin and let the sunshine in. —Joint letter to President Obama from most major professional journalism associations, 7.8.14

• Example: "US Military Banned From Reading (Pulitizer-winning journalist) Glenn Greenwald's New Website" https://firstlook.org/theintercept/ — David Gilbert, International Business Times, 8.21.14

• “When the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.” —Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

Thomas Jefferson updated - from Ludwig von Mises Institiute

• “No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots.” —Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 1941) 

• “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” ―Oscar Wilde (paraphrasing Voltaire)

Speaking of the high price of free speech on campus:

• “Thanks to intense bank lobbying, student loans are uniquely punitive. Most can’t be refinanced, which means that people who borrowed at 8 percent in the 1990s are still paying 8 percent (when banks are paying almost zero). Unlike other loans, student loans can’t be discharged in bankruptcy, and a borrower’s salary, Social Security and even disability checks can be garnished.” _Barbara Gerson, SF Chronicle

Wall Street Journal  Graphic

Wall Street Journal Graphic


Spyers, Liars, Pants on Fire

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• Below: Replaying earlier Fizzdom post about Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's classic whopper.

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• "By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth." — George Carlin

• Below: Jon Stewart looks at CIA's checkered history including torture and the recent breach of Senate Intelligence Committee files, plus Senator Dianne Feinstein's outrage and her ironic inconsistencies about privacy. (video is longish but worth the time)

• Below: Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) calls for CIA Director John Brennan's firing for the agency's accessing Senate Intelligence Committee computers.

• Below: Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) blasts Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former NSA Director Keith Alexander for lying to Congress (in Jon Oliver animation above). 

• "Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth — to see it like it is, and tell it like it is — to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth." — Richard Nixon, accepting the presidential nomination in 1968 

 

Matt Damon's Obama Bromance

fizzdom.com john grimes president barack obama matt damon movie star celebrity constitution anticipoointment change 4th amendment hope bromance politics

Matt Damon: "(Obama) broke up with me. There are a lot of things that I really question, you know: the legality of the drone strikes, and these NSA revelations ... Jimmy Carter came out and said we don’t live in a democracy. That’s a little intense when an ex-president says that. So  (Obama's) got some explaining to do, particularly for a constitutional law professor."

•  Barack Obama"Matt Damon said he was disappointed in my performance. Well, Matt, I just saw The Adjustment Bureau, so right back atcha, buddy!”

Damon: "A one-term president with some balls who actually got stuff done would have been, in the long run of the country, much better."

• Above: Watch Matt Damon's Top 10 Roles (WatchMojo.com)

• Damon's 2013 film Elysium "has been panned by conservatives for arguing for a socialist utopia as an alternative to a future world of haves and have-nots. The Occupy Wall Street-inspired plot line involves a wealthy elite class that has abandoned an overcrowded Earth for a luxury space station, leaving the rest of humanity in crime-ridden and poverty-stricken squalor."

• Actor, producer, writer Matt Damon (b. 10.8.70) has been actively involved in charitable work, including the ONE Campaign, H2O Africa Foundation, and Water.org.

Damon was raised in Cambridge, MA near close friend Ben Affleck and neighbor/author/activist Howard Zinn. He dropped out of Harvard just short of a degree to pursue acting. 

• Damon is a supporter of the Democratic Party and hosted a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren. He has been mentioned as a future political candidate

Freedom: What's It Mean To You?

• Which of the quotes above appeal to you?

• Which of the quotes above appeal to you?

• Original edits

• Original edits

• "The contradiction between the claim that 'all men are created equal' and the existence of American slavery attracted comment when the Declaration was first published. Although Jefferson had included a paragraph in his initial draft that strongly indicted Britain's role in the slave trade, this was deleted from the final version. Jefferson himself was a prominent Virginia slave holder having owned hundreds of slaves."

• "From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress."

• "Historians have long disputed whether Congress actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, even though Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin and all later wrote that they had signed it on that day. Most historians have concluded that the Declaration was signed nearly a month after its adoption, on August 2, 1776, and not on July 4 as is commonly believed."

• "In a remarkable coincidence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only signers of the Declaration of Independence later to serve as President of the United States, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration. Although not a signer of the Declaration of Independence, but another Founding Father who became a President, James Monroe, died on July 4, 1831, thus becoming the third President in a row who died on this memorable day." (quotes above: wikipedia)

• Above: A must-see for fireworks fans: New Year’s Eve 2013. Watch the city of Dubai break the Guiness world record for largest fireworks display, with 479,651 shells fired in just six minutes at a rate of almost 80,000 shells per minute and 1,332 fireworks per second.

Snowden Mans Up, Stays Put

fizzdom.com john grimes edward snowden mans up stays home secretary of state john kerry nsa daniel ellsberg traitor patriot constitution russia moscow espionage act glenn greenwald judge richard leon

• Commemorating the June 5th anniversary of first publication of NSA documents by Glenn Greenwald at The Guardian U.S. (and later, Washington Post and New York Times) leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

• Edward Snowden above outlines the substantial changes his leaks are precipitating in NSA surveillance programs, practices and public discourse.

• The 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was jointly awarded to The Washington Post and The Guardian U.S. for their "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency."

George Polk Awards for Journalism in 2013 for national security reporting were presented to The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras and Ewen MacAskill, and to The Washington Post's Barton Gellman.

Daniel Ellsberg uses his experience with the Pentagon Papers to explain above why Edward Snowden would not receive a fair trial in the U.S. under the Espionage Act

Journalist Glenn Greenwald explains the difference between private companies and the government retaining all your personal data and communications in the video above. 

• Above Daniel Ellsberg makes a strong case why it is necessary for Edward Snowden to be out of the U.S. 

Breaking story! Cellphone operator reveals scale of gov’t snooping http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/vodafone-report-shows-extent-of-govt-snooping/2014/06/06/7a01a9ba-ed5c-11e3-8a8a-e17c08f80871_story.html?hpid=z3

• "Twitter Inc., LinkedIn Corp., AOL Inc., Google Inc., Apple Inc., Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are pushing for tighter controls over electronic espionage — fearing that eavesdropping threatens the technology industry’s financial livelihood." (from W.Post link above)

Links to important videos:

•See why U.S. District Judge Richard Leon calls the bulk collection NSA surveillance program "almost Orwellian" and probably unconstitutional. https://archive.org/details/KPIX_20131217_150000_CBS_This_Morning#start/210/end/240

Edward Snowden explains the "pattern of life" the NSA can obtain from a targeted cell phone: https://archive.org/details/KNTV_20140529_050000_Inside_the_Mind_of_Edward_Snowden_An_NBC_News_Exclusive#start/1416.5/end/1476.5

• See the entire Edward Snowden interview with NBC's Brian Williams, at the Internet Archive's TV News Archive where you can edit and share your own clips: http://archive.org/details/KNTV_20140529_050000_Inside_the_Mind_of_Edward_Snowden_An_NBC_News_Exclusive

• Link to the Internet Archive's post commemorating the anniversary of the first NSA surveillance report by Glenn Greenwald. Avid NSA followers can check out the Archive's NSA-issues TV News Quote Library for video clips and links cataloging the history of the NSA surveillance issues featuring Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, Barton Gellman, James Clapper, Keith Alexander, President Obama — all the key people involved in the revelations.

http://blog.archive.org/2014/06/06/1-year-later-nsa-revelations-debate-and-dire-prospects/

The Internet Archive has the largest and most comprehensive video library documenting reports, hearings and revelations on the NSA surveillance programs.

John Oliver Gets Hot About Spying

fizzdom.com nsa director james clapper lie lying at senate hearing senator ron wyden john oliver daily show tv

Clapper falsely testified that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans. (3.12.13)

• Watch John Oliver make fun of James Clapper's testimony above.

 

• See Clapper above admitting he had answered in the "least untruthful manner" possible, using a strange analogy.

• April 14, 2014 The Pulitzer Prize for Public Service was awarded to The Guardian and The Washington Post for reporting the NSA's U.S. and international surveillance activities were far broader than the U.S. government had admitted

 

• Edward Snowden said, "Today's decision is a vindication for everyone who believes that the public has a role in government This decision reminds us that what no individual conscience can change, a free press can." (theguardian.com)