Beyond the Cusp

March 23, 2017

Was Andrew Napolitano Correct?

 

Was Andrew Napolitano Correct when on “Fox & Friends” he claimed that British intelligence officials had helped former President Barack Obama spy on Donald Trump? We know one thing, he was definitely wrong to have said so without having run the idea past Fox News’s law department, the “Fox & Friends” show’s writers, any managers related to both the “Fox & Friends” show and those responsible for Judge Napolitano and perhaps anyone else he could have found even to include the people behind each of the three cameras shooting the show and perhaps the microphone grip just for good measure. Apparently he also needed to include our friends, the British, into the mix of the Trump accusation his phones in Trump Tower were tapped by the Obama Administration. Of course any allegation which includes the Russians with the election victory by Donald Trump is perfectly within bounds as with the Russian allegations the target is President Trump and with Judge Napolitano’s British accusation the target is President Obama. The difference is more than obvious, it is also very revealing. In American media, even the presumed conservative darling Fox News, any accusation against President Trump can spread guilt to any target and still be acceptable while accusations against President Obama may not apply guilt to other targets because expressing potential for guilt of President Obama is what was not permissible and thus also the British. But perhaps delving deeper might be an interesting exercise and be quite revealing.

 

Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew Napolitano

 

We need to go back to the era of PRISM or before that Echelon as well as whatever the code name was back to the mid-1950’s which was finally revealed to the public in the mid-2000’s and was simply the latest data gathering system used by the National Security Agency (NSA) in coordination with the data collection abilities of the other Anglo-nations, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with the United States in order to be capable of collecting, through coordination, the maximized capabilities of their systems. Their coordinating their systems meant that they could prevent duplicating each other’s efforts. In order to guarantee that each nation would still have access to whatever data they needed there was an agreement. The initial agreement was called the UKUSA Agreement, or the United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement. The actual agreement upon full ratification included all the Anglo-nations mentioned above. This agreement also permitted each nation to have total access to the information of the other nations. Now as it was easiest for each member nation to collect complete and total accumulation and compilation of their own population’s data, each nation was assigned with the collection of all electronic communication including phones of all varieties, internet, wireless and any other variety of communication which lent to interception. Obviously ground mail was still safe from this collection processes though e-mail was not and was also collected along with all else.

 

The fact that each nation in the group, the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada all have laws which do not permit spying on their own citizens without first having a judge issue a warrant; this made it such a tedious and limiting requirement that each country desired some means of getting around this nasty limitation. Unsurprisingly, leaks revealed that they found just the means by which to collect what was their hearts, and snooping, desires without the needless waste of finding some judge to issue a warrant, even after the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the accompanying FISA Courts where warrants could be granted in complete and total secrecy. But what if your target was somebody who you did not believe that even a FISA Court would issue a warrant? Well, one could always resort to the “old school” method for such situations. The five nations which finally entered the UKUSA Agreement agreed that when any one deemed they required intercepting, read bugging, anyone of their own citizens, something universally illegal under several laws, they would simply request a surveillance report covering the individuals phone numbers, their internet e-mail address and internet entrance and other electronic identifiers using all the direct alpha-numeric identifiers such that no names were ever exchanged. The nation receiving the request would then query all five nations’ data collection systems and compile their report simply listing all communications by the target accounts and thus the individual of interest. This report was then presented to the nation unable to actually collect such information themselves legally without making legal requests at some level. This was the method, as we pointed out, back in the day. Now, all those out there who believe that this method of data acquisition has fallen by the wayside and is no longer accessible, raise your hands. Let’s see, OK George, put your hand down, not funny. So, we all believe that if somebody from the political, law enforcement, foreign intelligence collection group or domestic intelligence group desired to gain such information, they could simply contact somebody they could trust from one of the other nations and have all the information they might desire and all without anybody being all the wiser.

 

So, what is the most important concept behind all of this spy vs. spy scenario? Well, it has to be the part that nobody would be any the wiser. Would it be possible for somebody in the government, say the President, or more likely a subordinate, a trusted subordinate with contacts across a border in say New Zealand or perhaps Canada to gather a compiled report which includes all the communications, or simply phone conversations, from a specific set of alphanumerics representing a person of interest even daily? The obvious answer is an obvious “Yes” and all without anybody in either government actually believing anything untoward had taken place. Are such requests made currently? Probably, though nowhere near in the numbers which were likely back twenty or so years ago. Still, this polite gentlemen’s agreement was put in place for just the reason that listening to then candidate Trump’s phone calls was made to produce. Did President Obama actually order or just request such a report from the British? The truth is it is unlikely but did he actually mention that he was wondering what Trump was up to, very likely. Might an overeager subordinate have then issued such a request hoping to have something interesting he or she could then report to the President? You tell me and if you have a name and proof, that would be appreciated as well. We promise not to use such information, well, not without giving you the credit if you desire such as we would not desire taking the heat alone. What is obvious is that the scenario is not beyond possibility.

 

What must be added to this entire scenario is that the new NSA data collection systems currently are capable of collecting every single last piece of electronic data from the United States plus probably Europe and a select dozen additional nations just for fun without taxing their systems which are tied into world-wide communications networks at their sources. Further, when gathering data using the numerical address the actual target remains unidentified in almost every situation as numerical identifiers can be used which disguise the actual target from those collecting the data. Thus, simply using such identifiers one can draw up all the information from any identifier for any period simply by entering a query into the huge data storage complex outside Reno, Nevada. This could even be done directly out of virtually any office of a Congressperson and nothing untoward would ever be suspected. From the White House, well, that might raise some suspicions, but from any agency which is assigned to gather information, nobody would ever suspect anything. Even those who are responsible for guarding that all data acquisition is done all legal and above boards have so much to review that it is very possible that many requests get through never being reviewed as review is probably reserved for such demands made by courts and other persons having a purpose to request such reviews. This means that even had Trump had his file accessed, nobody is likely to have been the wiser and it is entirely possible that the old UKUSA Agreement system of scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours could have been used to make tracing all the more difficult. Whatever the actual situation, Judge Napolitano was hired to give commentary, his best assessments and legal advice. His commentary if presented as fact might have been a bit overly pretentious, but was not entirely out of line. If he presented it as theory, then it was within the assigned duties of a commentator. Whatever the situation proves forth, should the Judge need a part-time, non-paying position, we can always use another commentator here at BTC whose views might be appreciated by our readers and who would add to our broad views of what is, what may be and what we wish would be.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

March 18, 2017

Freedom is a Wonderful Thing to Have and a Horrible Waste When Lost

 

Let us start our discussion today with some information directly from another article titled The Pelosi Principle by Terry Jeffrey written for Townhall. The article was about the Republican replacement for Obamacare which while not being everything many of us would want, was still a better deal for much of America. This quote though tells a lot about what has gone terribly wrong with American society and paints a dim view that this can ever change as both sides of the aisle agree that the old way must die and government prevail. The article states, “Both Republicans and Democrats have rejected the principle of subsidiarity that once governed American health care: Individuals who could not pay for their own care were covered by private, particularly religious, charities and local governments.” Despite everything else, at the base of the opposition to Obamacare was the opposition to the Nanny State and its insistence on being all things to all people. Forced government insurance was just the latest outrage where government demanded they be given the responsibility for our care and as usual their ideas left much to be desired.

 

This problem has been a long time coming and is not about to wane any time in the future without a near revolution by the American public. Not a real, grab the gun off the mantle, revolution but one where the American people take the power back from the government by selecting a whole new type of political representation, regular, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (or watch at end of article) representation. This would have to be an all-encompassing movement which will only arise when things reach an intolerable level and when failure means the end of the democratic process because the government has even assumed making the choices as to who will lead and who is subjugated. One can only hope that such a time is not quite yet upon us, though with some of what has occurred there have been claims and fears from both sides that the other is attempting to take control of the governing processes and end any true freedom of choice. History has proven that one side’s claims are merely an excuse for them to enact just such fascist governance and the other side’s claims are actually valid fears. But this article is to tell the story of how we reached this point.

 

This all started with something everybody would know from history if such was still taught in the public and private school systems. Not all schools are delinquent of such but far too many are which has made ask the average person in the street history and civics questions something which makes for great laughs while others of us just shake our heads and fear for the future. We know that a people who do not know from whence they arrived at this day will have no idea where they will be going as the tomorrows pass. The beginning of our story is the Revolutionary War, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, especially the Bill of Rights. One should read the Declaration of Independence as it is a litany of things in a governance which should be feared and the people should ever be watchful against their reoccurrence. There is a political theory which describes the cycle of governance from bondage to freedom and back to bondage called the Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance (see below). There have been many debates in universities back in our day and hopefully these debates continue as they raise awareness and strengthen societal awareness in the upcoming generation. The debate in my day over where in the circle we stood was over which it might be; Selfishness, Complacency, Apathy or Dependence. Nobody ever claimed Abundance and a few would claim we were on the verge of Bondage and the others were completely beyond consideration. One can only wonder where the debate would go today.

 

Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance

Tytler Cycle of Power in Governance

 

We got to wherever in the cycle we actually stand from a time when faith was high and courage was felt by a strong and steady leadership and their following and from that they struck forth and gained liberty. The American Revolution was led in many communities by their religious leaders who were men of sword and musket as well as the Bible. These men made up the Black Robe Regiments and were why the British often burned churches and would hang clergy on sight if they were at all suspect of preaching about freedom from bondage and King. The Revolutionary War was fought by people of faith and courage who gained freedom and a new nation. There were few large cities and nothing even approaching a modern city with London being amongst the largest in that day and Boston, New York and Philadelphia being amongst the largest cities but still the denizens were largely self-reliant. This was the way of life in early America and this was how it remained until sometime into the mid-1800’s. The problems began in the largest of cities which would be found on the eastern seaboard, west coast and along the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Within the largest cities people began to depend on certain public services. There was the water systems replacing the need to draw one’s own water, sewage replacing digging your own outbuilding, trash pick-up, and public transportation which was often bartered out to a private service whose owner often became quite wealthy as did the private purveyor of any other service which the cities licensed.

 

The services provided through public/private contract or by the government directly such as police forces, judicial systems, street maintenance, street lighting, gas lines, fire departments and as time went more and more provided by the cities. Then there were the specialty services which cared for services which many of the people either found distasteful or were simply incapable of doing for themselves. Some of these services had always required a professional but many had also been performed by the average person before the advent of large cities with a professional core of providers whose prices were controlled by demand and number of people providing such services. Examples include the obvious such as shoeing horses, blacksmithing, locksmith and others and then ones we have forgotten in our modern world such as chimneysweeps, milkman, ice deliveries and other such services. Some still exist in smaller towns or rural areas or as specialty service in cities. What these specialty and general services started was the first stages of dependence which as long as it is kept to essential services is fine, but it did not remain this way. There used to be a safety net which provided for those people who were down on their luck or simply had fallen from the normal routines of the society and were dependent on the good graces of others for their sustenance and other needs. These people were served by religious groups, the churches, synagogues and other religious congregations and charitable organizations. This was the way of things for over a century until the onset of the initial takeover by the government which began with unemployment insurance which was not any form of insurance as much as it was a tax and spend means for government to reduce the power of people and increase the power of the government. This was followed by Social Security and soon thereafter adoption services were slowly subsumed by the government.

 

This continued with the government granting college scholarships first through grants for veterans through the G I Bill and then loans and Pell Grants. The largest expansion of the government came under Lyndon Baines Johnson and his Great Society which enlarged or created such programs as Welfare, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, National Endowments for Arts and Humanities, Public Broadcasting, Cultural Centers, Homeless Shelters and a plethora of other programs all based on a simple principle, the government was going to save people from being preached to just to receive help as the religious institutions were forcing people to suffer. They were saving the world from religion. In time the governments also provided the cities with transportation funds to assist public transportation in an attempt to replace the personal vehicle, environmental assistance and codes, consumer protection because people were incapable of not buying substandard goods, public housing so those on welfare could live without shame in any neighborhood where section eight housing was declared which was anywhere except the most exclusive neighborhoods, labor regulations and it continued into every realm of life even eventually to include the water permitted to be flushed by a toilet.

 

The government did not stop there and they are currently working on the next and near final stage of their plans to completely control all of society, the replacement of the children from parenting by amateurs. That is the theory behind the plan proposed by Hillary Clinton with her claim that “it takes a village to raise a child.” She made an entire book from the idea, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us in which she gave examples of such as African villages and spent most of the book encouraging new programs and government controls over ever more of people’s lives. Some of the programs and ideas coming out from her writings include Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, Community Policing, the Brady Bill, Amber Alerts, immunizations, State Children’s Health Insurance Program, financial regulation, expanded Child Tax Credits, Minimum Wage increases, and the one making so much of the news of late, Universal health care. Government appears targeting even more of our lives and taking from us every choice as to how we live our lives, what we teach our children, what we are allowed to drive, where we are allowed to drive and how we can raise our children. Some schools have told their students that their parents do not have the power to deny them use of a telephone, forbid them access to a computer, refuse them their rights to watch what they want on television or other means of punishment including spanking, grounding or forcing them to eat foods they dislike and told students as early as first grade that they can report any violations of these rights by their parents to the school and then the school will report their parents to the government and the problem will be taken care of and they will have their rights respected. That is true, the child has inalienable rights which a parent may not infringe and amongst these rights is anything they desire. Of course once the parent has been duly punished for ignoring these rules, the child will just love the foster home and the parenting they will receive there.

 

One can only wonder where this will end and many will tell you it will not end, or at least not end well. There is actually no limit any longer as to how far into your life government can impose. Already the wild stories that the government can turn on the camera attached to your computers, the camera attached to your phone (always keep them camera facing the table), turn on the microphone to your computers or phones, and have microphones and cameras spread all over your town or city and can also monitor any cameras which are electronically monitored despite what you have been told by the security company, every keystroke made on your computer and a log of every web location you have visited, and darn near anything else with soon coming to any electronic device bought new will also be able to report the amounts of electricity used as well as your electric, water, gas or other meters reporting your use and any notable changes such as a guest visiting (additional use especially during times you are not usually home) but all this only if you reside in the United States or are under suspicions by the NSA, CIA, FBI or any other intelligence agency including allies of the United States as the intelligence services of the Western World are capable of collecting every electronic piece of information on virtually every person within the United States, its protectorates, any ten nations the United States chooses with the exceptions of India and China (really way too many people) all with some abilities to spare. The problem is calling up the data on any one person unless specified in advance is a bit tiresome but then there are numerous government employees whose tiresome job it is to extract exactly just such data on demand, lucky them, or on their own whim if they can cover their tracks. The claims by President Trump that his phones were being listened to are true but then so were probably mine and yours and your best friend, worst enemy, and the past five-thousand people you have passed on the street because everybody has had their information gathered because it is far more simple to gather all the information than to choose whose you actually need. With the NSA’s new data center in Nevada outside Reno (pictured below) that is a simple deed and they can store all of it to be retrieved as required at any time. It simply requires the personnel to do so and that they also have.

 

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

National Security Agency NSA Utah Data Center

That is where freedom now stands in the United States and much of the world today and that is the real problem we all face. But do not worry; most of us are of little concern so as long as we behave as expected we are safe. We hope that reading Beyond the Cusp is not a triggering exercise for which your data would be pulled up, but why worry as too many things likely will do the trick anyways.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

 

 

 

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