Friday, June 07, 2013


Perhaps I should, but for some reason I cannot, rise to the level of outrage evident on the net yesterday about the NSA's gathering of Verizon customers' phone records, under a "top secret court order" issued in April.

First, I wondered why there was such surprise. Hasn't this kind of thing been going on since soon after 9/11 2001? Isn't it all part and parcel of The Patriot Act? Shouldn't outrage be about why that Act isn't being revised or replaced by something more relevant to today's technology and general circumstances?

As I understand it (but could be getting hold of the wrong end of this stick) the current order, result of a warrant, is for a limited time, with a firm expiration date involved. Would that not indicate clearly that there has been a specific reason for this particular order to a particular company, over a defined span of time? What will be revealed isn't the content of phone conversations, but a record of calls from one phone number to another. Whereas, in the past such information would have been pretty useless without many hours of perusal by hundreds of eyes, current technology with pattern-seeking abilities puts a different perspective on such a vast amount of data, and what might be learned from it.

Anyone using the internet is tracked in many ways already - without warrant, by Google, Facebook, and Twitter and perhaps others, for commercial purposes. I cannot look at websites selling travel bags or bras, or eyeglass frames without, shortly after, being hounded by ads for all these items wherever I go on the net. Privacy, if it ever truly existed on the internet, disappeared long ago: the price we paid for what we got.

I wish the same level of outrage seen yesterday on the issue of privacy were apparent from as many people over drone strikes killing innocents abroad - victims of such atrocities are denied an opportunity to live out their very lives, whether in privacy or otherwise!

Postscript: There's an interesting take on this and on today's PRISM revelations at Cannonfire - do go take a look!


mike said...

I'm with you, Twilight...I simply don't understand the current frenzy of outrage. The Patriot Act allows the U.S. government to essentially have full privilege and basically supersede the U.S. constitution. The POTUS has full power to enact any and all measures necessary to "protect" the U.S. from "terrorism".

The Patriot Act has been strengthened and renewed numerous times with full blessings from our congressional representatives. This Act has been thoroughly, openly discussed, and debated over the past twelve years. There have been many citizens and media sources declaring the Act a horrendous evil upon us. Our representatives have given our government full authority to perform without divulging the details of what IS being performed. And now the public wants to cry FOUL! Please spare me!

Today's (Friday morning's) media information has expanded the violations of privacy to just about every data transfer source, which involves a large list of U.S. corporations. I suspect other corporations have involvement, too (USPS, UPS, FedEx, customer accounts of any bank, credit card transactions, etc.).

An interesting problem with the Patriot Act is that it allows for anything, but the anything isn't known until revealed. And that puts the person revealing the information into Bradley Manning territory. Very sad.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the U.S.

Anonymous said...

Most Americans don't like being bothered with the details of the bigger picture, at least not until it interferes with their personal artifices. Offended maybe when they can't hear their iPad through their ear-buds because a nearby drone is interfering. Thank gawd for Uranus sq Pluto.

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Oh my! And for our next we have PRISM! As though we didn't know already that those internet companies had their tentacles all around us.

Senator Russ Feingold was, I understand, one (the only one?) who voted against passage of The Patriot Act.

From Huff Po today:

On Thursday, Feingold put out a statement about the Guardian's report, saying, "In 2001, I first voted against the PATRIOT Act because much of it was simply an FBI wish list that included provisions allowing our government to go on fishing expeditions that collect information on virtually anyone."

"Today's report indicates that the government could be using FISA in an indiscriminate way that does not balance our legitimate concerns of national security with the necessity to preserve our fundamental civil rights," he added. "This is deeply troubling. I hope today's news will renew a serious conversation about how to protect the country while ensuring that the rights of law-abiding Americans are not violated."

If all this outrage kick-starts a new conversation among those with some power to change things, then it might prove to have been useful - other than being a distraction from.....who knows what else?

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Ain't that the truth!
Dope slaps up the sides of heads are coming thick and fast now - maybe we do have Uranus/Pluto to thank - they can brandish a hefty smite or two when fully roused. :-)

Twilight said...

mike ~ If you're still around, see PS I've added to post and piece at the link. :-)

mike (again) said...

Read Cannonfire...the remarks about the release of the sealed warrant are unfounded, or at least there's a plausible explanation...see the Wash.Post article:

It's hard to keep track of all the revelations of late and their consequent sequence of events...need a flow chart. There are numerous writers alluding to conspiracy-esque or retaliatory paybacks. Maybe he's angered the Bilderberg group and now it's off with his head!

Obama's astrology isn't the best right now, either: trans Saturn conj Neptune, trans Neptune conj Chiron and opposed Pluto, trans Mars conj Moon. Current transits in Cancer will oppose his natal Saturn over the next couple of months.

R J Adams said...

I'm constantly outraged by the lack of concern shown by Americans to their government's slaughter, with impunity, of human beings who happen to live in another country. (NBC's latest poll showed only 16% opposed drone strikes. That basically means over 80% of the people in this country are total prats). The sudden outrage, displayed by US citizens at their government's invasion of their privacy, merely underlines how utterly self-centered and indifferent to others so many Americans are.

Twilight said...

mike ~ Thanks for your observations and for the link.

I don't know what to think - the fact that the PRISM thing came so hard on the heels of the Verizon issue seemed a bit "off" to my intuition - but I don't know exactly why. But then nothing ever seems quite right these
days ! We're approaching the silly season with all pistons firing aren't we?

Obama will survive, he only has to sit it out, keep his nose clean for the PTB.

I hope at the very least that the public "outrage" will spawn some proper discussions in Congress on the privacy/security matter and The Patriot Act.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~ My feelings too, RJ.

So sad and so sickening - obscenely sickening - and so few care.

mike (again) said...

Here's a post from Raymond Merriman, May 20, 2013:

And whose reputation is taking the biggest hit for this onslaught of emerging new scandals? The USA Commander in Chief, whose own natal chart is now besieged with multiple transits involving both Neptune and Saturn, as described at length in these columns earlier this year. You may remember in the first two months of 2013 we featured successive articles on the idea that Mr. Obama’s favorable transits (Neptune trine his natal Venus) would end in February. Over the next two years, he would be spending an inordinate amount of time defending his reputation and credibility amidst one accusation after another. Transiting Neptune is in the early stages of forming a T-square to his natal Moon-Pluto square, while Saturn is sitting on his natural Neptune, forming a square to his natal Sun. His willingness to be transparent, open, and honest – the remedies of both Saturn and Neptune - with the public will affect the legacy he leaves behind. The natural tendency of such a powerful combination of transits is to withdraw and lose desire to be a force in the world. It is telling that in a recent press conference, he replied, “Well, given the way you put it, maybe I should just give up,” to a critical question of his leadership posed by one reporter.

Is it possible that all of these scandals are blown out of proportion and merely a circus of distraction as the President claims? Yes, that can happen when Neptune is involved. It can be a result of misunderstandings, misinformation (perhaps even intentional) and false rumors designed to bring maximum embarrassment to their target (the person undergoing hard transiting aspects to or from Neptune). One is either a victim of such rumormongering, or one can rise above the fracas and exhibit the positive qualities of Neptune, which include sympathy, empathy, deep care and concern, and a vision of a better world and better relations. The absolute worst thing one can do under such transits is to become defensive, defiant, and in denial that he/she has done anything wrong. Well, there is one thing that could be even worse: to blame the problem on the accuser(s), for that inevitably backfires when others step up and offer support for the accuser(s).,-2013/

Twilight said...

mike ~~ Thanks for that link - it's an excellent assessment of the astro signs and signals currently in place for O. I hadn't seen that website or read that astrologer before, as far as I recall.

I do remember reading other astrologers' views on coming months/years after O was re-elected, and most indicated that the "honeymoon" would soon be over, courtesy of Saturn transits.