Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It Seems to be Confirmed That the USA Government Has Been Ignoring the Rule of Law

I figured the USA had abandoned the practice of concern for the rule of law when it wasn't convent for the government. Of course, choosing to support the rule of law only when you find the laws personally useful and ignoring it otherwise pretty much makes the rule of a law a farce.

update: it appears Norway did the spying on its own citizens that is then shared with the USA. That would appear to satisfy the legal requirements in this example. I still question the legality of many actions by the USA - it just seems likely violations of laws of other countries are frequent. We can't violate other's laws and they expect them to obey the laws we want them to. NSA logged 33m calls in Nato ally Norway
Torstein Olsen, head of Norway's telecoms regulator, said that it was illegal for anyone apart from telecommunications companies to collect such data. "If Dagbladet's information is correct that 33 million mobile phone calls in Norway were registered by someone other than the telecommunication companies, that would be a crime under Norwegian law," he said.
Also the USA government was I believe successful in preventing USA citizens and companies from using encryption that was safe while knowingly encouraging other governments to spy using the advantage of poor encryption. Given the continuing stream of evidence on bad practices the USA government tried to hide from public condemnation the USA government has effectively given cart blanche to every sovereign state to spy electronically as much as they want to.

So it seems the USA government has sold out the ability of its citizens to protect themselves from not just spying from its own government but all other governments spying on all personal, business and political activities in the USA (based on the actions the USA has taken they certainly can't expect other governments to be less intrusive than the USA has been to their citizens and political leaders - and at this point we would certainly have to assume businesses also).

The repeated, crushing blows to the rule of law, respect for the right of people and honorable behavior by the USA the last 15 years is extremely disheartening. The USA it seems to me fell far short of the standards it should have set the last 50 years but at least the USA seemed to have some credibility when attempting to encourage others to behave in accordance with the rule of law which would make the world a better place. Now I can't imagine what country is more consistently and aggressively flaunting their disrespect for the rule of law. The USA currently seems to have only one justification for their actions: might makes right. We can do whatever we want because you can't stop us militarily and we can crush you economically if you don't do whatever we tell you to do.

Choosing to follow some laws and then expecting other countries to follow all the laws you care about is not sensible behavior.

I seriously hope we can recover from the disastrous behavior of our government the last 15 years. We recovered from McCarthyism and Watergate but this behavior seems much worse to me (and those were very bad).

It has gotten so some of the most far fetched "conspiracy theory" claims are superseded by what the USA government actually does. That is a very bad state of affairs.

Related: I Can Spy on You, But You Can't Spy on Me (isn't a sensible expectation) - Watching the Watchmen - Librarians Standing Up to the Madness - Freedom Increasingly at Risk

Monday, November 18, 2013

Two Time Zones for the USA

I agreed with this post a read a little while back suggesting the USA get rid of "daylight savings time" and adopt just 2 time zones (for the continental USA). I never thought of reducing the time zones before but it seems like a good idea. I doubt we will do it before I die anyway (but it is possible - heck we might even adopt the metric system).

I saw this today showing China has only 1 time zone.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

TPP Transparency Confirms the Worst: USA Government Still Trying to Strip Away Rights of Citizens in USA and Elsewhere

TPP Leak Confirms the Worst: US Negotiators Still Trying to Trade Away Internet Freedoms by the EFF

The leaked text, from August 2013, confirms long-standing suspicions about the harm the agreement could do to users’ rights and a free and open Internet. From locking in excessive copyright term limits to further entrenching failed policies that give legal teeth to Digital Rights Management (DRM) tools, the TPP text we’ve seen today reflects a terrible but unsurprising truth: an agreement negotiated in near-total secrecy, including corporations but excluding the public, comes out as an anti-user wish list of industry-friendly policies.
The anti-liberty policies of those we elect continues. They continue to sell out basic rights to provide favors for those giving them lots of cash. The extent to which our elected officials go to hide their actions from public scrutiny is despicable. But the real damage is the consistent march to reduce liberty while providing favors for those providing politicians cash. The damage to society by this consistent pattern is enormous.

It was easy to predict the massive effort to stop SOPA would only temporarily delay the politicians anti-liberty policies. And sadly that prediction has proven accurate (not just TPP but many attempts, some successful already, to pass SOPA's provisions when the public isn't shining the light on the terrible actions congress and the administration are pursuing). They merely keep trying to implement SOPA, SOPA-like and even much worse policies than even were in SOPA over and over. TPP is just one of the most egregious examples of anti-liberty policies and the governments attempts to hide their actions from the public.

Related: Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans - We Continue to Vote for Those that Sell Out the Country for Cash Gifts - Good Journalism Aids Society by Shining the Light on Corruption (and government trying to hide their policies from public debate) - Cash for votes subreddit (links to politicians sellout out their country for cash)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Continued Refusal to Address Abuse of the Constitution by Government

McCain: If you believe that Mr. Snowden didn't give the Russians information that he has, then you believe that pigs can fly.
From: UK spies continue “quantum insert” attack via LinkedIn, Slashdot pages

If you believe the political and government administration leadership in the USA are not abusing the constitution and making false statements to cover up that behavior and ignoring evidence that has been made public of such abuses then you believe pigs can fly.

It is pitiful how far our political leaders and talking heads have fallen (the exceptions are few, sadly). They would have been cheering on the House committee on un-American activities. It is so incredibly sad what is happening to our country.

Related: Disregard for the Rule of Law by Government - The People We Elect Recently Are Dramatically Falling Us - Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State - Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA - Freedom Increasingly at Risk (2008), the abuses have been apparent for quite a long time

Monday, November 04, 2013

Disregard for the Rule of Law by Government

I have trouble with the violation of international and other country's laws when it suits your purpose while claiming to support the rule of law.

The USA has done many things wrong in spying on its citizens and others around the world. The main defense seems to be to

1) make people fearful (essentially they are copying what the house committee on "un-american activities" did)

2) lie

3) hide extremely bad policy (and most likely lots of illegal activity) behind claims of "national security"

4) say we are no worse at breaking laws than others are

One is bad, but at least not illegal. Still it is the type of behavior we shouldn't tolerate but we have been. Openly debating policy is what should be done. When we allow government to hide their bad policy from even being debated the extremes to which that bad policy goes very quickly becomes horrible (based on our past, and current, experience).

I don't know of an exception to following laws that amounts to -- lots of people kill people so what if I do. But that is the USA spying defense. Yes, we tapped the phones or leaders of Western democracies (and did an unbelievably long list of other violation of laws) but all countries violate laws all the time, so don't worry about it. Why do we bother having laws if the USA doesn't believe they should be followed whenever the USA government doesn't feel like following them?

The whole idea of the rule of law is that everyone has to follow the law not just those who are less powerful than those enforcing the law. The USA government seems to think it is perfectly ok to break laws if other people do (well about every single law is broken by other people) and you are more powerful than the law enforcer - this seems like a bad idea, and it certainly isn't the "rule of law" it is just "might makes right."

It seems like the last 2 adminstrations have just decided laws dont' matter for them. They can jsut do whatever they want because of fear and might makes right. I think the trampling of liberty that has been apparent for a decade and we get a worse and worse picture of as the attempts to hide extremely bad policy from the public view is reduced.

We need people shedding the light on behaviors of the government that are shredding the liberty of people across the globe and shredding the concept of the rule of law. Using the types of tactics that fit only with an organization like the House Un-American Activities Committee is something we should have stopped accepted over half a century ago.

I am very surprised and disappointed to be living through the type of behavior by our government I thought had disappeared with my Grandparents. I realized we would have small type corruption, scandals of very bad behavior by senior government officials, etc.. But the long term commitment to suppress the truth and using extra legal force of government to attack those seeking to expose government wrong doing is extremely disappointing.

Playing games with "classification" to hide the policies that are extremely anti-constitutional and then "un-classifying" (or even just leaking without un-classifying) little bits to attack those that seek to expose the un-constitutional behavior of government is despicable. Never addressing any of the illegal behavior the government has, and continues to pursue, while attacking those that seek to expose government abuse with extra legal might of the federal government is something that shouldn't be tolerated.

A government has the power to take away liberty from individuals. Hopefully that is done when it is necessary for the best interests of society (imprisoning murders etc.). That power however is enormous. The rule of law much protect the people. When the government decides it doesn't need to obey the rule of law that is a very dangerous situation. We have been living through it for more than a decade now and things seem to just be getting worse and worse. That isn't surprising as the abuse of the the rule of law is tolerated those who get away with doing so will likely keep increasing how far from the rule of law they will go.

We have seen over and over how this works in countries. And we are seeing it the last decade plus in the USA. The path we are on, is very scary.

I have always known the USA government did plenty of stuff wrong. But I also did believe we were helping make the world a better place. I am very disappointed now. I think we are not making the world a better place. And sadly, there are not good options to counteract the abandonment of advocacy for the rule of law and liberty that the USA used to promote. We never were perfect at doing so, but we did push those causes more than we pushed against them. Now we clearly are pushing against them much more than we are aiding efforts to promote liberty and the rule of law; both in the USA and globally.

Related: Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State - The People We Elect Recently Are Dramatically Falling Us - Freedom Increasingly at Risk (2008) - Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA