Non-accountability marches onward at the IRS

    How is the great crusade to bring accountability to the IRS coming along?  According to Eliana Johnson at National Review, the Director of Rulings and Agreements, Holly Paz, just became “the fifth Washington D.C.-based IRS official involved in the current scandal to leave her position.” According to the House Oversight Committee, Paz was involved in an internal IRS investigation that in May 2012 concluded that the agency had been | Read More »

    A Primer on the Upcoming Senate Immigration Debate

    On Tuesday afternoon, Harry Reid plans to bring the amnesty/immigration deform bill (S.744) to the floor for the first procedural vote – cloture on motion to proceed with debate.  Harry Reid can probably count on all 54 Democrats voting for cloture, with the possible exception of Mark Pryor (AR).  In a sane world, Senate Republicans would all vote against the motion (even assuming we lose | Read More »

    Julian Assange Had A Point

    By now, we’ve all gone through the mourning period requisite to accept that any privacy we expected to have as American Citizens is dead. The War on Terror killed it. In a sense, Osama Bin Laden won. He’s spiking the football down in hell as we speak. If he hated us for our freedoms, he should lighten up a bit and chill. Those freedoms are increasingly becoming non-existent – a casualty of war so to speak.

    The recent revelations of Edward Snowden, even if partially inflated by bravado and imagination, suggest that everything I’ve written above is the sad truth about Post-modern America. We are increasingly becoming The Orwell State.

    And the people wielding all the special powers we enacted to fight The War on Terror still wield them without any let-up. They wield them without let-up right after they announced the war was coming to an end. So if the GWOT is over and done with, who does the administration consider the enemy? Or worse yet, does the administration even feel the need for an enemy? Do they consider the police state a naturally justifiable equilibrium? All of these questions above are fine and dandy for batting around the dorm hall amidst a cloud of epistemological bong smoke. If you don’t like the answers to any of the questions I’ve posited then here’s the only question that matters: what do you intend to do about it? Glen Greenwald offers one response below.

    Read More »

    Bill Cassidy’s Complicated Relationship With Obamacare

    When the establishment is looking to recruit someone to run for Senate, they first look to find like-minded people in the House.  What better person to be a yes-man for McConnell than someone who has been a yes-man for House leadership?  Their latest recruit is Congressman Bill Cassidy who is being supported by all of the establishment in his bid for Senate. Every Republican in | Read More »

    PRISM Must Go

    The revelations on the NSA program code named PRISM are troubling. When coupled with the Obama Administration’s generally lawless behavior it is PRISM, not our foreign enemies, that poses the greatest threat to our nation and our system of government.

    Read More »

    Francis Responds to Snowden’s NSA Revelations

    On today’s edition of Coffee and Markets, Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech are joined by Francis Cianfrocca to discuss Edward Snowden’s leaks about NSA intelligence gathering, how a high school dropout got his level of access and if the public outcry endangers this controversial spying program.

    Read More »

    Hey, everybody: it’s SCOTUS Day!

    That’s right, kids: today’s a day where the United States Supreme Court reminds you that complicated, final decisions in tricky law cases are determined by whether Anthony Kennedy liked what he had for breakfast that morning. [pause] Well, at least the Supreme Court isn’t declaring our metadata unconstitutional. That’s something, at least. SCOTUS Blog is covering it in real time, but feel free to comment | Read More »

    Trust and Taps

    Trust and Taps

    It is long held that the government can look at the outside of an envelope as it passes through the postal system. The government can see who is sending a letter, to whom it is being sent, and from which postal location the letter was mailed. The government, in the twenty-first century, is trying to come to terms with a society that transmits information differently | Read More »

    Another Schumer Republican Who Lied to Get Elected

    It’s amazing how many Republicans ran for election as absolutely opposed to any form of amnesty – certainly before enforcing existing laws.  Somehow within a year or two, all of them have had an epiphany.  The latest example is Senator Kelly Ayotte from New Hampshire, the third amigo in the McCain/Graham Schumer club. In 2010, Ayotte ran strong on the issue of illegal immigration, and | Read More »

    Has the Obama administration EARNED our trust on phone metadata harvesting?

    Let us imagine a world where the following occurred*: 2008 – 2013: Barack Obama accepts public financing for the election, promptly closes Gitmo, and rigorously avoids raising taxes of any kind on the middle class. Just to not-really-randomly pick three of his campaign promises. 2009: Barack Obama secures the formal appointment of Inspector Generals at Defense, Homeland Security, Interior, Labor, State, and the Agency for | Read More »

    More Shale Boom Reverberations in the Middle East

    With the rise of militant Islamism, it would be naive to think that American interest in the region is limited to securing access to oil supplies, and that a reduction in our demand for imported oil suddenly makes us indifferent to Middle Eastern affairs.

    Read More »

    A Faith To Stand Firm

    A Faith To Stand Firm

    The Boy Scouts, as by now you know, has decided to allow in gay scouts while keeping two prohibitions. The first is that which prevents gay scout leaders. The second, which has gone mostly without notice, is the prohibition on sexual activity by scouts. This has put many Christians in a position they never asked to be in, in a fight they never asked for | Read More »

    Update on the NJ Senate special election.

    Cory Booker makes it official that he’s running for NJ-SEN (special): he announced it today. Here’s the thing, though: so is Rep. Frank Pallone. For that matter, so is Rep. Rush Holt, but Holt’s brand of progressive is probably not envelopes-of-cash-under-the-table enough for the Democratic Senate primary. In other words: this is a two-man show, and Frank Pallone is going to startle a lot of | Read More »

    Tech at Night: A few quick points on FISA, NSA, and PRISM.

    Tech at Night

    It’s the hot topic, so I’m going to start off with a few points on FISA and PRISM.

    Point one: Foreign agents can control US phone numbers, particularly in this age of constant cybersecurity threats.

    Point two: Searching a third party service provider isn’t the same as searching your home.

    Point three: ECHELON is an old program, one where the UK’s intel team spies on us, and the NSA spites on them. NSA-avoidance advice that tells you to favor non-US firms is laughably stupid.

    Point four: Data mining of metadata for mathematical analysis of networks, using known terrorists and allies as anchors, isn’t the same as spying on anyone.

    Read More »

    The New York times sacrifices its credibility on the Obama altar

    Within hours of the disclosure that the federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.

    Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability. The administration has now lost all credibility.

    Read More »