Anna, I think the majority of America has absolutely no idea what their Senators--much less their Congress(wo)men--do or what power they have. After the last twelve years, they appear to be under the assumption that all decisions lie in the lap of the President. The Senators and Congress(wo)men merely comment as to whether or not they like the ideas.
I want to smash my head through a stack of bricks whenever I hear people complaining about the state of the nation and blaming it all on Obama when he's just one part of the trifecta. Chances are it's their other elected officials that are to blame, but they're too stupid to make the connection. I mean, what happened to the generation who actually paid attention to what was happening in this country? The bra-burners and the proud hippies who stood out in the streets to fight for the rights of others? This country has become a Shakespearean comedy; those who pounded their chests and said, "I will not become a sheep like my parents' generation!" have gone and done just that.
They will tell you whatever you want to hear, except for the reality of how they voted. They'll have a reason why "the senator backed your position but all his amendments were shot down". Most of the time young staffers are reading from scripts. It is so obvious. This is especially true for written responses. It makes them look like complete idiots but most people don't care. They don't even know they are being hoodwinked. They really believe that the Senator backs their opinion and blithely vote for that same person again in the next election.
Senators do many other things for their constituents besides legislate. They help with all manner of bureaucratic drivel having to do with the Federal Government from war veteran claims to appointments to the military academies and everything in between. But then they go so far as to say "Our office deals with many matters pertaining to the Federal government and your relationship to it. Please don't ask us to intervene in anything having to do with the matters of the state (we all reside in)." In other words, go deal with another nightmare bureaucracy at the state capital. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont recently got burned badly when people in town hall meetings started to vote against power producing windmills for various reasons. He rushed out a statement saying it was "very important that Vermonters support wind power generation stations to pave the way for more production of that same kind and legislation he was backing had to have the support of his home state. Many, many Vermonters responded to him in kind -- "Sorry Bernie, you have nothing to do with the state of Vermont. You just stay down there in Washington and help us with the Federal matters and we'll take care of ourselves, thank you very much." (Ouch! Burn!)
All of the preceding was to say that I called Senator Pat Leahy's office in Burlington yesterday (Senator Leahy is the only Senator Deadhead in Congress and big on civil liberties). I asked that if prosecution of Ed Snowden is forthcoming from the Feds for him to ask Obama to pardon Snowden. The young staffer said that, yes indeed, many people were messaging Leahy's office with the same sentiment. I got the very distinct impression that if I had said "We need to hang Snowden as a traitor and make an example of him the staffer would have replied in the same vein -- Yes indeed, many people were messaging the Senator with that same sentiment and he supported the immediate funding of building a gallows for that very purpose.
We live in a Republic, not a democracy. The Electoral College elects the president, though those 535 people are supposed to vote the public's will on the first ballot. All subsequent ballots are their prerogative. We put all our trust in these people to create legislation of the nature that the majority of us support. But when it comes to legislating funds for Federal programs like Prism or sweeping orders to tap all cell phones from the FISA Court, unless they sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee and are of the few select on that committee who receive regular briefings on the subject, they don't have a clue what is going or what they are voting for.
By now we know that that the Patriot Act passed in the aftermath of 9/11 was anything but patriotic. It was more like the Tyranny Act pre-written by some committee that meets every year at Davos to decide what amount of freedom the serfs really have. I was disappointed to learn that Senator Deadhead (Leahy of VT), who originally sponsored sunset amendments for that Act, last December voted in favor of renewing the Patriot Act (and all his amendments were shot down). Well, I said to the young staffer from Leahy's office, it seems like the Senator has considerably weakened on his stances in favor of civil liberties.
"Yes indeed!" he replied enthusiastically, forgetting momentarily which side of the argument I was on... Senator Deadhead's head is dead and the remaining appendages work with less and less grey matter every day. It's no wonder Jerry always said (paraphrasing) Politics is their bag man, not ours. Let them play their games.
But, uhh, Jer? The stakes in the game are getting a lot higher these days.
Is collecting digital information from EVERYBODY. I don't know about the mid and big-sized cities where you live, but in the ones near me everybody is walking around glued to their smart phones and not speaking to one another. For a rube like me from a rural area it feels like being a stranger in a strange land.
These poor people are giving up their social skills and ignoring beauty and miracles all around them and the government is gleefully shadowing and vacuuming up every digital crumb, including a map of where you've been all day and storing it in a mega-zeta-byte facility in Utah.
Turn off your smartphone unless you need the damn thing! You're giving up your freedom for it, not to mention losing your humanity for it. Ask yourself, how far away are you from becoming a cyborg (and I don't mean owing to health conditions)?
Most people are running from reality and a very few are seeking to merge with it. I'm starting to feel like Keenau Reeves in The Matrix.
...They don't want to know my sperm count? T_T
The Stickers on Edward Snowden’s Laptop
By JOHN SCHWARTZ
For online activists around the world, one thing stood out in a photograph published on Sunday by The Guardian: Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked information about the scope of United States government surveillance, adorned his laptop with stickers showing support for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Tor Project.
John Perry Barlow, a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, proudly drew attention on Twitter to the Guardian image of Mr. Snowden’s laptop.
(full story at above link)
The White House has a website that requires 25k signatures for them to consider an idea or project or law or whatever. 20k have already signed the petition to pardon NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden.
Meanwhile Snowden has left Hong Kong for parts unknown where is expected to release more sensitive information.
Right or wrong, good or bad, Ed Snowden has brass balls and he is my Alpha Dog of 2013 (declared with half the year yet to go!)
~ Run Rudolph, Run! ~
(Because if that pardon doesn't come, you'll be running the rest of your life Ed)
the DEA, who's droning this site for thc, lsd, duty-free mexican vanilla, dryer lint and various other sundries, is now going to contact the FBI who will then contact the CIA who will then counter-contact themselves, thereby secretly triggering a super secretive email to the NSA who will then secretively fire up their super secret Cray supercomputers to find out everything 'bout ya except your IQ and sperm count. Then they'll come knockin' and want to know all about.........prom!
Trouble Ahead, mahn!!!! Don't open the door!!
(Of course, at the speed that each of these agencies communicate, this chain of events should take around 5 yrs to come to fruition.....so be expecting some company around the summer of 2018. :))
As Jerry would have said: Too strange, man -- too strange!
This story is so surreal for me. Not because Ed Snowden is the Julian Assange of the NSA but because he went to prom with my wife. Like, a bajillion years ago.
It's a small world after all...!
The media is spinning the PRISM story (after Ed Snowden, PRISM whistle-blower, claims asylum in Hong Kong). PRISM is the program by which the intelligence agencies spy on foreign entities.
The spin is that everybody in America supports this so why even talk about it, other than build momentum to literally hang Snowden as a traitor. Even Feinstein wants his ass on a platter and she is the most liberal Democrat sitting on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The FISA Court is the entity to which these intelligence agencies must go to get permission to target. There is only a government appointed lawyer to represent the public's interest so it is basically a rubber stamp. This process was brought about by the Patriot Act, which was renewed last December.
I remember when the ACLU used to make noise about this kind of stuff and I believe there are more than 14 Americans who oppose an omnipotent intelligence apparatus that can learn anything about anybody at any time for any purpose. This system is rife for abuse.
The telling fact is that just a few US Senators know something about these programs and when the entire Senate is tomorrow being briefed on these programs they won't be able to comprehend because they are clueless.
And so are we. But a 29 year-old sub-contractor to the NSA isn't.