Archive for the ‘First Amendment’ Category

Sharyl Attkisson, for those who don’t know of her, is an old-school journalist.  She finds a story and she pursues it, and no amount of political rhetoric and denials will dissuade her if she has a story.

She pursued Fast and Furious, Solyndra, Benghazi, just to name a few – and all because there are stories there that a good reporter would want exposed.  And they’re also stories that the Obama administration does not want exposed, because despite most of the media acting as a propaganda arm of the Democrat party, ultimately some people will hear and listen when they hear the truth – especially in contrast with handwaving and absurd denials.

sharyl attkisson

Her computers were hacked by some shadowy most-likely-government entity a while back.  I remember it coming up last year and writing about it thenTwice last year, in fact.

Now she’s got a book out and she’s elaborating.  The people in her story are mostly written about under pseudonyms for their own safety.

She speculates that the motive was to lay the groundwork for possible charges against her or her sources.

Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”

That “laying the groundwork for possible charges” is because someone buried classified documents deep in her computer.

Next big moment: Attkisson gets her computer checked out by someone identified as “Number One,” who’s described as a “confidential source inside the government.” A climactic meeting takes place at a McDonald’s outlet at which Attkisson and “Number One” “look around” for possibly suspicious things. Finding nothing, they talk. “First just let me say again I’m shocked. Flabbergasted. All of us are. This is outrageous. Worse than anything Nixon ever did. I wouldn’t have believed something like this could happen in the United States of America.” That’s all coming from “Number One.”

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

Media meta-reporter Erik Wemple (who’s so impressively attuned to everything news about news that he even asked me a few questions once) wrote several pieces on Attkisson’s encounters with electronic surveillance.

The first discusses computer intrusions as “worse than anything Nixon ever did”, and introduces us to “Jeff”, “Number One” and “Jerry Patel”, all of which are pseudonyms for various computer experts.  And in the first and into the second, we’re introduced to Don Allison of KoreLogic, who also diagnosed Attkisson’s computer, and is not protected by a pseudonym, but is behind a nondisclosure agreement for the time being.

And then there’s Wemple’s third piece, which talks about the strange case of a “spare” wire.

…By November 2012, writes Attkisson, disruptions on her home phone line were so frequent as to render it unusable: “I call home from my mobile phone and it rings on my end, but not at the house. Or it rings at home once but when my husband or daughter answers, they just hear a dial tone. At the same time, on my end, it keeps ringing and then connects somewhere, just not at my house. Sometimes, when my call connects to that mystery-place-that’s-not-my-house, I hear an electronic sounding buzz,” reads one passage in “Stonewalled.” She also alleges that her television set “spontaneously jitters, mutes, and freeze-frames.” The home alarm, too, “sounds at a different time every night” and when she checks with the alarm system, it indicates that there’s “trouble with the phone line.”

Phone, TV and computer service chez Attkisson all run on Verizon’s FiOS service. “Jeff” asks to inspect the exterior of the house in a check for anything suspicious. He finds a “stray cable dangling from the FiOS box attached to the brick wall on the outside of my house. It doesn’t belong.” “Jeff” says the cable in question is an “extra” fiber-optic line that could be used to download data and then send it off to another spot.

Attkisson takes a picture of the cable. Then she calls Verizon, which tells her that it’s not something they would have installed; they refer her to law enforcement. Attkisson doesn’t feel its a matter for the cops, and in any case Verizon calls back to say that they want to have a look for themselves as soon as possible — on New Year’s Day, no less. “Yeah, that shouldn’t be there,” the Verizon technician tells Attkisson.

Attkisson is a sensible, common sense reporter who follows leads to write reports of real life events.  She is neither Kolchak nor Mulder.

At one point, Attkisson gets a visit from pseudonymous “Terry,” who has “connections to the three-letter agencies.” “Stonewalled” takes it from here:

Terry tells me of a conversation he’d had with my husband back in 2011. He’d noticed a white utility truck parked up the street by a pond. “I didn’t like that. I didn’t like it at all,” he tells me now, shaking his head. . . . “I didn’t like it because I recognized the type of truck and the type of antennae it had. And if you look” — he points up the street — “there’s a direct line of sight from where it was parked to your house.” My husband, who once worked in law enforcement intelligence, had on several occasions in the past couple of years mentioned the presence of nondescript utility trucks parked in our neighborhood — trucks that were working on no known utility projects. Neighbors noticed, too. Ours is a small community filled with people who pay attention to such things. Some of them worked for the three-letter agencies.”

That’s the kind of thing that would make other reporters at least a tad intimidated, if not a bit paranoid.  Of course, if she lives in a neighborhood full of cops and retired spooks, this might be the amateur hour Obama G-men trainees trying to stake out people whose lives are Tom Clancy novels.

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Jazz Shaw and Mary Katherine Ham have been following the story at HotAir as well, with their own opinions on the hacking and journalistic intimidation, as well as reminding us of James Rosen’s encounter with the Obama administration.

My feelings remain much the same as they did last time.

Maybe it’s as a result of too much X-Files, Shadowrun and Project Twilight in the 90s, but I find this government spying stuff is damn creepy.  From the NSA’s massive computer and phone data mining to electronically targeting reporters, it’s like 90s conspiracy-themed entertainment has become 2009-present reality.

I’m sure there’s a pop-culture scholarly way to compare Nowhere Man and The Net to current events, but it’s less fun than it is disturbing when you think about it for too long – even if Attkisson and her three-letter agency neighbors are precisely the kind of people who are adept at navigating that kind of world.

Lame Duck vs Duck Dynasty

Posted: December 20, 2013 by ShortTimer in Barack Obama, Culture, First Amendment, Media

bo vs pr duck

I think the most important thing about what Phil Robertson said is what he said at the end:

I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.

And what he didn’t say:

He asked for no new laws, he asked for nothing to be taken from one group and given to another, he asked for no force to be applied against people whose choices he disagreed with.  He didn’t ask that the DSM V be dialed back to the DSM II or something, he just voiced an unpopular belief to the media in a direct, folksy way.

Folks who are legimately of very solid faith are often the type who can hate the sin, but love the sinner, regardless of what it might be.  They pray for people they disagree with to see what they view as right, but they don’t try to force other people to live their way, either – forced piety would defeat the purpose and would mean someone doesn’t choose their path.  That older traditionalist mindset, but still respectful of the individual way of living per classic enlightenment views, is an attitude towards life that is part of the appeal of the show – for many it’s alien, for others it’s comforting.  From the few episodes I’ve seen, they are live and let live folks.

For the most part, I consider the entire ruffling of feathers over this to be something that should just be water off a duck’s back.  No one should care.  It neither breaks anyone’s leg nor picks their pocket.

It’d make a lot more sense for A&E to simply take advantage of the comments and ask the Duck Dynasty folks to interact with some normal gay people (not activists).  The discussion would probably be a lot more of a “teachable moment” or something anyway, or allow for an understanding of two different cultures – those mad at Duck Dynasty (who don’t watch it anyway), and those who have harsher views than Robertson’s upsetting but ultimately benign religious disagreement.

Objectively, one could also ask how many gay people are benefiting from the merchandising and financial success of the show through employment or investment in A&E or some other way – and how that prosperity is apathetic on sexual orientation.  A&E may be killing the goose that’s laying the golden egg here, since the Duck Dynasty family doesn’t need them, and without recognizing that all it would take is discussion if they wanted to counter Robertson’s opinions with their own – and it would make good TV.  They could go shooting with some folks from the Pink Pistols… and they’d probably all get along fine.

But instead A&E is choosing to can him, and gay activists are going apoplectic.  Just like didn’t happen with employers and gay activists when Alec Baldwin was actually using anti-gay slurs and threatening people with physical violence.

The contrast is even greater when you consider the difference in societal anger between what’s directed at Robertson and what’s directed at the lame duck, who is our employee and has lied about the murders of US citizens at home and abroad, including leaving our ambassador to Libya – who was gay – to die.  The lame duck is destroying our health care, is targeting us with revenue agents, and is spying on us.  We have an employee who is out to harm us and mass media make excuses for him and ignore actions and force; while they get angry at Robertson.

It’s a damn shame people are getting infuriated about a man’s opinion they disagree with, but who ultimately uses no force and advocates none, while they ignore a man targeting us all who uses force and advocates more.

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Update: At least one gay writer has questioned the stance of taking offense and demanding silence.

Why is our go-to political strategy for beating our opponents to silence them? Why do we dismiss, rather than engage them? One of the biggest pop-culture icons of today just took center stage to “educate” us about sexuality. I see this as an opportunity to further the discussion, to challenge his limited understanding of human desire, to engage with him and his rather sizable audience — most of whom, by the way, probably share his views — and to rise above the endless sea of tweet-hate to help move our LGBT conversations to where they need to go.

G.K. Chesterton said that bigotry is “an incapacity to conceive seriously the alternative to a proposition.” If he is right — and he usually is — then I wonder if the Duck Dynasty fiasco says more about our bigotry than Phil’s.

He does spend almost the entirety of the piece saying Robertson is wrong, wrong, wrong, and he can’t see that moral authority he claims is why the gay community’s go-to political strategy is to silence people.  Except for Alec Baldwin, of course.  And anyone else who’s on the political left and supports the correct causes.

The most important point he brings up might be this:

But I also think that if I were to spend a day calling ducks with Phil, I’d probably end up liking him — even in spite of his position on gay men.

You don’t have to agree with the guy on everything to get along.  And Robertson isn’t advocating any harm to anyone or government or other coercive force be used against them.

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And some gay dudes from the umpteenth spinoff of Storage Wars found a much less destructive, much more hilarious way to disagree:

An openly gay couple on A&E’s “Storage Wars: New York” is NOT offended by the homophobic comments made by fellow A&E’er and “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson — telling TMZ, they just feel bad for him … because man ass beats vagina any day of the week.

It’s crude, offensive to some folks in probably the same way Robertson’s were offensive to others, but it’s also funny.

Chris and Tad aren’t fazed, telling us, “You can’t go through life worrying what other people think. That’s their values and that’s what they think … as long as they’re not nasty to people … We’re not offended at all.”

Tolerance means you don’t have to agree, but if somebody isn’t harming you or advocating harm, it’s probably not that important, either.  You don’t have to send people to the Death Camp of Tolerance.

Remember how people said the demonstrations in Iran over the last couple years were the result of Twitter and social media?  Kinda important to remember that who controls social media makes a difference, too.

In the US, resistance to the state’s control of your health is being suppressed by social media.

Via Jawa Report, from Daily Caller:

Twitter has repeatedly suspended an account critical of the Affordable Care Act.

The account, @mycancellation, was just getting started when Twitter suspended it—twice—before reinstating the account late Saturday night.

The purpose of @mycancellation or mycancellation.com was to allow some of the millions of Americans who are losing their health insurance to post pictures of themselves with their cancellation letters. “Help us show Washington the faces who lost what they liked,” the account asked. “ObamaCare canceled your health insurance. Now, send us your letter,” the tagline for the website advertised.

Government doesn’t need to control Twitter.  All that’s required is for the people who control Twitter to be ideologically in line with the government and willing to act on their ideology.  They’re leftists, so the response is to crush dissent.

The Twitter account quickly gained steam and had over 1,000 followers before Twitter suspended it.

That may not seem like a lot, but it’s also a start.  Much like how the “We Are The 53%” got kicked off and became a counterpoint to the welfare state begging of last year, things that get kicked off and begin to go viral can make a difference in the national discussion.  Cutting off a voice (and a thousand voices with it) is just following the old leftist playbook of “Shut Up“.  And cutting off something before it goes viral is quite effective.

Shutting down a website is likened by IT specialists to tearing down a poster in the days before the internet.  They consider it to mean little.  But tearing down a poster for a small band may mean half their audience never sees that they’re in town, because there’s no word of mouth, as there’s no poster to say they’re in town.  It feeds on itself.  It can never spread if it can’t start.  Tear down the poster and put it back up later and a huge chunk of audience may simply assume the band’s never coming.  Again, the word doesn’t get out to the same extent.

Here, it’s something people run with and create on their own and contribute to.  Make it go away, and people simply can’t contribute to it to make it go viral.

The government doesn’t have to censor things in such a crude manner as they used to.  Those in leftist ideological lockstep voluntarily censor things for the government.

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It’s for your own good, of course.  You’re too stupid to know you shouldn’t disagree with your betters.  You’re going to be getting equal access to healthcare, so shut up about your problems because you’re the tight-fisted greedy capitalist pig that made it unequal.  You’ll be made equal by your betters and you’ll be made to shut up by your betters.

All Animals Are Equal

That’s equality to the left.

do-not-criticize-obama

Two days ago there was the report of a DC businessman whose home was raided, family terrorized, and who faces 2 years in prison for a dud shotgun shell and a brass casing.

Today, there’s this, from the Daily Caller:

A veteran Washington D.C. investigative journalist says the Department of Homeland Security confiscated a stack of her confidential files during a raid of her home in August — leading her to fear that a number of her sources inside the federal government have now been exposed.

In an interview with The Daily Caller, journalist Audrey Hudson revealed that the Department of Homeland Security and Maryland State Police were involved in a predawn raid of her Shady Side, Md. home on Aug. 6. Hudson is a former Washington Times reporter and current freelance reporter.

A search warrant obtained by TheDC indicates that the August raid allowed law enforcement to search for firearms inside her home.

A stone’s throw from DC, a twice Pulitzer-nominated reporter had her house raided by the police and DHS back in August, and now she’s revealed some of what they were looking for.

Her journalist files and notes related to confidential sources were seized as the police we looking for guns.  And why were they looking for guns?

The document notes that her husband, Paul Flanagan, was found guilty in 1986 to resisting arrest in Prince George’s County. The warrant called for police to search the residence they share and seize all weapons and ammunition because he is prohibited under the law from possessing firearms.

27 years ago her husband was guilty of resisting arrest.  What was he the actual crime he was arrested for more than a quarter century ago?  Story doesn’t say anything except resisting arrest.  So apparently he was arrested for resisting arrest.  Makes as much sense as anything.  His resisting arrest almost three decades ago, buying a non-functional potato gun from a Scandinavian, and being in pictures with guns on Facebook was apparently enough to warrant a 0-dark-30 night raid by armored law enforcement:

At about 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 6, Hudson said officers dressed in full body armor presented a search warrant to enter the home she shares on the bay with her husband. She estimates that at least seven officers took part in the raid.

Ms. Hudson had her guns taken by the police, of course:

During the raid, the officers also went after Hudson’s three pistols and three long guns, which she obtained legally.

She notes the guns were already known to the local PD due to a holiday happy fire noise complaint, and they didn’t care then.  Also, they belong to her, legally, yet apparently the state can simply seize her arms and her property, and her rights become revokable privileges because… uh… marriage?  Oh, no, wait, “it’s for the children!”

But the gun complaint looks secondary to the real purpose of the raid, to go after notes including names of whistleblowers who were critical of the Air Marshal service lying to congress about knowledge of terrorist and anti-terrorist activities and programs:

“In particular, the files included notes that were used to expose how the Federal Air Marshal Service had lied to Congress about the number of airline flights there were actually protecting against another terrorist attack,” Hudson wrote in a summary about the raid provided to TheDC.  …

She said she asked Bosch (ST: USCG/DHS investigator) why they took the files. He responded that they needed to run them by TSA to make sure it was “legitimate” for her to have them.

“‘Legitimate’ for me to have my own notes?” she said incredulously on Wednesday.

Asked how many sources she thinks may have been exposed, Hudson said: “A lot. More than one. There were a lot of names in those files.”

“This guy basically came in here and took my anonymous sources and turned them over — took my whistleblowers — and turned it over to the agency they were blowing the whistle on,” Hudson said. “And these guys still work there.”

The Most Transparent Administration Ever going after whistleblowersTargeting reporters who might embarrass the administration?  Naaaaw…

Hudson has been a reporter in Washington, D.C. for nearly 15 years and was nominated twice by The Washington Times for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a freelancer for Newsmax and the Colorado Observer.  …

Unlike some other reporters whose sources have been targeted in recent years by the government, Hudson said none of the information she had was classified or given to her by someone who broke the law.

“None of the documents were classified,” she said. “There were no laws broken in me obtaining these files.”

She notes that a lot of the files were “For Official Use Only” or “Law Enforcement Sensitive”.  Neither of these is a legal classification, just policy classifications for individual agencies.  Ms. Hudson says that she obtained the files through Freedom of Information Act requests.  Ultimately her possession of a FOUO or LE sensitive document is not illegal for her – the normal actions that can be taken with regards to those kind of documents are internal and administrative – an agency going after its own personnel for violating policies.  The only enforcement that could probably be used would be if there were some greater criminal conspiracy, which doesn’t seem to be the case – because if it were, they’d go after her for the documents and list her as an unindicted co-conspirator or some such, rather than simply ransack her house “looking for guns” as a pretext to grabbing files.

But it is rather telling to see journalist’s First Amendment rights abused through accepted abuse of Second Amendment rights.

Too bad she didn’t understand that rights are only for those who fully support the Obama administration and all of its decisions unquestioningly.

david gregory real reporter 2-

Fortunately, we here at The Patriot Perspective have no such worries.  I have prepared us for any such run-ins with the authorities by becoming good friends with a paginator from the State Investigating Committee.

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Update: Looks like the Daily Caller story just hit Drudge with this headline:

SWAT team raids investigative journalist’s home, seizes confidential files…

He didn’t include that the cited reason for the search was “guns are bad, m’kay”, but anyone reading it will see it at the third sentence in the story, after all.

Update 2: Ed over at HotAir agrees it looks like something is rotten in the state of Maryland.

Does the Maryland State Police usually troll Facebook to find illegal possession of firearms? Or is it more likely that DHS instigated this as a way to go after a longtime critic and reporter of the agency?  This certainly doesn’t look like a coincidence, and perhaps Congress might want to look into what looks like a gross abuse of power to silence reporters and punish whistleblowers.

Via FOX:

The Los Angeles Times is giving the cold shoulder to global warming skeptics.

Paul Thornton, editor of the paper’s letters section, recently wrote a letter of his own, stating flatly that he won’t publish some letters from those skeptical of man’s role in our planet’s warming climate. In Thornton’s eyes, those people are often wrong — and he doesn’t print obviously wrong statements.

“Simply put, I do my best to keep errors of fact off the letters page; when one does run, a correction is published,” Thornton wrote. “Saying ‘there’s no sign humans have caused climate change’ is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.”

They’ve shown Andrew Klavan’s dissection of leftist debate to be correct again:

Anthropogenic global warming advocates and watermelon environmentalists pushing their own agenda lieIt happens over and over, and those who oppose “the consensus” are mocked and compared to holocaust deniers?

Manbearpig proven to be fake again and again?

MoS2 Template Master

The solution?  Muzzle dissent!  Block out all observations that are contrary!  It’s what science demands!  Observation that disproves the theory are heretical lies that go against science!  Death to the unbelieversDeath to those who question Manbearpig!

What amounts to a ban on discourse about climate change stirred outrage among scientists who have written exactly that sort of letter.

“In a word, the LA Times should be ashamed of itself,” William Happer, a physics professor at Princeton, told FoxNews.com.

“There was an effective embargo on alternative opinions, so making it official really does not change things,” said Jan Breslow, head of the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at The Rockefeller University in New York.

“The free press in the U.S. is trying to move the likelihood of presenting evidence on this issue from very low to impossible,” J. Scott Armstrong, co-founder of the Journal of Forecasting and a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told FoxNews.com.

In short: shut up.

The Greatest License Plate You’ll See This Week

Posted: October 17, 2013 by ShortTimer in First Amendment, Liberty
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From Legal Insurrection:

dont tread on me nsa plates