In the USA..United Surveillance AmericaPortrait of the NSA: No detail too small to watch
By Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian
Saturday, November 2, 2013 17:33 EST
Barack Obama hailed United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-moon as a “good friend” after the two had sat down in the White House in April to discuss the issues of the day: Syria and alleged chemical weapons attacks, North Korea, Israel-Palestine, and climate change.
But long before Ban’s limousine had even passed through the White House gates for the meeting, the US government knew what the secretary general was going to talk about, courtesy of the world’s biggest eavesdropping organization, the National Security Agency.
One NSA document – leaked to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden just a month after the meeting and reported in partnership with the New York Times – boasts how the spy agency had gained “access to UN secretary general talking points prior to meeting with Potus” (president of the United States). The White House declined to comment on whether Obama had read the talking points in advance of the meeting.
Spying on Ban and others at the UN is in contravention of international law, and the US, forced on the defensive this week over the Snowden leaks about worldwide snooping, ordered an end to surveillance of the organization, according to Reuters.
That the US spied on Ban is no great surprise. What is a revealing is that the disclosure is listed in the NSA’s ‘top-secret’ weekly report from around the world as an “operational highlight”.
It sits incongruously alongside other “operational highlights” from that week: details of an alleged Iranian chemical weapons program; communications relating to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria and a report about the Mexican drug cartel, Los Zetas.
Bracketing the benign, US-friendly Ban alongside drug traffickers and weapons in the Middle East and Central Asia points to a spy agency that has lost its sense of proportion.
The incident is consistent with the portrait of the NSA that emerges from the tens of thousands of documents leaked by Snowden. Page after page shows the NSA engaged in the kind of intelligence-gathering it would be expected to carry out: eavesdropping on Taliban insurgents planning attacks in remote Afghanistan valleys, or listening in on hostage-takers in Colombia.
But the documents reveal, too, the darker side of the NSA. It is indiscriminate in the information it is collecting. Nothing appears to be too small for the NSA. Nothing too trivial. Rivals, enemies, allies and friends – US citizens and ‘non-Americans’ – are all scooped up.
The documents show the NSA, intent on exploiting the communications revolution to the full, developing ever more intrusive programs in pursuit of its ambition to have surveillance cover of the whole planet: total command of what the NSA refers to as the ‘digital battlefield’.
‘Graying and shrinking’
When the NSA was founded in 1952, its task was primarily to target the Soviet Union.
And so it did, decade after decade, until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the cold war soon afterwards.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the NSA entered a decade of uncertainty. Morale slumped. The mood is caught in a document dated February 2001, only a few months before 9/11. In it, the agency admitted its capacity for intercepting electronic communications had been eroded during the 90s.
“NSA’s workforce has been graying and shrinking. The operational tools have become antiquated and unable to handle the emerging signal structure,” it says.
“Ten years ago we had a highly skilled workforce with intimate knowledge of the target and the tools to analyse the data.
“We have now reached the point of having a workforce where the majority of analysts have little-to-no experience.”
Tellingly, in the light of the attacks on New York and Washington six months later, the document complained about a lack of linguists and analysts covering Afghanistan. The same pool of experts covering Afghanistan as a whole were the same that “assist NSA’s Office of Counter-terrorism in following the Taliban-Osama bin Laden relationship”, it said.
‘Sanitize personal effects’
The attacks on New York and Washington ended the NSA’s decade of torpor. Suddenly, it found funding, and staff recruitment was no longer a problem. Since 9/11, expansion has been rapid. The NSA was one of the main beneficiaries of the doubling of the intelligence budget since 9/11.
Its proposed budget allocation for 2013 is $10.8 billion, with 35,000 staff and bases in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii and Utah adding to its headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland. Its antennae can be found on the rooftops of 80 American embassies around the world.
It has large posts in the UK, Australia and Japan, but also operates elsewhere, sometimes covertly. In one country, Americans are secretly present at a base where exposure of their presence would provoke a major diplomatic incident, as it is in breach of an international treaty signed by the NSA’s host nation. Agency staff visiting the base have to hide their real identities, posing as contractors working on communications equipment and carrying fake business cards to back up their story.
A PowerPoint briefing warns staff heading to this secret base: “Know your cover legend”. It urges them to “sanitize personal effects” and to send no postcards home. Nor should they take souvenirs home with them. The NSA briefing makes an exception for jewelry, because “most jewelry does not have markings identifying it” as coming from that country.
The NSA refers to the people it serves as “external customers”: the White House, the State Department, the CIA, the US mission to the UN, the Defense Intelligence Agency and others.
Its remit for those customers has become ever more complex. During the cold war, the NSA mainly targeted state institutions: the political, military and intelligence structures of Russia and Eastern Europe. Today, the main targets – al-Qaida and its related groups – are much more diffuse and elusive.
The NSA sets out its mission statement in its current five-year plan. In it, the agency insists Sigint (signals intelligence, or the interception of communications) will adhere to the highest standards. “Sigint professionals must hold the moral high ground, even as terrorists or dictators seek to exploit our freedoms. Some of our adversaries will say or do anything to advance their cause; we will not.”
Summing up the reason for its existence, it says: “Our mission is to answer questions about threatening activities that others mean to keep hidden.”
But its actual scope goes well beyond that. It is hard to see where surveilling Ban Ki-moon or German chancellor Angela Merkel fits into answering questions about “threatening activities”.
At a press conference in August, Obama defended the NSA and defined its role in narrow terms. He described the agency’s remit purely as counter-terrorism. “We do not have an interest in doing anything other than that,” he said.
The remark was striking. Counter-terrorism has been the justification for huge budget increases, but the agency is involved in much more than that. The NSA discloses in one leaked document that only 35% of available resources are dedicated to the ‘global war on terrorism’.
Obama later amended his statement. The NSA was not only engaged in counter-terrorism, he said, but also cyber-security and combating weapons of mass destruction. Even this does not begin to capture the sheer variety and reach of NSA operations.
Its own list of strategic targets includes: support for US military in the field; gathering information about military technology; anticipating state instability; monitoring regional tensions; countering drug trafficking; gathering economic, political and diplomatic information; ensuring a steady and reliable energy supply for the US; and ensuring US economic advantage. It boasts it can collect information from “virtually every country”.
Hundreds of the documents show the NSA engaged in activities that would generally be applauded. One credits the NSA’s Texas base as intercepting 478 emails that helped to foil the Jihad Jane plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks over his depiction of the prophet Muhammad.
Another shows the NSA, during a deadly takeover of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul by the insurgent Haqqani group, able to listen in, minute-by-minute, to what the gunmen were saying.
There is an account, too, of the NSA’s part in disrupting a human trafficking racket based in Fuzhou, China. It led to two arrests at New York’s JFK airport. One of those lifted allegedly carried details of the smuggling routes in his pocket.
Remote surroundings might fool some into thinking they are beyond snooping. An alleged cocaine smuggler might have thought he was relatively safe aboard a yacht in the Caribbean. But he failed to take account of the fact that his partner, also on board, was chatting on Facebook, providing valuable information about the boat’s location and planned landfall; information intercepted by one of the NSA’s intelligence partners.
Nor is the Iranian leadership beyond reach. In 2009, the NSA was was able to track almost every move made by Iran’s supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on a rare visit outside Tehran to the mountainous Kordestan province.
The most valuable service the NSA has provided for America and its allies since 9/11 is in support of the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. A 2007 NSA file, called ‘State of the Enterprise’, is typical of many of the spy agency’s documents which list wartime successes.
“Specific results included the identification and location of a sniper targeting personnel inside the Baghdad Green Zone; the confirmation that a CIA asset was operating as a potential ‘bad actor’.”
Other intelligence agencies such as the CIA complain privately about the degree of co-operation from the NSA in sharing intelligence, but in the end, like most other intelligence agencies, it is generally thankful for it. There are complaints, too, from soldiers in the field that live information is not always transferred to them fast enough, but they, too, express gratitude for snippets passed on about potential Taliban attacks.
The NSA, according to one document, overheard a Taliban figure, Mullah Rahimullah Akhund, known on the US military’s kill-or-capture list by the codename Objective Squiz Incinerator, instructing an associate to buy and organize components for a roadside bomb, suicide vests and a Japanese motorbike.
The appreciation of Americans and their allies in Afghanistan for such information is summed up in this letter back to headquarters: “You guys/gals probably have no idea how much we rely on your tool for enabling our CT (counter-terrorism) capture operations in Afghanistan. It really does help us get our enemies off the playing field, so to speak.”
When the NSA, the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community spied illegally on American anti-war protesters, civil rights leaders and trade unionists in the 1970s, there was at least a technical limitation of their actions. The difference today is that technological revolution allows them to spy on almost everyone.
The expansion in surveillance that accelerated under George W Bush has continued under Barack Obama. And this growth has not been matched by any corresponding reform of the legal framework or political oversight.
While there are frequent warnings in the documents reminding NSA staff of rules for protecting the privacy of Americans, other documents show repeated violations. Such violations are almost inevitable given the way the NSA collects so much, the technology and analysts unable to distinguish between data on foreigners and American citizens.
The NSA says in public it only collects a tiny percentage of internet traffic, smaller than “a dime on a basketball court”. But there is a gulf between what the NSA says in public and what it says in documents, in which technicians and analysts express their glee at finding novel ways of cracking into electronic communications and expanding their reach in ever more imaginative ways.
The question critics of the NSA raise is: just because it has the technical ability to do these things, should it?
One document shows the NSA engaged in a massive snooping operation targeting a United Nations climate change conference in Bali in 2007.
Ban, speaking at the conference, which attracted thousands from around the world, described combating climate change as “the moral challenge of our generation”.
However, the NSA’s Australian base at Pine Gap was less interested in combating climate change than collecting the numbers of Indonesian security officials in case of a future emergency.
“Highlights include the compromise of the mobile phone number” for one senior Balinese official, an NSA report boasted. “Site efforts revealed previously unknown Indonesian communications networks and postured us to increase collection in the event of a crisis.”
This effort-filled collection of the cell phone number falls under the category of information that spies have always gathered. The rationale is: should there be an attack at the conference or some future outrage, such numbers could be valuable. The counter-argument is that Indonesia is a friend of the US and might be expected to share information in the event of an attack, so why does the NSA devote grand resources to harvesting such numbers?
One of the biggest criticisms of bulk data collection is that the agency cannot look at, let alone analyse, all the data it is collecting. One document echoed the problems the agency faced in 2001 when it lamented the lack of linguists pre-9/11. An officer, after checking some messages that might have been from a terrorist group, admitted: “Most of it is in Arabic or Farsi, so I can’t make much of it.”
The NSA operates in close co-operation with four other English-speaking countries – the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – sharing raw intelligence, funding, technical systems and personnel. Their top level collective is known as the ’5-Eyes’.
Beyond that, the NSA has other coalitions, although intelligence-sharing is more restricted for the additional partners: the 9-Eyes, which adds Denmark, France, the Netherlands and Norway; the 14-Eyes, including Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Sweden; and 41-Eyes, adding in others in the allied coalition in Afghanistan.
The exclusivity of the various coalitions grates with some, such as Germany, which is using the present controversy to seek an upgrade. Germany has long protested at its exclusion, not just from the elite 5-Eyes but even from 9-Eyes. Minutes from the UK intelligence agency GCHQ note: “The NSA’s relationship with the French was not as advanced as GCHQ’s … the Germans were a little grumpy at not being invited to join the 9-Eyes group”.
Significantly, amid the German protestations of outrage over US eavesdropping on Merkel and other Germans, Berlin is using the controversy as leverage for an upgrade to 5-Eyes.
The NSA’s closest ties are with the GCHQ. Documents suggest the British contribution is significant. In a random selection of NSA documents monitoring weekly reports, the British agency is frequently listed alongside the US agency’s biggest regional bases such as Texas and Georgia.
GCHQ operates a vast internet tapping operation based on partnerships between the UK government and telecoms companies based in the UK and overseas. This allows the NSA to “touch” about 90% of the traffic crossing the UK.
Given the UK’s location, this is a huge proportion of the internet: the UK hosts one of the major transatlantic internet cables, as well as numerous cables connecting Europe and the Middle East. Each day, a quarter of all internet traffic traverses the UK.
The information collected and stored by the program, codenamed Tempora, is stored by GCHQ for up to a month, with NSA analysts granted direct access to the intelligence.
The NSA – in theory at least – operates inside a legal framework that requires warrants to target Americans. But the Fisa court turns down few such requests. GCHQ operates in an even looser environment. One GCHQ document, referring to UK oversight, says: So far they have always found in our favour.”
A GCHQ legal briefing suggests some of the distinctions stressed in policy documents and public statements by staff of both agencies may not be so rigorously enforced in practice. A lengthy legal training slideshow includes several slides explaining the often-complex differences between content and metadata, which requires substantially different handling, especially under US law.
However, the notes for the presentation say: “GCHQ policy is to treat it pretty much all the same, whether it’s content or metadata.”
The blurred boundaries are acknowledged, too, in NSA documents, one of which states: “It is often unclear whether individual communication elements, particularly content-related metadata (CRI) – information derived from the message body – is content or metadata? For example, are email subject lines metadata or content? What about an email’s signature block or telephone numbers within a message? Questions like these are not necessarily clear-cut.”
Gaining access to the huge classified data banks appears to be relatively easy. Legal training sessions – which may also be required for access to information from Australian, Canadian, or New Zealand agencies – suggest that gaining credentials for data is relatively easy. The sessions are often done as self-learning and self-assessment, with “multiple choice, open-book” tests done at the agent’s own desk on its “iLearn” system. Agents then copy and paste their passing result in order to gain access to the huge databases of communications.
The NSA, once the most secretive of the 16 US intelligence agencies but now embarrassingly penetrated as a result of Snowden, is facing more scrutiny that at any time since its founding, even more than during the domestic spying scandals of the 1970s.
It is being challenged in Congress. It is being challenged in the courts by an unholy alliance of the liberal American Civil Liberties Union and the right-leaning National Rifle Association. It is coming under pressure from the internet companies to be more transparent. And there is review panel announced by Obama in August. There is also pressure from Germany and France, Mexico and Brazil.
In spite of the furore, reforms may prove modest. The agency is hardly likely to easily relinquish its new-found capability of snooping almost everywhere.
In one of the leaked ‘State of the Enterprise’ documents from 2007, an NSA staff member says: “The constant change in the world provides fertile ground for discovering new targets, technologies and networks that enable production of Sigint.”
The official happily embraces this: “It’s becoming a cliché that a permanent state of change is the new standard. It is the world we live in – navigating through continuous whitewater.”
It’s an environment in which the NSA thrives, the official says. And adds: “Lucky for us.”
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
November 01, 2013 07:52 PMOops, CBS '60 Minutes' Benghazi Source Is A Liar
By Diane Sweet
CBS "60 Minutes" with Lara Logan.
UPDATE: From the comments, witsended notes a report in The Telegraph on October 14th of last year:
"Blue Mountain, the Camarthen firm that won a $387,000 (£241,000) one year contract from the US State Department to protect the compound in May, sent just one British employee, recruited from the celebrity bodyguard circuit, to oversee the work."
"Darryl Davies, the manager of the Benghazi contract for Blue Mountain, flew out of the city hours before the attack was launched. The Daily Telegraph has learned that relations between the firm and its Libyan partner had broken down, leading to the withdrawal of Mr Davies."
Then there's this:
" US congressional investigators have told the Daily Telegraph that consular staff had reported Blue Mountain guards to the Libyan police on one occasion last year. The diplomats believed that two disgruntled Blue Mountain employees were behind a minor pipe bomb attack on the facility.
However after questioning no action was taken by the police or company over the incident."
A pipe bomb attack on the consulate committed by the "security contractors," members of congress were aware of this, and yet Blue Mountain was left to continue to "guard" the diplomats. WTF?
And more confirmation that "Darryl Davies" was no where near the Benghazi consulate.
That belated "60 Minutes" hit job on the Benghazi tragedy -- highly touted by Fox News, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and others on the right -- is now under attack over serious credibility issues.
Graham used the “60 Minutes” report to justify calling Monday for additional hearings into Benghazi and threatened to block a vote on President Obama's nominees until lawmakers had heard from all the surviving witnesses to the attack.
The Washington Post’s Karen DeYoung strongly calls into question the star witness promoted by Lara Logan, who just happens to have a book to sell, has asked for money for his account, and told a completely different tale in his official report on the night of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
The man CBS called Morgan Jones, a pseudonym, described his heroic efforts to save the besieged Americans at the Benghazi compound while the attack was underway, scaling a 12-foot wall and taking down a terrorist with the butt end of a rifle.
So brave. So full of shit.
"But in a written account that Jones, whose real name was confirmed as Dylan Davies by several officials who worked with him in Benghazi, provided to his employer three days after the attack, he told a different story of his experiences that night.
In Davies’s 21 / 2-page incident report to Blue Mountain, the Britain-based contractor hired by the State Department to handle perimeter security at the compound, he wrote that he spent most of that night at his Benghazi beach-side villa. Although he attempted to get to the compound, he wrote in the report, “we could not get anywhere near . . . as roadblocks had been set up.”
He learned of Stevens’ death, Davies wrote, when a Libyan colleague who had been at the hospital came to the villa to show him a cellphone picture of the ambassador’s blackened corpse. Davies wrote that he visited the still-smoking compound the next day to view and photograph the destruction.
The State Department and GOP congressional aides confirmed that Davies’s Sept. 14, 2012, report, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post, was included among tens of thousands of documents turned over to lawmakers by the State Department this year."
After the program aired, Fox News' correspondent Adam Housley revealed that he had spoke with Jones on the phone a number of times, but the conversations ended when "he asked for money."
Jones' new book written about the attacks, "The Embassy House," was released this week by a publisher with ties to CBS, a disclosure not included in the "60 Minutes" segment.
Damien Lewis, who co-authored Jones' book, was unaware of the incident report submitted to Blue Mountain but offered one possible explanation to the Washington Post:
“All I can presume, and again I’m speculating, is that his boss told him to stay in the villa and not go anywhere. So he would have penned a report and said he had done what was ordered."
When asked if Senator Graham's hold on all White House nominees was still in effect in light of the criticisms of Jones's account, Graham's spokesman said "no change."
CBS spokesman for "60 Minutes" Kevin Tedesco said, “We stand firmly by the story we broadcast last Sunday.”
Media Matters chairman David Brock is calling on CBS to retract its story. In his letter to CBS executives, Brock writes that the story should be "immediately retracted and an independent investigative committee needs to probe all aspects of how the story was reported."
You can read Brock's full letter to CBS here. http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/11/01/david-brock-calls-on-cbs-to-retract-faulty-beng/196716
Click to watch this intentional propaganda by the corrupt corporate news in the USA:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LATmPawQR4
*************Bill Moyers: Republicans stalked Obamacare ‘like Jack The Ripper’
By Arturo Garcia
Friday, November 1, 2013 18:45 EST
The criticism surrounding the Affordable Care Act did not come out of nowhere, Bill Moyers argued in a commentary on Friday, nor is it without historical precedent.
“This happened back in the thirties, after Congress passed Social Security, but failed to sufficiently fund the board that was supposed to run it,” Moyers said on Moyers & Company on Friday. “Republican opponents of ObamaCare have gone further. After it passed they stalked it like Jack The Ripper. In the states, through the courts, all the way to the Supreme Court, which, uh-oh, ruled it constitutional. In last year’s election, when they lost again. But quit? Never. For Republicans, this has become their Alamo.”
And it was House Republicans, Moyers said, who refused to provide enough funding to maximize the efficiency of the law’s implementation, giving them the opportunity to complain about its performance since.
But he also criticized President Barack Obama for backing away from the single-payer option he endorsed as a candidate under a filibuster threat from Senate Democrats, specifically Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).
“Rube Goldberg would have been a very happy man,” Moyers observed His principle — ‘Why do something simple when it can always be made harder?’ — carried the day. And by the time it became law the Affordable Care Act was a monstrosity of complexity.”
***************U.S. food banks struggle to meet new demand caused by food stamp cuts
By David Ferguson
Saturday, November 2, 2013 13:50 EST
Across the country, food banks that were already struggling to feed the millions of U.S. citizens who need nutritional assistance are now bracing for a surge in demand for help as deep cuts in the food stamp program take effect. According to NBC News, one in seven Americans will be affected as Congress allowed $5 billion in funding to be stripped from food assistance programs by declining to renew emergency programs started by President Barack Obama in 2009. The reductions kicked in on Friday, Nov. 1.
USA Today reported that 37 million Americans were reliant on food banks to meet their nutritional needs in 2010, up from 25 million in 2006. The numbers have only grown through the recession brought on the deregulation of the financial markets and cuts to social programs.
In 2009, President Obama added stimulus funding to the budget for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Republicans in the House have stymied the effort to get that funding renewed.
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, spokesperson for the nonprofit Feeding America, an umbrella group that coordinates more than 200 food banks nationwide, told USA Today, “This is taking food off the plate and out of the mouths of our most vulnerable friends and neighbors.”
Children, seniors, disabled veterans and other groups will be hardest hit because of their reliance on the SNAP program to feed themselves and their families. It is a double-edged sword, she said, that the holidays are approaching.
Food banks received more than half their donations for the year during the holidays, she said. However, the holidays are also when most people apply for help.
“Our members are panicking,” said Food Bank of New York City director Margaret Purvis to NBC. “We’re telling everyone to make sure that you are prepared for longer lines.”
“This isn’t just a New York issue,” Purvis said. “In the world of hunger relief, food stamps are supposed to be the first line of defense.”
******************Right-Wing Madness Stalks Government Officials at LAX
By: Tim From LA
Saturday, November, 2nd, 2013, 4:03 pm
On the very first day of November, a right winged anti-government man walked into the Los Angeles’ LAX Airport Terminal 3 with an assault rifle, shot up and killed a TSA agent and injured as many as five around 9:20 a.m. according to KPFK 90.7 F.M. Pacifica reporter. The shooter walked around with his rifle in his bag, asked people if they were TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents.
NBC news stated that the shooter, Paul Anthony Ciancia of Los Angeles formerly from New Jersey, had a ‘new world order’ conspiracy theory tract. According to anti-government conspiracy theorists, the New World Order is a code word by George Bush Sr. to take over the world, create a one-world government controlled by Rockefeller, Rothschild and the Queen of England, reduce the population to 500,000 and to enslave the people.
This is the mental illness Ciancia is suffering. So where did this all come from? Alex Jones. According to Jones’ radio show, the Alex Jones Show, this is evidence that a liberal plot to control the population is at foot. Abortion and eugenics is done by Planned Parenthood. Jones states, “Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, who during her lifetime extolled ‘The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda,” and its effectiveness at “improving the quality of the race.’”
Following the footsteps of Jones, Ciancia walked into terminal 3, specifically looked for TSA agents and had a gun battle, fighting the New World Order’s puppets. Currently, the TSA agents are unarmed, under-paid and lack the training needed to do what they are doing. Yet according to Ciancia’s madness, these are the people who are taking away our freedom in order to prepare us to go up against Rockefeller, Rothschild and the Queen of England.
And Republicans are against the Affordable Care Act?
Yet even more sickening are the right wingers who comment from the conservative rag the Washington Times:
It’s “interesting” to see that this isolated incident which unfortunately resulted in one death is being given news media attention on almost the same scale as the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack which inspired the creation of the TSA. Clearly, the news media wants to do its part in distorting public perception. Kudos to the shooter’s father who attempted to alert police of his son’s potentially dangerous state of mind. But this case only shows that a few threatening individuals will evade attempts to stop them, leaving only disarmed-by-law Americans to “lie as flat on the ground as we can.”
The scandal here is that, in an airport filled with people, everyone was forced into a state of helplessness and had to rely (as always) on late-arriving law enforcement to save them. America has been turned into an insane asylum and the anti-gun crazies are running the asylum. It’s time to put a stop to anti-gun crazies – which is the real message of this incident.
It takes only one sheepdog to guard a flock of sheep. But in many places, sheepdogs are not allowed so the human sheep must die without human dignity or rights. Once again, the Democrats have helped a killer carry out his insane plan. Lets thank them all at election time.
What avatar got incorrect was that the TSA was started in 2001 when the Bush Administration created the obtrusive government organization with Michael Chertoff, former Homeland Security head. It helped Rapiscan, the X-Ray machine company get the contract, now defunct, at our airports.
Avatar blames the Democratic party for the shooting, but never admits that it was the Republicans who profited off of fear after 19 hijackers commandeered four jets on 9/11 killing more than 3,000 people.
So fear still grips the minds and hearts of the right wingers and when their gun-toting lifestyle is damaged by a fellow conspiracy theorist conservative, their lives are in shamble, their cognitive dissonance is in full gear and the Democratic Party is in full blame. Ironically, if the TSA is shut down and Homeland Security is history, every Republican will blame President Obama and the Democratic Party of being supportive of the terrorists.
****************Bad Apple Ted Cruz Didn’t Fall Far From His Father’s Equally Rotten Tree
Saturday, November, 2nd, 2013, 4:20 pm
Most Americans have heard the adage “you’re known by the company you keep” regarding an individual’s friends and associates, or the parent-child reference that “the apple didn’t fall far from the tree” alluding to a child as a mirror of their parent. If Americans wondered what drove the man who, with Heritage Foundation president and teabag leader Jim DeMint, masterminded the $24 billion government shutdown and credit default crisis, all they need to know is that Ted Cruz did not fall far from his father’s evangelical tree.
Cruz’s Cuban-born immigrant and rabid Dominionist father illuminates the ideology that drives his son’s lunacy and steadfast will to transform America. Teddy-boy regularly deploys his dad as surrogate to speak on his behalf and dutifully espouse Ted’s political stance to teabaggers, evangelical activists, and extremist conservatives. The elder Cruz tells his son’s devotees that “the wicked are ruling the United States, “death panels are in ObamaCare,” government will “take all your money and confiscate our fortunes,” “Social justice is a cancer,” and that “Democrats promote everything contrary to the word of God.” Preacher Cruz also claimed America is a Christian nation and the Declaration of Independence and Constitution “were divine revelations from God,” and that “America was formed to honor the word of God.” A few months earlier, Rafael Cruz told teabaggers that President Obama is an “outright Marxist seeking to destroy all concept of God” and urged them to send him “back to Kenya.”
Although the main-stream media kept it from the public, it turns out that Ted Cruz, like his father, is driven by religion and likely believes Christian true believers like him were “anointed by God to take dominion of every area of society, education, government, and economics.” An ally of elder Cruz predicted that because god got Canadian-Ted elected, “God will begin to rule and reign. Not Washington, God’s people and his kingdom will begin to rule and reign. I know that’s why God got Rafael’s son elected.” It should not be a surprise, then, that when Cruz directed the Republican Party to shut down the government and threaten an economic catastrophe; he said it was because it was god’s will.
Claiming to know god’s will is an affliction most evangelical fanatics suffer, and claiming to know god’s will is all well and good in private, but when it drives the leader of the Republican Party and the movement intent on Christian domination it presents a clear danger to all Americans. Cruz’s remarks that his supplication to god were answered with a government shutdown order were not meant to pander to the religious right for electoral support, and when he said he sees “a particular susceptibility for candidates to be like Pharisees who wear their faith on their sleeve as convenient political garb,” he is not referring to himself. In fact he said “It is far better to let actions speak louder than words” and by all indications Cruz’s actions are likely founded in evangelical fundamentalism and Dominionism as much as they are “conservative purity.”
Dominionists are more likely than not to work behind the scenes and infiltrate every aspect of American society including government so they can transform America into a nation ruled over by conservative Christians and their understanding of biblical law. It is theocracy and theonomy that advocates the bible’s Mosaic Law as the basis of America’s government. In fact, last Friday a group of conservative Christian activists compared Ted Cruz to Jesus Christ that elicited a chorus of “amens” from the Iowa Republicans gathered to cheer on their new messiah. One conservative Christian activist, Steve Scheffler, thanked god for Cruz because he engineered the 16-day government shutdown and prayed for more conservatives like Cruz who were willing to “be crucified for their belief system.” It is likely the fundamentalists also thanked god for directing Ted to shut down the government and answering his prayers; even if it was a short-lived shut down.
Ted Cruz is not his father, but understanding Rafael (dad) is to understand Ted, his ideology, desires, and long-term goals for America as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. It is no coincidence that like Ted, Rafael Cruz goes around the country telling supporters that “We’ve had enough compromise…enough of Establishment Republicans that don’t stand for anything,” and that it is crucial to their American transformation to “elect constitutional conservatives to retake the Senate.” It is important to remember that constitutional conservative is code for fundamentalists who believe that god gave the Founding Fathers the Constitution to “form this nation to honor the word of God.”
Skeptics may conclude that Ted Cruz has not deemed himself the “anointed messiah” to lead Dominionist to take control of America, but he has not denied or made any effort to tone down his father’s assertions. In fact, he has no problem sending his father to speak in his stead and claim the United States is a Christian nation, Obamacare is death panels, social justice is a cancer, President Obama hates god, or that the “wicked” are in charge in Washington that all perfectly inform Ted’s extreme conservatism and Christian fundamentalism that make him the archetype of evangelical teabaggers.
Americans are already suffering from the inordinate influence evangelical extremists wield over the government at the state and federal level. There is, unfortunately, a large movement afoot injecting Christianity into every aspect of society and the last thing this country needs is the leader of one of the major political parties gaining any more power than he already has. It was bad enough that Cruz successfully shut down the government, cost the people $24 billion and over half-a-point growth in GDP, but the fact that he prayed for, and believes he won, god’s will to achieve his goal is something that should make American people recoil in outrage. Unfortunately, with a media beholden to protect conservative Christians at all cost, the people will only learn of Cruz and his appeal to god’s will after Dominionists control the government, replace the Constitution with the bible, and declare with certainty that America is indeed a Christian nation; something the Founding Fathers denied at the nation’s founding.