Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

“I feel I have an obligation to do everything I can to keep this country safe. So put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

That’s how Sen. Dianne Feinstein explained her view, which is winning her buckets of liberal criticism, as a defender of the NSA program.

Edward Snowden’s leaks? “An act of treason.”

She is 80 years old, and she is not pulling her punches.

Right on.

This is what politics should be about. She is not doing what most of her friends want her to do. She isn’t even playing around with some kind of middle ground — some yes, I’m for security, and yes, I’m for privacy, and of course there doesn’t have to be a tradeoff between the two.

Actually, there does.

I can’t really say I agree with Feinstein. How could I? She chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. She knows as much about this program — how it works, what we’ve learned, plots that have been thwarted — as anyone.

I don’t. I know there are tradeoffs. I know the threats are real. But as for evaluating the effectiveness of this program, how can anyone who doesn’t know the details do that? As for specific abuses of privacy, we don’t know about that, either, with the exception of the most egregious, which is of course Snowden’s abuse.

What I find so admirable about Feinstein’s stand is just how nonpolitical it is.

It isn’t based on a poll. A poll would never tell her to go so hard on this one. And why would she need a poll, anyway?

It has nothing to do with who has given her money in past campaigns. Liberals give her money. I’m sure she’s hearing from them. But so what?

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    As a Californian, I have a great respect for Ms. Feinstein. She truly is the Grand Old Dame of California Politics and can run circles around our home grown opportunists like Darrell Issa….However, to applaud her for her open support of the NSA spying and her calling Snowden a traitor has a totally different view when you consider Ms. Feinstein is the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and one of the few Americans with detailed knowledge of the NSA.’s involvements. In other words, she has approved the growth of the now out of control monster that is our spying network. Would you really expect her to fall to her knees and beg forgiveness? Me. Feinstein is wrong and she should look to retire…soon!

    • Independent1

      Ms. Feinstein is obviously aware that the NSA program is not violating the privacy of 99.999% of Americans. She’s smart enough to realize that with 2.4 billion phone calls made each day and 294 billion emails sent each day, that it’s totally unlikely that NSA is spying on anyone that doesn’t deserve to be spied upon. I’m sure she’s also aware that with the NSA focused on trying to find a needle in a haystack – to find a handful of terrorist related calls among the billions made each day in hopes of stopping in attacks that would kill Americans or damage our country – that no NSA operator has the time to be listening to the drivel that 99.999% of callers spout on their phones each day. Nor the time to go through and try to gain personal lnformation from any of the almost 300 billion emails whirling around the internet each day. It’s only totally cluesless, totally paranoid Americans who don’t take one minute to figure out the enormity of the job that the NSA has in trying to keep the country safe – that are so paranoid as to believe that the NSA is really spying on them.

      What I find totally amazing is the fact that people must realize by now that the NSA has been performing what they’re doing today for years. And that despite that, there have been no lawsuits in the news about anyone claiming that the NSA has caused them one once of harm from prying into their phone calls or emails. No lawsuits during a time when the 24/7 American media is constantly looking for any sensational case they can find to splash all over the airwaves.

      • elw

        I agree with you, Snowden did not do the right thing and his motives were not for the good of anyone but himself.

        • Urbane_Gorilla

          Yeah..The slimy bum left a $200,000 a year job to hide out in the Moscow airport and be chased by every US ‘alphabet-spook’ in the world for his own benefit…..Which is..uhhhh.. remind me again….What did he gain from this?

        • dadhoover

          AND YOU KNOW FOR SURE WHAT HIS MOTIVES WERE EH ??? ARE YOU PRIVY TO PEOPLES THOUGHTS AND MOTIVES ? DO TELL US YOUR SECRET ON HOW TO DO THAT. YESIREEEEE SNOWDEN PUTTING A LIGHT ON GOVERNMENT SECRECY AGAINST THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO PRIVACY >>>>WAS A TERRIBLE THING TO DO<<<<>>> THINK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        Your whole first paragraph explains how Hoover’s FBI was able to get away with what they did..and the Stasi and KGB, etc… If you really think it’s OK and really believe that it’s successful, and really think that it doesn’t infringe on our privacy, then there is no point in arguing it with you..However, as Ben Franklin said : “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”..And I swing with him, as ‘surely, we will swing apart’.

        Many of us have been very aware of how extensive our spying network has become. Articles have been written and prior NSA leakers have come forward for years. Most Americans are content watching ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and hot-dog eating contests. Hardly the informed electorate our Founders had hoped for…And I blame the media that you called out in your comment.

        As to suing the NSA for spying. That’s laughable. You must know that you cannot sue, because, (1) You can’t prove they did and (2) it’s a State Secret if they did and not admissable in court unless the government agrees to allow it…which they never do. Sweet huh!

        I’m not sure where you get the 2600 terrorist attacks in a 41 year period, what definition was used, or what proof you use that there has been a drop off, but that works out to 63 per year, and NSA recently said they had ‘defused’ 50 already this year, but they just couldn’t tell us what, because it’s ‘secret’.. The year is still young..Presuming you trust our professional liars, and I don’t.

        • Independent1

          The fact that you’re trying to compare what Hoover did 60-70 years ago to what the NSA has been doing makes it pretty clear you don’t understand what the NSA is doing. If the FBI and CIA want to get information on celebrities and other famous people they want to target, they don’t need the NSA to do that – obviously Hoover didn’t did he – there was no NSA program 60 to 70 years ago. And although people can’t actually sue the NSA, you have to be pretty niave if you don’t think there would have been stories long ago about how the government was using information they gleaned from NSA monitorings to do something to at least some American citizens.

          And aside from maybe digging up some dirt on celebrities or politicians or other famous people, I’d very much appreciate if you would describe for us posters here on the National Memo, excactly what the people from the NSA would be able to dig up on folks (like you) that would be something worth them wasting their time on – and in your description of that, include just how these NSA folks that are trying to find a needle in a haystack by trying to locate a handful of calls from billions, would have the time to do what you think that they’re doing. I know there’s lots of paranoids like yourself who are just worried to death about someone getting into their privacy – but I think a lot of that is self-centered grandiose ideas that some would care one iota about what YOU ARE INTO!! What gives you and all the other paranoids posting on here the idea anyone cares one iota about you and your activities????????

          • Urbane_Gorilla

            I’m pretty familiar with what the NSA (and TSA, FBI, CIA..et al) is doing. I posted this 2 weeks ago:

            ————————————————————————

            How our government is watching you:

            Terrorist Watch-list:
            It varies according who is reporting it, but about 1 Million names, or **1 out of every 300** of us living in the USA is on the list.

            Internet:

            -Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, AOL and all other major search engines hand over their data to the NSA. This includes web searches, sites visited, how often and key words.

            -Facebook, Twitter and all the major posting sites hand over their data to the NSA.

            -Online purchases, such as Amazon and Ebay, Netflix and Hulu.

            -Skype, which placed a back door for the NSA back in 2006.

            Communications:

            – On 6/15/2013, The National Security Agency has acknowledged in a new classified briefing that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls.

            -All major carriers, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T hand over Meta-Data to the NSA. (Where you called from, when you called, how long, who you called and how often you call that person) and access to listening in if a warrant is produced.

            – Regular telephone billing.

            – Calls made to or from outside the US.

            – Remarkably our government blocked Huwaei from marketing their cell phone in the US because it had backdoors for the Chinese government spies, and the NSA
            has been pushing Apple, Samsung, et al to do the same here for them, much like Skype did. They haven’t said if they did or did not follow through.

            – US Postal Service. Every letter and package is scanned at major sorting locations and addresses are photographed. (This is how the Ricin mailers were tracked down).

            Utility Companies and Services:

            – Water consumption (primarily for the DEA)

            – Electric and gas usage (primarily for the DEA)

            – BTW, your garbage can on he street can be searched without a warrant. Anything in it is fair game.

            Vehicle Tracking:

            – Cities are increasing the use of license plate recognition and logging. A recent article noted a head tech in Oakland requested the 3 year record of his license and found 120 photographs of his car.

            – Bridges and Tolls now photograph license plates and drivers for non-pay, and more recently so as to terminate bridge toll collectors. They will seend bills to those not on Fast Pass.

            – Fast Pass tracking

            – Vehicle Licensing

            Registrations and memberships:

            – Driver’s Licenses

            – Professional Memberships, such as insurance, or medical associations.

            – Gun registration where allowed

            – Social Security and medicare

            – Passports, Visas and entrance and exits from the US as well as visits to ‘suspect’ countries.

            Legal Documents:

            – Arrest records

            -Traffic Violations

            -Court and legal activities (bankruptcy, incorporation, defaults, etc..etc..)

            – Marriage licences

            – Birth and Death Notices

            – Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid

            Military Service

            – Military history, promotions, terminations, places served and
            performance.

            IRS:

            Income, Job, marital status, number of dependants, residence, deductions, over/under payments, who tax deductible donations are made to.

            Education:

            – Complete history through to your highest level of achievement, including grades, course studied, pas/fail and school related ‘hobbies’.

            Census:

            – Household makeup, relationships, racial components.

            Unknown:

            – Medical records (supposed to be private..but so are some of the above) and treatments..or possibly more Meta Data.

            – Library card usage.

            **Also, not included above is ‘shared information between governments’. Just because the US can’t (or shouldn’t) read your emails, doesn’t mean that Britain wouldn’t (they aren’t preculded) and share it with the US and we would
            of course reciprocate. The same would be true of phone calls and cellular calls. Further, we now know that when our Spooks ask for a subpoena, it’s rubber stamped. Of the thousands of requests, there have been no refusals from
            this secretive FISA court. Furthermore, several ‘leakers’ have said that the NSA and other organizations often listen in on conversations and read emails without a warrant. So, who do you believe, the NSA Head, Clapper, who lied to
            Congress about their spying, or several ex members of NSA etc, that say they do?

          • dadhoover

            THIS ‘INDEPENDENT1’ IS ANYTHING BUT INDEPENDENT AND LITTLE MORE THAN AN APOLOGIST FOR THE STATUS QUO, WE SHOULD FEAR SELF DESTRUCTIVE IGNORANCE LIKE HE EXPOSES AMONG THE SHEEPLE MASSES MORE THAN ABOUT ANY OTHER FACTOR IN OUR DEMOCRACY. THEY ARE SO COMPLACENTLY SOLD ON THE PROPAGANDA THAT IS BEING REPEATED OVER AND OVER IN OUR MAINSTREAM MEDIA THAT IT IS NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SHAKE THEM FROM THEIR COMFORT ZONE OF GOING ALONG TO GET ALONG. THEY WILL NOT REASON THINGS OUT AND DIFFER FROM WHAT THEY’RE TOLD IF IT SHAKES UP THEIR COMFORT LEVEL WITH THINGS AS THEY ARE. WE MIGHT AS WELL PEE IN THE SEA AND EXPECT THE WATER LEVEL TO RISE, AS TO CONVINCE SHEEPLE LIKE THIS TO CARE ABOUT THEIR OWN INTERESTS INDEPENDENTLY OF WHAT THE MAINSTREAM GROUP THINK TELLS THEM TO BELIEVE.

            (EXCUSE THE CAPS, HAVING DOUBLE VISION TROUBLE AND CAN HARDLY READ SMALL PRINT, GONNA HAVE TO PUT A DISCLAIMER ON MY POSTS. lol)

          • Urbane_Gorilla

            I think it’s easy for people to slip into what’s comfortable. It’s sad, but most people just want to go to work each day, come home and enjoy their wife and kids..Nobody wants to have to watch their elected officials like a hawk and hold their feet to the fire… For that I forgive a lot of people.

            Sorry about your vision… I know the problem. 😉

          • Independent1

            You realize of course that 99% of what you’ve listed here are nothing more than the information these businesses/organizations have been recording on individuals for years just to ensure that they can track and respond to questions from people who use their services. These organizations are keeping this information not because of the NSA but because of their sustained need for the info just to run their operations. And just because you’ve managed to pull together a list of the information that the NSA is asking organizations and businesses to provide them with, doesn’t mean in any way that
            YOU KNOW exactly what they are doing with this information – other than the obvious uses which sometimes appear in the news.
            So just like dadhoover, just keep on being a paranoid – as I mentioned in a previous post – I really feel sorry for you both being so paranoid that you actually believe our government is collecting this information for anything other than doing everything it can to protect its citizens. Just keep on being parnoic dumbcoff!!!!

          • Urbane_Gorilla

            I’m not actually paranoid..If I were, I’d use sites like DuckDuckGo and private emails, disposable phones, PGP etc… That doesn’t mean i have to like it.

            As to 99% of what I listed…Sorry. I understand that’s an exaggeration on your part, but most of what I listed is really government info… And everything that isn’t is accessible by them. And it’s easy to spoof Google et al..Not easy to spoof the government.

            And again: “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” ― Benjamin Franklin

          • Independent1

            Whether they’re government related or not, and probably 40-50% of what you listed isn’t government related, the point was that all these places, including libraries, and vehicle registration, voter registration and whatever, have been maintaining the detailed records you listed for decades – and them keeping these records has absolutely nothing to do with the NSA’s monitoring efforts. And with the many governments having all this data at their disposal for decades – where are all the 24/7 stories about the rampant claims of abuse from all these Americans that WE THE PEOPLE should be up in arms about and worrying our paranoid heads about??? Why haven’t there been stories already about how our government has been abusing all this information and taken advantage of everyday citizens such that they should be parnoics like you two nitwits??? And I’ve noticed you’ve totally ignored telling us all this wonderful information about yourself that someone in our government would want to steal from you. Where is that expanation??? My guess is you’ve ignored it because there really isn’t anything specific about you that the NSA would care one iota to know – and that’s the same for 99.999% of Americans who aren’t in the process of planning a terrorist attack or some other nefarious deed. You’re exactly like Chicken Little – I couldn’t describe it better- let’s all just go around and start worrying about the sky falling – there’s just as much a chance of that happening as the NSA stealing one piece of your worthless life story.

          • Urbane_Gorilla

            You know.. I was just responding to your statement that I had no idea what the govt was doing. So I posted that list. Then you came back with ‘99% of that isn’t govt’…Which is hogwash…Now you change your mind and say maybe 50% is the govt, but they’ve been doing it all along and they don’t care about my ‘worthless life anyway’.

            In debate, people use different subterfuges to squirm out from under the illogic they contrived. You just provided 2 examples of fallacy in logic : ‘Moving the goal posts” and “red herring”. Trying to carry on anything like a logical discourse with you is like talking to a 13 year old girl while she’s watching a Justin Bieber special on TV.

            The only ‘independent’ thing about you aside from your handle is your logic which flows as unfettered as a stoner on acid.

          • elw

            I agree, it is silly to think that NSA is listening to everyone’s phone call. Not even a God could do that. My phone calls would put them to sleep.

          • dadhoover

            From the guardian !!! ” the past two weeks, I have lost count of the number of officials and government ministers who, when challenged about internet surveillance by GCHQ and the NSA, try to reassure their citizens by saying that the spooks are “only” collecting metadata, not “content”. Only two conclusions are possible from this: either the relevant spokespersons are unbelievably dumb or they are displaying a breathtaking contempt for their citizenry.

            In a way, it doesn’t matter which conclusion one draws. The fact is that,as I argued two weeks ago, the metadata is what the spooks want for the simple reason that it’s machine-readable and therefore searchable. It’s what makes comprehensive internet-scale surveillance possible.”

            LOOK IT UP ON YOUR OWN, DOING YOUR OWN RESEARCH WILL HELP YOU RUN ACROSS OTHER ARTICLES AND INFORMATION THAT I HOPE WILL HELP OPEN YOUR EYES, Mr ‘dependent’ INDEPENDENT

          • Independent1

            And you have positive evidence that they are in fact retaining CONTENTS on the majority of Americans, HOW??? You have absolutely no bonefida evidence of any such thing. The NSA IS NOT maintaining content on 99.999% of Americans’ calls – UNLESS the NSA has some reason that the call is POSSIBLY related to some form of terrorism or wrong doing.

            Let’s see you pull out of your rear end some evidence that the NSA is doing OTHERWISE!!! It’s all based on YOUR PARANOIA.

            And you know, it’s interesting that you an I are going back and forth on this – ONE PARANOID, the other NOT. About 235 years ago two prominent Americans were doing the same thing – Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Jefferson was apparently a PARANOID. He was convinced that if the federal government was granted the right to create a standing army, that in time the federal government would make the states subservient to its will; Madison disagreed and in the last paragraph of his Federalist #46 paper, he basically said that Jefferson and others that were paranoid about the federal government fielding a standing army were – ascribing to chimerical fears: “an absurd creation of the imagination”. Which describes you and other idiots like you to a tea (it’s been 237 years since then and no take over of the states by the feds). Here’s Madison’s words:

            On summing up the considerations stated in this and the last
            paper, they seem to amount to the most convincing evidence, that the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to
            accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and consequential annihilation of the State governments,
            must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.

            .

          • dadhoover

            READ BUDDY>>>>NSA IS SNATCHING UP METADATA THAT COMES THROUGH OUR ‘CABLES AND SOME FURTHER REACHING THROUGH OTHER MEANS AND STORING IT FOR LATER REVIEW. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND YOU MIGHT JUST LEARN HOW VAST THIS PROGRAM REALLY IS AND OPEN YOUR EYES TO REALITY. LOOK UP THE FACTS ON THE GUARDIAN.

      • dadhoover

        IN YOUR FIRST TWO SENTENCES YOU PROVED ANOTHER REASON WHY WE DON’T NEED THIS NSA SNOOPING, BECAUSE CAPTURING ALL THOSE BILLIONS OF COMMUNICATIONS TOTALLY MISSES HONING IN ON SUSPECTS, WHICH HAS BEEN PROVEN TO BE BEST DONE BY CONVENTIONAL MEANS AND THERE IS NOT PROOF WHATEVER THAT OTHER THAN SPENDING MONEY THIS VAST COLLECTION OF DATA IS WORTHLESS, THE SYSTEM DIDN’T EVEN CATCH THE BOSTON BOMBERS …..YOU PROVED YOUR OWN PRO SNOOPING PROPAGANDA WRONG.

    • Independent1

      Let me respond to to you’re comment criticizing Ms. Feinstein for calling Snowden a traitor. When Snowden agreed to work for the NSA and to get a Top Secret clearance, he signed an agreement that he would not divulge any information he learned while working at the NSA. This agreement is basically the same that any citizen agrees to when they join our armed services. Therefore, if a military soldier who learns about our military secrets and then chooses to divulge what he or she has learned to the enemy is considered a traitor (a la Benidict Arnold), how can you or anyone say Mr. Snowden is not a traitor? The NSA has already discovered that Snowden’s revelations have caused a change in the chatter patterns of terrorist groups that they have been monitoring. By Snowden releasing this information on the NSA to the general public, he has released it also to the enemy – multiple groups of terrorists around the world that now know more about the NSA’s monitoring program than they knew before. They’ve learned enough that they’re no longer communicating as openly as they were – they’ve gone to communicating in other ways, which the NSA may not catch, and which may result in one or more of these groups succeeding in carrying out a terrorist attack that ends up killing who knows how many Americans. And when/if that happens, guess who will be the most to blame: Mr. Snowden. There is no question that he is a traitor and a big one.

      • Urbane_Gorilla

        Right..and that non-disclosure agreement is the same excuse all governments hide behind. The Watergate burglars, Hoover’s FBI, the Iran Contra Issue…even Nazis at Neurenburg.

        As to the scare story ‘Now the Bad Guys know what we do..”..That’s silly. Real bad guys already know all this. In fact, it’s been in the US news bit by bit for quite awhile. Many of us knew about the NSA Data Center years ago. Just go read their website. We knew about license plate tracking, facial recognition, US postal tracking of every package and of course NSA reading of emails and listening in on phone conversations back in Bush Jr’s days. Do you really think real terrorists post pictures of themselves on facebook with bombs? No. They use the Undernet..the 90% of the web that even Google doesn’t search…and they use disposable and cloned SIMS…and they use serious encryption and untraceable Satellite phones. The NSA won’t catch them.. Heck, they missed the Boston Bombers even after Russia told us several times?.. You’re reading the trumped up excuses for our govt to go after the guy that told us what our Congress has been building behind our backs. And that is criminal. He’s a hero. You just bought into the BS.

        • dadhoover

          BUDDY WE SURE AGREE ON THIS ONE, THANK YOU FOR BEING VOCAL ABOUT IT, WE NEED A LOT MORE LIKE YOU

          • Urbane_Gorilla

            Thanks…That makes 2….

  • elw

    I have been voting for Sen. Dianne Feinstein since she first ran for office. I don’t always agree with her but I do trust her to do what is right. I will continue to vote for as long as she runs. In this case I agree with her. Privacy and security are not black and white issues they both come with many grays and I am willing to keep it that way as long as it is needed to keep me, my children and their children as safe as possible.

    • Dwight Neller

      Feinstein is creating a draconian police state for your children. She does not care about their safety one little bit. Terrorism is no threat in comparison to crooks like Feinstein and Barack Obama. The US Constitution has never been under such internal threat.

      Apologists will take the blame.

  • dadhoover

    WHAT A LOAD OF BS, JUST ONE FIRSTER PRAISING ANOTHER—– FEINSTEIN HAS CREATED HER POWER AND MAINTAINED IT ON BACKING THE STATUS QUO ISRAEL FIRSTER MINDSET AND THIS NSA SNOOPING FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE NEO CON FIRSTERS CONTROL REGIME FOR THE MASSES BECAUSE THERE’S A MUSLIM TERRORIST BEHIND EVERY CORNER. (BE VERY AFRAID) NAME ONE ISREAL FIRSTER NEO CON GOAL THAT SHE’S BEEN CONSISTENTLY INDEPENDENT OF ?

    HAVE I EVER GOT A BEAUTIFUL ISLAND FOR YOU TO BUY IN SOUTHERN LAKE MICHIGAN !!!!!!!!! I WILL EVEN THROUGH IN THE PALM TREES

  • Dwight Neller

    “What I find so admirable about Feinstein’s stand is just how nonpolitical it is.”

    She is not politically aligned in any way because her view and voice are in alignment with garnering deals for her big biz hubby Richard C Blum. He does defense
    contracting through affiliations with: Booz Allen Hamilton (Edward
    Snowden’s former employer), EG&G, Carlyle Group (Bin Laden Family
    Money) and many more. Think big war profiteer, massive surveillance
    of the US citizen and you won’t be far from the real picture.

    He is also a big real estate guy affiliated with CB Richard Ellis (CBRE Group): They just made tons of money pillaging the US Public by buying and selling a
    number of USPS facilities through another insider deal during one of
    the worst recessions in US history as well as during federal
    sequestration and many federal employees (even at the NSA) facing
    furloughs.

    These people are not good people to look up to or admire in any way. They abhor the US Constitution. This is self evident in their actions, not just their
    words. Feinstein is actively undermining the 1st, 2nd and 4rth
    amendments under the guise of “public safety”. They believe
    that they are above the law, are far more intelligent and entitled to
    anything they wish for no matter how twisted or insane it looks to
    everyone else (except for this author). Feinstein is not a maverick
    in the positive sense of the word. She does not have an independent
    voice or view of the world. She is deeply embroiled in several major
    political catastrophes and is now laying really low for the election
    season.

    Don’t believe me? Here are some refs:

    USPS Deal:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/blum.asp
    http://www.factcheck.org/2013/06/feinsteins-husband-the-postal-service/

    Defense Dept. Furloughs:
    http://tinyurl.com/l5fpfn8

    Attempted abolition of 2nd amendment rights:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzDO86iSKWU

    Feinstein lies about NSA 4rth Amendment Violations (billions of violations):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRLTChWV6RM