Life under the Giant Eyeball

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The last time I wrote about my distaste for the surveillance state, about life under the giant eyeball, I received some feedback via a friend from a brother in the intelligence community, wishing that I would be more precise in my criticisms. Although I do not know if this effort will do the trick, I am going to frame my objections this time around with that expressed concern in mind.

It is not the first time I have heard from believers in “the business,” and so let me begin with this basic disclaimer. When I inveigh against the surveillance state, and the pretty pass that we have all come to—which I will continue to do—there are several things I do not mean by it. I do not mean to say that there are no genuine patriots in the intelligence community, laboring hard to balance the concerns of security and privacy. I do not mean to say that there are no genuine threats to our national security out there, against which good intelligence is a needed bulwark. And I do not mean to say that everyone in the intelligence world is lawless.

But I certainly do mean to say that however many good people there are, however many good laws and regulations there are, however many disciplinary actions have been taken against those who violated security protocols, however good the intentions were when these programs were set up, the bottom line cash value of their efforts has not been nearly good enough. Good enough for what? Good enough for us to support any extension of or expansion of the ability of the federal government to vacuum up data without a warrant. If you want to listen to or collect a conversation, you need probable cause, and a judge.

I know that there are many spies, spooks and analysts who are doing the Lord’s work. God bless them, and I am taking no jabs against any honest individuals. But there are two questions before us. The first is whether there were any honest, diligent, competent, and hardworking members of the crew of the Titanic. That’s one question. The second question is whether or not that has anything to do with whether we should want to buy a ticket. Of course there were, and of course we shouldn’t.

Since I last wrote on this topic, the news broke that a FISA court had severely upbraided the Obama administration for routinely ignoring the boundaries and limits placed upon them. These violations involved thousands of citizens. They involved trashing the Fourth Amendment, and doing so in a high-handed way.

Now as it happens, portions of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) are going to expire at the end of the year unless Congress extends those sections. And it seems obvious to me that they should not vote to extend them.

This finding is what provokes me to write about things like this. When these programs were set up, civil libertarians warned about the potential for abuse. And here is the kicker. What aspect of the warnings have not come true? But even though this is the case, there is still enormous pressure to let the eyes and ears of the deep state continue on, with no real likelihood of negative sanctions for violations of the Constitution.

So the real question is not whether there are honest people in the intelligence community. Of course there are. The real question is two-fold—are there dishonest people in the intelligence community, and what percentage of these dishonest people are caught and sent to jail? And I am not talking about the low level schlubs like Bradley Manning. I am talking about those who have sufficient political power to see to it that the resources of the intelligence agencies are abused, and sufficient political media cover to prevent anything bad from happening to them if caught. Put another way, if Hillary Clinton had been possessed of a rank like Bradley Manning, she would be in jail right now.

Or, put another way, if this gross breach of the Fourth Amendment, as determined by a FISA court was ordered by President Obama himself, what is the likelihood of him facing any legal consequences? If a president could do something like this, and if we would not be in a position to apply sanctions because of “politics,” then we are not strong or healthy enough as a society to risk collecting data like this.

But what about the bad guys out there who are trying to destroy us? I am not unmindful of their existence. I am aware that there are many enemies of the American Constitution around the world. But I am also aware that many of them live in the D.C. area. The oath captures it well—enemies of the Constitution, “foreign or domestic.”

Speaking personally, I have been hurt far more by congressmen than by Libyans or Syrians. Haven’t you?

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Barnie
Barnie
4 years ago

I’ve never personally been harmed by an abortionist.

Carson Spratt
Carson Spratt
4 years ago
Reply to  Barnie

And the people who have been harmed by an abortionist have no voice: aren’t they the ones most vulnerable, most deserving of defense?

Ray D.
4 years ago
Reply to  Barnie

You don’t know who you don’t know.

Ben Zornes
4 years ago

Test

Ben Zornes
4 years ago

Newfangled comment section…works for me!

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Yes! I can just comment and vote. Previously, you could comment without signing in, but not vote.

Any chance the top comments sidebar can come back?

Ooh, and editing, too! Now to figure out how to change my name.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Editing, for sure. I probably find a typo or a usage error in ten percent of my posts. In an inverted, complex sentence, it is easy for the subject to disagree with the predicate. I often wonder how the Germans keep track of their final participle. But “Jane” is such a hallowed name, and you’re the only one we have.

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Editing is already here. But now I seem to have lost the ability to upvote. GRBLFRZ!

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  J Dunsworth

Argh, no, editing is not here unless you’re “logged in” and I can’t figure out how to get logged back in without Facebook, which I somehow accomplished earlier in the day!

Dean Langley
Dean Langley
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Test login

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

I am sadly low-tech. If I sign in with Facebook, does this give anyone access to my FB page?
Thanks!

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

No, it doesn’t do that, thankfully.

Bugs
Bugs
4 years ago
Reply to  Douglas Wilson

Sure…Bugs here, checking in.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago

Pastor Wilson and I agree that the State overreaches its moral authority in many ways, to the detriment of the populace. This is one of those spots where we actually pick the same way to rant about. I don’t have the exact data, but I think another point that could be made in the argument is that AFAIK, the vast majority of terrorist plots broken up since 9/11 were plots that were planted by FBI and other government agents themselves. Go fishing around claiming that you want to blow up a government building, see if you can convince someone to… Read more »

Joey Wells
Joey Wells
4 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Bingo! And they don’t even bother to paper over it in the fake news. They say it straight out every time. “terror plot foiled: some retard was arrested for buying fake bomb parts from federal agents yesterday.”

Out something like that.

Jill Smith
Jill Smith
4 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

That seems kind of awful. But the person who is willing to blow up a building with undercover feds is probably just as willing to blow one up with real terrorists. So I’m not sure what to think.

Joey Wells
Joey Wells
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Ah, yes. But the thing that has always bothered me about these stories is that the one thing that the retard in question was not going to accomplish in his life, for sure, despite his aspirations, was blowing something up. Buying fake bomb parts from idle beaurocrats is proof positive, isn’t it? Being “the kind of person” who would blow something up shouldn’t be a crime. I say this as “the kind of person” who would cheat on my lovely and saintly wife with a 19-year-old Scarlet Johansen. We Christians are all honest with ourselves about motives. Execution has to… Read more »

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago
Reply to  Jill Smith

Let me be clear – I’m not 100% decided how I feel about such sting operations. I can see both sides of the argument. I only used that example to point out that it is operations like that, and not anything having to do with surveillance, that accounts for the “terror plots foiled!” that we hear about.

Why?
4 years ago

testing

Why?
4 years ago

Hmmm, well the comment system it won’t accept “ME”, it won’t accept IB, and it won’t accept any of the other names I use. It does seem to have accepted “Why” however. So “Why” it is.

JayEl
4 years ago
Reply to  Why?

Username has minimum length apparently.

Dr. Oz
Dr. Oz
4 years ago

Test again

insanitybytes
4 years ago

testing

MeMe
4 years ago

Well now,testing once more

gfkdzdds
gfkdzdds
4 years ago

This comment section needs to be a lot easier to use, edit and delete or you are going to lose readers. I’m not signing in with FB and then anyone can see the page. I’d rather see Ellen again than use this system.

JohnM
JohnM
4 years ago
Reply to  gfkdzdds

Concur

JayEl
4 years ago
Reply to  gfkdzdds

Test

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  gfkdzdds

Anyone can see the page anyway — this is a public blog.

Billtown
Billtown
4 years ago

I like it

Billtown
Billtown
4 years ago

But how will we know what Ellen Degenerate is doing now?

Malachi
Malachi
4 years ago

Here’s my test…

Malachi
Malachi
4 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

How / where do I “log in” so that I can vote?
How do I get my status changed from “Guest” to “Member”?
How did the thingy know what my avatar was, and are kids these days still calling my little pic an “avatar”?

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Malachi

Select one of the “REPLY” buttons, and that will open a new comment text box. Along the top right edge of that box will be a set of options to use for authentication.

Rob Steele
Rob Steele
4 years ago

Yeah man.

MeMe
4 years ago

So, have we totally trashed Pastor Wilson’s comment section like we usually do or are we up and running again?

MeMe
4 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

We seem to be up and running. I am actually not signed in through facebook,so that seems to be working too.

Not that anyone cares, but I happen to a have those same eyeballs in my front yard. Exercise balls I painted eyeballs on and stuck in a tree. True story.

Joey Wells
Joey Wells
4 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

How do you get a space between paragraphs?

(space)

So far, not working?

Joey Wells
Joey Wells
4 years ago
Reply to  Joey Wells

Working….

katecho
katecho
4 years ago

just comment.

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  katecho

test of bold and italics
what about

quotations

?

Bro. Steve
Bro. Steve
4 years ago

Maybe we don’t need as much surveillance as we suppose. Imagine for a moment (it’s easy if you try) that we didn’t have soldiers in a lot of foreign places, no interest in overthrowing governments in those places, no web of foreign entanglements, and generally no ambitions beyond minding our own business on our own soil.

It’s likely we wouldn’t have quite the security challenges we have now.

But the state has bred its own need for the security apparatus, then turned it on us. Because it now perceives people like us as its biggest threat.

Jonathan
Jonathan
4 years ago
Reply to  Bro. Steve

This argument can be applied to a lot of the Department of Defense.

Rick Davis
Rick Davis
4 years ago
Reply to  Bro. Steve

I’m not going to sign up for an account just so I can upvote something, but I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. I for one would like to see a federal government about as active and powerful as the Mayor of Michel Delving. Instead we get Sharkey.

gfkdzdds
gfkdzdds
4 years ago
Reply to  Bro. Steve

tesr

Lloyd
Lloyd
4 years ago

You must be logged in to vote, but how does one log in? Ah-ha!

Lloyd
Lloyd
4 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd

nvm.

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd

Did you figure it out? Because I can’t.

Lloyd
Lloyd
4 years ago
Reply to  J Dunsworth

No

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd

I first clicked on an “upvote” icon for a comment, then I logged in through my existing WordPress account .

J Dunsworth
4 years ago
Reply to  OKRickety

It doesn’t let me do that. That’s what a WordPress blog will usually let me do, but no joy here.

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  J Dunsworth

Select one of the “REPLY” buttons, and that will open a new comment text box. Along the top right edge of that box will be a set of options to use for authentication. Choose one of those to log in.

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Lloyd

Select one of the “REPLY” buttons, and that will open a new comment text box. Along the top right edge of that box will be a set of options to use for authentication. Choose one of those to log in.

J Dunsworth
4 years ago

Testing…

jigawatt
jigawatt
4 years ago

While we’re on the subject of intrusive spying and also Facebook … http://nypost.com/2017/06/07/facebook-is-going-to-use-your-phones-camera-to-spy-on-your-emotions/

gabe
gabe
4 years ago

comment

Linda
Linda
4 years ago

Amen and amen!

Kent Stiles
4 years ago

Please consider my initiative as introduced in my website https://kingdomelders.wordpress.com/ or Google “Kingdom Elders” (with quotes) and respond if interested in assisting me in pursuing it further. There is much more as I have meditating on it for many years.

Wesley
Wesley
4 years ago
Reply to  Kent Stiles

Walks and quacks like a cult, tbh

OKRickety
4 years ago
Reply to  Kent Stiles

I believe that elders should be found within and appointed by the local congregation. If I understand your concept, you would be facilitating the creation of a self-appointed group of Kingdom Elders. I would not expect that any existing church would accept them as having authority over them. If individuals accepted their authority, then it would basically result in another church. In short, I don’t think your initiative is workable, and is questionable, at best, from a Biblical perspective.

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Kent Stiles

From Kent Stiles’s website: Just like the original twelve men, I believe that the twelve that He will initially bring together will be called to start the reformation of His Kingdom by forming a new foundation completely separate from any current institutional structures that have been associated with Christianity in the past such as institutional churches … God instituted the Church in His own blood. Stiles is suggesting that we need a new institutional structure, and a new foundation. He says it must be “completely separate”. That sets off several alarm bells. The Bride is one body, with one Head.… Read more »

ron
ron
4 years ago

Respectfully, the “real question” is the proper role of government. Q. Why are governments instituted by citizens? (A. “The people create their governments primarily to serve one supreme purpose: to “secure” the safety and enjoyment of their God-given, unalienable rights. To make and keep them secure is government’s primary function and chief reason for existence, according to the philosophy proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.” from http://tinyurl.com/cyk94to) Q. Are the acts of the intelligence community in keeping with their primary objective? (A. Not if you believe, as Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote circa 1890 that there is a “right… Read more »

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
4 years ago

I actually agree with much of what you write, and I think the problem is likely to get worse under a Trump administration — if you care about civil liberties, Trump was not the candidate to vote for as he doesn’t even bother to pay lip service to them. But I do disagree that rank make the difference between what happened to Hillary Clinton and Bradley Manning. Hillary Clinton never deliberately and intentionally took thousands of pages of highly classified documents, gift wrapped them with a bow, and gave them to our nation’s enemies. At most, she was careless; he… Read more »

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Krychek_2 wrote:
“Hillary Clinton never deliberately and intentionally took thousands of pages of highly classified documents, gift wrapped them with a bow, and gave them to our nation’s enemies.”

How does Krychek_2 know this? Did he examine all of the thousands of emails before Hillary had them wiped with Bleachbit?

Does Krychek_2 suppose that Hillary accidentally used personal communication devices?
She knew it was against the FOIA laws, and she even emailed her subordinates notices to comply with government communication retention policy.

Hillary simply considered herself above the law.
It turns out, she was right.

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
4 years ago
Reply to  Katecho

The FBI, which was headed by a Republican, looked at it and determined it was sloppy but not criminal. In the absence of evidence to the contrary I’m inclined to believe them. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

The Congressional Republicans looked at it multiple times as well. If there’s anything there, they sure must have been lousy investigators.

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  Krychek_2

Who is Bradley Manning….you hater.

wtrsims
wtrsims
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Eric hates LGBTQ individuals and continues to force upon them names and pronouns that have crushed them ever since they were assigned incorrectly at birth.

*jazz hands of support and solidarity*

Krychek_2
Krychek_2
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

My apologies to anyone who was offended — which I suspect is no one here.

wtrsims
wtrsims
4 years ago

You have to log in to two different services? Or is that just WordPress logins? Weird

MeMe
4 years ago
Reply to  wtrsims

Ha! I like the new wordpress login, except it won’t let me login through wordpress.

wtrsims
wtrsims
4 years ago
Reply to  MeMe

You have to login through WordPress and then create another profile that I guess is specifically for Mablog

Wee bit dysfunctional on the front end, but maybe this little gambit will pay off ¯_(ツ)_/¯

demosthenes1d
demosthenes1d
4 years ago
Reply to  wtrsims

It said I was “connecting to Doug Wilson” which sounds parasitic…

wtrsims
wtrsims
4 years ago
Reply to  demosthenes1d

Here to stay, eh “member” Demo? ?

OKRickety
OKRickety
4 years ago

As can be seen in the comments, this new comment system (whatever it is [there is no indication]) is causing difficulties. I recommend you provide some kind of help so that your existing followers know how to switch over, and new readers know how to log in. For myself, I stumbled on to a method that seems to have worked for me.

Katecho
Katecho
4 years ago

Several folks have asked how to log in. For a brief time, a day or so ago, there used to be a log in button at the top of the comment section, but it seems to have been removed.

One way that I’ve found to log in is to attempt to reply to a comment by hitting the “reply” button. This presents a comment text box. Along the top right of the comment text box is a set of buttons that you can choose from for the purpose of logging in.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago

Ahh….Wordpress it is.

Jane
Jane
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Now if I can just figure out how to change my display name, since I’d prefer something other than “Jane.”

teresasdaughter
teresasdaughter
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

Testing

teresasdaughter
teresasdaughter
4 years ago
Reply to  Jane

test 2

My Portion Forever
My Portion Forever
4 years ago

test

Eric
Eric
4 years ago

Trying

Ginny Yeager
Ginny Yeager
4 years ago

Chuck Schumer warned Trump about his criticism of the intelligence community by saying “they have six ways from Sunday of getting back at you.” That says it all, doesn’t it?