If we are serious about protecting our privacy, let’s have that discussion


Shocked, SHOCKED, to find that surveillance has been going on!

Gee. The Gray Lady FINALLY notices that the Snoopocracy created by Bush the Dumber and aided and abetted by the New York Times is … well, they’re SHOCKED, SHOCKED to find out that GAMBLING is going on at Rick’s Café Americain:

A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance

Published: December 16, 2013 

For the first time since the revelation of the National Security Agency’s vast dragnet of all Americans’ telephone records, a federal court has ruled that such surveillance is “significantly likely” to be unconstitutional.

In a scathing 68-page opinion peppered with exclamations of incredulity, United States District Judge Richard Leon, of the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia, found that the seven-year-old phone-data collection program — which was established under the Patriot Act and has been repeatedly reauthorized by a secret intelligence court — “almost certainly” violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches.

Reaching into the 18th century from the 21st, the judge wrote that James Madison “would be aghast” at the degree of privacy invasion the data sweep represents…

And, how do these moral midgets suddenly thunder, having just noticed the diseased fruit of the seeds planted almost exactly ten years ago, concluding:

The judge, in granting the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction, ordered the government to stop collecting the plaintiffs’ phone data and to destroy any data it had already collected, but because of the “significant national security interests at stake,” he stayed his own ruling to allow the government to appeal. The decision applies only to the plaintiffs in this case, and not to the American public at large.

Though the ruling is limited in those respects, it is an enormous symbolic victory for opponents of the bulk-collection program, and a reminder of the importance of the adversarial process. For seven years, these constitutional issues have been adjudicated under “a cloak of secrecy,” as Judge Leon put it. Now, that cloak has finally been lifted in a true court of law.

Way to catch up. I want you to read this short (250 words) letter I wrote and which was published in the Eugene Register-Guard on December 29, 2003 (scroll to the bottom):

ignorance and fear

Eugene Register-Guard
December 29, 2003

The Land of the Terrified

Dear Editor:

Since all we liberals do is whine, I’d like to avoid that and offer a constructive suggestion instead. This letter isn’t protesting the sudden invocation of a High Terror Alert by the Department of Homeland Security during the busiest travel time of the year — all without actually giving the average citizen anything to do except to be afraid.

And this letter isn’t to complain that while Saddam Hussein was famously getting his tonsils examined by a U.S. Army doctor, President Bush was signing into law the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which greatly and stealthily expands domestic surveillance powers in a fine-print rider to a little-noticed, mostly-classified appropriations bill.

Even though Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul objected, “the stealth addition of language [is] drastically expanding FBI powers to secretly and without court order snoop into the business and financial transactions of American citizens. These expanded internal police powers will enable the FBI to demand transaction records from businesses, including auto dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and more, without the approval or knowledge of a judge or grand jury. This was written into the bill at the 11th hour over the objections of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee,” I’m not complaining.

No, I’d just like to offer the following friendly suggestion. Rather than continue the venerable National Anthem with the outmoded, “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave,” let’s change it to the more modern and trendy “Land of the Subjugated and Home of the Terrified.”


Note to editor: For fact-checking, Rep. Paul’s comments can be found in the Congressional Record November 22, 2003 (Extensions) Page E2399, and at: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_cr/h112203.html

Gee. In my Hart, I know I was right. Of course, I’d have rather been wrong, and that we’d never gotten into this misbegotten war. What else is there to say? Four years later, Iraq is in worse shape than it was when we invaded in 2003. On this date in history.

Today, less than one American in three thinks this war is a good idea. What the hell is wrong with them?


Remember, that was at the end of the FIRST year of the Iraq Invasion. And this is what I wrote in May of 2005:

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (1913-2005), American Civil Rights activist. Booking photo taken at the time of her arrest for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus to a white passenger on 1 December 1955.

She, by contrast, DID stand up for her freedom

But even though the Patriot Act was, finally opposed by dozens of cities (including Eugene, among the first), the court-appointed rulers paid no heed. Patriot II is on the block. You will have to have a passport to return from Canada and Mexico and even Puerto Rico in the very near future. You will, within a very few years, have to show a standardized ID card to travel by plane, bus or train.

And we have esteemed our freedom not at all.

Put narrowly: when Osama bin Laden’s minions crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, they succeeded in “destroying America.” But not without our able assistance.


We summer soldiers and sunshine patriots put up our flags (remember them? They were the fad right before the magnetic “yellow ribbons” — a ‘tradition’ derived from a hideous song derived from a cornball READERS DIGEST story that I remember reading when it first came out). We chattered endlessly about how “scared” we were, and allowed our freedoms to vanish in a frenzy to protect our barbecue grills.

David McCullough, in his soon-to-be-released “1776” notes that in 1776, the American Colonies enjoyed the highest standard of living in the world. The Hessian troops and British regulars that landed on Staten Island in the spring of that year were astonished at the wealth and comfort of the Americans. They had seen nothing like it in Germany, nor, for that matter, in England.

So this idea that we have grown too self-satisfied, grown too comfortable in America is sheerest hogwash. They were willing to put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line for the utterly revolutionary concept of self-governance.

And yet, what do we hear?

It’s the media’s fault.

We don’t have the votes in Congress.

The Right Wing talk shows have stifled dissent.



We have failed to defend our own freedom. We have been unwilling to stand up for our own rights.



Bugged by the FBI

This is not a valedictory for my “prescience.” But, if you search my blogs for “spookocracy” you will get hits going back to the dawn of time. But this one stands out:


Hookers, Hookers, Everywhere and Not A Thought To Think
11 MARCH 2008 · 9:02 PM

But this business of surveillance of political enemies by the new Spookocracy, and America the Surveilled, THAT is something that we’ve got to nip in the bud, toot suite.

Because I don’t give a damn if the governor or the president is having sex with a highly qualified professional. I DO give a damn that I live in a country where our Secret Police sniffs around looking for it because they’re monitoring our BANK ACCOUNTS.

The potential for abuse is astronomical, and the guarantee of a reign of terror and a bloodbath in throwing OFF that terror is a virtual certainty.

So: do we focus on the problem (prostitution) that we will never solve, and mostly doesn’t harm us?

Or do we focus on the Police State that stumbles on said prostitution because it’s watching each and every one of us in the bedroom, the bank book, the boardroom and probably the bathroom? (Actually, in the case of Sen. Larry Craig, DEFINITELY in the bathroom.)

Prostitution is as American as apple pie.

Secret Police wiretapping is the antithesis of everything that America stands for.

There are several aspects to this Eliot Spitzer affair that cause me extreme disquiet.

But the last one most of all.

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, when you cede secret powers that remain unchecked and untested (Constitutionally) you all but guarantee the abuse of that power. You might just as well invite the fifty most honest people in your town, and then put a hundred-dollar bill on the toilet tank and expect it to be there at the end of the evening.


Sorry, Charlie. “Lead us not into temptation” is an important chunk of the traditional “Lord’s Prayer” for a REASON.

That’s why we have “checks and balances.” Right?

But, again, having failed to notice this insane program and its potential for abuse, the hoary-headed media whores of the Manhattan Cesspool can suddenly pretend to give a damn.

wallace shawn as vizzini-princess-bride

Continue being brilliant, Times!

Sorry, Charlie.

They claim that it was ONLY because of Snowden’s revelations that they now know enough to be upset:

prior to the revelation of the phone-data sweep this summer, the Supreme Court had rejected a similar challenge  because the plaintiffs could not prove that the government had ever collected their personal data…

AE Hotchner, left, after duck hunting with Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho, in 1958. Photograph Mary Hemingway

Hemingway (r.): Surveilled by the FBI

Yeah, because the Alter Boys care SO MUCH about Constitutional guarantees of privacy. Right.

pirate john

No: Any fool could have seen it years ago, and the New York Times Editorial Board are self-sanctified asses who’ve managed to slam dunk a tautology. Big whoop.

What WOULD be impressive in this whole Snowden debacle (which I have commented on very little, because, frankly, until anybody’s managed to catch up to what I was talking about back in 2005 is almost pointless) is if the OBVIOUS Thought would be elucidated:

What are We, the People, going to do about OUR privacy rights in the snoopocratic technology of the 21st Century? Silently cede them, or begin to pass a series of guarantees OF our privacy in the digital world that INCLUDES privacy from insurance companies, private detectives, “background check” websites, cookies, data-mining of our personal buying habits, our location (from our cell phones) our medical histories, our financial transactions, etcetera, etcetera?


Hi, I’m from the NSA and I’m here to help

IF WE DO NOT ADDRESS THE SPECTRUM OF THIS MASSIVE INVASION OF PRIVACY; we’re just masturbating. Stimulating our pathetically small consciences in hopes of a “holier-than-thou” orgasm that won’t even soil an ant’s handkerchief.


If we are serious about protecting our privacy, then let’s have that discussion.

Otherwise — and this goes ESPECIALLY for you, New York Times Editorial Board — STFU. We have enough carbon-dioxide pollution without adding yours.

Mister Peepers

Perhaps if you moved to Albuquerque, whose fanatical hot air balloon subculture always requires more hot air, well, you get the idea.


But we MUST address this issue, rather than mindlessly turning it into an attack on President Obama by THOSE SELFSAME PRICKS WHO AUTHORED, AIDED AND ABETTED this massive “Total InformationAwareness” madness. (Remember TIA? Poindexter?)

TIA logo

Or, consider this secret (NSA?)  satellite launched just last week:


This isn’t a joke. It’s an actual real thing.

Now, either defend your privacy (government AND private enterprise) or else don’t complain when you realize you ain’t GOT NONE NO MORE.



Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.
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