Obama Expands Surveillance Powers on His Way Out

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

With mere days left before President-elect Donald Trump takes the White House, President Barack Obama’s administration just finalized rules to make it easier for the nation’s intelligence agencies to share unfiltered information about innocent people.

New rules issued by the Obama administration under Executive Order 12333 will let the NSA — which collects information under that authority with little oversight, transparency, or concern for privacy — share the raw streams of communications it intercepts directly with agencies including the FBI, the DEA, and the Department of Homeland Security, according to a report by the New York Times.

That’s a huge and troubling shift in the way those intelligence agencies receive information collected by the NSA. Domestic agencies like the FBI are subject to more privacy protections, including warrant requirements. Previously, the NSA shared data with these agencies only after it had screened the data, filtering out unnecessary personal information, including about innocent people whose communications were swept up the NSA’s massive surveillance operations.

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Peter Van Buren asks: Would You Have Chelsea Manning’s Courage When Called?

Chelsea will be free in May!

With more than a little irony, while I was in Iraq working for the State Department, Chelsea Manning’s office was across the hall from mine. While I was winning the war by writing emails to the embassy, Manning was across the hall capturing the texts of hundreds of thousands of State Department cables, famously released by Wikileaks, showing that was could never be won.

My war in Iraq ended in near-complete failure. What Manning did will have an impact far beyond that terrible struggle. In this video, I ask the question of why I didn’t do what Manning did, and challenge the audience: when faced with history, would you have the courage to do what Manning did?

I didn’t.

Skip ahead to about 2:30

Ron Paul on Executive Power in the Age of Trump

Although the Founders expected the legislative branch of government to be first among equals, especially in the past 20 years the executive branch has consolidated power at the expense of Congress and the Courts. But the two losing branches have been more than complicit in the process. What does this bode for our future? We turned to noted Constitutional scholar, Louis Fisher, who has written more than 500 articles and 24 books on this important issue. You won’t want to miss this episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

Kerry: Inappropriate for Trump to Directly Comment on Other Nations’ Policies

Hypocrisy is not an unfamiliar site in the comments of top political officials, but Secretary of State John Kerry really took it to new levels today, complaining it was “inappropriate” for President-elect Donald Trump to publicly criticize internal policy of other nations, after Trump’s comments panning Germany allowing refugees into the country.

That Trump’s comments were the same sort of simplistic distrust of “illegals” copied and pasted onto another country in a totally different situation is all true, though really beside the point, as Kerry’s argument wasn’t that Trump was wrong, rather it was that he should keep his mouth shut.

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Antiwar And Anti-Violence: The Revolutionary Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King’s 1967 sermons and speeches against the Vietnam war may not be as well-remembered as his famous “I have a Dream” speech, but they demonstrate a commitment to the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize he won in 1964. Others who have won this award have not pursued a peaceful course, including the outgoing US president. King’s war opposition was strongly opposed by those who championed his work in favor of civil rights, including the LBJ administration. It may also be what got him killed. We look at the antiwar King in today’s Ron Paul Liberty Report:

Reprinted from The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity.

So How’s That Coalition Thing Working Out in Afghanistan?

Short Answer: It’s been 15+ years of coalition and the Taliban are still there, the Afghan government in Kabul is even more corrupt, and most of Afghanistan is as economically decrepit as ever.

A report, “Lessons From the Coalition,” emerged from a conference co-hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace (yes, we have one, it is part of the State Department and doesn’t do much but organize events in Washington.) The conference brought together representatives from eleven major donor nations, the EU, UN, World Bank, and NATO to share common experiences and lessons from the Afghan reconstruction effort.

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