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Michael Ratner Catches Us Up on NSA News, Gets Closer to Abolition

10:34 am in Uncategorized by wendydavis

From TRNN; first, the last two and a half minutes of the interview:



“And as I said, I can’t stand the gushing about it. It’s important what Edward Snowden has done, that people are starting to react to it, that we’re starting to get some people talking about reforms. But the worst situation here would be to have superficial reforms, and then the country goes to sleep on the mass spying that’s still occurring.

As I said, the NSA has to be torn apart root and branch. It basically has to be gotten rid of. We have to start over and say, what’s necessary here? And what’s necessary can only be necessary in terms of surveillance with a court order, a warrant that allows such surveillance under the stringent standards of our Fourth Amendment. We can’t have this open and notorious mass spying.

So we’re moving along: a court decision, amnesty possible or at least talked about for Ed Snowden. But in terms of thinking of this review or this report as a panacea, let’s not go there.”

Here’s the whole interview, and I do believe he fiddles around a bit before his final declaration:

Here’s the EFF’s take he values highly, and yes, they sorta support the Leahy/Sensenbreener bill: The USA Freedom Act (gaggable name) or S1559, but the piece Ratner mentions is titled, “A Floor, Not a Ceiling: Supporting the USA FREEDOM Act as a Step Towards Less Surveillance:”

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Further Steps Toward Privatizing the Post Office at Our Expense

11:33 am in Uncategorized by wendydavis

If you’re wondering who the rather sanguine-about-it-all Augustin Ruiz is, from what I’ve found he’s the spokesperson for the Bay Valley USPS in California, not the entire USPS.  Searching kicked up this tidbit from a piece at the covering a July protest over the closing of the landmark PO concerning some remarks Ruiz had made in front of City Hall:

He said that two California post offices in Yountville and Oakville had been kept open after public objection and everything that would be said at the meeting with the Council “becomes part of a public document that goes to Washington.” “Everything we’re doing here is very transparent.” 

Ruiz was shadowed by another, unsmiling and silent, man also wearing government ID who hovered behind him and periodically appeared to be snapping pictures of people in the crowd.  

Asked if the Post Office indeed intended to sell the Downtown building Ruiz said, “in this case, since we own the building, we’re attempting to sell, yes.” But “the only thing that will change here is that the retail counter will be elsewhere.”  I asked where that would be. “We’re looking at other sites, but we haven’t started negotiations with anybody yet”, he answered.  I asked about the process for the sale. “We have a firm that’s looking into that”, he said. “So far we haven’t had any buyers yet.” “We have a realty firm to help us with the sale…that is all internal.” 

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