“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Sunday, March 03, 2013

It is a crime for you to lie to the federal government. Why is it not a crime for any agent of the federal government to lie to you? Afterall, it could cost you everything and them nothing.

Documents reveal US Marshals using spy drones

Friday  Mar 1, 2013 9:22AM

Documents obtained by the ACLU have revealed that the U.S. Marshals Service has experimented with using drones for domestic surveillance.

The rights group says that although the Marshals Service admitted it had found 30 pages of information pertaining to its use of drones, it only actual handed over two, which were heavily redacted, containing only two short paragraphs of visible information.

Under the heading “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Man-Portable (UAV) Program,” an agency document overview states:

“USMS Technical Operations Group’s UAV Program provides a highly portable, rapidly deployable overhead collection device that will provide a multi-role surveillance platform to assist in [redacted] detection of targets.”

This video should give you something to think about

A further document reads:

“This developmental program is designed to provide [redacted] in support of TOG [Technical Operations Group] investigations and operations. This surveillance solution can be deployed during [multiple redactions] to support ongoing tactical operations.”

An LA Times report earlier this month revealed more, stating:

“In 2004 and 2005, the U.S. Marshals Service tested two small drones in remote areas to help them track fugitives, according to law enforcement officials and documents released to the ACLU under the Freedom of Information Act. The Marshals Service abandoned the program after both drones crashed.”

Expressing doubt that these details cover the full scope of the Marshals’ drone use, ACLU says it is “surprising” that what was purportedly “a small-scale experiment” still remains secret after seven years.

“As drone use becomes more and more common, it is crucial that the government’s use of these spying machines be transparent and accountable to the American people. All too often, though, it is unclear which law enforcement agencies are using these tools, and how they are doing so.” a statement on the ACLU website reads.

“We should not have to guess whether our government is using these eyes in the sky to spy on us.” the statement continues.

ACLU staff attorney Catherine Crump added that “Americans have the right to know if and how the government is using drones to spy on them.”

“Drones are too invasive a tool for it to be unclear when the public will be subjected to them.” Crump added. “The government needs to respect Americans’ privacy while using this invasive technology, and the laws on the books need to be brought up to date to ensure that America does not turn into a drone surveillance state.”

There are currently several bills on the table at the state and national level to reign in the use of drones, and not without justification.

The FAA recently released an updated list of domestic drone authorizations, showing more than 20 new drone operators, and bringing to 81 the total number of public entities that have applied for FAA drone authorizations through October 2012.

After Congress passed the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization last year, requiring the FAA to permit the operation of drones weighing 25 pounds or less, observers predicted that anything up to 30,000 spy drones could be flying in U.S. skies by 2020.


In a major step toward opening U.S. skies to thousands of unmanned drones, federal officials in February solicited proposals to create six drone test sites around the country. AP

According to the Department of Homeland Security’s website, the U.S. government has already been using drones domestically for several years, but remains mostly mum on their missions. RT

Privacy advocates worry that a proliferation of drones will lead to a "surveillance society" in which the movements of Americans are routinely monitored, tracked, recorded and scrutinized by the authorities. AP

The prospect of armed drones patrolling U.S. skies has alarmed some lawmakers and their constituents. More than a dozen bills have been introduced in Congress and state legislatures to curb drone use and protect privacy. AP

A data dump of government documents secured via the Freedom of Information Act, released in August shows that the roll out of domestic unmanned drones will, for the most part, be focused solely on the mass surveillance of the American people. Prison Planet

- See more at:


  1. Hey Quirk,

    Are you a Catholic? Lapsed maybe? Anyway, given your previously expressed thoughts on homosexual/pedo priests you might want to take a read of Dowd's op-ed today.

    1. .

      As noted in my post below, there are ways around the NYT restrictions on free articles each month.

      The attached blog site prints two articles talking about Ratinger. If you would like to understand the man better, you might want to read the first article also. Unwilling to accept that a pope in his eighties who recognizing his diminishing physical and mental capabilities would willingly give up the papacy, there has been much speculation in the liberal press and among American Catholics on the "real reasons" the pope is abdicating, most of them based on how the Church has handled the pedophile priest issue.

      I read the Dowd article in the link below but I am unsure what it was you wanted me to see or how it impacts on my "previously expressed thoughts on homosexual/pedo priests". I would be interested in what insights you got out of the article.

      Voice From the Desert

      Unlike most of her articles Dowd is pretty much in the background in this one, pretty much letting the author and the book do the talking. Since Toibin is openly gay, some of his views are unsurprising. I doubt I will read his book but a good review of it can be found here">The Testament of Mary

      As for Dowd, I rarely read her anymore. IMO, the lady is rather bitter. An aging feminist, lapsed Catholic, and spinster, she seems to find very little in life in which she can enjoy. Having failed in most aspects of life, she now mostly complains about how men are too scared, to cowed to engage with a truly intelligent woman like her. It's been said that the new convert is the most ardent and unforgiving prosletyzer of his/her faith. The reverse can be said of those who have lapsed and of their criticism.


    2. Your previously expressed opinions, in a nutshell, was that the incidence of pedophilia in the Catholic church is roughly the same as in the general population. I presume you would think that the same rate of incidence of homosexuality would also be similar. The op-ed piece suggests that the church hierarchy appears considerably more 'gay' than the general population.

    3. .

      ...appears considerably more 'gay' than the general population?

      Telling on many levels, Ash.

      Or maybe you accept the implication that Mr. Toibin has more sensitive 'gadar' and thus can speak from a unique authority or perspective, or perhaps, that you do.


    4. This comment has been removed by the author.


    5. .

      Ash, let me clarify my previous post lest there be any misunderstanding.

      You say, The op-ed piece suggests that the church hierarchy appears considerably more 'gay' than the general population.

      The only comments I saw that were even tangentially related were by Toibin. One was to the effect that there 'may' be more gay priests in the Church than it thinks, a comment that is subject, hardly definitive in its wording, and says little or nothing about the hierarchy. The other comment coming near the end of the piece did talk about appearances as well as the hierarchy, actually one instance in particular at an Easter function in 1994 where could be seen "wonderfully powerful old men with great chins, sitting nobly with a long row of extraordinarily beautiful young seminarians standing behind, shading them with different colored sun umbrellas, some of which were pink."

      Given Toibin's orientation, the way he worded the last comment does not surprise me; and thus, I will merely point out that while the man was talking about the hierarchy, the point he was actually making was about appearances, that the spectacle he was witnessing 'appeared', to him, out-of-sync with what he considered the hierarchy's sanctimonious words on homosexuality.

      This leaves me with only two possible interpretations of what you were trying to say with your comment

      The op-ed piece suggests that the church hierarchy appears considerably more 'gay' than the general population.

      First, that your comment is a literal interpretation of what the op-ed article is saying, that in fact the Church hierarchy 'appears' to be a group of aging drag queens who set a beauty level requirement for any young seminarians attending them.

      If this is the reason you put up your post and seemed to take it so seriously (I see you posted it on the last stream also), and since you asked for my opinion, I can only say that to me it seems rather petty on your part and at a minimum rather catty on the part of Mr. Doinin. Once again, neither surprises.

      However, there is a possible second explanation, one that I took to be your true meaning given your clarifying post. That explanation involves your implied interpretation of the op-ed piece, where you see it in terms of numbers and that the gist of it is that there not only 'appear' to be more gays in the Catholic hierarchy but that in fact there 'are' more gays in the Catholic hierarchy "than in the general population".

      Since, as I've pointed out, there is nothing in the article that justifies this interpretation, my opinion in this case would be that you failed to read the article carefully and merely attached your own prejudices in coming up with the interpretation you did with regard to what Mr. Doibin said.

      Regardless of which of these applies, as I pointed out previously, it's rather telling.


  2. .

    I wouldn't waste one of my 10 free monthly NYT articles on MO. However, if I'm able to Google it from another source, I will look at it.

    Off topic,

    I like Robert Reich. I share many of his views. Normally, he is fairly reasonable for a lib. Today he has gone off the tracks in an article in Salon in which he blames the Sequestration on a Tea Party 'conspiracy'. I was only able to get through about the first third of it.


  3. State legislatures around the country are gearing up to take action on domestic surveillance drones. Maine has a bill introduced, as do Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. In Virginia a hearing has already been held on a bill, while Montana has three bills, and hearings have already been held there as well.

    But perhaps the state furthest along is Florida, which may become the first in the nation to enact domestic surveillance drone regulations into law. I spoke with Ron Bilbao, who is an ACLU lobbyist in Florida, and here’s what he had to say about the situation there:

    The bill was introduced by state Senator Joe Negron—a very powerful Republican who chairs the budget committee. The actual title of the bill is the “Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act,” which I think is perfect. There’s a companion bill in the House, also introduced by a Republican.

    The bill went first to the Criminal Justice Committee, and on January 15th it went through that committee on a unanimous 7-0 vote. It was a very popular bill. In the hearing Senator Negron talked about how there must be a delicate balance between security and freedom, and said it’s not an appropriate role for the government to use drones to monitor the activities of Floridians. Members on both sides of the aisle had concerns about drones—a lot of the Republicans actually wanted tighter language. There’s a couple of exceptions in the bill currently, and some Republicans thought the exceptions were too broad and wanted to get rid of them.

    We’re definitely pleased that so many people care about the civil liberties of Floridians, and protecting their Fourth Amendment rights.

    The bill has to go through four more committees. That’s quite a bit, but it’s already on the agenda for the Community Affairs Committee for this Wednesday Feb. 6. And the last two are appropriations committees. Negron is the chair of the Appropriations Committee, and it will have little or no fiscal impact.

  4. The US Media is truly a disgrace. When searching the words “ US Marshals drones” none of the major US news sources come up. Press TV, an English language service recently banned by the US cable companies does. I checked several sources in this article and have checked Press TV sources in past articles. All have been verified.

    1. Not a disgrace, just government ran and controlled. US version of TASS.

  5. It looks like a hell of a law-enforcement tool to me. Mugging? Drive-by shooting? Home invasion? Just go back and check the video, and follow the perpetrator(s) back to their home base.

    Of course, if the drone got fixated on me it would probably crash out of boredom.

    1. The question does arise; why don't we have These on the Southern Border?

    2. That is the diabolical detail. It is a similar argument as with guns. Private ownership of lethal weapons can be a force for good or evil. When a deranged killer uses guns, the left wants to ban them wholesale. The argument about the crimes prevented is lost.

      What happens to the cheating wife of a policeman, followed by her husband on a police drone monitor?

      What happens to the child or female target of a drone supplied video to some deviant?

      Would you trust drones in the hands of the IRS?

    3. .

      It looks like a hell of a law-enforcement tool to me.

      And what does it look like in a land where laws can be ignored with impunity in the name of something as amorphous and expansive as the WOT?


    4. It feels like you're reaching a bit. :)

      BUT, what about the child that's kidnapped on the way home from school? With the above drone you could go back, pick up the incident, and follow the kidnapper's car to his home, in almost real-time.

    5. Drones are being used on the border, along with tethered blimps.

    6. It is ironic, but for me I have less trust in the US government than I do in Press TV. And the US Marshal Service, they are the servants of the politicians and their lobby patrons. Think not? Read on:

      Travis Waldron on Jun 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      More than three dozen activists attempted to prevent a court-ordered eviction in Washington D.C. this morning before being forcefully removed from the property by U.S. Marshals. The activists, who are affiliated with Occupy Our Homes DC, were attempting to stave off the eviction on behalf Dawn Butler, a D.C. resident who has lived at her home for more than six years.

      Activists assembled outside the home around 8 a.m.; D.C. Metro Police and U.S. Marshals arrived shortly thereafter. Metro Police warned protesters that they would be subject to arrest after multiple warnings if they didn’t leave the property. Less than an hour later, a half-dozen U.S. Marshals walked to where the protesters were sitting and announced that they would carry out the eviction. When protesters sitting on the home’s front walkway refused to leave, the Marshals began forcefully removing them, dragging some across the sidewalk and others down the front stairs.

      After nearly a half-hour, the Marshals reached the front door of the home, where multiple activists tied themselves to milk crates and the door to prevent entry. The Marshals, again using brute force, yanked the protesters away, ripping half of the home’s front door away with them. Marshals tossed one protester over the side of the home’s front porch, sending him sprawling onto his back in the neighbor’s yard and prompting shouts of, “Shame! Shame!” from the activists.

      Watch it:

      At that point, an eviction crew entered the home and removed all of Butler’s belongings, stacking them on the sidewalk. Activists planned to use a moving truck to take Butler’s possessions to storage.

      The home went into foreclosure more than two years ago, and Butler, who rents the home, was facing eviction from JP Morgan Chase. Butler challenged the eviction on the grounds that she was denied her right to first refusal when she and her mother attempted to buy the home in 2010. Both Butlers said they received no response from JP Morgan when they submitted a bid for the home.

      The court granted Butler a stay from eviction on April 2, but issued an order for eviction Monday. Butler returned to court this morning seeking another stay.

      “They’re taking homes just for no reason. They haven’t given us a reason,” Butler said today. “It’s hell. Hell on earth.”
      “In this case, the court ruled that the lease was not valid,” JP Morgan Chase said in an official statement. “The tenant had no legal right to remain in the property.”

    7. .

      It feels like you're reaching a bit. :)

      Quirk and Rufus, Mars and Venus, nice guys but rarely do they agree.


    8. I was referring to Deuce's comment regarding cheating wives, and the IRS.

      But, it's true; you would disagree if I stated that the sky, normally, seems to have a bluish tint during daylight hours.

    9. .

      Regarding the Banksters, Deuce,

      TWO weeks ago, I wrote a column about a secret agreement struck in July 2012 by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America. The existence of the confidential deal was disclosed recently in court filings, which showed the New York Fed releasing Bank of America from all fraud claims on mortgage securities the Fed had bought as part of the government’s rescue of the American International Group in 2008.

      A.I.G., which is suing Bank of America to recover losses it suffered on those securities, has calculated the value of the fraud claims at $7 billion.

      Late on Thursday, a copy of the actual agreement came to light. It was filed by Bank of America in a California court that is hearing the matter of who owns those fraud claims — A.I.G. or the New York Fed. The agreement was also filed by the New York Fed in a related lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, where the New York Fed asked that the court keep the agreement under seal.

      A reading of the document makes it clear why.

      The agreement spells out the terms of a deal in which the New York Fed received $43 million from Bank of America’s Countrywide unit. The money changed hands to settle a narrow dispute involving cash flows on several mortgage securities held by an investment vehicle, known as Maiden Lane II. That vehicle was created by the New York Fed as part of the rescue of A.I.G., which had held the Countrywide securities. The previously confidential agreement released Bank of America from all litigation claims on the securities held by Maiden Lane II.

      But in exchange for that $43 million, the New York Fed did something else for Bank of America. It agreed to testify on behalf of the bank in its legal battle against A.I.G. over fraud claims...

      I'm hardly one to argue for AIG on anything; however, the $43 million the FED says they saved the American taxpayer hardly seems equitable compensation for arguing against $7 billion in fraud charges against Bank of America.



  6. Sun Mar 3, 2013 11:21AM
    Interview with Massoud Shadjareh

    In some ways it really is amazing. It is mind-boggling to what extent they (West) are willing to go just to isolate and try to remove any sort of opinion from Iran going anywhere in the world.”

    The West has blocked Iranian satellite television channels out of the fear that people would realize the extent of Western propaganda, an analyst says.

    Eutelsat’s Israeli-French CEO Michel de Rosen has stepped up his restrictive campaign by appealing to major satellite providers in Europe and Asia to silence Iranian media. Eutelsat pressured the Arab satellite provider Gulfsat to ban Iranian channels iFilm and Al-Kawthar. The encroachment upon freedom of speech targeting movie channel, iFilm, and Iran’s Arabic-language Al-Kawthar came after Eutelsat asked Nilesat to take Iran’s English-language news channel Press TV off the air.

    Press TV has conducted an interview with Massoud Shadjareh, the head of the Islamic Human Rights Commission from London, to further discuss the issue. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.

    Press TV: We’re joined by human rights commission member Mr. Massoud Shadjareh. Thank you for being with us Mr. Shadjareh. Why do you think that we’re seeing more and more Iranian stations being taken off the air especially recently?

    Shadjareh: Well from the time of the conflict in Gaza, it was very clear that the only real alternative to the Western media propaganda was the Press TV and indeed some of the Iranian channels.

    It was the number of programs and studies that was culled and the popularity of Press TV was shooting up and people from all sorts of backgrounds were watching Press TV for a real alternative opinion.

    From that time the West started recognizing the danger of this and started putting in place a mechanism to stop Press TV and indeed beyond that the other channels.

    Through the WikiLeaks we see how the United States were asking Britain to shut Press TV down, and actually we saw manipulation of the legislation and the professors and indeed they managed to first take it off the Sky Platform.

    Then they took it off from the satellite broadcasting and then other channels followed.

    The reason for this is very clear. The West doesn’t want to have any alternative voice.

    Press TV: We’re talking about the mainstream media, we’re talking about so many stations and such high budgets. Are they really that threatened or intimidated, which ever word you want to use, by the Iranian stations such as Press TV in English?

    Shadjareh: They shouldn’t be, but the reality is that they do. All the evidence clearly highlights that they do because they don’t want to have any alternative voices.

    First what they do is they try to put pressure and they try to change the angle of those channels and if they can’t do that, they physically shut them up.

    It’s ironic that the West always talks about the freedom of expression, but the thing is that freedom of expression is only allowed within certain parameters. Anything out of that - when you want to actually highlight the truth and bring the real offer - will be shutdown.

    Press TV: Mr. Shadjareh we’ve even seen stations such as iFilm, which of course is a movie channel, that they have blocked. It seems that the hostility towards Iran has reached a new level.

    Shadjareh: Absolutely, they really don’t want, they really are determined to close every avenue.

    If you look at the other areas, the… sanctions haven’t only been used against the banks, but sanctions have been used against immediate medicines [for the needs] of the most deprived factions of community.

    They’re so petty in the way that they are combating Iran and everything is associated with it.

    In some ways it really is amazing. It is mind-boggling to what extent they are willing to go just to isolate and try to remove any sort of opinion from Iran going anywhere in the world.

    - See more at:

  7. I am going to post the video of armed US Marshall’s working for JP Morgan Chase evicting people from their homes. Why is the federal govt doing this? You want these same armed federal government troops in civilian communities having secret drone capabilities.

    1. It seems that being in DC has something to do with it.

  8. No, they are used around the country.

    1. Issued By: The writ is issued by the Clerk of the U.S. District or Bankruptcy Court, at the discretion of the judge, after judgment is rendered.

      Served By: The writ is served by a U.S. Marshal or other person, presumably a law enforcement officer, specially appointed by the court in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4.1(a).

      Marshals Service

  9. Erika Thiele remembers taking her two children to the Berlin Wall when they lived in communist East Germany and telling them that there was "another world on the other side."

    On Sunday, the 58-year-old kindergarten director was among thousands of protesters who gathered to demand that the longest remaining segment of that wall remain protected from a plan to tear down a 25-yard-long stretch of it to help make way for a condominium development.

  10. It is 10 years since the start of the war in Iraq which led to the toppling of Saddam Hussein.


    Iraq is disintegrating as a country under the pressure of a mounting political, social and economic crisis, say Iraqi leaders.


    Iraqis looked for improved personal security and the rule of law after Saddam, but again this has not materialised. The violence is much less than during the mass slaughter of 2006 and 2007 when upwards of 3,000 Iraqis were being butchered every month.

  11. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egypt's president Sunday, wrapping up a visit to the deeply divided country with an appeal for unity and reform.


    After concluding his meetings in Egypt on Sunday, Kerry will head to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where his focus is expected to be the crisis in Syria that dominated his earlier stops in Britain, Germany, France and Turkey, along with concerns about Iran's nuclear program and growing Iranian assertiveness in the Persian Gulf. Kerry is set to return to Washington on Wednesday.

  12. Senator Marco Rubio has been meeting with some Wall Street big shots – Stephen Schwarzman, Henry Kravis, and top execs at Goldman Sachs — in an effort, according to Politico, “to lock down some of Wall Street’s biggest donors ahead of the 2016 presidential race.” I don’t know what Rubio told them, but the WSJ’s Peggy Noonan suggested that he and other potential GOP 2016ers preach of message of free-market populism:

    “I’m going to steer this party away from Wall Street and toward what used to be called Main Street and doesn’t have a name anymore. Our economy won’t take off again until our pigsty of a tax code is cleaned up.

  13. That is why F-35 manufacturer Lockheed-Martin can boast on its website that “the F-35 provides 127,000 direct and indirect jobs in 47 states and Puerto Rico.” What is unfortunately not understood is that these 127,000 workers would be far better utilized producing needed goods and services rather than treated as a jobs program disguised as national defense.

    Despite the alarm over cuts that are not real cuts, it is clear that the US government is not serious at all about changing its ways. In a recent tour of the Middle East, newly-confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US would be sending another $60 million to the rebels seeking to overthrow the Syrian government – in the midst of the sequester “crisis”!

    Despite the rhetoric, there appears no intention on the part of the government to take our fiscal crisis seriously or abandon the idea that we should run the rest of the world.

    - Ron Paul

  14. The Queen has been taken to hospital for the first time in 10 years after symptoms of gastroenteritis led her to cancel a visit to Rome this week. She is expected to remain in the King Edward VII hospital, central London, for assessment after being admitted on Sunday afternoon.


    The Queen is seldom ill. She was last admitted to hospital in 2003 for surgery at the King Edward VII to remove torn cartilage in her right knee and lesions from her face.

    TV crews and photographers were last night gathering outside the hospital, which has been used by many members of the royal family.

  15. I woke up this morning at 8, and could smell something was wrong. I got downstairs and found the wife face down on the kitchen floor, not breathing! I panicked. I didn’t know what to do. Then I remembered McDonald’s serves breakfast until 11:30.

  16. China begins a Parliament meeting this week that will unveil the final personnel changes of a once-a-decade leadership transition and provide some clues about the new administration's commitment to address mounting social, economic and environmental problems that many Communist Party insiders fear are eroding its grip on power.

    Xi Jinping, who succeeded Hu Jintao as Communist Party leader and military chief at the start of the succession process in November, will assume his third, largely ceremonial post as state president during the meeting of the National People's Congress, or NPC, which begins on Tuesday...