Dianne Feinstein

NSA knew about and used Heartbleed web exploit

The tech web has been abuzz this week about what has been dubbed “Heartbleed,” a code exploit in the OpenSSL encryption system, which could have allowed hackers and cyberterrorists to access login credentials from some of the biggest websites in the world over the last two years. Lists were quickly constructed to explain to users which sites were affected and which passwords they needed to change immediately.

It turns out the NSA has known about the Heartbleed vulnerability for years, but never warned anyone that millions of Americans’ online identities could be at risk. Indeed, not only did they not sound the alarm, the  NSA used the bug to access those online accounts in its already questionable surveillance activities.

C.I.A. to Senate Intelligence - do as I say, not as I do

The Senate Intelligence Committee is apparently getting a taste of what it’s like to be the subject of a C.I.A. investigation, and isn’t very pleased. It has partially come to light that the spies have been watching the committee, primarily over an investigation into the Bush administration’s interrogation and detention program in the wake of 9/11. Yes, it’s the long and expensive investigation into the C.I.A.’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” coming back to bite the committee.

It’s no secret that the C.I.A. was less than pleased with the findings the investigation, and when the Senate Committee managed to get their hands on a secret document that contradicted C.I.A. Director John Brennan’s contentions that their initial investigation was at least partially false, things started to get ugly. Like many other webs of intrigue in our government these days, one almost needs a scorecard to keep track.

1. The Senate Intelligence Committee engaged in an investigation of the interrogation and detention program. This cost taxpayers more than $40 million because the C.I.A. insisted that the investigation had to take place in a secure location, and all the material had to be reviewed by an outside contractor before it could be released to the committee staff.

2. The investigation found that the techniques like waterboarding used by the C.I.A. really didn’t yield a great deal of useful information. It certainly didn’t justify the use of those techniques, and placed the U.S. in a difficult situation when it came to foreign relations.

Virginia sees drop in crime during surge in gun sales

The left has been screaming for a while about how fewer guns will mean less crime.  The flip side is that they argue that so many guns on our streets mean that our world is a more violent place.  Therefore, we law abiding citizens need to roll over and just give up our guns.  After all, Dianne Feinstein’s dream is to say, “Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em in!”

Unfortunately, once again those pesky things called facts get in the way of the left’s jihad against guns:

Gun-related violent crime continues to drop in Virginia as the sales of firearms continue to soar, a pattern that one local criminologist finds interesting “given the current rhetoric about strengthening gun laws.”

Major gun crime collectively dropped for a fourth consecutive year statewide, while firearms sales climbed to a new record in 2012 with 490,119 guns purchased in 444,844 transactions — a 16 percent rise over 2011, according to federally licensed gun dealer sales estimates obtained by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

The proliferation of guns occurred as the total number of major reported crimes committed with all types of firearms in Virginia dropped 5 percent, from 4,618 offenses in 2011 to 4,378 last year, according to Virginia State Police data.

Looking back over seven years, total firearm sales in Virginia have risen a staggering 101 percent from 2006 to 2012, while gun-related crime has dropped 28 percent during that period.

How can this be?  Democrats have been championing the idea that guns are bad.  More guns clearly make us unsafe, right?

Why We Need Guns for Self-Defense

Second Amendment

You may have heard about the recent slaying of a Texas district attorney and his wife in their home. It follows the brazen daylight killing of a prosecutor in the same county, and it has everyone on edge. This is what local law enforcement is going through:

The judge was on the phone.

“Yep, I said I’ll do anything,” Bruce Wood told the person on the other end, rubbing his forehead. “They asked me to do a eulogy. I don’t know what I’m going to say.”

Elsewhere in the Kaufman County Courthouse, a sheriff’s deputy was handing out bulletproof vests. “I brought the smallest one,” he said to a secretary, who stared at the khaki armor as he explained how to adjust the side straps should the need arise. “These have the neck for a female.”

Outside, two armed guards escorted a white-haired judge from his parked car to the mirrored doors of the yellow brick courthouse in a county where little seemed the same anymore.

“Judge! How are you doing?” shouted a reporter.

“Everybody is making do as best as we can,” he said.

Feinstein introduces assault weapon ban bill

Dianne Feinstein

We all knew it was coming.  Well, it’s here.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) continues her jihad against so-called “assault weapons” by introducing the bill she warned the world was coming earlier today.

The bill, as ugly as we expected, seeks to ban scores of firearms including all types of AK and AR pattern rifles.  A number of shotguns and pistols are also including in that list.  Of course, Feinstein and her fellow gun jihadists believe they’re fighting the good fight:

During the press event at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, the Democrats described these firearms as “dangerous military-style assault weapons.” The bill would also ban high-capacity ammunition feeding devices that can hold more than 10 rounds.

Feinstein said the country’s “weak” gun laws allow massacres like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occur.

“Getting this bill signed into law will be an uphill battle, and I recognize that — but it’s a battle worth having,” Feinstein said in literature handed to reporters at the Thursday event.

Feinstein is right that it’ll be an uphill battle for the bill.  However, Feinstein has to know just how little of a chance this bill has.

The bill will also essentially turn all currently possessed firearms into Class III weapons.  That is the same classification of guns as fully automatic machine guns.  Now, this will mean that those AK and AR pattern rifles are about to soar in value should a bill like this actually pass.

Feinstein’s bill: What it looks like

Both sides of the debate on so-called “assault weapons” have been in high gear lately.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had already declared her intention to introduce a new assault weapon ban before the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School thrust guns into the national spotlight.  However, most debate was really centered around the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban because all we had was Feinstein’s statements.  There wasn’t an actual bill to speak of.

Well, now thanks to Sen. Feinstein’s website, we know what the bill will look like.

Sen. Feinstein, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the Second Amendment

Senator Dianne Feinstein is no friend of the Second Amendment.  After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Sen. Feinstein called for a new assault weapon ban.  Now, however, she’s claiming that it’s even more important that these so-called “assault weapons” be taken off the streets in light of the tragic events last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

From Huffington Post:

“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. “These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”

On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.

“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”

Ah, the old hunting argument. Before I address that though, I find it disgusting that the senator would choose to talk about her bill in light of what happened, especially since this most recent act had nothing to do with so-called “assault weapons”.  Adam Lanza is alleged to have used two semi-automatic pistols to commit his acts of voilence that horrible day, and unless this assault weapon ban proposes to just hit all semi-automatic weapons, it wouldn’t touch the murder weapons.*

I’d also like to take a minute to remind Sen. Feinstein on the exact wording of the Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Today in Liberty: Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high, Eric Cantor will leave Congress on August 18

“Nobody spends somebody else’s money as carefully as he spends his own. Nobody uses somebody else’s resources as carefully as he uses his own. So if you want efficiency and effectiveness, if you want knowledge to be properly utilized, you have to do it through the means of private property.” — Milton Friedman

— Economy adds 209,000 jobs in July, unemployment rate rises slightly: The economy added 209,000 jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate increased from 6.1 percent to 6.2 percent. Economists had projected 233,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate would hold steady at 6.1 percent. Although the report didn’t meet expectations, this is the sixth consecutive month of 200,000-plus job growth. The labor participation rate — the percentage of Americans working or looking for work — increased marginally from 62.8 percent in June, a 35-year low, to 62.9 percent in July.

— Obamacare disapproval hits an all-time high: The Kaiser Family Foundation has released a new poll finding that unfavorable views of Obamacare have jumped to an all-time high since they began tracking opinions of the law in April 2010. The July tracking poll shows that 53 percent of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, while 37 percent view the law favorably. Sixty percent want Congress to “work to improve” Obamacare, while 35 want to repeal and replace it. The poll also finds that Americans are evenly divided on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.

Stop Congress from allowing Obama’s NSA to collect more of your personal data

Yes we scan

At a time when the National Security Agency can collect the phone records and communications of millions of innocent Americans without a warrant or cause, the Senate Intelligence Committee is pushing a measure that would allow the controversial agency to access more of our personal information.

Privacy and public interest organizations have come out strongly against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a measure that will make it easier for businesses to share information with the federal government, including the NSA.

In a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), and committee members, the organizations explained how CISA poses a risk to Americans’ privacy.

“Over the last year,” the letter states, “the public has learned that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies have significantly stretched the meaning of statutory provisions of law in order to gather sensitive information on hundreds of millions of Americans.”

The organizations behind the letter include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, FreedomWorks, and the R Street Institute.

The organizations explain that the NSA simply isn’t an honest player when it comes to Americans’ civil liberties. The intelligence agency has searched Americans’ communications without a warrant using laws that authorize the surveillance of only people outside of the United States and has exploited vulnerabilities in tech firms’ software and programs.

Lawmakers targeting the NSA’s unconstitutional spying have a big card to play if Obama and Congress don’t get behind reform

Privacy advocates are closely watching discussions in the Senate over the USA FREEDOM Act, a measure originally intended to end the NSA’s unconstitutional bulk data collection program and protect Americans’ civil liberties. They’re hoping that a strengthened version of the bill will pass the Senate Judiciary Committee, and they may get their wish:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the lead Senate sponsor of the original USA Freedom Act, has repeatedly expressed disappointment in the House-passed version of the bill.

He has pledged to “fight for a stronger USA FREEDOM Act” that bans bulk data collection.

Other pro-reform committee members have joined Leahy’s calls.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said he is “very hopeful” that Leahy will move ahead with his version of the USA Freedom Act.
[…]
Harley Geiger, senior counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said these calls for stronger reforms from Senate Judiciary Committee members, including the Chairman, are “very encouraging.”

Geiger said he is “optimistic that they will make improvements to [the House-passed USA Freedom Act], but the precise nature of improvements is still being discussed.”


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