Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continued

Today June 30, 1863 General John Buford leading the Union Cavalry road into Gettysburg between 11 AM and Noon. Other units both North and South had passed through Gettysburg in the last few days but Buford led the first unit to occupy the town in anticipation of a major battle at that location.  He found no Confederate forces and sent out scouting units to locate those close to the town to the north and west.  His was the first unit, of the Union Army of the Potomac, of approximate 100,000 marching through Maryland to reach Gettysburg. Buford decided to set up dismounted picket lines to the west of town on the roads coming into town to block and deprive the Confederate army of this strategic intersection.  He sent word to General Reynolds of 1st Corps to come quick because Buford's light force of 2800 would only be able to hold off the 75,000 Confederate Army of Virginia for a short period.  Buford saw the high ground to the south of town  starting at  Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill and knew if he could delay the Confederates the Union Army coming up from the South end of town could occupy said heights and be in a much better position to engage  Lee and his army.  Today the issue was which Army could concentrate more of their spread out soldiers at Gettysburg first. Buford and his men were going to "buy" the Union Army some time!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continued

Today,June 29, 1863, "the point" of the spear of the  Union Army of the Potomac is led by General John Buford of Kentucky and his cavalry unit as it advances on Gettysburg.

Special Orders Number 99 instructed Buford’s 1st Cavalry Division to move ahead  through Emmitsburg and on to Gettysburg, ten miles north of the Maryland line, where he would "cover and protect the front and communicated information of the event rapidly and surely"
Buford’s 2,823 soldiers spent all day  moving thirty miles northwest to Fountaindale, Pa. where they camp for the night.
Buford and some of his officers climbed a nearby mountain where they see Gettysburg to the east.
The background on John Buford from Wikipedia is that:
Buford was born in Woodford County, Kentucky, but was raised in Rock Island, Illinois, from the age of eight. His father was a prominent Democratic politician in Illinois and a political opponent of Abraham Lincoln. Buford was of English descent.[1] His family had a long military tradition. John Jr.'s grandfather, Simeon Buford, served in the cavalry during the American Revolutionary War under Henry "Lighthorse" Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee.[2] His great-uncle Colonel Abraham Buford (of the Waxhaw Massacre), also served in a Virginia regiment. His half-brother, Napoleon Bonaparte Buford, would become a major general in the Union Army. His cousin, Abraham Buford, would become a cavalry brigadier general in the Confederate States Army.
After attending Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, for one year, Buford was accepted into the Class of 1848 at the United States Military Academy (West Point). Upperclassman during Buford's time at West Point included Fitz-John Porter (Class of 1845), George B. McClellan (1846), Thomas J. Jackson (1846), George Pickett (1846), and two future commanders and friends, George Stoneman (1846) and Ambrose Burnside (1847). Buford graduated 16th of 38 cadets and was commissioned a brevet second lieutenant in the 1st U.S. Dragoons, transferring the next year to the 2nd U.S. Dragoons.[3] He served in Texas and against the Sioux, served on peacekeeping duty in Bleeding Kansas, and in the Utah War in 1858. He was stationed at Fort Crittenden, Utah, from 1859 to 1861.[4] He studied the works of General John Watts de Peyster, who urged that the skirmish line become the new line of battle.

Throughout 1860, Buford and his fellow soldiers had lived with talk of secession and the possibility of civil war, and when the Pony Express brought word that Fort Sumter had been fired on in April 1861, that possibility became a reality. As was the case with many West Pointers, Buford had to choose between North and South. Based on his background, Buford had ample reason to join the Confederacy. He was a native Kentuckian, the son of a slave-owning father, and the husband of a woman whose relatives would fight for the South, as would a number of his own. On the other hand, Buford had been educated in the North and come to maturity within the Army. His two most influential professional role models, Colonels Harney and Cooke, were Southerners who elected to remain with the Union and the U.S. Army. He loved his profession and his time on the frontier had snapped a number of threads that drew other Southerners home.
John Gibbon, a North Carolinian facing the same dilemma, recalled  the evening that John Buford committed himself to the Union:
One night after the arrival of the mail we were in his (Buford's) room, when Buford said in his slow and deliberate way "I got a letter from the Governor of Kentucky. He sent me word to come to Kentucky at once and I shall have anything I want." With a good deal of anxiety, I (Gibbon) asked "What did you answer, John?" And my relief was great when he replied "I sent him word I was a Captain in the United States Army and I intended to remain one"
130 years latter he will be portrayed in a movie about Gettysburg by veteran western actor Sam Elliot.




New Movie: "Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Let's take a break from posts on this blog about the Civil War and take a look at a movie preview for the new Coen Brothers movie about the folk music scene in New York's Greenwich Village in 1961 just before Bob Dylan arrived. The story line according to IMDB:

Follow a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles -- some of them of his own making.

Llewyn Davis is loosely based upon folk singer  Dave Van  Ronk and  incidents in the life as told in his biography" Mayor of MacDougal Street."

“Inside Llewyn Davis” took the Grand Prix prize at the 2013  Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter says “Inside Llewyn Davis” received a five-minute standing ovation after its Cannes debut last week, and lead actor Oscar Isasc “enjoyed the loudest applause, along with shouts of ‘bravo!’ for his performance.”

The film is scheduled to open in the United States on December 6, 2013. Mark you calendar!

(Movie soundtrack album cover next to Dave Van Ronk's actual album cover)
( Dylan, his girl friend Suzi Rotolo and the real Dave Von Ronk)
( Dave Van Ronk, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and Judy Collins)
 The cat in the movie is great and the soundtrack has a song sung by Bob Dylan that he has not previously released.  I think the soundtrack will be a keeper.
Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack 
1. Hang Me, Oh Hang Me
(Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac and T Bone Burnett)
Oscar Isaac
2. Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)
(Traditional; Arranged by Marcus Mumford, Oscar Isaac, and T Bone Burnett)
Oscar Isaac and Marcus Mumford
3. The Last Thing on My Mind
(Tom Paxton)
Stark Sands with Punch Brothers
4. Five Hundred Miles
(Hedy West)
Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, and Stark Sands
5. Please Mr. Kennedy
(Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen)
Justin Timberlake, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver
6. Green, Green Rocky Road
(Len Chandler and Robert Kaufman)
Oscar Isaac
7.  The Death of Queen Jane
(Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac and T Bone Burnett)
Oscar Isaac
8. The Roving Gambler
John Cohen with The Down Hill Strugglers
9. The Shoals of Herring
(Ewan MacColl)
Oscar Isaac with Punch Brothers
10. The Auld Triangle
(Brendan Behan)
Chris Thile, Chris Eldridge, Marcus Mumford, Justin Timberlake, and Gabe Witcher
11. The Storms Are on the Ocean
(A.P. Carter)
Nancy Blake
12. Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song)
(Traditional; Arranged by Oscar Isaac)
Oscar Isaac
13. Farewell *
(Bob Dylan)
Bob Dylan
14. Green, Green Rocky Road
(Len Chandler & Robert Kaufman)
Dave Van Ronk
*Previously unreleased recording

Friday, June 28, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continnued.

Tonight Robert E Lee, leading the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia of 75,000 men into Pennsylvania, at his headquarters in Chambersburg, Pa.,  received reports from a Confederate spy by the name of "Harrison" that Hooker's Union Army of the Potomac of 100,000 men, was moving north to engage Lee and that he had followed two Federal Corps to Frederick, Maryland. With Lee's cavalry under the command of Jeb Stewart out of contact with Lee he had to rely on the spy's report. As the spy was leaving he almost incidentally tells Lee that the Army of the Potomac is now under the command of General George Mead.

Since Lee's army is spread-out all over southern Pennsylvania and knowing that a  battle is near, Lee based upon the spy's report, tonight  orderes that his army concentrate at a small town intersected by 10 road like the spokes of a wheel named...... Gettysburg!

It is 6 days till the 4th of July,1863, the 67 anniversary of Thomas Jefferson's DECLORATION  OF INDEPENDANCE.  Thomas Jefferson and John Adams have been dead for 37 years and the country they founded is fighting a terrible Civil War over the words:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This same night a collage professor from a small college in Maine is camped out with the unit he leads, named the 20th Maine. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain gave up his professorship in Maine to fight for the Union and to end slavery.  He wrote to the Governor of Maine:

"I fear, this war, so costly of blood and treasure, will not cease until men of the North are willing to leave good positions, and sacrifice the dearest personal interests, to rescue our country from desolation, and defend the national existence against treachery." 

He has read 'Uncle Tom's Cabin" written by the wife of a fellow professor at Bowdoin Collage and hates slavery and wants to make the words of the Declaration of Independence true. In the days to come he will get his chance! More about him later.

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Continued - Sidebar on Copperheads

("Compromise with the South")

As a sidebar to the Gettysburg Campaign here is a feature story on how the peace Democrats, also known as Copperheads, are greeting  Robert E Lees Confederate army during it's invasion of  Pennsylvania.

Many Copperheads had long anticipated this moment, thinking that their support of the Confederate cause would be warmly received by the soldiers. This turned out to be the exact opposite; in fact many Copperheads were shunned by the Confederate soldiers. Many area newspapers headlined the "Rebels Snub the Copperheads". Pennsylvania residents were treated poorly by the Confederate soldiers such as one case where a Confederate soldier threatened harm to a woman if she did not cut down a Liberty pole. This was according to reporters "one of the most 'malignant copperheads' in town."

As Confederate Albert Jenkins and his cavalry brigade made their way northward into Pennsylvania, several Copperheads were surprised to see that the Confederate general refused to shake their hands. In one case Jenkins was reported as saying "Lincoln ought to have hung you and the rest of the Copperheads long ago. We would not tolerate such men in the Southern Confederacy. We respect those who are against us in the North much more than the Copperheads." Many Confederate soldiers voiced their opinions to the Copperheads telling them that if they truly supported the South, they should pick up a musket and join the fight. This stunned the Copperheads to their core.
(to read more click on the link:

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continued


George Meade, a Pennsylvanian who is the  commanding the V Corps, Union Army of the Potomac was ordered by President Lincoln to assume command of the entire Army of the Potomac early this morning in Frederick, Maryland. Meade is reported  surprised by the change of command order, having previously expressed his lack of interest in the army command. In fact, when an officer from Washington woke him this morning with the order, he assumed he was being arrested for some transgression. He has  little knowledge of what Hooker's plans had been or the exact locations of the three Union columns moving throughMaryland to meet the confederate invasion. He has advised Washington he will keep Washington and Baltimore well covered, and if the enemy is checked in his attempt to cross the Susquehanna or if he turns toward Baltimore, to "give him battle."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years Ago Today Continued

 There are reports today that General, "Fighting" Joe Hooker, leader of the Union Army of the Potomac has advised President Lincoln that he is resigning because of a dispute over the defense of Harper's Ferry!  Meanwhile advanced units of Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia passed through Gettysburg  last night and are now occupying York , Pennsylvania as part of Lee's invasion of the North and the Union Army of the Potomac is without a leader!

In this hour of crisis President Lincoln has offered the commend to a number of Union generals who have turned him down. There are reports Lincoln has offered the  job to Major General  John F. Reynolds,  but has been turned down. With a major battle looming that could determine the fate of the United States of America , the Union does not have a commanding general to deal with the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Gettyburg 150 Years ago Today Continued

 Today Confederate General Jubal Early's  Division marched eastward toward York, PA and reached Gettysburg by evening, His troops  burned several railroad cars and a covered bridge, and destroyed nearby rails and telegraph lines. He  demands $10,000 in goods from the town, but to no avail. Earlier in the day he had a  brief series of skirmishes with Pennsylvania  state emergency militia and two companies of cavalry.
Early's troops are the point of Robert E Lee's Army of Northern Virginia and the rest of Lee's Army is spread across western Maryland and southern  Pennsylvania in long snake like columns.

President Lincoln has issued a proclamation calling for 100,000 volunteers from four states to serve a term of six months "to repel the  invasion of Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin  has called for 50,000 volunteers to take arms as volunteer militia; however only 7,000 have responded, and Curtin asked for help from the New York State Militia. Gov. Joel Parker of New Jersey has responded by sending troops to Pennsylvania. The War Department  has created the Department of the Susquehanna, commanded by Maj. Gen. Darius N. Couch, to coordinate defensive efforts in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia are considered potential targets and defensive preparations are being made. In Harrisburg, the state government is removing  its archives from the town for safekeeping.  Thousands of refugees from Maryland and Pennsylvania are fleeing northward and eastward to avoid the oncoming Confederates.
There are reports the Confederate Army has seized some 40 northern African Americans, who are being sent south into slavery.

The Union Army of the Potomac is slowly in pursuit in central Maryland  being carful to keep between the invading Confederate Army and Washington D.C.


The Oregon Ducks long nightmare with the NCAA is over and with a fair result!  I only wish it hadn't taken so long.  Now we can focus solely on what happens on the field.  Are you ready for some football!!!!!!!!! 

I got up early this morning after a fitful night of sleep, turned on my computer and fixed a pot of coffee (WITH CAFFEINE) and waited for the NCAA and the SCOTUS to announce their decisions with came out almost at the same time giving me a good case of sensory overload as I monitored  my TV ( FOX NEWS/ ABC's Good Morning America), my computer (emails, twitter and Oregon Duck websites) and my iPad too. I did all this  while getting ready for work and having breakfast.

Can't disagree with SCOTUS on DOMA and their non decision on Prop 8 in California.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years ago Today Continued

Today, June 25,1863, General Fighting Joe Hooker of the Union Army of the Potomac has now started to make a significant pursuit of the Confederates with the bulk of his army upon learning that the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia has crossed the Potomac River. He  has ordered the Army of the Potomac to cross into Maryland and concentrate at Middletown (Slocum's XII Corps) and Frederick (the rest of the army, led by Reynolds's advance wing—the I, III, and XI Corps)

Meanwhile  there are reports that:

 Advanced Confederate troops in  E. Rodes' Division (under Ewell) occupied Chambersburg in Pennsylvania and are marching eastward toward York, Pennsylvania.

Thus, long lines of troop both blue and gray are marching through Maryland in an almost parallel course in anticipation of a large battle somewhere in Pennsylvania or possible Maryland. Confederate forces under Lee invading Pennsylvania number approximately 75,000 and the Union forces in pursuit number approximately 100,000.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years ago Today Continued

(General James Longstreet C.S.A.) 
News reports from imbedded correspondence say Confederate units including  Generals A.P. Hill"s Corp and General James Longstreet's Corp. are now crossing  the Potomac River into Western  Maryland. Now that "Stonewall" Jackson is dead Longstreet is considered General Lee's principal subordinate who Lee calls his "Old War Horse" and it will later be said: "was the finest corps commander in the Army of Northern Virginia; in fact, he was arguably the best corps commander in the conflict on either side."
General Lee has given his cavalry under General Jeb Stewart permission to leave the main body of the Army of Northern Virginia and is circling the Union Army of the Potomac to the East of Washington D.C.
Meanwhile President Lincoln has vetoed Union General "Fighting" Joe Hooker's plan to march on Richmond now that the "road is open" and ungraded. Lincoln sternly reminded him that Lee's army was the true objective. His orders were to pursue and defeat Lee but to stay between Lee and Washington. General Hooker is already moving his army North out of northern Virginia  in pursuit.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gettysburg 150 Years ago Today Continued

There are reports in Washington  that President Lincoln has lost faith  in General "Fighting" Joe Hooker's leadership of the Union Army of the Potomac after being caught by surprise and defeated at Chancellorsville in Virginia a little more than 7 weeks ago by Confederate General Robert E Lee. However, Lee in that battle lost his best General when "Stonewall" Jackson was killed in a friendly fire incident. Lee is reported to have said after hearing of the loss of Jackson: "I have lost my right arm."

Meanwhile , General Hooker has sent cavalry to western  and  central Maryland to scout out movements of Lee's Army of Northern Virginia to see if he has moved in force across the Potomac River into western Maryland near Hagerstown.  What with Confederate forces clearing the Shenandoah Valley in northwest Virginia of Northern troops he is concerned Lee may be "invading" the North again as he did late last summer at Antietam also in western Maryland.

There are also reports that Lee has weakened his forced between Hooker and the Confederate Capitol of Richmond.  Sources in Hooker's command are theorizing this may be a good time to strike toward Richmond and are drawing up contingency plans.


As a side bar, woman who are camp followers of Hooker's soldiers are getting a new nick name for their profession.   Will this be General Hookers lasting legacy?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Battle of Gettysburg - The Invasion of the North

It was 150 years ago on July 1, 2 & 3rd, 1863 that the decisive battle of Gettysburg was fought in southern Pennsylvania. In order to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the  battle I will be posting "news reports" of the  lead up to the battle and the battle itself  between now and July 4th as if reported today in contemporary terms assuming the knowledge we now have of the battle.

 In June 1863, Confederate general Robert E. Lee and 75,000 soldiers of the  Army of Northern Virginia invaded the North in hopes of relieving pressure on war-torn Virginia and  defeating the Union Army of the Potomac guarding Washington D.C.  and striking a decisive blow to Northern morale and thus ending the war with the 11 state of the Confederacy to create  separate country.

According to Wikipedia:

Shortly after the Army of Northern Virginia won a major victory over the Army of the Potomac at the Battle of Chancellorsville (April 30 – May 6, 1863), Robert E. Lee decided upon a second invasion of the North (the first was the unsuccessful Maryland Campaign of September 1862, which ended in the bloody Battle of Antietam). Such a move would upset Federal plans for the summer campaigning season and possibly reduce the pressure on the besieged Confederate garrison at Vicksburg. The invasion would allow the Confederates to live off the bounty of the rich Northern farms while giving war-ravaged Virginia a much-needed rest. In addition, Lee's 75,000-man army could threaten Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and possibly strengthen the growing peace movement in the North.

By mid-June, the Army of Northern Virginia was poised to cross the Potomac River and enter Maryland. After defeating the Federal garrisons at Winchester and Martinsburg, Ewell's Second Corps began crossing the river on June 15. Hill's and Longstreet's corps followed on June 24 and June 25.

To screen his movements from the Northern Army, Lee kept the Blue Ridge Mountains and it's northern extension "South Mountain"  between him and the Union Army around Washington DC. He had his Calvary under Jeb Stewart guard the passes to keep the Union from knowing his movements. His army crossed the Potomac River near Hagerstown  Maryland.
Jon Anderson of the Army Times gives us a report:

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The capital of Pennsylvania is in panic today amid reports that Confederate troops are crossing the Potomac River.
Harrisburg residents are packing into trains and wagons, loaded down with luggage and whatever cherished items they can carry. Government officials in the capital are also preparing to evacuate.
Governor Andrew Curtin has ordered local militia units to defend Pennsylvania's border from “the Rebel Invader.”
Gen. Robert E. Lee’s of Army of Northern Virginia will have to get through Maryland first.
Fresh from their victory in Winchester, Va., Lee’s lead units — including a brigade of cavalry — began crossing the Potomac near Hagerstown yesterday afternoon, now followed by major units from at least one of his three corps.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer 2013

We have now passed all three of the three markers for the beginning of Summer. Memorial Day Weekend,  the day school is out  and now June 21st have come and gone.. It's now the official start of Summer. Medford seems deserted since school "let out".  It seems like "everyone has gone to the moon." It's been in the 70's and the summer stretches before us in all it's splendor. Plans are already being made for the 4th of July! 

This should be a fairly quiet summer.  No political conventions and no Olympic games. I have some work to do around the house cleaning windows, carpets and paint touch up.  I may try and even clean the garage.
Neither of our adult kids will be coming home but we will try and get together in the fall for a football game. More on that later.  We have our  38th wedding anniversary and my wife's birthday in August and throughout the summer the anticipation of Oregon Duck Football.

I love this time of year.  As a kid growing up in Coos Bay/ North Bend on the Oregon coast we never had a real summer...... it was always cold and windy. We have set up our gazebo on our back deck and have already had several lunches out there.  We have already done a lot of yard work.  We had fresh bark sprayed and spend a hard weekend spreading pea gravel on the paths in the back and side yards.

Been watching the Summer series on A&E, Longmire season 2 . Hope to see the new Western, "The Lone Ranger" when it opens and have already seen the new "Iron Man" movie.

Now, if only I could find a drive-in theater! Time for ice tea.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Stand for Freedom!

Peggy Noonan:

The purpose of the surveillance is enhanced security, a necessary goal to say the least. The price is a now formal and agreed-upon acceptance of the end of the last vestiges of Americans' sense of individual distance and privacy from the government. The price too is a knowledge, based on human experience and held by all but fools and children, that the gleanings of the surveillance state will eventually be used by the mischievous, the malicious and the ignorant in ways the creators of the system did not intend. For all we know that's already happened. But of course we don't know: It's secret. Only the intelligence officials know, and they say everything's A-OK. .......

It is a great irony, and history will marvel at it, that the president most committed to expanding the centrality, power, prerogatives and controls of the federal government is also the president who, through lack of care, arrogance, and an absence of any sense of prudential political boundaries, has done the most in our time to damage trust in government.

Oregon Ducks: "Double Secret Probation"

"An inside source at the NSA has given ATQ some leaked recordings from the NCAA. We have an exclusive on what punishment for the Ducks is about to be handed down"

Addicted To Quack has a very funny post on former Washington Huskie and current  NCAA President Mark Emmert and his dislike for the Ducks!

Mark Emmert aka Dean Wormer: "I hate those guys!"

Saturday, June 08, 2013

One of the Guideposts to Summer!

First College Football Magazine. Picked it up at Fred's yesterday. One of the Guideposts to Summer! Yes, that is Oregon QB Marcus Mariota on the cover.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Stop the Domestic NSA Surveillance

Yesterday Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to Eric Holder, Attorney General of the United States

“As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation. While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act.  I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”

I too have been a supporter of the Patriot Act but the present interpretation of the law is wrong and if necessary should be amended to limit the power of the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor domestic calls and internet in the United States.  If I post something on this blog it’s for the world to see.  However, who I call and for how long I call is my business!  The same is true for my email and my searches  on Google or other search engines.  I have no problem with the NSA monitoring calls or emails from the United States to other countries or calls or emails coming into the United States from other countries.  But, short of probable cause the government should not be able to monitor domestic communications within this country.

This is not a partisan issue.  I find it hard to believe that I stand with the ACLU, The New York Times, Al Gore, and Oregon Senator Ron Wyden on this issue.  I find it more comforting that Kentucky  Senator Rand Paul, lawyer & radio commentator Mark Levin and Judge Napolitano also stands with me on this issue.

It is becoming clear to me that the Federal Government of the United States is out of control.  Neither the President or Congress is able to take control of the large bureaucracy. The President needs to give up his job of “Campaigner in Chief” and sit in the Oval Office and run the government. The Congress of the United States needs to create less laws and government and limit the rule making authority of the bureaucracy.  

There is no greater supporter of the War on Terrorism than I am.  In fact, I even acknowledge we are WAR on terrorism but I also do not trust big government and there must be check on government power and constant vigilance by free men and women to guard our freedom. We must draw a line and make a stand!
Jonah Goldberg in his column today said it best:
No, I don’t have much confidence in this administration. But I don’t have an abundance of confidence in government generally. That’s one of the things I love about America: The default position is to be skeptical of government, no matter who’s in charge.



Thursday, June 06, 2013

This is Getting Very Depressing !!

This from today's Washington Post:

"The National Security Agency and the FBI are tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies, extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time....

The highly classified program, code-named PRISM, has not been disclosed. publicly before......

The technology companies, which participate knowingly in PRISM operations, include most of the dominant global players of Silicon Valley. They are listed on a roster that bears their logos in order of entry into the program: “Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.” PalTalk,......

 Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said."

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

ACLU: Massive NSA Phone Data-Mining Operation Revealed

The ACLU issued a press release tonight in response to a  news report in the London Guardian newspaper that the National Security Agency (NSA) under President Obama  is monitoring the phone call records of millions of American including domestic local calls!

ACLU Calls for End to Program, Disclosure of Program’s Scope, Congressional Investigation
June 5, 2013

NEW YORK – Using the Patriot Act, the U.S. government has been secretly tracking the calls of every Verizon Business Network Services customer – whom they talked to, from where, and for how long – for the past 41 days, according to a report published by The Guardian.

“From a civil liberties perspective, the program could hardly be any more alarming. It’s a program in which some untold number of innocent people have been put under the constant surveillance of government agents,” said Jameel Jaffer, American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director. “It is beyond Orwellian, and it provides further evidence of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being surrendered in secret to the demands of unaccountable intelligence agencies.”

The program was put in place under the Patriot Act’s Section 215, a controversial provision that authorizes the government to seek secret court orders for the production of “any tangible thing” relevant to a foreign-intelligence or terrorism investigation. Recipients of Section 215 orders, such as telecommunications companies, are prohibited from disclosing that they gave the government their customers’ records.

“Now that this unconstitutional surveillance effort has been revealed, the government should end it and disclose its full scope, and Congress should initiate a full investigation,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel with the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This disclosure also highlights the growing gap between the public’s and the government’s understandings of the many sweeping surveillance authorities enacted by Congress. Since 9/11, the government has increasingly classified and concealed not just facts, but the law itself. Such extreme secrecy is inconsistent with our democratic values of open government and accountability.”

The first information about the government’s use of Section 215 was made public in response to Freedom of Information Act litigation filed by the ACLU 10 years ago. More recently, members of Congress have warned that the government has secretly interpreted Section 215 in a way that would shock Americans. In 2012, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) wrote, “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they are going to be stunned and they are going to be angry.”

In May 2011, shortly before Section 215 was scheduled to expire, the ACLU filed a new FOIA request in an effort to learn more about the “secret interpretation” to which Sens. Wyden and Udall had referred. Congress reauthorized Section 215 without amendment until 2015, and for the last two years, the government has refused to describe its secret interpretation. Whether or not the program described by The Guardian reflects that “secret interpretation,” today’s disclosure confirms that the government has interpreted Section 215 extraordinarily broadly.

This disclosure is likely to have significant implications for the ACLU’s pending FOIA lawsuit. The Department of Justice is scheduled to file a brief in that case on June 13; the ACLU’s response is due on June 28, and oral argument is scheduled for July 11 in the Southern District of New York.


Very interesting letter to Attorney General Eric Holder from Democratic Senators Wyden and Udall dated March 15, 2012

Voice From the Past

"How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm"

Winston Churchill:  "The Gathering Storm"