consultants are sandburs

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sorensen at Bluestem Prairie posts of Jeff Johnson, and a proposal that smacks of welfare for auditors, a bit of that, but more of putting a wet finger up to test political winds.

Sorensen's post, here. Read it. It is about something I read of in Strib and found conceptually strange. Johnson is proposing to spend public money for private sector auditors [none named by Johnson] to comb over [presumably at a nice houry rate] the files and records of state agencies. What Johnson expects from that, besides fees generated, is unclear.

To me it appears that Johnson has seen Ron Paul's "Audit the Fed" campaign, and thought to himself, well, Minnesota does not print money, so what can I suggest auditing?

Sort of a how to make it a me too.

Then, in terms of positions and political expediency, there's Johnson's flip-flop on Kingfish, once Snowden came onto the pubic stage. A man of convictions? Or a man of expedient hobby horse postures? Spying's fine, except when it's not, when it has fallen a bit out of vogue? That's disquieting if wanting a public servant whose positions you can bank on.

this link - get the picture?
Coincidentally, Kingfish detail online can be found here. (Kingfish swims with Stingray. Both are products of Harris Corp.) Law enforcement agencies "contract" with Harris re nondisclosure, presumably in light of FOIA and other transparency things both Harris and law enforcement might like at times to frustrate. See also this link, with links you can follow, e.g., this.

A troublesome situation? And on this kind of stuff Johnson was willingly onboard, until he tested the winds, and jumped ship?

UPDATE: Apologies for segueing from Johnson, man of convictions, to whether you need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows; and, curiously, might it help disarm "conspiracy theory" dismissive attempts at telling you move on - nothing to see here, to have a Supreme Court Justice weather forecasting:

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor says that without proper privacy safeguards, the advancement of technology could lead to a world like the one portrayed in "1984" by George Orwell.

Speaking to Oklahoma City University faculty and students, the justice said Thursday that technology has allowed devices to "listen to your conversations from miles away and through your walls." She added: "We are in that brave new world, and we are capable of being in that Orwellian world, too."

[...] The justice's remarks about drones comes as California is close to joining 10 other states requiring the police to get a court warrant to surveil with a drone. Those states include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. California's bill is pending, awaiting action from Gov. Jerry Brown.

"If the police send a drone to surveil communities, they should get a warrant to do that," Rebecca Farmer, an American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman, said in a telephone interview Friday.

These laws, however, have exemptions that allow the authorities to fly drones for a variety of uses. As Slate put it, "California’s drone bill is not draconian. It includes exceptions for emergency situations, search-and-rescue efforts, traffic first responders, and inspection of wildfires. It allows other public agencies to use drones for other purposes—just not law enforcement."

Sotomayor, meanwhile, sits on the nation's highest court that in June unanimously ruled in favor of the public's mobile phone privacy. In an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court ruled that the authorities generally may not search the mobile phones of those they arrest unless they have a court warrant.

[links omitted] Notice how Roberts will join a majority he might not fully agree with, in order to claim seniority rights to author the majority opinion. To craft it to his ways of thinking as much as feasible, pinching here, letting a touch of vagueness there. He's not the first Chief Justice to notice and use that power.

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