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National Security Letters

​While we were distracted by whether Kellyanne Conway was “lying” about “alternative facts” and how mean Bannon and Spicer are, the FBI quietly lifted the gag order on National Security Letters issued by them during the previous Administration.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, so the following is a lay explanation.

These “Letters” are in fact, subpoenas issued by a government agency. They don’t require a judge or FISA Court review or warrant. 

Get this: the laws authorizing the NSLs are called “Patriot” and ” Privacy” Acts and the gag order provisions have been vetted by the Ninth Circuit of Appeals:

However, the government appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which vacated her ruling and sent the case back to the district court. Last month that court ruled that the gag order challenge was no longer relevant because the USA Freedom Act had successfully addressed the issue of gag orders

GoogleTwitterFacebook, and others reported the release from the gag order during the last couple of months. Yahoo, along with the others, has been fighting in court and some of the Letters have been disclosed to the targets:

Over the past several years, Google challenged 19 NSLs in court and last year won the right to tell WikiLeaks employees that their data had been requested.

I sincerely thought that all of these sorts of subpoenas were required to eventually go through approval of a FISA Court judge. Hopefully, the Trump Administration will not continue the Obama Administration’s abuse of these Letters and that Congress will correct the law.

What’s up with those # and @ signs? #TxSen Candidates and Fans on Twitter

jroger777: So if the #TeaParty fails to show up and the retirees get real excited about voting for Dewhurst then @tedcruz won’t be our next #TXSen   (Twitter comment on a poll showing that people over 65 are more likely to vote for David Dewhurst)

By now, we’ve all heard that there’s a runoff race on for Texas’ U.S. Senator Republican candidate. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has received the endorsement of Governor Rick Perry, 18 of 19 Republican State Senators, and the bulk of State-Wide office holders.  Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz is backed by many leaders of the “Tea Party,” especially those most interested in controlling illegal immigration. South Carolina’s Senator Jim DeMint recruited former Texas Solicitor Ted Cruz to run  last year and has been campaigning with him this past weekend. We’ve seen the fanfare with Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and Rick Santorum. A few know that Norman Adams, who masterminded the “Texas Solution” guest worker Plank in the Republican Party of Texas 2012 Platform, endorsed Cruz in the Primary.

But who are the grassroots supporters and what do they say in support of and against the candidates? One way to get an idea is to follow the race, the candidates and their “fans” on the social networking sites. The most popular are Facebook and Twitter. A cadre of supporters of both candidates post on Twitter, gathering together under the “hashtag” (see my “Primer” below) #TxSen, That’s why I’ve been putting the # in the title of most of my posts for the last month or so.

I posted about the news coverage and fallout from one conversation on Twitter back in early June, when Katrina Pierson, founder of Garland, Texas Tea Party and Grassroots Texans Network, and volunteer for Cruz, called former Marine Captain Dan Moran “a deformed disabled vet.”

That was about the time I got wrapped up in Facebook and Twitter – especially Twitter – – okay, addicted to Twitter –  political social networking.  I also started saving a few of the more notable Tweets sent by the Cruz crowd. (Sometimes derogatorily called “Cruzbots.” I wouldn’t do that. I call them the #CruzClan.)

Unfortunately, the conversation above is not that unusual, except that it got some press. The @DavidHDewhurst fans (voters) tend to be polite and rule followers. In contrast, the @tedcruz supporters follow a different drummer.  I’ve argued politics on the Internet for nearly 20 years and have never seen the spite and name calling that comes from the #CruzClan, even when talking to atheists, pro-aborts and RonPaulers.  That last statement reads like an incredible exaggeration, even to me, but just watch #TxSen or my “feed” after this blog is published.

The biggest surprise came in the form of questions indicating that some of the #CruzClan might not agree with their candidate, who says he’s pro-life and believes in laws protecting marriage as “one man and one woman,”  on “social issues,” such as abortion and marriage. Here are a few examples:

KatrinaPierson: @bnuckols Social issues are not constitutional issues. What are his fiscal conservative achievements. #txsen

KatrinaPierson: @bnuckols What page of the constitution is homosexuality on. I must have missed that one. #txsen #tcot

smurfdawginnc: @KatrinaPierson @bnuckols Why would the Constitution discuss a persons private sexual preference?

I had a several-day discussion about the Constitution and abortion with this Cruz supporter:

@Clint_Stutts: @bnuckols You’re still reading into the texts of the DOI and Const what isn’t there. Still have not shown they had unborn in mind #txsen

Even with a limit of 140 characters, the discussion followed the same old pattern that all such conversations do.

Wonder how popular Cruz will  be with his fans in a couple of years, if he’s elected, but proves more or less Conservative – and effective in the designed-to-be-immovable-Senate than they expect him to be?

Short primer on Twitter and Tweeting

If you are reading this on your computer or phone, you have all the skills necessary to be a social networker on Twitter. Join in!

If you want to see – or “follow” –  the real time conversation, you have to sign up for Twitter at Twitter.com. (Hint: Pick the shortest name you can, so you don’t eat up the 140 character limit!)  If you are interested in a topic or person, enter the word or name in the search box at the top. You can save the search to return to it over and over. You may have to pick the most appropriate result, or find your specific interest as a “hashtag” – subjects that appear frequently enough to form a subheading or group of Tweets – in the list of Tweets given. “Top Conservatives on Twitter” is a good place to start, #tcot. Or #TxSen/#txsen, “Texas Senate” will allow you to follow that subject through the election.

You’ll also see a list of people who tweet about your subject. People are contacted and referred to by @TheirName. I’m @bnuckols.

@bnuckols tweets

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