PATRIOT ACT – The United States Congress passed the Patriot Act into law on October 26, 2001. We commented at that time that this legislation opened a Pandora’s Box that would threaten our civil liberties for years to come. The Washington Post is reporting that the NSA has the capability of retrieving and recording 100% of phone calls in foreign countries. The MYSTIC program was first unleashed in 2009. The Post lists as its source documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The White House confirmed the program’s existence stating that it is only used to “advance national security and foreign policy interests." We don’t like to indulge in conspiracy theories…but any assertion that the MYSTIC program is limiting its eavesdropping capabilities to foreign countries strains credulity.
PUTIN – Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty yesterday annexing Crimea into the Russian Federation. While his bold move stunned the international community it was met with overwhelming approval by the Russian people. USA Today reports that according to the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Research, 86% of the Russian people believe that Crimea is part of Russian territory and 90% support unification. Putin’s approval rating rose 10 points after he ordered Russian troops into the Ukraine. It now stands at 71.6%. This is why Putin doesn’t care about the outrage coming from the international community. He has the overwhelming support of the Russian people. They share his desire to resurrect the glory days when the USSR was a superpower to be feared and respected. They feed his ego. Nothing motivates the egomaniacal Putin like a good dose of “atta boy!”