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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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LOL: Dick "Chuckles" Cheney on the Dangers of Internet Spying

Dick Cheney on the Dangers of Internet Spying
Published March 18, 2015 | By emptywheel

There are several notable things about this interview (Playboy link: mostly SFW) with Dick Cheney (in addition to the detail that Cheney has his “slender, mustachioed housekeeper named Gus” provide a never-ending stream of lattes, prepared at the house, but served in paper Starbucks cups). One of the most striking, however, is how he responds to interviewer James Rosen’s suggestion that the Internet is democratizing.

Do you regard the internet as an intrinsically democratizing force?

(Chuckles, pauses) Oh boy, you know, we’re blue-skyin’ it now. I think it clearly has had a significant impact. “A democratizing force.” Um. (pauses)

In the sense that whenever you have a freer flow of information, that’s going to redound to the forces of good.
Yeah, but on the other hand, I suppose you could argue that it provides ways in which the government, an authoritarian government, can exert control over and monitor and keep track of what everybody is up to and what they are doing. It’s not a one-way street. It’s not necessarily—I need to think about that before I comment further.

The man who implemented an illegal dragnet admits that governments (only authoritarian ones, he suggests? or does the use of such methods make a government authoritarian?) might exert control via the Internet.

If it weren’t for Cheney’s long history implementing just that type of monitoring (certainly on the rest of the world, and to an extent on Americans), I might think he’d been hanging around with Edward Snowden!


This bumper sticker is taking Wisconsin by storm


BREAKING: President Obama Wants To Propose 'Mandatory Voting.' It would change everything.

Mandatory voting? Obama says it would be 'transformative'
By JOSH LEDERMAN, Associated Press
Updated 3:17 pm, Wednesday, March 18, 2015

WASHINGTON (AP) — They say the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. President Barack Obama wants to add one more: voting.

Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the corrosive influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the related topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier — not harder— for people to vote.

Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.

"If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country," Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would "counteract money more than anything."



Ballot Box
Obama Says Mandatory Voting Would 'Completely Change' U.S. Political Map
Mar 18, 2015 3:48 PM PDT
At a town hall meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, the president gave support to the idea of compulsory voting.


A Full List Of Our Recent Military Interventions That Have Had A Positive Impact


Buzz Aldrin Sends Message To The Cosmos


"We live in constant fear of upsetting the WH (White House)."


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration set a record again for censoring government files or outright denying access to them last year under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press.

The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn't find documents and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy.

It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law — but only when it was challenged.

Its backlog of unanswered requests at year's end grew remarkably by 55 percent to more than 200,000. It also cut by 375, or about 9 percent, the number of full-time employees across government paid to look for records. That was the fewest number of employees working on the issue in five years.


The Big Dick School of American Patriotism

Published on
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
by TomDispatch
The Big Dick School of American Patriotism
America's new military mystique and what we make of it

byNan Levinson

Let’s face it: we live in a state of pervasive national security anxiety. There are various possible responses to this low-grade fever that saps resolve, but first we have to face the basis for that anxiety -- what I’ve come to think of as the Big Dick School of Patriotism, or (since anything having to do with our present version of national security, even a critique of it, has to have an acronym) the BDSP.

The BDSP is based on a bedrock belief in how America should work: that the only strength that really matters is military and that a great country is one with the capacity to beat the bejesus out of everyone else. Think of it as a military version of 50 Shades of Grey, with the same frisson of control and submission (for the American citizen) and the assumption that a good portion of the world is ripe to be bullied.

These days, no one in America directly takes on the military. Not the president, who just requested $534 billion for the new Pentagon budget, plus an additional $51 billion for supplemental war funding. Not Congress, where the range of debate over an “authorization” of war in Iraq and Syria goes from “hawks,” who want assurances that we’ll blow ISIS to oblivion by any means, to “doves,” who want assurances that there will be no “boots on the ground” while we blow ISIS into oblivion. Certainly not the courts, which, among other things, have consistently refused to let military objectors invoke their right to disobey illegal orders. And not American citizens who are now well trained to spend their time thanking their all-volunteer warriors for their sacrifices before turning back to the business of everyday life.

It seems to matter little to anyone that, since 9/11, what is supposed to be the greatest fighting force in the world has been stymied by modestly armed insurgencies -- in response to which we keep buying our military yet newer props like the wildly overpriced, over-touted, and underachieving F-35 fighter plane, and sending them back to clean up the very messes they helped produce not so long before. There never seem to be any consequences to this repetitive course of action. Well, none if you don’t count the squandering of whatever political capital this country had after 9/11, or the way a million or so veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan will require costly care for the rest of their lives, or the billions spent on war rather than the environment, infrastructure, education, or (fill in your favorite civic need here).



Now - Cotton and McCain-already siding with Netanyahu on abandoning the 2-state solution

Senate Republicans who welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's attack on President Barack Obama's efforts to strike a nuclear deal with Iran are dismissing his about-face on support for a Palestinian state, a central under-pinning of U.S. policy.

"I think to some degree that's just a statement of fact. There is not going to be a Palestinian State in the short-term because there is not a serious interlocutor on the Palestinian side," Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton said Tuesday during a breakfast with Bloomberg News. "Hamas is still in control of Gaza, Israel had to fight a weeks-long war last summer because they were shooting rockets and mortars and missiles from Gaza into Israel's territory. So I think it's simply a statement of fact for the time being that there's not going to be a Palestinian state."


Cotton and other Republicans said Netanyahu's position merely reflects the situation in the region.

Arizona Senator John McCain, who said he has "always favored'' a two-state solution, defended Netanyahu's right to change his mind.


LAT: By running such a cynical campaign, Netanyahu has guaranteed that his credibility is in tatters


It's not the place of a newspaper in Los Angeles to tell Israelis how to vote.
But now that the election is over, we don't mind saying that
we were hoping for the end of the counterproductive Netanyahu era in Israeli politics.


Idiots dancing around celebrating a disaster, a triumph of idiocy over reason

a well articulated comment from:

The path that Israel is on is unsustainable.

This was the night that it really sunk in that the state of Israel may cease to exist, and catastrophically so, in my lifetime. I'm numb. I'm literally numb inside. I can't come with any way of telling myself that shit is going to just get worse and worse and worse until something that can't be fixed breaks. The fact that people are actually batshit enough to be happy about this, like they won something and good things are ahead, just amps up the insanity and stupidity.

It's like watching people cheering on the massive and unrelenting tsunami rolling towards them on the beach that they are dancing around throwing confetti on.

The wingnuts will be cheering, right up until the moment that everything shits the bed in the region and they realize that they are fucked by not taking wiser steps in past days.

It is, frankly, sickeningly delusional to see anyone who considers themselves a friend of Israel going around thinking that Netanyahu and his ilk winning is not just a good thing for the continued existence of the state of Israel, but insuring it.

If a person wanted Israel to be a pariah state?

This was their dream outcome.

If a person want Israel to be doomed to devolving into an isolated and fitfully reactionary apartheid state?

This was their night.

If a person wanted the relationship between the US and Israel to finally and undeniably become just another vapid and toxic part of the Right's stupid and savage Culture Wars along with the most backwards bigots opposing gay rights and abortion?

Bully for them.

I feel like somebody I care deeply about, who has a crippling addiction to drugs and alcohol they need to deal with or die, just made the decision to to on the biggest and maybe the last big bender of their lives.

I can do nothing but watch in horror.

I have to say. I saw a few commentators here crowing about this turn of events. Why? Simply because their liberal frenemies online were unhappy about it. Idiots dancing around celebrating a disaster, a triumph of idiocy over reason, because it made them feel good to see people they dislike upset.

This is like cheering Jenny McCarthy being put in charge of vaccine distribution and oversight, because somebody who gets on your nerves online is annoyed by it.

Somewhere George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are laughing their asses off, because that is exactly what makes them tick. Reducing everything to the level of internet trolling as triumph.

There comes a point in time when you cannot change course. You went so far, and now you don't have the food, or water, or fuel to go back. So. You go on to your ruin in the wastelands delusionally telling yourself whatever bullshit lies you have to tell yourself so you don't have a nervous breakdown and start screaming in horror at what you have done to fuck yourself.

Netanyahu is a kindred spirit to global climate change denialists, flat-Earthers, and people who only value Israel as a tool to bring about the second coming of Christ, the Rapture, and the end of days.

THAT is an existential threat. That is what an existential threat to an experiment looks like in real time.

Like Florida will not be spared the fatally far rising new tide because it might elect a fool who says its cannot be real or happening, right up until he drowns, Israel will not be spared the Hell that awaits it by following a delusional fanatic towards disaster while he screams that the pathway to ruin is the only way to go. Trust me. We will be rewarded for digging a deep, deep hole, and tossing ourselves in.

I'm upset because I think Netanyahu is sending Israel towards a date with the dustbin of history, like a sick and twisted grand march into the sea as if it is a parade of glory.

This path is unsustainable.

I would go so far as to say it is suicidal for Israel.

Jesus. Hearing anybody cheering and dancing around as a nation marches off a cliff just makes me want to scream.

The idea that stupid myopic people are so enamored by who this terrible outcome may piss off or upset, be they Rightwingers or longtime I/P diary brawlers rubbing it in like they won something right here, in its wake just makes it all the more absurd to me. A nation may very well be on the pathway to its final end because of this racist, vile, dead-enders gambit having an effect on changing course.

Nobody is happier about Netanyahu pulling anything out at the last minute that people who want to see Israel cease to exist.

by LeftHandedMan on Wed Mar 18, 2015 at 12:13:35 AM PDT
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