Member since: Thu Aug 30, 2007, 11:50 PM
Number of posts: 3,024
Number of posts: 3,024
Everyday we get at least two posts, and often more, telling us how Hillary is inevitable, the best choice, and the only choice for Democrats. We get polling that nobody has the name recognition. We get polling about how Democratic Insiders and strategists are so excited about a Hillary Nomination that they are changing their underwear hourly. We had the campaign against Rick Perry pretty much mapped out and plotted. We could beat him with Hillary, no problem.
Then Rick Perry was indicted, and the game changed out of our favor. With Christy out, Perry was the presumptive nominee for the Rethugs. He had suffered from the image of being a blithering dumbass in the debates of the 2012 nomination. The man couldn't string a sentence together on TV to save his life. So he added glasses, because everyone knows Glasses make you look smart.
Now, Rick Perry is out, Christy is out. Who does that leave? Bush White House take three? No way that people get behind Jeb. Too much of one family. That my friends leaves the policy wonk Paul Ryan, or Rand Paul. The old boys network would prefer Paul Ryan, but they will figure out pretty quickly that they'll have more luck trying to moderate Rand than get Ryan elected at all.
Paul will win the early contests, and have momentum going into the rest of the states. His message is pretty simple, and worse, it feeds on and is encouraged by recent events. In other words, the Republican Candidate is on the Populist side of the issues. The populist side that could very well indicate the voters desires.
While Hillary is running to the right of McCain on foreign issues, Paul is going a different direction. Worse his ideas are going to resonate with the electorate. We've been at war with Terror since 9-11-2001 and people are sick of it. That's why there was no support for going into Syria. That's why President Obama suffered another drop in public approval when he started bombing ISIS. People are getting sick of it. After twelve years of bombing, and casualties, and diplomatic efforts, we're no closer to an end game than we were on 9-12-2001. Rand Paul's arguments that we need a policy of non intervention and allow people to sort out their own problems is liable to find a receptive audience. Military families tired of watching Mom or Dad or the Son or Daughter go off to fight and possibly not come home are liable to get on board. The argument Hillary will put forth that we must do this for security has been heard so often that nobody is going to buy into it. None of that has worked, so let's try something new will be the thoughts a lot of people will have.
Let me explain. Rand has a libertarian view on the drug war. He'll start with Legalizing Marijuana. People in Colorado will be interviewed and talk about all the tax revenue collected from the legalized sale of Marijuana. The public is generally pretty split on the issue, but they will probably fall on the legalize side of the issue, especially when there are a flood of drug war ruined my life over a joint news stories. So Rand will pick up support there, while Hillary will be going conservative to get the law and order vote.
Militarization of the Police. Rand has opposed it for a while, and Hillary has been silent. So the best case is she can say during the debates that she agrees with Rand Paul and his long held beliefs that she was late coming to the party about militarization of the police. Worst Case she takes the attitude that cops need that crap to protect us, or something, in an effort to shore up the law and order and conservative votes.
Either way, the Base of the Democratic Party will find themselves agreeing with Paul, and either arguing that the Conservative path is the right one to get the Democrat in the White House, thus selling out their core beliefs, or will argue that Paul is wrong about how he's doing it but right about what he wants to do. That last one loses us the White House by the way.
So let's look at the Economy. Paul has been a vocal opponent of bailing out wall street. Guess what, Occupy Wall Street was a vocal opponent. So who hasn't been a vocal opponent? Hillary because that would lose her the corporate sponsors she needs to stuff the war chest full of cash for the run.
Well, there's the NSA, which Paul has been a vocal opponent of, and Hillary has been supporting.
So to summarize. The Republican candidate will be on the Progressive side of many issues, while the Democratic Candidate will be on the regressive side of the issues. Now you're going to scream that Paul will destroy the Department of Education, slash Welfare, social security, and destroy a woman's right to choose.
The problem is that people will be willing to risk those issues to get action on the other ones. The message is going to be nothing else has worked, two administrations of bombing suspected terrorists and five thousand American Service members are dead and nothing has changed to make us more secure. Anyone want to bet that Paul doesn't use the phrase whack a mole to describe the effort against ISIS/ISIL?
So if we run the inevitable Hillary, we cede the White House to Rand Paul. Because there is no way we can out Conservative the Republicans. The Conservatives will either vote Republican, or stay home. The Liberals will vote Democratic, or stay home. It's the moderates, the folks in the middle. They'll be choosing between more of the same, and something new. What do you think they will choose?
So what do we need to do? We need to nominate a true Progressive. I'm talking Bernie Sanders, I'm talking Elizabeth Warren for the top job. I'm talking Grayson for the top job, not some sop to the LW by giving them a high position. Because nominating Hillary is giving away all the issues that are in the news. Anyone think there will be no more pictures of militarized police between now and November 2016? Anyone think that there will be no more revelations about the NSA between now and November 2016? How about stories about tax revenue in Colorado from the legalized Marijuana sales. Anyone think that we won't see any of those? Or lets talk about the war on Terror, anyone think that ISIS is going to give up and surrender because a few bombs were dropped?
How does Hillary support the attacking of ISIS which inadvertently helps Assad of Syria, you remember him the evil dictator of just last year, who will end up being our ally next year as we push intelligence and special operations types forward to identify the ISIS bases to bomb? When that happens, and it will, the press will revel in playing all the Democratic politicians who wanted to bomb the crap out of Syria to drive Assad into exile or prison day and night for days. The good news is that Hillary had said that Assad was a Reformer. Then a couple years later, that he had to go. So the good news is that we can say we were on the he's a reformer bandwagon before we were on the bomb the crap out of him bandwagon. We've just returned to our earlier position.
How did our election strategy become to be the nominee of the Defense Contractors, the Military Industrial Intelligence Conspiracy, the pro war on drugs team? Who decided that the key to getting elected was to become more interventionist than the Kaiser?
Nominate Hillary, and you hand the White House to Rand Paul. You can blame the voters for being stupid as they vote for the candidate that supports the issues that Liberals used to, but you will be doing it from outside the fenced yard of the White House.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sun Aug 24, 2014, 10:49 AM (290 replies)
I originally wrote the following just before Michael Brown was killed by Police. I've been thinking about it now and then since then. I've decided to post it now, so it can rapidly drop to the bottom of the posts with the other dead letters.
Vietnam was lost in 1968 for all intents and purposes. It was announced on the news by Walter Cronkite. The problem is, we didnít want to lose. But we never had a plan for victory. The plan we had was to stabilize the South Vietnamese Government and hope for the best sometime in the future.
Letís contrast World War 2 shall we? It is just days after Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Churchill traveled to Washington DC to meet with President Roosevelt to discuss the war, the future, and how the war could be won. Churchill believed that Japan would fall when isolated, the first and most deadly peril to the world was Hitler. Roosevelt agreed, but knew he could not turn his back on the Pacific, the Japanese had started the war. However they agreed that the largest share of American Material would be sent to the European Theaters of the war to fight the Naziís.
In December 1941 with the smell of death and smoke still clinging to Pearl Harbor the general plan to win the war was being worked on by the allies. We knew what we would accept, Unconditional Surrender of the Axis powers. We knew basically how, the outline if not the general details of the path to Victory. As early as the Tehran Conference in 1943, we were looking at the post war, post victory actions in Europe and Asia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehran_Conference
We were fighting for Victory. Victory was easy to define, the destruction of Nazism. The destruction of Fascist Italy. The destruction of Imperial Japan.
How about earlier. World War I. President Wilson kept trying to get peace discussions going. He refused to believe that all the combatants would demand victory or death. To oversimplify it a bit, no one could afford to lose, and remain in power. Everyone had planned on the losing side paying for the war under the term Reparations, a common bribe paid to end hostilities by the losing side for centuries. Russia, Germany, and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire proved that to be true.
Wilson finally learned in 1917 that the combatants were determined to fight, and the last choice he had was to pick sides. Germany had already taken hostile action against the United States, so the decision was academic.
We fought to victory in conflicts. Historically Peace treaties were rarely the final word on the issues. The perpetual state of war between England and Spain went on for centuries. The same with France that lasted until the beginning of the 20th Century. Peace treaties were a way to back away, gather strength, and start again in a few years, perhaps a generation would pass in relative peace, then the hostilities would recommence.
So the war on drugs has been going on since the 1970ís with no end in sight. We arrest the dealers, the users, and the drug smugglers. We get a kingpin, and announce a major victory in the war on drugs. But there is no real victory in sight. We donít address the core issue, the desire of people to use, that drives demand for drugs. We aren't fighting to win. We are fighting because the alternative scares us more, the idea of drug addled people all over the place. The truth is, legalization would pretty much end drug availability. Liability laws would make production of drugs stronger than Marijuana problematic. Personal Injury lawyers would go up and talk about how Gasoline was used in the production of Cocaine and huge settlements that would finally make the tobacco awards look puny by comparison would wipe out the drug producers.
The war on Terror. Since World War II we have been reluctant to declare war on anything but vague ill-defined terms. We had war on Poverty. We had war on intolerance, war on war. We like ill-defined wars though, because that way we can get involved without doing what FDR did in December 1941. We can fight without declaring what victory will be. We do this because the reality is we know that victory over these things is a virtual impossibility.
How do you win a war on Terrorism? Terrorism by definition is always small cells that have been preparing for an attack that is nearly suicidal at best, outright suicide at worst. How do you win that?
I had a discussion with a friend who is black at work the other day. We were talking about Iraq, and we both agreed that racism didnít end because of a court decision to integrate schools. Racism ends when people decide to live together. Live and let live. There are whites who wonít do that, and there are blacks who wonít do it. But generally speaking, most of us have decided to live, and let live.
Iraq, the disparate groups show little interest in living together. ISIS/ISIL or whatever you are calling them today have little tolerance for anyone who does not join them. It is a join us or die movement that may consist of hundreds of thousands of followers who are dedicated to some extent or another. So what are we doing? We deploy troops to secure our Embassy and the American Compounds. Then we deploy bombs to protect the troops protecting the compounds.
We are fighting not to lose. We donít know how to win, and we are unwilling to lose. This is not a foreign policy, this is a we donít have a better idea at the moment, maybe tomorrow will bring something that we can use plan.
My Father told me that if I was going to fight other schoolboys, I had to know what I was fighting for, and when I would stop. He told me that I could fight as long as the other boy was standing, but once he was on the ground I was to stop, because that was defined by him, and me, as the end of the fight. That was victory, when the other boy would not get up. Later, I defined it as preventing him from hurting me anymore. For two boys in the school yard using fists and feet to settle their issues, this isn't a bad plan. Eventually that other boy would get up, or I would, and go home to lick our wounds. Perhaps the issue was settled, perhaps it was like one of those peace treaties mentioned above, a temporary cessation of hostility. The point is that there was a clearly defined point of victory, or defeat. This point was generally speaking pretty universally accepted.
We identify people with hostile intent. We bomb them and destroy them. Then another four pop up, and we start hunting for the four, then the twelve, then the fifty. We are applying the schoolyard principle to the world at large, and nobody we are at war with is playing by those rules.
Now, some will insist that I come up with an answer. I've identified a problem, weíre fighting not to lose instead of fighting to win. So what is the solution? Thatís the problem. I donít have one. OK, there are some obvious ones that are inconceivable.
We could wipe out anyone who believes in a specific religion. Besides being infamous that is the definition of Genocide, which is prohibited by international law with good reason.
We could station our troops on our borders and build a wall to prevent anyone coming in and hurting us. Obviously besides being impossible, that is stupid and wouldn't work.
We need to learn to live together. Jew and Gentile. Muslim and Hindu. Brown, Black, White, Red, Yellow, and Turquoise. But we donít do that. Even as political parties, we define ourselves by being different than the others, and superior because of those differences. Every Religion is convinced that they are the ones who are right, and everyone thinks the others are going to suffer for eternity because they are wrong. I've read the Bible, and I've read about Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Wicca. I've never found a book anywhere that says I have any say in what happens to anyone else in the hereafter. Nowhere in any of those books does it say SavannahMann will decide what reward or punishment you shall receive. Believe me, no one is more glad of that than I, because I donít have the wisdom to make those determinations.
If we are going to fight these wars. Poverty, Drugs, Intolerance, and even Terrorism. We need to decide what victory is, and how we reach it. Because without knowing what the win is, there is no way to figure out how to reach it. Berlin was easy, we knew where it was. Tokyo was easy, we knew where it was. But where can we find victory as long as we are fighting to keep from losing. In that instance, victory is defined by surviving to fight another day.
We view elections much the same way. Many of our battle cries here on DU and out there in the real world of media resonate with the idea that we canít let them win. We aren't fighting for anything. We are fighting to keep from losing. We have no strategic plan, nor any short term plan. We argue endlessly about how much worse things would be with ďthemĒ in charge. So what are we going to GOTV for? Why we have to do it to keep them from winning. We have to do it to keep from losing.
I know this rambled a bit, but I see a lot of intertwined threads that I wanted to briefly touch as I explained what I was thinking. Please feel free to tell me how wrong I am, or what you think we can or should do for victory on any of these wars. Because Iím getting a little tired of the plan to fight just to keep from losing.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sat Aug 16, 2014, 07:18 PM (0 replies)
I honestly wish I could say check out this link to the Onion. Or perhaps I could say that I was just joking. No, I'm afraid I'm actually serious.
The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized President Obama Thursday for his remarks about law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo.
"I would contend that discussing police tactics from Martha's Vineyard is not helpful to ultimately calming the situation," director Jim Pasco said in an interview with The Hill.
"I'm not there, and neither is the president," Pasco said. "That is why we have due process in the United States. And this will all be sorted out over time. But right now, I haven't seen anything from afar ó and maybe the president has ó that would lead me to believe the police are doing anything except to restore order."
Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/215178-police-chief-hits-obama-for-ferguson-remarks#ixzz3AQPMKbH8
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
Talk about being tone deaf. Hey the cops are pretty much viewed by the public at large as jackbooted gestapo, but hey let's not let that slow us down from further militarization right? The cops are just doing their jobs. Right now, I'm watching the news, and there is nothing about riots or tear gas or all that nonsense in Ferguson. Why? Because someone finally showed up with a brain between his ears. MSNBC says that the case if it happened according to the witnesses, was first degree murder.
But there is no way that the President of the United States, who has access to the Justice Department, the FBI, and the Governor of the State might have some information. But for the sake of argument. Let's pretend that President Obama is half as ignorant as you seem to be Chief of the Fraternal Order of Police, perhaps you could turn on the news and see the brutal responses.
I say that the Chief of the Fraternal Order of Police is ignorant because apparently he hasn't heard about the press being arrested. I say that because the rest of us are sickened, infuriated, and disgusted by what we are seeing. He seems to be one of the few people who hasn't managed to see any of the video, or pictures of dolts in uniform pointing rifles at people who are holding their hands up and saying don't shoot me.
I'm with President Obama. There is no excuse for what we're seeing from the police in Furgeson. Apparently things are improving, now that they have the grown ups in charge.
Posted by Savannahmann | Thu Aug 14, 2014, 10:56 PM (21 replies)
My wife and I were discussing this last night. She was sickened by the whole thing. This is not quite verbatim of what I told her, perhaps it's better, or worse.
In the 1980's, it began. First the Cop movies showed the buddies standing up against impossible odds to stop the criminal empires. Then the reality came in. A cop in a dark apartment complex, he sees a silhouette of a person holding something that looks like a gun. He sees a gun in other words. The cop draws his pistol and fires. A child playing a game of cops and robbers is killed.
We as a community feel sorrow, and horror. The discussion waffles back and forth. The reasonable argument there is that the cop believed that the person he could barely see was holding a gun, it looked like a gun. Then things converged.
Armed Robbery faced a stiffer penalty that just Robbery. So criminals pretended to have guns, or other weapons, but were not actually armed. The definition was changed, if the victim believed you to be armed, you were to be charged with armed robbery. So a bank robber who passes across a note that says that he has a gun and will shoot the teller if she doesn't give him the money is committing armed robbery even if he doesn't have a gun.
In other words, reasonable belief became the rule. Everyone knew that if you shot someone, you were in trouble. But there was an exception, if you were in fear of your life, you could shoot someone to defend yourself. This was the beginning of the "castle doctrine" that has now been codified into law in many states. Your fear was the defining factor of the event. So everyone told each other that if you had to shoot someone, make sure you tell the cops you were in fear of your life.
The police were aware of all of this, and much like our notional homeowner above, learned that as long as they said they "believed" the suspect was armed, they would be exonerated. From the 1970's, when the police could not fire first, to the present day when they could shoot anyone as long as they say the magic words. "I thought he had a gun."
This like the I was in fear of my life statement above became the routine lie. Whenever force is used, the cops automatically, they are trained to do this mind you, use these routine lies to justify it. It has become so routine that it is taught like wearing gloves at a crime scene. So if it ever gets to the point where it is reviewed by a Prosecutor, he checks the blocks on the report. The officer was in fear of his life, he had a reasonable belief that the suspect was armed.
Automatic routine lies. And a pattern of justifications. Well, the cop was a good guy, and if I was there and I saw a human shape holding a gun, I would think it was a man with a gun too. Well, if I was at home, and someone stormed into my house, I would be in fear of my life too.
The militarization has been going on about as long too. It started thanks to Darrel Gates, yes, that one, who formed the first SWAT team in Los Angeles. Originally intended to respond to hostage situations and terrorist attacks it rapidly became the force de jour. Then the question became one of what about the regular cops? What if they don't have time to wait for SWAT? Then it was we have a SWAT team, why not use them to serve warrants on dangerous drug dealers. Then they became warrant squads, who did nothing but serve search and arrest warrants. Treating every warrant for arrest over traffic violation like they are raiding a compound full of Branch Dividians.
We got here by a whole bunch of little steps, little steps that have each been reasonable when considered by the tiny step before. We couldn't ask cops not to shoot at a person holding what appeared to be a gun could we? We couldn't doubt that someone in fear of their life has the reasonable right to self defense could we? We couldn't do that could we? A lot of little steps, and now we have police that are more heavily armed, and armored than the infantry we send into combat. We have situations where the police are justified by law in shooting unarmed people because the cop says the magic words. He believed the suspect was armed.
Routine lies. I've told this before, but in the 1980's I was working as a Security Guard. I took the class to get my permit for a nightstick which was called a baton under California law. During the class, the instructor, a cop, told the class to make sure if we ever used the baton on someone, to tell any observers that the guy was a child molester. The cop explained that this changed the tone of their testimony when they were called to court. A routine lie, taught to a bunch of mall cops, on how to modify the testimony of witnesses.
Routine lies, which are told with no more thought than the phrases used by the rest of us every day. "Yes, that is a lovely dress."
That my friends, is how we got here. Now the question is, how the hell do we get out of here because it seems that this is a one way street, and the next block looks even worse than this one.
Posted by Savannahmann | Wed Aug 13, 2014, 12:08 PM (31 replies)
That's amazing. Because I seem to remember, about two weeks ago, everyone cheering when the Department of Energy approved the first step in a loan guarantee to Cape Wind Farm. http://energy.gov/articles/energy-department-offers-conditional-commitment-cape-wind-offshore-wind-generation-projec-0
Well, you just wait until the Rethugs figure out how to stop that, or something.
Just because Cape Wind has already signed agreements in which the National Grid will be buying at least half of the energy is no reason to think that there can be any movement away from Drill baby Drill. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Wind
I guess we need the oil drilling to make sure our gas guzzling cars are able to move. Obviously no progress is being made on fuel economy, or alternative energy issues. http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/concept-cars/vw-reveals-new-300mpg-coupe
Damn it. Um, perhaps we have to drill because. Well perhaps we need to go hog wild with the drilling because...
Um. Yeah. It's all the Republicans fault. Or something. It couldn't be that we have a weak Individual in the White House who is scrambling trying to get more people to approve of him? No, it couldn't be that. http://www.api.org/news-and-media/news/newsitems/2013/oct-2013/poll-shows-florida-voters-strongly-support-offshore-drilling
Ok, maybe it is that. Maybe this announcement is a desperate attempt by a guy who's trying to get popular again. Like a high school boy who runs to his friends to swear he just got laid by one of the cheerleaders.
I say that because there is no other possible reason for it. We are using less oil. That fact is undeniable, so there is no dramatic increase in usage to justify the drill baby drill mentality. Oil Prices are steady and well below the record highs of a while ago. The public is not screaming about gasoline prices.
Fracking is about as popular as Congress around the nation. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/10/california-fracking-poll_n_3415925.html
So I don't see the real strategic advantage in a sense of you know, need. So what is left? Public Opinion. The President is pandering, sucking up in a desperate effort to get his approval numbers up. Neither he nor the party care if they shit on the Liberals, we smile and say happy to vote for you, when do you need me to volunteer to man the phones to beg people to vote for you? Can I give you a donation now? Or would it be better to wait until next week?
President Obama is running around trying to gin up his Approval numbers. Nothing else makes sense. He's been below 50% for so long that the bet every week isn't if he'll be below 50%, but how far below. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/president_obama_job_approval-1044.html
Now, you can blame the Republicans, but the facts are that progress is being made on alternative energy despite the gridlock. You can blame anything, or anyone you want. But one man went out and gave the speech. One man went out and outlined the policy. The same one man who had the power to veto the PATRIOT ACT. The same one man who could order the NSA to shut down the illegal surveillance in a single sentence. Somebody else posted that President Obama was a disappointment, but at least we already know that Hillary is a corporatist. He's the thing. I don't think Hillary would be doing these things. Oh she would not be the Liberal Dream in the Oval Office, make no mistake about that. But she wouldn't be doing this.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sat Jul 19, 2014, 12:51 PM (0 replies)
I was at the Vet yesterday getting three of my fur-babies their annual shots and checkups. While I waited in the treatment room, I saw this and thought I would share it. It is intended as humor, not as actual instructions. Cat keepers however, will find it far too familiar.
*Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on each side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.
*Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat gently in left arm and repeat process.
*Retrieve cat from bedroom, pick up and throw soggy pill away.
*Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm, holding rear paws tightly with the left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for count of ten.
*Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse in from garden.
*Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat's mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.
*Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill out of foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep up shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set on one side for gluing later.
*Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with a pencil and blow into drinking straw.
*Check label to be sure pill not harmful to humans. Drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.
*Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door just enough so that head is showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.
*Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw t-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.
*Call fire department to retrieve cat from tree across road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.
*Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table. Find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour 2 pints of water down throat to wash pill down.
*Get spouse to drive you to emergency room. Sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearms and removes pill from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new dining table.
*Arrange for ASPCA to collect cat and contact local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.
Posted by Savannahmann | Wed May 28, 2014, 04:49 PM (6 replies)
With the knowledge that no Terrorist attack has been prevented due to NSA surveillance, we must view this claim that Snowden has helped our enemies with a bucket of salt in lieu of the normal grain. We've already seen the claim that dozens of attacks have been thwarted thanks to these fine programs utterly discredited.
So what is the claim today from those who love to track everyone? Snowden has made the jobs of the NSA harder. Supposedly the AQ forces are using different encryption. China and Russia have changed their encryption systems, and even get this, changed their phone numbers and now we don't know who to listen to.
Allow me to quote the last two paragraphs of the story.
In the meantime, hostile groups such as al-Qaeda have lost no time in exploiting the gap in our intelligence-gathering capabilities to strengthen their position, with all the implications that is likely to have for our own future security.
Certainly, if countries like Russia and China were to gain the advantage at our expense, or groups such as al-Qaeda launched a successful terror attack, then Snowdenís treacherous betrayal might not seem to have been such a good idea after all.
We already know that no attacks were prevented because of this spying. We know that because the claims of General Alexander were utterly discredited by Democratic Senators Wyden and Mark Udall. We know that the NSA failed to detect the Boston Bombers despite their travel to an area that was presumably on the watch list, and despite warnings from the Russians. We know that the NSA failed on thousands of fronts to detect anything important to national security while eavesdropping on German Chancellor Merkel's phone calls. Because the threat of Terrorism or attack on the United States being launched by Germany was exceedingly high or something.
Part One of the Frontline PBS report on the NSA and how they invade every aspect of our lives is here. I am more troubled than you can imagine by the cavalier attitude of Bush Co. and the cronies toward the Constitutional protections. That bothers me tremendously, and is IMO unforgivable. But here is the problem I am really having. Why did Democrats continue it with the pseudo protection of the FISA court? I call this pseudo protection because the programs when challenged in "regular" court are dismissed not on the merits, but on technicalities. When you object to the tracking/monitoring of your cell phone, since you are unable to demonstrate real "harm" then this violation of your privacy by the Government is perfectly acceptable. The most recent decision that prevented a challenge to the indefinite detention of American Citizens by the Military was thrown out because the person challenging the law was themselves not under detention.
Let me repeat that for you. The only way you could challenge being indefinitely detained without access to a lawyer would be to actually be indefinitely detained without access to a lawyer. So take heart, those people who are held in black prison sites all around the world now have the freedom to file a lawsuit, presuming that anyone ever hears from them again.
The arguments from the Federal Government that justify these programs are some of the lamest things I've ever heard. The Government argues that they can't tell people how many cell phones have been monitored illegally because that would violate the individuals right to privacy. So we can't violate the right to privacy by informing the people who's right to privacy has been violated?
Snowden hasn't made it harder to track terrorists, because we weren't tracking them using these programs. We were tracking business secrets of other countries. We were tracking any individual who came to our attention, but we were not tracking terrorists with any success.
We were making a mockery of the Constitution, and turning ourselves into a third world country where the Constitution is written in pencil for all intents and purposes.
Posted by Savannahmann | Fri May 16, 2014, 05:13 AM (30 replies)
We are living in the age of propaganda. We talk about new jobs created, and ignore the jobs lost. We have a fundamental problem in our economy, and our solution is band aids on a patient that is bleeding out.
I know, someone here will accuse me of RW Talking points. Baloney. Most of the falling unemployment number has nothing to do with improving economy, it has far more to do with despair. People are just giving up after months of frustration trying to find a job.
Permanent Job Losers in January 2014. 3,341,000. Three and a third million permanent job losers.
Total not in the workforce? That is people we should consider unemployed, but we don't because they are not "Actively" seeking employment. 55 Million. Let me spell that out for you. 55,000,000 people are not in the workforce.
Minimum wage is a band aid. We have 3.4 million people who hold multiple jobs. These are people who are working themselves to death trying to provide for their families.
We have a fundamental problem with our economy, but we celebrate raising stock prices, while ignoring those who are not actively seeking employment. We have given up on them because they are inconvenient. If we recognize them, we have to admit that we are not doing well by a massive portion of our population. These are kids living with parents, parents who have moved in with their children. Brothers who are living with siblings. These are people who are homeless, hopeless, and forgotten by our political establishment.
There is a fundamental flaw in our economy, because we are determined to ignore the bad news, it might give our political opponents some sort of advantage. But what about those 55 million people we are ignoring? People living in storm drains in our cities.
I feel sick when I read celebratory posts on sites like this, cheering the "low unemployment" numbers as proof we're doing the right thing and we're awesome. Our unemployment numbers are down, but not because more people are working, but because more have surrendered to the despair and the depression.
So what is going on? Everyone in the economy is holding on waiting for someone else to do something that turns the fucking thing around. Money is not being invested in new jobs, it's being put into the stock market where it continues to hold itself high based upon psychology. People want to believe the good news, so the reports are great for the nation and the world.
We have a fundamental problem with our economy. The solution is not job killing trade agreements. The solution is not more band aid fixes and ways to fiddle with the numbers so it looks good. Look at those who are employed, in thousands. http://bls.gov/web/empsit/ceseeb1a.htm
We have more people in Government than we do in health care. 17.8 million working in health and social services. 21 million working in Government. Are you telling me that of those 21 million people working for the Government that none of them realizes how bad it is out here among us? Do they read the stories of homeless in storm drains? Do they realize that 55 million people have just given up?
America has been great in the past based upon the drive and determination of our people. We all strove to get to the moon. Everyone felt like a part of that drive. We all strove to win World War II. Everyone was a part of that effort. If we could get one more plane, one more tank, one more ship into the war, that was our duty. Even if we weren't building them, we planted gardens to grow our own food to make more available to those fighting because they needed it desperately.
Now, we have another war. The war of our economy. We denounce those who shout that things are fucked up. We ignore 1/6th of our population, and cheer when more of them give up and surrender to despair. That drives the unemployment numbers down.
Posted by Savannahmann | Thu Feb 27, 2014, 10:45 AM (5 replies)
Look at the successes of the past, and learn from them. Don't over analyze them, just look at them as a more complete overview. Don't make the mistake of dismissing them just because they worked for the opposition.
First that I personally experienced, and can remember is Ronald Reagan. Reagan wanted to enact huge tax reforms, and instead of lobbying congress, went to the people and sold his vision. He used anecdotes, ideals and visions that the people could understand, and grasp. Now, we can make the mistake of debating the effects, and the negatives that resulted. But what did he do? He had a vision, an ideal that existed in his core, he was a true believer, and he was able to express that ideal to the people.
When you talk to a bible thumper, not one of the ignorant believers, but a truly educated believer, one who has studied the bible and the words therein, you are struck with the simple fact that they believe in their very core. There is no debating them, they believe passionately in their heart and soul. The same is true of pilots. When it comes to flying, they feel it as well as understand it logically. It is in their souls.
In 1994, Newt and the Republicans tapped into a sense of frustration in the American People. They formed the Contract with America. I know, it was a publicity stunt, but it worked. Because the Politicians seemed to be listening to the people, seemed to finally understand what the people thought was wrong.
The Reform party was a short lived phenomenon, but again it tapped into a feeling of betrayal by the two main parties and did rather well considering it was upstart outsiders.
Now, consider the election of President Obama. Hope and Change. Yes we can. These were ideals that the majority sincerely hoped would be the catalyst to great new things. The only problem was that the outline was pretty vague as to what those changes would be. So when the details started coming out, the people started to feel betrayed again. Then the asinine comments that ended up being the only sound bites the people got from Congress was even worse, if that is possible.
We won in 2006 by promising an open and responsive Congress. We lost in 2010 because "we had to pass it to find out what was in it" became the battle cry.
In the modern world, with everything you say, and everything you've ever said in the Internet somewhere, you can't be hypocritical in the slightest. In 2004, Steny Hoyer and many other Democrats denounced, properly in my mind, the Slaughter Rule of the deem and pass era. You can find endless quotes online, everyone can.
Then we used it, we used it to pass the ACA. If the RW Radio and Faux News didn't tell us that it was hypocritical, the most basic of browsing on the internet would have. We used a thing we denounced, to get something we wanted. The ends do not justify the means to most people outside of Washington.
We were lucky, they ran Romney, and the bigoted folks wouldn't turn out to vote for a Mormon. If they had run a more acceptable candidate to the RW core, they might have won in 2012. But we didn't take the House back, because all we ran on was that the Republicans were awful.
Do you see what I'm getting at now? President Carter's campaign took place when I was not yet ten years old. Yet I can remember the picture of him standing up there with his smile, and his "Hello, I'm Jimmy Carter" and I've read a great deal of his history. He believed in his core of personal sacrifice, and personal risk. The man went to Three Mile Island to show he was confident that they had the matter well in hand. Nobody since would have, and I doubt anyone before him would have either. Only President Carter could have gone, and only President Carter would have.
Core beliefs are evident to people who view you. Fred Phelps is an unequaled Jackass, but he really believes that nonsense he spouts. We can't always get lucky and hope that a segment of the Republicans stays home and we win by default. We can't have as our battle plan that our one selling point is we aren't the other guys. When you go to a baseball game, it isn't the NY Yankees playing some guys who wondered in off the street. They are playing another team, one who is playing to their strengths, and to the Yankee's weaknesses. They may win, the Yankees might win, but both teams are playing to win on their own strengths.
Right now, the Republicans are playing to win. They are playing to the populist anti ACA mood. That may carry them through the election, and then again it might not. My money is leaning towards the idea that it will. The question I have is will they get enough seats to take the Senate back? I'm leaning towards no, but only just.
Our strength is not that we are not the Republicans. Our strength is our ideals, or the ideals we used to have. We need to learn from those who have succeeded, we need to learn how to express our core beliefs, assuming we have any left in Washington, in a way that works to inspire the public. It's not about slogans, or sound bites. But we have to be smart there too.
Look at Kennedy's speech calling on us to go to the moon again. http://er.jsc.nasa.gov/seh/ricetalk.htm
It wasn't just that we were going to the moon. He laid out the problems we faced. A rocket larger than any we had yet manufactured. A space ship using technology that does not yet exist. Reaching the moon using materials not yet invented. Using techniques we could not yet imagine. Yet the speech inspired a people, Republican and Democrat. it was such an inspiration that even his death would not dissuade the people from this grand quest.
FDR inspired a people, when we were basically on our knees, our teeth for all intents and purposes knocked out. When Churchill spoke to the British People and told the world they would fight on the beaches, the air, the sea, in the hedgerows, the fields. They were so short of material, so much of it had been lost on Dunkirk that they could barely manage to give every soldier a rifle. They could count rounds of ammunition for their shore batteries on one hand. They could not afford the rounds needed to sight the guns in, so they would just wait until they could sight down the barrels and fire at point blank range.
Everyone who knew the truth couldn't imagine how they would muddle through. But one man inspired the people, the leaders of the military, and the Government to stand up and say that they would not surrender.
These were core beliefs of the leaders. These were ideals held in their hearts. Churchill could never inspire the British People to resist Hitler with the ideal that "We aren't them." We would have sued for peace if FDR had said to the American People and the world that we were not Japanese, and that was all you needed to know.
Great Leaders step up when the going gets tough. They go to Three Mile Island and stand facing the danger when everyone else runs away. They don't try and politically wheedle a version of what they want out of soulless political hacks. They turn to the people and say "Let's do this, together, we can do the impossible."
Where are the grand schemes. Where is the desire to push the envelope of the known, and to look at an insurmountable obstacle and snort derisively and announce that you will conquer it. Where is the grand vision that inspires the people. We are human, we can be inspired. We will follow, but we need someone to lead.
President Carter did something quite astonishing, quite unheard of. Kennedy risked his political future, Reagan risked his second term, Newt his position as power broker of the RW. But Carter put it plainly on display. He went there knowing that if he was wrong, he wouldn't live long enough to regret it. But they all invested into what they believed in. That was respected by the people, because we instinctively respect those who are willing to risk it all to try something they believe in.
We can learn from this, first recognize our core beliefs, and second, be willing to risk disaster in presenting them to the people. Because if we win on the "We're not them" platform, we have nothing to point to that the people want, or want us to do. All that is left is the people becoming disgusted with us, and eventually voting for them, because they aren't us.
Posted by Savannahmann | Fri Dec 27, 2013, 12:29 PM (1 replies)
Like many of you, I have friends and relatives across the political spectrum. While at times, it can be infuriating to talk to them, often it is informative. It lets me know what they really think, and the background, the why.
Today's highlight is a report in the RW National Journal. I am not posting this as a RW talking point except to demonstrate how utterly the Authoritarians are out of touch with public sentiment, no matter what letter comes after their name.
Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said in an interview on Sunday that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11.
Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. That program only gets a brief mention in a footnote on page 97 of the task-force report, "Liberty and Security in A Changing World." "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," Morell told National Journal in a telephone interview. "You can bet that the last thing a smart terrorist is going to do right now is call someone in the United States."
Now, there haven't been any intercepted terrorist attacks based upon the massive data collection. The problem according to this moron is not that the invasive programs are useless, but because they haven't intercepted enough information. In other words, there are communications that the NSA/CIA is not intercepting, like text messages between you and a friend in the same town, and emails between you and a someone in the same town. If the CIA could read all of those, then they could potentially prevent another 9-11.
But what are the Authorities doing? Activating web cameras. http://gizmodo.com/fbi-can-secretly-activate-laptop-cameras-without-the-in-1478371370 We can assume that the assholes at the FBI are doing what every other voyeur is doing, trying to see into teenaged girls bedrooms like the common peeping toms.
But what terrorist crimes have been prevented? Well, none really. Oh sure, their internet and email surveillance has netted some criminals, but no terrorists.
But the problem according to Michael Morell is not that they are violating the 4th Amendment regularly, but it is that they are not collecting enough information.
Let me be among the first to explain this to you Michael Morell. The fourth amendment is not an idea who's time is past, it's an idea who's time is right here and now. You have no right, and the lame justifications you use are the same asinine claims made by those who would defend CIA torture. With it we might (perhaps in a parallel universe) prevent another terrorist attack. It is immoral, and plainly prohibited by the Constitution, and the oath you supposedly swore was not to protect me from some vague pretend threat, but to protect the Constitution. I'll take my chances against the vague pretend threats that you and the rest of the assholes claim are out there. I won't take my chances that you assholes are not reading and listening to the stuff you weren't supposed to be collecting in the first place.
If our battle against extremism means we have to surrender our constitutional rights to win, then we've already lost. The only question is what the terms of our surrender should be. You in the CIA, NSA, FBI, and DHS are the greatest threat this nation has faced in it's entire history. That includes the burning of the White House during the war of 1812. That includes the Civil War. The Nazi's were a threat, but they would be slobbering in envy at the police state you and your colleagues have created.
Posted by Savannahmann | Sun Dec 22, 2013, 05:54 PM (1 replies)