Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
Number of posts: 4,371
Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
Number of posts: 4,371
as they did into tracking us and covering their own asses….
If the number of people, the amount of money, and the all the work that was put into the NSA spying programs had instead been funneled into single-payer healthcare, or alternative energy programs, our country would be in far, far better shape than it is now.
If all the effort that has been used to catch, demonize and punish whistleblowers - from Manning and Kiriakou to Assange and Snowden – had been put toward a campaign to bring back good paying jobs and quality education….
Really, what kind of country do we want to be?
Posted by 20score | Tue Jul 2, 2013, 10:56 PM (57 replies)
The only reason we, (we who are in power, and a few defense/security companies) are watching everything you do, everywhere you go, everything you read, say, buy, type, watch and all the people you contact, is to catch the terrorists. Once that job is done, you can trust that we will give you back your freedom, your Constitution and your privacy... Should be any day now.
Some people point out that one is more likely to be struck by lightning than to be killed by a terrorist within the last ten years. (True.) And that our country has faced far more dangerous threats in the past without tapping everybody’s phones and opening everyone’s mail.
Well, maybe they didn’t think of doing those things.
The point is to talk about something else, anything else, so we can go back to catching those last few terrorists. Thanks for your patriotic support!
(And Thom Rumpus from Akron, you’re watching too much porn!)
Posted by 20score | Tue Jul 2, 2013, 09:32 PM (36 replies)
It’s a new dawn. Our government has struck the perfect balance between freedom and security. This may have been twelve or more years in the making, but now we know the government cares enough to let us make our own mistakes, while still watching every move we make. You know it’s the right thing to do; because what could be more American than all three branches of government united against privacy? Well, in the New America, anyway. They worry about us. So, like a concerned parent, they check all our web searches, track our movements, store our emails, monitor our phone records, keep track of what we read, buy, who we know, where we go and what we watch. Forever. But yet they don’t go sticking their noses in where they don’t belong… Like Credit Default Swaps. Now that’s caring.
Sometimes people are just don’t know what’s good for them. That’s why state and local governments are joining the federal government in tracking where we go and when we go there. License plate readers are on the tops of many police cars, taking pictures of all the cars they encounter, where and when they were there - and they are coming to your neighborhood soon. It’s all stored in central data bases to be accessed by dozens of government agencies, for any purpose. Congress and the Bush Administration got one thing right. They knew George Orwell’s 1984 wasn’t a warning, it was a blueprint. With the added, and not inconsequential benefit of being a great big money-maker for the right companies. We can be thankful that some on the left have finally caught on!
Total Information Awareness was very unpopular when it was introduced ten years ago. But, people much more powerful and richer than the average person knew it was the right thing to do. There is a time to treat the average person like an adult and let them learn from their own mistakes. Such as when they are signing mortgage papers. But they can’t be trusted to spy on themselves - even though they may do a decent job on FaceBook. So, Total Information Awareness is here under different names. And it’s important to denigrate those who would challenge these programs, or even make us aware of them. (It’s possible they make not like what’s being done, even when it’s for their own good.)
As most will know, when the power of the state is challenged by trouble-makers – they call themselves whistle-blowers, people of conscience and journalists – those trouble-makers need to be silenced. A tried and true method is the ad hominem. Take the ‘journalist’ causing problems right now for the administration. Even though many of the things being said about Glenn Greenwald aren’t true, the important thing is that someone said them. Just as the main stream media knows, when one person says, ‘these are the facts’ and another person says, ‘no, these are’ it is vital not to fact check the information, the key is to allow people to repeat what they’ve heard. It’s the patriotic way to run a news outfit. And our news outfits have been patriotic for years. (Bush didn’t bring us the Iraq War by himself, you know.)
A very important aspect to all the cameras, facial recognition software, storing of all our data, predictive software for future crimes, and total observation – which gets better every year – is not just so people will censor themselves and watch what they say and do (and to know if someone is protesting the corporations or the government). Or even for possible control in the years to come. It’s freedom. People still need to be free. And our government knows no one is actually free unless money can be made. That’s where real freedom comes in. All three branches of government are united on this front, too.
Nothing essential to freedom will change. If you are paying big bucks to a congressman or senator, you know your phone call will be returned every time. And you know that in America, a legislator or regulator will earn their money. They know they don’t work for some tree-hugging, wacko that whines every time someone’s water is set on fire. No, they work for you! If you offer a seven figure job to someone once they’re out of public service, then it’s understood that money comes after a job well done while they’re in public service. See, it’s all good.
Now we need to come together as good citizens and attack those who embarrassed our leaders.
(Even though we already knew about it… But it was bad to bring it up… And the people who told us about it are traitors… And we need to have this conversation… But those who told us about this are more important than the programs… And it kept us safe… And it’s legal anyway… But hurt national security… Did I say this is nothing new?)
Posted by 20score | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 03:57 PM (35 replies)
It divides us. This holds true for small and large groups, parties and countries. Some stay loyal to the leader or leaders, and others to their own ethics. Of course the reasons for a person taking one position over another are varied. Some positions are better thought out than others, some see a greater good in following the leader, even when a deeply held belief is tossed aside. And others just follow the tide. But what holds true in most cases, is that division happens when a president or leader does the wrong thing, and that person is most culpable for any fallout - even though his or her followers are responsible for their own misguided words and actions.
This is addressing topics that go against values and principles that a particular group espouses, not the everyday give and take of normal politics. When people caught on to the lies behind the Vietnam War, the country was separated into those who supported and those who opposed the war. When the Bush Administration started a war on false pretenses, the country was divided. People switched parties when the Republicans embraced discrimination in the 1960s. And now the left is fighting over wholesale spying. It’s not to excuse in any way those who would sellout values supposedly held by most Americans, but Obama set the ball rolling when he sold out the values he said he possessed.
It should be a given that the degrees of wrongdoing in the examples given are vastly different. But the basic form is the same and the damage done will be long term – much longer than the term of a U.S. president.
I see no caveats in the 4th Amendment that allows blanket spying on all Americans, all the time:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
How can any person pretend that there is probable cause to spy on all of us? It’s indefensible.
“This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand. I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are.”
Candidate Obama, August 2007.
Posted by 20score | Sun Jun 23, 2013, 03:29 PM (34 replies)
1. MLK and Rosa Parks were not whistle-blowers, they were civil rights leaders. Big difference.
2. Schieffer has never done anything that can come close to the type of bravery that Snowden has shown. Until he does, then this is a childish attack. No one has a right to push someone else into position they would never occupy themselves.
3. More Rovian attacks. I am ashamed at some on the left. Snowden is not the issue, government spying and the loss of privacy is.
4. Unless people supported Big Brother under Bush and Obama, their opinion is useless.
Posted by 20score | Sun Jun 16, 2013, 01:13 PM (0 replies)
To those who supported this type of government spying during the Bush administration and have turned against it under Obama, you are right for the wrong reasons, and owe the country an apology for allowing this to get worse for years. To those who challenged government spying under Bush and now support it, you are wrong for the wrong reasons and need to re-awaken your ideals. You’re hurting the country and ironically hurting the party you are trying to help. The hypocrisy is extremely obvious to everyone but you, and it will be used as a political weapon against the left… for many years to come.
And thanks to all those involved in bringing this to light, both in the media and to the whistle-blowers. (Although this shouldn't surprise anyone, it's finally getting coverage.)
Posted by 20score | Fri Jun 7, 2013, 01:27 PM (14 replies)
Appearing on Fox News, Tennessee Representative Stephen Fincher addressed the charges of hypocrisy and callousness leveled at him by Democrats, again quoting the Bible to justify his positions. “Leviticus 25-45, ‘the children of the strangers that do live among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land and they shall be your possession.’ And what’s stranger than poor people? Am I right? Right?” He said grinning and raising his hand for a high-five, which was answered quickly by a smiling Eric Bolling.
The controversy started two weeks ago while a debate was taking place in the House Agriculture Committee over $4.1 billion in cuts to the food stamp program, now known as SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Stephen Fincher made his position clear that the government should not be in the business of feeding children or helping the poor, quoting the Bible for added emphasis. “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” (The quote is actually about warning people against waiting for the second-coming, not as a justification to deny food to those in need.) The callousness is evident to anyone; the hypocrisy became obvious when it was found out that Mr. Fincher has taken millions from the government personally. The $3.5 million he has collected for his farm in subsidies, is from programs that he supports and has voted to increase funding for.
“Look, I’m a Christian and I’m far better than those atheists on the other side of the aisle who want to use the government to feed the poor,” Stephen Fincher said to the Fox panel. “That’s how Hitler and Stalin started out - feeding the poor. But I’m not heartless at all; it’s all about tough-love. And it’s also a win-win situation. We all know God wants to help the rich and powerful, or they wouldn’t be rich and powerful,” he said to the beaming and nodding hosts on The Five. “That’s why the government should give more money to people like me who know how to spend it. We could buy the poor people and then we would be obligated to feed them… if they work hard enough.” After a thoughtful pause. “I’ll say it again, this is other people’s money that Washington is appropriating and spending. It should go to me.”
“I have to say thank you on so many levels Steve,” said Greg Gutfeld. “Not only for figuring out how to feed those douche-bags, and for trying to bring back slavery, but as a comedian too. I have so many hungry children and slavery jokes I’m dying to tell… See, that’s why right-wing humor works, it’s… it’s gettable!”
“Tell your big news,” Andrea K. Tantaros said. “We’re all just dancing around it.”
“Okay, here’s my plan. I’m going to introduce a bill next week. It will eliminate food stamps and give that money to well-off white Christian males, and legalize the buying and selling of those who can’t feed themselves. It’s called, The American Patriot’s Love of God and Country, bill.”
“I’m a Democrat and I love this bill!” Bob Beckel announced. “What could be better than helping the wealthy and the poor at the same time?”
Posted by 20score | Sun Jun 2, 2013, 08:17 PM (51 replies)
And the definition of freedom is tweaked.
And we don’t mind having our every move watched and tracked.
And we’re fine with the elimination of privacy.
And the left and the right agree to having some of the trappings of authoritarianism.
And we promise to keep paying more attention to reality shows than reality.
And we don’t have any objections to having all of our written and phone conversations recorded.
And we accept having security guards look at us naked in order to travel on any type of mass transit.
And we’re happy to let companies and the government track everything we read, buy or watch on video.
And we’re willing to self-censor our speech as to not offend someone in the government.
And we completely trust our government at all times to never misuse any information collected about any of us, no matter who is in charge.
And we’re willing to give up any future right to petition the government or peaceably assemble, anonymously.
And we’re cool with making the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth amendments as irrelevant as the third.
Okay, never mind. They can take our freedom. We’ll gladly give them that.
But, They’ll Never Take Our False Sense of Security, Our Hypocrisy, or Our Fear!!! (Those are ours to keep.)
Okay then… Hope you’re inspired.
Posted by 20score | Sun Mar 24, 2013, 12:58 PM (27 replies)
A shocking new report by The Guardian and BBC Arabic details how the United States armed and trained Iraqi death squads that ran torture centers. It is a story that stretches from the U.S.-backed death squads in Central America during the 1980s to the imprisoned Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. We play extended excerpts of "James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq," which exposes the role the retired U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played in training Iraqi police commando units. "We spent maybe six months trying to track down young American soldiers who served in Samarra," says the film’s executive producer, Maggie O’Kane, who notes the investigation was sparked by memos found in the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks. "But many were too frightened because of what happened to Bradley Manning." A Pentagon spokesman told The Guardian it had seen the reports and is looking into the situation. "As you know, the issue surrounding accusation of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees is a complex one that is full of history and emotion," said Col. Jack Miller. "It will take time to work a thorough response."
Posted by 20score | Sat Mar 23, 2013, 12:28 PM (21 replies)
The Catholic Church has always suffered from a split conscience, a duality that has made it an enigma to many for centuries. That split between good and evil, hypocritical and honest, power-hungry and gentle, dogmatic and humble, is best represented by the feud between The Nuns on the Bus, and the Church hierarchy that tried to silence them. Of course the degree to which the division and its players are separated pales in comparison to the past, but the thought processes and character traits of those involved are the same. And it should go without saying that there has also always been some overlap, both within individuals and between the two sides of the Church throughout history.
The constant division between the side that represents forgiveness and helping one’s fellow humans, and the side that represents harshness and judgmentalism could be said to be as old as the New Testament itself. Jesus was shown to have been forgiving, didn’t judge harshly and preached about love. In the Old Testament, there were very harsh judgments, capital punishment for insignificant crimes and being pious was sometimes more important than how one treated others. And whatever ones beliefs are, there is no reason to have a savoir and a sacrifice without original sin and the Old Testament; so the two books are very much intertwined.
There are records going back centuries before the Crusades of priests molesting children and the Church covering it up. But society’s tolerance of such acts and the power of religious leaders have changed since those early days. In the fifth century a man who was later named a saint, Cyril, tortured and killed the philosopher Hypatia because she wasn’t Christian, or thought for herself… whatever the motivation, it was an inexcusable act. About a century later another man who was made a saint, Eligius, spent his money and time buying slaves in mass and freeing them. He took the bodies of executed prisoners and gave them a burial. The two saints could not have been more different from each other. Same church, different philosophies.
At the same time that those participating in the Inquisition were burning innocent women, torturing Jewish people and free-thinkers and keeping the entire populous living in fear, there were priests and monks fighting for social justice and trying to end genocide and slavery. Many who were sent by the Church and the King to the new world to convert and control those who were already living there, ended up trying to end slavery and stop the cruelty. Friar Bartolomé de las Casa started out in what is now Mexico supporting the system set up by the Conquistadores, then he changed to wanting to help the native population and end the enslavement of the natives and give them freedom. Unfortunately he then advocated bringing slaves from Africa. He then evolved further and moved into the actual moral realm and opposed all slavery and devoted his life to the humane treatment of others.
What’s going on now with Benedict’s resignation, the Church’s ongoing molestation scandal and those who want to help others as their calling is nothing new. Sister Simone Campbell led a group of nuns that toured part of the country last year trying to bring awareness to the plight of the poor and needy. For trying to help those in need, they were protested by right-wing Catholics, hate radio DJ Jan Mickelson joked about having the nuns pistol-whipped, they were disparaged in articles and blogs and many said they should be excommunicated. While some Catholics are devoting their lives to helping the sick and the poor, others are devoting their energies to restricting birth control access, denying rights to homosexuals and pushing other dogmatic parts of their church’s doctrine. Obviously over the centuries the fight for what’s right is slowly being won by those on the side of empathy and being more Christ-like. But there are ebbs and flows. Under Benedict the focus has moved away from social justice and towards dogma. With a new pope, one less restricted by dogma, maybe that trend will reverse.
As a lapsed Catholic and devout secularist, one might wonder why I care what the pope feels about where the Church should devote its time and resources. The reason I have for caring is the same reason everyone should have. Does one want the powerful, rich and extremely populous Catholic Church devoting its resources to supporting fringe Republicans, restricting the rights of others and trying to limit access to birth control, thus increasing unwanted pregnancies? Or is it better for the country if they use their considerable resources to take care of those in need? I’m with the Nuns on the Bus.
Posted by 20score | Sun Mar 3, 2013, 05:19 PM (20 replies)