Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
Number of posts: 4,624
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Spying has been with us for thousands of years. It predates the Hittites and has helped establish, maintain and even bring down empires. Joshua spied for Moses, which means one can say, “It’s in the Bible!” and be completely correct. It doesn’t get any more righteous than that! Obviously, a little spying is a necessary good for all governments. It just follows, that if a little spying is good, then complete, total spying is the best of all possible worlds! It’s practically a one way ticket to heaven.
I was critical of Total Information Awareness (by another name) at first, but have since seen the error of my ways. Sure, metadata can tell just as much or more about someone than listening to the actual phone calls. And maybe spying on everyone, all the time may seem like over-kill to stop something that kills fewer people than lightning. And giving our information to corporations so that they can harm people trying to hold them to account may look to some like the priorities of our government are misplaced. And sure, by spying on reporters we are kind of nullifying the First Amendment, and looking more and more like Eastern Europe used to all the time. And maybe it does look like those in power who are supporting the National Security State are really doing it for money, both by directly giving to security companies, and by spying for economic reasons. We are also treating whistleblowers like the traitors, which I used to believe was morally reprehensible. But not anymore! I have seen the light, and boy do I feel fine!
The point is that it’s the right thing to do, because our side is doing it. Just like those who can tell you that science is wrong about evolution and global warming, so too can the supporters of absolute surveillance tell you that it is not the minutia of facts and logic that matter, it’s that if the outcome is virtuous, the rest is inconsequential. Plus… Paulbots, libertarians and such! (Being on the same side as Cheney felt a little strange at first, but now I just embrace it as part of the Brotherhood of Man. If we could all jump on the Spy Bandwagon, we would all feel connected. Even if it’s just through the NSA.)
Posted by 20score | Sun Nov 17, 2013, 07:37 PM (12 replies)
They damn well should. (Been busy with family/job demands, so I’m out of touch. Please excuse me if this is common knowledge.)
This refers to those in the media, politicians and those on DU who have embarrassed themselves, and the party. (I expected the Republicans to act like authoritarians and reactionaries.)
Last time I looked, the most common charge against those who stood for principle over party was, Paulbot! Or something similar. By using their own logic - that those who stood against ubiquitous spying were in line with everything Rand Paul stood for – they must be Cheneybots.
Have embraced torture, etc? Or have they embraced what’s right?
Just want to be enlightened.
Posted by 20score | Tue Nov 12, 2013, 10:14 PM (71 replies)
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation does great work trying to keep our military, secular organizations, as they are meant to be. People in the armed forces should be able to worship or not worship as they please, not be compelled to worship as a superior pleases. Like many fanatics, certain religious fundamentalists in the military believe they cannot be free if they aren’t allowed to force their religious beliefs on others. Because Mikey Weinstein is doing the right thing by protecting service men and women from unwanted and unconstitutional coercion, he is being attacked on Fox News, right-wing radio and by crazies across the country. In my opinion, we owe him a debt of gratitude.
Here are some horrifying letters he has received, read theatrically:
Please click on the link and give a listen to a few letters. (Or as much as you can take.) I don’t think most people are aware of what’s going on in this regard.
Posted by 20score | Sat Sep 7, 2013, 02:43 PM (15 replies)
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a senior fellow at the Capital Management Foundation - a think tank consisting of former government officials and corporate leaders throughout the banking and defense industries - told us of their trepidation regarding the bombing of Syria and the NSA spying.
“We like the idea of getting involved a war, any war, but we don’t like the questions being asked by some people in the public and the media. Not to mention those in Congress. ‘Who are we helping?’ 'What’s the purpose of the bombing?’ ‘Wouldn’t other methods like peace talks, sanctions and the freezing of assets be smarter and cheaper?’ What kind of BS is that, I ask you?”
Walking through the halls of the Capital Management Foundation, one gets the feeling that, here the real levers of power are being manipulated. “See, we have a tried and true method for military actions. We focus on a terrible tragedy real or fictional, but real is better of course, get people emotionally outraged, then tie that emotion to a military action. Critical thinking stops and we now have support for what we wanted to do. Works every time. And even if we don’t have big numbers, there’s about a thirty percent jump in approval numbers once we’re in.” Taking a break from the conversation, our source signed two considerably large checks. One to the House Republicans and one to the House Democrats. ‘Have our guys divvy this up accordingly,’ he whispered to an associate.
“Now, where were we? Oh yes, you see we have the tragedy, but now we’re getting questions. Too many questions. We already spent the profits of this campaign, so to speak, so we need a target, soon. We can do this anywhere, doesn’t have to be Syria. My idea is to find another outrage in the region and bomb there. But, just between you and me, I’m getting push-back. ‘Just use the NSA information,’ they say. ‘What’s the point on spying on everyone all the time if we don’t use it? Well, except for drugs, and taxes, and stopping protests, and feeding Chevron data, and the rest. Why not blackmail?’ Of course I think we should use the NSA data for blackmail. That’s a given, but I think we can find a better target. If results don’t matter, who cares who we bomb? But, they always tease me for being the eternal optimist. I know it sounds trite, but I really care about our money. I really do.”
Posted by 20score | Mon Sep 2, 2013, 05:13 PM (12 replies)
Her vote against the Iraq War in 2002 was courageous and admirable. But, as the new Speaker when she said about Bush, “I have said it before and I will say it again: Impeachment is off the table,” it was terrible news for those who wanted justice for the administration’s numerous crimes. (And also wanted the accountability that would have reined in future administrations.) Now Nancy Pelosi has voted to let the NSA continue the massive spying, completely unrestrained. That is antithesis of what a free country does. And it is inexcusable.
What that vote guarantees: Total, massive surveillance of all citizens. More mixing of Corporations and State. A preemptive squashing of any Occupy-type movements in the future. The likelihood of serious labor movements being watched and suppressed. And on and on.
There has been a definite downward trend in her voting pattern over the last decade. We need Democrats that stand up for democratic principles. With Harry Reid folding on every issue that comes up in the Senate, we need other leaders that lead in the right direction.
And for where this is spying is headed. A judge says Big Energy should have your metadata, too:
Defend that, please.
Posted by 20score | Sat Jul 27, 2013, 04:42 PM (131 replies)
they are told.
Sound harsh? Tough shit. It’s nothing compared to the country these people are creating for the rest of us. I’m talking about those who ship American factories overseas by the tens of thousands to exploit cheep labor in the third world and shrink the middle class in their own country. They should be in prison for the horrible conditions they force upon those working in places like Columbia and Bangladesh, all while rationalizing their criminal greed. They should be tried and imprisoned for what they’ve done to our working and middle classes. And they should have to forfeit their profits to feed and house those they have stolen from.
They are willing to start wars based on lies for bigger profits.They buy our politicians like others buy appliances. The massive spying is not about terrorists, it’s about money. With Iraq and Afghanistan wars ending the military-industrial complex needs to be fed. We’re talking hundreds of billions a year, spread out between the federal, states and local governments. Drones to spy on us, from the type that can stay in the air for months spying on entire cities, to the insect size drones that that can entire our houses undetected. From the license plate readers on cop cars that track drivers’ movements and store the data forever; to the massive collection of all our electronic communications. Big Brother really is here and it’s going to get progressively worse every year until we rein this in. The technology will come and can’t be stopped, the only thing that can stop this is for the citizens to say, ‘enough!’ and demand the laws change.
They’ve bought our democracy/republic and no one should be okay with that. We need a government that actually works for us and not just those with deep pockets. It’s time for public funding of campaigns, before it’s too late.
“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”
John Kenneth Galbraith
Posted by 20score | Sat Jul 13, 2013, 03:26 PM (41 replies)
Always battled with myself on whether I was more angry about the Iraq War, or the insulting lies that got us there. Same with destroying the environment. Is it worse to wipe out other species and set our own species on a course for extinction, or is the greater crime the fact that so many are too dumb or too weak to see/admit what’s happening?
Okay, it’s not really a battle - but the dumb and childish still irritate the hell out of me. Adults, at least a many of them, handle any reality they don’t care for, in a far worse manner than any eight year old that finds out there is no Santa Claus. And it’s not just the religious fanatics either; although they are the worst. Those who look down people who believe in the science of global warming, come to mind. Those who believe strongly their race or culture is superior to all others. Authoritarians and a good portion of those who fall for propaganda are some of the most resistant to facts and have the most infantile reactions when facing unpleasant truths.
What’s ironic, and also obvious, is that those who hold strong opinions that are contrary to the facts, are also unlikely to be able to defend those opinions in an honest debate. They don’t know enough. So they label people, name call and insult. “It’s like 10 degrees outside, libtard! So much for global warming!”
During the nation’s year long debate about health care in 2009, those who wanted to keep the status quo labeled those who were for a public option as communists, socialists and Nazis. Not knowing the definition to any of those terms, proven by the fact they were used interchangeably. They got angry, labeled people and insulted. This pattern returns again and again throughout history. Whenever their beliefs, religion, party, king, or morals are challenged, those resistant to reality have reacted badly.
The same thing is now happening with some on the left, and it’s hard to deny. If someone believes that a big-brother type government is really the best thing for the country and believes we should make sure the monitoring of everything we do continues forever… then convince us. Tell us all, calmly, that just being alive makes us a suspect. Prove to us that privacy has no place in a free country. Persuade us that the threat of terrorism - even though statistically dying from lightning is more likely – is a good enough reason to rid ourselves of the most basic rights we have.
Truth is, they can’t. If the people that are trashing Snowden and Greenwald had any case at all, they would bring it to the forefront. They have nothing, and I suspect on some level they realize that fact. That’s why the labels of libertarian and Paulbot are thrown around with no honest debate even attempted.
It’s either dishonesty, slow wits, or a childish aversion to facts.
Posted by 20score | Thu Jul 11, 2013, 03:54 PM (35 replies)
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)