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Name: Jim
Gender: Male
Member since: Thu Apr 5, 2012, 08:33 PM
Number of posts: 1,263

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That damn Greenwald is at it again

will his racist scaremongering ever end, and should the Guardian oversee his work more closely and print them in colors representing "error alerts"? His noting for example as I recall, that the NSA power point used "direct access", was a biggie.

That's why Democratic senators such as Ron Wyden and Mark Udall spent years asking the NSA: how many Americans are having their telephone calls listened to and emails read by you without individualized warrants? Unlike the current attempts to convince Americans that the answer is "none", the NSA repeatedly refused to provide any answers, claiming that providing an accurate number was beyond their current technological capabilities. Obviously, the answer is far from "none".

Contrary to the claims by NSA defenders that the surveillance being conducted is legal, the Obama DOJ has repeatedly thwarted any efforts to obtain judicial rulings on whether this law is consistent with the Fourth Amendment or otherwise legal. Every time a lawsuit is brought contesting the legality of intercepting Americans' communications without warrants, the Obama DOJ raises claims of secrecy, standing and immunity to prevent any such determination from being made.

Are fears of big "brother" racist?


The "real" reason for alleged NSA excesses?

I've long thought as many others no doubt have, that big brother is less worried about threats from without as those from within.

After all, what foreign threat threatens the corporate grip on power in this country, and all that entails? Since 9/11, OBL has won if the goal was to witness that pain and worse with some of the self-inflicted variety to follow. Sadly that's happened, and we all know who has suffered the most and worst of it, and it ain't the 1%.

If you assume that big brother is mostly a righty given the way our gov has married the corporate/monied interests, then it's pretty clear he has problems within his own family on the domestic front. The reason why they so vociferously killed the 2009 DHS report on the growing rightwing extremist threat in this country was no doubt due to the guilt by association thingy, and it also no doubt had a role in their recent outrage over the IRS thing. Maintaining victim status while being the victimizers is critical to the success of any "Big Lie" effort. That is after all, what underlies the great "war on terror" we're embroiled in that this NSA stuff is alleged solely attached to/directed at. The fear that rightwingnuttery itself (in its current form here in this country anyway) might become suspect as a governing ideology should more McVeighs arise, is likely a rational one, so I can understand why they'd wanna ride herd on their own.

And then of course is the threat of we good guys to consider.

But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis – or all three.

Methinks they've long recognized and rightly feared this looming perfect storm, and that inevitably it will be non-ideological climate change and dedicated self-interest it will foster in the individual that give the storm its fury and strength. After all, to mitigate the human toll and suffering here and abroad AGW will bring is likely gonna require "socialistic" solutions their ideology will never entertain or offer -- not without a big fight anyway. That's why I've long seen the neverending and increasing wealth inequality and increasing radicalization, apathy, ect of the rightwing in this country as analogous to the building of the arks in the movie 2012. They want their horde of wealth to be maximized before circumstances and happenstances start wittling away at it, so that they are still on the top of the wealth mountain when the waters recede.

While they've always played the survival of the fittest/laws of the jungle game, never before have they faced the existential threat to their power they are in this country. Hell, I'd guess that looming brown demographic tsunami alone (who as we all know, is comprised soley of lazy and freeloading socialists) would be sufficient cause for their fears. They should just make their job of spying on them easier, and give them all Obamaphones like so many trojan horses.

What do NSA's likely excesses and DOMA have in common?

I'd say they are both laws on the books.

In the one case, BHO decided he/we could/should ignore the law based on his perceiving it as unconstitutional http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/23/obama-doma-unconstitutional_n_827134.html whereas in the latter that isn't as far as we know, even under consideration. This is why more than anything else, I think all of the arguments I've seen made regarding who does and doesn't own this abomination, give him a disproportionate share of that ownership. Similarly, I’ve never understood the “well he has to, because if another attack occurs rightwingers will crucify him!” line. How I’d ask, by revealing state secrets in the form of what could be done versus what has been done that Snowden shined the spotlight on?

One could make the case that he simply doesn't think unconstitutionality to be the case, but if that's so, why not make that case? It looks like a chink has been found in the secrecy armor https://www.eff.org/document/fisc-opinion-and-order-granting-effs-motion and the likelihood of other Snowdens and revelations are inevitable anyway -- kinda like the terrorists communicating in ways most of this garbage won't catch going forward. I’d question how many have been caught recently based on this stuff alone anyway. http://www.juancole.com/2013/06/others-headley-rotella.html#more-34906

And how are we to ever know if the proper and acceptable balance has been struck between our 4th Amendment rights and national security if we don't know the extent of the infringements upon them? Imo, this situation adds some life and truth to the worst thing Saint Raygun ever said as President to be and beyond -- "the nine most feared words in the English language are - "I'm with the Government and I'm here to help.", which led directly to the brand of rightwingnuttery we are burdened with today. I'd grant that his reasons for uttering those words were grounded in economic, etc, issues as opposed to national security, but distrust is distrust.

The last thing this country needs is more distrust in its government, and I don't see how this whole issue can be discussed and debated without considering the ramifications of further erosions. This of course can translate into voter participation or not http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/obama-admits-democratic-turnout-dips-in-midterm-elections?ref=fpb and with 2014 just around the corner, I'd think participation is what the dems would want, and this discourages that -- kinda like continuing to support DOMA would have, or chained cpi being shoved down our collective throats. And the need for that trust is hardly confined to trifling issues. http://consortiumnews.com/2013/06/12/obamas-dangerous-dilemma/

BHO is just a small part of the big picture, even though he has the greatest influence right now on what that big picture will inevitably be. The cult of personality that are subordinating the issues to keeping his Teflon coat intact are obviously blind to that fact. While hindsight is no replacement for foresight, it remains far better than the blindness a lack of using it results in.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

And like all iceberg riders http://thehill.com/video/house/305047-dem-rep-lawmakers-learned-significantly-more-about-surveillance-programs-in-nsa-briefing of the past, BHO is gonna lose the perch he now has. The only question in my mind is will the “evolution” card prevent the tarnishment of his legacy over this in the minds of many.

In his quest for complete safety, Snowden had the right idea

assuming they can find solutions to the prison rape and violence problems.

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/dwightdei107094.html#6iVsBZytQpkJUxjz.99

maybe he was referring to solitary confinement, no?

What similarities do the SS/chained CPI and the NSA story have in common?

I'd say most of them are to be found in the reactions to them -- outrage running headlong into denials, kinda like that proverbial irresistable force meeting the immovable object.

I suspect the outcome will likely be the same as well in terms of this debate. The irresistable force, fueled by reality, will move what was once thought to be immovable, and here's why.


and because there's no reason to be dishonest or to even attempt to mislead unless one has something to hide.

Mr. Wyden and Mr. Udall have for months been raising concerns that the government has secretly interpreted a part of the Patriot Act in a way that they portray as twisted, allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to conduct some kind of unspecified domestic surveillance that they say does not dovetail with a plain reading of the statute.

The dispute has focused on Section 215 of the Patriot Act. It allows a secret national security court to issue an order allowing the F.B.I. to obtain “any tangible things” in connection with a national security investigation. It is sometimes referred to as the “business records” section because public discussion around it has centered on using it to obtain customer information like hotel or credit card records.

But in addition to that kind of collection, the senators contend that the government has also interpreted the provision, based on rulings by the secret national security court, as allowing some other kind of activity that allows the government to obtain private information about people who have no link to a terrorism or espionage case.

Justice Department officials have sought to play down such concerns, saying that both the court and the intelligence committees know about the program. But the two lawmakers contended in their letter that officials have been misleading in their descriptions of the issue to the public.

The issue being debated here is whether a legal/constitutional, and otherwise proper balance has been struck between civil liberties and national security, and given that the latter is the higher priority for BHO, it occurs to me that lines being crossed or smudged a tad from being stepped/slipped on (accidently of course) is likely as a result. And even if that is not the case, that hardly makes the policy desirable to many anyway, and is no doubt likely what is being hidden. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is where all this "this is nothing new" stuff is coming from. Maybe Jameel has it all wrong,

But even in the unlikely case that the government never eavesdrops on the wrong people, the cost to civil liberties is still too high. The tiny chance of a useful match cannot justify collecting everyone’s phone records, or running searches on millions of e-mail messages and Internet chats.

As Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, put it today, imagine if the government required every American to report to the government every night who they spoke to, or texted, for how long, and from where. People would be furious, but that’s precisely the information the N.S.A. is collecting from telecom companies. And it’s precisely why the government desperately wanted to keep the practice a secret.

But now the world knows what many members of Congress have kept buttoned up for years. Will Democrats stick to their principles and criticize President Obama for perpetuating a practice that began under President George W. Bush? And will Republicans, happy to find something new to stimulate anger against the White House, demand actual change in a program they defended for years?

it does seem to be a bit odd that they'd be going after a whistleblower that simply shared common knowledge too.

As I understand it, BHO welcomes this debate, and he will likely be compelled in the days and weeks to come, to give us that oppose this stuff much the same bizness

Relying incessantly on drone strikes and other means to kill whomever the U.S. government decides are terrorists and their “associated forces” is endless war by other means. The president’s speech was less about a real shift and more about indefinitely extended hostilities framed in a way that normalizes and institutionalizes them.
Read more: http://www.utne.com/politics/obamas-speech-antiwar-movement.aspx#ixzz2VmcZMChC

but have no fear -- only those with something to hide need fear the ride from big brother. One can quibble about the source, question asked, etc, but there it is http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/june_2013/59_oppose_government_s_secret_collecting_of_phone_records It would appear that the public opinion is not moving in the desired direction for some.

Here's to hoping that the continuation of these policies becomes as popular as chained CPI did -- people rejecting it in sufficient numbers over what it is they're losing for what it is they're getting for the loss. That would be austerity and a compelled sense of compliance respectively. Seniors didn't vote for or ask to have their checks cut, much as many of us didn't vote for or ask to have our lives recorded.

Meanwhile the cries to "Hang all Snowedmen" will contininue, which was kinda the sentiment many held for those who wrote/spoke the heresy that BHO intended to put chained CPI on the table.

Between this and being under Obama's spell already, you can be rendered senseless

quickly, and turned into a good and compliant little bot without even knowing it. Dare I say some are already there?

As long as you are part of the herd of the good sheppard, there is nothing to fear, including all those canines he uses for herd cohesion. Right?

Put differently, George Orwell isn’t who you should be reading to understand the dangers inherent to the NSA’s dragnet. You’d be better off turning to famous French social theorist Michel Foucault. (I wouldn't disregard Orwell, or Huxley either)

The basic concern with the PRISM program is that it is undoubtedly collecting information on significant numbers of Americans, in secret, who may not have any real connection to the case the Agency is pursuing. PRISM sifts through tech giants’ databases to cull information about suspected national security threats. However, since it uses a 51 percent confidence threshold for determining whether a target is foreign, and likely extends to individuals that are “two degrees of separation” from the original target, the chances are extraordinarily high that this program is spying on a significant number of Americans.

A citizenry that’s constantly on guard for secret, unaccountable surveillance is one that’s constantly being remade along the lines the state would prefer. Foucault illustrated this point by reference to a hypothetical prison called the Panopticon. Designed by utilitarian philosopher Jeremy Bentham, the Panopticon is a prison where all cells can be seen from a central tower shielded such that the guards can see out but the prisoners can’t see in. The prisoners in the Panopticon could thus never know whether they were being surveilled, meaning that they have to, if they want to avoid running the risk of severe punishment, assume that they were being watched at all times. Thus, the Panopticon functioned as an effective tool of social control even when it wasn’t being staffed by a single guard.

In his famous Discipline and Punish, Foucault argues that we live in a world where the state exercises power in the same fashion as the Panopticon’s guards. Foucault called it “disciplinary power;” the basic idea is that the omnipresent fear of being watched by the state or judged according to prevailing social norms caused people to adjust the way they acted and even thought without ever actually punished. People had become “self-regulating” agents, people who “voluntarily” changed who they were to fit social and political expectations without any need for actual coercion.

Online privacy advocates have long worried that government surveillance programs could end up disciplining internet users in precisely this fashion. In 1997, the FBI began using something called Project Carnivore, an online surveillance data tool designed to mimic traditional wiretaps, but for email. However, because online information is not like a phone number in several basic senses, Carnivore ended up capturing far more information than it was intended to. It also had virtually no oversight outside of the FBI.


Time to Bell the Obama Cat (and to end the growing hopelessness)

unlike many, I've long thought that the abandonment of the dem party for a new one or existing third party is a grave mistake


despite being merely a dem voter as opposed to a supporter to the extent many here no doubt have been. I'll take the good cop with the kind words over the bad cop with the phone book anyday. The best scenario however, remains never finding oneself in the interrogation room, or in the situation before us, to minimize the differences between what we want and our elected leaders will fight for.

I think the author has it exactly right here

For progressives, there’s not a lot to be gained by venting against Obama without working to implement a plausible strategy for ousting corporate war Democrats from state power. Nor is there a useful path for third parties like the Green Party in races for Congress and other partisan contests; those campaigns rarely end up with more than a tiny percentage of the vote, and the impacts are very small.

This spring, there’s a lot of work beckoning for progressives who mean business about gaining electoral power for social movements; who have no intention of eliding the grim realities of the Obama presidency; who are more than fed up with false pretenses that Obama is some kind of ally of progressives; who recognize that Obama has served his last major useful purpose for progressives by blocking a Romney-Ryan regime from entering the White House; who are willing to be here now, in this historical moment, to organize against and polarize with the Obama administration in basic terms; and who, looking ahead, grasp the tragic folly of leaving the electoral field to battles between right-wing Republicans and Democrats willing to go along with the kind of destructive mess that President Obama has been serving up.

This is why I've thought BHO can be thanked for his recent effort, because of the potential it has for exploitation for new and better dems to use in primaries in 2014 to identify and hopefully prevail over. I also think this is right as well.

Obama’s move to cut Social Security is certainly outrageous, and it’s encouraging that a wide range of progressive groups are steamed at Obama as never before. But this kind of outrage should have reached a “boiling point” a long time ago. The administration’s undermining of civil liberties, scant action on climate change, huge escalation of war in Afghanistan, expansion of drone warfare, austerity policies serving Wall Street and shafting Main Street, vast deference to corporate power. . . The list is long and chilling.

Call the SS move a crossing of the rubicon, or going a bridge too far, straw that broke..., etc, but regardless, it certainly has the potential for my fav, a "Network Moment" from and with which we can let the corporatists/corporate-lite crew in the dem leadership ranks know "we aren't going to take it anymore!". It's well past time docility was replaced with outrage, the Orwellian nature of so much revealed, and the Huxleyan distractions abandoned or ignored, and replacing it with the "work" called for. http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/08/who-was-right-huxley-or-orwell/

This is a time for improvements or repairs, not switching vehicles to a new one we can't afford -- like giving rightwingnuts supremacy in the elections in the short term -- and that offers no guarentees we'll ever reach the desired destination should we ever get the keys.

Let the games begin

I'd say the key to victories in 2014 lie in both a litmus test for all dems running, and in their also doing a better job of countering this kinda BS, even if that means those running being critical of and willing to tarnish the pres by noting it's something he and the repubs have shown a "willingness" to own.

BLITZER: Well, let's talk about these proposed changes that the president is putting forward when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, the shocking proposals that you say the president's putting forward that could affect seniors. What's so shocking about changing that CPI, that consumer price index the way that you would determine how much inflation would go ahead with increases for Social Security recipients, for example?
WALDEN: Well, once again, you're trying to balance this budget on the backs of seniors and I just think it's not the right way to go.

And here he is on the Medicare cuts:

Well, I thought it very intriguing in that the budget really lays out kind of a shocking attack on seniors, if you will. And we haven't seen all the detail yet, and we'll look at it, but I'll tell you, when you're going after seniors the way he's already done on Obamacare, taking $700 billion out of Medicare to put into Obamacare, and now coming back at seniors again, I think you're crossing that line very quickly here in terms of denying access to seniors for health care in districts like mine, certainly, and around the country. I think he's going to have a lot of pushback from some of the major senior organizations on this and Republicans, as well.
Gee, who could have foreseen that line of attack from Republicans? http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/04/10/1200768/-GOP-campaign-chairman-calls-chained-CPI-trying-to-balance-the-budget-on-the-backs-of-nbsp-seniors?detail=hide

As a somewhat old OWS preemie, I'm unsurprised by recent revelations

The good cop/bad cop tactics of our pols in DC in particular has always been as obvious as the increased craziness of the rightwingers since Bush took the helm.

The reason why the OWS never formally chose a party side in this battle is because both sides have in varying degrees, been part of the underlying and continuing social injustice problems largely tethered to the wealth/income inequality issue. Saint Raygun launched the rocket that has made the disparity sky high, and every pres since, dem and repub alike, have had a hand in boosting it. http://www.economist.com/blogs/dailychart/2011/10/income-inequality-america

This is also why I suggested to those so highly critical of those being critical of BHO's apparent "willingness" to put SS on the chopping block, before and after the election, that they should refrain from all the name-calling, label assignments, etc, because inevitably they'd find themselves in a distinct minority given the high likelihood he'd do what he's done, and because on a very fundamental level and in a very real way, most of us on the left that congregate here are OWSers, particularly we older ones who've lived all the aforementioned history.

It's his willingness to put it on the chopping block that has damned him, whether you believe that willingness has it's origin in an honest desire stemming from his "Third way" nature, or because he's "bluffing" with the lives and risking potential human misery to be suffered by our fellow citizens with gamesmenship. Whether or not the rightwingnuts call his bliff doesn't change the fact that he's willing to do it, unless of course he's lying about that, which leaves only the supporting of a liar and a lie, and conceding that the rightwingers don't have a monopoly on the use of "the ends justify the means" BS that underlies all their lying. http://www.thenation.com/blog/173703/nothing-new-under-wingnut-sun-minoritarianism That's one of the few things Saint Raygun got right -- his observation that morality and politics are inseparable, and as I've long seen and argued it, it is the differences in morality between the left/right ideologies that plays an intregal role in and best explains in large part, the mysterious workings of the modern rightwingnut brain in terms of their fact/science/etc denials. They simply can't be wrong when their goals are always "right", even today when from a popularity standpoint, it's the wrong time to be on the right or pushing modern rightwingnut policies.

And it bears mentioning as well, much like the bluffer at the poker table, he's "willing" to risk the loss, but only to others in this case, given the state of his financial security. The only thing he's risking is the quality of his legacy, which I'd always hoped would be enough to avoid where we are today, but never put all my eggs in that basket.

Given all that, I am pleased that BHO has sought to cut or diminish the juice going to the third rail, because it should serve as a learning experience for those lacking in sufficient vision to see the big picture, which includes and really is or should be all about those who are and are not served in adequate measure and ways by our leaders in DC, not cheerleading for the home team that is increasing becoming a fale choice at worst, or one between the lesser of two evils at best. Had it not been for the Lewinsky affair, perhaps more eyes could have been opened to all of this back in the waning days of the Clinton admin. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=clinton%20ss%20and%20lewinsky&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDgQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffiredoglake.com%2F2010%2F05%2F18%2Fhow-monica-lewinsky-saved-social-security-clinton-gingrich-bowles-and-the-pact%2F&ei=JzxkUeifAcLOyAHtoIGIAw&usg=AFQjCNHuiBTHssw01nPTGA487QqO7Iyyhg&bvm=bv.44990110,d.aWc

So can I get a "Well done, BHO!"?
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