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Current location: Orlando
Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 08:49 AM
Number of posts: 19,082
Current location: Orlando
Member since: Wed Nov 10, 2004, 08:49 AM
Number of posts: 19,082
The day after Obama's prime time statement on going (not going) to war in the Middle East, here's what I said on Facebook...
"I'm absolutely torn about this. (it) puts us on the side of Syria's leaders which a year ago we were wanting to bomb. seems to me there's no good partners in the region and we risk making a bad situation worse. on the other hand I want revenge for the beheadings of the journos…"
But two new pieces of information have me reconsidering this morning after "what the hell let's go to war" feeling. One is that we now know that Foley's family was threatened by US military representatives not to pay ransom.
And the other is that European journalists have been rescued by ransom in amounts ranging from 1-5 million. Spain and Germany paid to avoid television beheadings of THEIR people, but we'll gladly embark on an open-ended military campaign costing trillions on the pretense that if we don't they'll behead more Americans. Why is that?
Something we've known for a long time is that we allow corporations to spring American executives kidnapped in the Middle East as well as Africa and Central and South America. It's done secretly and there's even insurance for it called K & R -- K & R is actually a thing, and not just on DU. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kidnap_and_ransom_insurance
Young freelancers aren't likely to be paid fairly, much less have K & R policies.
But this isn't the only problem facing families of kidnapped American journalists. The US and Britain are out of step with European countries who do rescue their journalists. According to this article by Steve Coll in the New Yorker, negotiating consultants believe it's imperative to move ideological kidnappings to being economically motivated b/c that's how you take the political gain off the table for the kidnappers.
It makes me wonder, was our policy on kidnappings to blame for creating the pretense for war?
I'll leave you with David Rohde, an investigative reporter for Reuters and contributing editor for The Atlantic who back in 2008 was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and held for more than seven months before escaping.
In a piece that ran on August 20 on Reuters, Rohde asks:
Did America’s policy on ransom contribute to James Foley’s killing?
...Foley’s execution is also a chilling wake-up call for American and European policymakers, as well as U.S. news outlets and aid organizations. It is the clearest evidence yet of how vastly different responses to kidnappings by U.S. and European governments save European hostages but can doom the Americans. Hostages and their families realize this fully — even if the public does not.
“I wish I could have the hope of freedom and seeing my family once again, but that ship has sailed,” Foley said moments before he was killed in a craven video released by the militant group on Tuesday. “I guess, all in all, I wish I wasn’t American.” Foley clearly spoke under duress. But his regret at being an American captive, real or not, reflected grim fact.
This spring, four French and two Spanish journalists held hostage by the Islamic State extremists were freed — after the French and Spanish governments paid ransoms through intermediaries. The U.S. government refused to negotiate or pay a ransom in Foley’s case or for any other American captives — including my own abduction by the Taliban five years ago.
Foley believed that his government would help him, according to his family. In a message that was not made public, Foley said that he believed so strongly that Washington would help that he refused to allow his fellow American captives to not believe in their government.
A consistent response to kidnapping by the U.S. and Europe is desperately needed. The current haphazard approach is failing.
James Foley must not die in vain.
Posted by nashville_brook | Sat Sep 13, 2014, 01:43 PM (104 replies)
(h/t scarletwoman for improved subject line!)
BLUE CRUSH: How the left took over the Democratic Party.
This is an interesting piece from former Clinton political director Doug Sosnik wherein he says our party is more united than ever before, but: "simmering beneath the surface of this united front is an ascendant progressive and populist movement that is on the verge of taking over the party."
And I'm not sure if he's thinks this is a good thing or a bad thing.
"The lead-in to the 2016 presidential campaign could force a tipping point as early as next year if Hillary Clinton declines to run and a broad field emerges. If that happens, candidates will feel a great deal of pressure to appeal to the highly engaged, energized and well-funded activists who have been clamoring for a robust progressive agenda. Even if Clinton runs, her candidacy won’t preempt the party’s eventual takeover by the activist forces. It will only slow it down."
There are a lot of charts and framing up the claim that progressives have taken over the party, and then Sosnik lays down the problem as he sees it:
While progressive activists are ascendent in the party, there's a countervailing force sure to dash hopes for change, and that's the desire of the American public is to shrink government."
Since Obama became president, the number of Americans who want to expand the role of the federal government has decreased sharply...The botched launch of Obamacare last October only reinforced those perceptions.
I'm here to tell you this is a small hurdle. First of all, the ACA has saved lives and kept families afloat. Dems who run away from this (like Alex Sink in FL's D-13 loss) pay the price. Running from anti-government rhetoric doesn't win elections for Dems. We need to OWN THIS.
This is true, especially in the face of epic real-life "small government" disasters such as Brownbeckistan and Detroit, and the refusal of Republican-run states to expand Medicaid resulting in dystopian "donut hole deaths."
Sosnik nevertheless claims that this one tiny piece of public perception is strong enough to put the kibosh on progressive action going forward. I say he's dead wrong.
Big government vs small government is a disingenuous semantic game that disguises the fact that EVERYONE wants government to work for them. "Small government" is a bullshit administrative definition that means nothing to working families, or the Tea Party conservatives who use it. Corporate conservatives love "big government" in the form of corporate welfare. Social conservatives want government in everyone's bedrooms and women's health clinics. Mid-level business conservatives never miss a chance to socialize risk while privatizing rewards.
Meanwhile, there's impassioned calls for an Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders presidential run. Do you see anyone knocking down Chuck Schumer's or Diane Feinstein's door? Warren and Sanders know that "big government vs small government" is easily exposed as an excuse to steal from the poor and give to the rich, and they speak the truth that it's a core Democratic value to reverse this.
This "public desire" for a thing called "small government" might register on opinion polls, but not around the dinner table. We want better schools, 21st Century public transportation, and a fair deal for workers in which full-time work results in being able to afford a damn apartment. You want to change "public desire"? Keep talking about minimum wage, sick days for working families, and affordable child care. Refuse conservative talking points, already.
And when it comes to our "public desire" let's not forget where we were just 25 years ago with regard to another "insurmountable" public perception: LGBT issues and the AIDS crisis.
In the late 80s I attended a meeting of southern college progressive groups in Chapel Hill. The goal of the meeting was to form a "powerful new coalition for change." We'd hoped to build on the success of the so-called red/green alliance of environmental and social justice groups.
The conference literally blew up in the face of a proposal to embrace LGBT human rights and mobilize to end the AIDS crisis. I remember that hot auditorium like it was yesterday. "Gay rights, are you crazy?" It's "too difficult," and "a losing battle." Some said it wasn't pragmatic. Now isn't the time…the usual. And this from our country's brightest young progressive leaders. Sure, I was intimidated by the proposal, but knew deep down that we had to go through that fight because it was the right thing to do.
"What the heck were we thinking" we ask now. Our insecurity on the "public desire" regarding gay rights actually demonstrated that this was exactly where the pressure needed to be applied. Now it seems unimaginable that LGBT support required debate. It's boilerplate.
At the end of the article the author states: "democratic activists will need to reconcile the public’s desire for smaller government with their own progressive impulses."
Sure, but we've already reconciled it the same way we reconciled LGBT support in the 80s and early 90s. It's not "big vs small." That's disingenuous bullshit. The real tension is between government that's on the side of working families, vs government on the side of big business. This battle may seem "impractical" today, but I guarantee you it's tomorrow's "what the heck were we thinking."
He says as much here:
"There is an overriding belief that our political and economic systems are either broken or corrupt and that they’re out to favor the few at the expense of the many. These beliefs transcend partisanship or philosophical orientation…"
Activists change public perception; we don't chase it. Progressives are on the front lines and poised to lead, while Clinton and the ever-shrinking Blue Dog Coalition are tee'd up to fight the last war.
Looking back on my experience of the 80s, it's clear that the impossible task of changing the "public's desire" on LGBT issues wasn't as impossible as we thought. As a matter of fact, it was absolutely necessary, and right and moral to take those positions, and THAT'S WHY we won in the end. We must take that lesson forward with regard to the pressures we face today such as reigning in Wall Street, curbing global warming and supporting economic security for working families.
Now is the time to apply pressure precisely where our political and economic systems are broken. To refuse to do so -- because of "public desire" for "smaller government" -- would be political malpractice.
Posted by nashville_brook | Sun Jul 27, 2014, 05:56 PM (136 replies)
Spent hours in a medical waiting room where I couldn't escape FOX News with their wall-to-wall Bergdahl-is-a-commie coverage. then came home and checked out the DemocracyNow piece on Bergdahl found here: http://www.democracynow.org/seo/2014/6/5/veteran_politicians_using_freed_pow_bowe
In this piece former solder, Brock McIntosh, Veterans For Peace spox-person talks about being lied into this war, and the horror of having to shoot at people in a context that doesn't make any sense historically, politically or strategically. If Bergdahl was disenchanted with the war, he had good reason to be. It only took 10 years to fight the fucking French Revolution -- this should have more like a "clean up on aisle 5." WHY ARE WE STILL THERE?
I think the RWNJs and "sneer-casters" on FOX News want people to think that Bergdahl is not worthy of being rescued b/c he questioned the war. Period. Full-stop. They don't like people who think and they don't like his dad's beard. They're trying to SHAME them. It's disgusting. They've got no coherent narrative except a dirty whisper campaign, and they're flapping hysterically that he might have studied languages, or islam, or cared about the kids being killed over there. Holy cow. What's next? Jailing people for having peace stickers?
And I think they also don't realize that this a discussion we're dying to have. It's time to talk about Afghanistan itself. Who is not sick to death of sending our troops and tax money into an ill-defined, unstrategic, badly managed fiasco?
We're 10 years in with no end in sight, and these nut jobs think the most important thing to do is attack a rescued prisoner of war. This is madness, and they can easily be made to pay for it. It's so anti-American it turns your stomach.
Do not let these fuckers get away with it.
Posted by nashville_brook | Thu Jun 5, 2014, 08:58 PM (5 replies)
You might remember the thread a couple of weeks ago on the death of a young Florida mother of three with a heart condition who couldn't receive healthcare b/c she fell into the state's enormous Medicaid Gap created by Republicans refusing to take federal monies to expand the program. Thom Hartmann picked up the story from that post and then Truth-Out did a piece.
After a cover story in the Orlando Weekly, the story has caught fire, being featured on Al Sharpton's show, Alex Wagner's show and on Huffington Post Live.
Tomorrow night Lawrence O'Donnell will have it on, and The Maddow Show producers have also reached out to primary contacts for the story.
While the story threatens to go national, I hope everyone remembers that the politics in play are state and local. And it couldn't be any more clear to someone paying attention to what's going on in Tallahassee.
ALEC-led Republicans are leaving dead Americans on their ideological battlefield. They are being helped along by ALEC-led "think tanks" and publications and lobbyists with lots and lots of money. Now they're moving into local government:
Conservative group Alec trains sights on city and local government
• American Legislative Exchange Council forms new initiative
• Offshoot will target ‘villages, towns, cities and counties’
Now the council is looking to take its blueprint for influence over statewide lawmaking and drill it down to the local level. It has already quietly set up, and is making plans for the public launch of, an offshoot called the American City County Exchange (ACCE) that will target policymakers from “villages, towns, cities and counties”.
We need to get mad about Charlene Dill, and we need to direct that energy where it can do some good: state and local legislative bodies that have created two sets of rules -- one for us and one for them. Now, they're creating two sets of outcomes -- one for us and one for them. And we can't go on like this. It's no wonder the most talked about economics book of the year is a warning us that the gap between the rich and poor threatens to destroy society. I'm feeling it, Mr. Piketty.
State and local government holds the power here, which I suppose is predictable since they've spent so much time and money in buying our corrupt political system here in Florida. We need to understand how that turns up the heat. It's our own neighbors who think it's just fine for young mothers to die if they have the "wrong kind" of job -- the kind that doesn't pay or offer benefits. This exploitable labor exists, in fact, because of policies set by our state and local politicians. In Florida, that' means ALEC.
If you live in Orange County or want to know more about this, visit http://www.votelocal2014.org
Here's the story from the Orlando Weekly:
The perils of Florida’s refusal to expand Medicaid
Charlene Dill is one of an estimated 2,000 people who expected to face dire health issues due to lack of access to care
Charlene Dill didn’t have to die.
On March 21, Dill was supposed to bring her three children over to the South Orlando home of her best friend, Kathleen Voss Woolrich. The two had cultivated a close friendship since 2008; they shared all the resources that they had, from debit-card PINs to transportation to baby-sitting and house keys. They helped one another out, forming a safety net where there wasn’t one already. They “hustled,” as Woolrich describes it, picking up short-term work, going out to any event they could get free tickets to, living the high life on the low-down, cleaning houses for friends to afford tampons and shampoo. They were the working poor, and they existed in the shadows of the economic recovery that has yet to reach many average people.
Dill’s death was not unpredictable, nor was it unpreventable. She had a documented heart condition for which she took medication. But she also happened to be one of the people who fall within the gap created by the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, which was a key part of the Affordable Care Act’s intention to make health care available to everyone. In the ensuing two years, 23 states have refused to expand Medicaid, including Florida, which rejected $51 billion from the federal government over the period of a decade to overhaul its Medicaid program to include people like Dill and Woolrich – people who work, but do not make enough money to qualify for the Affordable Care Act’s subsidies. They, like many, are victims of a political war – one that puts the lives and health of up to 17,000 U.S. residents and 2,000 Floridians annually in jeopardy, all in the name of rebelling against President Barack Obama’s health care plan.
These are the people in the coverage gap – the unknowns, the single mothers, the not-quite-retired – the unnamed 750,000 Floridians who are suffering while legislators in Tallahassee refuse to address the issue in this year’s legislative session, which ends on May 2. The working poor – who used to be the middle class – are on a crash course with disaster for no logical reason. Charlene Dill, at the age of 32, didn’t have to die.
In the Sunshine State, 440,000 people signed up on the health care exchange, while 125,000 were judged to be eligible for Medicaid. Florida, with its retirees and low-wage workers, is on the demand side of health care.
“We are No. 2, plus we have a federal exchange,” SEIU state council president Monica Russo says. “I find that quite a statement. Floridians need health care. I think can campaign all they want against health care, but at the end of the day, what are they going to do? Rip health care out of their hands?”
snip -- much more at link: http://orlandoweekly.com/news/the-perils-of-florida-s-refusal-to-expand-medicaid-1.1665144?pgno=1
Posted by nashville_brook | Sun Apr 13, 2014, 03:53 PM (59 replies)
This was written by a friend of mine (news of the death came this weekend). Posted with permission.
I was aware of Charlene's predicament with not being able to get meds or see a doc with her heart condition -- Kathleen (the writer) did a fundraiser to get her meds a while back. Now she's doing a GoFundMe for her funeral.
This is so horrific, and predictable. And preventable. And the result of Republicans in their insane crusade against Obama using the people of Florida as sacrificial lambs. And I just can't even begin to imagine all the other millions of people in Florida who aren't covered, and how many will also die or suffer permanent disability or lose their homes… the list just goes on and on.
Kathleen Voss Woolrich: A Loss Of Life, Caused By Partisan Politics – The Denial Of Obamacare
An unedited story told by a fellow Floridian. The consequences of Florida’s modern day partisan politics. A call to vote for change.
March 24, 2014
By: Kathleen Voss Woolrich
“Born in Pennsylvania to a warm family, Charlene moved to Florida when she was 18 years old. She worked at fast food joints and Disney, cleaned houses and babysat, but through the years found herself as a single mother with 3 kids. She had heart issues that needed to be managed. Her teeth needed to be fixed and constantly had infections, but Charlene never complained. She made $11,000 dollars last year – babysitting other peoples’ children and cleaning other peoples’ houses. She proudly paid her property taxes in February and took care of her little trailer, which she owned and took all three kids to school.
But, Charlene had no health insurance. Charlene was unable to get Obamacare, because she made too little to get the subsidies to purchase health insurance. She had no dental insurance. Her teeth hurt her at night and had so many cavities, but could not find a way to get the decay in her teeth fixed. She was denied medicaid and when she went to get Obamcare she was told she could not get subsidies.
So she went to the emergency room 2012. She had heart issues and was told to get on medicine and be monitored. But, had no health insurance to do so. 2012 Obama won and we all were so sure… NOW Charlene would have health insurance. But the Republican Party of Florida and Rick Scott turned down medicaid expansion. In December Charlene went to the emergency room with abcesses in her legs. Her teeth hurt her constantly. Charlene never complained. She took her two older kids to school each day and reported for work at her various jobs. Recently she began selling vaccuum cleaners in addition to the babysitting and house cleaning. She took antibiotics. She got her healthcare at Florida hospital emergency rooms.
On March 21st, she was supposed to come see me – on my first day off, in a while. She was excited about seeing my daughter who she had raised since she was 3. The kids were all going to play together. She had only 2 short appointments in Osceola County, to show the vaccum to customers. At about 4 pm, that afternoon, I got a message from her niece that she had died at the customers house. They rushed her to Poinciana Medical Center and worked on her. They could not bring my best friend back. She died. She was 32.
You see, the main argument Republicans use is that its some lazy person who needs medicaid expansion. That, those of us living without healthcare or dental care are lazy. But my friend, a single beautiful mother, worked 3 jobs. She paid taxes. She paid her house taxes. And now she’s dead.
Please think of Charlene when you decide who you are going to vote for in August and December. Please vote democrat. Please vote for people who want people like Charlene and me to have healthcare – to have a fighting chance.
I am burying my best friend soon, because of Rick Scott and Will Weatherford. I am buring my best friend, because of the policies of the Republican Party. I am burying my best friend, because had medicaid expansion passed her needs would have been met. She is one of the 7 people who will die each day, because the Florida House of Represenatives Republicans and Tea Party decided that we are not worth living. We are not worth healthcare. We were not worth medicaid expansion.
Please vote for Charlene.
Please help get the Republicans out and expand medicaid. I’ll never have her back. I’ll never see my friend again. I’ll never have another day with her, because of the Republican House of Representatives. Please, for Charlene and for me, register to vote and promise to vote against Rick Scott and any Florida Republican who runs. They need to know we know. We know who they hurt and we see what they are doing to the poor of Florida.”
– Charlene Dill 1981 to 2014
if you want to help the family:
Here's some information and an info graphic on the Medicaid Gap:
Posted by nashville_brook | Mon Mar 24, 2014, 07:25 PM (111 replies)
Two separate narratives emerged today regarding sequestration and the upcoming CR. One is being pushed by right-leaning/centrist dems, and the other by establishment GOPers.
Here's the first: Steny Hoyer says NO CR with military sequestration cuts:
And the second is:
New GOP Plan Would Save Military From Sequestration By Cutting Social Security
Taken together you see how the two sides who're both beholden to investment bankers want us to see how there's "bipartisan agreement" that military cuts are so scary and so unthinkable that it's our sovereign patriotic duty to each and every one give up our Social Security benefits for the good of the country.
I have to go make dinner, so instead of a reasoned response, I'm just going leave you with this:
Posted by nashville_brook | Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:51 PM (56 replies)
So, I was at the Florida Democratic Convention yesterday, and listened to a wonderful presentation on messaging, or "how to talk to people who don't yet agree with you." The presenter, FLDems Comms Director Joshua Karp, provided this illustration based on a circle, a square and triangle.
CIRCLE = Circle of trust. You must establish trust before you can persuade.
SQUARE = Logic and facts.
TRIANGLE = The Delta or difference that pushes the opposition outside of their current circle of trust toward yours.
When we skip the first step and try to persuade using only facts we're opening ourselves up being called elitists, because we're kinda being elitists by expecting people to just recognize the inherent greatness of our arguments. That also kinda makes us assholes. Elitist assholes. See how this works?
It's about the trust.
So, in the entire thread "They Think We're Stealing From Them," we've made some good observations and asked some good questions about persuasion, but ultimately we miss the point by asserting that white working-class heartlanders don't vote their pocketbook because they're racist. They vote that way b/c they feel outside of our circle of trust... and painting all white working-class midwesterners as racist isn't helping. Regardless of whether this is the case, if we believe this, we will never persuade them.
Plus, I don't think we believe that. I think we know better.
White working-class midwesterners are HURTING because our party exported their working-class jobs to other countries so they can buy super cheap crap from Walmart. Then we post pictures of them on the internet and point and laugh. Is it any wonder there's no basis for trust?
I'm guilty of this too. In 1993 I thought that "globalization" sounded like a great post-modern idea, and recently I've gawked at some of the People Of Walmart photos. But I know better now. Those photos never fail to send me into a deep depression and globalization was a terrible scam.
Here's the truth: White working-class midwesterners' pocketbooks have been hurting for decades because of Clintonian free-trade policy coupled with trickle-down economics we saw accelerated throughout the Bush Jr years, and that continue today... but with growing resistance from OUR party as seen in holding the line against the shutdown.
The shutdown resistance has shown that we're indeed more trustworthy than the GOP and at the very least won't sink the country like they would. So how can we continue to persuade white working-class midwesterners that our party is better for them? How about holding the line on these issues that hit middle- and working-class people in the gut:
Protect Social Security
Raise the Minimum Wage
Make Sick Days Mandatory for wage earners
Raise Corporate Taxes and End Tax Loopholes
We're seeing the beginning of what could be an unstoppable coalition. We just have to continue doing what's right for the people, and persuade them that we're worthy of their trust.
Posted by nashville_brook | Sun Oct 27, 2013, 03:18 PM (23 replies)
Lots of talk lately about what constitutes activism. And with that, there's the urge to draw the line neatly around one thing, and not "the other."
I've been kicking around activist circles since the 1980s and a LOT has changed since then. Back when I started it was easier to define activism. Things we would have listed as activism included:
-- turning out people to public meetings
-- hosting events for large-scale involvement
-- writing letters to the editor
-- participating in activist planning/strategy/forums (which, were mostly in-person at the time).
Since the 80s we've seen the rise of this thing called Social Media and most organizations either have a social media job with their communications department, OR they rely on organizers to use social media to take their message out.
Pay attention to that last line..."to take their message out." This is what we used to do primarily with Letters to the Editor. LTEs are still very important, especially when trying to move electeds to a better policy position. It's VERY important b/c electeds use SEO and web searches for their name to report back to the lawmaker on how their messaging is doing out in the world, and...in the best case scenario...to reality check if their constituents are still with them. DU is recognized as having excellent SEO. Often when researching a new issue my searches put DU on the first page, even when I'm using a work computer that isn't full of DU cookies.
This forum can be seen as a daily paper for *engaged Democrats." An engaged Dem is someone who is a likely voter and someone who can be mobilized to participate in other actions such as social media engagement LTEs, phone-banking and doorknocking. We are also likely to turn-out to assemblies, town halls, and protests.
When you're posting your thoughts to DU you're talking directly to Democratic party people with the intent of *moving people* in the direction of your point of view. The audience is different from an LTE; much larger and clearly more Dem.
If there wasn't the potential to move decision-makers with our actions here, there wouldn't be such turf fights over policy issues. It's activism in the clearest sense, using social media to bridge the divide between rank-and-file Dems and their national leadership.
Posting on DU isn't only activism, it's effective activism. But I would agree with others that it's not complete. Also go out and work on the issues that you're passionate about. Election reform, job quality, school reform, environmental and of course, peace and justice organizations all NEED your help.
Use DU to help you think and to better communicate your POV. Save your posts here for LTEs in your local newspapers. If you have a really good one, pitch it as an op-ed, post it on Facebook, or add it to another blog. Use DU's Twitter and Facebook buttons to extend your social reach.
But don't let anyone tell you that what you're doing isn't activism. It is. As a DU poster, you're valuable and needed part of the activist eco-system.
Posted by nashville_brook | Mon Sep 23, 2013, 09:37 AM (129 replies)
Some here have been making a case for attacking Syria based on the notion that progressive leaders such as Alan Grayson are supporting it...based on nothing more than their silence in the media.
That's no longer a legitimate argument as heard in this interview with Sirius' The Agenda with Ari Rabin-Havt.
Important points in this interview:
-- chemical weapons allegations are unproven and "genuinely ambiguous"
-- there's no benefit to the Syrian government for killing these 200 citizens
-- conventional munitions also have the effect of suffocating victims
-- if CW were used, the victims would be dangerous to the rescuers; no report of rescuers effected by CWs
-- if they were going to use CWs they would be using them everyday and gloating about it
-- "dead people are dead people" - that chemical warfare presents an arbitrary "redline"
-- the US has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world -- dubious moral high ground
-- evidence must be UNEQUIVOCAL that the Syrian military used CWs and that there's a vital US interest
-- let's finish the wars we're already in
-- puzzling and disturbing the Obama administration is only putting out unsupported information RE the use of CWs
-- no desire in his district to be world's policeman (subject of my recent post here)
-- fwiw the manufacturer of the missiles we'd use against Syria, Raytheon, has seen a dramatic bump in stock value over last few days
-- nobody wants this except for the military industrial complex - the president should recognize and rise above the interests of the military industrial complex in this matter.
Posted by nashville_brook | Thu Aug 29, 2013, 11:25 AM (119 replies)
This is an interesting development. Not sure how smart this is on the part of the White House/NSA/Clapper because it could undermine faith in pro-NSA voices and reinforce the perception that those advocating for weakened privacy and security are not independent.
Advocate of Secret Infiltration, Cass Sunstein, on Obama’s “Committee To Make Us Trust the Dragnet”
Posted on August 22, 2013 by emptywheel
ABC reports that, along with former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell, former Homeland Security Czar Richard Clarke, and former Obama special assistant for economic policy Peter Swire, the White House (or James Clapper — who knows at this point) has picked Cass Sunstein for its Review Committee on NSA programs.
In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”
And remember, a big mandate for this committee is not to review the programs to see if we can make them more privacy-protective, but simply to increase our trust in them. Which goes to the core of what Sunstein was talking about in his paper: using covert government propaganda to, in this case, better sell covert government spying.
Well, if Obama and Clapper’s rollout hadn’t already discredited this committee, Sunstein’s selection sure does.
- See more at: http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/08/22/advocate-of-secret-infiltration-cass-sunstein-on-obamas-committee-to-make-us-trust-the-dragnet/#sthash.HGsvq7ua.dpuf
Link to Greenwald's 2010 reporting on Sunstein:
Link to ABC news report on appointments:
Posted by nashville_brook | Thu Aug 22, 2013, 10:41 AM (215 replies)