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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 12,774

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Twain: “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”

“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it.”

― Mark Twain

Twain's wise words were mentioned this morning on CBS Sunday Morning - an interesting feature on Mark Twain continuing to live today through impersonators and stage re-enactors. This was one of the many featured observations from Twain.

It's also hits at the heart of the current fissures and fights here on DU.

Mark Twain, once again - nails it.

Banned from BOG group after posting news item about Larry Summers.

Was not disrespectful to PBO.

But host dug up other posts of mine that "questioned" Dear Leader's infallibility. So I was banned from the group, not based on what I had posted in the group - but on OTHER posts.


Are the members of BOG paying extra to have their own little dictatorship? This is not fair, it is not right.

I have seen other ATA posts about this, and Skinner I hope you can find a way to accommodate ALL members of DU - fairly.

Are some more equal than others here?

Obama to nominate Summers as Fed chief: Nikkei

Obama to nominate Summers as Fed chief: Nikkei
Source: Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama will name former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Japan's Nikkei newspaper said on Friday.

The newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, said in its original Japanese version that Obama was "in the final stages" and moving toward naming Summers.

The English-language version said the president "is set to" name Summers as early as late next week.

Asked about the story, a White House spokeswoman said Obama had not made his decision about the Fed job.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/13/us-usa-fed-summers-report-idUSBRE98C06120130913?irpc=932

Hans Blix on Rachel: spying and lying. Same old. Wait for the inspectors, he urges.

Urging us to wait till we get full information.

Says Colin Powell played phony phone call (among other bs in lead-up to Iraq war.

We are better than this.

Aren't we?

Posted by chimpymustgo | Thu Sep 5, 2013, 08:29 PM (3 replies)

Alan Grayson on with Chris Hayes NOW!

Owns domain name don'tattacksyria.com.

Posted by chimpymustgo | Thu Sep 5, 2013, 07:33 PM (7 replies)

Who is the Syrian "opposition" we are helping, and why? What are our "interests"?

WTF is going on here?

Who are we planning to bomb and why?

Is the "opposition" Al Quaeda fighters? Aren't they the "enemy"?

What are these "national interests" we keep hearing about?

What are the likely consequences here?

What is the goal?

Please, someone, explain this craziness to me.

Al Jazeera America starts NOW! 3 pm EDT. On the former Current TV.

Check your local listings!

Rachel Maddow: "Journalism is NOT terrorism." She is supporting Greenwald. "It's an outrage."

Very skeptical of the US given "advance notice" that Miranda was going to be detained - and letting it go ahead.

Paraphrase: If the US wants to convince the world that Greenwald and Poitrus are wrong about govt over-rearch - then putting journalists through interrogation, letting our supposed ALLIES detain them - is an outrage.


Go Rachel. This is a defining issue. Are you on the right side or the wrong side? Rachel is on the RIGHT SIDE.

View profile

Edited to add video. Thanks, flpoljunkie for posting it!

Are Manning and Snowden patriots? That depends on what we do next.

The spying is all about power and perpetual war. The all-knowing, all-powerful State.

By Andrew J. Bacevich



Wars — either actual hostilities or crises fostering the perception of imminent danger — facilitate this process. War exalts, elevates and sanctifies the state. Writing almost a century ago, journalist Randolph Bourne put the matter succinctly: “War is the health of the state.” Among citizens, war induces herd-like subservience. “A people at war,” Bourne wrote, “become in the most literal sense obedient, respectful, trustful children again, full of that naive faith in the all-wisdom and all-power of the adult who takes care of them.”

Bourne’s observation captures an essential theme of recent U.S. history. Before the Good War gave way to the Cold War and then to the open-ended Global War on Terror, the nation’s capital was a third-rate Southern city charged with printing currency and issuing Social Security checks. Several decades of war and quasi-war transformed it into today’s center of the universe. Washington demanded deference, and Americans fell into the habit of offering it. In matters of national security, they became if not obedient, at least compliant, taking cues from authorities who operated behind a wall of secrecy and claimed expertise in anticipating and deflecting threats.


Critics and outsiders are not privy to the state’s superior knowledge; they are incapable of evaluating alleged threats. Here is the mechanism that confers status on insiders: the control of secrets. Their ownership of secrets puts them in the know. It also insulates them from accountability and renders them impervious to criticism.


To understand this is to appreciate the importance of what Manning and Snowden have done and why their actions have produced panic in Washington. Here is irrefutable evidence of dissent penetrating the machine’s deepest recesses. Thanks to a couple of tech-savvy malcontents, anyone with access to the Internet now knows what only insiders were supposed to know.

By taking technology that the state employs to manufacture secrets and using it to make state secrecy impossible, they put the machine itself at risk. Forget al-Qaeda. Forget Iran’s nuclear program. Forget the rise of China. Manning and Snowden confront Washington with something far more worrisome. They threaten the power the state had carefully accrued amid recurring wars and the incessant preparation for war. In effect, they place in jeopardy the state’s very authority — while inviting the American people to consider the possibility that less militaristic and more democratic approaches to national security might exist.

In the eyes of the state, Manning and Snowden — and others who may carry on their work — can never be other than traitors. Whether the country eventually views them as patriots depends on what Americans do with the opportunity these two men have handed us.

By Andrew J. Bacevich, Published: August 16

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations at Boston University. He is the author of “Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country.”

More at:


Press Corps Fails To Ask Any NSA Questions At Obama’s NSA Press Conference

Press Corps Fails To Ask Any NSA Questions At Obama’s NSA Press Conference
Gregory Ferenstein


The White House Press Corps just completely botched the one opportunity we had to learn details about the National Security Agency’s spying program, and the rationale for sweeping government surveillance. During the hour-long press conference President Obama held specifically to answer questions about the NSA, not a single journalist asked him details about the NSA. As a result, we learned precisely zero information from something slated to be critically informative.


Let’s review:

Today, President Obama held a last-minute press conference to announce 4 vague reforms to the intelligence community. We have more details here, but essentially, it boils down to 1) a new independent NSA review board that will publish recommendations on protecting civil liberties 2) a new website detailing the surveillance activities 3) changes to the Patriot Act authorizing the spying, and 4) a new public advocate to argue cases in the secret court that grants the NSA spying requests.

After the announcements, Obama opened himself up to questions. Because no one asked any details about the NSA, Here’s what we still don’t know:

1). Do foreign governments swap information with one another to skirt spying laws? British spy agencies reportedly tap the undersea cables used to carry Internet data and share it with the NSA. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) may forbid American agencies from collecting information on domestic targets, but we have no idea whether Britain’s equivalent, the GCHQ, is listening in on American phone calls abroad or watching their Internet behavior (then sharing it with US agents).

2). Have the NSA programs ever actually stopped an attack? A new NSA report [PDF] released today defending its practices notes that surveillance practices helped stop Najibullah Zazi from bombing the New York City Subway. But, as Ben Smith from BuzzFeed argues, it’s likely the first tip came from local police officers, who discovered evidence from a hard-drive of a co-conspirator, collected during the course of normal policy work. Will this new agency have to prove that the programs have ever been useful?

Senator Ron Wyden, who has seen the intelligence reports, likewise does not think they’ve been effective.

“As far as we can see, all of the useful information that it has provided appears to have also been available through other collection methods,” he wrote in a letter.

3). Why is it OK to monitor activity, even if it’s not read? The NSA reportedly keeps data for 5 years. More importantly, it looks at the communications of anyone who is “3 hops” from a suspect (a friend of a friend of a friend). The average person is 3 degrees away from millions of people, which effectively allows the NSA to spy on anyone adult they want. Simply holding the data may be ripe for abuse.




Do the people who have access ("journalists", even care?
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