The Last Of The Millenniums

Just because it always has been, doesn't mean it always will be

Archive for the day “June 12, 2013”

Blog Running – ‘Blowing a Whistle By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN’

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Is Edward Snowden even a ‘whistle blower’?

What is the character of a person who makes all kinds of accusations and then hides?

Friedman links David Simon’s blog and I linked it a couple of days ago.

I highly, very highly recommend it!

http://davidsimon.com/

‘I’m glad I live in a country with people who are vigilant in defending civil liberties’.

‘But as I listen to the debate about the disclosure of two government programs designed to track suspected phone and e-mail contacts of terrorists, I do wonder if some of those who unequivocally defend this disclosure are behaving as if 9/11 never happened’.

‘That the only thing we have to fear is government intrusion in our lives’.

‘Not the intrusion of those who gather in secret cells in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan and plot how to topple our tallest buildings or bring down U.S. airliners with bombs planted inside underwear, tennis shoes or computer printers’.

‘Yes, I worry about potential government abuse of privacy from a program designed to prevent another 9/11 — abuse that, so far, does not appear to have happened’.

‘But I worry even more about another 9/11. That is, I worry about something that’s already happened once — that was staggeringly costly — and that terrorists aspire to repeat’.

‘I worry about that even more, not because I don’t care about civil liberties, but because what I cherish most about America is our open society, and I believe that if there is one more 9/11 — or worse, an attack involving nuclear material — it could lead to the end of the open society as we know it’.

‘If there were another 9/11, I fear that 99 percent of Americans would tell their members of Congress: “Do whatever you need to do to, privacy be damned, just make sure this does not happen again.” That is what I fear most’.

‘That is why I’ll reluctantly, very reluctantly, trade off the government using data mining to look for suspicious patterns in phone numbers called and e-mail addresses — and then have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congress — to prevent a day where, out of fear, we give government a license to look at anyone, any e-mail, any phone call, anywhere, anytime’.

‘So I don’t believe that Edward Snowden, the leaker of all this secret material, is some heroic whistle-blower’.

‘No, I believe Snowden is someone who needed a whistle-blower. He needed someone to challenge him with the argument that we don’t live in a world any longer where our government can protect its citizens from real, not imagined, threats without using big data — where we still have an edge — under constant judicial review. It’s not ideal. But if one more 9/11-scale attack gets through, the cost to civil liberties will be so much greater’.

‘A hat tip to Andrew Sullivan for linking on his blog to an essay by David Simon, the creator of HBO’s “The Wire.” For me, it cuts right to the core of the issue’.

“You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about,” wrote Simon. “And you would think that rather than a legal court order, which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame. Nope. … The only thing new here, from a legal standpoint, is the scale on which the F.B.I. and N.S.A. are apparently attempting to cull anti-terrorism leads from that data. … I know it’s big and scary that the government wants a database of all phone calls. And it’s scary that they’re paying attention to the Internet. And it’s scary that your cellphones have GPS installed. … The question is not should the resulting data exist. It does. … The question is more fundamental: Is government accessing the data for the legitimate public safety needs of the society, or are they accessing it in ways that abuse individual liberties and violate personal privacy — and in a manner that is unsupervised. And to that, The Guardian and those who are wailing jeremiads about this pretend-discovery of U.S. big data collection are noticeably silent. We don’t know of any actual abuse.”

‘We do need to be constantly on guard for abuses’.

‘But the fact is, added Simon, that for at least the last two presidencies “this kind of data collection has been a baseline logic of an American anti-terrorism effort that is effectively asked to find the needles before they are planted into haystacks, to prevent even such modest, grass-rooted conspiracies as the Boston Marathon bombing before they occur.”

‘To be sure, secret programs, like the virtually unregulated drone attacks, can lead to real excesses that have to be checked. But here is what is also real, Simon concluded’:

“Those planes really did hit those buildings. And that bomb did indeed blow up at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. And we really are in a continuing, low-intensity, high-risk conflict with a diffuse, committed and ideologically motivated enemy. And, for a moment, just imagine how much bloviating would be wafting across our political spectrum if, in the wake of an incident of domestic terrorism, an American president and his administration had failed to take full advantage of the existing telephonic data to do what is possible to find those needles in the haystacks.”

‘And, I’d add, not just bloviating. Imagine how many real restrictions to our beautiful open society we would tolerate if there were another attack on the scale of 9/11’.

‘Pardon me if I blow that whistle’.
From : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/opinion/friedman-blowing-a-whistle.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

But it’s NOT Republican Obstructionism – ‘Darrell Issa On IRS Investigation: Releasing Full Transcripts Now Would Be ‘Reckless’

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“Hi. I’m Darrell Issa. I’ve called President Obama the most corrupt President in History. I’ve also said that the IRS targeting of Conservative groups goes right to the White House”.

“But if I release the full transcripts, then just like the Benghazi ‘scandal, everyone will see there is no ‘there’ there and the IRS ‘scandal will go away too”.

– – – – – – –

WASHINGTON — ‘One week after he released partial transcripts of interviews with IRS officials involved in the scandal surrounding the targeting of conservative groups, the chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said releasing the full transcripts would be “reckless” and “irresponsible.”

‘Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pushed back Tuesday against calls to put out more information on the committee’s investigation into the controversy, sparked after a Treasury Department Inspector General report revealed the IRS had singled out tea party groups applying for nonprofit status for extra scrutiny’.

‘Responding specifically to criticism from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking Democratic member of the committee, Issa said that releasing full interviews conducted with IRS employees would hurt the ongoing investigation.

“Your decision to publicly announce that the investigation should wrap up was irresponsible, but not surprising,” said Issa, in a letter to Cummings. “However, your push to release entire transcripts from witness interviews while the investigation remains active was reckless and threatened to undermine the integrity of the Committee’s investigation.”

‘The position is a tenuous one for Issa, who during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” just over a week ago promised that the full transcripts would be released’.

‘On that same program, Issa revealed several partial transcripts that suggested the directive to screen tea party groups came from officials in Washington’.
From : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/11/darrell-issa-irs-investigation-transcripts_n_3424166.html

Four Words On ‘Freedom’

three branches

‘Three Branches of Government’.

The teabaggers and now some on the far left all forget
one very important aspect that will prevent
‘Totalitarianism’.

We have 3 Branches of Government.

Our ‘checks and balances’.

Do we have ‘secret’, covert programs?

Yes.

But a ‘program’ is not a Governmnet.

Nor will a ‘program’ ….’start us on a slippery slope’.

One ‘program’, 100 ‘programs, 1000 ‘programs’ will never
run the guantlet of our 3 Branches of Government to
‘take over the Government.

So take a deep breath, get back on your medications and
join the rest of America that understands we do have 3
brahches…….for the very reason to prevent 1
political party, 1 ideology from subverting the
Constitution.

Blog Running – ‘It’s You, Not Me’ BY ED KILGORE

liberal vs libratarian

This is an old op-ed from 2010 but applies again as we  look into ‘public’ exposure of our ‘secret’ programs.

A convergence of Michael Moore and Glenn Beck agreeing.

‘One mini-saga of the past decade in American politics has been the flirtation—with talk of a deeper partnership—between progressives and libertarians’.

‘These two groups were driven together, in the main, by common hostility to huge chunks of the Bush administration’s agenda: endless, pointless wars; assaults on civil liberties; cynical vote-buying with federal dollars; and statist panders to the Christian right’.

‘Soon, even the Cato Institute’s Brink Lindsey was proposing a permanent alliance of what he called “liberaltarians.”

‘But 2008 showed that libertarian support is hardly crucial: Obama still won “libertarian” states such as Colorado and New Hampshire handily, even without their backing, and he generally performed better in the “libertarian West” than any Democratic nominee since LBJ’.

‘In terms of a deeper bond based on philosophical congruence, it’s true that modern liberals and libertarians share common ideological roots in eighteenth and nineteenth century Anglo-American liberalism’.

‘Both believe in a world of rational actors, and both consider the promotion of individual autonomy to be a positive good. With the emergence of the “neo-liberal” and “New Democrat” movements of the 1980s and 1990s—which lauded capitalism, technological progress, and free trade—the potential for overlap only increased’.

‘Plus, people on both sides of the “alliance” undoubtedly enjoyed the psychic rush of breaking bread with someone from “the enemy camp” who could quote Thomas Jefferson and rage against the Iraq war and corporate welfare’.

‘Yet this liberal-libertarian lovefest was doomed. As Jonathan Chait argued in this 2006 essay, true “liberaltarianism” would require progressives to give up their core goals of smoothing capitalism’s rough edges and delivering economic security. Amid the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, that ain’t happening’.

‘Moreover, with the arrival of the Tea Party movement, libertarians have acquired a kind of mass political cachet that they’ve never before enjoyed’.

‘This phenomenon has pulled libertarianism rightward: Despite some expressed concerns about the crudeness and cultural conservatism of many Tea Party activists, it has become clear that most self-conscious libertarians are willing to participate in, and cheerlead for, the Tea Party movement as though their political futures depend on it’.

‘That, in turn, has torn open cultural rifts between libertarians and liberals’.

‘Progressives who previously fawned over the libertarians’ Jeffersonian modesty are now exposed to the unattractive aspect of libertarianism that is familiar to readers of Ayn Rand’:

“A Nietzschean disdain for the poor and minorities that tends to dovetail with the atavistic and semi-racist habits of reactionary cultural traditionalists”.

“After all, it is only a few steps from the Tea Party movement’s founding “rant”—in which self-described Randian business commentator Rick Santelli blasted “losers” who couldn’t pay their mortgages—to populist backlash against all transfer payments of any type, complaints about people “voting for a living” instead of “working for a living,” and paranoid conspiracy theories about groups like ACORN”.

‘Certainly, few self-conscious libertarians have much tolerance for racism, but they are encouraging a point of view about “welfare” that has long been catnip to racists’.

‘And that’s a problem for liberals’.

‘How can an alliance last in a climate where a progressive think tanker has to look down the rostrum at that nice Cato Institute colleague and wonder if he or she privately thinks the poor are “looter scum”; or if he’s willing to get behind the Sarah Palin presidential candidacy that’s so wildly popular in Tea Party circles’?

‘The gap is wide enough that even liberals who are frustrated with the president have trouble mustering any sympathy for the Obama-bashing of contemporary libertarians—a sign that the earlier alliance really was an ephemeral product of the Bush administration’s many sins’.

‘For example, most progressives reacted angrily to the very latest proposal for a left-libertarian convergence, in which activist and blogger Jane Hamsher touted a coalition between Tea Party activists and the left against health care reform and corporate bailouts’.

‘So could “liberaltarianism” make a comeback in a not-too-distant future, when today’s passions have abated’?

‘You never know for sure, but the next major obstacle to cooperation may well be the Supreme Court’s decision on corporate political spending in Citizens United v. FEC, which libertarians celebrated as a victory for free speech, and most liberals denounced as a travesty if not a national disaster’.
From : http://www.newrepublic.com/article/politics/the-liberaltarian-moment#

What is wrong with the Republican Party – ‘GOP Congressman: American Muslim Leaders Are ‘Potentially Complicit’ In Terrorist Acts’

religious hate mike pompeo

The Muslim’s are to blame because they (cough) aren’t condemning it the ‘right’ way.

‘A Republican congressman claimed on the House floor on Tuesday that members of Muslim communities in the United States have not condemned acts of Islamic extremist terrorism against the U.S. and therefore are complicit in those and any future attacks’.

‘Noting that it has been two months since the Boston Marathon bombing, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said the supposed silence from Muslim leaders on terrorism is “deafening,” adding that it’s “sad, but perhaps most importantly it’s dangerous.”

“I know not all Muslims support these actions,” Pompeo said, but lamented that “the silence in the face of extremism coming from the best funded Islamic advocacy organizations and many mosques across America is deafening.”

‘Immediately after the identity of the alleged Boston bombers was revealed, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a statement in response condemning terrorism’.

‘The All Dulles Area Muslim Society began organizing a workshop to prevent further Muslim youths from being radicalized on the Internet’.

‘Similarly, the Muslim Public Affairs Council partnered with the New America Foundation to work on the issue of tackling extremism and promoting moderate Islam in an age of digital radicalization’.

‘In fact, in the years since 9/11, Muslim-American leaders have condemned terrorism — from the failed Christmas Day bombing of a plane landing in Detroit to the 2005 London bombings to the very idea of terrorism — unequivocally’.
From : http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/06/11/2138381/pompeo-american-muslims-terrorism/

 

‘Booz Allen Employees Think Edward Snowden Is A “Douche” “We’ll probably have to take three extra ethics training courses this year,” one employee grouses on Facebook’.

‘And Snowden says’:

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From : http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/booze-allen-employees-think-edward-snowden-is-a-douche

 

Stories From The Fringe – – ‘How Much Money Will Bachmann Raise as a Non-Candidate’?

bachmann

‘The Congresswoman is still fundraising on her campaign website with a pitch that Democrats are “trying to defeat her” – even though she is retiring and won’t be on the ballot in 2014’.

‘Nearly two weeks after announcing she would not seek a 5th term from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District, Republican Michele Bachmann’s congressional campaign website is still locked and loaded to take in money’.

‘The campaign’s donation page is still featured and functional with the following text at the top of the page’:

“Help Support Michele”!

“Obama and the Democrats are targeting Michele for speaking out against their extreme liberal agenda. They will do, say and spend whatever it takes to defeat her”.
“Please make a secure online contribution today to help defend Michele and the conservative values we share”!
From : http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2013/06/how_much_money_will_bachmann_r.php

 

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