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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2013/jun/09/nsa-whistl...

This post is not about which party is "to blame", but about letting everyone know that this may be a tipping point.

Sincerely,

jan
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...but about letting everyone know that this may be a tipping point.

The tipping point was 9/11/01

9/11 enabled PNAC

Project for the New American Century

The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was an American think tank based in Washington, D.C. established in 1997 as a non-profit educational organization founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan. The PNAC's stated goal is "to promote American global leadership."[1] Fundamental to the PNAC were the view that "American leadership is both good for America and good for the world"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Ce...

9/11 enabled the "Information Awareness Office"

Information Awareness Office

...creating enormous computer databases to gather and store the personal information of everyone in the United States, including personal e-mails, social networks, credit card records, phone calls, medical records, and numerous other sources, without any requirement for a search warrant.[1] This information would then be analyzed to look for suspicious activities, connections between individuals, and "threats".


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_Awareness_Office

9/11 enabled the actions listed in Rant #39, reposted in 2005 on the Political Quagmire, a year after it's creation:

http://boards.fool.com/repost-review-of-the-general-rants-23...

Does anyone actually believe that the phone numbers they call and their location are the only things being monitored, on a continuous basis, without warrant or probable cause?

Steve
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ProPublica has a very informative timeline from 1976 - present on how mass surveillance laws have changed, become more lax, over time.

http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/surveillance-timelin...

PF
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'I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things'

Even with all that's going on in the world these days, I believe this is the most serious and most timely question that all US citizens need to answer. Is our quest for security from terrorists worth the loss of all of our privacy rights granted by the US constitution? It is one that will have game changing consequences for decades at least, and until someone important steps up to the podium, the American people will not even get a say in the matter.

I don't want to live in a country that tracks every move of its citizens either. They can tell a court what time I went to lunch today, what restaurant, how much it cost, what car I drove to get there and how fast, what credit card I used to buy the meal and the credit card's outstanding balance with payment history, but they can't catch inside traders, or find out whose fault the banking crisis that has devastated the economies of entire countries? Give me a break. We're gullible, but we aren't that gullible.

Maybe I'm the one that's delusional. Maybe as a group we are truly that gullible. But of all the things our government has done wrong in the last several years, or has not done that it should have, this, is for me, the real indication of how unprotected my rights and your rights have become. It's proof of the real goal of the Powers That Be, and just more proof that our so-called representatives truly represent themselves only. And no one seems to care. This is not the system I have defended all my life.

I condemn terrorists and the act they commit in the name of their 'righteous' ideologies. But when it comes to terror, nothing else comes even close to what really scares the hell out of me and causes me to fear for our children's future, and that is to realize that it is my own government that I should fear the most. NSA, I know that you can see me and probably recognize this signal. I'm sure you also know it's called 'the bird.' Now go catch a murderer, a rapist, or even an an inside trader. And get the hell out of my life. We're on the same side, you horse's asses.

Dan
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I don't want to live in a country that tracks every move of its citizens either. - Dan

Me neither. But technology has wormed its way into the very minutia of our lives. You got privacy concerns? Hah! You ain't had no privacy for many years! And it wasn't the government that tracked your every move:

http://tinyurl.com/arvktjj

Mapping, and Sharing, the Consumer Genome

IT knows who you are. It knows where you live. It knows what you do.

It peers deeper into American life than the F.B.I. or the I.R.S., or those prying digital eyes at Facebook and Google. If you are an American adult, the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams — and on and on.

Right now in Conway, Ark., north of Little Rock, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for a company that, unlike Silicon Valley’s marquee names, rarely makes headlines. It’s called the Acxiom Corporation, and it’s the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing.

Few consumers have ever heard of Acxiom. But analysts say it has amassed the world’s largest commercial database on consumers — and that it wants to know much, much more. Its servers process more than 50 trillion data “transactions” a year. Company executives have said its database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. That includes a majority of adults in the United States.

Today, Acxiom maintains its own database on about 190 million individuals and 126 million households in the United States. Separately, it manages customer databases for or works with 47 of the Fortune 100 companies. It also worked with the government after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, providing information about 11 of the 19 hijackers.


You think your "privacy" was/is/will be protected!?! Think again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMOGaugKpzs
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You think your "privacy" was/is/will be protected!?! Think again:



Ah its not all bad you know, just think if someone mugs you and leaves you in the trunk of a car to die why they will probably find you in about five months... }};-()


**** absolutely not signed... twernt me ****
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You ain't had no privacy for many years! And it wasn't the government that tracked your every move... It’s called the Acxiom Corporation, and it’s the quiet giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing.

P,

It's a little different knowing that your "demographic characteristics or profiled behaviors" have been targeted by marketers who want to sell you something...

...than it is to find out that you personally can be targeted by gun-wielding agents for an invasive search, seizure, rendition, audit, discriminatory treatment and/or other suspension of civil liberties - all without probable cause.

Until marketers gain the power to throw people in prison or to assassinate people with armed drones, I think that most Americans will continue to be more comfortable with Acxiom Corporation's surveillance than they might be with surveillance, tracking and being identified for singling out by Big Brother.

Privacy and constitutional protections go hand in hand when it comes to protecting one's self from the power of the State. Somehow, salesmen just don't scare people as much as gun-wielding agents do.

;-)
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Appropriate response to this story - revelation - dated November 14, 2012:

"So whatcha gonna do? Write outraged blog posts and newspaper columns? Demand congressional hearings? Please. The whole point of hearings is to soothe the disgruntled and the people who are yelling about how terrible it all is, while changing absolutely nothing of consequence -- of consequence, that is, to the ruling class, which will engineer any and all hearings to make certain that their power and prerogatives are not altered to any degree whatsoever. The only way their power and prerogatives change is to be increased. They'll be happy to have hearings for you. It's entertainment, baby! And then everyone will shut up for another five years, until the next big "new" scandal erupts. And then the whole routine will be repeated again.

But be sure to vote in 2014, and in every election! This is a democracy, after all! It's your country! Love it or leave it!

I should mention one other point. It's just a minor little thing, no biggie. Don't you assume that every email of yours, every blog post and comment, every telephone call, anything you write or say using media of any kind is monitored by some government agency or other, if only they decide to check up on you, for any reason they dream up or for no reason at all, just because they're bored and, hell, you look like you might be fun to investigate for a while? I have assumed exactly that for years. I find it hard to believe that everyone doesn't make the same assumption.

But "privacy"? You don't have any. You haven't had any for a long, long time. And this latest story? Fodder for conversation, and outraged posts and articles of course, for a week or two, perhaps three. Then everybody will forget about it. There will be another BIG STORY to talk about, another BIG CONTROVERSY. It's a circus, with flashing lights and lots of colors. Oh, the beautiful colors!

No, I'm not upset in the least about this latest story. I am disgusted -- disgusted that so many people fall for this same routine over and over again. Don't people ever get tired of it? Christ, it's the oldest show in town."
- ARTHUR SILBER

The Oldest Show in Town
http://powerofnarrative.blogspot.ca/2012/11/the-oldest-show-...
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Always and everywhere, your worst potential enemy is your own government. The wise men who wrote our Constitution understood this, and that is why the Constitution is constructed the way it is. It is to protect us from them by limiting what they are allowed to do. We are fools for letting them get away with all the encroachments that have occurred already over the years. They have seized power and are running the country. The Constitution is designed to prevent them from doing so.

It is great to see some of the media flagging some of the abuses for once.

Ed.
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giant of a multibillion-dollar industry known as database marketing

There's also an important point of criminal procedure related to this cross-post:

... contracting out all this stuff means the FISA court is a joke.

Any court that would grant a search warrant for any personally-traceable data pertaining to [every] US citizen is not a court, but a rubber stamp. I heard on TV (don't have a citation) two different versions - either that every one of almost 2,000 FISA requests under PRIZM was granted, or that the said "court" had denied only one of the warrants requested. Those figures are reminiscent of a Banana Republic or dictatorship or both.

There's a great deal of difference between knowing that 4,000 phone calls came from Boston to Yemen on a particular day or even that 10 phone calls came from the same cell phone in Boston to Yemen in the same month (data which might be probable cause for subpoenaing that specific phone number) - and knowing the actual phone numbers from which all 4,000 of those phone calls were placed. That individual phone number information is easily personally-identifiable to individuals subject to police arrest and is the sort of information that requires probable cause to obtain a warrant.

Warrants are not supposed to be available under the law unless probable cause is shown BEFORE the search occurs. There's no way any court was presented evidence of probable cause on every US citizen - otherwise, they'd still be reading the affidavit.

=:-o

http://boards.fool.com/act-of-needing-contracting-out-all-th...
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Well, I certainly do not want people to be monitoring me. They would find out what a boring life I lead.
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Is our quest for security from terrorists worth the loss of all of our privacy rights granted by the US constitution?

It's obvious the paymasters for a significant portion of government want universal survellance. The media is only too happy to keep screaming "terrorist" at every chance, if that's what the sponsors want.

What is the risk for anyone in authority that would like to dial down the survellance? The risk of being blamed for an attack, and being voted out of office.

So we get a constant ratcheting up of survellance, as each pol tries to show he's "tough on terrorism". I recall watching a debate of candidates for POTUS, where one hopeful was pounding the podium demanding "more wiretaps, more survellance, more Patriot Act"

These programs have continued and grown, regardless of who is POTUS, regardless of who was in the majority in Congress.

Get used to it.

Steve
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It is great to see some of the media flagging some of the abuses for once.

Anyone else think that it is highly ironic that this whistle blower told his story to a FOREIGN newspaper first? I wonder if any/how many US papers turned him down?

JLC
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The risk of being blamed for an attack, and being voted out of office.

...I recall watching a debate of candidates for POTUS, where one hopeful was pounding the podium demanding ...

...

These programs have continued and grown, regardless of who is POTUS,



Oddly RK and I had that very discussion yesterday on the (probably tapped as she is a foreign diplomat) phone. We started at our own provincial level where all three parties (left, center and right) talk their platform but do exactly the same things. I suggested that instead of having elections we should just have them take turns. We moved to our federal level where the current government is doing the very things at an even higher level (cronyism is rampant) that got their opposition fired.

We then moved on to the Washington scene. She assured me that regardless of promises made to get elected once in power governments have little leeway or choice on what they can do to change things. If they don't watch people of interest and a major attack happens they will be held responsible and slaughtered in the next election. Since defense of the country is a major purpose of government how does one win that Hobson's choice?


Any <isn't being called "special" somewhat derogatory> mouse
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<<These programs have continued and grown, regardless of who is POTUS, regardless of who was in the majority in Congress.

Get used to it.>>

Never. I will continue to resist violations of the Constitution, and "waste my vote" on any politicians and party that actually support it. This is easy. Allowing a govt. to do what it pleases always results in tyranny and hard times.

Ed.
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Anyone else think that it is highly ironic that this whistle blower told his story to a FOREIGN newspaper first?

Almost as ironic as him asking China for protection from the world's freest country's government...
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What is the risk for anyone in authority that would like to dial down the survellance? The risk of being blamed for an attack, and being voted out of office.

Not to forget power over people is GOOD from any pol's viewpoint... and a wealth of available information comes in handy when you want to hunt down leaks in your own administration.
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Almost as ironic as him asking China for protection from the world's freest country's government...


SB

I was thinking the same thing, wonder if the US has anyone they are willing to trade for him?

Some of his story sounds really odd, most "leakers" try to hide their identity at least until the furor has died down.... like 30 years later.

The US government really has no choice but to go after him any way they can. Otherwise they may just as well burn their classified information laws and not bother with security clearances.

We "lost" a Captain navigator once because he signed out a bunch of codes then forgot them on the table. "Lost" as in he became unemployed as soon as the investigation was over. In truth the guy was a bit of a ditz and the outcome was probably inevitable.


**** absolutely not signed ****
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Some of his story sounds really odd, most "leakers" try to hide their identity at least until the furor has died down.... like 30 years later.

the spies are spied on the most. He would be executed by the CIA long before thirty years was up if he kept it all a secret.

This guy is incredibly smart. I respect him a great deal.

He should be pardoned. Obama has a reason to pardon him. His wife and daughters, his kids' kids could face retribution in a racist America that uses such info 'sweeps' of the future to punish people en mas for little things blown way out of proportion. Obama has his own to protect.

Any civil liberties advocate has to believe Snowden should be pardoned.

Dave
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Almost as ironic as him asking China for protection from the world's freest country's government...

While Hong Kong is China, it is also NOT China.

Sounds a little complicated, but to help calm fears, at the hand over from Britain to China, the Chinese government wouldn't change how Hong Kong operates for 50 years. Of course, does one trust the Chinese government? During the run up, many Hong Kong residents (as well as Macau) were applying for passports, identifying them as Hong Kong residents and not Chinese.

So far so good, there are still mass protests and TV news is still free in their comments that the signal is occasionally jammed from the mainland.

Plus, I'm sure it will take longer to try and extradite him from Hong Kong as opposed to Britain or Australia or New Zealand.

JLC
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Get used to it.
____________________________________

Well. Yes. But you don't have to! You see, you may want to - collectively - apply, ... say, 2nd Amendment fundamentalists-type of stance, but to the 4th Amendment.

Such stand should work: interpret the 4th Amendment in a fundamentalist manner and, ... voilà! [It works for the National Rifle Association!]
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apply, ... say, 2nd Amendment fundamentalists-type of stance, but to the 4th Amendment.

A lot of the tea bagger groups do exactly that, and we can see what it got them: IRS harrassment, for openers.

Steve
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Any civil liberties advocate has to believe Snowden should be pardoned.

I ran my usual test on this question

...If I believe it is the right thing to do, will we do it?...


... and it indicates that he won't be.

Hope I'm wrong.


jz
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I ran my usual test on this question

...If I believe it is the right thing to do, will we do it?...


... and it indicates that he won't be.


In the present enviornment, "soft on terrorism" is as big an ender to political careers as "soft on Communisim" was a couple generations ago. Heck, today it's risky to be against torture.

Steve
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I rarely fully agree with this columnist, but I sure do this time:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-edward-s...

snip: “It was a shoddy performance all around,” Aftergood said Monday. “The pervasive secrecy on this topic created an information vacuum. If congressional oversight was not going to fill it in, it turned out leaks would. That’s not the optimal solution.”

Not optimal, but probably inevitable. Officials who denied the public a responsible debate on surveillance will now have a debate on Edward Snowden’s terms..."


david fb
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A lot of the tea bagger groups do exactly that, and we can see what it got them: IRS harrassment, for openers.
_____________________________________________________

Ah. Yes. Mind you, the arms manufacturers pour millions into the coffers of Congress in lieu of support of 2nd Amendment. This fact alone, ... just perhaps, explains the difference in treatment? [Always seems sunnier in the corporate world!]
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It's a little different knowing that your "demographic characteristics or profiled behaviors" have been targeted by marketers who want to sell you something...

...than it is to find out that you personally can be targeted by gun-wielding agents for an invasive search, seizure, rendition, audit, discriminatory treatment and/or other suspension of civil liberties - all without probable cause.
- notehound

I think we've been talking past each other a bit. Like you, I am deeply troubled by the sweeping powers granted to the federal government by our elected representatives. I've been vocal about that for many years and am appalled by the sweeping powers granted in the "Patriot Act".

No doubt, I should have expressed myself more clearly. The current brouhaha about broad data-mining via communications networks is just the tip of the iceberg. While I understand the outrage, let's not lose sight of the fact that, under the Patriot Act, the government can demand any and all records available about an individual's "pattern of behavior" from data sources such as the Acxiom Corporation!

There is no such thing as privacy anymore.

But, allow me to expand on a few more thoughts. Indeed, a government that tramples on individuals without restraint is something to be feared. I'm the child of eastern European war refugees who lost a great many family members when agents of the state barged into their homes in the middle of the night and shipped them off in cattle cars to slave labor camps in Siberia. Yeah. Governments such as that are to be greatly feared.

The thing is, our Founding Fathers gave us a template for governance designed to thwart the possibility of such a government here in the United States. It was to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. In large part, we've escaped tyrannical government because of the power of the ballot box. As long as we the people take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to electing our "representatives" we can protect ourselves from tyranny. Having said that, I'll confess that I've grown increasingly concerned about a great many of our representatives. After all, it was the U.S. Congress that passed the Patriot Act. I suggest that, rather than stockpiling guns and ammo to rebel against some future tyrannical government, we think long and hard about whom we choose to represent our interests.

And just one more point (actually, two):

Do I scan the skies for a drone with my name on it? No. I don't. Do I fear being renditioned to some foreign prison where I'll be tortured mercilessly? No. I don't. And if enough people vote for representatives who are dedicated to protecting "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", I will not have to fear.

Wanna know what I fear? Identity theft. I fear I'll wake up one morning and discover my savings have vanished. Why do I fear that? Because there's no such thing as privacy anymore. Everything there is to know about me is located on a server somewhere. I don't fear Acxiom Corporation 'cuz I dread some marketer will try to sell me something. I fear every corporate server that contains all the information that is critical to me and my financial well-being. That information is there for the taking and there are hordes of misanthropes trying to get their hands on that data.

There's no such thing as privacy anymore and that troubles me greatly.

(P.S., I've already suffered through one incidence of credit card theft.

Just a few days ago, a friend of mine discovered her checking account had been hacked and her money withdrawn.)
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Sorry, P. I ran out of recs.

I think we've been talking past each other a bit. Like you, I am deeply troubled by the sweeping powers granted to the federal government by our elected representatives. I've been vocal about that for many years and am appalled by the sweeping powers granted in the "Patriot Act"... Wanna know what I fear? Identity theft.

Got it. Dittos.

;-)
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Great post from Putnid -- exact summary of what's up.

Whatsup #1: There is no such thing as privacy anymore Yes, say it twice. There is no such thing as privacy anymore, or at least privacy in the sense people born before 1975 or so would understand it.

Whatsup #2: we've escaped tyrannical government because of the power of the ballot box. As long as we the people take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to electing our "representatives" we can protect ourselves from tyranny.


And, for me, the key component of responding to whatsup #2 is defeating the power of anything other than "the power of citizens in civil conversation with one another about the conduct of their own affairs," and the greatest challenger to that power is money -- plutocratic, corporate, and (to a lesser but all too venomous degree regarding public workers, especially prison guards and teachers) labor, and all of it orchestrated by an interconnected tangle of extremely dangerous (I've met quite a few) egotistical, power mad, mostly hidden political consultant/apparatchniki.

Even if you have one of the best, most honest H.S.Truman mold politicos in the USA, s/he is still spending 40 -50% of YOUR productive time begging for political money OR THEY WILL BE DEFEATED BY A SOMEONE WITH STRONGER PIMPS.

A lot of the trouble in the USA is that we are not paying enough attention to What Is Now The Case and focusing on chasing horses long out of the barn, especially ironic when in this instance the barn door was left open to show off our nice new beautiful magical electronic baubles that can take us anywhere on earth in a micro-second -- and if used Effectively by the People could revolutionize government of by and for the people.

david fb
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In large part, we've escaped tyrannical government because of the power of the ballot box. As long as we the people take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to electing our "representatives" we can protect ourselves from tyranny.

That's almost impossible now, because everything we "know" is being filtered and spun through very few media channels. When there was greater diversity of news channels, print and broadcast, there was a chance, if you listened to enough different channels, you might be able to filter out the various biases and get the real story. Print was particularly nice, because you could file those back issues of Newsweek away, in case someone's story changed in subsequent weeks. Now everything goes down the memory hole as the "Ministry of Truth" revises the past to fit current policy.

Does anyone here think they have a clue what is really going on in Syria, despite the constant media agitation for US involvement?

Steve...who sometime in 74 or 75, dug out that June 1972 issue of Newsweek and read that little 2 or 3 inch long item about a breakin at the DNC HQ.
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http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2013/06/201361017241327...


Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has insisted that British spies have not used US surveillance programmes to get around UK privacy laws.

Hague, who cancelled a trip to Washington to address parliament on the issue on Monday, said Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ operated within a strict legal framework.

"It has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom," Hague said.

"I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."
Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has insisted that British spies have not used US surveillance programmes to get around UK privacy laws.

Hague, who cancelled a trip to Washington to address parliament on the issue on Monday, said Britain's electronic eavesdropping agency GCHQ operated within a strict legal framework.

"It has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom," Hague said.

"I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."

Jeff
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"I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."

Oh...yeah...sure...OK...anything you say...

Steve...last week watched a "Yes Prime Minister" ep about the "official secrets act"
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steve: Does anyone here think they have a clue what is really going on in Syria

Yes. But that is because (primarily via the internet) I have Syrian friends now holed up in Turkey and Lebanon.

we've escaped tyrannical government because of the power of the ballot box. As long as we the people take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to electing our "representatives" we can protect ourselves from tyranny.

steve: That's almost impossible now, because everything we "know" is being filtered and spun through very few media channels.

The filtering and spinning you rightly denounce is simply the $$$ nexus. The provisioners of this "slop" take no Journalistic Professional Pride in what they do, but rather a pride similar to that of Smithfields pork sloppers -- real enough but clumped around the wrong virtues towards the wrong ends. Real members of the 4th Estate still exist, but they are independents now.

We cannot afford nostalgia for Newsweek and Cronkite. Leave mass media -- it is destroying you and yours and all of us and our progeny -- and burrow into contact with reality near you in the flesh and at a distance via the net. From that stance we can readily fight tyranny.

And I know in addressing this to Steve I am bringing ballpark franks to Tiger Stadium, but in his frugality he sometimes gets a little twisted?

david fb
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Does anyone here think they have a clue what is really going on in Syria, despite the constant media agitation for US involvement?

Same thing that happened in Egypt and Libya... we're supposed to help overthrow the existing arsehole just for being an arsehole, in hopes that the replacement won't be too much worse.

Which is even stupider than the Cold War policy of *backing* the existing arsehole as long as he made the right noises about being on our side, without regard to how bad he was or whether the likely replacement looked detectably better. (Probably the most effective policy we could have picked, if our aim was to convince ordinary people around the Third World that the US hated them and the USSR was their friend.)
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(Probably the most effective policy we could have picked, if our aim was to convince ordinary people around the Third World that the US hated them and the USSR was their friend.)

Warrl,

You are vastly under estimating humanity. The Arab Muslims are coming up to speed very quickly in this Arab Spring. They probably will forgive the US its mistakes, even its harms. But they will never forget or forgive the Russian backing of Assad. They more than likely will be able to make a stark assessment regarding why the US fought the cold war and put dictators into power in the long run. The history books their children read wont be kind, but might well be understanding of the US. But at this point when so much could be accomplished for the people of the middle east to back Assad is a political death for Russia's standing. Typical of a man so little as Putin.

We have always had a saying in the US that democracy has to be won in blood. Or it has to be fought for.... We forgave the British in the years after our revolution. We even forgave the British some meddling in our Civil War. We are only putting on our pants one leg at a time just like the Arabs.

Dave

PS the English have had a democracy for a very long time. As a person of Irish decent I can say that Ireland has been raped by the English and still respects England's governance of its self, but preferably within its own borders only. I think India in some regards has a similar regard for England. Democracy wins this contest hands down is the point.
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Thank you for recommending this post to our Best of feature.

...

And I know in addressing this to Steve I am bringing ballpark franks to Tiger Stadium, but in his frugality he sometimes gets a little twisted?

david fb



Really?!!!! }};-D

I've often suspected that when they were handing out Protestant Redemptive Suffering nobody else in the room wanted any so Steve not wanting to waste it took it all.


Any <does not so suffer> mouse
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As long as we the people take our responsibilities seriously when it comes to electing our "representatives" we can protect ourselves from tyranny.

Then I am afraid that all hope is lost.

When it is rare that over 50% of the people turn out to vote on election day, it only gives the fringe groups (who usually have a more devoted following) greater chance to get into office and have greater control.

JLC
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You are vastly under estimating humanity. The Arab Muslims are coming up to speed very quickly in this Arab Spring. They probably will forgive the US its mistakes, even its harms. But they will never forget or forgive the Russian backing of Assad. They more than likely will be able to make a stark assessment regarding why the US fought the cold war and put dictators into power in the long run. The history books their children read wont be kind, but might well be understanding of the US.

I doubt that. Their schools are intertwine with religion. In many cases fundamentalist Islam.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saudi/analyses...

For more than two centuries, Wahhabism has been Saudi Arabia's dominant faith. It is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran. Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Critics say that Wahhabism's rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Wahhabism's explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques from Islamabad to Culver City, California. Here are excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with Mai Yamani, an anthropologist who studies Saudi society; Vali Nasr, an authority on Islamic fundamentalism; Maher Hathout, spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Southern California; and Ahmed Ali, a Shi'a Muslim from Saudi Arabia. (Also see the Links and Readings section of this site for more analyses of Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia.)

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ali al-ahmed--a Shi'a Muslim who grew up in Saudi Arabia

If you go to school in Saudi Arabia, what do you learn about people who are not followers of Wahhabi, of the prophet?

The religious curriculum in Saudi Arabia teaches you that people are basically two sides: Salafis [Wahhabis], who are the winners, the chosen ones, who will go to heaven, and the rest. The rest are Muslims and Christians and Jews and others.

They are either kafirs, who are deniers of God, or mushrak, putting gods next to God, or enervators, that's the lightest one. The enervators of religion who are they call the Sunni Muslims who ... for instance, celebrate Prophet Mohammed's birthday, and do some stuff that is not accepted by Salafis.

And all of these people are not accepted by Salafi as Muslims. As I said, "claimant to Islam." And all of these people are supposed to be hated, to be persecuted, even killed. And we have several clergy -- not one Salafi clergy -- who have said that against the Shi'a and against the other Muslims. And they have done it in Algeria, in Afghanistan. This is the same ideology. They just have the same opportunity. They did it in Algeria and Afghanistan, and now New York. ...


What do you mean, it reached New York?

Well, when it was a local problem, the American media did not really care much about it. But until September 11, you saw how this faith of hate, I call it, did to all of us, to New Yorkers and to the rest of the world, honestly. ...



But the Saudi government has condemned what happened on September 11....


... Yes, Prince Nayif condemned bin Laden, and other princes... Prince Turki condemned bin Laden. They did not condemn that message. They condemned bin Laden. ... Bin Laden learned this in Saudi Arabia. He didn't learn it in the moon. That message that Bin Laden received, it still is taught in Saudi Arabia. And if bin Laden dies, and this policy or curriculum stays, we will have other bin Ladens. ...

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Next to oil; fundamentalist Islam is Saudi Arabia's bigest export.
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"It has been suggested that GCHQ uses our partnership with the United States to get around UK law, obtaining information that they cannot legally obtain in the United Kingdom," Hague said.

"I wish to be absolutely clear that this accusation is baseless."


got to love the Brits... their law was probably less in the way than their means and capabilities ;-)

Meanwhile, the Guardian has published a nifty heatmap:

Boundless Informant: ... The NSA's powerful tool for cataloguing global surveillance data – including figures on US collection

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/08/nsa-boundless-in...
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lemonade from lemons

Ok, so the NSA has a bit of a public relations problem now what with all that saving of everyone's phone calls, texts & emails.

Obviously the thing to do is emulate Microsoft and call a fault a feature.

Announcing the "NSA Data Recovery Service" Ta Da!

"Prove to your wife that you did try to call and tell her you were bringing the boss home for dinner."

"Can't find that email? No problemO! the NSA-DRS can look it up in no time!"

"SO little Suzie WAS texting while driving: GROUNDED!

Desert (spin doctor) Dave
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I don't even know how much of what Snowden says is true, or whether he should be pardoned, or much of anything about the case, until some more facts come out, if they ever do.

The biggest problem revealed by all of this is that we really don't know what the NSF and its ilk are up to, or whether Congress really knows, or even if the President really knows, and we don't have any way of finding out.

But I've got to assume that anything that goes on in public, over a public network, is not private, anyhow, and never has been.

Anyone remember party lines in your telephone service?

For years security agencies have issued reports of increased "chatter"; how did anyone think they were detecting "increased chatter"? They would have to be getting their data from somewhere. It seems like they couldn't get it without the phone and Internet providers, and it seems like we ought to have known that. I just kind of assumed it, myself.
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<<I don't even know how much of what Snowden says is true, or whether he should be pardoned, or much of anything about the case, until some more facts come out, if they ever do.

The biggest problem revealed by all of this is that we really don't know what the NSF and its ilk are up to, or whether Congress really knows, or even if the President really knows, and we don't have any way of finding out.

But I've got to assume that anything that goes on in public, over a public network, is not private, anyhow, and never has been.>>


For those of you who have forgotten what it says, here is the fourth amendment to the US Constitution. Our Constitution is the federal government's job description, which they have all sworn to uphold and defend.

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Amendment IV.

Search and Arrest Warrants.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

-----------------------------------

You don't have to be a "Constitutional lawyer" to understand that. The NSA is clearly breaking the law in a wholesale fashion. They are doing exactly what the fourth amendment was designed to prevent.

Mr. Snowden is a fearless patriot like they portray in movies, defending America against those who would destroy it. He should get a ticker-tape parade.

Ed.
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Mr. Snowden is a fearless patriot like they portray in movies, defending America against those who would destroy it.

Scary quote the day:

The fact that Snowden is undistinguished is reassuring, says the American Enterprise Institute's Thomas Donnelly. "It suggests that what he knows isn't as important as advertised. If a guy pretty low on the food chain knows this, it tells you how big the food chain is."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22849158
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Sorry, SuisseBear. I ran out of recs.

Your cited quote is most probably dead accurate: "... If a guy pretty low on the food chain knows this, it tells you how big the food chain is."

The tip of the iceberg, this is.
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Your cited quote is most probably dead accurate: "... If a guy pretty low on the food chain knows this, it tells you how big the food chain is."

It also tells you that enforcement of need-to-know is pretty much nonexistent.
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"Mr. Snowden is a fearless patriot like they portray in movies, defending America against those who would destroy it. He should get a ticker-tape parade."

Yup and paying him, a high school drop out, $200K a year (for which the govt is probably being charged $400K.) And were trying to cut federal spending? Sheesh!
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Of course the government should not be digging into my personal "papers, and effects" without probably cause. But there is a big difference between looking at statistical patterns in phone traffic and looking at the individual names associated with that traffic. We don't know which was done.

As I said, the big problem is that we don't know what is being done, and we don't have any way to find out. If we want to check out anything that Snowden says, we can't.

We already knew that the NSA was looking at statistical patterns in phone and Internet traffic, because we have been seeing alerts based on those reports for years.
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