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View Diary: Eugene Robinson weighs in on Snowden & the NSA (308 comments)

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  •  two observations (60+ / 0-)

    it does not matter the politics of the President as much as the policies.  What we are seeing from this administration SEEMS very different from what was promised in the campaign.  If a Conservative Republican is right on an issue, s/he deserves our praise - on that issue. For example, Gov. George Ryan of IL was a crook, but based on the evidence of the number of wrongful convictions he commuted every remaining death sentence in IL to Life Imprisonment so that no one would be executed and then later found out to have been wrongfully convicted.  That action deserves our praise.

    Second observation - the personality or motives of the leaker while they should be considered are clearly outweighed by the content of what he has disclosed in this case.  That should be our focus, not who he is or why he did what he did.  

    iF we allow either our opinion of Obama or our consideration of Snowden to eat up attention and focus, then we will have lost the opportunity to address something of grave importance to the future of this nation.

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:23:04 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  and precisely Robinson's point (29+ / 0-)

      if I read your synopsis right, TK.

      It is a very useful strategy, and one constantly employed inside the Beltway, to rush right past substance and onto impugning character and motives. After all, in the conservative worldview, there are only good and bad guys, and one's status as good or bad is immutable for all time. Therefore, anything said or done by a 'bad guy' can be dismissed without analysis or thought, and every transgression of a 'good guy' can be excused, again without a thought.
      Pity to see that dynamic so prevalent it is unquestioned in the halls of power, and showing up here.
      Thanks for your thoughtful, nuanced response to a knee-jerk  comment.

      Last full month in which the average daily temperature did not exceed twentieth-century norms: 2/1985 - Harper's Index, 2/2013

      by kamarvt on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:28:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  RWAs Eveywhere? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        3goldens
        ...in the conservative worldview, there are only good and bad guys, and one's status as good or bad is immutable for all time. Therefore, anything said or done by a 'bad guy' can be dismissed without analysis or thought, and every transgression of a 'good guy' can be excused, again without a thought.

        Pity to see that dynamic so prevalent it is unquestioned in the halls of power, and showing up here.

        Seems that right wing authoritarians (RWAs) are multiplying exponentially these days. Bob Altemeyer makes clear in his book (The Authoritarians) about his long time research into the phenomenon that all RWAs are not 'right' wing in sentiment. But most all of them are readily manipulated by the Social Dominant types that they follow.

        "Treat others as you would like them to treat you." -St. Luke 6: 31 (NEB) Christians are given a tough assignment here: Love the people you don't even like...

        by paz3 on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 11:07:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And that's what sycophants (16+ / 0-)

      and those with less-than-savory motives in keeping the status quo want. They don't want to address it because they want it kept in place:

      iF we allow either our opinion of Obama or our consideration of Snowden to eat up attention and focus, then we will have lost the opportunity to address something of grave importance to the future of this nation.

      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

      by lunachickie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:28:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly why we are so stuck (5+ / 0-)

      The US public, aided and abetted by the US media is engaged in purely political trench warfare - policy completely subservient to politics

      Honestly, I find it incredibly depressing and, frankly, really f'ing irritating

      I am so sick and tired of hearing the 'political spin' and the 'cheer-leading' for one's political friends

      Unfortunately - the very policy discussion that You (and I) want - is becoming harder to find and engage as we are increasingly being drowned by partisan hackery on all sides

      "I want to keep them alive long enough that I can win them to Christ," - Rick Warren, Professional Greed Driven Scumbag

      by josephk on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:59:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Snowden is going to RUSSIA ! (1+ / 2-)
        Recommended by:
        edrie
        Hidden by:
        Blicero, Lost and Found

        A land of free speech? No communication monitoring? CHINA? No scooping?

        Snowden is exactly the consequence of a broken system: High school dropout - 29 year-old - $200,000 a year salary - Top secret clearance. If he belonged to another race, he wouldn't have had his first job offer decades earlier. Suddenly, a high school diploma would be important to get "your first job".

        (Don't talk about it, because people will say you are waving the race card). Snowden got a free pass in life. AND HE USED IT with his middle finger up!

        •  You've made this claim about Russia in four (6+ / 0-)

          different comments without a shred of evidence. I'll remove the HR if you can provide some.

        •  added rec to offset the hr's. i read the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Real Change

          "russia" articles this morning, too.  

          and i also read this as type of exclamation of something that is
          a reaction to these articles rather than a "statement of fact".

          jeesh, folks, writing style used here!  and poster is also pointing out some of the same things i've thought while reading this story.  what the HELL is a high school dropout doing making $200k/year with highest security clearance?  and, unfortunately, i'm thinking that he may very well be correct on the dissimilar treatment of other ethnicities and races on the job front.

          so, uprated. NOT a hide-worthy comment based on news being reported.

          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

          by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 12:33:07 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks "edrie" - This is a free speech country! (0+ / 0-)

            They want ("Lost and Found", "Blicero") want to HR me?
            What a irony! That Russian wants Snowden is all over the media...right now, as I type this comment. And my SS guards don't know that!

            The question remains: Top secret clearance for a 29 y-old High school dropout? Does that sound "normal" to anybody?

            I worked with minorities (Latinos, Blacks, immigrants..) with Snowden's curriculum who are looked upon like criminals when they are looking for jobs.

            Now you see how DISCONNECTED from reality the so-called "liberals" are?

            •  i live in east palo alto, former murder capital of (0+ / 0-)

              the nation.  i see kids with NO future today as they are hit by howard jarvis' draconian "starve the poor neighborhoods" prop 13 effects take place.

              i agree with you that something is really "off" when a high school dropout at 29 has the highest security clearance possible - there is no way he has the maturity to handle that when he has not had the "socialization" skills developed from a formal education.

              he may be a "book genius", ut watching his interview i saw an emotioall stunted kid who just made the worst mistake of his life.  there are other ways to get information out other than by becoming an "internet star".

              his life is now over as he knew it... and there are no do-overs, no re-boots, no chance to unwind this clock.

              your post was spot on - something is definitely "wrong" here... and it is not just data mining!

              EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

              by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:30:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  umm. no (2+ / 0-)

                you do not know that he had the highest security clearance possible

                did he have a Q clearance to give him access to nuclear bomb secrets?

                there are over half a million people with some level of top secret clearance at any given moment.  That does not mean they necessarily have access to all top secret material.  Some is Secure Compartmented Information requiring a specific code-word clearance.

                He MAY have been able to access things for which he was not officially cleared because of his computer skills.

                And stop classifying him by his formal education.  He had skills that were demonstrable, and for many government agencies what matters is the skills, not the credentials.

                "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 02:55:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  thank you - my mistake. i stand corrected. (0+ / 0-)

                  he had a high security clearance but not the highest.  i won't quibble with you that i made a mistake.

                  however, classifying him by his "formal" education is valid here.  "formal" education does not just mean grades on a report card.  "formal" education also involves developing social skills and how to interact in society.

                  fyi, teacherken, i, too, have a degree in teaching - have taught from preschool all the way through college and corporate, so i am not lightly making this statement.

                  i have a number of young friends who were homeschooled who readily admit that the lack of social interaction within the structure has caused them problems in society.

                  so, rather than lecture me on why i chose to make this statement, how about considering the possiblity that socialization skills are an important part of "formal" education, as well.

                  having demonstrable skills does not make one prepared to make wise choices in society.

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:06:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  sorry, but going to disagree (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Free Jazz at High Noon

                    in part because I spent 20+ years of my life in computers, and at various stages in that time had occasion to consult with a number of government agencies, including FBI, military, CIA and NSA as well as the computer centers of both chambers of Congress.

                    There is often a role for pure geeks regardless of their background.  Some organizations have actively recruited hackers because of their skills, and because they'd rather have them in the tent pissing out instead of outside pissing in.

                    Quite frankly social skills are often irrelevant to the jobs they are asked to do.

                    From what we know of him, which is not much, Snowden seems to be a somewhat classical geek, with the exception of his trying to get into Special Forces.

                    He also fits the pattern of someone who came in believing in a cause and when disillusioned became the worst nightmare for that cause

                    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                    by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:54:28 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  i, too, spent a great deal of time in the tech (0+ / 0-)

                      industry - wang labs - we supplied the DEA, FBI, etc, with computers.  i considered transferring to va where we had one of the top secret contracts but changed my mind and came to ca instead.

                      [dialogue between consultant and agency:

                      door opens.  all agents sweep all paperwork and files and notes into desk and lock drawers.  software rep enters room.

                      agent: "my computer doesn't work"
                      software rep:  "what's wrong?"
                      agent: "doesn't work"
                      software rep: "what's it doing when it stops working?"
                      agent: "can't tell you."
                      software rep: "well, how can i fix it if i don't know what's not working?"
                      agent: "i told you, it isn't working"
                      software rep: "what program are you running?:
                      agent: "can't tell you."
                      software rep: "what do you want me to do?"
                      agent:  "fix it"
                      software rep: "fix what?"
                      agent: "can't tell you."
                      software rep: "okay, i'll have to turn the computer on first"
                      agent: "can't let you do that."
                      software rep:  "okay.  i'll be back tomorrow then"
                      agent: "okay"

                      this is how the manager of that wang division explained a typical software call.

                      so, we have similar backgrounds in many ways (but one - unles you also are an expert tutu maker).

                      yes, geeks need to be on the inside rather than the outside - like the hackers that are arrested then hired by the fbi or cia instead of prosecuted.  HOWEVER, that lack of socialization skills is what will land manning AND snowdon (if he ever sets foot on american soil again) many years in solitary WITHOUT a computer.  i fault those who hire these kids partly with the lack of wisdom in putting too much information in the hands of those unqualified to handle sensitive information.

                      as for social skills being irrelevant to jobs - the only place i'd agree is for neurosurgeons and other specialy surgeons.  there, i want expertise over empathy.

                      i watched snowdon's interviews - he is the classic naive idealist who should NEVER NEVER NEVER been allowed to have the access he had.

                      i do NOT believe that every single individual on earth is qualified or mentally or intellectually capable of looking at a small slice of data and extrapolating the necessity of that piece of data in the larger picture - snowdon pulled bits and bytes out of a program and claimed that the logic sequence was represented by those solitary fragmented files.  having a 29 yr old "kid" with that much "power" is very dangerous in more ways than the nsa collecting petabytes of data and running algorithyms to find potential problems from sources that want to create havoc and harm worldwide.

                      i am NOT sympathetic with some "kid" who got his "bubble burst" because the world is more complex than his ideological image created with his limited world/social experience.

                      i don't have sympathy for the folks who are the youtube generation that think that exposure is the be all/end all to the vile things that exist in this world.

                      the single-minded idealists who alert the "other-side idealists" who hold very different world views and who try to disrupt civilization to push their OWN ideologies on the techniques we use to track them - and those opposite idealists then modifie their own tactics to get around that monitoring.

                      it doesn't end well for either side - the idealist on our side goes to jail - the idealist on the other side finds ways to attack and harm without being stopped.

                      you say that "social skills" are not necessary?  i propose it is the very LACK of social skills that causes problems on all sides of the ideological divide.  if we were to start teaching better social skills in our nation, if other nations did the same thing, we would not NEED an nsa or cia or any other agency that tries to keep people from killing each other.

                      sadly, that isn't ever going to happen.  it requires people make an honest effort to get along - and if we can't even do that on this site, i don't hold out much hope for the rest of the world.

                      EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                      by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:23:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you should see lack of social skills (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        edrie

                        or of social consciousness among many who are successful in hierarchical organizations -  which is why they may not place a high value on it.

                        "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

                        by teacherken on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 04:36:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  on this we totally agree! the lack of empathy, (0+ / 0-)

                          the lack of socialization, the lack of understanding, the lack of sympathy, the lack of understanding that we ALL are a part of the whole is what is wrong today, imho...  

                          it starts with each of us to stop and see the face behind the voice/screen/action.

                          while i am not sympathetic with the actions of a snowdon or a manning because of the damage done by those who only see fragments, i still feel very sorry for the turmoil now in their lives.

                          i don't condone the behavior - i don't condemn the person - i object to the rationale used when faulty.

                          that said, i still get bloody angry when folks do things that have disastrous consequences for themselves and others.

                          okay - back to furniture planning for the dk lounge for nn13.  are you coming?  would love to say hi in person...

                          EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                          by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 05:37:05 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  You just uprated a comment calling me and (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Free Jazz at High Noon, kalmoth

                Blicero SS guards.

                They want ("Lost and Found", "Blicero") want to HR me?
                What a irony! That Russian wants Snowden is all over the media...right now, as I type this comment. And my SS guards don't know that!
                I HRed the comment because I believe that people who are attacking Edward Snowden's character (e.g., the false claim that "Snowden is going to RUSSIA !") should be expected to provide some evidence, which Real Change refuses to do.

                Was it a mistake or did you mean to uprate this slander?

                •  okay - i missed the ss guard part... (0+ / 0-)

                  so i have removed the rec for that comment only.

                  i understand real change's frustration, however, if not agreeing with the use of the term "ss guards".

                  what i see here is everyone using emotionally charged phrases instead of discussing an issue.  

                  as fr real change's comment reguarding russia, i read before i come online to dk today about russia wanting to add to the mix with snowdon.  it appeared his comment was hr'd because he pointed this out by using an "exclamation" instead of stating that russia was exploring snowdon being given asylum.

                  here is the google page on russia and snowdon.  it is easy to fact check such info and, imho, the hr's were done without you and the other poster checking to see why he made the comment.  that, imho, is a wrong use of an hr.

                  that said, real change's use of the "ss guard" is equally wrong and he should NOT have made that comment.  using any reference to nazi behavior when relating to other kossacks is not acceptable by any means.  it is for that reason that i removed the rec, although i agree with everything else that real change said...

                  had he left out the ss guard comment, my rec would still be there.

                  so, i rec THIS part of his comment - understanding that  he made the unfortunate remark out of frustration.  now, i hope you will remove your original hr - here is the google link that backs up what he posted.

                  Thanks "edrie" - This is a free speech country! (0+ / 0-)

                  They want ("Lost and Found", "Blicero") want to HR me?
                  What a irony! That Russian wants Snowden is all over the media...right now, as I type this comment. And my SS guards don't know that! [my edit]

                  The question remains: Top secret clearance for a 29 y-old High school dropout? Does that sound "normal" to anybody?

                  I worked with minorities (Latinos, Blacks, immigrants..) with Snowden's curriculum who are looked upon like criminals when they are looking for jobs.

                  Now you see how DISCONNECTED from reality the so-called "liberals" are?

                   

                  EdriesShop Is it kind? is it true? is it necessary?

                  by edrie on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 03:59:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  what do you mean by "race card"?? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lost and Found

          I don't get it.

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