Skip to main content

View Diary: Spying on Americans? Sorry, I have a plane to catch (60 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  But, But, But......They Didn't Know (16+ / 0-)

    Right.  There have been over 22 briefings on NSA surveillance programs including PRISM.

    Harry Reid dismissed the Senate for an hour Thursday so the "uniformed" could attend a NSA briefing held by James Clapper to "inform" them.

    Less than half showed their lazy hides.  Beside, it's so easy to alibi & claim they didn't know.  Except....PRISM has to be reauthorized every 3 months.  They've been doing that for years.  Every 3 months they vote to reup PRISM.

    They just didn't know, folks.  

    •  There have to be at least a few who (12+ / 0-)

      are smart enough to know that a briefing from Clapper is probably not going to be all that enlightening or truthful.

      There was also one line from some Senator who said that he went to intelligence briefings, but because they didn't allow staffers into the briefings he didn't really understand what the intelligence people told him.  That story was damning and frightening on numerous levels.

      •  Sputtering here---can't even get the words (11+ / 0-)

        together at this:  

        There was also one line from some Senator who said that he went to intelligence briefings, but because they didn't allow staffers into the briefings he didn't really understand what the intelligence people told him.
        That statement by a sitting U.S. Senator is so damning, I am just shaking my head.  I'm becoming both bitter and cynical at the fact that we have individuals this stupid voting on our laws.  (I'm sure this dimwit is far too stupid to ever actually WRITE a law---he likely believes that that's what staffers and lobbyists are for!)  But I'll bet this same individual enjoys the expensive lunches and dinners and drinks and vacation trips that he likely spends most of his time on.  Because you know that raising money to get re-elected so as to stay on the gravy train is what these jerks are REALLY in Congress to do.  

        "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

        by 3goldens on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:54:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's the airhead blow dry contingent (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, native, Dallasdoc, devis1, JVolvo

          that is definitely part of our problem in Congress, but there is also another sort of important problem which is that no everyone understands computer technology.  That spans all generations, too.  Yes, younger people are more savvy about the technology, but I've dealt with plenty of people who don't even understand what bandwidth is or what it means.

          I could actually see a lot of people who aren't innately gifted with an ability to understand this modern technology being very lost in a discussion about that the NSA is doing - and I would bet that the NSA is just fine with that, too.

          When someone starts talking about car engines, I tend to get pretty lost.  I'd have to take a mechanic with me if I had to have a briefing on something like that because I wouldn't know how to verify what someone was telling me one way or another without expert advice.  And that's the thing about this secrecy and how it is being used - not good.

          The people who scare me are people like Feinstein who claim to understand both the technology and the law.  She's proven plenty of times that her understanding of the law is not exactly deep and impressive. I'm guessing that her understanding of technology is no more sophisticated or educated either.

          So, that's another angle on the comment about not understanding what the briefers are telling them - on some level you have to applaud the guy for admitting it - because it calls out what really is a big problem.

          •  I have a pet peeve about older people (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            verdeo, Dallasdoc, devis1

            who absolutely refuse to learn about things like computers and cell phones and the internet.  I'm 67 and I have two older sisters----one of whom is constantly on a rant about how "stupid" all these "gadgets" are and how "useless" they are.  The other sister is just about as bad, but not quite.  The oldest sister (who hates "gadgets" worked for years in an office so she knows WordPerfect and used a computer for that, but she's actually proud that she knows nothing about the internet and doesn't intend to ever learn about it.  It was a revelation to her when I showed her that when we were settling our mother's estate, we could access her accounts on-line and save trips to the bank.  To satisfy both of my sisters, however, we HAD to go to the banks for every single thing because they weren't aware of or familiar enough with on-line banking to be able to do it and they refused to learn.  It nearly drove me crazy.    

            The ignorance of that attitude and the failure to recognize that we live in a both "wired" and "wireless" world these days drives me up the wall.  I find myself having very limited patience with people in my age group and beyond who just consider it a bother to have to learn about something new.  For me, this stuff is mandatory to know about.  I'm definitely not on an expert level as it relates to technology of today, but I've made it my business to at least learn the basics and I've been lucky, maybe, but when I ask questions of the young folks who work in that world, I've never been treated rudely and have learned a lot just by asking questions.  

            Your comment about Feinstein made me think about I think it was Ted Stevens of Alaska, who when he was in the Senate was chair of the Technology Cmte. and he made comments like "well, there's these things called the intertubes and you send stuff through them".  I believe he also referred to e-mail as "computer letters" and also allowed as how "you could get movies delivered to your mailbox" (NetFlix).  That was years ago and so I can excuse it.  But these days?  No.  I just can't excuse that kind of ignorance.

            If this particular individual really isn't up to date on the basics, then somebody better train these folks so that they understand at a bare minimum the basic technology.  If they're going to be approving things they don't understand-----that has to stop.  

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:34:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Consider This, Maybe? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens
              I find myself having very limited patience with people in my age group and beyond who just consider it a bother to have to learn about something new.  For me, this stuff is mandatory to know about.
              Have you considered that this "...bother to have to learn about something new..." is just a cover for the reality that, for many older folks, learning itself - thinking in this case of IT and its many manifestations - is very difficult, and thus a source of potential embarrassment, or at least a lot of frustration? So the "bother" rhetoric may be just a cover for saving face.

              I'm 71+ yo, and know a lot about IT, the Internet, how computers actually work electronically (in theory), I can open a desktop and blow the dust out, install a network card if needed (so much easier with processors that are powerful enough to allow plug-and-play), install new software, be aware what various pop-up messages mean (i.e., if critical or not), even use QuickBooks for my wife and my's businesses, including ordering same over the Internet and dealing with the upgrades and a back-up routine, and manage using two different web browsers - but I began learning about these things 20 years or so ago, and mainly am self-taught.

              It's difficult to imagine that I could pick up all this stuff from scratch without classes, and a lot of time making mistakes. Lord knows I made plenty of mistakes when I started 20 years ago!

              "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 Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:08:22 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, my sister did take classes when (0+ / 0-)

                she was a secretary in order to learn how to use WordPerfect and I know that she also participated in various workshops when she was employed.  You may be right however----maybe she needs classes, a person she can ask questions of.  She has a daughter who lives not at all far from her (15 minutes tops) and who is very good in using technology, however, my sister will not even ask her to show her thing.  She also has a degree in Business Education and although she only taught for 3 years, she worked at least 30 years in offices as a secretary until she retired.  

                I see this resistance in some----certainly not all-----of my older friends.  There's an attitude like this:  "I'm 72 years old and I've learned all I need to know!"   For me, I don't think I'll ever have enough time to learn about the whole list of things I want to-----but I intend to never stop until my last breath.  Life is too fascinating to just stop learning and sit in a chair watching tv for hours on end.

                Also, I've tried to show both of my sisters how being able to use a computer has real benefits----like being able to access their own medical record at their doctor's office via a program called MyChart.  They can also e-mail back and forth with the doctor's nurse with questions.  That's just one thing----there are so many more things that a computer opens the door to.  But, they would rather call than sit down and figure out how to use MyChart.  I guess I just don't get that.  There's only 5 years between me and my oldest sister and it feels like an immense gulf at times.

                "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

                by 3goldens on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:02:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  As I noted, I don't think it is about (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              3goldens, native, Dallasdoc, devis1

              old or young.  I think that it is about aptitude.  My mother is really well educated and super smart, but when you talk with her about biology she's totally lost.  She doesn't have the aptitude for that subject.  

              Ask her about dictators in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, OTOH, and she's brilliant.  She's also never been good at understanding the inside baseball of technology, but she has always been a person who embraces it my parents bought one of the first consumer computers.  I thought they were nuts at the time.  I was the luddite in the family on that front for a while - lol.  A very boring computer programming class that we had to take in high school was the root of that - but I still got an "A" in the class because I have an aptitude for that stuff.  At the time, I just didn't see the value in it.

              Anyway, my Mother's aptitude for politics and foreign relations would have made her a brilliant Senator on many fronts, but not on this one, maybe - not without expert guidance.

              I think that you are sort of missing the larger point of this situation which is that elected officials were never supposed to be experts on every subject under the sun.  They were supposed to be people  who were called to decipher and decide issues on our behalf.  While there's not question that the number of dull tools in the shed is probably at an all time high right now, there are still some people who are super smart and sharp, but not necessarily in this arena of technology.

              I believe that the NSA is taking advantage of the fact that the people are completely left out of the debate and consideration of the matter --- and the fact is that once you get down to it, there are only a handful of people on those small intelligence committees in the House and Senate who have the innate ability to understand what they are saying.  

              It impossible to really tell how few get it, but based on which representatives who tried to warn the public prior to Snowden's disclosures, there are only two - Wyden and Udall - who both understand the technology and the potential for abuse.  Out of 600+ elected representatives in the Congress, there are TWO people.  And as long as the NSA and the Executive Branch have their way and keep everything in a Kafkaesque secret feedback loop, there probably will only ever be just two who really get it.

              I am not trying to make excuses for anyone as much as I am trying to point out that the system is set up to ensure that no competing stories interfere with whatever the NSA is telling the Congress - the fact that members blindly accept their stories is arguably a huge problem in and of itself, but there is zero hope of breaking that spell without impartial informed opinions being allowed into the realm of consideration - and we do not have that.

              Hell, they won't even tell anyone what their legal reasoning is - they are keeping that a secret - on some level that's the most telling part of the story - there aren't a lot of IT pro's in the Congress, but there are a lot of lawyers - keeping the legal reasoning secret from their scrutiny can't be an accident.

              •  Understand much better and thanks (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                inclusiveheart

                for taking the time.  Your last 4 paragraphs really say it IMO.

                "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

                by 3goldens on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 12:04:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I wouldn't understand it either. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          3goldens, Dallasdoc

          I wouldn't know the outright lying from the weaseling from the deceptively incomplete truths.

          What are you doing to fight the dangerous and counterproductive error of treating dirtbag terrorist criminals as though they were comic book supervillains? I can't believe we still have to argue this shit, let alone on Daily Kos.

          by happymisanthropy on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:10:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, as inclusiveheart said, I imagine (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heart of the Rockies

            the NSA is quite fine with people on the Senate Intelligence Cmte., for example, being in that situation because it makes life much easier for them (NSA).  It also helps the NSA that those they brief may never speak outside of the briefing room on what they're told so they have no way of testing whether or not what they've been told is true or accurate.  Effectively, it's being able to tell their (NSA) audience just about anything and knowing that unless somebody in that audience is pretty savvy, that they can say whatever they want to.

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 10:40:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  At least this shows the clear difference between (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      happymisanthropy

      the parties on this issue:

      Republicans: we need to spy on you, any place, anyone, any time. (And you hate American and want the terrorists to win.)

      Democrats: we need to spy on you, almost any place, almost anyone, almost any time. Not quite every place, not quite everyone, not quite every time.

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 09:43:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site