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View Diary: Basic political logic and the Voting Rights Act (37 comments)

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  •  i dont see that (0+ / 0-)

    instead what I see is a naive willingness to let the Cato institute determine what is an important Constitutional issue.

    self-appointed intellectual cop

    by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 04:00:28 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  You're missing your target (0+ / 0-)

      The Cato Institute is an absurd sham.

      The 4th Amendment ought to be respected.  I protest its violations especially when they occur against those I dislike.

      Because tomorrow the other side will be in power, and I don't want them using the same tactic to go after you.  Or me.

      As a leftist, to cheerlead the massive expansion of domestic surveillance is to show a remarkable disregard for its repeated and violent use by the American government to repress dissent in the extremely recent past.

      •  your theory that the GOP needs precedents (0+ / 0-)

        to violate the Constitution seems to me to fly in the face of the evidence. If the GOP in its current form returns to executive power, they will grossly violate every right they can, no matter what.

        I don't think what Holder did about Fox or AP is at all an "expansion of the surveillance state".  No government can function if every disgruntled or greedy bureaucrat with a secret feels free to peddle documents to the opposition.  And there is an enormous difference between whistleblowing, which must expose wrongdoing if not criminality, and e.g. exposing legitimate or vital secret diplomatic efforts.  Here we are not seeing an expansion of the surveillance state at all, we are seeing an unprecedented rejection of the legitimacy of democratic government by a very dangerous neo-fascist party.  

        self-appointed intellectual cop

        by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 04:24:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Subverting the Const. legitimates the practice (0+ / 0-)

          I propose leaving subversion of the Constitution to the neo-fascist right and relentlessly attacking them for the practice.

          If we elect to subvert the Constitution, we lose any moral authority to criticize their assault.  We become no better than them.  And we thus put the essential freedoms of all at risk to gain nothing in return.

          As for this statement:

          Here we are not seeing an expansion of the surveillance state at all
          No sensible observer will concur.  Whether you defend or attack the NSA program, no reasonable person can argue that the it does not represent an expansion of the surveillance state on Obama's watch.  

          For all its failings, the AP is not "the opposition".  They are reactionary at times, and not so at others.  Proclaiming them as equivalent and coterminous with Fox News is false.

          I'm also uncomfortable with your blithe dismissal of this instance of whistleblowing -- resting, again, on yourself assertion that the NSA program is neither wrong nor criminal.

          I submit to you that millions at home and around the world disagree with you.  

          And it's truly puzzling why you seem to find it so difficult to understand that a committed leftist would resist the nature and scope of the program of which we have just discovered some of its detailed contours.

          •  you are switching around too much (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jeff Simpson

            the criticism of Holder I cite was based on the AP and Fox stories, not the NSA. Holder is in DOJ, not NSA.

            What AP and Fox did is in no way whistleblowing because there is no hint of government wrongdoing and certainly not criminality.

            I don't think that criticism was well founded, but more than that, the blithe (to use your word) dismissal of the other work of the DOJ and political reality seems to me irresponsible.

            Even if one were to concede that the Fox/AP stories were government overreach, anyone calling for Obama to fire Holder has a responsibility to look at the consequences of such an action.  How will a DOJ without an AG defend voting rights or environmental law? What concessions will GOP want to confirm a replacement? Is the tradeoff worth it?  It's not moral to pretend that there are no political constraints, no tradeoffs, no consequences - it's irresponsible.

            self-appointed intellectual cop

            by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 04:55:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not coincidental that AP & NSA stories all at once (0+ / 0-)

              You seemed to be claiming there was no expansion of a surveillance state under Obama.  

              Now you're saying we should ignore the NSA program.  Why?

              As for Holder and the DOJ, plenty of left-wing analysts disagree with your contention that it does not represent a shift to new and dangerously broad surveillance (an example is here):

              The ACLU last night condemned the DOJ's acts as "press intimidation" and said it constitutes "an unacceptable abuse of power". The Electronic Frontier Foundation denounced it as "a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news". The New York Times' Editorial Page Editor Andy Rosenthal called the DOJ's actions "outrageous" while Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron said they were "shocking" and "disturbing". Even Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said: "I am very troubled by these allegations and want to hear the government's explanation."
              That's pretty comprehensive.  No serious thinker worth their salt would bother to deny the actions against the AP represented an expansion of government surveillance.  They do.  And every committed left-wing analyst of the surveillance expressed alarm and dismay at the development.  Unless you care to contend that the ACLU is a neo-fascist GOP front?

              I'll make you a deal.  

              Drop all your bizarre and outrageous claims (1) denying the expansion of a surveillance state under Obama and (2) denying the value of left-wing analysts who criticize domestic surveillance, including breaches of the Constitution.

              Acknowledge the above.  

              Then (3) stick to your more narrow point that it made political sense not to fire Holder despite the revelations of nefarious acts.  For example, I had zero problem maintaining all 3 positions.  Unlike the pundits you cite, I haven't been going around demanding Holder's head on a platter.  (I think the problem is much deeper than him and his firing would change nothing).  

              •  of course it is not coincidence (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jeff Simpson

                The Republicans are tossing up fake scandal after fake scandal in a time-tested tactic that benefits from the cluelessness or complicity of the liberal media.

                I'm saying that you should ignore the NSA scandal because it has nothing to do with my argument. My argument is that demands to fire Holder over the AP and Fox faux-scandals were irresponsible and implicitly depend on a moral scheme that devalues civil rights enforcement.  

                No serious thinker worth their salt would bother to deny the actions against the AP represented an expansion of government surveillance.  
                That's nonsense. The government got a perfectly legal and normal subpoena. They arrested ZERO journalists, indicted ZERO, prosecuted ZERO.  The violation of precedent was from the AP- it is not at all normal for a press organization to expose an ongoing foreign spy operation.  See

                As for the ACLU, they can pretend that they live in a world of precedent and rules if they want, but some of us understand that to be a lie. When Ken Starr broke the law and fed secret grand jury testimony to complicit press, that was not an example of Freedom of the Press, it was an example of the Republican Party's lawless determination to destroy or at least paralyze any Democratic administration.  Holder and Obama would have to be naive children to not take that example as a warning. Given a security apparatus that was stuffed by Reagan and the Bushes with right wing operatives, they MUST take a hard line about leaks or simply concede power to the right.

                self-appointed intellectual cop

                by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 05:39:17 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Realpolitik and burn the Constitution with you (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Are you always like this?

                  The only thing that seems to matter to you is for someone in a D jersey to run the show.  Little it matters what they do with power or what damage they inflict on the republic.

                  That is not a healthy approach.

                  Some scandals are fake (IRS, Benghazi) and some are real (AP-Fox News, NSA).  Anyone with a brain can determine the difference.

                  Like many others on the left, I never called for firing Holder.

                  That's about all we agree on.

                  Activists use a commitment to civil liberties as a base to defend both freedom of privacy and voting rights.  You are flat-out wrong to assert the two defenses are at odds.

                  No.  They draw from the same source spring of civil liberties as expressed in the Constitution.  If you want to drain that spring, you destroy the base of all our liberties.  And you will face most stringent resistance.

                  The incontrovertible fact is that the AP effort represents an expansion of the surveillance state, one of many over the last decade.  The fact that it is arguably legal misses the point entirely.  Those who care about civil liberties are not comfortable with the government running free, assailing journalists and the general public with overly broad surveillance and record-gathering every time a secret court somewhere rubber-stamps it.  

                  It beggars belief that you keep asserting such a reaction is such a terrible challenge for you to comprehend.  Here's a concise explanation of why from your own source of choice.  

                  Your last paragraph follows no rules of logic or evidence whatsoever.  Wire-tapping the AP did ZERO to stop conceding power to the right.  In fact, battling the right for power had nothing to do with wire-tapping the AP.  EVERY administration faces leaks.   And when EVERY administration is particularly angered by a leak it doesn't like, it deploys its energies to track down and punish the leaker.  

                  Given the recent gross expansion of the secret surveillance state, it is up to us as citizens to express dismay and anger when the anti-leak forces rely on techniques we find too intrusive and expansive.  If you want to hide in a shell of Realpolitik and rubber-stamp every last move of Democratic power, you've become no better than the foot soldiers of neo-fascism you deride.  

                  Others of us take a different approach.  We dare to protect civil liberties.  And just because it so happens that the current encroachment is being led by an administration with a D on its chest, you aren't going to talk us out of doing so.  Sorry.

                  •  given your conclusion, your conclusion follows (0+ / 0-)

                    1) I'm not that impressed with arguments that involve boasting about the moral purity of the advocate.  Make a case, don't assume you are morally superior to any dissent.

                    2) The WAPO is not my source, Walter Pincus is my source.

                    3) The article you cite doesn't expose any vast expansion of the surveillance state, it questions whether a 1979 Supreme Court decision should be revisited.

                    Journalists get a bit of a special deal here. The government has established special policies to guard against inappropriate surveillance of reporters. Before an FBI agent can seek a journalist’s call records, they must get special approval from the attorney general. But that’s merely a Justice Department policy, not a constitutional requirement.
                    Not frightening

                    4) That article includes the following hilarious note

                    People may or may not have expected the numbers they dialed to be private in 1979. But they certainly consider the contents of their Gmail accounts and the locations of the cell phones to be private information today.
                    Oh come on!

                    self-appointed intellectual cop

                    by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 06:54:52 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  given Machiavellianism, Machiavellianism follows (0+ / 0-)

                      If you refuse to acknowledge a subject position, and develop your own moral precepts, your reasoning is sterile.  

                      We don't live in abstractions.  We live in a real world of real flesh and blood.  If you abjure the responsibility incumbent upon you to develop principles, you simply and forever express the empty accountancy of the cartographies of power.  

                      What the layperson calls having a heart is an essential part of being human.  Our reason flows from our emotions and it is in the continued discursive intersection of the two that we distill principles, slowly and arduously, through many years of toil on the planet.

                      So, no, my friend.  Principle does not produce pre-formed conclusions.  It merely illuminates the path toward effective human reasoning, the kind that lifts us beyond the vapid toting up of who is in power and how they maintain power.

                      1).  Moral good is the only case.  There is no other.  Tell me which moral good you advocate, and we can then debate yours against mine.  We can examine the real world and how it can or cannot enact the moral goods we seek to achieve.  That's what honest human communication and debate is.

                      2).  I'm not sure why you identify the longtime national security journalist Walter Pincus as he whom we must all derive our moral and political judgment from.

                      3).  If you contend there has not been a vast expansion of the surveillance state since 9/11, you are either foolish or in denial.  There is voluminous literature to demonstrate your egregious error.  Google "usa surveillance state" and click through any one of the hundreds upon hundreds of books, articles and papers from top-flight scholarly journals, respected newspapers and magazines.  It's ridiculous to have to even point this out to you.  One LINK among hundreds and hundreds.  

                      4).  It is a mystery why you think it is amusing that Americans don't want to give the government free access to their email and cell phone records and conversations.  Maybe try talking to a few of us?

                      •  it's amusing because it's so unreal (0+ / 0-)

                        Google processes google email to target adverts and sells that information. Emails generally move, unencrypted,  over data networks that can pass through foreign countries as well as corporate and government servers that can capture and Verizon uses call data for God knows what purpose and has no legal restrictions on who it sells it to.  For all you know, the Chinese government regularly buys the data that NSA requested or maybe Huawei switches just send them everything.

                        The amount that the government knows about us has grown a lot since 2000 for two reasons: 1) the 9/11 Bush expansion and (2) the growth of internet/cloud/social-network.   In an era where Google maps traffic is based on aggregating cell phone locations from drivers, 1970s privacy expectations are silly.  Anyone who thinks their Gmail is more secure than phone calls were 40 year ago is just deluded.

                        As for morals, I don't accept your process framework. I'm interested in justice, not paperwork and am highly skeptical of Constitutional idolatry. The constitution only protects those with the power to demand it.

                        self-appointed intellectual cop

                        by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 11:32:01 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  now this stuff _is_ creepy (0+ / 0-)

                          self-appointed intellectual cop

                          by citizen k on Thu Jun 27, 2013 at 12:13:22 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Privacy, justice, and the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

                          I think you'd be surprised by the number of Americans who would prefer that internet companies protect their privacy.  I submit that in view of the post 9/11 encroachment you describe, Americans would like privacy protections enhanced rather than decreased or abandoned.  I'm with them.

                          You close with the following:

                          As for morals, I don't accept your process framework. I'm interested in justice, not paperwork and am highly skeptical of Constitutional idolatry. The constitution only protects those with the power to demand it.
                          While I'm interested in absolute justice as well, in our system we're bound to the world as it is.  In that world, our world, the Constitution, while not holy, is the only thing that stands between the massive powers that be and our complete submission to them.  That and that alone is the reason why I make such a big deal out of it.  Because if we tear it up, then the big shots just get to run roughshod over the rest of us.  It would be best to avoid that outcome.  So until the revolution comes, we really don't have any other option.

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