VAN MORRISON - Bright Side of the Road
News and Opinion
How America killsKind of an odd column by MoDo today. She starts with an critique of Bush's painting and presidency and ends with fearful paragraphs about technology but it's clear that what she is most worried about is privacy after the NYT hack. It would have been great if she had used that giant megaphone to defend privacy for the past decade. For that reason I have a hard time feeling sorry for her though I share the same concerns about privacy in our electronic communications, however, I'm a bit more worried about my own government hoovering up our lives and sticking it into data bases than I am about the Chinese hacking my email. To be fair, hacking journalists' emails is bad, bad thing, but what MoDo could have done with this fearful column is talk about the fact that the government has been collecting everybody's emails for years now, and targeting journalists with National Security Letters for years now, including one of her colleagues at NYT, but she did not do that. I should write a diary about this. I am guessing that there are a number of progressive bloggers who will pick up on this and won't let this one go.
But when us lefties here on Up have discussed and criticized the secret kill list program, many viewers who’ve responded online or through email accused me of being naive about the true nature of war, or going out of my way to find things to criticize about the president or stoking controversy where there is none.
And it is true polls show that majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents support targeted killing and the drone strikes that carry them out. Partly, I think that’s due to the fact that the public hasn’t been given much information about exactly how the administration has come to the conclusion that it can carry out these killings, even against citizens, and partly because the worst effects of the policy, the collateral damage, or more accurately the children as young as one year old who our weapons kill, are almost entirely invisible to us.
But it also seems possible to me that even with a full accounting of the program, many, perhaps even a majority of Democrats, even self-described liberals might support the targeted killing policy for, I believe, the same reason a blogger named Lou Siegel gave this week. “Though this might sound like a ‘cold war liberal’ defending CIA-led coups and military interventions,” he wrote:“I support President Obama’s drone attacks. And I admit that I’m a hypocrite. If a republican administration were executing these practices, I’d probably join the chorus to condemn them as unconstitutional, authoritarian or worse. But I trust this president’s judgment that the drones are a legitimate way to take out terrorists who would–if they could–kill thousands of Americans. He’s making a trade-off, knowing that a successful massive terrorist attack against us would result in far greater damage to our democratic institutions.”What, people ask, is the alternative to small war, if not big war? And the answer no one ever seems to even consider is: no war. If the existence of people out in the world who are actively working to kill Americans means we are still at war, then it seems to me we will be at war forever, and will surrender control over whether that is the state we do in fact want to be in. There’s another alternative: we can be a nation that declares its war over, that declares itself at peace and goes about rigorously and energetically using intelligence and diplomacy and well-resourced police work to protect us from future attacks.
I’m Begging, Don’t Hack the HacksInteresting NYT Op-ed today about a suit filed this week related to the guy who spilled the beans about the fact that he was recruited by NYPD to spy on Muslims.
It’s already too late to stop sending embarrassing e-missives, with a decade worth of hand grenades out there rolling around.
Just as Obama knows in his heart that, while seductive, drones need limits, so we know that, while seductive, e-mails need limits — because sooner or later, the Chinese or some bitter hacker in his basement or some 10-year-old kid is going to make all our titillating e-mails public.
The rule of thumb in Washington used to be: Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t want to see printed on the front page of The New York Times. The new rule is: Don’t send an e-mail you wouldn’t want to see printed on the front page of The New York Times. (Especially if you work here.)
Spying on Law-Abiding MuslimsConcerning the Op-ed above... now, jaywalking is illegal, so how low is the bar that says the spying is allowed if it is related to any unlawful activity? I’d have to read more about the Handschu agreement to know that but I’d bet money that there are easy ways around that stipulation. I think that it would be great if some Occupy groups filed a similar suit.
The motion charges the city with violating the Handschu agreement by systematically retaining records of conversations in public places that do not pertain to “potential unlawful activity.”
Plaintiffs lawyers say they found scores of cases in which innocuous conversations recorded in public places were maintained in police records. One such conversation involved two Bengali speakers, one of whom spoke favorably of the United States government, discussing the president’s State of the Union address.
The court documents offer more than ample reason to be concerned about possible overreach and unconstitutional activity by the Police Department investigators. If the assertions by the Handschu lawyers are borne out in court, the judge should consider appointing an independent monitor to review department investigations.
The plaintiffs here seem to have a lot of knowledge about NYPD activities and records. Was that mostly from the guy who they recruited who later blew the whistle? Anyway, I’m curious to see how much information they have about NYPD operations and how they got it and if it is related to CIA-on-the-Hudson, and am curious to see where this case will go. I wish there were more such cases. We need more people to be paying attention to the issue of privacy, surveillance, entrapment, etc. and finding ways to get it into the media and into court. Preaching to the choir, I realize, but there are a number of things going on right now that open new opportunities for focus on this, including the new obsession with cybersecurity, scrutiny of Brennan, et al.
I think I missed this SNL cartoon sketch back in November.
Kerry: Keystone XL Decision Coming In 'Near Term' After 'Fair And Transparent' Review
WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday promised a "fair and transparent" review of a Canadian company's plan to pipe oil from western Canada to refineries in Texas.
In his first comments about the controversial Keystone XL pipeline since becoming secretary of state, Kerry said he is waiting for a review begun by his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and hopes to make a decision in the "near term." The State Department has jurisdiction over the $7 billion pipeline because it crosses an international border.
Year Of The Snake 2013: Chinese Celebrate Lunar New Year (PHOTOS) (VIDEO)
Chinese welcomed the arrival of the Year of the Snake with raucous celebrations on Saturday, setting off a cacophony of firecrackers in the streets and sending fireworks blazing into the sky to bring good fortune.
Celebrations will carry on into the early hours of Sunday, officially the first day of the Lunar New Year.
Almost half of Beijing's population of 20 million have left the city for the holiday, according to state media.
Taboos abound over this period. Crying on New Year's Day means you will cry for the rest of the year, and washing your hair signifies washing away good luck.
Woe betide those who clean on new year's day, for you will be sweeping away good fortune in the year ahead.
At 12 Noon on Sunday, February 17, thousands of Americans will head to Washington, D.C. to make Forward on Climate the largest climate rally in history. Join this historic event to make your voice heard and help the president start his second term with strong climate action.
Blog Posts and Tweets of Interest
Article II or AUMF? “A High Level Official” (AKA John Brennan) Says CIA Can Murder You emptywheel.net/2013/02/09/art…— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 9, 2013
Bob Herbert back in 2009: "Policies that were wrong under Bush are no less wrong because Obama is in the White House" nytimes.com/2009/06/23/opi…— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 10, 2013
NYT: "Some liberals acknowledged they were willing to accept policies they once would have deplored as long as they were in Obama’s hands"— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 10, 2013
They Knew the Evidence against Anwar al-Awlaki Was Weak When They Killed Himis.gd/qVvdWi— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 10, 2013
No, @chrislhayes, they didn't write the memo before the FIRST strike against Awlaki, on 12/24/09.— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 10, 2013
My personal take on the challenges of reporting in Guantanamo Bay - WNYC wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-…— brigidbergin (@brigidbergin) February 10, 2013
Van Morrison - Full Force Gale