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Queen & Workers
Watching the reaction to Edward Snowden's revelations has been entertaining to say the least. Almost every media personality I've observed speak on it either talks about how they don't trust him, or prefaces their concerns over the message with an obligatory swipe at the messenger. The latter often includes a shot not just at Snowden but at Glenn Greenwald, the UK Guardian journalist who brought the material to light.

It seems a bit over the top. Snowden and Greenwald appear subject to a standard of accuracy and at times vitriol quite different than the one facing high ranking NSA and contractor personnel. There is reason to be skeptical of spies in general, but why the high ranking spooks who have been caught splitting semantic hairs, evading, and glossing over key details are not much part of the story, while every last thing Snowden says is scrutinized for the slightest inconsistency, is puzzling. Perhaps what we're seeing is a secret version of something many reading this would identify with: the difference in the treatment, perception and motive for corporate bigwigs vs the observations of rank and file worker.

In every company I've worked for since getting a social security number, employees could be split into three groups. There are the head honchos who make enormous salaries and enjoy lavish perks. Like first class or chartered jet travel to exotic locales, expense accounts, stock options, sometimes special executive health care plans and other benefits, and thus have every reason to fiercely defend that company, to present it in the best light possible, and to justify their position within it by any means necessary.

Then there is middle management, supervisors through department heads, holding jobs that generally, but not always, pay a living wage that puts them somewhere in the lower middle class to comfortably affluent. Middle managers work directly with the honchos, many dream of being a honcho one day and virtually all of them are heavily motivated to keep various honchos happy. Few middle managers lose their job or are demoted by telling honchos what they want to hear.

Last but certainly not least are the worker bees, the people who do the grunt work of customer service, clerical details and the like. That last group has gotten the shit kicked out of them in wages and benefits for three decades and counting. It's well documented that worker bees have become more and more productive, while the benefits of that work has flowed mostly to honchos with some spillover to middle managers. But that's a different post.

Wealth Inequality

Honchos and to some degree middle managers get to see the big picture. If asked about their company or products they tend to speak in grandiose, optimistic terms. From their more remote perch they're likely to perceive day to day operations and try to solve problems from a policy perspective. Worker bees are more likely to see the limits of policy in general and shortcomings of specific ones. It should come as no surprise that they have a good knowledge of both and can describe the Rube Goldberg work-arounds used every day to do their jobs in great detail.

It might sound odd to classify Snowden in with worker bees or low level middle management when he made a high of 200K a year and was earning a cool 122K at Booz Allen Hamilton. But the pay scales at companies vary widely and it might help explain why we're hearing divergent stories.

When an NSA honcho says government or private spooks are not trolling through the private conversations of U.S. citizens at will, assuming they're being truthful, they're talking about policy. When Snowden says someone in his position could review emails or phone records of any conversation of any U.S. citizen, he's talking about technology. Honchos are thinking about what they have decreed as permissible, Snowden is talking about what is actually possible.

To sum it up, corporate honchos enjoy the benefit of the doubt from the fellow media honchos, worker bees do not. For profit private NSA contractor honchos like Mike McConnell, people who presumably earn seven figures a year, are deeply motivated to perceive and portray their employer and their industry in the best light possible, worker bees are not. Not to mention that up to now, this has all been so secret, even members of the Intelligence Committees in the House and Senate may not always get the full story or hear about problems and abuses. Especially as long as their only source of info is honcho approved and delivered.

In that light is it possible that any relatively minor discrepancies between what Snowden and Greenwald have made available, and what honchos are claiming, make a lot more sense?

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Comment Preferences

    •  Nice picture of the queen with the workers (21+ / 0-)

      The only thing wrong with the analogy is worker bees run the hive, not the queen. The queen isn't really a monarch, but rather a specialized worker, whose job is to lay eggs, which perpetuates the hive.

      It's the workers who collectively rule the hive, and they can raise a new queen (a process called supercedure) whenever they think the queen is faltering.

      The workers also can kick the drones (males) out of the hive if the hive is starving (fewer mouths to feed without the drones).

      So, bees are an example of mutual aid and socialism, without an overarching, ruling authority, making them anarchists, since they self manage the hive.

      Anyway...  

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:19:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a metaphor you dip! Not a simile. (6+ / 0-)

        You have the right to remain silent. If you waive that right you will be accused of class warfare.

        by spritegeezer on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:27:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if only... (20+ / 0-)

          working class would be more like worker bees. If the working class were truly comparable to honeybees, they would have tossed out the ruling class a long time ago, and turned to horizontal, non-hierarchical, collective self management, like the worker bees. In a typical hive with 60,000 bees or more, without any boss or ruler they magnificently self-manage the hive, building the combs, collecting honey, nursing brood, cleaning the hive, feeding the queen, in a city of constructive, bustling and busy activity, all with an egalitarian approach.

          So, if it's an apt metaphor, I want to see the working class start living up to their potential natures to caste off the oligarchy and self manage their own workplaces and lives.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:43:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  let's "cast off the oligarchy"... (0+ / 0-)

            ...sounds great from the moon's perspective-its atmosphere is a vacuum in space. This oligarchy you hypothesize about -ending its reign of lordship over us worker bees-controls the government, the money supply and credit, all the fuel, all the taxes, all the land, all the courts, all the lawyers, hospitals, doctors, and everything in between the police force and garbage collectors. You'd have a better chance living and breathing on the moon than defanging the oligarchy in America-or anywhere else.

            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:20:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Didn't say (5+ / 0-)

              it would be easy as pie, did I? It has been done, historically. Various examples exist. The anarchist region of Spain during the Spanish Civil War is a good example, even though under difficult circumstances of fighting a war against the Francoist fascists. For almost three years, involving up to 8 million people, the anarchists (anarchism traditionally is anti-capitalist, and socialist) collectively self-managed their communities without the ruling class, successfully operating industry, hospitals, utilities and telephone, food distribution, etc. There are alternative ways to organize based on horizontal, egalitarian approaches that work quite well.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:32:17 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And fighting against the Nazi Air Force (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JesseCW, annieli, Youffraita, kaliope

                as well as the authoritarian socialists and Stalinists. Saying it can't work is like saying that the people in charge would rather kill everyone than let it work. Including themselves. But as always, it's fear that's keeping us from a better world.

                I'm reminded of a quote from The Dispossessed when people say it's too hard or too late to organize ourselves in a better way:

                She[the ambassodaor from Earth] looked at him calmly and keenly; he said nothing.

                “I know it’s full of evils, full of human injustice, greed, folly, waste. But it is also full of good, of beauty, vitality, achievement. It is what a world should be! It is alive, tremendously alive — alive, despite all its evils, with hope. Is that not true?”

                He nodded.

                “Now, you man from a world I cannot even imagine, you who see my Paradise as Hell, will you ask what my world must be like?”

                He was silent, watching her, his light eyes steady.

                “My world, my Earth is a ruin. A planet spoiled by the human spedes. We multiplied and gobbled and fought until there was nothing left, and then we died. We controlled neither appetite nor violence; we did not adapt We destroyed ourselves. But we destroyed the world first. There are no forests left on my Earth. The air is grey, the sky is grey, it is always hot. It is habitable, it is still habitable, but not as this world is. This is a living world, a harmony. Mine is a discord. You Odonians chose a desert; we Terrans made a desert...We survive there, as you do. People are tough! There are nearly a half billion of us now. Once there were nine billion. You can see the old cities still everywhere. The bones and bricks go to dust, but the little pieces of plastic never do — they never adapt either. We failed as a species, as a social species. We are here now, dealing as equals with other human societies on other worlds, only because of the chanty of the Hainish. They came; they brought us help. They built ships and gave them to us, so we could leave our ruined world. They treat us gently, charitably, as the strong man treats the sick one. They are a very strange people, the Hainish; older than any of us; infinitely generous. They are altruists. They are moved by a guilt we don’t even understand, despite an our crimes. They are moved in all they do, I think, by the past. their endless past Well, we had saved what could be saved, and made a kind of life in the ruins, on Terra, in the only way it could be done: by total centralization. Total control over the use of every acre of land, every scrap of metal, every ounce of fuel. Total rationing, birth control, euthanasia, universal conscription into the labor force. The absolute regimentation of each life toward the goal of racial survival. We had achieved that much, when the Hainish came. They brought us ...a little more hope. Not very much. We have outlived it...We can only look at this splendid world, this vital society, this Urras, this Paradise, from the outside. We are capable only of admiring it, and maybe envying it a little. Not very much.”

                “Then Anarres, as you heard me speak of it — what would Anarres mean to you, Keng?”

                Nothing. Nothing, Shevek. We forfeited our chance for Anarres centuries ago, before it ever came into being.”

                Shevek got up and went over to the window, one of the long horizontal window slits of the tower. There was a niche in the wall below it, into which an archer would step up to look down and aim at assailants at the gate; if one did not take that step up one could see nothing from it but the sunwashed, slightly misty sky. Shevek stood below the window gazing out, the light filling his eyes.

                “You don’t understand what time is,” he said. “You say the past is gone, the future is not real, there is no change, no hope. You think Anarres is a future that cannot be reached, as your past cannot be changed. So there is nothing but the present, this Urras, the rich, real, stable present, the moment now. And you think that ia something which can be possessed! You envy it a little. You think it’s something you would like to have. But it is not real, you know. It is not stable, not solid — nothing is. Things change, change. You cannot have anything...And least of all can you have the present, unless you accept with it the past and the future. Not only the past but also the future, not only the future but also the past! Because they are real: only their reality makes the present real. You will not achieve or even understand Urras unless you accept the reality, the enduring reality, of Anarres. You are right, we are the key. But when you said that, you did not really believe it. You don’t believe in Anarres. You don’t believe in me, though I stand with you, in this room, in this moment ...My people were right, and I was wrong, in this: We cannot come to you. You will not let us. You do not believe in change, in chance, in evolution. You would destroy us rather than admit our reality, rather than admit that there is hope! We cannot come to you. We can only wait for you to come to us.”

                Keng sat with a startled and thoughtful, and perhaps slightly dazed, expression.

                “I don’t understand — I don’t understand.” she said at last “You are like somebody from our own past, the old idealists, the visionaries of freedom, and yet I don’t understand you, as if you were trying to tell me of future things; and yet, as you say, you are here, now! ...” She had not lost her shrewdness. She said after a little while, “Then why is it that you came to me, Shevek?”

                It's never too late to fix things, no matter what anyone says.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:56:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  and we... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ZhenRen, wasatch, AoT

              outnumber the oligarchy how many times to one?

          •  Well, unfortunately it also requires (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kaliope, RiveroftheWest, splashy

            in the case of bees what amounts to the slavery of the queen. Although I don't know that we want to follow the metaphor that far ;)

            And the dying off of the bees seems to be a perfect metaphor for how capitalism treats societies tht try to embrace worker self organization.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:36:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Heh (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mythatsme, RiveroftheWest

              In fact, the relationship between worker bees and the queen is mutual cooperation. The bees tend to the queen's needs, and feed her, keep her warm, feed the brood. The queen isn't a slave, because she works voluntarily according to her nature. The bees only replace her when she fails, which usually happens when she gets older and doesn't lay enough eggs.

              The relationship between drones and workers is the same, in that only when in times of starvation are drones evicted from the hive.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:38:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, and queens can live several years (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              while worker bees live about 5 weeks, depending on the season.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:04:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And its not a metaphore (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              RiveroftheWest

              It's a direct example of mutual aid as a survival trait.

              Read Mutual Aid by Kropotkin.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:40:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  The thing is, those are pretty much all females (0+ / 0-)

            Working together.

            Imagine getting men to do that, without someone making them. Most men I have known would never do that without getting something specifically for themselves. The common good is too abstract for them, I guess.

            Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

            by splashy on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:15:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, by the way (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kaliope

          Whether a simile or metaphor, or an analogy (as I called it) the fact remains that the queen bee is not a honcho, as I've explained. Which of the forms it may be is irrelevant.

          So, it seems you're not only the dip in this case, but a rude jerk as well.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 01:53:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  hm, well this doesn't make socialism sound (0+ / 0-)

        all that sweet:

        The workers also can kick the drones (males) out of the hive if the hive is starving (fewer mouths to feed without the drones).

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:31:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  ZhenRen, bees forgot more about... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        akmk

        ...homeland security than we'll ever learn to appreciate the crucial part they play in our eco-system, especially if we keep over-pesticiding, over-herbiciding, and weakening their immune systems so they're vulnerable to the parasites that caused colony collapse sydrome.

        Forgive me, I must digress with some background clutter:

        My original goal of life as a boy was to study insects. I read everything I could about them. My mom even bought me a university-grade microscope at age 10 to study them. And it mysteriously disappeared because I suppose I drove her to disappear it so I'd stop driving her crazy putting anything under the sun under it's lens.  

        Honey bees aren't generally, aggressive by nature and rarely kill their own kind. That makes them more civilized than us. If another bee from another hive inadvertently trespasses or gets lost, the worker bees on guard duty will "politely" grab him and escort him out the door. However, let him repeat the error and it's his last mistake in this life. The guards will use deadly force on him, thus permanently breaking him from the habit.

        "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

        by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:03:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly right. (4+ / 0-)

          And in that example of the lost bee going in the wrong hive, the bees would likely accept the lost bee, rather than turn the bee away.

          I've united two hives together on countless occasions. As long as the weaker hive doesn't fight back, the stronger hive accepts the bees. To be certain that the bees will merge amicably, sheets of paper can be placed between the united hive bodies (bee boxes) to slow down the introduction and give time for the hives to become acquainted. The bees will chew away the paper and remove it, eventually completely joing to two hives.

          "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

          by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:12:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the problem with your... (0+ / 0-)

            ...original metaphor or simili is that bees are a lot more civilized than us, which make them more advanced and hence, superior to their nemesis, today's apex predator,which will probably join homo erectus in extinction.
            The surviving species on plane Earth won't be happy, though. Every era needed its apex predators. We just got too big for our own britches too fast( I refuse to say "advanced" because that's a misnomer) to sustain the supporting eco-system. Thousands of now extinct species over the course of a rock's throw in time, would attest to that fact. That is, if they were still here.

            "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

            by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:33:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, that's one opinion regarding our nature (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cynndara, flitedocnm

              I think humans are capable of more than self-destruction, and I think it depends on the traits which are accentuated by systems of social organization. Build self interest and cut-throat mutual competition into the system, rather than mutual aid, and we shouldn't be surprised that greed rules the land. People have a multitude of traits to draw upon, among them sociability and teamwork, and we don't have to allow one set of traits predominate.

              We can do better, and in many instances we have.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:43:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  studying insects taught me... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ZhenRen, flitedocnm

                ...no matter how advanced we become in our own subjective definition and perception of it, the fact they are superior to us without the ability to read and write, to analyse, to reason and calculate and postulate, is really quite humbling for me to admit.

                Even the tiny ant knows when a storm is approaching to build a higher ant hill. During a tsunami, humans stand there looking at the birds flying to higher ground long before it breaks the shoreline, with wonderment, "why are the birds flying in flocks so fast inland"? If we focused more on substance and solutions, instead of competiing for everything in the present tense, maybe the past tense wouldn't make the future such a foregone conclusion--all past is prologue.

                I don't know we could do better. I have a better way, a dream for America's, and indeed the world's rise to greater heights than even attained by Egypt under the Pharoahs, Greece under Alexander, and Rome under the Caesars, that I've had from age 6. I've kept that dream in a secret place in my mind to myself my whole life. Why? Frankly, every other soul that was a mover and shaker and swam against the tide of convention has had their heart stopped by assassination, either their character or life ended tragically. I didn't think our civilization is ready to make the individual and collective sacrifices required to be truly great. Those are hard words for me to say, but they're my most intimate opinions of a dying man I'm sharing with you today about this dying world. Take them with a grain of salt.

                "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way." John Paul Jones

                by ImpeachKingBushII on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 06:11:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I share your concerns (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ImpeachKingBushII, flitedocnm

                  It looks as if we're heading for the abyss, and not much is happening to stop it. But I remember that in the worst times of my life, some periods seemed to last for an eternity, and just as I thought things were hopeless, something would change.

                  And it is in times of change that opportunities arise to make things better. New generations, for example, might turn to other solutions.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:09:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  I thought that the paper was for scent (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ZhenRen, RiveroftheWest

            Scent passes through the paper and eventually both hives smell the same so that once they chew through the barrier they don't sting the crap out of each other.

            •  Pheromones (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ender, flitedocnm, RiveroftheWest

              are a factor. But physical contact, including behavior, is also a factor. If the behavior is defensive, or not, is a factor. Queenlessness is also a factor. A weak, queenless hive will more readily be assimilated than a hive with a queen. The paper slows down physical exposure, allowing the new queen scent to become accepted, and the hive scent to become accepted. But two weak hives can often be joined together without the step of using paper.

              I've never had a problem with this.

              "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

              by ZhenRen on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 12:06:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  don't forget Catch 22's character named Snowden (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ender, dadoodaman

      that Yossarian treated.
      http://articles.philly.com/...

      Fans of Joseph Heller's Catch-22 can't help but hear an echo of the novel's plot in the real-life drama playing out over the leak of information about massive U.S. government spying programs.

       The admitted whistle-blower, former National Security Agency contract worker Edward Snowden, apparently exposed the NSA's telephone and Internet data-gathering in an attempt to trigger a public debate about the extent to which our privacy has been compromised in the name of national security.

       That debate now seems likely to play out in the federal courts. But before Snowden's revelations, civil libertarians had been turned away because they couldn't prove to the courts' satisfaction that anyone's communications had been targeted illegally. Why? Because the government won't say whose phone or e-mail messages have been tapped.

       The legal impossibility of a challenge to NSA snooping was a classic catch-22 - the term Heller coined to describe a problem whose very nature precludes a solution. But with Snowden's disclosures of specific phone carriers who were ensnared in the NSA's net, the American Civil Liberties Union and its allies - now suing again - are in a better position to make their case.<
      /blockquote>

       

      Back to novel: One of Heller's central characters was Snowden, an airman who was mortally wounded by flak on a bombing run, and who was tended to by the novel's protagonist, Capt. John Yossarian. As Yossarian patches a leg wound for Snowden, he gradually realizes that the airman has sustained devastating wounds to his torso. Peeling back Snowden's flak jacket, Yossarian recoils in horror as Snowden's intestines spill out and Snowden dies amid the gore.

       The encounter radically alters Yossarian's outlook on the war and life. And the parallels with the NSA leaker go beyond the name. Indeed, Edward Snowden's figuratively spilling his guts on domestic spying in the United States could fundamentally alter the wholesale surveillance born of the war on terrorism.

      (emphasis mine)

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:25:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And as is usually the case, the honchos don't have (23+ / 0-)

    a clue about what really goes on down there where the worker bees are.

  •  WBs The Folks who help keep the lights on nt (5+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:09:15 PM PDT

  •  Honchos are mostly born to honchohood (25+ / 0-)

    They come from the Owner class, and only occasionally does a middle manager type ascend into that class. But they want American workers to believe that they too can become Owners if they align their interests with the Owners.

    There is a whole bourgeois idealist metaphysics of "positive mental attitude" and "The Secret" which basically says that if you think like an Owner, you will magically become one. But in reality, just as with any other historical class system, you usually have to be born one.

  •  Your article is about management incompetence.... (6+ / 0-)

    I think what you are saying  is that from middle management up, there's no chance for critical thinking, just skepticism and nit picking of critics  

    What this really means it that from middle management up, there's no self correction, even when it's a matter of principle.

    So really you are saying the whole management stack is incompetent and lazy.

    Scary stuff  

  •  The only policy most honchos are really (9+ / 0-)

    interested in is their compensation.  Everything else is secondary; they will actively avoid details of policy implementation.

  •  Total Compensation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, raboof, gffish

    Based on what we saw at places like Goldman Sachs and other major banks you have base salary and bonus.

    The base salary and bonus combined is referred to as Total Compensation. So it's conceivable that Snowden's Base Salary was $120K and his Bonus was $80K for a total Compensation of $200K.  

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:13:42 PM PDT

  •  Michael Kohlhaas redux. (5+ / 0-)

    No justice, no peace, Yossarian.

    @Hugh: There is no Article II power which says the Executive can violate the Constitution. * Addington's perpwalk? TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.

    by greenbird on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:23:26 PM PDT

  •  Patriot (10+ / 0-)

    The Patriot Act must go! It was a very poorly written piece of legislation. In a time of great fear in this country. We must now look at it in the light of today's understanding. It gives way to many of our freedom and rights away. Please right your representatives today to ask them to repeal it.

  •  Any threat to the status quo must be neutralized. (5+ / 0-)

    Honchos and managers, or queens and drones, if you will, know that. When us workers realize that and act accordingly is when we get our share of the honey.

    •  And that's where centrism and incrementalism (4+ / 0-)

      come in. Preventing change to the status quo on behalf of those currently benefiting most from the status quo.

      Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:33:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blaming Edward Snowden (23+ / 0-)

    Blaming Edward Snowden.

    It's like blaming your doctor for telling you you have cancer.

  •  I think this is right on, and part (20+ / 0-)

    of a larger point. We all know the laws only apply to worker bees. So when, erm, middle-management bees leak classified material, following the orders of the honchos, that's not effectively illegal. But when a worker does it? It's espionage.

    And the question is, who is in charge? Are the people in charge of the government, or is the government in charge of the people? With secret courts and secret laws and secret activities, with too-big-to-fail economic sabotage and too-big-to-prosecute war criminals, the whole thing makes me feel like a drone in autumn.

    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

    by GussieFN on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:36:56 PM PDT

    •  I see a bigger (0+ / 0-)

      problem in the privatization of government work, especially intelligence. Then we end up with people like Snowden. And we spend way to much budget money on these private business enterprises doing government work

  •  another variant (10+ / 0-)

    In many places the US is seen as the head honcho .. and there are more than a few outside the US having a good chuckle over the current situation. The US should be reminded that not everyone loves them ... and many more than a few are positively delighted to see the US step in it.

    a few selected comments from a UK website:

    It's deeply satisfying seeing the US get taken down a few pegs.
    That note from the Hong Kong government was cutting. Long may it continue.
    Thank you Mr Snowden.
    Give it up America, you got caught, hand in the till, smoking gun... whatever, have some dignity and start to rebuild trust.
    Brilliant!
    Edward Snowden is a true hero for speaking out against the corporatist empire the US and its colonies have become.
    May there be many more Snowdens!
    "They demonstrate that the United States, which has long been trying to play innocent as a victim of cyber attacks, has turned out to be the biggest villain in our age"
    Hypocrites tend to shout the loudest.
    "The Democratic senator Chuck Schumer added: "The bottom line is very simple: allies are supposed to treat each other in decent ways..."
    Of course Chuck, because spying on your allies and their citizens is a very decent behavior, you are a real gentleman, Chuck.
    As an American ex-pat (and now a naturalised Brit) who is living in the UK and is appalled by the abuses of law and wholescale spying on its own citizens by the government of my native country, I can only say one thing regarding this sorry escapade:
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
    Now, if only the creepy morons in charge of the UK weren't doing the same bloody thing to us...

    There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

    by taonow on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:42:14 PM PDT

    •  a few more (9+ / 0-)

      so much for Obama's positive impact on the opinion of the US after Bush.

      1. Notwithstanding Mr Obama's claims that the US was the victim of Chinese cyber hacking, now that Mr Snowden has put facts on the table, we are beginning to learn just who is the hacker and just who are the victims.
      2. This incident makes one reflect on just who is the terrorist now terrorizing the whole world.
      If I had the opportunity to put a finger in the eye of the US, I would. I imagine that there are many millions of fingers around the planet, poised, just in case such an opportunity were to arise. When they treat the world this way, are they surprised?
      Bloody marvellous! They can spy on us but cannot stop the most famous man in the world fleeing. So laughable! Well done Mr Snowden!
      You really couldn't make this stuff up. It's epic! It's James Bond for real, except he's the ordinary man wronged and maligned. From Hong Kong with Love, Mr Snowden.
      Don't these Congressmen understand that by attacking Snowden they are simply proving themselves even bigger hypocrites? It is precisely because of their flagrant abuse of all international laws and conventions to spy on these nations that the world (except the fawning, bankrupt, poodle UK) are giving them the proverbial shaft.
      I do hope America wakes up to the fact that they have undermined all trust and kudos once-and-for-all. The land of the free and the brave rings very hollow now. So sad.

      There's room at the top they're telling you still But first you must learn how to smile as you kill If you want to be like the folks on the hill

      by taonow on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the difference is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chitownliberal7

    a professional journalist  vs. a inexperienced blogger like Greenwald, pretending to be a journalist. I have not been influenced by what the press has to say about Greenwald. My opinion of Greenwald was formed by posting on Greenwald's blog when he was on Salon. Greenwald routinely attacked anyone who did not agree with him as did his adoring Greenwaldians. Greenwald has been writing ad nauseam , the same story since 2008. And yes there are honchos and worker bees, as one must earn their reputation as a good journalist from the professionals. Besides the Guardian is a second rate rag.

    Anyone who thinks Greenwlad is a good reporter knows nothing about good journalism or investigative reporting. Experienced reporters vet their sources before leaping on a story. Greenwald is so anxious to be recognized and promotes his conspiracies theories that his judgment appears to be impaired. Most of Glenn's writings resemble a bad legal brief.

    Snowden could have stayed in the U.S. and revealed this information, but he chose to be dramatic , leave the country, and divulge information about other countries in order to embarrass the United Sates and in hopes of protecting himself. He not only damaged intelligence in the U.S. but did harm to other countries.

    We did not need, either Greenwald or Snowden to have a conversation about National Security or FISA. The less attention given either of these guys the better the conversation will be.

  •  Communication is only possible between equals. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

    by Alumbrados on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 01:52:37 PM PDT

  •  Good post. (9+ / 0-)

    But I question this paragraph:

    When an NSA honcho says government or private spooks are not trolling through the private conversations of U.S. citizens at will, assuming they're being truthful, they're talking about policy. When Snowden says someone in his position could review emails or phone records of any conversation of any U.S. citizen, he's talking about technology. Honchos are thinking about what they have decreed as permissible, Snowden is talking about what is actually possible.
    I prefer a simpler explanation.  I think they were engaged in bald-faced lying.

    If they have the power to do it, they're doing it.  Period.  Because terror.  

    Some of them have probably twisted themselves into believing they're being righteous, and doing what is necessary, because terror.  But I doubt if that is true for most of them.

    Today CSPAN was rerunning the testimony of some of the national security honchos before the House Intelligence Community, and I couldn't take five minutes of it.  I've got a pretty good bullshit detector.

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

    by Timaeus on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:07:47 PM PDT

    •  And why do you think he's actually telling the (0+ / 0-)

      truth?  

      Do you check your house for microphones?  Because it' really wouldn't be that hard for a government agency to install one if they wanted to.

      Do you check your car for a tracking device?

      "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

      by anonevent on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:26:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was in doubt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus

      ...about your criticism of what I thought was a good abstract point being developed, until I got to your punch line: bald-faced lying. Nice one, and I got a good laugh!

      If your internal map of reality doesn't match external conditions, bad things happen.--Cambias

      by pimutant on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:54:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Union Presidents are treated the same (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Timaeus, hawkseye

    There are not many contests nowadays, but back in the day the corporate big wigs got their story into the news media fully and uncritically.  If the union president's position was covered at all, it was "balanced" with some shill saying he was wrong.

  •  I love to see Booz Allen's contract with the NSA. (5+ / 0-)

    What are these corporate bastards getting besides billions of tax dollars for selling American's phone records to the American government?

  •  I think it's been pretty balanced (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alice kleeman
    It seems a bit over the top. Snowden and Greenwald appear subject to a standard of accuracy and at times vitriol quite different than the one facing high ranking NSA and contractor personnel.
    I see one side going after Snowden for how damaging his leaks could be, especially when he runs off to different countries.

    I see the other side thinking the government is targeting every American, deciding they are guilty and then looking for evidence.

    "Harass us, because we really do pay attention. Look at who's on the ballot, and vote for the candidate you agree with the most. The next time, you get better choices." - Barney Frank

    by anonevent on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:23:43 PM PDT

  •  You could make the same analogy between (4+ / 0-)

    centrists, who are emotionally enmeshed in the mainstream culture, including its governance, and the Left, which is able to be part but not parcel of it and thereby maintain the objectivity to hold it accountable and keep it honest, regardless of which "side" is batting.

    As Chris Hedges recently noted quite eloquently, those who plotted to take down Hitler were villified by the broad German mainstream, even long after the war was over.

    Establishmentarians, first and foremost, defend the establishment.

    With the thirty year slide of the Overton Window, it turns out there are a lot of establishmentarians in the "Democratic Party" any more.

    Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:27:38 PM PDT

    •  reminds me of this Hedges comment about the White (3+ / 0-)

      Rose society and how they are viewed now as opposed to then.
      http://www.truthdig.com/...

      I was reminded of my visit with von dem Bussche, whom I was interviewing for The Dallas Morning News, by the 70th anniversary of the execution of five Munich University students and their philosophy professor who were members of the White Rose resistance movement in Nazi Germany. The BBC last week interviewed the 99-year-old Liselotte Furst-Ramdohr, who hid leaflets for the group in her closet and helped make stencils used to paint slogans on walls. [Click here to hear the interview or click here to see the BBC’s article based on the interview.] The six White Rose members managed to distribute thousands of anti-Nazi leaflets before they were arrested by the Gestapo and guillotined. The text of their sixth and final set of leaflets was smuggled out of Germany by the resistance leader Helmuth James Graf von Moltke, who was arrested in 1944 and hanged by the Nazis in January 1945. Copies of the leaflets’ language were dropped over Germany by Allied planes in July 1943. Furst-Ramdohr, who was widowed during the war when her first husband was killed on the Russian front, also was arrested by the Gestapo. She was imprisoned but eventually released.
      The White Rose has been lionized by postwar Germans—one of its members, Alexander Schmorell, was made a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church last year, and squares and schools in Germany are named for the resisters—but in the BBC interview Furst-Ramdohr curtly dismissed the adulation of the group.

      “At the time, they’d have had us all executed,” she said in speaking of most Germans’ hatred of resisters during the war.


      Although history has vindicated resistance groups such as the White Rose and plotters such as von dem Bussche, they were desperately alone, reviled by the wider public and forced to defy the law, their oaths of national allegiance, and public opinion. The resisters, once exposed, were condemned in vitriolic terms by most of the German public, and their lopsided trials were state-choreographed lynchings. Von dem Bussche said that even after the war he was spat upon as he walked down a city street. He and those like him who made a moral choice to physically defy evil teach us something extremely important about rebellion. It is, when it begins, not safe, comfortable or popular. Those rare individuals who have the moral and physical courage to resist must accept that they will be pariahs. They must live outside the law. And they must be prepared to be condemned.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:40:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Interesting. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, dadoodaman

    You make some good points. I think there is a lot of blurring of these distinctions, at least where I work, at the midlle-management to "worker bee" level, but it's true that most at the higher levels don't see the actual operational details. Those at the upper level who have had experience at the levels dealing with day to day details probably have a better understanding of what's really going on.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:29:03 PM PDT

    •  True (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alice kleeman, dadoodaman

      the analogy is based on a generalization and, as you say, some executives who come up through the ranks are capable of retaining a sense and the pulse of how things work and are working at every level. But they are the exceptions.

      A couple of other useful analogies were posted here in the comments, the latter being especially poignant:

      Blaming Edward Snowden.

      It's like blaming your doctor for telling you you have cancer.

      - roninkai

      It's more like blaming the medical tech who broke an NDA to tell you that the hospital was legally conducting strange tests on you without your consent.

      - GussieFN

      Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:50:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  every dog has thier day..one must earn (0+ / 0-)

    respect in any profession. Greenwald has not earned it in either law or journalism.

  •  Skepticism... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hawkseye

    ...should work in all directions. Otherwise, you're not really being skeptical. Snowden and Greenwald deserve scrutiny and should not get a pass for bullsh*tting the public, and the same goes for the government and private contractors in this story. Accurate information to the public is key.

  •  James Clapper lied under oath (3+ / 0-)

    Oh whatever Snowden liked anima and Greenwald doesn't live in DC

  •  I see from a different side of the equation. (0+ / 0-)

    I understand that we need this conversation about the extent of the data gathering by/for the government.  I think Congress and judicial need to be working for the people and our well being not just their own careers, in other words wake up guys and look around see what you hath wrought.  

    I would ask why we are spending billions on contract companies where we have little if any vetting of the employees?  

    If there weren't so many commercial software companies, banks, credit agencies, advertising agencies, in general anyone you meet with some or all of what the NSA has on the majority of us and freely share among themselves for good or ill, then I would worry about the NSA delving into my secrets.  As it is the only place that I have a reasonable sense of privacy is my doctors office.  In some states that has even been breached by the pro-life laws and pro-gun laws, thankfully not yet in my state.  

    Do we need the NSA and intelligence agencies?  If they can prevent one attack anywhere shouldn't we be thankful?

    Lastly, they don't tell me how to clean my house, do my nursing job or raise my children, how can I an ordinary citizen have the audacity to tell them how to do what their jobs.

    If anything that Snowden says never put anyone's life at risk then let him babble and let Greenwald think he has discovered another Elsberg, which he hasn't.  But if one person's secret identity is revealed or one life is lost then he too has become a killer.  

    However this is a country where we get to choose who does the work of the government, no matter how bad they do it, we get to vote.  I did not get to choose and for that Mr. Snowden is wrong he took our choice, free speech and participation away from us.

    "To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medication to the dead." Thomas Paine

    by My two cents worth on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:36:44 PM PDT

    •  We don't get to choose the candidates. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aliasalias, dadoodaman

      And we often don't choose the winners, either.

      The "serious" person's "credentials" and the money requirements ensure that the ownership class gets to decide, in virtually every case of significance, who the participants are. In most cases they also get to decide the winner. Heck, just look at the odds for incumbents and you can see that we don't "get to choose" on any kind of even-handed basis.

      Do we need the NSA and intelligence agencies?  If they can prevent one attack anywhere shouldn't we be thankful?
      And some people think the death penalty is worth it because most of those executed were guilty.

      No, we shouldn't be thankful if it means everyone has to surrender the Bill of Rights so that some random, small number of wrong-doers can be brought to justice.

      If anything that Snowden says never put anyone's life at risk then let him babble...
      And what about the people he has exposed? The people who put massive numbers of lives at risk every day...? Are you willing to treat them with the same justice?
      ...let Greenwald think he has discovered another Elsberg, which he hasn't.
      Ellsberg disagrees. If you understood Ellsberg or the advanced nature of the security state today, you would, too.

      Add the median effective tax rate, healthcare costs (20%?), education costs, and other things guaranteed in Denmark & Sweden, we pay MORE for LESS. Somebody's gotta pay the billionaires. They don't grow on trees. ☮ ♥ ☺

      by Words In Action on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:06:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I want to see some bankers go to jail first... (5+ / 0-)

    ...then you can talk to me about Snowden.  Personally, I don't feel he revealed anything that we didn't suspect was going on already.

    Shady bankers have done far more harm to the American population as a whole and I haven't seen any mugshots yet.

    I'm a blue drop in a red bucket.

    by blue drop on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:43:57 PM PDT

  •  Sorry, I can't buy this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Timaeus, mommyof3, aliasalias
    relatively minor discrepancies between what Snowden and Greenwald have made available, and what honchos are claiming
    Before, worker bee Snowden appeared on the scene, mulitiple former NSA middle and senior ranking officials came forward to condemn the NSA for significant misrepresentations of its surveillance capabilities. So, what we have here is a cross-section of NSA employees, with different positions and different windows on the organization agreeing that the NSA is abusing the Constitutional rights of Americans, which is a far cry from official claims that they are simply keeping us safe.
  •  Stop looking in the rear view mirror.... (0+ / 0-)

    This Snowden fiasco is a waste of public conversation. What he revealed about massive email traffic monitoring by the NSA was emergency procedures left over from the Bush administration. It was always intended to be stop-gap window dressing designed to fool individual terrorists into thinking that the hi tech monitoring stuff featured on TV spy shows like "NCIS" and "Person of Interest" was standard procedure in the NSA. Programs like the NSA's monitoring of email traffic are incorporated as temporary measures while the government does real research on how to track all types of terrorists (including suicide bombers) emanating from all forms of organizational structures, including those terrorists who act alone.

    Some blowhards have been trying to convince the American public that most terrorists could be caught by some GOOD OLD FASHION POLICE WORK! This is pure bullshit. Re-imagine for a moment the events leading up to the Oklahoma City  bombing. Just how much of those early movements by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols preceding the actual bombing would any local police department have uncovered that would have prevented the actual truck bomb plot?  The same question concerning good old fashion police work could be asked in relation to preventing the World Trade Center truck bombing attack in 1993?

    Unquestionably the terrorist tactics currently being used throughout the world will demand a considerable sacrifice of personal privacy in order to implement effective public security. I believe most Americans are aware of this fact and are prepared to pay the price IF the end product WORKS!

    However, we are currently engaged in the WRONG discussion concerning this matter. Currently the media is pushing the "Privacy vs. Security" argument which is fine for creating controversy (which is what the MSM feeds upon), but it does little to solve the real world problem of coping with potential deadly terrorist attacks. (For example consider a football stadium packed with fans as a terrorist target. These traditional American autumn events will sooner or later become prime targets for terrorists both foreign and domestic. This is a horrific thought but in the perspective of cold hard reality such prevention must be top priority.)

    For the health and welfare of the nation, the public discussion MUST be about resolving the question of selecting the most effective method designed to REDUCE our public EXPOSURE to potential terrorist attacks.

    •  Now THAT'S a weird comment. (4+ / 0-)

      From somebody who obviously chose the Blue Pill.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

      by Timaeus on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:55:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what makes it a weird coment (0+ / 0-)

        given that premise?

        Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

        by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:12:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Please google "blue pill." (0+ / 0-)

          The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

          by Timaeus on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:25:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understood the reference (0+ / 0-)

            which is what I was referring to as your premise. But given that, I don't see what makes the comment "weird".

            Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

            by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:28:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You've descended into disingenuousness. (0+ / 0-)

              Read the thread again.  All of the information you are demanding is there.

              Weird?  That is the state of ignoring reality.

              The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.-Bertrand Russell

              by Timaeus on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:33:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not being disingenuous (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GussieFN, JesseCW

                but I'll drop it.

                Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:43:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I don't want to pick it up after it's (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AaronInSanDiego

                  1) massive email traffic monitoring by the NSA was emergency procedures left over from the Bush administration. (That's how quickly the NSA reacts to events? Over five years later, they're collecting billions of bits of leftovers?)

                  2) It was always intended to be stop-gap window dressing designed to fool individual terrorists into thinking that the hi tech monitoring stuff featured on TV spy shows like "NCIS" and "Person of Interest" was standard procedure in the NSA. (So wouldn't revealing it--in fact, exaggerating it--make more sense than concealing it?)

                  3) Some blowhards have been trying to convince the American public that most terrorists could be caught by some GOOD OLD FASHION POLICE WORK! This is pure bullshit. (Are you on board with this one, Aaron?)

                  4) Unquestionably the terrorist tactics currently being used throughout the world will demand a considerable sacrifice of personal privacy in order to implement effective public security.  (Not what I'd call 'unquestionably,' given, y'know, all the questions.)

                  5) For example consider a football stadium packed with fans as a terrorist target. These traditional American autumn events will sooner or later become prime targets for terrorists both foreign and domestic. This is a horrific thought but in the perspective of cold hard reality such prevention must be top priority. (No, it mustn't.)

                  6) For the health and welfare of the nation, the public discussion MUST be about resolving the question of selecting the most effective method designed to REDUCE our public EXPOSURE to potential terrorist attacks. (Are you on board with this one, Aaron? Holly rolling fuck.)

                  "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

                  by GussieFN on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:02:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  After it's 'been dropped!' (Ironically, I (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    AaronInSanDiego

                    dropped that part.)

                    But I posted those things as possible examples of 'weird.'

                    "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

                    by GussieFN on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:03:46 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  well, if I wanted to engage in CT, (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GussieFN, mommyof3

                    I might say that Snowden was directed to reveal what he did, in fulfillment of #2. Revealing it outright might make it less believable. And of course, if it were not officially classified, officials couldn't avoid discussion using that excuse.

                    But I don't want to engage in CT, so I won't say that. (I'm being a bit tongue-in-cheek about this one.)

                    #1 is weak. Just because Bush started it, doesn't mean it has to continue, unless it's required by law.

                    #3, I'm not sure what people mean by "old fashioned police work," but that might be true.

                    #4, I think we've gone further than is warranted by a cost/benefit or risk/reward analysis of the problem, and the system is probably too vulnerable to abuse.

                    #5 I think safety and law enforcement officials should be concerned and are concerned about the potential for such events being targeted, and they should take whatever measures are prudent to make a successful attack less likely. This should be a priority, but not necessarily the top priority. And it shouldn't be done at the expense of anyone's rights.

                    #6 There should be a discussion on the most effective methods to reduce our risk of potential terrorist attacks, but that shouldn't be held in isolation of discussions about our rights and other needs and responsibilities.

                    Except for #2, none of what I've expressed are views I wouldn't have held before the leak by Snowden.

                    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:39:24 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  So you would give up some or all of your freedom (4+ / 0-)

      for a little temporary safety.

      Ben Franklin would kick your ass.

      I also object to the use of "We", as if YOUR opinion was the only one that mattered and everyone else was in slavish agreement with you.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:01:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you sound scared but here's things to consider 1st (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dadoodaman, Words In Action

      other than a 'terrorist attack', so you can throw YOUR rights away but not mine.
      http://www.ritholtz.com/...

      You’re More Likely to Die from Brain-Eating Parasites, Alcoholism, Obesity, Medical Errors, Risky Sexual Behavior and Just About Everything Other than Terrorism
      We noted in 2011:

      – You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

      – You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

      — You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

      — You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

      –You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

      — You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

      – You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

      –You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

      –You are 9 times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

      –You are 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than a terrorist

      –You are 8 times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

      – You are 6 times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

      Let’s look at some details from the most recent official statistics.

      The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.

      In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 10:00:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Basic point here is 100% correct (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    As Snowden pointed out, the top guys talk about policies, but he knew about capabilities.  

    A similar distinction is between "business rules" and "system functionality.", familiar to anyone in the technology/business interface.

    Systems engineers with root access have the capability to see and exercise all of the systems capabilities.  Higher up in the organization, analysts and investigators, mere system users, are constrained by arbitrary policies that represent what is decreed to be legally permissible and in the organization's interests.

    Underneath the filters and rules there are.... no rules and no filters.  That is the systems analyst and systems engineer level.   At some level there are high level people who do understand this, but who also understand that it is in their interest not to be seen to understand it.

    "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could, inadvertently perhaps, collect—but not wittingly."
    So Clapper can claim that he does not "wittingly" gather info on US persons in the sense that policy prohibits that and therefore by definition such gathering when it occurs is not by intention... even though everyone understands that it is exactly what happens.

    So yes, absolutely, there is a levels of analysis problem here.  Mid-level higher ups and higher ups sought and found a set of lies that they could utter with a straight face so long as they kept a very specific set of meanings in mind.   Lower downs look at it and refuse to think that they too are not people who are seeing exactly what they think they are seeing, regardless of whether policy says that they are seeing it, or whether policy says that their seeing of it counts as a person seeing it.

    It seems likely that Snowden did not believe in his own unreality and insignificance in a system whose lies  are predicated on the idea that thousands and thousands of engineers like him seeing private information does not somehow count as a case of private information being seen, because it is merely technical access.  

  •  When They're Attacking the Messenger, They've Lost (5+ / 0-)

    The thing to remember (and point out) when someone attacks their opponent on a personal level is that it means they can't win on the merits of their argument.

    Snowden needs to point this out (if he ever gets another chance to talk). He needs to say, "Game over. I won. They're attacking me personally. That means even they don't believe they're right."

    You can tell how much he's wounded them. They're running around screaming about how much this hurt the U.S. Really? Our opponents didn't know we were doing this spying? How stupid do they want us to believe the Russians and the Chinese are?

    It's only the American people that were in the dark. I suppose that now we'll be treated to the argument that keeping U.S. citizens in the dark is good for national security. Watch for it.

    •  In the U.S. justice system, (0+ / 0-)

      it's routine for the prosecution and the defense to call into question the personal character or motives of people who are testifying in order to try and make their case. That by itself doesn't really prove anything. It's whether or not that questioning of character proves to be convincing that is important.

      I think the jury is still out on Snowden. I found his explanation for why he joined the military during the Bush administration to be out of line with his supposed deep distrust of government intentions. He claims he was motivated to free people from oppression. How many on this site would agree with that fairly superficial judgement about the purpose of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars?

      •  I Don't Think He's Necessarily a Good Guy (0+ / 0-)

        I don't think he's necessarily a good guy. But I think the effect of revealing the program is good for the American people, who are in a constant battle with the government to just keep it under control.

        As for attacking credibility, I would be a tough juror. If I found an attorney making personal attacks instead of presenting evidence to support their theory of the case, they'd be the ones losing credibility with me.

  •  Bravo! (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for the diary! I think it is a brilliant way to draw the picture, giving a good fit to a LOT of the different aspects of the situation with one simple image.

    If your internal map of reality doesn't match external conditions, bad things happen.--Cambias

    by pimutant on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:37:34 PM PDT

  •  Bradley Manning anyone? nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, dadoodaman
  •  Puzzling? No, not at all. Any journalist you see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    on TV or in other forms of the mainstream media is doing pretty well. Most are simply not willing to endanger the system and the employers who put food on their tables. The big corporations are ultimately at the end of the financial chain that supports them. It's not at all puzzling to me that people who are doing well, who have jobs that land them on TV, in particular, and really good money coming in -- people who have, in their field, succeeded at the upper tier of possibility -- are not willing to rock the status quo that grants them a life of "success".

    "The law of love will work, just as the law of gravitation will work, whether we accept it or not...." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by waydownsouth on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:12:11 PM PDT

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