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This evening's music features songs about spies, detectives and espionage. Enjoy!
DEVO-Secret Agent Man
“The further a society drifts from truth the more it will hate those who speak it.”
-- George Orwell
News and Opinion
The one question a journalist should never askMeanwhile on another planet very much like Planet NBC:
There was an appalling moment in the annals of U.S. journalism history earlier today -- in the often noble profession that nonetheless managed to give the world Judith Miller and Jayson Blair in addition to "aiding and abetting" the war in Iraq. In the wake of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's flight from Hong Kong, NBC's iconic "Meet the Press" -- now manned by the not-so-iconic David Gregory -- placed an urgent call to the lawyer-turned-blogger/journalist who broke the Snowden story, Glenn Greenwald. ..."Meet the Press" host David Gregory asked columnist Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn't be charged with a crime for working with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.Greenwald was right -- Gregory's question was extraordinary. Has he already forgotten the widespread outrage over the U.S. Justice Department's sweeping overreach in investigating journalists at Fox News and at the Associated Press, where top executives say the government's monitoring of AP phone lines has had a chilling effect on sources coming forward with information about what the Obama administration is up to? Does he really think under the 1st Amendment that there's any validity to the government monitoring, let alone criminalizing, the news-gathering process?
Greenwald was on to discuss his source's Sunday morning flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. (It is unclear where Snowden will ultimately land, though reports have suggested he is headed to Venezuela.) At the tail end of the conversation, Gregory suddenly asked Greenwald why the government shouldn't be going after him.
"To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn't you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?" he asked.
Greenwald replied that it was "pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies," and that there was no evidence to back up Gregory's claim that he had "aided" Snowden.
Note that I headlined this post, "The one question a journalist should never ask." That cuts two different ways. I wouldn't object to Gregory asking the question of a colleague in a rhetorical sense, as in, "Explain to the people out there why journalism is a protected activity, even if the whistleblower involved risks being charged with a crime." I don't believe that was Gregory's intention, however. But if you believe that the very essence of doing your job well is somehow a crime...well, you simply are not a real, serious journalist. That may sound harsh but there's no other way to put it.
Trump’s solution for whistleblower Snowden: ‘There’s still a thing called execution’Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson:
Appearing on Republican morning talk show “Fox & Friends” Monday, reality television host and real estate mogul Donald Trump called for whistleblower Edward Snowden to be murdered for leaking details about a massive spying program run by the National Security Agency.
“You know, spies in the old days used to be executed,” Trump said. ...
“But the president is talking about global warming on Tuesday, he’s not even addressing this!” co-host Brian Kilmeade exclaimed.
Trump seemed perturbed, saying that he does not think climate change is a problem. “You know, in the 1920s, magazine covers had a very scary phenomenon called global cooling,” he said. “The planet was severely cooling and everyone was worried about global cooling. Now it’s global warming. No, we have bigger problems. Believe me, we do.”
“We do,” co-host Steve Doocy added.
The NSA's metastasised intelligence-industrial complex is ripe for abuse
Let's be absolutely clear about the news that the NSA collects massive amounts of information on US citizens – from emails, to telephone calls, to videos, under the Prism program and other Fisa court orders: this story has nothing to do with Edward Snowden. As interesting as his flight to Hong Kong might be, the pole-dancing girlfriend, and interviews from undisclosed locations, his fate is just a sideshow to the essential issues of national security versus constitutional guarantees of privacy, which his disclosures have surfaced in sharp relief. ...
Snowden has already been the object of scorn and derision from the Washington establishment and mainstream media, but, once again, the focus is misplaced on the transiently shiny object. The relevant issue should be: what exactly is the US government doing in the people's name to "keep us safe" from terrorists?
Prism and other NSA data-mining programs might indeed be very effective in hunting and capturing actual terrorists, but we don't have enough information as a society to make that decision. Despite laudable efforts led by Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall to bring this to the public's attention that were continually thwarted by the administration because everything about this program was deemed "too secret", Congress could not even exercise its oversight responsibilities. The intelligence community and their friends on the Hill do not have a right to interpret our rights absent such a discussion. ...
On this spying business, officials from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to self-important senators are, in effect, telling Americans not to worry: it's not that big a deal, and "trust us" because they're keeping US citizens safe. This position must be turned on its head and opened up to a genuine discussion about the necessary, dynamic tension between security and privacy. As it now stands, these programs are ripe for abuse unless we establish ground rules and barriers between authentic national security interests and potential political chicanery.
Ecuador: 'Freedom of Expression' Basis for Snowden Asylum
The South American country of Ecuador, where NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has reportedly made request for political asylum, says it considers the matter as one of "freedom of expression" and will consider the application on strict merits.
"We are analyzing [the request] with a lot of responsibility," Ecuador's Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino told reporters through a translator at a hotel in Hanoi, Vietnam on Monday.
The request, he continued, "has to do with freedom of expression and the security of citizens around the world."
Asked if he was concerned about what offering Snowden asylum might do to his country's relationship with the United States, Patino said, "There are some governments that act more upon their own interests, but not us. We act upon our principles."
"We take care of human rights of the people," he added.
Assange: Snowden receives refugee papers from Ecuadorian government
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Monday that fugitive U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden had received refugee papers from the Ecuador government to secure him safe passage as he fled Hong Kong over the weekend.
Russia defiant as U.S. raises pressure over Snowden
Russia defied White House pressure on Monday to expel former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden to the United States before he flees Moscow on the next stop of his globe-crossing escape from U.S. prosecution. ...
The White House said it expected the Russian government to send Snowden back to the United States and lodged “strong objections” to Hong Kong and China for letting him go.
“We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council.
The Russian government ignored the appeal and President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary denied any knowledge of Snowden’s movements.
FISC Will Not Object To Release of 2011 Court Opinion That Confirmed NSA’s Illegal Surveillance
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISC, ruled Wednesday that it has no objection to the release of a 2011 opinion of the court, which found that some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs under the FISA Amendments Act, were unconstitutional.
A 2011 FISC court ruling had concluded that some of the NSA’s surveillance programs had violated sections of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a law aimed at protecting American citizens from surveillance programs targeted at foreigners.
The nation’s most secretive court, as it has been called in the media, said that the 86-page classified opinion can be made public if a district court orders it.
Gitmo Prisoner: Administration Escalating Brutality Towards Hunger StrikersWell now, isn't this special? Obama's IRS was not just singling out tea partiers, guess who else they were screening for...
Shaker Aamer: "The administration is getting ever more angry and doing everything they can to break our hunger strike. Honestly, I wish I was dead."
Aamer, among the over 100 inmates at the prison on hunger strike, detailed the escalating brutality officials at the prison are meting out in a effort to break the months-long hunger strike.Techniques include making cells "freezing cold" to accentuate the discomfort of those on hunger strike and the introduction of "metal-tipped" feeding tubes, which Aamer said were forced into inmates' stomachs twice a day and caused detainees to vomit over themselves.The British resident, who has been cleared for release by both the Bush and Obama administrations, has spent over 11 years at the prison without trial.
The 46-year-old from London tells of one detainee who was admitted to hospital 10 days ago after a nurse had pushed the tube into his lungs rather than his stomach, causing him later to cough up blood. Aamer also alleges that some nurses at Guantánamo Bay are refusing to wear their name tags in order to prevent detainees registering abuse complaints against staff.
Documents show IRS also screened liberal groups
The Internal Revenue Service's screening of groups seeking tax-exempt status was broader and lasted longer than has been previously disclosed, the new head of the agency acknowledged Monday. Terms including "Israel," ''Progressive" and "Occupy" were used by agency workers to help pick groups for closer examination, according to an internal IRS document obtained by The Associated Press.
The IRS has been under fire since last month after admitting it targeted tea party and other conservative groups that wanted the tax-exempt designation for tough examinations. While investigators have said that agency screening for those groups had stopped in May 2012, Monday's revelations made it clear that screening for other kinds of organizations continued until earlier this month, when the agency's new chief, Danny Werfel, says he discovered it and ordered it halted.
The IRS document said an investigation into why specific terms were included was still underway. It blamed the continued use of inappropriate criteria by screeners on "a lapse in judgment" by the agency's former top officials. The document did not name the officials, but many top leaders have been replaced.
Protests Fill Texas Capitol as Sweeping Anti-Choice Bill Advances
Defying hundreds of pro-choice advocates who occupied the Texas state capitol building through Sunday night, the Texas House Monday morning brought the state one step closer to passing Senate Bill 5, which, if implemented, will impose severe restrictions on abortion, amounting to near-complete ban for a majority of Texans. ...
Governor Rick Perry imposed a 30-day 'special session' to advance the bill that temporarily suspends normal legislative rules, making it easier to steamroll efforts to block the bill from within the government and across Texas.
The special session was imposed after the bill failed in regular session, and SB 5 supporters are rushing to push it through before the session expires. ...
More than 700 Texas women's health advocates participated in a 'People's Filibuster' at the capitol Thursday, testifying against the passage of SB 5 for a stunning 12 hours and temporarily blocking its advance through the House.
When the debate resumed, pro-choice advocates rushed to the capitol to make their voices heard. Sunday's overnight protests and occupation filled the building, as protesters wore orange and red to signal their opposition and waved banners, including one that showed ovaries, followed by the words 'Don't Tread on Me.' Protesters chanted within earshot of the House as it debated the piece of legislation.
Military Report: America Has 'Misguided' Fixation With Domestic Drilling
WASHINGTON—A new report from the U.S. Center for Naval Analyses and the London-based Royal United Services Institute, two of the NATO alliance's front-line strategy centers, recommends putting more effort into fighting global warming than securing reliable supplies of fossil fuels.
The authors call the habitual American fixation on winning energy independence through expanded North American production of oil and natural gas "misguided." They say the "only sustainable solution" to the problem of energy insecurity is not through more drilling, but through energy efficiency and renewable fuels, like biofuels to replace oil.
Despite the steady supplies provided by the current U.S. drilling boom, "the increased domestic production of oil and natural gas is not a panacea for the country's energy security dilemma," they say.
And in blunt language, they criticize American policymakers and legislators for refusing to accept the "robust" scientific evidence that emissions of carbon dioxide are already causing harmful global warming, and for refusing to take actions that, if taken swiftly, could ward off its worst effects.
"Political leaders, including many in the United States, refuse to accept short-term costs to address long-term dangers even though the future costs of responding to disasters after they occur will be far greater," said their report, published this month.
Blog Posts of Interest
Here are diaries and selected blog posts of interest on DailyKos and other blogs.What's Happenin'
A Little Night Music
Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me
Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress - The Hollies
Austin Lounge Lizards — "1984 Blues"
Spy - They Might Be Giants
Johnny Rivers - Secret Agent Man
The Fugs - CIA Man
Los Straitjackets - Espionage
The Decemberists - Valerie Plame
The Doors - The Spy
The Police - Every Breath You Take
David Bromberg - Danger Man
She Was a Hotel Detective - They Might Be Giants
Thompson Twins - We Are Detectives
Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives
And this one goes out to all the partisans who think that the current NSA spying scandal is no big deal because they're being kept safe:
Sarah Vaughan - Someone To Watch Over Me
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