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In the final analysis, when you really boil this issue down to its essence, what we as citizens are facing is a situation wherein a corporate-government alliance has set up a total information awareness surveillance police state.

That is its main purpose: to protect the interests of a now-rapidly entrenching corporate state, and it does that by suppressing opposition to its hegemonic control.  National security, including anti-terrorism surveillance activities are secondary purposes.

As such, all illegal and unconstitutional activities being conducted by the NSA and Homeland Security need to stop at once.  That includes all warrantless data collection on American citizens.  Also, all information about each citizen that has already been collected in massive databases needs to be destroyed/erased.  This process needs to be monitored by highly qualified experts.

All information being collected by private companies/corporations shall only be used specifically as it related to business-customer transactions, marketing, sales, customer support, and must never be shared with any government agency, unless there is probable cause of a crime and a proper warrant has been obtained.

All technology used to gain unfettered access to computer networks, and online services (Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail) must be fully exposed, and if need be, the entire internet infrastructure should be revamped in order not to allow any government anywhere to have these types of capabilities.



I'm not naive... I'm fully cognizant that many may see these prescriptions as totally unrealistic, or in fact, impossible.  But I argue that if that is the case, if we have been conditioned to accept the inevitability of a fully entrenched corporate-government total information awareness surveillance state, then by definition we no longer live in a free and democratic society.  We would have accepted the proposition that we now live in a totalitarian surveillance state.

In an article titled "Freedom Cannot Exist Alongside a Massive Surveillance Industrial Complex: They Are Incompatible," published by truthout, Heidi Boghosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, argues that once a massive spying apparatus purportedly designed for national security is in place, that it could easily be "used for domestic and political and economic agendas in the name of combating terrorism."

This book ["Spying on Democracy"] documents the way relentless surveillance makes people in the United States less free. As government agencies shift from investigating criminal activity to preempting it, they have forged close relationships with corporations honing surveillance and intelligence-gathering techniques for use against Americans. By claiming that anyone who questions authority or engages in undesired political speech is a potential terrorist threat, this government-corporate partnership makes a mockery of civil liberties. The examples in these pages show how a free press, our legal system, activists, and other pillars of a democratic society—and even children—suffer as a consequence. As the assault by an alignment of consumer marketing and militarized policing grows, each single act of individual expression or resistance assumes greater importance. As individuals and communities, we need to dismantle this system if we are to restore and protect our civil liberties.
The emphasis is mine

She further argues that the citizenry has been conditioned to accept the government's argument "that mass surveillance makes us safer."

This convergence of government and business intelligence operations has created all the elements of an Orwellian mass surveillance network: a trusting and fearful public, a shift to preemptive policing justified by opportunistic citing of a nebulous enemy threat, domestic use of military equipment, and communications devices that provide direct portals into private transactions. Each component element is formidable. Together, they are a nightmare for democracy.
The emphasis is mine

Once the citizens accept the corporate-government arguments about the need to maintain a total information awareness surveillance system, then a proposition that may have seen outrageous in the past, become normalized:

Normalization is the process by which we accept and take for granted ideas and actions that previously may have been considered shocking or taboo. Michel Foucault wrote that modern control over society may be accomplished by watching its members, and maintaining routine information about them. Foucault emphasized that Jeremy Bentham’s eighteenth-century panopticon, a continuous surveillance model for prisoners who could not tell if they were being watched, exemplified an institution capable of producing what he called “docile bodies.”
The emphasis is mine

The fundamental problem with this situation is the confluence of interests between government and corporations, whereas protecting the profit-seeking interests of the corporation(s) is one of the key objectives.

Constant surveillance influences how we live, connect, and learn. It impacts how we exercise freedom and contribute to democracy. As the state and big businesses increasingly monitor our lives, challenges to their authority are increasingly portrayed as a gateway activity to more ominous and intolerable threats. Political resistance, whistle-blowing, investigative journalism, and social and environmental advocacy of all kinds, by their very nature, question and challenge authority. They can now attract resources and responses associated with counterterrorism operations, as seen with the coordinated national repression of the nonviolent Occupy movement. An increasingly militaristic national climate, and the symbiotic corporate culture that profits enormously from it, are now virtually uncontested fixtures in the American experience.
The emphasis is mine

The bottom line for me is that I believe that the actors behind this massive surveillance police state are not benevolent; that they are in fact malevolent, and as such represent one of the gravest threats to freedom and democracy we've ever face as a nation.

One thing that concerns me is that as I read multiple articles, and opinion pieces about the massive, illegal, and unconstitutional actions of the NSA, I don't see anybody mentioning the proverbial "elephant in the room": "As individuals, as communities, and as a society, we must dismantle the surveillance system if we are to protect and advance the basic conditions required to live our lives in real freedom,"  as pointed out by Ms. Boghosian.

Unfortunately, this necessary dismantling of the surveillance state is not going to happened voluntarily, and is not going to initiate with our members of Congress, many of whom may actually be compromised given the massive amount of information these security agencies have at their disposal (information that could be used against people in government).

It will have to come from us, the people.  We will have to demand it, and do so urgently.  Otherwise we will have to accept being "docile bodies" living in an increasingly oppressive totalitarian system.  

P.S. I encourage people to engage in respectful discussion. New Community Guidelines / The 15 Rules of Web Disruption / Thirteen Rules for Truth Suppression / Disinformation: How It Works.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You live in a black and white world (17+ / 0-)

    You write:

    ... then by definition we no longer live in a free and democratic society.  We would have accepted the proposition that we now live in a totalitarian surveillance state.
    Bold for emphasis.

    There is a huge gray area in between those two polar opposites. The world is a very complex place that doesn't easily fit your neat definitions.

    There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

    by virginislandsguy on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:39:07 PM PDT

    •  Nuance is nothing but another form of propaganda (11+ / 0-)

      ;-)

    •  Let's put aside the ad hominem about my (13+ / 0-)

      supposed inability to see nuance, shades of grey, etc., and bring it back to the argument...

      I thought about this very carefully, when I wrote it.  What is your interpretation of a "totalitarian surveillance police state?"

      Here's how I see the type of totalitarian system we have in the U.S.

      Inverted Totalitarianism

      Inverted totalitarianism is a term coined by political philosopher Sheldon Wolin to describe the emerging form of government of the United States. Wolin believes that the United States is increasingly turning into an illiberal democracy, and he uses the term "inverted totalitarianism" to illustrate the similarities and differences between the United States governmental system and totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union.

      Wolin believes that the United States (which he refers to using the proper noun "Superpower", to emphasize the current position of the United States as the only superpower) has been increasingly taking on totalitarian tendencies as a result of the transformations that it underwent during the military mobilization required to fight the Axis powers, and during the subsequent campaign to contain the Soviet Union during the Cold War:

      While the versions of totalitarianism represented by Nazism and Fascism consolidated power by suppressing liberal political practices that had sunk only shallow cultural roots, Superpower represents a drive towards totality that draws from the setting where liberalism and democracy have been established for more than two centuries. It is Nazism turned upside-down, “inverted totalitarianism.” While it is a system that aspires to totality, it is driven by an ideology of the cost-effective rather than of a “master race” (Herrenvolk), by the material rather than the “ideal.
      So that's the totalitarian part... The "Surveillance" part is obvious, regarding the total information awareness surveillance done by the NSA/Security apparatus.
      •  Pointing out that... (13+ / 0-)

        the world is not binary is not an ad hominem attack.

      •  You are being non-responsive to my comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic, TooFolkGR

        I thought about it very carefully when I pointed out that you drew the world in black and white terms rather than its complexity.

        What is your interpretation of the "world is a very complex place"?

        There was only one joker in L.A. sensitive enough to wear that scent...and I had to find out who he was!

        by virginislandsguy on Mon Sep 09, 2013 at 10:55:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  sorry, WHAT is the totalitarian part? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        richardak, Cedwyn, virginislandsguy

        You're dangerously close here to arguing that the United States is totalitarian because Wikipedia. More specifically, because Sheldon Wolin says so.

        My interpretation of "totalitarian surveillance police state" would probably pertain to your assertion:

        ...a corporate-government alliance has set up a total information awareness surveillance police state.

        That is its main purpose: to protect the interests of a now-rapidly entrenching corporate state, and it does that by suppressing opposition to its hegemonic control.  

        (Of course, that quotation doesn't use the word "totalitarian.")

        That seems like a bit of a word salad to me, but it seems to mean, inter alia, that NSA's data gathering is designed to suppress opposition to the corporate-government hegemony.

        The further discussion also seems like a bit of a word salad, but it seems to mean that NSA's data gathering does this by continually monitoring citizens' communications (even, perhaps, their actions) and thereby reducing their felt freedom to dissent. Or something like that.

        I don't see where you lifted a finger actually to demonstrate that NSA surveillance does anything to suppress opposition, nor that that is its main purpose.

        "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

        by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 03:57:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another ad hominem, logical fallacy, and mockery. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          churchylafemme, lostinamerica

          Regarding this:

          I don't see where you lifted a finger actually to demonstrate that NSA surveillance does anything to suppress opposition, nor that that is its main purpose.
          There is a tone of evidence they've done just that, including the use of NSA-collected information to infiltrate peaceful activists groups, and Occupy Wall Street.

          I've written quite a few diaries providing very detailed accounts of this.

          •  beg pardon? (6+ / 0-)

            Where is the ad hominem or logical fallacy in my comment? ("Mockery" is too subjective -- and irrelevant -- to bother disputing.)

            There is a tone of evidence they've done just that, including the use of NSA-collected information to infiltrate peaceful activists groups, and Occupy Wall Street.

            I've written quite a few diaries providing very detailed accounts of this.

            Frankly, these comments seem doubly irrelevant. First of all, no one should be required to commit your corpus of diaries to memory as a condition of reading and commenting on your present work. If you think that "quite a few" of your diaries are pertinent, yet you fail to reference any, that is a defect in your argument.

            Second, "the use of NSA-collected information to infiltrate peaceful activists groups, and Occupy Wall Street" -- on its face, at least -- is neither necessary to that purpose nor even remotely sufficient to the broader purpose of "suppressing opposition."

            "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:04:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Really? Could I offer this into the mix then? (5+ / 0-)

          Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society

          4 Set up an internal surveillance system

          In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

          In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.

          In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.

          It's not Wikipedia or just Wolin's opinion's here, many people believe this is what we're becoming/have become.

          And then I'd have to add in Monsanto.

          http://www.theguardian.com/...

          The US embassy in Paris advised Washington to start a military-style trade war against any Euroxpean Union country which opposed genetically modified (GM) crops, newly released WikiLeaks cables show.
          http://truth-out.org/...
          You would think this concentration of industry would lead to antitrust litigation. In fact, shortly after taking office, the Obama administration began an antitrust investigation, taking over from several states that were looking into the market practices of Monsanto. The investigation was announced with much fanfare, but last November, without even a press release, the Department of Justice closed the investigation, leaving us to conclude that it may have been a tactic to thwart state efforts.
          Now can any of us say that the NSA spying is being used to protect the interests of Amerika, Inc?

          We do have evidence that they were using these tools to spy on their ex-wifes, lovers, etc.

          http://www.activistpost.com/...

          Where's the whistleblowers when you need them?  OH, that's right, their either in jail or in political exile.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 07:31:30 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  ? (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            6412093, virginislandsguy, erratic
            In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny.
            "It became clear to ordinary Americans"? In 2005 and 2006? Is there any actual evidence of this? Is there any actual evidence that Americans have become more reluctant to dissent in the last eight years because of their fear of government surveillance? Is there any actual evidence that the NSA intends this? (Are NSA spokespeople just pretending to be horrified that this information is coming out at all?)
            In closed societies, this surveillance is cast as being about "national security"; the true function is to keep citizens docile and inhibit their activism and dissent.
            I'm happy to stipulate that a major purpose of the Stasi was to inhibit dissent. Naomi Wolf didn't say she thinks that it is a major purpose of the NSA, but even if she had, I don't see how her saying so would advance the argument.

            I can't tell why you offered your next two blockquotes.

            We do have evidence that they were using these tools to spy on their ex-wifes, lovers, etc
            Yes, we do, which is clear evidence of abuse -- but I don't see what it has to do with the claim under discussion.

            It seems somewhat akin to arguing that because Nixon abused the IRS (for political, not romantic purposes -- as far as I know), the IRS was designed for the purpose of suppressing dissent. I wouldn't be surprised to see that argument, but I would be surprised to see it on Daily Kos.

            "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:00:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ah, okay...if they are using their positions for (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador, HudsonValleyMark

              petty personal reasons, I could safely assume, yes assume they are also using said to protect companies and their profits.  It is clear that our government is being used to advance Monsanto's reach and power, ditto with the British, the French, etc.  

              Britain's Opium wars and more recently the overthrow of Iran's democratically elected government done to protect British Petroleum.

              History reveals for us that our foreign policy has been dictated to advance and protect the profits and "markets" of our Corporate Overlords.

              Prime Example Hugo Chavez:

              http://english.pravda.ru/...

              Chavez’s decision touches upon the leading oil corporations of GreaT Britain, Norway, the USA and France: BP, ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total, Statoil and others. Until recently, Venezuela was repurchasing the shares at market prices within the framework of nationalization. Now it goes about the sum which exceeds 15 billion dollars.
              Didn't we support the failed coup there back in 2002?

              Yepperie.

              Now, I cannot say for certain the NSA spying is being used to advance the interests of corporations, I can say it surely is more likely than not, period.

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 11:55:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think I see where you're coming from (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gerrilea, serendipityisabitch

                These kinds of discussions can be hard to have in DKos comment threads, although at least it's a step up from tweets.

                I don't exactly agree that "our foreign policy has been dictated to advance and protect the profits and 'markets' of our Corporate Overlords." Businesses (obviously) don't always have the same interests; sometimes political leaders do things that most business leaders consider pretty stupid.

                I do think it's plausible that NSA intelligence has been used to serve business interests at some point(s). To me, that seems a long way from the argument of the diary, or analogies to historic police states or the Panopticon. It's definitely imaginable that Americans will start self-monitoring as many Chinese do for fear of government surveillance, but I don't think it is at all obvious that they are doing so, or that the NSA or its corporate overlords intend or even want this to happen.

                "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 03:55:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Of course you're capable of seeing nuance. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        virginislandsguy, phenry

        I assume you're just choosing to deny nuance because it doesn't suit your present goals.

        You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

        by Rich in PA on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:24:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The "huge gray area" your claiming he hasn't (15+ / 0-)

      addressed is disingenuous at least and intentionally diversionary at worst.

      That huge gray area has been expanded to include every detail of my life. Every phone call I make, every purchase I engage in, every posting I make, every article I read, everything I do.

      We're then given Orwellian doublespeak as justification for these crimes:

      "If you've done nothing wrong, then you should have nothing to hide."

      Your "nuance" has becomes tyranny.  

      "The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process." Eric Holder on the targeting and killing of any American deemed a threat!

      When will the words in the constitution actually mean what they say again?  Not some legal fiction that you need a doctorate to "understand properly"???

      Our Constitution was written to be binary, its what created our government and is allegedly what gives it limited authorities.  

      The 43 words in Article 1, Section 8, first sentence include this:

      provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States

      These words have been used to in ways never imagined to control what I say, specifically, where, when and how; what I can & can't buy and more importantly that we must accept their "interpretations" as the only valid ones allowed.

      Ray has done a wonderful job pointing out the very real dangers we are now confronted with.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:09:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  . (0+ / 0-)

      "Exxon’s CEO was recently quoted as saying, ‘What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?’, as if the future of humanity could be separated from the ecosystems on which we depend." -- Charlotte Wilson

      by Cassiodorus on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:49:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's definition of "Inverted Totalitarianism..." (5+ / 0-)

      (also "managed democracy"): LINKED HERE, w/add'l links

      "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

      by bobswern on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:27:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Perhaps (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, Drewid, undercovercalico

    A mass surveillance state is an inevitable result of having a certain level of technology and the only way to truly avoid it is to go full-on Luddite.

  •  The alliance between corporations and the security (7+ / 0-)

    state is looking much less solid these days.  Technology corporations were fine as long as their complicity in bowing to the NSA wasn't known to the public.  Now they're facing significant backlash, especially from abroad.

  •  I am afraid that if the solution is one or the (6+ / 0-)

    other, then it will of necessity, not misjudgment or apathy, have to be a full surveillance system.

    I say this not because I'm in favor of the potential for omnipresent spying, but because to actually switch away from the majority of the system we have now, we would have to re-convert to a total cash economy. Checks would still be a possibility, but they would have to revert to hand carried or postal carried exchange.

    This would, in turn, bring down the majority of the internet - that which is not necessary for government use - because any ability to virtually finance any internet offering would immediately be lost. Along with this would go most banking institutions which service more than a single geographically constrained community, all electronic credit no matter how exchanged, and on and on.

    The end result might be a kinder, simpler world, but it it likely to be one that destroys tens of millions of people and hundreds of billions of dollars of investments in the process.

    Like it or not, and I like (and dislike) some things about it tremendously, our current system is intrinsic to the current culture. That it provides a venue for more and more intrusive government information collection does not offer enough justification for wrecking a huge part of our current society.

    I don't know what the answer is. My hope - and it's incredibly tenuous at this point - is that there are ways to re-imagine the concept of unconstrained information so that it is not seen as conflicting with basic rights and needs, but as supporting them.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:38:47 AM PDT

    •  We don't have to destroy this medium we now (7+ / 0-)

      use to communicate with each other in ways never before possible in human history to be safeguarded against criminal actions initiated by our own government.

      The solution is very simple, follow the Constitution, as written:

      Amendment IV

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Show probable cause to a judge where we can be present to defend against said claims, simply get a court order for each and everything you want to "seize". The problem isn't the internet, the problem is what our government is doing with it.  The secret orders, the secret courts, the secret "legal" interpretations, the secret court decisions.  The lies to hide their crimes and the prosecution of those whom tell us the truth.

      We granted our creation limited authorities.  

      Any and all information coming into this nation, electronically wouldn't have to have such stringent standards, until said information is identified as an American citizen's, anyone else, they don't have those same constitutional protections.  

      Besides, we now know that all these unconstitutional actions haven't stopped one terrorist attack.




      "The senior intelligence official said that the "about the target" surveillance had been valuable, but said it was difficult to point to any particular terrorist plot that would have been carried out if the surveillance had not taken place."
      In other words, it did nothing to keep us safe.

      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

      by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 01:01:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I was actually replying to Ray's statement (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gerrilea, undercovercalico, erratic

        that we need to dismantle the surveillance system, not to whether it would be simple to reinforce the Fourth Amendment.

        To dismantle the system itself, to make it impossible to do the type of surveillance Ray is talking about, it would be necessary to take down the entire virtual system. If you assume corruption at the top of the pyramid, then as long as the system exists someone will take advantage of it to snoop, and use the information gained for their own purposes.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 01:17:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ops....in the classic words of one of my hero's (4+ / 0-)




          ;)

          I don't know that the entire electronic system needs to be dismantled, I thought he was talking about dismantling our government spying programs and institutions, not the hardware/infrastructure itself.

          Wait, let me review the diary....

          ....

          ...

          Okay, I'm back, nope I didn't get that from the diary at all.

          Don't you love the internet, no time passed for you at all ;0)

          "As individuals, as communities, and as a society, we must dismantle the surveillance system if we are to protect and advance the basic conditions required to live our lives in real freedom,"  as pointed out by Ms. Boghosian.

          -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

          by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 01:29:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  there seems to be some talking-past here (3+ / 0-)

            How would you know whether the government had dismantled its "spying programs and institutions"?

            "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

            by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 03:36:14 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We could fire everyone at the NSA, CIA (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ray Pensador

              and FBI then bulldoze their offices.

              Then we could put the ones that committed, ordered and supported these criminal acts in jail.

              It would be very ugly for a time but we'd send a clear message to any future employees, we find out you're doing something you shouldn't be, we will prosecute you.

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:43:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't see how that would work (6+ / 0-)

                You'd be firing lots of people who had absolutely nothing to do with the actions you disapprove of -- wiping out our intelligence operations -- and you still wouldn't have any assurance that there wasn't a secret program going on somewhere else.

                I'm not saying that we have to let the NSA or other agencies run amok. Obviously there are many ways to crack down on them without obliterating them. But in general I'm skeptical of libertarian efforts to prevent government abuses by wiping out large parts of government.

                "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 08:47:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  "Libertarian efforts"??? "wouldn't have any (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ray Pensador

                  assurances that there wasn't a secret program...somewhere else"??

                  Defeatist mentality and labeling the reaction "libertarian" is disingenuous.   How many people do we need to spying on the American people 24/7/365?  Zero.  And yes, "intelligence" has taken billions of our tax dollars each year, not including the black budgets we aren't allowed to know about.  Funny you should say "wiping out large parts of our government", that's exactly the problem.  It's gotten so big, we can't control it, as it stands.

                  How did we guarantee the Soviets kept to the Start Treaty Agreements? And them with us?

                  Verification.

                  See, that wasn't so hard, really.  My suggestion might be a bit overboard, but what this rogue government is doing must be stopped.  Those violating the law, should be prosecuted.  If your job is to break the law, then we really don't need you.

                  -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                  by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 11:44:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  it isn't disingenous in the slightest (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    serendipityisabitch

                    Reducing the government's capacity to do harm by reducing its capacity to do anything is quintessentially a libertarian approach. Of course that doesn't mean that advocating the obliteration of the NSA, FBI, and CIA makes you a consistent libertarian.

                    I have no idea what you're trying to say about "defeatist mentality," but since Ray stopped by to recommend your comment, maybe he'll explain why that isn't an ad hominem. :)

                    If your job is to break the law, then we really don't need you.
                    I think we agree on that, at least. (I'm sure we agree on other things as well.)

                    "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                    by HudsonValleyMark on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 04:14:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Apologies, your argument is defeatist. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Ray Pensador, HudsonValleyMark

                      I really don't know if you see the glass half empty or half full.

                      I think we need to do something constructive and hashing out the details is very important.  My historical reviews of the crimes of the FBI, The CIA and now the NSA could be addressed by just shutting them down and starting over.  

                      The culture of corruption in these agencies would never be addressed by "restructuring".  The career employees that have spent their entire lives living and believing they are above the law could never be corrected.

                      While to you it may appear that I want to shut down our government, nope, it can be a force for good, if we get the right people in there, it once actually did things for "We The People" once, not against us.

                      -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

                      by gerrilea on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:20:23 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  OK (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        gerrilea
                        I think we need to do something constructive and hashing out the details is very important.
                        I agree.
                        The culture of corruption in these agencies would never be addressed by "restructuring".  The career employees that have spent their entire lives living and believing they are above the law could never be corrected.
                        I am unconvinced that many career employees in these agencies have spent their entire careers "believing they are above the law." It is logically possible that everyone should be fired regardless, but I am really skeptical. And I think we should be wary of broad-brush derogations of government employees, even in agencies that we regard as intrinsically suspect.
                        While to you it may appear that I want to shut down our government....
                        Nope, I wasn't trying to pin that on you. My intended point was much narrower.

                        "I am not sure how we got here, but then, I am not really sure where we are." -Susan from 29

                        by HudsonValleyMark on Wed Sep 11, 2013 at 05:51:58 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  This is a prime example of false choice, or (3+ / 0-)

      logical fallacy, mixed in with maligning, i.e., "Ray ideas and prescriptions are extremely dangerous; if follow, they would be catastrophic to the economy, and hence to you individually."

      Now, after having point that obvious thing out, this one is an easy one.

      The illegal, unconstitutional and wanton collection of data about citizens by the NSA must stop immediately.  All data residing in security agen databases should be destroyed/erased, and the process should be monitored.

      Anybody involved with this criminal enterprise should be investigated and prosecuted if there is probable cause.

      The rest, technology, business, cell phones, Yahoo, Google,  Facebook, advances in sales, advertising, marketing... The precious free market economy can go on unmolested without a fascist government boot on their necks.

      •  Ray, I assumed that by offering up a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        unfangus, erratic

        choice you actually meant to ask for debate on it. Whether that was true or not, my answer still stands, without implying anything about you, or maligning you in any way. Pointing out that your diary can be interpreted in different ways does not say anything about you, your character, your morals, or anything else, except that you can write things that I can disagree with.

        There is no way to prevent data collection from occurring clandestinely in a system such as we have currently. Especially if one assumes, as you have, that the entities at the top of the data pyramid are corrupt.

        Kill the NSA, make sure every bit of data is destroyed (How do you tell? Multiple backups in separate locations are de regueur.) Within months, perhaps weeks, someone will devise a less detectable method for doing the same thing. It may be available already, but with no particular reason to implement it. Leave the NSA in place, and eventually other systems will still be implemented anyway, if they have not been already, but the process will be slower. If we're lucky, much slower. The NSA is at least a system we know about, and one we have at least a chance in hell of making more transparent.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:35:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I stand by my initial observation. Now, regarding (2+ / 0-)

          the inevitability of a surveillance state, that's a function of "conditioning" and "normalization" of things that may have been considered extreme in the past.

          The system is designed to spread this conditioning so the citizenry views these challenges as insurmountable.  That's actually one of the objectives of propaganda.

          The truth is that if people are made to believe these things, they have basically become enslaved by accepting them:

          From the diary:

          Normalization is the process by which we accept and take for granted ideas and actions that previously may have been considered shocking or taboo. Michel Foucault wrote that modern control over society may be accomplished by watching its members, and maintaining routine information about them. Foucault emphasized that Jeremy Bentham’s eighteenth-century panopticon, a continuous surveillance model for prisoners who could not tell if they were being watched, exemplified an institution capable of producing what he called “docile bodies.”
          One of the big focuses of totalitarian regimes is to convert the population into "docile bodies."

          Likewise, one of the biggest threats to the domination imposed by totalitarian regimes is people refusing to accept the "impotence" narrative, because that's when their power over the population ends.

          •  If you read the last paragraph in my original post (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic, undercovercalico

            I am not talking about the inevitability of a survelliance state. I am looking for a new paradigm which will make it an obsolete concept.

            If unfettered access to information can become a basis for a new, more rational society, that's the condition I want to see. Surveillance societies, and many other inequitable practices, work to a large extent because information flow is selectively impeded, which is to say that "the government (my employer/my coworker/my doctor/my insurance company, etc.) has information that I don't have and can't get".

            Healthcare becomes more equitable if and when there is open access to data on how costs are set and how variable they are across different providers. Pay scales become more equitable when companies are required to divulge salary information, rather than making it a firing offense to talk about it. I won't even try to go into how financial institutions attempt to limit data access to all but a few employees. I suspect you can come up with more examples than I ever could in this area.

            In almost every instance I can think of, having more data publicly available has been a positive factor in helping people solve problems. In almost every case that I can think of, the initial reaction to the possibility of having that data available has been an extreme negative on the part of the person or entity that was trying to limit access to that data.

            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

            by serendipityisabitch on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 11:26:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You are leaving one extremely important point (2+ / 0-)

              out of your analysis: malevolent intent vs. benevolent intent.

              The argument I present (and I pack up with the reference information) is that profit-seeking corporations have taken control the surveillance state and are using their influence to build dossiers on social justice activists and will eventually use that information to suppress dissent, and as the fascist infrastructure takes hold, the system will transition into a brutal fascistic state enabled by an almost omniscient spying infrastructure.

              As such, the system is malevolent, IMO.

              The argument you make about the usefulness of information technology, especially in the marketplace, is not germane to my argument.  Two separate issues are being conflated there.

              Another important point is adherence to the Constitution.

  •  We could vote for more and better Democrats (4+ / 0-)

    I'm sure inverted totalitarianism is better with them in power.

    Ray, do you crosspost?

    "Exxon’s CEO was recently quoted as saying, ‘What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?’, as if the future of humanity could be separated from the ecosystems on which we depend." -- Charlotte Wilson

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:45:02 AM PDT

  •  Did we ever live in a free and democratic society? (7+ / 0-)

    I think not. I am not saying that to justify massive intrusion. I just think we have always had gradients of government surveillance and the difference now compared to in say the early 1900s when government and police cooperated to monitor union activists and suspect anarchists ect is that technology has made a giant leap. Perceived threats to the state have always been subjected to some form of monitoring and open harassment in all western democratic countries.

    Also Ray, if I may, you are clearly a smart dude and a good writer but could you possibly stop deflecting critique by telling people they are engaging in logical fallacy or circular fallacy? That phrase is being trampled to death. Please find another way to refute or engage us. I don't even care if you tell me I am a dumb ass, however, I would not recommend that approach with all readers.

    •  I have a perfect solution: (5+ / 0-)

      For people who choose to click on my diaries: follow the site guidelines.

      If the little tiny group of (5 to 8 users) who continue landing on my diaries the minute I publish them and immediately engage in ad hominem, mockery, and logical fallacies meant to disrupt the discussion, I'm going to call them on it every fucking time.

      Now as to your suggestion to call people "dumb asses," first, I find it more satisfying exposing them as such, and second, it won't work.  The other day I got 7 HRs for pointing out that a poster's accusation/attack was dishonest.

      Regarding the "we've never lived in a democracy" argument, my answer to that is that perhaps we should start now.

      •  No I said you could (8+ / 0-)

        call ME a dumb ass if you wanted and I would more or less shrug it off. I was offering it as a semi alternative to the logical fallacy meme. I definitely said I did not recommend that practice be directed at other people. Read my words dude. Read my words.

         Yes. I absolutely agree maybe we should try living in a democracy however, that will take some training since none of us have. Look, I think it is fairly obvious that while I disagree with you at times I think your perspective is worth listening to and I am not one of those people who chases you around freaking the fuck out about everything. I suspect at times you tend to lump everybody who offers a critique or disagrees slighlty or on specific pionts directly in with people who are overtly hostile or disruptive toward you. Just learn to separate us.

        I hate to pull the UID card but I am gonna do it. I have been here a long time I have seen a lot of rabble rousing diarists come and go and get hot and burn out. I am not telling you how to write, just really read some of the comments in a careful way because there are basically three groups of people who come into your diaries: one are the people who agree with everything you say and echo chamber you very frequently, two, the people who challenge you right off without really reading what you wrote, and three, people who read you frequently sometimes comment sometimes don't sometimes agree and sometimes don't but on a broader scale more or less think you make valid points. Just my thoughts, you can consider them or not, life goes on either way.

        •  Let me start with the poorly-disguised fallacies (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica

          and then I'll address the ad hominem.

          The first is the relentless meme the 5 to 6 people that follow me around every diary are so desperately trying to spread in order to malign my character: that I unfairly attack anybody who disagrees with me.

          That is false.  As I've written many times before, if I present an argument, and you come back with a counter-argument that focuses on the issue instead of ascribing maligning attributes to my character (an ad hominem), I will engage in the debate.  If the argument you present is strong, is based on evidence, and facts, I will always be ready to reconsider my conclusions.

          As I've written many times before I'm only interested in the unadulterated truth about any topic, and I will review my conclusions on anything if evidence to the contrary is presented; I have no problem saying, "Yes, you've presented a powerful argument and evidence and based on that, I was wrong."

          Regarding the UID and the "flameout" meme/ad hominem that seeks to malign me as just another flame-out-in-waiting, I've been writing and debating online for almost 15 years now...

          The other side of the coin of what you report is that maybe people like Cenk, Glenn, etc., are eventually pushed out from this site--for whatever reason.

          So I'm fully aware/cognizant of what may end up happening.  I think that soon or later, it will happen, but it doesn't mean much if the reason is that some have an interest in drowning out certain voices/perspectives.

          Finally, the last unwarranted ad hominem, attacking people who suposodely "agree with me with everything I say and echo chamber [me] frequently," that one is as nasty and transparent as it gets.  I don't think I need to expand on it.

          •  Actually.... (5+ / 0-)

            part of the issue is that you are insisting/implying that I am being nasty which clearly I am not.

            First, every diarist here who gains some note/popularity ends up with an echo chamber of varying sizes, so that comment is neither a reflection of your ideas or ideology but a commentary on the metrics of what happen here. I am not attacking those people I am observing that they exist.

            Second, I don't give a shit  about the celebrity leftist/progressives who got pushed out  because they inevitably find a forum elsewhere there are other people much better writers, more interesting, more interactive and more creative who have suffered that fate, people I miss and wish were still here. So, I am not wishing the same thing to happen to you, but if you want to think that, fine. Why you think I as a reader wish you might disappear/burn out flame out is beyond me.

            Finally, I do not believe in that the unadulterated truth exists in any form about any topic ever. People who purport to know that unadulterated truth, who claim ( you are not in this category ) to be the only ones to possess the secret unadulterated truth are not appealing to me. Usually people who claim to speak the truth like to use it as a weapon rather than as a teacher.

            However, I might not be the smartest DK member in the universe but I am not the dumbest either. Believe it or not I can actually recognize a circular and unproductive exchange.

            So, have a nice day.

            •  Yes, the circular logical fallacy in this exhcange (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lostinamerica

              is obvious.  The double-speak also comes trough...

              One of the most important endeavors a human being can engage in is in seeking the truth, which is a life-long process.

              Others purposely work on suppressing it.

            •  Nice try. (4+ / 0-)

              "You're either with me or against me."

              Apparently.

              Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

              by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:05:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No, follow the site guidelines; don't engage in (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lostinamerica

                ad hominems and fallacious arguments; stick to the facts, present a counter argument, do't attack the diarist, attack the argument.  Do that even if you strongly disagree with me, and I'm game.

                When people violate the don't be a dick rule, or engage in personal insults and logical fallacies, I'm going to call them on it every single time.

                This DBAD stuff actually is not that complicated.

                •  I read the thread, Ray. (7+ / 0-)

                  undercovercalico used none of the above... No ad hominems. No fallacious arguments. No personal insults. No attacking of the diarist or DBAD behavior.

                  You need to try on a new pair of glasses.

                  Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

                  by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:12:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Here you go: (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lostinamerica
                    Logical fallacy and ad hominem
                    http://www.dailykos.com/...

                    "Did we ever live in a democracy...

                    Ad hominem to me, and also insulting people who agree with me

                    I hate to pull the UID card but I am gonna do it. I have been here a long time I have seen a lot of rabble rousing diarists come and go and get hot and burn out. I am not telling you how to write, just really read some of the comments in a careful way because there are basically three groups of people who come into your diaries: one are the people who agree with everything you say and echo chamber you very frequently, two, the people who challenge you right off without really reading what you wrote, and three, people who read you frequently sometimes comment sometimes don't sometimes agree and sometimes don't but on a broader scale more or less think you make valid points. Just my thoughts, you can consider them or not, life goes on either way.
                    Poor disguised attempt at repeating the meme that I'm an absolutist
                    People who purport to know that unadulterated truth, who claim ( you are not in this category ) to be the only ones to possess the secret unadulterated truth are not appealing to me. Usually people who claim to speak the truth like to use it as a weapon rather than as a teacher
                    •  Wow. (9+ / 0-)

                      I think you're reading of both of those section is way, way off. undercovercalico was being positive, not attacking. As undercovercalico noted, people who post a lot here often accumulate an echo chamber fan club, not just you. It's the nature of the place, Ray.

                      That second part is undercovercalico's observation of your writing style. The mention of the "truth" at the end is in direct response to your comment where you wrote:

                      As I've written many times before I'm only interested in the unadulterated truth about any topic, and I will review my conclusions on anything if evidence to the contrary is presented; I have no problem saying, "Yes, you've presented a powerful argument and evidence and based on that, I was wrong."
                      I think you're reading undercovercalico's posts in completely the wrong light. They weren't attacks at all. I think your defensiveness gets the better of you.

                      Have a nice day, Ray.

                      Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.

                      by Bob Johnson on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 10:28:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  All that for the last jab: (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lostinamerica
                        I think your defensiveness gets the better of you.
                        People can read for themselves:
                        rabble rousing diarists come and go and get hot and burn out
                        That's insulting.  I write carefully.  I research the facts; I add reference information...
                        one are the people who agree with everything you say and echo chamber you very frequently
                        That's an insult to the intelligence of people who happen to agree with me.  Implying that they agree with me on "everything" and that they are an "echo chamber" is insulting.

                        Nice try.

                      •  Thanks Bob that is exactly (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        serendipityisabitch

                        what I was trying to say, that all diarists aquire followings. Heck, I follow people. I think the answer is that there probably is not a good place for me in Ray's diary discussions and maybe I should just read silently.

                        •  or you could keep commenting (2+ / 0-)

                          and wait for Ray to request that you voluntarily stop commenting, as he just did to me.

                          •  I probably (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            erratic, Sylv, serendipityisabitch

                            will just "pre" honor the non given request. My idea of engagement and dialogue and Ray's are clearly very different now that I have dared to show mild disagreement and  mild critique it is clear that I have been put in a "camp" with the unsavory types and I will be accused of one of the two favorite memes that pop up with Ray. I am sure my quality of life will remain unaltered if I volunteer myself out. There is no shortage of interesting diaries to read here.

                          •  The relentless attempt at purposely maligning (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lostinamerica

                            my character is going to fail.  Everybody can see the handful of people trying desperately; it's so bizarre that is actually sloppy.

                            It's very simple: I encourage you to follow the site guidelines when you comment in my diaries.  Avoid insults, innuendo about personal negative character traits, and fallacies.

                            I put a proposition forward, and if you don't agree, make your case, put forward a cogent counter-argument, and I'll be glad to engage.

                          •  Ray, would you be so kind as to suggest one or two (0+ / 0-)

                            counter-arguments on the subject of this diary that you would not see as "purposely(sic) maligning" you?

                            I would be delighted if at the end of each diary you would include those arguments to which you would be willing to respond on their merits. At this point I find it extremely difficult to imagine a not wholly positive response to which you would not reply negatively, so a list of those would be very much appreciated.

                            At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

                            by serendipityisabitch on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 06:35:54 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Another attack. Try this: read the site guidelines (0+ / 0-)
  •  So the short version of this diary is: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    erratic, serendipityisabitch

    Write your Congress member, urge repeal of the Patriot Act, and destruction of all data collected under its authority.

    About right?

    “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

    by 6412093 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 11:21:34 AM PDT

    •  Congress is not going to do it because of the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lostinamerica

      rampant corruption that engulfs it.  Also, because of the massive amounts of information that has been collected on every member of Congress, their families, their friends, their associates, any indiscretion, etc., their ability to really do anything about may be compromised.

      We've seen different versions of this, starting the Hoover's FBI.

      Congress is corrupt to the core, in the hands of corporatist cartels.

      •  So you are describing a problem (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        erratic, serendipityisabitch

        without any solution.

         Earlier in your diary, my impression was you stated that Congress would not initiate any of the needed reforms, now you are saying Congress is simply too corrupted and blackmailed to act at all, even from extreme citizen pressure.

        “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

        by 6412093 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 12:57:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let's put the fallacious argument aside and get (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica

          to the crust... As in every time during our nation's history, the citizenry once again is going to have to force these changes on the ruling elite.

          And that's done by putting an extraordinary amount of relentless effort, social justice activism, by forming a powerful and cohesive movement.

          There is nothing new there.  Check out "A People's History of The United States."

          "You are describing a problem without a solution" in light of what I wrote, is a text-book fallacious argument.

          •  To change laws, you have to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            erratic, serendipityisabitch

            elect a more responsive government.  The other alternative is civil strife, described at length in the Peoples' History, with a very limited number of successful examples.

            A notable example of when we successfully forced changes on the ruling elite was the 1932 election of FDR, and all that followed.

            There was plenty of in-the-street agitation that accompanied that election and what followed, but it was massive mobilizations for electoral action that advanced our agenda and protected the in-the-street gains.

            Those 1930s advances were primarily economic; labor rights and so on, and the situation you diaried about is different.

            No one is going to call for a General Strike to repeal the Patriot Act, the way they did to protect the Longshore workers in 1934.

            “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

            by 6412093 on Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 02:56:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Electing a more responsive government at this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lostinamerica

              point is not going to be sufficient because the entire system is corrupt to the core.  We can't give up one inch in being involved in the electoral process, but that's only going to be 20 percent of the solution.

              The other 80 percent is going to have to be the type of struggle shown in the "People's History..."

              I don't think there is an alternative at this point, since things have gotten so extreme.  People will have to unite a form a very powerful and focused social justice movement capable of forcing these changes.

  •  Hi Ray! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sylv, serendipityisabitch

    I was surprised when you walked away from our respectful discussion the other night. But I did appreciate your diary about The Power of Unity.

    I found some of the comments and responses in your diary interesting, because I've been curious about your ongoing claims of being deliberately harassed by a small group of DK members. I certainly agree that there is often conflict in your diaries' comment threads, and instances of provocative behavior.

    As I said previously,

    As to "what I perceive to be Ray's narrative of victimization", it's very strange to me that you apparently haven't considered the possibility that various individuals respond strongly to your diaries, because they feel strongly that conspiracy theory diaries aren't appropriate here. I feel that that's a very valid critique of your diaries, even though it may not always be communicated in civil ways.
    I'm not stating this this diary is promoting conspiracy theories, but I am curious about your role in "conflict management" in your diaries' comment threads. I share with you the frustration of having diaries and comments misinterpreted, deliberately or not, as well as that of being insulted or undermined, deliberately or not. I feel that how we respond in those situations is the best test of our commitment to respectful and constructive discussion.

    When I'm engaged in apparently unconstructive discussion, I do try to stay mindful of my role and choices in continuing the discussion. In my experience, it can be very hard to distinguish between genuine bad-faith actors, and well-intentioned commenters who are coming from a different perspective. If I misinterpret the latter for the former (which I have done, to my regret), and respond "appropriately", I risk escalating the conflict, offending well-intentioned commenters, and shutting down the possibility of respectful debate.

    So I looked at the comments in this diary up to now, and your responses to them. Here's a summary. I encourage everyone who reads this comment thread to go back and read the actual exchanges, because this is just a summary. It could be argued that this summary is biased against Ray, because it doesn't fully or accurately represent the discussion, but
    1-It's a summary.
    2-I encourage all to go back and read the threads.
    3-I am focused on Ray's choice of response, not the specific merits of one argument vs another.

    I'll certainly concede that many of these comments include language that could be interpreted as problematic, but I feel strongly that all of these commenters were acting as well-intentioned members of the DK community. Some expressed frustration with perceived patterns of behavior by Ray (which doesn't make them bad-faith actors), others were simply expressing their response to the diary.

    So here we go! I have added /snark tags where I feel appropriate

    virginia island guy: "you live in a black and white world", and the situation is more complex.

    Ray:
    This is an ad hominem, and I believe that we live in a "totalitarian surveillance police state". Supported with wiki link to Inverted Totalitarianism.
    ---
    Trix: "Nuance is nothing but another form of propaganda" /snark

    Ray: This is a thread-jack.
    ---
    Trix: "Pointing out that...the world is not binary is not an ad hominem attack.

    Ray: This is a fallacious argument.
    ---
    Twigg: Ray has made three comments so far, and they're all attacks.

    Ray: "That's another poorly-disguised insult meant to malign me"
    ---
    Twigg: Ray is not following his stated commitment to respectful discussion, and is setting a poor tone by his responses in the comment thread…"Ray invites discussion, even dissent, yet is so thin-skinned he sees ANY dissent to his ideas as a personal attack."

    Ray: This "reeks of desperation". Suggestions: 1-Don't visit my diaries. 2-Engage in respectful debate. 3-I will call you out every time you "engage in ad hominem, innuendos, character assassination, and fallacies".
    ---
    virginiaislandguy: You didn't respond to my comment that "you drew the world in black and white terms rather than its complexity".

    Ray: This is a circular logical fallacy. Discussions about complexity have no relevance to this diary. This diary describes "the condition upon which a society could be determined to be a totalitarian surveillance state".
    ---
    virginiaislandguy: Agreed complexity has nothing to do with this diary. /snark

    Ray: This "is thread-jacking, fallacies and mockery.". Reported to the admin.
    ---
    HudsonValleyMark: (I skipped this one.)
    ---
    Serendipityisabitch: If this is a binary choice, we're stuck with "NSA Total Information Awareness" because we are dependent on computers and the internet.

    Ray: "This is a prime example of false choice, or (1+ / 0-)
    logical fallacy, mixed in with maligning, i.e., "Ray ideas and prescriptions are extremely dangerous; if follow, they would be catastrophic to the economy, and hence to you individually."".
    ---
    undercovercalico: Could you "stop deflecting critique by telling people they are engaging in logical fallacy or circular fallacy?…Please find another way to refute or engage us. I don't even care if you tell me I am a dumb ass, however, I would not recommend that approach with all readers"

    Ray: Commenters should follow the site guidelines. "If the little tiny group of (5 to 8 users) who continue landing on my diaries the minute I publish them and immediately engage in ad hominem, mockery, and logical fallacies meant to disrupt the discussion, I'm going to call them on it every fucking time.". Calling people "dumb asses" won't work.
    ---
    undercovercalico: I didn't say that calling people "dumb asses" would work. "I suspect at times you tend to lump everybody who offers a critique or disagrees slighlty or on specific pionts directly in with people who are overtly hostile or disruptive toward you. Just learn to separate us.".

    Ray: Your comment has "poorly-disguised fallacies" and an ad hominem.
    ---
    undercovercalico: "Actually.... part of the issue is that you are insisting/implying that I am being nasty which clearly I am not…Believe it or not I can actually recognize a circular and unproductive exchange."

    Ray: Your comment uses "circular logical fallacy" and "double-speak".

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