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Conor Friederdorf:
[H]ere is Clapper telling the truth: Despite regarding Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden as having done grave damage to the United States with their data thefts, he can't guarantee the same thing won't happen again. And if a future whistleblower could gain access to the most sensitive data, so could a blackmailer.

So could a foreign spy.

Data retention of this sort, whether carried out by the NSA or telecoms, poses a grave threat to privacy, in part because neither the NSA nor the telecoms can guarantee that the highly sensitive information they collect on us won't be stolen. "To this day," Lake writes, "the U.S. government doesn’t know the full extent of what Snowden revealed or whether more documents that have yet to be published in the press have made their way into the hands of Russian or Chinese intelligence."

But they expect us to keep trusting them with our data. Why?

Digby reminds us that the same defense contractors helping the government collect invasive data have had little compunction against using their wares for private espionage and propaganda efforts, such as the previously exposed Chamber of Commerce plan to infiltrate and sabotage unions and activist groups using Palantir-backed espionage, hacking efforts and planted disinformation:
Yes, a foreign spy could get access. Or a blackmailer. Or the Chamber of Commerce! They already tried! And when it was revealed that they wanted to ratfuck left wing activist groups, nobody gave a damn. (Meanwhile, the right wing is still crying victimhood over an IRS program that targeted both left and right...)

If they could give us even one good reason beyond "because we can" and "maybe we might find it useful some day" perhaps people would be less alarmed. But when you have documented misuse of the data by private organizations, documented plans to use propaganda and dirty tricks to discredit dissenters along with not even one example of how these programs have been helpful, it's just beyond my ken as to why people are still defending the government's ongoing insistence that this is perfectly above board.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010HCR Summit: Is process really your problem?:

Among the issues that's caused the most Republican whining today (and all week, really) has been the insistence that the threat of using the reconciliation process is somehow out of bounds. First it was the nonsense that reconciliation was the "nuclear option," though it's not. Now it's just a sort of generalized complaint that it's a cheap way to avoid a filibuster.

Well, there's nothing cheap about it, of course. It's actually considerably more difficult to do things in compliance with the rules and current practice under reconciliation than it would be under regular order. But yes, the statutory time limit on debate for reconciliation bills (which is what protects them from filibusters) is a decent trade for having to severely limit what fixes can be made to the health insurance reform bill that's already passed the Senate.

But if the process is really the major sticking point the Republicans are making it out to be, why not ask Senators at the summit straight up whether they'll commit to allowing an up-or-down vote on the bill? Ask them right to their faces and on TV whether reconciliation is really the problem, and if Democrats agree not to use it, whether they'll let the Congress vote on this bill or not?

That's something they can agree to on the Senate floor by unanimous consent. You can agree on a time limit for debate and everything, and just agree as colleagues—as they used to do for almost every bill that ever came to the floor in the Senate, ever—how long they'll work on the bill for, and when they'll vote on it.

You can just... agree to it. No magic. No arcane process. You just say how long you want to work on the bill, and if everyone agrees, that's how long you'll work on it, after which, you'll vote. And if Republicans win the debate and have more votes, they win. If Democrats do, then Dems win.

Tweet of the Day:  

If you find it necessary to make laws that allow a person not to sell waffles to another person because  they're gay- you've failed at life.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin notes Jonathan Chait's "Why Do Appalachians Love Clinton and Hate Obama?" But you've known the answer since early 2008, because you read Daily Kos. Catching up on the morning's news, we stumble into the saga of Ohio's Gay Hitler dentist. You'll just have to hear it for yourself. Also: MoJo's compilation of legislative GunFAIL, Star-Ledger complains "NYPD spies get a pass," and the CEO of Cocaine, Inc. is busted in Mexico.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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