News Flash: He’s Just Lying

This week Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a June 21 letter in which he apologized for his “clearly erroneous” answer to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) about mass data collection by the National Security Agency. This represents Clapper’s third explanation for his failure to tell the truth, and for all I know he is coming up with a fourth even as I write. He might be better off if he picked one and stuck with it.

 

There’s nothing noble about it either. As has been pointed out numerous times, terrorists are not foolish enough to use companies like Google, Microsoft, ect. for communication: there are plenty of easy enough ways for them to communicate clandestinely. And their spurious claims of having stopped numerous terrorists attacks via this program, which they can’t tell us anything about though because it might reveal the way these plots were stopped. Except, if it was PRISM that stopped them, we already know how they were stopped. But don’t think of that, or the the governments past tendency to flaunt every success as a reason for expanded intrusions and justification of prior erosions of your rights, even when (as is often the case) it turns out that it was the government behind the very plot. Don’t think either of how the program is not meant to spy on US citizens-it’s completely accidental-but they still store every single bit of data they collect on you. Nor how, even if PRISM hypothetically weren’t directed at you, the Verizon, ATT, and Sprint collections are, as is the collection of every single piece of USPS mail.

If You Haven’t Done Anything Illegal, You Have Nothing To Fear

We know what happened in the case of QWest before 9/11. They contacted the CEO/Chairman asking to wiretap all the customers. After he consulted with Legal, he refused. As a result, NSA canceled a bunch of unrelated billion dollar contracts that QWest was the top bidder for. And then the DoJ targeted him and prosecuted him and put him in prison for insider trading — on the theory that he knew of anticipated income from secret programs that QWest was planning for the government, while the public didn’t because it was classified and he couldn’t legally tell them, and then he bought or sold QWest stock knowing those things.

This CEO’s name is Joseph P. Nacchio and TODAY he’s still serving a trumped-up 6-year federal prison sentence for quietly refusing an NSA demand to massively wiretap his customers.

Nope, nothing at all.

The real truth, aside from the obvious fact that yes, you do have plenty to hide, is that this argument is rather tautological and entirely erroneous. The statement is an annulment of all privacy; because it assumes that the only thing that would be kept private, is something illegal, which of course we cannot allow you to conceal. Nothing is private, because everything is either something which you cannot conceal, or something which you’ve no reason to conceal. It is not quite a tautology, the modifiers just narrowly avoid that problem, but the fact that such a statement really means that you have no right to privacy should be terrifying as much as they confirm the real ideology of all of our leaders who use them: don’t worry about your privacy, you don’t have any.

Nothing New Under the Sun

The disturbing thing about the recent IRS scandal, is that it’s not at all surprising. Using the IRS as a political tool has been the commonplace since at least the days of FDR. Indeed, it’s surprising that anyone is surprised. We all know Lord Acton’s truism that power corrupts; nearly everyone agrees with it. Yet everyone is always surprised when it proves so.

In Reality

 

First, even the CBO isn’t making an unequivocally negative case. If the government does nothing for the entirety of 2013 to offset the tax hikes and spending cuts mandated as of January 1, the CBO forecasts a recession of more than 1 percent in the first half of 2013 — but then 2 percent economic growth in the second half, accelerating even more in 2014. Over a decade, these measures will likely reduce deficits by as much as $10 trillion. We are so focused on the short-term pain of this cliff that we haven’t taken sufficient measure of the long-term benefits.

-Via The Atlantic

Washington’s Democratic and Republican power brokers have sent the message to  the nation that going over the fiscal cliff is a worst-case scenario. But  they’re not acting that way, not at all.

Instead, many of them have calculated that it’s better to go over the cliff — at  least temporarily — than swallow a raw deal.

-Via Politico

In truth, while the so called fiscal cliff may not be the exact best combination of spending cuts and tax hikes the reality is that every proposed solution does two things: raises taxes and cuts spending. In order to pay down our massive debt, this is what has to happen (though it’s unlikely those tax hikes will be used to pay down the debt.) The fiscal cliff is an imagined crisis. Not as some progressives say cause we can just keep spending without fear, but because no matter what we do this tightening of the belt must happen and the negative effects are short term and no matter what we do they will happen sometime.

Wait a Minute

Like George Bush’s government in Iraq, Obama’s administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom at least 64 were children.

No Obama tears for children killed by drones in Pakistan | Newspaper | DAWN.COM

I think it’s high time our nation had a chat about Drone control.

The fundamental problem is that our government has again gotten away with offering privileged access to carefully selected individuals and getting a flattering story in return.

-Don’t Trust ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ – Peter Maass – The Atlantic

An interesting look at how our race to retell recent events leads to what is essentially fiction-fiction of a type little different than propaganda.

Vote For Change

Tell certain liberals and progressives that you can’t bring yourself to vote for a candidate who opposes gay rights, or who doesn’t believe in Darwinian evolution, and they’ll nod along. Say that you’d never vote for a politician caught using the ‘n’-word, even if you agreed with him on more policy issues than his opponent, and the vast majority of left-leaning Americans would understand. But these same people cannot conceive of how anyone can discern Mitt Romney’s flaws, which I’ve chronicled in the course of the campaign, and still not vote for Obama.

The Atlantic Cities

The same could of course be said of Romney. Tell a conservative that you will not vote for a candidate that required that Christian organizations (Catholic Charities) place children for adoption with gay couples, did little to nothing to oppose gay marriage in his state despite the authority to do so, enacted health insurance reform with an individual mandate, supports the use of embryos for scientific research, supported abortion rights, raised taxes and fees, increased government spending by 24%, and whose signature heath care act included an individual mandate and became the model for ObamaCare and every conservative would agree and wonder who the heck would vote for this guy. But if that guy is Romney, somehow it’s all good cause he is 1% better than Obama.

So if you’re gonna vote, vote for someone who actually will do something. Gary Johnson or the Constitution Party guy. Or heck, even the Julie Stein the Green Party’s candidate. Because they care. Because they will change things. And because Romney and Obama are more of the same things that everybody, no matter what your political position, hates.