Oversight Board Takes Aim at the NSA

Oversight Board Takes Aim at the NSA

A government oversight panel says that NSA spying programs are illegal. On Thursday, a report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board was released, and it took serious aim at government surveillance. The 238-page report concluded that the bulk collection of phone data breaks the law, violates our civil rights, and does not make our nation any safer. The board said that the NSA program “lacks a viable legal foundation under Section 215 [of the Patriot Act], implicated constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments,” and they say it should be shut down.

This is the strongest opposition to the NSA to come from anywhere within the U.S. Government, and it was released just days after President Obama spoke to our nation in defense of NSA surveillance. Despite the President's claims that these programs are necessary to prevent terrorism, the oversight board said, “We believe that in only one instance over the past seven years has the program arguably contributed to the identification of an unknown terrorism suspect.” Although, they added that “there is reason to believe that the FBI may have discovered him without the contribution of the NSA's program.”

This report clearly states what many Americans and Civil Liberty groups have been saying since government spying programs were revealed – collecting Americans' phone and internet data is illegal without a warrant. Now it's time for the President to respect our constitutional rights and put an end to NSA spying.

Comments

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 5 days ago
#1

How did His Majesty the president ever become a "constitutional scholar", anyway? He acts like he doesn't know any more about the constitution than our last prez, that fascist flunkie from Yale. Maybe he oughta take a crash course or two, just to refresh his memory. - AIW

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 5 days ago
#2

All oppositions, insurgencies, revolutionary movements and reform candidates "jump the fence" when they get in. The simple fact is their vested interests change when they become "the powers that be". When you're the insurgency or opposition you abhor political repression and censorship of the press, then, when your insurgency or opposition succeeds and you become the ruling party or governing administration, when you go "from the streets to the suites", it then suddenly seems a very good idea to repress the opposition and censor the media. That's why Occupy was independent of party loyalty and leaderless.

But every politician's - and especially every president's - greatest nightmare, in these times, is for more 9/11s happening on their watch. As long as they think they'll catch more flack for not spying on Americans than for doing it they'll do it.

Same with drone strikes. Getting the word out about drone strikes got the support for them from the Amercan public down from 80% to 60%. But until the American people make plain to Obama, or any other president, that they want drone strikes to stop even if that means Al Quaeda has a safe haven in Pakistan they will continue.

We have to think about not convincing Obama but of convincing the American people who Noam Chomsky calls "the most powerful political force in the world". That means a lot of hard work and movement building and not self indulgent carrying on.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 33 weeks 5 days ago
#3

It should also be illegal for banks and the Federal Reserve to mark your assets at birth with special file numbers.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 33 weeks 5 days ago
#4

leighmf -- What special file numbers?

leighmf's picture
leighmf 33 weeks 5 days ago
#5

Birth Certificate, Social Security Numbers, Federal Reserve RSSIDs, regarding interest inherited at birth. I think my privacy was invaded as early as 1953 by bankers, based on a Deed executed in another state in 1943, with many government securities pertaining.

http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/leighmf/blog/2014/01/maria-christianas-proof-1

mrbrannon68's picture
mrbrannon68 33 weeks 5 days ago
#6

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

The ongoing discussion as to the legality of NSA surveillance is not a question for discussion. More discussions of absolutely unconstitutional actions by the federal government do not need more discourse, but needs to cease now. Our courts should be up in arms that such a blatant violation of the fourth amendment could have been initiated in the first place. There should be issued an injunction by the courts to the NSA to cease and desist immediately under the threat of being held in contempt of the laws and the constitution governing our land. Using this logic of the fourth amendment, it is a small step to declare the so-called Patriot Act as unconstitutional upon the same grounds, with the addition of the first amendment. Security at the expense of my liberties is much too high a price pay.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

The ongoing discussion as to the legality of NSA surveillance is not a question for discussion. More discussions of absolutely unconstitutional actions by the federal government do not need more discourse, but needs to cease now. Our courts should be up in arms that such a blatant violation of the fourth amendment could have been initiated in the first place. There should be issued an injunction by the courts to the NSA to cease and desist immediately under the threat of being held in contempt of the laws and the constitution governing our land. Using this logic of the fourth amendment, it is a small step to declare the so-called Patriot Act as unconstitutional upon the same grounds, with the addition of the first amendment. Security at the expense of my liberties is much too high a price to pay.

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-parent:"";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif";
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 5 days ago
#7

Wikipedia: 4th. Amend. Despite the foregoing citation the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures nonetheless apply to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because "a person's private communications are akin to personal papers."[118] To protect the telecommunication carriers cooperating with the US government from legal action, the Congress passed a bill updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to permit this type of surveillance.[119]

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 5 days ago
#8

mrbrannon68 - I am not sure if the 4th. Amendment you are citing stops the government from search without a warrant in this situation The Constitution, through the Fourth Amendment, protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. The Fourth Amendment, however, is not a guarantee against all searches and seizures, but only those that are deemed unreasonable under the law.

Whether a particular type of search is considered reasonable in the eyes of the law, is determined by balancing two important interests. On one side of the scale is the intrusion on an individual's Fourth Amendment rights. On the other side of the scale are legitimate government interests, such as public safety.

The extent to which an individual is protected by the Fourth Amendment depends, in part, on the location of the search or seizure. Minnesota v. Carter, 525 U.S. 83 (1998).

Senator Feinstein (D. CA), Chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee seems to feel very strongly that what the NSA is doing is key to keeping us free from another 911. You state you are not willing to surrender your liberties or civil rights for security. I am not sure if you are legally surrendering your civil rights in this instance according to the 4th. Amend., apparently you do. And, because I am not sure about that point and whether or not this is a fundamental right that supersedes keeping me and my family safe from all types of attacks, I simply am not ready to shut down the NSA eye in the sky that is ripping this information from the skies with the ever knew technology we have at our disposal to help keep a radioactive, biological or just a woman or child strapped with explosives from blowing the hell out of everyone in the local mall. Because we have no evidence on hand that we have actually stopped an attack, we may have disrupted we are not aware of. So far I have not seen any Court rulings stating what the NSA is doing is illegal. And, because I am not sure at this point, what right you may have or may not have under the 4th. Amend. to deprive me and my loved ones from any means that may inhibit or stop an attack on any level against us. The military does not have to go to war in order to inhibit another country from attacking us; the very presence of their ability has stopped many nations from attacking on us on any level without the eminent and direct threat of retaliation from us. I realize the powers that be at some point could use this technology against us as citizens, but the government can also use the military or any other technology against us to usurp our civil rights. To many Mr. Snowden is a hero, I am not convinced of that at this point and neither am I convinced that the NAS intelligence gather is illegal, especially if new controls can be set forth to govern their action. This information is not being stored anywhere, it is being dumped every 48 hours in order to scan new information for threats. The technology being used does not just recognize specific words or phrases, it recognizes type of speech and dialect as well, regions of origin, etc. Yes, I realize how it sounds somewhat strange for me to be standing up for the President and the Intelligence Committee and NSA, based on previous comments. But with the multitude of threats facing us in this new era and the volume of hate that is voiced daily against America and not just the Government, but also the American people, I am not willing to throw this technology of information gathering away without further study on my part and the watch dog committees whose job it is to protect our civil rights. I read what Hartmann had to say and the quotes from the oversight committee. His job is too sensationalize everything he reads, that is what keeps him on the air. He is on the far left with the likes of MSNBC and FOX is on the far right. I am leary when reading anything either side says. I appreciate the idea that you feel your civil rights are being stepped on and you have all the right in the nation to feel this way and take whatever action you feel necessary. But, for me I will wait and watch to make my stand. If you want to exchange non useful slander bank and forth about my choices, save you breathe, I no longer engage in that game. I have learned from my past mistakes. K.W. Please excuse the length of this comment and any spelling or grammar typo's.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 5 days ago
#9

Something tells me this website is not functioning properly. Especially after reading the garbled message on the last message from number 7.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 4 days ago
#10

ken ware: Actually, the NSA has been spying on us for decades and it sure didn't stop 9/11 nor did it stop the Boston bombings 10 years after 9/11. And the NSA was spying on all American citizens in the decade after 9/11 even harder than just before 9/11. The spying on American citizens has very little to do with trying to protect us against terrorism. It has a lot more to do with keeping American citizens from rebelling against the entrenched ruling elite.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#11

Mark, I get your premise, and I agree... to a point. But if any and all progressive candidates wind up "jumping the fence" as you put it, morphing into plutocrats once they "get in", then why bother supporting anyone running for office? I can't imagine Bernie Sanders switching sides like Obama has; ditto Elizabeth Warren or anyone else of that calibre.

I have written the president on numerous occasions about issues & policies that concern me, and I will continue doing so. Beyond that, nothing would please me more than a mass movement from our side of the political fence; one that is united and focused, with a coherent strategy behind it. Until that happens, I will continue to opine and vent to my heart's content, if for no other reason than it keeps me sane. I've more than a hunch that many others participating here have been similarly motivated. You can dismiss this as "self indulgent" and "carrying on", and you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But that's all it is; your opinion. - AIiceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 4 days ago
#12

Our Future: https://www.aclu.org/ordering-pizza Cute dramatization of how our surveillance state will be soon enough.

By the way, ken ware, many social media web sites, even this TH blog still has records of what we have typed going back years. TH looks like it goes back to about 2009. Before that they just put up show notes. And any one of us can do a selective search on key words to see what someone had said back then.

But making our opinions and even, in many cases, our personal information public like that...well, we know that others will read that stuff. But when you talk on a telephone, you at least have an expectation of privacy. And if the NSA or even private corporations working for the NSA are listening in then there is just no privacy...we may as well be living in the old Soviet Union. The US has it's own KGB and STASI now monitoring everything we do and say.

And although they have special computers (eg: dictionary computers more advanced than the decades old ones from Echelon) that listen for key words and flag select key words for an analyst to listen to the whole conversation and most of the conversations will just sit in some mass storage in Utah, perhaps, that data will still be searchable and called back up for analysts to listened to or read in the future.

American jingoists would have considered this a horrible crime against the people if they were considering, decades ago, what the Ruskies were doing to their people. That's the kind of thing we all, who served our country, believed we were fighting against. Yet, now it's happening in the US. Many people fought and died defending against such a horrible thing. And now some right wingers just want us all to roll over and ignore it. But many of those currently in power (both Democrat and Republican puppets for the ruling elite).. politicians..are chicken hawks anyway...never having served but more than willing to send other people's sons and daughters into war.

----------------------------

"Our storage is outpacing our ability to produce information. We are sending more emails than we were years ago, but at a certain point, I can only bang out emails so fast. But the ability to store those emails? That continues to increase exponentially."

"Do you see a future where entities store all the information we produce?

It's not the future. It's the present, and it’s called Google, it's called Yahoo, it's called Facebook. Facebook already has every IM you've ever sent [through Facebook]. Google has saved all those emails you've been sending [through Gmail]. They have it, they've indexed it, and they’ve generated models on you. This isn't the future; this is the last few years.

Is that data collection for advertising purposes?

Definitely"

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-are-the-nsa/

But, it's not just for advertising purposes when the NSA gets it. Already, the TSA..Homeland Security..abuses their original mission they sold the country...originally to detect and prevent another terrorist attack like 9/11...but they go far beyond that mission snagging people that have nothing to do with terrorism. One day in the future, what's to say that those powerful people won't ban the bible and religion? If you're caught with a bible or caught praying or holding covert services then they will throw you in prison? It could happen here! I think that was a television program back in the 50s when they tried to propagandize us against the Ruskies. It could happen here! It IS happening here!

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 4 days ago
#13

Palin - I highly doubt the two brothers who committed the Boston bombing used any type of telecommunications while working out how they were going attack Americans. If they would have I believe they could have been stopped before they committed this crime. I disagree with you that the NSA is there to spy on Americans so the ruling class is not rebelled against. They are there to gather information on groups and people who would subvert the government and harm the citizens of our country through acts of terror. I am sorry but I do not agree with your conspiracy theory. The government has the FBI to monitor the population for criminals both citizens and non-citizens within our borders. The NSA has the same type of job using whatever means they have at their disposal and the technology they are presenting using makes it easier to track people who would commit terrorist acts against our nation. I simply do not buy into your logic about governmental plots against us, such as the 911 terrorist act against our country being committed by our government. We all have a right to our own opinions about what is going on, mine is just different than yours. When it comes to security measures I tend to support the government on these issues. Do not get wrong I do not believe all parts of government can be trusted to be looking out for benefit of all our citizens, especially the Repub.'s when it comes to programs that benefit the middle and lower class on the economic scale. When it comes to security I would rather place my faith in our government to try to keep our citizens safe then to believe they are out to get us all. Better to have too much security in this era then to have to little. Have a good weekend. K.W. ( I hope this comment made sense I am as tired as all hell and I just happened to glance at my computer because I left it on and got up for some water )

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#14

I think it was Rooseveldt who said those willing to give up freedom for safety deserve neither. I wholeheartedly agree.

If our so-called representatives are sincerely committed to protecting us from another 9-11, they might begin by re-examining their foreign policies. I'm talking about unprovoked aggression against other countries whose only "offense" is sitting on land rich in oil and other natural resources this Almighty Corporate Fascist Empire is hellbent on stealing. It is these policies that have made us the target of so many whose rage against the U.S. is entirely justified.

I'd be hard-pressed to name anyone on this blog, or anywhere else, with one tenth the courage of Snowden or Manning. Those two should get Nobel prizes for their amazing acts of courage. They've sacrificed everything for their convictions. They deserve all the acolades they've received, and I am in awe of them both. - Aliceinwonderland

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 4 days ago
#15

Palin - We live in a new era of technology and those sites you quoted are social media sites and people are aware that the information is saved somewhere. People are smarter then you give them credit for. I am sure if you went back even further in time we would all be called witches! Come into the modern era, if you are so worried about entities in our government using our words against, perhaps you should be real careful about what you say on this website. Who knows how long Hartmann saves these comments we make here about our government. And once you have made them it is impossible to edit them out after a very short period of time. I just do not accept your theories about the boogey-man who is around each corner waiting to bring harm to us if we think differently than our government. K.W.

ken ware's picture
ken ware 33 weeks 4 days ago
#16

AWL - Manning is getting what he deserves and Snowden will get his trial once he is captured. I am not convinced they gave up everything for their convictions, more likely they wanted the spot light on themselves and it back fired. You are quoting Roosevelt during an era where the threats were different and the technology was basic. Had he had the technology of today, he would have used it to gather information in and outside of our country. Roosevelt had the Japanese Americans put into camps because he did not trust their loyalty and the FBI trailed all German Americans for the same reasons. I do not think it is logical to apply what they faced in 1941 and what we face in 2014. As one person has mentioned on earlier blogs, we live in a new epoch and things have changed in the manner in which we deal with our enemies that would do us harm. Good Night...K.W.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#17

As usual, we disagree. But frankly, it amazes me that you would defend Roosevelt's treatment of Japanese AMERICANS. Patently racist. He would have been equally justified (or unjustified) doing the same to Americans of German descent, who were not shoved into camps like the Japanese. Regardless, these people - whether Japanese or German - all were scapegoated for no good reason.

Technology changes. However certain truths remain constant, such as the basics of living in a civilized world; for example, respecting the soverignty of other countries. And how about not stealing what doesn't belong to you? As to your assertion that Chelsea Manning & Edward Snowden were only seeking fame for themselves... well, good luck supporting that theory.

Like I keep pointing out, U.S. foreign policy is what creates these enemies you speak of. Keeps the weapons manufacturers and death merchants happy. - Aliceinwonderland

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 33 weeks 4 days ago
#18

It was Ben Franklin, long, long ago who said, in effect, that those willing to give up liberty to purchase security, deserve neither.

http://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin

And Al Queida is a creation of the CIA. We lost our old enemy, the Soviet Union, and needed a new one on which to squander trilluons of dollars in the military-industrial oilagarchy.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#19

Thank you, Michael Moore! I stand corrected. And I am a huge fan of Mr. Franklin.

As to the Soviets, our "commander & chief" recently came close to making them enemies once again with his push to invade Syria. I swear, these goddam idiots will be the death of us yet. I'm no fan of Putin's, but Putin was right in this instance. - AIW

michaelmoore052's picture
michaelmoore052 33 weeks 4 days ago
#20

Here's a novel approach to stopping the nefarious NSA:

http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=em-subs_digest&v=e9bhlwPxgCU&desktop_...

Turn off their water.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 4 days ago
#21

What you should do is try to get EVERYBODY to write a letter to Obama because if he thinks you think one way but most other people are okay with what he's doing he'll keep doing what he's doing. Your efforts won't bring many results by themselves.

The worst "self indulgent carrying on" is when people think their personal opinions are so important because they're young and so "tragically hip and painfully cool" that they can ignore movement building and behave in whatever profane and offensive ways and still expect to succeed in their demands of the power elites. This self indulgent, undiscilplined behavior causes us, our movements, to lose the blue collar worker. Then some Bill O'Reilly type comes along, who speaks the working people's language, and they join the Republican Party.

It's not the '60s, we don't have a Baby Boom afoot. We can't break all of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" and still expect to succeed. We can't just appeal to the adolescent mind and ignore everybody else like we could in the '70s and still expect to succeed.

I don't mean to dis the '60s but young people of the time could afford to ignore some basic rules of movement building because just through their sheer numbers they could overthrow the old order. People trying to make change today can't and those trying to ape the '60s don't seem to realize that.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 4 days ago
#22

That was another Mother Jones story from the early to mid 2000s, about how the US., the C.I.A., under Eisenhower, created radical Islamic fundamentalism, Wahabeism, the madrassas system, the whole bit, to fight Soviet influence in the Mid East that had Arab nationalists like Egypt's Nasser and eventually Saddam Hussein on their (the Soviets') side.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2006/01/cold-war-holy-warrior

You're right that the "War on Terror" against radical Islamic fundamentalism is what the Cold War used to be, a pretext for American empire (or imperial hedgemony over the world by means of indigenous puppet governments and overt military force when necessary).

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#23

Mark, on more than one occasion I have posted letters written by me to the president, encouraging others to do the same. I don't know exactly what else you want from me but I wish you'd lighten up. We are all, to an extent, the product of times we've lived through, particularly in our youth. I make no apologies for that.

I don't know what makes you think I'm pandering to "adolescent minds" while "ignoring everyone else". It's occurred to me though, I may have mistaken a general statement of yours for something aimed at me. If this is so, my apologies. But if you don't mind, I could do without the lecture. Thank you. Have a lovely weekend.. - AIW

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 4 days ago
#24

AIW, lighten up, I didn't say "you", I said "we" gotta think about movement building not about making our own marginalized personal opinions known to Obama. I was born at a worse time than you. People my age are the ones aping the '60s not realizing it's a different world now. Writing letters is real good but building a movement what has to happen if we want to make the change. It would've been great to live in a time when you didn't have to be Saul Alinsky to get something changed, I don't fault you for that!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#25

You're too generous. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 33 weeks 4 days ago
#26

Pal--ary -- I think the program exists to keep those dollars rolling into the military-industrial complex. For the left, it is a jobs program. I don't think the ruling elite fear us; they just control us through the media.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 33 weeks 4 days ago
#27

Pal--ary -- I am more scared that they will throw us in jail for not having a bible.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 4 days ago
#28

chuckle8 # 27: So true...but that is what it is going to take before anything really does change for our better. I think that they very much do fear the possibility that the people will turn on them and get violent and that's why they have monopolized the news media which keeps people from rebelling.

chuckle8 #28: Could go either way couldn't it? And either way would not be very good for us.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 4 days ago
#29

ken ware: yes, that's fine...you have your opinions and I have mine. That's ok with me. ;-}

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 4 days ago
#30

Good article in Mother Jones, Mark! And it was written in 2006 before the Tahrir Square uprising. While US dodo heads are fearing Muslim terrorists..little do they know that the US has been funding and supporting them all this time. That's part of the reason why I believe that 9/11 was an inside job and the alleged 'hijackers' were merely patsies set up by the wealthy princes in Saudi Arabia and perhaps even Osama bin Laden... who was still a CIA operative... convincing suckers to play the part of the patsies.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 4 days ago
#31

Anyway, wasn't at all being critical of you, personally, Alice. That wasn't at all what I was thinking (although I was suggesting you change your focus a little from reaching Obama to reaching the public) I don't doubt you do all you can.

I am, however, very critical of the Left in the United States for their self indulgent and self marginalizing behavior. They seem to think it's enough for them to be "right", to have moral rectitude. They must think that there is a God in heaven that will assure their success regardless of what they do or don't do or of how they conduct themselves. There's a fair amount of privileged entitlement there as well as an intellectual elitism. They musn't wonder - and don't genuinely much seem to care - that they don't get the American blue collar worker down with their cause.

Again, I don't mean you, Alice, I'm really surprised you took it that way, I expected you to agree with me. I thought you must've felt similarly.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#32

Mark, aka "Anarchist cop out"- No problem. Sorry if I got a little thin-skinned.

Believe me, I share your frustration with the left. To your comments I'll add: too fragmented among subgroups, each with its own pet crusade, with much in-fighting between them. Not exactly a recipe for success in countering the oligarchy... or monarchy, or whatever you want to call it.

Those last ten years before moving to Oregon, my husband & I lived in Santa Cruz, California. I remember getting awful sick of the elitism down there. That area was populated with lots of spoiled rich kids who carried on like their shit didn't stink. That's how it was in the '80s when we lived there. I don't miss it.

We on the left have to become more effective as a unified force, behind a commonly shared goal. As I and others have emphasized from time to time, "Move to Amend" and campaign finance reform would be a good place to start. Without that accomplished, nothing else is possible. And until we learn to work together, we'll never be any match for the fascists, who are masters at working together in lockstep. While might doesn't make right, nor does righteousness guarantee doodily-do.

Anyway yes, Mark, I agree with your basic premise despite having taken one or two of your comments personally, which I now see was a mistake. Again, please accept my apologies. I'll admit, it's easy to misinterpret where people are coming from at times... - Aliceinwonderland

Suze O's picture
Suze O 33 weeks 4 days ago
#33

I don't think presidents exactly "jump the fence" when they get into office. It is more a situation that they become captives to the powers that be. I know that Obama tried to get the Pentagon to draw up a plan to get out of Afghanistan and was ignored, twice. Then he was given a choice by the military branch of power brokers: 10 thousand, 20 thousand, 30 thousand, 40 thousand more troops for an Afghan "surge" - what will it be, Mr. President? Now Gates is out with a tell-all blaming Obama for not trusting the Pentagon and disrespecting their opinions. Gee, ya think?

All of Kennedy's military cabinet members WANTED a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Yes, the casualties would be horrible, they said, but WE would win! They were incensed that Kennedy kept talking about peace, and and that he set up a back channel to Krushchev to avoid such a war. Thank god he did, but look at the price he paid. I am reminded that at an Organization of American States meeting, Hugo Chavez approached Obama and asked him, "Are you a prisoner?" As someone who knew the CIA's penchant for acting, sometimes on their own and without the knowledge of the President to do "regime change" in other countries, Chavez knew very well the limits of what Obama could do. Did no one notice that the takeover in Honduras (by someone trained at the "School of the Americas", no less) was labeled a "coup" by Obama and Hillary Clinton for the first couple of days? Then they dropped all mention of a coup and eventually "recognized" the new government of Honduras - the first, and I believe only, country to do so. Obviously, they were pressured to go along with the situation by whomever carried it out.

Neither Bernie Sanders nor Elizabeth Warren shows any burning interest in becoming president - for good reason. They may stage a "run", knowing that the powers that be will cut them out of the possibility, but only after they raise some uncomfortable issues for the actual candidates. Don't urge them to run, either; they are far more effective where they are. The president is overrated as a change agent, and he gets all the attention during elections in order to distract us from those who ARE important and those we SHOULD be demanding change from. His powers are very limited by his 'behind the curtains' controllers. They may run for office thinking they can change the system from the inside, but soon find they are in considerable danger if they rock too many boats. The attention should go to the members of Congress - they are the ones that make the laws, and they are the ones - given enough public pressure or 'rebellion' from involved citizens - that can be swayed, or replaced if they cannot.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 4 days ago
#34

By the way, I just finished reading a great article in my favorite magazine The Nation, titled "Low-Wage Nation", by Saket Soni (interesting name). The author identifies immigrants in this country as the proverbial "canary in the coal mine". It warns us that if we continue viewing immigrants as "the other", with problems separate from ours, we will find ourselves in the exact same predicament they're in, disposible to employers, completely at their mercy, vulnerable to any kind of abuse they dish out (including, I might add, all-out wage theft). We are already well on our way down that spider hole, as the job market continues to deteriorate and our safety net crumbles. Collectively we must have a goal and a strategy to get ourselves out of this mess, before we're just cheap protein for predators. I commend (Mr.?) Soni for this outstanding article. - Aliceinweonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 33 weeks 4 days ago
#35

AIW -- It is at the point the canary is superflous, because the mine is exploding.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 3 days ago
#36

Swell. I agree though "chuck", it ain't looking good.

Thanks Suze, for the informative post. The more we learn, the worse it all looks. But we're still better off knowing.

Like the band on the sinking Titanic, play on... My piano beckons. Good night everyone. - AIW

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 3 days ago
#37

Alice, I knew Saket Soni here in Chicago in the early to mid 2000s when we were both organizers - he was a community organizer and I was a labor organizer organizing poor laborers, like he is now. Our laborers' organization was a bit unusual as it was a diverse group and not almost exclusively immigrant as were most contingent laborers organizations (Saket's group in New Orleans is similarly diverse). Our organization, and somewhat Saket's, primarily organized outsourced workers, temp workers, who the NLRB declared inelligible to join unions and this outsourcing of permanent jobs in the United States over the last three or four decades is a very large part of what has been driving the working people's economy down in the U.S..

In 2000, just before it left office, Bill Clinton's N.L.R.B. reversed its position of many years and made it legal for temporary workers to join unions under the Board's rules. The first act of the new, incoming N.L.R.B. under G.W. Bush was to reverse that ruling.

One of the best kept secrets of labor politics is that this position of the NLRB has done more to enable union busting than any one other thing in the arena of labor organizing. It became, as Socket wrote (and, I think, understated) in his article, so common and prevalent for business to outsource its labor needs - mainly to circumvent collective bargaining and liability under labor law - that permanent, in house employment became almost a rarity and, indeed, in certain lower wage and lower skilled sectors, almost unknown.

This had the advantage to client businesses of outsource staffing agencies of exempting them from legal liability for everything from safety standards to payroll obligations. There are few rights and little recourse for the outsourced worker who suffers an injury on the job, has their paycheck shorted, has to do a job alone that is more logistically suitable for two or three workers or has an abusive boss or working conditions.

This worker doesn't have a union to speak or bargain for them, they are powerless against the big behemoth corporation they are sent to staff - as well as against their thuggish and, not uncommonly, "mobbed up" staffing agency. Their only advocate is the government and its labor laws and regulations (which explains in a nutshell why conservative business owners and their lackeys are "libertarian" or against government and working people are not). They will get a raise when the minnimum wage is increased by law and their working conditions will improve when a new law mandates that they be (and even then they might have to chase around after the appropriate government department officers to get any enforcement action, so much so that they might find it too much bother and drop their complaint altogether and just live with the short paycheck and abusive conditions).

And, in addition to all of this, the outsource status of the contingent worker effectively makes them a scab. A Teamster Business Agent I met at a labor conference told me that in every contract negotiation he'd engaged in the employer tried to use the temps against them as a leveraged threat. It wasn't until 2007 that the AFL-CIO overcame their suspicion of us, realized we weren't happy, eager scabs but would rather be with the union members with all the rights and benefits (and happily paying the dues) and it wasn't until then that they reached out to our organizations. Anyway, it's pretty likely there is a relationship of causality between the fact of union membership decline and increased outsourcing.

So it is, like Saket Soni said, that we are all, in effect, undocumented workers now, which is what the employers wanted and hoped for when they first started outsourcing in the '80s. And the "Fight for 15" is not just for fast food workers.

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 3 days ago
#38

Sorry, couldn't resist when I heard about Saket Soni.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 2 days ago
#39

Don't be sorry. It's interesting that you knew him. And thanks for all your great work.

The NLRB sounds pretty worthless. I think we need more worker-owned cooperatives to break these noxious trends. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 2 days ago
#40

By the way... I miss you Marc! Wherever you are, and whatever you're doing, I just hope you are okay. I've been feeling your absence over this past week and am a little concerned. I realize it's awkward trying to connect like this on such a public forum but if you could give me some indication you're all right, I'd sure appreciate it. Hasn't been the same without you, my friend. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 33 weeks 2 days ago
#41

Aliceinwonderland ~ I'm fine,. I've been busy this last week but have checked in every chance I've had. Not enough time to comment however. Thanks for your concerns.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 33 weeks 2 days ago
#42

Thanks, Marc! I'm relieved.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 33 weeks 2 days ago
#43

Ken Ware ~ Long time no see. Hope all is well and you're enjoying your grandson. Before you lock up Edward Snowden and throw away the key you might want to read this article from the LA Times. Apparently all of this high tech surveillance nonsense and 3 (THREE) unnecessary illegal wars (and counting) came about because President Bush hid the fact that the royal family of Saudia Arabia financed and trained most of the terrorists on 911. Let's see, to put that into perspective it would have been like President Roosevelt blaming Pearl Harbor on Chile...

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jul/29/opinion/oe-scheer29

As far as evidence that 911 was a cover up is concerned, this document is irrefutable. How much more implicated the White House is in 911 at this point is anyone's guess. This cover up obviously runs very deep. Nevertheless I much more appreciate the truth that Snowden revealed than the death and destruction of innocent people caused by The Bush Administration and all of their war criminal accomplices. I'm so grateful I never participated in that particular drum beat. I guess in the end, you just gotta follow your heart.

Welcome back buddy.

http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/inside-the-saudi-911-coverup/

http://my.firedoglake.com/yellowsnapdragon/2013/12/17/over-easy-revisiting-bushs-28-page-redaction-of-saudi-financing-of-terrorism/

anarchist cop out's picture
anarchist cop out 33 weeks 2 days ago
#44

Marc, I thought you might've started getting caught in the site's spam filter like I did, which is why I had to adopt another forum identity. I thought some right winger on the site may've exercised his perogative to flag your posts after you beat him up in an argument (wouldn't be Kend, he's an exeedingly good sport and has much too much class for that). Couldn't've been 'cause your long, loquacious, bloviating posts were so personally obnoxious that they rightly came to be considered spam as, was no doubt what happened in my case.

I'd like to encourage any of us to volunteer as forum moderators on the site, they seem to be shorthanded - I never got a response to my queries about what happened with my username after I filled out the form provided (five times). We need some fair minded people to step up. I would but I'm underemployed and looking for a job so I don't have time now.

Alice, Obama's N.L.R.B. appointments have been held up by filibuster and his recess appointments are challenged in court by the Republican Obstruction Machine. But even so, some think the N.L.R.B. was really created to take the power and democracy out of unions and think we were better off before when workers' organizations didn't have to be "recognized" by the N.L.R.B. and didn't have didn't have to be bound by union contracts under N.L.R.B. rules and could do a direct action any time they thought they were being dealt with unfairly (like our N.L.R.B. unrecognized workers' organization did).

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 33 weeks 2 days ago
#45

DAM -- Hardly anyone (except the media) was caught in that drumbeat. Diane Feinstein's mail was running 400 to 1 against going into Iraq. Even, Sen Snow (R) said her email was running 20 to 1 against going into Iraq. Both senators voted to go into Iraq.

Why are the people right so often?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 2 days ago
#46

chuckle8; Feinstein's mail was running 400 to 1 against going into Iraq...and Snow's was 20 to 1? Says a lot about how effective people's letter writing to their representatives are, doesn't it? There's only one way things will change and we all know what that is but many people don't want to even think it...which means nothing will change...ever!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 2 days ago
#47

DAnneMarc: Thanks for those links. I believe I had read the NY Times one before...but well worth reading again.

But, you know, it's pretty conclusive that Saudi Arabia was one of the key players in 9/11...but even they would not have been able to pull it off without US insider help by very powerful people.

So, the truth is eventually starting to leak out that confirms what many of us have believed all along...that 9/11 was mostly an inside job. They used rich and powerful people in Saudi Arabia and other countries to manipulate the "hijackers" into position to take the blame. It was a set-up.

And the US has long had all the technology that could electronically hijack airliners and guide them to their targets. It took a long while to plan this operation...lots of money...lots of insider manipulation (like making sure the "hijackers" got into the country and set up with flight schools that was nothing but a show to use as evidence against them)...like staging the military drills on that very day with almost a mirror scenario of what actually did happen.

It was a conspiracy between the US, it's butt-buddy Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and probably Israel. The US being the leading force behind it all. They had the means, they had the motive, and they had the opportunity.

And, you know, even if they were to release those 28 pages to the public...some, even then, would find a way to bury their heads in the sands of ignorance and fear. Personal dominant paradigms are hard to break when they've been so manipulated.

When you go from believing that our country is bestowed with good graces and that we set the standard in beneficence in the world to having to accept that we really are the dupes of an evil, ruthless, and extremely greedy ruling class, then it is just hard for many people to grasp.

People still believe that 9/11 was all done by 19 Muslims, planned by OBL, that did so merely because they hated us...jealous of our freedoms...or any other ignorant Bushisms that rolled off of his sh!t-licking tongue!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 33 weeks 2 days ago
#48

DAnneMarc: Maybe that 3rd nuke is being saved for California when they need yet another false flag operation like 9/11. They won't even need to blow up a city..just set it off a half a mile out from the entrance of a busy harbor...maybe the Golden Gate bridge will finally live up to it's name...the radiation will take it's toll on most people and the real estate and means of production will still be intact but slightly radioactive. They'll just send in a bunch of old people, because they won't live much longer anyway, to clean up the mess. That way, they could "kill two birds with one stone". It'll send yet another message to the witless xenophobic toadies in the US to hate everyone they're told to and dream of killing the foreigner cockroaches themselves. Be sure to invest in manufacturers of little US flags and US flag bumper stickers...you would make a fortune.

hater22's picture
hater22 32 weeks 5 days ago
#49

I must say that the NSA spying program is against the law. They have no right to spy like this. what is the guarantee of people’s privacy here?

The Real Carbon “Monster” Revealed

Another day, another stupid assault on the truth by the fossil fuel industry and its paid lackeys. In a recent op-ed for the New York Post, Tom Harris, the executive director of the so-called International Climate Science Coalition -- an organization that’s funded, in part, by the fossil fuel industry -- blasted Leonardo DiCaprio for his work on “Carbon,” a new documentary on climate change that I helped write and present.

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Never one to shy away from the truth, Thom Hartmann’s collected works are inspiring, wise, and compelling. His work lights the way to a better America."
Van Jones, cofounder of RebuildTheDream.com and author of The Green Collar Economy
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann is a literary descendent of Ben Franklin and Tom Paine. His unflinching observations and deep passion inspire us to explore contemporary culture, politics, and economics; challenge us to face the facts of the societies we are creating; and empower us to demand a better world for our children and grandchildren."
John Perkins, author of the New York Times bestselling book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"Thom Hartmann seeks out interesting subjects from such disparate outposts of curiosity that you have to wonder whether or not he uncovered them or they selected him."
Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, producer, and environmental activist