Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cynicism in school and marriage

Taibbi writes an article about how a big new Education initiative from the President actually relates to the whole NSA and Wikileaks morass. Taibbi's point is that Obama is going into full-court press across the country over yet another rather nebulous plan for Education that won't take effect for five years, and the press is just lapping it up. Instead of having the press revisit the NSA and Manning scandals, which each had significant developments last week. Is that a cynical mastery of the 24-hour news cycle? Toss the press a new bone when you want to get their minds off of something bad you did last week?

>> Barack Obama is so frustrating. He can give quite a speech. He says just enough of the right things to give pause, and sometimes genuinely seems to be in touch with the pain of the vanishing middle class. He has the appearance, on occasion, of the politician of your dreams – intelligent, forward-thinking, even-keeled, just. You want to believe in him, you really do. But just taking this week for instance, there's just no way around the math... that the White House has been engaged all summer in a lunatic defense of a vast and apparently illegal domestic espionage program and tossed a young soldier in prison for three decades for exposing war crimes and torture.

Monday, August 26, 2013

We are all Chelsea

The Chelsea [née Bradley] Manning issue may be a bit of a tangent for this blog, but it's related, because Manning, like Snowden, helped us spy on the Powers-That-Be, which is what I recommend on this blog. I'm not recommending breaking laws to do so, and Manning's methods were against military code -- I'll get back to that.

Meanwhile, let's examine Manning's trial and his pre-sentencing apology...

A lot of my right-wing friends started wondering within hours of "Chelsea" (formerly Bradley) Manning's announcement, "How the hell could our government give top security clearance to somebody who's obviously bonkers?"

How Not To React

Well, thankfully my right-wing friends aren't making a living as psychiatrists, since a desire for gender re-assignment is not in and of itself evidence of mental problems. If it were, of course, Manning could likely have gotten off scott free with an insanity plea, so think about that for a moment before you make sweeping pronouncements, my friends.

Can't Be Overturned

So I got a comment [offline] that my crusade here is hopeless and ill-advised for two reasons.

#1, it's written into the Constitution that the Executive Branch can break any law it needs to, in the name of National Security. Since the surveillance is in the name of National Security, all this is perfectly legal and cannot be overturned.
On the other hand, wiretapping bank executives is not relevant to National Security, so I shouldn't open a can of worms and use the bulldozer of National Security on things that don't fall into that category.

#2, if I make a stink abut this, all I'm doing is helping the Opposing Political Party get elected, which will turn out much worse than the situation we have now. Especially if that Opposing Party gets to pick more Supreme Court justices.

Anyone who knows me, ought to know that argument #2 is one of my red hot-buttons.