June 11, 2013

"Ladies and gentlemen..., you seem to accept as okay that the government, intelligence agencies, would be collecting all of this data on Americans."

"And what makes you mad is that this little twerp has come along and exposed how it's done. Do any of you care why this is being done? It matters to me who is doing it. I've accepted that it's being done just like a lot of you have. But... who is doing it... why are they doing it?  Are any of you interested in that aspect of this?  Well, of course they say national security, and then when they say national security, 'Oh, oh, okay, okay, fine, fine.'  And then you forget about it. Well, you don't forget about it, you just assume. I think everybody's walking around at some level of consciousness, thinking that if somebody wants to find out about them, they can.  In addition to that, everybody, if you go to these social networks, Facebook, Twitter, everybody, or a lot of people are volunteering every bit of information about themselves without having to be spied on.  Putting a lot of trust in everybody, putting a lot of trust in their fellow citizens, in their friends, in government...."

That's Rush Limbaugh, thinking out loud — which the previous post about the WaPo-Pew poll and the interplay of partisanship and ideology made me think of. It's a fascinating monologue, with Rush saying he's "in a holding pattern just to wait and see, because, as you know, I do everything I can to avoid the conventional wisdom of the day, to follow the crowd." I'm sure his antagonists have no idea he's so measured and thoughtful. It's practically Obamaesque. Or do you think Obama merely poses as thoughtful? The extent to which Obama and Rush pretend to be working through the issues is a mystery we're never going to solve.

Anyway, I recommend the Rush monologue, which has him interacting with "Mr. Snerdley," whom we never hear, so we never know what input he's actually getting from his producer/engineer James Golden. Rush tells us "Snerdley's livid at" Edward Snowden, that Snerdley's talking about trying Snowden for "treason" for "giving away... secrets." The implied participation of Snerdley, whose thinking, we're told "may represent the thinking of a lot of you," enhances the dialogic quality of the monologue.

ADDED: I say "enhances the dialogic quality" because Rush's thinking out loud from his "holding pattern" already involves him going back and forth taking different viewpoints. I notice and appreciate this because it feels similar to what I do as a law professor to show students what's going on in a case. But as a law professor, I'm not trying to get to my own answer. Developing the issue and the various arguments and opinions is the end in itself. Sometimes a student will ask me what I think, and I like to say that's irrelevant, but if I have an opinion — if — I'll admit it just to give them more power to try to extract any bias I might have injected into the discussion.

104 comments:

madAsHell said...

Thinking back to the 2012 campaign, and the Obama campaign bragging about their data mining capabilities. Some writers highlighted the failure of the Romney campaign's data mining. At the time, I figured this was the Silicon Valley people helping the Obama campaign.

Now, it becomes clear. They were using the IRS, and the NSA to undermine the election. They didn't have a superlative program, but they did have better data.

This is more than hanging chad!!

roesch/voltaire said...

What's missing in this so-called thoughtful monologue is the observation that although there are over 500,000 contractors on the job snooping into our lives, they can not even pick up the warning signs that should have tipped us off to the Boston bombing. Further the so-called background checks for these contractors failed to note that Snowden contributed to Ron Paul and might hold libertarian views that run counter to his job.
I hope this leak will lead the nation's intelligence agencies to reconsider their reliance on outside contractors.

Hagar said...

As I wrote on another thread,every country that can are building their own versions of what the NSA has to the extent they can afford, and the internet is an open place for anyone, it does not matter where in the world the installations are located.

What Snowden has done is to let the rest of us know about it, the "terrorists" and the world's intelligence agencies have known from the beginning or shortly afterwards.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Further the so-called background checks for these contractors failed to note that Snowden contributed to Ron Paul and might hold libertarian views that run counter to his job."

-- Background checks also failed to stop someone from shooting up Fort Hood. We don't know -why- warning signs are missed; with several cases (the VA Tech Shooter and the Sandy Hook Shooter), authorities were warned, but chose to ignore it. Same deal with the Fort Hood shooter, and in fact, the same is true with the Boston Bombers.

Authorities were told about the warning signs, but they then failed to act on it. Just like with Libya.

AReasonableMan said...

The idea that Rush is doing anything than trying to tease out a partisan advantage for Republicans is absurd. He has acknowledged carrying water for the Repubs on more than one occasion. If this was happening under a Repub president it would all be fine with Rush.

Ann Althouse said...

"What's missing in this so-called thoughtful monologue is the observation that although there are over 500,000 contractors on the job snooping into our lives, they can not even pick up the warning signs that should have tipped us off to the Boston bombing."

That is something he's been saying too, however. Keep in mind that he's been talking for hours on the subject already.

Matthew Sablan said...

"I hope this leak will lead the nation's intelligence agencies to reconsider their reliance on outside contractors."

-- As to this: Most leaks come from within the government. Contractors rarely have this sort of information, and in fact, Snowden probably should never have had it. It was probably given to him by government employees without need to know, or in a non-secure way.

Scott said...

It takes a village.

Be seeing you.

Hagar said...

I am not so worried about the NSA's spying on me; I am not of "interest" to anyone but myself, but leading politicians (and those who look like they might be thinking about becoming leaders), captains of industry, generals and "senior officials, all had better work on the assumption that all their devices are bing recorded, and not just by "our" NSA.

Hagar said...

As I wrote on another thread,every country that can are building their own versions of what the NSA has to the extent they can afford, and the internet is an open place for anyone, it does not matter where in the world the installations are located.

What Snowden has done is to let the rest of us know about it, the "terrorists" and the world's intelligence agencies have known from the beginning or shortly afterwards.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's a dialogue with a caller from June 7th: "On September 12, 2001, I Warned America Not to Trade Freedom for Security":

CALLER: Some of the people that are complaining about what's going on now are the same ones last month when the Boston bombing happened, they wanted to know why hadn't Obama found them in the first five minutes? You know, you have to decide: Which side do you want?

RUSH: Well, now, I'm glad you mention that. I honestly am. Because this kind of data collection has been going on before the Boston bombing. I would like to know how in the world...? Remember the news, Brian? We knew that the Russians had warned us about these guys.

CALLER: Yes, absolutely.

RUSH: And we ignored it! So even though we had the data, our intelligence people ignored it, thought it wasn't any big deal. So it leads to the question: "What good does having all this data do if you're not going to use it?" Which leads me to then ask: "Why is it really being collected?" They say national security, but the Russians and a number of others had warned us about the Tsarnaev brothers, and we discounted it. We forgot about it, or we didn't give it much credence in the first place....


Much more at the link.

Kelly said...

In the Daily Caller there is an interview with an NSA analyst. He said the program basically makes things more difficult. There is so much information to weed through that it's next to impossible to connect the dots. He was uncomfortable with the program and tried to go through the proper channels to blow the whistle on it, but got no where.

He also said the terrorist already know about this program, so basically nothing was given away.

dbp said...

"The extent to which Obama and Rush pretend to be working through the issues is a mystery we're never going to solve."

Here is a hint in how one might think about this "mystery". Rush is on the air for hours per day and seems to be interacting and thinking on-the-fly. I suppose it is possible for it all to be scripted, but it seems pretty unlikely. Obama is on the other hand, famously at a loss for words whenever his teleprompter goes on the fritz.

viator said...

Meet Lindsay Mills, the little twerp's girlfriend..

UK Telegraph

Henry said...

I hope this leak will lead the nation's intelligence agencies to reconsider their reliance on outside contractors.

Because you don't like contractors?

Or because you don't like leaks?

This is why Nixon needed plumbers.



Matthew Sablan said...

Althouse brings my original point home: R/V: The authorities -have this information- but fail to use it. The current set up is not working, and I'm not sure why that is. Is it paralysis by over-analysis? Do we provide too many threats to accurately identify which ones are real, which ones are potentially real if they are given a push, and which ones are false positives?

Why do such obvious cases, like the Boston Bombers, slip through our cracks, while Tea Party groups get pulled out for extra scrutiny?

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...
Further the so-called background checks for these contractors failed to note that Snowden contributed to Ron Paul and might hold libertarian views that run counter to his job.


You know absolutely nothing about government background checks.

So you should probably shut up now.

Matthew Sablan said...

R/V: Should all people who donated to Democrats have been tossed out when Bush was elected since their views might run counter to their jobs? I mean, there were a whole lot of leaks targeted against hurting Bush that never seemed to get the left up in arms about background checks for contractors or government individuals.

Jay said...

roesch/voltaire said...

they can not even pick up the warning signs that should have tipped us off to the Boston bombing


Which of course is explained by the fact the FBI interviewed the Boston bombers twice.

Could you be any more ignorant on this topic?

Jay said...

oesch/voltaire said...
Further the so-called background checks for these contractors failed to note that Snowden contributed to Ron Paul and might hold libertarian views that run counter to his job.


You have a silly, cartoonish view of the world.

viator said...

"What good does having all this data do if you're not going to use it?"

Because the enemies are not the ostensible enemies but other more pressing enemies that threaten social control and political economic dominance.

rhhardin said...

The support on the right comes from the idea that military types are trustworthy, and NSA is sort of military types.

The unease on the right comes from the demonstrated willingness of the administration to subvert anything convenient to them.

The question is whether they've gotten to and subverted NSA yet or not.

Jay said...

While I'm very troubled by this program and think that data mining on Americans is generally not a good think, I think it has become clear that Snowden is peddling hysterical bullshit - "I had access to every CIA station around the world"

So it is worth wondering how much of what he is saying is true.

Michael Haz said...

...they can not even pick up the warning signs that should have tipped us off to the Boston bombing.

Why do you think that is what they are (or were) looking for? It seems that the "enemies" of this administration are getting far, far more scrutiny than the terrorists that other countires warned the administration about have received.

May I ask the liberals here - would you so peacefully tolerate the NSA and IRS and Benghazi events if they had occurred during a Romney presidency? I seriously doubt that you would.

Old RPM Daddy said...

@Roesch/Voltaire: Further the so-called background checks for these contractors failed to note that Snowden contributed to Ron Paul and might hold libertarian views that run counter to his job.

I'm not sure where you're going with that. Are you suggesting that holding libertarian views might disqualify him politically for positions requiring a security clearance?

The thing to remember about background investigations related to security clearances is that they are not political reliability tests. Investigators will look into legal background, past drug use, foreign travel, foreign contacts, etc., not to see if someone is politically reliable, but to see if someone is vulnerable to exploitation by a hostile entity. The only political questions would be related to membership in groups advocating the violent overthrow of the government, or allied with foreign powers.

Matthew Sablan said...

"So it is worth wondering how much of what he is saying is true."

-- That's a good point. I doubt, for example, he really could have looked at the president's email, and our government wouldn't kill people to stop a leak (or, you know, he'd be -dead.-)

viator said...

It's simple - only card carrying members of the Democrat Party should get high level security clearances.

David Hampton said...

Much of the information available these days comes from sources like credit score, credit card companies who have a profile on our travels when they deviate from our normal routine, typing in our zip code at the gas pump when using a credit card, Cell towers tracking our cell phones, computer ID accessing wifi networks whether radio or hard wire connections (fiber optics), internet history that we can "clear" but never erased from the bowels of our computer's memory. What it comes down to is do we trust our government with this information. In the NSA environment one of the key assumptions is that information gets more valuable over time. That is due to the inescapable fact that the more "dots" or bits of information that can be connected the broader the mosaic (PRISM) of the target. Given the number of political appointees of a given administration the information can, and will be, subverted for ideological purposes. Additionally, background investigations are losing their effectiveness in the age of multiculturalism and little accountability. The AG Holder's selective enforcement of various violations render useless the signed statement that violations will land the violator in Leavenworth. Unless of course the violator is a member of the opposing party.

Matthew Sablan said...

To further my point, Snowden had no reason to have that document, if what we're hearing is true. That he got his hands on it requires him to have engaged in espionage, people to have been careless/there to have been spillage, someone gave it to him intentionally or accidentally, or, this wasn't as big of a secret as it seems.

The odds of him being included in the actual, original briefing, is miniscule.

AllenS said...

As Michael pointed out, they're not interested in the Tsarnaev brothers, because they fear the Tea Party more.

sinz52 said...

I absolutely accept what the NSA was doing. And I wish its cover had not been blown.

Unlike the IRS outrages, there is NO evidence whatsoever that the NSA surveillance was politicized. No conservatives have come forward to claim that sensitive information about their phone calls was leaked to their political opponents, as was the case with the IRS.

You have NO expectation of privacy with the telephone numbers you dial. Your land line phone company knows all about them. "Ma Bell" never promised to keep those private. Heck, you had to PAY them extra for an unlisted telephone number.

The NSA program didn't take away any privacy we hadn't already given away to the various telecom companies. The NSA program was harmless and valuable. With it, NSA mathematicians could track patterns of phone calls, inferring ad hoc networks of callers which might indicate a terrorist cell or terror plot.

Let me remind folks here: America is still at war, we've been at war for twelve years, terrorists have not given up trying to attack us. In every war we've ever been in, we've had to make compromises: The Sedition Act of 1918, the censorship of mail and news dispatches during World War II, etc. Don't become such fanatics about privacy that you destroy any hope we have to intercept terrorists before they strike.

raf said...

Why do such obvious cases, like the Boston Bombers, slip through our cracks, while Tea Party groups get pulled out for extra scrutiny?

Because the latter are dangerous domestic political enemies, while the former are merely misunderstood (and very likely persecuted)politically useful minorities.

Lem said...

The question is whether they've gotten to and subverted NSA yet or not.

That's what I've been wondering... Was the NSA an arm of the IRS, the other way around, or did they both work separately and independently of each other, where one hand didn't know what the other one was doing.

Larry J said...

roesch/voltaire said...
What's missing in this so-called thoughtful monologue is the observation that although there are over 500,000 contractors on the job snooping into our lives, they can not even pick up the warning signs that should have tipped us off to the Boston bombing.


How could they have possibly picked up the Boston bombers before the fact? They weren't members of the Tea Party. They held no known associations with pro-life or states' rights groups. They weren't military veterans or even Republicans. Why,they were practically invisible, at least by the DHS terrorism criteria. [/snark]

You see, you can have all the data in the world but if your search criteria is bad, your results will also be bad. People with the worldview that labeled the Fort Hood shootings as "workplace violence" had a hand in shaping the terrorism search criteria.

Given the rampant politicization of the IRS, DHS, DOJ, DOS and EPA (list keeps getting longer), asking us to trust the Obama administration to not abuse the NSA database is a bit much.

gerry said...

Obama is on the other hand, famously at a loss for words whenever his teleprompter goes on the fritz.

Obama's brain goes on the fritz when his teleprompter goes on the fritz. Someone else must be doing his thinking for him, eh?

AReasonableMan said...

Ann Althouse said...
Here's a dialogue with a caller from June 7th: "On September 12, 2001, I Warned America Not to Trade Freedom for Security":


He had seven years under Bush to repeat that warning, everyday if he wished, if this was something he really cared about. I think Rush is a very clever and sometimes funny advocate for the Repubs but the idea that he could ever be a source of thoughtful debate on the balance of state/personal privacy issues is something of a stretch. Rand/Ron Paul are much more credible discussants on this issue amongst Repubs.

Robert Cook said...

"I am not so worried about the NSA's spying on me; I am not of 'interest' to anyone but myself...."

How do you know?

Even if that's true now, how do you know it will still be true next week, next month, next year?

How do you know that you won't somehow appear on some list somewhere as a "person of interest," and that won't escalate to something worse?

Being innocent is no guarantee you won't end up in prison, as too many citizens to count have learned first hand.

Aren't you bothered by this just on principle? Even if you will never be of interest to the authorities, don't you think all Americans should be free of fear that an all-seeing government knows all they do and say, and could potentially become targets of the authorities?

If it can happen to one, it can happen to all.

Robert Cook said...

"I absolutely accept what the NSA was doing."

Then--and I try not to be insulting in my comments--you're an idiot.

Michael Haz said...

It's a false flag operation.

See how it has taken the media off of the illegal HHS shake-down of private companies for "donations" to help fund the cost of revving up ObamaCare?

Notice how the media has been drawn off of the illegal $3.1 billion gift to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt by SoS John F. Kerry? You know, the gift he made AFTER Congress forbade it?

Hey look! NSA squirrel! Anyone focusing on how the Muslim Brotherhood has managed to infiltrate the WH in key roles having to do with security? Or how the head of the CIA is a Muslim convert? Or how the DoJ is working to make any speech about Islam protected?

Hello, McFly?

Any answer yet about why the DHS needs billions of round of ammo?

Any upset over Obama protecting Susan Rice from testifying in front of Congress by appointing her to a position in the Executive wing?

Any concern about the dozens of "Czars" who have been appointed and given extra-constitutional roles in the Obama administration?

Good grief, people, you are so easily distracted.

Matthew Sablan said...

"He had seven years under Bush to repeat that warning, everyday if he wished, if this was something he really cared about."

-- How often have you listened to him? I never do, so maybe he mentioned it often, maybe he never mentioned it. I believe things, am I required to vociferously repeat them ad nauseum, or do people assume I stop thinking something the moment I don't repeat it for their listening pleasure?

Why do you create such silly rules and expectations? Have you stopped thinking it is wrong to beat children? I mean, you haven't voiced that thought in the last few minutes.

El Pollo Raylan said...

May I ask the liberals here - would you so peacefully tolerate the NSA and IRS and Benghazi events if they had occurred during a Romney presidency? I seriously doubt that you would.

May I answer for them, having been one myself years ago? The liberals are not OK with surveillance. They are sincerely conflicted because they too are becoming concerned with too apparent executive power. But they're still not ready to cede any of that power back to Congress or themselves because they fear social conservatism. This is why they are constantly exhorting Republicans to change. They would sooner see the country die than cede ground on progressive dreams.

Robert Cook said...

"America is still at war, we've been at war for twelve years...."

That's because we won't stop making war.

Mark O said...

"Or do you think Obama merely poses as thoughtful?"

Yeah. Sort of like a donkey. Wakes up in a new world every morning.

El Pollo Raylan said...

AReasonableMan said...

Wa wa wah wah Bush! yada yad yada Bush! and to repeat, la lal la la Bush!

Hagar said...

What if our NSA is not the lead agency on this? What if it started as a Russian or Chinese or Iranian idea, and the NSA is only now playing catch up?

Skeptical Voter said...

As a truly "reasonable man", but one of sound judgment, I long ago considered Obama to be a permanent prevaricating poseur.

Name the topic; that's his default mode.

roesch/voltaire said...

Ann thanks for the Rush's link questioning what good is all this collection of information if we ignore it or don't know how to read it. I do wonder why he has been so late to sound the alarm. ONe problems is too much data and too little coordination between agencies, the FBI failure in the Boston case, Jay, and too few folks who speak the necessary languages or know what to make of the information. As a result one has to wonder why all this data mining of ordinary people, and here is where I think our civil liberties are threaten.

Jay said...

AReasonableMan

He had seven years under Bush to repeat that warning, everyday if he wished,


The Bush NSA program was revealed in Dec 2005.

Bush was not in office for "seven years" after that.

Further, you have not one utter clue what Rush talks about since you don't listen to the program.

Matthew Sablan said...

"ONe problems is too much data and too little coordination between agencies, the FBI failure in the Boston case, Jay, and too few folks who speak the necessary languages or know what to make of the information."

-- The Russians warned us. Probably in English, that these were bad dudes out to do bad things.

So, again, your excuses are just that: Excuses. There was no language barrier; there was no failure to put the puzzle together. The puzzle came, finished, framed and with a signed letter of thanks from the manufacturer, and we -still couldn't bother to stop them.-

Do you even know what happened? Because your commenting makes me think you don't understand working with the government, the incidents surrounding the bombing, or well, anything that you've commented on so far here. It's OK to be ignorant of topics, but it is best to be up front about it and not waste our time with thinking that we're having a real dialogue with you as opposed to simply parrying talking points over and over.

Darcy said...

Michael Haz is nailing it. Due to the revelations that this administration has used it's agencies to go after its political enemies, I have to seriously rethink this data collection. I have never before been more afraid of my government. I'm not living a life of crime, but I am a conservative, and to this administration I am viewed as an enemy. I have no doubt about that now.

But I must say as well that I did not know the extent of the data collection. I was ignorant when I supported the initial policy.


AprilApple said...

The left aspire to be like China.
A lot of power there.

AprilApple said...

Obama: "We don't want to tax all business out of business."

Just political enemies?
Add that to the pile.

PWS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
viator said...

"1984"
Amazon +6,888%
Sales rank: 184 (was 12,859)

Amazon

Roger J. said...

RV--please recall that after 9/11, in an effort to eliminate bureaucratic barriers between intelligence agencies, the position of Director of National Intelligence was created. The incumbent is General Clapper. Surely you knew that.

Now if your point was that there is no coordination between other federal agencies I'll buy that.

As for linguists? Primarily used for voice intercepts, and yes, we could always use more linguists. However, prism is an algorithm that works with numerical correlations. No linguists required.

Astro said...

"I am not so worried about the NSA's spying on me; I am not of 'interest' to anyone but myself...."

In addition to what Robert Cook said, do this: google your name and see what you find.

I have a somewhat uncommon name, yet I find dozens of people with the same name; a lawyer or two, people convicted of serious crimes, sports figures, even a guy in the same profession as mine. Legal records of divorces, births, deaths, property bought and sold, arrests, court affidavits - all of people with my name, but not me.

I think about those people who've had trouble boarding airplanes because their name is the same as someone on the 'no fly' list. Think how easily some lazy bureaucrat could accidentally click a key on a computer keyboard and associate your name with a terrorist. Then the NSA will care about you.

viator said...

"In Germany, where memories of East German Stasi surveillance remain fresh, privacy has powerful defenders. Individual German states have pursued cases against Facebook and Google in recent years, complaining that the companies did not do enough to give users power over their own information. The breadth and ambitions of the U.S. intelligence program far exceed any issues raised previously with private firms.

When Merkel meets Obama, “you can safely assume that this is an issue that the chancellor will bring up,” Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, told reporters on Monday. Merkel grew up in the East German system, where the government collected vast amounts of information about its citizens."

The Lives of Others

Larry J said...

Robert Cook said...
"America is still at war, we've been at war for twelve years...."

That's because we won't stop making war.


Obama has announced that we're leaving Afghanistan in 2014. Massive amounts of material are being shipped from the country every week. And yet, the attacks on US forces are not only continuing, they're apparently increasing.

You can wish that if we quit fighting then the other side would, too. They don't think that way. Both sides get a say when it comes to waging war.

My son is an ER/psych nurse in Afghanistan. He can't talk much about what's going on, only that he's very busy especially in the trauma ward. Odds are he was there to treat them at the hospital when these guys came in. There are also the random "to whom it may concern" rocket attacks on a regular basis.

Mitchell the Bat said...

It's not really a taste in your mouth. It's more like the memory of a taste in your mouth.

But did you ever get the taste in your mouth of one of those mushy little roast beef sandwiches they used to sell at the Roy Rogers fast food places with the mayonnaise horseradish sauce that came in those little plastic packets?

Just happened to me and the last time I ate one of those sandwiches was, like, 29 years ago.

Just wanted to say that.

Roger J. said...

I have been wrestling with whole issue of PRISM--I am conservative and have libertarian instincts. I have also been a 25 year serving military officer and understand the importance of GOOD intelligence.

A few years ago I would probably have approved of a program such as PRISM--but that approval was predicated on my willingness to trust our government to safeguard the citizenry--With this administration, the only thing I see is the use of data to destroy political enemies. I simply do not trust our government to provide safeguards. I do not trust the president specifically, I do not trust congress generally, and I do not trust the courts to provide the safety citizens deserve.

edutcher said...

I'd take the poll with a grain of salt.

Pew is, after all, legendary for being skewed and this "poll" is essentially saying, "Nothing to see. Move along".

madAsHell said...

Thinking back to the 2012 campaign, and the Obama campaign bragging about their data mining capabilities. Some writers highlighted the failure of the Romney campaign's data mining. At the time, I figured this was the Silicon Valley people helping the Obama campaign.

Now, it becomes clear. They were using the IRS, and the NSA to undermine the election. They didn't have a superlative program, but they did have better data.


What I've been saying since November.

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

The idea that Rush is doing anything than trying to tease out a partisan advantage for Republicans is absurd. He has acknowledged carrying water for the Repubs on more than one occasion. If this was happening under a Repub president it would all be fine with Rush

Maybe, but we know Troll is trying to cover Choom's ass after a very bad week with more bad news likely to come.

He had seven years under Bush to repeat that warning, everyday if he wished, if this was something he really cared about

Dubya was obeying the law, as written. Choom is the one who violates it.

Lefties seem to have a real problem with this concept going back to the election of '00.

Michael K said...

"AReasonableMan said...

The idea that Rush is doing anything than trying to tease out a partisan advantage for Republicans is absurd. He has acknowledged carrying water for the Repubs on more than one occasion. If this was happening under a Repub president it would all be fine with Rush."

You respond, as usual, with a knee jerk reaction. Maybe not even that, an eye blink. Like most Rush haters, you don't know anything about his views because you don't listen and you assume the haters are correct.

I didn't use to listen much but I find myself more interested in his views and I think he is changing to become more libertarian than he was 20 years ago.

Darcy said...

@Michael K

It's funny you mention slagging on Rush without listening. Years ago, when I was a very liberal Clinton voter, (and someone who often criticized what I didn't bother to listen to) I lost a bet and had to listen to Rush's radio program for a month. I made good on my bet, and at first, it was torture for me - as you can imagine (feminazi???) - but...well, the rest, as they say, is history. :)

bagoh20 said...

""I am not so worried about the NSA's spying on me; I am not of 'interest' to anyone but myself...."

I also don't have anything to hide. I really don't. If every secret I have of my life came out, I would only be mildly embarrassed for about 30 seconds, and nobody else would even care.

Regardless, I now know there are people in government, and certainly at the IRS who hate me anyway.

Remember what happened to Jesus for just being a nice guy, once the word got out to the governing class.

Bryan C said...

"That he got his hands on it requires him to have engaged in espionage, people to have been careless/there to have been spillage, someone gave it to him intentionally or accidentally, or, this wasn't as big of a secret as it seems."

I assume that today's NSA is just as badly broken as today's Dept of State, DOJ, IRS, EPA, etc. They've all been saturated with party apparatchiks who happily use their authority to do whatever the hell they want to do, because they know that their friends are in charge.

I don't want to think that. I know people who work at the NSA, and the agency has always seemed like a bastion of quiet professionalism. No more.

bagoh20 said...

" I think he is changing to become more libertarian than he was 20 years ago."

Definitely. I use to listen a lot when he first came out, and he was much more partisan and cheerleader for the GOP. He's gone way libertarian since then, which is good.

Writ Small said...

The support on the right comes from the idea that military types are trustworthy, and NSA is sort of military types.


That's close. The right accept that a military is a necessity despite the inherent risks and opportunity for abuse. It's the same with firearms. That a nut job can go on a shooting rampage doesn't mean we ban all guns. In the case of analysis of metadata, we have zero evidence of abuse. With the protections in place (you still have to get warrants, the contents of calls are not being recorded, etc.), it should be clear that the benefits far exceed the risks - for now.

The argument that the program didn't stop the Boston bombings is embarrassingly weak. We have police and people still commit crimes. We have smoke detectors and people still die in fires. We have seat belts and people still die in car crashes. Does that mean we don't need the police, smoke detectors and seat belts?

Michael Haz said...

Why does anyone believe that the only war is in Afghanistan?

The Chinese Navy is encircling the US and making regular incursions into American waters.

They have developed a special weapon to kill US aircraft carriers.

Chinese hackers have breached more than two dozen US weapons systems. Pretty easy to sorround the US, disable our weapons, destroy our warships and delcare victory, isn't it?

But hey, cell phones! Squirrel!

edutcher said...

Excellent point.

We've got more than one war going, but the Demos don't even want to fight the one everybody acknowledges.

jr565 said...

What was Rush's position on Bush's program?
Shouldn't that be his position, relatively, on the current NSA program?
Did he trust Michael Hayden then? Why not now?

I realize, that Obama himself is untrustworthy and has been using various arms of govt to target conservatives. I don't think though he's using the NSA program to do it though. Even if he were I wouldn't say to abandon the program, but I would say some people should be frog marched out of the whitehouse and some judges theon in jail.
I'd like to see some whistleblower a showing abuse of the program, rather than a whistleblower describing how to construct a database and bein shocked at the process.

Roger J. said...

Re Michael Haz's point. IIRC Henry Kissinger fairly recently opined that we do not have a foreign policy. When there was a USSR we did have one that seemed to work fairly well. I do not see any coherent US foreign policy, other than perhaps the "war on terror," that is guiding American foreign policy. If someone could disabuse me of my perceptions, I would appreciate it.

Darrell said...

Unlike the IRS outrages, there is NO evidence whatsoever that the NSA surveillance was politicized.

That's because it is all classified. And it will take years of investigating to see what was really done--if it ever comes out in totality. Lots of whistleblowers will be required.

bagoh20 said...

Big and terrible terrorist attacks will happen no matter what is done on the info gathering end. If a couple friends and I decide we want to kill a thousand people this year in a public way, nobody can stop us....Hold on, someone's at the door....

Nobody was there. Anyway, it's unstoppable, and also unstoppable is the abuse of power with this kind of info collected. Any person of reasonable intelligence has to accept that's inevitable.

That's why I'm not in favor of it being done as it is now, and I'm not sure it can be done safely, but we should be having the debate about that. I want them to get the info they need, but not what they don't, if that's even possible.

I expect that this info will become less and less useful for catching terrorists and more useful for abuse as all parties adapt. At the same time collection will grow and grow. What could go wrong with that?

Chip S. said...

The argument that the program didn't stop the Boston bombings is embarrassingly weak.

Then you don't understand the argument.

The FBI had access to all the PRISM-generated data on the Tsarnaevs. It clearly didn't do any good. Yet people demand blind acceptance of this massive data seine on the assertion that it is essential to national security.

It's clear that we've sacrificed privacy. It's not so clear that we've gained a sufficient amount of security in exchange.

jr565 said...

Writ small wrote:
The argument that the program didn't stop the Boston bombings is embarrassingly weak. We have police and people still commit crimes. We have smoke detectors and people still die in fires. We have seat belts and people still die in car crashes. Does that mean we don't need the police, smoke detectors and seat belts?

we have right to carry states and people have guns in their homes and still die in home invasions?
Do gun rights asvocates want to apply the same standard to their right to purchase guns? I mean, if guns don't stop all home invasions and aren't perfect crime stoppers then people shouldn't have the right to own guns?
I'm sure gun owners would recognize that nothin is perfect. But that having a gun, while not a guarantee of automatic protection, gives gun owners a better chance should someone invade their home.

Michael Haz said...

Foreigh policy?

The US foreign policy seems to be (1) Fund and support the Muslim Brotherhood, (2) Tell Israel to kiss its ass goodbye, and (3)Make sure the SoS security forces get enough hookers.

prairie wind said...

The question isn't whether liberals would have complained if the NSA had done this in a Bush administration, the question is whether any of us would trust our enemies with this power. If our enemy cannot be trusted with the power, then we shouldn't give it to our ally, either.

bagoh20 said...

"Unlike the IRS outrages, there is NO evidence whatsoever that the NSA surveillance was politicized."

I love that "there is no evidence...". We keep hearing that, and then a week later there is evidence, and a month later more, and more. Then the argument changes to something like "Bush did it too", or some other line in the much rehearsed play we have been watching reruns of for the last few years.

"There is no evidence" doesn't really mean anything until some investigating is done. What it does mean is we need to find out, but that's never what people mean when they say that.

Chip S. said...

@bagoh20, as the saying goes, "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

edutcher said...

bagoh20 said...

Unlike the IRS outrages, there is NO evidence whatsoever that the NSA surveillance was politicized.

I love that "there is no evidence...".


There is also no evidence (Godwin Alert) signed off on the Wannsee Conference, either.

Bruce Hayden said...

You have NO expectation of privacy with the telephone numbers you dial. Your land line phone company knows all about them. "Ma Bell" never promised to keep those private. Heck, you had to PAY them extra for an unlisted telephone number.

I would rephrase that a bit: You have NO legal expectation of privacy with the telephone numbers you dial. Meaning that under the law, you have no expectation of privacy. But, we all do probably subly expect that out phone records will stay between us and our phone company. Sure, originally, we had human operators completing calls, and then there was somewhat of a consciousness that they would gossip a bit. Remember some Carol Burnett (I think) skits where she played an operator, and knew too much about everyone. But I don't remember much of that, and I am in my 60s. Anyone younger than that probably spent their phoning lives with automatic/machine dialing.

The law sees a big difference between the recording of the contents of calls and where the calls went. The former has pretty good 4th Amdt. protections, and decent protection under state and federal wiretap laws (including FISA for international calls). The latter has little legal protection.

As a note - the FISA discussions under Bush almost exclusively revolved around the interception, recording, and sometimes the listening to international calls, meaning calls where one end was known to be, or was expected to be in the U.S., and the other not. Purely foreign calls were expected to be fair game, and internal calls subject to wiretap laws and regular wiretap warrants. The big problem was that FISA was too cumbersome to handle this in real time, esp. in an age of burner phones, etc. By the time that you could get a warrant, the phone had been dumped. This conversation is different - concentrating on phone records and the recording of internal calls. Maybe - since few seem to be making the distinctions.

The problem today though is that Americans have a subconscious expectation of privacy in these areas, even though they may not have a legal one, and that is the tension. The NSA probably has the legal right to do what it has been doing, and the phone companies now probably have the legal right to give the information to them. But should they? And, a lot of Americans don't think so, even if it would prevent a NYC subway station from being bombed (actually, a lot of us would consider that to be Darwin at work). The thing that the Administration may not have taken into account, if they indeed did have a hand in the timing of the scandals here, is that the NSA scandal feeds on the IRS one, since that agency too is supposed to keep their information private, and hasn't, for political reasons.

Bruce Hayden said...

The FBI had access to all the PRISM-generated data on the Tsarnaevs. It clearly didn't do any good. Yet people demand blind acceptance of this massive data seine on the assertion that it is essential to national security.

The problem is that they are trying to use computers to find needles in haystacks, and the haystacks are getting bigger and bigger at a fairly quick rate. And, if we have any privacy here, it is probably because the amount of data to process is probably growing faster than the government's ability to analyze it.

garage mahal said...

Yeah, the Muslim Brotherhood is what keeps me up at night!

AReasonableMan said...

prairie wind said...
The question isn't whether liberals would have complained if the NSA had done this in a Bush administration, the question is whether any of us would trust our enemies with this power. If our enemy cannot be trusted with the power, then we shouldn't give it to our ally, either.


Although I don't share the stark Manichean philosophy of this poster the Golden Rule is not a bad place to start when thinking about this.

This should not be a partisan political issue. It is a question of the relationship between state and citizen. This relationship is dramatically changed by these new technologies, to the marked disadvantage of the citizen and great advantage of the state. As one poster observed these technologies also create some vulnerability for the state, in particular the necessary reliance on technocrats who have no strong allegiance to the state. I don't think this balances the playing field in the long run but it is an interesting side issue.

edutcher said...

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

This should not be a partisan political issue.

Yeah, I'll bet he thinks that.

Son of, "Remain calm. All is well".

AReasonableMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AReasonableMan said...

Bruce Hayden said...
The problem today though is that Americans have a subconscious expectation of privacy in these areas, even though they may not have a legal one, and that is the tension.


This expectation has been largely based on their prior understanding of the considerable technical difficulties involved in creating a broad surveillance state in the US. Thanks to new technologies these technical problems have now been almost completely eliminated. I think people are generally conscious of the fact that a change has occurred but have had, until now, no issue for these concerns to coalesce around. Maybe this will be the point where a broad backlash occurs.

Darrell said...

People that grew up with party lines nevr had any expectation of privacy. Or visited friends working at phone co. relay centers who listened in on calls to check circuits or interference.

Unknown said...

Scratch a liberal....find a fascist.

edutcher said...

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

The problem today though is that Americans have a subconscious expectation of privacy in these areas, even though they may not have a legal one, and that is the tension.

This expectation has been largely based on their prior understanding of the considerable technical difficulties involved in creating a broad surveillance state in the US. Thanks to new technologies these technical problems have now been almost completely eliminated.


Like Hell.

We had it as far back as WWII. The methods were different, but, if FDR had wanted it, he could have known everything that going on.

The difference is we now have a cabal running the country that is totally unscrupulous in its desire to acquire and retain power.

Matt said...

The only reason Rush is in a holding pattern is because he has to decide which side a conservative Republican is supposed to take on this issue. And he can't figure that out just yet because many of them call the NSA guy a traitor. But by doing that they then are in a position to defend the NSA and therefore Obama. So he's confused. So are many other Republicans.

cubanbob said...

The schizophrenia of the government is awe inspiring. Extraordinarily competent at collecting and storing the data and possibly using it effectively ( we don't know the successes-especially in how the masters define success ) yet stunningly incompetent in who has access. How is it possible that low level types like Manning and Snowden have access to such information?

What hasn't been discussed is just how secure are our security agencies? If the Cold War history is a guide perhaps our agencies are making life easier for our adversaries.

AReasonableMan said...

Matt said...
The only reason Rush is in a holding pattern is because he has to decide which side a conservative Republican is supposed to take on this issue. And he can't figure that out just yet because many of them call the NSA guy a traitor. But by doing that they then are in a position to defend the NSA and therefore Obama. So he's confused. So are many other Republicans.


One major problem is the Patriot Act. All of these guys have defended this at one point or another against naive lefties and it will be difficult to back down without looking hypocritical.

The other issue is that the 'spies' are actually the privately owned service providers so it also touches on how much power these businesses have accumulated for themselves to the general detriment of private citizens.

El Pollo Raylan said...

ARM wrote Although I do share the stark Manichean philosophy of this poster the Golden Rule is a bad place to start when thinking about this.

Because all religion is politics?

edutcher said...

AnUnreasonableTroll said...

The only reason Rush is in a holding pattern is because he has to decide which side a conservative Republican is supposed to take on this issue. And he can't figure that out just yet because many of them call the NSA guy a traitor. But by doing that they then are in a position to defend the NSA and therefore Obama. So he's confused. So are many other Republicans.

One major problem is the Patriot Act. All of these guys have defended this at one point or another against naive lefties and it will be difficult to back down without looking hypocritical.


The Messiah first and foremost.

8 years ago, he was "outraged" by the PATRIOT Act, today, he's sticking with it.

It's Hell being Troll.

The other issue is that the 'spies' are actually the privately owned service providers so it also touches on how much power these businesses have accumulated for themselves to the general detriment of private citizens.

how dare these businesses succeed without government intervention?

Absolute power is only for Messiahs, right, Troll?

AReasonableMan said...

El Pollo Raylan said...
I, El Pollo Raylan, am a perverted little pederast who chases little boys whenever I get the chance.


I think I got your quote right?

leslyn said...

Why does Rush care NOW?

He is indeed a man who flows with the tides. Ponderously.

Matthew Sablan said...

Of all the people whining about why Rush is complaining about it now: How many of you listen to him daily, for years? Do you know he's never mentioned it before? Do you know what he's privately thought, while deciding other things should get more air time on his show?

These are serious questions from someone who never listened to him. How do you know his mind so well?

bbkingfish said...

Ann Althouse said...

"... I'm sure his antagonists have no idea he's so measured and thoughtful."

This one's a howler, even for Ann.

Why might Rush be "measured" on this issue?

Maybe because he has such a long record of using opposition to the Patriot Act to bash Democrats? Such a long, unbroken record that it's tough for even a worm to squiggle away from?

Here's Rush, responding to a caller Re: re-authorizing the Patriot Act, on 12/19/2005:

RUSH: Thank you, sir.

CALLER: I just wanted to say I really hope that every conservative will be ready and be patient, and God willing it won't happen, but if it does, if there's an attack after the Patriot Act now is dead, every Democrat, especially the leadership, they need to be held responsible for this.

RUSH: Oh. They will be.

CALLER: Because if it's proven that the attack was made possible because the intelligence industry did not have the tools of the Patriot Act to prevent it like they have the last four years, it's the Democrats' responsibility.

RUSH: Said this on Friday. We know who to blame. If we get hit again, we know whose responsibility it is. It's the Democrats in the Senate and these four Republicans: Larry Craig, Chuck Hagel, Lisa Murkowski and Sununu. For what reasons I can't imagine, they voted with the Democrats on this. Probably something to do with civil liberties, because I guess, you know, you gotta be concerned, folks. If you lose your civil liberties, what's life worth? You may as well die. (interruption) Craig doesn't like some of the provisions in the House bill? Larry Craig doesn't like it. Do you know what the provisions in the House bill are that Larry Craig doesn't like? Because I don't know what the provisions in the House bill are that Larry Craig doesn't like. I don't know what Hagel's reason is. I don't know any of their reasons, but I know they weren't sent there to vote this way, that's not what the people who elected them thought was going to end up happening. By the way, can I ask you a question? This whole NSA thing, this is how the template was set. And I'm not going to accept the premise that civil liberties have been violated. Somebody tell me what civil liberties have been violated.

Rush is "measured and thoughtful" now only because it's his least bad choice.

Matthew Sablan said...

Is what happened in 2005 the same as what was leaked in 2013?

If no, then, well, that was a silly nonsequitur.

Goju said...

What if the "more to come" is that the NSA was targeting conservatives and Obama's political opponents and their supporters? Right...right...could never happen. The IRS would never harass conservative groups, the EPA would never discriminate against conservatives, we can surely trust the govt......right????

Darcy said...

Ideologues are never going to address the new revelations. Nor the different context now that we know what this administration is capable of against its own citizens purely over political differences. They are simply going to charge hypocrisy and "He did it first!".

Michael Haz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uncle Pavian said...

The poroblem isn't so much that the data are collected. The problem is that it's being turned over to entities that will use it for extragovernmental purposes. Obtaining business advantage, suppression of dissent, settling messy child-custody cases. That aspect seems to have escaped a lot of people.