We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Thursday, June 5. 2014
Update on sherpas
The Real Medieval History Behind Game of Thrones' Trial by Combat
Another federal judge rules on legality of NSA surveillance
Klavan: Homofascism Should Be Crushed
10 States Most Dependent on the Federal Government
Front-Runner To Head VA Predicts Obamacare Will Lead To Single-Payer
The NRA concludes that these open carry activists are alienating the public and harming gun rights.
NRA is right. Those people are idiots.
Do boys ever think about sex?
California 'Affirmative Consent' Bill Puts Colleges in Untenable Position
Residential colleges are either in loco parentis, or not.
When Work Is Punished - Why The Poor Stay Poor
Gallup Reveals the Obvious: Our Moral Collapse Continues
'Islamophobia' Thought Crimes at Berkeley
“Fast Eddie” Snowden’s problem with the truth
Barack Obama, Freedom of Speech and Operation Choke Point… you’d better watch out, you might be next!
Michelle O Versus Science And Reality
George Will: When a president goes rogue
Image below via Moonbattery
'Affirmative Consent' Bill Puts Colleges in Untenable Position - See
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Video - Widow of Soldier Slain in Bergdahl Search Speaks Out - Hannity
So that CA bill requiring affirmative consent- Sounds like it's easier just to say "I Do" at the altar one time. Maybe those old squares weren't so daft.
10 states most dependent on Fed Govt- Does this count military spending and personnel?
Or just don't date college students.
I wonder how many women will get in trouble for not obtaining affirmative consent?
"When work is punished".
The problem is that welfare today is a big giveaway, payola, winning the lottery. People, usually women, on welfare can suck off of a couple hundred different programs offerring cash, benefits, vouchers, handouts, housing, medical, legal, education, etc. They can do this litterally from cradle to grave;many welfare moms were welfare children and even after their kids are grown and collecting welfare of their own "grandma" continues to suck off the government teat. Why? Because they can. The law was intentionally designed to make it easy for a woman to get onto welfare for life. studies have shown that at election time welfare moms vote Democrat 170% of the time (in fact in 2012 Democrats did get as much as 190% of the vote garnering more votes then there were adults in areas noted for greater welfare populations). Welfare was designed to prewvent you from getting off of it.
Welfare has long since passed the well intended intent to provide a safety net for families and is now a hammock to lay about in. If it wasn't for welfare all the 7-11's and other nieghborhood stores would heave to sell necessities instead of cigarettes, beer and wine. If not for welfare drug pushers would have to find a job. The welfare that voters pay for and Democrats depend on to get elected for the most part is spent by the parents to support their bad habits and not to feed their children. For instance, have you ever wondered why a child whose mother is getting $600 a month in food stamps needs to eat two and sometimes three meals at school (also paid for by the tax payers)? Well of course the mother is cashing in the food stamps to buy crack and pot so the kids need to be feed by the school system even in the summer when school is out.
So what's the solution? End welfare and replace it with workfare. Turn it over to the states (since the federal government cannot constitutionally even have a welfare program). And require that anyone wishing to receive benefits work 40 hours a week and receive minimum wages, no more, no less. Also withhold SS and taxes just like they do for productive working class people. No other benefits, just a minimum wage job.
"Do boys ever think about sex? "
From all the reports, it seems many female teachers are working hard to make those thoughts, "Oh hell, not again."
The short shorts aren't that bad. What I found distracting was when in 10th grade several of the girls who had hit their stride over the summer wore their 9th grade sweaters. There is something about straining fabric or buttons that leads a boy's imagination.
When I was a high school boy girls were indeed objects of sexual longing so while "Fat Amy" may wish that weren't true, for some unknown reason, it seems biology dictates differently. And I'm happy about that from the perspective of continuation of the species.
Open carry asshats.
Can't think of any good reason why someone would carry an uncased rifle or shotgun into a restaurant.
In the mail today from the NRA, offer to enroll me in a sweepstakes. The prize. Up to 31 different guns!
I live in Massachusetts. OK, I have to laugh.
However, and I am probably the wrong person to play devils advocate, the states in which those "open carry" incidents occurred were in the southwest. In states that until recently, meaning they bulldozed out housing and apartments and of course restaurants. The prototypical oldtime resident of that area was a rancher, in a pickup with a gun rack in the back window. He's still there, still has the pickup, and still uses the gunrack.
Way back before the housing developments he knew everyone within twenty miles and didn't worry about leaving his rifle in plain sight while he ate lunch. Today he'd just as soon bring it into the restaurant with him. He's been carrying that particular tool around with him for forty years and never made a mistake in it's use. His sons (and daughters) probably feel the same way. The more the newcomers and the idiots who drive more than an hour each way to work in the city get pissy and tell him he can't carry that rifle into town the more stubborn he is going to get about doing just that.
In Brooklyn, not so much.
But if the "right" of citizens openly carrying firearms bothers you, then I hope you will enthusiastically support local "concealed carry".
I have a concealed carry permit from one of those southwestern states and do a lot of upland hunting and competitive trap shooting in Nevada, Arizona New Mex and Utah.
I've seen guns in pickup trucks, but I've never seen an uncased rifle or shotgun in a restaurant.
The NRA is right, those morons are making the public relations fight over the second amendment more difficult.
consent means knowing or fully informed consent.
CONSENT TO SEX FORM CTS-1
California Sex and Education Code Sec. 329932.23(a)
You are being asked to take part in sex. Sex includes only people who choose to take part. You may withdraw or cry at any time. This document is called an informed consent form.
1. Time: Commencing _____am/pm Ending ______am/pm (or sooner). Under California law, consent expires after six (6) minutes. Therefore, one (1) form must be filled out for each six minute interval.
2. Names (if known):
3. Total number of participants:
a. Soft Limits:
b. Hard Limits:
c. Curious About:
5. Birth Control (specify):
6. STD disclosure:
7. Other risks, discomforts:
8. Compensation (if any, including non-monetary):
9. Conflict of Interests (other In/Significant Others):
10. "No" means "Yes" (including, "oh Yesssss!") waiver:
11. Top Bunk Non-Defense Acknowledgment. Sex occurring in a top bunk is not an affirmative defense against involuntariness. __ Initial.
12. Social Media Disclosure (including live streaming, instagram, facebook, friendster):
13. Pregnancy Disclosure:
14. Disappointment/Results Not Guaranteed Waiver:
15. Parental Consent (if necessary, attach Form CTS-2)
Let's do it (safely)!
Dave Chappelle did this exact thing as a skit. We thought it was humor not just foreshadowing (like Idiocracy).
Not for nothing, but we're supposed to believe NSA lawyers?
They release one email and we're supposed to accept that was the only email and that's all he said?
I have to wonder who is being naive.
I don't necessarily think Snowden is a saint or pure as the driven snow. But I'll take his word over theirs 90% of the time. If you've ever blown a whistle (I have), you know one thing - how you blow it is the most important point. If Snowden had stepped out and said he thought they were breaking the law, the protections he'd have received were minimal, at best. He had to do what he did in a very particular way to avoid drawing attention to himself or leading to any kind of legal action against himself (which could have occurred).
If comments about Snowden's 'lying' are still important, I'd add "So What?" Let's face it, it's liar versus liar. There is absolutely, positively NO WAY politicians and bureaucrats who want him in shackles are telling the truth.
Versions of the truth? Sure, everyone has shaded their position.
But at the end of the day, I'll take Snowden over a bureaucrat/politician, thank you.
I hope snowden is murdered some day by some intelligence agency's wet squad.
he could have done his whistling in some other way, but he chose to cause as much damage to the United States as he could, and people have died because of it and the actual damage to American interests not fully public, for reasons that should be obvious. his misconduct was way out of proportion to what the sins of the NSA he was exposing. he could have done the right thing at a fraction of the cost, but no, he's either a traitor or a deranged narcissist. either way, he's got plenty of domestic support.
he could have faced the consequences in an American court, pleaded his case, made his point, garnered support among the Left and allied pinkos, but he ran. an acknowledgment of guilt if there ever was one.
I'll take American jurisprudence over snowden or the NSA, otherwise, all you have left is pure anarchy, my fond desire for his murder notwithstanding.
Note: if snowden claims to have sent emails .. where are they? he's blown other secret correspondence for less reason, why not provide the world with exculpatory evidence?
that's not a rhetorical question.
A) who has died? From what I've seen, nobody.
B) claims that his expose hurt anti-terrorist work is BS. All the cases which were claimed to have been supported by NSA spying were ultimately proven to have benefited not a whit.
C) the one high-profile case the spying SHOULD have caught, the Tsarnaevs, it failed completely and utterly on. So much for the 'benefits'
D) he did go through proper channels and the NSA actually admitted this - though they have clearly whitewashed it to their benefit. It's also worth noting the whistleblower laws for government employees are VERY DIFFERENT than for you and me at a corporation. WE get job protection. THEY get thrown in jail (unless they manage to find other ways to protect their case and themselves, which is not easy).
Is Snowden clean? Nah, I've never said that, nor would I. But he's not hurt us one bit. Not at all. Oh yeah, the PR sucks, sure. But all he did was expose what most nations already knew, as did you and I - that we're being spied on by our elected officials. Illegally, in most cases.
Your last question is logical - though maybe he does have them. Certainly the NSA has one which does SUPPORT his claim (if not perfectly, it doesn't undermine his claim at all). My guess is Snowden probably does have more information - he's clearly been very good about timing his releases for mass effect.
By the way, you say there should be obvious reasons. Um, the only obvious reason I've seen is that he realized he'd likely have been killed if he went through normal channels. If the outcome has a high probability either by going through normal channels or outside channels - which method has the higher probability of getting your story out there? I'd say he made the right choice.
No, I don't trust US jurisprudence. Not when it comes to classified information I think any set of interviews of General Alexander, if you take the time to read them, can answer why I don't trust it. He prefers to keep it all secret, and with good reason. HE knows he's breaking the law. But by telling people "Hey, I'm PROTECTING YOU and YOU don't want to know what I'm doing to keep you safe," people say "oh, how nice, let's let the nice man do his job and stay ignorant."
Nah. I'm not buying it.
I'm not sold on Snowden. I'm less sold on the idea of any damage. God knows Obama has done far more damage on his own than Snowden could dream of.
Running to China and then Russia doesn't raise REALLY BIG suspicions in you, BD? It does for me.
No, it doesn't. What would you do if you realized the questions you were raising could get you killed?
He just took off and looked for places he could hide and potentially avoid extradition as any intelligent person would.
Remember, his initial intent was to not go to Russia. That was a secondary result. And Hong Kong while being part of China, has specialized laws so it's not really "China proper"
I meant to say" if the outcome of death has a high probability"
Point is - if you're likely to get killed, don't you want to make sure your story gets out?
He succeeded in doing both things he wanted - staying alive and getting the story out. I have to say, that is indicative of a very high level of brilliance. Remember, they tried to paint him as a less than average intelligent sub-contractor initially. That attempt failed, for obvious reasons. Clearly, Snowden is not average.
Narcissitic? Yeah, I'm with you on that. But so is Obama.
A) re deaths.. I retract that. on the other hand, you can't be sure otherwise, see, B)
B) the government is not going to tell you (the general public and everyone else in the world) exactly how snowden hurt this country because its not going to signpost damages or expose weaknesses, or means and methods, for now or for the future. if anything, its going to deflect or minimize. in fact, there are secrets still being declassified from WW2 because means and methods that were valuable 60+ years ago apparently still are. that's what I meant when I invited you to consider reasons that should be obvious. I don't know what reasonable basis you have for believing that the government owes this kind of explanation to the public (and everyone else in the world).
belief that it does is just insanity. in other words, the people who need to know these things aren't going to tell.
or maybe, and you should clarify this if I'm misstating your position, that you don't believe the government should hold any secrets from the public, including methods such as those intercept programs (I'm not referring to the content, only the methods). if you say, well, some should be secret, consider that snowden stole something like 1.7 million documents (number might be lower), do you think he vetted each theft to make sure that only "ok" secrets were revealed? yes? no?
if you think that American justice is so corrupt and broken that you're using that assertion as a justification for his theft, what's the point of any of this??? everything about this place is a lie?
Any explanation how NSA whistleblowers William Binney, Thomas Andrews Drake, Perry Fellwock, Mark Klein, Thomas Tamm and Russ Tice all managed to avoid government death squads?
1. I firmly believe that the NSA should gather foreign intelligence. The nature of that intelligence and the means of gathering should be classified. Snowden never should have revealed any of it.
2. I also believe just as firmly that the NSA shouldn't be gathering data on Americans, and no agency should be allowed to without a specific warrant. I applaud Snowden for releasing this information. I'm appalled by what our government has turned into. The Forth Amendment still stands - and most of these bastards took an oath to protect it.
On the whole I guess I have to reluctantly support Snowden.
1. Do you support snowden's whistle blowing methods and would give him a Get out Of Jail Free card because his criminal act exposed worse criminal acts?
2. Or, are you really condemning the NSA's overreaching, unconstitutional and damnable misconduct.
I'm all on board with 2, but 1 is wrong. Snodwen ought to be tried and convicted, then, if there's any reason to mitigate his sentence, consider what good might come from these exposures and what facts aggravate his crime.
If he'd released a carefully chosen fraction of those stolen documents and faced the consequences and fought a good fight, he'd be a legitimate hero.
You should retract that - but not being sure doesn't mean it's worth mentioning. As you point out, if lives have been lost, wouldn't the government have evidence they could put forward? Oh....it's secret. Ahem. No, I don't think so. That's just a ready excuse.
Yes, I do expect the government to tell me. We live in a free society. Just because information is kept quiet in wartime doesn't mean saying "we're in a war on terror" makes all of us criminals worthy of surveillance. You making excuses for the government is actually rather sad. You actually TRUST these fools? Even in wartime (which has not been declared) I don't trust them.
You named a few whistleblowers who did things right.
Binney - too highly visible to kill off. Snowden is no comparison.
Drake - again highly placed
Fellwock - basically did what Snowden did without leaving, but rules were significantly different then AND he went to Ramparts - a radical magazine that was willing to get him exposure. He still used a pseudonym.
Klein - protected by corporate whistleblower laws.
Tamm - pseudonym to the Times, but a highly placed Justice official
Tice is probably your best example. But note:
Tice was dismissed by the NSA in May 2005 just days after publicly urging Congress to pass stronger protections for federal intelligence agency whistleblowers facing retaliation, and claiming that whistleblowers were being punished.
His call for better whistleblower protections for intelligence workers was REJECTED.
Snowden was much lower on the totem pole than ANY of these guys. He goes 'missing', who cares?
These guys were all well known, or their stories out, before anyone was paying attention. Snowden never would've gotten the same treatment and it's naive to assume he would've. Just think back a year at how he was described by the government. Now think today and ask yourself - who was being more truthful in those descriptions?
Snowden is embellishing, he's narcissistic, he's many things. But the government, which you seem to TRUST, is much worse. Yes, I'd run.
As far as the danger of the information he released poses - it's all hurt PR, no lives. I'll again ask you to answer for the Tsarnaevs - tailor made for this program - and why the program FAILED.
We can't make systems like these work effectively. I applaud Snowden and wish he would get a pardon. Those you mention, who came before him, all know he merely expanded on their work. Yes, they'd prefer he didn't run. But I completely understand why - some of these guy were harassed, had their homes raided ILLEGALLY, etc.
Is it worth it? If you're a low level employee likely to go 'missing'? Nope.
Like NJ Soldier, I opt for the lesser of two evils. That is Snowden.
as I've said before, the government will not signpost specific areas where leaked information has caused damage, and that may include loss of life. do you understand how that can help an enemy? I'm retracting the statement only because I cannot say for certain, you are holding to the "everything's rosy" as an argument from ignorance.
Is this because having a snodwen noble enough to pardon conforms with your fantasy of a government itching to hunt down and kill whistle blowers (when it hasn't already), where no state secrets may be kept, and if leaked cannot possibly injure national interests because you're not reading about the details online?
I get it, he's a Folk Hero. Like Bandit outfoxing Smokey, except he's fled to Russia.
you "opt" for snowden? is this an "either/or" situation? he should be arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced according to federal sentencing guidelines, where aggravating and mitigating factors are considered. but you've conveniently declared American jurisprudence untrustworthy. except you don't really believe that, on a forum where the sacred ground the founding fathers trod is worshiped, and the constitution (carefully edited but still including Article III judges) shines forth from a hilltop.
and, of course, if someone not named snowden stole your company's trade secrets/confidential information, lawyers would be in court next week asking for a restraining order/injunction.
according to your analysis, Robert Hanssen's mistake was not going public with the secrets he sold to the soviets when he was caught, that would have made him a whistle blower and a folk hero, worthy of a pardon.
Tsarnaevs: the government failed. so what's the point? the government failed on 9/11, it failed at Pearl Harbor. are you saying all intelligence programs are worthless? how can you sanely conclude this from cherrypicked examples?
you think he should be pardoned. convicted criminals are pardoned. and while we both agree he should be convicted, what crime do you think he's committed? if nothing he stole had any value, or caused any damage, what's the crime? theft of a $5 memory stick?
I'm not holding an 'everything's rosy' view - you assume I am. I'm simply saying "why should I trust the government to ever be honest with me about anything when they have consistently proven they are not reliable."
That alone is enough for me to question their claims of ANY damage. Assuming SOME damage, though, would mean that at this point we should be aware of SOMETHING - don't you think? I mean, someone, somewhere, should have talked, leaked, complained or otherwise said something. That's how our system works. Nobody can keep their mouth shut, can they?
So much for "ignorance", more like "cynicism". Which is perfectly legitimate.
My comment about Snowden potentially being killed isn't illegitimate. While saying they haven't already is fair and I have never said they have, it is a modest assumption since there's about as much evidence of the government killing whistleblowers (while I find all the bizarre Clinton coincidences odd, I never thought any of those people were killed deliberately - but if you'd like, that's more than enough evidence for me to make my claim that people DO get killed) as there is that Snowden did damage. Fair enough? So, if you're willing to assume this on YOUR side, then you have to accept that it's OK for me to assume what I want on MY side. Yes?
That said, put yourself in his very low profile shoes, considering your potential fate while trying to take information public. Do you HONESTLY think you wouldn't think there was a good chance you were a dead man? Just on a personal level? And if you think "No", please think a second time and a third. Because it's really not so outlandish.
He's no folk hero. I never said that. This is you putting words in my mouth. So...not sure why you care WHERE he is - that's all just window dressing. I'd flee too. Problem is, there are precious few places to go these days.
This is, in fact, and either/or situation. You can believe one or the other. Or neither, but in choosing neither you have to weigh the evidence and make determinations about who is more believable before passing judgement as easily as you just did. I have declared American jurisprudence untrustworthy. I think people like you make the court of public opinion a guiding factor.
I think Snowden would come back if people like you weren't so thirsty to see him in jail. Ease up a bit, toss him in with Tice, and maybe he'd return. But that's already an option which has been denied him.
According to my analysis I said nothing about Hanssen. You did. You took my points to illogical and absurd extremes.
I didn't cherry pick the Tsarnaevs. Failure is an indication of worth. Show me where it worked, and don't rely on "I can't because that will give the opposition too much information" bull. Fact is, the government TRIED to show that it worked, and FAILED MISERABLY IN THE ATTEMPT. Game, set, match. Domestic surveillance program utter failure. But yet, it still continues.... why? Because guess what? Someday we'll have a leader who decides it's OK to chase down people because of the color shirt they wear, the car they drive or some other nonsense. But by that stage, there won't be anybody with the gonads to stop them.
Which is precisely why Franklin said those who are willing to give up liberty in exchange for safety deserve neither. You're willing to give some of one up for the other? I'm not. I'll take my chances, and I don't want people like you saying it's OK for the government to be infringing on my liberties, thank you. You don't have that right OR that responsibility.
I think he should be pardoned for lack of a better term. I don't believe he should be convicted. He's no worse than any of the men you listed. Perhaps, if you'd like, you can give me a better term to use which would allow him to come home and face no charges?
Charges should be dropped. How's that?
There's nothing he did that was 'wrong'. As most people are fond of saying regarding his releases "hey, we knew it was going on anyway, he just confirmed it."
If so, then what did he do wrong? Confirming what you knew? That's a pretty stupid charge.
FWIW, when I said toss him in with Tice, what I meant was classify him in the same fashion. The difference between Tice and Snowden, to you, seems to be two things:
1. Tice didn't release classified information (not a big deal to me since Snowden did us all a favor and Tice more or less said so)
2. Tice didn't flee the country - no big deal to me considering THIS:
On the heels of the first Edward Snowden NSA disclosures in 2013, Tice was asked during an interview on All In with Chris Hayes, "What was your experience in trying to blow the whistle from inside the NSA? And does it make you understand why Snowden might have done what he did?" Tice replied, "Oh, absolutely. I learned the hard way, you cannot trust any of the internal supposed mechanisms that are there for oversight. The chain of command, the IG [Inspector General]'s office, even at the DOD IG I found was basically trying to put a knife in my back.
The Whistleblower Protection Act does not apply to the intelligence community. They're exempt from it. And most people in the intelligence community, they don't realize that. So, you can't even go to the Office of Special Counsel because they're exempt from that, too, and the merit system protection board.
So even if you use the whistleblower - intelligence community Whistleblower Protection Act, the only thing that gives you is the right to go to Congress. It doesn't - it doesn't have any teeth there to protect you against retribution from the agency that you're reporting abuse on."
EVEN TICE respects Snowden had to take the steps he took.
are you claiming that the government has no right to keep any confidential information from the public, meaning everyone on the planet? that's not a rhetorical question, I'm curious about what's behind your position. assume "confidential information" includes (until last week) the name of the CIA station chief in Afghanistan and your SSN and VA medical records; our own diplomatic cables; military, state department and intelligence strategic planning documents, procedure and protocol documents. that is, a lot of things most sane people want to keep out of our enemies' hands.
it seems to all boil down to this fundamental issue. because if there's no government right (which is contrary to law, some documents are considered "born" classified), then sdnowens' release of something over 1,700,000 documents without bothering with the usual redaction process makes him a legitimate folk hero -- how dare the government deny you the location of Australian SIGINT facilities.
if he only wanted to expose the NSA's criminal misconduct, he could have done it with, oh, maybe only a tiny fraction of that number.
I bet there's an overlap between what Hanssen and sodwdwne stole. Hanssen did it for money, and, I guess, snowdeen did it for love? is that that why he's such a cool dude?
In re: States Return On Taxes Paid.
I see these sorts of discussions periodically and I dislike them intensely, because the numbers do not exclude direct military spending but do exclude indirect military spending. Money paid to soldiers in wages counts but money paid to Lockheed or Boeing is not. It's obvious that comparisons like these should either exclude all military spending (my choice) or include all military spending (pretty tough to break out by state).
other studies claim that Virginia and Maryland are far and away the biggest winners of the "get more than you give" Federal Lottery. The miles of office buildings full of federal employees in Virginia and Maryland has to top anything the rest of the states receive. your study must have been done by CBO economists, the same clowns that said Obamacare would reduce the deficit, lower healthcare costs and cover more people at the same time.