Saturday, March 22, 2014

(Do You Want To Spend the Rest of Your Life With Big Brother Watching Your Every Move?) Moment of Truth (Obama, the CIA, and the Limits of Conciliation)

I wish this guy godspeed.

(Whatever that means today.)

Dear Cirze:

After countless revelations about the NSA's rampant domestic surveillance of innocent people, a group of experts, hand-picked by the President himself, have issued a report with specific recommendations to rein in the NSA. The Review Group carefully analyzed the NSA's activities, and recently proposed changes that would protect our personal privacy, at no expense to our national security.

These proposals were presented as a coherent, comprehensive plan - and they should be treated as such. The President gave a speech recently and announced that he would accept a few of these proposals, but not all of them. That's not good enough. No one - not the President, nor the Defense Department, nor the so-called "Intelligence Community" - should get to cherry-pick which proposals they'll actually implement. The Review Group set forth a global program, not a menu.

We shouldn't have to trade our privacy and freedom for our safety. And we don't. The Review Group's recommendations proved that point, and showed us the way forward.

The Review Group's program is a serious start to reining in the spying-industrial complex. But without our support, that program will suffer crib death.

The spying-industrial complex will never reform itself. They never met a byte they didn't like, or want. That's why I've introduced the "Big Brother Is Not Watching You Act" - to curb the NSA's infatuation with spying on innocent Americans. My one-page bill directs the President to implement each and every one of the Review Group's 46 recommendations, within one year or less. Not just a few. Not half. Not even most. All of them.

If you agree, then please sign your name on our petition at, and I'll deliver your signatures to the White House. Together, we'll tell the President that we demand real reform of the spying-industrial complex, and we won't accept anything less.

Why? Because we are human beings - free, autonomous men and women who cherish our privacy, and respect the privacy of all others. We are not cattle.


Rep. Alan Grayson

P.S. Please, please, please forward this to your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else who is sick of the NSA's ubiquitous and unnecessary surveillance of innocent people. Urge them to sign the petition, and share it on Twitter, Facebook, everywhere. There is strength in numbers.

And now, back to the future:

Oh, Dianna,

We wrote a song about ya,

And just how much we loved ya,

How wrong could we be?

Feinstein v. the CIA: A Moment of Truth

By Robert Scheer, TruthDig

12 March 14

t was a truly historic moment Tuesday when Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein took to the Senate floor to warn that the CIA's continuing cover-up of its torture program is threatening our constitutional division of power. By blatantly concealing what Feinstein condemned as "the horrible details of a CIA program that never, never, never should have existed," the spy agency now acts as a power unto itself, and the agency's outrages have finally aroused the senator's umbrage.

As Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, chair of the Judiciary Committee that will be investigating Feinstein's charges noted, "in 40 years here, it was one of the best speeches I'd ever heard and one of the most important." That was particularly so, given that Feinstein's searing indictment of the CIA's decade-long subversion of congressional oversight of its torture program comes from a senator who previously has worked overtime to justify the subversion of democratic governance by the CIA and other spy agencies.
But clearly the lady has by now had enough, given the CIA's recent hacking of her Senate committee's computers in an effort to suppress a key piece of evidence supporting the veracity of the committee's completed but still not released 6,300-page study that the CIA is bent on suppressing.


Funny how people suddenly get religion only when they're personally affected. Feinstein has been one of the worst shills for the NSA, CIA, and the entire security state apparatus for years. It was okay when everyone else was being spied on and abused, but now the shoe is on the other foot.

Of course I'm glad she finally woke up, but it's still a sad commentary on the state of the country.

Given Feinstein's record and attachments, I doubt very much that she has woken up. I think one wants to ask what game is being played?

marvin jeglin Anarcissie
I want to believe that between Mark Udall revelation and Feinstein's carefully chosen words that the ghost of Frank Church has arisen anew in the senate chamber and some kind of control will be reasserted.
The CIA and executive have repeatedly violated the Constitution, been rewarded for their acts and received no detriment. The DOJ memos, from Yoo and Bybee, among others make the President a king, and, like all kings, security is first.

Cut the funding, Congress.

And the present?

Don't look now . . .

Obama, The CIA, and The Limits of Conciliation

Charles Pierce, Esquire

14 March 14

t is not too much of an exaggeration to say that, in one very important way, the president has lost control of his own government. The current constitutional crisis between the CIA and the Senate committee tasked with investigating its policies regarding torture during the previous administration has only one real solution that is consonant with the rule of law. Either CIA director John Brennan gets to the bottom of what his people were doing and publicly fires everyone involved, or John Brennan becomes the ex-director of the CIA.

By the Constitution, this isn't even a hard call. The Senate has every legal right to investigate what was done in the name of the American people during the previous decade. It has every legal right to every scrap of information relating to its investigation, and the CIA has an affirmative legal obligation to cooperate. Period. The only way this is not true is if we come to accept the intelligence apparatus as an extra-legal, formal fourth branch of the government.

That is the choice that the president should give Brennan. Right now. This morning. Nobody is asking for the release of tracking data regarding the current operatives of al Qaeda. This information is being withheld because, during the late Avignon Presidency, the CIA repeatedly broke the law in its treatment of captives and it did so with the blessing of the highest reaches of the American government.

That the president has not done this yet - indeed, that he seems to have thrown his support behind Brennan - is not merely a mistake, it is a demonstration of the practical limits of the political appeal that got him elected in the first place.

Increasingly, the election of Barack Obama seems to have functioned more as an anesthetic than as an antidote to the criminality of his predecessor's government. His message of conciliation allowed the American people to forget what they had allowed a cabal of bureaucrats and fantasists to hijack their government in the chaos and terror following the attacks of September 11.

The president offered the country, as I wrote at the time, absolution without penance. And he put that philosophy into action by declining right at the outset to prosecute, or even to thoroughly investigate, what had been done.

What we are seeing today is the final limit to looking forward, and not back. The CIA, and the rest of the intelligence apparatus of the country, was not reconciled to democracy. They were not brought properly to heal and the American people were not forced to confront the consequences of the terrible abandonment of self-government that, at its worst, the intelligence community represents.

The Senate investigation is really the last chance for even the ghost of a full accounting. (The CIA already destroyed videotapes of the torture sessions) The apparent interference with the Senate investigation is a constitutional crime of the first order. The president set himself to bring people together. That's a noble goal, and one with which few people would disagree. But it is not the CIA's goal. It never has been. Its long history of crimes and bungling have created a climate within the intelligence community that is anathema to intelligent self-government. The president is the only one who can change that. It's time that he start the job.


# reiverpacific2014-03-14

Does anybody up front EVER have control of the US government? Especially if they are inclined towards peace and conciliation (OK, I know all about the drones and "Target Tuesday") but Ob' has managed to avoid at least two potentially major, disastrous conflicts which others I can think of, including Twit Romney, would have had us deeply embroiled in with devastating cost in US and other nations' lives and another tanking global economy.

From what I read and hear, the war-hawk-monger s are still yelling in Ob's ear -and look what happened to other Presidents and major peace-makers.

The CIA, with it's huge Black Budget, unaccountable even to the president, is the most evil, crime-riddled and death dealing, omnipresent force on the planet. I mean, North Korea, East Germany, Romania, China and the former Soviet Union to name but a few, were and are run by ruthless dictators (after the separation and realignment of so many counties post WW11) kept down and relatively isolated by repressive governments but the C.I.A. operates murderously on a global scale - thankfully now ousted from much of South and some of Central Americas which they invaded, usurped and maintained as dictatorship-led banana republics for decades in the name of corporate control.

Exposing and gutting or deleting the Black Budget would be a good place to start -if one had the courage (and before some howl "wimp" at him, how would YOU go about pulling some rotting teeth from the jaws of the CIA jackal?).
# NOMINAE2014-03-14 21:22

Quoting MillValleyMaven:

Where have all the proofreaders gone!
Example: "They were not brought properly to heal" should be HEEL, as in a trained dog under control of its master...

Really! Isn't this some astounding crap? It seems inescapable these days.

Even the self-appointed erstwhile "arbiter" of proper English usage in the U.S., the New York Times, now looks, as do the majority of the articles appearing here on RSN, as if they are being written by semi-literate morons. Dim bulbs who cannot conceive that language is supposed to represent meaning, and that meaning cannot be accurately communicated without taking the time to master the skills necessary to clearly write.

This is like accepting the local butcher as a stand-in for your brain surgeon. Semi-literate writers should consider some other form of self-expression , unless they aim only to pleasure themselves.

Part of the problem is that editors have been "downsized" and replaced with machines that edit via some spell check program, which naturally *would* accept "heal" for "heel".

Another huge offender is the successful dumbing down of America which as been purposely undertaken over the last
three decades.

It is no accident, and it results in the fact that the both the New York Times and the Washington Post printed the fact that they were hiring teachers to help staff writers aim for a 6th grade reading level. And that's *today's* sixth graders. Consider .....
# Philothustra 2014-03-15 07:41

Yes, dimbulb should be one word and of course you use it in an incomplete sentence. Use of asterisks for italics is also frowned upon by Strunk & White and other arbiters of proper English!

These are not unpardonable errors or hanging offenses, of course. Perhaps you should ask the pardon of the POTUS... it seems he pardoned the entire BushCheney war conspiracy in one fell swoop, about 20 minutes after taking office and being frogmarched to the inner sanctum of the spyboys and the joint chiefs, to be told what he could and could not do....

But I am more concerned that you task our sixth graders with a needlessly redundant "facting" in your next to last sentence...
# harleysch 2014-03-14 12:59

This is not just a "calamitous appointment." Doesn't anyone remember the extraordinarily close relationship Obama has had with Brennan? They are drone partners, among other things. Brennan is extremely close to the Saudis, and he and Obama have continued the Bush League dependence on the Saudis, as in Syria.
# Vardoz 2014-03-14 13:01

Obama was extremely unprepared and inexperienced for the job. When one is dealing with a bunch of cut throat mafia types one has to be tough as nails. I think Bernie Sanders as a mayor, congressman and senator would be very experienced at negoiating the political swamp that is the current reality and has the negotiating experience that is needed.
# REDPILLED 2014-03-14 16:26

Nope. A serious Dem. or Repub. candidate for President of the Empire is always vetted by the Plundering Class oligarchs who actually run things to make sure s/he will follow the Wall Street/Corporate/Militarist agenda once in office, or else become another JFK.
# PABLO DIABLO 2014-03-14

"splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds." --- John Kennedy

Guess why that didn't happen? How long are we going to tolerate their mistakes? Oh, and lies. The CIA is beyond "out of control". Evidently they are running/ruining our government.
# JSRaleigh 2014-03-14 16:02

One minor correction ... that "cabal of bureaucrats and fantasts" hijacked the government BEFORE 9/11 ... along with the Bush administration' s crony capitalists.

Has everyone forgotten Enron, Chaney's National Energy Policy Development Group and rolling blackouts in California?

9/11 proved to be a diversion from cleaning up that mess and directly & inevitably contributed to the collapse of "too big to fail banks" in 2008.

# Archie1954 2014-03-14

The CIA and for that matter, the NSA have become rogue agencies with no need to account for their misdeeds. Their non accountability has given the bureaucrats and spies the impunity and immunity they now have to do the most heinous of crimes without worrying about penalties. The former Administration started this egregious ball rolling but the current one hasn't lifted a finger to stop it!
+2 # Steve B 2014-03-15

Regarding losing control of government, go back 50 years to the Cuban missile crisis. In a cable to Nikita Khrushchev, JFK pretty much said he was in danger of being deposed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and didn't know if he could keep control of his government. Read James Douglass' deep and thorough book, JFK And the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters to have some sense of what Obama is up against. Unfortunately, Obama has for whatever reason chosen to go along with the military industrial state ... what is required to give any President who hopes to reform some ground support is a critical mass of the heretofore uncritical masses awakening. The current NSA / CIA revelations are certainly waking people up!


Anonymous said...


So Paul thinks that nobody could have imagined what I have been warning about for years? Seriously? This dumb ole redneck could see what the stalwart economist couldn't?

Maybe you should send him to my blog so he can get educated about the realities he has ignored (or more likely intentionally hid).

The fact is that what we see and have experienced is as obvious as the gloss upon a new silk hat.

I guess Paul don't wear hats.

Cirze said...

I'm guessing you meant to comment on the Paul Krugman essay?

As for my understanding of Paul's thoughts (having been a long-time reader of his essays) on the continuing jobs crisis, Paul was one of the first economic reporters (so to speak) to predict that the timid stimulus would lead to very bad times indeed (and much more).

Perhaps he's just not as strenuous about it as many of our comrades are.

I will tell him to read your blog when I speak with him.

I know he'll be interested in what you have to say.