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September 13, 2013


One side of me is reassured by the news that the NSA had my information all along but didn't know it had it.

The other side of me is fairly sure that's something my evil alter ego would try to float as an explanation.

The upside to the A&M/Alabama game is that one of those teams will lose.

Probably NSA wasn't aware that it had impersonated Google in its quest to gather more data, and maintains that was just an accident.

if you're a paranoid employer, you can buy devices to decrypt SSL traffic on the fly.

I sort of enjoyed the Salon article proposing that we celebrate the anniversary of the financial collapse in 2008 by having Obama name Larry Summers the next Fed Chair--


I'm pretty sure that having the Russians step in and take responsibility for how things go in Syria was pure luck. But it's the kind of luck that we need more of:
- We avoid stomping into a quagmire that we were headed towards.
- Putin gets something to distract him for making mischief elsewhere (and gets to try frantically to get out of a Middle Estern mess, once he's in).
- And the two (or more) sides in Syria get to keep working their way thru the horrific slaughter that is apparently going to be required before the country can get to a stable peace.

The only reason not to like this is if you believe (from the left or right) that the US should be involved in, and take responsibility for, every problem that crops up anywhere in the world. Which is an insanity which seems particularly prevelent within the Beltway.


I agree. Assad seems to want us to promise not to arm the rebels. I say "DEAL!" Dunno if Obama & Congress will, though.

Trying again, with a comment that disappeared the first time. WRT Slarti's observation about the NSA having info about him they didn't know they had, I commend to him, and to all of you:

The Anderson Tapes, 1971 thriller in which "Duke" Anderson (played by Sean Connery) plans a robbery that is tracked by a number of government agencies, none of which do anything about it. (In the book, by Lawrence Sanders, this is represented by transcripts of audio recordings; in the movie, it's video, giving a prophetic vision of the ubiquitous but clueless surveillance state.) Just saw a bit of it on TV yesterday and had forgotten how good it was - including (which I had totally forgotten) an appearance by a very young Christopher Walken! Worth watching for its own sake, as well as for its relevance today.

Probably NSA wasn't aware that it had impersonated Google in its quest to gather more data, and maintains that was just an accident.

Well, as long as their selective focus doesn't get the facts wrong, no harm-no foul, right?


Very interesting (to me anyway) article by Jonathan Bernstein that I found by way of digby--

if Obama wants gop's help he must deal with torture first

Summary--Bernstein thinks Obama should have issued a blanket pardon to all the war criminals of the Bush Administration on the grounds that they thought they were doing it for the country, and then launched a truth commission to establish just exactly who did what, so we'd know who was responsible. He thinks that would have enabled sensible Republicans on foreign policy issues (there used to be some) to re-establish themselves and discredit the loonies. Instead, Obama swept it all under the rug, and the loonies are treated as statesmen.

I don't agree with all of Bernstein's views--for one thing, I think Obama and all American Presidents have this shared interest in brushing aside the very notion that high-ranking US officials could have committed war crimes, and that's part of why Obama didn't do what Bernstein suggests. But I think he's right that sweeping it under the rug has made war crimes and general looniness just another part of the foreign policy spectrum in American politics. Though come to think of it, what else is new?

I'm pretty sure that having the Russians step in and take responsibility for how things go in Syria was pure luck.

Most of history is luck and opportunity. It's those times when leaders lack flexibility and refuse to alter their predetermined routes that get us in trouble.

I'll take Obama's luck over Bush's any day.

Re: the NSA - what a clusterf****. There's too much big federal program money, and too many contractors on the federal teat, and too many high-end federal careers, sunk into it at this point, so it's not going anywhere. It has achieved sufficient bureaucratic critical mass that unwinding it will uncover a million other clusterf****'s.

It has metastasized. We've achieved stage 4 surveillance state.

There will, however, be improved oversight.

if Obama wants gop's help he must deal with torture first

This makes me puke in two different ways.

First, Obama's total sweeping of the Bush-era torture regime under the rug was an act, not of political cowardice, but of "I have more important things to do", which is perhaps worse. Or, maybe it was both. At a minimum, he should have let the process of justice proceed without interference. He did not need to take a side, he should have stayed the hell out of it.

Second, the whole idea that it's Obama's fault that moderate (R)'s won't grow a freaking set and speak up about the batsh*t insanity that characterizes the bulk of the (R) electorate is one of the lamest, weakest, most gutless exercises of sleeveless rhetorical BS that I've heard in a while.

Which is saying a lot.

If they're all verklempt about the Bush-era torture program, they certainly have the platform to speak about it. They don't need Obama to hold their hand and lead the way.

And I simply don't buy the idea that moderate (R)'s reluctance to support a moderate, realistic US foreign policy is due to some kind of torture cooties that have somehow transferred from Bush 43 to Obama due to his (Obama's) failure to take a strong position.

They have their own torture cooties to expunge.

The time for those guys to speak out strongly about torture was in 2005, or 2006, or 2007, or 2008. They did not. Powell, Lugar, pick any so-called (R) "moderate" that you like - where were they on torture when the program was actually going full steam? Or when, following Obama's victory in 2008, there actually was some public discussion of how to deal with program and its legacy?

But now it's Obama's fault that they can't be persuaded to support a non-insane foreign policy.

What a bunch of children.

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