Data Insecurity and the Potential for Mischief

Watching local TV news this evening -- something I rarely do -- I was reminded again of how fickle technology can be.

We've recently learned that the personal information of 26,000 Department of Agriculture employees and contractors has been compromised. The Federal Trade Commission had some of its data nicked, too, but at least some humor could be found on that story: "Many of the people whose data were compromised were being investigated for possible fraud and identity theft."

Consider also the serious data security breaches in the Department of Veteran's Affairs, college campuses and private businesses. Just because personal data is more accessible now than it was 20 years ago doesn't mean everyone's running out to commit the crime, but it does make identity theft easier, and thus more prevalent.

Similarly, DRE technology makes vote fraud easier -- no stealing ballot boxes required -- just a couple minutes with a machine to insert a different memory card is all it takes.

As explained by the co-founders of VoterAction in a meeting at the Post, the rogue memory card transmits information that disables key security features, rendering the tampering untraceable. Even if the errors are caught and the machine is reformatted, a subtle change in the base programming remains, still capable of affecting the machine's tally.

Even assuming the risk of fraud is relatively low, why take the chance? The risk of vapors igniting in a jet's fuel tank is relatively low, too, but given that a device does exist that can better control the danger, wouldn't you rather fly on a plane equipped with the device?

Our votes play a far greater role in how we live and how we die. The leaders we choose determine the wars we fight, the healthcare we receive, and the laws governing everything from end-of-life decisions to vehicle safety standards. We cannot afford to be indifferent about safeguarding this most sacred of rights.

By Emily Messner |  June 22, 2006; 11:50 PM ET  | Category:  National Politics
Previous: Voting ABCs: Avoid Butterflies and Chads | Next: One Vote Away From Limiting Freedom

Blogs That Reference This Entry

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/cgi-bin/mt/mtb.cgi/8143

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



One major problem we face is that hard-core partisans supervise the voting process - in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004, the secretary of states were co-chairs of the state (re)elect Bush campaign .... their lack of neutrality in managing elections in their states was transparent and disgraceful

in my state (Mn) our election judges are picked to balance the 2 major parties, meaning other parties are not putting election judges in the voting precincts

our machines seem reliable, but Diebold's top officer pledged to help Bush's election ... his is the company which produces many voting machines in use ... and who's software code is a private secret and not aavailable for checks by neutral independence ....

makes Chicago's voting dead of the 1960 election seem quaint ....

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | June 26, 2006 06:46 PM

If I were a PR person for Diebold I would throw around terms like "Modern," and "Advanced" and "Sufficient Safeguards" (which is NOT the same as fail-safe but sounds kinda like it) and so forth in a desperate attempt to make people who mention the increased potential for fraud and the threat to democracy sound like fuddy-duddy Luddites.

Unfortunately, this has become about money, which to some people is FAR more important than a viable democracy. I would be interested to know if there is a line of cash (direct or broken) between diebold and the politicrats (Democrat AND Republican).

And at the risk of sounding too cynical, I am sure that for every problem the public knows about it there are several only the makers know about. Microsoft never says "Buy our bug-ridden new program that make hackers laugh themselves silly." They release the wretched thing and then wait until people start to shout.

The people who brought you the electronic voting machine have convinced themselves a "few problems here and there" don't really matter. Perhaps they have done some Ford Pinto like analysis and decided the potential risk that the machines' problems will harm the sacred bottom line is so slight they won't invest any money in making these less prone to meddling and errors. Accountability? No thanks.

Can the company be sued or the CEO thrown in jail if a known program flaw screws up an election? I doubt it, so there is no reason for them to care. True, the machines would be banned, but the company will have already made its money and the states might be tempted to hang on to them until they can buy something new.

Any change will have to come from the opposite direction: Concerned voters (hopefully all voters) making a ruckus. Which is how it SHOULD be.

Posted by: NII | June 26, 2006 06:55 PM

From the commondreams.com link above:
===========================================
"Diebold programmers created the security hole intentionally as a means of quickly upgrading voting software on its electronic voting machines"
===========================================

This, for folks who don't know, is common in software development (there are many backdoors into programs, which are intentionally left so programmers can test and get around the front door security. This is but a hide and seek game for hackers, since they l-o-v-e finding these holes [and associated "easter eggs" which almost all programmers insert]).

Not surprised, and not surprised if worms, viruses and trojans get inserted via a fake card too (very simple to do, and it has zero to do with the OS used. *nix is as crackable as Windows).

Voting machines need to be self-closed machines, because as soon as something can access them to INSERT data they can be exploited.

But don't expect politicians to understand this 101 lesson, since they can barely operate their email to begin with (which is why they're so dumbfounded on ANY computer/internet security issue and helping to plug the loopholes [like requiring software developers to close those damn backdoors on commercial products, as they're too lazy to go through the front -- maybe if they did, they'll find the holes on the front porch as well!!).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 26, 2006 08:26 PM

Emily wrote:

As explained by the co-founders of VoterAction in a meeting at the Post, the rogue memory card transmits information that disables key security features, rendering the tampering untraceable.

Emily, where do these rouge memory cards come from?

On the whole I agree with you about the paper trail, but there needs to be quality assurance or the potential for quality assurance to go with it. On its own a paper trail can not recreate an election. An independant check of votes being cast (while still maintaining confidentiality of the votes being checked) to compare with actual results being tallied.

Posted by: DK | June 26, 2006 08:40 PM

DK,

They can be made at home. Much like EPROM reformatting can be done. All you would have to do next is reflash and bye bye original software data.

Hardware updates now are flashed (remember the BIOS on your computer?). All it takes a clever hacker to do is reflash a terminal with his own data (or whatever bug), and it's own3d.

Which is why these terminals need to be self-closed -- no voter or pollster can insert any card or device to a terminal, period.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 26, 2006 11:29 PM

Well, if data insecurity is such a problem, shouldn't we have laws that punish all those who obtain and transmit personal or government data protected by law to 3rd Parties?

Without a "except for the press" caveat?

Besides confidential info databases on people, we also have confidential programmatic databases within the government that have been taken by unauthorized personnel and given to the Press to divulge.

Now, we know that if a member of the Sulzberger Family of the NYTimes had obtained stolen data on the NSA intercept program and been discovered on his way to Pakistan with the data on a microdot concealed in his bootheel, he's a traitor and a spy. If he is surveilled meeting with a Jihadi agent here in the USA discussing the stolen intel secrets, he's a traitor and a spy.

But if he uses his family newspaper to divulge the same data more broadly with the intent of revealing and destroying the effectiveness of the program, he is protected? If instead of a covert meeting, to talk about stolen government data of great use to the "other side", the Sulzberger shouts it out to a large audience with a bullhorn, is that also "protected"? Or an interview with Al Jazeera that spills the beans?

Now, no need for a Sulzberger or a flunky hiree like Bill Keller to abandon their august NYC publishing HQ as "sanctuary from legal consequences", but what about ordinary enemy sympathizers stealing gov't data that don't have total legal freedom because they don't own a press? Or if not enemy sympathizers, just simple partisans that consider Bush more dangerous than the terrorists, and any action that damages America also damages BUSH - and so is ethical in their minds?

Are their options in this modern age of communications limited to passing on what they hope will reach enemy ears to the MSM?

Or does ownership of a blog, or having a Islamist friend who has a website, also give them "1st Amendment sanctuary" if they post the US military and intelligence secrets, WMD info, or data on civilian targets - straight to the Internet??

Emily writes: " Consider also the serious data security breaches in the Department of Veteran's Affairs, college campuses and private businesses."

Indeed. And add the ones in the military, CIA, NSA, Homeland Security, DOJ that can end up helping to kill Americans - not just serve as tools to defraud or tinker with an election, less serious crimes.

If you wish to punish less threatening forms of data theft, you have to be willing to punish data theft in matters of life and death.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 27, 2006 01:07 AM

Chris,

The NYTs isn't a traitor or spy for revealing this information. It's actually a free press doing it's job (and come on Chris, you got to be gloating of the NYT piece on Daily Kos). See it's not a-l-l bad. ;)

If the White House can't keep such things a secret, they really shouldn't be in office -- I mean Kennedy kept a lid on his sex affairs tighter than the Bush White House on national security matters! You'd think such a paranoid bunch who clam up in site of the MSM, could at least clam up on real secrets, right?

Don't expect the media to not report juicy news, especially newspapers that need the revenue.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 27, 2006 06:33 AM

National Security secrets involve - sometimes - hundreds if not thousands of people aware of or implementing measures - people appointed from both Parties or pure idependent technocrats, so don't pull an infantile "loyalty to Bush" argument, SandyK.

Many have no loyalty to Bush, or the oath they swore, or the laws they agreed to obey either. This is not about an inner circle of Kennedy hacks or press hagiographers who knew JFK was banging away in the White House.

The way you go after the lawbreakers is to go after the people that conspired with them to violate the law and leak. Meaning you jail the reporters until they reveal sources, then prosecute the leakers out to aid the Jihadis, sabotage a program they disapprove of, or who are simply out to install a Democrat via damaging national security.

It was the NYTimes after all, that stupidly pontificated the loss to the nation of disclosing Valerie Plame's name (other than when her husband Joe Wilson bragged about her CIA job to neighbors or at Georgetown parties) - was so immense that the leakers must be found at all costs.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 27, 2006 08:40 AM

Ford,
For some reason you continually beleive the horse crap that comes spewing out of this administrations mouth about the press divulging secrets about our survailence capibilities. When will you do the research to find out that this information has been public knowlege for a period of years. This administration has and continues to violate the Constitution of the United States not to mention untold laws both domestically and internationally. They are such hippocrits that if it weren't so sad what they are doing it almost might be funny.

This administration can't even keep it's own lies straight anymore because it has told sooooo many it can't remember exactly what it said. It's civil rights record is in the toilet, but yet hold and condems other countries about theirs. It says it is trying to spread democracy and freedom to the middle east the whole while it's violating the very Democracy and freedoms it supposedly trying to spread. Please do all of us a fovor and pull your head out of where the sun doesn't shine, open your eyes, engage your brain and quit listening to Rush Limbaugh and Co. and start thinking for yourself.

Posted by: | June 27, 2006 10:19 AM

Chris,

We have an open government - at least we're supposed to. How can a government be "of the people" if the "people" cannot challenge governmental policies or programs that weaken their "inalienable rights"? There is no way to protect our freedom other than having transparency in government. Planting the seed of fear of Islamic hordes swarming our shores is disingenuous at best.

It's very strange to see erstwhile "conservatives" transformed into Big Brother governmentalists. I fear the government - any government - overseeing me, my data, my behavior, or my sexual habits (very big with the voyeuristic, yet chaste, Religious Right), without having a warrant based on probable cause (evidence of wrongdoing) issued prior to doing so. I believe in law and order, but more so in the freedoms granted to us by the Constitution. Burning down one's own house to save it from an enemy is lunacy.

Freedom of speech, communication, and expression (especially by the watchdogs in our culture), is more important to protecting ourselves as a nation than a crackdown on "leakers". A crackdown on the press is the first step towards tyranny. It smacks of totalitarianism.

In reality, we are the Michael Jordan of politics and power (in the sense that even if the best defensive player in the league knew what Jordan was going to do, he was still powerless to stop him). in reality, all secrets get out. To destroy our culture's ability to check government is to set fire to our own house.

So the "hordes" know that we are checking on their financial records. So what? What countermeasure will they use to circumvent our ability to do this? The barter system? Chickens for nukes?

If government is going to peek into everyone's (or anyone's) financial records, those records should be published. Especially Bush's, Cheney's, those of the Congress and the SCOTUS, Halliburton's, KBR's, as well as those of anyone else who has, or might, or might in the future (let's use the Doctrine of Preemption everywhere we can), profited from their position in government or from their relationship(s) to the governing class.

Two of your ideas really scare me. You wrote, "...to go after the people that conspired with them to violate the law and leak..."; and "...the leakers must be found at all costs.".

On the first idea, exactly what "law" are you referring to? The State Secrets Act? The Sedition Act?

On the second idea, the "cost is no object mentality" has run amok within the "conservative" zeitgeist. The cost of our freedoms is too great to squander in going after phantom political ememies.

Another concept you put forward, "...Many have no loyalty to Bush, or the oath they swore, or the laws they agreed to obey either...", should be taken to the BA and it's supporters like a big stick. The President himself has stated that his signature, on a legally binding document, has no weight if he chooses to ignore it. the man's oath means nothing. His signature on a document (long held to be a man's bond) is worth less than the paper it's written on.

These things are what you should be afraid of.

Posted by: smafdy | June 27, 2006 10:35 AM

What's a greater danger to national security ...

electoral fraud that keeps a deceitful, powergrabbing administration in power who waste our troops and treasure in the unnecessary Iraq war ... while THEY leak secrets about CIA operatives, putting field agents and operations at risk ...

or the NYTimes telling the truth to the public about a 5-year old administration financial spying program that Al Quada terrorists would have guessed to be the case in any event

???

It seems to me the actions of the Bush administration ... from failures against Al Quada (where is Osama lately? how's security in Afghanistan?) to Katrina response .... have hurt the national interest far more than actions of the New York Times, tho' Mssr's Bush, Cheney et al hyperventilate about the latter, while dissembling about their own massive screw-ups on the former ...

Posted by: Mill_of_Mn | June 27, 2006 10:38 AM

The only surprise about SWIFT is that it cooperatively divulged payments information to U.S. intelligence or law-enforcement authorities. It is a Belgium-based clearinghouse association.

My follow-up question would be, did the data explorations involve non-U.S. to non-U.S. entity transactions, or just those with a U.S. member on one side? If institutions in Europe and the rest of the world (as represented by the Board of SWIFT) were fully cooperating by providing data then apparently the threshold for approving the practice was extraordinarily high. And no one should assume it was given out simply to U.S. agencies.

But any us who supposes any financial transaction that is electronically recorded is not subject to detailed government surveillance even without account-holder consent is not just naive, but stupid. After all, who among us ever gave credit bureaus permission to compile dosiers about us and our lifestyles, often replete with inaccurate and falsely negative data? The arrogance is so strong they actually try to make the individual feel responsible to review and petition purges of bad data. What a conditioned response; we are expected to work to assist our own manipulators in running our case file.

About the only personal defense remaining is to live an open life. At least for now, that works pretty well. A decade into the future who can tell.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 27, 2006 11:12 AM

Chris Ford-

"But if he uses his family newspaper to divulge the same data more broadly with the intent of revealing and destroying the effectiveness of the program, he is protected? If instead of a covert meeting, to talk about stolen government data of great use to the "other side", the Sulzberger shouts it out to a large audience with a bullhorn, is that also "protected"? Or an interview with Al Jazeera that spills the beans? "

There's a difference between reporting and disclosing specifically to terrorists, despite your attempt at conflating the two. As an individual you have every right to decide whether or not the New York Times has disclosed something that is in the public's best interest to learn. And if you feel strongly I'd encourage you to write letters expressing your grievences.

But the public can decide, quite reasonably, that sometimes the NYT discloses information that we want to learn. I could've lived without the banking story, I also could've lived without the Black Prisons story (though I think this was a defensible leak). I absolutely think the NSA program was in my public interest to know about particularly since some miniscule good has come from it; it has increased public awareness about the lack of oversight in our Government and paved the way for an imminent debate about the (lack of) merit of Unitary Executive Power theory.

"Now, no need for a Sulzberger or a flunky hiree like Bill Keller to abandon their august NYC publishing HQ as "sanctuary from legal consequences", but what about ordinary enemy sympathizers stealing gov't data that don't have total legal freedom because they don't own a press?"

The "enemy sympathizer" part would be important. Are they using this information to inform the general public about the program or are they using it to profit personally, or to support al-Quaeda? That would be a crucial distinction, no?

Well, I'm sure you disagree.

"Or does ownership of a blog, or having a Islamist friend who has a website, also give them "1st Amendment sanctuary" if they post the US military and intelligence secrets, WMD info, or data on civilian targets - straight to the Internet??"

Why would any of these be in the public interest to know? Again, this distinction would be important. If there is an intelligence program that is potentially illegal (NSA program) then Americans have an interest in knowing about the program. But troop movements? Civilian targets? WMD info?

The question is do you think there is anything the Government does that could legitimately be considered part of the public interest. For instance, let's say that President Bush classified a government program whereas he was selling Nuclear components to the Iranian government and using the profits to buy cocaine. Though the program be classified, I would consider a "leaker" to be doing me a great service in telling the story since, as a matter of fact, I consider that misuse of funds and supporting of our enemies to be in my public interest.

Is there anything the President could do that you would consider in the public's best interest to know (classified or not)?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 11:16 AM

Here is what THIS government does with information...and you ASK me to TRUST them. I don't think so...

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/CSPAN-Pre-War-Intel-Failures.wmv

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 11:19 AM

This is THIS government's idea of OBJECTIVE news:

http://www.buffalonews.com/editorial/20060625/1066005.asp

No trust there, sorry.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 11:21 AM

Who should decide what is printed? The government? THIS government?

http://movies.crooksandliars.com/Bernie-Sanders-S.mov

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 11:47 AM

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 12:13 PM

if an agent knowingly obfuscates the corrupt administrations mission to wreak economic havoc upon the citizens of the United States, isn't that agent guilty of treason

Chris Ford,

with that we can move on to look at another famous "villian"...George H.W. Bush...father of the monkey-boy


why are we in Iraq?

Saddam was set up by

little George's Daddy to have things happen this way...

there was no "right thing," that was done...

Saddam was suckered into becoming the obvious villian, while the _real_ villian goes to Kennebunkeport and has a life at his Texas ranch....and his friends have oil integrity....


George H.W. Bush sent April Glaspie to Iraq to discuss with him his border disputes with Kuwiatt...

she, with a nod and a wink said it was okay with the United States if Saddam settled it's disputes with Kuwiatt, that the United States wouldn't interfere....

The United States was lying, Desert Storm ensued...Iraq was decimated, the Republican Guard destroyed....

an embargo was placed on Iraq...they waited to come back into our good graces....while the United States played the propaganda game....we killed over 200,000 Iraqi's in Desert Storm, and called him the "Butcher of Bagdhad," as a way of warming up the audience for the next phase of the "morality play," where evil was conquered...

The real evil is having a hidden agendae and foisting it on the world...

pre emptive strike, my a ss...OIL GRAB

but if you're interested there is a web site that lays out the intent in


1997 to use the military to control world economies...

Scooter Libby, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheyney, Wm Bennet (the drug failure) and some other important men signed it....it's worth a read to find out what has been sold to congress to make them complicit....

with this lie.

.

two things going on, don't confuse them, money being made...OIL/Military_Industrial_Complex/families_of_elite

and a manifesto for intervention, based upon continuity of Military_FOREVER, no peace


where's the manifesto for this intervention? PNAC

http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

let's not forget the basis of our intervention into Iraq and what might have been sold to a complicit congress...

Posted by: speaking of traitors and spys... | June 27, 2006 12:19 PM

Al Queda?

and who was flying the planes that crashed into the WTC?

Saudis and UAE people, where did they learn how to fly? The friggin United States

Posted by: so who trained | June 27, 2006 12:25 PM

"
Is there anything the President could do that you would consider in the public's best interest to know?

" Will of Texas

what do you think about what I said above oh intrepid interpreter of deep thoughts?


care to talk a bit, or am I to much for you, squirt?

.

Posted by: well, | June 27, 2006 12:31 PM

famous Sears Tower Seven, Agents of Al Quaeda....interviewed by Attorney General in charge of obfuscation Bomba Gonzales?

ganga smokin bible thumpers anyone?

.

Posted by: or how about the | June 27, 2006 12:34 PM

Will in Texas - You are parroting the culpable media's argument that they and they alone, as hundreds of private corporate businesses, SHALL determine what they deem is in the "public's best interest to know". Not our elected leaders. Not the law.

That arguement won't fly.

Perhaps you haven't been paying attention to recent supreme court decisions on the legality of holding reporters above the law and above the rights of ordinary citizens and their representatives.

The Times tried their "only we decide what is in the public interest" argument and their case that reporter shield protection was indispensible to that. SCOTUS said no. And no.

Next up, perhaps we will see if newspaper owners, website operators, Al Jazeera correspondents are truly exempt from espionage statutes or Comint Law written in 1950 specifically to bar media from disclosing communications intercept sources and methods. Guess what the legal scholars are saying???

=========================
Smafdy - "Freedom of speech, communication, and expression (especially by the watchdogs in our culture), is more important to protecting ourselves as a nation than a crackdown on "leakers". A crackdown on the press is the first step towards tyranny. It smacks of totalitarianism."

Funny, I thought the road to Totalitarianism, according to the "slippery slope" argument so beloved by the Lefties and libertarian whackos was when we killed the 1st "noble Jihadi Freedom Fighter" in Afghanistan...Which of course will eventually end up with the very same jackbooted storm troopers set in motion on an endless cycle of violence killing American soccer moms who object to the Bush-Hitlerburton when he declares himself Global Dictator.

Smafdy - "There is no way to protect our freedom other than having transparency in government."

If George Washington and Ben Franklin had not urged the creation of the Committee on Secret Correspondence, it's unlikely you would have had freedom from the Crown until the mid-19th Century.

" Planting the seed of fear of Islamic hordes swarming our shores is disingenuous at best."

There are 1.4 billion Muslims. Roughly 10% are strong radical Islamists. That's a fair-sized horde of head-choppers, held in abeyance not on that legendary Islamoid tolerance or "moderate muslim pacifists" but for the fact that we have Trident subs - and thank God they don't.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 27, 2006 12:40 PM

thought first...

you're a fool...


you're the kind of engineer that would kill all the stinging insects of the world one by one, because you've been stung once...


how did they disarm the killer bees of Africa?

they cross mated them with gentler bees...

intervention at the economic and cultural level is the only way to remove fundamentalists of all ilk...


clock work orange for you boyah...

.

Posted by: the sad thing about Chris Ford is that he can't think past what others have | June 27, 2006 12:47 PM

noticed the President intevening on Congressman Jeffersons gleaning of $100,000 in cash from donations of those wanting illegal favors from him...


sort of a metaphor of how bush wants to be treated...


you, can't be a theif and a liar and expect to be able to pursue that agendae using the laws...


you can't use the law to commit a felony.

perhaps you should tell george that.

Posted by: perhaps you've | June 27, 2006 12:55 PM

can't touch the hem of my skirt..

.


but we knew that.

.

Posted by: you boyz | June 27, 2006 12:57 PM

If the Congress and Senate have abdicated their responsibility to oversee the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch is left in the dark because W decides to "write-in" his exceptions...I will thank the stars and the God of your choice for the likes of the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc, etc, etc.

SOMEBODY has to be minding the store. I'll take the "exposing" NY Times over the "W Propaganda" NY Times ANY day. If one wants to BLAME anyone for the leaks and stories, they should start with the ARROGANCE of the Executive Branch that thinks it's above the law because we are fighting an insurgency. Then move on to the House and Senate where the do-nothing, rubber-stamp, flag-waving, false-prophet worshipping simpletons sit on their hands because they cannot come up with an original thought or have never read the Constitution of the United States.

People leak because they know that bad things are happening and there is no other way

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 12:59 PM

weaker minds, who can't graspe the obvious...


a martial arts truth,

it is not the action that speaks,


it is the intent behind the action that one must listen too...


do not be led (into striking first,) by anothers actions


discern their intent, and you may defeat them easily.

....

by bozos...

.

"what does he mean? he's sofricking weird...it's tooooo much for my widdle head..."

Posted by: for those of you with | June 27, 2006 01:08 PM

AfghanVet wrote:

" . . . left in the dark . . ."
___________

The only people left in the dark are the American public at large. Any well-read person understood the potential and the liklihood that all communications and financial records electronically transmitted are open to government surveillance. There is no personal privacy from government and many employers; let's get over it and stop acting as if we are shocked.

Except for rare situations where operational information must be secret for a limited period of time to protect lives and success, the true purpose of secrecy is to simplify political manipulation of the public which is distructed by its own leaders. A lesser purpose is financial gain. But it all rolls up into a racket to rev up, dumb down, take away the factual basis for independent thought from our citizens -- while we are entitled to know.

Our external enemies are not dimwits. They read, have technical abilities, compile open-source information in sophisticated ways, generate disinformation, organize in networks, and practice effective concealment of their revealing information.

It's we ordinary citizens who are sitting ducks because we once learned to trust information and interpretations from our leaders. Talking straight and with accurate representative detailed facts, and not talking down with repetitive formuated conclusions spoon-fed as pablum, is the only way to survive as a culture. The politicians will not do it. Perhaps some journalists will.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 27, 2006 01:25 PM

Chris,

How about stopping the hypocrisy? There's a lot of lawbreaking around, but if the finger points to Bush, you'd rather give him a free pass. That's not about obeying the law, that's about privledge, and abuse of power.

What you seem to want is to destroy this country, Chris, based on minute-by-minute loyality to a fluid organization (what are you a "Hail, Nero" [or King George III] type? Wanting to give absolute power to any mad king and his "loyal" men?). It doesn't work like that in the real world. There's clear violations, and when they're done, watchdogs in a free society have a right to expose corruption, lies and sellouts.

I would rather have 100 layers of accountability, than allowing 1 man so much power to kill, maim, destroy with abandon. For a FREE Republic is one that knows what the hell is really going on with their leaders. If some state secrets have to be exposed to keep government honest, so be it (as the secrets never last anyway, especially in this electronic world you seem to relish, especially the spying on citizens).

What a pitiful and ugly world you must love, Chris. It's not only Orwellian, it's Maoist.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 27, 2006 01:26 PM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
"You are parroting the culpable media's argument that they and they alone, as hundreds of private corporate businesses, SHALL determine what they deem is in the "public's best interest to know". Not our elected leaders. Not the law."
===========================================

That occurs with national policy as it is, especially all those who donate monies to these bozo politicos.

Actually I would believe most folks wouldn't care if the MSM dried up tomorrow (especially since most folks aren't news followers). What they prefer is some newspaper to do some investigative reporting (an over hundred year tradition, which most citizens do view as a right in a free society). If illegal things are found, the public jumps with glee of the scoop, like a home run in the 9th inning.

NYT (I really don't like that rag at all) is a watchdog, and it serves to expose the trash fit to print. Same goes for all newspapers. But without them, we'll be in the dark of what our elected leaders are doing, and if and when they abuse not only the law, the very country (like the Dubai port scandal).

I welcome more exposes, since the public has the right to know if their leaders are honest, follow the Constitution and really do serve the citizens best interest.

If NYT and the rest of the media are wrong, believe me, the public will turn on them faster than they can crawl back into some editor's office for cover (and I wish they would on the anti-Zionist blackout that is being exercised by this media. The NYT is one of it's worst offenders). They don't get a free pass if they err, they pay with pounds of flesh like any other crook, as it should be.

So I prefer each balancing, cross checking each other. The media with our government, and the people with the media and government. That's what makes a strong nation and a more perfect society. Everyone is accountable, and no one is "special" and above the law and who they serve, the citizens of the USA.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 27, 2006 02:01 PM

Chris Ford-

"You are parroting the culpable media's argument that they and they alone, as hundreds of private corporate businesses, SHALL determine what they deem is in the "public's best interest to know". Not our elected leaders. Not the law."

No, I'm saying that I determine whether or not I think information X is in the public's best interest. And the public collectively decides whether or not X is in their best interest; by legislating privacy of certain types of information, for instance. Or by refusing to purchase New York Times subscriptions. Or by complaining on blogs. Or by...

But the New York Times does decide what they believe is in the public's best interests to know when they decide what to publish and where. Every information disseminating entity does this, from the White House to the New York Times to the CIA factbook website to the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. And then the public decides whether or not something was in its best interests.

If the President was selling weapons to Iranians and using the money to purchase cocaine, but had classified the program, then I wouldn't encourage prosecution of the whistleblower. Not because I think whistleblowers are untouchable or because I think the law is stupid, but because the circumstance is exceptional.

And law enforcement works like this throughout the country. A little marijuana might get you arrested in West Texas because the local government strongly discourages such behavior. But it might get you a warning in Boulder, Colorado even if the laws are similar or identical in both places.

Similarly exposing a CIA operative because her husband wrote an article you disagree with might not be in the public's best interest since it is frivolous political posturing. Whereas reporting on a likely illegal warrantless wiretapping program is anything but (in my opinion) since it exposes a program that might effect me and speaks to a chain of eggregious Unitary Executive theory decisions that might be contrary to the Constitution.

But disseminating information to the PUBLIC about a CIA agent's relationship to an editorial, or about an NSA program, is completely different then selling the information to al-Quaeda privately or using that information to commit another crime. Because the only utility from whitleblowing occurs when the public is informed of some malfeance, and if no attempt is even made to inform the public (but rather just to use the information for personal gain) then the act is necessarily deplorable.

The media decides what they publish and the public decides whether what is published is something they want or more importantly NEED to know. I think regarding the banks it might just be the kind of thing the public finds frivolous (I find it slightly frivolous, as with the Black Prisons, though neither of the disclosures upsets me terribly).

"The Times tried their "only we decide what is in the public interest" argument and their case that reporter shield protection was indispensible to that. SCOTUS said no. And no."

I need some context. What are you talking about here?

I do know that in the Plame affair Judith Miller had to spend some time in jail and I supported that. As a matter of consistency if prosecuters decide that this bank-Swift disclosure is worth pursuing then reporters should be no freer to withold sources than Judith Plame was.

But my main point is that whether or not a prosecutable crime has occurred is necessarily contingent on whether or not a law has been broken but ALSO whether or not the public demands blood. Because sometimes whistleblowing is in the public's best interest.

Maybe not in this instance.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 02:29 PM

Chris-

"Next up, perhaps we will see if newspaper owners, website operators, Al Jazeera correspondents are truly exempt from espionage statutes or Comint Law written in 1950 specifically to bar media from disclosing communications intercept sources and methods. Guess what the legal scholars are saying???"

You posted this in response to me so I just want to clarify that I do not think that members of the media should be exempt from any laws.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 02:34 PM

Chris this is totally off topic but I wanted your thoughts on it:

"There are 1.4 billion Muslims. Roughly 10% are strong radical Islamists. That's a fair-sized horde of head-choppers, held in abeyance not on that legendary Islamoid tolerance or "moderate muslim pacifists" but for the fact that we have Trident subs - and thank God they don't."

So troubling, then, that the Bush idealogical trite garbage about encouraging "Democracy" in the Middle East has been such an abject disaster. Hamas (which is a wing of the radical Islamist political group Muslim Brotherhood recently took over Palestine. Or that Ahmadinejad ousted the 8 year run of a more moderate candidate with the support of the Ayatollah. Or that the immediate effect of Mubarak's loosening of election laws in Egypt was an 88 (20%) seat pickup in parliament for the Muslim Broterhood, making them the largest opposition party in that country (that we happen to give more money to per year than any nation other then Israel). By the way, Ayman al-Zawahiri is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And our most recent disaster is Iraq in last December's election. Where the largest net gain was for the Sunni Islamist Iraqi Accord Front and the biggest losses were the Kurds (our only real allies in the area) and the Secular Iraqi National List. But the Muslim Brotherhood's Kurdistan Islamic Union and al-Sadr's Upholders of the Message (guess which message that is) picked up 7 seats.

My point is I think democracy in the Middle East over the past 3-4 years has been a total and utter disaster (not mentioning S. America for now) for American interests abroad.

Your thoughts on Democracy as a net loss for the US? What has to happen (Islamic Republic in Pakistan, perhaps) before reporters start questioning the BA sacred doctrine of spreading Democracy?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 02:44 PM

CF:

I didn't get the point of the first paragraph of your rebuttal of my thoughts (usually, you're much more succinct).

You wrote, "...If George Washington and Ben Franklin had not urged the creation of the Committee on Secret Correspondence, it's unlikely you would have had freedom from the Crown until the mid-19th Century."...

Well, if GW and BF would have used this committee to enrich themselves and their friends while defrauding the general population, or if they had insisted on their right to "Search" another's belongings without restriction, we'd be referring to Washington, Franklin, and Arnold.

Third point: Even if there are 200 million Muslems hell-bent on killing all of our soccer moms, they're going to have a hard time getting here without us noticing (20 hijackers is more like the invasion force they would use - not that that's acceptable. Better secure the ports and borders). In the alternative, we have chosen to culivate the seeds of hatred we sowed in prior seasons. There's no good harvest that will come of that strategery. Seems like you and the neocons are spoiling for a fight. If you're really serious about your fear of these people, you should reenlist and get them before they get you. If you do, please don't claim that you're fighting on my behalf or to protect me because I'm an American - I'll start fighting when I see the threat.

Posted by: smafdy | June 27, 2006 02:52 PM

Ah, but there was nothing "bad" or illegal happening

The NYT exposed a perfectly legal program.

And an effective one at that.

Just to stick a thumb in Bush's face.

How arrogant.

Karl Rove must have scripted this.

Posted by: look I can do the whole zen thing too! | June 27, 2006 04:00 PM

Afghan Vet - "SOMEBODY has to be minding the store. I'll take the "exposing" NY Times over the "W Propaganda" NY Times ANY day."

It's always so heartwarming to hear a Lefty, for a change, declaring their undying love and loyalty to a multibillion dollar corporation. [NYTimes - market cap 11.7 billion, a tad less than Halliburton] A private firm they trust interpreting the Constitution and "minding the store" over the 3 Branches of Gov't.
============================

On the Plantation - "Our external enemies are not dimwits. They read, have technical abilities, compile open-source information in sophisticated ways, generate disinformation, organize in networks, and practice effective concealment of their revealing information."

You are using the "All-wise Enemy" dodge - which argues that an enemy like the Nazis or Islamoids are so intelligent and advanced that they know we are trying to intercept their communications, movements of funds, that we are hunting them, trying to break codes - so there are no secrets that the All-Wise enemy doesn't know or suspect, so no one should think the leakers or press are giving them anything valuable.

Which, to quote the 2nd Duke Stripper, is a complete crock of s**t!
============================
Will_in_Texas - "But the New York Times does decide what they believe is in the public's best interests to know when they decide what to publish and where..... And then the public decides whether or not something was in its best interests."

Sorry, an absolutely inane argument. You think the public's NEED to know all government secrets as you sit in an audience that also has the Chinese and the Islamoids watching and listening in - is NECESSARY for you to make all decisions. You don't. It's a Republic, not a democracy. And we do have enemies - no matter how hard you close your eyes and wish upon a star that the parchment with your rights written on it is some magic talisman dispelling all harm or security threat.

The NYTimes DOESN'T have the right to decide to violate the law, nor do you have a right to say law is OK to disobey if you can get away with it. Don't like the idea that government or a private group has a need for confidential databases as much as you as a private individual - well, you and the NYTimes can petition. To-change-the-law!
==================
SandyK - "What a pitiful and ugly world you must love, Chris. It's not only Orwellian, it's Maoist."

No it's not. But it is full of plenty of naive, ignorant fools like you.

SandyK - "If NYT and the rest of the media are wrong, believe me, the public will turn on them faster than they can crawl back into some editor's office for cover.... They don't get a free pass if they err, they pay with pounds of flesh like any other crook, as it should be."

You don't understand private businesses. The bulk of the public can turn on the NYTimes, but if they maintain their core customers and expand niches, they're in gravy city as long as they have the affluent liberal WASPs and Jews tossing bucks their way. What you and other rubes in Flyover country think or buy at Walmart is of little consequence to them. Unless the rubes demand the laws be enforced.

================================
Smarfdy - "In the alternative, we have chosen to culivate the seeds of hatred we sowed in prior seasons."

Just typical liberal self-loathing drivel. America bashing, "Oh why do they hate us so???" pathos that is a setup for the Lefties own self-supplied answer. "Because of all the evil things Ameica and the West have done to the Noble Religion of Peace that has forced a insy-bitsy, teeny-tiny, almost insignificant fraction of them to be FORCED to try and kill us all."

The worlds deadliest ideology in the last 2 millenia needs no seeds of hatred "planted by the evil West" to justify another round of infidel butchering. It's been going on since the 8th Century. It's who the Islamoids are. Like a bad recurrent case of Herpes flaring within the larger Muslim community. Peace with them comes with submission or death. They periodically war with any non-Muslim people they encounter, seeking to destroy or assimilate. The worst slaughter was in India, where the Indian Holocaust numbers from about 900AD to present are thought to be around 110-130 million.

Smarfdy - "If you're really serious about your fear of these people, you should reenlist and get them before they get you. If you do, please don't claim that you're fighting on my behalf or to protect me because I'm an American - I'll start fighting when I see the threat."

No fear, just willingness to end the Islamoid threat if they keep coming at us - and push all of them back into the Ummah (cleansing) where they can be isolated like lepers until they reform their intolerant, dangerous faith. And I am busy in industry hardening potential Islamoid targets. And no, protecting America does not signify all Americans are worth fighting for. The nation, the culture, the civilization, most people yes....

=============
Will_in_Texas - "Your thoughts on Democracy as a net loss for the US? What has to happen (Islamic Republic in Pakistan, perhaps) before reporters start questioning the BA sacred doctrine of spreading Democracy?"

Reporters are just the idiots that repeat the statements of the knowledgable people when they get it right - unless they are the true "nativized" foreign correspondent. Most reporters just dish out what they have been fed. In this case, the ME and Arab world REALISTS have said for 250 years that Islam is incompatable with Democratic institutions unless they create a secular state and largely secular, tolerant culture. Kemal Attaturk knew this. I never thought Democracy would work in Islamized nations from my experience over there. Democracy just has too many disagreements with the Qu'ran. Bush and some of the neocons were too ignorant to understand that voting does not equal democracy. Most of the Arab world, and the African world - by their millenia-old cultures - appear incapable of sustaining long-term democracy.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 27, 2006 04:08 PM

Why do conservatives hate America?

Scarborough: "You gotta admit-it's frightening. More so to us who know how Washington works and know how power can corrupt and know how power can be abused. I believe friends, we are in dangerous times for those of us who believe like Thomas Jefferson-that Washington is not to be trusted with unlimited police power."

Amen brotha!

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 27, 2006 04:14 PM

Chris-

"You think the public's NEED to know all government secrets as you sit in an audience that also has the Chinese and the Islamoids watching and listening in - is NECESSARY for you to make all decisions."

No, I didn't say it was in the public's NEED to know all government secrets, I said the public witholds the right to determine which DISCLOSED secrets were in the public's interest. And I think the public can quite reasonably decide that some "illegal" disclosure of information is either in the public's interests (NSA warrantless wiretap program) or not (Valerie Plame).

And the public might agree with you about the NYT bank-swift disclosure. I'm certainly more thoughtful of the argument here than I was regarding the NSA because that actually described a potentially illegal operation whereas the recent disclosure appears to be legal.

But ultimately the public determines whether or not something is in their best interests and ultimately will decide whether heads roll. Not necessarily directly (they could in an election year) but indirectly. And there isn't anything troubling about this process; just as the local sentiment in Boulder, Colorado leads prosecutors to issue warnings for marijuana posession whereas in Lubbock, Texas it would lead to prosecution.

"And we do have enemies - no matter how hard you close your eyes and wish upon a star that the parchment with your rights written on it is some magic talisman dispelling all harm or security threat."

I do think we have enemies and I do recognize the very real possibility that a disclosure of some security program could hurt our country's security. I don't think the bank-Swift disclosure is such. But if the New York Tims described troop movements then I would demand prosecution. But I make that judgement as an adult member of the public capable of distinguishing between "good leaks" and "bad leaks" for myself.

"The NYTimes DOESN'T have the right to decide to violate the law, nor do you have a right to say law is OK to disobey if you can get away with it."

In another thread you correctly identified a scenario where you, as a citizen, circumvented "the law" to shoot a rapist in the back of the head and would fail to be prosecuted for that behavior despite the fact that you were a law-breaker (evil doer!). Why do you, therefore, have the "right" to "violate the law" under a specific circumstance whereas the New York Times does not?

"...you and the NYTimes can petition. To-change-the-law!"

Interesting burden that you certainly don't think applies to the President. If he wants to circumvent FISA he can petition... to change the law! Yes?

Prosecutions are necessarily made on a case by case. The law exists to serve the public's interest and thus when the law is contrary to that interest it must necessarily be bypassed. My (fairly unaggressive point) is that the public decides what is in its best interests; "the law" does not.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 04:29 PM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
"You don't understand private businesses. The bulk of the public can turn on the NYTimes, but if they maintain their core customers and expand niches"
===========================================

The bulk of the investors can turn on the NYT and it'll dry up tomorrow. The easiest way for a newspaper to sink is institutional stock holders to abandon ship. Remember the fallout of that conservative media group that was in danger of tanking with their stocks value dropping to lower than low? They quickly changed their tune on the threat of the losing their core investors.

There's accountability everywhere, and it's in the hands of the people, not business (who depends on the people's cash). That's business 101, Chris, and no sane business will anger it's lifeblood.

NYT will tank if they did something illegal, because they're still smarting from the Blair affair (something that isn't erased easily over time, especially how he got in and was protected). NYT is trying it's best in grabbing national subscribers (like the CNN 50% special on subscriptions), but what they have to maintain is the institutional investors to remain afloat (as individual subscribers come and go).

Don't give them that much power, Chris, as they don't have it (nor any media agency).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 27, 2006 04:37 PM

Chris-

"I never thought Democracy would work in Islamized nations from my experience over there. Democracy just has too many disagreements with the Qu'ran. Bush and some of the neocons were too ignorant to understand that voting does not equal democracy. Most of the Arab world, and the African world - by their millenia-old cultures - appear incapable of sustaining long-term democracy."

That's been my sentiment from the start and it is comforting to hear it from a semi-Administration supporter. I just think it's time someone demanded a straight answer from the President on why he supports the Democratically Elected Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Does he agree with their views or does he just not know that they won the election in December?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 27, 2006 04:43 PM

From Bush Ignores Laws article...

"It's important for the president at least to express reservations about the constitutionality of certain provisions."
Tony Snow(job) WHPS

Mwahaha! I see I need to start keeping a list of the funny things T. Snow says. The President worried about the Constitution? Only as an impediment to his NEXT scheme to strip away our guaranteed rights.

Posted by: NII | June 27, 2006 05:03 PM

CF:

You: "...Just typical liberal self-loathing drivel. America bashing, "Oh why do they hate us so???"...

Please spare us the drama. To ignore the history of the realtionship of the West to the Middle East in the midst of this debate makes you look...ignorant.

People (not just from the ME or those culturally different than us) will seek to throw off their oppressors. People from any culture will hate the foreign power that supports its despot (Iran, Vietnam ('60s), Saudi Arabia and Osama bin Laden, in regards to us, and pretty much all of the Soviet satellites regarding the Russians).

The key to an honest assessment of us vs. them is to realize that we are the same. Human nature is human nature. We drop bombs on them, they fly planes into our buildings (neither party spares innocents - even children). They may have killed millions of Indians, we probably killed millions of "Indians", too. They have saints and murderers, and so do we. They, ostensibly, believe in their heaven, we, ostensibly, believe in ours (both are lying to themselves on that point). Their politicians want power at any cost and so do ours. The love their kids, we love ours. They're people, and they hate us because we have exploited and disrespected them (they may have done the same to others, but that's not the point). The point is, there is no better or worse in human nature (generally).

They do hate us so.

I know why.

When you write something like, "...No fear, just willingness to end the Islamoid threat if they keep coming at us - and push all of them back into the Ummah (cleansing) where they can be isolated like lepers until they reform their intolerant, dangerous faith."..., it can very easily and just as accurately be thrown back in your face. The classic pot vs. kettle.

To pretend that we are somehow superior is arrogance of the first order. It's intellectually dishonest.

For the record: I'm not an "America Basher". I am not a liberal (although I do prefer liberal social ideology over the nominal "conservative" ideology). I certainly do not hate myself. Please refrain from labeling me, lest I begin to do the same to you. (See how easy t is?)

Also, you should learn to loosen up and be less angry.

Posted by: Smafdy | June 27, 2006 07:23 PM

because we enjoy love making...


they hate us because babies smile when we walk by...


they hate us because we are beautiful and handsome....


and they fear being seen,

so they cower behind figures of authority, that if they were alive would be kicking them down the stairs of life with size twelves shoes.....


ps. no one can do the zen thing like me, that's just the facts jack....


there is not other.

.

Posted by: they hate us | June 27, 2006 09:40 PM

is "the evile ones,"


those of little weeners, most assuredly the executive branch and complicit congress...


that's why, they don't want you to see them...

.

Posted by: "they" in this case | June 27, 2006 09:42 PM

fundamentalist christians that are willing to send you to labor camps if you don't believe in Jezzass...


we need to imprison them and make them wear hotpants...!!!

my name is cf....

.

Posted by: there are 7.8 million | June 27, 2006 09:52 PM

his intent is to obfuscate,


to argue with someone whose point is to establish a position as possible_truth,


or in lawyerease..."establish reasonable doubt,"

when anyone with a brain can see that there is no doubt that the president is a crook....

is helping cf to do that by arguing, but perhaps it's fun for you,


effectiveness is simply showing him to be the charlatan he is.


and Will in Texas, anytime you want to become known as

was Will, let me know...

.

you're dawgfood boy.

.

Posted by: the point is | June 27, 2006 10:20 PM

this is what you voted into office, _this_ is the agendae...

you might recognize it....


or doomsday freaks, might call it the "New World Order!"


The Project for the New American Century intends, through issue briefs, research papers, advocacy journalism, conferences, and seminars, to explain what American world leadership entails. It will also strive to rally support for a vigorous and principled policy of American international involvement and to stimulate useful public debate on foreign and defense policy and America's role in the world.


where's the manifesto for this intervention? PNAC

http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm

let's not forget the basis of our intervention into Iraq and what seems to have been sold to a complicit congress...

arevi derci'


Posted by: Project for the New American Century... | June 27, 2006 10:59 PM

dude, have you been into the absinthe again?


time for bed...


'night


tight


bite

Posted by: smafdy | June 27, 2006 11:31 PM

"bite", as in bed bugs. get it? No offense intended.

Posted by: smafdy | June 27, 2006 11:50 PM

Smarfdy - Your 7:23PM post was all happytalk, moral equivalency, "we are the world" MultiCulti kumbaya singing.

Read the Qu'ran sometime and read history to better understand your foe.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 28, 2006 12:24 AM

SandyK - "The bulk of the investors can turn on the NYT and it'll dry up tomorrow. The easiest way for a newspaper to sink is institutional stock holders to abandon ship. Remember the fallout of that conservative media group that was in danger of tanking with their stocks value dropping to lower than low? They quickly changed their tune on the threat of the losing their core investors."

You are clueless on a 100% family controlled Trust - which is what the NYTimes is. The Sulzbergers obviously don't want to lose money, and will replace the Family member appointed as Publisher or the Editor hiree if the business end of the family Flagship flags, but the Sulzbergers have all the money they need. What they want more - is power and influence over American society, and to be on the table of the wealthy progressives - informing and steering their actions. To create the news they wish to dominate the political and cultural debate.

Institutional investors thinking they know better than the Sulzbergers how to make more money have come and gone. Because it's NOT all about the money to the Sulzbergers.

SandyK - "There's accountability everywhere, and it's in the hands of the people, not business (who depends on the people's cash). That's business 101, Chris, and no sane business will anger it's lifeblood."

Again, you remain exceptionally ignorant of the business structure of the Times, which is not in the control of "the people", even common shareholders - but the Sulzberger Family, through their essentially "family-only" Class B voting shares.

As long as they are not dragged into Court, or Family voters are not subpoena'd into distasteful hearings and their privacy marred and their confidential info exposed - they could care less what the rubes in Flyover country feel.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 28, 2006 01:10 AM

I'd check your facts if I hadn't already checked them on other issues....


you mimick those that defeat you, language, style, talking points...


smafdy, don't worry about insulting me, just have a nice time,


I don't care if you like or don't like me...


just don't bs, when you're talking, it seems as if you have something to say..

that's good.

ciao, if there's any biting to be done, it'll be me doing it...

.

Posted by: dear cf | June 28, 2006 01:15 AM

cf, said:

"
Read the Qu'ran sometime and read history to better understand your foe.
"

do you know anything about Islam/Sufism/or how Mohammed got his vision?


in a dream...


do you know anything about religion?


do you know what was there before Islam?


there is no foe, there's a bunch of primitive fundamentalists....


non thinkers, much like yourself...


wanna get rid of them?


edumicate them.

the world isn't flat, the Universe wasn't made in seven days and the sun doesn't circle the friggin earth...


let them edumicate you, and you get queer history, where dinosaur prints might have been made a couple of hundred thousand years ago instead of million and the pope tells the truth...


stop giving stupid people control of our destinies...

quit pandering to the fall wells and pat robertsons that _curse_ you if you disagree with them....if it were 300 years ago...they'd be burned at the stake by the then christians...

it's a ruse to control and get money from a population...

it's part of the normal seperation of the preisthood from the progenitors of religions, the codification and the attempt to inflict their will in "gawds_name" on those who would stand against them....that's why it works so well for bush.


simply expose the "islamoids," to the rest of the world and give them a television set and it's _over_

quit trying to stuff your sock in everyones mouth...


the sock you carry in your pants...

.


you are a fool.

.

Posted by: the dust for brains twit.. | June 28, 2006 01:24 AM

I mean just the sock analogy, about cf

putting words in other peoples mouths, proving his manhood...lack of manhood..

all in one group of metaphors, working together...

what a friggin genius, without even trying...

sometimes, it's just so thrilling to be me..

ha ha ha...


Posted by: do you even get how good that is | June 28, 2006 02:25 AM

Here we go...

Chris Ford ranted:
===========================================
"You are clueless on a 100% family controlled Trust - which is what the NYTimes is"
===========================================

Trusts don't last long when there's an ever lasting payroll and infrastructure bill. Where do you get your business sense from, Chris, isn't the WSJ, let alone any business course. Operating budgets will dry up quick if ONLY personal funds are used. Not even non-stocked private companies put in all their funds to run a business -- it's the profits that keep it afloat, or it tanks in short order when it's not enough.

This is why the NYT and every other newspaper offers stocks and begs for subscriptions (a family maybe the prime shareholder, but it's Empire can't last without the 50/51% from investors).

That's the utter cold hard cash facts, Chris.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 28, 2006 03:42 AM

Chris Ford wrote:
===========================================
"Read the Qu'ran sometime and read history to better understand your foe."
===========================================

When you read not only the bible properly, the Torah as well. Then get back to us about understanding "your foe" better.

Been reading a heck of a lot about Zionism (Islam is beyond me as there's few English sites that are neutral online). Not from hate sites (like StormFront), but from Torah Jew sites directly (it's like if you want to know the Catholic faith, you have to go understand the orthodox sects and all). Learning what I never wanted to know about the whole craptrap in the creation of Israel (as the whole Bible/Koran world is foreign to me, as it's not my background -- so I have zero taught prejudices against either side).

When you approach it from the outside in, you can see that neither side is guilt free. But at the same time, there is a news blackout of the atrocities that these Zionists (I say that not as some racist, but to differientiate between Jews and their more extremist brethen) have done, both past and present. There's reams of anti-Islam and racist sites abound, though (which probably what Chris Ford reads and consider the gospel). Due to this I now have a better understanding of the conflict, and why Palestine is in the mess it's in (and yes, the struggle is not much different than between the IRA/Sinn Fein and England). At the same time, there's little info from the Palestinian/Muslim/Arab side in English, so any debate on the matter often comes through the lens of Jews (which is problematic, as I wouldn't want an Westerner to speak for all of Asia, the same goes for understanding the plight of the Muslim/Arab world -- it behooves them to get more English sites up so Westerners can better understand).

I despise terrorists with a passion, be it the IRA type, the Tamil type, or even the al-Qaeta type. But also understand that what can fuel such hatred wasn't created in a vacuum, either. There's a lot of guilt to go around, and too many folks so quick to just point fingers. The USA isn't satan, but it's not Utopia, either. We've made some serious foreign policy mistakes (maybe because we're a new country, and one that's been isolationists from upto the 20th century), and we're paying for it today. Be it how we pulled out of Vietnam and left all our friends to rot and be murderered (how can we fix that? Money can't undo that damage alone). To how we aide Israel at the human rights expense of the Palestinians who were the legal owners of that land until 1924, and they still can't return to their homeland (how can these Zionists exile others in their spite, and not expect resentment?).

Terrorism isn't the answer, but at the same time, if it occurred here we'll be calling those fighters patriots (much like Neo-Confederates call their fallen). It's difficult to define what is a insurgent, a terrorist and a patriot when all are fighting for their piece of land and self-determination.

Maybe in all of this mayhem, mankind will find a better United Nations solution, one that factors in the human condition (not just country boundries). For it's that what plagues us today, fundemental rights we take for granted in this country that other countries can't seem to enjoy, either by our meddling, denial or aiding parties that doesn't allow it (like Israel, like what we did with Iraq in the early 80's, like what we did in South America and Vietnam).

Until Americans see all of this beyond the lens of just religion and nationalism, we're just doomed to repeat the follies over and over and over. I hope that future generations will look outside the box, and see humans as humans, not a religion or a country. Maybe then, as human beings, we can reach our true potential (and be ready, finally, to get off this rock without killing the entire species, before the Sun swallows Earth whole).

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 28, 2006 04:11 AM

SandyK - Until Americans see all of this beyond the lens of just religion and nationalism, we're just doomed to repeat the follies over and over and over. I hope that future generations will look outside the box, and see humans as humans, not a religion or a country.

Sadly, while people from a difeerent civilization maintain a profoundly different belief and value system hostile to us and the modern world, whatever "reactualizations" and elightenments you propose in the American people matter not one whit.

Some illustrations of how large the menace of Islamism is, and what they think from the recent Pew Poll:

"In not one Muslim population polled does a majority believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The proportions range from a mere 15 percent in Pakistan holding Arabs responsible, to 48 percent among French Muslims. Confirming recent negative trends in Turkey, the number of Turks who point the finger at Arabs has declined from 46 percent in 2002 to 16 percent today."

"Likewise, Muslims are widely prejudiced against Jews, ranging from 28 percent unfavorable ratings among French Muslims to 98 percent in Jordan."

"All the Muslim populations polled display considerable sympathy for Osama bin Laden, with support in Nigeria the highest at 72%."

"Likewise, suicide bombing is popular. Muslims who call it justified range from 13 percent (in Germany) to 69 percent (in Nigeria). These appalling numbers suggest that terrorism by Muslims has deep roots and will remain a danger for years to come."

If America did all the things that Islamoids say we need to fix to help reduce their rabid, frothing at the mouth rage against us, it would only remove 6 or so of the 20 reasons Islamoids say all American men, women, and children must die, convert, or submit. In other words, we'd be no more deathworthy than Indians, Christian Indonesians, Canadians...but still deathworthy.
.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 28, 2006 06:41 AM

Actually its amazing to me that these programs went unleaked for as long as they did. I contend that the insiders that eventually leaked spent years waiting and hoping that Congress or the Judiciary would get involved, exert some oversight authority, and start making the Executive branch toe the Constitutional line. That's the way our government is supposed to work. Months and years went by and that didn't happen because the BA not only owned the Executive Branch, but controlled the Legislative, thereby managing to tie up any attempts at investigation and the fact that they avoid oversight keeps these programs out of the courts.

I believe that once some of the professionals in charge of implementing and operating these programs saw the futility of relying on the checks and balances of our government to expose and correct what they perceived as illegal activities, they started looking for other ways to "get the word out".

I'm not a military man but I seem to recall reading somewhere recently that if a soldier is given an order to do something illegal, it is not only the duty of that soldier to not follow the order, but to report the illegal order to a higher ranking officer. I'm not sure I'm getting that completely right - maybe some of the more military savvy people on this blog can clarify. Now this isn't a military situation, but isn't the concept essentially the same? If I am one of those professionals, the question becomes who do I report to? If those holding the power in Congress are in bed with the BA and the high ranking administration officials are the ones giving the orders, who do I tell? The FBI? They are under the Executive and likely already have knowledge of the program. Someone from the courts? Don't they rely on the Executive Branch to conduct investigations? The CIA? Likely already know of the programs. Armed Forces? Under the Executive. Where do you go if you've been wracked by your conscience for 2 years or more and you truely believe in your heart that the programs are being illegally conducted, especially when there are provisions in place for conducting them legally and those provisions are being pointedly ignored.

There's a lot of focus on the reporters here, but behind the reporters are highly skilled and knowledgable government professionals who know their agencies very well and know what is legal and what is not. They aren't going to these reporters on a whim. I believe they are taking a known risk, and that risk they have decided to take is the result of a great deal of soul searching.

The reporters are taking risks as well. The NYT may survive a scandal or not, but individual reporters are putting themselves in harms way by putting this stuff out there.

Eventually this stuff needs to get to the courts so a ruling can be made on the constitutionality of these things. My concern is that a President's War Powers over the years have come to be interpreted too broadly. I believe there is evidence that the founders made a conscious effort to embed within the Constitution the right to suspend some freedoms in instances of grave national emergencies. Specifically it says that the Writ of Habeas Corpus can be suspended by Congress in cases of invasion or rebellion - please note - not war. At times in our history that has been done by a President - Lincoln is a good example, but very soon afterwards Lincoln presented those actions before Congress for validation and Congress retroactively approved the actions and eventually passed a law allowing the President to suspend Habeas Corpus when he deemed necessary until the end of the hostilities. Of course the Civil War was certainly a rebellion and at times an invasion (if you want to consider Lee coming north of the Potomac an invasion).

Now why doesn't the Constitution say in times of war instead of the more specific in times of invasion or rebellion? Its because the founders were very afraid that a President with some supporters could either start a war, get involved in one, or take advantage of an existing war to enact suspension of Habeas Corpus which is an extremely powerful tool to wield, and one that is susceptible to grave abuse.

The Bill of Rights was added later and circumstances where infringement of those rights is justified is not as well defined. My tendency is to think we should use the clause referring to the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus as a guide. I think a President's War powers should enable him to react quickly to a situation when necessary, but actions that violate any of our rights must be put before Congress for approval and only under the gravest of circumstances (e.g. rebellion or invasion).

Now how does that mesh with the need for secret programs, spying, and other things that we don't want other countries to know about? That is where integrity is of utmost importance. There have been efforts in the past to devise oversight techniques that are secure and secret. Establishing the FISA court to grant secret warrants for wiretapping related to espionage was one of these efforts. The BA evaded the FISA court, even while they claimed that it was adequate and there was no need to modify it. I have to ask why? When I read the constitution it is pretty obvious that the program is in violation of the 4th amendment. The President claims to have the power as Commander in Chief in war time. It seems to me that this is exactly what the founders were seeking to avoid.

The warrantless wiretapping was the first blockbuster leak that came out. Were the leakers and the reporters that exposed that program traitors or heros? What has happened since that time? Somehow the BA worked its hypnotic magic on Specter's Judiciary Committee to shut down any investigation. The Attorney General was not put under oath when testifying about it. Finally, further hearings were not considered necessary. When that effort hit a dead end, what happened? All the sudden there is another leak about the NSA phone call database - not as obviously illegal as the warrantless wiretaps, but still disturbing and I believe there must be a lot more to tell about that one. This latest exposure is the least surprising of the three and the least likely to be illegal as I understand it since apparently warrants were obtained and it is an off-shore database. It seems like the NYT, WaPo and other papers are becoming frustrated that these exposures are not igniting the investigations they anticipated. I can sympathize with them in that regard because I believe that the BA is trampling our rights in the first two of those situations because of their refusal to submit to oversight. Let me be clear - I view oversight in these cases as submitting proposed actions to representatives of another branch of the government that are fully informed of the program, have ability to ask questions and seek information, and have the authority to say no - that proposed action is not allowed. Oversight does not mean general briefings of a few chosen members of another branch that are sworn to secrecy, are not allowed to ask questions, and do not of themselves have any procedure for learning of or halting specific actions.

One interesting question this all raises is what is the nature of this war(s)? Is this an invasion or a rebellion? Right after 9/11 many people, including myself, considered the attacks an invasion of sorts, and if known the war powers assumed by the President would have been considered justified. Where the wrong creeps in is the prolonged secrecy, the continuing evasion of true oversight, and use of these wars as continuing justification of these programs. We were attacked on 9/11 almost 5 years ago now and there hasn't been an attack on our soil since. The potential for attack still exists, but does that potential still merit consideration as an invasion? Because it certainly isn't a rebellion. Also, how long will this last? Will a President's "war powers" continue on into the future, ad infinitum? These precedents are going to have profound influence on the development of our country and the powers of the office of President far into the future.

If Bush were to relinquish these assumed war powers, it needn't equate to us not paying attention any more. I still believe that the programs could continue with the proper oversight. It may be that new oversight procedures have to be developed, like FISA was back in 1978. It also may be that we will indeed sacrifice some ability to respond to a threat as fast as we could have without the oversight, but I've come to believe that our American values and freedoms are worth taking that level of risk.

Posted by: DK | June 28, 2006 07:45 AM

Doesn't anyone see the irony that the loose operator in securing personal data (our government) is the same one that gets a generous $40B/year to surveil and compile it?

The opportunity to establish clear and sensible attitudes, responsibilities, and policies about recording, handling, and sharing personal and transaction data covering third parties -- that is finding approaches actually approved of by our citizens -- is slipping away.

The assertion of unitary executive power gets free rein in the context of wartime suspicions directed towards everyone. Its governing principle seems to be: "The only thing we have left is fear itself!"

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "If a man neglects to enforce his rights, he cannot complain if, after a while, the law follows his example."

The challenges of defining rights and securing data have quickly shifted onto a political playing field that is not designed to protect individuals, including innocent individuals. There is so much that bears this out. One prime change was to transfer virtually all domestic intelligence gathering away from the FBI to military collection agencies under a variety of hats (CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.). I always thought this institutional segregation of powers in the FBI was intended to protect Americans while enforcing laws. The accountability for handling data gathered about us has slipped to a new low as it gets under the control of hugely funded, and growing, secret non-civilian entities. The potential for a robust Latin American styled police state here in the USA is really within easy reach due to massive collection and storage technologies, as well as changes in organization and mission introduced on the civilian population under the guise of war necessity. Of course, the war will be perpetual so those newly entering the field can count on some solid thirty-year careers in conducting blameless paranoia. Hello 1984.

Posted by: On the plantation | June 28, 2006 08:06 AM

CF:

Is that the best you can do? Very lame. Didn't expact that.

Sing with me, brother...

We are the world, we are the children...

There was no "feel good" in my post. In fact, the bulk of it wasn't meant to put forth an opinion - only an observation (I went and checked in the mirror, and I'm not wearing rose-colored glasses, so I don't think that the observation was tainted).

What history should I read?

How about the well-documented history of the constant conflict between the Persian and the pre-Christian Roman empires? No Islam there (at least not while Rome was great - not until the 14th century), but the same conflicts existed. Why? Human nature.

How about the history of the Hordes coming in and putting both sides to the sword? They weren't even about their own culture, they were about conquest. However, they were heavily influenced by those cultures they conquored. The whole horde thing is overlooked in Western education. Very interesting to note how the early Hordes were deflected by the ignorant, illiterate Europeans, towards the scientifically superior and highly literate ME. As a result, Islam became the culture they eventually adopted. Human nature.

How about the history of the Crusades? Again - very interesting paralells between then and now, what with the poor, ignorant religious fanatic culture attacking the rich, intellectual, elite culture.

How about the history of Western influence in the creation of Iraq? How about the installation and support of the Shah of Iran by the U.S. in the period after WWII? Are you aware of that history?

Let's read the history of precolombian "America". Oh yeah - there isn't any (or at least there isn't much). I wonder why?

...if I knew more of the lyrics to "we are the world", I'd insert them here, but since I don't, I'll have to settle for - Bono for President! and, Don't wear fur! and, War is not healthy for children and other living things!...

How about the history of the Bush clan?

As for your suggestion that I read the Quran, I admit I've read very little of it, (I get the general gist of the philosophy and it's strengths, weaknesses, and contradictions). On the other hand, I have read the Bible extensively, so I've learned not to put much stock in "holy" literature. Seldom do the proponents of a religion live up to the standards of their own instruction manuals. Instead, their religions are used to justify political ends (regardless of the utter lack of conformity between the religion and the political goal). Why? Human nature.

As I wrote earlier: Ignoring the realtionship of the West to the Middle East in the midst of this debate makes you look...ignorant.

Posted by: smafdy | June 28, 2006 08:43 AM

"Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

--From the Nuremburg war trial testimony of Hermann Wilhelm Goering

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 09:13 AM

Oh, and in case you're wondering if that quote is true:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/goering.htm

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 09:14 AM

I'm SOOOOO shocked....

-------

U.S. cybersecurity chief abruptly resigns
Complained about lack of attention paid to computer security issues

WASHINGTON - The government's cybersecurity chief has abruptly resigned from the Homeland Security Department amid a concerted campaign by the technology industry and some lawmakers to persuade the Bush administration to give him more authority and money for protection programs.

Amit Yoran, a former software executive from Symantec Corp., made his resignation effective Thursday as director of the National Cyber Security Division, giving a single's day notice of his intention to leave. He kept the job one year.

Yoran has privately confided to industry colleagues his frustrations in recent months over what he considers the department's lack of attention paid to computer security issues, according to lobbyists and others who recounted these conversations on condition they not be identified because the talks were personal.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13589858/

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 09:52 AM

For this Christian-Islamic moral equivalency garbage to have any weight, fundamentalist Christians are going to need to get off their tired rears and start blowing themselves up.

If the best analogies you can draw between Christian and Islamic monstrocities date back to the 14th century that should tell you something about the state of the Islamic world in 2006.

In any event, Chris relating to an earlier post, if you think (as I do) that many parts of the Islamic world are simply not capable of Democracy, then what possible utility is there in further occupation in Iraq? Aren't we empowering the enemy? Jaalafi, Chalabi, SCIRI, Dawa; these were all Iranian exiles who we were paying Saddam to kill in 1980-1988. Doesn't it seem a little backwards to hand them the keys to the country 2 decades later?

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 28, 2006 10:45 AM

Will_in_Texas - The admirable Wrechard at Belmont Club posted 2 relevant items today on your question on bagging out.

One, the Egyptian bloggers who are part of the Democracy movement say that Mubarak's thugs are quashing it down again - and blame the Brotherhood and the Leftists. The Islamists, obviously, but the Leftists for beating down Blair and Bush's democracy initiatives so much that opponents believe the American and European Left are with them in stomping reform into the dust. Wrechard believes that the Left has such a stake in America being defeated that they welcome any defeat of democratic reform - even the ones in Egypt that were considered "doable" because they did not seek rule, but local reforms.

The other is that Coalition forces just bagged the Islamoids responsible for blowing up the Golden Temple. 15 dead Islamofascists, 4 Saudis, 2 Iraqi Sunnis, one Tunisian captured. Which reminds us we need to stick around to at least finish our whacking of the Islamoids, and continue our work in exploiting the intelligence we can get - along with eager Jordanian, Pesh Murga, and Shiite forces - of their ratlines and support networks in the 34 countries they came from, what they know of previous massacres of civilians, where the money and leadership comes from.

"Cut 'n Run" would mean not stabilizing Iraq, finishing off the remaining Islamoids (not the Iraqi Sunni per se - the Al Qaeda and foreign elements, instead), and ensuring the 10,000 or so captured are carefully vetted and handed over to the appropriate parties for justice...even if it is likely to be a very uncomfortable jail stay then a trip out to an unmarked desert pit...probably the Golden Temple desecrator's ultimate fate.

And while true democracy is not realistic, the Iraqis are undertaking significant reforms and modernization measures, and if they work in Iraq, hopefully those reforms have a chance elsewhere. Though the work of the Left to help defeat America and discourage those reforms must end - and of course those reforms must work.

Posted by: Chris Ford | June 28, 2006 11:53 AM

Chris Ford-

I guess I'm asking for a more creative answer than that. While I do recognize the benefits of pursuing in Iraq, it's hard for me to get pumped up about the capture of Islamofascist terrorists while simultaneously such groups are being amnestied or empowered right now by the leadership in Iraq.

What I predict by the time this grand thing called Democracy takes hold in Iraq is that it will result in a Sectarian controlled government where the Secularists continue to be shouted down and ultimately forced into political irrelevance. An Islamic Republic is no great friend of mine, less so than a semi-Secular (Pervez) or secular (Saddam) is.

My concern is that we will have sacrificed so much for the Iraqis, and made some commendable advances in combatting terrorism that are certainly worth noting, only to have to fight Iraq 10 years down the road because we've created precisely the kind of conservative Islamic Democratic regime that hates us and breeds American-killing terrorists.

I think a few recent events support my prediction. One, Ahmadinejad in January correctly pointint out that the Iraqi and Afghanistan occupations have placed the governments of these countries in "Iran's lap". The supreme leadership of Iraq is made up almost entirely of Shiite Iranian exiles. Jaalafi was replaced by Maliki not only because he was incompetent but also because the Kurds and Sunni correctly identified that he was a total shill for Iran. History will determine if Maliki is all that independent.

We know that SCIRI and Dawa are not independent and will ultimately vote with Iran in the United Nations or whatever replacement entity ultimately takes over when the UN goes extinct.

We know that the only thing standing between amnesty for American-killing terrorists --who had the restraint not to kill Iraqis-- is the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan which also happened to be the largest net loser in the December elections. Not that we should expect them to withold power as there were other troubling developments in their own organization. The one Kurdish group to pick up seats was the Kurdistan Islamic Union which splintered from the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan and, like Hamas, is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (that Zawahiri is a member of).

My point is that I recognize your reasons and accept that there are GWOT benefits to our occupation in Iraq but I view Iraqi democratization as representative of a net loss for America in the GWOT. I think we need creative solutions that don't involve chanting mindlessly "Democracy! Democracy!" without having any sense of who it is that we are getting elected.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 28, 2006 12:07 PM

All I know is you can be 42 and still enlist to support the occupation of Iraq until it's done; whenever that would be.

Posted by: AfghanVet | June 28, 2006 12:56 PM

primitives that spoke urdu...

and you wanted to work with them, it would involve multiple phases that could be worked out to the benefit of both sides....

what _is_ stalling _any_ solution is that the

Military-Industrial-Complex


is saying, "what about me!?"


and they're saying it this way:

"you need to be safe from terrorists."


IF you want the occupation to end, then you need to call it that and hold the Military_Industrial_Complex responsible for creating the fiasco, when a sound alternative energy source and a presence in that region and a continued embargo, would have handled everything most efficiently.

IF YOU WANT TO BRING THE USA BACK TO WHERE IT WAS,

you have to fix the infrastructure and hold some people accountable for this fraud, and call it that...arresting and prosecuting, and getting the intelligence industry out from under the president and his "team,"

there is no oversight, and no seperation of powers....the constitution is in danger...


there is no difference between congress and the executive branch....that goes against the constitution....

why does the National Guard exist?
why is there a "right to bear arms?"

because of what is going on.

I suggest you quit being meek and acting as if you need permission to support the Constitution and instead ask why the quasi-elected president of these United States doesn't uphold his oath of office?

otey?

.

Posted by: if you had a group of | June 28, 2006 02:05 PM

AfghanVet supplied:
===========================================
"Yoran has privately confided to industry colleagues his frustrations in recent months over what he considers the department's lack of attention paid to computer security issues"
===========================================

That he was working for the government as a former chief executive of Symantec is what's a atrocity.

But I don't use that software anymore (since it became bloatware -- and ready to ditch Adobe's PDF reader as well, as it's a TSR proggie that's eating too many resources).

Software engineers need to work with the government, not work IN government. That doesn't make me feel secure knowing they can make backdoors for the NSA or any government agency. No telling what other mischief they can be doing on the software side too -- like installing backdoor trojans at will.

For shame.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 28, 2006 09:53 PM

Will in Texas wrote:
===========================================
"My concern is that we will have sacrificed so much for the Iraqis, and made some commendable advances in combatting terrorism that are certainly worth noting, only to have to fight Iraq 10 years down the road because we've created precisely the kind of conservative Islamic Democratic regime that hates us and breeds American-killing terrorists."
===========================================

Meanwhile you don't bat an eye in calling them this: "Islamofascist terrorists".

Such words only will breed more hate, much like calling all white Texas boys "Neo-Nazi loving terroristic Crackers".

It's amazing how much racism and religious intolerance is being practice by the same folks who claim everyone is picking on their religion (and such crazy things as the "War on Christmas", and with Zionists, "we're the victims of Islam" [yeah, that happens when they terrorize the the whole Gaza population for one 19 year-old Israeli boy, as folks strike back to keep the hate going]).

BTW, some facts about Zionists:

1. Joined with the Nazis to gain Israel (proclaiming the only way to have it, is by shedding massive blood. Even turning down the option of rescuing the Hungarian Jews from Eichmann).

2. Discriminating against fellow Spanish Jews and ghettoizing them.

3. Conducting their own Tuskegee Experiment on thousands of those Jews (ALL CHILDREN) with X-Rays to the head, with X-Ray machines donated by the US government.

Zionists don't need Palestinians or any Muslim/Arab as an enemy, they turned even on their own like dogs.

Now we have evangelical Christians aiding these Zionists so they can have those 144,000 Jews around to convert on "Judgement Day". Little sick racket, that is not only killing innocents, spilling over into the lives and cultures nowhere associated with it.

May the Jews get rid of their extremist brethen before they kill Jews off totally.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | June 28, 2006 10:07 PM

SandyK-

I don't particularly think much of what you say warrants response. Since you've directed a post at me I will humor you as best I can.

"Meanwhile you don't bat an eye in calling them this: "Islamofascist terrorists"."

Not really sure why this is relevant. I think Islamofascists have much better reasons to hate me than the mean names I assign them; their real beef is with the fact that I'm an infidel.

"Such words only will breed more hate, much like calling all white Texas boys "Neo-Nazi loving terroristic Crackers"."

Whether my language breeds more hate or not is hardly important. My religion (or lack thereof) and my lifestyle is what infuriates radical Islamists; not the names I call them.

As for your garbage moral equivalence; the difference between me assigning the term Islamosfascist to people who blow themselves up and you assigning the term "Neo-Nazi loving terroristic crackers" is that my term actually describes people who exist and your term is just fluff nonsense meant to prove a point. As a matter of fact, Islamofascists who blow themselves up actually exist and in fairly demanding numbers. Nazi loving white terrorist crackers don't exist. Or, if they do exist, they need to get off their lazy neo nazi loving cracker butts and start blowing people up for your PC equivalency talk to make any sense.

"It's amazing how much racism and religious intolerance is being practice by the same folks who claim everyone is picking on their religion..."

Since I haven't picked a religion I don't really know where you are going with this. I could care less if an Islamofascist decides to practice Islam or Pastafarianism; what concerns me is their proclivity for exploding oneself in populated areas. Also I make no exceptions for race; I hate Islamofascist terrorists equally whether they be black, white, or purple. I make no racial distinctions between black Nation of Islam terrorists and white Taliban traitor John Walker. Again, their race, religious creed, or sexuality is really of little interest to me. What worries me about Islamofascists is their willingness to kill people.

And then you go off on some rant against Zionists, which is fine by me. I'm not Jewish. I'm not pro-Israel either. Knock yourself out.

Posted by: Will in Texas | June 29, 2006 01:38 AM

Posted by: smafdy | June 27, 2006 10:35 AM

I read the thread thru this post and quit here. I don't usually find you where I want to take issue ... but this one is too much. Are you sure you got enough sleep the night prior? oJ

==============
It's very strange to see erstwhile "conservatives" transformed into Big Brother governmentalists. I fear the government - any government - overseeing me, my data, my behavior, or my sexual habits (very big with the voyeuristic, yet chaste, Religious Right), without having a warrant based on probable cause (evidence of wrongdoing) issued prior to doing so. I believe in law and order, but more so in the freedoms granted to us by the Constitution. Burning down one's own house to save it from an enemy is lunacy.
==============

The problem here lies in your use, (I should say, misuse), of the language. In reality, based on your second sentence, providing self-definition, YOU are a conservative. Welcome to the Club!!

The "Republicans" are a political party, as are the "Democrats". In the modern era, these have no ideologies, just constituencies selected to win elections. The Republicans have their religious wing and their business wing. The Democrats have their elite effete eastern wing, environmental wing, black wing, pro-choice wing, labor wing, intellectual educational establishment wing, media wing, and the public sector workers wing. No wonder they can't find a unified Iraq policy. There are no principles here, just winning.

In our constitutional democracy a "conservative" is someone who seeks to conserve his/her rights and freedoms under the constitution, most especially to conserve them to him/herself from encroachment by governments. On the other hand, a "liberal" is someone who primarily looks to the government to use its powers to provide for the general welfare.

I really must take issue with your characterization of the "Religious Right" as "chaste" and merely "voyeuristic". This is simply not the case. Jim Baker and a number of other well known preachers have demonstrated time and time again that they can rut the bunnies with the best of them, including that fellow from Arkansas named Bill. And even Bill can take lessons from these guys on the finer points of public redemption and atonement following. Nobody does it better. "Ohhhh Lord, I have sinned against thee!!!" he preached, tears streaming down his handsome face. And the tax-deductible money started flowing once more.

++++++++++++++++++
Freedom of speech, communication, and expression (especially by the watchdogs in our culture), is more important to protecting ourselves as a nation than a crackdown on "leakers". A crackdown on the press is the first step towards tyranny. It smacks of totalitarianism.
++++++++++++++++++

This first sentence is nonsense. It is a false comparison, a false choice. I will have the expressive freedoms for the purpose you state, and I will have a crackdown on the leakers.

There are 4 parties involved in these things. The government, the part of it that leaked, the publisher of the leak, and the public. Also there are the specifics of what was leaked.

In general, I don't approve of leaks as a mechanism of government and politics. The Bush Administration has in fact been a relatively tight ship as far as leaks go. That said, they lost all trust in that with the Valerie Plame thing, which was both unnecessary and lost whatever moral authority Bush might have claimed for himself.

I appreciated the leak of the NSA wiretaps. I would have preferred that this exposure had come about by other means; specifically, through those spineless Congressional few who were informed of it, and essentially did nothing about it. On a matter this grave, where the administration is insisting on an expansion of its power at the expense of both the legislature and the judiciary we should be able to expect legislators to rise to the challenge. They didn't, leaving it instead to some tortured soul in the bureaucracy. Shameful.

I don't know about this latest SWIFT thing. Its not clear to me yet whether what was done was illegal, even arguably. It is not clear to me yet how widely this was already known previously. It's not even clear that the leak source is part of the US government.

It is not a good thing that the keepers of classified information feel empowered to declassify it as a matter of their arbitrary choice in secret. There are secrets for which there are compelling public reasons to keep them secret. So if you leak I want to know who you are, so I can praise you or condemn you based on the circumstances and nature of what you leaked. Risk must go with the territory. Otherwise, everything will leak. A leak, to be worthy of admiration and gratitude, must carry the real risk of time in the slammer. You don't get to be a hero if there is no courage involved here.

You term the press as the "watchdogs" in our culture. That in itself is a dangerous idea. Ken Auletta of New York fame last night claimed the press represents the public to the Administration. They don't, voters do. The press represents themselves. They make a product, ever more geared to entertainment year after year, which they sell to the public in order to make money. They are well aware of what sells and what doesn't. Controversy sells, celebrity sells, blood sells, catastrophe sells, and sex sells better than anything. Perspective, analysis, history, ... don't sell.

The New York Times is taking it on the chin right now from the Bushies, but this is politics, not a crackdown; and it will sell more papers for the NYT. Expect to see a reaction develop comparing Bush to Putin in seeking control over the press. It's all for political and commercial effect and the Supreme Court long ago took away any legal penalties (Pentagon Papers).

++++++++++++++++++
++++++++++++++++++

You got to watch out for Chris. He walks so far out on the right you get induced to go as far to the left to balance the beam.

Smafdy, today is a great day for the Republic. The USSC has just removed one of the legs Bush has been standing on, the Congressional force authorization; and he has been warned again that CIC extends to the military, but not the whole damn country. I don't know how one could ask for a more conservative opinion than this one. It essentially holds that an individual is entitled to his day in a court authorized by law, not one made up on the fly by the President to suit his purposes. It is a reassertion of divided government, the very heart of our system, to prevent encroachment by the government on individual freedoms and liberties, to prevent tyranny. My pleasure this day has no bounds and I suspect you join with me in this.

The President has and would argue of course that he takes these extraordinary measures for the general welfare of the nation ... to protect us from terror and terrorists, surely a worthy cause.

I do hope that at least one of the two legislative chambers changes hands this coming election. One party government just doesn't work that well and we need a nice long break from it. Voters ........ Take heed!!!!

Posted by: Cayambe | June 30, 2006 02:53 AM

Cayambe,

Don't know if you're still checking this thread, but something you wrote caught my eye and got me thinking:

"In our constitutional democracy a "conservative" is someone who seeks to conserve his/her rights and freedoms under the constitution, most especially to conserve them to him/herself from encroachment by governments. On the other hand, a "liberal" is someone who primarily looks to the government to use its powers to provide for the general welfare."

My question for you and anyone else that cares to answer:

By your definitions above, are liberals and conservatives mutually exclusive?

Is is possible that looking to the government to provide for the general welfare could in fact conserve rights and freedoms for a majority of citizens under some circumstances?

I don't consider myself either liberal or conservative because I have as much of a problem with liberals who never saw a government program that they didn't like as I do with conservatives that have a knee-jerk negative reaction to any government regulation or program and who follow the mantra that government is "the problem".

Posted by: DK | July 10, 2006 12:42 AM

As for voter fraud being easy, it has been a thought of mine for several years that we should let people vote over the phone. Most people have one. If it is good enough for the state of Kansas to let you file your short form taxes over the phone then why not vote. After all, you only need to identify yourself. If the phone company "ATT" can give away our info to the President at his will. Why not vote for president on the phone. Your would have more voters...a better view of the peoples choice, and the weather wouldn't play a part in the turn out. The number could be free so all could call from pay phones if needed. And then we could use that Soc. Sec. number for something useful. Equal representation of the People

Posted by: Cheryl Leake | July 19, 2006 01:58 PM

ATTN: All Old Guard "The Debaters" ATTN:

[That means you too Chris]

Can everyone check in? Seems Emily is AWOL for the time and WP isn't answering why, and we had a good debate group here.

Can we agree on a topic to debate about -- how about the current never ending 21st century style WAR going on now?

Anyone?

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | July 27, 2006 12:23 AM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




 
 

© 2006 The Washington Post Company