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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Wills Point, TX
Home country: USA
Member since: Sat Oct 16, 2004, 02:36 PM
Number of posts: 32,014

About Me

I am a native Georgian who's currently hiding out in Texas. I am a liberal, and I am extremely proud of the imperfect (but evolving) republic that we call the United States of America.

Journal Archives

I hear you.

What I can say in response to your temporary feeling of hopelessness (which I sometimes share) is that every Republic in the history of the planet has been an oligarchy. As a liberal, I am a supporter of both oligarchy and capitalism, but what I want is a sane, well-regulated capitalism that shares its benefits broadly across all segments of our society. Oligarchy is not necessarily evil. We have to convince our oligarchs to share the wealth (because, as we know, it's in their own best interests to do so).

Just in case you wanted to do some light reading:

The Roman Republic
The Republic of Venice (the longest-lasting republic in the planet's history)
The Republic of Ragusa (a very cool little republic that lasted for over 500 years and was an early ally of the fledgling United States)

These are all oligarchies. Take a look at this picture and tell me we're not looking at a good number of our nation's early oligarchs:

We may not like oligarchy, in principle, but we may be fooling ourselves if we believe that the U.S. hasn't always been one. And every oligarchy, it seems, wants an empire.


NSA Chief General Kieth Alexander and "The Secret War"

This is just a hot link to a thread posted by unhappycamper in DU's Veterans forum where an important essay appears to have gotten very little attention. I think this Wired article is quite significant, and I invite you all to consider it and its implications carefully.

Here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/11794015

The original Wired article can be found here: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/06/general-keith-alexander-cyberwar/


Why the Snowden Leak Is Such a Big Deal

First off, the Constitution is important. Even the President said he "welcomed" this discussion, though one wonders how seriously the President meant it. The smears against Snowden have already begun, and the DOJ has already launched a criminal probe targeting Snowden. Ultimately, I think this is a great discussion to have, and it is well-timed to minimize the damage that it might do to either Obama or the Democratic Party (after Obama's re-election, after his expected honeymoon period, and yet 17 months before the mid-term elections). I think Snowden and Greenwald timed this release very carefully and prudently. That said, the 4th Amendment matters to many, many Americans, and it's good to have this discussion.

Second, and more importantly, I don't think we have grasped, yet, the implications of the information Snowden released. So far, most of the discussion I have seen centers on whether the NSA's data-collection activities violate the rights of Americans. But what about the rights of the rest of the people in the world? What's most embarrassing, here, is that Snowden and Greenwald have just announced, to the entire world, that the U.S. has the capability (and assumes it has the right) to capture and record not only meta-data from phone calls but all digital information (from any source) that passes through internet servers in the United States. What's more, 4th Amendment protections do not apply to non-citizens, so the world now knows that we are recording all data that comes into the country (via phone or internet) and we reserve the right to look at any or all of it, for any reason, at any time, without any real oversight. Even if there is some kind of judicial or Congressional oversight, certainly foreign governments have no oversight capability in regards to this data.

This, I think, is enormous. I suspect our allies already knew about the program. We probably told them, but just because allied governments were advised, that does not mean that their citizens knew anything about it. Now they do. I have no idea what will happen as a result, but I think this is a very, very delicate time for the United States and for the world.

Just food for thought.


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