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it is probably time to discuss this.

For years we have quietly known and accepted the negatives of having an NSA. Things like we need it for our protection, or it makes things safer, tended to overide our fears that they know too much already, and I can’t do anything in private anymore…

We accepted that as progress.

However, when you have an organization so secret, that members of Congress are shocked to find out what it is doing, that no one knows who is authorizing who gets spied upon and what, that when brought before the courts for overstepping the Constitution, it can’t be prosecuted because a) it operates under “secret” laws, b) with “secret operations”, c) authorized by “secret courts” …. it is time to shut the entire operation down.

Why do we have the NSA when we have the CIA and the FBI. The FBI covers domestic spying. The CIA covers international spying. So, unless we find out that there are aliens and the NSA is really running the world while we think otherwise, then it probably ought to go.

I find it interesting that those on the far right, and those on the far left are the most outraged by this disclosure. We’ve been stating that news on this blog after the story was broken back in 2007-8 and not one press person cared. I supposed the AP Story opened their eyes this time. Struggling to put a finger on why, I came up with the theory primarily by looking at Congress, that it is the libertarians on left and right who are against, and the conformist, primarily in the center who are acceptive. So this gives us a split where the bottom third and the top third of the political body are opposed to the middle third… If you look at Congress that is exactly how it splits up. Moderates are pro domestic spying, the libertarians are not.

Probably similar is the theory that those beholden to corporate interests are pro-spying, after all, that is normal in the corporate environment; interoffice spying is not limited by any judicial system because it is deemed to be private. Those aghast, tend to fight corporate intrusion from their original political perspective, either left of right.

What the NSA does, watch everything to discern what is happening to increase its chances of survival, is not new. Intelligence has been the secret success of many an empire. Knowing what someone will do before they do it, is pretty comfortable in a world where in a day, we probably pass within 10 feet of 10,000 people (that includes inside our vehicles).

That is what all governments with the capacity, do. The biggest argument against it, is that it is un-American. Sure we have the “ability” to do it, but do we have the restraint, not to…

America has always been ruled by restraint. When Washington was entreated to be the King, he restrained and said no. When the heads of Europe all bet that Washington would invent a method to stay in power, he restrained, and government turned over peacefully. When the US was left in charge of a broken Europe, it put it back together and went home. The only country to invade another and give it back willingly to its original owners.

We had a scare in Boston a while back. Did the NSA protect us then? It’s a secret, no one knows. In Newtown 26 bodies littered the floor of an elementary school. Did the NSA protect us then? When a gunman burst into Aurora firing into the audience, did the NSA protect us then? When Gabby Gifford took a bullet, where was the NSA? Did the NSA protect us then?

That is the point. We are always in danger. But our personal lives are more at risk if our private information should fall into a competitors hands, than being victim of a terrorist. In Boston just 2 people died. In Newton 26. But each and every one of us, is at risk that selective information from ones past, can be used in secret to smear each and every one of us, should it fall into the wrong hands.

What would happen if we shut the entire agency known as the NSA down? A big nothing. They overstepped. It is not knee-jerking anger to respond “Shut them down right now!” It it calm, cool reasoning tipping the balance, that points out simply that is the right way to go.

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The Salt Lake Tribune article quoted in the post below, puts their finger directly on the problem.

We don’t know which Mitt Romney will show up!

When he’s with Tea Partiers, his policy bends to the Tea Party.
When he’s with corporate moneybags, his policy bends to their needs.
When he’s courting a liberal audience on the debates, his policy bends to liberalism.

There appears to be an urgent need to please. A psychological urge to say the right things, and avoid confrontation whenever possible.

Tonight, he sat with the President.

He said fourteen times: I agree with the president, then goes on to repeat verbatim what Obama just said. Because he was repeating Obama, even I found some of what he said was agreeable, presidential, and the correct assessment. It appears that in foreign relations, we will not have any “daylight” between what Romney would do, and what Obama would do…

There’s a problem.

Just last week, Romney said something else. On Iran, he said we needed to draw a line and go to war with Iran. Tonight, he said war was off the table.

Just last week, Romney said we needed to get tough on China. Then tonight, in a very revealing episode that I hope America caught, he said: We need China. I would do nothing to offend China. Then 2 minutes later, he says on day one he will lable China a currency manipulator, and get tough on everything else, (back to where he was two weeks ago.)

If you don’t listen to what he says, it sounds nice. A gentlemanly man, nice suit, looking earnest, likeable, sophisticated, makes a good presentation.

If you listen to him on the radio, you miss all that. You get what he says. And what he says, is all over the map.

He will say anything to get elected.

Now that’s the joke of politicians every where. But is it good for America? If we tell the Israeli’s we will bomb Palestine, and tell Palestine we will defend them against Israel, then one of them is going to start something just because they think we got their back…..

So, what’s he going to do about China.
He’s going to be tough and be concilitory.
So, what’s he going to do about Iran.
He’s going to do what Obama did, sanctions.
So, what would he have done in Egypt?
He would have done what Obama did.
So, what is he going to do in Afghanistan?
He will do what Obama did.
So, what is he going to do with Russia?
He will do what Obama did.
So, what is he going to do in Antarctica?
Uhhh, President Obama, would you like to go first here?

If you are a dumb American, you probably don’t know that Romney campaigned on the opposite of all these up until this one debate.

Russia is our number one enemy.
Obama is indecisive on Israel.
Obama is indecisive on Iran.
I will put more troops back into Iraq.
I will put pressure on China and show them who is boss.
I would have supported Muburack.
I would have stayed out of Libya.
I would not have gone after Osama Bin Laden.

Now, he says he never said “let Detroit go bankrupt?” When that has been the campaign for 18 months?
Now, he says he will increase the deficit by $8 trillion and balance the budget?
Now. he says the deficit is our number one priority and he will cut the money coming in to pay our bills by 5 trillion to balance the budget?
Now, he says he is for abortion, when last week he would overturn Roe versus Wade on day one.

And it all depends upon the audience he is with, at that moment. He doesn’t even know what he believes in it seems. He just wants you to like him; he’ll tell you what you want to hear….

And as the Salt Lake Tribune puts it, it is not coy. It is a shameless disregard for the truth.

Romney’s character flaw, is dangerous. Who is he going to be in office? The guy who was crashing in the polls until he reinvented himself in the first debate by being Liberal? And, if we are to truly believe this guy… where are those missing tax forms?

Quite often in heated political discussions the other side becomes an enemy, and we forget that they are there to offer opinions, just like we are, in order to help solve our problems requiring solutions….

But only when someone sent me a link to this article, focusing in on one hot button issue, and instead I took the time to read the whole thing, was I able to regain my perspective and realize that just as personifications of evil-doers do not correspond well to foreign nations, nor do such names apply to assorted members of the “other” party.

As I read Dan Bartlett’s somewhat open conversation he had with a reporter for the Texas Monthly, (no doubt he was relaxed and feeling among friends), was it then that I realized that the other side is treading water just like I was and doing their best to keep afloat……

But just to set the stage, here is the quote that was highlighted, obviously not flattering to the right wing blogosphere:

That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.

Had I stopped there I would have failed to see how their minds work and how they can be manipulated to perform on cue…….I was ready to move on when my eye made this juxtaposition: Bush=smart? Intrigued I read on……

“I can’t tell you how many times reporters who didn’t really know the president came in and had a personal session with him and said, “Wow, he’s smarter than I thought.” The temptation to buy into the conventional wisdom left the wrong impression about who this guy is personally. “

Naturally from my perspective I had to ask if he is so smart, how come he does stupid things, and speaks in weird phrases?

” This issue of “Bush lied, people died”? It’s been the mantra for the last four years: “If only the right questions had been asked back then, we would have found out that he was lying to us.” That’s false—it’s patently false. There’s a difference between lying and being wrong. We were wrong. As were a lot of people and a lot of countries. We were wrong about the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. That’s far different from saying that we purposely manipulated or intentionally lied to the American people.”

That is an important distinction. I have been wrong before. And I have lied before…..I know what is at stake with both…..I can deal with someone who has been wrong…..even though he’s made a mistake; he is still looking out for my best interests and against all odds, his methods just did not work out. That feeling is diametrically opposed to someone who directly lies to me. Since that person is lying to cause me to do something I would not do otherwise, he obviously has interests other than mine at heart, and wants me to perform for his own self interests, even if they are opposed to mine…….That make him my enemy.

So if Bush acted in good faith, I and many like me can forgive him. On the other hand, if he played with a stacked deck, then he has damaged the country beyond repair…….

Coming from the Judeo-Christian background, there is an interesting story about the first sin……The greatest punishment befalls the instigator, the liar, the tempter, in this case a serpent who ultimately becomes a snake…….

Now if George Bush is extremely smart, it would be unlikely that he would be the type of president who would sign off on the war, thinking it was a requisition form for “some of them little candy bars.” Here, sign this Mr. President. Obviously he would know what the stakes were, what the ramifications could be, and what the rewards would be if successful……..

So the fact that he made a dumb decision seems rather unlikely…..Therefore in this week’s latest case, where he implies two weeks ago that if necessary we will start WWIII, and meanwhile we have the UN report that says the weapon’s program was dismantled since 2003, and one of our local bloggers posted it on September 17th, 2007, seventy five days ago, one has a hard time believing that “such a smart man” would be absolutely in the dark and unaware of what everyone else knew…..Every friend of John Bolton knows the UN can never keep a secret. The evidence was out there for all to see.

Therefore the expectation is prevalent that this deception was deliberate. With poll numbers lying on the bottom of all time, every American should be inquisitive and ask why, with such low poll numbers, would any president want to deceive the American people over an up and coming WWIII?

Was he hoping to keep his seat in perpetuity as did FDR?

Not very likely if one reads the rest of the article……Here is how Don responds to the question of how the press corp put out the message that the president is lying……

“”How do you deal with them when they’re all liberal? I’ve found that most of them are not ideologically driven. Do I think that a lot of them don’t agree with the president? No doubt about it. But impact, above all else, is what matters. All they’re worried about is, can I have the front-page byline? Can I lead the evening newscast? And unfortunately, that requires them to not do in-depth studies about President Bush’s health care plan or No Child Left Behind. It’s who’s up, who’s down: Cheney hates Condi, Condi hates Cheney.

So that is how we are shocked into perceiving Bush as a liar…. It is done for bylines….and an extra plaudit on some reporter’s resume……

But one should remember the serpent, and the punishment reserved for that beast….. If Bush is so smart, then he must be making all of his dumb decisions in a vacuum devoid of balanced advice….In other words, if one is only given skewed evidence, one can only make a skewed verdict…….

If one remembers as far back as 2000, Bush delegated to Cheney the task of coming up with a Vice President…Cheney chose himself……After the Supreme Court decision that secured the Presidency for Bush, Bush delegated to Cheney the task of staffing his office, screening his cabinet, and determining the teams energy policy…..

Invasion of Iraq was central to that policy…..we know from Cheney’s map, found in his office drawer…..So either Bush had all the facts and chose a policy not in America’s interest, or he was only given partial evidence and had to make the best of the bad choices. That is why this week’s NIE change-up is so significant. It is beginning to make Bush look like he was a pawn in the hands of a superior master…… smart as Bush is, he failed to realize it….And as President, if you don’t realize it, you screw yourself…..For with the title Mr. President,  no one is going to contradict you………

Right now the best thing for this country is that Cheney resign for health reasons. The country needs to move on……….. Should he not be willing, a forced change might be in order………

Sometimes, though not always, a haiku can be as effective as large novel.

Today, I am in haiku mode. I want to bring to point some issues that others wrote, but perhaps you did not see……..

This first one is about our president, and belatedly is a comprehensive explanation for David’s piece proclaiming Bush to be the greatest president ever, or something like that. Forgive me for not re-looking it up on FSP, but I am assuming most of you are already familiar with it………

This one is reproduced from Media Matters.

Iran wins:

If George W. Bush had been The Manchurian Candidate for president, even on his own terms, it’s hard to see how he could have done a better job. He’s weakened the American military, destroyed our prestige abroad, increased the threats against us, exploded any hopes for fiscal discipline at home and done enormous damage to the political prospects of both the Republican Party and the conservative movement, whose tenants are now almost entirely discredited. Among the most dangerous of the nearly perfectly counterproductive policies that Bush has pursued however has been his strengthening of the domestic power and regional influence of Iran’s radical leadership. Just as Western Europe and Japan won the Cold War, Iran (and Al Qaeda) have won the Iraq war. As Peter Galbraith writes in the current New York Review of Books, here:

In short, George W. Bush had from the first facilitated the very event he warned would be a disastrous consequence of a US withdrawal from Iraq: the takeover of a large part of the country by an Iranian-backed militia. And while the President contrasts the promise of democracy in Iraq with the tyranny in Iran, there is now substantially more personal freedom in Iran than in southern Iraq.

[…]

The United States cannot now undo President Bush’s strategic gift to Iran. But importantly, the most pro-Iranian Shiite political party is the one least hostile to the United States. In the battle now underway between the SIIC and Moqtada al-Sadr for control of southern Iraq and of the central government in Baghdad, the United States and Iran are on the same side. The US has good reason to worry about Iran’s activities in Iraq. But contrary to the Bush administration’s allegations — supported by both General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker in their recent congressional testimony — Iran does not oppose Iraq’s new political order. In fact, Iran is the major beneficiary of the American-induced changes in Iraq since 2003.

If only Ken Burns weren’t a creature of that dagnab liberal media, we might get PBS specials about the actual sacrifice of our servicemen like this one.

I am beginning to appreciate what a treasure Delaware has in its 2 hour news radio broadcast, that is every time the Phillies do not play, on WDEL. It’s damned original. Allan Loudell often brings home the bacon, instead of remicrowaving the crumbs uneaten by others……

It was while listening to this station, that I first became enamored with the Syrian-Israeli story. Ironically investigation points out that it had some nefarious connections to to the other story I first heard on WDEL, “The Missing Nuke’s Story.”

Here is the timeline.

August 30th, 2007 A Minot AFB stationed B-52 flies 6 nuclear warheads attached to a decommissioned type or Cruise missile known for its stealth and firepower.

It sits on the Barksdale AFB’s tarmac for 10 hours before the Military Times, part of the Gannet organization, investigates after receiving tips by three officers that the mishap was in the process of occurring. At the time of confirmation 5 of the 6 nuclear warheaded missiles are accounted for.

Late Night of September 5th, Israeli F16’s leave Ramat David Air Force Base and head west out over the Mediterranean on a routine flight pattern. Turning hard right and firing their afterburners they invaded Syrian airspeed above Mach II speeds. Waiting for them in the northeast Syrian desert, was an advance Israeli ground crew, outfitted with laser guiding bomb sites. Syria says their anti aircraft responded, but Israel boasts they were taken by surprise. There were several major explosions, to which Syria accounts for dropped fuel tanks. All planes returned to their base in the pre dawn hours of Sept 6th.

Isreali Fighters Returning to Ramat David Sept 6

Israel has not commented. Citing the wisdom of being at war for 40 years. Tsahi Hanegbi, head of the Israeli foreign affairs and defence committee, earlier said the government has adopted a policy of silence over the incident to ease tensions, but was taking Syrian threats of retaliation seriously. “We have to show restraint and it is in our interest to say nothing… This policy has proven itself. The tensions have slightly eased since 12 days ago. The more we bite our tongue, the better it will go,

How wise:( if only our Democrats and republicans could follow their example.)

Late September 6th, story about missing nukes is broken to public.

September 10th. Mysterious death to a member of the Minot AFB security detail, responsible for security when loading the B-52, while on leave in his home town of Whytheville, VA. Kid was just twenty, religious, and idealistically patriotic. Death still under investigation.

September 14th. Stand-down of the entire Air Combat Command.

Today September 18: Israeli President Shimon Peres says tensions between Israel and Syria are now “over,” and Israel is ready to negotiate for peace with Syria.

Background:

There has been much speculation within Washington that neocons, in a disparate move, would attempt something irrationally big to escalate the war, thereby continuing their control of influence within the Beltway.

Israel is not talking. so let see who is.

Writing in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal more than a week before the incident, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John R. Bolton asserted, “We know that both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched.”

Today September 18th, this joint statement between Syria and North Korea appeared. Both countries accused US officials of spreading the accusations for political reasons – either to back Israel or to block progress on a deal between Washington and Pyongyang. More likely, the political geography encompasses a turf battle, literally just doors down a hall, within the White House itself.

There could be something to that political reason crap. Condoleezza Rice avoided a shut out by the cabal of White House neocoms, and won a diplomatic coup by appealing directly to Bush and unfreezing the measly 25 million in frozen assets of North Korea, thereby breaking the log jam over the dissolution of their nuclear program. Hard-liners , like Cheney and Boulton, called the Rice accord a bad precedent for dealing with regimes that threaten global stability, particularly with nuclear development. The neocons were desperate to show the world that dealing directly with rogue nations, was just…… “dangerous?”

What better way to do so than have a nuclear device go off during an Israeli attack in the Syrian desert, thereby implicating Syria, North Korea, Hesbollah, and Hesbollah’s supplier, Iran proving once and for all time, that the threat was real? That would clinch the argument that pre-emptive force was morally right, right? Who could ever trust regimes forming the Axis of Evil again?

But something did not work right. There was no nuclear explosion. Just an unexplained adventure in the Syrian desert that has intelligence agencies around the world, scratching their heads………

Did the Cruise missile launched from under the wing of one Israeli F16 misfire? Or did one twenty year old, understand the implications of what was to happen, and switch the red nuclear warhead warning caps, onto dummy missiles and install those believably active warheads, according to orders, underneath the wings of one B-52?