Chilling June 10, 2013

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It’s fascinating watching the State trying to scream scary things while Greenwald gets out in front of them and calls BS on the whole “This is endangering us all!!!!” bogeyman stuff. It’s also fascinating to watch a blonde talking hairdo–on MSNBC!–going to bat for the Surveillance State.

Also gotta love the Voice of Officialdom declaring “This is not wrongdoing. This is official US policy.”

Ah! Thanks for clearing that up.

Meanwhile, over at the Obama is Hitler Network, the consensus is that this is a really useful story for making Obama look bad, but of course, the guy who leaked it needs to be killed. So they aren’t really serious about the State spying on you as a serious threat. They just pretend to be because it helps them attack Obama. The moment one of their guys is running this apparatus we will hear nothing but how vital it is to spy on all American and how The Terrorists[TM] will kill us all if this is questioned in any way.

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  • AquinasMan

    This is like coming across the worst car wreck ever. Anyone bring the Jaws of Life® to help pry our nation from this burning vehicle?

    • Imp the Vladaler

      One silver lining to come out of this is that we can see who is principled and who is a partisan hack. And we can hear the mating call of the partisan hack: “It’s different this time because…”

      • John Schaefer

        I like that…”mating call of the partisan hack”. I think I will steal it!

  • Marcel LeJeune

    I love that he called out blondie for using White House talking-points.

  • I’m sorry but Glenn Greenwald is profoundly mistaken to the point of credulity to say that this does not harm national security in any way shape or form. This is not to say that the programs were wise, constitutional, or even particularly productive. On balance, I think we’re going about things the wrong way to the point of risking the long-term viability of the US republic.

    Whenever any intelligence agency has a big leak, whatever intelligence sharing agreements that agency has are negatively impacted for a time because the ability to keep secrets is a valuable skill set and a prerequisite for sharing. Right now everybody is wondering whether it’s safe to expose information they’ve gathered to the US intelligence apparatus and some people are holding back. This negatively affects national security.

    For Glenn Greenwald to say otherwise is discrediting his otherwise strong position and a dumb move.

    We have long bypassed reasonable measures to secure the state because it would require us to have an icky national conversation we truly don’t want to have. The end result of not doing the right thing is that we go to plan B. This is plan B. As short term expediency until we can get our house in order and move to plan A this is a judgment call that I thank God I never had to make. As a normal, routinized measure that will go on forever, this is rotting out the soul of this country.

    • Rachel

      I agree that Glenn could have worded that issue differently about national security but where does it end? I mean, do we just give the government a blank check to spy on us and for what purpose does this serve? Again, it used to be that one needed a warrant to investigate someone who might be doing something wrong. No, I’m glad this is out in the open. Our government has aggregated for itself many questionable expanded powers since 9/11 and these need to be reviewed.

      • Do not mistake me. I also am glad that it’s out in the open. By stating things as he did, Greenwald made a claim that he can’t support. That’s like catnip for the other side, an unforced error.

        The fundamental truth is that there is an institutional structure extant in the muslim world which is incompatible with the US. It’s the conception of the sharia court as something that is entitled to emit judgments that are global in scope, have physical punishments up to and including the death penalty on the menu of punishment options, and whose judgments are enforceable by any adult muslim male. You can’t reconcile that with the US Constitution and traditional US liberty. One or the other is going to die so long as they remain in contact and technological progress in communications means that they are always going to remain in progress from here on out.

        Have that national conversation to deal with that problem and you don’t have to have these massive spying programs and thus the leak would have never happened because we would know who we were fighting and been able to target them inside the traditional limits and legal protections.

        • Elmwood

          What is your point? Do you support such measures to keep us safe? Don’t you think it’s a bad idea to have the government spying on all its citizens?

          Please, the media and military industrial complex want to make us believe we would all die if not for having these massive programs and bureaucracies in place to keep us safe from the scary terrorists.

          We are much more likely to die in a car accident or by diabetes then by a terrorist. The only difference is there is less money to be made by hyping them up.

          • Richard Johnson

            “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Roosevelt

            By keeping us scared those in power can more easily manipulate us to do their bidding. When we stop being scared of “them” (whoever that may be), we may finally begin to put some fear into the hearts of our leaders.

          • My point is that such measures on balance are negative but it does us no good to lie, pretending that there is no negative fallout to disclosure.

            Don’t lie. Don’t overstate the case. Consider the costs as well as the benefits.

            Is this really so controversial?

    • AquinasMan

      If the government is spying on its own citizens, there is no national security to begin with. (Just the mere fact that all this information is centralized in one location leaves it vulnerable to hacking-in by the enemy and Lord knows what kind of blackmail can descend from that). You’re right, the long-term viability of the US Republic is at risk, but any outside spectators who are watching this unfold can already decide on the credibility of the U.S. gov’t based on the way it treats her own citizens. At some point, unless there are consequences for this trampling of our rights, the gov’t will go from “abusive” to “illegitimate”. Forget about external enemies. The fire’s in the kitchen.

      • This is not an either/or situation. The reality is that we have both external and internal enemies. Both need to be fought to preserve the Republic.

  • Rachel

    wow these guys are idiots. So, if its legal, its ok for the government to spy on all of us? Huh??? No, its not ok. This is serious and I’m glad that finally someone decided to speak up about the abuses.

  • Newp Ort

    This entire Obama’s spying on us! thing is new boss same as the old boss non-news.

    It’s the same sh_t Bush was doing and Obama kept on doing since the Patriot act went into “law.”

    I have hated the Patriot act from the git, still hate it, it’s still wrong but it’s not news. Heck Greenwald demonized the patriot act opponents and the NYT for exposing same thing when Bush did it. Now the reason he and all the cons are freaking out? Pres. Black Hitler.

    Only good thing abt the story in the news again is it will remind people what a ridiculous police state we’re becoming.

    • I’m pretty sure that Greenwald’s been a consistent opponent of the Patriot act from the get go. If I’m mistaken, please supply a link to something of Greenwald that supports it because I just did a search and I couldn’t find it.

      • Newp Ort

        Dangit I can’t post links but the preface to his book says he supported Bush into 2002 “Well into 2002…I was among those who strongly approved of his performance.”

        It appears he had a change of heart since then and is a seriouscivil libertarian. I may have been wrong about his specific opinion about the Patriot act at it’s implimentation, it appears he didn’t oppose or support so much as was ignorant/didn’t care about it specifically, was def a bush supporter at the time Bush was using it.

        • Imp the Vladaler

          That’s not going to cut it. What civil liberties violations was Bush guilty of through 2002 that were known at the time?

          More specificially, when did Greenwald “demonize[] the patriot act opponents and the NYT for exposing same thing when Bush did it”? When did that happen? Show me a NYT exposure of the “same thing,” and Greenwald’s response.

          • Richard Johnson

            I believe this would be classified as support for Bush in a 2005 post from his blog.


            “So Hersh thinks it’s “alarming” that he’s been writing anti-war articles for several years now and Bush still hasn’t caved in his support for the war. We’re supposed to be scared and outraged because Bush doesn’t watch Wolf Blitzer interviews and then change his mind afterwards, or that Bush still supports the war even after Hersh writes another article based on anonymous officials who have come to him in order to attack Bush’s policies.

            And when Hersh complains that Bush is inured to “facts,” what he plainly means is that Bush doesn’t accept Hersh’s view of Iraq. In sum, Bush is supposed to know that he has to listen when the Washington press elite speaks, and his refusal to do so means that he is either pathologically stubborn, certifiably crazy, or a religious fanatic beyond any reason. Certain elements on the Left hungrily eat up this cheap and easy caricature.

            Ever since he took office, Bush has refused to play by many of the long-standing rules of the Washington game. He doesn’t fire his cabinet secretaries and aides when editorial boards and other politicians demand that he do so. The appearance of as-yet-unproven scandals doesn’t cause him to dump whomever is said to be associated with them. He doesn’t abandon or soften his positions when polls begin to show an increasing public unrest with those positions or when pundits begin insinuating that weakening political support makes those positions untenable.

            And, most significantly, he doesn’t go out of his way, Clinton-like, to make sure that reporters — or anyone else — feel that their opinions are listened to and cherished. If anything, the opposite is true: Bush has never tried to hide that he has very little regard for the opinions of the Washington media establishment; that he could not care any less about winning their approval; and that the tried-and-true pressure tactics which they have used for decades to force White Houses to change course have no effect on Bush, unless it’s to make him dig in even deeper.”

            And later in the same post…

            “Steadfastness or stuborness, like Clinton’s eagerness to accomodate the positions of others, can be a good or a bad trait in a President. But for the preening, hubristic, status-obsessed Washington media elite, what matters is the influence and power they have, and in this respect, Bush’s refusal to grant them their rightful place is nothing but a source of anger.”

            • If you do not support the Patriot Act, you must oppose Bush. Right. Let’s just ignore all those Democrats who also support the Patriot Act and rework everything into partisan terms.

              • Richard Johnson

                Wrong. What I was responding to was our host’s statement.

                “You really don’t know a thing about Greenwald if you think he ever supported the Patriot Act or Bush. {emphasis added}”

                As Greenwald’s own words have shown, he did in fact support Bush, and he gave him the benefit of the doubt initially on the Patriot Act. As late as 2005 he was still supporting Bush’s war in Iraq.

                What part of that do you not understand?

                • Imp the Vladaler


                  Nothing in your lengthy quoted post suggests that Greenwald supported Bush’s war in Iraq. The post you quoted did not praise Bush in any way. It criticized the media for insisting that Bush bend to their criticisms. This was criticism of the Washington establishment media, not a defense of any Bush policy.

                  In fact, it’s quite telling that you left out the first line of the post: “Whatever else one might say about George Bush, it is hard to dispute that he steadfastly believes in and adheres to the decisions he makes like virtually no other American political figure we have seen.”

                  if that’s the best you can do for the proposition that Greenwald supported Bush, then you’ve got nothing.

                • In that case, your position sounds much less demented. Were you responding to chezami instead of Imp the Vladaler I might have had a better chance to twig to your message. Sorry about missing it.

        • Rosemarie


          That was right after 9/11. A lot of people approved of his performance back then. Even Al Gore had good things to say about Bush. That doesn’t make either Gore or Greenwald “Bush supporters” as such.

        • Richard Johnson

          I believe this is the link you seek.

          “This is not to say that I was not angry about the attacks. I believed that Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the country, and I wanted an aggressive response from our government. I was ready to stand behind President Bush and I wanted him to exact vengeance on the perpetrators and find ways to decrease the likelihood of future attacks. During the following two weeks, my confidence in the Bush administration grew as the president gave a series of serious, substantive, coherent, and eloquent speeches that struck the right balance between aggression and restraint. And I was fully supportive of both the president’s ultimatum to the Taliban and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan when our demands were not met. Well into 2002, the president’s approval ratings remained in the high 60 percent range, or even above 70 percent, and I was among those who strongly approved of his performance. ”

          And later…

          “During the lead-up to the invasion, I was concerned that the hell-bent focus on invading Iraq was being driven by agendas and strategic objectives that had nothing to do with terrorism or the 9/11 attacks. The overt rationale for the invasion was exceedingly weak, particularly given that it would lead to an open-ended, incalculably costly, and intensely risky preemptive war. Around the same time, it was revealed that an invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein had been high on the agenda of various senior administration officials long before September 11. Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.”

        • You’re conflating approval of Bush’s performance with the bipartisan Patriot Act of 2001. Sen Feingold voted against. Sen Landrieu did not vote. 98 Senators voted in favor. House passage was 357 to 66.

          Greenwald seems to have not seriously examined the Patriot Act in the three days between introduction and passage and took around 7 months to get around to that, Padilla being the motivation for his examination starting in May of 2002. If you want to nitpick that this does not fit your personal definition of “from the get go”, feel free to be an english nazi. It fits mine.

          • Newp Ort

            Is this reply to me or Mr Johnson? See my apology to GG abv.

            English Nazi? stiff upper lip + jodhpurs?

            • I used english nazi because grammar nazi didn’t quite fit. I saw and responded already to your apology. Again, good recovery.

      • Richard Johnson

        Again, from the same preface to the same book, it seems that while he supported the law initially, at some point his position changed. This story from the NY Times he refers to seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back in his case.

        “On December 15, 2005, The New York Times published a journalistic bombshell when it revealed that for the last four years, the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on American citizens in violation of the law—because it had been ordered to do so by President Bush. From the start of the NSA eavesdropping scandal, I began writing every day about what I believed were the profoundly important legal, political, and constitutional issues raised by the Bush administration’s secret surveillance program.”

        • The Patriot Act was passed in October of 2001. Padilla’s detention was in May of 2002. According to your indictment of Greenwald he supported it during that period. But that’s clearly not what he said. He said, again in the same text you’re pointing to, that he had a conviction that such assaults on liberty were only the province of extremists and that one could ignore politics so long as extremists were kept away from real power. With Padilla, he shifted his world view and started digging into the facts. In the process he formed his first real opinions on the subject.

          There are more than states available than to simply support or oppose. One can simply ignore the question and not answer yet. One can be more profoundly disconnected and not be aware the question even exists.

          Try your standard of conduct on just about any contentious moral issue that hasn’t ripened and you’ll find time and again that at the start of matters what happens is that the vast bulk of people aren’t aware of the issue, then they don’t much care about it, having heard about it only superficially, and then as they get educated they get an opinion and either support or oppose.

          • Newp Ort

            seems he supported Bush being largely ignorant abt Patriot act. Good on him for changing his mind. I hated the Patriot act from the start (had to know something with a name like that was trouble) but the whole Padilla thing was when it really became obvious just how unconstitutional patriot is.

            • I have generally loathed the policies of one Barak Obama since I first saw his carnival act when he was paying off clerks to get at divorce records of his opponents. When he gets one right (such as his support of private space development) I still agree with him and support his policy because to do otherwise is to be a partisan hack that has trouble with looking yourself in the mirror every morning.

              The same is true of all presidents.

    • Imp the Vladaler

      You know nothing about Greenwald.

    • chezami

      You really don’t know a thing about Greenwald if you think he ever supported the Patriot Act or Bush. It is, however, very revealing of *your* kneejerk tribalism that you assume any critic of Obama has to be some right wing racist or something.

      • Newp Ort

        it appears knees jerk in response to other knees jerking. I criticized the patriot act in my own comment. I will say right now Obama’s a crap president on the majority of issues inc this one so I guess I called myself a racist.

        • chezami

          No. You ignorantly called Greenwald a racist who supported the Patriot Act and Bush but then hypcritically changed his tune. You were wrong. Just admit it.

          • Newp Ort

            I was dead wrong abt GG, I apologize to him and for the misinformed comment.

            After reading up, it appears that (as he admits) he did support W, but at the time he was pretty disinterested in politics. It was the civil liberties being cut up that got him interested so much he started writing blogs n books and he’s been fair and consistent since. If anything he should be praised (and hear hear!) for flipping on Bush, not called a hypocrite.

            Cheers also to him for raising the story cuz the more it’s in the news the more people might understand how far gov power has overridden the constitution.

            never meant to imply HE was racist, but my comment sure reads that way so I was wrong and I apologize for that too.

            • chezami

              Well done!

            • Just got to this point. This is fair and decent and honest. We all blow one every once in awhile. You’ve handled it better than many.

    • Joseph

      What amazes me is how Obamabots twist themselves into so many knots to defend their saviour. For example, before these multiple and quite serious scandals began to break, Obamabot usually regurgitated, “At least Master is not Bush. Bush is the devil. Master is not the devil. Master is not Bush.”. Fast forward to present day where we have discovered that the only real differences between Master and Bush are the colour of skin, the level of literacy, and Master is apparently much more efficient and forceful to implement Bush’s policies than Bush was… there has been a reprogramming of Obamabot. Now they say, “Master is innocent. Master is only a victim of circumstance. Master is only enforcing the rules and policies of the devil. Bush is the devil. Master can do mo other. Mastdr is innocent.”.

      There is no cure.

      • John Schaefer

        And, those folks are any different from the ones who believed Bush could do no wrong how? Wrap yourself tightly in your thin argument.

        • Joseph

          I wasn’t one of those people… trust me. But you are right. Bush carried on the same policies of Clinton to a much greater degree, and Bush loyalists viewed their Master much the same the Obamabots view their Master. It’s a vicious cycle really. All you need to do to convince the other side is your man is to use the word “change” in as many slogans as possible. It sounds the same as the dinner bell.

          • John Schaefer

            I don’t think either political party, or myself for that matter, really care about the ravings of anyone who views the President as their “Master” on either side of either debate. We’d all do much better to debate specific policies of either, than to deal in personality politics.

          • Rosemarie


            Well, one difference is that Obama’s diehard followers
            have gone overboard with their adulation in the past, even to the point of portraying him as a near messianic figure:


            Bush’s fans, OTOH, never portrayed him as the Second Coming of Christ. Some saw him as a good Christian man who loved Jesus, but that’s about it.

    • Gail Finke

      This is the weirdest argument of all and yet I continually hear it: “This isn’t news, Bush did it.” Oh, THAT makes it all right then! Get a grip. Everything is not about race, and people don’t dislike President Obama because he’s black. Maybe you have been following every bit of this story since 2001, but most people haven’t. This is the first time most people have heard of any of it. Are they appalled? You bet they are, and rightly so. “Nothing new here, GEORGE BUSH DID IT” does not explain anything or make anything better.

      • Newp Ort

        I was wrong about Greenwald, see my apology above.

        Not so sure where I said it’s all right, must have been either before or after I said I always hated the Patriot act and its still wrong.

        Plenty of people dislike Obama regardless of race and Lord knows there’s much to dislike. But if you think race isn’t involved in a lot of it you’re wearing blinders.

  • tedseeber

    I’m beginning to think that at least a part of the problem is an expectation of privacy where no privacy is technically possible.

    Is a good discussion of the relevant law.

    • AquinasMan

      Let’s grant that cyberspace is murky when it comes to privacy. What about telephony? Next step is CCTV. Sure there are security cameras everywhere, and no one has a “right to privacy” walking down a public sidewalk. The problem arises when the gov’t finds every image of you in public and sticks it on a folder in some database. Oh, you attend daily Mass downtown? Oh, here you are outside an abortion clinic. Oh, here you are entering and exiting a liquor store several times a week. Who needs a BOLO list? This is not tin-foil anymore. We can’t have freedom when the gov’t decides the people are the enemy.

      • tedseeber

        Telephony these days IS cyberspace. You might, if you’re in a particular backwater, get to the local CO before your call is digitized into VOIP transmitted over fiber optic complete with server records of every frame of data. Anything other than a phone call to your local neighborhood (pretty much defined as the 9999 phones that share an area code and prefix with you) is going to be transmitted through cyberspace.

        And we’ve never had a “right to privacy” walking down a public sidewalk (though people continually test this, just this last Saturday in my metro area was the annual naked bike ride).

        The problem isn’t so much a lack of privacy, as your last sentence, which I entirely agree with:
        “We can’t have freedom when the gov’t decides the people are the enemy.”

        And the converse is also true- we can’t have freedom when the people have decided that gov’t is the enemy as well, for bureaucrats do react.

        • The question is who is the master and who is the servant. The bureaucrats seem to have come up with a novel answer for that.

          • tedseeber

            Ever since Article I Section 10 of the US Constitution was ratified, that has been clear.

            • The conversation has continued long past 1791, which is not necessarily wrong. Unless you think the civil war amendments are illegitimate, they have something important to say about the subject, as does the later new deal jurisprudence.

              • tedseeber

                They make it WORSE, not better. But I would agree that they do have something important to say on the subject- important things leading to more centralized control and significantly less democracy.

                • Reboot your reflexive opposition. You just argued against the anti-slavery amendments. Stop. Take a deep breath and start over.

                  I happen to think that we’re not handling things very well vis a vis this stuff but not because of those amendments but the neutering of same (specifically the privileges and immunities clause) via the slaughterhouse cases and I support a reinterpretation to expand liberty by reversing that mistake by the Supreme Court. It’s a mistake I rank right up there with Dred Scott and has caused much mischief.

                  This is very different from the bludgeon you’ve applied where (by accident I believe) you just endorsed slavery.

                  • tedseeber

                    No, I actually think we’d be better off with the slavery described by St. Paul in his letter to Philemon (which is more like a combination of indentured servitude and adoption, in which the slave, in return for caring for his master, may well end up with both his freedom and an inheritance) than either the evil chattel slavery of the South OR the wage slavery of the North.

                    It wasn’t intentional, but I do believe those so-called “anti-slavery amendments” just served to enshrine the wage slavery of the North nationwide, rather than eliminating slavery entirely.

                    I am against the privileges and immunities clause in that I think we should have hard borders between the states complete with guards, individual money supply, and whatever tariffs are appropriate to protect employment and the individual dignity of “pray and labor” within a state against the twin threats of free trade and economy of scale.

                    In other words, I’m for subsidiarity and solidarity, not federalism. I see federalism as a centralizing force that eventually guarantees anonymity- and the destruction of humanity that comes with that.

                    There is a reason why under the guilds, slavery was virtually unknown.

                    • The illegalization of the ‘hard border’ as you put it predates the 10th amendment. It’s in the original text of the Constitution. So on another subject, more ahistoric nonsense from you. This is getting to be a pattern.

                      Here is a news flash, St Paul was against slavery, not for an easy form of it.

                      If it would not put you out too much, could you quote which portion(s) of the 13, 14, or 15th amendments that enshrined “wage slavery”? Like a train wreck, your argument is just something that is fascinating to watch.

                    • tedseeber

                      Yes, if you READ, my initial objection was to Article I section 10 of the US Constitution.

                      And apparently you have never read Philemon 1:15-16 either- not as a mere slave, but as a brother.

                      THAT is what we needed, and that is most assuredly what we did NOT get. I don’t know very many minimum wage business owners who treat their employees as anything other than “human resources”. Heck, I don’t know many large businesses that treat their employees as anything other than “human resources”.

                      Just slavery by a different name. All that was banished was the word. In fact, if anything, the modernist factory owner owes the wage slave less than the chattel slave. The chattel slave owner has to provide food, clothing, and shelter to protect his investment, the wage slave factory owner owns only the factory and need not provide enough wages to fund any of these things, as long as he can find an illegal immigrant to work for less.

                      And 14th Amendment Section I destroys the right of a state to determine who is a citizen for themselves; it would later be used in SPR vs SCC to create a whole new class of citizen: the corporation.

                    • I do apologize that I mistook your reference to be for the 10th Amendment and not Article I Section 10. Mostly I did it because it is so unusual, but also because it is just plain crazy so I was trying for an interpretation that wasn’t completely daft on the face of it. We would be in a current state of civil war right now if nanny bloomberg had the armed force to back up his anti-gun ambitions. He’s already sending detectives and NYC police across borders as is.

                      On the 14th amendment, you’re objecting to people being able to move from one state to another? Are you serious? You want to have immigration and citizenship procedures times fifty states?

                      What you call wage slavery, normal people call employment contracts. I’ve fired employers, though I generally adopt the language of HR departments. “I’m sorry but your organization no longer meets my needs so I’m going to have to let you go”. You pack up, you pick up, and you move on. If you can do that, it’s not slavery in any real sense. Slavery is and has always been an involuntary institution. Slaves cannot pick masters. They never have.

                      The system you object to is a soft, cultural system that, in any event, is dying right along with the industrial age. People who decide to go independent can do so. The desire for predictability in income is a desire to reduce risk. It is understandable but to get that peace of mind, one has to pay for it, just like anything else of value.

                    • tedseeber

                      “On the 14th amendment, you’re objecting to people being able to move from one state to another? Are you serious? You want to have immigration and citizenship procedures times fifty states?”

                      It is the only way to gain economic subsidiarity. And if you think the poor are able to pick their masters (as opposed to take whatever job they can just to survive) then you must have had rich parents. If only the rich are able to afford peace of mind, if the rest are denied the right to own private property, then all you’ve done is put a band-aid on slavery.

                    • Internal movement controls are a major marker for tyranny. You want to impose them. Rethink that as it is evil.

                    • tedseeber

                      The Church is a monarchy, not a democracy. Tyranny in the service of good is not to be feared IF it is used to guarantee internal autonomy and freedom.

                      What I’m saying is I don’t trust any government over a few hundred thousand citizens. The United States- and Federalism- is just another form of anonymous ownership.

                    • When did the Church endorse internal movement controls? Do not enlist the Church as cover for your personal politics.

                      I do not trust government, at all, which is why I want to preserve the ability to escape any that become oppressive. Movement controls are bad for that ability to escape.

                    • Once again, if what I propose is correct, this is an *EXTERNAL* movement control, not an internal one.

                      You are better off with lots of small governments whose border control is reasonable, than large governments that become draconian.

                    • You really should be clear and up front from the beginning. Restrictions on movement between NY and NJ are only external if there is no USA. You are declaring that you are anti-american.

                      That’s fine. You’re my political enemy. Go with God and peddle your twaddle elsewhere.

                    • EXACTLY. Yes, I am against the Americanist heresy as defined by Pope Leo XIII

                    • It is clear that you have misunderstood the encyclical. Pope Leo was not condemning the USA, nor its Constitution. In the very document you quote, he also praises America. The heresy he called Americanism, I also condemn, but that is not what you are condemning. Do not cloak your private beliefs in claimed accord with a papal document that does no such thing. Twisting Pope Leo’s words does nobody any favors, least of all you. Cut it out.

                    • What I am condemning is allowing liberty and rights to preempt morality. I see the seeds of that in a Constitution that makes subsidiarity and solidarity, two Catholic principles that are absolutely necessary for a truly free society, illegal.

                      Now are you going to argue against my beliefs within the actual framework of my beliefs, or are you going to continue to make up stupid straw men based on superficial aspects such as slavery?

                    • Morality provides a ‘soft kill’ against immorality when the truce of tolerance and rights allows it to. That is the glory of america.

                      Btw, the US Constitution does not illegalize solidarity nor subsidiarity.

                    • Article 1 Section 10:
                      No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

                      No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

                      No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

                      In other words, everything a *Sovereign State* should do to protect its citizens, the United States are forbidden from doing. Solidarity and Subsidiarity are denied in Article I Section 10. The 10th Amendment tried to correct this (weakly) but the 14th repealed the 10th (strongly) and so federalism denies the capability of the States to actually be autonomous.

                      Whenever a population gets above a million citizens, it becomes ungovernable.

                    • So outsourcing certain functions to a higher level is anti subsidiarity according to you. On the contrary, subsidiarity is exactly about handing up and down depending on what is appropriate. Republics were generally recognized as highly unstable when small. The US was the first really large republic since the Romans and an experiment in achieving political dynamic stability via multiplying faction. Read federalist 10 for the classic treatment of the issues. For Art 1 sec 10 to be anti subsidiarity, Madison would have had to have been wrong that a large america unified under a strong federal component would be the cure for the problems generally recognized in smaller republics. Manifestly, Madison was right as the early predictions of failure all turned out to have been unfounded. Large republics are more stable but only when their component states cannot tarrif and restrict people from moving (among other things). That is why the articles of confederation failed within a decade while the present system is one of he oldest free states on the planet, two centuries strong.

                    • “So outsourcing certain functions to a higher level is anti subsidiarity according to you.”

                      Yes. Any function that the state needs to protect its citizens *and can accomplish* it should do.

                      Large centralized governments are not a good idea. I believe that the last 80 years out of the last 200 has indeed proven Madison WRONG- the early predictions of failure turned out to be unfounded, but the long term predictions of failure, including the giant sucking sound East of the centralization of our economics on the East Coast, is quite proven. We’d have been better off with 50 small countries than one large one.

                      And we aren’t the only failure. The USSR had in essence a similar problem under communism; the economic centralization in Moscow mirrored the economic centralization in New York, and the result is obvious; the denial of the right of private property to a large portion of the citizenry.

                      By no means is the present system a “free state”.

                    • Your post is self refuting. In a non-free state it would never have been committed to a public forum. In a non-free state, the post, and likely you, would have already encountered the security services.

                      We would never have gotten 50 small governments had we not had the US Constitution. We would have ended up as Africa, with political boundaries drawn for mischief and dominated by war. You cannot avoid the vices of a system without giving up its virtues.

                      Both small and large territories have fallen to the scourge of big centralized government. Read history and you will see the roll of countries that succumbed include all sizes.

                      The truth is that the US is sick politically. We agree that much. The sickness can be cured through reform of the system and return to original design spec in the matter of govt authority or it can be overthrown. Revolution is an uncertain, violent thing and the very last resort of the profoundly repressed. When a more moderate reform can cure, it is not in accord with our faith to voluntarily choose the radical course that courts violence.

                    • ” In a non-free state, the post, and likely you, would have already encountered the security services.”

                      Yes, I have. You mean you haven’t had the knock on the door, or been informed that the IRS has requested an e-mail list you’re on?

                      “When a more moderate reform can cure, it is not in accord with our faith to voluntarily choose the radical course that courts violence.”

                      The last 40 years have convinced me that a more moderate reform can’t cure. It can only guarantee more of the same- more voting for the lesser evil.

                      What we need is local autonomy at a very low level. I’d much rather have Africa’s problems than America’s right now. At least in Africa, they still value the family and children.

                    • My experience is less paperwork delays on my 501 app (which I am gearing up for coincidentally) and more my dad made a joke and the denunciation got the wrong Lutas boy on it so my uncle spent a few months in jail instead. We apparently are working off of different standards of what constitutes intolerable repression.

                    • I’d say it is more how the entire economic system is geared to funnel wealth from those who create it to those who invest in it; this little kerfuffle with 501 applications is just the tip of the iceberg, a mere symptom of the problem. Not the problem itself, which goes FAR deeper.

                      The whole idea of the government supporting charity to begin with is a bit odd, don’t you think?

                    • The power to tax is the power to destroy. If we are to protect anything from government destruction, we cannot let the government tax it because that allows for taxation to destruction.

                      This is not the same as government support.

                    • The power to tax is merely rent on the service of printing money.

                      Eliminate the monopoly on money, you eliminate the ability to tax.

                    • So countries with multiple currencies don’t tax? Not even close to reality, are you. Countries without money monopolies tax all the time. Name one that didn’t.

                    • How do they tax transactions conducted entirely in private currencies?

                    • The schemes are endless. They taxed roof planes in colonial MD. This led to a boom in one plane roofs. They tax wealth instead of its movements, apply a head tax, land tax, gas tax, wheel tax road tax, and on and on. Taxation of economic transactions is the current fashion. There have been other fashions and will be yet more in future.

                    • Once again, you can’t get blood out of a stone. If the tax isn’t payable in a currency the person currently has, the only option is to give them food, clothing, and shelter (jail) or a death.

                    • The time honored option of taking their stuff now and in future remains open. The IRS does this every day.

                    • I don’t know why my previous response isn’t showing but in case it was swallowed up, you are conflating Americanism as heresy with America as country. Pope Leo explicitly differentiated between the two in the very document you are pointing to as support for your position that there is no difference.

                      You are supporting tyranny in a kind of neo-serfdom, chopping us all up into small bits of land where we cannot travel without permission of the state inside our own country and claiming that the Church supports you in it. This is wrong.

    • Privacy is possible as a practical matter. You simply don’t datamine.

      • tedseeber

        And how, exactly, are you going to stop the datamining? without infringing on private property rights?

        If the government doesn’t do it, you bet Sears and Target will to be keeping up in the competition against Walmart.

        • If I care to, I will simply adopt pseudonyms and rotate them. Nobody but the government may force me to use my official ID and so long as there is no intent to defraud, the US is remarkably pseudonym friendly.

  • Clare Krishan

    Here’s surveillance Philly style – the mayor sends photo his inspectors shared from the day after the OSHA Federal agents visited to prove that the building was not being demolished (as evidence the lights are on when in reality that’s sunlight shining through the beams of a roofless shell…!!!!)
    Go ahead do surveillance, but can we check that your eyes and brains are in gear while you’re “over-viewing” us all?
    number of dead in Boston terror < number of dead in Philadelphia incompetence

    Live victim teleconference tune in NBC 10

  • Joseph

    I’m shocked that the media is headhunting this guy. And all of the “he’s a traitor” comments on the comboxes in this blog alone. I feel like I’m surrounded by mindless robots happily marching off to their own death camps.

    I’m glad I got out of the US when I did. I know that the EU isn’t exactly making Europe heaven on earth, but, reading so many opinions from people who can’t see ths forest through the trees almost makes me fear for the US more than I did before. I assumed people were waking up over there and at some point the camel’s back was going to snap. Guess I was wrong.

  • Joe

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    –Benjamin Franklin