…the conservative view can be expressed with a line from Chief Justice John Roberts’s opinion in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1: ’The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’
In other words, only the “colorblind” are capable of stopping racism. What’s more, the inverse is also true: if you’re not colorblind, then you are incapable of stopping racism.
Because Obama acknowledges race as a force in American life—and because he even suggests that there are racists among us—he becomes the “real racist,” a construction designed to give conservatives moral high ground, while allowing them to insult Obama.”
The meta-data explanation has now been unmasked as a mega-lie, according to the latest revelations from exiled National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
When Snowden first disclosed the extent of America’s national security state spying on the electronic lives of Americans, the Obama administration led by the president himself said the government was not looking at the details of one’s electronic communications, web searches and sites visited. Instead, it was looking at so-called “ meta-data,” which was akin to a phone bill listing calls but not listening in. On Wednesday, the White House declassified documentsremaking that same argument.
But Wednesday’s disclosure by Snowden, reported by the U.K. Guardian, exposes that spin as a security state lie. The NSA has a computer program, called XKeyscore, that is its “widest-reaching” system for conducting digital dragnets. Screenshot presentations describing its capacities boast that it can trace “nearly everything a typical user does on the Internet,” including the content of emails, attachments, online seaches, websites visited, chats, phone numbers and user data. The 32-page slideshow uses examples of tracking overseas targets, but the software can be used domestically as well.
Here are three breathtaking revelations about Snowden’s XKeyscore disclosure:
1. Internet privacy is dead. Snowden famously said, “I, sitting at my desk, could wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email” address. XKeyscore explains how this can be done. Obviously, the government cannot collect billions of electronic messages and transactions with no smart way to sift through them, including examining them at the most detailed level. XKeyscore is the sifting and storage system for doing so. But technical capacities aside, the bottom line is online privacy is completely dead. The government now can collect dossiers on anyone down to the most intimate details of their lives. In contrast, Wednesday’s White House release only concerned the NSA’s narrower telephone dragnet.
2. The security state has trumped the Constitution. Snowden’s latest revelation begins by saying that any government contractor working for spy agencies can access and use this system. They don’t need a search warrant. There is no judicial process to push back. And Congress has enabled that shadow government to grow without checks and balances, which directly conflicts with the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment banning illegal searches and seizures. The Bill of Rights enshrined the quartet of police search warrants, protection against self-incrimination, trial by jury and the credo of innocent until proven guilty in response to Great Britain’s 18th-century abuses of this nature. XKeyscore completely upends those constitutional protections.
3. The security state’s defenders won’t stop lying. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told the Guardian that Snowden is “lying. It’s impossible for him to do what he’s saying he could do.” But the Guardian’s latest article is filled with screenshots from the program that show how to search “within bodies of emails, webpages and documents.” It also mentions another NSA tool, DNI Presenter, that not only can read stored emails, but also “the content of Facebook chats or private messages.” The agency had to create software tools like this, the Guardian explained, quoting a retired NSA employee, because without them it would be left with mountains of data and no way to parse it.
Moreover, the NSA spin that its data tools would only be used for overseas targets—to combat terrorism—doesn’t hold up because the NSA’s software tools do not discriminate between domestic and overseas targets. Everything is swept into the gigantic data-mining operation.
(Meaning Americans are spied on, as well as the rest of the world.)
“North Carolina right now is going apeshit in a way no state ever has. Take every crazy, angry idea your drunk, right-wing uncle mumbles at Thanksgiving, turn it into a law, and that’s North Carolina today.”—Bill Maher, Real Time With Bill Maher, August 2, 2013
This is not hyperbole. The GOP in North Carolina is also making it incredibly difficult to vote, so the odds they’ll be held accountable for this insanity are very, very low.
Further proof that Republicans really are clueless about what is pissing women off these days.
"For over a year now, Democrats have repeatedly used and exploited the term, ‘War on Women,’ for their own political gain," wrote NRSC spokesman Brad Dayspring in his Tuesday media email. "It’s a campaign based on fear, disinformation, and exploitation – but one that we know the Democrats will use as one of their main messages in 2014. Democrats—those valiant defenders of women. The party of Eliot Spitzer. Anthony Weiner. Bob Filner. Bob Menendez. Sheldon Silver. John Edwards. David Wu. Kwame Kilpatrick. The list goes on and on. Democrats invoke the ‘War on Women’ charge repeatedly, but they head for the hills when asked about their Democratic colleagues’ actual mistreatment of women. "
More to the point, aren’t Republicans talking about randomized political embarrassment, not policy? Yeah, they are…
The implication is that policy affecting a wide swath of women—making birth control more expensive than the status quo, say—isn’t affecting “real women.” Right? I’m not even sure of what the attack is telling us, apart from how the party committees are more confident attacking sex scandals than in advertising the state GOP bills that Democrats are grouping into the “war on women.
Further proof that the GOP is riddled with people who can’t see the world beyond their own nose.
Every time someone argues we don’t need to spend money on infrastructure I mention and show them how we aren’t producing (heck, burning away) oil and gas in Canada and the northern Midwest because we haven’t spent the money on energy infrastructure.
So they start ranting about the jobs Obama is denying Americans by blocking the pipelines from being built.
And I raise the issue of bridges and deteriorating roads that the trucking companies have been complaining about.
And all the jobs those infrastructure projects would create.
They become socialist liberals for a second before their propaganda-filled heads readjust to their natural state.
This sort of thinking is Fascism 101, and Mr Will ought to be ashamed of himself for dabbling in it. It’s almost impossible for normal people to believe that, if not for American neoconservatives unaccountably fretful about the meaninglessness of secular liberal capitalism, many many thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis might be alive today, but it really might be true. In any case, the childish neocon horror of meaninglessness is incalculably more dangerous to human life and peace than godlessness, consumer capitalism, cosmopolitan deracination, or whatever it is one worries will extinguish meaning from life.
However, here in Texas, where the legislature just brazenly defied the settled interpretation of American constitutional rights in order to shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics, or in those states where loving same-sex couples are denied the rights of heterosexual families, it can be difficult to see the robustness of religion in America as a force for the progress and security of equal liberty. Swift secularisation was never something Americans could reasonably expect, but neither is it something freedom-lovers should hesitate to cheer.