TransCanada Has a Whistleblower »« PA House Honors Schempp Ruling

Terrible Arguments in Defense of Government Spying

Andrew Sullivan has, much to my disappointment, reacted to the recent revelations of government spying with a yawn. And his readers are emailing him some absolutely terrible arguments about why they are unconcerned about it, particularly this inane argument comparing private companies to the government. Here’s one of his readers:

But here’s what I don’t get: the sudden consternation over this from libertarians. Really? You’re shocked – shocked! – to find that there’s data mining going on here? You have no problem voluntarily posting your life’s narrative and personal information on Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, etc., and you’re ticked at the federal government, which cannot get out of its own way?

Devil’s Advocate: We hand over our names, checking accounts, credit card numbers, social security numbers, birth dates, photos, interests, political leanings, browsing histories, etc. to hundreds – if not thousands – of private companies without batting an eye. We’ve been doing it for upwards of 20 years now. And now we suddenly get angry that the government can see that information? What about the companies themselves? It’s not like they have the best track record of “protecting” their customers over the past five to ten years. Where has the anger been over that?

Since when did we as a society place absolute trust in private companies, whose lone basic motivation is monetary profit, to handle our information better than the government?

I can do nothing to oust the CEOs of Facebook or Google. But I can change (or at least have a hand in changing) the CEO of the Federal Government once every four years, and the board members once every two years. A government’s overarching motivation, in my opinion, is to protect its citizens from threats internal and external. If a government fails to do that, it ceases to be a government.

I realize there’s a bunch of Revolutionary 1760s Bostonian types that will scream “Give me liberty or give me death” back at me, but on the face of it, it makes no sense to me. Maybe that’s because it’s 2013, I’m a millennial, and we have the Internet now and whatnot. But I actively participate in the workings of my government at the very least by voting. I cannot participate in the workings of ANY company I interact with. (And don’t tell me I can just stop buying stuff from them. I’m not going off the grid any time soon.)

So I’m supposed to trust them with my information more than the government? Am I missing something here, or am I just as naive?

You’re being quite illogical for so many reasons. First of all, you do have some recourse against the corporate tracking online. You can block tracking cookies, for example. Far more importantly, are those things really analogous? Google tracks your searches and browsing history — if you let them — and use it to target advertising at you that they think you’re more likely to be interested in. But they aren’t trying to find things to arrest you for or that they can use to blackmail you (again, not a hypothetical; the government has actually done this). Google can’t destroy your life.

And the comparison to Facebook and Twitter is even worse. You aren’t putting information out there for the world to see, you’re putting it out there for those you designate as recipients to see. And the choice of what to reveal is yours, not the government’s. No one can listen in on our private conversations unless we let them.

The conclusion is just as bad as the premise. Are there reasons to be concerned about corporate tracking of our online lives? Of course. But how does that diminish the problem of the government violating the 4th Amendment and listening in on our private exchanges with almost no oversight? Just a bad, bad argument.

Comments

  1. says

    The most important distinction in my mind is I voluntarily give information to companies but not the government. There is no way for me to opt out when of the government wants my information.

  2. matty1 says

    And the comparison to Facebook and Twitter is even worse. You aren’t putting information out there for the world to see, you’re putting it out there for those you designate as recipients to see.

    It’s tangential but this hits one of my pet peeves. I’ve seen a lot of people argue that since a skilled enough computer geek can get round Facebook privacy settings we have no right to assume privacy exists and it is morally fine for third parties like employers to use such geekery to see private posts and then discipline people for things like criticising management on the grounds they did so ‘in public’.

  3. doublereed says

    If anything that’s an argument for government regulation of private corporations to protect our privacy.

  4. says

    Surely the headline should read something like “Terrible arguments to SUPPORT government spying”, as the person who emailed Andrew Sullivan seems to be arguing we should be unconcerned about it.

  5. Don Williams says

    Ed Brayton: “Google can’t destroy your life”

    1) I wouldn’t be so sure of that, hee hee.

    2) But your overall point is valid. Last time I checked, Google does not have armored divisions, several million armed warriors and a history of using nuclear weapons and/or napalm against urban populations. And let’s not forget those concentration camps for Americans of Jap ancestry , the extermination of the American Indian and that our current incarceration rate is by far the highest on the planet. Plus the two faced sophistry of the Roberts Supreme Court.

    3) I think Socrates pointed out the basic problem here: Democracy doesn’t work well when the voters are morons.

  6. Artor says

    As horrible as Facebook is, it doesn’t have an army of militarized police to send after you if you post something they don’t like, or secret prisons they can disappear me into. And no, actually, I don’t tell Facebook jack shit about my habits or political beliefs. I choose not to have a Facebook account. I can’t choose not to have the NSA record every electronic communication I make. I’ll take False Equivalency for $1000, Alex.

  7. says

    Actually, Ed, that commenter was right, and you’re dead wrong…

    First of all, you do have some recourse against the corporate tracking online. You can block tracking cookies, for example.

    Big fucking deal. First, that doesn’t even begin to address the commenter’s specific list of information collected by corporations.

    Second, corporations have been well-known for lying and keeping secrets since long before our nation was founded, so if the government can monitor Internet activity without our knowledge or consent, what makes you think corporations can’t or won’t? If (to take just one possible scenario) someone bribed Microsoft to put spyware in their operating systems or applications, how would any of us know of it?

    Third, a good deal of the information collected by corporations is NOT voluntary like what you put in your Facebook profile, and the privacy protections you mention have already been shown to be inadequate and often compromised. (And Facebook has actively OPPOSED increasing privacy protections — which is kinda what you’d expect of a company that was initially created to gather information about college students, with or without their consent.) Furthermore, recent advances in data-mining enhance corporations’ ability to gather huge amounts of information from multiple repositories, put it together in ways we couldn’t do before, and thus create some very extensive pictures of people’s activities and preferences.

    Fourth, a lot of the private information we “voluntarily” give to corporations is information we HAVE to give if we hope to do any business or make any use of the Internet. So it’s really not as “voluntary” as you insist it is. Yeah, we can choose to keep our private information to ourselves — by not using the Internet at all.

    And fifth, there’s the problem of corporations’ information about us being hacked by other private entities (or Chinese agents) who are even less scrupulous than the people we originally gave that information to.

    So all in all, corporate spying is a very real phenomenon, and I, for one, find it a LOT scarier than NSA spying. We do need to hold government accountable for their spying, but we also need to be aware that this scandal could easily be used to distract attention from far more dangerous corporate malfeasance.

  8. Don Williams says

    1) Andrew Sullivan , of course, has a great track record of warning us against US government overreach and deception:

    http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/03/20/nostra-maxima-culpa-2/

    2) Plus we “high information voters” have “trusted pundits” on the left to also keep an eye on the
    government.

    http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2010/08/19/198289/four-reasons-for-a-mistake/?mobile=nc

    3) Not to mention New York Times reporters like Judith Miller to expose wrongdoing. Plus we have those demigods in the Democratic Caucus to stand up to wealthy elites in order to protect our liberties.

    I get a warm, fuzzy feeling of security just thinking about it.

  9. jesse says

    To be a bit of a contrarian, tho not much:

    One of the issues with corporations is that they really do have an inordinate amount of control over our lives. That is, all that information you give out is in private hands, and you really can’t function very well in a modern society without giving over your Social Security number (for example). Ironically enough, the SS number was never supposed to be an ID for government use but because using it was cheap and easy for private companies, it became a de facto ID number. (The reason: it has 9 digits, which makes it pretty sure you’ll have no duplicates, and it was easy to design computer systems around).

    So there is a lot of information in private hands, and I don’t get a say in the CEO of Facebook or Google, and yes, any of those private entities could ruin someone’s life if they wanted, and the accountability would be limited. I mean, imagine if the new CEO of Google were a guy who, I dunno, hated environmentalists. I don’t think it takes a lot of imagination to come up with ways he could really, really damage such an organization and keep his fingerprints off the act. It isn’t like private companies taking overt and covert political action is unprecedented.

    That said, it’s an argument for regulating those companies very closely, though the issues of privacy are related to government surveillance it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about it.

    There IS an argument to be made that people have gotten used to certain kinds of information gathering because it is largely invisible.

    But again, that doesn’t say a lot about government surveillance and it’s utility or need.

  10. says

    Another thing to consider: our phone, cable, and Internet activity, by the very nature of the technology, CANNOT really be kept private. Whatever Internet sites you visit will know and record your visit, and every node your email and other transactions inevitably pass through is a point where said transactions can be intercepted, recorded, and possibly passed on to soemone else. When you pay for something, or use a service you’ve paid for, all of that is inevitably recorded, and the information is owned by the companies providing the products and services. Does anyone here think all that information is just being forgotten or erased? Of course not — it’s being archived, every second of every day, and it’s in the hands of corporations whose track record for honesty, openness and accountability is even worse than our government’s.

  11. matty1 says

    Fun fact institutions like banks that work in both the US and Europe have to have special provisions to protect customers data since American law and practice actually contradicts EU rules on data privacy.

  12. says

    Doublereed (#3) has it right. The government should be protecting us from privacy violations by corporations. Anyone who says it’s OK for the government to do something because private corporations are doing it is just messed up.

  13. Don Williams says

    1) When this country was founded, it was one of the FEW republics in 5000 years of history. It came into existence via the American Revolution which in turn was based on a resistance movement created via the Committees of Correspondence.

    How would the Committees of Correspondence work today, exactly?

  14. says

    So I’m supposed to trust them with my information more than the government? Am I missing something here, or am I just as naive?

    Yes: Trusting the government more isn’t the only option you have. You might want to consider trusting the corporations less.

    On the other hand, you can vote to influence government policies, while you have no vote to influence corporate policies. Of course, you can move your business to a different supplier, but that’s as much a solution as moving to a different country. Governments are primarily accountable to its citizens, but corporations are primarily accountable to their shareholders. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Currently, there’s definitely a lack of trust in the government in the US, and that trust really needs to be restored somehow.

    One of the problems is that we are now seeing business and government combined in such a way we get the worst of both worlds. The outsourcing of many government functions (including intelligence and surveillance) to private contractors reduces transparency and accountability, and one often suspects that’s a feature, not a bug. And at the same time, we see oversight and regulation of private companies being reduced.

    And the comparison to Facebook and Twitter is even worse. You aren’t putting information out there for the world to see, you’re putting it out there for those you designate as recipients to see.

    Don’t forget you’re also putting it where Facebook and Twitter can see it, and they can sell that information to 3rd parties. And while you have agreed at some point that they’re allowed to do that, there is no real way of knowing what is being sold, or to whom. The only control you have is to opt out of using the service completely.

  15. matty1 says

    Another thing to consider: our phone, cable, and Internet activity, by the very nature of the technology, CANNOT really be kept private. Whatever Internet sites you visit will know and record your visit, and every node your email and other transactions inevitably pass through is a point where said transactions can be intercepted, recorded, and possibly passed on to soemone else.

    A few questions, on the recording of what internet sites you visit is this a necessary function of the technology or is it just that they can make such records so we should assume they do? On email intercepts, how is this different from the fact that every person in the post office who handles your letter could steam the envelope open, make a photocopy and then put the original back in the system? Finally is the fact that something is easy a reason to be happy with people doing it, as has been argued before if I leave my front door open I make it easy for someone to walk into my house but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to object to trespassers.

  16. says

    Anyone who says it’s OK for the government to do something because private corporations are doing it is just messed up.

    That’s not what we’re saying. What we’re saying is that corporations spying on us is more dangerous, and more worthy of our attention, than government spying. If you misunderstand or misrepresent what we’re saying, then you’re really not in a position to call other people “messed up.”

    The government should be protecting us from privacy violations by corporations.

    I agree — but how can the government do that, without doing some spying of its own? No one wants cops mucking about in our lives, but if criminals are mucking about in our lives, then the cops will have to get into our lives to deal with the criminals.

  17. says

    A few questions, on the recording of what internet sites you visit is this a necessary function of the technology or is it just that they can make such records so we should assume they do?

    Offhand, I’d say that when a computer is contacted by another computer, it inevitably “knows” and records the action, at least for the duration of the contact. And the owners of that computer pretty much have to keep records of what their computer does, at least for maintenence and accounting purposes.

    On email intercepts, how is this different from the fact that every person in the post office who handles your letter could steam the envelope open, make a photocopy and then put the original back in the system?

    It is far easier to intercept emails and record email traffic on a large scale than it is to steam open and read comparable quantities of paper mail. It’s also much harder to detect.

    Finally is the fact that something is easy a reason to be happy with people doing it…?

    What makes you think I’m “happy” about any of this?

  18. Don Williams says

    Raging Bee at 18: “I agree — but how can the government do that [protecting Americans from privacy violations], without doing some spying of its own? ”

    I see — so the government lets Verizon, Google, Facebook etc collect all this info on us secretly. Actually, ORDERS Verizon, etc to collect it in several cases. Then the government orders the corporations to turn over the data in secret –i.e, NOT tell us what is going on. And the government does all this in order to keep the corporations from illegally spying on us?

  19. Don Williams says

    Simple Question for Raging Bee:

    1) The Bill of Rights says Ed Snowden has a right to petition Congress for a redress of grievances. A right that billionaires, their well-paid lobbyists and the Fortune 500 exploit to the full every day.

    2) Was it legal under the laws passed by Congress for Mr Snowden to expose his information to his Members of Congress, explain his concerns, and ask them to address them?

    Or was he instead bound to keep quiet , surrender his moral principles, and become complicit in the enslavement of the American People in order to continue his career/remain unemployed?

  20. slc1 says

    Hey, my old bud Don Williams is back. Hey Don, you should mosey on over to Mano Singham’s blog; he’s a conspiracy theorist after your own heart. You two could make beautiful music together.

  21. says

    @Raging Bee in #18:

    What we’re saying is that corporations spying on us is more dangerous, and more worthy of our attention, than government spying.

    Slight point of disagreement: what’s most dangerous is the combination of the two. The corporations are allowed to collect and own all this data on us, and all the government has to do is seize it. It’s no longer really our data, so we’re not even in a position to protest.

  22. says

    Simple answer for Don: nothing in any of my comments even comes close to saying what you’re trying to imply I’m saying, and you know it.

    And besides, you already know I fully support that nefarious plot to get West Virginia coal by not letting the South secede in 1861, so why would you trust anything I say?

  23. doublereed says

    Anyone who says it’s OK for the government to do something because private corporations are doing it is just messed up.

    That’s not what we’re saying. What we’re saying is that corporations spying on us is more dangerous, and more worthy of our attention, than government spying. If you misunderstand or misrepresent what we’re saying, then you’re really not in a position to call other people “messed up.”

    Right, but this is an argument against both. This is saying that our privacy should be protected against both, vigorously, not that our privacy doesn’t matter at all.

    The government should be protecting us from privacy violations by corporations.

    I agree — but how can the government do that, without doing some spying of its own? No one wants cops mucking about in our lives, but if criminals are mucking about in our lives, then the cops will have to get into our lives to deal with the criminals.

    This is only true if you believe that Corporations are People and have Constitutional Rights. Which I don’t. Besides, why would the government need to look at personal information to make sure that it is illegal to store? They only need to know what kind of information is being stored by the corporation. This is honestly a silly concern.

    More importantly, this is about checks and balances, oversight, and different incentives. Corporations have specific incentives, and Government has specific incentives, and the goal here is to balance them in such a way that our privacy is protected and organizations can do their jobs.

    We can be constitutional while acting pragmatically.

  24. Don Williams says

    Re Raging Bee at 19: “It is far easier to intercept emails and record email traffic on a large scale than it is to steam open and read comparable quantities of paper mail. It’s also much harder to detect.”

    But what about the addressing metadata on letters and the post box in which they were deposited?

    From a copy of the FBI affidavit submitted in the Texas ricin case, via http://www.thesmokinggun.com/file/texas-ricin-letters?page=3

    “The [Postal Service's] AFCS incorporates a Mail Isolation, Control and Tracking (MICT) program which photographs and captures an image of every mail piece that is processed.”

    But then of course the government told you that its Post Office was recording your mail, didn’t it?

  25. says

    And the comparison to Facebook and Twitter is even worse. You aren’t putting information out there for the world to see, you’re putting it out there for those you designate as recipients to see.

    You really believe that, after all the recent news about loopholes and malfunctions in Facebook’s software? Puh. Lease. Facebook was created by a nozy selfish hyperactive voyeuristic kid who wanted to create a publicly available database of all students in his college, with or without their (or the college’s) consent. When a particular fraternity or sorority either didn’t have complete information online or didn’t voluntarily turn it over, Zuckerberg and his dudebros just found ways to get hold of it anyway. Exposure and disclosure are built into the very nature of the system he created, and to this day it’s primarily configured to expose and create connections, not to protect anyone’s privacy. There have been numerous incidents that show that you really do NOT control your personal information once you’ve posted it there. Linking to other people makes your personal information available to that person’s friends; and every time they change their privacy settings, protections tend to fall apart and have to be re-fixed.

    Why do you think the NSA got Facebook to help them out in the first place?

  26. Don Williams says

    Re SLC at 27:
    1) Nuclear weapons are limited by the radius cubed (expanding sphere) effect. That is, to get the same pressure at twice the distance, you need 2 (cubed) or 8 times the kilotonnage. Which is why we went to the MIRV warheads decades ago — 6 small nukes exploding a few miles apart with overlapping/reinforcing pressure waves cause far more damage. If you Evacuate cities, nukes become limited as antipersonnel weapons. (Firestorms using the thermal pulses also require urban tinder.)

    2) The fix, of course, is radiological weapons — explode several megaton weapons wrapped in cobalt on the
    upwind border. The long half life makes the land uninhabitable for years. But Israel, with its small size, is far
    more vulnerable to that than Iran.

    The salted bomb was first proposed by that nice Jewish boy, Leo Szilard. Possibly while he was trying to come up with the Final Solution to the German Problem.

  27. Don Williams says

    1) Some news for SLC from here in Philly. Albert Rosenberg’s diary has been found –evidently
    it was stolen from the Nuremberg Commission and kept here a few miles from my house for
    50 years , then smuggled up to Buffalo.

    http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20130614_Feds_find_Hitler_aide_s_missing_diaries.html

    2) Some background from a 1999 Philly Inquirer story:
    http://articles.philly.com/1999-08-27/news/25482953_1_nazi-era-holocaust-experts-nuremberg-military-tribunal

    3) Sorry that you have to get the word from a goy but Albert was the creator of Nazi ideology — Adolf
    was merely an Army snitch/infiltrator at the time. I wonder if the Holocaust Museum is going to bury his diary
    as deep as the Dead Sea Scrolls were for 50 years? By rights, the Diary should be held by the National Archives. It is the property of the US government, not something that Kempner’s heir can give away.

  28. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #33

    Esterhazy was born in France, just like former French President Sarkozy whose father was a Hungarian count (his mother was a Greek Jew, har de har har, har har). Not much of a Hungarian.

    Re Don Williams @ #32

    Oh boy another conspiracy theory from ole Don. The Holocaust Museum is going to suppress Rosenberg’s diaries because of some revelation therein? Who would believe anything that convicted and executed war criminal had to say?

    By the way, the material in the Dead Sea Scrolls is more damaging to Christianity then it is to Judaism.

  29. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #30

    By the way,Szilard and Lise Meitner’s nephew, Otto Frisch, performed the calculation that predicted that the critical mass for pure U235 was somewhere around 2 kilograms. The German Aryan physicist Werner Heisenberg calculated a value of 100 kilograms, on the basis of which, Frankenberger but the Germans nuclear program on the back burner. It would have taken 30 years to produce that much U235 and Frankenberger, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease and tertiary syphilis, was convinced that he wouldn’t live that long. Aryan superiority indeed!

  30. Don Williams says

    1) Well, the Rosenberg Dairy might have some info contradicting that Standard History the Holocaust Museum puts out re WHAT created the Nazis:

    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007166

    2) Such an INTERESTING history.

    NO mention of deeply malign British propaganda during WWI which depicted German Jews as traitors who should support Great Britain because David Lloyd George had created Israel via the Balfour Declaration.

    No mention of Lloyd George boasting (falsely) of how he had made a deal with “world Jewry” to starve 1.5 million Germans to death by using their influence to blockade food from reaching Germany.

    No mention of how Germany had protected Jews fleeing the Russian pogroms. No mention of how Lloyd George’s Propaganda Ministry took over the Zionist movement — Zionism being a minor fringe movement in the Jewish community in 1916.

    No mention of Lloyd George’s propaganda ministry taking over the Zionist Review — and boosting its circulation from less than 1000 to over half a million within a few months.

    No mention of historian Francis R. Nicosia’s observation that Rosenberg was citing the Balfour Declaration
    immediately after WWI to build the Nazi movement. No mention that the Zionist Review itself forecast circa 1917 that its support for Great Britain was going to provoke post-war retaliation in Germany against the German Jews.

  31. Don Williams says

    This is what is so comical about people like Raging Bee. It’s been 100 years and they STILL haven’t caught onto to how Democratic President Woodrow Wilson sold them out. And they think they can depend upon the Democratic Caucus in Congress to protect the Bill of RIghts.

  32. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #36

    Ah gee, ole Don’s favorite conspiracy theory that Lloyd George was the author of the Holocaust. Actually, an equally good case could be made for British Prime Ministers Stanley Baldwin and Neville chamberlain, who wasn’t about to allow Frankenberger to execute the Eichmann plan to ship German’s Jews to Madagascar by allowing them unlimited passage through the Suez Canal.

  33. says

    How many people are there like me, and who did Wilson sell us out to again?

    I hope Wilson at least got paid with a lot of that West Virginia coal that we freed the slaves to get.

    Meanwhile, on the distant planet Bolox XII, trouble was brewing…

  34. Don Williams says

    SLC at 39: “Wilson should have intervened on the side of Germany?”

    Of course not. But having campaigned on a promise to America to keep us out of Europe’s wars,
    you might have expected him to keep us out of the war. Re the American passengers on the British
    ship Lusitania, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer [of the Palmer Raids] himself asked Wilson why thousands of Americans should die in war just because some morons chose to ride on a British ship at war –one which was carrying munitions.

    And having won the war for the Brits, why did he let British Prime Minister Lloyd George steal everything in Germany that wasn’t nailed down at Versailles –thereby spawning the misery in Germany that created the Nazis (and a Communist movement.) Why did he let Lloyd George wipe his behind on the Fourteen Points that Wilson proclaimed?

    Lloyd George said it was because Lloyd George had cut a deal with some of Wilson’s major campaign backers via the Balfour Declaration:

    “It seems strange to say that the Germans were the first to realise the war value of the Jews of the dispersal. In Poland it was they who helped the German Army to conquer the Czarist oppressor who had so cruelly persecuted their race. They had their influence in other lands – notably in America, where some of their most powerful leaders exerted a retarding influence on President Wilson’s impulses in the direction of the Allies. {ed. – before the Balfour Declaration} ….It was believed, also, that such a declaration would have a potent influence upon world Jewry outside Russia, and secure for the Entente the aid of Jewish financial interests. In America, their aid in this respect would have a special value when the Allies had almost exhausted the gold and marketable securities available for American purchases. Such were the chief considerations which, in 1917, impelled the British Government towards making a contract with Jewry. ”

    http://mailstar.net/l-george.html

    Lloyd George did not make a contract with “the Jews” — he took over the small Zionist movement for his own use and cut a deal with a few wealthy men. British intelligence attacked American Jews who questioned the British Zionist program.

    Woodrow Wilson was a deeply corrupt, dishonest hack who lied to the American People –including passing the 1917 Espionage Act that rules us today.

    But hey, how about we ask Eugene Debs and Joseph Rutherford what they think?

  35. says

    Why the fuck is this comment thread being taken up by a bunch of irrelevant bullshit about Rosenberg diaries? Take your obsessions somewhere else, don’t pollute my blog with them.

  36. says

    Actually, Ed, if we keep the irrelevant (not to mention batshit crazy) bullshit on this thread, it’ll serve to bore and bewilder our NSA monitors so they’ll miss the subversive opinions being expressed here. That’ll keep us out of Gitmo for another week…

  37. Don Williams says

    Re Ed at 42:
    1) Sorry — the primary discussion re NSA seemed to have ended and I was chatting with SLC.

    2) My point being that our modern security state –including the Espionage Act under which Snowden will be prosecuted — was spawned under similar circumstances: Oppressive measures being imposed on the American People by a dishonest elite under the guise of a war that itself was spawned by private parties pursuing private interests –not the national interest.

    And that the voters often don’t know what is going on because government secrecy prevents it. Do you really think Sept 11 occurred because the Muslims on the other side of the world “hate our freedoms”? Why did our
    News Media support George W’s story –from which all else has flowed in the 12 years since — when their own
    archives have interviews with Bin Laden that say it is a lie.

    3) We can’t really know what the government is doing today — we can only look back at history and see what it has done in the past. Because it takes 30 years or longer for the archives to be declassified and even longer for scholars to research the material. And some material –like the enemy’s view of what was going on — takes even longer to surface.

  38. Don Williams says

    From page 43 of Arthur Schlesinger’s “The Crisis of the Old Order”

    “As Clemenceau slew the liberal dream in Paris, so Palmer slew it in America;
    and in each case, Woodrow Wilson was the accomplice. To the liberals who had
    opposed the war, all was coming about as they had foretold: war had destroyed
    progressivism. Wilson had silenced some critics by putting them in jail,
    comment Harold Stearns — others by putting them in the government. To
    Stearns the liberal collapse was the laboratory demonstration of the refusal of
    liberalism to pursue its analysis whenever the results became embarrassing.
    He called it the “technique of liberal failure.”

    Schlesinger also notes that Wilson spurned strong overtures and concessions offered
    by Lenin (p. 13). Wilson not only spawned the Nazi Party and World War II, he spawned
    the Cold War and his support of Lloyd George’s looting led to the collapse of Credit Anstalt
    in Austria which triggered the cascading collapse of US banks in the Great Depression.

    Corruption which disguises itself and its acts in deceitful idealism can’t survive absent
    censorship, secrecy and intimidating security enforced with jail terms. That is why Snowden
    will be crucified by Wilson’s Democratic heirs with Wilson’s mindset and Wilson’s Law.

    There will be no honest discussion of what is in the national interest.

  39. slc1 says

    Re Don Williams @ #47

    Actually, Wilson was a sick man when he attended the conference with the “victors” of WW1. He suffered a major stroke soon afterwards and had, in all probability suffered a minor stroke or 2 prior to the conference. Despite the fact that American intervention quite possibly prevented a German victory in 1918, he was in no condition to stand up to Lloyd George, much like the dying Roosevelt at Yalta gave away the store to Stalin. I could attach the commentary of J. F. C. Fuller relative to why the US intervention was a mistake but Brayton would probably with reason object as being off-topic so I will refrain.

  40. Don Williams says

    That’s okay, SLC. I was waiting for Raging Bee to continue this Socratic Dialogue by answering my question up in post 21. I could hear crickets chirping in the resulting silence.

  41. Don Williams says

    Tried to fill in the dead air with a little chitchat — we not having the option of breaking for commercials.

  42. Don Williams says

    Plus Bee seems also stuck re questions in posts 14, 16, 20 and 28. I’m kinda feeling embarrassed for him.

Leave a Reply