The person who brought Snowden, Poitras, and Greenwald together

Micah Lee has a fascinating account about the role he played as an intermediary in enabling Edward Snowden to contact Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald and thus breaking the huge story. He was the initial contact for Snowden who had been unable to communicate securely with Poitras and Greenwald. Lee was a staff technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the chief technology officer of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, his public encryption key was available and had solid digital signature guarantees. Snowden thought that Lee could be trusted and would know the public key for Poitras, which he did
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Abusing the power of government

I am not a reflexive foe of government. I believe in government and that it can and should serve individuals and communities by providing the kinds of services that can only be done collectively, and protect individuals from the power of bigger entities like corporations by creating and implementing regulations that protect workers, keep our water and air clean, and doing all the other things that only a government can do such as maintaining the necessary infrastructure. The Tea Partiers’ goal of eliminating government except for the police and military is something I vigorously oppose.
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Second whistleblower identified?

When reports emerged back in August that there was at least one other whistleblower, motivated by Edward Snowden’s actions, who was revealing secrets to the investigative team at The Intercept that has broken most of the stories, I was sure that the government would put all its resources into identify and throw the book at them. I was surprised that so much time had passed without this happening, given the extensive nature of their surveillance apparatus.
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“We must fight over there so that we don’t have to fight over here”

The above statement is the excuse given by warmongers in the US to invade, bomb, or otherwise engage in wars in distant countries. It is argued that if we do not suppress whatever the perceived threat is on its home turf, then those same people will invade our shores and threaten us at home, ignoring the counter-argument that it is our war making that is either causing or exacerbating the problem.
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Against patriotism

I despise the entire concept of patriotism. I agree with Leo Tolstoy who wrote the following:

Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power. And as such it is recommended wherever it is preached. Patriotism is slavery.”

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Noam Chomsky and Amy Goodman at the United Nations

You will almost never find Noam Chomsky featured on the mainstream media in the US. Nor will you find Amy Goodman, one of the best journalists in the US, featured on their vacuous news shows. But the rest of the world knows them and Chomsky was invited to speak to a packed hall of 800 delegates in the main chamber during the United Nations General Assembly and then had a public interview with Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! at the same venue. His talk and the interview can be seen and read here.
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The zeitgeist of Divergent and Elysium

I recently watched two films Divergent and Elysium. While mildly entertaining, I would not really recommend either of them. As with many such futuristic films, the plots are full of holes large enough that one can drive a truck through, but I am going to overlook them. What prompted me to write about them was what they said about the prevailing zeitgeist.
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“This is America, that’s why!”

This has become the all-purpose excuse for any action, under the delusional idea that freedom in America means that you have the right to do and say anything to anyone and not face any repercussions. This was again on display at the Dallas airport when one person launched a completely unprovoked verbal attack on another traveler who happened to be wearing a pink shirt. When another traveler asked him what he was so upset about, the man replied that it was all about “queers”.
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Blaming the nurses

It has become a running joke that when important people mess up in some way, they look for a lowly staffer to take the blame and be fired. The supposedly incompetent intern is usually fingered as the course of the mistake and made the hapless victim of this strategy but any underling will do. Since few care what the lower-ranking people say and thus they have no voice, this charge tends to stick.
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