Friday, June 7, 2013

Last Call For Season Six

David Simon, creator of HBO's The Wire and several other shows, thinks America needs to stop being quite so damn paranoid over PRISM.

You would think that the government was listening in to the secrets of 200 million Americans from the reaction and the hyperbole being tossed about. And you would think that rather than a legal court order which is an inevitable consequence of legislation that we drafted and passed, something illegal had been discovered to the government’s shame.
Nope. Nothing of the kind. Though apparently, the U.K.’s Guardian, which broke this faux-scandal, is unrelenting in its desire to scale the heights of self-congratulatory hyperbole. Consider this from Glenn Greenwald, the author of the piece: “What this court order does that makes it so striking is that it’s not directed at any individual…it’s collecting the phone records of every single customer of Verizon business and finding out every single call they’ve made…it’s indiscriminate and it’s sweeping.”
Having labored as a police reporter in the days before the Patriot Act, I can assure all there has always been a stage before the wiretap, a preliminary process involving the capture, retention and analysis of raw data. It has been so for decades now in this country. The only thing new here, from a legal standpoint, is the scale on which the FBI and NSA are apparently attempting to cull anti-terrorism leads from that data. But the legal and moral principles? Same old stuff.

It's a pretty sobering column, and considering the speed at which national security minded Republicans are suddenly pretending deafness and blindness to the program in order to avoid any responsibility for it, I'm going to agree with Simon here. 

For his part, President Obama addressed PRISM today:

“Nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” Mr. Obama said, delivering a 14-minute answer to two questions about the surveillance programs at an event that was initially supposed to be devoted to the health care law. “That’s not what this program is about.” 

The president’s remarks, during a four-day trip to the West Coast, were his first since the revelations this week of programs to collect information about phone calls and Internet traffic. Mr. Obama said the programs help prevent terrorist attacks and they are kept in check by rigorous judicial and Congressional oversight. 

He acknowledged that the public may be uncomfortable with the broad reach of the formerly secret programs, but he said he believed the government had struck the right balance between the need to fight terrorism and the need to protect privacy. 

“You can’t have 100 percent security and then also have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience,” Mr. Obama said, repeatedly stressing that the lawmakers from both parties and federal judges were aware of the efforts. “You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.” 

And this is true because, as Josh Barro says, Congress and the American people demanded that Something Be Done To Keep Us Safe.

More Manchin On The Hill

West Virginia Dem Sen. Joe Manchin wants the NSA's PRISM program gone, and AG Eric Holder along with it.

President Barack Obama should end the broad surveillance of telephone calls and Internet usage, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said today.

“It bothers me, and I think it bothers you and every other American,” Manchin, of West Virginia, said in an interview on “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend on Bloomberg Television. “It should be stopped as far as the broad base that they’re doing. If there’s a profile and targeting that goes on, then fine.”

Manchin, 65, also indicated that Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been criticized for targeting news organizations, among other issues, should consider resigning.

“Whenever you feel that you have lost your effectiveness or may be losing your effectiveness to the detriment of the job that you do,” he said about Holder, “you have to evaluate that and make a decision. And I think we’re at the time now where decisions have to be made.”

Manchin of course, being a red state Dem, never misses a chance to attack Barack Obama in a state like West Virginia.  It doesn't matter of course that the program was going on since 2007, and Manchin, like the rest of Congress, was briefed about what was going on.  He's got NOBAMA points to score, especially after the failure of his gun bill.

So no surprise that the first Dem to officially turn on the President is the one from the state where Romney won by 37 points.

Our Crazy Goes To Eleven

Congratulations, Minnesota.  You don't have Michele Bachmann to kick around for much longer, so the Crazy Patrol has deemed fit to give you somebody even more insane to make you a national embarrassment: virulently homophobic jackass Tom Emmert, the guy who tried to get Minnesota to secede from the country.

Former Minnesota state Rep. Tom Emmer is making good on his promise. During the lengthy recount that followed his failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign, he vowed not to go away “regardless what happens.”

Emmer eventually conceded that race after weeks of legal wrangling, but he returned to politics Wednesday and announced his intention to run for the House seat Rep. Michele Bachmann is leaving behind. Loyal TPM readers will no doubt remember Emmer from his 2010 race, which even before it devolved into court cases and recounts, was a rather wild ride complete with talking dolls, coin-throwing attacks, and drinking drama.

Emmer is currently host of a talk radio show that features, among other things, musical parodies of pop hits like a version of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” that mocked Occupy Wall Street and a hilarious Carly Rae Jepsen spoof entitled “Call Me Bath Salts.” When he announced his bid for Bachmann’s seat, Emmer said he will be leaving his radio gig to focus on the race. According to MinnPost, though Emmer is expected to face opposition, he is “the front-runner” to win the Republican nomination.

So good luck with that.  Emmert is such a clown that Target had to take their money back from his 2010 campaign for Governor due to the massive boycott they were facing.  And remember this greatest hit?

Perhaps the greatest moment of Emmer’s gubernatorial crusade came when he declared war on waiters and waitresses by calling for Minnesota to lower their minimum wage. Emmer’s rationale for this proposal was that many waiters and waitresses earn six figures annually and, thus, should be more reliant on tips.

“With the tips that they get to take home, they are some people earning over $100,000 a year,” Emmer said.

Emmer’s plan sparked a massive backlash culminating in a protestor dumping a bag of pennies on Emmer during a town hall event.

“I have a tip for you too, Emmer!” they shouted. 

That's right, this moron is the "Waitresses make $100,000 a year, let's eliminate minimum wage!" guy.   Let that sink in.

StupidiNews, Job Numbers Edition!

Related Posts with Thumbnails