35 Comments on “What else is new? Open Thread”

  1. Well, another name to add to the list of Watergate and Iran-Contra… PRISM.

      • And…more companies on the list

        NSA Monitors Most Phones, Collects Credit Data — Daily Intelligencer

        now the Wall Street Journal reports that the agency is also indiscriminately culling data from AT&T and Spring Nextel Corp. subscribers. The story lost some of its edge coming just hours after the revelation that our tweets may be the only online activity safe from the government’s prying eyes, but it backs up the assumption that the collection of phone data in bulk wasn’t confined to one provider for just three months. And there’s a another troubling tidbit: People familiar with NSA operations tell the Journal that the program also includes “purchase information from credit-card providers.”

        The information on what credit card information is being collected is pretty skimpy. The paper reports:

        NSA also obtains access to data from Internet service providers on Internet use such as email or website visits, several former officials said. NSA has established similar relationships with credit-card companies, three former officials said.

        It’s unclear what the scope of the credit-card data collection was, or if it’s still ongoing, but considering the quick pace of government surveillance leaks in the past day, we should know soon enough. (The New York Times notes, “The extraordinary revelations, in rapid succession, also suggested that someone with access to high-level intelligence secrets had decided to unveil them in the midst of furor over leak investigations.”)

        • RalphB says:

          This isn’t new information. Remember when the NSA was installing equipment in AT&T offices in San Francisco years ago? Has everyone developed amnesia because it’s a more exciting “scoop” now?

          • Fannie says:

            Does anybody remember at the Democratic convention, 2008……………….ATT had a hell of a set up outside, and was giving away free Backpacks with goodies, in support of Obama?

          • bostonboomer says:

            What’s new from my point of view is that the corporate media is covering it heavily and people who haven’t paid attention are going to have to face reality.

          • I don’t remember that Ralph? I knew this sort of thing was going on, but I guess it makes a difference when you see the thing in writing on court orders.

          • roofingbird says:

            That’s what I wondered. Although if we are winding down the “War on(of) Terror” its a good time to readdress it. Or are we now in a perpetual war?

            Geez, I still hate that missing “ism”.

          • RalphB says:

            The NSA and AT&T were covered large to start but petered out when the public kind of went “meh” about it.

            Even PRISM has been ongoing since early 2007.

          • ecocatwoman says:

            I second your take on this – I was thinking the same thing myself when I saw this story. What’s the big deal? We’ve known about this for years & years. The AT&T thing was big, at least for me, since I worked for them (Southern Bell actually) for 14 years. We are a probed & surveilled nation. Short of going off-grid, there’s no escaping it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I was just reading about that in the WaPo. Looks like all hell has broken loose in the secret data collection world. What next?

      Obama’s second terms is a shambles!

      • Yup, I am sitting here watch Godzilla destroy Tokyo, with Raymond Burr saying…”Nothing can save Tokyo now.”

        And I am thinking, yup, that is about what you can say about Obama…

      • RalphB says:

        Hardly a shambles. Everyone who is anyone in DC already knew about it and voted for it, I’m sure. Maybe a shambles to the ACLU,

        • bostonboomer says:

          I just mean that he’s being hit by one thing after another. He isn’t in control of what’s happening at all.

          • RalphB says:

            Presidents are never in control of what’s happening, See Bill Clinton for example.

          • bostonboomer says:

            I guess you’re right. It just doesn’t seem that there has been any focus on important issues in Washington in a very long time. You’ll probably say that’s not new either. Maybe it’s just me feeling frustrated.

          • RalphB says:

            Allow me to join you in frustration. I almost like it coming out now cause everyone is in the middle of it. Let them defend it together.

        • Fannie says:

          Last week or so a poll was done showing that 60% of people they polled didn’t know who the attorney General was……………….that ought to tell us something.

      • Fannie says:

        There really is no such thing as privacy in a digital world…..nada.

  2. You all will see this cartoon tomorrow, but dammit, I have to put it here now.

  3. RalphB says:

    Daily Howler: John Dickerson doesn’t know how to read!

    Love Bob Somerby,

  4. Sources: NSA sucks in data from 50 companies – The Week

    Analysts at the National Security Agency can now secretly access real-time user data provided by as many as 50 American companies, ranging from credit rating agencies to internet service providers, two government officials familiar with the arrangements said.

    Several of the companies have provided records continuously since 2006, while others have given the agency sporadic access, these officials said. These officials disclosed the number of participating companies in order to provide context for a series of disclosures about the NSA’s domestic collection policies. The officials, contacted independently, repeatedly said that “domestic collection” does not mean that the target is based in the U.S. or is a U.S. citizen; rather, it refers only to the origin of the data.

  5. Propertius says:

    Clearly a progressive and a liberal by any measure

    It amazes me how many Leftists have forgotten how RFK got his start (as Assistant Counsel to the redbaiting McCarthy Committee). Or, for that matter, that he was one of the architects of Operation Mongoose (the CIA’s post-Bay of Pigs scheme to assassinate Fidel Castro).


    Or, for that matter, that he personally authorized the FBI bugging and surveillance of Martin Luther King. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2002/07/the-fbi-and-martin-luther-king/302537/).

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I haven’t forgotten, but he had a major life change. His murder in 1968, my senior year, changed my life more than the death of my father in 1965. I believe the murder of his brother may have had the same effect on him & his belief system.

      I wasn’t aware until a few years ago of Bobby’s bravery (at least in my eyes) when he kept a campaign stop in Indianapolis on the evening following MLK’s assassination. The police escort refused to go into the neighborhood with him – they feared there would be a riot. Bobby went anyway. Here’s a link to the story: http://www.folnewsmyrna.org/2013/03/12/the-assassination-of-martin-luther-king-jr-and-the-words-of-robert-kennedy/

      This is just one paragraph from the story:

      Both Mankiewicz and speechwriter Adam Walinsky drafted notes immediately before the rally for Kennedy’s use, but Kennedy chose to use some that he had likely written on the ride over. Mankiewicz arrived after Kennedy had already begun to speak. Prior to arriving at the rally, the Chief of Police in Indianapolis told Kennedy that he could not provide protection and that giving the remarks would be too dangerous. Standing on a podium mounted on a flatbed truck, Kennedy spoke for just four minutes and fifty-seven seconds.

      I will forever admire RFK and mourn this country’s loss. Comparing either Reagan or Obama to RFK, for me at least, is blasphemous. I couldn’t bear to read the article. I still can’t listen to the Battle Hymn of the Republic without crying – and I can still see the funeral train traveling across country. If only…………..

      • Propertius says:

        I believe the murder of his brother may have had the same effect on him & his belief system.

        I would never deny the transformative effect of personal tragedy – I just don’t believe it happened in this case. I think RFK was genuinely grieved by the loss of his brother, just as both he and JFK were by the loss of Joe, Jr. during the war. I think the tears he shed when he spoke of his brother’s death after the King assassination were real, authentic tears of grief and shared sadness. I just don’t believe it affected him as a politician. Politically speaking, I think Bobby was an opportunist, motivated largely by personal ambition and (in his later years) by his intense (mutual) personal dislike for LBJ. He jumped on the antiwar movement in the late 60’s, just as he had jumped on the Red Scare in the early 50’s – because he saw it as a powerful force he could harness for personal advancement.

        One of the classic requirements for authentic μετάνοια is an acknowledgement of the wrongs one has done. As a devout Catholic, Kennedy was as aware of this as anyone. Yet I never heard RFK apologize for the lives the McCarthy investigations destroyed, for the assassination of Diem, or for the surveillance of MLK. Hell, he didn’t even have the guts to declare his candidacy until Gene McCarthy proved it was safe for him to do so in 1968.

        We’re of an age, ecocatwoman, but Bobby wasn’t a hero to me in ’68 and he isn’t now. I’ll agree with you that his assassination, like that of his brother and Dr. King, was a national tragedy, but I just don’t think of him as an icon of liberalism or progressivism.

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    JJ, I watched most of the old movies you love so much now when I was a child. At that time the few stations (maybe 2 or 3) ran afternoon and weekend movie shows. I fell in love with Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd & Gene Kelly. I loved Esther Williams and would never miss one of her films. Did you know that one of her films was made at Cypress Gardens in Florida (Easy to Love)? Of course, Cypress Gardens is now Legoland. As a child my parents would take me on road trips to the attractions around Florida & we visited Cypress Gardens frequently, enjoying the water ski show. The tour always included the areas where the filming took place & it was so exciting to me. Ms. Williams was so amazingly beautiful both in & out of the water. Loved her films. RIP.