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Member since: Fri Feb 27, 2004, 09:28 PM
Number of posts: 104,660

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OK. Here's my advice. Discussions of this sort typically polarize in predictable ways,

after which the battle-lines are drawn and no one is willing to shift position

So don't argue along the lines of standard dichotomies provided by the corporate media, because that's almost always a recipe for stale-mate discussion and a default win by the status quo

It's important, when thinking about this, to understand where the public actually is -- and they're actually in a state of confusion, needing clarity. Large numbers of people have no idea who Snowden is, few think he's a traitor, many think he's a whistle-blower, but large numbers believe he should be prosecuted. Similarly, most people think the NSA has inadequate oversight and has gone too far -- and yet most people support the program anyway!

To win, one needs to provide that clarity with an accurate fact-based analysis, that simultaneously informs people and forces them to think about the issues in new ways. By "accurate fact-based," I mean that the analysis is built on solid facts that can be proved and that it avoids comments that can easily be dismissed as pure opinion. Abandoning fact for opinion merely invites shouting -- and making claims, that one cannot prove, courts PR disaster and loss of credibility

So get your facts right: know the history, know what can be proved, and know what you can't prove. You can effectively use your concerns about possibilities that worry you, provided you raise such issues as precise unanswered QUESTIONS that you convince people MUST be answered

And it's necessary to keep your PoV short and clean and targeted: discussions can be derailed in a thousand ways; if you gaffe in front of the press, it won't matter if you otherwise gave a brilliant fifteen minute speech -- you should expect that your gaffe will be the evening news

But to win, there is another important component: you MUST know WHAT you want to happen -- and it needs to be SPECIFIC, it needs to be DOABLE, and it needs to be RELATED to your analysis. It's irresponsible just to get people angry, or just to make people feel uncomfortable and insecure, without giving them somewhere to go and something to do, because in the end that merely produces the despair and helplessness and burn-out and inaction -- in which case, nothing really happens and the status quo wins again

Here's a tiny example: "Did you know that under current law the government doesn't need a warrant to read your emails, if they're over six months old? Why should the government be able to do that? And what are they doing with it? We should change that law. Call Senator X! Call Congressman Y!"

Another important point is that you don't actually know what people on the street are thinking, unless you converse with them. You won't know what arguments convince them unless you pay attention to what they say and to how they react to what you say

There are actually multiple issues here, and it's difficult to put them all together in a single package. I see real potential in discussing the risks associated with privatization of "national security" but I wouldn't feel bad pointing to Snowden as part of the problem. YMMV. If (say) you want to go after the FISA warrants, and the possibility that NSA is mass-collecting phone data, then learn everything you can about the associated history, the current state of the law, and the real potential for abuse -- and come up with a very specific CHANGE you want

Here's another tiny example: "Did you know that under current law the government doesn't need a warrant to collect your phone records? Or that the secret FISA court seems to be authorizing the mass-collection of Americans' phone records? What will prevent future Presidents from abusing this such information to harass political opponents? Surely the Supreme Court in the 1960s didn't intend to allow mass-collection of phone records! The FISA Courts were originally intended to avoid the Executive over-reach of the Nixon era! How did we get here? Congress needs to limit the scope of FISA warrants! &c&c"

To win: know your stuff; break the issue into bite-size pieces; avoid philosophy and keep the discussion concrete and factual; and know what you're asking people to do

Posted by struggle4progress | Tue Jul 30, 2013, 05:22 AM (4 replies)

It's Greenwald's basic strategy: he beats notes on this drum constantly, regardless of facts

At a talk given the day after the 2010 election — one that was a disaster for Democrats — “progressive” writer and civil liberties lawyer Glenn Greenwald gave a talk at the University of Wisconsin, and expressed the hope that Democrats might suffer the same fate in 2012 ... But it was Greenwald’s notion of third party voting that offered the greatest window in what he’d like to see happen in American elections ... If all you ever do is complain about how horrible and abysmal the Democrats are, but at the end of the day, right before the election happens, you say, you know what, as much as I loathe you, and as disappointing as you’ve been, and as horrible as the things you have done, I’m going to give you my support because you’ve scared me that the other alternative is just a little bit worse … and therefore since I’ll never vote Republican, you have my unconditional undying support no matter how much how stmp on my values, no matter how horrible the things that you do … what you’re doing is youre guaranteeing that you’ll always be ignored ... And the only way to break that is to say well, even though I know that by abstaining or supporting a third party, I’m going to be sacrificing some of my short term political interests; I’m going to be causing a few more Republicans to be elected than otherwise might be elected; on balance, I’m willing to sacrifice my short term interests in order to do something to subvert the stranglehold that these two parties have on the political process because electing more Democrats, even though it’s a little less scary, accomplishes nothing good. And everyone’s going to have to decide for themselves when they get to that point, and I think and hope that that point is pretty close. And if Obama does move to the center as the consensus is telling him that he should and starts doing things like cutting Social Security, which they’re revving up to do if they can get consensus on, in a very short period of time, I think you’re gonna see lots and lots of progressives and Democrats – even people who hated the Naderites for abandoning the party, start to entertain those options, and a lot sooner rather than later. And I hope that’s the case ...
Re-rise of the Naderites: Glenn Greenwald’s third party dreamin’ **UPDATE: on Libertarianism
Posted on April 22, 2011 by jreid

One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves - and everyone else - is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does ...
Democratic establishment unmasked: prime defenders of NSA bulk spying
Glenn Greenwald
Thursday 25 July 2013 05.09 EDT

... Republicans have made it clear that erecting hurdles for Mr. Obama is, if anything, their overriding legislative goal. There is no historical precedent for the number of cabinet-level nominees that Republicans have blocked or delayed in the Obama administration. Chuck Hagel became the first defense secretary nominee ever filibustered ...
Malicious Obstruction in the Senate

Published: March 28, 2013

Democrats have rounded on revelations about a private dinner of House Republicans on inauguration day in 2009 in which they plotted a campaign of obstruction against newly installed president Barack Obama. During a lengthy discussion, the senior GOP members worked out a plan to repeatedly block Obama over the coming four years to try to ensure he would not be re-elected ...
Democrats condemn GOP's plot to obstruct Obama as 'appalling and sad'
Roger Draper book details how in 2009 senior Republican figures planned a campaign to bring Washington to a standstill
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Thursday 26 April 2012 16.21 EDT

... “If he was for it,” former Ohio Senator George Voinovich explained, “we had to be against it” ... Vice President Biden told me that during the transition, he was warned not to expect any bipartisan cooperation on major votes. “I spoke to seven different Republican Senators who said, ‘Joe, I’m not going to be able to help you on anything,’ ” he recalled. His informants said McConnell had demanded unified resistance. “The way it was characterized to me was, ‘For the next two years, we can’t let you succeed in anything. That’s our ticket to coming back,’ ” Biden said ... David Obey, then chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, met with his GOP counterpart, Jerry Lewis, to explain what Democrats had in mind for the stimulus and ask what Republicans wanted to include. “Jerry’s response was, ‘I’m sorry, but leadership tells us we can’t play,’ ” Obey told me. “Exact quote: ‘We can’t play’ ...
The Party of No: New Details on the GOP Plot to Obstruct Obama
By Michael Grunwald
Aug. 23, 2012
Posted by struggle4progress | Mon Jul 29, 2013, 04:19 AM (0 replies)

What were Glenn Greenwald and Jane Hamsher doing with their curious PAC?

Back in 2008, Greenwald and anti-union anti-healthcare activist Hamsher set up a little Federal PAC, for which Hamsher was the treasurer in 2008 and Greenwald was the treasurer in 2008

They seem to have mostly fund-raised in 2008, but in 2010 they spent over $285K. Nevertheless, the PAC reported no contributions to Federal candidates, a small donation to Ryan for Congress seems to have been refunded. Money did flow to Hamsher and to Firedoglake, as well as to Greenwald's DMDM Enterprises, and to groups such as BreakTheMatrix, which seems to maintain a Twitter account and links to a libertarian free marketeer site breakthematrix.com that currently features Ayn Rand on a revolving front-page marquee. We know that at the end of the 2010 election cycle, Greenwald was encouraging libertarians to try to strip progressives away from the Dems by pushing the idea that there was no difference between Ds and Rs and by pushing the idea of voting third party or not voting

... Greenwald fails to mention that he stands to financially gain from donations to FDL, as the treasurer of FDL's PAC, Accountability Now, and his company, DMDM Enterprises, is used to taking money for "administrative expenses" from Accountability Now. An examination of FEC reports shows that Greenwald's DMDM Enterprises received more than $40,000 from FDL's Accountability Now from 2008-2010, and of course, we have no idea how much more he has received as salary as Treasurer ...
Glenn Greenwald, #Occupy, Glass Houses and Stones
Monday, November 21, 2011 | Posted by Spandan C at 12:29 PM

The question is: what were they doing with this PAC?

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 10:24 PM (70 replies)

joe hill

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 01:41 AM (1 replies)

the popular wobbly

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 01:35 AM (0 replies)

eyes on the prize

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 12:52 AM (0 replies)

my country tis of thy people you're dying

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 12:46 AM (1 replies)

we have fed you all a thousand years

we have fed you all for a thousand years
and you hail us still unfed

though there's never a dollar of all your wealth
but marks the workers dead

we have yielded our best to give you rest
and you lie on your crimson wool

well if blood be the price of all your wealth
good god we have paid in full

there is never a mine blown skyward now
but we're buried alive for you

there is never a wreck drifts shoreward now
but we are its ghastly crew

go reckon our dead by the forges red
or the factories where we spin

well blood be the price of your cursed wealth
good god we have paid it in

we have fed you all for a thousand years
for that was our doom, y'know

from the days when you chained us in your fields
to the strike of a week ago

you have taken our lives, our husbands and wives
and we're told it's your legal share

well if blood be the price of your lawful wealth
good god we have bought it fair

- IWW c. 1908

Posted by struggle4progress | Sun Jul 28, 2013, 12:35 AM (0 replies)

This is rather sad BS: "In a conference call with ... Julian Assange, Ellsberg pointed out that

President Obama has charged twice as many people under the Espionage Act as all previous presidents ..."

The claim is so brazenly untrue that it takes my breath away. To get an idea what Espionage Act prosecutions looked like right at the end of WWI, DUers might want to review materials like this NCLB pamphlet:

Espionage Act Cases ...
Published by the National Civil Liberties Board
(Price $1.00) July, 1918

The NCLB published several pamphlets like this, continuing after WWI ended, when Espionage Act prosecutions suddenly took off and thousands people were charged and convicted

Posted by struggle4progress | Sat Jul 27, 2013, 08:50 PM (0 replies)

The case of ‘zombie’ voters in South Carolina

Posted by Glenn Kessler at 06:00 AM ET, 07/25/2013

... This was a rather shocking claim, which stemmed from allegations made by Kevin Shwedo, executive director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. (“Well over 900 individuals appear to have voted after they died.”) One state lawmaker famously declared: “We must have certainty in South Carolina that zombies aren’t voting” ...

The allegations emerged as South Carolina officials sought to impose a new voter photo ID law during the 2012 election; a federal court delayed it from taking effect until 2013 ...

The report confirms what the State Election Commission had found after preliminarily examining some of the allegations: The so-called votes by dead people were the result of clerical errors or mistaken identities ...

In one case, someone cast an absentee ballot before dying; their vote still counts under the law. In two other cases, people requested an absentee ballot, but died before returning it, so no harm was done. In other cases, the wrong voter was marked as having cast a vote, and then the marks were not completely erased. There were several other types of clerical errors, too numerous to mention. In the end, just five votes remained unresolved after extensive investigation ...

Posted by struggle4progress | Fri Jul 26, 2013, 06:21 AM (3 replies)
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