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DirkGently

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Orlando
Home country: USA
Current location: Holistically detecting
Member since: Wed Jan 27, 2010, 04:59 PM
Number of posts: 12,151

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The NSA is supposed to serve "national security."

It's right there in the name. The NSA does not have a mandate to just generally spy on the entire world.

So,

1) The OP is wrong about routers not being made in the U.S.

When Greenwald revealed Snowden's alleged evidence of NSA spying, it turned the tables on the U.S., with network buyers in some countries avoiding U.S.-made gear. Cisco Systems, the world's biggest seller of networks, has said worries about the NSA affected its business in China.


2) The OP is wrong that Greenwald's report is nutty conspiracy theory. The actual nutty conspiracy theory here is that his reporting is some fiendish libertarian attack on President Obama.

3) The NSA was caught in a large public hypocrisy after warning Americans about Chinese made routers being compromised, while simultaneously engaging in that exact activity itself.

And of course, we already know that more than routers have been tapped. NSA reports indicate it tapped directly into Google's network.

The new charge vastly expands the scope of alleged NSA spying beyond the interception of traffic across the Internet, said Ranga Krishnan, a technology fellow at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. As an example, he pointed to reports from the Snowden documents that the NSA had tapped into Google's own fiber network among its data centers, where the company hadn't encrypted the traffic at all.

"That's how most organizations function," Krishnan said. "So once you're within the company's router, you have access to all that data that's unencrypted."


Moreover, compromising random systems all over the world impacts security generally everywhere.

"That's how most organizations function," Krishnan said. "So once you're within the company's router, you have access to all that data that's unencrypted."

In addition, any security hole that a government installs could open up the network to attacks by others, he added.


We're well beyond anyone credibly claiming there's nothing to see here, or that the NSA scandal is some kind of marginal conspiracy theory or partisan hyperventilating.

On the contrary, the continued attempts by a few to dismiss very important revelations about the way our National Security Agency is conducting itself is partisan hackery of the most absurd kind. No serious person, Democrat or not, is buying the idea that everything is fine and Greenwald, the Guardian, the NY Times, et al. are all in engaged in a massive libertarian conspiracy to attack the Obama administration.

"Privilege" makes sense in discussing point of view.

The core point that I see is that it is theoretically impossible for a member of a more empowered cultural subgroup to fully appreciate the obstacles faced by those outside of it. It's a good thing to keep in mind, but it's susceptible to abuse in the usual stupid ways.

It's most useful as a concept where someone objects to a complaint regarding inequality of opportunity or treatment on the basis they, having never suffered it directly, "don't see it."

Obvious examples would be men who say they'd welcome "catcalls" or other aggressive sexual advances from women, and therefore women should not complain about such things, even though men face an entirely different set of risks and attitudes. Men are not likely to get raped, not likely to face contempt for being promiscuous, etc. They "don't see" the problems with sexual aggression not because it doesn't exist, but because they don't suffer its effects.

Or someone who grew up with ample education, encouragement, and respect, wondering aloud while someone who grew up in poverty, with few opportunities, and subject to discrimination based on their ethnicity, gender, etc., doesn't just get a job with their father's law firm.

Or someone who doesn't understand viewing law enforcement with suspicion, never having been pulled over for being the wrong color in the wrong neighborhood.

That kind of thing.

On the other hand, some people, given a valid rhetorical / sociological concept, can't help using it as a cudgel to simply denigrate others, or demand that they be silent in order to "win" some argument. The notion that only whites can be "racist" because we're going to redefine racism to mean "effective society-wide race-based oppression," instead of what it actually means, which is any kind of racial animus, is an example of this kind of silliness.

So we get stupid things like the young Mexican-American organizer who recently ranted at a friend of mine, a white woman in her, 40s, ill and exhausted after a cross-country trip, back issues, and a furious three days of constant work, and under pressure to get back to the airport, about how white people need to stop using their "privilege" to complain about being tired. In that case, he was actually speaking from the point of view of his own privilege: Young, strong, male, in good health, and not 2,000 miles from home. He could not grasp, and did not care to, that women or people older than himself, or with health issues, might actually BE tired under circumstances that did not bother him.

As progressives, we pride ourselves on spotting and calling out inequality, unfair treatment, and the like. But we are as susceptible as anyone else to petty conceits of personal superiority and desire to shut others down on the basis of who they are without sufficient attention to context or nuance or just plain clear thinking.

No one should apologize for or disclaim being feminist. Or liberal.


Just because the knuckledraggers achieved a level of knuckle-dragging success with their endless demonizing of anyone who disagreed with them doesn't mean any of US should be fighting amongst ourselves about it.

Feminists are RIGHT.

Liberals are RIGHT.

The hippies were RIGHT.

All of those things have degrees and variations and exceptions and addendums. None of them are shameful or embarrassing or wrong, except to stupid people.

Maybe stupid people should be embarrassed and ashamed and worried about people criticizing them, instead of the rest of us worrying about offending the stupid people.



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