Fresh Air with Terry Gross
Display Avatars Sort By:
jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 18:38:24 MDT Print View

Good story

Another thing is, I keep hearing politicians that say they disagree with all the government wiretapping, and they didn't know about it until Snowden released the details.

Or Clapper (CIA director) apologized for lying to congress after Snowden released information that showed Clapper was lying.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 18:40:43 MDT Print View

What I find interesting, although not necessarily on these pages, is that so many people fear the government more than they fear rich and powerful individuals and multinational corporations. At least I do have some sort of redress with the government...there are elections and lets not forget, WE are the government in a democracy.

When wealth is concentrated at the highest levels though, and corporations and individuals can write their own laws and exert such undue influence on the rest of us, and you can convince the rank and file that organizing workers is bad, that criticizing "job creators" is bad, etc, THAT is what scares me. My government? That's me.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 18:42:24 MDT Print View

Thank you, Spelt!

And thank goodness some have it in them to break the rules, even though way too many people instantly call them "criminals".

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 18:45:17 MDT Print View

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Jennifer, I would rather not blame you for this NSA disaster, or for all the wars that this government has gotten us into.
Did you listen to the interview?

Edited by Kat_P on 09/17/2013 18:45:54 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 19:17:37 MDT Print View

I did listen. And Kat, what I would argue is that those wars were not started by our government per se, but by the outsized influence oil companies and other multinationals have on those who make the decisions. We need to take the government back, but not from the hippies and the "freeloaders..." We need to do something to level the playing field and reduce the power that corporations and the wealthy have in this country.

Government should be our friend - it is US. A for profit corporation? All they are interested in is profits and power. And they obtain power by buying the people in our government. THAT is what needs to stop and that is the enemy, not government itself.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Re: Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 19:30:52 MDT Print View

Never mind.

This always comes back to the same old.

Edited by Kat_P on 09/17/2013 19:51:54 MDT.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 19:31:25 MDT Print View

-Sigh-

Edited by idester on 09/18/2013 09:59:30 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 19:36:58 MDT Print View

"What I find interesting, although not necessarily on these pages, is that so many people fear the government more than they fear rich and powerful individuals and multinational corporations."


Perhaps lately there is not so much a divide between these, perhaps politicians on a whole work more for special interests than the people/public?

Who pays them more? We the public, or the special interests? Why do a number of ex politicians and high government officials end up in these huge corporations after their public "service". For example, some former Food and Drug Administration higher ups end up working for and getting obscene salaries from pharmaceutical corporations or places like Monsanto.

Conflict of interest much?

Besides, ultimately you're looking in the wrong direction. The wealth and power of even the biggest corporations is paltry play money to that of international bankers. The same folks who run the so called "'Federal' Reserve" which is not directly part of our public government.

It's privately owned and operated by bankers, and when a private, for profit interest group can print and manufacture money based on their whims alone with no real government oversight (since it's legally outside of same), guess what starts happening to the government below them?

None of this btw is conspiracy theory. I find people often throw around such terms and negative labels quite casually, and often because they really don't want to deal with the deepest problems and core issues because they are so out of our control and potentially frightening to people who value people and the environment over money, power, and status. It is far easier to disown and repress the shadow side of life than deal with it directly.

Ironically, some of the founding fathers, especially Thomas Jefferson very, very clearly warned us of such potentially disastrous developments in our nation and government. He said essentially to make sure you keep the international bankers out of our business and politics. And perceptive leaders later on, were already starting to deal with and fear it, people like Abraham Lincoln who was one of the very few Presidents who was vocal about his concerns.

Edited by ArcturusBear on 09/17/2013 19:42:48 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: possibly relevant on 09/17/2013 20:11:02 MDT Print View

+1 Jennifer

Doug, you don't need to be cynical.

In 1920s the government was bought by the super wealthy, "the gilded era"

Then in the 1930s the people moved the government way back towards the people

It's happened before, it can happen again, don't just give up and say it's hopeless

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Oath Keepers. on 09/17/2013 20:16:40 MDT Print View

"That sounds pretty nutty

The government is going to confiscate our property? Put us in detention camps? Blockade cities to turn them into concentration camps?"

Jerry, let's put the above in perspective a bit and use some holistic logic. There is a growing anger in this country, a deep dissatisfaction with the ways our government has developed, how much it's influenced by special interests, and the way the economy is going. This anger/dissatisfaction is fairly universal in that you can find it among various political categories whether liberal, conservative, right wing, whatever. For example, there are plenty of people who would fall in the "liberal" category, who really have come to dislike and feel cheated by the Obama admin. Some people were very, very supportive of him in the beginning--people like Matt Damon for an example.

More and more people are starting to wake up to, understand, and are getting concerned with the reality that we can't just "vote" our way to change, revolution, and reform in this country. The American dream on many levels, is broken.

Combine that with a ever widening divide between the poor and the wealthy, and a shrinking middle class. Well, you got a recipe for a developing revolution movement. We've been seeing this break out more, like the Occupy movement. I had a friend involved with that in Richmond VA, and it became very clear that the local government did not give a shite about people's rights but rather enforcing status quo. That's why, on Halloween night, while most everyone was gone from camp, they decided to bulldoze and destroy all those people's property. Earlier, the local politicians made it seem like, "oh, it's ok you guys are protesting, as long as you do it peacefully" That was just a deceptive ploy. They had no intention of putting up with any of this.

In short, the people in power have a very good grasp and sense of what might come with combination of factors that may develop into a perfect sociopolitical storm, and quite frankly, they are scared crapless of such potential and what it means for them and their sense of self preservation. Never underestimate materialists fear of loss of wealth, power, or physical life--it's what they are obsessed with and devote their lives too.

Jerry, the writing is on the wall in so many ways and so many places but so many people like yourself refuse to see it.

And when they think it's getting close enough, and that chaos will break out, they will crack down, and crack down hard BEFORE it culminates. All the ammunition and hollow point bullets they are buying up, all their pushes and measures for greater gun control, regulation and tracking, etc, etc. is going towards that crescendo that they see as very probable.

I mean, what's going to happen to the poor people in this country when gas goes up to 5 dollars or more a gallon, or food becomes ever more expensive as it's starting to. Keep in mind, in the next couple of years because of droughts and other issues, food is going to sky-rocket. When basic necessities can't be met, that anger will boil over. This stuff has happened throughout history, time and time again, and always due to the concentration of wealth and power, misuse of that wealth and power and with a severe lack of a brother/sisterhood of humanity being present in such groups.

Maybe it's time to wake up?

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Lost conversation on 09/17/2013 21:44:35 MDT Print View

And as usual a reasonable conversation is lost to the extremes. Both of them. Or more than two.
The usual folks seizing the moment to beat the same old drum.
Sorry, I am tired, physically, and of hearing the same old conversation.

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
This is worth reading on 09/17/2013 21:57:15 MDT Print View

Instead of the same old left/ right debate.


Thanks Spelt!




By PETER LUDLOW



In recent months there has been a visible struggle in the media to come to grips with the leaking, whistle-blowing and hacktivism that has vexed the United States military and the private and government intelligence communities. This response has run the gamut. It has involved attempts to condemn, support, demonize, psychoanalyze and in some cases canonize figures like Aaron Swartz, Jeremy Hammond, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

In broad terms, commentators in the mainstream and corporate media have tended to assume that all of these actors needed to be brought to justice, while independent players on the Internet and elsewhere have been much more supportive. Tellingly, a recent Time magazine cover story has pointed out a marked generational difference in how people view these matters: 70 percent of those age 18 to 34 sampled in a poll said they believed that Snowden “did a good thing” in leaking the news of the National Security Agency’s surveillance program.

So has the younger generation lost its moral compass?

No. In my view, just the opposite.



Clearly, there is a moral principle at work in the actions of the leakers, whistle-blowers and hacktivists and those who support them. I would also argue that that moral principle has been clearly articulated, and it may just save us from a dystopian future.

In “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” one of the most poignant and important works of 20th-century philosophy, Hannah Arendt made an observation about what she called “the banality of evil.” One interpretation of this holds that it was not an observation about what a regular guy Adolf Eichmann seemed to be, but rather a statement about what happens when people play their “proper” roles within a system, following prescribed conduct with respect to that system, while remaining blind to the moral consequences of what the system was doing — or at least compartmentalizing and ignoring those consequences.

A good illustration of this phenomenon appears in “Moral Mazes,” a book by the sociologist Robert Jackall that explored the ethics of decision making within several corporate bureaucracies. In it, Jackall made several observations that dovetailed with those of Arendt. The mid-level managers that he spoke with were not “evil” people in their everyday lives, but in the context of their jobs, they had a separate moral code altogether, what Jackall calls the “fundamental rules of corporate life”:

(1) You never go around your boss. (2) You tell your boss what he wants to hear, even when your boss claims that he wants dissenting views. (3) If your boss wants something dropped, you drop it. (4) You are sensitive to your boss’s wishes so that you anticipate what he wants; you don’t force him, in other words, to act as a boss. (5) Your job is not to report something that your boss does not want reported, but rather to cover it up. You do your job and you keep your mouth shut.

Jackall went through case after case in which managers violated this code and were drummed out of a business (for example, for reporting wrongdoing in the cleanup at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant).

Aaron Swartz counted “Moral Mazes” among his “very favorite books.” Swartz was the Internet wunderkind who was hounded by a government prosecution threatening him with 35 years in jail for illicitly downloading academic journals that were behind a pay wall. Swartz, who committed suicide in January at age 26 (many believe because of his prosecution), said that “Moral Mazes” did an excellent job of “explaining how so many well-intentioned people can end up committing so much evil.”

Swartz argued that it was sometimes necessary to break the rules that required obedience to the system in order to avoid systemic evil. In Swartz’s case the system was not a corporation but a system for the dissemination of bottled up knowledge that should have been available to all. Swartz engaged in an act of civil disobedience to liberate that knowledge, arguing that “there is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.”

Chelsea Manning, the United States Army private incarcerated for leaking classified documents from the Departments of Defense and State, felt a similar pull to resist the internal rules of the bureaucracy. In a statement at her trial she described a case where she felt this was necessary. In February 2010, she received a report of an event in which the Iraqi Federal Police had detained 15 people for printing “anti-Iraqi” literature. Upon investigating the matter, Manning discovered that none of the 15 had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist organizations. Manning had the allegedly anti-Iraqi literature translated and found that, contrary to what the federal police had said, the published literature in question “detailed corruption within the cabinet of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people.”

When Manning reported this discrepancy to the officer in charge (OIC), she was told to “drop it,” she recounted.

Manning could not play along. As she put it, she knew if she “continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time — if ever.” When her superiors would not address the problem, she was compelled to pass this information on to WikiLeaks.

Snowden too felt that, confronting what was clearly wrong, he could not play his proper role within the bureaucracy of the intelligence community. As he put it,

[W]hen you talk to people about [abuses] in a place like this where this is the normal state of business people tend not to take them very seriously and move on from them. But over time that awareness of wrongdoing sort of builds up and you feel compelled to talk about [them]. And the more you talk about [them] the more you’re ignored. The more you’re told it’s not a problem until eventually you realize that these things need to be determined by the public and not by somebody who was simply hired by government.

The bureaucracy was telling him to shut up and move on (in accord with the five rules in “Moral Mazes”), but Snowden felt that doing so was morally wrong.

In a June Op-Ed in The Times, David Brooks made a case for why he thought Snowden was wrong to leak information about the Prism surveillance program. His reasoning cleanly framed the alternative to the moral code endorsed by Swartz, Manning and Snowden. “For society to function well,” he wrote, “there have to be basic levels of trust and cooperation, a respect for institutions and deference to common procedures. By deciding to unilaterally leak secret N.S.A. documents, Snowden has betrayed all of these things.”

The complaint is eerily parallel to one from a case discussed in “Moral Mazes,” where an accountant was dismissed because he insisted on reporting “irregular payments, doctored invoices, and shuffling numbers.” The complaint against the accountant by the other managers of his company was that “by insisting on his own moral purity … he eroded the fundamental trust and understanding that makes cooperative managerial work possible.”

But wasn’t there arrogance or hubris in Snowden’s and Manning’s decisions to leak the documents? After all, weren’t there established procedures determining what was right further up the organizational chart? Weren’t these ethical decisions better left to someone with a higher pay grade? The former United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, argued that Snowden “thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us … that he can see clearer than other 299, 999, 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants. I say that is the worst form of treason.”

For the leaker and whistleblower the answer to Bolton is that there can be no expectation that the system will act morally of its own accord. Systems are optimized for their own survival and preventing the system from doing evil may well require breaking with organizational niceties, protocols or laws. It requires stepping outside of one’s assigned organizational role. The chief executive is not in a better position to recognize systemic evil than is a middle level manager or, for that matter, an IT contractor. Recognizing systemic evil does not require rank or intelligence, just honesty of vision.

Persons of conscience who step outside their assigned organizational roles are not new. There are many famous earlier examples, including Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon Papers), John Kiriakou (of the Central Intelligence Agency) and several former N.S.A. employees, who blew the whistle on what they saw as an unconstitutional and immoral surveillance program (William Binney, Russ Tice and Thomas Drake, for example). But it seems that we are witnessing a new generation of whistleblowers and leakers, which we might call generation W (for the generation that came of age in the era WikiLeaks, and now the war on whistleblowing).

The media’s desire to psychoanalyze members of generation W is natural enough. They want to know why these people are acting in a way that they, members of the corporate media, would not. But sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; if there are psychological motivations for whistleblowing, leaking and hacktivism, there are likewise psychological motivations for closing ranks with the power structure within a system — in this case a system in which corporate media plays an important role. Similarly it is possible that the system itself is sick, even though the actors within the organization are behaving in accord with organizational etiquette and respecting the internal bonds of trust.

Just as Hannah Arendt saw that the combined action of loyal managers can give rise to unspeakable systemic evil, so too generation W has seen that complicity within the surveillance state can give rise to evil as well — not the horrific evil that Eichmann’s bureaucratic efficiency brought us, but still an Orwellian future that must be avoided at all costs.

Peter Ludlow is a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University and writes frequently on digital culture, hacktivism and the surveillance state.

Edited by Kat_P on 09/17/2013 21:59:27 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Lost conversation on 09/17/2013 23:30:39 MDT Print View

"And as usual a reasonable conversation is lost to the extremes. Both of them. Or more than two.
The usual folks seizing the moment to beat the same old drum.
Sorry, I am tired, physically, and of hearing the same old conversation."


Why be so concerned with and become intolerant of voices not your own, even if they are different than yourself and seemingly "extreme"?

Before one judges others and their perceptions and expressions hastily, why not try to dig a bit deeper and consider "what is the intent behind the words"? This practice that i apply to others is why i rarely feel irked by others expressions even if they are vastly different than my own, for if i can feel that they mean well and care about others and speak from that space, i can easily let other things slide.

For some might say, "Lost" is a bit extreme in itself.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: This is worth reading on 09/18/2013 03:12:25 MDT Print View

Thanks spelt! and Kat

for me, this is the core:

"But wasn’t there arrogance or hubris in Snowden’s and Manning’s decisions to leak the documents? After all, weren’t there established procedures determining what was right further up the organizational chart? Weren’t these ethical decisions better left to someone with a higher pay grade? The former United States ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, argued that Snowden “thinks he’s smarter and has a higher morality than the rest of us … that he can see clearer than other 299, 999, 999 of us, and therefore he can do what he wants. I say that is the worst form of treason.”

For the leaker and whistleblower the answer to Bolton is that there can be no expectation that the system will act morally of its own accord. Systems are optimized for their own survival and preventing the system from doing evil may well require breaking with organizational niceties, protocols or laws. It requires stepping outside of one’s assigned organizational role. The chief executive is not in a better position to recognize systemic evil than is a middle level manager or, for that matter, an IT contractor. Recognizing systemic evil does not require rank or intelligence, just honesty of vision."

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Re: Re: Lost conversation on 09/18/2013 05:59:14 MDT Print View

"
Why be so concerned with and become intolerant of voices not your own, even if they are different than yourself and seemingly "extreme"? "


Justin, I hardly deserve that. I have been on the forum for a number of years and I welcome dissenting opinion. I don't even mind what some think of as semi taboo topics.
What I am tired of is that every discussion gets reduced to the same left / right argument, by the same people, with nothing new. Not even addressing the thread other than to replay the same record we have heard for years.
I am not calling for a moderator, I am not calling for anyone to stop. I am frustrated and I am expressing it.

Maybe if you knew me a little better you would know that of all the things I am, intolerant isn't really something I am much of.
Or stick around a little longer and notice how good threads with well meaning people end up being abandoned by those whose thoughts we could benefit the most from...., once either extreme sides take over, or demeaning and offensive language starts to pervade the thread.

Edited by Kat_P on 09/18/2013 06:13:07 MDT.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Re: Lost conversation on 09/18/2013 07:38:23 MDT Print View

I agree Kat, you didn't deserve that. I find you to be one of the more tolerant of the chaff contributors...

But a quick note about my posts...I was simply commenting as an aside that there is so much *government* blaming when I'm not so sure that should be the target of our ire. Theoretically the government is the one place where we have even a modicum of control...

I'm not a big chaff participant because it does seem like an exercise in futility most of the time.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: This is worth reading on 09/18/2013 07:47:20 MDT Print View

"After all, weren’t there established procedures determining what was right further up the organizational chart?..."

No

Ellsberg in his NPR interview said it was the same thing with Vietnam. No one would take his information and do anything with it.

The people that Snowden could have turned his information over to don't want the information made public. It would expose them as liars.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Lost conversation on 09/18/2013 08:11:38 MDT Print View

"I agree Kat, you didn't deserve that...I'm not a big chaff participant because it does seem like an exercise in futility most of the time"

If you say anything on the internet, you have to expect to be occasionally flamed.

It seems like if someone posts something about barricading yourself with guns to protect yourself from the government, someone else might take it to heart. Maybe if other ideas are expressed, it will save one person from going down the same path? Probably futile but what the ...

As far as endlessly talking about "the best government money can buy", it seems like that's the root of all problems - "one ring to rule them all"

It seems like movements like the Tea Party or Occupy might lead to a resolution to the problem of our government being bought off. Occupy has sort of fizzled out but maybe it's still smoldering and will come back to life. The Tea Party politicians have mostly been bought off by the people that have bought the government and the members have been diverted talking about how the government is going to take their guns away and other things...

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Lost conversation on 09/18/2013 08:47:16 MDT Print View

"I agree Kat, you didn't deserve that. I find you to be one of the more tolerant of the chaff contributors..."

Hold it right there. Oh she seems pleasant and everything on the forums but there's a sinister side to Kat.

I'm going to try and quote a PM I received from her after I told her I could get a cheaper hat from China:

"Listen Holmes.... the lower 48 is my turf. You bring that punk (expletive) into my territory? Not a problem homeboy. Looks like Rodrigo and I are going to need to make a special trip to Washington with a shovel. Watch your back Holmes."

I was on a lot of cough syrup and just finished watching Blood In Blood Out that day so my memory is a little fuzzy but that's how I remember it.

Regarding the government vs private sector.

Yes the relationship between big business and the government is a mess. Always has been and always will be.

I don't blame the government or big business. I blame the hordes of spineless people for allowing this to happen, especially the ones who are crying that it's not their fault and that they are a product of manipulation.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Lost conversation on 09/18/2013 09:11:45 MDT Print View

Wow, you folks make it sound like i was demonizing Kat. I quoted her and specifically responded to her quote--both the data content and the seeming vibe, that's all. My perception is that she is a generally a really nice and mature person (and i happen to personally like and admire her from what i've observed here at BPL) and was aware that she perhaps was just having a "tired" or weak moment as far as her level of tolerance goes. I rarely comment on people in a personal way on forums (or in life), and when i do, it's only when those people strike me as the kind who know better. People who don't, i don't waste my breath on in a personal sense.


Anyways, in keeping more in line with the gist of the thread. One might argue that the American government is doing massive spying on us less because of concern with foreign "terrorists" but because of worry about movements like Occupy, Oath Keepers, Libertarian, Tea party, etc, etc.

Some might call that "extreme", but i call it reading between the lines and not being naive. If you disagree with the logic i use and the ideas i share, please quote them and refute them with better logic, etc.