chaptertwelve asked:So. Given what we’ve learned in the past few days, and bearing in mind what we may learn in the days ahead, what do you imagine as our best and worst case scenarios in terms of a path forward? How do you see all of this playing out in the near and distant future?
1. Best case scenario, public outcry grows, and politicians feel pressured to put protections into the law that require probable cause for individualized warrants, and prohibit the blanket kind of surveillance that’s been used by the administration. The FISA court is changed in some way that makes it an actual check on potential abuse. Perhaps the Supreme Court is permitted to review all FISA judgments in camera in some kind of audit for abuse.
2. Worst case scenario, most of the public never cares about the surveillance. Other stories push the issue from the news, and the government continues to amass large amounts of private information concerning all citizens. The FBI starts to access this information for non-terrorist cases. Other government agencies do the same. The IRS checks your online purchases. The EPA monitors purchases of materials that might pollute. Those who express controversial opinions or visit controversial websites are watched. Rogue government employees access private data for their own person gain—selling it to interested parties, blackmailing people engaged in extramarital affairs, stealing identities. You’ll come home from work to find that your home has been ransacked by a SWAT team pursuant to a warrant issued by a secret court for unspecified reasons.
I fear that that the most likely outcome is closer to 2 than 1. Consider how crazy the drug war has become—the massive amounts of money spent to fight it, the increasingly militarized local police forces that enforce prohibition, the asset forfeiture laws that take private property from innocent citizens without any due process, and the massive incarceration of millions of people for extraordinarily long periods of time. At the beginning of the drug war, you’d be laughed at for suggesting that this would happen. But it did, because people just didn’t care, and drugs were scary. Terrorism is scarier than drugs, so you can imagine how that’s going to play out.
(reposted for reblogging)
(P.S. Hey Tumblr, your mobile app is fucking terrible.)
“Civil liberties are not something you get to ‘trade,’ not least because they don’t all belong to you. They belong to me, too, and to the woman at the next table here at the Commonwealth Avenue Starbucks — Oh, c’mon, you knew where I was anyway, NSA guys. — and to the four people who just walked down the street past the big plate-glass window. You give yours away, you’re giving mine away, too, whether I want you to do so or not. Therefore, we all surrender those civil liberties. We do not trade them because we don’t get anything back. And it’s not like we can cut another deal later to get them back.”
“Perhaps most disturbing about the Attorney General’s letter is that it leaves totally unexplained why the United States has killed so many innocent non-American citizens in its strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. Yet, from my investigation on the ground in a variety of countries, I’ve become convinced that we are making more new enemies than we are killing terrorists. We must confront the realities of the full impact of our ‘targeted’ killing program, particularly when innocent civilians are killed, so that we can have a real debate about whether our counterterrorism strategies are enhancing or degrading our national security.”
“So, you know, it’s either timely ‘justice’ or it’s grave injustice. But either way, it’s quick. And apparently Florida legislators just like their justice or injustice to happen quickly. … If you have to kill a few innocent people in order to get revenge as fast as possible against several dozen guilty people, well, that’s a good deal, right? … I’ll just go ahead and answer my own question: No, Florida, it’s not.”
“Mr. Brennan’s assertion was either shockingly naïve or deliberately misleading. Testimonies from Qaeda fighters and interviews I and local journalists have conducted across Yemen attest to the centrality of civilian casualties in explaining Al Qaeda’s rapid growth there. The United States is killing women, children and members of key tribes. “Each time they kill a tribesman, they create more fighters for Al Qaeda,” one Yemeni explained to me over tea in Sana, the capital, last month. Another told CNN, after a failed strike, “I would not be surprised if a hundred tribesmen joined Al Qaeda as a result of the latest drone mistake.” … Rather than promote the author of a failing strategy, we need a C.I.A. director who will halt the agency’s creeping militarization and restore it to what it does best: collecting human intelligence. It is an intelligence agency, not a lightweight version of Joint Special Operations Command. And until America wins the intelligence war, missiles will continue to hit the wrong targets, kill too many civilians and drive young men into the waiting arms of our enemies.”
Assuming Obama can hang on to the reasonably safe states of Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, he needs to do ONE of the following:
- Win Ohio, or
- Win Virginia, or
- Win Florida, or
- Win Colorado.
If he wins Ohio or Florida there’s some room for error in the other states. Of those options, an Ohio victory is most probable. Florida is the least probable.
If I’m able to get to bed before midnight, I guess I might have to thank this guy:
“The problem for Romney is he is culturally so opposite from most voters in Southside Virginia that there is an area for Virgil Goode to win votes,” said David Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “In 2008, there were close to 40,000 votes cast for third-party candidates in Virginia. What if Virgil Goode took 25,000 votes? That could be a potential difference maker.”
The Romney campaign says it is not worried. “This election is a very clear choice between two candidates,” said Rich Beeson, Mr. Romney’s political director. “We are running a campaign that will ensure Mitt Romney wins regardless of who is in the race.”
But Tom Davis, a former Republican congressman from Virginia, is more cautious. “I don’t think his candidacy is helpful,” Mr. Davis said of Mr. Goode.