Tag: national security interests

Delusions – the security state – the postings

Revisiting MetaData – Your Life Made Visible
November 17, 2016

In the current moment much of the concern about privacy online and otherwise has been overwhelmed by Trump, inequality, racism and other matters. The NSA and other spies, government and corporate, are not taking a vacation.  I wrote earlier about this in  “The Uses of Metadata – an experiment you can conduct with your own life’s metadata” in July, 2013.Recently I revisited Immersion: a people-centric view of your email life, the…

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Joe, My friend got back to me. Her contact left the Review five years ago. Sorry. Mark
No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald – book review
June 1, 2014

We are within days of the anniversary of the first revelations from Edward Snowden’s archive of NSA documents. The drum beat of new stories emerging from this trove continues even to this moment.1 So, Glenn Greenwald’s book, No Place To Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the US Surveillance State might be greeted with a yawn, what could be new? In…

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borrowed from Slate.com
FISA Court – Not a Court – an Administrative Rubber Stamp – Bureaucrats Dressed Up as Judges
July 11, 2013

The government and the press continue to refer to the FISA Court as a judicial review, a third party oversight of the government’s intrusions on our privacy. This misuse of words and concepts needs correction.

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The Uses of Metadata – an experiment you can conduct with your own life’s metadata
July 9, 2013

With the recent revelations of the NSA vacuum cleaner collecting metadata about every aspect of our lives2 of the ten steps discussed and illustrated by Ms. Wolf in the movie. 10 STEPS THAT CLOSE AN OPEN SOCIETY 1. invoke an internal and external threatPeople who are afraid are willing to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do. 2. establish secret (unaccountable) prisons where torture takes…

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Secret Sentry by Mathew Aid
Yottabytes and the National Security State
October 17, 2009

The current New York Review of Books has an article by James Bamford, “Who’s in Big Brother’s Database” that reviews the new book by Mathew M. Aid, The Secret Sentry: The Untold History of the National Security Agency . I have gotten in line at my local library to read this book and will make further comments after that. Meanwhile, the Bamford article mentions the construction boom at NSA (National…

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A New Thought on Terrorism
December 6, 2008

An article in today’s NYTimes about cyber crime, malware, etc. suggests to me that another line of attack may be through the Internet against our utilities, telecoms, or financial institutions. There have already been massive attacks against whole countries with successful breakdowns that lasted for hours and days. Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia were targets over the last year. My memory is that suspicions fell to the Russian government because the…

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A New Thought on Terrorism
December 6, 2008

An article in today’s NYTimes about cyber crime, malware, etc. suggests to me that another line of attack may be through the Internet against our utilities, telecoms, or financial institutions. There have already been massive attacks against whole countries with successful breakdowns that lasted for hours and days. Ukraine, Lithuania, and Georgia were targets over the last year. My memory is that suspicions fell to the Russian government because the…

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  1. NSA Collecting Millions of Faces from Web Images http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/nsa-collecting-millions-of-faces-from-web-images.html accessed 06012014 []
  2. We are forced to assume that they are collecting everything, emails, telephone calls, financial transactions, text messages, anything digital which is virtually every aspect of life unless you took to the woods before 2000 and have been subsisting in an entirely cash economy without any communications that re not face to face. The…

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James_R._Clapper_Director of National Intelligence
NSA Vacuuming, Meta Data, Mistaken Misleading Metaphors
June 17, 2013

NSA’s gathering of Meta Data Compared to Corporate Use of Information In the current discussions of the government’s wholesale seizure of the meta data of our personal digital lives there is regular comparison to the acquisition and use of information about our digital lives by corporations. At the moment corporate use of individual information results in targeted advertising and increasingly location aware targeted advertising through our smart phones. The implicit,…

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LAURA POITRAS credit: Ruby Washington/New York Times photographer - borrowed w/o permission
Dangers of the US Security State
June 16, 2013

There are those, in response to the recent revelations of the US government vacuum cleaning our lives through the NSA and other secret programs, who take the line that the innocent have nothing to fear from the government. Here is an example of why no one should take such a naive approach to the powers of government. LAURA POITRAScredit: Ruby Washington/New York Times photographer – borrowed w/o permission The New…

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NSA is listening to everthing
US Vacuum Cleaning Our Privacy – the bigger story
June 8, 2013

There has rightfully been considerable outrage over this week’s revelations that the Federal government has been sucking up information on virtually every aspect of our lives, email, telephones calls, pictures, credit card and banking transactions, and so on. Unfortunately almost all of this discussion is taking place without a useful sense of the scope, scale, and trajectory of the government’s war on terror. META DATA Before getting to the bigger…

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Bush-War onTerror
Parallels and Prescience – on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11 and the “War on Terror”
September 12, 2011

Having successfully avoided much of the national moment for our politicians to blather on about the true meaning of 9/11, I was struck this morning by parallel between our “War on Terror” and our longest war, the “War on Drugs” (I have written earlier about this here). Some may be offended initially by this comparison. The War on Drugs was invented for the most cynical of purposes by one of our more…

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Naomi Wolf’s The End of America – the movie
May 27, 2011

The End of America – a film by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern Here is a summary ((from the endofamericamovie.com website – 05/27/2011 []

Dangers of the US Security State

There are those, in response to the recent revelations of the US government vacuum cleaning our lives through the NSA and other secret programs, who take the line that the innocent have nothing to fear from the government. Here is an example of why no one should take such a naive approach to the powers of government.

LAURA POITRAS credit: Ruby Washington/New York Times photographer - borrowed w/o permission

LAURA POITRAS
credit: Ruby Washington/New York Times photographer – borrowed w/o permission

The New York Times reported recently (“Player in Leaks Case, Out From Behind Camera1 ) on the role of Laura Poitras in the revelations by Edward Snowden about domestic surveillance by NSA et al..

  1. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/15/business/media/filmmaker-linked-to-leaks-has-her-own-stories-to-tell.html?_r=0 []

Where, Oh, Where Did Our National Debt Come From?

The political rhetoric of the current moment, chiefly flowing from Republicans, but barely challenged by the Democrats, describes tales of profligate over-spending by the Federal government matched with burdensome taxation. While it is true that Federal spending is higher proportionately than post-WWII norms, social programs are not the source of this over spending. One only has to look back to George Bush’s two terms to see the true sources of the debt. 

Impact of Bush Policies, economy and wars on budget deficits

War, Wars, More Wars

First up are our profligate wars. A recent study at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies finds that since 2001 we have spent between $2.3 and $2.7 trillion on our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan.All of these dollars are deficit dollars. George Bush did not ask for increased taxes to fund his wars. Barack Obama has not asked for increased taxes to fund his continuation of the Bush wars and now his new war in Libya. The final bills for these wars will reach $3.7 to $4.4 trillion.1 We are fighting these wars on the backs of our grandchildren and, as is becoming obvious from the disgusting collusion between Obama and the Republicans, on the backs of the poor and the rapidly disappearing middle class. You might think that since these wars are in our national security interests (the rhetoric of all recent Presidents) they would feel it right to ask the American people to sacrifice more than just our mercenary military but also take money out of their pockets. It has been too easy to have the Chinese pay the bill.

Pills, Pills, Drug Companies and the Health Industry

President Bush, aided by the drug industry and health insurance industry, pushed through a new Part D Drug Benefit for Medicare. This was unfunded by new tax revenues. The estimate for 2009 to 2018 is an additional $727 billion

Tax Breaks Everywhere – The Gully Swamper of Them All

Part of the religion of the right is that cutting taxes will increase economic activity and in the end generate higher tax revenues. History has proven this theory to be nonsense. George Bush, aided by members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, passed enormous tax decreases. These bills with their charming titles,  Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, created an enormous windfall for the rich and have not produced any job growth. In fact George Bush’s presidency is marked with the lowest job growth record of any president back to Herbert Hoover2. As is demonstrated by the graphic from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities the tax cuts of the Bush years are the largets single source of debt.

federal_outlays_and_revenues_as_percent_gdp

Under Tax – But Are We Over Spending?

With all of the Bush tax cuts (and the extensions by Obama and the Democrats) Federal tax revenues are now 14.9% of GDP. This is roughly  16% lower than the share typical during the post WWII era while Federal expenditures are 24% of GDP.  The chart from the National Priorities Project “Federal Outlays and Revenues, 1930-2015” shows the historical trends of revenues versus spending. Note that the projected increases in revenue for 2011 to 2014 are the result of the projected lapsing of the Bush tax cuts. As demonstrated by Obama and the Democrats at the end of 2010, it is hardly a forgone conclusion that this enormous giveaway will not be continued. 

The chart clearly shows that overall Federal spending is higher than the post WWII norm.  Despite the political rhetoric of the moment, it is hardly shockingly high. This is especially true if you take into account the war spending and outlays for economic recovery during what is now obviously the most serious economic slump since the Great Depression.

 


  1. I won’t go into the costs of these wars in lost lives and displaced persons not the enormous moral costs. The Watson Institute website has information on those aspects. []
  2. see Wikipedia article here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobs_created_during_U.S._presidential_terms []