Sunday, June 16, 2013

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP...

...following up on the NSA stuff. The brethren aren't trying so hard now to affect shock at breaches of the Fourth Amendment: They just insist that NSA is, like everything else coming out of the White House these days, a Scandal, and stir the shit.

One of my finds for which I had no room was the only libertarian on earth who isn't making a big thing of this: John Stossel --
...many libertarians are furious at this latest intrusion of "Big Brother." 
So what's wrong with me? I just can't get that worked up about it...

So it's invasive, probably illegal and maybe useless. I ought to be very angry. But I'm not. Why? 
I need to keep thinking about this issue, but for now, two reasons: 
1. Terrorists do want to murder us. If the NSA is halfway competent, Big Data should help detect plots.
2. My electronic privacy has already been utterly shredded by Google, Amazon, YouTube and so on... 
I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear, limiting where I may go, stripping me at airports, forcing me to pay $2,300 for more military than we need.
There's a reason why Stossel's on TV and Nick Gillespie isn't, and it ain't photogeneity. At least he realizes, down deep,  that libertarianism is mostly about money and pique.

81 comments:

  1. Dick Cheney is down with it, too...(except for the black guy in charge now, of course).

    Former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs today, saying that had they been in effect over a decade ago, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks might have been prevented.


    (Also, if Dick and company hadn't ignored all the warnings they received about Osama bin Laden, because they were trying to figure out a way to get America to agree to invade Iraq.)
    ~

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  2. Roy: "Skreeeeeee," said Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs. "Skreeeeeeee!"

    Best line of the column...and despite its brevity conveys volumes about the depth and nuance of the concerns on the right.

    The only other line you really needed for a comprehensive article was this: "...remember that, for most of these folks, it's not the surveillance itself that's the problem -- it's who's President while it's being done."

    The rest is gravy. What else can you really say about people who aren't arguing in good faith?

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  3. Yeah, it's hard to take seriously any claims by Dick or any of his fellow dicks that more surveillance would have prevented 9/11. Because we *had* intelligence about 9/11 beforehand. The Bush Administration was too incompetent and/or complacent to do anything about the intelligence we did have, so why should we trust that they'd have done anything about the intelligence we might have had?

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  4. Glock H. Palin, Esq.9:33 PM

    "Skreeeeeee," said Pamela Geller at Atlas Shrugs. "Skreeeeeeee."


    Which sums up pretty much her entire oeuvre.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Except for shaking her tatas part.

    http://sadlyno.com/wordpress/uploads/2006/08/PamBeach2.jpg
    ~

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  6. P.S. If anyone at the Voice ever asks, please congratulate them for finding a comment system that sucks more then Disqus.
    ~

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  7. montag210:03 PM

    "Our government has refused to racial profile," wept Exposing Liberal Lies."

    Y'know, that's gonna come as an earthquake-level shock to the millions of blacks and Latinos trapped in the criminal justice system....

    But, still, I think there's more to come in the next few years that will give the wingnutz and the glibertarians much cause for celebration. They've been hankering for some good ol' downhome-style police dogs and water cannon-type domestic repression, and they may get their wish.


    Still, I don't think that even an opportunity to beat up on hippies will be enough to get them into uniform. Officially in uniform, anyway.

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  8. Not to mention, they spent Jan-Sep 2001 pushing terrorism to the back burner and bs like hooker hunting and weed to the front (due to Boobless John Ashcroft's priorities).

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  9. montag210:17 PM

    Ah, well, as I've said many a time, it's pretty damned hard to arrange those Sunday morning talk show guest spots from prison.


    Obama could have spared us not only having to live with Cheney's unprosecuted legacy, he might have also saved us from having Cheney's sneering face regularly invading our consciousness.


    It woulda been a two-fer.

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  10. montag210:20 PM

    Re: distraction. I seem to recall exactly the same tack being taken when Clinton bombed Kosovo.



    The wingnutz never have to come up with anything new because they're quite proficient in recycling old material.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Spaghetti Lee10:48 PM

    Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear, limiting where I may go



    There's a joke here about John Stossel being caught skulking around an elementary school and having to live 500 yards away from any school as a consequence, but I'm too classy to make it.


    Credit where it's due for the rare moment of lucidity re: Google and Amazon. Now, you'd think Mr. Principled Defender of Freedom would connect the dots and realize that corporations can be just as big a threat to privacy as government can, but, like you said, he knows darn well what keeps him on TV.

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  12. Spaghetti Lee10:56 PM

    Oh, and Gillespie realizes that too, he just goes about it a different way. He's the Marilyn Manson to Stossel's Backstreet Boys: one "alternative", one mainstream.

    ReplyDelete
  13. hellslittlestangel11:25 PM

    The right-whinge in a nutshell: My mother-in-law is the meanest, most miserable ... sweetest little old lady on this earth.

    ReplyDelete
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  15. AGoodQuestion11:48 PM

    Reynolds mused, "Say, if they can do that, couldn't they plant incriminating stuff on your computer, too? More undermining of trust..."


    That's how he explained his browser history to Dr. Helen, and she totally bought it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. AGoodQuestion11:50 PM

    It's the only recycling that's not a commie plot.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Derelict11:58 PM

    Stossel, like libertarianism, is a fraud.

    ReplyDelete
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  19. KatWillow12:41 AM

    So it's invasive, probably illegal and maybe useless. I ought to be very angry. But I'm not. Why?


    Because it hasn't affected him personally, hasn't cost him a dime (that he knows of) or any real inconvenience. The fact that its a very dangerous situation that could hurt him badly (like not wearing a seatbelt or motorcycle helmet) is meaningless.

    ReplyDelete
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  21. DocAmazing1:23 AM

    But aside from that one little oversight, they almost sorta did an okay job...

    ReplyDelete
  22. shorter john stossel: what is the sound of white privilege fapping?

    ReplyDelete
  23. PersonaAuGratin1:39 AM

    Hell, Benjamin Rush connected those dots back when the Industrial Revolution was still in its larval stage:

    In our opposition to monarchy, we forgot that the temple of tyranny has two doors. We bolted one of them by proper restraints; but we left the other open, by neglecting to guard against the effects of our own ignorance and licentiousness.

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  24. I thought it was the insurance companies that were making John wear safety gear, but whatever.


    Nobody made him wear a helmet when that wrestler slapped the hell out of his punk face.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I still can't believe so many people are so paranoid abut terrorism that they wanna give up their right to privacy. Is everyone in the world ignorant about statistics? I was never a mathwiz myself, but I think if I lived the U.S. it would be normal everyday gun violence I'd be afraid of. ("Normal everyday gun violence" shouldn't actually be a sentence anyone should ever have to write). I guess the thinking is, hey, tape me taking a dump but keep your hands off my Desert Eagle. Which is just plain sad.

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  26. Derelict7:17 AM

    I want to bookmark this comment.

    ReplyDelete
  27. But, still, I think there's more to come in the next few years that
    will give the wingnutz and the glibertarians much cause for celebration.
    They've been hankering for some good ol' downhome-style police dogs
    and water cannon-type domestic repression, and they may get their wish.

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    ReplyDelete
  28. mortimer8:02 AM

    9/11 was just one of those notably rare exceptions the Bush administration was notably often responsible for.

    ReplyDelete
  29. mortimer8:33 AM

    Professor Glenn Reynolds embraces the Cavuto mark:
    Did a politicized bureaucracy spy on the Romney/ GOP campaign and interfere with a Federal election?

    ...weren’t iPads and laptops stolen out of a Romney staff member’s car? Why leave a hacking trail if you don’t have to?

    Say, if they can do that, couldn’t they plant incriminating stuff on your computer, too?


    Jon Stewart explains how this transformative punctuation works:
    Cavuto's not saying these things. He's just asking, like, "Is your mother a whore?" What? I'm not saying she's a whore. I'm just wondering out loud if she is a whore. All I'm saying is that reasonable people who have banged your mother for money can disagree.

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  30. Well it might if the uniforms came with swastikas and lightning type esses. They'd jump at that.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Halloween_Jack9:56 AM

    Shorter Southern-fried version: bless her (him/its/their) heart.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Halloween_Jack9:59 AM

    What the hell, I'll go there: I, too, wish the gummint wouldn't save John Stossel from himself. The ghosts of countless unrealized Darwin awards cry out for justice!

    ReplyDelete
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  34. Yeah well, you won't be able to enjoy your untapped phone and Internet if a terrorist flies an airplane INTO YOUR HOUSE!

    ReplyDelete
  35. RogerAiles10:41 AM

    Have to disagree with you, Roy.

    Lack of photogeneity is one of the many reasons that Libertarian Fonzie isn't on the boob tube regularly.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:46 AM

    It's a pity the libertarians are too wary of collective action to form a governing body that could vote out "fake libertarians" like Stossel.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:47 AM

    I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear, limiting where I may go, stripping me at airports, forcing me to pay $2,300 for more military than we need.


    Data mining: Okay
    Motorcycle helmet laws: Tyranny


    Got it...

    ReplyDelete
  38. Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard10:49 AM

    Hell, he won't even be able to enjoy taking a dump!

    ReplyDelete
  39. sharculese10:59 AM

    Conservatarianism: the principled, intellectual belief that child-proof caps are a greater threat than unchecked government surveillance.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Jeffrey_Kramer11:00 AM

    I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear....

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the brains of libertarian motorcyclists.

    ReplyDelete
  41. sharculese11:09 AM

    That thing must be pretty sickly by now, then.

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  42. Jeffrey_Kramer11:19 AM

    Wrong mustache; that was Geraldo.

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  43. On my list of fears, this ranks right around clownstabbing. Me being arrested for it, I mean.

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  44. kennyg12:38 PM

    No it was the 'Stoss what got smacked. I often re-watch that one just for giggles.

    ReplyDelete
  45. BG, ribbons in my hair12:56 PM

    Stossel wrote one of the most disgusting pieces I've ever written, in defense of price-gouging after Katrina:

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2005/09/08/stossel-price-gouging-ensures-that-scarce-resou/133779

    ReplyDelete
  46. redoubt1:30 PM

    Er, no. Professional courtesy, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  47. bekabot1:30 PM

    "At least he realizes, down deep, that libertarianism is mostly about money and pique."

    Libertarianism, at the ground level, is about pique. The ground level is the only level at which libertarian ideology makes emotional sense, and at that level, libertarianism is an ideology of alienated people. It's an effort of disempowered people, not to take back what power they can, because they've given up on that, but to stick to the Man who's standing for the Men who originally stuck it to them. That's the best they figure they can do.

    (I'm leaving out the elderly upper-middle-class folks who fill the gated communities of the eastern half of the state in which I live; because their lives are mostly over. What bugs them is the possibility that they might not be able to live out the remainder in comfort. Though I might not agree with their politics at least I agree that their politics have a rational basis.)

    The owners of steel cartels and trust-fund babies who are the heroes of Ayn Rand books simply don't have the experiences which would lead to the reactions and convictions and, to be honest, the feelings, that the books they star in attribute to them. What they do have is money, though, and with the money they've got, and do they ever have it, they can fund the picnics and get-togethers which figure so majorly in the political lives of the first-mentioned group. So, in libertarianism you have a political movement which not only promotes but reflects a society in which there's an abyssal distinction between the haves and have-nots; the second group runs on ressentiment and is looking for a target upon which to expend it, and the first possesses loads of cash and is looking for a good investment for that.

    ReplyDelete
  48. BG, ribbons in my hair1:41 PM

    I think libertarians are social misfits who don't want anyone telling them what they can and cannot do.

    ReplyDelete
  49. redoubt1:42 PM

    Did a politicized bureaucracy spy on the Romney/ GOP campaign and interfere with a Federal election?
    I don't know. Did a politicized Supreme Court and a battery of Brooks-Brothers-suited Republican lawyers riot in Talahassee Florida and interfere with a Federal election?

    ReplyDelete
  50. redoubt1:46 PM

    To paraphrase JK Galbraith--"the search for a moral justification for stinginess"

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  51. redoubt1:50 PM

    (Somewhat) Apropos--I can't be the only one who remembers this movie.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Nah, that's me. Libertarians aren't half as interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  53. satch1:58 PM

    Damn right, Johnny Boy... not only should the Gubmint not save you from yourself, it shouldn't force emergency rooms to treat you when your number comes up and you're lying in a bloody heap just outside their doors.

    ReplyDelete
  54. montag23:06 PM

    Any marginally astute observer of these United States understands the role of fear in this society. it's what Ben Franklin was talking about, though he doesn't use the word, when opining on the intersection of liberty and security.

    The unpleasant truth is that statistics (and logic and reason and facts, in general) don't matter. Reagan could justify subverting Congress just by going on television and saying that Nicaraguan tanks could be on the Rio Grande in three days. it didn't matter that Nicaragua had almost no tanks, that there were several countries in between us and Nicaragua, or that if the Nicaraguans could get that far (assuming they didn't break down), they were going to run smack dab into the largest armored force in the Western Hemisphere at Ft. Bliss.


    Nevertheless, it scared the people who didn't know any better. Same with the Red scare, Vietnam, Guatemala, Grenada, for chrissakes (wasn't the joke, "quick, we gotta do something--some of those med students are due to graduate soon"?). And, of course, Iraq and Afghanistan--both countries were bigger threats to themselves than they were to others.



    Goldstein was not a minor character in 1984.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Jay B.3:23 PM

    limiting where I may go



    ?
    I'm genuinely curious. Are you chafing under the bootheel of CHILD RAPE CONVICTIONS or something John?

    ReplyDelete
  56. Jay B.3:26 PM

    Watching libertarians try and organize consensus on, say, an abandoned oil rig, might be the only reality tv show I would ever watch. It would be funnier than Lord of the Flies, with eightfold the murder.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Mooser3:32 PM

    "Terrorists do want to murder us."
    Well, my ex-wife probably wants to murder me. But is anybody tapping her phone? Probably not. Guess I'll just sit here and wait for the inevitable. Thanks a lot, NSA.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Mooser3:36 PM

    Obama choked. He had his moment, and he fluffed it, and here we are. Why Obama wants to be the scapegoat for Bush and the neo-cons baffles me, but that seems to be his wish. I think he's going to get it.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Mooser3:38 PM

    Jeffry, as far as this motorcyclist is concerned, you win the Internets today!

    ReplyDelete
  60. montag23:49 PM

    In that great data-mining adventure in Utah, somewhere there's a program, searching, searching, searching for keywords, and suddenly, your ex-wife talking to a friend pops up: "He's an emotional terrorist, I'm telling you!"


    And now, they're looking for you....

    ReplyDelete
  61. billcinsd3:52 PM

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrX9Ca7LSyQ

    ReplyDelete
  62. billcinsd3:59 PM

    I always liked the Bloom County where they discovered that the USSR had suddenly got to within 12 miles of the US

    ReplyDelete
  63. montag24:18 PM

    Ah, yes, the story written by Milo "graduate of the Rupert Murdoch School of Exuberant Journalism" Bloom....

    ReplyDelete
  64. Yeah, it's kinda like how there will never be a Baptist Cathedral of of Chartres.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Jonathan Roth5:47 PM

    Geraldo got a chair to the face.


    Gentlemen beware, the gravity of the porn'stache will draw heavy objects to the face at high speed.

    ReplyDelete
  66. Spaghetti Lee6:59 PM

    Lots of people don't like being told what to do. The thing about libertarianism is that it really is about tightly controlling society. I don't know how the sort of people who will start a fight over how much of their tax money goes to school lunches and sidewalk repair got a reputation as laid-back freewheelers: barring the most uber-religious theocrats, doctrinaire libertarians are probably the most anal-retentive people in politics.


    Hardcore libertarians talk about how society needs a radical restructuring-tax code, monetary system, employment law, school funding, everything, all to make it "free" or "fair" or whatever. It's a massive amount of social engineering by volume. If they were just people who wanted to be left alone I wouldn't care about them so much. The reality is that they want others to leave them alone, but demand the freedom to fuck everyone else's shit up.

    ReplyDelete
  67. DocAmazing11:38 PM

    John Stossel is a man of convictions...

    ReplyDelete
  68. Halloween_Jack12:23 AM

    It fits in with my personal definition of a libertarian: it's someone who wants not so much less government in general as exactly as much government as they can personally use. Hence the stereotypical elderly teabagger ranting about Obamacare from their government-supplied electric cart.

    ReplyDelete
  69. singerobras2:24 AM

    yeah I understand about the rules

    ReplyDelete
  70. singerobras2:28 AM

    I understand about the rules
    http://jenismesinjahit.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  71. barring the most uber-religious theocrats, doctrinaire libertarians are probably the most anal-retentive people in politics.


    Yeah, when your poster boys / sugar daddies are a couple of uptight self-righteous psychopaths from Kansas who have bought entire state governments in order to steamroller through their agenda, the whole individualist weed-smoking freewheeling anarcho-capitalist image takes a bit of a beating.

    ReplyDelete
  72. whetstone10:31 AM

    I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear


    Well, it's un-American to let brown people murder us; more un-American still to prevent titans of industry from feeding the proles into grain threshers.

    ReplyDelete
  73. whetstone10:39 AM

    Credit where it's due for the rare moment of lucidity re: Google and Amazon.

    I have a brilliant solution to put the NSA and Google/Verizon/etc on similar footing with regards to the law and consent: notices on these products reading This service occasionally transmits data to patriots to improve your experience as a citizen in the greatest country on earth.


    IANAL, but people would read my Terms of Service.

    ReplyDelete
  74. whetstone10:46 AM

    Re privacy, terrorism, and gun violence, it's actually quite simple and logical. There is a massive lobby that can make a lot of money off of invading privacy to prevent terrorism. On the other side, there is a massive lobby that can make a lot of money by preventing the invasion of privacy to prevent gun violence.

    Seriously: NRA lobbying essentially gutted the government funding of research into gun violence; prevented gunpowder from being tagged; made the tracing of guns way, way harder than it needs to be; and so forth.


    Besides money, the only explanation I can think of is that Americans don't mind Americans dying, it's just that we're damn sure not going to let some foreigners do it.

    ReplyDelete
  75. whetstone10:48 AM

    Say, if they can do that, couldn’t they plant incriminating stuff on your computer, too?


    OH MY GOD. THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN TOTALLY PLANTED ALL OF ROMNEY'S SPEECHES.

    ReplyDelete
  76. uberman12:38 PM

    Libertarians often seem to just be a type of Calvinist: money accrued is proof of one's "goodness."

    ReplyDelete
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  78. Mooser1:46 PM

    Montag2, long before that happens she will walk into the local police station and say: "Would you guys like to clear up a whole bunch of cold cases?"
    After that, I'll just hope people will write to me in Super-Max.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Gromet1:52 PM

    A good friend of mine was a Libertarian for years (he outgrew it) and I saw in him three contributing factors: 1) He had been raised very religious and was in explicit rebellion against that and all the rules that came with it, such that he resented rules of any kind; 2) He entertained high-fantasy notions of how a lawless world would look, i.e., a frontiersy anarchy where life daily afforded chances for heroism and glory -- a.k.a. the opposite of real life, where he worked in a cubicle; 3) A sincere dedication to rationality. He's a super intelligent guy, and believes he acts rationally, and believed everyone else would to -- that we all live our lives by deciding what we want and then acting in ways to maximize chances of its gain and minimize pain and that therefore in a governmentless world, individual self-interest would quickly establish a benevolent and coherent (though thrillingly rough-edged) order. In other words he believed life and individuals to be predictable and quantifiable.

    Well, he outgrew his Libertatianism, because 1) his parents apologized for raising him too strictly and softened; 2) 9/11; 3) He acquired enough life experience to see that it's awful messy out there (and in here). He relaxed, he got married, and he started his own business more or less in accordance with the relevant laws. And I was left with the impression that Libertarianism is -- for many people -- not a real philosophy, but just a fantasy they need while they work though personal issues.

    ReplyDelete
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    Organ donors!

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  81. Jessica11111:12 PM

    I'm angrier about other things Big Government does in the name of keeping me safe: forcing me to wear safety gear

    Well, it's un-American to let brown people murder us; more un-American still to prevent titans of industry from feeding the proles into grain threshers. We kill our own, hippies.

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