As Alex Coles @myabc tweeted:
truthy || falsy values – like JS, @BrendanEich also has issues with equality – http://projects.latimes.com/prop8/donation/8930/
Not to mention the fact that baseball is a sport of entertainment, and is you strike out people won't be blaming the deaths of others on you.
alt 2: capital rewards capitol
Discusses the era from Watergate to early Obama shielding Bush officials and telecoms.
Worse yet: even the richest athlete in the world is at a grave disadvantage when confronted by the enormous power and resources of the federal government. These type of vanity investigations are nothing more than the institutional bullying of a private individual for political gain. It's frustrating and furthers the perception that congress is filled with opportunistic cowards.
That being said, I wouldn't go as far as to say the average American doesn't care, just that their reaction in light of these leaks is underwhelming. I don't believe that the slide towards total surveillance (or anything for that matter) is inevitable, but I would much appreciate confronting mass surveillance now as opposed to 10-20 years down the road.
1. American citizens do not believe the people running the US government are or could become corrupt;
2. They haven't considered, or are not bothered by the fact that their habits will be shaped by the fact that someone is watching;
3. They believe the infrastructure will be used against anything that represent existential threats (terrorism), grave injustice (child pornography) or grave moral threat (a fringe political group);
4. Despite the fact that the definition of terrorism is quite fluid and could be used to target any stand against the government (as opposed to against the country itself), they don't want another 9/11 and see the apparatus as necessary to prevent it;
5. They believe the USG chooses sides in international conflicts based on moral considerations, and not realpolitik which often hurts them later (see: Al Qaeda)—or are comfortable with amoral positions as long as they benefit the country in the bottom line;
6. They do not believe those in power can change their minds in the future;
7. They don't believe in authorities framing innocent persons;
8. My favorite, one-track point of discussion here: Americans are slightly xenophobic. So they're fairly happy to know the US has a big machine to track and all those pesky foreigners and keep their countries nice and obedient.
And it's not like the beliefs are unfounded. The US government has generally been good for its citizens. The only truly harmful actions of the USG have been targeted at other countries. You don't feel threatened until a drone kills your teenage son. But while your government does that thousands of miles away from you, it's easy to be forgiving of all that.
Americans are not used to systemic corruption and tyranny, so they don't have the framework to consider their state becoming authoritarian or totalitarian.
> "Americans are not used to systemic corruption and tyranny, so they don't have the framework to consider their state becoming authoritarian or totalitarian."
I agree, and I'll add that since the US is still a relatively young country whose present form of government has been in existence since shortly after its inception, Americans have trouble mentally disassociating their opinion of America--its culture, its people, its common beliefs--with their opinion of American government. In countries where citizens have lived to see multiple governments come and go, this is much easier to do. Americans, however, seem to have a hard time loving their country but hating their government, even when their government actively works to undermine and destroy some of the best qualities of their country.
My hypothesis is that people are (mostly) not subjected to the election time advertising campaigns of other (nearly identical) politicians. Their politician is from a small town just like theirs and has a cute dog and a nice family! That other senator from the next state over? Who knows, he's almost certainly a scumbag.
Advertising works; film at eleven...
Whatever the cause, it's a fascinating dissonance.
Despite the rhetoric of "both parties are the same" people really only care about a few issues, which the parties differ on: taxes, welfare, religion, education, social issues, etc. I just got hassled on the street today by a college-aged male to support planned parenthood. Who do you think he votes for? Why? What does he think of Congress?
Combine that with the general US notion (a notion existent since the Munroe Doctrone in the early 19th century) of isolationism, and you've got an explanation for why we're generally okay with this.
Classic https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog situation. What is now somehow acceptable, would have been outrageous a dozen years ago. In a few months' time people will have accepted that the NSA is spying on US citizens without a warrant.
This is why it is inevitable that the US will become a totalitarian surveillance state - if the political establishment chooses to go down that road.
Going back further, watch this movie on Prohibition: http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/prohibition.
You think 4th amendment rights are being violated now, back then Prohibition Bureau agents were just sweeping houses looking for illegal alcohol. Seriously, watch the video. It should be eye-opening for anybody who thinks that the trajectory of this country has been towards less freedom and more corruption.
I don't see a boiling frog situation, I see the opposite: people getting more used to stronger protections against government and reacting more strongly to lesser outrages. That doesn't mean the outrages are less valid, but rather it means that the defeatism inherent in the "boiling frog" analogy is unwarranted.
It might have stirred some opposition in August of 2001, but by September of 2001 people were pretty united in the desire to punish the perpetrators of 9/11 by any available means.
The reality is that tens of millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet, working multiple jobs, juggling credit cards, mortgage payments, car payments and trying to get by with little to no healthcare.
These people are too swamped by the day to day to have the time or energy to look around at the bigger picture. Life is too hard already.
Of course, there's also the "I've done nothing wrong, I have nothing to hide,"-type folks, and people who are generally authoritarian too.
I didn't read the paywalled paper, they may already cover this hypothesis.
Unfortunately I don't think we'll see mass popular opposition until a clear misuse of these spy powers occurs. Something similar to Watergate where a high-ranking government official uses their surveillance powers to further a personal political agenda. Unfortunately by the time it gets that bad it may be too late for reform. The next generation of mass surveillance tools will undoubtably be far more intrusive and effective. Which is why we need to agitate now against these surveillance programs.
I would. Or, rather, considering only Americans who are upset about this sort of thing, they don't care enough to spend time on this, and expose themselves to risk.
For a given action (say, protesting), you have to measure the cost and the benefit.
We are incredibly rich compared to the people who protested in large numbers in the past, in the sense that we have more to lose, so the cost is higher than it has been in the past.
I believe that there's also an element of "what could I do?", in that there's no path to making a difference. Maybe I speak only for myself, but it's not at all clear what action I could take that would have a significant effect on political things I care about: the times when something went the way I would prefer, I clearly had nothing to do with it, and the times when I acted, nothing came of it (except mild or moderate cost to me personally), so I need to see or create a realistic plan before I work at it again. So, considering the likelihood of making a difference combined with the worth of the difference, the benefit side is similarly lacking.
A kind of exhaustion results from the constant drumbeat of scandals and horror stories and outrage porn, and I believe modern media consumers and internet readers are numb. There are so many terrible things happening at every level that it's just not clear where to begin, and adding the NSA revelations to it doesn't help simplify. Were so many terrible things happening in the 1950s? I think they were, but since the average citizen didn't hear about the vast majority of them, when they did hear, there was a clear call to action about it, and some answered that call. At this point, any action I take has to include a justification about why I didn't act yesterday -- what makes this time different; why is this problem worth spending money and time and potentially risking my freedom or health?
I, of course, think that's dangerous and short-sighted thinking and there are higher principles at stake here (and for the future), but I get a strong inkling a lot of folks shrug and feel this way. My wife, for instance.
"While the FAA 702 minimization procedures approved on 3 October 2011 now allow for use of certain United States person names and identifiers as query terms when reviewing collected FAA 702 data," the glossary states, "analysts may NOT/NOT [not repeat not] implement any USP [US persons] queries until an effective oversight process has been developed by NSA and agreed to by DOJ/ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence]."
The term "identifiers" is NSA jargon for information relating to an individual, such as telephone number, email address, IP address and username as well as their name.
The document – which is undated, though metadata suggests this version was last updated in June 2012 – does not say whether the oversight process it mentions has been established or whether any searches against US person names have taken place.
This seems to suggest that procedures allow for the name of a United States person when querying data collected under FAA 702 (for example, they could search for intercepted communications where the parties referred to the President by name); however, no analyst is allowed to do so until an oversight procedure is developed and approved.
Is that the entire backdoor? That the name of a US person can be used as a search term?
For example, to find communications where parties A and B were discussing US Person C.
They were doing perfectly fine before the leaks, getting cooperation from major tech companies and other countries and their reach was constantly expanding.
It's silly to think they'd give all that up by setting in motion something which could potentially piss of its own citizens and its allies, just for the off chance that people might become numb to it. Then what happens? They continue their operations just the same way they did before?
Has anything changed? Has the people involved even noticed any difference, aside from some black ink in newspapers?
But on a smaller scale: The Bush administration would put out a piece of legislation that was a hyperbole, watch the public/democrats react, then ram through a "less worse" bill in the guise of compromise.
Here is as clear an admission as we will ever get that despite all the lip service politicians are paying to "tradeoffs" between security and liberty, all they really care about is providing the appearance of security at any cost. Apparently, when a law is deemed to be "effective" it justifies "fewer fourth amendment concerns". One wonders if rounding up (aka "rendering) political activists or people like Glen Greenwald would justify fewer First Amendment concerns.
When did the Fourth Amendment become a nice little luxury that Americans jettisoned as soon as rumors of terrorists doing bad things started circulating?
Someone's lying. Right?
"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty". - Thomas Jefferson
All we have now are corporate lawyers and stooges.
And the way in which the government can fear the people is through a revolt of the secret-keepers. Probably why all the sysadmins are getting fired, as a possible admission that the NSA doesn't know who of their own they can trust.