That is a very strange way to start this article. Consider to what type of government, activity of this sort(unencumbered spying on all of its citizens) would be 'critical.' Is that the type of government you believe the United States has or should have?
Then after making this strange statement and providing no support for it, the article actually goes on to refute the claim. If nearly half of the senators are against it, then it is surely not very 'critical,' is it?
Maybe instead of 'critical,' the author meant to say 'much criticized.'
Seeing the guy enthusiastically shake his pom-poms for #team-surveillance is a no-brainer.
note: the article at AP, with author credit, is here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/60c0d988801742cf96cf8d725466c... ... AP gives the publisher the right to modify an article. Doing a fold -w 20 -s allows you to diff them and see the changes. Here they are: http://getpostdelete.com/ap-fold-20.txt and http://getpostdelete.com/npr-fold-20.txt
People need to start realizing that journalism as reporting is dead and it's now journalism as consumption and thought control.
Some further reading:
Are there useful lists (metadata, hah) on publishers, sites, channels, journalists and co. that help navigate these murky waters? What's the best practice on dealing with this problem? How should one inform oneself and decide on how much time to spend on cross-checking communications for these conscious or unconscious biases and influences?
Just don't be naive.
How should one inform oneself and decide on how much time to spend on cross-checking communications for these conscious or unconscious biases and influences?
Take in everything you read, but don't believe any of it unless it's a primary source or someone who you personally find trustworthy. Choose your battles wisely. You won't get to the bottom of everything because life is short.
In short, the best defense is being skeptical but still entertaining of everything you hear/read.
I do sometimes wonder where all these strawmen you find are who go around believing everything they read without passing it through their own internal bullshit filters. These people must be massive clods, barely able to make it through the day without throwing away all their money on television informercials. Even some of the least intelligent people I have ever known have notions of "some info good, some info bad," even if I usually disagree with which is which.
> In short, the best defense is being skeptical but still entertaining of everything you hear/read.
Except you just said journalism is dead and everything we hear and read is thought control.
Every time I hear someone rallying against these complete simpletons which they seem to think they are surrounded by, I can't shake the feeling they're just shouting at a mirror.
The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) is a nonprofit liberal watchdog and advocacy organization based in Madison, Wisconsin
CMD was founded in 1993 by progressive writer John Stauber in Madison, Wisconsin.
I'm going to guess that this "watchdog" only calls out spin and corruption in some cases but not others. Even the watchdogs are suspect. Just follow the people and follow the money and if you're a grown-up you'll realize that pretty much all news is either propaganda, entertainment, or both.
If you've got any specific beefs with SourceWatch based on the information presented, state them.
What I find most useful about SW is in tracking associations and relationships between sources and groups / organizations / funders. Not proof positive but often enough to confirm hunches and suspicions.
There are a number of other media watchdogs:
FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting: http://fair.org/ Produces Counterspin radio program: http://fair.org/counterspin-radio/
Sunlight Foundation (associated with Sourcewatch / CMD)
ThinkProgress: liberal political blog (given to outrage posts) http://thinkprogress.org/
On the Media is a weekly program produced by WNYC covering media generally, including both intentional and systemic bias (e.g., see their "consumers' guide to breaking news" guides). http://onthemedia.org/
Accuracy in Media, a conservative media watchdog.
Also Media Research center (conservative)
RationalWiki isn't specifically a media watchdog but tends to debunk flawed logic (on both the right and left). It itself was a response to Conservopedia:
RW's SW page gives a reasonable assessment of SW's strengths and weaknesses:
Contrast AIM: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Accuracy_in_Media
Finally: reality has a well-known liberal bias, as a wise man once counseled a former appointed President of the United States.
So this "critical" program represents only like ~3% of the government's surveillance programs. After all we only are talking about "phone records" here. Most records would likely come from Internet communications these days and there are likely programs that include capturing the content as well.
"McConnell announced that the Senate would return from its break on Sunday, May 31, just a few hours before the midnight deadline. McConnell called it "one more opportunity to act responsibly."
So it's not over until the fat lady sings.
If you have a statute that you believe allows you to surveil the entire population, how many orders does that require? As opposed to ones that require some standard of suspicion for an individual or group.
I don't mean to imply there aren't other programs or theories of authority, but that this statistics tells you exactly nothing about the importance of a particular provision.
Phone records are the most publicized example of Section 215 in use, but the section is worded to apply to any "tangible thing."
Does this bill just target the phone record collection, while it gets subtly branded as a fix to everything Snowden revealed? Is it a law against illegal things?
The phone record collection has already been ruled unconstitutional, so they concoct a congressional debate on it. They sacrifice a program that was already killed in the courts, and distract from everything else.
Maybe because the two comments are verbatim and posted at roughly the same time?
If OP didn't want there to be a connection between the two accounts, they shouldn't have copy-pasted content between them.
It's the only thing on his homepage.
People really like their freedoms. Others', not so much.
I don't agree with the vast majority of his platform, but on this issue we violently agree.
Fortunately, most Americans recognize that most of his policies, if enacted, would only make life worse for the vast majority of us--the stopped clock is right twice a day, but we don't rely on it the rest of the time.
What started as (what may well have been) a publicity tactic turned into one of the most effective parliamentary maneuvers of the session.
It's less about policy than politics, as you'd probably expect.
"That was immediately followed by rejection of a two-month extension to the existing programs. The vote was 45-54, again short of the 60-vote threshold."
I think it's pretty clear the policy was they don't want an extension of the Patriot Act, which I think is a good thing. I also think there is a lot of confusion here, everything I've read about the USA Freedom Act seems pretty sensible and addresses privacy concerns. It completely changes how the NSA could gain access to phone records and bears no resemblance to the blanket powers the Patriot Act allowed.
The extension vote was opposed by Democrats and supported by most Republicans while the USA Freedom Act was supported by all democrats and opposed by most Republicans. While it is indeed good that the Patriot Act wasn't extended this is the consolation prize of the actual worse news that the USA Freedom Act didn't pass.
While the USA Freedom Act isn't perfect, and was weakened in the House , it is still far far better than the Patriot Act has meaningful reforms. It also still has the support of the EFF . Overall, it's failure to pass is bad news and could lead to an even worse bill.
It's not like sans Patriot FBI agents will sit around making paper airplanes.
"In light of the Second Circuit’s decision, EFF asks Congress to strengthen its proposed reform of Section 215, the USA Freedom Act. Pending those improvements, EFF is withdrawing our support of the bill. We’re urging Congress to roll the draft back to the stronger and meaningful reforms included in the 2013 version of USA Freedom and affirmatively embrace the Second Circuit’s opinion on the limits of Section 215."
And, your link  is to a discussion of last year's version of the USA Freedom Act.
I hope fervently it DOES get stopped, but watch this play out.
Why is Congress even considering extending an illegal program?
One challenge is that there is a great deal of other secret surveillance (beyond the collection of everyone's telephone calling records) that the government has also been doing under the Patriot Act. We still don't know what those programs are, but they may involve the collection of other complete databases about people's activity. Some of the efforts to extend this section of the Patriot Act might actually be inspired by those secret programs, without the proponents saying so (because the proponents don't want to talk about programs that haven't been disclosed).
Congress has a lot of choices about how to respond to the court decision, particularly because it wasn't on constitutional grounds. In this case both the court decision and the expiry of section 215 mean that Congress could protect privacy against secret surveillance, including programs we don't even know about yet, quite a bit by simply doing nothing.
added: to be fair, I fell for quoting/linking RT too when I first started seeing their articles - until I researched it a little
edit: downvote. All news organizations should have journalists as principled. All news orgs demand the same things.
Distrust of the media is more crucial than ever for independent thought.
Look it up!
This post you are replying to is about a Patriot Act extension, something very different.
The Federal government has, indeed, used their (read: our) vast resources to maintain extensive files on many, if not all, of the people he mentioned. In some cases, like MLK's, they went well beyond simply "maintaining files."
Oddly, nobody who defends NSA spying ever seems to get around to defending these specific examples of the surveillance state gone berserk.
However, for the names mentioned we should be casting aspersions on the FBI rather than the NSA. The FBI (mostly) are the ones responsible for spying on all those Americans.
Believe it or not, compared to the FBI the NSA are "the good guys"!
Frankly, I don't really care that much if they spy on Marilyn Monroe or John Lennon or Richard Feynman or whoever. I care a LOT if they spy on senators, representatives, Presidents, diplomats, and judges, which is who they're spying on now, alongside the rest of us.
As a result, we risk creating a wholly unaccountable "shadow government" at a scale that even J. Edgar Hoover never dreamed of. The people who should be crying bloody murder are those politicians and judges. Why aren't they?