Tuesday Open Thread 05-05-15

Good morning 99percenters!

“It’s pure authoritarianism”: Glenn Greenwald exposes the link between Baltimore’s uprising and the NSA
Award-winning journalist tells Salon why the erosion of civil liberties at home and abroad is interconnected

It got lost in all the hubbub of the uprising in Baltimore, as well as the addition of a few more candidates to the 2016 presidential election, but according to reports from multiple sources last week, it’s looking more probable than ever that the so-called Patriot Act will not be reauthorized until after it’s undergone some privacy-protecting revisions. The distance between vague promises in a report and an actual change to the bill’s infamously broad language is considerable, of course. But absent the waves of outrage inspired by leaks from former CIA contractor Edward Snowden — whose collaboration with Salon alum and Intercept founding editor Glenn Greenwald recently led to an Academy Award — it’s hard to imagine reformers ever getting even this close.

Recently, Salon spoke over the phone with Greenwald, whose book on his experience with Snowden, “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State,” was recently released in paperback. We touched on the reception to the book, the events in Baltimore, Hillary Clinton’s sincerity and the importance of the controversy involving this year’s PEN Awards and Charlie Hebdo. Our conversation is below and has been edited for clarity and length.

Sunday Open Thread 05-03-15

Good morning 99percenters!
You may have noticed a few aesthetic changes to the site over the last week. Some of the site vernacular has been changed, the articles on the front page are now called "Featured Editorials" rather than "Featured Diaries" and on the community page they have been changed to "Community Writers" rather than "Community Diaries", with essays now being used rather than diaries to describe the written articles. The menu listings have also been changed to reflect these changes. There were also some changes made to the Front Page sidebar, the greeting were expounded on and a "Featured Editorials" list was added as a teaser for any non-members who may happen upon the site.

The Duplicitous Roles of the OFA and the Daily Kos

When Markos Moulitsas informed members of the Daily Kos that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was “inevitable” the response from Democratic supporters was predictable. Traditional progressives -- understanding that anointed candidates are the antithesis of Democracy -- slammed their collective feet on the brakes. The last thing they wanted was another untrustworthy neo-liberal politician leading the Democratic Party.

As one Democratic Underground member noted:

Seventeen Useful Techniques for Suppressing the Truth, Online

Do you ever get the feeling that the mainstream news you receive online is filtered? That the whole story is not coming through? That the narrative is biased and propagandized? That the inconvenient truths are suppressed?

How do you feel when entire news stories are concocted to manipulate you politically? Reuters is usually behind the most egregious lies written at geopolitical levels. For example, on April 28, 2015 it was reported that a US cargo ship was by seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz and the ship was fired upon by Iran. Every aspect of that headline was a context-free lie. But within minutes it was on all the US news channels and raging across the hate-radio nation, embellished by even more lies.

(For context, the US Navy and Coast Guard stop and board an average of 50 ships per month in the Strait of Hormuz; Iran about 30. It's a non-story about a routine daily event. Furthermore, the ship involved was not a US cargo ship or connected to the US in any way. The issue was a legal one related to past-due payments for passage. However, most Americans currently believe that Iran attacked a US ship. Who benefits from reinforcing the paranoid notion that Iran is a terrorist nation and blocking any movement toward peaceful diplomacy and normalcy? Which military/industry profit-pumps and congressional corporate-poodles want Americans to believe such dangerous lies? Is the new congressional budget sitting on the President's desk right now, complete with a massive demand for increased war spending? What timing! This your Neocon-infested pseudo-government at work.)

Every government has a propaganda hose that they use on their people to a greater or lesser extent. Educated and informed citizens anywhere can find alternative news sources and incorporate the information into their critical analysis of world events. The blast of corporate-generated news Americans endure every day reflects deliberate and sanctioned government propaganda. During critical national issues, enabling propaganda is endlessly spewed in the US by such CIA mouthpieces as the New York Times. (Waves to war-crimes enabler, Judith Miller.) The media monopolies follow suit with so-called analysis, using false equivalence and spoken lies to manipulate the audience. They unleash a firehose of blatant suppression in the US, where it is actually legal to lie to citizens about matters of national security over public-owned airwaves. As a result, Americans grow dumber month over month, year over year.

And then, they vote.

Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Part 3 - Fiscal Costs

In my first diary in this series, I noted how far removed most of us in the United States are from those who serve in our armed forces. The number of Americans who have a close family member who is or has served in the military has steadily decreased over the last several decades from 75% to around 33%.