Over the last two weeks, there’s been a flurry of reports over the NSA surveillance program. There’s been a lot of finger-pointing. There have been lots of accusations in which reporters and their sources have been called traitors and/or patriots, depending upon which side of the political spectrum you’re on. First of all, I really don’t believe that we have enough information to figure out exactly what’s going on. We’ve got a cool name for a program called Prism. We have a rough idea about how the program works, but the devil is in the details. It is not important to me that former Vice President Dick Cheney went on Fox News and defended this program. We know that the vice president is not a human rights/civil rights kind of guy. We also know that he has lied to the American people before. Anybody who stands up and tells you that they are for or against this program should be immediately discarded as a zealot. We, the American people, simply don’t have enough information to figure out what’s going on. I know that President Obama stated that it was important to him that there are checks and balances, but I have no idea what these checks and balances are. I’m a little concerned that the FISA court is not a check nor a balance but are instead acting as a rubber stamp. I’m also afraid to say that I have absolutely no confidence in our elected politicians in Congress. I have no idea if these guys are acting in our best interest or not. (more…)
This is the Errington Thompson Show. I interviewed the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald who has been in the news after revealing that the NSA was listening in (or is that databasing?) all of our calls back in 2008. Check it out.
Today’s show is full of extra special goodness. I have Glenn Greenwald as my special guest. We discuss his book, Great American Hypocrites. Interestingly, we talk about Bush, the FISA court and telecompanies helping the government listen in on our conversations. This is a great interview. I also cover President Bush’s attack on Senator Barack Obama, as well as his “sacrifice” of golf for the troops.
The news media erupted yesterday with the news that the United States government, our government, is spying on its own citizens. Domestic Spying. I had a distinct sense of déjà vu. Weren’t we just talking about this a couple years ago? It was just six or seven years ago when we found out that the Bush administration, through the NSA and other agencies, was listening in on our conversations. We were told that this was necessary in order to combat terrorism. Since the initial revelation, we came to understand that the Bush administration was mischaracterizing (or lying, depending upon your perspective) about the extent of the domestic spying program. Initially, we were told that the domestic spying program only involved overseas switches in which the NSA would scan American foreign calls. Slowly but surely we found out that this program was far more extensive. Conservatives told us not to worry. Now, when conservatives find out that the Obama administration has been continuing this exact same program, there is outrage. From my standpoint, I have no idea whether this program is helping to keep Americans safe or if it is an unnecessary violation of our privacy. As I understand the program the NSA is allowed to collect a bunch of data, but they’re not able to look at individual calls or listen to individual calls unless they go back to the FISA court and ask for permission.
I must admit I have not been following the case of a man who asked for an escort and then shot that woman for not performing sexual acts. Somehow, the accused man was able to convince a jury that it was okay to kill a prostitute because under Texas law you can use deadly force to retrieve stolen property. Yep, I don’t understand it either.
Our whole culture around sexual assault and rape seems to be completely backwards to American ideals. A Fox News host was “baffled” that MSNBC was covering the military sexual assault hearings. She said, “Sex crimes in a military, they are a real issue. There’s no doubt about that. I’m not going to poo poo it and say it’s not. What baffles me though is the way they prioritize these issues. The timing and the tone of them. If these were liberal groups targeted by George W. Bush, they would not be covering sex assault in the military. … Why is MSNBC devoting so much time to this issue when, as David Axelrod points out, there are so many other issues to deal with?” First of all, I find the statement mind-boggling. Why isn’t this a big story? Why shouldn’t this be promoted? Should the military be forced to change their ways? Shouldn’t Americans be informed about this issue that has been swept under the carpet for way too long?
What stories are you following today?