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Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman?


Below is the Merriam Webster dictionary definition of two words. Please keep in mind their meaning when reading the article. There is a relationship between the two words:

Boogeyman: a monstrous imaginary figure used in threatening children

Terrorism: Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. This word also rhymes with absurdism.

The boogeyman is the fictitious monster that haunts kids particularly when they are going to bed. In my case, he hid underneath my bed ready to grab my ankles and pull me under. To avoid him, I leapt into bed to avoid his reach. To avoid seeing him in case he came out, I covered my eyes with the blanket. I think my feelings and childhood fears of this imaginary creature are common.

Use of a boogeyman in the case of children could be to persuade them to go to bed early or eat their vegetables. “If you don’t do this, the boogeyman might get you”! None of as children wanted that, so we did as we were told. A boogeyman is also useful in the case of adults. In the past 75 years adults in the United States have been under the influence of three or more scary boogeymen. The media outlets and the US government kindly supply us with ever-scarier boogeymen. Whether intended or not, the use of a boogeyman works well in persuading and obtaining compliance (getting adults to do something).

The boogeyman 75 years ago was scary. However, he lived less than ten years, and we eliminated him. The boogeyman I refer to was one for my parents and grandparents: he was called the Nazis and he lived in Germany. He was a threat to the freedom and constitutional rights of Americans. He invaded countries and killed our friends (read allies). For some years my parents actually feared being bombed or invaded by that boogeyman. Note they lived in the Midwest and not the East coast. Had they thought it through, they too would have realized that was not possible due to logistical limitations then present in military aircraft (today they can refuel midair). Today it seems rather absurd that people could believe such a thing back then, but it was real to them.

Nonetheless, the government fanned the flames of fear (maybe use of terrorism) ,and almost all people believed what they were told by media and government back then. The citizenry, young and old alike, complied with government requests and did what they could do to help eliminate the threat. That boogeyman disappeared through a war that ended in 1945.

Only a few years passed before a new, more global, boogeyman emerged. He was the communists and the threat of communism. If we did not stop this boogeyman, he too, might take our liberty and freedom like the one before. We stared to fear this boogeyman shortly after World War II and into the 1980s. The communists were good boogeyman for decades, and represented the opposite of what we stand for. We were told they have no liberty or freedom, and this boogeyman does not want people of the world to have such inalienable rights like that.

Who would doubt this and not want to comply with government support in the elimination of this boogeyman? We largely complied, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of people were killed. We fought wars to ward off this boogeyman (Korea Vietnam, and other armed conflicts of smaller duration). We even helped some friends (read allies) fend off this boogeyman-Afghanistan, Nicaragua, Guatemala, to name some examples.

The government softened its stand (ended the terrorism) on this boogeyman, and people don’t perceive it a threat any more. This might be due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the despair we are told of in Cuba, and widespread trading with China and Vietnam In fact, it does not seem to matter that China is a communist country, we can travel there, trade with them, but for some reason, Cuba is off limits.

The boogeyman of the modern era is terrorism. He came out in the late 1990’s and made his real debut on September 11, 2001. He is more nebulous than the former boogeymen, as he does not have a permanent address or place where we can easily find him like the Nazis or the communists. However, being so nimble and fast moving, he can be under your bed, like the boogeyman of childhood. He can be down the street and could be your neighbor. This new monster serves better than those of the past to incite fear and compliance. Lacking an address, we are inspired to chase him down in many places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and down the street from your house. He might even be in your home or office now. We even look for him at the airport every day.

The modern boogeyman has more places to hide, and a better strategy than his predecessors. This new boogeyman might even be friends of our friends (allies, or friends), as President George Bush warned us in his address on September 20, 2001 to a Joint Session of Congress

We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. – Bush, George W. (September 20, 2001). “Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People”. The White House. Retrieved 2008-09-19.

Our government finds the current boogeyman scarier than his predecessors, as we have parked our constitution to pursue him. We have spent much money to catch him, and many are currently willing to be spied on to avoid him. As former President Bush said to congress, if you keep company with the boogeyman, we consider you an enemy. Obviously we are very serious about this newer boogeyman, and even willing to give up some things we fought boogeymen in the past for. That being our freedom and parts of the constitution (read Patriot Act).

Let us return to the definition of terrorism: It is systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Where did the latest boogeyman come from? Who is creating the fear and the real terrorist? Who wants to bring about a political objective?

Our prior two boogeymen were created by non-United States entities: German and Russian political movements. Maybe the current boogeyman was created because of our past and current follies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, etc. Is it really a boogeyman, or are the good folks that promote him (read terrorists) making him larger than he need be.

Maybe stopping our forays into other parts of the world will eliminate the current boogeyman. However, those wanting to make terror will not have an excuse to bring about a political objective and need this boogeyman. You decide- who are the real terrorists, and who wants political change? Who is who in this game? Is this not all absurdism?

via Is Terrorism the New Boogeyman? – OpenGov.US.

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‘Our Liberty Cannot Be Guarded but by the Freedom of the Press’



Attorney General Eric Holder. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Democrats and Republicans working together in Washington to address abuses of basic liberties? Bipartisan responses to the challenges that arise in the gray area where balances are struck between constitutional guarantees and national security demands? Impossible. Can’t happen. There is no way in these days of fury and scandal-mongering.

Actually, there is a way.

A genuine left-right coalition has developed over the past several days in response to the revelation that the Department of Justice seized Associated Press telephone records in its recent investigation of a CIA leak. And that coalition is likely to strengthen in light of the news that the DOJ investigated the reporting activities of Fox News’s chief Washington correspondent as a potential crime—“solicitation” of leaks. The latter development, in many senses more troubling than the former, calls into question whether basic protections for both reporters and whistleblowers are crumbling after more than a decade of Patriot Act abuses, Bush and Obama administration excesses and the politicization of debates about what were once accepted standards for protecting the public’s right to know and the privacy rights that underpin it.

In moments so rigorously partisan as these, many members of Congress will retreat to their corners, mounting attacks or making excuses. But there are some serious legislators, libertarian-leaning Republicans and progressive Democrats, who understand the urgency of the moment.

They get that the revelations about DOJ overreach reveal a threat not just to freedom of the press but to the most necessary of press functions: the work of revealing for citizens the details of what their government is doing in their name but without their informed consent. None of these members are foolish or casual in their approach; they understand that it is necessary for the government to protect against the leaking of information that could endanger people. But they also understand that it is possible to provide that protection within a constitutional context.

Perhaps most importantly, they get that the best way to protect the First Amendment guarantee of a free press is to protect the Fourth Amendment guarantee of privacy. Journalists do not need—and should not seek—an array of special protections to do their jobs. But journalists and their sources do need to know that information can be shared without the threat of unwarranted—and self-serving—government surveillance of necessary conversations.

It is with this in mind that four very different members of Congress (Michigan Republican Justin Amash, South Carolina Republican Mick Mulvaney, California Democrat Zoe Lofgren and Colorado Democrat Jared Polis) have proposed a precise and appropriate response to the overreach by the Department of Justice. While the White House and key members of the Senate are backing a Shield Law, which protects journalists from being required to reveal sources, the House members are going deeper—to protect not just journalists but all citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” They seek a Telephone Records Protection Act, which requires court approval when the government demands telephone records from service providers.

“The Justice Department’s seizure of the AP’s phone records—likely without the sign-off of a single judge—raises serious First and Fourth Amendment concerns,” says Amash, who has emerged as a hero to libertarian-leaning conservatives. “Regardless of whether DOJ violates the legitimate privacy expectations of reporters or ordinary Americans, we deserve to know that the federal government can’t seize our records without judicial review.”

Polis, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, says, “Americans of all political stripes were shocked to find out that the Department of Justice had been accessing telephone records of reporters at the Associated Press. The Department of Justice claims that they operated within the confines of the law, which makes it abundantly clear that we need to provide a higher level of protection against government intrusion into an individual’s private records.”

This is an essential equation for all Americans who value the right to privacy outlined in the Fourth Amendment. But it is especially essential when it comes to constructing a press system that serves the intention expressed by the founders: to inform citizens so that they can, with their votes, steer the affairs of state.

This is what Thomas Jefferson recognized more than 227 years ago when he wrote to John Jay, “Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.”

In the same letter, Jefferson wrote: “No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”

Associated Press President Gary Pruitt updated the Jeffersonian premise when he explained that the Justice Department’s actions were not just “unconstitutional” but destructive to the public’s right to know, insofar as such monitoring of media makes sources less willing to talk to journalists and reduces the likelihood that citizens will learn what their government is up to.

“If they restrict that apparatus [of newsgathering about controversial government actions] the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment,” explained the head of the country’s largest news service.

Pruitt’s right. No matter what action is taken, or not taken, journalists will continue to clog the corridors of the Capitol and crowd into White House press briefings. The question is whether those journalists will be present to challenge the status quo or as mere stenographers to power.

That’s a distinction that members of Congress who take seriously their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States understand. Indeed, it is the distinction that James Madison, the essential player in the drafting of the core document and of the Bill of Rights, was getting at when he said, “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

Justin Amash and Jared Polis are not going to agree on most issues. Neither are Mick Mulvaney and Zoe Lofgren.

But they can agree on the basic outlines of the American experiment and how it must operate.

This is as the founders of that experiment intended: a free press providing a free people with the information they need to be their own governors.

John Nichols is the author (with Robert w. McChesney) of the upcoming book Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America. Hailed by Publisher’s Weekly as “a fervent call to action for reformers,” it details how the collapse of journalism and the rise of big-money politics threatens to turn our democracy into a dollarocracy.

VIA

Read more: ‘Our Liberty Cannot Be Guarded but by the Freedom of the Press’ | The Nation http://www.thenation.com/blog/174450/our-liberty-cannot-be-guarded-freedom-press#ixzz2WjdF5PEe
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NSA Director – “We Stopped Over a Thousand Terrorist Attacks”


WASHINGTON DCNSA director Keith Alexander defended the NSA practice of recording all Americans’ phone calls, tracking their locations by cellphone GPS, copying emails, and downloading web browser site visits and IP statistics with backdoor access built into software. In his appearance before the US Senate Appropriations Committee, he testified that lawlessness and utter contempt for the fourth amendment was necessary in the fight against terrorism.

Senators asked about al-Qaida being “decimated” according to White House press releases, and then requested an explanation for why the NSA keeps spying on every single Americancitizen. According to White House statistics, there have been zero confirmed Terrorist Attacks since President Obama took office. In fact, many senators believed it was time to repeal the Patriot Act and eliminate numerous executive powers which had been enacted for the “War on Terror.” However, it was made clear by the NSA that only unaccountable bureaucrats led by an executive branch with absolute power could protect America.

Keith Alexander (NSA Director): Since Obama has been in the White House, there have been eight to twelve terrorist attacks on American soil each month. We never call them Terrorist Attacks … that’s all. Nidal Hasan’s murder of 13 Americans at Fort Hood in 2009 has been declared “workplace violence,” but everyone knows he took orders from al-Qaida. The FBI had him on the same tracking list that the Boston Marathon Bombers were on. He showed a PowerPoint presentation on “It’s OK to Murder Americans” at a US Army base. We were reading all of his emails to terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen, but we still classified him as having no connection to terrorism. If we can’t use Gestapo-like tactics on law-abiding citizens — the terrorists win.

The senators asked for list of the “thousands of terrorist attacks”; however, Director Alexander declined, saying “I can’t show you … it’s all TOP SECRET.” Throughout the testimony, self-contradictions and denials were fairly common. When asked if the NSA had the ability to read Americans’ email, he replied “No, we cannot read people’s email … not even if we were sitting beside them, looking at their computer screen.” There was also a ten minute period where Alexander denied having any knowledge of “the Patriot Act” or “anyone named Barack Hussein Obama.”

Questions were raised about NSA policy on hiring High School Drop-Outs, and although answers seemed evasive, a few “non-discrimination rules” were revealed:

      In accordance equal-opportunity regulations, the National

Security

       Administration (NSA) may hire idiots, a__holes, paranoid-delusional-drug-addicts, shellfish, and mafia muscle.

Further investigation into human relations at NSA led to the discovery of descriptions for employment positions. Under the job of NSA Director was a list of skill requirements:

      Applicants for NSA Director must be able to lie, and lie for extended time

periods

      . Really big lies are important, with balls-in-your-face-sky-is-green lies as a minimum lying capacity.

via The Spoof : NSA Director – “We Stopped Over a Thousand Terrorist Attacks” funny satire story.

Scientists Work Feverishly To Restore Spines of Congressional Democrats


Researchers specializing in degenerative diseases are at a loss to explain why a virulent form of spinal disintegration is targeting scores of Congressional Democrats.

Dr. Mason Jarvis, a leading researcher in the field, spoke by phone from his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts:

“Although we have documented cases of this debilitating condition in the occasional senator or representative, we’ve never seen the disease approach near-epidemic dimensions. We’re literally racing against time to curb this rapid spinal deterioration, which threatens to render most Democrats little more than babbling, floppy ragdolls by year’s end.”

Specialists are working tirelessly to find a safe antidote to the progressive condition. Initial symptoms include motor disturbances, such as a grimace experts call the “bowery-drunk simper,” and a compulsion to shake hands vigorously with lobbyists contributing vastly more to the opposing party.

Dr. Jarvis noted that many of the afflicted Democrats had already reached more advanced stages of the spinal disease. During examination, the lawmakers exhibited an inability to “stand tall,” and a helpless descent into the speech pattern known in the literature as “two-way utterance.”

Citing an example of the speaking disorder, Dr. Jarvis recalled examining one senator “who insisted we provide him with a podium. He then leaned heavily against it and repeated ad nauseum, ‘It is with great reluctance that I extend the Patriot Act, for I abhor its every tenet.’ I’ve seen many challenged patients over the years, but it never gets easier to watch a once-vital individual deteriorate in this manner.”

Because researchers are working within a critical time frame, several potential therapies have been fast-tracked by the Food and Drug Administration.

“One treatment has given us a glimmer of hope,” Dr. Jarvis said. “In an encouraging number of cases, our Democrats have responded fairly well to being slapped squarely in the face and told in a firm voice to ‘snap out of it,’ much as Cher did to Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck.”

Added Dr. Jarvis, “The slapped Democrats were not yet able to stand tall, but at least some of them lost that pathetic grin.”

via DeadBrain – Scientists Work Feverishly To Restore Spines of Congressional Democrats.

via DeadBrain – Scientists Work Feverishly To Restore Spines of Congressional Democrats.

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