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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quote Of The Day

June 13th, 2013

"Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism."

-- Hunter S. Thompson

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Real Snowden Story Isn't About The NSA. It's About China.

June 12th, 2012
by F. Grey Parker

Image via Policy Mic
The public discussion over the NSA'a massive and ongoing invasion of American privacy is essential. 


It's also long overdue. 

This is because not much of the information which 29 year old former intelligence contractor, Edward Snowden, has revealed is actually new.

More than seven years ago, USA Today broke the story:
"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added."
The fact that we now know this longstanding program is called "PRISM" and we've seen the NSA's shoddy Power Point presentation outlining its purpose doesn't change the fact that this is old news.

Some are wondering where the outrage was seven years ago when those of us who tried to raise the alarm were savaged for doing so. Nevertheless, everyone seems to care all of a sudden. Welcome to the party, kids.

Snowden has become a hero to some, a villain to others, and the discussion is turning to whether or not the NSA revelations amount to treason. I tend to think they do not.

However, Snowden didn't just leak information regarding domestic security and privacy. Using the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald as his conduit, he also managed to reveal our nation's covert strategy to counter China's massive and ongoing cyber-attacks against our nation's business and government internet servers.

Following the lead of his source, Greenwald published this classified information at precisely the time President Obama was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. What made this all the more jaw-dropping was the publicly announced agenda for this summit.

Via Reuters:
"Meeting at the luxurious Sunnylands estate near Palm Springs in California, Obama will seek Xi's assurance that he takes seriously accusations of growing Chinese cyber spying, including snooping on advanced U.S. weapons designs.
"All nations need to abide by international norms and affirm clear rules of the road," a senior U.S. official told reporters. "That's the backdrop to the discussions that the two presidents will have."
Instead of heading into this meeting with some advantage, Snowden ensured that our President was proceeding from a position of weakness.

The China leak was of no benefit to the American people. It was utterly unrelated to domestic privacy. It had no impact on our personal freedoms. But, it sure was a victory for the People's Republic.

When Snowden outed himself two days later, he did so from a hotel in Hong Kong.

The optics aren't just shady, they're shocking.

It appears that Edward Snowden may have ginned up new interest in an old story, however serious, in order to pave the way for the release of information that dramatically damages America's foreign policy.

Today, the AP reports:
"The former CIA employee who leaked top-secret information about U.S. surveillance programs said in a new interview in Hong Kong on Wednesday that he is not attempting to hide from justice here but hopes to use the city as a base to reveal wrongdoing."
So, he intends to continue leaking covert information.

It will be very interesting to see who actually benefits from this.

PRISM is a travesty and a violation of our basic principles. It must be stopped.

But Snowden is not only no hero, he may be something much worse.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Feb 4th, 2013

"Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Quote Of The Day - Sunday Edition

Feb 3rd, 2013

Having clashed with any number of increasingly anti-democratic Dominionists over the last few days, I can't think of anything more appropriate.

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,
and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret;
and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."


-- Mathew 6:6

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why We Can't Talk About Gun Control

Feb 2nd, 2013

We've tried reason, we've employed statistical truth, and we've even called out the leading opponents of any new reforms or enforcement for having previously backed the proposals they now are against.

Neil Steinberg throws up his hands and sees the failure of dialog as a symptom of a pathology:
"...we are not dealing with rational people. Guns are part of the right-wing lunatic fringe of fear, the Obama-loathing, government-hating, minority-despising, science-scoffing quarter of Americans existing in a shadowy permanent grief state over the 1950s, over a white-bread America where they were king that never was and never will be. Guns are the talismans that ward off change in the world, that protect them from all their stalking fears, the wand of hope that someday society will indeed break down — isn’t it fracturing already, with gay marriage? — and they will assume their rightful place as unquestioned kings once more, with their AK-47s set proudly on their kingly hips and their freeze-dried meals nourishing them through the long night of the tardy Mayan zombie apocalypse.
What statistics are going to crack that nut? What numbers are going to change those minds? When they say gun control never works, and you point to the rest of the civilized world, where guns are restricted and gun deaths a trickle, they blink. What rest of the world? Oh, you mean Europe? Where European-style socialism rules? There is no fact that will cut this knot."
Perhaps the "gun-nuts," as some us are prone to calling these fanatics, are exactly that.

They are nuts.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Feb 1st, 2013

"All war is a symptom of man's failure as a thinking animal."

-- John Steinbeck

Context, Sen. Rapert? Seriously?

Feb 1st, 2013

Today, ThinkProgress reported on an amateur video (posted below) showing Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert (R), a far-right activist who has recently gained national attention for his radical assaults on reproductive choice, making the following statement:
"I hear you loud and clear, Barack Obama. You don’t represent the country that I grew up with. And your values is [sic] not going to save us. We’re going to take this country back for the Lord. We’re going to try to take this country back for conservatism. And we’re not going to allow minorities to run roughshod over what you people believe in!"
It's shameful. It's shocking. It's vile. And it's not playing the "race card" to hammer him for it.

Usually, this is where a public figure who has brought shame to their office makes some sort of apology.

You know the drill. At the very least, they say something along the lines of, "if anyone was offended, etc.."

Some just disappear and they lie low for a while.

Not Sen. Rapert. He has taken to his twitter account to accuse his critics of lacking "context."

No, Seriously.

It's exceedingly rare to see this sort of overt White Supremacism so proudly displayed by a public official in this day and age, but it happens.

However, I can't recall ever seeing someone caught in such a display so devolved that they think it's publicly defensible.

In A Nutshell

Feb 1st, 2013


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Jan 31st, 2013

"Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes."

-- William Gibson

The Truth Finally Gets Its Pants On...

Jan 31st, 2013
3:00 pm CST

Mark Twain was right...

As is always, depressingly the case, it took the truth a lot longer to get its pants on before a lie went around the world...


NO, Obama is NOT tearing down Reagan's "childhood home" to "put up a parking lot."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Jan 17th, 2013

"I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness...

The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance."


-- Carl Sagan

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quote Of The Day

Jan 15th, 2013

My, how things have changed...
"I do not believe in the general promiscuous toting of guns. I think it should be sharply restricted and only under licenses."

-- Karl T. Frederick, head of the National Rifle Association in 1934

In A Nutshell

Jan 15th, 2013

Image via

Monday, January 14, 2013

Calling For Rational Gun Control Is Not A Secret Code

Jan 14th, 2013
by F. Grey Parker

When I argue that we must close the so-called ‘gun show loophole’ and subject every gun sale to the same rigorous background checks, it is NOT secret code for ‘I want the government to take your guns.’

When I suggest that every firearm sold should be titled and insured for liability in the same way that automobiles are, it is NOT secret code for ‘I want the government to take your guns.’

Quote Of The Day

Jan 14th, 2013

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Worth A Thousand Words

Jan 14th, 2013

Image Via

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Worth 1000 Words - Obama Re-Election Edition

Nov 7, 2012

Sleep tight, kids.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Final Thought

Nov 5th, 2012

Image Via
Look, everyone who knows me knows where I stand.

I've blogged, I've argued, I've pleaded and I've explained.

I've fought steadily for what are basic progressive principles.

I slept in Zuccotti Park Liberty Square, for Christ's sakes.

That said, I've also backed many former GOP positions for years such as the health care mandate.

Watching the very party which birthed that fine idea use every means at their disposal to popularly pervert it into some allegedly "socialist scheme" is a testament to just how close our nation might be to the very end of a truthful exercise in Republican Democracy.

We are, as I have probably said often enough, through the looking glass.

After writing about politics nearly full time here at the Hand for three years, I don't have a lot to add.

I will simply say this...

Conflating the two parties, much as some very smart people I know insist upon it, is some seriously smug, destructive, self-serving and elitist horseshit.

I know many good Republicans.

For the most part, they're all smart enough not to be voting for the Republican Party this time around.

The reason for this is simple and obvious;

The contemporary GOP is a den of festering proto-Fascism in thrall to Dominionists and currying favor with tyrants who would have us all grovel while giving thanks for the privilege of dying at work punching holes in sheet metal for slave wages.

Period.

Obama is still a deeply flawed President, but he possesses greatness and has achieved much.

Romney is still a sociopath.

We haven't recovered enough from the Imperial trappings claimed during the Bush years to give the highest office in this country to a man so plainly monstrous.

There you have it.

I'm voting tomorrow and every other citizen should, too.

It's not a privilege.

It is my right.

It's also my responsibility.

The future of this nation depends greatly on the outcome of this election.

Whether or not, or perhaps in what manner, I continue this site remains to be seen.

See you on the other side.

-- Grey

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Mittiot Cometh

Nov, 1st 2012

There really has never been a candidate like this. For anyone to say that they know what he truly believes is sheer lunacy. Chait is right:
"The different iterations of his career differ so wildly, yet comport so perfectly with his political ambitions of the moment, that it is simply impossible to separate his panders from his actual beliefs, the means from the ends."
The following video drives home the point in a fashion that would be hilarious were the stakes not so damn high. 

Wake Up. There's A Connection.

Nov 1st, 2012

Higher top marginal tax rates correspond to higher GDP and they always have.