Nixonian or Obamaesque? Obama Administration Spied On Associated Press Editors and Reporters

220px-Richard_NixonPresident_Barack_ObamaI recently published a column on how Barack Obama has publicly assumed many of the powers that were once cited as the basis for the investigation and attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon. One of those areas was the Obama Administration’s crackdown on journalists. This week Attorney General Eric Holder appears to have yet again added to this ignoble record. It appears that the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press. This disclosure follows another recent disclosure that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups associated with the Tea Party. Yet, once again, most Democrats remain silent in a type of cult of personality where principle is discarded in favor of loyalty to the President.


The spying on reporters by the Obama Administration included outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters. The seizure covered general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn. The Justice Department showed no restraint or concern, even including the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. It now appears that in a few years historians could well be saying the Nixon was perfectly Obamaesque in his abuses.

AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt has written a letter to Holder objecting to the spying, noting that “[t]here can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters.” I would be equally upset with the mere fact of the spying as opposed to its breadth.

The spying may be part of a criminal investigation into a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. AP agreed to hold the story after an objection from the Administration but ultimately ran the story disclosing a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States. While working with the Administration in holding the story, the Administration apparently was moving to spy on five reporters and an editor who were involved in the story.

Holder would have to have personally approved the subpoenas under Justice Department regulations.  However, it is not enough to again criticize Holder (who has assembled one of the most abusive records on civil liberties in our history).  Obama is well aware of the objections by civil libertarians and personally approved such decisions as promising CIA officials that they would not be investigated for torture and the kill list policy.

What is most striking about this story is the sense of complete immunity and lack of concern shown by the Administration. That sense of impunity has developed over four years as Democrats have gone into radio silence over abuses by the Administration from Obama’s “kill list” policy to other rollbacks on civil liberties. There will come a day when this president is no longer in office and many Democrats and Liberals will be faced with the imperial presidency that he created in the hands of someone they do not revere. When that day comes, it will be hard to climb over the mountain of hypocrisy to find a principled ground for criticism.

Source: CNN

289 thoughts on “Nixonian or Obamaesque? Obama Administration Spied On Associated Press Editors and Reporters

  1. “What is most striking about this story is the sense of complete immunity and lack of concern shown by the Administration.”

    I am stuck by the same appearance of absolutely casual disregard for civil liberties and campaign promises. And, Obama was supposed to have taught “Constitutional Law” !?! What Constitution?

  2. ERIC HOLDER MUST GO

    At the least, this was a counter-terrorism operation. (Why else would Brennan have been questioned already?). Which puts the whole business inside the White House. And you’d have to be a toddler or a fool to believe that Eric Holder could go off on his own and take as politically volatile a step as this. But, let us take the White House at its word. Eric Holder did this by himself. He should be gone. This moment. Not only is this constitutionally abhorrent, it is politically moronic.

  3. I’ve had more than I can stand from first Bush and now Obama who has taken the abuses of Bush and built upon them and expanded them even further. It’s time for Congress to re-assert its authority. Impeachment? Dunno, but if that’s what it takes to rein in the imperial “unitary executive” expansion of presidential authority and lawlessness that has been undertaken with the excuse of “national security” by both the last administration and the “hope and change” which replaced it, I will shed no tears and rend no garments over it.

  4. Justice Department targets AP phone logs

    And why was the Justice Department doing this? In part because congressional Republicans demanded a full-scale leak investigation and DOJ officials took the request very seriously.

    Phone Records of Journalists Seized by U.S.

    Republicans accused the administration of deliberately leaking classified information, jeopardizing national security in an effort to make Mr. Obama look tough in an election year — a charge the White House rejected. But some Democrats, too, said the leaking of sensitive information had gotten out of control.

    Mr. Holder’s move at the time was sharply criticized by Republicans as not going far enough. They wanted him to appoint an outside special counsel, and a Senate resolution calling for a special counsel was co-sponsored by 29 Republican senators.

  5. Orin Kerr:

    The Non-Story of the AP Phone Records, At Least So Far

    DOJ opened an investigation into the leak to the AP, and pursuant to its published special rules on investigations involving the media investigations, issued subpoenas to find out what numbers were dialed from the relevant AP reporters during the months of April and May 2012. Presumably the thinking is that AP reporters called their sources, and the investigators want to trace the phone numbers to see who the sources might be. As far as I can tell, the information collected by the subpoena concerned the work and personal phone numbers of the five reporters and their editor, as well as the general AP office numbers where the reporters were located and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The AP knows about this because pursuant to DOJ’s policies found in 28 C.F.R. 50.10, the government was required to give the AP notice that the records were obtained. The AP received that notice in a letter on Friday, and then today (Monday) it released its AP story expressing AP’s outrage. That’s pretty much all we know so far.

    I get that many people will want to use this story as a generic “DOJ abuse” story and not look too closely at it. And I also understand that those who think leaks are good things will see investigations of leaks as inherently bad. But at least based on what we know so far, I don’t yet see a strong case that collecting these records was an abuse of the investigative process.

  6. I’ve been saying Holder needed to go for some time now as have others. His willing participation in the willful aiding and abetting of war crimes and treason by the previous administration was proof of that. His continued war against medical marijuana and perpetuation of demonstrably failed drug policies is proof of that. This is just more proof he’s a political hack who has no intention of protecting the Constitution or indeed covering anything but his and his master’s ass. He is, as is his boss, an embarrassment to the bar and a threat to the Constitution. And while we may be stuck with his boss until the next election, Holder should be cleared out of his office by the end of the day.

  7. May 13, 2013 | By Cindy Cohn and Kurt Opsahl and Nate Cardozo

    Justice Department Subpoena of AP Journalists Shows Need to Protect Calling Records

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/05/doj-subpoena-ap-journalists-shows-need-protect-calling-records

    Excerpts:

    Today the Associated Press reported that the Department of Justice has collected the telephone calling records of many of its reporters and editors. By obtaining these records, the DOJ has struck a terrible blow against the freedom of the press and the ability of reporters to investigate and report the news. As James Madison understood, “a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or tragedy, or perhaps both.” AP had it right when it told Attorney General Holder that it was “a serious interference with AP’s constitutional rights to gather and report the news.”

    The DOJ’s decision to dive deep into these call records also shows the growing need to update our privacy laws to eliminate the outmoded Third Party Doctrine and to recognize that datamining has now reached the point where it no longer makes sense to treat calling records and other metadata related to our communications as if they aren’t fully protected by the Constitution.

    Second, this incident underscores that government access to records—information about our communications and movements over time—does impact our privacy. AP President Pruitt noted: “These records potentially reveal communications with confidential sources across all of the newsgathering activities undertaken by the AP during a two-month period, provide a road map to AP’s newsgathering operations, and disclose information about AP’s activities and operations that the government has no conceivable right to know.” This sentiment was echoed by the Appellate Court in the Jones (then called U.S. v. Maynard) case in the context of GPS information: “A person who knows all of another travels can deduce whether he is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.”

    Overall, this revelation of government’s secret access to huge amounts of calling records as part of its leak investigation should not be such a surprise. The DOJ has long maintained that no one has any privacy interests in their call data records and has also engaged in unprecedented and aggressive prosecutions around government leaks.

    But it should sound a wake-up call for the rest of us, including members of Congress and the courts. Government datamining of Americans’ calling records and other metadata held by phone companies and ISPs should require more than a mere subpoena and should be protected by more than a hortatory regulation, whether the target is the news media or an ordinary citizen. Whether we get there by legislation or by updating our understanding of the Constitution to reflect the power of datamining to reveal the content of our “papers,” we need to get there soon. Because it’s clear that the DOJ remains firmly headed in the opposite direction.

    End of excerpts

  8. and people think we are against him because he is an African American? Nope, we just saw early on what you on the left are seeing for the first time. To paraphrase PG Wodehouse: “the scales have fallen from your eyes.”

    Sometimes proximity breads blindness.

  9. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/ap-phone-records-carl-bernstein-nixonian_n_3271542.html

    Condemnation Of DOJ’s AP Probe Continues; Carl Bernstein Calls It ‘Inexcusable’ (VIDEO)

    “This administration has been terrible on this issue from the beginning,” he said. “The object of it is to intimidate people who talk to reporters … there’s no excuse for it whatsoever.” He added that it was “nonsense” to say that the White House would have been unaware of such a probe.

    “This is a policy matter, and this does go to the president,” he said. “There is no reason that a presidency that is interested in a truly free press and its functioning should permit this to happen.”

  10. excerpt from waynemadesenreport.com

    [T]he Obama administration’s war against the press has been going on ever since he was sworn into office on January 20, 2009. This editor’s Arlington, Virginia apartment was searched based on a National Security Letter in November 2010 after my name appeared in a May 21, 2010 chat between FBI informant Adrian Lamo and Army Private First Class Bradley Manning. Manning stands accused of leaking classified information, including over a quarter million classified State Department cables to Wikileaks. Employees of Potomac Towers in Arlington, Virginia told me that the FBI entered my apartment while I was away in order to examine my laptop computer. Employees of the apartment were also told by the FBI that if anyone mentioned their presence in my apartment, they would be subject to prosecution under terms of the Patriot Act. The laptop that was subjected to the FBI inspection has remained inoperative since the FBI break-in.

    Shortly after the FBI break-in, three stories I was pursuing dried up because the sources, all of whom contacted me first, went cold. They included individuals who came forward to describe Canadian government knowledge of the torture in Afghanistan of detainees by Canadian military personnel; the murder of U.S. Air Force Captain John Frueh in Washington state at the same time six nuclear weapons were unaccounted for during a flight from Minot Air Force base in North Dakota to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana; and additional information on the USS Cole being subjected to a false flag terrorist attack in Aden harbor in October 2000. In the latter case, there is evidence that Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) personnel threatened the source with jail if he spoke about what he saw as a member of the crew of the USS Cole in the weeks preceding and during the time the ship was allegedly hit by a water-born bomb contained in a rubber dinghy.

    In the case of the Justice Department’s surveillance of the AP, the Obama administration has taken upon itself the authority to determine what a news organization can and cannot report. The United States, contrary to the rhetoric of two successive presidents, is not at war. No state of war exists with any state entity as defined by the U.S. Constitution, Therefore, it is not the prerogative of the President to determine what a news organization can and cannot cover unless there is a declaration of war approved by Congress which conveys a variety of war powers upon the White House, including the right to censor news that could put U.S. military forces in jeopardy.

  11. Some on the right are calling for the impeachment of Obama while swiftboating Hillary at the same time. They think they will get two for one.There were definitely some wrong actions taken but will wait for the facts like Nal has brought forth.

  12. IMPEACH OBAMA. He is a liar and a crook.

    Just stop.. Stop defending him. Demand his resignation or impeachment. We can no longer tolerate this as a nation.

  13. Swarthmore Mom you seem more interested in preserving the Democratic Party brand than you do justice.

    Hillary? Please. She is as dirty as Obama, Bush, Cheney, Bush Sr etc. Shes a crook also.

    Partisan politics is killing this country.
    Just because I agree with the Republicans that he needs to be impeached doesnt mean I am endorsing their party!

  14. Chicago politics. What more needs to be said. Chicago pols are used to operating w/ impunity because there is no other party even w/ one elected official. The only thing that abates the dirty tricks in Chicago is the DOJ. McCain was correct in 2008. Obama fooled me once, not twice. This IRS thing REALLY STINKS!

  15. Alex D, Partisan politics are driving the attacks on Hillary because the republicans know that she can beat everyone of their candidates. Carl Rove is running ads against her. Meanwhile Rand Paul is courting evangelicals in Iowa.

  16. I guess we should take comfort in the current authoritarian-lite policies currently being implemented. But I agree with the last statement and this is one that frightens me the most: “There will come a day when this president is no longer in office and many Democrats and Liberals will be faced with the imperial presidency that he created in the hands of someone they do not revere. When that day comes, it will be hard to climb over the mountain of hypocrisy to find a principled ground for criticism.”

    I think we’ll rue the day and our current silence.

  17. I am confused that Democrats are allegedly silent about the DOJ’s and Administration excesses. With the internet sites I visit, including this one, there is much disfavor and condemnation of any excess that has been taken. NAL brings up some good points.
    AP,
    You had me until you quote Carl Bernstein. He has sold out long ago to privacy. Until we get rid of the Patriot Act, this kind of abuse will never cease and every President and AG will go to the court and will receive their subpoena to spy on Americans.

  18. I have to agree with the sentiment here that Holder is the locus of the problem and needs to go. Obama is saying all the rights things but the assault on freedom continues unabated. Ultimately he bears that responsibility.

  19. SWM, First you ask for “the facts” and then you exonerate Hillary by calling this simply a partisan attack. You can’t have it both ways. Mr. Turley spoke of a mountain of hypocrisy in this post.

    Prediction: At least 250 comments on this thread.

  20. When Bernstein is quoted my boilerplate question is always, “Was he sober?” However, even drunks make sense sometimes, “En vino veritas.”

  21. Wish people would quit saying “Holder needs to go.” That’s right up there with the “Emmanuel needs to go” stuff we heard when Rahm was CoS in the Obama White House. It’s time to stop giving Obama a pass by laying the blame for his admin on everyone but him. Emmanuel went and what changed? Nada. And what would change if Holder went? Nada. Remember: The Cossacks work for the Czar.

  22. “When that day comes, it will be hard to climb over the mountain of hypocrisy to find a principled ground for criticism.”

    Surely you jest? They will have no sense of propriety in crying about the abuses of any new president. Our principle elected parties (repos and demos) have lost all sense of decency. They have become entities unto themselves with no regard to our Constitution or making a better civil society. They both must go to be taught a lesson. And when whatever new party that comes into being has been in power for a few years, give them the boot as soon as they start abusing their power.

  23. Nick, To me the Benghazi thing is a partisan witchhunt and to my knowledge Hillary Clinton is not involved with the IRS or Justice Dept. scandals. If you can link her to those two things, please provide the info.

  24. Nothing is going to happen because Congress, as a whole, supports this move just as they supported Jerry Ford back in the day when they actually had a chance to reign in the Executive and thus future abuses of the individuals who would be sitting in the Oval Office. (probably because they all imagine themselves as the capable of one day attaining that office … I mean, come on, if Ford could do it …)

    On the other hand, from the media’s standpoint, this story was the perfect way to let all those folk who may have talked to the AP people during the collection period know that their names are now in the hands of law enforcement … through no fault of the AP, of course.

    Since Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 and Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Executive and Legislative branches have conspired to find “work arounds” of the very document they were all sworn to uphold.

    It’s all a game to these people who like to point fingers identifying “the enemy” when in all actuality the enemy they all hold in common is a piece of paper called The Constitution of the United States of America.

  25. SWM, Don’t get your undies in a bunch. I’m talking about Benghazi vis a vis Clinton. And, your president said yesterday that Benghazi is a partisan witch hunt, so it must be true!! However, the fact that the to date sycophant press has turned on him regarding Benghazi seems to contradict this. Why do you think they gave Susan Rice the bums rush when a little heat was put on her nomination? These talking points spin[translation: lies] have all the earmarks of a Clinton. I am willing to wait for the facts. But, I know Hillary w/ a more objective eye than a person who worships her.

  26. Ou know Holder has to go….. Really…. Exactly how is catching some Nixon wanna be partisan….. That’s like shooting someone and saying they did it…..pointing fingers all around….. To bring finger pointing at some object that is not even mentioned is to try and make obtuse the whole situation…..

    Obama is wrong…. Holder is either acting with direct orders or Obama is implicit in misfeasance of office….. Anyway you want to try and whitewash it…. It looks bad on everyone involved….. But let’s bring the gun debate into it….

    Partisianshit is destroying this country….. Washington and Jefferson warned against these same factions…..

  27. Neither the resignation of Holder nor the impeachment of Obama will solve anything. President Joe Biden will inherit the same dreadful powers granted by Congress. He will find ways to implement them.

    Congress created the Patriot Act, indefinite detention, warrantless data mining and the DHS. Only Congress can yank back these powers that will doom ANY administration.

    In the meantime, we’re going to get investigations now. And because there has been virtually no oversight, there is enough material there that they will continue long after Obama leaves office. “We had no idea how bad the roach problem was until we started, you know, looking for roaches.”

    Let’s hope they are serious. “Congressional Subpeona” used to cause a lot of pants-wetting. No so much these days.

    Seat grand juries instead.

  28. Jonathan H. Adler:

    Is the Seizure of the AP’s Phone Records a “Non-Story”?

    Another reason I don’t believe this is a “non-story” is because seizures of this sort have potentially significant implications for newsgathering organizations. Further, insofar as the relevant guidelines vest the Justice Department with substantial discretion, how such discretion is used is a matter of significant import. I agree with Orin that it’s possible that the Justice Department acted properly here (though I suspect I’m more inclined to see this particular seizure as overbroad), but that does not mean that the threat of such seizures does not have the potential to chill investigative journalism. In my view, the federal government should, insofar as is possible, focus more on the leakers than on those who receive the leaks.

    “Focus more on the leakers?” That’s easier said than done. Might as well not investigate leaks at all.

  29. “Partisianshit is destroying this country….. Washington and Jefferson warned against these same factions…..” (AY)

    That’s funny! Washington warned against it … Jefferson did it.

  30. “Seat grand juries instead.” (James Knauer)

    I like that idea but who would appoint the Special Prosecutor?

  31. Well blouse…. Words are words until hey are put into action…. Try reading the first inaugural address…… If you don’t recall…. Jefferson was selected by the House to break the electoral college deadlock…. If I recall… It was 36 votes….. How would you have felt about Burr being president…..

  32. SWM, I will take you @ your word. So do you realllly like Hillary? Is their anyone for whom you would vote if they ran against her?

  33. AY,

    Burr has always fascinated me … watching the man devolve must have been like watching that ice flow on another thread

    As to Washington and Jefferson … both talked a good game but only one consistantly lived it.

  34. It’s funny what gets the attention of the formerly sychophant MSM. Jay Carney flat assed lied to them in November when he said the changes in the talking points was “one word.” They really didn’t give a rat’s ass until it was shown to be a blatant lie, that Carney stands by! They are outraged that their own were spied upon by an out of control DOJ. The IRS thing, well if that doesn’t get them to react, they are completely worthless. They have been the administation’s b!tches since 2008, and they now realize it. Karma is a b!tch.

  35. nick, I don’t know that Hillary is even running. The only ones that are clearly running are Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, and I would never ever vote for either of them.

  36. I’ll agree Burr….. Needed to go…. Oh… Yeah…. A duel….. Some say one of em cheated…. No charges were ever brought…..

    And you know Blouise….. The remainder of your statement is true on so many fronts and on so many occasions….. Sometimes it’s just easier to do the right thing up front….

  37. nick,

    You didn’t ask me but I’m not shy … I’d vote for Hillary in a heartbeat but I don’t know if Biden will give up his spot to her and there are plenty of “unknowns” (similar to Obama back in 2003) waiting in the wings of the Democratic Party … think Hispanic ancestry.

  38. “Until we get rid of the Patriot Act, this kind of abuse will never cease…”
    -rafflaw

    Agreed.

  39. AY,

    The loss of Alexander Hamilton was a tragedy … can you imagine the Adams/Jefferson letters being a three way … Adams/Jefferson/Hamilton.

    I wonder if Jefferson would have been able to do his legacy rework regarding the Declaration if Hamilton had still been alive.

  40. Blouise, Are you speaking of the Texas Twins? LA mayor? It would be tough for loyal, woman Dem voters to accept taking a back seat for a black prez, then Latino prez, don’t you think? Women sucked it up for Obama, I doubt they would do it again.

  41. This web site has numerous blogs on the abuses against civil liberties by this administration. The press has for the most part been silent when during the GWB administration they cried long and loud about similar and lesser abuses. Now that they have been the target, the S has hit the fan. They are suddenly outraged at the abuses of this administration.

    Could this be the tipping point when the press will actually ask pertinent questions? Dig deep for answers? Quit worshiping their man in the house Mr. O? One can only hope.

  42. Blouise,

    How does one get past the ‘”sniper fire” issue? (…asked from a position of respect, of course.)

  43. Could this be the tipping point when the press will actually ask pertinent questions? Dig deep for answers? -Paul

    Let’s hope, as you say.

  44. President Obama will probably not fire Eric Holder becuse the president actually supports his actions.

    President Obama could get away with something as outrageous as genocide because sufficient nuimbers of Democrats will continue to worship him as their dear leader in one side or be indifferent while continuing to pull the party line on the other.

    I know it is important to advocate change and to advocate holding politicians responsible for their actions, but don’t expect anything other than business as usual out of those currently in office.

  45. “In terms of partisanship, Republicans now screaming bloody murder over the IRS allegations clearly don’t care about the principles of equal protection, nonpartisan public services or impartial governance. We know this because most of them had nothing to say about the Bush administration’s actions against the GOP’s ideological opponents. In the context of that record, the GOP is really saying it is outraged when government resources are aimed at its friends, but more than happy to have those resources aimed at its enemies.

    That context, though, hasn’t been publicly referenced by most Democrats. Indeed, other than Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), most Democratic lawmakers have not dared to mention that the problem of politicized government goes back many years.

    That gets to expectations and ideological bias – simply put, the expectation in a Washington where both parties and most media outlets tilt to the right is that conservative groups should never be treated the same way liberal groups so often are. Why? Because conservative causes (say, the anti-tax movement) tend to be aligned with the interests of the transpartisan moneyed establishment while liberal causes (say, the anti-war movement) tend to be at odds with those interests.

    Thus, when conservative groups happen to be treated like liberal groups, the Washington Outrage Machine turns the noise up to 11 – even though when liberal groups were targeted, that Outrage Machine remained dormant. And with today’s national press corps reoriented around amplifying – rather than challenging – power, this double standard is then predictably reflected in a corresponding discrepancy in coverage.

    Taken together, the lesson should be straightforward: according to Washington, politicized government is perfectly fine when it is punishing liberal forces that challenge the status quo, but totally outrageous when it is targeting conservative groups that preserve the status quo.

    Neither should be acceptable, of course. But that truism is ignored by a hypocritical political culture whose unquestioned assumptions so obviously favor the right.” David Sirota, Salon

  46. SWM, Today it would be be hers. But the “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do,” is looming quite large. The WaPo just gave the prez 4 pinnochios for his little hissy fit in the UK. It may all be crumbling. Time will tell.

  47. Trevor Timm:

    “Writing for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Trevor Timm also said that the scandal was one of the White House’s own making.

    “The White House created this war-on-leaks monster,” he wrote. “Congress has only encouraged its expansion, instead of investigating the wrongdoing that many of the leaks exposed. And now, it’s out of control.””

    (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/ap-phone-records-carl-bernstein-nixonian_n_3271542.html)

  48. Glenn Greenwald’s take:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/14/justice-department-ap-phone-records-whistleblowers

    Justice Department’s pursuit of AP’s phone records is both extreme and dangerous

    The claimed legal basis for these actions is unknown, but the threats they pose to a free press and the newsgathering process are clear

    by Glenn Greenwald
    Tuesday 14 May 2013 10.21 EDT

    Excerpts:

    The key point is that all of this takes place in the ongoing War on Whistleblowers waged by the Obama administration. If you talk to any real investigative journalist, they will tell you that an unprecedented climate of fear has emerged in which their sources are petrified to talk to them. That the Obama administration has prosecuted double the number of whistleblowers under espionage statutes as all previous administrations combined has already severely chilled the news gathering process. Imagine what message this latest behavior sends to journalists and their sources: that at any moment, the phone records of even the nation’s most establishment journalists can be secretly obtained by the DOJ, which has no compunction about doing so even in the most extreme and invasive manner.

    It is true, as Kevin Drum suggests, that the DOJ has been obtaining phone records for quite some time in this manner, and that the angry reactions to this story are accounted for by the fact that, in this case, the targets are establishment journalists rather than marginalized Muslims or dissident groups. But there are unique dangers from having the government intrude into journalists’ communications with their sources, which is what happens when they obtain their phone records in such a sweeping manner. At this point, leaks from government sources are the primary way we learn about what the government does, and the more that process is targeted and the more those involved are intimidated, the less it will happen. That, of course, is the point.

    Despite how stunning the breadth of this invasion is, none of it is really surprising. But it does underscore just how extreme of a climate of fear has been deliberately imposed by the Obama administration on the news gathering process. As the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer told whistleblower advocate Jesselyn Radack last year:

    “When our sources are prosecuted, the news-gathering process is criminalized, so it’s incumbent upon all journalists to speak up.”

    What the Obama DOJ is doing in all of these cases is not just an attack on investigative journalists and their sources, though it is that. It is, first and foremost, an attack on you: specifically on your ability to know what government officials are doing in the dark.

    End of excerpts

  49. nick spinelli

    Blouise, Are you speaking of the Texas Twins? LA mayor? It would be tough for loyal, woman Dem voters to accept taking a back seat for a black prez, then Latino prez, don’t you think? Women sucked it up for Obama, I doubt they would do it again.

    ——————————————————-

    Women voters, at least in my experience which is somewhat wide thanks to my years of membership and presidency in the League, don’t vote for candidates because they are female. If gender comes into it, the issue is where a candidate stands on “women’s issues”. Women didn’t suck it up for Obama. If you’ll excuse the following … that’s a man’s take.

  50. anonymously posted

    Blouise,

    How does one get past the ‘”sniper fire” issue? (…asked from a position of respect, of course.)

    ————————————————————

    A little to oblique … which “sniper fire” issue?

  51. What mespo and raff said.

    As for speculation on Hillary? I wouldn’t vote for her under any circumstances and it has nothing to do with her plumbing and everything to do with the lack of content in her character and her penchant for the expedient actions over the principled. She’s every bit the corporatist shill and lying hyper-political self-serving opportunist as our last five Presidents. There isn’t an ethical bone in her body. More of the same is more of the same. That’s not an acceptable option anymore. However, that being said, barring a breakout third party option, we are likely to face another round of non-choice.

    Nothing will happen at this point by bending the system back into shape. The system likes the personally profitable shape graft has made it. Corporatists no matter their party affiliation don’t work for We the People.

    What happens to things that do not bend?

    (That was for you, Blouise. :mrgreen:)

  52. Blouise 1, May 14, 2013 at 11:45 am

    nick,

    You didn’t ask me but I’m not shy … I’d vote for Hillary in a heartbeat

    —-

    Could have been more specific.

    How does one get past the ‘”sniper fire” issue?

  53. Blouise asks, “I like that idea but who would appoint the Special Prosecutor?”

    Well, this is the problem. Is Nelson Mandela available? All of our institutions have failed us, so from what pool do we draw? There are no longer any outside operators. It would have to be someone brought up in the digital age, an eviscerator of lies simply by calmly repeating a citation.

    I do not mean to be in any way be ageist. It’s about a mental embrace more than anything, it just happens to be age-biased in 2013. But I still deal with a lot of real fear in some of my clients over 50 who have had their largely paper-based business models work all their lives SO DON’T FUSS WITH IT! And they are being left behind as a result. How can a person such as Mitt Romney, for example, not realize every bloody thing he said would be recorded in pristine condition forever?

    Same with GWB when he admitted in front of a televised audience that he gave the order to torture and said he would do it again. Absent consequences, all who come after that are utterly doomed.

    So who among us has the credibility to wipe that smug, arrogant look off our faces and begin to dismantle our war forever during a police state for profit?

    I really wanted to answer your question, too.

  54. “As for speculation on Hillary? I wouldn’t vote for her under any circumstances and it has nothing to do with her plumbing and everything to do with the lack of content in her character and her penchant for the expedient actions over the principled. ”

    Louder, please. It is still early enough for the Hillary-fever to be broken. Then again, the way Obama is going, he may do it for us.

  55. Blouise: Here is the link on “sniper fire.”

    An excerpt: “She [Hillary] said when she arrived in Bosnia on March 25, 1996, “I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

    But news video footage of her arrival at Tuzla shows Clinton, then the first lady, calmly walking from the rear ramp of a U.S. Air Force plane with her daughter, Chelsea, then 16, at her side. Both Clintons held their heads up and did not appear rushed.

    The video shows Clinton spending several minutes talking with the group, including an 8-year-old Bosnian girl who presented her with a poem, and later greeting U.S. troops.

    Clinton has mentioned the sniper fire at least twice earlier in the campaign, including in December in Dubuque, Iowa, before the caucuses in that state.

    Here is a link with the video.

    **** Back to Tony:

    The issue is, she flat out lied. The entertainer Sinbad was with her, as was Sheryl Crow. After the story broke, Sinbad was interviewed on tape, and said he remembered the trip, and they were not told any such thing (about sniper fire at Tuzla Air Base). If memory from five years ago serves me, Sinbad said the only unusual thing they were warned about was that once they cleared the mountain, it required a very steep descent to get to the airfield, so to not be alarmed by that, and that descent is what they were joking about once they landed.

  56. James Knauer,

    “I really wanted to answer your question, too.”

    Well, sadly, you did, which doesn’t mean that your initial suggestion of grand juries lacks merit. In my opinion, it is one of the best suggestions presented on this blog. I am afraid though that the appointment would have to involve a conspiracy of “ends justifies means” characters.

  57. Blouse,

    One can speculate on many fronts…. There were statesmen and stakemen running very unabashed at the same time…. One can wonder which direction this country would have taken if Burr had been (s)elected…. Instead of Jefferson….

  58. Blouise,

    Grand juries have been mentioned here before and like you I think it’s a good idea, however, more than likely it would have to come in form something closer to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission like those used in South Africa and Chile.

  59. Perhaps when the populace understands that war is illegal. Yes, war is illegal. It is the law as specified in the Kellogg-Briand Pact. Read about it and how it came about in “When the World Outlawed War” by David Swanson

  60. Gene says, “Grand juries have been mentioned here before and like you I think it’s a good idea,…”

    What is most fascinating is the state of Vermont’s view that should GWB for DC cross the state line, they will be arrested and questioned over matters of war crimes, and how this has attracted the attention of zero U.S. Attorneys. Not even a little bit curious? How does such abject blindness exist in the digital age?

    In other words, what are the threats against anyone who acts?

    To any U.S. Attorneys reading this blog, it is now your time to act. Find the courage, or quit.

  61. anonymously posted 1, May 14, 2013 at 11:50 am

    “Until we get rid of the Patriot Act, this kind of abuse will never cease…”
    -rafflaw

    Agreed.
    ==============================
    Agreed too.

  62. The contest continues!
    Varys versus Baelish.
    Spider versus snake.
    Machiavelli versus Ayn Rand.

    You sure know how to bring a smile to my face, Blouise. :D

  63. “To any U.S. Attorneys reading this blog, it is now your time to act. Find the courage, or quit.”

    Yep.

  64. A few salient thoughts from Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, by Robert Jay Lifton (1963):

    Milieu Control

    The most basic feature of the thought reform environment, the psychological current upon which all else depends, is the control of human communication. Through this milieu control the totalist environment seeks to establish domain over not only the individual’s communication with the outside (all that he sees and hears, reads or writes, experiences, and expresses), but also – in its penetration of his inner life – over what we may speak of as his communication with himself. It creates an atmosphere uncomfortably reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984.

    Such milieu control never succeeds in becoming absolute, and its own human apparatus can – when permeated by outside information – become subject to discordant “noise” beyond that of any mechanical apparatus. To totalist administrators, however, such occurrences are no more than evidences of “incorrect” use of the apparatus. For they look upon milieu control as a just and necessary policy, one which need not be kept secret: thought reform participants may be in doubt as to who is telling what to whom, but the fact that extensive information about everyone is being conveyed to the authorities is always known. At the center of this self-justification is their assumption of omniscience, their conviction that reality is their exclusive possession. Having experienced the impact of what they consider to be an ultimate truth (and having the need to dispel any possible inner doubts of their own), they consider it their duty to create an environment containing no more and no less than this “truth.” In order to be the engineers of the human soul, they must first bring it under full observational control.

    Not only does the U.S. government look to Communist China for loans to fund the ruinous global militarism that U.S. taxpayers cannot financially afford, but the U.S. government also looks to Communist China for the best means of monitoring and controlling all human communications of the citizenry.

  65. Tony C.,

    Not to worry, I’m not a Green Lanternist by any means … Introducing Hillary into the mix always stimulates the blood and raises the stakes.

  66. “Republicans, meanwhile, are calling on Holder to resign following news of the probe.” (from SwM’s link above)

    Of course they are … they want another Ashcroft/Gonzales

  67. AY,

    Wouldn’t it be cool if McCullough/Meacham/Chernow got together and wrote a “What If” novel?

  68. One lives to be of service, Blouise, although technically that’s more analogy than euphemism. I think it very accurately portrays the fundamental differences in both kinds of political creatures, the spider and the snake. Both understand machinations, but Varys like Machiavelli realizes that a prince must give back utility and value to society or else face the wrath of society whereas Baelish like Ayn Rand only seeks what’s best for him and damn the consequence. As Varys once said of Baelish, “He would burn the realm to the ground if he could be King of the ashes.” We have far too few Varys in public service these days and far too many Baelish. It’s a consequence of corporatism which has no legitimate ethical basis and rewards sociopathic behavior. And that is the terminus est, the line that divides, being simply a political creature and being a political monster. For historical comparison, consider William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley as the spider and Henry Kissinger as the snake.

  69. Yesterday, the President incorrectly referred to the IRS as an “independent agency”, whereas in actuality it is an agency in the Executive branch, which he heads. Now today, the President’s press secretary, Jay Carney, repeatedly asserted that the President could not interfere with “independent” investigations being conducted by inspectors general within various executive agencies. Then, immediately following, Atty Gen Holder, explained that he recused himself from the investigation into the IRS because his contact with the media, would have precluded the DOJ from performing an “independent” investigation.

    The above represent three instances where executive officials (or their proxies) have attempted to insulate themselves from culpability by the claim of “independence”. But that contention simply doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. The fact is, the inspector general of ANY executive agency serves ENTIRELY at the pleasure of the president. They are either directly appointed by the president, or are appointed by the heads of agencies which are, in turn, appointed by him (while noting that all presidential appointees are additionally subject to senate confirmation). Thus none of these investigations (or investigators) are truly independent, but are rather “internal” in nature. This Orwellian redefinition of the notion of independence that the Administration is trying to promote is false and is only being promulgated to provide political cover for the President and agency heads. Any truly independent investigation can only be conducted “externally”, by an entity outside of the Executive branch, such as by a special prosecutor appointed by the Legislature.

  70. Gene,

    I debated the “analogy than euphemism” use but settled on euphemism as an innocuous way of suggest something unpleasant … going deeper, if you will.

    Interestingly enough … Varys is a eunuch …

    rat-a-tat-tat … take it

  71. “Interestingly enough … Varys is a eunuch …

    rat-a-tat-tat … take it”

    Okee, this had me spitting up coffee!

  72. “I debated the “analogy than euphemism” use but settled on euphemism as an innocuous way of suggest something unpleasant … going deeper, if you will.”

    I suspected that was where you were headed with that, but I did feel the need to clarify as you know I have a stated preference against euphemistic language. The unpleasant should be spoken of with clarity for if one does not clearly and accurately define a problem, one will never find a maximal solution.

    “Interestingly enough … Varys is a eunuch …”

    But Lord Burghley wasn’t. What is important about Varys being a eunuch isn’t his being a eunuch proper. It’s a rather clever contrast Martin provides. Varys being a eunuch is important because it is in part a large reason for his ability to act with detachment in a court full of characters who seemingly and often to think with their groins first and their heads later. Robert Baratheon, Jeoffrey Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon, Cirsei Lannister, Jaime Lannister, Tyrion Lannister, Robb Stark, even Ned Stark, all made decisions based on desire over forethought and it has cost them and others dearly. Even Baelish is blinded by his desire although his is for power not flesh. The other character who sought power at all cost, Theon Greyjoy, meets a most grisly fate while Baelish leaves a path of death and destruction in his wake. Contrast this with the characters more able to act with detachment, specifically Lord Varys and Tywin Lannister. Neither is exactly noble, but they do what they do in the service of something greater than themselves, Varys the realm and Tywin his legacy of House Lannister. To be the spider requires both detachment and a knowledge of both the necessity and value of sacrifice.

  73. AY,

    Each are respected biographers for … Adams/Jefferson/Hamilton … so let each place themselves through correspondence (as Adams and Jefferson did) with the addition of Hamilton (the what if he’d lived guy) and jumping off of the original letters … write a do-over injecting Hamilton into the mix and concocting letters from Jefferson and Adams in response to Hamilton’s … etc.

    A novel or a stage play … the big What If

    Too little to do today so my imagination is running amuck.

  74. Gene,

    ” … as you know I have a stated preference against euphemistic language”

    Yeah, it was a risk on my part.

    ” … specifically Lord Varys and Tywin Lannister.” Notably, both “crippled”, if you will … physically flawed but morally whole? Or am I summing it up wrong?

  75. “Okee, this had me spitting up coffee!” (James Knauer)

    Gene was supposed to answer with something off color alluding to going deeper but decided not to bite.

    We take our Game of Thrones seriously.

  76. Blouse,

    This is for you: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”
    — Albert Einstein

    I know who the first two were.. But Chernow escaped me…. Now that I see the links to his books… The year was 2004…. That was about the time I was existing to survive…. Read very little outside of what I had to…. Then, 2007 the drum roll started….. And all I recall is wipe out….lol

  77. In a bizarre twist in the non-scandal known as Benghazi, it appears that someone doctored an email from Ben Rhodes to make it appear that he was more interested in protecting the State Department than telling the truth of what happened during the Benghazi attacks.

    Ben Rhodes is a hard target of the right wing over the whole Benghazi invention. A search on the terms CBS and Ben Rhodes shows page after page of efforts to smear Rhodes by making hay out of the fact that his brother is a top CBS executive.

    Rhodes is a target because of leaked emails reported by ABC and the Weekly Standard which seemed to indicate Rhodes was more interested in protecting the State Department than he was in telling the truth about what happened. This is why the right is so focused on the talking points now. They’re sure they were filled with lies.

    It turns out the only real lie was one told by whoever leaked those emails. Jake Tapper has the story: From Crooks and Liars

  78. Blouise,

    Tywin, not his son Tyrion. The father was healthy as a lion. Tyrion is though in his own weird way as you say “crippled” and I don’t mean his dwarfism. He’s Machiavellian enough to be both his father’s son and an attractive friend to Varys, but he’s crippled by his heart, in specific his love for Shae. He’s almost detached. If he were a garage, he’d be semi-detached. :D

  79. SWM/Blouise, How many times do you think we’ll see the “What difference does it make” if Hillary runs? I don’t care if you consider this all politics, or how this all shakes out. Those histrionics were a mistake, particularly when you’re wearing Mr. Magoo specs. And SWM, Carney lied in November about the changes in the talking points. Only a kool aid drinker can’t see that.

  80. Gene,

    Oops … sorry, I read that wrong … or I read it as I wanted it to be. ;)

    Semi-detached but with empathy … something his father lacks? A Cesare/Juan situation (speaking of Machiavelli and thus coming full circle)

  81. nick,

    They have to create drama ’cause they view us all as a Jerry Springer audience and need to get us to the polls for the Primaries.

    Those of us who actually care about governance have to endure the crap and go to sites like this to actually discuss the issues and debate the possibilities. Every once in awhile we manage to get someone like Elizabeth Warren elected but only because the Springer audience was out to lunch.

  82. This story is on all the major networks (Fox is having a field day with this).

    However, I have always taken a different approach when I hear or read about these blown-out-of-proportion stories: what is transpiring around world (or here), not being reported at this time, either online, in writing, or via the major news networks?

  83. Blouise, I agree totally. However, the Jerry Springer fans vote, and they vote on visuals and 30 second ads. That’s the reality.

  84. Holder is a wierd snide little animal who looks like he came from NYC. He is against Cardinal Nation and so we are against him.
    Support Cardinal Nation on the West Bank. West Bank of the Mississippi that is.

  85. White House: GOP fabricated leaked Benghazi email

    The White House on Tuesday accused congressional Republicans of fabricating emails leaked to two different media organizations that suggested interest in scrubbing the Benghazi, Libya, talking points.

    “Republicans who were leaking these emails that have been shared with Congress didn’t just do that. They decided to fabricate portions of an email, and make up portions of an email in order to fit a political narrative,” Carney said. “I’m not surprised by it because we’ve seen it again and again.”

    Ouch!

  86. “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.” … thanks Obi-Wan. You’re our only hope.

  87. How does one get past the ‘sniper-fire’ issue?

    Probably the same way one got past the ‘mission accomplished’ issue.
    ***

    But yea, the war on whistle blowers is outrageous and at some point in our history was against the law if an employer did it- even if the employer was the government. But there are new laws now that allow the government and its agencies to do whatever they may choose to do.

    Rafflaw was right, until the Patriot Act and the snake pit (no offence to snakes) of laws, regulations and guidance it spawned are banished we will continue to have these problems.

    As a longtime advocate of affirmative action, if Hilary were a candidate among a group of similarly qualified candidates I’d vote for her because she’s a woman. If Tammy Duckworth were also running I’d be on the horns of a ethical dilemma. Oh wait, no I wouldn’t. :-)

  88. Nal:

    There is a big power struggle going on in DC; conservatives and neocons are in a power struggle for the republican party. Where did those emails come from Rand Paul’s office or some punk from the Weakly Standard?

  89. This disclosure follows another recent disclosure that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups associated with the Tea Party. Yet, once again, most Democrats remain silent in a type of cult of personality where principle is discarded in favor of loyalty to the President.
    ———————————————————————————————–
    The Internal Revenue Service is lying, pathetic scum. They have no jurisdiction outside the U.S. tax code.

    They want to pretend they’re a lot more than they are. They’re pathetic.

  90. Nick Spinelli-
    That bit about women taking one for Obama in 2008– let me explain it from a different standpoint: A lot of us have always regarded HRC as very qualified. I thought then, and I think now, that she would be a better president than Obama. However, I take your point well that the low information voters vote on image and 30 second sound bites…have known it intimately being a veteran of the newsroom. I supported Obama for the simple reason that the GOP had their knives too well sharpened for HRC in 2008. Time has dulled the blade and HRC has had some time to demonstrate that she’s the girl who over-prepared for every class…and a lot of us like that. As for her pushing back at the big dogs? Yeah. We kind of like that, too. I don’t see that there’s anybody on the horizon pure enough for some of the commenters here today.
    In general: this AP phone records thing? Announced Friday, and already they’re calling for Holder’s resignation and Obama’s impeachment?? This ain’t no TeeVee show, people. It doesn’t get all wrapped up in 30 minutes. I want to know a hell of a lot more.

  91. Concerning the idea that the Patriot Act is the source reason that we have all these problems … I don’t agree. It’s like saying that hate crimes, once those laws were enacted, was the reason that people abused them and increased the count of their incidents. (incidence?) But I’ll tell you what. I bet that if the bargain was made to trash the Patriot Act for the total repeal of Obamacare it would be received with great enthusiasm.

  92. Geeba Geeba 1, May 14, 2013 at 7:13 pm
    ———————————————————–
    Don’t count on anything.

  93. finally the mainstream media is focusing on the AP spy story as they now realize that Obama will go after anyone even their most strong supporter AP. Great article!

  94. GreenMountains 1, May 14, 2013 at 7:43 pm
    —————————————————————-
    Everybody knows you don’t have the ovaries. Play it!

  95. Matt Johnson, Lawrence O’Donnell had a good take on the IRS thing, I have thought for a long time that these new instruments to funnel money into politics needed more and meticulous scrutiny. The IRS should start revoking the tax exempt status from a lot of churches too IMO. But that’s just me.

    Check out the vid:

  96. Charles,

    I favor firing Holder…. Depending on Obamas knowledge then impeachment hearings should be considered….. To exempt them is to further obliterate the shreds of the constitution that remains intact today….

  97. And Nal,

    If true then the congress people should be tried for high crimes and misdemeanors while in office…. I think that this is a form of treason….tyranny at the very least…

  98. Bunch of pathetic losers. I sent them all information packages. Including Obama. They’re scum. Obama is a piece of garbage.

  99. iconoclast,

    “Pure” is loaded language. I’d settle for “ethical enough to clean house properly”. I’m not questioning HRC’s technical qualifications. I question her willingness to do what is needed when she’s just as much a creature of monied special interests as the rest of the Washington machine. Skills and character are not equivalences. She shows differently between now and then? And by show I mean do something substantive other than wag her jaw? I might reconsider. That ball, however, is in her court.

  100. lotta, The IRS was asking for the list of donors. That is NOT THEIR PURVIEW AND ILLEGAL. Don’t go for the shiny objects that guys like O’Donnell throw out to distract. He’s a professional pol spinmeister. Sure, we can have the discussion about tax exempt status, but not tied in w/ this. What the IRS did should send a chill up your spine. Replace tea party and Jewish groups; ones you dislike, w/ groups you do like.The chickens alway come home to roost.

  101. SWM, I thought you were saavy enough to not go for the shiny objects of distraction. MSNBC is as bad for your health as Fox.

  102. SWM, USA Today has ~300 tea party organizations being scrutinized. I read the Bloomberg article, so that makes the score 300-3. I wouldn’t want to hang my hat on those numbers, but apparently you do. I would love to bet on football against you.

  103. nick,

    I was just in there doing a little light spam scrubbing, noticed your post and put the fix in. Apparently the spam filter does not like you. It seems to be tagging you a disproportionate amount. It must have taken all that tripe talk between you and mespo personally.

  104. Thanks to whomever checked on wordpress.

    SWM, Hopefully you know me well enough by now to know I’m not a partisan. I’m upfront and candid, I don’t like or trust Hillary. I truly look @ stuff through a nonpartisan eye, no matter what parties tit is in the wringer. The Obama administration is looking like a Daley Machine administration. I am willing for the facts to come out. As iconoclast said, they will drip out. However, that is the worst way to handle a crisis. You need to get ahead of a crisis.You need to get the facts out on yourown terms. Carney thinks the press are still his buddies. Obama has been the darling, but now the bloom is off the rose and he is in for a shitstorm.There’s blood in the water. Good chance the Republicans will overplay their hand, and when they do I will say it. They have w/ the impeachment horseshit, but that seems to be just a few..SO FAR. This will be a marathon, not a sprint. We need to pace ourselves.

  105. Thanks again, Gene. WordPress must be bias against organ meats? Let’s see. Haggis..haggis, haggis. I love haggis in the morning, I love haggis for lunch, I love haggis for dinner and midnight snack.

  106. lottakatz 1, May 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    How does one get past the ‘sniper-fire’ issue?

    Probably the same way one got past the ‘mission accomplished’ issue.
    ***

    10 years ago, already…

    Ten Years Ago: Bush Declared ‘Mission Accomplished’—and the Media Swooned

    Greg Mitchell on May 1, 2013 – 8:11 AM ET

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/174127/ten-years-ago-bush-declared-mission-accomplished-and-media-swooned#

    Today marks the tenth anniversary of Mission Accomplished Day, or as it might better be known, Mission (Not) Accomplished Day. Sadly, it comes amid another upheaval in sectarian violence in Iraq—two days ago The New York Times warned of a new “civil war” there—and a week after the attempts at Bush revisionism upon the opening of his library. We’re also seeing aspects of the run-up to the Iraq invasion playing out in the fresh, perhaps overheated, claims of chemical weapons in Syria.

    In my favorite antiwar song of this war, “Shock and Awe,” Neil Young moaned: “Back in the days of Mission Accomplished/ our chief was landing on the deck/ The sun was setting/ behind a golden photo op.” But as Neil added elsewhere in the tune: “History is a cruel judge of overconfidence.”

    Nowhere can we see this more clearly than in the media coverage of the event.

    On May 1, 2003, Richard Perle advised, in a USA Today op-ed, “Relax, Celebrate Victory.” The same day, President Bush, dressed in a flight suit, landed on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and declared an end to major military operations in Iraq—with the now-infamous “Mission Accomplished” banner arrayed behind him.

    Chris Matthews on MSNBC called Bush a “hero” and boomed, “He won the war. He was an effective commander. Everybody recognizes that, I believe, except a few critics.” He added: “Women like a guy who’s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It’s simple.”

    PBS’ Gwen Ifill said Bush was “part Tom Cruise, part Ronald Reagan.” On NBC, Brian Williams gushed, “The pictures were beautiful. It was quite something to see the first-ever American president on a—on a carrier landing.”

    Bob Schieffer on CBS said: “As far as I’m concerned, that was one of the great pictures of all time.” His guest, Joe Klein, responded: “Well, that was probably the coolest presidential image since Bill Pullman played the jet fighter pilot in the movie Independence Day. That was the first thing that came to mind for me.”

    Everyone agreed the Democrats and antiwar critics were now on the run. The New York Times observed, “The Bush administration is planning to withdraw most United States combat forces from Iraq over the next several months and wants to shrink the American military presence to less than two divisions by the fall, senior allied officials said today.”

    Maureen Dowd in her column did offer a bit of over-the-top mockery, declaring: “Out bounded the cocky, rule-breaking, daredevil flyboy, a man navigating the Highway to the Danger Zone, out along the edges where he was born to be, the further on the edge, the hotter the intensity.

    “He flashed that famous all-American grin as he swaggered around the deck of the aircraft carrier in his olive flight suit, ejection harness between his legs, helmet tucked under his arm, awestruck crew crowding around. Maverick was back, cooler and hotter than ever, throttling to the max with joystick politics. Compared to Karl Rove’s ”revvin’ up your engine” myth-making cinematic style, Jerry Bruckheimer’s movies look like Lizzie McGuire.

    “This time Maverick didn’t just nail a few bogeys and do a 4G inverted dive with a MiG-28 at a range of two meters. This time the Top Gun wasted a couple of nasty regimes, and promised this was just the beginning.”

    When Bush’s jet landed on the aircraft carrier, American casualties stood at 139 killed and 542 wounded. That was over 4,300 American, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi, fatalities ago.

  107. SWM, Great clip! After listening to Lerner I went back to the USA Today report. I was wrong. They quoted Lerner about the 300 total and 1/4 being tea party. “I’m not good @ math”.. but the new score is now 75-3. Of course, that’s what she said to a reporter when she was on the spot. You know it’s not any “better” than that, and maybe worse. My bad on reading the USA Today. I booted a routine ground ball.

  108. WordPress is fair and balanced. I have to state what I said in piglatin to get by WordPress here to demonstrate their fairness. I called Hilary a itchBay for complaining about Monica. In the same tome I called Bill Clinton a astardBay for cheating on Hilary and denying Hilary the cigar in favor of Monika. WordPress censored both words. One can employ much worse words than those two about those two people but WordPress is sensitive about women and equally so about men who father children out of wedlock. But when it comes to dogs WordPress does not relent. A female dog is a itchBay. One who complains is itchinBay. We have onedog in our dogpac with that name and WordPress will not give a release just for her. She is thinking about a name change.

  109. Gene,
    Thanks for your efforts and Nal’s efforts to clean up the spam filter and to correct the lost postings!
    nick,
    That isn’t math its arithmetic! :)

  110. nick spinili: ….”Don’t go for the shiny objects that guys like O’Donnell throw out to distract.” He’s a professional pol spinmeister. …. Replace tea party and Jewish groups; ones you dislike, w/ groups you do like.The chickens alway come home to roost.”
    ***

    More like chickens HAVE come home to roost. I actually recall that a couple of Republican administrations had the IRS doing their dirty work- I remember Nixon and the NAACP/Greenpeace being looked at.

    I’m not as distracted by shiny objects as might be thought. I assumed that the IRS was motivated by the obvious corruption (as O’Donnell pointed out- the built-in corruption) of the 501(c) 4s and the fact that tea party 501(c) 4’s were proliferating like rabbits on viagra. I don’t have to be lawyerly because I’m not one, I’m a commoner. As such it just strikes me that knowing the way say, Americans for Prosperity (which is a 501(c) 4 run by K. Rove and funded in goodly part by the Koch Brothers) worked I would be inclined to look closely at applicants that had “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their name if I worked for the IRS. Those are politically loaded, Republican and right-wing activist labels. I’d take a real close look at those.

    I actually don’t think this is the BIG story, it’s too inside the beltway. It’s like watching the battles between the red ants and black ants in Sim Ant. The problem isn’t the IRS, it’s the law itself and nothing will be done regarding that so this ‘controversy’ is just a waste of time. I see people on TV talking about how this is such an important story because if the IRS isn’t independent and above reproach in its actions people will lose respect for integrity of the whole tax system. I just chuckle at that. Literally. The whole system of tax laws is so corrupt and political that it has no integrity and only fools would respect it to begin with. That’s what I liked about the O’Donnell segment, it didn’t deal with the superficialities but went to the corruption built into the law itself.

    The big story is the frontal attack on journalism; the DOJ’s secret investigation/subpoenas of AP’s phone records. IMO.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/14/harry-reid-irs_n_3274166.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

  111. anonymously posted, that article brings back some memories. The pundits loved the picture but it just disgusted me. Ugly war, ugly man, ugly lie, ugly picture. Bah, humbug.

  112. How does one obtain recorded phone conversations when it is required to have a warrant to record them, in the first place?

    Now I know the times have “changed”, some say for the better (Bankers) some say for the worse (mom&pop shops) and how 9/11 “changed” everything yada, yada, yada… However, just like with torture, when did spying and data recording on Americans personal activities become an all American activity worth believing in? Ok, ok, Patriot Act and National Defense (re)Authorizations signed, etc. are what is at the root of continued threats by our own Government on the very foundation, The Bill of Rights, our Constitution hinges upon?

    I didn’t know that it is now favorable to impinge upon the Bill of Rights through secret acts, memos, or Legislation. It’s as if it’s become American to assault certain aspects of the Bill of Rights for “political” reasons. Why else did Homeland Security collaborate with local Police in spying on Occupy movements around the Nation?

    Remember once when it was NOT favorable to use political motives to spy on people or groups? Nowadays I wonder, why was Nixon run out, again?

  113. Lastly, as I’ve said before and I will repeat as often as it takes…
    … It appears that the Office of the President of the United States of America needs to be Impeached. Not JUST the last two, or three occupants (depends on how and who you count) but the amass of POWER the Office has gained through an abjectly careless Congress.

    Let THAT be my epitaph on my grave stone, if it must!

  114. p.s.
    And just a question about WordPress…
    … If they lose a posting, can we petition the NSA for a copy?

  115. Obama is preparing for Revolution. Laugh all you wish. Just read the bill. Just signed yesterday

    this is just a small part of it

    http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-04-12/pdf/2013-07802.pdf

    List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 182
    Armed forces, Law enforcement.
    Accordingly, 32 CFR part 182 is
    added to read as follows:
    PART 182—DEFENSE SUPPORT OF
    CIVILIAN LAW ENFORCEMENT
    AGENCIES
    Sec.
    182.1 Purpose.
    182.2 Applicability and scope.
    182.3 Definitions.
    182.4 Policy.
    182.5 Responsibilities.
    182.6 Procedures

    Civil disturbance.
    Group acts of
    violence and disorder prejudicial to
    public law and order.
    Civilian law enforcement official.
    An
    officer or employee of a civilian Federal,
    State, local, and tribal law enforcement
    agency with responsibility for
    enforcement of the laws within the
    jurisdiction of that agency.
    DoD personnel.
    Federal military
    officers and enlisted personnel and
    civilian employees of the Department of
    Defense.
    Domestic emergencies.
    Emergencies
    affecting the public welfare and
    occurring within the 50 states, District
    of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto
    Rico, U.S. possessions and territories, or
    any political subdivision thereof, as a
    result of enemy attack, insurrection,
    civil disturbance, earthquake, fire, flood,
    or other public disasters or equivalent
    emergencies that endanger life and
    property or disrupt the usual process of
    government. Domestic emergencies
    include civil defense emergencies, civil
    disturbances, major disasters, and
    natural disasters

  116. Definitions:
    Civil disturbance.
    Group acts of
    violence and disorder prejudicial to
    public law and order.

    c) Governs all DoD Component
    planning for and participation in
    Defense support of civilian law
    enforcement activities, including
    domestic emergencies and civil
    disturbance operations (CDO) (formerly
    referred to as ‘‘military assistance for
    civil disturbances’’).
    (d) Applies to National Guard (NG)
    personnel only in title 10, U.S.C., status
    only.
    (e) Applies to civilian employees of
    the DoD Components and the activities
    of DoD contractors performed in support
    of the DoD Components.
    (f) Does not apply to:
    (1) Counternarcotics activities.
    (2) Assistance to foreign law
    enforcement officials.
    (3) The Defense Intelligence and
    Counterintelligence Components, excep

  117. Alex said: “Obama is preparing for Revolution.”

    It’s not Obama. It’s the Elites. Obama is just 1 person selected, not elected, by the Elites, to be a symbol to keep the ‘bewildred masses’ socially controlled (I.e. as long as we-the-people are focusing on Obama, playing their game nonpartisan or partisan politics, the Elites will continue to keep us from coming together as one to change this country).

  118. That is true RWL
    What I mean is Obama is giving them the ability to do so.
    They keep pushing us and pushing us. It is time to push back and put them back in their place. We are long overdue in resetting the bar.

  119. After we finish with King George, we need to put in measures to prevent all of this from happening ever again. Our leaders should always fear us. They should fear the consequences of becoming corrupt instead of safely hiding in ivory towers

  120. Letter to Holder from Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

    http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/politics/media-coalition-letter-of-protest-to-attorney-general-eric-holder/148/

    “The Department’s actions demonstrate that a strong federal shield law is needed to protect reporters and their newsgathering materials in a court of law where the adversarial process ensures a fair weighing of the issues. While Congress should provide thatremedial legislation, there is still much that this Department can do to mitigate thedamage it has caused.It should immediately return the telephone toll records obtained and destroy all copies, asrequested by The Associated Press. If it refuses, it should at the very least segregatethese records and prohibit any further use of them at this time. It should explain howgovernment lawyers overreached so egregiously in this matter and describe what theDepartment will do to mitigate the impact of these actions. Additionally, the Departmentmust also publicly disclose more information on who has had access to the records and what protections were taken to ensure that information unrelated to a specific criminalinvestigation was not utilized by any Department employees. This undertaking isconsistent with § 50.10(g)(4) (“Any information obtained as a result of a subpoena issued for telephone toll records shall be closely held so as to prevent disclosure of theinformation to unauthorized persons or for improper purposes.”)

    And finally, the Department should announce whether it has served any other pending news media-related subpoenas that have not yet been disclosed.”

    —–

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/05/the-ap-responds-to-doj-163983.html “The AP responds to the DOJ”

  121. “It seems to be terrible intrusion on the freedom of the press,” says Ramsey Clark, the U.S. attorney general from 1967 to 1969. “I don’t see how the press can operate effectively if the public and people that talk to the press have to assume that Big Brother is listening in or can seize the conversations they engage in.” -Ramsey Clark on Democracy Now

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/14/former_attorney_general_ramsey_clark_decries

  122. Chris Hedges on Democracy Now:

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/15/chris_hedges_monitoring_of_ap_phones

    “The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges join us to discuss what could mark the most significant government intrusion on freedom of the press in decades. The Justice Department has acknowledged seizing the work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press. The phones targeted included the general AP office numbers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The action likely came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story on the U.S. intelligence operation that stopped a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. Hedges, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and former New York Times reporter, calls the monitoring “one more assault in a long series of assaults against freedom of information and freedom of the press.”

    Highlighting the Obama administration’s targeting of government whistleblowers, Hedges adds: “Talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they are terrified of going to jail.””

  123. An excellent piece, as is the interview today with Chris Hedges (link above):

    http://www.ellsberg.net/archive/secrecy-national-security-whistleblowing

    Secrecy and National Security Whistleblowing

    by Daniel Ellsberg on January 8, 2013

    Excerpt:

    But the habits and reflexes of an experienced national security bureaucrat will be strong and reliable with respect to observing the “real” rules, against revelations to potential adversaries or rivals of the policies or agency or bosses one serves: whether in other agencies (or within one’s own), or Congress, or the public. (Keeping information from foreign adversaries-the official rationale for the whole secrecy system-is actually a less salient consideration for the larger part of the classified material, especially that which is “only” top secret or lower. Since foreign states neither control the agency’s budget nor do they vote in elections or in Congress, they are not the parties who must be excluded from much of the most “sensitive” information.) .

    Thus, a readiness and ability to keep secrets reliably is a prerequisite for these highly prestigious and powerful positions in our political system. But in this area as throughout human endeavor, it is a fundamental truth that wrongful secret-keeping is the most widespread form of complicity in wrong-doing. It involves many more people both within and outside an organization that is acting wrongfully than those who give wrongful orders or who directly implement them, though it includes these.

    Since wrong-doing virtually always requires both secrecy and lies, and further secrets and lies to protect the secrets and lies, the wrongful operation-especially in a regime that approaches democracy–is commonly highly vulnerable to a breach of secrecy by any one of the many who share the secret. Yet typically in the national security field (and to a striking degree even in corporate and private associations without a formal apparatus of secrecy) even the “weakest links” do not break. No one tells.

    And this is true even as important laws are being knowingly violated, or when many lives have been and more will be harmed by ignorance of the information being withheld. Think of the many situations in which whistleblowing was either wholly absent or very belated: the internal buildup to the Vietnam and Iraq wars; the tobacco industry; Vioxx; the accounting scandals of Enron or Worldcom, with its widespread effects on retirement accounts; child abuse by Catholic priests and cover-up by bishops; NSA warrantless wiretaps and White House-directed torture and kidnapping, after 9-11.

    In each of these cases, there were many insiders aware of the abuses and danger to outsiders, indeed ultimately to the organization itself. Yet there was virtually total silence, for years, to outside authorities or the public, total lack of warning to potential victims. Careerist incentives undoubtedly explain most of this: but all of it? The extraordinary lack of any break at all in the discipline of secrecy, no matter the human stakes?

    The examples above make clear that this is not only a phenomenon of government, or of the national security bureaucracy. The following reflections derive from my own experience in that bureaucracy, where large-scale unauthorized disclosures have been very rare (the Pentagon Papers, and the recent Wikileaks releases: two cases in forty years). But they apply as well, in some degree, to any organizations or groups that effectively demand some secret-keeping as a condition of membership. That is, to nearly every human group.

    End of excerpt.

  124. Here’s an excerpt from an excellent article by Daniel Ellsberg, “Secrecy and National Security Whistleblowing” (link to follow — I’m having trouble posting again)

    “But the habits and reflexes of an experienced national security bureaucrat will be strong and reliable with respect to observing the “real” rules, against revelations to potential adversaries or rivals of the policies or agency or bosses one serves: whether in other agencies (or within one’s own), or Congress, or the public. (Keeping information from foreign adversaries-the official rationale for the whole secrecy system-is actually a less salient consideration for the larger part of the classified material, especially that which is “only” top secret or lower. Since foreign states neither control the agency’s budget nor do they vote in elections or in Congress, they are not the parties who must be excluded from much of the most “sensitive” information.) .

    Thus, a readiness and ability to keep secrets reliably is a prerequisite for these highly prestigious and powerful positions in our political system. But in this area as throughout human endeavor, it is a fundamental truth that wrongful secret-keeping is the most widespread form of complicity in wrong-doing. It involves many more people both within and outside an organization that is acting wrongfully than those who give wrongful orders or who directly implement them, though it includes these.

    Since wrong-doing virtually always requires both secrecy and lies, and further secrets and lies to protect the secrets and lies, the wrongful operation-especially in a regime that approaches democracy–is commonly highly vulnerable to a breach of secrecy by any one of the many who share the secret. Yet typically in the national security field (and to a striking degree even in corporate and private associations without a formal apparatus of secrecy) even the “weakest links” do not break. No one tells.

    And this is true even as important laws are being knowingly violated, or when many lives have been and more will be harmed by ignorance of the information being withheld. Think of the many situations in which whistleblowing was either wholly absent or very belated: the internal buildup to the Vietnam and Iraq wars; the tobacco industry; Vioxx; the accounting scandals of Enron or Worldcom, with its widespread effects on retirement accounts; child abuse by Catholic priests and cover-up by bishops; NSA warrantless wiretaps and White House-directed torture and kidnapping, after 9-11.

    In each of these cases, there were many insiders aware of the abuses and danger to outsiders, indeed ultimately to the organization itself. Yet there was virtually total silence, for years, to outside authorities or the public, total lack of warning to potential victims. Careerist incentives undoubtedly explain most of this: but all of it? The extraordinary lack of any break at all in the discipline of secrecy, no matter the human stakes?

    The examples above make clear that this is not only a phenomenon of government, or of the national security bureaucracy. The following reflections derive from my own experience in that bureaucracy, where large-scale unauthorized disclosures have been very rare (the Pentagon Papers, and the recent Wikileaks releases: two cases in forty years). But they apply as well, in some degree, to any organizations or groups that effectively demand some secret-keeping as a condition of membership. That is, to nearly every human group.”

  125. iconoclast: We kind of like that, too. I don’t see that there’s anybody on the horizon pure enough for some of the commenters here today.

    On the horizon? I would not vote for or contribute to Hillary; at the moment I would contribute a few hundred bucks to an Elizabeth Warren campaign about ten minutes after she announced an intent to run in the primary, and I would vote for her in the primary and general election.

    I will also point out Obama was barely a senator when he announced, just like Warren. This would not be an unprecedented move; for a first female President Warren would be my choice.

  126. “I would not vote for or contribute to Hillary; at the moment I would contribute a few hundred bucks to an Elizabeth Warren campaign about ten minutes after she announced an intent to run in the primary, and I would vote for her in the primary and general election.

    I will also point out Obama was barely a senator when he announced, just like Warren. This would not be an unprecedented move; for a first female President Warren would be my choice.” -Tony C.

    Hear, hear.

  127. http://www.politico.com/story/2013/04/clinton-paul-new-hampshire-2016-poll-90652.html Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton are the frontrunners. Warren will run if Hillary doesn’t .O’Malley is last but he is coming off a very good legislative session in Maryland with the passage of gay marriage, some gun control measures, and the legalization of medical marijuana. Meanwhile Paul is in Iowa courting evangelicals. If I were Hillary I would forward to campaigning against Paul.

  128. http://observer.com/2013/05/just-a-crook-pentagon-papers-lawyer-thinks-obama-is-worse-than-nixon/ “Just a Crook? Pentagon Papers Lawyer Thinks Obama Is Worse Than Nixon”

    More from Greenwald with some excellent links:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/15/obama-civil-liberties-sea-change (“The major sea change in media discussions of Obama and civil liberties”, “The controversies over the IRS and especially the AP phone records appear to have long-lasting effects” )

  129. “Obama administration is looking like a Daley Machine administration” (nick)

    Bingo, bingo, bingo!! This is why SwM and I had trouble voting for him in the first place way back in 2008. And, don’t forget, Hillary also emerged from the Chicago culture (she first got involved doing canvas work in South Chicago during the 1960 campaign.)

    BTW, when looking at Hillary, don’t forget Anne Wexler.

  130. Swarthmore: Rand Paul is a dope, and a hypocritical one at that. I think Warren would have no problem mopping the floor with Rand in a debate, I think she would win the general election easily.

    Also, I expect Hillary to have health problems before long; and if she mismanaged her campaign as badly as last time, she might lose to Rand. Hillary comes with baggage (multiple falsehoods on the campaign trail, stiffing creditors, exorbitant and pointless expenses from the previous campaign, a failed bid at health care, etc) that Rand Paul doesn’t carry and would exploit, and he is to most (not me) a credible fiscal conservative and Constitutionalist.

    Warren has a better chance against him, and a better resume than Hillary, and a better reputation with far less baggage.

    If Warren revealed she stayed out of the primary out of deference to Hillary, I would be sorely disappointed in Warren for not letting the Democratic primary voters decide; and by her decision handing the Democratic nomination to a candidate that would probably lose. The best thing she can do for the country is to ditch deference and run, and let the primary decide. If I found out that Warren thinks HIllary would be the better president, I would lose a lot of respect for Warren’s intelligence.

  131. Tony, She won’t lose to Rand. Women, minorities, gay people and immigrants don’t like him. Remember the Obama coalition. He is worse on social issues than Romney. Women will turn out in droves and republican women will cross over and vote for Hillary. Warren would not get republican women or carry any southern states like Virginia or Florida.

  132. Don’t get me wrong, Blouise. I’d want to hear a lot more about some of Warren’s other positions before a lever was thrown, but Warren at this point – at least from an ethical standpoint – is a much more attractive candidate than Hillary ever could be. That being said, no one person could do all that needs to be done alone. However, a leader with the right ideas about the the nature of the problems (which in some areas Warren does have) and the willingness to take the battles (id.) is a good start. What I’d really like to hear is her position on the Patriot Act, about her willingness (or not) to go after criminals in previous administrations and what she would do about campaign finance reform.

  133. Smom,

    As fevered as HRC supporters are, most of them don’t realize how thoroughly despised she is from substantial elements from both the right and the left (albeit often for different reasons). As big a goober as Paul is, it would be at a minimum a stand up fight. There’s plenty of ammo for both sides to bring to bear.

  134. “As fevered as HRC supporters are …” trash talk, Gene, and not conducive to rational discussion.

    Warren is no more ready to be President in 2016 than Obama was in 2008. Although Biden wasn’t his first choice as running mate, it was a sound move for governance based on Biden’s years of experience in the arena. I can’t think of anyone who has the experience Warren needs in a running mate who would be willing to serve as a running mate.

    Clinton, on the other hand, has far more experience than even Biden possesses and once we get past the electability issue (a decision made by the Party), the running mate could be just about anybody.

    Now, down to brass tacks … a ticket with Biden/Pres and Warren/VP … electable and good for governance.

    I think the decision has already been made or is very close to being made.

  135. The Law Behind the A.P. Phone-Record Scandal

    Posted by Lynn Oberlander

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2013/05/ap-phone-record-scandal-justice-department-law.html

    Excerpt:

    The cowardly move by the Justice Department to subpoena two months of the A.P.’s phone records, both of its office lines and of the home phones of individual reporters, is potentially a breach of the Justice Department’s own guidelines. Even more important, it prevented the A.P. from seeking a judicial review of the action. Some months ago, apparently, the government sent a subpoena (or subpoenas) for the records to the phone companies that serve those offices and individuals, and the companies provided the records without any notice to the A.P. If subpoenas had been served directly on the A.P. or its individual reporters, they would have had an opportunity to go to court to file a motion to quash the subpoenas. What would have happened in court is anybody’s guess—there is no federal shield law that would protect reporters from having to testify before a criminal grand jury—but the Justice Department avoided the issue altogether by not notifying the A.P. that it even wanted this information. Even beyond the outrageous and overreaching action against the journalists, this is a blatant attempt to avoid the oversight function of the courts. End of excerpt

  136. Blouise,

    Just because you don’t like doesn’t mean it isn’t true. If you want to live in denial that HRC is simply more of the same, that is your choice, but I’m pretty sure she’s unelectable. Why? Well in part your reaction shows why. She’s polarizing and she has just as many if not more detractors as supporters from across the political spectrum (although I’ll stipulate she has more vocal detractors on the right). In addition, Hillary has a lot of baggage that competent propagandists will use to cut her chances even further once issue ads start should she run.

    Warren’s skill set and readiness? Is an entirely different discussion.

    *************

    Smom,

    Maybe, but it wouldn’t be a walk in the park.

  137. Alex, Obama won’t be removed from office by impeachment. That would make Biden the Prez and he’s more liberal on social issues than Obama. It would also give Biden the incumbent’s advantage in 2016. The Republicans wouldn’t stand for that. The Republican’s are going to use the second Obama term for scandals/hearings.

    Just their plain ol’ obstructionism is getting on the voters nerves though that will continue. What are the odds that the NLRB will spend Obama’s second term without a quorum too due to holds and filibusterer? You don’t see anyone in Congress saying that the laws that allow this kind of domestic spying need to be reformed because reform isn’t the point, political theater is. This story (DOJ/AP) which is a real scandal and abuse of power and needs to be addressed substantially but it won’t. The IRS thing and Bengazi are sideshows for the masses.

    But hey, if the Republicans want to kick Obama out and have President Biden I’d be OK with that- even knowing that the Republican objection to Obama is in major part racism unfettered.

  138. Blouise: [To Gene] “As fevered as HRC supporters are …” trash talk, Gene, and not conducive to rational discussion.

    Neither is being a fevered HRC supporter, and simply denying all her negatives as immaterial, irrelevant, inconsequential or beside the point.

    One can claim all they want Obama wasn’t ready, but Obama won two terms, handily.

    I would not vote for Rand Paul by any means, but I am objective enough to see that Rand Paul has a few things going for him, and because he isn’t in complete agreement with his Party, could easily bring a lot of votes to the party. It makes no difference how crazy he is, like Palin, if he was the nominee then led by Fox, the conservative media would salute and endorse him as a flawless genius; so would Republicans in the House and Senate. As they did with McCain, they would pair him up with a photogenic running mate with little baggage (as far as Republicans are concerned); perhaps Paul Ryan again, perhaps a female, perhaps an Hispanic. (my actual prediction, however, is Chris Christie.)

    I don’t think Warren being “ready” is an issue, it did not keep Obama from winning. Like Obama, if she fights the primary and wins the nomination, she could easily find her own “Biden” to provide the experience balance. She already has far more national legislative experience than Obama had when he got elected, and (IMO) better and more relevant academic qualifications as well.

    I will also say that Hillary has never won an elective seat; Warren has (and Obama had won more than one, counting his Illinois elections). Also, Hillary’s experience at the time was reflected glory from Bill, which I think has faded in relevance. Secretary of State is a good gig for the resume; but she was appointed, not elected. I think to a large number of voters that would prefer a Democrat over a Republican, including me, Hillary’s political career seems much like insider dealing or a nepotism boost, or “Clinton” name recognition; not something she gained entirely by her own efforts.

    I don’t think candidate Warren is wishful thinking, I truly think she could win the Democratic primary. I truly hope she thinks that, too.

  139. Rand Paul is going to be carrying some of the “kook” baggage of his father although he is working hard to appear like any other christianist republican.

  140. Tony C, Hillary was considered to be an effective senator who got along with both sides of the aisle.

  141. lottakatz:

    It would also give Biden the incumbent’s advantage in 2016. The Republicans Hillary wouldn’t stand for that.

  142. Swarthmore: I don’t care for Rand Paul, but he is good looking, speaks well, sufficiently educated, and is carving out a place distinct from his father in politics. Being a Christian appeals to about 90% of voters; it is pretty hard for a non-Christian to get elected Dog Catcher (I am exaggerating for effect, of course).

    To be President, Rand could simply do what Obama did about his pastor Wright, along the lines of: “My father and I are from different generations. We agree on many of our ideals, but above all he raised me to think for myself, and what I think is that some of my father’s political positions can be too extreme to be practical.”

    Not too tough, not too specific, and convey a caring relationship between independent peers that has moved beyond parent/child subordination.

  143. Tony C, I think sponsoring “personhood” legislation is a deal breaker for most women. I am not talking about being a christian; I am talking about sponsoring christianist legislation. He has attended rallies with Santorum and is going for his vote.

  144. There are many political veterans here. I would not exert too much energy debating Hillary, Rand and Elizabeth. Pretty good chance none of them will be the nominee. I would put Elizabeth @ 30-1, Rand 20-1, Hillary 8-1.

  145. Nick: Pick any given politician, and there is a pretty good chance they won’t be the nominee. Odds are meaningless here (and I say that as a sometimes professional statistician for my academic research), election years are not a repeatable experiment, we can’t run 2014 900 times and see if Warren reliably becomes the nominee a statistically significant number of times.

    What were the “chances” that Barack Hussein Obama would win on the day he announced he would run? A huge majority of people thought Hillary would crush him as she steamrolled her way to the nomination. Including Hillary; it was a contributing factor to her loss (in the form of her campaign’s dismissal of the importance of the small state caucuses).

    “Chances” cannot capture the defining moments, events, missteps and decisions that lie in the future and will decide the fate of those that run (or decide whether they run at all). Warren obviously has some ambitions, and she is 63 (two years younger than Hillary). In 2016, 66. Like Hillary, if she is ever going to do it, 2016 is probably her last chance to try. I think she has about a year to think about it.

  146. “Well in part your reaction shows why.” (Gene) Come on … supporting Hillary with something other than “fevered” hype is the reaction you get from me … the polarizing verbiage is all yours.

    She has all the experience necessary and experience always brings its own baggage. She had it back in 2008 but the money went to the Green Lantern thinkers … a savior, a savior, lord give us a savior.

    I’m not privy yet to the inside polling (I’m too far down the food chain), but given the hoopla coming out of the Repub and Libertarian camps, she’s the designated female-demon this time around (last cycle it was Pelosi). If she agrees to play that role, then we’ll see Biden take the lead but I doubt Warren will be on the ticket.

    It’s utterly amazing how backward this country is when it comes to power and the females who know how to wield it.

  147. You can continue to illustrate my point about polarizing all you like, Blouise. I really don’t mind.

    Or do you really think I chose the word “fevered” without forethought to audience reaction?

    And while Hillary’s State Department experience does make her look slightly better on paper than Warren vis a vis experience (not character, on character Warren wins hands down), it is only slightly and her baggage – far in excess of what comes from simple experience – far offsets that advantage.

    You seem to think I dislike Hillary (and Pelosi) for some other reason than they are amoral unprincipled politically opportunistic narcissistic corporatists. I don’t. They’re both Team Baelish through and through. That has always been my objection to both of them. That’s reason enough in my book not to like them regardless of their gender. While Warren may be newer to the game, she’s markedly not Team Baelish. Yet. “If ever” remains to be seen as the proof is in the eating of the pudding.

  148. Holder blasts Issa’s conduct as ‘shameful’

    At House Judiciary Committee hearing, Issa inquired about communications with Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez, and stated without proof that the Attorney General was deliberately hiding information from Congress and violating the Federal Records Act.

    When Holder tried to respond, Issa tried to cut him off. The A.G. was not pleased.

    “No, no, I’m not going to stop talking now,” Holer said, adding, “It is inappropriate and too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It is unacceptable. It is shameful.”

  149. Tony,

    Agreed. Laying odds at this point is premature. And the point about timing for Warren is well taken, however, one more cycle to build her credibility wouldn’t be a show stopper either.

  150. “Or do you really think I chose the word “fevered” without forethought to audience reaction?” (Gene)

    Yes. dear, I know, which is why I called you on it. I do it all the time with guns.

    I know why you dislike both women’s politics for you have never been shy in strongly stating your opinion. I just happen to disagree with it.

    I expect baggage with any politician worth his or her salt … perfection and purity ain’t much use to a politician and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t subscribe to the sociopath idea either.

    I don’t bother defending Hillary because I know she is a woman who understands power, knows how to wield it, and is a politician who is not easily played. She has all the experience necessary and all the established relationships here and abroad just waiting to be used. She is better suited for the office than anyone who has held it in decades.

  151. Robert Paul Wolff:

    The Benghazi matter is no scandal at all, and the attempts by the Republicans to blacken Hillary Clinton’s name three and a half years before she obliterates them in the 2016 presidential election will fail.

  152. Blouise: but given the hoopla coming out of the Repub and Libertarian camps, she’s the designated female-demon this time around (last cycle it was Pelosi).

    Good, those camps are both pretty short-sighted in my view, meaning pretty short on predictive power and predicting people’s reactions. Just look at their Romney+Ryan ticket to see that, look at their budget proposals, their immigration proposals, their policy in general. Talk about Green Lantern thinking, they seem to think if they just believe hard enough they will somehow win.

    I will point again at the start of the Obama campaign. Virtually nobody (including me) thought he had a snowball’s chance, yet he prevailed in the primary, and defeated a pretty popular Republican in the general. Despite being black, despite his lack of military, foreign policy, or national experience, despite what sounded initially like a completely foreign name.

    Warren would be a first also (as a female) but with fewer negatives to overcome, and I think Hillary did at least one thing in her campaign, which was to come close enough to make the idea of a female President plausible. If she didn’t break through the ceiling she at least put a big crack in it, and that would make it easier for Warren to prevail in the primary and in the general.

    I also think Warren has better rhetoric (and intelligence) for defeating Christie. That guy strikes me as a facile, off-the-cuff liar (proven by articles I have read about him), and I think Warren has the memory and quickness to call him on it.

  153. I didn’t say they were sociopaths, Blouise.

    I said they were narcissists.

    Petyr Baelish is a narcissist. Joffery Baratheon is a sociopath (probably closer to a psychopath because of his sadist streak). Not the same kinds of creature.

    As for baggage? Sure. Everyone comes with a certain amount, however, not all baggage is created equal when it comes to elections. I think you underestimate the weight of Hillary’s.

  154. Tony C.,

    Although I like Warren and worked hard and contributed money for her election, I do not think she has enough experience to sit in the Oval. I’d rather see her continue to work through the Senate and add a few like her to both Houses.

    You know, Tony … after Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama, I’m fed up with rubes who need two years to come up to speed. This time I’d like to hit the ground running.

    So, in the Primary, if Hillary is on the ballot, I’ll vote for her. If she isn’t and it’s Biden and Warren, I’ll vote for Biden.

    (internal pollsters … take note and don’t bother calling me)

  155. “I didn’t say they were sociopaths, Blouise.” (Gene)

    I know you didn’t … I was referring to general talk on the blog regarding politicians being sociopaths.

    “She ain’t heavy, she’s my brother.”

  156. Tony C.,

    and … as to Obama beating McCain … that race would have been much closer were it not for McCain’s choice of running mate. Some fool, maybe even McCain himself, fell for that old, angry, white, man lie left over from the Suffragettes’ time … “Women will vote for women.”

    Talk about a politician getting played …

  157. My shoot from the hip odds factor in the fact that it is a looong time till the next election and that there are many players still out there. It was just for fun, nothing more. We all need fun. Some here desperately need it.

    I’m a gambler who has played craps, blackjack, bet on horses[I’m a a handicapper], and football. I took statistics in college, but I am not an academic. WE have an academic for president! How’s that working out. Having gambled for 30 years I understand probability, odds, etc. from the real world. That’s my classroom.

  158. Gene,

    Yes, I’d put Joffery Baratheon in the psychopath group.

    There a some who hold the opinion that Petyr Baelish also rates high on the Psychopathic Personality Inventory

  159. Blouise, Yes, my brother in law was a long time McCain supporter, and he switched instantly. I will give credit to Obama’s excellent campaign staff, too. Politicians from Massachusetts have not proven to be very electable nationwide although Warren has Oklahoma roots. I am sure the Indian flap would come up again. Warren won’t run if Hillary does.

  160. nick,

    My daughter just got back from her annual trip to Vegas where she does nothing but play blackjack. Don’t ask, I can’t explain it

  161. SwM,

    “I will give credit to Obama’s excellent campaign staff” … many of whom jumped ship from Hillary early on … bas!ards

  162. Blouise,

    I think Baelish is purely a narcissist although a malignant narcissist can be every bit as dangerous as a psychopath. Even Varys says of him in describing Robert’s allies in the Court, “Ser Barristan loves his honour, Grand Maester Pycelle loves his office, and Littlefinger loves Littlefinger.”

  163. Tony C: ““Chances” cannot capture the defining moments, events, missteps and decisions that lie in the future and will decide the fate of those that run (or decide whether they run at all).”

    LOL, ain’t that the truth! I remember when Rick Perry was looking good and all that. Then he showed up to a debate with a head full of drugs and couldn’t remember his own platform promise even with friendly prompting from his opponents. Stuff happens.

  164. Blouise, Hopefully you daughter looks upon gambling as entertainment. Blackjack is a great game and being your daughter I’m sure she plays smart. Craps is my favorite. When you walk into a casino and hear hooting and clapping, it’s almost always the crap table. I have taught many people[mostly women] who were intriqued watching, but intimidated to play. I love playing craps w/ women and blacks. Asians are like robots. The most fun I ever had was playing craps in Detroit w/ a table full of black men and women. Yes..it was LOUD.

    I was taught by my old man how to gamble. However, his wisdom on gambling and staying within your means was the best thing he taught me. Bookies operate pretty openly in the area of Ct. I grew up. You could go into certain bars and place bets the bartender who would call it into bookies. It was all quite open..hell, many local cops bet. When casinos started to grow outside Nevada, so many people who knew nothing about how to gamble w/ self discipline fell victim to compulsive gambling. Poker machines are the most addictive. The former Mayor of San Diego was a degenerate video poker player. You may have read about hundred of millions she lost. There’s no social aspect of video poker, it’s solo and sinister in its effect. Bob Bennett also was a victim. What is better about gambling in the U.S,. compared to Europe, is most people here look upon gambling as entertainment. I have gambled in Europe. They are deadly serious. They don’t laugh, and seldom smile. They NEVER tip a dealer.

    Vegas is a fantasy city. There is so much to despise, but it is truly American. What I really like the past 15 years or so is the explosion of great restaurants. It used to be just horseshit buffets.

  165. IRS Acting Commissioner Resigns Amid Controversy
    President Barack Obama said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requested and received the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steven Miller, amid widening fallout from the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.
    The president has been under pressure to act in the aftermath of acknowledgement by top IRS officials that conservative groups were improperly singled out. An investigation by a Treasury inspector general found that the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review tea party and other conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status.
    See More Coverage »
    ________________________________
    This works really good. I didn’t resign. They fired me. I refused to resign.

  166. nick,

    She’s a serious player but not a big player. She always comes home about a $1000’s to the good after meeting her expenses. She says the secret is knowing when to walk away, not just from the tables but also from a table full of amateurs. She only plays in Vegas and doesn’t go to any of the casinos around here. I went once with her … never again … too much like work.

  167. Nick: ’m a gambler who has played craps, blackjack, bet on horses[I’m a a handicapper], and football. […] Having gambled for 30 years I understand probability, odds, etc. from the real world. That’s my classroom.

    I will answer personal testimony with personal testimony: I’m a gambler, too. I have been to Vegas seven times and played every game in the Casino; also gambled in Chicago, New Orleans, Atlantic City, Reno, and a few other places. I spent six months between consulting contracts in Phoenix doing nothing but horse racing, and I won enough at that track to pay all my living expenses with money left over to bet again. I have also been a stock market and options investor for over 30 years, and an entrepreneur in about a dozen businesses; so many I’ve lost count.

    In addition to my undergraduate courses I took several graduate courses in statistics; and I kept those skills up for analysis of error, reliability, and to characterize predictive failure in systems.

    Having gambled for 40 years, for both business and pleasure, I understand odds in the real world too. But the real world is a crappy classroom, Nick, it’s lessons have no structure, they are filled with irrelevant random causes and effects, and both emotion and selection bias are rampant. Textbooks and following the painstaking reasoning of the geniuses that invented statistics, even if long dead, are what distill truths and key concepts down to a science of tools instead of a gut feeling.

    The school of hard knocks deprives one of centuries of brilliant thinking and insights; thinking it is enough is the hubris of thinking you must be in the ranks of the smartest guys that ever lived. It is like a street fighter attacking a Kung Fu black belt. Would you trust your life to a surgeon that proudly claimed he never got past the first two years of medical school, but learned all of his medicine in the school of hard knocks?

    The school of hard knocks is not a substitute for formal training, and it should never be any more than the polishing course.

  168. Blouise: For about two years my sister lived in Vegas and was a cashier at one of the casinos, one of her friends was a fairly successful poker professional poker player; some tournament play but mostly just at the tables with the tourists.

    At dinner one night he told me that besides having a sense of the odds based on cards already shown, the biggest trick was parsing the time the tourists had left on their trip. He said they come in for a few days, and they want some action, they want to be involved in a big hand or big pot, and the less time they have, the more they will over-bet their hand.

    He said he plays four or six hours a night, and most nights, and if that means folding every hand he is okay with that. But a tourist doesn’t have that kind of patience. They can’t just do nothing. The mark is the tourist flying home in the morning. That is the person to focus on.

  169. tony c:

    How do you think all that stuff came into being? Experience. Come on. Medicine was developed over hundreds of years based on experience. So was economics, statistics, etc. Most of it is based on observation and validation of the observations. Some of it is based on hypothesis and then expanded upon with observation and experience/experiments.

    Formal schooling is a small part of human knowledge; it passes on knowledge learned by past generations to future generations. It is only a small amount of information based on what is left to know.

    Theory without experience is not knowledge, it is just memorization of some facts and theories, it is a hypothesis.

    a gut feeling is based on the sum total of your knowledge and experience. It is why I would trust a doctor with white hair over one just out of medical school. The guy with white hair has more experience.

    An engineer who has worked on a construction site knows more than the engineer who has only worked in an office.

    You need theory but you also need experience. They are both important and are both necessary. Theory without experience is almost but not quite as useless as experience without theory.

  170. Tony C.,

    I’m not anti gambling at all and enjoy a good game of poker with friends and family but casinos give me a headache.

    I’m going to pass on the tip about tourists to my daughter though I suspect, since she’s been making the annual trip since she was 22 years old (she’s 35 now) she’s already clued in given her desire to avoid amateurs when staying with a table or dealer. She seems to like the group action when all the players know what they’re doing. The one time I went with her I had a sheet of paper full of rules … rules I kept forgetting to follow thus forcing her to apologize for me. We were at The Venetian and I finally was banished to the gondolas.

  171. The real world is a great teacher, and where ALL of us reside. Some just refuse to accept it. Regarding your surgeon analogy. I want an ace surgeon for myself or loved ones. I check out surgeons for family and friends since I’m very locked in, having defended docs in malpractice suits. Some of the worst surgeons I have helped defend were Ivy Leaguers. Maybe the worst surgeon in my area was Harvard educated. He was so arrogant and corrupt[unneeded surgeries]and his license to practice was suspended. When I check out a surgeon I look @ their education, but that is not nearly dispositive. I put more weight on the number of surgeries, complaints, lawsuits, patient evaluations, etc. You know, HOW THEY PERFORM AND PRODUCE in the real world. And, I talk w/ their colleagues. The real world is messy, and filled w/ all types of distractions, surprises, and ILLOGICAL events. I want a surgeon who not only understands that very basic fact, but one who embraces it.

    Back to gambling. I will take you @ your word that you have the vast experience you profess. While I like to shoot from the hip on fun stuff, I am a serious man who throws out the word, “liar,” sparingly. Gambling in a casino, track, etc. is filled w/ distractions. So, the knowledge of odds and probability are USELESS if you can’t navigate that enviroment. Again, like the surgeon, a good gambler embraces what he can’t control but has the focus of a surgeon and embraces the surprises and the non linear world in which we reside. The dice are linear. But, a table has very nonlinear spurts. Arguably one of the greatest gamblers of all time was the character depicted in the flick, Casino. Rosenthal created the sports book in Vegas. High school education.

    I’m not going to change your mind on this. Why not just agree to disagree, and not have the pissing match you seem to often want. Who do you like in the Preakness? My wife bet on her favorite jockey, Rosie Napravnik, in the Derby. She’s riding Mylute again on Saturday. I had Orb in the Derby but didn’t make much. I parlayed him w/ two horses who are still running in exactas. Maybe I’ll actually parlay w/ my wife. Now, that’s illogica,l but how you have a good marriage. Exponentially more important than winning a bet. Plus, Mylute is a good horse and 5-1 in the morning line. However, there is always the real world variable of the weather. Being a horse player, you know that can decide a race.

  172. Blouise, Amateurs are a bother @ a table. However, the blackjack table is set up for interaction. Usually, there’s only one or two ham n’ eggers @ a table, often they’re together. IF THEY’RE SOBER, I will very low key offer advice. I can read folks and can tell when they’re really looking for advice, but are afraid to ask. Good dealers will offer advice also. They do it more w/ a new craps player, since it’s a much more difficult game and very intimidating. A monkey can deal blackjack. You have to be smart and sharp to work on a craps table. I went to school w/ a lot of South Jersey guys. When AC opened up gambling they recruited high school math teachers. Two of my buddies left teaching to work craps and made 5 times the teacher salary the first year. The first year of AC gambling, only one casino opened..Reorts. You had to wear a jacket and tie. AC had this pipe dream of creating a Monaco on the beach. Wow, were they wrong!! AC is a mini Detroit and always will be. That first year I went to Resorts. You had to wait in line to get into the casino, and then getting to a table was impossible. Finally, the WORST time to gamble is late @ night when drunks rule. I’m in bed early. I love to drink, but never drink when I gamble. There’s a real world reason they give booze away.

  173. Bron: gut feeling is based on the sum total of your knowledge and experience.

    A professional bases their decisions on the sum total of the knowledge, experience, and careful reasoning of dozens to many thousands of people.

    No single person invented medicine, or engineering, or computer science, or the study of biology, evolution, genetics, fluid dynamics, physics or even farming. Yet by distillation and condensation of ideas and the lessons of many thousands of experiments, a single person with sufficient aptitude can become more expert in the practice of the discipline than virtually any of the experts that contributed to their knowledge; because they combine the knowledge of many. I can know more about physics than Newton or Einstein, because the science of physics did not END with Newton or Einstein.

    We learn from geniuses that have had their reasoning and proofs checked by hundreds, and empirically verified by multi-million dollar experiments and centuries of data and practice. It is hopeless to try and trump that with one person’s experience, it is like one person against an army that stretches to the horizon.

    It is possible to add to that army, to become a member of it, to contribute an important new idea or reasoning, to overturn a previous idea with a better idea. But Einstein did not correct Newton without first becoming an expert in the distilled and condensed knowledge of just about everything Newton and the vast army of physicists before Einstein had to offer.

    Theory without experience is actually quite valuable; I would rather hire an architect fresh out of school than some guy that never went to school but claims “experience” in designing buildings. I would rather hire a mechanic out of school than a self-taught mechanic, I would rather hire a kid that just finished a Master’s in computer science than a self-taught coder. The educated people I can talk to, guide, and I know from their schooling they are capable of learning. The self-taught I always suspect of being hackers in the sense of just having tried things without understanding until they got something that seems to work, without knowing precisely why they work.

    I have hired dozens of professionals in my career, and I will take a fresh 4.0 student over ten years of experience every day of the week. When I hire I am seldom interested in what they can do for me tomorrow, I am more interested in their potential in a year or two. I can turn a good and conscientious student into an expert; the self-taught have usually taught themselves some very bad shortcuts and habits, and changing them from hackers into professionals can be an intractable problem. They are often too wedded to the idea that nothing matters but “Hey, it works, and I’ve never [personally] seen it fail.”

    Theory matters. Personal experience can teach but it will never, alone, reach the power of theories developed over centuries by an army of geniuses.

  174. Blouise: In BlackJack (or Roulette or many of the games) you play the house; but in poker you are playing the other patrons; the house just taxes the pot.

    That is a big difference. Playing the house, the house wins in the long term (unless you are counting cards or something). Playing other patrons, you can have a legitimate percentage edge because most patrons are just not the same caliber as a professional card player; they make mistakes. Heck, I’ve played against people in Vegas that didn’t know the rank of the hands. Many years ago I played against a woman that seriously asked the dealer, “Does four diamonds mean anything?” He told her he couldn’t comment, and she proceeded to bet on —- Four diamonds.

    If you are good enough, your profit margin on poker can exceed the house vig and you can earn a living at casino poker. The same is often true of the sports book or race track, if betting is pari-mutuel (odds determined only by the bets of patrons after the house vig).

  175. “Strongbox, an online place where people can send documents and messages to the magazine, and we, in turn, can offer them a reasonable amount of anonymity. It was put together by Aaron Swartz, who died in January, and Kevin Poulsen.” -from the following article

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2013/05/introducing-strongbox-anonymous-document-sharing-tool.html

    May 15, 2013

    Introducing Strongbox

    Posted by Amy Davidson

    This morning, The New Yorker launched Strongbox, an online place where people can send documents and messages to the magazine, and we, in turn, can offer them a reasonable amount of anonymity. It was put together by Aaron Swartz, who died in January, and Kevin Poulsen. Kevin explains some of the background in his own post, including Swartz’s role and his survivors’ feelings about the project. (They approve, something that was important for us here to know.) The underlying code, given the name DeadDrop, will be open-source, and we are very glad to be the first to bring it out into the world, fully implemented.

    Strongbox is a simple thing in its conception: in one sense, it’s just an extension of the mailing address we printed in small type on the inside cover of the first issue of the magazine, in 1925, later joined by a phone number (in 1928—it was BRyant 6300) and e-mail address (in 1998). Readers and sources have long sent documents to the magazine and its reporters, from letters of complaint to classified papers. (Joshua Rothman has written about that history and the magazine’s record of investigative journalism.) But, over the years, it’s also become easier to trace the senders, even when they don’t want to be found. Strongbox addresses that; as it’s set up, even we won’t be able to figure out where files sent to us come from. If anyone asks us, we won’t be able to tell them.

    How does that work? The graphic below maps it out; multiple computers, thumb drives, encryption, and Tor are all involved. We’ll be looking forward to what we find in Strongbox, with the same curiosity our first editors had almost ninety years ago.

  176. Those who disparage “book learnin'” usually don’t have any. Experience supplements formalized training, but it is not a replacement for it. Conversely as Tony notes with his Einstein/Newton example, formal training allows the educated to exploit and maximize experience in ways the self-taught can not. The relationship is reciprocal, but not equal.

  177. Nick: You attribute to much credit to your personal experience; we can agree to disagree about that.

    I have no pick in horse races anymore, I have no love of any kind of racing in particular, and I only analyze races I intend to bet hundreds on; otherwise it is not worth my time. Like sports, it is not a hobby, in Phoenix it was just chance proximity to an interesting mathematical puzzle while I was taking a break and waiting for something else to start.

    Yes, track condition (from fast to sloppy) can influence the race. Not just for how the horses run but for how the jockeys run them and trainers and owners instruct them to run. Any race can be literally lethal for both horse and jockey; but a muddy track especially so. For some jockeys, trainers and owners, winning is much less important than horse and jockey surviving the race.

  178. ” … you can earn a living at casino poker. The same is often true of the sports book or race track, …” (Tony C)

    Many years ago, when we first bought this house, our next door neighbor earned his living at the racetrack … always had and continued to do so till he died. I also served on a jury with a man who earned his living at the track. I believe they both described themselves as handicappers.

  179. I can only speak for myself. I have not disparaged book learning. I just refuse to worship it. Anyone who says they would, “rather hire a mechanic right out of school than a self taught mecahnic” is putting ideology over common sense. It’s like doubling down on 13, which I’ve actually see done. The guy was pie eyed.

  180. Blouise, From my communications w/ you here I think you have more of the personality for craps. However, @ your advanced age can you stand for a few hours? Actually, for people of your years, the crew will let you bring over a stool from a blackjack table.

    You’ll like this. I was @ a nearby Indian casino recently. It was pretty busy and few stools were open. I then saw a 3 deck blackjack table[premium for people who know the game] w/ 2 seats open. I sat down and realized why. There was a nice retired dairy farmer playing. He was sans a left leg. He had his stump[not covered] on the adjacent stool. I said WTF and sat down on the second stool and played. I asked him how he lost his leg[farm accident] and we hit it off. He was a good player.

  181. “This is a very troubling aspect of this administration — it is hostile to the news media,” Johnston says. “They’re behaving much more like a corporation than like the people’s government.” -David Cay Johnston

    http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/16/ap_monitoring_raises_fears_of_government

    “AP Monitoring Raises Fears of Government Overreach: How Far Will Obama Go to Crack Down on Leaks?”

    David Cay Johnston, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and president of Investigative Reporters and Editors, joins us to discuss the growing scandal over the Justice Department’s seizure of telephone records from Associated Press editors and reporters. The action came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story about how U.S. intelligence thwarted a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. “This is a very troubling aspect of this administration — it is hostile to the news media,” Johnston says. “They’re behaving much more like a corporation than like the people’s government.”

  182. http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2013/5/15/ap_reporter_appeared_on_democracy_now_while_being_targeted_by_justice_department_dragnet

    “AP Reporter Appeared on Democracy Now! While Being Targeted By Justice Department Dragnet”

    “On April 17, 2012, Associated Press reporter Matt Apuzzo appeared on Democracy Now! to talk about the New York City Police Department’s surveillance of Muslim communities in the city and around the northeastern United States. A day earlier, Apuzzo and his partners had won a Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their months-long series. Apuzzo is now at the center of the Justice Department spy scandal. According to the Associated Press, Apuzzo was among the journalists whose April-May 2012 phone records were seized by the government. The phone records would include any calls made by Democracy Now! to Apuzzo ahead of his April 17 interview. Apuzzo was targeted because he co-wrote a May 7 article about a secret operation, conducted by the CIA and allied intelligence agencies, that stopped a Yemen-based al-Qaeda plot to detonate a bomb on an airplane headed for the United States. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has defended the secret subpoena as part of a probe into what he described a “very serious” leak which “put the American people at risk.””

    “Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Chris Hawley and Eileen Sullivan of The Associated Press today were named winners of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for their months-long series outlining the New York Police Department’s surveillance of minority and particularly Muslim neighborhoods since the 9/11 terror attacks.” (http://www.ap.org/content/press-release/2012/ap-wins-pulitzer-prize-for-investigative-reporting-on-nypd-surveillance)

  183. nick,

    I’m in remarkably good health for a 68 year old and have little trouble standing for long periods of time so I just might give craps a shot. We’re all going with my daughter next year. Her husband is a huge fight fan and one of our friend’s brother trains at Merriweather’s (I think I have the name right) gym and he’ll give my son-in-law a pass to watch the training sessions. Tex and I will have the 5 year old taking her to the pool, to the Cirque, and to that roller coaster … etc. My other daughter and son-in-law will be with us too and he’s the one who knows craps so maybe, if I’ve learned the game, he’ll let me come with him to the casino.

  184. About gambling. My wife loved to go to the casinos. When they built the casinos on the Gulf Coast and in Tunica, MS, she was thrilled. I took her several times, but handed her exactly the amount of cash she could spend. We agreed that no one should take more money to a casino than they would be willing to toss in the fireplace and burn.

    I find casinos interesting. I like to watch the people. Gambling is the perfect example of the power of Variable Interval Reinforcement. B. F. Skinner discovered this law of behavior by accident in 1956. To me, a casino is a big psychology lab where you can see all the principles of behavior modification at work.

  185. although I think both are necessary, I would rather have the person with 10 years of experience over the one with one assuming of course the same training in college.

  186. “Surveillance of AP on behalf of national security the ‘last refuge of scoundrels'”

    Published time: May 16, 2013 05:18

    http://rt.com/op-edge/surveillance-ap-national-security-348/

    Justification of far-reaching surveillance on the Associated Press is evidently based on interests of national security, the “last refuge of scoundrels” looking to suppress information, Norman Solomon, of the media watch group ‘FAIR’, told RT.

    RT: If indeed in the interest of national security surely the action against the Associated Press was justified in this instance?

    Norman Solomon: Well, a lot is done in the name of national security and protecting the public. Several decades ago spying by the Nixon administration on the press – dirty tricks and so forth – were also rationalized within the White House and later publicly as somehow protecting the public from subversive or other elements that threaten the republic. And that is, really, one of the last refuges of scoundrels, when it comes to top leaders who want to turn off the tap of information reaching their own public. That those leaders would rather the public be kept in the dark.

    And I think what we’ve seen with these revelations about the phone records of AP reporters is that this administration, which has already waged a larger war against more whistleblowers than any other in US history, has continued to push the envelope and tried to have a chilling event not only on journalists but to sources within the administration.

  187. Bron,

    I think it depends on the situation. Consider doctors. Do you want an oncologist with 15 years experience who may be operating on experience and 15 year old knowledge or the oncologist fresh out of school who knows that latest science and technology backward and forward?

  188. Gene H:

    the chances of finding an oncologist with no continuing ed is as likely as finding a talking dog. The very nature of the job requires continued education. Even engineers are required to take 24 hours a year of continuing ed. but I find in the course of practice, I am keeping up with the latest and greatest by just reading a couple of mags and doing internet searches once in a while. Although gravity hasnt changed much in 500 years so F=ma is as valid today as it was when Mr. Newton figured it out.

    Once you understand F=ma, the rest is just finding new ways to use it. Which comes from experience.

  189. “the chances of finding an oncologist with no continuing ed is as likely as finding a talking dog.”

    If you’d ever worked med mal, you’d be on the market for a talking dog right now. CE requirements in medicine are just like they are in law – some are good and people learn something substantive and others are vacations. Consider too that it is possible to “test learn” and then simply ignore the new information rather than integrate it. No. CE’s are not a guarantee that the person is current. They are a preventative, not a curative, and only as useful as the individual student. For example, I know of a cardiologist. He’s a great mechanic if you need a stent or other heart surgery, but he hates CE’s related to meds and doesn’t like keeping up with the latest pharmacology. He’s more of a physiology guy than a chemistry guy. As a consequence, he often prescribes older medicines which sometimes are not as effective or have harsher side effects than newer meds. This is not a unique story and has parallels in any profession that one would think CE is simply part of the job.

    I know you know I find this an anathema as I know you know how I feel about learning in general. Namely that a day without it is a day wasted. However, some people aren’t aggressive learners let alone autodidactic.

    You know this is true as a proposition of human nature.

  190. Bron: I would rather have the person with 10 years of experience over the one with one assuming of course the same training in college.

    Way to change the topic completely. If they have the SAME TRAINING IN COLLEGE, you have invalidated the issue of which is more important; theory or experience.

    As for experience, the question is whether the person has ten years of experience, or one year of experience ten times. Meaning, has experience taught them anything about avoiding real world errors? Or are they just repeating the same mistakes again and again?

    I would (and have) hired greenhorns with stellar academics over the self-taught by experience without academics, or that dropped out, or had mediocre grades. I can work better with somebody that is intelligent and can explain their thinking.

  191. Blouise, You can read a book on craps. I would suggest it to have the basics. But the only way to learn is by having someone w/ knowledge teach you as you play. It seems very complicated, but the bets you should be making are not complicated. Obviously, when you’re learning you would like a $5 table. There are some on the strip, but downtown has many, and even some $3 tables. Downtown is a freak show, which I like once in awhile. It’s blue collar, which I also enjoy. My biggest complaint is they don’t have the superb ventilation the strip casinos have, so smoke can be an issue. Some of the downtowners have tables right near the wide open entrances..they’re ok. I was just busting your lady balls on being able to stand, which I’m quite certain you know.

  192. OS, Absolutely! There is no better place to people watch than a casino. I have so many stories but you’ll appreciate this one. I was playing blackjack in Bally’s w/ a guy named Frank. He obviously had some issues. He was a good player and friendly, but there was something in his demeanor and eyes that said there are demons in there. Everything was fine for ~10 -20 hands. THEN THE OCD KICKED IN! At first it was a few touches around his cards. Then he started arranging his stash of chips in different piles. There were other manifestations that eventually started to interfere w/ the game. As the OCD actions increased, he became less and less communicative. After it started getting out of hand the pit boss came over. She was very nice and obviously knew him. She had a towel to put over his chips. She then said w/ a caring voice, “Frank, why don’t you just take a break, I’ll comp you a meal if you like.” Frank just nodded. He said he wasn’t hungry but would just go outside for a bit. I wasn’t there when he returned.

  193. “It’s interesting this is coming down to a conflict between White House and CIA, isn’t it?” -emptywheel

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/16/did-tommy-vietor-hang-out-cia-on-undiebomb-2-0/

    Did Tommy Vietor Hang Out CIA on UndieBomb 2.0?

    Posted on May 16, 2013 by emptywheel

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/16/did-tommy-vietor-hang-out-cia-on-undiebomb-2-0/

    The same day that the White House released 94 pages of Benghazi emails, which not only show that most at CIA supported the talking points used by the Administration but also include annotations of the CIA roles involved that reveal far more about CIA’s structure than any FOIA response I’ve ever seen, Tommy Vietor went on the record about UndieBomb 2.0 with both the WaPo and MSNBC. It appears he did so to reinforce the fear-mongering language Eric Holder used (though like Holder, Vietor doesn’t explain why John Brennan got a promotion after contributing to such a damaging leak). He said this to WaPo.

    Vietor said that it would be a mistake to dismiss the unauthorized disclosure because al-Qaeda failed to carry out its plot.

    “We shouldn’t pretend that this leak of an unbelievably sensitive dangerous piece of information is okay because nobody died,” he said.

    But the WaPo account also seems to serve (like the Benghazi email dump does) to place blame on CIA.

    It answers a question I hinted at yesterday: whether the CIA and White House were on different pages on what to do with the AP story. Reportedly, after AP had given the CIA time to kill Fahd al-Quso (the WaPo doesn’t mention that was the purpose of the delay), CIA’s Mike Morell told the AP the security issue had been addressed, but asked for one more day. As AP considered that request, the White House overrode that discussion.

    Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.

    Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.

    When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?

    The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP’s offices.

    The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.

    This must be the crux of the animosity here. CIA told AP the danger had passed (though according to some reports, our informant was still in Yemen). At that point, the AP should have and ultimately did feel safe to publish. But then the White House made this ridiculous request, effectively refusing to let AP tell this story before the White House had a shot at it.

    Which is why this claim, from Tommy Vietor, is so absurd.

    But former White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor, recalling the discussion in the administration last year, said officials were simply realistic in their response to AP’s story. They knew that if it were published, the White House would have to address it with an official, detailed statement.

    “There was not some press conference planned to take credit for this,” Vietor said in an interview. “There was certainly an understanding [that] we’d have to mitigate and triage this and offer context for other reporters.”

    Jeebus Pete! If your idea of “mitigating and triaging” AP’s fairly complimentary story is to make it far, far worse by hinting about the infiltrator, you’re doing it wrong!

    Vietor, who presumably had a role in setting up the conference all at which Brennan tipped off Richard Clarke (though according to Brennan, he did not sit in on the call), insists to MSNBC that telling someone we had “inside control” of this plot does not constitute a gigantic clue that the entire plot was just a sting.

    Tommy Vietor, then chief national security spokesman for the White House, disputed the idea that Brennan disclosed sensitive details in his background briefing and said it was “ridiculous” to equate Brennan’s use of the phrase “inside control” with having an “informant.”

    It’s a nonsense claim, of course. Someone fucked up the “mitigating and triaging” process, and that’s what made this leak so dangerous, not AP’s initial story. But, presumably because AP didn’t let White House tell the official story before they reported their scoop (and did they plan on telling us all we had inside control on the op if they got to tell the story first?!?), the AP has, as far as we know, borne the brunt of the investigation into the leak.

    For the moment let me reiterate two more details.

    It appears that Vietor is blaming CIA for the way this went down. And guess what? The guy who blathered about “inside control” has now taken over the CIA.

    Then there’s this. Eric Holder noted yesterday that the investigation into David Petraeus for leaking classified information — understood to be limited to his mistress Paula Broadwell, mind you — is ongoing. That means the FBI interview he had on April 10 was not sufficient to answer concerns about his involvement in leaking classified information.

    It’s interesting this is coming down to a conflict between White House and CIA, isn’t it?

  194. These are just short lists, there are many more people.

    Self Taught Pols/Philosophers
    Karl Marx
    Abe Lincoln
    MalcolmX
    Ben Franklin

    Self Taught Writers
    Herman Melville
    Ernest Hemingway
    Ray Bradbury
    Louis LaMour
    George Bernard Shaw

    Self Taught Inventors
    Wright Brothers
    Thomas Edison
    James Watt

    Self Taught Architects
    Frank Lloyd Wright
    Gustave Eiffel
    Louis Sullivan

    Don’t get me started on actors, musicians, etc.

  195. “It’s interesting this is coming down to a conflict between White House and CIA, isn’t it?” -emptywheel

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/16/did-tommy-vietor-hang-out-cia-on-undiebomb-2-0/

    Did Tommy Vietor Hang Out CIA on UndieBomb 2.0?

    Posted on May 16, 2013 by emptywheel

    The same day that the White House released 94 pages of Benghazi emails, which not only show that most at CIA supported the talking points used by the Administration but also include annotations of the CIA roles involved that reveal far more about CIA’s structure than any FOIA response I’ve ever seen, Tommy Vietor went on the record about UndieBomb 2.0 with both the WaPo and MSNBC. It appears he did so to reinforce the fear-mongering language Eric Holder used (though like Holder, Vietor doesn’t explain why John Brennan got a promotion after contributing to such a damaging leak). He said this to WaPo.

    Vietor said that it would be a mistake to dismiss the unauthorized disclosure because al-Qaeda failed to carry out its plot.

    “We shouldn’t pretend that this leak of an unbelievably sensitive dangerous piece of information is okay because nobody died,” he said.

    But the WaPo account also seems to serve (like the Benghazi email dump does) to place blame on CIA.

    It answers a question I hinted at yesterday: whether the CIA and White House were on different pages on what to do with the AP story. Reportedly, after AP had given the CIA time to kill Fahd al-Quso (the WaPo doesn’t mention that was the purpose of the delay), CIA’s Mike Morell told the AP the security issue had been addressed, but asked for one more day. As AP considered that request, the White House overrode that discussion.

    Michael J. Morell, the CIA’s deputy director, gave AP reporters some additional background information to persuade them to hold off, Vietor said. The agency needed several days more to protect what it had in the works.

    Then, in a meeting on Monday, May 7, CIA officials reported that the national security concerns were “no longer an issue,” according to the individuals familiar with the discussion.

    When the journalists rejected a plea to hold off longer, the CIA then offered a compromise. Would they wait a day if AP could have the story exclusively for an hour, with no government officials confirming it for that time?

    The reporters left the meeting to discuss the idea with their editors. Within an hour, an administration official was on the line to AP’s offices.

    The White House had quashed the one-hour offer as impossible. AP could have the story exclusively for five minutes before the White House made its own announcement. AP then rejected the request to postpone publication any longer.

    This must be the crux of the animosity here. CIA told AP the danger had passed (though according to some reports, our informant was still in Yemen). At that point, the AP should have and ultimately did feel safe to publish. But then the White House made this ridiculous request, effectively refusing to let AP tell this story before the White House had a shot at it.

    Which is why this claim, from Tommy Vietor, is so absurd.

    But former White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor, recalling the discussion in the administration last year, said officials were simply realistic in their response to AP’s story. They knew that if it were published, the White House would have to address it with an official, detailed statement.

    “There was not some press conference planned to take credit for this,” Vietor said in an interview. “There was certainly an understanding [that] we’d have to mitigate and triage this and offer context for other reporters.”

    Jeebus Pete! If your idea of “mitigating and triaging” AP’s fairly complimentary story is to make it far, far worse by hinting about the infiltrator, you’re doing it wrong!

    Vietor, who presumably had a role in setting up the conference all at which Brennan tipped off Richard Clarke (though according to Brennan, he did not sit in on the call), insists to MSNBC that telling someone we had “inside control” of this plot does not constitute a gigantic clue that the entire plot was just a sting.

    Tommy Vietor, then chief national security spokesman for the White House, disputed the idea that Brennan disclosed sensitive details in his background briefing and said it was “ridiculous” to equate Brennan’s use of the phrase “inside control” with having an “informant.”

    It’s a nonsense claim, of course. Someone f(u)cked up the “mitigating and triaging” process, and that’s what made this leak so dangerous, not AP’s initial story. But, presumably because AP didn’t let White House tell the official story before they reported their scoop (and did they plan on telling us all we had inside control on the op if they got to tell the story first?!?), the AP has, as far as we know, borne the brunt of the investigation into the leak.

    For the moment let me reiterate two more details.

    It appears that Vietor is blaming CIA for the way this went down. And guess what? The guy who blathered about “inside control” has now taken over the CIA.

    Then there’s this. Eric Holder noted yesterday that the investigation into David Petraeus for leaking classified information — understood to be limited to his mistress Paula Broadwell, mind you — is ongoing. That means the FBI interview he had on April 10 was not sufficient to answer concerns about his involvement in leaking classified information.

    It’s interesting this is coming down to a conflict between White House and CIA, isn’t it?

  196. Blouise, Vegas is electric when there’s a big fight. I was in Vegas back in the 80’s the days leading up to one of the greatest fights of all time..Hearns v Hagler. My friend started and owned a boxing equipment company called Ringside, out of Lenexa, Ks. We saw Hearns train @ Caesars w/ all the glitz and entourage. Hagler, my favorite boxer, was blue collar, training in a ratty downtown gym w/ no entourage. I had to get back to work so I watched the fight on PPV. It was 3 rounds w/ 12 rounds of action. Hagler knocked Hearns out cold. Boxing is pretty much dead. It’s mixed martial arts now..not a fan.

  197. To which I respond a resounding “so what?”, nick.

    Your list proves nothing other than some people succeed in spite of a lack of formal training. It disproves nothing that has been said about the value of formal training.

    In fact, you probably should have left Frank Lloyd Wright off that list as an architect. He did have some formal training although no degree and he was a mediocre architect. Many of his buildings suffer from damage today that is the result of poor engineering. “Fallingwater” is practically falling down. Sure, they look pretty. Wright’s genius – and it was genius – was design, not architecture. They are not the same thing. It’s a common misconception that he was a great architect. But think of what he could have done as an architect had he completed his education.

    Other valid criticisms can be leveled a number of those on that list. Edison, for example, was an idea man (sometimes stolen ideas – see Tesla) but he farmed out most of his nuts and bolts work. The picture painted by a simple is list is incomplete.

    Nope. Your lil’ list is non-evidence about the value of formal training. And it sounds a bit like sour grapes. As an argument it fails as it is a form of special pleading.

  198. “Falling Water” is practically falling down. Gene H.

    The owners refer to it as “Rising Mildew”, I’ve read. It’s lovely, but…

  199. ap,

    I’ve heard the “Rising Mildew” line before as well. It’s a damn shame too. Beautiful design. Properly re-engineered, it would be a dream house. However, since the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy took over, I hear they’ve done a pretty good job on the maintenance.

  200. Oooooh, craps. I like craps.

    Blouise, nick, Wikipedia has a good short explanation of the rules of craps and betting possibilities. I learned to shoot craps with my family and friends. It was great fun. The rules for play are easy, it’s tactile, and you don’t have to be ‘poker serious’. The rules for betting (in casinos) are more complex, or can be if you’re into it- very complex. What the game lacks in complexity the betting options make up for if that’s what you want but you can make simple bets. I never played at a bona fide casino but did play casino rules (for betting) at the occasional social function. I always made simple bets since it was for charity and the house always wins. Nick, what do gamblers call people that gamble, lose all of their money and have no grasp of the odds or underlying complexity of the game they are playing? I was one of those. I just wanted to roll the dice. :-)

    When I played friendly, informal games with a regular circle of friends we had as a house rule that all points had to be made ‘hard’ (the way they were originally thrown). That house rule did though follow an arc that roughly correlated with the duration of the game and amount and type of libation consumed; at some point all points could be made ‘soft’ (additive total of spots on the two dice equals original point number). Lol, good times, fun game.

  201. Properly re-engineered, it would be a dream house. -Gene H.

    Agreed.

    “However, since the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy took over…”

    My mistake… It’s first owner/s reportedly referred to it as “Rising Mildew.” ;-)

  202. Nick: I will grant if I had been born in the mid to late 1800s, when there was plenty of low-hanging fruit to be invented or discovered, I might feel differently. I will point out the inventions of Edison and the Wright brothers (and I will throw in Ford and Bell) while definitely original thinking, are not very complex ideas. They are all pretty simple concepts to grasp, often short leap ideas, like the idea that air flow over a shape can provide lift. Once you have that idea, everything else can follow from their learnt-by-example bicycle construction and repair business.

    The low hanging fruit has long been picked, Nick, and now if one wants to contribute to science, one must learn what has gone before, and then pursue the leading edge of what is not known. What is low hanging fruit today is not reachable without climbing the ladder of what has gone before. In 1875 that was a short ladder, and what had gone before (like a bicycle or a pre-block internal combustion engine built of pipes and bracings) could more often than not be understood by inspection or by osmosis in watching others work on it, the concepts of operation were simple enough for children to grasp.

    We don’t get to live in 1875. We aren’t going to learn corporate accounting or quantum physics or turbine failure analysis or genetic engineering by watching Dad do it.

  203. Third time’s the charm:

    About Fallingwater:

    Its first owner/s reportedly referred to it as “Rising Mildew.”

  204. LK: what do gamblers call people that gamble, lose all of their money and have no grasp of the odds or underlying complexity of the game they are playing?

    1) Their very best friends.

    2) Their kid’s college fund.

    3) A natural resource.

  205. You gents are dug in deep. It’s quite interesting to me. Thanks for all your efforts. I’m heading back to the real world for supper. I’m not professionally trained, but I can really cook well. Many of the current great chefs learned in the kitchen. This is the 21st Century of which I speak.

  206. lotta, When you say “lose all your money” the context I read is not that you lost all your savings, but all the money you laid on the table. I’m guessing for you it was under $100. What I love is you want to roll. So many novice women pass the dice for fear of throwing them off the table. Well, if you play as much as I do I can tell you the dice leave the table often..it’s no big deal. I’ve seen the crew get hit, other players get hit, I’ve been hit many times. Unless you got a table of mopes, everyone laughs it off. I call folks like you “drive-bys.” But that’s just me and a few people I know.

    Here’s a few unwritten rules. Some are strictly superstitious, but it’s part of the culture. And a considerate person always respects a culture.

    Never say 7. Just call it “that number” or “red.”
    Never have your hands on the table placing a bet or picking up chips when the dice are out.
    NEVER spill a drink on the table. Stand erect away from the table when you take a sip.
    Never pull the dice toward your body. The stick man and crew must see the dice @ all times.

    There are more, but those will cover you for now. As I said to Blouise, I like playing craps w/ women. Don’t be afraid to ask the crew or a player for help. The crew will give you good info and most craps players are happy to help. This is just my opinion. Some folks here will tell you to go to an accredited Craps School. To each their own.

  207. Apparently you cannot distinguish between a skill (which may or may not be tradecraft) and a profession. I’m an excellent cook, but I know I’m not a tradesman (I’ve never worked in a restaurant although I know plenty of people who have or do) or a professionally trained Chef. That chip on your shoulder about those with proper educations looks good on you though. Sure explains a lot.

  208. nick:

    most of the financially succesful people I know started work out of high school, never went to college and are now quite wealthy. People who went to college work for them and are satisfied with the crumbs they receive.

    A few of them I know laugh at the college boys in their frenzy to make 100k or 150k per year. They say a college boy can kiss an a$$ better than anyone they know for a 10k raise.

    A former poster here, Buddha is Laughing, used to say “dance little monkey, dance”, when he was toying with a poster. That about sums up these guys attitudes toward the college educated.

    Jesus, when you think about it, a college education doesnt mean much in the real world. Why go to college when all you do is dance for the man?

    Jack London laid it out nicely in The Sea Wolf.

  209. Tony, Lol, I never bet enough to fall into those categories but for a certain type of gambler those are all good labels. I knew a gambling addict once and he was a sorry guy, my mother had the Midas touch though, she had great luck and always came out ahead whatever she played. She actually picked horses by how pretty they were- same for dogs. I did not get that particular bit of DNA from her though.

    Nick, I always followed the rule someone stated above, never bet more than you’d be willing to throw into the fireplace. I had/have x dollars of mad money, expect the house or track to win and enjoyed playing to the point of delusion, you know, you thought your horse actually had a chance to win on the home stretch and jumped out of your seat tho cheer him on. LOL, the last time I went to the track I lost every race and came home hoarse- it was great.

  210. Bron, Absolutely correct. And we all know the reverse of the scenario you just described. You know, very bright people who go to grad school, law school,etc. and don’t even have a career, much less a successful one. I live in a college town[ U of Wi.] so I am surrounded by this mindset that academia is the be all and end all. My GPA, my college, had little to do w/ my success and offered virtually no practical info for me. I am not saying college isn’t good. I learned how to think in college. I learned about classical music, philosophy, history, etc. But the core classes, some interesting, didn’t teach me one iota about how to be an investigator. I’ve never read Sea Wolf, but I love London. I’m currently reading, Life, the bio of Keith Richards. What have you read lately that you like? I recently read a book about baseball and antitrust, The Baseball Trust. It was interesting for me since I’m a huge fan. But, it was tedious in parts..written by a law prof.

    lotta, We are sympatico. Gambling is entertainment, and if budgeted properly, wholesome entertainment. I play to win, but w/ a smile. And, I’m quiet by nature but gregarious in the casino and like yourself, I will yell those horses home in the homestretch. We would take family vacations to Saratoga Springs in August in my youth. Kids love the track. I would take my kids to Arlington Park when they were young, they loved it too.

  211. lotta, My mom used to pick horses like your mom. It drove my old man nuts. Particularly when she won, and he lost!

  212. Nick:

    I am reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, it is interesting and the portion on slavery in the US is worth the price of the book.

    It also seems to be the go to book for the left for history. It is, I think, the only book many have read about our history. Now that I am reading it, I see it referenced here quite a bit although not attributed.

    Another book I am reading is The First Tycoon about the life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Very interesting as it not only documents his life but chronicles the rise of capitalism in the US. It is quite fascinating to see how moneyed interests acted then as they do now to preclude the little guy from entering into commerce. Vanderbilt had to fight against government granted monopolies given to the rich for steamboat traffic rights. He was the little guy when he started out.

    If the occupy wall st. crowd really understood, they would be pressing for laissez faire. If you want to screw the rich you dont give them more power, you make them compete for every dollar they earn. But then when one company is able to lower the cost of a steamboat ticket down to the point where anyone can afford one, the other companies start crying unfair business practice and predatory pricing. They scream Monopoly in fear for their money. Ah, the rich have had the little minded Marxists in tow for almost as long as Marxism has been around. Well the landed gentry did, after all, pay for Marx to produce the Manifesto, Das Kapital and other works. :)

  213. Hillary Said Appoint a Gitmo Champion; The Opposite Happened

    Posted on May 17, 2013 by emptywheel

    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/05/17/hillary-said-appoint-a-gitmo-champion-the-opposite-happened/

    There’s a weird detail in this Daniel Klaidman piece on Obama’s claimed newfound commitment to closing Gitmo.

    One of the new details in it describes a memo Hillary Clinton wrote just before she left the State Department.

    One recent plea, two sources told Newsweek, came from Hillary Clinton, who, just before she left office in January 2013, sent a two-page confidential memo to Obama about Guantánamo.

    [snip]

    Now, in one of her last moves as secretary of State, she was making a final effort to prod her boss to do more. Her memo was replete with practical suggestions for moving ahead on Gitmo. Chief among them: Obama needed to appoint a high-level official to be in charge of the effort, someone who had clout and proximity to the Oval Office. Further, Clinton argued that Obama could start transferring the 86 detainees who’d already been cleared for release. (Congress has imposed onerous restrictions on the administration’s ability to transfer Gitmo detainees—including a stipulation that the secretary of Defense certify that detainees sent to other countries would not engage in acts of terrorism. In her memo, Clinton pointed out that the administration could use “national-security waivers” to circumvent the restriction.)

    The Clinton missive perturbed White House aides, who viewed it as an attempt to put them on the spot, according to a senior administration official. It’s unclear how Obama himself reacted to the memo; there’s no evidence that it spurred him to action.

    I thought to myself as I read this, “but Clinton’s departure is precisely when the Administration moved backwards on this front, by reassigning Daniel Fried, who had been in charge of resettling detainees.” Fried’s reassignment was reported January 29. That was technically while Hillary was still at State — Kerry took over on February 1.

    Still, whoever transferred Fried, she must have written that memo (which pissed off Obama’s minders) at almost precisely the moment State eliminated the person most focused on working towards Gitmo closure.

    Klaidman doesn’t entirely ignore this detail. Six paragraphs later he mentions the transfer.

    For much of the past few years, without any signal that Obama was going to fight on Gitmo, the policy drifted. Daniel Fried, the veteran State Department official in charge of resettling detainees, was transferred to a different position.

    Still, there must be a story explaining why Fried got transferred at precisely the moment Hillary, technically still his boss, was calling to redouble the effort to close Gitmo.

  214. May 31, 2013

    Dealing With National Security Leaks: Obama’s “Plumbers”: Part One in a Two-Part Series of Columns

    by John Dean

    http://verdict.justia.com/2013/05/31/dealing-with-national-security-leaks-obamas-plumbers

    Excerpt:

    When Nixon resigned, the over-the-top pursuit of national security leaks ended, removing a chill on national security and foreign-affairs reporting in Washington. This did not result in a new flood of leaks. To the contrary, after Nixon, the number of national- security leaks seemed to be fewer and far between. In fact, until President Ronald Reagan arrived in the Oval Office, no president was inclined to go after leakers or journalists, and President Clinton pardoned a journalist/leaker that Reagan had successfully prosecuted. Clinton also vetoed the attempt by Congress to pass an American equivalent to the Official Secrets Act. But the Bush/Cheney Administration, and now, the Obama/Biden Administration, recruited their own teams of plumbers to go after leakers and journalists. Bush/Cheney took a very Nixonian approach. President Obama, while clearly and wisely eschewing the Nixonian style, has been far more aggressive than all his predecessors in prosecuting leakers. This has been troubling to those of us who want more, rather than less, government transparency. I believe I understand why this has happened, and I will explain both what has happened and why in Part II of this series of columns, which will appear here on Justia’s Verdict on June 14.

    End of excerpt

  215. […] The Atlantic Magazine has an interesting article out this week on a little known effort by the Administration to stop Americans from listening to a speech in Mexico by Leon Trotsky that would be transmitted over a telephone line. Assistant Solicitor General Golden W. Bell wrote the memo below stating that the Administration had no such authority. That was before the Office of Legal Counsel and the rest of the Department became more ambitious and less principled. Today they can find interpretations to allow the circumvention of the separation of powers, the assassination of citizens, the establishment of a torture program, and the maintenance of an Imperial Presidency. […]

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