OBAMA AND THE FINAL MEASURE OF DEVOTION

President_Barack_ObamaBelow is today’s column in USA Today (the print version is a bit shorter). The column looks at the effort of President Barack Obama and his congressional allies to get citizens to give up privacy as they did protections of the free press, due process, and international legal principles on earlier scandals. It is truly the final measure of devotion demanded in what has become a virtual cult of personality.


Over the course of five years, President Obama has demanded much from his supporters from promising not to prosecute officials for torture to ordering warrantless surveillance to the quashing of dozens of public interest lawsuits seeking judicial review of his policies to the recent attack on the free press. He even claimed, under his “Kill List” policy , the right to kill any U.S. citizen that he believes to be a threat to the United States. Yet, most Democrats stuck with Obama. Now, however, Obama is demanding the final measure of devotion — he is asking supporters to abandon privacy principles in a move that will fundamentally alter our society. Indeed, he and congressional allies are trying to convince Americans that they can free themselves of fear by simply redefining privacy in a new and surveillance friendly image.

At issue are massive surveillance programs through which the administration has seized data on every call made by every citizen. At the same time, data on millions of emails are being stored showing addresses, subject lines, and attachments. The effort allows citizens to be tracked in their associations and communications. In other words, total transparency of citizens in a new fishbowl society. In response to the outcry last week, Obama and others assured citizens that they have nothing to fear from the government collecting their calls and data. It was like a scene out of the movie The Matrix with politicians trying to convince people to give up their fears and learn to love living in the artificial environment created for them. Of course, as with the prior notions of the free press and the unilateral use of lethal force, people have to surrender prior notions of privacy. Obama explained these are just modest intrusions in the new concept of government-approved privacy. He insisted that so long as the government did not read your emails or listen to your calls, there is no danger to privacy. Likewise, Sen. Lindsay Graham scoffed at the notion of any concern over privacy so long as you don’t call a terrorist.

It is true that the Supreme Court in 1979 ruled that there is less protection afforded to phone numbers, which can be acquired under “pen registers.” Yet, even accepting that ill-conceived decision in Smith v. Maryland, the Court was addressing government seizure of numbers to individuals who become material to investigations. The government previously used “national security letters” to get such information. What the Obama administration has done is effectively issue a national security letter for every citizens in America. Recently, the Obama administration admitted to putting reporters under surveillance and seizing such information in what is viewed by many as an extreme attack on the principles of the free press. Many citizens remained quiet as the administration called reporters potential criminals for speaking with sources in the administration. Then, they learned the government was gathering the same information from them and all other citizens.

The new privacy model would protect only the content of your emails and calls — unless the government wants to read them. Before we are lulled back to sleep by our leaders, it is worth noting what you are about to give up.

The government has been secretly collecting all of your contacts from your intimate friends to political associations to doctors to product suppliers. Thus, if you are a government employee seeking information on being a whistleblower, your effort to reach lawyers or whistleblower groups will be seized.

Consider who you have called or emailed in the last month. The government can learn a great deal about you from just the people you call and subjects of your emails. Your “metadata” can reveal peculiar tastes and associations that you may consider hidden from all but your closest friends – and now a few thousand government monitors. The government will now know not only who you are calling but how long you are speaking, how often you call people or groups, where you call from, and even attachments like photos that you send. Ironically, the actual content of your calls or emails are usually not needed to determine the reason and subject of such communications. When you call an abortion clinic repeatedly or a medical marijuana resource line, the likely purpose of the call is self-evident. For citizens with unpopular political or religious views, repeated calls or emails to certain churches or groups indicate an obvious interest. From intimate affairs to political associations, the purpose of most communications are self-evident, particularly when they are placed within a mosaic of all of your contacts and calls.

In his press conference, Obama repeated the siren call of all authoritarian figures throughout history: while these powers are great, our motives are benign. So there you have it. The government is promising to better protect you if you just surrender this last measure of privacy. Perhaps it is time. After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who warned that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s board of contributors.

JUNE 10, 2013

100 thoughts on “OBAMA AND THE FINAL MEASURE OF DEVOTION

  1. I lived out of the country for years and feel like I came back to some other country. Ive been home since Oct., but it feels like some alternate universe. When I read what the president spoke the other day about the modest intrusions to our privacy, I felt ill. What country did I come home to? Why was I blithely ignoring the national news so much simply because I wasn’t living here? This is MY country and I remember the bicentennial celebration where we celebrated the freedoms that we have in this country. Was everyone in our present government playing expat then and missed that?

  2. I have never voted for a Republican to be president, but I never voted for Obama either. He came across and still comes across as a power seeker that rivals and exceeds that of GWB. His transformation in office from “try to work with the GOP” to “will work in secret” is disturbing. Unfortunately, when you have a public more concerned about the winner of Dancing with the Stars than the slow shredding of the Constitution, it will take more than the occasional outcry to stop the menace now unleashed.

  3. I wonder if the true motive for the government to do what is claimed to be harmless privacy control is for them to gain experience and expertise about obtaining and processing privacy information so that they can use the sophistication and expertise on enemy states and evil people in order to formulate the strategy to effectively target and destroy them with minimum efforts and costs based on all the information on their details of lives obtained from such surveillance. They are only practicing to perfect the skills, so to speak. . .

  4. Your “metadata” can reveal peculiar tastes and associations that you may consider hidden from all but your closest friends – and now a few thousand government monitors. The government will now know not only who you are calling but how long you are speaking, how often you call people or groups, where you call from, and even attachments like photos that you send.

    I commented with this link in the “Massive Surveillance” post.
    http://kieranhealy.org/blog/archives/2013/06/09/using-metadata-to-find-paul-revere/

    It is appropriate here too.

    “Trust Us” (TM)
    aka
    “Trust Us But Don’t Even Think About Irritating Us In Any Way” (TM)

  5. Professor Turley,

    I enjoyed your interview with John Cusack. I’ll ask you, as I did him, what remedy do, “We the People”, have regarding the immediate ousting and charging of ALL government officials who seek to nullify the Bill of Rights and usurp The Constitution? In light of recent events, millions of citizens are likely infuriated, but feel powerless to do anything about it, because they’ve no idea what they can do. Obama’s adversaries will not enlighten the general public, because they want his powers and more when they’re able to wrangle the office away from him. Thank you for at writing about the gall of the past and current administrations. Please inform myself and the public at large, what we can do to save our country.

    Thank You,

    RJ

  6. Prof Turley, thank you for identifying the mystic criticism-deflecting halo around Barack Obama as what it is, a cult of personality, at least to the nation’s news media. Many of us in the hinterlands never were impressed. However, there are staunch Obama supporters (many in the media) who seem to believe that any criticism of the man or his policies are, at center, “racist.” Thus, his actions and policies have not received the public scrutiny they warranted. Even my Obama-admiring s.o. has come around and told me over the weekend that I’d been correct all along. I reminded her that all we’re seeing in terms of IRS persecution, wiretapping, and snooping is simply “the Chicago way.” As for the effects of a cult of personality on the nation’s life, I refer her, and your readers, to the historical examples. Do not believe that democratic institutions can protect us; the Soviet Union also was, at least on paper, a democratic country, albeit with strange institutions.,

  7. Dr. Turley,

    The wheels of life turn in ways beyond our comprehension.

    But, if you’re not happy here, leave.

    I’d love to see you in… France? I’m partial to Canada myself, but there’s a whole planet out there.

  8. George W. Obama, Commader in Heat…..

    Now, what country do we live in…. And why…. Are they allowed to do this….

  9. Telling some one to leave the country when he criticizes the government is inappropriate. What’s next? Making someone leave the country because they criticize the government? The NSA program is an abomination. Obama knows that but he is hoping, not without justification, that because he is OBAMA and not Bush the supine Democrats will keep their mouths shut and turn their brains off. He already has the “support” of the GOP!? Professor Turley, don’t leave. More criticism please. I hope someone will listen.

  10. In fourth grade I lost the spulling Bee when I mis-spelled grammar. The author of this topic has to go to a class on grammar, not for the spelling but for the continuous grammar errors. See the first sentence of the second paragraph of the article above. Get a proof reader and perhaps a cite checker. I did not go on to read the rest of the article

  11. To grasp where this is going, one only needs to read the scoop on the practices of J. Edgar Hoover who collected “dirty laundry” on political figures so he could blackmail them into silence or otherwise manipulate them.

  12. There’s one phone call the administration is practically guaranteed not to monitor – my call to the White House to register my disapproval of these surveillance measures

  13. Let me see if I’ve got this straight. The corporatist oligarchy insists it has good reason to know who I call and email, but denies Americans have any right to know who administration official are meeting with, much less what they’re discussing, when determining important policy matters like energy and the environment, is that it?

    It should be the other way around. Americans should be able to know who our elected officials are talking to and what they are saying. Obama’s all very secretive when it comes to his bidness, isn’t he?

  14. itchinBayDog: “In fourth grade I lost the spulling”
    I stopped reading your comment on seeing ‘spulling’ :)

  15. Bravo Professor Turley. With the loss of privacy and transparency we risk becoming a nation of men and not laws. How easily we give up our constitutional protections when we let fear rule our lives.

  16. nick,

    That is a statement we can agree upon 100% but I would go further than to call it a scandal. It’s an outright crime committed by the Obama and Bush Administrations on a scale that Nixon could have only dreamed of.

  17. Why does Obama need a few old liberal democrats when he has McCain, Chambliss and Graham? When he kept Gates on it was obvious that he was continuing Bush’s second term.

  18. Gene, I agree but I still detest Nixon more, just because of the way he put our country through an impeachment when there were so many other serious problems on the table. I remember the day he resigned. I was working @ the Roosevelt Hotel in Wildwood, NJ. The chef was a Swedish, sweet, quiet man who had worked @ the UN. He was in his late 70’s and had to work to support his wife who had ALS. We employees were in the lobby drinking beer and watching the tv. Henry asked for a beer. We had never seen him drink. He watched intently, sipping his beer. When Nixon announced his resignation the very proper Henry said, “Goodbye you fucking bastard!” You have to hear a Swedish accent. Henry was a very interesting man. He was very thin, but ate very small meals 6-7 times a day. One or his specialties was rarebit, which required beer. He only needed 2 bottles and would give me the rest.

  19. “After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who warned that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.””

    ….and will lose both.

  20. Mr. Holmes,

    Thank you for your perspective.

    However, my comment was meant for someone who means a great deal to me, someone whom I’ve grown to admire.

    Love is more beautiful when it sets people free, preferably in a more beautiful place, instead of tying them down to personal and selfish needs.

    Carry on.

  21. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

  22. Reblogged this on danmillerinpanama and commented:
    This is my second re-blog today of an excellent article by Jonathan Turley.

    Mr. Turley articulates something I have thought, increasingly, since President Obama’s first term. In the next to last paragraph, he says,

    In his press conference, Obama repeated the siren call of all authoritarian figures throughout history: while these powers are great, our motives are benign. So there you have it. The government is promising to better protect you if you just surrender this last measure of privacy. Perhaps it is time. After all, it was Benjamin Franklin who warned that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” [Emphasis added]

    The powers are indeed great, but the benign nature of the associated motives is far from obvious – to the point of lacking credibility. As the Obama Administration, and the career civil “servants” working under it, incrementally take away our freedoms at some point – and we may well have reached it – the sacrifice of freedom in favor of “security” gets to be over the top.

    One can legitimately question whose security is being protected and even enhanced. Is it that of the average citizen, or is it that of governmental entities? Their “freedoms” to do pretty much as they please – with inadequate supervision (at best) and in camera by allegedly neutral parties – have been enhanced commensurately.

    Clearly, some level of covert intelligence collection is necessary; the nation does have dangerous enemies but, as shown in recent years, intelligence collection about them has been inept and apparently filtered prior use in service of political, rather than national, interests. Spying on others not national enemies, to serve the political interests of the party in power, has been all encompassing. If the Government had shown, successfully, that it can be trusted reasonably, the recent disclosures would generally have gone unnoticed. It has shown the contrary and the disclosures have been widely noticed.

    Now, the question is, “where do we go from here?” Up, down or sideways? Memories are short and there are always useful diversions. Will we focus adequately this time on what is truly in the national interest, or allow our attention to be diverted to more attractive nuisances?

  23. Getting warmer…

    Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America

    Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution

    by Daniel Ellsberg
    Monday 10 June 2013 06.30 ED

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america

    In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution.

    Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

    The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa – but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: “It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp.”

    For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense – as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time – as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads –they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor. They are also black holes for information that the public needs to know.

    The fact that congressional leaders were “briefed” on this and went along with it, without any open debate, hearings, staff analysis, or any real chance for effective dissent, only shows how broken the system of checks and balances is in this country.

    Obviously, the United States is not now a police state. But given the extent of this invasion of people’s privacy, we do have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of such a state. If, for instance, there was now a war that led to a large-scale anti-war movement – like the one we had against the war in Vietnam – or, more likely, if we suffered one more attack on the scale of 9/11, I fear for our democracy. These powers are extremely dangerous.

    There are legitimate reasons for secrecy, and specifically for secrecy about communications intelligence. That’s why Bradley Mannning and I – both of whom had access to such intelligence with clearances higher than top-secret – chose not to disclose any information with that classification. And it is why Edward Snowden has committed himself to withhold publication of most of what he might have revealed.

    But what is not legitimate is to use a secrecy system to hide programs that are blatantly unconstitutional in their breadth and potential abuse. Neither the president nor Congress as a whole may by themselves revoke the fourth amendment – and that’s why what Snowden has revealed so far was secret from the American people.

    In 1975, Senator Frank Church spoke of the National Security Agency in these terms:

    “I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

    The dangerous prospect of which he warned was that America’s intelligence gathering capability – which is today beyond any comparison with what existed in his pre-digital era – “at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left.”

    That has now happened. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi – the secret police in the former “democratic republic” of East Germany – could scarcely have dreamed of. Snowden reveals that the so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.

    So we have fallen into Senator Church’s abyss. The questions now are whether he was right or wrong that there is no return from it, and whether that means that effective democracy will become impossible. A week ago, I would have found it hard to argue with pessimistic answers to those conclusions.

    But with Edward Snowden having put his life on the line to get this information out, quite possibly inspiring others with similar knowledge, conscience and patriotism to show comparable civil courage – in the public, in Congress, in the executive branch itself – I see the unexpected possibility of a way up and out of the abyss.

    Pressure by an informed public on Congress to form a select committee to investigate the revelations by Snowden and, I hope, others to come might lead us to bring NSA and the rest of the intelligence community under real supervision and restraint and restore the protections of the bill of rights.

    Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA’s surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans’ and foreign citizens’ privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we’re trying to protect.

  24. There are those in our community’s with the Skills, Resources and Legal talent to protect, defend and secure the rights of E. Snowden. The People can rally all they want but the real test in this case is who will insure his rights and safety from the Government. If funds are not raised and resources found the Government will attack him with full force and then we are all done for. If we the people do not see some immediate protection legally and financially for Mr Snowden from the best on the left all that is left is for us to cower in our homes accept tyranny to keep our jobs and what is left of our simple lives.

    Bradley Manning did this and look how the public treated him all these cases need to be bundled and revealed for what they are. The Left and the Right agree on more of these issues than we disagree. If there is ever to be a majority against what the Government is doing now is the time for those with knowledge of law to act as one with the power of reason to protect what’s left of Freedom in America,

    Worse than Anything i really feel used by the Democrats and the President.

  25. The Patriot Act evidently gave the right to do all this. From all account so far (that I have heard) it is legal and the (secret) court gave its permission.
    Did Prof. make the same concerns known when Bush started this (I am asking, I don’t know)?
    Cantor said this morning on an am show that he does not know if this is ore then Bush did.
    It is very worrisome. The problem is when senators, etc (as well as folk who have worked for NSA) tell us that this program has thwarted sme terrorist activity. It is the embodiment of the Franklin quote about giving up security for safety. It has also been since Bush a win for the terrorists.
    As to Obama and personality cult. the man, this administration has brought back the economy, in spite of GOP obstruction and refusal to pass any jobs bill (stock market, housing, auto industry as well as end Iraq war and more) Unfortunately those who hate this president conveniently ignore any good that has come from this President and paint him with only their brush of disapproval and worse.
    (That being said I voted for him (no surprise there) and rang doorbells, signed petitions etc to help gte him elected. Although he has done some good things I am disappointed with him (and call the WH a lot to tell them so) but that does not mean I ignore the good things out of this administration because of the bad, and yes it does seem like the 4th term of Bush at this point.)

  26. leejcarol: the man, this administration has brought back the economy, in spite of GOP obstruction and refusal to pass any jobs bill

    Then why do you think Obama had anything to do with it? I do not give him credit for that, I give credit to natural economic cycles and the people’s desire to work and create value. This is the slowest economic recovery in history, precisely because the government has refused to do anything to help.

    There is no credit due here, there is no grand plan for the economy that Obama has implemented despite Republican obstructionism. There is simply the fact that the economy doesn’t crash forever, that bubbles pop, the insider 1% steals all the money from the duped 99%, and because 75% or more of people are still working and creating value, the economic wounds scar over, the trauma fades, and things start to look normal again.

    Yeah, I voted for Obama too, I donated a large amount to his campaign, I stood in line for hours to vote for him in the primary and the general. So I remember quite clearly his campaign promises. Wake up, the man is a liar, he has voluntarily done the opposite of more of his campaign promises than any candidate I have ever seen.

  27. There is a point that needs to be made. The other gumshoe, junctionshamus can also confirm this in case I’m scolded for being boastful or out of my assigned topics of “sports and movies.” I assume, virtually everyone knows that if the govt. has info that it WILL be abused, not CAN..it Will be. Remember that sleazy fat political operative for the Clintons who got FBI files on Republicans and then just sort of vanished when discovered. Well, the Clintons were Arkansas hillbillies. We are now dealing w/ the Chicago Machine. Staying w/ sports, it’s a high school baseball team vs. the Yankees. I’ll again point out what I did a couple weeks ago, Plouffe and his moustacheo buddy are no where to be seen. They should be the point men in handling these crisis.

    Here’s what some, maybe many people don’t know. It’s not just the govt. that knows this info, it’s also PI’s, law firms, banks, major corporations, etc. Any good PI has many sources. Some are friends who you just buy lunch/dinner once in awhile and maybe a nice bottle of scotch for Christmas. Others it’s strictly biz. You want info, you pay. I never had sources in the NSA or CIA. I did know a PI who had a CIA source that I had him tap for me once. I did have sources in virtually every other Fed law enforcement agency. Sometimes they just gave you w/ a phone call info that’s public but takes a f@ckn’ month to get through the bureaucracy. Other times info that’s not public. One of the best sources I had was w/ the SSA. Do you have any idea how much info they have. Unfortunately, she decided to have babies and “stay home and bake cookies.” She turned me on to another source but this woman was not smart and reckless, so for her sake I used her infrequently. Of course I. like all PI’s have local and state law enforcement sources. I had phone company sources for landline and cellular. I had medical record sources @ hospitals..never in the med records dept, but in other depts. that had access to med records.

    As Daniel Ellsburg said, this is bigger than any other scandal. My hope is this very likeable president doesn’t charm people w/ his despicable comment that this is just “hype.” I would bet my entire 401k, even money, there are both political operatives. PI’s, Corporations, etc. who have sources feeding them this info. So when Lindsey “Gomer Pyle” , w/ his Floyd the barber haircut, says “unless you’re talking to a terrorist you have nothing to worry about”, tell him to go f@ck himself.

  28. nick: I assume, virtually everyone knows that if the govt. has info that it WILL be abused, not CAN..it Will be.

    I do not know that. Nor do I believe in any absolutist claim from anybody, it isn’t just you. Claiming this is so is a call for anarchy and no government at all; you are saying under no circumstances whatsoever can any government official be trusted with personal information. How are courts supposed to do their job? How are national defense agencies supposed to do theirs?

    Is the same thing true for Private Investigators? Are they absolutely going to abuse any and all personal information they become privy to?

    Is the same thing true for Attorneys? Are they absolutely going to abuse any and all personal information they become privy to?

    Is the same thing true for Medical Doctors and Nurses? Are they absolutely going to abuse any and all personal information they become privy to?

    If it isn’t, you will have to explain what makes a government agent inherently less trustworthy than a PI, attorney, or medical doctor. In fact, don’t bother, because no explanation will convince me.

  29. Rafflaw, yes, and yes yes.

    Furthermore, the presidency has been “cult of personality” ever since the broadcast media took us over, around the time of that movie about the pods. Can’t be otherwise. Which is half of why the Republicans could not put up a candidate who could at least speak rationally: they were looking for cult leaders and they had a limited range of what kinds of characters COULD lead their version of the cult.

    I loved the sentence Obama said — paraphrased —

    Well if you can’t trust the Executive Branch, and then you don’t trust Congress, and you don’t trust our federal judges, to use the Constitution to govern us with due process, then WE ARE GOING TO BE IN TROUBLE…”

    “Gonna be?”

    “Gonna be?”

    Hello … Hello … anybody home?

  30. tony c:

    you are absolutely going to die at some time in the future.

    the sun is going to rise tomorrow.

    grass is green.

    water is comprised of H2O always.

    A rock absolutely will fall from a height to the ground [unless acted on by another force which is an absolute as well, that a force acting on an object will influence it.]

    Good luck.

  31. Bron,

    1) You score with that one. Everything that has a beginning has an end, including the universe. That’s entropy at work.

    2) Not necessarily. There is a high probability the sun will rise tomorrow, but it is not a certainty.

    3) Only in biomes where chlorophyll is used in photosynthesis. Other biomes may rely upon completely different chemistry.

    4) No, it’s not. Heavy water is D2O, but it is still water.

    5) No. A rock at height merely has potential energy, but it will not fall to the ground until that potential is realized.

    Try again.

    Keep in mind that quantum mechanics tells us reality is a probability matrix. Nothing is absolutely certain. Everything is only highly probable or highly improbable at the extremes.

  32. Tony C,

    That’s quite a straw man you have there.

    I read Nick to say that information will be abused by someone.
    You read him to say that any government employee will abuse information.

    The questions are:
    1) What scope of information should be collected on the general population – and for what purposes?
    2) Who should have access to this information or subsets of this information?
    3) What checks and controls are in place to ensure that any access to the information/subsets is logged and properly authorised?

    The current answers seem to be
    1) Unlimited – except by whatever technology can be put in place.
    2) Anyone with a certain *global* clearance for whatever level of sensitivity – regardless if their function requires view of all subsets of the information up tp that level.
    3) Going by Manning and maybe Snowden – no real control apart from a global clearance level.

    On (2): This includes a huge number of private contractors.

    From http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-booz-allen-hamilton-contractors

    A 2007 Senate report found that the spy community had bolstered its work forces by 20% since the September 11 attacks, a rapid change that depended on hiring contractors.
    ….
    “It has been estimated that the average annual cost of a United States Government civilian employee is $126,500,” the committee found, “while the average annual cost of a ‘fully loaded’ (including overhead) core contractor is $250,000.”
    ….
    70% of its (Booz Allen) 25,000 employees hold a government security clearance, “of which 49% were top secret or higher”

    That’s over 8000 civilians with Top Secret ot higher in just one single private contractor.
    .

    http://www.wired dot com/threatlevel/2012/07/security-clearances-increasing/
    (munged because I don’t remember how many links we are allowed here)

    The number of U.S. government employees and contractors holding security clearances jumped to 4.86 million last year from 4.7 million the year prior, according to the 2011 Report on Security Clearance Determinations, which the Director of National Intelligence has forwarded to Congress.

    .

    What are the chances of some of those 5 million people abusing their access?

  33. Tony C, Of course you know much more than I. You are much smarter than I. It is a distinct honor to even be on the same thread as you. I just like to deal in reality, you like to deal in abstract. Look somewhere else. I’ve forgotten more on this subject than you will ever know. Here’s the very fundamental point that seems to have missed your superior mind. I’m saying the mere obtaining of confidential information is an abuse. I got info I NEVER should have gotten. And so do thousands of people on a daily basis. You’re just looking for some academic theoretical horseshit fight. I prefer reality, try it sometime.

  34. Bron, You’re dealing w/ moral relativists. I had a history teacher of that ilk. They’re like Moonies only they don’t shave their heads and they are allowed in airports.

  35. Gene,

    2) Not necessarily. There is a high probability the sun will rise tomorrow, but it is not a certainty.

    Well, if we REALLY want to get technical about it, the sun isn’t going to rise tomorrow, instead the rotation of Earth (most likely) will make it appear to an observer on Earth that the sun is rising. Which is what the vast majority of people mean when they say that the sun will rise, but if we’re going to quibble, let’s quibble right.

    BTW, speaking of entropy, did you get that book recommendation I sent you?

  36. As stated previously, I had sources in both the public and private sectors that gave or sold me info they should not have. The public sector were MUCH more willing to betray the trust they were given. And they could be bought cheap. Some of the women could just be bought w/ a smile and some flirting.

  37. Sorry, Tony.

    I’ve got to side with nick and ST on this matter for the following reason.

    The probability that confidential information will be misused by any party and/or organization increases with both the size of the available pool of data and the number of actors who have access to said data. This applies to both public and private institutions. It’s a reflection of complexity in action. Complex data sets interacting with complex organizations are a mathematical recipe for error. Error which in this case equates to data misappropriated to nefarious ends either institutionally or by individuals within an institution or having institutional access to said data.

  38. I had sources in both the public and private sectors that gave or sold me info they should not have.

    Can I just say how much I love the construction of this sentence? I mean, here you are admitting to do something completely immoral, and yet you remain spotless, because hey they “gave” you the information. YOU didn’t have any agency, it was all the other people.

    I live down the street from a retired government official, and he’s always trying to stop me and tell me stuff about my neighbors when I’m walking my dogs. It’s ridiculous.

  39. Gyges,

    I’ll stipulate to your supplemental quibbling. :mrgreen:

    And yes, I did. I’m going to try to pick that up next weekend. Speaking of reading, I also noticed some Alistair Reynolds on your GoodReads list. Let me know what you think of him. He’s one of my favorites. Scotland is putting out some unusually good SF writers as of late.

    I’m also assuming that since you also had some Iain Banks on there recently that you may have heard the cancer finally got him. Dead at 59. A sad loss to the literary world that.

  40. Gyges, I never even hinted I was “spotless” because I was not. There is no PI or investigative reporter who is “spotless.” Hell, are there any “spotless” people in any profession?

  41. Gene,
    I agree with that observation. Looks as if C. Northcote Parkinson’s law can be interpreted as applying to information stashes and disclosure risk as well.

    Politicians, bureaucrats and others of that ilk seem unable to wrap their heads around it. There are no secrets any more. Secrecy is a delusion and HIPAA be damned. User “Brainwrap” at Daily Kos is a website developer and has an interesting insider’s viewpoint on the myth of privacy.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/09/1214865/-Online-data-spying-from-a-website-developer-s-POV?detail=hide

  42. Gene, A good point. When I would get people’s phone records I had to have sources in many phone companies. I never had sources in all of them. Well, the NSA is now the Costco of phone records. All you need is one source and you can get ANYONES records. And, as stated previously, I am certain that has been going on for some time. Knowledge is power. And people can be bought, or just schmoozed in some cases. I don’t think anyone can argue w/ those last 2 assertions.

  43. OS,

    The linked story has a valid point and the author a great nickname. i grew up with both computers and networking. They were both emergent technologies in my formative years. And to think some wonder that I leave a relatively small digital footprint. It’s because I’ve known all along: there is no such thing as perfect digital security. Never has been, and unless quantum computing throws something counter-intuitive into the deck (which it could), there never will be.

  44. nick,

    I know stories (detailed insider information type stories that I’m not going to repeat online) about phone companies from both pre- and post-9/11 that would make your hair curl. And probably make you go out and burn all your phones and possibly your computers too. Just Google “echelon project” and “carnivore project” if you want a taste. I’m not shocked by the revelations about the NSA simply because it’s not such a secret that they’ve been working on these capabilities (in close conjunction with the telcos btw) for years. Well before 9/11.

  45. If I lose important data I just pick up the phone and call the fusion center to have it retrieved. That’s why I love the surveillance state.

  46. I had wondered if someone would take it into their heads to sue wrongdoers in this affair.

    Sure enough….

    LARRY KLAYMAN,
    on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated,2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NWSuite 800Washington, DC 20006
    And
    CHARLES AND MARY ANN STRANGE,
    on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated,Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    Plaintiffs, v.

    BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA II,
    1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, DC 20500and

    ERIC HIMPTON HOLDER, JR.,
    555 Fourth St. NWWashington, DC 20530and

    KEITH B. ALEXANDER Director of the National Security Agency,
    9800 Savage Rd.Fort Meade, MD 20755and

    LOWELL C. McADAM,
    Chief Executive Officer of Verizon Communications
    140 West Street New York, NY 10007and

    ROGER VINSON,Judge,
    U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, DC 20530
    And

    VERIZON COMMUNICATIONS,
    140 West Street New York, NY 10007and

    NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY,
    Director of the National Security Agency,9800 Savage Rd.Fort Meade, MD 20755and

    THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,
    950 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, DC 20530

    Defendants

  47. Tony you seem to forget the stimulus and there auto bailout without which we would not be where we are or the auto industry back and poised to hire thousands within the next few mths (according to news show this am)
    Be mad at him, I am but to throw out any good that he has done is silliness. Not all people are all bad or all good and that includes the president.

  48. True enough leejcaroll. Fascists often made the trains run on time. That was good! I hate being inconvenienced with wait time.

  49. I have to agree also that once the mechanics are in place to do the datamining and especially when the data on that is already in the hands of those who want it, it is only a matter of time before it is misused. That is one of the reasons for “rules” if there are any to prevent having access to the data in the first place.

    Some might argue that even if all the data is available, relevant or data or an individual datum, becomes obfuscated in the noise and therefore privacy is maintained. That is often wishful thinking especially with regard to increasing computational and analytical abilities. Moore’s Law becomes especially relevant in trends.

    One can look at human perception as a guide to what can be expected. Two methods the human brain uses are quite applicable to data analysis. One is pattern recognition, the other is change notification.

    The change notification is a quite striking example. If you were to view an animated GIF image that consisted of a matrix of bits 1024 x 2048 bits where each was a random pattern of black or white dots where one randomly selected bit would change from black to white over the course of 1 second and repeated the human brain would spot that change immediately; and that is 1 bit among 2,097,152.

    Software can detect that change very rapidly. Pattern recognition is becoming greater and greater in its capability and this is evidenced by voice recognition technology becoming greater and greater.

    Patter recognition can be ported to whatever pattern the developer wants to encode. Moreover, it can be config’ed to “learn” with increasing accuracy. Yet, it is not an exact science. Another worry can be in the form of false positives or negatives. The increasing blind reliance on the software can lead to some problems where the owners of the software taking it as gospel and this is where individuals can be hurt or wrongly targeted just because their heuistics can run parallel to the pattern that is sought to be targeted. And it could be simply just an artifact of the model.

    It is reasons for this, along with others, that it is best not to go down that road.

  50. Gene,
    there is one way to get perfect computer security…don’t turn on the computer! Other than that, we can’t be stealthy on line.

  51. Darren said: ” The increasing blind reliance on the software can lead to some problems where the owners of the software taking it as gospel and this is where individuals can be hurt or wrongly targeted just because their heuistics can run parallel to the pattern that is sought to be targeted.”

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

    I suspect it is exactly that model behind some of the incidents I reported on Sunday, regarding the hassling of general aviation travelers.

    As someone pointed out earlier today on another blog; if their intelligence is so good, how come Edward Snowden got all that information, then got out of the country undetected?

  52. Jill, That is the hyperbole that the right uses (more then the left and to better advantage) to split the country and makes the politicians refuse to work together.
    Congress was briefed, Wyden and I forget who else, maybe Levin, have been speaking out against this for the last 2 years but neither media not other congresspeople cared.
    This is on a lot more then just the president, no matter how the republicans have been spinning it (and I was surprised Cantor did not go after the pres this morning which to me was an indication that too many are on board with this.)

  53. It was during a press conference on Sept. 16 [2001], in response to a question about homeland security efforts infringing on civil rights, that [Deputy Dubya] Bush first used the telltale word “crusade” in public. “This is a new kind of — a new kind of evil,” he said. “And we understand. And the American people are beginning to understand. This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.” — Ron Suskind, “Without a Doubt” (The New York Times Magazine, October 17, 2004.)(

    Now, twelve years and counting later, we have Barack “Body Count” Obama threatening to continue and extend Dimwit Dubya’s demented Crusade Against Pure Evil — especially against “the enemy within” — for a great while longer than “a while.”

  54. This story was just forwarded to me by long time community member Bob, Esq. and I thought it was worth sharing as an example of coercive information management as a propaganda tool.

    “Military told not to read Obama-scandal news
    Verizon phone records story off-limits to airmen”

    President Obama has said the outrage over the federal government’s decision to monitor citizens’ phone activity is all “hype.”

    He might want to share his opinion with the U.S. Air Force, which is ordering members of the service not to look at news stories about it.

    WND has received an unclassified NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) that warns airmen not to look at news stories related to the data-mining scandal.

    Want to know how and why America has so rapidly come to resemble the totalitarian society described by novelist George Orwell in “1984,” one characterized by universal surveillance? It’s all exposed in a special issue of Whistleblower magazine – titled “ONE NATION UNDER SURVEILLANCE: Big Brother is watching in ways Orwell never dreamed.”

    The notice applies to users of the Air Force NIPRNET (Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network), which is the only way that many troops stationed overseas and on bases in the U.S. are able to access the Internet.

    The last line of the executive summary states:

    “Users are not to use AF NIPRNET systems to access the Verizon phone records collection and other related news stories because the action could constitute a Classified Message Incident.”

    Cindy McGee, the mother of an airman stationed in the UAE, spoke with WND.

    “The fact that our government is attempting to censor our service members from the truth of what is happening here at home is truly frightening and disheartening,” said McGee.

    Her son received the same notice.

    McGee continued, “I am outraged that our government is attempting to censor the information from our military that every citizen in this country is potentially being targeted by our government in a massive overreach of their constitutional powers by unconstitutional surveillance of all Americans and storage of that data.”

    Although WND does provide a copy of the alleged memo in what they claim as an exclusive story, I would like to see this confirmed via another source. If true, this is further evidence Obama should be in front of the Senate facing impeachment charges as soon as possible.

    I’m thinking . . . Thursday.

  55. WND is right wing media. Pat Buchanan is a columnist there. I definitely would have to see this verified in other media.

  56. Yeah, Smom. It’s certainly a situation to that merits looking at the messenger with skepticism, but just because WND is a manifest right wing propaganda organelle doesn’t mean the story is without merit either. I’d really like if some independent minded airman could confirm this memos existence either here or through another media outlet.

  57. “WorldNetDaily has emerged as a leading outlet publicizing conspiracy theories about Barack Obama’s citizenship status, claiming that Obama is not a natural-born American citizen and is thus not eligible to serve as president.[23][24][25] Such claims are considered unsubstantiated or debunked by most news sources. After the 2008 presidential campaign, WND began an online petition to have Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate released to the public. The website also unsuccessfully urged Supreme Court justices to hear several lawsuits aiming to release Obama’s birth certificate.” wiki Also, Larry Klayman is a birther attorney.
    L

  58. “It is truly the final measure of devotion demanded in what has become a virtual cult of personality.” Jonathan Turley

    Come off it, Professor. What on earth makes you think you’ve seen the “final” measure of authoritarian devotion to President Obama — especially on the part of his devotees on the far right of the right-wing Republican party? Do the names “Lindsey Graham” and “John McCain” mean anything to you? And what makes you think that Obama had to demand unquestioning devotion of them? It seems to me like they enthusiastically volunteered their devotion to his crony-corporate imperial militarism without his even having to ask.

    I used to consider Bill Clinton the best Republican ever elected by the Democrats — until Barack Obama came along. It escapes me why he doesn’t just get it over with and officially join up with the Republican party like his hero Ronald Reagan did. Regardless of what he calls himself (and he seldom mentions the word “Democrat”), as long as President Obama keeps moving ever further to the right, he will have all the adoring, unquestioning obedience he requires, without even having to request it.

  59. Arkansas Hunting dot net is blogging the story as is the republican operative dot com and the godlike productions dot com … so far nothing in The Guardian or NYTimes or Washington Post but…

    If you follow the link at the very end of the memo in WND you find some interesting sites having to do with the Air Force and operationalizing cberspace and some dude named Art “Wally” Wachdorf

  60. Nothing on my twitter from the always reliable Laura Rosen or anyone else for that matter. Ann Coulter is also a columnist for WND…..

  61. “WorldNetDaily (WND) describes itself as “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty.” The online newspaper, which this year celebrated its 15th year in operation, is one of the “very few sources” martial artist and action film hero Chuck Norris (who happens to be a columnist) trusts for news and an operation that megachurch pastor Greg Laurie (also a columnist) says does “a service to God and Country.”

    WND is the brainchild of Joseph Farah, a self-described “radical” and longtime antigovernment propagandist and apologist for the Confederacy who believes “cultural Marxists” are plotting “to transform our political system, to change the way we think, to attack our values, to demean our faith in God, to reduce that shining city on the hill to the status of a drab public-housing project.”

    Together with a coterie of antigovernment “Patriots,” anti-gay activists, white nationalists, Muslim-bashers, conspiracy theorists, end-times prophets and ultraconservative hardliners, Farah — who did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this article — has built WND into a modest media empire including a book imprint, an online subscription-only “intelligence resource,” and a glossy, full-color monthly magazine. At press time, Alexa, which ranks websites, said WND was the 1,832nd most popular website in the world and the 423rd in the U.S. — just above the site for Nickelodeon and a few notches below Victoria’s Secret.

    WND’s point of view is best described as a cross between the now-defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, which was famous for reporting on Elvis sightings, and The New American, a monthly magazine published by the far-right, conspiracist John Birch Society. In its 15 years online, it has introduced readers to a smorgasbord of bizarre ideas, specializing in anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-liberal propaganda; antigovernment conspiracy theories; and end-times prophecy.” Southern Poverty Law Center.

  62. “WorldNetDaily (WND) describes itself as “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty.” The online newspaper, which this year celebrated its 15th year in operation, is one of the “very few sources” martial artist and action film hero Chuck Norris (who happens to be a columnist) trusts for news and an operation that megachurch pastor Greg Laurie (also a columnist) says does “a service to God and Country.”

    WND is the brainchild of Joseph Farah, a self-described “radical” and longtime antigovernment propagandist and apologist for the Confederacy who believes “cultural Marxists” are plotting “to transform our political system, to change the way we think, to attack our values, to demean our faith in God, to reduce that shining city on the hill to the status of a drab public-housing project.”

    Together with a coterie of antigovernment “Patriots,” anti-gay activists, white nationalists, Muslim-bashers, conspiracy theorists, end-times prophets and ultraconservative hardliners, Farah — who did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this article — has built WND into a modest media empire including a book imprint, an online subscription-only “intelligence resource,” and a glossy, full-color monthly magazine. At press time, Alexa, which ranks websites, said WND was the 1,832nd most popular website in the world and the 423rd in the U.S. — just above the site for Nickelodeon and a few notches below Victoria’s Secret.

    WND’s point of view is best described as a cross between the now-defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, which was famous for reporting on Elvis sightings, and The New American, a monthly magazine published by the far-right, conspiracist John Birch Society. In its 15 years online, it has introduced readers to a smorgasbord of bizarre ideas, specializing in anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-liberal propaganda; antigovernment conspiracy theories; and end-times prophecy.” SPLC

  63. WorldNetDaily (WND) describes itself as “an independent news company dedicated to uncompromising journalism, seeking truth and justice and revitalizing the role of the free press as a guardian of liberty.” The online newspaper, which this year celebrated its 15th year in operation, is one of the “very few sources” martial artist and action film hero Chuck Norris (who happens to be a columnist) trusts for news and an operation that megachurch pastor Greg Laurie (also a columnist) says does “a service to God and Country.”

    WND is the brainchild of Joseph Farah, a self-described “radical” and longtime antigovernment propagandist and apologist for the Confederacy who believes “cultural Marxists” are plotting “to transform our political system, to change the way we think, to attack our values, to demean our faith in God, to reduce that shining city on the hill to the status of a drab public-housing project.” SPLC

  64. Gene,

    Anything said about George W. Obama, Commander in Heat…. Needs adequate protection from the truth anywhere it can be found…. What do the call them…. Smoke and mirrors… Hopefully Americans will see through this rhetotic…..

  65. Candidate Obama debates President Obama on Government Surveillance

    This should be mandatory viewing for everyone.
    The opinions expressed are so contradictory that it makes me wonder if the real ( candidate) Obama is locked up in some secure facility.

    I loved the President line – in relation to privacy v security – “We’re going to have to make some choices – as a society”.
    aka
    ‘What was leaked was part of the choice that I made for you without consulting you or informing you.’

  66. Gene H:

    “2) Not necessarily. There is a high probability the sun will rise tomorrow, but it is not a certainty.

    within our reference frame, the sun will most certainly rise tomorrow as it has for the last few billion years.

    3) Only in biomes where chlorophyll is used in photosynthesis. Other biomes may rely upon completely different chemistry.

    we live on earth, on earth grass is absolutely green, unless it is dormant or dead

    4) No, it’s not. Heavy water is D2O, but it is still water.
    if D2O is still water, I encourage you to drink a couple of glassfulls to quench your thirst

    5) No. A rock at height merely has potential energy, but it will not fall to the ground until that potential is realized
    of course not but a rock at a height will fall to earth if dropped

    There are absolutes, no matter what you may think. For logic to work, there has to be absolutes. You cannot have it both ways.

    By the way, Aristotle was a binary thinker, thanks for the many compliments you have given me over the years.

  67. Gene: The probability that confidential information will be misused by any party and/or organization increases with both the size of the available pool of data and the number of actors who have access to said data.

    I do not dispute that. Read what Nick said, verbatim: “I assume, virtually everyone knows that if the govt. has info that it WILL be abused, not CAN..it Will be.”

    He assumes everybody knows the government will absolutely abuse any information it has. He specifically excludes any probability in this matter, and claims an absolute. Not just for some information, not just sometimes; his clear implication is that any information that can be abused will be abused.

    That is patently ridiculous; if it were true the government could not be trusted with any information of any kind. It is a “bogeyman” argument that government is simply evil and all government employees are uniformly immoral and corrupt, every one of them. I presume Nick thinks that not one of them can be trusted simply by virtue of the fact that they have accept a job paid for by taxpayers. It would fit right in to his twisted thinking distorted by juvenile use of false absolutist claims.

  68. leejcarol: Tony you seem to forget the stimulus and there auto bailout without which we would not be where we are or the auto industry back and poised to hire thousands within the next few mths (according to news show this am)

    No, I did not forget that. You seem to forget the vast majority of the stimulus was wasted, and although the auto-bailout was successful it left in place all the corrupt mega-millionaire leaders of that industry that got it into trouble in the first place, and “thousands” of new jobs means hardly anything in a country where “thousands” of new jobs open up every day by natural attrition (retirement and death) of the work force.

    As President I probably would have bailed out the auto-industry, upon condition of all salaries (or more accurately total compensation) over $250K being reduced to $250K until such time as each company had paid back 100% of its borrowed money with inflation-level interest, and was earning a profit and paying a dividend to investors. That loan would be predicated upon a formal bankruptcy proceeding overseen by the DOJ, so that any contracts with officers for higher compensation could be dismissed by the DOJ.

    I do not think the auto-industry bailout saved the economy, it preserved millions of dollars for some individuals that should not have been preserved at all, they had assumed investment risk they should have lost as a bad bet, and in some cases screwed up their companies to the point they deserved to be punished.

    Even if it was in the best interest of the public to preserve the industry itself, it was not in the best interest of the public to provide a bailout that exempted the rich from financial harm. That was not necessary, it was politically corrupt, and we could have preserved the jobs without that, with a loan and strings and oversight attached; exactly as venture capitalists do when one of their investments is in trouble. They do not just open their checkbook and sign a blank one for you, and let you keep your seven figure salary.

  69. The fact that the technology used to conduct this datamining and surveillance has been in development even prior to 9-11says to me that this program, like the use of drones, has taken on a life of its own and Obama just happens to be the guy seated in the Oval Office at this particular time. That’s not really meant to excuse him, but these tax funded technological programs have gathered so much momentum since 9-11 that it would take the second coming of Andrew Jackson to put a stop to them. There’s just too much money behind this stuff; just look at the investors.

  70. Bron,

    2) Your response shows you truly have little grasp on QM. Frame of reference is only tangentially relevant in that the universe is the frame of reference in this question and in the universe it is highly probable the sun will rise tomorrow. It is, however, not certain. There are small probabilities that something could go wrong with the sun’s processes and/or the Earth could be destroyed.

    3) You didn’t specify Earth grass and the simple plant form is one that it is highly probable repeats in alien biomes.

    4) I didn’t say it was healthy for you. I said it was water. And it is.

    There are no absolutes. There are things so probable that they can be considered absolutes for practical purposes, but in universe governed by quantum mechanics, they are still just probabilities.

    Also, Aristotle was a reductionist principle based thinker, not a binary thinker. They appear similar but they are not the same thing. He was not captured by the false dichotomy like binary thinkers are. If you doubt this, see the Law of Thought known as the Law of the Excluded Middle as an illustration that Aristotle was not bound to the binary.

  71. There’s just too much money behind this stuff; just look at the investors

    We the Investors of the United States, in order to form a more perfect profit, establish tax breaks, insure domestic consumption, provide for our common security, promote the general domination, and secure the blessings of wealth to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

  72. Gene H:

    Quantum mechanics doesnt have much to do with the sun rising tomorrow. Cept at that there sub-atomic level where all them little electrons is buzzin around like bees keeping that ole cat guessing ifn hes alive or dead.

    heavy water is not water, it is a different chemical. It may have similar properties to water but it is not common, everyday, ordinary, high quality H2O.

    If you understood the law of excluded middle you would know that.

  73. “Quantum mechanics doesnt have much to do with the sun rising tomorrow.”

    Yeah, the foundation of reality really doesn’t impact, oh, what’s that thing called again . . . reality.

    http://www-istp.gsfc.nasa.gov/stargaze/Q8.htm

    “heavy water is not water, it is a different chemical.”

    Really.

    “heavy water
    Water containing a significant fraction (up to 100 per cent) of deuterium in the form of D2O or HDO. ”

    from IUPAC. Compendium of Chemical Terminology, 2nd ed. (the “Gold Book”). Compiled by A. D. McNaught and A. Wilkinson. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford (1997). XML on-line corrected version: http://goldbook.iupac.org (2006-) created by M. Nic, J. Jirat, B. Kosata; updates compiled by A. Jenkins. ISBN 0-9678550-9-8. doi:10.1351/goldbook.

    Note it is called . . . water. So is semi-heavy water (HDO), tritiated water (T2O) and oxygen heavy isotopic water (H2^18O).

    And you should simply know better than that last sentence.

  74. Gene H:

    the sun will rise tomorrow. Whether I understand qm or not.

    heavy water is not water. Go ahead and hoist a glass to your health if you think it is.

    Just like a rattlesnake is not a kingsnake. They are both in the same suborder but they are not the same species.

  75. Bron,

    Feel free to ignore science all you like.

    Your willful ignorance of quantum mechanics doesn’t change that the sun coming up is a matter of high order probability and not certainty.

    Nor does your lack of understanding about chemistry change that there are chemically forms of water other than H2O.

    Even Wiki knows better.

    Look under “according to other features”.

    Or you can stick to your made up definitions like you do in other fields like political science and economics.

    We kind of expect that at this point.

  76. WHAT other kinds of water are there? You can have salt water and sugar water and water with CO2 in it but those are just dissolved substances.

    Please tell me what other kinds of water?

    I dont need to know about QM to live a full life. If I ever want to learn, I will.

  77. the only water that is commonly known as H2O is not heavy water, is not super heavy water. its H atom is 1H not 2H, not 3H.

    are graphite and diamonds the same thing? According to you they are. They are both carbon.

    If a thing can have the same chemical composition and be structurally different [diamonds, graphite] dont you think a thing can be chemically different and take the same form?

    heavy water does not have the same properties as water.

  78. Like I said Bron, even the encyclopedia disagrees with you. Chemically, some other di-atomic oxides are considered water. This isn’t about form or phase. The carbon/diamond example fails because diamond is carbon transformed by heat and pressure into a completely new atomic structure (i.e. it’s build differently). In the waters, the basic structure is the same – an oxygen atom with two other atoms covalently bonded to the two open spots in the oxygen atom’s outer shell of electrons. This holds if it is D2O, T2O or isotopic water. Yes, in common parlance, H2O is known as water. However, in chemistry parlance, it is not the only water.

  79. […] Yet, it is important to note that Senators have come forward to admit that they knew of the massive surveillance program. So, when Clapper was given untrue testimony, these Senators sat quietly and allowed the public to be lied to. They are now holding hearings that assure the public that it can trust them that these programs have foiled “dozens” of plots. It is asking rather a lot from any citizen, but it may be the last measure of devotion demanded by this President. […]

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