A Matter of Perspective
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U.S. government off the deep end?
  • 7/17/2013 10:53:41 PM


Maryam writes

 I think we all know the government spies in one form or another it's just part of every government.


Well, yeah, maybe they all do spy ... but do they all spy on all their own citizens? Maybe people in some other countries have accepted this, but in the USA domestic surveillance of everyone has been something like a scandalous bete noire kind of issue ... until now. Now, it's becoming a sort of shrug-and-forget-it kind of issue. 

What Snowden has done has been to reverse the peeking -- to open a small crack in the government snooping apparatus and enable the public to see something about the snoopers that have been snooping on them. For this, he's become the new Public Enemy No. 1 (after all, they knocked off Osama Bin Laden several years ago).

But the issue has widened -- also because of Snowden's revelations, for example, the existence of America's secret judicial-legislative system (the so-called FISA court) has been exposed further into public scrutiny.

Basically, an entire clandestine, top-secret legislative system has been established with a court of 11 appointees (appointed by the Chief Justice) that itself has been compared in lawmaking power to the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet its functioning is totally hidden from public view, its rulings are secret, and even federal legislators cannot disclose what they know about it, and can barely even discuss its existence.

This hidden judicial system is discussed in two recent New York Times articles:

In Secret, Court Vastly Broadens Powers of N.S.A.

The Laws You Can't See

Guest-hosting the Rachel Maddow show (MSNBC) on July 8th, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein presented an extended segment discussion of the development and implications of this secret judicial apparatus:


Especially after the Boston Marathon bombing, I can understand that fear is widespread. But are Americans as a whole really prepared to accept rule by laws made in secret by a secret, unelected apparatus?


Re: Are we off subject?
  • 7/17/2013 5:46:15 PM

Beth I think its just part of governement there are things that have to be done that we may not consider to be ethical but are part of the overall functioning of every country. It's an  issue that relates to overall national security, we all like being safe but may not like the methods used to accomplish this goal.

Re: Are we off subject?
  • 7/17/2013 12:37:17 PM

Beth, - Do you remember Greg Smith of Goldman Sachs? I'm always curious to know if his letter helped change things back at Goldman.

But on a different note, and with no intention to offend or be unpleasant i'd like to observe that this particular poll isn't well designed IMO as should be the case with a poll. It has 4 negative options out of 5. Whichever way you vote there's 80 percent chance of being on the negative side. Then the remaining 20 percent is extreme. I would add a more moderate option than hero on the positive side as well. like say "necessary evil" or something else more moderate.

Re: Are we off subject?
  • 7/17/2013 9:55:44 AM

We're all pretty jaded when it comes to the government, spying or otherwise, I think!


Re: Are we off subject?
  • 7/17/2013 12:00:51 AM

 I think we all know the government spies in one form or another it's just part of every government. I think the focus is more on Snowden because of his violation of what should have been a fiduciary relationship.

Are we off subject?
  • 7/16/2013 8:11:37 AM

Elsewhere on our message boards, we've been discussing whether the focus on Snowden is misplaced -- that we're rather pathetically focusing on him when we really should be focusing on the US government for it's spying activities. What do folks here think? Agree or disagree?