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The Trust Thread
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Aug 11, 2013, 09:09 PM
 
With all the flak I've taken for my positions on Snowden and Manning, I've realized that I have a different level of "trust" with certain parts of the U.S. government than most other people here. For example, I "trust" that the people at the top of the NSA sincerely want to do everything possible to protect Americans from terrorist acts, and that they sincerely intend for any surveillance their agency does to be as benign as possible for everyone except the potential terrorists they are looking for, and that almost everyone else at NSA feels the same way AND works hard to do their jobs to that end.

I "trust" that every member of the DoD, top to bottom, sincerely wants to do his or her best for their teammates, unit, service and country, and that almost all work very hard at that aim. I also "trust" that without solid supervision, low level people are going to take the easy way out of hard jobs like completing paperwork to get disabled vets the support and care they need in a timely manner, and that without proper training and supervision, young people in very responsible positions like Basic Training Instructors will at least consider that they might "get away" with something they know they shouldn't do.

More locally, I "trust" that a patrol cop who has to work on a holiday will have zero humor, and will most likely ignore things like stop signs being hidden by overgrown trees - because this has happened to me in real life. But in response, when I presented photographs of the hidden stop sign to the municipal judge hearing my ticket case, he dismissed the ticket (which was not only good for me but "the right thing to do"), which helps establish my trust in how justice works.

Personally, I have an exceptionally good relationship with my wife, and I trust her unconditionally and permanently. If she says she's "working late," it's because she is, just as if I tell her I'm "working late," it's because I really am working late. If I want/need to go have a few drinks with friends or coworkers after work, I can tell her that, and the reverse is also true. I know that she will not do something to hurt me. That is a different level of "trust" from my "trust" in government agencies, with different reasons and different expectations.

So why is it that so many people refuse to express any form of "trust" whatsoever in any U.S. government agency, city official, etc.? Personal experiences? Lack of empathy for people in those jobs, or who appear to be of a different social and/or educational stratum? Other? And with all of that distrust, is there ANYTHING else that anyone [u]does[/i] trust?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 11, 2013, 09:13 PM
 
The road to hell is paved* with good intentions. It really is that simple.




*Actually paved with broken glass and rusty nails.
     
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Aug 11, 2013, 09:26 PM
 
There's also a second factor of how things change over time.

Maybe I trust this group of people at the NSA, but what about the group of people 50 years from now? What about 200 years from now?
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 12:54 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
So why is it that so many people refuse to express any form of "trust" whatsoever in any U.S. government agency, city official, etc.? Personal experiences? Other? And with all of that distrust, is there ANYTHING else that anyone [u]does[/i] trust?
I've been thinking about this same idea lately, just on the other side of it.

There are those who trust people they don't know and those that do. I find it hard enough to trust the people in my close circles whether it be business, friends or family. Im certainly not going to trust people I've never met with things that have such an impact on our entire society. And yes it is personal experience; and mass observation; which happens to line up with some of the most ancient philosophical thought that has been preached and proven true time again over the ages. It's not that I think all the government guys are out to get us. Instead I think if they are ordered to spy on us / frame us / hurt us, they will just follow orders to keep their job / keep their pay check / avoid confrontation /use excuses like "I was just following orders, therefore I'm not responsible": I have heard that exact line over and over in my government experience. Why? because these people while not bad, do not have a personal/emotional connection to us, they will protect their friends, family and community members; before they feel a moral obligation about how their actions affect the rest of us... All of a sudden it's "I was just doing my job, Im innocent".

For most of human evolution we have been small tight knit community / tribe members. Thats how our DNA; our psyche has been hard coded for hundreds of thousands of years. We are not meant to live in empires of 3 hundred million and be dictated thousands of laws to by chiefs who've never met us and vise versa. That's why we can show more trust, based on our personal emotional attachments, to our close community members. It is this misunderstanding that I believe is the source of ~98% of all corruption. We would probably be able to have more successful liberal laws if we were a confederacy... the most supreme of all governments. The key is the people making the laws need to personally know you so they actually care about how those laws actually affect you.
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Aug 12, 2013, 02:03 AM
 
Perhaps it's my own experiences in life that have taught me that you cannot function solely on trust (and if you can, consider yourself extremely lucky). Trust is an important virtue in life but to really have it, you've got to create the right environment to encourage it).

Over the last few years I've learned the hard way not to be so giving with your trust. I personally believe it's a thing that takes a lifetime to earn and a second to lose, but that is the way of things. i also believe it isn't an on/off thing, but a continuum. Do I trust the government for certain things? Yes. Being responsible with a tech that's insanely open to abuse and being operated in the shadows isn't one of them.

I personally have been pushed by a cop who was apparently having a bad day and not in the mood to talk like a reasonable human being. When I pulled out my camera phone he immediately arrested me and another within our group and deleted our video of the event (which is illegal). The only thing that I "trust" from that situation is I probably would have gotten a beat down if I hadn't had the foresight to use my camera to document. Once his supervisor came along we were immediately released and given bullshit "blocking the sidewalk" citations to justify the detainment. Two lawyers advised me only to file a complaint if I planned a lawsuit, which would be a bad idea as I couldn't really show much in the way of damages. He's still on the force today.

I've had a live in girlfriend of four years leave me for my best friend (at the time) and didn't see it coming.

I've seen the waste and fraud by people I grew up around sitting on disability and collecting unemployment (exploiting the system).

I've seen the greed by the government. My county's police chief in mired in scandal after scandal involving prostitution and a sex ring. No charges. I've seen cops beat people into the ground for making the mistake of asserting their rights, but without the resources to do anything about it. I have cop friends that have told me such stories around the campfire and about how whistleblowers are ostracized and looked down upon by their peers.


The problem Glenn, isn't necessarily today or tomorrow. Once the ultimate authority (in this case the NSA) is allowed to operate outside of the checks and balances that found our society, it is just a matter of time before they are exploited and that exploitation becomes precedent. I doubt there will ever be any "major event" to destroy our free and private society but instead a generation long gradual march towards subservience. It's just plain human nature.

This is a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water. The integration of technology in our lives is only going to get stronger, and removing the 4th now means that that protection will erode proportionally to that integration of the internet into our lives. And make no mistake, Glenn, this is wholesale ignoring the 4th in the name of protecting against terrorism (which really has no well defined legal definition, except for whatever Obama's secret judges say it is). I don't really care if every person at the NSA is the ultimate patriot today - we're removing the safeguards to the system and like a Rose cut from it's roots, it's eventually going to wither and die no matter how much water you give it.

Our rights won't come back. Every communication your children and their children make will be screened by the government. You don't think eventually that will be abused and exploited? Hell, they're already going after journalists how long before that extends to you and me? The tech for reading thoughts isn't too too far off in the distance, are those fair game too?
( Last edited by Snow-i; Aug 12, 2013 at 02:18 AM. Reason: typo city: it's late.)
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 03:05 AM
 
Trust people, when it's earned, but never organizations. People will die, and their influence with them, but a group or institution can be practically immortal, and whatever power or benefit it gains will eventually be exploited, be it for "the greater good", "public safety", or just good old fashioned greed, it's inevitable.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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Aug 12, 2013, 03:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Trust people, when it's earned, but never organizations. People will die, and their influence with them, but a group or institution can be practically immortal, and whatever power or benefit it gains will eventually be exploited, be it for "the greater good", "public safety", or just good old fashioned greed, it's inevitable.
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 07:41 AM
 
The NSA is accountable to the DoJ, but the DoJ itself is mired in one scandal after another including judge-shopping for privacy violations into AP phone records with the Attorney General himself committing obvious perjury. Is this really your trusted oversight authority?

In light of the apparent NSA slop necessary to have granted "need to know" information to a highschool dropout who really didn't "need to know" any of the information he's carrying around in Russia right now, I'd say your trust is misplaced. Is it being run by people? Yes. Is there the potential for abuse? Yes. Even in the IRS? Yes. DoJ? Yes. NSA? Yes... obviously.

As a forum sage once put it;
Originally Posted by Shaddim
Trust people, when it's earned, but never organizations. People will die, and their influence with them, but a group or institution can be practically immortal, and whatever power or benefit it gains will eventually be exploited, be it for "the greater good", "public safety", or just good old fashioned greed, it's inevitable.
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Aug 12, 2013, 09:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
So why is it that so many people refuse to express any form of "trust" whatsoever in any U.S. government agency, city official, etc.? Personal experiences? Lack of empathy for people in those jobs, or who appear to be of a different social and/or educational stratum? Other? And with all of that distrust, is there ANYTHING else that anyone [u]does[/i] trust?
Isn't it a trait that defines our political system? One side distrusts the whole of government, the other private industry. Actually, this might make for a decent multiple choice poll.
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 12:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I also "trust" that without solid supervision, low level people are going to take the easy way out of hard jobs
...
So why is it that so many people refuse to express any form of "trust" whatsoever in any U.S. government agency, city official, etc.?
It sounds somewhat like you trust people at the top to be "better" about this than people at the bottom, while your debate opponents assume that people at the top have jobs as hard as those at the bottom, if not harder, and will be just as likely to cut corners if there's no one checking their work.
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 12:56 PM
 
Even with tips from the Russians, they didn't stop the Boston Bombers. This suggests the NSA doesn't know how to use all that data (Big waste of $$)
I don't generally trust 'people' anyway.
     
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Aug 12, 2013, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
The NSA is accountable to the DoJ, but the DoJ itself is mired in one scandal after another including judge-shopping for privacy violations into AP phone records with the Attorney General himself committing obvious perjury. Is this really your trusted oversight authority?

In light of the apparent NSA slop necessary to have granted "need to know" information to a highschool dropout who really didn't "need to know" any of the information he's carrying around in Russia right now, I'd say your trust is misplaced. Is it being run by people? Yes. Is there the potential for abuse? Yes. Even in the IRS? Yes. DoJ? Yes. NSA? Yes... obviously.

As a forum sage once put it;

You know, there are a lot of people in government right now who I trust.

Eric ****ing Holder is not one of them. He makes Gonzales look good.
     
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Aug 13, 2013, 06:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
It sounds somewhat like you trust people at the top to be "better" about this than people at the bottom, while your debate opponents assume that people at the top have jobs as hard as those at the bottom, if not harder, and will be just as likely to cut corners if there's no one checking their work.
Not quite. I trust people with less experience (and less that is obvious to them to lose) to need more direct supervision, while more experienced people know full well that their "almost complete" career can be ruined by one @$&@ up, even one done by someone under them.

So I don't expect more senior people to be "better" as much as more cognizant, more aware, and with more experience, more attuned to what sorts of things to look out for that can help point out who needs more instruction, or more "hands on" supervision (as in sitting them down and explaining in detail how they are about to be in a huge pile of trouble, not "roughing them up").

When you're 21 and feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof, it's hard to see that what you think of as "self confidence" looks like arrogance, and the way you behave can be taken as overstepping your authority - or worse, you can believe you're "all that" and start acting like rules don't apply to you. Unless someone in authority makes sure that you don't start believing your own swagger, you can get into really big trouble very quickly. The military has a very thoroughly defined structure for instructing, training and guiding people from enlistment at under 18 to retirement at anywhere from 38 to whatever. But it doesn't help if it isn't used, so there are specific rules for when and how often junior people get detailed feedback on their performance, especially very junior people

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 13, 2013, 06:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
You know, there are a lot of people in government right now who I trust.

Eric ****ing Holder is not one of them. He makes Gonzales look good.
If this was the 1970s, (and I hate to say this), Mr. Holder would have been typecast as the "untrustworthy politician" just because of his looks and manner. He speaks well in technical terms, but he doesn't seem to come across as genuine. If he went on CNN and said "My name is Eric Holder," I don't think he'd come across as 100% credible. On the other hand, Bill Clinton could present himself as credible even when he said "I did not have sex with that woman," without even having his fingers crossed behind his back.

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Aug 13, 2013, 06:20 PM
 
I'm going almost 100% by his actions as AG. I've seen him speak for probably a grand total of 5 minutes. I don't have cable.
     
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Aug 13, 2013, 09:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
If this was the 1970s, (and I hate to say this), Mr. Holder would have been typecast...
Wait, are you trying to sell that Holder is merely a victim of typecasting?

I don't think he comes across as credible because he's given testimony under oath that proves he either lied to a Federal judge or lied to the House Judiciary Committee.
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Aug 14, 2013, 11:45 AM
 
Lavabit founder, under gag order, speaks out about shut-down decision | Ars Technica

Oh look, they're going after our 1st amendment rights now too. He can't even tell us what the government demanded of him. For shame, Obama. For shame.
     
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Aug 14, 2013, 11:50 AM
 
Sites not being able to talk about requests has been going on forever. I'm assuming this is a gag order enacted under the guise of national security, but its obvious there's no discretion on where the govt. enacts them. Not to mention the very real damage it does to the transparency of the court system.
     
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Aug 14, 2013, 01:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
(and less that is obvious to them to lose)
Their potential for loss is contingent on someone distrusting them enough to catch them in their sloppiness. We can't decide to throw away our distrust based on any factor that wouldn't exist without that distrust.

So I don't expect more senior people to be "better" as much as more cognizant, more aware, and with more experience, more attuned to what sorts of things to look out for that can help point out who needs more instruction, or more "hands on" supervision (as in sitting them down and explaining in detail how they are about to be in a huge pile of trouble, not "roughing them up").
That could be a way of saying that they never cut corners (because they know the importance of corners), or it could be a way of saying that they should be able to cut all the corners they want (because they know which corners are important and which are obsolete). Which of those are you trying to say, if either?


When you're 21 and feel 10 feet tall and bullet proof, it's hard to see that what you think of as "self confidence" looks like arrogance, and the way you behave can be taken as overstepping your authority - or worse, you can believe you're "all that" and start acting like rules don't apply to you.
But what about the inverse, that when you're 51 and actually are 10 feet tall and bullet proof (master of your industry), arrogance looks like self confidence, and your authority is powerful enough to damage the rest of us even without being overstepped. Are those at the top immune from arrogance? Or rather, are you saying that their arrogance is justified and that's why you trust them (IOW the rules actually don't apply to them, because they'll do the right thing on their own initiative, and when the president does it it's not illegal)?


The military has a very thoroughly defined structure for instructing, training and guiding people from enlistment at under 18 to retirement at anywhere from 38 to whatever. But it doesn't help if it isn't used, so there are specific rules for when and how often junior people get detailed feedback on their performance, especially very junior people
Did everyone at the NSA come up through the military?
     
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Aug 14, 2013, 09:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
Wait, are you trying to sell that Holder is merely a victim of typecasting?
No. I'm saying that he presents himself very badly in every opportunity for public speaking that he has, and in such a way as to resemble the "typecast" I mentioned. He lacks the expression of self confidence that good speakers provide with body language, and he lacks the visible engagement with his audience that can convince them that he believes what he's saying. He'd do better if he tried a little harder, but his speaking looks like it's too much work for him to even speak up for legibility...

Originally Posted by ebuddy View Post
I don't think he comes across as credible because he's given testimony under oath that proves he either lied to a Federal judge or lied to the House Judiciary Committee.
And as I said, I would have trouble from the way he presents himself believing him if he simply stated that his name was Eric.

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Aug 14, 2013, 09:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Uncle Skeleton View Post
Their potential for loss is contingent on someone distrusting them enough to catch them in their sloppiness. We can't decide to throw away our distrust based on any factor that wouldn't exist without that distrust.


That could be a way of saying that they never cut corners (because they know the importance of corners), or it could be a way of saying that they should be able to cut all the corners they want (because they know which corners are important and which are obsolete). Which of those are you trying to say, if either?



But what about the inverse, that when you're 51 and actually are 10 feet tall and bullet proof (master of your industry), arrogance looks like self confidence, and your authority is powerful enough to damage the rest of us even without being overstepped. Are those at the top immune from arrogance? Or rather, are you saying that their arrogance is justified and that's why you trust them (IOW the rules actually don't apply to them, because they'll do the right thing on their own initiative, and when the president does it it's not illegal)?



Did everyone at the NSA come up through the military?
There is a really valid reason the insurance industry charges people under 26, especially young men, a lot more for auto insurance. Both actuarial statistics and neuroscience show that people, especially males, make poor decisions before about that age, and it is because the part of the brain that is in charge of fine distinctions of meaning and reasoning for decision making does not fully form and become operational until somewhere between age 24 and 26. Thus, giving young people significant responsibility without providing sufficient oversight gives them more opportunity for error, whether it's failing to properly file a document or taking advantage of "nobody looking" to goof off on the job, or something worse.

Sufficient oversight means a number of things. First, it means reinforcing the concept of a number of levels of checks on work being done and how that work impacts the work of others. In the military there are regularly scheduled inspections of everything, and some of the items that can be inspected are often trivial to an outsider. In basic training, we had to fold our underwear into 6" squares. Not 5 3/4" X 6 1/4" rectangles, and yes the TI did use a ruler to measure this. The importance of following instructions carefully and to the best of one's ability is reinforced from that beginning. So it should be less of a problem when a young person is trained on a job to say "we'll be checking your work" to expect them to actually work at it. But their age-related confidence often gets in the way of that, so new workers typically work through a sort of apprenticeship until they are ready to understand that, yes, they are good at their job, but they are fallible and need to pay close attention.

Now fast forward to someone in the military who's 51. He is good at his job because he's helped shape that job over the years, and he knows it. But he also knows that if he gets cocky and skips double checking this, or takes an extra long lunch because he's the boss, even though he's supposed to be watching the shop (whether that's 3 people or 300), that odds are that some glitch will get someone to look in and find his slip up...and all the 30+ years of his hard work will come crashing down around his ears. And in the military that could mean not just no pension, but loss of ALL benefits, including the possibility that he'll wind up being unemployable because of a "non-judicial punishment" which still shows up as a federal offense...

Most of NSA's people either started out in the military, or were brought up through the ranks by others who were. The culture is very strongly military-based.

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Aug 15, 2013, 04:58 PM
 
If hundreds of prisoners get tortured on your watch they bust you down to Colonel, and you get a book deal.

If that career officer you're talking about has his life come crashing down around him, he neglected the part of his career where you're supposed to make friends in high places.



Edit: did you do any work with the Pentagon? I'm a big supporter of the military, and I believe (mainly due to the spectacular amount of money we supply them) they are more resistant to the kind of problems which normally affect government. However, I've seen plenty of evidence the military-civilian interface at the Pentagon is where 90% of shit goes bad for the military.

Make no mistake. I trust soldiers. Military personnel who work at or with the Pentagon are politicians with rank.
     
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Aug 15, 2013, 11:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post

Edit: did you do any work with the Pentagon? I'm a big supporter of the military, and I believe (mainly due to the spectacular amount of money we supply them) they are more resistant to the kind of problems which normally affect government. However, I've seen plenty of evidence the military-civilian interface at the Pentagon is where 90% of shit goes bad for the military.

Make no mistake. I trust soldiers. Military personnel who work at or with the Pentagon are politicians with rank.
I can't tell you how much I agree with this. Especially that last sentence.
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 07:03 AM
 
I have worked with others who have survived assignments to the Pentagon, both enlisted and officers. I have a fair idea of the kinds of stuff that goes on at various levels there, though certainly not at the very top. I had a commander once who got promoted to Lt. Col...but also got sent to the Pentagon to be a "second assistant aide" to some mid-level general (paraphrasing him...I don't post that kind of language online). Most people think of "the Pentagon" as some hotbed of ultra high level decision making, and for the most part it's not. It's a place where most of the administrative functions of the DoD are consolidated, with some special facilities for high level stuff (both offices and some pretty fantastic communication facilities for world wide command and control). The majority of the really high end decision making happens in either the fancy offices for the top level generals and the civilian directors (department secretaries and their staffs), or elsewhere.

Back on topic, I really get what you're saying about the Pentagon. It looks like the only thing that comes out of the Pentagon is "go out and violate the Constitution" orders, but truthfully that sort of thing is pretty rare (though it still does happen). In some cases that I'm aware of there is a component of "I think we can do this, and we need to act now or..." so they do it and wait for the AG to tell them to stop. And in those cases I'm aware of the action was essentially to protect Americans, not to go off someone or similar thriller material.

Here's a fictional example: American contractors in Country X being surrounded by some insurgent group that Country X is having a violent spat with, and Senator C says "I have constituents in danger - do something" to some general... So he talks to his buddy the admiral and a naval task force on training maneuvers detours and evacuates the contractors... Oops, they violated Country Y's airspace flying through a 2 mile corridor to get there and then get out... And Country Y supports the insurgents. "Sorry, our bad. Won't happen again."

The real weirdness comes out of Langley, VA, and not some fancy office in the Pentagon, but unfortunately they do get quite a bit of cooperation from higher levels at the Pentagon, particularly the appointed, not commissioned, leadership. (Did I say that diplomatically enough? As in "it's political people, not career military people"?) And I can tell when a politician is telling an untruth: his/her lips are moving. There's a big distinction between people in suits and people in uniform, until you get to a very few people at the highest ranks. Schwartzcopf was as apolitical as a person can get, as was Powell (while in uniform), but some others, not so much.

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Aug 16, 2013, 08:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
In some cases that I'm aware of there is a component of "I think we can do this, and we need to act now or..." so they do it and wait for the AG to tell them to stop. And in those cases I'm aware of the action was essentially to protect Americans, not to go off someone or similar thriller material.
I feel that you are attributing all corner-cutting to the "gone fishin" variety, at the expense of the "daddy knows best" variety. Freedom and security are often in direct opposition to each other. It's no easy task to find the right compromise, and that task is where corner-cutting comes in. It's often simply an easier puzzle to solve the security issue than the freedom issue, all the more so for someone in the defense industry.
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 01:22 PM
 
While I like Glenn, it is distressing when the discussion is diverted to which service members we can trust. That isn't relevant - the ones we need to focus on are the ones we cannot trust. Ignoring those brought us to today.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we trusted various agencies and politicians. Rather than just expanding surveillance on our enemies, they spied on the American Public. Along with foreign civilians, and friendly foreign governments. They showed themselves to be untrustworthy without supervision, and lied / omitted important details to the little oversight that existed. This has gone unpunished.

In the process, they have taken away our rights and diminished our worldwide trust and standing. If we do not regain our rights today in the height of the scandal, they will be lost. The future will "get used to" their government monitoring everything we do. Where privacy exists only between individuals, and like with the TSA, groping is OK so long as they wear a uniform.

We could expend a lot of effort tracking down who "they" are. That will take years, with no guarantee "their" removal will stop these programs. "They" could easily be replaced by like-minded scabs along the way. So the correct course is to stop the universal surveillance now, and sort out the guilty as opportunity permits.

This isn't about trust, it's about betrayal. Betraying all of us outweighs betraying secrecy oaths to an untrustworthy government. We need to punish the guilty, and reward those who broke ranks to inform us. But most of all, we need to end these programs.

This is not the time for a merit poll of best-serving government employees. I could care less about them right now - we're under attack as surely as a squad taking fire in the field. We need to reclaim lost ground, or there will be nowhere left to retreat. Even our own homes aren't so private today.
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 03:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
While I like Glenn, it is distressing when the discussion is diverted to which service members we can trust. That isn't relevant - the ones we need to focus on are the ones we cannot trust. Ignoring those brought us to today.

In the aftermath of 9/11, we trusted various agencies and politicians. Rather than just expanding surveillance on our enemies, they spied on the American Public. Along with foreign civilians, and friendly foreign governments. They showed themselves to be untrustworthy without supervision, and lied / omitted important details to the little oversight that existed. This has gone unpunished.

In the process, they have taken away our rights and diminished our worldwide trust and standing. If we do not regain our rights today in the height of the scandal, they will be lost. The future will "get used to" their government monitoring everything we do. Where privacy exists only between individuals, and like with the TSA, groping is OK so long as they wear a uniform.

We could expend a lot of effort tracking down who "they" are. That will take years, with no guarantee "their" removal will stop these programs. "They" could easily be replaced by like-minded scabs along the way. So the correct course is to stop the universal surveillance now, and sort out the guilty as opportunity permits.

This isn't about trust, it's about betrayal. Betraying all of us outweighs betraying secrecy oaths to an untrustworthy government. We need to punish the guilty, and reward those who broke ranks to inform us. But most of all, we need to end these programs.

This is not the time for a merit poll of best-serving government employees. I could care less about them right now - we're under attack as surely as a squad taking fire in the field. We need to reclaim lost ground, or there will be nowhere left to retreat. Even our own homes aren't so private today.



Also:

Newly published leaks show NSA’s thousands of privacy violations | Ars Technica

Originally Posted by article
Overall, the audit found 2,776 "incidents" in which the NSA broke its own privacy rules while collecting information. The report breaks out data about the first quarter of 2012, in which 195 violations occurred.
They can't even follow their own rules, much less the rules set forth by our actual government (elected congressmen).
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 03:25 PM
 
Who enforces the rules?
     
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Aug 16, 2013, 11:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Who enforces the rules?
Secret judges appointed by the rulemakers themselves. Had there not been leaks, we wouldn't have known that anyone broke the law. In this case, however, breaking a rule (a law, nay, the 4th amendment i.e. a law of all laws) has no consequence and would never have made the light of day had it not been for Snowden.
     
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Aug 17, 2013, 10:59 AM
 
I find it hard to not be derailed by side questions. I apologize.

From my understanding of what I've read of the Snowden revelations of NSA overreach, it seems a lot of it was due to the sheer volume and scope of their allowed efforts. A programmer (probably actually a data entry technician) messing up and accidentally including area code 201 (Washington DC) with a search for region code 20 (Egypt) really doesn't sound horribly Machiavellian. It certainly shows a lack of attention to detail, which could come from the size of the project, and that really needs to be addressed. What I DON'T see is what happened to the data collected in these over-reach surveillances after the errors were noticed. Were those data destroyed? How quickly? I really hope that comes out as well; it will show whether or not my own level of trust in those at the top of the NSA is reasonable (to me).

With all of this discussion, few people have actually mentioned whom and what they DO trust. Introspection has brought to me that my own assessments come from learning just how many different shades of gray there are, and that truly malicious actions by high level government people are pretty rare, while the complexities of the world make it easier to step over that broad, gray line from "really reasonable" to "not defensible."

Most of what folks have posted is an underlying resistance to trust, an assumption that "government" is out to get people, whether on a grand or personal scale. None of what Snowden's overreach data exposes makes it look like anyone said "let's snoop on Americans and cover it up if we get caught." Did Ford actually intend to overstate their new hybrid's MPG, or did they, following EPA rules, overstate it through a real error in reasoning? To me, it's the same sort (though not level of importance) of issue. Evil? Not very frequently seen, here in the U.S. anyway, and certainly not at high levels of government. That guy in Ohio with three women captives held for 10 years? That's pretty close to really evil. Holder letting mid-level Justice people direct Fast and Furious and not provide really serious direction on a daily basis? That was stupid and really bad for both the stated goal of the program AND the United States, but not evil. Where IS there trust? And why, or why not? All those shades of gray make it, for me, more a matter of experience than a matter of headlines, at least to me.

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Aug 17, 2013, 07:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Most of what folks have posted is an underlying resistance to trust, an assumption that "government" is out to get people, whether on a grand or personal scale.
The great web of corporatocracy isn't out to get us; it's out to get economic leverage over us. It always come down to money. We just need to be aware of that so we can keep them in check.
Did Ford actually intend to overstate their new hybrid's MPG, or did they, following EPA rules, overstate it through a real error in reasoning? Evil? Not very frequently seen, here in the U.S. anyway, and certainly not at high levels of government.
It would be believable if more of the mistakes resulted in our favor rather than the corporation's/government's. If it's really an error why don't they understate the mpg more often? Why do bank's errors usually involve 'accidentally' debiting money from our account and into theirs, rather than the other way around? Why not get more credit card points every now and then instead of less? Why not accidentally waive the setup fee more often? Why can't the government's honest errors accidentally result in a little more world peace, less gun and drug trafficking, easier small business approval & startup, less taxes, an extra grant being sent to research solar paint as opposed to money spent trying to drive up the cost of pork; an extra highway or sidewalk being built etc.. You know something that works better than we thought it would. Why is it, as a result of certain honest mistakes powers that be keep getting more leverage and control over the citizenry? It generally seems to conveniently work out for 'them' and not for us.

What happens if I make an honest mistake on say my taxes? Will the government be as understanding as you ask us to be with them on larger issues? What happens if a rescue facility imports endangered species and there's a few errors in the regulatory paper work? It's a coin toss but every time I've seen they euthanize them and say it was the little guy's responsibility to get it right. What happens if a large corporation has a few errors in compliance forms? They say excuse us just go ahead call this number and we'll wait for the corrections in your permit.

That guy in Ohio with three women captives held for 10 years? That's pretty close to really evil.
He's just doing what fulfills his desires; like the people of Transocean cutting corners, in turn the regulators cutting corners, to fulfill their financial desires. It doesn't matter. Doing something to satisfy oneself at the expense of others. One scenario is more socially acceptable while both are evil.

Holder letting mid-level Justice people direct Fast and Furious and not provide really serious direction on a daily basis? That was stupid and really bad for both the stated goal of the program AND the United States, but not evil. Where IS there trust? And why, or why not? All those shades of gray make it, for me, more a matter of experience than a matter of headlines, at least to me.
It's not even about evil. And it wasn't stupid. It was negligent. Trust is not built by constant negligence, regardless of whether you had good intentions. If I say "hey ghporter give me $40k and Ill invest it for you" I might have truly good intentions... but trustworthy? I don't think it's up to us to decide what the intentions are at this point. Only the results or consequences that we've been putting up with for so long as a result of trusting them in the past.
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Aug 18, 2013, 11:46 PM
 
Glenn,

Is this in line with a government that is trustworthy?

Journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner detained in London - CNN.com
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 10:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Secret judges appointed by the rulemakers themselves. Had there not been leaks, we wouldn't have known that anyone broke the law. In this case, however, breaking a rule (a law, nay, the 4th amendment i.e. a law of all laws) has no consequence and would never have made the light of day had it not been for Snowden.
That's not what I mean. After judgement has been made who enforces the rules? If you get convicted of murder, it isn't the judge who carries out your actual punishment.



Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Glenn,

Is this in line with a government that is trustworthy?

Journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner detained in London - CNN.com
Another great story. They apparently confiscated every electronic device he had and released him. Love to know the reasoning.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 11:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Another great story. They apparently confiscated every electronic device he had and released him. Love to know the reasoning.
We might get to hear that, since there are ranking MPs raising quite a stink about it. No cabinet-level members yet, but the responsible committee chair and the shadow secretary are calling for the police to explain themselves.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 02:41 PM
 
How about this one?

Feds target instructors teaching how to beat polygraph tests | Fox News

They're just rounding up everyone who they consider to be a threat. Everything is sealed, and the targets of these actions are too scared to say anything about what their charges are.

I'd say this is a pretty blatant violation of the 1st amendment, but it's pretty clear our government no longer considers the bill of rights to be in effect.
     
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Aug 19, 2013, 02:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
That's not what I mean. After judgement has been made who enforces the rules? If you get convicted of murder, it isn't the judge who carries out your actual punishment.
This is a great question, but unfortunately that information seems to be classified.



Another great story. They apparently confiscated every electronic device he had and released him. Love to know the reasoning.
To me it appears obvious what their reasoning was - they just wanted to know what he knows. I'd say the detainment was pretty illegal, but I'm not sure I know what the laws of the jurisdiction where this happened very well.
     
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Aug 20, 2013, 06:52 AM
 
No idea why they selected that one journalist, other than maybe the Brits are also kind of stinging from the kind of stuff that's been released - through a British newspaper. And polygraphy is widely believed to be unreliable due to the very fact that some people can manage their bodies reactions well enough to avoid clearcut results from the polygraph.

However, I'll point out that it's not a violation of first amendment protections to try to stop people from teaching how to use household chemicals to make explosives, nor to take action on a group of people who say they provide a service that they don't (evasion of polygraphy is about as unreliable as polygraphy itself and not everyone can effectively apply the various techniques to do it).

I think the statement that "our government doesn't consider the bill of rights in effect" is both inflammatory and pretty darn off target. We have not had a military take over of our government (nor do we have protesters mowed down in the street), and whether we feel specific actions are justified or legal or not, there is redress, and all it takes is enough stink raised or just a couple of people who were directly affected by some sort of act to go to court, and we will wind up getting it all exposed.

Funny thing about the secret courts: the oversight of those courts is essentially in the hands of some of the most liberal AND most conservative members of Congress, and so far the courts have gotten positive reviews from all of them. Talk about bipartisanship... Kind of hard to think of the courts as a rubber stamp for either party, or any particular agenda

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Aug 20, 2013, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
No idea why they selected that one journalist, other than maybe the Brits are also kind of stinging from the kind of stuff that's been released - through a British newspaper. And polygraphy is widely believed to be unreliable due to the very fact that some people can manage their bodies reactions well enough to avoid clearcut results from the polygraph.
No idea? Seems quite clear he had something they wanted. Regardless of the reliability of Polygraphy, it is not illegal to study. What justification can they use to set aside the 1st amendment?

However, I'll point out that it's not a violation of first amendment protections to try to stop people from teaching how to use household chemicals to make explosives,
Don't you think this is a bit disingenuous? Explosives kill people. Polygraphy isn't even reliable according to you. How can this be justified?
nor to take action on a group of people who say they provide a service that they don't (evasion of polygraphy is about as unreliable as polygraphy itself and not everyone can effectively apply the various techniques to do it).
Do you really buy this? The government should be going after themselves for employing polygraph then, right?
I think the statement that "our government doesn't consider the bill of rights in effect" is both inflammatory and pretty darn off target. We have not had a military take over of our government (nor do we have protesters mowed down in the street), and whether we feel specific actions are justified or legal or not, there is redress, and all it takes is enough stink raised or just a couple of people who were directly affected by some sort of act to go to court, and we will wind up getting it all exposed.
How's enough stink going to be raised when they are targeting the free press? How's any of it going to be exposed when all of this is happening in secret courts? People have fought back, we're just not allowed to hear why or how (or even what they are fighting in court).
Funny thing about the secret courts: the oversight of those courts is essentially in the hands of some of the most liberal AND most conservative members of Congress,
If that doesn't scare the shit out of you, I don't know what would.
and so far the courts have gotten positive reviews from all of them. Talk about bipartisanship... Kind of hard to think of the courts as a rubber stamp for either party, or any particular agenda
I'll maintain this debate has nothing to do with (r) vs (d). This is about government vs people. If it took wholesale dereliction of the bill of rights against the constituency to bring our politicians together, we're in deeper shit then it looks like.
     
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Aug 22, 2013, 09:50 PM
 
I hoped that it would be obvious from my post that there are multple ways to look at all sorts of things. And without resoring to "explosives don't kill people, people kill people," there ARE valid reasons to stop SOME people from selling a service that they say lets you fool polygraphy; they're charlatans. I'm not saying that this is THE reason anyone is pursuing this particular issue, only that absolute black and white issues do NOT exist. Assuming that there is bad intent behind something because you only acknowledge one point of view as possible keeps one from being able to see the bigger picture. In the case of the polygraphy issue it's that of people suddenly paranoid about being required to submit to a polygraph test for some reason - and quite suddenly plenty of offers for training or techniques or what have you to fool polygraphs. Use of polygraph testing is far from new in many areas: a friend was required to undergo testing regularly as the manager of a FABRIC STORE!!! Not just for hire, not just to move up to management, but on a regular basis. That is a real issue that is really ongoing, yet where is the outrage about that? In contrast, I understand that some government agencies have completely given up on the polygraph because of its falibility and numerous false readings in both directions. It seems that even Uncle Sam (at least in part) has realized that there is no magic machine that tells you whether or not you can trust someone; it's actually still a human interaction issue.

And once again, how is "government" something separate from "the people?" The U.S. government is made up of U.S. citizens in elected and appointed positions, and mostly U.S. citizens employed by the various arms of the government as set out in the Constitution. While some might argue that "Senator A can mess with all he wants because he won't ever have to deal with X," I think a relatively brief study of history (and news) over the last several decades will show that members of Congress actually either pretty well follow the same rules as Joe Blow, or they wind up on TV trying to hem and haw their way out of the trouble they've given themselves. If they don't screw up before the election, they wind up not being able to do much in Washington because they're trying to defend their tails at home. Kind of hard to argue that this is some weird elite group that controls the rest of us while enjoying immunity from the laws they craft.

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