Government Surveillance Critics Willingly Accept Egregious Corporate Privacy Violations

ron_paul_jalopyThe most popular article on The Atlantic yesterday was a sloppy-wet rant about how the National Security Agency (NSA) has “commandeered” the internet. Yes, commandeered it. The author of the post, Bruce Schneier, wrote that the government’s “surveillance apparatus” has taken over “vast swaths” of the internet just as the military commandeers ships and factories during wartime. But since we’re not at war (we’re not?) and this is peacetime (it is?), this commandeering is unacceptable.

There’s an important point to be made here about how we as Americans regard both corporations and the government, but first things first. This article is absurd.

Schneier literally begged internet tech companies to shield him from the big bad government by refusing NSA’s requests to attain user data as part of the agency’s effort to monitor overseas communications. Yes, this is where we’ve arrived: Team Greenwald is pleading with for-profit corporations to protect them from the government. On the surface, it appears to be another significant lurch in the direction of Ron Paul’s huffy-puffy whimsical jalopy brand of fantastical anti-government libertarianism. More on this presently.

The unspoken reality is that the government invented the internet when it established ARPANET, under the Defense Department agency now known as DARPA (home of the creepy robots). The government also regulates the internet. Government R&D funding helped to create Mosaic, the first web browser. The government will spend $1.4 billion on web infrastructure and content next year (not enough, in my opinion). The United States ranks ninth in internet speed and this pathetic ranking won’t be solved by tech companies alone. The government is the only thing that stands between net neutrality and corporate-tiered bandwidth. The reality is that in terms of “commandeering” the internet, the government was here before you were.

And, yes, the government also collects relatively minor bits of your internet data (with multi-layered oversight, warrants, anonymization, minimization and deletion) in its efforts to track down enemies.

Liberals ought to be far more suspicious of for-profit corporations handling our private data than the government’s handling of considerably less of it. But that doesn’t appear to be the case, and this is where everything gets wacky.

Most of us, presumably including Mr. Schneier, are voluntary customers of numerous for-profit tech companies of all shapes and sizes, including the ones that provide data to NSA. I find it difficult to believe that Schneier and other like-minded Ed Snowden acolytes don’t use Google or Microsoft or Apple products nearly every day. And unless I missed the news about customers fleeing from Skype or Gmail en masse, especially in light of this Summer’s NSA news, it’s clear that most Americans are okay with allowing corporations to access information that’s vastly more detailed and personal than NSA has ever attempted to gather.

NSA, and the U.S. government in general, isn’t interested in our Instagram pics of our disgusting dinners or our Wonka memes or our goats-that-scream-like-men videos. But Facebook is. Google is. Corporations are exploiting nearly everything you type and following you wherever your browse. They’re compiling it. They’re distributing it. They’re sharing it. They’re using your data to determine which products you might want to purchase. They’re censoring your breast-feeding pics and perhaps even threatening you with prosecution if you download an episode of Game of Thrones from Bit Torrent.

And people are wailing and chest-thumping over inadvertent government metadata collection with strict rules that prohibit infringements on Fourth Amendment liberty? That’s rich.

Case in point: even Schneier’s article gathered more information about me than NSA.

While viewing Schneier’s article, I ran a browser privacy extension called Ghostery, which detects web bugs embedded in a page. The result? 33 different corporate trackers on Schneier’s page, including ads (one from Shell Energy) and numerous analytics services that ascertain detailed demographics and tracking information about my visit to the page: Google Analytics (one the companies that Schneier said had caved to NSA pressure), Google Adsense, Facebook (another tech company in cahoots with NSA), Chartbeat, CoreAudience, Integral Ad Service, NetRatings SiteCensus, Omniture, SimpleReach, Value Revenue and VoiceFive. (For what it’s worth, Glenn Greenwald’s XKEYSCORE article on The Guardian contained 27 trackers, including PRISM participants Google and Facebook.)

Yes, most web pages, including my article here on The Daily Banter, use analytics to determine who’s visiting the site. But we’re not pretending to be self-righteously above it all, nor do we claim to be a haven of personal privacy. We’re also well aware that concerned readers can easily opt out by blocking the trackers.

More broadly speaking, you can opt out of everything, including NSA data collection, by taking basic measures against it: you can go entirely off the grid; you can install encryption software; you can buy prepaid phones; you can load ad-blocker extensions and you can attain other technology to hide your hilarious cat memes from Barack Obama. You can stop using Google, Facebook and Windows Live. Fact: your level of digital privacy is your prerogative.

But I suspect even the most vocal government critics will continue to be willing participants in American corporate/consumer culture, just as Occupy Wall Street supporters voiced their disdain for corporations by tweeting about it via handheld devices constructed in Chinese sweat-shops by exploited workers.

How shall we explain the disparity between the Great Fear of the government collecting minimal data and the almost unspoken reality that corporations have compiled massive data clouds about every user and every customer? I don’t know for sure. It could be a result of pissy-pants disillusionment over the Obama presidency based on overblown idealism, political ignorance and unrealistic expectations. It could be the consequence of an onslaught of fear-mongering from news outlets posting cavalcades of scare-headlines and misleading articles about NSA surveillance. Or it could be an increasingly evident paradigm shift in which the far-left is blending into fringe libertarian territory. I never thought it likely given libertarianism’s small government, states’ rights posture, but there it is.

Clearly, at least according to Bruce Schneier, corporations are somehow finer guardians of privacy rights — and far more worthy of running the internet — than the government, even though all evidence indicates that corporations are absolutely not worthy of such accolades. The truth is, corporations are rapidly commandeering the web, while the government, composed of We The People, is bizarrely regarded as a far greater poison in the mix.

It appears as if we’re through the looking glass.

Bob Cesca is the managing editor for The Daily Banter, the editor of BobCesca.com, the host of the Bubble Genius Bob & Chez Show podcast and a Huffington Post contributor.

  • Robert1111111

    This is false equivalence. Providing data to a corporation to provide a service does not mean that I have surrendered my rights to privacy over that data. A service provider is limited in their disclosure of information, and indeed have incentive to maintain the confidentiality of data provided. I can sue them (and have successfully) over misuse and wrongful dissemination of my data. I have no such recourse with the Federal Government.

    People that have issues with the NSA surveillance have two major issues. #1 that the data from US Citizens is being searched without warrants. (Have probable cause. Get a warrant. Knock yourself out.) and #2 This data is being stored for potential further scrutiny. If the government having a record of your every movement (cell phone tracking data) and the content of every electronic communication does not give you pause, then I wonder where you have developed such misplaced faith in government?

    Downplaying this surveillance as “relatively minor bits of your internet data” is utter nonsense. The data can be used to create a complete history of any person. (Fraught with all the inaccuracies of a credit report with no mechanism for correction.)

    • condew

      It’s as if you felt the article needed an example and provided yourself as one.

      • Robert1111111

        Yes. This type or intellectual rubbish needs to be met head on. The author doesn’t care about rights and thinks that governments protect your rights by having the “right” people running them rather than being constrained by law.

  • Steve Granger

    Very well written article. Bashing the government seems to work well for these morons while the private sector walks away unscathed. Glad there are people like you to shine the light on whats really going on.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    You know, they’re not “extreme left,” they’re Libertarians. Odd fish. In this case, 4th amendment absolutists. You know, like the First Amendment allows me to put on an erotic play in front of nursery school children, and the second allows me to have nuclear missles. And the fourth means you can never, ever search me, because the Internet is my living room and anything I write must never, ever be read.

  • http://www.swift2.blogspot.com Swift2

    It took a while to find you, Bob. I knew I felt this way, but all of my friends? Not so much. Thing about the Internet is you can find arguments about anything. Good invention, government. Business was making stuff like Compuserve while the foundations of the Internet were being laid.

  • http://twitter.com/Cody_K/ Cody

    Funny. When I brought up months ago all the corporate trackers in use at Daily Banter… the idea was poopoo’d as nonsense and business as usual.

    Looks like Bob finally figured it out.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      “Yes, most web pages, including my article here on The Daily Banter, use analytics to determine who’s visiting the site. But we’re not pretending to be self-righteously above it all, nor do we claim to be a haven of personal privacy.”

  • PithHelmut

    No need to stomp on Bruce Schneier’s point to make this point. Both governments and corporations cannot be trusted not for a second.

    • condew

      And yet the point that all the phone data that NSA obtained was already being collected by private companies seems lost. NSA knows who was called from my phone and who called my phone, just like Verizon. But the data collected by corporations goes on and on, the medicine I take, what I buy, what I read, where I go; with no outrage or even curiosity about exactly how detailed that data is or who it is sold to.

  • onyerlefty

    Bob, maybe you should take a look at Schneier’s CV before you dismiss his assessment so lightly. He’s considered an expert, you know. What experience do you have with encryption and computer security?

    • Badgerite

      What does encryption and computer security have to do with what Schneier is saying. He is saying the government has ‘commandeered’ the internet. Bob is saying the government built the internet. It wouldn’t even exist without the Department of Defense research which created it. Which is undeniably true. I don’t see how a CV can change that.

      • onyerlefty

        Schneier is correct. DOD creating Arpanet 40 years ago does not confer upon the NSA, or anyone else, the right to intercept Americans’ personal communications. The Wiretap Act precedes Arpanet (1968), and specifically makes a criminal out of anyone who “intentionally intercepts, endeavors to
        intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to
        intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication”. The NSA has intercepted billions of communications illegally without a warrant, outside of both Wiretap and Patriot, and trying to obscure the issue by comparing it with voluntary submission of information to search engines is a specious distraction.

        • Badgerite

          Yes but it did so under the Bush Administration. John Yoo issued an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel that supported this move but when it leaked that that is what the NSA was doing, Congress Amended the FISA in 2008 to make it clear that this activity could only be done by a warrant secured from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Since 2008 NSA programs could only operate under the oversight of the FISA Court which has issued warrants allowing them to do so and ordering American internet companies to comply. Specious is pretending that that did not happen.

          • onyerlefty

            The warrants authorized the NSA to collect data for “foreign intelligence purposes”. This surveillance conducted does not get a blanket exemption from the Fourth Amendment, however. Under the “foreign intelligence exception” accepted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, a warrant isn’t required for surveillance that is conducted “to obtain foreign intelligence for national security purposes and is directed against foreign powers or agents of foreign powers reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” Even if this exception applies in a given case, governmental action intruding on individual privacy interests has to square with the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement. In other words, the FAA does not provide an exemption for intrusions upon the privacy of non-targeted U.S. persons and individuals located within the United States.

            So surveillance “directed against” foreign powers and their agents can’t be employed as a subterfuge for surveillance of U.S. persons interacting with these targets, nor a loophole through which the government may collect vast quantities of data on U.S. persons for further review and analysis. Yet this is exactly was has been occurring. Some have argued that the FAA complies with constitutional requirements because the government can intentionally target only foreign persons or organizations located abroad. Under this argument, while the government can’t intentionally target the communications of U.S. persons or individuals located within the United States under the FAA, it can still gather data about them “incidentally” when they communicate with a foreign surveillance target; this interception would then be justified as incident to an otherwise-lawful warrantless FAA search. The Supreme Court has yet to interpret this “incidental interceptions” doctrine, but only the most perverse interpretation of “incidental” could justify indiscriminate sweeping up of virtually all communications.

          • Badgerite

            Well, it is not the FAA. Those are the ‘friendly skies’ people. It is FISA. The glitch to your argument is that you seem to imply that it is technologically possible to completely determine before you look at the communication whether it is foreign or domestic. As I understand it, with internet communications, that is not possible. There are not separate lines, as such. No unique identifiers to determine that. As I understand it you, therefore cannot do the one, which is engage in surveillance of foreign communications, without inadvertently gathering in communications that are purely domestic. The FISA statute itself takes that into account and certainly the 2008 Amendments mentions all the minimization procedures and the prohibition against KNOWINGLY engaging in surveillance on a US citizen without getting a individualized warrant before hand that are stipulated in the NSA Guidelines documents released by the the Guardian.

            With respect to your second paragraph, I assume you are referring to the 2011 FISA Amendments which allow for surveillance of American communications when those specific Americans surveilled have had DIRECT contact with a known or suspected terrorist. No, the Supreme Court hasn’t signed off on this, but clearly the FISA Court has. That would be a rather limited pool of people, not ‘indiscriminate sweeping up of virtually all communications’. The ‘indiscriminate sweeping’ has to do with phone records ( phone bills) and the Supreme Court HAS ruled on those and find that information to have no reasonable expectation of privacy such that it is covered at all by the 4th Amendment. And the reason the FISA Court probably signed off on the DIRECT CONTACT WITH KNOWN OR SUSPECTED TERRORIST exception is that that would be enough to establish probable cause and get an individualized warrant per se. But you are right. That one has not been before the Supreme Court.

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      Appeal to authority fallacy.

      • reanimate

        Not always a fallacy. If a climate scientist writes about the urgency of climate change and a political blogger critiques their arguments, would it be a fallacy to assign greater authority to the scientist? Same thing here.

  • KABoink_after_wingnut_hacker

    “Liberals ought to be far more suspicious of for-profit corporations handling our private data than the government’s handling of considerably less of it”.
    You said a mouthful there Bob.
    Years back, I had an American Express card and in addition to charging exorbitant rates, they sold my name and address to anyone willing to pay them a buck. I never got so much junk mail in my life. Thank Pasta I got out long before the interwebs were invented, because I can only imagine what they’d be like today.

  • WiscoJoe

    I’ve been wondering of the civil libertarian/Greenwald/Paul coalition would be more comfortable if the NSA just purchased meta-data in bulk instead of relying on secret warrants and FIS courts. No Fourth Amendment concerns necessary, just the total awesomeness of the free market.

    • condew

      And hey, the Koch brothers can buy a copy too!

  • BlueTrooth

    Heh…the merging of the Libertarian right with the Libertarian left. There’s an interesting recent history to this phenomena. First, make a note for future reference that “Civil Libertarian” is just a convenient way to differentiate the “socially left-leaning” Libertarian from the more common Libertarian that has associated with the Republican Party as a minority faction. Once you mull that over a while, a lot of the inconsistencies among the “Civil Rights” issues make sense. In fact, it will hopefully provide an “aHA!” moment. Most recently, Rand Paul has been introducing a radical departure from the Rockwell tradition by suggesting the Federal Government has an important role to play. Ha! Doesn’t sound like much, but any softening of the rigid ideology is actually a big deal. I’m expecting the NSA issue (with a backdrop of Detroit for economic theory) to function as a springboard for solidifying the left-right Libertarian Alliance, quite possibly under a “Progressive” banner as originally intended. But enough for now on that, I had to chuckle yesterday when I saw the tweets about trusting the Private Sector with “metadata” rather than the secure, hard-to-hack servers at the NSA. This is where the “debate” should have started, as suggested by most of us here reading the Daily Banter. Instead we’ve tromped through the weeds of misinformation and sensationalism for MONTHS to reach this point.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    Hey Bob, your post on your blog falsely calls PPD19 an Executive Order. Care to correct that?

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      “I signed an executive order well before Mr. Snowden leaked this information that provided whistleblower protection to the intelligence community — for the first time.” -The President of the United States

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Yeah, BO was wrong too. Can you give me the number of the EO you and he are talking about?

        • blackdaug

          Yes, “BO was wrong too”, but that was in a time before deodorant.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          Hey, what is it that makes you think that Bob has to cater to you and your idiot friends? Go to the WH site and look it up yourself, for pete’s sake.

          • blackdaug

            Its really pretty weird when you think about it.
            Bob writes a post. Then two or three trolls turn up and start interrogating him.
            “Well, what about this Bob…huh..what about it!?”
            ….and a lot of the time not even anything to do with the post itself, but some other thing that is up their butt?
            “What about this article link that I have posted eighty times….huh….what about it…?!!”
            …and he is supposed to answer them, every time. Like they are having a telephone conversation….or are in court, and he is on the stand. They get offended when they are ignored.
            It’s like people who think Twitter is some kind of two way texting mechanism, and not a publicly viewable program.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            They have this idea that Bob is at their beck and call. Kind of like they think that the Pres must do what they think is appropriate, never mind what the reality is.

            Of course, I believe they’re operating from the viewpoint of racists, and consequently they must attack the “obots” at every damn turn.

            Until 2009, I did not realize that the left had their very own racist contingent. Naive, I know.

          • blackdaug

            I have run out of the patience it takes to engage them on any kind of point by point level argument anymore.
            Everytime I start to, it just feels like I am repeating myself, and I don’t comment at all.
            Bless you guys who do…..

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            I hear ya. I feel the same way, which is why I’ve refrained from commenting lately.

          • nathkatun7

            I am joining you. It’s a waste of time trying to respond to all their bs.

          • Badgerite

            You are very wise. There is no point most of the time.

          • condew

            Yes, the looney left is here to pontificate, not engage.

        • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

          There are Executive Orders and the colloquial form: “executive orders.” Likewise, the president’s senior policy advisers aren’t actual “czars.”

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            Ha! Good one. Of course not, they’re tsars.

    • formerlywhatithink

      You’re an idiot. Bob covered whistle blower protections extensively.

      http://bobcesca.thedailybanter.com/blog-archives/2013/08/yes-the-presidents-executive-order-regarding-whistleblowers-protects-contractors.html

      A qoute from the DOD Inspector General from the column:

      “Garrison said she believed those contract employees were already adequately covered by Presidential Policy Directive 19, which President Obama signed in October 2012 and by the 1998 Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act.”

      Seriously, a two second search in this sight for whistle blowers brought the column. Moron.

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        If I’m an idiot, head over to that post and rebut my take down of Bob’s “argument”.

        • ak1287

          He doesn’t need to.
          20 other people already did. And then you called Mr. Brink an idiot. Wait, actually, you just deflected his point by saying ‘So you admit you’re an idiot.’
          That’s not conducive to a conversation.

    • JarekAF

      Also, contractors such as Snowden would not be covered by such PPD. Welcome to the Bubble.

      • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

        The Inspector General of the Defense Department disagrees.

        • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

          Just one person. And an advocate to boot.

          By the way, does DoD have any intelligence contractors?

          • ak1287

            This statement confuses me.
            Are you saying that the Inspector General doesn’t actually have any real power or input as to whether contractors would be covered by PPD? Because that’s not right. At all. So I really, really hope that you’re not saying that.

            Also, is that a serious question?

  • blackdaug

    Thats pretty funny, appealing to corporations to protect us from the government.
    Of course there is already a kick starter for a device to anonymize all web browsing (somebody is going to get rich!) and Snowden himself uses the anonymizer TOR.
    (Don’t tell him, the government actually funded the development for it…..being an expert hacker and all, he probably already knows)…..and about a million other ways people can keep their online life secret…..ways they will never use.
    The irony of having a political faction (libertarianism) and its flack (Greenwald) screeching about the evil government, when the faction’s sole purpose is to get the evil government off the backs of the “benevolent” corporatocracy is particularly galling.
    The fact that they can rope in such a massive group of technologically impaired dupes to do their work for them, on the very medium they claim is being exploited (hey trolls…talking to you) is downright nauseating.

    • blackdaug

      P.S. …and to the “…but..but..the corporations can’t control my life like the government! crowd.
      Why don’t you go tell that to the millions of people who just lost their life savings, and were booted from their homes in the most recent corporate rape of the economy!
      God you people are dim…

      • Bob Willeatcrow

        No mention of Holder or Lanny Breuer or HAMP/HARP or the Mortgage Task Force, where government actually holds the financial sector to the laws of the land. That one? Yes, you people are certainly dim. Say hello to Larry Summers for us will you? He’s been such a help.

        • blackdaug

          Blah..blah..blah…..Cobb Esca sez ..what?
          You are the dimmest of all!

          • Bob Willeatcrow

            It’s Cob Besca, so what? However, your crocodile tears for the people raped by those corporations are rich indeed. Which part of the raping did you approve of the O admin doing? There have been so many just one will do.

          • blackdaug

            I guess you were taking one of your naps back then, the sub prime derivatives rape, took place under the BUSH administration. Maybe you heard of him, he was in all the papers….

          • blackdaug

            Buh bye Cobb…see ya next time!

        • PinkamenaPanic

          Oh goody, Captain Name-Morph is back again.

          • blackdaug

            The names change, the tedious spewing remains the same…

          • Bob Willeatcrow

            And the self righteous indignation about the people, oh the people remains the same here. You know I think Greenwald was right about the rape thing, you people really don’t care, you act like you do, but you only care about dear leader. How precious.

      • Jay in Oregon

        “P.S. …and to the ‘…but..but..the corporations can’t control my life like the government!’ crowd.”

        I seem to recall during the health care debate some discussion over whether or not your employer should be able to veto what your health care plan covers.

        Do some research on company towns and scrip, THEN tell me
        that corporations can’t control your life. (Not you specifically,
        blackdaug.)

  • Norbrook

    One of the things I said in a response several articles ago to one of the Greenwald defenders was “Do you have any idea of how the Internet came to be?” Nice bit of history to open this, Bob. Up until the early 80’s it was ARPANET, not “the Internet.” Even after the split between military and civilian, the government was the principle funder and developer. Somewhere along the line, there was this idea that the Internet has always been this remarkably “free” haven of speech, free of any government control, either through regulation or monitoring. Not only has it never been “free” (in terms of cost), it’s never been “free” of regulation or monitoring by any government.

  • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

    How do you square your line about strict rules that prevent 4th amendment infringements with the fact that the FISC ruled that the 4th Amendment was violated? “DOJ Agrees To Release Redacted Court Ruling About How NSA Practices Violated The 4th Amendment” http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130809/13193224129/doj-agrees-to-release-redacted-court-ruling-about-how-nsa-practices-violated-4th-amendment.shtml

    • http://www.twitter.com/bobcesca_go Bob Cesca

      How do you square “rubber stamp court” with that ruling?

      • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

        Nice pivot. So you admit that the 4th Amendment was violated.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          You are a joke. Nothing more.

        • Badgerite

          So you admit that the FISA Court is not Rubber Stamp. In which case, everything Snowden did and his stated reasons for doing them are undercut juuuuuuuust a squinch.

          • ak1287

            Magic and time travel, of course.

          • Badgerite

            Of course.

    • formerlywhatithink

      Jesus, you’re just like the Guardian, you contradict yourself in your own fricking post.

      How do you square your line about strict rules that prevent 4th amendment infringements with the fact that the FISC ruled that the 4th Amendment was violated?

      Because FISC, charged with overview of the NSA, ruled that the 4th Amendment was violated.

      Idiot.

  • lucidamente

    Great post. Slightly OT, but I have the feeling that this

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/laura-poitras-snowden.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

    is going to give the res gestae of Laura Poitras a much greater visibility than they have had thus far.

    • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

      From the article, this is the government that Bob is defending: “Because the interrogations took place at international boarding crossings, where the government contends that ordinary constitutional rights do not apply, she was not permitted to have a lawyer present.” Can Target detain anyone at the border?

      • Norbrook

        They can detain anyone in their store, and question them. Happens all the time, btw, if they think there’s a chance the person is shoplifting, whether they are or not.

        • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

          The difference is there a large body of law regulating private false enprisonment. The company would be subject to severe sanction if it crossed the line. Even public opinion in this case would restrain what the company would do. But this is just theorhetical. In practice, almost every retailer specifically tells its employees to NOT stop shoplifters. In cases where it happens, the employee is usually acting again company policy.

          • blackdaug

            “false enprisonment”
            (imprisonment)
            “the employee is usually acting again company policy.”
            (fer it, agin it….who knows?)
            ….and no, most retailers do NOT tell their employees to NOT stop shoplifters.

            Sentences and words. How do they work?

          • http://norwegianshooter.blogspot.com/ Mark Erickson

            I love you blackdaug.

          • blackdaug

            Aww…you truly are a “special” troll.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            As in special educated? :D

      • Badgerite

        So Bob either has to defend EVERYTHING ANYONE ANYWHERE working for the government does AT ALL TIMES or what? Snowden is a hero and not a traitor/defector. To RUSSIA.

  • Razor
    • Tony Lavely

      Not quite what the Forbes article says. Target knows before the teen’s _father_ knows. A minor difference, though still creepy on several levels.

      • Razor

        Good catch, I was typing faster than I was thinking.

  • joseph2004

    It would seem that, in the scheme of things, corporations, for all their power, don’t have the kind of power over the individual that the government ultimately does. If we can’t trust even our own elected officials and civil “servants” anymore, then forget trusting our “we the people” government from reigning in the bad players among corporations. The two are joined at the hip, and if you want to fix one (corporations), you need to first fix and be able to trust the other.
    The constitutional right “of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and personal effects, against unreasonable search and seizure” seems to be of little priority to more and more people. But the crux of this is that “we the people” are, under the constitution, treated distinctly from the government in that we are supposed to be protected from it.
    Mayor Bloomberg, the current “owner” of New York’s stop and frisk operations, has had to react in the last couple of days to a judge overturning that practice on constitutional grounds. Stop and frisk allows the police to stop at random anyone and question them, frisk them – arguably absent any suspicion. It’s like casting a net into the sea, hoping for cod but getting a whole bunch of everything else. Bloomberg is upset about the ruling, but then, he was upset about Arizona’s sb1070 on the basis that the law couldn’t help but impact Hispanics disproportionately. The judge in New York claims the same about New York’s Stop and Frisk, that its implementation in high crime, largely black and Hispanic neighborhoods results in disproportionate impact on minorities. But since it’s Bloomberg whose reputation benefits from low crime stats in New York City, well he’s all about whatever it takes, even if it means the same kind of “profiling” he was against where Arizona was concerned. Where he’d likely have viewed AZ’s law as promoting profiling, it doesn’t appear he sees Stop and Frisk the same way.
    4th amendment be damned.
    It’s amazing how confused people get over this privacy issue.

    • Badgerite

      You are right, the government does have a different kind of power over the individual. And that power has been known to be abused, usually during times of crisis, such as the Japanese internments camps during WWII. But that is a narrow lens you are looking through. Government is not a monolith like Hobbes Leviathan. Our government is made up of various entities with overlapping jurisdictions and powers. You are a citizen of a state at the same time you are a citizen of the Nation. The branches of power at the state level as well as the federal have a certain adversarial quality ( state vs federal, executive vs legislative vs judicial) to them such that the centers of power are somewhat diffused throughout government. The tension that exists between these various power centers is what checks and balances governmental power over all. And then, of course, there are elections. The Bill Of Rights, etc. Corporations are, in theory, supposed to operate under a system of corporate democracy. In whose universe is that actually believed to be the case today. You point to the Stop and Frisk laws of NYC. But it was another government entity, the federal court, that overturned that practice. Wasn’t it? Not journalist. Not any whistle blower. Certainly not any corporation. The federal court. One of many branches of GOVERNMENT. The tension between these various branches and functions in society is what allows the individual to operate with the greatest autonomy and freedom. It was at the Federal level that Civil Rights Legislation was first passed. The federal government restrained the states from the violation of the rights of federal citizens within their states. Corporations could not and would not do that.
      Bob was not ‘apologizing’ for government intrusion on the basis that corporations track customer data. He supports limited government intrusion with appropriate legal oversight so as to secure the nation and its people from attack. The comparison he is making is that the government has this oversight whereas corporations are very unrestrained in the collection and use of customer data. And he is right. They are.

      • joseph2004

        The New York case was the result of a class action lawsuit, not some random government/court do-gooding. The civil rights advances of the 60’s didn’t just happen because “government” decided it was the right thing to do or because Lyndon Johnson was a die-hard civil rights advocate. It was forced into doing something, both Democrats and Republicans, by some very brave private citizens.
        And no, I disagree with your assessment of Bob’s view of government. If you want to talk about narrow viewpoints regarding the good guys vs the villains, Bob’s only villains in Government are Republicans and the “thug” right-wing supreme court justices. Beyond that it’s about defending the Government and all it does because “government workers are people, too.”
        Well, private citizens are people, too. They can’t “opt out” of the IRS, nor would most choose to on a practical level. But it’s an apt distinction to remember. Hell, the IRS has its own SWAT team! What are you going to do?
        Where corporate power becomes insidious is when it’s in bed with government “officials,” officials/politicians/regulators that make rules that benefit a narrow special interest, or do things as hideous as making laws that guarantee private prisons maintain a specified level of occupancy, ensuring profits.
        You cannot, ultimately, separate the bad players in the corporate world from government.
        It all comes back to where the starting point is in our society, if we want a certain type of society. If the people who work in government can’t be trusted to be honest, to have the citizen’s best interests in mind, to not use their position(s) to undermine those interests, to not cave to special interests like Wall Street, all the screaming in the world at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup won’t mean squat.
        Bob is always apologizing for government. It’s what he does best, because the basis for much of the Democratic agenda is convincing people that more government means better everything. President Obama goes before a college class at commencement and pleads with them to not be afraid or suspicious of government because government is your friend. Sound like a Brave New World, does it not? IF it doesn’t, it should. “Trusting” government is a bad idea. It was never meant to be that way in the US. The press, the people, each were given a mandate by our Constitution to be skeptical of those in power. For Democrats, it’s the Corporation. For Republicans it’s the Government. Reality is somewhere in between.

        • Badgerite

          A class action lawsuit that appealed to a BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT. That is what a court is, after all. It is part of the government. Isn’t it? You seem to say that because citizens took advantage of legal remedy’s provided by our laws and our government that somehow government had nothing at all to do with it. Government had everything to do with it. And as to the Civil Rights legislation, the government wasn’t forced into doing anything. The power of the Civil Rights Movement was moral suasion. The government and the country was SHAMED into doing something. I can’t imagine anyone forcing LBJ to do anything and yes he became a civil rights advocate. He got that legislation past the Southern road blocks because he knew how to do that. What to say and what arms to twist. But for him, it probably wouldn’t have happened even with the moral suasion. The man he defeated to go to Congress was a die hard racist.

          And you, sir, have tipped your hand as one of those utopian dreamers who think that what will make the world better is better people. There has never been such an animal as better people. What we rely on as Americans is that people will behave like people always have. That absolute power corrupts absolutely. And so we have overlapping and layered power centers that diffuse power in society and check and balance that power. What Bob Cesca objects to, as I do, is the over accumulation of power in any sphere and that most especially includes the private sphere. The accretion of political power in corporate America that you complain of is precisely what Bob complains about and the only entity with the legal authority, let alone the power, to restrain private power is government. What we have in Wisconsin, now, is a mining company with its own paramilitary running around the North woods. Their very own swat team.

          • joseph2004

            I certainly don’t think the world will be made better by worse people.
            You’re starting to sound like a goofball.

            Recognizing that corporate corruption will not be remedied any time soon without a non-corrupt government to force its hand doesn’t make me a dreamer; it makes me a cynic.

          • Badgerite

            You are misstating my point. I am not saying people should be worse. I am saying people don’t really change. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And therefore our system of government, to me, is a work of political genius. It recognized this basic principle of human existence and crafted a system of government with overlapping jurisdictions and power centers, public and private, so that power does not become absolute. That there is always a competing power center somewhere to counter balance another. And that a citizen can belong to both of them at the same time. God damned work of political genius. It is why I believe in it so much and believe it can and does work better than any other form of government to date. If the government cannot help provide an answer to whatever problems society is facing, than there probably isn’t a solution.

      • BernardKingIII

        At the federal level there are of course three branches that have checks and balances over one another. But within the Federal branch, there is only the hierarchy of the chain of command. Limit Congressional oversight to 20 intel committee members and judicial oversight to 14 judges picked by John Roberts, and the idea of a balanced power center starts looking like a bit suspect. Further prevent any citizen from challenging NSA domestic data collection in court, classify the whole program as Top Secret, and then have the DNI lie to Congress (and the public) about the scope of the collection, and now the idea of a system of checks and balances becomes a sick joke.

        In the extreme case, this Executive branch has the authority to conduct targeted killings with no due process. More commonly, the Executive branch locks hundreds of thousands of non-violent drug users in cages. It seeks 30 year prison sentences against Aaron Swartz for violating a TOS contract, prosecutes Barrett Brown for hyper linking leaked docs, and detains approximately 60 innocent and cleared for release men at Guantanamo Bay without trial. It spies on the phone records of journalists. It confiscates journalists’ computers and cameras upon entering the country. It conducts surveillance of George Bush critics at antiwar.com.

        Corporations can do none of these things. At worst, corporations can target me with specific ads. Big f-ing deal.

        • Badgerite

          Aaron Swartz was overcharged but the truth is, and his lawyers surely told him, that if he had gone to trial, the state prosecutor would have looked idiotic to a jury. There was no way that kid was even going to get convicted let alone jailed. At trial, all his lawyers would have had to do was to read his resume and put him on the stand. The ACTUAL jail time the prosecutor was after was 6 months. Swartz didn’t want to go to jail, period. I don’t blame him. He did not deserve that. The system does not now, and NEVER HAS promised or delivered perfection. What’s more, no system does. The last best check on abuse of power, public and private, is a jury of your fellow citizens ( I believe I mentioned that before) and if Aaron Swartz had held on he would have found that out. But it is well known that he had suffered from severe depression. He was a vulnerable young man. A lot of people failed on that one. Including MIT. It doesn’t excuse it. But no system made up of human beings ever runs perfectly. In China, Snowden’s first refuge of choice, a well known artist was beaten and imprisoned for publishing the names of children killed in a school collapse. Like I said, it doesn’t excuse it. I’m just saying.

          As to the FISA Court, do you really think that conservative judges value the Bill of Rights less than you? I seriously doubt it. If you are a lawyer, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution are your Bible. Like the scientific method is to a scientist. There is a reason that John Yoo did not want the FISA Court to have oversight over the NSA programs during the Bush years. And that reason is that it would actually have exercised oversight. In John Yoo’s scheme of things, during the Bush years, Bush was the oversight. Bush, who had no legal training and basically relied on the opinions of an Addington and a Yoo and Cheney. Gives me fits just to think about it. Yoo was clearly in error and Congress made that clear by the appropriate legislation in 2008.

          Quoting from Shane Harris’s book: page 163

          “Hayden knew that FISA warrants weren’t handed out freely. They required thick sets of paperwork accompanied by sworn statements from lawyers at the Justice Department. And if said officials thought that a surveillance request didn’t meet the muster of the law, they would never argue for it in front of a judge. To do so imperiled their career, maybe even their ability to practice law.”

          Not only is the government checked and balanced by an adversarial quality inherent in the roles of the various branches and jurisdictions of government, but there is also the interplay between the various professions and their roles in society. The legal profession is the legal profession. There is a certain ethic that that community is imbued with the plays off against the ethic of the intelligence community. The priorities will be the same in some instances, but fundamentally different in others.

          Topic: Clapper was ‘lying’ to a public session of Congress.

          Wyden had not bothered to attend the private, closed door sessions which Al Franken did and where Franken said he was fulling informed. In other words, Wyden asked the question publicly because he already knew the answer and wanted it made public. The stuff was classified. Clapper was put in a bind, which is exactly where Wyden meant to put him. Congress was informed. They are the ones charged with oversight. Spying programs, if made completely public, aren’t spying anymore. If you tell someone planning to commit a bank robbery that you plan to have patrol cars in front of that bank during certain hours, do you think that the robber would pick that time to strike? There are legitimate security concerns that the nation has and has always had. As the President has said, your rights may be self evident, but they have never been self executing.

          Topic Guantanamo:
          You say Guantanmo – I say Manznar. Again. System not perfect. America can and has gone off the deep end when attacked like it was on 9/11. The President has tried to close Guantanamo more than once. Talk to your Congressman. I really think the GOP likes keeping open just to provide a talking point to his enemies. It is so like them. Ask Rand Paul, the ‘Libertarian’ how he feels about that issue. Make my day!

          Corporations can do none of these things. And why do you think that is? I will tell you why that is. Because you have a strong federal government that will not let them. It is certainly not because they would choose not to if they could. Back in the 1920’s and 30’s when the union movement was organizing, private business hired their own private security (muscle) and the unions resorted to theirs ( the mob). You had a low level war. The unions were winning and all of a sudden private corporations wanted the government and law involved. Much as Monsanto wants the law involved now to go after the small individual farmer who might have a seed that was one of their copyrighted GMO type SOMEWHERE on his land.
          What enables and restrains the corporation is that state. Without that, you just have private business organizations with guns who would do a lot more to you than make you watch ads.

          • BernardKingIII

            The reason corporations (or individuals, or partnerships, or LLC’s) don’t run around committing aggressive acts of violence against non-violent people is not because we have a strong federal government – its because we have a strong rule of law at various levels, federal, state and local. Of course the rule of law is enforced by a judiciary and executive law enforcement officials, and yes that is government and justice administration is one of government’s indispensable roles. That’s a good thing.

            My problem is not with government administering justice, my problem is with the government initiating violence and meddling in the affairs of peaceful people. That’s not to say the Federal government is a big bad bully in everything that it does. But its my belief that Federal government is a big bad bully more often than most people recognize.

            You undoubtedly see a large Federal government with expansive powers as a good thing. And I think that you earnestly believe that, with the best of intentions. We would undoubtedly have good debates at the theoretical level of what the proper role of government could be.

            But stepping away from the theory and the idea of what a big government is supposed to do, I look at what the Federal government does and I don’t see much achievement.

            Look at what the government has set out to accomplish, and then look at its results. Take for example, the war on drugs. A 40 year policy that has accomplished nothing except (1) make violent cartels rich, (2) make local law enforcement more militarized, (3) ruin the lives of non-violent people who use drugs, (4) cause a veritable blood bath in Mexico and other countries, and (5) take our money to do it.

            Or consider the war on terror. What has it accomplished? Well, we’ve killed a lot of people in the mideast. Many probably deserved it. Many probably did not. Whatever gains we make fighting in the hills of some third world hell-hole are likely offset (if not outweighed) by the costs in blood and treasure, not to mention the number of new enemies we likely create. Purportedly we need to do this in defense of our “freedom,” but here at home we continue to see our freedoms eroded. Whether its TSA checkpoints, DHS fusion centers, NSA spying, or militarized police units declaring martial law as they did in Boston, its as if I am paying good money to have our government ruin our freedom.

            Even the more noble, humanitarian goals of the Federal government seem only to be getting worse. Have the Federal government’s efforts to alleviate poverty really been that successful? I don’t know. It seems most of the massive sums of money we give the government end up in the hands of the very same corporate monoliths you suggest the government is protecting us from. I know one thing is for certain. The trillions of dollars that we have spent on social programs over the years must have gone somewhere – but it sure didn’t end up in our poor communities.

            You might be tempted now to point to all of the good things the Federal government has done, but that’s really a straw man because I agree the Federal government has done some great things. The Civil Rights Act was a great Federal achievement. Winning WWI and WWII were triumphs. Even though I suspect they could be more efficiently delegated to the private sector, there are business-like functions that the Federal government runs reasonably well at times, e.g. Postal Service, Air Traffic Control, AMTRAK, USDA inspection, etc. Many notable Supreme Court decisions protecting our individual liberties from intrusive state and federal governments. The arrest and prosecution of heinous criminals – while upholding our noble commitment to due process.

            Basically, my point is that Federal government is less focused on doing the things it should be doing well, and instead has become a vehicle for the powerful to enrich themselves with taxpayer money and write “regulations” to ultimately serve their own interests, all the while the small powerless guys are being kicked around by the law enforcement officials for no good reason other than they are easier targets than the corporate ruling class.

          • Badgerite

            The federal structure is what holds all the various levels of governmental power, including the judiciary, together. As the man said, we must all hang together or surely we shall hang separately. (Ben Franklin). This was no less true during the Civil War when Lincoln would have made any compromise, taken any action to preserve the Union. It is no less important now than it was then. Without the federal structure, the Union, there is no rule of law.
            I, therefore, see an EFFECTIVE federal government as a good thing. Not necessarily ‘large’ or ‘expansive’, but powerful enough to be effective because its role is central to the the existence and functioning of the rule of law. To be continually attacking it as the ‘problem’ is just lunacy. I believe this belief is shared by the current occupant of the White House.
            I could not agree more about the War on Drugs. It has been a disaster. But that really has been, from day one, the ‘brain child’ of the GOP. Richard Nixon started this bullshit. And it plays well politically with a lot of fire breathers. It is just a disaster policy wise. And I think that is evident to most people. One of the things I was glad to see is President Obama pledging to attack this issue during his second term. But that argues for a change of policy at the federal level. Nothing else. Policies are tired and policies fail. All the time. Trial and error is frequently how the human species progresses. Sometimes the only way it progresses. That does not argue against federal power. It argues against the STUPID use of that power. One of the most prominent officials I know who is a vocal advocate of the War of Drugs would, of course, be the very local Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Officials can lock on to stupid policy at every level of government. It isn’t the level of government that is the problem. It is the stupid part.

            The War on Terror? Well, I don’t see that we had a choice. We were attacked. The attack Al Qaeda made on 9/11 differed fundamentally from all the terrorist attacks prior to it. As bad as the Boston Marathon bombing was, it was your standard ‘terrorist sets of a bomb and some people die’ scenario that went on in Europe at the hands of the PLO and other Palestinian groups for decades. The attack on 9/11 meant to run up a death toll in the tens of thousands. They did not succeed at that, but it was only by chance. Our center of Government was attacked. The White House had to be evacuated. and but for the actions of the passengers on Flight 93, the Congress or the White House would have been hit by an airliner. If the United States had failed to respond and respond vigorously, these kinds of attacks would have kept coming. You cite WW1 and WW2 as triumphs. Seriously? And you think there were no mistakes made in those wars? No gratuitous killing? No waste of ‘blood and treasure’? No people killed on the enemy side who did not deserve that fate? They were not ‘triumphs’. They were, at best, a necessary evil. Something that had to be done because of political and social failures that preceded them.

            As to the ‘erosion’ of your freedom. I disagree. I have never heard anyone who was in Boston at the time of the manhunt for the surviving bomber complain about the ‘militarized police’ or the ‘martial law’. It is only people who weren’t there and weren’t subjected to anything, not the terror inflicted by the bombers and their murderous spree nor the clamp down that occurred while police were looking for them, who seem to complain about it at all. When the police finally caught the bomber, it was a citizen tip that allowed them to do so and as the authorities drove away, the citizenry we quite vocal in their support ( cheering and applause). So, lay off the Boston police.

            NSA spying? Again, disagree. I agree with Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. Go read his remarks and then I don’t have to address it. I just saw him on Charlie Rose and I agree with everything he had to say about it. I consider keeping this country safe from foreign attack to be a noble goal and I am grateful there are people who want to spend their lives doing it. You may think you have ‘freedoms’ outside of the structures of government and law that support your life, but I can guarantee you that you do not. Your ‘freedom’ and probably your whole lifestyle (roads, stores, schools, churches, jobs, water, heat, electricity) is secured within that framework. If that structure goes, so goes your freedom.

            I don’t have to point to ‘all the good things the Federal government has done, since it seems to have occurred to you that the Federal government does do good things and you listed some of them. Good for you. As to ‘more efficiently delegated to the private sector’. Uh huh. Quiet a lot of that treasure you mentioned that the US lost in Iraq went to paying companies like Halliburton and Kellogg, Brown and Root, who secured no bid contracts to do tasks in a war zone that were 1) fairly mundane, like laundry, buildings, electrical wiring and 2) priced exorbitantly because of the risk of working in a war zone and 3) had previously been done by army grunts at far less expense and 4) were frequently performed so incompetently that soldiers literally lost their lives because of it ( I am thinking of the 13 soldiers who were electrocuted while taking showers due to faulty and very expensive wiring jobs). You complain that all your tax dollars are going to corporations and then argue that all your tax dollars should go to corporations. Don’t you?
            Successful attempts at alleviating poverty need to be founded on smart policy choices. This society has become far to top heavy in terms of wealth. There are fairly simple mechanisms to right that. Ask Paul Krugman. Substantially increased minimum wage. Higher tax rate for seriously wealthy individuals and corporations and substantial investment in infrastructure, science and education. But smart and effective policies in government do not come about by electing people who are not that.

          • BernardKingIII

            War is never a triumph, but in WWI and WWII the federal government’s efforts in mobilizing (from at the time rather defunded militaries), fighting and winning the war was a triumph in a broad sense. At the same time, the war on terror is not now and never should have been considered a “war.” It was, at most, a new type law enforcement that required different and possibly more assertive approaches.

            The panopticon-esque powers the NSA hopes to achieve may be (and probably are) being used in good faith by men and women who respect our rights. But don’t think those tools cannot and will not be turned against us in a second. Remember, not even a decade had passed after the Constitution was enacted that Congress and the President signed the Sedition Act – one of the most egregious First Amendment violations imaginable. And these were the same guys that wrote the Constitution!

            All of the infrastructure you cite as the foundation of my freedom can be (and as a practical matter always is) performed by local governments. The taxes that I pay towards those projects are in a different category than the Federal government.

            When I said delegate to private industry, I was not being clear. I don’t mean delegate my Federal tax dollars to private industry (like the example of the government subcontracting with Haliburton). I mean just getting the Federal government out of the middle man position and other organizations, e.g., States, municipalities and even private business provide the services and finance it as they deem appropriate.

            I don’t view the debate as government versus free markets, or government versus corporations. I view the debate as Federal government vs. State/local communities. Centralizing the power and money of the people in Washington D.C. is dangerous, and should only be done for very, very limited purposes.

            The real danger of centralizing the money and the power in one city is that it becomes a magnet for corruption. Starting with Teddy Roosevelt though, the trend in the United States has been toward centralizing more and more governmental power and tax money in one power center, where (as you must concede) the integrity of local representatives is so often and easily compromised against the best interests of their constituents. The result is that lobbyists and corporations have become addicted to this enormous orgy of taxpayer and borrowed money, and these select few have exploited that concentration of money and power to make themselves rich.

          • Badgerite

            So, your idea of how to cure that is to ‘privatize’ what are and should be governmental functions. Leading to a lot of government contracts , which leads to a lot of public money being paid to entities who are likely to gouge they hell out of the taxpayer and reduce service, if they can. No chance for corruption there.

          • BernardKingIII

            Actually, you are misstating what I said. Except for the core of essential federal functions, my preference is to allow local and State communities to decide for themselves which functions they want to provide via state/local government and which functions they want to allow via the private sector. If the state/locality wants to provide the function with government workers, let it choose for itself. If the state/locality wants to provide the function via government contracts, let it choose for itself. If the state/locality doesn’t want to pursue the function, then let the private market take care of it on a voluntary basis. There is a question of what should be “core” federal functions, and that can be debated, but it should be trimmed down.

  • Reilly

    “Team Greenwald is pleading with for-profit corporations to protect them from the government.”
    Yes, except when they’re wailing that we’ve lost our democracy because corporatism! And just like they flirt with the idea of enlisting a billionaire to save us from the not-a-dime’s-worth-of-difference two party system, because begging the beneficiaries of the capitalist system to lead the revolution against the very hierarchy they sit atop makes perfect sense.
    BTW Bob, this is a terrific article and the Ghostery/corporate tracker paragraph is especially an ass-kicker. Kudos.

    • Scopedog

      Bob certainly knocked it out of the park with this one.

  • kfreed

    LOL>>>”Ron Paul’s huffy-puffy whimsical jalopy”… Chitty-Chitty Bong Bang?

  • Terry

    Instead of encouraging a meaningful debate, these folks on the extreme left are sounding more and more like the lunatic right. Whatever happened to common sense?

  • kfreed

    “Or it could be an increasingly evident paradigm shift in which the far-left is blending into fringe libertarian territory”<<<<< I'm going with THIS.

    Emo-stooges mistakenly see libertarians (like Glenn Greenwald of Cato Institute) as 'civil libertarians'… they're far from it. Koch Libertarians are "Free Market Missionairies" who want to dismantle the federal government in favor of corporations calling the shots. The libertarian platform: http://www.billionairesteaparty.com/koch/

    This is intersting, wonder how come the emos aren't paying attention: "My ALEC Diary" courtesy Wis. State Rep. Chris Taylor:

    "ALEC brings together a whole galaxy of resources to persuade state legislators to enact a special interest and corporate agenda that includes privatizing everything that is public (including education) so that corporations can make more money, eliminating federal regulations that could interfere with corporations making as much money as possible and disabling the federal government so that it really can’t do much."
    http://respriv.org/my-alec-diary/

    The libertarian/Koch-funded Tea Party network: "The Billionaires' Tea Party (Full Length Documentary)" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSAzYWmsiwI

    See alecexposed.org (Right-Wing American Legislative Exchange Council) and you'll get the picture.

    "ALEC: The Voice of Corporate Special Interests In State Legislatures"
    http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

  • trgahan

    Very odd for a “progressive” to advocate that we shift a major aspect of our society from an apparatus we can hold accountable (government) to one that we have no influence over what so ever (private business). But then again, I think we’ve heard this “Government is the problem; put your faith in corporations” before and if I remember it didn’t work out too well for anyone worth less than 10 million dollars net.

    • drspittle

      Not so odd if these “progressive advocates” (including the Snowbros) are paid stooges of the right.

  • Draxiar

    Great Grandtree this is a phenomenal article.

    • Badgerite

      It really is!

  • ranger11

    Do they still want government to run healthcare or is ObamaCare no longer a corporate sellout? Is corporate sellout now a good thing? Confusing times.

    • kfreed

      If Obamacare were the corporate “sellout” the emo-stooges claim it is, then Koch’s tea parting libertarians would be loving it.

      Instead, “The Koch brothers’ $1 million campaign to kill ObamaCare – A massive ad campaign aims to heighten uncertainty about the law before it goes into full effect”
      http://theweek.com/article/index/246544/the-koch-brothers-1-million-campaign-to-kill-obamacare

      OMG… people who couldn’t get health insurance prior to the ACA no matter what, will now be able to get and keep insurance. THE HORROR!

      “Real Doctor Smacks Down Koch Brothers Obamacare Ad (VIDEO)”
      http://egbertowillies.com/2013/07/20/real-doctor-smacks-down-koch-brothers-obamacare-ad-video/

      • Gunnut2600

        Compared to a single payer system, the Affordable Healthcare Act is a huge disappointment.

        • nathkatun7

          How about compared to the status quo before the ACA? I bet you, you are one of those people who already have health insurance so you could afford to be “holier than thou” without taking into consideration the political reality of passing a single payer. For privileged people like you, It is either “single payer” or no reforms at all. Let me tell you, the ACA is not a disappointment to me. I am paying less in prescription drugs. My senior supplemental insurance has gone down almost $60 a month. And I now get annual check-ups free of charge. So you can take your holier than thou “single payer” mantra, which you know fully well had no chance of passing in Congress, and shove it.

          As for me, I am grateful that President Obama, and the Democratic Congress led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, enacted the ACA. As 67years-old man, I consider the ACA one of the greatest reforms on per with the 1935 Social Security Act. Obviously, future generations have to amend the ACA just as our generations amended the Social Security
          Act to cover people, like the Agricultural and Domestic workers, that had been excluded in 1935 when the original law was enacted.

          • Gunnut2600

            Ah…so as long as you get your shit…fuck everyone else.

            Got to love the Baby Boomers…

          • nathkatun7

            You are stupid! It’s not about getting my shit! And I never said “fuck everyone else.” It’s privileged people like you, who think that it’s either100% OR NOTHING! Again, I bet you have health insurance. But because you think you are a “a holier than thou progressive” you could care less about 30 million people that will have access to health care. You could care less about people who don’t have to be denied coverage because of pre-existing condition. You could care less about people who reach life time limits when they are caring for really sick family members and end up in bankruptcy. Oh No! You think you are so superior because you mouth off “single payer,” but do absolutely nothing to organize politically to bring that about. To be honest, I am sick and tired of people like you who know nothing about how laws are enacted in this complicated and diverse country, in a system of divided government, while pretending to be “holier than thou.” Believe I would love “a single payer.” The question is: If I can’t have” a single payer” do I settle for nothing? Only privileged people who would not be affected by continuing the status quo would settle for nothing. I am absolutely convinced if the ACA had been defeated, Jane Hamsher and all the “Kill the Bill” crowd, single payer advocates, would still
            have health insurance, whereas millions of other Americans slated to benefit from the ACA would be out in the cold!. So please go fuck yourself with your holier than thou pretenses!

          • Gunnut2600

            Ho ho ho…I hit a nerve here. Its amazing how angry Baby Boomers get when people call you folks out.

            Its cool. Like I said, you got what you wanted and everyone left out in the cold can piss up a rope. Your position is nothing to be ashamed of. Its no different than most Democrats and GOP. Just do me a favor and not get all high and mighty when another group wants to do the same thing to you.

            For someone like me, who was born with a severe birth defect that isn’t covered by the ACA, I’m screwed.

            Its cool though…I am a veteran as well, having served multiple tours for both Iraq and Afghanistan. I get base covered for my injuries sustained during my deployments. We all know how awesome the states run the VA hospitals so I should just shut the fuck up right?

            Side note, am I the only one who finds it hilarious I could get medical cleared for front line active duty, yet cannot get coverage under the ACA?