Digby & Marcy Wheeler • VS Sundays

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Nov 24, 2013 – Political & social commentators digby (Hullabaloo) and Marcy Wheeler (emptywheel).  

Part 1 - digby asks Marcy Wheeler about her investigations into the NSA:  including denial of domestic spying, Snowden, political ramifications of the revelations and how all this relates to journalism. Part 2 - Filibuster. What happens now that an up or down vote is a reality. Plus commentary from political satirist Culture of Truth

More on filibuster.

Follow @digby56 @emptywheel @bobblespeak

Avedon Carol & KagroX • VS Sundays

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David Waldman and Avedon Carol stop by.

As of 8 AM Eastern on Saturday:

1) The village hates Democracy, episode CCXXII.  The Elizabeth Warren edition. The confluence of the centrist media with Beltway operatives act to marginalize popular, and effective policy. Like, damn, banks that don't steal their customers' houses.  But wait, Dave Weigal says the populists may lose, but they influence the party a great deal nonetheless.

Matt Taibbi addresses Noam Scheiber's and Dave Weigal's dismissal of the populist Warren movement.  Dave had a reply.

2) Centrist technocracy never fails. It can only be failed. Ezra:

But first impressions matter. The roll-out of Obamacare was the Obama administration's best shot to create a model for policymakers going forward. But so far, it's reinforced the old partisan divisions, affirmed the widespread impression that government is too cumbersome and inefficient to do big things well, and made clear that economic insecurity can be an impediment to improving the safety net because people are so afraid of losing what little protection they have.

Maybe, just maybe, trusting private sector entities with monopolies to implement public policy is the problem here.   You know, like trusting money center banks.

3) Drug wars

Speaking of the Beltway hating democracy, whattya do when half the prison population's crimes aren't, anymore? And when will the Tea Party step up for states' rights? Colorado makes it official--weed taxes

4) Aw Hell. Beltway again. Dana Milbank and the second term narrative

But on the broader question of whether Obama can rebuild an effective presidency after this debacle, it’s starting to look as if it may be game over.....

This week’s Quinnipiac University poll found Obama’s job-approval rating at its lowest ever, 39 percent. More ominous: Only 44 percent say Obama is honest and trustworthy, while 52 percent say he is not; that’s the first time more thought him untrustworthy than trustworthy. Polls show Obama’s personal favorability rating has dropped in tandem.

We have seen this before. After the flubbed response to Katrina in 2005, George W. Bush’s honest-and-trustworthy rating fell below 50 percent for the first time, and it never returned. Bill Clinton began his second term with 42 percent calling him honest and trustworthy; he soon slipped into the 20s in Post polling and stayed there.

Gallup begs to differ 

Clinton

Bush

 

Joan McCarter & Jay Ackroyd • VS Sundays

 Nov 10, 2013 – Political & social commentators Joan McCarter (DailyKos) and Jay Ackroyd (Eschaton), discuss the politics of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act; Harry Reid's filibuster reform talk; expanding social security; and the results of the 2013 elections, and the attendant exit polls. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows.  Follow @JoanMcCarter @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak Listen here.

About Joan and Jay

Joan McCarter — Senior Political Writer and regular front page contributor to Daily Kos –  writes about national legislative developments.  Follow @joanmccarter

VS Producer Jay Ackroyd hosts Virtually Speaking with Jay Ackroyd and moderates Virtually Speaking Sundays. An economist by training, he posts at EschatonBlog and occasionally fills in on Sundays.

The Virtually Speaking Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Davialso d Dayen, Dave Johnson, David Waldman, digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler, Stuart Zechman

Each Sunday, two political & social commentators offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. They compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows

 

Marcy Wheeler & Gaius Publius • VS Sundays

Nov 3 - Investigative reporter Marcy Wheeler and political & social commentator Gaius Publius offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows, comparing notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows. Follow @emptywheel @Gaius_Publius @Bobblespeak @jayackroyd

Gaius and Marcy address the question of who actually runs things in the United States. Elected officials, like the president and SenDianne Feinstein  have disavowed knowledge of who the US intelligence services is spying upon. The heads of intelligence operations tell bald-faced lies to Congressional oversight committees, and not only retain their jobs, but continue to be  treated by the Beltway media as authoritative sources. Who gives them their orders? 

Then they discuss the most pressing national security issue facing the US, the existential threat of climate change.

And lessons in how not to govern from Japan

During the broadcast, we got some useful links from audience members, Randolf Averof, Eleutherios Rizooto and Ilsa Hesse-Heron. 

Fixing Obamacare

Brad told us so

NSA hoovers up data too small for even the Who's mouses.

Randolph reviews Hansen and McKibben

Wapo Survey

Market and technocratic approaches

Marcy Wheeler — Investigative journalist, working primarily on civil liberties, Marcy regularly breaks stories related to use of illegal detention and interrogation by the US Government.  Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy is the definitive work on the Scooter Libby trial.   • Follow @emptywheel

Gaius Publius — Professional writer of stories, poems, and books on education & technology. Frequent writer and Contributing Editor at AMERICAblog.com. Occasional guest on Ring of Fire Radio, The Matt Filipowicz Show and other venues. Follow @Gaius_Publius.  

The VS Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, Dave Dayen, Dave Johnson, Dave Waldman, Digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler & Stuart Zechman.

Digby & Stuart Zechman • VS Sundays

Oct 27 - Political & social commentators digby & Stuart Zechman offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows. Jay Ackroyd hosts. Listen here.

Follow @digby56 @Stuart_Zechman @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

Digby and Stuart discuss the austerity zombie,  this time in response to Gene Sperling's remarks about the necessity of entitlement cuts. Then Stuart gives us some insight into large software development projects involving multiple participants referring to the PPACA.

Both issues demonstrate the superiority of dirty hippie policies.  We  discuss the resistance of the Village to popular and effective policy including the role played by the centrist media.

Listen live or later http://www.blogtalkradio.com/virtuallyspeaking/2013/10/28/digby-stuart-zechman-virtually-speaking-sundays

 

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Dave Johnson & Cliff Schecter • VS Sundays

Oct 20 - Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & Cliff Schecter offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows. Jay Ackroyd hosts. Listen here.

Follow @DCJohnson @CliffSchecter @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

• The return of the austerity and grand bargain narratives, including the appointment of New Democrats Chris Van Holllen, James Clyburn and Nita Lowey to the budget negotiation committee.  

• GOP in disarray. Are the Teahadists chastened, or emboldened by the loss.

• PPACA. Particularly the tension between identifying problems and defending it from attack

About Cliff & Dave

Cliff Schecter — Nationally syndicated columnist and political commentator, Cliff writes for Al Jazeera English and appears weekly on Take Action News w/ David Shuster and The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder. The author of the 2008 Bestseller "The Real McCain,"  Cliff is co-founder and part owner of Washington DC's independent progressive radio station, We Act Radio, 1480AM. Find his firm at www.libertasllc.com and his site at cliffschecter.com

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/profile/cliff-schecter.html
http://libertasllc.com/
http://smirkingchimp.com/author/cliff_schecter

Dave Johnson — Fellow with Campaign for America's Future and a Senior Fellow with Renew California. Read Dave at Seeing the Forest and Alternet. Follow @DCJohnson http://seeingtheforest.com/


http://seeingtheforest.com/
http://www.ourfuture.org/

Joan McCarter & Stuart Zechman • VS Sundays

Oct 13, 2013. Listen live or later. Political & social commentators Joan McCarter, Stuart Zechman & Jay Ackroyd offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Plus political satire from Culture of Truth. Listen

Follow @JoanMcCarter @stuart_zechman @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

Stuart and Joan discuss the actual mechanics of the shutdown, reflecting her blog post earlier this week, citing TPM's post describing the legislative process.  This is all taking place in the context and narrative set by the centrist bias that informs the Washington narrative.

Russ Douthat illustrates the center-right version of this media bias, dissing the crazy Teahadits and grouping them with the dirty fucking hippies who Obama successfully circumvented. 

Instead, Republicans need to seek a kind of integration, which embraces the positive aspects of the new populism — its hostility to K Street and Wall Street, its relativeopenness to policy innovation, its desire to speak on behalf of Middle America and the middle class — while tempering its Kurtzian streak with prudence, realism, and savoir-faire.
Think of the way that Barack Obama, in his post-2004 ascent, managed to channel the zeal of the antiwar left without being defined by its paranoid excesses, and you can see a recent model for how this kind of integration might work.
But then imagine an alternate reality in which figures like Joe Lieberman and John Kerry were stuck trying to lead a Democratic Party whose backbenchers were mostly net-roots-funded fans of Michael Moore, and you have a decent analog for where the post-Bush Republicans have ended up.

And then Zombie Simpson-Bowles. 

Finally, Stuart discusses PPACA implementation issues. 

Read McJoan

Read McJoan

Joan McCarter — Senior Political Writer and regular front page contributor to Daily Kos. Joan writes about national legislative developments. 

Follow @Stuart_Zechman

Follow @Stuart_Zechman

Stuart Zechman – Movement liberal, entrepreneur, technologist and public commentary organizer at legacy media political blogs such as TIME Magazine's Swampland; He uses Twitter as a primary communications tool and posts on occasion at Avedon’s Other Weblog and Yves Smith’s Naked Capitalism.

 

The Virtually Speaking Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, David Dayen, Dave Johnson, David Waldman, digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler, Stuart Zechman

 

 

Marcy Wheeler & Dave Dayen • VS Sundays

Oct 6, 2013. Listen live or later. Political & social commentators Marcy Wheeler & Dave Dayen & Jay Ackroyd offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Plus political satire from Culture of Truth. 

Follow @ddayen @emptywheel @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

We start off with Marcy and David discussing her Newsweek profile

Experts on domestic surveillance admire Wheeler’s ability to connect current revelations to past mysteries. “You’ll read through these dense documents, and it’s about one thing; but she’ll find a clue in there to something we’ve all wondered about on something else entirely, and the last citing of that issue was five years ago, and somehow she still remembered,” said Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter late of The Washington Post who has worked with Snowden to break stories on the NSA this summer. “She’s indispensable now with the NSA story, which is endlessly complex.”
Then up comes the Most Ridiculous Moment, exegesis of the Bobblespeak Translations:

Boehner agreed not raising the debt limit could cause a crisis and a recession, then said quote “we are not going to pass a clean debt limit increase” unquote
Of course it's all Obama's fault. Boehner said quote, “The votes are not in the House to pass a clean debt limit. And the president is risking default by not having a conversation with us.”
Boehner helpfully observed that quote “No family or business in America can survive a $700 billion budget deficit in one year.” unquote and asked “How can you raise the debt limit and do nothing about the underlying problem?”

 

So what does he want? Cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Is willing to negotiate and compromise to address this terrible debt by raising taxes?
No. Said Boehner, quote: “Very simple. We're not raising taxes.”

DDay nettled Laura (Scion) Dimon  and so we talk about that for a bit.

And, of course, TOR has apparently been compromised.  Bruce Schneier let us know back in August . Marcy updated us this week

Other links:

Has JPMorgan become an argument for breaking up the banks?

This is America’s worst regulator (and JPMorgan’s best pal)

 

Marcy Wheeler — Investigative journalist, working primarily on civil liberties, Marcy regularly breaks stories related to use of illegal detention and interrogation by the US Government.  Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy is the definitive work on the Scooter Libby trial.

David Dayen writes about state and national economics, banking and mortgage fraud for Salon.com. Since 2004, his work has been cited by the LA Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post and he has been a guest on NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America.

Dave Johnson & David Waldman • VS Sundays

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Listen

Sept 29, 2013 - 

Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & David Waldman & Jay Ackroyd offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Plus political satire from Culture of Truth. 

Follow @dcjohnson @kagrox @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

This week: #Gunfail in the NYTimes. PPACA launch.  Republican infighting.  War vs diplomacy.

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Founder and principal author at Seeing the Forest, Dave Johnson is a frequent public speaker and talk-radio guest and a leading participant in the progressive blogging community. He does a regular weekly segment on the popular Fairness Radio radio show.  Dave is a Fellow at Campaign for America’s Future, where he writes about issues involving American manufacturing, trade, and industrial policy. @dcjohnson

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David Waldman A non-practicing attorney, former Capitol Hill aide and Hotline staff writer, David scrutinizes the US Congress and hosts Kargro in the Morning for Daily Kos Radio.  Follow @KagroX

Avedon Carol & Stuart Zechman • VS Sundays

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Listen

Sept 15, 2013  - Political & social commentators Avedon Carol and Stuart Zechman offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Culture of Truth satirizes the Sunday Morning talk shows. Jay Ackroyd moderates.

Follow @Avedon_Says @Stuart_Zechman @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

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digby, Susie Madrak, Stephanie Kelton • VS Sundays

Listen beginning Sunday 9p ET

Listen beginning Sunday 9p ET

Sept 21, 2013 - Political & social commentators digby and Susie Madrak, offer a counter point to the Sunday morning talk shows. Economist Stephanie Kelton joins the call in the 2nd half hour.

Follow @digby56 @susiemadrak @stephaniekelton @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

Avedon gathers the homework. 

digby —  American political writer and founder of the liberal blog Hullabaloo, Digby has contributed to Campaign For America's Future's blog The Big Con, Salon Magazine,  Huffington Post, Crooks and Liars and Firedoglake. Follow @digby56

Susie Madrak writes at Suburban Guerrilla at susiemadrak.com. She is the Managing Editor at Crooks and Liars. Follow @SusieMadrak

Stephanie Kelton, Ph.D. is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She is also Editor-in-Chief of the top-ranked blog New Economic Perspectives and a member of the TopWonks network of the nation’s best thinkers. Her book, The State, The Market and The Euro (2001) predicted the debt crisis in the Eurozone, and her subsequent work correctly predicted that: (1) Quantitative Easing (QE) wouldn’t lead to high inflation; (2) government deficits wouldn’t cause a spike in U.S. interest rates; (3) the S&P downgrade wouldn’t cause investors to flee Treasuries; (4) the U.S. would not experience a European-style debt crisis.

The Virtually Speaking Media Panel: Avedon Carol, Cliff Schecter, David Dayen, Dave Johnson, David Waldman, digby, Gaius Publius, Joan McCarter, Marcy Wheeler, Stuart Zechman

Cliff Schecter, RJ Eskow • VS Sundays

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Listen

RJ Eskow & Cliff Schecter discuss current events with Jay Ackroyd. Plus satire from Culture of Truth.

Follow @rjeskow @cliffschecter @jayackroyd @bobblespeak Listen

Health care, Medicare, health insurers, path dependency, ObamaCare, impeachment as a political litmus test for Tea Party Candidates. Syria in the second half.

Links from studio audience, Jay, Cliff & Richard.

http://www.eschatonblog.com/2013/09/path-dependence.html
http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/09/06/lieberdouche-medicare-for-all-218-50-1/ 

Libya is an example not to trust US intervention even if it seems for a good cause http://jacobinmag.com/2013/09/libya-and-its-contexts/

Link to Accidental Guerilla  http://www.abebooks.com/Accidental-Guerrilla-Oxford-University-Press/1317243887/bd

Marcy Wheeler & David Waldman • VS Sundays

Listen live or later:

Listen live or later:

Marcy Wheeler & Dave Waldman discuss current events with Jay Ackroyd. Plus satire from Culture of Truth. Syria? Gunfail?

Follow @emptywheel @kagroX @jayackroyd @bobblespeak

Links 

http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/09/01/the-aumf-crescent/

http://www.businessinsider.com/syria-boehner-obama-letter-conflict-chemical-weapons-2013-8ttp://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/britain-sold-nerve-gas-chemicals-2242520#.UiL0ergk5n4.twitter

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V1iK-kaALI&feature=youtu.be

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/britain-sold-nerve-gas-chemicals-2242520#.UiL0ergk5n4.twitter

http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/09/the-administrations-proposed-syria-aumf-is-very-broad/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Joan McCarter & Avedon Carol • VS Sundays

Listen

Listen

Aug 25, 2013

Joan McCarter & Avedon Carol discuss. Jay Ackroyd moderates. Plus political satire from Culture of Truth. Follow @JoanMcCarter @Avedon_Says @JayAckroyd @Bobblespeak

 

Read

Read

Read

Read

Links from Jay, Joan, Avedon and the studio audience

http://avedoncarol.blogspot.com/2013/08/tell-somebody.html

http://nymag.com/news/features/nypd-demographics-unit-2013-9/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialized_medicine

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2013/08/25/mlk-jr-on-meet-the-press-before-march-on-washington-how-little-views-of-dissent-have-changed/ 

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/08/23/nsa-officers-sometimes-spy-on-love-interests/

http://boingboing.net/2013/08/24/loveint-nsa-spooks-illegally.html
 
http://www.wired.com/opinion/2013/06/why-i-have-nothing-to-hide-is-the-wrong-way-to-think-about-surveillance/ 

http://edge.org/conversation/nsa-the-decision-problem

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/08/21/1232836/-SOPA-Bad-ideas-never-really-die
 
http://edge.org/conversation/nsa-the-decision-problem
 
http://edge.org/conversation/nsa-the-decision-problem

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leisure_Suit_Larry

Avedon Carol & Dave Waldman • VS Sundays

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Listen

Aug 4, 2013 — Note: this post out of chrono order. Human error.

Political & social commentators Avedon Carol & Dave Waldman compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week: captured media, captured government, boring scandals and #gunfail.

Avedon posted background reading.

Jay Ackroyd moderates. Follow @Avedon_Says @KagroX @JayAckroyd

Dave Johnson & Gaius Publius • VS Sundays

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Listen

Aug 18, 2013 — Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & Gaius Publius compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Jay Ackroyd moderates. This week: Egypt, NSA & the State.

1. NSA news update

Common Dreams analysis of Gellman's WashPost piece

Ezra Klein, commenting on Obama's role:

"At his press conference, Obama tried to calm the furor over these programs by positing the absence of information about abuses as proof of the absence of abuses. It’s nothing of the kind."

Here's what coming (next-bombshell alert):

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/16/nsa-revelations-privacy-breaches-udall-wyden

2. Egypt:

What happened so far

US ties to Egypt military constrain us:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/world/middleeast/us-officials-fear-losing-an-eager-ally-in-the-egyptian-military.html?hp&_r=1&

Timeline (note the Nov 22 & 29 items):

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/02/world/middleeast/03egypt-timeline-morsi.html?ref=middleeast#/#time259_7566

3. The State, who is it, who runs it, etc. —

■ Who controls the State? (A real question; I have a Clinton quote where he says he's not in charge; term of art "deep state"). Re Clinton, true the context is a UFO question and I can't find a date.

Q: Is Obama in charge, or is he fronting for the State, a pitchman, when he defends NSA in language that's patently false?

Deep State: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/the-deep-state-the-permanent-campaign-and-the-frayed-fabric-of-american-democracy/277828/

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2013/07/the-impending-senate-vote-on-confirming-nominees/277801/

 

Background
The Clinton quote:

Bill Clinton, quoted by Sarah McClendon, a senior White House reporter: "Sarah, there's a government inside the government, and I don't control it." - Bill Clinton 

■ How widespread is the domestic spying? Very

■ How widespread is the data sharing? Very

■ Ways this could be (is being) corrupted. No one really talks about this broadly. The list of ways is many:

Misuse internally to the NSA: Gellman story on internal "violations" (Common Dreams analysis)


NSA is really leaky (Myrddin story, a must read; he's a cyber-security consultant)

Wide overuse by other govt agencies

Wide use by "friends of friends" (no one is talking about this one, but it's what always happens, esp w cops and prosecutors)

Political use against:

Media

Candidates

■ What's the exit for us? (Marcy's thoughts from my NN interview with her, up next week)

4.  Gov't Shutdown update — Renewal of calls for Bargain, timeline uncertain, Dem reaction uncertain, SSW type groups gearing up for another benefits fight.

Time permitting: Dave's thoughts on the Gettyburg Address.

 

David Dayen & Stuart Zechman• VS Sundays

David and Stuart discuss the substance, context  and implications of President Obama's press conferences on the continuing single family housing crisis and on the US security state.

To stay up to date with the rapidly expanding NSA/domestic spying story, there's no better source than Marcy Wheeler at http://www.emptywheel.net/.

David had 20 questions for the President on housing policy.   

David Dayen

David Dayen

Stuart Zechman

Stuart Zechman

Dave Johnson & Gaius Publius • VS Sundays

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Listen

Political & social commentators Dave Johnson & Gaius Publius compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Jay Ackroyd moderates.

1. TPP (Link: http://blog.ourfuture.org/20130722/the-coming-fast-track-trade-outrage)

2. The indictment of Steve Cohen and SAC hedge fund. HuffPost link 

3. Dave's comments on a Forbes piece on capitalism and corporate management 

4. Reflections on capitalism as an unsustainable system. From this from Chris Hedges.

 

Link to a 1970s book "The Limits to Growth":
http://www.amazon.com/Limits-Growth-Donella-H-Meadows/dp/0451057678/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1373397682&sr=8-2&keywords=the+limits+to+growth

Link to Jared Diamond, Collapse: http://www.amazon.com/Collapse-Societies-Choose-Succeed-Revised/dp/0143117009

 

Dave Johnson — Fellow with Campaign for America's Future and a Senior Fellow with Renew California. Read Dave at Seeing the Forest and Alternet. Follow @DCJohnson http://seeingtheforest.com/ Follow @DCJohnson

Gaius Publius — Professional writer of stories, poems, and books on education & technology. Frequent writer and Contributing Editor at AMERICAblog.com. Occasional guest on Ring of Fire Radio, The Matt Filipowicz Show and other venues. Follow @Gaius_Publius. 
http://americablog.com/author/gaius-publius

Joan McCarter & David Dayen • VS Sundays

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Listen

Political & social commentators Joan McCarter & David Dayen compare notes from their observations, investigations and considerations of the past week. Jay Ackroyd moderates. This week, they talk filibuster...

 

David Dayen writes about state and national issues. Since 2004, his work has been cited by the LA Times, the New York Times and the Washington Post and he has been a guest on NPR, Pacifica Radio and Air America. Follow @ddayen

Joan McCarter — Senior Political Writer and regular front page contributor to Daily Kos. Joan writes about national legislative developments.  Follow @joanmccarter
 

Marcy Wheeler & Cliff Schecter • VS Sundays

I've been pondering the meaning of espionage. I mean, I get Mata Hari seducing army officers in order to learn troop formations and plans for naval movements, but dastardly attempts to duplicate popular products doesn't seem, to me anyway, to rise to the same existential threat level. But the President considers this kind of thing very serious: 

“I don't think you ever expect a Chinese leader to say, 'You know what, you're right, you've caught us red-handed. We're stealing all your stuff, and every day we figure out how we can get into Apple’,” Obama said, cited by AFP.
He admits that all nation states gather intelligence, but claims China has gone beyond standard fare, even trying to learn when he’s meeting with Japanese officials, or what his talking points are.
“There's a big difference between that and a hacker directly connected with the Chinese government or the Chinese military breaking into Apple's software systems to see if they can obtain the designs for the latest Apple product. That's theft. And we can't tolerate that,” the president explained.

WIkiLeaks release of State Department cables made it very clear that a large part of the US foreign policy mission is the advancement of US business interests abroad. The President's concern makes it clear that the protecting Apple's monopolies on product design is an important part of our counter-intelligence operations, and, presumably, represents activities that are classified.  

So then the question that comes to mind is just what an "enemy" is, because espionage  consists of giving secret, damaging information to an "enemy." But it's pretty hard to see China as an enemy, especially an enemy of Apple's, given that Apple products are manufactured in China.  Likewise, Russia is called an "enemy" but I hardly think a country with "permanent normal trade relations"  status can really be called an enemy.  

Moreover, as Spencer Ackerman pointed out this week, you can hardly call publishing stuff in a newspaper an act of espionage. Spying, counter-spying, double agents, all that  malarkey consists of keeping everything secret. There's no point if you just tell everyone what you know.  For instance, if Mata Hari had sent her secrets to the New York Tribune for publication, their value, to her, would be lost.

Spencer: 

Yet when asked for the evidence justifying the claim that Snowden gave intelligence to American adversaries, [Representative Mike Pompeo's (Republican, Kansas)] spokesman, JP Freire, cited Snowden's leak of NSA documents. Those documents, however, were provided to the Guardian and the Washington Post, not al-Qaeda or North Korea.
It's true that information published in the press can be read by anyone, including people who mean America harm. But to conflate that with actively handing information to foreign adversaries is to foreclose on the crucial distinction between a whistleblower and a spy, and makes journalists the handmaidens of enemies of the state.

And Congress Mike Rogers, chair of House Intelligence, sees no difference between Aldrich Ames and Robert Hansson vs Snowden and Bradley Manning

Not to put too fine a point on it, that's crazy. 

Listen beginning Sunday, 9p ET

Listen beginning Sunday, 9p ET

Marcy Wheeler — Investigative journalist, working primarily on civil liberties, Marcy regularly breaks stories related to use of illegal detention and interrogation by the US Government.  Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy is the definitive work on the Scooter Libby trial.   • Follow @emptywheel

Cliff Schecter — Principal at media relations firm Libertas LLC, nationally syndicated columnist and political commentator, Cliff writes for Al Jazeera English and appears weekly on Take Action News w/ David Shuster and The Majority Report w/ Sam Seder. The author of the 2008 Bestseller "The Real McCain,"  Cliff is co-founder and part owner of Washington DC's independent progressive radio station, We Act Radio, 1480AM. Follow @cliffschecter