“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Impostures Of Pretended Patriotism

Robert Scheer: ‘Disturbing the Government Is an Obligation of Citizenship’ 

Posted on Apr 20, 2015 TRUTH DIG

Truth dig Editor-in-Chief Robert Scheer discusses privacy, cybersecurity and the civil liberty matters at the heart of his new book, “They Know Everything About You: How Data-Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies Are Destroying Democracy,” with C-SPAN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Watch Scheer deliver his remarks, beginning at the 36-second mark, here.

“The real issue here,” Scheer begins, “is the warning of books like—we’re at a book festival—‘Brave New World’ or ‘1984’: Totalitarianism hardly ever comes with just the jackboot. It comes with your not having privacy, your doing self-censorship. They know what you’re up to. And we’ve entered a very, very dangerous world.

“Our whole government is based on the idea of individual sovereignty. We cede power to the government, not the other way around. After 9/11, we got this crazy idea that somehow government should have all the power and we should beg for some crumbs off the table. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. We also have this idea we were founded under: Freedom makes you stronger, that freedom is not a luxury you have in only the best of times, but you need freedom in the worst of times.

“George Washington in his farewell address warned us about the ‘impostures of pretended patriotism.’ It was the founders of our government that gave us checks and balances, that gave us the different parts of the Bill of Rights. Why? They said, ‘Even though we’re gonna be the government … you have to watch us. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. You have to have your zone of privacy, individual space.’

“The Roberts court, in one of their better—in fact I think their best decision—last June on cellphones, smartphone case, said that if the police arrest you and you have your smartphone on you, they can’t crack your code and use that information. That’s a violation of the Fourth Amendment. And that’s exactly what the American Revolution was fought about: Agents of the king could not come in to your house. OK? That’s why the tea was dumped in the Boston Harbor. And we’ve forgotten that notion, and we’ve surrendered this power, and it’s increasingly held by private agencies that the CIA has funded … and there are no checks and balances. We have been lied to routinely. The head of our whole security apparatus, James Clapper, told the Senate ‘We were not doing this mega-spying, we were not getting this information.’ We now know he was just lying through his teeth. He still has his job. So we don’t have accountability, and my whole point is, the word is not ‘privacy,’ it’s really ’sovereignty.’ That’s what our Fourth Amendment is about.”
Scheer continues, “The key thing is there’s no evidence that any of this has made us more secure. The evidence is overwhelming: It’s made us more fearful, it intimidates the population, so people engage in self-censorship. That’s what I find with my students here; they say, “Oh, what do I have to worry about?” I say, “That means you don’t think you’re going to do anything that’s pushing the edge. You don’t think you’re gonna take any risk. You’re not gonna trouble the government.” Well, that’s not what our government’s about. We’re supposed to trouble the government. We’re supposed to challenge the government. We’re supposed to have some wild thoughts. We’re supposed to think differently. And we’re supposed to be able to get together with our fellow citizens and then assemble for a redress of grievances in ways that—as long as we’re peaceful—in ways that might disturb the government.

“Disturbing the government is an obligation of citizenship. That’s what we’ve forgotten.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.


  1. .

    Jeh Johnson visits Silocon Valley to enlist tech companies help in muting encryption efforts.

    omeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that his office is “finalizing plans to open up a satellite office in Silicon Valley, to serve as another point of contact with our friends here.”

    Speaking at the RSA 2015 conference on cybersecurity in San Francisco, Johnson said, “We want to strengthen critical relationships in Silicon Valley and ensure that the government and the private sector benefit from each other’s research and development.”

    He added that “cybersecurity must be a partnership between government and the private sector. We need each other, and we must work together.”

    The tech industry has sought to keep its distance from the US administration over the past two years, since leaked documents from former contractor Edward Snowden suggested intelligence services had special access to data from major Internet companies.

    The tech sector has argued that it provides data for lawful requests but does not allow “backdoor” access to the National Security Agency or other government agencies.

    More recently, efforts by Apple and Google to encrypt their smartphones without holding access to “keys” has raised concerns in Washington that the moves would make it more difficult to catch criminals and terrorists...


    “The current course we are on, toward deeper and deeper encryption in response to the demands of the marketplace, is one that presents real challenges for those in law enforcement and national security,” he said.

    “Our inability to access encrypted information poses public safety challenges. In fact, encryption is making it harder for your government to find criminal activity, and potential terrorist activity.”


  2. Replies
    1. Let it rock, for all I care.

      Fear is the mark of the animal, not man.

      Hindu saying

    2. Lack of fear is the mark of a fool.

      Just saying

    3. NO, you are absolutely wrong about that.

      There is nothing to fear.

      I will find the lovely quote.

      The nature of things is for us.

      We come to something without knowing why, or how.

      "It's not an ending if it's not a happy yet, Uncle Bob"

      That from someone who knows lots about life, the good, the bad, the ugly.

      I am hoping to go see her this summer. If not she is coming here in October.


    4. I will find the appropriate quote tomorrow.

      From Sir John Woodroffe, High Court Judge in Delhi at the end of the English days there.

      He is very good on this stuff.

      My Niece and I joke about how we both got rid of the bloody English, in our separate ways....


  3. .

    Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die

    Barack Obama inherited two ugly, intractable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he became president and set to work to end them. But a third, more covert war he made his own, escalating drone strikes in Pakistan and expanding them to Yemen and Somalia.

    The drone’s vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war.

    “Let’s kill the people who are trying to kill us,” he often told aides.

    By most accounts, hundreds of dangerous militants have, indeed, been killed by drones, including some high-ranking Qaeda figures. But for six years, when the heavy cloak of secrecy has occasionally been breached, the results of some strikes have often turned out to be deeply troubling.

    Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess...


  4. You need a Hindi girlfriend Deuce.

    Some one with a true brain who has the know how and skills to get you straight.

  5. Someone like this perhaps -

    Idaho BobFri Apr 24, 12:52:00 AM EDT

    The good news is, here and there, around the world, wonderful things really are happening.

    Another phone call from my Niece, riding her bike home from work (How can you do that, ride a bike a cell phone at the same time) I hear her huffing and puffing and her wonderful voice all happy and enthusiastic ! It's wonderful !!

    She is a truly lovely young accomplished woman !

    "I am on top of the world now, Uncle Bob"


    "It's not an ending if it's not a happy yet, Uncle Bob"


    Whooooopie we will be seeing one another soon now !

    Idaho BobFri Apr 24, 12:57:00 AM EDT

    Did I mention she works at The Max Planck Institute of Brain Research in Dresden, Germany ?

    O, I did ?

    Did I mention she was the only one of fifty applicants that was hired ?

    O, I did ?

    Did I mention we have mutually adopted one another as Uncle and Niece and are pledged to help one another the rest of this life to the best we can ?

    We have.

    Life ain't so bad. Great things can happen.
    Idaho BobFri Apr 24, 01:09:00 AM EDT

    Did I mention she has been published in the Journal 'Nature' and has another article under review ?

    I did?

    Well I do again.

    Did I mention she knows five languages and now a smattering of German too?

    Well she does.

    Did I mention she says the arabs of the mideast are the worst?

    Take this to heart.

    She knows what she is talking about.

    You don't.

  6. I am willing to pay Q $13,500 a year to stand guard as canary in the coal mine at Yellowstone.

    This is more that $1,000.00/month.

    I will pay for the lodging at Yellowstone Lodge and one meal a day there.

    1. He is required to send a weekly report of the volcanic activities there, and his own activities as well, along with the local weekly police reports.

    2. Any bail request from Q to me voids the contract.

  7. Was out at the farm earlier today. My farmer happened by. He has the best crop going there ever. Both my wife and I agreed two days ago we had never seen anything as good - I was farming it when I married here 35 years ago.

    He and I got into a minor friendly argument about who or what was responsible for this transcendent crop.

    I maintained he was the responsible party.

    He pointed to the long period of USDA relaxation the land had been given.

    The truth is:


    He is a great farmer though. He knows what he is talking about. We agree on everything in, oh, about 30 seconds or so.

    It's fun to talk with someone who knows a subject like the back of his hand when you do too.

    There's lots of pleasant things in life.

  8. I think he just broke even on the garbanzos last year.

    But if he gets the June rains, he's in the money.

    It might go 90 bushels an acre, I am not shitting you.

    He had just done the last act, putting the spring fertilizer on.

    Now, nothing to do but wait until harvest............and hope for timely rains to fill the heads.

  9. When I think of this guy, and my Niece, and others, hell, the world is in pretty good hands, overall.

  10. It's just the fucking muzzies that are ruining the party, these days.

    The world wide can still happen !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. New Product from Quirk Industries.LLC -

    Foreskin Facials: Would You Try One?
    April 23, 2015 3:43 PM

    Related Tags: foreskin facial, HydraFacial
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    NEW YORK ( — What is the secret to a smooth, younger-looking complexion?

    Foreskin, apparently. Baby foreskin to be exact.

    The anti-aging industry is a billion dollar one, and both men and women will try just about anything to get a youthful appearance.

    Better known as a HydraFacialMD, the treatment claims to be highly effective at improving overall skin health and remedying fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and advanced signs of aging — among other things.

    Dr. Gail Naughton, who developed the technology, told NY Magazine, “As we age, our cells divide at a slower rate, which contribute to the telltale signs of aging, like wrinkles and loss of firmness and luminosity. Growth factors captured from the donated foreskin of a baby (just one can generate over a million treatments) are at their peak ability in promoting rapid cell turnover. Applied topically, they spur adult skin cells to regenerate. This is said to have a smoothing effect on the skin.”

    Certain spas and doctors offices offer the foreskin facials in NYC.