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I'm on the same fence, and for mostly the same reasons, but your final "How about you trust us?", though catchy, stops short of a critical step: how does the president trust us (inform us in a way that allows us to reach a thoughtful conclusion) without informing those who would use that information to do harm? That's my hamster wheel.


People with principles know which side of the fence to be on.
If there was no "government", who would have the main say in how you are governed?

Lance Mannion

TOS, bad habit of mine, going for and settling for the catchy ending. As you say, there's much more going on here.

R.Y. Bice

My concern about the shrugging one's shoulders approach: I remember the 1970's debate about using public education funds to transport students to parochial schools. The pro argument, it's a matter of public safety, parochial school kids parents are taxpayers too, it's only transporting not educating, was countered by the slippery slope argument. We know how that turned out. We now have vouchers for religious schools, and in some states, direct support for religious schools. That helps me understand the NRA slippery slope argument, though not enough to stop fighting their overwhelming influence. Well, this surveillance is another slippery slope.


What you call being a "jackass" I see as extremely focused "intensity". I read Greenwald primarily because he isn't afraid to question orthodoxy and takes on subjects few others will. He plays no favorites on right or left when surgically carving up hypocrites - which has no doubt made him more than a few enemies.

I see no basis whatsoever for trusting the government on issues of surveillance. The point you make about us knowing next to nothing about what they are doing should make us all wary. Everything we've learned from whistleblowers like Snowden backs up Glenn's work. He's the one you should trust, not them.


Lacking an army, navy, and airforce none of the individuals or groups supposedly being surveilled are genuine existential threats to the United States. Their worst act to date (a black swan that even the architect had no idea would be as effective as it was) killed about as many people as the yearly highway death toll in California in 2011. Short of nuclear weapons - a possibility in the four-digit-decimal-range - they could kill perhaps as many as salmonella or household falls in a year. So that puts the bar pretty damn high for me; you've gotta bring in some pretty big stones to convince me that surveilling the U.S. public without reliably public oversight is a good idea, regardless of what they do with the data now. To let Agency Z or Bureau Y get into the habit of monitoring people's communications without a specific warrant? Hmmm...I wonder what could go wrong with that..?

Lance Mannion

jdlawes, according to a quick Google, over 1,000 die a year from falling down the stairs. You really think it's worth losing that many a year to terrorist attacks? I presume you're willing to be one of casualties. Or is it really the case that you don't think the program's prevented any attacks?

Lance Mannion

OutCountry, there's no questioning Glenn's intensity or focus or his commitment. The thing is he won't stand for anyone questioning him on anything. It's not enough to agree with him on principle or generally. He demands you agree with him on every point. Over the last five years, he's picked fights with many people who would be his allies if he didn't go out of his way to insult and bully and shame them. I've been one of his targets. And I'm far from alone. He's not a jackass because he's focused and intense. He's a jackass because he's become a rude, self-righteous, arrogant jerk. But like I said, being a jackass doesn't automatically make someone wrong.

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