Monday, August 26, 2013

Top Ten Most Inaccurate/Exaggerated Guardian NSA Stories


Funny, I'd never heard of the Daily Banter until I met someone who writes for them at a party last weekend.

Anyway...  It's not that I'm not concerned about PRISM and XKEYSCORE and all the's that I'm encountering a lot of hysteria and exaggeration about it all, and I'm focusing right now on cutting through that crap in an attempt to figure out how concerned I should really be...

Any assistance anyone can offer will be much appreciated.


Anonymous Jimmy Doyle said...

Yeah, that's what we should be really worried about here. Those unscrupulous folks *exaggerating* the NSA revelations.

FFS Winst, for someone who takes seriously the idea that the really bad thing about gun control is that the citizens won't be able to resist a tyrannical government, you sure seem to be shovelling huge quantities of benefit of the doubt in the direction of our National 'Security' State Overlords. Are you sure your hatred of Greenwald isn't interfering with your judgment?

11:03 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Nope. Not sure at all.

Though what I'm posting here isn't really representative of what I'm reading/encountering. I'm encountering a lot of hysteria about all this... I'm alarmed, and my default position on all this is "end it." But the distortions we're getting from Greenwald and the adolescent libertarianism of the internet makes me suspicious. It's starting to sound to me like the real problem is the government having a certain *capacity* for spying. Greenwald et al. keep distorting the stories in a way that makes it sound as if we're already being spied on in the relevant ways. And I can't figure out how to think about the numbers yet... Impressively low percentages of transgressions? Or high total numbers? Or what?

And the capacity argument baffles me. My default position is that the government should not have the capacity to to rogue. But, of course, it already has that capacity: the military is huge. Any anti-capacity argument would support the conclusion that the military must be pared down. I'm for that, actually...but it seems like the military would have to be reduced to levels at which it no longer represents a threat to the people if the government does go bad...

Given the ability to push a button and disintegrate PRISM etc., (and only one chance to do so), I'd likely do it. But the fact that basically just about everybody I respect in the government who knows the details disagrees...well, gives me pause, to say the least.

7:40 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

* "to GO rogue..."

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But the fact that basically just about everybody I respect in the government who knows the details disagrees..."

Couldn't it also be that your respect-meter isn't a very useful guide? I wouldn't trust my own in that respect.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

It absolutely could, which is why said that that is just strong enough to give me pause, especially combined with my general distrust of Greenwald, and the evidence of his / the Guardian's exaggerations and distortions.

One typically defers to trusted experts in situations in which one doesn't have the relevant expertise. I'm not willing to suspend judgment forever, but I *am* willing to go slow given what I know right now.

My background position, however, is that the burden that the government would have to meet here is very high. There would have to be a very large anti-terrorism payoff to warrant the development of such massive surveillance capacity...even if it's not currently being used against Americans. (Though, incidentally, I also worry about the privacy of non-Americans).

I'm very concerned...but I'm also irked by what seems like a certain amount of hysteria about this issue coming from people I basically agree with on this.

2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough. I don't think we have a serious disagreement on the relevance of expertise. I'm probably a good bit more skeptical of gov't power and less so of Greenwald, but there's certainly room for disagreement there.

One more quick question: Who are you including as your trusted experts? Respected politicians/activists? Experts in the field? Well informed colleagues? All of the above?

5:43 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home