Sunday, January 19, 2014

Obama's Speech: The Oh-Dash-It-All Of Hope

Bryan points us to five analyses of the President's speech on "reforms" of US intelligence practices. All are worth your time, but if you have time to read just one, read emptywheel's interleaved annotation of the text of the speech itself.

The short version: any hope that Mr. Obama would make substantive changes to NSA practices rather than merely spouting platitudes using all the right words amounts to... Zero. Ain't gonna happen. "Trust me," says Mr. Obama... who then gives us every reason not to do so.

I may have more to say, on this or on other issues. Or I may just hang it up. Now might be a good time to subscribe to my feed; I certainly don't feel like posting daily in the next few days.


  1. Following you and some more or less 500 hundred Greek, French & English mostly alternative sites via:

    1. Enfant! Thank you! My blog has been almost two weeks without incoming comments; I'd begun to wonder if something was technologically wrong with Blogger, but your comment proves it's working. Again, thank you!

    2. You know, never gave up following you as well a many-many other sites, after the retirement of google reader (30th of June 2013).
      Nothing to worry about, watching you in 'secret' as most of your posts are US-'Centered'!

      Are you no longer moderating comments?

    3. Enfant, I appreciate your going to the trouble, even after Google Reader ceased to be available. And given the overwhelming American exceptionalism of Republicans and Democrats alike, I would certainly understand... indeed I would encourage... citizens of other nations to comment on American politics. American domestic politics affects your daily life, and that of citizens of other nations, more than it has any right to, so you have every right to comment. You wouldn't be the first on this blog (though regrettably the other one, Jams O'Donnell, has died).

      It is true: I am no longer moderating comments, for two reasons. One is that NTodd (of Dohiyi Mir) specifically requested that I remove the "prove you're human" test, and he's right; it's obnoxious. The other is that Blogger's spam filter has improved recently: "commercial" spam seem to be filtered out almost altogether, and the "human" test does nothing to discourage trolls.

      Apologies for neglecting international matters. The shit has been falling in great quantities here at home lately!

    4. I am so sorry, I did not know Jams O'Donnell died.

      We are in great trouble in our department:
      On 27-28-29, 4 professors from overseas are coming to evaluate us.
      Today and for four weeks on I have to examine 650 students orally, as they downloaded the whole of my professional website to their "smart phones" and cheated.
      So the only way is oral exams...
      Sometime we could cut the signal from the conventional mobile phones via a "cutter". Now its impossible.
      Time to "retired"

    5. Jams O'Donnell asked me questions about the Greek Constitution? Am I wrong?

    6. Enfant, last things first... yes, that would be Jams. He had an intellect well-suited to comparative analysis of different forms of government, and an artistic sense that drove him to some of the finest photography on the web. You can still see it at his site, The Poor Mouth, which is still linked from my blogroll at left. Jams was only in his forties when he was suddenly stricken with something... a stroke? none of us knows for sure... and fell from his seat at the computer, dead. Life is genuinely unfair sometimes. :-(

      Regarding those exams: how can you possibly orally examine 650 students in four weeks? That's more than 160 a week, 23 a day! And downloading your website to their smartphones... I suppose cheating has advanced since students copied "cheat-sheets" onto the palms of their hands before entering an exam.

      The one exam in college that I was not prepared for, I did not cheat on it... I failed it. Some things are just not worth it.

    7. Steve,
      Already seen his site, a pity he was only in his forties...
      Please do not remove it.
      23 a day by 15 min.... I think I could manage... I am in a terrible situation..

  2. Blogger gets a bit strange at times, and my time has been limited by Real Life lately.

    It's your choice, but the Left needs all of the voices we can muster to offset the lack of voices in positions of power. I'm bad about commenting, but you are my source of what Texas to doing to people when the lege is in session, plus new assaults on civil rights.

    1. Bryan, I appreciate your support; it means a lot to me... and I know all about Real Life interference; think of my experience approximately a year ago.

      I am feeling better today about continuing to post. I am not feeling any better at all about the effectiveness of our doing so... the 1% has reached a point at which it understandably feels that it doesn't have to care; all its power is located in positions suitable to accomplish its aims without any consent at all from us. We live in an oligarchy/plutocracy; take your choice of words, but it damned surely isn't a representative democracy anymore. I always assumed this would happen at some point... history teaches us that it always does... but I also always assumed that point would arrive long after I was dead and gone. I was wrong, and I am both surprised and pissed off as hell!

  3. My email and your blog are the only things I check on a daily basis. You have info that I don't get anywhere else. Keep writing, please!

    1. Barbara, thank you! As I mentioned to Bryan above, I am feeling better today, not about the state of the world... still dog‑awful... and not about the effectiveness of blogging... damned nearly zero... but about the need for the screed, whether or not it has an impact. I appreciate your reading, and when you are inclined and able, your responses!

  4. Still here, still reading, still savoring the good posts you do, but am mostly silent these days staying alive. peace, Michael at karmanot

    1. Michael, my old friend! I am glad to know you're still here, and hope your health maintains and your quality of life improves. We do still have some battles to fight with the genuine bad guys (increasingly that's how I see the worst of our opposition); please take good care of yourself... we all need you!

  5. Came to comment to make sure your system was working, and fell into a nice crowd of people. Thank god for your blog and others. I don't feel quite so alone in this brave new world....

    1. Thank you, ellroon! No, you are most certainly NOT alone. Neither, actually, am I, though from time to time I have to be reminded of the fact. This thread has been a wonderful... and much-needed... reminder. And now I'm off to try to learn enough HTML5 to avoid doing something on the blog that I will live to regret in mere months...



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