now browsing by tag


United States of Secrets

Secret courts, sealed indictments, private rulings, redacted records, no oversight. I know it sounds like I’m describing a country in the middle east, but sadly I’m not. I’m talking about the land of the free and the home of the brave… good old USA. How did our beloved country come to spy on millions of it’s own citizens? PBS’s Frontline gives us the inside story of our government’s massive and controversial secret surveillance program and the lengths they went to try to keep it hidden from the public. This 2 part story is very compelling and should be viewed by ALL Americans because we can’t let politicians and billionaire insiders decide what our rights are, who they apply to, and when it’s ok to violate them. That is not the same America who’s constitution and bill of rights are envied and admired the world over. My eyes were opened after watching this so I feel it’s my duty as an American to shine a light on it for those who aren’t aware of this issue and for those who aren’t sure what the facts are because most media outlets are doing such a crappy job covering it.



Amazing reporting by Frontline and PBS. Whenever someone in congress gets up to make a speech about cutting PBS’s budget or completely doing away with PBS altogether, we should send them a copy of this program. The New York Times holding back that story when they had a chance to lift the veil on major ongoing crimes committed by President Bush and his administration. That decision represents the failure of corporate media. How many other stories have major news entities held back over the years? Snowden was right to choose Greenwald (even though I disagree with some of Greenwald’s methods). Who knows what would have happened if he would have chosen Fox or NBC or The Wall Street Journal.

I voted for President Obama in 2008 and 2012. I think he’s done a good job as president overall but his promises of transparency, his decision to continue the illegal NSA surveillance, lack of oversight on the US drone program, and his administration’s treatment of whistleblowers are areas that I feel very troubled by. It’s extremely disappointing to say the least. If republicans would go after him for those things, I really couldn’t blame them. Those are very legitimate areas to criticize… but for some reason they go after him for fake scandals like Benghazi, and the IRS, and Fast and Furious. How about 40 more votes for the repeal of Obamacare, or one more investigation on Benghazi after 7 have already been done, or let’s call Lois Learner to appear before Issa’s committee to invoke the 5th again just in time to make the 6:00 news. All of that seems much more important than this little NSA illegally tapping American phone calls and monitoring our email and web traffic. Maybe they live in glass houses when it comes to allowing the NSA to run these types of programs. Who the heck knows why politicians do what they do?

Republicans chasing phony scandals and the president not following through on his campaign promise of transparency injects mistrust and breeds even more cynicism when it comes to our expectations of what politicians can get done. We as citizens can break that cycle if we stop treating political parties like sports teams to root for rain or shine. Politicians know this and that’s how they get away with making horrible decisions and it’s how congress gets away with 6 years of complete inaction. If I’m a republican who supports sensible gun control and I see the president giving some push-back on republicans who are against gun control, I feel like I need to defend and root for my home team even though I agree with the president. So all of a sudden I’m no longer for sensible gun control. I’ve seen democrats do the exact same thing. To make our government work for us and not against us, we need to stop treating politics like a sport. It’s the only way we can start holding our elected officials accountable again. Let the tv pundits and political analyst do the home team rooting shtick. Someone has to be the adult and change our “them vs us” mentality. Now I’ll step down from my soapbox. If you know people who need to see this news report please pass along this blog address.  All of us at Socially Urban would greatly appreciate your help in reaching those who are thought to be unreachable.

United States of Secrets the official FRONTLINE PBS site to watch the report. If the youtube videos above aren’t working use this link to watch the program..



Secret Leaks And Hard Choices

Secret Leaks and Hard Choices

Over the past couple weeks we’ve learned about top secret government programs designed to seek out terrorist who wish to do harm to the United States of America. What started out as a small leak has turned into a gushing waterfall of classified top secret information. First we had a story about the Department of Justice secretly seizing two months worth of phone records from the Associated Press without a warrant. These records were seized in an effort to identify the Associated Press’s informant who leaked very sensitive classified material to an AP reporter that jeopardized an ongoing CIA mission and could have cost the lives of those carrying out the clandestine mission if the target became aware of it. Keep in mind that the DOJ only obtained the numbers called both inbound and outbound, but never listened in on any phone conversations or asked to see transcripts from any phone conversations. A few days after that story broke another revelation came to light. The DOJ obtained a warrant for Fox “reporter” James Rosen’s email account to find his source for a 2009 report about North Korea responding to a United Nations sanction with a nuclear missile test. Yesterday another classified leak of US intelligence occurred. Cellular service provider Verizon complied with a top secret court order (issued in April 2013) to give the National Security Agency information on all phone calls from all of their customers in an indefinite ongoing daily basis. Then before we had time to digest this troubling occurrence, another government surveillance story broke. A reporter from “The Guardian” uncovered a top secret government program called PRISIM that allowed them to access or monitor any US citizen’s internet use and read anyone’s email.

If proven true, all of these secret surveillance operations are a stain on Obama’s presidency, a stain on law abiding American’s civil liberties, and a stain on the credibility of the DOJ and the NSA. I have to say this is the most disappointing and troubling part of an otherwise amazing presidency. We all know president Obama is a pragmatist but his unbelievably fast evolution on the issue of civil liberties makes me determined to find out why. Before he was elected president his position on Bush’s far reaching Patriot Act was very clear. He was very vocal about his opposition to most of the bill. Especially the statutes about government surveillance on law abiding citizens. After he won the election all of this changed. If I were a cynic I’d chalk it up to politics and probably believe that he knowingly misstated his position to get elected. But that’s not the Obama I know. Everything about his life shows a man with immense integrity, so I have to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think his change was prompted by some pretty scary intelligence that only him and a few top advisers are privy to. Being president has a huge burden that comes along with the job. You are responsible for 300 million people every day of your life for 4 to 8 years. The fate of the entire county rests in your hands and every decision you make could have dire consequences. I’m not making excuses for him infringing on American civil liberties, but I can understand why he may feel it necessary to do these types of things. It’s easy for me to feel outraged by it all when my outrage carries no consequence. So as you watch these issues unfold in the news, please keep that in mind and respect the enormity of that type of responsibility. These are complex issues and the president has to weigh the safety of nation against what is allowable by law. If his actions are indeed legal, then we have to ask ourselves if we’re just going to criticize pontificate and debate endlessly whether or not we feel comfortable with the government having this tool available to them, or are we going to push our elected officials to remove the legal ambiguity that was purposely written into bills such as the Patriot Act? Government as an institution will never voluntarily make itself less powerful, nor will any president. For that to happen the people have to be united, organized, and dedicated to restoring the principles that made this country great. I’m not willing to give up my civil liberties in order to maybe possibly probably catch one or two suspected terrorist every now and then. We are the smartest most technically advanced country in the world so there’s no way anyone can convince me that spying on law abiding Americans is the only way to fight or prevent an act of terrorism.

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar