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James Taylor:

Interview with Joni Mitchell

CBC interviews the normally-reclusive artist:

Aprils love

Court Yard Hounds:

Charles Pierce:

OK, let us persist in the notion that I am an American citizen. Let us persist in the notion that I am the citizen of a self-governing political commonwealth. Let us persist in the notion that I have a say — and important and equal say — in the operation of my government here and out in the world. Let us persist in the notion that, in America, the people rule. If we persist in these notions — and, if we don’t, what’s the fking point, really? — then there is only one question that I humbly ask of my government this week.

Please, if it’s not too damn much trouble, can you tell me what’s being done in my name?

Mayor Nutter

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I don’t know why anyone’s surprised. Nutter is a technocrat who used to be a municipal bond dealer. His wife Lisa works for a charter-friendly organization and supports the schools breakup plan:

Nutter explained that at the core of the SRC’s plan is an approach to decentralize. “I agree with that,” she asserted. “Some parts of the public school system need to be dismantled.” Nutter said she likes the SRC’s strategy to implement so-called achievement networks, groups of 25 schools that would be competitively managed according to performance-based contracts, utilizing value-added assessment. “It makes sense to me,” Nutter said, adding that coming into the network with an established skill set will be a critical factor.

When people ask the question “Where this has worked?”, Nutter said the answer is difficult to come by because “nobody’s done this.” She mentioned that other cities, such as New York and Denver, are only just starting to move in a similar direction. The precedent is just not there. Philadelphia is “not often thought of being in front of things, but we actually are,” Nutter elaborated.

Catch 22

The president “welcomes a debate” about the surveillance state, but we’re not allowed to actually mention any of the details. Freedom!

WASHINGTON — Edward J. Snowden said he had leaked secret documents about National Security Agency surveillance to spark a public debate about civil liberties. President Obama, while deploring the leak, endorsed the same goal of a vigorous public discussion of the “trade-offs” between national security and personal privacy. “I think it’s healthy for our democracy, “ he said on Friday of the prospect of re-examining surveillance policy.

But the legal and political obstacles to such a debate, whether in Congress or more broadly, are formidable. They only begin with the facts that the programs at issue are highly classified and that Mr. Snowden is now a hunted man, potentially facing a prison sentence for disclosing the very secrets that started the discussion that Mr. Obama welcomed.

On Monday, the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, was pressed about just how the surveillance dialogue the president invited might take place.

Asked whether Mr. Obama would himself lead the debate or push for new legislation, Mr. Carney demurred. “I don’t have anything to preview,” he said, adding that the president’s major national security speech May 23, before the N.S.A. disclosures, showed “his interest in having the debate and the legitimacy of asking probing questions about these matters.”

Steven Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, said: “If President Obama really welcomed a debate, there are all kinds of things he could do in terms of declassification and disclosure to foster it. But he’s not doing any of them.”

Nor is it clear that political pressure from either Congress or the public will be sufficient to prompt the administration to open the door wider on government surveillance.

Nope, nothing but metadata!

From that same interview yesterday on Democracy Now with William Binney, former NSA official and whistleblower:

AMY GOODMAN: Speaking of the FBI, in 2008, actor Shia LaBeouf appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. During the interview, he talked about an FBI agent showing him a recorded conversation from two years prior to meeting him.

SHIA LABEOUF: I remember we had an FBI consultant on the picture telling me that they can use your ADT security box microphone to get your stuff that’s going on in your house, or OnStar, they could shut your car down. And he told me that one in five phone calls that you make are recorded and logged. And I laughed at him. And then he played back a phone conversation I had had two years prior—

JAY LENO: Come on.

SHIA LABEOUF: —to joining the picture. The FBI consultant. And it was like one of those—it was one of those phone calls—it was like, you know, “What are you wearing?” type of things.

JAY LENO: Really?

SHIA LABEOUF: Yeah, so it was—it was mad weird, but—

JAY LENO: Can we—no, wait. So you mean they had a record of you from—

SHIA LABEOUF: Two years prior to me joining the picture.

JAY LENO: —even being associated with the movie?

SHIA LABEOUF: With the movie.

JAY LENO: Well, that seems creepy.

SHIA LABEOUF: It’s extremely creepy.

AMY GOODMAN: Shia Labeouf. It was 2008 that he was speaking on The Tonight Show, so I think he was talking about the film Eagle Eye that had just come out. William Binney, your response?

WILLIAM BINNEY: Well, you know, I would assume that they—they, for whatever reason—I’m not sure, I didn’t see that movie, but he may have been saying things that were objectionable to the administration, and so they put him on the target list for monitoring. The same thing would happen to—happened to Laura Poitras. I mean, she was, because of her movies, showing—you know, My Country, My Country, basically—I think that was the one that did it, that—

AMY GOODMAN: About Yemen.

WILLIAM BINNEY: This—that one was about Iraq and the Iraq War and how the Iraqis were surviving and how they—in the war zone.


WILLIAM BINNEY: Right. So, if you’re doing something that irritates or is against what the government wants to be expressed to the American public, then you can become a target. That’s what that’s saying.

And people think I was crazy for thinking my phone was tapped during the Bush years!

Via Thomas Soldan.

Democracy Now interviews William Binney, a former high-ranking NSA official and whistleblower:

As Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warns the recent leaks could “render great damage to our intelligence capabilities,” we speak to William Binney, a former top official at the National Security Agency, and Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has broken the NSA spying stories. Binney spent almost 40 years at the agency but resigned after Sept. 11 over concerns about growing domestic surveillance. He spent time as director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group and was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network. “The government is not trying to protect [secrets about NSA surveillance] from the terrorists,” Binney says. “It’s trying to protect knowledge of that program from the citizens of the United States.”

Watch Part 2 of Interview with William Binney


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: As we continue our coverage of the National Security Agency, we are speaking to Glenn Greenwald, who has been releasing this remarkable series of exposés based on Edward Snowden getting these documents from the National Security Agency. We’re joined now by former senior NSA official William Binney, as well, who was a senior NSA crypto-mathematician, largely responsible for automating the agency’s worldwide eavesdropping network, one of the two co-founders of the agency’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center, resigned after the September 11th attacks, deeply concerned about the level of surveillance. Glenn Greenwald, again, still with us, who has broken the series.

Glenn, before we go to William Binney, can you talk about the latest revelation about the cyber-attacks that was your most recent exposé?

GLENN GREENWALD: Sure. I mean, I—you know, we read this document, and it was somewhat remarkable because it set forth this very aggressive policy whereby the United States could wage what the document itself called “offensive cyberwarfare” against any other entity or any other nation in the world simply in the event that it advances U.S. interests—not if we’re being attacked, not if it was necessary to prevent an imminent attack, but simply if, in the judgment of the president or various members of his Cabinet, including the Defense Department, it was in the judgment of them that doing so would advance national interests, they had the right to wage cyberwarfare. And the Pentagon had declared cyberwarfare as an act of war, which is a really aggressive war doctrine that the president codified. It also talked about cyber-operations used domestically inside of the United States. There were no planning details, no blueprints for how these attacks would be waged. There was nothing harmful about publishing it. But it was an extraordinary policy that had been secretly adopted by the president with no debate. And we believe debate was warranted, and we therefore published it.

AMY GOODMAN: There is a great irony in Snowden revealing his identity from Hong Kong, President Obama at the time wrapping up a two-day summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in California. The outgoing national security adviser, Tom Donilon, said Obama confronted Xi on U.S. allegations of China-based cyberpiracy, Glenn.

GLENN GREENWALD: Right. Well, that was one of the main reasons why we published the article is because the Obama administration has spent three years now running around the world warning about the dangers of cyber-attacks and cyberwarfare coming from other nations like China, like Iran, like other places, and what is unbelievably clear is that it is the United States itself that is far and away the most prolific and the most aggressive perpetrator of exactly those cyber-attacks that President Obama claims to find so alarming. And as you say, we published the story on the eve of his conference with the president of China, in which the top agenda item, because of the United States’ insistence, was their complaints about Chinese cyber-attacks and hacking. And it just shows the rancid, fundamental hypocrisy of the statements the United States makes, not just to the world, but to its own people about these crucial matters.
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