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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

 
*This post will stay at the top of the page for a while. Please scroll down for new material:

Annual fundraiser featuring Stephen Colbert and Chris Hayes

by digby





Some people go right into the belly of the beast and tell it like it is. Nobody does it better than the Jonathan Swift of our age, Stephen Colbert. He is a national treasure. Others go at it a little bit more earnestly, but with the same level of independence and integrity. I'd says that Chris Hayes personifies that in the broadcast media.

When the Snowden revelations first surfaced back in June, many members of the media reacted with a revealing reversion to authoritarian supplication while other members of the intelligentsia and political establishment obviously held back, calculating the "smart move" before taking a position. But Hayes didn't hesitate:
Most Americans probably feel pretty far removed from the days of Jay Edgar Hoover spying on Dr. Martin Luther King and with some good reason. If you ask me, in the abstract, do you think it's okay for the government to be able to access millions of Americans' phone records and internet activity as long as those tools are just for catching terrorists and they're never, ever abused, I would be tempted to say, yes, that's totally okay.

But there's a pretty major sticking point, and that is the as long as it's not abused part. Because history tells us that is not actually a thing -- a nonabused massive government surveillance apparatus. That is not what Dr. Martin Luther King tells us. Frankly, you don't even have to look at history. Just look at the news from the fall of 2008 when a pair of NSA whistleblowers came forward to talk about what was being done with the agency's surveillance tools way back then.

(VIDEO) I would say that after 9/11, particularly with the fact we were listening to satellite phone communications, rather than targeting military entities in the middle east, we were actually listening to a lot of everyday ordinary people who really in many ways had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism. ...
The times when I was told, hey, check this out, there's something really some good phone sex or there's some pillow talk, pull up this call, it's really funny. Go check it out and it would be some colonel making pillow talk .
And you would listen?

It was there, stored the way you look at songs on your Ipod.

That was our post-9/11 anti- terrorist surveillance state at work just a few years ago. examples of big sweeping surveillance programs misfiring are all over the place. just last month, NBC's Michael Isikoff flagged reports that a special home run security unit was closely monitoring anti-wall street demonstrations including tracking the Facebook pages and websites of the protesters and writing reports on the "potential impact on commercial and financial sector assets in downtown areas" right around the time the U.S. government received the second warning about the radical Islamic ties of alleged Boston marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

When you construct a massive surveillance apparatus, history tells us that it will be brought to bear not just on, quote, "the enemy" but on the people who threaten society's power structure. On whoever exists at the political margins, whether it's Martin Luther King Jr. or some Occupy Boston protesters. It's not some Orwellian abstraction. It's America's history --- and America's recent history ---and left unchecked I fear for America 's future.
That's a rare thing in broadcast journalism in general, even on the ostensibly "liberal" MSNBC. And, if I do say so myself, I think one of the reasons Hayes is able to do what he does is because the alternative liberal media ecosystem of the blogosphere was there to help support him and his work as he made his way up the ladder of success.

The first post I ever wrote featuring Chris' work was nearly 10 years ago. I knew he was special from the first time I read his writing --- the rare combination of heart and head was obvious. And I've been promoting his work in my small way ever since.

All of which is to say that I think that part of what I do here is find those special voices and share them with my readers. And then watch them bloom. Chris is one of many new writers I've featured here but he certainly won't be the last. It's one of the most rewarding aspects of this job.

If brave journalism and commentary that goes against grain and comes from unexpected directions is something you value as much as I do, I hope you'll consider giving a little something to my annual fundraiser. I try to find those new voices, feature them, write about them and support them as much as I can. By supporting my work, in a small way, you help support their work as well.

If you have a few dollars to spare for a donation or a subscription to this blog, I'd be most grateful if you could hit one of these buttons (Or if you prefer, you can send a donation via snail mail to the address on the sidebar.)



And Happy Hollandaise everyone!


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