The Morning Grumpy – 6/10/13

10 Jun

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

 LawdJesus

1. Meet Edward Snowden, the man behind the NSA Surveillance leak revealed last week in The Guardian. In a lengthy video interview with The Guardian, Snowden reveals the reason he leaked information about the broad-based NSA surveillance of American citizens. Snowden has fled the United States and will most likely never return unless under arrest. Daniel Ellsberg, the whistleblower responsible for the release of  “The Pentagon Papers” was asked for his thoughts on both the surveillance program and Snowden, and said this; “Can it really be a crime to expose crime?”

While I agree with Ellsberg’s sentiment, the sad part is that nothing that Snowden revealed is against the law. It’s all legal (as of now), and was supported by the overwhelming majority of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives (including Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and Rep. Higgins). Hopefully, Snowden’s actions will force this country to revisit the constitutionality of these laws now that they are out in the open.  As an aside, it’s nice to see Ellsberg back on major news outlets after being condemned to the far-flung outposts of independent liberal media for decades.

2. How does President Obama compare to President Bush on matters of civil liberties, surveillance, targeted killing, CIA black sites, and drone warfare? ProPublica has a handy chart.

3. America’s fifty worst charities rake in millions of dollars each year yet devote less than 4% of donations to direct cash aid for their causes.

Every year, Kids Wish Network raises millions of dollars in donations in the name of dying children and their families.

Every year, it spends less than 3 cents on the dollar helping kids.

Most of the rest gets diverted to enrich the charity’s operators and the for-profit companies Kids Wish hires to drum up donations.

In the past decade alone, Kids Wish has channeled nearly $110 million donated for sick children to its corporate solicitors. An additional $4.8 million has gone to pay the charity’s founder and his own consulting firms.

Before you donate to a charity, check Guidestar to review the charity’s tax documents which breaks down how much of your money goes to overhead or direct program services.

4. Vice put together a fantastic piece about the gun and gang culture in Chicago or “ChIraq” as the locals call it. Really, just watch it. This is America.

5. Conspiracy theorist nutjob Alex Jones visited BBC News this past weekend to discuss his theories on the New World Order and the Bilderburg Conspiracy. Um, it didn’t go well.

I’m a sucker for this guy and his nonsense.

Fact Of The Day: There is a website that allows you to anonymously send a gallon of elephant, gorilla, or cow shit to anyone.

Quote Of The Day: “You can’t wait around for someone else to act.” – Edward Snowden

Video Of The Day: “How a mechanical watch works”

Song of The Day: “What Do I Get?” – Buzzcocks

Follow me on Twitter for the “incremental grumpy” @ChrisSmithAV

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Email me links, tips, story ideas: chris@artvoice.com

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13 Responses to “The Morning Grumpy – 6/10/13”

  1. jamesholstun June 10, 2013 at 7:24 am #

    The fallback save-Obama strategy (Alan Bedenko and Chris Smith) seems to be “Not Obama, all of us; and ironically, nothing here is illegal.” But last I checked, perjury is illegal. Snowden: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”

    • mikeinwny June 10, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      I disagree with Chris plenty of times, but trying to make the stretch that his comments on the legality of the NSA’s actions with a save-Obama strategy is just plain…..Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    • Christopher Smith June 10, 2013 at 10:45 am #

      No, that’s not it at all. For over ten years, we’ve let Congress enact laws which abrogate our freedom. Everything they are doing is perfectly within the bounds of the laws they have written and passed. Through election and re-election of these legislators, we’ve approved of their actions.Congress is a reflection of the people, at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

      Leaking the information about the program, and previous leaks by William Binney should establish a demand by the people to change the law. If they choose not to do so, we’re in trouble as a nation.

      • Brian Buckley June 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

        Chris, that assumes that most people care. Unfortunately we all know they don’t because they are too busy watching the Bachelor, and Honey Boo-Boo, and Toddlers and Tiaras….

  2. jamesholstun June 10, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    “Lawd Jesus It’s a Fire!” Lawd Jesus, what were you thinking? “Them black people surely is stupid and superstitious!” Sometimes it’s a fine line between “hip and edgy” and “hee haw peckerwood crapfest.”

    • Christopher Smith June 10, 2013 at 8:55 am #

      She’s an internet meme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGxwbhkDjZM And she has also made quite a bit of money off her Internet celebrity.

      • jamesholstun June 10, 2013 at 9:02 am #

        Oh–it’s an internet meme that made money? OK, then, everything’s cool. (Mr. Wikipedia tells me that Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry, a.k.a. “Stepin Fetchit,” made a million on stage and screen.)

  3. kmsmith June 10, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Chris,

    I’m given to wonder where all the outrage has been over the relinquishment of our privacy since the beginning of the Patriot Act and the renewal of it over the past 12 years. The war on terror and fear mongering that has kept us in a perpetual state of war and allowing the corporatists to quietly take over our country. Glenn Greenwald has a personal agenda and I’m not clear on the agenda of Snowden. Bob Cesca of the Daily Banter has a article that begins to dismantle a lot of this “scandal” One that has been “hiding in plain sight” for years now with our explicit permission. Our outrage should be directed at ourselves as equally to the government.

    And then there is of course the fact that who they are following and/or listening to clearly isn’t working. After the Two Stooges blew up the Boston marathon, I want to say to the NSA “how’s that phone tapping, email hacking working out for you guys?”
    Say what you want about the 60’s, but we got things done.
    Maybe someday a new generation of young people will challenge things again and evoke change in our government and our lives. I hope so. Just seems this generation is content to tweet and facebook their outrage ad nauseum so it will just keep going I guess.

    • Christopher Smith June 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

      It’s frustrating for sure. When William Binney blew the whistle on the NSA’s StellarWind project late last year, I expected that people would go nuts. However, news that the NSA records every conversation, email, and piece of Internet activity on every single American was met with a collective shrug. I don’t think we know how to protest or demand action anymore.

      • Alan Bedenko June 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

        Perhaps society has rethought its tolerance for surveillance in the face of unknown terrorist actors who indiscriminately plot to commit mass-murder upon innocent civilians?

      • mikeinwny June 10, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

        Living in fear and giving up privacy is about as insane as never going outside because you might be struck by ligntning.

      • Alan Bedenko June 10, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

        Great. Others likely disagree.

      • jamesholstun June 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

        Hey, Alan, that’s what they’re saying in Kandahar and Karachi and and Mogadishu and Sana. Only the terrorist actors are known there, and the mass murders are not only plotted, but accomplished.

        P. S.: “Society” has brown Muslims in it too, and they’re not crazy about being surveilled or droned or burying their children after they’re killed by President Obama.

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