31 Mar 2012

Dissenters’ Digest for March 25-31

Dissenters’ Digest takes a look back at the week’s stories covering whistleblowers, watchdogs, and government accountability. Look for it every Saturday evening at www.mspbwatch.net/digest. Department of Justice’s Recent Actions Worry Accountability and Transparency Advocates: A number of actions taken by the Department of Justice have caught the attention of government accountability groups

8
31 Mar 2012

In praise of the universal surveillance state. No shame in our game.

The left has fought tooth and nail as the proliferation of surveillance devices, both privately and publicly installed, continues apace. I believe that this is an error. One, we’ll never roll back the surveillance devices because they give to their controllers the irresistible superpowers of being in more than one

64
31 Mar 2012

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Tim Weiner, Enemies: A History of the FBI

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Weiner has a talent for getting clandestine government agencies to spill their secrets. After dissecting the Central Intelligence Agency in Legacy of Ashes, for which he won a National Book Award, Weiner now turns his sights on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s intelligence activities in Enemies: A History of the FBI. Those who watched the 9-11 Commission hearings during which the FBI was criticized for being no more than gumshoe detectives might be shocked to find that the FBI engaged in clandestine anti-terrorism and counter-espionage right from its very beginning in 1908.

0
31 Mar 2012

Goldman Sachs Tries To Get Into Islamic Banking or “Why They Hate Us”

I am not in any way, shape, or form a Muslim. But you know what? I stand with many Muslims today as being offended and disgusted by Goldman Sachs’ presumption (and in fairness, their existence given that as a U.S taxpayer I bailed them out). From Reuters: Goldman’s plan to

6
31 Mar 2012

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Tim Weiner, Enemies: A History of the FBI

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tim Weiner has a talent for getting clandestine government agencies to spill their secrets. After dissecting the Central Intelligence Agency in Legacy of Ashes, for which he won a National Book Award, Weiner now turns his sights on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s intelligence activities in Enemies: A History of the FBI. Those who watched the 9-11 Commission hearings during which the FBI was criticized for being no more than gumshoe detectives might be shocked to find that the FBI engaged in clandestine anti-terrorism and counter-espionage right from its very beginning in 1908. Weiner shows that while the FBI’s criminal investigative abilities might have made it famous, it was its secret intelligence activities against a host of foreign and domestic enemies that absorbed the attention of FBI directors and the presidents they served. Enemies makes clear that the FBI is an agency that from its birth considered itself above the laws it was charged with enforcing.

144
31 Mar 2012

BofA Also Selling Credit Card Debt to Collectors With No Quality Control

We learned a few weeks ago about the JPMorgan Chase debt collection scandal, which featured robo-signing, shredded documents, and loads of criminal activity. Now there’s evidence that this was more of an industry standard, as Bank of America suffers from similar problems in their debt collection business.

0
31 Mar 2012

Kochs, Lies, and Videotape

This week as I premiered my new film, Koch Brothers Exposed — the result of a year-long investigation on how two billionaires are using their wealth to corrupt democracy — Koch Industries has launched an attack on the film and me. The Kochs intimidate, they menace; they have a letter

38
31 Mar 2012

More Myths That Are Killing Us

A month ago, I wrote a note called “The Myths That Are Killing Us” – the hard myths that no Republicans, and very few Democrats, ever challenge. Here was my list: 1. The Government can’t create jobs. (Tell that to FDR, who created four million jobs in three months.) 2.

19
31 Mar 2012

As Judge Strikes Down Part of Scott Walker’s Anti-Union Law, Recall Takes Shape

As Swopa pointed out, a US district court judge overturned two provisions of Act 10, Scott Walker’s anti-union law in Wisconsin.

The judge, Obama appointee William M. Conley, did not touch the provision most associated with the law, which removes all collective bargaining rights except circumscribed increases in pay for most public employees. However, Conley did strike down the measure that forced unions to annually re-certify with an “absolute” majority of all workers, and the “automatic dues” ban, which stopped union dues from being taken out of worker paychecks. Conley said in his opinion that the exemption for public safety workers from the rules (remember that these unions mostly supported Walker’s election back in 2010) made it so that the state was picking and choosing among workers to punish, violating equal protection laws.

0
31 Mar 2012

Libertarian Broccoli and the Short-Sightedness of the Left

The primary argument made by so-called conservatives against the health insurance mandate is that it deprives citizens of free choice. Every citizen, they argue, should be free to choose whether they want to purchase health insurance or they don’t. Even many so-called liberals, who are often in actuality libertarians, are

9