Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”
Edward Snowden’s disclosures, the New York Times reported on Sunday, “have renewed a longstanding concern: that young Internet aficionados whose skills the agencies need for counterterrorism and cyberdefense sometimes bring an anti-authority spirit that does not fit the security bureaucracy.
Agencies like the NSA and CIA -- and private contractors like Booz Allen -- can’t be sure that all employees will obey the rules without interference from their own idealism. This is a basic dilemma for the warfare/surveillance state, which must hire and retain a huge pool of young talent to service the digital innards of a growing Big Brother.
With private firms scrambling to recruit workers for top-secret government contracts, the current situation was foreshadowed by novelist John Hersey in his 1960 book The Child Buyer. When the vice president of a contractor named United Lymphomilloid, “in charge of materials procurement,” goes shopping for a very bright ten-year-old, he explains that “my duties have an extremely high national-defense rating.” And he adds: “When a commodity that you need falls in short supply, you have to get out and hustle. I buy brains.”
That’s what Booz Allen and similar outfits do. They buy brains. And obedience. Read more »
Ever since the horrible, awful bombing at the Boston Marathon, I've been doing what every crazy newshound does and spending far too much time on the Internet trying to get the latest scrap of information. This morning, none of us could drag ourselves away from the developing story.Read more »
The NY Times isn't exactly a revolutionary left-wing publication -- and while columnist Paul Krugman routinely talks about the income and wealth divide, it's not typically a staple of how the Times cover the news. But David Leonhardt is starting a blog on the decline in the middle class and is going to turn it into an article during the later parts of the presidential campaign -- and amazingly enough, he's got it pretty much right:Read more »
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www,dickmeister,com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.
The coming of the Internet has had a profound impact on media coverage of working people and their unions. No, the mainstream media have not expanded their generally limited and shallow labor reporting or their generally anti-labor editorial positions. But there now are dozens of non-mainstream websites and blogs, such as the Bay Guardian's, that provide in-depth labor coverage. The print versions of union newspapers and newsletters could never reach the very much larger audience that's now available via the Internet.
There are even pro-labor broadcast outlets, such as Pacifica Radio's KPFT in Houston, that cover labor issues in depth. The broadcasts and labor websites and blogs expose many people to labor activities and issues they may not otherwise have heard of, or understand – including pro-labor views, Read more »
Lead paragraph in the lead story in Thursday's New York Times (12/29/11):
"BAGHDAD--The Obama administration is moving ahead with the sale of nearly $11 billion worth of arms and training for the Iraqi military despite concerns that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is seeking to consolidate authority, create a one party Shiite-dominated state and abandon the American-backed power-sharing government."Read more »