Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

December 28, 2013

The lesser evil?

Filed under: Obama — louisproyect @ 4:54 pm

N.Y. Times December 27, 2013
Judge Upholds N.S.A.’s Bulk Collection of Data on Calls

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday ruled that a National Security Agency program that collects enormous troves of phone records is legal, making the latest contribution to an extraordinary debate among courts and a presidential review group about how to balance security and privacy in the era of big data.

In just 11 days, the two judges and the presidential panel reached the opposite of consensus on every significant question before them, including the intelligence value of the program, the privacy interests at stake and how the Constitution figures in the analysis.

The latest decision, from Judge William H. Pauley III in New York, could not have been more different from one issued on Dec. 16 by Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, who ruled that the program was “almost Orwellian” and probably unconstitutional.

The decision on Friday “is the exact opposite of Judge Leon’s in every way, substantively and rhetorically,” said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “It’s matter and antimatter.”

The case in New York was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which said it would appeal.


From Wikipedia:

Pauley is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Pauley was nominated by President Bill Clinton on May 21, 1998, to a seat vacated by Peter K. Leisure.

Leon was nominated to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by George W. Bush on September 10, 2001, to the seat vacated by Norma Holloway Johnson.

* * * *

Richard Nixon
Statement on Signing the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
December 28, 1973

I HAVE today signed S. 1983, the Endangered Species Act of 1973. At a time when Americans are more concerned than ever with conserving our natural resources, this legislation provides the Federal Government with needed authority to protect an irreplaceable part of our national heritage–threatened wildlife.

This important measure grants the Government both the authority to make early identification of endangered species and the means to act quickly and thoroughly to save them from extinction. It also puts into effect the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora signed in Washington on March 3, 1973.

Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists, and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans. I congratulate the 93d Congress for taking this important step toward protecting a heritage which we hold in trust to countless future generations of our fellow citizens. Their lives will be richer, and America will be more beautiful in the years ahead, thanks to the measure that I have the pleasure of signing into law today.

Center for Biological Diversity
August 30, 2013

Obama Administration Proposal Weakens Endangered Species Protections

Rule Would Relax Requirements on Federal Agencies to Carefully Account for and Track Impacts on Nation’s Most Imperiled Species

WASHINGTON – August 30 – The Obama administration has proposed a new rule that would scale back the requirement that federal agencies fully track the harms inflicted on endangered species when large-scale plans are developed and carried out on federal public lands. As a result, the cumulative impacts on rare species from actions like oil and gas drilling will be discounted in the decision-making process — putting hundreds of plants and animals at greater risk of extinction. The change is being proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service, which have repeatedly failed to track how the projects they approve are affecting rare and vanishing species.

“America’s endangered species are already dying deaths by a thousand cuts, because too often no one’s keeping an eye on the big picture,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “This proposal will make that problem even worse.”



  1. If someone brings up the word secrecy pregressive thinkers would say No we need transparency not secrecy. Secrecy is a poison to democracy. But what is privacy other than a euphamism for secrecy? What does privacy get used for and who uses it? I would suggest that the answer is privacy gets used by religous figures to committ molest children, or by bankers to conspire with lobbiests. Niether privacy or secrecy serve the common good. When people know that they are being watched they are much more likely to behave in a democratic manner. Yes I admit that the democratic manner is not always civilized. I am fully aware that a lynch mob is one form of democracy in action. But if those who oppose the lynch mob would be behaving in a more enlightened manner if they make their opposition to the mob public. Yes I am aware that one could from a hidden place fire a machine gun in to the lynch mob and that such action is at time justified. But if there are two peoplel who oppose the mob both courses of action are possible one after the other.
    The tools that the enemy has developed should not be destroyed once they have been captured they should be used to rout out the remaining pockets of enemy resistence. Of course there is a fear that such tools will make it impossible to mount any kind of resistance to the enemy. But that will prove at some point in the future not to be the case.

    Comment by Curt Kastens — December 28, 2013 @ 8:08 pm

  2. What the fuck is Normon Soloman saying now?

    Does he still have the cajones to post on CounterPunch?

    But he’s not the only one. Noam Chomsky & Philip Agee & even Peter Camejo (much to my friend Proyect’s chagrin) all of whom I’d met over 23 years ago and considered heros — all said “give sanctions a chance” in Iraq back in the Fall of 1990 just before they got their wishes that wound up slowly murdering over a million brown people, mostly kids & old people, all throughout the 90’s.

    Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark was right it turns out. But nobody liked his conclusions since he was thought to be a Workers World Party dupe. Yea right. The former Attorney General during the VietNam War was brainwashed by a sect? I met that man and worked in his office during the Fall of 1990 and clearly he was nobody’s fool.

    Notice nobody on the left of any stripe, ever, except maybe anti-Iranian Zionists & Obama Liberals like Norman Soloman, (neither of which can really be called “leftist”) dares utter the phrase “give sanctions a chance” anymore, precisely because, as Clark figured out before the erstwhile Left could, that sanctions affect the weakest people in a society, mainly infants & the elderly, that is, it’s essenentially genocide.

    It’s no accident that this Iraqi genocide was being contemplated just as the CofC (Commitees of Correspondence) was contemplating where the left should go amidst the USSR’s bankruptcy from the arms race — for in hind sight how could the West effectively carry out genocide with the USSR around?

    Uncle Sam tried to in Korea but was thwarted by the workers’ states (albethey deformed) in China & the USSR.

    Sam tried again in Indochina but was thwarted by the same 2 forces.

    Fact is the old coward Sam didn’t feel he had the cajones to muster anything until the USSR was headed towards it’s knees in cold war bankruptcy whereby he then felt comfortable enough to invade Panama, testing out new weapons systems on civilians, & then Iraq, all brown people foes which weren’t really wars in the historic sense since only one side was shooting, that is, precisely the conditions in which an old child molester Uncle feels most comfortable.


    Re: Curt Kastens (above). Please give some serious reading to: “Their Morals & Ours”:


    for some philosophic insights into the dilemmas & connundrums you raise.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — December 29, 2013 @ 7:22 am

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