Top Billing! The Guardian Glenn Greenwald – NSA collecting phone records of millions of Verizon customers daily , The National Security Agency: surveillance giant with eyes on America, NSA Prism program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others, Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data, Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations
Have to say, I never in a million years expected to ever give Glenn Greenwald a “top billing”. I have often, for example, disagreed very strongly on how he has characterized (or, in my view, mischaracterized) the application of the laws of war about US actions toward al Qaida and the Taliban and I still do. It must be said however, that Greenwald has at least always been scrupulously consistent in his criticism when most other pundits were not; and secondly, with the NSA, Greenwald has broken one of the most important stories of the year.
Credit where credit is due.
Haft of the Spear –140+ Ed Snowden Edition 1.0
….His Insight. See comment about “context” above. Snowden is not a trained case officer or interceptor, or analyst. In being able to understand how what he had access to fit into the big scheme of things, he’s a lot more bottom-of-the-pyramid Manning than top of the pyramid Ellsberg.
T. Greer – America 3.0
It is unusual for me to read a book aimed at popular conservative audiences. I am something of a disaffected conservative. Crony capitalism and government overreach have proved to be bipartisan endeavors, and I have long lost faith that the Republican party can ever be more than an organ of America’s governing elite.  Outside of the beltway the broader currents of mainstream conservatism are so full of angry sound and righteous fury (and nothing else) that I have long stopped paying close attention them. The movement is in desperate need of a clearer vision and more compelling purpose.
America 3.0 is the book to provide it.
James Bennet and Michael Lotus get everything right that all of the other popular commentators get wrong. In contrast to pundits incessantly focused on the character flaws of the opposition and controversies of the hour, these authors focus on the broad political principles and broad political context – ”centuries into the past and decades into the future” (xxv). Where most popular political creeds are shallow, filled more with hype and platitudes than meaningful evidence, America 3.0 is both respectful in tone and deeply researched (and none the less readable for it!). Few popular political works have any real historical grounding; America 3.0 possesses this in spades. Even more impressively, the authors manage to convey both their sense of history and their firm belief in American exceptionalism without any of the reflexive chest-pounding sometimes mistaken as patriotism in conservative corners. (As they write in the introduction, “We are attempting to avoid setinmentalility in this book, and look at the record in a cold light. As we write things are not good in America. Being realistic is a matter of urgency (xxiv).”) Most impressive of all is the political platform they lay out. In age where conservatives are too often defined by what they are against, America 3.0 paints a compelling picture of what they should be for.
All in all, a breath of fresh air.
Nuclear Diner (Rofer) –What Makes a Whistleblower?
….Daniel Ellsberg exemplefies the last kind of whistleblower. He shared the government’s documents on the Vietnam war that showed that the government’s public claims were lies. Combine that with the investigative journalism of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein on Watergate, and you have today’s high journalistic myth, that the press will out government wrongdoing with the help of whistleblowers. We now know that the person who took the chances to out Watergate was Mark Felt, whose identity was long hidden.
Both Ellsberg and Felt wanted to get the truth out. Ellsberg’s motives were honorable, to inform the public. Felt may have been motivated more by office politics. There are an enormous number of motives that someone may have for leaking information. What all the motives have in common is that hardly ever will the leaker be completely honest about his motives; he may not even be conscious of all his motives.
Edward Luttwak – Nukes: Why is Iran different?
Regime security for an ideological state
Abu Muqawama (Elkus) How Not to Argue about Women in Combat
A brutal Fisking
It comes out a lot like you would expect
Dart Throwing Chimp –How Social Science Is Like Microbiology
The Ecological paradigm
Duck of Minerva (Nexon) –New Podcast: Interview with Patrick James
Middle-Earth in IR theory…..
Not the Singularity (Morris) Security expert Bruce Schneier on NSA and why we need whistleblowers
Victor Davis Hanson -Why Some Wars Are So Savage