Links for Monday morning reading 6/24/13

Where Did Our ‘Inalienable Rights’ Go? by Max Frankel in the New York Times.   Hat tip for this to Daniel Brandt.

Max Frankel, former editorial page editor of the New York Times, pointed out that information gathered in secret is a potent weapon, and the temptation to use this weapon for political ends or for purposes unrelated to terrorism can be irresistible.

What makes secret spying more dangerous, he wrote, is that so much of it is farmed out to private sub-contractors, whose executives move in and out of government and have a financial incentive to make the surveillance as far-reaching as possible.

Frankel proposed a special Intelligence Court, like the U.S. Tax Court, whose judges are confirmed by the Senate for terms long enough to allow them to become real experts.  The judges would inform the public of the general nature of the requests that come before them, and their record of approval and denial; they also would have authority to hire lawyers to question the government’s evidence.

The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis by Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone.

One of the causes of the financial crash of 2008 is that so many investors trustingly bought worthless securities that were rated AAA by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.  The question is: Were they incompetent or crooked?  Matt Taibbi has the answer and the evidence.

McLibel leaflet was co-written by undercover police officer Bob Lambert by Paul Lewis and Rob Evans in The Guardian.

McDonald’s British branch tried to shut down a group of green activists by suing them for damages for an allegedly libelous pamphlet under Britain’s stringent libel laws.   The activists won, after the longest civil trial in British history.  Now it turns out that that an undercover agent infiltrating the group helped write the pamphlet.  This is not the only example, either in Britain or the USA, of police infiltrating radical groups and trying to get them into trouble.

Why the TPP is all about corporate power, not trade by David Cobb of the Green Party’s Green Shadow Cabinet.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Global Corporate Coup, Assault on Democracy and National Sovereignty by Kevin Zeese of the Centre for Research on Globalization, which has a menu of links to statements by members of the Green Shadow Cabinet.

I know Democrats who are as opposed to the Green Party as they are to the Republican Party.  For them, the only significant thing the Green Party ever did was to run Ralph Nader for President in 2000, and the only significant reason Al Gore lost to George W. Bush in 2000 was that Nader took votes away from Gore in Florida.  Their moral: Never aspire to anything better than the choices offered by the two major parties.

In fact, there is more good sense coming out of the Green Shadow Cabinet than the whole Obama administration.

Belief in Global Warming Drops After Cold Winter by Megan Gannon for LiveScience.

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