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18 June 2013


Ben Emery

Didn't even get passed the first sentence before I stopped reading, "closed doors congressional panel". This is our government and only an informed citizenry can make reasonable decisions for their own future not a power elite making decision they alone have deemed to complex for the average minded person. Let the people be the stake holders of their own security and nation.


" This is our government and only an informed citizenry can make reasonable decisions for their own future not a power elite making decision they alone have deemed to complex for the average minded person." -Ben

Ben, we have a Republic, and Congress is there so that we don't have 300 million people bickering over a consensus on matters such as this one; it's bad enough with 535. Congressional oversight of the NSA is reasonable, necessary and constitutional.

Bill Tozer

Gregory, I think our current President would agree with you in theory and would vehemently oppose your last sentence in practice. Be that as it may, I am still weighing the pros and cons of intelligence gathering schema.

Ben Emery

We do have a form of a republic and it is a democratic republic. How are we supposed to elect representatives if we do not know or understand what they are doing in our name? A perfect example is our sitting President I voted for him in 08' but within a year saw that he was not representing my interests or protecting the US Constitution and became an opponent of his administration. I cannot tell you how many arguments I got into with Democratic voters in 12' on these very issues. In 2010 campaign I called his foreign policies in Pakistan/ Afghanistan crimes against humanity at a public forum.

When a person walks a righteous road they walk as free individuals.

Here is a perfect example of how having an open government should work.

"President Barack Obama’s approval rating has dropped from 53 to 45 percent in the past month, with 61 percent of US poll respondents criticizing his handling of domestic government spying in wake of the NSA surveillance scandal." http://rt.com/usa/obama-rating-surveillance-scandal-830/

What the Republican Party did under the leadership of the Bush administration is now being done by the Democratic Party and the leadership of the Obama administration. Either we are going to see more people disenfranchised and stay home allowing less people decide who are representatives in government will be, which helps the R's. Or there will be a huge push to lose the two party and electoral college system altogether. I think it will be the former until things get so bad that the latter will be inevitable.

In 2012 around 100,000,000 million eligible voters didn't vote. Obama spanked Romney with roughly a 65 million to 60 million vote win, which off the top of my head around 55% of the total eligible votes.

Bill Tozer

Hello Mr. Ben: When the average John Q. Public holds their elected representatives' feet to the fire, it is portrayed in the media as a bunch of angry white men (racists) and a bunch of misfit disgruntled in-breeds who cling to their guns and Bibles. Our elected officials do not like it one iota. Recall the brouhaha in the summer of 2010 when a fired up group of very concerned constitutes squared off in town hall meetings over Obama Care. They were even accused of spitting on black representatives and using the N word. A million dollar reward has been posted for anyone to produce one shred of evidence this happened and the reward has not been claimed as of date.

Cindy Sheehan was the darling of the left and media when she pitched her tent at Camp Casey outside George and Laura Bush's ranch. She had more cameras and reporters interviewing her than campers present. She was trying to hold the President's feet to the fire. When Ms. Sheehan tried to hold her elected representatives' feet to the fire and announced her run for Senate against Boxer (or was it Nancy in the House?), she suddenly became a crack pot and the adoring press and Democrat leadership threw her under the bus and relegated her to the dust bin of history.

Yes, we agree. We must hold our elected representatives accountable. Easier said than done.

Ben Emery

Perfect examples of how we are being taught to blame the other while at the same time support the same bs coming from both parties and their masters. I truly believe that the leadership of of the Democratic Party did not pursue Impeachment of Bush/ Cheney and Co. due to the fact they were complicit in everything that was done.

My favorite thing to say these days is "The duopoly is showing through the cracks more and more."

Barry Pruett

Yesterday, we were watching pieces of a congressional hearing on the NSA data collection. When asked by a congressman if the NSA had the ability to collect what George has termed "everything," the general responded that NSA does not have the authority to collect such data.

Ben Emery

Here is where it gets interesting. To have standing one must prove damage but when super duper secret category is put on information the people cannot prove damage due to the evidence being withheld therefore making their ability to have standing impossible.

In other words what the NSA says and what the NSA does are two completely different things unless it can be proven. What we are seeing with the Obama administration and whistle blowers could be labelled as tyrannical behavior. Punishing those who tell the truth.

Bradley Manning's Nobel Peace Prize

Barry Pruett

Ben: You are absolutely right about standing. Kim and I had this discussion yesterday. In order to have standing, you need to be injured. How does one know that NSA is not violating our fourth amendment right and right to privacy. On this single issue, I believe that we all need to get together, write articles, blog about it, call Senators. I had no idea the scope of the NSA data collection which started by Bush and has been continued by Obama.

Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither. While we may disagree on other issues, this NSA issue is a uniter.

Barry Pruett

Ben: You are dead on right about standing. We need to get together and stop this tyrannical behavior (by both parties). I am glad that you and I can find some common ground. I suspect there are other areas too.

Ben Emery

What I am finding is that I am respecting Billy and yours positions more and more because I think the partisanship has finally stopped getting in the way. Not that we are going to agree on things like taxes but I don't suspect we will ever agree on such things. The issues such as civil liberties, foreign interventions, government legislating nutritional choices for us and so on I think we are probably pretty close.

George Rebane

BarryP 650pm - We also saw that, and it seemed no one picked up that the 'ability' and 'authority' to collect data are not the same thing. Authority, if it has not already been given, can be given in a heartbeat.

This morning NPR exercised itself in assuring its listeners that NSA only collects phone numbers and call times, but no names. I suppose the average NPR listener has no idea that connecting names to phone numbers are done routinely by all kinds of businesses. And I'm still puzzled why no one has responded to Rep Nadler's disclosure which should be a bombshell when taken in context with Gen Alexander's testimony.

Speaking of common ground, I think that both you and BenE would be very surprised at how much in common you have with Glenn Beck's outpourings. For openers, he is death on the two major parties, ascribing to them indistinguishable positions and being the cause of most of the nation's ills.

Russ Steele

OK, everyone coming to this blog, go to google and type in your phone number and see if your name and address shows up. See how simple it is for NSA to connect phone numbers to name and address.

Ben Emery

Can you you ever make comments without insulting someone?
"I suppose the average NPR listener has no idea that connecting names to phone numbers are done routinely by all kinds of businesses."

You are not that smart or superior in intelligence over those on the left you just have a different perspective. Some people don't have the ability to process complex information and some do, it has nothing to do with political ideology despite the research that has shown something different. Once again I will give the example of the high school drop out mechanic that can dismantle an engine and reassemble it having high intelligence. These studies are shaped and developed by those who have higher educations making them very out of touch towards measuring the intelligence of uneducated people. Another example could be a 10 year old living in rural third world nation knowing what plants are edible vs poisonous against a US PhD in physics understanding these nuances without learning them first from somebody who knows.

George Rebane

BenE 928am - My smarts, whatever they may be, are not the issue here. For those readers still uninformed about the reported results of the Dept of Education's (40 year) longitudinal study of adult literacy (q.v.) in America, my assessment may seem out of bounds. For those so informed, my assessment is perhaps too kind. If you have other data to dispute my statement about the average NPR listener, then give it. Else explain away why NPR broadcast an apology that could only assuage the 21st century imbeciles living among us. Again, your criticizing the messenger instead of disputing the message speaks volumes on the strength of your argumentations.

Barry Pruett

I am becoming increasingly upset with politics strictly for partisan sake. My next question is how can we get people together locally in a unified effort? I was thinking about possibly getting a forum together in order to discuss such issues - not too dissimilar than Paul and George's little event. People with traditionally opposite views on certain subjects speaking with a unified voice on common interests gets in the paper and radio and does educate the public when they are listening. Further, if people seeing all varieties of people agreeing on issues it will have a tendency to remove the partisanship from the issue. Just a thought.

George Rebane

BarryP 201pm - Have you taken a look at what we are doing on NCTV with the Breaking Bread forum? I have been pushing for such a program for the last several years, and was happy to see it started recently. I am one of the program hosts. We are recording the next episode on 8 July, the topic will be climate change. Search RR for 'Breaking Bread', or go to

Barry Pruett

Kim and I watch a the first episode, but with kids being home and our busy work schedules, I have not yet been able to watch another. It is a great group of people at "Breaking Bread," but I do not see unification on the issue of climate change. ;)

Paul Emery

You're on the right path Barry. The important thing is to bust up the so called two party system which is indeed one fat bird with two wings. If for just one election cycle people voted third party, any party, in the Congressional races just imagine how that would shake things up.

George Rebane

BarryP 407pm - ... and there will be no need for unification as long as the parties' positions are well explained.

PaulE 554pm - You and Glenn Beck have been pushing this concept for a long time (see my 852am). And I think there is a lot of merit in it. BTW, it would be interesting to see a list of things on which you and yours actually disagree with Beck.

Todd Juvinall

I am with PaulE on the point of the next election. I say everyone in the USA vote in the Peace and Freedom candidates and give them the majority in Congress. Now that would be interesting. Reminds me of those third world revolutionaries who spring from the people with grandiose ideas and when in power, chop heads off just like the dudes they overthrew. And they steal the treasury. Yep, let's do PaulE's idea. Yep.

Ben Emery

George, response to your 19 June 2013 at 10:05 AM
Its not about data its about your incessant portrayal of those from whom you disagree as being ignorant fools who don't know any better.

George Rebane

BenE 654am - my 1005am was clear, and I notice that you did not explain away NPR's pandering its listeners.

Ryan Mount

I'll answer. NPR is "Left Light." In America, they're seen as far Left as the MSM is allowed to go. However, NPR is rather ideological and *conservative* in terms of what it allows as programming.

But you can hear its supporters "Oh, but it's better than other outlets." Not necessarily. We live in an era of vain information; where people get their "news" from outlets that already support their perspective.


Paul Emery


You are such a Dork (defined as a loveable idiot) I was not not pushing anyone to vote for any particular third party just any third party to break the monopoly of the Republicrats which is the essential task at hand.


I don't pay any attention to Beck who is an comedian and entertainer much like Rush Linbaugh and Bill Maher.

Todd Juvinall

PaulE, golly I haven't been called a dork since the third grade. Thanks!

Paul, if a third party doesn't gain a plurality or a majority then tell us how that change the power structure? It doesn't, so my reply to you was in a helpful way so you would not look so dumb about politics.

Paul Emery


IT would change the power structure because it would get the big bucks out of politics at least in the short term. My guess is that there would be coalitions on specific issues with the Libertarians and Left Progressives joining forces many times on Civil Liberties and Foreign Policy. The Ruling Class wouldn't know where to put their money. Mostly it would be big fun to see the Republicrats pack up their bags and get out of town. Granted it's not likely because Americans are brainwashed into believing that we have to have the Republicrats but it is possible. Now is the time and I'm there.


Paul, my reading of the typical left-liberal/left-progressive is that they have more in common with right-conservatives, in that they think everyone should have the right to live and think and speak like they do, and often not much else. While there is much for libertarians to agree with civil libertarians over (no surprise) I really don't see that much civil libertarianism among the coercive Utopians who tend to hide out under the "Progressive" banner.

Paul Emery


Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sponsored some legislation together. Here's an example:

"Both Kucinich and Paul oppose the use of drones “because they increase radicalization among the population of the countries we use them in, violate the U.S. Constitution, kill innocent people and stain our nation’s moral consciousness.”


You can google kucinnich ron paul legislation for many more examples.

Ben Emery


Here is another couple of examples to what you are saying.

A democratic socialist (Sanders), civil libertarian consumer advocate (Nader), libertarians (Paul) (Napolitano) all in agreement.

Federal Reserve
Military Industrial Complex
Surveillance State
Civil Liberties
Too Big Too Fail Too Big Too Exist
Whistle Blower protection

Paul Emery

Ben, Gregory

Let's add the so called war on drugs to that list as well.

Kucinich 'Admires' Paul, Says Drug Problem Requires 'Compassion and Wisdom'

A safe, free and just America is undermined, not bolstered, by the costly and ineffective War on Drugs. Criminalization over treatment has led to increased violent crime, misdirected resources of law enforcement and restricted Constitutional liberties. The US must rethink a policy that produces many casualties, but benefits only the prison-industrial complex.


Ben Emery

Here are some highlights I talked to a libertarian group in 2010 about along with a couple of links attached to them. The notes were more detailed but this was the rough draft outline of what to talk about.

RON PAUL and I agree on:
Iraq Invasion/ Occupation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5_ThKD2g4U
War on Terror and Nation Building Seeing acts of terror as criminal and going after those specific individuals who perpetrated the acts.
Audit the Federal Reserve US Constitution Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, of the United States Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to coin money and regulate the value thereof and of any foreign coins.
Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 AKA Bank Bailout
This only made the problem worse and transparency was made even more opaque
I would of Voted “NO”

World Trade Organization or WTO
Our agreements with WTO, GATT, and NAFTA strips US sovereignty over its trade and economic policies. This is why our jobs are leaving the country.

Violates our 4th amendment rights

Patriot Act
Strips our liberties and US Constitutional Rights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdT0RNYoFfM

Guantanano Detainee’s, Habeas Corpus, and Secret Prisons

Decriminalization of Marijuana
This would help empty out our prisons and save tax dollar money

Real ID Card
Assumes we are guilty and we need to prove our innocence.


One needs to have more than an agreement on what to defeat; governing is about agreeing on what to do in it's place. The devil is in those details and that's where Libertarians and Progressives split.

Ben Emery

Most of what libertarians and progressives agree upon is that we have a system that is extremely broken. Those with little ties or loyalty to the D's and R's understand it is more important to wrestle the the power out of their hands before any kind of true reforms can start happening. Catch 22, play the game and get entangled in the net of corruption while building friendships along the way. Or try to expose the problems and educate enough people to elect independent individuals willing to be an outsider on the inside.


"Those with little ties or loyalty to the D's and R's understand it is more important to wrestle the the power out of their hands before any kind of true reforms can start happening."

No, and the ideas you've shared about what sort of "true reforms" you're thinking of are anathema to libertarians.

Ben Emery

You are without a doubt a world class a$$hole. I have talked with many libertarians within and out of the party. We were all in agreement. Since you seem to know everything about everything with doing nothing I will reflect your opinion after I post this comment for about zero seconds.

Enjoy the rest of the day telling people how they perceived their own life experiences is wrong.


I'm sure you heard what you wanted to hear, Ben, and I will certainly take your judgment of me with all the gravitas it deserves.


"Too Big Too Fail Too Big Too Exist" -Ben

Ben, do you really not know the difference between the words "to" and "too"?

Barry Pruett

I agree with Ben on this one. "Catch 22, play the game and get entangled in the net of corruption while building friendships along the way. Or try to expose the problems and educate enough people to elect independent individuals willing to be an outsider on the inside." A truer statement herein has not been made.

Ben, like you, I would far rather that outsider on the inside. It can be done, but it really takes a toughness and true character and integrity to faithfully stand up for your beliefs and take the heat for what you perceive as doing the right thing.

That is the catch. For example, I think that Ben and I share some common agreement on certain issues. Some of our issues do not jive, but others do and by willing to focus on areas of agreement and debate areas of disagreement in a non-demonizing way, I think we accomplish things.

My view of Ben is a person of "toughness and true character and integrity to faithfully stand up for your beliefs and take the heat for what you perceive as doing the right thing." We just don't agree on everything, nor should we.


"Catch 22, play the game and get entangled in the net of corruption while building friendships along the way. Or try to expose the problems and educate enough people to elect independent individuals willing to be an outsider on the inside."

Barry, all reformers agree on that one. The trick is to stay a reformer after you get a taste of power.

Senator Al Franken has come out as a strong defender of the NSA in the recent kerfuffle, but I'm not sure anyone should be surprised.

Ben Emery

Thanks Barry,
Right back at you. I have no problem disagreeing with people as long as it is done with sincerity and respect. I don't any person on the planet that I 100% agree. I know you and I along with Kim agree on many issues. But people like Greg G. have to find where we disagree even in an agreement. I feel sorry for people who have to be that way.

Being a consensus blog in a small community would have pretty low participation numbers so I keep telling myself George being an educated man understands this and stirs the pot more than looks for places of agreement.


Sorry to try to burst your bubble, Ben, but I disagree with you because in my estimation, you are so very wrong on so very many things, and can't even see when people aren't agreeing with you but are just doing their best not to be too 'disagreeable'.

Drop the ad hominem judgments, you just don't have the knack to make them work; I think that's about the fourth or fifth time you've tried to tar me with that one.

Michael Anderson

GG, I loved how you used the word "tar" in your last comment. Just add "baby" to your next comment and you will have achieved perfect mirrored synergy. Ommmmmm...

Barry Pruett

Before I start, please note that I am not talking about Greg.

You said "people...have to find where we disagree even in an agreement." Now I think that this comment brings us back full circle. Especially at the state and national level, it is the partisanship that is really drving me nuts. Democrats and Republicans oppose each other often strictly for partisan reasons. Neither Obama nor the Republican congress can have a success. From experience (and I am sure that you have experienced this too), I know people in town on both sides that will oppose the other side solely and exclusively for partisan reason.

My favorite example is Jim Firth. He has stated that two Republicans are on the ballot, he would not for vote the lesser of two evils.

My favorite example the other way is Terry Lamphier. Terry voted for the Rincon Del Rio project much to the scorn of the local liberals.

I connection with the NSA and IRS, we have some substantial agreement nationwide. Let's not allow petty partisanship to chip away at our liberty.

Good conversation...thank you for the forum George!

Ben Emery

I am talking about Greg. You are just a jerk to who ever disagrees with your opinion. I have seen it play out here and RL's. Michael A. and Steve F. give thoughtful good positions and you attack them as well because those positions don't match your own. Your a jerk. The proof that decent conversations can happen even with disagreement was with John Stoos over at the most informative Nevada County blog Sierra Foothills Report. John was very knowledgeable but had a religious slant on everything. I guess my religion is being against centralized power whether it be private or public.


Ben, I lost what respect I had for Frisch when he was writing op-eds against Prop 23 and getting them published in The Union, and wading in what was then an active newpaper comment section without disclosing he was President and CEO of a 501(c)3 which derives income from carbon regulation. You can't pretend just to be a regular guy who pays attention to what Sacramento is doing, and later boast how you'd been helping to write regulations.

Anderson is one of only two people I'd ever considered getting a restraining order against, in the aftermath of what most folks (besides Anderson) agreed was at the very least a veiled threat. That was over global warming; at the time he wanted to stop skeptics before there were climate brownshirts walking Broad Street out in the open.

"I guess my religion is being against centralized power whether it be private or public." -Ben

Except when it's to do what you want it to do, like your sadness that Medicare wasn't extended to everyone.

Russ Steele


When you wrote "most informative Nevada County blog Sierra Foothills Report" was this an attempt at humor, right? The Sierra Foothills Report is an echo chamber, where opposing views are deleted with out comment. The comment strings rarely go past 10-15, here the comment strings often exceed 100. Here we debate, there the comments are nothing but empty echoes.


Regarding the conservative Rev. Stoos over at the FUE's echo chamber, as far as I can tell even he's mostly left the building. He was the perfect non-leftist for Pelline... he'd take any hit that came his way and turn the other cheek rather than hit back.

Checking, Stoos apparently hasn't posted to his Purpleness' blog in over a year. Interesting choice you made as an example, as it appears even Stoos gave up on the place.


he...he...that was kind of inevitable ;)


Re: Posted by: Gregory | 22 June 2013 at 08:03 AM

Greg stated: "Ben, I lost what respect I had for Frisch when he was writing op-eds against Prop 23 and getting them published in The Union, and wading in what was then an active newpaper comment section without disclosing he was President and CEO of a 501(c)3 which derives income from carbon regulation."

Here is the original editorial that caused Greg to lose all respect for me:


Please note that I clearly identify myself as the President of the Sierra Business Council.

Greg, when you are done smoking crack for breakfast put that in your pipe and smoke it.

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