TED Conversations

Frank Barry

TEDCRED 30+

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Restrain the US President, Justice Department, FBI, and Secret Courts, from "persecuting" Whistle-blowers, then "prosecuting" them.

The Senate has Oversight of the National Security Intelligence Agencies. 1300 agencies, 15 Senators.
850,000 federal employees with top secret clearances, 15 Senators.
Led by 80 year old Chairwoman, Dianne Feinstein.

National Security has become (and I love this explanation) --
"A Self Licking Ice Cream Cone".

Well known for his Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg was persecuted by the Nixon Administration. Since then National Security Whistle-blowers have also met a similar fate.. Whistle-blowers often disclose wrong-doings by Top Secret Agencies; 1300 agencies, who control 850,000 federal employees, in 10,000 US Government Buildings located "world-wide", and funded by not only Taxed Payers, but also monies from "drug operations, oil, and foreign governments".

National Security Whistle-blowers have no real protection from US laws that protect other types of Whistle-blowing. National Security Whistle-blowers have only a letter from the President.

President Obama ran for office and promised he would give us all
"Change" and a "Transparent US Government". I listened carefully.
He only promised to do so until selected at the convention.
Where any of you listening carefully to that speech?

Edward Snowden is quietly running out of time in Russia.
Not much is being done by our elected officials in Washington DC.
I worry that both politicians and citizens have become so apathetic that
they cannot see a human life being sacrificed for their benefit.
He has until June.

Will we Americans just wait and watch as his Titanic boat sinks?

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  • Apr 19 2014: Frank

    Read you had taken ill, hope all is ok.

    I am afraid that the current Administration no longer sees itself functioning under the constraints of the Constitution. This would apply to all things, whether it be 'whistle blowers' or anything else it deems necessary to further its socialistic agenda.
    Obama did not invent this process and I would believe that the stage was set through previous Administrations. It would be silly to suggest that we have arrived at this point, of the dismantling of America, if it were not a bi-partisan effort.
    Your points are well taken. I particularly like the Titanic analogy. And yes, I believe that will be the case.
    It is most offensive, especially for those who have seen combat under the American flag, to see it waved by those politicians who give the impression that they would rather be holding a copy of Mein Kampf or, perhaps, Das Kommunistische Manifest.
    • Apr 19 2014: Charles, thank you for the kind thoughts.

      You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
      You actually put a spin on things that I had not considered before.
      One thing about the internet, it supports ideas from all view points.
      Yours is Spot On!

      On another related matter.
      My hospital stay had me missing Edward Snowden -vs- the NSA.
      Have you watched both talks - Edward Snowden's, and the NSA's response?
      Both were shown without the personal presence of a human speaker.

      Snowden, appeared to be a real person on his screen.
      But, the NSA's guy was in my eye's a cartoon figure. He looked human enough,
      but something was missing. His eyes and mouth kept getting hit with odd sparkles
      while the rest of his face was unmoved. He appeared in a defensive posture, like
      an animal trapped in a cave, lashing out from time to time.

      Snowden had an excuse for not being there. His opponent had no reason not to.
      Both should have taken and answered questions in the aftermath, off the cuff,
      directly from the audience..

      As it was, we all got to cheer for Edward Snowden, and put up with the NSA's
      (small boy Tantrum) response.

      TED deserves a Cheer for a great job. "Hip, Hip, Hooray !!!"
      • Apr 19 2014: Frank

        Thanks for the HTNOTH Award. First one I have ever received.
        I did not see the Snowden thing,I was not even aware it was on TV.
        • Apr 20 2014: Charles, There are several TED Talks about the NSA.
          I only wish Americans could get a square deal from our governors.

          These were just 2 TED Talks, I stumbled across.
          From
          Edward Snowden
          Here's how we take back the Internet
          • 1.7M views • Mar 2014
          Courageous, Informative

          Respoinding by NSA's Deputy Director
          Richard Ledgett
          The NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s TED Talk
          • 633K views • Mar 2014
          Informative, Courageous
          ===
          Here are some other's of a warning nature.

          Christopher Soghoian
          Government surveillance — this is just the beginning
          • 482K views • Mar 2014
          Informative, Persuasive

          Mikko Hypponen
          How the NSA betrayed the world's trust — time to act
          • 1M views • Nov 2013
          Informative, Persuasive
    • Apr 23 2014: Yes, you def hit the nail on the head. Summed it up very nicely.
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    Apr 17 2014: Federal whistleblowers have seen their protections diminish in recent years, largely as a result of a series of decisions by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has exclusive jurisdiction over many cases brought under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Specifically, the Federal Circuit has a narrow definition to the type of disclosure that qualifies for whistleblower protection. Additionally, the lack of remedies under current law for most whistleblowers in the intelligence community and for whistleblowers who face retaliation in the form of withdrawal of the employee’s security clearance leaves unprotected those who are in a position to disclose wrongdoing that directly affects our national security.

    Obama signed Presidential directive 19 that allows reporting of waste, fraud, and abuse. Like that helped. LOL

    The holy of holies in all classified information is sources ... once you breach that area you are really on your own. We could debate the Snowden case for years and never come to a total agreement by anyone. We all agree that he kicked the hornets nest ... we all agree that agencies went way to far ... even the secret court said what was occuring was wrong ... the Attorney General of the US must sign off on secret court decisions ... only a fool would fail to think that POTUS ... Sec Defense ... Sec State ... and other select few had this knowledge.

    Snowden knew he was jumping into a bucket of crap. I learned early on that the term open door policy was a joke ... do you really think that telling the boss something that could get him fired or jailed is a good idea ... it provides time for covering his butt and firing you ... if you really think your protected ... by all means go for it ... good luck.

    Once again spin doctors have earned their money ... Snowden = bad ... NSA = doing good for America ... ask any liberal / socialist.
    • Apr 17 2014: Dang it, Bob, That was great...

      Can you do a like one on Goldman Sach's or maybe Bill Gates???

      You probably can, but TED uses them both as Wealth sources
      and probably wouldn't appreciate them getting a needle.

      I've just finished a Hospital stay --
      I need to dredge up some of my Guardian "get em's" and get back
      into the fight. The damned NSA, CIA, DHS, and FBI aren't going to
      win this ballgame. I am just too old to care.

      I suggest that the newspapers need to be polled to find those who are
      still independent enough to get the ball rolling. Monterey California has
      one, and there's the Guardian, Der Spiegel, and some others. Not the
      crazies, but some really good thinkers are out there, and they need to
      get to know each other.

      My privacy and freedom is important. Yours is too. Keep writing.
  • Apr 23 2014: Yes, we will just watch and wait.
    • Apr 23 2014: Bryan, Oh Great Soothsayer Is thumb twiddling
      allowable while we watch and wait?

      Great Martyrs of history have gotten more press coverage than they need.
      For example, Rob "Blago" Blagojevich who has been comparing himself with
      recent Martyr's ML King, N Mandela, and Gandhi when Larry, Moe and Curly
      would be more like it.

      Obama and his best buddies come to mind...
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    Apr 15 2014: Absolutely, the whistle blowers are often unsung heroes of societal Justice. However, good luck on trying to get the guys that the whistlers will be pointing at to help you legislate protections for their mortal enemies.
    • Apr 16 2014: William, thank you sir.
      A "Catch-22"... Adolph Hitler put his minions in the same position. From the start.
      He made them swear an oath to himself, then held them to it. Those who objected?
      Well, I don't recall history recording their fates.

      The trouble, as you so well explained, is that the bad guys are in charge.
      They have all the money...
      They control the press, by giving reporters cushy White House leaks to print.
      And world-wide, except for the Guardian, or that paper in Monterey who
      exposed the DOD's heavy thumb on what TV programs their civilian employees
      could watch, or newspapers out in the hinterland's where there are only a few
      people and where the infrastructure is underdeveloped. They stifle outcry.

      Has anyone got the name of that Monterey, California newspaper?
      Has anyone every read of the Department of Defense stifling TV watching?
      Does anyone care?

      Whistle-blowers serve us all by bringing corruption to light. When our own
      President refuses to look and listen carefully, then we are at a real risk.

      Today's Congress has become unimportant, impotent, and just too damned slow.

      Rome comes to mind.
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts"- Abraham Lincoln

    "We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution"- Abraham Lincoln

    "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it"- Abraham Lincoln

    So far we have lost most of our rights and our constitution has been perverted beyond belief, what's next folks? Are we going to wait until Halliburton declares Marshall Law and imprison us in the FEMA camps?
    • Apr 15 2014: Keith, You are right. The "real facts" have been shown to us all.

      European and South American Leaders and their peoples have been spied upon
      exactly like we American's have been, internally by the NSA and CIA. The DHS
      and FBI, who now use their own internal spying and surveillances equipment very
      much like that used by the NSA and CIA. The Senate's Oversight is non-existent.

      Europeans and South Americans are frankly looking for a way around dealing with
      the US Government. Quietly, other nations are meeting without the US being
      represented. New trade agreements will eventually mean a new base currency.

      Like 1929 - The Elite 1% control almost all the monies. The rest of us are getting
      subsistence wages only. This has been going on since before the turn of the 21st
      century.

      I will quit for now. Even I get tired of complaining.
  • thumb
    Apr 15 2014: I'm on Snowden's side as it pertains to the concerns he raised. But I'm a bit worried about his approach which seems to me like trying to fight illegality with illegality.
    The issues he raised has to be addressed in every branch of government; especially the excecutive and the Senate/Congress. This is because these are issues that bothers a large portion of the American population. Privacy is very important to all but the weird; but a situation where someone can access almost everything and anything about you in the name of national security, is not ideal.

    I think Snowden's case should be handled as a peculiar one, because government officials have been hiding too much and lying too much such that it becomes difficult to sincerely expect them to do anything positive if Snowden had gone to them instead of doing what he did.
    • Apr 15 2014: Feyisayo, Thank you.
      When one discovers he is a part of an illegal conspiracy to defraud,
      the nice guy approach just cannot work. Snowden did the right thing. He went
      to the press. Somehow he was able to convince an international publisher to
      stand with him and defy the US and UK governments.

      Unlike Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, Snowden brought no garbage to the game.
      Snowden was squeaky clean. That is all that has saved him thus far. That, and
      the problems the CIA has with killing him inside Russia. Not that they would do
      anything like that.

      US laws protecting Whistleblowers do not apply to national security type agencies,
      and their 850,000 employees with Top Secret Clearances, Snowden had no options.
      A comfort letter from the President was not really an option.

      June is fast approaching. The Guardian seems to be backing off a bit.
  • thumb
    Apr 14 2014: How about streamlining an easier process to hold government offices and officials accountable for morally and ethically questionable or flat out wrong practices?

    Ex. A company with a surplus in their pension and on the right track for sustaining retired individuals has a large chunk of money taken away by the state. The state wants to use the money to fund other projects with a promise that they will return it and it wont affect the company's ability to keep their retired employees in a suitable pension plan.

    Years go by and the money is never replaced therefore the interest that would have been accumulated hasn't been earned and now the pension is in trouble for future retirees. The state appoints a representative to attempt to resolve the issue by investing the remaining pension money in riskier ventures on the market in an attempt to earn that money back.

    Meanwhile the company increases the number of years an employee has to work in order to be vested and also requires staff to deposit more per paycheck into the pension. The money going into the account from the currently working staff is used to pay for the individuals who are retired and on the verge of retiring all the while the current employee is wondering if there will be anything left by the time their turn arrives to receive a pension.

    Even if someone wanted to be a whistle-blower you have to wonder where they'd even start considering the ambiguity of state offices funding practices half the time.
    • Apr 14 2014: Thank you, Ang Perrier.

      The ERISA Act of 1974 was supposed to be the answer to saving for retirement. What it did
      was a bit different. Like the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), ERISA has an IRS penalty clause.
      For withdrawals made before age 59 & 1/2 the IRS imposed a 10% penalty.

      Banks,and financial institutions, nationwide, spent the first few years taking out full-page newspaper
      ads to get the monies socked away into bank vaults (IRA's, 401k's, etc.). All the loose cash that
      businessmen would have put into local investments simply melted away.

      Banks were prohibited from making risk investments in excess of 15%. Congress patted itself on
      the back, and it was time for Lobbyist's to tear things apart, piece by piece, year by year.
      30 years later, Banks and Wall Street's financial institutions were deregulated.

      Clinton was hailed, but the other shoe had not yet dropped.

      I need to nap. Sorry, I will get back soon.
  • Apr 24 2014: Mint, WoW !!! You've moved away from out subject.
    So, I will also. I like a time out and a bit of fun now and then... so here goes.
    ===
    That's the position Newt Gingrich took. Farm it all out to those who do it in the private sector.

    If so, what you write makes sense. John Ashcroft, quietly taking the job of a board member and
    directing the USTC to do recruiting of young mercenaries, for training in weapons and tactics, and
    deployment around the world, right under our noses, with no fanfare to a sleeping population, of
    Americans who trust in their government to do the right thing.

    By our government running a parallel Web (a separate internet) they can do anything they want
    and we Americans just blindly keep funding them to do it, until our funding is no longer necessary.

    What then? We are a bit expensive to feed. We use all that oil and gas. Maybe Newt and John
    will not wish to keep us around. Will blood run in the streets, like in Miami, when the police shot
    those poor fools who wouldn't stop when ordered to do so? Or perhaps test a few nukes and take
    out the Twin Cities, or maybe Topeka, and Tucson, for population control. Remember those drunks
    who were recently discovered, in charge of those minute man ICBM's, with their fingers on the buttons.
    NAW... TOO FAR FETCHED. Besides, Newt and John are almost on life-support now..
    ===
    But your US Judge thing? I can buy that. Their history is shaky. One way courts.
    No defense attorneys. Only prosecutors allowed. Plea, Stamp, Plea Stamp, Plea Stamp....
    11,000 Pleas, 10,989 Stamps, 11 Re-Submits, 1 NO... Sounds pretty FETCHED to me.
    ===
    Obama cuts through all that nonsense. He just targets whoever he thinks is a bad guy.
    He just keep building new Drone bases in Africa. But, I wonder why? Why would he want
    to kill his heritage. Maybe one of those parasites that infect the suicide crickets has found
    a way into his brain. Or not.
  • Apr 24 2014: The US has started to employ all private contractors. For example the police and military will soon be trained and owned by the private sector. similar to the private prison systems, these private sectors do not need to comform to the same information disclosure laws as the US government, so no matter how much digging you do there will soon be no obligation to disclose any information to you by law or otherwise and little if any information will be made voluntarily available to you by these private organisations. These private organisations that will replace the publicly run sector will stand to make $billions every year.

    Personally, I think many US judges are bought. The justice system has never been blind. All courts should be open to public scrutiny otherwise we can confirm that all courts that are not are behaving illegally. After all its a secret hand shake society.
  • Apr 23 2014: Edward Snowden has stuck his life out tor all of us. Let's not make it so.
    This young man deserves better than to be on a CIA hit list.
    We are AMERICANS. We must act so.

    TODAY IS THE TIME TO START TO STOP THE NONSENSE.

    TED has been more than fair, to allow both Snowden and the NSA time
    to make their comments. Thank you TED. I want more, and if you can
    give more please do. I fully understand reluctance. Please try.

    For the rest of you out there -- DO SOMETHING,
    I CANNOT PUT THE WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH.
    WRITE YOUR CONGRESSMAN. DO IT NOW.
    DO IT TODAY. SAY WHAT NEEDS TO BE SAID.
  • Apr 23 2014: Love it when people talk sense. As far as I'm concerned, whistle blowers are some of the best and most note worthy of public servants. I would happily have my tax payers money donated to their cause.

    We are all too aware of the US covert affairs and these whistle blowers are only confirming our suspicions, but without them, suspisions of the public about the government, FBI, judicial system, etc... Would be duly noted as conspiracy theories with no weighting.

    Wait until someone comes out the clauset about the twin towers and Boston bombings which were orchestrated by the FBI/ American intelegince. I can't for one second beleive that all government agents will keep indefinitely hush hush about these acts of terrorism on their own people. Someone brave will shout soon.
    • Apr 23 2014: Mint, Why are there so few Whistle-Blowers?

      Think about it. The acts of the CIA for years and years have been depicted in films,
      probably accurately, as stone cold killers, running around the world doing their dirty
      deeds.

      Yet no employee comes forth and says, these sleezeballs are dangerous. Are all
      the federal employees brainwashed? Or is it so completely compartmentalized that
      their secrets remain hidden?

      There was an incident a few years ago, where a On January 27, 2011,
      Raymond Allen Davis, acting CIA Station Chief, killed two reportedly armed men in Lahore,
      Pakistan. John Kerry, who wasn't the Secretary of State yet, handled the negotiation's and
      borrowed the ransom monies from the Pakistani government to pay the families and free
      the CIA contractor who was working for Xe, formerly Blackwater. When Davis got released
      he was sent home to Colorado, where he quickly became embroiled in a Knife Fight while
      drinking inside a Bar. He was arrested and went to jail. Fine employees of the CIA.

      Gotta go. sorry my snooker game is calling me.
      • Apr 23 2014: I think the same. How come there are so few whistleblowers when corruption is so wide spread? There could be several reasons. 1. As you say, the people that are likely to join the CIA/FBI/etc..are easily brainwashed or fear mongered into compliance. 2. The corruption is at the higher levels therefore less noticeable/disclosed to the majority of agents. 3. The whole band of brothers attitude persuades each of them to accept corruption for what they naivly think is the greater good. 4. They would implicate themselves in any whistle blowing. 5. They enjoy feeling like the superior breed. 6. There own prejudices makes them beleive what they are doing is right.

        I have witnessed situations were people (the majority) will support a buddy even if they are in the wrong, and that's in a social environment. Add money, bosses and contracts into the mix and you have a recipe for mass control and corruption. Ego, fear and alegience have a lot to answer for.
        We will never know how much hypnosis is involved either.
        • Apr 23 2014: Mint, Let us stay in the real world.
          I'm not going to go into hypnosis ideas with you.

          Otherwise, You've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award.
          Congratulations for being smarter than the average bear. lol

          Back to the real world.
          Everything the US government does is a secret. Classified holes that they
          use to hide stuff. Everyone I talk with agrees that our problem has snuck up
          and bit us all, very hard. But everyone is divided on how to solve the problem.
          ===
          I took a bus into San Luis Obispo. For a doctor's appointment three hours ago.
          On the bus, were 7 or 8 bumper sticker type signs "VIDEO SURVEILLANCE".
          Today, right NOW. Route 12 bus, to SLO, Calif.
          ===
          I have an old copy of Blackwater's mercenary application for use by young men
          wanting to enter a weapons and tactics training program in a North Carolina
          facility, later expanded to another in southern California, in San Diego county.

          In December of 2010, John Ashcroft, was elected to the USTC board of directors.
          (For those of you who know who he is, and was.)

          Blackwater, whose mercenary private contractors in Iraq killed 17 innocent men,
          women, and their children, waiting a traffic stop, has changed it's name many
          times, to Xe, and later USTC, and others.
          (USTC claims it is not a US government agency.)
          They claim to only train Police Swat teams in tactics.
          Believe it or not !!!

          Why was the mercenary weapons and tactics application form on the internet?
          Why did Iraq refuse to renew their gun permits and visa's? A news item.
          Why were they being tried in the US courts? And what was the outcome.
          I never followed up on them once it got to the courts.

          Where is Blackwater's owner-leader today? I haven't researched lately.
          Last I heard, he owned 2 private prisons in Texas, and had gone to the UAE.
          He was to train someone's mercenaries. Those Texas prison's seem to haunt
          my internet researching. I wish I had more time to dig deeper.
  • Apr 20 2014: Charles, There are several TED Talks about the NSA.
    I only wish Americans could get a square deal from our governors.

    These were just 2 TED Talks, I stumbled across.
    From
    Edward Snowden
    Here's how we take back the Internet
    • 1.7M views • Mar 2014
    Courageous, Informative

    Respoinding by NSA's Deputy Director
    Richard Ledgett
    The NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s TED Talk
    • 633K views • Mar 2014
    Informative, Courageous
    ===
    Here are some other's of a warning nature.

    Christopher Soghoian
    Government surveillance — this is just the beginning
    • 482K views • Mar 2014
    Informative, Persuasive

    Mikko Hypponen
    How the NSA betrayed the world's trust — time to act
    • 1M views • Nov 2013
    Informative, Persuasive
  • Apr 15 2014: Raj, Great idea.
    "Good Civil Leaders" -- I love it.
    We have forgotten to take care of ourselves, by ourselves..

    Raj, you've won the HITS THE NAIL ON THE HEAD award. Dead Center.

    If our Politicians have become so inept that they cannot manage our nation's problems,
    we should merely help them out, and take care of our problems ourselves.

    After all they are busy, aren't they???
  • Apr 15 2014: You are raising very valid point. There is no way a whistle blower can get fair access or results through normal administrative or legislative channel .

    There should be a website or mail address managed by good civil leaders not involved in Government or politics to manage it. Only they can determine if national security has relevance in the issue and they should give proper hearing to a whistle blower why the issue is not actionable.
    • Apr 15 2014: Raj, right again...

      Our US Government has a black hole in space. We call it the Justice Department.
      Once a subject is left in their hands, they feel charged to paint it black or white.
      These paintings are Attorney General Opinions.

      I can agree with you, but, only if the good civil leaders are never Lawyers, nor
      Accountants. lol